College Football Power Rankings - The Ferringo 15
by Robert Ferringo - 09/24/2008
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.
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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.
The Ferringo 15 turned a small profit over the weekend with its 5-4 mark, discounting the Vanderbilt-Mississippi matchup. There is a lot of shakeup in the F-15 this week, as our 16-10 start to the year is not what I expect from this group. So without further ado, here is our Ferringo 15 (all records are ATS):
1) Oklahoma State (2-0) - Maybe I'm delusional here, banking on a perennial underachiever to make some noise in the Big 12. But I view the Cowboys a bit like I view Alabama in the SEC. Both teams are just loaded with talent and entered the season under the radar because of weak showings in 2007. OSU had two weeks to prep for Troy and need to throw some haymakers in that game early to end any hope that the Trojans have. But if Gundy's Gang comes out sluggish and doesn't cover I think that it will be a harbinger of things to come from this group.
2) Vanderbilt (4-0) - The only reason that the Commodores aren't No. 1 on this list is because so much has been made of their first foray into the Top 25 in the last quarter-century. That they are a "feel-good" story actually diminishes their value (see: East Carolina). The good news is that stud wideout George Smith is set to return. The bad news is that both of Vandy's SEC wins were flukes and they were severely "out-statted" in both games. That will catch up with them at the window.
3) TCU (3-0) - While the "BYU or Utah?" debate rages on in the Mountain West, the best defense in the division - and, statistically, in the country - resides in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs continue to dominate at home (13-2 ATS in the last four years) and they are in the unique position where an ass-kicking in Oklahoma this weekend could actually increase their value.
4) Georgia Tech (3-0) - Unlike Vanderbilt, I actually think that the Yellow Jackets are set to be a player in the ACC title race. They absolutely devastated Mississippi State over the weekend. And if they can do that to an SEC defense that surrendered just three points to Auburn the week prior I think they will be able to handle some of the front sevens in the ACC. They should be 5-1 when they travel to Clemson on Oct. 18, and from that point on I can see their value decrease as the schedule toughens up. We will see.
5) Arizona (3-1) - I would never count on this team as a heavy favorite, but the Wildcats are just good enough to cause a lot of problems in an incredibly weak Pac-10. They also get three of their next four games at home, including tussles with Cal and USC. I still don't trust the defense to get a stop when it needs to, despite its No. 6 national ranking, and that is certainly a problem.
6) Alabama (3-1) - The Tide are in a tricky spot, from a gambler's perspective. If they win this week at Georgia then they are "The Team That Beat The Bulldogs" and you won't be able to play on them with much value for the rest of the year. If they get blasted this weekend then they are 3-2 ATS and we're left to wonder if they are as good as I think they are. Best-case scenario: a cover, but loss, at UGA.
7) Air Force (3-0) - Troy Calhoun's boys just keep on keepin' on. They put a serious scare into Utah over the weekend before succumbing in the fourth quarter. However, the Falcons still cashed in that game and have now covered 10 consecutive spreads. I have no idea how they are performing this well without Shaun Carney and Chad Hall, but they are doing it. That said, you have to expect their incredible streak to end sometime soon so be wary.
8) Tulsa (3-0) - The Hurricanes are another team that are exceeding expectations that were lowered when they lost last year's stud quarterback. But Tulsa's skill players are second to none in CUSA and there are many teams that just can't cover them. Discounting this week's "game" with Central Arkansas, Tulsa gets three of four at home and are matching up with some of the worst defenses - Rice, SMU, UTEP - in the country. But will they be able to cover the large (20+) spreads? Another thing to consider: coach Todd Graham has just been named in a wrongful death suit for an incident that happened when he was at Rice in 2006. We'll see if that impacts his focus for the rest of the season.
9) Northern Illinois (2-0) - Jerry Kill's squad hasn't shown much in the standings, but in the hyper-competitive MAC this year they are still a team that I think can turn a profit. NIU's loss at Minnesota doesn't look as bad now either after watching Florida Atlantic get blitzed in Minny last week. The Huskies are 14-4-1 SU against Eastern Michigan and have eight of the last 10 wins have been by an average of 18.0 points.
10) Buffalo (3-1) - If I'm Syracuse University, I'm looking awfully hard at Turner Gill. He has completely turned this Bulls program around and they put up a tougher fight against Missouri than the Orange did at home against Penn State. This weekend is a big step for Buffalo. They're facing a CMU team that was up 48-7 at halftime in their last meeting (2006). But after chasing around Chase Daniels and the Mizzou spread last week I think this may be the perfect time for Buffalo to matchup with the Chips.
11) Ball State (3-0) - The loss of Donte Love for the season is a tremendous one for this Cardinals team. Also, it's just an amazingly sad story for Love, who was an NFL prospect before likely seeing his career end because of last weekend's spinal injury. This whole situation casts somewhat of a pall over what was a promising start for BSU. They are still a talented team and will still factor in the MAC. But their value has taken a serious hit now without their top offensive weapon.
12) Temple (3-1) - Following the MAC injury theme, just a terrible break for the Owls last weekend when they lost quarterback Adam DiMichele to an undisclosed shoulder injury at Penn State. There is no doubt in my mind that Temple would have covered against the Lions if they had their starting signal caller, and the QB is out 3-6 weeks. Freshman Chester Stewart will take over, and he showed some flashes of real talent last weekend. You could tell he was obviously overwhelmed and wasn't ready to be facing a Top 10 team. But he did some good things and I think he will be able to move the ball for this offense.
13) Penn State (3-0) - Speaking of the Lions, here we are. I think that Penn State is the best team in the Big Ten. However, I think that a lot of people are still set on crowning either Wisconsin or Ohio State. Penn State has to face both of those clubs on the road. Which actually could be a good thing for bettors since they should be able to catch a field goal or so with the Lions in those contests.
14) Minnesota (2-1) - The Gophers are an intriguing team and I might be ready to get in on the ground floor with this group. They have played nothing but non-BCS teams, but the three that they've beaten - NIU, Florida Atlantic, and Bowling Green - are all teams that are in the upper tier of their respective conferences. The bottom line with this Gophers team is that they aren't nearly as bad as last year's 1-11 group but I still expect oddsmakers and The Public to treat them as such in Big Ten play.
15) Mississippi (2-1) - Ole Miss completely and totally outplayed Vanderbilt last week but was doomed by four interceptions. If that happens again this week at Florida they will lose by 50. But despite their modest 2-2 record I'm not ready to jump ship off the Rebels. They dominated a decent Vanderbilt squad, but some fluke plays - a Pick Six, a fumble in the end zone, a fumbled punt, and two more turnovers inside the Vandy 15 - did them in. In reality, they should have won that game by 30. That shows me that there's talent on this squad and that they still have some earning potential.