The Worst College Sports Teams

Explore some of the least successful college and university sports teams of all time.

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Do you have dreams of tailgating before the big football game? What about painting your face school colors as your team is set to play its rival in basketball?

If celebrating after a big win is something you’re interested in, these schools might not be for you. But remember: celebrating despite a loss can be just as fun.

Remember, poor sports teams are not a reflection of a school’s academic standings, and they won’t dictate your overall experience.

Worst College Basketball Teams

Caltech University has produced 31 Nobel Prize winners and has a great reputation for academic excellence. Unfortunately, the student body’s intelligence hasn’t translated to success on the court. Becoming somewhat of a novelty for its losing ways, the Cal Tech Division III basketball team lost 310 consecutive games, spanning an astounding 26 years.

The streak ended in February with a box score that looked more like something out of 1911 than 2011. Caltech beat Occidental 46-45.

In Division I, the Northwestern University men’s basketball team has never made the NCAA tournament.

Worst College Football Teams

College football, especially at major Division I universities, is more of an event than just a game. Schools such as the University of Michigan and the University of Tennessee pack more than 100,000 fans into their stadiums, and students spend the entire day tailgating and celebrating leading up to the games.

Other schools, however, fail to draw crowds and generate little interest among students. Like Caltech, Duke University is known as one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country. It even has one of the best Division I basketball programs. On the other hand, the football team has appeared in one bowl game in the past 20 years and endured a 22-game losing streak between 2005 and 2007.

Minnesota, Washington State, Indiana and Mississippi State are all major programs that have historically underachieved and posted losing records.

It Can Get Better

With the right coach and the right recruits, historically inept programs can turn things around. Temple University was long known as having one of the worst football teams in the country, including an 0-11 season in 2005. New coach Al Golden brought the team from 1-11 in his first year to 9-4 and 8-4 in his next two seasons.

The Northwestern University men’s basketball team has never made the NCAA tournament in the event’s 72 years of existence. While the Wildcats haven’t been able to break through, current coach Bill Carmody has posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in more than 80 years, earning the team a spot in the National Invitation Tournament.

Remember, poor sports teams are not a reflection of a school’s academic standings, and they won’t dictate your overall experience. While there’s nothing wrong with looking for a college with strong athletic teams, don’t pin your future to the success of your college’s sports teams.

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