With four weeks of college football in the books, we're already a full third of the way through the regular season. In that month, many of the preconceived notions about the 2015 season have been shattered. Auburn, once a popular College Football Playoff pick, is floundering, while Oregon already has two losses and just got blasted at home by 40 points. Things aren't even perfect in Columbus, where a stacked Ohio State team hasn't been able to shake off the rust following a championship season.
Many of the teams that we had high expectations for have failed to live up, and as usual, the polls often lag behind what we see on the field. Last week, our two most overrated teams—Auburn and Arizona—both lost, and fell from the USA Today Coaches' Poll. Auburn lost a second straight SEC game, this time to Mississippi State 17-9, while previously undefeated Arizona was blasted by Pac-12 rival UCLA 56-30 at home.
Which teams have failed to play up to their week five rankings, and which are one bad loss away from being exposed? Here are the five most overrated teams in this week's poll:
5. No. 1 Ohio State
Ohio State was in this spot last week, and they stay there this week. Movement in the Coaches Poll is very rarely dynamic, so unless the Buckeyes actually lose, it is highly unlikely that they will be unseated from atop the Top 25. Whether or not that is right, is up for debate. The Buckeyes looked better against a decent MAC opponent in Western Michigan this week than they did against Northern Illinois last, but Ohio State still looks a bit average on offense.
Despite a litany of weapons, the much-ballyhooed quarterback situation has not shaken out as expected. Starter Cardale Jones does not look like the same player who dominated the post-season, is only completing 57-percent of his passes, and has as many interceptions as touchdowns (four). J.T. Barrett has seen a good deal of time, but is actually completing a lower-percentage of his passes (55-percent), for a very pedestrian 5.08 yards per attempt, two touchdowns, and two picks.
Ohio State's best performance came in the season opener against Virginia Tech. Since, they have played the two MAC teams and Hawaii—not exactly a murderer's row of opponents. Tougher competition in Big Ten play, which kicks off Saturday at undefeated Indiana, may kick the Buckeyes back into gear. If they instead continue to sleepwalk through the schedule, the No. 1 ranking will continue to ring hollow.
4. No. 23 Florida
Placing Florida here isn't meant to take away from the Gators' improvement under Jim McElwain, after a rough few years with Will Muschamp at the helm. The Gators have played four games and won them all, including a big win over Tennessee, a trendy pick to win the SEC East and be one of college football's breakout teams this season. Even without Muschamp, known as one of the sport's best defensive coaches, the Gators defense looks very solid, which should be encouraging. However, there are still issues on the offensive end, which likely has more to do with inexperience in McElwain's offense than anything.
The Tennessee win vaults Florida into the Top 25, and that win may still look good come season's end, but the dirty secret about that game is that questionable decision making by Butch Jones contributed to the final score as much as anything. The Volunteers have now choked away two games against name opponents, and this week, Florida reaps the benefits.
UF is 4-0, but they have little to show in the way of style points to go with those victories. Florida got by a very inconsistent ECU team by a touchdown. The Pirates beat a very injured Virginia Tech this weekend, but were blown out of the water by Navy the week after the game against the Gators. In week three, Florida got by Kentucky in a very ugly 14-9 game. The SEC East appears to be wide open after Georgia, and Florida could well take advantage of that division slate and wind up in the rankings at year's end. Also, give them credit for starting the year undefeated. I'd like to see what they do against a legitimate power, Ole Miss, this weekend, before I pencil them in as one of the country's 25 best teams, however.
3. No. 4 Baylor
Stop us if you've heard this one before, but Baylor really didn't challenge itself with the non-conference slate this season. Games at SMU, and vs. Lamar and Rice is an easy set of games for just about any team, especially one that fancies itself a College Football Playoff contender. Time will tell whether it costs Baylor a playoff spot again, but we certainly don't know enough about the Bears through three games to say that they are a top four team.
Baylor's offense has scored on just about anybody for years now, but the three teams it has played so far put up little fight. Lamar is an FCS team, while Rice gives up 458.3 yards per game, which ranks 106 in the nation. SMU is on another level. The Mustangs surrender the most yardage in the country—603 yards per game—by a decent margin. Most teams, even those not coached by a mastermind like Art Briles, would put up gaudy numbers against those three.
Defensively, there is some cause for concern for Baylor. While none of the games have wound up being close, SMU and Lamar both hung around for far longer in their games then fans would probably like to admit. The offenses in the Big 12 are a bit better than the ones fielded by the Mustangs, Cardinals, and Owls.
2. No. 3 TCU
Was there a luckier team in the sport than the TCU Horned Frogs last weekend? TCU hung on for a 55-52 win over Texas Tech, notching the win with an absurd touchdown catch off of a deflection in the back of the end zone. The win is a good one for TCU, as Texas Tech looks to be improved from its rough 2014 campaign, but the Horned Frogs' defense is becoming a serious cause for concern.
In week three, an SMU team that scored the fewest points in the country in 2014, dropped 37 on TCU. This week, Texas Tech put up 52. The Big 12 is not lacking for fantastic offenses; Baylor is No. 1 nationally with 64 points per game, while West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State all rank in the Top 30 in that category. TCU is No. 5 itself, averaging 51 points per game, but winning shootouts every week can be extremely taxing.
Last season, TCU's defense was fantastic, allowing just 19 points per game. Based on the start to this season, that unit isn't nearly as good in 2015. After the close call against Texas Tech, TCU was jumped by Michigan State, which settles in behind Ohio State at No. 2. If the Horned Frogs defense can't right the ship, they may fall in more than the rankings.
1. No. 24 Oregon
One bad performance shouldn't totally erase a strong pedigree and a recent history of greatness, but it is very hard to argue that Oregon is one of the 25 best teams in college football right now. The Ducks had maybe the most eye-popping loss of week four, losing 62-20 at home to Utah. The Utes are a very good team, and look like they may contend in the Pac-12 this season, but they also struggled to beat Utah State and didn't beat Fresno State nearly as decisively as they did the Ducks.
Oregon has major issues in every aspect. The quarterback situation is very tenuous as long as Vernon Adams is out with his broken finger. Jeff Lockie is a fan favorite, and might be able to manage a game, but Oregon needs much more out of its quarterback, and right now, they aren't getting it. The defense is even more of a concern, however. The Ducks rank No. 111 in total defense and No. 118 in scoring defense, just ahead of bottom feeder Kansas. Don't forget about special teams, either. Perhaps the biggest highlight of Oregon's loss to Utah was the trick punt return that led to a Utes touchdown. Utah also pulled off a fake punt in the game. Basically, the Ducks were dominated in every facet of the game.
Maybe Vernon Adams can heal up and return to the form that he showed at Eastern Washington. Maybe the Ducks shore up their defense and special teams over the next few weeks, and wind up winning nine games and going to a solid bowl. If those things happen, Oregon will probably be a Top 25 team. After losing by 42 at home, however, it is almost impossible to argue that they deserve to be there.