This is a special week for The Bottom 25, in what has been a special season. On Saturday, The Athletic's Matt Brown tweeted about the possibility of Oregon State, Wake Forest, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky all going bowling this season. All are eligible already save for Oregon State, and all five have been familiar with The Bottom 25 in their time. Well, the last time those five all went bowling in the same season was that magical 2007 season in which anything was up for grabs.
Basically, if you don't remember, the 2007 college football season was like a high school party in a movie about a high school party. It was in no way realistic, and the only place you would see it is in an unrealistic Hollywood script. I mean, West Virginia nearly made the title game!
Anyway, the point is that this season has seen parity like never before in The Bottom 25. Two new Power Five programs enter the rankings this week, meaning nine Power Five teams are ranked this week. That's 36% of the poll. Furthermore, each Power Five conference is represented.
I'm too lazy to double-check, but I'm quite confident in saying this is the first time that we've had so many Power Five teams ranked in The Bottom 25 this late in the season. Will it finish that way? Only one week left for our Bottom 25 teams to find out!
Oh, and there's also the bit about The Bottom 25 Playoff. As we enter the final week of the regular season for our competitors, I'd say six teams have a chance to make it should they play poorly enough.
|25. North Texas||4-7||It has been a rough season for the Not-So-Mean Green, who re-enter the rankings after losing to Rice. North Texas is 4-1 at home this year, but 0-6 on the road. So maybe it'll beat UAB in Denton this week? (Last Week: Not Ranked)|
|24. Arizona||4-7||Remember when Arizona started the season 4-1? I know Texas A&M fans are going to have a hard time believing this, but a Kevin Sumlin team started hot but has faded down the stretch. The Wildcats have lost six in a row and were pasted by Oregon and Utah the last two weeks. (NR)|
|23. East Carolina||4-7||The Pirates put an end to their five-game losing streak, but it turns out a 31-24 win over UConn isn't quite enough to get out of The Bottom 25. (18)|
|22. NC State||4-7||I guess NC State isn't one of those programs that can keep reloading. After consecutive nine-win seasons, the Wolfpack will be lucky to win five games this year, as they've dropped five straight after losing to No. 16 Georgia Tech 28-26. (NR)|
|21. Tulsa||3-8||Tulsa wasn't able to pick up a second consecutive win, falling at home to Houston 24-14. It helped Houston get out of The Bottom 25. If Tulsa wants to do the same, it'll have to beat No. 23 East Carolina this week. (25)|
|20. Kansas||3-8||The bad news is Kansas is 1-7 in Big 12 play. The good news is that each of their last five losses has come against teams that were ranked at the time. This week that sixth loss will likely come against Baylor. (21)|
|19. UTSA||4-7||UTSA's four wins this season have come against UTEP, Rice, Old Dominion, and Incarnate Word. Incarnate Word is the only one of those not currently ranked in The Bottom 25, and I can guarantee you that it would be if it were an FBS program. (20)|
|18. Maryland||3-8||Maryland scored 28 points in a 34-28 loss to Indiana on Oct. 19. It has scored 38 points in four games since. It has allowed 217. I would say that this week's game against Michigan State is winnable, but I'm not sure any game is winnable for the Terps right now. (23)|
|17. UNLV||3-8||On Saturday, UNLV beat San Jose State 38-35 to end a four-game losing streak. On Monday, it announced Tony Sanchez won't return next year but will coach this week against Nevada. Would he have been allowed to coach the game had he lost this week? Such weird timing. (16)|
|16. Georgia Tech||3-8||As mentioned earlier, Tech beat NC State this week to pick up its second ACC win. Maybe this week it can turn the world on its head by beating Georgia. That would likely be enough to get it out of The Bottom 25, whereas beating NC State only drops you three spots. (13)|
|15. Rice||2-9||I'm just so happy for the Owls. To not only get that first win like I said they were going to but to then follow it up with another win? They might finish the season on a three-game win streak! (10)|
|14. Northwestern||2-9||As an Illinois fan, I have to confess how relieved I was that the Illini picked up their sixth win of the season against Michigan State. Because if Illinois went into their season-finale against a 2-9 Northwestern team needing a win to get to a bowl game, the Wildcats would have played their best game in years and beat it. Of course, it still might. That's just the kind of emotion the Land of Lincoln Trophy brings out in a competitor. (17)|
