Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mississippi State celebration
- Here are the biggest discrepancies between how AP voters, oddsmakers and The Action Network have ranked college football teams after Week 1.
- There are plenty of overrated and underrated teams based on our proprietary power ratings.
- For example: LSU is No. 11 in the AP Poll, but No. 35 in our power ratings.
South Carolina and Florida joined the ranks in Week 2’s AP Poll. In contrast, Michigan took a step back after a loss at Notre Dame. Interesting teams that received votes include Maryland, Ole Miss and 2-0 Hawaii.
With The Action Network’s Week 2 projections in mind, let’s take a look at the most overrated and underrated teams against the AP Top 25.
Overrated College Football Teams
Listed at No. 25 in the AP Poll for Week 1, the Tigers moved all the way up to No. 11 after defeating Miami. One bright spot for the Tigers came in the form of running back Nick Brossette, but a deep dive on the box score reveals flaws under that 16-point victory. LSU went 3-for-16 on third-down conversions, with only two plays going for 25-plus yards.
Our power ratings place LSU around 35th, 24 spots behind its AP ranking. Oklahoma State fell just short of making the AP Top 25, but would be a 7.5-point favorite over the Tigers on a neutral field.
Needless to say, it will take a little more explosiveness and true box-score victories to get oddsmakers’ respect.
Our Ken Barkley described how LSU’s national-title hopes didn’t change much after the win in Arlington.
West Virginia Mountaineers
The book is out on the Mountaineers. Tennessee just could not take advantage behind a poor offensive line.
The teams that beat West Virginia in 2017 rushed the ball on average 44 times, per Josh Ward of The Action Network. The Volunteers came up short of that number, allowing the West Virginia defense to cause some havoc. Meanwhile, Will Grier did Will Grier things.
With Youngstown State on deck for West Virginia, we might not see any resistance in the AP Poll until mid-October for the Mountaineers. While a jump for 46th to 36th in The Action Network power ratings is an improvement, West Virginia would still be a dog to unranked Iowa State at a neutral site.
Boise State Broncos
With all the big games to study from Week 1, it’s easy to see how a 56-20 victory by Boise State over Troy could get swept under the highlights. Plenty of sharp people I know had money on the Trojans, but four turnovers and only 4.9 yards per play won’t get it done.
Boise is 20th in the AP Poll just behind Central Florida, but a Sept. 15 game in Stillwater comes against unranked Oklahoma State.
What makes Boise overrated? The Pokes should be more than 10-point favorites over the Broncos in Week 3. We can only dream that North Carolina (over UCF) and Oklahoma State victories on Sept. 15 will result in Hawaii being the highest-ranked Group of 5 team.
Underrated College Football Teams
Mississippi State Bulldogs
The biggest question in the offseason for me was the focal point of the powerhouse Penn State offense over the past couple of seasons. Was it the departed Saquon Barkley, Heisman candidate Trace McSorley or offensive coordinator (and Mississippi State’s new head coach) Joe Moorhead?
I’m aware the opponent is Stephen F. Austin, but 63 points with 8.7 yards per play has me shopping for cowbells for future viewing appointments.
Suspended quarterback Nick Fitzgerald returns at Kansas State in a game in which the point spread got pushed up to double digits quickly. The ceiling for the Bulldogs is unknown, as the AP Poll has them at No. 18, seven spots behind an LSU team that would be at least a touchdown underdog head-to-head.
The point spread for the showdown in Manhattan is on the move, as The Action Network power ratings call for Mississippi State -13, while the newly released S&P+ would make the Bulldogs -27.5 on a neutral site. 27.5!
I can hear it now… “You and Stuckey bang on Bodog Jim during the Action Colleges podcast all the time.”
Factually correct, but there is a point where a team can take a turn in the market and become a stock to buy. Let’s not get too crazy with this box score against Notre Dame — total yards were within five and yards per play were nearly identical.
Personally I think Braylon Edwards has it all wrong. It may be a good time to bet on Michigan.
Michigan takes a dive in the AP Poll from No. 14 to No. 21, while our power ratings have the Wolverines ranked No. 9 in the country. This is still one of the nation’s top defenses, and the offense can only improve as Shea Patterson becomes more comfortable with his wide receivers.
I’m not looking to back Michigan just yet against Western Michigan in Week 2, but the time to buy is coming soon.