Blog Entry

Texas A&M, Notre Dame most overrated in 2011

Posted on: January 18, 2012 4:32 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 4:39 pm

Now that the 2011 college football season is finally completed – Bobby Hebert’s done ranting about Les Miles, right? – let’s take a look at how smart or, make that clueless,  the voters in the Associated Press poll were before the season.

I was one of the 60 voters that participated in the AP poll. Each summer we’re asked to produce a Top 25 out of thin air. And then come January, we discover we’re usually as accurate as a non-fiction piece from James Frey.

Surprisingly, though, this year we did a fairly decent job of predicting the future or, if you prefer, the teams did a decent job of living up to their preseason rankings.

First the good.

We nailed it! Of the AP’s preseason Top 25 teams, three schools – No. 7 Stanford, No. 14 TCU and No. 19 Georgia – finished with the same ranking in the final AP poll.

Missed it by this much: Of the remaining 22 teams ranked in the preseason, we were off by only three spots or less on six schools: Alabama (preseason No. 2, finished No. 1), Oregon (preseason No. 3, finished No. 4), LSU (preseason No. 4, finished No. 2), Boise State (preseason No. 5, finished No. 8), Wisconsin (preseason No. 10, finished No. 11) and South Carolina (preseason No. 12, finished No. 9).

At this point I’d like to mention of the preseason top 19 teams, nearly half (nine) finished within three spots in the final AP rankings. Not bad. Which brings me too …

Wow, were we wrong: Of the remaining 16 teams ranked in the preseason Top 25, nine schools finished in the final Top 25, but were nowhere close to their preseason rankings. No. 1 Oklahoma finished 16th, No. 6 Florida State finished 23rd, No. 9 Oklahoma State finished third, No. 10 Nebraska finished No. 24, No. 13 Virginia Tech finished No. 21, No. 15 Arkansas finished fifth, No. 17 Michigan State finished 11th, No. 24 West Virginia finished No. 17 and No. 25 USC finished No. 6.

That leaves seven schools that were ranked in the preseason Top 25 but plummeted out of the rankings by season’s end because (take your pick) they choked under the pressure of a preseason Top 25 ranking, didn’t deserve to be ranked, were overrated, underachieved or all of the above.

We/they totally blew it: Here they are: the not-so-Magnificent Seven teams that were ranked in the preseason Top 25 but ended the season outside the Top 25. No. 8 Texas A&M, No. 16 Notre Dame, No. 18 Ohio State, No. 20 Mississippi State, No. 21 Missouri, No. 22 Florida and No. 23 Auburn all finished out of the Top 25.

We never saw them coming: There were 48 schools that received at least one vote in the preseason Top 25 poll. Yet, there were four schools that did not receive a single preseason vote that still finished in the final top 25: Baylor (finishing No. 13), Kansas State (finishing No. 15), Clemson (finishing No. 22) and Cincinnati (finishing No. 25).

Three other schools received Top 25 preseason votes and were not in the preseason Top 25 but finished in the AP final poll: No. 12 Michigan, No. 18 Houston and No. 20 Southern Miss.

So who were the biggest surprises and disappointments of 2011? Look no further than the Big 12, which had the nation's two most pleasant surprises in Baylor and Kansas State and the nation's biggest disappointment in Texas A&M.

Based on their AP preseason rankings, the biggest surprises in 2011: Baylor, Kansas State, Clemson (yes, even with the Orange Bowl seal-clubbing), Michigan, Cincinnati, USC and Houston. The biggest disappointments: Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Florida, Arizona State, Miami, Utah, Iowa, Florida State, N.C. State and Oklahoma.

Listed below are the 48 schools that received a vote in the preseason Top 25 and the difference of how many spots better (+) or worse (-) it finished in the final Top 25 rankings. Following the school is each team’s preseason and final ranking. If a school started unranked and finished unranked, it was considered starting/finishing at No. 49.

