The Decade's Most Overrated College Football Programs
We are less than two months away from the dawn of a new decade. The past ten years have brought to our attention a new outlook on life.
The Southeastern Conference is as dominant as ever while the Big Ten continues to buoy in mediocrity.
We continue to reinforce the belief that preseason college football polls are worthless. Actually, any poll before October is practically useless.
Also, if you can't win the big game, you are useless as well.
Many schools are given respect based on their prestige from 10, 20, or sometimes even 30 years ago. That train of thought needs to go as well.
Some of the most overrated college football programs have let everyone down this decade.
Looking back on the decade that was, I see an entire flock of overrated football programs with nothing to show for since the Y2K bug scared the hell out of us.
Florida State Seminoles
The chatter nowadays about Florida State is whether or not Bobby Bowden should remain the head coach of the Seminoles.
A lot of the conversation dwells on the fact that amongst all of the hype every year, Florida State has not done anything credible since the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2000.
All but one year this decade, Florida State was ranked in the preseason top 25 polls. It is not like this team has ever been doubted.
The thing that gets me is that Florida State has not had anything that resembled a national powerhouse since 2003 and even then the 'Noles have walked away without a single BCS win since '00.
Florida State is 0-4 in BCS games this decade. In those games, they averaged 13 points per game. Although the games were close, Florida State failed to put points on the board, even if they had the "prolific" Chris Rix (pictured above) behind center.
It isn't like Florida State didn't have play makers on the offense either. Since 2000, they have had quarterback Chris Weinke, running backs Travis Minor, Greg Jones, Leon Washington, and wide receivers Javon Walker and Anquan Boldin.
The bottom line is that the mainstream media gives Florida State a pass every year because of their recent history in the 1990's and their head coach, Bobby Bowden.
Oklahoma has been a staple in the top five of any preseason poll for most of the decade. While they may deserve to be there based on regular season criteria, the fact remains that they struggle winning in big game situations.
Unlike any other school you will see in this list, Oklahoma did win the 2000 national championship when they beat Florida State 16-2 in the FedEx Orange Bowl.
Aside from that game, the last nine years have been rough for Sooners fans.
In 2001, Oklahoma took a loss at Nebraska and vs. Oklahoma State. They reached the Cotton Bowl but only defeated Arkansas by a score of 10-3.
In 2002, they hiccuped again by losing at Texas A&M and at Oklahoma State. They still reached the BCS and took advantage of Washington State in the Rose Bowl. To this day, Washington State making the Rose Bowl is one of the biggest flukes in BCS history.
Since that game though, Oklahoma is 0-6 in the BCS.
Add in the fact that they suffered one of the most humiliating losses ever when Boise State ran trick play after trick play to upset the Sooners in the 2007 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
You can bet your bottom dollar that Oklahoma will win a lot of games in the regular season but you can also raise that bottom dollar and win out on Oklahoma losing games when they shouldn't or when it matters most.
Other than a national championship in 2000 that most people outside of the Sooner State forgot about, a reputation of losing when the game counts will follow Oklahoma into the next decade.
What does Oklahoma have to show for the last nine years?
Ohio State Buckeyes
To their credit, Ohio States does have a national title this decade. Like Oklahoma though, the Buckeyes have nothing to show after all of the hype, smoke, and mirrors have placed them in big game after big game.
Ohio State has ruled the roost in the Big Ten this past decade for the most part.
Aside from their national championship in the 2003 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, which was won on questionable officiating, the Buckeyes have struggled in big games over the span of the decade.
They are 4-5 in bowl games. Also, they have lost to Southern Cal consecutive times since 2008.
Ohio State though, is unlike any other team in the Big 10. The Big 10 might actually bring them down some, but there is no denying the Buckeyes self-imposed misfortunes since 2006 where they have been completely embarrassed in all but one bowl game.
If Ohio State were Northwestern, they would not have received as much accolades as Ohio State has since the dawn of the century. Instead, the gifts are given to Ohio State before they earn them and in most cases, Ohio State has failed to deliver when it has needed to most.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Just four times this decade were the West Virginia Mountaineers ranked in the preseason top 25. These kings of the regular season would always go on to falter at some point or another though.
