5 Most Overrated College Football Teams Heading into 2013
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As the 2013 college football season nears, there are teams being ranked too high by various media outlets.
There's the Notre Dame Fighting Irish who, despite having a terrific defensive line, won't be able to even come close to replicating the success of their 2012 season.
Two teams from the Big 12, in particular, are overrated, including the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Texas Longhorns, who both have unproven quarterbacks in a league known for its passing.
Throw in the Texas A&M Aggies, who are led by Heisman winner Johnny Maziel, but must deal with the loss of last season's offensive coordinator, and there's plenty of fans out there who should take their team's high preseason ranking with a grain of salt.
With that, here's the top five most overrated teams of the 2013 season.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
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Following quarterback Everett Golson's departure due to academics, the Fighting Irish now have to rely on unproven signal-caller Tommy Rees.
It's no secret that Rees has been extremely unreliable throughout his tenure at Notre Dame. Over his career, he's thrown for just over 4,000 yards and 34 touchdowns to 24 interceptions. Last year, he saw limited time as Golson proved to be the better quarterback.
While his numbers aren't atrocious, Rees isn't Brian Kelly's first choice to play quarterback for the Irish.
Secondly, the Irish lost Manti Te'o, a linebacker who made game-changing plays last season. While the defense for Notre Dame is stacked with guys like Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III, they're still a far cry from having the kind of impact that Te'o did.
According to Sporting News, the Irish are the 10th-best team heading into 2013. But there's no way that the Irish will be able to do as well in 2013 with the loss of two marquee players in Golson and Te'o and a tough schedule that includes USC, Stanford and Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
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After winning the Big 12 in 2011, then having a setback year in 2012 where they only won eight games, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are ranked by Sporting News as the sixth-best team in the entire country.
However, that is a gross overstatement of how talented Mike Gundy's bunch is this year. It's not unfathomable to think that the Cowboys aren't even the sixth-best team in their conference.
After starting three quarterbacks last year, the Cowboys seem set on Clint Chelf to lead them in 2013. While Chelf showed promise last year, a lot of it had to do with the fact that he didn't take over until late in the year, and teams were unfamiliar with him.
Despite that, he only threw for over 300 yards in a pass-friendly league once, and that was against Baylor, a team that had the worst defense in the Big 12.
Losing running back Joseph Randle is also a big hurdle for the Cowboys, as he's been the most consistent producer on offense the past two years.
Oklahoma State has the ability to put up points quickly. But the defense won't be able to match their performance, and the Cowboys will struggle early and often in 2013.
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Phil Steele has the 2013 edition of the Texas Longhorns ranked fourth in the country, according to CollegeFootballPoll.com.
That's a big stretch for a team that has a mediocre quarterback who lost his best receiver from last season and a defense that was just average last year but lost anybody who made any difference on that unit.
David Ash is an inconsistent quarterback at best. Just look at his performance against lowly Kansas last year, where he was benched in the fourth quarter in favor of Case McCoy, who then took the Longhorns on a game-winning drive in the game's final minute.
Now with the Longhorns adapting to a no-huddle offense, the pressure to be one of the Big 12's best in a new offense that requires quick decisions in rapid succession will prove to be too much for Ash.
Also, he lost wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, the team's best wideout in 2012.
In addition to the lack of a good quarterback, the Longhorns' defense lost safety Kenny Vaccaro and defensive end Alex Okafor to the NFL draft. Those were the two best players on defense for the Longhorns. Replacing them will be hard.
Every year it seems, Texas is picked to do amazing things. Well lately, they haven't. 2013 won't be the year that trend changes.
Texas A&M Aggies
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They don't call it a sophomore slump for nothing. And Johnny Manziel's sophomore year and Texas A&M's sophomore year in the SEC may not go as well as last year.
First off, Manziel has proven to be more of a distraction with his antics over this offseason. Per a report by the Dallas Morning News (h/t Sam Kahn Jr. of ESPN), Manziel tweeted out that he was ready to leave College Station out of frustration.
Anthony Andro of FOX Sports took it a step further and ripped into Manziel's overall Twitter persona.
On the field, things will get way harder for Manziel and the rest of the Aggies in 2013.
Kliff Kingsbury is no longer the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M after taking the head job at his alma mater, Texas Tech. That means Manziel and the entire offense will have to learn a new system—a different one from the one that got the Aggies to the Cotton Bowl in 2012.
Losing Luke Joeckel isn't easy either, as Manziel will now have to be more weary of his blind side.
The Aggies still have plenty of talent, but winning consistently in the SEC is harder than anywhere else in college football. And with so many changes on offense, fans may notice a drop in the win total in 2013 from the unit that defined the Aggies last year.
Virginia Tech Hokies
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Per Rich Cirminiello of Scout.com, the Virginia Tech Hokies have one of the best defenses in all of college football, as the team loses just two starters from the unit which ranked 18th in the country defensively.
So the problems in Blacksburg lie within the offense—and primarily with quarterback Logan Thomas.
Thomas was unimpressive to say the least in 2012, throwing for just 2,976 yards and 18 touchdowns while also giving up 16 interceptions.
Phil Steele has this squad ranked as his 12th-best team in 2013. But after Week 1, when the Hokies play defending national champion Alabama, we'll see how he thinks.
Alabama is sure to expose the vast weaknesses the Hokies have, and Beamer Ball will struggle to get going in 2013 after taking such a decimating loss in Week 1.