2020 College Football Rankings: AP Top 25 Poll vs. Our Betting Power Ratings For Week 8

2020 College Football Rankings: AP Top 25 Poll vs. Our Betting Power Ratings For Week 8 article feature image
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Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Graham Mertz.

As college football fans, our hearts are getting fuller with each passing week.

The Big Ten will join the college football world this weekend, becoming the fourth Power Five conference to take the field for the 2020 season.

In addition to the Big Ten, the Mountain West will also make its return. Then, we wait. The Pac-12 and MAC are expected back in early November, making things seemingly whole for the first time in 2020.

More conferences taking the field means more big games to bet on. Collin Wilson has us covered on that front.

While the Big Ten and Mountain West haven’t kicked off their seasons yet, Collin has added them — and Pac-12 and MAC teams — to his updated power ratings.

That allows us to find betting value on these teams based on where they’re ranked in the AP Poll — which focuses on past games in previous weeks (or previous seasons) — compared to their standing in his power ratings, which focus on the future.

The Action Network’s College Football Betting Power Ratings

Each week, we compare the AP Top 25 Poll to The Action Network’s College Football Power Ratings to see how the betting market differs from conventional ranking systems.

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 7

Notable Team Differences Between the AP Poll and Our Power Ratings

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (-46)

  • AP Poll: 25
  • Power Rating: 71

I love betting on the Chanticleers, so it pains me to write this.

I love CJ Marable running the ball. I love Grayson McCall’s 11:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. I love the concept of the Chanticleer mascot (I mean, the Coastal Carolina website says, “The Chanticleer is a proud and fierce rooster who dominates the barnyard.” What’s not to love?)

But I don’t love Coastal’s No. 71 ranking in Collin’s power ratings.

The fact of the matter is the Chanticleers are a very good Group of Five team. But wins over Kansas and Louisiana shouldn’t make the Chants one of the top teams in the country.

Right now, the projected line for a Clemson-Coastal matchup would make the Tigers 35-point favorites. After watching Trevor Lawrence and Company hang 73 points on Georgia Tech — which sits at No. 53 in the power ratings — who am I to say that spread shouldn’t be even wider?

Luckily for the Chants, they don’t have Clemson on their docket. But I’m going to be very cautious when looking at Coastal Carolina lines moving forward.

Wisconsin Badgers (+9)

  • AP Poll: 14
  • Power Rating: 5

This is a different Wisconsin team.

Gone are the days of Jonathan Taylor, who is now tearing it up for the Indianapolis Colts. Instead, it’ll be Nakia Watson and Garrett Groshek toting the rock in the Badgers’ opening game.

Quarterback Jack Coan suffered a foot injury earlier this month that will put him on the sidelines indefinitely. That injury will hand the keys to Graham Mertz, a redshirt freshman who is the Badgers’ highest-rated quarterback prospect since recruiting’s internet rankings era began, per 247Sports.

But then again, it’s the same Wisconsin team. Wisconsin is Wisconsin. The Badgers will be fine.

The team still boasts solid weapons in the passing game, including tight end Jake Ferguson, the team’s second-leading receiver last season. It also features playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the back seven.

It almost doesn’t matter what kind of turnover Wisconsin faces from the previous season. It’s still going to be physical. It’s still going to run the ball. It’s still going to epitomize Big Ten football.

The Badgers don’t even need a full three touchdowns to cover against a weak Illinois squad. For a top-five team in the power ratings? I’ll be looking to take advantage if Wisconsin keeps finding itself undervalued early in the season.

Oklahoma State Cowboys (-11)

  • AP Poll: 6
  • Power Rating: 17

Remember when Oklahoma State almost lost to Tulsa at home in its first game of the season as a Big 12 favorite? That was only three games ago.

Luckily for the Cowboys, they have kept their hopes for a conference title alive by toppling the worst team in the conference and a weird West Virginia team.

Now, they’re set to play their biggest game of the season. Iowa State will head to Stillwater in just a few days for a game that will most likely have postseason implications in one way or another.

Despite its offense popping with stars like running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State only has the third-lowest scoring output in the conference, just ahead of Kansas and TCU.

Mike Gundy could also utilize a two-quarterback system against the Cyclones, but is this the week to experiment on offense?

After all, Iowa State held a potent Texas Tech offense that can move the ball at will to only 15 points in its last game.

I have no doubt the Pokes will find their offense at some point. There were flashes against a talented West Virginia defense. But it will almost certainly open up even more at some point. It’s too talented not to.

But I’m not sure this is the week, as Iowa State has consistently churned out one of the conference’s top defenses in recent years (maybe that’s not saying much though).

If the Cowboys find a way to get it done on Saturday, there’s a good chance I won’t hesitate backing them moving forward. But I’m definitely wary of doing so against another solid team at this point in the season.

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