The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
Do you wanna see me beggin' baby
Can't you give me just one more day
Can't you see my heart's been draggin' lately
I've been lookin' for the words to say
Yeah, you don't know what you got till it's gone, no
Don't know what it is I did so wrong
Now I know what I got it's just this song
And it ain't easy to get back
Takes so long
-- "Don't Know What You've Got," Cinderella
The end. It's finally here. And what a gloriously stressful finish it was.
All weekend long TV cameras surrounded "Selection Central," a security-guarded room at the swanky Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas, filled with plush leather chairs, marble top tables, and a wall of big-screen HDTVs. Inside, Tom Osborne, Barry Alvarez, Condoleezza Rice and their nine cohorts commenced to determining their final College Football Playoff top 25.
Meanwhile, roughly 30 miles southeast, the Bottom 10 selection committee also met to determine our final rankings, at the Hacienda Courts just off South Fitzhugh Avenue next to a warehouse where the State Fair of Texas stores its unused corn dogs. Our roster: me, my dad, June Jones, Watson Brown, an 8x10 glossy of Beano Cook, Jackie Sherrill, the guy from the hotel's front desk and Madeleine Albright.
The cable was out, so it was rough sledding. But Brown found an old Sony Watchman in his truck, the SMU-UConn game was on local AM radio, and Dad had the Championship Drive app loaded onto his flip phone, so it was all good. When the games were over and the impossible had happened (more on that in a second), the debate that was ignited made the discussions in Grapevine seem like a Sunday school class. Our meeting looked like the Faber College food fight.
As I wiped Whataburger remnants off the marker board and screamed at Secretary Albright to stop trying to vote for Wellesley College, a harsh reality suddenly washed over me. This would be the final Bottom 10 of 2014. It made me want to go back to my hotel room and cry into my pillow. However, all the pillows had been taken by the teams of the Bottom 10 for fighting. That was probably a good thing. I'm not so sure about the Hacienda Courts' sanitation standards.
Below are the transcriptions of my responses to questions from the assembled media corps -- a high school newspaper editor, the woman in charge of the hotel lobby billboard and a Georgia Southern blogger -- when asked about our thought processes behind each team's ranking.
With apologies to Steve Harvey, Don "The Goods" Ready and Jeff Long, here's this week's Bottom 10.
1. Georgia State (1-11)
"The Panthers presented a particular challenge to the committee on three reasons. A. They didn't play. That was an issue with a lot of the teams, them being idle while others weren't. Then we realized that most weeks Georgia State seemed as if they were idle even if they weren't, so it wasn't a problem anymore. 2. They managed to fall into last place in the nation in points allowed on defense, even without playing, so we viewed that as another loss. And D. We subtracted style points because their name is confusing. We spent an hour discussing Georgia Southern being jobbed out of a bowl game before we realized that this wasn't the same team."
2. SMU (1-11)
"The committee was fully aware that we would receive some criticism for having SMU ranked No. 1 essentially all season long and then moving them out on the final weekend. And we did consider leaving them in the top bottom spot because of their inability to properly execute the Victory Formation at the end of the game and a decidedly weak Gatorade jug effort. But the committee also recognized that the Mustangs did manage to avoid becoming the first team to finish last in both scoring offense and defense since 2005. And we were aware of the fact that there should be at least one Texas school that didn't get jobbed by a selection committee this weekend."
3. U-Can't (2-10)
"The committee penalized Connecticut for losing to SMU because we agreed that we likely could have also scored 20 against that defense had we grabbed the hotel cleaning staff to fill out our roster and suited up. And we likely wouldn't have turned the ball over four times."
4. UNLV (2-11)
"Last week the committee had UNLV ranked third. This week we moved them up to fourth because we believe they exhibited their best week of 'game control' of the 2014 season. Whereas the committee fully realized that UNLV didn't actually play a game this week, the committee also fully realizes that we have no clue what 'game control' even means."
5. Wisconsin (10-3)
"At halftime of the Big Ten championship game, Secretary Albright recused herself from the committee process in order to call the National Guard to see if perhaps the Badgers had gotten lost en route to Indianapolis and had, in fact, never showed up."
6. The Boys From Oopsilanti (2-10)
"The committee engaged in considerable debate over which member of the MAC East to rank highest (or is it lowest?). The MAC East was easily the most relevant single conference division when it came to week-in-week-out contributions to the Bottom 10. In the end, Eastern Michigan, from the MAC West, beats them all because they were 1-2 in head-to-head MAC East competition. Unlike the committee in Grapevine, head-to-head actually meant something in our room."
7. My Hammy of Ohio (2-10)
"The committee recognized that My Hammy Of Ohio finished with a 2-10 record and Kent State finished 2-9, ending in a virtual tie for last place in the MAC East. But we felt like My Hammy's 12-game portfolio was a more complete body of work than Kent's 11-game portfolio. We reached this determination despite the MAC East's motto of 'One True Division Non-Champion' that was changed at the last second by the conference commissioner to 'Actually It Can Be Two True Non-Champions, Wait We're Not Sure, Hey Man Let's Just Punt And Leave It Up To The Committee Yeah, That's Cool The Big XII Says That Should Work.'"
8. New Mexico State (2-10)
"In the spirit of full disclosure I want everyone to know that we have launched an internal investigation into this year's voting process. The team in question is New Mexico State. Whereas we are confident that Aggies should have this spot over fellow 10-loss Sun Belt member Idaho because the Aggies lost in their head-to-head matchup, we fear that there may have been confusion during the voting process because Jackie Sherrill believed checking 'Aggies' on his meant he was voting for Texas A&M."
9. I-Ow!-Uh State (2-10)
"Likewise, there may have been some ballots tainted in the case of Iowa State, as the Cyclones also were staying here at the DFW Hacienda Courts over the weekend for their game with TCU. In a related note, the free breakfast also may have been tainted, which likely did not help the Cyclones in their 55-3 loss."
10. Livin' On Tulsa Time (2-10)
"Perhaps the tensest debate for the committee centered on whether Tulsa or Tulane deserved this final spot. While TU (Tulsa) was idle this weekend, TU (Tulane) lost to TU (Temple). And we do recognize that TU (Tulsa) also lost to TU (Temple) midseason but that TU (Tulsa) also defeated TU (Tulane) in 2OT. But the TU vs. TU (Tulsa vs. Tulane) game was held back on opening night of the season. When we implemented Article 8675309 of the committee guidelines, aka the Ohio State-Hokies Selective Memory Loss Pertaining To Losses Clause, we elected not to penalize TU (Tulane) and thusly ranked TU (Tulsa) in this spot."
Waiting List: I-duh-ho (1-10), Colora-duh (2-10), FA(Not I)U (3-9), Troy R Us (3-9), Southern Missed (3-9), Wack Forest (3-9), Pur-don't (3-9), old guys in suits who run UAB, old guys in suits who nix worthy teams' bowl petitions.