Over-Rated: My Top Three

trojans.kaly harward

Kaly Harward

In 2012 it was USC that topped the list for failure to live up to preseason hype.

If I had stock in these three teams that are getting the preseason hype, I would sell now.  Any two of them may make it to the final BCS Championship Game, but don’t bet the farm on any of them. 

 

tOSU squeaked by a lot of teams in 2012.

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tOSU squeaked by a lot of teams in 2012.

1.         Ohio State Buckeyes.  Undefeated last year, yes, but barely, against too many teams that weren’t that great. They beat California, Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Michigan by fewer total points than Oregon beat Cal alone. And they struggled against Alabama Birmingham (3-9) for better than a half. During the offseason they’ve struggled to stay out of jail (typical for an Urban Meyer team), and there are lots of holes to fill on defense. 

 

 

No offense, Notre Dame.

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No offense, Notre Dame.

2.         Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  How many mediocre teams can you barely beat and still be ranked best in the country?  For Notre Dame last year I counted at least five. Take a team that didn’t have much offense, then subtract the star quarterback (due to “poor academic judgment”), the best receiver, and the two best running backs.  While the Irish return eight defensive starters, gone is Heisman candidate Manti Te’o.  Will the ND offense outscore anyone, including its own defense? 

 

 

An aTm machine that takes cash could spell doom for the Aggies.

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An aTm machine that takes cash could spell doom for the Aggies.

3.         Texas A & M Aggies.  With only six starters returning on each side of the ball, there are plenty of holes to fill, with the biggest inside the swollen head of their Heisman-winning quarterback, if he doesn’t get DQ’d to start with.  This guy has set himself up for a major fall and has a target on his back to boot.  This degree of self-centeredness and lack of discipline can’t be good for a team. There is no “I” in team, but Johnny F. can tell you, “Yes, but there is an ‘M’ and an ‘E’, and that’s what it’s all about.”

 

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Mike Merrell

Mike Merrell

Mike is a 1970 graduate of the University of Oregon where he attended the Honors College and received all-conference honors as a swimmer. After college, Mike ran for the Oregon Track Club and narrowly missed qualifying for the US Olympic Trials in the marathon. He continues his involvement in sports with near-daily swimming or running workouts, occasional masters swim competition (where he has received two Top-10 World rankings), providing volunteer coaching to local triathletes and helping out with FishDuck.com.Mike lives on 28 acres in the forest near Sandpoint, Idaho, where he has served as a certified public accountant for most of his working career. His current night job is writing novels about Abby Westminster, the only known illegitimate daughter of Britain's finest secret agent who has to bring down arch-villains plotting dastardly deeds. And, yes, Abby is also a DUCK!

  • YoMomma

    Guess I missed the part where ANY OSU players went to jail. Idiot.

    • Mike Merrell

      YoMomma – I’m sorry that you think that your failure to follow the news makes me an idiot. What I was referring to was Bradley Roby, who was arrested and booked into Monroe County Jail for Class A battery on July 22, 2013; tight end Marcus Baugh’s arrest for minor in possession and carrying fake ID on July 14, 2013; and running back Carlos Hyde being named as a person of interest in an assault case against a female.
      As great a coach as Urban Meyer is, he has a history of “problem players.” His 2008 Florida team included 41 players who were arrested either while students at Florida or subsequently. Let’s hope he does better at tOSU, but he’s off to a rocky start.
      We welcome comments here at fishduck, and we don’t expect everyone to agree with us. We do, however, expect people to be civil, and we appreciate it when their comments are educated. If you want to resort to name calling, there are plenty of other websites available.

      • Rome

        Hey Mike, It’s my belief that TOSU is greatly improved from last year. It was, after all, Meyer’s first year. The players have learned the playbook; and the talent is there.
        He also has a nice new toy. Dontre Wilson. I heard he is heating things up……Thanks Ducks

        • Mike Merrell, Editor

          Rome – Thanks for joining us! tOSU may very well be greatly improved from last year. If I were a Buckeyes fan, I would feel great about the offense, but only having four returning starters on defense would concern me, and even more so considering that the backups didn’t get a lot of playing time last year due to the abundance of close games. So the primary reasons I’m not buying the tOSU hype are inexperienced defense and too many close games against not-so-good teams last year.
          As for Dontre, I think he made a great move for himself changing his commitment to tOSU, where he will likely be an instant star. At Oregon, he likely would have either been the # 4 running back or maybe # 2 RB/receiver hybrid behind DAT.
          Ironically, Dontre’s defection may well have been what opened the space for Royce Freeman to commit to the Ducks’ 2014 class.

