This Year’s Surprise College Football Teams

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It seems each year brings forth a handful of college football teams who are true surprises, teams few people would have put on the national stage before the season began, let alone in the Top Ten later on. This year, several “new” teams are front and center, giving fans of their respective schools something to root about while also mixing up the national landscape.

college footballAmong the positive surprise teams this year are:

Stanford Cardinal – Beating the Oregon Ducks was impressive enough, but their slap down of the USC Trojans on the road was the talk of the town last weekend. Sure enough, the 55 points given up by the Trojans at home was the most ever in the history of the program. Now ranked No. 17, the Cardinal will close out the season hosting the No. 25 California Golden Bears and then the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Pittsburgh Panthers – Pitt is off to one of its best starts in years, challenging the Cincinnati Bearcats for the Big East title. After losing to NC State during the fourth game of the season, I wrote the Panthers off. Yet, they’ve managed to rally against UConn, and hold off Rutgers and Notre Dame on the way to their 9-1 start. Even if No. 8 Pitt finishes the season with losses to West Virginia and Cincinnati, they’ll have gained the respect of mostly everyone in the nation.

Texas Christian Horned Frogs – Ranked as high as No. 4 in some polls, TCU was expected to have a very good year, but I don’t think anyone had them on course to run the table this season. Picking apart last year’s darling, the Utah Utes by 55-28 helped their cause, as has having the speed, size, and athleticism that most teams dream about.

Lest I concentrate on the winners only, there are a handful of teams who have been surprisingly disappointing this year, but maybe not to everyone:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish – This was supposed to be the year that Notre Dame put it all together, finally validating Charlie Weis as a head coach. Mostly everyone had the Irish as a BCS team, but they may not even go bowling this year. A tough UConn team is up next followed by the hottest team in the country: Stanford. Bye, bye Charlie!

Michigan Wolverines – They beat Notre Dame on their way to a 4-0 start and Tate Forcier has certainly proven to be a capable true freshmen quarterback. But the wheels soon fell off of Michigan who has only won one game since and will likely post back to back losing seasons when #10 Ohio State comes to town. Rich Rodriguez may still have a coaching job at Michigan after this year, but he is definitely on the hot seat alongside of Charlie Weis.

USC Trojans – Lots of teams who be happy to finish the season at 9-3 or 8-4, but not USC. The No. 18 Trojans were supposed to win the Pac 10 title (again), but now they’ll have to be content with a non-BCS bowl game, a surprising let down for a team accustomed to being named among the nation’s elites.

Though it is doubtful that TCU will get to play for the national championship, finishing as the No. 2 team in the nation is within reach. That’s a big surprise, proving perhaps the best team in Texas is not the Longhorns, but the Horned Frogs.

Adv. – No matter where you’re planning to attend school next year, you’ll want to weigh all of your options first. Technical school v. community college. University v. college. Online education v. night or weekend school or traditional path. If you’re considering an online education, please check our dedicated page to help you find the right school and program for you.

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