Week 7 college football power ratings and game spreads

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

USATSI_19199516

Quarterback injuries have been a big story for a couple of weeks, but we’ve got even more of them to worry about this week. Players like NC State’s Devin Leary and Kansas’s Jalon Daniels mean a lot to the line and coaches in college football don’t have to be as forthcoming with injury information as the guys in the pros. As a result, we’ve had some surprise starters and a lot of uncertainty with the lines.

A lot of bad teams have been changing their quarterbacks as well in hopes of sparking some kind of turnaround. You never really know how a backup is going to perform. San Diego State only scored 16 points against the lowly Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, but the Aztecs have a new leading passer in Jalen Mayden. He’s played one game and has half of the pass attempts of Braxton Burmeister, but has outgained him through the air by 59 yards. That’s just one example from this past week.

In the era of college football free agency and the transfer portal, there are more moving parts than ever before. It was reported last week that multiple SMU players were going to sit out and preserve a year of eligibility by redshirting. I’ve also heard about the same thing happening at Colorado. Players at other schools will be doing this as well. It may be harder than ever before to handicap college football, especially by doing power ratings.

I still like using them as a guide and to try and get out in front of the market with some lines that I think will move, but I will be focused on overhauling my process for next season and also fixing my in-season updating process. Being adaptable is arguably the most important trait in this business. It takes time and it takes humility to be able to look at your process and assess how well it is working. Right now, the QB injuries are making it tough to get a true evaluation, as there are so many teams that are moving targets because they have those injuries or are playing teams that are missing key pieces.

Trying to get a little better, sharper and smarter each day is the goal and that’s what I’ll continue to look to do the rest of the way.

Here are my Week 7 Power Ratings:

Rank

Team

Conference

PR

HFA

1

Georgia

SEC

98.5

3.5

2

Alabama

SEC

97.5

3.5

3

Ohio State

Big Ten

96.5

3.5

4

Michigan

Big Ten

89

3

5

USC

Pac-12

86

2

6

Tennessee

SEC

85

2.5

7

Texas

Big 12

85

2

8

Clemson

ACC

84.5

3.5

9

Oregon

Pac-12

83

3

10

Ole Miss

SEC

82.5

2

11

Kansas State

Big 12

82.5

2

12

UCLA

Pac-12

82

2

13

TCU

Big 12

82

2

14

Utah

Pac-12

81.5

3.5

15

Mississippi State

SEC

81

2.5

16

Oklahoma State

Big 12

80.5

3

17

Penn State

Big Ten

80.5

2.5

18

Notre Dame

Independent

80

3.5

19

Texas A&M

SEC

79.5

3.5

20

LSU

SEC

79

2.5

21

Baylor

Big 12

78.5

2

22

Florida State

ACC

78.5

2

23

Minnesota

Big Ten

77.5

2

24

Kentucky

SEC

77

2

25

Arkansas

SEC

77

2

26

Washington

Pac-12

76.5

2

27

James Madison

Sun Belt

76.5

2

28

NC State

ACC

76

3

29

Wake Forest

ACC

75.5

2.5

30

Boise State

Mountain West

75.5

2.5

31

Oregon State

Pac-12

75

2

32

Cincinnati

AAC

75

3.5

33

Pitt

ACC

75

2

34

Purdue

Big Ten

75

2

35

Iowa State

Big 12

74.5

2.5

36

Florida

SEC

74

3

37

Wisconsin

Big Ten

74

2

38

North Carolina

ACC

73.5

2

39

Texas Tech

Big 12

73.5

2

40

UCF

AAC

73.5

3.5

41

Kansas

Big 12

73

1

42

Maryland

Big Ten

72.5

2

43

West Virginia

Big 12

72.5

2.5

44

Illinois

Big Ten

72.5

1.5

45

Troy

Sun Belt

72.5

2

46

Oklahoma

Big 12

72.5

3.5

47

Miami (FL)

