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Powerless Five: Not every power conference team is created equal

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As the AAC sees four teams in the AP Poll this week, five power teams (and maybe more) continue to push the envelope for futility

Northwestern v Indiana Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It’s time once again for this week in schadenfreude (week 11), as the Group of Five experts look over the Power Five landscape and see who’s playing at or below our supposed level. You can check out last week here.

It’s a tricky formula to get right, as mighty Appalachian State and indeed half the AAC are certainly creeping up into Power Five quality at least as far as the AP Top 25 is concerned. But what Power Five teams have fallen into bottom with the rest of the also-rans? Read on:


Honorable Mention: Colorado Buffaloes

It’s difficult to narrow this down to five every week— there’s a lot of teams, and a lot of futility— but the stumbling Buffaloes haven’t won since Sept 21, a squeaker of a loss 34-31 to Arizona State. CU’s only other quality win? A close OT loss to Nebraska in week two, which doesn’t look as impressive as we see how the season has played out.

Are the Buffaloes in the bottom five of Power Five teams in the country? Not quite this week, but they want it real bad, having split games against G5 competition, beating Colorado State in week one, then dropping one to Air Force in week three. Their non-conference games are over for the season, but we just wanted to say, we see you, Colorado. At least you’re not the worst team in your own state.

5. Arkansas Razorbacks

You can debate their position on this list, but there’s no debating their presence upon it. The Razorbacks are 2-7 overall, and with a conference record of 0-6, the only SEC team without a conference win.

We slotted them here because up to this point, they’ve at least managed to win most of their non-conferences games, and over the weekend put up a whopping 24 points in their noble 54-24 loss to Mississippi State. If they manage to beat C-USA’s WKU on Saturday, they might even finally make it off this list.

4. Maryland Terrapins

Maryland was number five last week, then Purdue had to go and win their game, so here we are.

The Terrapins were not so lucky, losing 38-7 to Michigan, meaning their biggest win this season still remains Syracuse way back in week two. Maryland’s last three games? Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan State. Yikes.

3. Vanderbilt Commodores

Absent from this list after their miraculous win two weeks ago against Missouri, the hapless Commodores return this week, after getting blown out 24-7 against an underachieving South Carolina team.

For all the SEC’s talk about being the “best” college football conference, they sure do have a lot of teams on this list. Next week Vandy will travel to Florida (which should go predictably badly), before finishing the season against Kentucky, FCS squad ETSU, then Tennessee. We look forward to seeing who rises to the occasion.

2. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Though Rutgers did not win this week, they at least managed a touchdown in their 38-10 loss to Illinois, which is more than we can say for the number one spot.

That, plus their win the week before over Liberty, puts the Scarlet Knights at an embarrassing 2-7 (0-6) on the season. Final three games? Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State. At least bad Group of Five teams can look forward to the occasional late season conference win. This team, not so much.

1. Northwestern Wildcats

As bad as Rutgers is playing this year, the struggling Wildcats got blown out by basketball school Indiana this week, 34-3, and still haven’t won since UNLV in week two.

We wish them well against UMass next week, but after that, it will be a merciful end of the season for the bottom half of the Big Ten, as Northwestern is not looking like a team that can win its final two games against Minnesota or Illinois.