There are currently 125 college football programs playing at the FBS level, and less than one quarter have ever won either an AP or Coaches' national championship since 1939. Still, that doesn't mean that the rest of the fan bases out there are tortured - most aren't in power conferences, don't recruit at a high level or don't have national title expectations year after year. No, to truly be considered a tortured fan base, there has to be hope - hope that this is the year that your favorite team is going to turn the corner.
We've put together a list of the ten most tortured fan bases in college football. Some programs are on here due to consistent ineptitude, while others make the list due to numerous heartbreaking defeats or scenarios. Either way, fans of these programs are always left feeling just a little...dissatisfied.
10. NC State Wolfpack
NC State's football program, which began in 1892, can be summed up in one word - mediocre. This fact kills Wolfpack fans, who would absolutely love an ACC title, a BCS bowl game appearance, a top ten finish - pretty much anything. How average has NC State been? Here are some statistics:
The Wolfpack, which has never won a national title, has an all-time record of 560-542-55. It's 14-12-1 in bowl games and never once played in a BCS bowl game during the entire 16-year era. Since 1946, the program has finished the season ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll 12 times, but never once finished in the top ten. So basically, they have a number of good seasons - but no great ones. They haven't even won their own conference (ACC) since 1979.
Oh, and they went 0-8 in the league last year. This video sums up everything you need to know.
9. Arkansas Razorbacks
There is no doubt that Arkansas fans currently feel tortured. The Razorbacks, who were able to steal away Bret Bielema from Wisconsin ahead of last season, won zero SEC games in 2013 and finished with an overall mark of 3-9. But the frustration runs much further back than just one year.
Arkansas actually has an impressive overall record (682-464-40) and even claims the 1964 national title, but since moving over to the SEC from the Southwest Conference, the Razorbacks have been overshadowed by a number of their conference mates. Since 1992, Arkansas has produced a winning record in the league just seven times, and not once has it won a conference title.
Plus, there's the whole Bobby Petrino scandal in 2012. Just as the Razorbacks were putting together a good product on the field (double-digit wins two years in a row), they had to completely start over.
Also, John L. Smith. Yeah, it's been a rough few decades for Arkansas fans.
8. South Carolina Gamecocks
South Carolina, which has been coached by Steve Spurrier since 2005, is currently experiencing its best stretch in program history. But the Gamecocks still haven't won the SEC (a conference they've played in since 1992), they never once played in a BCS bowl game during the entire era, and, despite winning the last five contests between the two, they still trail their biggest rival (Clemson) in the all-time series, 65-42-4. Yet, they have one of the biggest stadiums in the country and one of the most passionate fan bases in the sport.
South Carolina did not win a bowl game until 1995 - the Gamecocks lost their first eight contests. They've also never even played in the Orange Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, or the Rose Bowl - now considered the four major bowls. The last time they won their conference was back in 1969, when they still played in the ACC.
If it weren't for Spurrier, these guys might still be one of the more mediocre programs in college football.
7. Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech was a model of consistency during the 16-year BCS time frame. The Hokies reached a bowl game every season - and six of them were even BCS bowls. But VT did not fare well at all in those contests, losing five of them. The only victory the Hokies did score was against Cincinnati in the 2009 Orange Bowl - probably the least consequential of the bunch. They also lost their only BCS title game appearance - to Florida State in the 2000 Sugar Bowl. So in short; while the program has been very good for a long time, it has had a hard time winning big games and thus, getting over the hump.
To make matters worse, the Hokies aren't trending in a good direction. For most of the 21st century, VT was putting together double-digit win seasons and competing for ACC titles. But the past two campaigns have ended with seven and eight wins, respectively. Those might be solid totals for another school, but not Virginia Tech. Fans are hoping Frank Beamer & Co. can reverse course and compete at the highest level - soon.
The school also built an empty trophy case back in 1999 to one day hold national title hardware. It's now been replaced. There's also this catastrophe.
6. Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati has actually put together a nice football program over the past two decades. The Bearcats won one Conference USA title before bolting for the Big East, where they won at least a share of four more. But there are three main reasons that UC fans constantly gripe.
One - they'll always be overshadowed by in-state program Ohio State, one of the most popular and powerful schools in the country. Two - in the team's only two BCS bowl games (2009 Orange Bowl and 2010 Sugar Bowl), they were soundly defeated. Three - after the latest stage of conference realignment, the Bearcats were left to play in the newly-formed AAC after not being invited to the ACC or Big 12.
