Here are the ten biggest slumps in the last five decades of college football. To get a rundown of how I arrived at these ten downturns, read the first paragraph of the 34-11 list.
Gridiron Slumps 34-11
I have also compiled a ranking of top tier college programs and how they have comparatively weathered downturns over the last 50 year —
And now here are the top ten.
10. Auburn 1975-1981 (35-39-3)
Coaches: Ralph Jordan, Doug Barfield, Pat Dye
Ralph Jordan, the winningest football coach in Auburn history, wrapped up his career with 175 wins, 12 bowl appearances and the 1957 National Title. So beloved was he by the University, that the school named one-half of the stadium after him while he was still actively coaching. It was a nice gesture, coming two seasons before his retirement.
But perhaps Auburn should have waited to see the results of his final season. A 3-win nightmare in 1975.
Jordan’s offenses were never exactly what you would call “potent”. His Tigers were shutout 19 times in the course of his 25 years, including — painfully enough, a 0-28 career finale against arch-rival Alabama. Of course, Jordan’s teams were often unparalleled on the other side of the ball as his War Eagle defenses blanked the opposition 45 times over the same period. And, in the National Title year of 1957, the Tigers’ ten opponents managed to score all of 28 points. Four teams scored a touchdown each, while the other six came up zilch.
But, in 1975, an unspectacular Auburn offense was paired with an uncharacteristically substandard defense, resulting in a three-loss, one-tie start to the season, mirrored by the same record at the end, sandwiching the school’s three wins in the middle.
It was not a fond farewell for Auburn’s beloved coach. But worse, it also indicated that Jordan’s replacement, Doug Barfield, was not exactly inheriting a trove of talent. Sure enough, 1976 followed with another 3-win campaign. But the losses this time where by even larger margins as more than half of Auburn’s opponents scored no fewer than four touchdowns a piece. And, while Barfield’s club managed to score on Alabama this time (seven points) the Tide had an even larger margin of victory than the year before with 38 points of their own. With three blowout losses on the year, Barfield saw his debut squad outgunned by more than ten touchdowns on the year.
Barfield’s team improved by two wins in 1977. But it was still a losing season and, what’s more, only one of Auburn’s wins came against a team with a winning record – 6-4-1 Florida. Meanwhile the blowouts continued to mount, dropping games by wide margins to Georgia Tech, Florida State and Alabama. The Bama setback came with 48 points, marking the most scoring any opponent had done on Auburn in a quarter century. This loss was also the fifth straight to the Tuscaloosa rivals. The Iron Bowl was losing its luster and Tiger fans were getting restless.
1978 showed marginal improvement, netting six victories and Auburn’s first winning season in four years. However a 7-31 loss to 4-win Florida and another blowout dealt by Alabama closed out a fourth consecutive year with no bowl game at the end. Barfield needed a breakout year.
He got one in 1979, going 8-3, winning big over Georgia and giving undefeated Alabama its closest game of the season, leading the Tide 18-17 in the fourth quarter before eventually falling by seven. It was the first competitive Iron Bowl since coach Jordan’s days and the only close match-up against Alabama in Barfield’s tenure. Despite the eight wins and a ranking in the AP poll, Auburn ended the season bowl-less.
Which brings us to 1980 and the end of the Barfield era. Looking at the schedule, things appeared somewhat favorable for the Tigers, getting a host of manageable opponents early to build momentum for a clearly tougher slate at the end. Traveling to Fort Worth to take on a TCU team that won all off 12 games in its last 82 outings, Auburn hosted Duke, Tennessee and Richmond all at home. And while the Volunteers had beaten Auburn the year before, Tennessee was one of the few SEC teams Barfield owned a winning record against in his four previous seasons.
Perhaps the game at TCU was the first sign that the steam the War Eagle had gathered the previous season had already puffed away. Scraping by the Horned Frogs, 10-3, Auburn was very nearly the “other” team TCU would beat all year. Not as shameful as Texas Tech’s loss in Fort Worth, Auburn nonetheless had the dubious distinction of scoring the fewest points on a gridiron squad that was really not too hard to score on. Returning home, Barfield’s team got another brush with humility as the Tigers narrowly beat a pretty equally pathetic Duke.
And then the bottom fell out. Unranked Tennessee came to town already having lost two of its first three games and the Vols were immersed in a slump of their own (see #15). With the game kicking off at Auburn, expectations were high that the Tigers would start conference play on the right note. And, indeed, the largest crowd ever gathered to that point at Jordan-Hare Stadium came to watch the matchup.
What the War Eagle faithful saw was a muzzle shot to their beloved bird of prey as Tennessee quarterback, Jeff Olszewski, and running back Terry Daniels lit up the board with four first half touchdowns on the way to a 42-0 pasting of Auburn in front of 75,000 stunned fans.
Auburn went out and smacked down hapless Richmond the following week, but Barfield’s ultimate denoument season found the Tigers stumbling their way through two more wins and five losses to end the year at 5-6. The season left the coach with 29 wins, 25 losses and one tie in five years. And an 0-5 performance against Alabama, in which the Tigers were outscored by an average of 20 points per game.
Pat Dye arrived the following year and, record-wise, would not ostensibly improve upon Barfield’s final season. But a closer examination showed an upward trajectory as Auburn’s six losses on the year came with not a single blow out. Dye’s team competed well in losses to Tennessee (an 8-win club in 1981), Georgia, Alabama and on the road against a Nebraska team that met Clemson for the National Title at season’s end.
Dye closed the slump the following season with nine wins including stopping an 8-game skid against Bama. 1983 followed with 11 wins and a third place finish in the final AP poll. Under coach Dye, Auburn would not see fewer than 8 wins in any season the remainder of the decade.
Total number of seasons (7) times 2 = 14 demerits
39 losses minus 35 wins = 4 demerits
12 total blow out losses = 12 demerits
5 blow out losses to sub 8-win teams = 5 demerits
3 ties = 1.5 demerits
Total demerits = 36.5
8. (tie) Clemson 1992-2004 (88-66)
Coaches: Ken Hatfield, Tommy West, Tommy Bowden
In 1990, Ken Hatfield arrived in Clemson, South Carolina after a very successful run as coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. The house that Danny Ford built was still a high-function college football program, despite a recent slew of tangles with the NCAA (which led to Ford’s departure). Clemson had won three of the last four ACC championships under Ford and would do so again in Hatfield’s second season with the Tigers.
