The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 6
By Gaylon Kent
The Writer's Shack
October 6, 2015
Bottom Ten pollsters are fondly recalling the days when they'd lift a manhole cover and see scores of bugs running around.
It's similar to the feeling when they look at the NCAA football scoreboard for this past weekend: scores of Bottom Ten contenders trying to separate themselves from the pack.
Good luck. New Mexico returned to action, coming back strong after a bye week extending the Nation's Longest Losing Streak (NLLS) to 14 and the field is so strong this week Bottom Ten staffers suspended the Conference of the Week Award, though it probably would've been won by the Sun Belt Conference anyway.
This week's mess:
1. New Mexico State (0-4; lost to New Mexico 38-19)
Mitigating Factors: Takes annual Lone Ranger Cup - issued to loser of nation's worst rivalry, as winner of this game has not finished season with winning record since Lobos in 2005…Aggies bravely overcome 26-14 halftime lead as offense counters with three (3) punts, two (2) interceptions and a safety in second half, while defense chips in three (3) touchdowns runs totaling 74-yards.
FunFact: Teams thrill ESPN792 audience with 100 running plays and just 45 passing plays…While B-10 pollsters don't have any specific figures, they are "pretty sure" this was "really boring and stuff".
Next Loss: at Ole Miss
2. Wyoming (0-5; lost to Appalachian State 31-13)
Mitigating Factors: Though kicked out of top spot by return of New Mexico State, Cowboys easily retain spot on B-10 medal stand berth…Latest fiasco anchored by three (3) turnovers, including interception run back for touchdown...Though Cowboys hardly a statistical juggernaut, offense putting it all together to stay out of (opponents) end zone, managing to rank 119th in Scoring Offense (19.4 ppg)…Current eight (8) game skid second best in nation.
Broad Historical Context: Cowboys can start season 0-6 for first time since 1939 squad started 0-7.
Next Loss: at Air Force
3. Idaho (1-4; lost to Arkansas State 49-35)
Mitigating Factors: Nicely navigating minefield that is Sun Belt Conference play with stirring road conference loss…Defense struts stuff, forcing four (4) fumbles but only recovering one (1)...With Oct. 31 showdown with New Mexico State looming, Vandals can't be caught looking ahead with losable games against Troy and UL-Monroe coming up... Only blemish on record Week 3 win vs lower level school and has not beaten two major division teams in same season since 2010.
FunFact: "Want To Be A Vandal" link on Vandal homepage clicked even less than "Read The Latest Bottom Ten" link at the Writer's Shack.
Next Loss: at Troy
4. Kansas (0-4; lost to Iowa State 38-13)
Mitigating Factors: Jayhawks knocking on medal stand door with seventh straight loss… Jayhawks take drama out of this one relatively early, busting out to 24-0 third quarter deficit…Jayhawks possessors of Nation's Longest Road Losing Streak (NLRLS) at 32 and are 0-4 for first time since historic 1988 squad started 0-8.
Bound For Glory: Jayhawks can really solidify B-10 medal cred with obligatory blowout home loss to national power this week.
Next Loss: Baylor
5. North Texas (0-4; lost to Southern Mississippi 49-14)
Mitigating Factors: Thinking game was being played under experimental First-Team-To-Score-14-Points-After-Trailing-35-0-Wins rule, former B-10 perennials score 14 in fourth quarter after spotting Southern Mississippi 35-0 lead…Offense humming on all cylinder(s), producing a missed field goal, six (6) punts and an interception before turning ball over on downs twice….First 0-4 start since iconic 2008 squad started 0-8 and finished season on B-10 medal stand.
Strength Of Schedule: With previous 2015 opponents have combined .333 winning percentage and remaining opponents winning at just a .433 clip, Sorta Mean Green waltzing through one of toughest B-10 schedules in country.
Next Loss: Portland State
6. Central Florida (0-5; lost to Tulane 45-31)
Mitigating Factors: Nobody moving football worse than the Knights, who rank Dead Last in Rushing Offense (49.4) and Total Offense (266.4)…Three (3) late touchdowns not enough to overcome giving up 28 points off of four (4) turnovers…Knights trying to become first team since Southern Mississippi in 2012 to run table and win B-10 title the year after appearing in second-tier bowl game nobody wanted to see in the first place.
Might As Well Include It Here: Knights have gone from 175 rushing yards to minus-35 rushing yards in two week, meaning they should be on track to break all-time NCAA single game record of minus-109 yards rushing by Halloween.
Next Loss: UConn
7. Eastern Michigan (1-4; lost to LSU 44-22)
Mitigating Factors: Strong start, finish, key for Eagles in avoiding road upset, as offense starts game with three (3) punts and an (an) interception, finishes with two (2) interceptions…Eagle defense gives up 420 rushing yards, including 242 to one player, while Eagle offense produces three (3) runners that break magical zero (0) yard barrier…With offense having put up 58 points in last two (2) games, Eagles still in B-10 chase thanks to stalwart defense, which ranks Dead Last in Rushing Defense (378.4 ypg) and
All Along The Watchtower: With losses to teams from dreaded ConferenceUSA, the always-tough MAC, the SEC and a service academy, Eagles constructing the type of balanced B-10 run that gets pollsters attention.
Next Loss: Akron
8. Cheyney (0-5; lost to Bloomsburg 63-0)
Mitigating Factors: All systems "go" for second straight Continental Cup - issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in ISIS sphere of influence - as Division II Wolves lose 37th straight game…Offense, defense working in total harmony as offense punts on every possession while defense gives up touchdowns on all but two (2) possessions.
Backwards, March!: With 48 penalty yards and 40 yards lost rushing, Wolves have more backwards yards (88) than forwards yards (69).
Next Loss: East Stroudsburg (Homecoming)
9. Fresno State (1-4; lost to San Diego State 21-7)
Mitigating Factors: Winless since their opening win vs lower level team, Bulldogs throw hat into ring for Tostitos Plaque - issued to team with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win - with fourth straight loss…Bulldogs another team that can't move the football, putting up twelve (12) rushing yards and 77 passing yards and ranking Next-To-Next-To-Dead-Last in Total Offense and 100th or worse in every other offensive category.
FunFact: Defense all in for B-10 run, too, giving up 40.2 points per game.
Next Loss: Utah State
10. Army (1-4; lost to Penn State 20-14)
Mitigating Factors: Cadets back on losing side of ledger, with close road loss that will serve them well in quest for Sgt Bilko Trophy - symbolic of service academy lousiness…Black Knights of Confusion hampered by pregame Defense Department regulation requiring Cadets to just haul off and kick ball carriers square in the cubes, which resulted in NCAA record 936 penalty yards. …Special teams doing its part, ranking 116th in Punt Returns (7.1 feet per return) and 118th in Kickoff Returns (17.06 ypr)
Do Re Mi: Plan to distract Penn State coaching staff with sideline performance by Vienna Boys Choir thwarted when mix-up inadvertently gave credentials to Insane Clown Posse tribute act.
Next Loss: Duke
This Week's Clash of the Titans: Akron at Eastern Michigan
Sun Belt Conference Thriller of the Week: Idaho at Troy
Bottom Ten Alumni Association:Duke at Army
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