I love The Bottom 25 all year round, but the early season Bottom 25 is my favorite version. Why? Well, I'm glad you asked, because it makes it so much easier for me to transition to the listicle-style intro I had already intended to write for this week's rendition.
1. The results are zanier. The longer the season goes on, the more "normal" the rankings will begin to look. It's early in the season when you see teams you don't expect to see ranked in The Bottom 25 populating the list. This week alone, we have eight Power Five teams in the rankings. That's nearly a third of our list. Three of those teams are SEC teams! How often do you think we're going to see three SEC teams in The Bottom 25?
2. It's more volatile. You'll see that all these reasons are related, but I broke them up anyway. We see bigger swings earlier in the season because there's less data to work with. Typically, a little over a month into the season, we begin to see teams settle into what they are and what they'll likely continue to be. That's not the case this week, as we see nine teams leave the rankings, nine new teams enter and a bunch of movement amongst the 16 teams that remained.
3. Hope lives on. I want every single team to get out of The Bottom 25. I know it's impossible, as 25 teams will remain no matter what, but if you're ranked in September, there's still a chance to get out. The later in the season you're here, the more likely you are to remain. Hope dwindles. I like hope. We should have more of it, but unfortunately, we can't hold onto it forever.
And that's why I prefer the early season Bottom 25. Now, before I get to the rankings, make sure you read past the rankings this week, as I'm adding a couple of new features to The Bottom 25 this season.
|25. Miami (FL)||0-2||Maybe we should rename the No. 25 spot The Miami Spot. Last week it was Miami Ohio and this week it's the Canes. Miami fans can at least take solace in the fact that every winless team is ranked this week, and it's at No. 25, behind eight teams with a win. That usually bodes well. (Last Week: Not Ranked)|
|24. Louisiana Tech||1-1||The Bulldogs bounced back from the loss to Texas with a narrow 20-14 win over Grambling. That's not enough to get out of The Bottom 25. Maybe a win at Bowling Green will do it. (15)|
|23. UTSA||1-1||That win over Incarnate Word wasn't enough to keep the Roadrunners from entering The Bottom 25 following a 63-14 loss to Baylor. A win over Incomplete Sentence would have said more. (NR)|
|22. Georgia Tech||1-1||The Bees get on the board after beating South Florida 14-10 in last week's Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week. This week, it's The Citadel. (9)|
|21. Old Dominion||1-1||In the last three blurbs we've gone through schools called Incarnate Word, The Citadel, and now Old Dominion. What a time to be alive! The Monarchs (Monarchs!) get Original Dominion (Virginia) this week. (NR)|
|20. UTEP||1-1||Our two-time defending champions make their 2019 debut after a 38-3 loss to Texas Tech. The Miners will have this week off, but face Nevada at home on 9/21. (NR)|
|19. Arkansas||1-1||I don't know if Nick Starkel is the answer, but based on what I've seen, he's the best option. Can he lead the Hogs to revenge against Colorado State this week? (NR)|
|18. Fresno State||0-2||Fresno is here because it's 0-2 and it's impossible to escape The Bottom 25 at 0-2 after two weeks. Still, this is a team that's lost by a total of 11 points against two Power Five teams in USC and Minnesota. It won't be here long. (NR)|
|17. Toledo||0-1||The Rockets took the week off after losing to Kentucky in the opener. This early in the season, when everybody else has a second game to balance things out a bit, taking a bye has significant ramifications in the rankings. Murray State is up this week. (24)|
|16. Northwestern||0-1||Northwestern's in the same spot as Toledo as they had a bye last week. In Week 2. I don't get having a bye in Week 2, but Pat Fitzgerald did say it was coming at the right time considering how banged up his team was after the Stanford loss. I do wonder if he'll still feel that way once Northwestern plays consecutive games against Michigan State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State and Iowa. UNLV is up first, however. (23)|
|15. Oregon State||0-2||The Beavers were up 28-14 on Hawaii late in the first half and then stopped scoring. They lost 31-28, and now they're 0-2 with Cal Poly coming this week. (20)|
