WACO, Texas - Cleaning out a crowded notebook and a cluttered mind while stipulating first that I am not - repeat NOT - a betting man. Yet still, on those extremely rare occasions when I buy a single Powerball ticket, I always check just on the ridiculously off chance that I will not have to go to work tomorrow:
West Virginia doesn't play the preseason national championship favorite in its opener. Alabama opened at 13-2 to win the first college football playoff, just behind Florida State at 11-2.
Here's what I found just a tad bit interesting: West Virginia is actually one of 17 schools listed at 100-1 odds.
Now yes, that's a real long shot. But consider that there are only 33 schools with better odds. There will be 64 members of the five major conferences next year. Six schools from outside those five leagues - Notre Dame (a partial ACC member), Boise State, BYU, Central Florida, South Florida and Cincinnati - were also given odds, so that's a pool of 70 schools.
And West Virginia is right in the middle of that pool, essentially tied for 34th?
OK, granted, given the 33 teams with better odds and the 17 listed at 100-1, that means only 20 others from what is generally considered the pool of contenders have longer odds than the Mountaineers. But given WVU's performance of late, I just found it a bit surprising that even 20 members of the five major conferences are essentially ranked lower, not to mention the other 50 FBS schools that are generally given zero chance because they're in the MAC or the WAC or the Sun Belt or whatever.
By the way, only four other Big 12 schools have better odds - Oklahoma (20-1), Baylor (25-1), Oklahoma State (40-1) and Texas (50-1). Kansas State and TCU are listed at 100-1 along with WVU. Kansas, Iowa State and Texas Tech aren't listed.
Of course, before considering those odds to be some sort of make-believe ranking, consider that it comes with a couple of caveats. First, and most importantly, odds have less to do with the relative strength of teams as they do with how bookmakers think bettors will bet their money. Big difference.
And second, among others at 100-1 are Rutgers, Cincinnati and USF. Not great company, right?
Oh, but Pitt and Rich Rodriguez's Arizona are also there at 100-1, too. So there's that.