The Bottom 10 deals in the Cards

The Bottom 10 finds some tough draws at the bottom of the college football barrel.

Updated: October 12, 2005, 5:20 PM ET
By David Duffey | ESPN.com

Weeks: Preseason | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:

If there's sharks in the water, don't swim where it's deep
For the taste of success can be bitter and sweet
It could be all right that I act like a child
But you'll be the loser when the jokers run wild

You're just playing the game, but the stakes are too high
What will you do when the chips start to fly
When the deck's stacked against you, and the living gets hard
Oh it's four walls of madness in this house of cards


-- Elton John, "House of Cards"

Remember this classic Mike McDermott line from "Rounders"?

"Listen, here's the thing. If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker."

High-flying Louisville sauntered up to the Raymond James Stadium table last Saturday with its pockets loaded with Rose Bowl dreams. South Florida emptied them out. The Bulls called the Cardinals' bluff and sent them home with a 45-14 loss.

Welcome to the Bottom 10, Cards. While it's not as scenic as Pasadena, the No. 5 spot is a highly coveted position. Hopefully, you'll enjoy your stay as much as Texas Tech (for its nonconference schedule), Oklahoma, TCU and Stanford did.

Finding your nine companions for the week was relatively easy, but locating the right No. 1 was not.

Central Florida was out after beating Marshall to end its 17-game losing streak. After losing by an average of 56.7-11 in its first three games, in Week 3, Temple only lost by three (19-16) to Western Michigan. Even considering it was a win over one of Directional Michigan's finest, the Owls took a step forward and deserve to be rewarded. Buffalo did not play -- and the Bulls have also had their turn at No. 1.

Therefore, the obvious choice is Ball State. Although the Cardinals did not play last week, they have been on our watch list. Their credentials are pretty good, too. The 0-3 squad has been outscored 159-34 this season. Then there's that whole synergy thing with a Cardinal team at both No. 1 and No. 5.

Two winless schools hook up in this week's Pillow Fight. New Mexico State (0-4) travels to Louisiana Tech (0-2).

ESPN.com users had plenty to say about the Sept. 29 Bottom 10.

With apologies to Steve Harvey, here's the deal on this week's Bottom 10.

ESPN.com's Bottom 10
  RANK TEAM Record COMMENT
1. Ball State 0-3 Royal Flush: With blowout losses to Iowa and Auburn in the books, at least the Cardinals can say they've been flushed by teams from BCS conferences.
2. Buffalo 0-3 Straight flush: The 2002 and 2003 Bulls each found a way to win one game. But this bunch might have what it takes to lose 11 straight.
3. Temple 0-4 Four of a kind: The way Temple's luck is running, if the Owls were holding four kings, then their opponent would have four aces.
4. F_U 0-7 Full house: With FSU, Florida, Miami established -- heck, even South Florida and Central Florida won last weekend -- the state has no room for FAU and FIU.
5. Louisville
2-1 Flush: The Cardinals' national title hopes were flushed away by South Florida in Tampa on Saturday.
6. Idaho 0-4 Straight: The shortest distance to two (OK, four) losses is a straight line … right to Idaho.
7. Middle Tennessee State 0-3 Three of a kind: The Blue Raiders are holding three seven's, but that has translated into three losses.
8. New Mexico State 0-4 Two pair: The new dead man's hand isn't aces and eights, it's the Aggies' offensive and defensive playbook.
9. Marshall 1-2 Pair: The Thudering Herd has a pair of losses, but it's the one to Bottom 10 regular Central Florida that lands them here.
10. UNLV 1-3 High card: You can't have a card theme without including the team from Vegas. Of course the Rebels also have losses to Utah State and Nevada.

Waiting list: Arkansas (1-3), Army (0-3), Central Michigan (1-3), Kentucky (1-3), Louisiana Tech (0-2), Rice (0-2) and Hawaii's silver uniforms.

Dropped out: Central Florida, Louisiana-Monroe, Pittsburgh and Stanford.

David Duffey is a college sports editor at ESPN.com.