College Football Power Ratings Week 5

Last Updated: 2018-09-24

Are you familiar with the transitive property of college football? It’s the thing that has UCF claiming to be the 2018 National Champion. If you recall, UCF beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl to finish off an undefeated regular season. Auburn beat the eventual National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl. So, based on the transitive property, UCF was the National Champion*.

Well, the transitive property is alive and well in college football this season. Call it parity, call it inconsistency, call it bad football, however you want to classify it, we’ve had a lot of teams step up and upset an opponent only to lose to the next one. It has made the process of adjusting power ratings exactly that – a process. Inconsistency makes it hard to rate teams.

Take Old Dominion for example. Old Dominion, who got trucked by Liberty and lost to FIU at home and Charlotte on the road, ran up 652 yards on Bud Foster’s Virginia Tech defense. Take Purdue as another example. The Boilermakers lost at home to Eastern Michigan and then knocked off a borderline top 25 team in Boston College, but Purdue also lost to Northwestern, who lost to Akron.

Talent is more dispersed around the country than ever before, as even Group of Five schools are hauling in 4* and 5* players, which makes it difficult to rate teams because the talent gaps are smaller than they used to be. Coaching remains a big separator, but kids aren’t overwhelmed going into big venues or going up against powerhouse schools. The one thing becoming very clear in my power ratings is that there are four or five teams that clearly stand out above the rest and few other outcomes would surprise me.

Remember my steps for updating power ratings are to compare my number to the closing line, do a box score study, and then take another look when lines are released to make adjustments when necessary to be closer to the market. We’ve had some quirky box scores and some stunning results already and we’re only four weeks into the season. The process is arbitrary for the most part after adjusting towards the closing line, but there really isn’t a way around that. After all, you want to put together a personalized set of numbers and then bet accordingly based on those.

I’ve been confident in my numbers all year long, but, as luck would have it, a lot of the plays I’ve made with CLV based on my power ratings have come up empty. Sometimes those things happen. Winning is obviously the ultimate goal, but we can only control what we can control and what we can control is getting the best of the number that we can. CLV is a positive sign for long-term success. Beyond that, it isn’t guaranteed to help you cash a ticket. Good numbers, sad to say, lose all the time, but they should win more than the lesser numbers when all is said and done. That remains the objective when it comes to power ratings – getting the best of the number that we can possibly get early in the week.

Per usual, we have some injury situations that have already been announced and others that will be announced, so power ratings may change a bit as that information makes its way around the college football world.

As of Monday morning in Week 5, here is my 1 through 130:

