Just one week ago, Boston College stood in pole position as the Power Five team most likely to join Virginia in the Bottom 25 rankings. The Eagles were coming off a season-opening loss to Northern Illinois and had nearly dropped a home game against FCS foe Holy Cross in Week 2 as they welcomed No. 3 Florida State to town.
BC was a four-touchdown underdog but nearly pulled the biggest stunner of the season so far before falling 31-29 to the Seminoles. With their impressive showing in defeat, the Eagles managed to avoid making their Bottom 25 debut this week. Still, the ranking does feature a new face from the Power Five.
Houston, playing its first season in the Big 12, cracks the ranking at No. 23 after a 36-13 home loss against TCU. The Horned Frogs more than doubled up the Cougars in total yards and nearly tripled them in total first downs while waltzing to a dominant victory. It was a rude welcome to life in the Big 12 for Houston and a sign that this program is not positioned for early success in a more difficult league.
Of course, the warning signs were already there in a 43-41 at Rice, but the lackluster performance against TCU suggested that fifth-year coach Dana Holgorsen's squad may be the worst of the league's four first-year schools.
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. Boise State||1-2||After a nightmarish 0-2 start, the Broncos finally got a win against FCS foe North Dakota. While Boise State should be on its way out of the Bottom 25 soon, games at San Diego State and Memphis over the next two weeks will be challenging and could keep the reigning Mountain West champions in futile company even longer. (Last week: 6) |
|24. UAB||1-2||The Trent Dilfer experiment is off to a rocky start. It's no surprise that the former Super Bowl-winning quarterback has a solid passing attack, but the Blazers gave up a total of 90 points in losses to Sun Belt foes Georgia Southern and Louisiana over the past two weeks. Games against Georgia and Tulane are up next, so UAB could be hanging in the Bottom 25 for a while. (NR) |
|23. Houston||1-2||Houston lost at lowly Rice in Week 2 and was just throttled at home by TCU. Frankly, the Cougars are fortunate not to be 0-3 as they snuck away with a 17-14 victory over UTSA in Week 1. Year 1 in the Big 12 looks like it could be a long and ugly ride. We'll see if fifth-year coach Dana Holgorsen survives it. (NR) |
|22. South Florida||1-2||It hasn't exactly been pretty for South Florida through three games under first-year coach Alex Golesh, but this team just played Alabama close. Don't be shocked if the Bulls reach four wins this season and match the total number of victories that predecessor Jeff Scott posted in three seasons on the job. (21) |
|21. North Texas||1-2||If you like to watch football games that feature lots of points, cue up North Texas. The Mean Green rank 41st in total offense and 130th in total defense. The average total points scored in North Texas games through three weeks is 80.3. It may not be good football, but it's certainly action packed. (10) |
|20. Middle Tennessee||1-2||Middle Tennessee would probably like another crack at Alabama considering how weak the Crimson Tide have looked since throttling the Blue Raiders 56-7 in Week 1. South Florida had Bama on the ropes late into the fourth quarter. Why did MTSU simply roll over and play dead when it had a shot at the Bammers? (8) |
|19. Navy||1-2||Navy nearly won at Memphis last Thursday, suggesting that progress has been made since an ugly season-opening loss to Notre Dame. But, the Midshipmen have a long voyage ahead to be the program that won 11 games twice at its peak under former coach Ken Niumatalolo. (14) |
|18. Northern Illinois||1-2||Northern Illinois began the season by upsetting a Boston College team that nearly upset Florida State last week. Then, it lost to an FCS team and followed up by amassing just 149 yards during a 34-11 Week 3 loss to Nebraska. So, the real question here is how in the world did FSU almost lose to Boston College? (NR) |
|17. UTEP||1-3||Arizona quarterback Jayden De Laura typically gives away interceptions like a benevolent neighbor gives away Halloween candy. Still, the Miners failed to pick off De Laura in their 31-10 loss on Saturday. This team ranks 110th nationally in team passing efficiency defense, and that's against some weak competition. (20) |
|16. Akron||1-2||Akron is incomprehensibly bad at running the football. Even in its lone victory, a 24-21 win over FCS foe Morgan State, the Zips netted only 4 yards on the ground. FOUR yards against an FCS team! And the Zips only won that game because a fumble returned for a touchdown in the final minute. (NR) |
|15. Connecticut||0-3||The Huskies appear to be on a fast track to nowhere after breaking through last season for their first bowl appearance since 2015. The Huskies beat FIU 33-12 on the road last season and just lost 24-17 at home to the Golden Panthers. With games against Duke, Tennessee and Boston College still ahead, the margin for error has evaporated if Jim Mora's club is going to make consecutive bowls. (17) |
