Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:
I was waiting for so long
For a miracle to come
Everyone told me to be strong
Hold on and don't shed a tear
Through the darkness and good times
I knew I'd make it through
And the world thought I'd had it all
But I was waiting for you
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has come
A new day has ... come
-- "A New Day Has Come," Celine Dion
Here at Bottom 10 HQ, located in a trailer behind the warehouse where Jim Harbaugh keeps his database of teams he believes are hard to beat because they cheat, we spent our August the same way as any other college football enthusiasts. We breathlessly awaited the release of the preseason polls ... and then realized we were breathless because of the stench from the rotting compost that was created by all of the awful preseason polls from previous years.
We also worked diligently to compile our own preseason rankings, reaching out to Bottom 10 experts around the nation, ranging from Watson Brown and Charlie Weis to former executives of the Big East and WAC football conferences. We sent out 100 ballots in all. Only 13 came back, and five of those were because we forgot to put stamps on some of the outgoing envelopes. Another came from Weis, paper-clipped to a cease-and-desist order and a wad of bribery cash leftover from his contract buyouts.
Still, we harvested enough information to construct a pole. No, not a poll. A pole. Then we ran a flag up that pole with the Bottom 10 logo on it to let people know that the poll -- and the pole -- was ready.
With apologies to Peabo Bryson and Steve Harvey, here's the 2019 preseason Bottom 10.
1. UTEPID (2018: 1-11)
Head coach Dana Dimel made the bold decision to conduct a "tackle-free spring" in preparation for his second season, perhaps in an effort to mathematically cancel out last year's "tackle-full fall" as the Minors finished the year ranked 126th in total offense.
2. Minute Rice (2018: 2-11)
Another second-year head coach, Mike Bloomgren, opens the year with Army, Wake Forest, Texas and Baylor, four 2018 bowl winners. In 2017 and '18, the title came down to the Rice-UTEP clash, and this year they meet in El Paso in their Nov. 30 regular-season finale. In other words, Rice vs. UTEP has become the Clemson vs. Alabama of the Bottom 10.
3. U-Can't (1-11)
Last fall the Huskies suffered their worst FBS season, losing eight games by at least 30 points and finishing with what was considered the worst defense in college football history. In June, the school announced it was going back to the Big East, a conference that no longer sponsors football. We're assuming head coach Randy Edsall probably isn't happy about that. Then again, we also assume that Randy Edsall probably isn't happy about anything ever.
4. San No-se State (2018: 1-11)
This season the Spartans, not Trojans, will play games in five different time zones. So the next time someone asks, "Do you know the way to San Jose?" you can tell them yes, but they'd better pack snacks, because they'll have to go through Arkansas, West Point and Honolulu to get there.
5. Those Week Zero Performances
No one will ever complain about more college football (at least they shouldn't) just as they will never complain about starting the season a week early (at least they shouldn't) even if that means titling it with a number that isn't really a number. The problem is when the headlining teams -- ahem, Gators and Canes -- take that zero too literally and play a game sloppier than a baby eating a birthday cake. But hey, look on the bright side, Coaches Mullen and Diaz, you still have a long time to improve. And even as bad as they both played, compared to the oatmeal slog of NFL preseason games, Miami & Florida looked like "Hobbs & Shaw."
6. Whew, Mexico State (2018: 3-8)
The Other Aggies are still in college football purgatory since they were thrown off the Fun Belt in 2017, but their resulting independent schedule is a piece of art worthy to be hung in the Bottom 10 HQ lobby over the bowl of stale Now & Laters. NMSU opens with trips to the Palouse and Tuscaloosa and ends the year with the second game of its in-season home-and-home series with Hugh Freeze's Liberty Flames ... and they play last year's top two Bottom 10 teams, UTEP and Central Michigan ... and they play Incarnate Word. ESPN Stats & Info is gonna need to put an extra squirt of WD-40 in the FPI machine.
7. UMess (2018: 4-8)
Not to be outdone by New Mexico State, this fellow FBS indy band has also put together a potentially epic Bottom 10 calendar. It opens at In-A-Rut-gers and also plays the Charlotte 5-and-7ers, Coastal Carolina, Akron, FI(not A)U, U-Can't and, yes, Hugh Freeze's Liberty Flames, but only once. Unless they can figure out a way to lure all those rivals across the Old North Bridge, this could be a long fall for the Minutemen.
8. Central Michigan Chippy-was (2018: 1-11)
The 2018 runners-up made the most intriguing Bottom 10 head-coaching hire outside of Lawrence, Kansas, bringing in Jim McElwain. The bad news for McElwain? MACtion is always well-represented in the Bottom 10. It's not a question of if a MAC team will fight for the title, it's a question of which ones (Akron, Boiling Green, State of Kent and Baller State, we also have our eyes on you). The good news for Coach Mac? There's almost zero chance of being embroiled in any strange shark photography controversies in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Almost.
9. Myrtle Beach University (2018: 5-7)
Coastal Carolina nearly earned a bowl bid one year ago, but lost a ton of starters and lost its head coach to retirement. The Chanticleers have a huge Bottom 10 statement game in Week 2 when they travel to Kansas to face the Nayhawks. They also made a big statement last week when an adult dating site ranked Myrtle Beach as the second-most-romantic city in the United States. Don't tell Mrs. McGee, but after that revelation I've decided that for our wedding anniversary in late November I'm gonna wine and dine her at the Texas State vs. Coastal Carolina game. Then we'll grab some matching airbrushed T-shirts and a funnel cake down on Ocean Boulevard. Because, romance.
10. In a Rut-gers (2018: 1-11)
All season long we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of college football, a sport first played on Nov. 6, 1869, on the Rutgers campus. The home team defeated Princeton in a game played by 50 men at once over the course of a couple of hours, but together produced a total of 10 points. In related news, the 149th Rutgers team averaged 13.5 points per game in 2018, last in the nation. What a tribute.
Waiting List: Lou-ugh-ville (2-10), Kansas Mad Hatters (3-9), State of Kent (2-10), Baller State (4-8), Boiling Green (3-9), Akron (4-8), Ore-gone State (2-10), Georgia State Not Southern (2-10), Texas State Armadillos (3-9).