There comes a time in every college football season when we’re forced to endure the unveiling of the BCS rankings, at least for one more year. I’m taking this opportunity to get any lingering frustrations off my chest a week before the first BCS numbers are actually released. In the betting community there is an alternative to this ridiculous somewhat arbitrary system that college football has accepted as the gospel; oddsmakers. Depending on who you ask, power numbers (fancy oddsmaker/bettor talk for rankings) look very different from the AP and Coaches poll especially with half a season already in the books. The guys setting numbers for a living don’t have the luxury of evaluating teams incorrectly. There’s minimal debate on which hierarchy is more accurate and I introduce to you the Las Vegas power poll that we’ll roll out here at OKTC every Monday from now until we know which schools are headed to Pasadena for the national championship.
Before unveiling the top 15 teams in the country, those new to the Vegas poll need to realize our job in the desert isn’t to reward the most “deserving” teams with a place in the national championship instead it’s meant to identify the best teams. As you look through the schools listed below you’ll notice the similarities between the 3 polls stop after the top 2 spots. There are major discrepancies from the 3 hole on down considering the AP ranks Clemson as the 3rd best team in the land yet the Tigers opened as 3 point home underdogs for this Saturday night’s clash with Florida State. I wonder why that’s the case if we’ve come to rely on the AP and Coaches poll as reliable power indicators for college sports. Without further adieu, here are the 2 major polls (AP & Coaches) compared side by side with our Las Vegas Power Poll used by oddsmakers to set lines on every D-1 team.
(*Every oddsmaker does not use this set of rankings, this is our power poll)
|3||Florida State||Clemson||Ohio St|
|5||Stanford||Florida State||Florida State|
|7||Texas A&M||Texas A&M||Texas A&M|
|9||Ohio St||UCLA||S. Carolina|
|11||Wisconsin||S. Carolina||Miami FL|
After a quick glance you’ll notice 4 teams; Louisville, Missouri, Miami FL, and Texas Tech aren’t held in the same regard by Vegas as they are by pollsters. Honestly, after watching Tech a few times this year the fact they’re ranked 15th in the Coaches Poll because they’re undefeated is comical. Call it a hunch but if Tech played road games at Arizona St and at Ohio State like the Wisconsin Badgers already did, they’d have 2 blemishes on their record too. Our goal as oddsmakers isn’t to use the pointspread as a predictive measure of what will happen but rather to force bettors to make tough choices when they bet games. That’s exactly why you see the nation’s third best team (allegedly Clemson) as underdogs in their own stadium this very weekend. Just do me a favor when a ranked team is an underdog to a side without an alpha numeric beside them in the popularity poll; refrain from calling it an upset if the favorite wins because it just makes you look like an idiot.