College Football Power Rankings: The Ferringo 15
by Robert Ferringo - 10/03/2007
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.
The Ferringo 15 only managed a 6-6 weekend, dropping their mark to a combined 29-17 ATS on the season. As I suspected, some of our teams have peaked from a value perspective and I think they may struggle over the next few weeks as the books start to overcompensate. Without further ado, here is our Week 6 version of the Ferringo 15:
1) South Florida (3-0 Against the Spread) - The Power of the Ferringo 15 was in full effect last Friday as the Bulls blasted West Virginia. But beware Florida Atlantic. The number on USF's next game has dropped faster than Katie Couric's ratings and it's tough not to expect a letdown after that monumental win for their program. They're on the road, against inferior competition, and the Bulls barely escaped with a 21-20 win at home against a comparably talented Florida International squad.
2) Purdue (3-1 ATS) - The Boilers became the first team not to cover against lowly Notre Dame last week, just one week after barely covering against lowly Minnesota. Since they've been out of MAC play they haven't exactly been overwhelming. Perhaps the ship has sailed. I actually think that a blowout loss at the hands of Ohio State could actually increase their stock heading into a Michigan game that I think they win outright.
4) Anyone Playing Notre Dame (4-1) - Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. The Irish used a late comeback to manufacture their first payday of the season. And, judging by the early line movement, they're taking some action for their upcoming tilt against UCLA. Notre Dame pulled a win out of its ass last year against the Bruins and I think that this game is going to be a mismatch from start to finish.
5) Oklahoma (4-1) - Every week I've had the same thing to say about Oklahoma: Wow. Well, no need to alter my sentiments this week. A stunning loss in Boulder has taken some of the shine off this nuclear weapon. And here's a harrowing stat for this weekend's Texas game: teams off an upset loss as a 20-plus point favorite are just 3-14 ATS the following week if they're posted as a favorite.
6) Cincinnati (4-0) - Just like my boys in South Florida, the word is out on the Bearcats. I really like the way they tore an undermanned San Diego State team apart last week without looking ahead to Rutgers. There is no doubt in my mind that the Bearcats are better than Rutgers, but it remains to be seen if they can handle the emotion they'll be facing from the revenge-minded Knights. This is Cincy's third road game in four weeks as well so you have to wonder if there will be some wear on those tires.
10) Central Florida (3-1) - George O'Leary's boys have been putting a lot of pressure on teams with CUSA's No. 1 offense. But the key to this team as a moneymaker is that skull-cracking defense. Central Florida is just 5-11 SU on the road in conference play since the start of 2003 and they are just 17-26 ATS on the road since opening day of 2000.
7) Kentucky (4-1) - Here we have another team that we've been on from the start of the season that may have reached its peak value. The Wildcats have not only been winning, but winning dramatically as an underdog in its last two weeks. It's tough to top that combo for UK backers. But now they get into the thick of the SEC schedule, with bluebloods like Florida and LSU coming up this month.
8) Boston College (3-1) - I think this Bowling Green game is actually a potential landmine for Eagles backers. B.C. has been sleepwalking through the past two weeks against Army and UMass. They have Notre Dame on deck, followed by a bye, and then the heart of the ACC slate. The Eagles haven't covered in a game against a MAC foe in their last three tries. We're going to learn something about Jeff Jagodzinski based on how he handles this one.
9) Oregon (4-1) - This is a critical juncture in Oregon's season. They have to stew about their stunning home loss to Cal for two weeks until they host Washington State for homecoming on Oct. 13. They always struggle with the Cougars. Then they have an obvious look ahead spot at Washington before hosting USC. This is dangerous territory for a program that has become too adept at midseason collapses.
10) UCLA (4-1) - Their 28-point fourth quarter eruption at Oregon State shows that the Bruins are back at the top of their game. I don't think the Bruins will be looking past Notre Dame this week with a huge game against Cal on the horizon. UCLA has unfinished business with the Irish. They dominated the line of scrimmage last year in a 20-17 loss, and the Bruins should overwhelm Notre Lame again this week.
11) Kansas (3-0) - Finally, a test. The Jayhawks get credit for thrashing inferior opponents. But now they're matched up against a school that can throw some blows. Kansas has endured six straight Manhattan muggings at the hands of the Wildcats. The home team has won five of six in this series and even though K-State is coming off a huge upset win they do have revenge on their side.
12) Missouri (3-0) - The Tigers have been rolling on offense, but I hate backing favorites that have a defense I don't trust. Nebraska can score. Missouri can score. But whose defense can get a stop or force a turnover? The Huskers have dropped their last two games in Columbia by 17 points apiece and you definitely have to wonder about whether Sam Keller has that Big Time Game in him because I know Chase Daniels does.
13) Arizona State (4-1) - I, personally, think that the Sun Devils are slowly tick-tick-ticking their way to the top of the roller coaster. I just don't think they're as good as they've been playing and I'm not overly impressed with any of their wins. But they've won and cashed consistently so here they are. ASU has won seven of 10 in their series with Washington State, including last year's 47-14 mauling.
14) South Carolina (3-1) - If their line against Kentucky, presently set at 3.5, were this small and Jasper Brinkley was still on the field I'd be throwing the house on the Gamecocks. But the guy was USC's defensive heart and soul and they're meeting up with one of the SEC's top offenses. Steve Spurrier is 14-0 in his career against the Wildcats and USC has won seven in a row in this series. But four of the last five have been decided by a touchdown or less.
15) Illinois (3-1) - Here's a hearty "Welcome Back!" to the Fightin' Illini. Illinois was No. 11 on our original F15 but then got laid out by Missouri. After their big win against the Nittany Lions our boys are back in the mix and boasting the one thing that no Big Ten team seems to have an answer for: speed. Unfortunately, Juice Williams hasn't turned the corner yet as a passer, which will make them a dicey road bet. But they're at home this weekend against an imminently beatable Wisconsin team.Others receiving votes: UNLV (3-2), Indiana (3-1), Ball State (4-1), Vanderbilt (2-1), Rutgers (2-1), Ohio (3-1), Troy (4-1), Army (3-1).
Dropped out: Iowa (3-2).
For more info on Robert's members picks, check out his Insider Page here.