A new college football season has begun, which means it's time for another year of The Bottom 25 rankings. Not familiar with the Bottom 25? Well, it's a simple premise.
College football is a sport based on ranking things. The sport boils down to one giant listicle, but for years, all anybody wanted to do was rank the best teams. However, I am a visionary with the courage to ask, "What about the worst teams?!"
The Bottom 25 is a weekly ranking of the worst 25 teams at the FBS level, but unlike the AP Top 25, Coaches Poll or our own CBS Sports 130, these rankings are not based on opinion. I have a mathematical formula to rank teams that I've used for years. There is no bias in the rankings; every season, every team begins at the same point. Alabama is just as good as UConn and the ratings only change based on how teams are performing in the current season.
It's not a ranking meant to be predictive; instead, it's deliberately reactive. I use these rankings to fill out my CBS Sports 130 ballot and to bring you The Bottom 25.
And here is where we stand after the first full week of the 2021 season.
|25. Houston||0-1||Things started well enough for the Big 12-to-be-Cougars, but they quickly fell apart. After jumping out to a 14-0 lead over Texas Tech in the first quarter, and then taking a 21-7 lead just before halftime, Houston was outscored 31-0 in the second half. The only time that's OK is when you're up 32 or more.|
|24. Southern Miss||0-1||I'm grateful to Southern Miss for its 31-7 loss against South Alabama. Last week, I included the Golden Eagles as an underdog play in The Six Pack because my numbers told me they were the better team. A 31-7 loss let me know I should reconsider my ratings. Anyway, it's Grambling this week for USM.|
|23. Georgia State||0-1||You don't want to get into a ground war with the United States Army, Panthers. That's why you're sitting here after a 43-10 loss. Life won't get any easier this week as the Panthers must face a North Carolina team coming off a loss of its own.|
|22. Ohio||0-1||I'm so mad at myself for not betting Syracuse last weekend. I know the Orange were terrible last season, but it was still an ACC team getting points on the road against a MAC team ... a MAC team whose coach retired this summer. The Bobcats get Duquesne this week.|
|21. Rice||0-1||I was higher than most on Rice last season, and I'm going to continue to be high on them after seeing the problems they posed for Arkansas before relenting and losing, 38-17. The next couple of weeks won't be easy, though, as this week they get No. 25 Houston.|
|20. Indiana||0-1||I already upset plenty of Indiana fans over the last year by pointing out that the Hoosiers were a little lucky in 2020, so I'd like to remind those same fans that these rankings aren't based on my opinion. Don't be mad at me. Be mad at those mean AP voters for leaving you out of their poll after only one loss!|
|19. Northwestern||0-1||Two things surprised me about Northwestern during its loss to Michigan State, but neither was the outcome. What surprised me was how promising Hunter Johnson looked as a passer, even if I'm not sure the Wildcats have the receivers to take advantage. The biggest surprise, however, was how undisciplined the defense looked. They need to get things cleaned up against Indiana State.|
|18. Louisville||0-1||The Cardinals looked a lot better in the second half of their 43-24 loss to Ole Miss on Monday night, which is good news. I think that'll be one of those early-season losses that look horrible and then tend to be forgotten. Still, if I'm a Cardinals fan, I have concerns about the lack of playmakers I saw on offense.|
|17. Temple||0-1||Every year, I identify teams as dark horse contenders for The Bottom 25 Playoff. Temple was one of those teams. And I have to tell you, after seeing the Owls get 61 points put on them by Rutgers, I have not changed my mind. We'll see how things go against Akron this weekend.|
|16. Bowling Green||0-1||Bowling Green's win total was at 1.5 coming into the season, but even though they lost by 32 to Tennessee, they looked OK -- I mean, for a team with a win total set that low, anyway. Maybe we see the Falcons pick up a couple of MAC wins this year? Hell, maybe they'll get one at home against South Alabama this weekend.|
|15. Washington||0-1||We barely saw Washington last season, but based on what we did see, my biggest fear about the Huskies coming into 2021 was how conservative they looked on offense. Those fears were quickly realized during a 13-7 loss to Montana. Washington's a better team than what we saw last week -- they won't be in The Bottom 25 for long -- but I have serious questions about this team's ability to win the Pac-12 North. Maybe they'll change my mind in Ann Arbor on Saturday night.|
