The college football season is a long slog, but in this sport, when things turn on you, they turn on you in a big way.
They certainly did for these nine teams, which entered the season with high expectations from the fans and media and failed to live up to those lofty goals.
This list features plenty of spots where coaches were fired, but that wasn't a requisite for inclusion. There are some teams that had good seasons, in fact — so long as you remove all preseason expectations.
But no matter what way you slice it, these teams disappointed in 2016:
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Despite losing a bunch of talent on the defensive side of the ball, hopes were high that the Rebels' offense, led by Heisman trophy contender Chad Kelly (!!!), was going lead Ole Miss into contention with Alabama this year.
Yeah ... that didn't work out. (Though they did give Bama a game.)
The Rebs finished 5-7.
The Tigers were a National Championship dark horse (as much as an SEC West team can be a dark horse), but after a season-opening loss to Wisconsin (it doesn't look all that bad now, does it?), Les Miles found himself on thin ice heading into the Tigers' game at Auburn. LSU lost that game in heartbreaking fashion, costing the Mad Hatter his job and leaving the program in a state of disarray for the rest of the season.
That turned quickly, didn't it?
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Charlie Strong entered the season on the hot seat, but he gave fans (and media) a reason to feel positive with a season-opening win over Notre Dame and then ... it all went off the rails.
A heartbreaking loss to Cal, followed by losses to Oklahoma State and the Sooners put Texas at 2-3. The writing was on the wall.
Texas dragged Strong through the season, but the team kept deteriorating and capped the season with a loss to Kansas.
The Longhorns' aspirations were modest at best this year — some liked them in the Big 12, but as a long shot, most pegged them for 10 wins at most — but it was still a wildly disappointing campaign that cost Strong his job.
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Like at Texas, expectations were not all that high in Eugene, but the Ducks still failed to meet them and it cost Mark Helfrich his job.
Oregon's defense was one of the worst in the nation and the offense lacked the trademark spark of years past. The Ducks lost eight of their final 10 games, with beatdowns coming from USC and Washington. A Civil War loss to Oregon State sealed Helfrich's fate.
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This was going to be the year it was all going to click for the Vols. They were going to win the SEC East, give Alabama two great shots, and maybe even contend for the playoff.
I mean who would you rather have, Josh Dobbs or Vince Young? (That was an actual question that was asked before the season started.)
Even after needing some incredible luck to beat Appalachian State in Week 1, the expectations remained high on Rocky Top, as the Vols jumped out to a 5-0 start.
But losses to Texas A&M and Alabama followed, and star running back Jalen Hurd wound up on the bench, inexplicably. And then the Vols lost to lowly South Carolina, meaning it was another season with high hopes and little to show for it.
Tennessee capped the season with a loss to Vanderbilt and calls for Butch Jones' job.
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If anyone could avoid a letdown season after an improbable run to the CFP, it was Mark Dantonio, right?
Well, even one of the best coaches in the nation is prone to a down year from his team.
Michigan State showed some flashes this season, but even with its defensive talent, it was never able to establish a consistent enough offense to seriously compete in a tough Big Ten.
The Spartans finished with a 3-9 record and losses to Maryland and Illinois. Woof.
After a 7-6 season, perhaps we should have seen the Bearcats as a team trending down, but the program has been so strong for so long that there was a baseline presumption that they'd be one of the teams to beat in the really competitive American.
Losses to Houston and South Florida confirmed that the Bearcats weren't contenders, but after an impressive win over East Carolina, there were slight reasons for optimism.
Then the roof collapsed: Cincy lost its last five games, scoring a total of 13 points in three games of that span.
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The Irish weren't necessarily title contenders before the season started, but the expectations of 10 wins were readily floated for 2016.
And when Notre Dame lost to Texas in Week 1, it was forgivable. When the Irish lost to Michigan State in Week 3, few thought it was a bad loss.
But then Notre Dame lost to Duke, at home, and it as clear things were awry in South Bend.
A loss to North Carolina State (in a hurricane) started a season-ending stretch where Notre Dame lost five of its last seven games. Coach Brian Kelly sacrificed a defensive coordinator, but that couldn't stop the bleeding.
Notre Dame finished 4-8, and somehow, Kelly survived. But his agent was putting out feelers on new jobs toward the end of the year.
The Bruins were supposed to make a jump this year. They were supposed to win the Pac-12 South and compete for a spot in the playoff. Josh Rosen was supposed to be in contention for the Heisman and Jim Mora was going to have a perennial juggernaut on his hands.
Remember how hyped we were for Texas A&M-UCLA in Week 1?
The Bruins lost that game — in overtime — but bounced back with two wins (one being a nailbiter over BYU).
Then came the loss to Stanford. And then came six losses in the final seven games.
Needless to say, the Bruins didn't win the Pac-12 South.
It was a season so bad in Westwood, it recalibrates the entire program's trajectory.
Mora, who was looking at NFL jobs at the end of last season, will enter 2017 on the hot seat.