2020 College Football Rankings: AP Top 25 Poll vs. Our Betting Power Ratings For Week 12
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Mahone.
It’s not quite Thanksgiving, but I’m thankful for college football. After more than a dozen games were canceled last week, I feel the need to put that out there.
It’s now abundantly clear that anything can happen in the college football world at any given time throughout the week. That makes this week the perfect opportunity to bask in the glory of the sport without taking it for granted.
Bettors should use information from the past to predict how teams will perform in the future, but the AP Poll only focuses on past performances in past weeks. That makes certain teams overrated and underrated from a betting perspective.
Using Collin’s power ratings, we’ve found some discrepancies that could cause certain teams to be overvalued by the public in the near future.
The Action Network’s College Football Betting Power Ratings
Our power ratings are fueled by Collin’s projections, which aim to judge the true quality of a team based on advanced metrics, coaching changes, year-over-year roster continuity, and a host of other underlying components.
You can use his ratings to create a point spread between any two teams in the country on a neutral field — just subtract the higher team’s rating from the lower-ranked one.
Collin also publishes projected point spreads for each week’s slate of games every Sunday. You can use those projections to target early betting value even before sportsbooks release official lines for the week’s action.
College Football Rankings: AP Poll Top 25 vs. Our Power Ratings
After Week 11
Notable Team Differences Between the AP Poll and Our Power Ratings
▲ West Virginia Mountaineers (+N/A)
- AP Poll: NR
- Power Rating: 23
There aren’t very many things that are special about West Virginia (unless you count “Take Me Home, Country Roads”).
Things have been up-and-down for the Mountaineers this season, and that’s been especially true in their past four games. For example, a loss to a weak Texas Tech team proved to be an indictment against West Virginia’s offense. But a 27-point win over a top-20 Kansas State team a week later? Much better.
With a 5-3 record, the Mountaineers’ performances earned them zero votes in the AP Poll. But that means there could be value on them moving forward.
There’s a lot to like about this team. Quarterback Jarret Doege takes care of the ball, throwing just three interceptions on the season, and he doesn’t have a problem spreading it around.
Running back Leddie Brown has also been a reliable option on the ground, running for 897 yards on 5.4 yards per carry and nine scores.
On the defensive side of the ball, West Virginia ranks eighth in defensive Havoc, recording a fumble, interception, sack, tackle for loss, or pass break-up, on 22% of plays on defense.
With upcoming games against Oklahoma and Iowa State, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the public fade the Mountaineers. That could be a bold move considering West Virginia has covered the spread in its past two games against ranked opponents.
I’ll be looking to back the Mountaineers if they are indeed being undervalued. Take me home, country roads.
▼ Indiana Hoosiers (-9)
- AP Poll: 9
- Power Rating: 18
Ah, the darlings of the young Big Ten season. How can you not respect what the Hoosiers have done this season?
First, they knocked off a then-top-10 and now winless Penn State squad to open the season. Then, they followed that up with back-to-back shellackings of Rutgers and a then-ranked Michigan team. Combine those three wins with a 24-0 shutout of Michigan State, and you get a top-10 ranking.
Indiana has truly been fun to watch, and it’s coming in a sport other than basketball. But if you think I’m not going to take this opportunity to ponder hammering Ohio State to destroy this overrated team from Bloomington, then I don’t know what to tell you.
Collin Wilson projects the Buckeyes to be 20.5-point favorites, and there’s really no reason they shouldn’t be. Their offense is so powerful, and it’s going to be hard for the Hoosiers to keep up.
Indiana ranks 57th nationally in Offensive Efficiency, per Football Outsiders. Ohio State ranks fourth. The Hoosiers average 2.86 points per offensive drive. The Buckeyes score 4.17. Ohio State gains 73% of available yards, while Indiana grabs 41%.
The Hoosiers are clearly not a bad team, but both of their ranked wins have come over teams that now own a combined 1-7 record. They should not be ranked in the top 10.
The five teams ranked directly behind Indiana are Wisconsin, Oregon, Miami, Georgia, and Oklahoma State. Why should I believe the Hoosiers are in that tier?
Although I love seeing Indiana receive some respect, I’m going to be looking to fade the Hoosiers — especially if they’re playing a team like Ohio State.
▼ Tulsa Golden Hurricane (-35)
- AP Poll: 25
- Power Rating: 60
I don’t like hating on Group of Five teams, but there’s a clear discrepancy involving Tulsa in our power ratings and the AP Poll.
After nearly pulling off an upset in their season-opener against Oklahoma State, the Golden Hurricane have rattled off four straight wins — including a victory over then-No. 19 SMU last week — to jump into the Top 25.
But diving deeper into the numbers, the Golden Hurricane are a middle-of-the-pack team in the AAC when it comes to scoring offense and total offense. It’s their defense that has allowed them to make a jump into the national scene, ranking second in the conference in both total defense and scoring defense.
But there are caveats.
Tulsa’s games against Cincinnati and Navy were either canceled or postponed. That means it never had a chance to take on Desmond Ridder and the Bearcats’ powerful offense. It also didn’t receive the opportunity to face a Navy triple option that can leave opposing defenses befuddled for 60 straight minutes.
There’s a high probability that Cincinnati would knock Tulsa off in convincing fashion. If that was the case, the Golden Hurricane wouldn’t be in this position. And when the two teams make up their game on Dec. 4, that could be the end of the Hurricane’s time in the AP Poll.
The new No. 25 by Tulsa’s name on the TV screen might force some people to back the Golden Hurricane. I’ll be looking to do the opposite if the opportunity presents itself.