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A Rooting Guide for Dead-Souled Big Ten West Fans: G5 Title Game Scenarios from the American to Mountain West

Can't handle any more Big Ten West? The American and the Mountain West have great championship game scenarios and excellent football coming up:

NCAA Football: Toledo at Illinois
The Big Ten's best non-conference win is in a title game. Who joins them?
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Hi. It’s me, one of the Wisconsin “writers.” Now I realize the West is hilarious, and a five-way for second at 3-4 is especially hilarious.

Since UW has already lost to Iowa, I’m pretty sure there’s no way they could win a 5-4 tiebreaker, so I’m ready to move on. [There is a way, but given how UW has looked recently, it’s irrelevant and I don’t want to talk about it.*] Let’s talk about fun divisional races! Let’s talk about the G5!!!**

*Dammit. Fine. Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin finish tied at 5-4. They’d all be 1-1 against each other, but Illinois and Iowa would be 3-3 vs. the West while UW would be 4-2, so they’d get the nod. Not gonna happen. Which is good, because if it did, I think @Thumpasaurus would show up on my doorstep wearing a mask and holding a chainsaw.
**Yes, the B1G West is still “fun” in its own way. And, I’ll allow, if you’re a Northwestern fan, it’s just fun, period, right now. Hell, if I’m an Illinois fan, I’d definitely want to tune in Saturday. And, Iowa, yes, continue to watch the Brian Ferentz farewell tour. (For the record, I’m rooting for an offensive outburst that moves Ferentz ahead of Phil Longo in terms of ppg...agony is better than feeling nothing.) Nebraska, I know bowl eligibility would be cool, so, yeah, keep watching if you want. Minnesota fans, though, you’re with me, right? This will be the most depressing Axe battle in at least 20 years (give or take Covid). Let’s just watch some Mountain West this Saturday, huh?

Anyway, here’s a look at the G5 races, in ascending order of excitement:


Jacksonville State isn’t eligible so this one is already locked in as Liberty vs. New Mexico State. No word on if @WSR has bought tickets yet.


Toledo has clinched. And, again, Illinois’ win over Toledo is the best non-conference victory by a West team this year, right? [Yeah, Iowa beat Iowa State, but Iowa State lost to Ohio.]

Anyway, they’ll play Miami unless Miami goes 0-2 and either Ohio or Bowling Green goes 2-0. Since Miami’s remaining games are Buffalo (3-7) Ball State (3-7), let’s pencil in a Toledo/Miami rematch (Toledo won the first matchup 21-17).


This one is bullshit. James Madison isn’t eligible, which takes away any interest.

Troy has clinched the West.

In the East, Coastal Carolina (5-2) and Appalachian State (4-2) lead the way, but they both have to play James Madison still. The injustice being visited upon JMU is enough to make me not care about how the East could shake out.

Plus, there are more interesting races...


  • Tulane (6-0): @Florida Atlantic, vs. UTSA
  • SMU (6-0): @Memphis, vs. Navy
  • UTSA (6-0): vs. South Florida, @Tulane
  • Memphis (5-1): vs. SMU, @Temple

Memphis’s loss is to Tulane, so they’re certainly hoping the Green Wave beat UTSA.

The tiebreaker appears to be based on a composite of computer rankings if none of the tied teams are ranked, so the SMU (losses to Oklahoma and TCU)/Memphis (losses to Mizzou and Tulane) winner probably gets a spot at 7-1. Though don’t ask me what happens if UTSA loses this week, then beats Tulane.

Whatever happens, it’ll be more fun than watching Wisconsin/Nebraska. I’m pretty sure about that.


The gold standard. Check this out:

  • Air Force (5-1, loss to Hawaii): vs. UNLV, @Boise State
  • UNLV (5-1, loss to Fresno State): @Air Force, vs. San Jose State
  • Fresno State (4-2, losses to Wyoming, San Jose State): vs New Mexico, @San Diego State
  • Boise State (4-2, losses to Fresno State, Colorado State): @Utah State, vs. Air Force
  • San Jose State (4-2, losses to Air Force, Boise State): vs. San Diego State, @UNLV

Boise State just fired their head coach, and if they go 2-0 and Air Force beats UNLV, they’ll make the title game!

UNLV is a great story. Barry Odom didn’t work out at Mizzou (and Mizzou is doing just fine right now), but this is only the second time since 1984 that UNLV has won 8 games in a season. Really impressive work by Odom.

San Jose State was 1-5 four weeks ago, but have won four straight, culminating in a 42-18 whupping of Fresno State last Saturday. Go ahead an laugh at SJSU’s B1G West-like 5-5 record, but the non-conference losses are to USC, Oregon State, and Toledo. Brent Brennan could be taking SJSU to their third bowl in the last four years...after making three bowls from 1991-2019.

Add in Air Force’s triple option and Jeff Tedford’s very impressive second act at Fresno State, and this is the best conference race in all of CFB. Plus, can you imagine if Oregon State and Wazzu end up here next year? Get in early.