We have no idea how The Power Rank will perform against the line this early in the season. In fact, we haven’t even tested it during the regular season at all. But for what it’s worth, here are some thoughts on tomorrow’s games.
Notre Dame will beat Michigan State by 0.1 at home. A line of Notre Dame by 5 at home is weird. Last week, Notre Dame was favored by 3 at Michigan. With a 3 point home field advantage, Notre Dame would have been favored by 9 at home against Michigan. So this implies Michigan State is 4 points better than Michigan, which is ridiculous by any standard. The Power Rank has Michigan State as more than 9.5 points better than Michigan. Spartans look like a good bet.
Auburn will beat Clemson by 10.5 on the road. As we discussed last week, Auburn is an incredibly difficult team to rank with the losses from their National Championship team last year. But the line is Clemson by 3.5, which seems just way off. With a 3 point home field advantage, Vegas is saying Clemson is a slightly better team than Auburn. This game would really benefit from separating offense and defense, as Auburn’s offense seems light years ahead of its defense in their first two games. Still, leaning toward Auburn to win on the road.
Stanford will beat Arizona by 13.3 on the road. Vegas, with Stanford as a 9 point favorite, might be undervaluing the school of high academic standards and slow skill players. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is arguably the best in the country and will throw against an Arizona secondary with injury problems. Of course, no bias here.
West Virginia will beat Maryland by 2.8 on the road. West Virginia fans are waiting for new coach Dana Holgorsen’s offense to click. If it does, the Mountaineers should improve upon their 9.2 rating from last year. Of course, it’s only Holgorsen’s first year. Maryland hasn’t had a rating over 5.0 in the last 6 years, and new coach Randy Edsall just arrived. Vegas has Maryland by 1, which seems to be seriously overvaluing the Terrapins.
Arizona State will beat Illinois by 0.9 on the road. The line started with Arizona State by 1.5 on the road but has shifted to Illinois by 2. Illinois currently has a 7.0 rating, but they’ve only ended the season that high once (2007) in the last 6 years. Arizona State didn’t make a bowl last year but had many close losses to good teams (Stanford, Wisconsin). If they can play to last year’s level and avoid stupid penalties… well, they won’t avoid stupid penalties, but they can and probably should win this road game.
Florida State will beat Oklahoma by 0.9 at home. This is an interesting game since The Power Rank has both teams outside the top 10 while everyone else in the country has these two teams in the top 10. The logic with Oklahoma appears to be that a great program with 16 returning starters means greatness. The logic with Florida State is that strong recruiting will push this program into the top 5. We’ll learn something about the validity of these arguments Saturday. One of these two teams will vault into our top 10. The line is Oklahoma by 3.5 on the road, which seems to reflect the 47-17 score that Oklahoma beat Florida State last year in Norman. Pass.
Florida will beat Tennessee by 5.7 at home. Vegas has Florida by 9.5, which seems too high. The final rankings from last year would have Florida by 8 at home, so Vegas thinks Florida will improve more than Tennessee. The Power Rank thinks Tennessee has improved more in 2 games, but that’s certainly a small sample size. Pass.
Ohio State will beat Miami (FL) by 8.3 on the road. With former coach Jim Tressel, Ohio State was one of the most consistently good programs in the country. No one knows how much they’ll drop off with him. Miami is another difficult to team to rank, since coach Al Golden just arrived. There’s always talent, but that doesn’t always translate into a high year end rating. The line hasn’t budged from Miami by 2.5 at home, so everyone agrees that Ohio State is an ever so slightly better team. We’ll see. Pass.
Wisconsin will beat Northern Illinois by 12.2 at home. Northern Illinois is a sneaky good team from the MAC and 29th in The Power Rank. The line is Wisconsin by 16.5. This is probably about right, since Wisconsin might be getting better with new quarterback Russell Wilson, while Northern Illinois might struggle this year after last year’s coach Jerry Kill left for Minnesota. The location of this game in Chicago complicates things slightly. However, there is ample evidence that crowd support creates a home field advantage, so the many Wisconsin fans at Soldier Field will make it a home field for the Badgers.
Boise State will beat Toledo by 17.9 on the road. This line started at Boise State by 17.5, but it has bid up to 20. While Toledo came within a whisker of beating Ohio State in Columbus, it’s really hard to pin down the Buckeyes at this point in the season. Probably a good idea to stay away from this game. (By the time of post, Boise State won 40-15.)
LSU will beat Mississippi State by 6.3 on the road. Tigers get it done and win 19-6, covering the 3.5 points.
Oregon will beat Missouri State by 40.1 at home
Alabama will beat North Texas by 42.0 at home
TCU will beat Louisiana Monroe by 37.7 at home
Arkansas will beat Troy by 29.6 at home
Oklahoma State will beat Tulsa by 12.2 on the road
Virginia Tech will beat Arkansas State by 25.9 at home
Nebraska will beat Washington by 16.4 at home
South Carolina will beat Navy by 11.4 at home
Missouri will beat Western Illinois by 23.6 at home
Texas A&M will beat Idaho by 23.2 at home
Nevada will beat San Jose State by 21.9 on the road
North Carolina State will beat South Alabama by 24.1 at home
San Diego State will beat Washington State by 14.0 at home
Iowa will beat Pittsburgh by 6.9 at home
Georgia will beat Coastal Carolina by 26.8 at home
USC will beat Syracuse by 10.0 at home
UCF will beat Florida International by 4.5 on the road
Utah will beat Brigham Young by 0.4 on the road
California will beat Presbyterian by 34.1 at home
Hawaii will beat UNLV by 20.5 on the road
South Florida will beat Florida A&M by 37.7 at home
Mississippi will beat Vanderbilt by 7.4 on the road
North Carolina will beat Virginia by 12.3 at home
Kentucky will beat Louisville by 5.4 at home
Baylor will beat Stephen F. Austin by 17.1 at home
Texas will beat UCLA by 2.9 on the road
Georgia Tech will beat Kansas by 10.5 at home
Kansas State will beat Kent State by 17.1 at home
Connecticut will beat Iowa State by 4.0 at home
Texas Tech will beat New Mexico by 18.6 on the road
Temple will beat Penn State by 1.9 at home
Southern Miss will beat Southeastern Louisiana by 28.7 at home
Fresno State will beat North Dakota by 23.7 at home
Michigan will beat Eastern Michigan by 27.6 at home
Colorado will beat Colorado State by 12.7 at home
Boston College will beat Duke by 9.5 at home
Cincinnati will beat Akron by 25.5 at home
Minnesota will beat Miami (OH) by 3.2 at home
Army will beat Northwestern by 0.8 at home
Louisiana Tech will beat Houston by 5.2 at home
SMU will beat Northwestern State by 21.7 at home
Ohio will beat Marshall by 7.5 at home
Wake Forest will beat Gardner-Webb by 26.7 at home
UAB will beat Tulane by 14.0 at home
Western Michigan will beat Central Michigan by 2.1 at home
Purdue will beat Southeast Missouri State by 12.7 at home
Bowling Green will beat Wyoming by 0.9 at home
UTEP will beat New Mexico State by 2.7 on the road
Indiana will beat South Carolina State by 13.2 at home
Western Kentucky will beat Indiana State by 8.1 at home
Louisiana Lafayette will beat Nicholls State by 17.6 at home
Ball State will beat Buffalo by 4.1 at home
Memphis will beat Austin Peay by 12.7 at home