The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
"Anti-radar paint ...
Nobody can stop us, J.J. ...
(Porsche screams over a hill, where it finds a police blockade. The race car swerves to miss said blockade and runs off the road, down an embankment and into the woods.)
-- Victor Prinzim, "The Cannonball Run"
This pivotal scene in the quintessential American cinematic classic stars Burt Reynolds as race car driver J.J. McClure and Dom DeLuise as his sidekick, Victor Prinzim. After crashing, the duo is approached by an incensed highway patrolman, who angrily asks, "What are you? Some kind of nut?!" DeLuise leaps from the wrecked machine, suddenly wearing a bright orange hood and cape, backed by the bombastic beat of a superhero's theme song.
Dunh dunh dunnnnhhh!!!
I thought about that scene a lot during Week 2 of the college football season. I thought about Burt Reynolds, whom we'd just lost at the age of 82, and the look of resignation on his face as his sportscar, custom-built for a coast-to-coast race across the nation, was now hopelessly stuck in a tree. It's the look we see on the sideline every Saturday for every Bottom 10 team.
I also thought about the hero who was revealed in that moment. The kind of hero that we here at Bottom 10 headquarters, located in the warehouse where Reynolds' college roommate Lee Corso stores his mascot heads, have always longed for. Especially during a weekend when Kansas won on the road, Kentucky defeated Florida and Samford nearly knocked off Burt's beloved Florida State. If he could have, Burt would have jerked the would-be hero's hood off his bald head and slapped him in the face with it one last time.
Captain Chaos, indeed.
With apologies to "Him" and Steve Harvey, here's the Bottom 10 after Week 2.
1. UTEPID (0-2)
The Minors fell to UNLV, the appetizer before a late-September Bottom 10 gauntlet that includes a trip to Tennessee, a visit from New Mexico State and a visit to R-O-C-K in the UTSA. In "The Cannonball Run," El Paso is where a young Jackie Chan and his scientist copilot realize that their futuristic Subaru's nav computer has failed them and they are hundreds of miles off course. Luckily, they have a rocket that can launch them out of the dry, endless, hopeless desert. Perhaps UTEP could get one of those.
2. San No-se State (0-2)
Last week, I accidentally called them the Trojans. They are the Spartans. Whatever they are, they were skunked at Washington State, 31-0. Reynolds avoided the Trojan/spartan/gladiator movie craze of the 1950s and '60s because he was starring in Westerns, but late in life he did play a king in the Jason Statham period piece "In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale." As he once explained: "Early in my career, they gave me roles that had as little clothing as possible. As I got older, the wardrobe people were like, 'Let's see if we can add some more layers.'"
3. Central Michigan Chippy-was (0-2)
You don't surrender Kansas' first road win in 11 years and 46 games and not land yourself in the Bottom 10. Did you know that Reynolds, despite his lifelong ties to the South, was actually born in East Lansing, located in ... Central Michigan?
4. Oregone State (1-1)
After the Kansas Nayhawks' win at CMU, OSU is now the proud owner of the nation's longest road losing streak. If you are someone who really pays attention to college football, you know there's a quarterback currently in street clothes in Corvallis who used to play for Nebraska but is now waiting to play for Oregon State. Both teams could use him very badly. If you are someone who really pays attention to "Smokey and the Bandit," you know there is a character in the film named Little Beaver.
5. Florida (1-1)
This week's Coveted Fifth Spot would no doubt put a signature smile on the face of the man who played the title role in "Gator" but was a Seminole to the core.
6. Whew Mexico State (0-3)
The Aggies became the nation's first three-loss team when they were edged out by Utah State, 60-13. Next up is the Rio Grande Rivalry versus New Mexico. Then it's the first matchup of NMSU's single-season home-and-home with Liberty. Speaking of Liberty, I continue to receive emails and tweets from Flames fans eager to fan the flames after I included their team in the preseason Bottom 10. When I read those venomous verses, I feel like Reynolds in "The Cannonball Run," when he looks over at the car his ambulance is racing. He sees Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. in disguises and says to believer DeLuise, "Victor, that's two priests driving a Ferrari. When's the last time you saw two priests drive a Ferrari? What are they doing, taking home the bingo money?"
7. North Carolina Achilles Heels (0-2)
The Heels have lost 14 of their last 18 games and just lost their third straight to East Carolina, a team that opened the season with a loss to North Carolina A&T. So, if you're scoring at home: NC A&T > ECU > UNC. Now head coach Larry Fedora is feeling the heat. That reminds me ... remember when Reynolds and Clint Eastwood wore those fedoras in "City Heat"?
8. UCan't Huskies (0-2)
During his career, Reynolds made a lot of ill-advised career moves. He claimed to have turned down the roles of Randle McMurphy in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" as well as Han Solo and James Bond. It was the 007 whiff that always bothered him most, confessing, "I got to where I could barely look at a tuxedo." I'm betting Randy Edsall says the same about Maryland Terrapins gear.
9. Charlotte 1-and-1'ers (1-1)
Charlotte's Jerry Richardson Stadium is located only a few minutes south of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, home base for the 1983 NASCAR epic "Stroker Ace." Reynolds played Mr. Ace, a race car driver contractually forced to wear a chicken suit to appease his sponsor, a chain of fried chicken joints. Coincidentally, one of Charlotte 49ers football's biggest sponsors is also a chain of fried chicken joints that also dresses someone in a chicken suit and sends them to sporting events. I know this because whenever I see said chicken at Charlotte games I scream, "I'm Stroker Ace, and the only thing I love more than winning the race is stuffing Torkel's Chicken in my face!" The last time I did that, I think the bird shot me the bird.
10. Old Dumbinion (0-2)
Speaking of Charlotte, the Monarchs travel to the Queen City this weekend for what should be a very regal but very wet and windy Pillow Fight of the Week: Episode III. If there's any justice in this now-Burt Reynolds-less world, the quarterback of the winning team should pull a Paul "Wrecking" Crewe and reenact the final scene of "The Longest Yard," picking up the game ball, handing it to the opposing coach and growling, "Put that in your trophy case."
Waiting list: Kansas Nayhwaks (1-1), Texas State Armadillos (1-1), Temple of Doom (0-2), SMU Mustanks (0-2), Pur-don't (0-2), Minute Rice (1-2), R-O-C-K in the UTSA (0-2), UMess (1-2), Boiling Green (0-2), My Hammy of Ohio (0-2), By the Time I Get to Arizona (0-2).