A few weeks ago, following a 31-10 loss to Michigan State that saw his Northwestern team fall to 1-2 on the season, Pat Fitzgerald had a message for anybody who criticized his team's offense. At that point, the Wildcats had managed to score 47 points through three games, with 30 of them coming against UNLV.
"I understand there are 40,000 experts on Twitter that can call plays for me," said Fitzgerald during his weekly press conference. "My email address is hashtag I don't care."
Based on the last two weeks, he still doesn't care. Northwestern has lost two road games since to Wisconsin and Nebraska, scoring only 25 points in the process. The Wildcats are averaging 14.4 points per game through five games, which ranks 13th in the Big Ten (thanks, Rutgers), and 129th nationally (thanks again, Rutgers). All while Northwestern's defense has been excellent.
The results of hashtag not caring what people think about your offense? Hashtag welcome to The Bottom 25, Northwestern.
|25. Kent State||2-3||I love when teams are in first place in their division while ranked in The Bottom 25. Thanks to a 48-0 loss to Wisconsin, the Golden Flashes are the latest team to accomplish the remarkable feat. (Last Week: Not Ranked)|
|24. Louisiana-Monroe||2-3||The Warhawks join our ranks this week after a 52-33 loss at home against Memphis. When your only wins are against Grambling and fellow Bottom 25er, South Alabama, they don't carry a lot of weight. ULM gets a chance for a third win against a Bottom 25 team this week against No. 21 Texas State. (NR)|
|23. Northwestern||1-4||Northwestern is on a bye this week, but its next two games are against Ohio State and Iowa. So it could hashtag be here for a while. (NR)|
|22. Purdue||1-4||Purdue is one of three Big Ten teams in the rankings this week, and I'm pretty sure it lost another three or four starters to injury while you read this. Looking like a long, unlucky year in West Lafayette. (NR)|
|21. Texas State||2-3||Tied for first in their division, and ranked No. 21 here! The Bobcats were off last week but get No. 24 Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday night. (24)|
|20. New Mexico||2-3||The Lobos got off to a 2-1 start to the season, but have lost two straight to push themselves back into the loving arms of The Bottom 25. Can they escape with a win over No. 15 Colorado State on Friday night? (NR)|
|19. Georgia Southern||2-3||The Eagles picked up an overtime win over South Alabama last week. It drops them eight spots in the rankings, but not far enough to escape The Bottom 25. It's on a bye this week with Coastal Carolina looming. (11)|
|18. UTSA||2-3||The Roadrunners beat UTEP 26-16 in last week's Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week. It gets them out of The Bottom 5, and a win over UAB this week might get them out of the rankings entirely. (5)|
|17. Tennessee||1-4||When it's sandwiched in-between Florida, Georgia and Alabama, I suppose a game against Mississippi State counts as a break. When you're Tennessee, however, I don't think a game against Mississippi State is a break. That regular-season finale against Vandy's setting up to be quite a doozy. (25)|
|16. UCLA||1-5||Looks like Oregon State is no longer the Pac-12 doormat. UCLA is. (23)|
|15. Colorado State||1-5||The Rams have now dropped four straight following a 24-10 loss to San Diego State. They have a chance to end the streak against No. 20 New Mexico on Friday. (17)|
|14. Northern Illinois||1-4||I thought getting into conference play might help Northern Illinois, but that's no longer the case following a 27-20 home loss to a Ball State team that was ranked here last week. With two straight on the road, including Ohio this week, the Huskies might be sticking around. (15)|
|13. Old Dominion||1-4||The Monarchs have lost four straight, but this week's 20-3 loss to Western Kentucky was the first time they seemed totally overmatched. This week, it's a road trip to Marshall. (18)|
|12. UNLV||1-4||UNLV looked a lot better against Boise State than it did Wyoming, but that didn't mean much in a 38-13 loss. (16)|
|11. South Alabama||1-5||The Jaguars lost to Georgia Southern in overtime, but played well enough that they drop in the rankings anyway. They can celebrate that fact during their bye this week. (8)|
|10. Rutgers||1-4||The bad news for Rutgers is that it lost at home to Maryland by 41 on Saturday. The good news is it scored a touchdown, so now it's finally on the board against Big Ten opponents. It has been outscored 130-7 in three conference games. This week, it's a road game against Indiana. (20)|
|9. Georgia Tech||1-4||I found out this week that Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins is a Star Wars nerd. Maybe he can use The Force to get his team out of The Bottom 25 with a road win over Duke on Saturday. (10)|
|8. Vanderbilt||1-4||Looking at Vandy's schedule, this week presents what should be its best chance at a win for a while. The Commodores will host No. 12 UNLV in our Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week! Who could have known this game would have such consequences? (12)|
|7. UConn||1-4||The Huskies couldn't carry the momentum of those 21 unanswered points against UCF into their game against South Florida, losing 48-22. A road trip to Tulane and another loss likely awaits this week. (14)|
|6. UTEP||1-4||Our two-time defending champions certainly look to be a lot more competent this year, but at some point, that competency will need to result in a win if they want to avoid another Bottom 25 Playoff berth. (7)|
|5. Rice||0-6||The Owls lost to UAB 35-20 last week, and they're on a bye this week. When I look at the schedule, my eyes cannot help but stare at the regular-season finale against No. 6 UTEP. That could be for a Bottom 25 Playoff spot. (6)|
|4. UMass||1-5||UMass sent a message on Saturday. It didn't want anybody getting confused by its 37-29 win over Akron. A 44-0 loss to FIU let the world know that these Minutemen still plan to compete for the crown in 2019. (3)|
|3. Bowling Green||1-4||The Falcons move up a spot this week after being blown to smithereens by Notre Dame. The 52-0 loss to the Irish marks the second time the Falcons have lost a game 52-0 this year. The first was against Kansas State. Toledo awaits this week. (4)|
|2. New Mexico State||0-6||The Aggies dropped a close one to Liberty, losing 20-13. It wasn't close enough to knock them from the No. 2 spot in our rankings, though. The Aggies hit the road to take on Central Michigan this week. (2)|
|1. Akron||0-5||Akron had last week off after losing to UMass two weeks ago. It's in another ranked showdown this week, yet not as glamorous. The Zips host No. 25 Kent State. (1)|
No Longer Ranked: FIU (9), Middle Tennessee (13), South Florida (19), Ball State (21), Ohio (22)
Week 6 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.
Highest Climber: Iowa State moved up 22 spots from No. 63 to No. 41 this week following a 25-point win over TCU. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise considering Iowa State's two losses have come by a total of three points against Iowa and Baylor.
Biggest Faller: This week it's Eastern Michigan, which tumbled 27 spots. The Eagles' 42-16 loss to Central Michigan knocked them from No. 52 to No. 79, which is still two spots ahead of the Illinois team it beat a few weeks ago.
Most Fraudulent 1-Loss Team: Listen, Minnesota is still the Most Fraudulent Undefeated team, but it moved up to No. 23 at least, so I figured I'd give it a break this week. Instead, we'll talk about a 4-1 Louisiana Tech team that ranks 49th behind 11 two-loss teams.
Most Fraudulent 3-2 Team: It's Nevada. The Wolf Pack are at No. 95 in my rankings despite the winning record. Their three wins are against Weber State and two Bottom 25 teams in Purdue and UTEP.
Most Average Team: Congratulations, Utah State. At 3-2 you're ranked at No. 64 with a score that is 1.95 percent above the national average.
Best 2-3 Team: My rankings aren't predictive, but good things usually happen to the teams with the best losing records in them. That's good news for South Carolina, which is at No. 78 and ranked higher than any other team with more losses than wins.