Controversy from EA Sports college football rankings: Overrated, underrated teams

EA Sports' overall team college football rankings are attracting a ton of controversy.
There's plenty of controversy around EA Sports' overall team college football rankings as fans debate the poll.
There's plenty of controversy around EA Sports' overall team college football rankings as fans debate the poll. / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

"Controversial" would perhaps best describe the reveal of EA Sports' various college football rankings over the past week in anticipation of the release of the College Football 25 video game.

First, it was a rating of the toughest places to play in the country that aroused a reaction. Then, it was a release of the best offenses in the game, and following that, a prediction of the best defenses.

Then, as the grand finale, EA Sports unveiled its top 25 rankings for the best overall teams. And with each reveal, fans furiously debated and dismissed many of the selections that were made.

College Football Rankings: EA Sports Overrated, Underrated Teams

Underrated: Iowa

The Hawkeyes' came in at No. 25 in the overall team rankings, but our issue is with their No.13 position on the defensive side.

Iowa should have placed higher there, fourth nationally last season by allowing 14.8 points per game, the seventh-fewest yards per game (282.5), and it led the country in fewest yards per play on average (4.1).

Overrated: Colorado

Having the Buffaloes come in at No. 16 in the team rankings makes no sense, and does appear to merely be an effort to get some preseason engagement.

Colorado's No. 8 position in the offense ranking stems largely from the presence of quarterback Shedeur Sanders and two-way player Travis Hunter, both of whom will be among the more popular and highly-rated players in CFB 25.

But even that unit averaged just 28.2 points per game, good for 60th nationally.

And the defense? Ranked No. 20 by EA Sports somehow, Colorado's tacklers combined to finish just 99th in yards per play allowed, 82nd in yards per game, and 60th in points per game.

Underrated: Tennessee

Nowhere in the top 25 team rankings did the Volunteers make an appearance, a major oversight. Tennessee comes into this season as one of the SEC's potentially most productive offenses.

That's in large part due to the presence of quarterback Nico Iamaleava, who made a great first impression in the bowl game, and takes over QB1 duties heading into this fall.

Perhaps the young signal caller's inexperience played a role in leaving the Vols out, but other offensive personnel at receiver, back, and on the line are all solid features in their own right, as is a great defensive front rotation, and more than justify Big Orange making the top 25.

Overrated: Clemson

While it's understandable that the Tigers' defense earned a top-10 finish on the EA Sports rankings, also placing that high on offense was an interesting decision.

Clemson's offense finished just 50th nationally in production a year ago, loses key contributors, returns just two All-ACC players, and still lacks for a game-breaking presence at wide receiver.

Cade Klubnik is a potential star at quarterback, but the pieces around him don't yet justify that high a ranking on offense.

Underrated: Missouri

Mizzou was nowhere to be found in the top 25 team rankings, an inexplicable decision for a squad coming off an 11-win season and returning the bulk of a highly-skilled offensive core.

Brady Cook is back under center after posting over 3,300 yards passing, and while he loses SEC rushing champ Cody Schrader, he gets a solid receiving corps, and is playing a winnable schedule.

That was good enough to place No. 9 on EA Sports' offense rankings, but not appearing at all on the defensive list conspired to keep Missouri off the overall team rankings, too.

Overrated: LSU

Too many of LSU's most important contributors are out of the picture, and their replacements are yet to prove worth their team's No. 8 team position on EA Sports' rankings.

Heisman quarterback Jayden Daniels is out. So are wide receivers Brian Thomas and Malik Nabers. As are defensive stars Maason Smith, Jordan Jefferson, and Mekhi Wingo.

Garrett Nussmeier steps in for Daniels as a highly-acclaimed pocket passer, but he has none of Daniels' mobility, and LSU's other skill threats are still untested.

As especially is a team defense that was 105th nationally in production a year ago, but placed No. 18 on EA Sports' ratings.

Underrated: Ole Miss

Neither the Rebels' No. 15 placement on the team poll or their No. 13 position on offense are good enough for what they have coming back this season.

Jaxson Dart is steering the ship again after a great year with Tre Harris at receiver, joined by top-flight transfer Antwane Wells, with key replacements at RB after Quinshon Judkins' departure.

Ole Miss was snubbed on EA Sports' defense rankings entirely despite bringing back eight starters and scoring huge transfers like linemen Walter Nolen and Princely Umanmielen, linebacker Chris Paul, Jr., and cornerback Trey Amos.

Overrated: USC

Lincoln Riley's offense placed 25th on that side of the ball in EA's ratings, and though a fall was expected with Caleb Williams turning pro, the Trojans return credible skill threats elsewhere.

Also puzzling was USC's No. 16 position on EA's defense rankings.

This is the infamous unit that directly cost the team a likely playoff berth in Riley's debut season, and a year ago ranked 104th nationally in production.


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James Parks


James Parks is the founder and publisher of College Football HQ. He previously covered football for 247Sports and CBS Interactive. College Football HQ joined the Sports Illustrated Fannation Network in 2022.