Daily Blog •August 2, 2012

Coaches Poll: Overrated/Underrated Teams!

College Football fans wait several months for the AP/Coaches preseason polls to come out in early August and buy several of the preseason magazines including mine. Naturally I have always found these polls to be interesting and for the last several years I have projected the preseason AP Top 10 prior to the season and have hit on at least 9 of the 10 teams each year! This year I expanded my projection to 24 teams and today with the USA Today Coaches Poll being released I thought it would be a good time to analyze how I did FIVE months ago with my prediction and also take a look at some of the overrated/underrated teams in the poll.

First way back on March 2, I put out my projected preseason AP Top 24, I will mentioned it numerous times that this was NOT MY preseason Top 24 for next year, but it is where I project the AP Top 24 to come out at the start of the season. I also strategically projected 24 teams and not 25 because I feel confident that all 24 of these teams will be in the preseason Top 25 while leaving room for a wildcard team that could slip into the Top 25 due to injuries, suspensions, transfers or preseason magazine projections.

With today’s coaches poll being released I thought I would get a first analysis of how my new expanded projection did and was thoroughly pleased! First all 24 teams that I projected (with the exception of Ohio St who is ineligible for the Coaches poll) made the top 25! Also I had LSU correctly ranked #1 which was a surprise to many USC fans and keep in mind this was five months before they got incoming Penn St RB transfer Silas Redd! I had all 11 teams in the Coaches Top 11 projected to be placed there FIVE months ago with Florida St (My pick for #1) a little lower projected and Arkansas (before Petrino let go) projected a little higher at that time!

You can now see that there is really no need to wait those agonizing five months prior to the season to see if your team will be ranked in the preseason Top 10/25…just make sure you are checking out my blog in February and March for my projected AP Top 25!

Now let’s look at some of the overrated/underrated teams in the coaches poll. First, when doing this analysis naturally I am comparing the poll with my Preseason Top 40 poll that was listed in this year’s College Football preview.

Underrated Teams:

  1. Florida.  I had the Gators in my Preseason Top 10 while they rank #23 in the Coaches. They have my #2 rated defense in the country and should get vastly upgraded QB play. I thought they played Bama tough LY until they lost their top 2 QB’s and played Georgia even with Brantley back from injury. They would have ranked higher in my Top 10 but their schedule is daunting.
  1. UCF. UCF got 5 votes in the Coaches poll while I had them #15. Naturally my preseason projection was well before the NCAA banned them from a CUSA Champ Game and also a bowl game. Last year Houston was my #1 Most Improved Team in the country and went from 5-7 to 13-1. I expected a similar turnaround for the Knights this year and one of the main reasons I picked them over Ohio St as my #1 Most Improved Team in the country was the fact that they would play two more games than the Buckeyes which would probably mean two more wins but now with no CUSA Champ and Bowl game on the table, that prediction might not come to fruition. I still think if they can maintain their focus that the Knights should have a solid season and finished ranked.
  1. USF. South Florida only received 12 votes in the Coaches poll while I had them #20. They have mostly underachieved in recent years but this year they have an excellent defensive front 7, 15 returning starters and only face my #57 schedule. While the Louisville is the media’s favorite to win the Big East this year and could be ranked in the AP Preseason Top 25, I’ll disagree and call for the Bulls to get to their first BCS Bowl with the Big East Title.
  1. Texas. The Horns were rated #7 in my preseason poll but only #15 in the coaches. Keep in mind they finished last season unranked! The Horns have my #6 rated defense and surprisingly my #6 rated offense. They have my #8 rated O-Line and #4 D-Line and should get vastly improved play at QB and have TWO PS#1 RB’s. They are my #1 Surprise Team (darkhorse national title contender).

Overrated Teams:

  1. Michigan. I have the Wolverines much lower (#22) than what the Coaches poll has them (#8). Keep in mind they played just 2 ranked teams (neither in Top 15) last year in the regular season and went 1-1 against them. Also in the bowl despite being outgained 377-184 they were able to beat a ranked VT team. This year’s schedule is much tougher as they have to play Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio St all on the road and each of those four teams are ranked in my Top 21. Throw in a home game vs Michigan St and I will call for the Wolverines to not match LY’s 11-win total.
  1. South Carolina. The Gamecocks are ranked #9 in the Coaches Poll but I have them only #23. While I feel that this could be Spurrier’s best team yet at South Carolina, the schedule is daunting as they play five ranked teams! The month of October starts with a home game vs Georgia followed by B2B away games in Death Valley and at the Swamp, then if they have anything left in the tank, they play a much improved Tennessee team to close out the month. How they fare in that month will determine whether they are either overrated or underrated this year.
  1. Kansas St. The Coaches poll has the Wildcats #21 while I have them only #37. I have detailed in past blogs how KSt was able to win six games last year as an underdog! They were also outgained 395-337 on the season but yet still finished a remarkable 10-3. That’s just one reason why Bill Snyder was my coach of the year last year. This year the Big 12 has six teams returning that had DD wins last year and Kansas St has to play four of them on the road! While I still have much respect for Coach Snyder, I think the daunting schedule may catch up to them this year and they will not get to 10 wins.
  1. TCU. I surprised many earlier this year when I had the Horned Frogs picked only at #36 while the Coaches Poll has them at #17. Like nearly every overrated/underrated team listed, the schedule has much to do with it. I can foresee that on October 22, I will be getting a lot of hate mail from TCU fans as they have a great shot at being 7-0 and ranked in the top 10 at that point. However, they have a brutal last five games including at Oklahoma St, at West Virgina, Kansas St, at Texas and then Oklahoma. It will be tough for the Horned Frogs to win more than 1-2 games in that stretch as they are taking a major step up in competition this year and that’s why I only have them at #36.

When the Preseason AP Poll is released in a week, I expect it will look different than the Coaches Poll, and I will revisit this blog and breakdown the AP’s Overrated/Underrated Teams. 

Only 28 Days Until the First College Football Game!