Which schools had the roughest combination of college basketball and college football this season? Whose fan bases didn’t get to have any fun over the last year?
2016 Oops & Helmets: College Football, Basketball Top Combinations
… and then there are the eight notable schools from major conferences still pining for a big postseason game and something to cheer about in 2015-16. Oops and helmets, if you will.
Jeremy Johnson would compete for the Heisman. Auburn was an SEC threat. The Tigers had their Oops and helmets firewall. Or not.
Auburn wound up as one of the biggest football disappointments, sliding from No. 6 in the preseason to six losses in league play. And Johnson was benched in favor of an overmatched true freshman. Bruce Pearl’s kids were in no position to offset football’s shortcomings. The Tigers closed 11-20, their seventh losing season in a row, while finishing ahead of only Mizzou in the SEC standings.
Little went right this winter in Minneapolis, home to a pair of teams that failed to reach the .500 mark.
The Gophers, which lost popular head coach Jerry Kill on Oct. 28 to health reasons, bowled only because the system lacked enough qualifying .500 programs. Minny went 0-6 versus ranked opponents, though did compete in most of those losses. In a positively embarrassing year for the Pitino family, Richard’s basketball squad won only eight times. Far worse, though, were the spate of late-season suspensions that left Minnesota depleted and mortified by early March.
6. Georgia Tech
The football team would surely keep the Yellow Jackets off the wrong side of the H&H tracks, right? Uh-uh.
Tech was one of the biggest disappointments of the football season, plummeting from ACC Coastal champs to three stinking wins. One of the victories was a thriller over Florida State, but it was too little, too late. Football sort of set the tone for basketball, which spent the season in the second tier of the conference pecking order. The experienced Jackets did show progress for beleaguered coach Brian Gregory, but not quite enough to land that first NCAA Tournament berth in six years.
The Illini saved the best for last, finally solidifying the football program with the hiring of Lovie Smith earlier this month.
Illinois has a football coach and an AD, Josh Whitman, so the future is looking brighter. The residue of the past problems of athletic administration chaos, though, still existed in 2015-16. Smith’s predecessor, Bill Cubit, dropped six of the final seven games to lock up the school’s fourth straight losing season. And the injury-riddled hoops team failed to meet expectations … or reach the .500 mark for the first time in eight seasons.
For the first time in a very long time, the bottom fell out at the same time for football and basketball.
The Tigers began 2015 as the two-time defending SEC East champ on grass, but a horror show on offense led to an unexpected 5-7 finish. Making matters worse, it ended up being the finale for popular longtime coach Gary Pinkel, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The basketball squad is in even direr straits, finishing in the SEC cellar in back-to-back seasons. The Tigers went 3-15 in league play in both of those campaigns.
3. Wake Forest
Poor Demon Deacon fans.
Wake Forest has had squatter’s rights here the entire decade. Over the past five seasons, the Deacon fans have endured no winning football seasons and not a single NCAA Tournament appearance. Dave Clawson and Danny Manning are building, but both have a long way to go. Clawson went 3-9 on Saturdays, while Manning’s team was even worse than anticipated, finishing ahead of only lowly Boston College in the regular season standings.
During games. Away from the arenas. The Scarlet Knights were toxic by every possible measuring stick over the past six months.
In the fall, Rutgers not only went 4-8, but also dealt with a bunch of suspensions, including one for head coach Kyle Flood who was eventually canned. The winter results were just as feeble for Eddie Jordan, as the Knights finished below .500 for the ninth year in a row. Rutgers copped exactly one league victory in each sport, further proof that the Big Ten move was more a money grab than putting forth competitive squads.
1. Boston College
Forget just this past year. The Eagles made a compelling case as one of the worst hoops and helmets combinations in recent history.
BC went 0-for-the ACC during the blended regular seasons, becoming the first school since TCU in 1976-77 to lose every conference football and basketball game. Trouble on the hardwood surprised no one. However, dropping the final eight football games, despite ranking No. 4 nationally in scoring D, was a major disappointment for a program that appeared to have built momentum under Steve Addazio.