Commentary

Wildcats chase Vols up a tree

Originally Published: November 30, 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:


When I feel that chill, smell that fresh cut grass
I'm back in my helmet, cleats and shoulder pads
Standing in the huddle listening to the call
Fans going crazy for the boys of fall
They didn't let just anybody in that club
Took every ounce of heart and sweat and blood
To get to wear those game day jerseys down the hall
Kings of the school man, we're the boys of fall

Well it's turn and face the Stars and Stripes
It's fighting back them butterflies
It's call it in the air, alright yes sir we want the ball
And it's knocking heads and talking trash
It's slinging mud and dirt and grass
It's I got your number, I got your back when your back's against the wall
You mess with one man you got us all
The boys of fall

-- Kenny Chesney, "The Boys of Fall"

Bottom 10 teams were again the boys of fall.

Over the last three months, the Bottom 10 did what it does better than anyone else, falling to superior opponents.

It was a rough weekend for the Bottom 10, as coaches at Akron, Kansas, Memphis and UAB were fired. Houston Nutt coached his final game at Ole Miss after he was fired earlier this month, and Tulane's Bob Toledo didn't even last that long before getting a pink slip.

Florida Atlantic's Howard Schnellenberger, who guided his team to its first victory with a 38-35 win over UAB, will coach one more game Saturday, against Louisiana-Monroe in this week's Pillow Fight of the Week.

Perhaps no coach had a worse week than Tennessee's Derek Dooley, who watched the Volunteers fall to Kentucky 10-7. The loss not only ended the Volunteers' 26-game winning streak over the Wildcats, it also knocked UT out of bowl consideration. Kentucky won the game despite playing receiver Matt Roark at quarterback, a position he hadn't played since high school.

As poorly as the Volunteers played, they might have been better off with Chesney under center. A lifelong UT fan, Chesney idolized former Volunteers quarterback Condredge Holloway and remains close to former Vols All-American Peyton Manning.

With apologies to Steve Harvey and Kenny Chesney, here's this week's Bottom 10, along with some of Chesney's biggest hits:

ESPN.com's Bottom 10
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1. New Mexico 1-10 "Shift Work": Former Notre Dame coach and ESPN analyst Bob Davie is going to have his hands full trying to rebuild the Lobos, who fell to 1-10 after a 31-10 loss at Wyoming. Their season ends with Saturday's trip to No. 7 Boise State. "Talking about a bunch of shift work. A big ol' pile of shift work. Seven to three. Three to eleven. Eleven to seven."
2. Akron 1-11 "Don't Happen Twice": The Zips defeated FCS foe Virginia Military Institute 36-13 on Sept. 24 and never won again. Coach Rob Ianello was fired after two 1-11 seasons. "Oh that's something, baby that's something. Oh that's something. That just don't happen twice."
3. Indiana 1-11 "Don't Blink": You might have missed the Hoosiers' only win of the season if you blinked. Indiana coach Kevin Wilson's first season ended with a nine-game losing streak and 0-8 mark against Big Ten foes. The Hoosiers' victory came against FCS foe South Carolina State, 38-21 on Sept. 17. "Don't blink. Just like that you're 6 years old and you take a nap. And you wake up and you're 25."
4. Memphis 2-10 "Living in Fast Forward": The Tigers, who lost at Southern Miss 44-7 in their finale, fired coach Larry Porter after only two seasons. Porter, a former star running back at Memphis, had a 3-21 record as coach of his alma mater. "One day they'll get me if they ain't got me yet."
5. Tennessee 5-7 "There Goes My Life": Tennessee coach Derek Dooley's job is safe for another season, but his offseason doesn't figure to be too much fun after the Volunteers lost to Kentucky and missed a bowl game. "There goes my future, my everything. Might as well kiss it all good-bye. There goes my life."
6. Kansas 2-10 "I Go Back": The Jayhawks fired coach Turner Gill, who probably wishes he'd never left Buffalo. Gill had a 5-19 record at Kansas, including a 1-16 mark against Big 12 opponents. "Growin' up too fast and I do recall. Wishin' time would stop right in its tracks. Every time I hear that song. I go back, I go back."
7. Maryland 2-10 "Better as a Memory": The Terrapins have to be second-guessing their decision to fire longtime coach Ralph Friedgen, who was ACC Coach of the Year last season. Former Connecticut coach Randy Edsall guided the Terps to a 2-10 record and blew a 41-14 lead in the second half of last week's 56-41 loss to NC State. "I was better as a memory than as your man. Better as a memory than as your man."
8. Ole Miss 2-10 "The Good Stuff": Houston Nutt's disappointing tenure at Ole Miss ended with last week's 31-3 loss at rival Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. At least Nutt walks away with $9.5 million in buyouts from his last two jobs. "Cause that's the good stuff. Ya man, that's the good stuff."
9. Tulane 2-11 "All I Want for Christmas is a Real Good Tan": After laboring through the Bob Toledo era, all the Green Wave want for Christmas is Mike Leach and a new on-campus stadium. At least one of those options is off the table. "All I want for Christmas is a real good tan, take me to the islands put my feet in the sand."
10. UAB 3-9 "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem": After beating his head against the wall at UAB for five seasons, former Blazers coach Neil Callaway might be sitting on a beach somewhere after he was fired Sunday. "No shoes. No shirt. No problem. Blues, what blues? Hey, I forgot 'em."

Waiting list: ACC vs. SEC, Bobby Petrino's postgame handshake, Buffalo (3-9), Central Michigan (3-9), Colorado State (3-8), Duke (3-9), Florida's offense, Idaho (2-9), Middle Tennessee (2-9), Oregon State (3-9), Texas Tech's finish, Troy (3-8), UCLA in a championship game, UNLV (2-9), Wake Forest's effort.

Mark Schlabach covers college football for ESPN.com.

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball