The following is a visual representation of what it looked like when I stepped into my lab and started crunching the numbers Sunday morning following a Saturday that saw the Big Ten and Mountain West join the party.
Yes, it turns out that when you add 25 (Rice too!) new teams to a set of rankings that already includes 76 other teams that have played multiple games, chaos ensues. As a result, this week's Bottom 25 is a mixture of an early-season Bottom 25 and a late-season Bottom 25. You have some teams who have put in the work, week after week, to solidify their spot. And then you have a bunch of other teams who just showed up to the party and are complaining that the keg has run dry.
There's truly a part of me that is bothered by all of this. The part that worries about the sanctity of The Bottom 25. But you know what? It's 2020. Nothing is supposed to make sense, so I'm just going to steer into the skid and enjoy the ride.
Embrace the chaos.
|25. Middle Tennessee||2-5||Are the Blue Raiders getting hot? They've won two of three after taking down Rice in overtime thanks to a quadruple doink . Sure, both of MTSU's wins have come against teams you'll find in these rankings, but a win is a win. And thanks to that influx of new teams with small sample sizes, the latest one was almost enough to escape The Bottom 25 entirely. (7)|
|24. Florida State||2-4||Well, so much for any momentum a decent performance against Notre Dame and a win over North Carolina might have brought. The Seminoles were worked over by Louisville 48-16 on Saturday. This week they get a Pitt team that was just smothered by Notre Dame. (18)|
|23. Duke||1-5||The Blue Devils had the week off but will return to action this weekend, hoping to pick up win No. 2 against Charlotte. (12)|
|22. Ole Miss||1-4||The Rebels became the latest team to run into the magical power of Auburn Jesus and weren't able to overcome its mysterious presence. There are rumors that getting too close to it destroys your ability to understand math. This week the Rebels will have a winnable game against No. 8 Vanderbilt. (14)|
|21. Western Kentucky||2-4||This weekend, a sportsbook offered me a free $20 parlay bet, so I went with a ridiculous 11-team money line parlay. Ten of the teams I chose coasted to victory. The eleventh was Western Kentucky, and the Hilltoppers made me sweat out a 13-10 win over Chattanooga. Had they lost the game, I might have kept them at No. 1 all season on principle. I won't lie, I kind of hope BYU takes out my frustration on them this week. (5)|
|20. Texas State||1-6||I'm doing my best to distance myself from statements earlier this season that Texas State was better than its record indicated. It still is, but it's getting further and further away from being true with each passing week. Next up are the Cajuns of the Ragin' variety. (13)|
|19. Penn State||0-1||If you missed The Monday After, I broke down the all-22 and crunched some numbers to prove that Penn State really messed up the end of the game against Indiana. Now, while I'm not sure they'd have been here in a normal season after that loss, it's good enough for 2020. And with Ohio State looming, the Nittany Lions might still be here next week. (Not Ranked)|
|18. Syracuse||1-5||Listen, Syracuse might have lost to Clemson 47-21, but it covered the spread by a full 20 points. Sometimes it's not about victory; it's about maintaining the natural order of things, and that natural order says no conference game should ever have a spread in the upper 40s. Good for you for doing what's right, Syracuse. I hope you're rewarded with a win over Wake Forest. (9)|
|17. Michigan State||0-1||We finally got our answer to the question of how many turnovers it would take to lose a conference game to Rutgers. Seven. The answer is seven. Mel Tucker's Michigan State debut did not go well, but Sparty doesn't have much time to feel bad about it because Michigan is up next. (NR)|
|16. Southern Miss||1-4||Southern Miss was down to its third head coach of the season after Scott Walden tested positive for COVID-19 and lost to Liberty 56-35. Next up is a game against a Rice team that just made its season debut over the weekend. And now Walden has left for Austin Peay! (10)|
|15. FIU||0-3||I write a weekday newsletter -- subscribe! -- in which I give out gambling picks for that night's action, and Friday night, I gave out a three-team moneyline parlay for that night's college football action. The one game I didn't include was the one with FIU playing Jacksonville State because I did not trust in FIU's ability to avoid being the first FBS team to lose to an FCS team this year. The parlay lost (UAB lost), but it felt like a win after watching FIU lose to Jacksonville State 19-10. The Panthers get Marshall this week. (6)|