          • Deefr

            Mike. As an OSU fan, naturally, I’d like to know what you mean by “over-rated”. That can mean many things. They are currently ranked 2nd, so if they finish the year ranked 3rd, by definition, that’d mean they were over-rated. What do you expect OSU to finish? 9-3? 8-4? I expect the defense to be improved. Spence and Washington were top 5 d-line recruits, and they won’t have a converted full back playing linebacker. Also, not sure I’m buying ND being over-rated. 14th isn’t that high a ranking. Unless you expect ND to have a losing record.

          • Mike Merrell, Editor

            Deefr –
            Thanks for joining us. It’s great to see so many tOSU fans visiting our site, although I can see that you have your “problem children” as all fan bases do, ours included.
            Basically, I will be surprised if tOSU goes through a second straight season undefeated. If I had to pick numbers, I would probably go with 10-2. Unlike the pollsters, I don’t consider a close win all that much better than a close loss. I mean, yes, it makes the beer taste that much better that night, but it doesn’t really prove much about the difference between the two teams.
            ND may end up as high as 14, but they have a lot of games they could easily lose. And then, of course, there’s the issue of “overrated by whom.” A recent usatoday.com article pointed out that ND has included the BCS Championship Game on the 2013 schedule in their locker room. I should think they would like to tuck their tails between their legs just a little bit after the last go.

          • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

            We can be a touchy bunch.

            To be honest, all your observations about last year are on target and if anything, you forgot the Cal game which felt the most like an impending upset to me.

            Speaking only for myself but I think this holds true for most Bucks fans: the optimism stems from Urban Meyer. Having been on the receiving end of his work and having had super talented fail with John Cooper, the prospect of having Meyer plus the talent becomes intoxicating this time of the year.

          • Mike Merrell, Editor

            Here’s to a great year for the Bucks! You guys rock!

          • http://www.facebook.com/dmdcash Daniel Cash

            Then based on your Logic, LSU or Georgia were perhaps better teams than Bama due to LSU totally outplaying Bama and barely losing, and almost the same with Georgia?

          • Mike Merrell, Editor

            Daniel – This is about the third time I’ve made this point, but here it is again. A game here or a game there is one thing. The transitive property is about 90 % accurate, which means that it is about 10 % inaccurate. This occurs when one team just does a better job of showing up than the other. But when a team consistently plays at the same level with teams that aren’t that great, you can’t really compare it to a team that has one or maybe two off days. In my opinion – and you don’t have to share it – both tOSU and ND, in spite of their undefeated regular seasons, just had too many close games against teams that we know weren’t that great.
            I appreciate your taking the time to visit us here at fishduck and welcome you back anytime. And if it’s not our Ducks who get the chance to knock off the SEC this year, I hope that it will be someone from the Pac or the Big-10. Best of luck to the Buckeyes in 2013!

  • Weirdscience

    Hey Mike, how many football national titles has your alma mater won? I thought so. This article is meaningless.

    • Mike Merrell

      Weirdscience –
      I agree that this article is not about how many football national titles my alma mater has won. Sorry, I was not aware that articles had to be limited to that topic to have meaning.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    Has an Urban Meyer team EVER been overrated? Let’s check:

    [click me]

    Looks here like he’s usually under-rated.

    You say OSU struggled against some teams, I say they won. You like window-dressing by rolling it up for pollsters, I say take care of your business in Palo Alto.

    Not to troll you but isn’t that a first time head coach you got there in Eugene? Damn.. it’s big diff from being an OC to being a HC. Perhaps it’s the Ducks who are overrated?

    :-)

    Let’s just settle this thing in Pasadena on January 6.

