t is The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 10
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
Three winless teams.
One ESPN Cup, symbolic of NCAA Bottom Ten supremacy.
The battle is joined. #1 tight, but so is the competition for the remaining spots. It is so tight, in fact, that unless you are a Bottom Ten Legacy Team like Duke or Vanderbilt, you can forget about being ranked if you have two wins. This leaves out former #1 UMess, who sent regrets for the rest of the season with their second win of 2017.
This week’s fiasco:
1. UTEP (0-8; lost to Texas-San Antonio 31-14)
Mitigating Factors: Miners ascend top B-10 throne following nation’s best eighth-straight loss…Three punts and an interception set strong early tone for Miners, who also finish strong, closing it out by getting outscored 14-0 in second half…Nobody moves the ball worse than UTEP, who rank Dead Last in Total Offense (222.5 ypg) and Offensive First Downs (97).
Broad Historical Context: Current losing streak best since 2007-08 squads tag-teamed on nine (9)-game skid.
Next Loss: at Middle Tennessee
2 Georgia Southern (0-7; lost to Troy 38-16)
Mitigating Factors: Eagles fan(s) crying foul after team dropped from top spot despite dutifully losing seventh (7th) straight game…B-10 pollsters cite loss to former #1 UMess, who has won two (2) straight, causing Eagles to lose enough strength of schedule points to drop to runner-up spot.
FunFact: Passing game key for Eagles, as offense ranks 126th in Passing Offense (100.6 ypg), 127th in Third Down Conversion Percentage (.472%)…Defense chipping in, too, ranking 126th in Scoring Defense (40.9ppg)
Next Loss: Georgia State
3. Baylor (0-8; lost to Texas 38-7)
Mitigating Factors: Bears easily retain medal stand berth with lowest point output of 2017…Running game key to success, as Bears averaged 28 inches per rush (IPR) on 37 carries vs Longhorns…Defense taken out behind shed for beating following game for only allowing ten (10) points off of three (3) turnovers…Bears have lost eight (8) straight in a season for first time since 2007.
FunFact: Showdown at Kansas this week for Big 12 berth in B-10 regionals.
Next Loss: at Kansas
4. Rice (1-7; lost to Louisiana Tech 42-28)
Mitigating Factors: Owls still haunted by UTEP win, remaining on outside of B-10 medal stand looking in….Owls wore pink ribbons on helmets to show solidarity with other one-win schools missing out on B-10 medal stand…Consistent Owls getting it done on both sides of ball, getting outscored by average of 35-to-13.1
SOS (Save Our Season): With only win coming in Week 2, Owls need help not only to win B-10 title, but also to earn Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win.
Next Loss: at UAB
5. San Jose State (1-8; lost to BYU 41-20)
Mitigating Factors: Big loss to previously one-winned Cougars shoves Spartans into upper half of B-10 survey…Total Team Effort (TTE) key, as five (5) turnovers lead to 20 (20) BYU points…Spartans cannot get caught taking slumping San Diego State too lightly this week as veteran B-10 watcher(s) know the only game you can lose is the one coming up.
Bump, Set, Spike: Team so bad official athletic website leads off with pics of chick soccer, volleyball since basketball team isn’t good enough to countdown to start of season.
Next Loss: San Diego State
6. Kansas (1-7; lost to Kansas State 30-20)
Mitigating Factors: Despite scoring points for first time in three (3) weeks, Jayhawks still more than bad enough to earn seventh straight loss…After getting field goals on first two (2) drives, offense settles down with four punts, a fumble and a turnover on downs on next six (6) possessions…With only win coming in opener, Jayhawks in driver’s seat for second Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win.
Carry On, Wayward Jayhawks: Showdown vs Baylor this week for Big 12 berth in B-10 regionals.
Next Loss: Baylor
7. Earlham (0-8; lost to Manchester 48-13)
Mitigating Factors: Division III Quakers 41st straight loss shows they are in complete command in quest for second consecutive Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO…Defense to be given extra instruction this week, as unit just 7.2 inches away from giving up an average of 500 yards per game.
Rand McNally Would Be Proud: Earlham losing streak really hits home as B-10 staffers realize Quakers are almost neighbors, with Earlham campus a mere 1,300 miles from B-10 headquarters on US Hwy 40.
Next Loss: at Bluffton
8. Coastal Carolina (1-7; lost to Texas State 27-7)
Mitigating Factors: Chanticleers in first year of major division football and are ineligible for ranking in final B-10 survey, but B-10 pollsters wanted to give them a shout-out anyway…Have lost seven straight since winning opener (against UMess), leading athletic department to petition B-10 staffers for interim Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win – should they lose out.
Getting To Know You: With school relatively new to survey, B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” school located “next to ocean or something” but still unable to find state of Coastal Carolina on map.
Next Loss: at Arkansas
9. Trilateral Commission (7-10; Duke: lost to Virginia Tech 24-3; Vanderbilt: lost to South Carolina 34-27)
Mitigating Factors: With Rice entitled to own entry, hilarious, traditional B-10 joint entry reduced to two teams…Bleu Devils, Commodores have combined to lose ten (10) straight…After strong start to decade, Duke, the B-10 Team of the Decade for the Double Aughts, hoping to earn consideration for Teen Team of the Decade by losing out next 2+ seasons.
FunFact: Vanderbilt still reeling from turn-of-century decision to merge Athletic, Student Affairs departments as starting offensive line at choir practice, leaving blocking duties to 5-8, 135-pound divinity school students.
Next Losses: Duke: at Army (11/11); Vanderbilt: Western Kentucky
10. Sun Belt Conference
Mitigating Factors: Former B-10 Conference of the Week staple – regular B-10 fan(s) will recall the award was almost named for them a few years back – Sun Belt earns first weekly award of 2017…Sun Belt setting pace with winless Georgia Southern, of course, but two-thirds of 12-team league has losing record.
Stop Us If You’ve Heard This Before: Despite historical lousiness, Sun Belt expected to once again come back strong with .500 conference play mark in 2017.
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: Baylor at Kansas
Lousy Big 12 Matchup of the Week: Baylor at Kansas
Lousy California State University System Matchup of the Week: San Diego State at San Jose State
Bumped From ESPN932 To ESPN7236: Rice at UAB
Sun Belt Conference Thriller of the Week: Georgia State at Georgia Southern