The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 10, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of: September 11-13

NCAA Week Three: The Game Of The Year

 

Last week, the NCAA football schedule was a big joke, as none of the top teams faced off.  There were some surprises, as Ohio U gave Ohio State a good game (my friend Lee must have been going crazy), and East Carolina showed the rest of the nation that they are as good as they were when Jeff Blake was there.  The Pirates (no relation to the PiRates) will definitely get a BCS Bowl bid if they run the table, because they will have beaten four BCS conference teams and will have won a conference championship game.

 

Locally, the Wisconsin Badgers took awhile to get untracked, but once Allan Evridge began mimicking the aerial circus, the Badgers all of a sudden looked like a team from the 21st Century.  The 51-point outburst came through the air rather than on the ground, and with a two-pronged attack, UW could very well be on equal footing with Ohio State and Penn State, both of whom must come to Madtown.  Saturday night’s game in Fresno may be the most important Badger game since the October 23, 1999, game against Michigan State (the Badgers won to virtually sew up a Rose Bowl bid).  If UW can win at Fresno State with the Bulldogs getting five extra days to prepare, then they have the talent to knock off both the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions at home.  The game in Iowa City on October 18 could then be the last high hurdle to jump.  If that’s the case, I hope my nephew Josh down in Iowa can score me some tickets for that game.

 

Vanderbilt proved that 2007 was no fluke, when the Commodores knocked off South Carolina for the second year in a row.  I got a chance to watch this one, and the black and gold stop troops looked legitimately tough—about on par with the defense of 1997.  The offense is still a work in progress, as the line needs to improve its pass blocking.  Once that improves, quarterback Chris Nickson will look a lot better.  And, if the passing game improves just a bit, it will open more running holes.  It’s still too early, but this team has a chance to break that dreadfully long streak of losing seasons.  The game with Rice this weekend should be exciting and high scoring—possibly the highest scoring game at Vanderbilt Stadium since the 2005 Kentucky game.

 

As for the big game of the week, I personally believe Southern Cal will win with relative ease.  During the Pete Carroll era, he has had his Trojans prepared and ready to go every time they have faced a major opponent, and most of those games have been on the road.  The Trojans enjoyed a week off, and they have the team quickness to exploit the same thing Florida and LSU have exploited against the Buckeyes the last two BCS Championship games.  USC will force OSU to defend 10 running gaps and both the horizontal and vertical passing zones.  Jim Laurinaitis cannot be everywhere.

 

Here’s the latest PiRate Ratings.  Remember as you look at these numbers, that these are not rankings of how the teams have fared to date (like the AP, ESPN, and other polls).  These are predictive ratings trying to guess at future games after weighing how the teams have fared so far.

 

NCAA Top 25 For 09-10-08

Won

Lost

1

Florida 

127

2

0

2

Ohio St.

127

2

0

3

Georgia 

125

2

0

4

Missouri

123

2

0

5

Oklahoma

122

2

0

6

Oregon

121

2

0

7

Southern Cal

121

1

0

8

South Florida

120

2

0

9

Auburn

118

2

0

10

L S U

117

1

0

11

Arizona St.

116

2

0

12

Kansas

115

2

0

13

Clemson

115

1

1

14

South Carolina

115

1

1

15

California

112

2

0

16

Wisconsin

114

2

0

17

Texas Tech

114

2

0

18

Tennessee

114

0

1

19

Penn St.

113

2

0

20

West Virginia

113

1

1

21

Texas

113

2

0

22

Alabama

112

2

0

23

Kentucky

111

2

0

24

Florida State

110

1

0

25

Fresno St.

