Week 5 college football power ratings and game spreads

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

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I’ve always found that it’s important to exercise patience with college teams. Just think about what you were like between the ages of 18-24. Everybody has a different experience in those college years or while working on a trade, but the same themes are present throughout. You’re learning how to grow up. How to be an adult. How to navigate relationships and live in the real world.

While athletes have different responsibilities and reach stages in their lives at a different pace than most of us, there is still a high level of unpredictability when it comes to college football. As a result, I try to wait until we get a decent sample size to start making some big determinations on teams. There are some that you need to adjust quicker than others because of market conditions, injuries or obvious characteristics, but Week 4 and Week 5 tend to be good spots to realize what teams are and what they aren’t.

The reality is that one-third of the regular season is over for a lot of these teams. Some had early bye weeks, which can be a blessing or a curse, but most of the nation’s programs have played four games. You don’t want to overreact to one game or two games, but patterns are starting to emerge.

What is really striking heading into this week is that most of the lines I’ve had that have been off from the market have been wrong. That will happen as you create your own numbers and have differences of opinion, but sometimes you’ll be right and sometimes you’ll be wrong. For me, I’ve been wrong more often than I’ve been right, so there are some big adjustments this week on some teams that have consistently fallen short of expectation and some that have been much better than I (and many others) anticipated.

Here are my Week 5 Power Ratings:

Rank

Team

Conference

PR

HFA

1

Georgia

SEC

98.5

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

USC

Pac-12

86

2

6

Clemson

ACC

85.5

3.5

7

Tennessee

SEC

83.5

2.5

8

Oklahoma

Big 12

83

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

Washington

Pac-12

81.5

2

14

Ole Miss

SEC

81

2

15

Cincinnati

AAC

81

3.5

16

Penn State

Big Ten

81

2.5

17

Oregon

Pac-12

80.5

3

18

Texas

Big 12

80.5

2

19

Kentucky

SEC

80

2

20

Florida State

ACC

79.5

2

21

LSU

SEC

79

2.5

22

Mississippi State

SEC

79

2.5

23

Kansas State

Big 12

78.5

2

24

Baylor

Big 12

78.5

2

25

Oregon State

Pac-12

78

2

26

BYU

Independent

77.5

2

27

Wisconsin

Big Ten

77

2

28

TCU

Big 12

77

2

29

NC State

ACC

77

3

30

Notre Dame

Independent

76.5

3.5

31

Florida

SEC

76

3

32

Minnesota

Big Ten

76

2

33

Louisville

ACC

75.5

2

34

Wake Forest

ACC

75.5

2.5

35

Miami (FL)

ACC

75

2.5

36

Maryland

Big Ten

74.5

2

37

Iowa State

Big 12

74.5

2.5

38

UCF

AAC

74.5

3.5

39

UCLA

Pac-12

74.5

2

40

Purdue

Big Ten

74

2

41

Pitt

ACC

73

2

42

West Virginia

Big 12

72.5

2.5

43

Iowa

Big Ten

72

3

44

Texas Tech

Big 12

72

2

45

North Carolina

ACC

72

2

46

SMU

AAC

72

3.5

47

Washington State

Pac-12

71.5

3

48

Syracuse

ACC

71.5

2

49

Appalachian State

Sun Belt

71.5

3.5

50

Kansas

Big 12

71

1

51

Illinois

Big Ten

70.5

1.5

52

East Carolina

AAC

70.5

1.5

53

Auburn

SEC

70

3

54

Air Force

Mountain West

70

2.5

55

Tulane

AAC

70

3

56

James Madison

Sun Belt

70

2

57

Michigan State

Big Ten

69.5

2

58

South Carolina

SEC

69.5

2

59

Boise State

Mountain West

68.5

2.5

60

Marshall

Sun Belt

68.5

2

61

California

Pac-12

68.5

2

62

UAB

Conference USA

68

3.5

63

Stanford

Pac-12

68

2

64

South Alabama

Sun Belt

68

2

65

Houston

AAC

67.5

2

66

Virginia Tech

ACC

67.5

2

67

Western Kentucky

Conference USA

67.5

2

68

UTSA

Conference USA

67

2

69

Troy

Sun Belt

66.5

2

70

Fresno State

Mountain West

66

2.5

71

Coastal Carolina

Sun Belt

66

2

72

Indiana

Big Ten

66

2

73

Toledo

MAC

66

2.5

74

Army

Independent

65.5

3

75

Nebraska

Big Ten

65.5

1.5

76

Missouri

SEC

65

2.5

77

Liberty

Independent

64.5

3.5

78

UNLV

Mountain West

65

1

79

Arizona

Pac-12

64.5

2

80

Memphis

AAC

64

3.5

81

Arizona State

Pac-12

64

2.5

82

San Diego State

Mountain West

63

2

83

Tulsa

AAC

62.5

2

84

Rutgers

Big Ten

62

1.5

85

South Florida

AAC

62

2

86

Duke

ACC

61.5

2

87

Boston College

ACC

61.5

2

88

Georgia Southern

Sun Belt

61

2.5

89

Vanderbilt

SEC

61

1

90

Miami (OH)

