The background: in 2009, the Bishop Miege high school football team had a 12-0 record and won the state championship in the 4A division. This year, they moved up to the 5A division. And according to Candace Buckner, "Bishop Miege’s step up into 5A not a hard one in opener", Kansas City Star, 9/4/2010:
[senior lineman Shane] Ray said, “Every article I read, it’s more so like ‘Miege is moving up to 5A, will they be able to compete against these other teams? And I don’t really like that. As a team, we don’t like that feeling of being underlooked because we did win a state title. Not any team can just win a state championship, otherwise everyone will have one.”
I mean, if you can overlook things, why shouldn't you be able to underlook something? (By not looking high enough, naturally.)
Note, by the way, that Mr. Ray's sentence needs to be parsed as
[we don’t like that feeling [of being underlooked]] [because we did win a state title]
[we don’t like that feeling [of being underlooked [because we did win a state title]]]
This is the sort of thing that's well marked by intonational phrasing in speech, but is more problematic in writing — though perhaps a comma after underlooked would not have been amiss.
Jack Maloney, who sent in the link, wrote:
After no research and only a little thinking, I speculate that "underlooked" is a blend of "overlooked" and "underestimated."
And I think that he's probably right, as far as the thought processes of Shane Ray are concerned. But Mr. Ray is far from the first to think along similar lines. The OED has a literal sense "To look at, or inspect, from beneath", with citations back to 1682:
1682 HICKERINGILL Black Non-Conf. iii. 14 They would be Shepherds and feed his Sheep, and anoint them for the Scab, and underlook them.
And there's also a figurative sense, glossed as "To miss seeing by looking too low", which is exactly what Mr. Ray had in mind:
1802 BEDDOES Hygëia II. 56 Do they not underlook that sole essential condition to happiness, the inward state?
Is there a name for a coinage that re-discovers an old and rare word?