Top 10 Moments in College Football This Season
While this season won't go down as the best in recent memory, 2008 has certainly had its moments for college football fans.
From the demise of Tennessee and Clemson, to the rise of Texas Tech and Alabama, 2008 has had it all. Flashy Big 12 wide receivers, spectacular quarterbacks across the country, and the constant BCS controversy.
Once proud programs have become bottom feeders, while JoePa made one last national title run. Oregon State (gulp) nearly made the Rose Bowl, but their rivals in the Civil War ensured that would not happen.
Perhaps most controversial of all, Oklahoma (who lost to Texas) will represent the Big 12 South next week against Missouri. Wow! Without further ado, let me jump into my top ten moments of this season.
10. Tommy Bowden ousted at Clemson
We've all heard this story before: Clemson is the ACC favorite, national title contenders, Heisman worthy quarterback, sky-high expectations. Oh how everything can crash so quickly.
A highly anticipated early season match-up with Alabama quickly showed which team was for real, and it wasn't Clemson. Fast forward a few weeks, and Coach Tommy Bowden is out, the Tigers are a mess, and Clemson fans are again disappointed.
9. The Surprising Success of Georgia Tech
New head coach Paul Johnson was bringing his vaunted triple-option ground attack to Atlanta, but no one expected immediate success.
Johnson has exceeded expectations, and with his team's huge win over Georgia this weekend, Johnson is among the favorites for national coach of the year, and Tech is poised for a nice New Year's Day bowl game.
The 48-45 win over Georgia was especially sweet for the Yellow Jackets, considering Georgia was the preseason No. 1 team in the country.
8. Charlie Weis and Notre Dame: Stock Sinking Like WAMU
Notre Dame recently lost to Syracuse, barely beat Navy, got walloped by USC...So much for Coach Weis and his "tactical advantage" over opposing coaches.
The only thing they are talking about these days in South Bend is how much it will cost to buy out big Charlie.
7. The "failure" of the Missouri Tigers and the Big 12 North
Missouri came into this season with legitimate national title aspirations, a Heisman favorite quarterback in Chase Daniel, but with consecutive losses to Oklahoma State and Texas, Missouri quickly fell out of title contention.
With yesterday's last-second loss to Kansas, Missouri cemented its status as a program that has yet to break through as a powerhouse program.
While they will represent the Big 12 North with three conference losses, that speaks volumes about how bad the North is compared to the South.
6. Unbeaten non-BCS Powers
Utah and Boise State have stayed the course this season, staying unbeaten and attempting to nab a coveted BCS bowl berth.
While it appears Utah is safely in, the same cannot be said for Boise State. Ian Johnson is the only "name" player for either team, but each respective program has taken care of business on a weekly basis.
5. Oregon's Rash of QB Injuries
It all started in the pre-season, when their No. 1 ranked QB, Nate Costa, went down early with a knee injury. Then it was back-up Justin Roper who went down with a partially torn ligament in his left knee.
This left Oregon with only two QB's, JC transfer Jeremiah Masoli, and true freshman Chris Harper. Masoli, essentially the team's fourth-string QB, finished the season strong as the Ducks thrashed the rival Beavers, but Harper proved against Boise State he was woefully ill-prepared to be a D-1 quarterback.
This is fascinating because Oregon, who finished with three losses, could have had a say in the national title picture with healthy quarterbacks (same thing as last season). The USC loss aside, Oregon probably wins against Cal and Boise with a healthy QB under center.
4. The Prowess of the Big 12
Never before have we seen a conference display such prowess in one season as this year's Big 12.
Consider this: the top Heisman contenders include Texas' Colt McCoy, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, Texas Tech's Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree, Missouri's Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin. Don't forget Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant.
Every Saturday night on ABC has provided a pair of top 10 Big 12 opponents, with constant national title implications.
Needless to say, the Big 12 set itself apart this season as a must-watch conference on a weekly basis.
3. Texas Tech Breaking Through Against Texas
While I contemplated this being the No. 1 moment of the season, Michael Crabtree's last second grab for the winning touchdown against Texas comes in at No. 3.
While it was no surprise Tech looked Crabtree's way, it was still shocking to watch the catch and subsequent touchdown.
The Tech fans stormed the field before the game was officially over, showing how much enthusiasm Lubbock has for the Red Raiders.
Coach Leach's team finally broke onto the "big-time" national scene, and while Tech won't be playing for the Big 12 title, this season with only one loss is one for the ages.
2. Michigan's worst record....ever?
Coach Rich Rodriguez had an ugly divorce from West Virginia, and everyone expected bumps along the way, but no one envisioned a Wolverine team losing to the likes of Toledo.
QB Steven Threet was abysmal this season, to put it nicely. Michigan's offense was anemic, and the rest of the country watched the demise of Michigan, as Penn State and Ohio State proved to be the cream of the crop in the Big Ten.
Some may say Penn State deserved mention, but their loss to unranked Iowa was highly disappointing, and I believed this season was very average for the Big Ten.
But for all the fans who wanted Lloyd Carr's head, all I can say is...you got what you asked for, and it's not pretty: the worst Michigan team in a century.
1. The Shocking Downfall of the proud Tennessee Volunteers
As a Tennessee alum, I along with all my fellow volunteers was shocked when UCLA knocked off the Vols in Game 1 at Pasadena. Four first-half Volunteer interceptions from the defense only propelled Tennessee to a 14-7 halftime advantage, and that was just the start of the nation's 116th best offense this season.
UCLA of course won, and Tennessee never recovered. Blowout losses to Florida, Georgia, and Alabama showed that Tennessee is now a second-tier SEC program.
There were documented offensive problems, from not having a proven QB to a new offensive coordinator.
But the coach who just a season ago led his alma mater to the SEC Championship game and came within one costly Erik Ainge interception from a BCS bowl, was finished, forced out from the program he poured his heart and soul into for the past 17 seasons.
While many fans remained fiercely loyal to Fulmer, so many more wanted a change, while still respecting everything Fulmer did for the university.
If you watched Tennessee's dominating victory over Kentucky last night, a tear probably came to your eye as the players carried Fulmer off the field for the last time.
While it is true Tennessee has struggled recently, one has to wonder if this was the best move. And I'm not talking about the apparent hiring of Lane Kiffin.
Is Tennessee in store for what Michigan had to endure? Look at Kansas State. Volunteer fans are anxious for a new era of exciting Volunteer football, but this alum is not so sure Tennessee made the right move.
But this is a rough business, and at the end of the day Tennessee made a business decision.
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