110

1

0

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number

even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

PiRate Ratings by Conferences

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Clemson

0-0

1-1

115

71

44

Wake Forest

0-0

2-0

110

64

46

Florida State

0-0

1-0

110

66

44

Maryland

0-0

1-1

102

64

38

Boston College

0-1

1-1

100

60

40

North Carolina State

0-0

1-1

91

60

31

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Virginia Tech

0-0

1-1

109

68

41

North Carolina

0-0

1-0

104

68

36

Georgia Tech

1-0

2-0

98

62

37

Miami

0-0

1-1

97

57

40

Virginia 

0-0

1-1

94

58

36

Duke

0-0

1-1

95

61

34

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

South Florida

0-0

2-0

120

77

43

West Virginia

0-0

1-1

113

73

40

Connecticut

0-0

2-0

108

65

43

Cincinnati

0-0

1-1

107

64

43

Rutgers

0-0

0-1

105

63

42

Pittsburgh

0-0

1-1

104

60

44

Louisville

0-0

1-1

99

61

38

Syracuse

0-0

0-2

86

54

32

 

Big Ten

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ohio State

0-0

2-0

127

72

55

Wisconsin

0-0

2-0

114

72

42

Penn State

0-0

2-0

113

69

44

Illinois

0-0

1-1

107

68

39

Michigan State

0-0

1-1

107

67

40

Michigan

0-0

1-1

103

61

42

Purdue

0-0

1-0

101

65

36

Iowa

0-0

2-0

101

66

35

Northwestern

0-0

2-0

99

65

34

Indiana

0-0

2-0

97

63

34

Minnesota

0-0

2-0

97

64

33

 

Big 12

North Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Missouri

0-0

2-0

123

74

49

Kansas

0-0

2-0

115

66

49

Colorado

0-0

2-0

103

65

38

Kansas State

0-0

2-0

103

68

35

Nebraska

0-0

2-0

101

62

39

Iowa State

0-0

2-0

92

57

35

South Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oklahoma

0-0

2-0

122

80

42

Texas Tech

0-0

2-0

114

75

39

Texas

0-0

2-0

113

72

41

Oklahoma State

0-0

2-0

109

68

41

Texas A&M

0-0

1-1

99

58

41

Baylor

0-0

1-1

88

56

32

 

Conference USA

East Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

East Carolina

0-0

2-0

109

65

44

Central Florida

0-0

1-1

100

57

43

Marshall

0-0

1-1

92

56

36

Southern Miss.

0-0

1-1

91

60

31

Memphis

0-1

0-2

88

59

29

U A B

0-1

0-2

83

49

34

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Tulsa

1-0

2-0

99

66

33

Houston

0-0

1-1

92

57

35

Rice

2-0

2-0

89

61

28

Tulane

0-0

0-1

86

56

30

U T E P

0-0

0-2

81

50

31

S M U

0-1

1-1

79

57

22

 

Independents

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

 

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Notre Dame

 

1-0

100

62

38

Navy

 

1-1

93

58

35

Army

 

0-2

77

49

28

 

Mid American Conference

East Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Temple

0-0

1-1

98

59

39

Bowling Green

0-0

1-1

96

63

33

Buffalo

0-0

1-1

95

61

34

Miami (O)

0-0

0-2

92

58

34

Ohio U

0-0

0-2

90

53

37

Kent State

0-0

0-2

89

56

33

Akron

0-0

1-1

87

60

27

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ball State

0-0

2-0

103

67

36

Central Michigan

0-0

1-1

99

66

33

Western Michigan

1-0

1-1

96

61

35

Northern Illinois

0-1

0-2

93

59

34

Toledo

0-0

0-1

90

57

33

Eastern Michigan

0-0

1-1

88

55

33

 

Mountain West Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Brigham Young

0-0

2-0

110

70

40

T C U

1-0

2-0

109

64

45

Utah

1-0

2-0

108

65

43

Wyoming

0-1

1-1

92

56

36

New Mexico

0-1

0-2

91

58

33

Air Force

1-0

2-0

91

54

37

UNLV

0-1

1-1

89

58

31

Colorado State

0-0

1-1

85

55

30

San Diego State

0-0

0-2

85

52

33

 

