(Courtesy of YouTube/Boulder Daily Camera)
Colorado (1-11, 1-8 Pac-12)
Expectations: Pundits expected Colorado to be about as bad as could be after winning just three games in 2011 and losing what meager offensive talent the Buffaloes might've had. Then they went out and did what was almost unthinkable: They were even worse than imagined.
What went wrong: Would it be cruel to write everything? Or would it just be accurate? If Colorado wasn't the worst team in the country, it was among the worst. Among 120 FBS teams, Colorado ranked 109th or worse in a stunning 10 categories, including an offense that ranked 117th in scoring and a defense that ranked 120th in scoring defense. The Buffaloes ranked 109th in rushing and 119th in passing efficiency. As bad as the Buffaloes were on offense -- 17 or fewer points in eight of 12 games -- they were even worse defensively. Colorado allowed 30-plus points in 11 of 12 games and 42-plus points in eight of 12 games.
When it went wrong: April 10, 2012: A day that will live in the infirmary. Colorado lost its best offensive weapon on that day, when leading receiver Paul Richardson was sidelined with a torn ACL. Perhaps best offensive weapon was an understatement. The talented Richardson had 1,069 yards in his first two years, including 284 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2 of 2011 against Cal. Without a true target, Colorado's quarterbacks struggled throughout the year.
Biggest overall disappointment: Head coach Jon Embree. Embree talked a great game and displayed genuine care and loyalty to his players, but the fact is, he didn't get the job done during his brief tenure. While his abrupt firing after two years led to a sad press conference, followed by an awkward appearance by athletic director Mike Bohn, four wins in two years in the rapidly improving Pac-12 just doesn't cut it. On his way out, Embree torched his former employers, and his alma mater, for not giving him enough support.
Bright spot: Coming off three consecutive losses to start the year, including home debacles against Colorado State and Sacramento State, the Buffaloes were about as down as they could be entering a Week 4 matchup against Washington State. Then Jordan Webb had to go and have his best day as Colorado's quarterback. Webb's 4-yard touchdown run with 11 seconds left knotted the game at 34 and Will Oliver made the extra point to give the Buffaloes the win. For the day, Webb finished with four total touchdowns and 345 yards on 29 of 42 passing.
2013 outlook: Mike MacIntyre already rescued one program, and now the former San Jose State head coach gets to test his mettle with a formerly great program, even if he doesn't have much to work with. Thing is, he didn't at SJSU, either, and he still led them from one win in 2010 to 10 wins in 2012.
Four Pac-12 teams didn't make a bowl game, read about "what went wrong" at the other three schools here: