College Football Power Rankings: The Ferringo 15
by Robert Ferringo - 10/17/2007
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. 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.
We had our first losing weekend for the Ferringo 15 as our top teams went 5-6 ATS, not counting the two games (B.C.-ND, Missouri-Oklahoma) that F15 teams were playing against one another. Regardless, these top earners are still 40-28 (58.8 percent) on the season. I'll take it! So without further ado, here is our Week 8 version of the Ferringo 15:
1) South Florida (4-1) - I know that people may not recognize the name, but this team is THAT good. The key is that they are fourth in the country in turnovers forced (21). Their defense swarms, and that's helped a relatively conservative offense. USF was a failed two-point conversion from overtime against Rutgers last year, and is clearly the better team going into this Thursday's game. However, the Scarlet Knights haven't lost three straight at home since 2003 and are 9-3 ATS as a home dog.
2) Kentucky (5-1) - Wow. They just keep getting it done. I thought the egg was cracked at South Carolina, but this team is no joke. I still think they're undervalued against an immature Florida team, but you always have to wonder how a team will respond after such an emotionally draining upset. Also, there's more bad news. Florida has won 20 straight over UK and Urban Meyer teams are 21-2 SU with extra prep time.
3) Kansas (5-0) - Yeah, so, I guess there wasn't a letdown out of the Jayhawks against Baylor, eh? Kansas continues to dominate its foes, but now finds itself in the unenviable positions of a road conference favorite against a team with a better defense. The Buffaloes have won five of the last six in this series and this will be the Jayhawks' first trip out of their state. The home team has won eight of 10 in this series and I think that if KU does pull this one off you have to start thinking this is a charmed season.
4) Missouri (5-0) - Even a garbage cover is a cover. Missouri should not have cashed in Oklahoma, but they continue to be an ATM machine for backers this season. This week they get a red hot Texas Tech club in Columbia, where they've beaten the Red Raiders by an average score of 48-19 in their past two meetings. The Tigers are 4-1 ATS against Texas Tech and 9-1 ATS at home. Look for another highflying affair, but look for yet another Mizzou victory.
5) Cincinnati (5-1) - After a wild three-game stretch I kind of don't blame the Bearcats for their loss to Louisville. After all, the Cardinals do have Top 20 talent. I will say it's a tall order to ask Cincy to bounce back as a double-digit favorite on the road against Pitt. The Bearcats are clearly the better team, but with South Florida waiting in the wings this could be a tough spot.
6) South Carolina (4-2) - Ryan Succop's late field goal cracked the upright last Saturday, stifling what should have been USC's fifth cash of the season. The Gamecocks are not flashy; they are just a solid football team. They are 8-1-1 ATS against Vanderbilt at home and their No. 1 pass defense should force Chris Nickson into some bad decisions. The question remains as to whether or not this team can score enough to consistently cover double-digit shackles.
7) Arizona State (6-1) - OK, now I'm a believer. It's not as if their schedule has been eye-popping, but the Sun Devils have dominated inferior foes, posting a 22.7 average margin of victory. But amazingly, this team has covered six games despite being one of the worst first half teams in the country. They are 1-5 ATS against the first half line in their last six games and have been losing at the break in three of their last four games.
8) Illinois (4-2) - Last weekend was the perfect storm for a letdown. But now the Illini head home to take on a resurgent Michigan team in a crucial Big Ten showdown. Let me end the suspense: Mike is going to play. But Illinois has been solid against the run (No. 26). The question is whether they can contain Chad Henne and the Michigan wideouts. The home team is 4-1 ATS in this series and Michigan is 12-25 ATS as a road favorite. Look for Illinois' speed to confound the Wolverines in what should be a one-possession game either way.
9) Oregon (5-1) - Now that Jeremiah Johnson and Jason Williams have joined Brian Paysinger on the shelf, the Ducks will be without three players that have scored 32 percent of all of their offensive touchdowns this year. No current Oregon player has ever played in Husky Stadium and OU's last win in Seattle was in 1997. However, they have won three straight in the series. But with USC on deck this is a potential landmine for one of the top teams in the nation.
10) Boston College (4-2) - The Eagles struggled to put away a suddenly game Notre Dame team but I don't really hold that against them. That series is known for its shockingly close finishes. But now we're going to find out the true ability of Jeff Jagodzinski as he takes two weeks to prep for a critical trip to Blacksburg.
11) Duke (5-2) - THUD! Last week's 43-14 loss at the hands of Virginia Tech may have looked like the end of the road for the Blue Devil gravy train. I'm not so sure. They get Florida State and Georgia Tech in letdown spots before a rivalry game against North Carolina to end the season. Throw in the fact that dogs have been outstanding in the ACC this year and I think we have two or three paydays left in this squad.
12) Air Force (4-2) - The Falcons are a force in the Mountain West. I read an interesting article that let me know that I was screwed on my Colorado State bet last week. The article was about how Air Force established a new position on the football team - a strength conditioning coach. Most teams have them, but AF didn't. Well, now their players have been raving about how much stronger they are this season and how much more quickly they recover after games. They say it's night and day. I found it interesting.
13) UAB (4-1 ATS) - Who? Yeah, I know what you're thinking. But here's another team that's just good enough to keep games close but just bad enough to keep losing games. Their three underdog covers were by an average of 14 points and now they're two-touchdown home dogs to Houston. UAB is 7-1-1 ATS as a home underdog and the home team has won four straight in this series. We may be getting in at a decent time with this club.
14) Miami, OH (5-2) - The Redhawks have a trap game at suddenly hard-hitting Temple this week. But this has been a hot team lately, winning three straight games, including a pair of huge wins over MAC rivals Kent State and Bowling Green. That makes this a prime letdown spot.
15) UTEP (4-2) - Jesus, didn't see that coming. Weird. For the first weekend this year we don't bet against UTEP - AND THEY LOSE AGAINST THE SPREAD. It's times like these that I not only hate football, but I hate God as well. But this team stays in mainly because they've been breaking my balls all season.
Others receiving votes: Indiana (4-2), Central Florida (3-3), Troy (4-2), Ball State (4-2), Connecticut (3-1), Colorado (4-3).
Dropped out: Anyone Playing Notre Dame (4-3), Oklahoma (4-3), Purdue (3-3).
For more info on Robert's members picks, check out his Insider Page here.