I hate the preseason polls. We judge teams based upon their performances from a year ago (even though players have left and others have emerged), their pedigrees and how they've looked in some practices.
It wouldn't be so bad if those rankings didn't ultimately dictate how we perceive the teams throughout the season. Teams atop the rankings generally stay there until they lose, even if teams that started below them in the rankings are better. Teams that lose early tend to be ranked higher in the polls than teams that lose late.
We guess how teams line up at the beginning of the season, but we still apply those expectations even after we've seen what teams do on the field. It leads to overrated teams remaining ranked for too long, underrated teams losing out on bigger bowls and me ultimately being frustrated with the system each year.
But who are those overrated teams this year? Which teams are in danger of dropping out of the polls before the season is over? What schools are more glitter and less gold?
Let's take a look, along with those pesky preseason rankings, below.
Notre Dame, No. 24 (USA Today Coaches' Poll)
The Fighting Irish have a pretty brutal schedule, with tilts against Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford, BYU, Oklahoma and USC. If they finish 8-4, it's a successful season.
They don't have a quarterback that inspires much confidence in Tommy Rees, and he's suspended for the first game. Starting running back Cierre Wood is suspended for the team's first two games, as is defensive end Justin Utupo, and starting linebacker Carlo Calabrese will miss the first contest.
Navy and Purdue aren't pushovers in those first two matchups. If the Irish struggle or lose in either, brace yourselves for a long season in South Bend.
Ohio State, No. 18 (AP)
I know, I know: We're all supposed to be excited about Urban Meyer rebuilding this team and Braxton Miller becoming a Heisman candidate by season's end. And yes, they're Ohio State, so we all know they are rife with talent.
Where will Ohio State be ranked at the end of the season?
But they were also 6-7 last season.
They also have tough tests against Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska and Michigan State to deal with. Giving Meyer a year to integrate his system and the players a year to adapt to it—and forge a winning mentality—is realistic.
I think Ohio State will remain just out of the top 25 this season, but ultimately, they'll be disappointments in 2012. Well, compared to expectations—they'll be better than they were in 2012. But no worries, Buckeyes fans—your season was always going to be 2013 anyway.
TCU, No. 20 (AP) and No. 17 (USA Today)
Calling TCU overrated is harsh, so I won't go that far. But I will say this—finishing the season having to play Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma is absolutely brutal and could easily see TCU drop right out of the rankings.
Don't be shocked to see TCU go from 7-0 to 8-4 before the season concludes. It's not unfair to question how TCU will handle a full season in an improved conference, and having to finish the season with the five best teams on the schedule is particularly taxing.
TCU might prove me wrong, but I think it's safe to temper expectations this year.
As promised, here are the full AP Top 25 rankings:
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