Rank Team Conference PR HFA
1 Alabama SEC 102 4
2 Ohio State Big Ten 94.5 3.5
3 Clemson ACC 94 4
4 Georgia SEC 92.5
5 Oklahoma Big 12 92 4.5
6 Auburn SEC 87.5
7 Penn State Big Ten 87 4
8 Washington Pac-12 86.5 3.5
9 Michigan Big Ten 86 3.5
10 Miami (FL) ACC 85.5
11 Wisconsin Big Ten 85.5 3.5
12 Texas A&M SEC 85
13 Stanford Pac-12 84.5 3.5
14 West Virginia Big 12 83 3.5
15 Oklahoma State Big 12 82.5 3.5
16 LSU SEC 82.5 3.5
17 TCU Big 12 82.5
18 Notre Dame Independent 82.5 3.5
19 Mississippi State SEC 82
20 Oregon Pac-12 81
21 UCF AAC 81
22 Boise State Mountain West 81
23 Michigan State Big Ten 80.5
24 Texas Big 12 80
25 USC Pac-12 79 4
26 Iowa Big Ten 79 3.5
27 Memphis AAC 79 3.5
28 Washington State Pac-12 78.5 4
29 Boston College ACC 78.5
30 Utah Pac-12 78 3.5
31 Missouri SEC 77
32 Duke ACC 77
33 South Carolina SEC 77
34 Kentucky SEC 76.5 2.5
35 NC State ACC 76.5
36 Houston AAC 76 3.5
37 Arizona State Pac-12 76 3.5
38 Syracuse ACC 75.5
39 Northwestern Big Ten 75 3.5
40 California Pac-12 75 3.5
41 Florida SEC 74.5 3.5
42 Virginia Tech ACC 74.5
43 Florida State ACC 74.5
44 Fresno State Mountain West 74.5
45 Iowa State Big 12 74 2.5
46 Texas Tech Big 12 74
47 Purdue Big Ten 74 2.5
48 Georgia Tech ACC 73.5
49 San Diego State Mountain West 73
50 Indiana Big Ten 73
51 Maryland Big Ten 72.5 2.5
52 Vanderbilt SEC 72.5
53 USF AAC 72 4
54 Minnesota Big Ten 72
55 Virginia ACC 72
56 Ole Miss SEC 71.5 3.5
57 Baylor Big 12 71.5 2.5
58 BYU Independent 71.5 3.5
59 Pittsburgh ACC 71
60 Arizona Pac-12 71
61 Utah State Mountain West 71
62 Wake Forest ACC 70.5
63 Florida Atlantic Conference USA 70.5
64 North Texas Conference USA 70
65 Colorado Pac-12 69.5
66 Kansas State Big 12 69
67 Buffalo MAC 69
68 Toledo MAC 69 3.5
69 Arkansas State Sun Belt 68.5 3.5
70 Tennessee SEC 68.5
71 Navy AAC 68 3.5
72 Appalachian State Sun Belt 68 3.5
73 Nebraska Big Ten 68 2.5
74 Louisville ACC 67.5
75 UCLA Pac-12 67.5
76 Marshall Conference USA 67.5
77 Louisiana Tech Conference USA 67
78 Arkansas SEC 66.5
79 Northern Illinois MAC 66.5 3.5
80 Cincinnati AAC 66 2.5
81 Eastern Michigan MAC 66
82 Troy Sun Belt 65.5
83 North Carolina ACC 65
84 Temple AAC 64.5 3.5
85 Ohio MAC 64.5 3.5
86 UNLV Mountain West 64.5 2
87 Oregon State Pac-12 64 2
88 UAB Conference USA 63.5
89 Middle Tennessee State Conference USA 63.5 3.5
90 Tulsa AAC 63
91 Western Michigan MAC 63 3.5
92 Tulane AAC 63
93 Air Force Mountain West 63 3.5
94 Florida International Conference USA 62
95 Miami (OH) MAC 61.5 2.5
96 Nevada Mountain West 61
97 Kansas Big 12 61 2
98 Army Independent 60.5
99 Wyoming Mountain West 60.5 3.5
100 Akron MAC 60.5 2.5
101 Hawaii Mountain West 60 2
102 SMU AAC 59.5
103 Illinois Big Ten 59.5 2
104 Georgia Southern Sun Belt 58.5
105 Louisiana-Monroe Sun Belt 58 2.5
106 Southern Miss Conference USA 57.5
107 Colorado State Mountain West 57
108 Coastal Carolina Sun Belt 56
109 Rutgers Big Ten 56 2
110 East Carolina AAC 56 2
111 New Mexico Mountain West 55.5
112 UMass Independent 55.5 2
113 South Alabama Sun Belt 55 2.5
114 Central Michigan MAC 55
115 Ball State MAC 54 2
116 Old Dominion Conference USA 53.5
117 UTSA Conference USA 52 2.5
118 Kent State MAC 52 2
119 Western Kentucky Conference USA 52
120 Liberty Independent 52
121 Georgia State Sun Belt 51.5 2.5
122 Louisiana Sun Belt 51.5 2.5
123 Charlotte Conference USA 51 2
124 Bowling Green MAC 50 2
125 Texas State Sun Belt 49 2
126 New Mexico State Independent 48 2.5
127 UConn AAC 47.5 2.5
128 San Jose State Mountain West 47
129 Rice Conference USA 47 2
130 UTEP Conference USA 44 2.5

Here are my PR adjustments for Week 5:

Up: UCF +2, Penn State +0.5, Akron +2.5, NC State +2.5, Charlotte +2, WKU +2.5, Purdue +3, Syracuse +2, Miami OH +1.5, Ohio +1, East Carolina +4, Notre Dame +2.5, Virginia +3.5, Buffalo +2.5, Kentucky +6, Michigan +1, West Virginia +2.5, Southern Miss +3, SMU +2.5, UNLV +1.5, Kansas +2, Memphis +1.5, Texas State +1.5, Old Dominion +2, North Texas +2.5, Alabama +2.5, Eastern Michigan +1, Duke +2, Illinois +1, Texas A&M +2, Louisiana Tech +2, Texas Tech +2, North Carolina +2.5, UL Monroe +1, South Alabama +1, Utah State +2, Indiana +1, BYU +2

Down: FAU -2.5, USC -1, Marshall -2, UMass -2, Minnesota -1.5, Ball State -3, Boston College -3, UConn -2.5, Bowling Green -2, Tulane -1, Georgia Tech -2, USF -3.5, Wake Forest -2.5, Louisville -2.5, Georgia State -2, Rutgers -5, Oregon -1, Tennessee -1, Mississippi State -3, Nebraska -4, Kansas State -1.5, Ole Miss -2, Oklahoma -1, UTSA -1, Virginia Tech -3.5, Washington -2.5, Colorado State -1, Temple -1, Auburn -1, Arkansas -1.5, Michigan State -0.5, Navy -2

Here are some of the biggest adjustments:

Kentucky +6 – You beat Florida for the first time in 31 years, I’m impressed, but maybe that says more about Florida. You beat Mississippi State, you’ve earned my respect.

East Carolina +4 – Maybe Scottie Montgomery is going to save his job after all.

