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College Football Recap: Week 8

October 24, 2012

Now that we’re more than halfway done with the season (Boo!) and the BCS rankings have been out for a while (More boo!), we need to look at who’s overrated and who’s underrated. Many teams who are overrated at this point are undefeated or only have one loss, due to a weak schedule. Most teams that are underrated have played a tough schedule and have fallen to good teams or suffered a hard-luck loss or two while playing very well.

The bad thing about college football is that if a team suffers a loss or two to really good teams it’s hopes of a national championship or even a chance to play in the national championship game is completely shot.

Even with a soft non-conference schedule last year, we all can agree Wisconsin was very, very good. But after starting out 6-0 the Badgers lost back-to-back games on the road at Michigan State and at Ohio State on Hail Mary plays at the end of each game. Even though Wisconsin ended up winning the Big 10 championship it didn’t have any chance of playing for a national championship because, for one possible reason, other teams didn’t lose one or two games because they didn’t play challenging teams a respectable amount.

That’s the case we find ourselves with this week. Several top teams are ranked highly because of their recent history and because they were thought to be a good team before anyone even played a down this season. Other teams have played very well against tough competition and fallen short just barely, or in Oregon State’s case remained perfect but are still overshadowed by teams that haven’t done anything on the field to earn their high rank.

Overrated

USC – The Trojans rank ninth in the BCS, but have been one of the more disappointing teams of the season even though they’ve only lost once. But like the team below them their lone loss was against the only ranked team they’ve played in a game where the Trojans were barely competitive. But it started even earlier than that, in Week 2 when the Trojans were out-gained by Syracuse and allowed Ryan Nassib to throw for 322 yards against them. Matt Barkley threw six touchdowns in the 42-29 win, but with 3:42 left in the third the Orange was a 2-point conversion away from making the score 21-18. The Trojans also looked very unimpressive against Cal and Washington, but hey as long as they put up 50 points on Colorado it’s OK they deserve to be ranked really high!

Georgia – The Bulldogs, 10th in the most recent BCS rankings, have had a disappointing season … unless you’re a poll voter, then you think they’ve been great. But in Georgia’s only game against a ranked team, South Carolina, the Dogs feel behind 21-0 in the first, were out-gained by almost 170 yards and ended up losing 35-7. A week before that beatdown, the Dogs almost lost at home to a poor Tennessee team, but the Vols volunteerily gave the ball over to Georgia on their last three possessions in what turned out to be a one-score decision. The offense can still score, but the defense, thought to be one of the best in the country in the preseason has been fairly brutal. The Dogs’ D has fallen to 49th in points allowed this year, down from 23rd last year. And it’s not like they’re playing a bunch of Big 12 offenses. Buffalo and Florida Atlantic, 106th and 119th, respectively, each scored more than their respective season averages against Georgia. Tennessee, averaging 34 points a game, put up 44 against Georgia. The six opponents Georgia has beaten have combined for….12 wins everyone!

Mississippi State – The award for most overrated team either goes to Georgia or Mississippi State. The (other) Bulldogs, who are 7-0, are now ranked 11th in the BCS after receiving one preseason vote in the AP poll following a season where they only beat Kentucky and Ole Miss in conference play. The Bulldogs have a great defense, ranking ninth in points allowed at 14.4. Wait, what’s that? They don’t? They don’t! The best offensive team they’ve faced is Tennessee, who’s 36th in scoring offense. The rest of their schedule goes like this: a 4-4 FCS team; 121st in scoring offense; 64th; 112th; 111th; and 58th. Over the next three weeks MSU plays Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M, and in three weeks the Bulldogs will be 7-3 and unranked.

Underrated

Oregon State – The Beavers, 7-0, are ranked seventh despite having an arguably better resume than Alabama, Oregon and LSU. The Beavers started their season beating then-No. 13 Wisconsin and then-No. 19 UCLA. Both those teams rank in the top 41 of scoring defense. OSU beat Arizona on the road, and has won back-to-back games at BYU, which ranks eighth in scoring defense, and against Utah, which ranks 46th. The Beavers won at BYU with a backup quarterback, and even though they only score 26 a game they’ve still managed to remain perfect against a tough schedule.

Texas A&M – The Aggies, ranked 20th and 5-2, haven’t played a great schedule and have two losses, but in those two losses – against Florida and LSU, mind you – they’ve scored 10 more combined points than what those two teams give up combined on average. In both games A&M dominated for extended periods of time, as well. If one ball had bounced a different way in either one of those games the Aggies would have one of the best wins of the season and be 6-1. The Aggies have a good win – at Louisiana Tech – beat Ole Miss on the road, and destroyed Arkansas as badly as Alabama did. The only difference is Alabama has played a crappy schedule while A&M has played two of the best defenses in the country.

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