USA Today Sports

Exposing the Top 25: Where the polls went wrong

Each week throughout the college football season, Covers Expert Jesse Schule 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: Michigan State Spartans (11-1 SU, 7-4 ATS)

The Spartans finished the season with eight straight victories after suffering their only loss to Notre Dame on the road back on September 21. Of those eight victories, many came against quality opponents, and none of those games were close (all decided by double digits). 

Michigan State boasts the nation's No. 4 ranked defense, allowing an average of just 11.8 points per game. The Spartans registered a shutout against Purdue, held Minnesota and Illinois to just three points each, and held Northwestern and Michigan to just six points apiece.

Most overrated Top 25 team: Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0 SU, 6-5-1 ATS)

I believe it truly would be a crime if the Buckeyes were to play in the National Championship game ahead of Missouri or Auburn, who will play for the SEC Championship Saturday.

Ohio State has a perfect 12-0 record, much like Notre Dame did last year. And look what happened to the Irish when they faced an SEC powerhouse - it looked like men against boys. I'm convinced it would be the same story if the Buckeyes were to play any of the Top 5 teams.

Saturday's win over the Wolverines showed how vulnerable the Buckeyes defense can be, and that was against an unranked opponent. The Buckeyes were very fortunate to have escaped with the win at Ann Arbor in a game that ended with a failed two-point conversion on the final play.

Unranked team that should be ranked: Cincinnati Bearcats (9-2 SU, 6-5-0 ATS)


The Bearcats have won six straight and they boast a Top-10 defense, allowing opponents an average of 18.5 points per game. They finish the season against Louisville at home and they have won 16 of their last 18 home games.

Quarterback Brendon Kay has thrown for over 800 yards and six touchdowns, winning back-to-back games on the road.

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Posted by Jesse__Schule
7 months ago

Note to all you Buckeyes fans .. You heard it here first ... I REST MY CASE!
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Posted by Jesse__Schule
7 months ago

Note to all you Buckeyes fans .. You heard it here first ... I REST MY CASE!
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Posted by Jesse__Schule
7 months ago

Note to all you Buckeyes fans .. You heard it here first ... I REST MY CASE!
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Posted by marksteg22
7 months ago

Don't forget about Ohio State's biggest difference maker, coach of the century, Urban Meyer. I don't know if you guys know about him but he's known for winning...especially big games. 7-1 in bowl games and 2-0 in National championships. He's kind of a big deal.
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Posted by reillym32
7 months ago

Why all the hate on Ohio State. Who the hell has Florida State played. If you compare both of there schedules, Florida States is way weaker.
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Posted by sports_Network
7 months ago

I agrre on your assessment of Michigan State, the stats on defense speak loud,and clear. In regards to Ohio State, I couldn't disagree with you more, just the opposite, a) they didn't make their schedule, b) they're 12-0 c)comparing them to last years Notre Dame team is totally 'ludicrous' time will tell with the outcome of the Big Ten Championship game vs MSU the lean goes to OSU
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Posted by Jesse__Schule
7 months ago

@Sports_Network, " they're 12-0 c)comparing them to last years Notre Dame team is totally 'ludicrous'" The fact that they are 12-0 is exactly why I was comparing them to last year's Notre Dame team.
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Posted by Jesse__Schule
7 months ago

@heatthreepeat - Nobody was comparing Cincy to Missouri, it was simply suggested that Cincy is worthy of the #25 spot.
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Posted by Jesse__Schule
7 months ago

@MarkSteg22 - Don't you think it would be pretty hard for the Buckeyes to "shock the world" - considering they are ranked #2 with an undefeated record. If you consider it shocking that the #2 ranked team wins, that sort of suggests that they are overrated... right?
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Posted by marksteg22
7 months ago

So in 2002 when they were #2 and huge underdogs to Miami, they didn't shock the world...and they didn't deserve to be there? They beat one of the greatest college teams ever. If they make it this year they will be huge underdogs again because the media loves FSU.
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Posted by marksteg22
7 months ago

More Buckeye Bashing, how original. Can't wait until they pull a 2002 and shock the world. They have a better run game than some NFL teams but rushing isn't that important in college football, right???
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Posted by DarthHambly
7 months ago

Look for the Buckeyes to have their dreams dashed by the Spartans. So let it be written. So let it be done.
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Top Response

Posted by sports_Network
7 months ago

"I agrre on your assessment of Michigan State, the stats on defense speak loud,and clear. In regards to Ohio State, I couldn't disagree with you more, just the opposite, a) they didn't make their schedule, b) they're 12-0 c)comparing them to last year..."