Losing Football, Losing Faith – Making Other Losers Look Good

By: admin
Published: October 12th, 2009


Losing Faith – Making Other Losers Look Good
As college football’s midseason approaches, many teams that expected to fare well are thinking about the most effective way to bid ‘farewell’ to the 2009 season.  Colorado – where Head Coach Dan Hawkins was expected to field a very competitive team, has tasted the bitter fruits slowly fermenting at the bottom of college football’s barrel.  With only a single win over Wyoming, the once respected CU recruiting class is now counting its collective transfer options.

As weather turns colder, alumni start hitting their travel agency websites to price out tickets to favorite bowl destinations.  Others are trying to book transport to Bora Bora – just as far away from college football as possible.  Many of these folks are current coaches.

Among this week’s surprises in the Futility Rankings:

Virginia – Adieu – at least for a week to the VA Cavs.  Owing to a rather surprising 47-7 thumping of Big Ten Indiana, the Cavs at least earned the right to their team moniker – free of disparaging letter-changing.  The victory was so complete, that – aside from a mercy touchdown given up in the final quarter – the Virginia defense completely shut down the Hoosiers – sending Indiana back into the bottom ten and Indiana fans back into the line for basketball tickets.


Duke
– Managing to pull off a win over North Carolina State, the Duke Blue Devils fell out of the bottom ten altogether.  Although beating a terrible Wolfpack team doesn’t erase the memory of losing to Richmond, it does drop the Bluish Devils into Honorable Mention status for the First Worst Futility Rankings.  The Devils have the woeful Terrapins of Maryland on deck next week though.  Lose here and Duke will be back in the thick of the fight for First Worst classification.

To those teams that came through under pressure to claim another loss – or those that screwed up and managed to notch a win, the following schools deserve recognition in the Week Six First Worst Futility Rankings:

10.  NC State – Welcome to the Wolfpack!  Anyone who can figure out a way to lose to the Duke Blue Devils at home on the football field deserves special recognition!  This week, the NC State Wolfpack debuts at #10 in the Futility Rankings in honor of this past Saturday’ 49-28 loss at home to said Bluish Devils. NC State gave up over 500 yards in total offense to a team that lost earlier in the year to a team from Richmond U. With only wins over Murray State and Pittsburgh, as well as someone called Gardner-Webb, NC State deserves recognition for football failure.  And this is just the place they will get the disrespect they deserve.

9.  Louisville Cardinals – After dutifully falling behind 16-7 in the first half against Southern Mississippi, the Cardinals failed in their bid to continue their fall to the bottom.  Kicking a field goal with 30 seconds left in the game, Louisville surprised itself with its first win over a real bowl division team this season.  In what should be a basketball match up, the Cardinals take on UCONN next week.  Instead, these two will duke it out on the gridiron to see who can remain in the bottom ten.

8. Indiana – Welcome back to the bottom of college football’s barrel to the Indiana Hoosiers! Owing to a remarkably complete failure at Virginia, the Hoosiers re-earned their way back onto the coveted Futility Rankings worst ten.  The rebuilding Hoosiers figured out a way to give up a whopping 536 yards of offense to what had been a fairly offensive offense on the Cavalier side.  “Making other teams look good” now seems to be the Hoosier football motto. 

7. Army – It must have given the Knights a great sense of accomplishment to knock off the eggheads at Vanderbilt 16-13 in overtime on Saturday.  This doesn’t quite erase the dishonor of losing to such powerhouse programs as Ball State and Eastern Michigan, but it is a step in the right direction. 

6. Maryland – Maryland U. lost 42-34 to Wake Forest on Saturday.  The Turtles were never in this thing from the start, allowing 35 first half points. The Demon Deacons racked up 21 points in the first quarter alone, making it their best offensive start in five years.   The Big Turtles usually provide multiple opportunities for the opposition to establish new offensive records – as if the Terps performance wasn’t offensive enough. Next up for the Terps – the newly exiled from the Futility Rankings Virginia Cavaliers.

5. Colorado – Colorado’ Buffaloes may have kept it close for a while, but came through in the end to give up a 38-14 loss to #2 Texas.  CU in fact won the first half before finding their bearings and giving up four big second-half scores, including a 92 yard punt return for a touchdown. This was the ‘Horns longest punt return since the Great Depression.  And speaking of Great Depression, this is the state where the 1-4 Buffaloes now find themselves.  
 
4.  New Mexico State – The Aggies defeated the Aggies in the Aggie Bowl on Saturday.  Or… the Aggies lost to the Aggies.  Whatever…  Although tagging the Aggies of Utah State with a loss, the Aggies of NMSU barely held on, needing a last second field goal to seal the 20-17 win.  A tie between two of college football’s worst teams would have been appropriate here, but fittingly, neither team could accomplish that objective.

3.  Washington State – Now in the middle of their Pac 10 schedule the Cougars of Washington State are in the middle of yet another winless crisis.  Failing to score in the first half, the Cougars went on to secure the loss by giving up 27 points to visiting Arizona State.  Washington State got over half of its total offensive yards on a single busted defensive play (by ASU) – a 99 yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to Johnny Forzani.   Arizona State sportingly spotted the Cougars a whopping six turnovers to keep this thing as close as it was.  In the end, the Cougs couldn’t overcome ASU’s generosity and took their accustomed place in the loser’s bracket by a final score of 27-14.

2.  Utah State – The Aggies of Utah State move up to #2 this week following an embarrassing road loss to #3 New Mexico State.  A last second field goal by New Mexico State’s Kyle Hughes sent the other Aggies team to the bottom.  Utah State has a season full of challenging opponents remaining so a win in 2009 is looking doubtful.  Of course when you are at the bottom of the heap, every game is challenging.

1.  New Mexico – The 0-6 Lobos kept their drive for perfection very much alive with a 37-13 loss to Wyoming.  Adding injury to the insult, the Lobos couldn’t get nearer to Laramie on Friday night than 50 miles owing to a snowstorm that dumped over a foot of the stuff over southern Wyoming.  The Lobos would have been better served to call the game off.  Still, they prevailed – their losing streak intact.  Also insulting to this injury; of the final five Lobo games, three are against top 20 teams.  The possibility now exists for the Lobos to post the first perfectly awful season since the Washington Huskies accomplished that feat – well – just last year.

