Ryan McGee, ESPN Senior Writer 636d

Bottom 10: Notre Dame settles down

College Football, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Rice Owls, Kansas Jayhawks, Iowa State Cyclones, Massachusetts Minutemen, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Purdue Boilermakers

The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:

In a lifetime made of memories
I believe in destiny
Every moment returns again in time
When I've got the future on my mind
Know that you'll be the only one

Meet me halfway
Across the sky
Out where the world belongs
To only you and I

-- "Meet Me Halfway" by Kenny Loggins from "Over The Top"

The 2016 college football season is trucking through its halfway point. The nation's best handful of teams are beginning to separate themselves from the pack. Here at Bottom 10 headquarters, located in the attic above the octagon where Kirk Herbstreit spars with his Twitter followers, we don't care for such neat, clean breakaways. We like messy. We prefer to hit the midway portion of the calendar face-first, like Tim Tebow into an outfield wall.

In our world, teams don't separate and depart upward and away like a rocket stage. They drop off the bottom like a discarded booster, doomed to either burn up during re-entry or sink to the bottom of the sea. To most football fans, by mid-October those teams are already doomed to be forgotten. To us, they shall never be forgotten. We shall continue to watch them and admire them, even when others become incredulous and believe they are entirely too awful to be worth our time. These teams are like a movie about a truck-driving deadbeat dad who seeks redemption through arm wrestling.

With apologies to Lincoln Hawk and Steve Harvey, here's this week's Bottom 10.

1. FA(not I)U (1-6)

These Owls are firmly nested on a branch of a tree that overlooks Heartbreak Ridge. On Saturday, they lost to Bottom 10 Waiting List member Marshall 27-21 after surrendering a touchdown pass with less than two minutes remaining. That's their fourth straight loss by six points or fewer. All but one of those losses came at the hands -- more accurately the talons, paws and hooves -- of current and/or former members of this year's Bottom 10. The countdown is on for next month's Pillow Fight of the Century (PFOC!) against ...

2. Rice (0-6)

The Other Owls lost Pillow Fight of the Week of the Year VI (PFOWY6) to R-O-C-K in the UTSA. This week, they host Prairie View, and the following week, they travel to Louisiana Tech. But honestly, those games are mere garnish for the Nov. 5 visit from FA(not I)U, aka The Owl Bowl. It's fitting that Halloween is here, and Tootsie Pop is running the old TV ads with the kid and the owl because the old, wise bird might as well be answering the question, "How many weeks before the Pillow Fight of the Century?" "Wah-one ... tah-hoo ... tha-ree! Three."

3. Kansas Nayhawks (1-5)

KU suffered its 38th consecutive road loss, breaking a tie with Wichita State's 1964-71 teams for the longest road losing streak by any FBS team since the division was established in 1937. In related news, a pickup truck full of old dudes was spotted driving into Lawrence from Wichita flipping birds and blasting Kansas' "Carry On Wayward Son." 

4. I-Ow!-A State (1-6)

Assuming Earth survives the Owl Bowl on Nov. 5, it will need to brace itself for what happens the following weekend, when Iowa State travels to Kansas for the You Can't Expand The Big 12 House Until You Fix The Basement Bowl.

5. Notre Dame ... again (2-5)

After much debate about what to do with this week's coveted fifth spot, we took to the streets, posting a Bottom 10 poll of people on Twitter. The choices were: Tennessee for turning the third Saturday in October into early Halloween, Purdue for a midseason coaching change, the ACC Coastal for reverting back to its standard spaghetti pile mode and the Irish. Just like a Stanford strength coach during postgame handshakes, the people spoke loud and clear.

6. UMess (1-6)

In the time it takes you to read this sentence, Louisiana Tech wide receiver Carlos Henderson will have most likely broken free for another touchdown reception of 40-plus yards.

7. Bowling Green (1-6)

It's on like Donkey Kong in the MAC East. Not the original Donkey Kong, but rather, Donkey Kong Jr., the rightfully forgotten sequel in which Mario is a total jerk. There are six teams in the division, and three have one-win records. BGSU is 1-6 after losing to Toledo and next week takes on Kent, which is 2-5 after losing to My Hammy of Ohio, which is also 1-6 and next week takes on Bowling Green. Meanwhile ...

8. Buffalo Bulls not Bills (1-5)

Buffalo, which is also in the MAC East, will travel to Northern Illinois, which is the lone 1-and-something member of the MAC West. The next weekend, NIU will host Bowling Green. Over the final three weeks of the season, Buffalo plays both My Hammy and Bowling Green, but only after Bowling Green plays Kent. Just imagine if UMass were still in the MAC this year.

9. In a Rut-gers (2-5)

Look on the bright side, Scarlet Knights, you'll still be uber-relevant when the postseason arrives. The College Football Playoff selection committee loves to talk about the importance of the common opponent component (say that 10 times fast, Condoleezza). When their meetings begin in a few weeks and they throw Washington, Ohio State and Michigan up on their computer screens, they'll have to have the "Who beat Rutgers worse, and what does that mean?" debate.

10. Pur-don't (3-3)

If you had the Boilermakers in your office's Who Will Fire Their Coach First To Get The Inside Track On Les Miles? pool, then congratulations. Also, I need to come to work at your office because your pools are awesome.

Waiting list: UTEP (1-5), My Hammy of Ohio (1-6), NI-Whew (1-6), Fres-No State (1-6), Georgia State Not Southern (1-5), getting smacked in the face by a ref, failure to expand.

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