The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
"Well, you started off with nothing,
And you're proud that you're a self-made man
And your friends they all come crawling,
Slap you on the back and say,
Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see it makes no sense at all
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor?
'Cause I don't think that I can take anymore
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you."
-- "Stuck In The Middle With You," Stealers Wheel
There I was, trapped in Tuscaloosa.
Don't get me wrong. T-Town on an Alabama game day is quite the atmosphere. After having done some TV at dawn and with kickoff not until after dinner, I had plenty of time to take in that atmosphere. I walked the campus, I visited the Bear Bryant Museum, and I got something to eat down at Rama Jama's.
During it all, I kept my ESPN app cranked up, checking on the teams of the Bottom 10. Lo and behold, what did I see, but UMass taking it to Mississippi State, leading 20-13 in the second quarter! Then, heavens to Betsy, Rice was at UAB, with one seeking to stay out of the Bottom 10 while the other, once a permanent resident, was looking to become bowl-eligible!
Starkville, Mississippi, was only 80 miles west of me in Tuscaloosa. Legion Field was only 57 miles to the east. If I ran to my rental car and dropped the hammer, I could make it to see most of the second half of either game. But in which direction should I go?
"It's like that movie Fast, ain't it? The one about the bus that's going to blow up. What do you do?" an old man in a houndstooth blazer said to me, chortling as he sipped what looked like but certainly didn't smell like soda. Clearly, he was referring to "Speed," starring Keanu Reeves. I chose not to correct him.
He continued: "Here's the thing, hot shot. This is Tuscaloosa, home of the worst game-day traffic in America. If you leave now, even at 1:30 p.m., you'll never make it back in time for kickoff. This place is the opposite of the title of that movie: Fast."
"Whatever, this ain't that, and you ain't going to either one of those games. You'll have to watch them blow up from a distance. Just like Kaymanoo."
"Whatever -- you want some of this drink?"
With apologies to Jack Traven and Steve Harvey, here is this week's Bottom 10.
1. UTEPid (0-9)
While the Miners were being dismantled 30-3 by Middle Tennessee, I was making my visit to the Bear Bryant Museum. I did what I always do when I'm there. I paid tribute to UTEP head coach Mike Price, whose five months on the job at Alabama are inexplicably not represented.
2. Georgia Southern Not State (0-8)
The Georgia Southern Not State Eagles Not Panthers, led by Head Coach But Not Really Head Coach Chad Lunsford, lost at home to the Georgia State Not Southern Panthers Not Eagles. Now they travel to Appalachian State for a Sun Belt Not Southern Conference showdown.
3. San No-se State (1-9)
"You've reached the San Francisco 49ers' front office. Please leave your message after the beep."
"Hi, guys. It's the Spartans. You know, your friends over on the other side of town. Just a reminder that we have one win and you don't, so HAHAHAHA!"
4. Kansas Nayhawks (1-8)
Apologies to all that we weren't able to make it out to Lawrence for "Bottom 10 GameDay," but it turns out we didn't have to show up. Our Bottom 10 bureau reporter, Jason, was on site on our behalf. He went full Corso with his headgear but full McGee with his prediction. KU lost to winless Baylor 38-9.
5. O-hi-no! State (7-2)
Last week, I saw "Thor: Ragnarok" and watched the Hulk go completely crazy and smash everything in sight with little consideration of fact or reason. On Saturday, I watched the Iowa Hawkeyes go completely crazy and smash anything they saw dressed in scarlet and gray. This week, I will watch Buckeye Nation go completely crazy and smash my social media timelines because they don't understand how the Coveted Fifth Spot works.
6. No-vada (1-8)
Last week, there were a pair of battles for conference non-supremacy, and in both, there were supreme non-supreme statements made. You know about Baylor-KU in the Big 12. In #MACtion, there was Boiling Green's rout of State of Kent. This weekend, our eyes will turn to our favorite stuttering division, the Mountain West West, where No-vada hosts San No-se State in the No-No Bowl presented by the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation.
7. Minute Rice (1-8)
Remember that game at UAB that I didn't show up for? It would appear that Rice didn't show up, either.
8. Charlotte 1-and-8ers (1-8)
One week after stunning bowl-bound UAB, my hometown team returns to the rankings, edging its neighbors in Chapel Hill. The Tear Heels failed to cover the spread against Open Date U., but the 8ers lost to the only team UNC has defeated, Old Dominion, in a 6-0 thriller.
9. Myrtle Beach U. Chanticleers (1-8)
The most intriguing Bottom 10 game that was too far away to consider driving to from Tuscaloosa was Coastal Carolina's visit to Arkansas. I couldn't look away. But as the Woo Pig Chanticleers watched the would-be upset slip through their talons, I wished I had looked away. It was a finish so painful that the coach wasn't even sure what facial expression he was supposed to use.
10. Ore-gone State (1-8)
Even that loss still wasn't as stomach-twisting as the Beavers' Thursday night loss to Stanford two weeks ago. I know I should delete that game off my DVR, but I can't. It's like I keep hoping that the ending will suddenly become rewritten. You know, like Cam Newton's "Titanic."
Waiting list: Baylor (1-8), UNC Tear Heels (1-8), EC-Yew (2-7), Living on Tulsa Time (2-8), Illi-noise (2-7), UMess (2-7), State of Kent (2-7), Bawl State (2-7), Texas State Armadillos (2-7), Miami and Virginia Tech switching uniforms (0-1)