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The 10 Most Overrated College Football Teams Of 2014, Based On The Preseason Coaches' Poll

All season long, we gave you a look at which college football teams we believed were the most overrated in each week's version of the Coaches' Poll. But while those rankings were mostly based on opinion, this post actually delves into statistics - specifically, which teams finished the season ranked considerably lower than where they started. Yes, Oklahoma fans, this is going to be painful.

Every year, there are a few teams that simply don't live up to expectations. Sometimes, it's because of injuries. Other times, it's because of poor coaching. Or, if you're a team like Auburn, it could be because of a brutal schedule. 

We've taken a look at the preseason Coaches' Poll rankings and the post-season Coaches' Poll rankings, voted on ahead of the bowl games. Here are the 10 teams that wound up being the most overrated, statistically.

10th Most Overrated: No. 24 Texas >>>

10th Most Overrated: No. 24. Texas

Texas won eight games (not enough in Austin) a year ago before getting waxed by Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. The Longhorns wound up parting ways with long-time coach Mack Brown and hiring away Louisville's Charlie Strong. Strong made it clear from day one that he was going to be changing the culture. Apparently the coaches who vote in the preseason poll didn't realize that the overhaul would be a slow process.

The Longhorns were ranked No. 24 to start the season, and looked solid (especially on defense) after knocking off North Texas, 38-7. But the wheels came off against BYU in a 41-7 loss. David Ash, the team's starting quarterback week one, eventually retired from football due to concussion-related symptoms. Texas also lost to UCLA, Baylor and Oklahoma before mid-October. The Longhorns eventually rallied to become bowl eligible, but it's clear that they were not one of the best 25 teams in the country this year. They finished the year unranked.

They take on fellow 6-6 squad Arkansas in the Texas Bowl in a few weeks. If they want to start the 2015 ranked again, they'll need a solid performance.

9th Most Overrated: No. 20 Texas A&M >>>

9th Most Overrated: No. 20 Texas A&M

When the preseason rankings came out, Texas A&M at No. 20 made a lot of sense. The Aggies lost a lot of star power in Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans and Luke Joeckel, but they still had a few up-and-coming signal-callers and offensive guru Kevin Sumlin at the helm. And surely, A&M's defense had to improve after a terrible 2013 season. 

After week one, it actually looked like A&M had been underrated. The Aggies destroyed South Carolina on the road, putting up 52 points in a blowout victory. Starter Kenny Hill looked like a Heisman favorite. In fact, the team looked like national title contenders until October. But it was a mirage. Texas A&M lost consecutive games to Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama. The Crimson Tide, who were actual national title contenders, beat the Aggies 59-0. Hill was eventually benched for backup Kyle Allen.

A&M, now unranked, finished with a 7-5 record, and a 3-5 mark in-conference. Oh, and if you're looking for the biggest reason? The Aggies' defense didn't improve at all - for the second consecutive season, it finished dead last in the SEC in terms of yards allowed per game.

8th Most Overrated: No. 15 USC >>>

8th Most Overrated: No. 15 USC

Like Texas, USC's offseason was one of change. The Trojans, after firing Lane Kiffin mid-season in 2013, elected not to promote interim head coach Ed Orgeron to the full-time job. Instead, they went with former assistant Steve Sarkisian, then the head coach at Washington. And the Sarkisian era started out very promising, to be fair. The Trojans destroyed Fresno State and scored a what we thought was an upset win over Stanford in their second game.

But USC wound up being far too inconsistent to play the role of a ranked team. The Trojans went to Chestnut Hill and had all kinds of trouble stopping Boston College's running game, falling to the Eagles in mid-September. They also lost to Arizona State, Utah and crosstown rival UCLA along the way. Quarterback Cody Kessler had a solid season, but the team's offense wasn't quite as potent as it'd been in years past. In the end, they wound up being a slightly-better-than-average Pac-12 South squad.

USC won a big game against Notre Dame (more on the Irish later), but they didn't do quite enough this year to finish the season as one of the nation's elite. We'll see if year two of the Sarkisian era goes any better.

7th Most Overrated: No. 13 LSU >>>

7th Most Overrated: No. 13 LSU

LSU lost a heck of a lot from its 2013 squad, but voters in the Coaches' Poll apparently thought that Les Miles had reloaded his squad quickly enough to trot out the 13th-best team in the nation in 2014. The combination of youth, inexperience and an absolutely brutal conference schedule made sure the Tigers didn't live up to those expectations. That being said, they actually weathered the storm decently.

The Tigers stole one from Wisconsin in the sport's opening weekend, but lost their first SEC contest to Mississippi State in late September. Two weeks later, they were shellacked by Auburn, 41-7, and fell from the rankings altogether. After posting wins over Florida, Kentucky and Ole Miss, they lost a heartbreaker to Alabama and were then blanked by Arkansas. Simply put, it was an up-and-down kind of year. LSU wound up finishing the year ranked 23rd - not bad considering how tough the SEC West was, but 10 spots lower than it started.

Running back Leonard Fournette was a bright spot, and the quarterback battle between Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris should make for an interesting offseason. They'll be highly ranked again in 2015 - we guarantee it.

6th Most Overrated: No. 5 Auburn >>>

6th Most Overrated: No. 5 Auburn

After winning the SEC title and pushing Florida State to the brink in last year's BCS National Championship Game, most Tigers fans probably expected some sort of drop off in 2014. But in the preseason Coaches' Poll, AU was ranked No. 5. If you took one look at their schedule, however, it was hard to foresee the Tigers surviving it.

Auburn actually lived up to expectations for quite some time. The Tigers beat Arkansas to start the season, went on the road to knock off Kansas State in their third game, and blasted LSU in early October. A road loss to highly-ranked Mississippi State seemed like a blip on the radar after consecutive wins over South Carolina and Ole Miss. But unexpectedly, the wheels came off right after.

