The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 10, 2015

PiRate Ratings Ready To Kick Off 2015-16 Football Season

Filed under: 1 — Tags: , , , , — piratings @ 5:25 pm

Welcome back to the PiRate Ratings.  After an interesting and fun-filled summer, it’s time to get back to the business of football ratings.  The PiRates once again go to sea, and we expect an interesting trip that will culminate on February 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, California.
Once again, the PiRate Ratings will be part of the Prediction Tracker and the Massey Comparison Rankings.
The ratings and game spreads will appear weekly at our sister site at http://www.piratings.webs.com .  This WordPress site will continue to have a weekly presence in both college and professional football with selections against the spread based on a consensus of computer ratings.  It will not be published to aid in the execution of wagering; it will strictly be experimental.  Occasionally (or frequently), we will issue opinions on the game, and because the 2016 Presidential Election Cycle will crank up in earnest near the end of the season, you won’t be surprised if you see us using our metrics to forecast the election.

It was this site in early 2012 that showed why Mitt Romney would not defeat President Obama in a general election, and we basically hit the electoral vote count right on the mark well in advance of the election.  Maybe we can be lucky again and predict the winner far in advance, but this election will be the toughest since the 1968 election to prognosticate.  Early indications are that this election could be closer than any since Rutherford B. Hayes beat Samuel J. Tilden 185-184 in a hotly controversial decision that earned President-elect Hayes the nickname of “Rutherfraud.”

Starting Tuesday, August 11, we will preview one conference per day.  We will preview the conferences in order of lowest to highest overall average ratings.

Coming in at last place once again is the Sun Belt Conference, and that’s what will be previewed Tuesday.

Check back around Noon Eastern Time.

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July 16, 2015

2015 Football Season Returns Soon

Filed under: 1 — Tags: , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:31 am

Welcome back football fans.  The PiRates are back at it working late nights compiling the 2015-16 college and NFL ratings.

Look for the new season to kick off in Mid-August, when we begin previewing each of the FBS conferences, one at a time, beginning with the lowest rated conference and ending with the highest rated conference.  Gee, can you guess which conference might be the tops?  Hint:  A current Big Ten coach once said that the three toughest leagues in American Football were the NFC, the AFC, and this conference.

It will come as no surprise which individual team is number one in the preseason, and it also will not be all that surprising when they debut with the highest preseason PiRate Rating since Nebraska began the 1995 season.  Hint:  Their third best quarterback might be a top Heisman Trophy contender if he played at any of the other 24 teams in the Top 25.

The NFL Ratings will appear after the final college conference preview, and this will lead up to the first week’s college schedule.

The Ratings and spreads each week will be available from our website at http://www.piratings.webs.com.  This blog site will add extras, and if we can ever get the tabular format to align properly here, we will post the ratings and spreads here as well.

Enjoy the remainder of your summer, and remember to come back to this blog in Mid-August for our first conference preview.

August 26, 2014

Special Bulletin!

Filed under: 1 — Tags: , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:36 am

Due to issues beyond our control, namely WordPress choosing to make it difficult to paste tabular data from Microsoft Excel, the PiRate Ratings will no longer publish their weekly ratings to this site.

 

Please visit our webpage at:  http://www.piratings.webs.com

 

September 10, 2013

Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

Every year, we receive a couple dozen questions from the readers, and we do not always have time to reply to each one.  Since June, and especially since August 29, we have received some excellent questions and comments that will be shown today.  For future reference, drop us a line at: pirate_ratings at live dot com.  When we get enough to answer, we will respond with another one of these segments.

 

1. How do you calculate your ratings?  Is this something anybody could do if they had your equations?

 

Answer: This is a tough one to answer.  Our ratings are not 100% mathematical formulae.  A mathematical formula is used for the base, but the data inputted is not cut and dry.  Whereas many other ratings take the scores of games and the strengths of schedules to make a least squares or least error rating where the scores and schedule strengths fit the best pattern, our ratings try to interpret these scores before running this data.

