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Powerless Five: Who leads the pack this week in P5 futility?

We look at the worst of the P5, any of whom would be lucky to play as well as the top G5 squads this week.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

This weeks bottom P5—all of which are worse than the best to even middling G5 teams

5. Michigan

Teams in the Big Ten outside the Big 3 (Buckeyes, Spartans, Badgers) have struggled for the last number of years, and among the rest if you could make a case for any other team coming close, it would’ve been the Wolverines.

After a comfortable (but not overwhelming) defeat of C-USA’s Middle Tennessee to start the season, 40-21, this supposed Big Ten powerhouse struggled to defeat the Army Black Knights, a supposed Group of Five program. This past week, they didn’t just get beat by lower-ranked Wisconsin, they got stomped. Michigan fans are right to be angry, and they should keep in mind that of all the Group of Five teams, Army isn’t even the best of them, and you only managed a 3-point victory.

4. TCU

A ranked Big 12 team. An AAC afterthought, from a conference derided as making up “Power Six” for marketing purposes.

But here come the Mustangs, a team that finished 5-7 a year ago, coming into Ft. Worth and stampeding across the frogs, a week after making a very good C-USA team (North Texas) look like some FCS upstarts. SMU is much improved, make no mistake, and now stands at 4-0 on the season, but with this loss TCU fell out of the rankings entirely. This isn’t just a blow to a flailing TCU, but to the entire Big 12 conference, whose chances of seeing a non-Oklahoma team make the playoff are already looking grim.

3. North Carolina

Pop quiz: Who’s the best FBS football team in the state of North Carolina, and what conference do they play in?

A whole stadium full of people were shouting the wrong answer on Saturday, as they welcomed the Sun Belt’s Appalachian State into Chapel Hill and paid them handsomely for a humiliating loss, 34-31.

The Tar Heels now stand at “only” 2-2, and while it’s true the Mountaineers were briefly ranked last year, and they may be again, any ACC team must feel humbled losing to the Sun Belt, no matter the opponent. Considering the #FunBelt’s spot in the G5 hierarchy, UNC is indeed in for a long season, and certainly won’t be seeing the Top 25—not in football, anyway.

2. Vanderbilt

Can’t do one of these without Vandy, because… you know, VANDY. Sure, their academics are championship-tier, but their football prowess leaves something to be desired as they stand at 0-3 after this past weekend, their offense managing a paltry 68 points in that span, while their defense gave up 138, both the worst in the SEC.

Any fan in this part of the country will be happy to tell you IN ALL CAPS why the SEC is the BEST CONFERENCE IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL, put Power Five or Group of Five, this weak link couldn’t beat any of them. Granted, two of those three losses were against Top 5 competition, but the Commodores barely put up a fight, and struggled against unranked Purdue. There are a number of Group of Five teams they might beat, that’s true. But not a lot.

1, Northwestern

Oh, Wildcats. Straight-up the worst Power Five team this week, the last-place, worst-in-the-Big Ten are 1-2 with only 48 points of total offense this season. They’re neck and neck with Vanderbilt but earn the top (bottom?) spot this week due to the Commodores having faced two teams in the top five and also just a slightly better offense.

The Wildcats have only beaten a terrible UNLV team in the Mountain West, while dropping contests to Stanford and unranked Michigan State. Their next four games? Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State, Iowa. RIP, Wildcats, the entire American will have a better record than you by the time we get to November.