The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
It's the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Til we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life
--"The Circle of Life" from "The Lion King"
Here at ESPN Bottom 10 HQ, located in a bunker beneath the pyramid of Tim Tebow's protein shake cans, we have a tendency to become a little attached to the teams that we rank, especially those that have been around for years. It's the kind of everlasting bond that can only be forged by watching WatchESPN replays of Fun Belt games at 2 a.m. with Captain Morgan after your family has gone to bed.
So, imagine the emotions we wrestle with when one of our old friends departs from our party. Imagine the internal conflict that rages within our already fragile minds when one of our longtime Bottom 10 companions has the gall to actually start winning games and removes itself from our poor but proud world. Do we root for that team as it moves on? Sure, but it's like sending our children off to college. We're so proud, but if we're being honest, also a little sad.
But, as Atlanta resident Elton John has taught us, this is the Circle of Life. It is inevitable that after you send your kids off to college, even after they earned a diploma -- or a bowl berth -- last fall, one day you'll come home from work and find they've moved back into their old rooms.
With apologies to Simba and Steve Harvey, here's this week's Bottom 10.
1. Rice (0-5)
The Owls surrendered 702 yards on Saturday. That's a new school record for the Southern Miss offense, which had never been led to that many yards, even when Brett Favre was quarterback. Though I'm pretty sure Favre has eaten fried owl at some point.
2. Arkansas State (0-4)
The Red Wolves prepared for their Wednesday night visit from Georgia Southern Not State by scheduling the Fightin' Byes of Open Date U. Unfortunately, the Byes won 21-7.
3. Charlotte 1-and-4ers (1-4)
The big losses to Louisville and Eastern Michigan are looking more understandable with each passing week. But the big losses to Temple and Old Dominion by a combined score of 100-37? Not so much. Over the next two weeks they play FA(not I)U and FI(not A)U in the Sunshine State Loves Their Vowels Series. Speaking of which ...
4. FA(not I)U (1-4)
The Other Owls lost to FI(not A)U in Pillow Fight of the Week of the Year IV (PFOWY4). Down there they call it the Shula Bowl, and the winning team receives a can of pomade, a deep-V golf shirt with a gigantic collar, and a bear hug from Larry Csonka. The loser gets the same thing.
5. Hook 'Em (2-2)
The Coveted Fifth Spot is painted burnt orange after the Horns had one ... two ... three extra points blocked in their second loss in one ... two ... three weeks and officially starting the Charlie Strong Hot Seat Watch in three ... two ... one ...
6. My Hammy Of Ohio (0-5)
Our selection committee struggled most with what to do here. The State of Kent, previous occupiers of this slot, lost via a late rally to Akron's backup quarterback. But My Hammy's day versus Ohio ended with a sack and fumble recovery in their own end zone. They win out here per Bottom 10 rulebook Order 66, aka the 0-and-Something Rule, which states that after five weeks any team that is 0-and-something must be ranked. Besides, Kent and Hammy will meet this Saturday in PFOWY5 to settle this dispute like men.
7. Georgia State Not Southern (0-4)
Welcome back! The reality is that their (mostly) close losses have come to (mostly) good teams -- Ball State, Air Force, Wisconsin and Appalachian State. But the other reality is that the aforementioned Order 66 has to be executed. Otherwise, Emperor Palpatine will send his apprentice after us.
8. San José State (1-4)
The Spartans nearly rallied to tie New Mexico late, but lost. But then they were all like, "Yeah, but our loss to Iowa State last week is looking pretty good now, because look at the score! They are up 14 on Baylor in the fourth quarter!"
9. I-Ow!-A State (1-4)
And then the Cyclones were all like, "My bad."
10. Bowling Green (1-4)
I owe the Falcons an apology. Last week, several BGSU fans tweeted and emailed to let me know that I had incorrectly stated the Falcons lost 77-10 to Memphis in Week 4, and that they had actually lost 77-3. In related news, last week I was in New York and a man corrected me when I tried to point out that he had spilled some ketchup on his shirt. "Oh, that ain't ketchup, that's my blood."
Waiting list: NI-Whew (1-5), State of Kent (1-4), UTEP (1-4), R-O-C-K in the UTSA (1-3), FI(not A)U (1-4), UMess (1-4), Fres-No State (1-4), UL(not L)M (1-3), Kansas Nayhawks (1-4), Georgia fans who left mid-fourth quarter and then tried to push their way back into the stadium and then blocked the exits doing surrender cobras.