A more traditional Race to the Bottom is up for Week 7, a week where there were plenty of bad performances to go around. While writing this, I decided to give each entrant a theme song which may or may not be loosely tied to the game. As is usual, the rankings are not authoritative, do not matter, and are just for fun. So let's get to it!
Last Week's Result: Def. Charleston Southern (FCS) 21-20 at home
SMU was idle in Week 7, and therefore we default to Vanderbilt for the bottom spot in this week's Race to the Bottom. The tumble down for the Commodores after James Franklin's departure nearly reached its nadir last Saturday. Derek Mason played his fourth different quarterback of the season in Wade Freebeck, before replacing him with Johnny McCrary. At this point I'm guessing that Derek Mason has a graduate assistant pluck random people to play QB for the Dores. I have taken a snap at quarterback for Vanderbilt. You have taken a snap at quarterback for Vanderbilt. So has your dog.
Vandy enjoyed a comfortable 21-10 lead at the break before promptly being shut out in the second half while Charleston Southern scored ten points to close the gap to a point. Charleston Southern punted with 6:00 left on what would be their final drive. The decision made sense because Vanderbilt failed to record a first down in the second half up to that point. All the Bucs had to do was sit back and play defense. Naturally Vandy ripped off a sustained drive to end the game and escape complete embarrassment, possibly saving Derek Mason's job. Things are not good in Nashville and will not get better considering their 2015 recruiting class boasts a whopping nine hard commitments according to Vandy 247. So Vandy gets "Machine Gun" by the Commodores, since that's what they've unloaded into their feet in the post-James Franklin era.
Last Week's Result: Lost at Wisconsin 38-28
Tim Beckman's Farewell Tour of Melancholy stopped in Madison this week, where it promptly waved the proverbial white flag while being punched repeatedly in the face by Wisconsin's rushing attack. The Illini gave up 97 yards through the air to the Badgers, but we all know that you don't need to pass if the running game is clicking, which Wisconsin's was. Illinois gave up 401 rushing yards to Wisconsin, who logged two 150+ rushers in the double-headed monster of Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement. The Illini actually held a 14-7 lead at one point, before opening the metaphorical floodgates and allowing the Badgers to rip off 31 straight points. WHY DID YOU BUIIIIILD THEM UP BADGERCUPS, JUST TO BREAK THEIR HEARTS? Two garbage time touchdowns made this one look better for Illinois, but it was bad. Very bad.
126.) Miami (OH)
Last Week's Result: Lost at Akron 29-19
This game featured the rare 5-0 score in Akron's favor with 1:10 left to go in the first quarter. As much as we all wanted to see Akron win with the ever-rare funfer, Terry Bowden's crew had to muck the dadgum thing up for us. The offensive output was about level for both teams, but how they got there was different. Akron's 318 featured a near equal run/pass balance: 37 plays to 36, 167 to 151 yards. Miami's entire offense, on the other hand, featured a run/pass balance of 23 to 41 for 0 to 352 yards. Despite running the ball 23 times, Miami had net rushing of exactly zero. While the zero likely includes sacks, it's just a fun note. Otherwise Miami is here for cumulative terrible-ness.
125.) TIE - UMass & Kent State
Last Week's Result: UMass def. Kent State 40-17
UMass set a new standard for dedication to failure last week against Miami of Ohio, but it looks like a third MAC school is gunning to scrape the bottom of the college football barrel. The teams share a spot for two reasons. UMass gets the cumulative award for being a terrible team for much of 2014, while Kent State is the new kid who's just trying to make a name for itself by doing insane things that end in maiming. The Minutemen outgained the Golden Flashes by 141 yards (482 to 341), but still managed to only go 2-13 on third down. That's bad, but Kent State did their best to make the Minutemen look good by allowing them to convert two of three fourth down conversion attempts. There isn't much to say about this game other than it was a football game played by two (alleged) football teams.
Last Week's Result: Lost at Tulane 12-3
Diacoball! The Huskies fell to Tulane, who had only beaten FCS Southeastern (yes, that one) previously in 2014. UConn was -3 in the turnover margin against the Green Wave, which doesn't help when your offense gains only 217 yards to begin with. UConn enjoyed a brief 3-0 lead after a 48-yard drive, just under 25% of their total yardage. The Huskies then went three-and-out on their next two drives, then followed with three straight turnovers and a safety. Tulane's offense was nearly as terrible, but the Green Wave were content to sit back, rely on their defense, and play the field position game. Essentially UConn was asking for Tulane to bludgeon it to death, Tulane refused, so UConn punched itself in the face until it blacked out, allowing Tulane to seal the victory. If UConn played Vanderbilt, the final score would be "Sadness."
Last Week's Result: Lost to Georgia 34-0 at home
122.) TIE - Fresno State & UNLV
Last Week's Result: UNLV def. Fresno State 30-27
A tale of two kickers! This game was one of wild momentum swings and, for all intents and purposes, well, not actually that bad of a game. Looking at the box score, it's pretty obvious that scoring was rampant and done in streaks by both teams. Hell, just take a look at the scoring summary.
Hey wait a second. ENHANCE.
One cannot discount how a missed extra point will change the decision-making calculus in close games, and it is no more evident that it is here. But bad special teams everywhere were a theme for Fresno State, who had a 20-yard punt from their own 21 in the second quarter that was all but negated by a 15-yard personal foul call. If you're keeping score at home, that is technically a five yard net, and would have been improved upon had Fresno actually just chucked the ball deep and hoped for the best. Naturally this led to a quick UNLV score, one that ultimately wouldn't matter as Fresno State stormed back, only to come up short in the end because of UNLV's ability to tie the game on a field goal. Luckily the Bulldogs' specialists were spared some embarrassment in overtime, as their offense sputtered around for -7 yards on their lone possession before UNLV ended their misery with, what else? Another field goal.
120.) Appalachian State
Last Week's Result: Lost to Liberty (FCS) 55-48 at home
How does one lose to an FCS program and manage to be above Vanderbilt in the Race to the Bottom rankings? A.) Because I said so and B.) Because this Appalachian State team is what it is at this point: an FBS newbie that wasn't really in any position to have success this season (Georgia Southern notwithstanding). The Mountaineers, by all accounts, played a good game on offense. App State rolled up 637 yards of total offense, over 100 more than the Flames. The 'Eers, however, were -2 in turnover margin. You never want to cough up the ball, but Appalachian State was in a giving mood and wanted to be sporting, so naturally two of their turnovers happened in the red zone. Hot hot hot indeed!