Biggest Disappointments of 2014

As many surprise teams there were in the 2014 football season, there were also a great many disappointing things that happened this year.

Maybe the biggest disappointment of the 2014 season was the suspension and following injury to Todd Gurley of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Gurley was the top Running Back coming into the 2014 college football season and started off with a bang. Against Clemson, Gurley ran for right at 200 yards on the ground and then had a 100 yard

Kickoff return for a Touchdown. Gurley ran for over 200 yards against Tennessee in their fourth game, and was one of the nation’s leading ground gainers.

There was talk of Gurley being the Heisman Trophy frontrunner.

 

Then, there was the suspension. Gurley had to sit out 4 games and was suddenly out of the Heisman race and by then the Georgia Bulldogs had lost 2 conference games against South Carolina and against Florida.

Gurley was finally allowed to come back against Auburn. Gurley ran for 138 yards against Auburn before severely injuring his knee and being lost yet again.

 

2014 season was supposed to be a great one for the nation’s best Running Back, Todd Gurley. Instead, it turned into a nightmare.

There was talk of Gurley not only winning the Heisman but also being the highest picked Running Back in the NFL draft in several years.

The Heisman obviously didn’t happen, but not only that depending on how rehab goes on whether Gurley even has a future at all in football.

 

For Todd Gurley and the fans of Todd Gurley, 2014 was a disappointing season.

 

Not only was 2014 a disappointing season for Todd Gurley, but the Georgia Bulldogs were also a slight let down. Most polls had the Bulldogs rated in the top 10 preseason. They were picked to win the SEC East and give the SEC West some competition in the SEC Championship game.

It never happened.

The Bullodgs lost to the South Carolina Gamecocks in their second game of the season, 38-35. It was a great and exciting game, but quite a let down for the Bulldogs.  Not only that, but the Gamecocks had already been blown out in their opening game against the Aggies and had been exposed as not a very good team this season. Yet, they somehow beat the mighty Georgia Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs recovered from the loss to South Carolina and won 5 straight games improving their record to 6-1 on the season and worked their way back up in the polls.

They beat Missouri, who would later win the East, by 34-0 in a very convincing beat down.

Then, they did it again by losing to arch nemesis Florida in a totally one sided match with the Gators dominating. 2 SEC losses would be enough to give the title to the Missouri Tigers eventually.

The Bulldogs topped off the season with yet another disappointment with a loss to in-state rival Georgia Tech.

It’s hard to say that 9-3 is a disappointment, but it kind of was for the Georgia Bulldogs and especially after all of the bad luck they endured during the 2013 season.

Another national disappointment in 2014 was the UCLA Bruins.

Jim Mora was a well thought of coach coming in a couple of seasons ago with an impressive NFL background and seemingly got the ship righted in Westwood right away.

He had a seasoned and very talented Quarterback returning in Brett Hundley. They had sophomore talent, Myles Jack returning and quite a bit of other talent on both sides of the ball. A lot of people thought the Bruins would be one of the 4 playoff teams when the season started.

The very first game of the season exposed the Bruins when they barely survived a trip to Virginia. They pulled it out, winning 28-20. But, Hundley and their supposedly high powered offense did next to nothing. The following game, they were involved in a shootout with Memphis, of all people. They were again exposed.

The Bruins traveled to Arlington, Texas to play the Texas Longhorns in the Dallas Cowboys state of the art stadium.

The Bruins barely survived and were led from behind by back up Quarterback Jerry Neuheisel. The following week, the Bruins seemed to finally get it all together.

Now, this was the team that most of us were all expecting. They pounded the undefeated Arizona State Sun Devils, 67-27 in an absolute thrashing.

That only lasted until the next game and they lost to Utah at the Rose Bowl.

To top that, the following week, the Oregon Ducks came to town. Not only did the Ducks embarrass the Bruins, but head coach Jim Mora was seen on national television fighting with his Defensive Coordinator on the sidelines in the middle of the game.

