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

Oct 21, 2018 1:50 PM EDT
  • College football rankings in 2018 could get a big shakeup after Week 8, with a few ranked matchups on tap.
  • We're comparing the AP Top 25 Poll, the Coaches Poll and our Vegas-style power ratings to see how different groups and voters are valuing each team.
  • Use the comparisons to find betting value by taking advantage of public perception.

College football rankings for the 2018 season are getting another shakeup after last week, when six Top 25 teams went down. The AP Poll and Coaches Poll saw big changes, and The Action Network’s Vegas-style power ratings did, as well as we enter Week 8. There weren’t as many upsets in Week 8, but Ohio State went down, and the back of the Top 25 has some new faces.

Here, we’re comparing the AP Top 25 Poll and Coaches Poll to our power ratings to show how voters value teams differently than our numbers.

The traditional polls are more reactionary to wins and losses, while we’re looking at body of work and performance (regardless of the final score) against the closing number.

2018 College Football Rankings, Week 8

Our power ratings — and other statistical systems such as Football Outsiders’ S&P+ or ESPN’s FPI — are more based on a team’s performance throughout the entire season. We’re not so worried about wins and losses, because we’re trying to project what will come next for these teams, not judge them on what they’ve already done.

Here are the rankings after Week 8, with updated AP Poll, Coaches Poll and Vegas-style power ratings.

And here are the rankings entering Week 8.

Comparing AP Top 25 Poll, Coaches Poll, Vegas Ratings

Alabama

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

Before Week 8: Ho hum. Alabama at No. 1. We always wondered what would happen if Nick Saban had the best offense in the country, and now we know — complete and utter destruction of everyone.

After Week 8: Following a blowout of Tennessee, the Tide are off this week before going to Baton Rouge to face LSU, where they’ll be about a two-touchdown favorite, on Nov. 3.

Clemson

  • Power Ratings: 2
  • AP Poll: 3
  • Coaches Poll: 3

Before Week 8: The Tigers haven’t put together a signature performance yet, but their record and preseason expectations are more than enough to keep them in the top 4 of any poll or power ratings.

After Week 8: Clemson blew out N.C. State in a regular season-defining game. That might have been the best team left on the Tigers’ schedule.

Ohio State

  • Power Ratings: 3
  • AP Poll: 2
  • Coaches Poll: 2

Before Week 8: The Buckeyes have looked mortal all season, especially on defense, and Michigan is looking more and more like the team to beat in the Big Ten.

After Week 8: That proved true on Saturday, when Purdue rolled Ohio State 49-20. The Buckeyes defense is not anything to be feared, and for a second straight season, they got dominated on the road by an inferior opponent.

Georgia

  • Power Ratings: 4
  • AP Poll: 8
  • Coaches Poll: 6

Before Week 8: This was supposed to be a bit of a reloading year for Georgia anyway, but a soft schedule and high preseason ranking kept expectations where they were toward the end of last season — national title contender.

Instead, the Bulldogs lost to LSU last week and now will need to run the table to reach the College Football Playoff again. It’s possible, but it would require beating Florida, Kentucky, Auburn and almost certainly Alabama in the SEC championship game.

After Week 8: Georgia was off this week and sets up a massive showdown with Florida next week. Winner is in the SEC East driver’s seat.

Michigan

  • Power Ratings: 5
  • AP Poll: 6
  • Coaches Poll: 7

Before Week 8: We’ve had Michigan higher than the AP Poll and Coaches Poll all season, and voters are finally catching up.

After Week 8: The Wolverines look like they’re putting things together on offense to complement one of the country’s best defenses. They beat Michigan State 21-7 on Saturday, and gave up only 94 total yards.

If Michigan runs the table, there’s no way the College Football Playoff committee leaves the Wolverines out despite their opening loss to Notre Dame.

Notre Dame

  • Power Ratings: 6
  • AP Poll: 4
  • Coaches Poll: 4

Before Week 8: The polls are slightly overrating the Irish, but they’re right there with the nation’s best teams, and will reach the College Football Playoff with five more victories.

