The Pi-Rate Ratings

December 27, 2007

PiRate Ratings Look at the Bowls (Champs Sports through Insight)


Middle Bowl Game Match-ups (12/28-12/31)

Disclaimer: I am giving advice on pointspreads totally as an act of fun.  I do not personally wager money on these games, and I do not advocate you doing so either.  It’s just a game like Monopoly to me.

I have yet to spend one minute watching or listening to any of the bowls so far, and I must say I’m not regretting it one bit.  These bowls are meaningless to me and most of the country, since they don’t contribute to the national title.  Looking at traffic to this site, it appears more people are interested in the computer simulated playoffs than the actual bowl breakdowns, so I am going to reduce the coverage of these games.

As I previously stated, if the bowls were used for NCAA playoffs, the Cotton Bowl might have an important quarterfinal round game featuring the eventual National Champion instead of a meaningless game that won’t draw many viewers nor return much bang for their sponsor’s buck.  What if LSU and Southern Cal played in the Cotton Bowl instead of Arkansas and Missouri?  I dare say FOX Sports would get a much higher rating for the game, and AT&T, as the sponsor, would receive a bigger return on their investment.

Here is a brief breakdown of the second wave of bowls.  The one prediction I can make with absolute certitude is that I won’t spend a minute watching or listening to these games.  I’ll have been reading an interesting trio of books and listening to shortwave radio over the holidays.  One of the books I am currently reading is, The Lincoln Highway: The Great American Road Trip by Michael Wallis and Michael Williamson. If you like traveling old roads that aren’t boring, straight interstate slabs, check out this book as well as Wallis’s and others’ books about Route 66.  I have traveled large parts of both highways, and these trips have always been comforting, interesting, and beneficial to many mom and pop businesses that are struggling to survive.  One of these days, I am going to drive the entire distance of both highways; maybe start in New York and drive to San Francisco on the Lincoln Highway and then return via Los Angeles to Chicago on Route 66.

Point spreads and totals are those listed as of 11:00 AM ET Thursday, December 27, 2007

Times given are Eastern Standard Tome Zone

Friday, December 28-5:00 PM ESPN

Champs Sports Bowl-Orlando

Boston College 10-3  vs.  Michigan State 7-5

Vegas:  B.C. by 4

PiRate: Tossup

Mean: B.C. 30  Mich. St. 26

At first look, this appears to be a mismatch, but Boston College limped home in November, while Michigan State was an improving team.  Wins over Purdue and Penn State proves the Spartans can compete and even win this game.

Predicted Score: 24-24 going to OT

Friday, December 28-8:00 PM NFL Network

Texas Bowl-Houston

Houston 8-4  vs. T C U  7-5

Vegas: TCU by 6½

PiRate: TCU by 8

Mean: TCU 31  Houston 25

Most people cannot pick up this game up on television, and I’m not sure many outside of the Lone Star State will desire to go to an establishment to tune it in.  This old rivalry of former Southwest Conference teams is the microcosm for the current bowl apathy spreading across the nation.  Who cares?  Maybe by January 5, I will have looked online to see who won this game.  Then again, I may not know until next summer when the football preview magazines hit the stands.

Predicted Score: TCU 24  Houston 16

Friday, December 28-8:30 PM ESPN

Emerald Bowl-San Francisco

Maryland 6-6  vs.  Oregon State 8-4

Vegas: Oregon State by 5

PiRate: Oregon State by 9

Mean: Oregon State 27  Maryland 22

Maryland must travel from one coast to the other and play a Pac-10 team in Pac-10 territory.  That should help Oregon State by a grand total of two points in this game.  The Beavers are stronger on both sides of the ball.

