CFB Week 7 Power Ratings

Ahead of the big week 7 slate, here are the updated power ratings after 6 weeks of action (of course some teams that played in “week zero” have played 7 games already).

Alabama gets the top spot even though they were unimpressive against Texas A&M. It’s worth noting that Ohio State would be #1 by a decent margin if not for their 96th-ranked special teams.

I don’t exactly understand why Ohio State is ranked so low in special teams, though. I don’t know exactly what goes in to Football Outsiders’ special teams ratings, but the idea that Ohio State has bad special teams doesn’t really add up. Their kicker, Noah Ruggles, has not had to do much since the team is rarely held to a field goal. He’s 2 for 3 on the season on his field goals and 41/41 on extra point attempts. Maybe the 66% kicking accuracy is dragging them down? Their punter, Jesse Mirco, is one of the best punters in the nation–in fact, by some measures he’s the second best in the FBS. I don’t think they’ve let up any return TDs or anything like that.

Whatever. Football Outsiders thinks they’re not good on special teams, so that’s that.

Notable teams in the top 25:

  • Texas coming in at number 5. In my last post I just went over in detail why I think Texas should be ranked somewhere between 4-13 in the AP Poll, and potentially as high as #2. They should have blown out Alabama in week 2, and they only lost to Texas Tech because they didn’t have Ewers. Texas is legit.
  • Clemson and Florida state come in at 7 and 8, and they play this weekend. That’ll be good. But while I’ve been down on Clemson all season, they have been more and more impressive as the season has gone on, and on the flip side, I just don’t think Florida State is very good.
  • The three top teams in the Pac 12–USC, UCLA and Utah–come in at 9, 10 and 11. UCLA just beat Utah pretty convincingly, and now USC travels up to Utah to play. I have those two teams as basically dead even on a neutral field.
  • Wisconsin, despite their struggles, comes in at #16. They quietly beat the tar out of Northwestern this weekend in their first game with head coach Jim Leonhard. I could actually see Wisconsin finishing strong under their new (interim) head coach and possibly winning the Big Ten West in spite of the slow start. Apparently things got pretty bad towards the end of the Paul Chryst era in terms of apathy and standards. They were barely even recruiting. Wisconsin is 1-2 in conference play, but fortunately for them, 2-1 in the conference is good for first place in the West. There are no undefeated teams. Of the four teams ahead of Wisconsin right now (Illinois, Purdue, Nebraska, and Minnesota), Wisconsin has only played Illinois. They lost big, but they still have the ability to overtake Purdue, Nebraska and Minnesota right now. They just need Illinois to lose at least one more conference game than them.
  • TCU is 14th in my ratings. They’re undefeated and they play Oklahoma State this weekend. Oklahoma State is also undefeated, but I have them way lower, not even in the top-25. They’re down at 32; the ratings have never bought into Oklahoma State.

Now for teams 25-50:

Notable teams:

  • I see you, Tulane! Green Wave are 5-1. They haven’t really played anyone, though.
  • Look at Notre Dame slowly but surely climbing back to relevance, now at 33.
  • James Madison, who is in their first season in the FBS, has cracked the AP Top 25, but while my ratings think they’re pretty darn good for a G5 team, they’re not quite top-25 caliber. Still, what they’ve done this year is commendable.
  • Oklahoma down to 48! Just ahead of Missouri. Yikes.

Teams 51-100:

Auburn has played a hard schedule, but they have not performed well. They’re at 64 just ahead of Toledo and Troy, as well as division rival Arkansas. Arkansas just got blown out by Mississippi State 40-17 a week after getting beaten 49-26 by Bama at home.

The ratings are not buying Nebraska’s little mini-turnaround. They’re still down at 82. Ditto Georgia Tech, another team that fired their coach after a terrible start but then won a game. They’re 83.

The betting picks will come tomorrow in an update to this post, it’s getting late right now and I don’t have time to do it tonight.

But I want to just share the results of last week’s power ratings-based gambling picks:

22 picks–all the top-25 teams in action plus the Texas/OU game, and the Wednesday night UCF/SMU game–with an overall record of 13-8-1. That’s a 59% win rate, 62% if you exclude the push.

Even better was the high confidence picks (where there was a major discrepancy between my power ratings and the Vegas spread) where we were 7-2.

This week’s picks coming soon.

Just one caveat for the gambling picks: the numbers get less reliable the further down the list you go. That’s why I stick to the top-25, and mainly Power Five teams with only a few exceptions here and there.

The reason is because bad teams are bad teams–they’re extremely unreliable. My ratings are more likely to be wrong the further down in the ratings you go. One bad team could be 14 points better than an even worse team on a neutral field, but you can’t count on them to win by 14 because, obviously they’re a bad team. They’re inconsistent. They rarely if ever play to their potential, they make mistakes, they play sloppily, and in general they’re just unreliable. Anything can happen with bad teams.

Hell, one weekend they could just put it all together and punch way above their weight class. You just don’t know.

Obviously there’s no team in the country that is perfectly consistent, not even in the NFL, but the better teams are on average more consistent than the bad teams, and that’s why I stick to the good teams.

I know there’s more potential to exploit mispriced lines with the weaker, smaller teams, but that’s not really my game. I’ll leave that to other people to do.

Update- gambling picks for week 7:

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