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The college football season will look plenty different in 2021. The college football power rankings? Not quite as much. Despite new quarterbacks at Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State, those three perennial powers find themselves in the top five. They are joined by Oklahoma and Georgia, which both return quarterbacks in the hopes of winning their first championships of the playoff era.

And then there are teams like Texas A&M, North Carolina and Iowa State, which make the top 10 and are looking to earn a CFP bid for the first time. From the Group of 5, Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina and Louisiana all check in.

Where does your favorite team rank?

Methodology: Thirty-three ESPN college football experts submitted their own top 25s, leading to this consensus list.

2020 record: 13-0, national champions
2021 preseason FPI: 1
Key September games: Sept. 4 vs. Miami; Sept. 18 at Florida

Season outlook: Another year, another championship, another rebuild. Replacing DeVonta Smith, Najee Harris and Mac Jones on offense won’t be easy. Nor will it be easy to recreate the magic of Steve Sarkisian calling plays. But Nick Saban went out and got a former college and pro coach in Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator. John Metchie is back at receiver, along with veteran running back Brian Robinson. All eyes will be on projected starting quarterback Bryce Young, though. The dynamic former five-star recruit was Jones’ understudy last season and has all the tools to be an all-conference player. How he deals with the learning curve of major college football will go a long way toward determining whether Alabama reloads and competes for another championship. — Alex Scarborough

2020 record: 9-2, Big 12 champions
2021 preseason FPI: 3
Key September game: Sept. 18 vs. Nebraska

Season outlook: The Sooners amped up the excitement level this offseason with designs on joining the SEC in the future, but they have a real opportunity to push for a national-title run this season. The schedule sets up nicely: TCU and Iowa State, which can push the Sooners, visit Norman this year, as does Nebraska for a Game of the Century anniversary celebration. The Texas game, as always, is a key test, but FPI gives the Sooners a 68% chance to win the conference. — Dave Wilson

2020 record: 10-2, ACC champions
2021 preseason FPI: 2
Key September game: Sept. 4 vs. Georgia

Season outlook: Trevor Lawrence is gone. Travis Etienne is gone. For most programs, that would mean a massive reset of expectations. At Clemson, however, there’s surprisingly little concern. QB D.J. Uiagalelei got his feet wet replacing Lawrence for two games last year, and he looked like a future star. Five-star recruit Will Shipley has already turned heads in summer workouts, and Clemson’s backfield appears well-stocked with talent. Then add in a healthy Justyn Ross, an absolutely loaded defensive front and a veteran secondary with a chip on its shoulder and, once again, the Tigers are the odds-on favorites to win the ACC. The bigger question for Clemson fans, however, might be how much bigger they should dream. After two straight seasons ended with blowout losses in the playoff, the narrative surrounding Clemson will be less about its command of the conference and more about how quickly the Tigers can once again hoist a national championship trophy. — David M. Hale

2020 record: 7-2
2021 preseason FPI: 5
Key September game: Sept. 4 vs. Clemson

Season outlook: The Bulldogs are one of the favorites to make the College Football Playoff and win a national championship. Georgia’s offense looked like it was finally reaching its potential toward the end of 2020 with JT Daniels at quarterback, and will be returning eight starters in 2021. Defensively, the Dawgs will have to reload some, but the addition of Tykee Smith and Georgia’s general ability to reload year in and year out could have them back in the playoff for the first time since 2017. And from a scheduling standpoint, the Bulldogs avoid Alabama, Texas A&M, and LSU. — Harry Lyles Jr.

2020 record: 7-1
2021 preseason FPI: 4
Key September game: Sept. 11 vs. Oregon

Season outlook: The Buckeyes are breaking in a new quarterback after starter Justin Fields left for the NFL. All signs point to C.J. Stroud getting the starting nod while battling with Jack Miller and Kyle McCord. The good news for the offense is that the unit is returning receivers Chris Olave, one of the top producing receivers in the country, and Garrett Wilson, along with tight end Jeremy Ruckert, who all led the team in receiving touchdowns in 2020. The coaches are adding in some talented freshmen on offense as well, with running back TreVeyon Henderson and receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. On defense, the Buckeyes need to see improvement from their secondary, a unit that ranked 122 of all FBS programs in pass yards allowed per game. This is still a team that will be in the College Football Playoff discussion, but the Buckeyes will need some new names to step up if they want to win it all.— Tom VanHaaren

2020 record: 8-1
2021 preseason FPI: 6
Key September game: Sept. 11 vs. Colorado

Season outlook: The Aggies are coming off a season in which they appeared built for sustained success, particularly on defense. They’ll have to rebuild up front with four new starters on the offensive line and break in a new QB, but Jimbo Fisher feels good about those positions. ESPN’s FPI gives A&M a greater than 80% chance to win in each of its first five games before Alabama — which handed the Aggies their only loss last season — visits College Station on Nov. 9. — Wilson

