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Vegas Oddsmakers' Top 25 Poll

My own singular quest to anoint the Las Vegas Sports Counsultants the official anointers of college football's best teams is running into a few stumbling blocks. These guys just don't care whether a team wins or loses, which means the poll doesn't change that much from week to week. Which is why Maryland is still not in the Vegas Top 25. And which is why Rutgers, which the BCS computers have decided is the second-best team in the land, is still only 17th in Vegas. And why Boise State, which is also undefeated (although potentially fraudulent, according to one of my co-workers) is only 25th in Vegas, and dropping.

Frankly, Rutgers vs. LSU is the ultimate example of the perils of using Vegas. Vegas has been telling us for weeks, look, LSU lost at Auburn in a close game that the refs were sort of involved in, and they didn't play that great at Florida, but we still believe in our hearts that LSU is the second- or third-best team in the country, and that on a neutral field the Tigers would be considerable favorites over, for example, those plucky upstarts from Jersey. Pollsters and sentimentalists claim that "The Win" is holy in college football, circumstances and opponents be darned (Rutgers played Howard!), and that, with a few bounces here and there over the next few weeks, we should all be perfectly pleased to see a Rutgers-Michigan championship game, because they'll have so many gosh darn wins together, regardless of whether they're actually any good.

For the record, many of you also hold head-to-head as some dear-to-your-hearts tiebreaker, which I don't get. So, for example, the establishment says Arkansas is in major trouble for losing to Southern Cal. So somehow it's better to lose to a stinkola team that nobody respects than to a one-loss, consensus top-10 team? Like I said, I don't get it, but if head-to-head is so holy, what happens if Notre Dame wins out and Michigan loses to Ohio State? Michigan and Notre Dame are both 11-1, right? But Michigan wins the tiebreaker, no? So an Ohio State win next week should eliminate the Irish. And if head-to-head is so important, why do all the human polls (besides Vegas) rank West Virginia ahead of Louisville?

Plus, Vegas just hates the ACC. Hates it. Somehow The Washington Post decided on its college football page this morning that the ACC's "Stock is Rising." Why, because ACC teams keep beating other ACC teams, and now six ACC teams are ranked in in the AP top 25? Vegas tells it like it is; three ACC teams that are in the AP top 25 are absent from the Vegas top 25. The ACC stunk at the beginning of the year, and the ACC stinks now. Says Vegas.

1. Ohio State (11-0, 1)
2t. LSU (8-2, 11)
2t. Southern Cal (8-1, 3)
4. Michigan (11-0, 2)
5. Texas (9-2, 13)
6. Notre Dame (9-1, 5)
7. Florida (9-1, 4)
8. Cal (8-2, 15)
9t. Louisville (8-1, 10)
9t. Oklahoma (8-2, 17)
11. Wisconsin (10-1, 9)
12. West Virginia (8-1, 8)
13t. Arkansas (9-1, 7)
13t. BYU (8-2, 25)
15. Oregon (7-3, 24)
16. Clemson (8-3, NR)
17. Rutgers (9-0, 6)
18. Nebraska (8-3, 23)
19t. Auburn (9-2, 14)
19t. Tennessee (7-3, 22)
21. Hawaii (8-2, NR)
22. Georgia Tech (8-2, 18)
23. Virginia Tech (8-2, 21)
24. Penn State (7-4, NR)
25. Boise State (10-0, 12)

Not ranked by Vegas: Wake Forest (16th in BCS), Maryland (19th), Boston College (20th).

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 13, 2006; 3:23 PM ET
Categories:  College Football  
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Dude, like, I totally told you so.

It is really interesting as a stand-alone poll -- though I'm still not sure what their BFD is about LSU -- but you can't possibly employ it to determine bowl matchups, as what would the point be of playing games previous?

Re: H2H. I don't get the WVU-UL thing and really hope the bloggers manage to get that right.

Posted by: Brian @ mgoblog | November 13, 2006 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Vegas only cares about $$$. So the value of the poll is that it gives you the best idea of who the best team is without a H2H (or, actually, just before a H2H).

Heckuva lot better than the biased and generally underinformed method of the human polls.

Posted by: Cary | November 13, 2006 11:19 PM | Report abuse

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