Football Season Rankings: 40-36

In Part 1 of our football season rankings, I start with the bottom, the worst five seasons of the past 40 years. This includes two of Gary Crowton's mostly miserable four seasons at the helm, as well as LaVell's three worst seasons.

40. 2002
39. 1972
38. 1997
37. 2003
36. 2000

Read the gory details below. Click here to get an explanation of my methodology.

40. 2002

Coach: Gary Crowton
Record: 5-7
Ranking: NA
Bowl: NA
Point Differential per game: -5.08
Opp. Winning %: .470
SRS: -5.99
What you didn't know: In all four of Gary Crowton's years as head coach, the defense gave up more than 25 points per game.
Summary: This was a pretty easy call. LaVell Edwards and Bronco Mendenhall never had a season like this. The schedule was terrible, and Crowton & Co. could only manage 5 wins. And it wasn't like there was no talent on the team. The QB situation was a mess, but it shouldn't have resulted in a season like this one. After a 12-2 2001 season, this was a dramatic drop. And the lousy seasons would continue for another few years. Dark days in BYU football history.

39. 1972

Coach: LaVell Edwards
Record: 7-4
Ranking: NA
Bowl: NA
Point Differential per game: 2.18
Opp. Winning %: .397
SRS: -4.35
What you didn't know: BYU only defeated one team with a winning record in 1972: 6-5 Utah. The combined winning percentage of the teams they beat was just over 30%. The Cougars were outscored a combined 70-24 against WAC leaders Arizona State and Arizona.
Summary: This may seem too low. LaVell was named WAC coach of the year in his first season. The team finished with a winning record (not common to that point in BYU history) and a 2nd-place WAC finish. But this team wasn't good. They played the weakest schedule in the past 40 years, and the two best teams they faced (ASU and Arizona) destroyed them.

38. 1997

Coach: LaVell Edwards
Record: 6-5
Ranking: NA
Bowl: NA
Point Differential per game: -0.36
Opp. Winning %: .480
SRS: -1.95
What you didn't know: BYU only played two teams with 9+ wins: Arizona State and New Mexico.
Summary: The season was a mixture of mediocre offense with mediocre defense. There was talent on the roster on both sides -- Brian McKenzie had 1,004 yards rushing, and Rob Morris was the leading tackler. But it didn't come together in a season against a extremely weak schedule. This was especially disappointing after the highly successful 1996 campaign.

37. 2003

Coach: Gary Crowton
Record: 4-8
Ranking: NA
Bowl: NA
Point Differential per game: -9.50
Opp. Winning %: .597
SRS: -2.96
What you didn't know: BYU opponents Boise State, Utah and USC were a combined 35-4 in 2003.
Summary: Here's Crowton again. This team was better than the 2002 squad (damning with faint praise), and, according to Sports-Reference.com, had the second hardest schedule in these rankings (2004 was the hardest). I'm not saying Crowton was underrated, but this is probably a 6-6 or 7-5 team with a normal BYU schedule. The offense was terrible, averaging only 16 points a game.

36. 2000

Coach: LaVell Edwards
Record: 6-6
Ranking: NA
Bowl: NA
Point Differential per game: -3.33
Opp. Winning %: .539
SRS: -0.66
What you didn't know: BYU outscored their opponents 111-97 during the 3-1 finish. Also, I got married on the day of the New Mexico game and was on my honeymoon for the Utah game. So I only saw the terrible part of this season.
Summary: LaVell's final season almost ended in disaster. Until Brandon Doman took over as QB part way through a 45-21 loss to Colorado State, the offense had been terrible, likely the worst offense in LaVell's tenure. Enter career back-up Doman, who sparked the team to two wins and kept LaVell's last season from being his worst, though not by a ton.

* * * * *

Stay tuned over the next several weeks for continued rankings until we reach #1.

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