Week 4 college football power ratings and game spreads

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

USATSI_19064004

Each college football season presents unique challenges. As bettors, we are left trying to answer several different questions week in and week out. As we head into Week 4, one of the biggest questions centers around how much we want to continue to trust our preseason work. Another question is how we want to evaluate team performances to date.

Take Marshall as one obvious example. The Thundering Herd went on the road and beat Notre Dame in Week 2. They followed that up by losing to Bowling Green in Week 3. Those are two very opposite ends of the spectrum and the Herd are not the only team with results like this.

South Florida lost 50-21 to BYU in Week 1, but has since beaten Howard and taken Florida to the wire. Rutgers is 3-0 with a win by one over Boston College, two over a terrible Temple team and a blowout of Wagner, one of the worst teams in college football. Kansas State rolled over Missouri, but then lost at home to Tulane. Do we give the Wildcats a pass because Oklahoma was on deck or do we punish them for losing to the Green Wave?

These are all weekly questions that have to be answered, but as the inconsistencies become more and more noticeable, we’re left to figure out what’s real, what’s not, what could be and what should be.

Every data point gives us more information, but we eventually run out of data points and may never have a great handle on a team. Other times, a team is precisely what we thought it was. These are meant to be a guide, not serve as gospel. Trying to get ahead of line moves to grab good numbers is the goal. Good numbers won’t always win. Bad numbers won’t always lose. But, we do the best we can to process information and place wagers that we can stand behind.

Here are my power ratings for Week 4:

Rank

Team

Conference

PR

HFA

1

Georgia

SEC

99.5

3.5

2

Alabama

SEC

96.5

3.5

3

Ohio State

Big Ten

93.5

3.5

4

Michigan

Big Ten

89

3

5

Clemson

ACC

87.5

3.5

6

USC

Pac-12

86

2

7

Tennessee

SEC

85.5

2.5

8

Oklahoma

Big 12

85

3.5

9

Oklahoma State

Big 12

83

3

10

Utah

Pac-12

83

3.5

11

Arkansas

SEC

83

2

12

Texas A&M

SEC

82.5

3.5

13

Texas

Big 12

82.5

2

14

Ole Miss

SEC

81

2

15

Cincinnati

AAC

81

3.5

16

Miami (FL)