 

For instance, let us take a game between Oregon and Idaho.  The rating may state that Oregon should win by 77 points.  If they lead 42-0 with six minutes left in the second quarter and then coast to a 66-0 win, while playing the scout team the final quarter, should we really state that the Ducks performed 11 points below par and should be penalized in their next rating?  The Ducks could have won 112-0 without emptying the bench.  We look at how the score was made and not just the score.

 

In another instance, let’s say the final score of a game was 28 to 14.  There are so many different ways to interpret this 14 point win.  It could have been 21-14 with seconds remaining in the game and with the trailing team knocking at the door to tie it up and force overtime.  Let’s say the trailing team threw a pass in the end zone, and the ball went through the receivers’ hands and hit his shoulder pad.  The ball went flying through the air.  Had it flown left, another receiver would have easily caught the ball for a touchdown.  However, it flew right, into the hands of the strong safety, who caught it and ran 106 yards for a touchdown to make the score 28-14 instead of 21-21.  The direction of the deflection cannot be counted as 14 points.  No one play is worth that.

 

What if this 28-14 game was 28-0 with six minutes to go, and the scrubs scored a touchdown to cut it to 28-7, and then the leading team’s scrubs fumbled and gave up another touchdown with now four minutes to go.  The leading team then put their starters back in and drove from their 25 to the opposing 5 yard line before running out the clock.  This game could have been 42-0 if not for the reserves.  In a close game, those reserves will have little input in a future game.

 

2. What are the differences in your three ratings—PiRate, Mean, and Bias?

 

Answer: Okay, this one can be different depending on the year in question.  The PiRate Regular ratings stay the same every year.  They have not deviated since the advent of the Internet making statistical research so easy.

 

The Mean and Bias ratings have been tinkered with over the last 10 years.  In fact, the Mean rating has changed since 2011.  We perform 14 different calculations to start each season.  We look at returning lettermen and starters.  Each player at a positiong has a certain value, so that a returning starting left tackle earns the same points for Oregon and Alabama as it does for Georgia State and South Alabama.  This data is looked at many ways.  In one system, we may give more emphasis to the quarterback and wide receivers than in another system.  Our favorite calculation actually gives more weight to the interior lines than any of the skill positions.

 

After we calculate all the ratings, we adjust the previous year’s final rating for each team by the change in personnel entering this year.  For the PiRate regular rating, we take the 5 calculations that have always been used.  For the Mean rating, we take the 14 calculations and take the average rating.  For the Bias rating, we take the original 5 calculations and weight them a little differently.  Two of the calculations count 30% each; a third calculation counts 20%; and the other two count 10% each.  Thus, the PiRate Regular and Bias ratings will begin the season differing very little.

 

Additionally, each of the three ratings have a unique updating formula.  The PiRate Regular rating has the most conservative update and will not vary as much as the other two.  The Bias Rating has a more liberal update, and it will be more like the betting public and emphasize the most recent game over all others.  The Mean rating will usually have a smaller spread believing that the most recent game is part of a larger trend, but oftentimes overemphasized.  Thus, the Mean rating will frequently differ in the predicted winner when compared with the other two.  This is great for our purposes, for when the three ratings agree in a similar point-range, we believe this game is less uncertain than the average game.  In fact, over the last few years, when the three ratings take the same side of a selection, and the difference is two points or more on all three ratings, that selection has been the correct side about 62% of the time.  At 62%, you can get rich slowly if you have the courage to believe it will continue.  Of course, that 62% has a rather high standard deviation.  One year, the accuracy was just 46.4%.  One year, it was 73.1%.  One year, the number of plays this system generated exceeded 240 for the season, while just a couple years ago, there were only 97 plays for the season (which happened to be the 73.1% year at 68-25-4).

 

3. You once said that strength of schedule did not count for much in your system.  How can you be accurate then?

 

Answer: This statement is somewhat true, but let us explain what we mean.  We believe that the strength of a team lies in its talent, its teamwork, its coaching, and its commitment to win.  The schedule does not indicate how good a team may or may not be.  It may be how the rankings and BCS standings are determined, but we do not issue ratings to try to pick how the teams will be ranked or even which teams will play in the National Championship Game.  We want to rate the teams from best to worst and only care to compare which teams are actually better than others and by how many points.

 

Here is why strength of schedule is useless to us.  Let’s say that my friend the high school coach has just been hired at Old Dominion as the Monarchs move to FBS status.  In the first three years there, he successfully recruits the next Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall, Anthony Gonzalez, Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Iupati, Andy Levitre, Ryan Clady, and Joe Staley to start on offense.  On defense, he signs Geno Atkins, Vince Wilfork, J.J. Watt, Julius Peppers, Patrick Willis, Clay Matthews, DeMarcus Ware, Darrelle Revis, Charles Tillman, Earl Thomas, and Eric Berry to start on defense.

 

Without a doubt, no team in college football could equal talent like this.  Not only are these guys obvious first team all-Americans, every one is a future first team All-NFL.  Even Alabama could not compete against this team.

 

Now, this ODU team’s schedule is: Georgia State, Charlotte, Appalachian St., Louisiana-Monroe, Massachusetts, Troy, South Alabama, Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas St., Georgia Southern, Texas St., and Army.  There is no doubt that they will go 12-0 and outscore this dozen by about 500-700 points.  Yet, the strength of schedule may rank this team around #20.  If this were this season, they would not even compete for an at-large BCS Bowl Bid, and they would have to settle for something like the New Orleans or Military Bowl.

 

This has been the case in the past.  In 1970, Arizona State had the best team in the nation.  They did not get a chance to play in a big bowl and had to settle for the Peach, where they won handily.  Nebraska was two touchdowns weaker in 1970 than they would be in 1971, and the Sun Devils had the better team in 1970, when they ran the table and proved unstoppable on offense.

 

In 1969, Penn State was probably a little better than Texas.  The Longhorns’ new Wishbone offense proved to be an excellent weapon, but by the end of the season, teams had figured out how to slow it down.  Only a miracle comeback even got UT to the Cotton Bowl, and then in the Cotton Bowl, they had trouble with a very good but not great Notre Dame team.  Meanwhile, Penn State had perhaps the best college defense in the last eight years.  This defense and the special teams actually scored or set up the score for more points than they gave up.  Additionally, it was a team that went 11-0 for the second consecutive season and would place a host of players in the NFL.  How strong was that Penn St. team?  Their second and third running options were Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell, two future NFL stars.  Their quarterback, Chuck Burkhart NEVER lost a game where he was the starting QB—that includes college, high school, and junior high—undefeated for life!

 

The end of the BCS era does not signal the end of this travesty.  Still, big name schools with gaudy schedules will beat out other schools for one of the four playoff berths.  There should be no selection of playoff berths.  There should be set guidelines that allow each team to qualify for a berth by winning on the field just like the NFL.  The last several Super Bowl Champs might never have been in the playoffs to begin with if they had to be selected as one of the top four teams.   Baltimore would have been left out last year.  The Green Bay Packers and New York Giants would not have qualified when they won their most recent Super Bowls.  It is our opinion, that this tournament needs to be eight-deep with each of the eight teams qualifying by winning on the field and clinching a spot based only on games played and never on human selection.

 

5. You used to report for Vanderbilt, and you stated that you married into a University of Wisconsin and Green Bay Packer family.  How do we know that you do not fudge on these teams and rate them higher than they deserve?

 

Answer: You are confusing ranking and rating.  Ranking might bring into play human partiality, but we are trying to rate teams based on how this rating can be used to select against the spread.  We would be quite happy for these three teams to win every week, but what most excites us is picking all the winners against the spread.  So, our love of being accurate is really all that matters.  We have no influence over the rankings, so it really matters not which teams we cheer for.  And, to tell you the truth, some of us root for different teams.  And, we are not fanatical fans.  Our founder has cultivated friendships with athletic officials at numerous schools including those at the University of Tennessee, the University of Minnesota, and personnel with the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns.  He never roots against anybody.  His love of the game is what keeps his interest going, and as a long-time coach in football and basketball, his first love is watching teams practice.  As most long-time coaches will agree, they miss the practices when they retire.  They don’t really miss the games, the schmoozing with alumni, the media, etc.

 

6. What happened to your Computer Simulations?

Answer: We regret to say that we lost access to the college campus computer that allowed us to run these simulations.  So, unless this changes, we will not be able to offer this service in the future.

 

7. I want to make my own ratings.  Can you offer help?

Answer: This is one we get a lot.  If you want to make your own ratings, do what we did when we started out in 1969.  Begin with your own personal belief about each team.  Begin with each conference and rank the teams within the conference.  Then, take the best teams in each conference and rank against each other.  It should look something like it looked for our founder in October 1969:

 

Southwest Conference:

Arkansas 0, Texas -1, Texas Tech -27, TCU -29, SMU -30, Texas A&M -30, Rice -34, Baylor -41.

 

He did this for every conference as well as the numerous independents, which he had broken down into four regions since there were so many then.

 

At the time, Ohio St. was number one overall.  They received the top rating at 120, or 20 points better than the average team and about 40 points better than the typical weak team.  He had Arkansas as the third best of the teams, about 3 points weaker than Ohio St.  Thus for the SWC, the teams had these ratings:

 

Arkansas 117, Texas 116, Texas Tech, 90, TCU 88. SMU 87, Texas A&M 87, Rice 83, and Baylor 76.

 

At the time, he gave every team with a large stadium 4 points home field advantage, every team with an average stadium 3 points, and every team with a small stadium 2 points.

 

After each game, he raised or lowered the rating from 1 to 6 points based on the outcome of the game, or left it the same.  Whatever he gave to one team, he took the opposite away from the other.  It was crude, but he was 9 years old.   

8. Have you ever considered using more colors in your blog?

Answer: That was a great suggestion, and we took your advice this summer and began using team colors.

May 30, 2011

PiRates Have Gone To Sea For Summer

Filed under: 1 — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 4:35 am

Dear Reader and supporter of the PiRate Ratings:

The 6 PiRates that put together the PiRate Ratings have started putting together the 2011 college football ratings, and we will soon start putting together the information for the NFL football ratings.

However, we are considering boycotting the 2011 season in both college and pro.  We agree with Bill James that the BCS should be boycotted.  For the last two years, we have chosen not to use any products sold by any bowl sponsor, and we will continue to do so this season.

Before the start of the 2011 season, we will list the sponsors of the bowls and show you how you too can boycott their products and purchase their competitor’s products instead.

Additionally, we did not tune in one second of any of the bowl games last season, but that was our choice.

Concerning the NFL, if the players are to ever have any clout much like their baseball brethren, their only chance is to go on strike at the conclusion of the regular season.  The players would collect their season salaries and then put unbelievable pressure on management to meet their demands or lose their big cash cow–the playoffs and Super Bowl.

Check back after August 10 for the college football previews.

 

Thank You,

The 6 PiRates

April 7, 2009

PiRates Are Going To Sea For The Spring

Filed under: 1 — piratings @ 9:06 am

The PiRates and their PiRate Ratings are going out to sea to get some R&R for the spring.  Since our founder, the horse racing expert, doesn’t have the time to contribute to this blog these days, we will be skipping the Triple Crown Races.

Look for the PiRates to return in August in time for College and Pro Football season. 

Tally Ho!

November 20, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 12 NFL Previews: November 20-23, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 12

It Was A Touchdown!

 

To those who are a little poorer today than they were Sunday morning, my sincere condolences go to you and Troy Polamalu.  You should have won.  If you follow my advice and adhere to my request to do this just for fun, it only cost you a quick laugh (more about that in this week’s selections at the bottom).

 

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

The NFL version of the PiRate Ratings is not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL version is strictly a statistical formula than could be reproduced by anybody who knew the equations I use to devise the formula.  No subjective data is used.

 

The formula combines scoring margin, strength of schedule, and early in the season, last year’s scoring margin and strength of schedule.  As the season progresses, last year’s data decreases to where it has little effect by mid-October. 

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

Just like the PiRate Ratings, the NFL Mean Ratings are not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL Mean Ratings consist of a dozen different calculations.  Three calculations consist of different ways to look at point differential and strength of schedule.  Five calculations look at yards gained and allowed rushing and passing and special teams play with the strength of the opponents’ rushing and passing.  Point values are assigned based on each set of data.  The remaining four ratings are my old four pro ratings from the 1970’s and 1980’s.  The 12 ratings are given equal weight, and then I take the average (mean) to get the rating.

