(This year's Stupor Bowl coverage brought to you by White Lightning Productions' Black Friday / Year End Sale
. WLP: "Buy Something, Bastard!")
OK, the season's almost over, so here's the premise in a nutshell: I believe that the NCAA should pair the two WORST Bowl Championship Series teams in a special Stupor Bowl, to give these horrible squads one last shot at redemption. It was inspired by Army's 2005 run of 0-13, which thanks to the standard 12-game schedule will likely stand as a record of unblemished suck.
Here are the rules:
* The two teams chosen must be the two teams with the worst win-loss records, or tied with other teams for worst. If only one team goes all season without a win, then one one-win team will be chosen along with that team- there will ALWAYS be two teams chosen.
* The two teams may not come from the same athletic conference.
* Any team which wins its last scheduled game, regardless of other considerations, is disqualified from consideration. (They've already had their moment of redemption.)
* Ties will be broken by the judges in an arbitrary fashion based on a combination of the following criteria: putative strength of school's football program (i. e. a 1-11 Notre Dame would be preferred for Stupor Bowldom over a 1-11 Central Michigan); the quality of their win (if any); the number of games lost by 8 points or fewer; and the ratio of total points scored versus total points allowed.
So here's who to watch:
INDIANA (Big 10) - 1-10; won vs. I-AA/FCS Division school South Carolina State; 4 close losses, inc. against Penn State; per-game avg. 21.1 points scored v. 37.7 allowed. Plays tomorrow v. Purdue. Although Indiana is a perpetual weak sister in the Big 10, they ARE in the Big 10, which means a little more ought to be expected from them, especially against the likes of Ball State and North Texas.
AKRON (Mid-American) - 1-10; won v. I-AA/FCS Div. VMI (their first win since 2009, BTW); two close losses against Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan; 13.7/35.8. A perennial Stupor Bowl contender (and, IIRC, one of last year's selectees). One last chance to avoid a repeat by defeating Western Michigan (which is currently 6-5).
NEW MEXICO (Mountain West) - 1-10; won v. UNLV (2-8); two close losses; 13.1/41.4. Another Stupor Bowl perennial contender and past selectee- and almost guaranteed NOT to win their final game next week against #7 Boise State.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC (Sunbelt) - 0-10; no wins; one close loss against Louisiana-Lafayette (8-3); 11.7/35.5. Has two games remaining, both against weak teams (UAB and Louisiana-Monroe), so these perfect bunglers might manage to bungle bungling. But that's not the way to bet.
We'll have to wait until a week from tomorrow to know for sure, but here's the current order of priority:
FLORIDA ATLANTIC (unvictorious)
INDIANA (member of a BCS conference)
If Indiana loses against Purdue (as is likely), they are in the Stupor Bowl.
If Florida Atlantic loses both its remaining games (which is at least coin-flip odds), they are in the Stupor Bowl.
If Florida Atlantic wins against UAB but loses against Louisiana-Monroe, they remain eligible for Stupor Bowl selection, with a tie between them, New Mexico and Akron which would have to be split by (most likely) point ratios (barring wins by New Mexico (HA!) and Akron (possible but unlikely).
But, if you want a glimpse of what an actual Stupor Bowl might look like, watch a replay of last night's Texas v. Texas A&M game- featuring two of the most incompetent offenses I've ever seen play. The game wasn't "close" in that both teams were fighting each other... it was "close" because both teams were doing their best to GIVE THE GAME TO THE OTHER SIDE. A&M specialized in costly penalties and weak red-zone defense, where Texas specialized in useless quarterbacks and even more useless punting. Rivalries that ancient should not end on play that embarrassing to watch...
... and THAT is what inspired me to do the Stupor Bowl, despite all the masses of non-game-play-related idiocy in college football this year.
See you a week from tomorrow night with the final picks and, possibly, my prediction of which of the two teams would win.
(The ad at the top of this post is less insulting, both to human intelligence and to the viewers in general, than more than half of the ads currently airing during college and pro football TV broadcasts. Which is sad.)