The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
Dr. Erik Selvig: "The Great Convergence. This has happened before, thousands of years ago, and the Ancients were there to see it. All the great constructions. The Mayans, the Chinese, the Egyptians. They made use of the gravitational effects of the Great Convergence."
Jane Foster: "The walls between worlds will be almost nonexistent. Physics is gonna go ballistic. Increases and decreases in gravity. Spatial extrusions. The very fabric of reality is going to be torn apart!"
Dr. Erik Selvig: "I better get my pants."
"Thor: Dark World"
With all due respect to this weekend's Alabama-LSU game -- or even Georgia-Kentucky, West Virginia-Texas, Penn State-Michigan or Oklahoma-Texas Tech -- there are much larger forces at work in college football. A convergence of the nine realms of the Bottom 10. This is indeed the weekend we've been counting down toward since the start of the season, perhaps even the start of all space and time. If our universe truly did begin with the Big Bang, then perhaps it will end this Saturday with the Prolific Poof.
For it is on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, that the UTEP Miners will travel to face the Rice Owls. An event so massive that we here at Bottom HQ, located behind the cloning facility where they make all the Laura Rutledges (seriously, how else could she host six different shows per week?), remain convinced Stephen Hawking departed this material plane earlier this year because he had seen the Conference USA schedule and knew he wouldn't be able handle what was coming.
How big is this game? The ESPN Stats & Information department, normally far too busy to deal with our silliness, actually sent data on the contest. They tell us that UTEP is the only winless FBS team this season. They tell us that UTEP has lost 20 straight. They tell us that Rice has lost eight in a row after winning their opener against Prairie View A&M via last-second field goal. Wait, we already knew this stuff! What do they think we've been doing all season? Watching the SEC West?
Meanwhile, speaking of mysterious, mystical, metaphysical powers, ESPN FPI says Rice has a 55.7 percent chance to win. Vegas says the Owls are a one-point favorite. We say it's a push. As in, dude, if you are putting money on the UTEP-Rice game we are going to push you away from the betting window.
With apologies to Froggy Williams, Brian Natkin and Steve Harvey, here's the Bottom 10 for Week 9.
1. UTEPID (0-8)
I will actually be in Texas on Saturday, but on the wrong side of the republic. I will be in Lubbock, which is nowhere near Houston. In fact, Lubbock is nowhere near anywhere. My first thought was that I wish someone had invented a portal so that I could beam myself back and forth through a wormhole that can bend space and time. Then I remembered that UTEP brought Mike Price back to coach at the end of last season, so maybe it does exist!
2. Minute Rice (1-8)
In the slim chance that I could make it all the way over to Houston, I called the Rice ticket office and asked what time Saturday's game kicks off. They informed me that I've been wrong this whole time and that the game is at UTEP. Embarrassed, I called the box office in El Paso and asked them what time the game started. They replied, "What time can you get here?"
3. U-Can't (1-6)
UConn lost to UMass via two fourth quarter touchdowns, including the winner with 3:39 remaining. Head coach Randy Edsall could not be reached for comment because he was going through his incentive-laden contract to see if there was a "carried a lead into the fourth even though we lost" bonus check coming. On Saturday night, the Huskies host the postgame party when they host 1-7 Living on Tulsa Time.
4. Boiling Green State (1-7)
In a sly move, #MACtion will try to undercut the impact of all of the above, when the Falcons host fellow 1-7 State of Kent on Tuesday night, fittingly, Halloween Eve. Then, like the Great Pumpkin, they will emerge from the darkness of that game to face another likely one-time winner, the Central Michigan Chippy-was.
5. Colora-duh (5-3)
Less than a month ago the Buffa-noes were 5-0 and talking about pulling off the impossible by crashing the College Football Playoff party. Now they are 5-3 and in the Coveted Fifth Spot after accomplishing something even more impossible: blowing a 28-point lead and surrendering Bottom 10 stalwart Oregon State's first Pac-12 road win in four years.
6. In a Rut-gers (1-7)
The Scarlett Knots have taken a totally opposite approach to making a run at the Bottom 10 title. Instead of scheduling late season head-to-head matchups with other Bottom 10 teams, they booked Texas State early (thus the lone win) and will finish the year with Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State. It's a bold strategy, Cotton, let's see how this plays out. And bring cotton swabs, Cotton, Rutgers is gonna need them.
7. Western Kentucky Hillstoppers (1-6)
Should UTEP lose to Rice, keep your eyes on Nov. 17. That's when WKU hosts the Miners. It's always great to see traditional regional rivalry games, isn't it?
8. UNLV Runnin' Tarks (2-6)
Speaking of UTEP, the Miners were one of UNLV's back-to-back early season victories. The other was Prairie View A&M, which apparently schedules its FBS games by printing out the Bottom 10 and calling everyone on the list. But how is a two-win team ranked eighth? They were stomped by winless San No-se State, who'd been in our bottom four all season.
9. Central Michigan Chippy-was (1-8)
Central Michigan will play Eastern Michigan, this coming two weeks after losing to Western Michigan and five weeks after losing to Michigan State. Sadly, CMU does not play Michigan, Northern Michigan, Northwestern Michigan, Southwestern Michigan, North Central Michigan, Lake Michigan College, Michigan Tech, or Mid-Michigan Community College.
10. State of New Mexico State (2-7)
Earlier this season the Aggies defeated UTEP (the Laura Rutledge of college football teams; seriously, how many are there?) and won the first half of their in-season home-and-home with the Liberty U. Fightin' Falwells. So, how did NMSU (not UNM) end up here? Because the Aggies lost to Texas State, which was ranked third in last week's Bottom 10. I would say that the folks in San Marcos are excited about the Bobcats' second win of the year, but judging by the number of airplane banners flying around the game demanding the firing of everyone, they seem to want to tank more than that fish guy in "The Shape of Water."
Waiting List: UNC Achilles Heels (1-6); Louisville WTH Is Lamar Jacksons (2-6); San No-se state (1-7); Texas State Armadillos (2-6); UCLA Boo-ins (2-6); Arkan-saw (2-7); State of Kent (1-7); Living on Tulsa Time (1-7); pretty much everyone in Florida not named UCF