The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 6
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
While the race for the Bottom Ten medal stand always takes center stage, the race for Bottom Ten Conference of the Year honors might be the tightest ever. Sure, the Mountain West took this week’s weekly honors, but veteran B-10 watcher(s) know that you ignore Conference USA and forget the award was almost named for the Sun Belt Conference at your peril.
In other news, #1 UMess does not play again until the 21st, and with Bottom Ten by-laws dictating team have to play to be ranked, there is a two-week window for up-and-coming losers to steal the glamour of the number one ranking.
This week’s mess:
1. UMess (0-6; lost to Ohio 58-50)
Mitigating Factors: Minutemen defense heroically up to challenge of overcoming suddenly spunky offense in highest scoring major division game in UMess history…50 points scored most ever in UMess loss and most in any game since Minutemen defeated Norwich 50-0 in 1900…Ninth straight loss best in nation…Hurricane-induced schedule changes mean Minutemen have three (3) weeks to prepare for 10/21 clash against Georgia Southern.
FunFact: With some time to kill, UMess scheduling inspiring field trip to B-10 headquarters to help polish ESPN Cup – symbolic of B-10 supremacy.
Next Loss: Georgia Southern (10/21)
2. Charlotte (0-5; lost to Florida International 30-29)
Mitigating Factors: 49ers pass gut-check test to post eighth-straight loss, retain B-10 runner-up spot…Leading 26-7 late in second quarter, 49ers really buckle down, impressing B-10 pollsters by getting outscored 23-3 the rest of the way.
FunFact: With UMess out of the survey for a couple weeks and B-10 top spot there for the taking, 49ers hoping not to buckle under pressure in quest for first B-10 title.
Next Loss: Marshall
3. UTEP (0-5; lost to Army 35-14)
Mitigating Factors: Miners easily retain B-10 medal stand berth with convincing loss to latest crop of army officer candidates…Facing interminable pressure and increasingly low expectations from fans, head coach resigns after game, unable to handle pressure of quest for first B-10 title…Miners a statistical juggernaut, ranking 120th or worse in eleven (11) official NCAA (NCAA) stat categories, including Dead Last in Total Offense (220.6 ypg)
FunFact: 14-point defeat actually closest loss of 2017.
Next Loss: Western Kentucky
4. Nevada (0-5; lost to Fresno State 41-21)
Mitigating Factors: Forget rebuild, Wolfpack losing right now, with fifth straight loss…Nevada fan(s) rejoicing at team’s highest B-10 ranking ever following spirited loss to defending B-10 champions…Defense provides early 31-0 cushion, mainly because offense kept them on field all night with with nine (9) drives of three (3) plays or fewer.
FunFact: Usually when football team sucks, school websites lead with stories about other sports, but chick soccer, volleyball teams a combined 5-23, forcing webmaster to lead with intramural table tennis videos.
Next Loss: Hawaii
5. Baylor (0-5; lost to Kansas State 33-20)
Mitigating Factors: Bears put it on cruise control in second half, after strong start sees Bears down 20-3 at half…Baylor playing with fire, only losing games by average score 36.2-to-27.2 with B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” this “can’t be very good”…Bears 0-5 for just fourth time ever, and first time since 1978.
FunFact: B-10 staffers looking into reports Bear’s current skid authorized by football gods following sex scandal, yellow highlighter uniforms.
Next Loss: at Oklahoma State
6. San Jose State (1-5; lost to UNLV 41-13)
Mitigating Factors: Blowout loss to former #1 Rebels lands Spartans back in B-10 survey…Total team effort sees defense setting strong early tone, allowing touchdowns on five (5) of first six (6) possessions while defense shows strong finishing kick, icing game with three (3) second-half turnovers…2010 B-10 champs looking to cement Team of the Decade credentials with second B-10 title.
FunFact: Four straight losses after Week 2 win gives Spartans outside shot at Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win.
Next Loss: Fresno State
7. East Carolina (1-4; lost to South Florida 61-31)
Mitigating Factors: After seeing score, B-10 staffers had to make sure this wasn’t result of latest basketball scrimmage…Defense getting smiley faces on playbooks, heroically overcoming offense that puts up second-highest point total of 2017…Hiring coach with Duke – the B-10 Team of the Decade for Double Aughts – pedigree paying dividends as Pirates have lost 13 of 15.
FunFact: Coaching staff exasperated as political science majors on team keep missing practice to put finishing on East Carolina statehood application.
Next Loss: Temple
8. Earlham (0-4; lost to Defiance 34-14)
Mitigating Factors: Refreshed after bye week, Division III Crusaders easily retain Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO – with 37th straight loss…Team actually much improved statistically, rushing for five times as many yards and scoring twice as many points per game, causing B-10 fan(s) everywhere – or in some places, at least – to wonder if Earlham can repeat as Continental Cup holders for 2017.
FunFact: Earlham also leads D-III with 29 straight conference, 29 straight home and 19 straight road losses.
Next Loss: Franklin
9. Air Force (1-3; lost to New Mexico 56-38)
Mitigating Factors: After beating up on lower-level officer candidates in opener, Air Force has lost three (3) straight…Falcons in prime position to rake in 2017 B-10 hardware, as Falcons can claim Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win – by losing out and are current favorites for Sgt Bilko Trophy – symbolic of service academy lousiness.
FunFact: Air Force hampered by President Trump order requiring Falcons to waterboard opposing ball carriers, resulting in NCAA record 23 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
Next Loss: at Navy
10. Mountain West Conference
Mitigating Factors: Though two-thirds of medal stand from Conference USA, Mountain West takes B-10 Conference of the Week award with three teams in entire survey…Seven (7) of twelve (12) conference teams have non-winning records…2017 B-10 title would allow Mountain West to join Sun Belt Conference as only conferences to win consecutive B-10 titles, earning spot in B-10 Hall of Fame, own parking spot at B-10 headquarters. FunFact: Mountain West schools valiantly maintaining strong .500 mark in conference play.
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: Fresno State at San Jose State
Another Mountain West Thriller: Hawaii at Nevada