The Pi-Rate Ratings

December 3, 2012

2012-13 NCAA Simulated Football Playoffs–Bracket Reveal

The Road To Simper Bowl VI

Yes, a playoff is coming to college football in two more years, but as far as we are concerned, the NCAA still had not gotten it right.  A four-team playoff this year would have included Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida, and Oregon.  Kansas State would have been left out, and that would be a travesty.

Imagine the NFL leaving out the San Francisco 49ers from the playoffs this year.  It would be an outrage and would lessen the NFL as a brand.

There’s a reason the Super Bowl is what it is:  It is a legitimate playoff where all division champions are included.

The NCAA will never approach the success of the NFL while there is a chance that an 11-1 Kansas State team would not be included as Big 12 Champions.  No poll or computer rating, ours included, can really select Alabama, Florida, or Oregon as a better team than Kansas State, and thus this new four-team playoff that will commence in 2014 is a joke without merit.

Schedule strength can never determine which teams are better and more deserving than others.  It does not determine which teams are the best.  Winning a conference championship does accomplish that.

For instance, what if the Houston Texans roster played as the collegiate Houston Cougars?  Let’s say, the “Texans” played the same schedule this season as the “Cougars” and easily ran the table with a 13-0 mark, destroying the likes of Texas State, Louisiana Tech, UCLA, Rice, North Texas, UAB, SMU, UTEP, East Carolina, Tulsa, Marshall, and Tulane, before knocking off Central Florida in the Conference USA Championship Game.

Let’s say with this 13-0 record, Houston moved up to number nine in the BCS rankings.  In the current BCS season, they would have been rewarded with the Orange Bowl bid that went to Northern Illinois.  After thoroughly destroying Florida State to finish 14-0, they might have moved up to sixth or fifth.  We are supposed to believe that four or five college teams are still better than the most talented roster in the NFL.

Under the future playoff rules, the 13-0 Cougars/Texans would not even have a chance of playing in the playoffs.  That’s correct, the top team in the NFL would be deemed unworthy of playing for the collegiate national championship.

How to rectify this is very simple.  First, the champions of the current top six conferences must receive automatic playoff spots, just like the eight divisional champions of the NFL.  Then, six more at-large teams need to be included to guarantee that a 13-0 Houston Cougars team with the Houston Texans roster would be included.

Okay, so you say that our supposition is a big joke?  Sure, the top NFL team would never put on college jerseys and play.  However, how can you tell that a 13-0 Houston Cougars team may or may not be a better team than a 11-1 Florida Gators team?  If Florida played Houston’s schedule, they could do no better than 13-0.

This is where our PiRate Playoff system corrects these terrible misdeeds.

This is our sixth year simulating playoffs.  Here is how it works:

The champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC receive automatic bids.  In our world, teams on probation are eligible for our playoffs.  We want the best teams from each conference.  We believe that not allowing teams to appear in the postseason after they played an entire season is ridiculous.  Only the players and fans are punished.  Instead, probation should be monetary only.  Thus, Ohio State is eligible for our playoffs.

After the top six conference champions are selected, we next take any conference champion that finishes in the top 12 of the BCS poll also receives an automatic bid.  Then, at-large teams are added based on BCS rating until 12 total teams have been selected.

Just like the NFL, our simulated college playoffs are played at the home field of the higher-seeded team until the Championship Game, The Simper Bowl, which is played at a neutral site.  In past years, we have chosen the Los Angeles Coliseum, but we have chosen a new location this year—Metlife Stadium in Metro New Jersey.  If a Super Bowl can be played outdoors in East Rutherford, then we can stage a college championship game there as well.

Each game in our simulated playoffs will be simulated just one time this year.  By simulating games 100 times, there is very little chance for upsets, and in real playoffs, teams only square off once.  So, if a team that might win 12 times out of 100 happens to win that lone simulation, it is the same as an upset in the NFL playoffs, and why the NFL is the king of all sports.

About the simulator:  We have access to a computer simulator on a large college campus.  It has been used to predict winners against the spread in the past, but at the present time, nobody is using it for that purpose.  A large string of statistical data is fed into the simulator, and it spits out winners of simulated games along with total statistics.