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Football Futility – The Bottom Ten – Homecoming Humiliation

By: admin
Published: October 7th, 2009


With many teams looking forward to their homecoming games that enliven the campus each fall, collegiate football losers are now trying to figure out how to avoid the game.  New Mexico State had a golden opportunity to win its Homecoming game this weekend – if only it had scheduled it for this weekend against Utah State.  Aggie fans will have to wait until the 24th of October to be shellacked by Fresno State for its annual Homecoming.

One can also measure the expectation that one’s opponents have for your team by looking at the number of games that your team will play in on the road that serve as the hosts’ “homecoming game.”  The Cougars are set to be the Arizona Homecoming victim in a couple weeks.   The Cougars also set up their own Homecoming this weekend for their game against Arizona State.  The weekend festivities, featuring an exhibit of animal teeth, is expected to include a football game.  WSU’s main chance is to hope the fan’s stay at the museum and not venture near the football stadium.

Some of the Bottom Ten from last week, Maryland in particular, surprised critics by figuring out how not to fail.  It must be that patting the turtle in the Terrapin walkway from the locker room to the field brought some kind of good luck – or bad luck for a team with another set of really ugly uniforms.  Maryland worked out a win at home over Clemson in a bit of a surprise and Virginia (of all teams) came up with a successful effort against North Carolina State. 

Last week’s #10 Idaho failed in its bid to return to the top five of the First Worst Futility Rankings by Beating Colorado State 31-29 on an interception return for TD with 1:41 left. The win takes the Vandals to a very surprising 4-1 record – earning them a ticket out of the bottom ten.  The Sage of College Football will miss ‘em.   Making fun of the Vandals team moniker was always good for a couple paragraphs.

Of those schools that remain in the Futility Rankings, the top few have either horrible schedules or horrible teams – a couple have both. 

10.  Maryland – The University of Maryland emerged the surprise winner over Clemson at home Saturday.  After patting the turtle prior to entering the field, Maryland sealed the win by recovering a Clemson fumble at the Terrapin 28 with 27 seconds remaining.  One more win and Maryland might also re-exit the bottom ten. It might not be this week though, as they take on Wake Forest.

9.  Virginia
– Managed a win over North Carolina State.  Holding the ‘Heels to a touchdown-free afternoon, Virginia drops to #9 in the Futility Rankings.  The Cadavaliers now travel to Bloomington to take on a slightly resurgent Indiana team.  The Hoosiers – fresh off a thumping by 39 Ohio State – are looking to re-enter the Futility rankings themselves, so this could be a good match up.  

8.  Louisville Cardinals
– This new entry into the Bottom Ten comes courtesy of a 1-3 record and a 35-10 walloping at the hands of Pittsburgh U.  With the football Futility Rankings decorated with basketball schools, it seemed appropriate that the Cardinals should enter the fray.  On Deck for the Cards is Southern Miss.  Look for the Cardinals to make a run for the top five in the Futility Rankings with two nationally ranked opponents and a handful of decent teams remaining on their schedule.

7.  Colorado – Following a Thursday night loss to West Virginia, the 1-3 Bungalows of Colorado head to Austin to take on #2 Texas in a nationally televised game.  Colorado seems to surprise when playing on national television.  Realistically, CU brass will be happy if the team just shows up.  It would also be happy if the Buffs give up fewer than 40 points on national television.

6.  Army
– Army gave up ten 4th quarter points to lose to the Tulane Green Wave 17-16.  Anyone losing to a team referred to the ‘Green Wave’ deserves lofty rankings in the Bottom Ten.   Next up:  Vanderbilt at home. 
 
5.  Duke – The Bleu Devils lost Saturday 24-23 to Virginia Tech.  By keeping it close, Duke earned a back handed compliment from Tech Coach Frank Beamer, who said, “I don’t think that’s the old Duke football Team.”  It was however the same Duke result.  Next up for the Bleu Devils: 3-2 NC State.  Duke’s record against Division I schools with winning records isn’t going to cause the Wolfpack much in the way of lost sleep.   

4.  Utah State
– The Aggies reached a major milestone with its 35-17 loss to Brigham Young Saturday… The Utah State Aggies are now a combined 1-50 against AP ranked schools in their last 51 games.  Reaching that 50 loss plateau has required years of preparation and dedication by the University and its collective staffs over the past several years. Establishing and maintaining a tradition like this requires a generation of effort.  The Aggies haven’t announced plans to celebrate just yet.  Their next game is against doormat New Mexico State.  Lose there and the University will avail its Psych majors to provide free counseling.

3.  New Mexico State – – After taking the team breakfast on the beach at LaJolla, the Aggies got down to business and posted a 34-17 loss to San Diego State.  After all, if you are gonna get whacked in the afternoon, you may as well enjoy oogling the beach babes in the morning.  There aren’t many of those in Las Cruces.  The next game against Utah State should at least be something to look forward to.  Unfortunately, the wizards in the Athletic office decided to make the October 24 game against Fresno State Homecoming weekend.  The Aggies should consider moving it up as they might have a shot against Utah State.  At least a team named the ‘Aggies’ will win.

2.  Washington State – Following a 52-6 pasting at Oregon, the Cougar football team is hiring itself out to pick apples this week.  This would at least be a productive use of time.  Oregon even threw in its second string QB in the second quarter and still the Cougars couldn’t make it close.  Arizona State comes to Pullman this Saturday though for another round of football futility. 

1.  New Mexico – remained perfect in 2009 with a loss to Texas Tech.  The Lobos kept this thing close for a quarter before returning to form by losing 48-28.  In true Texas fashion, the Raiders gave up a couple mercy touchdowns late in the 4th quarter to make the final score a little more respectable.  For the first three quarters, the only New Mexico scoring came on a busted Tech pass play that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.  The Lobos offense is certainly ‘offensive’ especially when one has paid for a ticket with real money.

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First Worst Futility Rankings – Week Five- Losing the Way to the Top

By: admin
Published: October 2nd, 2009


First Worst Futility Rankings – Week Five- Losing the Way to the Top

Teams at the bottom of college football’s barrel have a unique ability to figure out new ways to come up short.  Last week’s #10 team –the Indiana Hoosiers – needed some help to snatch defeat from the jaws of an improbable victory at Michigan.  Indiana, who hasn’t scored a win in Ann Arbor since before the Bo Schembechler era, needed an official’s horrible call on a last minute ‘interception’ to seal the loss.  The call gave the ball over to Michigan, depriving the Hoosiers of a chance at victory. 

