2018 College Football Rankings, Week 8: AP Top 25 Poll, Coaches Poll, Vegas Ratings

Oct 15, 2018 11:00 AM EDT

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: JT Daniels, Miles Sanders and Travis Homer

  • College football rankings in 2018 will move before Week 8, thanks to some major upsets across the country.
  • We're comparing our Vegas-style betting power ratings, the AP Top 25 Poll and the Coaches Poll to see how different groups and voters value each team.
  • Use the comparisons to find betting value by exploiting public perception.

College football rankings are seeing some serious movement as we enter Week 8 of the regular season. AP Poll and Coaches Poll voters are overvaluing teams based on short-term results, while our Vegas-style power ratings take much longer to adjust.

Below, we’re comparing the AP Top 25 poll, Coaches Poll and The Action Network Power Ratings to show how you can find betting value by exploiting public perception.

We’ve updated our power ratings after a wild Week 7, and filled in the Coaches Poll and AP Poll once they were released this afternoon.

2018 College Football Rankings, Week 8

AP Top 25 Poll voters and Coaches Poll voters (often athletic department staffers, not actually the coaches) are usually reactionary to recent results. Wins and losses mean a lot more than the whole body of work.

Our power ratings, and other statistical systems such as S&P+ or ESPN’s FPI, are more based on a team’s performance throughout an entire game and the entire season, not so much about wins and losses. They’re also meant to be more predictive than the polls and used for betting purposes.

Here were the college football rankings entering Week 7.  As you can see, there was a lot of movement.

Comparing AP Top 25 Poll, Coaches Poll, Vegas Ratings


  • Power Ratings: 1
  • AP Poll: 1
  • Coaches Poll: 1

Alabama is No. 1 everywhere, and deservedly so. Its starting quarterback hasn’t had to throw a pass in the fourth quarter this year.

The Tide are 4.5 points better than the No. 2 team in our power ratings, meaning they’d be -4.5 against Georgia on a neutral field. They’d be -5 against Clemson and Ohio State.


  • Power Ratings: 2
  • AP Poll: 2
  • Coaches Poll: 2

We’ll get a good idea of what Georgia is this weekend at LSU, since the Bulldogs haven’t been tested yet.

There’s no real reason to separate Georgia, Clemson and Ohio State at this point. They’re all in the same tier.


  • Power Ratings: 3
  • AP Poll: 4
  • Coaches Poll: 4

Clemson bounced back with a blowout of Wake Forest last week, and the schedule is soft for pretty much the rest of the season.

The biggest test might be home against N.C. State, and the Tigers will be a favorite of more than two scores.

Ohio State

  • Power Ratings: 4
  • AP Poll: 3
  • Coaches Poll: 3

The Buckeyes are in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten, but with an improving Michigan looming to end the season, it’s no sure thing.

Notre Dame

  • Power Ratings: 5
  • AP Poll: 5
  • Coaches Poll: 5

Notre Dame took care of business against Virginia Tech, and is moving into the Clemson-Georgia-Ohio State tier. There aren’t too many hurdles left on the Irish’s schedule.


  • Power Ratings: 6
  • AP Poll: 11
  • Coaches Poll: 11

This is a classic instance of voters overreacting to a result — Oklahoma’s loss to Texas — while it takes longer for oddsmakers to change their ratings.


  • Power Ratings: 7
  • AP Poll: 12
  • Coaches Poll: 13

Voters are still downgrading Michigan for its loss to Notre Dame in Week 1, but that loss looks pretty OK now, doesn’t it?

The Wolverines control their own destiny to the College Football Playoff and catch Wisconsin and Penn State at home. Voters will start to take Jim Harbaugh’s team more seriously if it beats the Badgers this weekend.

Penn State

  • Power Ratings: 8
  • AP Poll: 8
  • Coaches Poll: 8

Our ratings and voters see this Penn State team the same — really good, but not in that elite tier. James Franklin feels the same way.


