College Football’s 5 Most Underrated Teams of 2017

The definition of underrate is “to rate or evaluate too low; underestimate.” Here is the 5 college football teams most underestimated for the 2017 season.
Honorable Mention. UCLA- If you have a quarterback you have a chance. If the golden boy Josh Rosen has a good season the Bruins will have a shot to win the Pac-12.
5. Miami– It feels like forever since Miami was good. They fooled you guys in the beginning of last season, but I knew better. This year the Hurricanes return seven starters on a defense that only gave up 18.5 ppg in 2016. Questions about their quarterback have kept expectations low, but their offensive line should be very good. If Miami can get a decent QB out of junior Malik Rosier, true freshmen N’Kosi Perry, Cade Weldon and sophomore Evan Shirreffs, they have a legit shot to win the ACC.
4. NC State– Do not underestimate the quality of this team that finished 7-6 last year. The Wolfpack don’t have the horses to make a run at the ACC Atlantic division, but they have an underrated coach in Dave Doeren. NC State is good enough to hand FSU, Louisville, or Clemson a loss. Last year, the Wolfpack gifted Clemson an overtime victory, and it took a 4th quarter comeback by Florida St to win. Coach Doreen has a veteran offensive line to protect junior QB Ryan Finley. This combo will give the Wolfpack a shot to win every week vs. this tough schedule. A 9-3 finish to the regular season IS possible and would be a huge success, but reality is more around 7-5.
3. Oregon– I can already hear you guys now. Such a homer, of course he says Oregon is underrated. Well, they are. No one has any expectations for the Ducks winning the Pac-12 north after finishing a disaster of a season last year 4-8. The Ducks cleaned house and brought in head coach Willie Taggert from South Florida. Oregon has plenty of talent left on the roster offensively. Justin Herbert showed flashes last year as a true freshman and should have a successful sophomore campaign. Expect to see the Royce Freeman of old running the football. The same cannot be said defensively. The Ducks should be a 9-win team and Pac-12 north champs if they can play a nominal amount of defense this season.
2. Penn St– At the end of the regular season last year, didn’t you feel like Penn St was one of the 4 best teams in the country? I did. This team is good, really good. So how could the Nittany Lions team be underrated? I got two names, Ohio St. and Michigan. It feels like James Franklin is the forgotten man behind Urban Meyer and the Khaki man Jim Harbaugh. Penn St has two of the most exciting players in college football. Their quarterback Trace McSorley reminds me of Johnny Manziel. Defenses can’t tackle RB Saquon Barkley in a phone booth. I am bullish on the scrappy Nittany Lions this year to win the B1G title.
P.S. I hate their non-conference schedule (Akron, Pitt, and Georgia St)!!!

1. Oklahoma St– How bout them COWBOYS! Ok St will come into this season ranking outside of the Top 10, but expect them to finish in the college football playoff. The combination of a light non-conference schedule and playing Baylor, TCU, and Oklahoma at home makes for a perfect recipe for 12-0 or 11-1 regular season. Mason Rudolph will be throwing to the #1 receiving corps in the nation. James Washington, Jalen McCleskey, Marcell Ateman, and Tyron Johnson are all studs. Add in running back Justice Hill and it may take a small army to slow Ok St down offensively. The only thing that can derail the Cowboys is Mike Gundy’s bad luck mullet.

5 Most Overrated Teams in College Football

College football season is only a few weeks away. We are already beginning to be flooded with preseason rankings. Here are the teams that will prove themselves overrated this college football season:
Honorable Mention- Louisville. Lamar Jackson fell apart at the end of the season leaving Heisman voters wishing they could get their votes back. He’s a good kid, elite athlete, but he is not elite enough of a passer to lead this team to an ACC title. The Cardinals will likely get to 10 wins due to a non-conference schedule that would make Washington blush.
5. LSU-Please stop trying to sell me on LSU being able to unseat Bama for the SEC West crown. Not happening. Not even if their quarterback Jalen Hurts gets hurt. The Tigers have to get out of the “run and punt” style of offense they had under Les Miles and step in at least a 2010 offense.
In my mind I like the idea Ed Orgeron was hired as head coach. But if I’m judging from his last time he was a head coach without the interim tag (Ole Miss), I realize things could go badly. Derrius Guice might be the nation’s best running back. And as usual the Tigers are stacked with talent on defense with Arden Key (LB) and Donte Jackson (CB) leading the way. Unfortunately, the SEC is Alabama, and everybody else and LSU is an everybody else.
4. Texas-Tom Herman is in, Charlie Strong is out. Texas is back. Texas is a Top 10 team! Slow all the way down and come back in a year or 2. Expectations of burnt orange fans are completely out of whack. But eclipsing the 5 wins from last year shouldn’t be too difficult with this schedule. The Longhorns have talent but depth is an issue, especially on the offensive line. You already know, if you can’t protect your quarterback, you can’t play football. I really hope Shane Buechele’s parents took out an insurance policy on him. He may be running for his life a lot this season. There is good news though. If Tom Herman can keep his QB upright, they have playmakers in Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay at WR. Todd Orlando is the new defensive coordinator and there’s nowhere to go but up from last years’ Swiss cheese D.
3. Florida- Unless Jim McElwain got a Steve Spurier offensive blood transfusion expect to see another season of non-explosive offensive football. The Gators finished 100th in scoring in 2015 and 107th in 2016. This Florida team is underwhelming. I could name a bunch of defensive players that will keep them in games, but I won’t. This team could very well win the SEC East, but if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it did it really happen?
2. Michigan- Back to back years, this is becoming a trend. Aside from games against Penn St and Ohio St, this schedule looks like a snoozer. George, what about Florida week 1 and the Wisconsin game? What about it? Sounds like 13-10 ballgames with teams below average offenses masquerading as defensive juggernauts. Michigan only returns 5 starters, and will be playing a ton of freshman. There is good news Wolverines fans. Jim Harbaugh is your coach. If anyone can grind out a 10 win season on the backs QB Wilton Speight and RB Chris Evans it’s the khaki man.