Still, coming that close vs. Big Blue entitles Indiana to a drop out week from the Futility Rankings – at least for one week.  The Hoosiers have to overcome this heartbreak to make a trip to Columbus to play Ohio State.  Indiana’s exit is covered by the mighty football powerhouse Maryland who enters the poll at #9 this week coming off a humiliating loss to Rutgers.  

Also entering the Futility Rankings this week is Army.  Although it pains many to see the US Military Academy treated so poorly in the Futility Rankings, the Knight’s record of failure must be acknowledged.  Army has lost each game it has played against Division I opponents.
And finally, the departing Iowa State Cyclones traded places with the Knights of Army – by beating them on the field.  The Cyclones could easily stumble their way back into the bottom ten by losing to Kansas State this weekend. 

And any discussion of losing cannot ignore last week’s battle between #1 New Mexico and #2 New Mexico State.  Both NM schools have difficulty recruiting players to forgotten places on the US map, so it is fitting they wound up facing off for #1.  The University of New Mexico won first place by giving up a short touchdown pass with 36 seconds remaining on a fourth and goal play.  The Lobos deserve credit for missing two field goals during the game that might have caused a different outcome. 

So in celebration of this and other loss stories, here is proudly presented – the Week 5 First Worst Futility Rankings – the bottom ten of college football.

10.  Idaho – Will the Vandals figure out a way to break out of the bottom ten?  The schools’ schedule makers helped this past week by setting the team up with a game against Northern Illinois.  IU responded with a win 34-41.  Idaho now has to play a real game – at home against Colorado State.  CSU is playing well and could send the Vandals back to the top of the Futility Rankings.

9. Maryland – lost 34-13 to Rutgers. With only a win over James Madison (a President who has been dead for some time), the Terrapins are into the midst of their ACC schedule and must now figure out how to survive a game against Clemson.  Losing to Rutgers has become a not-quite-so-embarrassing event, but with only losses against top division schools, the Terrapins are in a position to make a run to the top five of the worst performing football schools.  And playing against ACC schools, they could go winless the rest of the way.  Most losing ACC schools look forward to basketball season.  Unfortunately, Maryland stinks on the court, too.  

8. Army – The Black Knights lost this past week to Iowa State.  That is painful by itself.  When combined with an earlier loss to Duke, the Knights now qualify for admission to the top ten college Futility Rankings.  Army has lost each encounter with a top division football team and looks to extend its record of futility this week against Tulane.  Lose this one and Army is headed for top five positioning.

7.  Colorado – The Buffs got a head start on another losing weekend Thursday evening with a 35-24 loss to West Virginia in a game that was never close.  Losing is bad enough, but losing to a team this poorly dressed is an absolute disgrace.  West Virginia deserves to be exiled from football by showing up to play dressed head to foot in fluorescent yellow.  The Mountaineers are pushing Oregon for the most horribly dressed team in the nation.

6.  Utah State –Beat a team from Southern Utah 53-34 this past weekend.  Looking at a map, it is difficult to see where a town exists in southern Utah that might have a school.  The Aggies – even though blessed with a win, now has to play #20 BYU.  And a hearty ‘good luck’ to the Aggies.  They’ll need it.

5.  Duke – Perennial Futility Ranked Duke managed a win this past weekend- over someone called North Carolina Central – 49-14.  Schedule makers may have arranged for a win, but they couldn’t extract the Devils from football’s bottom five.  Duke now plays in state rival NC State.  Getting into midseason form, the Bleu Devils are preparing for games against Maryland and Virginia – two other worst-ranked ACC schools.  These could be the Bleu Devil’s only remaining hope for a win prior to tip off of the basketball season. 

4.  New Mexico State – The Aggies pulled off a 20-17 win over New Mexico in Albuquerque.  After a disastrous start, New New Mexico Coach DeWayne Walker has notched a couple of wins.  He how has to take the Aggies to San Diego State.  His biggest challenge may not be getting a ‘W’, but in keeping his kids off the beaches.  If they find their way over to LaJolla, they ain’t going back to Las Cruces.

3.  Virginia – The Cadavaliers had a bit of good luck this past week and broke its string of weekly losses by not playing.  The Cavs now go up against powder blue North Carolina.  The ‘Heels are licking their chops over this one and can’t wait to get back on the winning track after last week’s loss to Georgia Tech.

2.  Washington State
– Losing to a nationally ranked team is no disgrace.  The Cougars weren’t disgraced, but still lost 27 – 6 to Southern Cal. Fresh off its own stunning loss to Washington, the Trojans took it out on the Cougars.  WSU now plays #16 Oregon in another matchup against a nationally ranked team.  Scheduling nationally ranked teams is a bad way to get out of the losing rut.

1.  New Mexico
– The Lobos lost 20-17 to New Mexico State last week to solidly entrench the program as the First Worst College Football Team.  Losing as they did at home on a 4th down play with a few ticks remaining on the clock at least made the storybook finish one that will be difficult to forget.  However, coming that close might look good after reviewing the next set of game films for their trip to Texas Tech.  The Lobos will be tough to unseat as #1, though.  NM has no weak schools remaining on its schedule – which includes two nationally ranked teams in BYU and TCU.  The Lobos need to get used to their lofty #1 ranking.  It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

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First Worst Futility Rankings – Week Four – Getting Crowded at the Bottom

By: admin
Published: September 22nd, 2009


Football Polls – The Bottom Ten

First Worst Futility Rankings – Week Four – Getting Crowded at the Bottom

The term ‘midseason form’ usually refers to a team that efficiently runs its plays and accomplishes its defensive objectives as it has been practicing them all year.  It can also be applied to those schools that possess a tradition of losing.  Figuring out a way to come up short is a gift in itself – sort of like the Virginia Cavaliers giving up a 57 yard touchdown run against Southern Miss late in the fourth quarter.   Coming back to lose is an ability cherished by Futility Ranked teams.  Accordingly, Virginia shows up at #4 in this week’s Futility Rankings.

