It's still a little ways from getting into a steady stream of bowl contenders.
But today, there's at least the first (or last, depending on the viewpoint) of the power conference teams. That's always a solid milestone on the countdown.
Moving along ...
100. WASHINGTON STATE
Sometimes, a program finds itself in a hole.
Wazzu is more accurately in the bottom of a canyon.
These are the sorts of national rankings that are difficult to believe, and yet they are true about the first two years of the Paul Wulff era:
The Cougars finished last in the Pac-10 in 15 of the 17 major categories tracked by the NCAA, winding up eighth in net punting and ninth in tackles for loss. Wazzu got plenty of practice at trying to do both.
The bottoming out simply had to have occurred. But even if things are a little bit better, it won't be a whole lot of fun to be a Washington State fan. The Cougars, who were outscored 357-80 in nine conference games last year, are a long way from being competitive.
99. BOWLING GREEN
It has all the hallmarks of a rebuilding year at Ye Olde Off-Ramp U., where only one quarterback has any sort of game experience --- and that is all of 13 passing attempts and 52 yards for sophomore Aaron Pankratz.
This could prove a very generous placement, and is perhaps a placement of faith in coach Dave Clawson, who did well to build a lower-division powerhouse at Richmond. It's also a nod to the Falcons' ability to overcome a 1-4 start last year and land a berth in the Humanitarian Bowl.
This season's start could be just as ugly. Four of Bowling Green's first seven opponents played in bowls last year, and that group doesn't include Michigan. Expect a late-blooming team, so long as the Falcons aren't flat-out trampled in the season's first month.
98. ARKANSAS STATE
The Red Wolves certainly won't definitely answer the question of whether experience at skill positions or on the line have a greater influence on a team's success. No single team can do that.
Still, it'll be curious to see how a team that brings back all of its offensive line starters and none of its starters at quarterback, running back and wide receiver fare.
The educated guess is it won't matter when the Red Wolves get demolished at Auburn to open the season.
Nonetheless, Arkansas State also brings back the key components of a decent defense (30th nationally against the run, 41st nationally in total yardage). Don't count on the Red Wolves beating either Troy or Middle Tennessee, but six victories and the possibility of vulturing a bowl berth for the first time in five years isn't out of the question.
97. KENT STATE
Given that the Golden Flashes haven't played in a bowl game since 1972, it feels odd to suggest they're getting overlooked.
Of course they're getting overlooked. Kent State has had two winning seasons since 1978 (a 7-4 record in 1987 and a 6-5 mark in 2001). For a few years there, the Golden Flashes were most often mentioned at the pro level when discussing a former Kent State basketball player (Antonio Gates); James Harrison and Joshua Cribbs, a pair of veterans of the Dix Stadium experience, have changed that a bit of late.
The Golden Flashes progressed from 3-9 to 4-8 to 5-7, and have the bulk of their starting lineup from a year ago returning. Also back is sixth-year tailback Eugene Jarvis, a mainstay who missed last season with a lacerated kidney.
There will never be a better chance for Kent State to finally punch through and head to the postseason. Early dates with Boston College and Penn State won't be fun, but the Golden Flashes will leave Ohio just once after the start of October (a Nov. 20 visit to Western Michigan). Things set up well for a bit of a surprise.96. IDAHO
It was tough to find a better feel-good story than the Vandals, who had won nine games between 2005 and 2008 before a breakthrough 8-5 season a year ago. They won on the Smurf Turf (albeit in the Humanitarian Bowl and not against Boise State), and produced a potent offense despite a dreadful minus-8 turnover margin.
They also went 5-1 in games decided by four points or less. Despite the giveaways, this was a fairly fortunate team.
Idaho will probably try to go with the great offense/leaky defense formula again this year. Two things could change that philosophy.
First, pretty much everyone is back on defense --- not necessarily heartwarming for a team that gave up 48.7 points a game in its final six outings. Second, four starters were lost from the line that spurred the No. 9 total offense in the country.
The hit to the offense could be greater than any improvement on defense. Idaho probably won't roll up as nice a record as last year, but there's still a chance it could contend for a second straight postseason appearance.