Week One usually produces a lot of "cash games", where Group of Five teams are either the beneficiary (playing Power Fives), or they are actually the ones paying out to FCS programs.
So the matchups aren't always the strongest.
Yet there are some monster matchups this weekend. In fact, it was so tough to differentiate the top two? We at FanBuzz went with them as Co-No. 1 games. UTSA at Houston (first year as a Power Five team) and South Alabama at Tulane (last year's top G5 team) are both so big for so many reasons that it was hard to separate them.
Those aren't the only ones. Let's take a good look at the G5's top five games this weekend:
THE TOP FIVE GAMES
NOTE: All game times are Eastern.
Top game: UTSA at Houston, 7 p.m., — Houston ascended into the Big 12, a rebuilding Power Five conference. UTSA is the sleeping giant in the Group of Five ranks, just watch. Not only is this an all-Texas battle, UTSA doesn't usually get a lot of respect, both state-wide nationally. That may change after 2023.
Top game: South Alabama at Tulane, 8 p.m. — Tulane is the monster in the room, beating Southern Cal in a New Year's Six bowl game last year and finishing in the AP Top 10, something that doesn't happen every day in the G5. The problem is, South Alabama is absolutely loaded. Tune in, don't miss this one.
No. 3: Fresno St at Purdue, 12 p.m. — While this game is in Indiana, this should still be a really good game between a very strong G5 and a mid-range to lower mid-range P5. Fresno State was one of two G5s to finish in the AP Top 25 last year (behind Tulane). And Purdue did win eight games, but not against teams as good as Fresno State — and then gave up 106 points in their final two games, the Big Ten title game against Michigan, and the ugly bowl game against LSU.
No. 4: Boise St at Washington, 3:30 p.m. — This is where it got tougher to rank the teams. Boise State is one of the favorites to win the Mountain West Conference, and U-Dub is legit and respected coming into 2023. But this one could be interesting, for at least awhile.
No. 5: Toledo at Illinois, 7:30 p.m. — Illinois had its best season in years in 2022, but Toledo won the MAC championship. While it won't be easy for the Rockets to go into Champaign, Ill. and bring home a win, it won't be easy for the Fightin' Illini, either.
THE NEXT FIVE
NC State at UConn (Thurs), 7:30 p.m.
Miami-OH at Miami-FL (Fri.), 7 p.m.
Louisiana Tech at SMU, 12 p.m.
Bowling Green at Liberty, 12 p.m.
Army at Louisiana-Monroe, 7 p.m.
NOTE: All games Saturday unless noted.
THE COMPETITORS: BMAC - G5 Editor Brian McLaughlin (all conferences); Jamie Malloy (MAC); Julie Miller (AAC & C-USA); Jay Moffitt (AAC & C-USA); NACH - Anthony Nachreiner (Mtn. West); Jordan Ramos (MAC); Taylor Tilley (Sun Belt)
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