Pac-10 Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oregon

1-0

2-0

121

71

50

Southern Cal

0-0

1-0

121

69

52

Arizona State

1-0

2-0

116

72

44

California

1-0

2-0

112

69

43

Arizona

0-0

2-0

109

71

38

U C L A

0-0

1-0

107

63

44

Oregon State

0-1

0-2

104

68

36

Washington

0-1

0-2

103

65

38

Stanford

1-1

1-1

101

61

40

Washington State

0-1

0-2

92

58

34

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida 

0-0

2-0

127

78

49

Georgia 

0-0

2-0

125

75

50

South Carolina

0-1

1-1

115

69

46

Tennessee

0-0

0-1

114

72

42

Kentucky

0-0

2-0

111

64

47

Vanderbilt

1-0

2-0

104

62

42

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Auburn

0-0

2-0

118

71

47

L S U

0-0

1-0

117

72

45

Alabama

0-0

2-0

112

64

48

Ole Miss

0-0

1-1

108

66

42

Mississippi State

0-0

1-1

105

59

46

Arkansas

0-0

2-0

101

68

33

 

Sunbelt Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida Atlantic

0-0

1-1

97

66

31

Troy

1-0

1-0

97

61

36

Louisiana-Monroe

0-0

0-2

91

57

34

Arkansas State

0-0

2-0

89

57

32

Middle Tennessee

0-1

1-1

87

56

31

* Western Kentucky

0-0

1-1

86

54

32

Louisiana-Lafayette

0-0

0-1

82

56

26

Florida International

0-0

0-2

78

49

29

North Texas

0-0

0-2

74

52

22

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009

 

 

 

Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008

 

 

 

Western Athletic Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Fresno State

0-0

1-0

110

69

41

Boise State

0-0

1-0

103

65

38

Nevada

0-0

1-1

94

63

31

Hawaii

0-0

1-1

92

56

36

Louisiana Tech

0-0

1-1

91

56

35

San Jose State

0-0

1-1

88

54

34

Utah State

0-0

0-2

83

49

34

New Mexico State

0-0

0-0

82

51

31

Idaho

0-0

1-1

80

58

22

 

 

This Week’s Games—PiRate Ratings

Home Team in CAPS

(N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, September 11

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

RUTGERS

North Carolina

4

28-24

 

 

 

 

Friday, September 12

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

SOUTH FLORIDA

Kansas

9

30-21

 

 

 

 

Saturday, September 13

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

California

MARYLAND

6

27-21

ILLINOIS

UL-Lafayette

29

42-13

MICHIGAN STATE

Florida Atlantic

13

37-24

DUKE

Navy

5

28-23

CLEMSON

North Carolina State

27

41-14

BUFFALO

Temple

Pk

24-24 to OT

IOWA

Iowa State

12

33-21

MISSOURI

Nevada

33

47-14

BAYLOR

Washington State

Pk

24-24 to OT

TENNESSEE

Alabama-Birmingham

34

41-7

Ball State

AKRON

13

40-27

EASTERN MICHIGAN

Toledo

1

24-23

Central Michigan

OHIO U

6

27-21

East Carolina

TULANE

20

34-14

Georgia

SOUTH CAROLINA

7

28-21

TEXAS

Arkansas

15

42-27

Oregon

PURDUE

16

35-19

Penn State

SYRACUSE

24

37-13

B Y U

U c l a

6

27-21

NOTRE DAME

Michigan

Pk

20-20 to OT

HOUSTON

Air Force

4

21-17

VIRGINIA TECH

Georgia Tech

14

34-21

OREGON STATE

Hawaii

16

35-19

Western Michigan

IDAHO

12

38-26

Auburn

MISSISSIPPI STATE

10

24-14

ALABAMA

Western Kentucky

30

36-6

TEXAS TECH

S m u

38

55-17

KENTUCKY

Middle Tennessee

27

33-6

NEBRASKA

New Mexico State

23

35-12

VANDERBILT

Rice

18

35-17

MARSHALL

Memphis

7

30-23

ARKANSAS STATE

Southern Mississippi

1

28-27

T C U

Stanford

11

24-13

CONNECTICUT

Virginia

17

31-14

Oklahoma

WASHINGTON 

16

40-24

Ohio State

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

2

19-17

L S U

North Texas

47

50-3

Utah

UTAH STATE

23

30-7

SAN JOSE STATE

San Diego State

6

24-18

BOISE STATE

Bowling Green

11

35-24

Arizona

NEW MEXICO 

15

38-23

ARIZONA STATE

U n l v

30

42-12

FRESNO STATE

Wisconsin

Pk

31-31 to OT

 

