Greg Hansen: Dogs not creamiest of puffs

Citadel sure victory for Cats, but worse teams have visited
2010-09-08T00:00:00Z 2013-09-17T16:01:08Z Greg Hansen: Dogs not creamiest of puffsGreg Hansen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 08, 2010 12:00 am  • 

The sports media of the Southern Conference voted The Citadel to finish last this season. Do you know what last place in SoCon football means? It means you're behind Elon, Samford, Wofford and Western Carolina.

That foursome lost by a combined 181-50 last week.

So you might ask: Are the Bulldogs the worst team ever scheduled to play at Arizona Stadium?

Worse than the 1982 Oregon State club that oddsmaker Jimmy The Greek called "a girls team?" Less feared than the stumblin', bumblin' 2008 Idaho team? Is that possible?

According to the UA football media supplement, Arizona beat the Vandals 70-0 on Aug. 30, 2008, and 70-0 a day later. That would've been the worst road trip of all time, any sport.

Yes, it's a typo. No, the 2-10 Vandals weren't historically bad. Idaho isn't among the Three Worst Teams Ever to Play in Tucson, and it would be an insult to speculate that The Citadel belongs in the conversation.

Historically bad is New Mexico, a 72-0 loser to Oregon last week, a Lobos team destined to go 0-12 or worse.

Over the last 50 years, modern football, the worst team to play Arizona, here or anywhere, was Hardin-Simmons, 1961. You can look it up.

"It's a team that has been gurgling a death rattle," Daily Star sports editor Abe Chanin wrote in October 1961. The newspaper's cartoonist drew a picture that had the Cowboys mascot lying in a grave, with a caption that said: 1891 - 1961.

He didn't miss by much. After losing 53-7 at Arizona Stadium, its 16th consecutive loss, Hardin-Simmons lost 27-0 to Abilene Christian, 42-0 to West Texas A&M, 47-0 to Arizona State and ran its losing streak to 27 games.

The school eliminated its football program two years later (and resumed, as a Division III school, in 1990).

Once Hardin-Simmons abolished football, UTEP carried on the ineptness. The Miners were surely the worst program of college football in the 1970s and into the '80s. In a 1981 game at Arizona Stadium - fittingly, it was played on Halloween night - Arizona beat the soon-to-be 1-10 Miners 48-15.

How bad was it? It was UTEP's 70th loss in 77 games.

Arizona scored touchdowns on its first five possessions to lead 35-3.

A few days later, interim UTEP coach (weren't they all?) Bill Alton phoned Star sports editor Sam Pollak and complained that the tone of the newspaper's game story was too harsh.

"There's one way to avoid a story like that," said Pollak, who, amazingly, was a UTEP grad. "Play better football."

The No. 3 slot as the Worst Team Ever to Play In Tucson was earned, collectively, by Oregon State. From 1979 to 1991, the Beavers always seemed to finish 1-10 (or worse), prompting Jimmy The Greek's "they're a girls team" declaration on the eve of a 1982 game at Arizona Stadium.

To fight back, OSU coach Joe Avezzano called Jimmy The Greek "a fat slob." Arizona beat the Beavers 38-12 a day later as Vance Johnson returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Avezzano's career record at Oregon State was 6-47-2.

The Citadel can understand that type of futility.

Over the last 10 seasons, the Bulldogs have traditionally played one road game against a BCS opponent to assist their athletic budget. They have lost 62-10 at Florida State, 70-19 at Florida and 61-0 at Maryland. In 2013, gulp, The Citadel is scheduled to play at both Clemson and South Carolina.

The art of football scheduling is such that The Citadel athletic director Larry Leckonby refers to games against BCS opponents as "a financial necessity." He has also been smart enough to ease the demands on his football team whenever possible.

This year, for example, The Citadel preceded the school's trip to Tucson with an easy victory over Division III Chowan University, which went 1-9 last season. Next week, The Citadel will play Presbyterian, which was 0-11 in 2009.

It works both ways. The Citadel has also sprinkled its share of walkover home games, most notably against Webber International, which it beat 54-7 two years ago and 76-0 in 2007.

Webber International? It's an NAIA school in Central Florida whose schedule includes The Apprentice School of Newport News, Va.

Wanna bet they could beat New Mexico?

WILDCAT WALKOVERS

Arizona's five most lopsided wins in the last 50 years:

Pts Opponent (score, date)

70 Idaho (70-0, Aug. 30, 2008)

55 E.Michigan (55-0, Sept. 24, 1988)

51 UTEP (63-12, Oct. 9, 1976)

46 Utah St. (49-3, Sept. 5, 1992)

46 Har.-Simmons (53-7, Oct. 7, 1961)

Contact Greg Hansen at 573-4362 or ghansen@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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