Bottom 10: Zeroing in on the worst teams in the country

Fans during the Nebraska-Northwestern game show off an impressive cup snake in the stands. (0:25)

Week Zero and the Bottom 10 are a marriage made in confusing, loser heaven. Just where did Nebraska land after their Big Ten opening loss to Northwestern? And where do the annual Bottom 10 powerhouses rank in the preseason standings?

Inspirational thought of the week:

I can’t say that I’m sorry
For the things that we done
At least for a little while, sir,
Me and her we had us some fun

— “Nebraska” Bruce Springsteen

Here at Bottom 10 Headquarters, located in the alley behind a Dublin pub where a group of overserved Nebraska fans elected to miss their flight and sleep it off until 2023, we spent last weekend feeling not sad like Big Red Nation, but rather like the rest of the college football world. Confused.

You see, the goal around here was to write and post a preseason Bottom 10 before the season started, which we assumed would happen during the part of the calendar labeled “Week One.” But then we found out too late about this “Week Zero” thing, like, late as in turned on the TV Saturday to watch Hercules on Freeform with our families only to find that there were games happening. A total of 11 games in all, featuring 22 teams and … wait … Vandy at Hawai’i, a Preseason Pillow Fight of the Week?!

Around here we take pride in knowing what zero means. Most of our teams have zeros at the front of their win-loss records. They all are favored in nearly zero games that they play. And even during a time when there are eleventy billion bowl games, the teams of the Bottom 10 annually receive zero invites. Thus, we felt zero happiness as we realized that Week Zero is a thing we should be zeroed in on.

So, it was with zero hesitation or remorse that I snatched up the remote and flipped the family room television to college football, bad college football, even as my family rose from the sofa to their feet and began to hurl their cinnamon rolls and iced coffees at my head. Defiantly, I pressed the button to find UN vs. NU in the IRL, the click that officially started the 2022 college football season, departing the movie just as the gospel girls sung to the son of Zeus: “Zero to hero, just like that!”

Family enters den, sees TV, sees my face, realizes its Week Zero.

With apologies to Tom Osborne, Johnny 99 and Steve Harvey, here are the post-Week Zero kinda sorta 2022 preseason Bottom 10 rankings.

Last year the Minutemen scored 24 touchdowns in 12 games, which actually makes them the Only-1-Point-Scored-Per-Every-4-Minutesmen.

I used to get so mad at my social studies teacher back in eastern North Carolina when she would pronounce the name of the state Huh-Why-Yuh. But Saturday night after getting steamrolled 63-10 by Bottom 10 stalwart Van-duh-built, Rainbow Warriors QB-hero-turned-head coach Timmy Chang was likely saying it like that, too. As in “Huh, why, uh, did I come back here?”

Meanwhile, Chang’s previous employer, Nevada, was helping this squad get its Bottom 10 title chase off on its left foot with a 23-12 win in Las Cruces. This weekend New Mexico State travels to Minnesota, where new coach Jerry Kill faces the team he coached for half a decade, the Golden Gophers. If they lose that game (and they will) then the Other Aggies could potentially play in as many as four editions of the Pillow Fight of the Week over the span of only seven games — vs. Hawai’i, FIU, New Mexico and UMass. It’ll be like that show Wipeout, but if the big, long cylinder was covered in that water those kids are sliding around in in that Woodstock ’99 documentary.

While most #MACtion teams will be spending their season openers on the road playing against Power 5 schools and their accountants, the Zips have elected to extend Week Zero by turning Week 1 into Week Zip, hosting St. Francis University from Pennsylvania, aka the Red Flash. The mystically accurate ESPN FPI formula says that Akron has an 88% chance of winning, so I’m assuming Barry Allen isn’t playing.

The season’s first Coveted Fifth Spot goes to a school that doesn’t field an American football team. But the home of the Pumas does have the planet’s No. 1-ranked institute of geography and cartography. That makes them the biggest losers of the offseason. Can’t you see the dean walking into the office with crumpled maps of the United States in each hand, screaming, “How are we supposed to put Los Angeles in the Midwest?!”

The Panthers lost so many players to the trans-er portal d-r-ng the o-season that wh-le try-ng to wr-te th-s sentence the letters F, I and U all started trans-err-ng o-t o- my doc-ment.

I know people can be a bit divided over the plotline of the last Star Wars film, “The Rise of Skywalker,” but everyone will recognize the prescient genius in it when Randy Edsall comes back half-cloned, boney and glassy-eyed, cackling like resurrected Palpatine.

The Lobos will jump right into the heart of their Mountain West Mountain Division calendar early, with a Week 2 visit from Boise State. But first they face off with a traditional, natural and regional rival in Maine.

Last season Terry Bowden and his staff of fellow big- résumé Power 5 coaches led the Warhawks to a four-win season after an oh-fer 2020 campaign. But this year they, ulm, travel to Texas, Alabama and Army, with, ulm, visits from Fun Belt West favorite Louisiana and Fun Belt East darlings Coastal Carolina sprinkled in between. But if Bowden ever starts feeling like the ground beneath his feet is unsteady, he can simply look east and think, “Well, it could be worse. I could still be at Auburn.”

Speaking of enduring chaos while looking back at days gone by, do you think that during the 4,100-mile redeye flight back to Lincoln from Dublin that Scott Frost looked around, made sure everyone else was asleep, and secretly slipped on his 2017 UCF national title ring, hoping it would be like one of those Hobbit rings that could bring him mystical powers? Or at least The Schwartz?

Waiting list: Texas State Armadillos, Vanderbilt Commode Doors, Minute Rice, Dook, Southern Missed, Temple Bowels, Kansas Nayhawks.