A 19-4-1 mark in 1990 and 1991 (bolstering a string of 10-win seasons for the University) suggested that the program might have weathered the penalty storm, but probation finally caught up to the Tigers in 1992 with a tumultuous 5-6 season. Despite the losing record (and a 23-53 slaughter at the hands of a 3-win Maryland) the Tigers remained remarkably competitive, battling 8-win Wake Forest to a 15-18 decision and nearly upsetting 11-win Florida State 20-24. Except for Maryland, no team put up more than 28 points on the Tigers.
This tenacity helped explain the quick rebound for Hatfield’s team as Clemson won nine games the following year. However a softer schedule than the previous year may have to share the credit. Of Clemson’s nine wins in 1993, only two opponents had winning records (and not by much). Furthmore, each of the three losses were embarrassing, getting wailed on by eventual National Champion Florida State — 0-57 — along with another shutout against North Carolina and a 4-point loss to 2-win Wake Forest. At the end of the regular season, following a near upset by 4-win South Carolina, an alienated Hatfield sought greener pastures at Rice University.
Former linebackers coach under Danny Ford, Tommy West accepted the offer to replace Hatfield starting with Clemson’s Peach Bowl match-up with a 6-5 Kentucky. Despite the new coach having less than a month to prepare for the Wildcats, Clemson was the clear favorite in the game. And the Tigers did win. But only after a fortuitous set of circumstances beyond the coach’s control lifted them to a single point over the underdogs. Down 13-7, Clemson tossed an interception at the Wildcat five-yard line. The Kentucky defender sprinted up the middle only to fumble the ball right back to the Tigers at the 20. Three plays later, with less than 30 seconds in the game, receiver Terry Smith (who had almost single-handedly got Clemson into scoring position) grabbed another pass. This one in the endzone, clinching the Tiger victory, 14-13.
But Clemson needed a little more than luck to get by in 1994. Unfortunately for Coach West, his team may have used it all up in the Peach Bowl. After opening with a win against I-AA team, Furman, West’s team dropped five of its next six games failing to score more than 14 points in any of those contests and getting shutout by Florida State. Clemson managed to salvage its season with an inspired three-game winning streak (highlighted by a win over 8-win North Carolina in Chapel Hill), finding themselves on the cusp of bowl eligibility at 5-5. All they had to do was dispatch a 6-5 South Carolina at home.
Easier said than done as the Gamecocks handed Clemson its worst loss of the season, 7-33. And so ended, West’s first full season as coach. 1995 would go much better for the Tigers, winning 8 games on the year and finishing third in ACC standings as the Clemson offense finally found its wheels under West’s tutelage. Nevertheless, the season was still marked with plenty of humiliation as the Tigers were pounded 26-45 by Florida State and 3-22 by Virginia, while dropping a two-point squeaker to a severely slumping Georgia (see #19 on this list). All within spitting distance of Howard’s Rock. But the worst of it came in post-season when Clemson took on Donovan McNabb and Syracuse in the Gator Bowl. The result — 41-0 Orangemen. The worst bowl loss in Clemson history.
Nevertheless, 1995’s 8-4 mark was arguably West’s best season at Clemson. The young coach scratched out a respectable pair of 7-win seasons in 1996 and 1997, the highlight perhaps being a near upset of ACC goliath, Florida State. But still, the Tigers only beat one team with a winning record in that stretch and found itself on the losing ends of beatdowns by the likes of Virginia, Missouri and North Carolina. Not exactly titans in the mid-90s. To be fare, though, the Tarheels were mounting a surge about then. But that’s still no excuse for getting stomped by the powder-blue bullies, 45-0.
The elements completely caved in on West in 1998 as the Tigers struggled through a 3-8 campaign, needing a home win over 1-10 South Carolina to prevent West from tying Charley Pell’s 1975 outing for worst Clemson football season since the 1920s.
So out with West and in with Tommy Bowden.
Bowden came to Clemson with the daunting task of returning Death Valley to its old formidable self. And primary to that task would be finding a way to beat the 800-pound ACC gorilla in Tallahassee. A team coached by none other than Tommy’s Dad, living legend, Bobby Bowden.
The younger Bowden finally got the better of his Dad in 2003 and again from 2005 through 2007, but it would take a slump of Florida State’s own, plus a commendable lifting of Clemson out of the gutter by Tommy Bowden to finally allow it. Not exactly like beating the old man in his prime. Indeed, Clemson’s slump continued on into the first six years of Bowden’s run, but never to the degree allowed under his predecessor. Bowden even threatened to end the slump early, with 9-win seasons in both 2000 and 2003. But each of those steps forward were coupled with steps back the following years.
During Bowden’s slump time at Clemson, Florida State beat the Tigers five times out of six. And it was almost as if the elder Bowden relished punishing his son with scores like 7-54, 27-41, 31-48 and 22-41. However, the tide never shifted completely for Clemson under Bowden. The coach failed to win a single ACC title in nine seasons (although Clemson finished runner-up four times) and his teams never finished higher than #21 in the AP poll. (A stat which Bowden’s 1998 Tulane team blew the doors offs with a #7 final rank).
But, all in all, 12 years of sometimes mediocre, sometimes awful football, leaves Clemson staring into the abyss of one of the ten worst slumps of the last fifty years.
Total number of seasons (13) times 2 = 26 demerits
66 losses minus 88 wins = -22 demerit
29 total blow out losses = 29 demerits
5 blow out losses to sub 8-win teams = 5 demerits
Total demerits = 38
8. (tie) Georgia Tech 1992-1997 (29-38)
Coaches: Bill Lewis, George O’Leary
After a highly successful run at Maryland, leading the Terrapins to three ACC championships in just five seasons, Bobby Ross then swept into Atlanta and wrestled the once proud George Tech football program out of its worst decade ever, hitting a pinnacle in 1990 with an 11-0-1 season and a split of the National Title. Ross left two seasons later for the West Coast and the NFL. And he took Tech’s comeback with him.
Bill Lewis had been working his own miracles at East Carolina, guiding the Pirates to an 11-1 season in 1991 before taking over at Georgia Tech. At East Carolina, while notching decent victories against the likes of Syracuse and NC State, the Tech slate was something entirely different. Lewis now had the Florida States, Clemsons and Georgias of the world to contend with.
And it was immediately not so easy as his squads eeked out just five wins per season in both 1992 and 1993 featuring a half dozen blowout losses to boot. The worst a 0-51 ordeal in Tallahassee. But those were glory days compared to what transpired in 1994.
