The Pac-12 is rightfully receivingin the final season before its membership splinters apart and heads in various directions. With six teams teams ranked in the top 18 of the AP Top 25 and another in UCLA lingering in the "others receiving votes" category, the conference has a case to be considered tops in the nation.
One of the only factors working against the Pac-12 in its claim for national supremacy is the weakness of its bottom. The Bottom 25 provides a great example as both Arizona State and Stanford are represented in this week's ranking of college football futility. Both could be Bottom 25 mainstays as the heart of conference play arrives and they are pitted against excellent opposition while navigating the league with first-year coaches and outmatched rosters.
But when it comes to Power Five futility, Virginia has the Cardinal and Sun Devils beat after falling to 0-5 with a crushing loss to Boston College. BC's 27-24 win was enough to help it escape this week's Bottom 25 and reduce the ACC's contingent here to just one team entering October.
Bottom 25 rankings
After years as the QB1 of the Bottom 25, Tom Fornelli has passed the baton to David Cobb this season. We're still using Fornelli's power rankings to determine the order -- with the No. 1 ranking belonging to the worst FBS team -- but the written jabs are from Cobb.
|25. FAU||1-3||With starting quarterback Casey Thompson out for the season, Year 1 in the AAC is off to a rough start. Conference play begins this week against Tulsa with first-year coach Tom Herman's bunch still seeking a victory against FBS competition. (Last week: 24) |
|24. Bowling Green||2-3||Bowling Green erased a 14-0 deficit and beat Georgia Tech 38-27 on the road. The fact that the Falcons are still ranked in the Bottom 25 after such an impressive result shows how massive a hole they dug themselves early this season. (12) |
|23. Northern Illinois||1-3||Northern Illinois beat Boston College in Week 1. Normally a season-opening road win over an ACC foe would signify great things ahead for a MAC squad. But the Huskies have lost four straight since then, including a 35-33 defeat at Toledo in Saturday's conference opener. (NR) |
|22. Arizona State||1-4||Amid a horrible run of injuries to begin Pac-12 play, Arizona State has played USC and Cal competitively. But the Sun Devils' only win is a 24-21 Week 1 victory over FCS foe Southern Utah, which is just 1-4 itself. First-year coach Kenny Dillingham will be doing well to muster one or two Pac-12 victories. (23) |
|21. San Diego State||2-4||What happened to San Diego State's vaunted defense? The Aztecs rank 120th in total defense after getting shellacked 49-10 by Air Force. Fourth-year coach Brady Hoke's first three teams all ranked in the top 15 nationally in the same category, but the program's identity is lost in a sea of opponent touchdowns. (NR) |
|20. Stanford||1-4||Stanford has been outscored 98-16 in games against ranked foes USC and Oregon. Considering that four more ranked teams await -- in addition to Colorado and UCLA -- this could get ugly. Given the Pac-12's strength at the top, it's a bad year to be a first-year coach in charge of a rebuilding program as is the case for Troy Taylor. (NR) |
|19. Akron||1-4||Akron is now 6-41 over the past five seasons after a 13-10 overtime loss to Buffalo. Three of the Zips' four losses are by a combined eight points, including a 24-21 defeat against an FCS Morgan State team that is just 1-4. (18) |
|18. Navy||1-3||Navy is off to an 0-2 start in AAC play after a 44-30 home loss to South Florida. The Midshipmen are in Year 1 under Brian Newberry, but USF has a new coach as well and is making significant strides. That must be a frustrating comparison for the Navy faithful. (22) |
|17. Western Michigan||2-3||Western Michigan is trending in the right direction after picking up its first victory over an FBS team, a 42-24 win against Ball State. The Broncos could jump out of the Bottom 25 altogether if they upset a struggling Mississippi State team this week. (6) |
|16. Hawaii||2-4||Hawaii played a whopping six games before October and is limping into a needed bye week after a 44-20 loss at UNLV. The Rainbow Warriors surrendered 313 rushing yards in the loss. (20) |
|15. Eastern Michigan||2-3||Eastern Michigan is averaging 12 points per game against FBS competition and ranks 129th in total offense. In that context, maybe a 26-23 loss to Central Michigan should be celebrated as the Eagles managed to produce 341 yards and 21 first downs in defeat. (19) |
