In the brief history of The Bottom 25, it's around this time that we begin to see the rankings normalize a bit. While I can't predict with 100 percent certainty what's going to happen as I see results pouring in on a Saturday, I generally get a good idea of "this team will go up, this team will go down, and this one will stay about the same."
That's not happening this year, at least not in The Bottom 25. Things have stabilized a bit at the top of my rankings, but down here some chaos remains.
I don't know how much longer things will stay like this, but it's kind of fun to keep up with right now, so I don't mind it all that much.
Now, before we get to the chaos, a quick reminder on how all of this works.
1. My opinion has absolutely nothing to do with the rankings. They are based on a mathematical formula of my creation. Keep this in mind before you call me an idiot, which I know you will.
2. There is true equality to start. Math doesn't play favorites. Before the season begins, defending national champion Alabama is just as good as our defending Bottom 25 champion UCF. The only factor that matters in the rankings is how you've performed on the field in 2016.
3. Wins and losses mean more than anything. I have a lot of different statistics involved, and I factor in strength of schedule (remember, everybody begins the season with the same SOS), but at the end of the day whether you won or lost is going to mean more than anything else. Also, my formula doesn't have much respect for FCS teams.
4. Things are strange early in the season. Remember, these rankings are based on data, and early in the season, there isn't much of a sample size.
5. I won't share the formula. I just don't want to. I'm not a mathematician. I know my formula isn't perfect. I don't think a perfect formula can exist, so I don't share it because I don't care what anybody thinks about it. So don't ask.
Let's get rankin'.
25. Massachusetts, 1-3 (Last week: Not ranked): There was a while where I thought the Minutemen might actually knock off Mississippi State on Saturday, and by a moment, I mean the first three quarters. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs pulled away late, and knocked the Minutemen back to their old stomping grounds here in The Bottom 25.
Last week: 47-35 loss vs. Miss. State | Next Week: vs. Tulane
24. Iowa State, 1-3 (1): Iowa State won its first game of the season on Saturday and tumbled all the way down from No. 1 to No. 24. I expect it to start climbing again in the coming weeks.
Last week: 44-10 win vs. San Jose State | Next Week: vs. Baylor
23. Buffalo, 1-2 (19): Sure, there are a bunch of people mad at athletes for kneeling during the national anthem, but Buffalo ruining Army's bid for an undefeated season is more disrespectful to the troops in my opinion.
Last week: 23-20 win vs. Army | Next Week: at Boston College
22. UNLV, 1-3 (22): The Rebels had a big Bottom 25 matchup with Idaho and came up on the short end of the stick. Amazingly, it didn't affect their ranking and -- SPOILER ALERT -- the formula still likes them better than it does Idaho.
Last week: 33-30 loss vs. Idaho | Next Week: vs. Fresno State
21. Louisiana-Monroe, 1-2 (24): The Warhawks didn't play this week, but jumped up three spots anyway. The math wants what it wants.
Last week: No game | Next Week: at Auburn
Last week: 52-6 loss at Troy | Next Week: vs. UL-Lafayette
19. Kansas, 1-2 (23): The Jayhawks took last week up and moved up just like the Warhawks did. The math wants what it wants, and apparently it doesn't want hawks of any kind.
Last week: No game | Next Week: at Texas Tech
18. Idaho, 2-2 (3): I don't know what to tell you, Idaho. I haven't actually gone back through all the records, but I'm rather confident that you're the first 2-2 team in the history of The Bottom 25 rankings, so that's something to be proud of I guess.
Last week: 33-30 win at UNLV | Next Week: vs. Troy
17. Miami (OH), 0-4 (15): Ok, I'm convinced now. Miami is going to get somebody we don't expect it to this year. Sure, it lost to Eastern Illinois, but it's now hung with Western Kentucky and Cincinnati. It's going to win some games in the MAC.
Last week: 27-20 loss at Cincinnati | Next Week: vs. Ohio
Last week: No game | Next Week: at Appalachian State
15. Texas State, 1-2 (NR): Texas State has been out-scored 106-6 in its last two games, which is how you go from unranked right to No. 15 in The Bottom 25. And beating Incarnate Word by 100 won't get you out.
Last week: 64-3 loss at Houston | Next Week: vs. Incarnate Word
14. UTEP, 1-3 (25): The Miners have lost three in a row now, and have been out-scored 141-28 in the process. They just keep digging further into this hole. Do you get it? It's just a little joke about miners. A minor miner joke, if you will. Hey, you paid nothing to read this.
Last week: 34-7 loss vs. Southern Miss | Next Week: at Louisiana Tech
Last week: 59-28 loss vs. Louisville | Next Week: at Pitt
12. Fresno State, 1-3 (4): Fresno State drops eight spots even though it lost because it played a little too well in the process. I don't know how often that'll be the case from here on out, though.
Last week: 48-41 loss vs. Tulsa | Next Week: at UNLV
11. Illinois, 1-2 (13): The Illini took last week off, and their fans thank them for it.
Last week: No game | Next Week: at Nebraska
10. Northern Illinois, 0-4 (16): What is wrong with Northern Illinois this year? I knew things were off to a rough start, but a loss to Western Illinois? Really?
Last week: 28-23 loss vs. Western Illinois | Next Week: at Ball State
Last week: 48-0 loss at Alabama | Next Week: vs. Akron
8. Florida Atlantic, 1-3 (5): The Owls played pretty well in a four-point loss to Ball State this week, and drop three spots in the rankings. They'll have to keep their focus, however, as they have a big game coming up against FIU.
Last week: 31-27 vs. Ball State | Next Week: at FIU
7. Hawaii, 1-3 (8): Hawaii took a much-needed week off, and here's to hoping a week of relaxing on the beach will be just what this team needed.
Last week: No game | Next Week: vs. Nevada
6. Rice, 0-4 (2): The bad news for Rice is it lost to North Texas last week. The good news is that, as a member of Conference USA, the Owls will have plenty more chances to play bad teams and pick up some wins.
Last week: 42-35 loss vs. North Texas | Next Week: at Southern Miss
5. FIU, 0-4 (12): I feel bad for FIU. It's the first team to fire its coach this year, and people only cared for like five minutes because then Notre Dame fired Brian VanGorder and LSU fired Les Miles. But not to worry, Panther, you'll get plenty of attention this weekend when you play FAU in The Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week.
Last week: 53-14 loss vs. UCF | Next Week: vs. FAU
4. San Jose State, 1-3 (20): The Spartans went on the road to take on last week's No. 1 team in the Bottom 25, and they came home with a 34-point loss. That's how you climb from No. 20 to No. 4 in a hurry.
Last week: 44-10 loss at Iowa State | Next Week: at New Mexico
3. Charlotte, 1-3 (9): Listen, the 49ers aren't No. 1 right now, but I have a feeling this team has what it takes to get there.
Last week: 48-20 loss at Temple | Next Week: vs. Old Dominion
2. Bowling Green, 1-3 (6): Bowling Green has been outscored by 160 points in its first four games, and that includes a win! It's also allowed 77 points to both Ohio State and Memphis. This is a strong contender, folks. Don't take your eyes off it.
Last week: 77-3 loss at Memphis | Next Week: vs. Eastern Michigan
1. Arkansas State, 0-4 (7): From 2011 to 2015 the Red Wolves went 44-21 and went bowling in each season. Now they're 0-4 and just lost to Central Arkansas. Suffice it to say I did not see this coming.
Last week: 28-23 loss vs. Central Arkansas | Next Week: No game
No longer ranked: North Texas, Syracuse, Virginia, Old Dominion