There are various polls that are of interest to the sports bettor. These polls are offered during the college football season to provide rankings for the best twenty-five Division I football teams.
Two polls, the Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches Poll, are published prior to the start of the NCAA season and through to the end of the season. The other poll, the Bowl Championship Series Poll (BCS) is published in each of the final eight weeks of the season. It is used to determine which two teams will play for the national championship and which teams will be involved in the four other premium games: the Orange, Fiesta, Sugar, and Rose Bowls.
The AP Poll, which at present time compiles the votes of sixty-five sports writers and broadcasters from around the US, is the oldest of all polls. Since 1936, this poll has been ranking college football teams. Originally, it listed the top 20 teams.
Each voting member creates his own Top-25 and then all of the polls are tallied. A team that is ranked first gets twenty-five points, second is given twenty-four points, and so on with the twenty-fifth team receiving one point. All of the points are added up and the team with the most points is first, the second most is second, etc.
The Coaches Poll, which is known as the USA Today Coaches Poll, uses a computation method that is similar to the AP. However, this time the voters are college football coaches who are on the USA Today Board of Coaches. This board is made up of fifty-nine Division I coaches. There has been criticism of this poll, as coaches have been accused of favoring teams in their own conference. However, the results of this poll and the AP poll are often strikingly similar.
The BCS Poll was devised to create a championship structure, whereby the top teams in the nation would play in the premiere bowl games. Specifically, it was created in order to choose which two teams will meet in the National Championship Game.
This poll is published weekly, starting halfway through the college football season, and its complex ranking system includes results from the AP and USA Today polls, strength of schedule, number of losses, and other information. At the end of the season, the top two teams in the BCS Poll meet in the college football championship game.
How to Use Ranking Systems
Are polls of any use to a college football sports bettor? To a degree, these polls can be useful in a few ways. They are indicators of the top football teams in the nation. Although accuracy is always in question, each poll offers useful information in that they tell you what is expected of a team. However, they do not predict results.
Thus, the second ranked team in the country may be playing the fifteenth ranked, which means the anticipated result would be a win for the second ranked club. However, that says more about the odds and what to expect from bookmakers than the actual final score of the game.
Changing Every Week
Rankings change every week, and they are not only dependent on whether a team wins or loses. They are also influenced by a team’s margin of victory (or defeat). In sports betting, use college football rankings as a guideline to help you determine the accuracy of spreads, lines, and totals. They are one tool and only one tool that you should use when handicapping college football.