MAC

61

3

91

Southern Miss

Sun Belt

61

2

92

San Jose State

Mountain West

61

2

93

Virginia

ACC

61

3

94

Northwestern

Big Ten

60

2

95

Wyoming

Mountain West

60

2.5

96

Northern Illinois

MAC

59.5

2

97

Louisiana

Sun Belt

59.5

3

98

Georgia Tech

ACC

59

2

99

Middle Tennessee

Conference USA

59

2.5

100

Old Dominion

Sun Belt

58.5

2

101

Florida Atlantic

Conference USA

58.5

3

102

Kent State

MAC

58.5

2.5

103

Utah State

Mountain West

58

2

104

Arkansas State

Sun Belt

57.5

2

105

Navy

AAC

57.5

2

106

North Texas

Conference USA

57.5

2

107

Georgia State

Sun Belt

57.5

2

108

Central Michigan

MAC

57

2.5

109

Eastern Michigan

MAC

56.5

2

110

UTEP

Conference USA

56

1

111

Louisiana Tech

Conference USA

55.5

2

112

Ohio

MAC

54.5

2

113

Western Michigan

MAC

54

2

114

Ball State

MAC

54

2

115

Rice

Conference USA

54

1

116

Buffalo

MAC

53.5

3.5

117

Colorado State

Mountain West

52

1.5

118

New Mexico

Mountain West

51.5

1

119

Temple

AAC

51.5

2

120

Bowling Green

MAC

51.5

1

121

Louisiana-Monroe

Sun Belt

51

2

122

Texas State

Sun Belt

51

1.5

123

Colorado

Pac-12

50.5

2

124

Charlotte

Conference USA

49.5

2

125

Nevada

Mountain West

48.5

3

126

New Mexico State

Independent

46.5

2

127

UConn

Independent

44.5

1

128

Akron

MAC

41

1

129

FIU

Conference USA

37.5

2

130

Hawaii

Mountain West

37.5

2

131

UMass

Independent

37.5

1.5

Here are my Week 5 Power Ratings Adjustments:

Up: West Virginia + 3, UTEP + 2, Baylor + 1.5, Kentucky + 1, Temple + 2, Kent State + 3, Notre Dame + 3.5, Middle Tennessee + 2.5, Penn State + 1.5, Louisville + 1, Wake Forest + 1.5, Florida State + 1.5, Navy + 2, Buffalo + 2, James Madison + 4.5, Duke + 2, Kansas + 5.5, Miami (OH) + 2, Arkansas State + 5, Wyoming + 3, Washington State + 4, Cal + 2.5, Washington + 1.5, Troy + 2.5, South Alabama + 5.5, TCU + 2, Texas Tech + 2, UL Monroe + 2, Rice + 2, Southern Miss + 2, Western Kentucky + 3, UNLV + 4.5, LSU + 2.5, San Jose State + 2, Ball State + 3, New Mexico State + 3

Down: Virginia Tech -3, Georgia State -3, Syracuse -2, Air Force -1.5, Boise State -3, Iowa State -2.5, UMass -2, Georgia -1, North Carolina -2.5, Miami (FL) -5.5, Central Michigan -3.5, South Florida -3, Michigan State -7, Clemson -2, Boston College -4, Rutgers -3, Northwestern -2, BYU -2.5, Hawaii -2.5, Arizona State -2.5, Arizona -2, Bowling Green -3 (QB inj – McDonald), Oklahoma -2, SMU -2, Texas -2, Louisiana -2.5, Houston -1, Memphis -1.5, Missouri -2, Auburn -2, Western Michigan -6, Virginia -2, Tennessee -2, Ohio -1.5, UTSA -2, Colorado State -3, FIU -2.5, Wisconsin -2

Injury*: Tulsa -6 (if QB Brin out), Purdue -6 (if O’Connell out)

Some notes on the biggest adjustments:

Michigan State -7: I still haven’t gone far enough on Sparty, but what a mess Mel Tucker’s team has been thus far. They were a regression candidate coming into the season because of their losses and last year’s resume, but it is shocking how inept this team has been.

Western Michigan -6: Some of this has to do with the play and the injury to Jack Salopek, but the Broncos are just a bad football team at this point. The line against San Jose State continued to grow and I had to make a sizable adjustment to this team. We’ll see if this is enough, but I’m not convinced that it is at this point.

Miami (FL) -5.5: Man, I really thought Miami was going to be good. Mario Cristobal was back at home. Josh Gattis left a good job at Michigan to work with Tyler Van Dyke in Coral Gables. Instead, the Hurricanes are a mess and Van Dyke has regressed as much as any quarterback in the country. This may not be enough of a move on “The U”, but it does address just how bad this team has been.

