Football | Notre Dame Tops Preseason College Poll’s List Of Overrated: In the previous three seasons, an average of ten teams ranked in the preseason poll did not make the final poll. That is only a 60% success rate. This does not take into account other teams who started high and finished lower in the Top 25.
So the question isn’t whether there are any overrated teams in this year’s preseason poll, but which ones are. Five teams come to mind right away.
Football | Notre Dame Tops Preseason College Poll’s List Of Overrated
Notre Dame Is Ranked Seventh In The Country
Yes, the Fighting Irish have come up short in their two College Football Playoff appearances in the last three years, but if you take a step back, you can appreciate their success in that time frame.
Brian Kelly’s team has a record of 33-5 and has twice finished in the top five. It’s not surprising that they’re firmly in the preseason top ten this year.
However, with so many issues to resolve, this year appears to be a step back. Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan is expected to take over for outgoing quarterback Ian Book, who led Notre Dame to those two playoff appearances.
After missing last season due to injury, Coan must quickly establish himself as the offense’s leader. Some receivers must be developed around him, and the offensive line has significant holes to fill.
The defence hires new defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman from Cincinnati, but loses star Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and two of its top five tacklers.
This will be another excellent group. It’s simply not enough to carry the team against tough opponents when the offence is also regress.
Apart from an upset or two to knock the Irish out of the playoffs, especially with a tough first-half schedule that includes Cincinnati and Wisconsin.
Southern California Ranks 14th.
There are two perspectives on the Trojans. They undefeat in the regular season before falling to Oregon in a close Pac-12 championship game.
Not too shabby. Looking beneath the surface, they only played six games during the pandemic season, and three of their five victories were by a combined ten points, necessitating fourth-quarter comebacks.
Can they keep winning close games this season? No, according to the law of averages. Even with QB Kedon Slovis, the preseason Heisman Trophy favourites, at the helm, USC still questioning at running back, receiver, and offensive line.
After averaging only 97.3 yards per game, the ground attack is an area that needs to be improved.
The defence benefited from 16 turnovers, which helped hide some of its flaws. Talanoa Hufanga contributes four interceptions to the takeaways, but the Pac-12 defensive player of the year will not be in the secondary this year.
The run defence will need to improve up front. The Trojans’ schedule avoids Washington and Oregon from the North division, but the South is extremely competitive, with Arizona State, UCLA, and Utah nips at their heels.
There will be no unbeaten regular season this year, and some unexpected defeats are possible.
Miami Is Ranked 16th (Florida)
The Hurricanes’ concerns begin at quarterback. D’Eriq King suffered a knee injury in the bowl game and is questionable for the opener against Alabama.
Even if King is healthy for Week 1, there is no experience behind him, so that is something to keep an eye on. More from the running game will be required to keep defences honest and relieve some of King’s pressure.
Charleston Rambo is expected to be the starting wide receiver, but he arrives from Oklahoma after a disappointing season.
Concerns about the defence prompted coach Manny Diaz to take over play-calling duties for the unit this season. His first order of business for reorganising the front seven in future, which has lost its top pass rushers and needs to be more effective against the run.
The most difficult challenge will be to improve against top competition. The Hurricanes allows 145 points and blown out in two of their three toughest ACC games in 2020.
While a loss to the Crimson Tide in the opener would not be catastrophic, other difficult games against Michigan State and Appalachian State could set the tone for the season before the ACC season begins.
Texas Is Ranked 19th.
The Longhorns’ expectations are always high, so don’t expect much of a honeymoon for coach Steve Sarkisian. Difficulties appear almost immediately.
First and foremost, he must address his quarterback situation, with four-year starter Sam Ehlinger departing for the NFL. Apart from for Thompson’s impressive second half of last year’s bowl game, neither Casey Thompson nor Hudson Card have seen significant action.
Add to that the fact that Sarkisian’s offence isn’t a carbon copy of what Tom Herman ran the previous four years, and there will be some growing pains.
The issue is that there isn’t much time for that, with No. 23 Louisiana-Lafayette visiting in the opener and Arkansas visiting the following week.
Pete Kwiatkowski, the new defensive coordinator, faces his own set of challenges. In the last three years, Texas fails to crack the top 50 in scoring defence. With all of the other Big 12 contenders returning starting quarterbacks, this group will be expected to do more to compete in the league.
Mississippi Is Ranked 25th.
If only offence wins games, the Rebels could finish much higher than they did last season, when they ranked third in total offence. The issue is that defence is also an important consideration.
Last season, Ole Miss allowed more than 38 points per game and ranked 117th in scoring defence. Despite the fact that several starters return, this is a case where that may not be such a good thing. To slow opponents, significant progress will be required.
There are some concerns on offence as well. QB Matt Corral must limit his errors after throwing 14 interceptions in a loss to Arkansas. Elijah Moore, the team’s leading receiver, will be difficult to replace.
With LSU and Auburn on the mend, the SEC West should be much stronger. The Rebels’ road ahead will not be easy.