The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 28, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Picks For College Football–September 30-October 3, 2009

A Week That Was As Good As Advertised

 

Last week we told you this past weekend looked to us to be the most important weekends of the season with a lot on the line.  We keyed on 25 games that we thought would go a long way in determining the pecking order.  We were more than satisfied.

 

First, let us toot our own horn.  At our sister site (www.piratings.webs.com), we had 43 subscribers who paid the meager sum of $5 to get our picks for the weeks.  We rewarded them with a 6-1 week and had a 7-0 week in our sites until a late score cost us.  Considering that many of our handicapping peers are under 50% for the year against the spread, we are quite happy to be just a hair over 60% so far this season.

 

What is the theme for this week’s games?  We’ve discussed the college schedule, and we feel it is going to be a week chock full of letdown games, bounce back games, and games with teams that are either overrated or underrated.  We’ve spotted some opening lines we like, and as usual, we feel that the public (and thus the books) can only remember back one game.  Teams that played games that were aberrations from their norm should return towards their norm this week with a few exceptions.  One of those tough luck exceptions might be Baylor, as the Bears lost their heart and soul for the season when quarterback Robert Griffin went down for the year.

 

Mississippi State becomes a team to watch, but not for good reasons.  Coach Dan Mullen, in his first season as a head coach, made a grave mistake in the Bulldogs game with LSU, and it could be a deflating loss.  His squad was less than one foot away from the goalline in the final minute with third down coming up and MSU trailing LSU 30-24.  With a 5-11 and 200-pound stocky QB, it was a no-brainer to call a QB sneak.  It is almost 100% lethal from 10 inches away because the defense has to react before they can stop.  So, what did Mullen call for?  He called for a play-action pass, and it was batted away.  Then on 4th down, rather than run the QB sneak, he called for the option.  The QB turned and lost ground faking to the dive back, while LSU’s defense had time to react and push the line backwards.  By the time the QB chose to run the ball through the same area the dive back just went through, there was no hole.  How will MSU react?  They could mail it in the rest of the year and lose their remaining eight games, or they could get mad and upset Georgia Tech this week.  We’ll have to wait and see.

 

Here are the list of key games for this week.  There aren’t as many, and there won’t be nearly as many decisive games.

 

1. East Carolina at Marshall—As we told you last week, we like Marshall’s chances to sneak into the C-USA East race.  They are much tougher at home, and they are coming off a big road win.  ECU is one of those teams with a certain swagger that doesn’t seem to be bothered with tough road environments.  The winner of this game becomes the East Division co-favorite and will basically secure one of the conference’s bowl spots.  If Marshall wins this game, the rest of their schedule looks very manageable.  They play Tulane, UCF, and UTEP on the road, and get UAB, Southern Miss, and SMU at home.  A mild upset win here just might put them in the driver’s seat in the East.  An ECU win forces Southern Miss to do the same later in the season.

 

2. Wisconsin at Minnesota—A lot more than Paul Bunyan’s Axe is at stake this Saturday.  The winner of this game will be 2-0 in the league.  We’re not ready to pick either of these teams to challenge for the Big 10 title, but the winner still has a chance to play in a New Year’s Day Bowl.  These two teams’ are about to take on rather difficult schedules.  The Badgers must play at Ohio State and host Iowa in their next two games after this one.  The Gophers host Purdue next week and then play at Penn State and at Ohio State the following two weeks.  The loser of this game could fall deep down in the conference and be looking at the Motor City or Insight.com Bowl.

 

3. L S U at Georgia—Both teams are 2-0 in the SEC, so any time a team is 3-0 in the toughest league, it is important.  Neither team has proved it belongs in the top 10 thus far, but the winner could pick up enough momentum to keep going.  LSU can ill afford to look past this game, but they host Florida the week after.  If Georgia wins, they shold be 5-0 in the league by the time they head to Jacksonville for the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.  We believe that Florida and Alabama will both earn BCS Bowl bids.  The Capital One, Outback, and Cotton Bowls will be looking hard at this game, as both could end up in one of these games.

 

4. Oklahoma at Miami-Fl—Oklahoma has posted back-to-back shutouts since the opening loss to BYU.  With or without Sam Bradford, the Sooners appear to be on the cusp of righting the ship and being almost impossible to defeat.  If they hold Miami scoreless, then we have to start looking at them as possibly the number one team in the nation.  We think the Hurricanes will crack the scoreboard, but the Sooners appear to be at least two touchdowns better in this game at Landshark Stadium.  We’re going to monitor this one, because it should tell us whether OU’s recovery is full or partial.  If they win big, then watch out.  We referred last week to Alabama in 1975, and the 2009 Sooners could very well be following that pattern.

