Overrated & Underrated Teams
27. The 14th SEC Team Should Be?.
Who's the most overrated, overranked team in the top
ten, and who's the most undervalued team outside of
the top ten?
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Technically, Oklahoma is probably the most overrated team. LSU and Alabama are probably better, and considering the high-rent district OU is in, and considering the problems against Florida State, No. 1 in the Coaches' Poll could be a wee bit high.
I'm not ready to say Wisconsin is overrated at No. 5, but I'm not a believer quite yet. The Badger secondary is banged up, extremely thin, and untested. Chandler Harnish might be a fringe NFL prospect, but Northern Illinois is hardly good enough to challenge a team in the national title hunt. If Bucky can beat Kirk Cousins and Michigan State in East Lansing in a few weeks, I'll be on board.
I'd like to see Stanford play a team with a defense and a better ground game than UCLA's, but other than the showdown against Oregon, that's not going to happen in the awful Pac-12. But going to USC will be a nice test and the Notre Dame regular season finale is going to be big. Even if the Cardinal wins those two games, it's going to need more from the secondary and an impressive win over the Ducks to deserve a top four ranking.
I like Boise State, but do I think it beats Oklahoma State on a neutral field? No. Clemson? Maybe, but no. Oregon? No. Six is too high, but I'd buy the Broncos at around ten. This isn't the same juggernaut team of last year, but it's still really good.
I know Nebraska is outside of the top ten, but it's WAY overranked at 15. The loss to Wisconsin wasn't an aberration; there are problems on both sides of the ball and the team isn't playing anywhere near as well as it should.
Texas A&M isn't the 25th best team in the country; it's far, far better. It collapsed against Oklahoma State and Arkansas, but there's no real shame in losing to two teams that can bomb away against anyone but Alabama and probably LSU.
Arkansas is too low at 12 if Michigan is at 13. Brady Hoke might have things on the right path, but with the Notre Dame game still fresh, the defense needs to prove itself against a stronger offense than San Diego State.
Remember, technically, if you believe LSU is the best team in the country, or at least No. 2 in the Coaches' Poll, then ninth-ranked Oregon could technically be No. 3 and 19th-ranked West Virginia could theoretically be a top-five squad.
If Michigan State is No. 20, then Notre Dame is underranked at 27th and deserves more than 13 votes. If South Carolina is 14th, then Auburn is underranked at 23rd.
If South Florida is 29th, then Pitt is underranked at 33rd.
Tennessee is far better than 36th, Penn State is probably too high at 30th, and SMU isn't really worthy of top 25 consideration just by beating TCU.
While I've been impressed by the way Texas has regrouped, especially around so many young kids, I remain skeptical that this is a legit top 10 squad. Who has it beaten—or even played—that warrants such a lofty ranking? The ‘Horns darn near lost to a bad BYU program, and have rolled over Rice, UCLA and Iowa State. Big whoop. Plus, when your leading rusher, passer and receiver are true freshmen, the future may be bright, but the present is going to be littered with inconsistency and unexpected flops. Beginning with this week's game against Oklahoma, the Longhorns are going to be exposed as a fringe Top 25 team that's still a year away from being really good.
Obviously, the 2-2 mark wreaks of mediocrity, but No. 22 Florida State will prove to be a bona fide top 10 program as the season unfolds. Yeah, two losses are a sure-fire indictment so early in the season, but back-to-back games versus Oklahoma and Clemson will have that effect on a team. Plus, starting QB EJ Manuel didn't finish against the Sooners, and didn't suit up versus the Tigers. Now that FSU has had a week off to rest and regroup, this is the kind of veteran team that's capable of surging through the regular season schedule and up the polls. The ‘Noles are top 10 caliber, even if their September record says otherwise.
By Matt Zemek
The important thing to keep in mind about polls is that at this point in the season, many teams haven't yet played a true road game. Wisconsin played a neutral-site game, but that's it. Illinois and Michigan haven't played a road game yet. Only now are the cupcake and paycheck scrimmages receding into the rearview mirror while conference clashes become commonplace.
