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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 7:00 AM

A week ago we outlined the first month schedules for the Preseason top 10 in college football. Now that almost everyone’s played a game, this seemed like a good time to pin down who may be overrated or underrated within that projected group of powers. As we saw last year…if you can make some good reads early, you can literally profit from those reads all season long.

In other words…USC wasn’t just overrated early in 2012…they were overrated all season! The alleged “best team in the country” at the outset was overrated all the way through their rivalry loss to UCLA and their bowl loss to Georgia Tech.

Here’s a look at how the Preseason Top 10 performed, with an eye on key indicator stats that could tell us about what’s ahead…

 

1…Alabama (-21) beat Virginia Tech 35-10

The score was misleading, because Alabama scored THREE non-offensive touchdowns. The offense by itself struggled badly, trying to move the ball behind an inexperienced and untested offensive line. Were you aware that Alabama was outgained 212-206 by the Hokies. We have great respect for Alabama’s defense and special teams. The offense may be very overrated…which will make it difficult for the team to cover tall spreads in the games where cheap points don’t present themselves.

 

2…Ohio State (-34) beat Buffalo 40-20

It’s hard to complain about a 20-point win that featured a yardage advantage of 458-265. But, against Buffalo, the Buckeyes were supposed to play better than this. They lost the turnover battle, and even had an interception returned for a TD. Quick example…Louisville was much more dominant than this against Ohio…and Ohio’s a lot better than Buffalo. Early evidence suggests the Buckeyes will be overpriced this season.

 

3…Oregon (-59) beat Nicholls State 66-3

Tough to evaluate against a small-time opponent like Nicholls. No evidence yet that anyone should be fading Oregon under their new head coach.

 

4…Stanford: idle, won’t play until this week against San Jose State

 

5…Georgia (-1.5) lost to Clemson 38-35

The Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker, suffering early injuries and getting overwhelmed a bit by crowd noise. Georgia actually won total yardage 544-467, which is something for a road game against a high-powered offense like Clemson’s. We’ll have to see how Georgia responds to their bad injury luck this week against South Carolina. Speaking of whom…

 

6…South Carolina (-12) beat North Carolina 27-10

Solid opener last Thursday, particularly with a defense that slowed down North Carolina’s fast break attempts despite a less than stellar night from Jadeveon Clowney. He was either under the weather (his version) or out of shape…yet SC still only allowed 10 points. Maybe SC will be overrated as huge favorites vs. bad teams. Good result here vs. a decent foe.

 

7…Texas A&M (-28) beat Rice 52-31

Tough to gauge because the Aggies were without Johnny Manziel for a half, and then suspended some defensive starters just before kickoff. The defense was AWFUL after the suspensions, allowing 509 yards to the Owls. Given all the Preseason hype…and the potential for Johnny Football to implode against the refs or his own coaches, you’d have to assume the Aggies are likely to be overrated in pointspreads this season.

 

8…Clemson (+1.5) beat Georgia 38-35

You already know this result. Clemson lost stats but won scoreboard against a loaded visitor from the SEC. Combine this win with the bowl victory over LSU last season…and Clemson looks to have recovered and toughened up from that Orange Bowl nightmare against West Virginia two seasons ago. Let’s see if they can avoid a letdown.

 

9…Louisville (-21) beat Ohio 49-7

The Cards were hosting a dangerous dog, and outgained them 615-273! This was a very impressive performance, in a line situation that Louisville will see a lot of given their relatively weak schedule. They underachieved last year down the stretch until that great Sugar Bowl win over Florida. We’ll have to monitor this story closely…as Game One stats are suggesting Louisville may be underrated this season.

 

10…Florida (-22) beat Toledo 24-6

Florida’s offense struggled much of last year. And, it’s never a good sign when you barely score your Week One pointspread. How can you win by more than 22 if you’re only going to score 24?! The Gators did move the ball in this game though, rushing for 262 yards on the way to 415 total yards. Can they learn to turn their yards into more points? Another SEC team with a great defense…but an offense you may not be able to trust to win blowouts at high spreads.

 

Summing it up:

Possibly or probably overpriced going forward: Alabama, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Florida

Possibly underpriced going forward: Clemson, Louisville

Too soon to tell: Oregon, Stanford, South Carolina, Georgia

Back with you tomorrow to talk more football. The game day gridiron schedule resumes Thursday with Baltimore/Denver in the NFL and some college action. Don’t forget that you can build your bankrolls in the meantime with daily baseball. Purchase selections or seasonal packages here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.

Visit the NOTEBOOK daily for handicapping tips…and link up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!

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