Following a 10-41 mauling at Bobby Dodd Stadium by Florida State — just eight games into the 1994 season — Lewis held a press conference announcing his resignation having beaten only Western Carolina on the way to a 1-7 start.
Defensive coordinator, George O’Leary took charge for the remainder of the season which mercifully ended three games later with a 1-10 final record.
O’Leary was given the permanent head coaching job before the start of 1995. Perhaps the bottom-rung standards of 1994 insulated him in the early going because, despite the 6-5 record, things such as 1 point wins against one-win Wake Forest couldn’t have been confidence instilling for the Tech faithful. And the blowouts resumed — 14-41 vs. Virginia, 10-42 vs. Florida State, 3-24 vs. Clemson.
1996 — at 5-6 — was even less promising, featuring a shutout against North Carolina and a 3-49 smackdown at home against the Seminoles. But whatever caused the Georgia Tech AD to hold on to O’Leary, it was a good decision. 1997 came with seven wins, giving Tech its best season since 1991, and solid signs of improvement. Limiting the blowouts to merely the hands of Florida State, Tech came within four points of knocking off both 10-2 Georgia and 11-1 North Carolina (both of which finished in the AP top 10).
These performances boded well, as O’Leary’s team went on to 10-2 in 1998, an ACC co-championship (with Florida State) and a besting of instate rival Georgia and a Gator Bowl win over Notre Dame.
Tech would not slump again while O’Leary resided in Atlanta.
Total number of seasons (6) times 2 = 12 demerits
38 losses minus 29 wins = 9 demerits
13 total blow out losses = 13 demerits
4 blow out losses to sub 8-win teams = 4 demerits
Total demerits = 38
7. LSU 1974-1983 (50-50-4)
Coaches: Charles McClendon, Jerry Stovall
When you look back at the history of LSU Football, several things stand out. One is the slew of great teams — from the SEC champs of the 1930s, 1980s and 2000s to the National Champions of 1958, 2003 and 2007. Another is all the bowl appearances — 40 in all, with 21 total wins.
But what also stands out, though mercifully overshadowed by the program’s success, is a penchant for slumps. And not just any old slumps. Deep and miserable ones. Enough to land LSU two spots in the seven worst downturns of the last 50 years.
Louisiana State’s first unbeaten, untied season of the AP poll era came in 1958. With a crushing defense — allowing the Tigers’ 11 opponents just 53 points on the season (18 of which were put up by Duke to answer LSU’s fifty) — Coach Paul Dietzel’s squad won the AP National Title handily. Having elevated LSU out of a decade’s worth of mediocrity, Dietzel maintained a high standard in Baton Rouge, collecting 35 wins in his last four seasons.
Dietzel hand-picked Charles McClendon as his successor. And a good choice it was — for the first decade of McClendon’s career at any rate. From 1962 to 1973, McClendon built on the success of Dietzel’s newfound college football power, coaching LSU to 12 straight winning seasons, including ten bowl appearances and nine finishes in the final AP poll.
In 1974, things went inexplicably south, producing the Tigers’ first non-winning season in 17 years (at 5-5-1) and, a year later, the school’s first losing season in 19 years. Part of the problem was that, unless facing a terrible opponent (such as a 1-10 Utah or a 4-7 Tulane) LSU had a hard time scoring. While the defense generally held its own, it was often not enough, no matter if losing by three to Nebraska or tying a two-win Rice.
1974 and 1975 were as bad as it got for McClendon, elevating LSU back up slightly by finishing his tenure with four straight winning seasons. But these were often just barely plus .500 campaigns as LSU needed a slate full of keystone opponents to carry them above the fray. From 1976 to 1979, McClendon’s teams beat just two opponents with winning records. One of those was a 6-4-1 Florida team in 1977. The other was 8-4 Wake Forest — the very last opponent of McClendon’s career.
The next coach to lead LSU during this slump was Jerry Stovall, who assumed the position in the wake of Bo Rein’s death aboard a private airplane. Rein had been hired by LSU just a month earlier.
The mediocrity started by McClendon in 1974, continued in earnest under Stovall. Beginning with a shutout loss at home against Florida State, LSU dropped another embarrassing game 7-17 against a sub-.500 Rice before winding down with a 31-55 shellacking at the hands of Mississippi State.
As bad as all that was, 1981 was even worse. Going 3-7-1 LSU beat just one conference opponent — 3-win Kentucky while getting pounded by teams like Notre Dame, Florida State and Auburn. While that might not sound so bad, none of those three usual juggernauts were their usual selves as only FSU posted a winning record — at 6-5. But the greatest indignation of 1981 was saved for last when the Tigers traveled to New Orleans to face hated instate rival, Tulane.
The Green Wave had been particularly doomed in their history with their neighbor to the North, dropping 51 games in 78 tries. And all but four of Tulane’s wins against LSU had come before the dawn of World War II. But even at 5-5, Tulane found itself in the rare position of pre-game favorites. That’s how far things had dipped for 1981’s 3-6-1 Tigers.
And Tulane played the role of favorite to the hilt as Green Wave quarterback, Mike McKay, along with running back, Marvin Lewis, and tight end, Rodney Holman, sliced and diced the Tiger defense on the way to a 7-48 obliteration.
From that muddy field in New Orleans, things could only look up for Stovall and the Tigers.
And they did. For one season at least. LSU licked its wounds and posted an 8-win season in 1982, almost knocking 12-1 Nebraska from the Cornhuskers lofty perch in a 20-21 tangle in the Orange Bowl.
But that brief success would come crashing down hard once again in 1983 as LSU suffered two separate 3-game losing skids on the way to a 4-7 finish. While a 40-14 beatdown of Washington and an end-of-the-year avenging of back-to-back losses to Tulane were bright spots on the year, they were not enough to undo LSU’s 0-6 conference record or save Stovall from the chopping block.
Bill Arnsparger, a defensive-minded coach from the NFL, stepped in to replace Stovall. In his short run, Arnsparger acted as a veritable exterminator, spraying slump-begone all over the Baton Rouge facilities. 27 wins later (in just three seasons), Arnsparger went on to lay the ground work for a college football titan at the University of Florida.
Unfortunately for Tiger fans, LSU wasn’t looking for a new AD at the same time.
