The Pi-Rate Ratings

October 15, 2014

PiRate Ratings College Football Playoffs and Bowls Coverage

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , — piratings @ 5:09 am

Note: You can find our award-winning ratings at http://www.piratings.webs.com

You can find numerous bowl projection sights on the Internet, so we see no reason to just put forth our projections like 100 others. The PiRate Ratings have always been a little different than other ratings. Our computer ratings use a system other than the actual scores of the games, using unique statistical data to come up with a truer score of every game before adjusting the ratings. Likewise, our bowl projections do not use the same criteria as other projectors.

We try to use our ratings to look forward and determine what the standings will look like on December 7. Then, we try to surmise the “political” nature of the bowls. For instance, you know that the ACC bowls would prefer to invite anybody other than Miami if they have a chance. When you cannot put 5,000 fans in your stadium for a home game against Cincinnati, another likely bowl team, it is not going to give a bowl like the Sun Bowl much faith that the Hurricanes will bring 20,000 fans to El Paso. Likewise, a 10-2 Auburn team is going to garner one of the big Bowl games not in the playoffs (Fiesta, Orange, Peach, or Cotton this year) before a 10-2 Washington team.

What we will do here is cover the bowls by conference. If you want to see the projections like 100 other sites, go to our website at the link below.

http://piratings.webs.com/bowlprojections.htm

Here is where we see the conferences and bowl possibilities for October 15, 2014.

Note: An Asterisk (*) means this is an at-large selection because the conference cannot meet its bowl tie-in obligation due to lack of bowl eligible team.

Non Big 5 Conferences

American Athletic Conference
East Carolina is the leader in the pack to be the guaranteed Big Bowl invitee from a non Big 5 automatic qualifying conference. The four big bowls not involved in the playoffs this year are the Fiesta, Orange, Peach, and Cotton. It will not be easy, since there are tough road games left at Temple and Cincinnati, as well as a Thursday, December 4 game at home against Central Florida, who could also be undefeated in conference play when they face off in Greenville.

Houston, Memphis, Cincinnati, and Temple should all gain bowl eligibility. If ECU earns the big bowl invitation, there will be six spots available. We believe there will be six bowl eligible teams, so if the Pirates do not earn this spot, one AAC team will not be guaranteed a bowl.

1. Peach Bowl: East Carolina (vs. Notre Dame)
2. Birmingham Bowl: Memphis (vs. Kentucky)
3. St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida (vs. Miami)
4. Miami Beach Bowl: Houston (vs. B Y U)
5. Military Bowl: Temple (vs. Virginia)
6. Armed Forces Bowl: Cincinnati (vs. Northwestern *)

Conference USA
CUSA allows its champion to select its bowl destination from among the five tie-ins. It is a safe bet that the champion will choose either the Hawaii or Bahamas Bowl.

Marshall is undefeated at 6-0, and the Thundering Herd has a legitimate path to running the table and hoping that East Carolina will fall and drop below them in the rankings. However, we PiRates are a little different. At the moment, we are not even picking Marshall to win the division. A September 20 win at Akron has been their only impressive victory to date. We believe MU will stumble in a November 22 game at UAB, and the surprising Blazers will sneak through as division winners. UAB took current number one Mississippi State deep into the game before losing and has just one semi-tough conference road game yet to play.

The West Division looks like Louisiana Tech’s for the taking. The Bulldogs should take advantage of North Texas and UTSA having subpar seasons and outlast Rice for the division flag.

1. Bahamas Bowl: Louisiana Tech (vs. Toledo)
2. Hawaii Bowl: Marshall (vs. Air Force)
3. Boca Raton Bowl: U A B (vs. Northern Illinois)
4. New Mexico Bowl: Western Kentucky (vs. Utah St.)
5. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Rice (vs. Utah *)

Independents
We do not include Notre Dame in the Independents section, since they caucus with the ACC. The other three Indies all have bowl tie-ins, but only BYU figure to be bowl eligible, as neither Army nor Navy show promise to get to six wins.

1. Miami Beach Bowl: B Y U (vs. Houston)

Mid-American
This is one year where the MAC will not have a highly-ranked team. Northern Illinois has already lost twice, and Toledo has fallen thrice in nonconference play. Still, five teams will receive invitations, and seven should be bowl eligible with a slim possibility that a sixth team earns an at-large spot.

Akron has the most impressive non-league win at Pittsburgh, but the Zips have lost to Penn State and Marshall.

The West should be decided this weekend when Central Michigan travels to Toledo.

1. Bahamas Bowl: Toledo (vs. Louisiana Tech)
2. Boca Raton Bowl: Northern Illinois (vs. UAB)
3. Idaho Potato Bowl: Akron (vs. San Diego St.)
4. Camellia Bowl: Bowling Green (vs. South Alabama)
5. GoDaddy.com Bowl: Central Michigan (vs. Georgia Southern)

Mountain West
It has been five seasons since Boise State played in a big bowl. It will be six, as the Broncos have two losses this year. The Broncos only chance is to run the table and hope both Marshall and East Carolina stub their toes. Boise finishes the regular season at home against Utah State, and the winner of that game should take the Mountain Division title, although Colorado State is still in the mix.

