The Pi-Rate Ratings

October 12, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For College Football–October 13-17, 2009

A Week of Can’t Miss College Football

 

This week may not be the most important week in the college football season, but it’s stacked with exciting games.  With colder weather setting in across many parts of the nation, Saturday may be a great day to make some hot soup, hot chocolate, popcorn, or whatever comforts you on a cold, dark, and dreary day, and stay indoors with multiple televisions blasting away in your den or great room.  Let’s take a look at some of these games.

 

Note: These previews are the PiRates’ personal opinions and do not reflect the computerized ratings we issue.  Additionally, when you purchase our picks at www.piratings.webs.com, you get our personal opinions and not the computerized ratings’ picks.  Last week’s picks finished 7-4 to bring our seasons’ record against the spread to 32-19-1 (62.7%).

 

Boise State at Tulsa: This game is a Wednesday night special.  This is the Broncos last chance to really impress the pollsters and influence their strength of schedule in the computer rankings.  Future games with Nevada and Idaho won’t do much for BSU’s résumé.  This Tulsa team is missing quarterback David Johnson and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, as the Golden Hurricane are 15 points per game off their scoring average of last year.  Boise State is yielding 14.4 points per game, and a road win here would almost guarantee a 12-0 season and BCS at-large bowl bid.

 

Cincinnati at South Florida: This Thursday night thriller could decide the Big East’s representative in the Orange Bowl or even the National Championship Game if the ball bounces right.  The PiRates believe there is just enough parity in this league to produce a champion with one conference loss.  The loser of this game can still recover to take the crown, but we think the schedule favors the Bearcats.  So, this becomes a must-win game for USF.

 

Pittsburgh at Rutgers: If the Panthers are going to challenge for the Big East title, they must win this game.  Cincinnati already won at Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights appear to be a much better team since Labor Day.  Check out this exciting game Friday night.

 

Texas vs. Oklahoma (The Red River Shootout): Oklahoma has been a huge disappointment to date having already lost twice.  Texas fell a spot in the polls after a lackluster win over Colorado coupled with an impressive win by Alabama.  We aren’t ready to crown the Longhorns as Big 12 Champions, as they begin a rough three-week stretch that finds them facing Missouri and Oklahoma State on the road after this game.  We just don’t think they will be 8-0 when November dawns.  Still, this is a great rivalry game to watch.

 

Ohio State at Purdue: On paper, this game is a major mismatch, but these two teams have a history of playing close games even in years where the Boilermakers were not all that good.  We expect Ohio State to win by double digits this year, but it could be close for a lot longer than the scarlet and gray want.

 

Iowa at Wisconsin: The undefeated Hawkeyes venture to Madtown to take on some mad Badgers.  Wisconsin held onto the ball for what seemed like three quarters of the game at Ohio State Saturday afternoon, but all they had to show for it was an 18-point loss.  Iowa dominated Michigan for most of Saturday night before another big Wolverine comeback attempt fell just short.  The Hawkeyes have made a habit out of playing just well enough to win, and if they do so again this week, we’ll have to start making comparisons between them and the 1967 Indiana Hoosiers.

 

Virginia at Maryland: Could this be correct?  If Virginia wins at Maryland Saturday, there’s a good chance that by Saturday evening the Cavaliers could be in undisputed first place in the ACC Coastal Division?  This is the same UVa team that lost to William & Mary and Southern Mississippi.  We may have more than one comparison to 1967, as the Cavs are starting to look like Gene Stallings’ 1967 Texas A&M Aggies.

 

Kentucky at Auburn: This game may have lost much of its luster when Kentucky quarterback Brian Hartline was lost to an MCL injury in the South Carolina game.  Still, it should be an interesting game if only to see how UK coach Rich Brooks chooses to replace Hartline.  Backup quarterback Will Fidler may not have the talent to step in and move the Wildcat offense.  Randall Cobb runs the Wildcat package, but he’s also the team’s top receiver.  Playing him full time at quarterback gives Kentucky few passing options.  True freshman Morgan Newton has not appeared in a game and is scheduled to redshirt, but he may be forced into action.

 

Wyoming at Air Force: Don’t look now, but the Cowboys must rank as one of the two big surprises in the Mountain Time Zone (Idaho being the other).  They are 2-0 in the Mountain West and 4-2 overall under first year coach Dave Christensen.  The second half of the schedule gets incredibly harder for Wyoming with Utah, BYU, TCU, and Colorado State still to play.  If the Cowboys are to sneak into a bowl, they may have to win this game.

 

Minnesota at Penn State: We feel this game will be much closer than people expect it should be.  Penn State has yet to prove itself worthy of its ranking this season, and the Lions lost at home to the only high-caliber team on its schedule.  Minnesota has been consistent this season, beating teams they should beat and losing to teams that are better.  We’re not sure Penn State is better than the Gophers, so we expect an excellent game that could go down to the final minute or even to overtime.