Too many teams remain untested at this point; too many teams have done little to no traveling. It's best to be cautious in assessing teams that haven't faced upper-tier competition. Therefore,
it's not fair to be too vigorous in condemning a given team here or there.
If one had to choose an overrated team in the top 10 of the coaches' poll, it would be Texas. The Longhorns haven't played an imposing team yet. Rice, BYU, UCLA and Iowa State do not comprise a particularly challenging slate. Texas' skill-position talent is unproven. We'll see what the Oklahoma Sooners have to say about Bevo's Boys this weekend in Dallas.
The team that should take Texas's place in the top 10 is ARKANSAS. The Razorbacks got whacked by Alabama but then rebounded to defeat Texas A&M. Arkansas has plenty of issues – defense, discipline, injuries, and a schizoid pigskin personality, but other teams across the country are even less convincing through five weeks. Arkansas absorbed plenty of punishment in the early stages of the 2010 season and rebounded to make the Sugar Bowl. Alabama and LSU should prevent the Hogs from making a BCS bowl this season, but the Capital One Bowl could very well be this team's landing place on January 2 of 2012.
By Russ Mitchell
Follow me on Twitter @russmitchellcfb
First, I hate the polls. Without a playoff they have too much influence, and to say they are woefully erratic and suspect is to suggest Paris Hilton could use an acting class, or two.
In fact, going forward I will no longer call it the Coaches Poll, which is a joke. For me, it is now the Asst. SID's Poll
Soapbox dutifully put aside, there are a few directions to go with overrated. Hey Stanford, LSU's schedule includes #9 Oregon, #19 WVU, #18 Florida, #23 Auburn – pause to digest…continue – #3 Alabama, #12 Arkansas, and then, if they're still standing, they're likely rewarded with another Top 15 match-up in Atlanta.
Not to mention Miss. St. was #25 when the Tigers beat them senseless in Starkvegas, a game from which the Bulldogs offensive line was so battered it has still yet to recover.
Stanford plays…wait for it…Oregon. At the Farm.
That's why folks are laughing.
But we'll call it a tie, the back half of which is Oklahoma. Yes, the nation's #1 team is overrated. The Sooners have far too much talent not to be a top ten team, and we'll find out for sure as OU plays out a challenging schedule.
However, as of today the "best team" in America has played only two "tough" opponents, the 2-2 Florida State Seminoles and the 2-2 Missouri Tigers. Hm.
Moreover, they only beat both of those .500 clubs by 10 points, were tied vs. FSU with minutes to play, and were down by 11 to Missouri, as well as allowing said Tigers to roll up 532 yards of offense. The latter of which was no case of dinkin' & dunkin', either – Missouri had not one but two hundred yard rushers and its receivers zipped around literally uncovered for much of the game…in Norman.
The win/loss percentage of Oklahoma's opponents to date? .500 (9-9). That's the #1 Oklahoma Sooners.
In shades of what we saw Saturday with the Florida Gators, Oklahoma's offense is ranked #4 in the nation. Care to guess what's the total defense rankings of the four teams OU has played thus far?
Tulsa 108th, FSU 6th, Missouri 44th and Ball State 109th. Even considering the Seminoles, the total defense average for that slate is 67th. Yuk.
Yet look a little deeper…this year's OU team is far more about passing (ranked #5 passing offense) than running (ranked #44 rushing offense). So, how tough against the pass are those four opponents, exactly?
The average pass efficiency defense of the Sooners opponents is a woeful 91st out of 120, or the bottom 25% (Tulsa 101st, FSU 62nd, Missouri 99th and Ball State 103rd).
Your grandmother could throw up some decent passing numbers against those defenses, with or without the BENGAY®.
Again, Oklahoma's a good team and will have time to show it. But right now, given their performance on the field against that level of competition, no way should the Sooners be the nation's #1 team.
And tell Wisconsin it doesn't matter. (Not that the Badgers have really stretched themselves yet either.)
On the flip side, we'd like to take Georgia Tech as the underrated program that should vault into the top ten. However, the Jackets have only played one team with a pulse (and a winning record) – UNC.
