Five Down  

Posted by Frazier

Why start negative, huh Frazier? Because I enjoy rooting against teams, hate pundits, and laugh at the concept of a preseason poll. Seriously, it's just ridiculous. All you need to look at is last season's preseason poll, or any seasons, and you'll understand why.

So what makes an overrated team? Well, it isn't just rankings, it is also general hype. It is expectations. A team like Maryland, for example, can't be overrated, simply because they aren't rated. They can really go up in the eyes of a national audience. Notre Dame, well, they have a long way to fall (and I believe that they will). The following is a list of meticulous research, and gut instincts. Some teams just "feel" wrong to me. I don't trust their coach, their stars, their conference, or something else about them gives me a bad feeling in the gut. One last thought, I know our lists look somewhat similar. Well, we are essentially picking five teams from the top twenty, since anything lower than that and it's hard to be overrated (see: the Maryland example). So of course they look similar. Also, some teams are getting way more hype than they are due, and they should be called out for it. Now, on to the prognosticating:

5) Clemson. Why the mighty Tigers? Well, it may have something to do with my general hatred with this team, and it's redneck, asshole, malicious fan-base. (It's sort of a long story, but apparently the best bar in Clemson, S.C. is a former gas station filled a bunch of creeps and lowlifes who are stupid, violent, and vicious. The type of folks who will purposely point you in the opposite direction of the parking lot, and will then cruise around hoping for the chance to drive you into a ditch. Bastards.) It also has something to do with the team being ranked so highly despite the fact that their quarterbacks' career includes 4 passes against Texas A&M and mop-up chores against the likes of Temple and Duke, two of the worst teams in all of college football, in any division really. It also has something to do with the fact that Tommy Bowden has been nothing if not an underachiever. He has allegedly been on the edge of "breaking through" for at least five seasons. Nothing here tells me that this year will be any different. Not to mention the fact that his teams have always played their worst when expectations were highest. Add to this the fact that Clemson plays brutal games AT Boston College, AT Florida St. And AT Virginia Tech. Two of those places are some of the hardest to win at in the country, and BC is always tough, especially at home. Oh, and they have to play in a bitter rivalry game against the brilliant Steve Spurrier, and his overachieving gang of Gamecocks (sounds like a creepy visor-filled porn). Anyways, so Clemson, you guys are probably in for a long year. Oh, and fuck you.

4) Georgia. If Georgia couldn't break through the last couple of years, there is absolutely no reason to think that this one will be any different. Especially if you saw the "performance" starting QB Joe Tereshinski III put up against Florida last year (38% completions, 100 yds, 1 INT, costing them the close game, their first loss of the year, virtually ruining their season.) Now, I was never a big D.J. Shockley fan, but he brought something to this offense. Joe has to not mess up, and I don't think he is capable of it. He doesn't have good legs, a good arm, or good decision-making. Seriously, you think he is going to walk in to Auburn and come out with a win? No way. No reason to think Florida won't rough him up. And, frankly, the rest of the SEC is tough enough that it will punish a weak quarterback, especially for a team that perennially underachieves. The Bulldogs aren't good enough elsewhere to have sub-par quarterback play, and that is exactly what they are going to receive. Oh, and if they start hot, just remember that the end of their schedule is infinitely tougher. We are predicting overrated teams for the season, not for some meaningless win over Western Kentucky in September.

3) Florida. Look, the SEC is too tough to allow for mediocrity. They have to play the SEC schedule, including tough away games against Tennessee (a team I don't necessarily love, but Knoxville isn't exactly friendly) and Auburn, and a visit to Florida St. Is this team really much better than the one that lost to S. Carolina towards the end of last year? Chris Leak doesn't get it, and he'll have Tim Tebow looking over his shoulder. The schedule is tough, and I'm just not seeing significant improvement. Their head coach and their QB just don't suit eachother, and they have really lost some swagger in the last few years. Let's call them 8-4.

2) West Virginia. WHAT?! You think I'm insane. That's fine. I'm cool with that. Do they have a great coach? Yes. Especially offensively. Do they have a soft schedule? Undoubtedly. Do they have great playmakers? In spades. So what the hell is wrong here? I guess a couple of things in my mind. First, it is very easy for them to become "overrated". Really, they don't have any excuse to lose more than one game this year, and they might actually be favored in every single game they play. So even a slight slip-up will absolutely ruin their season. Also, I am a little concerned with how they blew open the Sugar Bowl against Georgia, really had the game in hand, and almost managed to screw it up. That should remind everyone of how very young this team is. Young teams + national champion expectations = disaster. Also, the national title picture is a tough one to squeeze into. The teams at the top are perennial powers. The USC's the LSU's, and Oklahoma's, or Florida State's. I am reminded of those Virginia Tech teams with huge expectations and soft schedules, and how they never managed to put it all together. Being 10-1 in anonymity is different than playing with the whole country watching, not to mention the expectations of their rabid fan-base. Finally, I am always concerned with teams that do two things. The first is run gimmicky defenses. If the other team needs a yard on them, they won't stop it. They are small, they gamble, and they try to confuse teams. This will work against the Rutgers of the world, and they have plenty of them on the schedule, but better teams will take advantage, like when Georgia started running roughshod over them, before they finally pulled it together. Or when Louisville hung 44 points on them in another shootout. Their defense is keyed to getting a lead, then being aggressive and putting the game away. This leads to my other concern. They are a MUCH better running team than passing team. This is a major problem. If they get behind, they could be in serious trouble. Also, if you are a running team, you need a defense that can hold you in 10-7 ballgames, but that's not how their defense works. Nebraska could run because they never got behind by more than 3 points, because they rarely gave up any points until the game was essentially decided. LSU and Auburn were defense-first, conservative offense teams that needed just enough points to win. WVU's defense is more than capable of giving up big points and big plays. If some team comes in, slows them down some, and gets ahead 14-0, which is entirely possible, WVU might be cooked. I think they will have a season that would be considered a great year in any other year, but with expectations this high, I think they make just enough mistakes, fall behind just enough times, let the pressure get to them just enough, that they end up with a very disappointing season. That could STILL equal a Big East title in that weak conference.

1) Notre Dame. You know what, for all the talk of their "resurgence" last year, they really didn't do much. They beat overrated teams, generally at home, and lost to every good team they played, as well as a Michigan St. team that wasn't really good at all. While they played an epic against USC, they still couldn't win the game despite being at home, having a perfect game plan run to perfection, making multiple 4th downs, and having USC experience an off-day. Now that USC team was an absolute Titan, make no mistake, but Notre Dame essentially did the same thing that Fresno St. did, and no one is talking about Fresno St. being the best team in the country. Look, Notre Dame has a great QB, and a great coach. Their schedule is as good as can be expected (they are never going to have a soft schedule) although that USC game will be brutal, especially since it is at the end of the year when the young players on that team will have matured. You need to catch USC early, not late. Their best win last year was what, at a Michigan team that ended up 7-5? They also lost to the eventual 5-6 Spartans. In their bowl game I thought that a month to prepare an offensive game plan for Ohio St. would be a showcase. It was, for Ohio St. They got run all over that field. They lost an excellent #2 receiver in Stovall, and I think they might begin to believe their own hype. Quinn, Samardzija, and Zbikowski have all received a ton of press this offseason, but they need to do a lot more on the field. These guys are supposed to be in the same league as Ohio St. this year, but they got pasted by them, and lost one of their most valuable offense weapons. Oh, and they can't defend against the pass. That's how Michigan St. beat them, and it's the recipe for success this year as well. Notre Dame is an easy choice here. They are pretty much always overrated, because they have the national TV contract, the revered name and legacy, and the national following. But last year they didn't beat anybody. They just didn't. Totally unimpressive, and I don't think they are really any better on either side of the ball. Don't believe the hype. Even Touchdown Jesus himself can't save this team from having the kind of expectations they will never be able to live up to.


amen about ND!

Yeah, hating on ND is almost too easy. Like shooting bandwagon fans in a barrel.

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