The regular season has come to an end. There might be conference championships left to play, and a College Football Playoff to determine, but the only playoff that matters has already been decided.
The 2019 Bottom 25 Playoff will include four teams who have what it takes to claim the crown. One of them comes in as two-time defending champions with the expertise and know-how to get things done in December. The other three might not have the experience, but they have the ability.
Your 2019 Bottom 25 Playoff field is as follows:
Akron will host Old Dominion at Kerr Park behind the Save A Lot on Copley Road. UMass will host UTEP at the baseball fields behind Fort River Elementary. The teams that win the least will move on to The Bottom 25 Championship Game at a place to be determined.
All of that will happen next week. For now, let's take a look at the final Bottom 25 rankings for the 2019 season.
|25. South Florida||4-8||The Bulls finished 4-8 and fired Charlie Strong. I don't know if losing 34-7 to UCF was the final straw, but it certainly couldn't have helped. (Last Week: Not Ranked)|
|24. Arizona||4-8||Kevin Sumlin will be back next season, but it's never a good sign when your bosses have to come out and say you'll be back following your second season. (24)|
|23. North Texas||4-8||North Texas finishes the season on a three-game losing streak after falling to UAB 26-21. It was a disappointing season for a team that had grown accustomed to being one of the better teams in Conference USA the last few seasons. (25)|
|22. UNLV||4-8||The Rebels sent Tony Sanchez out with a win, beating Nevada 33-30 to finish the season on a two-game win streak. Maybe they should have told Sanchez he was fired three months ago. This team might be undefeated. (17)|
|21. East Carolina||4-8||The Pirates finish in The Bottom 25, which is something they're used to. I'm making the bold prediction right now, however, that they will not finish 2020 here. (23)|
|20. NC State||4-8||NC State finishes the season on a six-game losing streak after a 4-2 start. They got pantsed by rival North Carolina 41-10 to finish the season. It's a disappointing season for the Pack, but on the bright side, at least CBSSports.com NFL writer Will Brinson is sad. (22)|
|19. Northwestern||3-9||Last week, I wrote about how scared I was that this Northwestern team would beat Illinois and guess what Northwestern did? It beat Illinois 29-10 to finish the season on a high note. It then made fans even happier when it fired offensive coordinator Mick McCall the next day. (14)|
|18. UTSA||4-8||After finishing 4-8, the Roadrunners fired Frank Wilson. After going 12-12 in his first two seasons, and reaching a bowl game in 2016, UTSA went 7-17 the last two years, so it doesn't come as much of a surprise. (19)|
|17. Rice||3-9||As Rice's Biggest Fan, I was thrilled to see the Owls win their third-straight to finish the season. No team in The Bottom 25 is hotter! Of course, I'm also reasonably confident that no team has ever been ranked in The Bottom 25 amid a three-game win streak. (15)|
|16. Maryland||3-9||That 63-20 win over Syracuse feels like a damn eternity ago. The Terps did have a chance to pick up a win against Michigan State, losing 19-16, but I think that says a lot more about Michigan State than the Terps right now. (18)|
|15. Kansas||3-9||Kansas has played its final game of the decade, and finishes the 2010s with a record of 21-99. (20)|
|14. Georgia Tech||3-9||It was very kind of Georgia Tech to allow its rival, Georgia, to work on some new stuff before it has to take on LSU in the SEC Championship. (16)|
|13. Vanderbilt||3-9||You know things are bleak when Vanderbilt can't even beat Tennessee anymore. (13)|
|12. South Alabama||2-10||South Alabama finishes the season with a win, beating Arkansas State 34-30. It likely did not cost them a Bottom 25 Playoff spot with The Bottom Four all losing. (6)|
|11. Texas State||3-9||The Bobcats finished the season with a 24-21 loss to Coastal Carolina. It was their third-straight loss, and sixth loss in their last seven games. (12)|
|10. Arkansas||2-10||I could write anything here, and Arkansas fans would never know because they're all looking at Flight Tracker right now. The 1964 national title isn't real! (9)|
|9. New Mexico||2-10||The Lobos suffered their ninth straight loss on Saturday, falling to Utah State 38-25. Bob Davie will not be back next season. (10)|
|8. Bowling Green||3-9||Bowling Green got stampeded by Buffalo 49-7 to finish the year 3-9. It was bad news for the Falcons and good news for the Cover 3 Podcast as we got our push on Bowling Green's season win total. (11)|
|7. Rutgers||2-10||Sing us a song, you're the Schiano Man, sing us a song tonight. Cuz we've only experienced a win or two, but you've got us feeling all's right. (5)|
|6. New Mexico State||2-10||The Aggies couldn't make it three straight wins like Rice did, losing to Liberty 49-28. Still, a 2-10 record feels a lot better when those two wins came late. (8)|
|5. UConn||2-10||UConn made a late push to get into the playoff, falling to Temple 49-17, but it just wasn't enough. Those two wins against UMass and Wagner really drag the resume down. (7)|
|4. Old Dominion||1-11||Bobby Wilder did a fantastic job with this program over 13 years and resigned following the Monarchs' 38-22 loss to Charlotte. How the team will respond to that with a playoff game looming remains to be seen. (4)|
|3. UTEP||1-11||Our two-time defending champions are back, and if I'm honest, I'm hoping they don't make it three in a row. (3)|
|2. UMass||1-11||UMass didn't play this week, but I'm sure it enjoyed its seven days at No. 1. They're only No. 2 now, but the Minutemen are my favorite to win the whole thing. (1)|
|1. Akron||0-12||It breaks my heart that the Zips couldn't get a win before the season ended. They came so close against Miami (Ohio), and then came very not close in a 52-3 loss to Ohio to finish the season. (2)|
No longer ranked: Tulsa (21)
Week 14 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: Buffalo climbed 16 spots from No. 64 to No. 48 after destroying Bowling Green. The Bulls were a very strange team this year, and my rating system still doesn't have a great feel for them. While they were never the biggest climber or dropper, every week, it seems like they were on the move.
Biggest faller: If you thought we'd get through an entire season without Illinois being recognized in The Bottom 25, well, don't you feel stupid now? Illinois fell from No. 43 to No. 56 after losing to Northwestern 29-10.
Most average team: I hope I don't sound like a sanctimonious little troll, but Washington State finishes the regular season as the most average team in my rankings. At 6-6 overall, the Cougars are ranked No. 62 in my ratings, with a score that is 1.48% below average.
Worst team in a conference championship game: It shouldn't come as a surprise that 7-5 Miami (Ohio) is the lowest-ranked team playing in a conference title game this week. The RedHawks are No. 70 overall in my ratings. The next lowest team is the Central Michigan team it will be playing. The Chippewas are ranked 21 spots higher at No. 49.
Best team not in a conference championship game: This won't come as a surprise, either. It's Alabama, which is ranked No. 8 in my rankings this week after losing to Auburn. It was at No. 4 before the loss.
Worst bowl-eligible team: That would be Toledo. The Rockets might be 6-6, but my rankings are not a fan, as they finish the regular season at No. 86 overall, behind six teams that are 5-7.