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Don't follow these Big Ten Leaders

The Bottom 10 inspirational thoughts of the week:


"So here are the jokes if we had had an audience here … let's run through some of these jokes."


-- David Letterman

If David Letterman tells a joke and there's no audience in the studio to laugh, is it still funny?

Letterman delivered his "Late Show" opening monologue to an empty studio Monday as Hurricane Sandy descended upon New York City.

No laughter. No applause. Just a master comedic craftsman creating a philosophical "if a tree falls in the forest" conundrum.

Letterman's performance got the Bottom 10 thinking of the Big Ten Leaders Division. Ohio State and Penn State have distinguished themselves as the class of the division, if not the conference, yet neither is eligible for postseason play because of NCAA sanctions.

The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions faced off as league unbeatens Saturday evening. But if the division's best teams can't even compete for the championship they're on course to qualify for, is it an empty contest?

The Bottom 10 doesn't mean to poke fun at the Buckeyes or Nittany Lions. They can still claim a championship banner. Rather, it turns its attention toward the other "contenders" in the division.

Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue and Illinois have combined for four league wins -- the Boilermakers and Illini are winless.

Talk about seizing the opportunity. It's enough to earn this four-pack of futility this week's No. 5 spot.

It appears the Badgers will win the division by default, thus earning a trip to Indianapolis to play in the Big Ten championship and a possible Rose Bowl berth. The Bottom 10 will, respectfully, hold its applause for such empty plaudits.

New Mexico State faces Auburn in the Pillow Fight of the Week.

With apologies to Steve Harvey and David Letterman, and in honor of the "Late Show Top Ten List", here are the reasons why your team is on this week's Bottom 10:

Waiting list: Army (1-7); Auburn (1-7); Buffalo (1-7); Eastern Michigan (1-7); Hawaii (1-6); "I'm the best Big East QB"; Kentucky (1-8); Memphis (1-7); UAB (1-7); UNLV (1-8).

Conor Nevins is a college football editor for ESPN.com.