The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 16 – NCAA Final
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
The Bataan Death March that was the 2016 quest for the ESPNCup – symbolic of Bottom Ten supremacy – is over, with Fresno State surviving as not only the nation’s only one (1)-win team, but as holder of the nation’s longest losing streak, 10 games.
The 2016 Bottom Ten Hardware is ready to be handed out: the ESPNCup, the Tostitos Plaque, the Continental Cup and the Sgt Bilko Trophy, the Conference of the Year Award and, not to mention berths on the coveted Bottom Ten medal stand. Thank you for reading. Few enjoy do anything as much as we enjoy writing The Bottom Ten.
This year’s final solution:
- Fresno State (1-11; DNP)
Mitigating Factors: Bulldogs shot glass runneth over, as historic 2016 campaign claims both first ever B-10 title and Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win, as current ten (10)-game skid best in nation…Bulldogs show mettle deserving of B-10 title holder, losing games by one (1), two (2) and (5) points, plus a double OT thriller by six (6)…Bulldogs showed they could lose not-so-close ones, too, as average Margin of Defeat was 13.2 points.
FunFact: Bulldogs play it old school in 2016, showing football games still lost in the trenches, as complete inability run the ball, stop others from running it, pave way to B-10 glory.
2017 Outlook: Strong…Bulldogs have gone from three (3) wins in 2015 to one (1) this year and will be looking to run the table in 2017.
2. Rutgers (2-10; DNP)
Mitigating Factors: Scarlett Knights celebrating return to B-10 glory, as Rutgers finishes on B-10 medal stand for first time since 1869 squad split first two college football games ever…Rutgers makes big pitch for Worst Ever Big Ten Team honors, losing conference games by average score of 40-to-9.5…
FunFact: Rutgers excelled in all aspects in 2016, ranking Dead Last in Total Offense and Net Punting, Next-To-Dead-Last in Scoring Offense and Next-to-Next-To-Dead-Last in Rushing Defense.
2017 Outlook: As Northwestern and Indiana have shown, it’s not too difficult to be real bad for a long time in the Big Ten, so Rutgers fan(s) might be in for a long stretch of B-10 medal stand finishes.
3. UMess (2-10; DNP)
Mitigating Factors: Minutemen back on B-10 medal stand for second time in past four (4) years…Only wins came against lower-level school and then-unvictoried Florida International squad…UMess still has not posted winning season as a major division programs since 1904 squad finished 5-2-1 and still has not beaten major division team that finished season with winning record since beating Holy Cross in 1901.
FunFact: Minutemen claim medal stand spot based in part on final three-game swing through Alabama, Utah and Hawaii, giving B-10 regional pollsters an opportunity to see UMess train wreck up close.
2017 Outlook: Hard to say…2017 features likes of Maine, Old Dominion and Coastal Carolina, but also real teams, too.
4. Texas State (2-10; DNP)
Mitigating Factors: Bobcats just miss out on B-10 medal stand, but season-ending eight (8)-game skid still more than enough to secure first ever B-10 finish…Consistency key for Bobcats, ranking 124th in Scoring Offense (18.6 ppg) and 125th in Scoring Defense (41.1 ppg)…Special teams not any good, either, as Texas State ranks 126th in Kickoff Returns, averaging just under 50 feet a return despite fact kicking team starts 60-yards away.
FunFact: Bobcat athletic department staffer(s) petitioning NCAA for “technically winless season” designation as only wins came against MAC team, lower level school.
2017 Outlook: B-10 pollsters taking wait-and-see attitude, not entirely convinced Bobcats want B-10 success badly enough.
5. Mid-American Conference
Mitigating Factors: In closest race in recent memory, MAC takes coveted B-10 Conference of the Year Award, just edging out Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA…Though all three conferences had lousy non-conference records and similar number of teams with losing records, MAC gets nod based on having nation’s-best four (4) losses to lower level opponents.
