The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
I was finished, game over
Couldn't carry the weight on my shoulders
At my end, in trouble
Knocked down on the ground, seein' double
I was lost, I was fallin' apart
But you came along, and you hit the restart
You, you, you hit the restart
When I was a kid, my little brother and I spent one fall being really, really, almost disturbingly good. Why? Because we were planning to ask Santa to bring us an Atari 2600. What a sucker. He indeed brought it, and almost as soon as it was out of the box and wired into the UHF antenna connection of our console television, we ceased with that silly stuff about being good. Instead, we mastered the art of controlling a joystick with one hand while launching perfectly placed jabs with the other.
The touchstone for those fights was the magical switch on the console labeled "RESET." If one of us was down too many runs in Bases Loaded or trailing by too many touchdowns in RealSports Football, we'd just reach over and interrupt the lost-cause game with a flick of the reset switch.
Boom. New life. Instantly.
Across the college football landscape, the frequent tenants of the Bottom 10 spent their offseasons hitting the reset button. They hired new coaches, lured new recruits and moved into new stadiums. Or in a lot of cases, they just promised to hit the reset button on their mindsets and their approaches to the game. And that, well, takes concentration -- sometimes too much concentration.
In the case of the UAB Blazers, they hit the reset button on their entire program. Granted, they didn't want to. But like I used to do to my little brother, their big brother sat on their back, grabbed their wrist and said, "Why are you hitting yourself?! Why are you hitting yourself?!"
With apologies to Sam McGee and Steve Harvey, here are the first Bottom 10 standings of 2017.
1. UNLV (0-1)
So the team that suffered the biggest against-the-spread loss in college football history did so within sight of the Vegas Strip? Dear Coach Sanchez, if a guy named Joey Knuckles shows up to practice this week and says he wants to take you to a great cannoli place, DO NOT GO.
2. UMess (0-2)
There's only one two-loss team in the nation right now. That racket you hear coming from the Old North Bridge is the fans of the Minutemen, angrily taking up arms to resume our annual "We don't deserve to be in no freaking Bottom 10, ya chowderhead!" feud.
3. EC-Yew (0-1)
On Saturday afternoon, I was standing in the tunnel as the Oklahoma Sooners ran off the field following their 56-7 shellacking of UTEP. I was looking at scores on my phone and had just seen that East Carolina was already down 7-0 to James Madison. Suddenly and perfectly coincidentally, I got a poke, a wink and a point from new Sooners assistant coach Ruffin McNeill as he walked by. The good people of Greenville, North Carolina, rightfully rank his firing from ECU somewhere between root canals without Novocain and mustard-based barbecue.
4. Georgia State Not Southern (0-2)
Georgia State Not Southern christened its new stadium, Not Turner Field, with not-a-win against not Tennessee but Tennessee State, which is not even an FBS program.
5. Texas Football
To clarify, when we say "Texas Football," we aren't merely talking about the Longhorns. We're talking about Texas Football, as in football throughout the entire republic. The Coveted Fifth Spot is typically one of Earth's loneliest places, the college football equivalent of being that one awkward friend who wrote a passionate Facebook post about how much he/she loves the new Taylor Swift song. Not this week. This week it's more crowded than Josh Rosen's draft bandwagon, a bandwagon filled with a longhorn, a bear and Miss Reveille.
6. FI (not A) U (0-1)
There's no "A" in FIU. But there are two in "What was I thinking?" which is what was going through Butch Davis' mind when he was down 40-10 to UCF at halftime.
7. FA (not I) U (0-1)
There's no "I" in FAU. But there are two in Kiffin.
8. Charlotte 0-and-1ers (0-1)
The 49ers opened their season with a loss to a team called, am I reading this right, the Emus? Oh, sorry, that's EMU.
9. State of Kent (0-1)
The Flashes lost to Clemson 56-3. As I watched Dabo Swinney lead the Tigers, I thought about him one day leaving The Hill to coach his alma mater, Alabama, presumably when Nick Saban tires of winning in Tuscaloosa and leaves for another challenge. Then I realized what that challenge should be. Saban should return to his alma mater and lead Kent State back to glory. Or, OK, not back to glory -- just to glory. Process that, y'all.
10. UTEP (0-1)
I mentioned I was at the Oklahoma game, right? There's nothing quite like that awkward pregame press box conversation with the administrative staff of a program you've mentioned extensively during three years of writing the Bottom 10. Some laugh, and some stare at you awkwardly. The UTEP folks were very nice. But someone on the back row did bounce a popcorn kernel off the back of my head. I stood up and hollered, "Hey, look what Maryland's doing on the JumboTron! I promise you won't be the highest ranked Texas team!" Heck, they didn't even crack the top three.