It's November, and in the sport of college football, this month has proven to be the most important of the year. Not because it's the time when #MACtion returns to our television screens on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, but because it's when the contenders are truly separated from the pretenders. There are 25 teams ranked in The Bottom 25 this week, but most of them don't have a chance to win a Bottom 25 title. They're hangers-on. Posers. They're teams bad enough to be seen but not heard.
November is when the teams worth listening make their statements. As we enter the final weeks of the regular season and the simpletons are all distracted by the College Football Playoff Rankings, the real ones are here because this is the only title that's settled on the field and not in a hotel conference room with free donuts and coffee. Which, honestly, if somebody wants to provide me with free donuts and coffee while I write this column every week, that would be fine. I have nothing against donuts and coffee, especially when they're free. Anyway, I'm getting distracted.
As we enter the season's final weeks, we have two winless teams and nine teams with one win. That means we have 11 genuine contenders for the 2021 Bottom 25 title, and there are only so many opportunities left on the schedule for these teams to take it.
Now, I'm going to get myself some coffee and maybe a donut. I'm in more of a bagel mood, to be honest, but all this donut talk has been intriguing. While I figure it out, you stay here and read The Bottom 25.
|25. Indiana||2-6||The Hoosiers remain in The Bottom 25 for at least another week, but I'm proud of them. In my weekly betting column, The Six Pack, I made the Hoosiers my Lock of the Week to cover against Maryland. Shortly after publication, Tom Allen announced backup QB Jack Tuttle would be a game-time decision. Tuttle did not play, but third-stringer Donaven McCulley and the Hoosiers managed to get the cover anyway. They'll always be heroes to me for it. This week the heroes will travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan. (Last Week: 24)|
|24. Louisiana Tech||2-6||The Bulldogs lost to No. 21 Old Dominion 23-20 thanks to a 46-yard field goal as time expired, but something tells me their spot in The Bottom 25 isn't as important to them at the moment as their spot in Conference USA. This week the Bulldogs are on the road to face UAB. (25)|
|23. Temple||3-5||Spoiler alert: Temple is the only new team in this week's rankings. The Owls replace Bowling Green after getting steamrolled 49-7 by UCF. This week they'll be on the road against an East Carolina team playing well at the moment. (Not Ranked)|
|22. New Mexico||3-5||The Lobos had the weekend off but return to action with a massive game against No. 4 UNLV Saturday night. (19)|
|21. Old Dominion||2-6||The Monarchs knocked off No. 24 Louisiana Tech 23-20 yet remain ranked below them because The Bottom 25 is devoid of recency bias. Just cold-hearted numbers here, baby. That conference room mentality will never interfere with The Bottom 25! Not without a lucrative television deal! As for the Monarchs, they're on the road this week to face No. 9 FIU. (16)|
|20. Colorado||2-6||The Buffaloes weren't terrible during their 52-29 loss to Oregon, but the divide between the two programs was evident throughout. This week the Buffs have what might be the most winnable game remaining on the schedule at home against Oregon State. (22)|
|19. South Florida||2-6||The Bulls could not carry the momentum of their 34-14 win over Temple into the game against East Carolina, losing 29-14. Still, while a loss is a loss, this team is playing better than it was to start the season. Of course, I'm not sure it'll mean much with the remaining schedule that starts with Houston on Saturday. (23)|
|18. North Texas||2-6||The Slightly-More-Mean Green picked up a big 30-24 win over No. 17 Rice this weekend, knocking the Owls off 30-24 in overtime. It was a great win for North Texas, as the Mean-Against-Bad-Teams Green have a couple of winnable games left to play. The first is Saturday at No. 6 Southern Miss. (13)|
|17. Rice||3-5||Rice was on the wrong end of North Texas' win and dropped below it in the rankings despite having that third win. The Owls are hoping to pick up a fourth, and maybe even a fifth this season. Their first chance comes Saturday at Charlotte. (20)|
