Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
It's a family affair,
It's a family affair
You can't leave, 'cause your heart is there
But you can't stay, 'cause you been somewhere else!
You can't cry, 'cause you'll look broke down
But you're cryin' anyway 'cause you're all broke down!
It's a family affair
-- "It's a Family Affair," Sly & The Family Stone
Here at Bottom 10 headquarters, located behind the Disney Imagineering lab where scientists work on previously undiscovered levels of brightness for Jesse Palmer's smile, life can be rather lonely this time of year. As Thanksgiving approaches, so does the end of the college football regular season and thusly the end of the year for the teams of the Bottom 10. While we remain fully focused on those teams as they sputter out of fuel and coast across the finish line, our colleagues do not. Their obsession lives at the other end of the college football teeter-totter. You know, "Who's in?" and all of that fancy-schmancy College Football Playoff talk.
But Thanksgiving, above all, is about family. OK, it's probably really about the food, but who makes that food? Your family. Unless you go out ... or you're allergic to turkey, or ... anyway, the point is that we all rely on family when times are tough. For the Bottom 10, those tough times are now. Thankfully, our family is always on the job, like my lovely wife, who was at Northwestern over the weekend for a theater conference. Even without my asking, she dutifully took on the role of Bottom 10 bureau reporter, taking note of the incredible buzz in Evanston, Illinois, as the 2-8 Wildcats hosted Minnesota, or as she refers to them, "the red and yellow guys."
While at Northwestern U for a theater conf I became the Bottom 10 bureau reporter! They were playing the red and yellow guys. Folks were clamoring to get on the shuttle bus! pic.twitter.com/xMxGHt0els— Erica McGee (@GRITSTheMusical) November 25, 2019
Did she get on the shuttle and go to the game? No. But she did provide an eyewitness account of all of the people who chose to do the same. That's called reporting. Just ask NU's Medill School of Journalism. We're assuming they'll be in the office to take your call because, thanks to Mrs. McGee, we know they certainly weren't on that bus.
With apologies to Mike Greenberg, Adam Rittenberg, Michael Wilbon, Adam Schefter, Rachel Nichols, the other eleventy billion ESPN employees who went to Northwestern and Steve Harvey, here's this week's Bottom 10.
1. Akron-monious (0-12)
The Zips put an exclamation point on their season early, thanks to Tuesday night's 52-3 season-finale loss to the Ohio Fightin' Frank Soliches, cementing their place as the nation's only winless FBS team. Check that, it wasn't an exclamation point. What we heard was a sigh of relief. Or maybe that was air escaping from an Akron-made tire.
2. UMess (1-11)
Massachusetts made a solid case for the top bottom spot in its own season finale, holding BYU to 628 yards of offense in a 56-24 nail-biter. In the second quarter, BYU scored six touchdowns on six drives while UMass also had the ball six times, managing four punts, an interception and fumble lost. If the real Minutemen had employed that strategy in 1775, right now I'd be consuming a spot of tea while writing about the Bottom 10 of the Premier League.
3. UTEPID (1-10)
So, if Akron and UMass are done, then why hold out another week to determine the final Bottom 10 standings? Because the Miners still have work to do. After falling to another fellow one-win team, No. 7 New Mexico State, UTEP now hosts Minute Rice, which had the gall to win its past two games and climb out of these rankings right before the annual UTEP-Rice Bottom 10 Bowl. It'll take a cataclysmic effort to leapfrog into first, but with a poor enough showing the Miners could lock down a spot in the CFP. No, not the College Football Playoff, the Conclusive Fight of Pillows.
4. Old The Minions (1-10)
Meanwhile, Ode De Yew... wait, sorry, ODU, caught Middle Tennessee at the wrong time, eager to take out its frustrations after its Week 11 upset at the hands of Rice. Now the Monarchs travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, aka the Queen City, to face the suddenly bowl-eligible 49ers. That doesn't seem fair. Aren't the 49ers leading the NFC West?
5. The Yew (6-5)
It is well documented that I am friends with Miami's first-year coach, Manny Diaz. But the Coveted Fifth Spot has long bulldozed over any and all would-be excuses to keep a team from landing in this slot of the rankings. Much like former Miami-turned-FIU head coach Butch Davis bulldozes over people who accidentally call him Butch Jones.
6. In a Rut-gers (2-9)
Speaking of Butch Jones and would-be's, the man who was once the would-be Jones replacement at Tennessee recently resurfaced as the would-be replacement for fired Rutgers coach Chris Ash. I'm of course referring to used-to-be Rutgers boss Greg Schiano, the most successful coach in the Scarlet Knights' 150-year history. But over the weekend, contract talks between Schiano and Rutgers broke down, meaning that the used-to-be is no longer a would-be and now appears to be a never-gonna-be.
7. U-S-A! U-S-A! (1-10)
The South Alabama Redundancies will close out the season with a trip to Arkansas State in the Hey We Live Close To Gus Malzahn Didn't He Used To Coach Here And Do You Think He Might Move Back Here But To Fayetteville Classic.
8. Aren't-kansas (2-9)
Though the Hogs will spend Thanksgiving snapping wishbones and dreaming of a new head coach, they will spend the following day hosting 5-6 Mizzou in the SEC Disappointment Bowl presented by "Terminator: Dark Fate."
9. U-Can't (2-9)
After a heartbreaking loss to EC-Yew, the Huskies will finish off Randy Edsall's 2019 Bonus Bonanza with a visit to Temple. Sources have told the Bottom 10 that if the game ends regulation play with a tie score, UConn and the Owls will be bused over to the Palestra to determine the winner via a pickup basketball game, followed by hot cocoa and old hoops stories from Jim Calhoun and John Chaney.
10. Whew, Mexico State (2-9)
Last week, when Baylor was in the Coveted Fifth Spot, I took some shots at the Bears' wet-paper-bag strength of nonconference schedule by pointing out that New Mexico State's lone victory had come vs. Incarnate Word, which visits Baylor in 2020. But I do owe Baylor fans an apology because I misspoke on ESPN Radio when I said that the Bears played UTEP, whom NMSU also just defeated. Baylor did not play UTEP this season. It played Stephen F. Austin, UTSA and Rice, which is WAY better than UTEP and Incarnate Word. So, my bad. Hey, quick question. What's an incarnate word for sarcasm?
Waiting List: Minute Rice (2-9), (Not) New Mexico (State But Close) (2-9), the Vanderbilt team that lost to UNLV (3-8), North by Northwestern (2-9), fans of Baptist schools who tweet decidedly non-Baptist things at sportswriters, Oregon getting Herminated.