College Football Betting Advice: Overrated and Underrated Teams in AP Poll
The first AP Poll of the season is out, so it is time for the debate to begin. The poll means less and less as we get further into the playoff era, but that hasn't stopped us from obsessing over it. And obsessing is exactly what I am about to do. You present a list of the Top 25 teams in football to any fan or bettor and you are going to get different opinions about which ones are overrated or underrated. Here are my opinions on that front. Any odds mentioned are from Bovada :
Ohio State (No. 5): The Buckeyes are immensely talented and are still the third choice to win the national title at +750, so this isn't a case of criminal over-ranking. But given that Urban Meyer has missed all of fall practice, and that we now know that he will miss practices right through the first game and will not be on the sideline for the second or third game, we have to be tentative. Meyer has not helped his reputation, and that has the potential to be a distraction in many ways. We haven't dealt with a coaching suspension like this one before, so we don't truly know what it will mean. In a very tough conference that is a concern.
Notre Dame (No. 12): Not to overstate things, but this ranking is totally and utterly insane. It just doesn't make sense. A Top 12 team is not a home underdog in their opener against a lower-ranked team, but Notre Dame is indeed an underdog against Michigan. They don't have clarity at quarterback, they have some depth issues in a several spots, and questions about the coaching aren't entirely out of left field. Notre Dame often gets a significant bonus in the polls for their brand recognition, and this is clearly no exception.
West Virginia (No. 17): A lot of people seem to be excited about QB Will Grier and the Mountaineers. I am not one of them. I like Grier well enough, but I don't put him near the top of the national pile. He has strong receivers, but there are still other issues on offense. And I simply don't trust Dana Holgorsen. I don't expect the team to wind up ranked, and they are started the season at least five spots too high.
Florida State (No. 19): This team was a total and utter disaster last year. They have many of the same players, and the problems were clearly more mental than physical, so we are giving new coach Willie Taggart a lot of credit in this ranking. The talent is there, but we are getting ahead of themselves with this ranking. They should have to show that they aren't the team they were before we credit them for it.
Michigan (No. 14): This is a ridiculous ranking. Michigan is the sixth choice to win the national title at +1800. They have a huge number of returning players, a defense that was among the best in the country last year and could be better, a new starting quarterback with massive upside, and strong depth. People are right to be skeptical of Jim Harbaugh after he has fallen short in his time in Ann Arbor - especially after his struggles against his biggest rivals - but the team on paper deserves much better than this ranking. All three units on defense could be viewed as top three in the country, and coordinator Don Brown is back to work with them again. Shea Patterson is the best quarterback the team has had in a very long time, and he has seasoned receivers, two top running backs, and an improved offensive line to work with. This is not a 14th-ranked team. It's just not.
TCU (No. 16): The Horned Frogs just aren't getting quite enough credit. They have a very strong defense and on offense with potential. Their big neutral-site game against Ohio State just got a little less frightening with Meyer out, and the Big 12 is wide open. I am not suggesting that this team should be a Top 5 squad, but there are at least five teams ranked ahead of them that I don't trust as much based on schedule, coaching and talent.
UCF (No. 21): The team went 13-0 last year, they return their star quarterback and a lot of other talent, and they play a manageable schedule. Sure, they lost a stellar coach and most of his staff, but they hired well to combat that. Running the table again is not likely, obviously, but last year was no fluke, and the team deserves better. But being under-ranked is nothing new for this team - it happened for the entire season last year.
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