Blog Entry

Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

Posted on: December 20, 2010 7:42 am
Edited on: December 24, 2010 11:29 am

By taking a look at the AP poll from 2005-now, we can look at the five most overrated and underrated teams when it comes to preseason polls. Some schools continue to be ranked high in the preseason AP poll, only to finish nowhere near where they started.

12/24/10 Edit:  Adding additional links to the entire list since some people didn't see it at the end and didn't understand how the rankings were calculated.  Click the link for the full list:   THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.

Five Most Overrated Teams

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners are the most overrated team over the last five years, and as you might expect, it comes from having a strong, long-term reputation and high expectations.  It was their 2009 season that cemented their place at the top.  They started 2009 at No. 3 and dropped completely out of the polls by season’s end.  They were overrated four of the last five years, but two of those (2008 and 2006) were very minor, one-spot changes.   On the other hand, 2005 was another year of unmet expectations with the Sooners dropping from No. 7 in the preseason to No. 22 in the final.  In the last five preseasons, Oklahoma has never been underestimated. 

2010 Prognosis:  The Sooners started the 2010 preseason ranked No. 7, which was the largest jump for an unranked team in the 2009 final poll.  In the 2010 pre-bowl poll, Oklahoma is ranked No. 9.  Not bad work by the voters, but the Sooners will need to win their bowl game to avoid staying on the list another year.

2. California: 
 Voters want to keep believing in Cal.  This is another team that hasn’t been under-ranked in the last five years.  In 2008 they started the season unranked and ended there.  Every other season was a disappointment.  The worst examples are 2009 and 2007, where the Golden Bears started the season at No. 12 and finished unranked.

2010 Prognosis:  The Golden Bears started 2010 the same way they ended:  unranked.  So they won’t be making too big of a jump in either direction on the list.  However, Oklahoma will likely drop at least one spot, and California could slide into the top spot on the overrated list.

3. Florida State: The Seminoles hold the AP record for the most consecutive top-five finishes (1987 – 2000).  While they haven’t touched the top five in the last five years, it seems the voters still give the Seminoles the benefit of the doubt.  They were only under-ranked once (2006) when they started unranked and finished No. 21.  The other four years, FSU was overrated.  The worst case was 2006, when they dropped from No. 11 in the preseason to unranked in the end. 

2010 Prognosis:  FSU was ranked No. 20 in the preseason and currently sit at No. 23.  Like Oklahoma, the Seminoles must win their bowl game to start working their way off this list.

4. Tennessee: The Volunteers have lost some respect over the last two years.  They finished unranked in 2008, and they started and finished unranked in 2009.  However, in 2005, they plummeted all the way from No. 3 in the preseason to unranked by season’s end.  This 23-place drop is tied with Oklahoma’s 2009 drop for the largest over the last five years.  In 2005 they effectively swapped places with Penn State, who went from unranked to No. 3 in the final poll.

2010 Prognosis:  Tennessee received absolutely no votes in the current poll or the preseason poll.  Even Middle Tennessee received some votes in the preseason poll.  However, with their 2005 results getting dropped from the calculation next year, the Volunteers are going to escape this list.

5. Michigan: The last five years haven’t been kind to the storied program of Michigan.  They started and finished 2008 and 2009 unranked.  In 2006 they actually improved from No. 14 to No. 8 by the end of the season, but they made this list mostly because of the 2007 and 2005 seasons.  The Wolverines dropped from No. 5 to No. 18, and No. 4 to unranked, respectively. 

2010 Prognosis:  Michigan was making a run up the polls earlier in the season, but it didn’t last.  The Wolverines started and ended the season unranked.  However, they should still get bumped off this list next year by a couple of new entries:  Southern Cal and Texas.  The Trojans dropped from No. 14 in the preseason to unranked, and the Longhorns dropped from No. 5 to unranked.  With no chance to improve their rankings (being bowl ineligible), they will enter next year’s list for sure.

12/24/10 Edit:  Adding additional links to the entire list since some people didn't see it at the end and didn't understand how the rankings were calculated.  Click the link for the full list:   THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.

