Underrated/Overrated Teams So Far
10/05/2009 § Leave a comment
Every week, college football fans open up their sports pages (or sports webpages, more likely) and scan the latest incarnations of the three major polls: the AP poll, the USA Today/Coaches poll, and the Harris Interactive poll. The former is the most respected, while the latter two are the most important, as they will eventually make up two-thirds of the destiny-altering BCS Rankings. Examining the polls is always an exercise in frustration, with at least two or three coffee-spewing frauds or oversights per week. In case you haven’t had the time to peruse them for yourself (or if you’re running low on coffee), here are a few teams I see as under- or overrated in this week’s polls:
The Wisconsin Badgers are 5-0, but apparently their narrow escapes against Minnesota and Fresno State have the voters a little wary. They sit at #25 in both the Coaches and Harris polls, but just missed out on the AP (if the poll was extended, they would be #26). The Badgers have two tough tests coming up in Ohio State and Iowa, but taking at least 3 of their last 5 should be no problem, and all 5 are winnable.
Hovering around #15 in all three polls, most people would probably figure the Oregon Ducks are right about where they belong. I think this team is better than the one that stumbled through an ugly opening night loss to Boise State and then endured the embarrassment of the LeGarrette Blount incident. We’ll find out soon enough as Oregon has two challenging Pac-10 road trips (UCLA, Washington) before hosting USC. Don’t be surprised if the Ducks take control of the conference in the next few weeks.
Much like Wisconsin, the South Carolina Gamecocks are probably the victims of not winning by “enough.” Their 16-10 upset of then-#4 Ole Miss was dismissed as the Rebels being either overrated or just the victims of the early-season Top Five Curse. Their 7-3 road win over N.C. State has been all but forgotten, even though the Wolfpack are a decent team. Their lone loss was by 4 points on the road in a shootout against a good Georgia team. South Carolina occupies the 25th spot in the AP poll, while they are 27th and 28th in the other two.
The Boise State Broncos seem to be hanging on to the #6 spot (#5 in the Harris) simply by virtue of being a “BCS Buster” darling. Since that sloppy victory over Oregon, Boise State has spent their time abusing four teams that have three wins between them. There are no real hurdles remaining on their schedules, which means all they need to do is avoid a letdown and they’ll likely make it to a BCS bowl.
The Miami Hurricanes came out of their early season gauntlet of Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma with an impressive 3-1 record. Still, their only solid victory was over Georgia Tech and they are just 5 points from being 1-3. The rest of their schedule is child’s play compared to the quartet they just wrapped up, but they could find trouble on the road against Wake Forest and South Florida. To me, this feels like a young team getting some good breaks and the tables have a tendency to turn on teams like that.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are sitting at around #14 in all three polls. They’ve achieved their 3-1 record by beating Georgia in week one and then reminding everyone that they beat Georgia in week one. The week two loss to Houston hasn’t hurt OSU as much as it should have, especially now that UTEP has shown us who the Cougs really are, by 17 points. The Cowboys’ other two wins are over 0-5 Rice and Grambling State of the FCS.