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Peach pursuit: How the Group of Five's best fared in Week 6

Navy quarterback Zach Abey threw the game-winning touchdown pass with 15 seconds to play in the Midshipmen's 48-45 victory Saturday against Air Force.

Paul W. Gillespie | Baltimore Sun

Navy quarterback Zach Abey threw the game-winning touchdown pass with 15 seconds to play in the Midshipmen's 48-45 victory Saturday against Air Force.



Each week henceforth, we'll take a look at how USF fared in comparison to the other serious Group of Five contenders for the New Year's Six bowl berth. Presuming that berth will be in the Peach Bowl, we've devised a gauge of sorts measuring each team's Peach Bowl chances at this moment in time.

Peachy: In the driver's seat for a Peach Bowl berth
Ripening: A team to watch. Peach Bowl outlook getting stronger
Bruised: Peach Bowl chances took a recent hit
The Pits: Not a serious contender at this time

Boise State (3-2)
This week: defeated BYU 24-7
Next week: at San Diego State
If the Broncos can head to southern California next weekend and upset the Aztecs, they could re-enter the Peach conversation -- maybe. Boise's 24-13 season-opening win against Troy has a lot more sparkle these days, as does that 47-44 loss to Washington State. Even that 42-23 loss to Virginia isn't as unsightly as it once seemed. Win at San Diego State, and the Broncos nudge themselves back into the New Year's discussion.
Outlook: Bruised

Toledo (4-1)
This week: defeated Eastern Michigan 20-15
Next week: at Central Michigan
We're tossing the Rockets into this discussion because they look like the MAC's best team at this point. Still, they'd have to win out -- and a ton of dominoes would have to fall in other conferences -- for them to be playing on New Year's Day.
Outlook: Bruised

Houston (4-1)
This week: defeated SMU 35-22
Next week: at Tulsa
USF desperately needs the Cougars to take care of business at Tulsa, then win at home the following week against Memphis, so they can arrive at Raymond James Stadium with a 6-1 record. It's looking more and more like Kyle Postma -- and not Kyle Allen -- will be Houston's starting QB when the Coogs land in Tampa.
Outlook: Bruised

Memphis (4-1)
This week: defeated Connecticut 70-31
Next week: vs. Navy
The Tigers must -- must -- take care of business next Saturday against Navy to remain on this list. Simple as that. Then they have to win at Houston five days later, then win their four remaining regular season games, then win the league title game. Nutshell: Memphis' chances for the Peach are conceivable, just not likely.
Outlook: Bruised

Navy (5-0)
This week: defeated Air Force 48-45
Next week: at Memphis
The Midshipmen needed a 16-yard TD pass by Zach Abey in the waning seconds to slip past Air Force, but they remain in control of their New Year's Six destiny this morning. How much longer they retain control is anyone's guess; Navy plays Memphis and UCF over the next two Saturdays, and there's a mid-November trip to South Bend.
Outlook: Ripening

San Diego State (6-0)
This week: defeated UNLV 41-10
Next week: vs. Boise State
Once USF disposes of Cincinnati next Saturday evening, it would behoove of Bulls fans to head home and root like heck for Boise State. If the Broncos can't upend Rashaad Penny and Co., San Diego State's only other noticeable regular season obstacle is the triple-option proficiency of New Mexico on Nov. 24.
Outlook: Peachy

UCF (4-0)

This week: defeated Cincinnati 51-23
Next week: vs. East Carolina
Before the Knights' romp of Cincinnati was halted by nature's mercy rule (heavy rain, lightning) in the third quarter's waning seconds, UCF had eight
possessions, and scored touchdowns on seven of them. The Knights -- 4-0 for the first time in 29 years -- appear scary-good right now, and that's exactly what
USF needs. The Bulls' strength-of-schedule quotient depends on it. Heck, let 'em leapfrog USF in the rankings. It helps the Bulls in the short term.
Outlook: Peachy

USF (5-0)
This week: Idle
Next week: vs. Cincinnati
In the case of the Bulls, we're modifying the Al Davis mantra: Just win, baby...and pray. Specifically, pray that Houston and UCF continue winning, because they represent the only quality wins to be had on USF's bleak schedule. The rest of the Division I opponents on the Bulls' slate are a combined 14-32. Meantime, San Diego State gets closer in the rankings' rear-view mirror.
Outlook: Peachy

[Last modified: Sunday, October 8, 2017 9:18am]


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