- Senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com
- 2-time Sports Emmy winner
- 2010, 2014 NMPA Writer of the Year
[Editor’s note: The 2021 college football season has Week 1 behind it, and that means a shake-up in the Bottom 10.]
Inspirational thought of the week:
Don’t want to be a fool for you
Just another player in your game for two
You may hate me but it ain’t no lie
Baby bye bye bye
Don’t really want to make it tough
I just want to tell you that I’ve had enough
Might sound crazy but it ain’t no lie
Baby bye bye bye
— “Bye Bye Bye,” ‘N Sync
Here at Bottom 10 Headquarters, located in a tunnel of the abandoned Dallas warehouse where a bunch of people in suits just showed up suddenly digging through boxes for old Big Eight logo stuff, we have always maintained that the greatest aspect of penning the Bottom 10 comes in the reward of seeing a longtime regular team finally do what they’d always dreamed of: win. That’s why on Friday night, when the then-top/bottom-ranked Kansas Jayhawks won for the first time in 679 days, I ran out into the parking lot of my hotel and tried to tear down a Bradford pear tree like it was a Memorial Stadium goalpost.
One day later, we experienced the flip side of this life, that strange, sad feeling when a longtime familiar face is pushed out of the Bottom 10 Cinematic Universe like Regina George into an oncoming bus. Then, when you realize that the person fired is Randy Edsall, it’s not sad. It’s just strange. It’s no secret that the Bottom 10 and Coach Edsall have had our differences over the years. Like many forced relationships, ours became a bit soured. And we felt guilty about that until we realized that we weren’t alone.
But hey, that’s what happens when you lose a lot. And it’s also what happens when someone stomps around life only slightly less huggable than an industrial-sized spool of barbed wire.
With apologies to Joseph Glidden, Dan Orlovsky and Steve Harvey, here’s the 2021 Week 1 Bottom 10.
1. U-Can’t (0-2)
On Friday, the Randy Edsall Charm School finally scored points for the first time since Nov. 30, 2019, ending a 643-day drought. Unfortunately, FCS New England neighbor Holy Cross scored more. On Sunday, UConn and Edsall announced that the coach would retire at season’s end, presumably to take a victory lap retirement tour, where he would be showered with gifts such as plaques and rocking chairs. On Monday, it was announced Edsall would instead be stepping down immediately, presumably because he realized that he was more likely to be showered with eggs and tomatoes, especially when the Huskies traveled to …
2. UMess (0-1)
The Minutemen opened their 2021 campaign being edged out by Pitt 51-7. Sources have informed the Bottom 10 JortsCenter News Desk that what should have been a very sad flight home to Amherst wound up turning into “Soul Plane 2” when they learned of the Edsall news, directing the pilot to buzz Storrs like Maverick by the Miramar control tower.
3. Whew Mexico State (0-2)
The Other Aggies will hopefully not take a wrong turn at Albuquerque as they roll into town for the 116th edition of the Battle of I-25 versus archrival New Mexico. At no point during his two decade-plus head-coaching career did Randy Edsall face off against New Mexico or New Mexico State. That’s odd because New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment and he’s always been so enchanting.
4. Boiling Green (0-1)
The Brown Falcons, who infamously rolled over Randy Edsall’s 2015 Maryland Terrapins 48-27 to start a slide that ultimately led to his midseason firing, didn’t look awful against Tennessee on Rocky Top. I mean, the team didn’t look awful. Those uniforms, however, yeesh. This week they will play what we thought might be the Pillow Fight of the Week undercard, hosting the South Alabama Redundancies, but the U-S-A! Jags took an unexpectedly large bite out of Bottom 10 Waiting Listers Southern Missed.
Every ranked ACC team — Clemson, North Carolina and Miami — lost, and another four teams — Duke, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Louisville — either lost games they shouldn’t have, had a would-be upset slip through their fingers or had half the roster ejected for targeting. It was the perfect tribute to Randy Edsall’s three years in the league, leading Maryland to a 13-24 record, ACC Atlantic Division finishes of sixth, fifth and fifth, and a grand finale loss to Marshall in the Military Bowl.
6. Vanderbilt Commode Doors (0-1)
Van-duh-built, which is scheduled to face the Team Formerly Coached By An Infamously Cranky Randy (Edsall) on Oct. 2, lost to FCS school East Tennessee State, aka the Team Currently Coached By A Famously Nice Randy (Sanders).
7. Temple Bowels (0-1)
The Owls, who defeated Randy Edsall’s 2018 and 2019 UConn teams by a combined score of 126-24, fell to former Bottom 10 stalwart Rutgers 61-14. That sets up this Saturday’s Pillow Fight of the Week when TU travels to …
8. Akron-monious (0-1)
The Zips, who are named after what Randy Edsall did from the Phoenix airport after his UConn team had just played the biggest game in school history, lost at Auburn 60-10. What looked to be a three-team race for the bottom rung of #MACtion is now down to two, Boiling Green and Akron, because Northern Illinois rolled into Atlanta and threw Georgia Tech onto that pile of ACC losses. In related news, Northern Illinois was in the same Atlanta hotel where I was staying for Miami-Alabama, and the Huskies surrounded me on the elevator like Hydra did to Steve Rogers, only I’m not a super soldier, so I agreed that perhaps I might cut them some Bottom 10 slack should they win. And they did. Also, I was totally dressed like Steve Rogers because I had just come from Dragon Con.
9. Old Duh-Minions (0-1)
Old Dominion the football team, which was scheduled to play UConn team in 2020 before Edsall pulled the plug on the season, came up during Saturday morning’s Marty & McGee, with Old Dominion the country band on set as guests. We showed “highlights” of ODU’s 42-10 loss to Wake Forest in an effort to shamelessly promote the Bottom 10. Then I asked lead singer Matt Ramsey if people often want to know if the band went to school at Old Dominion. He said yes, but then quickly added, “They’ll perform poorly and then we’ll get on our Twitter account, ‘Man, y’all suck!'” I looked it up and one of those Twitter handles was @EdsallIsTheMan.
10. Kansas Nayhawks (1-0)
Did I mention the part where their win was by three points over FCS also-ran South Dakota? And did I mention that I knocked myself out trying to tear down that hotel parking lot tree?
Waiting list: LS-Whew, Southern Missed, ULM (pronounced “Ulm”) unLv, FI(not A)U, Temple Bowels, Georgia State Not Southern, Ill-ugh-noise, US(not C)F, By The Time I Get To Arizona, Texas State Armadillos, Yew-tah State, South Alabama Redundancies, COVID-19.
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