Five Most Underrated Teams

1. TCU: TCU is exactly the type of team you would expect to be the most underrated.  They are a Mountain West school that has been getting the job done on the field for years, but rarely getting respect in the preseason poll.  Three really good years made them the under-appreciation champion.  In 2005, then went from unranked in the preseason to No. 11 in the final poll.   In 2008, they went from unranked to No 7, and in 2009 they climbed from No. 17 to No. 6.  

2010 Prognosis:  No. 6 is where the Horned Frogs started the 2010 season. So while their lack of respect may finally be coming to an end, they currently sit at No. 3 and will likely continue to remain on the Underrated list next year (though not at No. 1).  Hopefully TCU’s pending move to the Big East will help them to continue building their credibility.

2. Alabama:  The Crimson Tide are the type of team you wouldn’t expect to find high on the underrated list.  Alabama is a historical national power oozing with respect.  However, they were in a serious slump before Nick Saban took over in 2007 and nobody expected he could turn the Tide (so to speak) so quickly.  2008 and 2009 were great years for Alabama, but they also had an unexpectedly good year in 2005, going from unranked to No. 8.  In 2008, they went from No 24 to No. 6, and had a very modest climb in 2009 from No. 5 to No. 1.  Of course, they couldn’t go any higher that year. 

2010 Prognosis:  With a preseason ranking of No. 1 in 2010, the Crimson Tide can only drop on the list next year.  Under Saban, we predict Alabama won’t be climbing the underrated list any time soon.  In fact, Alabama most likely drops off the list completely next year.

3. Cincinnati:
 The Bearcats have at least one thing in common with the Crimson Tide; they haven’t been overrated once in the last five years.  Cincinnati has started each of the last three seasons unranked.  However, they ended 2007 and 2008 at No. 17, and 2009 at No. 8 and Big East Champion.

2010 Prognosis:  While Cincinnati wasn’t ranked in the preseason, they still didn’t live up to expectations.  They just missed the preseason poll at No. 26, but the Bearcats ended 2010 with zero votes and bowl ineligible at 4-8.  So, due to lowered expectations in 2010 (partly due to losing their coach to Notre Dame), Cincinnati will certainly be on the underrated list for another year.

4. Boise State:  Boise State may be who most fans think of when they think of underrated teams.  The Broncos are definitely in the mix.  However, they don’t get top honors because they have also been overrated two times – in 2005 and 2007 the voters ranked them in the preseason, but they fell out of the rankings by season’s end.  The other three years, Boise State climbed.  They climbed as high as No. 4 in 2009.  

2010 Prognosis:  The Broncos may have finally broken through to mainstream respectability.  The start of the 2010 season had them ranked No. 3, and as a bonus, they announced their move from the WAC to the Mountain West.  They currently sit at No. 10, and even though they were overrated this year, they will likely remain high on the 5-year underrated list.

5. Oregon: This is another well-respected team that seems like an odd-duck on this list.   Yet, these Ducks haven’t been getting the respect they deserve lately.  In 2005 and 2007, they started out unranked, but didn’t end that way.  In 2008, they rose from No. 21 to No. 10, and in 2009 they climbed five spots from No. 16 to No. 11. 

2010 Prognosis:  The Ducks are currently No. 2 in the AP Poll with a chance to become No. 1 with a victory in the BCS Championship Game against Auburn.  Even so, there are a few teams on the cusp of the list that could knock them off next year if the Ducks don’t win.

12/24/10 Edit:  Adding additional links to the entire list since some people didn't see it at the end and didn't understand how the rankings were calculated.  Click the link for the full list:   THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.

Methodology used a simple method for determining overrating and underrating in the AP Poll.

An overrated team is one whose final poll ranking is worse than its preseason ranking.  An underrated team is one whose final poll ranking is better than its preseason ranking.  Different results could be obtained by tracking every week individually during the season.  "Final poll" means the poll released after the bowl games.

The last five years for this list are the 2005 – 2009 seasons, inclusive.

We only counted teams listed in the top 25 during those years (53 teams in total).  When a team isn’t listed in the top 25, it is considered unranked and given a value of 26.  We could have ranked teams further by counting all teams that received votes, and that certainly would have changed the results.  For example, a team could have dropped to a theoretical No. 27 (receiving 50 votes), which would be better than a theoretical No. 49 (receiving one vote).  However, for simplicity’s sake, anything beyond 25 is unranked.  This also entirely weeds out teams typically considered unranked that qualify for the list by jumping from No. 49 to No. 26 (or vice-versa) in a given year.