 

5. Michigan at Michigan State—The Spartans are the best 1-3 team in the nation for what that’s worth.  Michigan is very fortunate to still be undefeated.  This game should be a slobber-knocker, and we expect it to be very physical and rough.  This type of game is lost more than its won, so we must look to which team is more likely to make the pivotal mistake in the second half.  MSU has a recent history of being victimized by a boner play, but we think with their backs against the wall, they could be ready to knock down an undefeated team.  Whether or not it becomes one of our official picks is yet to e determined.

 

6. Kansas State vs. Iowa State (@ Kansas City)—Could Iowa State be in line for a bowl game in Paul Rhodes’ first season in Ames?  Could Bill Snyder right the ship in Manhattan in his first year back at KSU?  ISU is 3-1 for the first time since 2005, a year in which they finished 7-5 and played in the Houston Bowl.  If they can win in this semi-neutral game to move to 4-1, with Baylor and Colorado still to play, they could sneak into the Independence or Texas Bowl.  It won’t be easy, and it may be the decision to move this game to Kansas City rather than play it at Jack Trice Stadium that means the difference in playing in December.  We don’t see the Wildcats getting six wins this year, so a Kansas State win could lessen the number of bowl eligible teams in the Big 12.

 

7. U C L A at Stanford—This game is similar to the Wisconsin-Minnesota game.  Nobody expects either team to challenge for a Rose Bowl bid, but a Stanford win would move the Cardinal to 3-0 in the Pac 10.  UCLA is still undefeated for the season, but this is their first conference game.  It should be a close game with a lower than expected score.  The Bruins’ schedule gives them a chance to make some noise now that the two big teams have stubbed their toes in the league.  UCLA hosts Oregon and Cal and could put themselves in position to make the USC game worth a seventh game in Pasadena this year.  This game just may be the best one of the day.

 

8. Auburn at Tennessee—If the Tigers can win this one in Knoxville, then they very well may ascend to the number three spot in the league!  Ole Miss, LSU, and Georgia have not proven yet that they belong among the nation’s elite.  South Carolina and Tennessee have more to prove just to move into the discussion of being fifth best.  Auburn has the most to gain this week by winning on the road at Neyland Stadium.  Should Tennessee come up with a great defensive effort and shock the War Eagles, then watch out the following week when Georgia comes to town.  It should be a great chess match between Auburn Offensive Coordinator Gus Malzahn and Tennessee Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin.

 

9. Southern Cal at Cal—This game has lost most of its luster after both teams lost in recent weeks.  Cal looked more like Washington State against Oregon than Washington State did against USC.  The Trojans jumped out to a 20-0 lead and almost quit.  Cal never showed up against Oregon.  The loser of this game could mail it in the rest of the year.  If Cal loses at home, they could easily lose to UCLA, Arizona State, Stanford, and Washington.  They could fall as low as 6-6.  If USC loses, they could additionally lose to Notre Dame, Oregon, Arizona State, and UCLA.  They could fall as low as 6-6.  The winner could easily run the table and still end up in Pasadena, but we won’t be ready to crown the winner as the frontrunner.

 

NCAA Top 25 For September 28, 2009

Rank

Team

PiRate

Won

Lost

1

Florida 

138.6

4

0

2

Texas

133.0

4

0

3

Oklahoma

132.7

2

1

4

Alabama

127.1

4

0

5

Southern Cal

120.7

3

1

6

Va. Tech

120.5

3

1

7

Iowa

118.9

4

0

8

Ole Miss

117.4

2

1

9

Ohio St.

117.3

3

1

10

California

117.2

3

1

11

Nebraska

116.1

3

1

12

Boise St.

115.3

4

0

13

T C U

114.9

3

0

14

Texas Tech

114.4

2

2

15

Georgia Tech

114.1

3

1

16

Penn St.

114.0

3

1

17

Okla. St.

113.4

3

1

18

Florida State

113.3

2

2

19

Georgia

112.6

3

1

20

Kansas

112.1

4

0

21

Stanford

111.9

3

1

22

Cincinnati

111.6

4

0

23

Arizona

111.0

3

1

24

Miami (Fla.)

