There's been a lot of time spent discussing how vulnerable all the top teams in college football look this season. Ohio State has already lost a game, Clemson is 2-2 and looking lost, Oklahoma can't pull away from anybody and even Alabama had a scare put into it. What isn't being discussed nearly as much, however, is how the bottom of the rankings have experienced something similar.
For the most part, The Bottom 25 is still filled with the usual suspects, but a few of the schools who annually compete for Bottom 25 titles aren't ranked at the moment (your UTEPs and ULMs). That's interesting, but it's something else that encourages me. Over the years, I've spent a lot of time in this space explaining how much more difficult it is to go winless than undefeated at the FBS level. I also root for every team to win at least one game each season because everybody who puts the amount of work in that's required to play, or coach, at an FBS program deserves that feeling at least once.
Want more college football in your life? Listen below and subscribe to the Cover 3 College Football podcast for top-notch insight and analysis beyond the gridiron.
So far, the 2021 season suggests this is likely. As things stand, only seven winless teams remain (there are 26 undefeated teams). While I haven't kept official records, anecdotally, that seems like a low number of winless teams this early in the season. If things continue moving like this, not only will everybody get a win, but it'll make for a more exciting Bottom 25 race.
|25. Hawaii||2-3||The Warriors won the first leg of their home-and-home with New Mexico State 41-21, but it wasn't enough to climb out of The Bottom 25. So, for this week at least, they'll have to live with being the lone two-win team here. I bet they won't be here anymore if they can manage a third win this week against Fresno State. (Last Week: 11)|
|24. FIU||1-3||CBS Sports editor and proud FIU alum Brandon Wise sent me a lot of boastful texts about his Panthers when they led Central Michigan 27-10 after three quarters. Then Central Michigan scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, and the texts stopped. We'll see if Brandon is a bit more cautious when FIU hits the road to take on Florida Atlantic in the Shula Bowl. (Not Ranked)|
|23. Colorado||1-3||The Buffs are struggling offensively. After putting up 35 against Northern Colorado in the season opener, they've scored only 20 points in three games against Texas A&M, Minnesota and Arizona State. If you only look at games between FBS teams, the 0.59 points per possession the Buffs have scored ranks 129th nationally, ahead of only Southern Miss. This week Colorado hopes to figure it out against a reeling USC squad. (NR)|
|22. Tulsa||1-3||Tulsa got on the board with its first win of the season, beating Arkansas State 41-34. Now the team that proved to be a pain in the butt in losses to Oklahoma State and Ohio State looks to get a winning streak going against Houston on Friday night. (13)|
|21. Miami (OH)||1-3||The Redhawks have played a demanding schedule to open the year, and they've kept things close, but at some point the results need to change. Maybe they'll find themselves on the right side of the scoreline when they welcome Central Michigan to town Saturday. (22)|
|20. Washington State||1-3||It's been a rough start to the season for the Cougars. Their lone win came against Portland State, and they've lost to Utah State, USC and Utah. Considering how poor USC and Utah have looked in other games, losing to those two by 31 and 11 points is concerning. This week Wazzu's on the road to face Cal. (NR)|
|19. South Florida||1-3||The Bulls kept things respectable in a 35-27 loss at BYU last week, which was a welcome change of pace from their losses to NC State and Florida. They'll look to keep that positive momentum this weekend when they hit the road again, this time to take on SMU. (17)|
|18. Southern Miss||1-3||As I mentioned in the Colorado blurb, Southern Miss' (Mrs?) offense is struggling, but at least it had an excuse this week. Not many teams are scoring points against Alabama. Life gets a lot easier this weekend at No. 8 Rice. (NR)|
|17. North Texas||1-3||The Not-So-Mean Green have dropped three straight after falling to Louisiana Tech 24-17. Looking at the schedule from here, it's not hard to envision that losing streak stretching to six. North Texas has this weekend off, but it will return to action on the road against Missouri on Oct. 9. (20)|
|16. Texas State||1-3||The Bobcats were routed 59-21 by Eastern Michigan last week, which wasn't an encouraging follow-up to the loss to Incarnate Word. This week the Fightin Spavs get South Alabama at home. (NR)|
|15. Florida State||0-4||If ever there was a program in desperate need of a win, it's Florida State. The Seminoles are 0-4 to start the season, but they have what will likely be one of their more winnable ACC games this weekend at home against Syracuse. (19)|