Predicted Score: Oregon State 33  Maryland 24

Saturday, December 29-1:00 PM  ESPN

Meineke Car Care Bowl-Charlotte, NC

Wake Forest 8-4  vs.  Connecticut 9-3

Vegas:  Wake Forest by 2½

PiRate: Wake Forest by 8

Mean:  Wake Forest 24  Connecticut 24 to OT

Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe didn’t jump ship after being courted by more than one school.  His squad should reward him with a bowl win.  UConn expected to be playing in a New Year’s Day Bowl, and I don’t think they will put out a great effort in this game.

Predicted Score: Wake Forest 27  Connecticut 19

Saturday, December 29-4:30 PM  ESPN

Liberty Bowl-Memphis

Mississippi State 7-5  vs.  Central Florida 10-3

Vegas: Central Florida by 2½

PiRate: Mississippi St. by 1

Mean: Central Florida 30  Mississippi St. 28

Mississippi State’s defense should be strong enough to hold down the strong UCF ground game, but I expect UCF to pass for more yards than normal.  The Bulldogs should match them point-for-point, and this game should go down to the wire.

Predicted Score: Mississippi State 24  Central Florida 23

Saturday, December 29-8:00 PM  ESPN

Alamo Bowl-San Antonio

Texas A&M 7-5  vs.  Penn State 8-4

Vegas: Penn State by 4½

PiRate: Penn State by 1

Mean: Penn State 29  Texas A&M 24

Both teams have experienced off-the-field problems this year, and both would probably like to just get this game over with as quickly as possible.  A&M’s defense has a few holes, and I expect the octogenarian, bespectacled coach to find out how to exploit those liabilities deep in the final stanza.  The Lions will meow rather than roar in this one, but it should be enough to escape with a win.

Predicted Score: Penn State 17  Texas A&M 16

Sunday, December 30-8:00 PM  ESPN

Independence Bowl-Shrevport, LA

Colorado 6-6  vs.  Alabama 6-6

Vegas: Alabama by 3½

PiRate: Alabama by 6

Mean: Alabama 27  Colorado 25

Why does this game even have to be played?  If Bear Bryant was still alive and coaching, he would never have accepted this bowl bid.  Former Buffalo coach Eddie Crowder may have concurred with the man in the houndstooth hat.

Colorado probably cares more about this game since they were just 2-10 last year, but I think the Tide is clearly more talented.  Nick Saban will not let his charges take this game for granted, so I’m, taking the Tide.

Predicted Score: Alabama 27  Colorado 21

Monday, December 31-12:30 PM  ESPN

Armed Forces Bowl-Ft. Worth, TX

California 6-6  vs.  Air Force 9-3

Vegas: California by 3½

PiRate: Tossup

Mean: Air Force 27  California 26  

My gut instinct in this one is that Air Force will win this one in a surprising manner.  Cal’s November nosedive doesn’t bode well here.  Air Force improved every week, and after a month of practices, the spread option offense should be explosive.  The PiRates say Cal will exploit AFA through the air and score just as many points.  Look for both teams to top 400 yards.

Predicted Score: Air Force 31  California 31 going to OT

Monday, December 31-2:00 PM  CBS

Sun Bowl-El Paso, TX

Oregon 8-4  vs.  South Florida 9-3

Vegas: South Florida by 5½

PiRate: South Florida by 4

Mean: South Florida 31  Oregon 29  

Here’s another bowl where both teams thought they were headed to BCS Bowls midway through the season.  Oregon’s losing Dennis Dixon is comparable to the 1927 Yankees losing Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Earl Combs, and Waite Hoyt.  There’s no quack left in the Ducks.

I look for Oregon coach Mike Bellotti to find a way to squeeze out just enough offense to make this game close throughout.  Still, I’ll go with the Eastern team in green to win this one.

Predicted Score: South Florida 24  Oregon 20

Monday, December 31-2:00 PM  ESPN2

Humanitarian Bowl-Boise, ID

Fresno State 8-4  vs.  Georgia Tech 7-5

Vegas: Georgia Tech by 6

PiRate: Georgia Tech by 4

Mean: Georgia Tech 28  Fresno St. 24  

What better way to say this game isn’t worth watching than to say the most exciting reason to watch is to see if snow covers the blue field?