    • Mike Merrell

      jimkanicki –
      Thank you for joining us for some lively preseason dialogue. Yes, perhaps it is the Ducks who are overrated, and yes, ultimately who is overrated will be settled on the playing field, not on the blogs. But we do like to have fun, don’t we!
      My point is that tOSU struggled against A LOT of teams in 2012 and these teams were not that great. I’m talking about a 7-point home win over Pac-12 doormat Cal, a whopping 3-point win over 4-8 Indiana and being taken to overtime by 6-7 Purdue, among others. Sorry, I’m not impressed by these wins. I am not one of those people who believe that it’s not how you play the game, it’s whether you win or lose. And, based upon tOSU’s struggles against mediocre teams, I don’t think they played the game all that well.
      Window-dressing by rolling it up for pollsters? You didn’t watch the games. The starters generally sat out most of the second half.
      New head coach? Yes. We have a lot of confidence in him and all of the assistant coaches who have been here for ages.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dmdcash Daniel Cash

        I think offensively this year we will be scoring a ton, what separated us last year from previous years, and what really won the game against UO in the Rose Bowl a few years ago, was a punishing physical defense…OSU lacked that last year…..

        • Mike Merrell, Editor

          Yes, tOSU had a great defense that year and promises to have a great offense this year. That year’s defense and this year’s offense would be a scary combination.

  • just wondering?

    Mike,
    Question, your statement says Oregon killed Cal by how many times multiplied than did Ohio State? Your a GuRU and you use head to head matchups? Wow, never really was a huge fan of head to head matchups. what I take from what Meyer did with the talent or lack there of was he won 12 football games and yes squeaked by in some he should not have, but they lost some good players and some mediocre layers. I think they will be a lot more talented and have had a year to get bigger faster and stronger than last year. Your assessment that the back ups did not play much last year was no where near accurate, they used up to 10 DL in most games, the secondary subbed very liberally and most of them are back. The Offense will be greatly improved plus Braxton is just a winner and the wild card. With that schedule Overrated?? Goin out on a limb here aren’t ya? More like Buckeye HATE!
    Texas A&M is over rated ND not really when you pick your whole schedule from not so good teams. Hard to say overrated! Let’s see you picked OSU (Off field trouble and an easy target and most hated team in the country) ND ( Everyone but Catholics hates them)! Texas A&M (Heisman trophy winner and been in trouble). Mike you picked the 3 easiest teams to hate, Get a real job your writing skills and football knowledge are both limited!

    • Mike Merrell, Editor

      Dear just wondering?
      My, my, my!!! Before you criticize anyone’s writing skills, I suggest that you take what you wrote above, rewrite it exactly the same on Microsoft Word and then do a spell check.
      As to head-to-head matchups, they are approximately 90 % accurate. I’ve done the statistical analysis on this. The Cal game on its own is not statistically significant, but when considered within the context of how many mediocre teams played basically even with tOSU, the statistical significance is evident.
      Do I have Buckeye hate? I personally only know three Buckeyes and I like all of them. I’m sorry to say this, but if you really believe that tOSU is the most hated team in the country, you might consider counseling for possible paranoia… and maybe just a little bit of anger management issues?
      By the way, I do have a real job. It involves writing and it pays very well.

      • Just Wondering

        See, I don’t write for a living, but will take your very intelligent advice and insight into consideration. You failed to speak of Texas A&M or Notre Dame and if you had a clue of what you speak you would know that The Ohio State University has the largest Alumni Association in the world and yes outside of the borders of Oregon they are the most hated team in the country. As far as Oregon is considered I would compare them to let’s say the Dan Marino Dolphins or San Diego Chargers of the 70’s and 80’s all glamour and no grit because every time they play a physical team they leave their manhood at the house while they run the score up on the out manned teams of the powerful Pac14 lol! Your just another writer jumping on the band wagon trying to fill in the gaps while you also fail to mention the problems of the Oregon Ducks and why Chip Kelly left. I really think they may be the most over-rated team in the country. I hope the new coach don’t have Bob Davie syndrome.

        • Mike Merrell, Editor

          Thank you for sharing that with us. All of us here in the Pac-14 bow to your superior knowledge about the college football world. And yes, we are all insanely, hatefully jealous that The Ohio State University has the largest Alumni Association in the world. We lose sleep over it. You win.

          • http://www.facebook.com/dmdcash Daniel Cash

            Mike as an OSU alum, I am interested in hearing your views on 2 things: 1) Urban’s incredible record in his second year on every team he has coached, and 2) Your comparison of OSU’s sanctions vs. (in my opinion) Oregon’s far more serious possible sanctions….OSU gained zero advantage on the field with theirs, while OU was obviously trying to pay their way into an advantage…..