In the past, the simulator produced individual statistics and even a basic play-by-play, such as: “Smith 3 yard gain up the middle/Tackle Jones and Brown.”  Unfortunately, we only have access to total statistics this year.

What do we think about the 35 bowls with 70 teams, including schools that are 6-6 or even 6-7?  We could not care less about these games.  It might be a big deal for Central Michigan and Western Kentucky to play in a bowl, but we aren’t going to give it a moment’s notice.  In fact, only the box score with stats means anything to us, and then only because we have to calculate new ratings for the final ratings.

Even games such as Clemson and LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and Oregon and Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl mean nothing.  They cannot affect the national championship.  At least in the old days, it was possible for as many as five bowl games to play a part in the National Championship.

We like to use the 1970-71 bowl season as an example.  Entering the bowls, Texas was 10-0, Ohio State was 9-0, Nebraska was 10-0-1, and Arizona State was 11-0.  Additionally, Toledo and Dartmouth were undefeated in a year in which the Rockets and Big Green were actually good enough to beat a top ten team, with squads that were probably the best ever from the MAC and Ivy League.  Tennessee and Notre Dame both had just one loss, with the Vols losing only to Top Ten team Auburn with Pat Sullivan throwing to Terry Beasley.  The Irish were undefeated until losing their final game against Southern Cal in the Coliseum in LA.

Toledo was limited to the Tangerine Bowl as MAC Champion, and the Rockets destroyed William & Mary by four touchdowns.  It wasn’t enough to put them in the title picture, but it led to a Top 10 finish in some polls.

Arizona State played North Carolina in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta and won by more than three touchdowns to finish 11-0.  However, the Sun Devils were in the WAC then, and their schedule was not quite as tough as others in contention.  They did beat a 6-5 Kansas State team by 22 point, but Nebraska beat the Wildcats by 38.

New Year’s Day started with the Sugar Bowl on ABC and the Cotton Bowl on CBS, both kicking off at roughly the same time.  In the Cotton Bowl, number one Texas was facing off against #4 Notre Dame.  The Longhorns had defeated the Irish the year before in the Cotton Bowl to win the national title.  However, Coach Ara Parseghian devised an entirely new defense aimed at stopping the powerful wishbone offense run by Texas.  They held the Longhorns more than 30 points under their scoring average, while quarterback Joe Theismann passed the Irish to a convincing 13-point win.  Number one was up for grabs now.

Over on ABC, Tennessee was thoroughly destroying a 9-2 Air Force team in the Sugar Bowl.  That Air Force team had clobbered Pac-8 champ Stanford earlier in the season.  Now, the Vols and Irish had won as one-loss teams.  All eyes shifted west to Pasadena.

In the Rose Bowl on NBC, Curt Gowdy explained to the nation that Ohio State would lock up the national title with a victory over 8-3 Stanford.  The undefeated Buckeyes were a senior-laden team with enough stars to start an NFL expansion franchise.  Those seniors had been 27-1 to this point in their careers.  But, Stanford had the big equalizer.  Heisman Trophy winner Jim Plunkett and end Randy Vataha was the best passing combo in the nation, just a fraction ahead of Sullivan and Beasley.  Ohio State’s three yards and a cloud of dust offense began the game looking invincible, but then Stanford’s defense brought a rover back up to the middle to plug the off-tackle holes.  Plunkett began firing rifle shots against a Buckeye secondary that had not faced a passing team all season.  All of a sudden, the cinch national title was gone, and Stanford won by 10 points.

Now, the nation turned to Miami and the Orange Bowl on NBC.  Nebraska was 10-0-1, but the Cornhuskers were a slight underdog to 9-2 LSU, a team that had lost to Notre Dame 3-0.  The game was a defensive struggle all night, and LSU led for three quarters.  With 15 minutes to go in the game, it looked like several teams might split the title.  Nebraska had one good fourth quarter drive to take the lead, and the “Huskers held on to win a nailbiter 17-12.

All told, the Peach, Sugar, Cotton, Rose, and Orange Bowls played a part in the title that season.  Nebraska eventually won all of the postseason versions of the “legitimate” national championships of that day.  All four New Year’s Day Bowls were essential games to watch.

