Commentary

Notre Dame's Hollywood ending

Originally Published: September 14, 2011
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

WEEK: Preseason | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:


Bettina Peterson: You look lost.
Chuck Noland: I do?
Bettina Peterson: Where're you headed?
Chuck Noland: Well, I was just about to figure that out.
Bettina Peterson: Well, that's 83 South. And this road here will hook you up with I-40 East. If you turn right, that'll take you to Amarillo, Flagstaff, California. And if you head back that direction, you'll find a whole lot of nothing all the way back to Canada.
Chuck Noland: I got it.
Bettina Peterson: All right, then. Good luck, cowboy.

-- "Cast Away," Tom Hanks and Lari White

Are you kidding me?

After the Bottom 10 spent two hours watching Tom Hanks converse with, of all things, a volleyball on a deserted island, the 2000 film ended with Hanks talking to a stranger at a crossroads in the middle of nowhere.

Talk about an unsatisfying ending.

Notre Dame knows about unsatisfying endings all too well. The Fighting Irish, who came into the 2011 season with aspirations of playing in a BCS bowl game, are 0-2 after suffering through the mother of abominable endings in their 35-31 loss at Michigan in Week 2.

After Notre Dame blew a 24-7 lead in the fourth quarter at the Big House, the Irish seemed to save themselves when quarterback Tommy Rees threw a 29-yard touchdown to Theo Riddick for a 31-28 lead with 30 seconds to play. But somehow, the Irish defense allowed the Wolverines to drive from their 20 to the Notre Dame 16 in only 28 seconds.

Michigan won the game on quarterback Denard Robinson's 16-yard touchdown pass to Roy Roundtree with two seconds to play.

It might have been the worst ending in the storied history of Notre Dame football, and easily earned the Fighting Irish the not-so-coveted No. 5 spot in this week's Bottom 10 (If you're new to the Bottom 10 party, No. 5 is reserved for the top BCS blunder of the week.).

With apologies to Steve Harvey and Tom Hanks, here's this week's Bottom 10 (and some of the most unsatisfying endings in the history of Hollywood):

ESPN.com's Bottom 10
  RANK TEAM RECORD COMMENT
1. Memphis 0-2 "No Country for Old Men": The film's assassin gets in a car wreck, buys a kid's shirt and walks away at the end. Somehow, the Tigers, who were outscored 106-17 in their first two games, keep walking away from train wrecks on Saturday, including this week's Pillow Fight of the Week against Austin Peay.
2. New Mexico 0-2 "Titanic": Every fourth-grader who read a history book knew how this movie was going to end. How many college football fans knew New Mexico's ship wouldn't sink under coach Mike Locksley?
3. UNLV 0-2 "War of the Worlds": In the film, aliens aren't destroyed by some secret government weapon; they're wiped out by germs. The Rebels didn't lose by 52 points to some juggernaut last week -- it was Washington State!
4. Akron 0-2 "The Happening": After Mark Wahlberg led his family to safety from an invisible toxic killer, the movie ended with the same scenario starting all over again. The Zips have to wonder why they suffer the same fate every Saturday, too.
5. Notre Dame 0-2 "Cast Away": After being stranded on a deserted island with little more than a volleyball and FedEx boxes, Tom Hanks' life was at a crossroads when he returned to civilization. After an abysmal 0-2 start, the Irish seem to be at a crossroads (again).
6. Florida Atlantic 0-2 "The Number 23": In the film, Jim Carrey is obsessed with a book he thinks was written about him. In the end, we find out Carrey is mad and actually wrote the book himself. Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger must be pulling out his hair after his playbook produced one first down in last week's 44-0 loss at Michigan State.
7. San Jose State 0-2 "Saving Private Ryan": For nearly three hours, we watched Hanks and seven other soldiers try to save Matt Damon. Then nearly all of them died in the end. The Spartans fought UCLA for all but the final eight minutes Saturday, then lost 27-17 in the end.
8. North Texas 0-2 "The Abyss": After scientists discovered an alien presence at the bottom of the ocean, they're saved at the end by an alien spaceship. It might take an extraterrestrial presence to save the not-so-Mean Green at No. 2 Alabama on Saturday.
9. Kent State 0-2 "Wizard Of Oz": Who wasn't disappointed to learn that Dorothy never actually left Kansas and that the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion were all part of a dream? The Golden Flashes probably will suffer another nightmare at Kansas State on Saturday.
10. Western Kentucky 0-2 "Premonition": Sandra Bullock tried to save her cheating husband (how's that for a real-life premonition?) from dying in a car accident, but then caused the accident herself. With nine turnovers in two games, the Hilltoppers keep causing themselves to lose.

Waiting list: Boise State's probation, Boston College (0-2), Clemson's defense, Duke (0-2), Fresno State's financial assistance, Gary "The Iceman" Pinkel, Georgia's turnovers, Indiana's collapse, Louisville (1-1), Middle Tennessee State (0-2), Mississippi State's clock management, Oklahoma-Texas standoff, Oregon State (0-2), Oregon State's punting, Penn State's offense, Purdue (1-1), Washington's punting on the run.

Mark Schlabach covers college football for ESPN.com.

Mark Schlabach | email

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