Group of 5

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What is the Group of 5?

What conferences are in the Group of 5?

American Conference

Conference USA

MAC

Sun Belt Conference

Mountain West Conference

What is the Group of 5?

The Group of 5 is a conglomerate of five conferences in FBS college football. They are widely regarded as inferior to the Power 5 conferences and independent schools. Nonetheless they compete at the highest level of college football alongside the Power 5 and Independents. Group of 5 schools can go to the same bowl games as the Power 5 and Independents, and even compete in the College Football Playoff if they are selected.

In 2021, the first Group of 5 team qualified for the College Football Playoff (CFP). The Cincinnati Bearcats from the American Conference were named the #4 seed and earned a berth in the 2021-22 season’s playoff where they faced Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. Alabama defeated Cincinnati by a score of 27-6.

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What conferences are in the Group of 5?

The five conferences in the “Group of 5” are the:

  • American Athletic Conference (AAC)
  • Conference USA
  • MAC
  • Sun Belt Conference
  • Mountain West Conference

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American Athletic Conference (AAC)

The teams in the American Conference are the:

  • Cincinnati Bearcats
  • Memphis Tigers
  • Houston Cougars
  • Central Florida Knights
  • South Florida Bulls
  • Temple Owls
  • East Carolina Pirates
  • SMU Mustangs
  • Navy Midshipmen
  • Tulane Green Wave
  • Tulsa Golden Hurricane

It is worth noting that the Cincinnati Bearcats, Houston Cougars, and Central Florida Knights are expected to join the Big 12. That is a ripple effect of Oklahoma and Texas leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. After news broke that Oklahoma and Texas were planning to leave, the Big 12 extended invitations to Cincinnati, Houston, and Central Florida—as well as BYU from the Independent schools—to join their conference. Those invitations have been accepted. As a result, Cincinnati, Houston, and Central Florida will be leaving the American Conference, and therefore the Group of 5, in the near future. Those three schools will “upgrade” and move into the Power 5.

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Conference USA

There are 14 teams in Conference USA (C-USA). The teams in C-USA are broken into two divisions—Conference USA East and Conference USA West.

The teams in Conference USA East are the:
  • Marshall Thundering Herd
  • Old Dominion Monarchs
  • Florida Atlantic Owls
  • Florida International (FIU) Panthers
  • Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
  • Charlotte 49ers
  • Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
The teams in Conference USA West are the:
  • Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
  • University of Alabama Birmingham Blazers
  • Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
  • Rice Owls
  • North Texas Mean Green
  • University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) Miners
  • University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) Roadrunners

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Mid-American Conference (MAC)

MAC football—lovingly referred to as “MACtion”—has developed a cult-like following in America. Its endearing nature stems largely from its irregular game times. The MAC often plays on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. These standalone windows have significantly grown fan exposure to MAC football, and drawn football fans closer to the conference and its schools.

There are 12 teams in the MAC. Those teams are divided into two divisions—the MAC East and MAC West:

The teams in the MAC East are the:
  • Buffalo Bulls
  • Ohio Bobcats
  • Akron Zips
  • Bowling Green Falcons
  • Kent State Golden Flashes
  • Miami (Ohio) RedHawks
The teams in the MAC West are the:
  • Eastern Michigan Eagles
  • Western Michigan Broncos
  • Central Michigan Chippewas
  • Ball State Cardinals
  • Northern Illinois Huskies
  • Toledo Rockets

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Sun Belt Conference

There are 10 teams in the Sun Belt Conferences. The teams in the Sun Belt Conference are divided into two divisions—East Division and West Division:

The teams in the Sun Belt East division are the:
  • Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
  • Appalachian State Mountaineers
  • Troy Trojans
  • Georgia Southern Eagles
  • Georgia State Panthers
The teams in the Sun Belt West division are the:
  • Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
  • Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
  • Texas State Bobcats
  • Arkansas State Red Wolves
  • South Alabama Jaguars

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Mountain West Conference

There are 12 teams in the Mountain West Conference. The teams in the Mountain West Conference are divided into two divisions—the Mountain division and West division:

The teams in the Mountain Division are the:
  • Boise State Broncos
  • Wyoming Cowboys
  • Colorado State Rams
  • Air Force Falcons
  • Utah State Aggies
  • New Mexico Lobos
The teams in the West Division are the:
  • Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
  • San Diego State Aztecs
  • Nevada Wolf Pack
  • Fresno State Bulldogs
  • San Jose State Spartans
  • University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) Rebels

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