Looking Back at 2010: The Top 10 College Football Stories of the Year

Dave WalkerCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2011

Looking Back at 2010: The Top 10 College Football Stories Of The Year

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    Happy New Year!

    The 2010 calendar has rolled over to 2011 and now we can finally look back at the calendar year, and what a calendar year it was both on and off the field.

    There were certainly lots that got people talking from the time Alabama hoisted the Sears trophy, until FSU beat South Carolina in the final game of 2010.

    Here is a look back at the ten biggest college football stories of 2010 as you get ready to dive into the final week and a half of bowl season and start your 2011.

Bobby Bowden Coaches His Final Game

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    He won 377 games, 21 of which were bowl games, two national titles, and countless ACC titles. On Jan. 1, 2010 he coached his last game in the Gator Bowl against his former school, West Virginia.

    Sure he may have been pushed out, or at least nudged by the FSU powers that be, but at least he went out as a winner. Will we ever see another coach so decorated get the farewell that Bowden did? Probably not, since Joe Paterno is more of a quiet guy and would not say anything until after the game was over.

    Simply put, Bobby Bowden deserved his moment last January and it deserves to be one of the finest during this college football calendar year.

Alabama Wins It All

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    The 2009-10 Crimson Tide was a team that dominated it competition from start to finish as they handled Colt McCoy and Texas 37-21 in the BCS National Championship game to win their first National Crown since 1992.

    This version of the Tide controlled the ball on offense and dominated on defense, and seemed to be a team of destiny when MT. Cody blocked a game winning FG attempt in the final seconds against Tennessee.

    This was a team of destiny and should have been in the title hunt again in 2010.

Conference Realignment

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    This year there was more moving and shaking going on in BCS conferences than an ADD man on an episode of Soul Train.

    The Big Ten added Nebraska.

    The Pac 10 added Colorado and Utah.

    The MWC added Boise ... for now.

    The Big East will eventually add TCU.

    The WAC will eventually lose almost everybody and add schools who probably don't deserve to be D-I in football.

    That's it for now, but this will surely change in the coming weeks as there has never been an era in which so much change has taken place.

Sanctions at USC

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    It wasn't the SMU death penalty in that USC still got to play their 2010 season. However, they did lose 10 scholarships during each of the next 3 seasons and are banned from bowls for the next two.

    This all stems from a 4 year NCAA investigation centering around Reggie Bush and an agent while he attended school.

    Why was this big?

    This was the first major slap on the hand of a major D-I program in quite some time, and it was all in an effort to try and send a message to any other program that may be "shady" when it comes to their football operations.

Boise Could Win It All?

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    Coming into the regular season, Boise was everybody's BCS sleeper pick. But seriously, how big of an upset is it for a Top 5 pre-season team to make the BCS title game?

    It is if it is Boise State, and for the better part of 14 weeks they were the team that was pushing at the #2 spot.

    That was until they went to Reno the night after Thanksgiving.

    Nevada ran Boise out of the stadium in the second half, yet Boise still had a chance to win it in the end. As you know Kyle Brotzman missed FG's of 26 and 29 yards and watched their carriage turn into a pumpkin just before midnight West Coast time.

Emergence Of Oregon and Auburn

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    When the season started many thought that Auburn had a chance to possibly be the dark horse out of the SEC West, yet Alabama remained the heavy favorite.

    Oregon was the team that everyone thought would win the Pac 10, but the way in which they dominated took everybody by surprise.

    Each and every week as the season went on the experts dissected each team and who they thought was better. Many had Oregon going unbeaten, especially after what they did to a very good Stanford team. But not many had Auburn running the table with wins in Tuscaloosa and the SEC title game.

    Now these two powerhouses face off for all the marbles on Jan. 10.

TCU Gets The Shaft

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    The Horned Frogs ran the table again.

    And again they fell just short of the National title game, with a Rose Bowl having to be a consolation prize.

    Could TCU have beaten either Oregon or Auburn?

    We will never know. But just like in past years, there always has to be someone on the outside looking in. But at least they have the Big East and a BCS automatic in their future.

No. 1 Goes Down Week After Week

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    Being No. 1 was not that great of a thing for three weeks during October.

    It all started in Columbia, South Carolina. Alabama went into hostile territory and came up on the short end of a 35-21 decision.

    The following week in Madison, Wisconsin the Badgers soundly beat then No. 1 Ohio State under the lights of Camp Randall.

    Then to follow it up the new No. 1, Oklahoma, ran into a buzz saw in Mizzou, as the Tigers were able to hand the fans an early Christmas present in October.

    A tough three weeks for No. 1.

Cam Newton

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    Everything Cam Newton did in 2010 was big.

    He accounted for over 4,000 all purpose yards and what seemed like every Auburn TD. He also won the Heisman and led the Tigers to the BCS title game.

    Off the field his story was even bigger as he faced allegations of a "pay to play" scandal that the NCAA investigated for several weeks. As we all know, the NCAA cleared him of any wrong doing, but not so much for his old man who should probably stay as far away from his son as he can get between now and the title game.

Ohio State and "Ink Gate"

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    Finally, just when you thought all of the off field issues and allegations couldn't get any more ridiculous, they did as "Tattoo-gate" or "stinky inky" occurred.

    Five OSU players were found in violation of NCAA rules and were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 regular season, but not the Sugar Bowl.

    Players include Terrelle Pryor, Dan "Boom" Herron, and three others.

    They allegedly traded their own personal sports memorabilia for free ink at a local Columbus tattoo shop.

    Tacky? Maybe.

    Are rules rules? Yes.

Honorable Mention

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    Other hot topics throughout the calendar year included the decline of both the Florida Gators and the Texas Longhorns, who would be directly linked together when Texas DC Wil Muschamp took over at Florida for a retiring Urban Meyer.

    More recently the refereeing of the "TD celebration" could also be heavily talked about, as both Tennessee and Kansas State have a major beef with the way those fouls are called.

    Finally you could tack on Michigan State's run coupled with coach Mark Dantonio's heart attack. This was a very gutsy and gritty squad that not many people had winning 11 and potentially ending the season in the top 10.

    So what are you top 10 story-lines of 2010?

    Is there one missing on the list?

    Which one of these hot topics deserve "story of the year"?

    Feel free to post your thoughts below, and enjoy your feast of New Year's Bowl games between now and Jan. 10/