View Full Version : The 2009 Futility Bowl

Olympic Fan
08-31-2009, 03:22 PM
Interesting that the 2009 season opens Thursday night with a fairly local matchup -- South Carolina at N.C. State.

To me, it's a game that should be celebrated because it matches two schools that like to talk and act like they are football powers, but in fact, are two of the most historically inept programs in college football history.

In fact (somebody correct me if I left anybody out), but I'm pretty sure that N.C. State and South Carolina are two of the three BCS programs (along with Rutgers) that:

(1) Have never played in a major bowl game, OR

(2) Finished in the top 10 of the final AP poll (which dates back to 1936).

They've both come close ... indeed, NC State should have played in the 1958 Orange Bowl, but they were on probation for basketball at the time and had to pass up the bid. South Carolina had never even won a bowl game until the 1990s ... their big bowl accompishment is still a pair of Outback Bowl wins. State has won the Gator Bowl, but that's it.

Both have come close to the final AP top 10. In fact, NC State made to No. 9 in the final UPI poll in 1974, but was No. 11 in the final AP poll that year. South Carolina's best finish was a No. 11 finish under Joe Morrison in 1984.

That's pretty pitiful for state supported schools with great fan support. When you consider that academically oriented private schools the likes of Duke, Wake, Vandy, Northwestern, Stanford have all had top 10 finishes (so have non-BCS schools Tulane, Rice, Army, Navy, Holy Cross, St. Mary's, Tulsa, Santa Clara, TCU, Fordham, Villanova, Utah State ...). Granted, many of those high finishes were long ago, but at least those schools had at least one moment in the sun .. something that NCS and S. Carolina (when it comes to football, there is only one USC) can't boast.

I've often argued that South Carolina has the best football fans in the country -- no where else has such sustained mediocrity generate such passion. The State fans aren't far behind.

I salute the fans of both schools. They support their teams as if they were LSU or Texas, even though their programs are historically two of the three worst in football history. And, hey, at least Rutgers played in the first game and claims the 1869 national championship ... so they have a more significant history than Thursday night's two combatants.

08-31-2009, 03:44 PM
I don't think State is anywhere near the worst in history; they're just consistently mediocre. They hovered near .500 for many years and passed it during the Rivers years. But it's not like they go 2-10 all the time. There's not making BCS bowls, and then there's sucking like we have the last 15 years or like K-State pre-Synder. UVA pre-Welsh, there's a good one. Just awful. State has a way of out-mediocre-ing everyone.

08-31-2009, 03:47 PM
With our recent football records (say last 45 years or so..) can we take a lofty approach in assessing the success of our Wolfpack and Gamecock neighbors?

I do agree that there are a number of similarities in their programs and fanbases. Just a guess, but I think the Ole Ball Coach can reach a BCS bowl in the next two to three years.

Olympic Fan
08-31-2009, 04:39 PM
I think you are right -- mediocrity is a better description of the South Carolina-NC State programs that futility.

It's true they haven't been as bad for a sustained period as Duke was pre-Cutcliffe ... but they were never as good as Duke was between 1932 and 1960.

So we'll call Thursday game "The 2009 Mediocrity Bowl" instead of the Futility Bowl.

PS I was checking and I found two more BCS programs without a major bowl or a top 10 AP finish -- but both UConn and South Florida have only been major college programs for a shorttime.

Bob Green
09-01-2009, 03:57 AM

Thanks for an intriguing post. Even with the mediocrity you've described, I really want to see S. Carolina back on the football schedule. It would be a good annual game and the Gamecocks are definitely a better option than playing two FCS opponents.