The Bottom Ten
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Foremost Humorist
With Kansas off this week, the Week 5 Bottom Ten was ripe for invasion by a team that wasn’t even ranked last week to hijack the top spot for one week.
Hello Notre Dame! The Fighting Irish are back in the survey, looking every bit like the contenders for the ESPNCup – symbolic of Bottom Ten supremacy – they were in 2007 when the prize was known as the Walmart Trophy Presented by Motel 6.
In other Bottom Ten news, Earlham, the Division III school possessing the Continental Cup – issued to the team with the longest all-division losing streak in NATO – had the week off and are expected to extend their losing streak to 27 games this Saturday.
This week’s mess:
1 Notre Dame (1-3; lost to Duke – Duke! – 38-35)
Mitigating Factors: Irish hold down top spot for first time since 2007 started 0-5 with statement home loss to Duke, the B-10 Team of the Decade for the Double Aughts…Total team effort (TTE) sees Irish give up ten (10) points off of three (3) turnovers…While 0-5 start out of question, Irish still hoping to equal 1-8 start of iconic 1960 squad…Irish still getting hang of rare B-10 gig, stubbornly outscoring opponents 37.3-to-33.5 in 2016…1-3 start not what school leaders expecting, as priests take team back behind chapel for floggings, very special prayer sessions.
Let Us Pray: With games against Army and Navy still to come, Irish in prime position to earn first Sgt Bilko Trophy – symbolic of service academy lousiness – since 2007 squad earned it with losses to Navy and Air Force.
Next Loss:at Syracuse
2. Rice (0-4; lost to North Texas 42-35 2OT)
Mitigating Factors: Owls blow 17-0 lead, scramble to tie it late before earning the type of deflating character-building overtime loss that leads straight to the B-10 medal stand…Owls 0-4 for eleventh (11th) time overall, seventh (7th) time this century, making Rice prime candidates for “Worst Team To Never Win B-10 Title” designation…Owls early season statistical juggernaut, ranking 120th or worse in no less than six (6) official NCAA stat categories.
Total Team Effort: Owls put the “special” in special teams, ranking 124th in Punt Returns, averaging minus-12 inches per return.
Next Loss:at Southern Mississippi
3. Florida International (0-4; lost to Central Florida 53-14)
Mitigating Factors: Panthers close to within one (1) early before defense burns off 45-0 run to break it open…Panthers solve Red Zone efficiency problem (2-for-2) by avoiding Red Zone altogether on other eleven (11) drives…Offense showing way to B-10 glory, ranking Dead Last in Scoring Offense (13.5 ppg)…FIU 0-4 for 735th time in school history, and looking to go 0-5 for first time since 2007 squad started season 0-11 before blowing B-10 title with win in final game.
Site Selection: School administrators considering moving games from small on-campus facility to larger nearby high school facility to handle bigger crowds anticipated during B-10 stretch drive.
Next Loss:Florida Atlantic
4. Kent State (1-3; lost to Alabama 48-0)
Mitigating Factors: In final tune-up before starting minefield that is MAC play, Golden Flashes coast with obligatory blow-out road loss to defending national champion…Only missed field goal on initial drive prevented Golden Flashes from turning in perfect game of punting or turning ball over every series…Game closer than score indicated, as talent rich Crimson Tide played 17th string in third quarter, Algerian Conservatory of Music transfer students in fourth quarter, as first through 16th strings inclusive punished for not leading 105-0 at half.
FunFact: At 1-3, Kent State football has chance to have worst season in school history since 1970 rifle squad set school record with four (4) killings.
5. Northern Illinois (0-4; lost to Western Illinois 28-23)
Mitigating Factors: Though they lack the B-10 pedigree of some other teams, Huskies claw way into first survey of 2016 with strong start, Nation’s Longest Losing Streak (NLLS) of seven (7) games…Game never really in doubt as Huskies jump out to 14-0, 28-7 deficits before putting it on cruise control…Current losing skid has freshman wondering if they have what it takes to challenge all-time school mark of 23 straight losses of vaunted 1996-98 juggernauts.
FunFact:B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” Huskies first team ever to start season 0-4 after eight (8) consecutive appearances in bowl games.
Next Loss:at Ball State
6. Charlotte (1-3; lost to Temple 48-20)
Mitigating Factors: Temple, no stranger to B-10 fans, passes torch to new generation of losers…Strong start key as 49er offense produces four (4) three (3)-and-outs in first half…Charlotte putting B-10 title hopes in defense basket, ranking 122nd in Scoring Defense and Passing Defense, 116th in Total Defense…With only win coming in Week 2, Charlotte will need help to earn Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win – even if they lose out.
Strength Of Schedule: With only win coming against lower level team, and with games against FIU and Rice coming up, 49ers still in sold position to earn first B-10 title.
Next Loss: at Old Dominion
7. San Jose State (1-3; lost to Iowa State 44-10)
Mitigating Factors: With confidence only a past B-10 champion (2010) can muster, Spartans strut into Ames, Iowa and are back in survey after snapping Cyclones nation’s best seven (7) game losing streak…Spartans gracious guests, turning the ball over four (4) times, which even Iowa State was able to turn into 24 points…Special teams doing its part, Ranking Next-To-Dead-Last in Punt Returns and 120th in Net Punting.
Strength Of Schedule II:Spartans another team whose only win came against lower level team and who can make big B-10 noise by losing out.
Next Loss:at New Mexico
8. Power Three (3) Conferences (MAC, Sun Belt, C-USA)
Mitigating Factors: B-10 power conferences so bad B-10 pollsters unable to find any degrees of separation resulting in first ever three-way split of Conference of the Week award…All six (6) of the remaining winless teams in country come from MAC, Sun Belt and C-USA and leagues have twelve (12) teams with one (1) win.
Strength In Numbers: Conferences so bad B-10 pollsters not even certain they can rebound for .500 conference play mark.
9. Army (3-1; lost to Buffalo 23-20 OT)
Mitigating Factors: Black Knights of Confusion back on losing schneid…3-1 Cadets still included in survey because of obscure B-10 bylaw requiring pollsters to make cheap jokes at expense of nation’s future warriors…Army hindered by recent Army Secretary ruling specifying Cadets not to play overtime sessions because “there’s no overtime in war”…Though Notre Dame will challenge, Cadets still favored by B-10 staffers to retain Sgt Bilko Trophy – symbolic of service academy lousiness.
On This Date: September 24 latest Cadet fan(s) have had to wait for team’s first loss since 1996 squad somehow started season 9-0.
Next Loss: at Duke
10. The Confederacy (0-7; Arkansas State: lost to Central Arkansas 28-23; Georgia State: DNP)
Mitigating Factors: Teams with third, fourth longest losing streaks in country team up for hilarious southern fried joint entry because is survey is limited to ten (10) teams…That’s why it’s called the Bottom Ten and not the Bottom Eleven…Arkansas State makes first ever appearance in survey, following first loss to lower level team since 2001…Georgia State already a statistical juggernaut, ranking Dead Last in Rushing Offense (45.7 ypg), Total Offense (247.7 ypg) and Rushing Defense (325.3 ypg)
Good Seats Still Available: Prime time Nov. 3 clash on ESPN793 for Colonel Sanders Bucket could propel loser straight to B-10 medal stand.
Next Losses: Arkansas St: Georgia Southern (Oct. 5); Georgia State” at Appalachian State
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: San Jose State at New Mexico
This One Isn’t Going To Be Any Good, Either: Akron at Kent State