The first warning that Baylor could be destined for a Bottom 25 appearance in 2023 came in a stunning Week 1 outcome as the Bears fell 42-31 against a Texas State team playing its first game under first-year coach G.J. Kinne. Baylor put the finishing touches on its descent into our weekly ranking of college football futility in a 38-6 loss to visiting Texas on Saturday as it surrendered 503 yards and failed to score a touchdown.
Getting Texas at home for the final time as a Big 12 foe was supposed to elicit the best from the Bears, who were playing in front of a sell-out crowd in a prime-time slot on a national network. Instead, it served as a grand stage for the program's increasingly obvious shortcomings under fourth-year coach Dave Aranda.
Baylor's lone win in a 1-3 start came against FCS foe Long Island University, and even that 30-7 victory looked uninspired. But at least the Bears' misery has some company this week, thanks to Boston College and Arizona State. The Eagles and Sun Devils share similar resumes as Baylor. All three teams are 1-3 with losses to Group of Five schools, ugly wins over FCS teams and an 0-2 mark against Power Five opponents.
With those three schools all in the mix, Virginia has plenty of Power Five company in this week's Bottom 25 rankings.
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. Boston College||1-3||If you thought Boston College's near-upset over Florida State in Week 3 signaled good things ahead, you thought wrong. The Eagles responded by allowing 42 points in the first half at Louisville in a 56-28 loss. BC's only win is a 3-point victory against Holy Cross. A 2-10 or 3-9 season is on the table. (Last week: NR) |
|24. FAU||1-3||FAU seemed well-positioned to thrive in Year 1 under coach Tom Herman, who brought in former Texas and Nebraska quarterback Casey Thompson. But Thompson is out for the season with a knee injury, and the Owls are off to a 1-3 start with a lone victory against Monmouth. This week brings a needed bye before starting AAC play. (NR) |
|23. Arizona State||1-3||Arizona State played USC close on Saturday, but the Sun Devils are banged up and off to a 1-3 start. The lone win was a 3-point victory against Southern Utah, and the ledger also includes a 29-0 home loss against Fresno State. This team is at risk of becoming a Pac-12 punching bag in Year 1 under Kenny Dillingham. (NR) |
|22. Navy||1-2||Navy moved three spots in the right direction during the bye week. When not playing improves your metrics, it's a sign things aren't going well. The good news for the Midshipmen is that two of their toughest games — against Notre Dame and at Memphis — are in the rearview mirror. (19) |
|21. Baylor||1-3||The idea of Baylor making an appearance in the Bottom 25 would have been inconceivable just over a year ago as the Bears entered the 2022 season off a 12-2 campaign and Sugar Bowl victory. Since then, Baylor is 7-10. Fourth-year coach Dave Aranda is just 21-19 overall and 9-19 outside of the 2021 season. (NR) |
|20. Hawaii||2-3||Hawaii rallied from a 17-3 halftime deficit to beat New Mexico State. But a narrow home victory against a consistently bottom-tier FBS opponent wasn't enough to get the Rainbow Warriors out of the Bottom 25. A win at UNLV this week would do the trick. (11) |
|19. Eastern Michigan||2-2||What is a .500 team doing in the Bottom 25, you ask? Well, look no further than Eastern Michigan's 21-0 loss at Jacksonville State. The Eagles totaled just 152 yards, turned the football over three times and completed only 13 of 29 passes. EMU also allowed nearly 300 yards rushing against a JSU team playing its first FBS season. (NR) |
|18. Akron||1-3||Akron is just 1-3 but is a couple of bounces away from being 3-1 after narrow road losses vs. Temple and Indiana. Alas, the Zips fell 29-27 in four overtimes against the Hoosiers on Saturday despite a 474-282 edge in total yards against their Big Ten foe. After a 3-13 start to his tenure, second-year coach Joe Moorhead needs to start collecting some victories as MAC play arrives this week with a home game against Buffalo. (16) |
|17. Charlotte||1-3||Charlotte led Maryland 14-0 before falling on the road against the Terrapins in Week 2. This past week, the 49ers lost just 22-7 at Florida. Those are respectable results in buy games for a program operating under first-year coach Biff Poggi. There is also some saving grace in that Charlotte misses Tulane and UTSA, but AAC play could be a long road nevertheless. (17) |
|16. UAB||1-3||UAB hung around with No. 1 Georgia early, tying the game at 7-7 in the second quarter and trailing just 28-14 at halftime before falling 49-21. But there's no getting around the fact that a 1-3 nonconference mark is disappointing for first-year coach Trent Dilfer's squad. (24) |
|15. Middle Tennessee||1-3||Middle Tennessee surrendered 21 unanswered points as a 17-10 halftime lead devolved into a 31-23 loss vs. Colorado State in Week 4. The Blue Raiders will have to hustle during Conference USA play to reach a third straight bowl. (20) |
