The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 4
By Gaylon Kent
The Writer's Shack
September 22, 2015
The upheaval in the race for the ESPNCup continues as both Vanderbilt and Idaho lost their medal stand berths following wins against lower level teams despite Bottom Ten pollsters being "more or less certain" there are bylaws "somewhere" preventing that from happening.
Thank God for the stability of New Mexico State, UNLV and Army. The Aggies retain the top stop with a tough, overtime loss, while the Rebels and Cadets ascend the medal stand for the first time in 2015.
This week's imbroglio:
1. New Mexico State (0-3; lost to UTEP 50-47 OT)
Mitigating Factors: Lobos show ability to lose close ones - key in any B-10 title quest - with type of demoralizing home loss that leads straight to B-10 glory…Leading 30-16 after three (3) quarters, Aggie defense takes command, blowing two (2) 14-point leads in final period…Aggie defense more than enough to overcome unusually spirited offense, ranking 120th or worse in four (4) defensive stat categories.
Running The Numbers: Aggies still have the Nation's Longest Losing Streak (NLLS) with 13 straight losses.
Next Loss: at New Mexico (10/3)
2. UNLV (0-3; lost to Michigan 28-7)
Mitigating Factors: UNLV sputtering on all cylinders from the start, punting or throwing an interception on first nine (9) drives that did not involve the ending of the first half…Rebels manage to show late, cursory interest, scoring only TD after trailing 28-0…Rebels not losing a step following coaching change, following up losing last four (4) of 2104 with 0-3 start to 2015…
FunFact: Rebels impressing on both sides of the ball, losing games by an average score of 34.3-13.3
Next Loss: Idaho State
3. Army (0-3; lost to Wake Forest 17-14)
Mitigating Factors: Leading 7-0, Black Knights of Confusion settle down in second, third quarters, ending six (6) straight drives with kicks, including five (5) punts and a missed FG…Army hindered by pregame Army Secretary ruling requiring Cadets - to better prepare them for future Army service - to have water bottles filled not with a cold, refreshing beverage, but with scalding hot coffee that more resembles an engine additive you put in tanks for improved engine performance.
Tote Board: Army is still the morning line favorite for Sgt Bilko Trophy - symbolic of service academy lousiness - and has not beaten major division team that finished season with winning record since beating Louisiana Tech in 2008.
Next Loss: at Eastern Michigan
4. Cheyney (0-3; lost to Clarion 59-6)
Mitigating Factors: Division II Wolves lose 35th straight to retain Continental Cup - issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NAFTA sphere of influence…Wolves go straight for jugular with offense producing interception on very first play, while stalwarts on defense allow immediate touchdown on ensuing drive…Wolves show type of consistency that leads to successful Continental Cup defenses with 1-to-1 Total-Yards-To-Penalty-Yards-Ratio (101 total yards, 101 penalty yards)…
Oh Yeah: Wolves also leading NATO with 44 straight conference losses and 20 straight home losses.
Next Loss: Kutztown
5. Georgia State (1-2; lost to Oregon 61-28)
Mitigating Factors: Panthers rebound from crushing New Mexico State win with morale-boosting road loss to established national power…Game not as close as score indicated, as Panther defense allows eleven (11) Oregon scores…Only fact four (4) of these were relatively good-for-morale field goals prevented Georgia State from giving up even more points…B-10 staffers still working on an award for this one, but Panther defense impresses with 7-to-4 Touchdown-To-Field-Goal ratio.
Strength Of Schedule: Defending B-10 champs can really spruce up resume with loss to lower level Bible thumpers in two weeks.
Next Loss: Liberty (10/3)
6. Idaho (1-2; defeated Wofford 41-38)
Mitigating Factors: Vandals give Wofford taste of their own medicine, somehow converting two Wofford turnovers into ten (10) points…Want To Be A Vandal link on football homepage still least clicked link in Internet history…Despite win, any team with New Mexico State still on schedule cannot be counted out of B-10 race.
FunFact: With competition for B-10 medal stand expected to be, officially, "fierce" Vandals plan to petition B-10 staff for special "Technical Loss" designation, claiming they are so bad, this would've been a loss against even a Sun Belt Conference team.
Next Loss:Georgia Southern
7. Vanderbilt (1-2; defeated Austin Peay 47-7)
Mitigating Factors: With turn-of-century merging of Student Affairs, Athletic departments, skill positions manned by debate team this week still enough to overcome hapless lower level squad…Despite B-10 bylaws stating teams not penalized for wins against lower level teams, Commodores lose medal stand spot to resurgent UNLV squad.
Hit The Road, Jack: After opening season with three (3) consecutive home games, Student Union so sick of seeing football team, they are sending Commodores on road for five (5) of next six (6) games.
Next Loss: at Ole Miss
8. Conference USA (7-17)
Mitigating Factors: ConferenceUSA becomes first conference not named Sun Belt Conference to take B-10's Conference of the Week award…While .292 not as good a non-conference winning percentage as Sun Belt Conference (.105) - nobody's that bad - three of eleven remaining winless teams are from C-USA, best in the nation….With conferences realigning every hour on the hour, B-10 pollsters "pretty sure" C-USA only conference with two (2) past B-10 champions (W. Kentucky; S. Mississippi) in fold.
Hey, What's The Deal: Obligatory, hilarious "Rebounds for strong .500 mark in conference play" line reserved for when Sun Belt Conference earns B-10 Conference of the Week award.
9. Florida Atlantic (0-3; lost to Buffalo 33-15)
Mitigating Factors: With loss in OT, a loss to established national power and loss to once and former B-10 perennial, Owls in midst of constructing classic B-10 run…Owls do everything but place ball in end zone and let Buffalo fall on it, having two (2) fumbles and an interception returned for touchdowns…Offense also getting smiley faces on playbooks for having gone from scoring 44 points in opener to 20 last week to 15 this week…
Bound For Glory: Owls can make big pitch for B-10 medal stand with loss this weekend to lousy team in first year of major division football.
Next Loss: at Charlotte
10. Wyoming (0-3; lost to Washington State 31-14)
Mitigating Factors: Leading 14-7 after first quarter, offense take rest of night off so defense can take charge and get outscored 24-0 the rest of the way…Cowboys pick up big strength of schedule points by losing to Cougar team that opened season with loss to lower level team…Cowboys have lost ten of last eleven and are 0-3 for first time since 2012 and third time this century.
Moving On Up: Cowboys have lost six (6) straight, the fourth (4th) best losing streak in nation.
Next Loss: New Mexico
This Week's Clash of the Titans: Florida Atlantic at Charlotte
Sun Belt Thriller of the Week: Georgia Southern at Idaho
Up Next On ISISVision: Army at Eastern Michigan
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