Bottom 25 college football rankings: Rutgers, UConn highlight an eventful playoff race
Anybody can rank the 25 best teams, only the Bottom 25 ranks the worst every week of the season
We're rapidly approaching the end of the college football regular season. Nearly every team in the country has two games left on the schedule, and some only have one. That means there's not much time left for our Bottom 25 teams to jockey for playoff positioning, but that doesn't mean there won't be plenty of drama in these coming weeks.
While I can't predict what's going to happen in these final weeks, I've been doing my rankings for a long time, so I have a good idea of what's likely and what isn't. Based on this experience and expertise, I can confidently say that, based on current scores, we have no fewer than 10 teams with a realistic shot at reaching The Bottom 25 Playoff. Obviously, some teams have better chances than others, but even if you have two wins, you may still be in the running.
So the Bottom 10 is the place we'll want to focus on as far as the playoff is concerned. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see how it plays out.
|25. Texas State||3-7||The Bobcats return to The Bottom 25 following a 38-7 loss to Appalachian State. With a road trip to Troy up next, there's a good chance they'll finish the season here, too. (Last week: Not ranked)|
|24. Ball State||3-7||The Cardinals have been off since losing to Toledo on Halloween night, but when they take the field again against Western Michigan, they'll be doing so as a Bottom 25 team. (NR)|
|23. UNLV||3-7||Shout out to the Rebels for a win nobody saw coming against San Diego State, but it wasn't enough to get out of the Bottom 25. The Aztecs have been a team my rankings have hated all season long, so it was only worth so much. A win in their final two games against Hawaii or Nevada should be enough to escape. (15)|
|22. UCLA||2-8||It wasn't that long ago the Bruins had won two straight and seemed to be turning a corner. They've lost three straight since then, though, but if there's any consolation, it's at least that the latest loss to Arizona State was only by three points. The Bruins finish with USC and Stanford at home. Putting a nail in Clay Helton's coffin this week might soothe the wounds of a lost season. (23)|
|21. Arkansas||2-8||The Razorbacks lost this weekend but fall two spots in the rankings because they played pretty well in a 24-17 loss to LSU. Well, when they weren't running into each other in the backfield, anyway. (19)|
|20. Colorado State||3-7||The Rams got crushed by Nevada on Saturday night, losing 49-10, but the game never felt as competitive as the score suggests. With Utah State and Air Force left on the schedule, I don't think this Rams team will be leaving us again. (24)|
|19. East Carolina||2-7||The Pirates lost 24-18 to Tulane on Saturday, and had an NCAA record 20 passes broken up in the game. Holton Ahlers threw 67 passes and only completed 21 of them -- and his team only lost by six points! (22)|
|18. Tulsa||2-8||Tulsa lost to Memphis 47-21 this weekend, but if it wants to get out of the Bottom 25, this weekend might offer the best hope: They hit the road to take on No. 17 Navy. (21)|
|17. Navy||2-8||Like Arkansas, Navy lost this weekend, but it falls in the rankings because it played pretty well against UCF in a 35-24 loss. Whether that says more about Navy or UCF, I'm not sure. (16)|
|16. UTSA||3-7||It's not just that the Roadrunners have lost four straight, it's the manner in which they've done so. UTSA has been outscored 155-30 in those four games. (20)|
|15. Kent State||2-8||The Flashes couldn't maintain their momentum of a win over Bowling Green, getting smacked by Buffalo 48-14 last week. Up next, it's another tough test in Toledo. (18)|
|14. New Mexico State||3-7||The Aggies had the week off. This week it's a road trip to BYU. (14)|
|13. North Carolina||1-8||The Tar Heels did what the have done all season in their game against Duke. They lost, but not by too much. Western Carolina comes to Chapel Hill this week, and that should be a win, but it won't be enough to fall out of the Bottom 25. (12)|
|12. Georgia State||2-8||I don't consider Georgia State one of our 10 playoff contenders, but with games left against Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, I can't say it's impossible. (11)|
|11. Oregon State||2-8||The Beavers are in a similar position to Georgia State. It's not impossible they could lose so badly that they fall to The Bottom 4, but with Washington and Oregon remaining, their SOS will likely be too strong. So they better lose by 100. (13)|
|10. Bowling Green||2-8||Bowling Green found the sweet spot. It won last week's Game of the Century of the Week against Central Michigan 24-13, but it's still within Bottom 25 Playoff range. This week it's a road trip to Akron. (2)|
|9. South Alabama||2-8||The Jaguars have lost three straight, but their final two games are somewhat winnable against Louisiana and Coastal Carolina. (10)|
|8. Louisville||2-8||Last week, I challenged Louisville to prove me wrong when I said it was a team that had quit on the season. Well, the Cardinals lost to Syracuse 54-23 and decided to pay Bobby Petrino $14 million to go away. So challenge not accepted, I guess. (7)|
|7. Central Michigan||1-10||The Chippewas lost a huge showdown with Bowling Green, and will now take the week off as they prepare for their season finale against Toledo. It's going to be a nerve-wracking weekend for the Chips watching all these Bottom 25 Playoff scenarios play out from home. (6)|
|6. Western Kentucky||1-9||The Hilltoppers fell to FAU over the weekend and have now lost six straight. But there's one big game left on the schedule ... (8)|
|5. UTEP||1-9||The Miners weren't able to turn one win into two last week, losing to Middle Tennessee 48-32. They'll have another shot this weekend, though, as they hit the road to take on No. 6 Western Kentucky in our Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week. It's practically a Bottom 25 Playoff game, folks. (5)|
|4. San Jose State||1-9||While they're on the playoff bubble here at No. 4, I feel confident about San Jose State's chances. They just dropped five spots after getting crushed 62-24 by Utah State (which should tell you how narrow the margins we're dealing with are), and their final two games are against a good Nevada team and a very good Fresno State team. I don't see the Spartans winning either. (9)|
|3. Rutgers||1-9||Rutgers lost to Michigan 42-7, and has now lost eight straight since a season-opening 35-7 win over No. 25 Texas State. With games left against Penn State and Michigan State, it's hard to see them finding that second win, but if they play too well, it could knock them out of playoff position. (4)|
|2. Rice||1-10||Rice was a lot more competitive against Louisiana Tech than I anticipated, losing 28-13. Will the Owls be as competitive this week against LSU? I'm going to say no. (3)|
|1. UConn||1-9||It's now or never for UConn. The Huskies had a couple of chances to win the last few weeks, playing UMass, Tulsa and SMU, and they failed in all three attempts. This week, the Huskies get No. 19 East Carolina. If they don't win that game, I doubt they beat Temple the following week. (1)|
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