As the 2021 college football season hits its stride, old classic Bottom 10 teams like UConn and Akron are tripping, as are a pack of all-time time greats such as Florida State and Ohio State in the Coveted Fifth Spot.
Inspirational thought of the week:
The day you left, I swore I wouldn't let it get me down
But everybody knows I've got the bluest heart in town.
Picking up the pieces was the hardest part of all
But I can't seem to stop these big ol' Texas tears that fall
-- "Texas Tears," Candee Green
Here at Bottom 10 Headquarters, located in the lower bowl of Hard Rock Stadium waiting on a daredevil cat to fall into our arms, we typically like to employ a phrase we learned in the NASCAR garage: "Save your tires." Translation: Pace yourself. If you burn up your shoes in the first few laps of the race, you'll have nothing left for the end but shredded rubber and end up in the wall long before the checkered flag is even in sight.
That mantra applies to your physical being, your mental state and your emotional stability. If you allow any of those to get out of whack too quickly, one's return to normalcy becomes less of a walk and more of a climb. If all three of those get worn down to the threads, that climb becomes Everest, especially if you find yourself there at the end of Week 2, barely half of a month into a college football season.
It's scary. It's daunting. It's a hard reality. It's looking into the mirror in mid-September and saying to yourself, "Oh damn, am I really Bottom 10 material?"
It's the look I saw on the faces of the Texas fans Saturday night, the same look that had been so full of hope when they had me surrounded that morning on the doorstep of Razorback Stadium. It's the look we saw on doomed USC head coach Clay Helton's face when he stepped to the podium after losing to Stanford.
And it's the same look we all saw that same night from Tallahassee.
Happy Week 2, y'all. pic.twitter.com/GGMNbGxtzr— Ryan McGee (@ESPNMcGee) September 12, 2021
With apologies to Edward Munch's "The Scream" and Steve Harvey, here's the 2021 Week 2 Bottom 10.
1. U-Can't (0-3)
As I watched UConn in its second-ever first post-Randy Edsall era game, a 49-0 squeaker win by Purdue that was UConn's most lopsided shutout loss since 1931, I kept my eyes locked on interim head coach Lou Spanos. All I could think of was The Hunger Games, when Katniss Everdeen bravely shouted, "I volunteer as tribute!" Only in the UConn version, in the first fight scene, her bow would have broken; she would have died and the movie would have immediately ended.
2. Akron-monious (0-2)
The Zips got zapped in the Pillow Fight of the Week: Episode I, jumping out to a 14-0 lead over then-seventh-ranked Bottom 10 team Temple, but ultimately losing 45-24 within the bouncy confines of the Rubber Bowl. There are only 18 teams in the nation with an 0-2 record, and four of them live in the #MACtion East division. Akron is scheduled to play the other three -- Ohio Not State, Boiling Green and My Hammy of Ohio -- over the first three weekends of October. Halloween comes early!
3. UMess (0-2)
On paper, the Minutemen look like they gave Boston College a fight, losing 45-28 and covering the 39-point spread. But on paper, we all look like a lot of things. My first résumé said that I graduated with honors, when in reality I graduated sitting in between a couple of people who were graduating with honors.
4. Colora-duh State (0-2)
The Rams' latest loss looks bad on paper, TV, social media or even in a petroglyph in Colorado's Canyons of the Ancients, falling at home to then-sixth-ranked Vanderbilt on a last-second field goal that gave the Commode Doors their first win in a dozen games.
This week's Coveted Fifth Spot gets into Marty McFly's DeLorean and goes back 23 years, when the final AP Top 25 rankings were topped by the following four teams: Tennessee, Ohio State, Florida State and Arizona. Over the weekend they went a combined 0-4, all losses at home to teams that back in '98 they would have run over like speed bumps in the Twin Pines Mall parking lot. Now those Titans of '98 are a combined 2-6 headed into Week 3 of '21. Great Scott!
6. unLv (0-2)
The Fightin' Tarks traveled to face Arizona State so the Las Vegas Raiders could prepare for their first home game at Allegiant Stadium, the facility shared by the two teams. That's convenient because it makes it easier to clean up after a 37-10 road loss when you're coming home to a stadium that looks like a giant Roomba.
7. Georgia State Not Southern (0-2)
The Panthers lost their first two games by a combined score of 102-17 and now return home to Hey Didn't This Used To Be Turner Field Stadium to host the Charlotte 2-and-0'ers. It's a crucial game for GS (not just GS) U, as the upcoming weekends bring a trip to Auburn and a visit from Appalachian State before a potential Bottom 10 blockbuster trip to...
8. Ohio Not State (0-2)
When the Bobcats lost badly to Syracuse in Week 1, it was easy to reason your way around opening weekend rustiness and not really knowing who the Orange really are, etc. But losing at home on a failed would-be game-tying two-pointer to Duquesne? With visits to Louisiana and Northwestern upcoming, the following Oct. 2 visit to Akron is a blip that is beginning to loom large on the Bottom 10 radar (though that might actually be a blob of grape jelly).
9. ULM (pronounced "uhlm") (0-1)
The, ulm, Warhawks followed up their, ulm, Week 1 blowout loss at Kentucky with a matchup versus, ulm, the Fightin' Byes of Open Date U. And, ulm, still failed to cover the spread.
10. Kansas Nayhawks (1-1)
KU went way east to the teal turf of Coastal Carolina and looked good early on but ran out of steam in the second half and lost 49-22. That shouldn't have been a surprise considering the Nayhawks were likely still hungover from all the high fructose corn syrup they guzzled after beating South Dakota.
Waiting list: The Clay Helton Era, Texas being back, Minute Rice, Whew Mexico State, EC-Yew, US(not C)F, Boiling Green, Vanderbilt Commode Doors, Temple Bowels, Huh-why-yuh, suddenly acting like the teams that your conference didn't want are now the greatest teams ever, COVID-19.