The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
"They -- they're what we thought they were. We played them in preseason. I mean, who the hell takes the third game of the preseason like it's bulls---? Bulls---! We played them in the third game. Everybody played three quarters. ... The Bears are who we thought they were! That's why we took the damn field! Now [slaps microphone], if you want to crown them, then crown their ass! But -- they are who we thought they were, and we let them off the hook!"
-- Dennis Green, former Arizona Cardinals head coach
When I was in high school, I was skinny. Like, pre-super-serum Pvt. Steve Rogers "somebody give that kid a sandwich" skinny. As an athlete, I was fast, but that was kind of it. I had hands of stone. I had shins of glass. On the practice field, I could hold my own. But in the weight room ... well, the weight room, it was not my friend. Leg day, I was good to go. But whenever I hit the bench press, I was suddenly surrounded by impromptu spotters and jeerers, worried for my well-being.
However, this was the 1980s and a store called GNC was starting to pop up in shopping malls. I went and bought some powdered stuff that the sales guy in the smedium shirt said would pump me up like him. I ordered some sort of weird vitamins from a men's magazine. I did a bunch of even weirder exercises diagrammed in a foldout poster located in that same magazine, between a story about car stereo systems and a profile of Heather Locklear.
I did all of that for months. So, when I returned to the weight room and laid down on that bench, I was sure my team would be blown away by the newly enhanced me, like secret agents fawning over the newly ripped Steve Rogers.
But the weight of reality soon came crashing down on me. I couldn't breathe from it all. Then I realized it wasn't reality. It was the bar, crushing my esophagus. After my teammates saved my life, they left me alone to sit and grapple with the words that, years later, Dennis Green would scream into a microphone. Dangit, after all that work and hope, I was still exactly who I thought I was.
I hadn't thought about that moment in years. Then, via a television camera in Nashville, Tennessee, I recognized the look that I had on my face that day so many years ago in the face of another.
When you skip your 4 hour Saturday lab to watch this Vandy game pic.twitter.com/OLXO4epXTw— Ben Elia (@TheBenElia) September 23, 2017
With apologies to Dr. Abraham Erskine and Steve Harvey, here's this week's Bottom 10.
1. Charlotte 0-and-4ers (0-4)
Well, Bottom 10 GameDay didn't happen. When I arrived on campus Saturday night with my GoPro and a folding chair, I was immediately escorted off campus by two very large men in two very green mining costumes. Why? Apparently, I deeply offended 49ers fans when I suggested that one week ago North Carolina A&T had more people in the Charlotte stands than Charlotte did. I admit, I was wrong. This week, as they hosted the 2017 Pillow Fight of the Year: Episode I against Georgia State Not Southern, a debate over which school had the most people in the seats didn't matter. Because no one really had anyone in the seats.
2. UMess (0-5)
It was a valiant effort in Knoxville. So valiant it will very well end up being one of the primary planks of the argument that forces Tennessee's coach to walk, well, the plank. But ... the Minutemen are still the nation's only 0-5 team.
3. Baylor (0-4)
It was a valiant effort at home against Oklahoma. So valiant it will very well end up being one of the planks of the argument that forces Baylor fans to turn back from walking, well, the plank. But ... the Bears are still the Big 12's only 0-4 team.
4. FA (not I) U (1-3)
It was a valiant effort at Buffalo. So valiant ... actually, no, sorry. The Fightin' Kiffins lost to a backup QB at Buffalo. Not the Bills, the Bulls. This premise just officially expired.
5. The SEC Least
How do I love an entire division in the Coveted Fifth Spot? Let me count the ways. Vandy lost to Bama by 59 points; Mizzou lost to Auburn by 37; Kentucky fell to Florida for the 31st time in a row by blowing a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead. Then Florida had nine players tagged in a fraud case. And the team that had just lost to Kentucky last week, South Carolina, had to kick a late field goal to win 17-16 over Louisiana Tech, a team that came in the day ranked 94th in the nation in points allowed. Am I missing anyone? Oh yeah, Tennessee message boards have been filled with eleventy-billion #FireButch complaints after being in this spot solo last week and then narrowly escaping UMass. So, how many ways? All those other numbers added to eleventy-billion.
6. UTEP (0-4)
After dropping to 0-3, the Minors fired their offensive coordinator after falling to 126th in the nation in total yards. In their first game under the new play-calling regime, they fell to 128th.
7. Boiling Green (0-4)
Last week I stated that the Falcons' arrival into our rankings was the first appearance by a MAC team this season but was quickly corrected by multiple readers who pointed out that they were, indeed, the second. It's shocking that we would have any errors, seeing as how our Bottom 10 Stats & Info department just got that new Commodore 64. So, who was the first MAC team to make it?
8. State of Kent (1-3)
That would be the Flashes, who return to our rankings after losing at Louisville 42-3 -- or 42-10 if you count the squirrel who ran out onto the field and crossed the goal line. And we are. Of the MAC East's six teams, three have losing records and one sits at .500. This weekend they all throw down in a MACtion Pillow Fight Bunkhouse Stampede as 0-4 Boiling Green hosts 1-3 Akron and 1-3 State of Kent hosts the 2-2 Buffalo Bulls Not Bills. Remember that scene in "The Avengers" when Thor, Captain America and Iron Man clash in the forest and level everything around them? This will totally not be like that.
9. No-vada (0-4)
Prior to the Wolf Pack's visit to Washington State, much was written about former Kentucky head coach and "Air Raid" offensive guru Hal Mumme, longtime mentor to Wazzu head coach Mike Leach and father of Nevada offensive coordinator Matt Mumme. The Cougars won 45-7. In related news, this winter Leach and the Mummes will appear together on a special episode of "Dr. Phil" titled, Why does Dad love you more than me?
10. UCan't (1-3)
After losing to the Bottom 10's previously top/bottom-ranked team, the EC-Yew Pirates, multiple unconfirmed reports tell me that UConn head coach Randy Edsall attempted to board a plane bound for Maryland. When told he needed to rejoin the Huskies on the bus back to Storrs, he replied, "No, no, it's cool. This totally works. I did it before. Google it."
Waiting list: EC-Yew (1-3), Living on Tulsa Time (1-3), UNC Tear Heels (1-3), Kansas Nayhawks (1-3), South Alabama (1-3), In A Rut-gers (1-3), Minute Rice (1-3), Akron (1-3), San No-se State (1-4), OH-regon State (1-3), and again, basically the entire Fun Belt (12 teams, 1 with a winning record)