“Without losers, there wouldn’t be winners” – unknown author, but probably a loser. As we approach the climax of the college football season, The Sage of College Football (your humble author) suggests that we turn our attention for a few moments to those programs that once held such promise in the late summer months, only to smack their noodles into the frozen artificial turf of December’s reality. For some teams, season ending games conclude with the ritual of tearing down of goalposts. Others result in the school selling off unused hot dogs from the stadium deep freeze to starving students who spent their student loan money on beer.
At the professional level, teams that finish at the bottom refer to this time of year as the beginning of golf season. And given the paychecks of most players and coaches, they don’t have to worry much about competing with retirees for tee times. The one disappointment in 2008 has been that in writing about the college game, the Sage can’t slam the Detroit Lions. The pitiful old motor city franchise looks as it has finally blown all it’s gaskets and not even the team ownership seems to care. At least Lions players get paid something for losing. Professional players have a paycheck coming in and a vacation to look forward to. At the college level though, players on losing teams are compelled to visit their respective Religious Studies Departments to seek inner peace. Their coaches seek employment.
Fans of losing college teams also use the offseason for contemplative reflection. One of the more interesting observations occurs when the over-dedicated fan reviews how much money was spent following the team into the toilet. Season tickets, beer and liquor, nachos and hot dogs and the associated medical bills really add up.
Mental Health experts concluded long ago that dedicating too much time effort and money on one’s team is also hard on relationships. For those fans lucky enough to have identified a different-sex partner to share the misery of a disastrous season, this presents a double-edged sword. On one hand, the fan may have someone with whom to share the burdens of recovery. On the other, the left over bills and charge card accounts may run double. And for what? Seeing their team scrape together one or two wins against lower division opponents?
Sports Information Offices use this time to come up with new promotional ideas. The Sage has always wanted to be in on an SIO meeting after a 1 and 11 campaign. The new promo ideas generally center on how to convince alumni to overlook the annual season ticket price increase. Or… how to creatively inform alumni that their reserved parking places that have been in the family for generations, are being discontinued so that the school can construct a new kiln for the Art department. Names of alumni that agree to repurchase their seats at inflated prices are handed over to the University Development Office for immediate inclusion in the fund raising effort du jour. สมัครเว็บบอล
A common technique used by losing institutions is to cloud the record of the past year by introducing a new head coach. Individuals agreeing to take these jobs generally extract huge sums for this. Standing before confused and bewildered fans and players and promising to right the ship by “changing the way we think” and “bringing in a winning attitude” is something that should generate a huge paycheck by itself. Saying this stuff with a straight face takes talent. The Detroit Lions ownership should be taking notice… this is at least something to try.
The university staff at Washington has a unique challenge this year. The abysmal Huskies competed a 0-12 season capped off by a 48-7 shellacking at the hands of Cal – hardly the kind of game one wants to end a season on. At least they played that one in Berkeley. Adding misery to insult, the Huskies perfect record sets a new mark for futility within the Pac-10. The wise old Sage of College Football (your humble author) can’t wait to see how the institution spins this one. The Huskies have already completed their search for a new head coach and have convinced a Mr. Steve Sarkisian to give up some great weather at Southern Cal to take over the Pac-10’s doormat program. The Sage wishes Coach Sark a hearty “good luck.” He may learn to appreciate the fog that rolls into Husky Stadium. It does make players, coaches and the future difficult to see.
The Huskies however, aren’t the only college team with a lot to forget from 2008. And it is indeed time to put the final nail in the 2008 coffin for these teams. Looking ahead, some of these programs will emerge from the ranks of the worst to achieve respectability. Others will trip and fall on their snooters coming out of the locker room for the spring game.
It is will pride then, that the Sage of College Football presents his picks for the worst 10 teams in college football. However, we should first review a few rules. Primarily, only teams that actually harbor any ambition to become BCS qualified or to -gasp- compete for a national championship one day, are included. Secondly, only major conferences are included. When was the last Middle-America or Conference USA team that had a shot at a big time title? The Sage isn’t thinking that Eastern, Central or Western Michigan seriously entertain thoughts of a national championship. So.. without further ado, here are the Sage’s picks for the 10 worst college football teams of 2008.
1. Washington Huskies –
Obviously….The purple dogs of the northwest found a way to get the job done in all games this year, including some monumental defeats to Notre Dame, USC and UCLA. Admittedly these are cherry-picked games, but the soggy doggies of Seattle lost these games by a combined score of 116 to 14. In the process, the poor purple team sent its fans off to Starbucks early in each home game. Even though the Huskies kept a game or two close for a while, they still gave up a grand total of 136 points more than they scored in seven home games this year.
2. Washington State Cougars –
It is usually a good season if the Cougars beat archrival and Pac-10 foe Washington in the annual campaign. Unfortunately for the Cougars, that was their only conference win. Interestingly, the only other Cougar victory occurred back in September against a team from Portland State. The Sage is unsure when the Big Sky Conference boasted its last national contender. The state of Washington deserves a honorable mention in the 2008 FirstWorst rankings this year for producing two of the most dismal gridiron performances in history.
3. Idaho Vandals –
The Sage has endured another season waiting in vain for Idaho to change its hapless name. The name “Vandals” would normally inspire images of a wild hoard sacking villages and carrying off opposing cheerleaders. This team doesn’t provide much – other than a good excuse to carry off a few cold ones from the local Git N Go. The only Vandal victories (admittedly a contradiction in terms) came in games against other awful programs at New Mexico State and Idaho State.
4. New Mexico State Aggies –
The Sage thought that all programs named “Aggies” had been forced into a change by disgruntled alumni. Particularly for anyone that lives within smelling distance of Las Cruces, you know there isn’t a lot of agribusiness taking place there except for the miles of feedlots along I-10. One would think that the school would be anxious to change the name and perhaps try to attract a quality recruit or two. Unfortunately for these Aggies, the 2008 team should have been forced off the field. Despite a decent win against archrival Texas El Paso, the Aggies could only manage more points in games against Alcorn and Nevada.
5. Indiana Hoosiers –
It is alternately a pleasure and a bit of a disappointment to include a Big Ten team in the FirstWorst rankings. One of college football’s most storied conferences boasts a tradition of great rivalries and thrilling games. Unfortunately at Indiana, the rivalry is with the basketball program to see who can attract more fans to a single game. Since Bobby Knight’s departure, even this has become interesting. Still, basketball at Indiana attracts great athletes who might be able to give the football team a good game. Indiana does deserve credit for trying to follow a proven pathway to respectability. After scheduling games with Western Kentucky and someone called Murray State (also from Kentucky) the Hoosiers minimized travel costs in paying someone to visit the school and lose. After a 2-0 start, the Hoosiers returned to reality, managing only one conference win – their Homecoming Game over Northwestern.