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings

Home Team in CAPS

(N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

 

Thursday, September 11

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Mean Prediction

RUTGERS

North Carolina

31-24

 

 

 

Friday, September 12

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Mean Prediction

SOUTH FLORIDA

Kansas

24-23

 

 

 

Saturday, September 13

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Mean Prediction

California

MARYLAND

28-16

ILLINOIS

UL-Lafayette

45-17

MICHIGAN STATE

Florida Atlantic

30-13

Navy

DUKE

28-27

CLEMSON

North Carolina State

31-14

BUFFALO

Temple

28-24

IOWA

Iowa State

35-24

MISSOURI

Nevada

44-21

BAYLOR

Washington State

28-26

TENNESSEE

Alabama-Birmingham

38-7

Ball State

AKRON

31-24

EASTERN MICHIGAN

Toledo

30-28

Central Michigan

OHIO U

24-23

East Carolina

TULANE

26-10

Georgia

SOUTH CAROLINA

27-20

TEXAS

Arkansas

34-17

Oregon

PURDUE

41-30

Penn State

SYRACUSE

35-7

B Y U

U c l a

27-21

Michigan

NOTRE DAME

17-12

Air Force

HOUSTON

28-24

VIRGINIA TECH

Georgia Tech

21-13

OREGON STATE

Hawaii

35-28

Western Michigan

IDAHO

31-21

Auburn

MISSISSIPPI STATE

23-10

ALABAMA

Western Kentucky

28-3

TEXAS TECH

S m u

48-14

KENTUCKY

Middle Tennessee

24-3

NEBRASKA

New Mexico State

40-14

VANDERBILT

Rice

42-27

MARSHALL

Memphis

34-27

Southern Mississippi

ARKANSAS STATE

31-30

T C U

Stanford

34-17

CONNECTICUT

Virginia

21-13

Oklahoma

WASHINGTON 

42-23

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Ohio State

30-21

L S U

North Texas

45-0

Utah

UTAH STATE

28-3

SAN JOSE STATE

San Diego State

20-16

BOISE STATE

Bowling Green

42-24

Arizona

NEW MEXICO 

31-17

ARIZONA STATE

U n l v

38-14

Wisconsin

FRESNO STATE

28-26

 

Wisconsin-Fresno State Preview

 

Vegas: Wisconsin by 1  Over/Under of 50½

PiRate: Wisconsin by Pk

Mean: Wisconsin by 2

Strategy: None

Fresno State opened the season by slaughtering Rutgers in New Jersey.  They played on September 1, and the Bulldogs will have had 12 days to prepare for this game by Saturday.  Quarterback Tom Brandstater tossed for 216 yards, while FSU picked off RU’s Mike Teel twice.  The Bulldogs shut out the Scarlet Knights for more than three quarters.

 

The Badgers spotted Marshall a 14-0 lead last Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium; the Thundering Herd’s game plan was to sell out to stopping P.J. Hill’s running.  Hill couldn’t find a hole early, and Wisconsin was forced to pass.  Allan Evridge began tossing the ball all over the place, and he topped 300 yards passing.  UW ran the ball in short yardage situations and near the goal line, and it led to 51 unanswered points.

 

This will be a different game for the Badgers.  They cannot afford to spot FSU two touchdowns, because they aren’t going to catch up if that happens.  The Badgers have gone west twice in recent years, and they won albeit by nothing close to what they were supposed to have won.  They edged a weak Arizona team 9-7 and pulled out a late victory over a fired up, but not strong UNLV team 20-13.

 

Fresno State has lost eight consecutive games to ranked teams, with their last victory over a rank team coming against Kansas State in 2004.  Of course, the Bulldogs come into this game ranked for the first time in three seasons. 

