2008 Ooooops & Helmets
South Carolina LB Jasper Brinkley
South Carolina LB Jasper Brinkley
Posted Mar 18, 2008

Which BCS schools had the worst combination of football and basketball programs in 2007 & 2008?

Oooops & Helmets 2008

Which BCS schools had the toughest year in football and basketball?

By Richard Cirminiello 

- Hoops & Helmets 2008
- Hoops & Helmets 2007

…and then there are 10 schools still waiting for something to cheer about. These are the ten BCS schools that had the toughest years both on the gridiron and on the hardwood.

10. Nebraska – There was no saving the Huskers after a 4-1 start to the football season imploded into a 5-7 debacle that was marked by a 76-39 loss to Kansas on Nov. 3.  Nebraska was pegged as one of the favorites in the Big 12, yet missed the postseason and finished with just its second losing season since 1962.  While the basketball team was far from horrible, going 19-12 and earning an NIT bid, it struggled in Big 12 play, finishing in a seventh place tie with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.

9. Syracuse – It used to be that the miserable Orange football team could always count on hoops to bail it out.  Not this year.  Jim Boeheim’s kids haven’t had enough depth to get over the hump in the Big East, finishing the season 7-10 and on the outside of the NCAA tournament.  In the fall, Syracuse managed a single high point, an upset of Louisville, but wound up 2-10 for its third consecutive losing season under Greg Robinson.

8. Colorado – Yeah, the Buffs made a return to the postseason under Dan Hawkins, but a 30-24 loss to Alabama in the Independence Bowl sunk the program below .500 in back-to-back years for the first time in almost a quarter-century.  In basketball, the Buffaloes finished dead last in the Big 12 standings, going 12-20 in Jeff Bzdelik’s first season in Boulder.

7. South Carolina – Not a lot was expected from the basketball team, which delivered a predictable 14-18 season, failing to finish strong or close out tight games.  There is hope, however, for a program that’ll lose just one senior to graduation.  The big disappointment occurred in the fall, when Steve Spurrier’s players raised expectations with a 6-1 start, only to slump to five consecutive losses and a bowl-less December.  It was a bitter ending to the season for the Gamecocks, which had risen to No. 6 in the polls in October. 

6. Minnesota – The Gophers’ first season with Tim Brewster on the sidelines had the locals pining for a return of Glen Mason.  Minnesota was a wicked 1-11 in the fall, failing to win a Big Ten game or play any defense against decent opponents.  Basketball was far more respectable under Tubby Smith, finishing 20-13 with NIT games still left to be played.  The Gophers made substantial improvement versus last year, beefing up on a weak non-conference schedule and ending up below .500 in league games. 

5. NC State – While the football team was slow out of the gate in Tom O’Brien’s first season in Raleigh, going 5-7 and getting thumped in two chances to become bowl eligible, Sidney Lowe’s cagers were simply bad all season.  Picked to finish in the first division of the ACC before the season began, the Wolfpack ended up tied for last place at 4-12 in league play.  Early season losses to New Orleans and East Carolina were warning signs that NC State wasn’t going to recapture the momentum from last year’s strong finish.  

4. Washington – Rarely competitive in either sport, Washington athletics is in a sad state of affairs.  The Huskies won their first two games of the football season, but only won two of their final 11 games to finish 4-9.  Although QB Jake Locker gave hope for the future, there’s debate if he’ll be surrounded by enough talent to get U-Dub back to the postseason anytime soon.  On the hardwood, Washington finished in eighth place in the Pac-10, two spots higher than the football team, going 16-16 and earning a spot in the new College Basketball Invitational.

3. Iowa State – In both football and basketball, only one Big 12 team separated the Cyclones from the league basement.  Iowa State managed just three wins in Gene Chizik’s first season as head coach, although it did play its best football in November.  In basketball, the Cyclones feasted on the likes of Centenary and Bethune-Cookman before getting exposed by better competition and finishing the season just 4-13.

2. Iowa – As expected, Todd Lickliter’s first season on the bench was an adjustment this winter, as the Hawkeyes went 13-19, struggling badly in close games and running out of gas in February and March.  It was on grass, however, that Iowa really let the home fans down.  A possible sleeper in the Big Ten before the season began, the Hawkeyes didn’t even qualify for a bowl game, going 6-6 and closing the year with a loss to lowly Western Michigan on Senior Night. 

1. Northwestern – The football team took steps in Pat Fitzgerald’s second season, going 6-6 and avoiding the cellar in a seventh place tie knot with Purdue, Indiana, and Michigan State.  The basketball team, however, ranked among the worst of the major conference programs, going 8-22 and losing to the likes of Brown and Depaul.  If not for a 62-60 upset of Michigan on Feb. 26, the Wildcats would have concluded the Big Ten portion of their schedule without a single win.