Vegas Poll 2.0: Texas Tech's Overrated Edition

Popularity polls are known for wild fluctuations, aggressively over reacting to one week’s worth of results (Auburn jumping 13 places ring any bells!?).  After Sunday’s unveiling of the first BCS standings, I have to commend the pollsters for getting the top 3 places correct.  It’s not until we get to 4th place where I take umbrage with what teams are projected as the most viable threats to unseat Alabama, Oregon, and Florida St for a place at the table.

Last week I didn’t endear myself to Louisville or Clemson fans; calling both sides vastly overrated.  Those claims were validated when both sides went down in their own respective stadiums, effectively ending their national championship aspirations.   After seeing this week’s updated Vegas poll Missouri, Miami, Auburn, and Texas Tech fans might feel just as disrespected. Don't worry, I'm already mentally preparing for an influx of hate mail from those 4 fan bases.  To the credit of our smart fans at OKTC, a few of y’all asked great questions about the oddsmaker poll vs popularity polls.  You’re exactly right when saying this poll is designed to recognize the most talented teams rather than “most deserving” because accolades for single performances are arbitrarily bestowed in most instances.



There’s a pronounced dropoff in the Vegas poll after Alabama, Oregon, and Florida St before getting to Baylor at #4.  Art Briles has seen his team’s ranking climb 9.5 points this year.  Despite a schedule that hasn’t been daunting, it’s impossible to overlook the Bears top ranked offense averaging 8.9 yards per play and top 5 defense (at least statistically for now) only surrendering 4.4.  The most impressive part about their offensive average is that the 2nd best team in that category Florida St gains nearly a full yard less on average.  That’s what we call dominance, even against sub-par competition. 

This week’s poster child for the “what we saw last beneficiary" goes to the Auburn Tigers, surging 13 places in the AP poll after their win over Texas A&M.  War Eagle still remains 27th in our eyes and would find themselves listed right around Pick'Em to Notre Dame if the teams met on a neutral field this weekend.  Oddsmakers power numbers can’t undergo radical transformations after just one Herculean effort.  Wholesale changes like that create too much perceived value for the professional bettors looking to find an edge. In reality a 2 pt adjustment is significant with anything larger reserved for injuries to key personnel.

To the Miami and Texas Tech fans who plan to call me a hater my answer is simple; continue proving our poll wrong by racking up wins in dominating fashion. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes and Red Raiders dates with Florida State and Baylor respectively will be obstacles impossible to overcome. Being undefeated at this point in the year doesn’t mean you should be included in national championship discussion anymore than a blemish free resume implies elite status. Kliff Kingsbury is doing an outstanding job with the Raiders thus far, I’m not disputing that yet a resume filled with wins against SMU, SF Austin, TCU (best win), Texas St, Kansas, Iowa St, and West Virginia leaves a lot to be desired.  Tech has played nobody and is getting rewarded while a squad like Wisconsin is punished for road losses at Arizona St and Ohio St.  On our strength of schedule metrics, Texas Tech’s opponents are a combined 96.2 (record of 15-24) while their 5 remaining games are against teams with an average power rating of 114.2 and a combined record of 23-6.  If they’re 12-0 at season’s end, then I’ll recant on everything I just said and eat crow.

As for the LSU, South Carolina, and Texas A&M fans still despondent from last week’s results, take solace in the fact the computer still rates all of your programs higher than the undefeated Buckeyes. Given Ohio State is likely to finish their regular season without a win against a team in the AP or Coaches top 15, (although Wisconsin is top ten in the oddsmaker's poll);  clearly that’s a resume deserving of incorporation in college football’s national championship.  Even if this was next year and 4 teams were included, given what I’ve seen I still find it hard to believe people think OSU would be squarely in the mix.

Written by
Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021. One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines. Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide. Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports. Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.