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College football Bottom 10: New Mexico State, UConn see hope is fleeting

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Mullen's main takeaway from UF vs. Samford: 'We won' (0:54)

Following the 70-52 victory over Samford, Florida's Dan Mullen says the Gators had a great win and will keep a positive attitude going forward. (0:54)

[Editor's note: The No. 1 Bottom 10 team beat Texas, while UConn and New Mexico State provided a few seconds of hope. Meanwhile, the Horns and Gators have to share the Coveted Fifth Spot.]

Inspirational thought of the week:

When we're underneath the lights
My heart's no longer broken
For a moment
Just for a moment

But is a moment enough?
Maybe

-- "Just for a Moment," Joshua Bassett and Olivia Rodrigo

Here at Bottom 10 Headquarters, located inside the vast library of leather-bound books where Dan Mullen studied to become so much smarter than the rest of us, we are still basking in the glow of perhaps the most momentous momentary moment in the annals of Bottom 10 history.

It was around 12:06 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, when all the Bottom 10 planets were suddenly aligned, creating a wormhole of such pull and power that not even college football's haughtiest brand names could escape. Forget that those planets were actually foam balls from an old middle school science fair solar system project found in my garage. They had aligned and, for a moment, it was so glorious.

At Clemson, Bottom 10 No. 2-ranked UConn ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, seizing a lead over the Tigers that lasted nearly the entire first quarter. Meanwhile, at Alabama, Bottom 10 No. 4-ranked New Mexico State booted a 50-field goal and held a 3-0 lead over the Crimson Tide for 44 seconds.

That's right. For 44 seconds, two Bottom 10 squads led the two teams that have dominated the College Football Playoff era. For 44 seconds, one could look up into the skies over Death Valley and Tuscaloosa and, as if they were in "Thor: The Dark World," see across every plane of the college football multiverse.

Then, as that 44th second ticked away and Alabama scored ... and as Clemson scored less than three minutes later ... it was over. The spark was gone. Hope was lost. Or so we thought. Then, like Yoda speaking to Obi-Wan from the post-death ether, a voice that sounded an awful lot like Big Jay whispered, "No, there is another. Rock Chalk."

With apologies to Frank Oz, Thor Odinson and Steve Harvey, here are the 2021 post-Week 11 Bottom 10 rankings.

1. Whew Mexico State (1-9)

Once Alabama finally scored against the Other Aggies, the Tide didn't stop scoring until it was time to put in all the third-stringers, a few members of training staff and a couple of Bryant-Denny Stadium ushers, ultimately winning 59-3. Now the Other Aggies continue the second half of their Getting Paid by the SEC World Tour 2021, as they visit Kentucky. According the mystically marvelous FPI computers, New Mexico State has a 1.1% chance to win at Kroger Field. Then again, the $1.2 million that UK is paying the team to visit will buy plenty of groceries.

2. UMess (1-9)

While NMSU and UConn were trying to scare the programs they hope to emulate, the Minutemen were going back to the future in the worst way, losing 35-10 to the Maine Black Bears. Back in the day, UMass and Maine were FCS rivals, and during those decades, Massachusetts dominated the series 41-16-1. Since UMass moved up to FBS, the teams have played only three times, but Maine has won two of those three. So, good move.

3. U-Can't (1-9)

With only two weeks remaining in the season, our Bottom 10 selection committee faces the same conundrum as those highfalutin suits on the College Football Playoff committee as they look at Oregon vs. Ohio State and Michigan State vs. Michigan. How much does head-to-head really matter? The only win registered by UMass this season was against UConn, but the Huskies just looked decent at Clemson and also hired Jim Mora as their new head coach, while UMass has back-to-back losses to FCS teams and just fired head coach Walt Bell. Ultimately, we decided UConn looks better via the eye test. Plus, we bugged the CFP conference room to hear the discussions, and head-to-head totally doesn't matter.

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UConn brings opening kickoff back for a TD at Clemson

Brian Brewton takes the opening kickoff 99 yards to the house to give UConn the lead against Clemson.

4. FI(not A)U (1-9)

Butch Davis has made it official that he will not return to coach Florida International in 2022, which is weird because we were under the impression that was already a done deal seeing as how FIU had made it known it was searching for a new head coach by posting a job listing like it was looking for a new cafeteria manager. After not talking to the media for a little while, Davis finally opened up and said the Panthers are using old uniforms, second-hand gear and that the school is "sabotaging the program." The good news? It wasn't even close to being the strangest comments made by a college football coach in the state of Florida this week.

5. Flexas (or Torida?)

It is rare to have two teams sharing the Coveted Fifth Spot. (Does that make it the Coveted 2.5 spot?) But here we are. Texas lost to then-Bottom 10 No. 1-ranked Kansas in Austin, the first Big 12 road victory for the Nayhawks in 4,788 days. The last time KU won a conference game on the road was Oct. 4, 2008. The No. 1 film at the box office that week was Leo DiCaprio's "Body of Lies." Speaking of, how about Florida head coach Dan Mullen getting mad at people for referring to a 70-52 win over Samford as "disappointing" despite the fact that the Bulldogs are an FCS team with a losing record and racked up 42 first-half points, a record for any Swamp visitor in 115 years of Gators football? Who knew that the emperor's new clothes included custom-made Jordans?

6. Southern Missed (1-9)

For a moment, it seemed as though the Moldin' Eagles might also get in on the upset business, as they put a scare into former Bottom 10 foe R.O.C.K. in the UTSA, but the Roadrunners dropped an anvil on their heads for a 27-17 win.

7. Indiana? Who, sirs? (2-8)

Indiana was a 6.5-point favorite at home against In A Rut-gers and lost by 35 points. When unLv and Arkansaw State both had the audacity to earn their second wins of the season, it opened the door for IU to make its first Bottom 10 appearance of the year ... and then that door was promptly closed on its feet.

8. Akronmonious (2-8)

#MACtion now has only one two-win team and it's these guys. The Zips now welcome in Kent State, who will make the 14-mile trip to Akron to fight for the Wagon Wheel. Legend has it that wheel was taken from the wagon of industrialist John Buchtel after the eventual founder of Akron University's vehicle became stuck in the mud. Our Bottom 10 investigators have learned that wagon also was named The Perfect Metaphor.

9. Vanderbilt Commode Doors (2-8)

Vandy lost at home to Kentucky, UK's seventh win of the season and a victory that guaranteed the Wildcats second place in the SEC East. Afterward, Vandy fans could be heard screaming, "Remember all those years when we both sucked at football? Why hast thou forsaken us?"

10. By The Time I Get To Arizona (1-9)

The Mildcats followed up their first win in more than two years by scaring the Utah Utes but ultimately got back to their losing ways and falling 38-29. They will finish the year with trips to Washington State and Arizona State and will then be locked up all winter inside Tucson's Biosphere 2 and forced to watch Pauly Shore's "Bio-Dome" on a constant loop until spring practice.

Waiting list: Tulame, unLv, Kansas Nayhawks, Minute Rice, Temple Bowels, Whew Mexico, Arkansaw State and ulm, the team that just lost to Arkansaw State, COVID-19.