The Tigers lost a head-scratcher to Texas A&M at home, then proceeded to get crushed by Georgia on the road. And while Alabama had trouble stopping Auburn in the Iron Bowl, the Tigers' defensive performance was considerably worse. In the end, they wound up with an 8-4 record and a No. 19 ranking. Terrible? No. But it's 14 spots lower than they started. Will Muschamp is on the way, however.

5th Most Overrated: No. 23 UNC >>>

5th Most Overrated: No. 23 North Carolina

In 2013, North Carolina started 1-5, but rallied to win six of its final seven games. Sophomore quarterback Marquise Williams was considered to be one of the sport's rising stars. Expectations were high enough in Chapel Hill to get the Tar Heels ranked to start the 2014 season.

And while UNC won its first two games, there were immediate signs that there could be issues on the defensive side of the ball. Against East Carolina, UNC gave up 789 yards of offense and 70 points. The Tar Heels then gave up 50 points to Clemson. Every game, save the NC State loss, wound up being a shootout. In the end, UNC finished with a 6-6 record and the nation's 119th-ranked defense. Williams had a fine year, but the nation's 35th-ranked offense wasn't going to be enough to overcome the numerous problems on the other side of the ball.

North Carolina gets Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl next Friday. A victory would at least preserve a winning season.

4th Most Overrated: No. 17 Notre Dame >>>

4th Most Overrated: No. 17 Notre Dame

In 2012, Everett Golson (with some help from Tommy Rees) led Notre Dame to a 12-0 regular season and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game. In 2013, Golson was suspended for an academic transgression, and Rees led the team to a 9-4 campaign. Fans (and coaches) thought that with Golson's return to the starting lineup, the Irish would once again be a national title contender. And they were right, at least until early November.

Notre Dame started the season 6-0 with wins over Rice, Michigan, Purdue, Syracuse, Stanford and North Carolina - not exactly Murderer's Row, but still impressive. They lost a heartbreaker to Florida State on the road - a defeat that probably wasn't going to be enough to knock them from Playoff consideration. But even with the gaudy record, Golson was having turnover problems. It all came to a head against Arizona State, when the junior signal-caller threw four interceptions and fumbled the ball away once. One week later, the Irish lost to lowly Northwestern in overtime. 

The Irish also lost to Louisville and USC to finish the season on a four-game losing streak. Golson, who wound up with 22 turnovers on the year, was eventually replaced by Malik Zaire. But it can't all be pinned on him - Notre Dame finished with the nation's 85th-ranked defense at the end of the year. 

3rd Most Overrated: No. 11 Stanford >>>

3rd Most Overrated: No. 11 Stanford

In both 2012 and 2013, Stanford rode elite defenses to Pac-12 championships and Rose Bowl berths. So it was no surprise to see the Cardinal ranked No. 11 in the preseason Coaches' Poll, especially with quarterback Kevin Hogan returning for his senior season. Oregon was considered the Pac-12 favorite, but like always, Stanford was expected to be a thorn in the Ducks' side.

But from very early on, it was clear that this team had problems on the offensive side of the ball. In the team's second game, it put up just 10 points against USC at home. In early October, it lost to Notre Dame, 17-14. And while the defense was again elite (it actually finished ranked No. 2 in the nation in terms of scoring), it wasn't enough to keep the squad relevant in the Pac-12. Stanford, which finished 87th in offense, wound up losing to Arizona State, Oregon and Utah as well. The Cardinal actually scored over 30 points in its final two games (Cal, UCLA), but it was too little, too late.

A 7-5 record in a tough Pac-12 is nothing to scoff at, but when you're highly-ranked and have experienced the success that Stanford has over the past few years, it's simply not good enough.

2nd Most Overrated: No. 9 South Carolina >>>

2nd Most Overrated: No. 9 South Carolina

After posting an 11-win season in 2013, South Carolina, despite losing quarterback Connor Shaw and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, was expected to be the class of the SEC East in 2014. The Gamecocks were ranked No. 9 in the preseason Coaches' Poll, and were generally thought of as national championship contenders - that is, until August 28th.

Texas A&M, which wound up having a confusing season of its own, came into Columbia and crushed South Carolina in the SEC season opener, 52-28, exposing the Gamecocks' pass defense. South Carolina rebounded and posted a solid victory over Georgia a few weeks later, but never quite lived up to expectations. The Gamecocks, after sporting the country's 93rd-ranked defense, wound up unranked, finishing just 6-6 on the year. They also lost their in-state rivalry game to Clemson for the first time in six years.

South Carolina wound up being the second-most overrated team of the 2014 campaign. But the Gamecocks weren't quite No. 1...

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1. Most Overrated: No. 3 Oklahoma 

At the end of the 2013 season, Oklahoma shocked the college football world by upending Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Quarterback Trevor Knight was anointed the next superstar after his record-setting performance. The Sooners, in 2014, were going to be a national title contender. The coaches ranked them No. 3 - they believed it too.

And while Oklahoma's offense was formidable, finishing the year ranked No. 11, the Sooners struggled in big games. OU lost to TCU, Kansas State and Baylor - the three highest-ranked teams in the Big 12. The team also lost its Bedlam rivalry game to Oklahoma State in the final week of the regular season.

It seemed like Oklahoma gave a few away - especially against the Wildcats and the Cowboys - but the bottom line is that they lost four games in a year that was supposed to be reserved for a College Football Playoff berth. In the end, they finished the year ranked No. 24 in the poll - which was generous, because they weren't ranked in either the AP Poll or the College Football Playoff rankings. 

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