On ESPN’s college football live we’ve heard a lot about ‘dark horses’ and ‘surprises’ and teams who might shock you. Good old positive thinking, eh?
But at the VFA, we’re thinking something different: college football teams that, over the year, have promised much and singularily failed to deliver.
There are some big names on the list – compiled through our rather good new version of USA’s 2009 College Football Encyclopedia (Sky Horse Publishing) we’re not afraid to call out former National Champions and teams that, in our view, have pretty much sucked it up for the last few years.
It seems that every year much is expected of an Arizona State team that has a ‘high-octane’ offense. It’s exciting to watch. Trust us – we’ve been there enough times. And while Terrell Suggs is one of the defensive alumni that’ll always be talked about- and Andrew Walter, Sam Keller and Rudy Carpenter were penned as being star quarterbacks but delivered little. Arizona State last beat USC in 1999. They’ve beaten Cal once in nine seasons. They’ve gone to big games against non-conference teams (Georgia in 2008, for example) and been terrible, too.
Sounds silly bearing in mind that we’ve got to the point where the talks generally been all about the Aggies’ fans rather than the Aggies players, but things seems to have been a permanent struggle since the 10-0 and 9-3 years of 1994 and 1998 respectively. Texas A&M might have quite a good record against their hated rivals, Texas, but they haven’t beaten Oklahoma since 2002 and there’s no way that they’ll be better than third in their division. Kyle Field might be great as a tourist destination for college football atmosphere fiends like me, but fancy winning a game or two?
There have been a lot of good Nebraska teams in the past. Tom Osbourne coached them to four national titles, and the ‘Sea of Red’ was generally a sea of celebration. But in the last few years – mostly under coach Bill Callahan – it’s been a Sea of Crap. A decision by Callahan to promote a ‘spread offence’ simply didn’t work, and the Huskers looked completely outclassed against most other opponents.
Like Arizona State, much has been promised of the Ducks but little has been delivered. Sure, eight out of the last nine seasons have been winning ones. Sure, they’ve got groovy kits and can talk about a stadium that quite simply rocks and win over USC in 2007. But they haven’t been great against the Trojans and sometimes have struggled to beat better opponents. Oregon WILL be better –but how long do we have to wait?
Has anyone seen a side go so far downhill so quickly since 2005? It might be argued that their 40-3 trainwreck loss against LSU in the 2005 Peach Bowl was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but that straw then continued to beat the crap out of the Hurricanes for three straight seasons afterwards. Many people don’t want ‘The U’ to contend after the mastery of the early part of the decade and the fact that they were so darned rude about it, but Randy Shannon’s only got people talking about a possible ACC title in 2009. But then again, it might be 2010…..or 2011.
While heated state rival Florida can’t seem to lose, FSU can’t seem to get a marquee victory. In fact, the Noles have been ordinary since the National Championship Game loss to Oklahoma. And the reason why it’s disappointing is that this team has gone from perennial National Title contender to also-ran (and Florida’s wench) in the last few years. Dadgummit Bobby, why don’t you give it up?
First of all, the VFA knows that Notre Dame has the hardest schedule in the country – apart from the SEC schools. We know that when you play Michigan and USC every season, that you can expect the odd season sweep against these two teams, plus a few more losses. But we didn’t expect the Irish to lose to Navy (2007) and Syracuse (2008). To make matters worse, the talk that enwrapped Jimmy Clausen that put in virtually on the right hand side of ‘Touchdown Jesus’ has hardly materialized….and the Irish have only one bowl game since 1993.
You might be screaming “what the ****?” about why the Trojans themselves on this list. After all, they own the Pac-10, are a perennial National Title contender, haven’t had a losing record since the 2000 season debacle and provided half the NFL draft for the best part of a decade. But get this: they’ve only won a National Title once in the last decade, despite being favoured in most – if not all – the games they play. But they always seem to lose one game (usually in the State of Oregon!) a season, and blow their chances of a National Title. Heck, even the Trojans don’t want to go to Pasadena every year.
What do you think?