|14. Tennessee||0-2||It was so heartwarming last week to not only be yelled at by non-Tennessee fans for the Vols not being ranked, but having Vols fans upset to find themselves unranked. It lets me know how much The Bottom 25 means to the people. Not sure it should mean enough to let BYU receivers run free in your secondary in the final minutes, but I appreciate the gesture. (NR)|
|13. UCLA||0-2||If I could post gifs in these recaps, then this would be the best gif I could find after typing "yikes" into the search function on Giphy. UCLA's next three games are Oklahoma, Washington State and Arizona before they get Oregon State. I don't think they'll be going anywhere for a while! (22)|
|12. Rice||0-2||Rice is 0-2, and I've seen it play both of its games. Odds are it's going to be 0-4 with Texas and Baylor coming up next, but you know what? This team is so far ahead of where it was last season already. That's a good sign for the future. (NR)|
|11. Georgia Southern||1-1||The 26-18 win wasn't enough to fix the damage LSU inflicted on the Eagles in Week 1, but it was enough to get them out of The Bottom 10. (1)|
|10. West Virginia||1-1||The second-best yikes gif I found while searching for one in UCLA's blurb would go right here. Cuz, man, yikes. It's going to be a long year in Morgantown. NC State is up next. (NR)|
|9. Texas State||0-2||Full disclosure: With North Texas, UTEP, UTSA and Rice all in Conference USA, I always forget that Texas State is in the Sun Belt and not C-USA. Anyway, the Bobcats didn't look all that bad in a 23-14 loss to Wyoming. A road trip to SMU (AAC) awaits this week. (5)|
|8. FAU||0-2||I don't know if Florida Atlantic is going backward or if it just opened the season against Ohio State and UCF, and we're seeing the normal results of that. I suppose we'll find out this week when the Owls head north to Ball State, which is not a state but is in the state of Indiana. (17)|
|7. Akron||0-2||The Zips were smashed by Illinois to open the season, but looked feistier at home against UAB last week. This week they hit the road again to take on Central Michigan. (6)|
|6. Vanderbilt||0-2||Vanderbilt started its season with Georgia, then followed it up with a road game against Purdue. Now it gets to return home on Saturday, where it'll find LSU waiting. Odds are Vandy will be here again next week! (10)|
|5. FIU||0-2||The people I've talked to about FIU's 0-2 start to the season all agree that it's CBSSports.com editor Brandon Wise's fault. Will Brandon curse the Panthers against New Hampshire this week too? Probably! (11)|
|4. Liberty||0-2||I swear Liberty didn't climb from No. 13 to No. 4 this week because Hugh Freeze climbed into my mentions to try and guilt me for tweeting that he seems to like attention. No, it was the 35-14 loss to the Ragin' Cajuns that did it. (13)|
|3. South Florida||0-2||According to the Elias Sports Bureau, USF is the second FBS team to lose at least eight straight games following a winning streak of at least eight games since the classification began in 1937. The last team to do it was Ball State during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Congrats! (2)|
|2. UMass||0-2||The Minutemen followed a 48-21 loss to Rutgers with a 45-20 home loss to Southern Illinois. That's what we call Declaring Intent. This is a team that has a Bottom 25 title in its sight this year. A road trip to Charlotte is next. (19)|
|1. New Mexico State||0-2||The Aggies have opened their season with road games against Washington State and Alabama. They've been outscored 120-17 in those two games. That's how you reach No. 1, folks. This week the Aggies play San Diego State. (3)|
Week 2 Superlatives
As many of you know, I rank all 130 teams using a mathematical formula I created. That system is how I compile The Bottom 25, but for those of you interested in how the rest of the rankings look, you can see them all right here (it's updated weekly after The Bottom 25 is published). I will also be sharing some weekly superlatives from the rankings here in The Bottom 25.
Highest Climber: Missouri climbed 58 spots in my rankings, from No. 110 to No. 52 after spanking West Virginia 38-7.
Biggest Faller: Nevada, which will face UTEP in this week's Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week, fell 61 spots from No. 44 to No. 105 after losing to Oregon 77-6.
Most Fraudulent Undefeated Team: Congratulations, San Diego State. There are 44 2-0 teams in the country right now, and you rank dead last amongst them at No. 65 overall.
Best 1-Loss Team: We know Miami is the best winless team in the country based on The Bottom 25 rankings. The best 1-loss team in the country is Oregon, who helped Nevada fall 61 spots this week while climbing 51 places of its own to No. 38.