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College Football 2011: 10 Conference Favorites That Won't Live Up to the Hype

Tom KinslowFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2011

College Football 2011: 10 Conference Favorites That Won't Live Up to the Hype

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    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    College football 2011 is going to be a season to remember, but for some teams, the season will be one that will be seen as a letdown.

    We have named 10 different teams that look to be competitive next season but will let their respective fan base down for one reason or another. If you have any thoughts, as always, leave them below along with your predictions for next year.

    In your opinion, what teams won't live up to expectations next season?

No. 10: Arizona State

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Arizona State Sun Devils are a team that a lot of people think could make a splash in 2011.

    I'm sorry, but I'm not buying it. Arizona State has road games against Illinois, Utah and Oregon, and furthermore, the Sun Devils have struggled to win close games, losing four games by a combined nine points last year.

    In a conference with Oregon and Stanford, I don't like Arizona State's chances.

No. 9: Ohio State

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    You may be asking why I picked Ohio State. Well, the answer is simple.

    It's because the Buckeyes disappoint their fans and believers almost every year. Throw in a suspended Terrelle Pryor and the entire saga around head coach Jim Tressel, and I don't like Ohio State's chances of making it to the national championship game.

    Ohio State will do well, just not well enough to live up to the program's lofty expectations.

No. 8: Florida

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    While the hopes are high with the arrivals of Will Muschamp and Charlie Weis, I don't expect big things from this program this year.

    The Gators have talent in this program, but there are going to be growing pains as the new coaching staff tries to get things in place and get the playmakers where they want them on this roster. It's going to be a bumpy ride, but things will work themselves out in Gainesville.

    The only problem is, they'll work themselves out in the coming season, as the Gators will surely struggle at times this year.

No. 7: Texas

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Last year was a disaster for the Texas Longhorns, who weren't used to having disappointing campaigns.

    There were major changes on Mack Brown's coaching staff, which slowed down the development of this team. Furthermore, I'm not sold on Garrett Gilbert after last season and I see more growing pains in the future for this team.

    Brown will get this team turned around, but it won't be easy.

No. 6: Virginia Tech

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    Finally we get to Frank Beamer and the Virginia Tech Hokies.

    Every year it seems that the Hokies have the potential to make some noise in the national landscape, only to come up just a bit short of expectations. Virginia Tech has to overcome the loss of players like Tyrod Taylor and as the Hokies rebuild, we'll see a couple of losses here and there.

    Virginia Tech gets a lot of recognition, but I'm not sure the accomplishments line up with the attention the program gets.

No. 5: Georgia

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    It wasn't long ago that Mark Richt was on the hot seat in Georgia.

    The Bulldogs were struggling on the football field, but improved results and a top recruiting class goes a long way towards quieting the doubters and the people calling for your job. However, if this team struggles again, it could get ugly in Athens.

    I'd be more willing to bet on that than a continued turnaround at Georgia.

No. 4: Michigan State

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    It's easy to pick Michigan State to be on this list, because inevitably, somehow, someway, the Spartans will disappoint.

    It's a staple of the program, and the tortured fans of Michigan State are well aware of it. The Spartans had a strong start last year, but had some big losses down the stretch, including an embarrassing loss in the bowl game.

    The other shoe will drop at some point for Sparty. It always does.

No. 3: Notre Dame

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Could this be the year that Notre Dame finally takes the leap to the next level?

    Yes and no. Will the Fighting Irish be as bad as they were in past seasons? No. But will Notre Dame become a fixture as a force in college football next year? I highly doubt it. This is still a program that's trying to get back on track, and with that comes the inevitable letdown.

    It's not going to be a thrill ride to a national championship, but the Fighting Irish will be improved. But with a fan base that demands excellence, there will be disappointment.

No. 2: Oklahoma State

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    Any time you lose an offensive coordinator and six defensive starters, you're not going to have a smooth transition.

    Oklahoma State is going through that and the Cowboys will have to adjust to those losses early on in the season and it's going to result in a letdown here and there as the team gets its legs under itself. This will still be a team that can make noise, but it won't make the leap to the next level.

    It's a shame, because had Dana Holgerson stayed, this team would have had a better chance to make that move to the top.

No. 1: South Carolina

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    When Stephen Garcia is your quarterback, you better be prepared to be disappointed.

    Steve Spurrier got a strong recruiting class into South Carolina, but this is a team that always flirts with contention, but never really realizes the ascent to the upper echelon. There has been a trip to the SEC Championship game, but the Gamecocks haven't been looked at in the same light as the teams that have dominated the conference in recent years.

    Until South Carolina gets steady quarterback play, the Gamecocks will let their fans down.

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