The Bottom 25 Playoff field is set, and guess what? It's expanded to 12 teams! That's right, just like Lincoln Riley leaving Oklahoma for USC hours after the Sooners lost in Bedlam to Oklahoma State, The Bottom 25 expanded its playoff field without any advanced warning.
While the power brokers of college football are too busy worrying about themselves and their own best interests to decide on expansion, The Bottom 25 serves the people, and the people demanded expansion. So, they got it.
Here's how The Bottom 25 Playoff will work. The Bottom 12 seeds all qualify automatically, and there are no at-large berths. The Bottom Four -- the original playoff field -- all earn a first-round bye, while the other eight teams will play with the losers of those games moving on to face The Bottom Four. Then, after three rounds of action, we will crown a 2021 Bottom 25 Champion.
It all goes down next week!
But before we get to any of that, we have to get to the final Bottom 25 rankings of the season.
|25. ULM||4-8||The Warhawks finished the season with a 21-16 loss to rival Louisiana. That's five straight losses to end the season for a team that had been 4-3 halfway through the season, and now reports indicate offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez is leaving to take the job at Jacksonville State. RichRod finally got that Alabama job. (Last Week: 25)|
|24. Navy||3-8||Navy is the only team in The Bottom 25 whose season isn't over, but thankfully I don't have to figure out how I'd handle that because it's not in the Bottom 25 Playoff. Honestly, I hope I never will because I'm not a great problem solver. Anyway, Navy finished the season with a 38-14 stomping of No. 9 Temple and will finish the season against Army in two weeks. (15)|
|23. Colorado State||3-9||Steve Addazio didn't stick around to see all of his team's 52-10 loss to Nevada, getting himself ejected from the game before halftime. I'm sure some Rams fans hope the ejection is permanent, as the Rams finished the season with six straight losses. (Not Ranked)|
|22. Louisiana Tech||3-9||The Bulldogs finished the season with a 35-31 loss to Rice, meaning they finished last in the C-USA West division. They'll return with a new coach next season, as Skip Holtz and the school "mutually agreed" to part ways. (24)|
|21. Northwestern||3-9||Not only did I get to watch my Illini stomp Northwestern 47-14 on Saturday, but the beatdown was so bad that it put Northwestern in The Bottom 25 to finish the season. This is like a dream come true for me. As for Northwestern, I wouldn't feel too badly. If recent history is any indication, finishing the season 3-9 means the Wildcats will win 10 games next year. (NR)|
|20. Ohio||3-9||The Bobcats finished the season with a 21-10 loss to Bowling Green, which wasn't enough to put the Bobcats in the Bottom 25 Playoff, but it was enough to knock the Falcons out of The Bottom 25 altogether. It's the first time since 2015 that the Falcons didn't finish a season in The Bottom 25. So Ohio made indirect history. (23)|
|19. Rice||4-8||Rice's 35-31 win over No. 22 Louisiana Tech might have kept them out of The Bottom 25 Playoff, as they were ranked No. 13 last week and could've slid into the field with a loss. For some reason, I don't think the Owls will mind too terribly. (13)|
|18. Georgia Southern||3-9||The Eagles ended their season with a 27-3 loss at Appalachian State. The 3-9 record is the second-worst record they've finished with since moving up to the FBS level, behind their 2-10 campaign in 2017. (20)|
|17. Tulane||2-10||The Green Wave nearly finished the season with consecutive wins but came a little short in a 33-28 to Memphis. Still, while the Wave finished strong (their last three losses were all one-score efforts), the 2-10 record is their worst finish since 2012, and it's two wins worse than any season they've had under Willie Fritz. The previous worst mark had been 4-8 in Fritz's first season back in 2016. (18)|
|16. Southern Miss||3-9||Two weeks ago, Southern Miss was 1-9 and a serious contender for a playoff spot even when the world thought only four were available. Now, after a 37-17 win over No. 3 FIU, the Golden Eagles won't even make the expanded playoff field, and it's all thanks to the greatest QB in Southern Miss history: that's right, Frank Gore Jr. (9)w|
|15. Duke||3-9||A 47-10 loss to Miami to finish 3-9 on the season and No. 15 in The Bottom 25 is not how David Cutcliffe wanted his time in Durham to end, but it's where the Blue Devils finish. Still, let's never forget that David Cutcliffe had Duke -- freaking Duke -- hanging with Johnny Football and Texas A&M in the Peach Bowl in 2013. (19)|