110.9

2

1

25

B  Y  U

110.8

3

1

   

 

 

 

Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point

even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Florida State

0-1

2-2

113.3

Clemson

1-1

2-2

112.1

North Carolina State

0-0

3-1

109.3

Boston College

1-1

3-1

107.0

Wake Forest

0-1

2-2

107.0

Maryland

0-0

1-3

89.0

       
Coastal Division

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Virginia Tech

1-0

3-1

120.5

Georgia Tech

2-1

3-1

114.1

Miami-FL

2-1

2-1

110.9

North Carolina

0-1

3-1

110.1

Duke

0-0

2-2

96.0

Virginia

0-0

0-3

95.0

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Cincinnati

1-0

4-0

111.6

Pittsburgh

0-0

3-1

110.0

South Florida

0-0

4-0

109.3

Connecticut

0-0

3-1

105.0

West Virginia

0-0

2-1

103.0

Rutgers

0-1

3-1

100.4

Louisville

0-0

1-2

94.4

Syracuse

0-0

2-2

94.1

 

Big Ten

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Iowa

1-0

4-0

118.9

Ohio State

1-0

3-1

117.3

Penn State

0-1

3-1

114.0

Michigan

1-0

4-0

103.9

Minnesota

1-0

3-1

102.1

Michigan State

0-1

1-3

101.5

Wisconsin

1-0

4-0

100.5

Purdue

0-0

1-3

97.4

Illinois

0-1

1-2

97.3

Northwestern

0-1

2-2

94.5

Indiana

0-1

3-1

93.7

 

Big 12

North Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Nebraska

0-0

3-1

116.1

Kansas

0-0

4-0

112.1

Missouri

0-0

4-0

108.0

Colorado

0-0

1-2

95.9

Kansas State

0-0

2-2

95.1

Iowa State

0-0

3-1

93.4

       
South Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Texas

1-0

4-0

133.0

Oklahoma

0-0

2-1

132.7

Texas Tech

0-1

2-2

114.4

Oklahoma State

0-0

3-1

113.4

Baylor

0-0

2-1

105.6

Texas A&M

0-0

3-0

100.5

 

Conference USA

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Southern Mississippi

1-0

3-1

102.1

East Carolina

1-0

2-2

98.7

Marshall

1-0

3-1

94.7

Central Florida

0-2

2-2

92.0

U A B

1-1

1-3

87.2

Memphis

0-1

1-3

86.1

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Houston

0-0

3-0

108.4

Tulsa

1-0

3-1

100.6

U T E P

0-0

1-3

89.2

Rice

0-1

0-4

86.4

S M U

1-0

2-1

85.5

Tulane

0-1

1-2

73.2

 

Independents

       
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Notre Dame  

3-1

109.7

Navy  

2-2

98.6

Army  

2-2

82.2

 

Mid American Conference

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Temple

1-0

1-2

94.9

Buffalo

0-1

1-3

92.5

Ohio U

0-0

2-2

89.7

Bowling Green

0-0

1-3

89.6

Akron

0-1

1-3

84.1

Kent St.

1-0

2-2

82.1

Miami (O)

0-2

0-4

74.6

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Central Michigan

1-0

3-1

104.2

Toledo

0-0

2-2

92.9

Northern Illinois

0-0

2-2

89.9

Western Michigan

1-0

2-2

89.6

Eastern Michigan

0-0

0-3

88.1

Ball State

0-0

0-4

82.3

 

Mountain West Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

T C U

0-0

3-0

114.9

B Y U

1-0

3-1

110.8

Utah

0-0

3-1

106.0

Air Force

2-0

3-1

98.6

Colo. State

0-1

3-1

96.7

UNLV

0-1

2-2

92.8

S. D. State

0-1

1-3

88.1

Wyoming

1-0

2-2

87.3

New Mexico

0-1

0-4

76.2

 

Pac-10 Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Southern Cal

1-1

3-1

120.7

California

0-1

3-1

117.2

Stanford

2-0

3-1

111.9

Arizona

1-0

3-1

111.0

Oregon

1-0

3-1

110.4

U C L A

0-0

3-0

106.3

Arizona St.

0-0

2-1

106.0

Oregon St.

0-1

2-2

101.7

Washington

1-1

2-2

100.3

Wash. St.

