The Bottom Ten
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Foremost Humorist
One Bottom Ten showdown in the books, another on tap.
There’s no rest for the weary as Bottom Ten fan(s) – fresh from watching Rice take command of the race for the ESPNCup – symbolic of Bottom Ten supremacy – must now turn their attention to Saturday’s Kansas/Iowa State fiasco.
In other news, Earlham moved to 0-9 and can take the Continental Cup – issued to the team with the longest all-division losing streak in the NAFTA sphere of influence – home for the winter with a season-ending loss this week.
This week’s mess:
- Rice (1-8; lost to Florida Atlantic 42-25)
Mitigating Factors: Owls make big pitch for B-10 glory with clutch home loss in B-10 showdown…Offense comes back strong after opening-drive touchdown with two (2) interceptions, five (5) three (3) and outs…Consistent defense allows over 300 yards both running and passing…Rice ranks Dead Last in total Defense and whatever the hell Team Passing Efficiency Defense is.
Hoot! Hoot!: Owls can claim first B-10 title by losing out – never a given in the minefield that is C-USA play this year.
Next Loss: at Charlotte
2. Kansas (1-8; lost to West Virginia 48-21)
Mitigating Factors: Defending B-10 champions still in decent position to repeat after dutiful road loss…KU never lets West Virginia think they’re in it, bursting out 31-0 halftime deficit…Jayhawks co-holders of Nation’s Longest Losing Streak, having lost eight (8) straight, and can claim third Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in a season that actually incudes a win – by losing out.
Broad, Historical Context: Jayhawks on track for worst two (2)-season stretch since iconic 1987-88 squads combined for 2-19-1 mark.
Next Loss: Iowa State
3. Fresno State (1-9; lost to Colorado State 37-0)
Mitigating Factors: Bulldogs deny Notre Dame coveted B-10 medal stand berth with attention getting shutout loss…Defense breaks game open early, turning 3-0 deficit into 38-0 loss, allowing touchdowns on five straight possessions…Bulldogs show rushing game key to B-10 glory, ranking 126th in Rushing Defense, 120th in Rushing Offense.
FunFact: Bulldogs building strong B-10 foundation, having lost eight (8) straight and 16 of last 20.
Next Loss: Hawaii
4. Notre Dame (3-6; lost to Navy 28-27)
Mitigating Factors: Notre Dame kneeling reverently in B-10 medal stand narthex following the type of morale-building close loss that usually signifies strong B-10 finishing kick…Notre Dame hampered by pregame Navy Secretary order requiring Midshipmen to “kick living crap” out snotty Catholics…Irish high ranking attributed to big strength of schedule points racked up for losses to Michigan State, Duke and Texas.
Let Us Pray: Notre Dame can go a long way to claiming second Sgt Bilko Trophy – usually symbolic of service academy lousiness – with loss to Army this week.
Next Loss: vs Army (at San Antonio)
5. Earlham (0-9; lost to Bluffton 54-20
Mitigating Factors: Division III Quakers retain stranglehold on Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO – with 32nd straight loss…After offense makes game close – by Earlham standards, at least – with touchdown to make it 21-6, defense responds with 33 unanswered points to break it open…Entire squad getting smiley faces on playbook for only allowing Bluffton to score by running, passing football into end zone.
FunFact: Quakers have also lost 26 straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference games.
Next Loss: at Rose-Hulman
6. Bowling Green (1-8; lost to Northern Illinois 45-20)
Mitigating Factors: Falcons still in hunt for B-10 glory following seventh (7th) straight loss…Falcons usually pretty good, and are newest members of B-10 Bleu Devil Club, after having lost seven (7) straight in a season for first time ever…With remaining opponents having a combined .667 losing percentage, Falcons can still achieve B-10 medal stand if they lose out and get some help.
Cold, Hard Truth: Despite only win coming in Week 2 against lower level team, Falcons can still lose out and be in unenviable position of missing out on both ESPNCup and Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win.
Next Loss: at Akron
7. Michigan State (2-7; lost to Illinois 31-27)
Mitigating Factors: Spartans adapting well to first trip to B-10, losing seventh straight…Close loss that wasn’t decided till stubborn offense refused to convert on fourth down with twelve (12) seconds left sets great tone for B-10 stretch run…Spartans face biggest B-10 test ever against lousy Rutgers team this week.
FunFact: There was no way to know it then, of course, but Week 2 win over Notre Dame could keep Spartans off B-10 medal stand.
Next Loss: Rutgers
8. Power Five (V) Conferences
Mitigating Factors: Large school monopoly on college football extends to B-10 as Gang of Five (5) claims first ever B-10 Conference(s) of the Week award…Lost in the cacophony of the MAC and C-USA is the fact that six (6) of the eight (8) teams that have lost at least five (5) straight come from the Power Five conferences.
FunFact: Six (6) more Power Five (5) teams have lost four (4) straight.
9. UMess (2-8; lost to Troy 52-31)
Mitigating Factors: UMess defense again good enough to overcome pesky offense, getting outscored 24-7 to end game…Though coveted B-10 hardware probably out of reach, UMess playing for pride, trying to become Minuteman squad to finish season with two (2) wins since 1902 squad finished 2-3-2…B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” UMess – which defeated Wagner last week – first team to split against schools named after people in consecutive weeks since Tijuana Tech lost to Felipe’s Body Shop Tech and defeated Jose College in 1969.
FunFact: Minutemen playing independent schedule this year, hoping strong B-10 showing qualifies them for either disbanding football altogether or membership in Conference USA.
Next Loss: at BYU
10. Iowa State (1-8; lost to Oklahoma 34-24)
Mitigating Factors: In tough B-10 race, it’s not only if you lose, but how you lose, as Cyclones trail other one-win teams due to unusually close loss to traditional national power…Cyclones, though, do show mettle of B-10 contenders by rushing for more than 100 yards and refusing to turn the ball over and still losing….Cyclones will go as far as complete lack of running game, inability to stop run takes them, ranking 103rd in Rushing Offense and 108th in Rushing Defense.
FunFact: Big showdown this week against evil Jayhawks will show which Big 12 team advances to B-10 regionals.
Next Loss: at Kansas
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: Iowa State at Kansas
This One Isn’t Going To Be Any Good, Either: Army vs Notre Dame
Big Ten Thriller of the Week: Rutgers at Michigan State