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Worst of the 21st: Peay Regional Final

A pair of upsets gives us an all-Indiana regional final...but which mid-aughts Hoosier State squad takes the sad, sad cupcake?

It was Indiana all along

The Old-Timer’s Committee has made its way to the 90s.

However, while we will eventually get to new schools to honor, today we are still working our way through the worst of the West: 1990 Wisconsin Badgers and 1991 Minnesota Golden Gophers. If these two could’ve met, it would have given the ‘88 Axe matchup a run for its money. However, thankfully, they didn’t.

Let’s just keep this simple: In both 1990 and 1991, there were 107 teams in D-I. Each of these teams finished dead last in scoring. Now, you might give the edge to 1990 Wisconsin, whose 12.1 PPG blows away 1991 Minnesota’s 9.5 PPG, but let’s look a little deeper, shall we?

Take away the 44-34 loss to Northwestern (who went 2-9/1-7) and UW is down to 9.9 PPG. Wisconsin’s only win was over Ball State. In B1G play, the Badgers scored 45 points in their 7 non-NW games (6.4 PPG). In their defense, though, the team they missed in B1G play was 2-9/1-7 Purdue.

[This was Fred Akers’s last year with the Boilermakers. Purdue’s leading rusher had 198 yards...on the season. Suffice it to say it’s a little harder to win without Earl Campbell in the backfield, eh Fred?]

So, have I offered enough rationalization to make you think that Wisconsin’s offense was actually worse, despite scoring more points?

Don’t be so sure.

Minnesota opened the season with a 26-20 win over San Jose State. [And they probably don’t even win this game if SJSU JUCO transfer Jeff Garcia gets the starting nod at QB...] Which means they averaged 7.8 PPG the rest of the way. Given this, what sort of offensive explosion allowed the Gophers to register another victory on the season?

6-3 over Purdue (hi Jim Colletto!).

By SRS, this was the worst Minnesota team between 1983 and 2007. [Though they did miss Northwestern during the regular season, which would almost have certainly helped beef up the offensive numbers.] Was it bad enough to lose to 1990 Wisconsin? We’ll never know. They were bad enough that the 16 points they scored in their 19-16 loss to the ‘91 Badgers marked their peak in B1G play.

1990 Wisconsin. 1991 Minnesota. There is room for both of you in the Hall of Futility.


Who’s worse?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    1990 Wisconsin
    (57 votes)
  • 45%
    1991 Minnesota
    (48 votes)
105 votes total Vote Now

Argue amongst yourselves. We have a regional final to play.



Don’t get me wrong, these are both bad teams, and the Hoosiers (x2) have earned their way here.

But let’s reflect for a moment.

The ‘03 Hoosiers took down ‘19 Rutgers, Vegas’s favored 2-seed, and a real threat to win it all. Obviously, Rutgers’s 2 FBS wins were just substantial enough to outweigh their winless conference record and see through a Hoosiers squad that was a 4th quarter comeback—against an atrocious ‘03 Illinois team—away from going winless vs. FBS competition overall.

Waiting will be an ‘08 Indiana team that failed to do what their ‘03 brethren did: upend the ‘03 Illini. Obviously, the ‘08 Hoosiers were unable to find the +5 turnover magic that allowed them to record a fluky win over a very good ‘08 Northwestern. Instead, Illinois’s superior (er, less inferior) SRS proved out and they finally made good after falling in several close games during the season. Illinois didn’t record an FBS win, but the superior non-conference competition readied them for a rock fight in a way that defeating 2-10 Western Kentucky did not for the Hoosiers.

Who will advance? Which Hoosier team wants it least? Will we see a record low number of votes?

(3) 2003 Indiana Hoosiers 2-10/1-7 (1-10 vs. FBS)

SRS -9.87: #97 of 117 (B1G ranked #3 conference)

14.8 PPG: #115 of 117 (13.9 vs. FBS)

32.3 Opp. PPG: #94 of 117 (35 vs FBS)

(5) 2008 Indiana Hoosiers 3-9/1-7 (2-9 vs. FBS)

-8.72 SRS: #100 of 120 (B1G ranked #4 conference)

20.5 PPG: #97 of 120 (18.3 vs. FBS)

35.2 Opp. PPG: #100 of 120 (38.2 vs. FBS)

  • W 31-13 vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (finished 2-10)
  • W 45-3 vs. Murray State Racers (FBS opponent)
  • L 20-42 vs. Ball State Cardinals (12-2, made bowl; 21-20 late in 3rd)
  • L 29-42 vs. Michigan State Spartans (9-4, #24; 34-29 late in 3rd)
  • L 7-16 @ Minnesota Golden Gophers (7-6, made bowl; 13-7 late in 4th)
  • L 9-45 vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (9-4, #20; 17-9 at half)
  • L 13-55 @ Illinois Fighting Illini (5-7; fell behind by 21 midway in 2nd)
  • W 21-19 vs. Northwestern Wildcats (9-4, made bowl; NW -5 turnover, no scoring in 4th)
  • L 34-37 vs. Central Michigan Chippewas (8-5, made bowl; Indiana led 34-28 entering 4th)
  • L 20-55 vs. Wisconsin Badgers (7-6, made bowl; 24-20 at half)
  • L 7-34 @ #7 Penn State Nittany Lions (11-2, #8; 10-7 at half)
  • L 10-62 @ Purdue Boilermakers (4-8; 41-3 at half)


Who was worse?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    2003 Indiana
    (92 votes)
  • 17%
    2008 Indiana
    (20 votes)
112 votes total Vote Now