|14. Western Michigan||0-1||Western Michigan has changed its primary logo from the horse's head to a yellow W, and it looks too similar to the Washington Football Team's logo. Every time I see it, I think it's the Washington Football Team and get very confused why the Washington Football Team is losing to Michigan by 33 points. Now, I'm not saying this program is cursed to The Bottom 25 unless it changes its logo back, but I'm not not saying it, either.|
|13. Kent State||0-1||Kent State got smashed by Texas A&M 41-10, but we all knew that would happen. I think this will be one of the better and more entertaining teams in the MAC. They could be here for a while, though, because after a game against VMI this weekend, they still have road games against Iowa and Maryland.|
|12. ULM||0-1||This is a solid start for a Warhawks team I believe can contend for a Bottom 25 Playoff berth. The Hawks lost to Kentucky 45-10, but it's possible they were confused by Kentucky suddenly being an Air Raid team. This week, ULM gets Deion Sanders' Jackson State.|
|11. Tulsa||0-1||I fully expecting Tulsa to take a step backwards in 2021, but I did not see a 19-17 loss to UC Davis coming. Life isn't about to get any easier as the Golden Hurricane head to Stillwater for Oklahoma State. That's followed up with a trip to Ohio State. So we're probably looking at an 0-3 team right now.|
|10. South Florida||0-1||The Bulls got pasted by NC State, 45-0, and now have the Florida Gators coming to town. This begs the question: When will South Florida score its first points of the season? Will they get on the board against the Gators, or might they have to wait until the Florida A&M game?|
|9. UMass||0-1||Shout out to UMass for keeping the tradition of being unable to cover huge spreads alive and well. My friend Robby has a wedding coming up, and he's going to be broke because of the Minutemen. Why doesn't he just bet against them? Well, if you have to ask, you don't know Robby.|
|8. Navy||0-1||I'm not out here trying to disrespect the troops, but I will say that I had serious concerns about Navy coming into this season. Those concerns were not alleviated following a 49-7 loss to Marshall. The Thundering Herd might win Conference USA, but the Midshipmen got steamrolled.|
|7. New Mexico State||0-2||I loved the fight that I saw from the Aggies this week! I had meager expectations for this team following a rough spring and a 27-point loss to two-time Bottom 25 champion UTEP to start the season. But the Aggies carried themselves well in a 28-10 loss to San Diego State. Maybe they can carry some of that confidence into this week's game against New Mexico.|
|6. UNLV||0-1||Listen, nobody wants to start the season with a 35-33 overtime loss to an FCS program, even if it's a respectable one like Eastern Washington. Still, if you're going to do it, at least do it in the stupidly entertaining way the Rebels did. I did not expect to find myself watching this game, but I'm thrilled I did. It was just pure college football lunacy.|
|5. Miami (OH)||0-1||I don't expect the Redhawks to be here all season long, but with road games against Cincinnati and Minnesota to open the year, we're likely to be seeing them here until October.|
|4. Vanderbilt||0-1||As Vanderbilt's No. 1 fan, I want to remind everybody it's not about where the journey starts but where it ends. Our 23-3 loss to Eastern Tennessee State was a disappointing way to start a season, but we're heading in the right direction.|
|3. UConn||0-2||So everything is running smoothly in Storrs! The Huskies opened the year with a 45-0 loss to Fresno State and then dropped one to Holy Cross at home. Now, coach Randy Edsall has stepped down after initially saying he'd retire at the end of the season. It's been a rough start for the reigning New York Times national champion Huskies.|
|2. Akron||0-1||Akron starts the season at No. 2 after getting blasted by Auburn 60-10. However, Akron should not feel alone because Buffalo is the only team in the MAC's East Division that won a game this past weekend. This week, the Zips look to pick up their first win against No. 17 Temple.|
|1. Colorado State||0-1||The Rams ran into a South Dakota State team coming off of a strong season in the FCS and got beat up pretty good, losing 42-23. Now, they get a chance to face another team coming off of a three-score loss to an FCS program as they host No. 4 Vanderbilt in The Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week. How lucky are we to get a Bottom Four battle this early in the season?|