|14. Vanderbilt||1-3||The Commodores were run over by Georgia on Saturday. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 35-0 lead in the first quarter and cruised from there in a 62-0 win. This week Vandy will find the competition much friendlier when it welcomes No. 2 UConn to Nash Vegas. (18)|
|13. Arizona||0-4||The teams at the bottom of the Pac-12 should be grateful to the teams struggling at the top for taking the attention away. Still, to the Wildcats' credit, they looked feisty for a while against Oregon before the Ducks pulled away to win 41-19. The Wildcats will take this weekend off to prepare for their next game against UCLA. (12)|
|12. Arkansas State||1-3||The Red Wolves have been competitive in every game except their 52-3 loss to Washington, and this week they'll be facing a team that just fired its coach. (14)|
|11. Georgia Southern||1-3||And Georgia Southern is the team that fired its coach. Chad Lunsford is out after the Eagles dropped their third straight game of the season, losing 28-20 to Louisiana. The move was somewhat surprising since I felt it was their best performance of the season. They'll look to improve upon it against No. 12 Arkansas State. (10)|
|10. Kansas||1-3||Kansas might have just lost the most winnable game left on its schedule by 19 points. That 52-33 loss to Duke doesn't bode well, as it's nothing but Big 12 games from here on out, starting with a road trip to Iowa State this week. (9)|
|9. Ball State||1-3||The Cardinals have lost three straight following a 22-12 defeat at the hands of Toledo. I'm getting a sneaking suspicion that the reigning MAC champions won't be repeating in 2021, but perhaps they can change my mind this weekend against Army. (15)|
|8. Rice||1-3||The Owls picked up their first win of the season, beating Texas Southern 48-34. Now they get another winnable game against No. 18 Southern Miss. It's a classic matchup of a defense that hasn't been able to stop anybody (Rice) against an offense that can't score (USM). Also, Rice is the second consecutive No. 1 team in The Bottom 25 to win the following week. It'd be fun if that became a regular thing. (1)|
|7. New Mexico State||1-4||This Aggies team isn't very good, but at least it can score points. After not doing much of anything in its first two games against UTEP and San Diego State, New Mexico State has scored at least 21 points in three straight. That might not seem like much, but it stands out compared to a lot of the other teams in these rankings. (8)|
|6. Akron||1-3||Akron took a 7-0 lead on Ohio State in Ohio Stadium. Sure, the Buckeyes would score the final 59 points in the game afterward, but you'll never be able to take away that 7-0 lead at Ohio State from the Zips. Of course, as memorable a moment as it might've been, there are bigger games to come. (7)|
|5. Navy||0-3||If we're looking for silver linings, Navy's 28-20 loss to Houston was the most impressive it has looked this season. Maybe that means the Mids are finally getting their sea legs, but this week provides a difficult task with UCF. Even without Dillon Gabriel, the Knights won't be easy to crack. (4)|
|4. UNLV||0-4||The Rebels aren't good, but they've had a rough schedule to start the season, and it isn't getting easier soon. Their 38-30 loss to Fresno State was the third time they've lost to a team that was ranked in the AP Poll at the time already this season, and this week they get a UTSA team that's off to a 4-0 start and looks to be one of the best Group of Five teams in the country. (3)|
|3. UMass||0-4||So a theme is emerging with the Minutemen. While they're 0-4, their two home losses against Boston College and Eastern Michigan were by 17 and 14 points, respectively. Their road losses against Pitt and Coastal Carolina, meanwhile, have come by 44 and 50 points. So maybe there's a glimmer of hope ahead of this week's home game against Toledo? No? What about next week's home game against UConn? (6)|
|2. UConn||0-5||I thought the Huskies had them. I couldn't believe Wyoming -- WYOMING! -- was a 30-point favorite on the road against anybody, and UConn nearly pulled off the upset. The Huskies had a 13-3 lead at halftime and led 16-10 in the fourth quarter, but as we often see with teams like the Huskies, learning how to win isn't easy. A UConn touchdown with four seconds left made it look better, but it was still a 24-22 loss and a blown chance. This week the Huskies are on the road against No. 14 Vanderbilt. (2)|
|1. Ohio||0-4||The Bobcats were my Lock of the Week in the Six Pack, as they were catching 14.5 points against Northwestern's terrible offense. Then Ohio made Northwestern's offense look good and did the same for a beleaguered Wildcats defense in a 35-6 loss. Yep, Ohio might be really bad this season. Or maybe they'll turn things around this weekend when they hit the road to face No. 6 Akron in The Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week! (5)|
No Longer Ranked: Central Michigan (25), Temple (24), Northern Illinois (23), Colorado State (21), ULM (16)