Virginia +3.5 – I see you, Bronco Mendenhall. The Cavaliers won with defense last week as Bryce Perkins had a bit of a flat game, but this is a legit ACC team that could very well pull an upset or two.

Purdue +3 – I’m still not quite sure what you are Purdue, but I’m disappointed that you took such a circuitous route to your first win.

Southern Miss +3 – They just keep finding quarterbacks in Hattiesburg, don’t they?

Rutgers -5 – Boy, am I glad the Big Ten can advertise in the New York City area because they added Rutgers.

Nebraska -4 – The best news from last week is that the Cornhuskers added Bethune-Cookman to the schedule to replace Akron. #Under6.5 #blessed #morelikescottlostlol

Virginia Tech -3.5 – Y’all gave up 652 yards and 49 points to Old Dominion. Oh, and lost Josh Jackson and kicked another defensive player off of the team in the process. This may not even be a big enough adjustment.

USF -3.5 – Maybe I don’t have a handle on this team. Maybe nine first downs against East Carolina is pathetic.

Mississippi State -3 – Credit to Kentucky for the big home win, but Nick Fitzgerald isn’t the right guy for this offense. He’s not a good enough passer.

Ball State -3 – Guess I was wrong about you, Ball State.

Boston College -3 – I was hesitant to move Boston College. I started my jump two weeks ago and finished my leap last week. Then you failed me.

Here are my Week 5 numbers:

Date Away Home My Line
9/27 North Carolina Miami FL -23.5
9/28 Memphis Tulane +13
UCLA Colorado -5
9/29 Army Buffalo -12.5
Cincinnati UConn +16
Central Michigan Michigan State -28.5
Northern Illinois Eastern Michigan -2.5
Kent State Ball State -4
Rice Wake Forest -26.5
Old Dominion East Carolina -4.5
Bowling Green Georgia Tech -27.5
Temple Boston College -17
Syracuse Clemson -22.5
South Alabama Appalachian State -16.5
Virginia Tech Duke -5.5
UL-Monroe Georgia State +4
UMass Ohio -12.5
Pitt UCF -13
South Carolina Kentucky -2
Virginia NC State -7.5
Indiana Rutgers +15
Nevada Air Force -5.5
Utah Washington State -4.5
Oregon State Arizona State -15.5
BYU Washington -18.5
Toledo Fresno State -8.5
Western Michigan Miami OH -1
Florida State Louisville +4
Ohio State Penn State +3.5
Arkansas State Georgia Southern +7
Tennessee Georgia -27
Liberty New Mexico -6.5
Southern Miss Auburn -33
Iowa State TCU -11.5
Louisiana Alabama -54.5
Baylor Oklahoma -25
UTEP UTSA -10.5
Purdue Nebraska +3.5
Texas Kansas State +8
West Virginia Texas Tech +6
Louisiana Tech North Texas -6
Charlotte UAB -15.5
Oklahoma State Kansas +19.5
Marshall Western Kentucky +12.5
Florida Mississippi State -10.5
Mississippi LSU -14.5
Coastal Carolina Troy -12.5
Florida Atlantic MTSU +3.5
USC Arizona +5
Boise State Wyoming +17
Hawaii San Jose State +10
Stanford Notre Dame -1.5
Michigan Northwestern +7.5
Arkansas Texas A&M (N-Arlington) -18.5
Oregon California +2.5

Games to consider based on power ratings:

The games listed here went 3-2 last week, so there’s that.

UCLA +11 (+5) – Maybe I just can’t rate UCLA, but Colorado has beaten Colorado State, Nebraska, and New Hampshire. This line implies that Colorado is rated in the mid-70s based on where I have UCLA or that UCLA is a bottom 40 team. I don’t believe either of those things are true.

Buffalo -7.5 (-12.5) – Kudos to anybody that grabbed 6 before it went 7. I don’t adjust these numbers for situational spots of the fact that games against option teams feature limited possessions. I’d probably scale it back to 10.5 with that last fact, but there’s still a little value here. The market is up to 7.5, so the value is slowing going away.

Kent State +8.5 (+4.5) – I lowered Ball State and now there appears to be value on this number. Yes, Ball State is getting into MAC play, but so is Kent State, after taking lumps against Ole Miss and Penn State the last two weeks.

South Alabama +24.5 (+16.5) – South Alabama is a bottom 20 team for me and this line is still off more than a touchdown.

Washington State PK (-4.5) – Still a believer in Washington State.

Oregon State +21 (+15.5) – The Beavers have one of the worst defenses in the country, but the offense is a lot better. Maybe I was a little too optimistic with last week’s adjustment. Last week’s Arizona State game says more about Washington I think and how they’re just not offensively equipped to win in lopsided fashion. I’m considering adjusting them down more.

Northwestern +13 (+7.5) – Maybe I haven’t dropped Northwestern down enough, but Michigan blowing out SMU and Nebraska doesn’t really do it for me.

Keep it tuned to BangTheBook.com every Monday for my College Football Power Ratings updates.

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