The Longest Losing Streaks in College Football History
It’s never fun to lose and when a team gets on a long losing streak, it can take a toll on players and fans. But what happens when a football team can’t win a single game for a few seasons? That’s when things really get tough and you have to appreciate each player’s willingness to keep going.
In college football history, there are quite a few teams that had long losing streaks. While the teams and fans would like to forget these years, it is interesting sports trivia to look at the teams that didn’t do so well.
The Longest Losing Streaks in FCS (Division I-A)
The country’s major college football conference is called the Football Championship Subdivision, Division 1-A. And on that grand stage, the Northwestern Wildcats own one record that they would probably like stricken from the record books. When it comes to Division I-A football, they hold the title for the longest losing streak in history.
Between 1979 and 1982, the Wildcats lost 34 straight games. That’s six more than their nearest competitors, the Virginia Cavaliers, who lost 28 (1958-1961) and the Kansas State Wildcats, who also lost that many (1945-1948).
Here are all of the FBS teams that have suffered through long losing streaks of at least 20 games.
|Team||Consecutive Losses||When Did It Happen?|
|Northwestern Wildcats||34 games||1979-1982|
|University of Virginia Cavaliers||28 games||1958-1961|
|Kansas State Wildcats||28 games||1945-1948|
|New Mexico State Aggies||27 games||1988-1990|
|Eastern Michigan Eagles||27 games||1980-1982|
|Colorado State Rams||26 games||1960-1963|
|Duke Blue Devils||23 games||1999-2002|
|Northern Illinois Huskies||23 games||1996-1998|
|Duke Blue Devils||22 games||2005-2007|
|Ball State Cardinals||21 games||1999-2000|
|South Carolina Gamecocks||21 games||1998-2000|
|Kent State Golden Flashes||21 games||1981-1983|
|New Mexico Lobos||21 games||1967-1969|
|Temple Owls||20 games||2004-2006|
|TCU Horned Frogs||20 games||1974-1975|
|Florida State Seminoles||20 games||1972-1974|
The Longest Losing Streak in College Football History
You may not have heard of this losing streak because it didn’t happen in Division 1-A, but Northwestern’s stat sheet looks great compared to Prairie View A&M’s record. In the 1990s, the football team from this small Division I-AA school in Texas lost 80 games in a row.
The Prairie View A&M Panthers had their program cut in 1990 due to a massive fiscal deficit. In June of that year, the “Houston Chronicle” reported that $100,000 dollars was missing and many people in the athletic department, including the head football coach Haney Catchings, were indicted.
In 1991, the school brought football back despite the lack of scholarships and the next seven seasons did not see a single win. To make matters look even worse, in 1991 the Panthers scored just 48 points in the entire season (1992 was not much better, but they did score 55 points that year).
After the 1997 season, the Panthers broke their losing streak and since the mid-2000s they have actually done very well. They even won the SWAC Conference Championship three years in a row from 2005 to 2007.
The small school’s comeback is a harrowing one and it pays homage to the team’s success in the Black college championships of the 1950s and 60s. You really have to give it to those players who stuck out that long drought and played hard against some tough teams.