I can’t lie to you. One of the reasons I was so excited about the start of the new season wasn’t just that I would have college football to watch, but that I’d have data to enter into my rankings formula.
The same rankings that would produce a new set of teams for The Bottom 25.
Yes, The Bottom 25 is back for its third season on CBS Sports, and if the first weekend of action was any indication, things are going to get weird this year.
For instance, UCF Knights was crowned as our Bottom 25 champion in 2015, as the Knights were one of only two FBS teams to go winless last year. The other was Kansas Jayhawks . Both teams began the 2016 season with a win, so before you could even finish saying “devastating loss,” the race for a new champion was suddenly wide open.
That’s not to say UCF and Kansas won’t make an appearance in these rankings again this year, or that UCF can’t defend its crown. Only time will tell. What it means is they aren’t in it this week.
Now, for those of you who are new to The Bottom 25, first of all, welcome to the only set of rankings that truly matter. We’re happy to have you here. Here are some things you should know before diving into the rankings:
1. My opinion has absolutely nothing to do with the rankings: They are based on a mathematical formula of my creation. Every week I enter a bunch of different numbers into a spreadsheet and that spreadsheet then spits out the rankings based on the data I entered. So keep this in mind before you call me an idiot, which I know you will.
2. There is true equality to start: That means exactly what it says. The math doesn’t play favorites. Before the season begins, defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide is just as good as our defending Bottom 25 champion UCF. It doesn’t matter where you’re ranked in the AP Top 25, or what you did last season, or any season before it. The only factor that matters in the rankings is how you’ve performed on the field in 2016.
3. Wins and losses mean more than anything. I have a lot of different statistics involved, and I factor in strength of schedule (though, remember, everybody begins the season with the same SOS), but at the end of the day whether you won or lost is going to mean more than anything else. Also, just because it’s too difficult for me to rank FCS teams as well, my formula doesn’t have much respect for FCS teams. If you beat one it won’t mean much, and if you lose to one, well, you might show up in The Bottom 25.
4. Things are strange early in the season. Remember, these rankings are based on data, and early in the season, there isn’t much of a sample size. So if you start the season 0-1, I don’t care what you did last season, there’s a decent chance you’re going to end up in these rankings. You might finish the season 11-1, but at the moment you’re just a winless entity in the formula.
5. I won’t share the formula. I just don’t want to. I’m not a mathematician. I know my formula isn’t perfect. I don’t think a perfect formula can exist, so I don’t share it because I don’t care what anybody thinks is wrong with it, or what else it should include. So don’t ask.
Now that we have that out of the way, we can get to what you really want to know: which teams are the worst in the country right now. Let’s find out.
The Bottom 25, Week 2
25. Oklahoma Sooners (0-1): OU may have lost to Houston Cougars to open the season, but it’s not all bad. The Sooners will always be able to say they were the first team in college football history to go from the College Football Playoff to The Bottom 25. Boomer!
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 33-23 vs. Houston
Average Score: 23-33 | This Week: Louisiana-Monroe
No. 24 Temple Owls (0-1): I have to admit, I figured Temple would take a step back in 2016 due to some losses in personnel, but I did not see a loss to Army coming in Week 1. It’s usually Army I’m writing about in these rankings.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 28-13 vs. Army
Average Score: 13-28 | This Week: vs. Stony Brook
23. Georgia State Panthers (0-1): Apologies to my fellow CBS Sports scribe Robby Kalland. Try as they might, his beloved Panthers just couldn’t escape the grasp of The Bottom 25.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 31-21 vs. Ball State
Average Score: 21-31| This Week: at Air Force
22. North Texas Mean Green (0-1): Apologies to my fellow CBS Sports scribe Ben Kercheval. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep a team from scoring a 46-yard touchdown on 3rd and 45, and sometimes it’s even harder to avoid The Bottom 25.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 34-21 vs. SMU
Average Score: 21-34 | This Week: vs. Bethune-Cookman
21. New Mexico State Aggies (0-1): The Aggies are no stranger to these rankings, though they’re usually closer to The Bottom 10.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 38-22 at UTEP
Average Score: 22-38 | This Week: vs. New Mexico
20. Missouri Tigers (0-1): The best way I can describe the Missouri offense is by saying it’s like a sloth that just took some Lorazepam.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 26-11 at West Virginia
Average Score: 11-26 | This Week: vs. Eastern Michigan
19. UMass (0-1): Well, UMass, the good news is you moved out of the MAC’s basement and got your own place. The bad news is it looks like your new place has termites. Independence ain’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 24-7 at Florida
Average Score: 7-24 | This Week: vs. Boston College
18. Miami, OH (0-1): The Redhawks have been a mainstay of The Bottom 25 going back four seasons when I only ranked the 10 worst teams, and they took home the crown in 2013. I have to say, though, at times against Iowa Hawkeyes , this looked like a team that might find an extra win or two this season.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 45-21 at Iowa
Average Score: 21-45 | This Week: vs. Eastern Illinois
