Ranking the Winless FBS College Football Teams
Power Ranking of Winless FBS Teams
In a college football season that on average lasts about 12 games, no teams want to start off the first few weeks winless. Unfortunately this is the case for 13 teams in the FBS this year.
Within the 11 conferences throughout the FBS, six hold winless teams. The conferences that consist of these winless teams are: American Athletic, Big 12, Conference USA, Independent, Mountain West and Mid-American.
Luckily for these teams, there are several games that remain and there is plenty of time to pick up those elusive first wins. Another silver lining for these teams may be that conference play opens up soon. This means conferences such as the American Athletic will no longer have to worry about facing teams from the Big Ten, Big 12 or SEC. Instead, they can face competition that is slightly more in their favor.
This will play very big for many teams. They will not have to worry about being overmatched, undersized or even undermanned. These teams in the “weaker” conferences of the FBS can focus in on their opponents they see every year and try to get that win! For those teams in the Big 12 who are winless, well they need to get to the drawing board and prepare even harder because their road will only get tougher.
But no more about the conferences and who plays whom. After all, these are the power rankings! Here is an inside look at the winless teams in FBS and the power rankings starting with number 13.
13. Miami Ohio RedHawks
The Miami Ohio RedHawks are currently 0-3 in their season. They play out of the MAC and have struggled dearly so far this season. The RedHawks have been outscored in their first three losses 107-21.
They currently are 123rd in overall offense (there are only 123 teams in the FBS) and 120th in overall defense. The numbers don’t lie, and any RedHawks fan can see why they have started off the season winless.
A bright spot for the RedHawks has been the play of junior wide receiver Dawan Scott. Scott has 91 yards receiving so far this season and has been the main target for senior quarterback Austin Boucher. The RedHawks will need these two to stay on the same page if they want to grab that first win of the season.
Unfortunately, with remaining games against the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Akron Zips still on the schedule, don’t expect much from the RedHawks.
12. Florida International University Golden Panthers
The FIU Golden Panthers come in on our rankings at No. 12. With a record of 0-4, the Golden Panthers are struggling to get anything going on offense. Coming out of Conference USA, the Golden Panthers rank 122nd in total offense.
Thus far this season, FIU has been outscored 187-23 and ranked 101st in total defense.
The Golden Panthers are clearly struggling on both sides of the ball and have been exposed early on by teams such as the Maryland Terrapins and recently the No. 7 ranked Louisville Cardinals.
A bright spot for the Golden Panthers this year has been sophomore running back Lamarq Caldwell. Caldwell has 163 yards rushing and a touchdown to his name.
The Golden Panthers have remaining games against solid teams such as Louisiana Tech that will test them both offensively and defensively. A lot of improvement must be made in Florida if the Golden Panthers want to move up in these rankings.
11. South Florida Bulls
The South Florida Bulls are the next team on the power ranking of winless teams in the FBS. The Bulls have opened the season 0-3. With losses to McNeese State and Florida Atlantic, the Bulls seemed to be a team going nowhere. However, they challenged the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing and gave them all they could handle. Ultimately the Bulls fell short losing by a final score of 21-6.
The Bulls currently are ranked 119th in total offense but are ranked 23rd in total defense. The defense ranking is the highest amongst the teams in our power rankings and is a tribute to the coaching staff and players.
Standout players on the Bulls defense consist of DeDe Lattimore and Johnny Ward, both of whom have interceptions on defense. Lattimore is a redshirt senior linebacker while Ward is a freshman defensive back. If Lattimore and Ward can continue their strong play, the Bulls defense may just make some noise and enough plays to get that first win very soon.
The one problem for the Bulls is their schedule. They still have games remaining against Louisville, Rutgers and Miami FL on their schedule. The schedule will test the Bulls, but I believe a win is in their future. For now, they stay at No. 11.
10. UCONN Huskies
Coming in at No. 10 on the winless power rankings are the Connecticut Huskies. The logo may have changed for the Huskies, but it certainly hasn’t helped them in the win category.
The Huskies have started the season 0-3. Ranked 115th in total offense and 70th in total defense, it is obvious that the defense for the Huskies has done their part.