          • Mike Merrell, Editor

            1) Urban Meyer’s win-loss record in his second year as a head coach for all of the teams he has ever coached is one of many football trivia I could not tell you. I’m sure it’s pretty good as he is an excellent coach, but I will leave that subject to you.
            2) I also don’t have any views on the sanctions. After having it hang over our heads for over two years, we’ve moved on. I suggest you do the same.

          • hokieduck

            Daniel. Urban has done very well during his second years. Won the NCG with Florida, for example. However, I think that any team who played tOSU in conference last year did so with an asterisk in their heads as they knew it didn’t really count, since PSU and tOSU could not play in the conference championship. Furthermore, the B1G was down last year. Normally, one of the best football conferences, it simply had a bad year so struggling to beat several of those teams when those teams weren’t gunning for you… not all that impressive to me.

            If he runs the table this year, bring it on. While I would rather meet Alabama in Pasadena (if the Ducks can pull it off), I would gladly meet the Buckeyes there as well.

            Go Ducks! WTD!

  • Turdtastic

    Calling Ohio State overrated after an undefeated season is just ludicrous. You say they struggled against some teams they shouldn’t have. True. But they were also implementing a completely new system under a first year head coach. According to the information I found only 3 First year coaches have gone undefeated in D1, T. Bowden(1994), Bob Stoops(1999) and Urban Meyer(2012). That’s a significant accomplishment, no matter how you slice it. Plus, let’s not forget another undefeated Buckeye team that had quite a few close games, the 2002 National Champions.

    • Mike Merrell, Editor

      You write so intelligently, but the name you have chosen is so immature. If you want people to take you seriously, I suggest an upgrade.
      The results of 2012 speak for themselves, but I don’t believe that a team going undefeated one year exempts them from being overrated the next year. But really, please rethink your name. You write too well to downgrade yourself in that manner.

      • Turdtastic

        If you don’t use the 2012 results to set expectations for 2013 what can you use? That’s far less of a reach than calling teams overrated before they ever step on the playing field. If your story came at the end of the season and Ohio State finished 9-4, then you would have a point.
        I chose my username as a counterpoint to some of the usernames used on forums I frequent. It has nothing to do with my maturity level, and if I expected to be taken seriously on an internet forum or message board I would use my real name. Anonymity, has it’s perks.

        • Mike Merrell, Editor

          I completely agree that using the 2012 results as a starting point for setting expectations for 2013. I think where we differ in opinion is on how well tOSU did last year. I know I go against the conventional wisdom (and certainly the all-wise computers) in not considering all wins equal. This is based upon my personal experiences in a lifetime of competing. I’ve come in second against former Olympic champions and felt pretty good about it, and I’ve had some wins against lesser competition that were entirely forgettable.
          For football, I think it is entirely understandable for a team to have an occasional off day and either lose to or barely beat a lesser foe. The same team may play over its head on occasion and pick up an unexpected win. What I see in tOSU’s performance last year is that they had too many close calls against mediocre teams to keep it in the “off day” category. As I say, close wins make the beer taste better that night, but at some point the teams that you play more or less level with on a regular basis are an indication of how good you are, win or lose. I felt the same way about ND as I did tOSU last year and I think their performance in the NCG proved that despite being undefeated and ranked number one, they just weren’t really that good.
          You are totally welcome to disagree with me, and I respect that. I don’t expect you to be a Duck homer, as I’ve got that one covered. Best wishes to you and the Bucks in 2013! Most of us here in the Pac-12 see it as the Pac-12/Big 10 vs. the SEC/Big 12. I hope that one of us gets a shot at the southern half and takes them down this year. I’d rather it be my Ducks, but if it is the Bucks, it works for me. I still think you should change your screen name, though.

  • Jason Curtis

    Sheeesh Mike! How dare you do, um, and opinion piece. lol. You really riled them up didn’t you. (when you rile people up like this, it means you are doing a GOOD JOB!) :) Keep it up.

    • Jason Curtis

      ** an opinion piece ** (wouldn’t want to anger the grammar nazi’s)

    • Mike Merrell, Editor

      Thanks for the support, Jason! The response on this piece has exceeded my wildest expectations. It has been fun.