UT overrated?

Pegged as a top-five team in preseason, Tennessee limped home 5-6 last fall. Obviously, the Vols were vastly overrated. That hasn't happened often, however. Over the past 35 years the Big Orange generally finished about where it was projected to.

At least, that's what research done by Richard Cirminiello of collegefootballnews.com suggests. Cirminiello went back to 1971 and charted every NCAA school that earned a preseason Associated Press top-20 ranking. He found that 31 teams were a preseason top-20 pick at least 10 times between 1971 and 2005, so he came up with a formula to determine which of the 31 has been the most overrated team during that time.

The formula basically subtracts a team's post-season finish from the preseason ranking. For instance, if Team A is pegged No. 9 in preseason and finishes No 14, its rating for that season would be minus-5. If Team B is pegged No. 19 in preseason and finishes No. 11, its rating would be plus-8.

Cirminiello's research shows that the five most overrated programs over the past 35 years were:

1. Michigan State

2. Wisconsin

3. Arizona State

4. Pittsburgh

5. Arkansas

Auburn checked in at No. 7. Among the 31 schools who earned at least 10 preseason top-20 rankings during the past 35 years, the SEC affiliates fared reasonably well … except for Arkansas and Auburn. LSU ranks 16th, with Tennessee 17th, Florida 19th, Alabama 22nd and Georgia 27th.

To view Cirminiello's entire list, with commentary, go to collegefootballnews.com and click on "The Most Overrated Team …" link.

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