Last week, I pointed out the fallacy of preseason polls and why I largely ignore them.

But that piece related to specific instances involving specific teams, most notably the 2000 Alabama team that opened the season ranked No. 3 but fired its coach after finishing 3-8. I wasn’t merely picking on Bama, either. I cited 3 other SEC teams that started in the top 5 and finished unranked.

The goal here is to go beyond the SEC and identify the 5 most overrated teams of the 2010s. Again, we’ll use the polls as a guide.

There were a couple of ways to approach this. One was to compare the weeks spent in the AP Top 25 to the number of wins that team had in the decade. I’ll spare you the numbers, but I didn’t find much there.

Michigan was the only Power 65 team in the top 10 in poll appearances from 2010-2019 that fell outside of the top 15 in wins. The Wolverines were 10th in appearances and 18th in wins. No big deal. Florida was tied for 14th in poll appearances but 24th in wins in the past decade.

The better and fairer way to determine this was to compare the seasons of top 10 preseason picks to number of top 10 finishes and, in the more damning evidence, to determine how often a top 10 preseason pick finished the year unranked.

Among the 65 Power 5 programs, 14 had at least 1 season in which it started in the top 10 but finished unranked.

Of those 14, these 5 were the most overrated teams of the decade:

5. Georgia

  • Weeks in Top 10: 78 (No. 7)
  • Weeks in Top 25: 116 (No. 8)
  • Wins: 99 (No. 8)
  • Preseason Top 10: 5 times
  • Preseason Top 10 but finished unranked: 2 times

Skinny: Georgia is an interesting case. And, fortunately for Dawgs fans, a case long since closed. Under Kirby Smart, the Dawgs finished each of the past 3 seasons fighting for a Playoff spot and ranked in the top 7. Nothing overrated about that at all.

But that wasn’t always the case under Mark Richt, and that’s the primary reason the Dawgs finally pulled the plug on his tenure.

From 2010-2015, Georgia started in the top 10 3 times but finished unranked twice.

The final straw was the 2015 season, when the Dawgs opened at No. 9, climbed to No. 7 but got spanked by Alabama by 24 at home. After losing to Tennessee the following week, Georgia fell from the polls for good. That stretch set the wheels in motion to move on from Richt.

4. Florida

  • Weeks in Top 10: 39 (No. 16)
  • Weeks in Top 25: 100 (No. 14)
  • Wins: 81 (No. 24)
  • Preseason Top 10: 3
  • Preseason Top 10 but finished unranked: 2

Skinny: As my buddy and colleague Neil Blackmon loves to say, Florida spent much of this past decade in the wilderness. That’s true, but the Gators still had 4 seasons in which they finished worse than they started.

In 2017, they started a modest No. 17 but still finished unranked.

In 2013, they started No. 10. They obviously finished unranked after the bottom fell out on a 4-8 season.

In 2010, they started No. 4 and finished unranked.

3. Auburn

  • Weeks in Top 10: 55 (No. 11)
  • Weeks in Top 25: 103 (No. 13)
  • Wins: 87 (No. 14)
  • Preseason Top 10: 3
  • Preseason Top 10 but finished unranked: 2

Skinny: The Tigers won it all in 2010, despite starting that season ranked No. 22. After that? They had 4 seasons in which they finished worse than they started.

That included the 3 seasons in which they started in the top 10.

In 2014, they started No. 6 and finished No. 22.

In 2015, they started No. 6 and finished unranked.

In 2018, they started No. 9 and finished unranked.

Voters can’t say no, though. Auburn appeared in the top 10 in 8 of the past 10 seasons — including the past 6 when the Tigers finished with at least 4 losses.

2. Florida State

  • Weeks in Top 10: 60 (No. 9)
  • Weeks in Top 25: 108 (No. 11)
  • Wins: 96 (No. 10)
  • Preseason Top 10: 6
  • Preseason Top 10 but finished unranked: 1

Skinny: Seven times in the past decade, FSU ended a season ranked lower than where it started. That included all 6 seasons that the Noles opened in the top 10.

That’s a classic definition of being overrated.

The 2017 season was the most extreme example. The Noles opened at No. 3 but were 5-6 when Jimbo Fisher bolted for Texas A&M. They rescheduled a game against Louisiana-Monroe just to extend their bowl streak and won the bowl to finish 7-6.

Maybe voters have learned their lesson? The Noles weren’t ranked at all during the 2019 season — the first time that happened since Bobby Bowden arrived in 1976. They haven’t finished a season in the Top 25 since 2016.

1. USC

  • Weeks in Top 10: 83 (No. 20)
  • Weeks in Top 25: 21 (No. 23)
  • Wins: 86 (No. 17)
  • Preseason Top 10: 6
  • Preseason Top 10 but finished unranked: 2

Skinny: Give AP voters credit for this, at least: They kept the Trojans on a short leash in the 2010s. Yes, they continued to show USC a lot of love, but after being burned, they weren’t afraid to end the relationship. That’s why the Trojans’ numbers are relatively low in poll appearances.

The problem was, just like your favorite country song, voters just couldn’t walk away for good.

Maybe there’s hope: Last season was the 1st since 2001 that USC didn’t appear in the preseason Top 25. They still found a way into the poll for the 18th consecutive year, however, even if it only peaked at No. 21 and lasted 5 total weeks.

Six times this past decade, the Trojans ended a season worse than where they started.

The coup de grace was Lane Kiffin’s final season in 2012, when the Trojans opened the year at No. 1 and ended it unranked, with Kiffin needing a ride home from the airport.