Total number of seasons (10) times 2 = 20 demerits
50 losses minus 50 wins = 0 demerits
14 total blow out losses = 14 demerits
4 blow out losses to sub 8-win teams = 4 demerits
4 ties = 2 demerits
Total demerits = 40
6. Oklahoma 1992-1999 (44-45-3)
Coaches: Gary Gibbs, Howard Schnellenberger, John Blake, Bob Stoops
ESPN calls Oklahoma the number one prestige college football program of all time. Or since 1936. Same difference, really. And why not? Seven National Titles. The longest win streak in college football history. 39 conference titles. 42 bowl appearances.
Heck, during Oklahoma’s domination of the college football landscape in the 1950s, the Sooners even popped up in a Martin and Lewis song lyric.
But, like so many premiere college football programs have shown, the mighty do find an occasional bump in the road. Of course, for Oklahoma in the 1990s, it was more like stumbling into Kilimanjaro.
One aspect to Oklahoma football that continues to dog the program is its frequent brushes with questionable behavior. Such was the case in the late 1980s when a series of indiscretions (most infamously characterized by Charles Thompson’s handcuffed and orange-jumpsuited cover spread for Sports Illustrated) led to the premature resignation of the school’s most consistently successful coach — Barry Switzer.
With a 157-29-4 record over 16 seasons, three National Titles and a 12-5 ownership of rival and friend, Tom Osborne, Switzer turned his sideline whistle over to Sooner defensive coordinator, Gary Gibbs. The squeaky clean Texan and former Oklahoma linebacker was assigned with two tasks — 1) set the program on the straight and narrow and 2) maintain Switzer’s high level of success.
Gibbs nailed that first goal. But the second task didn’t come quite so easily thanks, in no small part, to the constraints of NCAA sanctions. Ineligible for bowls in 1989 and 1990, Gibbs nevertheless lead the Sooners (still brimming with Switzer-era talent) to bowl-eligible regular season records, winning 7 games his first year and eight his second — including dealing Nebraska its worst loss of the Osborne era, a highly unexpected 45-10 shellacking in Norman.
The Gibbs ship seemed on an even keel in 1991 as the Sooners racked up nine wins including a 48-14 romp over Virginia in the Gator Bowl. But there were three losses that year, too. And in no small significance, the victors in those contests were Texas, Colorado and Nebraska. In Gibbs’ best season at OU, the Sooner’s futility against these three schools illustrated most succinctly the problem of his tenure. With just two wins in 18 tries against the Longhorn-Buffalo-Cornhusker trio, Gibbs’ Sooners were a far cry from the standards of his predecessors.
1992 started, in earnest, the end of Gibbs’ reign and also began a near-decade-long slump for the program. Oklahoma had just five opponents finish with winning records that year. OU lost to four of them and tied the other. The Sooner’s also tied a 4-win Oklahoma State and barely scraped past 5-win Kansas State 16-14.
It was the Oklahoma’s worst season since Jim MacKenzie’s 3-win disaster in 1965.
1993 saw a nice turnaround for Gibbs producing another nine-win season including a 41-10 crushing of Texas Tech in the Sun Bowl. But the Big 8 conference power had clearly shifted completely to Nebraska and Colorado. And Bill Snyder (along with a defensive coordinator by the name of Bob Stoops) was rapidly lifting Kansas State out of the conference mire. The ’93 OU offense ran high with a 31-points and over 400-yards per game average, seemingly vindicating Gibb’s abandonment of Switzer’s highly successful wishbone offense. Except when facing the conference’s best defenses. Colorado and Nebraska both held the Sooners to less than 300 total yards. And, along with Stoops’ Wildcat defenders, they shut down Oklahoma’s scoring as well, as OU mustered just 24 points in those three games.
In 1994, the conference disparity amplified as Oklahoma’s offensive prowess under Gibbs dried up. The Sooner defense wasn’t picking up the slack, either. Going 6-6, Oklahoma was blasted by Texas A&M, Kansas State, Colorado and BYU (in the Copper Bowl). A small consolation was holding eventual 1994 National Champion, Nebraska, to 13 points (Tommy Frazier had been sidelined with blood clot issues), but collecting just a field goal themselves, that moral victory was moot. Gibbs resigned with a 44-23-2 record and ownership of the Sooners’ two worst seasons in nearly 30 years.
But Gibbs would not have to wait long for his low points to be erased from the memories of the Sooner throngs. A deeper depression was on its way.
“They’ll write books and make movies about my time here.”
In 1995, a blustery wind picked up on the Oklahoma plains. And his name was Howard Schnellenberger. With the above declaration, the man who started the Miami Hurricane dynasty and who transformed the Louisville Cardinals into something not only college basketball fans had ever heard of, arrived in Norman ready to turn the National Champions of 1985 into… well, the Louisville of 1985.
Okay, maybe the 1995 Sooners weren’t quite that bad. But Schnellenberger’s blustery antics and amped-up bravado never set too well at a school more than accustomed to winning a few championships here and there. Three wins against a trio of nonconference cupcakes highlighted the season as Schnellenberger’s squad went 2-5-1 once conference play started.
By the time Oklahoma got punched in the mouth by Stoops’ Kansas State defense late in the season, the writing was on the wall. The only books or movies to be written about Coach Schnelleberger’s time as a Sooner would be Quixotic tales of comedic tragedy. If anyone saw fit to tackle the subject at all. Oklahoma failed to score a single point in its last ten quarters of 1995, while its last three opponents — Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Nebraska combined for 98 against them.
Playing nose tackle for the Sooners in the early 1980s, John Blake returned to his alma mater as a defensive coach under Gary Gibbs. He went on to Dallas to coach the defensive line for the Cowboys during the club’s domination of the mid-1990s. This pedigree, it would seem, made Blake a great choice to replace Schnellenberger as head coach for OU.
Unfortunately for Blake, his name would soon no longer be as pleasantly ensconced in Oklahoma football history as it previously had been.
Thanks to a knack for recruiting, Blake’s teams made steady improvement in each of his three seasons on the sidelines. But his debut mark of 3-8 in 1996 was arguably the lowest point in all of Sooner history. Other teams (decades ago) had won as few games. But no Oklahoma team had ever lost as many games in one season. What’s more, Blake’s teams got beat in jaw-dropping fashion. 21-73 and 7-69 vs. Nebraska, 3-34 vs. Texas, 24-52 vs. Kansas, 7-51 and 0-29 vs. Texas A&M, 7-30 and 26-41 vs. Oklahoma State, 31-51 vs. San Diego State. And those were just the scores against the generally good teams. Blake’s Sooners also got skunked by a 5-7 Northwestern 0-24. They had 40 points hung on them by a 3-8 Cal, losing to the Bears by four. Three 4-7 teams (TCU, Tulsa and Kansas) all bested the Sooners to start the 1996 season. And all three losses were in Norman.
The uniforms were the same maroon as decades before. And the O still hooked the U on the helmets. But the Oklahoma Sooners were otherwise unrecognizable from 1996 to 1998. Blake was fired with a 12-22 final record.
The defensive wunderkind, whose Kansas State Wildcats had beaten up on Gibbs’ and Schnellenberger’s offenses, spent the Blake years in Gainsville Florida amassing a 32-5 record as the Gator’s defensive coordinator. But when Bob Stoops made it back to the conference, this time as the new head coach of Oklahoma, the Sooners would own a 7th National Title just two seasons later — a mere four years removed from the worst single season in school history.
Along with Stoops’ coaching prowess, it, ironically, may have been Blake’s recruiting that helped do the trick to end, in a most dazzling fashion, the sixth worst slump of the last fifty years.
Total number of seasons (8) times 2 = 16 demerits
44 losses minus 45 wins = 1 demerit
22 total blow out losses = 22 demerits
3 blow out losses to sub 8-win teams = 3 demerits
3 ties = 1.5 demerits
Total demerits = 43.5
5. Michigan 1957-1967 (50-49-4)
Coaches: Bennie Oosterbaan, Bump Elliot
If this list only covered the last 40 years of college football, there would be just two programs to stay off completely — Florida (who hasn’t slumped since winning its first National Title in 1996) and Michigan — whose one-season slump of 2008 is too short to include, yet.
Unfortunately for Wolverine fans who’d like to keep old skeletons in the closet, this list goes back 50 years and Michigan absolutely stank for the better part of the 1960s.
The all-time winningest college football program did a whole lot of just that for the first half of the 20th Century, seeing 13 undefeated seasons between 1900 and 1956 including a 9-0 run in 1948 that garnered the Wolverines an AP National Title.
The coach who brought Michigan that first National Title was a hot-headed and caustic man by the name of Bennie Oosterbaan. Taking over from Fritz Crisler (who had amassed an impressive 71-16-3 record including a 10-0 final run in 1947), Oosterbaan catapulted Michigan largely on the back of his predecessor. Oosterbaan, in 11 seasons, would never come close to matching the success of his debut season.
While leading Michigan to Big 10 Conference titles in each of his first three seasons and a Rose Bowl win against Cal in 1950, the program slowly declined. Michigan saw its first losing season in 15 years just 4 years into Oosterbaan’s tenure and another losing season — a dysmal 2-6-1 campaign — in 1958. His last year as coach and the essential start of Michigan’s worst slump of all time.
The man with the dubious distinction of reigning over almost the entirety of that slump was former Wolverine half-back, Bump Elliott.
Elliott was moreorless in the wrong place at the wrong time having served as a backfield coach for Oosterbaan for just two seasons when Bennie decided to throw in the towel. Elliott’s first season with 4 wins and 5 losses looked great compared to the 2-6-1 record of the previous year. But blowout losses to Michigan State, Northwestern and Indiana — all teams barely above the .500 mark — didn’t exactly illuminate a bright future ahead for the program. And, indeed, while producing one more win for 5-4 in 1960, Elliott’s follow-up season saw troublesome offensive performances as the team averaged just 14 points a game and was shut out twice.
1961 saw some improvement — going 6-3 — with much better offensive output. But the rubberband snapped the next season giving Elliott the worst showing of his a career (2-7) and a return to offensive futility with an 8-points per game average and four shut-out losses.
Elliott steadily improved as coach of the Wolverines producing a 9-1 run in 1964 and a 34-7 shellacking of Oregon State in post-season Pasadena. But, overall, 1964 stood out like a petunia in a turd bowl for this slump. In ten seasons as Michigan’s coach, Bump Elliott coached 5 losing seasons while amassing 42 losses.
To his credit, Elliott left Michigan better than he found it with an 8-2 final season. But his last game before handing the keys to Bo Schembechler was a nasty 50-14 loss to Ohio State. An obvious reminder of what the program had just gone through.
Total number of seasons (11) times 2 = 22 demerits
49 losses minus 50 wins = -1 demerit
15 total blow out losses = 15 demerits
8 blow out losses to sub 8-win teams = 8 demerits
4 ties = 2 demerits
Total demerits = 48
4. LSU 1989-1999 (58-55-1)
Coaches: Mike Archer, Curley Hallman, Gerry DiNardo
Before Bill Arnsparger left LSU to build a college football juggernaut as Athletic Director of the University of Florida, the Tigers’ successful three-year coach hand-picked Mike Archer as his replacement. Like Paul Dietzel’s choice of Charles McClendon 25 years earlier, this initially looked to be a good selection.
Going 10-1-1 in 1987, LSU’s first ten-win season in 26 years and 8-4 in 1988 (while collecting a share of the SEC title), things appeared well on the surface. But a closer look at these seasons show cracks in the facade. 1987 started out well enough, beating a solid Texas A&M team on its own field and crushing its next two opponents by 30 and 40-plus margins. But a 13-13 tie at home against a struggling Ohio State kicked off a three-game run in which the outcome could’ve gone either way. 13-10 over 6-6 Florida (also in Baton Rouge), followed by a close 3-point shave against a formidable Georgia in Athens. The Tigers were able to breathe easier against sub-.500 foes, Kentucky and Ole Miss, but LSU got perhaps too comfortable losing to an eventual 7-5 Alabama at home. Capping it off, the Tigers needed nearly all of its 41 points to finish off fellow rag-battlers, 6-6 Tulane.
1988’s 8-4 run showed even bigger signs of trouble starting with a 3-point loss to the worst Ohio State team since the 1950s and bottoming out with a 3-44 dismantling in Death Valley by the University of Miami. The only death’s coming that night were jungle cats blown about by gale force winds.
When the 1989 season started (the official beginning to this slump), perhaps the biggest harbinger of doom was LSU’s 16-28 opening loss to Texas A&M. The Tigers were on a consecutive three-season winning streak vs. the Aggies who had dubiously provided LSU with some of its best wins of the decade. 35-17 in 1986, 17-3 in 1987, 27-0 in 1988. These games were never even close and all against a Southwestern Conference heavy who’d collected 26 wins over that three-year stretch.
