The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
There've been times in my life,
I've been wondering why.
Still, somehow I believed we'd always survive.
Now, I'm not so sure you're waiting to hear.
One good reason to try.
But what more can I say?
What's left to provide?
You think that maybe it's over?
Only if you want it to be.
Are you gonna wait for a sign, your miracle?
This is it!
Make no mistake where you are.
This is it!
Your back's to the corner.
This is it!
Don't be a fool anymore.
This is it
-- "This is it," Kenny Loggins
Two weeks ago we made a very big deal out of the Bottom 10 becoming a very big deal. During the weekend that just wrapped up, the teams of the Bottom 10 found themselves standing center stage once again. Why? Because it was Cupcake Invitational Weekend 2018, when our poor but proud roster of schools took on the rich but proud roster of the Top 25, which leads to national exposure in every sense of that phrase.
I was in Athens, Georgia, early Saturday morning to do a little TV reporting. As I walked through the parking deck en route to toss cupcakes into a crowd of Dawgs fans, a group of people dressed in UMass attire shouted at me, one dressed as a colonial soldier, fake musket in hand. They smiled and said not to be frightened of them because they weren't angry over my frequent commentary on their beloved Minutemen throughout the past several seasons. Then I suggested that perhaps a gang of people and a dude with a gun shouting at a lone man in a parking deck at dawn probably wasn't the best way to say "Don't be frightened of us."
This week, the Bottom 10 will once again steal the national spotlight. OK, it won't. But it should. And they have no one but themselves to blame. While rivalry weekend will be dominated by talk of classic foes fighting over trophies and barrels and brass antiquities, where are our game nicknames and trinket rewards? Today, we fix that problem, so athletic directors and coaches -- at least the ones who haven't already been fired -- take note!
With apologies to Jim Messina and Steve Harvey, here's the Bottom 10 after Week 12.
1. Minute Rice (1-11)
As expected, Rice was cooked and covered with sausage and sauce down at LSU. This weekend brings a visit from Old Dominion in the ODU-R Classic. The winner receives a brass bowl full of burnt rice and Odor Eater cleat inserts.
2. U-Can't (1-10)
The Huskies jump back into the second spot after losing 55-21 to EC-Yew, a two-win team that's been in and out of the Bottom 10 all season and hasn't had an AD since spring. This week is UConn's showdown with fellow old-school Big East refugee Temple in the Randy Edsall Sc-Owl Bowl. We wanted to use the "-owl" thing for the word "bowl," too. Then we said it aloud.
3. Central Michigan Chippy-was (1-10)
Central Michigan, still reeling from its loss to Boiling Green two weeks ago, comes off an open date to finish the season at the Glass Bowl, facing Toledo in the #MACtion Action Attraction.
4. UTEPID (1-10)
The Minors had moved off our Bottom 10 radar after winning the Pillow Fight of the Week of the Year of the Century last month but have suddenly reappeared on that radar like the asteroid in "Armageddon," thanks to a 40-16 loss to then-third-ranked Western Kentucky in last week's edition of the PFOTW. This week they face Southern Mississippi in the Battle of Interstate 20, named for the road that separates the two schools, which are 1,100 miles apart. The trophy is an orange road barrel taken from somewhere -- heck, anywhere -- around Dallas-Fort Worth.
5. USC Troyjans (5-6)
The Coveted Fifth Spot is occupied by a team that knows plenty about rivalry games and trophies. USC just lost the Victory Bell to UCLA on Saturday and this weekend will host Notre Dame for the Jeweled Shillelagh.
Correction: They know plenty about the rivalry games. They don't currently have any of the trophies.
6. In a Rut-gers (1-10)
The Scarlet Knots were hammered by Penn State in a game that included the worst pass play since Jackie Smith in Super Bowl XIII. Luckily, there weren't millions watching as there were in 1979. Heck, I'm not sure that even the people in Highpoint.com Stadium were watching. In that same spirit, Rutgers takes on Michigan State this weekend in the What Are BIG Fans Gonna Watch Now That The Game Is Over In Columbus Classic.
7. San No-se State (1-10)
The Spartans Not Trojans lost a close one to Nevada and will travel to Fresno State for the Mountain West West Invitational Invitational, or as it's known in Northern California, The Medium Game.
8. Western Kentucky Hillstoppers (2-9)
After knocking off UTEP, WKU will face another of its natural regional rivals, Louisiana Tech, in the Hey Remember When We Used To Play Eastern Kentucky For FCS Glory And That Was Awesome Bowl, presented by the American Society of Be Careful What You Wish For.
9. Lou-ugh-ville (2-9)
The Cardinals will take on Kentucky in a game that already has an official rivalry name, the Commonwealth Cup. It also has a second name and trophy, the Pitino Goblet, but that's now being used as a pencil holder at the NCAA offices.
Georgia State University and Georgia Southern University both have the official abbreviations GSU, but Georgia State claims that since it achieved university status first (1969 vs. 1990), it is the rightful owner of GSU. Georgia Southern does indeed use GS. So the winner of this game shouldn't receive a cup or bowl or plaque. It should earn the use of a giant blue U to hang on the front gate of its college, er, university until next year's game.
Waiting List: Living on Tulsa Time (2-9), UNC Achilles' Heels (2-8), South Alabama Redundancies (2-9), Ore-gone State (2-9), Ar-kan't-saw (2-9), State of Kent (2-9), Kansas Mad Hatters (3-8), Tennessee when it plays unranked teams (3-3), every team in Colorado.