NCAA Football Rankings 2012: Overrated Teams Headed for Falls

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent ISeptember 11, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 29: Coach Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates a victory against the Notre Dame Fight Irish  in the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl December 29, 2011 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida.  FSU won 18  15. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The Week 3 college-football rankings are out, and there are some overrated teams holding positions that they will be looking up at by the end of the season. 

This is not unique to 2012. Early-season rankings are always tricky. There just isn't a big-enough sample size to determine the overall quality of a team.

However, there are some tell-tale signs that highlight some pretenders. Here are three such teams. 

Week 3 rankings according to the AP poll. 

No. 5 Florida State

Florida State is a quality team. It just isn't the fifth-best team in the nation. The Seminoles are a perfect 2-0 and have outscored their opponents 124-3, but their opponents have been Murray State and Savannah State. 

The 'Noles have an excellent defense; however, that unit suffered a big blow, as stud defensive end Brandon Jenkins is done for the year with a foot injury, which the Florida State athletics website has confirmed

The Seminoles have the depth to withstand this injury against lesser opponents, but this will prove costly against better teams, as the damage Jenkins' absence will cause their pass rush will lead to their pass defense being vulnerable. 

No. 10 Michigan State

The Spartans opened up their season with a big win over Boise State. However, this is not the same Boise State team as those of years past. 

So while Le'Veon Bell turned heads by rushing for 210 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos, as the Spartans try to reload after losing one of their best-ever QBs in Kirk Cousins, he came back down to earth by averaging just 3.9 yards per carry while gaining 70 yards against Central Michigan. 

The Spartans have a quality defense, but this offense will not be able to rely on the running game against other tough defenses, and the passing game is too limited to pick up the slack. 

No. 21 Stanford

The Stanford Cardinal are going to be exposed in their next game, as they are set to face USC. 

Stanford is fresh off of a 50-13 blowout of Duke, but this is football, not basketball—destroying Duke carries little weight. 

In the Cardinal's opener, they barely handled San Jose State, beating them 20-17. That game highlighted the struggles Stanford is going to have replacing Andrew Luck. 

His replacement, Josh Nunes, threw for just 125 yards on 26 attempts. Stanford is going to need a lot more from its QB, and against top defenses, the Cardinal aren't going to get it.