[Editor’s note: The Big Ten and Mountain West are back! But what does that mean for the teams that have been in the Bottom 10 all season long?]
Inspirational thought of the week:
There’s too many ahead of me
They’re all tryin’ to get in front of me
I thought that I could find a clear road ahead
But I found stop lights instead
It’s much too crowded
It was much too crowded
So, so, so crowded
— “Expressway (To Your Heart),” The Soul Survivors
Here at Bottom 10 Headquarters, located in the spooky cemetery behind the ESPN.com college football writers’ dormitory where all our old and bad hot takes are buried, we suddenly find ourselves having to stand on a chair to see across to the other side of the room. Sure, that’s partly because I’m not very tall, but the issue now is that this Bottom 10 party room, the same one that was once so sparsely occupied we actually scaled this back to the Bottom 5, is now packed tighter than former Michigan DT Bryan Mone’s noggin inside his helmet.
Is Bryan Mone’s helmet too small? pic.twitter.com/5B2B2xRBqV
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) September 15, 2018
Why the suddenly crowded house? Because on Saturday, our space was invaded by the 14 teams of Mone’s old conference, the Big Ten, as well as a dirty dozen of Mountain West squads rumbling in from the Rockies like an avalanche of L’s.
Our Bottom 10 offices became so packed so quickly that the fire marshal showed up and told us we had to disperse. Out of curiosity, I asked who had called about our prohibited populousness. The marshal said it was an anonymous tip, but the caller ID was from Storrs, Connecticut, and the man had a laugh like a Chucky doll.
OK, Coach Edsall, we see how it is.
With apologies to the Ingui brothers and Steve Harvey, here’s this week’s Bottom 10.
1. ULM (pronounced “uhlm”) (0-6)
The Warhawks rallied the troops and hunkered down to hold off the influx of new teams with an impossible-to-ignore 38-14 loss to the South Alabama Redundancies. And by impossible to ignore, we mean impossible to ignore for us at Bottom 10 HQ and the people who were allowed inside Hancock Whitney Stadium on Saturday. Other than that, I’m pretty sure you ignored it.
2. Minute Rice (0-1)
Among the teams returning to action was Rice, which isn’t in the Big Ten or Mountain West but has spent the season twisting in the wind, whiffing on no fewer than three attempts to play a season opener since Sept. 3. Their reward for that patience? A would-be game-winning field goal that managed to doink once for each previous game postponement, plus one more just to rub it in.
Rice lines up for a potential winning field goal attempt against Middle Tennessee in overtime, but the ball hits both uprights and the crossbar twice before bouncing out.
3. Southern Missed (1-4)
Not to be outdone, the Golden Eagles have now had almost as many coaches as they do losses. Head coach Jay Hopson was fired at 0-1. Interim head coach Scott Walden went 1-2 at the helm before missing last weekend’s game at Liberty because he tested positive for COVID-19. While in quarantine, Walden was hired as head coach at Austin Peay. His temporary replacement for the Liberty game was Tim Billings, who is 0-1 and now Walden’s permanent replacement, but only as a permanent as an interim head coach can be. And who does USM play this weekend? Drumroll please — wait … dang … hang on, we knocked over the cymbals and stepped through the snare — Rice!
4. unLv (0-1)
The Fightin’ Tarks are the first of our new teams to jump/fall into these rankings, thanks to a 34-6 opening loss to San Diego State. This weekend they play rival Nevada, which the wise guys literally across the street, um, Strip, have listed as a 13.5-point favorite. This game could be a complete mess for UNLV, but that’s OK, because this is its first home game in Allegiant Stadium, which looks like a giant Roomba.
5. We Are … in the coveted fifth spot (0-1)
From College Park and Champagne to East Lansing and Lincoln, every corner of the B1G had shattered teams asking, “Wait, why did we beg to come back this fall?” But no one went down harder than the Nittany Lions, who lost to Indiana for only the second time ever (PSU leads the series 22-2) and did so via a 2-point conversion that bent the human body, a sideline, the line between time and space, and a pylon, all at once. Between that and In-A-Rut-gers snapping a 21-game conference losing streak and thus climbing out of its own Bottom 10 namesake, our minds were so blown we reached out to Neil deGrasse Tyson to make sense of it all.
6. Maryland Terror-pins (0-1)
He never called us back, but his assistant did, who reminded us that Dr. Tyson spent years teaching at Maryland, and he is currently locked up in his laboratory trying to figure out how someone loses 43-3 to Northwestern.
7. Kansas Nayhawks (0-5)
Each week this season, we have received a corn silo’s worth of complaints from KU fans that they aren’t ranked high/low enough; and after getting a house dropped on them by Kansas State 55-14, that griping isn’t likely to stop. To that we say, patience, y’all. The next three weekends bring Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas. That clicking you hear is from the claw heels of Big Jay, his beak pointed at the top bottom spot and saying, “There’s no place like home.”
8. US(not C)F (1-5)
The South Florida Bulls lost to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in a 42-13 squeaker. Afterward, the two teams shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. What they should have done was shake things up and exchange mascots. I have been to Tulsa and seen plenty of bulls but nary a hurricane; and I was once stuck in Tampa for three days because of a hurricane, not a herd of rampaging bulls.
9. UMess (0-1)
I had the Minutemen highlighted and ready to be CTL+C’d into the Waiting List, but then someone yelled, “Wait, there’s a list!” As in, a list of games to be played! We believed their season to be one-and-done — certainly not won-and-done — after losing their only scheduled game, 41-0 to Georgia Southern Not State. But now, on the eve of their former conference’s return (MAC), the Minutemen have loaded two more games into their muskets, a Nov. 7 visit to Marshall and a Thanksgiving pilgrimage to Liberty. I can only hope that for each game they drive the UMass team bus through Storrs and honk at Randy Edsall as he is yelling at the people he pays to shovel his driveway.
10. FI(not A)U (0-3)
The Panthers lost 19-10 to Jacksonville State, becoming the first FBS team to lose to an FCS team this fall. That’s always embarrassing. But when you consider that the FCS level isn’t even playing a full fall schedule, that moves to a new level of embarrassing. Like, “Hey, Ryan, remember that time your pants fell down in gym class?” embarrassing. OK … I need to stop writing now. I just remembered it’s time to call my therapist.
Waiting List: Needs More Cowbell (1-3), EC-Yew (1-3), Vanderbilt Commode Doors (0-3), UVa Cave-in-liers (1-4), Texas Wreck (2-3), Charlotte 1-and-2’ers, Syra-cursed (1-5), Duke Bedevileds (1-5), Ill-ugh-noise (0-1), Michigan State Sparse-wins (0-1), Muddled Tennessee (2-5), Texas State Armadillos (1-6), COVID-19.