Other schools vying to enter the top of college football’s bottom of the barrel include the University of Maryland who came up short this past weekend against powerhouse Middle Tennessee State.  Maryland should move its games to the middle of Maryland – putting the game at the bottom of the Chesapeake.    The Terrapins have won only against James Madison – and that in an overtime effort.  Going into overtime to beat a lower division school will get the attention of the Futility Ranking Committee, so the Terps are poised to make an entry into the First Worst Futility Rankings should someone like Indiana screw up and win against Michigan (yeah, right).

It is getting crowded at the bottom though.  So here is the Futility Ranking for week four.

10.  Indiana – It is indeed rare that a 3-0 school should achieve the top ten of College Football’s Futility Rankings.  The Hoosiers have achieved this rare honor by virtue of wins over Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan and Akron.  These schools served their purpose in producing a winning record for Indiana.  Unfortunately, the Hoosiers now have Michigan and Ohio State on the docket for the next two weeks.  A solid, winning record over unknown football schools does not produce a positive season.

9. Colorado – The Buffaloes at last scored a win last week over Wyoming.  The Cowboys came to Boulder with the full understanding that if they defeated Colorado, CU Coach Dan Hawkins’ days were numbered – probably in the single digits.  Hawkins may be on his way out regardless.  His next scheduled blowout is at home this weekend against West Virginia.  With some acknowledgement to Colorado State, this is the Buffalo’s first real quality opponent.  And after the Buff’s quality loss to Toledo, Boulder will be on the edge of its collective seat to see if Coach Dan has a job next Monday morning.

8. Iowa State – The Coach Paul Rhoads era is well underway as the Cyclones sport a 2-1 record going into week four against Army.  Kent State started a freshman quarterback last week, who dutifully folded before a bigger state school, handing the Cyclones their needed winning record.  The drama this week will then be finding out whether the Cyclones can beat a disciplined Army squad who despite an early season loss at home to Duke – should be a much tougher opponent than any faced thus far.

7. Utah State
– Following their stunning failure to lose (by having no game on the schedule last week), the US Aggies return to the field by facing off against Southern Utah.  This could be interesting though.  Playing in the bustling metropolis of Cedar City, UT, the mighty Thunderbirds of SUU have managed only one win against someone called Dixie State.  Should Utah State come up with a new and improved way to lose this game, the Aggies are headed for the Top Five in the Futility Rankings. 

6. Idaho – Some of these small western schools deserve better.  But, the University of Idaho keeps beating its collective noggin on the brick wall of futility.  Coming off its season opening win over New Mexico State, Idaho figured out a way to not lose to San Diego State.  By virtue of their 2-1 record, the Vandals have fallen out of the top five Futility Ranked teams, but should they fail (as they should) against Northern Illinois this weekend, they will be right back in the thick of the fight for a top tier, finish in the bottom ten.
 
5. Duke – Getting the season’s only win against Army two weeks ago, the Duke Blue Devils regained their composure to lose to #22 Kansas last week 44-16. For the Jayhawks, this at least partially avenged a 2-6 record against the Duke basketball program.  The Jayhawks gave up a touchdown on the first Duke drive, but shut out the Devils until giving up a mercy touchdown late in the game.  Duke had the sense to write in North Carolina Central University this week, but failing on the field in this one could make it crowded at the top of the Futility Rankings.

4.  Virginia – The Cadavaliers won the first half of their game against Southern Miss last week, but came back to lose a heartbreaker 37-34.  Southern Mississippi squashed Virginia’s hope of getting a win with a 57 yard touchdown run by Tory Harrison with 8 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.  Figuring out a way to lose is the hallmark of top five Futility Ranked teams, so Virginia has earned its coveted position.   Adding to the misery, the Cavs now look forward to a beating by this week’s #22 team, North Carolina. 

3.  Washington State – The Cougars fell out of #1 this week with an overtime victory over Southern Methodist.  Despite giving up over 500 yards to SMU, Wash State failed to lose by kicking a 39 yard field goal in overtime to claim the win.  Next up for the Cougars is #12 USC – still smarting from being embarrassed in Seattle by the formerly powerless Huskies.  Adding to the sense of doom in Pullman is the fact that the Cougars have to play this one in LA in front of the Southern Cal Cheerleaders. 

2. New Mexico State – NMSU’s Aggies have a shot at beating a state school this weekend.  Unfortunately for the state, it is the same one they already represent.  Two New Mexico schools battling it out for who is worst is hardly the image state leaders wanted.  Still, a good dinner at a better Santa Fe restaurant would cure the concern. Unfortunately, neither New Mexico nor New Mexico State plays in Santa Fe.  They’ll have to be happy with a team dinner at the Frontier in Albuquerque or at the Wendy’s off I-25 in Las Cruces.  The location of these schools couldn’t have anything to do with recruiting success could it? 

1. New Mexico
– The Poor Lobos of New Mexico at 0-3, have ascended to the #1 position and are desperate for something good to happen.  For something good to happen, they are going to have to settle for going out to lunch.  This season is a disaster.  Still, the titanic struggle with New Mexico State is on tap for this weekend to determine which school will take the commanding track for the #1 position in the First Worst Futility Rankings.   How anyone in Albuquerque will be excited over this game is beyond understanding.  Still, this is about the only thing to do in Albuquerque and the knowledge that one New Mexico school might earn a win is somewhat interesting.  The Sage of College football is pulling for a 3-3 tie.

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First Worst Futility Rankings – Week Three – The Bottom Ten of College Football

By: admin
Published: September 16th, 2009

First Worst Futility Rankings – Week Three- The Bottom Ten of College Football

The season is rapidly taking shape for college football’s losers.  After week two, a couple programs surprised the nation by starting out 0-2 and have earned entry into the First Worst Futility Rankings. 
The Colorado Buffaloes of the Big 12 have already hit midseason form with an unbelievable shellacking at the hands of the University of Toledo.  Buff players will remember this one forever as they figured out a way to give up 54 points to a Mid America Conference school.  Most Big 12 schools don’t bother with the MAC, and it appears that CU should have avoided it as well.  But…unless they scheduled a bye week, the Buffs would have found someone else to get whacked by.

Other schools should have scheduled a bye.  Troy University at least collected a decent paycheck from getting bonged by #1 Florida 56-6, and Virginia dutifully surrendered to TCU 30-14 to advance its record to 0-2. 

