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This Week's Vegas Oddsmakers' Top 25/30

The debate is on: Missouri/Kansas? West Virginia? Arizona State? No/no, no and no. If LSU wins out, give us LSU-Ohio State please. That's according to this week's Oddsmakers Poll, featuring 30 teams and the not-to-be-contested wisdom of Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which tells you which college teams are the best, scoreboard and polls be damned. As expected, for all the problems of the Vegas Oddsmakers (i.e. ignoring win-loss records), they are invaluable at this time of year. We're looking at a bunch of one-loss teams, and we need to know which is best. If Ohio State and LSU would be favored vs. one-loss Missouri, let's roll with that matchup.

Some plucky fans have been e-mailing of late and attempting to mildly contest this wisdom. One reader, Neema, dug up Vegas's preseason rankings, and noted that Vegas's not-to-be-contested top 10 included Southern Cal, Louisville, Cal and UCLA. A full evaluation will be delivered upon season's end. Another reader, Greg, suggests that AP/Harris pollsters be required to pick every game against the line each week, and only the top 50 percent be allowed to vote the following week, thus fusing the wisdom of Vegas with the human tendency to honor wins and losses in some manner. Interesting.

Biggest frauds, according to Vegas: Virginia is ranked 15 spots too high by the BCS. Connecticut is at least that much overrated. Tennessee is ranked 11 spots too high. Hawaii is ranked nine spots too high. Georgia is ranked six spots too high. Kansas is ranked five spots too high.

Biggest sleepers, according to Vegas: South Florida, a Vegas fraud earlier in the season, is now ranked eight spots too low by the BCS. BYU is ranked seven spots too low, although the Cougars are finally on the BCS radar. Oklahoma is ranked six spots too low. Southern Cal and Clemson are ranked five spots too low. Teams like Michigan and Texas Tech, which aren't ranked by the BCS, are considerably underrated.

Vegas looked smart when: BYU won big again. Hawaii, about which Vegas is skeptical, very nearly lost. That's about it.

Vegas looked dumb when: Mistrusted-by-Vegas teams like Kansas and Illinois and Virginia Tech all won big. Longtime Vegas pet Clemson lost at home. Massively underrated Cal lost yet again. Life isn't always perfect.

Games to watch: Some perfect ones for our purposes. The BCS has Arizona State ahead of Southern Cal; Vegas disagrees. The BCS has Hawaii ahead of Boise State; Vegas strongly disagrees. The BCS has Kansas ahead of Missouri; Vegas disagrees. The BCS thinks Virginia-Virginia Tech should be close; Vegas strongly disagrees. The BCS ranks both Connecticut and West Virginia; Vegas has eyes only for the 'Eers. The BCS is sticking with Tennessee; Vegas has the Vols virtually identical to Kentucky. Just a huge weekend for Vegas to prove itself.

Numbers after the jump. BCS rankings in parentheses.

1. LSU (1)
2. Ohio State (5)
3. West Virginia (3)
4. Oklahoma (10)
5. Missouri (4)
6. Southern Cal (11)
7. Kansas (2)
8. Florida (12)
9. Oregon (9)
10t. Arizona State (6)
10t. Texas (13)
10t. Virginia Tech (8)
13t. Georgia (7)
13t. Boston College (14)
15t. South Florida (23)
15t. Boise State (19)
17. Clemson (22)
18. Brigham Young (25)
19. Illinois (17)
20. Michigan (NR)
21. Texas Tech (NR)
22. Wisconsin (21)
23. Arizona (NR)
24. Hawaii (15)
25t. Auburn (NR)
25t. Utah (NR)
27. California (NR)
28. Cincinnati (24)
29. Tennessee (18)
30. Kentucky (NR)

Not ranked by Vegas: Virginia (16th in BCS), Connecticut (20th).

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 20, 2007; 11:39 AM ET
Categories:  College Football  
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