Preseason College Football Rankings 2011: Ranking the Top 25 by Las Vegas Odds
If there is one thing that can help to pass the seemingly interminable length of time until the college football season kicks off, it's predicting the college football regular season, particularly by ranking the top 25.
We use any means necessary to provide these rankings, from ranking them by coach, to uniforms or even stadiums.
This list is runs down the top teams in the country, 25-1 using the odds provided by our dear friends in the wonderful city of Las Vegas.
Some teams will surprise you, and some are noticeably absent, but this is the way Vegas sees it, and we all know they are always right...
Check out the odds here.
25. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Yeah, the Bulldogs are definitely a long shot.
Quarterback Chris Relf and running back Vick Ballard are an explosive duo, and Dan Mullen has MSU headed in the right direction.
That being said, the Bulldogs just don't have the talent to hang with Alabama, LSU and Arkansas, and without winning the SEC title, a BCS championship is just a pipe dream.
24. Miami Hurricanes
If the Jacory Harris of last season keeps showing up, these odds are right on.
However, should he straighten out his accuracy issues and limit the interceptions, the 'Canes' chances improve significantly.
This team will be in a BCS game very soon. This year might be a little too soon, but Al Golden is a solid hire, and with that talent, anything can happen.
23. Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State fans felt cheated out of the Rose Bowl last season, with good reason.
The way these odds are, they might feel disrespected once again.
Nebraska, Wisconsin and even Ohio State are getting better odds right now.
The Spartans have the best quarterback in the conference and a scary defensive line, but the Big Ten schedule is tough this season, and Sparty will have at least two losses.
22. Georgia Bulldogs
How Georgia is in the top 25, and yet Arizona State and Missouri are not, is an enigma.
The Dawgs, while talented, have zero shot at the SEC title.
While they avoid LSU and Alabama during the regular season, a bout with eithe rone of those teams in the conference championship game would shoot down Georgia's dreams of a natty...
21. Texas A&M Aggies
This is interesting.
Any team not from the SEC should automatically have longer odds.
But if there is a team out there that could make things difficult in the NC for an SEC team, it is A&M.
Even without Von Miller, the defense is stout, and the running game is scary good.
A longshot, but one to think about taking...for about two seconds before you remember they have to get through Missouri, Arkansas and both Oklahoma schools to have a shot.
20. Virginia Tech Hokies
While the point could be made that the Hokies have been one of the most consistent teams in the coutnry since Frank Beamer's arrival, let's not forget one thing they have been really consistent about...
Sure, BCS bowls fly their way like teenage girls to a Bruno Mars concert, but the only time they got to a national championship they lost, and that was over a decade ago.
BCS bound again?
19. TCU Horned Frogs
This is really surprising.
The Frogs would have to have another undefeated season, as well as hope for at least one loss from every team in the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 (we all know no Big East team is going undefeated).
They must do so after the loss of two stud offensive linemen and an extremely talented starting quarterback.
Now, the MWC is not the SEC, but teams like Air Force and San Diego State are better than the usual editions in 2011.
Couple that with a daunting trip to the "smurf turf," and the Frogs' odds should be significantly longer.
18. Penn State Nittany Lions
The Lions have toiled in the shadow of Ohio State and Iowa for the past several seasons.
In 2011, that will change...they will toil in the shadow of Nebraska and Wisconsin.
PSU has too many questions at the quarterback position, and even a stout defense can't save them.
A New Year's Day bowl is very likely, but the BCSNCG is not gonna happen.
17. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Hey, the Cowboys' offense is legit.
It's gonna be one of the best in the country.
Apparently, somone forgot to let them know they have to play both sides of the ball.
The defense leaves a little something to be desired, and until that gets fixed, the Pokes remain Okie Lite.
16. Arkansas Razorbacks
The Razorbacks are going to be scary good this season.
Tyler Wilson is a perfect replacement for Ryan Mallett, and he has tremendous talent surrounding him.
Unfortunately for Bobby Petrino's squad, they have a tough conference slate.
Trips to Alabama and LSU make a national championship a virtual impossibility.
15. South Carolina Gamecocks
Most offensive coordinators would kill to have the talent the Gamecocks have on offense.
This team is loaded.
If there is a team that can take the SEC crown coming out of the East division, it is SC.
It's not likely to happen, but with that much talent and a very capable coach, the Gamecocks could put a scare into LSU or Alabama.
14. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The hype surrounding the Irish is a loud as it has been in several seasons.
The development of running back Cierre Wood, coupled with an incredibly talented defense, leads one to believe it might be warranted.
Not bad odds, but the chances of the Irish taking the NCG, even with the improvements, are very small.
Their schedule is too challenging.
13. West Virginia Mountaineers
Is this a joke?
The Mountaineers will definitely have an explosive offense, courtesy of quarterback Geno Smith and new head coach Dana Holgorsen.
But they play in the Big East.