 

I look for this game to be lower scoring than the Badger’s first two games, but I don’t foresee a 9-7 outcome either.  This game will be decided by Evridge’s arm.  If he can continue to throw the ball like he did last week, Fresno will not be able to stop Hill and the passing attack.  If Evridge cannot move the team through the air, then the Bulldogs will be able to stop the running game, as they have a much better defense than Marshall or Akron.  I call this one a real tossup.

 

Vanderbilt-Rice Preview

 

Vegas:       Vanderbilt by 7

PiRate:      Vanderbilt by 18

Mean:        Vanderbilt by 15

Strategy:   Vanderbilt -7 and -300

 

If you are a college football fan and live close to Nashville, I advise you to make it to Vanderbilt Stadium for this game.  You can tape the USC-Ohio State game and watch it later.  This game will be worth the price of buying a ticket.  Rice is a smaller version of Texas Tech.  Quarterback Chase Clement may be the most underrated signal caller in college football.  His play brings up memories of Roger Staubach, John Elway, Greg Landry, and Joe Kapp.  He leads the Owls in rushing too.  He runs the spread offense about as well as it can be run.  On top of that, the kid refuses to lose, much like former Texan Bobby Layne.  In the last six games, he has led Rice to 271 points (45.2 per game).

 

Clement has a seasoned offensive line blocking for him, and he has an excellent corps of receivers catching his passes.  Jarrett Dillard is a sensational possession receiver, and he knows how to get open in the end zone.  Tight end James Casey is a bruiser at 6-4 and 245, and he leads the team with 17 receptions for 261 yards in two games.  He’s more than a tight end, as he can line up in the backfield and run the ball as well as pass the ball ala Darren McFadden.  He’s also a dandy blocker.  This offense will score points on any defense.

 

Rice’s defense is another story.  The Owls make enemy quarterbacks look as good as Clement.  Their pass defense is an Achilles’ heal.  Their run defense is a little better, but they have yet to face a potent running attack.  The last good running opponent they faced was Tulane last year, and Matt Forte lit them up.

 

Vanderbilt has shot out of the gate with a 2-0 record for the second time in four years.  Coach Bobby Johnson has had this team close to breaking through in recent years, and this looks like his strongest team yet.  It all starts with a defense that looks like it is on par with some of the better SEC teams.  The Commodores shut down South Carolina’s offense for most of the night last Thursday; the early touchdown they surrendered came about when the offense fumbled the ball and gave it to the Gamecocks in the Red Zone.  The secondary picked off Chris Smelley twice and nearly had a third that could have gone back all the way.

 

The Vanderbilt offense was not up to par in this game, but it will change this week.  Look for the Commodores to find Rice’s defense to be easier to attack than opening game opponent Miami, and Vandy scored 34 points in that one.  As long as Jared Hawkins stays healthy in this game, I see him topping 100 yards and maybe getting more than 150.  Quarterback Chris Nickson has not enjoyed a great passing game since 2006 at Kentucky, but he has a chance to match that effort when he threw for close to 450 yards. 

 

Vanderbilt has not topped 50 points in a game against a Division I-A (FBS) opponent since 1990, when they did so against Ohio U.  I give the Commodores a 25-30% chance of doing so in this game.  The Commodores will move to 3-0 after winning this four hour game by a score of something like 45-38.

 

Playable Games According To The PiRates

 

Last week, I gave you nine playable games, and five of them came up winners for a so-so 55.6% success.  Combined with a 16-10 record on opening weekend, that makes this exercise 21-14 for 60% so far this year.  Aside from the two recommendations I gave you above in the Vanderbilt-Rice game, there are seven other playable games this week according to the PiRate and Mean Ratings.  Some of these scare me, but who am I to argue with these ratings.  Here they are:

 

East Carolina -12½ vs. Tulane

Arkansas +24 vs. Texas

Oregon -8 vs. Purdue

Kentucky -16 vs. Middle Tennessee

Marshall -3½ vs. Memphis

LSU -41½ vs. North Texas

Arizona -10½ vs. New Mexico

 

Come by Friday afternoon for a complete preview of all 16 NFL games this weekend.  The NFL picks finished a nice 6-3 in week one, and the “bank account” has some of the house’s money to play with this weekend.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: