Introducing IlliniQuest

Introducing IlliniQuest

Submitted by Brian on October 30th, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Last year Minnesota flirted with being the worst Big Ten team in about 50 years until they had the audacity to win games at the end of the year. Ugh, as if.

Anyway, Illinois has just lost to Indiana to go to 0-4 in the league and it's time to fire up ILLINIQUEST. Traditional weird mascot:

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Let's do it.

RULES

The worst team in Big Ten history has no wins and no ties; nonconference doesn't matter; 1930 is the cutoff since before that teams played highly variable schedules. Teams from WWII are included. We are going on a straight ranking by scoring ratio, which is:

point scored / (points scored + opponent points scored)

This should help normalize for the fact that football has gotten progressively higher-scoring as the years have progressed.

If they lose all their games Illinois will be the worst team since X if they do Y…

2005: Lose all their games

The last winless Big Ten team was 2005 Illinois.

1981: Lose and finish with scoring ratio below 21%

2005 Illinois managed 21% and their 1997 team matched that. The 1981 Northwestern Wildcats scored 75 points in nine league games but gave up 425 for a scoring ratio of 15%.

1961: Lose and finish with scoring ratio below 15%

1961 Illlinois never reached double digits or came within two touchdowns of an opponent (23-9 versus Purdue was their closest game) and had a scoring ratio of 12.3%.

1960: Lose, scoring ratio below 12.3%

1960 Indiana managed just 11.8.

1957: Lose, scoring ratio below 11.5%

1957 Indiana.

1944: Lose, scoring ratio below 8.9%

Iowa 1944 set a low bar, and then they lost to Iowa Pre-Flight, though Iowa Pre-Flight was 10-1 that year.

Pretty Much Ever: Lose, scoring ratio below 8.7%

Harry Kipke's 1934 Wolverines managed this.

Drumroll…

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Illinois is currently on pace to be the worst Big Ten team since…

2005

Illinois's scoring percentage stands at 21%. The Illini are a couple of bad games from falling to 1981, but they're scoring too much to be threatening the 1960s like Minnesota did last year. Those Northwestern teams were horrible almost beyond modern comprehension, and the league isn't good enough to pound bad teams as much as they should be.

NEXT WEEK: Illinois takes on undefeated Ohio State.

BONUS: PURDUE?

Purdue's nowhere near as depressing as certain past teams: their scoring ratio is currently 33%.

GopherQuest: The Garbage Times Are Killing Us

GopherQuest: The Garbage Times Are Killing Us

Submitted by Brian on October 24th, 2011 at 11:57 AM

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LAST TIME ON GOPHERQUEST: We laid out the somewhat silly ground rules for Worst Big Ten Team ever, which are:

  1. Lose all your conference games
  2. Score the lowest percentage of points in your conference games
  3. Have existed after 1930

A quick recap of history indicated the Gophers were off to a stirring start. Two games in they were the worst Big Ten team in 50 years.

THIS WEEK ON THE QUEST

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The Gophers played Nebraska, one-time annihilator of the Big 12, and lost 41-14. The noon window on Saturday was so bad that I watched the last ten minutes of this game, screaming at Nebraska's second-string defense not to allow second garbage-time touchdown. They did.

Our status:

POINTS ALLOWED: 144
POINTS SCORED: 31
SCORING PERCENTAGE: 17.7%

WORST SINCE…

1981

The '81 Northwestern Wildcats had scoring percentage of 15%.

At the end of the season I think we're going to look at these two weeks as a massive missed opportunity. Nebraska was up 34-0 at the half. Braves and Birds on what Nebraska does to teams they are up 34-0 against:

Bo Pelini, the vintage Nebraska teams would not have allowed a 34-0 halftime lead over an overmatched opponent turn into a 41-14 final.  Tom Osborne would have beaten Minnesota by at least 65-3.

Alas, they don't make blowouts like they used to.

If Gray doesn't punch one in with two minutes left against Nebraska and Purdue doesn't give up a kick return touchdown, Minnesota's hovering around 10%, well within shouting distance of Harry Kipke's worst-ever 1934 Wolverines.

QUESTCAST

The Gophers had their bye week before Nebraska and face this season-closing gauntlet: Iowa, @ Michigan State, Wisconsin, @ Northwestern, Illinois. Purdue easily beating Illinois gives Minnesota some hope that they might be vaguely competitive—like into the second quarter—against the kind of teams that lose to Purdue, but Iowa's defense can hold Minnesota's best hope may be the Northwestern secondary.

Quest fans, meanwhile, are eyeing that Wisconsin game as an opportunity for the 83-0 drubbing it's going to take to push the Gophers into all-time territory.

Sagarin predicts the following:

  1. Iowa: 12-point loss
  2. @ Michigan State: 32-point loss
  3. Wisconsin: 31-point loss
  4. @ Northwestern: 13 point loss
  5. Illinois: 16 point loss

That's not going to get it done, but I don't think Sagarin's computer is able to process how extreme of an outlier this Gopher team is.

MOMENT OF GOPHER ZEN

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GopherQuest: Will Minnesota Be The Worst Big Ten Team Ever?

GopherQuest: Will Minnesota Be The Worst Big Ten Team Ever?

Submitted by Brian on October 10th, 2011 at 2:43 PM

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Worst mascot ever for worst team ever

In the aftermath of a 45-17 stomping that wasn't even that close at the hands of Purdue, which lost to Rice, the question must be asked: is Minnesota the worst Big Ten team of all time? There are still six games left in conference for the Gophers, so we're a long way off from a conclusion. All they have to do is win one game and they'll escape the basement.

But they totally aren't going to, so let's look at the most awful Big Ten teams chronologically.

RULES

The worst team in Big Ten history has no wins and no ties; nonconference doesn't matter; 1930 is the cutoff since before that teams played highly variable schedules. Teams from WWII are included. We are going on a straight ranking by scoring ratio, which is:

point scored / (points scored + opponent points scored)

This should help normalize for the fact that football has gotten progressively higher scoring as the years have progressed.

Minnesota will be the worst Big Ten team since X if they do Y…

2005: Lose all their games

The last winless Big Ten team was 2005 Illinois.

1981: Lose and finish with scoring ratio below 21%

2005 Illinois managed 21% and their 1997 team matched that. The 1981 Northwestern Wildcats scored 75 points in nine league games but gave up 425 for a scoring ratio of 15%.

1961: Lose and finish with scoring ratio below 15%

1961 Illlinois never reached double digits or came within two touchdowns of an opponent (23-9 versus Purdue was their closest game) and had a scoring ratio of 12.3%.

1960: Lose, scoring ratio below 12.3%

1960 Indiana managed just 11.8.

1957: Lose, scoring ratio below 11.5%

1957 Indiana.

1944: Lose, scoring ratio below 8.9%

Iowa 1944 set a low bar, and then they lost to Iowa Pre-Flight, though Iowa Pre-Flight was 10-1 that year.

Pretty Much Ever: Lose, scoring ratio below 8.7%

Harry Kipke's 1934 Wolverines managed this.

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Minnesota is currently on pace to be the worst Big Ten team since…

1961

Minnesota's scoring percentage stands at 14.1% thanks to a kick return touchdown and a garbage-time drive.

NEXT WEEK: Minnesota takes on 5-1 Nebraska.