There was once a time when Stanford would have been a semi-regular in The Bottom 25. It's easy to forget now, but the 1990s and 2000s weren't what anyone would call great decades for the Cardinal. Between 1990 and 2009, Stanford won five games or fewer in 13 of 20 seasons. Eight of those seasons featured no more than four wins. So while the only season Stanford would have competed for a Bottom 25 title would have been 2006 (it went 1-11), it still would have been here often enough.
But then Jim Harbaugh was hired, and the program's direction changed. The Cardinal had had good seasons in their history but hadn't had a sustained run since the days of Pop Warner and Tiny Thornhill in the 1920s and '30s when football coaches were required to have cartoon names. Harbaugh changed that. After going 9-15 his first two seasons, Stanford would go 20-6 in his final two years, finishing with an Orange Bowl win. That 12-1 season in 2010 would be the first of four consecutive seasons with at least 11 wins and begin a stretch of six 10 wins or more in seven years.
That run coincided with the birth of The Bottom 25. So, naturally, Stanford has been a program that has managed to remain unranked during the history of The Bottom 25. Until this week, that is. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, the average IQ of this feature is a little higher than usual this week. Now, while I do feel some pressure to use bigger -- or should I say more substantial -- words, I promise this will be the same feature you're used to.
|25. Stanford||1-3||The 17-7 win over Northwestern to open the season looked unseemly at the time, but it turns out that's essentially the full extent of Stanford's capabilities. The Cardinal have been outscored 111-53 (I did the math in my head to seem smarter) in three games since. This weekend's trip to Oregon State is suddenly a measuring stick game. (Last Week: Not Ranked)|
|24. Middle Tennessee||1-2||I tell you, that 19-point loss to Michigan looks worse every week! Seriously, the Blue Raiders lone win came against Tennessee State, while their two losses have come by an average of 21 points to Michigan and Duke. (24)|
|23. Old Dominion||1-2||It looked like Old Dominion was going to follow up last season's upset of Virginia Tech with an upset of Virginia, but the Monarchs couldn't hold on to the throne. That happens a lot throughout history. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. (22)|
|22. Western Kentucky||1-2||The Hilltoppers took last week off, so they're still in first place in the C-USA East Division while hanging out in The Bottom 25. This week they host UAB. (23)|
|21. Ohio||1-3||The bad news for Ohio is that it is ranked in The Bottom 25 for the first time this season. The good news is that MAC play begins after this week's bye, and the MAC is where the Bobcats shine. (NR)|
|20. Ball State||1-3||The Cardinal played pretty well on the road against NC State, but playing pretty well won't keep you out of The Bottom 25 when you're 1-3 and your only win is against Fordham. (NR)|
|19. Houston||1-3||I've been told that Houston fires coaches for going 8-4, which is terrible news for Dana Holgorsen. His team already has three losses, and its best player just announced he's going to redshirt the rest of the season. (NR)|
|18. UConn||1-2||The Huskies had an extra week to prepare for their road game against Indiana, and it showed in a 38-3 loss. If not for that bye, they might have been shutout. Now they get to go on the road to face a UCF team coming off its first regular-season loss since like 1934 or something. (NR)|
|17. Northern Illinois||1-2||The Huskies were off this week. They resume action on Saturday with a road game against a Vanderbilt team still looking for its first win. (15)|
|16. UL-Monroe||1-2||The Warhawks join our ranks this week after allowing 72 points to Iowa State. That's one hell of a way to make an entrance, Warhawks. (NR)|
|15. Georgia Tech||1-2||The Bees had last week off to recuperate in the hive after losing to The Citadel. This week, Geoff Collins will take his new team north to face his old team. Then, in a month, Geoff Collins will face the coach who replaced him at Temple. Of course, Manny Diaz is now with his new, new team in Coral Gables. (14)|
|14. Texas State||1-3||Jake Spavital and the Bobcats are on the board with a win in 2019, but it's not enough to get out of The Bottom 25. Still, with Nicholls up next, the Bobcats are trending the right direction. (5)|
|13. Colorado State||1-3||The Rams are 1-3, but none of their losses have been anything to be ashamed of. They hung with Colorado for a bit before fading. They hung with Arkansas on the road before fading, and this week they lost to a good Toledo team at home by six. The problem is things don't get a whole lot easier with Utah State and San Diego State up next. (17)|
