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The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 10
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
The eyes of Bottom Ten fan(s) everywhere will be on Rice Stadium this week as it’s #1 vs #2, UTEP vs Rice, for the top spot in the race for the ESPN Cup, symbolic of NCAA Bottom Ten supremacy.
Elsewhere, it’s that time of year when previously unranked teams start making noise, hoping to draw the interest of Bottom Ten pollsters.
The Rebels, previously unranked, march into the survey with an upset loss to previously unvictoried San Jose State.
This week’s mess:
1. UTEP (0-8; lost to UAB 19-0)
Mitigating Factors: Miners never in this one, posting second shutout of 2018…Offense humming on all cylinders, racking up four (4) drives for negative yardage, including a safety and only 19-yards rushing…UTEP’s chick soccer team has tied four (4) games in 2018, with B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” this is a record for schools with football teams riding a 20-game losing skid.
Onward! Losing Miners: UTEP 17th major division team to lose 20 straight games and the first since B-10 Team of the Decade for the Double Aughts Duke did it in 2007.
Next Loss: at Rice
2. Rice (1-8; lost to North Texas 41-17)
Mitigating Factors: Owls B-10 run given blessing of B-10 Alumni Committee with blowout loss to former B-10 medal stand staple…Owls actually led as late as first quarter but – showing strong finishing kick that leads straight to B-10 glory – Owls end game on 24-0 run…Despite three (3) winning seasons this decade, Owls making late run for B-10 Team of the Decade award having lost 32 of 38.
FunFact: Owls still guaranteed at least share of Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win – by losing out.
Next Loss: UTEP
3. Central Michigan (1-8; lost to Akron 17-10)
Mitigating Factors: Chippewas ascend B-10 medal stand for first time in 2018, moving to 0-4 in minefield that is MAC play…Offense easily overcomes stubborn defense, turning four (4) Akron turnovers into only three points…Current five (5)-game skid best since 2010 and best amongst teams from states that border Canada.
FunFact: Chippewas still setting pace for B-10 Pollsters Cup as fall sports teams combined 15-54 this season.
Next Loss: at Eastern Michigan
4. Tulsa (1-7; lost to Tulane 24-17)
Mitigating Factors: Golden Chance of Showers show mettle that leads straight to B-10 glory, blowing 17-7 third-quarter lead in seventh straight loss…Total Team Effort (TTE) sees Tulsa offense produce key fourth-quarter fumble that defense turns into go-ahead touchdown…Tulsa looking for first one (1)-win season since turn-of-century squads peeled off consecutive one (1)-win campaigns in 2001, 2002.
FunFact: Golden Tropical Storms another team that can claim no worse than share of Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win – by losing out.
Next Loss: UConn
5. Rutgers (1-7; lost to Northwestern 18-15)
Mitigating Factors: Despite opening win vs Texas State, Rutgers still in play for B-10 title with seventh straight loss…After early third-quarter field goal, offense calls it a day, turns it over defense by punting on final four possessions…Scarlet Knights can really rake in B-10 hardware by losing out as Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win – is there for the losing.
FunFact: Should Rutgers – who took initial B-10 title in 1869 – claim B-10 crown, B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” 149 years between B-10 titles would be”like, you know, probably a record and stuff”.
Next Loss: at Wisconsin
6. UNLV (2-6; lost to San Jose State 50-37)
Mitigating Factors: Only two (2)-win team in survey, Fumblin’ Rebels make 2018 debut after snapping San Jose State’s eight (8)-game losing streak…Strong second half key, as offense chips in with two (2) interceptions while defense shows they’re all in for strong B-10 run, giving up scores on last six (6) possessions…Rebels have lost five (5) straight for first time since 2014 squad finished season on 0-6 run.
FunFact: Only wins have come against UTEP and lower level school.
Next Loss: at Wyoming
7. UConn (1-6; lost to UMass 22-17)
Mitigating Factors: UConn back in B-10 survey for first time since 2014 after fourth straight loss…Huskies likely unable to stop B-10 pollsters running power sweep, screen pass, ranking Dead Last in Total Defense (625.5 ypg) and Next To Dead Last in Rushing Defense (315.9) and Passing Yards Allowed (309.6 ypg)
FunFact: With loss to Minutemen, Huskies in prime position to claim John Adams Spittoon – symbolic of New England B-10 supremacy.
Next Loss: at Tulsa
8. Earlham (0-8; lost to Franklin 64-20)
Mitigating Factors: With cacophony of tying, breaking all-time Division III consecutive loss record safely in rearview, Quakers retain Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO – with 52nd consecutive loss…Game not as close as score indicated, as Quakers got two (2) late touchdowns against Franklin pre-seminary majors getting some charity work in.
Waiting In The Wings: Division II Shorter, losers of 37 straight, bravely holding down Continental Cup runner-up spot.
Next Loss: Defiance
9. Navy (2-6; lost to Notre Dame 44-22)
Mitigating Factors: Forget Sgt Bilko Trophy – symbolic of service academy lousiness – Middies actually in hunt for B-10 medal stand, though they will need some help…Middies hampered by pregame Defense Department order requiring team – in order to show proper respect to Catholic opponents – to call all audibles in Latin as Navy marching band plays Te Deum Laudamus at halftime.
FunFact: Middies trying not get caught looking ahead to 11/17 showdown vs Tulsa.
Next Loss: at Cincinnati
10. San Jose State (1-7; defeated UNLV 50-37)
Mitigating Factors: Spartans shoot selves in foot in quest for second B-10 title, unable to overcome porous Rebel defense…With win, Spartans go from B-10 medal stand darlings to just another team that can’t stop the run, Ranking Dead Last in Rushing Defense (65.1 ypg).
When All The Losing Died In Winning: In cutthroat “lose now” B-10, late-season win means Spartans will need help even to return to B-10 medal stand.
Next Loss: at Wyoming
10. American Athletic Conference
Mitigating Factors: With MAC now playing games on Tuesday, AAC only conference with three (3) teams in survey, enough to earn coveted, weekly B-10 Conference of the Week award…AAC barely outpolls Conference USA, which occupies two-thirds of B-10 medal stand…Four (4) AAC teams have lost at least five (5) straight games.
The New Material Budget Is Still Zero I See: Despite losing non-conference record, AAC teams valiantly producing strong .500 conference play mark.
Next Loss: Automatic entry in NCAA Division I playoffs…Wait, there isn’t an NCAA Division I playoff…Nevermind.
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: UTEP at Rice
AAC Thriller of the Week: UConn at Tulsa