You might think you had some of the saddest four years as a college football fan when you were in school. I've certainly made this claim, thanks to the Swindle in The Swamp, and the game that gave Brock Berlin a chance to gator chomp, and oh goddammit Dallas Baker. But you and I are almost certainly wrong -- we endured pain and suffering and stupid, shitty losses, yes, but we did not have the most miserable four years a student fan could have imagined.
No, we did the research for each of the last twenty graduating classes, and those four seasons in Gainesville (2001-2004) don't even make the top fifty for the Class of 2005. Amongst schools in a power conference, that distinction goes to whoever went to Duke during that time period; they got to watch the Blue Devils go 8-38, including losses to UConn, Rice, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt, and getting swept by Virginia and Wake Forest.
As it turns out, most of the saddest graduating classes, football-wise, went to Duke. (We did not include teams that weren't in one of the power conferences at the time. Sorry the Big East didn't kick you out sooner, Temple. Really could have spared you some shame here.)
The real question: who's in contention to win this unfortunate prize for the Class of 2016?
- Purdue (10-27 in the last three seasons) is the favorite, thanks to a respectable non-conference schedule and road games against Wisconsin and Michigan State.
- Cal (9-27 in the last three seasons) has a worse winning percentage than the Boilermakers, but they appear to be on the upswing and the overall turnover in the Pac-12 North is largely up in the air.
- Illinois/Iowa State/Washington State (12-25, 11-26, 12-25 in the last three seasons) are the dark horses, though ohhhhh boy I can totally see any of these teams turning in a calamitous zero win season.
We hope this has been a helpful reminder that, though you've seen some unfortunate things, it could've been so, so much worse.