Adam Burke shares his weekly college football power ratings
The college football season is flying by. It is already Week 6, which means that some teams will have played 50% of their regular season games by Saturday night. The Week 5 results had many of us asking the same question we’ve asked over the last few weeks, as it simply does not appear that we have a truly elite team in college football this season.
There are 22 undefeated teams in the nation right now and not one of them comes from the SEC West, so that becomes a very interesting storyline with Georgia looking rather human through five games and Kentucky on the docket this week, along with Missouri, Ole Miss, and Tennessee in November, plus the likely SEC Championship Game.
But, that is just one of many storylines out there. We’ve got five Pac-12 teams ranked in the Top 15 (I only have three in my Top 15 - Washington, Oregon, USC). We’ve got three Big Ten East teams in the Top 10 (as do I) and there will be some eliminator games later in the season in terms of undefeated records. One unbeaten will fall this week in the Big 12 with the Red River Rivalry game between Oklahoma and Texas.
I don’t have to spend as much time on the intro this week, as I’ve talked about my process and why box score study is so important. Hopefully you’ve been doing your own research to find those misleading final scores or those games where there was more than meets the eye.
One thing I do have to mention is that we’re starting to see the coaching carousel spin. Georgia Tech demoted Andrew Thacker and named Kevin Sherrer the lone defensive coordinator. Dana Dimel’s seat is hotter than lava at UTEP. Frankly, I’m shocked he hasn’t been fired yet, but maybe the UTEP athletic department doesn’t want to pay the buyout. Other names will start to surface. Those can make for some really uncomfortable scenarios, especially because these coaches make promises to players and players go to schools because of the coaches that recruited them.
We keep racking up the data points on the field and those allow people like me to keep tweaking power ratings, but there are always those intangible things that can have an impact.
Here are my Week 6 College Football Power Ratings:
Here are my Week 6 power ratings adjustments:
Up: Tulsa +2, Oregon State +1.5, Cincinnati +2.5, Bowling Green +4, Virginia Tech +2.5, Tennessee +2, Kentucky +4.5, Coastal Carolina +1.5, James Madison +2.5, Old Dominion +2, Western Michigan +5.5, Arkansas State +4, Arizona State +5, Purdue +2.5, Alabama +2, Oklahoma +1.5, Auburn +2, Texas A&M +2, West Virginia +3, Texas +2, Maryland +2, Baylor +4 (Shapen return), East Carolina +1.5, Troy +2.5, Colorado State +1, Air Force +3, Louisville +2, Wisconsin +1.5
Down: Temple -4, Sam Houston State -3, UTEP -5, Utah -2.5, BYU -3, Pitt -4, South Carolina -3, Ball State -1.5, UMass -2, Illinois -3, Toledo -2, Boise State -3.5, Appalachian State -3, LSU -3, Arkansas -3, USC -2.5, Mississippi State -2, Minnesota -3, Iowa -2.5 (McNamara), Oklahoma State -3, Syracuse -2.5, Georgia -1, Rutgers -2.5, South Alabama -3
Injury: Duke -8 (Leonard inj - on bye this week)*, Kansas -5 (Daniels)*, UCF +4 (if Plumlee returns)
*- if out
Some notes on the biggest movers:
Western Michigan +5.5: My numbers have been lagging behind on the Broncos, so I made a sizable adjustment. Nothing more than that, really. I think I downgraded them too far for what happened against Syracuse and Iowa, but they played an excellent first half against Toledo and then crushed Ball State last week.
Arizona State +5: This is just a correction to Arizona State getting much healthier at the QB position. Trenton Bourguet was back this week and the Sun Devils were big box score winners against Cal, but had two turnovers and three more on downs.
Kentucky +4.5: This is an example of not exercising enough patience. After rather uninspired wins over Akron and Eastern Kentucky, I lowered the Wildcats because my numbers were higher than the market. I was deliberately high on UK coming into the season and bailed too quickly, as they’ve really looked good the last two weeks against Vandy and Florida to open SEC play.
Arkansas State +4: Another big bump for the Red Wolves. They played UMass and maybe the Minutemen are just really bad, but Arky State seems to have found something with freshman Jaylen Raynor, so up they go again.
Baylor +4: I’m still not impressed with Dave Aranda’s team this season, but the gap between Blake Shapen and Sawyer Robertson is pretty big. Maybe even bigger than this, but the defense has regressed enough for me to be a little cautious with this bump.
Bowling Green +4: My line was shorter than the market last week with BG against Georgia Tech. I may have adjusted too much here, but any time a MAC team pulls off a win like that, they’re going to get a bump in league play and I wanted to get out in front of that. QB Connor Bazelak seems like a good fit there.
UTEP -5: The Miners are in real trouble. They’ve lost to every FBS team they’ve faced and played three QBs in the loss to Louisiana Tech. This is a really terrible football team.
Temple -4: I was too quick to move Kentucky down, but not quick enough to move Temple down. I was high on the Owls coming into the season, but they have not remotely looked the part thus far.
Pitt -4: Pat Narduzzi is signed through the 2030 season, so Pitt is stuck. The Panthers have lost to all four FBS teams that they’ve played and have lost the last three games by multiple scores. They’ve given up 79 points in two ACC games. It looks really bad right now.
Boise State -3.5: The QB play for Boise State has been suspect at best. I don’t think this team is getting the same talent that it once did and they come off as very one-dimensional to me. I’m not high on this group at all.
South Carolina, Arkansas, LSU -3: Rough day for SEC teams in my power ratings. South Carolina has the talent to rise up periodically, but that Tennessee game wasn’t even as close as the score. Arkansas has been beaten by BYU and Texas A&M recently in uncompetitive performances. LSU’s defense is way worse than it should be.
Here are my Week 6 lines:
Games to consider based on my Power Ratings (by date/rotation number):
Liberty (-18 / -24) vs. Sam Houston State: Jamey Chadwell’s crew is playing very well this season. I’ve been higher than the market the last few weeks on the Flames and they’ve consistently exceeded expectations. Now they’re against a Sam Houston State team that just lost in overtime while the Flames had a bye. Furthermore, SHSU can’t move the ball, so I think it’ll be hard to keep pace.
Nebraska (+3 / -0.5) at Illinois: I don’t think I’m going to bet this game, but this will be a litmus test to see if I’m right with how far I’ve downgraded Illinois. I don’t like either team, but Illinois has been falling like a rock in my PRs. I’ve dropped them 13.5 points since the start of the season.
Army (-4 / -9.5) vs. Boston College: This line is slowly inching up from the -3.5 it opened, so at least I might be on the right track in that regard. I just feel like BC is a really bad, poorly-coached team. Those aren’t good combos against Army with limited possessions. On the other hand, Army has lost to UL Monroe and Syracuse, so maybe I’m just too high on the Black Knights. They are off a bye, so I might get invested here.
Navy (-5.5 / -9) vs. North Texas: Maybe the theme here is that I’m not too great at rating the service academies. That said, North Texas had allowed at least 31 points in every game and the last two have been against Abilene Christian and Louisiana Tech. On the other hand, UNT has scored at least 39 points in each of the last three games. Tough handicap, I guess. Tough teams to rate. My line may just be off.
Ball State (+2.5 / -2) at Eastern Michigan: I like this one more than others, but I’d love to catch a +3. Eastern Michigan was “close” against Central Michigan, but the Chips had nearly eight yards per play when they had the ball. The box score wasn’t as close as the final score. I’ll be curious to see if that leads to money on the Cardinals.
Arizona State (+5.5 / +0.5) vs. Colorado: I really wanted to know where this number was going to open and I think it would have been closer to mine if Colorado’s offense hadn’t staged such a comeback against USC. Arizona State got healthier at QB and moved the ball very well on Cal. I thought I’d want to be on Colorado here, but I’m thinking I lean the other way now. I’m not surprised that my line is off on this game. If I hadn’t moved ASU up five points, I wouldn’t be off on it, but the market doesn’t seem to have accurately adjusted for Bourguet being back and Pyne being healthy enough to play two weeks ago.
Western Michigan (+21.5 / +14.5) at Mississippi State: This is my biggest overlay of the week. I’ve been very aggressive in downgrading Mississippi State. This is an enormous downgrade in opponent, going from playing LSU, South Carolina, and Alabama to playing Western Michigan, so I have to be cognizant of that. Also, Will Rogers has been sacked 14 times and this offense isn’t as explosive as it was under Mike Leach. The defense has also taken steps back under Zach Arnett. I just don’t think this is a good version of the Bulldogs.
Old Dominion (+3.5 / -3) at Southern Miss: Maybe it’s the vendetta I have against Southern Miss, but here’s another week where I have some line value in fading them. The 50-36 last week against Texas State is misleading as hell. The Bobcats were up 42-10 at half in that game. The Golden Eagles scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, which they trailed 42-16 heading into. Go Monarchs.
If you ever have questions about the power ratings process, you can find me on X as @SkatingTripods or email aburke [at] vsin [dot] com.