Commentary

All aboard the Love Boat

Originally Published: November 2, 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:


Love, exciting and new
Come aboard, we're expecting you
Love, life's sweetest reward
Let it flow, it floats back to you

Love Boat soon will be making another run
The Love Boat promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure
Your mind on a new romance

And love won't hurt anymore
It's an open smile on a friendly shore
It's love
Welcome aboard
It's love!"

-- "The Love Boat" theme, Jack Jones

"The Love Boat" was one of The Bottom 10's favorite shows. You never knew what kind of romance, drama or mischief you might find, let alone which guest stars might appear, ranging from the uniquely talented (Charo!) to iconic (Milton Berle?).

Kirk Ferentz certainly isn't feeling the love in Iowa after the Hawkeyes lost 22-21 at Minnesota last week. Instead of sharing a first-place lead in the Big Ten Legends Division, he's coming off another humiliating loss entering his team's toughest stretch of the 2011 season.

In 13 seasons at Iowa, Ferentz has guided the Hawkeyes through some stormy waters and there's been no shortage of mischief and mayhem aboard his ship.

With Ferentz earning $3.86 million annually, making him Iowa's highest-paid state employee, Hawkeyes fans expect him to steer a winning team -- not a sinking ship.

If Ferentz decides football is no longer for him he can always follow in the footsteps of Iowa native Fred Grandy, who played Love Boat purser Gopher Smith before trading in TV sitcom fame for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Bottom 10 has always been like a marina to a boatload of sinking ships. But rarely have so many FBS programs anchored in The Bottom 10. Mediocrity and overall ineptitude have knocked the wind out of sails at Colorado, Kansas, Indiana and Maryland.

With apologies to Steve Harvey, Jack Jones and Fred Grandy, here's this week's Bottom 10, along with some memorable Love Boat episodes:

ESPN.com's Bottom 10
  RANK TEAM RECORD COMMENT

1. New Mexico 0-8 "A Tasteful Affair": The Lobos just can't rid themselves of the bitter aftertaste of the Mike Locksley era, which was anything but tasteful. New Mexico lost 42-0 to Air Force last week and has dropped its last three games by a combined score of 160-7.
2. Florida Atlantic 0-7 "The Oldies But Goodies": There hasn't been anything good about 77-year-old Howard Schnellenberger's last season as FAU's coach. The Owls lost at Middle Tennessee 38-14 on Oct. 22, their 10th consecutive defeat going back to last season.
3. UAB 1-7 "Home Is Not A Home": The Blazers, who lost 59-14 at Marshall last week, won't be getting a new home anytime soon. The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees vetoed the school's plans for a $75 million, on-campus stadium. The trustees said the Blazers haven't generated enough money or fan support to justify the costs.
4. Akron 1-7 "The Decision": Trailing Central Michigan 23-22 after scoring a touchdown on the final play of last week's game, the Zips went for broke at home. Instead of kicking an extra point to tie the score and send the game into overtime, Akron went for two and threw incomplete. Maybe the Zips will have better luck at Miami (Ohio) on Thursday night in the Pillow Fight of the Week.
5. Iowa 5-3 "Not So Fast, Gopher": Minnesota won the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy after the Hawkeyes blew a 21-10 lead in the fourth quarter. It was a bitter loss for Iowa, which gained 446 yards of offense, and conversely sweet for the Gophers, which kept the brozne pig -- and skewered the Hawkeyes -- for the second year in a row.
6. Idaho 1-7 "All's Fair in Love and War": Holding a 14-13 lead over Hawaii late in last week's game, the Vandals decided to throw on third-and-6. The Warriors intercepted the pass and drove for a winning 35-yard field goal with 32 seconds left.
7. Colorado 1-8 "Unmade for Each Other": Is anyone beginning to think the Buffaloes aren't a great fit for the Pac-12? Or that new coach Jon Embree isn't a great fit for Colorado? Embree, a former NFL assistant, is under fire after saying his players accept losing too easily after last week's 48-14 loss at Arizona State.
8. Indiana 1-8 "First Impressions": Former Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson's maiden voyage as Indiana's coach has been rough. The Hoosiers allowed 405 yards of offense and 38 points in the first half of last week's 59-38 loss to Northwestern.
9. Kansas 2-6 "Help Wanted": The Bottom 10 keeps waiting for the Jayhawks to show some signs of improvement under second-year coach Turner Gill. It is yet to be seen. Kansas had three first downs and 46 yards of offense (minus-2 rushing) in last week's 43-0 loss at Texas. Gill needs help or the Jayhawks might be hanging a "Help Wanted" sign of their own.
10. Maryland 2-6 "Dumb Luck": First the Terrapins ran off former coach Ralph Friedgen, who was named ACC Coach of the Year after a 9-4 finish in 2010. Then the Terps didn't hire coach-in-waiting James Franklin, who has Vanderbilt playing inspired football. Maryland hasn't looked very inspired under coach Randy Edsall, falling to 2-6 after last week's 28-17 loss to Boston College. The Terps' one ACC win, remember, came against a depleted Miami team in Week 1.

Waiting list: Arizona (2-6), Buffalo (2-7), Clemson pulling, well, a Clemson, Florida's offense, Georgia's running backs, Louisiana-Monroe (2-6), Memphis (2-7), Navy (2-6), Notre Dame's team building exercises, Ole Miss (2-6), Rice (2-6), Texas A&M's halftime adjustments, Texas Tech's focus, Tulane (2-7), USC's clock management, Utah State (2-5), Vanderbilt being, well, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin's prevent defense.

Mark Schlabach covers college football for ESPN.com.

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball