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AP Poll: Overrated/Underrated Teams

The AP Poll was released over the weekend and today I can officially come up with Overrated and Underrated teams for the upcoming year.

First, here is the Preseason AP Top 25.

Rk Team
1 Alabama (54)
2 Ohio State (3)
3 Boise State (1)
4 Florida
5 Texas (1)
6 TCU
7 Oklahoma (1)
8 Nebraska
9 Iowa
10 Virginia Tech
11 Oregon
12 Wisconsin
13 Miami (FL)
14 USC
15 Pittsburgh
16 Georgia Tech
17 Arkansas
18 North Carolina
19 Penn State
20 Florida State
21 LSU
22 Auburn
23 Georgia
24 Oregon State
25 West Virginia

Overrated Teams

#5 Texas-I think the Top 10 is reasonably legitimate and the Longhorns are once again one of the most talented teams in the country and they have my #1 defense. They do face my #5 team Nebraska in Lincoln and my #1 team Oklahoma in Dallas, but will be a solid favorite in all of the rest of their games. They do lose a 4-year starting QB in Colt McCoy, their top WR in Jordan Shipley and have not really had a feature RB since Jamaal Charles (’07), so there are some questions on offense. While I think it will be another solid season for the Longhorns I think a Top 5 finish as projected by the AP is a bit of a reach this year.

#12 Wisconsin-The Badgers are coming off a 10-win season and are a much more veteran team this year. Many of my sets of power ratings have them slightly ahead of Iowa but they have to play the Hawkeyes on the road and get #2 Ohio St at home. They do avoid Penn St but the Michigan and Michigan St road trips will be much tougher than most suspect. While 5 of my 9 sets of ratings call for a double digit win season, I think another Top 15 ranking will be tough to duplicate.

#15 Pittsburgh-When I list my rankings in the magazine, they are my end of season rankings and I have Pittsburgh #27. I do have the Panthers winning the Big East title by beating West Virginia at home which would give them the tie-breaker. However, they have just 11 returning starters and have to face Utah and Notre Dame on the road and Miami, Fl at home in non-conference play. By winning the conference, I have them playing in the Fiesta Bowl against Nebraska, but I think the Panthers could have four losses at the end of the year.

#16 Georgia Tech-Paul Johnson is a great coach and last year I undervalued the Yellow Jackets and paid the price as they not only won the Coastal, but won the ACC Title outright. This year they have to play Clemson, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Georgia all on the road and Miami at home in which the Yellow Jackets could be a underdog in each game. Despite the tough schedule, they have 14 returning starters and could make me pay again for picking them 4th in the Coastal this year.

#21 LSU-The talent is there for LSU to contend for the SEC West Title and even knock off Alabama at home. They do have to play SIX teams in my Top 25 (#10 schedule) and only have 10 returning starters. Keep in my mind LY they went 9-4 but were outgained on the year 328-305. This is a talented squad with my #19 rated defense and a lot of VHT’s on offense but with the schedule they could find it tough matching last year’s 9 regular season wins and could finish out of the Top 25 for the second time in 3 years.

Underrated Teams

#7 Oklahoma-The last time the Sooners came off a 5 loss season was 2000 which is the last time they won the National Title!  While they lost 7 players to the draft including four 1st-rounders, two of the top draftees (Bradford and Gresham) did not really play. Last year despite their 5-3 Big 12 record, the Sooners’ +133 ypg was the league’s best. They also had 42 starts lost to injury (tied #3 FBS) and had 3 net close losses. This year they are in much better shape on the offensive line, QB Landry Jones has a year under his belt and all 9 sets of my power ratings call for an unbeaten season. With all these factors added up, the Sooners are my pick to win the National Title in 2010!