Each team’s final ranking is subtracted from its preseason ranking to determine its over/under-rating for each year.  Then all five years are added together to determine each team’s “Points” and place on the list.  Ties are broken by taking into account the number of years being overrated vs. underrated.

Again, a more complex formula could be used and could certainly change the results, but we’re keeping it simple and straight-forward. 
You can find the entire list of teams sorted from most overrated to most underrated here: 


Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 9, 2011 1:28 pm

Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 9, 2011 9:26 am

Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

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Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2010 10:19 am

Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

Virginia's 2005-2009 AP Rankings

    2005: NR --> NR
    2006: NR --> NR
    2007: NR --> NR
    2008: NR --> NR
    2009: NR --> 25 get the point? Virginia is only 1 point from being perfect over the past 5 years by Pollspeak's criteria...seriously, look at their table.

Geeez, do you not get the concept of the article?  Virginia is not one point from being perfect.  It is the pollsters who are 1 point from being perfect on their assessment of UVA.  This isn't about who is better, its about who are the most overrated and underrated schools.  Based on UVA's data, we learn two things.  One is that the AP pollsters were accurate in their assessment of Virginia.  The other is Virginia is basically irrelevant, but that has little to no bearing on the article.  I mean Oklahoma is better that Eastern Michigan too, but BFD!  Nobody cares.  Everyone knows EMU is horrible and Oklahoma is very good.  The point of the article is some teams are consistently overrated and underrated between the preseason poll expectations and the final poll results.  Oklahoma is definitely a great program, but unfortunately, the Sooners have fallen well short of expectations over the last 5 years.  Maybe if Oklahoma had not been punked in the Fiesta Bowl by WVU and a mid-major things would be different.

Since: Mar 14, 2009
Posted on: December 22, 2010 10:12 am

Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

Of course OU was ranked high entering the 2009 season with 4 eventual NFL 1st rounders returning. But 2 of those players, one of which was Heisman QB Bradford, were lost for the season before the 1stQ of the 1st game. Injuries hit the team so hard that a fullback was starting at offensive tackle the last few games of the season.

In addition to the flawed methodology that was pointed out by a previous poster, to not even mention this is another glaring example of a jealous agenda against OU and/or ignorance.

On the other hand, lets look at the big picture.........

| No. 1 Program of the Modern Era Updated December 21, 2010    
Oklahoma is the winningest program in what is widely considered the modern era of college football. OU has the most victories and best winning percentage of any team since the end of World War II. The Sooners have earned seven AP National Championships in that span and are for 16 titles since 1946. Individual honors? OU has produced five Heisman winners and no team has more unanimous All-Americans (31). And an NCAA record 47 game win streak and 31 game win streak.
 Total Wins (1946-) School Wins 1. Oklahoma  566 2. Penn State 532 3. Texas 531 4. Nebraska 528 5. Ohio State 527 6. Southern Cal 509 7. Alabama 505   &
nbsp; Michigan  505 9. Tennessee  504 10. Notre Dame 490  Winning Percentage (1946-) School Pct. W-L-TGames 1. Oklahoma  .76232 566-172-13751&nbs
p;2. Ohio State  .75104 527-168-20715&nbs
p;3. Penn State  .73493 532-189-9730 
;4. Texas  .71820 531-205-11747&nbs
p;5. Michigan  .71279 505-199-15719&nbs
p;6. Nebraska .70717 528-217-9
753 7. Southern Cal  .69959 509-212-23744&nbs
p;8. Alabama .69339 505-218-19
742 9. Notre Dame  .68836 490-218-14722&nbs
p;10. Tennessee  .68641 504-224-23751&nbs
p;   Weeks Ranked AP Poll (1946-) School No. 1 Top 5 1. Oklahoma  97 367 2. Ohio State 90 290 3. Southern Cal 89 265 4. Notre Dame  80 236 5. Nebraska  70 296 6. Miami (Fla.)  68 202 7. Florida State  60 206 8. Alabama  44 254 9. Texas  43 261 10. Florida 41 179  
;Weeks Ranked in BCS (1998-) School No. 1 Top 5 1. Oklahoma  20 46 2. Ohio State  15 34 3. Southern Cal 15 37 4. Florida 7 34 5. Florida State 7 25 6. Miami (Fla.) 7 30 7. Alabama 6 22 8. Nebraska 5 15 9. Tennessee 5 16 10. Texas 3 36  &nb
sp; Consensus All-Americans (1946-) 1. Oklahoma  74 2. Notre Dame 69 3. Southern Cal 66 4. Ohio State 61 5. Texas 53 6. Nebraska 49 7. Michigan 48 8. UCLA 38 9. Miami 35 10. Penn State 34  Unanimous All-Americans (All-Time) 1. Oklahoma  31    &nb
sp;Notre Dame 31 3. Ohio State 29 4. Southern Cal 26 5. Michigan 25 6. Texas 22 7. Nebraska 21 8. Alabama 18 9. Miami 15 10. Pittsburgh 13   
AP National Titles (1946-)  1. Oklahoma  7 (2000)      Notre
Dame  7 (1988)      Alaba
ma 7 (2009)  4. Miami  5 (2001)      South
ern Cal  5 (2004)  6. Minnesota  4 (1960)      Nebra
ska 4 (1995)      Ohio State  4 (2002)  9. Florida 3 (2008)     Texas
 3 (2005)   NCAA-Recognized Titles (1946-) 1. Oklahoma  16 2. Notre Dame  13 3. Alabama 12   &n
bsp; Southern Cal 12 5. Nebraska 11   &
nbsp; Ohio State 11 7. Miami 9 8. Texas 7    
; Florida State 7 10. Michigan 6   &n
bsp;   Michigan State 6

