Outkick’s Vegas Top Ten

By TODD FUHRMAN

College sports popularity polls are stupid.  Whether they’re the AP or coaches, hoops or football, polls are among the dumbest exercises in all of collegiate athletics designed purely for bar debates among diehard fans.  Thankfully, we’re here to make you smarter sports fans and every Wednesday this college football season we’ll be rolling out our Bet the Board top 10 created by gamblers for gamblers that will be debated by everyone.  Trust me; we don’t hate your favorite school but we don’t love them either.  Our goal is to properly evaluate every team in the country from a point spread perspective.  We’ll leave those style points and CFB playoff discussions to the so-called experts that still pretend Las Vegas doesn’t exist.

Listen to Bet the Board’s Weekly College football podcast. Some loser named Clay Travis is the guest this week:

Without further adieu, here’s our top 10 (that oddly enough, at least for now, looks rather similar to the pollsters I’ve already bashed in the column):

10) Stanford

9) Clemson

8) Washington

7) Penn St

6) Auburn

5) USC

4) Oklahoma

3) Florida St

2) Ohio St

1) Alabama

UNDERRATED: Stanford (AP 14, Coaches 14)

As you see above we’re slightly higher on the Stanford Cardinal than most pollsters.   Forget the 62-7 drubbing of Rice in Sydney last weekend (you and your buddies could run on the Owls defensive front), this is a Cardinal team capable of pushing USC the second week of the season en route to becoming a viable Pac-12 front-runner.  Should Keller Chryst and Bryce Love give Coach Shaw the dynamic punch offensively that lacked for long stretches last season, a defense returning eight starters (albeit without NFL DC Solomon Thomas) can more than hold their own against elite Pac-12 offenses.

OVERRATED: Wisconsin (AP 9, Coaches 10)

Don’t get me wrong; we know the Badgers have an excellent chance to meet Ohio State in the conference championship.  However, that’s more a byproduct of a schedule that will see them favored in all 12 regular season games against the farce known as the Big Ten West.  Coach Chryst did an excellent job getting this team to 11-3 last year, but against the 3 best defenses Bucky never mustered more than 23 points.  The Badgers could go 11-1, yet still never warrant inclusion in our top 10 due to feasting on lightweights.

LIVE DOG ALERT: Troy +11.5 and +350 ML

(Each week I will try and identify one double-digit underdog that has a chance to cover the spread, and maybe win outright)

Gone is the mystique of playing on the smurf turf in Boise, Idaho.  The Broncos finished last year 10-3 straight up, yet produced a dreadful 4-9 against the spread including a wallet-breaking 0-6 ATS mark.  All three Broncos losses came with Boise installed as touchdown or more favorites.  This year they return just 9 starters total (5 Offense, 4 Defense) highlighted by their talented QB Brett Rypien.  However, the offense needs to replace the team’s leading rusher along with 3 of their top 4 pass-catchers from 2016.  Defensively, there are major concerns about the secondary and linebacking core that returns, especially against an underrated opponent.

Conversely, Troy brings back a bevy of skill position players including their entire running back unit and 6 receivers that snagged 12 balls or more in 2016.  That list of offensive difference makers didn’t even include starting QB Brandon Silvers who should compete for Sun Belt conference player of the year this season if he duplicates last season’s success.  Add into the mix a coaching mismatch favoring the Trojans’; Neal Brown who we peg as one of the brightest rising stars in college football.  Boise is now Bryan Harsin’s team with few remnants of the Chris Peterson era remaining and given the over valued product we saw on the field last year, this opening weekend clash has all the makings of a head turning upset.

TRENDING: Troy is 5-1 ATS as a double digit dog under Neal Brown.  Their only ATS loss catching double digits came in Brown’s first game as head coach, 49-21 to NCSU catching 26.5 back in 2015.

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Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.