UCLA, Michigan, Notre Dame and Miami. What do they all have in common? All of them have a rich tradition of being the best winning programs in all of the college football, but what has happened to them in the last few years?
UCLA: Won their last national championship in 1954. It is hard trying to have a perfect record with the conference in which the Bruins are in. USC seems unbeatable in this decade. The Bruins haven't been in a BCS bowl game since 1998, in which they lost and that was the last time a UCLA team was ranked in the top 10 in an AP and coaches top 25 poll in the end of the season. UCLA managed to sign former Bruin alum, Rick Neuheisel, but only started out his first season with a 4-8 record. Being a successful QB in his playing days in Pasadena, can he motivate and recruit the right players so a team can finally challenge the Trojans and win the Pac-10? He sure has to fix his QB situation. Bruin QB's only threw for 9 touchdowns the whole season with 20+ interceptions.
Michigan: Who could come out with a victory after playing at "The Big House"? A lot of teams in the past two seasons. The Wolverines have the most all-time wins and highest winning percentage in NCAA history. Anyone could say they are the best program in college football history, but anyone can question that now with the slump they recently entered. Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is one of the best in all of sports, the Wolverines lead the all time series, 57-42-6, but since 2000, the Wolverines have only won twice versus the Buckeyes. They haven't won a BCS bowl game since the 2000 Orange Bowl and under new head coach Rich Rodriguez went a 3-9, the worst in school history. Maybe it will take time for the Wolverines to get use to the spread offense. They will have to be successful with it if they want to beat Ohio State, Penn State and even their cross-town rival Michigan State.
Notre Dame: 11 national championship and 7 Heisman trophy winner. Not to mention they have the most All-Americans of any school. Can anyone top that? But it seems that every time The Fighting Irish go into a BCS bowl game, they get crushed. They've lost their last 6 BCS bowl games and before this seasons bowl win against Hawaii, they had a 9 bowl-game losing streak going for them. Head coach Charlie Weis is always in the hot seat after a season due to the failed expectations the team had. Current QB Jimmy Clausen had all this hype and many thought he was the next big star in South Bend, but has struggled. In the 2007 season, they had a 3-6 record, they lost 38-0 to both Ohio State and Michigan, and lost to Navy, which they haven't won vs. Notre Dame since 1963. The good sign is they started the following season 4-1, but ended with a 6-6 record. How much time will they give Charlie Weis to bring back the glory days?
Miami: "The U" has won more national championship in the past 30 years than any other team in the nation. Two hurricanes have won the Heisman and six have been inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame. They also hold the record for the longest home winning streak with 58 wins. Also, their success in the NFL Draft and the players playing in the NFL. For some strange reason, after switching conference to the ACC, Miami hasn't been that dominate team as the ones in the past. While in the Big East, the Hurricanes won the conference 4 years in a row and zero championships in the ACC. Even though they still have amazing recruitment done by head coach Randy Shannon, the defense isn't the same like the years of Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Sean Taylor etc. All of them are/were amazing players in the NFL. Some experts say that 2000-2001 Miami Defense was the best in NCAA history. Ever since coach Larry Coker left, the Hurricanes "swag" left. With the recruiting done the last couple of seasons, many say the "The U" will be back soon and with the talent they have, the Hurricanes can be a dangerous team for years to come.