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2010 9:38 am

Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

You Oklahoma homers are really getting annoying.  You act as if the Sooners are the only team in the history of college football to suffer through a season with a rash of injuries.  You get indignant that Georgia is not in the top 5 overrated on this list.  Well UGA is right up there at #7.  Keep in mind that one of Georgia's big negative seasons was a direct result of their offensive line being decimated by injuries.  And guess what?  UGA still finished better than Oklahoma.  As I mentioned yesterday, even if you factor out Oklahoma's 2009 season, the Sooners still finish at a sorry-assed #7 most overrated team.

Also, did any of you clodhoppers actually read the author's criteria?  He used data from the last 5 completed seasons as it covers the most recent (and relevant) half-decade.  That means this season does not count, as the final AP poll will not be released until after the bowl season.  That also means not arbitrarily adding data from a 6th season to make your school's ranking look better.  The author also states that he considered rankings below #25 (ie teams that received votes, but not enough to crack the top 25).  He also gave his reasons for not using that data, and giving all non-top 25 teams a #26 ranking.  Yes that is much simpler and creates some misleading data.  But at the same time, it also makes sense.  Now if the AP voters ranked all schools from #1 to #120, things would be different.  But they don't, so the author chose to use the lesser of two evils.

Lastly, for all of you clowns crying about Notre Dame not being listed among the top overrated teams, did any of you read the actual data link?  Notre Dame's 5 year score totalled out to a (-1).  Which is to say the pollsters really had the Irish pegged just right.  Just like they had Ohio State at an accumulated (+1).  The pollsters were dead on about the Buckeyes too.

Since: Jan 7, 2009
Posted on: December 22, 2010 1:21 am

Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

Pollspeak's methodology on this "study" is so incredibly sophomoric that I'm shocked that CBS gave the publicity that they did.  Pollspeak assigned a #26 ranking to any unranked team, just for the sake of calculation).  So, by their criteria, Virginia would represent a team that was nearly perfect (not overrated or underrated).

Virginia's 2005-2009 AP Rankings

    2005: NR --> NR
    2006: NR --> NR
    2007: NR --> NR
    2008: NR --> NR
    2009: NR --> 25 get the point? Virginia is only 1 point from being perfect over the past 5 years by Pollspeak's criteria...seriously, look at their table.

Consider Oklahoma's 5 years, where they actually never finished lower than 26 in the 10 polls considered (preseason and final from '05-'09)...I'd like to know if there is a school where the AP was more accurate for a 3 year stretch that Oklahoma from '06-'08...oh wait, that's right, the AP was perfect with Virginia for 4 of 5 seasons.

