College Football Teams That Succeed at Home and Away
Back in the day, before the Florida State football program was a powerhouse, then coach Bobby Bowden tried to put his team on the college football map by playing said powerhouse teams.
To prove his Seminoles were every bit as worthy on the college football landscape, Bowden would schedule games against Oklahoma or Michigan or even Nebraska in the late 1970s and early 1980s to showcase a tough defense and an offense that was ever growing.
The plan paid off, as Florida State became arguably one of the best college football programs in the country during the last 1980s and early to mid-1990s.
Other football programs may not have followed that model, but they too have learned that in order to become a powerhouse on college landscape, winning on the road and protecting their own field are crucial to winning national titles.
And in the process of doing this, some football programs are rising from the ashes and reviving their own schools back to prominence.
This year, there are a handful of schools that are taking control of the BCS and college football, but there are more programs that are providing parity amongst the best in the country. One thing is for certain; in order to win a national title and become an elite college football time, there has to be a balance of winning both at home and on the road.
While running the table and remaining undefeated is nearly impossible these days, there are teams proving this season could be one of those years where several teams could be headed for an undefeated season by taking care of business.
Here are a list of teams that can get it done in any venue across the country. In sports lingo, we call that dominance.
All information based on stats, schedules and information were taken from espn.com and its college football page.
10. Louisville Cardinals
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Charlie Strong has this team playing pretty well this year. And Louisville is playing so far under the radar.
Could this be the year another mid-major college program helps redefine the national football landscape?
A three game stretch in the middle of the season on the road against Florida International, Southern Mississippi and Pittsburgh got them noticed. Winning at home against North Carolina, Cincinnati and Temple brought them a top-10 ranking in the polls.
For a team no one expected to chasing national title dreams, they were a dark horse we all could root for in the end.
Teddy Bridgewater has thrown for 2,858 yards and 21 touchdowns. But Strong's background is defense as he spent time with Urban Meyer at Florida and was the defensive coordinator of the two national title teams.
That coaching has carried over to the Cardinals. Interesting enough, the final test of the year will be against Rutgers, the only ranked team they play all season. The weaker schedule did not help them this year, but it did prove Strong has this team moving in the right direction.
9. LSU Tigers
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Another one of those teams that just keeps putting out winners each year. Les Miles knows a thing or two about offense and defense in the Bayou, or maybe it’s just the water down there.
Don’t let the two tough losses to Florida and then Alabama fool you. Just when everything seemed to be wring in Baton Rouge, this is still a team that can make some noise and can win on the road and at home.
They beat Alabama last year 9-6 before losing to them in the National Title game.
They beat Steve Spurrier, which is not easy to do. This team knows how to win.
Zach Mettenberger appears to be the best quarterback at LSU since well, Matt Flynn or maybe David Woodley. The defense is still top notch (see how they continually made Alabama look mortal) and the running game appears to be more solid than most of us think.
Remember, this is a team that lost Morris Claiborne, Michael Brockers and Reuben Randle to the NFL Draft.
Yes, there are two losses on the schedule. But LSU, like all SEC teams, play one hell of a schedule. Florida, South Carolina, Texas A & M and Alabama were all ranked. That is worse than some NFL teams.
8. Ohio State Buckeyes
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Same coach, different team. It seems everywhere Urban Meyer goes, his college football team turns to gold. The Florida Gators may have been happy with the two national titles in three seasons, but there is no love lost for the former head coach. Things in Columbus may be different, however.
While the Buckeyes are still catching their collective breaths from the Jim Tressel years, Meyer has a team that is aggressive on both sides of the ball.
Big Ten football is played at Ohio State.
Playing the likes of Michigan State, Indiana, Nebraska. Purdue, Wisconsin and Penn State could wear on a team. Meyer has done his best with the some good talent, which includes quarterback Braxton Miller, who through the air and with his legs, he has played the role of Meyer's "Tim Tebow: in this offense.
He has accounted for over 3,000 yards of total offense.
Wisconsin on the road and Michigan at home still loom large for this team.
But as one of the only unbeatens in this year's pool and ineligible for post season play, it will be interesting to see if this team will run the table.
Meyer always seems to be in the middle of some controversy. This is no different.
7. Florida Gators
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Finally, the players and alums in Gainesville have bought into what head coach Will Muschamp is selling down there.
And while this team seems to be struggling on offense as of late, the defense is playing a style of ball that has not been seem in The Swamp in almost a decade. Holding Missouri to seven points. Holding Georgia to 17 points. Dominating LSU.
This may not be the offenses of Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer, but this team can win and has on the road, especially at Texas A&M. Jeff Driskel (1,324 yards, 10 touchdowns) is Tim Tebow-lite. Mike Gillislee (964 yards on the ground) reminds me of Errict Rhett. He will sit this week when the team plays Jacksonville State.
Let's see what happens against the Seminoles. Maybe this team already peaked this season, but seeing the Gators trying to stop the 'Noles will be quite a matchup.
John Bostic and Matt Elam are future NFL prospects that lead the defense that will carry this team as far as it needs to. While the Gators are out of the National Title picture, they could still be a BSC at-large team.
6. Kansas State Wildcats
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There isn't much Bill Snyder can't do in Manhattan. And he has the perfect quarterback to run his system.
