With the first college football rankings poll released today what better time to look at some over valued college football teams. The sports media and college football fans spend the whole offseason building hype around a wide range of teams. Some of those teams thrive under the burning glare of the spotlight, while others inevitably wilt under the weight of expectations. It always seems easy in hindsight to look at the teams that don’t live up to their hype and pick out the reasons for their struggles. At this time of year, though, it’s much tougher to spot the ones who are headed to troubles. Here are five teams that are getting a lot of attention right now that could be headed for troubles as well as overvalued by the college football oddsmakers.
Miami – There are a lot of people who like a lot about this team coming into the season, and I count myself among that group. There are a couple of good reasons to be concerned about what could happen, though. First, Heisman hopeful Jacory Harris is dealing with a lingering thumb injury, and that’s never a good thing for a QB. He says he’s fine, but until it’s game tested we can’t be sure, and the team will have issues if he’s not ready. More significantly, the schedule is brutal. In three weeks they have to travel to Ohio State, Pitt, and Clemson, then they play Florida State at home. All four of those teams could be pretty good this year. Miami could prove to be a very good team and still lose two of those games.
Florida State – The other ACC team from Florida comes in with high hopes, and also faces some concerning obstacles – especially the schedule. In week two they face a tough game at Oklahoma, and then an equally tough home game against BYU. They have to travel to Miami, and they have to end the season by hosting the Gators. There are a lot of places for a team to stumble – especially one that comes into this season going through the first coaching change in a long, long time. Jimbo Fisher is the real deal, and Bobby Bowden really needed to go, but there are inevitably going to be some transitional issues. They also have a QB in Christian Ponder who has a lot more talent and potential than proven performance.
Ohio State – There is an attitude held by a lot of people that Terrelle Pryor is the man to beat in the Heisman race this year. I’m not buying it. He’s a stunning talent – an absolutely physical freak who can do anything. I’ve watched him play a lot, though, and I think that there is a huge gap between how he has played so far and how he’ll need to play to lead this team as far as people think they can go. He can be brilliant at times, but he can also show an incredible lack of football sense. He’s maddeningly inconsistent, and that’s a problem as the Buckeyes enter a Big Ten schedule that is tougher than the public is giving it credit for. Besides Ohio State there are two teams in the conference with the potential to end up in the top five at the end of the season if everything goes right – Wisconsin and Iowa. The Buckeyes have to play both teams on the road in what will be incredibly hostile environments. Trusting Pryor to stand up to that pressure is not something I am willing to do right now.
Arkansas – Maybe it’s because I am a Michigan fan so I am annoyed that he left us, but I am not entirely buying all of the Ryan Mallett hype. In fact, I can’t thinking of him without thinking of Jevan Snead. Like Snead last year, Mallett comes into this season hyped as a guy with a massive arm who could be the top pick in the draft, and who could elevate his team to he upper echelons. Snead was absolutely hopeless last year, Ole Miss struggled, and Snead went undrafted. Mallett has a lot of tools around him, but he’ll face a ridiculous amount of pressure this year, and he’s on a team that hasn’t accomplished anything significant in a long time. Things could go very well for them, but I will be less surprised if they don’t.
Boise State – I love the Broncos, #5 ranked team in the nation according to Maddux’s college football pick rankings. They are returning a very good offense, and a very good defense. They have a nice schedule, and their coaching is brilliant. They haven’t lost a regular season game in an eternity, and they were impressive in their last bowl game. The big difference, though, and the reason to be concerned, is that for the first time in history the Broncos are a non-BCS team that is expected to be brilliant. They will start the season in the top five, and I have seen more than one prediction that they will end up in the BCS Championship game. They have long thrived in the role of the plucky upstarts, but now they are one of the big boys, and that brings a whole new kind of pressure. they aren’t going to sneak up on anyone anymore.