The Bottom 10 just means more with Tennessee and the SEC

ByRyan McGee ESPN logo
Thursday, September 5, 2019

Bottom 10 Inspirational thought of the week:

If I had my way

I'd leave here today

I'd move in a hurry

I'd find me a place where I could stay

And not have to worry

A place I'd feel loose

A place I could lose ... these Tennessee Blues

-- "Tennessee Blues" Bobby Charles

Here at Bottom 10 HQ, located in a flat-tired Airstream parked behind Paul Finebaum's mansion, we have always had a soft spot in our hearts for Georgia State. We watched them be birthed by Bill Curry. We watched them win a Bottom 10 championship in 2014, only to bounce back and become a bowl team. It was the Cure Bowl, twice, but a bowl nonetheless. And then there's been our adorable back and forth about the name, Georgia State Not Southern, which has spurred many vicious emails and tweets from Atlanta but also one very awkward hug from a GSU-wearing traveler in the Atlanta airport.

But what Georgia State did on Saturday, defeating Tennessee 38-30, defies explanation. It defies expectations. It caused self-exploration. In Knoxville, it ignited much tobacco juice expectoration. Not to mention much film examination.

However, in the end, Georgia State's greatest accomplishment was to provide others with an invitation to accept an anticipation for inspiration. If State Not Southern can attack the banks of the Tennessee River like it was Normandy, then why can't the other teams who have long lived on this list?

But therein lies the great conundrum of the Bottom 10. For every team that departs this page, another must arrive to replace it. And as the Panthers took their $950,000 check and left the Smokies with the W, the team they'd beaten had just made a security deposit on GSU's suddenly vacated residence. It's the circle of life. But there's no Pride Rock here. Only pride smashed against a Rocky Top.

With apologies to Heath Shuler and Steve Harvey, here's this week's Bottom Ten... nessee.


The Randy Edsall Charm School made Bottom 10 history this week, jumping from third to first in the rankings despite winning its game. How in the world does that happen? When that win is a 24-21 nail-biter over Wagner, a team picked to finish fourth in the FCS Northeast League. When asked about the Huskies matching last year's win total after only one week, Edsall said, "I'm never going to apologize for winning, I don't care if we're supposed to beat somebody 62-10. A win's a win, and for our program we needed to win, regardless how it was." He then gulped down a cup of drywall nails and vanished from the press room in a cloud of red smoke.

2. UMess(0-1)

The Minutemen helped get In-A-Rut-gers out of that rut, losing the Pillow Fight of the Week, 48-21. The countdown is already on to the Pillow Fight of the Week of the Year on Oct. 26 when UMess hosts U-Can't in the Stop & Shop Wicked Smaht Bowl presented by Dunkin'.

3. Whew, Mexico State(0-1)

After getting paloused at Washington State, 58-7, the Other Aggies will travel to Tuscaloosa to face Nick Saban's angriest-ever team and then host San Diego State. After that, they face the New England Patriots, the '72 Miami Dolphins and the Monstars. I mean, I haven't actually looked, but the way this schedule has started, that seems about right.

4. Rocky Slop(0-1)

Wait, you Tennessee fans thought you were off the hook because of that overwritten opening story about your loss to Georgia State Not Southern? Not a chance. And yes, I'm a Tennessee graduate with a Knoxville-raised wife and four best friends whom I met on campus. In related news, moments after these rankings were posted I was informed I am now friendless, divorced and under investigation for academic fraud.

5. S-E-C! S-E-C!

Wait, you Missouri fans thought you were off the hook because another SEC team made the rankings? Same for you over there, dude in your Landshark Ole Miss hoodie. And you too, Cocky. And yeah, guy with the Hog on his head, don't be bragging about that squeaker over Portland State. And Florida, have you stopped showering yet to wash off the grime of Week Zero? Congratulations, you're all sharing the Coveted Fifth Spot this week. Also, I've got the Pac-12 on the other line to say thank y'all for taking the Week 1 heat off of them. You know what "Just means more" now? Week Two, that's what.

6. UCLA Boo-ins(0-1)

Wait, you Pac-12 people thought that you were off the hook because of that last comment in that last ranking? Nope. Hey, who knew that UCLA at Arizona would be an early candidate for the Sept. 28 Pillow Fight of the Week?

7. UTEPID (1-0)

Wait, you UTEP fans thought you'd be exiting the rankings because of your (Miner) miracle win? Yes, UTEP won, but by a score of 36-34 over Dallas Baptist University. Speaking of, this weekend when Texas plays LSU and they are viciously debating who is the real DBU, you now know the real answer. Dallas Baptist University. Wait... the phone is ringing... OK, I'm being told now that it was actually Houston Baptist University, not Dallas Baptist University. We can only hope that two tiny single wing teams somewhere are out there talking smack about the real Half Back University.

8. Akron-monious(0-1)

The Zips-and-1 seized up the banner of the MAC by losing a Pillow Fight of the Week undercard matchup at Ill-uh-noise. That flag had been dropped by Central Michigan as they danced around celebrating their win over Albany. There will be no shortage of Bottom 10 candidates from the conference next week after its traditional Week 2 MACtion Big Boy Scheduling Power Five Powerball Cash Grab Extravaganza, with games against Pitt, Kansas State, Utah, Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State and Kentucky.

9. Myrtle Beach University(0-1)

Coastal Carolina fell to former Bottom 10 stalwart Eastern Michigan and now embarks on a Game of Thrones-ish quest that takes them on the road to face the Kansas Mad Hatters in the Pillow Fight of the Week, a visit from Norfolk State and a trip to UMess. Last week I joked about the validity of Myrtle Beach being listed by an adult dating site as America's second most romantic city. In response I received many tweets and emails from South Carolinians, angry about my comments. One couple included photographs of them proving how romantic Myrtle Beach can be. I had no idea you could do that with a funnel cake.

10. Give Me Liberty(0-1)

The Fightin' Falwells made their bowl-eligible FBS season debut at home against Syracuse, and new head coach Hugh Freeze proved once and for all that our fathers were right when, over the noise of our PlayStation 2s, they kept yelling, "This is no way to go through life, lying in bed playing NCAA Football all night!"

Waiting List: Minute Rice (0-1), San No-se State (1-0), State of Kent (0-1), Baller State (0-1), By The Time I Get To Arizona (0-1), Ore-gone State (0-1), Georgia Southern Not State (0-1), Texas State Armadillos (0-1), Week Zero.

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