But 1989 was different. It was Texas A&M’s turn to bat LSU around with ease. A reasonable loss to Florida State followed and then LSU got its first win of the season — against a 1-9-1 Ohio University. A 57-6 crushing of the Bobcats, it was a spectacle Tiger fans might liked to have taken a mental picture of, as it was LSU’s only win in its first seven games.
LSU rebounded to win three of its last four games, but that smattering of success proved to be no springboard for 1990. While bettering its record to 5-6, LSU also had the indignity of providing Vanderbilt its only win of the year. The Tigers’ anemic offense could only muster more than 20 points when playing teams like 4-7 Kentucky or 5-6 Mississippi State or 6-4-1 Miami of Ohio and, yes, Vandy in that losing effort.
With back-to-back losing seasons and no sign of recovery, Archer was replaced by Curley Hallman — an even less successful Tiger coach than Archer. And that’s even if you throw out Archer’s 18-win two-season head start. The least successful coach in school history, to be exact.
After a one-season absence, LSU’s personal canary-in-the-coalmine, Texas A&M, was back on the schedule. Following a decisive opening loss to Georgia, LSU travelled to College Station, where the Aggies pounded the Tigers to the tune of 7-45. It was grim litmus test, indeed. An edge-of-your-seat game (that shouldn’t have been) followed with Vanderbilt coming to Baton Rouge. The Commodores led almost the entire game before succumbing 16-14 on a 31-yard 4th quarter field goal, offering Tiger fans a small taste of victory before getting skunked at home by Florida two weeks later.
Yet another opening loss to Texas A&M followed in 1992. The first of nine on the year. Amidst the seven-game losing streak starting in September and ending in November, many Tiger fans no doubt wondered what Hallman was still doing on the sidelines. Three shut-out losses in two seasons, a mere seven victories against teams with a combined record of 24-54, blowouts delivered by Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Texas A&M and a total of nine losses in Tiger Stadium. What’s worse, with ten straight NCAA tournament appearances and the Big Man On Campus (in more ways the one) being a star Center by the name of Shaquille O’Neal, LSU was fast becoming a one-sport school. And it was not football.
Curley Hallman needed to turn things around. And quick.
Perhaps in the stain that was 1992 LSU football, the Tigers’ five wins in 1993 were cause for celebration. Perhaps fans thought that. And perhaps you would have, too, had you been clubbed repeatedly in the head the season before. Whatever the case, the powers-that-be at LSU saw fit to keep Hallman around one more season. Even after yet another shutout loss — this time to A&M in the opener, a 0-24 setback against that faithful canary. Even after 3-58 against Florida — LSU’s biggest loss ever — at home. And even after a 4-5-1 Arkansas team would leave a bad taste for the offseason in 24-42 parting shot. Also in Death Valley.
With a pair of three-game skids and a 2-7 tally with two games left in 1994, the Hallman era was over. An 18-20 loss to 5-5 Southern Miss was the final nail. His firing must have been a relief to the coach as he was allowed to finish the season out. The result was blowout wins over Tulane and Arkansas. Albeit two teams who had five wins between them.
You might think that the firing of Hallman would instantly lift the hex on this program. And, initially, that did seem to be the case — as Gerry DiNardo came in and instantly revived the program. But, this is the 4th worst slump of the last 50 years. Following in the tradition of Charles McClendon and Mike Archer, DiNardo’s fast start at the helm would soon enough poop out.
Lifting LSU to 7-4-1 in 1995, followed by 10-2 and 9-3 and a welcome reemergence into the national rankings, DiNardo’s team started 1998 looking every bit as though the Bayou Bangles’ bite was back, crushing its first three opponents by a combined score of 126-45. LSU got its first loss of the season while hosting a tough Georgia team. Trailing 28-21 going into the 4th quarter, LSU cut the Bulldogs lead to one point after a pair of long drives lead to field goals. But, down 28-27 with 3 minutes to play, LSU simply could not get the ball back.
This loss was a tipping point as DiNardo’s teams lost 21 of their next 28 games. And many of the losses came in the form of a vicious bloodletting — 14-41 vs. Arkansas, 7-41 vs. Auburn, 10-31 vs. Florida, 5-31 vs. Kentucky, 23-42 vs. Mississippi. And finally, a 13-point loss in Tiger Stadium vs. 5-4 Houston. DiNardo was canned after this loss. One game before the season finale.
Nick Saban showed up in Baton Rouge at the start of the new millennium and with him, a true rebirth for LSU football.
Total number of seasons (11) times 2 = 22 demerits
55 losses minus 58 wins = -3 demerits
25 total blow out losses = 25 demerits
7 blow out losses to sub 8-win teams = 7 demerits
1 ties = .5 demerit
Total demerits = 51.5
3. Colorado 1997-present (74-73)
Coaches: Rick Neuheisel, Gary Barnett, Dan Hawkins
Here we are at the third worst slump of the last fifty years and yet, this won’t be the last time you read the name “Rick Neuheisel” within this article. You might think that a coach attached to two of the three worst slumps of the last 50 years would buy a shack somewhere in the woods, ala Ted Kaczynski.
The thing of it though, is that Rick Neuheisel’s combined records at Colorado and Washington is 66-30. Not fabulous, though not particularly bad, either. And, indeed, in his eight seasons with those two schools, only three seasons fall within the slump time frames.
We’ll get to Washington in a little bit, but let’s go now to 1997. This was Neuheisel’s third season at Colorado, having taken over for Bill McCartney — the man who turned the Buffalos into perennial National Title contenders in the late 1980s (while snagging a split title in 1990).
Technically, Colorado won zero games in 1997. Picked as a preseason Top 10 team, the Buffalos actually won 5 games that year, but had to forfeit them do to an ineligible player. Nevertheless, the 5-6 season started a slump that has not yet let up today. Even despite, over the last 12 seasons, scratching up a pair of 9 and 10-win seasons, a Big 12 crown (in 2001) and four North Division titles, CU has experienced much more overall calamity than glory during this downturn. For example, while enjoying frequent trips to the Big 12 Championship, the Buffalos rarely enjoyed the games themselves. The 3-70 slaughter by Texas at the end of 2005 is a case in point.
In retrospect, maybe 1997 seemed worse than it actually was in terms of CU’s performance. Of the six teams to beat CU, the top three — Michigan, Kansas State and Nebraska had combined records of 36-1. Two of those teams, Nebraska and Michigan split the 1997 National Title. Colorado even came within four points of knocking off the Cornhuskers, an upset that could’ve made CU bowl eligible.
