College Football Power Rankings: The Ferringo 15
by Robert Ferringo - 11/21/2007
Polls and rankings can be a gambler's best friend when it comes to wagering on large groups of vicious and volatile college students, the type that paint their faces, don high density polyurethane shells, and assemble each week to thrash each other on the gridiron. Polls and rankings set the general consensus on how strong a certain team is, regardless of Truth, and that makes them a tool for exploiting a misinformed football betting public.
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But this ranking system is going to work a little differently. We have enough rampant conjecture across the nation in regards to college football so I have set out to provide my faithful readers with some info that should enrich their gambling lives. The result: the Ferringo 15.
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 convoluted, random, speculative power rankings based on my own biases. So instead of Ohio State moving up or down the polls on the basis of how badly they blew out Northwestern the previous Saturday I'm going to rank each team based on past, present, and projected future achievement against the spread.
Below I've listed teams that have been and hopefully will continue to be the most profitable teams for bettors this season.
The Ferringo 15 has covered the spread at a nearly 55 percent clip this season. Not bad since it has included nearly minimal handicapping! And without further ado, here is our Week 13 version of the Ferringo 15:
1) Kansas (10-0) - The home team has dominated the Jayhawks' series with Missouri, covering the spread in eight of the past 11 contests and four of the last five, but this game will actually be played at Arrowhead Stadium in Missouri. While at first sight it may seem like the Jayhawks have surrendered the home field advantage, keep in mind: Missouri is just 2-6 against the spread on grass since the start of 2005 (1-1 this year).
2) Oregon (8-2) - Several blogs and message boards had been reporting about the severity of Dennis Dixon's injured knee for weeks but you just never know if you can trust those things. Oregon is in a tough spot against a feisty UCLA team that has played well as an underdog. With their national title hopes burst, their quarterback finished, and a major rivalry game on deck this could be an amazing trap waiting in Berkley.
3) Missouri (8-2) - It really can't be debated that the Tigers have played the more difficult schedule this year and are a bit more battle tested. I know this technically is an away game so there's a stat for you: Missouri is 35-2-2 ATS when they win straight up on the road.
4) Cincinnati (8-2) - This is how good the Big East is this season: the Bearcats are the fourth-best team in the standings at 3-3. Cincinnati should suffer a bit of a letdown from the West Virginia game - for about 30 seconds. Cincinnati has covered its last two games against Syracuse and should tear a feeble Orange team limb from limb this weekend.
5) Air Force (9-2) - What a way to end the regular season. The Falcons posted the program's third-highest number of yards of total offense while completely dominating San Diego State last week. Air Force is headed to Fort Worth to play in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 31 and they'll likely face someone out of the Big Ten or SEC. I hope that someone can stop the run.
6) Arizona State (7-3) - The Sun Devils are a stellar 8-2-1 ATS as a home dog over the past eight seasons and should be more than ready for USC after an extra week of preparation. The key to this game will be protecting Rudy Carpenter. The offensive line has gotten chewed up by Oregon and UCLA's fronts, and if USC can get pressure that could force a crippling turnover. ASU has dropped seven straight in this series.
7) Connecticut (7-2) - An 18-point spread in the Connecticut-West Virginia game this weekend was definitely the, "What the…?" line of the week. Connecticut can run the ball, be physical up front, and force teams into turnovers. The problem is that this is only their second road game in over a month and the last trip, a 27-3 loss to Cincinnati, wasn't pretty. UConn has lost three straight to WVU by an average of 23 points.
8) Troy (8-2) - This is one team I will have my money on during bowl season. The Trojans took one giant step toward the New Orleans bowl by demolishing Middle Tennessee State on Tuesday night but they still have to top Florida Atlantic to seal the deal. That is, as long as FAU doesn't get caught looking ahead this week against Florida International.
9) Ball State (7-3) - The Cardinals are an outstanding 10-3 straight up in their last 13 trips to Dekalb and they are an incredible 14-3 ATS in their last 17 road games. Northern Illinois is a shell of itself and with an extra week to prepare I think that Ball State is going to shoot for a statement win to separate itself from what looks to be a crowded bowl-eligible field in college football this year.
10) Tennessee (7-4) - The Vols are just 1-3 on the road this year and they got bombed by Alabama the last time they wandered out of Knoxville. Now their young secondary is going to get one of its toughest tests against Andre Woodson and Kentucky. I really think that the fact that a Top 20 team is a road underdog against an unranked foe this late in the year is a huge red flag.
11) Illinois (7-4) - I would say that the preseason No. 1 in the Ferringo 15 did more than enough to justify its position this year. They put together a profitable season and actually snuck up into the No. 2 spot in the Big Ten. Good times all around. I know that a lot of people want to see the Illini head to Florida to face the Gators but I think that Illinois would get absolutely torn up if that were to ever happen.
12) Memphis (6-3-1) - Look who is back! Memphis was another team that I was high on as a moneymaker this year but I went away from them after an absolutely pathetic start to the season. My bad for not having faith. The Tigers have covered four of their last five and are now a monster favorite against a terrible SMU team. Memphis is 6-1-1 ATS in its last eight games against a sub-.500 team.
13) Florida (7-3) - Does anyone else think that talking trash to Tim Tebow is a bad idea? Especially when you consider that touching Tebow's hand is going to be the closest that Florida State players will come to a championship ring any time soon. The Gators have won three straight in this series and beat down FSU 34-7 the last time they played in The Swamp.
14) Ohio State (7-4) - Goodbye Lloyd Carr. And good riddance. I still can't believe that I bet against Jim Tressel in a marquee Big Ten game. I will say that recognition in this space is a reward for past performance more than it is a projection of future success. I think it depends on whom they get matched up with in their bowl game as to how much value the Buckeyes have. If they have to face speed again, they are dead. But so many people will have last year's National Title Game debacle fresh in their head so maybe OSU will be undervalued. We shall see.
15) Indiana (7-4) - I'm going to give the Hoosiers the nod here among several teams that finished the regular season 7-4 ATS. Basically, I'm happy for Indiana for likely reaching its goal of making a bowl game in honor of their fallen coach. Honestly, no matter what bowl game these guys are in you better believe they are going to be playing with a lot of emotion.
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