Diff School (Pre-Final ranking)
+36 Baylor (NR-13)
+34 Kansas State (NR-15)
+27 Clemson (NR-22)
+26 Michigan (38-12)
+24 Cincinnati (NR-25)
+19 USC (25-6)
+18 Houston (36-18)
+15 Virginia (NR-34)
+11 Southern Miss (31-20)
+13 Northern Illinois (41-28)
+10 Arkansas (15-5)
+7 West Virginia (24-17)
+7 Brigham Young (33-26)
+6 Oklahoma State (9-3)
+6 Michigan State (17-11)
+3 South Carolina (12-9)
+2 LSU (4-2)
+1 Alabama (2-1)
+1 Wisconsin (11-10)
0 Stanford (7-7)
0 TCU (14-14)
0 Georgia (19-19)
-1 Oregon (3-4)
-3 Boise State (5-8)
-3 Nevada (46-NR)
-3 Northwestern (46-NR)
-3 Washington (46-NR)
-4 Auburn (23-27)
-4 Texas (26-30)
-5 Arizona (44-NR)
-5 Maryland (44-NR)
-6 Penn State (27-33)
-6 Tulsa (43-NR)
-8 Virginia Tech (13-21)
-8 Missouri (21-29)
-8 Hawaii (41-NR)
-9 UCF (40-NR) 5
-10 Tennessee (39-NR)
-12 Pittsburgh (37-NR)
-14 Nebraska (10-24)
-14 Air Force (35-NR)
-15 Oklahoma (1-16)
-16 N.C. State (33-NR)
-17 Florida State (6-23)
-17 Iowa (32-NR)
-19 Utah (30-NR) 25
-20 Miami (29-NR)
-21 Arizona State (28-NR)
-27 Florida (22-NR)
-29 Mississippi State (20-NR)
-31 Ohio State (18-NR)
-33 Notre Dame (16-NR)
-41 Texas A&M (8-NR)


Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: January 28, 2012 6:41 pm

Texas A&M, Notre Dame most overrated in 2011

i expect notre dame to be better in 2012. i also expect a @ m to lose more games in 2012. that is a no brainer since now they are playing in the sec.

Since: Jan 2, 2012
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:47 pm

Texas A&M, Notre Dame most overrated in 2011

Notre Dame is always overrated even when they have a fairly decent team. They almost always are granted a top 25 ranking even when they clearly do not deserve it. Put Ohio State in this category too. The Irish and Buckeyes are not Alabama or L.S.U. and will never reach those heights.

Mississippi State was certainly a disappointment because their big Bowl victory over Michigan gave hope that they would be a top team in 2011. But, it was not to be.

Yes, Baylor came out of nowhere to be a real offensive powerhouse, but their defensive team left much to be desired. Still it was nice to see the Bears do well. Little Missy (Southern Mississippi) was a nice surprise, and their thumping of Houston was a great victory. Both they and Texas Christian should have ranked higher at the end of the year.

Georgia was a bit of a disappointment to me. Their performance vs. Boise State and Michigan State was not what one would expect from a Bulldog team.

Personally, I must admit that the Ole Miss Rebels were a real failure this past season. They played well vs. Brigham Young and Arkansas in a losing cause, but these are not the Rebels of old when Johnny Vaught's teams would muscle opponents around the field. Yes, I know, the Johnny Rebs were not expected to do anything anyway, but just two victories, and losing 7 games in a row. This is embarrassing.

Since: Apr 13, 2011
Posted on: January 24, 2012 10:42 am

Texas A&M, Notre Dame most overrated in 2011

How is ranking Auburn 23rd in the AP "totally blowing it" when they finished 25th in the BCS rankings?

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:46 am

Texas A&M, Notre Dame most overrated in 2011

" I think the SEC is overrated, before you all beat on me it is boring predictable football (with the exception of the Spurrier Gator teams and the Auburn Newton team). They are just the Big Ten with more exposure. "  --billbcec

Permit a lifelong Michigan fan to come to the defense of both the SEC and the Big Ten. What the SEC REALLY is is the Big Ten with far better defensive tackles. The Midwest can keep up mostly across the board, although the top one or two teams in the SEC most recent years has had an edge in cornerbacks that's almost reminiscent of those great Miami teams of yore. That aside, them big uglies in the middle on D are some grown men down in gator country. Must be feeding their mamas snake venom and bull semen while they're breastfeeding, or sumpthin. 

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:36 am

Texas A&M, Notre Dame most overrated in 2011

Like a knife through butter, MICHIGAN upset them some apple carts, deedie-do. Two of your "biggest disappointments" were teams that the Wolverines beat (Ohio State and Notre Dame,) as was one of your other misses (Va Tech.) And, hey, props to Iowa all the same, on stopping a resurgent UM. Interesting, that someone, perhaps multiple someones, actually voted for Michigan in the pre-season. Goes to show you just how influential Rich Rodrigues was, no? His absence made even the hearts of cynical reporters go all mellow.

Since: May 27, 2011
Posted on: January 23, 2012 1:18 pm

Texas A&M, Notre Dame most overrated in 2011

The problem with the PAC 8,10,12 is they play soft on defense.( remember Oregon scored only 19 points against an Auburn defense that was not that highly ranked..better defensive coaches in the SEC who adjust to the draw up the play in the sand coaches in PAC 12..only SO.CAL could stay with SEC on a weekly basis..Oregon would be are Vandys and Kentuckys.

Since: Dec 30, 2006
Posted on: January 23, 2012 1:08 pm

Texas A&M, Notre Dame most overrated in 2011

Even though they have won the last six National Titles I think the SEC is overrated, before you all beat on me it is boring predictable football (with the exception of the Spurrier Gator teams and the Auburn Newton team). They are just the Big Ten with more exposure. Everyone asks what a certain school would do in the SEC but what would a LSU or Alabama do in the Pac 12. Do you really think Oregon, Stanford, or USC would try to run the ball up the middle 40 times when they have nine guys stacked against them. The teams in the SEC seem to think it's a good idea. Don't get me wrong the SEC has some great teams but they are now the 90's version of Nebraska (they always get the benefit if the doubt). The Big 12 is also overrated, I can't believe Texas doesn't get to automatically finish in the top five every year regardless of their record. If the NCAA was based out of Texas we would all be in trouble. If you are sick of the SEC just wait until you get to see Oklahoma, Texas, or Oklahoma State in the title game every year. Oh yeah, Notre Dame is always overrated and the last decade you have to admit it has been fun watching USC beat them down.

Since: Oct 28, 2006
Posted on: January 22, 2012 4:25 pm

Texas A&M, Notre Dame most overrated in 2011

University of Michigan has won I/2 of a national championship in the last 60 years.  the way they talk you would think that they were relevant in college football.  ND = UM

Since: Sep 1, 2007
Posted on: January 22, 2012 12:43 pm

Texas A&M, Notre Dame most overrated in 2011

The Fighting Irish finished the season amongst the most overrated? How unusual. Not to worry, they'll still be in the top 20 in the preseason polls next year.

Since: Jan 19, 2012
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:31 pm

Texas A&M, Notre Dame most overrated in 2011

AUinVA - You're right, my mistake, Auburn did win that game, but the reasoning of my post remains in tact that preseason polls have no place in the game. Clearly you missed the point because the winner of that game is irrelevant to my post. It really has nothing to do with the SEC or your Tigers. It has everything to do with preseason polls having more impact than most are willing to acknowledge on the final outcome.

In fact, now that you mentioned it, I find it hard to believe that even the most delusional Auburn fan truly believed that they deserved to be placed in the top 25 despite, as you put it, "Auburn lost 25 starters (mostly Jr's and Sr's) from their 2010 team and has been going through a major rebuilding year in 2011. Auburn played 25 freshman players throughout 2011 and was the youngest Div. 1A team in 2011."

To be truly objective, you should keep in mind that they needed an onside kick and last minute heroics to beat a 7-6 Utah St. team and despite losing 5 regular season games remained in the top 25 for the majority of the season.

Thank you for further supporting my argument.

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