This Week's Oddsmakers Top 25
Another September, another futile push to have the Vegas Oddsmakers, in the persons of my friends at Las Vegas Sports Consultants, be put in charge of the BCS. Only this year, there were like a million other blogs that jumped on this train while I was still writing about Icelandic handball. It would appear that my role in promoting these rankings is no longer a historical necessity, and also that it's theoretically possible some voters might have glanced at them, which would be interesting, I guess.
Also, Vegas's postseason demand for a USC-Oklahoma championship game last year didn't work out so well, which gives me pause about this whole enterprise.
But anyhow, the Vegas oddsmakers whose livelihood depends on their accurate assessment of teams have some considerable differences with the AP voters whose livelihood depends on free media buffets, so for tradition's sake, I'll press on. The most serious issue is Georgia, which Vegas has at 7th, a full five spots below the AP. Maybe this preseason ranking never matters, or maybe that preseason love winds up determining the national championship participants.
Biggest frauds, according to Vegas: Fresno State is ranked 15 spots too high by the AP. Wake Forest is ranked 12 spots too high. UCLA and Arizona State are both ranked 10 spots too high. Auburn and Wisconsin are both ranked nine spots too high, despite convincing wins. Illinois is ranked seven spots too high, despite a convincing loss.
Biggest sleepers, according to Vegas: So many. TCU is ranked 24 spots too low by the AP, buried at the bottom of also receiving votes, but a strong 17th in Vegas. Arizona is ranked 17 spots too low by the AP, buried at the bottom of also receiving votes, but a strong 24th in Vegas. Ditto for Oklahoma State, which is 15 spots too low. Embarrassing loss be damned, Clemson is ranked nine spots too low (and should still be ahead of Alabama), while South Carolina is eight spots too low. Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Penn State are all seven spots too low.
Vegas looked smart when: Beloved TCU rolled New Mexico on the road. Beloved South Carolina embarrassed N.C. State. Vegas darlings like Arizona and Oklahoma State had impressive wins for one reason or another. And it's a small victory, but Vegas was lower on Virginia Tech than were the AP voters.
Vegas looked dumb when: While Vegas and the AP felt about the same on Clemson last week, Vegas was considerably lower on Alabama, the week's big winner. Vegas also liked Tennessee a lot more than UCLA.
Games to watch: Vegas is higher on West Virginia and lower on East Carolina than AP voters. Perennial Vegas fave BYU could justify all the love with a win at Washington. But it's hard for a bunch of mismatches to tell us much about Vegas's skill vs. the AP voters.
Here are the full LVSC rankings, with AP rankings in parentheses.
1. Southern Cal (1)
2. Ohio State (3)
3. Oklahoma (4)
4. Missouri (6)
5. Florida (5)
6. West Virginia (8)
7. Georgia (2)
8. Texas (10)
9. Texas Tech (12)
10. Penn State (19)
11t. LSU (7)
11t. BYU (15)
11t. Kansas (14)
14. Oregon (18)
15. Auburn (9)
16. South Carolina (24)
17t. Clemson (26)
17t. Texas Christian (41t)
19. South Florida (17)
20. Wisconsin (11)
21. California (28)
22. Alabama (13)
23. Utah (22)
24. Arizona (41t)
25t. Tennessee (32)
25t. Oklahoma State (40)
25t. Arizona State (15t)
28t. Virginia Tech (35)
28t. Cincinnati (31)
30. Boston College (30)
Not ranked by Vegas: Wake Forest (20th in AP poll), Fresno State (21st), UCLA (23rd), Illinois (24th).
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