ACC

80.5

2.5

17

Oregon

Pac-12

80.5

3

18

BYU

Independent

80

2

19

Washington

Pac-12

80

2

20

Penn State

Big Ten

79.5

2.5

21

Wisconsin

Big Ten

79

2

22

Kentucky

SEC

79

2

23

Mississippi State

SEC

79

2.5

24

Kansas State

Big 12

78.5

2

25

Oregon State

Pac-12

78

2

26

Florida State

ACC

78

2

27

Baylor

Big 12

77

2

28

NC State

ACC

77

3

29

Iowa State

Big 12

77

2.5

30

Michigan State

Big Ten

76.5

2

31

LSU

SEC

76.5

2.5

32

Florida

SEC

76

3

33

Minnesota

Big Ten

76

2

34

TCU

Big 12

75

2

35

Maryland

Big Ten

74.5

2

36

UCF

AAC

74.5

3.5

37

Louisville

ACC

74.5

2

38

North Carolina

ACC

74.5

2

39

UCLA

Pac-12

74.5

2

40

Purdue

Big Ten

74

2

41

SMU

AAC

74

3.5

42

Wake Forest

ACC

74

2.5

43

Syracuse

ACC

73.5

2

44

Notre Dame

Independent

73

3.5

45

Pitt

ACC

73

2

46

Auburn

SEC

72

3

47

Iowa

Big Ten

72

3

48

Boise State

Mountain West

71.5

2.5

49

Air Force

Mountain West

71.5

2.5

50

Appalachian State

Sun Belt

71.5

3.5

51

Illinois

Big Ten

70.5

1.5

52

East Carolina

AAC

70.5

1.5

53

Virginia Tech

ACC

70.5

2

54

Tulane

AAC

70

3

55

Texas Tech

Big 12

70

2

56

West Virginia

Big 12

69.5

2.5

57

South Carolina

SEC

69.5

2

58

UTSA

Conference USA

69

2

59

Houston

AAC

68.5

2

60

Marshall

Sun Belt

68.5

2

61

UAB

Conference USA

68

3.5

62

Stanford

Pac-12

68

2

63

Washington State

Pac-12

67.5

3

64

Missouri

SEC

67

2.5

65

Arizona

Pac-12

66.5

2

66

Arizona State

Pac-12

66.5

2.5

67

Fresno State

Mountain West

66

2.5

68

Coastal Carolina

Sun Belt

66

2

69

Indiana

Big Ten

66

2

70

California

Pac-12

66

2

71

Toledo

MAC

66

2.5

72

Boston College

ACC

65.5

2

73

Army

Independent

65.5

3

74

Nebraska

Big Ten

65.5

1.5

75

Memphis

AAC

65.5

3.5

76

James Madison

Sun Belt

65.5

2

77

Kansas

Big 12

65.5

1

78

Rutgers

Big Ten

65

1.5

79

South Florida

AAC

65

2

80

Liberty

Independent

64.5

3.5

81

Western Kentucky

Conference USA

64.5

2

82

Troy

Sun Belt

64

2

83

San Diego State

Mountain West

63

2

84

Virginia

ACC

63

3

85

Tulsa

AAC

62.5

2

86

South Alabama

Sun Belt

62.5

2

87

Northwestern

Big Ten

62

2

88

Louisiana

Sun Belt

62

3

89

Georgia Southern

Sun Belt

61

2.5

90

Vanderbilt

SEC

61

1

91

Georgia State

Sun Belt

60.5

2

92

UNLV

Mountain West

60.5

1

93

Central Michigan

MAC

60.5

2.5

94

Western Michigan

MAC

60

2

95

Northern Illinois

MAC

59.5

2

96

Duke

ACC

59.5

2

97

Miami (OH)

MAC

59

3

98

Georgia Tech

ACC

59

2

99

Southern Miss

Sun Belt

59

2

100

San Jose State

Mountain West

59

2

101

Old Dominion

Sun Belt

58.5

2

102

Florida Atlantic

Conference USA

58.5

3

103

Utah State

Mountain West

58

2

104

North Texas

Conference USA

57.5

2

105

Wyoming

Mountain West

57

2.5

106

Middle Tennessee

Conference USA

56.5

2.5

107

Eastern Michigan

MAC

56.5

2

108

Ohio

MAC

56

2

109

Louisiana Tech

Conference USA

55.5

2

110

Kent State

MAC

55.5

2.5

111

Navy

AAC

55.5

2

112

Colorado State

Mountain West

55

1.5

113

Bowling Green

MAC

54.5

1

114

UTEP

Conference USA

54

1

115

Arkansas State

Sun Belt

52.5

2

116

Rice

Conference USA

52

1

117

Buffalo

MAC

51.5

3.5

118

New Mexico

Mountain West

51.5

1

119

Ball State

MAC

51

2

120

Texas State

Sun Belt

51

1.5

121

Colorado

Pac-12

50.5

2

122

Charlotte

Conference USA

49.5

2

123

Temple

AAC

49.5

2

124

Louisiana-Monroe

Sun Belt

49

2

125

Nevada

Mountain West

48.5

3

126

UConn

Independent

44.5

1

127

New Mexico State

Independent

43.5

2

128

Akron

MAC

41

1

129

Hawaii

Mountain West

40

2

130

FIU

Conference USA

40

2

131

UMass

Independent

39.5

1.5

Here are my Week 4 Power Ratings Adjustments:

Up: Cincinnati + 1, Syracuse + 2, Temple + 2, Indiana + 1, Georgia + 2, Oklahoma + 1.5, Old Dominion + 1.5, South Alabama + 2.5, UNLV + 5.5, Tulane + 2.5, Penn State + 1, Vanderbilt + 2.5, Oregon + 2, Georgia Southern + 5, Troy + 2, Kansas + 4.5, Washington State + 2, Liberty + 3.5, LSU + 1.5, Arkansas State + 3, SMU + 1.5, Washington + 4, Rice + 2, Texas + 2, USC + 2.5, Oregon State + 2, Charlotte + 3, South Florida + 3, Florida State + 2 (Travis inj? -4 if out), Eastern Michigan + 2

