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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Golden Eagles earn Bottom 10 gold

By Conor Nevins

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

The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:

"I can't believe the news today
Oh, I can't close my eyes
And make it go away
How long …
How long must we sing this song
How long, how long …"
'Cause tonight … we can be as one
Tonight … "

-- "Sunday Bloody Sunday," U2

The news began as a trickle Sunday evening, and within a few hours had become a downpour.

It is a familiar song for this time of year: pink slip followed pink slip as a steady procession of coaches, several Bottom 10 regulars among them, were given their marching orders.

Bono might well be on a mission to save the world, but even U2's legendary frontman would have been helpless to save some of these coaches' jobs.

Ellis Johnson's dismissal at Southern Miss didn't come until Tuesday, just days after the Golden Eagles lost 42-24 to Memphis, leaving them as the only winless FBS program in 2012 and securing their hold atop the Bottom 10.

The Golden Eagles staved off fierce competition for the top spot. Several other contenders for No. 1 have failed to record a win over an FBS opponent, including Kansas, Akron and New Mexico State.

Auburn went winless in SEC play, and Colorado managed only one in the Pac-12; both schools parted with their head coaches as part of Sunday's firing bonanza.

The Bottom 10 turns to an old favorite for its coveted No. 5 spot this week. It wasn't too long ago that the Apple Cup, the annual rivalry game between Washingon and Washington State, was a battle for Bottom 10 supremacy.

The Huskies have been aiming for a place among the Pac-12 elite under Steve Sarkisian, but thus far their aim has been off. Still, it's a vast improvement over the Cougars' position, who haven't seen the progress they expected under new coach Mike Leach.

Wazzu was 0-8 in Pac-12 play heading into the 105th edition of the Apple Cup on Nov. 23 and had lost its previous three games to Washington by an average of 18 points per game. The Huskies led by that very margin 28-10 heading into the fourth quarter before an epic meltdown saw the Cougars overcome the largest deficit in the series' history and win in overtime, earning UW this week's No. 5 spot.

With apologies to Steve Harvey, Bono and the rest of the U2 crew, here is this week's Bottom 10:'s Bottom 10
1. Southern Miss 0-12 "A Sort Of Homecoming": What do you call it when they ask you to leave after you've only just arrived? Ellis Johnson's return to Hattiesburg will go down in history, just not in the way either he or the Golden Eagles intended.
2. Colorado 1-11 "Running To Stand Still": The coaches and the conferences may change, but Colorado can't outrun the malaise that has engulfed the Buffaloes through seven straight losing seasons.
3. Akron 1-11 "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For": Akron finished with the nation's 16th-best passing attack, but a serviceable defense was nowhere to be found. The Zips are still looking for their first FBS win in 22 games.
4. New Mexico State 1-10 "Is That All?": Nope, still one more to go. The Aggies have one final chance this season at recording an FBS win with Saturday's visit to Texas State.
5. Washington 7-5 "New Year's Day": Are the Huskies any closer to playing on New Year's Day again? They are a win away from eight for the first time since 2001, which is also the previous time they played in a Jan. 1 bowl game.
6. Auburn 3-9 "Pride (In The Name Of Love)": Pride was about all Auburn had to play for, and even that was in short supply after a 49-0 loss to Alabama. A scorched-earth policy on the Plains has been set in motion, beginning with Gene Chizik's dismissal.
7. UMass 1-11 "Stranger In A Strange Land": There was no red carpet rolled out for UMass in its first season in FBS, and the Minutemen certainly took their lumps. But, hey, they didn't finish last in the MAC. So there's that.
8. Idaho 1-11 "Where The Streets Have No Name": The Vandals want to run. They want to hide. But there's no escaping this hard truth: Idaho gave up at least 40 points seven times this season.
8. Kansas 1-10 "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own": Kansas needs help. Lots of it. The Jayhawks need to win Saturday at West Virginia or their Big 12 losing streak (20 and counting) will carry over into another season.
10. Illinois 2-10 "Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of": There aren't many positives Tim Beckman can draw upon after his first season in charge. That a 50-14 drubbing at the hands of Northwestern will be the lasting impression to take into the offseason sounds about right.

Waiting list: Boston College (2-10); Cal (3-9); Eastern Michigan (2-10); Florida Atlantic (3-8); Florida International (3-9); Kentucky (2-10); South Alabama (2-10); Tulane (2-10); UAB (3-9); UNLV (2-11); UTEP (3-9).

Conor Nevins is a college football editor for