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Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Bottom 10 celebrates going solo

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:


Russell Hammond: "And you said you love me!"

Jeff Bebe: "I don't love you, man! I never did. None of us love you. You act above us, you always have."

Larry Fellows: "Finally, the truth."

Jeff Bebe: "You just held it over us like you might leave, like we're lucky to be with you. And we had to live with it, man. I had to live with you, and now I might die with you, and it's not [expletive] fair!"

-- "Almost Famous," Billy Crudup, Jason Lee and Mark Kozelek

If only Arizona quarterback Nick Foles could take his act solo.

Foles, a senior from Austin, Texas, leads the country in passing, completing 71.5 percent of his attempts for 2,255 yards with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Foles' stellar performance makes the Wildcats' 1-5 record even more maddening.

Despite Foles' precision passing, Arizona is mired in a five-game losing streak, with its only victory coming against FCS foe Northern Arizona 41-10 in the Sept. 3 opener. Things are so bad the school fired coach Mike Stoops on Monday night, after he went 41-50 in eight seasons.

Foles is like a lead singer in dire need of a new band. Imagine what Russell Hammond might have done without Stillwater in "Almost Famous." Imagine what Foles would do somewhere else.

Neil Young didn't become famous until leaving Buffalo Springfield. Look what going solo did for Eric Clapton and Van Morrison. Justin Timberlake wasn't cool until, well, nevermind.

Alas, Foles will play out his final college season without his head coach -- or a running game or defense. The Wildcats' 37-27 loss to former Bottom 10 member Oregon State last Saturday night earned them the not-so-coveted No. 5 spot in this week's Bottom 10.

With apologies to Steve Harvey and Billy Crudup, here's this week's Bottom 10, along with some of the best lead singers who went solo:

ESPN.com's Bottom 10
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1. New Mexico 0-5 "Single Ladies," Beyoncé (formerly of Destiny's Child): How much do the Lobos miss former coach Rocky Long and those trips to bowl games now? "'Cause if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it / If you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it."
2. Florida Atlantic 0-5 "Tall Cool One," Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin): Just like the Bottom 10 will always remember Plant as the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, we'll remember Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger as the mustached coach who guided Miami to a national title (and not the winless coach in his final season at FAU). "I'm your tall cool one with crazy feet / Lighten up, baby, I'm in love with you."
3. UAB 0-5 "The Heat Is On," Glenn Frey (Eagles): UAB coach Neil Callaway inherited a no-win situation at one of the worst programs in the country, but he's catching plenty of heat with a 15-38 record in 5½ seasons. "The pressure's high, just to stay alive / 'Cause the heat is on."
4. Memphis 1-5 "Dirty Laundry," Don Henley (Eagles): Opponents can pretty much pick their poison while beating the Tigers. Memphis ranks No. 112 nationally in pass defense, No. 102 in run defense, No. 116 in total defense and No. 115 in scoring defense. "Kick 'em when they're up / Kick 'em when they're down / Kick 'em when they're up / Kick 'em all around."
5. Arizona 1-5 "Freedom," George Michael (Wham!): Many Arizona fans finally got their wish when Stoops was given a pink slip earlier this week. The glass is half full for Foles, though, who can at least count on making millions in the NFL next season. "Freedom / You've gotta give for what you take / Freedom!"
6. Akron 1-5 "All Night," Lionel Richie (Commodores): FIU dominated the Zips all day -- and what probably felt like all night -- holding the ball for nearly 35 minutes and gaining 524 yards of offense in last week's 27-17 victory. "Come on and sing along! / All night long! (all night), ooooh (all night)."
7. Kent State 1-5 "Sledgehammer," Peter Gabriel (Genesis): The not-so-Golden Flashes might actually get to deliver a hit instead of being the victim of it this week: they're hosting 1-4 Miami (Ohio) on Saturday in this week's pillow fight of the week. "I'm going to be the sledgehammer / This can be my testimony / I'm your sledgehammer / Let there be no doubt about it."
8. UNLV 1-4 "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)," Phil Collins (Genesis): The Rebels had 8 passing yards in last week's 37-0 loss at Nevada, getting shut out for the first time in 37 meetings against their rivals. The scoreboard looked much the same when the game ended as when it started. "So take a look at me now -- well, there's just an empty space."
9. Middle Tennessee 1-4 "We'll Be Together," Sting (The Police): After losing to Bottom 10 stalwart Western Kentucky 36-33 in two overtimes last week, the Blue Raiders will have company in their misery on Saturday. "Forget the weather we should always be together / And any other thought is unkind."
10. Minnesota 1-5 "I Get Weak," Belinda Carlisle (Go-Go's): After losing to Michigan by 58 points and Purdue by 28, the Gophers can't feel good while watching film of their next opponent, No. 14 Nebraska, between now and Oct. 22. "I get weak when I look at you / Weak when we touch / I can't speak when I look in your eyes."

Waiting list: Boston College (1-5), Colorado (1-5), East Carolina (1-4), Farewell messages at Texas Tech, Georgia's 3rd-and-57, Georgia Tech's home support, Idaho (1-5), Indiana (1-5), Kansas (2-3), Kentucky (2-4), Kentucky's offense vs. South Carolina (96 yards), Kentucky's defense (639 yards allowed), Louisiana-Monroe (1-4), Not-so-excessive celebrations at LSU, Steve Spurrier's diversion.

Mark Schlabach covers college football for ESPN.com.