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The Bottom 25: Week 1

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer
Derek Mason is one of three SEC coaches whose team is in The Bottom 25
Derek Mason is one of three SEC coaches whose team is in The Bottom 25. (USATSI)

Anybody can put together a ranking of the 25 best teams in the country, but it takes a true college football fan to compile a list of the 25 worst teams. Every Tuesday of the regular season the Eye On College Football's Tom Fornelli will do just that.

Last year I debuted The Best Worst Ten here at CBSSports.com, and it proved to be pretty popular. It turns out that people like debating between the worst teams in the country nearly as much as they like discussing the best, so I've brought it back this season but now it's bigger and better than ever.

I won't just be ranking the worst 10 teams in the country. I'll be ranking the worst 25 teams in the country. Welcome to The Bottom 25.

Each Tuesday I'll rank the 25 worst teams in the FBS, and like I did with the Best Worst 10, I'll be using my own personal mathematical formula to do so. I won't explain the entire formula to you, but here are a few key aspects of it that you should keep in mind.

THINGS YOU NEED TO REMEMBER ABOUT THE FORMULA

-- It weighs wins and losses more than anything. Not only that you win or lose, but who you won/lost against and how much you won/lost by.

-- It does not care about anything any of these teams have ever done in previous years, or where the media has them ranked to start the season. Every single team has a clean slate. At the beginning of the season Florida State is just as good as New Mexico State. Actual results on the field trump everything.

-- Things are going to be strange early due to the limited sample size. If you're 0-1 and you lost by a significant amount of points in your opener, the formula doesn't care who you are, or what conference you play in, you're probably going to be ranked here.

THINGS I NEED TO REMEMBER ABOUT THE FORMULA

-- Just about everybody has skipped past your explanation of the formula and seen that their favorite team is ranked here and is now currently unleashing a bunch of f-bombs at you in the comments below and on Twitter. Don't worry about it, though, because if they were smart enough to read the explanation above they'd probably root for a team that didn't suck so much.

And with that out of the way, let's get to the first edition of 2014's The Bottom 25!

25. South Carolina 0-1

Average Score: 28-52

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 52-28 vs. Texas A&M

This Week: vs. East Carolina

This is what happens when you open your season at home as a 9.5-point favorite and then proceed to get blown out by 24 points. I don't expect South Carolina to call the The Bottom 25 home for very long, but they're here now and I guess Clemson fans that are still licking their wounds from the Georgia loss can cling to this for a while.

24. Arkansas 0-1

Average Score: 21-45

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 45-21 at Auburn

This Week: vs. Nicholls State

Wow, is there a poll the SEC can't dominate? The Razorbacks looked impressive during the first half against Auburn, but then, like an elevator stuck in a shaft, the offense couldn't go anywhere in the second half.

23. New Mexico 0-1

Average Score: 24-31

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 31-24 vs. UTEP

This Week: vs. Arizona State

New Mexico didn't lose big against UTEP in its opener, but that doesn't mean the Lobos played well, either. They fell behind 24-7 in the first half and a noble comeback effort in the second half just wasn't enough.

22. Kent State 0-1

Average Score: 14-17

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 17-14 vs. Ohio

This Week: vs. South Alabama

The Golden Flashes didn't show many flashes during their season-opening loss, as the offense managed only 294 yards of offense and could not take advantage of four Ohio turnovers.

21. Colorado 0-1

Average Score: 17-31

Best Win: None

Worst Loss 31-17 vs. Colorado State

This Week: at UMass

If you listen closely you can still hear Colorado State's Dee Hart and Treyous Jarrells running over the Buffaloes defense. The Buffs had a 17-7 lead in this game about halfway through the third quarter and then gave up 24 unanswered points to lose to their state rival.

20. Fresno State 0-1

Average Score 13-52

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 52-13 at USC

This Week: at Utah

The Fresno State defense will be spending a lot of time in the ice tub this week after being on the field for 105 plays against the Trojans last week. Maybe the offense can do better than 2-for-12 on third downs next week to give that defense a break?

19. Miami (OH)

Average Score: 27-42

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 42-27 vs. Marshall

This Week: vs. Eastern Kentucky

A pretty disappointing start for our defending champions. The RedHawks looked somewhat plucky against a Marshall team that many expect to compete for an access bowl spot this year. You know how many times Miami managed to score 27 points last season? Not once. The most points it scored in any game last year was 17 against Akron.

18. Rice

Average Score: 17-48

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 48-17 at Notre Dame

This Week: Off

Rice is another team I don't expect to be in these rankings for a long time, but it found itself in the wrong place at the wrong time to open the season. The Owls fell victim to Everett Golson in his return to South Bend.

17. Wake Forest

Average Score: 10-17

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 17-10 at Louisiana-Monroe

This Week: vs. Gardner-Webb

And here's a team I suspect we'll see a lot of in these rankings. Sure, the Demon Deacons only lost by seven points on the road, but oh my god was it terrible. Frankly, if Louisiana-Monroe had played better Wake would probably be a top-five team here, as the Deacons managed only 94 yards of offense in the entire game.

16. Louisiana Tech

Average Score: 16-48

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 48-16 at Oklahoma

This Week: at Louisiana-Lafayette

Overall the numbers for Louisiana Tech in this game weren't too terrible, but in reality the score was 31-0 before halftime and the Bulldogs did some cosmetic damage in the fourth quarter to make things look a little better than they actually were.

