Group of 5 Guys College Football Gameday show visits Troy

Published 10:51 am Tuesday, September 19, 2023

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By Caleb Thomas

Between conference realignment, TV contracts and NIL deals, college football is a rapidly changing landscape. Schools not in a Power Five conference can oftentimes get overlooked at a national – and local – level.

Matt Sprouse and Jesse Grisham, the founders of The Group of Five Guys, encountered these issues while attending Middle Tennessee State University and decided to do something about it.

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The message on their website sums it up perfectly: “Our mission is to bring pride and excitement to Group of Five football programs that rightly deserve it by providing coverage the mainstream sports media refuse to do.”

Sprouse and Grisham started a Twitter account, and things took off from there. The Group of Five Guys added two more members and have a weekly podcast discussing all things Group of Five. Ahead of Troy’s tilt with James Madison University, they had a live show from the Troy University campus, sponsored by the Trojans Together Collective.

While ESPN and other national outlets tend to overlook Group of Five teams, Sprouse thinks that the issues run deeper than that.

“It starts on campus with students and alumni,” Sprouse said. “You have to go to the games and support the team.

“You can’t be [a student] at Troy when they’re playing James Madison tonight and go to Auburn.”

Sprouse acknowledges the disparity between the Power Five and the Group of Five, but pushes back on the idea that the gap carries over to the field.

“If you look at your top Group of Five schools and your middle of the road Power Five schools, the Group of Five wins a lot of the time,” Sprouse said. “In our mind, the Power Five is really about six or seven schools, and everyone else [in the Power Five] rides their coattails.”

With teams like Texas, Stanford, and USC moving conferences, the regional lines of college football are being blurred. Sprouse points to Group of Five conferences such as the Sun Belt Conference as more traditional and appealing.

“A money grab is what’s happening in college football right now,” Sprouse said. “Schools are impulsively jumping ship for a quick buck on a TV deal.

“I think the Sun Belt has done it right. With regional rivalries, traditional schools and historic programs, I think the model of the Sun Belt will come out on top in the long run. People are going to grow tired of watching the same four schools continuously win.”

The Trojans Together Collective is sponsoring the Group of Five Guys’ live show from Troy as a way to get increased exposure for Troy.

“They have an audience that goes far beyond Trojan nation,” said Chuck Carson, founder of Trojans Together. “The Group of Five Guys’ mission of bringing excitement to Group of Five programs complements what we at the collective are all about.”