1. Washington- The Huskies non-conference games with Rutgers, Montana, and Fresno State is somehow weaker than last years schedule. To make their schedule even easier, UW plays Oregon, Washington St, and Utah all at home, and avoids USC altogether. I believe Chris Peterson is a great coach. I believe Washington will have a good running game with Miles Gaskins and Lavon Coleman. I believe D Coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski will be able to field a formidable defense despite losing Budda Baker, Sidney Jones, Kevin King, and Elijah Qualls to the NFL. But they will not be battle tested and will probably lose a game because I DO NOT BELIEVE IN JAKE BROWNING. How could I say that? He threw for 3,430 yards and 43TDs last year. Browning was carried by the Husky defense. They created easy scoring opportunities from short fields. He did not impress in games vs. Arizona, Utah, USC, Colorado, and Alabama. Even if Washington does finish undefeated expect to hear grumblings about leaving them out of the Top 4.

Pushing Chip Kelly Out the Door: Open Letter to the “Anonymous Boosters”

 

I was scrolling through my twitter feed and could not believe my eyes when I saw this post in USA Today… ‘Anonymous Oregon Boosters want Chip Kelly gone.‘ 
 
 
This could be one of the more troubling things I have EVER read about my Ducks. Everyone knows I bleed Oregon Ducks green and yellow… and black and gray… and white and carbon fiber and (of course) chrome. I hope I speak for all the Duck faithful when I say to these “anonymous boosters”:   Get on board with the program AND CHIP KELLY or find another team to booster for! 
 
Have you forgotten where we came from?  We have won 3 of the last 4 PAC-12 titles and been to 4 consecutive BCS bowl games. Oregon was an afterthought in the world of powerhouses in college football. Oregon is now arguably the BIGGEST brand in the NCAA. But you want to get rid of the coach because he doesn’t want to play golf with you or pretend to be your friend?  Get over yourself.  Chip Kelly is 45-7.  That’s over 85%. Find a coach with a better record than that. While you’re at it, find another coach who is revolutionizing the way college football is played.  I’ll wait… You can’t!!! I do understand that Chip can be short and keep things very close to the vest. That can be very frustrating at times but what do you want more?  A football coach building a powerhouse… or a politician?  You are the people that cause empires to fall and potential greatness to be ruined.  There will be a day Chip leaves and we will use our “next man up” attitude but what sense does it make to try and push him out the door now? This is absolutely absurd.

“Anonymous Boosters”:  You are selfish, self-serving, cowardice, and do NOT have the program’s best interest at heart. You must be solely concerned with feeding your own ego and show off to your friends that you are friends with the coach. If you are going to make bold statements that could be damaging to the program, don’t hide behind the shield of anonymity.  Stand behind the words you speak. Before you do, however, be sure to realize that we are in the thick of a recruiting battle for the nation’s best players. As a recruit, the LAST thing you want to think is that the coach may leave. When I was being recruited from high school, the ONLY reason I did not go to Arizona is that I knew Coach Tomey would be fired. 
 
I LOVE the University of Oregon and I hang on every snap of the game whether we are up by 5 or 55.  You are a booster.  Deep down, you do love the program…  but you have clearly lost your way. I really hope you come to your senses and stop tearing down the program that so many people have spent 2 decades building. Let’s get back on the same page.  Let’s support our coach and commit to doing everything possible to win a National Championship. If you cannot do that…  on behalf of Oregon fans, players (past, present, & future), and alumni… We don’t want Chip Kelly gone. We want YOU gone. #GoDucks
 
 
Sincerely,
 
George Fredrick Wrighster, III
TE ’99-’02

USC Trojans: Finished at the top of the Pac-12?

