The Bulls have not played up to their full potential in the early going, but remain the G5’s highest ranked team in the AP Poll and will be a factor in the New Year’s Six race at the end of the year.
South Florida was once again a little sloppy in the first quarter on Friday night against Illinois before pulling away for a comfortable 43-27 win that featured 680 yards of total offense. Charlie Strong’s team struggled in victories over lowly San Jose State and FCS Stony Brook earlier in the year, so style points will be necessary throughout the remainder of the season.
Everyone knew the Bulls would have one of the nation’s most explosive offenses, but the defense seems to be coming along nicely with a solid 20.7 points per game allowed so far. Quarterback Quinton Flowers remains as lethal as ever, and six different Bulls already have a touchdown reception.
The Bulls will hope for a fast start at home on Thursday in their AAC opener against Temple, a team they should be able to beat handily.
With their second straight win over a Pac-12 opponent, the Aztecs undeniably have the best resume in the G5 and jump over South Florida to claim the top spot in the week four power rankings.
A road win over Arizona State in Week Two was one thing, as we’ve come to expect the Aztecs are able to challenge at least the middle tier of the Power Five following back-to-back 11-win seasons. San Diego State defied everyone’s expectations last Saturday night with a 20-17 upset of then-No. 19 Stanford behind David Wells’ touchdown reception with 54 seconds left.
The Aztecs consistently own one of the G5’s stingiest defenses and impressively held Cardinal quarterback Keller Chryst to a miserable 9-of-20 performance for 64 yards. Rashaad Penny looks like one of the top workhorse backs in the nation with 71 carries for 588 yards in the early going, giving San Diego State enough balance to run the table.
San Diego State begins Mountain West play next week with a tricky road trip to Air Force, which will provide a challenge with its option attack.