The good news is that this Tuesday, we finally get to see which four teams the selection committee thinks have done enough to warrant playing for a national title - at least at the moment. The bad news, at least for USA Today and the Associated Press, is that fans are probably going to put less stock in the traditional polls. Either way, they're still going to be released, and we're still going to weigh in on which teams we think are overrated.
As we've noted in the past, overrated doesn't always equate to poor quality - teams can be ranked a bit too high based on their schedule as well. Our list usually features a combination of the two concepts.
This week's list features a new No. 1 most overrated squad, along with a few teams that have become mainstays.
5) No. 5 Michigan State
The Spartans are certainly a quality football team, and after Ohio State's underwhelming performance against Penn State on Saturday, they are probably the squad with the most promise in the Big Ten. The issue is their lofty No. 5 ranking, when you compare it to the handful of teams behind them. MSU has one win over a ranked team (Nebraska), and it nearly choked that game away. Meanwhile, teams like Oregon, Ole Miss and TCU have all taken down multiple top-25 opponents, most in more convincing fashion than the Spartans did in their one win against a ranked opponent.
Michigan State's defense looked great against Michigan last week, and the Spartan offense has been excellent all season. It would be a surprise if MSU didn't win the Big Ten, and the team has a good chance at making the College Football Playoff if it wins out. That being said, the team that wins the Big Ten may not be the fifth best team in the country in 2014.
Michigan State is actually ranked No. 8 in the AP Poll, which seems a little more accurate. We'll know more about how good these guys are after the Ohio State game.
4) No. 12 Baylor
Baylor had this week off, so perhaps the squad was able to address some of the issues it had on the defensive side of the ball against West Virginia, when it allowed 456 yards of total offense and 41 points to the Mountaineers. The 318 yards and 27 points weren't exactly a good look for one of the best offenses in the country, either.
But what's killed Baylor this year is penalties. The Bears have committed the third-most penalties in college football with 76 total infractions. Even more troubling is the number of penalty yards that Art Briles' squad has accrued - no team in America has given up more yards (732) through penalties than Baylor. This means that the Bears are giving up about 10 yards each time they're penalized, which has really kept the team from reaching its potential this season.
If Baylor's defense can improve, and if the team stops committing so many penalties, we're talking about a squad that can compete for a Big 12 title. If the Bears can win at Oklahoma next week, their December 6 showdown against Kansas State could be a de facto conference title game.
3) No. 13 Ohio State
You can argue that Ohio State could have easily lost to Penn State if a few calls had gone the other way in the first half. Of course, at the end of the day, all that matters is the score, and Ohio State moved to 6-1 on the season.
However, there was one takeaway from the loss to the Nittany Lions, and that is that Ohio State is not the 13th best team in America. The Buckeyes were going up against a quality defense, and looked completely lost at times. In fact, Ohio State didn't score a point in the second half. Quarterback J.T. Barrett also struggled in his first road night test, going 12-for-19 with 74 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Are the Buckeyes actually a high-powered offense that had one down game in a hostile environment, or will the team consistently struggle against stout defenses? We'll know for sure when the team takes on Michigan State, but for now, we're tempering our expectations of Urban Meyer's Buckeyes.
2) No. 21 Clemson
Another week without starting quarterback Deshaun Watson, another week in which the Tigers' offense struggled. Clemson has averaged 18.7 points per game over its past three, and while they've all been wins, none of them have been especially impressive. Cole Stoudt has somehow thrown 70 more passes than Watson, but has 33 fewer yards and 10 fewer touchdowns, which is remarkable for all the wrong reasons. He went 24-for-35 with 209 passing yards, a touchdown and two interceptions against Syracuse, which boasts one of the worst passing defenses in the ACC.
The good news for the Tigers is that Watson will be back soon, and when he does return, it stands to reason that the offense will be better than whatever it is right now. He has been amazing this year, and between his ability to turn Clemson's offense into a high-powered machine and the team's very good defense, we're talking about a squad that can make a run at the end of the season. However, right now, with Stoudt under center, it's hard to say that Clemson deserves to be ranked.
1) No. 25 UCLA
The Bruins have looked like a top-25 team in exactly one game: their 62-27 beatdown of Arizona State in Tempe. Other than that, UCLA hasn't won a game by more than one possession despite posting victories over Virginia, Memphis, Texas, Cal and Colorado. In fact, its last two wins were against the Buffaloes and the Bears, two teams with a combined 2-9 Pac-12 record. The average margin of victory of those two games? 2.5 points.
UCLA's offense has been fine. It's a top-40 unit in rushing, passing and scoring offense. Not exactly earth-shattering, but most teams in the country would love to have an offense that solid. The real issue has been UCLA's defense, which is in the bottom half of the Pac-12 in a number of defensive categories, including scoring, passing and rushing defense. Also, despite having some pretty solid pass rushers - namely star linebacker Myles Jack - no school in the conference has fewer sacks than the Bruins, as the team has only taken down opposing quarterbacks 10 times in eight games.
The Bruins are not going to win the Pac-12. Odds are, they're not going to win the ultra-competitive Pac-12 South, either. We've seen how good this team can be when it puts together a complete game, but they can't seem to be able to do it week in and week out. For that reason, UCLA should not be ranked as one of the 25 best teams in the country.