Most overrated, underrated college football teams by Power 5 conference

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As the 2022 preseason polls come out and the hype begins nationwide, let’s determine which college football teams are the most overrated and underrated.

As college football fans, we’ve been through a splashy offseason of transfers, coaching changes, and controversies. New NIL deals are popping up everywhere and the continued, non-stop rhythm of the transfer portal has helped players come and go with ease to wherever the grass is greener.

Consider that in the preseason AP Top 10 last year, six of its teams finished that way. Three of those teams didn’t even finish the season in the Top 25 overall — Texas A&M, Iowa State, and North Carolina.

If you had checked this warning during the 2021 preseason, you would have been well aware that the Longhorns, the Aggies, and the Tar Heels would vastly underperform all those expectations.

A 2021 preseason unranked team (Michigan) reached the College Football Playoff as one of the four best teams in the nation after defeating archrival Ohio State and winning the Big Ten title game.

Two other unranked teams from that preseason poll, Oklahoma State and Michigan State, surpassed all expectations to finish 2021 as top 10 teams. The Cowboys (12-2) ended by knocking off Oklahoma in the teams’ annual Bedlam matchup to send Sooners’ boss Lincoln Riley to USC mere hours later, followed by a Fiesta Bowl win against Notre Dame. Michigan State (11-2) also defeated its in-state rival, Michigan, en route to a Peach Bowl win against ACC champ Pittsburgh.

In fact, only 10 of the preseason Top 25 teams finished the 2021 season ranked. Sure, it wasn’t any stretch of the imagination to see Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State (despite the Michigan loss), and even Cincinnati vying for the national title late in the season, but there were many genuine surprises last year.

For example, few had predicted Baylor to win the Big 12 with a 12-2 record and a Sugar Bowl win. Or how about Pitt reaching the 11-win mark on its way to winning the ACC title at the expense of Clemson? Or teams like UNC and Iowa State (preseason Top 10 squads) combining for a 13-13 record?

The same logic applied to 2020: LSU and Penn State were preseason ranked top 10 teams that struggled in a pandemic-shortened season with 5-5 and 4-5 records, respectively.

Outside of those normal heavyweights among the nation’s top four or five teams, the lesson is clear for 2022: believe the preseason predictions at your own risk.

Which teams are the most overrated and underrated from each of the five power conferences?

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