For the first time this season, Florida relinquished its top spot in the AP Poll to Alabama after a pair of subpar efforts against LSU (13-3) and Arkansas (23-20). The Gators haven’t looked as dominant as last year when they finished 13-1, but VegasInsider.com handicapper Brian Edwards still believes the Gators are the team to beat.
Edwards said, “I don’t think a lot of people understand how good last year’s UF team was, especially on offense. They lost two wide receivers in Percy Harvin (17) and Louis Murphy (10) to the NFL who accounted for 24 touchdowns. Not having any playmakers on the outside has hurt the team plus costly turnovers don’t help their overall numbers.”
In last week’s close call against the Razorbacks, quarterback Tim Tebow was sacked six times and the offense had four fumbles, including two inside the Arkansas 10-yard line. Last year’s team won with offense, perhaps this year’s club will prevail with defense.
Edwards added, “Another thing to put in perspective is the Gators’ spread record (2-2-1). Not winning convincingly or more specifically, not covering the number often creates doubt and it apparently has in the last two weeks. In all seriousness, did you really think Florida was going to produce an amazing 12-1 ATS ledger like they did in 2008?”
The oddsmakers at Las Vegas Sports Consultants agree with Edwards and they still have Florida listed first in their weekly rankings and Alabama is third but the gap is closing.
Last week, LVSC Chief Operating Officer Kenny White and his staff would’ve sent out Florida as a five-point favorite against Alabama on a neutral field but now they believe 3 is a better number.
For the second consecutive week, the SEC has eight teams listed in the latest Top 30. Texas (2) remains the squad to beat in the Big 12, which has five schools listed in this week’s rankings.
Texas Tech (15) and Pittsburgh (27) were the biggest movers in Week 8, both climbing seven spots. The Red Raiders blasted Nebraska 31-10 in Lincoln last Saturday with a backup quarterback. Say what you want about head coach Mike Leach but his system is tough to match and the defense is getting better in Lubbock. Still, early back-to-back losses to Texas (34-24) and Houston (29-28) are tough to overcome.
Do you think Dave Wannstedt and the Panthers are looking back at their Week 4 loss to N.C. State (38-31) right about now? Pitt stands at 6-1 and four of the final five are at Heinz Field, including the season closer against Cincinnati (19), the only other ranked Big East team in this week’s LVSC rankings.
The ACC and Big 10 both had four teams ranked, while the Pac 10 has three. The Mountain West Conference will get clearer this week when TCU (6) and Brigham Young (24) battle from Provo. The Horned Frogs jumped four spots this week, while the Cougars fell 6 places.
Below is a complete breakdown of this week’s LVSC Rankings.
Las Vegas Sports Consultants - Week 8 Rankings
Dropped out of Top 30: Kansas (25), South Florida (27)
Next 10: West Virginia, Arizona, Utah, Kansas, Michigan, Boston College, Missouri, Tulsa, South Florida, Connecticut