The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 19, 2017

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 3: September 21-25, 2017

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Score
San Francisco LA Rams 3.8 3.3 3.9 41
Jacksonville (London) Baltimore -7.9 -7.8 -8.2 41
Indianapolis Cleveland 3.0 2.9 2.3 46
Chicago Pittsburgh -10.5 -10.3 -10.8 43
N. Y. Jets Miami -5.4 -6.1 -5.3 44
Buffalo Denver -4.1 -2.4 -4.4 41
New England Houston 12.0 12.1 12.4 38
Carolina New Orleans 6.0 6.0 6.4 58
Minnesota Tampa Bay -0.5 0.7 -1.1 41
Detroit Atlanta -0.7 0.5 -1.1 56
Philadelphia N. Y. Giants 4.0 2.5 5.3 36
Tennessee Seattle 2.9 2.8 3.0 43
LA Chargers Kansas City -3.5 -4.0 -3.8 48
Green Bay Cincinnati 9.1 9.5 8.7 44
Washington Oakland -2.5 -3.6 -1.9 53
Arizona Dallas -0.2 1.1 -0.2 48

 

The AFC West Could Have The Three Best Teams In The NFL
How could it be that the three best teams in the NFL might all play in the same division? Is it possible that Oakland, Kansas City, and Denver are the top three teams? You’d get a good argument from fans in New England, Atlanta, and maybe Pittsburgh and Baltimore, but through two weeks of the season, it is hard to say that any of the other teams outside of the AFC West are better than the top three.

Oakland owns a win at Tennessee, the team picked to win the AFC South by a majority of prognosticators. Kansas City won at New England, a team that many thought could go 16-0 this year. Denver blew Dallas off the field Sunday. All three teams are 2-0, and it is possible that all three teams will win double digit games this year.

Guess what? This isn’t the first time this division has been so strong. Let’s return to the golden age of yesteryear. Set the time travel clock back to 1967 and 1968. The old American Football League’s West Division had the same four teams as today’s AFC West–Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders (The Cincinnati Bengals would join in 1968).
Oakland had the incredible mad bomber Daryle Lamonica throwing lasers to Warren Wells and Fred Biletnikoff with bruising running backs Hewritt Dixon, Clem Daniels, and Pete Banaszak, and the Raiders’ offense was maybe one of the best of all time during that era. The Silver and Black attack topped 32 points per game in consecutive seasons. The Raider defense featured stars in all three units. Tom Keating and the inimitable Ben Davidson kept the FTD Florist company in business, as relatives of injured NFL quarterbacks frequently ordered get-well bouquets for their injured heroes. Dan Conners was one of the top middle linebackers in the game in an era where this position usually was the most important of all. The secondary was tough with stars Willie Brown and Kent McCloughan at the corners.

Kansas City played a more ball-controlled offense than Oakland, but their defense was just as dominating as the Raiders, and it made for the best rivalry in the history of organized football. The Chiefs offense was led by Len Dawson, the most accurate passer in the AFL. Dawson did not throw as many deep balls, but he had the arm and accuracy. With incredible run support from Mike Garrett, Robert Holmes, and Wendell Hayes, the Chiefs ran the ball more than the rest of the AFL during this time, and it allowed their great defense to stay on the sidelines for longer stretches. When KC’s defense took the field, it was a red storm. Tackle Buck Buchanan was the biggest defender in the league. Teams usually ran away from him, which funneled the ball carrier toward another star, end Jerry Mays.

The linebacker corps may have been the best trio of all time. Willie Lanier was the cream of the crop of middle linebackers. Bobby Bell and Jim Lynch manned the outside spots, and this group was responsible for stopping opponents from converting first downs on third and short. On the back line, Johnny Robinson was one of the top two or three safeties in the 10-year history of the AFL, if not the best. Emmitt Thomas was the equal of Oakland’s Brown on the outside.

San Diego had been the dominant AFL West team during the first half of the decade. The Chargers won the AFL West Five of the first six years. Beginning with the Chiefs-Raiders dominance in 1966 and carrying through the 1970’s, the Chargers continued to be a very good team, just not quite up to the standards of the big two. San Diego was known to get off to great starts and then fade in the last four weeks of the season. In 1966, San Diego was just a half-game behind Kansas City after eight weeks, but they finished 7-6-1 losing four of their last six. In 1967, the Chargers were 8-1-1 through 10 games, just a half-game behind Oakland at 9-1. The two teams squared off in the AFL Game of the Year in San Diego. The Chargers briefly looked like they had what it took to win that day, before Oakland wore them down and Lamonica tore the Chargers’ secondary to shreds. Oakland finished 13-1, while the Chargers lost all the rest of their games to fall to 8-5-1, good for third place. In 1968, through 10 games, the Chargers stood at 8-2, tied with Oakland and a half-game behind Kansas City, who had played 11 games and was 9-2. Once again, the Chargers crashed in December, falling to 9-5, while Oakland and Kansas City won out to finish tied at 12-2 (Oakland won in a playoff).

If we look at history in this division, two of the three current dominating teams should continue to dominate week after week, while the third team will eventually fall back. Having to play four games against the other two powers will take its toll on all three teams, and it figures that one team will have a tough time recovering from the beatings. Statistically, we could be looking at one team finishing 12-4, one team finishing 11-5, and the third team falling to 9-7. Of course, this could be totally off base, and all three teams could be on their way to finishing between 12-4 and 10-6. All three teams could easily make the playoffs, as it looks unlikely that the AFC East or AFC South will produce a wild card team this year.

Only Thrice in 62 Years!
Can you name the NFL team that has won its division only three times in the last 62 years? Obviously, 62 years back means this team has to be an original NFL team. That should make it easy for you. In the last 62 seasons, The Detroit Lions won their three Black and Blue Division titles in 1983, 1991, and 1993. They have been the bridesmaid more times than any other team during that period, finishing second 16 times through the years.

With Minnesota and Green Bay showing numerous liabilities through two weeks of the season, could this finally be the year that Matthew Stafford guides the Lions to the top of the NFC North? Might there be a playoff victory coming to Ford Field? The last time the Lions won a playoff game, it happened at the old Pontiac Silverdome. Detroit slaughtered Dallas that day in 1991 by a score of 38-6. It wasn’t the great Barry Sanders that did all the damage. Quarterback Erik Kramer had a career day against the Cowboys, throwing for 341 yards and three touchdowns, while the Lions’ defense picked off two passes and sacked Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman three times.

The Offense Continues to Rest
Through two weeks of play, the median NFL score is just 19 points, down four points from last year’s total. You have to go back to 1993 to find less scoring for an entire season. The NFL total TV ratings are down by a huge amount this year through the first two weeks of the season. While many in the political world believe it has to do with players refusing to stand for the National Anthem, we tend to believe that the average fan doesn’t really pay attention to that factor. The game has become boring. Teams no longer pass the ball down the field vertically. Quarterbacks rarely throw the ball more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. When it’s 3rd and 12, they throw a five-yard pass, hoping the receiver can run for another seven. Running games have come down to three basic types–a line plunge, a stretch, and a draw. All 32 teams look identical, like they must share one playbook.

Why do we believe that the ratings are down simply due to boring games and not due to political issues? There is a very simple explanation for our beliefs. Throughout the nation, there is unrest on the university campuses from coast to coast. Riots, vandalism, assaults, and the like are on the rise, and civil unrest is more the norm than the deviant behavior. Some colleges are redefining what is free speech. The same people that would theoretically have issues with this change of sociology and would be likely to turn off college football games just like they would turn off NFL games due to similar unrest have yet to turn away. In fact, college football ratings are on the rise, gaining about as much as the NFL is losing.

Therefore, it is our belief that total football TV ratings are about on par with their historical averages. The change is that more people are now watching on Saturday than ever before, while Sunday viewing is sinking. It is obvious why this is so. College football is quite a bit more entertaining.

In the college game, you have multiple offensive philosophies. Even when multiple teams run the identical spread offense, there are many variations. Arizona’s and New Mexico’s spread offenses are basically 21st Century wishbone offenses that have evolved. Ohio State’s and Auburn’s spread offenses resemble the old single wing offenses of way back. Oklahoma’s and Clemson’s spread offenses look more like the old NFL Shotgun offenses and the really old TCU Spread of the 1950s. You also have smash-mouth T offenses with Michigan and others. You still have standard triple option offenses at Army, Navy, Air Force, Tulane, and Georgia Tech. There is variety, and on top of the varying offenses, there are numerous philosophies on how to implement these offenses.

It also doesn’t hurt the college game that the average fan can choose between four or five games at 12 PM, 3:30 PM, and 7 PM Eastern time, while the NFL does not give that option to the fans. If you live in an NFL city, you get your team’s game, and if they are at home, you get only your team’s game. CBS and Fox have to take turns getting double header games, so if your team is at home when its regular network (CBS for AFC and Fox for NFC) doesn’t have a double header, you get just one Sunday afternoon game.

The NFL has to understand that just because somebody lives in Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, or Jacksonville, it does not mean they have lived there their entire lives. Actually, in the rapidly expanding metropolis cities of the Sunny South, more fans have moved into this area from colder and less financially lucrative cities. Take Nashville for instance. The city gains 100 new residents every day. In the last three football seasons, 109,500 new residents have added to the Music City’s metro population. Of that 100K plus, a large number moved from New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Tampa-St. Pete, Detroit, Cincinnati, Washington DC, and Dallas. Of the football fans, many remain fans of their former city and have no ties with the Titans. Go to a local sports-themed eatery on Sunday afternoon, and you will find as many fans of other teams watching their former city’s team play than there are fans at LP Field watching the Titans.

If the NFL was smart, it would drop their holier than thou elite beliefs and realize that it might be today’s Walmart having to face the new reality that there is now a better option called Amazon, and the fans have discovered this option.

 

This Week’s NFL PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
New England 106.4 107.0 106.3 106.5 24
Miami 99.6 99.8 99.3 99.6 23
Buffalo 97.5 98.2 97.7 97.8 22
N. Y. Jets 91.2 90.7 91.0 91.0 21
           
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Pittsburgh 105.9 106.1 105.8 106.0 22
Baltimore 103.4 103.5 103.7 103.5 18
Cincinnati 97.0 97.4 97.0 97.2 16
Cleveland 94.4 94.8 94.8 94.6 21
           
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Tennessee 101.0 101.1 100.5 100.9 25
Houston 97.4 97.8 96.9 97.4 14
Jacksonville 95.5 95.7 95.4 95.5 23
Indianapolis 95.4 95.7 95.0 95.4 25
           
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Oakland 105.4 106.0 105.1 105.5 28
Kansas City 105.2 105.4 105.6 105.4 22
Denver 104.6 103.6 105.1 104.4 19
LA Chargers 99.8 99.3 99.8 99.6 26
           
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Dallas 103.4 102.4 103.3 103.1 23
Philadelphia 101.3 100.1 102.2 101.2 22
Washington 99.3 98.9 99.7 99.3 25
N.Y. Giants 99.3 99.6 98.9 99.3 14
           
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Green Bay 103.2 103.9 102.7 103.3 28
Detroit 102.4 103.2 102.4 102.7 23
Minnesota 98.7 99.0 98.8 98.8 18
Chicago 92.9 93.4 92.5 92.9 21
           
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Atlanta 105.6 105.2 106.1 105.6 33
Tampa Bay 102.3 101.3 102.9 102.2 23
Carolina 101.4 100.5 101.7 101.2 25
New Orleans 98.4 97.5 98.4 98.1 33
           
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Seattle 101.2 101.3 100.5 101.0 18
Arizona 100.2 100.5 100.1 100.3 25
San Francisco 92.5 92.3 92.5 92.4 23
LA Rams 91.2 91.5 91.1 91.3 18

To estimate a game’s total points scored, add both teams’ totals.

 

 

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September 17, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Football Forecast for September 21-23, 2017

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:15 pm

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
South Florida Temple 18.3 15.9 19.4
Boise St. Virginia 5.1 3.0 3.2
Arizona Utah -3.6 -6.7 -5.6
Appalachian St. Wake Forest -6.1 -7.6 -5.5
North Carolina Duke 2.7 2.8 2.6
Purdue Michigan -11.7 -9.6 -10.2
Georgia Tech Pittsburgh 10.8 8.0 9.5
Iowa Penn St. -14.3 -12.2 -15.6
Clemson Boston College 36.5 31.9 36.8
Florida St. North Carolina St. 16.5 14.8 16.1
Georgia Mississippi St. 7.7 8.2 7.3
South Carolina Louisiana Tech 22.1 20.1 20.2
Tennessee Massachusetts 31.5 30.3 29.8
Kansas West Virginia -18.4 -15.9 -19.0
Kentucky Florida 0.5 -0.1 1.0
Maryland Central Florida 5.9 6.0 5.1
Louisville Kent St. 37.5 34.8 36.7
Eastern Michigan Ohio U 6.9 4.7 6.0
Central Michigan Miami (O) 1.3 -0.8 -0.4
Virginia Tech Old Dominion 31.1 27.6 31.1
Charlotte Georgia St. -6.7 -3.4 -6.1
Indiana Georgia Southern 28.1 26.8 28.9
Buffalo Florida Atlantic 2.1 1.5 3.0
Nebraska Rutgers 6.9 8.6 6.4
Miami (Fla.) Toledo 22.0 19.7 19.5
Colorado Washington -12.3 -10.9 -15.2
New Mexico St. UTEP 18.0 11.4 16.8
Navy Cincinnati 11.2 9.9 9.4
Ohio St. UNLV 44.7 39.0 43.5
Michigan St. Notre Dame -11.7 -6.4 -11.1
Wyoming Hawaii 11.2 7.5 9.8
Tulsa New Mexico 14.0 13.2 13.6
LSU Syracuse 11.2 11.2 12.7
Troy Akron 14.1 10.5 13.6
Middle Tennessee Bowling Green 14.3 14.4 14.0
Missouri Auburn -21.3 -21.8 -22.2
Houston Texas Tech 4.6 3.7 5.6
SMU Arkansas St. 10.8 9.4 9.4
Vanderbilt Alabama -18.3 -15.4 -17.8
Tulane Army 0.7 1.5 0.1
Oklahoma St. TCU 14.2 15.1 15.7
Western Kentucky Ball St. 17.8 14.3 17.4
North Texas UAB 20.3 17.0 18.3
Texas St. UTSA -19.2 -18.0 -22.4
Air Force San Diego St. -6.3 -6.0 -7.2
Texas A&M Arkansas 1.1 -0.5 -0.1
Rice Florida Int’l. 0.1 0.9 -0.7
South Alabama Idaho 4.9 5.6 4.1
UL-Lafayette UL-Monroe 5.4 6.3 6.7
Baylor Oklahoma -25.9 -21.3 -27.2
California USC -16.4 -18.4 -18.2
Washington St. Nevada 36.0 30.2 33.2
Arizona St. Oregon -11.0 -7.1 -11.2
Stanford UCLA 9.8 9.2 9.3
San Jose St. Utah St. 0.3 0.8 0.5
Connecticut East Carolina 6.6 7.9 7.5
This Week’s FBS vs. FCS Games
Home Visitor PiRate
Coastal Carolina Western Illinois 5
Western Michigan Wagner 40
Memphis Southern Illinois 26

Same Two Again?
With Clemson’s dominating win at Louisville, our ratings now show the top two teams from last year resuming the top two spots again this season. For now, Alabama stays ahead of Clemson in our ratings, but internally, our Retrodictive Ratings show that Clemson is less than .2 point behind the Tide and just .5 point behind ‘Bama in the Predictive Ratings.

Who at this point looks like the best contenders for the other two Playoff spots? Oklahoma figures in as a high contender, but then so does Oklahoma State. If either runs the table, they are in. Out west, Washington and USC hold the top two spots, but Washington State, Utah, and Colorado are still in contention, as is a Dark Horse Cal Bears team.

In the Big Ten, Penn State has the look of a team that can go into the Horseshoe and do the same thing to Ohio State that Oklahoma did. Michigan is chugging along but looks to be missing something and probably cannot run the table. Ohio State is still in the Big Ten race, but to make the Playoffs now, the Buckeyes must start winning consistently and take out all Big Ten foes. In the West, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota are in contention but any of these teams will have to run the table to make it to the Final Four.

Aside from the Crimson Tide, Georgia and Mississippi State have chances to earn a playoff spot. The two Bulldogs face off in what has become a very important contest on Saturday.

Top Group of 5 Teams
Two teams appear to be at the top of the list for the Group of 5 Automatic New Year’s 6 Bowl Bid, but there are plenty of contenders, and it is much too early to call any one team convincingly ahead of the rest.

South Florida has had a little difficulty early in their games, but once the Bulls get on track, they play competently enough to run the table and earn that NY6 Bowl. San Diego State actually has a bigger win, having just knocked off Stanford, but the Aztecs still have a difficult couple of games to take the bid. Memphis, Houston, Central Florida, Toledo, and Navy are the top contenders for now.