|14. Middle Tennessee||1-4||Middle Tennessee finished six drives in Western Kentucky territory with just 10 points to show for it in a 31-10 loss to the Hilltoppers. A performance like that explains why the Blue Raiders rank 120th in scoring offense. (15) |
|13. Charlotte||1-4||Charlotte is 3-1 against the spread in games against FBS foes under first-year coach Biff Poggi. But in terms of actual victories, this squad is entering October with just one win, and that came against lowly FCS foe South Carolina State. (17) |
|12. East Carolina||1-4||How a program like ECU that is in Year 5 under Mike Houston and coming off consecutive winning seasons has slipped to the point of losing to AAC newcomer Rice is inexplicable. Give the surprisingly competent Owls some credit, but the Pirates' demise is a big part of the AAC's lackluster overall profile entering October. (13) |
|11. UAB||1-4||Trent Dilfer's in UAB's 35-23 loss to Tulane got some attention on social media. Given the Blazers' 1-4 start in Dilfer's collegiate coaching debut, perhaps this is one of those "any publicity is good publicity" situations. The program's run of seven straight seasons finishing .500 or better appears to be ending. (16) |
|10. UTEP||1-5||Speaking of things that may be ending, are we seeing the end of Dana Dimel's run at UTEP? The Miners are sitting at 128th in scoring offense after a 24-10 loss to Louisiana Tech. It was their fourth consecutive double-digit loss since their lone victory, which came against FCS foe Incarnate Word. (14) |
|9. Virginia||0-5||How can you feel anything other than sympathy for Virginia? Three of its five losses are by a combined seven points after Saturday's 27-24 defeat at Boston College. The Cavaliers led 21-7 at halftime but couldn't hold on, despite a 4-1 turnover edge. A rushing offense that ranks 126th nationally is one of the primary culprits. (10) |
|8. UConn||0-5||UConn's potential game-tying extra-point attempt with 40 seconds was blocked, leading to a 34-33 home loss against Utah State on Saturday. That's a perfect encapsulation of 2023 Huskies football. The countdown to basketball season continues, and even that has been dampened by a . (7) |
|7. Southern Miss||1-4||The loss of defensive coordinator Austin Armstrong to Florida is clearly impacting Southern Miss, which ranks 128th in scoring defense after giving up 516 yards in a 50-36 loss to Texas State on Saturday. The Golden Eagles have allowed 94 points in two Sun Belt games. (9) |
|6. UMass||1-5||UMass became the latest victims of Arkansas State quarterback Jaylen Raynor on Saturday as the true freshman passed for 383 yards and six touchdowns in a 52-28 win. The momentum of a season-opening win at New Mexico State has dissipated for the Minutemen, who have slipped to 129th in scoring defense. (8) |
|5. Ball State||1-4||Ball State's average point differential in four games against FBS opponents is 31.8 after Saturday's 42-24 loss at Western Michigan. If a game this week against Eastern Michigan's struggling offense doesn't get things on track, then it could be a long slog through MAC play for the Cardinals. (5) |
|4. Buffalo||1-4||How about them Bulls! Buffalo picked up a 13-10 overtime win over Akron behind the kicking of Alex McNulty, who drilled a pair of 40+ yard field goals to account for the game's only post-halftime scoring. Clearly, there are some serious offensive issues here. But any win is a good win for a team that has a loss to Fordham on its resume. (2) |
|3. Sam Houston||0-4||Sam Houston snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a 35-28 overtime loss to Jacksonville State in a Thursday night thriller. After going ahead 28-20 with just 1:11 remaining the Bearkats managed to surrender a touchdown and game-tying 2-point conversion before falling in OT and squandering what would have been their first victory as an FBS program. (3) |
|2. Kent State||1-4||All Kent State needed was to finally reach MAC play, right? Wrong. Saturday's 23-3 home loss to Miami (Ohio) left the Golden Flashes at No. 130 in scoring offense. Unfortunately for first-year coach Kenni Burns there are no more games against Central Connecticut State on the schedule. (4) |
|1. Nevada||0-5||Nevada retained its hold on No. 1 with a 27-9 loss at Fresno State entering a much-needed bye week. The Wolf Pack have been reasonably competitive their last three times out, but the stench of a 33-6 Week 2 loss to Idaho is still hanging over this team. A repeat of last season's 2-10 mark might seem like a success at this point. (1) |
No longer ranked: Boston College, Baylor, Central Michigan