If college football ever gets around to having playoff, it should be run by bookies and bettors. Why? Because they do a better job of ranking teams than any polling system in place.
A week ago, Wisconsin was ranked fifth in the nation and playing at unranked Illinois, yet the Fighting Illini were 2.5-point favorites. And who won? Illinois, 31-26. And what about No. 8 Kentucky at No. 11 South Carolina? The Gamecocks were four-point favorites and won, 38-23.
Economist James Quirk says, "The odds are doing a better job on this stuff than the polls are."
In a season of upsets, Quirk says "sportswriters and coaches and everybody else who participates in these polls uses the information on what teams have been like historically. The betting markets usually do a pretty good job evaluating these things.''
Oddsmakers realize that, according to Jeff Sherman, assistant manager of the Las Vegas Hilton Race & Sports Book.
"A lot of us are amused after a so-called upset,'' he said. "If people were aware of what the spreads were, they might not think it was such an upset.''