We all have heard a lot of complaints about the BCS, and have seen various scenarios for a playoff. That's all well and good. But what about the downtroden, the forgotten, the little guys...the bottom of the barrel teams who primarily serve as cannon fodder for the big boys. Don, they need love too?
In recognition, I'm presenting the Anti-BCS; the bottom 16, which consists of my predicted WORST team for each of the 11 conferences (and the Independents) with an additional 4 AT LARGE stinkos thrown in.
Amongst other things, the BCS system has pretty much meant the end to the Independents, with only Army, Navy and Notre Dame retaining that status.
The Black Knights of the Hudson, Army has not been to a bowl since 1996 and finished yet another losing season at 5-7. They have significantly downgraded their schedule for 2010, although they do have Notre Dame. Their other BCS foes of Duke, Northwestern and Rutgers are fair at best.
They also have North Texas, Louisiana Tech and Yale. Still, a winning season will be iffy for the Cadets. With Navy and Air Force continuing to put quality teams on the field, the question is: why not Army?
The Mean Green of the University of North Texas are actually named after their most famous alumni player: Mean Joe Green. They sure could use him now.
Coming off a dismal 2-10 campaign, (1-7 conference), UNT has struggled to adopt coach Todd Dodge's run and gun offense. The Mean Green are 5-31 under Dodge, who is in the hot seat to get it done. Dodge, who had great success in Texas high school coaching at Southlake, seems to be one of those guys who can't make the transistion to college ball. Expect to see the team finish at the bottom and him out of a job by the end of 2010.
The Aggies won the Sun Bowl...back in 1960. Since then, they have been one of the reasons why the WAC is ...well...the WAC.
With only four winning seasons in the last 32 years, they redefine the word futile. They did manage to stay out of the WAC cellar in 2009, but with a small class of returning starters and no real hope on the horizon, we predict they'll take their rightful place at the bottom of argueably the worst conference in college ball. Now, if they could recruit some of those aliens out of Roswell.
The Bulls, who only moved up to 1-A within the decade, turned it around under Turner Gill, reaching the MAC championship in '08 and remaining competitive in '09. Unfortunately for them, Gill is gone, and with a roster loaded with young kids, the 2010 season will be a tough one for new coach Jeff Quinn.
Poor Tulane. This storied program was at one time a member of the SEC. Now LSU is paying them $700,000 to end their six game rivalry, and not becasue they are afraid of being upset. The Green Wave returns a pretty empty shelf from a bad 2009 team and is our pick for the bottom of Conference USA.
The Rams, who finished 2009 in the middle of a brutal nine-game meltdown, at least beat in state rival Colorado this past year. They need to replace thier quarterback and four members of their O-line, so things are not looking rosie for 2010 either. New Mexico, whose coach has a few anger management issues, could give them a run to the bottom, but CSU has more key bodies to replace.
For a team that ended up only 4-8 last year, the Cardinals sure are missing a lot of players. Both wide outs, key offensive linemen and their fullback depart on offense, while their D is losing key personel in their linebacking and defensive back corps. With Syracuse looking to turn it around, and a new coach, the Cardinals will have a long 2010 season. Hey, how do you get a Louisville football player off your porch? Pay him for the pizza.
Normally this is a no-brainer choosing Duke. But the Dukies, while not setting the world on fire, have managed to win four and then five games the last two years. On the other hand, the talent cupboard is bare at Virginia after the end of the Al Groh era, and the school is still looking for a new head coach (hey, there's this guy named Leach, likes to throw the ball a lot). This disruption has also, of course, hurt recruiting for the Cavs. Whoever takes over will need at least a year or so just to build the talent pool back.
Washington State has never really been a power, always being a second-tier team in the Pac-10, and also playing second fiddle to in-state rival, Washington. But the last two seasons under coach Paul Wulff have been ridiculously bad, having gone 3-22 overall and 1-17 in conference play. Ouch!
The Cougars are returning a decent cadre of players, but as long as they have Wulff for a coach, their prospects of getting our of the cellar are slim and none.
Michigan? Michigan you say? Surely you jest? Not Indiana?
Not as long as Rich Rodriguez is in town.
Rodriguez keeps trying to jam a square peg into a round hole, and it ain't working. His spread offense is just not suited to the type of player traditionally drawn to Michigan football. Add to this rthe eported sour relationships that Rodriguez has had with influential program boosters, and you have a recipe for continued failure and meltdown. And another season down at the bottom of the Big-10 pile.
Baylor stinks and has not had a winning season in 15 years. Kansas melted down under Jaba the Hut and is in a shambles. Colorado is still trying to find the right recipe for success.
Tech, on the other hand, has just managed to can the coach who had the most success in their long program history. A guy who used his unique brand of offensive football to not only win games, but to indelibly stamp his personality on the team. When you lost a guy like that and have not put a good succession plan in place...well, it takes a while to recover.
With no coach, the other Big 12 scools poaching their recruits like a fox in a henhouse, and a team built around a coach and philosophy who is no longer there, the Red Raider faithfull may not be seeing what they like for a good portion of next season or two.
Vandy has to replace most of its defense, and they are coming off of a 2-10 season. They do have all their skill positions coming back and three offensive linemen but this IS the SEC. Wonder if the league would consider trading them for TCU?
Los Lobos's first-year coach, Mike Locksley, had a fight with one of his (now former) assistant coaches and was suspended by the Dean for a couple of games. That pretty much sums up the Lobos 1-11 season in 2009.
Besides not having a quarterback for 2010, they have some holes on their O-line. Call me kooky, call me nutty, but Coach Locksley has pretty much demonstrated that he does not have what it takes to coach a team at this level. While he is still there, pain will reign in Lobo land.
It's been 15 years since the Bears had a winning season.
You read that right, 15.
So now Art Briles, who turned Houston around, is trying to do the trick in Waco. And perhaps the melt downs at Tech and Kansas, plus A&M's sudden inability to play any semblance of this little thing called defense, will open the door up a little. I think he's at least one more year away, however.
The coach who just left, Tommy West, publicly stated that the team would not improve until the university was ready to commit significantly more resources to it. Sour grapes? Maybe.
But new coach Larry Porter, a fromer Memphis running back who had been an assistant at LSU, inherits a team that just graduated a whopping 25 seniors. Something tells me it'll be a year or two before the Tigers roar again.
The Zips, coming off a 3-9 season, are another team that just canned their coach. Add to that, their lead recruitign coordinator was suspended and then resigned under allegations of wrongdoing. Heck, if he's going to cheat, at least they should win. With no coach assigned, this is another program adrift in the rough sea of college competition.