Group of 5 Conferences


NCAAF Group of 5 Conferences Overview

The Group of 5 conferences represents the next five conferences in the hierarchy of college football after the Power 5 Conferences group.

Think of the Power 5 as the top teams, and the Group of 5 as the next tier on the NCAA Football Division I FBS pyramid.

Of course, that’s a loose generalization, as there are teams in the group that can regularly beat the big schools.

Which Conferences Make Up The Group Of 5?

As of the 2022-23 football season, the conferences that make up the Group of Five are:

  1. American – American Athletic Conference
  2. C-USA – Conference USA
  3. MAC – Mid-American Conference
  4. MWC – Mountain West Conference
  5. Sun-Belt – Sun Belt Conference

Here’s a full list of the Group of 5 conferences and their member schools:

American Athletic Conference (American)

The American Athletic Conference, otherwise known as the American or AAC, has 11 schools:

  • Central Florida Knights
  • Cincinnati Bearcats
  • East Carolina Pirates
  • Houston Cougars
  • Memphis Tigers
  • South Florida Bulls
  • Southern Methodist Mustangs
  • Temple Owls
  • Tulane Green Wave
  • Tulsa Golden Hurricane
  • Wichita State Shockers

Take note that Wichita State is a non-football participant. That widdles the American Athletic Conference down to 10 teams for football.

The realignment will continue for these groups of Five teams with UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston moving to the Big 12.

Conference USA (C-USA)

Here are the members of Conference USA:

  • Florida International Panthers
  • UAB Blazers
  • Florida Atlanta Owls
  • Marshall Thundering Herd
  • UNC Charlotte 49ers
  • Rice Owls
  • North Texas Mean Green
  • UT-San Antonio Road Runnders
  • Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
  • Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
  • UTEP Miners
  • Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Four members of other conferences will make the jump into the Conference USA in 2023:

  • Jacksonville State Gamecocks
  • Liberty Flames
  • New Mexico State Aggies
  • Sam Houston Bearkats

Mid-American Conference (MAC)

The Mid-American Conference, otherwise known as the MAC, has 12 members divided into the East and West Divisions. The East Division includes:

  • Akron Zips
  • owling Green Falcons
  • Buffalo Bulls
  • Kent State Golden Flashes
  • Miami (OH) RedHawks
  • Ohio Bobcats

The West Division:

  • Ball State Cardinals
  • Central Michigan Chippewas
  • Eastern Michigan Eagles
  • Northern Illinois Huskies
  • Toledo Rockets
  • Western Michigan Broncos

All 12 of these teams participate in football and basketball. Buffalo does not have a baseball team, so only 11 compete in that sport.

Mountain West Conference (MWC)

A total of 11 FBS teams play in the Mountain West Conference, which includes:

  • Air Force Falcons
  • Boise State Broncos
  • Fresno State Bulldogs
  • Colorado State Rams
  • Nevada Wolf Pack
  • New Mexico Lobos
  • San Diego State Aztecs
  • San Jose State Spartans
  • Utah State Aggies
  • Wyoming Cowboys

Take note that Hawai’i is an affiliate member of the Mountain West by participating in football. However, the Rainbow Warriors aren’t included in any other sports for the MWC.

Sun Belt Conference

The Sun Belt Conference features 11 FBS football teams and one non-football member in Arkansas Little Rock. Here’s a complete list of these programs:

  • Appalachian State Mountaineers
  • Arkansas State Red Wolves
  • Arkansas Little Rock Trojans
  • Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
  • Georgia Southern Eagles
  • Georgia State Panthers
  • Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
  • Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
  • South Alabama Jaguars
  • Texas State Bobcats
  • UT Arlington Mavericks
  • Troy Trojans

By 2023, the James Madison Dukes, Marshall Thundering Herd, Old Dominion Monarchs, and Southern Miss Golden Eagles will join the Sun Belt Conference.

NOTE – the ‘Group of 5’ is not to be confused with the ‘Power 5 Conferences’ in college football. Learn here about the power 5 conferences in NCAAF.