College Football Power Rankings - The Ferringo 15
by Robert Ferringo - 10/14/2010
The Ferringo 15 is my Profit-Power Rankings, a ladder or hierarchy based on which teams are the most profitable on the field. I'm not trying to give you some other nonsensical, random, speculative power rankings based on my own biases and conjecture. So instead of Alabama moving up or down the polls on the basis of how badly they blew out Vanderbilt the previous Saturday, I'm going to rank each team based on past, present, and projected future achievement against the college football point spread.
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And over the past two years this version of college football power rankings has been on point. In 2007 the teams that finished in the Ferringo 15 had a collective 121-46-1 mark against the spread. In 2008 they came back and went 81-63-3 in the week that they were in the Ferringo 15. In 2009 the teams that were in the F-15 only managed to win 53 percent of their games that Saturday. But, all in all, these college football power rankings have been exactly what any good gambler hopes to be: profitable in the long term.
If you count each of Central Florida’s two covers in the last eight days then the Ferringo 15 has posted a slim profit at 8-7 over the last week or so. That makes it 16-12 over the last two postings and it’s slowly but surely chugging along. For the year the F-15 teams are 29-24 the week that they have been listed in these college football power rankings.
Remember: I’m not listing the 15 teams that I think will cover in a given week. This is just a list of 15 teams that I think present the best blend of immediate and long-term earning potential against the books, while also giving credit to teams for recent, past performances.
So without further ado, here is my Ferringo 15 (all records are ATS against the closing line):
1. North Carolina State (5-1) – In order to be one of the best teams at the window it helps to be one of the best teams under center. Russell Wilson has been playing great football and the Wolfpack have the No. 8 passing offense in the country. They are No. 13 in scoring at 37.5 points per game and that is helping to take pressure off a defense that is ranked in the Top 35 in both total yards and passing defense. N.C. State plays a rivalry game this week against East Carolina and there is no doubt that the Wolfpack will hit 40 or more points again this week.
2. Ohio State (5-1) – Terrelle Pryor stayed in the pocket last week but he still had enough firepower to lead the Buckeyes to a blowout. This week they head to Madison and they are looking for their fourth straight win over the Badgers. There is a heavy reverse line movement this week going against the Buckeyes. They are taking over 80 percent of the action but the spread on this game has dropped three points. The Buckeyes are 15-6 ATS in their last 21 regular season games against a ranked opponent.
3. Hawaii (4-1) – I think that the rebuilding of the Warriors is nearly complete. And there is still a lot of value with this squad, as they are again a home underdog this week to Nevada. The Warriors are No. 1 in the nation in passing, No. 6 in total yards, and No. 11 in scoring, so I don’t think that they will have a problem if this week’s affair becomes a shootout. This team might be ready for a flat performance after a stunning 22-point blowout on the road last week. But they are still an excellent 6-2 ATS as an underdog and the home team is 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings between Nevada and Hawaii.
4. San Diego State (4-1) – SDSU definitely got screwed out of a win last week in BYU. Some home cooking on a couple of crucial calls – including one obvious replay call that didn’t go their way – cost this team a shot at a road victory. This week a red hot Air Force team comes calling and the Aztecs need to shore up a rush defense that was gashed last week if they want to avoid a losing streak. SDSU’s defensive coordinator is Rocky Long. And when Long coached at New Mexico he was able to hold the Air Force option below its season averages in yards and points in nine of 10 years.
5. Syracuse (4-1) – I’m afraid that the value is gone from the Orange. They are actually favored over a Big East opponent this week after winning outright as an eight-point underdog in South Florida last week. That’s quite the jump. This team is running the ball very well and they are playing tough defense. And look for an “Orange out” in the Dome this week. But I wonder if the Orange is ready for a step up in class in opponent after playing a very weak schedule to start the year. Regardless, they are 3-0 ATS in their last three games and they are now just two wins away from bowl eligibility.
6. Oregon State (3-1-1) – The Beavers have surpassed Arizona as the Wild West’s “most valuable” team. This might be the only team in the country that didn’t play any games against cupcakes this year. Instead, they tussled with TCU and Boise State, two Top-10 teams, despite having to roll with a freshman quarterback. That early seasoning is paying off. There is no doubt they will seriously miss James Rodgers. But I think there is still enough here to keep the money train going a bit. They are on a 19-7-1 overall ATS run and they are a stellar 34-16-1 ATS in their last 51 conference games.
7. Central Florida (5-1) – For the second straight week the Knights have scored a big-time blowout on a nationally televised mid-week game. To me, that they have been able to beat inflated lines (the favorites in mid-week games are always laying a few extra points because the squares always pounds the chalk in those situations) makes their ATS mark that much more impressive. With the issues at ECU and Southern Miss, and with the injury to Case Keenum slowing down Houston, I don’t think there is any doubt that Central Florida is the best team in Conference USA.
