Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
Oh lady, tell me I'm not leaving,
You're everything I dream.
I'm killing myself thinking,
I've fallen like the leaves.
November shadows, shade November change
November spells sweet memory,
The season blue remains.
-- "November Blue," the Avett Brothers
August is hot. September is pleasant. October is cool. But November? November is cold. It's hard. It's blue. November is the month when we start to see snowbanks on the sidelines of America's most storied college football fields. November is when postseason bowl hopes are dashed and the College Football Playoff selection committee serves up ice-cold truths in the form of its rankings.
November changes everything, even MACtion.
In September, State of Kent cancels an in-progress field hockey game to make room for football pregame fireworks only because they are dummies. In November, Akron moves a home game with Eastern Michigan two hours earlier because it is so freaking cold and snowy that waiting until 8 p.m. might mean certain death for the dozens in attendance.
OK, certain death might be putting it too strongly. But dozens in attendance is 100% accurate.
November is when the men are separated from the boys, the wheat is separated from the chaff and the Bottom 10 is separated from itself.
OK, that makes no sense. And now it dawns on me that I have written myself into a corner. Not a metaphorical corner, an actual corner. I've been dictating this intro into my phone while pacing around, and I have no idea where I am right now.
So ... my point is, November is tough. There are only two weekends remaining to determine a Bottom 10 champion. And, seriously, I have no idea where I am right now. Send help.
With apologies to Derek "Mr. November" Jeter and Steve Harvey, here's this week's Bottom 10.
1. Akron-monious (0-10)
Akron doesn't believe in wasting our time, and we appreciate that. Last week, the Rubber Kings lost to Eastern Michigan during that earlier-than-planned Tuesday night and became 2019's first 10-loss team. This week they kick off at My Hammy of Ohio on Wednesday, and next week it's back to Tuesday night, potentially clinching the Bottom 10 title days before their competition starts playing. Plus, the football team needs to wrap it up and get out of the way because the Zips' eSports team is celebrating a national championship of its own in Rocket League, a "vehicular soccer game in which three players control rocket-powered cars to hit a ball into an opponent's goal to score points." Maybe head football coach Tom Arth can round up some of those soccer rockets in time for Wednesday's kickoff.
2. UMess (1-10)
As the Week 12 Pillow Fight of the Week kicked off, our Bottom 10 Chalk Insider, Uncle Ray, called on his GrandPad from the prime rib buffet at the Flamingo to let us know that the final line was 39.5 in favor of one-win North by Northwestern. That line looked dicier than the au jus on the buffet as the Minutemen led the first 15 minutes of the game by a 3-0 score and were on the verge of extending that lead ... before a field goal attempt was blocked and returned 85 yards for a Wildcats TD. With 1:37 remaining in the game, UMass stopped Northwestern 1 yard short of a first down during a would-be scoring drive in Minutemen territory. Final score: NU 45, UMass 6. I'm not great a math, but that's pretty close to 39.5, isn't it?
3. UTEPID (1-9)
Poor UTEP. Just when they thought their final two games would be the perfect matchups to catapult them past UMass and Akron and into the top bottom spot, those opponents -- Rice and New Mexico State -- both had the audacity to win their Week 12 games. This must be how Georgia and Oregon feel every time South Carolina and Auburn lose.
4. Old The Minions (1-9)
Meanwhile, the Monarchs likely saw Rice's victory, and it gave them not despair but hope. The Owls upset Middle Tennessee, and next ODU travels to MTSU. We called Uncle Ray to see how much the line on that game has moved since the Rice upset, but some strange man answered Ray's phone and said he wasn't available because he was in a private meeting in the kitchen at Piero's. We think the guy said something about a disagreement over a Chuck-a-Luck payout at the El Cortez, but it was hard to hear him. There was a lot of screaming about horse heads and sleeping fishes in the background before we were disconnected.
5. Baylor (9-1)
Reason No. 3,512 for Baylor to start scheduling halfway decent nonconference games: Perhaps you'd be better mentally prepared to protect a 21-point second-half lead at home in November if you played any September games that didn't involve strictly Texas schools named after people no one outside of Texas has ever heard of. No offense, Stephen F. Austin and Lamar.
6. Whew, Mexico State (1-9)
As we told you earlier, the Other Aggies picked up their first win of the season. But that victory came versus Incarnate Word, so yes, NMSU is still ranked, and they will still host No. 3 UTEP in the Pillow Fight of the Week But Not Quite of the Year. You've probably never heard of Incarnate Word, so you won't be surprised that on Sept. 19, 2020, they are scheduled to play at Baylor.
7. South Alabama Redundancies (1-9)
Give the Jaguars credit. They pushed the Sun Belt West's first-place team, Louisiana, in a 37-27 loss. Their only win of the season remains a Week 2 victory over Jackson State Not Jacksonville State. Now they will finish the season against Georgia State Not Southern and Arkansas State Thank God We Aren't Arkansas.
8. Aren't-kansas (2-8)
Speaking of the Hogs, they spent their first weekend without Chad Morris at the helm failing to cover the spread vs. the Fightin' Byes of Open Date University. Now they will spend their second weekend without Morris traveling to LSU. The Tigers' offense ranks second in the nation with 556 yards per game. The Arkansas defense is ranked 109th in the nation, allowing 447 yards per game. Quick question, are visiting teams allowed to head over to Bourbon Street before games as a preemptive measure?
9. U-Can't (2-8)
UConn won its season opener vs. Wagner and then lost the next six games that led into its Week 10 win over UMass 56-35. The Huskies lost those six games by an average of 25.5 points. In the two games since the UMass victory, UConn has lost by a combined score of 104-13. We did much investigation into this bizarre Bottom 10 anomaly, and when the answer presented itself, we were angry at ourselves for how obvious the explanation was. That UMass game was on Oct. 26, which means that Randy Edsall was at the height of his dark strength drawn from Halloween.
10. In a Rut-gers (2-8)
The Scarlet Knights also started their season with a win (over UMass) and then also lost their next six in blowouts and then also won a game easily and then also lost their next two by large margins. So it was hard to blame the Rutgers cheerleader who became internet famous on Saturday for being confused when he saw someone scoring a touchdown and clapped for the wrong team. But props to John Gonzabay, the new captain of the Bottom 10 Cheer Squad, for owning it.
Okay...it's 11:10 PM ET, so let's turn our college football attention west of the Rockies...and... pic.twitter.com/vK8B3yEeey— Ryan McGee (@ESPNMcGee) September 13, 2020
Waiting List: Minute Rice (1-9), (Not) New Mexico (State But Close) (2-8), UNLV (2-8), the Vanderbilt team who lost to UNLV (2-8), North by Northwestern (2-8), Georgia Rambling Tech (2-8), Twitter hip specialists, fan bases that complain about not getting College GameDay and then complain about getting College GameDay