Wednesday, November 28, 2012
SEC seasons that weren't so memorable
By Chris Low
Everybody remembers the championship seasons.
But what about those seasons when everything goes wrong? You know, the seasons that fans scratch completely from their memory banks ... or at least try to.
Here's a look at three seasons in the SEC during the past 20 years that were utterly forgettable:
South Carolina 1999: The Gamecocks didn't win a game and suffered through an 0-11 season in Lou Holtz's first year as coach. Holtz inherited a program that had gone 1-10 the season before, and the Gamecocks went 21 straight games without a win. Their offense was woeful. In nine of the Gamecocks' 11 games, they scored 10 or fewer points, and scored more than 14 only once. They were held without a touchdown in four games. In SEC play, the Gamecocks were outscored 216-72. It's the last time an SEC team has gone winless in a season.
Alabama 2000: Coming off an SEC championship in 1999, it all crumbled for Alabama the season afterward. The Crimson Tide started the season ranked No. 3 in the polls, and there was talk of a national championship. That talk quickly dissipated, and what followed was a nightmarish 3-8 season and the ouster of Mike Dubose as coach. Alabama lost to Southern Miss and Central Florida and ended the season with five straight defeats. The worst was yet to come. The Crimson Tide were hit with NCAA sanctions stemming from Dubose's tenure and the Albert Means scandal. They lost 21 scholarships, received a two-year bowl ban and nearly got the "death penalty."
Tennessee 2005: The Vols went into the season ranked No. 3 in the polls but fell flat on their faces in a 5-6 disaster that was the first losing season of Phillip Fulmer's Hall of Fame coaching career. Fulmer was fired three years later after going 5-7 in 2008. The offense was a train wreck as the Vols played musical quarterbacks all season. It could have been a lot worse, too, if the defense hadn't been so good and kept Tennessee in games. There were several dubious firsts for the Vols along the way. They lost to Vanderbilt 28-24 at home, breaking a 22-game winning streak against the Commodores, and also had their streak of 16 straight bowl appearances snapped.