After beating a then-ranked Florida State, the Bulls finally looked like they could be the big boys of the Big East. But an oh-so-familiar-pattern of dropping consecutive conference games after coming out of the gates charging has infected them again. Last year it was Louisville, Cincinnati and Rutgers. This year it's Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The Bulls have been a bubble team for years, but just can't seem to get to the promised land after getting props from pundits and pollsters.
Nebraska 12122009 102041 772328
Even tennis ace and Nebraska native Andy Roddick couldn't believe his eyes; he tweeted, "in disbelief....... Iowa st [sic]?" on his Twitter page after the Cornhuskers lost to the Cyclones in Lincoln. While Nebraska is in second place in the Big 12 North behind Kansas State and their defense is actually pretty stingy, (No. 4 in scoring defense), their 5-3 record is a bit deceiving. Three of their wins are against the Sun Belt Conference also-rans Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette while the other two teams they beat (Missouri and Baylor) have a collective 1-7 conference record.
Illinois 12122009 102041 775820
The team that was picked by many to be the surprise of the Big Ten reeled off five straight losses before righting itself and beating a fighting-for-a-bowl-berth Michigan team Saturday. Unfortunately, the expectations of quarterback Juice Williams having a fantastic season were too high, while his total touchdown passes (five) this year are too low. With non-conference games against Cincinnati and Fresno State still looming, a final 2-10 season isn't out of the question.
Jevan Snead didn't live up to the hype, and two Alabama schools have already exposed Ole Miss. Then there is this: Usual cellar-dweller Mississippi State has the same conference record (2-3) as Ole Miss. Even more alarming is that the Rebels' 5-3 record is riddled with cupcakes -- Memphis, Southeastern Louisiana and UAB account for three of their five wins, with Vanderbilt (2-7) and Arkansas (4-4) making up the other two. That No. 4 AP ranking in week 3 was just a tad high, wasn't it?
Georgia 12122009 101626 226034
It's hard to believe, but the Bulldogs are now fighting to just get bowl eligible. While the scheduling gods weren't too kind to Georgia, didn't we at least expect them to beat Tennessee? And beat more than one team with a current winning record? To put things in perspective, Georgia has the same 4-4 record as Kentucky. Yes, Kentucky. Georgia's game against the Wildcats on Nov. 21 will determine which of those two teams goes bowling. The fact that we are even talking about if the Bulldogs go bowling is pretty shocking.
The Seminoles have beaten two basketball schools (North Carolina and North Carolina State) by a collective six points in the last two weeks -- two schools that are sitting in last place in their respective ACC divisions. The reality is that Florida State struggled against Jacksonville State and has beaten only two FBS teams with winning records (BYU and UNC). Two teams with winning records remain on their schedule -- Florida and Clemson -- and if they lose to both, a probable 6-6 Seminoles team will be bowl eligible, but with no guarantees of postseason play.
Oklahoma 12122009 102041 892635
Yes, the Sooners lost their Heisman-winning quarterback and other key players to injury. But Landry Jones is now being described as "Bradford-esque," so the injury excuse isn't as strong. Like USC, Oklahoma's depth chart is nothing short of elite and expectations are high every year for a national championship. It's now November and Oklahoma isn't even in the top 20. It's going to be strange not seeing the Sooners in the Big 12 conference championship. Or a BCS bowl?
The Buckeyes' loss to USC wasn't that shocking, but their loss to Purdue was. With Navy, USC, Toledo and New Mexico State on their non-conference schedule, the expectations of a special season were pretty high in Columbus. But plenty of fans are starting to question whether Tressel's offense will work with Terrelle Pryor as quarterback. With Penn State, Iowa and an imploding Michigan still left on the Buckeyes' schedule, Ohio State fans should start making travel plans for Tampa, site of the Outback Bowl. Now.
The class of the ACC is now fighting Miami for third place in the Coastal division behind Duke and Georgia Tech. Let that sink that in. The Hokies' consecutive losses to Georgia Tech and North Carolina have probably ended their Orange Bowl dreams. Either Beamer Ball isn't working anymore or parity in the ACC has finally caught up to Virginia Tech. Either way, 2009 will be a major disappointment for Gobbler Nation.
USC 12122009 102041 768845
A loss to Washington was the beginning of the end. Still, we've almost come to expect the Trojans to lose one game every year that they shouldn't. While USC was slightly favored to beat Oregon, the manner in which they lost was downright ugly. Pete Carroll's signature unit -- the defense -- got embarrassed by the Ducks. Sure, USC had to replace eight defensive players who are now playing on Sundays, but the Trojans always have reloaded, and the expectations were high this year despite those defensive losses. USC fans accustomed to "settling" for the Rose Bowl may need to aim a little lower.
Ten most disappointing teams of 2009
We may not have expected them to go to the BCS championship game, but we did expect these teams to either compete for their conference title or make significant improvements over last season. The expectations and prognostications going into August were made and the fans bought into them as usual. But, at least for now, Lisa Horne says these 10 teams have been exposed as overrated.