Switch Of Allegiance: 10 States With New Top College Football Programs

Collin BerglundCorrespondent IIIFebruary 7, 2011

Switch Of Allegiance: 10 States With New Top College Football Programs

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    LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 16: Quarterback Garrett Gilbert #7 of the Texas Longhorns during first half action of their game at Memorial Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Texas Defeated Nebraska 20-13. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    In every state with at least two football teams, there is a competition to see who can become the class of the state.  

    In a college football world where players change over entirely after four years, the balance of power tends to shift.  This means no matter who the strongest team is in any given year, it can shift depending on recruiting, coaching changes and the like.

Texas

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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley #85 of the TCU Horned Frogs is tackled after a catch against the Wisconsin Badgers in the 97th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Texas Longhorns have long been one of the most dominant programs in college football.  Recently, with the increase in talent at some mid-majors, Texas Christian University (TCU) has overtaken them.

    TCU won the Rose Bowl to complete an undefeated season and spent most of the year ranked in the top five in the country.  

    Texas A&M also finished the season ahead of the Longhorns.

Florida

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31:  Stephen Garcia #5 of the South Carolina Gamecocks against the Florida State Seminoles during the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl at Georgia Dome on December 31, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Miami has been a powerhouse for decades on end and only in the past few seasons dropped from its spot as a perennial top five team.  Florida's championships in the 2000's also put them on the map as a top football school. 

    This year, however, Florida State is poised (again) to be the best school from the state of Florida.  With the nation's top recruiting class and a strong group returning, Florida State should win the ACC and contend for the National Title.

    An early test against Oklahoma should determine how the season goes for FSU.

Alabama

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Eltoro Freeman #21, Chad Slade #62 and Travante Stallworth #85 of the Auburn Tigers take the field against the Oregon Ducks during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Alabama was one of the favorites to win the National Championship last year.  Auburn actually won it.  

    While both schools have successful histories in College Football (for Auburn, think back to the Championship that wasn't), Alabama has long basked in the glory of big-time football while Auburn has been oft-relegate to the sideline.

    Although Alabama will likely be ranked higher again to start this season, Auburn's National Championship gives them at least one season as "Alabama's Team."

California

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  The Stanford Cardinal huddle on the field prior to playing against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40-12. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    USC has fallen on hard times with coach changes and probation, after an absolutely dominant run of the decade.

    Stanford, behind QB Andrew Luck, finished last season ranked number four and figures to be successful this year since Luck is returning.

    Despite a coaching change (Jim Harbaugh took an NFL position), former Offensive Coordinator David Shaw maintained a top-20 recruiting class to help Stanford stay on top of the ever-competitive world of California college football.

Arizona

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    TUCSON, AZ - DECEMBER 02:  Runningback Cameron Marshall #26 of the Arizona State Sun Devils scores a rushing touchdown during the college football game at Arizona Stadium on December 2, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats 30-29 i
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Arizona State Sun Devils have not made bowl game since 2007.  Their in-state rivals, the Arizona Wildcats, have made a bowl game each year since.

    This season, there appears to be another shift as Arizona State returns 19 of 22 starters on a team that went 6-6.

    Despite a challenging schedule this season, with road games against Illinois, Utah and Oregon, Dennis Green will be fighting to keep his job and players should respond.

South Carolina

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31:  Stephen Garcia #5 of the South Carolina Gamecocks against the Florida State Seminoles during the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl at Georgia Dome on December 31, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    South Carolina is starting to overtake Clemson as South Carolina's elite team.  

    Coming off an SEC East title, South Carolina lost two tough games down the stretch to Auburn and Florida State.  

    Their response to those losses will characterize the team this season.

Mississippi

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 01:  The Mississippi Bulldogs players celebrate following their victory over the Michigan Wolverines at the Gator Bowl at EverBank Field on January 1, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida  (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
    Rick Dole/Getty Images

    Despite all the history Ole Miss has on its side, Mississippi State has been the more successful team lately.  

    Finishing last season ranked #15 after beating Georgia and Florida in the same season for the first time ever, Mississippi State is poised to continue its growth and remain a force. 

North Carolina

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 13:  The North Carolina Tar Heels huddle against the Virginia Tech Hokies during their game at Kenan Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Under Butch Davis, the North Carolina Tarheels have taken an enormous step forward and have the potential to beat out NC State for bragging rights within North Carolina.

    A top-25 recruiting class should help UNC make the next step into the class of the ACC's elite.

Maryland

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    BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Davin Meggett #8 of the Maryland Terrapins runs with the ball during their game against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Image
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    After going 2-10 in 2009, Maryland was taking a back seat to Navy as the state's best team.

    After a season of redemption and a coaching change, the Terrapins are back on top and should be a contender in the ACC next season.

Michigan

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01:  Edwin Baker #4 of the Michigan State Spartans stiff arms Dont'a Hightower #30 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the Capitol One Bowl at the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Get
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Michigan State has often played little brother to Michigan in the state, but recently State has been catching up while U-Michigan has been struggling.

    With their starting quarterback and dynamic running back tandem returning, Michigan State appears prepared for another season ranked in the top-25.