After a shocking loss in their first game against Towson, the Huskies followed that dreadful performance by laying an egg (figuratively speaking) against Maryland. However, even after these two terrible losses, the Huskies showed up last Saturday on national television against the Michigan Wolverines. The Huskies battled the entire game but a costly interception late by quarterback Chandler Whitmer sealed their fate and the winless season goes on.
The Huskies still have games remaining against Louisville and Rutgers, but I believe they will get that first win very soon. The Huskies' defense is too good, and I think Whitmer will make just enough plays to get them a few wins. However, I am a believer in the saying “you don’t win on paper”, and the Huskies must prove to me they’re worth moving up in my rankings.
9. Western Michigan Broncos
The Western Michigan Broncos are another winless team coming out of the Mid-American Conference. The Broncos have struggled dearly on offense, ranking 113th in total offense, but the bright side for them has certainly been their defense which is currently ranked 77th in total defense.
With a very tough opening few weeks, it is clear that someone wasn’t a fan of the Broncos. With three of their first four games on the road against very tough Michigan State, Northwestern and Iowa, the Broncos had the odds stacked against them early. They were outscored in those three games by a combined score of 123-33.
There are a few bright sides for the Broncos, however. Running back Brian Fields has rushed for 287 yards and three touchdowns for the offense, and standout Justin Currie has led the defense with 24 tackles and an interception.
Another positive for the Broncos is that they have many home games remaining, and five of their final eight games are against teams with losing records.
The Broncos will certainly get off the winless train soon, and it’s not out of the question to think they may finish at .500 or above!
8. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
We go to the warm weather for our next team in the winless power rankings. The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors have begun their season at 0-3, but to be fair these games were against the University of Southern California, Oregon State and Nevada. Nevada may not be a powerhouse, but there is no question that USC and Oregon State certainly over match Hawaii as the scores showed. Hawaii lost those two games with a combined score of 63-27.
The Rainbow Warriors aren’t high in offensive or defensive ranks, but I believe they will get the season turned around quickly. Junior quarterback Taylor Graham has shown signs of a very good quarterback with a lot of upside, and the offense for Hawaii will get going under head coach Norm Chow.
Chow was in the NFL for many years and knows how to deal with failure. I believe he will lead this team the rest of the season, and they will overcome any adversity to become a solid program.
Hawaii also has a very reasonable schedule the rest of the way that will aid them in trying to get a few wins.
7. Massachussets Minutemen
Our final team from the Mid-American Conference has surfaced in the power rankings. Coming in at No. 7, the Massachusetts Minutemen have posted a record of 0-4 with losses to Wisconsin (no surprise there), Maine, Kansas State (once again no surprise) and Vanderbilt.
The Minutemen clearly had a rough schedule to open up, but they will respond. If you look at the offensive and defensive ranks you may not think UMASS will recover, but with experience and solid leadership, this team will win games and get back on track once the conference games begin.
The Minutemen have over ten seniors with experience on this roster, and with great experience in games like the ones they had early on with Wisconsin and Kansas State, UMASS is destined to win games this year. Don’t be surprised if they become one of the best teams in the MAC.
6. Temple Owls
The next team on my power ranking ran into some very tough offenses in their first few games. With games against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Houston Cougars back to back, the Temple Owls struggled to produce. However, the Owls came that close to a victory in their last game against Fordham but fell short 30-29.
The Owls are ranked 96th overall in total offense and 119th in total defense. Wide receiver Ryan Alderman leads the team with 133 yards, and the defensive standout has been Sean Daniels who leads the team in sacks with two.
With a tumultuous opening schedule, it wasn’t out of the question that the Owls would start winless. They have a very tough match up in two weeks against Louisville at home in Philadelphia. The team's website has already begun a campaign for that game, but focus should be on this week's game against the Idaho Vandals.
I hope the Owls don’t jump the gun and look ahead to Louisville, but I have faith in them and think they are a good fit in the No. 6 slot of my power rankings.
5. Idaho Vandals
We have reached the top 5 in the winless FBS college football power rankings. Starting us off are the Idaho Vandals out of the Independent Conference.
The Vandals have opened the season at 0-4 with tough opponents such as the North Texas Mean Green, Wyoming Cowboys and Northern Illinois Huskies.
A strong point for the Vandals has been the offense. Ranked 94th in the FBS, the offense has shown signs of improvement behind quarterback Chad Chalich who has thrown for 801 yards and three touchdowns. Chalich has looked strong and the numbers he has put up have shown he can move this offense up and down the field.