8. Alabama (4-2) – I think that Alabama’s value is diminishing, but not because they lost last week. That is going to happen. But for the rest of the season they have to play an opponent that had the week off the weekend before. That is a huge disadvantage. But I’m not completely ready to jump off the defending national champions. As we’ve seen for years with Ohio State, just when you think that they are laying too many points they step up and just hammer their opponent. And the Crimson Tide have so much talent on offense that I can still see them filling up weak opponents. Especially now that they have one loss they know that if they want to stay in the BCS title picture they need to not only win, but also win big.
9. Idaho (4-1) – The Vandals have had two weeks to prep for a streaky Louisiana Tech team. I was actually really surprised by the short line on this game for the clearly superior Idaho team. But then again, La. Tech is 9-2 ATS at home and has covered three straight in the series. But were it not for a late collapse at Colorado State – a game this club bounced back from quickly – Idaho would be on a three-game win streak with a load of momentum. Their experience and the week of rest should make them a good bet this week.
10. North Carolina (4-1) – All season long I have said that, as far as covering spreads go, the investigation that is hanging over this team is the best thing that could have happened to their value. Squares have been terrified to back the Heels because they are missing so many key pieces. But now that there have been some rulings and it is known that UNC won’t be getting some of its best players back I wonder if that will have a negative impact on the locker room’s psyche. Their rivalry with Virginia is one of the most underrated in college football, as these teams have played more than 110 times. The Heels are just 1-11 ATS in the last 12 meetings and they are 0-7 ATS in their last seven trips to UVA.
11. Oregon (4-2) – I think that you can forgive the Ducks for not covering an inflated number last week on the road against Washington State. The Ducks have a tough stretch coming up against UCLA, USC and Washington and they will benefit from a midseason week off to regroup and get healthy. I am interested in seeing how the oddsmakers treat this national title contender in a wide-open league. They will be favored in every game the rest of the season. But of the six remaining games I wonder how many times we will have to lay 10 or more points with them.
12. Florida State (4-1) – FSU has been on a tear since getting blown out at Oklahoma. And they benefit from the fact that they are in the weaker of the two divisions in the ACC. But after their bludgeoning of Miami I think all the talk about Florida State being “back” is starting to water-down some of the value here. The strength of this team, though, is its massive and talented offensive line. Since they can push people around in the running game and protect veteran quarterback Christian Ponder I think that it will be hard for their offense to have many off weeks. Beware: they are just 11-23-1 ATS off a win.
13. Illinois (4-1) – Apparently now that Juice Williams is out of the picture the Illini are back headed in the right direction. They completely dominated Penn State last week in Happy Valley. Penn State is not up to the level we’re used to seeing, but that was still an impressive performance on the road one week after giving Ohio State everything they could handle. Now Illinois catches Michigan State in a letdown spot after Sparty won its rivalry game last week. The Illini should again be a live dog and they are 7-0 ATS when catching points.
14. Utah (4-1) – Leave it to those crazy Mormons to come out of nowhere and give us gamblers a little treat this fall. You know, because they are so crazy about gambling and all. This year’s crop of 25-year-old college players is a legitimate force in the Mountain West, but they still have a long way to go before I think they earn their Top 10 ranking. The reality is that when you look at their schedule it has been loaded with cupcakes. And tilts with Wyoming and Colorado State don’t pose much of a test. Their schedule is back-loaded, and they end with road games at Air Force and Notre Dame sandwiched around the all-important TCU game. Then another letdown/look ahead game at San Diego State comes before The Holy War to end the season. Get while the getting is good because this team is going to go from “valuable” to overrated in a hurry. Utah is 35-13-2 ATS as a double-digit favorite.
15. Colorado (3-2) – I got off the Buffs after their opening loss and they ran off three straight covers. I’m going to give them one more week after getting skunked in Missouri last week. They actually played a little better than the final suggests and that is traditionally a place where they’ve had trouble. This team gets four of the next six at home and has a winnable road game at Kansas. I have to say that I think it’s ridiculous again that Coach Dan Hawkins benched starter Tyler Hansen last week in order to put his son, Cody Hawkins, on the field. This team is playing better than it has in three years and Coach Hawkins is trying to mess with his QB’s head and create a locker room controversy? This guy is clearly clueless. Colorado is 4-0 ATS at home and 5-1 ATS as a home dog recently.
Others Receiving Votes: Virginia Tech (4-2), Oklahoma State (4-1), Ohio (4-2), Temple (4-2), Cal (4-1), Arizona State (4-1-1), Kentucky (4-2), Boise State (4-1).
Robert Ferringo is a writer and a professional NFL and college football handicapper for Doc’s Sports. So far this year he has banked $5,000 in profit for his clients after three straight winning football weeks. He has brought in over $13,000 in overall profit in all sports over the last two-plus months. He has a Big Ten Game of the Year on the card this week and he’s looking for more profit today. You can sign up for his college football and NFL picks and get more information here.