The 2015 college football campaign isn't quite over, but at this point, it's safe to say that a number of programs have had underwhelming seasons. Some, as you'll read about below, didn't even put together respectable records. Others, instead, were supposed to be contenders but turned out to be pretenders. Either way, they disappointed their loyal fans.
A few of the programs on our list - at least two - are currently in the process of finding a new head coach. A number of them also recently made coaching changes that, well, haven't work out quite yet.
Here are our top ten most disappointed fan bases of the 2015 college football season. Remember, disappointment is all relative - and not all 10-1 teams are equal.
10. Arizona Fans
Rich Rodriguez's program may be a bit of a victim of its own success. Last year, Arizona came out of nowhere to win the rugged Pac-12 South, and received a Fiesta Bowl berth. At times, the program showed its seams. After upsetting the No. 2 Oregon Ducks in Eugene in early October, Marcus Mariota and company got revenge in the Pac-12 championship, blasting Arizona 51-13. Arizona also lost its bowl game to a surprising Boise State team, 38-30. Some regression to the mean may have been expected this year, but with young, dynamic offensive players like Anu Solomon and Nick Wilson, and prolific linebacker Scooby Wright returning, the Wildcats had real promise.
This season hasn't gone according to plan at all for Arizona. The Wildcats are bowl eligible, but finished just 3-6 in conference play, and needed a double-overtime upset of Utah to get there. Solomon and Wilson have both had bright spots on the year, but both, along with Wright, have missed time due to injury this season as well. Arizona was not the most stalwart defensive team last year, ranking 80th in scoring, but things have gotten far worse this season. The Wildcats allow 35.7 points per game, ranking 108th nationally and second worst in the Pac-12.
Arizona fans may have been able to deal with a bit of a step back after a surprising 2014, but then they lost to Arizona State in the Territorial Cup. Even if the Wildcats had won 11 games this year, that is enough to sour any season.
9. Ohio State Fans
You aren't going to find many fan bases in the country that look at a 10-1 campaign as a disappointment. But there's no doubt that Ohio State supporters are reeling after the Buckeyes' loss to Michigan State last Saturday. Ohio State, the reigning national champion, was returning most of the same team that ran through Alabama and Oregon in the College Football Playoff. But something was off all year on offense, and against the Spartans, it finally cost them.
Buckeyes fans, despite witnessing 10 straight victories to open the year, were playing the blame game all season regarding the team's inefficiencies on the offensive side of the ball. Cardale Jones was the problem. Then it was the offensive line. Against Michigan State, the team's coaching staff was the culprit.
Ohio State fans were looking forward to a year that saw the team at least reach the College Football Playoff again. But with Michigan State in the driver's seat in the Big Ten East, they're going to need a lot of help for it to happen. A New Year's Six bowl berth probably isn't going to cut it in Columbus.
8. USC Fans
USC has had a total roller coaster of a season. During the summer, head coach Steve Sarkisian came under fire for his behavior at a preseason kick-off event, and the issues dragged into the season. On October 12, he was fired after stories emerged about a possible serious alcohol problem. While the Sarkisian issues helps explain some of USC's troubles, the Trojans are immensely talented, and were thought of as a College Football Playoff contender. Instead, they're battling to win an eighth game.
USC has been tremendously inconsistent this season. Some weeks, the Trojans look like a top 10 program, like when they beat a very good Utah team on October 24, but other weeks, they look totally listless. On October 8, in Steve Sarkisian's final game, USC lost to a middling Washington team at home, 17-12. They also struggled with Pac-12 bottom feeder Colorado, and were beaten handily by Oregon and Stanford.
The Trojans would likely be higher on the list, but with a head coaching vacancy, Trojan fans can look forward to what should be a bright future. Can they attract former Oregon architect Chip Kelly? Red hot coaching prospect and California native Tom Herman? In a wide-open coaching carousel, USC is probably the most attractive opening, and could have its pick of just about any head coach. Sark did one thing extremely well in his short time at USC: recruit. The talent on the roster makes this season extremely disappointing, but it also means the Trojans shouldn't have much of a rebuilding period to deal with, if they nail the upcoming hire. Beating UCLA and winning the Pac-12 South would be a nice consolation prize for a pretty disappointing season. Most teams would sign for that, even if that falls below the expectations of USC fans.
7. South Carolina Fans
No one was expecting the Gamecocks to be national championship or even SEC East contenders this season coming off a disappointing 2014 campaign. But the team did return some discernible talent, and had never finished below .500 under legendary head coach Steve Spurrier. South Carolina defeated North Carolina in the opener, and, for a moment, things seemed to be looking up.
From that point on, the season has been a disaster. The Gamecocks lost four of their next five games after beating the Heels. In October, Spurrier stepped down, effective immediately. Interim head coach Shawn Elliott has kept things together as best he can, but the team is currently 3-8 and in dead last in the SEC East. The ultimate insult? A 23-22 loss to FCS program The Citadel at home (!) last weekend.
Yeah, things aren't going so well in Columbia right now. The Gamecocks have one game left, a meeting with arch-rival Clemson, the top-ranked team in the country. A win over the Tigers would go a long way to salvaging a piece of this lost season, but in reality, the biggest buzz for 'SC fans surrounds the program's ongoing coaching search.
6. Georgia Tech Fans
Entering the season, Georgia Tech was regarded as a top-15 or top-20 team. Coming off an 11-3 record and Orange Bowl victory last year, it seemed the Yellow Jackets might actually be underrated. Visions of another Coastal Division title and making noise in the College Football Playoff race danced in the heads of Yellow Jacket fans.
Georgia Tech started off the season with wins over Alcorn State and Tulane. And then, the wheels, doors, axles, frame and everything else fell off. Since then, the Yellow Jackets are 1-8, and find themselves in dead last in the Coastal. To say this season has been a disappointment would be quite the understatement.
