The Pi-Rate Ratings

November 2, 2009

Bowl Projections For November 2, 2009

Weekly Bowl Predictions

Monday, November 2, 2009


This will be a pivotal weekend in the bowl pecking orders, as several marquee games are on tap.  Two of the big three have easy games this week.  Texas will have little more than a workout against Central Florida, while Florida should have enough points on the board two possessions into the game to beat Vanderbilt.


Here’s a conference-by-conference outlook for this week.  Unlike many bowl projections, which use a system based on if the season ended today, the PiRate Bowl Projections looks ahead and predicts where the teams will be on December 6.


Atlantic Coast Conference

The Atlantic Division is still very much up-for-grabs with Boston College and Clemson tied for first and Florida State and Wake Forest just one game back.  We think Clemson can run the table and grab the division flag.  


Georgia Tech has a one game lead over Duke (yes, Duke), but they are tied in the loss column.  We see the Blue Devils having an excellent chance at becoming bowl eligible, but they aren’t going to run the table and win the Coastal Division.  Georgia Tech just edged Clemson in Atlanta, and we think CU would get revenge in an ACC Championship Game.


1. BCS Automatic (Orange)—Clemson

2. Chick-fil-A—Miami

3. Gator—Georgia Tech

4. Champ Sports—Virginia Tech

5. Music City—North Carolina

6. Champs Sports—Boston College

7. Emerald—Florida State

8. Eagle Bank—Duke

9. G M A C—No Team Available


Big East

Cincinnati is the darling this year, but we think they will stumble at Pittsburgh on December 5.  The Panthers have home games with Syracuse and Notre Dame and the backyard brawl game at West Virginia, and we think Dave Wannstedt’s team will win out to take the Big East Championship.  The question here is where a Cincinnati team at 11-1 would go.  We think the Bearcats would not garner an at-large bid to a BCS Bowl.


This conference will have a little shuffling to make sure there will be no rematch games in bowls.  West Virginia played both East Carolina and Marshall, and they will not play either CUSA team in a bowl


1. BCS Automatic (Orange)—Pittsburgh

2. Gator—Notre Dame

3. Meineke Car Care—Cincinnati

4. Papa John’s—West Virginia

5. International—Rutgers

6. St. Petersburg—South Florida


Big Ten

Iowa is the reincarnated version of Indiana in 1967, the epitome of cardiac comebacks.  That Indiana team finally fell at Minnesota in November, and the schedule is set for Iowa to have that type of game at Ohio State.  For now, we believe Ohio State doesn’t have the offensive talent to upset the Hawkeyes.


Penn State should edge Ohio State, but the season finale at Michigan State is definitely a trap game.  At 11-1, they are in a BCS Bowl for sure, but at 10-2, it becomes a little hazy.


The bottom four bowls will shuffle to find their best fit, as we see three 6-6 teams and one 7-5 team vying for those bids.  Michigan will trump the other three even with a 6-6 record.


1. BCS Automatic (Rose)—Iowa

1a. BCS At-large ( )—Penn State

2. Capital One—Wisconsin

3. Outback—Ohio State

4. Alamo—Michigan

5. Champs Sports—Minnesota

6. Insight—Michigan State

7. Pizza—Northwestern


Big 12

Texas is moving along like a steamroller going down hill.  The Longhorns close the season with Central Florida, Baylor, Kansas, Texas A&M, and the Big 12 North Champion.  A&M may be the only team that can come close, so Mack Brown should get a chance to play for his second national championship in Pasadena.


Parity leaves this conference with a distinct possibility of having 10 bowl-eligible teams for eight bowls.  The two teams not receiving bids will be 6-6, so there isn’t a great chance either will earn a bowl.


