Toward the end of every college football season, as struggling teams lose more and more games, the inevitable discussion appears: is *this* the worst team in history?
Last year, SMU and UConn more or less battled in December for the honor, with amusing results.
College football has had plenty of bad teams, and there have been efforts to analyze the worst back to the sport's early days. Land Grant Holy Land used Sports Reference's rating system to find the worst teams of all time, led by 1951 New Mexico State.
But how about the worst since 2005, a period for which we have more advanced stats? There have been 1,216 teams in this period, and here are the worst power conference teams according to Football Outsiders' F/+ stat.
10. 2007 Syracuse
Greg Robinson's team wasn't the worst at any specific thing, but it wasn't good at anything. At all. That perfectly sums up Syracuse football of the past decade.
9. 2008 Washington
The 2008 Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State will go down as one of the worst games in the history of the sport, as one-win Washington State clashed with zero-win Washington. Tyrone Willingham had the better team, according to the ratings, but the Cougars pulled out the win.
8. 2006 Duke
A strong contributor to the Blue Devils dominating this list.
7. 2014 Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt's offense was particularly inept. The Commodores only recorded four plays of 40-plus yards across the whole season.
6. 2008 Washington State
Padded its stats with a 48-point outing against Portland State, but the Cougars also scored 3 or fewer points on five occasions, including three shutouts. They gave up an average of 50.4 points in those games.
5. 2011 Indiana
A defense so bad that it had no saving grace .Sometimes bad defenses will be good in certain areas — like passing downs, etc. — but IU ranked 116th on standard downs, 117th on passing downs, 117th in run defense and 119th in pass defense.
4. 2005 Duke
There are not a lot of Duke football fans, and maybe that was a good thing for Ted Roof's Blue Devils. Their only win came in front of 10,126 people.
3. 2010 Kansas
The strategy was clear: play bad teams and hope nobody notices. That did mean three wins. However, KU lost to North Dakota State, Southern Miss and Iowa State.
2. 2012 Colorado
In a 1-11 season (with the lone win coming against Washington State), Jon Embree's team gave up an average of 46 points. The lowlights? Giving up 70 and 69 points to Oregon and Fresno State, respectively.
1. 2009 Washington State
Paul Wulff's Cougars managed to win one game (at home, in overtime, against SMU), but their Pythagorean win percentage — their expected win percentage given their schedule, which ranked as the seventh-toughest nationally — was an incredible 0.6 percent, the worst recorded.
So in its 12-game schedule, Wazzu was expected to win .072 games, meaning it actually was lucky to finish with its 8.3 winning percentage.
In the 10-year history of F/+, only 14 teams finished with worse ratings than 2009 Wazzu, and all were from non-power conferences.