Playing the overrated/underrated game

Our ESPN Insiders were looking at some of the game's most underrated players, as well as its most overrated and underrated teams last year (and entering this year).

Lots to chew on in those two pieces, and later today, I'll crown my most underrated Big 12 players.

Texas' Carrington Byndom and Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert were on KC Joyner's list of the nation's most underrated players. I'd agree with both of those selections, and Byndom was inexplicably left off the media's preseason All-Big 12 team. Gilbert was left off the team, too.

Underrated even in their own leagues, I suppose.

As for teams?

Last year's most overrated were the Sooners, who started at No. 1 and fell all the way to 15. Texas A&M was another obvious selection, beginning in the top 10 and falling all the way to 7-6 and out of the polls by season's end.

The three underrated teams with Big 12 ties? Baylor, Kansas State and West Virginia.

The Bears and Wildcats both began the season outside the polls, without so much as a sniff of a vote. Both teams won 10 games and finished in the top 16.


West Virginia received votes to open the season, but also won 10 games and a BCS bowl over ACC champ Clemson. The Mountaineers capped the season at No. 18.

Who's overrated this year, according to Travis Haney?

Sorry, Kansas State. Even at No. 21, Haney says you're due for a crash to earth. Haney cites the plus-12 turnover margin and says, "Good luck keeping that up." He also says the inefficient passing game will catch up to the 'Cats.

(For the record, I disagree.)

Another overrated team? The Horned Frogs, who have been racked by offseason losses on the way to the Big 12. He likes them to have a fast start, but says a brutal late-season schedule will catch up to them and have them be a disapointment at season's end.

Who'll exceed expectations?

Haney says those Longhorns are going to rise from No. 15 on the back of a powerful running game and a stingy defense. The flaws of the so-called Big 12 contenders will catch up to them, and Texas will take advantage.

We'll see if he's right. Should be a fun season. Keep an eye out later today for my list of the league's most underrated players.