They can’t all be winners. Not every game can be as thrilling as the national championship was.
But it takes more than that to be memorably awful. Just about every team will have one game when the offense is sluggish and everyone on the field seems to lack explosiveness. When two teams synch up like that at the same time with both seemingly determined to hand the game to the other, only for the opposition to hand it right back, that’s when truly unforgettably bad football happens.
We’ve looked over the entire 2015 season to find the lowest of the low, the 10 worst games of the year.
1. Wake Forest 3, Boston College 0
For the second straight year, a Wake Forest game tops our list of the worst games of the season. But hey, the Demon Deacons won both.
A game that featured more turnovers (six) than points (three) nearly set college football back a couple of decades. Wake Forest’s third-quarter field goal served as the only scoring in this matchup, a contest neither team seemed eager to win. With 2:12 remaining, Boston College reached the Wake Forest eight-yard line when quarterback Troy Flutie fumbled. Wake Forest needed to only run out the clock but failed to do so when running back Matt Colburn gave the ball back to the Eagles at the 11-yard line with 1:05 left. Boston College held a key first-and-goal with under 20 seconds to play, but after a fruitless run from Tyler Rouse, confused quarterback Jeff Smith spiked the ball—after the clock hit :00. That allowed the Demon Deacons to escape despite amassing just 142 yards of offense. — Zac Ellis
2. Missouri 9, UConn 6
Sadly, you don’t get points for trying … even when it’s a gutsy fourth-down fake field goal call. It did not end well for the Huskies. — Lindsay Schnell
3. Florida 9, Vanderbilt 7
A week after thrashing Georgia in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, the Gators laid an egg at home against Vanderbilt. Commodores quarterback Johnny McCrary completed only three of his 14 pass attempts for 30 yards … and Vanderbilt would have won anyway if not for a late 43-yard field goal from Florida’s Austin Hardin. — Chris Johnson
4. South Dakota State 41, Kansas 38
Kansas’s season was probably best summed up when the Jayhawks, in an attempt to have one last shot at tying the game, fumbled the snap as time expired to lose to the Jackrabbits. Also, South Dakota State took a 31–7 lead to start the game. — Gabriel Baumgaertner
5. Furman 16, UCF 15
This was the worst loss by what may have been the worst team in the FBS (UCF went 0–12 and ranked 128th nationally in total offense), which makes it a lock to earn a spot on this list. Two stats showcase just how dreadful the game was: The Golden Knights and Paladins combined to punt 16 times for 668 yards, and UCF used three quarterbacks (Bo Schneider, Nick Harris and Nick Patti) to amass the following line: 14 of 30 passing for 98 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions. Furman, an FCS program that claimed its first victory over an FBS opponent since 1999, won despite carrying 28 times for 54 yards (an average of 1.9 yards per carry.) — Ben Glicksman
6. TCU 28, Baylor 21 (2OT)
A matchup of these two teams went from one of the best games of 2014 to one of the worst of 2015. Despite making just about every preseason list of can’t-miss games, Baylor and TCU produced a dud in the rain. Any game that includes more than 800 yards of punting (454 for the Horned Frogs, 401 for the Bears—both totals topping each team’s yards of offense) is a shoo-in for this list. Just look at the drive summary. — Colin Becht
7. Iowa 10, Wisconsin 6
Yes, it was as boring as the score implies: no scoring in the fourth quarter from either team, the Badgers’ lowest home point total since 2003, four Wisconsin turnovers and a measly 86 rushing yards from the Badgers. And before you think this was just a good defensive standoff, Iowa and Wisconsin combined to reach the red zone six times—they just only got points on two of those six trips. — Schnell
8. The Citadel 23, South Carolina 22
It was a tough enough season in Columbia after Steve Spurrier resigned, but then the Gamecocks went and lost to an FCS team running the triple option. It looked like South Carolina was going to survive when Perry Orth hit Pharaoh Cooper for a 94-yard TD… but the play was blown dead for a false start. — Baumgaertner
9. Notre Dame 19, Boston College 16
The Fighting Irish had little problem moving the ball on Boston College’s top-ranked defense. They had a big problem holding on to it though. Notre Dame had five giveaways, including three inside the Boston College five-yard line, nearly allowing the 3–7 Golden Eagles to pull the mammoth upset.
Notre Dame’s garish all-green uniforms didn’t help matters. — Ben Estes
10. TCU 50, Texas 7; Clemson 58, Miami 0 (tie)
These two games share a spot because while on paper both showed matchups between two teams, in reality only one showed up to each. TCU embarrassed Texas with a 50–7 thumping in which the Horned Frogs scored the first 50 points of the game before allowing a late Longhorns touchdown. Clemson wasn’t as merciful, blanking Miami in a 58–0 annihilation that was the worst defeat in Hurricanes history. It also marked the end for Al Golden’s tenure as Miami’s head coach. — Becht