The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 11
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
And then there were two.
It’s not easy to go winless in the Bottom Ten – at least not as easy at UTEP and Georgia Southern are making it look – as Baylor showed winning its first game with a strength-of-schedule points padding win over Kansas.
There is still a lot of footballs left to be fumbled, however, and veteran Bottom Ten fan(s) know you ignore the one-win teams in the race for the ESPN Cup – symbolic of NCAA Bottom Ten supremacy – at your peril.
This week’s mess:
1. UTEP (0-9; lost to Middle Tennessee 30-3)
Mitigating Factors: UTEP not even bothering to show token, early interest anymore, punting on every first half possession as offense in rare form, even for UTEP, producing six (6) first downs and eight (8) drives of three plays, four (4) of those for negative yardage…Current nine (9) game skid easily best in-season losing streak since 2003 squad’s season ending seven (7)-game skid.
Numbers Racket: Miners (still) rank Dead Last in Total Offense (213 ypg) and First Downs (103) while defense helps hold down the fort, ranking 120th in Rushing Defense (226.1 ypg)
Next Loss: at North Texas
2. Georgia Southern (0-8; lost to Georgia State 21-17)
Mitigating Factors: Eagles show type of mettle that leads straight to B-10 glory, blowing fourth-quarter lead with two fumbles, one of which leads to go-ahead touchdown…While Eagles not the statistical juggernaut found in most B-10 medal stand teams, they do rank 120th or worse in five (5) official NCAA stat categories…Georgia Southern, a former I -AA power, is looking for first-ever winless season.
FunFact: Lead story on athletic department website is exclusive on tennis team not shaving this month despite fact nobody on team appears able to grow a beard.
Next Loss: at Appalachian State (Thu 11/9)
3. Rice (1-8; lost to UAB 52-21)
Mitigating Factors: Owls, no stranger to the upper echelons of the B-10, patiently bide time in return to B-10 medal stand following Baylor victory…Owls never in this one, trailing 21-0 before anybody needed a deodorant…Offense makes quick amends for second quarter touchdown, allowing interception returned for touchdown on very next drive. FunFact: Owls know if you’re on the medal stand in November you’re in title contention, but only win coming to UTEP, Rice realistically needs a lot of help to win first B-10 title.
Next Loss: Southern Mississippi
4. San Jose State (1-9; lost to San Diego State 52-7)
Mitigating Factors: Spartans keep pressure on rest of B-10 with huge blowout loss…Offense shows way this week, producing eight (8) first downs, 33 (33) rushing yards and three (3) turnovers…The 2010 B-10 champions, Spartans looking to become first team in 20-Teens to win multiple B-10 crowns…Spartans in midst of one of their best runs ever, having lost nine (9) straight and 14 of 16.
FunFact: Only win came in opener against lower level school, meaning Spartans can earn Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win – by losing out.
Next Loss: at Nevada
5. Kansas (1-8; lost to Baylor 38-9)
Mitigating Factors: Jayhawks show laser focus in quest for B-10 medal stand, breaking Baylor’s eight (8)-game losing skid with resounding home loss…Jayhawks have not won consecutive games against major division opponents since 2009…Team so bad Memorial Stadium expansion fundraising focus has shifted from premium seating and video boards to new taquito stand for east concourse.
Dust In The Big 12: Jayhawks making big pitch for B-10 Team of the Decade honors with overall 15-68 record plus 2015 B-10 title and 2012 Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win.
Next Loss: at Texas
6. Earlham (0-9; lost to Bluffton 65-21)
Mitigating Factors: Division III Quakers move ever closer to elusive second consecutive Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO – with 42nd consecutive loss…While offense continues to put more points than B-10 pollsters feel comfortable with (19.1 ppg), defense more than up to challenge, giving up average of 50.8 points every week.
FunFact: School so confident in next year’s prospects it has formed steering committee to plan celebration when school ties Macalester’s all-time Division III losing streak mark at 50 games next season.
Next Loss: Rose Hulman
7. Air Force (4-5; lost to Army 21-0)
Mitigating Factors: With losses to Navy and Army in 2017, Air Force earns Sgt Bilko Trophy – symbolic of service academy lousiness…B-10 pollsters still scouring Uniform Code of Military Justice, but are “pretty sure” this is Falcons first Sgt Bilko Trophy since 2005…Falcons hampered by pregame Air Force secretary ruling requiring all ball carriers to flap arms like wings when running football and to conduct all audibles in chirping and cawing sounds.
FunFact: Though B-10 pollsters suitably patriotic, they still long for days when all three service academies were bad enough to combine for hilarious joint entry in order prevent complete military occupation of B-10 medal stand.
Next Loss: Wyoming
8. Penn State (7-2; lost to Michigan State 27-24)
Mitigating Factors: Current two (2)-game losing streak more than enough to take Nittany Lions of College Football Playoff conversation…B-10 pollsters still believe Penn State got off lightly in Jerry Sandusky scandal and really have no business making money from major division football.
FunFact: Football team moving forward nicely from NCAA sanctions…It’s as if they never harbored a child molester on their coaching staff at all.
Next Loss: Who cares
9. Baylor (1-8; defeated Kansas 38-9)
Mitigating Factors: Bears B-10 title hopes take direct hit with stunning blowout road win…Offense completely inept, producing 455 yards of offense and zero (0) turnovers…Baylor fan(s) poleaxed, wondering how team that has lost to lower level school, newcomer Texas-San Antonio and Duke in 2017 could up and win against loser Kansas team.
When All The Laughter Died In Winning: Just like that Bears go from B-10 medal stand darlings to another one (1)-team that can’t stop the run.
Next Loss: Texas Tech
10. Big Ten/Pac-12
Mitigating Factors: First shared B-10 Conference of the Week Award, as once-proud conferences probably need a plane crash or two to get champion into playoffs as College Football Playoff prepares to rename itself the SEC/ACC Challenge Presented by Nick Saban.
FunFact: With Rose Bowl serving as one CFP semifinal, Big Ten, Pac-12 champions cannot even look forward to consolation prize trip to Pasadena following season.
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: San Jose State at Nevada
This One’s Going To Suck, Too: Southern Mississippi at Rice
The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You: UTEP at North Texas