BCS Rankings: Who's Overrated or Underrated Heading into Bowl Games?

Ian Berg@@ShugJordanPkwyCorrespondent IDecember 5, 2011

BCS Rankings: Who's Overrated or Underrated Heading into Bowl Games?

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    The final BCS standings have been unveiled and the National Championship game has been determined. The remaining bowl games have been laid out and the bowl season has officially begun. Looking at some of the contests however, there are some obvious overrated and underrated teams.

    There are some teams that are tough to place in the final standings and will build controversy for the current system that is used to find the top college football teams in the land. Going forward, whether there is a change to the system or not, this is the system that college football has in 2011.

    Looking at the bowl matchups and the final Top 25 standings, here are five overrated and five underrated teams heading into bowl season. This may have been the most tumultuous college football season ever and it has forced some uneven matchups. Here are the teams that need to shift in their position inside the Top 25. 

11-1 (8-1 Big 12) No. 3 Oklahoma State Cowboys: Underrated

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    Oklahoma State throttled the No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners (9-3, 6-3 Big 12) this past Saturday as the Cowboys pushed on to win the Big 12 title. The Pokes were able to play on a national stage and impressed numerous pundits within college football with their 44-10 victory, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get the Cowboys into the No. 2 position.

    The Cowboys will now travel to the Fiesta Bowl against the 11-1 (8-1 Pac-12) No. 4 Stanford Cardinal. This will be a tough matchup and it is a BCS bowl game, but it will have a bittersweet taste for the Cowboys as they would have liked to have earned a spot in the national title.

    The Cowboys have more wins (seven) than Alabama (three) over teams with winning records and the Cowboys have beaten (four) one more ranked team than Alabama (three). The Cowboys may have been worthy, but they couldn’t quite make it over the hump and get into the national title race. 

11-2 (7-1 ACC) No. 11 Virginia Tech Hokies: Overrated

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    This must be some kind of joke. To think that the Hokies get absolutely destroyed by the 10-3 (6-2 ACC) No. 15 Clemson Tigers this past weekend in the ACC title game and still receive an at-large bid to the Sugar Bowl is laughable.

    The ACC has produced less than consistent results in the past few years and Virginia Tech is a prime example of the inconsistency. In no way does it seem fair to see the Hokies in one of the top five and most elite bowl games to finish the college football season. 

12-1 (8-0 C-USA) No. 19 Houston Cougars: Underrated

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    The Cougars were able to make it all the way to their conference title game before they ripped apart at the seams. The Cougars were marching toward a sure BCS berth, but the No. 21 Southern Miss Golden Eagles knocked off the Cougars in the Conference USA title game.

    The Cougars weren’t really competitive in the game, but they deserve more than the TicketCity Bowl. Houston will go into the game and face off against the No. 22 Penn State Nittany Lions. The Nittany Lions themselves are the Big Ten's seventh bowl seed, but they are likely overrated.

    Unfortunately for the Cougars, their loss in their conference's title game gets the Cougars the TicketCity Bowl and loses the conference a few million dollars.

9-3 (6-2 Big Ten) No. 22 Penn State Nittany Lions: Overrated

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    The Nittany Lions have battled through a wealth of adversity this season but they haven’t really been an impressive nine-win Big Ten team. The Nittany Lions are closer to mediocre and facing off against Houston in the TicketCIty Bowl could turn out to be a bad move for the Nittany Lions.

    Penn State's No. 22 ranking is a stretch as their biggest win of the season came against the inconsistent and scandal-plagued 6-6 (3-5 Big Ten) Ohio State Buckeyes on the road. The Nittany Lions will have a tough time trying to shut down the Houston offense in Dallas.

    Houston may earn their redemption against a big conference opponent on January 2nd. 

10-2 (6-2 SEC) No. 6 Arkansas Razorbacks: Underrated

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    Arkansas is one of the best teams in the country to sport two losses. The Razorbacks have only lost inside their division, but both losses came to the No.1 and the No. 2 teams in the country. Arkansas dropped after a second loss in the standings despite making it to No. 3 just a week ago and the Razorbacks have an extremely explosive offense.

