Preseason College Football Power Ratings First Edition

Date | AuthorAdam Burke


Last Updated: 2017-08-30

cfb power ratings first editionOur college football coverage here at is just getting started. We’re going to have a ton of great stuff to get you ready for the 2017 season. We’ve already unveiled some of it, with our look at the new Power Five and Group of Five head coaches. We’ve got some buy and sell teams and we’ll also be looking at some teams to consider for a variety of other reasons in the coming weeks.

Perhaps our biggest article to date on the upcoming CFB season is how to set up power ratings. The process was outlined and a couple of teams were used as illustrations of that process. Now, we’re going to take a look at my personal 1 through 130 as of July for the new season.

We’ll try to update this a time or two before the season actually begins on August 26. I’ll also be consulting with friends and others in the industry to see how my numbers truly stack up between now and then, so we should have at least one more update for sure. At the end of this initial set of power ratings, I’ll look at some teams where I differ greatly from some people that I have already talked to.

Without further adieu, here is my first set of power ratings for the 2017 college football season:

Rank Team Conference PR
1 Alabama SEC 97.5
2 Ohio State Big Ten 94
3 Florida State ACC 92.5
4 USC Pac-12 92
5 Oklahoma Big 12 91.5
6 Washington Pac-12 91
7 Clemson ACC 90
8 Penn State Big Ten 89.5
9 LSU SEC 89
10 Florida SEC 89
11 Auburn SEC 88.5
12 Stanford Pac-12 88
13 Georgia SEC 87.5
14 Oklahoma State Big 12 86.5
15 TCU Big 12 86.5
16 Miami FL ACC 86
17 Louisville ACC 85
18 Wisconsin Big Ten 84.5
19 Oregon Pac-12 84
20 Michigan Big Ten 83.5
21 Notre Dame Independent 83
22 Virginia Tech ACC 82.5
23 Texas Big 12 82
24 Texas A&M SEC 82
25 Washington State Pac-12 82
26 NC State ACC 81.5
27 UCLA Pac-12 79.5
28 Georgia Tech ACC 79.5
29 BYU Independent 79
30 South Florida AAC 79
31 Tennessee SEC 78.5
32 Arkansas SEC 78.5
33 Colorado Pac-12 78.5
34 Northwestern Big Ten 78
35 Pitt ACC 77.5
36 Mississippi State SEC 77.5
37 Kansas State Big 12 77.5
38 West Virginia Big 12 77.5
39 Utah Pac-12 77
40 Ole Miss SEC 76.5
41 South Carolina SEC 76
42 Baylor Big 12 75.5
43 Kentucky SEC 75
44 Memphis AAC 75
45 Houston AAC 74.5
46 Navy AAC 74.5
47 Boise State MWC 74.5
48 Michigan State Big Ten 74
49 San Diego State MWC 73.5
50 Colorado State MWC 73
51 Tulsa AAC 73
52 Syracuse ACC 73
53 Indiana Big Ten 72.5
54 Iowa Big Ten 72.5
55 Nebraska Big Ten 72
56 Vanderbilt SEC 72
57 Appalachian State Sun Belt 72
58 Western Kentucky CUSA 72
59 Arizona Pac-12 72
60 Missouri SEC 71.5
61 UNC ACC 71.5
62 Iowa State Big 12 71
63 Minnesota Big Ten 70.5
64 Boston College ACC 70.5
65 Wake Forest ACC 70.5
66 Arizona State Pac-12 70.5
67 Duke ACC 70
68 Temple AAC 70
69 Toledo MAC 70
70 Troy Sun Belt 69.5
71 Middle Tennessee State CUSA 69
72 Oregon State Pac-12 68.5
73 Louisiana Tech CUSA 68.5
74 Wyoming MWC 68
75 Virginia ACC 67.5
76 Maryland Big Ten 67.5
77 California Pac-12 67
78 Ohio MAC 67
79 Texas Tech Big 12 66.5
80 Northern Illinois MAC 66.5
81 UCF AAC 66.5
82 Army Independent 66.5
83 Arkansas State Sun Belt 65.5
84 Purdue Big Ten 64.5
85 Eastern Michigan MAC 64
86 Miami Ohio MAC 64
87 SMU AAC 63.5
88 Illinois Big Ten 63.5
89 New Mexico MWC 63.5
90 Kansas Big 12 63.5
91 Air Force MWC 63
92 Nevada MWC 63
93 Marshall CUSA 63
94 Old Dominion CUSA 63
95 Western Michigan MAC 62.5
96 Hawaii MWC 62.5
97 Cincinnati AAC 62.5
99 East Carolina AAC 62
100 Utah State MWC 62
101 Rutgers Big Ten 61
102 Florida Atlantic CUSA 61
103 Tulane AAC 60.5
104 UConn AAC 59.5
105 Southern Miss CUSA 59.5
106 Louisiana Lafayette Sun Belt 59.5
107 Akron MAC 58
108 UNLV MWC 57.5
109 Central Michigan MAC 57
110 Idaho Sun Belt 56
111 South Alabama Sun Belt 55
112 Bowling Green MAC 54.5
113 UMass Independent 54
114 Georgia Southern Sun Belt 54
115 Florida International CUSA 54
116 Ball State MAC 54
117 North Texas CUSA 53.5
118 Rice CUSA 52.5
119 San Jose State MWC 52.5
120 Coastal Carolina Sun Belt 52
121 Kent State MAC 52
122 New Mexico State Sun Belt 51.5
123 Fresno State MWC 51.5
124 Georgia State Sun Belt 51
125 Louisiana Monroe Sun Belt 50.5
126 Buffalo MAC 49.5
127 UTEP CUSA 49.5
128 Charlotte CUSA 48
129 Texas State Sun Belt 47
130 UAB CUSA 45