 

Marshall at West Virginia: Huh!  You are reading this one correctly.  We expect this backyard brawl to be a nail-biter for most if not all the game.  In the three previous games since this rivalry has been renewed, West Virginia won with ease.  We don’t think it will be the case this time around.  The Mountaineers may not respect their smaller rival as much as they should, and we believe the Thundering Herd could put a big scare into their big brother.  It may take a late Noel Devine touchdown run to sew this one up.  

 

Southern Cal at Notre Dame: Both teams had a week off to prepare for this game, and we expect a duesy.  An Irish win would just about guarantee them a spot in a BCS bowl this year, while a Trojan win could keep their hopes alive of playing in the second Pasadena bowl this year instead of the first.  It should be a great contrast in styles with Notre Dame scoring at a near 33-point pace and USC giving up just 8.6 points per game. 

 

Texas Tech at Nebraska: The Cornhuskers need to follow up a great fourth quarter comeback at Missouri with four full quarters of action against the Red Raiders.  Nebraska won’t win this game if they have a goose egg on the scoreboard after three quarters, or even at halftime.  They may have a tough time winning if they don’t score in the first quarter.  The Black Shirts defense is almost all the way back, as NU is giving up a stingy 8.0 points per game this year.  Texas Tech is beginning to pick it up on offense, and if the Cornhuskers hold them under 20 points, then they will have proven they deserve to be considered a top contender for the Big 12 title.

 

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech: The Hokies could secure the Coastal Division title with a win this week.  However, we aren’t ready to cede the game to them just yet.  Last year in Blacksburg, VT escaped with a 20-17 win by virtue of a late long drive that would have stalled had it not been for two, 15-yard penalties called against the Yellow Jackets.  This year, Paul Johnson’s team has a much better grasp of the offense, but the GT defense has let them down, allowing 26.5 points per game.  Hokie Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster needs to get his charges to play more consistently.  This one could be an instant classic.

 

Missouri at Oklahoma State: If Missouri cannot get over the heartbreaking loss to Nebraska, they are going to be feeling even worse this week.  Oklahoma State has fallen out of the national limelight due to their loss to Houston, but the Cowboys are very much still in the Big 12 South race. 

 

Stanford at Arizona: We have a name for games like this one—bowl eliminator.  The loser of this game will have three losses.  If it’s Arizona, then the Wildcats could finish no better than 5-7 with games still to play against UCLA, Cal, Oregon, Arizona State, and USC.  If it’s Stanford, then 5-7 looks like the best possible record for the Cardinal with games still to play against Arizona State, Oregon, USC, Cal, and Notre Dame.

 

Arkansas at Florida: Could Arkansas actually give Florida a good game Saturday afternoon?  We see a lot of similarities between this game and last year’s Florida-Ole Miss game.  The Gators’ offense looked pedestrian against LSU, and Arkansas’s offense will not allow Florida to win this game with such little offense themselves.  Three of us believe this will be a much closer game than expected with Arkansas even having a chance to pull off the upset; one of us sees it being a 27-10 type game; one of us sees the Gators winning by four or five touchdowns.  We’ll have to see who’s correct.

 

What’s With Georgia and Mark Richt?

 

Georgia has averaged better than 10 wins per season in the eight years Mark Richt has been in Athens.  Now, off to a 3-3 start, some crazy, idiotic fans have begun to stir up some dust in the Peach State.  The defense is underperforming, while the offense has played better than expected considering UGa lost Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, and Mohamed Massaquoi from last year’s team.

 

Cheer up Bulldog fans.  Your team will rebound from the orange crushing last week with a nice road win this week.  What your defense needs best is a breather game against a team that cannot move the football, even against the likes of Mississippi State and Army.  An easy win over a Vanderbilt team headed to a 2-10 season should be what the doctor called for.  Who knows what will happen following this win and a week off?  Florida should cream the Bulldogs, but three consecutive home games against beatable teams should set up the season-ending rivalry as a game where a Georgia win could sneak the red and black into the Outback Bowl at 8-4.

 

NCAA Top 25 For October 12, 2009

Rank

Team

PiRate

Won

Lost

1

Florida 

137.4

5

0

2

Texas

131.9

5

0

3

Alabama

130.1

6

0

4

Oklahoma

129.8

3

2

5

Southern Cal

124.2

4

1

6

Va. Tech

121.8

5

1

7

Ohio St.

117.9

5

1

8

Nebraska

117.3

4

1

9

Iowa

117.0

6

0

10

Boise St.

116.1

5

0

11

Ole Miss

115.8

3

2

12

T C U

115.3

5

0

13

Oregon

115.1

5

1

14

Penn St.

115.0

5

1

15

Miami (Fla.)