Down: Air Force -2, Miami (OH) -3, Texas State -2, South Carolina -3.5, Nebraska -4, Coastal Carolina -2, Virginia -3, UCLA -2.5, Notre Dame -5, North Texas -1.5, Auburn -3, Colorado -4.5, Georgia Tech -2, Houston -3, Alabama -3, Colorado State -2, Mississippi State -2, Akron -2.5, Georgia State -3, Texas Tech -2, FAU -3.5, Maryland -2, Michigan State -5, Louisiana -2, Miami (FL) -3, Missouri -2, Northwestern -2.5, Hawaii -2.5, Fresno State -8 (Haener/Williams inj), San Diego State -2, NC State -3, Arizona State -2, Boston College -2, Utah State -2

Some notes on the big movers:

Fresno State -8: Jake Haener is worth a ton to this team and the line. His high ankle sprain will keep him out for a while and Logan Fife takes over. He has 25 career pass attempts to his name. The Bulldogs also lost star safety Evan Williams, so two leaders will be out for the foreseeable future.

UNLV + 5.5: The Runnin’ Rebels look like a different team to this point and I gave them a big boost in my power ratings. I’m not sure if this is too much or not enough, but after thrashing North Texas when I had the Mean Green favored, an adjustment was absolutely necessary.

Georgia Southern + 5: A little bit of a catch-up here, even though Georgia Southern lost to UAB. The Eagles actually outgained the Blazers in the game (albeit on 20 more plays), but went -3 in turnover margin to lose by 14. It was still another good offensive performance with 6.5 yards per carry on the ground.

Notre Dame -5: Maybe the Fighting Irish figured some things out in the second half, but it was another lackluster performance against a Cal team that barely beat UNLV the week prior. My Notre Dame line is a touch heavy on UNC this week, so I may have overadjusted, but I don’t want to bet on this team anyway.

Michigan State -5: Sparty was viewed as a regression candidate coming into this season and that appears to be happening. Payton Thorne hasn’t looked as effective without Kenneth Walker and the Spartans really played an awful first half against Washington. I was also 6.5 points off on that closing line and I was wrong on both teams, so I made adjustments to both.

Kansas + 4.5: Lance Leipold might be the best coach in the country for what he’s done with the Jayhawks this season. This offense is dynamic, which we haven’t been able to say since Todd Reesing and Mark Mangino were rock stars in Lawrence.

Colorado -4.5: Wyoming beat Air Force. Air Force pummeled Colorado. How bad are the Buffaloes? By the way, if you want to feel old, Josh McCown’s kid went 4-for-7 for 52 yards for Colorado this past Saturday.

Washington + 4: Kalen DeBoer has sold me. The Huskies, who had a top-25 defense last season, now have the offense to match it. I’ve moved UDub up more than a touchdown in my PRs since the start of the season.

Alabama -3: The Crimson Tide let out some frustration on Louisiana Monroe, but only had 13 completed passes in the 63-7 rout. It’s cool that they ran for seven yards per carry, but Jahmyr Gibbs was the leading receiver yet again. That’s not cool.

Here are my Week 4 spreads:

Date

Away

Home

My Line

9/22

West Virginia

Virginia Tech

-3

 

Coastal Carolina

Georgia State

+ 3.5

 

 

 

 

9/23

Virginia

Syracuse

-12.5

 

Nevada

Air Force

-25.5

 

Boise State

UTEP

+ 16.5

 

 

 

 

9/24

Baylor

Iowa State

-2.5

 

Northern Illinois

Kentucky

-21.5

 

Charlotte

South Carolina

-22

 

UMass

Temple

-12

 

Kent State

Georgia

-47.5

 

Notre Dame

North Carolina

-3.5

 

Middle Tennessee

Miami (FL)

-26.5

 

Maryland

Michigan

-17.5

 

UConn

NC State

-35.5

 

Central Michigan

Penn State

-22.5

 

Georgia Tech

UCF

-19

 

South Florida

Louisville

-11.5

 

Minnesota

Michigan State

-2.5

 

Clemson

Wake Forest

+ 11

 

Wisconsin

Ohio State

-18

 

Akron

Liberty

-26.5

 

Boston College

Florida State

-14.5*

 

Florida

Tennessee

-12

 

Indiana

Cincinnati

-18.5

 

Navy

East Carolina

-16.5

 

Ball State

Georgia Southern

-12.5

 

Buffalo

Eastern Michigan

-7

 

