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The 25 Worst College Football Programs Ever

Alex CallosCorrespondent IMay 20, 2012

The 25 Worst College Football Programs Ever

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    College football has been around since the late 19th century and over the years, there have been some programs that have won multiple national titles.

    Teams like Michigan and Notre Dame have boasted winning percentages of nearly 75 percent over their storied history.

    On the other side of the spectrum, there are some teams that have not had nearly the same success. While there have been some programs that have had a few awful teams in their history, there are some that have seemingly been terrible forever.

    Here are the worst of the worst when it comes to FBS programs.

25. Memphis Tigers

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    Memphis has been playing college football for exactly 100 years, since 1912 and while they have had some talented players come through the program, they start off the list at No. 25.

    The Tigers have an all-time record of 438-481-33. They have been in a few different conferences over the years, with six conference titles to their credit and are now a member of Conference USA.

    Memphis has been to six bowl games in 100 years with three wins and three losses to show for it.

24. Ohio Bobcats

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    The Ohio Bobcats are one of the older college football programs, having been around since 1894, and while they have had some solid teams here and there with 11 conference titles, they do not have too much else on their resume.

    Ohio has only won one of the six bowl games they have played in. That win came in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl over Utah State. 

    The all-time record for Ohio is 513-534-47, and while they are one of the worst programs of all time, there are a few others from the Mid American Conference that have much worse resumes.

23. Duke Blue Devils

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    Duke has been a basketball school for quite some time now and they are consistently the worst program in the ACC.

    With an all-time record of 457-485-31, there are teams with much worse resumes, but few have struggled in recent years like the Blue Devils. They have won 17 conference titles as members of the Southern Conference and the ACC.

    The Blue Devils have been to eight bowl games since they began playing football in 1895 with three victories in those eight games. Things are not looking up either for the Blue Devils, as they have struggled in recent years more than ever.

22. Louisiana-Lafayette Rajin' Cajuns

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    Louisiana-Lafayette has been playing football since 1902 and has an all-time record of 484-515-31.

    They have been a member of the Sun Belt Conference for the past 11 years, since joining the FBS, and have won four conference titles during that time.

    The Rajin Cajuns have only been to two bowl games, the most recent of which was their first ever bowl victory over San Diego State in the New Orleans Bowl in 2011.

21. Colorado State Rams

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    The Colorado State Rams have a career record of 480-539-33. They have been around since 1893 and have claimed 15 conference titles over that span.

    They were a member of the WAC from 1968-1998 and have been in the Mountain West Conference since.

    During their history, they have been to 12 bowl games with five victories to show for it. Their overall winning percentage is lacking, however.

20. Tulane Green Wave

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    While Tulane has only lost 100 more games than they have won since 1945, they have been one of the worst programs in college football.

    With an overall record of 493-593-38, the Green Wave are nearly 200 games under .500 since 1945.

    As a current member of Conference USA, Tulane has been playing football since 1893 and has also been a member of the SEC.

    During their history they have been to 11 bowl games with four wins and seven defeats with nine conference crowns.

19. UAB Blazers

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    UAB is one of the relatively new college football programs, having been around since 1991 and the sample size on them is not nearly as large as some of the other schools on the list.

    Over that time however, they are only 107-128-2 with only one bowl appearance and no wins. They made the jump to Division I independent in 1996 and have been a member of Conference USA since the start of the 1999 season.

    They have no conference titles on their resume.

18. New Mexico Lobos

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    New Mexico has consistently been one of the worst college football programs in the country in recent years. They have an overall record of 452-546 since they began playing in 1892.

    They have only won four conference titles during this time and have 11 bowl appearance with three wins, seven losses and a tie.

    New Mexico has been competing in the Mountain West Conference since 1999 and has not won a conference title in the last 40 years.

17. Iowa State Cyclones

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    Iowa State has an overall record of 498-597-46 since they began playing in 1892, but were an above .500 team until 1945. They have been one of the worst teams in college football ever since.

    They have only won two conference titles over that span and have been to 11 bowl games with only three victories.

    Not many teams from a major conference have a worse history than the Cyclones, particularly recently.

16. Eastern Michigan Eagles

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    Eastern Michigan has an overall record of 436-535-47 since 1891 and have been much worse over the past 65 years.

    During their long history, they have only been to two bowl games with one win and one loss. They have also won 10 conference titles, but only one in the last 55 years.

    They have been a member of the MAC since 1965 and have been near the bottom of the conference ever since.

15. UNLV Rebels

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    UNLV is a member of the Mountain West Conference and has not been playing football as long as a lot of these other teams.

    They have an overall record of 223-272-4 since they began playing in 1968. They have two conference titles, one of which was vacated, and have been to three bowl games in their history, with victories in all three. 

    The Rebels have been even worse over the past few years.

14. Kansas State Wildcats

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    If it wasn't for head coach Bill Snyder, Kansas State would be even higher on the list. He has seemingly been the only coach who has been able to have any success in Manhattan.

    The Wildcats have an overall record of 475-613-41. They have been to 16 bowl games since they began playing in 1896 with six wins and 10 losses.

