On Sunday, Aug. 4, Phil Steele tweeted the conference records of Pac-12 teams from 2009-18. Colorado ranks dead last in winning percentage and total wins: 17-55. And while it's not surprising the Buffs rank last in wins (and, to a lesser extent, winning percentage), because they weren't in the Pac-12 until 2011, the gap between Colorado and Oregon State is staggering.
Colorado went 8-1 in Pac-12 games in 2016 on their way to a South Division title and first appearance in a conference championship since 2005. Despite eight conference wins in one season, Colorado has only 17 conference wins since joining the Pac-12 eight years ago.
The Buffs had more conference wins in 2016 than the other seven seasons combined. The 2016 team was among the most talented in program history and fully deserving of the South title, but that season came out of nowhere.
More out-of-nowhere seasons:
UAB football improved dramatically in 2014, Bill Clark's first season as head coach, but the Blazers were still a historically mediocre (and often terrible) program. When disbanded after the 2014 season, the program had 81 wins in 19 seasons and hadn't won more than five games in a season since 2004.
Despite not fielding a team in both 2015 and 2016 — and losing almost everyone within the program — Clark reloaded and somehow engineered an eight-win season.
"It’s going to be a long process to understand who we are first," Jeff Tedford said at his introductory press conference in November 2016.
Everyone expected a long rebuild for a program that was only three years removed from an 11-win season but had four total wins over the last two years and was still one of the toughest jobs in college football. Instead, Tedford led his alma mater to a division title and its eighth-ever 10-win season.
In 2009, eight of Miami's 10 losses came by at least 10 points, including a 25-point home loss to Buffalo in the season finale. The Redhawks won three total games from 2008-09 and had fallen deep into the MAC cellar.
A year later, they won four games by at least 10 points, including a 12-point road win over Buffalo, on their way to 10 wins and the MAC title.
Kansas won 13 total games from 2005-06, their highest two-year total since 1995-96 and had obvious returning talent on both sides of the ball. However, that talent appeared capable of a run at seven wins for the first time in 12 years, not a run at their first-ever 12-win season and Orange Bowl victory.
Illinois showed signs of improvement in 2006, including one-score losses to Ohio State and Wisconsin, but those signs didn't point to their seventh-ever nine-win season and first Rose Bowl in 24 years.
South Carolina football wasn't great for most of the 1980s and '90s, but the Gamecocks didn't flat out suck. They did suck in 1998 and 1999: One total win, including a zero-win 1999, the program's first-ever winless season.
Then, overnight, they stopped sucking, and Lou Holtz led an eight-win team that beat Georgia and Ohio State.
Thirty years and 14 stops into his coaching career, Fred von Appen finally got his head-coaching shot. It didn't go well; he won five games in three seasons and was fired after a winless 1998 campaign.
Former Hawai'i quarterback June Jones arrived in 1999 and won nine games in his first season, the same win total as their previous four seasons combined.
From 1953 — the first season of the Big Ten after a name change from the Western Conference — until 1994, the Wildcats never won more than six conference games in one season. And from 1972-94, they averaged two wins per season and went winless four times.
A year later, Northwestern ran the table in the Big Ten and played in the Rose Bowl for the first time ever.
Two teams went undefeated in 1987: AP national champion Miami (FL) and Syracuse.
From 1960-86, Syracuse never won more than eight games in a season. They exploded for 11 in 1987, one of the program's two all-time undefeated seasons.
Long before Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer were ripping off 10-win seasons, Florida football swayed between crap, mediocrity and excellence. The crap came in 1979 when first-year head coach Charley Pell spent a year revamping a program that limped through Doug Dickey's final years.
After a winless 1979 — and 10 combined wins in the two prior seasons — the Gators won eight games for just the seventh time in the last 40 years.
Frank Howard went 6-2-1 and 7-2 in 1940 and 1941, respectively, his first two seasons as Clemson head coach, but won only 23 games over the next six seasons as the Tigers repeatedly finished in the middle or bottom of the Southern Conference.
In 1948, they erupted for 11 wins, the program's second-ever eight-win season.
Purdue had some strong seasons in the 1920s and '30s, including a 36-4-2 mark from 1929-33, but went 5-19-1 from 1940-42 and hadn't fielded a strong team in years when Elmer Burnham arrived in 1942.
After a 1-8 mark in 1942, their third straight season with two or fewer wins, Purdue earned their second-ever AP ranking on their way to a 9-0 record and the Big Ten Championship.