Big 12 overrated entering league play?

September, 26, 2012
9/26/12
11:20
AM ET
Phil Steele knows his way around college football, and our new colleague took a look at his three most underrated and three most overrated teams Insider through four weeks of college football.

Texas is his most underrated team, but all three of his most overrated squads reside in the Big 12.

It's a bit eye-turning, but I'm not sure it's very far off base, if at all.

Steele says the nation's three most overrated teams are Texas Tech (No. 1), Baylor (No. 2) and TCU (No. 3).

Prepare for a big dropoff from the defense, writes Steele. The Red Raiders are giving up 24 fewer yards per game than any team in the country, and are 3-0 with wins over Texas State, Northwestern State and New Mexico. For now, I tend to want to believe the team as a whole is for real, and bounds better than last year's 5-7 squad.

We'll find out, though.

Baylor's early wins have been misleading, according to Steele, too. The Bears' nine-game winning streak is the nation's longest among teams in BCS conference for the duration of the streak, but there have been questions in all three wins this season.

Steele says those slow starts and early deficits to teams like Louisiana-Monroe and Sam Houston State won't be forgiven as easily in Big 12 play. I'd probably agree with that, but again, we'll know more this weekend in Morgantown.

Steele is also skeptical of TCU's defense. They've given up just one touchdown, but he says the total yardage numbers are skewed by a dominant day against Grambling. Virginia and Kansas were far more productive than they should have been against a truly great defense, according to Steele.

All this overrated talk is pretty fascinating. The truth is, because of the Big 12's awful nonconference slate, it's harder to figure this race than every. Almost no one in the league is tested. Almost everyone has looked really good through the season's first month.

It's about to get a lot tougher for everyone, and we'll see whose fortunes come crashing back down to earth in league play.

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