The Bottom Ten/NCAA/Week 13
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
Doesn’t anybody want to lose this thing?
With the ESPNCup – symbolic of Bottom Ten supremacy – there for the taking the #1 team – Rice and now Kansas – has won in consecutive weeks.
The Kansas win throws the race for the 2016 Bottom Ten title into complete disarray, with a gaggle of two-win fiascos chasing the second and third medal stand berths behind new #1 Fresno State.
This week’s mess:
- Fresno State (1-10; lost to Hawaii 14-13)
Mitigating Factors: Bulldogs patiently bide their time, working way up B-10 survey then medal stand to ascend throne for first time…Fresno State can earn first-ever B-10 title with loss Saturday…Bulldogs really playing for the history books as loss would guarantee no worse than a tie for Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win…Bulldogs hardly home free, as final game against tough San Jose State squad that snapped then-winless Iowa State’s seven (7) game skid.
FunFact: Bulldog athletic department staffers petitioning NCAA for “technically winless” designation, as only victory came against lower level Cal State-Pacific Coast Highway.
Next Loss: San Jose State
2. Rutgers (2-9; lost to Penn State 39-0)
Mitigating Factors: Scarlet Knights putting it all together in B-10 stretch run, as offense takes command with second consecutive shutout and fourth of the season…Rutgers getting it done in all phases of the game, ranking Dead Last or Next-To-Dead-Last in no less than four (4) NCAA stat categories…Consistency on both sides of the ball has resulted in Scarlet Knights getting out scored 38.1-to-15.9 every game.
FunFact: Rutgers team with longest B-10 pedigree, not only tying for first ever B-10 title in 1869, but earning B-10 Team of the Decade honors for 1870’s, finishing with 9-14-5 mark.
Next Loss: at Maryland
3. Arizona (2-9; lost to Oregon State 42-17)
Mitigating Factors: While early-season stalwarts like the MAC and C-USA sorted themselves out, Wildcats quietly build B-10 body of work with team record eight (8)-game losing skid…Still in it – more or less – at halftime, Wildcat offense shows strong second half kick, starting off with a couple of punts and interception…Despite fact they have so much practice and other team starts 60-yards away, Wildcats still rank 123rd in Kickoff Returns (17.19 ypr).
FunFact: Wildcats need some help, but still have outside shot at claiming Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win – with loss.
Next Loss: Arizona State (Nov 25)
4. UMess (2-9; lost to BYU 51-9)
Mitigating Factors: Defense humming on all cylinders, giving up 50 or more points for second consecutive game and third time in 2016…While B-10 pollsters lost Penalty-Yards-To-Rushing-Yards formula, 95 penalty yards, 40 rushing yards more than enough to ensure blowout loss…With final three (3) games in Alabama, Utah and Hawaii, UMess takes case for B-10 medal stand berth on the road, strutting stuff for B-10 regional pollsters.
FunFact: With only win coming against lower level squad and Florida International team that started 0-4, B-10 pollsters “like, pretty sure, dude” strength of schedule points will factor into final B-10 ranking, but admit they’re not entirely sure how.
Next Loss: at Hawaii
5. Texas State (2-8; lost to New Mexico State 50-10)
Mitigating Factors: Bobcats making big late-season B-10 push, threatening to run table in historically-tough Sun Belt Conference…Texas State accommodating guests, as five (5) turnovers lead to 28 Aggie points…Bobcats never in this one, either, breaking out to 38-0 halftime deficit and cruising from there…Current six (6)-game skid best in football-mad Texas.
FunFact: Bobcats receiving B-10 bonus points for getting smacked around B-10 legacy teams New Mexico State, Idaho and Louisiana-Famous Dead Person in same season.
Next Loss: Troy
6. Buffalo (2-9; lost to Western Michigan 38-0)
Mitigating Factors: Former B-10 perennials back in survey, impressing B-10 pollsters with first shutout of 2016…Offense almost perfect, with only fourth quarter fumble preventing Bulls from punting on every possession…Defense getting smiley faces on playbooks, too, allowing almost nine (9) yards per play.
FunFact: With two (2) wins coming against teams with combined 11-11 record – including the latest crop of Army officer candidates – Buffalo loses significant strength of schedule points, though B-10 pollsters officially “fondly” remember adorable time when UB started century losing 68 of 79.
Next Loss: at Bowling Green
7. Big Ten
Mitigating Factors: Only conference with two (2) teams in survey, Big Ten easy choice for B-10 Conference of the Week honors…Showing parity in MAC, C-USA and Sun Belt conferences, Big Ten also only conference with two (2) teams riding losing streaks of at least six (6) games.
FunFact: Rivalry weekend big this week with Ohio State/Michigan and Rutgers/Maryland tilts deciding who’s best, worst in conference.
8. Tulane (3-8; lost to Temple 31-0)
Mitigating Factors: Green Trickle another team looking to add window dressing to B-10 run with loss to former B-10 perennial, rolling to sixth straight loss….Tulane bad when it matters, as offense ranks Dead Last in 3rd Down Conversion Percentage (.265), while defense ranks 103rd in same category (.440).
FunFact: Can claim Billy Cannon Certificate – symbolic of Cajun football lousiness and usually issued to loser of UL-Lafayette/UL-Monroe fiasco – with loss in finale.
Next Loss: at UConn
9. Purdue (3-8; lost to Wisconsin 49-20)
Mitigating Factors: Leading 3-0 in second quarter, Boilermakers go on one of their patented 35-7 runs to have loss sealed at halftime…Three (3) interceptions, 71-yads rushing prove adage that if you can combine turnover with a complete inability to run the ball, you can lose in the Big Ten (10)…Purdue getting outscored 46-23.5 during current six (6)-game losing streak.
FunFact: Despite midseason coaching change, Boilermakers left to wonder what might have been as only overtime win to Illinois has prevented Purdue from running table in conference play.
Next Loss: at Indiana
10. Kansas (2-9; defeated Texas – Texas! – 24-21 OT)
Mitigating Factors: Jayhawks bid adieu to consecutive B-10 titles, Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win – with heartbreaking overtime home win…Jayhawks game, punting on first six (6) possessions, but even they couldn’t overcome six (6) UT turnovers…Since game was at home, Jayhawks 40-game road losing streak still intact….With win, pic of football player briefly joins blanket coverage of basketball season on homepage.
Dust In The Wind: B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” Jayhawks first team to go from first in B-10 survey to last in following poll since Tijuana Tech’s shocking win over Jalisco A&M in 1947.Next Loss: at Kansas State
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: Fresno State at San Jose State
This One Isn’t Going To Be Any Good, Either: Buffalo at Bowling Green
Up Next On ESPN395:UMess at Hawaii
Crummy Rivalry Game of the Week: Purdue at Indiana