AP Top 25 reactions: Clemson overrated, Penn State underrated in preseason college football rankings

The 2022 AP Top 25 Pre-Season was released on Monday, and apart from an expected group at the top – namely, Alabama, ohio state and Georgia — the rest of the poll was a chaotic mix. For instance: ClemsonNo. 14 in the final AP Top 25 of the 2021 season, starts 2022 at No. 4. Meanwhile, Texas A&M — unranked in the AP poll at the end of last season — starts this year at No. 6 thanks to relentless recruiting efforts and high expectations from coach Jimbo Fisher.

Scattered throughout the rest of the AP Top 25 preseason are teams with something to prove. No. 7 UtahNo. 13 NC statusNo. 20 Kentucky and no. 24 Houston are just some of the teams looking to show they are capable of taking the next step during the season.

Ultimately, the pre-season poll is just a starting point. Where do these teams end up after the college football The national playoff championship is played, it’s anyone’s guess. Still, it wouldn’t be off-season fodder without analyzing the grave injustices strewn throughout the first poll of the season.

Here are a handful of teams that are either overrated or underrated in the debut list.

Overrated: Clemson (#4)

With perhaps the best defense in the country returning, as well as some promising pieces in attack, it’s fair to believe that a disappointing three-game losing campaign in 2021 was just a blow to one of the programs more consistent college football. But No. 4 in the country? It’s a bit much.

The Tigers are starting from zero to two key coaching positions after the departures of offensive coordinator Tony Elliott and defensive coordinator Brent Venables – who have both served in their roles since 2015 – to Virginia and Oklahoma, respectively. Clemson was promoted internally, with QB coach Brandon Streeter and senior defensive assistant Wes Goodwin filling those vacancies. However, there is no guarantee that the navigation will go smoothly for two coaches who have never called games at the FBS level.

Also, Clemson has a big question mark at quarterback after DJ Uiagalelei ranked last among the ACC’s 15 qualified quarterbacks in passing efficiency last year. First-year student Cade Klubnik could be pushing for playing time, but it’s not yet clear if he’s the Deshaun Watson or Trevor Lawrence type to help Clemson reach domestic competition.

Underrated: Houston (#24)

After losing to Texas technology in Week 1 of last season, all Houston did was go through the last 11 regular season games on the schedule and beat Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl. Oh, and by the way, the Cougars fire the vast majority of contributors on both sides of the ball.

Strategist Clayton Air and wide receiver Nathaniel “Tank” Dell are names you’ll soon hear in NFL Draft circles, and coach Dana Holgorsen bolstered the room with four Power Five receiver transfers. Derek Parish and promising young star Chidozie Nwankwo will continue what has quickly become a dominant streak of defensive linemen.

Perhaps the only concern is running back with Alton McCaskill likely out for the season with a torn ACL, but the Cougars can make Power Five trades. Ta’Zhawn Henry and brandon campbell in the backfield immediately. There aren’t many teams in The American that look like Houston. The Coogs have a legitimate chance to make a run at the Cincinnati.

Overrated: Pittsburgh (No. 17)

Last season, Pitt boasted one of the most impressive collections of passing game personnel in college football. Quarterback Kenny Pickett was a Heisman finalist, wide receiver Jordan Addison won the Biletnikoff Award, Brennan Marion excelled as a first-year receivers coach, and offensive coordinator Mark Whipple tied it all together masterfully. It’s no wonder the group won PItt’s first ACC Championship in program history.

Unfortunately, these four dynamic players and coaches are gone. USC transfer quarterback Kedon Slovis should bring consistency to the position, and the defense could be even better with three returning players after posting at least 10 tackles for loss last season. However, an 11-3 campaign in 2021 was just good enough to earn Pitt a No. 13 playoff ranking. Pitt’s offense is unlikely to be dynamic enough without the losses to sustain a top-20 performance.

After starting last season 5-0, Penn State fell apart with the quarterback Sean Clifford struggling with nagging injuries. However, the five regular season losses were all within five points, and they masked what should once again be a legitimate contender for the Big Ten East in 2022.

Clifford showed major signs of growth before suffering his injury and is back for another year of eligibility. Best of all, the Nittany Lions have some confidence, as a five-star quarterback Drew Allar – the former Top247 No. 1 quarterback – will no doubt be pushing for playing time. Plus, No. 1 running back Nick Singleton is giving Penn State a great chance to fix its anemic running game. .

If Penn State can continue its recent streak of dynamic defensive performances under new coordinator Manny Diaz, the sky’s the limit for this program in 2022. Surely that advantage deserves better than being on the outside looking for the Top 25 APs.

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