After Week 8: The Irish were off, and at this point, that’s all they need. Just don’t lose.

Oklahoma

  • Power Ratings: 7
  • AP Poll: 9
  • Coaches Poll: 10

Before Week 8: Is it time to buy low on Oklahoma? The Sooners fired defensive coordinator Mike Stoops in an attempt to salvage a season that hinges on the defense improving.

The offense is once again the country’s best, but the other side of the ball is holding the Sooners back.

After Week 8: The Sooners might need help from the Big Ten or one of Notre Dame’s opponents to get in, but they took care of business against TCU on Saturday.

Washington

  • Power Ratings: 8
  • AP Poll: 15
  • Coaches Poll: 14

Before Week 8: The Huskies lost a heartbreaker last week to Oregon, and were effectively eliminated from the College Football Playoff discussion with a second loss. Our power ratings didn’t ding Washington too much for that result, but AP Poll and Coaches Poll voters did.

After Week 8: Washington beat Colorado and its offense still doesn’t look dangerous. The Huskies are very much a Pac-12 contender and Rose Bowl hopeful, but not anything more than that.

Penn State

  • Power Ratings: 9
  • AP Poll: 18
  • Coaches Poll: 16

Before Week 8: Penn State is in pretty much the exact same position as Washington. A second loss bumped the Nittany Lions out of the playoff running, and AP Poll voters responded by dropping them toward the back of the Top 25.

Our power ratings still like Penn State quite a bit, and it will have a chance to play spoiler against Iowa and Michigan down the stretch.

After Week 8: The Nittany Lions survived at Indiana on Saturday and have a tough test at home against Iowa this week.

LSU

  • Power Ratings: 10
  • AP Poll: 5
  • Coaches Poll: 5

Before Week 8: Based on results, the Tigers absolutely deserve to be No. 5, but moving forward, we don’t view them as a top-five team. That’s an important distinction.

After Week 8: LSU keeps moving up in our power ratings after picking up yet another upset win (over No. 2 Georgia last week) and a quality victory over Mississippi State this weekend. But it is still not enough to catch up to AP Poll and Coaches Poll voters.

Oregon

  • Power Ratings: 11
  • AP Poll: 12
  • Coaches Poll: 11

Before Week 8: Oregon at 100-1 to win the College Football Playoff looks like a decent bet, given that the Ducks will be in decent shape if they beat Wazzu this weekend.

After Week 8: The Ducks were dumped from the College Football Playoff with a loss to Washington State on Saturday.

Utah

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

Before  Week 8: The Utes are the highest-rated team in our power ratings that isn’t ranked in the AP Poll or Coaches Poll. Utah never gets a lot of love from voters, and losses to Washington State and Washington pushed it down.

After Week 8: The Utes handled Stanford and blew out Arizona and USC. They’re building a decent body of work, and in 2019, I think this team could be a true national contender.

Stanford

  • Power Ratings: 13
  • AP Poll: NR
  • Coaches Poll: 24

Before Week 8: This just doesn’t feel like your typical Stanford team — it can’t run the ball, like at all — but the Cardinal are still in the Pac-12 North hunt.

After Week 8: The Cardinal won Thursday night, so they might get a bump in the next AP Poll and Coaches Poll.

Texas

  • Power Ratings: 14
  • AP Poll: 7
  • Coaches Poll: 8

Before Week 8: Texas has a fantastic win over Oklahoma, and … what else exactly? The Horns lost to Maryland, but scraped by Tulsa, Baylor and Kansas State.

However, a marquee win over a rival and one loss is enough to get a brand-name program into the AP top 10 at this point in the season.

After Week 8: The Horns were off this week and go to Oklahoma State this week. That sounds like a tricky test, but Tom Herman is dominant as an underdog.

Florida

  • Power Ratings: 15
  • AP Poll: 11
  • Coaches Poll: 12

Before Week 8: The Gators are off this week before a neutral-site date with Georgia that will put the winner in the SEC East driver’s seat (although Kentucky is still looming, of course).