The reign of the Mountaineers as an end-of-season disaster team culminated in 2006 when the Mountaineers were ranked No. 5 in the preseason AP Top 25. They had a fairly manageable schedule but losses at Louisville and versus South Florida killed their chances at running the table.
In 2007, West Virginia entered the preseason as the No. 3 team in the country. They were ranked ahead of Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma.
With a non-conference schedule consisting of Western Michigan, Marshall, Maryland, East Carolina, and Mississippi State, many believed they could run the table.
Well, 2007 wasn't West Virginia's year either. They would lose two regular season games by a margin of 12 points. Lucky for them though as they received a BCS bid and torched another overrated school, Oklahoma, in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
The hype continued for West Virginia into 2008. They were ranked No. 8 in the preseason but after losses at East Carolina, at Colorado, versus Cincinnati, and at Pittsburgh, West Virginia finished the season No. 23.
Aside from this year's Cincinnati Bearcats team, West Virginia gave the Big East Conference its best shot at winning a national championship since Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College departed.
Still, of all the hype we had to endure around this program, they have nothing to show for the last decade. Their coach through most of it, Rich Rodriguez, is now in Michigan. The media has seemed to forget about the ever-exclusive coverage given to this program.
I will not forget, though. West Virginia is probably the most undeserving in this list of overrated football programs.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Long gone are the days of Joe Montana, Angelo Bertelli, and George Gipp. This decade, Notre Dame has just two seasons of at least 10 wins. Excluding 2009, they have had five seasons where they finished with six wins or less in the regular season.
Most of the hype surrounding Notre Dame stems from its rich history.
Nevermind the fact that they have not been anywhere as successful as TCU, Utah, or Boise State recently.
Most will point to their status as an independent and the opponents that they schedule as a cop-out. I don't care.
This weekend's loss to Navy was a sign of the times for Notre Dame. They have lost two straight games to Navy at home.
All the Fighting Irish have to show for this decade is a regular season win over Penn State in 2006.
Notre Dame is in a sad state of affairs. They can only hope that the next decade will be much kinder to them.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Texas Tech hired head coach Mike Leach in 2000 and since that hire, Texas Tech has often been talked about as the only team in the Big 12 South that could knock off both Texas and Oklahoma.
Up until this point, Texas Tech is a combined 4-15 versus Texas and Oklahoma.
Last year, Texas Tech was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation but a 65-21 blowout loss at Oklahoma dashed any hopes of the Red Raiders making a trip to the national championship.
For once, the Sooners saved America.
Texas Tech would then go on to the Cotton Bowl and get doused in fire by the Ole Miss Runnin' Rebels.
The reason why the Red Raiders always garnish so much hype is because of their record-setting offense. The gimmick is starting to get old.
Although, Mike Leach, is a fun guy and I like him a lot.
But, the media needs to restrain itself in regards to Texas Tech. For all of the hoopla they have been given, it is strange that they have never even played in a BCS bowl game.
Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State has always been a piñata for me. The undeserved hype that follows them around is nearly sickening.
Their only BCS win came against Florida State several years ago when it took the Nittany Lions three overtimes to beat the Seminoles.
The same Seminoles that had lost their last three regular season games to North Carolina State, Clemson, and Florida before beating Virginia Tech in the ACC championship.
Penn State has constantly struggled in winning the big games this decade. They have not even been great for the better half of this decade. From 2000-2004, Penn State's record was 27-33. They only had one winning season during that span.
Still, the media loves Joe Paterno and Penn State, while Penn State fans cry foul whenever anyone sheds any negative light onto the program.
I remember sitting in Beaver Stadium in 2005 when Michael Robinson was the starting quarterback for Penn State.
They were playing Cincinnati and Robinson wasn't having a great game in the first half. Fans were chanting for Anthony Morelli.
Well, compare Michael Robinson's year in 2005 to the years that Morelli started in 2006 & 2007. There is no comparison.
Penn State always gets a pass because of their prestige and who their coach is. They are so similar to Florida State.
Regardless, Penn Staters will look to forget this decade and what could have been as they enter 2010.