by Travis Normand
In October of 1989 the University of Houston (UH) dismantled SMU by a score of 95-21. UH’s quarterback Andre Ware threw for 517 yards and six touchdowns in the first half (setting the NCAA FBS record for the “Most Yards in a Half,” see 2011 NCAA FBS record book, page 7). UH finished the game with an astounding 1,021 total yards (of which 771 were passing and 250 were rushing).
How did UH run up such gaudy offensive numbers? Simple. They took advantage of SMU’s inferior situation — being that 1989 was SMU’s first year back from serving a two-year “death penalty.”
One would think that UH’s record would remain unbroken as long as no other school received the “death penalty.” In other words, receiving the death penalty appears to be an informal prerequisite to having 500+ yards of offense rolled up on your defense in one half of a football game.
Of course the death penalty is not an actual prerequisite and you can allow 500+ yards in a half if you try really hard. However, a team is going to have to be fiercely committed to accomplishing such a goal; as allowing this many yards is not only practically unheard of but takes a special kind of horrible.
This is where Colorado’s football program comes in. After only three games into the 2012 season, the Buffaloes are the only team in the entire FBS that is as horrible as required to accomplish such a goal.
Last Saturday, the Colorado Buffaloes traveled to play Fresno State and were handed a 69-14 dismantling. The score almost says it all, but wait until you hear some of the stats. At the half, Fresno State led by a score of 55-7. Fresno State also had eight first-half touchdowns, while the Buffs had only four first-downs.
One might read this information and interpret it to say that Fresno State must be a really good football team. While I am sure Fresno State is not the worst team in FBS, they are not the best either. In fact, Fresno State finished 4-9 in 2011 and spent last weekend (8 September 2012) getting run over by the Oregon Ducks 42-25.
While Fresno State didn’t quite eclipse UH’s first-half record of 517 yards, they did get as close as they possibly could without matching it. The Bulldogs outgained the Buffaloes 516-123 in the first half, falling one yard short of UH’s mark. Fresno State’s 55 first-half points were also only one point short of UCLA’s 56-point first half in 1980 against the Buffaloes.
However, the game was still a record-setting performance for both Fresno State and Colorado. How so? Well, it was the most yards allowed in any half by Colorado — EVER!
So while Colorado is not recovering from the death penalty like SMU was in 1989, they have decided to play like it. I have been calling Colorado’s football program “A bad situation” for the past couple of weeks, but even I couldn’t fathom the Buffaloes epic meltdown against the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Matt Hinton, college football blogger for CBSSports.com, had this to say about Colorado’s performance: [emphasis added]
There was already considerable evidence before Saturday that the Colorado Buffaloes, 0-2 with demoralizing losses to Colorado State and Sacramento State, may be the worst team in major college football. At Fresno State, though, the Buffs made a compelling bid for the ages in what must rank among the worst performances in recorded NCAA history
I think it is safe to say that the 2012 Colorado Buffaloes will go down in history as one of the worst college football teams ever.
(For all the Buffs fans out there who are wondering what has happened to their once-proud program, just know that Fresno State has handed out worse beat-downs than the one they handed to you on Saturday. In 1991, Fresno State dished out an epic 94-17 thrashing of New Mexico in what has become a real blood feud between the two schools. For anyone interested in that story, you can read about it here.)