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College football's Bottom 10 is back -- and as bad as ever

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire

[Editor's note: The 2021 college football season is upon us and it's bringing the Bottom 10 with it, featuring a slew of old favorites like Kansas and UTEP, along with a Power 5 cameo from the entire Big 12.]

Inspirational thought(s) of the week:

Is this the way to normal?
Show me the way to normal
Show me the way to normal
Show me the way to normal
Is this the way to normal?

-- "Way to Normal" Ben Folds Five

"My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue. It rather denotes a lack of courage?"

-- Aunt Frances, "Practical Magic"

Here at Bottom 10 Headquarters, located behind the Tim Tebow Jags merch clearance rack at the Ponte Vedra Ollie's, we spent much of the offseason like so many others out there, pondering the true meaning of the word "normal." We constantly hear it today in the context of "getting back to normal" and "welcome to the new normal" and "Why did I just watch the movie 'Paranormal Activity 3'?"

This is a college football world where North Texas, with a losing record, plays in a bowl game on teal turf, where unforeseen cancellations make Rice vs. Middle Tennessee essential prime-time television viewing, and where guys named Kool-Aid are signing NIL deals with Kool-Aid to literally drink the Kool-Aid.

We always have and will call all of the above very much "normal." For us, there's nothing to get back to and there's certainly nothing new about it. We see it all as one of the few positive byproducts of having experienced the 2020 college football season amid a pandemic, that so many of you finally discovered the beauty of what we call "normal" here in the Bottom 10 Multiverse. Or Lawrence, Kansas.

With apologies to Norman Reedus, Norman Bates, ParaNorman and Steve Harvey, here are 2021's preseason Bottom 10 rankings.

1. Kansas Nayhawks (2020 record: 0-9)

Last fall, KU didn't win a game. Last winter, it fired the head coach and athletic director amid an embarrassing scandal. Over the summer, the Nayhawks found out their conference is on life support. Other than that, though, good times.

2. Whew Mexico State (2021 record: 1-1)

The Other Aggies were one of only three FBS programs that didn't play a game in 2020, but they were also the only FBS team to play games in spring 2021, with contests against Division II Tarleton State and a still-new FCS program, Dixie State. They lost to Tarleton 43-17 and had to score 16 points in the fourth quarter to beat Dixie State by a touchdown. They will open and close their autumn schedule against a pair of fellow preseason Bottom 10 opponents, with a kickoff visit from UTEPID and a Thanksgiving weekend trip to ...

3. UMess (2020: 0-4)

The Minutemen lost their four 2020 games by a combined score of 161-12, but still enjoyed rubbing the noses of their archrival Huskies with the fact that they actually played games (sort of) while these guys did not ...

4. U-Can't (2020: 0-0)

The Randy Edsall Charm School will travel to UMess on Oct. 9 for the second half of what is likely to be a two-week Bottom 10 doubleheader, as that game follows a trip to Van-duh-bilt, which finished its 2020 all-SEC slate with a slate of all-SEC losses.

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5. The Big Eight

The season's first Coveted Fifth Spot goes to a conference that is now nearly down to a Coveted Five Teams, aka the remaining members of the alliance that is titled the Big 12 but was actually a Big 10 (but not the Big Ten) even when everyone was wondering when they would inevitably expand to 12 or even 16 teams. But it never did any of that, so now it has become the college football version of that mall near your house that used to be a big deal in the '90s, but then Sears went under and JC Penney left. Now it's down to a Chess King, that boutique where your mom buys her Vera Bradley patterns and a weird food court anchored by a McDowell's.

6. ULM (pronounced "uhlm") (2020: 0-10)

Ulm, y'all aren't going to believe this, but, ulm, the new head coach of the Warhawks is Terry Bowden, who, ulm, used to coach Auburn and, ulm, his offensive coordinator is, ulm, Rich Rodriguez, who, ulm, turned down the Alabama job in 2006, opening the door for Nick Saban. And now, ulm, they will both likely make sure the ULM team bus never drives through the Yellowhammer State, so as to, ulm, keep them both from demanding the driver take them straight to the nearest therapist.

7. Boiling Green in Northern Illinois by way of Akron (2020: 0-5/0-6/1-5)

Speaking of Terry Bowden, the place where he was most recently a head coach, Akron, leads a three-headed MACtion monster that combined to win one game in 2020, and that lone victory was by the Zips over Boiling Green. This season this trio will participate in an October semi-round-robin tournament of pain, when Akron travels to Bowling Green Week 5, followed by a Bowling Green trip to Northern Illinois seven days later. Sources tell the Bottom 10 JortsCenter news desk that the MAC has already licensed "Yakety Sax" to be played nonstop over the public address system during both games.

8. FI(notA)U (2020: 0-5)

In 2020 the Fightin' Butches posted an official record of 0-5, but we prefer to list it as 0-5-2-4 because they lost five games, had two cancellations, then had another four games that are officially listed as "postponed" because they weren't played but they were never officially canceled. So, does that mean the Panthers could just show up at the stadium of one of those postponed opponents at any time in the future and demand the game be played, like my nephew who still has 3,000 unused Chuck E. Cheese tickets from 2015 and keeps threatening to show up unannounced at the prize counter like six years from now?

9. Old Duh-Minions (2020: 0-0)

Since coach Ricky Rahne left Penn State to become King of the 1-11 Monarchs at the end of 2019, the team has had two spring practices, a ton of fall intrasquad scrimmages and zero actual games played. "We've gone through a really big adversity," Rahne said this spring. "We just haven't gone through the joys of wins and pain of losses yet." Their best chance to do the former instead of the latter will come on Oct. 2 when they take a trip to ...

10. UTEPID (2020: 0-5)

I have a friend who is a math professor, and he called me angrily demanding to know exactly who in college football came up with the term "Week Zero" and started shouting a bunch of numeric mumbo jumbo about how there can't be a Week 0 because Week 1 is Week 1 because it's the first week. Then I said, "But dude, that's also the weekend that UTEP travels to New Mexico State." He paused, said, "Well damn, that math does check out" and hung up on me.

Waiting list: unLv, Vanderbilt Commode Doors, Sibericuse, Duke Blew Devils, Temple Bowels, Ill-ugh-noise, US(not C)F, By The Time I Get To Arizona, Texas State Armadillos, Yew-tah State, South Alabama Redundancies, COVID-19.