Football is alive and well in Manhattan, Kansas as the Wildcats were poised to try and capture a national title. The loss this past weekend at Baylor all but took care of that.
If Collin Klein is not passing the ball, he is using his feet to score (34 total touchdowns) and help this team beat the likes of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Texas Tech. Yes the schedule was favorable for them this year.
Everything had fallen into place for this team. Now, they must continue to play at a high level and impress enough voters so they can play in a BSC Bowl game after the regular season. Maybe having the potential Heisman Trophy winner on the team may sway people into giving them a shot at glory.
5. Florida State Seminoles
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This team, like in its glory years, starts with defense.
Xavier Rhodes cover the secondary and Bjorn Woerner causing offensive linemen to have nightmares.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher and more importantly, Mark Stoops the team's defensive coordinator, have come up with the top-ranked defensive unit in the country. A swarming group that runs to the ball and the quarterback.
Kind of reminds us all of Marvin Jones, Renard Wilson and Sam Cowart back in the 1990s.
On offense, EJ Manuel (2,785 yards and 21 touchdowns) is a good quarterback but not elite and the running backs led by James Wilder Jr and Lonnie Pryor are the best unit in the country. Even Rashad Greene has become the go-to receiver in the Seminoles passing game.
While the schedule is soft and they lost to North Carolina State, games against Clemson, Miami and Florida at the end of the season will prove to be tough tests that could still land them in the BCS Title picture.
If you want to judge how good this defense is, the Seminoles have held five of their 10 opponent to seven points or less. And playing in Miami and Blackburg, Virginia are not easy venues by any means.
4. Oregon Ducks
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These Ducks are pretty fast. And they know a little something about playing in the National Title Game. They also know a thing about playing tough teams like Oregon State, USC and Stanford.
Everything starts with Kenjon Barner, who has proven to be the workhorse of the running offense with 1360 yards on the ground and 19 touchdowns.
If the Ducks want to flash their passing offense, they can look no farther than Marcus Mariota, who has 22 touchdowns compared to only 5 picks this season. That is consistency.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Ducks have proven to be able to take care of their own, shutting out then No. 22 Arizona 49-0 and then No. 23 Washington 52-21. Let's not leave out the fact they won a slug fest against the Trojans last week.
Oregon and head coach Chip Kelly were poised to make another title run, but last weekend's loss probably ended that possibility. What cannot be denied is that the team can ranked opponents on the road but win at other venues, which has helped solidify them as a national powerhouse.
3. Georgia Bulldogs
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Mark Richt may be the most underrated coach in college football. And he has studs on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. And after this weekend, no one benefitted more from the loses by Kansas State and Oregon like the Bulldogs did.
Everything starts for the Bulldogs with defense. Two players in particular, Jarvis Jones and John Jenkins could both be taken in the first round of the draft. That spells disaster for any team that lines up to call plays.
On offense, Andy Murray is the best passer in the SEC, accounting for 28 scores with only 7 interceptions. Todd Gurley is the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to running the ball.
The SEC has proven again it is the best in the nation, and each week the Bulldogs have faced the best. Whether it was on the road in Jacksonville to face the Florida Gators (a 17-9 win) or on the road against Missouri and South Carolina, this is a team that could have national title implications staring them in the face.
They will face Alabama for the SEC Title and a BSC bowl bid.
It's always tough to play in Athens and the Bulldogs have proven to be equally tough on the road as well.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
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If Nick Saban ran for Governor in the state of Alabama, he would win by a landslide. Has there been a program in the past decade with as much talent as the Crimson Tide?
Start with an offense led by AJ McCarron, who showed as a passer in this offense his role is to manage a game not win it, but at times is called upon to just do that.
Then add the defensive strength of Dee Milliner and the other 10 Tide players who hold on to players and lock them down and physically beat them Just as LSU and Arkansas about how good this defense is.
Alabama proved that it could come back from losing 9-6 to LSU in the regular season last year and then still win a national title against the same team with a 21-0 white-washing.
Yes, good teams, no make that exceptional teams, learn from losing and learn to win on foreign soil. Alabama won at LSU two weeks ago, which will prove every bit important in its quest for back-to-back national titles.
While they stumbled against Texas A & M, it does not mean they are completely out of the national title picture.
1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
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Touchdown Jesus is alive and well. And it only took Brian Kelly to being the team back to prominence.
And while most teams on this list are heavily laden with offensive talents, the Fighting Irish start with Manti Te'o, a linebacker who figures to be a top-10 selection in April. That is a great way to start your way back to football supremacy.
Winning on the road this year has really help this team, starting in Dublin, Ireland of all places with a victory over the Naval Academy. But back home, Notre Dame has secured victories in Norman, Oklahoma against the Sooners and in East Lansing against the Spartans. Both teams were nationally ranked.
Most of the team's schedule this year is at home, where it has beaten the likes of Michigan, BYU and Stanford. All three proved to be tough tests and really showed the defensive prowess of this team.
But all is not lost on the offensive side of the ball. Everette Golson leads the charge on offense from behind center. He is the key to this offense and with USC still looming on the schedule, the defense and Golson will have to find way to not only keep the Trojans out of the end zone in California, but score more than a few touchdowns to remain undefeated.
The recent resurgence of the program is not only a great thing for college football, but it must have NBC and the BSC powers smiling from ear to ear.