The way to use power ratings is to set a spread with the two values and then incorporate the home field advantage. For example, my Week 1 line between Ohio State and Indiana would be Ohio State -18.5. Ohio State is a 94. Indiana is a 72.5. Home field advantage in college football is never less than three points in my estimation, so the Hoosiers get the three-point bump for being at home. That makes (94-72.5) – 3, or 18.5.

There are some teams where I definitely differ from others that I have spoken to. Here are a few of them:

North CarolinaThe biggest difference between my numbers and others that I have talked to comes with North Carolina. The others are higher on the Tar Heels than I am, and by a pretty large margin of around five to seven points. Per Lindy’s preseason magazine, the Tar Heels lost 98.3 percent of their passing yards, 99.1 percent of their rushing yards, and 70.5 percent of their receiving yards. The offense concerns are pretty obvious.

Brandon Harris, an LSU grad transfer, takes over in all likelihood, so he has CFB experience, but the Tar Heels need to find skill players. The defense allowed 24.9 points per game last season and returns a fair amount of talent, but Gene Chizik restored this defense and he retired over the offseason. I’m probably not going to back Cal in Week 1 coming cross-country with a new coach, despite my numbers having the game UNC -7.5 and the market being UNC -12.5, but my view of UNC is pessimistic by choice.

Middle Tennessee State – The Blue Raiders aren’t getting a whole lot of preseason love, as most have them third behind Western Kentucky and Marshall in Conference USA. I actually really like what Rick Stockstill has put together in Murfreesboro. His son, Brent, will be back at QB after missing three games last season. If we include his early injury against UTSA, the Blue Raiders gave up 45, 42, 31, and 56 in those games. That made a poor defense look awful, as MTSU gave up 35.8 points per game. That’s not to say that they were great before Stockstill got hurt, but it didn’t help. Backup John Urzua threw eight INTs, one more than Stockstill in 283 fewer attempts.

That should give the entire team a boost to have him back. Junior WR Richie James is a superstar and the threat of the pass should help a running game emerge. Many I’ve spoken to have MTSU several points lower than where I have them. It’s a team I’m hoping to back early in the year with Stockstill looking to rewrite the school’s record books.

NebraskaI definitely appear to be a lot lower on Nebraska than most. This is a Cornhuskers team that managed 21 points per game against Big Ten competition last season, but had 43 against Fresno State, 52 against Wyoming, and 35 against Oregon to start the year. Injuries were a problem, but Tulane transfer Tanner Lee gets to the keys to the offense and it’s an offense that has lost some skill position talent.

The defense was really good and Bob Diaco was a great hire, so I’m guessing I’ll have to adjust Nebraska up and may very well do that before the season. Right now, I’d have a line of about 10.5 for Nebraska’s game against Arkansas State, which clearly looks light.

Sometimes it’s good to get pen to paper and write out your thoughts to see that something needs to be changed. Nebraska is likely that something.

Baylor – It appears that I have some disagreements with others about two Texas schools in the Big 12. Baylor’s program is now in Matt Rhule’s hands and I’m very curious to see how his physical brand of football carries over to a school that has attacked with speed over the last several years. Depth is an issue given what has happened over the last few years with the sexual assault allegations and the loss of scholarships and the firing of coaches.

I may be taking too strong of a stance on Baylor, but I’d be surprised if everything takes quickly under Rhule’s rule.

TCU – Talent is not a question mark in Fort Worth. I’m looking at TCU and seeing a 2014 type of season. Gary Patterson is too good of a coach to let what happened last season happen again this season. There is a lot of upside with this team and a lot of reason for optimism, with Kenny Hill back for a second year and a lot of upperclassmen. This is a TCU team that went 3-10 against the number last season, so nobody wants to believe in them.

AAC – In general, I seem to be higher on the AAC overall. It’s a fascinating league and I’ve loved the imaginative hires and the improving quality of offenses. I think these schools with enthusiastic, exciting coaches are consistently recruiting better talent and my power ratings likely reflect that. If I get burned on the AAC, so be it, but there’s a reason it’s believed to be the “sixth power conference” in college football.

Keep an eye out for an updated list of these power ratings once we head into the month of August after I do some research and talk to some more colleagues in the industry.

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Power LinesView all

(315) LOUISIANA TECH @ (316) MARSHALL | 7:00 pm 11/15/2019


Edge On: LOUISIANA TECH 5.5Bet Now
(323) TULANE @ (324) TEMPLE | 12:00 pm 11/16/2019

Play Line: TEMPLE 5.5
BTB PowerLine: TEMPLE -1

Edge On: TEMPLE 6.5Bet Now
(387) MICHIGAN ST @ (388) MICHIGAN | 12:00 pm 11/16/2019

Play Line: MICHIGAN -13.5
BTB PowerLine: MICHIGAN -20

Edge On: MICHIGAN 6.5Bet Now