Who is USC? They are not the football program they used to be.

The Trojans came into the 2012 college football season ranked #1 in the country! Expectations had not been this high since the Reggie Bush era. After 2 seasons of post-season bowl bans USC was predicted to reclaim Pac-12 dominance and national prominence. The Nov. 3 game vs Oregon was supposed to be a top 5 showdown with the winner to play either  LSU or Alabama game in the national championship. Instead, USC showed up to the game with two losses and a head coach on the hot seat. After getting beat up by the Ducks, the Trojans are 6-3 and must-win every game in order to make the Pac-12 title game and avoid a disastrous season.

Just when the USC athletic department thought the black eyes would stop, they keep getting hit from every angle. Lane Kiffin inherited many of the challenges he has faced as the Trojans head coach. However, the newest bruises to the Trojans, excluding the losses, are self inflicted. Many uninformed people are crediting USC’s troubles to the lack of depth due to scholarship restrictions imposed by the NCAA. Reality is, USC signed a full recruiting class last year plus a few extra players due to 7 players who transferred for a total of 31 signees. The scholarship losses are coming but have little to do with the problems at hand now.

The fabric of tradition and dominance USC once showed over the Pac-12 is slowly coming apart at the seams. The mystique is gone and so is the respect and pride that used to cause teams to crumble from the shadow of the Coliseum. The Trojans are still a hot bed of talent for the NFL, but those numbers dwindle over next few years with the loss of blue chip recruits to other schools like Oregon, Washington, and even UCLA. The Trojans have lost the strangle hold they had on the Pac-12 to the Ducks, who have won three straight titles. Top recruits (i.e. Max Redfield) who wouldn’t consider other options after being offered a USC scholarship are considering taking their talents to other schools. Even worse than that, the Trojans are losing their identity and pride. Part of the identity was tied to the uniform. SC’s traditional uniform complemented with white socks and black cleats with white laces have been traded for cardinal and yellow socks and shoes. This may sound like a little thing but after talking to many players I played with in the NFL, they agree with me. Now to the pride:

Jersey Gate:

 On Oct 20 SC played the Colorado Buffaloes, who is one of the worst teams in college football and the current Pac-12 punching bag. Lane Kiffin and the USC staff pulled a move that can only be characterized as “Bush League”. Here is the Quote from the LA Times article:

Cody Kessler is easily identifiable in the No. 6 jersey the reserve quarterback has worn in his two seasons at USC.
So confusion reigned last week when Kessler played on special teams in the first half against Colorado — even running for an apparent two-point conversion — wearing No. 35, the same number worn by punter Kyle Negrete. In the second half, Kessler was back wearing No. 6.

When asked about the controversy after the game Kiffin said, ” We’re just playing within the rules of college football”. This move by Kiffin is clearly against NCAA rules because the jersey change was to deceive the opponent. He is also only one of a handful of coaches who could attempt a stunt like this because nearly all teams have names on the back of their jerseys.

Football Gate:

Today it was just announced here that USC fired a student equipment manager for intentionally deflating game balls during the first half of the loss vs Oregon. When footballs are properly inflated they are hard as rocks. A slightly under inflated ball allows the quarterback to grip it tighter and throw it harder and further. It also allows the receiver to grip the ball better and making it easier to catch.

“When informed of this allegation by the Pac-12, USC investigated it immediately. The student manager confirmed that he had, without the knowledge of, or instruction from, any USC student-athlete, coach, staff member or administrator, deflated those game balls after they had been tested and approved by officials prior to the game.”

Really… Are we supposed to believe a frat boy equipment manager just under inflated balls without anyone’s knowledge in the biggest game of the year? Yea right. Equipment managers know that quarterbacks are very particular about the balls they use. There is no way he would have bothered the balls without consent or knowledge from authority. While this violation brings a fine and reprimand, the bigger punishment is another bruise to the USC name.

NCAA sanctions for recruiting violations and improper benefits are one thing, but shaky in game tactics are a whole different ballgame. You might expect a school that is completely undermanned to try these things. Is this what it has come to with USC?

USC is a football program rich with history, tradition, and accomplishments. Their history is becoming increasingly difficult for fans, recruits, and to see though the dark clouds over the Coliseum.  If USC is not careful they will end up just a shadow of their former selves like Notre Dame, Michigan, Miami, Tennessee, Florida State, and Alabama (before Saban).

Is this what we should expect out of the “mighty” USC?

Is it possible to right the ship? If so, how and when?