The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 3
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
If there was a soundtrack for this week’s survey it would be Open Arms. Nobody values history as much as the Bottom Ten pollsters who are pleased to welcome back such past Bottom Ten staples as Buffalo, UTEP and the Sun Belt Conference.
Veteran B-10 fan(s) know you ignore the latest crop of lousy teams at your peril, as defending ESPN Cup holders Fresno State is back on the losing schneid and UMess is the first 3-loss team in the country.
This week’s mess:
1. Rutgers (0-2; lost to Eastern Michigan 16-13)
Mitigating Factors: Scarlet Knights may never win again following clutch loss to Eastern Michigan squad that has won two (2) or fewer games five (5) times this decade…Eleventh consecutive loss easily nation’s longest and best since historic 1996-97 squads lost 14 straight…Rutgers offense strong early, mailing it in with 19 yards on final six (6) possessions of first half.
FunFact: Team so bad official athletic department website reduced to leading with story about chick soccer’s exciting 0-0, 2OT draw with Georgetown.
Next Loss: Morgan State
2. Buffalo (0-2; lost to Army 21-17)
Mitigating Factors: Former turn-of-the-century survey staples, B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” Bulls back in survey for first time in “like, a decade or so”…Bulls defense actually not too bad, but offense picks up slack, ranking 122nd in Scoring Offense (12.0 ppg)…Kickoff return geniuses putting ‘special’ in special teams, averaging 45 feet, 4 inches per return.
Baby Steps: Bulls current six (6)-game skid tied for second-best in country, but falls well short of team record when iconic 2002-03 squads lost 18-straight and claimed back-to-back B-10 titles.
Next Loss: Colgate
3. Fresno State (1-1; lost to Alabama 41-10)
Mitigating Factors: Defending B-10 champs recover from smackdown of priest novitiates with dutiful blowout loss to national power…Loss propels Bulldogs back on track for second title plus Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win…Any thoughts of momentum from Week 1 win dismissed early as defense gives up long touchdown run on games second play.
FunFact: Bulldogs with great opportunity to set tone for tough Mountain West schedule with another blowout loss this week to 2016 playoff team.
Next Loss: at Washington
4. UMess (0-3; lost to Old Dominion 17-7)
Mitigating Factors: Minutemen nation’s first 0-3 team and have lost six (6) straight for third time this decade…UMess only losing games by 31-23 margin, forcing coaching staff to really focus on basics this week, like giving up points off turnovers and jumping offsides at crucial times…Road games the next two (2) weeks giving student body opportunity to forget team’s B-10 run and focus on academics.
Broad Historical Context: Minutemen still have not beaten a major division team that has finished season with winning record since defeating Holy Cross 17-0 in 1901.
Next Loss: at Temple
5. East Carolina (0-2; lost to West Virginia 56-20)
Mitigating Factors: After opening drive results in field goal that cuts deficit to four (4), Pirates settle in with five (5) punts and two (2) interceptions the rest of the way…Pirates have lost six (6) straight, tied for second best in country…Lack of preparation cited for current skid, as coaching staff spending most of their time explaining why North and South Carolina are states but East Carolina is not.
There Is No “I “ In Bottom Ten: Current B-10 run total team effort, as Pirates ranked Dead Last in Total Defense (616.5 ypg), 105th in Rushing Offense (106 ypg) and can’t return punts either, averaging three (3) feet per return.
Next Loss: Virginia Tech
6. Earlham (0-2; lost to Hiram 63-21)
Mitigating Factors: Division III Quakers easily retain Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in ISIS North American target zone – with 35th straight loss…Defense carrying load so far in 2016, as nobody knows what in the hell has gotten into offense averaging 30.5 ppg, double what it’s averaged the past four (4) seasons…Team so bad Student Union forces squad to play first four (4) games on road so incoming freshmen could spend first weekends focusing on charity work, binge drinking.
The Defense Rests: Defense ranks Dead Last amongst D-III teams that have played at least two (2) games, giving 605.5 yards per game.
Next Loss: at Anderson
7. UTEP (0-2; lost to Rice 31-14)
Mitigating Factors: Former B-10 staples, surprising Miners constructing classic B-10 run following up Week 1 loss to national power with loss to former B-10 staple Rice…Miners offense punts or turns ball over on every first half possession, keeping team in it until defense wakes up and allows 21 second half points…Though games against Texas-San Antonio and North Texas remain, UTEP now favorite for state’s spot in B-10 regionals.
There Still Is Not An “I “ In Bottom Ten: Unselfish Miners getting it done on both sides of ball, ranking Next-To-Dead-Last in Total Offense and 124th in Total Defense.
Next Loss: Arizona
8. UNLV (1-1; defeated Idaho 44-16)
Mitigating Factors: Rebels still in survey thanks to strength-of-schedule points for smacking down historically lousy Idaho squad that is moving to lower level in 2018…This week’s blowout loss against pissed off Ohio State squad should set Rebels back far enough to make strong B-10 medal stand run.
Crystal Ball Me: October 28 showdown with Fresno State could be for berth on B-10 medal stand.
Next Loss: at Ohio State
9. Sun Belt Conference (2-11)
Mitigating Factors: Former Conference of the Week staple, Sun Belt earns first Conference of Week award of 2017 despite not having a team in survey…Sun Belt gets nod not only because of 2-11 mark against major division non-conference foes, but for being only conference to have two (2) losses against lower level teams.
The New Material Budget Is Still Zero, I See: Entire conference expected to pick up pace with brisk .500 conference play mark.
Next Loss: Loss of secondary affiliation with Madam Toussad’s Wax Museum Bowl, if conference doesn’t pick things up with some wins.
10. Confederacy of Dunces (0-6; Charlotte: lost to Kansas State 55-7; North Carolina: lost to Louisville 47-35; Florida Atlantic: lost to Wisconsin 31-14)
Mitigating Factors: Exciting new combined entry, Confederacy looking to join Trilateral Commission (Duke, Vanderbilt, Rice) and Louisiana-Famous Dead Person (UL-Lafayette; UL-Monroe) as B-10 combined entry staples…Teams have combined to lose 13 straight, best among three (3) randomly selected teams appearing in halfwit ranking of lousy college football teams.
FunFact: Team that ends up with highest B-10 ranking will be award Robert E Lee Cup presented by the KKK, symbolic of Confederate football ineptitude.
Next Losses: Charlotte: North Carolina A&T; North Carolina: at Old Dominion; Florida Atlantic: Bethune-Cookman.
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: Colgate at Buffalo
Bottom Ten Alumni Association Game of the Week: UMess at Temple
MAC Thriller of the Week: Tulsa at Toledo