    2005:  #7  --> #22...#7 seems like a perfectly reasonable pre-season ranking for a team with 4 BCS appearances in the previous 5 years, including the previous 2 NCG's, especially with the return of the highest all-time single season rushing freshman RB of all-time (and highest freshman Heisman finalist in history, Adrian Peterson).  If Peterson was injured most of the year, does that really mean the #7 represented an overrating, just because Oklahoma underperformed without Peterson (as would be expected) and finished #22?
    2006: #11  --> #10
    2007:  #8  -->   #8
    2008:  #4  -->   #5...remember, Oklahoma played Florida for the title this year; is a #4 preseason ranking really "overrated"?
    2009:  #3  --> #26 - It seems a team in the NCG the previous year with 4 players who would eventually become 2009 1st round draft picks (including 3 of the top all-time record) would warrant a #3 preseason ranking.  Just because Sam Bradford was injured all year and their true freshman was thrown in and able to actually garner the #26 spot (the real #26 position, not the assigned 26 value given to all unranked teams in Pollspeak's methodology)?...and this year was the year that "cemented" Oklahoma's top position accoridng to Pollspeak?...heck without this year, Oklahoma would barely make the top 10 on the list.

CBS, it reflects poorly on you to give Pollspeak this knd of a megaphone; famcies themselves as an objective watchdog, but they are clearly amateurs in their work.

Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: December 21, 2010 11:19 pm

Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

Did you people who are complaining about this, miss this, or are you stupid?

Do you morons defending this not know anything about statistics?  You can make statistics say virtually anything for starters and I clearly proved (mathematically, I might add) that Georiga is as deserving of the #2 overrated team as equal to Cal.  Yet they aren't on the list and you says it's FACTUAL--like your statement makes it so.

This is not an opinion article, IT IS FACTUAL. If Alabama's average preseason ranking is 15, and their avg post season ranking is 12, then they are underrated.

Georgia's average preseason ranking over the 6 years:  13
Average postseason ranking over the same 6 years:  22
Consistently overrated the past 3 years by 10 or more ranks.

Still not on the list?  Hmmmmm......Cal the past 6 years:

Avg. Preseason:  13.33
Avg Postseason:  24
Overrated:  once in the past 3 years by 28 ranks

Wow, not that much difference yet Georgia isn't even on the list.....Hmmmm...

Since: Oct 31, 2006
Posted on: December 21, 2010 10:27 pm

Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

There are a few problems with this list. 1) With only a 5 year sample, it only takes one really good season (or really bad season) to skyrocket your team up the list (or push them to the basement). Also, a lot of emphasis is placed on the game before the last poll. Say a team was underrated or reasonably rated all season and then lose their last game and it pushes them down to under-rated status. Was that team really under-rated?

Since: Dec 21, 2010
Posted on: December 21, 2010 10:00 pm

Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

This list is nonsense, as are pre-season polls, pre-season All-America teams, pre-season anything.
You guys have no one to blame but yourselves for having the self-righteousness, arrogance and presumputuousness to put any team on either list.
Any poll, whether it be media or coaches, is based purely on guesswork and ignorance. Like the media and self-proclaimed ‘experts’ in the media who actually (mistakenly) think they have a clue as to what they are voting on, they are worthless.
Get off your high horses and get a real job, one that might involve the phrase ‘Do you want fries with that?’

Since: Dec 21, 2010
Posted on: December 21, 2010 9:59 pm

Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

The article is about rankings at the beginning of the season versus rankings at the end of the season.  Its based on facts.  It clearly shows that Oregon is underrated.  Oregon barely winning against Cal? So what? Auburn won six games that were decided by 8 or fewer points.  Oregon had one of these games.  And I'm sorry, which teams are the "few lesser teams in the PAC 10" that you are refering to? because I seem to recall the ducks. winninging all their PAC 10 games (with the exception of the Cal game) by 11 or more points.  and their average of margin of victory in the PAC 10 was 20.56 points.  Stanfords was 18.67 in comparison.  and, Stanford lost to Oregon by 21 points.  Check your facts next time before you decide to post.

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