2020 record: 9-3
2021 preseason FPI: 9
Key September game: Sept. 11 vs. Iowa

Season outlook: One of the most impressive feats from the 2020 college football season was Iowa State’s ability to have its best year in school history during a pandemic. Matt Campbell will have much of the same group looking to run it back in 2021. While this will be the most anticipated season in Iowa State’s history, its biggest challenge to a Big 12 title and a playoff berth will likely be the same that stopped the team in 2020: Spencer Rattler and the Sooners. But the Cyclones split games with the Sooners, and with Brock Purdy and Breece Hall leading the charge, the people of Ames can’t help but feel optimistic, as the Cyclones are legitimate playoff contenders. — Lyles

2020 record: 4-3, Pac-12 champion
2021 preseason FPI: 12
Key September game: Sept. 11 vs. Ohio State

Season outlook: After an impressive freshman season and an abbreviated sophomore one, defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux heads into his junior year with the potential to be the best player in college football. Yes, he’s that good. But the Ducks are so much more than that. Oregon has been a recruiting power the past few years under Mario Cristobal and has built a deep, talented roster on par with some of the best in college football. There will be a new starting quarterback after Tyler Shough transferred to Texas Tech, but it appeared likely that Anthony Brown was going to win the job, regardless, after earning playing time at the end of last season. He figures to improve as the team heads into its second year under coordinator Joe Moorhead. — Kyle Bonagura

2020 record: 10-2
2021 preseason FPI: 8
Key September games: Sept. 5 at Florida State, Sept. 25 vs. Wisconsin

Season outlook: The Irish beat Clemson in the regular season and made it to the College Football Playoff last season, but there is a lot of production to replace from last year’s team. Quarterback Ian Book is gone, the offensive line will have new faces across the board and head coach Brian Kelly has a new defensive coordinator in Marcus Freeman. The staff brought in Wisconsin quarterback transfer Jack Coan, who has a shot at starting for Notre Dame this season while battling with Drew Pyne and Tyler Buchner. Having tight end Michael Mayer as a big target will help whoever wins that battle, but there are some big holes to fill. On defense, linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is gone, but the unit does bring back star safety Kyle Hamilton. How the new faces step into key roles and help early on will be the story of what this Notre Dame team looks like this season. — VanHaaren

2020 record: 8-4
2021 preseason FPI: 14
Key September game: Sept. 3 at Virginia Tech

Season outlook: The state of play in the ACC has been all but etched in stone for the past five years: It’s Clemson and everyone else. But perhaps 2021 is the year a genuine contender to the throne emerges from that “everyone else” category, and no one seems better positioned to do it than North Carolina. On offense, UNC returns arguably the country’s best QB in Sam Howell, along with all five starters on the O-line. On defense, a unit that desperately needed a talent infusion two years ago now has legitimate blue-chip stars ready to contribute, including five-star corner Tony Grimes and five-star end Keeshawn Silver. Even the talent that left appears to have some ready-made replacements, as Tennessee transfer Ty Chandler looks to pick up where 1,000-yard backs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams left off, and slot receiver Josh Downs appears poised to become the next Tar Heels superstar. Of course, UNC also suffered embarrassing losses to FSU and Virginia last year, so rather than focus on reaching Clemson’s elite status, the next big step for the Heels might just be finding some consistency. — Hale

2020 record: 9-1, AAC champions
2021 preseason FPI: 22
Key September game: Sept. 18 at Indiana

Season outlook: The biggest storyline from Cincinnati’s offseason was the departure of defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman. Freeman’s defense helped the Bearcats win an American Athletic Conference title. With Freeman now at Notre Dame, coach Luke Fickell will hope that longtime Michigan State assistant Mike Tressel can keep the Bearcats’ defense playing at the same intensity that helped the team earn an appearance against Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Offensively, Desmond Ridder is back at quarterback with a new offensive line, but if the defense performs at a similar level that it did in 2020, the Bearcats should be in for another big season. — Lyles

2020 record: 8-2
2021 preseason FPI: 11
Key September game: Sept. 18 vs. Alabama

Season outlook: Two major questions face the Gators as they head into a new season: How will Emory Jones do as the presumptive starter at quarterback, and how much better will the defense be after a heavily criticized performance a year ago? Let’s start with Jones, who has waited three years for the opportunity to start. Jones is a different player from Kyle Trask — during SEC media days, Mullen noted that Jones had a strong arm and was a “dynamic playmaker” with his feet — so the offense will look different. But what about the defense? With veterans like Zachary Carter, Brenton Cox Jr. and Kaiir Elam returning, the Gators have the pieces in place to put together a far more consistent performance. — Andrea Adelson

