The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 3
By Gaylon Kent
The Writer's Shack
Tuesday September 15, 2015
Bottom Ten pollsters found themselves facing a familiar problem this week: do you keep last week's #1 at the top following their usual loss, or do you replace them with a B-10 perennial fresh off a strong loss to last year's defending champion?
That was the dilemma following the first Bottom Ten Game of the Year, where New Mexico State pulled out a close, thrilling loss against Georgia State, who won the ESPNCup in 2014, while last week's #1, Idaho, lost their weekly fiasco at USC.
This week's mess:
1. New Mexico State (0-2; lost to Georgia State 34-32)
Mitigating Factors: B-10 perennials take big step towards first ever B-10 title with clutch home loss to defending B-10 champions…B-10 pollsters impressed with Lobos all-around game, with "defense" ranking Next-To-Dead-Last in Total Defense (594.0 ypg) and offense just good enough to lose…Aggies out to prove something this week as they have not lost consecutive home games since, well, last year when they lost three straight, to Texas State and Louisiana-Famous Dead Person.
Numbers Game: Aggies have lost 39 of 45 dating back to October, 2011.
Next Loss: UTEP
2. Idaho (0-2; lost to USC 59-9)
Mitigating Factors: Vandals fan(s) up in arms over beloved team losing B-10 top spot despite obligatory loss to national power…Idaho early statistical juggernaut, ranking Dead Last in Total Defense, Next-To-Dead-Last in Scoring Defense and 120th in Rushing Offense…Despite not being needed in blowout loss, special teams stay sharp for future close losses, allowing blocked PAT after only touchdown.
FunFact: Despite losing top spot, Vandals can reclaim valuable momentum with loss to lower level team this week.
Next Loss: Wofford
3. Vanderbilt (0-2; lost to Georgia 31-14)
Mitigating Factors: Offense taking center stage early on for Commodores, ranking Dead Last in Turnover Margin and Red Zone offense…Special teams doing its part, averaging almost ten (10) feet per punt return…Vanderbilt still reeling from turn-of-century merger of Athletic/Student Life departments, as Chilean foreign exchange students take over play calling duties, producing six (6) punts, three (3) interceptions and seven (7) drives of three plays or less.
FunFact: Though officially B-10 pollsters do not penalize wins against lower level teams, word on the street is - what with the depth of this year's B-10 field and all - that this week is a "must lose" game if Commodores hope to keep spot on B-10 medal stand.
Next Loss: Austin Peay
4. Kansas (0-2; lost to Memphis 55-23)
Mitigating Factors: Jayhawks show last week's loss to lower level squad no fluke, following up with the type of blowout, home loss that tends to lead straight to B-10 glory…Offense settles down after bursting out to curious 10-0 lead, finishing with seven (7) drives of ten (10) yards or less, including three (3) for negative yardage…Total team effort sees Jayhawks get outscored 55-13 in final 47:02.
Dust In The Wind: Kansas 0-2 for first time since 2002 squad finished 2-10.
Next Loss: at Rutgers (9/26)
5. Georgia State (1-1; defeated New Mexico State 34-32)
Mitigating Factors: Georgia State's quest for consecutive B-10 titles takes big hit as usually stalwart defense, despite heavy efforting, can't blow fourth quarter lead…Despite producing punts on six (6) of seven (7) midgame possessions, offense taken out back for beatings, wind sprints after producing scores on first three possessions.
FunFact: Panthers, or whatever they're called, can save some face with demoralizing loss to national power this week, but will need major help if they are going defend B-10 title.
Next Loss: at Oregon
6. Army (0-2; lost to UConn 22-17)
Mitigating Factors: Black Knights of Confusion show they are not only favorites for Sgt Bilko Trophy - symbolic of service academy lousiness - but also strong contender for medal stand honors following close, come-from-ahead loss…Offense getting smiley faces on playbooks, field manuals, after producing stellar performance that included just nine (9) first downs, key interception on final drive…Defense Secretary mandate requiring Cadets to celebrate first downs with mortar strikes on opponent's sideline sent back to Pentagon for further review.
FunFact: Army 0-2 for first time since 2011 squad started 0-4.
Next Loss: Wake Forest
7. Sun Belt Conference (1-13)
Mitigating Factors: Despite strong showing from Mountain West Conference, Sun Belt glides to usual Conference of the Week award with routine 1-4 non-conference mark this weekend…With eleven (11) teams in conference, B-10 pollsters not smart enough to figure out percentages, but B-10 pollsters "pretty sure" having seven (7) of eleven (11) teams giving up at least 30 points per game isn't very good.
Big Men On Campus: Conference teams still holding heads high with 6-0 mark against local Pop Warner squads, strong .500 conference play mark
8. UNLV (0-2; lost to UCLA 37-3)
Mitigating Factors: Game nip-and-tuck affair that wasn't decided until Bruins returned interception for touchdown late in first half…Offense key, passing for only 56 yards, turning the ball over twice while turning three (3) UCLA turnovers into only three (3) points…While not qualifying for "juggernaut" status just yet, defense drawing attention, ranking 120th in Total Defense (535.5 ypg), including 229 ypg on the ground.
FunFact: With four (4) two (2)-win seasons since 2010, Rebels another Team of the Decade candidate that needs to start winning B-10 titles.
Next Loss: at Michigan
9. Florida Atlantic (0-2; lost to Miami, Florida 44-20)
Mitigating Factors: After losing opener in OT, Owls show they can lose big, too, key for gaining strength of schedule points later in the season...Owls overcome pregame jitters, recovering nicely from second quarter 17-17 tie, settling in and getting outscored 27-3 the rest of the way...Turnovers key, as five (5) FAU turnovers lead to 13 Miami points.
Big Men On Campus: Owls have lost nation's third-best seven (7) straight and have not won consecutive games since somehow ending 2013 with four (4) straight wins.
Next Loss: Buffalo
10. Cheyney (0-2; lost to Gannon 44-6)
Mitigating Factors: 34th straight loss insures Wolves retain Continental Cup - issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NAFTA sphere-of-influence…Offense already humming on all cylinders, rolling up three (3) turnovers, a safety and six (6) drives of negative yardage…With 160 teams playing Division II football, B-10 fans everywhere anxious to see how many official stat categories Cheyney can rank 150th or worse in.
Get Out Your Abacus: With 12 penalties and only seven (7) pass completions, Wolves take weekly honors with 1.714-to-1 Penalties-To-Pass-Completions ratio.
Next Loss: at Clarion
This Week's Clash of the Titans: UNLV at Michigan
Sun Belt Thriller of the Week: Georgia State at Oregon
Good Seats Available As Late As The Third Quarter: UTEP at New Mexico State
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