PiRate Retrodictive Ratings

(like a poll based on what they have done to date)

PiRate Retrodictive
# Team
1 Alabama
2 Clemson
3 Washington
4 Oklahoma
5 USC
6 Penn St.
7 LSU
8 Ohio St.
9 Oklahoma St.
10 Wisconsin
11 Michigan
12 Miami (Fla)
13 Georgia
14 Louisville
15 Florida St.
16 Virginia Tech
17 Mississippi St.
18 TCU
19 Auburn
20 Stanford
21 Utah
22 Washington St.
23 Iowa
24 Florida
25 Colorado
26 Kansas St.
27 Tennessee
28 Minnesota
29 Houston
30 San Diego St.
31 South Florida
32 Georgia Tech
33 Wake Forest
34 Oregon
35 Notre Dame
36 Vanderbilt
37 West Virginia
38 Boise St.
39 Toledo
40 Duke
41 Kentucky
42 Michigan St.
43 South Carolina
44 UCLA
45 Maryland
46 California
47 Texas A&M
48 North Carolina St.
49 Memphis
50 Northwestern
51 Navy
52 Texas
53 Western Michigan
54 Texas Tech
55 Tulsa
56 Arkansas
57 North Carolina
58 Air Force
59 Ole Miss
60 Pittsburgh
61 Nebraska
62 Colorado St.
63 Appalachian St.
64 Central Florida
65 Temple
66 Purdue
67 UTSA
68 Iowa St.
69 Indiana
70 Arizona
71 Northern Illinois
72 Army
73 Troy
74 Louisiana Tech
75 Arkansas St.
76 Western Kentucky
77 SMU
78 BYU
79 Eastern Michigan
80 Syracuse
81 Southern Miss.
82 Boston College
83 Old Dominion
84 Illinois
85 Tulane
86 Cincinnati
87 Virginia
88 Ohio
89 Middle Tennessee
90 Arizona St.
91 Wyoming
92 New Mexico
93 Baylor
94 Central Michigan
95 Marshall
96 Missouri
97 Oregon St.
98 Rutgers
99 Miami (O)
100 Hawaii
101 Ball St.
102 Idaho
103 UL-Lafayette
104 Coastal Carolina
105 Utah St.
106 New Mexico St.
107 Akron
108 South Alabama
109 North Texas
110 Fresno St.
111 Buffalo
112 Connecticut
113 Nevada
114 UAB
115 Georgia Southern
116 UL-Monroe
117 San Jose St.
118 Kansas
119 Rice
120 UNLV
121 East Carolina
122 Kent St.
123 Florida Atlantic
124 Florida Int’l.
125 Bowling Green
126 Georgia St.
127 UTEP
128 Texas St.
129 Massachusetts
130 Charlotte

PiRate Predictive Ratings

(tries to predict the outcome of the next game on each team’s schedule)

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 132.2 127.6 131.0 130.3
2 Clemson 131.2 127.6 130.7 129.8
3 Ohio St. 129.2 126.5 128.5 128.1
4 Oklahoma 128.1 125.9 129.1 127.7
5 Washington 128.4 125.0 129.1 127.5
6 Penn St. 127.7 125.5 128.5 127.2
7 Oklahoma St. 126.1 124.4 127.6 126.0
8 Florida St. 126.9 124.9 126.2 126.0
9 Auburn 122.7 120.6 122.5 121.9
10 Wisconsin 122.8 118.6 121.0 120.8
11 U S C 120.8 120.3 120.9 120.7
12 Virginia Tech 118.3 117.5 118.9 118.2
13 Miami 118.7 116.3 117.8 117.6
14 Georgia 116.7 117.9 116.8 117.1
15 Stanford 116.6 115.2 115.8 115.9
16 Washington St. 117.0 114.3 116.1 115.8
17 Michigan 116.2 115.8 115.4 115.8
18 Louisville 116.0 114.7 116.0 115.6
19 L S U 115.5 113.7 116.2 115.1
20 Florida 115.4 114.7 114.7 114.9
21 Kansas St. 114.1 113.8 114.3 114.1
22 T C U 114.9 112.3 114.9 114.0
23 Texas 113.2 114.0 113.4 113.6
24 N. Carolina St. 113.4 113.1 113.1 113.2
25 Oregon 114.3 110.8 113.6 112.9
26 Notre Dame 113.3 111.5 113.6 112.8
27 Mississippi St. 112.1 112.7 112.5 112.4
28 Kentucky 113.0 111.5 112.7 112.4
29 Colorado 113.1 111.1 110.9 111.7
30 Georgia Tech 113.1 110.6 111.1 111.6
31 Tennessee 112.0 110.0 110.2 110.7
32 Iowa 110.4 110.3 109.9 110.2
33 Vanderbilt 110.9 109.2 110.2 110.1
34 N. Carolina 110.8 109.7 109.3 109.9
35 South Florida 109.9 108.2 110.9 109.7
36 Northwestern 110.2 108.4 110.3 109.6
37 U C L A 109.8 109.0 109.5 109.4
38 West Virginia 109.1 109.9 109.1 109.4
39 Minnesota 109.5 109.3 109.3 109.4
40 Duke 109.6 108.4 108.2 108.7
41 Utah 106.6 108.7 107.0 107.4
42 S. Carolina 107.6 106.8 106.6 107.0
43 Arkansas 106.7 106.2 106.5 106.5
44 Syracuse 107.2 105.6 106.5 106.4
45 Maryland 105.6 107.7 105.7 106.3
46 Wake Forest 106.7 105.8 106.3 106.2
47 Indiana 105.0 105.1 105.4 105.2
48 Pittsburgh 105.3 105.6 104.6 105.2
49 Memphis 105.3 104.1 105.5 104.9
50 Ole Miss 105.9 104.4 104.1 104.8
51 Houston 105.0 103.9 104.9 104.6
52 Colo. State 105.0 103.4 105.1 104.5
53 Texas A&M 104.8 102.7 103.4 103.6
54 Iowa State 102.9 104.1 103.8 103.6
55 Central Florida 102.6 104.7 103.5 103.6
56 San Diego St. 103.1 103.0 104.2 103.4
57 Texas Tech 102.9 102.7 101.8 102.5
58 Tulsa 102.6 102.0 102.7 102.4
59 Purdue 101.5 103.2 102.2 102.3
60 Nebraska 100.6 102.3 99.6 100.8
61 Virginia 100.2 100.3 101.6 100.7
62 Boise St. 101.4 99.3 100.8 100.5
63 Arizona St. 100.4 100.7 99.4 100.2
64 Toledo 99.6 99.6 101.3 100.2
65 Michigan St. 98.6 102.0 99.5 100.0
66 California 101.4 98.9 99.6 100.0
67 Baylor 99.2 101.6 98.9 99.9
68 Navy 99.0 100.0 98.9 99.3
69 Arizona 100.0 99.0 98.4 99.1
70 Western Michigan 99.2 97.4 100.5 99.0
71 BYU 98.9 98.1 99.4 98.8
72 Boston College 97.7 98.7 96.9 97.8
73 Appalachian St. 98.0 95.7 98.3 97.3
74 SMU 97.1 97.3 97.4 97.3
75 Missouri 98.4 95.9 97.2 97.2
76 Army 96.5 96.0 97.4 96.6
77 Rutgers 96.7 96.7 96.2 96.5
78 U T S A 94.4 96.1 96.6 95.7
79 Temple 94.6 95.3 94.5 94.8
80 Wyoming 95.8 93.7 94.4 94.6
81 Eastern Michigan 94.6 94.2 94.5 94.4
82 Tulane 94.2 94.5 94.5 94.4
83 W. Kentucky 94.1 93.0 95.3 94.1
84 Air Force 93.7 94.1 94.0 93.9
85 Miami (O) 92.1 94.6 94.0 93.6
86 Troy 93.7 93.8 92.9 93.5
87 Middle Tennessee 92.2 92.7 92.7 92.5
88 Cincinnati 90.7 93.1 92.5 92.1
89 Oregon St. 92.6 92.6 91.1 92.1
90 New Mexico 91.6 91.8 92.1 91.8
91 Illinois 91.6 92.9 90.6 91.7
92 Central Michigan 90.9 91.3 91.1 91.1
93 Ohio U 90.2 92.0 91.0 91.1
94 Arkansas St. 89.3 90.9 91.0 90.4
95 Old Dominion 89.2 91.9 89.7 90.3
96 Northern Illinois 89.4 89.3 89.8 89.5
97 Louisiana Tech 88.5 89.7 89.4 89.2
98 Hawaii 88.6 90.2 88.6 89.1
99 Kansas 87.7 91.0 87.1 88.6
100 U N L V 87.5 90.4 87.9 88.6
101 Fresno St. 88.6 87.0 88.8 88.2
102 Southern Miss. 87.7 88.9 87.7 88.1
103 Connecticut 86.4 89.5 87.0 87.6
104 Marshall 85.9 87.1 87.2 86.8
105 N. Mexico St. 87.1 84.7 86.6 86.1
106 Nevada 84.0 87.1 86.0 85.7
107 Florida Atlantic 84.1 87.4 85.2 85.6
108 S. Alabama 84.5 87.4 84.7 85.5
109 Utah St. 86.0 85.1 85.0 85.4
110 Buffalo 83.2 85.9 85.2 84.8
111 UL-Lafayette 84.2 85.5 84.0 84.6
112 Idaho 83.2 85.3 84.1 84.2
113 Akron 82.6 86.3 82.4 83.8
114 N. Texas 82.7 84.1 82.8 83.2
115 Massachusetts 83.5 82.7 83.4 83.2
116 San Jose St. 83.3 82.9 82.5 82.9
117 East Carolina 82.3 84.2 82.0 82.8
118 Georgia St. 83.0 82.2 82.8 82.7
119 Kent St. 81.5 82.9 82.3 82.2
120 Florida Int’l. 81.2 81.4 82.2 81.6
121 UL-Monroe 81.2 81.7 79.8 80.9
122 Bowling Green 80.4 80.9 81.1 80.8
123 Georgia Southern 79.9 81.2 79.5 80.2
124 Ball St. 78.8 81.2 80.4 80.1
125 Rice 78.8 79.8 79.0 79.2
126 Charlotte 74.3 76.9 74.7 75.3
127 Coastal Carolina 73.5 74.9 75.2 74.6
128 Texas St. 73.2 76.0 72.2 73.8
129 U T E P 71.6 75.8 72.2 73.2
130 UAB 65.4 70.1 67.5 67.7

PiRate Ratings by Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division            
Team AAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 0-0 3-0 109.9 108.2 110.9 109.7
Central Florida 0-0 1-0 102.6 104.7 103.5 103.6
Temple 0-0 2-1 94.6 95.3 94.5 94.8
Cincinnati 0-0 2-1 90.7 93.1 92.5 92.1
Connecticut 0-0 1-1 86.4 89.5 87.0 87.6
East Carolina 0-0 0-3 82.3 84.2 82.0 82.8
             
West Division            
Team AAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Memphis 0-0 2-0 105.3 104.1 105.5 104.9
Houston 0-0 2-0 105.0 103.9 104.9 104.6
Tulsa 0-0 1-2 102.6 102.0 102.7 102.4
Navy 1-0 2-0 99.0 100.0 98.9 99.3
SMU 0-0 2-1 97.1 97.3 97.4 97.3
Tulane 0-1 1-2 94.2 94.5 94.5 94.4
             
AAC Averages     97.5 98.1 97.9 97.8
             
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division            
Team ACC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 1-0 3-0 131.2 127.6 130.7 129.8
Florida St. 0-0 0-1 126.9 124.9 126.2 126.0
Louisville 1-1 2-2 116.0 114.7 116.0 115.6
N. Carolina St. 0-0 2-1 113.4 113.1 113.1 113.2
Syracuse 0-0 2-1 107.2 105.6 106.5 106.4
Wake Forest 1-0 3-0 106.7 105.8 106.3 106.2
Boston College 0-1 1-2 97.7 98.7 96.9 97.8
             
Coastal Division            
Team ACC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Virginia Tech 0-0 3-0 118.3 117.5 118.9 118.2
Miami 0-0 1-0 118.7 116.3 117.8 117.6
Georgia Tech 0-0 1-1 113.1 110.6 111.1 111.6
N. Carolina 0-1 1-2 110.8 109.7 109.3 109.9
Duke 0-0 3-0 109.6 108.4 108.2 108.7
Pittsburgh 0-0 1-2 105.3 105.6 104.6 105.2
Virginia 0-0 2-1 100.2 100.3 101.6 100.7
             
ACC Averages     112.5 111.3 111.9 111.9
             
Big 12 Conference
Team B12 Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 0-0 3-0 128.1 125.9 129.1 127.7
Oklahoma St. 0-0 3-0 126.1 124.4 127.6 126.0
Kansas St. 0-0 2-1 114.1 113.8 114.3 114.1
T C U 0-0 3-0 114.9 112.3 114.9 114.0
Texas 0-0 1-2 113.2 114.0 113.4 113.6
West Virginia 0-0 2-1 109.1 109.9 109.1 109.4
Iowa State 0-0 2-1 102.9 104.1 103.8 103.6
Texas Tech 0-0 2-0 102.9 102.7 101.8 102.5
Baylor 0-0 0-3 99.2 101.6 98.9 99.9
Kansas 0-0 1-2 87.7 91.0 87.1 88.6
             
Big 12 Averages     109.8 110.0 110.0 109.9
             
Big Ten Conference
East Division            
Team BTen Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 1-0 2-1 129.2 126.5 128.5 128.1
Penn St. 0-0 3-0 127.7 125.5 128.5 127.2
Michigan 0-0 3-0 116.2 115.8 115.4 115.8
Maryland 0-0 2-0 105.6 107.7 105.7 106.3
Indiana 0-1 1-1 105.0 105.1 105.4 105.2
Michigan St. 0-0 2-0 98.6 102.0 99.5 100.0
Rutgers 0-0 1-2 96.7 96.7 96.2 96.5
             
West Division            
Team BTen Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Wisconsin 0-0 3-0 122.8 118.6 121.0 120.8
Iowa 0-0 3-0 110.4 110.3 109.9 110.2
Northwestern 0-0 2-1 110.2 108.4 110.3 109.6
Minnesota 0-0 3-0 109.5 109.3 109.3 109.4
Purdue 0-0 2-1 101.5 103.2 102.2 102.3
Nebraska 0-0 1-2 100.6 102.3 99.6 100.8
Illinois 0-0 2-1 91.6 92.9 90.6 91.7
             
Big Ten Averages     109.0 108.9 108.7 108.9
             
Conference USA
East Division            
Team CUSA Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
W. Kentucky 0-1 1-2 94.1 93.0 95.3 94.1
Middle Tennessee 0-0 1-2 92.2 92.7 92.7 92.5
Old Dominion 0-0 2-1 89.2 91.9 89.7 90.3
Marshall 0-0 2-1 85.9 87.1 87.2 86.8
Florida Atlantic 0-0 1-2 84.1 87.4 85.2 85.6
Florida Int’l. 0-0 1-1 81.2 81.4 82.2 81.6
Charlotte 0-0 0-3 74.3 76.9 74.7 75.3
             
West Division            
Team CUSA Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
U T S A 0-0 2-0 94.4 96.1 96.6 95.7
Louisiana Tech 1-0 2-1 88.5 89.7 89.4 89.2
Southern Miss. 0-0 2-1 87.7 88.9 87.7 88.1
N. Texas 0-0 1-2 82.7 84.1 82.8 83.2
Rice 1-0 1-2 78.8 79.8 79.0 79.2
U T E P 0-1 0-3 71.6 75.8 72.2 73.2
UAB 0-0 2-1 65.4 70.1 67.5 67.7
             
CUSA Averages     83.6 85.4 84.4 84.5
             
FBS Independents
Team   Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame   2-1 113.3 111.5 113.6 112.8
BYU   1-3 98.9 98.1 99.4 98.8
Army   2-1 96.5 96.0 97.4 96.6
Massachusetts   0-4 83.5 82.7 83.4 83.2
             
Indep. Averages     98.0 97.1 98.4 97.8
             
Mid-American Conference
East Division            
Team MAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Miami (O) 0-0 1-2 92.1 94.6 94.0 93.6
Ohio U 0-0 2-1 90.2 92.0 91.0 91.1
Buffalo 0-0 1-2 83.2 85.9 85.2 84.8
Akron 0-0 1-2 82.6 86.3 82.4 83.8
Kent St. 0-0 1-2 81.5 82.9 82.3 82.2
Bowling Green 0-0 0-3 80.4 80.9 81.1 80.8
             
West Division            
Team MAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Toledo 0-0 3-0 99.6 99.6 101.3 100.2
Western Michigan 0-0 1-2 99.2 97.4 100.5 99.0
Eastern Michigan 0-0 2-0 94.6 94.2 94.5 94.4
Central Michigan 0-0 2-1 90.9 91.3 91.1 91.1
Northern Illinois 0-0 2-1 89.4 89.3 89.8 89.5
Ball St. 0-0 2-1 78.8 81.2 80.4 80.1
             
MAC Averages     88.5 89.6 89.5 89.2
             
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division            
Team MWC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Colo. State 0-0 2-2 105.0 103.4 105.1 104.5
Boise St. 1-0 2-1 101.4 99.3 100.8 100.5
Wyoming 0-0 1-2 95.8 93.7 94.4 94.6
Air Force 0-0 1-1 93.7 94.1 94.0 93.9
New Mexico 0-1 1-2 91.6 91.8 92.1 91.8
Utah St. 0-0 1-2 86.0 85.1 85.0 85.4
             
West Division            
Team MWC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 0-0 3-0 103.1 103.0 104.2 103.4
Hawaii 0-0 2-1 88.6 90.2 88.6 89.1
U N L V 0-0 1-1 87.5 90.4 87.9 88.6
Fresno St. 0-0 1-2 88.6 87.0 88.8 88.2
Nevada 0-0 0-3 84.0 87.1 86.0 85.7
San Jose St. 0-0 1-3 83.3 82.9 82.5 82.9
             
MWC Averages     92.4 92.3 92.4 92.4
             
Pac-12 Conference
North Division            
Team P12 Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Washington 0-0 3-0 128.4 125.0 129.1 127.5
Stanford 0-1 1-2 116.6 115.2 115.8 115.9
Washington St. 1-0 3-0 117.0 114.3 116.1 115.8
Oregon 0-0 3-0 114.3 110.8 113.6 112.9
California 0-0 3-0 101.4 98.9 99.6 100.0
Oregon St. 0-1 1-3 92.6 92.6 91.1 92.1
             
South Division            
Team P12 Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
U S C 1-0 3-0 120.8 120.3 120.9 120.7
Colorado 0-0 3-0 113.1 111.1 110.9 111.7
U C L A 0-0 2-1 109.8 109.0 109.5 109.4
Utah 0-0 3-0 106.6 108.7 107.0 107.4
Arizona St. 0-0 1-2 100.4 100.7 99.4 100.2
Arizona 0-0 2-1 100.0 99.0 98.4 99.1
             
Pac-12 Averages     110.1 108.8 109.3 109.4
             
Southeastern Conference
East Division            
Team SEC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Georgia 0-0 3-0 116.7 117.9 116.8 117.1
Florida 1-0 1-1 115.4 114.7 114.7 114.9
Kentucky 1-0 3-0 113.0 111.5 112.7 112.4
Tennessee 0-1 2-1 112.0 110.0 110.2 110.7
Vanderbilt 0-0 3-0 110.9 109.2 110.2 110.1
S. Carolina 1-1 2-1 107.6 106.8 106.6 107.0
Missouri 0-1 1-2 98.4 95.9 97.2 97.2
             
West Division            
Team SEC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 0-0 3-0 132.2 127.6 131.0 130.3
Auburn 0-0 2-1 122.7 120.6 122.5 121.9
L S U 0-1 2-1 115.5 113.7 116.2 115.1
Mississippi St. 1-0 3-0 112.1 112.7 112.5 112.4
Arkansas 0-0 1-1 106.7 106.2 106.5 106.5
Ole Miss 0-0 2-1 105.9 104.4 104.1 104.8
Texas A&M 0-0 2-1 104.8 102.7 103.4 103.6
             
SEC Averages     112.4 111.0 111.8 111.7
             
Sunbelt Conference
Team SBC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 1-0 2-1 98.0 95.7 98.3 97.3
Troy 1-0 2-1 93.7 93.8 92.9 93.5
Arkansas St. 0-0 1-1 89.3 90.9 91.0 90.4
N. Mexico St. 0-1 1-2 87.1 84.7 86.6 86.1
S. Alabama 0-0 1-2 84.5 87.4 84.7 85.5
UL-Lafayette 0-0 1-2 84.2 85.5 84.0 84.6
Idaho 0-0 1-2 83.2 85.3 84.1 84.2
Georgia St. 0-0 0-2 83.0 82.2 82.8 82.7
UL-Monroe 0-0 0-2 81.2 81.7 79.8 80.9
Georgia Southern 0-0 0-2 79.9 81.2 79.5 80.2
Coastal Carolina 0-0 1-1 73.5 74.9 75.2 74.6
Texas St. 0-1 1-2 73.2 76.0 72.2 73.8
             
Sun Belt Averages     84.2 85.0 84.3 84.5

Conference Ratings
Thanks to Wake Forest, Virgnia Tech, Syracuse, and North Carolina State improving with non-conference wins, while Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and Missouri sunk after so-so non-conference performances, the ACC overtook the SEC by a tiny bit for top conference. There are only three points separating the Power 5 conferences after three weeks of the season.

