The Bottom 10 is looking blue as Michigan enters the fray

  • Senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com
  • 2-time Sports Emmy winner
  • 2010, 2014 NMPA Writer of the Year

[Editor’s note: The Big Ten and Mountain West are back! But what does that mean for the teams who have been in the Bottom 10 all season long?]

Inspirational thought of the week:

So, I’m back up in the game
Running things to keep my swing
Letting all the people know
That I’m back to run the show

Return of the MAC … come on
Return of the MAC … oh my God
You know that I’ll be back … here I am
Return of the MAC … once again
Return of the MAC … pump up the world
Return of the MAC … watch my flow
You know that I’ll be back … here I go

— “Return of the Mack,” Mark Morrison

Here at Bottom 10 Headquarters, located in an old abandoned Sam Goody’s record store, yes, we are well aware that when Mark Morrison reached No. 2 on the Billboard singles charts in the spring of 1996 he was singing “Return of the MACK.” But this is the fall of 2020, and the Mack Truck that hits college football Wednesday night via a full slate of six(!) games is the MAC without a “K” … unless you’re counting the big blue K of Kent State.

In case you don’t have the Bottom 10 Media Guide handy — and we know you don’t because there’s only one copy and it’s currently being used to keep our desk from wobbling — MACtion is home to the defending Bottom 10 champions, Akronmonious, as well as the 2018 runner-up Central Michigan. At one point last fall, no less than half of the Bottom 10 hailed from the MAC. We remember this because we received an unmarked cardboard box on the front stoop of our office with the head of Western Michigan mascot Buster Bronco inside and a note that read, “This is like that scene from ‘The Godfather.'”

Speaking of unnecessary explanations, we are excited about the MAC’s return because we can finally feel whole again. And by “whole” we actually mean hole, as in the hole at least a couple of MAC teams will have dug for themselves by the time Wednesday night’s games are over.

With apologies to Connie Mack, Mack Brown and Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack all dressed In black, black, black and Steve Harvey, here’s this week’s Bottom 10.

1. ULM (pronounced “uhlm”) (0-7)

The Warhawks spent Halloween being chased by a crazy old mountain man named Yosef, losing to Appalachian State 31-13. UhLM has five games left, and according to the mystically accurate FPI machine, their average chance of winning one of those games is 11.4%. Also, the chances that this headache I now have is from doing FPI math is 99.6%.

2. Southern Missed (1-5)

Over the past four weeks, the Golden Eagles have had two games postponed, lost two games and have also had two different head coaches, bringing their 2020 head coach total to three. The second of those two losses happened Saturday at home, when they got steamed 30-6 by Rice, which was then the second-ranked Bottom 10 team and playing only its second game of the season. Now the Golden Eagles host North Alabama, an 0-2 FCS team over whom they are favored by 16.5 points. If they lose this one, we will hold an emergency Selection Committee meeting to discuss forgoing the final month of the season and proceed directly to a ULM vs. USM matchup in the 2020 Bottom 10 U (Insert Middle Initial Here) M Megabowl.

3. unLv (0-2)

The Fightin’ Tarks held their inaugural home game inside the Allegiant Stadium Roomba and failed to cover the spread in a 37-19 loss to Nevada. The Wolfpack were supposed to take home the Fremont Cannon Trophy, but because the spread wasn’t covered, it’s being held for ransom across the street from Allegiant Stadium by a guy named Joey Knuckles threatening that the cannon will end up sleeping with the fishes … at the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium.

4. Kansas Nayhawks (0-6)

Speaking of the Wise Guys, they’ve all been wise to ride the guys from Lawrence this season. Rock Chalk has very literally been chalk, as the 0-6 Jayhawks have also been 0-6 in trying to cover a single spread, including the past five of 17 points or greater. This week, they are 37.5-point underdogs to Oklahoma. The only spread bigger than that is the one on the bed of 6-foot-7, 369-pound Sooners O-lineman Darrell Simpson.

5. The “L” Club Supports You (1-1)

“YOUR ATTENTION SHOPPERS. WE HAVE A MAIZE-AND-BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL ON KHAKIS OVER ON AISLE FOUR. IF YOU HAVE A MICHIGAN STATE OR OHIO STATE ID CARD, JUST GO AND TAKE THEM BECAUSE YOU ALREADY TOTALLY OWN THEM.”

6. Texas State Armadillos (1-7)

Last week we left Texas State off this list, but the Bobcats came roaring back onto radar when they joined ULM as the nation’s only seven-loss teams. Also, multiple members of their fanbase reached out to us via Twitter pleading to return to these rankings as if they were Linus after Sally took away his blanket.

7. US(not C)F (1-5)

The South Florida Bulls blew a fourth-quarter lead to the Fightin’ Byes of Open Date U and now travel to Memphis, where sources are telling Bottom 10 JortsCenter that the USF team bus is scheduled to stop by Beale Street so that the team can sing the blues about its 1-5 season.

8. FI(not A)U (0-3-4)

Yes, 0-3-4. That’s 0 wins, 3 losses and 4 postponements, including a postponement that became a loss. So, maybe it’s actually 0-3-3 or 0-3 ½ -3 ½. Whatever it is, it starts with a zero.

9. Van-duh-bilt (0-4)

The winless Commode Doors will travel south to Starkville, Mississippi, to face Need More Cowbell University in the season’s most unexpected Pillow Fight of the Week. To us, the Pillow Fight has always just meant more. But seeing as how this is the first time the P.F.O.W. has involved a pair of SEC schools, this is the first time officially that It Just Means More®, capitalized with a little trademark thingy next to it.

10. Sir, accused (1-6)

Like the last overserved patron still bellied up to the bar at Shifty’s, the Orange have flirted with this list all season with zero success. But at this late hour, they’ve become the last best option.

Waiting List: UMess (0-1), Needs More Cowbell (1-4), EC-Yew (1-4), Tempered Owls (1-3), Bail-or (1-3), The Little 4 of the Big 10 (all 0-2), Minute Rice (1-1), Charlotte 2-and-3’ers, Duke Bedevileds (2-5), Ill-ugh-noise (0-2), You-tah State (0-2), too-early whistles, COVID-19.

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