Some major injuries have left important questions in the betting markets for this week. There are some lines that suggest key quarterbacks like Dillon Gabriel and Malik Cunningham will be out of action. Finding injury information with college football can be a real challenge and not all coaches are forthcoming with the intel about their players, so we’ll have to wait and see how those lines react as the week goes along.
We’ve got a lot of information about the teams now that we’re into Week 6, which has actually led to some overreactions, at least according to my numbers. Bad performances are really being viewed in a negative light, especially if they come on the heels of a team failing to cover the spread. I don’t really factor ATS record into my power ratings process, but it sure seems like the market reacts to it pretty heavily.
I do compare my line and the closing line, but I don’t really look at how far a team underperformed relative to expectation. It does show up when I study the box score, but I’m using those to look more for big turnover margin outliers, special teams or defensive touchdowns and other anomalies. For example, Kent State had 736 yards of offense against Ohio and only managed 31 points, while Arkansas State had just 355 yards and scored 45 points. I see that in a box score and then wonder why, so that’s one of the main functions for why I study those.
Perhaps that is something that I do need to work into my equation more. Like I’ve said in previous articles, power ratings are an inexact science. I can always learn something from what I do right and what I do wrong, and maybe I’m not accurately taking performance relative to expectation into account when making my adjustments. It will be something I look at more in future weeks and for future seasons as well.
For now, here is my 1 through 131 for Week 6:
Here are my Week 6 Power Ratings Adjustments:
Up: UCLA + 3.5, Illinois + 2, Boston College + 3, Georgia State + 2, Minnesota + 1.5, Navy + 2, Kansas State + 4, NC State + 3, North Carolina + 1.5, James Madison + 3, Kansas + 2, Tulsa + 6, UMass + 2, Utah + 2.5, Oregon + 1, Mississippi State + 2, TCU + 3, Alabama + 2.5, UConn + 3, Kent State + 2.5, Arkansas State + 3.5, Nebraska + 2, Rice + 3, San Jose State + 6, Utah State + 2.5, Boise State + 2.5, Ole Miss + 1.5, South Alabama + 2, Troy + 3, Arizona + 3, Washington State + 2.5
Down: BYU -3, Washington -2, Wisconsin -4.5, Army -5.5, Northwestern -2, Louisville -5 (if Cunningham out, -12), Florida State -2, Clemson -1, Michigan State -2.5, Virginia Tech -4.5, Old Dominion -2, Purdue -1.5, Temple -1.5, Cincinnati -4, Colorado -3.5, Texas A&M -3, Oklahoma -7 (-12 if Gabriel out), Texas -2.5, Arkansas -2, Fresno State -3, Ohio -4, Indiana -3, Wyoming -2, USF -4, UCF -3, San Diego State -3, Colorado State -4, Houston -3
A few notes on the biggest movers:
Oklahoma -7: This is one of the potential overreactions that I’m talking about. Oklahoma’s defense is clearly bad, but this is a pretty good offense on the whole. That being said, the loss of Dillon Gabriel could be huge for this team and the line against Texas seems to imply that he’s unlikely to play.
San Jose State + 6: This is a bit of a market correction here, as it appears that San Jose State is held in much higher regard than where I had them rated. Time will tell if the market is right or not, but I’ve definitely been off on some of their lines recently.
Tulsa + 6: Same thing here, where I had been low on a couple straight Tulsa lines and way too low in last week’s cover against Cincinnati. Davis Brin wasn’t 100%, but played, so he should be fine going forward, so there’s no reason to worry about the Golden Hurricane.
Army -5.5: The Black Knights might just be bad. Georgia State jumped out to a big lead and won comfortably in West Point. Army just isn’t on par with some of the previous versions and I had them a double-digit favorite in last week’s ugly performance.
Virginia Tech -4.5: This offense is terrible. I sang the praises of the defense a few weeks ago and maybe prematurely elevated them up the rankings.
Wisconsin -4.5: This team also isn’t very good and just fired Paul Chryst. I think Chryst was an unfair scapegoat in this whole thing, but Lance Leipold may be available and he was simply elite at Wisconsin-Whitewater, is a Wisconsin native and was also a graduate assistant at Wisconsin from 1991-93. They are positioning themselves for a run at him and we’ll see what it does for the rest of the season.
Here are my lines for the Week 6 games:
Games that have some power ratings value relative to market lines:
Louisville -3.5 (-6.5) at Virginia: I think Virginia has really taken a tumble this season. Des Kitchings and the offensive staff are ruining Brennan Armstrong. I know Malik Cunningham might be out for the Cardinals, but Virginia has been one of the biggest disappointments this season.
Eastern Michigan + 4 (+ 0.5) at Western Michigan: The MAC stinks, which leads to a lot of uncertainty when ranking these teams. I wonder if the narrative about Arizona State coaches giving out plays to the opposition is really hurting Eastern Michigan here. I guess ugly efforts against Buffalo and UMass don’t help either, but anything over a field goal seems to be too much.
Kansas State -2.5 (-5.5) at Iowa State: I’m a huge believer in the Wildcats at this point. Adrian Martinez looks like a completely different player and Chris Klieman continues to prove that he is one hell of a coach. I even listed the high-water mark on this line and think it’s worthwhile under a field goal.
Troy -6.5 (-10) vs. Southern Miss: The Trojans have impressed the hell out of me this season. They should’ve beaten App State, but didn’t let that hurt them the following week against Marshall. They just beat a really good Western Kentucky team. First-year head coach Jon Sumrall is doing some fine work here.
Western Kentucky + 5 (+ 1.5) vs. UTSA: Two contrasting styles here make for a fun game, but I still really love the way Austin Reed has been playing for the Hilltoppers. UTSA wants to run it. Western Kentucky wants to throw it. I like the team that throws it a lot with a high total of 70.
Due to a family matter, I won’t be on the VSiN College Football Podcast with Tim Murray on Tuesday, but I’ll be back the following week. Make sure you listen and subscribe!