With the college football season set to get underway Thursday night, a number of schools have dreams of a conference and in some cases, perhaps a national championship. For some teams however, just making a bowl games would constitute a successful season. Here are the 10 teams from Power 5 conferences with the longest bowl droughts:
Last Bowl Appearance: Jan. 1, 2013 — lost to Oklahoma State in Heart of Dallas Bowl
To say times have been tough for Purdue football would be an understatement. Since losing the Heart of Dallas Bowl to close the 2012 season, Purdue has gone just 4-20. The Boilermakers haven’t had a winning season since 2011 when they beat Western Michigan in the Little Caesars Bowl.
Last Bowl Appearance: Jan. 1, 2013 — beat Mississippi State in Gator Bowl
A loss to rival Illinois to close the 2014 season would cost Northwestern a trip to a bowl. The Wildcats have finished 5-7 in each of the last two years after five straight bowl appearances.
8. Iowa State
Last Bowl Appearance: Dec. 31, 2012 — lost to Tulsa in Liberty Bowl
Over the last 25 games, Iowa State has a record of just 5-20. The Cyclones failed to win a game in Big 12 play last season. Head coach Paul Rhoads enters the 2015 season on the hot seat, but the good news is the last guy fired at Iowa State went on to win a national championship at Auburn.
Last Bowl Appearance: Dec. 31, 2011 — lost to Auburn in Chick-fil-A Bowl
Virginia overachieved in 2011, but has managed to go just 11-25 since. The Cavaliers did improve from 2-10 to 5-7 a season ago, but allowed rival Virginia Tech to score the go-ahead touchdown with 1:48 to go to keep the Cavaliers from becoming bowl-eligible. Virginia hasn’t defeated the Hokies since 2003.
6. Wake Forest
Last Bowl Appearance: Dec. 30, 2011 — lost to Mississippi State in Music City Bowl
It’s hard to believe that Wake Forest was the class of the ACC less than a decade ago. The Demon Deacons finished with the worst record in ACC play a season ago and have not had a winning season since 2008.
Last Bowl Appearance: Dec. 28, 2011 — lost to Texas in Holiday Bowl
The days of Aaron Rodgers and Marshawn Lynch seem like eons ago in Berkeley. California has failed to reach a bowl in each of the last three years. The Golden Bears started 5-4 last season and needed just one win to become bowl-eligible, but dropped each of their final three games. To make matters worse, Cal hasn’t defeated archrival Stanford since 2009.
Last Bowl Appearance: Jan. 8, 2011 — lost to Pittsburgh in Compass Bowl
Over the last four seasons, Kentucky has been without question the weakest link in the SEC. The good news for the folks in Lexington is that the Wildcats more than doubled their win total last year. After a 5-1 start last season, Kentucky lost its final six games to miss out on a bowl game for the fourth straight year.
Last Bowl Appearance: Dec. 31, 2008 — beat Minnesota in Insight Bowl
The Kansas Jayhawks seem content with being a basketball school. After winning the Orange Bowl in 2007 and eight games in 2008, the Jayhawks dropped their final seven games in 2009 following a 5-0 start. Kansas has not more than three games in any season since.
Last Bowl Appearance: Dec. 31, 2007 — lost to Oklahoma State in Insight Bowl
Over the last 20 years, Indiana has managed just one winning season. An appearance in the 2007 Insight Bowl was the first bowl appearance for the Hoosiers since 1993. Indiana has won five games on three occasions since 2006, but have managed to land win No. 6 just once.
Last Bowl Appearance: Dec. 30, 2007 — lost to Alabama in Independence Bowl
Colorado will celebrate the silver anniversary of its 1990 national championship this year, but the Buffaloes haven’t celebrated a winning season since 2005. Colorado has the longest bowl drought among Power 5 programs and has not won a bowl game since beating UTEP in the 2004 Houston Bowl.