The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 2
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
The Week 2 Bottom Ten survey is often a mess. Sure, the teams you expect to blow turn in dutiful losses but there are always one, or three, teams that flew under the Week 1 radar presenting themselves for ranking.
No strangers to Bottom Ten fan(s), of course, the Rebels rebounded from their Week 1 snub to post one of the biggest upsets in college football history.
And with 2020 right around the corner, teams are starting to turn their attention towards the coveted Bottom Ten Team of the Decade award, with 2017 expected to be a key year.
This week’s mess:
1. UNLV (0-1; lost to Howard – Howard! – 43-40)
Mitigating Factors: After being ignored in Week 1 survey, Rebels now squarely on B-10 radar with loss to lower level team after being 45 (45)-point favorites…Special teams gets season off to roaring start with offside penalty on opening kickoff…Rebels show early season mastery of fundamentals with 13 penalties, with three (3) fumbles and two (2) missed field goals leading to 21 Howard points.
FunFact: Already the largest point-spread upset in college football history, would have been biggest upset ever had UNLV been any good last year.
Next Loss: at Idaho
2. Rutgers (0-1; lost to Washington 30-14)
Mitigating Factors: After trailing only 10-7 at the half, Scarlet Knights shows mettle that leads straight to B-10 glory, getting outscored 20-7 in second half…With Fresno State winning, Rutgers 10-game skid now nation’s best…Not that they need any more B-10 street cred, but Rutgers can make big statement with loss to former B-10 perennial Eastern Michigan this week.
God, We Love The Big Ten: Scarlet Knights also holding heads up with best-in-class 14-game conference losing streak.
Next Loss: Eastern Michigan
3. Fresno State (1-0; defeated Incarnate Word 66-0)
Mitigating Factors: Smackdown of future vicars and bishops good for morale as Bulldogs settle in for defense of 2016 B-10 title with win over lower level school…Coaching staff refusing to let team get big head, taking defense out back for beating after first shutout since 2009…Bulldog fan(s) eager to get bid for second straight B-10 title back on track with obligatory blowout loss to Alabama this week.
FunFact: Win in opener now puts Bulldogs in prime position win win second straight Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win – if they can lose out.
Next Loss: at Alabama
4. Ball State (0-1; lost to Illinois 24-21)
Mitigating Factors: Cardinals catch fickle B-10 pollsters eyes after clutch come-from-ahead road loss to Power 5 school…Six (6) game losing skid best in always-tough Mid-American Conference and third best in nation…Cardinals show strong finishing kick, allowing 52-yard fourth quarter punt return that sets up Illini go-ahead touchdown before securing loss with blocked field goal as time expires.
FunFact: Losable games next two weeks could set great 0-3 tone before beginning minefield that is MAC play later this month.
Next Loss: Alabama-Birmingham
5. UMess (0-2; lost to Coastal Carolina 38-28)
Mitigating Factors: Minutemen gracious guests, never leading on road in Chanticleers first ever major division football game…UMess 0-2 for for eighth straight time as major division program, dating back to 1905…Complete inability to run ball, stop others from running ball key, as Minutemen rush for only 71-yards while giving up 321 on ground.
FunFact: With B-10 title, 10-51 record since 2012, UMess making big pitch for B-10 Team of the Decade honors.
Next Loss: Old Dominion
6. Texas A&M (0-1; lost to UCLA 45-44)
Mitigating Factors: B-10 fan(s) everywhere hailing hilarious ranking of “name” school after early season loss…Historically this loss is an upset, however Aggies giving up 35 unanswered points leads to granting of waiver…While few expect Aggies to contend for B-10 medal stand, fan(s) are pointed to Notre Dame’s historic 2007 B-10 run as proof that B-10 dreams really do come true.
FunFact: Immediately following loss, Texas A&M athletic director seen frantically dialing USC athletic officials for advice on firing coach on airport runway.
Next Loss: Nicholls State
7. Purdue (0-1; lost to Louisville 35-28)
Mitigating Factors: Ignored in Week 1 survey, find themselves in center of B-10 storm, blowing three (3) leads in clutch neutral site loss…Purdue has lost eight (8) straight, second best in nation…Though darkhorse for B-10 Team of the Decade honors, Boilermakers have lost at least four (4) games in a season once – sometimes twice – in a season every year since 2012…Boilermakers can take big step towards ascending B-10 throne with loss to MAC team this week.
Broad Historical Context: Boilermakers have not beaten Power Five conference team that finished season with winning record beating Illinois in 2011.
Next Loss: vs Ohio (9/8)
8. Austin Peay (0-1; lost to Cincinnati 26-14)
Mitigating Factors: Governors have lost 28-straight games, earning first ever Interim Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak by a team that has actually started season – while permanent Continental Cup holders Earlham limbers up for their 34th straight loss in Saturday’s season opener.
FunFact: B-10 staffers still in shock over hearing Governors fans chanting “Let’s go Peay!” during basketball game a few years back because it sounded like they all wanted to go to the bathroom together.
Next Loss: at Miami, Ohio
9. East Carolina (0-1; lost to James Madison 34-14)
Mitigating Factors: Pirates in survey for first time ever following season opening loss to lower level school…Offense sets tone for strong start, with four punts, an interception and missed field goal in first half…Defense shows way in second half, giving up 27 points…Pirates have lost five (5) straight and ten (10) of twelve (12)…
FunFact: First ever Pirate appearance in survey has B-10 staff scurrying to find East Carolina on map, though B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” it’s somewhere near West Carolina…Or maybe Finland.
Next Loss: at West Virginia
10. Mid-American Conference
Mitigating Factors: With 1-8 record against major division non-conference foes, MAC easy pic for Week 2 Conference of the Week honors…Nobody has tougher road to B-10 glory than MAC teams, as future opponents have combined 12-53 record, .185 winning percentage.
Stop Us If You’ve Heard This Before: Conference teams so bad B-10 pollsters beginning to wonder if MAC has what it takes to rebound for strong .500 mark in conference play.
Next Loss: Hold on Conference of the Week award could be tenuous, past Conference of the Year winners Sun Belt and Mountain West conferences expected to contend.
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: Alabama-Birmingham at Ball State
Live On ESPN735: Old Dominion at UMess