College Football Power Rankings: The Ferringo 15
by Robert Ferringo - 10/10/2007
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.
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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. 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.
If you only count Notre Dame's upset over UCLA as one strike against it, the Ferringo 15 posted a 7-6 mark last week to run its record to 35-22 ATS on the season. Considering that these teams are posted independent of matchups, that's a pretty solid 61.4-percent clip on the year. I'll take it! So without further ado, here is our Week 7 version of the Ferringo 15:
1) Cincinnati (5-0) - The word on our boys is out. The Bearcats outmuscle an overrated Rutgers team last week and now the bandwagon may be full. I mean, if I told you at the beginning of the year that Cincy would be laying double digits to Louisville when the Cardinals came to town you would have thought I was higher than Travis Henry. Be wary of this game: a lot of people are sleeping on what is still a decent UL squad.
2) South Florida (3-1) - It's not a coincidence that our top two teams are both from the Big East given that it has been the most underrated conference in the country over the past few years at the expense of duds like the ACC and Big Ten. This week they have a big one against a sneaky good Central Florida squad and don't want to be caught looking ahead to a key revenge game next Thursday against Rutgers.
3) South Carolina (4-1) - It's tough to claim that a Top 10 team is underrated. But if this team had Auburn, Georgia, or Alabama on its chest it would be mentioned in national title contention. I mean, for most of this week they've been laying less than a touchdown against a pathetic North Carolina team. The Gamecocks are 6-2 ATS in nonconference games since the start of 2005.
4) Illinois (4-1) - Speed kills. Especially in the Big Ten. The Illini scored a monster victory, cashing in on as our top play last week as well as Doc's College Football Game of the Year. Good times. But after three straight decisive conference wins, and with a home game against Michigan on deck, this weekend's trip to Iowa City is a potential landmine. Illinois has lost four straight in this series by an average of 22 points. Red flags, anyone?
5) Kansas (4-0) - Rock, chalk, Jayhawk. Kansas has officially thrown its hat into the ring for the Big 12 crown. But can they sustain the momentum? They've never finished in the top half of the North and their best conference record was just 3-5, but suddenly they're 25-point favorites at home to Baylor. Don't know if I'm buying that. Especially in a series where four of the last five meetings have been decided by a TD or less.
6) Missouri (4-0) - We were in a similar situation with South Florida last week. After dominating Nebraska 41-6 in one of the Tigers' biggest wins in recent memory their value has never been higher. Therefore, it's likely time to sell. You all know about my Chase Daniels man-crush, but the Sooners controlled him last year and I think they are set to do it again this season.
7) Arizona State (5-1) - Remember all the uproar from Dennis Erickson bailing on Idaho? Well, I know a group of people that aren't disappointed by the move: everyone that's been cleaning up on the Sun Devils. ASU has won and covered in three straight against the Huskies but I'd be very wary about laying double digits to a Washington team that's already faced, and played tough against, two Top 5 teams.
8) Anyone Playing Notre Dame (4-2) - Uh-oh. Our bet-against-the-Irish-at-all-cost system is losing steam. Well, kind of. They had a fluky backdoor cover against Purdue, followed by a stunning win as a huge dog against UCLA, courtesy of seven turnovers. So is Notre Dame back? Negative. They are 1-3 ATS in their last four against Boston College and I think that the Eagles will make a statement.
9) Boston College (4-1) - Oh, speaking of which, nice to see the Eagles actually do have a team. After two weeks off - well, they slept through wins over Army and UMass - they bombed Bowling Green to show that they haven't lost the killer instinct. Now all I need to be convinced that this is a true BCS dark horse is a convincing win in South Bend.
10) Oregon (4-1) - The Ducks have had two weeks to stew about their blown opportunity against Cal, so their psyche coming out of a bye week is crucial. They're taking on a Wazzou team they should bomb, but they are 1-3 ATS against the Cougars lately and the visitor has won five of seven in this series.
11) Duke (5-1) - Don't break up the Blue Devils!!! Their offense continues to be one of the surprises in the ACC, scoring just enough to sneak in the back door while managing to lose. It's a beautiful combo. The public sees another pathetic 1-5 Duke team while I see a cash cow. Don't question it - just go with it!
12) Oklahoma (4-2) - Two disappointing performances in the past two weeks can be erased with a blowout win over Missouri, which may be set up for a fall after their blowout win over Nebraska. OU smacked the Tigers, 26-10, last year in Columbia. This is a better Sooners team and a weaker Tigers defense, and Oklahoma has lost exactly two games against the B12 North in the last eight years. Seems like an easy call to me.
13) Kentucky (4-1) - Exposed. That's exactly what happened to the Wildcats last Thursday. The trouble is, I don't know how much value is left here. They are extremely soft up front and with the SEC heavyweights on deck I don't know if they can get the stops to beat any of them. But the public loves offense, so they'll continue to back.
14) Purdue (3-2 ATS) - I'm giving the Boilermakers one more week to hang around in the Ferringo 15 (and when I say that the teams usually bomb ATS the following Saturday) because I think they have a chance to beat Michigan in the Big House. Purdue runs the same spread offense that's torn up the Wolverines twice this year. The trouble is that they've lost 16 straight in Ann Arbor and haven't won there since before Woodstock. Other than that I think they're all set.
15) UTEP (4-1) - Let me preface this by saying that the Miners are the most garbage team in the country. Seriously, they are awful. Yet, they find ways to win and to cover. They were outgained by nearly 200 yards in a win over New Mexico. They overcame a 21-point deficit at SMU to win in overtime. And they scored with less than a minute to play to top Tulsa. Unreal. But they continue to cash and have a big "STAY AWAY" sign on them from this capper.
Others receiving votes: Indiana (4-1), Central Florida (3-2), Troy (4-2), Ball State (4-2), Connecticut (2-1), Colorado (4-2).
Dropped out: UCLA (3-2).
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