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 ACC 112.5 111.3 111.9 111.9
2 SEC 112.4 111.0 111.8 111.7
3 BIG 12 109.8 110.0 110.0 109.9
4 PAC-12 110.1 108.8 109.3 109.4
5 BIG TEN 109.0 108.9 108.7 108.9
6 INDEP. 98.0 97.1 98.4 97.8
7 AAC 97.5 98.1 97.9 97.8
8 MWC 92.4 92.3 92.4 92.4
9 MAC 88.5 89.6 89.5 89.2
10 Sun Belt 84.2 85.0 84.3 84.5
11 CUSA 83.6 85.4 84.4 84.5

Bowl Projections Debut in October

September 14, 2017

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlays for September 14-18, 2017

Yuck!  You could say that about the weather in recent weeks.  You could say that about there not being enough “United” in the United States in recent months.  You could say that about being a Dodgers’ fan during the last fortnight or being a fan of a team that has a 4-game set with the Cleveland Indians.  You could say that about prime-time TV for the last 40+ years.  But, most of all, you can sum up our money line parlay selections through two weeks of the football season with that one word.

We usually start each season off a bit weak and then begin to succeed around the first week of October, culminating in a big couple of weeks in the second half that brings us a positive return on investment for the season.  We have to admit that so far this year, there seems to be just enough added parity in college football along with the usual uncertainty at the start of the NFL season to make this downright difficult to find parlays that return the type of odds we look for.  Sure, we could take Alabama at minus one zillion and win a dollar, and we could even put together a parlay of 10 favorites like Penn State over Georgia State and maybe get a parlay at -500, where for every 500 we put up we can win another 100.  But, that isn’t our style.  We are on the lookout only for parlays that give us +120 or higher odds.

We selected 5 parlays last week.  Each had excellent payout odds, and we were still alive in some of the really good ones with just one game left.  We selected Oklahoma to win at Ohio State and could have returned a nice chunk of cash playing that game as a singleton.  No, we had to add Stanford to that game to get +1010 odds, and when Stanford began the game looking like they could possibly win, we were pumped with the possibility that we could get far ahead on the plus side for the season.  Alas, USC started to look like the prognosticators believed they would look, and the Cardinal went back to Palo Alto with a huge loss on their slate.

So, for the week, we invested $500 of imaginary bankroll and received back $278 for a loss of $222 or -44% Return on Investment.  For the season, the numbers worsen to $600 invested and $278 returned for a -55.6% ROI.

As bad as the above sounds, it will sound even worse when we tell you that we didn’t really like 90% of the possible money lines this week.  We couldn’t find much value in this week’s college schedule, and the NFL still looks mysterious.  At this point of the season, and with two teams not even playing a game in week one, the NFL wars leave us trapped in a giant minefield.  Is there a new Dallas Cowboys team out there destined to go from last place in 2016 to the best record in the league?  What do we make of the LA Rams looking like the New England Patriots in week one, or the Patriots’ defense looking more like the 49ers defense?  What about the anemic offenses in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Houston, and New York (pick your poison with the Giants or Jets)?  What about the AFC West?  Could it be that four of the top 10 teams or at least three of the top five teams in the AFC come from that division?  The Chiefs and Raiders dominated in week one like it was 1966 through 1969 in the old AFL.

What we are trying to say is that we are only risking $200 of imaginary bankroll this week.  We are selecting one college and one NFL parlay, and we admit up front, we do not particularly like either selection, because they both required too many games to get the odds we like.  If we win one of the two, it will be a profitable week, but we are telling you before you see the two picks that we have little faith in either one this week.  As we said before, if you want a guaranteed winner to about 96% possibility, then you can come up with a parlay of about 10 sure things and still have to play them at ridiculous odds so that one upset would empty your account.

For instance, you could make a parlay of Penn State over Georgia State, Virginia Tech over East Carolina, Oklahoma over Tulane, Ohio State over Army, Alabama over Colorado State, Utah over San Jose State, Washington over Fresno State, and Michigan over Air Force.  All eight teams are prohibitive favorites, and it is an almost certain possibility that all eight favorites will win, making this almost a sure thing.  The problem is that for every $100 you put into a parlay like this, you can win a whopping $18.37 profit on your investment.  It is actually a sucker bet, because out of those eight sure things, at this point in the season, one of those games is not the sure thing it looks to be, and we don’t really know which one it is, but rest assured one of these sure thing games will turn out not to be that way.

With that in mind, here are our two official selections for the week.

#1 @ +179  
Must Win Must Lose
Temple U Mass
South Carolina Kentucky
Duke Baylor
Wake Forest Utah St.
Oregon Wyoming

Having to go five games deep to get a decent potential ROI, we would expect to get better favorites than this quintet.  We went with Temple mainly because this is a selection against U Mass.  South Carolina and Kentucky look like it should be close to a tossup, but in Columbia, we believe the Gamecocks are a touchdown better, and they are coming off a semi-impressive win over Missouri, while the Wildcats have been close to clawless through two lackluster wins.  We are taking Duke over Baylor for the same reason we took Temple; Baylor has looked anemic in two games under Matt Rhule, and the transition to his style of play could be really tough.  Wake Forest looks to have something going this year under Dave Clawson,  The Demon Deacons took Boston College to the woodshed last week, and at home against a so-so Utah State team, they “appear” to be ready to start the season at 3-0.  Oregon looks like one of those sure things against Wyoming, but you never know what might happen in Laramie.  That is a subtle home field advantage for the Cowboys, and an improving Duck team may be walking into an ambush.

 

#2 @ +276  
Must Win Must Lose
Baltimore Cleveland
Carolina Buffalo
New England New Orleans
Kansas City Philadelphia
Oakland NY Jets

The Ravens looked more like the Baltimore teams of 4 to 5 years ago last week when they punished Andy Dalton and Cincinnati.  The Bengals score after 60 minutes was the same as their score before the game kicked off.  The Ravens now get Cleveland for their home-opener, but the Browns looked like they were a force to be reckoned with against Pittsburgh in week one.  It could be that “Money Ball” is about to start paying off near Lake Erie.  But, we believe the Ravens will be up to the task this Sunday.  Is Carolina going to look more like the 2015 team than the 2016 team?  Did Buffalo really look that bad against the 32nd best team in the NFL and really have to worry about beating the Jets?  If so, then the Panthers should win by double digits this week.  New England playing New Orleans should never be allowed to happen again.  No, we don’t mean the two teams should never be scheduled, but how do you give one team and extra three days off while making the other team have to play on the road on Monday Night?  4 extra days to prepare for a game, coming off the debacle in Foxboro on opening night against the Chiefs?  We’ll take the road team in this one.  In taking Kansas City and Oakland at home against the Eagles and Jets, we are going under the assumption that the two bitter rivals are possibly the two best teams in the NFL.

So, there you have it for this week.  Remember that the PiRates never wager real money on our selections.  It is just a mathematical exercise for fun.  Please do not wager real money on our just-for-fun selections.  That even goes for the five or six of you who are real professionals who claim that you have a unique way of playing our ratings that makes your weekends very profitable.  It reminds us of the football handicapper with a system that consistently won 26% of his single sides wagers and never realized that if he just took the other side every week, he’d be the most successful guy in Vegas.

September 12, 2017

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 2: September 14-18, 2017

This Week’s PiRate Spreads & Totals

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Total
Cincinnati Houston 3.5 2.9 4.5 31
Jacksonville Tennessee 2.2 1.4 3.1 47
Baltimore Cleveland 11.6 11.5 11.5 40
Carolina Buffalo 7.1 5.1 7.3 50
New Orleans New England -2.6 -4.6 -2.3 55
Indianapolis Arizona -1.5 -1.8 -1.8 53
Kansas City Philadelphia 6.7 8.2 6.1 43
Pittsburgh Minnesota 7.2 7.7 6.4 41
Tampa Bay Chicago 9.3 8.0 9.9 42
LA Chargers Miami 5.4 3.7 6.3 52
Oakland N. Y. Jets 16.0 17.6 15.6 46
LA Rams Washington -4.2 -3.5 -4.7 43
Denver Dallas -1.1 -0.1 -1.0 39
Seattle San Francisco 13.8 14.2 13.6 42
Atlanta Green Bay 4.3 2.5 5.1 62
N. Y. Giants Detroit 3.9 3.0 3.9 35

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
New England 104.7 105.6 104.5 104.9 22
Miami 98.6 99.3 98.0 98.6 24
Buffalo 97.5 98.4 97.7 97.9 24
N. Y. Jets 92.0 91.3 92.0 91.8 19
           
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Pittsburgh 104.4 104.9 104.0 104.5 23
Baltimore 103.2 103.4 103.5 103.3 18
Cincinnati 97.7 97.8 97.9 97.8 16
Cleveland 94.6 94.9 95.0 94.8 22
           
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Tennessee 98.6 99.2 97.9 98.6 25
Jacksonville 97.9 97.6 98.0 97.8 22
Houston 97.2 97.9 96.5 97.2 15
Indianapolis 95.6 95.8 95.2 95.5 27
           
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Kansas City 105.0 105.3 105.4 105.2 22
Oakland 104.6 105.4 104.1 104.7 27
Denver 101.8 101.3 102.1 101.7 17
LA Chargers 100.5 99.5 100.8 100.3 28
           
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Dallas 105.9 104.4 106.0 105.5 22
N.Y. Giants 101.3 101.4 101.1 101.3 14
Philadelphia 101.4 100.1 102.3 101.3 21
Washington 99.1 98.7 99.5 99.1 25
           
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Green Bay 103.8 104.8 103.3 104.0 28
Detroit 100.4 101.4 100.2 100.7 21
Minnesota 100.2 100.2 100.6 100.3 18
Chicago 94.5 95.0 94.3 94.6 20
           
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Atlanta 105.0 104.3 105.5 104.9 34
Carolina 101.6 100.5 101.9 101.3 26
Tampa Bay 100.9 99.9 101.3 100.7 22
New Orleans 99.6 98.4 99.7 99.2 33
           
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Seattle 102.4 102.5 101.9 102.3 18
Arizona 100.1 100.5 100.0 100.2 26
LA Rams 91.4 91.7 91.3 91.5 18
San Francisco 91.5 91.3 91.3 91.4 24

The Offense Rests
Okay, it has only been one week of the NFL season, and two teams didn’t even play, so we are looking at just 15 games to date. And, after 15 games, the worry going around the NFL is that there is a giant lack of offense. Let’s look into this potential problem to see where the answer(s) might be.

The Average Points Per Game for Week 1 was 20.2 points, which is down a little from the recent trend of about 22.5 to 23.0 points per game. The Average in total yards was 305, which is off by a little more than the recent historical norm of 325 yards.

Have defenses simply just gotten better, and is this trend real? Or, could there be other factors? The professional athlete continues to evolve into a more fit, stronger, quicker, and smarter specimen. This evolution has changed all sports, as NBA basketball has a handful of superstars, and you must have at least one and preferably two to compete for the title. Major League Baseball is all about how hard one can hit the ball and how difficult one can prevent one from hitting the ball. Small Ball is almost extinct, as it is all about OPS and preventing such.

Could it be that football has changed as well, and that the superior athletes of today can close up all the gaps on the field and make it much more difficult to gain yards?

We think not. Let’s look back to the 1960’s, a time when the professional athlete was evolving from a time 10 years earlier when linemen might be 210 pounds and backs 180. In the 1960’s, the trend of 270-pound tackles and 220-pound linebackers led to the fear that the field might become too small. However, the NFL featured all types of scoring. You had teams that scored a lot of points and gave up a goodly amount as well. You had teams that featured defenses that held teams under 10 points per game for an entire season. You had quarterbacks that you knew would lead their teams to the playoffs, while others would not be up to the challenge.

The philosophy of the game was much different. Today, almost every NFL team relies on the short passing game to move the ball, complimented with the power running game. A team is likely to feature 15 to 20 line plunges and 15-20 passes of less than 5 yards through the air. Defenses basically must defend horizontally, and they can get by with 2-deep coverage or man-to-man with a free safety for most of the game. They can bring 7 men into the box on more downs than ever, because today 2nd and 10 is more likely to see the QB throw a short pass of less than 5 yards with the hope that the receiver can run for another 5 after the catch.

Even on 3rd & 10, there is a great chance that the QB will throw a short pass, hoping that the receiver can gain the necessary yards to convert. Defenses can play 2-deep with a nickel or dime package and appear to have all the zones covered in the 10-yard range.

This bunching horizontally has led to an appearance that the running gaps are covered across the field. It is much easier to squeeze in and stuff the inside run, and since there are defenders spread out, the wide runs don’t always work any more, as the art of pulling two guards to lead interference has gone away like the drop kick.

Statistically, quarterbacks today look much better than quarterbacks of 50 years ago, but it is most likely not the case. And, here’s why. Today’s quarterbacks might go 20 of 30 for 185 yards with a TD. A passer from 50 years ago might go 14 of 30 for 185 yards with a TD. The 2017 QB has a higher QB rating (94.5 to 77.8), but how did he perform any better? The 2017 QB most likely threw passes that gained little yardage or even lost yardage. The 1967 QB rarely completed a pass for less than 5 yards. It was unheard of back then, and when it happened, it was almost always from a botched screen pass. In essence, if you look at the 2017 QB, he might have 40% of his completions going for less than 8 yards. The 1967 QB was more likely to have 10% of his completions going for less than 8 yards, and for the most part coming on 3rd and 5, not 3rd and 10.

Let’s look at the breakdown of some of the passing philosophies of today and 50 years ago. First, let us categorize passing plays into screens, short passes thrown no more than 5 yards downfield with some coming behind the line, medium passes in the 6-12 yard range, intermediate passes in the 13-20 yard range, deep passes in the 21-30 yard range, and long passes in the 31+ yard range.
The passer of today might throw 2 screens, 16 short passes, 8 medium passes, 2 intermediate passes, 1 deep pass, and 1 long pass per game. He might complete both screens, 12 of the short passes, 4 of the medium passes, 1 intermediate pass, and 1 of the two deeper throws for 20 completions. This gives him 185 passing yards.

The passer of 50 years ago might have thrown 4 screens (this play was used a lot more then), 3 short passes, 10 medium passes, 5 interemediate passes, 3 deep passes, and 5 long passes for his 30 attempts. He might complete 3 of the 4 screens, 2 of the 3 short passes, 5 of the 10 medium passes, 2 of the 5 intermediate passes, 1 of the 3 deep passes, and 1 of the 5 long passes for 14 completions but also for 185 yards.

So, which is better? We believe the 1967 stats are better, because they are more likely to produce points. It has always been difficult to drive down the field 80 yards in 15 plays for a touchdown. It takes long-gaining plays to win in the NFL, and it always has been the case. There have been teams like the 1960’s Green Bay Packers, and the 1970’s Miami Dolphins that could sustain drive after drive, but these teams also had great defenses, and they could afford to grind it out with 40 running plays and 20 passing plays in a game. Still, when you looked at Bart Starr, his passing feats were usually right there at the top. Starr would set up the longer passes by forcing the defense to stop the Packer running game. The Packers spread the field both horizontally and vertically.

Other quarterbacks like Johnny Unitas, Norm Van Brocklin, Sonny Jurgensen, Roman Gabriel, Don Meredith, George Blanda, Daryle Lamonica, Len Dawson, John Hadl, Joe Namath, Norm Snead, and Frank Ryan rarely threw a short pass. Lamonica is the quintessential passer from the 1960’s. Known as the “Mad Bomber,” he led the Oakland Raiders to a 37-4-1 record from 1967 to 1969. Lamonica threw the ball more than 40 yards downfield about 7 or 8 times a game, usually completing 2 or 3, and usually passing for 2 to 3 touchdowns every week. Having Warren Wells and Fred Biletnikoff running deep routes and having hands like glue meant that defenses had to play 3 and 4 deep on many downs. 2 Deep coverage was rare, because the QBs of the 1960’s would burn it.

The running games had more room in the 1960’s, and with a two-back alignment, the running game was more consistent. Defenses had to play looser against the deep pass and had to worry about which of the two backs would carry the ball. Defenses could not cover all the running gaps, because at least 3 defensive backs had to play off the line of scrimmage far enough back to cover the deep passing routes, and the linebackers had to worry about the intermediate zones of which there was more width than today, as today’s underneath zones usually have 5 defenders, whereas 50 years ago, there were just 4.

There are a few teams that showed us a vertical game this past weekend. Oakland, Minnesota, and Atlanta, showed a vertical passing offense this week, and the three teams combined for 78 points (26.0 ppg). All three won their games.

So, we believe the issue of less offense has more to do with game-planning than with evolution of athletes. Athletes have been evolving continually for years with consistency. Philosophies have changed through the years. As soon as one team succeeds in playing a certain way, 80% of the league tries to copy it. Maybe, when a vertical passing team wins a Super Bowl, within a couple years, the vertical passing game will be the norm once again, like it was in the 1960’s when the NFL and AFL were more exciting than the NFL today. It could also be a factor in the decline of television viewership and the less frequent sellouts in the stadiums.

