College FB: Overrated, Underrated in Week 11

Michael RiceCorrespondent INovember 8, 2007

Icon Sports MediaIt may be the most popular question amongst college football fans today:
Which teams are overhyped, and which are flying under the radar?

In a year that's seen more shockers than a frat house photo, it's difficult to piece together exactly who's good and who isn't.
Here's a quick look at a few paper tigers, and a handful of teams that deserve a little more respect...


Take a moment to peruse the Longhorns' schedule.
What's their biggest win?
TCU? UCF? Oklahoma State?
Texas' best victory probably came against the a game they were lucky to win. They were also lucky to escape against Arkansas State and TCU. It took nothing short of a miracle to beat Nebraska—216 yards and three long touchdowns in the fourth quarter by Jamal Charles.
Good teams beat bad teams, and beat them handily. The men in burnt orange have put together a season marked by mediocrity—yet somehow they remain firmly in the top 15 of all the major polls.
Colt McCoy, touted as the next great Texas quarterback last year, has produced 16 touchdowns to go along with his 16 interceptions. The Longhorns are explosive at times, but as a team they've been lethargic.

When a team is 8-2, ranked 19th in the BCS, and on top of the ACC, you'd figure them for a solid football program.
Now stop and take a closer look.
Virginia's season starte with a blowout loss to Wyoming. Wyoming. The Cavaliers have limped through the season with six wins by five points or less, including a pair of two-point victories and three one-point triumphs.
One could argue that close wins are the mark of a good team, but those wins came against the likes of North Carolina and Middle Tennessee.
Think about it this way: This Virginia team could just as easily be 2-8.
With games remaining at Miami (FL) and against Virginia Tech, don't be surprised if they double that figure in the loss column.

Arguing against the Wolverines by dwelling on the opening two games is too easy.
The Maize and Blue have regrouped, and are proving themselves one of the nation's elite, right?
Michigan now sits at No. 12 in the BCS, a rating they've achieved by winning eight straight games against weak competition. It's not the schedule itself that makes a team overrated or underrated, but how they fare against it.
Two of Michigan's "best wins"—over Penn State and Illinois—weren't very convincing. In fairness, the Wolverines have suffered through injuries to several star players, including stud running back Michael Hart, but time after time teams have exposed Michigan's very weak defense.
The coming weeks will reveal whether the Michigan offense can salvage a decent year.


This author is jumping on the mini-bandwagon.
The more diligent football fans have started to take notice, but the Troy Trojans are still relatively unappreciated. Obscured by the bigger programs in Alabama, Troy has jumped out to a 6-3 record—a mark that looks even better when you break down their losses.
The defeats have all come on the road at the hands of SEC powers. Troy hung tough with Arkansas and Georgia, and despite the final score dominated a good portion of their loss in Florida.
The Trojans have cleaned up in-conference, and are the best Sun Belt team in some years.

The Razorbacks have the nation's best football player in Darren McFadden, and a slew of other offensive weapons have combined to put up 41.1 points per game. 
Arkansas' three losses came by a combined total of 18 points in tough SEC matchups. While the conference doesn't have the elite firepower of years past, it's got plenty of depth.
The patsies on Arkansas' schedule don't help their perception nationally, but it's worth noting that they don't mess around with inferior competition. The closest win they have is a 12-point defeat of South Carolina.
The Razorbacks have a good chance to improve their stock with games on the road at Tennessee and LSU—don't be surprised if they come away with W's.
Two 1,000-yard rushers at this point in the season is ridiculous.
Ohio State
Yes, the Buckeyes are in this article...and no, they aren't on the side you would have guessed.
That's right—I'm slapping the underrated tag on the nation's top team.
While Jim Tressel and Co. are flying under no one's radar, they have more than their share of doubters. Naysayers point to the 41-14 drubbing by Florida in last year's BCS title game, stand firm in their arguments that the Buckeyes have played no games of significance, and love to harp on the team's lack of speed.
The truth, though, is that Tressel's club has improved each and every week, and continues to put away lesser opponents in convincing fashion. The Buckeyes boast a stout defense, vaunted special teams, and an explosive offense with a multitude of weapons.
Bottom line: OSU excels in every facet of the game.
Are we building to a repeat Ohio State letdown in college football's grand finale?
Not a chance.