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. 20 Ohio
Location: Athens, Ohio.
Conference: Mid-American, East Division.
Coach: Frank Solich, 19-18, fourth season; 77-37 overall in nine seasons.
Division I-A history: 483-507-48 in 112 seasons, .488 winning percentage.
Last bowl season: 2006.
Best record last five years: 9-5 in 2006.
Rank(ed) because: The Bobcats won four MAC titles in the 1960s but since then the program has fluttered between mediocre and terrible. Before taking his resurrection gig to Wake Forest, Jim Grobe had a couple of winning seasons. Frank Solich is trying to jump-start his coaching career but as yet Ohio hasn't proved it can be a consistent winner.
Negative number: Ohio went 4-4 in MAC games last season, allowing 157 points in the four losses.
Possible victory: VMI, Sept. 27. The Bobcats' nonconference schedule includes trips to Wyoming, Ohio State and Northwestern. Even with a defeat of VMI, Ohio could enter October with a 1-4 record.
Biggest blowout: At Ohio State, Sept. 6. The Buckeyes will approach Ohio's visit as a warm-up to their Game Of The Century against USC a week later.
Is there hope?: Solich knows how to coach, going 58-19 as Nebraska's coach. The Bobcats' 6-6 record last season can be rationalized as the glass was half empty (midseason four-game losing streak) or half full (season-ending victory over MAC East champion Miami). Solich must prove that this program is improving and not spinning its wheels.
Thanks to the Helmet Project.