The one downside for the Vandals has been their defense. They are ranked 118th in total defense and have given up 40 or more points in every one of their first four games.
The defense must improve and try to get off the field to allow the offense and Chalich to put up some points. I can see the defense getting better as the team heads into their conference games and the offense continuing their run.
Expect a team that is around .500 and above as the season progresses!
4. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
Being a Green Bay Packers fan and a beloved Brett Favre fan, this was an easy choice for me. Coming in at No. 4, to honor No. 4, the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles have started the season a disappointing 0-3. The Golden Eagles have losses on their schedule to Texas State, Nebraska and Arkansas.
The Texas State loss was very surprising, but any college football fan can understand the losses to the Cornhuskers and Razorbacks. Regardless, the Golden Eagles have much higher expectations for their season.
The offense has struggled thus far in the season ranking 112th in college football, but their defense has been very strong and are ranked 38th in college football. Although the defense got plastered against Nebraska, I was very impressed how they played against Arkansas on the road. They held Arkansas to 24 points and kept their team in the game throughout. Unfortunately, the offense wasn’t able to do much to help.
This Golden Eagles team will make a lot of improvements and have a fairly weak schedule down the stretch. You can expect a winning record from this team at the end of the year. The defense will play tough and the offense will come along. If it doesn’t they can always give Favre a ring to play quarterback; I’ve heard he’s in the best shape of his life!
3. New Mexico State Aggies
Coming in at No. 3 on the list, the New Mexico State Aggies out of the Independent Conference have been a disappointment. History has shown that the Aggies won’t make much noise, but I have faith in first year coach Doug Martin that he can turn around what has been a below average team each year.
The Aggies' offense is currently ranked 92nd in the FBS, but the reason they have struggled is on defense. Currently ranked 123rd (dead last) in the FBS, the defense must turn around because as many football fans know, “defense wins championships.”
There will not be any championships won in Aggie land, but wins can definitely be had. A very tough schedule to open against Texas, Minnesota, University of Texas El Paso and UCLA has put the Aggies in a hole.
A lot of football is still yet to be played, and I believe that the Aggies will turn it around. Watch for seniors such as quarterback Andrew McDonald and running back Germi Morrison to lead by example and help will this team to some victories.
2. San Diego State University Aztecs
The No. 2 team in the power rankings is a team that many people may be very surprised is winless. I’m talking about the San Diego State Aztecs. Known as a school that traditionally always competes and plays well, the Aztecs are off to a peculiar 0-3 start.
The Aztecs got blitzed opening game against Eastern Illinois and then were beaten handily by Ohio State. The Buckeyes game was expected, but I thought we’d see more out of the Aztecs against the Panthers.
The third game for the Aztecs was more like their style of football. In a back and forth game against the Oregon State Beavers, the Aztecs scored 30 points but fell just shorts as the Beavers did just enough on offense and made a few more plays on defense to take down the Aztecs.
The next three games are very winnable before the bye week for the Aztecs, and any fan should expect wins to come quickly. My prediction for the Aztecs is a final record of 7-5 which is quite respectable. The early losses may come back to haunt the Aztecs, but they are very deserving of the No. 2 spot in the power rankings.
1. Iowa State Cyclones
The time has come! We’ve been through the list and have seen 12 teams ranked. Now it’s time to announce who is the best of the worst! At No. 1 on the winless team power ranking, the Iowa Cyclones have gotten the nod.
The Cyclones have started the season 0-2 with tough losses against the Iowa Hawkeyes and Northern Iowa Panthers. Both games were at home and disappointed a lot of Cyclone fans, but the team has played well and will continue to do so regardless of the record.
It’s only been two games, but the rankings for the Cyclones are actually pretty decent. They are just below the middle of the pack in terms of offense and defense ranks coming in at 88th and 81st respectively.
The Cyclones may finish with one of the worst records of all the 13 winless teams, but that is based solely off their remaining schedule. Being in the Big 12 doesn’t fair well for Cyclone fans, but as they’ve shown in the past, they can upset anyone in this conference.
I expect a strong finish to the rest of the season for the Cyclones and you can surely book them to another bowl game that would be their third straight appearance in a bowl game.
Congrats Cyclones, you are officially the best of the worst in the most recent “winless FBS college football team power rankings!”