College Football Predictions: Overrated Teams
by Trevor Whenham - 8/22/2011
I don’t know about you, but I am dying for the college football season to start. I can’t wait. We won’t really know how good teams are and what we can really expect until we have seen teams play a few games, but that shouldn’t stop us from speculating. When I look at the first of the preseason polls there are five teams that stand out as being obviously, and in most cases significantly, overrated. Here’s a look:
Alabama (No. 2 in the Coaches’ Poll) - I have nothing but respect for Nick Saban and his accomplishments. The only reason this team is as high as they are, though, is because of his name.
Just think about it — this is a team that has lost their star quarterback, their star running back — a Heisman Trophy winner no less, and their star wide receiver. There is some uncertainty at quarterback, so we don’t know how well the underrated shoes of Greg McElroy will be filled.
They play in a very competitive division, and the Alabama Crimson Tide football schedule is tough.
Could this team prove to be the second best team in the country by the end of the season given their depth and outstanding coaching? Absolutely. But it is far from guaranteed that they will do so, and giving them this much credit already just doesn’t make sense.
Florida State (No. 5) - Like Alabama, Florida State is dealing with the loss of a talented quarterback. Their replacement is clear, but to say E.J. Manuel is unproven and a risk would be a serious understatement.
The Seminoles have a load of talent on both sides of the ball, but it has been a long time since they have been able to capitalize on that talent to do anything particularly notable.
In my eyes a team should have to earn a high rating, and a 10-4 team with a new quarterback has not earned these lofty heights in my eyes. They certainly could get there, but there are some potential traps on their schedule, and Jimbo Fisher is still more potential and big talk than accomplishment.
At this point this ranking just creates unrealistic and unnecessary expectations.
Stanford (No. 6) — Andrew Luck is unquestionably the most exciting and impressive player in the country right now. He’s a total freak. Just pretend he isn’t in the picture for a second, though. Would you really consider that a team with no established history of success in a reasonably weak conference that has lost an extremely good coach, is changing both coordinators, and has lost four offensive linemen a Top 6 team? I sure wouldn’t.
Luck is amazing, but he can’t do it alone, and there is no guarantee that the personnel or the coaching he has will be enough to lift him to these incredibly lofty heights.
Are they potentially a very strong contender in the Pac-12? For sure. However, they need to prove that they can make a whole lot of transitions before they can manage that. We also don’t know how well Luck is going to be able to handle being under a gigantic microscope right from the start this year.
I like Stanford a lot, but this is by far the most ridiculous rating we have seen so far.
Nebraska (No. 11) - If you read anything from Huskers fans these days you get the sense that they are a lock to win the Big Ten. I’m just not buying it.
For starters they are taking a big step up in overall class in moving from the Big 12 to the Big Ten. They don’t have to play Oklahoma or Texas anymore, but the general level of competition is much better in the Big Ten, and the style of play is different and more physical. That’s going to require an adjustment.
On top of that they have a coach that I have a real hard time having any faith in, and he has a quarterback who he has a love-hate relationship with.
Nebraska needs to prove they are an elite team before they are crowned as one.
Ohio State (No. 16) - This one is completely insane. Their coach is gone and the program is rocked by a major scandal. They have lost their star quarterback in a cloud of controversy, and the replacement is certain to be unprepared and — at least at first — inadequate. Four other key players will be missing the first five games of the year. Head coach Luke Fickell was thrust into an impossible situation without adequate preparation.
Opposing fans will be particularly hostile, and home fans will be frustrated. Distractions abound. This team could be fine or they could be terrible, and the total uncertainty makes this ranking preposterous.
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