2010 was an amazing season in college football as we witnessed surprise victories and surprise losses that shook up the standings every week. We were even fortunate enough to experience a controversy involving payment for play which is something that usually doesn't leak out but made its way to headlines this past season.
But for teams outside the top 25 especially but even top 50, the season didn't fair so well for the most part and things might not be better for certain programs this upcoming year. Just because a team is in a top conference like the SEC, PAC 12 or Big 12 doesn't guarantee success. Hopefully these programs can make a push to win a few more games this season giving them a chance for improved recruiting and improved play in years to come.
After a one-win season last year, San Jose State will look to improve this season by winning at least a few more games but unfortunately still end the season with a losing record. After earning its only win against Southern Utah, the Spartans aren't adding any top talent to help improve last year's results.
A team that ranked 105th in points for and 106th in points against, the Spartans need serious help on both sides of the ball. Additionally, their rushing yards per game ranked 119th at only 78.5 yards per game. With a tough schedule again, the Spartans will be lucky to win three or four games.
Another team from the WAC that struggled and was unimpressive this past season was New Mexico State. The Aggies finished just ahead of San Jose State with one more win, finishing them at a dismal 2-10 record. A team that ranked 89th or worse in every major category, the Aggies will not be much better this season coming up.
With a schedule that includes the likes of Minnesota, BYU and Georgia, New Mexico State better do some serious coaching if they want to compete at all.
A third team unfortunately out of the WAC, Utah State did manage to win four games this past season, but next season doesn't look any more promising. Utah State, who's senior quarterback will not be back next season, doesn't usually put together strong recruiting classes, making them a lock for a losing record again.
They ranked 101st in points against while allowing 33.8 points a game which makes it quite hard to win football games when the other team is on offense most of the game. Strengthening the defense is a must for them.
Western Kentucky barely had two wins last season after earning one of their wins in overtime by one point. The Hilltoppers need to try something new if they want to avoid losing seasons for the next few years. A team that was able to rush the ball and nothing more, needs to add a passing attack to produce points.
Western Kentucky was another team whose points allowed was way too high to be a successful at 33.2 points per game. Defense wins championships, that's the motto they need to learn from.
North Texas Mean Green was anything but mean last season as they were only able to tally three wins and not in exciting fashion. North Texas, which managed to have 202 rushing yards a game was able to do that well and nothing else.
When you give up 29 points per game like the Mean Green did last season, you're forced to play catch up in most of your games. The North Texas coaches need to recruit some tough defensive players to help them do better next year.
Louisiana Lafayette struggled last season as their fans could see by their record and by the fact that they didn't anything special or exciting. The Ragin' Cajuns had almost no rushing attack forcing them to rely on the pass on most downs.
In a short yardage situation, being able to rely on your offensive line and running backs to get you a few hard-earned yards is critical for success. If they don't improve that, their 111th ranked rushing attack will be just as bad.
Ole Miss is a strong football program that has the ability to compete but unfortunately for them, last year didn't turn out they way they wanted. After going 1-7 in SEC play, the Rebels struggled offensively to produce points in a conference that is known for being filled with high-powered offenses.
The Rebels biggest issue that needs fixing is their defense. They allowed 35.2 points per game which means their defense was always on the field and always tired. They need a recruiting class filled with defensive players to get a few more wins although it's not likely. On top of all that, playing in the SEC means every year plan on an extremely tough schedule.
Another SEC team that will be at the bottom of the SEC and college football rankings this season coming up is Vanderbilt who finished last season at only 2-10. Vanderbilt only beat 4-8 Ole Miss and out of conference Eastern Michigan.
The Commodores ranked low in almost every major statistical category which contributed to their non-productive season. They were 80th or lower in rushing yards, passing yards, points for and points against which in the SEC is unacceptable if you want to win.
