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.