2020 College Football Rankings: AP Top 25 Poll vs. Our Betting Power Ratings For Week 7

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Tim Warner/Getty Images. D’Shawn Jamison.

We’re so close. College football’s most interesting conference — although my friends down South may disagree — is almost back in action.

The Big Ten is scheduled to resume play in two Saturdays on Oct. 24. For those keeping track at home, that’s just 10 more sleeps (unless you’re Ryan Collinsworth or Stuckey, the Prime Minister of Team No Sleep, because let’s be honest: No one knows if they will sleep this week or not).

But before we get to what should be a national holiday, we have plenty of other college football action this week that will be just as fun.

At this point, we’re relatively familiar with the real contenders and pretenders in the college football world — at least until the Big Ten and Pac-12 throw a wrench into our projections.

That extra bit of knowledge helps us identify which teams are rated too highly in the AP Poll compared to their true value in the betting market. The AP Poll typically relies on the past — how teams have performed in previous weeks and who they’ve played. In contrast, bettors use that information to project what will happen in the future.

Luckily, we have the magic of Collin Wilson to help us in that department.

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 Wilson’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 6

Notable Team Differences Between the AP Poll and Our Power Ratings

Texas Longhorns (+32)

  • AP Poll: NR
  • Power Rating: 11

Wow.

If you count where the Longhorns rank in terms of votes received, then they rank No. 43 in the country. That’s a tough punishment for a team that was ranked No. 22 in the AP Poll last week and likely would have covered against a talented Oklahoma team on the road if it weren’t for a blocked field goal in one of the four overtimes (but shoutout to overtime for helping the over hit).

But that’s a key difference between the AP Poll and Collin’s power ratings: The media may have already written off the Longhorns, but they still hold plenty of betting value moving forward.

It’s fair that Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger saw a pretty significant drop in his Heisman odds after falling in Norman. Throwing two picks will do that. But let’s not forget that he still ran for over 100 yards and four touchdowns and caught fire toward the end of the fourth quarter.

I’m not saying Texas is back. I’m just saying it shouldn’t be disregarded altogether moving forward. The value starts with Baylor on Oct. 24 after Texas rests up this week.

Oklahoma Sooners (+22)

  • AP Poll: NR
  • Power Rating: 6

Well, look at that. The other half of the Red River Showdown is being undervalued by the media. Judging simply by the AP Poll, it seems as if people have already written the Big 12 off. That overreaction is perhaps a fair critique, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value on teams from the conference moving forward.

The Sooners have suffered two losses on the season, and both have come at the hands of ranked teams.

To be fair, the Kansas State loss looked bad at the time, as the Wildcats had just gotten their tails handed to them by Arkansas State at home. Since then? K-State has knocked off the Sooners, Texas Tech, and TCU.

The Iowa State loss didn’t look great either after the Cyclones were 1-1 with a loss to Louisiana. But it was Brocktober in Ames (Who are we kidding? Brock Purdy completed 50% of his passes for 254 yards and one score. It was Breece-tober), and the Cyclones have looked solid since.

The more important piece of the puzzle is how Oklahoma bounced back. It handled a talented Texas team in one of the biggest rivalries in college football. With TCU, Texas Tech, and Kansas next on the docket, I could see Oklahoma finding an edge.

Cincinnati Bearcats (-13)

  • AP Poll: 8
  • Power Rating: 21

Is Cincinnati really a top-10 team? Really?

I love good Group of Five teams as much as the next guy, but wins over Austin Peay, Army, and South Florida aren’t really doing it for me. I get that each team needs to play the game on its schedule, but a top-10 slot after three games is a reward for that?

Desmond Ridder is prone to mistakes at QB, as demonstrated by his three interceptions against South Florida — a team that hasn’t been competitive for three years. Gerrid Doaks, the Bearcats’ top running back, averages 3.5 yards per carry. Their best receiver has hauled in a grand total of eight passes. Cincy’s offensive line ranks 43rd in Power Success Rate, 45th in Stuff Rate, and 33rd in Sack Rate, per Football Outsiders.

Luckily, Cincinnati’s defense has bailed it out. Although it hasn’t played very tough competition, it has allowed only 12.3 points per game, which ranks fifth in the country.

But it still gives up over 300 yards per game and has allowed 10 plays of 20 yards or more — and one of its games came against a team that averaged 4.5 yards per pass attempt. But, those deficiencies notwithstanding, the Cincinnati defense is still a solid group that holds tough and wasn’t outwitted by the triple option.

Now, I’m not saying Luke Fickell’s squad is bad. In fact, I like his team. I’m actually backing the Bearcats to cover against Tulsa on Saturday.

But if that does happen, Cincinnati can only move up in the polls. The Bearcats are playing a dangerous game right now, and it’s probably unsustainable.

Cincy may find itself as big favorites moving forward, and I’ll be looking for my opportunity to fade the Bearcats before the house of cards falls.

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