Overrated/Underrated CFB Teams
With the start of the college football season just days away, the talk of the land has been about the AP Preseason Top 25 poll. There are many teams that feel disrespected as well as teams that believe they have been ranked generously. With all the debate and arguments over which teams are ranked properly, let's add some fuel to the fire and list some overrated and underrated teams in the preseason AP Top 25 Poll along with a College Football Playoff sleeper pick.
No. 6 Washington Huskies:
The Washington Huskies have been getting a lot of love throughout the football world this preseason. Both Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit have the Huskies breaking their way into the CFB Playoff. Maybe it’s because the Pac-12 is perceived as a weak conference, but regardless I believe that the Huskies are too highly ranked.
Jake Browning saw one of the largest statistical drops in recent memory. Browning threw for 43 touchdowns and 3430 yards in 2016 compared to just 19 touchdowns and 2719 yards last season. It also doesn’t help that Browning lost his top weapon in Dante Pettis. Washington’s defense also took a hit by losing a star defensive tackle in Vita Vea along with two starting linebackers from a season ago.
Washington has the chance to prove myself and other doubters wrong this season as they start the year off with a clash against Auburn. The Huskies also have some tough matchups on the road. However, the way I see it, this ranking was given, not earned.
No. 21 UCF Knights:
I get it. How can you call a team that went 13-0, beat Auburn and finished the year ranked No. 6 as an overrated team when they don’t even crack the top-20? Well, UCF has lost a lot from a season ago. The Knights lost many players from the historic 2017 team, including first-round draft pick Mike Hughes, two offensive weapons in Tre-Quan Smith and Jordan Atkins as well as Shaquem Griffin.
While all of those players have left big shoes to fill, the biggest loss for the Knights is head coach, Scott Frost. The new Nebraska head coach inherited an 0-12 team, reinvented the offense, and created an undefeated team in just two years. New head coach, Josh Heupel, claims that he will run a similar offense to the one that led the Knights on that spectacular run a season ago, but in my eyes, the magic is gone and I would not be surprised if UCF is unranked for the majority of the season.
No. 14 Michigan Wolverines:
Ann Arbor is home to one of the most talented teams in the country. The Michigan Wolverines struggled a season ago due to their woes at the quarterback position but remained competitive due to their all-around talent at all other positions. After having just two players drafted and two players picked up as UDFAs, the Wolverines are returning an intimidating number of elite players.
Oh, and by the way, they may have figured out that quarterback issue after acquiring Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson. Patterson is a potential first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft and has thrown for over 300 yards in five of his seven games including a pair of 400+ yard games.
Patterson has multiple weapons out wide to target as well as a solid stable of running backs to keep the defense honest. The Wolverines also have a lethal defensive front seven which will provide quarterback pressure and give opposing running backs a frustrating day.
The Wolverines have a tough schedule that includes games against Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State that will surely put them to the test. Regardless of how many losses they may have, being ranked at 14 is very low considering the raw talent this team has.
CFB Playoff Sleeper
No. 24 Oregon Ducks:
Many people were surprised to see that the Oregon Ducks were even in the AP Poll to begin with, but I think they are capable of much more than a No. 24 ranking. The Ducks are anchored by a 6’6” 230 lbs. quarterback, Justin Herbert, who many consider to be the best in college football.
The PAC-12 is already up for grabs, and the Ducks benefit by having a relatively easy schedule this year. USC is not on the schedule which leaves just Washington and Stanford as their ranked opponents. Luckily for the Ducks, both of those games are in Eugene, Oregon. A lot will have to go right, but I believe Oregon has a chance to escape this season with a chance at a PAC-12 championship which could potentially launch them into the CFB Playoff.
Nick Mazone is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in digital media trends and analytics. To contact him, email NickMazone@nycap.rr.com