ACC

72

2.5

48

BYU

Independent

71.5

2

49

Washington State

Pac-12

71.5

3

50

Syracuse

ACC

71.5

2

51

South Carolina

SEC

71

2

52

Louisville

ACC

70.5

2

53

East Carolina

AAC

70.5

1.5

54

San Jose State

Mountain West

70.5

2

55

Iowa

Big Ten

70

3

56

SMU

AAC

70

3.5

57

Auburn

SEC

70

3

58

Tulane

AAC

70

3

59

South Alabama

Sun Belt

70

2

60

Air Force

Mountain West

70

2.5

61

Appalachian State

Sun Belt

69.5

3.5

62

Stanford

Pac-12

69.5

2

63

UTSA

Conference USA

69

2

64

Marshall

Sun Belt

68.5

2

65

California

Pac-12

68.5

2

66

Arizona State

Pac-12

68.5

2.5

67

UAB

Conference USA

68

3.5

68

Toledo

MAC

68

2.5

69

Arizona

Pac-12

67.5

2

70

Missouri

SEC

67.5

2.5

71

Tulsa

AAC

66

2

72

Coastal Carolina

Sun Belt

66

2

73

Nebraska

Big Ten

65

1.5

74

Michigan State

Big Ten

65

2

75

Western Kentucky

Conference USA

64.5

2

76

Houston

AAC

64.5

2

77

Liberty

Independent

64.5

3.5

78

Indiana

Big Ten

64

2

79

Memphis

AAC

64

3.5

80

Kent State

MAC

63.5

2.5

81

Fresno State

Mountain West

63

2.5

82

Rutgers

Big Ten

63

1.5

83

Boston College

ACC

62

2

84

Georgia State

Sun Belt

62

2

85

Georgia Tech

ACC

62

2

86

Duke

ACC

61.5

2

87

Vanderbilt

SEC

61

1

88

Southern Miss

Sun Belt

61

2

89

Arkansas State

Sun Belt

61

2

90

Virginia

ACC

61

3

91

UNLV

Mountain West

60.5

1

92

Utah State

Mountain West

60.5

2

93

Virginia Tech

ACC

60

2

94

San Diego State

Mountain West

60

2

95

Georgia Southern

Sun Belt

59.5

2.5

96

Miami (OH)

MAC

59.5

3

97

Northern Illinois

MAC

59.5

2

98

Louisiana

Sun Belt

59.5

3

99

Navy

AAC

59.5

2

100

Middle Tennessee

Conference USA

59

2.5

101

Florida Atlantic

Conference USA

58.5

3

102

Eastern Michigan

MAC

58.5

2

103

Army

Independent

58

3

104

South Florida

AAC

58

2

105

Wyoming

Mountain West

58

2.5

106

Buffalo

MAC

58

3.5

107

North Texas

Conference USA

57.5

2

108

Central Michigan

MAC

57

2.5

109

Rice

Conference USA

57

1

110

Old Dominion

Sun Belt

56.5

2

111

UTEP

Conference USA

56

1

112

Louisiana Tech

Conference USA

55.5

2

113

Northwestern

Big Ten

55

2

114

Texas State

Sun Belt

55

1.5

115

Ball State

MAC

54

2

116

New Mexico

Mountain West

53.5

1

117

Louisiana-Monroe

Sun Belt

53

2

118

Western Michigan

MAC

52

2

119

Ohio

MAC

50.5

2

120

UConn

Independent

50.5

1

121

Temple

AAC

50

2

122

Charlotte

Conference USA

49.5

2

123

Colorado State

Mountain West

49

1.5

124

Bowling Green

MAC

48.5

1

125

Nevada

Mountain West

48.5

3

126

Colorado

Pac-12

47

2

127

New Mexico State

Independent

46.5

2

128

UMass

Independent

39.5

1.5

129

Akron

MAC

39

1

130

FIU

Conference USA

37.5

2

131

Hawaii

Mountain West

37.5

2

Here are my Week 7 adjustments:

