Around the Group of 5: Week 16 (Football)

Story posted December 18, 2020 in CommRadio, Sports by Adam Sheetz

It is officially championship weekend in college football, and this week will have huge implications on the Group of Five and their hopes for a bid in a New Year’s Six bowl game.

The College Football Playoff committee released their final rankings before selection Sunday, and they made a big statement for the Group of Five. The committee dropped Cincinnati a spot for a second week in a row, dropping the Bearcats No. 9 in the rankings. This dropping has solidified that the Bearcats will not make the Playoff unless chaos occurs ahead of them.

Now, the focus for the Bearcats will be to clinch a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game. Cincinnati faces off against No. 23 Tulsa in the American championship.

Cincinnati has been unbelievable in 2020, dominating its competition all season long. The Bearcats are led on offense by quarterback Desmond Ridder, who has accounted for 2,347 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2020.

Tulsa poses a very tough test for the Bearcats, and has a chance to derail the bowl hopes for Cincinnati. The Golden Hurricane has a very balanced attack, led by quarterback Zach Smith and a three-headed monster at running back.

Smith has 1,434 passing yards and 11 touchdowns, with a 135.2 passer rating on the year. Tulsa’s ground attack is headlined by running backs Deneric Prince, Corey Taylor II and T.K. Wilkerson, who all have over 300 rushing yards in 2020 and have combined for eight rushing touchdowns this year.

The Bearcats are on the road to the New Year’s Six, but need one more win to get there in what should be an exciting matchup between the best the American has to offer.

Arguably the best matchup in the Group of Five this weekend is the Sun Belt championship game when No. 12 Coastal Carolina faces off against No. 19 Louisiana. The Chanticleers and the Ragin’ Cajuns played earlier this year, when the Chanticleers won 30-27 in a thriller in October.

Coastal Carolina has had a cinderella season, being undefeated with a chance at a New Year’s Six bowl game if the Bearcats would fall in the American title game. 

Coastal Carolina has been led by freshman quarterback Grayson McCall. McCall has been unbelievable this year, having an amazing 23-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio and an 83.3 QBR to go with it.

The Ragin’ Cajuns have been led by quarterback Levi Lewis, who is having an impressive senior season. Lewis has 2,128 passing yards and 17 touchdowns in 2020, and has the Cajuns in the Sun Belt title game against Coastal Carolina. This game was extremely entertaining when these two teams first met in October, and this should be an exciting one again as the Sun Belt title will be on the line when they meet in Conway this week.

The MAC championship is on Friday night when Ball State takes on Buffalo.

The Bulls are undefeated and having a great season, led by running back Jaret Patterson. Patterson has rushed for 1,025 yards and 18 touchdowns in five games this season, including his phenomenal 409 yard and eight touchdown performance in the Bulls’ win over Kent State.

Ball State got to the title game by beating Western Michigan in a wild finish that one needs to see to believe. The Cardinals have been led all season by quarterback Drew Plitt, who has 1,674 passing yards and 13 touchdowns during the 2020 season. The MAC is always extremely competitive, and this title game between Buffalo and Ball State should definitely be exciting as well.

The Group of Five has been as deep as ever in 2020, with four teams with a chance to reach the New Year’s Six heading into championship weekend. The Group of Five has given a lot of stories and a lot of entertaining football with the best the conferences have to offer. It's been great, and the final week of action before bowl weekend should be exciting and deliver some must-see football this weekend.


Adam Sheetz is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

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Adam Sheetz

Junior / Broadcast Journalism

Adam Sheetz is a third year student from Reedsville, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism. He has been a broadcaster for WCHX 105.5 FM in Mifflin County covering high school sports. He has also been a member of CommRadio since his first semester at Penn State, being involved in both the Arts and Sports departments. Adam has extensive experience in a play-by-play setting within CommRadio, covering football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and volleyball for the station. He has done written content for CommRadio ranging from Penn State football articles all the way to discussing Disney Channel movies. To contact Adam, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).