“Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
— The Principal, “Billy Madison”
Here at Bottom 10 headquarters, located behind the giant vat of bronze polish that Alabama has been using to take care of all the trophies it brought home last week, we had turned off the lights in our office for the offseason. OK, the power company actually turned them off, but regardless, we had started our transition into annual post-regular-season hibernation. But then we looked in on ESPN and noticed an avalanche of “Best of 2021” stories. From All-America teams to best quotes to best moments, there has been no shortage of informative, entertaining lookbacks on the best and brightest of the season that was.
All due respect to my co-workers, but how hard is it to track down the greatest moments of the season? That’s proverbial low-hanging fruit. Anyone who has ever been apple picking knows that the true challenge of the harvest is sorting through all the stuff that has fallen to the ground and searching until you find the things that you can still eat, even if it’s only after checking to ensure that your tetanus shots are up to date.
With that spirit in mind and without any further ado, adieu, ahem, and apologies to Bryce Young, Emil von Behring and Paul Harvey, here are the Bottom 10 moments of the 2021 college football season.
1. UMass’ Pillow Fight of the Century push
When UMess hosted U-Can’t on Oct. 9, we here at the Bottom 10 hailed the moment as the Pillow Fight of the Year of the Century and shamelessly declared once that contest was over that there couldn’t possibly be a higher low point for the remainder of the season. So, when the Minutemen won that game and cut loose with their greatest celebration since turning the redcoats back at the Old North Bridge, we believed the 2021 Bottom 10 title to have been decided.
— UMass Football (@UMassFootball) October 9, 2021
Then UMass lost to Rhode Island. Then UMass fired its coach. Then UMass lost to Maine. Then UMass ended the season with a loss to New Mexico State in what we were forced to name Pillow Fight of the Year of the Century: Endgame.
4Q, 1:43 | 4th and 1, backed up against there own end zone, the Aggies Defense is able to make the big stop and put this game on ice.
— New Mexico State Football (@NMStateFootball) November 27, 2021
Then we threw all of our tea into the pond near our neighborhood and laid down and slept for a week because we were emotionally spent … until our HOA started pounding on the door wanting to know why the pond smelled like Lipton.
2. Brian Kelly becomes Farmer Fran
Bad Southern accents are as much a part of Hollywood tradition as walking the red carpet and greenlighting sequels that no one really wants. The all-time dialect depravity was unleashed by Dan Aykroyd in “Driving Miss Daisy” when he clearly had prepared for the role of an Atlanta businessman by doing nothing more than watching a bunch of Foghorn Leghorn cartoons. “AH SAY, AH SAY, MUTHA, WOULDN YA LYKE TA GO DOWN TO THA GRO-SUH-REE STOW?” But what Brian Kelly did in the hours following his hiring at LSU made Aykroyd’s performance seem Oscar-worthy. Wait … we’re now being told that Aykroyd received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for that role? For real? For more on Kelly’s crime against the lilt, here’s a great breakdown from SportsCenter’s Elle Duncan, even if she tagged the wrong Ryan McGee in her Twitter post …
— Elle Duncan (@elleduncanESPN) December 4, 2021
3. Florida Man rides down collapse all the way to exit door
If you’ve ever watched or listened to Marty & McGee (and if you have, thank you), then you know that Mr. Smith and I are seen by some as experts on fake Southern accents. You also know that, thanks to Hillbilly Headlines, we are also experts on the exploits of Florida Man. But no story we reported on — not the naked guy twerking in the middle of I-4, or the guy who robbed a Walmart using a Hoveround scooter, or the man who filled a pothole in his neighborhood with a banana tree — could top the exploits of the Florida Man in Gainesville who almost beat Alabama and then promptly explained how he doesn’t recruit in-season, browbeat the media for questioning how his team surrendered 52 points to FCS Samford and got fired after an overtime loss to Missouri. I wrote about, talked about and Bottom 10’d about the whole mess … which made it a little awkward when I showed up for “Marty & McGee” at the SEC championship game and saw that said Florida Man had been hired as an analyst for the weekend.
