Temple and BYU represented college football’s Group of Five and independents well Saturday, each scoring a historically significant win.
The Owls dominated Penn State for their first win over the Nittany Lions since 1941. By virtue of its impressive performance, Temple jumps from just out of the Top 10 in my preseason Group of Five/independent ranking to No. 3. Matt Rhule has a team that looks very much like an American Athletic Conference championship contender.
BYU, meanwhile, handed Nebraska its first season-opening loss in 30 years — and a play sure to be featured in every highlight package for the 2015 season.
The Cougars kicked off a brutal stretch to open their season on the right foot, which sets up a G5/Indie No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown this coming week with Boise State.
Boise State was one of five teams in the G5/Independent ranking to score a win over a Power Five opponent in Week 1, outlasting Washington for the Broncos’ second win over the Pac-12 in as many games.
The following does not include Notre Dame, which, despite being independent, is considered Power Five for College Football Playoff purposes. Although BYU does not qualify for the Group of Five New Year’s Six bowl game, the Cougars are not designated as a Power Five team for Playoff purposes.
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• Utah State Aggies: The Aggies barely survived a dismal offensive performance, going without a touchdown on that side of the ball to edge Southern Utah Thursday.
• Bowling Green Falcons: Defending MAC East champion Bowling Green stayed within striking range of nationally ranked, SEC foe Tennessee deep into the third quarter Saturday.
Dino Babers’ prolific offense yielded 557 yards on the Volunteer defense.
• Colorado State Rams: Colorado State pounded Savannah State, arguably the worst team in Div. I football, giving the Rams a needed feeling-out period in preparation for a Week 2 showdown with Minnesota.
Golden Gophers head coach Jerry Kill called Colorado State arguably the toughest opponent his team faces this season.
• Hawaii Rainbow Warriors: After coming within single digits of Pac-12 opponents three times last season, Hawaii finally got over the hump in a 28-20 defeat of Colorado.
New starting quarterback Max Wittek was erratic at times, but delivered when the Rainbow Warriors needed him to, scoring three touchdowns in the win.
• Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns: The Sun Belt features a variety of likely title contenders heading into 2015. ULL may have been the most impressive despite losing, rallying from 24 down to force a late, fourth-quarter tie with Kentucky.
• Western Michigan Broncos: The 37-24 margin in Western Michigan’s loss to Michigan State Friday may not be fully indicative of the game’s ebb-and-flow — the Broncos tacked on a pair of late touchdowns to make for a more presentable final.
Nevertheless, with Northern Illinois struggling to put away UNLV and Toledo’s inauspicious start in a cancelled game against Stony Brook, Western Michigan’s performance suggests P.J. Fleck’s Broncos might be the team to beat in the MAC West.