2016-2017’s 25 Worst College Football & Basketball Combinations
Which schools had the roughest years in the two major sports? What were the 25 worst college football and basketball combinations of 2016-2017?
Who had the worst years in the two major sports?
It’s the part of the whole athletic department puzzle that no one likes to talk about.
There might be a UConn women’s basketball team here, or a few great hockey programs there, or a wrestling program that gets the crowd moving or a great volleyball program that make alumni feel all squishy, but if your school doesn’t win at college football and men’s college basketball, your athletic department doesn’t exist.
Pretend all you want that non-revenue sports matter, but there’s a reason why they’re called non-revenue sports. An athletic director whose school doesn’t win at both football and basketball – or rock at the highest of levels at one of them – is an unemployed athletic director.
So which big-time, FCS football/D-I basketball schools stunk it up the most this year? Whose fan bases endured a year of total misery?
As the world gets caught up in March Madness, these fan bases didn’t have enough fun.
And the 25 worst football & basketball schools of 2016 – and part of 2017 – are …
25. Mississippi State Bulldogs
They’re bringing up the rear on the list because the football team managed to beat Ole Miss – that makes it a good year for Cowbell types no matter what – and went a bowl game. However, the Bulldogs ended up with a losing season, and the basketball program finished with a mediocre 16-16 record.
24. Illinois Fighting Illini
The first year of the Lovie Smith era didn’t work out so hot, going 2-7 in Big Ten play and finishing 3-9 overall. The basketball side might have been okay, but it closed out with a clunk – going 18-14 – while watching Northwestern rise up to be the state’s big Big Ten basketball program.
23. Miami University RedHawks
The RedHawks went on a great second half football run and got to a bowl game, and now there’s hope for the future with a great-looking quarterback in Gus Ragland and the upside to be in the MAC title hunt. However, the hoops side dragged everything down, finishing dead last in the conference – and, of course, on the bottom of the East – with a 4-14 league record and a 11-21 season overall.
22. Texas Tech Red Raiders
There wasn’t enough fun on the hardwood, finishing tied for seventh going 6-12 in conference. On the plus side, the Red Raiders ended up with a winning season, going 18-14 – at least they were better than Oklahoma and Texas. The football program put up a ton of points – only OU scored more – but going 5-7 and missing out on a bowl was a massive disappointment. At least Kliff Kingsbury is still pretty to look at.
21. UTEP Miners
The Miner basketball team got hot late in the year winning seven of its last eight games before getting bounced out of the Conference USA tournament. Going 12-6 in the regular season and finishing tied for third, but that was it for the fun, finishing 15-16 on the year. The hoops positives weren’t enough to overcome the overall record, or the horrible season from the football program finishing last in the West and going 4-8 overall.
20. Boston College Eagles
The BC situation isn’t nearly as miserable as it was during an ugly run when the school couldn’t win an ACC football game and died in basketball. This year, it managed to come up with a bowl appearance – and win – along with two conference wins in a loaded football year for the ACC. However, the Eagles still finished last in the Atlantic Division, and were dead last by two games in basketball going 2-16 in conference play.
19. North Texas Mean Green
Finishing dead last in the Conference USA basketball standings – going 2-16 in league play and 8-22 overall – takes away from a step-forward football season under head coach Seth Littrell in his first year. Yeah, the Mean Green finished 5-8, but they managed to get to a bowl game.
18. Northern Illinois Huskies
NIU couldn’t get anything going in either major sport. The basketball team closed out with an ugly 7-11 MAC season – finishing fifth in the West and going 15-17 overall – while the normally dominant football program couldn’t find its groove, going 5-7 and getting lapped by Western Michigan in the division.
17. Utah State Aggies
There are real, live expectations for the football program now, and going 3-9 just isn’t going to cut it. Everyone in the Mountain Division finished with a winning conference record, but Utah State finished 1-7. The hoops team was ugly, too, going 14-17 and finished tied for eighth in the league.
16. Bowling Green Falcons
The defending MAC football champs finished tied for third in the East, but that still meant a 3-5 season and a massively disappointing 4-8 campaign overall. The basketball season was even worse, finishing fifth in the division going 7-11 in the MAC and 13-19 overall.
15. Arizona State Sun Devils
Not only does it stink that the basketball team finished with a 15-18 losing season – going 7-11 in Pac-12 play – but Arizona being among the nation’s top teams twisted the knife even more. The football season was even uglier, starting out 4-0 and then losing seven of the last eight to whiff on a what appeared to be a sure-thing bowl season. All the Sun Devils had to do was win the regular season finale to go bowling, but they got destroyed 56-35 – by Arizona.
14. East Carolina Pirates
The football season started out with so much promise, with a high-octane offense and a win over NC State. But even with a massive, record-breaking campaign from WR Zay Jones, the Pirates were still ugly, finishing 1-7 in conference play and 4-8 overall. The basketball team finished ninth in the 11-team American Athletic, going a horrible 15-18 and winning just six league games.
13. Charlotte 49ers
Give the football program a wee bit of a break – it’s only been around for four years. Even so, the 4-8 season closed out with a thud, with few big plays and too many close losses. The 49ers didn’t make a lot of noise on the court, either, with a tough 13-17 season finishing tenth in Conference USA.
12. Connecticut Huskies
Wait … wasn’t UConn supposed to be great at basketball? Yeah, the women’s side is dominant, but the men aren’t holding up their end of the bargain, even with a season-defining run in the American Athletic tournament – after winning 25 games last year – and finishing 9-9 in the conference regular season. The bigger problem was the football team, going a boring 3-9 and finishing tied for last in the conference. The Huskies only scored 178 points on the year – no one else in the league scored fewer than 232.
11. Florida Atlantic Owls
At least you have Lane Kiffin now, Owl fans. It took a horrible football season to get there, though, going 3-9 overall and finishing tied for last in the Conference USA East division. There wasn’t any relief in a rough basketball season, going 10-20 overall and finishing tied for 11th in the league.
10. Massachusetts Minutemen
The days of John Calipari and Marcus Camby are long, long gone, going 4-14 in the Atlantic 10 and 15-18 overall – finishing 12th in the 14 team league. The football program tried hard and battled well in tough games early on, but that didn’t last long going 2-10 with the only wins coming against Wagner and FIU.
9. Florida International Golden Panthers
The football team was so bad and going nowhere in such a hurry that it dumped head coach Ron Turner just a few games into the campaign. There was a bit of a post-coach bump, and the Golden Panthers finished 4-8, but it was still a lost season – unless you see it as a step back to take a leap forward by landing Butch Davis as the new head man. The basketball team won just three C-USA games, finished 13th in the league, and went 7-24 overall.
8. San Jose State Spartans
The Spartans didn’t have the worst basketball team in the Mountain West, but they weren’t far off, finishing tied for eighth going 7-11 in the league and 14-16 overall. The football team wasn’t the worst in the league, either, but it couldn’t get the season rolling, finishing 4-8 with a 3-5 conference run, leading to the firing of head coach Ron Caragher.
7. Texas Longhorns
It’s Texas. It’s supposed to be really, really good at this whole sports thing, especially with high-priced, high-end coaching talents like Shaka Smart and Charlie Strong. After so much promise in an okay 2015-2016, the basketball team went into the tank, finishing dead last in the Big 12 going 11-22 overall and a horrendous 4-14 in the league. Not only did the football program crash and burn going 5-7, but it lost to … Kansas. Tom Herman is being brought in to change all of that on the football side.
6. Missouri Tigers
It wasn’t all that long ago when MIzzou football was fresh off of two straight SEC Championship appearances and the basketball program was a national powerhouse. The first year under new head football coach Barry Odom didn’t work, going 4-8 and finishing at the bottom of a mediocre East going 2-6. The basketball team also appeared to have an aversion to doing anything positive, finishing tied with LSU for dead last in the SEC going 2-16, and finishing 8-24 overall.
5. Tulane Green Wave
It was a rotten year for Tulane basketball, finishing next-to-last ahead of South Florida in the American Athletic going 3-15, and going a horrendous 6-25 overall. At least USF won seven games. The first year under new head football coach Willie Fritz wasn’t much better, finishing last in the AAC West going 1-7 – two games worse than SMU – and going 4-8 overall.
4. Oregon State Beavers
Okay, so it’s hard to call the Oregon State football season a total disaster with a win over Oregon to close things out, but the team is supposed to be far stronger than 4-8 under Gary Andersen. Beating the Ducks in the Civil War would normally be enough to make it a positive year for the school, but the basketball team went 1-17 in the Pac-12 and 5-27 overall.
3. ULM Warhawks
Warhawk hoops didn’t fly, finishing last in the Sun Belt going 2-16 – two fewer wins than Appalachian State – and went 9-23 overall. The football program showed a sign of life late with a few decent wins, but got rolled by rival Louisiana-Lafayette 30-3 to close out a rough 4-8 season. On the plus side, four teams finished worse on the football side – that’s little solace for a team that got outscored by a ridiculous 469-280.
2. UNLV Rebels
There’s hope for the football program under Tony Sanchez, but that’s an assumption after a miserable 4-8 season. There was a stunning win over a good Wyoming team, but losing to rival Nevada to close things out 45-10 was a disaster. But the Runnin’ Rebels were good, right?
Normally a lock to come up with a winning season, and a good bet to be in the hunt for the tournament, this season UNLV finished tied with Air Force for last in the Mountain West with a 4-14 campaign, and ended up with a league-worst 11-21 overall record losing ten of their last 11.
1. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Yeah, the football and basketball programs stink, but Rutgers is a huge winner where it matters – revenue. The move to the Big Ten – allowing the league to say it’s spread into the New York/New Jersey area – is expected to bring in at least $50 million over a four-year span through the 2019-2020 seasons, and then blow up from there.
On the field and hardwood, though, is a different story.
The football team wasn’t just blown out, it was blown away at nationally-mocked levels, going winless in the conference, 2-10 overall, and losing to Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State by a combined score of 224-0.
Meanwhile, the basketball program finished dead last – the indignity of being the 14th-best team in a conference called the Big Ten – going 3-15 in the conference and and 15-18 overall.