15. SMU

Average Score: 0-45

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 45-0 at Baylor

This Week: at North Texas

Is it strange that I feel like SMU should be proud of itself for only allowing 45 points against Baylor? I figured the Bears were going to do everything in their power to put up at least 70 as they christened their new stadium.

14. UMass

Average Score: 7-30

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 30-7 vs. Boston College

This Week: vs. Colorado

UMass was one of the constants in last year's Best Worst Ten, and not much about its performance against Boston College this weekend leads me to believe it won't be a regular here as well.

13. FAU

Average Score: 7-55

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 55-7 at Nebraska

This Week: at Alabama

I don't know who put together FAU's schedule to open this season, but they must be a big fan of pain. The Owls allowed 784 yards of offense against Nebraska on Saturday and now follow that up with a trip to Tuscaloosa to take on the Tide. Somebody will be climbing these rankings next week!

12. Iowa State

Average Score: 14-34

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 34-14 vs. North Dakota State

This Week: vs. Kansas State

If you lose to an FCS opponent you're going to find yourself in these rankings. There's no getting around it, even if that FCS opponent is the powerhouse that is North Dakota State. If you'd have asked me last week which team was most likely to lose to an FCS team I'd have told you Iowa State. If you asked me now for a Power 5 conference team that will likely hang around the top 10 of The Bottom 25 for most of the season, I'd have told you Iowa State. And Wake Forest.

11. Houston

Average Score: 7-27

Best Win: None

Worst Loss 27-7 vs. UTSA

This Week: vs. Grambling State

Imagine how I felt watching Houston get beat up at home by UTSA on Saturday. I actually picked the Cougars to win the American Athletic Conference this season, and while that's still possible, I'm not exactly optimistic about my chances.

10. Utah State

Average Score: 7-38

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 38-7 at Tennessee

This Week: vs. Idaho State

Did you know that going into Utah State's Sunday night game against Tennessee the Aggies were only a 3.5-point underdog? Yeah, I don't know if the final score says more about our underrating Tennessee or overrating Utah State, but the performance was enough to make Utah State a top 10 team this week. Congrats!

9. UNLV

Average Score: 13-58

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 58-13 at Arizona

This Week: vs. Northern Colorado

Yeah, so if you lose by 45 points and give up 787 yards in the process, you're probably going to find yourself pretty high in these rankings. While the Rebels should beat Northern Colorado this week, I don't think it'll be enough to guarantee they leave The Bottom 25 next week. But at least they'll get out of the top 10.

8. North Texas

Average Score: 7-38

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 38-7 at Texas

This Week: vs. SMU

Have you ever seen One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest? Well, you know the scene where Chief smothers Jack Nicholson with the pillow? That's exactly what the Texas defense did to North Texas in this game, with the only difference being that the Texas defense didn't rip out the sink to break out through the window. No, after suffocating North Texas the Longhorns just dropped that sink right on North Texas' face instead.

7. Appalachian State

Average Score: 14-52

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 52-14 at Michigan

This Week: vs. Campbell

You can expect to see Appalachian State in these rankings regularly as it makes the move from FCS to FBS. Sure, the idea of the Mountaineers beating Michigan in Ann Arbor for a second time was fun to think about, but it never really had a basis in reality.

6. Southern Miss

Average Score: 0-49

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 49-0 at Mississippi State

This Week: vs. Alcorn State

Southern Miss was one of the biggest disappointments to me last season. It went into the final week of the regular season with the top spot in these rankings all but wrapped up and then it went and won a game. Saturday's opener against Mississippi State showed me that this is a team that's looking to right that wrong in 2014.

5. Vanderbilt

Average Score: 7-37

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 37-7 vs. Temple

This Week: vs. Ole Miss

I don't know what I have to say to explain Vanderbilt's position in these rankings other than it lost at home to Temple by 30 points while committing seven turnovers. I'm pretty sure this isn't the top-five ranking Derek Mason dreamed of when taking the job.

4. UConn

Average Score: 10-35

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 35-10 vs. BYU

This Week: vs. Stony Brook

The Huskies only lost by 25 points to BYU, but if you actually watched the game it felt like a lot more. And if not for a couple BYU turnovers and 15 BYU penalties, it probably would have been.

3. Troy

Average Score: 10-48

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 48-10 at UAB

This Week: vs. Duke

Now, as I explained at the beginning of this post, my formula for these rankings doesn't take any team's history into account. That being said, losing by 38 points to a team that went 2-10 last season is a pretty good indicator of why Troy is ranked so high after this loss.

2. Bowling Green

Average Score: 31-59

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 59-31 at Western Kentucky

This Week: vs. VMI

Bowling Green won the MAC last season. I do not expect Bowling Green to spend the entire season ranked this highly, or even in these rankings. But none of that changes the fact that Bowling Green allowed 708 yards on defense and committed 11 penalties as a team while losing to Western Kentucky by four touchdowns.

1. FIU

Average Score: 12-14

Best Win: None

Worst Loss: 14-12 vs. Bethune-Cookman

This Week: vs. Wagner

Good news, FIU! There's still a media outlet covering you, and it's us! I mean, how could we ignore you after you lost to Bethune-Cookman for the second straight season? Some people have questioned the decisions made around your athletic department in recent years, but that's just because those people don't share the same vision you do. It takes a an outside-the-box operation to figure out a way to make sure you can dominate The Bottom 25, and that's just what you have going for you.

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