The Vegas Top 10

Come next Tuesday we’ll see the first unveiling of the college football playoff bracket.  All the hemming and hawing about which schools should be included will officially reach a crescendo about 6 weeks too early.  If the current landscape holds (which it won’t given the SEC West head to head gauntlet still to come) any rational college football fan can make the case for 3 SEC teams to be represented along with Florida St.  Actually, I’ll go 1 step further: 5 of the top 6 teams in the country all take residence in the Southeastern Conference. No, Clay didn’t tell me I had to include this line to keep my writing job with Outkick. It doesn’t matter how many ways we dissect the most deserving foursome for the inaugural national semifinals, the single perspective that won’t be heard anywhere on the committee is that of a college football oddsmaker or professional bettor.  Thankfully, that’s what we’re here for; offering the ongoing Vegas perspective the next few weeks like we’ve done all along.   

Florida St has done very little this season to leave any college football fan, bettor, or oddsmaker believing the current roster is comprised of talent consistent with last year’s national championship team.  I wrote on these very pages that I wouldn’t bounce FSU from the top line until they’d been beaten…but things change.  While Notre Dame wasn’t able to pull off the upset at Doak over the weekend, they did knock the Noles from their lofty perch atop the Vegas power charts. By digging into the FSU power number to date, it’s hard to make the case that FSU can be considered elite.  Seven games into the season FSU sits at a dreadful 1-6 ATS, a major indication that the Seminoles on field capabilities have been over valued compared to Ole Miss, which remains the only undefeated team against the number. For the first time this season, Alabama became the top team in the land on the heels of their dominating effort against Texas A&M.  However, before we anoint Alabama national champions, their ascent does come with a caveat every SEC fan needs to read before coming at me with a pitchfork.

There are currently 6 teams (Alabama, Mississippi St, Florida St, Ole Miss, Auburn, & Georgia) that are all considered a cut above the competition.  The slim margin separating these 6 programs is so narrow that all of them would be listed as home favorites against one another if there were a round robin tournament. Any casual fan who can look me in the eye saying Auburn vs Mississippi St or Alabama vs Ole Miss would have played out the exact same way if venues were swapped is delusional, strengthening the case for why even divisional schedules within a conference aren’t created equally.  I truly believe road wins against top tier competition should be the single most important criteria in determining the merits of a team’s resume.  If you’re going to make the claim that a team is elite there’s no excuse for dropping a game at home.

As it stands right now there isn’t a single team inside my top 10 with a road win against another top 10 opponent.  This alone should tell you a bit more about how we elect to properly evaluate Auburn down the stretch if they were to finish the year 10-2 with only losses coming at Mississippi St and at UGA, Ole Miss, or Alabama; especially when they’ll have the best true non-conference road win of any SEC West team.  But I digress from my main point that debating the most deserving 4 teams at the end of October is an exercise steeped in futility considering there’s so much left to be decided on the field.

Here’s my current top 10 and the reshuffling that needed to take place after another wild college football weekend.  Please remember teams can improve their standing even during bye weeks based on what previous opponents did in their own respective games. Also, teams can move up with a loss or down with a win.  Every result isn’t created equally when you have a pointspread on each game to worry about.  Note that the top 6 will look different depending on what oddsmaker/bettor you talk to but most will share similar sentiment that the main drop within the top 10 occurs after you get past Georgia.

 

Last Week

This Week

1

FSU

Alabama

2

Alabama

Auburn

3

Auburn

FSU

4

Miss St

Miss St

5

Ole Miss

Ole Miss

6

Baylor

UGA

7

UGA

Oregon

8

Oregon

Notre Dame

9

Notre Dame

Mich St

10

Ohio St

Ohio St

Just to gain another perspective here are the current lines for future marquee match-ups in the SEC West courtesy of Westgate Superbook here in Las Vegas.

Saturday, November 1

Auburn @ Ole Miss (-2.5)

Saturday, November 8

Alabama (-8.5) @ LSU (keep in mind Ole Miss is only -3.5 at LSU for Saturday implying Alabama would be -5 on a neutral field against Ole Miss if the 2 teams met again this weekend)

Saturday, November 15

Auburn (PK) @ Georgia

Saturday, November 29

Auburn @ Alabama (-6.5)

Mississippi St @ Ole Miss (-3.5)

 

Upset Alert: Ohio St -14

Remember in these parts we’re in the business of big game hunting, trying to identify a top 10 team that should be worried about a game as a heavy favorite.

James Franklin is no stranger to pulling off shockers with inferior talent.  Hell the guy worked miracles at Vanderbilt with anything but a SEC caliber roster the past 3 seasons. Penn St is far from a top team in the conference but they do have a valuable weapon in Christian Hackenberg.  If the Lions can keep him upright, there’s a chance OSU will need to work much harder at Beaver Stadium than they’ve done in their last 4 games to come away with a victory.  All week long the PSU defense will hear about the Buckeyes quest to score 50 for the 5th straight game but Ohio St is still a young team playing only their second true road game of the season.  Don’t be surprised if this tilt comes down to the wire and the dog is still barking coming out of a well timed bye week.

Current Record: 4-1 ATS, 3-2 SU

10/18: West Virginia +8 over Baylor (Won Outright)

10/11: Pass

10/4: Utah +13 over UCLA (Won Outright)

9/27: NC State +19 vs FSU (Covered but lost)

9/20: West Virginia +7.5 over Oklahoma (Lost)

9/13: South Carolina +6 over Georgia (Won Outright)

 

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.

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