Up: UCF + 2, Rutgers + 1, Colorado State + 1, San Jose State + 3.5, Indiana + 1, Buffalo + 4.5, Pitt + 2, Ohio State + 3, South Carolina + 1.5, Florida State + 1, Missouri + 2.5, Georgia State + 2.5, Kent State + 2.5, Texas State + 4, James Madison + 3.5, Boise State + 4.5, Oregon + 1.5, UCLA + 4, Arizona State + 4.5, Stanford + 1.5, UL Monroe + 2, Tennessee + 1.5, Texas Tech + 1.5, Texas + 7, Toledo + 2, UTSA + 2, Notre Dame + 3.5, Purdue + 2.5, Eastern Michigan + 2, Wisconsin + 1.5, Georgia Tech + 3, New Mexico + 2, Troy + 3, UConn + 3, TCU + 2, Penn State + 4.5

Down: SMU -2, UNLV -4.5, Maryland -2, Miami (FL) -3, Bowling Green -3, Virginia Tech -3, Boston College -2.5, Michigan State -2, NC State -4, Florida -2, Georgia Southern -1.5, Miami (OH) -1.5, App State -2, Army -3, Akron -2, Utah -4, Washington -3, Coastal Carolina -2, East Carolina -2, Oklahoma State -2.5, Arkansas -4, Northwestern -3, Western Kentucky -3, BYU -3, Cincinnati -2, Western Michigan -2, Tulsa -2.5, Iowa -2, Alabama -1.5, Kentucky -3, Nebraska -2.5, Oregon State -5.5

Injury*: Louisville -5 (if Cunningham out), Kentucky -7 (if Levis out), Alabama -6 (if Young out), Arkansas -4 (if Jefferson out), Kansas -6 (if Daniels out), NC State (-6 if Leary out), Illinois (-4 if DeVito out)

Those are just some of the quarterbacks missing or those that were starters and may not be going forward. With some teams and some games, the opposing defense just may not have been prepared for a QB change, but the team the following week has some film on the new guy. Coaches seem to have much quicker trigger fingers with less loyalty across the board.

Here are some notes on the biggest adjustments:

Texas + 7: Quinn Ewers looks to be the real deal and I think a big reason why Texas was bumped so much this week was because of how he looked against Oklahoma. The Sooners are obviously in bad shape right now, so I think the Texas win has been overrated a tad in the market, but there is a different look and feel with the program.

Oregon State -5.5: I guess I got a little overanxious with the Beavers after a nice start to the season. Their last three data points haven’t been great, though they did play two good teams in USC and Utah. I was way off on the Washington State line this week, so I had to adjust. Maybe I’m just too low on the Cougars.

Penn State + 4.5: I’m not sure how or why this happened, but I had Michigan about a two-touchdown favorite against Penn State this week at the Big House. Apparently I’m too low on the Nittany Lions or too high on a Michigan team that hasn’t really played anybody yet, but I bumped Penn State up a bit out of caution that I was making a big mistake by not viewing them more favorably.

Boise State + 4.5: Welcome Back, Koetter, as in Dirk Koetter, who has completely fixed the Boise State offense in a two-week span. The Broncos have scored 75 points against San Diego State and Fresno State and now head into the bye week with the ground game rolling and a whole lot more confidence. Boise State has rushed for 316 yards each of the last two weeks.

Arizona State + 4.5: Maybe the rumors are true that sabotage took place to get Herm Edwards fired in Tempe. The Sun Devils beat a very good Washington team last week and were pretty competitive with USC before running out of gas and turning the ball over in the second half. There’s a different feel to this team now and I have to respect that. They’re off this week, but I think we’ll see that respect in the market.

Buffalo + 4.5: The MAC stinks, but Daaaaaa Bulls are playing pretty well. This is a team that lost on a Hail Mary against Holy Cross earlier this season, but has scored 112 points against three MAC opponents and is the only team without a loss in the East Division.

UNLV -4.5: The margin for error is so small with a program like UNLV. Doug Brumfield is questionable this week and his absence was a big reason why the Rebels only scored seven points against San Jose State last week. He doesn’t play defense, though, and that side of the ball has started to falter.

