College Football Power Rankings - The Ferringo 15
by Robert Ferringo - 09/30/2008
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.
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 is hitting its stride. Last week our clubs posted a spectacular 7-2-1 ATS mark, including two of the biggest upsets of the week with Alabama and Mississippi winning outright. Apparently my "shakeup" last week worked. Our F-15 is now 23-12-1 ATS on the season and we'll see if they can continue rolling this weekend. Without further ado, here is our Ferringo 15 (all records are ATS):
1) Oklahoma State (3-0) - Another dominating performance from the Best Team That No One Is Talking About. The Cowboys did crack the Top 25, finally, and I thought about dropping them down a peg because of their sudden splash into the mainstream. However, I think that this team is still better than five to eight schools that are ranked higher than they are. Also, I think this is going to be a dangerous underdog when conference play gets rolling in the Big 12.
2) Georgia Tech (3-0) - Who would have ever guessed that this week's Duke-Georgia Tech matchup would have a significant impact on the ACC Coastal Division race? Is that proof of how pathetic the ACC is or testaments to how new coaches have the Devils and Jackets turned around? We'll find out. Paul Johnson's Navy teams were notoriously poor home favorites, going 3-8 ATS in that role over the past three years. However, Johnson was 4-1 ATS against Duke with his option attack.
3) Arizona (3-1) - I swear that I never thought that Willie Tuitama would have value. But Arizona is still lying in wait for some unsuspecting Pac-10 foes. I do warn you against piling up on any one game involving this team. Mike Stoops is kind of the Ozzie Conseco of college football coaching and has proven that his teams can be upset. In fact, this is a tricky spot against Washington this week. The Wildcats could let up a bit knowing that Jake Locker won't be on the field and are facing a revenge-minded club that lost an completely fluke game last year against Arizona at home. Handle with care.
4) Air Force (3-0) - Big game with another service academy this weekend as the Falcons square off with Navy. Two option teams on the field at one time - what fun! Navy is 5-0 ATS in this series and the underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five. However, Air Force is still in the midst of a 10-1 ATS rush dating back to last year so it's still tough to bet against them.
5) Vanderbilt (4-0) - This team was No. 2 last week but has dropped without even playing a game. They are currently last in offense and defense in the SEC. They have pulled out two completely fluke wins over South Carolina and Mississippi in games in which they were horrendously outplayed. And now they are feeling the love from a spot in the Top 20. I give them credit for what they've done, but I will say that there is no possible way that their success continues because eventually those lucky breaks will even out against them.
6) Tulsa (3-0) - Tulsa and this week's opponent, Rice, combined to score 139 points last week. And in last year's meeting their respective quarterbacks combined for 1,300 total yards. So don't look for a ton of defense this Saturday in Tulsa. The Hurricane are still, definitely, defying my expectations this year. But I will also say that they have not been tested at all this season. We'll see how their young secondary holds up against the Owls this weekend and that could determine how the conference slate will shake out for Tulsa.
7) TCU (3-1) - The Horned Frogs will drop because they got worked over in Norman. However, I'm not selling them down the river and my whole purpose of having them in the F-15 is because I think they are the best value in the Mountain West. The Frogs are set up for a flat spot this weekend against a team that they have dominated. TCU rang up nearly 700 total yards on 111 plays in last year's meeting with San Diego State and they have beaten the Aztecs by an average score of 40-18 in their three meetings.
8) Northern Illinois (3-0) - The Huskies were my last play off the college football slate and I am still fuming about it. The Huskies laid out a 31-0 demolition of Eastern Michigan last Saturday in a game that they owned from start to finish. I will say that now the best thing that could happen to them is that they get blasted by Tennessee to bring their value back down just a hair. And Phil Fulmer should oblige. He's shown a willingness to run up the score against lesser opponents and I could see him "coaching for his job" this week against NIU.
9) Alabama (4-1) - Alabama wins at Georgia and drops in my poll? How does that work? Remember, this poll is all about value. And right now the Crimson Tide's value is likely at its lowest point. The word is out on them now. They will likely face inflated lines the rest of the season and we'll see how they stack up against them. The reason I liked 'Bama is because I thought they were the best team in the SEC West. But now that they are proving it squares are jumping on the bandwagon. Great for them, but not great for 'Bama backers.
10) Buffalo (4-1) - Between the Bulls and the Bills, Buffalo football teams are a tremendous 8-1 ATS this year! The Bulls actually should be much higher on this list, especially considering they have lost three of four games but covered the spread in all three defeats. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if I were Syracuse I would have Turner Gill on speed dial to take over for pathetic Greg Robinson.
11) Mississippi (3-1) - I couldn't have been more proud of the team that started the season No. 1 in the Ferringo 15. I knew they were going to pull a major upset in conference play this year (and I did cash in with them at UF last week) but I figured it would be against LSU later in the year. Ole Miss is now in the tough spot of being favored at home after a stunning upset. But one thing they have going for them is that their defensive coordinator, Ty Nix, was the defensive coordinator at South Carolina for the past three years. The Rebels are also 5-0 SU in the last five meetings.
12) Temple (3-1-1) - I am definitely concerned about this team. They just continue to take demoralizing losses in close games. And even though they are much, much better than their 1-4 overall record suggests I could see some inner turmoil tearing this team up. Adam DiMichele's injury just completely derailed their MAC hopes, and I can see this stellar defense starting to wear down and give up over the next month or so if the O continues to lay eggs (six points in their last eight quarters without DiMichele).
13) Minnesota (3-1) - Last week was simply another cover and another solid showing for the Golden Gophers. I'm not sure how I feel about Minny as a favorite and I think that they are in a tricky spot this weekend against a reasonably talented Indiana team. I am just not sure I'm ready to lay more than a touchdown with this Gophers team. However, they are 4-0 ATS in their last four times hosting IU, the favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings, and the home team has covered six of seven.
14) Ball State (4-0) - Here again we have a team that covered the spread last week but has dropped in my rankings. That's mainly because their last two wins haven't really impressed me (including a half-point cover against Kent State) and I still think that the loss of Dante Love is really going to come back to bite this team once they get into the heart of their conference schedule. That said, they clearly have the easiest road of any top-tier MAC teams and should be large favorites in each of their next five games. And BSU is a solid 10-3 ATS as a favorite over the last three years.
15) Texas (4-0) - Two weeks ago my Nonconference Game of the Year was going to be Texas over Arkansas, but the game was cancelled because of Hurricane Ike. Why didn't I go to the Longhorns last Saturday? For the same reason I pulled the Northern Illinois game: I'm an idiot. The Longhorns are performing and they could quickly become the Alabama of the Big 12. I do still worry about their young secondary against the veteran quarterbacks in the Big 12, but right now the 'Horns are playing at an exceptionally high level.
Others Receiving Votes: Duke (3-0), Maryland (3-1), Oklahoma (3-0), So. Miss (3-1), Akron (4-1), TCU (3-1), Air Force (3-0), Cal (3-1), UL-Lafayette (3-1), San Jose State (3-1), Penn State (3-1)