As the season revs its engines and good conference games are just around the corner, let us take a look at the Bottom Ten of College Football for the Week 3 version of the First Worst Futility Rankings. 

10. Indiana – The Hoosiers upgraded the quality of their opponents –if not their play- this past week by defeating Western Michigan 23-19.  Graduating from beating up on a lower division school, the Hoosiers advanced their record to 2-0.  Normally, this would be a good school to drop from the Futility Rankings, but given Indiana’s record, week two isn’t quite enough evidence that the team has improved.  Following a 2-0 start in 2008 with wins against lower division opponents, the Hoosiers never won again.  Will history repeat itself?  The Hoosiers should at least advance to 3-0 with a game against Akron this weekend.  The schedule makers gave Indiana a shot at a possessing a winning record for at least five weeks.    The first real game on the Hoosier schedule is Sept. 26 against Michigan. 

9. Iowa State – The Cyclones are on rapid transit to the bottom of the Big 12 right along with the Colorado Buffaloes.  Losing – yes, convincingly- to cross state rival Iowa 35-3, the Cyclones have a lot to work on – starting with hanging on to the football.  I-State gave up a whopping six turnovers in this thing and never made it close.  With a game against Kent State set for Saturday, the Cyclones will be reminded frequently this week that smaller Midwestern schools LOVE to knock off someone from the Big 12.  Just ask the Buffs.

8. Utah State – The Aggies did the best they could this week.  At least they didn’t lose.  They were the only Futility Ranked school with the sense not to schedule a game.

7. Colorado – What a shock.  The Sage of College Football has to welcome the CU Buffs to the Bottom Ten this week after a stunning and absolutely embarrassing loss to the University of Toledo.   And believe it or not, CU was never in it.  Down 23-3 at the half, the Buffs managed to put up 35 second half points.  Unfortunately, the Rockets put up an additional 31 of their own.  Local media couldn’t bring itself to even report on this game (yes, really!).  They won’t want to cover the next one either.   Should Wyoming (who at least played Texas tough for a half) come out on top, CU Coach Dan Hawkins may get that early trip to Hawaii.

6. New Mexico – The poor Lobos are just getting worse – even after only two games.  New Mexico lost its first two games by a combined score of 85-16.  And this season could get a whole lot worse beginning next week against Air Force.  New New Mexico Coach Mike Locksley was at a loss for anything constructive to say after giving up 44 points to Tulsa, uttering only that his team had a lot to work on.  Locksley needs to work on his resume.

5. Virginia – The Cavs played TCU tough, but still came up short.  And owing to an outrageous loss to William and Mary in week one, the Cavs deserve to be solidly entrenched at #5 in the Futility Rankings.  The Cavs are on the road against Southern Mississippi next weekend.  Lose this and we’ll move ‘em up a notch.  Virginia, and Colorado have been the biggest surprises at the bottom of football’s barrel so far this year.  Large state schools losing to small ones that didn’t figure to have a chance when the season began is a first class ticket to the tank.

4. Duke – The Mighty Bleu Devils got out of position #1 in the Bottom Ten with a win over Army on Saturday.  This has the Duke faithful at least sighing in relief that it won’t be another completely winless season.  And beating the Knights at West Point is not a small accomplishment.  Still, Duke will probably return to form this week against #22 Kansas in Kansas.  The Devil fans can now enjoy future shellackings knowing they have their one ‘W’ already in the bag.  This makes the wait for basketball season a little bit easier.

3. Idaho – The Vandals – although winning over New Mexico State last week, turned in a solid performance by losing to the University of Washington and breaking UDub’s multi-season winless streak.  The Vandals could easily go winless the rest of the way, beginning with San Diego State next week.  To get in a win itself though, SDSU had to schedule a football team from Southern Utah.  If you have ever been to southern Utah, it is a wonder they could find 11 guys and a football field. Getting back to Idaho – and gee who wouldn’t want to do that – some powder-puff games remain on their schedule.  Winning these will make the record books a little neater but won’t get ‘em off the Futility Rankings Worst Ten list.

2.  New Mexico State
– winning against Prairie View A&M doesn’t exactly qualify as a quality win.  But if you are the NMS Aggies, any win has a certain degree of quality – even if it is over the women’s field hockey team.  New New Mexico State Coach DeWayne Walker notched a win in what promises to be a perfectly awful season the rest of the way.  Although he can count on having a shot against in-state rival New Mexico and against Utah State, the Aggies committed the unforgivable sin of scheduling in Ohio State and Boise State.  Can’t wait for those.  Walker needs to enjoy this week to its fullest. 

1. Washington State
– The Cougars of Washington State are making a drive to the first winless season since – well – last year when cross-state rival Washington accomplished the same feat.  The Cougs have a shot against Southern Methodist on Saturday, but blow this one, and it will really be downhill from there.   Actually, no matter what happens on Saturday, it will be downhill for this program. 

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Classic Quotes from the Losing Coach – Choice Comments from Week Two

By: admin
Published: September 14th, 2009

Classic Quotes from the Losing Coach – Choice Comments from Week Two

College coaches are hired as much for their on-field abilities as for their off-field diplomacy skills.  Diplomacy is a necessary skill made valuable by the competing pressures of being honest and trying to keep one’s job.   

Colorado Coach Dan Hawkins – who in a fit of delusion predicted that the Buffaloes would produce a 10-win season – suffered a humiliating 54-38 loss to the mighty football power Toledo Rockets which sent his record for 2009 to 0-2.  Following the game, he said he “had confidence in his team.”  He just didn’t say confidence to do exactly what.

Following his teams come from ahead loss to Michigan, Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis said that “this is a very disappointing, disheartening loss.” He will be all the more disheartened when he has to start sending out resumes.  Weis called two pass plays  – both of which fell incomplete – which allowed Michigan to take over possession with 2:13 left and two time outs.  Weis’ horrible clock management in this game will be made more difficult to bear should he fail to win out the remainder of his schedule.

