Jordan Lynch, pinballer of the year. (AP)
Our weekly highlight show of lesser FBS luminaries. Non-AQs and independents, be welcome. WE HAVE MUCH TO DISCUSS.
• On teams about to move themselves outside our purview. Like we said this morning, we had no sooner finished updating our magnificent work of college football realignment art than word came down we might need to add Middle Tennessee State to it. And right as we were wrapping up this here column, Florida Atlantic joins the fray, chasing FIU to Conference USA. Consider this another plea for a dead period in conference realignment, for the sake of everyone’s collective multitasking abilities, at least until the bowls are over. What on earth else are we going to talk about in February if we get all this conference-hopping sorted out before Christmas?
And what to do with some of these teams going forward? We have a while to figure it out, obviously, but how to cover this ballooning middle class created by the sinking of the Big East? Will the Blue Raiders graduate from Profiterole-dom as Temple did last year? We’ll probably dedicate way more thought to this than we should; but, again, best to save that for the offseason when we have nothing better to do.
• Conference races drawing to a close. Where we’re at heading into that weird hybrid weekend of regular and postseason games: Kent State and Northern Illinois meet Friday night in Detroit for the MAC title game. Tulsa hosts Central Florida this Saturday for the C-USA championship. The Mountain West remains deadlocked in that wacky three-way tie between San Diego State, Fresno State and Boise State, with only the Broncos’ Saturday date with Nevada standing any chance of breaking it. The top two teams in the Sun Belt, Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee, play a final regular-season game Saturday that may as well be the conference title game. Utah State has clinched the WAC title outright with last week’s victory over Idaho. And Army and Navy will meet a week from Saturday for the right to hoist the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, with Air Force out of the race entirely for the first time since 2005.
• Bowltyme! Stewart Mandel’s latest postseason projections can be found here, along with a freshly-updated chart listing every accepted bowl invitation. Profiteroles playing this holiday season include Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl, Utah State in the Potato, San Diego State and BYU in the Poinsettia, Louisiana in the New Orleans, SMU in the Hawaii, Air Force in the Armed Forces and Navy in the Fight Hunger.