The Vegas Top 10: Alabama Still #1

TUSCALOOSA, AL – SEPTEMBER 20: Head coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin of the Alabama Crimson Tide look on during the game against the Florida Gators at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 20, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama defeated Florida 42-21. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Nick Saban;Lane Kiffin Joe Robbins Getty Images North America

Alabama would be favored against every college football team in the country. Let that sink in before you try to fully digest the newly unveiled college football playoff rankings.  Another week of college football is in the books… meaning we’re one step closer to knowing the 4 real playoff teams, at least in theory. I can say with confidence that 3 of the nation’s 4 best teams are currently included in the second mock bracket.  Everyone whose kept tabs on our poll each week knows that from a pure oddsmaking perspective Alabama retains a slight edge over Mississippi St, Auburn, and Florida St.  Of course you don’t need to take my word for it since Alabama is currently listed as a 7 point favorite for the Iron Bowl and 6 point favorites for their home date with the Bulldogs.  

The committee has repeated their sentiment through the first 2 weeks: to select a combination of the 4 most deserving and best teams for the postseason.  Clearly my SEC bias is showing here (raised in Chicago mind you) whenever I champion for the tandem of Alabama schools to be included.  My job is simple; power rate teams effectively to come up with pointspreads indicating relative strength between 2 teams.  Here’s how the updated version of the Vegas top 10 compares to the most recent installment of the playoff committee’s proposed field.  Again I reiterate like I have to do every week that just because Team A is listed ahead of Team B doesn’t mean they’d win the football game.  This will hold especially true when Alabama travels to LSU for their annual SEC West showdown.  There’s a lot more that goes into figuring out a worthwhile investment than just playing power number variance.

 

Playoff Ranking

Vegas Ranking

1

Miss St

Alabama

2

Florida St

Auburn

3

Auburn

Miss St

4

Oregon

FSU

5

Alabama

Oregon

6

TCU

Mich St

7

Kansas St

Notre Dame

8

Michigan St

TCU

9

Arizona St

Ole Miss

10

Notre Dame

Oklahoma

Also included is a high level look at the championship prospects (courtesy of Westgate Superbook) for each team currently listed in the committee’s top 10.  Just this past week Oregon moved to the top of the futures food chain. The Ducks are now listed favorites to win the college football playoff by virtue of their favorable remaining schedule. The Ducks project as more than a touchdown favorite in each of their remaining games including a potential Pac12 title game against ASU, Arizona, or UCLA; a distinction no other team in the top ten has working in their favor.  One of the other numbers the casual fan may find curious is Alabama priced at 5-1. Much like the Ducks, Alabama will be listed as favorites in all of their remaining contests making them the program most likely to represent the SEC West in the conference title game.

 

Playoff    Ranking

Title Odds

1

Miss St

7-1

2

Florida St

6-1

3

Auburn

10-1

4

Oregon

9-2

5

Alabama

5-1

6

TCU

8-1

7

Kansas St

12-1

8

Michigan St

7-1

9

Arizona St

25-1

10

Notre Dame

15-1

Championship odds tell their own fascinating story.  Current prices aren’t indicative of the best overall team playing right now instead they provide an inkling of which team has a favorable road into the postseason.  ASU offers the longest odds of any team in the top 10, given they still need to navigate 2 true road games including a Territorial Cup rivalry game with Arizona, before a likely date with Oregon in San Francisco in the conference title game were both teams to win out.  History says there’s still value to be found outside these 10 teams but if you see a ticket worth investing in then you’re a hell of a lot smarter than I am.

Upset Alert: Utah +8

Before we go penciling Oregon into the national semifinals lets pump the brakes for a minute.  Marcus Mariota is the overwhelming favorite for the Heisman now listed at 1-2 but there’s still work to be done not only for his hardware candidacy but the Ducks’ national title consideration. Reading the players’ comments going into last week’s game against Stanford everything was focused on finally getting the Cardinal monkey off their proverbial backs.  Oregon did just that, turning a 24-16 lead into a 45-16 final at Autzen. Utah obviously has very different ideas and Salt Lake City hasn’t been kind to visitors at Rice Eccles, where the Utes are 4-1 ATS as home dogs, including 2 outright upsets.  The big matchup to watch here isn’t Utah’s offense against the Duck defense – instead it’s the talented defensive line for the Utes against Oregon’s offense.  If Kyle Whittingham and his defensive coordinators can get pressure on Mariota, this game gets very interesting.  Weird things happen in Salt Lake at night, so don’t be surprised if Oregon getting eliminated from title consideration gets added to the list of twists and turns we’ve already seen this college football season.  

Upset Alert Current Record: 6-1 ATS, 3-4 SU

11/1: Navy +14 over Notre Dame (Covered but lost)

10/25: Penn St +14 over Ohio St (Covered but lost)

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.