September 11, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Football Forecast for September 14-16, 2017

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:54 am

This Week’s PiRate Rating Spreads

PiRate Ratings Spreads
September 14-16        
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Boise St. New Mexico 12.9 10.4 11.8
Temple Massachusetts 14.2 15.6 14.5
South Florida Illinois 20.5 17.3 22.9
UTEP Arizona -23.3 -17.6 -20.1
South Carolina Kentucky 0.5 1.2 0.2
Marshall Kent St. 4.6 4.9 4.7
Boston College Notre Dame -8.1 -5.1 -8.8
Virginia Connecticut 16.2 13.0 17.0
Michigan Air Force 26.8 25.4 25.7
UAB Coastal Carolina -8.3 -3.8 -8.0
Miami (O) Cincinnati 4.5 4.3 5.2
Penn St. Georgia St. 45.2 43.7 46.0
Akron Iowa St. -15.1 -12.3 -15.7
Old Dominion North Carolina -16.3 -12.1 -14.3
Pittsburgh Oklahoma St. -9.8 -8.6 -12.3
Minnesota Middle Tennessee 17.5 17.2 16.2
Indiana Florida Int’l. 26.8 26.6 26.2
Memphis UCLA -2.3 -2.3 -1.4
Nebraska Northern Illinois 20.7 22.3 19.7
Duke Baylor 13.2 9.2 11.7
Ohio U Kansas 4.0 2.8 5.7
Wake Forest Utah St. 21.0 21.4 21.2
Louisville Clemson -8.2 -5.5 -7.1
Syracuse Central Michigan 18.3 16.3 17.0
East Carolina Virginia Tech -28.3 -26.4 -28.7
BYU Wisconsin -17.3 -14.4 -15.1
Missouri Purdue 7.8 2.8 5.7
Iowa North Texas 33.3 31.3 33.0
Texas A&M UL-Lafayette 23.9 19.9 22.7
Northwestern Bowling Green 31.2 28.8 30.2
Oklahoma Tulane 36.1 33.4 36.6
Florida Tennessee 6.4 7.7 7.5
TCU SMU 19.0 16.1 18.6
Western Kentucky Louisiana Tech 11.5 7.8 12.1
Ohio St. Army 36.2 33.7 34.5
Washington St. Oregon St. 27.0 24.1 27.6
Texas St. Appalachian St. -25.8 -19.6 -27.4
Alabama Colorado St. 32.1 28.7 31.2
Toledo Tulsa -0.4 0.4 1.3
Western Michigan Idaho 21.4 15.8 22.0
UL-Monroe Southern Miss. -2.8 -3.9 -4.3
Wyoming Oregon -9.5 -8.6 -9.7
Mississippi St. LSU -10.3 -7.9 -10.6
Central Florida Georgia Tech -7.5 -2.9 -4.6
Vanderbilt Kansas St. -1.6 -3.0 -3.2
Houston Rice 26.1 23.8 25.2
New Mexico St. Troy -3.5 -6.3 -3.4
Texas Tech Arizona St. 5.3 4.6 5.0
USC Texas 13.0 11.3 13.2
Utah San Jose St. 23.9 27.2 24.9
Washington Fresno St. 43.8 41.5 44.5
California Ole Miss -4.0 -5.2 -4.3
San Diego St. Stanford -15.0 -12.1 -12.8
This Week’s FBS vs. FCS Games
Home Visitor PiRate
Auburn Mercer 40
Georgia Samford 26
UTSA Southern 24
West Virginia Delaware St. 55
North Carolina St. Furman 31
Colorado Northern Colorado 39
Ball St. Tennessee Tech 20
Rutgers Morgan St. 36
Charlotte N.C. A&T -2
Buffalo Colgate 7
Nevada Idaho St. 25
Arkansas St. Ark.-Pine Bluff 51
South Alabama Alabama A&M 28
Florida Atlantic Bethune-Cookman 15

The Big 12 Arises Like The Phoenix
A week after Texas and Baylor suffered devastating losses, the Big 12 returned from the dead with some major victories. Oklahoma went to the Giant Horseshoe and toyed with Ohio State for most of the evening. The Sooners looked about as effective on offense as they looked back in 2008, when they had Sam Bradford, Chris Brown, Demarco Murray, Juaquin Iglesias, Jermaine Gresham. But, it was the defense that really looked dominant. Oklahoma’s effort Saturday night reminded us more of their 2001 team that featured Tommie Harris, Rocky Calmus, Derrick Strait, and Roy Williams.

TCU’s defense totally shut down Arkansas in the Horned Frogs win at Fayetteville. TCU’s defense held Arkansas to 13 first downs and 267 total yards; more importantly, they held them to just 7 points.

Oklahoma State won on the road at South Alabama, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the Jaguars have a history of sneaking up on Power 5 conference teams.

Baylor lost once again, and Iowa State just missed against Iowa, while Texas played much better in their drubbing of San Jose St. The Longhorns get a chance to redeem themselves for the Maryland debacle when they venture to the LA Coliseum to take on USC this week. If UT keeps this game close, then watch out for the ‘Horns in Big 12 Conference play. It is a transition process into Coach Tom Herman’s offense, but Herman’s teams find a way to win, and Texas will win more than they did last year.

ACC Tilt Highlights Top Games This Week
Following Clemson’s defensive gem against Auburn, the Tigers must now face the reigning Heisman Trophy winner on his turf. Clemson’s game at Louisville tops this week’s schedule. Louisville has the horses to do to CU what they did to Florida State last year, but we believe Coach Dabo Swinney will come up with another brilliant game plan to slow down the Cardinal attack. The issue is whether the Clemson offense has enough to get to about 27 points, because even when you slow down the ‘Ville, you might still give up 24 points.

Clemson’s big rival has a big game this week. South Carolina hosts Kentucky. USC already owns a conference win and can take a major step forward toward competing with Georgia for the East Division flag. Kentucky has not looked up to the standards we thought they had the potential to be, performing so-so in wins over Southern Miss and Eastern Kentucky.

Florida hosts Tennessee in the Swamp, and the Gators got a week off after their no-show event against Michigan. Meanwhile, Tennessee is playing its third game in 12 days and has suffered a couple of injury losses. The Vols’ offense has been at the extremes. On one drive, they look like Louisville, and on the next drive they look like a college version of the New York Jets or San Francisco 49ers. Florida was very consistent offensively against Michigan–they looked like the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on every drive against the Wolverines. Expect the Gators to play near their maximum capacity in this game. They cannot start 0-2 with a now 11-game schedule and have much chance to recover to much more than 7-4 and possibly just 6-5. A Tennessee win puts the Big Orange into the contender category in the mediocre East Division.

LSU travels north to take on an under-the-radar Mississippi State team that has circled this game on their schedule since Spring Ball. Miss State has just one win over the Tigers in the 16 games in this century, and that one win came at Baton Rouge. The last time the Bulldogs bested their Bayou Rivals in Starkville was 1999. The winner of this game has to be taken seriously as a top contender to Alabama.

Kansas State looks to prove that it belongs in the discussion in the Big 12, and the Wildcats have a tough game at Vanderbilt this week. The Commodores looked similar to Stanford and Michigan in their opening two wins, but to beat a top 15 team is a lot different than beating Middle Tennessee and Alabama A&M. This game actually features the top two passing offenses in Raw QB Ratings, as Kyle Shurmur has Vandy at #1, while Jesse Ertz has Kansas State at #2. This looks to be the best Kansas State offense since the great 1998 team almost made it to the National Championship Game.

The previously mentioned Texas-USC game should be interesting, but the Trojans should eventually win this one by two touchdowns or more. However, if the Longhorns can control the clock offensively, their questionable defense can hold on long enough to make this game close enough to be undecided until the fourth quarter.

The late game on the Coast has Stanford playing at San Diego State. If the Aztecs are to challenge for the Group of 5’s top spot and the New Year’s 6 Bowl, they must win this game. Stanford will be a tough out for the hometown team, but Rocky Long has SDSU looking like a team capable of running the table if they get past the Cardinal.

This Week’s PiRate Ratings
This happens frequently in September. A top team is upset by another team, but the top team still rates ahead of the team that beat them. That’s the liability of predictive ratings, and the strength of retrodictive ratings. We have three predictive ratings–the regular PiRate, the PiRate Mean, and the PiRate Bias. We also have one set of PiRate Retrodictive Ratings.

If you need a primer, predictive ratings take what the teams have done so far and tries to predict what they will do next week. So, if State U has a predictive rating of 113.5 and plays Tech with a rating of 110.2, then before home field advantage (and road team disadvantage) are factored in, State is expected to beat Tech by 3.3 points. Let’s say the game is at State, and our special Pirate formula shows State to have a 3.2 point home field advantage for this game. It would then be quite easy to see that State should beat teach by 6.5 points.

Our retrodictive rating does not try to predict the outcomes of the next week’s slate of games. It is only concerned with what the teams have done. If State and Tech were to have the same Retro Ratings as their predictive ratings, this would not indicate that State should win by 6.5 points. It only means that to date, State has been about 3.3 points better in their results than Tech has been (no home field advantage used because this rating does not predict outcomes).

Why are we bringing this up? Simple. Ohio State is still number two in our predictive ratings. Oklahoma is behind the Buckeyes. In our Retrodictive Ratings, Ohio State fell quite a bit, just like Florida State did after losing to Alabama.

How can our predictive ratings show Ohio State to still be number two? It is a case of methodology. Our updates to our Predictive Ratings are rather conservative, with the Mean Rating being the most conservative, and the Bias being the least conservative, but still conservative. Remember, our predictive ratings are only looking forward and not backward. It is easier to think in terms of a major upset, like when Ole Miss beat Alabama two consecutive seasons. These two wins did not jump Ole Miss over the Tide. In a similar manner, when LSU beat Alabama during the regular season in 2011, Alabama stayed ahead of LSU in the ratings. When they met again in the National Championship Game, Alabama was the favorite, and they won 21-0.

We will lead with our Retrodictive Ratings First–We have put the rating numbers in this week to show you the difference between these ratings and the Predictive Ratings.

PiRate Retrodictive
# Team Retro
1 Alabama 127.2
2 Clemson 125.8
3 Washington 124.9
4 Oklahoma 124.6
5 USC 124.1
6 Penn St. 123.8
7 LSU 122.3
8 Ohio St. 120.8
9 Oklahoma St. 120.4
10 Wisconsin 118.8
11 Michigan 118.6
12 Miami (Fla) 116.6
13 Louisville 116.5
14 Florida St. 116.4
15 Auburn 115.9
16 Virginia Tech 115.6
17 Stanford 114.5
18 Kansas St. 114.0
19 Georgia 113.9
20 Tennessee 113.1
21 TCU 112.7
22 Washington St. 112.4
23 Utah 112.2
24 Iowa 111.9
25 Colorado 111.8
26 Florida 111.5
27 Houston 111.3
28 Mississippi St. 110.8
29 South Florida 110.3
30 San Diego St. 110.0
31 Georgia Tech 109.5
32 South Carolina 109.3
33 UCLA 109.1
34 Oregon 108.9
35 Notre Dame 108.8
36 Vanderbilt 108.6
37 West Virginia 108.3
38 Minnesota 108.0
39 Boise St. 107.7
40 Michigan St. 107.0
41 Pittsburgh 106.7
42 Toledo 106.1
43 Texas A&M 104.8
44 Wake Forest 104.3
45 Nebraska 104.0
46 Maryland 103.8
47 Duke 103.7
48 Kentucky 103.7
49 North Carolina St. 103.1
50 Memphis 103.0
51 Northwestern 101.8
52 Navy 101.6
53 Ole Miss 101.5
54 California 101.3
55 Tulsa 101.1
56 Texas 101.0
57 Arkansas 100.7
58 Air Force 100.5
59 Western Michigan 100.1
60 Colorado St. 100.0
61 Texas Tech 99.8
62 BYU 99.3
63 Appalachian St. 98.7
64 North Carolina 98.4
65 Army 98.1
66 SMU 97.9
67 Central Florida 97.7
68 Temple 97.5
69 Boston College 97.3
70 Indiana 97.1
71 Old Dominion 96.8
72 Western Kentucky 96.7
73 Troy 96.5
74 Arkansas St. 96.4
75 UTSA 96.2
76 Iowa St. 96.0
77 Purdue 95.9
78 Wyoming 95.7
79 Louisiana Tech 95.4
80 Illinois 95.3
81 Missouri 95.2
82 Eastern Michigan 95.0
83 Central Michigan 94.8
84 Arizona St. 94.4
85 Arizona 94.2
86 Middle Tennessee 94.0
87 Northern Illinois 93.8
88 Ohio 93.6
89 Syracuse 93.5
90 Tulane 93.5
91 Baylor 93.3
92 Southern Miss. 93.2
93 Oregon St. 93.1
94 New Mexico 92.9
95 Hawaii 92.7
96 Utah St. 92.2
97 Idaho 91.5
98 Cincinnati 91.2
99 Miami (O) 91.1
100 Virginia 90.9
101 UL-Lafayette 90.7
102 Coastal Carolina 90.0
103 Akron 89.6
104 Marshall 89.6
105 Nevada 89.3
106 New Mexico St. 88.8
107 Rutgers 88.5
108 Ball St. 88.3
109 South Alabama 88.0
110 Fresno St. 87.9
111 Georgia Southern 87.4
112 North Texas 87.1
113 Connecticut 86.6
114 UL-Monroe 86.3
115 San Jose St. 86.1
116 Kent St. 85.9
117 Kansas 85.5
118 Rice 85.2
119 Buffalo 84.9
120 UNLV 84.4
121 East Carolina 83.7
122 Georgia St. 83.6
123 Florida Int’l. 83.4
124 Bowling Green 83.0
125 Florida Atlantic 82.6
126 UTEP 82.1
127 UAB 80.5
128 Texas St. 79.1
129 Charlotte 77.5
130 Massachusetts 75.3

Our Regular Predictive Ratings

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 133.0 128.2 132.0 131.1
2 Ohio St. 129.4 126.6 128.7 128.2
3 Washington 128.9 125.3 129.7 128.0
4 Clemson 128.9 125.1 128.1 127.4
5 Oklahoma 127.7 125.4 128.6 127.2
6 Florida St. 126.9 124.9 126.2 126.0
7 Penn St. 126.2 124.0 126.9 125.7
8 Auburn 124.0 121.9 123.8 123.2
9 U S C 122.0 121.3 122.3 121.9
10 Oklahoma St. 121.6 120.3 123.2 121.7
11 L S U 120.3 118.5 121.0 119.9
12 Wisconsin 121.1 117.2 119.4 119.3
13 Stanford 118.8 116.7 117.9 117.8
14 Miami 118.7 116.3 117.8 117.6
15 Louisville 117.7 116.6 118.0 117.4
16 Georgia 116.7 117.9 116.8 117.1
17 Michigan 117.1 116.4 116.3 116.6
18 Virginia Tech 116.2 115.8 116.6 116.2
19 Washington St. 116.8 114.0 115.9 115.6
20 Florida 115.4 114.7 114.7 114.9
21 Kansas St. 114.8 114.5 115.3 114.9
22 T C U 114.8 112.1 114.7 113.8
23 N. Carolina St. 113.4 113.1 113.1 113.2
24 Texas 112.0 113.0 112.0 112.4
25 Colorado 113.7 111.7 111.5 112.3
26 Georgia Tech 113.1 110.6 111.1 111.6
27 Iowa 111.5 111.2 111.2 111.3
28 Tennessee 112.0 110.0 110.2 110.7
29 Kentucky 111.3 109.8 110.8 110.6
30 Notre Dame 111.2 109.3 111.3 110.6
31 Oregon 111.1 107.9 110.2 109.7
32 U C L A 110.2 109.2 109.7 109.7
33 West Virginia 109.1 109.9 109.1 109.4
34 Vanderbilt 110.2 108.5 109.2 109.3
35 South Florida 109.5 107.7 110.7 109.3
36 Northwestern 109.4 107.5 109.3 108.7
37 Pittsburgh 108.8 108.7 108.0 108.5
38 Duke 109.5 108.1 107.9 108.5
39 N. Carolina 109.4 108.1 107.9 108.5
40 S. Carolina 108.8 108.0 108.0 108.3
41 Minnesota 108.0 108.0 107.5 107.8
42 Mississippi St. 107.0 107.6 107.4 107.3
43 Arkansas 106.7 106.2 106.5 106.5
44 Ole Miss 107.4 106.0 105.8 106.4
45 Utah 105.4 107.9 105.7 106.3
46 Maryland 105.6 107.7 105.7 106.3
47 Syracuse 106.7 105.1 105.8 105.9
48 Indiana 105.0 105.1 105.4 105.2
49 Memphis 104.9 103.9 105.3 104.7
50 Wake Forest 105.1 104.4 104.5 104.6
51 Nebraska 104.1 105.7 103.3 104.4
52 Texas A&M 105.1 102.7 103.7 103.8
53 Houston 104.2 103.0 103.8 103.7
54 Central Florida 102.6 104.7 103.5 103.6
55 Colo. State 103.9 102.5 103.8 103.4
56 Tulsa 102.8 102.1 102.8 102.6
57 Iowa State 101.7 102.8 102.4 102.3
58 Texas Tech 102.8 102.5 101.6 102.3
59 San Diego St. 100.9 101.5 102.1 101.5
60 Missouri 102.6 99.7 101.3 101.2
61 Boise St. 101.6 99.4 101.0 100.7
62 BYU 100.9 99.8 101.3 100.6
63 Virginia 99.9 99.9 101.3 100.4
64 Arizona St. 100.5 100.9 99.6 100.3
65 Boston College 100.1 101.2 99.5 100.3
66 Baylor 99.3 101.9 99.2 100.1
67 Michigan St. 98.6 102.0 99.5 100.0
68 Toledo 99.4 99.5 101.2 100.0
69 Western Michigan 100.4 97.7 101.8 100.0
70 Navy 99.0 100.0 98.9 99.3
71 Appalachian St. 99.7 96.9 100.2 98.9
72 Purdue 97.8 99.9 98.6 98.8
73 California 99.9 97.3 97.9 98.4
74 Arizona 98.7 97.5 96.6 97.6
75 Wyoming 98.7 96.3 97.5 97.5
76 SMU 97.2 97.5 97.6 97.4
77 Army 96.3 95.9 97.2 96.5
78 Rutgers 95.9 95.9 95.4 95.7
79 W. Kentucky 95.7 93.9 97.1 95.6
80 Temple 95.0 95.7 95.1 95.3
81 U T S A 93.9 95.6 96.1 95.2
82 Tulane 94.6 95.0 95.0 94.9
83 Eastern Michigan 94.6 94.2 94.5 94.4
84 Miami (O) 92.9 95.3 95.1 94.4
85 Middle Tennessee 93.5 93.8 94.3 93.9
86 Air Force 93.3 94.0 93.6 93.6
87 Troy 93.7 93.9 92.9 93.5
88 Oregon St. 92.8 92.9 91.3 92.3
89 Illinois 92.0 93.4 90.8 92.1
90 New Mexico 91.7 92.0 92.2 92.0
91 Old Dominion 90.6 93.5 91.1 91.7
92 Central Michigan 91.4 91.8 91.8 91.7
93 Cincinnati 89.9 92.4 91.4 91.2
94 Arkansas St. 89.5 91.1 91.2 90.6
95 Ohio U 89.5 91.4 90.4 90.4
96 Kansas 88.4 91.6 87.7 89.3
97 Hawaii 88.6 90.2 88.6 89.1
98 U N L V 87.5 90.4 87.9 88.6
99 Louisiana Tech 87.2 89.1 87.9 88.1
100 Connecticut 86.7 89.9 87.3 88.0
101 Fresno St. 88.1 86.7 88.2 87.7
102 Southern Miss. 87.1 88.5 87.2 87.6
103 Nevada 85.3 88.4 87.3 87.0
104 Utah St. 87.6 86.5 86.8 87.0
105 Northern Illinois 86.4 86.4 86.6 86.4
106 N. Mexico St. 87.1 84.6 86.6 86.1
107 East Carolina 84.9 86.4 84.8 85.4
108 Marshall 84.5 85.9 85.6 85.4
109 Akron 83.7 87.5 83.7 85.0
110 UL-Lafayette 84.2 85.8 84.0 84.7
111 Florida Atlantic 83.1 86.4 84.2 84.6
112 S. Alabama 83.5 86.4 83.7 84.5
113 Georgia St. 84.5 83.7 84.4 84.2
114 Buffalo 82.5 85.2 84.5 84.1
115 San Jose St. 84.5 83.7 83.8 84.0
116 Kent St. 82.9 84.1 83.9 83.6
117 Idaho 82.0 85.0 82.8 83.2
118 Massachusetts 83.4 82.6 83.1 83.0
119 N. Texas 81.3 82.9 81.2 81.8
120 Bowling Green 81.2 81.8 82.1 81.7
121 Florida Int’l. 81.2 81.4 82.2 81.6
122 UL-Monroe 81.8 82.1 80.3 81.4
123 Ball St. 79.0 81.4 80.6 80.3
124 Georgia Southern 79.9 81.2 79.5 80.2
125 Rice 79.6 80.7 80.1 80.1
126 Coastal Carolina 74.8 75.7 76.6 75.7
127 Charlotte 74.5 77.1 74.9 75.5
128 U T E P 72.9 77.3 74.0 74.8
129 Texas St. 71.5 74.8 70.3 72.2
130 UAB 64.1 69.3 66.1 66.5