South Alabama + 5.5: I really, truly felt like I had properly rated the Jaguars coming into the season, but they continue to exceed expectations and have been priced like one of the better Group of Five teams in the market. This is also a touch-and-go situation in that I may not have adjusted them up enough. Kane Wommack will be a sought after candidate this year in the coaching carousel as some teams look to replace guys that took bigger jobs.

Kansas + 5.5: One of the most challenging hurdles to jump over is when a historically bad team is a lot better than past versions. UNLV (+ 4.5) falls into this category as well. What the Jayhawks are doing under Lance Leipold with Jalon Daniels at the helm really, truly stands out across the college football landscape and I have to tip my cap and give props to those teams.

Arkansas State + 5: The Red Wolves have been priced in a favorable light for the last few weeks. I’ve been reluctant to abandon my preseason research on a team that was downright awful last season, but it is clear that the talent has improved with this roster.

James Madison + 4.5: When a team transitions from FCS to FBS, there are a lot of questions. Those teams have fewer scholarships available and are unable to enjoy some of the perks that come with being a Division I-A team. Well, that hasn’t stopped JMU, who gets a big boost for a second straight week.

Here are my lines for Week 5:

Date

Away

Home

My Line

9/29

Utah State

BYU

-21.5

 

 

 

 

9/30

Tulane

Houston

+ 0.5

 

UTSA

Middle Tennessee

+ 5.5

 

San Diego State

Boise State

-8

 

Washington

UCLA

+ 5

 

New Mexico

UNLV

-12.5

 

 

 

 

10/1

Illinois

Wisconsin

-8.5

 

Northwestern

Penn State

-23.5

 

Louisville

Boston College

+ 12

 

Georgia Southern

Coastal Carolina

-7

 

Wake Forest

Florida State

-6

 

Georgia State

Army

-11

 

NC State

Clemson

-12

 

Georgia Tech

Pitt

-16

 

Michigan State

Maryland

-7

 

Virginia

Duke

-2.5

 

Virginia Tech

North Carolina

-6.5

 

Liberty

Old Dominion

+ 4

 

East Carolina

South Florida

+ 6.5

 

SMU

UCF

-6

 

Northern Illinois

Ball State

+ 3.5

 

Purdue

Minnesota

-4

 

Texas State

James Madison

-21

 

Navy

Air Force

-15

 

Oklahoma State

Baylor

+ 2.5

 

Iowa State

Kansas

+ 2.5

 

South Alabama

Louisiana

+ 5.5

 

Temple

Memphis

-16

 

Cincinnati

Tulsa* (Brin inj)

+ 16.5

 

UMass

Eastern Michigan

-21

 

Oregon State

Utah

-8.5

 

FIU

New Mexico State

-11

 

Cal

Washington State

-6

 

Colorado

Arizona

-16

 

Arizona State

USC

-24

 

Stanford

Oregon

-15.5

 

Kentucky

Ole Miss

-3

 

Texas Tech

Kansas State

-8.5

 

Rutgers

Ohio State

-35

 

Texas A&M

Mississippi State

+ 1

 

Oklahoma

TCU

+ 4

 

Michigan

Iowa

+ 14

 

West Virginia

Texas

-10

 

LSU

Auburn

+ 6

 

Alabama

Arkansas

+ 11.5

 

Georgia

Missouri

+ 31

 

Central Michigan

Toledo

-11.5

 

Miami OH

Buffalo

+ 4

 

Fresno State

UConn

+ 20.5

 

Bowling Green

Akron

+ 9.5

 

Ohio

Kent State

-5.5

 

Louisiana Monroe

Arkansas State

-8.5

 

FAU

North Texas

-1

 

UTEP

Charlotte

+ 4.5

 

Indiana

Nebraska

-2

 

Troy

Western Kentucky

-3

 

UAB

Rice

+ 13

 

San Jose State

Wyoming

-1.5

Some lines to consider based on my power ratings:

Washington -2.5 (-5) at UCLA: I guess this is a big test for Kalen DeBoer’s bunch, but the Huskies now have the offense to match the defense, which was very good under Jimmy Lake. The sky is the limit for the Huskies and a Pac-12 futures bet is not out of the question moving forward.

Clemson -6.5 (-12) vs. NC State: To this point, I feel like Devin Leary and NC State has been one of the nation’s biggest disappointments. Obviously Clemson’s defense sprung a bunch of leaks against Sam Hartman and the Demon Deacons, but the offense really emerged after a slow start from DJ Uiagalelei. The Wake Forest game wasn’t a great data point, but I still think the Tigers are really good.

Purdue + 10 (+ 4) at Minnesota: Let’s see if Aidan O’Connell is good to go this week. If he is, this is a huge number for Minnesota. Beating up on Michigan State said a lot more about the Spartans than it did about the Golden Gophers in my opinion.

Kentucky + 6.5 (+ 3) at Mississippi State: I really like Mississippi State, but I’ve got a decent overlay here, which is interesting given that my line between Northern Illinois and Kentucky was really short last week. Maybe I don’t have the Wildcats graded fairly, but this is a run vs. pass battle that I think Kentucky can have success with.

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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