College Football Power Rankings - The Ferringo 15
by Robert Ferringo - 11/06/2008
Last weekend gave us yet another profitable round for the Ferringo 15. There were actually five clubs that either had a bye over the week or have games scheduled for mid-week (Northern Illinois and Ball State) and two others played against one another (FIU vs. UL-L), so there were less results than normal. But the Ferringo 15 still managed to go 4-3 on the weekend to give us a modest gain.
My Ferringo 15 is now 59-32-2 on the season, good for an amazing 64.8 percent success rate. I really don't have any predictions for how our boys will perform this week. But I will say that the full-season numbers speak for themselves. So without further ado, here is our Ferringo 15 (all records are ATS):
1) Oklahoma State (8-0) - I said at the start of the year that Oklahoma State was one of my sleeper picks ATS and they have not disappointed. But even I am stunned at just how incredible they have been playing in games where they have every reason to have a letdown or lay an egg. Their game this weekend against Texas Tech is not about which team can outscore the other but it's all about which team can get stops.
2) Arizona (6-2) - Who would have thought that the Wildcats would be 41-point favorites against anyone this year? To put this in perspective, Arizona was favored by just 28 points against pathetic Idaho to start the season. Now they are laying nearly six touchdowns against a fellow Pac-10 program. This win locks up a bowl berth for Arizona. But even with extra prep time, motivation, and an explosive offense, I still don't know if I trust Mike Stoops to cover this significant chalk.
3) Georgia Tech (6-1) - I have been effusive of my praise for the Yellowjackets this year and I think that Paul Johnson should be the Coach of the Year if he wins the ACC. However, last week the Jackets won and covered a game in which they had no business winning. They have now been outgained in three of their last four games and - we saw these indicators with Vanderbilt before their three-game losing streak - I think it's a sign that this money train is slowing down.
4) Temple (6-2-1) - I really can't even explain what a bizarre season this has been for the Temple Owls. I have followed them all year and they have probably been my best college football moneymaker. However, they sit at 3-6 on the year and to the untrained eye they look like just another garbage Temple team in a middling MAC. Couldn't be further from the truth. I still predict that this team is going to finish in a tie for the MAC East title and I would love it if they could scum their way into some ghetto bowl game.
5) Minnesota (6-2) - Define "stunning loss". Yeah, the Gophers losing at home on a last-second INT return for a touchdown to a Northwestern team that lost its starting quarterback and starting running back the week prior is a good start as a definition. Will that have a carryover affect on their game against Michigan this week? I do know that Minnesota's tissue-soft schedule is over. They have Michigan and Iowa sandwiched around a rough game at Wisconsin.
6) Penn State (6-1-1) - The thing I really like about the Nittany Lions right now is not only that they are an outstanding team but that they are also a team that is playing with a chip on their shoulder. I'm always wary of road favorites out of a bye week - it's one of the classic handicapping traps - but after beating Iowa by 20 last year I really won't be stunned to see the Lions lay one on the Hawkeyes.
7) TCU (7-2) - The Horned Frogs have been as dominating as any non-BCS team in the country and, in fact, I think they would beat at least half of the BCS programs in the country. The Horned Frogs definitely deserve a BCS shot if they win this week at Utah. However, I think it's a stretch for them to be favored on the road against a quality Utes club.
8) Louisiana-Lafayette (7-1) - The Ragin' Cajuns have a random nonconference game this weekend against UTEP, with a grueling SBC home stretch waiting on the other side (at defending champ Florida Atlantic and at second place Troy). The Cajuns are just 10-30 SU in their last 40 nonconference games and I really wonder where their focus is in this one.
9) Tulsa (6-2) - I really don't hold the Arkansas loss against the Golden Hurricane. It was definitely ridiculous that they were favored on the road against an SEC team and I think the oddsmakers actually put a minus sign on the line when they meant to place a plus sign! Had that been the case, the Hurricanes would have covered yet again. But it wasn't. I expect about 120 points to come out of their Houston game in two weeks.
10) California (6-2) - In what has been a shaky, unpredictable, severely mediocre Pac-10 this year, Cal has been a very nice surprise at the betting window. One of the things that I really think has actually helped their value is their quarterback uncertainty this season. Both Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley have thrown over 115 passes this year and have combined for 1,800 yards and an 18-7 TD-INT rate. However, the weekly guessing game surrounding which one is going to take the field has helped keep oddsmakers off balance when putting lines up for their games.
11) Ball State (6-1) - Wow. The good news for the Cardinals is that their national TV thrashing of a pretty solid Northern Illinois squad (one I clearly overestimated) really solidifies their case for a BCS Bowl game - if they can make it through the rest of their schedule unbeaten. The bad news is that I actually think that it soaks every last bit of value out of this team - and that they aren't going to be undefeated.
12) Air Force (6-2) - After a brief hiatus from the F-15 the Falcons are back. They have still been the most profitable team in the country over the last three seasons and they definitely deserve the love. That said, last week's "cover" was dependant on what you got the number at. This team is young, but I will be watching to see if they finish strong.
13) Texas (7-2) - I didn't have the stones to go with Texas Tech (still kicking myself) but Texas was the perfect illustration of what I mean when I say that a team is "in the bubble". They went on a ridiculous three-game run, will all three games either at home or with a home-state advantage, in which they played out of their heads. They were "in the zone" or "in the bubble". But once a team comes out of the bubble it's a completely different affair. This is different than a team like Oklahoma State that has been great all year long. Texas won three straight grueling, emotional games against top teams back-to-back-to-back. Once you snap out of that mindset it's the perfect time to fade.
14) Vanderbilt (6-2) - As I said last week, this team is in serious, serious trouble. They need just one more win to secure a bowl bid - which is seriously in doubt. They have Florida this week and they will get hammered. And the problem is that the noose tightens on this program every time that they take another loss. A team playing tight is not a good bet. A team playing desperate is. Which will Vandy be?
15) Florida International (5-2-1) - I do think that, to a certain extent, the oddsmakers have corrected on the Panthers. Perhaps overcorrected. This week they are facing an Arkansas State team that have won all three meetings and a team that only lost by five points to the same UL-L team that just waxed FIU by 29. The Panthers are an anomaly in that they have done great ATS this year but they have been outgained in all but one of their games, and outgained by 130 or more yards in four of eight.
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 nonsensical, random, speculative power rankings based on my own biases and conjecture. 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.
This is not a ranking of the 15 top teams to bet in any given week. This is an overall overview and ranking of the teams that have been the most profitable throughout the season. That said, last year the teams that were listed in my Ferringo 15 every Wednesday covered the spread that weekend at a 56-percent success rate, making the F-15 a pretty solid system in and of itself. Also, in 2007 the teams that ended the season in the Ferringo 15 finished an astonishing 121-46 ATS, good for a 73-percent success rate and nearly $70,000 for dime bettors.