The preseason AP Top 25 poll was released on Monday as the 2021 college football season approaches, which immediately resulted in takes flying all over the internet. After all, unless you're No. 1 Alabama, voters clearly hate your team and are totally biased toward your team's rival. That's how talkin' season works.
There are some legitimate gripes, though. Let's break down the hits and misses of the initial AP Top 25 poll entering he 2021 season
Overrated: No. 7 Iowa State
There's no doubt that the Cyclones are one of the chic picks to make a run at the College Football Playoff after returning a medium-sized village of starters including star running back Breece Hall and quarterback Brock Purdy. Let's tap the brakes on that just a bit, though. While the 'Clones will be a tough out yet again this year thanks to experience and the coaching acumen of Matt Campbell, ranking them ahead of more talented teams like Notre Dame and Oregon is just a tad bit aggressive. I had Iowa State in my CBS Sports 130 ballot. Nothing against Iowa State as a program ... I just don't see it playing at the same level as the big boys in 2021.
Underrated: No. 11 Oregon
The Pac-12 is the Rodney Dangerfield of the college football world -- it gets no respect. In this case specifically, it's Oregon that voters are sleeping on. The Ducks have the best player in the game in defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux, a very healthy quarterback situation, a dynamic offense with playmakers everywhere, is stout on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and has a coach in Mario Cristobal who has created the "Alabama of the West." That'll be enough for the Ducks to flirt with the CFP all the way into the championship weekend. That Week 2 matchup vs. Ohio State is going to be a doozy, but voters seem to think that there's a bigger gap between the two schools than I do.
Overrated: No. 8 Cincinnati
I get it ... the Bearcats had a dream season in 2020 and are going into the 2021 season as the unquestioned top team in the Group of Five. But No. 8 in the country? Ahead of Notre Dame, Oregon, North Carolina and an LSU team that I'm in love with? Nope. Desmond Ridder is a solid quarterback and they boast a stout secondary, but dropping them in ahead of those teams -- with all of the explosive potential on the offensive side of the ball -- is very aggressive. They'll have the chance to prove me wrong on Oct. 2 when they travel to Notre Dame. Until then, this feels more like a cursory inclusion of a Group of Five team into the top 10.
Underrated: No. 16 LSU
It seems like the world is skeptical of Tigers coach Ed Orgeron after last year's disaster, but this team is much closer to the 2019 version than it is to the 2020 version. Orgeron told me at SEC Media Days that he recognized the error of his ways and hired a staff that can install the same schemes that helped them win that national title. Max Johnson will be a star, Kayshon Boutte is the best healthy wide receiver in the country, the running back room is stout, four starters return on the offensive line and the 11 players on the defensive side of the ball won't have their heads spinning from ex-coordinator Bo Pelini's over-coaching that took place a year ago. LSU won't be a pushover -- it'll be a national title contender.