Week 7 Winners and Losers

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Let’s start this week’s column by clarifying one universal truth in college football: there is no such thing as a level playing field as it pertains to playoff inclusion. Whether it be unbalanced schedules, home/road splits, or when bye weeks occur, certain programs will gain a competitive advantage over their fellow conference members. Fans of any SEC west program will come to understand this sobering reality the deeper we get into conference play.  Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s realize there is no way on earth the selection committee will appease everyone with their eventual choices…which obviously leads me to another point of contention: the ridiculousness of preseason media/coaches poll.  

For some reason (ok I understand the TV angle and marketing dollars) we feel compelled to rank teams before the season starts, adhering to the assumption a preseason top 5 team has a much greater margin for error than a school starting the year unranked.  If it was up to me you wouldn’t even see a poll until the middle of October when schools became known commodities.  However there is one group that doesn’t have the luxury of completely whiffing on ranking teams and that’s oddsmakers.  Point spreads are the greatest equalizer in every sport; creating a price to stimulate 2 way betting interest (notice I didn’t say balanced action). Using oddsmaker’s criteria to seed the field wouldn’t reward the most deserving teams in the country but it would identify the best most competitive foursome. I could go on for a lot longer than this yet for the sake of brevity I’ll continue this rant at some point later in the season. Onto your modified Winners and Losers from the week that was in college football…

Winners: All of college football. An upheaval weekend like we witnessed beginning on Thursday with Arizona’s upset of Oregon proved yet again that even in a sport dominated by blue bloods anything is possible.  Every conference saw a preseason favorite go down in amazing blazes of glory; Wisconsin, Alabama, UCLA, Oklahoma just to name a few…no one was immune to the upset bug.  However, should we really be surprised by some of the results? After all Alabama was only a 4 point favorite for their trip to Oxford while Oklahoma was an even shorter chalk when they headed into Ft Worth.  I’ll never sit here encouraging people to bet games because that’s not what I do. Some folks can’t handle the financial responsibility or self control that comes with this form of recreation.  However that doesn’t mean the casual fan can’t glance at pointspreads each week to gain a better understanding of how the fine folks in the desert see the upcoming weekend.  College football hasn’t fallen victim to parity but it has become a prisoner of its own success.  Playing fields are leveled between power programs creating a balanced landscape…and we’re all winners for it.

Losers: Pollsters that can’t understand that Team A beating Team B doesn’t automatically mean they should be ranked higher in any subsequent polls.  No one can tell me with a straight face Ole Miss would have fared as well on the road in Tuscaloosa as they did playing in their own building. I don’t think major media gives a conference road win (or rare true non-conference road win) nearly enough weight when grading a team’s resume. To sit here and tell me that the Stanfords and Clemsons of the world aren’t good football teams because they lose to USC, Notre Dame, Florida State, and Georgia is ignorant.  Somehow TCU surges from being the 25th best team in the country to top 10 material on the merit of… a monumental upset as 3 pt underdogs against OU! C’mon Folks, watch the games and let’s stop the knee jerk reaction, especially if it will impact how the selection committee views the landscape in early December.


Again last week similar questions were asked about the poll, and I’ll answer with the standard response: no, just because you’re ranked ahead of a team in the poll doesn’t mean oddsmakers believe you’d win that game.  Power ratings don’t reflect intangibles such as when you’d play a certain opponent or an exploitable mis-match in X’s and O’s.  Now what it should say is who will be favored in that particular matchup were the game to be played on a neutral field.  

Oddly enough, as it stands right now only Ole Miss has a win against a fellow program ranked in my top 10 (Alabama).  For all those that want to crush FSU’s schedule, understand that the Clemson team they snuck by with a backup QB is viewed by most oddsmakers as a top 15 caliber football team with Watson under center.  Of course as I write this with Georgia lurking in the top 5 I’m fully bracing for the onslaught of criticism when Hutson Mason looks pedestrian in a loss to Missouri this Saturday.  Texas A&M fans; Saturday’s loss to MSU is nothing to be ashamed of. However if you still want to be considered a top 15 caliber team you’d be well served to bounce back this weekend with a win over Ole Miss in what will be an electric atmosphere.  Lose at Kyle Field and I’ll stand by my preseason prediction that 9-3 was the absolute ceiling a year removed from the Manziel memories.


Last Week

This Week















Ole Miss



Miss St



Notre Dame


Michigan St






Texas A&M

Ohio St

On the rise: Clemson

A couple notes on the poll… Baylor’s ranking right now is contingent on Bryce Petty being 100%.  His 7 for 22 performance against Texas leads me to believe he’s anything but at the top of his game so their ranking could change pretty quickly. Say what you want about Notre Dame… we’ll learn a lot more about the Irish next weekend when they head to Tallahassee to take on Florida State. For a side many believe is fraudulent, it becomes put up or shut-up time.  Oklahoma remains in the top 10, even after a loss, given the narrow defeat and a box score indicating the final result was a coin flip aside from Trevor Knight’s ineffectiveness. Michigan State fell out of the top 10, getting jumped by fellow conference member Ohio St. I still personally believe Michigan State is a better football team but the rest of the sports betting community doesn’t agree.

Upset Alert: None

We’ve had good success with these picks so far this year with a 3-1 against the spread record and 2-2 straight up mark including last week’s outright call on Utah. If opportunity doesn’t present itself in the betting market, passing is always an option.


What a difference a few weeks make to spin an entire betting market completely upside down. I won’t take anything away from the dynamic tools we’ve seen on display from Dak Prescott however I’m not quite sure investing in him at 5-2 makes a whole lot of financial sense. Come to think of it, there’s minimal reason to invest in a player at any price less than 10-1 given the nature of the award and wild ride still left in front of each contender this season.  

Pre-season Favorites




Jameis Winston



Marcus Mariota



Brett Hundley



Melvin Gordon



Nick Marshall




Current Favorites




Todd Gurley



Dak Prescott



Nick Marshall



Marcus Mariota



Everett Golson



Written by Clay Travis

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.


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