It's just about midseason and already some teams have turned in performances that defy logical explanation. Granted, the possibility of a huge upset every week is what makes college football so exciting, but some losses are not excusable. While the usual suspects have already initiated their usual plunge in the rankings, some new faces have popped up and joined the Brotherhood of the Overrated. Sure these teams can turn it around and still have great seasons. But for now, it appears they were overrated from the get-go. -Lisa Horne
If a team is 6-0 in the SEC, they ought to get respect. So far, the only thing we're respecting about the Tigers is coach Les Miles' ability to win despite his unintentional proclivity for giving his opponents opportunities to win in the fourth quarter. Many consider LSU lucky, but let's not minimize the importance of luck in sports. Yankees' pitcher Vernon "Lefty" Gomez was famous for his "I'd rather be lucky than good" response to critics and so far, that mantra is subliminally working for The Hat. But the AAA of the SEC awaits — Auburn, Alabama and Arkansas — and we just don't see LSU lucking through all three of those games without getting exposed as a mediocre team.
While the Hawkeyes have made our overrated list for two consecutive years due to back-to-back Northwestern losses, this year they're on it for a different reason. Iowa was ranked No. 9 in the AP preseason poll and stayed there until week four, when the Hawkeyes dropped a deuce in Tucson, Az. and fell to No. 17. This week, Iowa is ranked No. 15 after beating a Penn State team that is 0-3 against BCS teams (including Illinois), while Arizona is ranked No. 17 after losing to Oregon State, 29-27. While Iowa and Arizona have identical 4-1 records, shouldn't the final score of Arizona 34, Iowa 27 be the definitive factor in determining which team gets ranked higher?
So far, the SEC doesn't look very dominant, and defending BCS Champion Alabama has had some hidden issues on its defense finally exposed. The Tide's scoring defense has a 13.3 point average, but it gave up 20 points to Arkansas, and 35 to South Carolina. Alabama's blowout wins against San Jose State, Penn State and Duke — teams with a combined 5-12 record — created its bloated No. 1 ranking (No. 2 after last week's loss), impressive defensive stats and the usual SEC media hype. Yes, the Tide lost to another SEC team last Saturday, but SEC team losses to Jacksonville State, Northwestern, UConn, and Colorado don't exactly impress the BCS. Or us.
The Hurricanes came storming into the preseason polls as the AP No. 13 team. After pounding Florida A&M, 45-0, the Hurricanes moved up to No. 12, then went on a rollercoaster ride going from No. 17, to No. 19, to No. 16, to No. 13, to finally dropping out of the polls altogether after last week's beatdown at the hands of Florida State. The Hurricanes (3-2) face Duke Saturday, and undoubtedly will be back in the top 25 after spanking the Blue Devils. We've seen this show before — last year Miami was ranked as high as No. 9 before ending the season in the No. 19 spot. But since Ohio State and Florida State have already delivered two cans of whoop on the Canes, maybe the pollsters will see the light.
Oregon State (3-2)
It's come down to this: the 2010 Beavers can beat Pac-10 teams from the state of Arizona (Arizona State and Arizona), but not a team from the Mountain West or WAC (TCU, Boise State). It's perfectly conceivable that they could run the table and go undefeated in conference play, ultimately representing the Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl. How out of whack would it be to have an undefeated (in conference) BCS-conference champion reach a BCS bowl game with losses to two conference teams whose respective conferences can't get the coveted automatic-qualifying status to a BCS Bowl? Think about it. Something is very wrong here.
Attention pollsters: Michigan State is NOT Bowling Green, UConn, Indiana, University of Massachusetts or Notre Dame. Now that the Wolverines have been exposed by Michigan State, their fall from No. 18 to the unranked makes more sense. But why were they ranked that high to begin with? Denard Robinson is a great football player, but that doesn't make him a great quarterback, nor does it make Michigan a great team. The hype over Michigan was amusing, but when you've played five currently unranked teams and your scoring defense is 75th in the nation, the red flag should be flying high.
Virginia Tech (4-2)
The Hokies started their first week of the season ranked No. 10 in the AP and No. 6 in the USAToday polls. Losing to Boise State is excusable. The loss to James Madison, however, is a different story, and the first reason why Virginia Tech is on this list. Not only did Virginia Tech cause their fans to go in panic mode by losing to an FCS team, they caused Boise State fans to go to DEFCON 5. The Hokies however, have recovered, reeling off four straight wins over three mediocre teams and a surprisingly good (5-1) North Carolina State team. The only team that stands in Virginia Tech's way of winning the ACC Coastal is Miami, which is the second reason why the Hokies are on this list. Any questions?
The Panthers debuted at No. 15 in the preseason polls and were the highest-ranked team in the Big East. With a 2-3 record, they could still win the Big East and qualify for a BCS Bowl, because they have yet to play their first conference game this season. To put this entire thing in perspective, all you have to do is look at the USAToday Poll in week six. The coaches had to drop No. 25 Northwestern to make room for the highest-ranked Big East team, No. 25 West Virginia. Adding fuel to the fire is Vegas oddsmakers having Pitt vs. Syracuse as a pick 'em game. That's right folks, there is no favorite.
In the preseason AP Poll, Texas was ranked No. 5 and even received a lone No. 1 vote. The Longhorns dropped a spot to No. 6 after struggling to put away Rice and Wyoming, and dropped to No. 7 after a lackluster showing against Texas Tech, yet still received a No. 1 vote. It was the Longhorns' loss at home to UCLA, however, that started their free fall to No. 21, and a loss to Oklahoma that took them out of the polls completely. When a team drops in the polls for two straight weeks after some questionable wins, why is that team still getting a No. 1 vote? If ever there was a case of a team getting a high ranking due to its storied past, Texas is it.
The Florida Gators have four wins over FBS unranked teams with a combined record of 11-12, a No. 96-ranked total offense, and are No. 22 in the AP poll. Air Force (5-1) has four wins over unranked FBS teams with a combined record of 8-15, the No. 21-ranked total offense in the country, and is ranked below Florida, at No. 23. True, the Gators have a good defense - ranked No. 37 in points allowed - but Air Force is ranked No. 25 in the same category. Perhaps what makes Florida such an obvious No. 1 on our list is simply watching them play. It's actually painful.