Commentary

Slogans to live (and lose) by

Originally Published: September 21, 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:


Are you tired of losing, Ole Miss fans?
A cloud hangs over us. We're told we'll never compete in the SEC.
That we lack the talent. The fan support. And the funding.
We respectfully disagree.
We believe that Ole Miss can compete in the SEC. And win championships.
We believe that our coaches are not the problem. Or our athletes. Or our fans.
The Ole Miss Administration is the problem.
Our leadership has failed us. And our leadership must be held accountable.
Our coaches and athletes deserve it. Ole Miss supporters deserve it.
We've waited long enough. We're tired of losing.
It's time for a change.

-- Forward Rebels

Those words weren't included in some fairy tale the Bottom 10 read to its children earlier this week, in which Ole Miss actually competed for and won SEC titles and where Bulldogs, Crimson Tide, Razorbacks and Tigers didn't really exist.

Those words were actually the contents of a full-page advertisement a group of Ole Miss boosters, who call themselves "Forward Rebels," paid to have published earlier this week in five newspapers in Mississippi and one in Tennessee.

The Rebels were thoroughly embarrassed in a 30-7 loss at Vanderbilt last week, which was the Commodores' largest margin of victory in an SEC game since 1971. The Rebels narrowly avoided being shut out by the Commodores for the first time since 1946, scoring a touchdown with just over two minutes to play.

After leading the Rebels to back-to-back Cotton Bowl appearances in his first two seasons at Ole Miss in 2008 and '09, Houston Nutt's team limped to a 4-8 mark in 2010, including a woeful 1-7 record in SEC play. Ole Miss is 1-2 this season, with its only victory coming against FCS foe Southern Illinois.

Ole Miss fans are tired of losing, and Nutt knows it.

"It's a bad vibe right now," he told reporters earlier this week.

It won't get any easier for Ole Miss, which earned the not-so-coveted No. 5 spot in this week's Bottom 10 (if you're new to the Bottom 10, No. 5 is reserved for the top BCS blunder of the week). The Rebels host Georgia on Saturday and play No. 3 Alabama and No. 14 Arkansas in consecutive weeks in October.

Nutt could really use a creative ad man to swing public support back in his direction.

With apologies to Steve Harvey and Forward Rebels, here's this week's Bottom 10, along with some of the best ad slogans of all time:

ESPN.com's Bottom 10
  RANK TEAM RECORD COMMENT
1. New Mexico 0-3 "Loose lips sink ships (War Advertising Council)": Mike Locksley's battleship is all but sunk; the Lobos are 2-25 in his two-plus seasons in charge. Maybe he'll let his assistants do more coaching in Saturday's game against FCS foe Sam Houston State.
2. Akron 0-3 "When it rains it pours (Morton Salt)": The Zips had three turnovers returned for touchdowns -- a 54-yard fumble return and interception returns of 36 and 53 yards -- in the first half of last week's 59-14 loss to Cincinnati.
3. Western Kentucky 0-3 "Don't leave home without it (American Express)": The Hilltoppers can't leave home without a loss, falling to FCS foe Indiana State 44-16 last week, their 17th consecutive home defeat. WKU will try to end the dubious losing streak Oct. 1 against Arkansas State.
4. Florida Atlantic 0-2 "We bring good things to life (General Electric)": The Owls have played dead during their first two games, losing to Florida and Michigan State by a combined score of 85-3. They may have to wait to be brought back to life -- defending BCS national champion Auburn is up next.
5. Ole Miss 1-2 "The ultimate driving experience (BMW)": The Rebels are more like the not-so-ultimate driving experience. Against Vanderbilt, seven of the Rebels' 14 possessions lasted four plays or fewer and ended in a punt or turnover.
6. North Texas 0-3 "Reach out and touch someone (AT&T)": The not-so-Mean Green allowed 586 yards of offense in last week's 41-0 loss at Alabama and rank last among FBS teams in total defense, allowing 559 yards per game.
7. UAB 0-2 "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking (Timex)": Tulane held the football for nearly 42 minutes and gained 540 yards of offense in a 49-10 rout of the Blazers last week.
8. Kent State 0-3 "The quick picker-upper (Bounty)": The not-so-Golden Flashes lost at Kansas State 37-0 last week. They can only hope for relief against FCS foe South Alabama on Saturday.
9. San Jose State 0-3 "We try harder (Avis)": The winless Spartans were driving for a go-ahead touchdown against Nevada, until throwing an interception in the end zone with 1:10 left in a 17-14 loss. If they play as hard, they might defeat New Mexico State in this week's Pillow Fight of the Week.
10. Boston College 0-3 "So easy a caveman can do it (GEICO)": Maybe not. The Eagles lost their third straight game when they missed a 23-yard field goal with 43 seconds to go in a 20-19 loss to Duke last week.

Waiting list: Arizona State's offensive line, Auburn's defense, Buffalo (1-2), BYU's turnovers, Connecticut (1-2), Duke (1-2), East Carolina (0-2), Indiana (1-2), Kansas' run defense, Marshall (1-2), Maryland's suspensions, Memphis (1-2), Miami, Ohio (0-2), Middle Tennessee State (0-2), Minnesota (1-2), Ohio State's offense, Pittsburgh's collapse, South Carolina's extended stays, Tulsa's late-night football, UNLV (1-2), Washington's special teams.

Mark Schlabach covers college football for ESPN.com.

Mark Schlabach | email

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