When they show bama stuff, dawgs boo, tide cheers
When they show UGA stuff, bama boos, dawgs cheer
BUT when Dan Mullen showed up, everyone boo’d lmaooo pic.twitter.com/7JzurTBnOY
— the 0x king (@mashfreak) December 4, 2021
4. Florida State Man bends it like Broke-um
But hey, at least Dan Mullen being let go from his job the week before the Florida State game spared him from seeing this in person …
How do you mess up a onside kick that badly??? pic.twitter.com/3Lfs4RZetc
— Camden (@Camden1703) November 27, 2021
5. South Florida Man tortured by other South Florida Men
And hey, at least Florida went on to fire Mullen instead of running him through some sort of psychological torture room for a month like Miami did to Manny Diaz, firing the AD and performing a very public job search complete with leaks of information to national news outlets … all while Diaz and his staff were on the road recruiting and reading all of that leaked information via all those news outlets.
Miami to Mario Cristobal: “Please fire Manny Diaz for us. We don’t have the courage to do it ourselves.”
— SportsPac12 (@SportsPac12) December 5, 2021
6. Speaking of torture …
What if I told you that a rule was established to prevent another game like the 2018 LSU-Texas A&M contest that lasted seven overtimes and produced a final score of 74-72 and what we ended up with was a 2021 Illinois-Penn State game that lasted nine overtimes and produced a score of … 20-18?!
Hey you guys I took a 23 hour train trip to watch Illinois beat #7 Penn State 20-18 in 9 overtimes. How was your Saturday?
— Robert Rosenthal (@ALionEye) October 23, 2021
7. Kent State’s Golden Fleshes uniform
Speaking of OT, former Bottom 10 regular Kent State closed out the regular season with a thrilling overtime win over My Hammy of Ohio to win its division and advance to the MAC championship game. The bad news? They appear to have lost their regular uniforms en route to the title game and were forced to wear UCLA’s practice squad uniforms from 1972.
8. UTSA can’t have nice things
Speaking of former Bottom 10 stalwarts who have moved on to better lives, R.O.C.K. in the UTSA somehow went from annually competing for Bottom 10 titles to running the table in 2021 … well, almost. The Roadrunners were 11-0 and ranked No. 22 in the nation, having long ago clinched the Conference USA West and needing only to defeat 4-6 North Texas to complete an undefeated regular season only 10 years into the program’s existence. But in the rain and with a roster ravaged by illness, they lost 45-23, and honestly it wasn’t that close.
Did UTSA strategically lose to North Texas so that UNT would be bowl eligible and 5-7 Texas couldn’t get a bowl? No one can say for sure. 🤔
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) November 28, 2021
9. Presbyterian’s no-punting coach punts job
Kevin Kelley, aka the Coach Who Never Punts, left a legendary gig as an Arkansas high school coach to try his hand at college football when he was hired by the Presbyterian College Blue Hose to bring some funkiness and hope to the long-lowly non-scholarship program in rural South Carolina. Kelley won his first two games by a combined score of 152-46 as his quarterback smashed FCS records for TD passes, and no, the Hose never punted. But then they lost their next game, their first against a scholarship team, 72-0. Then they lost again. And again. And again. They finished the year on a nine-game losing streak, with a locker room mutiny on their hands, and yes, they also started punting some. In the end, Kelley punted the gig, departing at season’s end “to pursue other football opportunities.” So, now I ask you, what was the bigger miss, Kelley at PC, or this eloquent, 2,458-word piece about Kelley at PC written by me back in September?
10. Everything’s bigger in Texas, including badness
From the summertime SEC media days burnt orange bombshell of its pending move from the southwest to the Southeastern Conference, all the way through to the end of a 5-7 season that included the school’s longest losing streak since 1956, Texas dominated the 2021 headlines for a list of weird and wrong reasons. It reminds me of a story. A businessman was in Austin for a work trip and decided to have dinner at the hotel steakhouse. He ordered a beer, and when it arrived the mug was larger than his head. “Hey,” said the waitress, “everything comes big in Texas.” He ordered a salad, and it came in a punch bowl. “Hey,” she repeated, “everything comes big in Texas.” He ordered a steak, and it took three servers to carry it to his table. “Hey …” “Yeah, yeah, I know, everything comes big in Texas.” When he asked the waitress for directions to the restroom, she told him to go through the lobby and it was the second door on the left. He misunderstood, accidentally took the third door and in the darkened room walked right into the indoor swimming pool. As he thrashed in the water, he screamed to whoever could hear him, “Don’t flush it!”
How bad is Texas football?
Texas hoops is on ESPN2 and Texas football is on ESPNU.
— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) November 14, 2021
Waiting list: Throwing stuff onto the field, getting mad because people call you out for throwing stuff onto the field, bad expansion moves, complaining about your CFP ranking and then immediately losing the following week, COVID-19.