History was made last year when CBS Sports hosted the first Bottom 25 Playoff in history. I had been writing The Bottom 25 column during every season since 2013, but up until last season, the team that finished the regular season at No. 1 was crowned champion. With the College Football Playoff becoming such an enormous part of the college football conversation, it only made sense that we expanded The Bottom 25 to include a playoff.
The inaugural event was won by No. 1 UTEP, which beat No. 2 Kansas in the final. We’re bringing The Bottom 25 Playoff back this season, and our defending champions have returned as well. The Miners are the only one of our four teams from last season’s playoff to return, and this season they do so as the No. 3 seed.
Unfortunately, we still haven’t been able to convince any of these teams to actually play the games. Maybe we’ll start a GoFundMe account for the 2020 Bottom 25 Playoff. For now, like last season, we relied on the simulations of SportsLine’s Stephen Oh. Stephen does these simulations for college football (as well as every other major sport) throughout the year, using his data and analytics to predict outcomes of games. He was kind enough to do it for us again this season and help us determine our 2018 Bottom 25 Champion.
Before we get to the simulations, though, let’s take a look at our competitors.
No. 1 UConn: The Huskies finished the season 1-11 and set FBS records allowing the most points (605) and yards (7.409) in history.
No. 2 Louisville: The Cardinals made some history themselves, becoming the first two-win team to qualify for our playoff. They did this by losing 10 games by an average of 31.9 points.
No. 3 UTEP: Our defending champions went 1-11 this year and nearly missed the playoff after beating Rice 34-26 in early November. it rebounded by losing three straight, including a game to Bottom 25 Playoff contender Western Kentucky to qualify again.
No. 4 Central Michigan: The Chippewas are here on the strength of a 1-11 record, having lost eight straight to finish the season. While they were rarely blown out, the strength of their resume is built on the fact their lone win was a 17-5 victory over FCS Maine.
And now that you’ve met our teams, let The Bottom 25 Playoff begin!
No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 3 UTEP
Our first game was played at Bottom 25 Field, which is just a dirt patch in the middle of nowhere, and the Cardinals proved to be a bit too much for our defending champions. Louisville won 75 percent of our simulations, winning by an average score of 30-20. Of course, winning isn’t how you advance in The Bottom 25 Playoff. Losers move on while winners are forced to walk home in shame. So, for the second year in a row, the UTEP Miners move on to The Bottom 25 Championship. Who will they play?
No. 1 UConn vs. No. 4 Central Michigan
The Huskies came into the tournament as our favorite but received a stiff test from the Chippewas. In the end, however, the Huskies determination to lose shined through. Central Michigan won 54 percent of the simulations by an average score of 24-21. So the Huskies move on to face our defending champion Miners in the championship game.
No. 1 UConn vs. No. 3 UTEP
UConn was a historic team in 2018, but a championship mindset can’t be learned overnight. The Huskies won 61 percent of our simulations by an average score of 25-22. That means that UTEP is your 2018 Bottom 25 champion, and the first team in the history of the Bottom 25 to win a second title, let alone do it in consecutive seasons.
Congratulations, Miners, and I mean it from the absolute bottom of my heart when I say I hope I never see you here again.
Bottom 25 Championship History
2016: Texas State
2013: Miami (Ohio)