PiRate Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division            
Team AAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 0-0 2-0 109.5 107.7 110.7 109.3
Central Florida 0-0 1-0 102.6 104.7 103.5 103.6
Temple 0-0 1-1 95.0 95.7 95.1 95.3
Cincinnati 0-0 1-1 89.9 92.4 91.4 91.2
Connecticut 0-0 1-0 86.7 89.9 87.3 88.0
East Carolina 0-0 0-2 84.9 86.4 84.8 85.4
             
West Division            
Team AAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Memphis 0-0 1-0 104.9 103.9 105.3 104.7
Houston 0-0 1-0 104.2 103.0 103.8 103.7
Tulsa 0-0 1-1 102.8 102.1 102.8 102.6
Navy 1-0 2-0 99.0 100.0 98.9 99.3
SMU 0-0 2-0 97.2 97.5 97.6 97.4
Tulane 0-1 1-1 94.6 95.0 95.0 94.9
             
AAC Averages     97.6 98.2 98.0 97.9
             
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division            
Team ACC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 0-0 2-0 128.9 125.1 128.1 127.4
Florida St. 0-0 0-1 126.9 124.9 126.2 126.0
Louisville 1-0 2-0 117.7 116.6 118.0 117.4
N. Carolina St. 0-0 1-1 113.4 113.1 113.1 113.2
Syracuse 0-0 1-1 106.7 105.1 105.8 105.9
Wake Forest 1-0 2-0 105.1 104.4 104.5 104.6
Boston College 0-1 1-1 100.1 101.2 99.5 100.3
             
Coastal Division            
Team ACC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Miami 0-0 1-0 118.7 116.3 117.8 117.6
Virginia Tech 0-0 2-0 116.2 115.8 116.6 116.2
Georgia Tech 0-0 1-1 113.1 110.6 111.1 111.6
Pittsburgh 0-0 1-1 108.8 108.7 108.0 108.5
Duke 0-0 2-0 109.5 108.1 107.9 108.5
N. Carolina 0-1 0-2 109.4 108.1 107.9 108.5
Virginia 0-0 1-1 99.9 99.9 101.3 100.4
             
ACC Averages     112.5 111.3 111.8 111.9
             
Big 12 Conference
Team B12 Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 0-0 2-0 127.7 125.4 128.6 127.2
Oklahoma St. 0-0 2-0 121.6 120.3 123.2 121.7
Kansas St. 0-0 2-0 114.8 114.5 115.3 114.9
T C U 0-0 2-0 114.8 112.1 114.7 113.8
Texas 0-0 1-1 112.0 113.0 112.0 112.4
West Virginia 0-0 1-1 109.1 109.9 109.1 109.4
Iowa State 0-0 1-1 101.7 102.8 102.4 102.3
Texas Tech 0-0 1-0 102.8 102.5 101.6 102.3
Baylor 0-0 0-2 99.3 101.9 99.2 100.1
Kansas 0-0 1-1 88.4 91.6 87.7 89.3
             
Big 12 Averages     109.2 109.4 109.4 109.3
             
Big Ten Conference
East Division            
Team BTen Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 1-0 1-1 129.4 126.6 128.7 128.2
Penn St. 0-0 2-0 126.2 124.0 126.9 125.7
Michigan 0-0 2-0 117.1 116.4 116.3 116.6
Maryland 0-0 2-0 105.6 107.7 105.7 106.3
Indiana 0-1 1-1 105.0 105.1 105.4 105.2
Michigan St. 0-0 2-0 98.6 102.0 99.5 100.0
Rutgers 0-0 0-2 95.9 95.9 95.4 95.7
             
West Division            
Team BTen Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Wisconsin 0-0 2-0 121.1 117.2 119.4 119.3
Iowa 0-0 2-0 111.5 111.2 111.2 111.3
Northwestern 0-0 1-1 109.4 107.5 109.3 108.7
Minnesota 0-0 2-0 108.0 108.0 107.5 107.8
Nebraska 0-0 1-1 104.1 105.7 103.3 104.4
Purdue 0-0 1-1 97.8 99.9 98.6 98.8
Illinois 0-0 2-0 92.0 93.4 90.8 92.1
             
Big Ten Averages     108.7 108.6 108.4 108.6
             
Conference USA
East Division            
Team CUSA Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
W. Kentucky 0-0 1-1 95.7 93.9 97.1 95.6
Middle Tennessee 0-0 1-1 93.5 93.8 94.3 93.9
Old Dominion 0-0 2-0 90.6 93.5 91.1 91.7
Marshall 0-0 1-1 84.5 85.9 85.6 85.4
Florida Atlantic 0-0 0-2 83.1 86.4 84.2 84.6
Florida Int’l. 0-0 1-1 81.2 81.4 82.2 81.6
Charlotte 0-0 0-2 74.5 77.1 74.9 75.5
             
West Division            
Team CUSA Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
U T S A 0-0 1-0 93.9 95.6 96.1 95.2
Louisiana Tech 0-0 1-1 87.2 89.1 87.9 88.1
Southern Miss. 0-0 1-1 87.1 88.5 87.2 87.6
N. Texas 0-0 1-1 81.3 82.9 81.2 81.8
Rice 1-0 1-1 79.6 80.7 80.1 80.1
U T E P 0-1 0-2 72.9 77.3 74.0 74.8
UAB 0-0 1-1 64.1 69.3 66.1 66.5
             
CUSA Averages     83.5 85.4 84.4 84.4
             
FBS Independents
Team   Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame   1-1 111.2 109.3 111.3 110.6
BYU   1-2 100.9 99.8 101.3 100.6
Army   2-0 96.3 95.9 97.2 96.5
Massachusetts   0-3 83.4 82.6 83.1 83.0
             
Indep. Averages     97.9 96.9 98.2 97.7
             
Mid-American Conference
East Division            
Team MAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Miami (O) 0-0 1-1 92.9 95.3 95.1 94.4
Ohio U 0-0 1-1 89.5 91.4 90.4 90.4
Akron 0-0 1-1 83.7 87.5 83.7 85.0
Buffalo 0-0 0-2 82.5 85.2 84.5 84.1
Kent St. 0-0 1-1 82.9 84.1 83.9 83.6
Bowling Green 0-0 0-2 81.2 81.8 82.1 81.7
             
West Division            
Team MAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Toledo 0-0 2-0 99.4 99.5 101.2 100.0
Western Michigan 0-0 0-2 100.4 97.7 101.8 100.0
Eastern Michigan 0-0 2-0 94.6 94.2 94.5 94.4
Central Michigan 0-0 2-0 91.4 91.8 91.8 91.7
Northern Illinois 0-0 1-1 86.4 86.4 86.6 86.4
Ball St. 0-0 1-1 79.0 81.4 80.6 80.3
             
MAC Averages     88.7 89.7 89.7 89.3
             
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division            
Team MWC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Colo. State 0-0 2-1 103.9 102.5 103.8 103.4
Boise St. 0-0 1-1 101.6 99.4 101.0 100.7
Wyoming 0-0 1-1 98.7 96.3 97.5 97.5
Air Force 0-0 1-0 93.3 94.0 93.6 93.6
New Mexico 0-0 1-1 91.7 92.0 92.2 92.0
Utah St. 0-0 1-1 87.6 86.5 86.8 87.0
             
West Division            
Team MWC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 0-0 2-0 100.9 101.5 102.1 101.5
Hawaii 0-0 2-1 88.6 90.2 88.6 89.1
U N L V 0-0 1-1 87.5 90.4 87.9 88.6
Fresno St. 0-0 1-1 88.1 86.7 88.2 87.7
Nevada 0-0 0-2 85.3 88.4 87.3 87.0
San Jose St. 0-0 1-2 84.5 83.7 83.8 84.0
             
MWC Averages     92.6 92.6 92.7 92.7
             
Pac-12 Conference
North Division            
Team P12 Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Washington 0-0 2-0 128.9 125.3 129.7 128.0
Stanford 0-1 1-1 118.8 116.7 117.9 117.8
Washington St. 0-0 2-0 116.8 114.0 115.9 115.6
Oregon 0-0 2-0 111.1 107.9 110.2 109.7
California 0-0 2-0 99.9 97.3 97.9 98.4
Oregon St. 0-0 1-2 92.8 92.9 91.3 92.3
             
South Division            
Team P12 Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
U S C 1-0 2-0 122.0 121.3 122.3 121.9
Colorado 0-0 2-0 113.7 111.7 111.5 112.3
U C L A 0-0 2-0 110.2 109.2 109.7 109.7
Utah 0-0 2-0 105.4 107.9 105.7 106.3
Arizona St. 0-0 1-1 100.5 100.9 99.6 100.3
Arizona 0-0 1-1 98.7 97.5 96.6 97.6
             
Pac-12 Averages     109.9 108.5 109.0 109.2
             
Southeastern Conference
East Division            
Team SEC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Georgia 0-0 2-0 116.7 117.9 116.8 117.1
Florida 0-0 0-1 115.4 114.7 114.7 114.9
Tennessee 0-0 2-0 112.0 110.0 110.2 110.7
Kentucky 0-0 2-0 111.3 109.8 110.8 110.6
Vanderbilt 0-0 2-0 110.2 108.5 109.2 109.3
S. Carolina 1-0 2-0 108.8 108.0 108.0 108.3
Missouri 0-1 1-1 102.6 99.7 101.3 101.2
             
West Division            
Team SEC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 0-0 2-0 133.0 128.2 132.0 131.1
Auburn 0-0 1-1 124.0 121.9 123.8 123.2
L S U 0-0 2-0 120.3 118.5 121.0 119.9
Mississippi St. 0-0 2-0 107.0 107.6 107.4 107.3
Arkansas 0-0 1-1 106.7 106.2 106.5 106.5
Ole Miss 0-0 2-0 107.4 106.0 105.8 106.4
Texas A&M 0-0 1-1 105.1 102.7 103.7 103.8
             
SEC Averages     112.9 111.4 112.2 112.2
             
Sunbelt Conference
Team SBC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 0-0 1-1 99.7 96.9 100.2 98.9
Troy 0-0 1-1 93.7 93.9 92.9 93.5
Arkansas St. 0-0 0-1 89.5 91.1 91.2 90.6
N. Mexico St. 0-0 1-1 87.1 84.6 86.6 86.1
UL-Lafayette 0-0 1-1 84.2 85.8 84.0 84.7
S. Alabama 0-0 0-2 83.5 86.4 83.7 84.5
Georgia St. 0-0 0-1 84.5 83.7 84.4 84.2
Idaho 0-0 1-1 82.0 85.0 82.8 83.2
UL-Monroe 0-0 0-1 81.8 82.1 80.3 81.4
Georgia Southern 0-0 0-2 79.9 81.2 79.5 80.2
Coastal Carolina 0-0 1-0 74.8 75.7 76.6 75.7
Texas St. 0-0 1-1 71.5 74.8 70.3 72.2
             
Sun Belt Averages     84.4 85.1 84.4 84.6

The Conferences Rated

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 112.9 111.4 112.2 112.2
2 ACC 112.5 111.3 111.8 111.9
3 BIG 12 109.2 109.4 109.4 109.3
4 PAC-12 109.9 108.5 109.0 109.2
5 BIG TEN 108.7 108.6 108.4 108.6
6 AAC 97.6 98.2 98.0 97.9
7 INDEP. 97.9 96.9 98.2 97.7
8 MWC 92.6 92.6 92.7 92.7
9 MAC 88.7 89.7 89.7 89.3
10 Sun Belt 84.4 85.1 84.4 84.6
11 CUSA 83.5 85.4 84.4 84.4

Bowl Projections begin in October

September 7, 2017

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Selections For: September 7-11, 2017

Recent PiRate Ratings history has shown that our money line parlay selections have been rather mediocre in the month of September. It figures, since we only select parlays that produce returns of better than 100% if they win. It can be harder earlier in the season to get a solid grasp on teams that we feel are certain to win and not just should win.
Today, we are going to include two long shot parlays that we felt compelled to select, just for the fact that they offer crazy returns, while at the same time looking quite possible.
We hope you do not wager your hard-earned money based on our advice. We know there are many of you that do not heed that recommendation. If you want to lose, you should at least lose picking games from your heart and brain. We never lose, because all we wager is the little bit of time it takes to select our parlays. In our hearts and brains, this is always a lot of fun, so we are guaranteed winners every week.

As for the opening week of the pretend wagering season, we selected just one parlay. It was looking good for awhile, until the Cal Bears put a hurtin’ on North Carolina in Chapel Hill. We lost the 5-game parlay on that one game, as the other four went our way. Alas, as with parlays that return better than 100%, this happens.

This week, we are going with five different parlays. Two of these parlays are long shots, returning hefty profits if they should happen to miraculously win. One of these two could almost guarantee another winning season if it wins, and it incredibly allows us to go with two ranked teams, one in the top 5!

Looking at the official numbers, after one week, we are at $-100 on $100 invested. That is a 100% loss on investment to date.

Here are this week’s parlay selections

 

#1 @ +118  
Must Win Must Lose
Purdue Ohio
New Mexico New Mexico St.

Purdue’s new offense has not yet hit its stride, and it may not this season.  However, the Boilermakers have some athletes getting a chance to shine after being restrained prior to Jeff Brohm’s arrival.  After giving Louisville all it could handle last week, we believe the team believes in Brohm and will come out firing on all cylinders at Ross Ade Stadium.

As for the rivalry in the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico looks like the superior team on both sides of the ball, but the Aggies are not that far behind.  In most years, the Lobos would be stronger favorites.  We believe New Mexico’s running game will eventually control what happens on the scoreboard.

 

 

#2 @ +140  
Must Win Must Lose
UTEP Rice
Miss St. La. Tech

UTEP  looked a tad bit better against Oklahoma than Rice looked against Stanford, and this game is in El Paso.  Throw in the possibility that the Owls may be on the verge of quitting on David Bailiff, while the Miners still have faith in Sean Kugler.

Mississippi State does play Louisiana Tech in Rustin this week, but the Tech home field advantage should not affect the outcome of this game.  The Bulldogs never seem to get the respect they deserve under Dan Mullen.  They are better than any team in CUSA, and they should win this game by double digits.

 

#3 @ +1010  
Must Win Must Lose
Oklahoma Ohio St.
Stanford USC

This parlay intrigued us all week, so we just had to use it.  How frequently does one get a chance to return 10 times his investment while playing two ranked teams?  We are going with the Number 5 and Number 14 team to win, in other words, not really shocking upsets if they happen.  We know the chance that both underdogs win on the road is slim, but hey, this is for more than a thousand in winnings on just $100 invested.

 

 

#4 @ +178  
Must Win Must Lose
Atlanta Chicago
Pittsburgh Cleveland
Denver LA Chargers

This is more like our typical parlay plays.  We believe these three favorites have an excellent chance of starting the year 1-0, and at $178 profit for every $100 invested, it gives a generous reward if the three teams win.

 

 

#5 @ +478  
Must Win Must Lose
Baltimore Cincinnati
New Orleans Minnesota

Seldom is a +478 parlay our favorite selection of a week, but this one is.  It is our opinion that the wrong teams are favored in these two games.  The odds makers are giving the home teams much too much advantage for playing at home.  Cincinnati does not have the great home field advantage it had in the good ole days.  Minnesota’s advantage comes later in the season.  We will go with superior quarterbacks in these two games.

 

Once again, please do not wager your own money (or anybody else’s) on our recommendations.  We go a bit liberal with our selections, because we don’t have any financial stake at risk.

 

 

 

September 6, 2017

PiRate Ratings–NFL For Week 1

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:18 am

Week 1 NFL Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
New England Kansas City 7.4 7.7 6.9
Buffalo N. Y. Jets 7.7 9.6 7.9
Chicago Atlanta -7.7 -6.4 -8.5
Cincinnati Baltimore 2.6 2.0 2.9
Cleveland Pittsburgh -7.9 -8.0 -7.3
Dallas N. Y. Giants 5.0 3.2 4.9
Detroit Arizona 1.1 2.3 0.8
Green Bay Seattle 3.8 5.1 3.6
Houston Jacksonville 7.7 8.4 7.2
LA Rams Indianapolis -1.1 -1.1 -0.9
Miami (Postponed) Tampa Bay x x x
San Francisco Carolina -3.7 -3.4 -3.9
Tennessee Oakland -1.3 -2.2 -1.2
Washington Philadelphia 2.5 3.5 1.9
Denver LA Chargers 4.5 5.0 4.7
Minnesota New Orleans 1.9 4.2 1.7

Week 1 NFL Totals

Home Visitor Total
New England Kansas City 41
Buffalo N. Y. Jets 46
Chicago Atlanta 56
Cincinnati Baltimore 36
Cleveland Pittsburgh 45
Dallas N. Y. Giants 37
Detroit Arizona 47
Green Bay Seattle 47
Houston Jacksonville 37
LA Rams Indianapolis 43
Miami (postponed) Tampa Bay x
San Francisco Carolina 52
Tennessee Oakland 52
Washington Philadelphia 47
Denver LA Chargers 46
Minnesota New Orleans 52

The PiRate Ratings were ready for publication Monday, but our captain, with loads of “oceanic” experience in search of robbing Las Vegans of their gold, gave the orders to hold off a couple days.  Our captain knew that the schedule for week 1 would more than likely change due to Ms. Irma of the Atlantic.