UCLA + 4: Okay, maybe the win over Washington lost some luster with this week’s performance from the Huskies against Arizona State, but that’s a really good Utah team that UCLA pushed around this past weekend. This offense is absolutely humming with Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet. I’d venture to say it’s been a long time since Utah gave up 8.23 yards per play to a Pac-12 opponent, but that’s what happened here.

Here are my Week 7 lines:

Date

Away

Home

My Line

10/12

Louisiana

Marshall

-11

 

 

 

 

10/13

Baylor

West Virginia

+ 3

 

Temple

UCF

-27

 

 

 

 

10/14

Navy

SMU

-14

 

UTSA

FIU

+ 29.5

 

 

 

 

10/15

Kent State

Toledo

-7

 

Buffalo

UMass

+ 17

 

Alabama (w/ Young)*

Tennessee

+ 12.5

 

Vanderbilt

Georgia

-41

 

Miami (FL)

Virginia Tech

+ 10

 

Penn State

Michigan

-11.5

 

Mississippi State

Kentucky (w/ Levis)*

+ 2

 

North Carolina

Duke

+ 10

 

LSU

Florida

+ 2

 

Maryland

Indiana

+ 6.5

 

NC State (w/ Leary)*

Syracuse

+ 2.5

 

UConn

Ball State

-5.5

 

Central Michigan

Akron

+ 17

 

Nebraska

Purdue

-11

 

Clemson

Florida State

+ 4

 

Memphis

East Carolina

-8

 

Tulane

USF

+ 10

 

Minnesota

Illinois (w/ DeVito)

+ 3.5

 

Miami (OH)

Bowling Green

+ 10

 

Northern Illinois

Eastern Michigan

-1

 

Old Dominion

Coastal Carolina

-11.5

 

James Madison

Georgia Southern

+ 14.5

 

Arkansas State

Southern Miss

-2

 

Arkansas (w/ Jefferson)*

BYU

+ 3.5

 

New Mexico

New Mexico State

+ 5

 

Cal

Colorado

+ 19.5

 

USC

Utah

+ 1

 

Washington State

Oregon State

-6.5

 

Arizona

Washington

-11

 

San Jose State

Fresno State

+ 7

 

Texas State

Troy

-19.5

 

Auburn

Ole Miss

-14.5

 

UL Monroe

South Alabama

-19

 

Kansas (w/ Daniels)*

Oklahoma

-3

 

Oklahoma State

TCU

-3.5

 

Iowa State

Texas

-12.5

 

Ohio

Western Michigan

-3.5

 

Wisconsin

Michigan State

+ 7

 

Western Kentucky

Middle Tennessee

+ 3

 

Charlotte

UAB

-22

 

Louisiana Tech

North Texas

-4

 

Rice

FAU

-4.5

 

Nevada

Hawaii

+ 9

 

Utah State

Colorado State

+ 10

 

Stanford

Notre Dame

-14

 

Air Force

UNLV

+ 8.5

Games to consider based on my power ratings:

Michigan -7 (-11.5) vs. Penn State: Michigan has not really been tested yet, but this team just looks so strong. Maybe Penn State can provide a test, and there are some 6.5s showing up now, but I think Michigan is just better than the market believes. We’re seeing a lot of emphasis on strength of schedule mismatches right now, as several of the lines where I’m off from market have those differences.

UConn + 9.5 (+ 5.5) at Ball State: Ball State is one of the few teams in the MAC capable of playing defense, but I love what the Huskies are doing this season. They’ve run the ball well and are actually halfway to bowl eligibility with Ball State, UMass and Army left on the schedule.

James Madison -10.5 (-14.5) at Georgia Southern: Maybe this is the game where the JMU juggernaut comes back to earth a bit, but dominant doesn’t even begin to describe this team’s body of work outside of the App State game. Georgia Southern is much improved, but not on App State’s level. The Eagles also have a bad defense and JMU has scored at least 40 points in four of five games.

So much news to pay attention to this week. Keep an eye on that and keep an ear out for the latest edition of the VSiN College Football Podcast with myself and Tim Murray that will come out early Tuesday morning.

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