7 College Football Teams That Aren't as Good as We Thought
College football always brings us overrated teams at the kickoff of each season. Week 1 of 2012 was no exception.
Regardless of whether the following teams won or lost, it's about the all-encompassing performance and most lined up against significantly inferior opponents. What we are also learning is that the smaller schools aren't getting thumped as usual.
Because of this new-found trend, upsets will become more common. To that end, here are seven teams not as good as advertised.
Coming off two consecutive BCS bowl game appearances it's reasonable to suspect increased expectations at Stanford.
The hype, however, needs to be held in check.
Ranking No. 18 in the Coaches' Poll for Week 1, the Cardinal edged by the San Jose State Spartans 20-17 at home. Running back Stepfan Taylor was the only offensive weapon as he accounted for 116 rushing yards on 26 carries, including one touchdown.
Still, the Cardinal is nowhere near as efficient or explosive as 2011.
Losing Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin clearly affected Stanford's offense. Gaining only 280 yards won't fly in the Pac-12. Plus, they were outgained by San Jose State who finished with 288 total yards.
The Wisconsin Badgers began the 2012 season ranked No. 12 in the Coaches' Poll.
Despite winning over FCS school Northern Iowa to start the year, the Badgers failed to finish strong.
Leading 26-7 with less than 12 minutes to play, the Panthers scored twice and held the rock near midfield down 26-21. Fortunately for the Badgers, the defense locked it down to get the win.
Unfortunately, Sconnie's defense gave up 265 passing yards to freshman quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen, who also tossed three touchdowns and no interceptions.
On a more surprising scale, Wisky won the time of possession battle 39:05 to 20:55. The defense must improve against the pass and avoid giving up any big plays.
If not, the Big Ten will take advantage of that weakness and the Badgers will endure a disappointing season.
Florida Gator fans had one agonizing game in The Swamp on Saturday.
The Bowling Green Falcons of the MAC were a thorn in Will Muschamp's side all day after taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
Thereafter, Bowling Green was only down 17-14 early in the final quarter. Additionally, the Gators got extremely lucky with the Falcons missing two chip-shot field goals which would have given Bowling Green life toward the end.
The Gators had difficultly shutting down the Falcons on first and second down and were penalized 106 yards on 14 penalties. This kind of undisciplined play cannot occur, otherwise Florida will get romped in the SEC.
The offense only managed 14 first downs and a field goal got partially blocked.
South Carolina Gamecocks
No matter how much the Vanderbilt Commodores have improved, the South Carolina Gamecocks did not play like the No. 9 ranked team on Thursday.
Yes, Marcus Lattimore's return after missing the final six games of 2011 was emphatically productive. However, South Carolina must get more execution from the passing game.
Connor Shaw only went 7-of-11 for 67 yards, three of which were to Lattimore. He also tossed one interception. By comparison, Vandy's Jordan Rodgers went 13-of-23 for 214 yards and one score with a pick.
Obviously the running game will be the Gamecocks' strength in 2012, but SEC defenses will zero in on Lattimore. South Carolina's defense remains stellar, although matching last season's unit will be quite a challenge.
The good news is that the Gamecocks don't face a tough opponent until Georgia in early October, so there is time to buff out the rough spots.
Boise State Broncos
It was surprising to see Boise State ranked No. 22 in the Coaches' Poll to start the year, considering how much the Broncos lost to the NFL.
The 17-13 loss on the road to the No. 13 Michigan State Spartans was a nice showing.
The major downside comes from the offense failing to score a touchdown. The lone cross over the goal line was a pick-six by Jeremy Loane in the middle of the second quarter.
In addition, Boise's defense got its offense four additional possessions off Michigan State turnovers.
This is also a testament to how well Sparty's defense performed. But the Broncos still only managed 206 total yards and 14 first downs. A really down year for Chris Petersen's squad may be in the works unless his offense immediately fixes the ground game (37 yards on 24 attempts).
Running back Andre Ellington was the brightest spot for the Clemson Tigers on Saturday.
Carrying the rock for 231 yards, Ellington helped No. 14-ranked Clemson win 26-19 over unranked Auburn.
It was a back-and-forth contest that saw five lead changes. If Clemson is to send a statement, this was not the game. The good news is that the defense showed much improvement from from a 2011 season where they allowed 29.5 points per game.
Offensively, quarterback Tajh Boyd wasn't as explosive as expected, with only 200 yards against a vulnerable Auburn pass defense. He did see a good amount of consistent pressure that forced him to scramble often, so anticipate teams continuing to blitz Boyd more in 2012.
The pass protection has to hold up, because DeAndre Hopkins is a great target along with Sammy Watkins. Still, Clemson must get more explosive as the ACC schedule is tougher than at first glance.
If the Oklahoma Sooners are really considered the No. 4-ranked team in the country, they sure didn't look the part against the UTEP Miners.
For starters, Bob Stoops' special teams were horrendous, having a punt and field goal blocked.
The punt team also failed to cover well with contain and only one of UTEP's five punts were returned.
Defensively, the Sooners couldn't stop the run and were exposed all along the line of scrimmage. UTEP running back Nathan Jeffery was bouncing off would-be tacklers and once in the open field, no second level defenders could slow him down.
The Sooners can't afford to play sloppy against more well-rounded teams like Oklahoma State, West Virginia, TCU, Notre Dame and Texas.
Sure the Sooners pulled away late, but that's just it. Against better teams, finishing strong won't occur after a weak beginning.
If so, then Norman, OK. won't see much happening this fall.
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