How ironic that this hurricane be named Irma.  Irma is an old name seldom seen these days and maybe after next week, joining Jedidiah, Japath, and other names not used any more.

The NFL schedule makers used to consider weather possibilities when creating the annual slate of games.  Not that Vince Lombardi ever needed the help, but Green Bay frequently began seasons with multiple home games early in the season, while Los Angeles played on the road more early in the season.  Then, when the weather turned raw, the Packers had more road games, while the Rams closed the season with more home games.  By this time, Green Bay had a gaudy won-loss record, while the already eliminated Rams played home games in a rather empty Los Angeles Coliseum, and coaches like Harland Svare suffered the consequences.

The Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now face the task of having to play 16 games in 16 weeks, as Hurricane Irma has forced this Sunday’s opener to be postponed to Week 11.  Because the Dolphins already have one home game in London, it was not feasible that the team would move a second home game away from home.  The right thing for the players would have been to move the game to a location as close as possible without putting it in the path of the hurricane.  A large stadium like Legion Field in Birmingham might have been able to host this game, but this is not an NFL venue, and the NFL usually only relocates games to other NFL stadiums, because there are certain quality standards that must be set.

Moving the game to week 11, when by happenstance both teams have their regularly scheduled bye, is means the Dolphins will not play a real home game until October, and having to play 16 games in 16 weeks will most likely hurt both teams’ chances to make the playoffs this season.  With the concussion protocol rules, the chances of having a full roster of skill position players for 16 consecutive weeks is close to nil.  Players need an extra week off at some point in the meat of the schedule just to nurse the bumps and bruises that make every day life uncomfortable.  This is likely to cost both teams a win or two, as they will not be able to field a healthy roster when they most need a week off.

What you will see in our projected standings reflects what we think will happen.  Both teams were originally selected to become Wildcard Playoff participants before this happened.  Now, both teams are moved out of the playoffs.  The Dolphins are sacrificing the possibility of playoffs for the guarantee of a seventh home game.

2017 Opening NFL PiRate Ratings 

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Buffalo 97.4 98.4 97.6 97.8 26
Miami 98.6 99.3 98.0 98.6 24
New England 107.1 107.8 106.9 107.2 20
N. Y. Jets 92.1 91.3 92.1 91.9 20
           
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Baltimore 100.7 101.1 100.8 100.8 19
Cincinnati 100.2 100.1 100.6 100.3 17
Cleveland 94.3 94.7 94.6 94.5 22
Pittsburgh 104.7 105.1 104.4 104.8 23
           
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Houston 99.9 100.4 99.4 99.9 15
Indianapolis 99.1 99.3 98.7 99.0 27
Jacksonville 95.2 95.1 95.1 95.1 22
Tennessee 99.4 99.7 98.9 99.3 25
           
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Denver 101.9 101.4 102.3 101.9 17
Kansas City 102.6 103.1 103.0 102.9 21
LA Chargers 100.4 99.4 100.6 100.1 29
Oakland 103.8 104.9 103.1 103.9 27
           
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Dallas 104.6 103.0 104.5 104.1 23
N.Y. Giants 102.6 102.8 102.6 102.7 14
Philadelphia 100.3 98.9 101.2 100.1 21
Washington 100.2 99.9 100.6 100.2 26
           
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Chicago 94.4 95.0 94.1 94.5 20
Detroit 99.3 100.6 99.0 99.7 21
Green Bay 103.5 104.7 102.9 103.7 29
Minnesota 99.3 99.9 99.5 99.6 17
           
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Atlanta 105.1 104.3 105.7 105.0 36
Carolina 100.2 99.3 100.3 99.9 26
New Orleans 100.5 98.7 100.8 100.0 35
Tampa Bay 100.9 99.9 101.3 100.7 22
           
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Arizona 101.2 101.3 101.2 101.2 26
LA Rams 94.9 95.2 94.8 95.0 16
San Francisco 92.9 92.5 92.9 92.8 26
Seattle 102.7 102.6 102.3 102.5 18

To estimate spreads, simply subtract the lower rated teams’ ratings from the higher rated teams’ rating.  Then, add your home field advantage of choice.  The PiRates use game specific advantages for each game.

To estimate the total points scored, simply add the two teams’ Totals numbers.

PiRate Ratings Preseason Playoff Projections 

AFC Seeding

1. New England

2. Oakland

3. Pittsburgh

4. Houston

5. Kansas City

6. Baltimore

 

NFC Seeding

1. Seattle

2. Green Bay

3. NY Giants

4. Atlanta

5. Arizona

6. Dallas

 

Wildcard Playoff Round

Pittsburgh over Baltimore

Kansas City over Houston

NY Giants over Dallas

Arizona over Atlanta

 

Divisional Playoff Round

New England over Kansas City

Oakland over Pittsburgh

Arizona over Seattle

Green Bay over NY Giants

 

Conference Championship Games

Oakland over New England

Green Bay over Arizona

 

Super Bowl 52

Oakland over Green Bay

September 5, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Football Forecast for September 7-9, 2017

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 12:51 pm

This Week’s PiRate Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Purdue Ohio U 8.3 8.7 8.1
South Alabama Oklahoma St. -34.5 -30.2 -36.1
Wisconsin Florida Atlantic 44.7 37.0 42.2
Army Buffalo 16.7 12.9 15.6
Michigan St. Western Michigan -5.2 2.7 -6.3
Rutgers Eastern Michigan 7.1 6.5 6.2
Massachusetts Old Dominion -4.5 -8.3 -5.3
Duke Northwestern -2.7 -2.0 -4.0
Connecticut South Florida -20.3 -15.3 -20.9
West Virginia East Carolina 24.3 24.0 24.2
Michigan Cincinnati 32.3 28.4 30.0
North Carolina Louisville -3.8 -4.4 -5.8
Kansas St. Charlotte 42.2 38.9 42.1
Iowa St. Iowa -9.3 -7.3 -8.3
Boston College Wake Forest 2.3 3.7 2.5
New Mexico New Mexico St. 8.6 11.8 10.4
UTEP Rice -0.6 2.9 0.4
Colorado Texas St. 47.4 40.6 46.6
Ball St. UAB 17.2 13.8 16.4
Syracuse Middle Tennessee 23.7 20.4 21.7
Virginia Indiana -2.4 -2.5 -1.4
Penn St. Pittsburgh 19.4 17.1 20.9
Alabama Fresno St. 48.8 45.5 47.8
Navy Tulane 8.1 8.6 7.6
Illinois Western Kentucky -7.0 -2.5 -10.4
Baylor UTSA 12.6 13.3 10.3
UCLA Hawaii 23.3 20.5 22.6
Kansas Central Michigan 5.4 8.6 4.3
Oregon Nebraska 10.2 5.1 9.8
Arkansas St. Miami (Fla.) -26.1 -22.2 -23.6
Texas San Jose St. 25.8 28.0 26.5
Arkansas TCU 0.8 3.3 1.1
Tulsa UL-Lafayette 21.5 18.4 21.6
North Carolina St. Marshall 35.2 32.7 33.8
Nevada Toledo -10.5 -6.8 -9.8
Florida St. UL-Monroe 48.1 45.8 48.9
Missouri South Carolina 1.3 -1.9 0.8
SMU North Texas 17.6 16.1 17.9
Clemson Auburn 7.4 5.7 6.6
Notre Dame Georgia -2.2 -5.4 -2.2
Louisiana Tech Mississippi St. -12.0 -11.0 -11.4
Ohio St. Oklahoma 11.6 10.5 9.8
Central Florida Memphis 0.8 3.8 1.3
USC Stanford 2.9 5.0 4.2
Idaho UNLV 5.9 5.3 6.3
Oregon St. Minnesota -4.1 -4.5 -5.4
Arizona St. San Diego St. 5.9 4.9 3.0
BYU Utah -2.8 -6.6 -2.6
Arizona Houston -2.3 -2.4 -4.6
Washington St. Boise St. 23.4 21.8 23.3

FBS vs. FCS Games

This Week’s FBS vs. FCS Games
Home Visitor PiRate
Utah St. Idaho St. 25
Florida Northern Colorado 40
Kentucky Eastern Kentucky 30
LSU Chattanooga 40
Ole Miss UT-Martin 30
Tennessee Indiana St. 37
Vanderbilt Alabama A&M 45
Colorado St. Abilene Christian 37
Wyoming Gardner-Webb 29
Florida Int’l. Alcorn St. 15
Maryland Towson 33
Georgia Tech Jacksonville St. 18
Temple Villanova 19
Appalachian St. Savannah St. 46
Miami (O) Austin Peay 24
Northern Illinois Eastern Illinois 20
Kent St. Howard 22
Virginia Tech Delaware 41
California Weber St. 29
Georgia Southern New Hampshire 11
Troy Alabama St. 35
Bowling Green South Dakota 5
Southern Miss. Southern U 23
Texas A&M Nicholls St. 38
Akron Ark.-Pine Bluff 42
Washington Montana 41

Is this really just week two of the college football season? Normally, in week two, you get 40 FBS vs. FCS games on the schedule. You get the Big Ten playing the MAC; other Power 5 teams playing the weakest Group of 5 teams they can schedule if they didn’t get a FCS patsy. At best, you might get one or two marquee matchups and maybe a couple of okay conference games.
There are 26 FBS vs. FCS contests this week, but even a couple of those might now be interesting after Howard upset UNLV, Liberty knocked off Baylor, Tennessee State beat Georgia State, and James Madison took out East Carolina. There are a half dozen FCS teams this week that have a legitimate chance to beat an FBS team, led by South Dakota, which might even be favored over Bowling Green when the extra lines are released later this week.
There are some Power 5 vs. Group of 5 patsy games on the schedule, but there are a few that could become upsets, like Ohio at Purdue, Western Michigan at Michigan State, Eastern Michigan at Rutgers, Western Kentucky at Illinois, Central Michigan at Kansas, San Diego State at Arizona State, Houston at Arizona, and Boise State at Washington State. There are actually two Group of 5 teams hosting Power 5 teams. Mississippi State risks humility at tough Louisiana Tech, while Utah plays at rival BYU.
Ah, but now we get to the marquee games. There are enough to make this look more like the Saturday before Thanksgiving than week two. We have broken the slate down into great expectation contests and important other contests to preview this week.
Great Expectations
Pittsburgh at Penn State: We know James Franklin. We know that James Franklin has been reminding his Nittany Lions what Pitt did to PSU last year. We know Penn State has the talent to run the table and earn a playoff spot this year, while Pittsburgh may be about the same as last year. The Panthers also knocked off Clemson, so Coach Pat Narduzzi may be the new giant killer in college football, along the lines of Jack Curtice and Al Onofrio and Warren Powers at Missouri in past times. While the Nittany Lions should be considered rather heavy favorites in this one, it will be worth watching.

TCU at Arkansas: This was a great game last year, with Arkansas winning by 3 in overtime. The Big 12 needs a signature win in a hurry, and the league will get multiple opportunities to pull off a big win. Both teams looked dominant in wins over FCS foes last week, and those games served as fine dress rehearsals for this one. TCU’s Kenny Hill could be the difference in this one if his team is to win. Arkansas looks similar to the last two years, maybe a tad stronger, so this game should be close once again.

Auburn at Clemson: Trivia question with an obvious answer: In last year’s national championship run, only one opponent held Clemson under 20 points. Obviously, since it is brought up here, the answer is Auburn. That Auburn team did not have a lot of offense, and they kept it close, losing 19-13. This Auburn team has a powerful offense, and the defense is about as good as it was last year. Meanwhile, Clemson looks to have reloaded rather than rebuilt. This game could be more like a “quarterfinal round” game in the NCAA Playoffs. If you watch just one game this week, we’d select this one by a hair over a couple others. But, hey, you are going to take care of your Saturday chores and errands really early, so you can watch every single one of these games, aren’t you? We know you. We know your kind–we see it when we look in the mirror.

Georgia at Notre Dame: For a short time Saturday, it looked like Georgia had moved from a co-favorite to win the SEC East to the outright favorite after Florida’s offense forgot the object of the game is to move the ball toward the other team’s goal. Then, quarterback Jacob Eason took a beating near the sideline and was lost for the remainder of the game with a knee sprain. He is definitely out this week, and it isn’t a sure thing he will be back by September 23, when the Bulldogs play their first SEC game against the other Bulldogs, Mississippi State. Notre Dame easily dismissed Temple last week, which means they are better this year than last. How much better is still to be determined. If they are considerably better, the Irish need to win this big home game. If they are only a little better, they will look like Florida looked against Michigan last week.

Oklahoma at Ohio State: This is the second best game of the week, but it could easily become the better of the top two games. Ohio State might beat Indiana by 7 touchdowns if they played again, but Oklahoma might also beat Indiana by “half a hundred,” as former Coach Barry Switzer wanted every week. Which team has the better secondary? Oklahoma wins here. Who has the better offensive and defensive lines? Offensive lines are about equal, but the Buckeyes have the better defensive line. The offensive skill positions for both teams are top flight. We could see this one still to be decided late in the fourth quarter, or maybe after the fourth quarter.

Stanford at USC: Okay, maybe USC overlooked Western Michigan. Maybe WMU is still just as good as last year. Or, maybe the Trojan defense isn’t quite up to championship standards just yet. Stanford didn’t let down in their game against Rice “down under,” in Sydney, Australia. The Cardinal steamrolled the Owls, who definitely are not in Western Michigan’s class. This game should be interesting. Sam Darnold should be able to pass the ball with enough efficiency to put up 250 passing yards and 24 or more points, but can the USC defense contain a Stanford offense that looked very similar to the 2010 team that had Andrew Luck and Stepfan Taylor.

Important Other Games of Interest
Western Michigan at Michigan State: The Spartans disappointed greatly last year, and their opening win over Bowling Green did nothing to prove they were back. Western Michigan gave USC all it could handle for 3 quarters, and the Broncos look to be very good again this year under new head coach Tim Lester. This game should give Spartan fans a realistic look at whether their team is coming back. A win in East Lansing could propel the Spartans to a .500 or better season and a bowl bid. A loss, followed by another to Notre Dame next week, and MSU could finish under .500 again.

Northwestern at Duke: Stanford and Vanderbilt looked terrific in their first games. Duke and Northwestern looked okay, but this could be a year where all four brainy schools become bowl eligible. The winner of this game will be 2-0 with an almost guarantee of moving to 3-0 the following week.

Iowa at Iowa St.: Both teams looked better than decent in game one, but neither set the woods on fire. However, like the previous game, the winner of this rivalry emerges at 2-0 with an almost certain 3-0 start after next week. Matt Campbell may be about ready to take the Cyclones up a notch or two in the Big 12 standings, and we will be monitoring this one closely. If Iowa wins by double digits, then the Hawkeyes move to the top contender spot to Wisconsin in the Big Ten West.

Wake Forest at Boston College: Yet another game where the winner will be 2-0, this game should be a nice defensive showcase with the possibility that defense and special teams will be the deciding factor in a 17-14 type of score (BC won 17-14 last year). BC won in Winston-Salem last year, and the Eagles should be considered a mild favorite. Wake Forest has more experience and maybe a little better depth, so this game should be very close.

Nebraska at Oregon: Willie Taggart needed two years of rebuilding at his two previous stops in the coaching profession. Western Kentucky and South Florida both performed poorly in season one of their Taggart eras. Oregon opened the 2017 season with a 77-point offensive barrage against Southern Utah. Nebraska struggled with an Arkansas State team that could win 10 games this year and will almost assuredly earn a bowl bid. This game will give us a lot more information about whether Oregon can turn the corner in Taggart’s first year in Eugene, and whether Coach Mike Riley can get Nebraska back to the high echelon in college football, or whether 7-9 wins is the new norm in Lincoln.

South Carolina at Missouri: After watching Florida and Tennessee play in week one, there is clearly a chance for South Carolina, Missouri, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky to move up to number two behind Georgia, and if Eason is out long in Athens, who knows? Any of the current back four could sneak up and take the East Division flag. Because it is the first conference game of the season for the SEC, the winner will take the early lead in the East. South Carolina looked mighty impressive in their win over North Carolina State, while Missouri’s offense looked fantastic against Missouri State. The Tigers’ defense made MSU’s offense look great. As we mentioned in our preseason preview, it would not shock us if Missouri became the first major college team to both score and surrender 40 points per game in a season. The Tigers should score a lot of points again this week. If the Gamecocks don’t play too conservatively, USC can put up 50 on the Tiger defense. Missouri might win if Coach Will Muschamp tries to sustain a lot of long drives and keeps the ball out of Drew Lock’s hands.

Boise State at Washington State: This will be an interesting late game in the Palouse. Washington State’s defense pitched a shutout against Montana State in game one, while the Cougar offense was a lot more potent than the 31 points scored showed. This could be the best Mike Leach-coached team ever or a close second best to his 2008 team at Texas Tech.