In other years, as many as five different teams claimed national championships in the same year.  It may not have been ideal, but at least teams that deserved to be considered in the national championship equation received recognition.  For instance, in 1973, Notre Dame, Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, and Oklahoma all received recognition from at least one “officially recognized” polling service as national champion.  Additionally, there were three major mathematical ratings (pre-computer) that were considered legitimate enough to award a national champion.  The Carr Ratings, Litkenhous Ratings, and Dunkel Ratings crowned a national champion every year.

This cannot happen today.  Yes, the AP still crowns a recognized national champion and has awarded one to a team that did not win the BCS Championship Game (and could theoretically move 12-0 Ohio State to number one if Notre Dame loses to Alabama), but it does not come close to matching the bowls of yesteryear.

It is our opinion that the old way with multiple champions was better than the current BCS.  It made the four big New Year’s Day bowls must-see television events.

The new four-team playoff misses the mark and will cause the same troubles.  It would not have worked this year, and if Ohio State had been eligible, it would have meant that both Oregon and Kansas State would have been left out in favor of Alabama and Florida.

The only way to crown one legitimate champion is to give every top team a chance to play for it on the football field, and until the NCAA copies the NFL and institutes a playoff that gives the big conference champions an automatic bid and gives the smaller conference champions a chance to get into the playoffs, then any championship awarded is bogus.

With that in mind, the PiRate Ratings release its “Dandy Dozen” for 2012-13 and the pairings for the PiRate simulated playoffs.  The Road to Simper Bowl VI begins today.

Automatic Bids

Atlantic Coast Conference: Florida State 11-2

Big East Conference: Louisville 10-2

Big Ten Conference: Ohio State 12-0 (See above for why Ohio State is here and not Wisconsin)

Big 12 Conference: Kansas State 11-1

Pacific-12 Conference: Stanford 11-2

Southeastern Conference: Alabama 12-1


Other Conference Champions in BCS Top 12

No Teams Qualified (Northern Illinois did not qualify in our playoffs)

At-Large Selections (Selected in order of BCS Ranking)

Notre Dame 12-0

Florida 11-1

Oregon 11-1

Georgia 11-2

L S U 10-2

Texas A&M 10-2


Here are how our “Dandy Dozen” are seeded.  The top four teams receive first-round byes, while numbers 5 through 12 play in to the Final Eight, just like the NFL Playoffs.

  1. Notre Dame

  2. Alabama

  3. Ohio State (based on where they would have been if not on probation).

  4. Florida

  5. Oregon

  6. Kansas State

  7. Georgia

  8. L S U

  9. Stanford

10. Texas A&M

11. Florida State

12. Louisville


The opening round of the PiRate Simulated Playoffs begin this Friday, December 7, 2012.  Check back Friday after 1PM Eastern Standard Time for the results and statistics.

Here are the matchups

8 at L S U
9 Stanford | |
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1 at Notre Dame | |
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5 at Oregon |————————
————————- | |
| | |
|———————— | |
12 Louisville | | | |
 ———————— |———————— |
4 at Florida | |
————————- |
|Championship Game
7 at Georgia |At Met Life Stadium
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| |
|———————— |
10 Texas A&M | | |
————————- |———————— |
2 at Alabama | | |
————————- | |
| |
| |
6 at Kansas State |————————
————————- |
| |
|———————— |
11 Florida State | | |
————————- |————————
3 at Ohio State |


  1. […] Note: Ohio State was awarded the Big Ten’s automatic bid per PiRate Ratings Computer Simulated Rules.  To see how this works, go to: […]

    Pingback by 2012-13 NCAA Simulated Football Playoffs–Quarterfinal Round « The Pi-Rate Ratings — December 14, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

  2. […] Note: Ohio State was awarded the Big Ten’s automatic bid per PiRate Ratings Computer Simulated Rules.  To see how this works, go to: […]

    Pingback by 2012-13 NCAA Simulated Football Playoffs–Semifinal Round « The Pi-Rate Ratings — December 21, 2012 @ 10:06 am

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    Comment by Fletcher Barben — January 26, 2016 @ 3:54 am

  4. Mr. Barben, what you see is what you get. This is a primitive blog site with limited blogging. We provide ratings, and to allow us to remain part of the Prediction Tracker and Massey Comparison, we need to have a site to display them.

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