Who's Hot and Who's Not in College Football
As the 2008 college football season wraps up, we look back at the high and low points of the year. Here are a few of them...
Big 12 South: The Big 12 South dominated college football all year with three teams (Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech) ranked in the top 10 and one more (Oklahoma State) in the top 25.
Alabama: Despite some close calls, the Crimson Tide finished the regular season undefeated and are set for a match with Florida in the SEC Championship Game.
Florida: After an early season loss to Ole Miss, Tim Tebow and the Gators have been on fire and head into the SEC Championship Game with high hopes of a second National Championship in three years.
Ole Miss: Houston Nutt has turned this program around. The Rebels are 8-4 this year and highlight their season with a win over second-ranked Florida.
Oklahoma: The Sooners were an offensive machine this year and Sam Bradford has a legitimate shot at the Heisman Trophy. Also, Oklahoma leap-frogged Texas in the BCS standings to reach the Big 12 Championship Game and are now just one win away from the BCS National Championship Game.
Iowa: After a few close losses at the beginning of the year and a 3-3 start, the Hawkeyes went on a hot streak, winning five of their last six games behind star running back Shonn Greene and highlighted by a comeback win against Penn State. Now, Iowa looks to be headed for a New Years Day bowl.
Big 12 Quarterbacks: Unlike in the auto business, the Big 12's "Big Three" are doing very well. Graham Harrell, Sam Bradford, and Colt McCoy are all among the top QB's in the country and are all front-runners for the Heisman Trophy.
Big 10 Running Backs: The running backs have been the stars of a league that continues to gain a negative reputation. Shonn Greene highlights a list that also includes Beanie Wells, Javon Ringer, and Evan Royster.
Northwestern: After not going to a bowl game in quite some time, Northwestern found it's stride this year, going 9-3. Pat Fitzgerald has turned this program around and the Wildcats will be headed to a decent bowl game.
Mountain West Conference: The MWC has had perhaps its best year ever in 2008, with three teams (Utah, TCU, and BYU) all in the top 25. Utah will be heading to its first BCS bowl game in program history and TCU and BYU also look to be heading to decent bowl games.
BCS: The BCS got even more controversial this week after it decided Oklahoma would play in the Big 12 Championship Game even though Texas beat Oklahoma head to head and they have the same record.
Wisconsin: The Badgers had high hopes coming into 2008 and looked like they could be headed for a BCS game. Things started to spiral downhill though with a loss to Michigan in which the Wolverines came back from a 19-0 halftime deficit and a 48-7 loss to Penn State. The downward spiral hit a climax with a crushing 38-16 loss to Iowa.
Notre Dame: Bluntly put, the Irish are not a very good team. They haven't beaten a team with a winning record in a season that hit its lowest point as Notre Dame lost to lowly Syracuse. Also, the whole deal about Charlie Weis's job security hasn't helped either.
Every Major Conference Besides the Big 12 and SEC: This year, everyone made a huge deal about how the Big Ten was down, but when in reality, they were much better than other conferences. The Pac-10 has only one elite team in USC. The ACC teams have beaten up on each other this year and none of those teams are even close to elite. The Big East wasn't very impressive either.
Arizona State: Some were projecting a BCS bowl for the Sun Devils (5-6), who now are fighting just to become bowl eligible. ASU won their first two games before losing their next six. They won their next three games, but considering those games were against Washington, Washington State, and UCLA, that's not much of an accomplishment. If the Sun Devils can beat intrastate rival Arizona next weekend, they'll reach a minor bowl game, but if not, they'll be staying home for the holidays.
The State of Washington: The state of Washington boasts two of the nation's worst teams in Washington and Washington State, who have a combined 2-22 record. Now those are some rotten apples.
The Orange Bowl: I'm really hurting for the Orange Bowl right now. It looks like the matchup for the BCS bowl will be Boston College vs. Cincinnati. Nothing against those two teams, but that's not really your perfect BCS match-up. It may be the only BCS bowl game not to sell out.
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