The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
I can't quit you baby
So I'm gonna put you down for awhile
I said I can't quit you baby
I guess I gotta put you down for awhile
Said you messed up my happy home
Made me mistreat my only child
Yes sir you did!
-- "I Can't Quit You Baby," Led Zeppelin
It's no secret that this season, we here at Bottom 10 HQ, located in an old Winnebago parked behind the humidor where Tom Rinaldi keeps his neckties, have been embroiled in a bit of a spat with UMass football fans. Yes, they exist. And yes, they have been angrier at me than Tom Brady when his bottle of hair mousse runs dry.
Yes, I was watching back in Week 1 when the Minutemen hung with Florida in The Swamp. Yes, I was watching Saturday when they hung with Mississippi State in Foxborough, or Foxboro, or however you spell it. But yes, I was also watching when they were stomped by Boston College. And yes, I was also watching when they wrestled with FI(not A)U for their lone win of the season.
Within minutes of the loss to Mississippi State, the stream of angry emails and tweets from the commonwealth had already started. My measured response was to rank them again, just to throw a rotten onion into their D'Angelo's order. But then I heard from Alex Sterzin, who asked politely, "Did my beloved UMass (it is an unhealthy and abusive relationship to be fair) do enough to get out of the bottom 10?" I responded that I didn't know and that I was struggling with what to do but that I appreciated his loyalty. And I did. I still do. Then he responded with a comment that crystallizes the Bottom 10 experience.
You see, the Bottom 10 isn't merely a list. It's a mindset. It's an obsession. It's an academic exercise. Like watching a group of people through two-way glass as they suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. Which side of the glass are the Minutemen on this week? Load your muskets and read ahead.
With apologies to King Leonidas and Steve Harvey, here's this week's Bottom 10.
1. FI(not A)U (0-4)
It's rare to see a team play in two Pillow Fights of the Week of the Year in the first five weeks of the season, but that's what will happen when FI(not A)U hosts FA(not I)U this weekend in the Shula Bowl, aka Pillow Fight of the Week of the Year IV (PFOWY4). Then again, it's also rare to see a team fire its head coach four weeks into the season, as the Golden Panthers did on Sunday. So, if anyone ever asks you what FIU and LSU have in common, there's your answer. Oh, and humidity.
2. Rice (0-4)
Rice blew a 17-0 lead and lost in a double-overtime thriller to North Texas Forty. The Owls and North Texas Forty have put the rest of the Bottom 10 on notice. Their game on Saturday wasn't merely the Pillow Fight of the Week of the Year 3 (PFOWY3). It might very well have been Pillow Fight of the Week of the Year of the Year thus far this year.
3. NI ... Whew (0-4)
Losing a tough one to Wyoming in the opener? That's cool. Losing on the road to South Florida? Totally understandable. Losing to San Diego State at home? OK, that's kinda weird. Losing to Western Illinois at home? Welcome to the Bottom 10!
4. Arkansas State (0-4)
Losing to Toledo in the opener? No sweat. Losing to Auburn on The Plains? Hey, even LSU did that. Losing to Utah State on the road? Hey, even Boise State has done that. Losing to Central Arkansas to give the Bears their first-ever win over an FBS school? Welcome to the Bottom 10!
5. Notre Dame (1-3)
Losing to Texas on the road? No shame in that. Losing a heartbreaker to Michigan State? Hey, welcome to the club. Losing to a 1-2 Duke team with no quarterback in the House that Knute Rockne Built? Welcome to the Coveted Fifth Spot!
6. Charlotte 1-and-3ers (1-3)
Losing to Louisville by 56? Hey, who hasn't? Am I right, Florida State? Beating Elon? Great effort. Getting housed by Eastern Michigan? Well, um ... losing to Temple by four touchdowns? OK, I have to stop this repetitive premise thing. This is starting to feel like I'm stuck in one of those "Saw" movies.
7. San José State (1-3)
It takes a special effort to get one's self onto this list and to get Iowa State off this list all at once.
8. State of Kent (1-3)
Nick Saban defeating Kent State 48-0 was the worst treatment of one's alma mater since a group of Alabama boosters walked into a conference room and said, "We should hire Mike Price."
9. Bowling Green (1-3)
The Falcons started the season losing 77-10 to Ohio State and just lost 77-3 to Memphis. Surgeon general's warning: Giving up 77 more than once can lead to one ordering 7 and 7's more than once.
10. New Mexico State (1-3)
It's always tough to lose. It's always tough to lose your Sun Belt conference opener. But a loss for a program like New Mexico State always stings a little more when it's against a classic regional rival like Troy.
Waiting list: FA(not I)U (1-3), My-Hammy of Ohio (0-4), Georgia State Not Southern (0-3), Huh-why-yuh (1-2), North Texas Forty (1-2), Kansas Nayhawks (1-2), USC (1-3), I-ow!-A State (1-3), Virginiugh (1-3), incorrect targeting calls, people who always whine about targeting calls even when they're right