And there were other coaching comments worthy of note.  Virginia coach Al Groh – lamenting on his 0-2 start with losses to William and Mary and last weekend to TCU – “we expect more out of ourselves.”  Anyone who paid for a ticket to a Cavalier football game expects a whole lot more as well.  
New New Mexico Coach  Mike Locksley  came up with this gem – “I’m proud of the way our defense played,” he said after a 44-10 loss to the mighty Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.  “The defense corrected quite a few things. We had a few instances where we need to get off the field on third down.”  After letting the opposition run up over 40 points in each of its first two games, the Lobo defense seems to have quite a few things that remain to be corrected.  Locksley has problems on the other side of the ball as well.   “We have some guys in our offense who have the ability to make plays. Somebody has to step up and do it. “  After two games producing a total of one offensive touchdown, it is going to be a very, very long season in Albuquerque.

Washington State Coach Paul Wulff should be commended for his honesty following an embarrassing 38-20 loss at home to Hawaii.  “When you turn the ball over five times, you aren’t going to beat anybody.”   His Cougars are now 0-2 and have to confront the real possibility of a completely winless 2009.  Following on the heels of cross-state rival Washington’s winless 2008 season, state football fans are taking up curling.

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College Football Disasters – Week Two, 2009

By: admin
Published: September 13th, 2009

College Football Disasters – Week Two, 2009

With College Football Week Two solidly in the books, one doesn’t have to look far for programs headed for disaster.

Colorado Bust-a-lows
After losing at home to Colorado State on opening day, the University of Colorado Buffaloes went on the road to get their program back on track.  Unfortunately, their plane landed in Toledo, where the Mid-America Conference Toledo Rockets play.  Being in Toledo is bad enough by itself, but when the Buffs hit the road to return to beautiful Boulder, CO, they were the proud owners of an 0-2 record, courtesy of a 54-38 pounding by the Rockets.   After building a winning program out of prairie dust at Boise State, CU Coach Dan Hawkins is having difficulty winning with star recruits.  And if Hawkins doesn’t have enough to look forward to, the Beefaloes are set to play Wyoming, West Virginia and Texas in the next three weeks.  Hawkins may have that next job search well underway before the end of September.

Notre Dame  Losin’ Irish
Speaking of coaching problems, Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis should be headed for the unemployment line before too long.  After taking a late lead over Michigan in Ann Arbor with and with possession of the ball, Weis called for two passes – both of which fell incomplete, stopping the clock.  This left Michigan with enough time to drive the field and score a touchdown with 11 seconds remaining to defeat the Irish.  Had Weis even called one running play, Michigan would have been compelled to use a time out and almost certainly would not have had the time remaining to get into the end zone to claim the win. 

Fortunately for most College Football enthusiasts, there were some terrific games.  Michigan knocking off Notre Dame was certainly enjoyabe and entertaining.  Southern Cal also emerged as the primary candidate to unseat Florida as the nation’s best college team with a solid win on the road against Ohio State.  UCLA also held up the PAC-10 honor by defeating a rebuilding Tennessee Volunteer program on the road in Knoxville. 

Texas, Alabama, BYU
On the other hand, several embarrassments were also shared with ticket-buying, television watching fans.  Although #2 Texas managed to keep it close vs. Wyoming, they wound up crushing the Cowboys in Laramie 41-10.  Who paid who to stage this game is an unanswered question.   The Alabama Crimson Tide took the weekend off with a 40-14 victory over Florida International.  Florida International must have shown up ready to play water polo.  Brigham Young blasted Tulane 54-3 and the Cal Bears dispatched Eastern Washington 59-7 a game not as close as the proverbial score might indicate.  The winning schools deserve mention (and ridicule) for scheduling and charging admission to see these poundings.

Washington Huskies
Thankfully, the University of Washington recorded its first win since late 2007 by topping Idaho at home.  The Idaho Vandals are best known for helping other schools rebuild their football programs and seemed all too happy to contribute their expertise to help out the Huskies.  Congrats to new UW Coach Steve Sarkisian for at least getting the Huskies out of the fog for the next seven days.  Sark and the Huskies stand to get smacked back to reality next Saturday as they take on #3 USC.

Washington State Cougars

And the other Washington school worthy of note when talking about losing football games, Washington State came out on the (very) short end at home against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.  It didn’t take the Cougars long to figure out how to lose this thing as they gave up a whopping 35 points in the first 30 minutes.  It was also Hawaii’s first win over a BCS conference school in seven tries.  Word has it that the Rainbows are trying to schedule in Colorado for early next year.  Interestingly, Washington State took a $450K settlement to get out of a game against Ohio State and then brought in the Warriors to take the date. 

Look for the First Worst Futility Rankings coming out on Wednesday in this space.  Among others, Duke and New Mexico State managed wins over Army and someone called Prairie View A&M respectively.  Still, there is plenty of losing to share so join us mid-week for all the fun! 

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Week Two Blowouts – The Worst Games of Week Two in College Football

By: admin
Published: September 11th, 2009

Week Two Blowouts – The Worst Games of Week Two in College Football

The BCS scheme was intended to inspire better early season football games.  Prior to the BCS, the Nebraska Cornhuskers would scour the country to find a club team to take on the Big Red in Lincoln.  In exchange for getting pounded by Nebraska’s third string, the visiting school would get a nice pay day.

Those days aren’t completely gone.  #1 Florida – who didn’t have to worry about what anyone thought of their early season schedule – took on powerhouse Charleston Southern last week and of course, blew them into the Atlantic.  Tennessee had the good fortune of scheduling a horrible program from Western Kentucky and wiped them off Neyland Stadium field with a damp rag.  What is amazing about these games is that the institutions charged admission.  Fans even paid.

As we look into the dregs of the week two schedule, it is important to note that some great match ups – at least on paper – have been created.  Check your local listings for TV times, but be aware that the Florida matchup with Troy University is also on the schedule.  Even die hard Gator fans shouldn’t be watching this one.

Good Game #1
Michigan vs. Notre Dame should be a good matchup of two rebuilding programs.  But if Charlie Weis stumbles, he needs to call his agent about that new job.  The Irish allowed Nevada U to visit South Bend for a 35-0 drubbing last week.  The Wolverines are supposed to be a step above Nevada, so the Big House should be rocking. 

Good Game #2
USC and Ohio State are set to face off Saturday in Columbus – which may just be one of the Trojan’s only really challenging games all season.  Barring another upset in the Pac 10 schedule, the Trojan’s conference opponents are so weak (except possibly Cal), that this could be the best game for Trojan fans to watch all year. 

