The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 4
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
While Bottom Ten pollsters generally do not penalize teams for wins against lower level teams, the proof, as the old saying goes, is in the losing, so it is no surprise to see all of last week’s medal stand teams – all with wins against lower level teams – tossed aside.
So the race for the ESPN Cup – symbolic of Bottom Ten supremacy – once again gets back to basics, with winless UMess, East Carolina and Charlotte, combined a robust 0-9, taking command of the Bottom Ten medal stand.
This week’s (U)mess:
1. UMess (0-4; lost to Temple 29-21)
Mitigating Factors: Minutemen, the nation’s first four-loss team, ascend B-10 throne for first time in 2017…Field goal unit puts ‘special’ in special teams, keeping team’s B-10 title hopes alive with three (3) missed field goals…Defense does its part, too, giving up two (2) touchdowns to end first half, two (2) field goals to begin second half to pull away…Seven (7) game losing streak tied for nation’s best.
FunFact: Anticipated drubbing to national power this week should set great tone for remainder of B-10 run.
Next Loss: at Tennessee
2. East Carolina (0-2; lost to Virginia Tech 64-17)
Mitigating Factors: Facing gut-check leading 17-7 at end of first quarter, Pirates kick it into overdrive, getting outscored 57-0 the rest of the way…Pirates another team benefiting from Rutgers win, tied for nation’s best with seven (7) game skid…Pirates still getting B-10 sea legs, 0-3 for first time since 2004.
FunFact: Coaching staff reportedly scrambling for game plan after captains spend valuable meeting time drawing up petition for East Carolina statehood.
Next Loss: at UConn
3. Charlotte (0-3; lost to North Carolina A&T 35-31)
Mitigating Factors: Trailing 28-10 in third quarter, 49ers offense puts up four (4) touchdowns, three for them, one for their lower level opponents – an interception returned for score – to keep hopes for B-10 glory alive…Current six (6) game skid second best in nation and best since 2015-16’s eleven (11)-game skid.
FunFact: Team so desperate for victory it lists a “W” before results of April’s annual spring practice scrimmage.
Next Loss: Georgia State
4. UTEP (0-3; lost to Arizona 63-16)
Mitigating Factors: Offense continues to show way, putting up seven (7) drives of three (3) plays or fewer…Defense does its part, too, giving up five (5) touchdowns in heroic, dizzying second quarter…Running game key for Miners, who rank Dead Last in Rushing Offense (38.7 ypg) and 121st in Rushing Defense (270.7 ypg).
FunFact: UTEP can uphold Conference USA honor, take big step towards B-10 medal stand with loss to Sun Belt Conference power New Mexico State this week.
Next Loss: at New Mexico State
5. Rice (1-2; lost to Houston 38-3)
Mitigating Factors: Owls return to survey, rebounding from soul-crushing UTEP win with convincing blowout road loss…Owls never in this one, breaking out to strong 38-0 deficit before getting field goal against some FEMA works taking a break from hurricane cleanup on final drive…Before that offense had exploded for seven (7) punts, three (3) turnovers and a (a) missed field goal.
There Is No “I “ In Bottom Ten: Owls getting it done on both sides of the ball, losing games by an average score of 38-13.7.
Next Loss: Florida International
6. Earlham (0-3; lost to Anderson 27-16)
Mitigating Factors: Division III Quakers all in for second consecutive Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO – with 36th consecutive loss…Loss particularly impressive as Anderson almost as bad as Quakers, having only won six (6) games since 2013, four of them against Earlham and Quaker’s last win was against Anderson, in 2013.
FunFact: Fan(s) looking for repeat Continental Cup nervous as nine (9) point loss closest game since 2015’s one point, overtime loss to Hanover.
Next Loss: at Defiance
7. Fresno State (1-3; lost to Washington 48-16)
Mitigating Factors: Bulldogs back in B-10 pollster’s good graces following third straight loss after smacking around priest novitiates from lower level school in opener…B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” Bulldogs one of few B-10 teams “probably ever” that doesn’t rank 100th or worse in any major NCAA stat category…With obligatory blowouts to national powers out of the way, Bulldogs ready to focus on minefield that will be Mountain West play, with 10/28 game vs Nevada-Loss Vegas already looming large.
FunFact: Even if Bulldogs miss out in repeat B-10 title, Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win – can still be theirs by losing out.
Next Loss: Nevada (9/30)
8. Buffalo (1-2; defeated Colgate 33-10)
Mitigating Factors: Bulls drop from runner-up spot following win against lower level school…Though loss doesn’t dismiss Bulls from B-10 title race, BullsNation kicking themselves for blowing chance for “statement” loss that probably blows chance for Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win.
FunFact: While nobody is pushing panic button just yet, Bulls need big loss this week to regain enthusiasm and momentum 2016’s 2-10 team enjoyed.
Next Loss: Florida Atlantic
9. Louisiana – Famous Dead Person (1-4; UL-Lafayette: lost to Texas A&M 45-21; UL-Monroe: lost to Southern Mississippi 28-17)
Mitigating Factors: Hilarious joint entry back in survey for first time since Week 1…Despite losing, UL-L did its job, leading at halftime to ensure Aggie coach will probably lose his job…With game at Florida State canceled due to hurricane, UL-M requests FEMA put in a good word to B-10 staffers for “courtesy loss” designation for unplayed game against national power.
You Can, Fortunately, Throw Out The Records When These Two Teams Meet: This week’s UL-L/UL-M matchup will not only be for solo B-10 ranking, but for Billy Cannon Certificate, symbolic of Cajun football lousiness.
Next Loss: UL-Lafayette: vs UL-Monroe; UL-Monroe: at UL-Lafayette
10. Conference USA
Mitigating Factors: With three teams in survey – all in the Top 5 – C-USA easy selection for B-10 Conference of the Week award…Half of 16 conference teams do not have winning records, half of conference teams do have winning record, which says something, though B-10 pollsters still aren’t entirely sure what it is.
This Line Never Gets Old…We Hope: Though early yet, conference officials confident teams will maintain current .500 record in conference play for entire season.
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: UTEP at New Mexico State
Combined Entry Game of the Week: UL-Monroe at UL-Lafayette
Up Next On ESPN793: Florida Atlantic at Buffalo