|14. Fresno State||0-1||I felt terrible for the Mountain West this weekend because there was so much attention on the Big Ten's return that it felt like nobody noticed it was there too. Fresno might have preferred I didn't notice, though, after losing to Hawaii 34-19. Up next is (fingers crossed) Colorado State. (NR)|
|13. Wyoming||0-1||This is a perfect example of how small sample sizes wreak havoc on the rankings. Wyoming has lost one game by three points, but it hasn't had time to balance its numbers, so it starts at No. 13, while a bunch of 1-5 teams that have been blown out every week are behind it. (NR)|
|12. Iowa||0-1||The Hawkeyes blew a 20-14 fourth-quarter lead on the road against Purdue to start the season 0-1. It might have been the first game of the season for both teams, but it looked like every Purdue-Iowa game you've ever seen. This week the Hawkeyes get Northwestern in one of the low-key most underrated uniform matchups in the country. (NR)|
|11. Rice||0-1||Doink doink doink doink. Doink doink. Doink doink doink. Doink doink doink doink doink doink doink. Doink doink. Doink doink doink doink doink No. 16 Southern Miss. (NR)|
|10. ULM||0-6||I'm going to get so many angry emails about this. Plenty of Bottom 25 readers believe ULM should've been No. 1 all along, and now it's falling to No. 10 to make room for all these newcomers. It should all balance out as we move forward! I promise! As long as the Warhawks keep losing, you might get your wish! This week they get Appalachian State. (4)|
|9. Kansas||0-5||I told you it was absolute chaos. Kansas goes out and gets trounced by rival Kansas State 55-14 and falls six spots in our rankings. With a three-week run against Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas coming up, we'll see if the Jayhawks can work their way back to The Bottom Three. (3)|
|8. Vanderbilt||0-3||The Commies have been stuck sitting at home the last couple of weeks, but we're hopeful they'll be able to play this weekend against No. 22 Ole Miss. (2)|
|7. Minnesota||0-1||For a while there, it looked like Minnesota might be able to hang with Michigan despite missing several key starters on Saturday night. Then the dam broke, and the Gophers lost by 25. They'll be back in action on Friday night against Maryland. (NR)|
|6. Nebraska||0-1||It's never a good sign when your opponent's coach feels the need to apologize for scoring too many points against you publicly. I don't know, it's odd, and maybe it's just what Ohio State does to people, but I came away from Nebraska's 52-17 loss to the Buckeyes feeling somewhat optimistic about them moving forward? Like, maybe it wasn't as bad as the score suggests? This week the Huskers get Wisconsin, and it's a game that seems to be getting more winnable with each passing day. (NR)|
|5. UNLV||0-1||The Rebels have not been a stranger to The Bottom 25 over the years, and they made a strong statement in their 34-6 season-opening loss to San Diego State. This week they get the Nevada team that just took down Wyoming and put them in The Bottom 25 too. (NR)|
|4. Maryland||0-1||So either Northwestern has fixed its offense, or Maryland's defense is awful. That's my takeaway from Maryland's 43-3 loss to Northwestern on Saturday. Oh, and the other takeaway is that Maryland might not be very good. Which is what makes its next game so exciting. It's No. 4 Maryland vs. No. 8 Minnesota in a Friday Night Lights version of THE BOTTOM 25 GAME OF THE CENTURY OF THE WEEK. (NR)|
|3. Utah State||0-1||The Aggies were blasted in their season opener 42-13 by Boise State. Up next is the San Diego State team that just blasted No. 5 UNLV. (NR)|
|2. Illinois||0-1||Illinois helped open the Big Ten season with a 45-7 loss to Wisconsin and made the Badgers look like an Air Raid team in the process. Illinois' only touchdown came defensively, and its next red-zone possession will be the first of the season. Might it come this weekend against Purdue? (NR)|
|1. UMass||0-1||I am still debating if I'm going to have a minimum games requirement for The Bottom 25 Playoff. As of now, UMass has two more games on its schedule (Nov. 7 at Marshall, No. 27 at Liberty). I don't want to use my serious voice here, but I'm just not sure how fair it would be to give UMass a title shot off three games if it's less than half of what everybody else has played. (1)|
No Longer Ranked: UTEP (25), Navy (24), UTSA (23), Missouri (22), Georgia Tech (21), North Texas (20), Virginia (19), Mississippi State (17), Louisville (16), East Carolina (15), Texas Tech (11), South Florida (8)