#22 Auburn-Many Auburn fans were not happy when HC Gene Chizik was hired (just 5-19 at Iowa St) but I thought he did a solid job here last year guiding the Tigers to a 8-5 record including a New Year’s Day Bowl win. This year Auburn has 15 returning starters and are in the second year of Chizik’s system. The schedule also sets up nicely for them as they get 4 key SEC games at home and my main set of power ratings calls for an 11-1 season with an 11-0 vs 11-0 showdown vs Alabama in the Iron Bowl. The Tigers will easily top LY’s 8 win total and I have them finishing #15.

Notre Dame-HC Brian Kelly gets the most out of the talent on hand and he is the first coach in the history of my magazine to have his team finish higher than I projected them in SIX straight years (including 3 conference titles). He inherits a lot of talent here with 14 returning starters including All-American candidates WR Floyd and TE Rudolph. He does have a new QB in Crist but remember Kelly won a BE title with 5 different QBs in 2008. I feel the Irish have clearly underachieved the last 3 seasons and I think they could be in store for 9 wins or more this year.

South Carolina-This could finally be the year Steve Spurrier envisioned when he came to Columbia. The Gamecocks have 16 returning starters and are one of the top teams in the SEC. They have my #3 rated defense and lose just 11 letterman. This year they do have to play Florida on the road and draw Alabama from the West but it would not surprise me if Spurrier had the team in the SEC Title game this year despite facing the 2nd toughest schedule in the country.

Houston-They Cougars have one of the best offenses in the country with QB Case Keenum, three 1,000 yd receivers and RB Beall who has nearly 2,000 yds in his 1st two seasons. Houston also should have an improved defense this year with 6 starters back including three of the top 4 returning tacklers. Not only are the Cougars my pick for the CUSA title, but 2 of my 9 sets of power ratings call for an undefeated season with winnable road games at UCLA and Texas Tech.

Arizona-My magazine is the only one in the country to have the Wildcats in the Top 25 and they are a legitimate Pac-10 title contender. Arizona could have easily won the conference title last year but had a pair of 3 pt losses and came up just short. While they only have 4 starters back on defense, they only lose 17 letterman and will have a potent offense. They get 5 Pac-10 home games and a road trip to Washington St. I will call for them to have their most wins since 1998 and have a shot at their 1st ever Rose bowl which would make a great story.

Only 9 Days Until The First College Football Game!!!

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  • kc

    so Auburn is 11-1 going into Bowl season and ends up #15?? That would warrant a BCS appearance if the East representative isn’t undefeated going into the SECCG.

  • Jmacns2004

    You seriously think South Carolina can make the SECCG? LOL!

    Do you realize they have ONE I repeat ONE 10 win season in their 117 year football history. I don’t care how “down” the SEC East is, they won’t win the SEC East.

  • Joshua

    Underrated = Oklahoma State

    We have Dana Holgerson from Houston as our Offensive Coordinator now. Watch out, we’re like a Texas Tech with a Defense.

  • Llanonite

    Houston is not gonna win in Lubbock!!!

  • SECfan

    kc, that was my immediate thought. If Auburn starts 11-0, they will be in the top 5 and maybe top 3. Worst case scenario from there would be 11-2 (loss to Bama and BCS bowl loss).

  • http://www.philsteele.com Phil Steele

    I agree but who else is going to beat the Cougars this year? They do play on the road at UCLA but the Bruins are having several injury concerns right now. You have to think even with a loss to Texas Tech, the Cougars at 11-1 will be in the top 20.

  • http://www.philsteele.com Phil Steele

    I said it is a possibility. For the record I have them picked 3rd in the division in the magazine.

  • http://www.philsteele.com Phil Steele

    One of my power ratings has them at 11-1, the avg among my 8 sets is 10 which would put them in the Capital One Bowl.

  • Topguncoach

    phill will mizzou win big 12 north

  • http://www.philsteele.com Phil Steele

    I had the Tigers picked 2nd in the North in my preseason magazine and thru 3 weeks, I still stand by that prediction. Nebraska looks like they have found a QB in Martinez and will be very tough to beat in Lincoln. Thanks, Phil