The PiRate Ratings

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 133.5 128.7 132.5 131.6
2 Ohio St. 132.6 129.5 131.8 131.3
3 Washington 128.4 124.8 129.2 127.5
4 Clemson 128.5 124.7 127.6 126.9
5 Florida St. 126.9 124.9 126.2 126.0
6 Penn St. 126.2 123.9 126.9 125.7
7 Oklahoma 124.0 122.0 125.0 123.7
8 Auburn 124.1 122.0 124.0 123.4
9 Oklahoma St. 121.2 119.8 122.8 121.3
10 Wisconsin 122.9 118.8 121.4 121.1
11 U S C 120.2 119.8 120.6 120.2
12 L S U 120.4 118.6 121.1 120.0
13 Stanford 120.3 117.9 119.3 119.2
14 Washington St. 119.5 116.2 118.7 118.1
15 Michigan 118.3 117.3 117.5 117.7
16 Miami 118.7 116.3 117.8 117.6
17 Georgia 116.4 117.7 116.5 116.9
18 Virginia Tech 116.7 116.3 117.1 116.7
19 Louisville 116.7 115.8 117.1 116.5
20 Florida 115.4 114.7 114.7 114.9
21 N. Carolina St. 115.2 114.5 114.9 114.9
22 Kansas St. 114.1 113.6 114.5 114.1
23 Colorado 114.8 112.1 112.7 113.2
24 Iowa 112.0 111.4 111.7 111.7
25 Northwestern 112.1 110.0 111.8 111.3
26 Georgia Tech 112.8 110.3 110.8 111.3
27 Kentucky 111.8 110.3 111.3 111.1
28 Tennessee 112.0 110.0 110.2 110.7
29 T C U 111.7 108.9 111.4 110.6
30 Notre Dame 111.2 109.3 111.3 110.6
31 Texas 109.5 110.7 109.5 109.9
32 Oregon 111.2 107.8 110.2 109.7
33 Arkansas 109.5 109.1 109.5 109.4
34 Vanderbilt 110.2 108.5 109.2 109.3
35 South Florida 109.5 107.7 110.7 109.3
36 Syracuse 110.3 108.1 109.3 109.2
37 N. Carolina 109.9 108.4 108.3 108.9
38 Pittsburgh 108.8 108.8 108.0 108.5
39 U C L A 108.9 107.8 108.3 108.3
40 West Virginia 107.8 108.8 107.7 108.1
41 Ole Miss 107.6 106.2 106.0 106.6
42 Texas A&M 107.6 105.2 106.2 106.3
43 Utah 105.2 107.9 105.4 106.2
44 S. Carolina 106.4 106.1 105.6 106.0
45 Maryland 105.3 107.4 105.4 106.0
46 Duke 106.3 105.1 104.9 105.4
47 Mississippi St. 104.4 105.1 104.6 104.7
48 Memphis 104.9 103.9 105.3 104.7
49 Nebraska 104.0 105.8 103.3 104.4
50 Minnesota 104.4 104.6 104.0 104.3
51 Indiana 104.1 104.3 104.1 104.2
52 Colo. State 104.2 102.8 104.1 103.7
53 Houston 104.1 102.9 104.0 103.7
54 Central Florida 102.6 104.7 103.5 103.6
55 Missouri 104.7 101.3 103.4 103.1
56 Baylor 101.9 104.4 101.8 102.7
57 Tulsa 102.7 101.7 102.7 102.4
58 Texas Tech 102.8 102.5 101.6 102.3
59 Wake Forest 102.7 102.2 102.0 102.3
60 Boston College 102.0 102.9 101.5 102.1
61 Western Michigan 102.7 99.1 104.4 102.1
62 Iowa State 101.2 102.6 101.9 101.9
63 Arizona St. 102.3 102.3 101.0 101.9
64 BYU 100.9 99.8 101.3 100.6
65 San Diego St. 99.4 100.4 101.0 100.3
66 Toledo 99.3 99.1 100.9 99.8
67 Navy 99.2 100.2 99.1 99.5
68 Virginia 98.7 98.8 99.7 99.1
69 California 100.6 98.0 98.6 99.1
70 Appalachian St. 99.7 96.9 100.2 98.9
71 W. Kentucky 98.6 96.1 100.4 98.4
72 Boise St. 98.6 96.9 97.9 97.8
73 Michigan St. 96.0 100.3 96.6 97.6
74 Arizona 98.8 97.6 96.4 97.6
75 Wyoming 98.7 96.3 97.5 97.5
76 SMU 97.0 97.3 97.4 97.2
77 Purdue 96.1 98.4 96.9 97.1
78 Rutgers 97.0 96.6 96.3 96.6
79 Army 96.3 95.9 97.2 96.5
80 Oregon St. 96.7 96.6 95.1 96.1
81 Temple 95.7 96.4 95.8 96.0
82 Miami (O) 92.9 95.3 95.1 94.4
83 Tulane 94.1 94.5 94.5 94.4
84 Troy 93.9 94.1 93.1 93.7
85 Air Force 93.3 94.0 93.6 93.6
86 New Mexico 92.7 93.2 93.6 93.2
87 Eastern Michigan 93.0 93.0 93.1 93.0
88 U T S A 91.3 93.1 93.5 92.6
89 Kansas 91.1 94.5 90.4 92.0
90 Ohio U 90.9 92.6 91.8 91.8
91 Old Dominion 90.4 93.4 90.9 91.6
92 Middle Tennessee 90.2 91.1 91.1 90.8
93 Louisiana Tech 89.8 91.6 90.7 90.7
94 Arkansas St. 89.5 91.1 91.2 90.6
95 Cincinnati 89.0 91.8 90.5 90.4
96 Hawaii 89.6 91.3 89.7 90.2
97 Illinois 89.1 91.2 87.5 89.3
98 Central Michigan 88.7 88.9 89.1 88.9
99 Connecticut 86.7 89.9 87.3 88.0
100 Idaho 86.2 88.9 87.0 87.3
101 Nevada 85.4 88.8 87.6 87.2
102 Fresno St. 87.6 86.2 87.7 87.2
103 East Carolina 86.5 87.8 86.5 86.9
104 Southern Miss. 86.1 87.5 86.2 86.6
105 Utah St. 87.1 86.0 86.3 86.5
106 Northern Illinois 86.2 86.2 86.4 86.2
107 San Jose St. 86.7 85.7 86.0 86.1
108 UL-Lafayette 84.3 86.2 84.1 84.9
109 Akron 83.5 87.3 83.5 84.8
110 S. Alabama 83.6 86.6 83.8 84.7
111 U N L V 83.3 86.5 83.7 84.5
112 N. Mexico St. 85.6 82.9 84.7 84.4
113 Georgia St. 84.5 83.7 84.4 84.2
114 Marshall 83.0 84.8 84.1 84.0
115 Kent St. 83.2 84.4 84.2 83.9
116 Buffalo 81.6 84.9 83.6 83.4
117 Massachusetts 83.4 82.6 83.1 83.0
118 Florida Atlantic 81.3 84.8 82.2 82.8
119 Bowling Green 81.8 82.4 82.7 82.3
120 N. Texas 81.5 83.1 81.4 82.0
121 Florida Int’l. 81.2 81.4 82.2 81.6
122 Georgia Southern 81.2 82.5 80.8 81.5
123 UL-Monroe 81.8 82.1 80.3 81.4
124 Ball St. 78.9 81.0 80.3 80.1
125 Rice 77.8 78.8 78.1 78.2
126 U T E P 74.7 79.2 76.0 76.7
127 Charlotte 74.9 77.7 75.4 76.0
128 Coastal Carolina 74.8 75.7 76.6 75.7
129 Texas St. 70.4 74.4 69.1 71.3
130 UAB 64.2 69.7 66.4 66.8

PiRate Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division            
Team AAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 0-0 2-0 109.5 107.7 110.7 109.3
Central Florida 0-0 1-0 102.6 104.7 103.5 103.6
Temple 0-0 0-1 95.7 96.4 95.8 96.0
Cincinnati 0-0 1-0 89.0 91.8 90.5 90.4
Connecticut 0-0 1-0 86.7 89.9 87.3 88.0
East Carolina 0-0 0-1 86.5 87.8 86.5 86.9
             
West Division            
Team AAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Memphis 0-0 1-0 104.9 103.9 105.3 104.7
Houston 0-0 0-0 104.1 102.9 104.0 103.7
Tulsa 0-0 0-1 102.7 101.7 102.7 102.4
Navy 0-0 1-0 99.2 100.2 99.1 99.5
SMU 0-0 1-0 97.0 97.3 97.4 97.2
Tulane 0-0 1-0 94.1 94.5 94.5 94.4
             
AAC Averages     97.7 98.2 98.1 98.0
             
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division            
Team ACC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 0-0 1-0 128.5 124.7 127.6 126.9
Florida St. 0-0 0-1 126.9 124.9 126.2 126.0
Louisville 0-0 1-0 116.7 115.8 117.1 116.5
N. Carolina St. 0-0 0-1 115.2 114.5 114.9 114.9
Syracuse 0-0 1-0 110.3 108.1 109.3 109.2
Wake Forest 0-0 1-0 102.7 102.2 102.0 102.3
Boston College 0-0 1-0 102.0 102.9 101.5 102.1
             
Coastal Division            
Team ACC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Miami 0-0 1-0 118.7 116.3 117.8 117.6
Virginia Tech 0-0 1-0 116.7 116.3 117.1 116.7
Georgia Tech 0-0 0-1 112.8 110.3 110.8 111.3
N. Carolina 0-0 0-1 109.9 108.4 108.3 108.9
Pittsburgh 0-0 1-0 108.8 108.8 108.0 108.5
Duke 0-0 1-0 106.3 105.1 104.9 105.4
Virginia 0-0 1-0 98.7 98.8 99.7 99.1
             
ACC Averages     112.5 111.2 111.8 111.8
             
Big 12 Conference
Team B12 Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 0-0 1-0 124.0 122.0 125.0 123.7
Oklahoma St. 0-0 1-0 121.2 119.8 122.8 121.3
Kansas St. 0-0 1-0 114.1 113.6 114.5 114.1
T C U 0-0 1-0 111.7 108.9 111.4 110.6
Texas 0-0 0-1 109.5 110.7 109.5 109.9
West Virginia 0-0 0-1 107.8 108.8 107.7 108.1
Baylor 0-0 0-1 101.9 104.4 101.8 102.7
Texas Tech 0-0 1-0 102.8 102.5 101.6 102.3
Iowa State 0-0 1-0 101.2 102.6 101.9 101.9
Kansas 0-0 1-0 91.1 94.5 90.4 92.0
             
Big 12 Averages     108.5 108.8 108.7 108.7
             
Big Ten Conference
East Division            
Team BTen Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 1-0 1-0 132.6 129.5 131.8 131.3
Penn St. 0-0 1-0 126.2 123.9 126.9 125.7
Michigan 0-0 1-0 118.3 117.3 117.5 117.7
Maryland 0-0 1-0 105.3 107.4 105.4 106.0
Indiana 0-1 0-1 104.1 104.3 104.1 104.2
Michigan St. 0-0 1-0 96.0 100.3 96.6 97.6
Rutgers 0-0 0-1 97.0 96.6 96.3 96.6
             
West Division            
Team BTen Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Wisconsin 0-0 1-0 122.9 118.8 121.4 121.1
Iowa 0-0 1-0 112.0 111.4 111.7 111.7
Northwestern 0-0 1-0 112.1 110.0 111.8 111.3
Nebraska 0-0 1-0 104.0 105.8 103.3 104.4
Minnesota 0-0 1-0 104.4 104.6 104.0 104.3
Purdue 0-0 0-1 96.1 98.4 96.9 97.1
Illinois 0-0 1-0 89.1 91.2 87.5 89.3
             
Big Ten Averages     108.6 108.5 108.2 108.4
             
Conference USA
East Division            
Team CUSA Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
W. Kentucky 0-0 1-0 98.6 96.1 100.4 98.4
Old Dominion 0-0 1-0 90.4 93.4 90.9 91.6
Middle Tennessee 0-0 0-1 90.2 91.1 91.1 90.8
Marshall 0-0 1-0 83.0 84.8 84.1 84.0
Florida Atlantic 0-0 0-1 81.3 84.8 82.2 82.8
Florida Int’l. 0-0 0-1 81.2 81.4 82.2 81.6
Charlotte 0-0 0-1 74.9 77.7 75.4 76.0
             
West Division            
Team CUSA Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
U T S A 0-0 0-0 91.3 93.1 93.5 92.6
Louisiana Tech 0-0 1-0 89.8 91.6 90.7 90.7
Southern Miss. 0-0 0-1 86.1 87.5 86.2 86.6
N. Texas 0-0 1-0 81.5 83.1 81.4 82.0
Rice 0-0 0-1 77.8 78.8 78.1 78.2
U T E P 0-0 0-1 74.7 79.2 76.0 76.7
UAB 0-0 1-0 64.2 69.7 66.4 66.8
             
CUSA Averages     83.2 85.2 84.2 84.2
             
FBS Independents
Team   Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame   1-0 111.2 109.3 111.3 110.6
BYU   1-1 100.9 99.8 101.3 100.6
Army   1-0 96.3 95.9 97.2 96.5
Massachusetts   0-2 83.4 82.6 83.1 83.0
             
Indep. Averages     97.9 96.9 98.2 97.7
             
Mid-American Conference
East Division            
Team MAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Miami (O) 0-0 0-1 92.9 95.3 95.1 94.4
Ohio U 0-0 1-0 90.9 92.6 91.8 91.8
Akron 0-0 0-1 83.5 87.3 83.5 84.8
Kent St. 0-0 0-1 83.2 84.4 84.2 83.9
Buffalo 0-0 0-1 81.6 84.9 83.6 83.4
Bowling Green 0-0 0-1 81.8 82.4 82.7 82.3
             
West Division            
Team MAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Michigan 0-0 0-1 102.7 99.1 104.4 102.1
Toledo 0-0 1-0 99.3 99.1 100.9 99.8
Eastern Michigan 0-0 1-0 93.0 93.0 93.1 93.0
Central Michigan 0-0 1-0 88.7 88.9 89.1 88.9
Northern Illinois 0-0 0-1 86.2 86.2 86.4 86.2
Ball St. 0-0 0-1 78.9 81.0 80.3 80.1
             
MAC Averages     88.6 89.5 89.6 89.2
             
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division            
Team MWC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Colo. State 0-0 1-1 104.2 102.8 104.1 103.7
Boise St. 0-0 1-0 98.6 96.9 97.9 97.8
Wyoming 0-0 0-1 98.7 96.3 97.5 97.5
Air Force 0-0 1-0 93.3 94.0 93.6 93.6
New Mexico 0-0 1-0 92.7 93.2 93.6 93.2
Utah St. 0-0 0-1 87.1 86.0 86.3 86.5
             
West Division            
Team MWC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 0-0 1-0 99.4 100.4 101.0 100.3
Hawaii 0-0 2-0 89.6 91.3 89.7 90.2
Nevada 0-0 0-1 85.4 88.8 87.6 87.2
Fresno St. 0-0 1-0 87.6 86.2 87.7 87.2
San Jose St. 0-0 1-1 86.7 85.7 86.0 86.1
U N L V 0-0 0-1 83.3 86.5 83.7 84.5
             
MWC Averages     92.2 92.3 92.4 92.3
             
Pac-12 Conference
North Division            
Team P12 Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Washington 0-0 1-0 128.4 124.8 129.2 127.5
Stanford 0-0 1-0 120.3 117.9 119.3 119.2
Washington St. 0-0 1-0 119.5 116.2 118.7 118.1
Oregon 0-0 1-0 111.2 107.8 110.2 109.7
California 0-0 1-0 100.6 98.0 98.6 99.1
Oregon St. 0-0 1-1 96.7 96.6 95.1 96.1
             
South Division            
Team P12 Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
U S C 0-0 1-0 120.2 119.8 120.6 120.2
Colorado 0-0 1-0 114.8 112.1 112.7 113.2
U C L A 0-0 1-0 108.9 107.8 108.3 108.3
Utah 0-0 1-0 105.2 107.9 105.4 106.2
Arizona St. 0-0 1-0 102.3 102.3 101.0 101.9
Arizona 0-0 1-0 98.8 97.6 96.4 97.6
             
Pac-12 Averages     110.6 109.1 109.6 109.8
             
Southeastern Conference
East Division            
Team SEC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Georgia 0-0 1-0 116.4 117.7 116.5 116.9
Florida 0-0 0-1 115.4 114.7 114.7 114.9
Kentucky 0-0 1-0 111.8 110.3 111.3 111.1
Tennessee 0-0 1-0 112.0 110.0 110.2 110.7
Vanderbilt 0-0 1-0 110.2 108.5 109.2 109.3
S. Carolina 0-0 1-0 106.4 106.1 105.6 106.0
Missouri 0-0 1-0 104.7 101.3 103.4 103.1
             
West Division            
Team SEC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 0-0 1-0 133.5 128.7 132.5 131.6
Auburn 0-0 1-0 124.1 122.0 124.0 123.4
L S U 0-0 1-0 120.4 118.6 121.1 120.0
Arkansas 0-0 1-0 109.5 109.1 109.5 109.4
Ole Miss 0-0 1-0 107.6 106.2 106.0 106.6
Texas A&M 0-0 0-1 107.6 105.2 106.2 106.3
Mississippi St. 0-0 1-0 104.4 105.1 104.6 104.7
             
SEC Averages     113.1 111.7 112.5 112.4
             
Sunbelt Conference
Team SBC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 0-0 0-1 99.7 96.9 100.2 98.9
Troy 0-0 0-1 93.9 94.1 93.1 93.7
Arkansas St. 0-0 0-1 89.5 91.1 91.2 90.6
Idaho 0-0 1-0 86.2 88.9 87.0 87.3
UL-Lafayette 0-0 1-0 84.3 86.2 84.1 84.9
S. Alabama 0-0 0-1 83.6 86.6 83.8 84.7
N. Mexico St. 0-0 0-1 85.6 82.9 84.7 84.4
Georgia St. 0-0 0-1 84.5 83.7 84.4 84.2
Georgia Southern 0-0 0-1 81.2 82.5 80.8 81.5
UL-Monroe 0-0 0-1 81.8 82.1 80.3 81.4
Coastal Carolina 0-0 1-0 74.8 75.7 76.6 75.7
Texas St. 0-0 1-0 70.4 74.4 69.1 71.3
             
Sun Belt Averages     84.6 85.4 84.6 84.9

Overall Conference Ratings

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 113.1 111.7 112.5 112.4
2 ACC 112.5 111.2 111.8 111.8
3 PAC-12 110.6 109.1 109.6 109.8
4 BIG 12 108.5 108.8 108.7 108.7
5 BIG TEN 108.6 108.5 108.2 108.4
6 AAC 97.7 98.2 98.1 98.0
7 INDEP. 97.9 96.9 98.2 97.7
8 MWC 92.2 92.3 92.4 92.3
9 MAC 88.6 89.5 89.6 89.2
10 SBC 84.6 85.4 84.6 84.9
11 CUSA 83.2 85.2 84.2 84.2

 

PiRate Retrodictive Ratings

PiRate Retrodictive
# Team
1 Alabama
2 Ohio St.
3 Clemson
4 Washington
5 Oklahoma
6 USC
7 Penn St.
8 LSU
9 Oklahoma St.
10 Auburn
11 Miami (Fla)
12 Wisconsin
13 Stanford
14 Michigan
15 Florida St.
16 Virginia Tech
17 Kansas St.
18 Louisville
19 Washington St.
20 Georgia
21 Utah
22 Tennessee
23 Florida
24 Iowa
25 Colorado
26 South Florida
27 Pittsburgh
28 Georgia Tech
29 Nebraska
30 Western Michigan
31 Boise St.
32 Texas A&M
33 Northwestern
34 Houston
35 TCU
36 Notre Dame
37 West Virginia
38 Kentucky
39 Western Kentucky
40 Mississippi St.
41 San Diego St.
42 North Carolina
43 Toledo
44 Arkansas
45 Minnesota
46 UCLA
47 North Carolina St.
48 Memphis
49 Oregon
50 South Carolina
51 Vanderbilt
52 Ole Miss
53 California
54 Navy
55 Tulsa
56 BYU
57 Appalachian St.
58 Colorado St.
59 Air Force
60 Temple
61 Michigan St.
62 Wake Forest
63 Boston College
64 Louisiana Tech
65 Maryland
66 Troy
67 Central Florida
68 Texas Tech
69 Indiana
70 Old Dominion
71 Texas
72 Arkansas St.
73 Syracuse
74 Baylor
75 Duke
76 Missouri
77 Idaho
78 Arizona St.
79 New Mexico
80 Army
81 Wyoming
82 Arizona
83 Ohio
84 Eastern Michigan
85 Oregon St.
86 SMU
87 Iowa St.
88 Hawaii
89 UTSA
90 Northern Illinois
91 Central Michigan
92 Tulane
93 Southern Miss.
94 Middle Tennessee
95 Purdue
96 UL-Lafayette
97 Illinois
98 Virginia
99 Cincinnati
100 Georgia Southern
101 Miami (O)
102 North Texas
103 Nevada
104 San Jose St.
105 Utah St.
106 Rutgers
107 Marshall
108 Coastal Carolina
109 Kansas
110 UAB
111 Akron
112 South Alabama
113 Bowling Green
114 East Carolina
115 Connecticut
116 Fresno St.
117 Ball St.
118 UL-Monroe
119 Kent St.
120 New Mexico St.
121 UTEP
122 UNLV
123 Georgia St.
124 Charlotte
125 Florida Int’l.
126 Rice
127 Buffalo
128 Massachusetts
129 Florida Atlantic
130 Texas St.