2020 record: 5-1
2021 preseason FPI: 21
Key September game: Sept. 11 vs. Stanford

Season outlook: The Trojans often didn’t look the part last year, but they still went undefeated through the pandemic-shortened regular season before losing the Oregon in the Pac-12 title game. This year, with a more traditional offseason, expectations are as high as they’ve been since Clay Helton took over. That doesn’t say much, of course, but the feeling around Los Angeles is that if this isn’t the season Helton can break through and become nationally relevant, it’s just not going to happen. QB Kedon Slovis has star potential, but the player to know going into the season is receiver Drake London, a potential All-American. — Bonagura

2020 record: 5-5
2021 preseason FPI: 18
Key September game: Sept. 4 at UCLA

Season outlook: Last year was a complete letdown. The wheels came off early, and it took a rally late and a bizarre penalty for a thrown shoe just to finish at .500. Ed Orgeron then went to work, almost entirely remaking his staff, bringing in Daronte Jones to lead the defense and Jake Peetz to run the offense. The latter was a clear move at trying to recapture the magic of Joe Brady’s dynamic 2019 offense. The good news is that Peetz has two good options at quarterback: Myles Brennan, who threw for 11 touchdowns in three games before an injury ended his season, or Max Johnson, the freshman who led LSU to a back-to-back wins to salvage an otherwise lost season. — Scarborough

2020 record: 8-3
2021 preseason FPI: 10
Key September game: Sept. 4 vs. Alabama

Season outlook: Quarterback D’Eriq King has navigated his rehab from another knee injury better than anyone had imagined when he got hurt in the bowl game, and his return has boosted expectations for a program still finding its footing under Manny Diaz. But the Hurricanes also start the season against Alabama, a tough first test that might end up defining the season. Beyond King’s return, there is optimism the defense will fare better with nine starters back, and Diaz is calling the plays again after making defensive-staff changes this past offseason. — Adelson

2020 record: 4-3
2021 preseason FPI: 17
Key September games: Sept. 4 vs. Penn State; Sept. 25 vs. Notre Dame

Season outlook: The Badgers had an odd 2020 season with a lot of disruption from COVID-19. The team played its first game of the season against Illinois on Oct. 31, then saw its next two games canceled and didn’t play again until Nov. 14 at Michigan. That wasn’t conducive to breaking in quarterback Graham Mertz, who started the season completing 20 of 21 passes for 248 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Illini, but finished the season with 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in the final six games. Getting some semblance of normalcy and consistency will be key for Mertz and the offense. Having him step into a leadership role will be important, and the Badgers need to come out of the gate in a similar fashion to 2020 with Penn State first on the schedule in 2021. — VanHaaren

2020 record: 6-2
2021 preseason FPI: 27
Key September games: Sept. 4 at Iowa; Sept. 18 vs. Cincinnati

Season outlook: Indiana is typically a basketball school in the country’s most proud basketball state, but last year, nobody could ignore the football Hoosiers. Tom Allen’s team was one of the best stories in what was a difficult 2020 season in college football. The Hoosiers went 6-1 in the regular season, their lone loss a 42-35 contest in Columbus against Ohio State. And had it not been for a rule change, the Hoosiers would have been in the Big Ten title game. In 2021, the Hoosiers will be looking to further prove that the 2020 campaign wasn’t a fluke with 18 of 22 starters coming back. This is the season Indiana tries to exceed any expectation that just about anybody could have for its football program. — Lyles

2020 record: 6-2
2021 preseason FPI: 23
Key September games: Sept. 4 vs. Indiana, Sept. 11 at Iowa State

Season outlook: On offense, Iowa is returning two key pieces in running back Tyler Goodson and quarterback Spencer Petras to provide some consistency this season. The Hawkeyes started the season with two losses but then rattled off six wins to finish. Petras didn’t start out the season the way he wanted with four touchdowns and five interceptions in the first five games. He finished the last two games with five touchdowns and no interceptions, so the team will need him to build off those last two games. Luckily, he will be able to rely on Goodson, who had 762 rush yards in eight games and seven touchdowns on the ground. Goodson should be one of the best backs in the conference and will be running behind center Tyler Linderbaum, one of the best offensive linemen in the Big Ten. Someone else will have to step up in that running back room, though, to help carry the load, as Iowa starts this season with Indiana and at Iowa State as the first two games on the slate. — VanHaaren

2020 record: 3-1
2021 preseason FPI: 25
Key September game: Sept. 11 at Michigan

Season outlook: Few teams saw their seasons interrupted by the pandemic to the degree that Washington did last year. The Huskies never left Seattle, won the Pac-12 North and then weren’t able to take part in the conference title game. Left tackle Jaxson Kirkland and tight end Cade Otton were left wanting more, and both put the NFL on hold for a chance to finish their college careers with something more memorable. Keep an eye on cornerback Trent McDuffie, who has looked like a future NFL player since he seamlessly stepped into a prominent role as a true freshman. — Bonagura

