The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
There’s a little child running ’round this house
And he never leaves, he will never leave
And the fog comes up from the sewers
And glows in the dark
How did you go bad?
Did you go bad? Did you go bad?
Some things will never wash away
Did you go bad? Did you go bad?
— “Fog,” Radiohead
On Saturday morning I stood on The Hill in Knoxville, Tennessee. The weather was beautiful. And yet, there was a fog.
I was there to participate in the live broadcast of SEC Network’s SEC Nation. There were cheerleaders and Smokey the hound was there and the dude in the Volunteer mountain outfit was there and fans with homemade signs were there. And yet, there was a fog.
I greeted Butch Jones on the SEC Network bus and I reached out not as a writer or reporter, but as a fellow 40-something father with Tennessee ties. I shook his hand and I asked him how he was holding up. And as he talked in coachspeak and rattled off talking points, the bus felt as if it was filling up with fog.
I stepped off the bus, I took up my microphone, and I stood in my position for my live shot to talk about the glorious, crazy Georgia-Tennessee rivalry. And yet, I felt like if I took a deep enough breath, perhaps I would choke on the fog. But … wait … suddenly it wasn’t a metaphorical fog. There was an actual cloud enveloping my head and I was indeed beginning to choke.
I coughed and realized it wasn’t a fog at all. It was cigar smoke. There was a tap on my shoulder. I turned to face the source of the smoke. A very old man who looked as if he might have slept on The Hill that night, dressed head-to-toe in Tennessee Big Orange, blew another puff into my face and growled …
“You went to Tennessee, didn’t you?”
“So did I. I was here when Gen. Neyland and Bobby Dodd were here. Do you believe me?”
“Everyone’s in a bad mood around here. We’re 3-1 and you’d think we’re 1-3. You want to know why we’re in such a bad mood?”
Um … yes?
“Because you put us in that F’ing Bottom 10 of yours two weeks in a row.”
With apologies to Hank Lauricella and Steve Harvey, here’s this week’s Bottom 10.
1. Charlotte 0-and-5ers (0-5)
Psst … don’t tell this guy sitting across from me in the South Charlotte Starbucks I’m writing in that I have Charlotte ranked at the top (bottom) of our rankings again. He has on a 49ers hat and T-shirt. OK, he just looked up at me and I winked at him. That really freaked him out. But not as much as right this second when he’s reading this and realizes that the creepy dude who winked at him in the South Charlotte Starbucks is the same guy who just ranked his team No. 1 in the Bottom 10.
2. UMess (0-6)
I gotta go to New England later this month, so maybe I’ll find a guy in Minutemen gear and re-enact what I just did to the 49ers guy, only in a Dunkin Donuts.
3. UTEP (0-5)
The good news: If you had UTEP in your office’s First Bottom 10 Coach To Lose His Job betting pool, you win! The bad news: If your office is the kind of place that has a First Bottom 10 Coach To Lose His Job betting pool, then you’d already lost.
4. Baylor (0-5)
It has been so odd this season how Kansas fans have reached out to express their resentment over Baylor being in the Bottom 10 while they aren’t. Wrote one reader: “We’re the team that worked so hard to make being the Big 12’s Bottom 10 representative a cool thing. Now Baylor is swooping in and taking advantage of that.” Have no fear, Nayhawk fans. This will be settled on the field in Lawrence four weekends from now. Just in time for Halloween.
The SEC continues to grip the Coveted Fifth Spot like Mike the Tiger with his claws in a side of beef. The Tigers not only lost to Troy, they were never really in the game in the second half. After the game head coach Ed Orgeron said, “Well, weah gunnado whaddawecan tuh tuhrn dis hoeting uhrownd. Etz canduhlike ya momma win sheez tryunta saveapottabadgumbo.” So, first Troy took the Tigers’ money. Then the Trojans ran up the score on them after the game was over.
Biggest Paycheck Losses This Year:
LSU paid Troy $985K
Syracuse paid MTSU $950K
Rutgers paid E. Michigan $860K
Nebraska paid NIU $820K
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 1, 2017
Hey @LSU, thanks for having us down for homecoming! We really enjoyed it! 😁
— Troy University (@TROYUnews) October 1, 2017
6. Boiling Green (0-5)
Saturday’s MACtion Pillow Fight Bunkhouse Stampede doubleheader was all that we could have dreamed of, as the Bottom 10 teams successfully circled the wagons and defended their positions. It began with BGSU falling to then-1-3 Akron, which became 2-3 Akron so-0-4 BGSU became 0-5 BGSU.
7. State of Kent (1-4)
Then the 1-3 Flashes lost to 2-2 Buffalo, which became 3-2 Buffalo and 1-4 Kent. And that’s when it hit us. If you try to circle the wagons with only two wagons, you aren’t circling anything. You’ve become a real-life version of that spinning update circle my laptop is always getting stuck on.
8. No-vada (0-5)
Heads up, y’all. No-vada travels to San No-se State on Nov. 11 in what is likely to be a Bottom 10 Western Division elimination game. I’m going to go ahead and call it the No Bowl, presented by the Terrible Two-Year-Olds of America.
9. ECYew (1-3)
Pirates fans — especially the ones I’m related to — are already complaining that we have moved their school back into the Bottom 10 and moved 1-3 UConn out despite ECU defeating the Huskies head-to-head just two weeks ago. Well, sorry, but life isn’t fair. Right, Ruffin McNeill?
10. UNC Tear Heels (1-4)
I was on my way back from Knoxville late Saturday night and stopped in Asheville, North Carolina. I asked a mail carrier who was pumping gas in a U.S. Postal Service truck where he was headed. “Knoxville, Tennessee,” he answered. “This truck is full of thank you notes to Butch Jones from Larry Fedora.”
Waiting list: U-Can’t (1-3), B-WHY?!-U (1-4), Living on Tulsa Time (1-3), Kansas Nayhawks (1-3), In A Rut-gers (1-4), Minute Rice (1-4), San No-se State (1-4), OH-regon State (1-4), Miss-eww (1-3) and again, basically the entire Fun Belt (12 teams, 1 with a winning record)