The most reliable predictor of how a team will fare in its upcoming season?
It's not the sports writers or the bloggers who cover the team or the league in which it plays.
They can be radically wrong and other than a little blow to their ego, it costs them nothing.
However, let a Las Vegas bookmaker post a bad number and it can get hammered to the tune of many thousands of dollars.
Last Friday, Cantor Gaming, an innovative, interactive gaming company that is making a big splash in the Las Vegas market, became the first to post its college football season win totals for the 2012 campaign.
Its initial list included 54 teams.
Want to bet on how West Virginia University and/or Ohio State will finish?
The odds on the Mountaineers and Buckeyes are virtually identical.
First, you must decide if either team will go over or under 8.5 wins.
Then, if you want to bet the over, you must lay $160 to make a $100 profit. If you want to bet the under, a wager of $100 will net you a profit of $130.
In other words, both teams are favored to win at least nine of their 12 games. I can buy that.
I'm sure fans of either team will be disappointed with an 8-4 regular season campaign.
WVU is virtually assured of winning all three of its non-conference games (Marshall, James Madison and Maryland).
If that happens, for the Mountaineers to go under 8.5 wins, West Virginia would have to post a record of 5-4 or worse in its initial campaign in the Big 12 Conference.
Ohio State, meanwhile, has a non-conference card of Miami of Ohio, Central Florida, California and Alabama-Birmingham - all in Columbus -all games in which OSU will be favored.
So if you think Urban Meyer's team will win less than 8.5 games, you're figuring it will finish 4-4 in its Big Ten games.
The biggest number -10.5 regular season wins -went to five teams, including LSU and Alabama, who played each other for the national title last season.
Others are Southern Cal, Oregon and Florida State.
On the bottom end of the scale was hometown UNLV, at 2.5 wins.
Duke and Ole Miss were set at 3.5 and Kentucky at 4.5.
Other Big 12 totals include Oklahoma 9.5, Oklahoma State, Texas and TCU 8.5 and Kansas State 7.5.
Penn State, which will open at home against the Ohio Bobcats, is at 6.5. Other Big 10 teams include Illinois 6.5, Iowa 7.5, and Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Wisconsin each at 8.5.
Numbers that might -or for that matter, might not - be of interest to WVU fans include Virginia Tech 9.5, Rutgers, Pitt and Cincinnati 7.5, and Louisville 8.5.
The experts have spoken.
We'll file away their numbers and see how acurate they were come December.