There’s a lot of different factors that go into handicapping college football. One of the most popular among experts are power rankings.
Not to be confused with the AP or Coaches Poll, where you have people voting based off past success or a teams record. This is why you see ranked teams sometimes listed as underdogs against an unranked team.
A true rankings system would put records and past accomplishments aside. The focus would only be on the talent level. To better understand this, let’s think of our rankings in terms of the spread.
How to Handicap NCAAF Using Power Ranking Systems
By putting a team No. 1, that means you would favor that team on the spread against every other team in the country on a neutral field. This also means that the No. 10 would be an underdog on a neutral site against No. 1-9 and a favorite against the rest of the field.
Some systems will just list the teams in order of how they rank them, while others will assign actual values. A good example of this is ESPN’s FPI(link below). You will see they have Ohio State rated No. 1 with a rating of 29.1. The next best is Alabama at 26.0. That means if those two teams were to play today, they would have the Buckeyes about a 3-point favorite on a neutral field.
As I’m sure you are already thinking, what about games that aren’t on neutral fields. Most set a specific value for home field advantage. Others will adjust that number based on who the home team is.
While there’s not a universal number, but most have it right around 3-points. So in our previous example, if it was at Ohio St the FPI line would be -6 and if it was at Alabama it would be right around a pick’em.
Boyd’s 2017 NCAA Football Power Ratings
Below I have included my NCAAF ratings for the 2017 season. These rankings are based on where I predict each team will be sitting at the end of the season. As you can see, the Buckeyes are my No. 1 ranked team. Check out my NCAAF predictions to see who I have winning it all in 2017. You can also compare my rankings to the odds to win it all set by the oddsmakers. While most only focus on the indivual ratings for each team, I’ve also include my conference ratings for this season.
Individual Team Ranks: Top 25 (Projected 2017 Record)
Just Missed the Cut:
- Virginia Tech (9-3)
- Kansas State (9-3)
- Toledo (10-3)
- Oregon (8-4)
- Tennessee (8-4)
- UCLA (8-4)
- Nebraska (8-4)
Conference Ranks (FBS)
‘*’ = Power 5
‘**’ = Group of 5
College Football Online Power Ranking Resources
As you might have guessed, creating your own power ratings system takes a lot of work. Not only do you have to spend a ton of time researching, but you have to be able to translate that work into a computer system that generates values. It also needs to be something that you can easily adjust as the season progresses.
Chances are you don’t have that kind of time on your hands. That’s why I’ve put together a massive list of some of the top online systems out there. These can be a great help when it comes to breaking down the NCAA Football odds each week. I suggest finding one you like and tweaking it to make it your own.
List of Top NCAAF Sources
- ESPN Football Power Index (FPI)
- Odds Shark
- Jeff Sagarin – USA Today
- J. Howell
- Sonny Moore
- Marsee System
- Anderson & Hester
- Colley Matrix
- Born Power Index
- Pigskin Index
- Jay Coleman
- Edward Kambour
- Pi-Rate Vintage
- Congrove Computer Rankings
- TF Gridiron
- DPDS Dogs