17. Kent State Golden Flashes (0-1): Though they hung tough with Penn State Nittany Lions in the first half on Saturday, trailing only 16-13 at halftime, the Golden Flashes unfortunately had to play the second half, too.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 33-13 at Penn State
Average Score: 13-33 | This Week: vs. North Carolina A&T
16. Florida International Golden Panthers (0-1): For those of you who don’t know, this here website you’re reading is actually based in South Florida. As a result, I work with a lot of people who are FIU graduates. Suffice to say, I might enjoy it when the Panthers are in these rankings because of this.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 34-13 vs. Indiana
Average Score: 13-34 | This Week: vs. Maryland
15. Arkansas State Red Wolves (0-1): Maybe the Red Wolves were too busy looking ahead to this week’s game against former coach Gus Malzahn? I mean, I’m not shocked they lost to Toledo Rockets , but the lack of offense caught me off guard.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 31-10 vs. Toledo
Average Score: 10-31 | This Week: at Auburn
14. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (0-2): Listen, Hawaii, we need to talk. You opened the season against Cal in Australia. Unlike Cal, which decided it was best to take the next week off before playing again, you decided to not only return to Hawaii but then fly all the way to Ann Arbor, Michigan Wolverines , for a game only 10 days later. And now, instead of finally taking a well-deserved bye, you’ve got another game lined up this week in Honolulu. Take a day off, you guys.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 63-3 at Michigan
Average Score: 17-57 | This Week: vs. Tennessee-Martin
13. San Jose State Spartans (0-1): The Spartans were tied with Tulsa Golden Hurricane at 7-7 with three minutes left in the first quarter. The score at the end of the first quarter was 24-7. Life comes at you fast.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 45-10 at Tulsa
Average Score: 10-45 | This Week: vs. Prairie State
12. Fresno State Bulldogs (0-1): The Bulldogs didn’t fare well on the scoreboard, but all the credit in the world to them for declining the penalty after Nebraska Cornhuskers ‘s tribute to the late Sam Foltz .
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 43-10 at Nebraska
Average Score: 10-43 | This Week: vs. Sacramento State
11. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (0-1): My Underdog of the Week in last week’s Pick Six let me down. The Scarlet Knights were practically four-touchdown underdogs against Washington and there was just no way I saw that happening. Well Rutgers sure showed me, didn’t it?
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 48-13 at Washington
Average Score: 13-48 | This Week: vs. Howard
10. Rice Owls (0-1): Hey, you got crushed by Western Kentucky, but you’re still alive for that Big 12 spot, so you win some, lose some.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 46-14 at Western Kentucky
Average Score: 14-46 | This Week: at Army
9. Colorado State Rams (0-1): I hope Colorado Buffaloes has improved a lot, because based on what I saw in Colorado State’s loss, if the Buffaloes aren’t, it could be a long season for the Rams.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 44-7 vs. Colorado
Average Score: 7-44 | This Week: vs. UTSA
8. Louisiana-Lafayette (0-1): The Ragin’ Cajuns may have lost, but they still have the best name in college football, so it ain’t all bad.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 45-10 vs. Boise State
Average Score: 10-45 | This Week: vs. McNeese State
7. Charlotte 49ers (0-1): If Lamar Jackson ends up in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony in December, I hope he invites the 49ers to join him on the trip. Good lord.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 70-14 at Louisville
Average Score: 14-70 | This Week: vs. Elon
6. Bowling Green (0-1): Something tells me a win against North Dakota this week won’t be enough to get the Falcons out of The Bottom 25 following the decimation at the hands of Ohio State Buckeyes .
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 77-10 at Ohio State
Average Score: 10-77 | This Week: vs. North Dakota
5. Southern California Trojans (0-1): For the first quarter of the game, I thought the Trojans might actually be able to hang with Alabama, but oh man, that moment was fleeting. Things got out of hand quickly from that point on.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 52-6 vs. Alabama
Average Score: 6-52 | This Week: vs. Utah State
4. Washington State Cougars (0-1): Last season, the Cougars opened the year with a loss to Portland State yet still managed to finish the season at 9-4. So if anybody knows that a loss to an FCS opponent in the first week isn’t the end of the world, it’s Washington State. Still, you probably don’t want to make a habit of it, you guys.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 45-42 vs. Eastern Washington
Average Score: 42-45 | This Week: at Boise State
3. Iowa State Cyclones (0-1): The Matt Campbell Era is off to a rough start at Iowa State, but anybody who has paid attention to the rivalry knows that a loss to Northern Iowa just makes it more likely that the Cyclones will upset Iowa next week.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 25-20 vs. Northern Iowa
Average Score: 20-25 | This Week: at Iowa
2. Buffalo Bulls (0-1): I honestly don’t know if Lance Leipold would have lost to Albany if he were still at Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 22-16 vs. Albany
Average Score: 16-22 | This Week: Bye
1. Virginia Cavaliers (0-1): Safe to say the honeymoon period for Bronco Mendenhall at Virginia is already over. Because things aren’t going to get any easier going on the road to face Oregon Ducks this week.
Best Win: None | Worst Loss: 37-20 vs. Richmond
Average Score: 20-37 | This Week: at Oregon
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / College Football Bottom 25 rankings: USC, Oklahoma now have some work to do