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Fun Stat Nerd Tidbit: Washington State

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The first major-conference Summer Vacation piece should go live tomorrow at the mothership.  To bring attention to both that piece and Football Study Hall, I am attempting an exercise in synergy.  Here is the Fun Stat Nerd Tidbit appearing in accordance with that post.

In 2008 and 2009, Washington State was a really, really bad football team.  How bad?  In the last 101 seasons, only nine teams from a major conference have finished dead last in overall S&P+ or, for seasons before 2005, Estimated S&P+.  They are a Who's Who of notoriously terrible football teams, and Washington State joined their ranks in 2009.  (Wake Forest did the deed in 1928-29, but they were not yet a member of a major conference -- they joined the Southern Conference in the late-1930s.)

  • 1939 Chicago (126th of 126).  The Maroons went 2-6 overall in their final season, 0-5 versus Division I teams.  They were outscored at the DI level, 300-0.  Michigan beat them, 85-0.  Ohio State, 61-0.
  • 1965 Kansas State (120th of 120) and 1966 Kansas State (117th of 117).  The only team to accomplish last place in back-to-back years, these Wildcats went a combined 0-19-1, allowing 522 points and scoring just 109.  Never mind their record against good teams like Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado and Oklahoma ... against teams with losing records, these two Wildcat squads went 0-8-1 with an average score of Opponents 25, K-State 6.  Their only non-loss: a 3-3 tie with 2-7-1 Kansas in 1966.
  • 1971 Baylor (114th of 114).  The Bears went 1-9, beating Indiana, 10-0, losing a competitive game to TCU, 34-27 ... and getting outscored 202-37 in their other eight games.  In their final four games of the year, they played one winning team (8-3 Texas) and were still outscored, 94-6.
  • 1978 Northwestern (130th of 130), 1981 Northwestern (139th of 139) and 1983 Northwestern (115th of 115).  How putrid was Northwestern in this period?  Dennis Green won ten games there in five seasons (1981-85) ... and still got another college job (Stanford, 1989-91)!  Green and his predecessor Rick Venturi both went on to succeed in other jobs, but winning in Evanston was too much to ask.  The 1978 and 1981 teams went a combined 0-21-1, getting outscored by an incredible 945-154.  The 1983 squad was actually decent in comparison (2-9, outscored 398-101) but was still terrible by any other standard.
  • 1985 Kansas State (111th of 111). In the mid- to late-1980s, the states of Kansas and Missouri were the bermuda triangle of college football.  In 1985, Kansas, Kansas State and Mizzou managed a combined 8-26 record, with Kansas registering six of those wins.  In 1986, they went 8-25.  In 1987, 6-25-1.  The 1985 Wildcats actually beat Mizzou to go 1-10, but in their other ten games, they were outscored, 278-81.
  • 2009 Washington State (120th of 120). To their credit, the 2009 Cougars actually defeated a bowl-winning team (SMU).  The problem, of course, was that they quit after that win.  In their final nine games, Wazzu was outscored, 358-81, and the numbers suggest they were lucky to keep things so close.