As it was, though, 1997 was Colorado’s worst season in 14 years and, even more ominous, rumors of recruiting violations began to swirl. Neuheisel capped his tenure in Boulder with an 8-4 run and wins over Oklahoma and Oregon before getting enticed away to Washington. In his wake, Colorado suffered five scholarship losses and two years NCAA probation.
It’s no wonder, then, that the slump continued into replacement Gary Barnett’s turn as Colorado coach — going 10-13 his first two seasons before nearly raising the program completely out of the swamp in 2001 and 2002. Another 9-win season in 2003 could’ve put the kibosh on this slump. But early blow-out nonconference losses (against Washington State and Florida State) set a course for futility. Following the trip to Tallahassee (a 7-47 embarrassment), Colorado got a much-needed reprieve in Waco, Texas to smash Big 12 doormat Baylor. Only the Buffalos didn’t. Colorado returned to Boulder on a three-loss skid with the dishonor of providing Baylor one of their few wins of 2003. (Sam Houston State and 0-12 SMU were the Bears’ other wins for the season.)
Another three-game losing streak followed a narrow win versus sub-.500 Kansas. And the season wrapped with a home-loss against archrival Nebraska.
Barnett’s team rebounded to a degree with 8-5 and 7-6 seasons to follow. But his winning percentage was still clearly below the standards of a program that was just a decade removed from perennial National Title consideration. The nail in Barnett’s coffin had to be that 2005 Big 12 Title game afainst Texas. Having limped into the contest with back to back losses to division foes Iowa State and Nebraska, the 70-3 debacle was the third in a four-game losing streak. 7-2 midway through the season was respectable. 7-6 was not.
So Colorado looked west to Boise State coach, Dan Hawkins, who had helped transform BSU into one of the top 4 winningest programs of the decade.
Ironically, while Hawkins’ former school had its best season ever at 13-0 (culminating with the infamous BCS-busting upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl), Hawkins himself was leading mighty Colorado to its worst season since 1984. Starting with a 19-10 loss at home to Division 1-AA opponent Montana State, Hawkins and his team just never caught a break, opening with six straight losses but nearly beating Georgia in Athens (13-14) and instate rival Colrado State (10-14). Colorado finally got its first win, strangely enough, against Texas Tech in blow-out fashion. This was finally what CU fans hoped to see when Hawkins crossed the Rockies to roost in Boulder.
But the losses continued to come, leaving the Buffalos an embarrassing 2-10 on the season.
2007 provided another surprising victory for Colorado. A 27-24 decision while hosting 3rd-ranked Oklahoma. But this win was as good as it has ever gotten for Hawkins in Colorado. 2007 featured a 65-51 beatdown of nemesis Nebraska (a team embroiled in its own slump at the time) but the Buffalos were on the losing end of some their own embarrassing losses such as 20-47 against Kansas State and 10-55 versus Missouri.
In all, Colorado won six games in 2007, enough to send them to Sherevport for the bowl season. But 2008, a year in which Hawkins should have had all the pieces in place for a successful run, produced yet another losing season at 5-7.
Dan Hawkins boldly predicted ten wins for Colorado in 2009. That won’t be enough to end this slump in and of itself. But, anything short of that will probably result in a fourth name added to the list of coaches steering this slump. And the inevitable bumping of Colorado past Notre Dame for number two.
Total number of seasons (12) times 2 = 24 demerits
73 losses minus 74 wins = -1 demerit
29 total blow out losses = 29 demerits
2 blow out losses to sub 8-win teams = 2 demerits
Total demerits = 54
2. Notre Dame 1956-1963 (34-45)
Coaches: Terry Brennan, Joe Kuharich, Hugh Devore
“Notre Dame” is a French phrase meaning “college football”. Or, at least it should be when you consider the many eras of dominance enjoyed by the Fighting Irish. 16 undefeated seasons, 15 seasons with 10 or more wins, 11 National Titles. There has been no lack of gridiron glory to come out of South Bend.
But even one of the most storied and successful programs in the history of college football is not immune to an occasional bout of embarrassing mediocrity.
Perhaps it’s not fair to pin Notre Dame’s skid of the late 1950s-1960s entirely on the back of coach Terry Brennan who took over from Irish coaching legend, Frank Leahy. With four National Titles won under the previous regime, Brennan had a tough precedent to follow. And the program was already showing signs of slippage before Brennan donned the whistle. Nearly all of Leahy’s losses while at Notre Dame came in three of his last four seasons. Less talent than in previous years and a de-emphasis on football by the school’s administration awaited Brennan who took the clipboard as head coach just a few months shy of his 26th birthday.
Brennan would be fired shortly after his 30th.
The young coach’s tenure would start off well enough — blanking Texas 21-0 in the Irish’s 1954 opener. The second game was a loss — to Purdue. But Brennan’s squad would run the table afterward for a 9-1 debut season.
The following year’s record was similarly respectable at 8-2, but there were signs of ails to come as both losses were decisive (21-7 versus Michigan State and 42-20 versus USC). Furthermore, the 1955 team struggled past a 3-5-1 Iowa. These outings would seem like fond memories by the end of 1956.
Plagued by injuries, Brennan was forced to start mostly sophomores and freshman while facing a schedule that included Michigan State, Pittsburgh, USC and, that year’s National Champion, Oklahoma. Those four teams blasted Notre Dame by a combined score of 141-47. Immediate calls for firing faced Brennan in the wake of a 2-8 season. The school administration saw fit to keep the coach for another two seasons, but his 13-7 record in 1957 and 1958 was not enough to satisfy the powers that be.
South Bend native and former Irish football player, Joe Kuahrich, took over the team in 1959.
Things started bad for Kuahrich. And got much worst. While Brennan managed winning records in four of his five seasons at Notre Dame, Kuahrich failed to do better than 5-5 in any of his four seasons and would finish with an overall record of 17-23. What’s more, blow-out losses (19-51 against Purdue, 21-42 against Iowa, 13-37 against Duke, 6-35 against Northwestern) and shutouts became a regularity under Kuharich. Notre Dame needed ten quarters and three seasons to finally score against Michigan State under Kuahrich.
Notre Dame finally hit rock bottom in 1963, when interim coach, Hugh Devore, finished the skid off with a 2-7 record.