After a season at the bottom of the Pac-10, Washington State needs to change something if they want to win at least one more game next season. Still though, the Cougars will without a doubt have a losing record next season. After getting one of their wins by one point over Montana, the Cougars couldn't seem to do anything right.
Last season, their team managed only 91 rushing yards a game which ranked 117th, and their points allowed was 35.8 which ranked 110th. These two major categories will not improve enough for them to win more games.
Storied program UCLA is going through a tough time right now and didn't do well last season after finishing 4-8. Coach Neuheisel is going to need to do something more impressive this upcoming season if he wants to continue as the man in charge at UCLA.
UCLA students and fans expected a top recruiting class from the coaches, but they failed to produce as the only top prospect they signed was quarterback Brett Hundley. Now Hundley is a start and will hopefully be the future for the program but needs pieces around him. The defense is losing its two top players in Rahim Moore and Akeem Ayers.
After finishing 2-6 in MAC play and 2-10 overall, Eastern Michigan is a lock for next season to end in a losing record again. The team failed to produce anything offensive and defensive for that matter which led to the poor performances.
Eastern Michigan ranked 104th in passing yards, 108th in points for and 118th in points against allowing 43.9 which is unacceptable if you are a coaching staff. When your offense is never on the field, it's impossible to score points and impossible to win games.
A passing offense that ranked 17th in the NCAA didn't mean much as the team still was unproductive is every other aspect leading to their 3-9 record. Central Michigan was unable to produce anything successful last season that will lead to them to another unsuccessful season next year.
The Chippewas ranked 108th in rushing yards last season and 82nd in points which contributed to the poor play. With no hopes of getting better for next season, Central Michigan will need to step up their game to win even four games.
Ball State is another one of those teams that was at the bottom of every major category at the end of last season and will most likely be there again. A team that went 3-5 in MAC play will have a tough time next season with the strong play of the top teams in the MAC.
Ball State ranked 63th or worse in all major categories and specifically was 109th in passing yards and 88th in points against at 30.4. Winning doesn't come easy when on average you have to score 30 points just to tie.
Ineffective is a good word to describe the New Mexico offense and defense last season, as they were only able to win one game last year. A three-point win over Wyoming is what kept them from losing all their games. New Mexico had trouble at the quarterback position as B.R. Holbrook has the most stats while only throwing for two touchdowns and 619 yards.
New Mexico was one team that didn't do anything well last season. They ranked 106th in passing yards and rushing yards, 116th in points for at 16.9 and 120th in points against at 44.3. New Mexico has the unfortunate ability to lose every game this year but let's hope it doesn't happen.
Yes, they have cool uniforms and play in an exciting city, but that's all that's exciting about the UNLV football program, as last year they managed to win a mere two games. The program struggled to produce impressive stats offensively and defensively which led to the down season.
The Rebels were another team on this list that were low on the rankings list of offensive stats and defensive ones. UNLV ranked 98th in passing yards, 109th in rushing yards, 110th in points for, and 116th in points against at 39.7. The Rebels need to allow less points if they want a little more success.
Other than their win over Colorado State, Wyoming didn't impress anyone with their play this past season. Two of their three wins came by eight points or less and against low-quality teams. They suffered a tough loss at Boise St. 51-6 which can bring down a team's confidence significantly.
Wyoming has a solid quarterback in Austyn Carta-Samuels, but unfortunately for the Cowboys, that's it. They ranked below 86th in every major category including 100th in passing yards, 98th in rushing yards, 107th in points for and 86th in points against. The Cowboys will have a hard time again next season.
Winning two of their games against teams with records as bad or worse than theirs, Colorado State was less-than-stellar this season after only winning three games and one coming against Idaho that was barely a victory by two points. Colorado State needs to improve in all aspects of the game to win three games again.
Colorado State allowed 34.7 points per game which makes it hard to beat other teams that put up this many points week in and week out. Your defense needs to be the leader behind your team, and Colorado State lacks this, meaning they will have trouble again this season doing well.