Other schools should be ashamed of charging full ticket prices for their games.  As far as blowouts go, there are plenty

Burial at Sea Bowl: 

The San Diego State Aztec fan club is looking to throw the school’s schedule maker into the bay.  After opening the season with a disastrous loss to #3 USC, the Aztecs are set to take on #17 Utah at home.  Someone in the distant past thought that the school would have its team in the big leagues by 2009 and thought scheduling in nationally ranked or strong opponents would be a good thing.  Unfortunately, the team is in the tank and opposing schools are using these games to warm up the beer vendors.

Edge of the Cliff Bowl:

Army vs. Duke –The Knights take on Duke University Saturday in North Carolina.  This is actually important because should Duke figure out a way to lose this game, they are on solid footing to go winless for 2009.  With their entire fan base staring at another year of complete gridiron humiliation, the Duke student body is already hyping the basketball season. With the rest of their ACC schedule coming up, the Bleu Devils might not see a win all year.  After Army, half of Duke’s opponents are nationally ranked.   The Devils are on the edge – lose here and it just might be “over and done with.”

How Did This Happen Bowl
:
The California Golden Bears are set to play a game of football against a team from Eastern Washington.  Eastern Washington led off the season with a win over Western Oregon.  Unfortunately for EW, Cal is a real football school now.  Cal seems ready to play, and after obliterating the University of Maryland last week, the Bears have their third string all warmed up and have sent the starters off to oogle the Southern Cal cheerleaders.  How Eastern Washington wound up on the schedule is anyone’s guess.

Television Time-Out Bowl
:
#16 TCU vs. Virginia – The schedulers probably didn’t see TCU developing into a strong program when this was set up.  Virginia – although never being fully committed to its football program – never saw itself losing to Bill and Mary.  In what looked like a decent game some years ago, the schools conned ESPN into televising it to at least please Texas football watchers.  After the first quarter though, even hard core Texans will be switching over to ‘What Not to Wear.’  Of course the wizards that set up the schedule didn’t anticipate this to be such a blow out.  But… after the Cadavalier’s completely embarrassing loss to William and Mary, TCU should be able to start the cheerleaders in the backfield and win going away.  

This week’s Ben Dover Memorial Bowl:

Florida vs. Troy – after grinding a team from Charleston Southern University into football pulp, the mighty Gators have elevated their sites this week for a game against Troy (who?).  Troy University of Troy, Alabama has been trying to foray into big time college ball with marginal success.  What in the world compelled them to agree to play this game?  The #1 Gators will take on the Troy Trojans this Saturday in a home game sure to be a thriller.  ESPN is planning to televise the thing, but probably won’t send anyone more important than the Olsen twins to handle the play by play.

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First Worst Futility Rankings – Week Two – The Bottom Ten of College Football

By: admin
Published: September 9th, 2009

First Worst Futility Rankings – Week Two – The Bottom Ten of College Football

The college football world was nearly rocked by a typo this past weekend.  While running the scoreboard ticker, it appeared that Air Force had defeated Michigan State 72-0.  Upon further review (after watching for nearly 30 minutes before the thing repeated) it was revealed that it was “Nich. State” and not “Mich. State” that was on the bottom side of this thrashing.   “Nich. State” stands for Nicholls State – a school that apparently fields a football team in Thibodeaux, LA.  

There were other awful defeats this past weekend including Tennessee’s walloping of Western Kentucky U. – 63-7.  This victory officially kicked off the Lane Kiffen coaching era.  Whether this turns out to be an era or an error remains to be seen.  Kiffen takes on UCLA this Saturday in Knoxville. 

Some of last week’s First Worst Ranked schools managed a win.  However, early season wins over institutions that don’t provide matching uniforms to their players aren’t going to elevate one out of college football’s cellar.  So here are the Sage of College Football’s picks for the ten worst teams going into week two:

10.  Indiana – The mighty Hoosiers penciled in powerhouse Eastern Kentucky for its opening day game.  Fortunately the red ‘I’s’ managed a win, hanging on for a 19-13 decision over a lower division school.   Up this week is the same Western Michigan team that was sacrificed at the Big House in Ann Arbor for the Wolverine’s opening day massacre.  Should the Broncos of WMU pull this one out – and they actually are a I-A school, Indiana could be headed back for a top five finish in the Futility Rankings.    In other Indiana news, it was released that the school has agreed to move its home game against Penn State to Fed Ex Field in Washington next season.  At least the school administration has the heart to not put the home town through this thrashing.

9.  Washington – The Huskies and new coach Steve Sarkisian had all of Seattle treating this loss as a win.  Having failed to humiliate themselves on national television, Washington won much of the first half before coming back to lose 31-23 to #11 LSU.  LSU appeared seriously jet-lagged in this game but prevailed.  Still, after failing to win since late in 2007, the locals were hailing this as a success.  The success wasn’t necessarily in producing a win, but in failing to embarrass the team, school, city and state yet again.  Coach Sark has a chance to produce that first ‘W’ this weekend at home against the Idaho Vandals.   At least nobody will be televising this one.

8.  Iowa State – Cyclone fever wasn’t exactly ignited with the I State win over North Dakota State 34-17.  After all, no one really knew that there was a team at North Dakota State- pr for that matter, few really knew there was a school called North Dakota State.  A little investigation revealed that North Dakota State is best known for getting its football players arrested for DUIs.  What else are they going to do in North Dakota?  Play football?

7. Utah State – Although losing to a top 20 team is not much of a dishonor, the Utah State Aggies lost convincingly to #19 Utah 35-17.  This in-state rivalry fit nicely into Utah U’s plans to drive to a BCS top tier spot.  With that loss behind them, the Aggies now must face Texas A&M at home.  In a classic Aggies vs. Aggies match up, at least one team called the Aggies will win.  Your guess as to which.

6.  New Mexico – The Lobos warmed up Texas A&M for its trip to Utah State Saturday by losing 41-6.  In what could be a solid drive to a top tier finish in the First Worst Futility Rankings, New Mexico is breaking in a new coach this year by returning to its deep football tradition – losing.  At least New Mexico has the New Mexico State Aggies on its schedule for week four.  In what should be the Lobo’s Homecoming Game, this might be their best shot at a W.