1. BCS Automatic (National Championship)—Texas

2. Cotton—Oklahoma State

3. Holiday—Oklahoma

4. Alamo—Texas Tech

5. Sun—Nebraska

6. Insight—Texas A&M

7. Independence—Missouri

8. Texas—Kansas State


Bowl Eligible (at 6-6)


Iowa State


Conference USA

This conference is a jigsaw puzzle.  East Carolina and Houston now appear to be on a collision course toward meeting in the conference championship game, but both teams face opponents that can upset them.  For now, we’ll stick with Case Keenum and the Cougars to win out and finish the regular season at 12-1.  Whether that could propel them out of the automatic bid to the Liberty Bowl to a better bowl, we don’t know.


1. Liberty—Houston

2. Hawaii—East Carolina

3. Armed Forces—S M U

4. New Orleans—Southern Miss

5. St. Petersburg—Marshall


Bowl Eligible (all at 6-6)


Central Florida




Notre Dame will not qualify as a BCS Bowl participant, so they will steal a spot from the Big East.  Navy is one win away from an automatic spot in the Texas Bowl, while Army has too much to do to get bowl eligible.


1. Gator Bowl—Notre Dame per Gator Bowl rules with Big East

2. Texas—Navy

3. Eagle Bank—No Team Available (Army falls short)



Temple and Central Michigan are headed to the MAC Championship Game, while Northern Illinois, Ohio, and Kent State  appear to be headed to the good kind of bowl eligibility (seven or more wins).  Unfortunately for this league, it now looks like the ACC will have an eligible team for this bowl, so the MAC won’t get a guaranteed fourth bid.  However, we see two teams finishing with seven or more wins and jumping ahead of all the 6-6 teams for any at-large bids.


The MAC doesn’t automatically send its overall champion to Detroit.  The Pizza Bowl gets first choice, but they don’t have to take the champion.  Central Michigan went there last year, so we think the Chippewas will head to Mobile instead.


1. Pizza—Northern Illinois

2. GMAC—Central Michigan

3. International—Temple


Bowl Eligible (7-5 or better)

Ohio U

Kent State


Mountain West

T C U closes with San Diego State, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico.  SDSU could give the Horned Frogs some competition for 15-25 minutes, but TCU will handle the Aztecs.  Utah is always tough, but the Utes don’t have the horses to win in Ft. Worth.  Wyoming can always surprise in Laramie in late November, but we think TCU will win.  At 12-0 and with road wins against Clemson and BYU, TCU should get a BCS Bowl bid even if Boise State finishes ahead of them in the BCS standings.


A. BCS At-Large (Fiesta)—T C U

1. Las Vegas—B Y U

2. Poinsettia—Utah

3. Armed Forces—Air Force

4. New Mexico—San Diego State

5. Humanitarian—No Team Available



If Southern Cal receives an at-large BCS bowl bid over a 12-0 TCU or Boise State, it will be highway robbery.  The Trojans could even lose another game, so we are picking them to fall short.  Oregon is in the driver’s seat, but Arizona still lurks in the bushes.  The Ducks must visit Tucson on November 21, and if the Wildcats win at Cal the week before, this game will be for first place in the Pac-10.  We think Oregon can lose this game and still win the championship.


1. BCS Automatic (Rose)—Oregon

2. Holiday—Southern Cal

3. Sun—California

4. Las Vegas—Arizona

5. Emerald—Stanford

6. Poinsettia—Oregon State


Bowl Eligible (6-6)




This week, we are back to picking Florida to edge Alabama, but that could change again.  LSU is the clear cut third best team, but there’s a huge drop to the fourth place team.  This league will send 10 teams to bowls, with the bottom five teams finishing with 7-5 or 6-6 records.


1. BCS Automatic (National Championship Game)—Florida

1a. BCS At-large (Sugar)—Alabama

2. Capital One—L S U

3. Outback—Tennessee

4. Cotton—Auburn

5. Chick-fil-A—Ole Miss

6. Music City—Georgia

7. Liberty—Ole Miss

8. Independence—Kentucky

9. Papa John’s—South Carolina



Troy has little in its path to securing another SBC title.  This league has only one automatic bowl bid.  Three more bowls guarantee a seven-win SBC team first priority if their contracted conference cannot provide a team, but we believe all three bowls will have a bowl-eligible team from each conference.


