The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 1
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
More than at any time, college football is a game of the haves and the have nots. You’re either strutting your stuff for the Bottom Ten pollsters or you’re not. You’re either contending for coveted spots on the Bottom Ten medal stand, or you’re not.
You’re either UConn or you’re not.
Fresh off their first-ever ESPNCup, symbolic of Bottom Ten supremacy, the worst defense in NCAA history is mostly back, ready to defend its title against what can only be called one of the deepest fields in recent memory.
This week’s nonsense:
Editor’s Note: 2018 records, final B-10 ranking, in parenthesis.
1. UConn (1-11; 1st)
Mitigating Factors: Huskies all set to defend 2018 B-10 title, as worst defense in NCAA history returns nine (9) starters…Huskies ranked Dead Last in Total Defense, Rushing Defense and Scoring Defense…Huskies finished 2018 on solid nine (9)-game skid – their best since 2012-13 squads lost ten (10) straight – and have lost 16 of 17.
FunFact: Defense scheduled to change from 4-3 to 3-4 so opposing runners will be hit less in the backfield and be more tired by the time they reach the secondary.
Next Loss: Wagner (8/29)
2. UTEP (1-11; 4th)
Mitigating Factors: Miners theme song for 2019 Two (2) Out of Three (3) Ain’t Bad as 2017 B-10 champions just missed out on 2018 title…Defense is going to be counted on to improve, as 2018 squad actually gave up fewer than 400 yards per game, sending coaches back to drawing board as to how best to overcome offense that was only shutout twice last year.
FunFact: Miners ranked 126th in Scoring Offense (17.7 ppg) in 2018, which was actually a six (6) point improvement over 2017.
Next Loss: Houston Baptist (8/31)
3. Central Michigan (1-11; 2nd)
Mitigating Factors: Triumphant after their first-ever B-10 medal stand finish in 2018, Tontos or Yamahas or something looking to put it all together in 2019…Experienced offensive line that showed way to Next-to-Dead-Last ranking in Total Offense and Next-To-Next-To-Dead-Last 15 points per game, returns mostly intact.
FunFact: Entire fall sports program blew, as Chippewas took first ever Pollsters Cup, given to school with worst all-around fall sports program, with teams combining for 17-51 overall mark.
Next Loss: Albany (8/29)
4. Shorter (0-11; NR)
Mitigating Factors: With Earlham, losers of D-III record 53 consecutive games, suspending football program the Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO – falls to Shorter University Hawks, a D-II school in Rome, Georgia that has lost 39 straight games…Hawks last win came on 10/5/15, a 42-23 win over dreaded Mississippi College.
FunFact: A historically bad football program, Hawks are 5-49 since joining NCAA in 2014.
Opening Loss: at East Tennessee State (9/7)
5. Rice (2-11; 9th)
Mitigating Factors: With three (3) wins past two seasons, Owls hoping for 2019 breakthrough to finally shed “worst-team-to-never-win-B-10-title” moniker…With wins in opener and finale bracketing eleven (11)-game skid in 2018, Owls still managed to claim share of Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win, with B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” Owls first to do it with multiple wins…Owls actually haven’t been too bad this decade, as current stretch of four (4) consecutive losing seasons first since 2002-05.
FunFact: With losable games against Army and Wake Forest, plus usual thrashing against Texas and Baylor, to start season, Owls in prime position to start season 0-4 before starting minefield that will be C-USA play in 2019.
Opening Loss: at Army (8/30)
6. Navy (3-10; 5th)
Mitigating Factors: Navy thrilled B-10 fans everywhere by claiming first Sgt Bilko trophy – symbolic of service academy lousiness – in what B-10 pollsters are “pretty sure” is “like, a long time and stuff” ..Midshipmen expected to be hampered by Navy Secretary ruling requiring team to hold same ceremony when a ship crosses the equator whenever ball carrier crosses 50-yard-line, to include wearing high heels and insertion of grapefruits under jersey to simulate breasts.
FunFact: History not on Navy’s side in quest for continued B-10 glory, as Midshipmen have not had consecutive losing seasons 1998-2002 glory years.
Opening Loss: Holy Cross (8/31)
7. San Jose State (1-11; 7th)
Mitigating Factors: After going from six (6) to four (4) to two (2) to one (1) win last year, Spartan fan(s) hope continued improvement will allow Spartans to run table in 2019…While B-10 pollsters decided not to rehash 2018 line about Spartans being unable to run football against eleven nuns, Spartans still ranked Dead Last in Rushing Yards last year (61.5 ypg)….3-22 record past two years best two-year mark since 2009-10 squads also went 3-22.
FunFact: With nine (9) seasons of three (3) wins or fewer this century – and the 2010 B-10 title – Spartans laying good base for B-10 Team of the Century honors.
Opening Loss: Northern Colorado (8/29)
8. Pac-12 Conference
Mitigating Factors: Once -proud conference gets first preseason Conference of the Week designation…Pac-12 has fallen so far in recent years it has produced only two College Football Playoff teams, hasn’t produced a national champion since 2007 and has had one Heisman Trophy winner since 2004.
FunFact: Despite setbacks, conference expected to rebound for strong .500 mark in conference play.
9. Rutgers (1-11; 3rd)
Mitigating Factors: After 2018’s B-10 medal stand finish, Scarlet Knights have even higher expectations in 2019…2018 hardly total loss, as team claimed first-ever Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win…Current 11-game skid nation’s best…Rutgers has not had consecutive victories against major division teams that finished year with winning record since defeating UConn and Army in 2010.
FunFact: Oldest major division college football program, Scarlet Knights plan to celebrate 150th anniversary of college football by equalling 1869 squads win total of one (1).
Next Loss: UMess (8/30)
10. New Mexicans (6-18 NR; New Mexico 3-9; New Mexico State 3-9)
Mitigating Factors: Both teams coming into 2019 with head of steam, as Lobos have lost seven (7) straight and Aggies have lost five (5) of six (6)…Forget 100th or worse, 110th or worse standard for New Mexicans in NCAA stat rankings, as masters of fundamentals combined to rank 110th or worse in 20 official NCAA stat categories…Coaches for both teams eager for border wall to be finished, so players will stop trying to escape to Mexico.
FunFact: Annual rivalry game on 9/21 so huge B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” they’ll be able to rustle up a trophy, cup, old gravy ladle, to give to losing team.
Next Loss: NM: Sam Houston State (8/31); NMST: at Washington State (8/31)
Opening Week Clash of the Titans: UMess at Rutgers
Up Next On ESPN725: Rice at Army