|14. UTEP||1-4||UTEP gave up 307 yards rushing and six touchdowns on the ground in a 45-28 loss against UNLV. When you rank 121st in scoring offense, 113th in turnover margin and 113th in penalty yards per game, such porous defensive efforts are a great way to ensure defeat. (17) |
|13. East Carolina||1-3||At long last, the Pirates finally put a win on the board by blanking Gardner-Webb 44-0 in Week 4. Crushing a mediocre FCS team hardly makes up for three blowout losses to begin the season, though. The AAC appears wide open, but ECU will have to demonstrate dramatic improvement in a hurry to reach the standard of seven to eight wins it set the past two seasons. (3) |
|12. Bowling Green||1-3||MAC play began with a thud for Bowling Green as the Falcons mustered only 206 yards and turned the ball over four times in a 38-7 loss to Ohio. Compounding matters were a whopping 12 penalties for 123 yards. Matching last season's 5-3 league mark will be a pipe dream unless fifth-year coach Scot Loeffler gets things turned around quickly. (NR) |
|11. Central Michigan||2-2||Central Michigan beat South Alabama 34-30 when Jase Bauer scored on a 4-yard touchdown run with 13 seconds left. The Chippewas' other victory this season came against FCS foe New Hampshire on a 47-yard field goal with :04 left. It's nice to have a flair for dramatic wins, but this team could easily be 0-4. (4) |
|10. Virginia||0-4||It's brutally unfair that Virginia, which saw its 2022 season cut short by tragedy, has lost two of its first four games in the final minute. On the bright side, the Cavaliers have become an entertaining watch because of freshman quarterback Anthony Colandrea's fearless and risky style of play. (10) |
|9. Southern Miss||1-3||A Week 4 Sun Belt opener at lowly Arkansas State was supposed to provide Southern Miss an easy trampoline out of the Bottom 25. It did the opposite as the Golden Eagles fell 44-37, ending a seven-game winning streak in the series against a Red Wolves team that entered just 4-20 in league play over the prior three seasons. (5) |
|8. UMass||1-4||UMass rallied from a 14-point deficit to force overtime against New Mexico, courtesy of a 65-yard touchdown pass in the game's final minute. But the Minutemen gave up their first touchdown since the second quarter in overtime and fell in devastating fashion for a second straight week. This team seems improved after finishing 1-11 in 2021 and 2022, but it isn't showing up in the win column. (7) |
|7. UConn||0-4||One of last season's feel-good stories is back to its old ways of serving as an embarrassment. The Huskies produced a mere 203 yards in a 41-7 home loss to Duke in Week 4. Several more weeks of gridiron misery await before the sweet relief of basketball season arrives. (15) |
|6. Western Michigan||1-3||Considering that Western Michigan was picked to finish last in the MAC West, its 49-31 loss against East Division favorite Ohio doesn't look so bad. The Broncos even led 24-14 at halftime before folding on the road against their more-established league foe. Maybe this team has the mettle to win some league games under first-year coach Lance Taylor. How's that for a positive spin on a 1-3 start? (6) |
|5. Ball State||1-3||After two lopsided losses against SEC teams and a blowout victory against an FCS opponent, Week 4 finally gave Ball State a chance to prove itself against fellow Group of Five competitor Georgia Southern. It went poorly. The Cardinals lost at home 40-3 and were outgained 530-197. (8) |
|4. Kent State||1-3||Kent State has been outscored 137-22 in three games against FBS opposition. The Golden Flashes gave up 36 in the first half alone during a 53-10 loss at Fresno State on Saturday. Typically, the arrival of MAC play would bring relief, but first-year coach Kenni Burns will be fighting to keep this team out of the league cellar. (12) |
|3. Sam Houston||0-3||Bust out the confetti, because Sam Houston finally scored a touchdown. Trapper Pannell's 2-yard scoring run in a 38-7 loss at Houston marked the Bearkats' first time crossing the goal line as an FBS program. Sam Houston is averaging just 3 yards per play, which is dead last at the FBS level by more than a yard. This program was an FCS juggernaut, but the transition up has been rough. (NR) |
|2. Buffalo||0-4||Buffalo played Wisconsin competitively on the road in Week 1, which suggested this team was poised to build off a Camellia Bowl victory and enjoy another winning season. But after an 0-4 run through nonconference play, which included a loss to FCS foe Fordham, the Bulls will need to go 6-2 or better in MAC play to become bowl eligible. Nothing we've seen so far suggests that's possible. (2) |
|1. Nevada||0-4||Nevada is showing signs of life! After beginning the season with two horrendous blowout losses against USC and FCS foe Idaho, the Wolf Pack gave Kansas a scare in Week 3 before falling 35-28. On Saturday, they followed that up by leading Texas State 17-0 at halftime before they were outscored 35-7 in the second half by the Bobcats. But at least there are finally glimpses of competence. (1) |