114.9

4

1

16

Georgia Tech

114.8

5

1

17

Texas Tech

114.6

4

2

18

California

114.4

3

2

19

Okla. St.

113.5

4

1

20

B  Y  U

113.0

5

1

21

L  S  U

112.4

5

1

22

Pittsburgh

112.3

5

1

23

Stanford

111.5

4

2

24

Cincinnati

110.9

5

0

25

Kansas

110.8

5

0

   

 

 

 

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

0-3

2-4

110.0

Clemson

1-2

2-3

108.6

Wake Forest

2-1

4-2

107.8

Boston College

2-2

4-2

107.0

North Carolina State

0-2

3-3

104.9

Maryland

1-1

2-4

91.8

       
Coastal Division

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Virginia Tech

3-0

5-1

121.8

Miami-FL

2-1

4-1

114.9

Georgia Tech

3-1

5-1

114.8

North Carolina

0-2

4-2

106.1

Virginia

1-0

2-3

102.0

Duke

1-1

3-3

100.8

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Pittsburgh

2-0

5-1

112.3

Cincinnati

1-0

5-0

110.9

South Florida

1-0

5-0

109.6

Connecticut

0-1

3-2

104.8

West Virginia

1-0

4-1

104.3

Rutgers

0-1

4-1

100.9

Louisville

0-1

2-3

93.1

Syracuse

0-2

2-4

92.6

 

Big Ten

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Ohio State

3-0

5-1

117.9

Iowa

2-0

6-0

117.0

Penn State

1-1

5-1

115.0

Michigan

1-2

4-2

104.0

Michigan State

2-1

3-3

103.9

Wisconsin

2-1

5-1

102.2

Minnesota

2-1

4-2

101.2

Purdue

0-2

1-5

95.6

Northwestern

1-1

4-2

95.0

Illinois

0-3

1-4

93.9

Indiana

0-2

3-3

89.9

 

Big 12

North Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Nebraska

1-0

4-1

117.3

Kansas

1-0

5-0

110.8

Missouri

0-1

4-1

106.7

Colorado

0-1

1-4

96.9

Iowa State

0-2

3-3

93.8

Kansas State

1-1

3-3

93.1

       
South Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Texas

2-0

5-0

131.9

Oklahoma

1-0

3-2

129.8

Texas Tech

1-1

4-2

114.6

Oklahoma State

1-0

4-1

113.5

Baylor

0-1

3-2

104.1

Texas A&M

0-1

3-2

97.7

 

Conference USA

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Southern Mississippi

1-1

3-3

99.2

East Carolina

2-1

3-3

96.8

Marshall

2-1

4-2

94.7

Central Florida

1-2

3-2

93.4

U A B

2-1

2-3

89.3

Memphis

1-2

2-4

86.3

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Houston

0-1

4-1

105.4

Tulsa

2-0

4-1

101.7

U T E P

1-1

2-4

90.9

S M U

2-0

3-2

87.3

Rice

0-2

0-6

80.5

Tulane

0-2

2-3

75.0

 

Independents

       
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Notre Dame  

4-1

109.2

Navy  

4-2

102.2

Army  

3-3

83.0

 

Mid American Conference

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Temple

3-0

3-2

97.1

Buffalo

0-2

2-4

92.6

Ohio U

2-0

4-2

92.0

Bowling Green

1-1

2-4

87.6

Akron

0-2

1-4

83.7

Kent St.

1-1

2-4

83.3

Miami (O)

0-2

0-6

76.3

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Central Michigan

3-0

5-1

107.9

Northern Illinois

1-0

3-2

93.6

Toledo

1-1

3-3

89.7

Western Michigan

2-1

3-3

89.4

Ball State

0-2

0-6

82.2

Eastern Michigan

0-2

0-5

82.1

 

Mountain West Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

T C U

1-0

5-0

115.3

B Y U

2-0

5-1

113.0

Utah

1-0

4-1

106.0

Air Force

2-1

3-3

98.8

Colo. State

0-2

3-3

95.4

Wyoming

2-0

4-2

88.5

S. D. State

0-1

2-3

88.3

UNLV

0-2

2-4

85.9

New Mexico

0-2

0-6

76.4

 

Pac-10 Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Southern Cal

2-1

4-1

124.2

Oregon

3-0

5-1

115.1

California

0-2

3-2

114.4

Stanford

3-1

4-2

111.5

Arizona

1-1

3-2

110.4

U C L A

0-2

3-2

105.1

Oregon St.

2-1

4-2

104.5

Arizona St.

1-1

3-2

103.4

Washington

2-1

3-3

102.7

Wash. St.