It's also clear that Cincinnati is used as a stepping stone by coaches. Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly and Butch Jones have all left the school to take jobs at bigger football schools.
5. Wisconsin Badgers
It seems like every year, Wisconsin has an incredible running game and stays ranked in the top 25 for the majority of the season. But it also seems like every year, they have a tough time getting over the hump to be considered one of the nation's elite teams. Since 1998, the Badgers have won at least 10 games seven times and played in five Rose Bowl contests. In that time frame, however, they never challenged for a national championship.
Wisconsin is very similar to Virginia Tech, also on our list - a program that claims no national titles yet has a rabid fan base and a very solid recent resume. It also doesn't help that they've lost six of their last seven bowl games.
The loss to TCU in the 2011 Rose Bowl was particularly painful.
4. Oregon Ducks
Yep, the mighty Oregon Ducks are on here. Why? Because despite all of the program's success over the past decade, it has come up short in a number of big games, and it absolutely kills the fan base. The BCS National Championship Game loss to Auburn was particularly crushing, as Michael Dyer's controversial 37-yard run wound up being the defining play of the contest. There's also the 2012 and 2013 regular season losses to Stanford, which prevented the Ducks from playing in either Pac-12 title game, and thus, having a chance at another shot at a championship.
Last year, when Oregon was still undefeated, fans made "We Want Bama" tee shirts, thinking their team was good enough to reach the BCS title game and take on the reigning champs. They were quite upset when the team lost to the Cardinal and the Arizona Wildcats. The Ducks are one of the nation's elite programs, but they haven't put it all together in one season just yet.
3. West Virginia Mountaineers
Before the Oregon Ducks were outrunning opponents behind lightning fast quarterbacks and tailbacks, the West Virginia Mountaineers were doing much of the same. In fact, the Mountaineers were the class of the Big East for much of the 2000s, even winning three BCS bowl games in the 21st century. But there is one defining moment that WVU fans, unfortunately, will never be able to forget.
West Virginia, sitting at No. 2 in the BCS standings during the final week of the season, was favored to beat arch rival Pittsburgh by over 28 points back in 2007. But in the 100th edition of the Backyard Brawl, the Mountaineers, behind injuries, turnovers and missed field goals, lost an epic defensive battle, 13-9. The loss knocked WVU from playing for a national championship.
But the misery doesn't just end there. Back in 2012, WVU left the Big East for the Big 12, a decidedly better football conference. Since, under Dana Holgorsen, they've won seven games and four games in the two seasons. So in short, when it came time to show that they could compete in a football-first conference, they struggled.
2. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State, much like South Carolina, is enjoying one of the better stretches of its history. The Cowboys have finished with a winning record in eight straight seasons, and three of them featured at least 10 victories. But the 2011 campaign, which finished on a high note as the Cowboys knocked off Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, could have been even more special. Oklahoma State blew a chase at perfection (and a probably BCS title game shot) when it lost to Iowa State in double overtime in late November.
But that isn't anywhere near the biggest reason as to why Cowboys fans are tortured. No, that'd be the Bedlam series against in-state big brother Oklahoma. While many believe that the rivalry is one of the more competitive in the nation, it's actually quite the opposite. In fact, the Sooners lead the all-time series 84-17-7, and despite OSU's solid decade, they have only beaten them one time since 2002. The one-sidedness of the series is tough to swallow for Cowboys fans.
Plus, there was that whole five-part Sports Illustrated expose on Oklahoma State last year. A tough life, indeed.
1. Georgia Bulldogs
To be fair, yes, Georgia has won a championship in most Bulldogs fans' lifetimes - back in 1980. But for arguably the most passionate fan base in all of college football, winning a title 35 years ago isn't exactly satisfying. UGA fans have had to watch numerous other SEC teams - Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Florida - win BCS titles over the 16-year era. And while Georgia reached and won a number of BCS bowl games, the Bulldogs never found a way to get to the BCS National Championship Game, despite seemingly being in the mix every year.
UGA seems to frequently lose a game, sometimes non-conference, early in the season and be forced to play catch-up all year. Dawgs fans will tell you that player suspensions haven't helped the cause in Athens.
The most heartbreaking moment for Dawgs fans has to be the 2012 SEC title game, during which they came up just a few yards short of having a chance to play for it all against Notre Dame. Georgia is simply college football's coulda-woulda-shoulda team. Maybe that'll change in the near future, but for now, they're the most tortured fan base in the sport.