USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Charlie Brewer and Tom Herman
- Collin Wilson has updated his 2019 college football power ratings, and listed the three biggest risers and fallers from last season.
- Texas is among the biggest fallers, while Louisville should improve after a horrific 2018 season.
As the post-Super Bowl hangover hits many fans of the gridiron, college football offseason activities are in full swing. Head coaches in new positions are finishing up their staffs, while the transfer portal continues to be a staple in the daily news cycle.
The Action Network Power Ratings undergo plenty of changes during the offseason. Coaching changes and transfer activity are a couple of categories used for adjusting the power ratings. A team’s rank will also change based on net turnovers, regression to a historical mean, Second-Order Win Total, and returning production.
Alongside home field advantage, these adjusted power ratings will be used to create point spreads for the entire 2019 football season. Those win probabilities for each single event will be the starting point for our 2019 season win totals. Once the MAC Conference schedule is released, we will be fully prepared for any bookmakers opening line.
Three Biggest Power Rating Fallers
Fresno State (-11.5)
The two biggest losers in returning production are UAB and Fresno State. While the Blazers are steady in other adjustment categories, the Bulldogs finished 2018 with a +12 net turnover margin, which should regress.
Fresno State also closed more than a touchdown higher in power ratings than any other previous season. The Las Vegas Bowl victory over Arizona State was the last game for quarterback Marcus McMaryion, wide receiver KeeSean Johnson and defensive back Anthoula Kelly. That trio accounted for 25 passing touchdowns, 130 targets and 18 pass breakups, respectively.
Utah State (-7.5)
The Aggies were the only team to post a negative number in every offseason adjustment category. Utah State posted their highest season-ending power rating, while losing an excellent coach in Matt Wells to Texas Tech.
There are mixed feelings about old/new head coach Gary Andersen. But not only do the Aggies lose their top three wide receivers, they will have a tougher route after posting the 120th ranked S&P+ schedule in 2018 (at Wake, at LSU, BYU in non-conference).
Texas on this list is certainly a surprise. A Second-Order Win Total of -1.8 compliments the worst returning production rating of any Power 5 team.
The recruiting trail is on fire for Tom Herman, and it couldn’t come at a better time with a depleted back seven against a conference full of offensive-minded teams. Texas also deals with the loss of three offensive lineman entering 2019, in what should be the most hyped “Texas is Back” season yet.
Three Biggest Power Rating Risers
The Cardinals finished runner-up in positive adjustments to Texas State. The end of the Petrino era and entry of Scott Satterfield as head coach signifies a turnaround for the program. The former Appalachian State coach won three consecutive Sun Belt titles with a 51-24 overall record.
A positive bump for -12 net turnovers and returning production should help Louisville rebound from 2018. Still, the Cardinals are in the ACC cellar, just shy of Duke and Wake Forest in our power ratings.
Plenty of other preseason material will focus on two storylines in the AAC West — the departure of Darrell Henderson at running back for Memphis and Dana Holgorsen becoming Houston’s coach.
But the loss of Henderson will be aided by the returning stable of running backs for Memphis, led by 1,000-yard rusher Patrick Taylor Jr. Also, Holgorsen inherits a depleted defense and a schedule that includes a trip to Central Florida. Memphis dodges the Knights in conference play.
Memphis quarterback Brady White has almost every single target returning from the 2018 roster.
From 1-11 to a 7-6 season ending in a bowl victory over an SEC team, Matt Rhule’s days in Waco may be up as the rest of college football and the NFL take notice.
The Bears have positive marks this offseason in net turnovers and returning production. Quarterback Charlie Brewer returns to plenty of weapons on offense, but the experience on defense will be top 10 in FBS. Familiarity is key with defensive coordinator Phil Snow’s system, which ranked top 50 in passing downs sack rate in 2018.