Welcome to the third annual Bottom 25 Playoff, the most prestigious playoff not only in college football but sports in general. All season long, teams have battled for the right to be crowned the 2019 Bottom 25 champion, and today we find out which team will take home the trophy. Of course, while this is the seventh season of The Bottom 25, it's only the third with a playoff. Back in the old days, the trophy was simply awarded to the team that finished the season ranked No. 1. Those were simpler times.
This year's competition features four worthy teams, and before we get to the simulations -- despite our best efforts, we have not yet convinced the schools to play the games -- let's introduce this year's field.
No. 1 Akron: The Zips were the only FBS team in the country to finish the season without a single victory. In fact, things were so rough that Akron only managed to cover the spread in one game all season, and didn't do so until their 11th game of the season. The Zips are also the only team in the country to lose to our No. 2 team.
No. 2 UMass: UMass beat Akron 37-29 in October, and hasn't come close to beating anybody else on the schedule. The Minutemen defense was horrific, allowing 561.2 yards and 52.7 points per game this year. That was 75.5 more yards and 11.7 more points per game than their closest competition.
No. 3 UTEP: The Miners may be our No. 3 seed, but they're battle-tested. UTEP enters the playoff as the two-time defending champion and having never won a Bottom 25 playoff game. They won't be an easy out.
No. 4 Old Dominion: The Monarchs compiled an impressive Bottom 25 resume. They finished the season with a mark of 1-11, and the lone win came against Norfolk State. Against FBS competition, the Monarchs lost all 11 games by an average margin of 15.1 points per game. They only scored 21 touchdowns this season. The only teams to finish with fewer were No. 1 Akron and Rutgers.
Let's now get down to the business at hand and crown our 2019 Bottom 25 Playoff champion.
No. 2 UMass vs. No. 3 UTEP
This game was played on the baseball fields behind Fort River Elementary, and our reigning champions just couldn't overcome the home-field advantage. UTEP won 64 percent of the simulations by an average score of 40-31, meaning the Miners' time as champions came to an end. The Minutemen move on to the championship.
No. 1 Akron vs. No. 4 Old Dominion
Our favorites hosted this matchup at Akron's Kerr Park, which can be found behind the Save-A-Lot on Copley Rd. Once again, the home-field was too much to overcome. The Monarchs won a remarkable 79 percent of the simulations by an average score of 26-13.
No. 1 Akron vs. No. 2 UMass
The rematch the entire world was waiting for did not disappoint. Akron came into the game looking to avoid its first win of the year, while UMass was in search of revenge for its victory over the Zips in October. Two teams entered, one of them had to win, and one did just that ... barely. In the end, it was the Zips who won 55 percent of the simulations by an average score of 28-27. Both teams delivered all the drama fans could ask for in the most exciting Bottom 25 Championship of all time. In the end, it was UMass who was handed the coveted trophy and some expired gift cards to Blockbuster Video. The celebration in the streets of Amherst lasted into the wee morning hours, and the memories will last forever.
The Bottom 25 would like to thank SportsLine's Stephen Oh for running the simulations for us yet again, and would also like to send out a sincere thank you for reading. Next season is a long way off, but at least you have some bowl games and that other playoff to help pass the time until then.