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The College Football Notebook


November 30, 2010 6:55 AM

10-Win Tributes

MichiganState.jpgThe focus for this week is on Championship Saturday and by Sunday night the focus will be on the BCS bowl participants. But there's five teams out there that won 10 games or more and won't be playing in either event. To prevent their achievements from slipping below the radar, let's take one day and salute what these teams did this regular season...

*Michigan State (11-1): How did the Spartans get lost in the argument over how the Big Ten's tri-championship, along with Wisconsin and Ohio State should shake out? Michigan State beat Wisconsin and they beat bowl-bound teams in Notre Dame, Michigan, Illinois, Northwestern and Penn State. In the latter case, the beat the Lions in Happy Valley, a trip neither of their fellow champions had to make. Even though they should be getting more consideration for both the Rose Bowl and a potential BCS at-large selection, they will come up short of both. At least the strength of the Big Ten's bowl connections ensure Michigan State still gets a nice juicy January 1 slot in the Capital One Bowl, likely against LSU.

*Speaking of LSU, weren't short-sighted fans demanding for Les Miles to be fired earlier in the season? The Mad Hatter just rang up another double-digit win campaign, including a win over Alabama, along with Florida, Tennessee and Mississippi State. He also violated what appears to be an SEC rule about loading up on September pastry and actually stepped out and played real teams. LSU beat both North Carolina and West Virginia in non-conference.

*The Big 12 has two 10-win teams that lost tiebreakers to go to Dallas for the conference championship, but neither was expected to be that close to the prize. Oklahoma State and Missouri both got rebuilding going fast, and both got great quarterback play from Brandon Weeden and Blaine Gabbert respectively. Missouri beat Oklahoma when the Sooners were ranked #1 and they also blew out Texas A&M. The Cowboys season was highlighted by wins over Baylor, A&M and Kansas State. And though it might not have been impressive in pure football terms, no Okie State fan will give back the 33-16 rout of Texas anytime soon.

*Utah fell off the national radar when they were hammered by TCU, and a subsequent pummeling at Notre Dame proved they weren't Top 10 quality. But they're still a good football team and Kyle Willingham's program racked up another 10 wins. Don't underestimate the quality of conference wins over Air Force and San Diego State, and the Utes also beat bowl-bound Pitt & BYU.

Image from Getty Images

Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily commentary in college football , game analysis in the NFL. and coverage of college basketball. He is the author of The Last New Year's, a book that revisits the historic high points of college football's New Year's Day bowl games.

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