Jay Christensen covered college football, among other sports, for the Los Angeles Times and produces the popular college football blog TheWizofOdds.com.
A few weeks ago, smack in the middle of wall-to-wall coverage of health care reform, a helium-filled Mylar balloon took off from the backyard of a Northern Colorado home.
News channels suddenly had a fresh story to chase and discussions about the health and well being of a nation were quickly dropped in favor of a balloon.
A world stopped as the drama unfolded. A six-year-old boy was thought to be onboard, and video of an object falling from the balloon was replayed like the Zapruder film.
Turns out it was one big hoax, but the news channels had swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker. Precious credibility was lost when the balloon came crashing to earth.
College football fans are facing a similar situation. A powerful network that holds broadcast rights to nearly all of big-time college football is about to take control of the big enchilada — rights to the Bowl Championship Series.
The takeover doesn’t happen until next season, but already the network is parading an endless lineup of “experts” before the viewer each week to pump up the merits of the system. Unfortunately, there is an underlying credibility problem because the corporate behemoth the experts work for will soon own and make millions off this bogus system.
It’s all a big helium-filled balloon.
The fact is, there is no true national champion in college football and with seven undefeated teams entering the stretch run of the regular season, it’s almost a certainty that at least one team is going to get royally screwed at season’s end.
College football needs a playoff, and we are here today to give the people what they want, what they truly deserve.
Las Vegas Sports Consultants, the world’s largest oddsmaking company, provides odds to all major Las Vegas and international sportsbooks. Each week, they produce a power ranking of the top 30 teams.
Only eight teams are needed for a playoff, and because we’ve been bludgeoned to the point of actually believing the BCS has validity, we will use the top eight teams from this week’s standings.
This includes the seven unbeaten teams — Florida, Texas, Alabama, Iowa, Cincinnati, Texas Christian and Boise State — along with Oregon, arguably the best one-loss team in the country.
Las Vegas Sports Consultants’ oddsmakers Mike Seba, Tony Sinisi and Kenny White give the teams a power rating each week, and those ratings are calculated together for a final rating. The “rate” number is based on the team playing on a neutral field, which works perfectly for our playoff exercise.
Florida is No. 1 in the BCS standings and Oregon is No. 8. Other first-round matchups: No. 2 Texas vs. No. 7 Boise State; No. 3 Alabama vs. No. 6 TCU and No. 4 Iowa vs. No. 5 Cincinnati.
Florida has the highest rate value of 122, and Cincinnati the lowest at 110. Other rate numbers: Texas 119.8; Alabama 117.9; Oregon 114; TCU 113.3; Boise State 111.3 and Iowa 110.9.
The pointspreads are determined by the difference in the rate value.
Florida would be an 8-point favorite over Oregon.
Texas (-8.5) vs. Boise State.
Alabama (-4.5) vs. TCU.
Iowa (-1) vs. Cincinnati.
Presuming the favorites win, here are the semifinal matchups:
Florida (-11) vs. Iowa.
Texas (-2) vs. Alabama.
Florida (-2) vs. Texas.
Factors such as injuries could impact the lines, but these are a rough estimate of where we stand at this moment.
Sean Van Patten of Las Vegas Sports Consultants also gave me the current odds on the eight teams winning the BCS title. In order of current BCS standing: