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Aggies no longer look like No. 117

Buffalo, UTEP and Army bidding for title of 'worst team'

Everywhere they have played, the Utah State Aggies have been grilled over Sports Illustrated's preseason ranking as the worst Div. I football team in America.

At Nebraska two weeks ago, reporters questioned Aggie coach Mick Dennehy about the ranking, and in Tempe last weekend, The Arizona Republic referred to the Aggies as "lowly."

Each time, Dennehy deflects the questions by saying he doesn't put any stock in the ranking. The players, like tight end Chris Cooley, call the preseason ranking a slap in the face and something to work for to disprove.

Yes, Utah State is 0-3, but it is the only one of the 18 which has played two Top 25 teams.

"I honestly thought we could beat them all. I really did and I still do. We played some great teams and we're going to have to do more right if that's going to happen," Dennehy said. "I think we're getting better in some areas and there are some things we need to clean up a little bit, but I honestly believe we're not that far away."

ESPN.com must agree. The Aggies aren't ranked in its Bottom 10 after Week 3. Buffalo, UTEP, Louisiana-Monroe, SMU, Wisconsin, Idaho, Eastern Michigan, Temple, Army and Arizona have the dubious distinction of being dubbed the worst.

So, three weeks into the season (two for some teams), which is the worst team in college football?

Is it Utah State? Buffalo? Texas-El Paso? Arkansas State? SMU? Rice?

Let's take a look at the numbers.

Of the 18 (100 to 117) so-called worst teams in the country, five are from the Sun Belt Conference and Western Athletic Conference, four from the Mid-America Conference and two from Conference USA, while one is from the Big East and one is an independent.

Currently, nine teams have yet to win; two teams are 1-2 and one team is 1-1. The remaining six teams are 2-1, but some of those wins have come over teams in the Bottom 18 or Div. I-AA opponents or lower.

Idaho played Boise State and Washington State (both have been or are in the Top 25), while Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette have played legitimate opponents in LSU and Mississippi and South Carolina and Louisiana Tech, respectively. Tulsa also played Minnesota and Arkansas, which beat No. 5 Texas. Minnesota and Arkansas broke into the Top 25 for the first time this week.

Buffalo has to be the worst, with losses to Rutgers and Colgate. It should get a little credit, however, for taking on nationally ranked Iowa.

Houston has played two teams ranked in the bottom 18 in Rice and Louisiana-Lafayette, while Rutgers played Buffalo and Army. Kent State beat Akron and Youngstown State. Arkansas State has Tennessee-Martin to thank or it would be 0-3.

So, which is the worst team? Take a look at the numbers and you decide.


E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com