College Football Handicapping: Five Overrated Teams
by Trevor Whenham - 10/5/2011
We’re nearly halfway through the college football season already. As there is every season there are some teams that are getting more attention, more love in the rankings, and more hype than their play has justified. Here’s a look at five over-rated teams at this point in the college football season. This list can help you with your college football handicapping and to help spot weak college football odds.
Apparently I am supposed to be in love with the Tigers. After all, everyone else is — they have climbed to the top of the AP poll by vaulting over a very solid Oklahoma team that has not taken a misstep.
I’m actually not in love with them at all. Are they a good team? Yes. Do they have some outstanding defensive players? Absolutely. Are they the best team in the country? I’m certainly not convinced.
The reason we hear about why they are so good is because of the LSU Tigers football schedule — they have played three ranked teams already. That’s not as impressive as it sounds. Oregon has consistently struggled against good teams outside their conference, and has only really been tested once this year — a test they failed miserably. Mississippi State is now just 2-3 and has been a major disappointment on both sides of the ball. West Virginia has a nice quarterback and is the class of the Big East, but being the best team in the Big East is like being the best hockey team in Hawaii.
Oregon and West Virginia were the only two legitimate offenses LSU faced, and they averaged 24 points a game. LSU is not nearly as good as we have been led to believe, and when they face a legitimate test we’ll see that.
The Longhorns are dramatically better than they were last year, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve to climb all the way from unranked to start the season to No. 11 now.
The two best teams they have faced are BYU and UCLA — one flawed team with a struggling QB, and another team that’s a total mess. They are alternating between two quarterbacks, and that’s never a good thing. They have new coordinators on both sides of the ball, and we have yet to see how they can survive when facing adversity.
With Oklahoma and Oklahoma State on tap the next two weeks we will certainly see what they are made of. I don’t expect them to be over-ranked after those two games. I also don’t expect them to be ranked anywhere near where they are now.
I love Michigan. I bleed Maize and Blue. So, it means something when I say they are over-ranked. I’m not alone, though — none other than Coach Brady Hoke has said the same thing. Hoke and his staff has worked wonders with this team so far, and Denard Robinson is as fast and as exciting as any player in the country.
This team was also 5-0 last year, though, and they barely wound up bowl eligible. They have beat some decent teams already, but things get harder from here, and until they have shown that the obvious progress they have made so far — especially on defense — is lasting they don’t deserve to be ranked this high.
I’m optimistic — not surprisingly — but this degree of praise is premature.
The Huskers played a ridiculously weak nonconference schedule. It was underwhelming to say the least. They kicked off their Big Ten lives last weekend at Wisconsin, and pretty much couldn’t have been more humiliated by the outcome. It was ugly.
So that means that they have beaten nobody particularly impressive — I’m not impressed by Washington yet — and they were crushed by the only legitimately good team they have faced.
Their quarterback is inconsistent at best, their coach is volatile, and they just aren’t that impressive. That certainly doesn’t sound like the 14th best team in the country to me.
The Wildcats are getting some buzz thanks to their unexpected 4-0 start. While they are doing better than expected, they really haven’t proven too much yet.
Two of their four wins were somewhat impressive, though neither are as impressive as they could be. They won at Miami, but the U has so many issues right now that they are a shadow of themselves.
The more impressive win was beating Baylor at home. The problem that Bears have, though, is that outside of the wildly impressive Robert Griffin III they just aren’t that good. The Wildcats couldn’t contain Griffin, but they were able to come out on top nonetheless.
In the four weeks starting on Oct.29 they play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas. By the end of that it will be very hard to believe that this team was ever thought of this highly.
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