February 26, 2024

College football rankings: Without Sean Lewis, Kent State finishes at No. 1 in the Bottom 25 playoff

25. Hawaii 5-8 Hawaii moved up 11 spots with a season win over Colorado State, but the Rainbow Warriors narrowly escaped the bottom 25. Perhaps Hawaii fans will argue that it’s unfair that their team is the only 5-win team featured here. But the Rainbow Warriors also got a 13th regular season game that others didn’t. (Last week: 14) 24.Virginia 3-9 The 2023 Virginia football season was certainly not boring, as six of UVa’s games were decided by four points or less. Freshman quarterback Anthony Colandrea seriously added to the entertainment factor with his fearlessness and productivity. If you don’t want to be good, at least be interesting. The Cavaliers were in 2023. (NR) 23.Indiana 3-9 The Hoosiers have lost their last three games by a total of 10 points. If a few of them had gone the other way, maybe coach Tom Allen wouldn’t have been fired and IU wouldn’t be here. But after posting a 9-27 (3-24 Big Ten) record over the past three seasons, IU is moving in a new direction. (23) 22. Western Michigan 4-8 Western Michigan lost its last two games against Northern Illinois and Bowling Green by a combined margin of 58-10. It’s almost as if the Broncos decided in mid-November that they wanted the national recognition of finishing in the bottom 25. 21.Tulsa 4-8 Tulsa finally won a close game! The Golden Hurricane recorded a 29–27 win at East Carolina to end the season, ending a six-game losing streak that included four one-possession losses. Defensive improvement will be paramount if the Kevin Wilson era is going to produce results. (11) 20. Cincinnati 3-9 So you wanted to be a Power Five program, huh? Welcome to the big leagues, Cincinnati. I hope your fans enjoy the Big 12 money, because they sure didn’t enjoy football. Go ahead and build the Luke Fickell statue, because what he did with the Bearcats from 2018-2022 will never be repeated. (NR) 19. Louisiana Technology 3-9 The inverse of the air assault is the ground assault. That’s the defense the Bulldogs ran in 2023 while ranking 129th in rushing defense. Every opponent surpassed 100 yards rushing against the Bulldogs, and Jacksonville State followed it up with 522 yards rushing in a season-ending 56-17 loss to Louisiana Tech. (17) 18. State of Arizona 3-9 Oregon and Arizona combined to beat Arizona State 108-36 over the final two weeks of the season. ASU fans will cling to the fond memories of the wins over Washington State and UCLA in Year 1 under Kenny Dillingham. That should help them deal with how infuriating it must be that Arizona is currently light years ahead of the Sun Devils in terms of rebuilding. (22) 17. UTEP 3-9 After a 3-9 record in Year 6, Dana Dimel is out as coach. The Miners have made one bowl during his tenure, which is about what you would expect from this program. Now someone else gets a shot at one of the toughest FBS jobs. (20) 16. FIE 4-8 FIU finished 1-16 during the two seasons prior to Mike MacIntyre’s arrival, so four straight seasons aren’t terrible. But this year was disappointing as the Golden Panthers started 3-1. From then on, it was all double-digit losses, with a lone win over FBS newcomer Sam Houston thrown in for good measure. 15. Baylor 3-9 The memory of a 12-2 season in 2021 certainly means a lot to Dave Aranda, who is just 23-25 ​​(15-21 Big 12) in four seasons but is on pace to make Year 5 at Baylor. Take away that memorable Sugar Bowl season and the Bears are just 11-23 under his leadership. A good guest? Yes. A good head coach? That’s questionable after a 3-9 campaign. (18) 14.Stanford 3-9 Year 1 for Troy Taylor went as expected. The Cardinal matched the program’s three-win total in the two seasons before his arrival. Winning at Stanford in the NIL and transfer portal era will be a much bigger climb than it was for Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw in days gone by for the sport. (21) 13. Sam Houston 3-9 Sam Houston won three of the last four games to salvage some dignity from a frustrating first season at the FBS level. The former FCS powerhouse suffered repeated excruciating losses before regrouping in November. (7) 12. Buffalo 3-9 Buffalo went on a streak of three wins in four games, with four straight losses to start the season and four straight losses to end the season. The Bulls simply had no offensive juice in Year 3 under Maurice Linguist. (15) 11. UConn 3-9 UConn finished with back-to-back wins, but still narrowly escaped the bottom 10 because of how terribly the first of 10 games in Year 2 went under Jim Mora. The Huskies, expected to compete for another bowl berth, instead returned to their historically woeful ways. (5) 10. Temple 3-9 The admiration Matt Rhule receives for guiding Temple to back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2015 and 2016 makes more and more sense as the years go by. Temple is 10-33 over the past four seasons after a third straight 3-9 campaign. If talented quarterback EJ Warner stays, there will be at least some optimism for 2024. (12) 9. Charlotte 3-9 Charlotte’s three wins came against FCS foe South Carolina State and fellow Bottom 25 teams East Carolina and Tulsa. There wasn’t much hope that the 49ers would strike gold at any point once the Biff Poggi era trudged down the runway. (13) 8. Eastern Carolina 2-10 Good news: A week after announcing that offensive coordinator Donnie Kirkpatrick will not return, East Carolina posted a season-best 409 yards of offense. Bad news: The Pirates recorded five goals and lost 29-27 to a Bottom 25 Tulsa team, capping off a miserable year for a program coming off a Birmingham Bowl victory. (9) 7.Vanderbilt 2-10 When both quarterbacks enter the transfer portal within 72 hours of the season ending, it’s a sign that things haven’t gone well. That’s an understatement in Vanderbilt’s case, as the Commodores finished with 10 straight losses, including nine by 16 or more points. Clark Lea is 2-22 in SEC play through three seasons. (10) 6. UMass 3-9 A 3-9 record isn’t worth celebrating in most places. It’s a breakout season at UMass. The Minutemen won a total of three games in the previous four seasons and matched that total on November 4 of this year. However, they missed a golden opportunity to end on a high note by losing 31-18 at home to UConn on Saturday. (8) 5. Southern Miss 3-9 Southern Miss returned Frank Gore from a team that won the LendingTree Bowl. But the Golden Eagles couldn’t capitalize on his talent. Nevertheless, Gore surpassed 1,000 yards for the second straight season and reached 4,000 yards for his career. (6) 4. Akron 2-10 Akron finished 1-5 in one-possession games. There were also plenty of big losses along the way for the Zips, who have solidified their place as one of the worst FBS programs of the past six seasons. Joe Moorhead seemed like a great addition, but he is just 4-20 through two seasons. (3) 3. Louisiana-Monroe 2-10 ULM fired Terry Bowden after his third season ended with a 10-game losing streak. The Warhawks are one of only two Sun Belt teams that have not won at least six games. Since the schedule has only ever hosted one bowl game, it can be difficult to attract quality prospects. (4) 2. Nevada 2-10 Nevada was an easy pick for No. 1 early in the season after a 33-6 home loss to FCS foe Idaho. The Wolf Pack rallied in October with back-to-back Mountain West victories over San Diego State and New Mexico before losing their last four games. Ken Wilson is off to a 4-20 start after predecessor Jay Norvell led the program to four straight bowl appearances. (2) 1. Kent State 1-11 Of Kent State’s 11 losses, 10 were by double digits. The lone exception was a 31-27 loss to an Akron team that finished fourth in the bottom 25. The Golden Flashes’ lone win came against Central Connecticut State, which finished 3-8 at the FCS level. (1)

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