After Week 8: Florida is around 100-1 to win the national title at most shops, which blows my mind a little bit. A win over Georgia and all the Gators have left is home vs. South Carolina, Missouri and Idaho, and at Florida State before a potential SEC championship game against Alabama. There’s ample room to hedge if they beat the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State

  • Power Ratings: 16
  • AP Poll: 22
  • Coaches Poll: NR

Before Week 8: Mississippi State is a good example of a team that dominated its early opponents to help it move up in our power ratings before dropping three high-profile conference games to get bumped from the AP Poll and Coaches Poll.

After Week 8: A win over Auburn got the Bulldogs back in the good graces of AP voters, but a horrific offensive showing against LSU will drop them out of the polls.

Texas A&M

  • Power Ratings: 17
  • AP Poll: 17
  • Coaches Poll: 18

Before Week 8: The Aggies (5-2) have lost to arguably the two best teams in the country, so voters have given them a pass and kept them ranked.

After Week 8: A&M was off this week, and goes to an angry Mississippi State next week.

West Virginia

  • Power Ratings: 18
  • AP Poll: 13
  • Coaches Poll: 13

Before Week 8: Even though the Mountaineers racked up fewer than 200 yards against Iowa State two Saturdays ago, AP Poll and Coaches Poll voters decided to keep West Virginia in the top 15.

After Week 8: WVU has a brutal stretch to end the season — Baylor, Texas, TCU, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma. There are a few losses in there.

Wisconsin

  • Power Ratings: 19
  • AP Poll: 23
  • Coaches Poll: 19

Before Week 8: The Badgers’ loss to Michigan in Week 7 leaves them on the cusp of the Top 25.

After Week 8: Wisconsin rolled Illinois, which isn’t going to make anyone take notice, but is necessary to keep pace with Iowa in the Big Ten West.

Auburn

  • Power Ratings: 20
  • AP Poll: NR
  • Coaches Poll: NR

Before Week 8: The Tigers offense is in absolute shambles, but their preseason ratings have kept them in our Top 25 for now.

After Week 8: Fortunately, they beat Ole Miss on Saturday, because the Rebels’ defense is a perfect cure for offensive woes.

TCU

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

Before Week 8: Another offense in turmoil, TCU needs to get right quickly. Our power ratings haven’t quite caught up with their struggles.

After Week 8: The Frogs got rolled by Oklahoma on Saturday, which isn’t all that surprising.

UCF

  • Power Ratings: 22
  • AP Poll: 10
  • Coaches Poll: 9

Before Week 8: We’re down on UCF relative to voters, and we’re guessing the College Football Playoff committee will be, too. The Knights might crack the top 15 or even the top 10, but they won’t be near the top four.

After Week 8: UCF won again, handling East Carolina by four scores, but it’s not enough to change anyone’s mind. The Knights need to play someone.

USC

  • Power Ratings: 23
  • AP Poll: NR
  • Coaches Poll: NR

Before Week 8: The Trojans suffered bad losses to Stanford and Texas, then rebounded with three straight wins.

After Week 8: OK, we can put the nail in USC’s coffin. They got blown out by Utah, and the Utes now control the Pac-12 South.

Michigan State

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

Before Week 8: Michigan State tends to do this — lose a bad game, win a good one, and sneak back into the Top 25.

After Week 8: Sparty gained just 94 yards in a loss to Michigan. That will drop them out of every poll imaginable.

Miami

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

Before Week 8: Miami has the week off before starting a tricky stretch — at Boston College, home vs. Duke, at Georgia Tech and at Virginia Tech. The Canes are still in the ACC Coastal race, but will need to get their offense back together.

After Week 8: All roads lead to Clemson in the ACC title game, if the Canes can get there.

Credit:

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dwayne Haskins and Nick Saban

Follow Steve Petrella on Twitter
@steve_petrella

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