2020 record: 4-5
2021 preseason FPI: 13
Key September games: Sept. 4 at Wisconsin, Sept. 18 vs. Auburn

Season outlook: It was a wild ride at running back for Penn State, with injuries and some bad luck that whittled down the depth. This season, Noah Cain and Devyn Ford are healthy, and the staff added John Lovett from Baylor to go along with Keyvone Lee and Caziah Holmes. If everyone can stay healthy, that group should be a strength for the offense and new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. The running backs and wide receiver Jahan Dotson will need to chip in as much as possible for quarterback Sean Clifford, who has had an up-and-down college career. On defense, the Nittany Lions are replacing linebacker Micah Parsons, Odafe Oweh and Shaka Toney, who are all off to the NFL. Who steps up in their places as a leader and in terms of production will be two of the bigger questions heading into fall camp. — VanHaaren

2020 record: 7-3
2021 preseason FPI: 7
Key September game: Sept. 4 vs. Louisiana

Season outlook: No pressure, Steve Sarkisian. The Horns plucked Sark from Alabama to bring a little SEC ball to Austin, then announced they’re headed back that way in however many years. In the meantime, the Longhorns have to contend with a loaded Sooners team, hostile Big 12 fans at every stop, tough road trips to TCU (7-2 against Texas since joining the conference) and Iowa State, and at another bitter old rival in Arkansas. Oh, and that Louisiana team in Week 1 has the most returning production of any team in the country — and beat Iowa State in Ames in last year’s season opener. — Wilson

2020 record: 11-1
2021 preseason FPI: 60
Key September game: Sept. 18 at Buffalo

Season outlook: There might not have been a more entertaining team in college football last season than the Chanticleers. From the teal field to the fast-paced style of offense, they had it all, including the best game of the year when they beat BYU. And outside of defensive end Emmanuel Johnson and running back CJ Marable, every starter is back. That includes quarterback Grayson McCall, who in his first year starting as a sophomore scored a combined 33 touchdowns while throwing just three interceptions. With a manageable schedule — the only Power 5 opponent is Kansas in Week 2 — don’t be surprised if Coastal is once again the talk of college football. — Scarborough

2020 record: 10-1
2021 preseason FPI: 59
Key September game: Sept. 4 at Texas

Season outlook: As the world continues to ask what’s keeping Billy Napier in Lafayette, he keeps building one of the top Group of 5 programs in college football, winners of 10 games in back-to-back seasons. If not for a loss to Coastal Carolina, the Ragin’ Cajuns would have ended last season undefeated. And incredibly, some 20 starters are back, including fifth-year quarterback Levi Lewis, who threw for 2,274 yards last year. But pay attention to this team, especially early, as it incorporates a bunch of new faces on the coaching staff, including three new assistants on defense. — Scarborough

2020 record: 5-5
2021 preseason FPI: 20
Key September game: Sept. 6 vs. Louisville

Lane Kiffin’s second year in Oxford should be a step above what the Rebels did in 2020. Despite a 5-5 record, they capped off the season with a win over No. 7 Indiana in the Outback Bowl. In 2021, they’ll return eight starters on offense, including QB Matt Corral, and added Western Kentucky transfer WR Jahcour Pearson, who Kiffin will hope can make up for the loss of Elijah Moore. It’ll be a tough season per usual in the SEC West, but the Rebels have the tools to compete in every game. — Lyles

2020 record: 5-5
2021 preseason FPI: 29
Key September game: Sept. 18 vs. BYU

Season outlook: The Sun Devils return 21 starters from a team that was supposed to be good last year but really just never got out of first gear thanks, at least in part, to a COVID-19 outbreak. At Pac-12 media day, coach Herm Edwards and quarterback Jayden Daniels maintained that the ongoing NCAA investigation into conduct by the coaching staff relating to violations of COVID-19 protocols and recruiting rules won’t affect the team on the field. Heading into his junior year, Daniels has a chance to be special and one of the faces of the conference. — Bonagura

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Math confusion: The Bottom 10 unveils the Faux Pas Index for final rankings

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Math confusion: The Bottom 10 unveils the Faux Pas Index for final rankings

Inspirational thought of the week:

“I know where I’d go.”
“Where?”
“I’d go to Akron. I’d go there with a pretty woman. A strange woman. A quiet woman. I wouldn’t even want to know her name. Where I would be just ‘Mr. Smith’ and I would send out for cold beer. Then I would tell her things. Things that I’ve never told to anyone. Things that are locked deep in here. And as I talk to her, I would want her to hold out a soft hand and say, ‘Poor thing. Poor, poor thing.'”
“How long would you want this to go on, doctor?”
“Two weeks.”
“Two weeks? Wouldn’t that get a little monotonous? Just Akron, cold beer and ‘poor thing’ for two weeks?”
“No, it would be wonderful.”