Ironically, while piloting a sinking ship, Kuahrich ultimately recruited top talent to his alma mater leaving coach Ara Parseghian with enough talent to go 9-1 the very season after Devore’s 1963 debacle. Using Kuahrich’s players, Parseghian won 25 games his first three campaigns, while dropping just three and tying two. Those Irish teams finished third and ninth in the final AP polls of 1964 and 1965 and snagged a National Title in 1966.
Not a bad way to erase the taste of what would be (until this decade) the worst National Champion slump of the last 50 years.
Total number of seasons (8) times 2 = 16 demerits
45 losses minus 34 wins = 11 demerits
18 total blow out losses = 18 demerits
10 blow out losses to sub 8-win teams = 10 demerits
Total demerits = 55
1. Washington 2002-present (25-59)
Coaches: Rick Neuheisel, Keith Gilbertson, Tyrone Willingham
History has bestowed the American lexicon with a few names that have become synonymous with “epic failure”. Titanic, Edsel, Heaven’s Gate, New Coke.
In the world of college football, the Washington Huskies have probably officially reached that very level as nothing short of an unmitigated disaster has befallen U-Dub football.
Just 20 years ago, Coach Don James was steering the program to the pinnacle of the sport, seeing the program produce one of college football’s all time most dominant teams in 1991. However, NCAA and conference sanctions lead to James’ early departure sparking the first initial slide into what has now become a slow-motion train wreck.
After a brief and relatively benign downturn in the mid-1990s (slump #30 on this list) Washington seemed to find the answer to its post-James woes in hiring Colorado Head Coach Rick Neuheisel who, in his second season, took the Huskies to an 11-1 season, a Pac-10 Championship, a Rose Bowl pounding of Purdue and a third-place finish in the national polls.
But accusations of overlooking impropriety (thanks mostly to a Seattle Times investigation) quickly dogged both Neuheisel and the Washington Athletic Director. Although the coach was largely exonerated through court action, these problems — along with a gambling controversy — forced Neuheisel out of his job.
By 2003, this top-level turmoil already started to take a toll on the program. After the fantastic run in 2000, Neuheisal went a mediocre 15-10 his last two seasons.
Ominously, though, this record would seem like a veritable renaissance compared to Keith Gilbertson’s 7-16 stint at calling the shots.
Gilbertson had a reasonable resume with turns head-coaching at Idaho (then a Division I-AA program) and at Cal (where he directed the Golden Bears to a 9-win season in 1993), but the poisoned environment in Seattle was perhaps a little too much as, in his second season, Gilbertson could only produce a single win — over San Jose State. Easily Washington’s worst opponent that year.
Gilbertson was let go and replaced by Tyrone Willingham who had overachieved while coaching at traditional Pac-10 bottom-dweller, Stanford, and who had elevated a slumping Notre Dame in his first season at South Bend only to see the Irish slump again his last two seasons. What’s more, Willingham, in those final seasons at Notre Dame was on the receiving end of punishing blowouts by Michigan and USC and Florida State and Syracuse and Purdue and Oregon State.
Oddly enough, Washington saw this kind of production as an improvement and immediately scooped up the ex-coach. And Willingham immediately doubled Washington’s wins upon his debut. Two wins to be precise. Against 3-8 Arizona and 2-9 Idaho.
But 2006 did see enough of a turnaround for Washington to suggest that things were on the right track under Willingham. Jumping out to a 4-1 record featuring impressive wins over Fresno State and UCLA, the Huskies came heart-breakingly close to the victory column in several other notable contests — such as a 20-26 loss to USC. A game in which Washington nearly matched the Trojans in total yards and held just a three-point deficit for nearly the entire fourth quarter before USC iced it with a late field goal.
Three more losses for the Huskies came at ten points or less and the season ended with a thriller of a victory over arch-rival Washington State. Nevertheless, a six game skid preceded the Apple Cup leaving Washington with a 5-7 record and a third consecutive losing season.
But the close losses and clear upward trajectory gave Husky fans something to pin their hopes to for 2007. Nevermind that a good many football pundits were calling Washington’s schedule arguably the toughest slate in the country featuring five teams to finish in the final 2006 AP Top 25 — three of which (Ohio State, USC and Boise State) landed in the Top 5.
Willingham and company got 2007 off to a great start, blasting an outmatched Syracuse 42-12 and following it with a remarkably easy upset of 2006 Cinderella — Boise State. The next game brought Ohio State — the BCS runner-up — to town. And the Huskies dominated the Buckeyes. For the first half. Indeed, for the first ten quarters of 2007, Washington seemed to be back.
But then the second half of the Ohio State game happened. After taking a 7-3 deficit to the lockers, the Buckeyes exploded with 30 points in the second half while Washington mustered merely its second score of the game in the waning minute of the 4th quarter. This was the launch of another woulda-coulda-shoulda season of heartbreaking losses including a 24-27 near miss against the almighty Trojans.
Willingham’s team clawed and scratched its way to another disappointing record at 4-9. But despite this 4th consecutive losing season — the first ever such stretch in Washington’s 100-year football history — there was a fire in the belly at the program. A never-quit attitude that kept the Huskies in many of their losses to the end. So, despite an 11-25 record in three seasons, the University had good reason to keep the coach around for 2008.
Unfortunately, once 2008 was over, Willingham would be 11-37 overall at Washington. And out of a job.
There has never been quite as bad a season for Washington as was 2008. There were some close ones such as Keith Gilbertson’s swan song in 2004. But not only did Washington go 0-12 in Willingham’s last season but, save for a 1-point loss to BYU (aided by a controversial penalty), gone were those respectable heartbreakers that seemed to characterize the Huskies’ fighting spirit. Losses such as 10-44 to Oregon, 14-55 to Oklahoma, 0-56 to USC and 7-48 to Cal were the new order.
Willingham announced his resignation midway through the season, but remained coach to the bitter end. A spiritless day in Berkeley, California. A game in which the Huskies stared out — a thousand yards — to a scoreboard that read 0-31. At half time.
So, after seven years of Neuheisel, Gilbertson and Willingham — all driving shriner-sized Edsels on the deck of the Titanic — Washington finds itself with 34 more losses than wins. And more than half the losses — blow outs.
Incoming coach Steve Sarkisian has a daunting job ahead of him. Let’s hope he leaves the New Coke in the icebox.
Total number of seasons (7) times 2 = 14 demerits
59 losses minus 25 wins = 34 demerits
30 total blow out losses = 30 demerits
8 blow out losses to sub 8-win teams = 8 demerits
Total demerits = 86