|12. Georgia Southern||1-2||The Eagles had last week off, but begin Sun Belt play this week against Louisiana-Lafayette. (13)|
|11. South Alabama||1-3||The Jaguars were trounced 35-3 by UAB on Saturday, but they can't let that loss affect them this week. They've got a big road game coming up against No. 16 Louisiana-Monroe. (18)|
|10. UTEP||1-2||Our two-time defending champions dropped one to Nevada this week, losing 37-21. It's enough to push the Miners back into The Bottom 10. This week, it's a road game against Southern Miss. (19)|
|9. Miami (OH)||1-3||Chuck Martin's quote about playing Ohio State being like the other kid at recess getting the first 85 picks was hilarious. What wasn't as funny was those first 85 picks then scoring 76 points. The Redhawks open MAC play with Buffalo this week. (25)|
|8. FIU||1-3||The Panthers lost to Louisiana Tech 43-31 on Friday night, and the loss featured a horrible beat for anybody who had FIU +7. It was even worse for anybody who also had Houston +5 the night before. Can you imagine how big of an idiot that person must feel like? Couldn't be me! Except it was. (8)|
|7. Rice||0-4||The bad news for Rice is that it is winless and at No. 7 in The Bottom 25. The good news is the best winless team remaining last week was UCLA, and we all saw what UCLA did. Could Rice be next? They host the same Louisiana Tech team that kicked me in the face on Friday night. (6)|
|6. UTSA||1-3||The Roadrunners have now dropped three straight following a 45-3 loss to North Texas on Saturday. They're climbing fast in these rankings because those three losses have come by a combined score of 139-30. (12)|
|5. Bowling Green||1-3||The Falcons played Kent State in last week's Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week and lost 62-20. The 42-point margin was the largest in the history of The Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week. The domination was so thorough that Kent State went from No. 10 to unranked. Do you know how hard it is to do that four weeks into the season? I couldn't confirm it, but I believe that's the first time that's ever happened in The Bottom 25 this late into the season. So good job, I guess, Falcons. (9)|
|4. Vanderbilt||0-3||The Commodores were crushed by LSU 66-38 on Saturday. This week provides Vandy with a good chance for a win, however, as it hosts No. 17 Northern Illinois. (3)|
|3. New Mexico State||0-4||Man, the Rio Grande Rivalry game looked terrific this week. It's too bad I couldn't find it anywhere on television. The Aggies came up just short against the Lobos, losing 55-52. This week they get a tough Fresno State team that picked up its first win of the season on Saturday. (2)|
|2. Akron||0-4||OK, I didn't write about this in the lede because I wanted it to be a surprise, but I have a hard time keeping it one. So I'll say Akron lost to Troy and move on to No. 1 for some unknown yet very exciting reason. (4)|
|1. UMass||0-4||UMass lost to Coastal Carolina 62-28 this week, and that's great news for all of us. Why? BECAUSE IT SETS UP A BOTTOM 25 GAME OF THE CENTURY OF THE WEEK BETWEEN NO. 1 UMASS AND NO. 2 AKRON. It's The Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week of the Century! What a time to be alive! (1)|
Week 4 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 climbed 40 spots this week, moving up from No. 82 to No. 42 after posting 72 points against Louisiana-Monroe.
Biggest Faller: Then there was Michigan, which fell from No. 21 to No. 56 following its 35-14 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday.
Most Fraudulent Undefeated Team: This award goes to the lowest-ranked undefeated team in my ratings. This week, it's still Minnesota, as the Gophers had a bye. They did manage to move up from No. 65 to No. 58 while not playing, though.
Most Average Team: This award goes to the team whose score is the closest to the average rating of all 130 teams. This week's winner is North Carolina, which is 0.19 percent better than the average score and ranked No. 67 this week.
Best 3-1 Team: There are two 2-1 teams (Maryland and Notre Dame) ranked above them, but that smaller sample size can skew things a bit. The best 3-1 team is Michigan State, which is ranked No. 22 after crushing Northwestern on Saturday.
Best 1-3 Team: Sure, they're 1-3 on the season, but maybe South Carolina can take some solace in being the best 1-3 they could be. The Gamecocks are ranked at No. 97, which leaves them nine spots clear of The Bottom 25 at the moment.