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The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 2
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
It’s complete chaos – is there any other kind? – in the Bottom Ten this week as all of the Week 1 medal stand is ousted after wins against lower-level schools.
In their place, it’s Homecoming Week as three Bottom Ten stalwarts return to the spotlight, with Bottom Ten pollsters ‘pretty sure” Rice, Duke and New Mexico are back on the medal stand for the first in “like, ages and stuff”.
This week’s mess:
1. Rice (0-1; lost to Army 14-7)
Mitigating Factors: While other alleged B-10 contenders win openers against local junior colleges, Rice returns to B-10 throne the old fashioned way: earning it with loss to major division team…With defense struggling, kicking game takes command, showing way to B-10 glory with five (5) punts and two (2) missed field goals.
Road Trip: Owls making statements on road, as 13-game road losing streak tied for best in NCAA.
Next Loss: Wake Forest
2. Duke (0-1; lost to Alabama 42-3)
Mitigating Factors: Bleu Devils – B-10 Team of the Decade for Double Aughts – return to natural habitat – the B-10 medal stand – with refreshing blow out loss to national power…Only blemish on shutout second-quarter field goal…Trailing only 14-3 at half, Bleu Devils show strong finishing kick that leads straight to B-10 glory, getting outscored 28-0 in second half.
Is It Gymnastics Season Yet?: Expectations for football squad so low athletic website leads off with pics of chick volleyball, lacrosse, and guy soccer as webmaster scurries to get countdown to start of basketball practice clock up and running.
Next Loss: North Carolina A&T
3. New Mexico State (0-1; lost to Washington State 58-7 )
Mitigating Factors: After sharing Week 1 billing with New Mexico in hilarious New Mexican joint entry, Aggies forge own B-10 identity with classic blowout loss…Already ranking Dead Last in Scoring Defense and Passing Yards Allowed, Aggies looking to become early statistical juggernaut by padding states against national power this week.
WTH???: Coaches left scratching heads wondering why they don’t have any conference games before someone realized WAC doesn’t offer football anymore.
Next Loss: at Alabama
4. South Florida (0-1; lost to Wisconsin 49-0)
Mitigating Factors: Fan(s) of Bullfrogs or Toads or whatever they’re called considering legal action as nation’s best seven (7)-game skid not even good enough for coveted B-10 medal stand berth…After slow start, only trailing 7-0 after first quarter, USF turns it on in second quarter, getting outscored 21-0…Offense shows mastery of fundamentals as complete inability to hold on to football, tackle someone with it, leads to fumble return for touchdown.
The Long And Winding Road: Though it’s taken a couple of years, head coach Charlie Strong finally on way to running USF program into ground, just like he did at Texas.
Next Loss: at Georgia Tech
5. UMess (0-1; lost to Rutgers 46-21)
Mitigating Factors: UMess, looking to rebound from consecutive 4-8 seasons, off to strong start with blowout road loss…Minutemen still looking for first winning season since 1904 squad went 5-2-1 and beat Southern John Quincy Adams State 13-9 in Colonial Bowl presented by Sam Adams Beer…UMess improves record to 10-63 since resuming major division football in 2012.
And They’re Off: UMess early leader for Pollsters Cup – issued to B-10 team with worst overall fall sports program as football, soccer, chick field hockey teams off to 2-3 start.
Next Loss: Southern Illinois
6. Shorter (0-0; DNP)
Mitigating Factors: Usually teams are only ranked when they actually lose, but Division II Shorter, current holders of Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NAFTA sphere of influence – with 39 straight losses, retains B-10 spot with lousy week of practice.
Waiting In The Wings: Should Shorter stumble and win opener D-III Kenyon, William Paterson (26 straight fiascoes) and Tijuana Tech, all standing by to claim Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO.
Next Loss: at East Tennessee State
7. Akron (0-1; lost to Illinois 42-3)
Mitigating Factors: Zips off to usual strong start, earning B-10 Most Favored Loser status for Mid-American Conference with conference-best six (6)-game skid…Total Team Effort (TTE) sees defense give up touchdowns on six (6) of first eight (8) possessions., offense produce two (2) turnovers, four (4) drives of three (3) plays or less (less).
When In Doubt, Charlie Out: Home field now named Infocision Stadium only after majority of players able to pick correct spelling on multiple choice exam.
Next Loss: UAB
Mitigating Factors: All-powerful conference, which had produced last three Super Bowl champions, actually loses four non-conference games over the weekend to earn weekly, coveted Conference of the Week award…Conference staffers eagerly looking to replace Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee with up-and-coming Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots.
The New Material Budget Is (Still) Zero, I See: Despite slow start, historically strong conference still expected to level up for strong .500 conference play mark.
9. Oregon State (0-1; lost to Oklahoma State 52-36)
Mitigating Factors: Beavers overcome two early leads before settling in and breaking out to 31-10 second-quarter deficit…Beavers have had losing streaks of at least four (4) straight every season since 2013…Oregon State has not beaten major division team that finished season with winning record since 2014, when they completely lost their minds and did it twice.
Moral Victory 101: Six (6)-game home losing streak not particularly impressive – at least by Oregon State standards – but still nation’s best.
Next Loss: at Hawaii
10. Vanderbilt (0-1; lost to Georgia 30-6)
Mitigating Factors: Once and probably future B-10 stalwarts, Commodores have produced five (5)-consecutive losing seasons, though haven’t won fewer than three (3) games in a season since 2010. ..Vanderbilt never in this one, breaking out to early 21-0 deficit and coasting from there.
Old Faithful: School still reeling from turn-of-century decision to merge, Athletic, Student Affairs departments as improv students split game into four one-act skits, with players invited to “wing it” on offense, defense.
Next Loss: at Purdue
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: Southern Illinois at UMess
This Isn’t Going To Be Any Good, Either: Oregon State at Hawaii
Up Next On ESPN57: Vanderbilt at Purdue
Our Cups Runneth Over: UAB at Akron
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