[Editor's note: The letdown after UConn-UMass is very real, but a pair of Pac-12 teams are stepping up (or down?) to save the day in Arizona and Colorado. Meanwhile, what's an NFL team doing in here?]
Inspirational thought of the week:
Where do we go from here, now that all of the children have grown up?
And how do we spend our time knowin' nobody gives us a damn?
I don't wanna live here no more, I don't wanna stay
Ain't gonna spend the rest of my life quietly fading away
-- "Where Do We Go From Here?" The Alan Parsons Project
Here at Bottom 10 Headquarters, located in the room at ESPN where Andre Ware, Robert Griffin III, Desmond Howard and Tim Tebow keep their Heisman trophies (and, yes, at night they totally pull a "Toy Story" and run the Oklahoma drill when no humans are around), we have spent the past several days reflecting on a conversation we once had with Scott Carpenter, one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts.
I asked Carpenter if there was one secret about America's space heroes, something few truly understood, about their daring lives. He replied, "A very common problem for all of us has been depression. Why is that? Because we accomplished things at young ages that we knew we could never exceed. Most of the men who walked on the moon were in their 30s. You look ahead to the rest of your life and think, 'I peaked so big, so early; where can I possibly go from here?' You are charged with finding another great challenge."
This is the mental space within which we have found ourselves trapped ever since dinnertime Saturday night. Because after two years of buildup, the UConn-UMass football game was over.
While the Minutemen celebrated their first win in 17 games and the Huskies did not, we stared forlornly out the window and into the remainder of the 2021 season. Where indeed were we supposed go from here? Then a friend of mine in Boulder, Colorado, hometown of Scott Carpenter, texted me: "HOLY COW HOW BAD IS THIS ARIZONA VS BUFFS GAME GONNA BE NEXT WEEK?"
Commander Carpenter, we have found another great challenge.
With apologies to Charles Frank, John Glenn, Dan Orlovsky (again) and Steve Harvey, here's the 2021 Week 6 Bottom 10 rankings.
1. U-Can't (0-7)
The nation's first seven-loss team is now up to 11 games -- and one year and 11½ months -- without a victory. This weekend, it plays a nonscholarship FCS 2-2 Ivy League team in Yale ... and ESPN's sorcerously accurate FPI computers say that there is only a 40% chance that the Huskies will beat the Bulldogs. Woof.
2. unLv (0-5)
One week ago, the Fightin' Tarks had already matched UConn's drought by losing their 11th straight. They also have suffered injuries to all three quarterbacks. And this weekend, they are a touchdown underdog to visiting Utah State. What's worse, the Roomba people just did an inspection of Allegiant Stadium, and it's all clogged up with Legos, Skittles and Barbie shoes.
Berdale Robins rips the ball out and takes it all the way to the house for a 25-yard TD.
3. By the Time I Get to Arizona (0-5)
Arizona travels to face the Colora-duh Muffaloes, who failed to cover the spread against Open Date U. after falling to 1-4 on Oct. 2. If Arizona loses this Mountain Time edition of the Pillow Fight of the Week, this will officially be the worst performance by a group of Wildcats since "High School Musical 2."
4. FI(not A)U (1-5)
We owe Conference USA an apology. While we were fixating on our usual Bottom 10 haunts of the #MACtion and the Mountain West West, Conference USA has produced not one, not two, not three ... but five one-win teams. The top/bottom of those squads can be found on the Butch Davis Retirement Tour, where the Panthers' only win this season was against the Long Island University Sharks, who are apparently an actual thing. Now, Florida International will spend four of its last six games facing fellow one-win teams, starting this weekend with the 1-4 Western Kentucky Shrilltoppers, followed by Old Duh-Minions, the North Texas Lean Green and Southern Missed. It's a C-USA round-robin, if round-robin means a robin who drank too many rounds.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5)
Yeah, we know this is an NFL team sitting in the Coveted Fifth Spot, but the Jaguars' quarterback and their coach were both in college like an hour ago, and they are currently operating at a substandard level of football that is certainly worthy of standing, or falling, alongside these fellow hot messes from the collegiate ranks. Plus, I haven't written or said anything to make Ohio State fans mad in several weeks, so I'm due.
6. UMess (1-5)
Great moment. Great win. Great defeat of one's closest rival in UConn. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here, Minutemen. Wait ... actually, yes, let's do get ahead of ourselves here, looking ahead to Thanksgiving and a trip to ...
7. Whew Mexico State (1-6)
While the Other Aggies were in the process of surrendering six TD passes in a 55-28 loss to Nevada at the exact same time that Texas A&M was upsetting Alabama and two weeks ahead of their game with Utah State, we received a tweet from Bottom 10 devotee Ken Langston that read: "Since Whew Mexico St. is worse than both Texas A&M and Utah St. shouldn't they be the Other Other Aggies?"
8. Kansas Nayhawks (1-4)
As many Nayhawks fans have reminded me, they are already concentrating on hoops, as basketball practice began Oct. 1 with Late Night in the Phog. In related news, this weekend marks the start of a seven-week stretch of Big 12 conference games to end the 2021 football season, aka All Fall in the Fog.
9. Arkansaw State (1-4)
On Monday, Red Wolves coach Butch Jones said to the Little Rock Touchdown Club, "I know there are a lot of Razorback fans here, but let us be your B team until we play in 2025." Then he added, "We are going to build an SEC atmosphere in our locker room at Arkansas State." When asked how he was going to build that, he said hard work. What he meant to say was by using that SEC paycheck from Arkansas.
10. Bowling in Akron in Ohio (2-4/2-4/1-5)
The Akron Zips were favored to beat Ohio Not State two weeks ago but lost 34-17. Then they turned around and beat Boiling Green in a game where they were listed as a two-TD underdog. Meanwhile, Ohio followed up its win over Akron by blowing a fourth-quarter lead at home against Central Michigan. So now, Akron has more wins than Ohio, but Ohio's only win was against Akron and ... clearly we know Zip about how any of this works.
Waiting list: US(not C)F, Tulame, Tulsa Folden Hurricane, The Yew, Western Kentucky Shrilltoppers, Old Duh-minions, Southern Missed, North Texas Lean Green, Colora-duh State, Cow Berkeley, Georgia State Not Southern, Georgia Southern Not State, COVID-19.