Clemson went 7-1 in one-score games en route to the 2016 national title. Some factors help there, strong QB play and kicking game, but a record like that involves its fair share of luck, such as a missed N.C. State field goal. Here are teams that had the opposite fortune. In some cases, that may be something to keep in mind when projecting forward to 2017.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish [1-7] No “luck of the Irish” for Notre Dame in 2016. They were basically Clemson in reverse. The Irish played eight one-score games. They went 1-7, with losses to Texas, Michigan State, Duke, N.C. State, Stanford, Navy, and Virginia Tech. USC at the end of the season was their only double-digit loss. That is how you out-score your opponents on the season and go 4-8.
Michigan Wolverines [1-3] So close to so much more. Michigan lost three games away from home down the stretch, by a combined two points in regulation. The Wolverines lost on a field goal in the closing seconds to Iowa. They lost on a razor thin 1st down ruling in overtime against Ohio State. After clawing their way back in the Orange Bowl, Michigan gave up a stupid kick return to set up FSU for the game-winning touchdown.
TCU Horned Frogs [1-4] Things could have gone a bit better for the 6-7 Horned Frogs. Kenny Hill’s throat slash penalty set up a short touchdown for Arkansas. TCU missed the game-winning field goal in regulation. The Horned Frogs missed a field goal in overtime against Texas Tech. Two fumbles and two missed field goals in the 31-23 bowl loss to Georgia.
Texas Tech Red Raiders [1-4] Texas Tech was all offense, no defense. Still, Kliff Kingsbury’s team probably had enough swag for bowl play. The Red Raiders lost shootouts with Oklahoma and Kansas State. There were brutal losses down the stretch to Texas (4th quarter INT in the red zone) and Oklahoma State (missed XP on game-tying touchdown). Winning any of those four would have gotten them to 6-6.
Iowa State Cyclones [1-4] The Cyclones were 2016’s “look out, they are better than their record” team. Three turnovers on their last three drives cost them their opener to Northern Iowa. They committed two turnovers down the stretch to blow a 17-point second half lead to Oklahoma State. Iowa State also blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter against Baylor. This team may be going places under Matt Campbell.