5.  Idaho – Does beating one of the nation’s worst football teams get you out of college football’s cellar?  Not this one.  The Vandals won unconvincingly over New Mexico State in Las Cruces.  Among the games lowlights was a run by Vandal running back Princeton McCarty.  After clearing the Aggie line on a running play from his own 32, McCarty found himself all alone on a sprint to the end zone.  In his apparent joy over the impending touchdown, he tripped at the 5, firmly planting face and pride into the 1 yard line.   The Vandals let him carry the ball into the end zone on the following play, but the damage was done.  Idaho contributes more to America’s Funniest Home Videos than it does to football glory.

4. Virginia – The First Worst Futility Rankings welcomes the Virginia Cadavaliers into the top 5 worst college team list.  VA lost ‘convincingly’ lost to William and Mary’s 14-26.  Bill and Mary gave up serious football decades ago, but decided to show up for this one.  This is a school that had not defeated a I-A football team in over 20 years.  It wasn’t at all pretty from the B&M side though.  Bill and Mary attempted five field goals in the second quarter of this thing – missing three.  Still, they came out on top, so welcome to the Virginia Cavaliers to the hallowed list of college football’s worst teams.  Next up for the Cadavaliers – #16 TCU.  Hope the school already collected the ticket money for this one.

3.  Washington State – A big state school losing to a school that tosses out most of its recruits due to academic eligibility problems is tough to swallow.  Stanford defeated the Cougars on their home field 13-39 on Saturday to introduce WSU to the top portion of the Bottom Ten.  The Cougars were never in this game, falling behind 22-3 at the half.   This week’s matchup with the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors will be interesting though.  The Warriors are fresh off a 25-20 win at home over a team from Central Arkansas.  The Central Arkansas boys were more interested in the plane ride and a free trip to the beach.

2.  New Mexico State – New coach DeWayne Walker’s NMS Aggies lost a thriller to #5 Idaho at home.  How anyone can lose to the Vandals is cause for a Congressional investigation. Still Walker’s Aggies came through by losing 6 to 21.  Earlier in the pre-season, Coach Walker had asked for contributions of snack foods for his players.  Apparently the NMSU budget wouldn’t support feeding his team.  The community must have come through with a few too many tamales though, as the Aggies just couldn’t have produced a worse performance.  

1.  Duke –The poor Blew it Devils lost perhaps their best chance for a win all season by getting whacked by a Division I-AAA school – the Richmond Spiders.  Richmond was supposed to play the doormat to at least get the Blue Devils seven days of a winning record but instead exposed just how bad Duke really is this season.  Hopefully, the Duke admins got cash up front for selling season tickets.  This year is already a disaster.   Next week, the Bleu Devils take on Army at home.  Lose to the Knights and Duke could have the inside track to a perfectly disastrous and winless season.

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College Football Lowlights from Week One – College Football Losers

By: admin
Published: September 6th, 2009

College Football Lowlights from Week One – College Football Losers

The inaugural week of the 2009 College Football season is nearly complete.  As of this writing there have been a couple unusual upsets as well as the usual number of predicable humiliations.  Western Kentucky was hired to be blown out by the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville, and in this week’s Ben Dover Memorial Game, someone called Charleston Southern was defeated 62-3 by #1 Florida.  The real mystery was why fans actually showed up to watch.  

As always, there were some huge gridiron disasters to report on as well as a couple close calls.  Navy nearly handed Ohio State an application to a tier two bowl game by not quitting in Columbus, but most games went according to prediction.    

Dung Heap Disaster
In other Bottom Ten news, the thriller of the week was played last evening in Las Cruces, New Mexico (for those of you without a map that is just across the state line from El Paso, TX where the stock yards and a big prison are).  First year NMS coach DeWayne Walker has already requested help from fans to provide snacks for his players (not making this up!).  He should probably start requesting help from fans in calling plays.  His Aggies went down to defeat 21-6 to one of the other worst teams in the country from the University of Idaho.  Making matters worse, this was a home loss for Walker who is now seriously staring up the nose of a big and ugly winless season.  Walker has a call into the recruiter who got him this job.

Tiger Food

Mike the Tiger came out of his slumber last evening to watch a surprisingly close game on national TV.  Last year’s Futility Rankings Champion Washington took on a sleepy LSU team that appeared to be seriously jet-lagged.  The Huskies kept it close for the first half before pulling away for a 23-31 defeat to the Tigers, extending their un-won streak to 15 games.  UDub hasn’t won a game since November of 2007, but at least has a shot next week at home against the aforementioned Idaho Vandals.   

Div I-AA Duke

Although there were some very competitive games yesterday – such as Alabama vs. Virginia Tech – the early schedule is dominated by teams attempting to get a win at the expense of a school that has no real expectation of success on the field.  Duke University penciled in Richmond this year to get its season started on the right foot.  Unfortunately, the Richmond Spiders showed up and stomped the unbelievably hapless Bleu Devils 24-16.  Richmond will go on to play the likes of the Delaware Fightin Blue Hens, Hofstra and VMI.  Richmond should have a decent year in Division I-AA.  Duke would have a respectable year in Division I AA.  Unfortunately for Duke, they play in the ACC.  Duke is also staring down the long abyss of a winless season.

Cougar Cough

Losing to an egghead school is bad enough.  Losing at home in the season opener to a conference school is a disaster.  The Washington State Cougars dropped their opener to Stanford by a lopsided score of 39-13.  The Cougars were never in this thing from the start.  Washington State now looks forward to games against Hawaii and SMU.  Adding to their bad luck, the Hawaii game is at home.

Sucker Punch-Out
If taking the field with the moniker ‘Fighting Ducks’ isn’t hard enough, LeGarrette Blount ended his season after game one by sucker punching a Boise State defensive lineman.  Blount then quickly backpedaled after the punch trying to look tough when the Bronco players began to ‘object.’  The University of Oregon at least suspended Blount for the rest of the season, but the Ducks have a lot to overcome.  Two of their next three games are against nationally ranked opponents, so the humiliation of getting beaten in Boise may have some shelf life. Sort of like hitting a skunk with the family mini-van, the stink from this thing will hang around to remind the Ducks of what losing the game as well as one’s composure smells like.

Check back Wednesday for the Week Two, Bottom Ten,  FirstWorst Futility Rankings – the Worst of College Football.

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