The next week, they barely survived a game at Cal Berkeley. Then, they beat a really bad Colorado team in Boulder in Overtime.

They rallied a bit to beat Arizona, Washington and rival USC. The USC game was their second best game of the year other than the Arizona State game. Once again, the Bruins had recovered. But, it was not to be.

They lost their last game against Stanford in a bad way which knocked them out of the Pac 12 South race and giving it to the Arizona Wildcats.

They finished their regular season at 9-3 with only their bowl game remaining. But, like Georgia, when much is expected out of you a 9-3 season can be a huge disappointment.

Stanford started off the season ranked in some people’s top 10. They had to replace 4 out of 5 Offensive Linemen but they had plenty of depth and they had their multi year starter at Quarterback returning. Their Wide Receiver Ty Montgomery was probably their very best player.

A lot of good players returned on their outstanding defense.

It appeared that the new Stanford machine would continue with it’s recent success. But, apparently, the loss of top Running Back Tyler Gaffney, the great Offensive Linemen and several great defenders such as Shayne Skov and sack master Trent Murphy were too much to overcome.

The losses happened early and they happened often for the Stanford Cardinal.

They lost their second game of the 2014 season to the hated USC Trojans and mostly because of missed Field Goals.

Stanford lost it’s 5th game against Notre Dame in South Bend. After losing to Arizona State, Oregon and Utah, this one time top 10 team suddenly found itself at 5-5 on the year.

To their credit, the Cardinal recovered somewhat and beat arch-rival California and then soundly beat UCLA in their last game knocking the Bruins out of the Pac 12 South championship.

Last year, the Stanford Cardinal represented the Pac 12 in the Rose Bowl and expectations were high in 2014. Instead of winning another Pac 12 championship, they finished the regulars season at 7-5. It’s hard to not be at least a little disappointed by that.

 

A 6-5 record is not going to get it done at Florida. The Gators mercifully fired head coach Will Muschamp near the end of the season and I am shocked he made it that long. In 2013, the Gators went 4-8 and I was surprised he wasn’t fired then. In spite of the poor season in 2013, expectations were still high in Gainesville as they always are.

The first game of the season was canceled by a thunderstorm. They beat a much improved Kentucky in their first SEC game in Overtime.

Then, they were crushed by Alabama. They barely beat Tennessee, but then lost to LSU and badly to Missouri. The Florida Gators beat Georgia pretty soundly the following week to go 4-3 on the season. Then, they beat Vanderbilt and lost to South Carolina.

The Florida AD Jeremy Foley had enough by that point and fired Muschamp. Foley wasted little time and hired Jim McElwain from Colorado State in what I feel was a great move. Muschamp already landed the Auburn Defensive Coordinator’s job which should bring fear to other SEC schools because he is an outstanding Defensive Coordinator.

McElwain has only been a head coach for 3 seasons at Colorado State, but the Rams got better every season and in 2014 the CSU Rams finished the regular season at 10-2.

Jim McElwain should have the Gators back at the top of the SEC in a short time.

Win you have three 11-2 seasons in a row, winning only 6 games all year is a huge disappointment. It was pretty clear back in August that this was not a very good South Carolina team. Sure, they did have their moments as in a win over Georgia in game 3. But, then they lost to Missouri after allowing them to come from behind and to Kentucky. They beat Furman, but then lost to Auburn and then Tennessee in back to back games.

To add insult to injury, the Gamecocks lost their last game to rival Clemson.

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier has stated he will be back for 2015. But, at 70 years old and coming off of a 6-6 season Gamecock fans may not even want Spurrier back in spite of his success over the last few years.

Love him or hate him, nobody has had more success at South Carolina than Steve Spurrier.

 

Expectations are always high at Notre Dame and this season was just like every other season. The Fighting Irish exploded to an impressive 6-0 start, before losing to top ranked Florida State in game seven on a questionable call. They barely beat Navy in the following game, but then the wheels came off and they lost their last four games.