— Cecil Kellaway and Jimmy Stewart as Dr. Chumley and Elwood P. Dowd in “Harvey”

Here at Bottom 10 Headquarters, located in the room of file cabinets where Deion Sanders stores all the Power 5 job offers that he wants us to know about but doesn’t plan to take, we have been thrown off of our collective axis. Our schedule is uglier and more broken down than a Pontiac Aztek. Our calendar has been erased more times than someone trying to use an Etch A Sketch in a centrifuge. What we’re saying is that our normal end-of-regular-season routine has been ruined. Instead of the usual meeting of our Bottom 10 Selection Committee at the DFW Hacienda Courts, our annual assemblage of college football minds such as Jerry Glanville, Charlie Weis and Ed “Straight Arrow” Gennero, we told them all to stay home.

Why? The season isn’t over yet. No, none of our teams suddenly received an invite to a conference championship game. The problem is that a mountain of snow two weekends ago kept one of our contenders from playing its final game and now we have to wait to see what happens.

Dammit, Akron.

So, instead of holding our normal fake CFP committee vote, we have gone full old school and are instead employing a fake old-school BCS approach. Yes, we are doing math. But as opposed to relying on the sorcerously accurate ESPN FPI — the Football Power Index — we have conjured up the Bottom 10 FPI — the Faux Pas Index.

It’s simple really. And by simple, we mean totally convoluted. Teams receive one point for each win, minus one point for each loss, minus one point for each loss of their longest losing streak of the year, plus a minus-10 bonus if that streak is currently active. We also subtract the number of points they have surrendered from the number of points they have scored, subtract or add points based on turnover margin and throw in a 50-point reduction if they have fired their head coach this season, aka the Randy Edsall Fired Coach Bonus. Divide that by the number of games played — let’s call that the Akron Principle — and there’s your Bottom 10 FPI score.

So get off your ath, let’s do some math. Math, math, math, math, math.

With apologies to Dewey Finn, Euclid, former Michigan State Spartan Addie Gaddis and Steve Harvey, here’s the final (sort of) 2022 Bottom 10 rankings.

1. Colora-duh (1-11)

Wins: +1
Losses: -11
Longest losing streak: -6 (current -10)
185 points for, 534 points against: -349
Turnover margin: -12 (tied with Akron for fourth worst in FBS)
Randy Edsall Fired Coach Bonus: -50
Total: -437
Games played: 12
Final Bottom 10 Faux Pas Index: -36.42

While the Buffs wait to be rebuffed by Deion, they can at least spend that time celebrating a championship. We knew that 2022 had been a total mess, but once we pushed it through the numerical cheese grater of the Bottom 10 FPI formula, Colorado became the college football equivalent of Jared Leto’s “Morbius.” We were already plenty sure it was going to be bad. We just never could have imagined it would be that awful.

play

1:36

Keyshawn Johnson breaks down why Deion Sanders would be a good fit as the head coach at Colorado.

2. UMess (1-11)

Wins: +1
Losses: -11
Longest losing streak: -9 (current -10)
150 points for, 373 points against: -223
Turnover margin: -3
Randy Edsall Fired Coach Bonus: N/A
Score: -255
Games played: 12
Final Bottom 10 FPI: -21.25

The Minutemen finished the year by losing back-to-back Pillow Fights of the Week against Arkansaw State and Texas A&M, and then suffering the worst late November loss to Army since Allied forces crossed the Siegfried Line.

3. US(notC)F (1-11)

Wins: +1
Losses: -11
Longest losing streak: -10 (current -10)
336 points for, 494 points against: -158
Turnover margin: -4
Randy Edsall Fired Coach Bonus: -50
Total: -242
Games played: 12
Final Bottom 10 FPI: -20.17

The Bulls ended the season riding college football’s second-longest active losing streak, a run that included L’s suffered at the hands of a TU and UT, fellow Bottom 10 resident Temple and reigning Myrtle Beach Bowl champs Tulsa, which just fired its head coach.

4. North by Northworstern (1-11)

Wins: +1
Losses: -11
Longest losing streak: -11 (current -10)
165 points for, 340 points against: -175
Turnover margin: -19 (worst in FBS)
Randy Edsall Fired Coach Bonus: N/A
Total: -225
Games played: 12
Final Bottom 10 FPI: -18.75

In case you were wondering who in the world could have lost more consecutive times than USF’s 10 in a row, allow us to show you around lovely Evanston, Illinois.