    They have had 11 All-Americans, have won five conference titles and even played in a BCS Bowl game, but have been awful with the exception of a few successful years under the leadership of Bill Snyder.

13. Idaho Vandals

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    The overall record of 442-558-26 for Idaho is awful and they have been bad for most of their existence. The Vandals began playing football in 1893 and have 10 conference titles to date.

    While they have spent much of their existence at the I-AA level, they have been to two bowl games, both Humanitarian Bowl victories.

    Not to mention, Idaho has one of the worst college football stadiums in the country.

12. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

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    Wake Forest has the fourth worst winning percentage in the history of college football, and among teams with more than 120 games, there is only one team that is worse.

    The overall record of 420-609-33 is downright awful, and having been around since 1888, they're one of the older programs in the country.

    The Demon Deacons have been to 10 bowl games with a record of six wins and four losses. They also have only two conference titles, one of which came in 2006, when they lost to Louisville in the Orange Bowl.

11. Temple Owls

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    Temple is the newest member of the Big East and has a worse tradition than anybody in that conference. They have an overall record of 426-548-33.

    The Owls have been playing football since 1894 and have only one conference title during that time span. That came when they were in the Middle Atlantic Conference. 

    Temple has been to four bowl games with two wins and two losses.

10. Northwestern Wildcats

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    Northwestern has an all-time record of 489-632-44, which is one of the worst in the history of college football. In fact, they have the most losses in college football history, one ahead of Indiana, who may pass them in 2012.

    The Wildcats first started playing football in 1876. They have a 1-9 career bowl record with eight conference titles in their history.

    While they have qualified for nine bowl games since 1995, they have lost all of them and have not won a bowl game since 1948.

9. Rice Owls

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    Rice is 437-565-32 all-time and is currently a member of Conference USA. The football program has been around since 1912 and have four wins in eight bowl appearances.

    Even though they have won seven conference titles, they have done nothing since the 1950s, with only a conference championship in 1994 to show for it.

    There are a lot of powerful football programs in Texas—Rice is just not one of them.

8. Florida Atlantic Owls

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    Florida Atlantic is one of the newest college football programs in the country. They began play in 2001 and since then, they have a record of 58-74.

    The Owls are, however, 2-0 in bowl games and with such a small sample size, they could easily move up or down the list with a few good or bad seasons.

    The jury is still out on Florida Atlantic.

7. UTEP Miners

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    UTEP is one of the worst teams in the country as far as winning percentage is concerned, and with an all-time record of 373-537-28, the Miners have been playing football since 1914.

    They have been to 13 bowl games over that time with five wins and eight losses. They have two conference titles over their history and have one of the five worst winning percentages in the history of college football.

    The 13 bowl appearances saved them from being higher on this list.

6. Indiana Hoosiers

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    The Indiana Hoosiers are only one loss away from equaling Northwestern and having as many losses as anybody in the history of college football.

    They have an all-time record of 448-631-44. Since 1887, they have been playing college football in Bloomington and have conference titles in 1945 and 1967.

    They have not done much of anything in recent years and have three bowl wins in nine appearances. They have only been to one bowl game in the last 19 years.

5. Buffalo Bulls

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    With an all-time record of 363-487-28, Buffalo cracks the top five on the list. They began playing football in 1894, and amazingly since then have only been to one bowl game.

    That came in 2008 when they won the MAC. They joined the conference in 1999 when they moved from a I-AA independent to a permanent FBS member.

    Buffalo has one of the worst traditions in college football across the board.

4. New Mexico State Aggies

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    New Mexico State has seemingly been awful forever. They have an all-time record of 422-577-31.

    Since 1983 they have been playing football here and they only have four conference titles, none of which have come in the past 33 years.

    They are undefeated in bowl games with a 2-0-1 record, including a tie in the 1936 Sun Bowl against Hardin-Simmons.

    The bowl drought continues to grow, as the Aggies have not reached a bowl game since 1960.

3 .Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

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    The Louisiana-Monroe program was established in 1931 and since then, they have an overall record of 278-367-8.

    They are a member of the Sun Belt Conference and do have one FCS National Championship on their resume along with five conference titles.

    However, they have never been to a bowl game and have never had a winning season since becoming a Division I-A independent in 1994.

2. Florida International Golden Panthers

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    Florida International has only been playing college football since 2002, and since that time they have the worst winning percentage in the history of college football.

    With an overall record of 39-79, the Golden Panthers have one conference title and have been to two bowl games with a win and a loss.

    They became an FBS school in 2005 and have had back-to-back winning seasons, but that does not overcome what they did in previous years. They could go up the list in the years to come with a few more winning seasons. 

1. Kent State Golden Flashes

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    With the exception of Florida International, who has only been playing football for a decade, Kent State has the worst winning percentage in the history of college football.

    They have an all-time record of 316-505-28. The program has been around since 1920 and since that time, they have only been to two bowl games, both of which were losses.

    The Golden Flashes have one conference title on the resume and have been in the Mid American Conference since leaving the Ohio Athletic Conference.

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