The Bottom Ten
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Foremost Humorist
Four winless teams. 739 one-win teams.
Past claims about a specific year yielding the deepest Bottom Ten field ever are no longer accurate. The 2016 race for the ESPN Cup is, officially, the deepest ever.
It’s paced by Conference USA who, like Sherman when he marched to the sea, is threatening to take no prisoners it its quest for Bottom Ten Conference of the Year honors.
The field is so deep there isn’t even room for Navy which fired the opening salvo in the race for the Sgt Bilko Trophy – symbolic of service academy lousiness – with a loss to Air Force Saturday.
This week’s mess:
- Rice (0-5; lost to Southern Mississippi 44-28)
Mitigating Factors: Big-play defense shows it’s up to rigors of C-USA play giving up passing touchdowns of 75, 81, 93 yards…Offense does its part, turning three Southern Mississippi turnovers into two (2) punts and only one (1) touchdown…702 yards allowed good enough to move Owls into Dead Last in Total Defense (568.4 ypg)…Owls 0-5 for sixth (6) time ever and chasing ghosts of iconic 1988, 1982 squads who ran table at 0-11.
The Long And Winding Road: With future 2016 opponents having a combined win percentage of just .205, Owls have tough road to B-10 title…Of course, B-10 pollsters are quick to point out everyone in Conference USA future opponents with a .205 winning percentage.
Next Loss:Texas-San Antonio (10/15)
2.Miami, Ohio (0-5; lost to Ohio 17-7)
Mitigating Factors: Race for 2016 B-10 title so tight Redhawks making first appearance of 2016…. Complete inability to run the ball key, as Redhawks drop 33-yards on Ohio and rank 122nd in Rushing Offense (97.6 ypg)…Current five (5)-game skid tied for nation’s best…With MAC not nearly as strong as Conference USA in 2016, Miami could back into B-10 title simply by running the table and letting C-USA superstars beat up on each other.
Cradle Of Coaches:2013 Bottom Ten champions have lost 35 of last 40, dating back to 2012.
Next Loss: at Akron
3. The Confederacy (0-8; Georgia State: lost to Appalachian State 17-3; Arkansas State: DNP)
Mitigating Factors: Disturbingly strong defensive outing by Georgia State really highlights inept offense that throws four (4) interceptions…With 7-34 all-time mark, Georgia State out to prove 2015’s six (6)-win season was a fluke…Despite not playing Arkansas State does its part to solidify ranking with lousy week of practice…Teams have each lost five (5) straight, good for tie for Nation’s Longest Losing Streak (NLLS), with B-10 fan(s) in most places pointing toward November showdown.
Numbers Racket: B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” combined ten (10) game skid “pretty much the best, like, ever” for a combined entry from the South.
Next Losses:Georgia State: Texas State; Arkansas State: Georgia Southern (Oct. 5)
4. Kansas (1-3; lost to Texas Tech 55-13)
Mitigating Factors: Steady as she goes for defending B-10 champions, losers of three (3) straight following Week 1 win over even more hapless lower level school…Jayhawks don’t even bother showing cursory early interest in this one, punting on every first half possession while turning in six (6) drives of less than five (5) yards for the game.
Carry On Wayward Losers: While even losing out doesn’t guarantee Jayhawks second consecutive B-10 title, it will get Jayhawks third-ever Tostitos Plaque – issued to team(s) with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win.
5. Florida Atlantic (1-4; lost to Florida International 33-31)
Mitigating Factors: Owls, a B-10 staple during the Double Aughts, back in survey in what B-10 pollsters are “almost certain” is a really long time…Thrilling come-from-ahead loss shows latest crop of Owls fully intent on creating new B-10 legacy…After taking lead midway through third quarter, Owls offense finishes strong, turning the ball over on downs and punting the rest of the way.
It’s All About The Hardware: Owls have lost four straight following Week 1 win against lower level team, putting them in prime position to claim Tostitos Plaque – issued to team(s) with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win – by losing out.
6. Duke (2-3; lost to Virginia 34-20)
Mitigating Factors: All momentum from historic Notre Dame win vanishes following lackluster home loss to Virginia team that had been 1-3…While there are no shortage of one (1) win teams demanding B-10 pollster’s attention, Bleu Devils ranked due to obscure B-10 bylaw – is there any other kind? – demanding any former B-10 Team of the Decade be ranked following crushing home loss which follows iconic road win against tradition-rich program in hallowed, college football shrine.
FunFact: Loss so morale depleting athletic website lead stories are preview of basketball media day, pic of player in some chick sport that involves hitting a ball with a stick outdoors.
Next Loss: Army
7. University of Texas at San Jose State (UTEP: lost to Louisiana Tech 28-7; San Jose State: lost to New Mexico 48-41)
Mitigating Factors: 2016 B-10 field so deep pollsters obliged to trot out yet another hilarious joint entry to keep survey at NAFTA-mandated ten (10) teams…Balanced UTEP attack ranks 114th In Scoring Defense, 125th in Scoring Offense, losing games by average score of 38.2-to-14.6…UTEP another team on a collision course with Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win – if they lose out…San Jose State follows up breakthrough Iowa State loss with another “notice me” loss, this time to former B-10 perennial New Mexico…Spartans looking for first B-10 title since 2010.
Just Lose, Baby: Results-oriented Spartans manage to lose despite giving up 446 yards rushing to a Lobo team that chipped in six (6) three (3)-and out drives and eight (8) penalties.
Next Losses: UTEP: Florida International; San Jose State: Hawaii
8. Earlham (0-4; lost to Defiance 59-28)
Mitigating Factors: Division III Quakers come back strong following bye week, retaining Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO – with 27th straight loss…First Earlham lead in regulation since 2014 lasts all of 52 (52) seconds as defense allows quick touchdown following Quaker interception return for a touchdown…Passing game a bright spot, as Earlham QB’s combine for season-high 33 completions, 27 to members of their own team.
Get Out Your Record Books…Or Not: While the NCAA does not list a season record for Fewest Rushing Yards Per Game, B-10 pollsters “really, really positive” Quakers current mark of 4.0 ypg would be “right up there and stuff”.
Next Loss:at Franklin
9. Conference USA
Mitigating Factors: First coveted B-10 Conference of the Week award for C-USA…Sun Belt Conference can only stand back and admire as nine (9) of 13 C-USA teams are blow .500 while seven (7) of those have zero (0) or one (1) win…These “Power Seven (7)” teams have combined to lose 23-straight games…Conference USA so bad B-10 pollsters officially “skeptical” conference can rebound for strong .500 conference play mark.
We Get The Picture:4-29 non-conference mark against major division teams easily best amongst major division conferences.
Next Loss: Would lose automatic bid to NCAA Division I Football Playoffs if NCAA offered a Division I football playoff, which they don’t.
10. Florida International (1-4; defeated Florida Atlantic 33-21)
Mitigating Factors: Golden Panther fan(s) despondent over close, come-from-behind win derails hopes for first ever B-10 title…Win snaps nations-best six (6) game losing streak, making FIU just another one (1)-win team that can’t convert on third down…Loss brings back visions of nightmare of 2007 season that saw FIU blow B-10 title with win in final game, leaving fans to wonder if FIU will ever be bad enough to lose the close ones.
Strength Of Schedule: While FIU has benefit of playing strong Conference USA, they do not play Rice this year, making road to B-10 glory even tougher…Or easier…B-10 pollsters are still working the figures on the back of their bar tab.
Next Loss:at UTEP
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: Florida International at UTEP
This One Isn’t Going To Be Any Good, Either:Charlotte at Florida Atlantic
B-10 Legacy Game: Army at Duke