Programs dominant in the 90's are now historically terrible

Submitted by Human Torpedo on September 19th, 2018 at 12:26 PM

Seems rather fitting that with the matchup we have upcoming that I post this article from FiveThirtyEight. Mostly about the struggle of Nebraska and the Florida schools, but we do get a brief line: "Florida and Tennessee play on Saturday, while Nebraska will play Michigan — a fellow titan of college football history that, while not quite on the same historically bad trajectory as the teams above, also finds itself out of sorts over Jim Harbaugh's record against top opponents against top opponents"



September 19th, 2018 at 12:31 PM ^

I guess no matter how bad our low of lows have been, at least we’ve had it better than Nebraska and Tennessee. 

Especially Tennessee, it’s astonishing how far they’ve really fallen since the late nineties.


September 19th, 2018 at 3:07 PM ^

I grew up going to Knoxville every fall Saturday but saw the (northern?) light when choosing a college, and the analogies between the programs have been striking.

Since national titles a year apart (1997 and 1998), both programs began to have hiccups in the oughts that pressaged a changing of the guard. Two successful coaches (Fulmer and Lloyd) were run out of town, both for losing games they shouldn't have.

And then both opted for a culture shock (Kiffin and RichRod). Both programs hired nice guys in over their heads (Hoke for Michigan and Dooley for Tennessee), and both programs hired terrible offensive coordinators (Borges and Nuss under Hoke, and Mike Debord under Butch Jones).  And both are the only two power five teams to have had Brady Hoke be the head coach of both.

The only way to end the story the same would be for Peyton Manning to be hired as head coach in a few years.  We'll see.



September 19th, 2018 at 12:41 PM ^

Interesting to think about, to say the least.

I remember looking forward to watching a game like Florida-Florida State too, but this year, it is trending to be something more like "MY EYES! THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING!"

As other have said, Tennessee fell off the rails quite some time ago, and UCLA has been up and down - mostly down - since the latter days of Terry Donahue, as I recall.



Perkis-Size Me

September 19th, 2018 at 12:59 PM ^

Hard for me to put Florida in the same vein as Nebraska, Tennessee and Michigan. Relative to those three, it wasn't that long ago that they were dominating. I know ten years is a long time, but it's not quite as long as 20-25. 


September 19th, 2018 at 1:06 PM ^

I think 538 can be interesting at times but stuff like this misses on so many levels. FSU changed coaches and won a NC five years ago. Florida won titles in the last decade and has had ten+ win seasons since. Tennessee has been bad and you could probably argue that it's been getting better than the Dooley days. You know who else was successful in the 90s? PSU, OSU, Alabama, Washington, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, and many more. Just pointing out the ones who have underperformed since shows too many biases for usefulness.

L'Carpetron Do…

September 19th, 2018 at 2:48 PM ^

Yes, but they were pretty butt after that if I recall correctly.  With the exception of that 2000 Rose Bowl appearance I don't really remember them being very good for a while until they got Saban. They tore through coaches and had some shitty seasons.

Clemson wasn't worth a damn during that period and Ohio State is way better now than it was then. I don't ever remember Oklahoma being particularly good until they snuck up on everybody and won the NC in 2000 with first year coach Stoops.

Miami was good, then got shitty, then got good again then got shitty again and then might be good again now.

It's all cyclical. Michigan's time will come around again too. 


September 19th, 2018 at 1:27 PM ^

Florida State was one of those programs I despised growing up.  (The 1991 game at the big house didn't help)  And the media's love affair with Bobby Bowden in the 90's was just as nauseating as it is with Saban today.  In 1993 when they lost to Notre Dame in November, they dropped ALL the way from #1 to #2 in the polls.  Almost as if the pollsters were saying, "You're winning that national championship no matter what."  And God help me for defending Notre Dame. 

I'm really, REALLY enjoying watching them stink up the field so far this year.  I'm also kind of amazed at just HOW awful they look.  But I'm not asking any questions, just enjoying the stank. 


September 19th, 2018 at 1:49 PM ^

Actually I'd say we're pretty much at our 1990s level, 1997 excepted.  Here are our records that decade:

1990 - 9-3

1991 - 10-2

1992 - 9-0-3

1993 - 8-4

1994 - 8-4

1995 - 9-4

1996 - 8-4

1997 - 12-0

1998 - 10-3

1999 - 10-2



September 19th, 2018 at 2:32 PM ^

Those mid-90's teams had some sort of bizarre curse.  They had good results in big games but would lose others in stupid ways; the hail mary against Colorado, the Ricky Powers fumble against Illinois when we could have run the clock out, blowing a 16-0 4th quarter lead at Northwestern and losing 17-16 on a last second field goal.

Then there was that 9-3 loss to a trainwreck of a Purdue team in 1996 that I still cannot explain to this day. 

Newton Gimmick

September 19th, 2018 at 2:58 PM ^

Like under Harbaugh, the teams were always a bit better than their records indicated.  The first year I watched Michigan football was '91, when we either blew teams out or lost to them, if outmatched.  Same for the first half of '92, up until the first game I ever attended (Minnesota that year).  Then, for some reason, we would either not get up for mediocre opponents and/or play too tight and conservative.  Carr had some ridiculously good record against Top 10 teams in the '90s, but would drop a couple games to unranked opponents every year (except '97).

So yeah, the teams were Top-10 level, but the records were not.


September 19th, 2018 at 2:07 PM ^

The 1980s weren't all that different, either:

1980 - 10-2

1981 - 9-3

1982 - 8-4

1983 - 9-3

1984 - 6-6

1985 - 10-1-1

1986 - 11-2

1987 - 8-4

1988 - 9-2-1

1989 - 10-2


The 1970s were better (96-16-1) - we had the best aggregate record in all of college football that decade.  But we went 0-7 in bowl games...