Cullen Harper and the Clemson Tigers are Tommy Rider's most overrated team heading into the season.
I got this idea from Stevebeav's thread about trying to pinpoint some teams that are carrying lofty preseason rankings that they may not deserve. I went over the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 and these are the five teams I think are over-ranked heading into the season:
LSU (Ranked No. 6) - We all know the Tigers are still loaded with talent. However, I don't believe they are top 5-6 team. I think LSU is being overrated, much like Florida was last year. Most people who follow college football closely expected the Gators to take a small step back last year due to all the talent they lost to the NFL and that's exactly what transpired. I expect the same thing to happen to the Bayou Bengals. Their back seven is green and we all know about the uncertainty at QB without Ryan Perriloux. The offensive and defensive fronts are good enough to win eight games but a home tilt with Georgia and road games with Auburn, Florida and South Carolina makes anything more than that unlikely.
Clemson (Ranked No. 9) - In my opinion, this is by far the most overrated team heading into the 2008 season. Sure, the Tigers have talent but all this talk about being a Top 10 team and competing for the National Title is a bit much. I know one thing: All Clemson's talent looked overrated against an average Auburn team last year in their bowl game. That's my point. Clemson is a good, solid team. They have enough ammo to win the ACC but this is too high for them to be ranked. First of all, they have a huge hole at left tackle, which has yet to be filled. It doesn't matter how many Cullen Harper's, James Davis' and C.J. Spiller's a team has if the line can't block people. Both tackles were beaten like a drum all spring and into the summer. I'm sorry but I don't see that being fixed by the time the Tigers play Alabama in the opener. As a matter of fact, the Tide wins that game straight up. Mark it down.
Texas (Ranked No. 10) - Texas was a team I actually liked a lot more before I started doing my CFB research. I guess I had the memory of them running all over Arizona State in last year's Holiday Bowl still fresh in my mind. The Horns are probably a lock for eight wins but when we start talking about them as a Top 10 team, I have to put the breaks on. Texas has major question marks at receiver and the secondary is a mess. That's not good news when you play in the high-flying Big 12. I believe new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will make a big difference but it probably won't happen early in the year. Then there is Colt McCoy. I just can't put my finger on it but there's something about McCoy I don't like. I think he's one of those guys who will forever be a good college quarterback that always underachieved. Toss in a schedule that includes a five-game stretch against Colorado, Oklahoma, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, and being No. 10 is quite a lofty goal for the Longhorns this season.
Wisconsin (Ranked No. 12) - I'm on record as saying how much I respect Bret Bielema as a head coach. When you have a guy like that, your team always has a chance to compete. Having said that, no way is the 12th best team in the country heading into the season. They have concerns at QB, DL and WR, while their special teams are uncharacteristically weak this year as well. The Badgers also have a tough schedule with road battles against Fresno State, Michigan, Iowa and Michigan State, while playing host to Ohio State, Penn State and Illinois. That's doesn't set up for a team with quarterback concerns to have a lot of success. I hate to underestimate the Badgers but my early guess is they won't even finish in the Top 25 this year. I know one thing for sure: They won't finish in the Top 12.
Illinois (Ranked No. 19) - My main problem with Wisconsin and Illinois being ranked this high is I think Penn State is a better team than both of them, and they are down at 22. I don't expect the Illini to fall off the map after their surprising Rose Bowl season but I do think they are overrated heading into 2008. The loss of Rashard Mendenhall was huge for this team and I'm still not sold on Juice Williams under center. I actually think his backup, Eddie McGee, could be the more effective quarterback. The Illini's defense should be strong but an inconsistent offense and awful special teams will be their downfall. Not to mention a schedule that includes Missouri, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin. Illinois gets all of those tough opponents on the road except Ohio State, who they will host on Nov. 15. Lucky them.
These are the five teams that I think are overrated in the preseason Top 25. Do you agree or disagree with any of these? Do you have teams you want to add to the list? Let us know the teams you think are overrated heading into the 2008 season.
Bye Bye Clemson. I say that team self destructs and loses 3-4 games this year. They are a huge bet against team for me the rest of the way.
By the way, don't mark down that Bama win. I actually like Clemson now. Too much value in the line. It should be higher than 4.5. Saban is knocking it down 2 points.
My Good God....I simply cannot get how Wisconsin does not win 9 Games each and every year....
The BIG TEN would get so much more respect if they'd have the BRASS to schedule more than just 1 Ohio St v So Cal and the ND Circuit....although I don't blame them with their Huge Stadiums and great New Year's day Bowl aliances....it can't be understated how piss poor the Big ten's line-up's are...
I have many buddies in the 'Grateful Red' - who claim up and down how Fresno St, Marshall and Akron 'isn't that bad', and Cal-Poly....but the point is, Wisconsin will probably split the Home dates v Ohio St and Penn State, lost at Michigan, finish 3rd as they do every year, and right there at 12th where they are projected without really getting tested, not even having a challenge to the Over/Under-rated tag...
The ACC is equally weak in scheduling...I can't believe that 1/4th of the Conf plays only 4 of 12 games as true roadies...all but Miami plays 4 or 5 roadies...IN FACT - FOUR of 12 ACC Teams don't even play true road game until OCTOBER - in a season with week one in AUGUST!
What was the Point of adding this 12th game if everyone is just gonna add a meaningless D-IAA team to the schedule?
I'm a PAC-10 Guy - but i really think they did the respectable thing by adding the 12th game as a CONF game, eliminating the 'skip' team.
HEY - BACK TO THE POINT:
Over-rated...I hate to do it, but all this S Carolina talk seems too early, too much, ect...i really think even Tennessee is more consistent than a team that was 6-1, until losing last 5, and kept hanging their hat on ONE BIG EARLY, fortunate hang-on win over UGa. S Carolina's vaunted 'D' became very average, and in fact, porous .... lost at Home to Vandy and 'only' went 3-5 in SEC, beating lower teams Ky and Miss St....
QB returns - and was 4-2 as TRUE FRESHMAN Starter, but Spurrier openly criticized the True Freshman as immobile and not a good fit for his system...
I also think WVU is a little over-rated....their stats on fewest games of player-injury lost, Turnover difference and close wins, simply must turn around a little.....this isn't a scientific thing - just a statistical prediction.
Also just do not believe Kansas will win more than 8 games....and may be rated anywhere from 14th to 22nd based on their break-thru season of last year, and carry-over from the 11-1 season....and amazing 11-1 ATS will most likely be more like 6-6, also.
Tide +5 was already one of my week 1 plays, so I'm glad to see you agree. LSU is definitely too high at #6 but should compete with Auburn for the chance to represent the West in the SEC champ game.
Thanks Spartan. You have to love the Fighting Nick Saban's getting five points in that game. I can't wait to watch Clemson's "perceived" speed against "real" speed like the Tide has. The more I talk to people about Alabama, the more I think they are ready to make a strong push this season. Talent all over the place. They just aren't the household names yet that the players on Clemson are. I'm hoping the line goes up. Money line winner. Let's do it!
I could not agree more Tommy on the Clemson Tigers, I also think the Tide win that game. Nice job!
Thanks Matty. I also forgot to add that Les Miles is a clown. He got lucky on about 30 bad calls last year. His luck will run out this season. Him staying at LSU was the best thing that ever happened to Michigan in my opinion.
I love every one of these picks. Clemson screwed me bad against Virginia Tech last year. Just because you have a load of returning starters coming back doesn't guarantee success. There's only so much players can learn, and some will make the same mistakes again no matter how long they're in school.