Every college football season brings a slew of predictions. Whether they come from so-called ‘experts’ on TV or radio, insufferable insert name of rival school here fans, or your West Point grad uncle – who remains hopelessly optimistic that the Black Nights will finally figure it out – very few are ever correct. With 128 NC2A football programs, both cinderella seasons and years in which teams fall short of reaching their potential are to be expected.

Almost anything can happen in sports, and we were again reminded of that this past week. As the first big weekend of football brought us the defeats of third-ranked Oklahoma, fifth-ranked LSU, and ever-overrated Notre Dame, College Football Playoff predictions across the nation have seemingly been busted. This complicates the playoff picture, as endless scenarios have played out in football-crazed craniums throughout the land.

I am not here to discuss whether a Jim Harbaugh-led Michigan is finally back, how UNBELIEVABLE!!! it is that Alabama dominates with the best players and coaches year-in and year-out, or if I think Houston will still be undefeated come selection time. No, I am here to get you thinking about something arguably more difficult to predict. Who are the worst college football teams in the nation? I call it the College Football Layoff.

I have little-to-no clue how relegation works in European Soccer, so instead of sending awful teams to the FCS I am proposing an SMU-esque death penalty for the four teams that are determined to be downright pitiful come conference championship time. In the interest of name recognition, I will mostly stick to especially embarrassing squads in the Power 5 (SEC, B1G, Big XII, ACC, Pac-12) conferences. However, since the American Conference’s own Houston Cougars are prone to make a splash this year, I will include an atrocious non Power 5 team in my rankings spankings as well. Let us begin.

Iowa State

I am the son of two proud University of Iowa alumni, and with the Cy-Hawk matchup on the horizon I would be remiss to not throw dirt on the Cyclones. I listened to a radio interview with Iowa State’s new head coach, Matt Campbell, soon after he was hired on my way home from work one afternoon, so I almost feel overqualified to make this claim. If only Cyclone games were ever televised.

However, this pick is not without reason. Iowa State has sputtered to 8 combined wins in the last three seasons, and after dropping their opening game of the season to the FCS Northern Iowa Panthers, the ‘clones are heavy underdogs heading into Kinnick Stadium. Now, UNI is no slouch of a team. One could argue that Panthers have been the most successful team in the state since Mark Farley has been at the helm in Cedar Falls. It took Iowa two blocked kicks to squeak by UNI in 2009.

Past struggles aside, the Hawkeyes should dominate this game. The Iowa vs. Iowa State game is the Cyclones’ Super Bowl. No matter the year, The Cy-Hawk series is always hard fought. If Iowa State somehow manages to pull off the upset, they will be able to swallow the rest of their (sure to be) disappointing season much more easily, and Iowa fans will never hear the end of it. The nation’s first presidential primary every four years, the Iowa State Fair, and Iowa-ISWho: when my home state is at its best.

Stay tuned for the next installment of The College Football Layoff.


photo credit: Jack Trice Stadium Panorama via photopin (license)

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