They did have some key injuries, but there’s really no excuse for going 7-5 if you are the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

Quarterback Everett Golson looked like gold in the first few games and then he seemed to fall apart as well. He had 5 Turnovers against Arizona State and 10 of his 14 total Interceptions in 2014 came in the back half of the season.

The Irish did get a bowl invitation, but it’s the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee and they have a tough out in facing LSU.

It’s entirely possible that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish could finish up at 7-6 and that will never get it done in South Bend, Indiana.

 

It has been a rough few years for the Michigan Wolverines. The program with the most wins of any college football team in the country doesn’t do well with 5-7 type seasons and really who can blame them.

Personally, I had low expectations for the Michigan Wolverines this season, but I did expect better than the 5-7 that they accomplished.

When the season ended, they fired their head coach, Brady Hoke. In the case of the Michigan

program, time is of the essence and I feel they should have made a move earlier. Michigan can use some help on the field and especially at Quarterback. When firing a coach and hiring another, there is a lot of work to be done. The new coach has to put together a staff and hit the ground running in an attempt to bring in talent.

Michigan is way, way behind any other programs that have fired their coach. Florida had a new guy almost immediately, and so did Nebraska, Oregon State and Wisconsin. The Wolverines have already lost some recruits due to the changes and a lack of another coach and it could get worse if they don’t make a move soon.

Problem is, their main target is San Francisco 49er head coach, Jim Harbaugh. They offered him the highest contract ever for a college football coach and he is supposedly considering it. Harbaugh grew up involved with the Michigan football program and he played Quarterback for the Wolverines. He is the natural choice and his name came up on nearly every coaching search over the past 2 seasons.

The question with Harbaugh will be whether he wants to return to college from the NFL. However, it’s pretty much assumed he will not coach the 49ers again next season.

For now, the Michigan Wolverines are still looking for a new head football coach. Hopefully, it will be one that can lead them to a better record than 5-7.

The Oklahoma Sooners would have to be classified a disappointment as well. Talk around Norman, Oklahoma was of a national championship in 2014. After beating Alabama in the 2014 Sugar Bowl, hopes were up for Bob Stoops and his Sooners. They had a huge and talented Offensive Line returning. They had Trevor Knight at Quarterback and he looked like a budding star in New Orleans against Bama. They also had some talent returning on defense.

The season started off with a bang and a 4-0 record. Then, TCU happened to them with the Sooners losing 33-37 in a wild shootout. They barely squeaked by Texas with the Longhorns dominating the stats in that game. Then, they lost a heart breaker to  Kansas State by 1 point when their star place kicker missed an easy chip shot Field Goal with time running out.

They beat Iowa State soundly, but then took their worse home loss ever to Baylor in a humiliating fashion. They beat two really bad teams, then lost in their Bedlam game against Oklahoma State who was having their own disastrous season.

8-4 could be considered a good record at some schools, but at Oklahoma it’s not a good thing. They play in the Russell Athletic Bowl against a good Clemson team and there’s a chance they could finish the year at 8-5. They started the year ranked in the top 10 and some polls had them as high as number 4.

One of the few bright spots for the Sooners this season was the emergence of 5-11, 245 Running Back Samaje Perine from Pflugerville, Texas. Perine broke the all time single game rushing record with a 427 yard day against the Kansas Jayhawks. Perine finished up with 1,579 yards on the season and has a bright future for the Sooners.

I would not consider Kentucky a disappointment but since they started off at 5-1 and then were 5-7 when the smoke cleared. But, after finishing 2-10 for two straight seasons a 5-7 record is not all that bad.

There were a few others that had disappointing seasons like North Carolina, Texas, Duke, Miami, Penn State, Northwestern and Oregon State.

 

The other huge disappointment in 2014 was Florida State’s Jameis Winston.

But, there’s always next year.

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