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Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: November 14, 8:20 AM ET
MAC attack shakes up Bottom 10

By Conor Nevins
ESPN.com

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

The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:


I am brave.
Rollercoasters? Love 'em.
Scary movies? I've seen Ghostbusters like seven times.
I regularly drive through neighborhoods that have only recently been gentrified.
So, yeah, I'm pretty much not afraid of anything.
Except clowns. Never shared that with the fam, so shhhh ...
I do have an image to maintain."

-- Phil Dunphy, "Modern Family"

Phil Dunphy is the bravest man on television. At least he is in his own head.

The lovable loser on the hit TV show "Modern Family" proves that having the heart of a champion can be achieved with a healthy dose of self-belief and just a touch of self-delusion.

The show took home an Emmy Sunday night for best comedy series and begins a new season Wednesday night.

The Bottom 10's season is well under way, complete with new comedy, drama and dysfunction each week. This week, we're honoring our own ensemble with Bottom 10 distinction.

The MAC, so often cast in the role of lovable loser, flipped the script Saturday, scoring BCS upsets from Central Michigan, Ball State, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois. Their victims -- Iowa, USF, UConn and Kansas, respectively -- combined to earn this week's coveted No. 5 spot.

That's not all the Bottom 10 is cooking up this week. Looking for comedy? "Modern Family" writers don't have anything on the unscripted tour de force that is a John L. Smith news conference. The Hogs' descent into madness continued with another home loss, this time to Rutgers.

You want suspense? Wyoming's leading man, Brett Smith, returned from injury to toss five TDs passes in an OT win over Idaho, sparing the Cowboys another week in the Bottom 10.

Last week's No. 1, Colorado, scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns to shock Washington State for its first win of the season.

"Never question the heart of a Buffalo," Jon Embree warned after the game.

We won't, Coach, for this week at least. For now, the Bottom 10 will have to settle for Colorado State, which followed its Week 1 win over the Buffs with losses to two teams from the WAC and an FCS opponent.

New Mexico State and Florida Atlantic also take their Bottom 10 bows this week. The Owls strayed from the script in the lead-up to their visit to Alabama, drawing the Tide's ire.

FAU can make it a short stay. The Owls face North Texas in this week's Pillow Fight of the week.

With apologies to Steve Harvey and all the following Emmy-nominated shows, here is this week's Bottom 10:

ESPN.com's Bottom 10
  RANK TEAM 2012 RECORD COMMENT
1. Memphis 0-4 "Breaking Bad": It's cornered the market on depressing storylines, but Memphis is starting to give even the AMC series a run for its money. At least the Tigers get a break from the bad with a bye this week.
2. UMass 0-4 "Project Runway": UMass has yet to make it work in the win column but it has trotted out new outfits for each of its four losses. Michael Cox's front flip into the end zone earned the Minutemen extra style points, but the Bottom 10 bets Heidi Klum would have stuck the landing.
3. Idaho 0-4 "Big Bang Theory": We can debate the origins of Idaho's current state but it doesn't take a genius to know the Vandals missed a golden opportunity for a win against Wyoming.
4. Eastern Michigan 0-4 "Two And A Half Men": Le'Veon Bell must have felt like three or four men against the Eagles, and that wasn't a laugh track you heard -- it was the sound of Bell bruising Eagles defenders during his 253-yard romp.
5. Big MAC 0-4 "Top Chef": Sharpen your knives and enter the Bottom 10 kitchen. Today's special: a Big MAC sandwich with all the fixings. Mix in a little Hawkeyes, Jayhawks, Bulls and Huskies and bon appetit.
6. Kentucky 1-3 "Damages": The court of public opinion is quickly turning against Joker Phillips, and Wildcats fans are wondering if they can sue for damages. Too much might have already been done and it only figures to get worse: South Carolina is next.
7. Florida Atlantic 1-3 "House Of Lies": Can Alabama be beaten? FAU DE Cory Henry seems to think so, though it wasn't the Owls who proved him right. The Tide dealt FAU some hard truths in a 40-7 win.
8. Colorado State 1-3 "Mad Men": Smooth, suave, sophisticated. And then there's Colorado State. Even Don Draper couldn't have sold the Rams' last three losses as anything but bad, bad bad.
9. New Mexico State 1-3 "Game Of Thrones": Who can we trust in this game of thrones we play if not New Mexico? The Lobos beat the Aggies and have already matched Mike Locksley's 2½-year win total.
10. Arkansas 1-3 "Curb Your Enthusiasm": Larry David is always finding ways to put his foot in his mouth. Sound familiar? Enthusiasm has turned into despair in Fayetteville, but at least the decline hasn't been boring.

Waiting list: Akron (1-3); Army (0-3); Bowling Green (1-3); Florida International (1-3); Houston (0-3); North Texas (1-3); South Alabama (1-3); Southern Miss (0-3); Tulane (0-3); UAB (0-3).

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