Legendary sportswriter Wendell Barnhouse recently left the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and is now a correspondent for Big 12 Sports.com. With 30 years experience of observing the college scene, his expertise is unmatched. In the spirit of Steve Harvey's Bottom Ten, Wendell will provide us a capsule look at college football's less fortunate, counting down the Bottom 25 teams in Division I-A football.
No. 2 Western Kentucky
Location: Bowling Green, Ky.
Conference: Sun Belt.
Coach: Dave Elson, 36-22, sixth season.
Division I-A history: First season as I-A member; 506-328-31 in 89 seasons, .602.
Last bowl season: None.
Best record in last five years: 9-3 in 2004.
Rank(ed) because: The Hilltoppers are here mainly because of their transitional status. They're a full-fledged I-A school in 2008 and in 2009 will join the Sun Belt Conference. Last season's 7-5 record extended the team's streak of consecutive winning seasons to 12. The schedule, though, included six teams from the NAIA/Division I-A ranks. This season Western Kentucky plays money games at Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama and Virginia Tech. Welcome to the adult table, fellas.
Negative number: Western Kentucky's passing offense averaged only 161 yards per game with 13 TDs last season.
Possible victory: Murray State, Sept. 20. This is one of two I-AA opponents on the schedule (the other is at Eastern Kentucky). Murray State was 2-9 last season.
Biggest blowout: At Alabama, Sept. 13. The Crimson Tide will not be accommodating hosts when the Hilltoppers come to town.
Is there hope?: Yes. Western Kentucky has a history of winning at the I-AA level. In a few years, that success should translate at the next level. The key to this season is not becoming despondent over what figures to be four blow-out losses to teams from BCS conferences.
Thanks to the Helmet Project.