The three most overrated football teams in the Big 12

The Big 12 is seeing the two top dogs exit, and three teams are getting a lot more love than they should. Arizona is slated to face them all.
Colorado Spring Football Game
Colorado Spring Football Game / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

Arizona will officially participate in Big 12 athletics once the 2024-25 academic year starts, and the move can largely be traced back to one sport: football.

With the Pac-12 Conference taking on water quickly, the Wildcats and three other former Pac-12 teams jumped ship for the Big 12. It couldn't have come at a better time for Arizona, which is coming off its best season in a decade as they join one of the most wide-open football conferences for the upcoming season.

Oklahoma State is the only team in the Big 12 where the on-field product in 2024 can be reasonably extrapolated from 2023. Everybody else has questions surrounding them, whether due to coaching changes, conference moves, or roster changes. These are three of the most overrated teams in the Big 12 for the 2024 season, and Arizona plays all three of them.

843. . . . . UU. . 2023: 8-5. . 3

Utah is banking its entire season on Cam Rising returning to 2022 form, which is anything but guaranteed. With Rising out of the lineup in 2023, the Utes held their own well enough, but they couldn't make the late-season push to outlast the Wildcats or Oregon State in the Pac-12.

Kyle Whittingham can never be fully counted out after spending so long in Salt Lake City and taking so much time to craft the program exactly the way he wants it. However, the Utes have been projected to finish anywhere from first to third in the Big 12, which seems inflated considering the gamble on Rising's health.

Rising has played in the college ranks since 2018 and will be entering his sixth season. However, he's only been a high-level starter in two seasons: 2021 and 2022. The 2022 campaign was the only time he's ever thrown for over 3,000 yards, and he may be shaking off some rust after zero playing time. I need to see it to believe it for the Utes as being Big-12/College Football Playoff contenders.

. . . team. UCF. 2023: 6-7. . 2. 455.

UCF is in an interesting place. They struggled a bit in their first year in the Big 12 after making the jump up to the power-conference level from the American. Running back RJ Harvey was second only to Oklahoma State's Ollie Gordon III in rushing yards in the conference and is poised to be the Knights' best player.

However, the signal-caller position could be an area of concern. Incoming Arkansas transfer K.J. Jefferson will replace the now-departed John Rhys Plumlee as the starting quarterback. Although the Knights won't have to worry about losing their quarterback to baseball anymore, Jefferson isn't exactly a game-breaker.

The defense ranked last in the Big 12 last year, and head coach Gus Malzahn added six new starters on defense. With so much roster turnover and the Big 12 staying tough with the additions of Arizona and Utah, the odds projecting UCF to win around eight games feels generous.

. team. 514. . 1. CU. . . . 2023: 4-8

With as much talk as Colorado gets in the national media, it's largely unjustified. Deion Sanders has made it a point to strip Colorado's roster down to the bones and rebuild almost entirely through the transfer portal. However, not much looked different in his first year at the helm. The 'churn-and-burn' attitude Colorado takes towards roster construction is a recipe for a lack of chemistry.

Shedeur Sanders looked great and was slinging the rock all over the yard, but it was usually all for naught as the rest of the team fell apart around him. Combining the underwhelming season results with a confidence only the son of one of the best NFL players and personalities of all time can justify and the result is a team known more for their headlines than their football.

Both Deion Sanders and Shedeur Sanders have made headlines for the wrong reasons this offseason, with the father-son tandem being tied to a new disgruntled former Buffalo seemingly every month — this month's flavor is former walk-on QB Gavin Kuld. If the situation in Boulder doesn't stop being the Sanders Show, it will be yet another sorely disappointing year.

ICYMI. JCM. Running back Jacory Croskey-Merritt returns to Arizona. dark

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