In the West Division, we believe 5-3 will get a team a share of the division flag, and we believe three teams will finish with that mark. San Diego State, Nevada, and Fresno State appear to be headed toward a three-way tie, but FSU will have just one non-league victory, while the other two will have two and seven total wins.

1. Las Vegas Bowl: Boise St. (vs. Stanford)
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Colorado St. (vs. Arizona St. *)
3. Hawaii Bowl: Air Force (vs. Marshall)
4. New Mexico Bowl: Utah St. (vs. Western Kentucky)
5. New Orleans Bowl: Nevada (vs. Louisiana-Lafayette)
6. Idaho Potato Bowl: San Diego St. (vs. Akron)

Sunbelt
This may be the weakest overall FBS conference, and many of its former better members have fled to Conference USA, but the SBC should produce six bowl eligible teams, and five should end up in bowls.

Georgia Southern may be in its first year as an official FBS member, but the Eagles look to be the top team in the league. They do not play Louisiana-Lafayette, and the only tough conference opponent left on their schedule is a home finale against Louisiana-Monroe.

Arkansas State continues to play well with yet another first-year coach, and we expect the Red Wolves to play in a bowl for the fourth consecutive season.

Louisiana-Lafayette did not look particularly strong in September, but losses to Ole Miss and Boise State look a little different in October. The blowout win at Texas State last night showed that the Ragin’ Cajuns are the top competitor to Georgia Southern. A road game at Louisiana-Monroe could be the deciding factor.

1. GoDaddy.com Bowl: Georgia Southern (vs. Central Michigan)
2. New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette (vs. Nevada)
3. Camellia Bowl: South Alabama (vs. Bowling Green)
4. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Louisiana-Monroe * (vs. Rice)
5. Texas Bowl: Arkansas St. * (vs. Florida)

Big Five Conferences

Atlantic Coast
We might be able to see into the near future when it comes to the schedule, but we cannot do the same for the police blotter. Therefore, until there is news that might affect the outcome of this conference, we will assume that no Heisman Trophy quarterbacks will miss any games.

With Jameis Winston under center, Florida State has a clear path to 13-0 and a spot in the playoffs. Without Winston, games at Louisville and at home with Virginia and Boston College are going to be losable. Of course, a home game this weekend against Notre Dame could be tough with Winston at QB. Clemson, Louisville, and Boston College will join the Seminoles in bowls, while North Carolina State and Syracuse appear to be just a little short in talent.

The Coastal Division can be taken once again with a 6-2 conference record, and after last week, we believe Duke is capable of being that team once again. Six of the seven Coastal representatives should be bowl eligible.

Notre Dame is included in the ACC when bowl bids are handed out, and the Fighting Irish are looking at 10-2, 11-1, or even 12-0. We believe at 10-2, the Irish will jump over many other teams to get a Big Bowl bid.

1. Playoff (Sugar Bowl): Florida St. (vs. Baylor)
2. Peach Bowl: Notre Dame (vs. East Carolina)
3. Russell Athletic Bowl: Duke (vs. Kansas St.)
4. Gator Bowl: Clemson (vs. Texas A&M)
5. Belk Bowl: Virginia Tech (vs. South Carolina)
6. Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech (vs. Oregon St.)
7. Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College (vs. Rutgers)
8. Military Bowl: Virginia (vs. Temple)
9. Independence Bowl: Pittsburgh (vs. Missouri)
10. Quick Lane Bowl: Louisville (vs. Maryland)
11. St. Petersburg Bowl: Miami (vs. Central Florida)

Big Ten
The Big Ten was given up for dead by October 4 when by then Ohio State had lost to Virginia Tech, Michigan State had lost to Oregon, Nebraska had lost to Michigan State, and Wisconsin had lost twice. However, we are not ready to give up on this league. Ohio State and Michigan State face off in East Lansing on November 8, and the winner of that game should win out to end the regular season at 12-1. With the SEC cannibalizing itself and with the Pac-12 looking to be the odd conference out, a 12-1 Big Ten champion should sneak into the playoff.

With 14 members and nine bowls, we believe 10 league teams will be bowl eligible. This will not be a problem, because we believe that the Big Ten will place one team in the playoffs and one team in a Big Bowl, allowing all 10 bowl eligible teams to play in a bowl.

1. Playoff (Rose Bowl): Ohio St. (vs. Ole Miss)
2. Orange Bowl: Michigan St. (vs. Auburn)
3. Capital One Bowl: Iowa (vs. Alabama)
4. Outback Bowl: Wisconsin (vs. Georgia)
5. Holiday Bowl: Nebraska (vs. Arizona)
6. Music City Bowl: Minnesota (vs. Tennessee)
7. San Francisco Bowl: Penn St. (vs. UCLA)
8. Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers (vs. Boston College)
9. Quick Lane Bowl: Maryland (vs. Louisville)
10. Armed Forces Bowl: Northwestern (vs. Cincinnati)

Big 12
The possibility is there for Baylor, Oklahoma, and TCU finishing 8-1/11-1. Baylor faces Oklahoma in Norman on November 8. For now, we are going to take the Bears all the way to the finish line, but that is not a solid choice.

