The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
Keep your foot hard on the pedal, son, never mind them brakes, Let it all hang out 'cause we got a run to make.
East bound and down, loaded up and truckin',
We're gonna do what they say can't be done.
We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
I'm east bound, just watch ol' Bandit run.
--- "East Bound and Down," Jerry Reed
Here at Bottom 10 Headquarters, located in a cubicle in a dark corner of the storage facility where Marty Smith keeps his cases of Dapper Dan, we can always tell when the perfect Bottom 10 moment is taking place. How? Because our text inbox starts a'dinging. Our email inbox starts a'filling. Our Twitter timeline starts a'tweeting. And our "Go, Diego, Go" walkie-talkies start a'crackling.
On Saturday evening, every means by which we're connected with the outside world went crazy all at once. All were electrified by the same message: Dude! It's a third-and-93!
Early in the fourth quarter, while trailing Mississippi State 57-14, Louisiana Tech lined up in the shotgun for a would-be TD-pass attempt on second-and-goal from the 6-yard line. Then that shotgun backfired.
As the ball tumbled and was fumbled and the Bulldogs stumbled, we here at Bottom HQ found ourselves not amused or embarrassed or horrified. No, we were moved. We were inspired. We felt that swelling feeling in our chests that can only come from watching a film like "Gandhi" ... or maybe it was from eating that lunchtime sack of Taco Bueno takeout too quickly.
Pepto-Bismol aside, we knew what La. Tech's facing third-and-goal from its own 7-yard line really meant. It was the perfect visual representation of what life in the Bottom 10 is like each and every week: You stare into the eyes of that beast known as the impossible task and realize that, well, you can't even really see those eyes all that well because the beast is nearly an entire football field away.
Sure, you might not score. Sure, you might end up doing exactly what the Bulldogs did -- punt it away two plays later and eventually lose 57-21. But as Gandhi once said, "Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is the victory." Or, as my middle school history teacher/football coach Mr. Hester once said, "Full satisfaction is in the effort of the attainment of the victory. That's what the little bald guy said in that movie, right?"
With apologies to Sir Ben Kingsley and Steve Harvey, here are the Bottom 10 standings after Week 2.
1. EC-Yew (0-2)
Remember in "Pirates of the Caribbean" how the Black Pearl had all those barnacles growing all over it and all those holes slashed in its sails, but it still looked cool and could still blaze over the ocean at crazy speeds? Well, the East Carolina Pirates have a ship just like that. Only it acts exactly how a real boat would in those conditions: It just sits there, leaky and stinky.
2. UMess (0-3)
One week ago, I made a mistake in these rankings. I said that the Minutemen were the nation's only two-loss team and yet had another two-loss team ranked just one spot behind them. Then they did me the favor of undoubtedly becoming the nation's only three-loss team. To avoid future missteps, I also overhauled the Bottom 10 Stats & Info Department, which is to say I changed the batteries in the calculator.
3. FI (not A) U (1-1)
Sorry, Butch, a last-minute escape over Alcorn State does not mean a last-minute escape from the Bottom 10. But here at Bottom 10 HQ, we're hoping everyone there escaped Hurricane Irma OK.
4. FA (not I) U (0-2)
Sorry, Lane, a better-than-expected performance at Wisconsin doesn't mean a sooner-than-expected departure from these rankings. But like your swapped-vowel neighbors, we wish you all the best while you waited out the storm in Madison.
This week, we're writing "COveted Fifth SpOt" with Block O's. Hey, it's not that the Buckeyes lost, it's that they really, really lost, 31-16 -- their worst home defeat since 1999. Anyone who watched the game against Oklahoma in its entirety knows that it was much closer than that. Anyone, it seems, but the fans who inexplicably started leaving The Shoe with 11 minutes remaining and the Bucks trailing only by 11 points. On the bright side, they weren't there to have their souls set afire by Baker Mayfield's postgame, midfield Iwo Jima re-enactment.
6. Baylor (0-2)
Speaking of the Coveted Fifth Spot, last week the Bears shared it with Texas and A&M. This week, they are no longer in the tongue-in-cheek slot with a group; they are in a legitimately earned spot all on their own after losing at home to a 16.5-point underdog. On the bright side, former Bottom 10 stalwart R.O.C.K. in the UTSA further solidified that "former" status by pulling off the latter.
7. UTEP (0-2)
Losing 56-7 at Oklahoma is totally understandable. Losing 31-14 to Rice at home in 2017's first PFOW (Pillow Fight Of the Week)? There's nothing Miner, er, minor about that.
8. Georgia Southern Not State (0-2)
This is the part where you go, "Hey, you made another mistake! Don't you mean State Not Southern?" No, we don't. Irma forced GS Not GSU to play on the hallowed ground of frequent Bottom 10 resident UAB, and that DNA reached out of the Legion Field turf and grabbed ahold of the Eagles. The former FCS powerhouse lost to current FCS powerhouse New Hampshire. Suddenly, Georgia Southern's Oct. 21 trip to UMass is on our PFOW radar.
9. Georgia State Not Southern (0-1)
But that Pillow Fight radar will be dominated between now and then by GSU Not GS. After a tight battle with the Fighting Byes of Open Date U, they travel to Penn State. No, that's not the PFOW. That'll be the Pillow Fight With An Anvil Hidden In It (PF...OW!). So, when's the real Pillow Fight?
10. Charlotte 0-and-2ers (0-2)
It'll be the next week, when the Georgia State Not Southern Panthers visit the Charlotte 49ers Not Panthers. I'm thinking this might be when I finally make my Bottom 10 GameDay dream a reality by driving my Dodge Ram up there from the house to Periscope off the tailgate using my iPhone and a couple of lawn chairs.