0-2

1-3

81.0

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Florida

2-0

4-0

138.6

Georgia

2-0

3-1

112.6

South Carolina

1-1

3-1

107.4

Tennessee

0-1

2-2

107.3

Kentucky

0-1

2-1

101.8

Vanderbilt

0-2

2-2

101.3

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Alabama

1-0

4-0

127.1

Ole Miss

0-1

2-1

117.4

L S U

2-0

4-0

109.9

Auburn

1-0

4-0

107.9

Arkansas

0-2

1-2

104.0

Mississippi State

1-2

2-2

97.0

 

Sunbelt Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Troy

1-0

2-2

95.3

Middle Tennessee

1-0

3-1

91.7

Arkansas State

0-1

1-2

89.7

Florida International

0-0

0-3

87.2

Louisiana-Monroe

1-0

1-3

87.2

Louisiana

0-0

2-2

83.0

Florida Atlantic

0-1

0-3

82.2

North Texas

0-1

1-3

78.6

Western Kentucky

0-0

0-4

75.1

 

Western Athletic Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Boise State

1-0

4-0

115.3

Fresno State

0-1

1-3

99.5

Utah State

0-0

1-2

96.8

Nevada

0-0

0-3

93.8

Louisiana Tech

0-0

1-2

91.8

Hawaii

0-0

2-1

89.8

San Jose State

0-0

1-3

89.1

Idaho

1-0

3-1

86.7

New Mexico State

0-1

2-2

73.1

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate & Mean Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 30  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Mean

LOUISIANA TECH Hawaii

6.0

30-24

-2

   

 

 

 

Thursday, October 1  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Mean

WEST VIRGINIA Colorado

11.1

28-17

15

Southern Miss U  A  B

12.4

34-22

12

   

 

 

 

Friday, October 2  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Mean

Pittsburgh LOUISVILLE

12.4

28-16

9

B  Y  U Utah State

16.5

41-24

22

   

 

 

 

Saturday, October 3  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Mean

South Florida SYRACUSE

11.9

28-16

15

East Carolina MARSHALL

1.0

21-20

-1

PURDUE Northwestern

6.1

34-28

9

MINNESOTA Wisconsin

4.6

31-26

-2

WAKE FOREST North Carolina St.

0.5

24-23

1

Clemson MARYLAND

20.3

34-14

14

NORTH CAROLINA Virginia

18.6

31-12

14

Florida State BOSTON COLLEGE

2.6

27-24

0

Central Michigan BUFFALO

8.9

37-28

11

Toledo BALL STATE

7.9

35-27

3

Alabama KENTUCKY

22.0

34-12

14

Ole Miss VANDERBILT

13.1

23-10

8

Cincinnati MIAMI (O)

34.5

42-7

32

Temple EASTERN MICHIGAN

4.1

28-24

6

ARMY Tulane

12.0

33-21

9

Virginia Tech DUKE

21.7

31-9

21

NOTRE DAME Washington

13.4

41-28

11

GEORGIA L  s  u

6.7

38-31

2

NAVY Air Force

3.5

28-24

2

Georgia Tech MISSISSIPPI STATE

13.8

35-21

7

Oklahoma MIAMI (FL)

18.3

28-10

8

Penn State ILLINOIS

13.4

20-7

12

MICHIGAN STATE Michigan

0.1

27-27 ot

0

NORTHERN ILLINOIS Western Michigan

3.3

27-24

8

BOWLING GREEN Ohio U

2.4

26-24

6

NEVADA U  n  l  v

3.3

31-28

2

Colorado St. IDAHO

7.0

31-24

4

Kansas State    (@KC) Iowa State

2.2

28-26

-1

ARIZONA STATE Oregon State

7.6

35-27

6

OREGON Washington State

32.7

40-7

32

BAYLOR Kent State

26.5

41-14

21

CENTRAL FLORIDA Memphis

8.9

33-24

9

STANFORD U  c  l  a

8.6

30-21

4

TEXAS TECH New Mexico

41.7

56-14

33

Ohio State INDIANA

20.6

31-10

15

Tulsa RICE

11.7

40-28

15

Arkansas TEXAS A&M

0.3

35-35 ot

3

TENNESSEE Auburn

2.9

20-17

0

Southern Cal CALIFORNIA

0.2

27-27 ot

1

T  C  U S  m  u

31.9

42-10

31

SAN DIEGO ST. New Mexico St.

17.8

31-13

12

Houston U  T  E  P

16.2

40-24

19

IOWA Arkansas State

33.2

40-7

31

Wyoming FLORIDA ATLANTIC

0.1

31-31 ot

0

UL-MONROE Florida Int’l

2.7

30-27

6

 

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