The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 5
By Gaylon Kent
The Writer's Shack
September 29, 2015
With #1 New Mexico State taking the week off - this time by not bothering to play - and UNLV and Army both winning the Bottom Ten medal stand was an even bigger fiasco than usual.
This ganve other Bottom Ten contenders the chance to take center stage, preening for pollsters with notice me losses as the competition for the ESPNCup - symbolic of Bottom Ten supremacy - heated up this past weekend.
This enabled Wyoming to make the big jump to the top, and also allowed Kansas and Massachusetts - or UMess, as we like to call them here - to return to the survey.
This week's imbroglio:
1. Wyoming (0-3; lost to New Mexico 38-28)
Mitigating Factors: Cowboys best start since 2012 produces not only first medal stand berth, but first #1 ranking…Total team effort secures this loss, with defense giving up 302 yards on the ground and offense producing two (2) interceptions and everyone chipping in with ten (10) penalties…Current seven (7) game skid second best in nation…Wyoming has work cut out for it with toughest 2015 schedule of all B-10 teams, with remaining opponents having a combined 6-15 record.
Light At The End Of The Tunnel: Cowboys looking for sixth winless season ever and first since 1939 squad went 0-7-1.
Next Loss: at Appalachian State
2. Vanderbilt (1-3; lost to Ole Miss 27-16)
Mitigating Factors: A loss is a loss, but Commodore fan(s), B-10 pollsters all concerned about relatively close game against nationally-ranked opponent…Pollsters completely perplexed by utter lack of turnovers vs. Ole Miss...Still, tho, B-10 pollsters impressed enough by inability pull off upset to return Vanderbilt to medal stand…Turn-of-century decision to merge Athletic, Student Affairs departments still paying big B-10 dividends as exchange students from Tel Aviv, averaging 5-9, 165 on front line, produces punts on final five (5) drives of first half.
FunFact: Team in middle of playing five of six on road, mandated by Student Senate, so students can focus on their studies without being distracted by Commodores B-10 medal stand run.
Next Loss: at Middle Tennessee
3. Cheyney (0-4; lost to Kutztown 34-0)
Mitigating Factors: Cheyney, a Division II college near Philadelphia, loses 36th straight to retain Continental Cup - issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO…With 360 penalty yards and 347 rushing yards - in 2015, not this game - Wolves leading pretty much everybody with a 1.03746397695-To-1 Penalty-Yards-To-Rushing-Yards ratio…Conference media personnel not returning our calls, but B-10 pollsters "pretty sure" fourth game of season longest Wolves have had to wait for first shutout loss in "quite a while".
The Long And Winding Road Does Not Lead To The End Zone: Wolves offense produces two ten (10) play drives, one resulting in a punt, another in a fumble, and a nine (9) play drive that resulted in another fumble
Next Loss: at Bloomsburg
4. Idaho (1-3; lost to Georgia Southern 44-20)
Mitigating Factors: Vandals back on track, following up win vs lower level team with strong, routine conference loss…Vandals blow open 16-13 game at the half, with defense giving up touchdowns on three (3) of first (4) second half drives, with offense doing its part, turning ball over on downs twice while mustering two (2) interceptions…Vandals defense rounding into form, ranking Next-To-Dead-Last in Rushing Defense (314 ypg) and Next-To-Next-To-Dead-Last in Scoring Defense (46.5 ppg).
FunFact: "Want To Be A Vandal" link on football homepage still leading Division I schools in Fewest Clicks.
Next Loss: Arkansas State
5. Kansas (0-3; lost to Rutgers 27-14)
Mitigating Factors: Strong start key, as offense follows up punts on first three (3) drives with an interception, while defense gives up touchdowns on three (3) of first five (5) drive…Offense averaged just over six (6) feet per carry and could've done better simply by handing ball off to a basketball player and letting fall down immediately after reaching line of scrimmage…Game not a close as score indicated, as final TD came against Rutgers players from 1869 team that played in first ever college football game and still had some eligibility remaining.
Numbers Racket: Current six-game overall skid good for third best in nation, while man-sized 31-game road losing skid currently best in nation.
Next Loss: at Iowa State
6. UMess (0-3; lost to Notre Dame 62-27)
Mitigating Factors: Number one for much of 2014 before choking and winning three (3) games, Minutemen back, looking for strong 2015 B-10 run…Offense actually pretty good, but defense unable to stop 8-man high school team, giving up an average of 304 rushing yards and 45 points every game…With loss in next two games, Minutemen can insure a season with at least five straight losses in every year they've played major division football since 1906.
Still A Few Bugs In The System: A pretty good academic school, team members still not entirely sure why New England school is in Mid-American conference, though all can identify East Carolina on a map.
Next Loss: Florida International
7. Sun Belt Conference (3-22)
Mitigating Factors: Sun Belt wrestles coveted, almost proprietary, B-10 Conference of the Week award from Mountain West with fairly routine 1-5 nonconference mark…Conference-wide emphasis on defense paying off, with four (4) teams giving up at least 40 points a game and four (4) more giving up at least 30 points per game.
BMOC: Conference still showing everyone who's boss, though, smacking around lower level schools (9-0) and rebounding with strong .500 mark in conference play.
8. Central Florida (0-4; lost to South Carolina 31-14)
Mitigating Factors: Knights make first ever B-10 appearance, based on strength of first 0-4 start since loveable 2004 squad ran the table at 0-11…While defense usually wins B-10 titles, Knights doing it with offense, ranking Dead Last in Total Offense, Scoring Offense and Rushing Offense…Offense in usual form vs Gamecocks, producing six (6) drives of ten (10) or fewer yards.
FunFact: With losses to both former B-10 perennial Florida International and lower level Furman, already in hand, Knights in prime position for first ever medal stand run.
Next Loss: at Tulane
9. Arkansas (1-3; lost to Texas A&M 28-21 OT)
Mitigating Factors: Razorbacks show mettle that leads straight to B-10 glory, holding Aggies to 65-yards rushing, rushing for 232-yards of their own and still losing…Razorbacks save best for crunch time, giving up late fourth quarter touchdown and game tying two-point conversion then, needing a touchdown in OT, producing a false start and three incompletions to secure loss.
Is It That Time Of The Year Already?: Razorbacks can do no worse than tie for Tostitos Plaque - issued to team(s) with the longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win - by losing out.
Next Loss: at Tennessee
10. Eastern Michigan (1-3; lost to Army 58-36)
Mitigating Factors: Only trailing by six (6) after third quarter, Eastern Michigan puts it away late, getting outscored 22-0 in final 14:59 of fourth period…Only win against Wyoming could produce strength of schedule points if Wyoming loses out…Complete inability to stop the run key, as Eagles give up 556 yards rushing to latest crop of army officer candidates…Surprising no one whatsoever, Eagles rank Dead Last in Rushing Offense (373.333333333 ypg)
FunFact: Eagles hampered by pregame NCAA ruling requiring Army opponents to roll over and play dead so Cadets can feel good about themselves before accepting commissions as army officers.
Next Loss: at LSU
This Week's Clash of the Titans: Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee
Land Of Enchantment: New Mexico State at New Mexico
Coming Up On Florida Public Access TV: UMess at Florida International
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