Georgia Tech is one of a bevy of schools to dump their coach after having a winning season.  If Paul Johnson were already coaching, and the Techsters were already running the triple option, this game might be a little fun.  Look for a dull, colorless contest-unless you consider the blue field colorful.

Predicted Score: Georgia Tech 21  Fresno St. 17

Monday, December 31-4:00 PM  ESPN

Music City Bowl-Nashville

Florida State 7-5  vs.  Kentucky 7-5

Vegas: Kentucky by 10

PiRate: Kentucky by 10

Mean: Kentucky 29  Florida St. 27   

(note: Mean cannot factor FSU’s loss of 36 players for this game, but PiRate rating does factor in the personnel loss)

Shame on Florida State!  They knew about the cheating problem months ago.  They should have removed themselves from bowl contention.  This bowl game is ruined now because Kentucky will be playing against a team that cannot even field a two-deep.  Even if FSU plays above their head and pulls off a couple of surprise plays, they don’t belong in a bowl.  Well, at least all the Kentucky fans who are trying to forget they are a basketball school will paint Nashville blue on New Year’s Eve.

Predicted Score:  Kentucky 30  Florida State 20

Monday, December 31-7:30 PM  ESPN

Chick-Fil-A Bowl-Atlanta

Auburn 8-4  vs.  Clemson 9-3

Vegas: Clemson by 3

PiRate: Clemson by 5

Mean: Clemson 25  Auburn 22  

This is an old rivalry game.  The two schools played each other several times between the 1930’s and early 1970’s.  Clemson dominated in the WWII era, and Auburn dominated from there on.  This would be a great game if it was played in September, but it doesn’t have much appeal on New Year’s Eve night.

Clemson is one of the best teams not playing in a BCS bowl, and Auburn is inconsistent.  Go with the ACC Tigers in this one.

Predicted Score: Clemson 24  Auburn 19

Monday, December 31-5:30 PM  NFL Network

Insight Bowl-Phoenix

Indiana 7-5  vs.  Oklahoma State 6-6

Vegas: Oklahoma St. by 4

PiRate: Oklahoma St. by 6

Mean: Oklahoma St. 34  Indiana 28  

Poor Indiana!  They finally earn a bowl bid for the first time in over a dozen years, and nobody will watch them.  This New Year’s Eve night game is on the covert NFL Network.  The only people watching this game will be folks already loose in bars, and they won’t remember seeing the game. 

What I can say about Oklahoma State is that they are coached by a man who is 40 and who can take criticism as well as donations from T. Boone Pickens and Garth Brooks.

Predicted Score: Oklahoma St. 34  Indiana 28

This Week’s “Picks”

It seems to be working every week since I instituted this strategy in mid-November, so I will continue to employ the same formula for picking games during the bowls.  So far, these picks are 4-1 against the spread through bowl games of December 26.

Where the PiRates and Mean both fall on the same side of the spread and the difference is more than 2.5 points, that game will be picked against the spread.  When they both agree on the winner, and the line is 10 points or less, that game will be picked on the money line.  There will be no totals or teasers picked. 

Straight Plays Against the Spread

# 1:  Air Force +3½ vs. California

Money Line Picks

# 2: TCU -210 vs. Houston

# 3: Oregon State -200 vs. Maryland

# 4: Penn State -205 vs. Texas A&M

# 5: Alabama -155 vs. Colorado

# 6: South Florida -220 vs. Oregon

# 7:  Georgia Tech -220 vs. Fresno State

# 8:  Clemson -125 vs. Auburn

# 9:  Oklahoma State -170 vs. Indiana

1 Comment

  1. who are you kidding, you’ll be watching….

    Comment by APRPEH — December 27, 2007 @ 3:42 pm

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