Dreadful Dozen: Counting down the worst teams of 2012
12. AUBURN (3-9)
How bad does a team have to be to get its head coach fired just two years' removed from a BCS championship? Before the 2012 Auburn Tigers, the question was purely hypothetical: No team that close to a national crown had ever been that bad, that quickly. As true men of science, however, coach Gene Chizik and his team dutifully assumed the burden of blazing a trail for all future first-to-worst flops to follow.11. KENTUCKY (2-10)
The only SEC offense arguably worse than Auburn's was the one in Lexington, which lost starting quarterback Maxwell Smith for the season in September and immediately bottomed out. With true freshman Jalen Whitlow at the controls, the Wildcats were held to less than 260 yards of total offense in six of eight conference games, hitting bottom in a 40-0 debacle against Vanderbilt in front of a… let's say, indifferent crowd in Commonwealth Stadium. Joker Phillips was fired the next day, making him the ninth consecutive head coach to leave Kentucky with a losing record over the course of his tenure....1. SOUTHERN MISS (0-12)Unlike the other first-year coaches on this list, Ellis Johnson wasn't inheriting a hopeless, rock-bottom rebuilding job: Before his arrival, Southern Miss had strung together 18 consecutive winning seasons, capped by a 2011 campaign under Larry Fedora that delivered a school record for wins (12), a conference championship and a top-20 landing in the final polls, sending Fedora on to a more high-profile gig at North Carolina. On the heels of arguably the best season in school history in 2011, Johnson's debut yielded unquestionably the worst.