If the gambling revolution is truly upon us (as in, if the government finally figures out how to get its cut without slicing the golden goose into feathers, beaks and feet), the time has come to give it its true heed by prioritizing covering over mere winning.
A sport which is being ossified by the dulling repetition of the same teams challenging for championships all the time needs a new way to figure out who’s who and what’s what, and what better way than to rank the teams by how they do against the neutral arbiter that is Las Vegas?
Thus, we give you a better, bolder and far more cynical Top 25, with emphasis on, first, covering against the line, then beating the over and then worrying about winning the game straight-up. It’s the only fair way, I put it to you, to determine who is providing the customer (as opposed to the coach, the donor or the athletic director) a true sense of what matters in this sport.
Thus, the True Top 25. You’ll see a team, it’s record against the line (ATS) against the total (O/U) and then straight up (SU). The tiebreaker will be a numberical value based on the number of points by which a team covered, thus proving to measure of bettor stress – I mean, who wouldn’t want to cruise to an early and easy win whenever possible?
1. BOISE STATE (2-0 ATS, 2-0 O/U, 2-0 SU): Comfortable wins at Troy -8 ½ and at home against Connecticut -33 ½ put them atop the list, because (and this is important) all opponents are equal in God’s eyes.
2. ALABAMA (2-0, 2-0, 2-0): Arkansas State was easy, but Louisville was easier. This poll may end up with them winning, which is bad for school diversity, but covering is covering.
3. MISSISSIPPI (2-0, 2-0, 2-0): An easy cover at Texas Tech is a better win than a nail-biter at home against Southern Illinois, but cash is a cash.
4. BOSTON COLLEGE (2-0, 2-0, 2-0): UMass and Holy Cross. This won’t last.
5. SYRACUSE (2-0, 2-0, 2-0): At Western Michigan and home against Wagner. Neither will this.
6. MISSOURI (2-0, 2-0, 2-0): Covered big numbers twice, the second against Wyoming, which is decent enough.
7. HAWAII (2-1, 3-0, 3-0): You have to put away a team like Rice at home. You just have to.
8. APPALACHIAN STATE (2-0, 2-0, 1-1): They’re a traditionally safe bet as a big dog, which accounts for the ease of their covers.
9. UTAH STATE (2-0, 2-0, 1-1): Hung tough with Michigan State in Week 1, did the business against New Mexico State in Week 2.
10. TEXAS A&M (2-0, 2-0, 1-1): The one loss was to Clemson, but the cover will never die.
11. UNLV (2-0, 2-0, 1-1): Covered at USC getting 25. Hey, tough ones matter too.
12. RICE (2-1, 3-0, 1-2): Could be a consistent over play this year.
13. MARYLAND (2-0, 1-1, 2-0): Maybe you don’t need coaches who are maniacs on the side.
14. VIRGINIA TECH (2-0, 1-1, 2-0): Covering against Florida State in Week 1 doesn’t seem quite as impressive now.
15. EASTERN MICHIGAN (2-0, 1-1-, 2-0): Beating Monmouth gave them the confidence to win outright at Purdue.
16. MINNESOTA (2-0, 1-1, 2-0): Not sure what to make of being a pick’em at home against Fresno State, but they were the side to pick in the end.
17. DUKE (2-0, 1-1, 2-0): An easy cover and win at Northwestern silenced a lot of sportswriters, and who doesn’t think that’s a good idea?
18. OHIO STATE (2-0, 1-1, 2-0): I think Ryan Day is the man to lead this team.
19. WEST VIRGINIA (2-0, 1-1-, 2-0): A good solid win and cover at Tennessee laying 10 after a nailbiter against Youngstown State shows the Mountaineers are trending upward, to use a phrase that should never be allowed again in civilized society.
20. ARIZONA STATE (2-0, 1-1-, 2-0): Herman Edwards is a genius, I tell you, a bloody genius.
21. WASHINGTON STATE (2-0, 1-1-, 2-0): Barely covering the 30 ½ at home to San Jose State is no way to go through life, son.
22. TULANE (2-0, 1-1, 1-1): Not sustainable.
23. FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (2-0, 1-1, 1-1): Maybe sustainable.
24. STANFORD (2-0, 0-2, 2-0): David Shaw has always been a solid fade against the total (40-54 lifetime), and reverse trends can be just as valuable.
25. IOWA (2-0, 0-2, 2-0): Kirk Ferentz is the longest serving at coach at his present school (19 years), and covering is the reason.
OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Really? You honestly thought this was going to happen? Go take a nap.