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Boise State defenders descend on Hawaii’s offense from above during the first half of the game on Saturday. Content Exchange

Boise State is right there in the hunt for the Group of Five’s Cotton Bowl appearance, but it is up against a crowded field of teams from the American Athletic Conference.

Boise State checked in at No. 22 in the first College Football Playoff poll, released Tuesday, with four teams from the American ranked between 20 and 25.

Cincinnati leads all Group of Five schools at No. 20 in the first poll, with Memphis right behind them at 21. The Bearcats and Tigers meet in the final week of the regular season, on Nov. 29 and then could meet again in the conference championship game the following week, meaning the possibility exists that they could knock each other out in back-to-back weeks.

But Navy (No. 24) and SMU (No. 25) are waiting in the wings. Fortunately for Boise State, should it win the Mountain West title, the highest ranked Group of Five champion gets the New Year’s Six bid. So the Broncos would only need to beat out whichever one of the four American teams wins the conference title.

Appalachian State, which had been undefeated until losing to Georgia Southern last week, was not in the top 25.

Ohio State was the top team in the first poll, with LSU at No. 2, Alabama at No. 3 and Penn State at No. 4.

Defending national champion Clemson was the first team out at No. 5, while Georgia was No. 6.

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