  • Power Ratings: 9
  • AP Poll: 7
  • Coaches Poll: 7

The Huskies lost a close game in Week 1 to a tough non-conference opponent and haven’t lost since. Sounds an awful lot like Michigan, so why is Washington five spots higher in the AP Poll?


  • Power Ratings: 10
  • AP Poll: 21
  • Coaches Poll: 21

This might be an overexaggeration of power ratings not adjusting based on results. The Tigers offense looks broken.


  • Power Ratings: 11
  • AP Poll: 15
  • Coaches Poll: 10

The coaches love Wisconsin for some reason.


  • Power Ratings: 12
  • AP Poll: 17
  • Coaches Poll: 17

The Ducks can move toward or into the top 10 with a win over Washington this week. Thanks to their performance against Stanford, they stay high in our power ratings.


  • Power Ratings: 13
  • AP Poll: 9
  • Coaches Poll: 14

Texas. Is. Back.

At least in the eyes of AP Poll voters.

The Longhorns did take a step up in our power ratings, as well, with an impressive win over Oklahoma.

West Virginia

  • Power Ratings: 14
  • AP Poll: 6
  • Coaches Poll: 6

West Virginia has been steadily climbing our power ratings. And because the Mountaineers haven’t lost and have an elite quarterback, they’re No. 6 in both the AP poll and Coaches Poll.

Oklahoma State

  • Power Ratings: 15
  • AP Poll: 13
  • Coaches Poll: 12

LSU’s power rating is finally in line with the other polls. It feels about right.


  • Power Ratings: 16
  • AP Poll: NR
  • Coaches Poll: 24

Losing consecutive games is a kiss of death for poll voters. And we’re not even all that high on Stanford, but it’s done enough to stay in the top 20 of our power ratings.


  • Power Ratings: 17
  • AP Poll: NR
  • Coaches Poll: NR

This is what Utah does — wins the games it’s supposed to, loses the ones it’s not, and then sneaks into the College Football Playoff rankings with no chance of ever making the top four.

The Utes have a lot going for them, especially on defense, and should be a serious Pac-12 contender in 2019.

Mississippi State

  • Power Ratings: 18
  • AP Poll: 24
  • Coaches Poll: NR

Mississippi State has an identity, if nothing else. The Bulldogs used their excellent defense and running game to grind out a win against Auburn last week, but got some fortunate breaks.

Texas A&M

  • Power Ratings: 19
  • AP Poll: 22
  • Coaches Poll: 22

Bettors are all over Texas A&M in Week 7, as more than 80% of them are backing the Aggies against South Carolina.


  • Power Ratings: 20
  • AP Poll: 14
  • Coaches Poll: 16

Florida beat LSU last week and plays Georgia in two weeks. If the Gators can avoid a letdown against Vanderbilt this week, that game in Jacksonville will be a top-15 showdown.


  • Power Ratings: 21
  • AP Poll: 16
  • Coaches Poll: 15

Florida State put Miami on upset alert last week, and the Hurricanes might be there again this week against Virginia.


  • Power Ratings: 22
  • AP Poll: NR
  • Coaches Poll: NR

TCU won’t be coming back into the AP poll or Coaches Poll anytime soon after losing to Texas Tech on Thursday night.

Central Florida

  • Power Ratings: 23
  • AP Poll: 10
  • Coaches Poll: 9

Central Florida faces by far its toughest test of the season this weekend — at Memphis as a 4.5-point favorite.

The Knights will probably get higher in the AP poll and Coaches Poll than they will in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Oklahoma State

  • Power Ratings: 24
  • AP Poll: NR
  • Coaches Poll: NR

Losses to Texas Tech and Iowa State in the last three weeks have bumped the Cowboys out of both polls. And that win over Boise State looks less impressive based on what the Broncos have done since.

The Pokes travel to Kansas State this weekend in what will be a tricky test.


  • Power Ratings: 25
  • AP Poll: NR
  • Coaches Poll: NR

Missouri had everything go wrong in a loss to South Carolina last week, but in part because of its performance against Georgia, remains in the top 25 of our power ratings. This team is most likely better than its 3-2 record indicates.

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