Even if both Oklahoma and TCU lose a second game, it is close to a lock that a second Big 12 team will get one of the other four Big Bowl games. Because both Texas and Texas Tech look like they are headed to losing records, and Kansas and Iowa State are virtual locks to do the same, there will be just six bowl eligible teams here. Figuring that the league will send a second team to one of the Big Bowls, there will be six teams for eight spots, meaning the Texas and Heart of Dallas Bowls will have to find at-large invitees.

1. Playoff (Sugar Bowl): Baylor (vs. Florida St.)
2. Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma (vs. U S C)
3. Alamo Bowl: T C U (vs. Washington)
4. Russell Athletic Bowl: Kansas St. (vs. Duke)
5. Liberty Bowl: Oklahoma St. (vs. LSU)
6. Cactus Bowl: West Virginia (vs. Utah)

Pac-12
Arizona’s loss to USC puts the Pac-12 in a position where no team will finish 12-1, as the league is too balanced this year. USC’s loss at Boston College will prevent the Trojans from getting in. Oregon still has tough road games against Utah and Oregon State, and we believe the Ducks will drop one of these games. Washington has just one loss, but the Huskies still face Oregon at Autzen Stadium. We believe of the four Big 5 conferences, this league will be the odd man out in the playoffs in year one.

Nine teams should become bowl eligible, and the Pac-12 only receives seven guaranteed bowl bids. We believe the Pac-12 will place two teams in the Big Bowls of December 31/January 1. While losing out in the playoff chase, the conference will definitely trump all others and supply two at-large bowl bids and still come up one team short in their allotments.

1. Fiesta Bowl: U S C (vs. Oklahoma)
2. Cotton Bowl: Oregon (vs. Mississippi St.)
3. Alamo Bowl: Washington (vs. TCU)
4. Holiday Bowl: Arizona (vs. Nebraska)
5. San Francisco Bowl: U C L A (vs. Penn St.)
6. Sun Bowl: Oregon St. (vs. Georgia Tech)
7. Las Vegas Bowl: Stanford (vs. Boise St.)
8. Cactus Bowl: Utah (vs. West Virginia)
9. Poinsettia Bowl: Arizona St. * (vs. Colorado St.)

Southeastern
It has been repeated ad nauseum that the SEC West could supply all four playoff teams this year. Mississippi State and Ole Miss currently rank one and three nationally, and these two undefeated teams could both still lose twice! We don’t see that happening, as we believe one team will run the table and be the top-seeded school in the Playoff.

Alabama, the consensus choice to be the SEC’s first playoff representative has one loss and is still in the hunt, but we don’t see the Crimson Tide running the table from here. ‘Bama faces Texas A&M, LSU, Mississippi State, and Auburn in the weeks to come, and a second and possible third loss await the boys from Tuscaloosa.

The East is considerably weaker again, and Georgia benefits here. There is a chance the Bulldogs can run the table, if their defense can continue to play like it did at Missouri last week. There is also a chance UGA could lose at Arkansas this week and prove that the bottom team in the West is still better than the top team in the East.

Kentucky is one missed referee’s call from being 6-0, but we are not yet ready to buy in on the Wildcats being a Top 10 team. The Blue Mist is not even ranked at 5-1, so Coach Mark Stoops’ troops will have to earn respect by defeating a ranked team. UK gets that opportunity, because three of their next four games come against LSU, Mississippi State, and Georgia. Road contests against Missouri, Tennessee, and Louisville are not sure things, so there is still a remote possibility that Kentucky can drop six games in a row to finish out of the bowl picture. We do not see that happening.

Missouri and Tennessee still need to complete some unfinished business. Neither team has shown a propensity for playing tough on both sides of the ball in the same game. Missouri has four winnable games left and should get to six wins. Tennessee will need one upset in their final six. Ole Miss and Alabama look like sure losses, so the Vols will have to take care of South Carolina or Kentucky and defeat both Missouri and Vanderbilt to become bowl eligible. We are picking the orange and white to get that sixth win for now.

1. Playoff (Rose Bowl): Ole Miss (vs. Ohio St.)
2. Orange Bowl: Auburn (vs. Michigan St.)
3. Cotton Bowl: Mississippi St. (vs. Oregon)
4. Capital One Bowl: Alabama (vs. Iowa)
5. Outback Bowl: Georgia (vs. Wisconsin)
6. Gator Bowl: Texas A&M (vs. Clemson)
7. Music City Bowl: Tennessee (vs. Minnesota)
8. Liberty Bowl: L S U (vs. Oklahoma St.)
9. Texas Bowl: Florida (vs. Arkansas St. *)
10. Belk Bowl: South Carolina (vs. Virginia Tech)
11. Birmingham Bowl: Kentucky (vs. Memphis)
12. Independence Bowl: Missouri (vs. Pittsburgh)

The following six teams figure to be bowl eligible but jilted this season: Buffalo, Florida International, Fresno St., Middle Tennessee, Texas St., and Western Michigan

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