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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
K-State can't stick the landing

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 really didn't deserve to win a gold medal if I fall on my butt."

-- U.S. Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney

It doesn't matter whether you're aiming for Olympic gold, the BCS crystal trophy or Bottom 10 perfection: You have to stick the landing if you want to be No. 1.

It's a lesson McKayla Maroney and Kansas State learned the hard way. The former had to settle for a silver medal at the London Olympic Games this past summer after failing to land her dismount on the vault. The expression on her face said it all.

Kansas State fell flat on its face against Baylor on Saturday night. The pressure of being No. 1 in the BCS standings for the first time in its history proved too much to bear for the Wildcats, who were trampled by the Bears 52-24, their national championship hopes scattered and strewn across Floyd Casey Stadium under a stampede of ecstatic Baylor fans.

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McKayla Maroney would not have been impressed with Kansas State's face-plant against Baylor.

EMAW will spend this week in the coveted No. 5 spot, but the Wildcats will have to pick themselves up off the mat quickly. A Big 12 title and a BCS bowl, like an Olympic silver medal, aren't the worst consolation prizes, though they likely won't get to follow Maroney's lead and get invited to the White House.

The moment wasn't too big for Southern Miss.

The Golden Eagles have been the Bottom 10's undisputed No. 1 for several weeks running as the only remaining winless team in FBS, but there are a host of challengers waiting for them to loosen their grip on the top spot.

Trailing 34-33 with 3:27 remaining, Southern Miss head coach Ellis Johnson opted to go for two instead of kicking the extra point. The Golden Eagles came up short, preserving the loss and maintaining their hold on No. 1.

That's what the Bottom 10 calls sticking the landing.

This week's Pillow Fight of the Week features a special Thanksgiving edition courtesy of the SEC, which has given so much to the Bottom this season.

Either Kentucky or Tennessee will give thanks for its first league win Saturday, as the Wildcats visit the Volunteers. Talk about two teams fallen on hard times.

It's the Bottom 10 theme this week and a reminder that even if these teams don't have much in the way of wins to be thankful for, they still have each other.

With apologies to Steve Harvey and McKayla Maroney, here is this week's Bottom 10:

ESPN.com's Bottom 10
RANK TEAM 2012 RECORD COMMENT
1. Southern Miss 0-11 "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall": Those actually might be tears. With only one game remaining to avoid its first winless season in 87 years, Southern Miss fans might be looking for something else to drown their sorrows.
2. Colorado 1-10 "Free Fallin'": Colorado might have thought it couldn't get any worse after last season's 10-loss debacle. The Buffaloes have already broken their own record for points allowed in a season … set last year.
3. Akron 1-11 "If I Should Fall Behind": Akron was so eager not to be left behind, it got a head start to the week. The Zips finished their season Tuesday with a loss to Toledo, earning the distinction of being 2012's only winless MAC team.
4. UMass 1-10 "Can't Help Falling In Love": It was love at first sight when the Bottom 10 set its eyes upon UMass, which is why it was so sad to see the Minutemen take a one-week reprieve after picking up their first FBS win. Let's give thanks they're back.
5. Kansas State 10-1 "All Falls Down": Just as quickly as the Wildcats ascended to No. 1, they came crashing down. Bill Snyder, much like McKayla Maroney before him, was not impressed.
6. New Mexico State 1-9 "Fall To Pieces": To think New Mexico State was unbeaten at one point this season. That was Aug. 30, and the Aggies were 1-0 after beating Sacramento State. It's been all downhill from there.
7. Idaho 1-10 "Legends Of The Fall": The Vandals were once the pride of the Big Sky. Saturday's loss to UTSA sent them to their third season with double-digit losses in five years.
8. Kansas 1-10 "Falls On Me": Kansas' Big 12 losing streak continues. Things have gotten so bad, Charlie Weis offered to pay the price of admission for students who turned out for the Jayhawks' 51-23 loss to Iowa State on senior day.
9. Hawaii 1-9 "Catch My Fall": There wasn't anything to catch during Hawaii's loss to Air Force, because the Falcons didn't throw the ball once. At least the Warriors don't have to return to the mainland for the rest of the season.
10. Washington State 2-8 "Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight": Washington State has fallen and it doesn't appear the Cougars can get back up. It's unlikely Washington will be lending a helping hand in Friday's Apple Cup.

Waiting list: Army (2-9); Boston College (2-9); Florida Atlantic (3-8); Florida grounding its cheerleading squad; Illinois (2-9); South Alabama (2-9); Tulane (2-9); UAB (3-8); UNLV (2-10).

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