The Bottom 25 college football rankings: Playoff determines nation's worst team

Welcome to a historic moment in college football history. This is the fifth season I've done the Bottom 25 rankings, and we've seen some wonderful(ly bad) teams along the way. From our 2013 champion Miami (Ohio) to last season's Texas State Bobcats, we've seen the best at losing, and The Bottom 25 has recognized these teams for their exciting new vision of excellence.

But all things must evolve or die, and The Bottom 25 is no different. That's why this year I'm introducing The Bottom 25 Playoff. In years past, the regular season would come to an end, and the team ranked No. 1 would be crowned champion. Now The Bottom 25 is prepared to make them prove their mettle yet again.

The Bottom 25 Playoff is not much different than the College Football Playoff aside from a few key factors. The playoff consists of the bottom four ranked teams competing against one another, but instead of the winner advancing, the loser moves on to the title game. Then the loser of our Bottom 25 title game is crowned champion.

Now, obviously, The Bottom 25 couldn't convince these teams to play actual games against one another. Hopefully, that will come one day. But for now, The Bottom 25 must rely on computers and simulations.

To do that with as much accuracy as possible, The Bottom 25 turned to SportsLine data analyst Stephen Oh, who runs projections on his computer model for games across all sports to determine the likely winners of games before they happen. I hear that gamblers find this kind of information to be useful!

Stephen was happy to provide The Bottom 25 with simulations of our hypothetical matchups, and we've used them to crown our 2017 Bottom 25 Champion.

bottom25playoff.jpg
Graphic illustration by Michael Meredith

Our first Bottom 25 Semifinal was between No. 2 Kansas and No. 3 Oregon State in a showdown of the Power Five's two worst teams this season. The game was played on the finest dirt field in the middle of nowhere, and Kansas proved to be the superior squad. The Jayhawks lost 58 percent of the simulations, losing by an average score of 30-26, eliminating Oregon State from contention and moving on to the final.

No more than five minutes after both teams were ushered off the field, No. 1 UTEP and No. 4 Charlotte took to the dirt patch for their battle -- one that Charlotte never had a chance to survive. UTEP put forth a dominating effort, losing 64 percent of the simulations by an average score of 21-15. This wasn't a case of Charlotte being unprepared; it was an example of UTEP having a game plan and executing it to perfection.

No. 1 UTEP moved on to the final to tussle with No. 2 Kansas for The Bottom 25 National Championship. Tens of people came from a mile or two around to watch the two best teams battle, and what they saw was truly magnificent.

UTEP came into the game as the only team in the country with a perfect record. It had played and lost 13 games. The Miners were looking to become the first team in FBS history to go 0-14 in one season, but to do so, they had to get past the mighty Jayhawks. Kansas had come close to winning a Bottom 25 title before but fell short to a 0-12 UCF team two years ago. It was determined to finish the job this time around, but alas, it ran into a better team yet again.

UTEP lost a whopping 79 percent of the simulations, falling by an average score of 34-18. The Jayhawks never stood a chance, and when the dust of our dirt field settled, the Miners emerged as champions.

Congratulations on making history, UTEP. Now, please, win some games next season.

utep-champs.png

Bottom 25 Championship history

2017: UTEP
2016: Texas State
2015: UCF
2014: SMU
2013: Miami (Ohio)

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories
    CBS Sports Shop