|14. South Florida||2-10||I thought the Bulls were turning the corner a bit as October turned into November, but they lost hold of the rope a bit at the end. They finish the season on a five-game losing streak following their 17-13 loss to rival UCF. I hope it's not the last time those two play in the near future, but who knows what will happen once UCF leaves for the Big 12. (16)|
|13. UNLV||2-10||OK, so I've known I'd be expanding the field for a while now, but even if I was higher on UNLV than the rest of the world when the Rebels started 0-8, not even I thought they'd escape the playoff zone. After losing to Air Force 48-14 to finish the year, they landed just outside it. (17)|
|12. Indiana||2-10||The Hoosiers were crushed 44-7 by rival Purdue on Saturday, and it was enough to push them down two spots and into the playoff field. Quite the turnaround from a team that was one of the darlings of the 2020 season. (14)|
|11. Vanderbilt||2-10||Listen, there isn't much to like about finishing a season 2-10, but the Vanderbilt we saw for the first half of the season was a lot different than the one we saw over the second half. Even if the wins weren't there, they looked a lot more competitive in their losses. I don't expect them to stick around in the playoff for long. (11)|
|10. New Mexico||3-9||Every week, that 14-3 win over Wyoming just looked odder and odder, as the Lobos finished the season with a 35-10 loss to division-champion Utah State. The Lobos will battle it out for Bottom 25 supremacy riding the momentum of nine losses in 10 games. (12)|
|9. Temple||3-9||Honestly, Temple looked livelier than I expected during their 38-14 loss to No. 24 Navy, but the Owls never had a chance. They head to the Bottom 25 Playoff now, but they'll do so without coach Rod Carey, who was fired Monday. (10)|
|8. Arizona||1-11||The Wildcats played well for a month but ran out of steam at the end. Following a 44-18 loss to Washington State last week, rival Arizona State disposed of them easily, winning 38-15. They get a tough matchup against No. 9 Temple in the first round. (8)|
|7. Arkansas State||2-10||Butch Jones was hoping for more wins in his first season at Arkansas State, but he'll have to settle for 2-10 following a narrow 24-22 loss to Texas State. The Red Wolves get No. 10 New Mexico in the first round of our playoff. (7)|
|6. Kansas||2-10||This is a Kansas team looking feisty at the end of the season and could be a quick out in the playoff. After beating Texas 57-56, the Jayhawks lost to TCU 31-28 and battled West Virginia to a 34-28 loss. Now they're getting a feisty-looking Vanderbilt team in my favorite first-round matchup of the year. (6)|
|5. New Mexico State||2-10||New Mexico State finished the regular season with a 44-27 win over No. 1 UMass in The Bottom 25 Game of the Century of Last Week, and it cost them a first-round bye in the playoff! If only somebody had told them! Now the Aggies will get No. 12 Indiana. (3)|
|4. Akron||2-10||Akron finished its season with a 49-14 loss to Toledo, and it was enough to slip by New Mexico State and into The Bottom Four. I have not received word on whether new coach Joe Moorhead will lead the team in their playoff game. (5)|
|3. FIU||1-11||The Panthers ended the regular season with a 37-17 loss to No. 16 Southern Miss and looked like a dark-horse contender for a Bottom 25 title. While UMass and UConn were stronger all season long, the Panthers have played at the same level in recent weeks. It's going to be one hell of a fight. (4)|
|2. UConn||1-11||After beating Yale 20-15 a month ago, the Huskies were worried people would think they'd turned a corner. They didn't. Following their 45-17 loss to Houston on Saturday, the Huskies lost their final four games by a combined score of 182-64. They didn't allow fewer than 44 points or score more than 17 in any of those four games. This team is ready. (2)|
|1. UMass||1-11||Can anybody stop the juggernaut that is UMass in 2021? Some around Boston might show confidence following a 44-27 loss to New Mexico State, but we can't forget this team beat UConn 27-13 earlier this season. Will the Minutemen slip up and win another game in the Bottom 25 Playoff, or will they finish as champions? (1)|
No Longer Ranked: No. 22 Texas State, No. 21 Bowling Green
Below is a look at the expanded Bottom 25 Playoff field for the 2021 season. Loser moves on with the lowest seed advancing to face the highest remaining seed.
3. Florida International
No. 5 New Mexico State at No. 12 Indiana
No. 6 Kansas at No. 11 Vanderbilt
No. 7 Arkansas State at No. 10 New Mexico
No. 8 Arizona at No. 9 Temple
Get ready for the event of a lifetime.