At 1-11, Akron is going to have a hard time improving next season due to the fact that it's hard to recruit top talent after such a poor season. The Zips need to do something better next year so they have the ability to recruit better players and improve their play. This is a slow process of improving a program but can be done in time.
Akron Zips ranked 101st in every major category leading to their poor play—108th in passing yards, 101st in rushing yards, 118th in points for and 106th in points against. These poor numbers will not be much better for Akron next year unfortunately for their fans, students and players, but hopefully, they can win at least two games.
Buffalo was barely able to hang on to two wins this season as they beat subdivision Rhode Island and snuck by Bowling Green by two points 28-26. Buffalo, after losing its successful head coach in Turner Gill, has since been nothing but a struggling program.
Buffalo who is another team on this list that needs to learn how these rankings matter in terms of a team's ability to win games. Buffalo doesn't give up as many points as some of the other struggling programs on this list at 27.8, but they fail to produce on offense. They average 184.3 passing yards, 113.4 rushing yards and most importantly 14.2 points for. Not scoring leads to not winning.
Bowling Green had a somewhat stable passing game this past season with quarterback Matt Schilz who threw for 2,223 yards and eight touchdowns. Other than that though, Bowling Green was unable to produce a stable running game, and their defense had a lack of intimidation ability and the ability to stop high-powered offensive attacks.
Bowling Green needs to improve their defense significantly if they want to be a more successful and offensive attacking team, but the problem is that can't change in just one season. It will take some strong recruiting and work from the coaching staff to improve this team.
One of the worst team's statistically last season, Memphis was unable to do anything offensively and defensively in almost every game. In their lone win, they had a solid game rushing out of their starter who had 125 yards and two touchdowns, but other than that, it was a rough season.
Memphis will not be much better this season coming up do to not having a top offseason in terms of recruiting. Hopefully for them, they can turn things around somehow and win a couple more games in 2011. Ranking where they did the past season at 119th in points for and 117th in points against would be another losing season for them guaranteed.
Minnesota, who had a very surprising win at the end of the season against then ranked No. 24 Iowa, still will not be improving much before next season and will be forced to live with another losing season. Playing in the Big Ten means you need to come prepared and ready to play every week. For the Gophers, that seemed hard to accomplish this past year.
Ranking 98th in points allowed and giving up 33 points in the Big Ten means teams like Ohio St. and Michigan are tearing apart your defense, making it impossible to give your offense a chance to score. Defense is a key to winning, and the Gophers need some changes on that side of the ball.
Everyone who knows anything about sports knows that at Duke University, it's all about basketball and Coach K. Don't tell the football players and coaching staff that though. Unfortunately for them, at a school where football is a major step below the basketball program, it is hard to encourage top recruits to come and play for.
Duke, who hasn't had a winning season in several years, will once again not have a winning season next year but potentially could win an extra game bringing them to a total of four wins. For them to win in football, the school would have to dedicate more support and love to the team.
An ACC team that has some success in recent years is in a current state where they seem to find it hard to win football games. A smaller school in the ACC, the Demon Deacons need to find a solid quarterback they can rely on and trust in order to be a force offensively.
Last year, Tanner Price their leading passer, only threw for 1,349 yards and seven touchdowns to go along with eight interceptions. The quarterback and general of your offense, needs to be a player you can rely on and feel confident in leading the team. Without that, winning will come with luck and poor play by the other team.
After their star-studded season a few years back, the Jayhawks have not been able to put together a solid quad since. With new head coach Turner Gill, plan on it taking several years before he gets this program where it has the capability of being near the top of the Big 12. He's rebuilding a program which is a tough task and takes time, so be prepared for another losing season before a potentially winning one.
In the Big 12, giving up 34.4 points per game is not a number that goes along with winning games. The Jayhawks will have to bring that number down for points for and wins to go up. Give Turner Gill time because he's the man for the job but another losing season next year is likely.