College football is an anomaly. Teams can acquire numerous top ranked recruits, yet can fall flat on their faces. It happens every year, but it seems to for certain programs more than others.
This is a list of teams that should do well based on talent and ability, but for some reason they cannot live up to the hype.
With the talent that Georgia has had in recent years, they should have played in a national championship at least once in the last few years.
They are a difficult team to include in this list, as they usually do well enough, but they really do not measure up to their ability year in and year out.
Back in 2008 they entered the year ranked No.1 in preseason polls with the likes of Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno. They chose instead to end the season with a 10-3 record.
Last season Mark Richt's Dawg's played at a sub-par level. It was understandable since it was Aaron Murray's first season as a starter. This season they started out at a slow pace, ending any hopes of a national championship run. They turned it around late, competing for the SEC title, but eventually the magic carpet ride ended in the Outback Bowl versus the very talented (and angry) Michigan State Spartans.
Richt also has trouble maintaining order among his players. Even before the 2012 season has started, he has already had to dismiss 3 players.
Make no mistake about it, the Dawgs are talented. But they are also underachievers.
The UCLA Bruins are included in this list primarily due to Rick Neuheisel.
When he became the head of UCLA in 2007, he proclaimed that "The football monopoly in L.A. is officially over." He mustered together some pretty impressive recruiting classes, even nabbing guys who normally would have attended USC.
The result, he compiled a 21-29 record in his tenure in SoCal. With the talent that UCLA had (to be fair recruiting rankings are subjective), Neuheisel was more than capable of living up to his promises. With the likes of Brian Price, Alterraun Verner, Kahlil Bell, Akeem Ayers, and Rahim Moore, they should have. Instead they became a case study of mediocrity in the college football world.
Lets hope Jim Mora can revive them.
Let me start out with some notable players who were selected in last years draft.
1st round- Robert Quinn (UNC)
2nd Round- Greg Little, Marvin Austin, Bruce Carter (all UNC)
5th Round- TJ Yates (Once again, UNC)
Would you believe it if I told you that despite having these guys in 2010 they cruised to an 8-5 record.
Would you also believe it if I told you that Greg Little and Marvin Austin did not play the entire season yet were still drafted that high.
Tar Heels fans have to deal with what could have been. Butch Davis put together some impressive recruiting classes with top flight NFL talent. That translated to 3 consecutive 8-5 seasons. UNC had some of the most impressive teams in college football in the last few years but they could never conquer their chronic underachieving.
It also didn't help that the program was hindered by an NCAA suspensions that ultimately cost Mr. Mediocre, aka Butch Davis, his job.
This truly was one of the most frustrating programs to watch because they had all the pieces, just lacked the drive.
Oh how fun it must be to go to Florida State. Warm weather, attractive girls wearing minimal clothing, and pretty good academics. The only thing they haven't had as of late is a great football team.
For all the wonders that Bobby Bowden (arguably the best coach in CFB in the last quarter of a century) did for FSU, they seem to not want to revive it.
Enter Jimbo Fisher, a great recruiter whose head coaching is suspect. FSU entered 2011 ranked no. 5 in the preseason polls, they finished the season at 9-4. While that is respectable, and one also has to take into account that injuries did take their toll, that excuse cannot go on forever. The Seminoles have too storied of a program to produce those kinds of seasons.
Year in and out they have one of the top recruiting classes in CFB and they should be a frequent contender for the national championship (like they were under Bowden). Yet, as of late, they seem to stall on the track.
I'll give Jimbo Fisher one more season and top ranked recruiting class to prove that I'm wrong (and I hope I am), but that is all.
What a surprise, Notre Dame at No.1. They epitomize the phrase "graet expectations." Like the character Pip in Charles Dickens' heralded novel, they end up with the short end of the stick.
I won't even mention the top ranked recruiting classes. I won't even mention the number of former players in the NFL. Hell, I won't even mention the fact that they are one of the most iconic football teams.
I will mention that I cannot offer an answer as to why they underachieve. Brian Kelly had a nice first season in 2010. They started out slow but they became a near complete team at the end.
This season they were supposed to be better. Instead they sputtered to an identical record with a bowl game loss to Florida State.
Maybe they need to replace the "Play like a Champion Today" sign. They should instead switch it to "Play to Your Ability Now".