Which schools had the roughest season in the two major college sports? Here are the 25 that had the toughest 2020-2021 on the field and court.
For all the talk about the other college sports – with a few notable exceptions – it’s all about football and men’s basketball when it comes to national attention and in most years, the revenue to pay for everything else.
Which schools had the worst year in both football and men’s basketball?
To get on this list, 1) in most years, a school’s college football team had to miss out on a bowl appearance, but after a strange 2020, it’s about who had a losing/disappointing campaign, and 2) on the hoops side, the men’s basketball team had to finish with a losing season.
FBS schools for football, only, so these rankings are out of the 130 that play both high-end football along with basketball.
And the 25 football & basketball schools who struggled the most in 2020 – and part of 2021 – were …
The Hoops & Helmets Ranking from last season is out of 130 teams.
25. Central Michigan Chippewas
It’s a bit unfair for the Chippewas to be here, but there were 23 schools that had losers in both football and basketball so two others had to round out the top 25. In football, there was one decent win – 30-27 over Ohio – in a 3-3 season, but the basketball team was a disaster going 3-13 in the MAC and finishing 7-16 overall.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 67
24. Air Force Falcons
Air Force makes the Oops & Helmets cut because of basketball. It finished next-to-last in the Mountain West just ahead of New Mexico, going 5-20 on the year and just 3-17 in the league. The 3-3 football season wasn’t awful, but losing to Army stings. At least the Falcons beat Navy, and the three losses were all acceptable.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 59
23. Kentucky Wildcats
This goes against the overall spirit of Oops & Helmets – the fan base did get to enjoy a Gator Bowl win over NC State – but the football team went 5-6, so the program is the last on this list among those with losing seasons in both sports.
Obviously, if you’re not winning in basketball at Kentucky, there’s a problem. The team couldn’t seem to turn it on after a bad start, going 8-9 in the SEC and finishing with an ugly 9-16 campaign.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 12
22. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
This isn’t necessarily fair. The Demon Deacons got to a bowl game, but totally melted down in a 42-28 loss to Wisconsin to finish with a losing season. The basketball team ended up 14th in the ACC going 3-15 – just ahead of Boston College – and 6-16 overall.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 65
21. Minnesota Golden Gophers
A big disappointment in both sports, the football team went 3-4 and was very, very fortunate to get one of those wins against Purdue. The basketball team collapsed late in the season finishing 14-15. There might have been a win over a miserable Northwestern squad in the Big Ten Tournament, but the Gophers finished 6-14 in the conference.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 42
20. Kansas State Wildcats
The football season started bad with a home loss to Arkansas State, and ended with five straight losses to go 4-6 and 7th in the ten team league. Bruce Weber’s basketball team was plucky and tough, but it still finished 4-14 in the Big 12 – ninth in the league – and won just nine games.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 69
19. Penn State Nittany Lions
This it probably a bit unfair of a ranking, but the Nittany Lions had the worst start in the program’s football history going 0-5 before reeling off four straight to close out. The hoops team seemed close at times to making some sort of a run, but it finished tied for tenth in the league and 11-14 overall.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 8
18. Arkansas State Red Wolves
Just when it seemed like the football team would be in for a nice year after beating Kansas State on the way to a 3-2 start, the wheels came off in a 4-7 campaign. The basketball team wasn’t the the worst in the Sun Belt – it was fourth out of six teams in the West – going 11-13 overall and 7-8 in the conference.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 56
17. Charlotte 49ers
The 49ers went 9-16 in basketball and 5-11 in the conference, but at least it was 5th in the East ahead of Middle Tennessee and FIU. The football team went 2-4 and wasn’t all that bad, but it was a disappointment coming off a bowl season.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 75
16. Troy Trojans
This is a bit of a gift, only because the football team played in the nasty Sun Belt East. The Trojans finished last in the division, but it would’ve been the second-best team behind Louisiana in the West. It was still a 5-6 season overall and 3-4 in the league, and the basketball team didn’t help going 4-12 in a last place East finish and 11-17 overall.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 123
15. Nebraska Cornhuskers
The football powerhouse is overdue for things to start trending up after a 3-5 football campaign making it another clunker under Scott Frost. The basketball side had a few okay moments, but it went 7-20 to finish dead last in the Big Ten by a few games in a 3-16 conference season.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 124
14. UNLV Rebels
New head football coach Marcus Arroyo still has a whole lot of work to do. The team went 0-6 without coming closer than double-digits of anyone in the all-Mountain West slate. The basketball team had a little bit of fun going 12-15 overall and 8-10 in league play, but it was still a losing season.
Last Year’s Oops & Helmets Ranking: 107
13. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
It was a strange football season that never got better until the end with a stunning win over Florida Atlantic. The Golden Eagles started out with a loss to South Alabama, fired head coach Jay Hopson early in the year, and went 3-7 overall. The basketball team was even worse, going 4-13 in Conference USA and finishing last in the West.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 77
12. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
The Blue Raiders never got going in football with an 0-4 start, but at least they got a few wins in a 3-6 season. The basketball team was the second-worst in Conference USA, going 3-13 with a conference-low five wins overall.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 127
11. Eastern Michigan Eagles
The Eagles are here mostly because of the 3-11 MAC season in basketball and with just six wins overall. The football team was always competitive, but it started 0-4 before coming up with a nice win over Western Michigan in a 2-4 run.
Last Year’s Hoops & Helmets Ranking: 72