In recent years, we've seen a huge shift in college sports, most notably college basketball. Teams like George Mason have changed the face of the game, rendering the term "cinderella" obsolete by proving that smaller schools can't just be competitive with bigger programs, but can beat them. The effect of these small programs' success is only starting to be felt, but the outcome is clear; college basketball's playing field is slowly becoming more level.
But basketball is not the only place this change is going on. A similar change is going on in college football, where the historical powerhouses are still around, but the little guys are catching up to them. They might never be at the same level as a USC or Texas, but they'll certainly be able to compete.
Notre Dame got pounded into the ground by Georgia Tech, and with games coming up against the likes of Penn State and Michigan State, things don't look too good. Michigan got humiliated on national television as they completely overlooked an underestimated Appalachian State team and likely saw their entire season go down the drain. Miami (FL), while defeating Marshall 31-3, has not been the juggernaut it once was. Florida State is still ranked, but the question on my mind isn't how high they'll go, but rather how long they'll stay in the top 25. Even USC's path to the national championship is not easy, as they have to go through both UCLA and Cal, perhaps the two Pac-10 teams that could unseat the Trojans.
On the other hand, teams like TCU, BYU, Hawaii, Boise State, South Florida and Rutgers may all make cases this season for a BCS bowl game bid. Half of them made cases last year, and Boise State not only ended up in a BCS game, but left the Fiesta Bowl victorious against a powerful Oklahoma team.