Maybe You Guys Could Get A Grant For New Material Next Year Or Something: MAC did come back strong for .500 mark in conference play.
2017 Outlook: It’s been a while since Sun Belt Conference – which used to win this award annually – took Conference of the Year honors, and B-10 pollsters fully expect them to reassert their dominance.
6. Notre Dame (4-8; DNP)
Mitigating Factors: Losses to Navy and Duke, three (3) two (2)-game losing streaks and blowout loss to arch-rival USC, plus exciting vacating of wins following academic scandal, all combine to return Irish to final B-10 survey for first time since 2007’s iconic 3-9 squad.
FunFact: B-10 pollsters always grateful for opportunity to rank snobbish Irish, as 2016 will be just 15th time since Irish started going to bowl games in 1969 they will not be playing in postseason.
2017 Outlook: Not good…The Holy Trinity does not take losing all that well and Irish have not had consecutive losing seasons since 1985-86 (and before that 1887-88) so B-10 staffers expected to put Irish pennants away for a few years.
7. Earlham (0-10; DNP)
Mitigating Factors: Division III Quakers shake, rattle and lose way to first-ever Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO – with 33-game skid…Like all great B-10 teams, Earlham got better as season progressed, giving up season low 28-points in opener and season-high 74 points in finale…B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” this 46-point spread “pretty much a record of some sort”.
FunFact: Earlham making big pitch for B-10 Small College Team of the Decade honors, with fifth (5th) winless season of decade and 3-67 record since 2010.
2017 Outlook: 2017 squad expected to be long on inexperience as only seven seniors expected to suit up as most Earlham football players say screw it after sophomore year.
8. Navy (9-4; lost to Army 21-17)
Mitigating Factors: Losses to Air Force and Army give Navy Sgt Bilko Trophy – symbolic of service academy lousiness…Navy hampered by President-elect Trump’s directive requiring service academies that have won at least 14 straight games against another service academy to “lose one or two” to give other team a morale boost.
FunFact: Navy only second team this century besides Army to win Sgt Bilko Trophy – symbolic of service academy lousiness – joining 2007 Notre Dame squad which lost to Navy and Army.
Next Loss: vs Louisiana Tech, Armed Forces Bowl, Ft Worth, Texas, December 23
9. Trilateral Commission (13-23; Duke, Rice and Vanderbilt: DNP)
Mitigating Factors: Hilarious joint entry back in final B-10 survey as no team – each a longtime B-10 standard bearer – bad enough to warrant own, separate ranking…Rice got off to strong 0-6 start, but late two-game win streak took them out of B-10 title contention…Duke – the B-10 Team of the Decade for the Double Aughts – back in final B-10 survey after four (4) consecutive bowl berths as Bleu Devils frantically try to return to heights of B-10 glory
FunFact: Vanderbilt off to play in Biscuit World Bowl Presented By Velveeta after stellar 6-6 season…Despite .500 finish, Commodores still hampered by turn-of-century decision to merge Athletic, Student Affairs departments, as group of Japanese exchange students that took over play calling duties kept trying to be polite and give ball to opponents by punting on every down.
2017 Outlook: B-10 pollsters always look forward to strong B-10 runs from these teams and one or two – and sometimes all three – can usually be counted on to appear throughout the season.
10. Kansas (2-10; DNP)
Mitigating Factors: Jayhawks left on outside of candy store looking in as catastrophic win over Texas erases chance of repeat B-10 title, coveted medal stand berth and even another Tostitos Plaque – issued to team(s) with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win…Jayhawks still in hunt for B-10 Team of the Decade honors, as 14-70 record, one (1) B-10 (10) title and two (2) Tostitos Plaques still nothing to sneeze at.
FunFact: Jayhawks still able to hold head up at B-10 awards banquet, as 41-game road losing streak still best in nation.
2017 Outlook: Solid…Jayhawks need to do some soul searching this offseason, but if attitude remains lousy, other elements in place for strong B-10 run.