College Football Power Rankings: The Ferringo 15
by Robert Ferringo - 09/26/2007
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 betting public.
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. It's still early in the season so there will likely be a lot of fluctuation from week to week. But after we've had some time to get the lay of the land these rankings will be buttressed by solid, visceral performance.
Last week was a banner week for the Ferringo 15, as our top teams went a sensational 10-4 ATS. That also runs their mark to a combined 23-11 ATS on the season. However, word is getting out on our undervalued gems and I think they may struggle over the next few weeks as the books start to overcompensate. Without further ado, here is our Week 5 version of the Ferringo 15:
1) South Florida (2-0 Against the Spread) - This week's game against West Virginia is going to say a lot about the Bulls' long-term earning potential. But either way I think it's all about degrees of positive with this team. If they lose as a seven-point home dog I think we can expect a little hangover game next week, but then they'll have exceptional value during the rest of what is a very favorable Big East schedule. If they win, then this is one of the 15 best teams in the country and we'll have confidence that they can cover most numbers.
2) Purdue (3-0 ATS) - Any team that can put up the type of offensive numbers as the Boilermakers is going to be a solid earner all season long. With home games against Notre Dame and Ohio State in the next two weeks it's going to be tough to determine whether to keep buying this stock or to get ready to sell high.
4) Anyone Playing Notre Dame (4-0 ATS) - This one is self-explanatory. They're getting manhandled at the point of attack. It's going to be kind of funny when they're instilled as 45-point underdogs against USC. And even funnier when I lay the points.
5) Oklahoma (4-0 ATS) - Laying three touchdowns on the road in a conference game is a dicey situation (see: Florida at Ole Miss). But I'm at the point where I don't think for one second that they couldn't handle it this weekend against Colorado. The Sooners are averaging 61.5 points per game. Wow.
6) Cincinnati (3-0 ATS) - I absolutely love the Bearcats and this is a sleeper Big East contender. I do think they'll come up just short of winning a conference title, but they will most definitely have a say in a who does. Weird game this weekend at San Diego State.
10) Central Florida (3-0 ATS) - Yup, they're legit. George O'Leary has the top squad in Conference USA and I'm already penciling in a bowl win. But the trouble is that they have four CUSA road games, as well as a rivalry game with South Florida in two weeks. It's going to be tough for them to make it out of October unblemished, but after covering against three quality teams I think the sky is the limit for this team.
7) Kentucky (3-1 ATS) - These guys may have peaked, and that's why they are kind of in the middle of this list. The word is out on the 1-2-3 offensive attack, and with four of their next five games at home they could be laying too many points. But the edge that UK has is that they are such a historic SEC dog that when people see the names "LSU", "Florida" or "Georgia" stacked up against them bettors will always side with the traditional powers.
8) Boston College (3-1 ATS) - With layup games coming up against UMass, Bowling Green and Notre Dame, followed by a bye week, the Eagles should be an over-inflated balloon when they get into serious ACC play. They have to play at VT, at Maryland, and at Clemson, and have home games against FSU and Miami. That's brutal.
9) Oregon (4-0 ATS) - Huge game with Cal this weekend could determine who is the No. 1 threat to USC for the Pac-10 title. These games at Autzen Stadium have traditionally been closely contested, with the average difference at just 6.3 points over the last three meetings there. Oregon is 4-1 ATS in the last five games overall against Cal and 6-1 ATS playing them at home.
11) Iowa (3-1 ATS) - With that devastating front four, the Hawkeyes are pretty much an automatic play as an underdog. The problem is going to be whether or not they can score enough to make them a viable favorite play. A perfect example is this weekend's game against Indiana. Iowa is a 12-point chalk, but they have yet to prove they can handle a double-digit line in a conference game against a semi-competent team.
12) UCLA (3-1 ATS) - Their shaky rotating quarterback system is actually helping keep the value high on the Bruins. Pat Cowan is the steadier hand, but Ben Olsen has a ton of upside so they're set either way. Regardless, the true value in this team is its veteran defense. But as we saw in their Red Flag Game against Utah, this team will break your heart once or twice a year.
13) Kansas (3-0 ATS) - Wow. Where'd you come from? I actually should have seen this coming. Five of their six losses last year were by an average of 5.4 points, and with a veteran quarterback and defense they were primed for a bounce-back season. However, four of their next six conference games are on the road and I don't see them winning more than two of those contests. But can they cover? I'm not putting it past the Jayhawks.
14) Missouri (3-0 ATS) - Pray - PRAY that Missouri can win at home against Nebraska next weekend. If we can get that, and somehow get an Oklahoma loss to either Colorado or Texas, we could be set with about a 13-point line when the Tigers head to OU. Mizzou will lose that game by 40. In the meantime, we're rooting for a big Huskers win over Iowa State this weekend to keep that Mizzou-Nebraska line around four or six.
15) Arizona State (3-1 ATS) - After three easy games against scrub competition the Sun Devils earned a nice win (or push) with a second-half comeback against Arizona State. Do I think they're for real? Definitely not. But we have to root for a couple road wins and covers against Stanford and Washington State. That would set the Devils up for the fade when they hit their brutal UW-Cal-Oregon-UCLA-USC stretch.
15) South Carolina (2-1 ATS) - Sweet Steve is no stranger to quarterback controversy so we're not going to knock him for that. He's on this list because he's now 9-0 ATS on the road in SEC games. It's going to be interesting to see what they do as a favorite over their next four games though.
Others receiving votes: UNLV (3-1 ATS), Indiana (2-1 ATS), Florida Atlantic (3-1 ATS), Illinois (2-1 ATS), Ball State (3-1 ATS), Vanderbilt (1-1 ATS), Rutgers (2-0 ATS), Ohio (3-0 ATS).
For more info on Robert's members picks, check out his Insider Page here.