|16. Navy||2-6||The Midshipmen continue to improve. After hanging tough with Cincinnati in a 27-20 loss, they beat Tulsa 20-17. Unfortunately, it didn't do much for their spot in the rankings, but it likely took the Mids out of contention for a Bottom 25 playoff spot. A win at Notre Dame on Saturday could take them out of The Bottom 25 entirely. (14)|
|15. Texas State||2-6||Texas State coach Jake Spavital got the Dreaded Vote of Confidence from his athletic director this week following a 45-0 loss. To be clear, it's not a Dreaded Vote of Confidence because anybody thinks athletic directors are lying. It's a Dreaded Vote of Confidence because any time an athletic director feels the need to show public support, things aren't going well. Maybe they'll improve this weekend against ULM. (21)|
|14. Georgia Southern||2-6||The Eagles lost a close one, falling to Georgia State 21-14 thanks to a late Panthers touchdown. This week the Eagles face a much more difficult opponent when they host Coastal Carolina. (17)|
|13. Tulane||1-7||It looked like Tulane might make a game of it against Cincinnati early, but the Bearcats managed to take control and cruise to a 31-12 victory. This week the Green Wave will look to give another team bailing on the AAC for the Big 12 a going away present when they travel to Orlando to face UCF. (15)|
|12. Vanderbilt||2-7||Missouri looked to be the most beatable team remaining on Vandy's schedule this season, but the Tigers beat the Commodores 28-27. If Vandy wants to get that third win, it'll have to do so against either Kentucky, Ole Miss or Tennessee. The good news is they have this week off to prepare for the Wildcats. (12)|
|11. Ohio||1-7||The Bobcats were off last week because they need to prepare for their game against Miami (OH) on Tuesday night. That's right, if you waited until Wednesday to read The Bottom 25, you already know what happened. Don't spoil it for the rest of us. (8)|
|10. Akron||2-6||Akron is in the same position as Ohio. It had the weekend off but will play Ball State on Tuesday night. Honestly, how is The Bottom 25 not an official sponsor of #MACtion? Are you an agent capable of making this happen? Does The Bottom 25 need an agent? Will this agent work for free, or maybe for free coffee and donuts? (7)|
|9. FIU||1-7||There are reports that FIU traveled to Huntington, West Virginia, to play a game this weekend, but I don't recall anybody showing up. All I see is a 38-0 score that says Marshall won against something. The Panthers are scheduled to face No. 21 Old Dominion this weekend. (11)|
|8. Arkansas State||1-7||The Red Wolves became the latest victim of South Alabama QB Jake Bentley, as Bentley's four touchdown passes led the Jaguars to a 31-13 win. This week Butch Jones' squad takes on Appalachian State. (10)|
|7. New Mexico State||1-7||The Aggies had the week off and will return to action this week against Utah State. (6)|
|6. Southern Miss||1-7||Southern Miss partied a little too hard after getting that Sun Belt invite, and maybe that's why they looked a bit sluggish during a 35-10 loss to a Middle Tennessee team that might be on its way to the MAC? Who knows? What we do know is that this week the Eagles host No. 18 North Texas. (9)|
|5. Arizona||0-8||Arizona continued its recent tradition of looking better against USC than it does anybody else in the Pac-12, losing 41-34. The Wildcats would like to start a new tradition called "winning" this week against Cal. (5)|
|4. UNLV||0-8||Our other winless team fell to Nevada 51-20, but the Rebels are hoping that they'll pick up their first win of the season on the road at No. 22 New Mexico in The Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week! (4)|
|3. UConn||1-8||The Huskies had the week off to give themselves extra time to prepare for this week's bye week. Yes, that's right, the Huskies are taking two weeks off ahead of their showdown with Clemson. (2)|
|2. Kansas||1-7||The Jayhawks were trounced 55-3 by Oklahoma State this weekend. Maybe they were caught looking ahead to this week's rivalry game against Kansas State? The Sunflower Showdown deserves everybody's fullest attention. (3)|
|1. UMass||1-7||The Minutemen were molly-whopped 62-17 by Liberty on Saturday and become the first team this season to remain at No. 1 in The Bottom 25 for a second consecutive week. But will that streak be in jeopardy this weekend? That's when the Minutemen play their first of two games against FCS opponents. This week it's Rhode Island, and the week after, it's Maine. It's like a New England Tournament of some kind, or at least it should be. (1)|
No Longer Ranked: No. 18 Bowling Green