What about WVU, you ask? When your only two wins against teams with a winning record are Norfolk State and Bowling Green, it's hard to call you underrated. And Michigan's five wins came against Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, SDSU and Minnesota. Not exactly the 1% of the 1%.
Right now there's no team in the Top 11-25 that I would move up into the Top 10.
By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee
No. 10 Texas Longhorns
Sure, 4-0 is 4-0, and you have to judge each team based on its body of work in 2011, but is Texas really back to being a top 10 team? I don't see it. Wins over Rice, UCLA and Iowa State still count, but those three teams aren't impressing anybody. Throw in a narrow win over BYU - which got smoked at home by Utah and almost lost to Ole Miss...OLE MISS - and you have a resume that screams "overrated."
The quarterback position has been a sore spot for Texas since the start of last season. Case McCoy and David Ash are a nice combo now, but when you have two quarterbacks, you have zero quarterbacks, and the constant game of musical quarterbacks will jump up and bite Texas sooner rather than later.
If Texas can top Oklahoma this weekend, then the Longhorns deserve to be in the top 10. Until then, they simply haven't earned it.
No. 12 Arkansas
Yes, the Razorbacks have a loss, but if you're ranking teams based on their performance in 2011, can you legitimately say that Arkansas isn't a top 10 team? I can't. Its one loss is on the road to Alabama - one of the top teams in the country. The following week, the Razorbacks fought back from an 18-point deficit to beat a top 15 Texas A&M team, that had all kinds of motivation to show its worth to its new conference.
Does Arkansas have issues? Absolutely. The offensive line can't pass block, the defensive line is decimated by injury and the Hogs haven't been able to find an every down running back after Knile Davis was lost for the year. Despite all of that, the Hogs hung with Alabama (a play here or there and that's a ball game) and then fought back to beat A&M when the game dictated they they be one-dimensional.
Is Arkansas a national title contender? No. The gap is wide between Arkansas and teams like Alabama and LSU. But do they deserve to be in the top 10 - at least over Texas? Absolutely. As our
CFN colleague Brian Harbach said,
"names and your own TV network mean something."
By Phil Harrison
Time to pick the low hanging burnt orange fruit on this one and go with Texas. Yes, the Longhorns barely squeak in there at number ten, but it still meets the criteria right? Speaking of meeting the criteria, the UT meets the criteria of using its pedigree to establish a ranking. Much in the same way that Notre Dame gets inserted in the poll at the beginning of the year by default only to slide right out of it after a couple of losses to Big Ten teams, so goes the reputation of an undefeated Texas team.
So far, the Longhorns have wooed the voters by punishing unranked teams Rice, UCLA, and Iowa State, while narrowly escaping a BYU team at home who's offense could barely push around a roll of wet paper towels (106th in the country). Truth be told, Texas should have won every game it has played this year, so it has done nothing to surprise anyone, yet its reputation has carried UT quickly up the polls to number ten. Hook-em voters.
Now, if Texas can go out the next couple of weeks
and be competitive against a couple of top ten teams
at home in Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, then game
on. That would rank as a surprise worthy of the
You knew the offense was still going to be good with Denard Robinson still doing his thing, but the emergence of a more balanced offensive attack with more personnel getting in the mix has made the offense even harder to stop than the last couple of years, and unlike past seasons, it appears to be sustainable.
But let's not forget the defensive side of the ball. One might hesitate to move Michigan up in the polls because of the inability to stop anyone on defense the last couple of years, but that seems to have changed. First year defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is anything but your normal rookie-coming from the Ravens to Ann Arbor. He brings the same tenacity and fundamentals that were lacking under the Rich Rodriguez debacle and it is paying dividends. So far this year Michigan has improved to 32nd in total defense, and second in scoring defense. That's a drastic improvement from 110th and 108th.
If those winged helmets can continue to slow their opponents down anywhere near an average rate, which appears to be the case this year so far, your 2011 version of the Michigan Wolverines are worthy of the top ten.