Can’t believe we’ve only got two more regular season college football Saturdays remaining in the 2021 season, but here we are.
My power ratings through 11 weeks:
Alabama has retaken the #1 spot from Georgia, although this is probably because Alabama played a stat-padder opponent, New Mexico State, this past weekend.
But it does go to show you that, at least if you go by my ratings, Georgia may not be as dominant as everyone thinks. I still think Georgia deserves to be #1 in the rankings, of course, but I don’t know that we can say they’re the overwhelming favorite here.
I keep bringing this up but I will until proven otherwise: Georgia has not beaten Bama since 2007. I am not going to be the guy who just assumes Georgia has the SEC title–or the National Title, for that matter–in the bag.
The top-4 in my rankings has been pretty much the same for most of the season: Georgia and Bama at the top, followed by Ohio State and Michigan.
While most analysts this year see a clear top-3 in college football, my rating system does not put Ohio State on the same level as Alabama and Georgia. The reason why? Ohio State sucks in the red zone. They rank just 82nd nationally in net red zone TD%, which is one of the categories that goes into my power rating system. Ohio State’s red zone woes are dragging them down, and they remain the Buckeyes’ biggest red flag. Additionally, they rank just 63rd nationally in strength of schedule, but that’s going to take care of itself in short order here as they play Michigan and Michigan State over the next two weeks. After week 13, they should skyrocket up the strength of schedule rankings. Bottom line, though: Ohio State’s red zone issues are holding them back and keeping them from being in the Bama/Georgia tier.
The good news, though, for Buckeye fans, is that my power ratings–like Vegas–also see Ohio State as significantly better than Michigan State, who I have ranked #25.
Both ESPN FPI and my ratings are high on Oklahoma State. We’re buying them as a legit top-10 team, and maybe even better than that. Accordingly, don’t be surprised if after this weekend, Okie State opens up as a favorite hosting OU in the Bedlam game.
Oregon is the one notable team my ratings and ESPN FPI disagree on. I have Oregon at 6, FPI has them at 19. FPI thinks Oregon is a fraud, but my ratings buy them as legit. The reason why is that, although the Ducks have not been super dominant in most of their games this year, and they aren’t super impressive in really any of the statistical categories outside of running the ball, they do have a very talented roster: 9th in the nation in the composite team rankings. Oregon has dudes. Oklahoma State, on the other hand, ranks 47th in talent, but they’re much more statistically impressive.
As far as their big matchup with Utah, while I do have Utah in my top-25, and Utah does get the game at home, my ratings just don’t see Utah as being on the same level as Oregon. Vegas has Utah -3.5 in the game, meaning you can get some good value on Oregon on the moneyline if you think Oregon will win the game straight up. I think that’s what I’ll probably end up betting on that game, although I’m not locked in.
Wisconsin might be a big surprise at #7, but FPI is buying the Badgers’ late-season turnaround as well. Wisconsin has a few ugly losses on their resume, but they’re elite defensively, right up there with Georgia in most of the key defensive categories.
I’ve got Baylor at #8 while FPI has them at 20, but I’m going to defend my ratings here against ESPN’s because ESPN also has Oklahoma at #5 while I have them at 13, and we just saw Baylor soundly beat Oklahoma this past weekend.
I have Pitt at #9, FPI has Pitt at #7, and then Cincinnati is my #10 team. ESPN has the Bearcats #12.
One other team I want to bring attention to is Iowa State, who I have at #27, while ESPN has them all the way up at #8. I can only speak for my own rating system, as I don’t know what exactly goes into ESPN’s FPI formula, but I don’t see what the big deal is with Iowa State. They’re 57th in talent, first of all. But there isn’t one category where they rank in the top-10 other than net yards per game, where they rank 10th. They’re top-25 caliber in points per game, net passing net rushing, net yards per carry, net yards per play, net big plays, and net first downs, but they don’t take care of the ball very well, they’re not great in the red zone, they’re horrible on third down, and their special teams is abysmal. They’ve only played the 43rd ranked schedule, and they haven’t been very dominant in the games they’ve played, ranking 32nd in Game Control and 51st in average in-game winning probability.
I just don’t see how Iowa State belongs in the top-10. I could see them maybe being in the 15-20 range, or perhaps even a little better than 15 best-case scenario, but definitely not in the top-10. I just don’t see it.
However, I do think Iowa State has a good shot at beating Oklahoma this weekend, just because Matt Campbell has had pretty good success against the Sooners historically.