|14. Colorado State||0-2||Woulda, coulda, shoulda. The Rams were so close to a stunning upset of Colorado in front of more than nine million TV viewers before allowing a 98-yard touchdown drive in the final minutes against the Buffs. Then, with an opportunity to attempt a 2-point conversion and win the game in overtime, coach Jay Norvell played it safe and kicked the extra point. Throw in 17 penalties for 182 yards and the Rams have no one to blame but themselves for failing to get across the finish line in a rare national showcase game. (12) |
|13. Arkansas State||1-2||Arkansas State beat Stony Brook 31-7 for its victory of the season in Week 3. Now, the Red Wolves have only been outscored 117-34. Third-year coach Butch Jones is just 2-14 in Sun Belt play through two years, and nothing suggests this team is trending upward as league play arrives this week. (3) |
|12. Kent State||1-2||After mustering a total of 12 points in losses against Power Five foes in the season's first two weeks, the Golden Flashes seemed eager for a role reversal in Week 3 as Central Connecticut State visited for a buy-game. Kent State led 38-0 on its way to a 38-10 victory. Now, it's back to harsh reality in the form of a road game vs. Fresno State. (2) |
|11. Hawaii||1-3||Hawaii is about to play its fifth nonconference game of the season, and this is only Week 4. But, even after 240 minutes worth of game action, it's still tough to identify this team's strength. It certainly isn't running the football or playing defense. Quarterback Brayden Schager is slinging it around, but he's on pace to throw close to 20 interceptions. (NR) |
|10. Virginia||0-3||Virginia led 14-0 at Maryland behind the inspired play of freshman quarterback Anthony Colandrea. Then, the wheels came off as the Terrapins scored 42 unanswered and forced four turnovers while reinforcing just how long of a season this may be for the Cavaliers. (10) |
|9. Tulsa||1-2||The Golden Hurricane were forced to play Washington and Oklahoma the past two weeks, which is a nightmare scenario for any defensive coordinator, especially at the Group of Five level. It went like you'd expect as Tulsa was outscored 109-27. (9) |
|8. Ball State||1-2||After taking beatings and paychecks at Kentucky and at No. 1 Georgia, Ball State deserved a visit from an FCS foe. It got one when Indiana State came to town in Week 3. Still, the Cardinals had some trouble, leading just 10-0 at halftime before a 28-point fourth quarter explosion in a 45-7 win. (6) |
|7. Massachusetts||1-3||UMass managed to lose 19-17 at Eastern Michigan, despite producing nine more first downs and 93 more yards. Four turnovers will do that to you. The Minutemen show signs of improvement from last season's 1-11 campaign, but self-sabotage is a troubling trend. (7) |
|6. Western Michigan||1-2||Western Michigan led Iowa 7-0 on the road at the end of the first quarter and was ahead 10-7 just minutes before halftime. Then the Hawkeyes closed the game on a 31-0 run. The Broncos mustered just eight first downs and only seven completed passes. Yikes. (6) |
|5. Southern Miss||1-2||Southern Miss starts Sun Belt play this week against Arkansas State in a Bottom 25 battle. Conference play couldn't get here fast enough for the Golden Eagles, who were out scored 87-16 in losses to Florida State and Tulane the past two weeks. (5) |
|4. Central Michigan||1-2||Remember in 2021 when Central Michigan went 9-4 with a Sun Bowl victory over Washington State in coach Jim McElwain's third season? It seemed like the former Colorado State and Florida coach might be on the cusp of a career revival, but the Chippewas are just 5-10 since then. (9) |
|3. East Carolina||0-3||Just a year ago, this program appeared to have turned a corner under coach Mike Houston as the Pirates finished 8-5 with near-upsets of NC State and Cincinnati. Now, the Pirates are 0-3 following double-digit losses to Sun Belt foes Marshall and Appalachian State. ECU has not reached 300 yards in a game yet this season. (5) |
|2. Buffalo||0-3||Buffalo let Liberty quarterback Kaidon Salter throw for five touchdowns and run for a sixth in the Flames' 55-27 win over the Bulls in Week 3. Performances like that are why Buffalo ranks 128th in total defense through three weeks. Even Fordham from the FCS put up 40 points against the Bulls in an embarrassing Week 2 loss for a program that is coming off a bowl win. (2) |
|1. Nevada||0-3||After a spending a significant portion of the 21st century as a punching bag, Kansas took sympathy on Nevada last week. The Jayhawks know what it's like to stink, and they let the Wolf Pack lose with dignity for the first time this season. Nevada tied the game in the fourth quarter before falling 31-24. This was clear progress after a 33-6 loss against FCS foe Idaho in Week 2. (1) |
No longer ranked: San Jose State, Miami (Ohio), Sam Houston, South Alabama, Eastern Michigan