James Madison

App State

-9.5

 

Iowa

Rutgers

+ 5.5

 

Duke

Kansas

-7

 

Miami (OH)

Northwestern

-5

 

Arkansas State

Old Dominion

-8

 

UCLA

Colorado

+ 22

 

Wyoming

BYU

-25

 

Hawaii

New Mexico State

-5.5

 

Utah

Arizona State

+ 14

 

USC

Oregon State

+ 6

 

Toledo

San Diego State

+ 1

 

Oregon

Washington State

+ 10

 

Arizona

Cal

-1.5

 

Stanford

Washington

-14

 

Marshall

Troy

+ 2.5

 

Louisiana Tech

South Alabama

-9

 

Bowling Green

Mississippi State

-27

 

Kansas State

Oklahoma

-10

 

Tulsa

Ole Miss

-20.5

 

Vanderbilt

Alabama

-39

 

TCU

SMU

-2.5

 

Texas

Texas Tech

+ 10.5

 

Louisiana

UL Monroe

+ 11

 

Arkansas

Texas A&M (N-Arlington)

+ 0.5

 

Rice

Houston

-18.5

 

North Texas

Memphis

-11.5

 

Southern Miss

Tulane

-14

 

Missouri

Auburn

-8

 

FIU

WKU

-26.5

 

UNLV

Utah State

+ 0.5

 

FAU

Purdue

-17.5

 

New Mexico

LSU

-27.5

 

Western Michigan

San Jose State

-1

Games to consider from a power ratings standpoint:

Just as a general note, oddsmakers seem pretty convinced that the MAC is awful. In most of their games against Power Five teams, the lines are a little bit inflated. I’m trying to stay a little more grounded and focus on where I want these teams for conference play, but it is worth noting that fading the MAC is en vogue.

North Carolina + 1 (-3.5) vs. Notre Dame: I tend to think Drake Maye is pretty good, whereas I don’t think the Fighting Irish have a good QB right now. UNC’s defense is worrisome, but are we sure Notre Dame can take advantage? Home-field advantage makes up two points of the line, so I basically have UNC -1.5 on a neutral, but I’m still thinking long and hard about the Heels here.

Clemson -7 (-11) vs. Wake Forest: I guess I haven’t downgraded Clemson enough, but Wake Forest just had its hands full with Liberty and a QB that lost the position battle to Charlie Brewer entering the season. The Demon Deacons defense is suspect, while Clemson’s still looks like a strength. I think this line is more likely to go up than come down.

Georgia Southern -7.5 (-12.5) vs. Ball State: It looks as though maybe I’ve gotten too high on Georgia Southern now. Maybe the play here is over 61.5 instead, seeing as how the Eagles offense has ripped off 523 yards per game this season and 6.35 yards per play. I also think this line is cheap. Ball State has allowed 96 points in two FBS games.

Old Dominion -3.5 (-8.5) vs. Arkansas State: This is the third week in a row that I’ve been low on Arkansas State. Maybe they’re way better than I think. That Memphis game was weird, but the Tigers did have a 177-yard edge and 7.5 YPP to 5.6 for the Red Wolves. That should’ve been a cover and played out much closer to my 19.5 number than the final score of 12.

Oregon -6 (-10) vs. Washington State: I’m willing to overlook the Week 1 shellacking by Georgia when it comes to the Ducks. They easily handled a really good BYU team. Washington State has been very impressive, but Colorado State is terrible and I’m not sure how good Wisconsin is. I think this line goes up to at least a touchdown, maybe more.

Arizona + 6 (+ 1.5) vs. Cal: The Fightin’ Jedd Fisches just beat North Dakota State, who, honestly, is probably a better team than Cal. The box score wasn’t a Picasso by any means, but the Wildcats are clearly much improved. I can’t say the same about Cal.

Texas -4.5 (-10) vs. Texas Tech: I’ve been doing my own power ratings for about a decade and I never seem to have a good number on Texas Tech. But, I’m pretty convinced that this number is low. I realize Hudson Card doesn’t carry the same panache as Quinn Ewers, but Texas bullrushed a really solid UTSA team last week and that impressed me.

I’ll talk about my power ratings and some other notes on Tuesday’s edition of the VSiN College Football Podcast with host Tim Murray. Subscribe and listen HERE.

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