Each season football fans have their senses assaulted with rankings. We see the gamut run from best to worst, favorite to least favorite, less likely to succeed to most likely to surprise.
Sometimes the listing can be one sided. The truth is, less teams go to Bowls from most of the non-BCS conferences. When we see a usual ratings of the "weakest" teams the list is saturated with the Sun Belt, The Mid-American, etc.
What if we require a level playing field?
That's right, let us consider only the Bowl Championship Series teams. This way we can compare apples to apples and oranges to, well, you know.
Behold the Bottom 10 of America, by way of the BCS conferences.
10. Texas A&M Aggies, Big 12
I don't want to hear it, you are bad and you know you are bad. The Aggie brass let their brains slide into Somerville Lake when they allowed R.C. Slocum to leave.
People, you lost to Arkansas State last year! It can't be talked about without crying.
9. Purdue Boilermakers, Big Ten
It is ridiculous for Purdue to descend so far as to be put on this list. Like Texas A&M, this is a fine school with a proud tradition.
The new coach is named Danny Hope. That sums up the situation in a nutshell.
8. Louisville Cardinals, Big East
The Cardinals had a nice run for several years but seem to be headed downward. It is due to recruiting. Rich Brooks and Joker Phillips are cleaning Steve Kragthorpe's clock.
7. Kansas State Wildcats, Big 12
The good news is that Bill Snyder is back as head coach. He will make an immediate impact and with any good fortune at all, the 'Cats should be able to break into the top half of the league by next season.
The bad news is that there is not a lot to work with this season and even the most ardent supporters of the 70-year-old coach have to be realistic.
6. Mississippi State Bulldogs, SEC
Probably what happened here is the guy at Texas A&M who forced out R.C. Slocum went to work in Starkville and figured he would do it all over again by getting rid of the immensely popular Sylvester Croom.
Of course, that's a parody.
5. Washington Huskies, Pac-10
They can only go up after last season's 0-12 debacle under Ty Willingham. For years this was a powerhouse, among the strongest and most consistent teams in the West.
The Husky reputation for winning spread far and wide due to an intense tackling style that centered around punishing the other team.
We will give the Huskies credit for removing the ghastly Willingham and choosing to go in a different direction with Steve Sarkisian. Sark the Shark!
4. Indiana Hoosiers, Big Ten
I could go into an entire routine but, to paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, they will always have 1967.
3. Washington State Cougars, Pac-10
For a place so respected as the Evergreen State, it must come as a shock for their two PAC 10 schools to be ranked in the top five of this hideous roll call.
There is no answer for it. The state itself has everything you could want in a place.
Why there is not top-tier talent playing for the Cougars and the Huskies in the land of apples is a mystery.
Good luck in the Palouse with the second season of head coach Paul Wulff.
2. Syracuse Orange, Big East
This is not how the Orange wished to celebrate their 50th anniversary of the 1959 National Championship team.
Resorting to convincing former Duke basketball player Greg Paulus to "come back home" and help resurrect the football program by playing quarterback for the first time since he was in high school has to be viewed as either an act of desperation or, little more than a publicity stunt.
Syracuse has a wonderful and storied tradition on the gridiron. One of the great names in the history of the game. To be in this situation is truly shocking. Surely fans of the game everywhere wish for the alma mater of Jim Brown to be among the elite again.
1. Iowa State Cyclones, Big 12
Let's give a hearty welcome and cheer to the new coach of the Cyclones, Mr. Paul Rhoads.
It is doubtful if the Colossus of Rhodes could turn this program around in one season.
Iowa State lost their last 10 games in the 2008 season however, Coach Gene Chizik was able to immediately parlay that feat into the head coaching job at Auburn.
The lightning has struck before, as both Johnny Majors and Earle Bruce acquired high-paying gigs after spending time on the sideline in Ames during the 1970s.
So good luck to Mr. Rhoads. Who knows, he may lead the Cyclones to a 1-11 season and get the job as head coach of Notre Dame.
The results of this journey into misery reveal several astonishing conclusions. Among them is the supposedly strongest conference, The Big 12, has three teams in the bottom 10.
Maybe that is how it should be.
A case may be made for the top of the league gathering up all of the best players and leaving some of the other schools with only beat down left overs. It just could be.
An interesting counterpoint to the Big 12 is the ACC situation.
Universally panned as a "weak league" last season, it was never the less an accepted fact that almost all of the teams were equal with each other and that on any given Saturday anyone could win or lose a conference game.
This fact was borne out in the conference title game where Virginia Tech defeated Boston College only weeks after losing to the same Boston College.
Additionally, further evidence seems to reside in the fact last place Duke destroyed Virginia 31-3 while the champion Hokies escaped the Cavaliers by only three points.
With all apologies to the former Minnesota Twin himself, perhaps there is a general "Mendoza Line" in the ACC that doesn't exist in the Big 12.
And what of the vaunted Southeastern Conference?
Given the fact only one league team ferreted into the Bottom 10, does that indicate the SEC may be the strongest league?
Perhaps there is a mediocrity level that exists after the top four teams, extending nearly to the basement.
As for the Big Ten, The Big East, and The Pac-10 they may all rest at ease knowing there are two teams in each conference that everyone should defeat.
Someone please tell that to Michigan.
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