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Ranking the Worst Season in the History of Every College Football Team

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Ranking the Worst Season in the History of Every College Football Team
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Moments like this can define a game; you move on. What if they define an entire season?

College football has a long history, and history remembers two things quite well: highlights and bloopers. Highlight seasons can lead to box DVD sales and millions of fair-weather followers.

This is not a list of those seasons.

These years, if the technology even existed, would not be sold on VHS, DVD or Blu-Ray, or even be downloaded for a nominal fee. These are the worst seasons from all across the college football landscape.

How was the worst season selected? Beginning in 1906 (forward pass legalized), seasons were all combed over as follows:

 

Wins

Wins counted the most. A one-win season is always better than a zero-win year. Ask anyone who has had to endure an entire year without a single win on the football field. A win is a win.

 

Losses

Losses weighed second-most. Any two seasons tied with the fewest wins were placed head-to-head, and the more losing team advanced. (For example, an 0-10 team would not be placed on the list over an 0-11 squad.)

 

Tiebreakers

Ties happen. Bad seasons happen, and they happen for hundreds of different reasons. Margin of loss severed all knots. Take the points allowed, subtract the points scored and you have the "margin of loss" number. The biggest number made the list.

 

Ranking

At this point in the game, 126 seasons represent all 126 FBS teams. Win-loss records no longer mattered. This equation settled all differences:

Points scored/(Points allowed + points scored) x 100 = Percent of total points that the losing team scored.

Why use percentage instead of total margin? Football's scoring has changed over the years, even since as recently as 1958 (the addition of the two-point conversion to the collegiate level). By using the percentage, all decades of college football could be compared honestly. (Not perfectly, but as close as possible.)

I took all equations out to two decimal places, except in the case of ties. Three decimal places settled both of those instances.

 

Here is every college football team's worst season, ranked in order from best to worst. Who had the worst season in college football history, and how bad was it? The answer may surprise you.

 

*Information prior to 1970 was taken from DatabaseFootball.com. Post-1970 information was taken from TotalFootballStats.com.

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