1. New Orleans—Troy


Bowl Eligible (7-5 or better)

Middle Tennessee


Western Athletic

Boise State has three games remaining against teams that can give them a run for their money.  A Friday night game this week at Louisiana Tech is a huge trap game, while home games against Idaho and Nevada could be interesting for awhile.  The Broncos should run the table in the regular season for the fourth time in six years.  A win over Pac-10 champ Oregon if the Ducks finish 11-1 should be enough to earn BSU an at-large bid to a BCS Bowl, even if TCU finishes ahead of them.  However, unscrupulous bowl sponsors wouldn’t be required to take the Broncos, even if TCU and Boise State finished 3rd and 4th in the final BCS Standings.


A. BCS At-Large (Sugar)—Boise State

1. Humanitarian—Idaho

2. New Mexico—Nevada

3. Hawaii—Fresno State


The BCS Bowls

National Championship Game—Texas vs. Florida

Fiesta Bowl—Penn State vs. T C U

Orange Bowl—Clemson vs. Pittsburgh

Sugar Bowl—Alabama vs. Boise State

Rose Bowl—Oregon vs. Iowa


With Florida finishing first in the BCS Standings, the Sugar Bowl will get the first at-large pick.  Even though Alabama went there last year, we see the Sugar Bowl officials taking the Tide once again.  The Fiesta Bowl would get the next at-large choice after losing Texas to the title game, and we believe they would take Penn State.  The Orange Bowl would then choose Pittsburgh over the rest of the field.  The Fiesta would then take TCU, and the Sugar Bowl would then have all the pressure to either do the right thing and take Boise State or the wrong thing and take a one or even two-loss team (Cincinnati, Southern Cal, Georgia Tech)


The Rest

First, let’s take care of the loose change.  There will be three bowls that will not have regularly contracted team available.  The GMAC Bowl will not have an available ACC team; the Eagle Bank Bowl will not have a bowl-eligible Army team; and the Humanitarian Bowl will not have an available Mountain West Team.


We expect there to be exactly three bowl-eligible teams with seven or more wins, and they will fill the three slots ahead of a host of 6-6 teams from BCS conferences.  Those three fortunate teams are Ohio U, Kent State, and Middle Tennessee.  


Note: Teams in asterisks are 7-win or better at-large bowl eligible teams


New Mexico San Diego State vs. Nevada
St. Petersburg South Florida vs. Marshall
New Orleans Troy vs. Southern Miss
Las Vegas B Y U vs. Arizona
Poinsettia Utah vs. Oregon State
Hawaii Fresno State vs. East Carolina
Little Caesar’s Pizza Northern Illinois vs. Northwestern
Meineke Car Care Boston College vs. Cincinnati
Emerald Florida State vs. Stanford
Music City North Carolina vs. Georgia
Independence Kentucky vs. Missouri
Eagle Bank Duke vs. Kent State
Champs Sports Virginia Tech vs. Minnesota
Humanitarian Idaho vs. Ohio U
Holiday Southern Cal vs. Oklahoma
Armed Forces Air Force vs. S M U
Sun Nebraska vs. California
Texas Navy vs. Kansas State Michigan State vs. Texas A&M
Chick-fil-A Miami-FL vs. Arkansas
Outback Ohio State vs. Tennessee
Capital One Wisconsin vs. L S U
Gator Georgia Tech vs. Notre Dame
International Rutgers vs. Temple
Cotton Oklahoma State vs. Auburn West Virginia vs. South Carolina
Liberty Ole Miss vs. Houston
Alamo Michigan vs. Texas Tech
G M A C Central Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee


1 Comment

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