    Because the SEC already has two teams in the BCS, the Razorbacks do not have a BCS bowl berth. Despite a great showing this season the Razorbacks will play in the Cotton Bowl this January. The Cotton Bowl is a great destination for the Razorbacks and a game against 10-2 (7-2 Big 12) No. 8 Kansas State Wildcats will be a fun one to watch.

    The Razorbacks are a great team that happens to fall out of the BCS talk by default. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to play in the best conference in college football. 

11-1 (7-1 SEC) No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide: Overrated

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    The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide will face off against the No. 1 LSU Tigers in the National Championship game to finish the season. The Crimson Tide have earned their bid into the national title game after facing a tough SEC schedule.

    The one catch to this opportunity for Alabama is that they have already played LSU. The Crimson Tide lost at home to the Tigers on the first weekend of November. The game did go into overtime and there was plenty of opportunities for Alabama to win, but losing at home is hard to overlook.

    The argument that the Tide didn’t win their conference doesn’t really apply as the BCS doesn’t rely on conference titles to determine its bids. What does apply is that every game is supposed to count. The previous matchup must have been a wash. Who cares the Tigers played an extra game? The Tide really don’t deserve a rematch. 

10-2 (7-2 Big 12) No. 8 Kansas State Wildcats: Underrated

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    The Kansas State Wildcats have had an amazing season this year with option quarterback Collin Klein at the helm. This Kansas State team is led by Bill Snyder who is in his second stint with this team and is the a strong candidate for Coach of the Year.

    The Wildcats deserve more than what they got, which was a bid to play in the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas. Not that a bid to the Cotton Bowl is a bad move for the Wildcats and the matchup against the Razorbacks will be a great one to watch, but the Wildcats deserved to play in a BCS bowl. 

9-3 (5-2 Big East) No. 23 West Virginia Mountaineers: Overrated

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    The Big East ended in a three-way tie this season with West Virginia getting the nod for the automatic qualifying spot as they are the highest ranked team in the conference this season. West Virginia will face off against the 10-3 (6-2 ACC) No. 15 Clemson Tigers who will be coming off of a big victory over Virginia Tech in the ACC title game.

    The Mountaineers have not had a quality win this season and won a conference that likely doesn’t deserve an automatic qualifying status. Having the No. 23 team in one of the top five bowl games is inexcusable. Changes are likely brewing in the BCS to avoid the shenanigans that this season has provided. This is one of them.

11-1 (6-1 MWC) No. 7 Boise State Broncos: Underrated

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    The Boise State Broncos are finishing in the Top 10 of the BCS standings. The Broncos consistently have found a way to make it to the Top 10 but have only found their way to one BCS bowl berth.

    The Broncos will end up in Las Vegas on December 22nd to face off against the 6-6 (4-5 Pac-12) Arizona State Sun Devils in the Maaco Bowl. The Broncos are happy to accept any bid to a bowl game, but not making it into a bigger bowl has to be disappointing for the Broncos.

    It seems easy, but the Broncos have to win out until they make the move to a larger conference if they want to make it into the BCS conversation consistently. 

10-2 (6-2 Big Ten) No. 13 Michigan Wolverines: Overrated

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    The Michigan Wolverines have played a relatively easy schedule this season with their biggest win coming against the 9-3 (5-3 Big Ten) No. 20 Nebraska Cornhuskers. Michigan has played well against the competition that has faced them, but it is a little much to place them in a BCS bowl this season.

    The Boise State Broncos and the Arkansas Razorbacks are two teams that would be better fits for the Sugar Bowl than Michigan. An at-large bid was a surprise but the Wolverines will play against another struggling team in the Virginia Tech Hokies.

    The Sugar Bowl struck out bad this year with its non-title side of its bowl game. Good thing the BCS title game will bring a wealth of fans from the surrounding southern states.