The one positive for G-Tech fans? At least the team's one conference win came against a Florida State team ranked ninth at the time. Oh yeah, that game ended in pretty memorable fashion as well.
">October 25, 2015
Unfortunately, that's the only thing Georgia Tech fans will want to remember from the 2015 campaign. Next: 5 - Texas Fans >>>5. Texas FansThings were supposed to turn around for the Longhorns during Charlie Strong's second season as head football coach, but Texas fans are looking at yet another disappointing season in Austin. During the sixth week of the season, Strong and his Longhorns captured a signature win against now-No. 3 Oklahoma, toppling the Sooners, 24-17. But that win is surrounded by disappointment, and isn't enough to cheer up fans longing for the way things used to be. Texas is 4-6 on the year through the first 12 weeks of the season, and likely have another loss or two remaining on the schedule.
">November 19, 2015
To make things worse for Longhorns fans, several Big 12 programs--Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State--continue to have success around them, improving while Texas' struggles continue.
With the struggles have come mentions of Strong's name when talking about coaching vacancies around the country, sparking the debate on whether or not he would consider leaving what many consider to be the best head coaching job in college football - or if he just wants out. Miami's coaching vacancy has been the constant in that regard.
While Longhorns fans are dreaming of title contention, they'll be happy with getting back to competing for Big 12 titles - something Texas has not done since 2009.
4. Nebraska Fans
Nebraska fans grew tired of Bo Pelini's inability to get the program over the proverbial hump and back among college football's elite. Pelini never failed to win nine games in a season in his seven seasons in Lincoln, but fans wanted more.
In year one under new coach Mike Riley, the Big Red faithful have been greatly disappointed. The Huskers started 3-6, and found a way to make seemingly every loss a gut-wrenching one. They lost games on a Hail Mary (against BYU) and blew a game at Miami after roaring back from a 23-point deficit. Illinois beat them on a touchdown pass with 10 seconds on the clock, while Wisconsin kicked the game-winning field goal with four ticks left.
The Huskers shocked Michigan State on a controversial touchdown pass to restore some balance to the season, and then routed Rutgers. Right now, Nebraska is 5-6 and needs to beat 11-0 Iowa to reach bowl eligibility. If they can't pull the upset, it will be an even longer off-season for the team and its fans.
3. Auburn Fans
Auburn had it all figured out during the off-season, adding the much-needed defensive coordinator and unveiling the next big thing at quarterback, but things quickly began to unravel during the second week of the college football season, when it took overtime to defeat Jacksonville State, 27-20.
Auburn fans knew something was going terribly wrong - this team was supposed to compete for the SEC title, and even a national title.
First-year defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has battled an uphill climb this season, trying to counteract an offense that has not been able to find any rhythm. The Tigers' defense has given up just over 27 points a game through the first 12 weeks, working to defend a short field on way too many occasions. But Auburn's defensive problems stem from the other side of the ball.
Quarterback play has been abysmal for Auburn this year, as Jeremy Johnson did not pan out how Tigers fans expected him to. Gus Malzahn has used two quarterbacks this season--Johnson and Sean White--and neither have been able to take control of the struggling offense. The two have been responsible for a combined 14 touchdowns this season. Comparatively, last season, Nick Marshall accounted for 31. Tigers fans are officially missing Nick Marshall right about now. Something has to change. Since losing the 2013 title game to FSU, the Tigers have been 4-6 against ranked opponents.
If the talent on the roster has anything to say, Auburn fans won't have to wait long to see success. But things have not been pretty.
2. Georgia Fans
Before the 2015 campaign kicked off, there were many who believed that this would be the year that Georgia took the next step and compete for a national championship. Now, it's debatable whether this Saturday's game against Georgia Tech will be Mark Richt's last as head coach. That pretty much sums up how UGA fans are feeling about how this year has unfolded.
To be fair, Georgia hasn't had a disastrous season. With a win Saturday, the Bulldogs can post a respectable 9-3 record and finish in the top half of the SEC East. But behind what was supposed to be the best rushing attack in the country, Georgia was supposed to do more. A pair of losses particularly devastated Dawgs fans.
In what was supposed to be a slug-fest between Alabama and Georgia, the Crimson Tide thoroughly dominated the Bulldogs, turning them over four times in a 38-10 win. And in a rivalry game that ultimately decided the SEC East, Florida had its way with UGA, posting a 27-3 win in Jacksonville. Neither result did wonders for the theory that Richt can't coach in big games.
Georgia fans are a depressed bunch. But they're not the most disappointed of all.
1. LSU Fans
In this season's first College Football Playoff rankings released by the selection committee, undefeated LSU ranked No. 2, behind only Clemson. Since those rankings dropped on November 3, LSU has not won a game. With three straight SEC West losses to Alabama, Arkansas, and Ole Miss, LSU has been erased from the committee's Top 25 altogether, and Leonard Fournette, who once seemed like an inevitable Heisman winner, will be lucky to make it to New York.
This season, which began with so much hope, has gone on to exemplify why some LSU fans are fed up with Les Miles. Despite having an unbelievable running back and a receiving corps littered with blue chip talent, the Tigers offense is extremely one dimensional. Young quarterback Brandon Harris has improved from last season, but he's completing under 55-percent of his passes on the year. In the Alabama game, he was just 6-of-19 for 128 yards. With Les Miles' program facing constant comparison to that of former LSU head coach Nick Saban, that's not going to fly.
">November 23, 2015
Les Miles is a stunning 110-32 at LSU. He has a national championship to his name. By almost any standard, he is one of the best head coaches in the sport. From the outside, firing him seems crazy, but the last month of LSU football has to be driving fans crazy.