The Bottom Ten/NCAA Final
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
It’s all over. All hail the Miners!
While UTEP made a mockery of the Bottom Ten race – never particularly easy to do – claiming the ESPN Cup as the only 0-12 team, no less than five (5) teams finished 1-11, causing Bottom Ten pollsters to open their bar tabs and crunch the numbers.
The Group of Ones, as they are known, were ranked in the following categories: average margin of defeat, Total Offense, Total Defense and, since the complete inability to both run the football and stop others from doing same is so important to Bottom Ten success, Rushing Offense and Rushing Defense.
The Group of Ones were then issued points according to their ranking within the Group of Ones, these points were added up with the lowest point total getting the highest ranking. Then, strength of schedule points were factored in, with Bottom Ten pollsters calling for shots while declaring that entire bodies of work would be considered and not merely who lost earliest.
The final 2017 fiasco:
1. UTEP (0-12)
Mitigating Factors: While 2016’s 4-8 set solid tone for this year, everyone in UTEP Nation taken by surprise as Miners run table for first ever B-10 title…Offense key to B-10 success, with UTEP ranking Dead Last in Total Offense and Scoring Offense, easily overcoming defense whose highest national ranking was only 119th in Rushing Defense.
2018 Outlook: Opener against lower level team could prove challenging, and their C-USA schedule will be a minefield, but UTEP could be at start of run that puts them squarely in B-10 Team of the Decade for the 20Teens conversation.
2. Rice (1-11)
Mitigating Factors: While Rice’s ranking within Group of Ones wasn’t particularly high, Owls get enough strength of schedule points to send them straight to B-10 runner-up spot as only win came against UTEP…With five (5) losing seasons in 20-Teens, Owls need to use 2017 momentum for strong finish to decade to really impress B-10 pollsters in hunt for B-10 Team of the Decade Award.
2018 Outlook: Nicely hitting skids after three (3) straight bowl games, Owls are 9-27 past three (3) seasons and haven’t beaten major division team that has finished season with winning record since 2014.
3. Kansas (1-11)
Mitigating Factors: 2015 B-10 champions making themselves right at home on B-10 medal stand with second Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win – since 2012…With Memorial Stadium Renovation Fund still least-clicked link on Internet, athletic department officials now looking to play home games at renovated field at Lawrence East High School
2018 Outlook: Very Strong…Jayhawks have an average record of 1.9-10.1 this decade, so veteran B-10 fan(s) know you ignore Kansas at your peril.
4. Charlotte (1-11)
Mitigating Factors: 49ers actually had highest numbers ranking in Group of Ones, but big strength of schedule hit for win over bowl-bound UAB keeps 49ers off B-10 medal stand…Athletic Department refuses to confirm reports that players responsible for two-point conversion that sealed overtime UAB win were subjected to hazing before having scholarships revoked.
2018 Outlook: Fourth-year program at crossroads, but fan(s) confident 49ers will be able to turn corner and combine complete lack of tradition with coaches not good enough for ACC for continued B-10 success.
5. Oregon State (1-11)
Mitigating Factors: Only win came against lower level team…In past years this might well have gotten Beavers onto B-10 medal stand as B-10 pollsters didn’t penalize wins against lower level schools, but in change of policy B-10 pollsters decided to reward teams that accepted challenge of playing full, twelve game major-division schedule.
2018 Outlook: Excellent…Beavers are 7-29 past three (3) seasons and will be looking to put it all together in 2018.
6. Baylor (1-11)
Mitigating Factors: Baylor athletic department filing protest claiming loss to lower level Liberty, strength of schedule points for Kansas win, should entitle them to higher ranking…B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” Bears first team ever to parlay new stadium, humiliating sexual harassment scandal into B-10 glory.
2018 Outlook: Not good…2017 first season this decade that Bears haven’t appeared in bowl game and could be one of those rare B-10 “one and done” teams.
7. Earlham (0-10)
Mitigating Factors: Division III Quakers take home second consecutive Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO – with 43 straight losses…Quakers can tie Macalester’s all-time D-III mark of 50 straight losses with 0-7 start in 2018…Head Coach Nick Johnson spending offseason preparing remarks for B-10 Tenny awards banquet, as consecutive Continental Cups entitle team, coach to automatic enshrinement in B-10 Hall of Fame.
2018 Outlook: Strong…Incoming crop of future hotel desk clerks and bank tellers might be Quakers weakest recruiting class yet.
8. Air Force (5-7)
Mitigating Factors: Despite record, Falcons soar into final B-10 survey by earning Sgt Bilko Trophy – symbolic of service academy lousiness…Air Force hampered in losses to Army and Navy by Secretary of Air Force ruling requiring lineman to use orange aviation cones to guide running backs instead of actually blocking for them.
FunFact: Always tough to predict service academies, though B-10 pollsters hopeful at least one service academy will start sucking again as latest crop of officer candidates always prime source of material.
9. Ball State (2-10)
Mitigating Factors: Another team hurt by win over UAB, Cardinals finished strong with nine (9)-game skid…While not on medal stand, Cardinals getting lots of respect nationwide for running table in always-tough MAC, losing eight (8) MAC games by average score of 46.1-to-11.8…Cardinals 13-game conference losing skid currently best in country.
2018 Outlook: Fair…Ball State has lost 17 of 20, but so has everyone else in the MAC…Returning to B-10 glory could be tough.
10. Conference USA
Mitigating Factors: Though non-conference record not as bad as Sun Belt’s – no one’s non-conference record is ever as bad as the Sun Belt’s – C-USA still easy pick for coveted B-10 Conference of the Year award with 40 percent of final 2017 survey either the conference itself or one of its teams…Only Charlotte win over UAB prevented complete C-USA occupation of B-10 medal stand.
2018 Outlook: Will be strong pick to defend title, though B-10 fan(s) everywhere know you ignore the Sun Belt Conference at your peril…Regardless, C-USA expected to again rebound for strong .500 conference play mark in 2018.
Bottom Ten Alumni Association: Only Earlham, Kansas and Rice – as part of hilarious Trilateral Commission entry with Duke and Vanderbilt – returned from the 2016 final Bottom Ten survey in 2017.
Yeah, Great Prognosticating Skills, Guys: Earlham, Rice, Oregon State and Conference USA are the only entries from the 2017 Week 1 survey to go the distance and be ranked this week.
Next Week: The Bottom Ten Bowl Game Edition!