Note: Bowl Projections will resume in October

August 31, 2017

Money Line Parlay Picks for August 31-September 4, 2017

If you have been following the PiRate Ratings for a few years, you will know that we have issued selections on games every year since this page was created. Over the course of many football seasons, our money line parlay selections have been the most popular feature we have published. There is good reason for this–they have been successful. Last year, our selections returned better than 8% on investment, which was so-so, but it was still a winning season, making it three successful seasons in a row.
Regular readers here may also remember that our money line parlay selections have tended to perform their best in October and November, so keep that in mind if you use our free advice as a wagering tool. You should know this (and if you are a regular you have read this many times in this feature–we NEVER wager on sports contests. This is strictly an exercise in mathematical fun, which makes it so much easier for us to publish these parlays.

The true opening week of the football season does not give us NFL regular season games, so we have a reduced amount of games available in our menu. Therefore, we are issuing just one parlay for this week.

This parlay gives us a calculated odd of +138, so for every $100 of imaginary bank account we invest, if this parlay wins we will receive $238 back ($138 + the $100 we invested). Of course if this play loses, then we lose the $100 of imaginary investment.
Without further adieu, here is our selection for Labor Day Weekend.

1. Money Line Parlay at +138
Ohio State over Indiana
Nebraska over Arkansas St.
North Carolina over California
Georgia over Appalachian St.
Alabama over Florida St.

If you are interested in knowing how we calculate the odds of our parlays, we use offshore books only in finding the best overall odds for the games we wish to play. Since we do not work for these sports books, we will not give them free advertising and name names. However, if you look at offshore money line odds online at any of numerous sites, it should not be that difficult to find one particular site with the most favorable odds. Most sites have a money line parlay calculator, and if not, you can find this at many different sites. Parlay odds can be figured by doing some math, but you can save a lot of time by using these calculators.

We always round down to the nearest whole dollar when calculating the payout odds of the parlays. In actuality, today’s parlay should return $238.46 for every $100 invested (or $138.46 profit) rather than $238.

August 29, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Football Forecast for August 31-September 3, 2017

This Week’s College Football Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Alabama (N) Florida St. 6.6 3.8 6.3
Arizona St. New Mexico St. 23.0 25.7 22.8
Auburn Georgia Southern 46.7 42.9 47.2
Boise St. Troy St. 8.3 6.2 8.2
Central Florida Florida Intl. 17.1 19.6 16.6
Clemson Kent 48.3 42.9 46.2
Coastal Carolina Massachusetts -10.5 -7.8 -8.4
Colorado Colorado St. 9.4 8.3 7.0
Eastern Mich. Charlotte 22.1 18.5 21.7
Florida (N) Michigan -1.1 -1.0 -0.8
Florida Atlantic Navy -12.5 -9.8 -11.1
Georgia Appalachian St. 19.6 23.9 19.1
Georgia Tech Tennessee 4.8 3.9 4.8
Illinois Ball St. 14.4 14.0 11.2
Indiana Ohio St. -25.1 -21.6 -23.9
Iowa Wyoming 16.2 18.4 17.1
LSU (N) BYU 20.5 19.8 20.6
Marshall Miami (Ohio) -9.4 -9.8 -11.1
Memphis Louisiana-Monroe 30.8 28.9 33.3
Michigan St. Bowling Green 16.0 20.5 14.9
Middle Tenn. Vanderbilt -17.7 -14.9 -15.8
Minnesota Buffalo 30.6 26.1 28.4
Mississippi South Alabama 26.8 22.4 22.0
NC St. (N) South Carolina 8.8 8.4 9.3
Nebraska Arkansas St. 19.4 19.2 17.0
North Carolina California 16.1 17.1 16.6
Northern Ill. Boston College -13.3 -14.1 -12.6
Northwestern Nevada 34.5 28.0 31.8
Notre Dame Temple 15.7 13.1 15.3
Oklahoma UTEP 52.6 46.1 52.3
Oklahoma St. Tulsa 14.5 14.5 16.1
Penn St. Akron 43.6 36.7 43.9
Purdue (N) Louisville -22.0 -18.5 -21.7
Rutgers Washington -29.9 -25.5 -31.8
Southern Miss. Kentucky -24.5 -21.2 -24.1
Texas Maryland 14.0 12.3 14.3
Texas-San Antonio Houston -10.3 -7.3 -8.0
UCLA Texas A&M 4.0 5.5 4.8
USC Western Mich. 22.4 25.8 21.1
Virginia Tech West Va. 9.0 7.5 9.6
Wisconsin Utah St. 37.6 34.4 36.9

(N) means neutral site game

We’ve had a small appetizer of college football games, and the first main course shall be served over the course of five days, commencing with a couple of choice morsels Thursday night. The PiRates will be focused on these games this weekend.

Ohio State at Indiana–It is rare for Big Ten teams to open with a conference game. This one should be a tad more interesting than it looks on the surface. Indiana released former head coach Kevin Wilson from his contract last year (actually a forced resignation), due to an issue with a player with more than an injured back who was told to keep playing.  Wilson didn’t wait long to have a new job. He is now the offensive coordinator at ….. Ohio State! Add Wilson’s chip on his shoulder to Coach Urban Meyer’s boulder chip on his shoulder from his Buckeyes’ being shut out by Clemson in the Playoff Semifinals, and Ohio State will most likely do everything it can to run the score up on IU. It is not supposed to matter, but if the Buckeyes win this game 63-0, the pollsters will immediately overreact and move them up in the polls, maybe up to number one.

Tulsa at Oklahoma State–Are the Cowboys strong enough to challenge rival Oklahoma and compete for the Big 12 Championship? This might be the best Oklahoma State team since the 2011 team came within an upset loss to Iowa State from playing for all the marbles. Tulsa might be a little better than the 10-3 team of last year, possibly the Golden Hurricane’s best team since maybe 1982 and definitely as good as recent dominant TU teams in this century. A close game doesn’t necessarily mean that Oklahoma State isn’t a playoff contender. This game could be rather close for quite a long time.

Colorado vs. Colorado State (in Denver)–The Rams’ offense looked lethal against Oregon State, and a team usually improves the most in the week between game one and game two. CU does benefit from having 2017 game film on CSU, but this advantage does not offset the one game of experience that the Rams have. If CSU pulls off the mild upset, the Rams could be in line to become the top Group of 5 contender for the New Year’s 6 Bowl tie-in. This just might be the actual best game of the week, but few people will watch this one outside the Centennial State.

Maryland at Texas–Tom Herman makes his debut in Austin, and the Longhorn faithful believe the days of wine and roses will return sooner rather than later. Maryland will not back down and be easy fodder for the Longhorns, and there is an extra factor in this game that could lead to a lower than expected game score. Who better to know the weaknesses of the Urban Meyer-style spread offense than somebody that was a defensive assistant under Meyer? In this game, former offensive coordinator Herman will lead UT against former Meyer defensive assistant D. J. Durkin, the head coach on the opposite sideline. This game becomes a real life chess match worth watching.

Wyoming at Iowa–Okay, you may not be all that excited about this game, but we are. First and foremost, some of the PiRates have a love and affinity for the Western part of this nation’s flyover real estate, Iowa and Wyoming included. Also, we are big time supporters of Cowboy coach Craig Bohl and Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz. These two gentlemen know their stuff, and their teams have an incredible grasp of the fundamentals and the “little things”. These two teams may win games in ways that are not easily seen in the box score. We look for this one to be nip and tuck, and it would not shock us if the visitors from Laramie pulled off the upset.

South Carolina vs. North Carolina State (in Charlotte)–The ACC has the small advantage over the SEC these days. The Wolf Pack appear to be primed to challenge Louisville for third best in the ACC Atlantic and maybe even become a dark horse contender for the division flag, while the Gamecocks are on the cusp but not yet playing like a challenger, even in the parity known as the SEC East. Our opinion on this one is that NCSU should win by more than a touchdown if not more than two. However, this should become a shootout, as South Carolin’a offense should annex a lot of territory in this game.

Florida vs. Michigan (in Arlington, TX)–We have been flip-flopping on this game since June. At first, we believed that Michigan could be in danger of falling back to 6-6 or even 5-7, while we believed that Florida was like a snake in high grass waiting to pounce on all the mice in their division of their league. Then, after looking at returning depth and experience, it appeared to us that Michigan had a lot of experienced backups who, with a year of seasoning, could be rather competent regulars in 2017. We were concerned about the Florida quarterback situation, and then Coach Jim McElwain secured the signature of former Notre Dame starter Malik Zaire. It tilted the needle over to the Gator side, but then McElwain was forced to suspend star receiver Antonio Callaway and a half dozen other players for this game. Callaway may have been the one piece in the puzzle that Michigan would have found no real answer in stopping. Now, the needle tilts toward the Maize and Blue. By the way, Michigan will wear maize-colored jerseys in this game, something they have not done in 89 years.

Alabama vs. Florida State (in Atlanta)–Obviously, this is the top game of the week and maybe the top game of the regular season. There are so many layers to peel off in this preview, more than we have space to devote to it. In an abridged version, can Florida State’s offensive line protect quarterback Deondre Francois long enough for him to find a group of raw receivers? Frnacois spent too much time with his back on the turf in 2016, and it will take a major improvement on the Seminoles part to hold off stars like Da’Ron Payne and get past the Crimson Tide trench to linebackers the quality of Rashaan Evans and Shaun Dion Hamilton. On the other side of the ball, Alabama cannot get by predominantly on a power running game. Jalen Hurts has the talent to throw for 200+ yards in this game. This game brings back memories of 50 years ago, when Alabama returned almost their entire two-deep from a defense that gave up 44 points in 11 games the year before and returned Ken Stabler from an offense that scored more than 27 points a game. The Tide were 20+ point favorites in this game and was lucky to escape with a 37-37 tie. Notably, in this game the great Bear Bryant was equipped with a microphone. There were issues with the scoreboard, and late in the game, Bryant was overheard on the mic saying, “What the H is the score any way?”

Texas A&M at UCLA–The losing team’s coach will sit on a seat that is about 10 degrees warmer Monday than it is now. Texas A&M has enough talent to compete for third in the SEC West and challenge for a 10-win season, but the Aggies looked as strong last year as well. After TAMU began the season 6-0, the team collapsed, finishing 2-5. The defense wore down after the overtime win over Tennessee, and the Aggies two wins after that big game came against New Mexico State and UT-San Antonio. UCLA struggled after quarterback Josh Rosen exited with a shoulder injury. However, the Bruins were just 3-2 prior to the injury in the Arizona State game, so Coach Jim Mora, Jr. overhauled the Bruin offense in the off-season and made numerous changes to his offensive coaching assistants. The Bruins also must rebuild a good bit on the defensive side of the ball, so the offense better gel quickly. So, don’t go up to the junior Mora and ask if his team can still make the playoffs this year.

There are a host of additional games on this week’s schedule that hold some bit of unique interest. Those games include:

FIU at Central Florida–Butch Davis returns to the sidelines for FIU and has enough talent to surprise in 2017. UCF believes they can challenge rival USF in the East.

Navy at FAU–Lane Kiffin’s debut with the Owls against the tricky triple option offense of Navy makes this one look like a track meet. It wouldn’t surprise us if more than 75 total points are scored in this one.

Temple at Notre Dame–The Owls begin life without Coach Matt Rhule. New head man Geoff Collins faces a total rebuild in Philly, while Notre Dame looks to recover from a poor 2016 season with a half-dozen new assistants.

Troy at Boise State–We have an eye on Boise at the start of the season. Boise State could be at a crossroads, where their dynasty seasons could be over. Then again, this could also be the low-point of a major rebuild. Troy was down for a few years, but the Trojans returned to Sun Belt fame last year with a 10-3 season and co-championship. It won’t get the headlines that the big games receive, but this game should be an excellent contest.

Kentucky at Southern Mississippi–Last year Southern Miss pulled off an incredible upset at Kentucky to begin the 2016 season, and it looked like Mark Stoops was in a bit of trouble in Lexington. However, the Wildcats turned things around to win seven games that included a trip to the Taxslayer Bowl. Now, there are football experts that believe Kentucky can compete for the 2017 SEC East title. The Blue and White return the bulk of an offense that averaged 30 points and 420 yards per game, while the defense should be a little better than last year. Southern Miss is not as strong as last year, but still good enough to knock off UK in Hattiesburg, especially if the expected rain makes this game sloppy.

Appalachian State at Georgia–Appy State came close to upsetting Tennessee in Knoxville to begin the 2016 season. Can the Mountaineers go down between the hedges and make like miserable for the Bulldogs? Georgia’s defense should control this game, holding ASU to about 200-250 total yards, while the offense may not be flashy, but should produce 200 rushing yards. If Georgia wins by less than 17 points, it will be cause for concern. We will look at all the SEC East teams carefully this week to see if one or two emerge as the true top squads.

Houston at UT-San Antonio–UTSA is a contender in the West Division of CUSA, and in a normal week, the Roadrunners would be expected to make this a close game. Houston must play this one with little practice thanks to Hurricane Harvey, and it is Major Applewhite’s debut with the Cougars. This will be interesting to see how much lost preparation hurts UH.

Georgia Southern at Auburn–We don’t expect this game to be close. It could easily be 21-0 in the first quarter. What we are looking for in this one is how well Tiger quarterback Jarrett Stidham runs Gus Malzahn’s offense. If Stidham replicates the stats from his last three FBS games (2015 against Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State), then watch out, because this Auburn team just might be good enough to go to the 2017-18 playoffs. Stidham’s stat line in those three games was 51-81-2 for 934 yards and 6 TDs. If he averages 11.5 yards per pass attempt for Auburn, then even Alabama better beware.

Purdue vs. Louisville (in Indianapolis)–This game features Jeff Brohm making his Boilermaker coaching Purdue against former mentor Bobby Petrino and some QB named Lamar Jackson, who owns some trophy he received from the Downtown Athletic Club in Manhattan named for former coach John Heisman. It would not be shocking if UL won this one by a score similar to 62-24, but what makes this game interesting is to see how a Big Ten team looks running a spread passing game.

South Alabama at Ole Miss–South Alabama upset Mississippi State and San Diego State last year, two teams that played in bowls. So, it would not be a big shock if the Jaguars won in Oxford. However, if USA wins, the blame will be on Ole Miss and interim coach Matt Luke rather than on the performance. Luke is most likely in a position where he has little chance of keeping the job full time, even though he deserves a head coaching job. It would not surprise us if a big name coach was patrolling the home team sidelines at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium next year.

LSU vs. BYU (in New Orleans)–This game was moved from Houston to New Orleans due to the hurricane. It gives the Tigers a tiny bit more advantage, but we didn’t think this game would be all that close in Houston. BYU has a game under its belt, and the Cougars did not show their entire arsenal. What they showed was only adequate at best. This game takes on added interest not because of the weather, but because whether Ed Orgeron can prove that the removing of the interim label was the right move in Baton Rouge. LSU has a considerable amount of talent, just behind Alabama and Auburn and as much as Texas A&M. The Tigers have a chance to win 10 games this year, but there is always that bit of doubt about a new coach. Orgeron has done well as the interim at USC and LSU, but his tenure as head coach at Ole Miss was a major disappointment.

Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee–Both Nashville-area teams played in bowls last year, and this game has become quite the local rivalry. MTSU has one of the top quarterbacks in the Group of 5, who happens to be the coach’s son. Brent Stockstill will draw NFL scouts to Murfreesboro this year, as the Blue Raiders look to have a potent offense capable of putting up 40 points and 500 yards per game. On the other side of the field, Derek Mason has begun to make Vanderbilt look more like Stanford East. The only ingredient missing in recent years has been the most important spot–at quarterback. Now, Vanderbilt has a competent passer, who while not another Andrew Luck or even Keller Chryst, he is competent enough to lead Vanderbilt to the cusp of division contention. Kyle Shurmur, son of Minnesota Viking OC Pat Shurmur, may have the knowledge of the game that a typical NFL quarterback may have. If he can show a bit more arm strength and a slightly quicker release, Vanderbilt’s offense will begin to look like Stanford’s, as the Commodored already have a strong running game and a stingy defense. If MTSU wins this game, then Syracuse and Minnesota will take notice, as the Blue Raiders will be capable of starting 3-0 against FBS competition. If Vanderbilt wins this game, then Kansas State needs to take note, because the Commodores will be 2-0 when the Wildcats come to the Music City on September 16.

Tennessee at Georgia Tech (in Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta)–Volunteer coach Butch Jones knows that he must win and win big in 2017, or else he will have a garage sale in January, where he disposes of a lot of orange-colored clothing and accessories. Tennessee was a disappointing 9-4 team last year and must try to improve with an unproven quarterback, something that usually only works if said raw QB wears crimson-colored clothing. Georgia Tech has an experienced offensive line returning to block for the spread option offense. Usually, if an offensive line is as experienced as the Techsters, the offense automatically improves some from the previous season. However, in this offense, the experience of the quarterback is much more important than the line, because in many cases the key defender at the point of attack is not blocked at all. Hence, the QB reads the defense and options off the reaction of the key defender. Coach Paul Johnson has not officially named his starting quarterback, but we think it will be former slot back TaQuon Marshall. The ultra-quick Marshall has the potential to be a great option quarterback, but getting his Baptism under orange fire is not the ideal way to begin a career. If Johnson goes with last year’s backup Matthew Jordan, then Tennessee’s defense should be good enough to hold the Yellow Jackets under 21 points. This is good, because the Vols may struggle on offense in September.

Note–Ratings and Bowl Projections return next week, as we did not update them after the small sampling of games last week.

Money Line Parlays makes its seasonal debut Thursday morning, August 31, 2017.

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