NGSC Sports

Power 5 Bottom 10: Weak 4

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YOU KNOW, ONE of the wonderful things about our weekly (weakly?) installments of the Power 5 Bottom 10 is our total lack of objectivity.

Indeed, subjectivity, capriciousness and downright mean-spiritedness are the hallmarks of our quest to shine a light on what’s lousy among the country’s supposedly great conferences.

Sure, the 10 teams we rank in this space each week may be a far cry from the 10 worst teams in the country, but since the Power 5 squads all bathe in Benjamins, we must hold them to a much higher standard.

Is a 1-2 Clemson team worse than 0-3 Idaho? Of course not, but since we’re grading on the steepest of curves, the Tigers’ meager showing at Florida State make them HORRIBLE (more on that in a bit.). Likewise, during the course of this week’s installment, you will be visited by the ghosts of three unbeaten teams and another 2-1 squad that decided there were not enough holes in its feet, so it shot a few more.

Anyhoo, on to our weekly wretched collection of scum and villainy:

1. DUKE AND N.C. STATE (4-0)

Can’t fool us with your sparkling records, you two. Of the eight opponents defeated by the Blue Devils and Wolfpack, the best of the bunch is a team that isn’t in our Bottom 10 this week because we’re just too friggin’ tired of talking about them (Kansas, a 41-3 loser at Duke). The second-best squad (Georgia Southern) is in its first season at the FBS level and nearly knocked off the Wolfpack (24-23) in Raleigh. Now it could be that these two jokers are good. In fact, considering the rancid state of the ACC’s Coastal Division, it’s possible Duke might be able to schedule an appointment to have its wisdom teeth pulled by Florida State at season’s end. The Seminoles will be making a house call on N.C. State for a similar procedure this week.

2. VIRGINIA TECH (2-2)

While we’re dogpaddling through the Coastal’s no-swimming area, let’s spend a few moments on the Hokies. Virginia Tech spent all the cachet it picked up by winning at Ohio State faster than Richard Pryor spent $30 million in Brewster’s Millions. For those of you who don’t know the plot to that movie, Pryor’s mission was to spend $30 million in 30 days without having anything to show for it and he had to do so without telling anyone why. His reward was a true inheritance of $300 million. Perhaps that’s what Virginia Tech is doing, blowing all its yak so that lessons learned will lead to a more balanced team come November. Or maybe they just stink. Guess we’ll know soon enough.

3. KANSAS STATE (2-1)

Biggest non-conference game since 1969, on national television, on a Thursday night and it was painfully clear Kansas State was superior to defending SEC champion Auburn. But they lost. First, there were the turnovers. Then there was the mysterious disappearance of Kansas State’s kicker, a Lou Groza candidate who missed more field goals on Thursday than he had during the entire 2013 season. Truth be known, this was one of those losses that could propel K-State onto greater things. When the Wildcats weren’t punching themselves in the crotch, they looked like a legitimate Big 12 championship threat. But the biggest reason we’re squawking about the Purple today is because, man, it’s just too boring to crack on their in-state rivals every week. We’re giving Kansas a week off to recharge our batteries. It’s possible KU will use this time to escape for good should they defeat …

4. TEXAS (1-2)

The Longhorns spent this past weekend in timeout after two numbing home defeats to acronyms (BYU, UCLA). They better have learned their lesson because there is a history of Texas crapping its pants when playing Kansas in Lawrence. It’s almost comical to think, but the Longhorns probably did spend the bye week preparing for the Jayhawks this time around instead of noodling ways to beat Oklahoma. The mighty, they have fallen.

5. CLEMSON (1-2)

All we’re going to say about the Tigers is they couldn’t defeat a Florida State team playing with one hand tied behind its back and the other picking its nose. Maybe that FSU defense is the real deal. Maybe Clemson just doesn’t have a clue what it’s doing when an oblong spheroid is in its hands. Perhaps both. But, hey, at least they blasted a team from South Carolina by 67 points. Too bad that team plays in the MEAC and not the SEC.

6. ARIZONA (4-0)

Another resume issue here. The Wildcats won this week with a stirring and historic comeback against California, which would be hunky dory if not for the fact this is the same California team that eked past Northwestern while scoring two fewer touchdowns than it did against Arizona. There also is the disturbing matter of defeating Texas-San Antonio by a scant field goal and a very ordinary Nevada by a touchdown. Skeptical, thy name is P5B10. Play respectably against Oregon this week and we’ll let ‘Zoner off the leash.

7. WASHINGTON STATE (1-3)

Now Washington State did what Arizona will need to do. They threw a healthy scare into Oregon and in the process, took over the national lead in passing yardage per game. Sadly, though, those 495.6 yards per game have only been enough to beat Portland State this season. And while Arizona may have only nosed past Nevada, Wazzu mustered just 13 points against the Wolfpack in losing by a wide margin. Win at Utah this week, though, and we’ll talk again.

8. MEEEEEECHIGAN (2-2)

Utah. A nastier four-letter word may never again be uttered in Ann Arbor. The highlight of the Wolverines’ season to date is a revenge victory against a former FCS opponent (Appalachian State). Because of this body of work, you actually have to be wary of the Wolverines’ ability to defeat a Minnesota team that isn’t really any better than average in any meaningful way.

9. NORTHWESTERN (1-2)

After succumbing to Northern Illinois on Sept. 6, the Wildcats had two weeks to prepare for their next directional Illinois foe. That extra time paid off with a 24-7 win against Western Illinois that went a long way toward … not answering any questions. Despite this, we do wonder whether or not an upset alert should be issued for Northwestern’s visit to Penn State. Something about the Nits isn’t quite adding up and there could be an ambush.

10. VANDERBILT (1-3)

The Commodores’ resume aligns quite well with that of Washington State, and just like Wazzu, Vandy scored something of a moral victory in hanging tough with South Carolina before falling 48-34. While it would be lovely to think Vandy is on the road to Wellville, we have a hard time thinking the ‘Dores are good enough to win at Kentucky this week.

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Ralph Garcia

CEO NGSC Sports


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