The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 9
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
With 2017 stalwarts UMess and Charlotte both winning, and with UTEP off, the Bottom Ten medal stand has an entirely new look with two (2) new teams, Baylor and Kansas, and last week’s #3 team, Charlotte, now holding the top spot.
Recent races in the Bottom Ten have been heralded for their depth and tightness, and the 2017 race for the ESPN Cup – symbolic of Bottom Ten supremacy – is no different, with no less than 15 teams having lost at least five (5) straight games.
This week’s mess:
1. Georgia Southern (0-6; lost to UMess 55-20)
Mitigating Factors: Eagles ascend B-10 throne for first time following decisive loss to UMess squad that had been #1 until fortnight of hurricane-inspired bye weeks…Eagles never in it, of course, breaking out to 21-0 and 41-10 deficits, among others…Strong, early tone set as Eagles fumble ball away following 76-yard gain on first play.
FunFact: Despite being on track for first B-10 title, Georgia Southern fires head coach after game for not losing big enough.
Next Loss: at Troy
2. Baylor (0-7; lost to West Virginia 38-36)
Mitigating Factors: Bears, searching for first B-10 title, breathing sigh of relief as loss not secured until offense blows two-point conversion in final minute…Bears doing it with defense, ranking 125th in Total Defense (514.1) and 123rd in Scoring Defense (39.7ppg)…Baylor 0-7 for just second time ever, chasing 1969’s vaunted 0-10 squad.
FunFact: B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” Bears first team ever to lose 13 out of 14, with win coming in bowl game.
Next Loss: Texas
3. Kansas (1-6; lost to TCU 43-0)
Mitigating Factors: Jayhawks back on B-10 medal stand after tying major division record with 44th consecutive road loss…Team so bad athletic website leading off with pics of basketball exhibition, chick rowing match or game or whatever rowers have…Total Team Effort (TTE) sees Kansas give up 475 yards, gain 21…Football Premium Seating tab on website now least clicked link on the Internet.
Up Next: Jayhawks just two (2) road losses away from all-time Most Consecutive Road Games Without A Win record (46, Northwestern, 0-45-1, 1974-82)
Next Loss: Kansas State
4. BYU (1-7; lost to East Carolina 33-17)
Mitigating Factors: BYU humming on all cylinders in loss to lousy Pirates…BYU gets out to early 7-0 lead before turning it over to defense…Cougars seven (7)-game losing skid tied with Baylor for nation’s longest and upstart Cougars can really impress B-10 pollsters by coming back strong with loss to San Jose State after bye week.
FunFact: Cougars not only in hunt for first B-10 title, but can claim no less than partial share of Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win – by losing out.
Next Loss: San Jose State (10/28)
5. Rice (1-6; lost to UT-San Antonio 20-7)
Mitigating Factors: Owls keep B-10 hopes alive with spirited loss to Roadrunner squad that only took football up in 2012…Though defense traditionally key to B-10 glory, Owls doing it with offense, ranking Next-To-Dead-Last in Scoring Offense (11.0 ppg) and 123rd in Total Offense 298.7 ypg)…Owls have lost at least five (5) straight games in a season for fifth time this century.
FunFact: Owls really kicking themselves, as win over UTEP means Owls merely another 1-6 with problems instead of being perched on B-10 medal stand.
Next Loss: Louisiana Tech
6. Charlotte (1-7; defeated UAB 25-24 OT)
Mitigating Factors: Relative newcomers knuckle under B-10 pressure with first win of 2017…Coaching staff still scratching heads, as B-10 title bonuses go up in smoke as 49ers somehow overcome 17-0 fourth quarter deficit after punting or turning ball over on seven (7) consecutive possessions.
FunFact: With win coming in mid season, 49ers will need help to claw their way back onto B-10 medal stand.
Next Loss: at Old Dominion
7. UMess (1-6; defeated Georgia Southern 55-20)
Mitigating Factors: Rusty in first game since September 30, not even Minutemen bad enough to overcome 21-0, 41-10 leads…In role reversal, offense gains 670 yards while defense forces four (4) turnovers…2016 B-10 medal stand laureate and former #1 this season now just another one (1)-win team that can’t stop the run following stunning win.
Broad Historical Context: Though still lacking B-10 title, UMess still strong B-10 Team of the Decade contenders, with 11-56 mark since resuming major division football in 2012.
Next Loss: Appalachian State
8. Earlham (0-7; lost to Hanover 49-14)
Mitigating Factors: Small, Division III school from Indiana, Quakers lose 40th consecutive game to retain Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO…Despite getting so little practice at it, Quakers actually rank 15th in Punt Returns (15.67 ypr)…With three (3) games left this year, Quakers can tie Macalester’s all-time D-III losing streak mark at 50 games in Week 7 next year.
Brand Loyalty: Team so bad squad has Nike logo on jerseys even though they are sponsored by Under Armour.
Next Loss: Manchester
9. Duke (4-4; lost to Pitt 24-17)
Mitigating Factors: Though four wins usually not enough to garner B-10 ranking, Bleu Devils cite obscure B-10 bylaw – is there any other kind? – requiring former B-10 Team of the Decade to be ranked anytime they have lost four consecutive games…Bleu Devils have lost four (4) consecutive games.
FunFact: The B-10 Team of the Decade for the Double Aughts, Bleu Devils looking to lose out in 2017, as 2016’s 4-8 record was only fourth losing season this decade.
Next Loss: at Virginia Tech
10. Big 12
Mitigating Factors: With Big 12 teams occupying two-thirds of the B-10 medal stand, league easy selection for coveted B-10 Conference of the Week award…Despite counting on their fingers, twice, B-10 staffers still “pretty sure” Big 12 Conference only has ten (10) teams.
FunFact: Despite bottom two teams combining for 13 straight losses, conference officials confident they continue strong .500 mark in conference play.
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: San Jose State at BYU
Up Next On ESPN735: Texas-San Antonio at UTEP