|13. Vanderbilt||3-8||The Commodores beat East Tennessee State 38-0, and can now finish off their bid for state supremacy by beating Tennessee this week. I'm pretty sure it's Tennessee state law that if Vandy beats both the Vols and East Tennessee State in the same season, the state's nickname must be changed to The Commodore State. (8)|
|12. Texas State||3-8||The Bobcats dropped one to Appalachian State on Saturday and will finish the season at Coastal Carolina. I wish I had something witty to say here. I don't. (15)|
|11. Bowling Green||3-8||On our preseason win totals episode of The Cover 3 Podcast, Chip Patterson, Barton Simmons and I all took the under on three wins for Bowling Green. So if you thought the Falcons' season finale against Buffalo this week was meaningless, well, don't you feel stupid. (14)|
|10. New Mexico||2-9||The Lobos are parting ways with Bob Davie and need to knock off Utah State to avoid finishing the season on a nine-game losing streak. (11)|
|9. Arkansas||2-9||What can I say about Arkansas that would be any worse than what Ed Orgeron said about it following LSU's 56-20 win? The Hogs finish the season Friday against Missouri. (12)|
|8. New Mexico State||2-9||Oh, you thought Rice was the only team to go from 0-9 to 2-9 this week? Nope! The Aggies took down UTEP 44-35 in The Bottom 25 Game of the Century of Last Week and knocked themselves out of Bottom 25 Playoff position. (3)|
|7. UConn||2-9||UConn can get into The Bottom 25 Playoff, but it would need a lot of help, and one exceptional performance at Temple this week. It's a longshot, but never doubt UConn's ability to play poorly. (6)|
|6. South Alabama||1-10||Like UConn, the Jaguars need help. But looking at the numbers, South Alabama could climb up to No. 4 this week. It would likely need Rutgers to win at a minimum, and for Old Dominion to play well in its finale. Oh, and the Jaguars would have to lose to Arkansas State. That's pretty important too. (7)|
|5. Rutgers||2-9||I'm still laughing at the Rutgers athletic department trying to convince us all that Greg Schiano -- GREG SCHIANO -- wasn't all-in on the idea of returning to Rutgers. The man left a job with the Patriots before the season just in case the Rutgers job came open! Anyway, the Knights finish the season at Penn State. That should go well. (9)|
|4. Old Dominion||1-10||After losing to Middle Tennessee 38-17 on Saturday, the Monarchs have lost 10 straight. This week they get Charlotte. Might they catch the 49ers sleeping off their bowl celebration? (5)|
|3. UTEP||1-10||It's pretty simple for the Miners. They either beat No. 15 Rice in The Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week on Saturday, or they're in The Bottom 25 Playoff playing for a third-consecutive Bottom 25 title. (4)|
|2. Akron||0-11||Oh, did I forget to mention we have a new No. 1 team this week? That's how you drop a surprise, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, Akron played so well (and UMass is just so, so, so bad) against Miami (Ohio) last week that it dropped to No. 2. It has one last chance to pick up a win this week against Ohio. On Tuesday night #WeAreAllZips. (1)|
|1. UMass||1-11||UMass has indeed clinched a Bottom 25 Playoff berth, but it hasn't secured the No. 1 seed. Seriously, Akron has stayed at No. 1 since UMass beat the Zips earlier this season, but Akron's winless record was the only thing holding it at No. 1. Pretty much every metric I use for my rankings has suggested that UMass is (far) worse than anybody else out there. It will get a chance to prove it in the playoff. (2)|
No Longer Ranked: Middle Tennessee (19), Houston (22), Louisiana-Monroe (24)
Week 13 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.
Biggest Climber: Ohio is the only team standing between Akron and a winless season, and this week the Bobcats climbed from No. 102 to No. 84 after beating Bowling Green 66-24. Of course, while the Zips need to beat Ohio to get a win this year, the Bobcats need to beat Akron to gain bowl eligibility. So there's a lot on the line in Akron this week.
Biggest Faller: It turns out that losing to Louisiana 53-3 will knock you down 15 spots. Troy fell from No. 70 to No. 85. This week it needs to beat Appalachian State to get a sixth win.
Most Average Team: This week the most average team in the country is No. 64 Buffalo. The 6-5 Bulls rank 1.34% above FBS average.
Best Four-Loss Team: You might have thought it would be Texas A&M or Iowa State. Maybe it's USC? Nope, it's Kansas State. The Wildcats check in at No. 30 in my rankings, ahead of five 8-3 teams.
Worst Bowl Eligible Team: That would be Georgia Southern, which checks in at No. 83 overall, behind 10 teams that need one more win to reach bowl eligibility.
Best Five-Win Team: One of those five-win teams above Georgia Southern is 5-6 Oregon State, which ranks No. 66 in my rankings. All it needs to do to reach a bowl game is beat Oregon in Eugene for the first time since 2007. Yes, the same 2007 season from the lede to this column. We've come full circle!