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.
With the first Coaches Poll coming out this week, we don’t waste time telling you where the Top 25 went wrong:
Most underrated Top 25 team: USC Trojans (7-6 SU, 3-10 ATS)
At this time last year, the Trojans were at the top of all the polls as an early favorite to win the national championship. Their season started to take a turn for the worse when they lost to Stanford in Week 3, and losses to Arizona, Oregon, UCLA and Notre Dame would soon follow. After a disappointing 2012, they lose starting quarterback Matt Barkley and star wideout Robert Woods.
It's easy to see why everyone is down on the Trojans, but they return eight starters on offense and seven on defense from a team that came into 2012 with such lofty expectations. While they have plenty of questions at the quarterback position, RB Silas Redd and WR Marqise Lee will give them a pair of potent weapons on offense. Southern Cal opens the season in Hawaii and then returns home to host Washington State and Boston College. This team should cruise through September and rise in the rankings.
Most overrated Top 25 team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-1 SU, 7-6 ATS)
The Irish ran the table in 2012, but along the way they were fortunate to win some close games that easily could have gone the other way. They lost Manti Te'o to the NFL draft and it looks like they will also be without QB Everet Golson because of academic issues.
Notre Dame has a tough schedule, hosting Oklahoma, Michigan State and facing Michigan on the road in September. I wouldn't be surprised to see them fall out of the rankings during the first month of the season.
Unranked team that should be ranked: Virginia Tech Hokies (7-6 SU, 4-9 ATS)
The Hokies have a nightmare matchup in Week 1, hosting the defending champion Crimson Tide. Once they get that out of the way, the schedule appears to be very manageable. They will have a new look offense and a defense that returns eight starters after finishing among the Top 20 in the nation last year.
Logan Thomas is back under center after a disappointing season, but he finished the season strong with wins over Boston College and Virginia, and an overtime victory against Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl. If the Hokies can find their running game, they should be able to win their share of ballgames in 2013.