College Football: 10 Breakout Teams of the 2010 Season and Why
Just like many of our mothers used to tell us, every day is a new day to make an impact on someone.
All over the country, teams drool out of the mouth in order to show what they are really made of, opening eyes and creating a buzz as the season progresses. In some cases, it may mean a bowl berth (finally) or a huge improvement from the previous year.
This year is no different. Teams are springing up and making noise that may have never done so before.
Of course, there are no new "powerhouse" underdogs like the days of Boise State and TCU, but then again, there may never be again.
Their mothers' saying may not be their motivation nowadays, but teams making a name for themselves. Teams looking to gain respect that they usually would have never gotten, and so far, have done just that.
Teams that have taken a giant step.
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Army's name pops up when it's time for the true battle of college football, in which Navy and Army collide and play their gritty game once a year.
However, their name has already popped up on the radar, even before the touted annual matchup. Sitting at 6-4, they are now bowl eligible for the first time in 13 years.
It may not seem like much, but a 6-4 year with two to play is a huge step from the past. The best thing about their schedule?
They still have two more chances to make even bigger noise: one against Notre Dame this weekend at Yankee Stadium, followed by their annual battle with Navy to end the regular-season slate.
San Diego State
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After their four-win campaign in 2009, no one really expected the Aztecs to even make a bowl game in 2010.
But thanks to improvement in the offseason and a manageable schedule, San Diego State proved their critics wrong, sitting at 7-3 with some impressive victories to their name already, and having lost all three of their games to respectable opponents.
Just last week, the Aztecs gave TCU all they could handle, barely losing the 40-35 shootout in the last quarter. They might not have gotten the job done against a top 5 team, but wins against Air Force and drubbing the rest of their competition already has them on the map for 2011.
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Nevada has always been that team that no one really knows about, but when facing them, aren't too happy.
After all, behind one of the best rushing attacks in the past five years, the Wolfpack are not one to mess with, as many have come to realize in 2010.
Leading his team to a 9-1 record with two to play, quarterback Colin Kaepernick is one of the best dual-threats out there. Combine that with a stellar backfield, and you have one of the best offensive attacks in the country.
One of the biggest matchups in program history is looming, as Nevada will host Boise State this weekend.
Just imagine what a win could do for this program.
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Once again, Michigan State has boggled the country's mind. However, this time, they have gotten over that hump, proving they are truly one of the best team's in the country thus far.
Usually 10 weeks in, the Spartans would have faltered by now under Mark Dantonio. After a six-win season last year, no one thought this team would be where it is today.
Save a bad loss to a ranked Iowa team, the Spartans have broken out and proven they are for real...at least in 2010.
Okay, I know what your thinking. "Really? An 8-2 MAC team? What's so "breakout" about that?"
If you haven't seen this team play yet, check them out. They truly are something fun to watch when on the winning side, and as of late, that has been rather consistently.
Starting off the year 1-2, the Huskies have rattled off seven straight wins, including games against Central Michigan and Temple, both top teams in the MAC.
If they can take care of business in their final two games, they not only will have found themselves sitting in a pretty nice bowl game, but atop the MAC as well.
It may not be national breakout, but Northern Illinois is making plenty of noise where they intended to.
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Northwestern has proven the past two years that they are legit. No longer are they the punching bag of the Big 10, but rather a good team that can take a great team down almost any day.
Marching their way to seven wins already, they took down No. 13-ranked Iowa last weekend to crack the top 25. With games against Illinois and Wisconsin left to play, there are still plenty of ways they can play themselves into a very good bowl position.
However, until they do win on a consistent basis, this program will still be second to academics in the minds of outsiders. But until then, the noise has been made and respectability has been earned not only by their conference foes, but starting on a national level as well.
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Much like Northwestern, the Orangemen haven't gotten much respect in the football world lately.
They were another team on this list with only four wins the previous year, but have already surpassed that number and then some (currently sitting at 7-3).
With some nice wins against most of the Big East, including then-ranked West Virginia, Syracuse has definitely made its mark this year.
Sitting as the second team in the Big East, winning the conference is not out of question by any means. If they can do so, they will have proved tons of critics wrong that have pounded this program into the ground ever since the departure of Donovan McNabb (yeah, that long).
Once again, the lucky number of 2009: four wins.
Robert Griffin, one of the best-kept secrets in the nation, has taken the hits and the criticism for his team. Because of that, Baylor has bounced back to a very respectable record thus far, sitting at 7-4 and with a 3-1 record against ranked teams.
A 7-4 mark may not seem like a "breakout" year for a team. However, with some great wins and some great losses as well (okay, no loss is great..) to their name, there isn't any reason why this team can't play in a decent bowl game.
And, if by any chance, they pull off a win against No. 14-ranked Oklahoma in their next game, watch out for the top 25.
Move over, Dez Bryant.
2009 was a great year for the Cowboys, but then came 2010. On their way to a season in which they have only lost one game to top 15 team in Nebraska, Oklahoma State has made some incredible noise.
Absolutely drubbing their competition through the air, the Cowboys have proven to be a legit contender in the heavy Big 12 this year.
Sitting atop the South division, they have switched spots with Texas, who is now near the bottom after a disappointing season without Colt McCoy, and the Cowboys are now the top dog.
What may come of this season for the program? The sky is (almost) the limit and the rest remains to be seen.
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It's hard to keep the Tigers off this list, even if some picked them to be making a BCS bowl game.
However, many didn't foresee them playing themselves into a National Championship. Nor did they predict Cameron Newton taking over the face of college football like he has thus far.
Coming on strong right out of the gate, Auburn hasn't looked back once, winning every game and sitting at the No. 2 team in the nation. Winning out, and the Tigers will find themselves with a national championship berth.
That is what you call a breakout season.