Before we begin today, I’d like to first make known some of the pitches I received from the other Pacific Takes writers when I asked them, “Hey guys, with UW’s bye week and my subsequent free time to write an editorial-ish thing, what topic should I cover?”
These were the responses I got:
- Trying to figure out Washington State
- Hotseat update
- Will Arizona reach a Rose Bowl in the next 50 years?
- No, they won’t.
- How Supreme Overlord Avinash Kunnath singlehandedly destroyed Cal football by eating Fat Slice instead of Blondie’s
- Let’s all shit on Colorado
- Oh shit Colorado’s actually pretty good now
- Let’s all shit on Oregon
- A long and storied history of dumpster fires on whom we’ve shat
And that’s where we landed: A Comprehensive Look at the History of Dumpster Fire College Football Teams.
If you suspect your team might currently fall into the above category, don’t fret! It’s something that all teams before you have done and all teams will continue to do. Yet the sun still comes up in the morning and then sets in the west.
The dumpster fire dates back to antiquity and has cropped up all over the globe since then (looking at you, Ottoman Empire circa 1914). However, as I’m sure all our readers know, the modern dumpster fire originated in the SMU crisis of the late 1980s. Since then we’ve seen a number of truly spectacular examples, including many that are going on right in front of us in 2016.
But it did get me thinking, who are the programs that deserve commemoration for their truly epic dumpster fire teams?
In order to keep some sort of order, let’s keep it to post-2000 teams because I surely can’t keep count of the amount that have existed in the last 130 years.
The marriage of 2008 Washington and Washington State
As a Washingtonian, this one’s just too obvious and oh so glorious. As someone with Oregonian friends, I can just imagine how beautiful this was for the neighbors south of the Columbia River.
For the uninformed, 2008 saw a a winless Washington and winless-in-conference Washington State come together in the Apple Cup with Wazzu coming away the victors. So yes, in case you’re wondering, that does mean the state of Washington in FBS football came away with 1 total win. Think of it as their weird way of honoring the ghost of resident weirdo, Ivar Haglund, or something.
The end of 2008 culminated in the firing of Washington’s own personal He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The Cougars would follow suit a few years later after failing to win more than four games for multiple years in a row. And that’s how we all came to find Mike Leach.
Now technically these guys were able to hang on by a thread for a few years after Drew Brees went to the NFL to fully realize his super hero alter-ego of Shortbutkickassman. But since 2004 Purdue has had only two seasons where they’ve reached eight wins and have seven years of five or less. The last three seasons? 1-11, 3-9, 2-10. As I write this, Purdue is busy giving up 200+ rushing yards to Iowa in the first half alone.
So to those fans flipping out right now *coughOregoncough* about their own team’s downfall: just be glad you’re not these dudes.
Starting the season ranked #1 and finishing 7-5? Losing to UCLA and Notre Dame on the way? Finishing the year unranked in any poll? Undoing all the progress that appeared to have been made in 2011? Yeah, that’ll do it.
On one hand, the Trojans finished 2013 ranked a more than respectable 10-4. On the other hand, they fired Lane Kiffin in the middle of the airport. So...
I mean, duh.
September 2016 USC
Sweet Christ USC get your crap together! Oh, what’s that? Oh it’s October now so you’re gonna get good again? Are you sure? No? Okay well let us know when you decide.
In other words, true to their southern California roots, USC would make a killer reality TV show.
Hawaii ‘96-’98, 2012 - ?
There was a time in the mid-2000s where these guys were quite impressive. The thing is that that era is bookended on both sides by pure garbage, and it’s great. With Fred von Appen as their head coach in the late-90s they achieved a winning percentage of .139, winning five games total. With Norm Chow as their head coach from 2012-2015, they topped that by only winning four total games, because why not. The conspiracy theorist in me is pretty convinced that Fred von Appen was really an alpine nobleman put in place by some sort of new world order plan to restore the Austro-Hungarian Empire, since clearly that would go straight through Hawaii as anyone who studies geopolitics knows.
And, last but never least...
Kansas forever and always
Except that one time in 2007 when they were like “Suck it world, we’re good now,” and then 2008 happened and they were like, “April fools.”
The moral of the story? Well, if I’m UCLA or Oregon (or Florida State or Notre Dame or Texas, if we want to look outside the Pac), all the sudden I don’t feel so bad. Maybe, just maybe, things aren’t as dire as they seem. Ya know... Relatively.