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