Exposing the Top 25: Where the polls went wrong
Each week throughout the college football season, Covers Expert Chris Elliott will dissect the new Top 25 rankings, looking for betting value. He'll showcase the most overrated team, along with the most underrated ranked team, and an unranked squad that he feels should be in the Top 25.
Most Underrated Top 25 Team - Stanford Cardinal (9-2, 7-4 ATS)
Stanford has surprised experts and football fans alike as it has a chance to match last season's record of 11-2 without arguably the nation's top offensive player from the past two seasons. The Cardinal have won five straight games with their last loss coming by a score of 20-13 at current No. 1 Notre Dame on Oct. 13. Stanford has played and beaten a "who's who" of competition this season, including Oregon and Oregon State in back-to-back weeks.
Saturday they travel to the Rose bowl to challenge a Bruins squad that has won five straight games as well. This will be a battle of the Cardinal’s 10th-ranked scoring defense against the Bruins’ 20th-ranked scoring offense. After Stanford held Oregon to 14 points last week, I expect they will get the job done in week 13.
Most Overrated Top 25 Team - South Carolina Gamecocks (9-2, 7-4 ATS)
South Carolina is coming off a 24-7 victory over the Wofford Terriers out of the Southern Conference Saturday. The Gamecocks scored 17 points in the final 12 minutes to break a fourth quarter tie. The team was out-yarded 330 to 293 against the Terriers as they remain without their top offensive weapon RB Marcus Lattimore.
South Carolina will be tested Saturday at No. 12 Clemson with their impressive fourth-ranked scoring offense. The Gamecocks are 0-2 this season on the road against ranked opponents losing by a combined margin of minus-17.5 point per game. They are 3-5 SU at Clemson since 1996 and I expect that trend to continue Saturday.
Unranked Team That Should Be Ranked - San Jose State Spartans (9-2, 9-2 ATS)
San Jose State is 9-1 in its last 10 games after opening the season with a tight 20-17 defeat at No. 11 Stanford. The Spartans are coming off an impressive 20-14 home victory over BYU to increase their win streak to five consecutive games.
San Jose State will challenge the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (9-2) at Spartan Stadium Saturday night. The Bulldogs are coming off a devastating home OT loss to Utah State, basically handing the Aggies the WAC title in the process, as they only need to beat Idaho (1-10) in their final regular season game to clinch. Expect a letdown game from the Bulldogs as the Spartans finish strong at home Saturday.