Some one-loss MWC teams deserve consideration before the Big East.
No way the Mountaineers go undefeated.
12. Texas Longhorns
Let me get this straight.
While Missouri and Arizona State both have the potential to win their respective conferences, neither of them has better than 75/1 odds?
Meanwhile, the Longhorns, who will be lucky to win nine games this season, sit at 25/1?
11. Ohio State Buckeyes
How Ohio State managed to escape the NCAA with so little punishment is beyond me.
Meanwhile, the Vegas oddsmakers have apparently forgotten that they lost their starting quarterback. still have several suspensions to deal with and have an untested coach.
Yes, the team is talented and has potential.
But realistically, they will be lucky to make any BCS game, much less the championship.
10. Nebraska Cornhuskers
The newcomers to the Big Ten have one fo the most potentially dangerous defenses in the country.
Given the talent boiling over in the Huskers' backfield, they are going to be a force in their inaugural season in the conference.
With the new big Ten championship game paving the way for an undisputed champ in the conference, the Huskers could stake their claim to a shot at the title with an undefeated season.
Given the level of difficulty in their conference schedule, this might just be a daydream for Husker fans, but teams with longer odds have won in the past.
9. Wisconsin Badgers
It appears the Vegas oddsmakers find the Russell Wilson/Wisconsin marriage a pretty compatable one.
The Badgers return some talent on both sides of the ball, but have a quarterback trying to learn a new system, and a defense that lost most of its sack production.
Granted, if anyone can incorporate Wilson effetively into an offense in such a short time, it is Paul Chryst, but such a unique set of challenges is nothing to sneeze at.
Good odds, but would you be willing to gamble on a team with the questions the Badgers have?
8. Stanford Cardinal
Just having Andrew Luck back for his senior season should catapult the Cardinal into this range.
Of course, Chris Owusu is going to have to shake off the cobwebs caused by injury and fill in a major gap left in the receiving corps, and there is no more Owen Marecic, but David Shaw has got to be pleased with the talent he inherited.
Shayne Skov is a monster on the field and a difference maker on critical downs.
It's difficult to see Stanford making it through their schedule unscathed, however, and one loss will keep them out of the big one.
7. Florida Gators
Is this some sort of joke?
We are supposed to believe that the Gators are even remotely close to a BCS game in the ultra competitive SEC?
6. LSU Tigers
The Tigers defense is scary good, even with the loss of Patrick Peterson.
As for these odds, these are the "Jordan Jefferson can't complete a pass" odds.
Should Jefferson get his act together and show some consistency, the Tigers should have the best odds of any team in the country to win.
That is, until Les Miles is allowed to "manage" the clock again...
5. Boise State Broncos
Look, it only makes since for the geniuses in Vegas to give the Broncos good odds.
There have to be enough people out there willing to take the chance that they might finally break through.
But when one considers the slight step up in the difficulty of the BSU schedule, coupled with the losses at wide receiver, one clearly sees that this season will not be the year.
The Broncos are going to have a tough time escaping this season with only one loss...
4. Oregon Ducks
The Ducks and their frenetic offense are going to one day make the huddle go the way of the T. Rex.
But that offense, that terrorized defenses everywhere last season, may have some hiccups this season.
The losses on the offensive line are bound to have an impact, no matter how minimal, on the effectiveness of the Ducks offense.
That being said, not many teams have two legit Heisman candidates in their backfield at the same time.
With a favorable conference schedule, and a win over LSU to start the season, the Ducks could sneak in past the front-runners.
3. Florida State Seminoles
FSU is another team that it is sometimes hard to buy into the hype about.
They have a talented, but yet not completely proven, young man taking over at quarterback.
He has plenty of talent surrounding him, but E.J. Manuel will be the difference between the BCSNG and another solid bowl bid.
Defenisvely, the 'Noles have all the pieces, it's just a matter of making them function as a whole.
An early season bout with Oklahoma will drop these odds dramatically, or make them skyrocket.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
While it's tough to argue with the talent that the Tide can throw onto the field, there are plenty of other angles to look at when considering their championship candidacy.
Arkansas, South Carolina and LSU are all better than their 2010 versions.
The Tide, however, could be considered to have downgraded.
Whoever starts will be relatively unexperienced at quarterback, and they lose a Heisman winning running back and one of the top three receivers in the nation.
Now, with a few breaks, Nick Saban could have this team in the title game, but a few breaks the other way, with some inexperience showing, and they won't even reach the BCS.
1. Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners, as can be seen, are giving the best odds of any team, and they should.
However, before you rush out and bet the farm, consider these few tidbits.
The Sooners must travel to Tallahassee this season.
Also, Tulsa and Missouri sandwich that game against the 'Noles, a perfect example of two trap games.
And Bedlam will be no walk in the park this season.
The Sooners' outlook is rosy now, but you may wish to withhold judgment for a couple of months.
Remember where Alabama was ranked at this time last season?