5. Give me Liberty or give me death …

at the hands of the Other Aggies! The Flames land in the Coveted Fifth Spot after flaming out at the end of an otherwise heavenly 8-4 season with a stunning 49-14 loss to natural geographic rival New Mexico State, a game that the other FPI said that Liberty had a 95.7% chance of winning. I imagine it was hard for Hugh Freeze to keep both eyes on the playbook while he was also on the sideline scrolling through WarDamnEagleHousesForSale.com.

6. Huh-why-yuh (3-10)

Wins: +3
Losses: -10
Longest losing streak: -4
257 points for, 451 points against: -194
Turnover margin: -8
Randy Edsall Fired Coach Bonus: N/A
Total: -213
Games played: 13
Final Bottom 10 FPI: -16.38

Akron may have played too few games, but the Warriors have played too many as they have the only Bottom 10 FPI that was divisible by an unlucky 13. In fairness, Timmy Chang’s team improved dramatically as a season that started with it ranked first/worst early and often continued to plow ahead. In fact, Mauna Loa was so irritated over the season ending that it erupted for the first time in nearly 40 years.

7. Charlotte 3-and-9ers (3-9)

Wins: +3
Losses: -9
Longest losing streak: -4
294 points for, 473 points against: -180
Turnover margin: -8
Randy Edsall Fired Coach Bonus: -50
Total: -248
Games played: 12
Final Bottom 10 FPI: -20.67

Speaking of eruptions, I am already bracing myself for my next visit to my local supermarket here in my home of Charlotte, where the kid who rings me up always has me on blast whenever I have his Niners in these rankings. I already know what he’s going to say first. “But we ended the season with a win over Louisiana Tech and they are also 3-9, so why aren’t they in the Bottom 10 instead of us?!” I will inform him that when we ran the 3-and-9ers vs. Lose-ee-anna Tech in the computer, it wasn’t even close. Charlotte, thanks to a much larger points for/against margin, turnover margin and fired coach bonus, nearly doubled Louisiana Tech’s FPI of minus-10.67. I also already know what he’ll say next. “Dude, what is with your groceries? You eat like an 8-year-old.”

8. Akronmonious (2-9)

Wins: +2
Losses: -9
Longest losing streak: -9
239 points for, 379 points against: -140
Turnover margin: -11
Randy Edsall Fired Coach Bonus: N/A
Total: -167
Games played: 11
Final Bottom 10 FPI: -15.18

In case you were wondering, yes, the Zips just won their second game of the year and did so against another fellow #MACtion Bottom 10 contender in Northern Ill-ugh-noise. But as you know from watching the CFP rankings announcement shows each week, this is all about “body of work” and Akron’s anatomy is Thor in “Avengers: Endgame.” NIU’s Bottom 10 FPI is minus-6.08, barely more than a third of the Zips, who are 15.18 below zip. Speaking of in case you were wondering and speaking of numbers that start with 15, Akron has a 15.4% chance of winning its do-over at Buffalo on Friday night. But that’s according to the ESPN FPI, and now that we have seen how easy it is to come up with an FPI formula, we’re not sure we trust it anymore.

9. Whew Mexico No-bos (2-10)

Wins: +2
Losses: -10
Longest losing streak: -9 (current -10)
157 points for, 312 points against: -155
Turnover margin: +4
Randy Edsall Fired Coach Bonus: N/A
Total: -178
Games played: 12
Final Bottom 10 FPI: -14.83

The No-bos ended the year by providing former top/bottom team Colora-duh State with the win they needed to boost themselves over the wall and out of the Bottom 10 prison yard. So why aren’t they ranked higher/lower than they are? Look at that turnover margin. Whew Mexico ranks 38th in all of FBS, tied with the likes of Cincinnati and Washington State. Come on, guys, are you trying to win this thing, or aren’t you?

10. No-vada (2-10)

Wins: +2
Losses: -10
Longest losing streak: -10 (current -10)
226 points for, 371 points against: -145
Turnover margin: +2
Randy Edsall Fired Coach Bonus: N/A
Total: -171
Games played: 12
Final Bottom 10 FPI: -14.25

The race to secure this final spot was tighter than a pair of Underoos washed in too-hot water, but the Oof Pack edged out the rest of the, er, pack via the nation’s other second-longest losing streak. The difference between Whew Mexico and its Mountain West mates in Reno is thinner than the gravy on the $3 meatloaf in downtown Reno. They shared seven common opponents and while New Mexico lost to all seven, Nevada did beat Liberty destroyers Whew Mexico State back in Week 1. The Pack ended the season with a loss to unLv, who reacted by … immediately firing its coach?

Waiting list: Temple of Doom, Arkansaw State, Colora-duh State, Lose-ee-anna Tech, Old Duh-minions, Northern Ill-ugh-noise, Stampford, Virginia Tech No-kies, In A Rut-gers, #goBCc, Arizona Skate, the end of the regular season … boo.

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Hot stove survey: Where will deGrom and Judge sign? Who will get traded? MLB execs weigh in

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Hot stove survey: Where will deGrom and Judge sign? Who will get traded? MLB execs weigh in

Nearly a month into the MLB offseason, we’re still awaiting the first big splash.

While we wait for the movement to pick up entering next week’s winter meetings in San Diego, we asked a panel of experts to weigh in on what they think the rest of the offseason will bring.

Where will Aaron Judge sign? Who will sign the four star shortstops? Which ace is most likely to leave his current team? And who will be the big names in the trade market?

We polled a dozen team executives and MLB insiders from across both leagues about free-agent landing spots and who’s likely to get moved in trades this offseason. Voters were assured anonymity and were given the option to skip any questions that hit too close to home.

Here’s how they voted — and what they had to say about their picks.


Will Aaron Judge get a package worth more than $320 million and who will he sign with?

Yes: 7
No: 4
New York Yankees: 6
Los Angeles Dodgers: 3
San Francisco Giants: 2

Our voters think Judge is going to one of three teams, but there is a split on which one and how much money he’ll get. Either way, he’ll likely end up with a contract for about $100 million more than the Yankees offered ($213.5 million) last spring.

“He gambled and showed up, but I’m going to say he comes in a bit below [$320 million] and comes home to the West Coast,” one voter said of the California native. “Dodgers or Giants. Sounds like Dodgers to me.”


Which shortstop will get the most dollars and years in free agency?

Trea Turner: 7
Carlos Correa: 5

There are four coveted shortstops in this free-agent class, but our panel believes Turner and Correa are in line for the biggest paydays. Correa, 28, was a popular answer due to his age, but Turner, 29, won the vote.

“I think his [Turner’s] skill set ages the best,” one voter said. “Correa has had a couple injuries, while speed doesn’t slump, right? All long-term contracts are a risk, but give me a guy with Turner’s athleticism any day.”


Where will the four big free-agent shortstops sign?

Turner: Philadelphia Phillies 6, Dodgers 4, Giants 2
Correa: Yankees 4, Minnesota Twins 3, Giants 3, Chicago Cubs 1, Boston Red Sox 1
Dansby Swanson: Atlanta Braves 6, Cubs 2, Dodgers 2, Giants 2
Xander Bogaerts: Red Sox 4, Giants 4, Dodgers 2, Yankees 1, Cubs 1

Amazingly, the Giants showed up in the vote for every shortstop. Of course, San Francisco’s public stance on a willingness to spend could have influenced this. But as you might expect, there’s no real consensus on where each shortstop will sign. Executives showed the same uncertainty for last offseason’s shortstop class. It should make for a wild winter of musical chairs at the position.

“Dave Dombrowski isn’t going to sit on his hands,” said one voter who chose Turner to the Phillies. “His owner seems to be on the same page. I almost wonder how the Phillies don’t get one of them.”

“I just think if the Giants don’t get Judge, where else can they sign up a star player?,” another voter responded.” If they get Judge, then I would vote no on a shortstop. Until then, I think they will get one.”


Yes: 4
No: 8

The majority of our voters believe deGrom will return to the team he has spent his entire career with despite the ace testing the free-agent market this winter. Should he leave New York, it would be a surprise to at least one of our respondents if the Mets didn’t do something else soon after losing him.

“I think deGrom will leave the Mets, but they’ll move to quickly replace him,” a voter said.


Yes: 9
No: 3

On the other hand, our participants think that the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner will start the new season with someone other than the reigning World Series champions.

“Houston has so much pitching, they can let Verlander walk and spend elsewhere [like they did on Jose Abreu],” one executive said.


Which top pitcher after Verlander and deGrom will provide the most value: Carlos Rodon, Kodai Senga, Taijuan Walker or Chris Bassitt?

Bassitt: 5
Rodon: 5
Senga: 2

The fact that Senga got votes says a lot about his reputation as an ace in Japan considering he has yet to pitch in the big leagues. Meanwhile, the left-handed Rodon appears to have shed any durability questions after making 31 starts and pitching 178 innings in 2022. But it was the right-handed Bassitt who won this vote. Bassitt’s ERA has been higher than Rodon’s in each of the past two seasons, but in terms of pure value, the righty edged out the lefty.

“I like Rodon in one game for my season, but long term, I think Bassitt is probably the best value,” one voter said.

“It’s really not fair to judge Senga, so I voted for Bassitt as the safest bet,” another voter said.

Which team (outside of yours) will make the biggest splash this offseason?

