The pain of being shut out

Originally Published: September 24, 2013
By Mark Schlabach |

WEEK: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | BYE | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:

"One minute you're on top of the world, the next minute some secretary's running you over with a lawn mower." -- Joan Holloway, "Mad Men"

One year ago, West Virginia was on top of college football's creative world.

Under spread offense guru Dana Holgorsen, the Mountaineers scored 260 points in their first five games of 2012, including 70 against Baylor and 48 against Texas. Quarterback Geno Smith threw 24 touchdown passes in the first five games, and voters across the country were ready to hand him the Heisman Trophy only one month into the season.

But after a 5-0 start, the Mountaineers lost their magic and creativity, dropping six of their last eight games to finish 7-6. With Smith playing in the NFL, it hasn't been any better through the first month of the 2013 season. West Virginia was shut out 37-0 by Maryland on Saturday, the first time a Holgorsen-coached team has been kept out of the end zone in a game. It was the Mountaineers' first shutout loss since a 35-0 defeat against Virginia Tech in 2001.

With his spread offense stuck in neutral, Holgorsen only looks like a mad scientist now.

The cast of AMC's 1960s-set drama "Mad Men" can certainly relate. After winning best drama series for four straight years from 2008 to 2011, "Mad Men" has been shut out at the Emmys in back-to-back years. After setting a dubious record by going 0-for-17 in nominations in 2012, "Mad Men" went 0-for-12 on Sunday night. Ouch.

With apologies to Steve Harvey and Christina Hendricks, here's this week's Bottom 10:'s Bottom 10
1. Southern Miss 0-3 Don Draper: Like Draper, Southern Miss thought it would be better off in a second marriage. But new coach Todd Monken hasn't been much better than fired Ellis Johnson; the not-so-Golden Eagles had 12 turnovers in their first three games, extending their losing streak to 15 games.
2. Georgia State 0-4 Peggy Olson: Olson rose from being Don Draper's secretary to copywriter at the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Advertising Agency through talent and hard work. Georgia State rose from FCS to FBS because it could rent the Georgia Dome. The Panthers are 0-3 against FCS foes.
3. F_U 1-7 Henry Francis: The former politician is Betty Francis' second husband and isn't quite as good looking or ambitious as her ex. It's kind of how FIU fans feel about new coach Ron Turner, whom athletics director Pete Garcia hired after firing Mario Cristobal.
4. Idaho 0-4 Betty Francis: Don Draper's ex-wife spent season six obsessing over her former husband's "child bride." Vandals coach Paul Petrino will spend the rest of his first season in Moscow, Idaho, obsessing over his older brother -- or at least Bobby Petrino's ability to draw up touchdowns.
5. West Virginia 2-2 Roger Sterling: The senior partner was so depressed about his diminished role at the firm that he experimented with LSD this past season. We're guessing Holgorsen will try just about anything to pump some excitement back into the WVU offense.
6. Directional U. 2-10 Stan Rizzo: The firm's art director and his team couldn't master the arduous task of creating an ad campaign for a baked beans account. Michigan's directional schools -- Central, Eastern and Western -- haven't yet mastered the task of beating an FBS foe. Their only victories came against FCS foes Howard and New Hampshire.
7. UMass 0-4 Harry Crane: The head of the firm's TV department was so arrogant he led Draper on a wild goose chase trying to secure the Rolling Stones for a commercial jingle. The Minutemen were confident enough to think they could compete at the FBS level; they've dropped 15 of 16 games since moving up from FCS.
8. Miami (Ohio) 0-3 Megan Draper: When the Red Hawks hired former Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell to coach his alma mater, he sounded a lot like Don Draper's second wife: hot, sexy and maybe even French. But Treadwell has been rather ordinary at Miami, Ohio, compiling an 8-19 record in two-plus seasons.
9. New Mexico State 0-4 Joan Harris: Joan secured a partnership at the firm by sleeping with a client to land the coveted Jaguar account. New Mexico State's administration is offering cash and coveted parking passes to students who attend -- and actually stay -- at its home games.
10. Temple 0-3 Pete Campbell: The account executive was stunned to learn his mistress had forgotten him after undergoing electroshock therapy. After the Owls dropped 10 of the past 14 games, their 9-4 campaign in 2011 has to seem like a distant memory.

Waiting list: Akron (1-3), Buffalo (1-2), coaches' wives fighting on Twitter, Hawaii (0-3), Iowa State (0-2), Kent State (1-3), Kentucky (1-2), Louisiana Tech (1-3), Michigan State's play calling, Purdue (1-3), running up the score on FCS schools, running the clock at Louisville, San Diego State (0-3), South Florida (0-3), storming the field after beating Louisiana Tech, throwing trash at officials at BYU, UAB (1-2), UConn (0-3).

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball


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