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Overrateds & Underrateds
by Scott Spreitzer - 12/06/2011
Each week throughout the college football season, Scott will dissect the new top-25 rankings on Monday evenings and post what he feels is the week's most overrated top-25 BCS team, along with the most underrated BCS ranked team, and an unranked AP Top-25 team that he feels should be in the top-25.
MOST OVERRATED TEAM: Virginia Tech Hokies
Frank Beamer's crew came into this season with a chip on their shoulder. The defense didn't perform like a typical Bud Foster defense last season and the players wanted to prove it was a fluke. But as it turns out, after watching the Hokies in their two games with Clemson, they were likely a decent team playing what turned out to be a pretty soft slate, rather than a very good team that dominated decent competition. The Hokies managed a grand total of just 13 combined points in their two games against Clemson, while allowing 61. The Hokies had a terrible second half this past weekend, and they were out-gained for the game by a 457-330 margin. QB Logan Thomas finished just 37 of 71, (52% completion rate), with 1 TD pass, 3 INTs, and he was sacked 6 times in the two contests. Other than Clemson, Virginia Tech played just two other teams on this season's schedule who were ranked in the top-25. They beat Georgia Tech, ranked 20th at the time, and faced Virginia when the Cavaliers were ranked 24th. That's it. So, it turns out that Va Tech was a product of a schedule in all likelihood. Are they a top-25 team? Sure - no doubt. But somewhere in the 20-25 range, rather than the 11th spot they currently hold in the BCS rankings. Virginia Tech is this week's Most Overrated team.
MOST UNDERRATED TEAM: Michigan Wolverines
I'm going to make an argument that the Michigan Wolverines belong in the 8-10 range in the BCS rankings. After a loss at Iowa on November 5, the Wolverines "turned it up a notch" winning their last three games over Illinois, Nebraska, and Ohio State, while putting a total of 116 points (38.7 ppg) on the scoreboard. While the offense "exploded," it's the defense that has led the turnaround in Ann Arbor. Former HC Rich Rodriguez may have won a few more games and subsequently kept his job if he would have fired DC Greg Robinson. We have seen in a matter of less than 12 months on the job, a major turnaround led by new DC Greg Mattison. The stop unit is certainly the difference between mediocrity and the team that's headed to New Orleans for a Sugar Bowl matchup with Virginia Tech. With this much improvement made in year one, it's going to be interesting to watch where this program goes over the next couple of seasons under Hoke & Mattison's direction. Michigan is this week's Most Underrated ranked team.
UNRANKED TEAM THAT SHOULD BE RANKED: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
When I first looked at the unranked teams for this week's article, I felt that I couldn't go wrong whether I put the Irish, Cincinnati, or BYU in this spot. But after further review, the schedule played by Notre Dame put them ahead of the other two contenders. While Cincinnati and especially BYU built up the win column against soft opposition, the Irish did play a tough slate. Losing to Michigan, Stanford, and USC is nothing to be ashamed of. And the Irish simply "gave away" their season opening contest to South Florida. But the Irish may be the most talented team playing in a pre-New Year's bowl game. Having said that, facing Florida State in the Champs Bowl is no easy task. The Seminoles were once ranked in the top-5. I believe the Notre Dame - Florida State matchup is one of the most intriguing in this season's bowls. While the Seminoles are in the rankings, the Irish aren't - and they are this week's team that should be ranked in the top-25.