Giants: 3
Phillies: 2
Texas Rangers: 2
Dodgers: 2
Red Sox: 1
Yankees: 1
Cubs: 1

The variety of teams given in this answer is a good indication of where baseball is right now: with a lot of teams that think they can make the postseason and, more importantly, win the World Series — and with money to spend to help that cause. Texas might not be an October favorite today, but it should be a hot stove player.

“I know the Rangers did it [spent] last season,” one voter opined, “but I don’t see why they won’t again. Bruce Bochy didn’t unretire to sit at home in October. This year they’ll add pitching. You can count on that.”


Who will be the most notable player traded this winter?

Sean Murphy: 3
Pablo Lopez: 3
Lucas Giolito: 2
Bryan Reynolds: 2
Corbin Burnes: 2
Fernando Tatis Jr.: 1
Kolten Wong: 1

Some executives answered who was most likely to be traded as much as who will be the most notable, while the Tatis voter didn’t explain his choice — but certainly raised eyebrows with his pick.

“Lopez is such a good trade option at a much lower monetary cost for teams after some of the big free-agent pitchers come off the board,” one evaluator said. “With two seasons of control, Miami should get a nice haul.”


How much do MLB’s 2023 rule changes impact your offseason’s decision-making: a lot, some or not at all?

Not at all: 6
Some: 4
A lot: 0

Among the new rules, the elimination of the shift is most likely to impact roster construction, according to executives at the general manager’s meetings earlier this month. But they also say they don’t have a complete picture yet. Teams need to see it all in action before they know how it will impact decision-making in the future.

“Obviously, you can’t hide nonathletic second basemen anymore, but what we don’t know is how much the running game will be impacted by all these changes — both behind the plate and on the bases,” one voter said. “I don’t think the pitch clock will do much to roster construction long term.”

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Kraken outlast Kings 9-8 in OT: ‘Messed-up night’

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Kraken outlast Kings 9-8 in OT: 'Messed-up night'

Andre Burakovsky had two goals, including the winner in overtime, and the Seattle Kraken defeated the Los Angeles Kings 9-8 on Tuesday night in the highest-scoring NHL game this season.

Burakovsky scored on a power play at 2:08 of the extra session to give Seattle the first six-game winning streak in franchise history.

“End of the day, it was one of those games where last shot wins, and that’s exactly what happened,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “It’s better to be on the winning side and the good side of it than the other, but it’s a crazy hockey game.”

It was the sixth game in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to feature at least 17 goals and be decided by one goal and just the second since 1984-85. The other was when the Winnipeg Jets won 9-8 at the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 27, 2011.

Matty Beniers and Jared McCann each scored twice as the Kraken, playing their second NHL season, set a team record for goals. Alex Wennberg, Daniel Sprong and Oliver Bjorkstrand also scored, and Martin Jones made 27 saves.

Gabe Vilardi had two goals for the Kings, but Cal Petersen allowed four on 16 shots after replacing Jonathan Quick early in the second period. Anze Kopitar, Viktor Arvidsson, Carl Grundstrom, Adrian Kempe, Sean Durzi and Mikey Anderson also scored for Los Angeles.

Durzi cut it to 8-7 with 8:16 remaining in the third period, and Anderson tied it with 6:21 to go.

“It’s a very, very confusing night for all of us,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “I’m really disappointed that we gave up nine goals, absolutely. But on the other side of the coin, I’m glad that we fought back, got a point, and scored eight. So it’s mass confusion right now for all of us, and we better fricking figure it out quickly.”

It looked as if the Kings were in position to score in overtime when Trevor Moore played the puck in the offensive zone before Kempe could get to the bench, resulting in a penalty for too many men on the ice. Burakovsky fired a wrist shot from the right circle through traffic on the ensuing power play.

“I got the puck in a good area, and I’ll take that shot from there all day,” Burakovsky said.

Despite securing the win with his second multigoal game in the past three outings, Burakovsky wasn’t happy.

“It was kind of a messed-up night,” he said. “We were trading chances, a lot of sloppy plays. I think we played a really bad game, and so did they. We were lucky that they didn’t play good at all.”

Seattle topped the eight goals it scored against San Jose last Wednesday. McCann likened the game to playing pond hockey growing up in Canada before then pointing out the similarities to junior hockey.

“It’s going to be one of those nights,” he said. “Going to be a lot of goals, going to be a lot of offense, so good to get the two points.”

The first period was practically a game unto itself, producing a 3-3 tie after 20 minutes with Kopitar scoring 16 seconds in. It was his 11th career goal in the first minute of a game, which puts Kopitar sixth in NHL history, and it set the stage for two power-play goals per team on their four combined opportunities. Kraken defenseman Justin Schultz picked up the secondary assist on all three of his club’s goals to set a franchise record for most assists in a period.

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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