0-4

1-5

77.0

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Florida

3-0

5-0

137.4

Tennessee

1-2

3-3

110.6

Georgia

2-2

3-3

108.1

South Carolina

2-1

5-1

107.9

Kentucky

0-3

2-3

102.0

Vanderbilt

0-3

2-4

95.5

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Alabama

3-0

6-0

130.1

Ole Miss

1-2

3-2

115.8

L S U

3-1

5-1

112.4

Arkansas

1-2

3-2

110.0

Auburn

2-1

5-1

106.2

Mississippi State

1-2

2-4

96.4

 

Sunbelt Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Troy

2-0

3-2

97.8

Arkansas State

0-1

1-3

92.0

Middle Tennessee

1-1

3-2

89.2

Louisiana-Monroe

2-0

2-3

87.8

Florida International

1-1

1-4

87.2

Louisiana

1-0

3-2

83.1

Florida Atlantic

0-1

0-4

82.0

North Texas

0-2

1-4

78.5

Western Kentucky

0-1

0-5

74.5

 

Western Athletic Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Boise State

1-0

5-0

116.1

Fresno State

1-1

2-3

101.1

Nevada

1-0

2-3

98.9

Louisiana Tech

1-1

2-3

93.5

Utah State

0-1

1-4

93.3

Idaho

2-0

5-1

89.3

San Jose State

0-1

1-4

87.8

Hawaii

0-2

2-3

85.9

New Mexico State

1-1

3-3

75.6

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate & Mean Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Tuesday, October 13  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Mean

Arkansas State UL-MONROE

2.0

28-26

0

   

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 14  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Mean

Boise State TULSA

11.2

31-20

10

   

 

 

 

Thursday, October 15  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Mean

SOUTH FLORIDA Cincinnati

1.9

24-22

0

   

 

 

 

Friday, October 16  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Mean

Pittsburgh RUTGERS

8.4

24-16

4

   

 

 

 

Saturday, October 17  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Mean

Texas     (N) Oklahoma

2.1

26-24

3

BOSTON COLLEGE North Carolina St.

5.6

30-24

6

Ohio State PURDUE

19.3

33-14

18

Bowling Green BALL STATE

2.9

24-21

7

MICHIGAN STATE Northwestern

12.1

25-13

11

Iowa WISCONSIN

11.6

28-16

3

Virginia MARYLAND

7.5

35-27

5

CLEMSON Wake Forest

4.1

31-27

3

Baylor IOWA STATE

7.3

30-23

2

OLE MISS U  a  b

30.0

44-14

20

Georgia VANDERBILT

10.1

20-10

8

AUBURN Kentucky

7.5

35-27

10

TEMPLE Army

16.4

26-10

11

C  m  u W  M  U

15.8

40-24

9

AIR FORCE Wyoming

13.6

35-21

13

OHIO U Miami (O)

18.4

28-10

20

Nevada UTAH STATE

3.3

27-24

7

PENN STATE Minnesota

17.3

31-14

12

WEST VIRGINIA Marshall

12.6

33-20

14

ALABAMA South Carolina

26.0

38-12

18

Southern Cal NOTRE DAME

11.0

28-17

8

California U  C  L  A

6.3

20-14

1

Houston TULANE

28.1

45-17

20

NEBRASKA Texas Tech

6.2

27-21

8

Texas A&M KANSAS STATE

1.6

28-26

4

Virginia Tech GEORGIA TECH

3.7

28-24

6

OKLAHOMA STATE Missouri

10.0

34-24

3

EAST CAROLINA Rice

19.3

40-21

16

BUFFALO Akron

11.9

33-21

9

T  C  U Colorado State

23.2

35-12

20

LOUISIANA TECH New Mexico State

20.9

42-21

16

E  M  U Kent State

1.1

28-27

-3

IDAHO Hawaii

6.7

31-24

10

B  y  u SAN DIEGO STATE

21.7

45-23

20

ARIZONA Stanford

1.9

26-24

4

Illinois INDIANA

1.5

24-22

-3

SOUTHERN MISS Memphis

15.9

37-21

13

Northern Illinois TOLEDO

0.9

35-34

7

CONNECTICUT Louisville

14.9

35-20

14

Kansas COLORADO

10.9

35-24

12

Miami (Fla) U  C  F

18.5

40-21

14

FLORIDA Arkansas

30.9

38-7

22

Navy S  M  U

11.9

44-32

10

ARIZONA STATE Washington

3.7

24-20

4

Utah U  N  L  V

17.6

35-17

19

FRESNO STATE San Jose State

16.3

44-28

18

Louisiana-Lafayette WESTERN KY

6.3

20-14

10

Troy FLORIDA INT’L

8.1

28-20

9

Florida Atlantic NORTH TEXAS

0.8

27-26

-1

Mississippi State MIDDLE TENNESSEE

4.2

28-24

0

 

Starting next week, we will begin to look at the bowl possibilities.  Every team will have played at least half of their scheduled games by then.

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