10 Programs on the Verge of Becoming College Football Powerhouses
The college football landscape is full of traditional powerhouses, but as of late, there have been teams on the rise that are staking their claim in the powerhouse discussion.
As the game shifts from conference division to inclusion with the new playoff system, teams that had limited exposure to big games in the past are now preparing to play them with regularity.
The game is seeing a shift in power among teams as recruits are becoming more skilled from the onset, and teams are reaching national audiences for the first time.
As college football continues to thrive, these 10 teams will help usher in a new era and become powerhouses in the near future.
Texas A&M Aggies
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The Aggies jumped into the SEC in 2012 and most expected them to have a mediocre season during their inaugural year. Texas A&M had been a moderately successful Big 12 team, but they were never a powerhouse.
Yet when the Aggies stepped into the SEC, they exploded. They fielded a Heisman-winning freshman quarterback, Johnny Manziel, and won 11 games. They also finished the year with a 6-2 conference record.
Texas A&M is a rising star in the SEC, and will become a powerhouse in college football in the next few years. The Aggies are in a recruiting hotbed, and are now in the best conference in the country.
This team is on a fast rise with no end in sight.
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The Clemson Tigers have always been a consistent player in the ACC, but since the takeover of Dabo Swinney in 2008, this program has been on a steady rise.
The Tigers won the ACC in 2011, and defeated a talented LSU team in the Chick-fil-A Bowl this past year.
Clemson also has one of the best offensive minds in the college game with Chad Morris calling the shots, and Brent Venables is a proven defensive guru.
In five years, Swinney only has one losing record.
This team will continue to dominate the ACC as long as this staff remains in place.
South Carolina Gamecocks
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Steve Spurrier has ushered in a new era of football at South Carolina. When he arrived, the program was a pest in the SEC, but it was never a major challenger for titles.
Now that Spurrier has his machine rolling, the Gamecocks are one of the more feared teams in the country. They have put together a smothering defense, and the offense is unpredictably explosive.
Using multiple quarterbacks keeps the opposing defenses off balance, and it allows for South Carolina to control the clock and game tempo. This team has a scary mix of talented offense and defense.
If the Gamecocks can pull out one SEC title, they will be welcomed to the college football powerhouse round table.
North Carolina Tar Heels
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North Carolina is a part of the dramatic shift that is occurring in the ACC.
Larry Fedora has brought his up-tempo, explosive offense to Chapel Hill, and this team is now challenging for position inside the Coastal Division.
If not for probationary status this year, the Tar Heels would have played for the ACC title.
This team is just a few steps away from BCS land in the coming years. As the ACC continues to add teams, it will balance the conference. The Tar Heels are one of the rising stars in the balance, and will soon be considered a powerhouse after the Fedora effect takes hold completely.
Fedora almost turned Southern Miss into a BCS buster, so the possibilities at Carolina are endless.
West Virginia Mountaineers
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West Virginia is as talented as any program in the Big 12. The Mountaineers struggled to find wins down the stretch during 2012, but this team is on the right path.
The Mountaineers have the most explosive offense in the conference, and they just need to find steady defense to help contain wins in the future. This program is on the rise, and joining a major conference helped provide West Virginia with a platform to become a powerhouse program.
This team already pulls the country’s top offensive talent. If they begin to notch big wins in the Big 12 like they did in the Big East, they will become an unstoppable offensive force, and may begin to play some defense.
TCU Horned Frogs
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The TCU Horned Frogs are in the same position as the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Horned Frogs are a tough defensive team that is beginning to find its wheels on offense.
TCU is now on a major conference platform and has the talent to continue to climb up the college football ranks in the coming years. The Horned Frogs owned their mid-major conference circuit and they also earned a Rose Bowl berth before becoming a Big 12 member, so top level success in attainable.
Give this team a few years to adjust to the new conference and it will be within the top-10 consistently. The Horned Frogs have the facilities and recruiting draw to become one of the rising powerhouses in college football.
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If you are wondering how the Wildcats made this list, you must have been missing the developments in the Big Ten in recent years.
Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan are all falling back into championship line, but Northwestern is the new kid on the block in the conference. This team won 10 games last season.
As the Big Ten struggles to find consistent performers, Northwestern has risen to the challenge. Pat Fitzgerald has this team blasting through the competition, and the Wildcats will continue to rise in the Big Ten in the coming years.
Before long, this team will be the surprising new powerhouse in college football.
Boise State Broncos
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Boise State has been on a steady rise for the past decade. They still are hanging on to the mid-major role, however, and they will not be making a leap to a major conference anytime in the foreseeable future.
The Broncos may be comfortable where they are at the height of mid-level football, but they may be able to make the leap toward powerhouse status with the new playoff system.
This team has the record to be a powerhouse, but the level of daily competition drags it back down to just an impressive performer. If the Broncos ever step into the big boy ring consistently, they will easily become a new powerhouse in college football.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
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Oklahoma State is rising fast in the Big 12. They have put together some of the best offensive performances in college football in recent years, and the Cowboys are also starting to play tough defense.
This team can easily become a new power inside the Big 12 with teams like Texas struggling to find success over the past few seasons. The Cowboys are in a great position to be an exciting new riser in the college football discussion.
Brandon Weeden was able to lead this team into the national title discussion a few years ago, so this is a program that already has the national respect to place it in the title discussion.
If the Cowboys can earn a few more big wins and continue to finish strong in the Big 12 title race, they will climb into powerhouse status shortly.
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The Louisville Cardinals are the rising star in college football. Since his arrival in 2010, Charlie Strong has taken an already successful program and taken it to the next level of success.
This team has strong quarterback leadership, and a great defense. The Cardinals are recruiting as well as any team in the Big East, and they just finished the 2012 season with a major blasting of Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
This team is set to join the ACC in 2014, further increasing its national exposure and reach. This team is on the rise, and if it can continue to win 10 games a year in the ACC, it will become a powerhouse under the direction of Charlie Strong.