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

The Bias Ratings consist of five of the components of The Mean Ratings.  The five ratings are not given equal weight.  The five ratings are weighted at 37.5%, 25%, 12.5%, 12.5%, and 12.5%.  I have back tested these ratings and found that this weighting gives the rating its best predictive percentage.

 

All three ratings are normalized so that 100 is average.  If I don’t mess up with the math, each of the three ratings should average 100.  The teams’ ratings show how many points above or below average they are in comparison with the rest of the league.  A rating of 107 means that team is a touchdown better than average, while a rating of 93 means that team is a touchdown weaker than average. 

 

I do not attempt to rate teams from different years.  A 107-rated team in 2008 is not the same as a 107-rated team from 1972.  We all know that due to the evolution of strength and quickness, today’s Detroit Lions would blow the 1972 Miami Dolphins off the field.

 

Current NFL Standings

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

9

1

0

292

170

110.47

108.91

109.67

2

Dallas

6

4

0

230

229

101.05

101.25

102.66

2

Washington

6

4

0

181

182

99.96

100.17

101.02

2

Philadelphia

5

4

1

264

193

106.59

104.54

102.02

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Green Bay

5

5

0

274

209

107.61

105.28

102.97

2

Chicago

5

5

0

240

231

102.83

100.74

101.11

2

Minnesota

5

5

0

223

234

101.65

101.08

100.94

2

Detroit

0

10

0

173

308

87.78

90.46

90.04

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

8

2

0

222

155

105.40

103.89

105.25

2

Tampa Bay

7

3

0

219

160

106.19

104.15

104.86

2

Atlanta  

6

4

0

231

198

102.71

101.15

102.37

2

New Orleans

5

5

0

266

249

100.56

100.83

100.67

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

7

3

0

289

228

103.24

103.51

104.15

3

San Francisco

3

7

0

230

275

93.76

94.33

94.41

3

Seattle

2

8

0

190

257

93.57

95.18

94.55

3

St. Louis

2

8

0

144

317

83.58

89.63

89.04

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

7

3

0

289

221

102.69

102.65

104.46

2

New England

6

4

0

219

194

99.73

101.92

101.33

2

Miami

6

4

0

209

197

99.79

99.38

102.03

2

Buffalo

5

5

0

219

218

97.46

97.50

98.19

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

7

3

0

209

150

107.34

105.45

104.75

2

Baltimore

6

4

0

222

180

104.99

104.23

102.24

3

Cleveland

4

6

0

201

221

99.02

99.29

99.46

2

Cincinnati

1

8

1

138

249

92.86

93.53

94.67

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

10

0

0

244

131

111.29

108.54

108.56

2

Indianapolis

6

4

0

224

224

102.73

102.66

102.07

2

Jacksonville

4

6

0

212

210

100.41

100.39

98.76

3

Houston

3

7

0

236

287

96.01

97.02

96.00

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

6

4

0

248

271

96.76

97.65

100.48

2

San Diego

4

6

0

254

229

101.55

101.00

99.71

2

Oakland

2

8

0

128

235

89.60

91.62

88.84

2

Kansas City

1

9

0

165

273

90.87

92.20

92.81

2

 

Note: due to a Thursday game this week, weather forecasts and odds are those as of Wednesday Noon EST

 

NFL Previews-Week 12

 

Cincinnati (1-8-1) at Pittsburgh (7-3-0)

Time:           8:15 EST Thursday 11/20

TV:               NFL Network

Forecast:     Snow showers likely, moderate wind, temperature dropping from low 30’s to upper 20’s

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 16                   

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 14

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 12

Vegas:        Pittsburgh by 10½   -600/+500

Ov/Un:        34  

Strategy:     Pittsburgh -½ in 10-point teaser, Pittsburgh +2½ in 13-point teaser, Over 24 in 10-point teaser, Over 21 in 13-point teaser

Has Cincinnati become a good team after starting the season as the Lions of the AFC?  Philadelphia has a potent offense, and holding the Eagles to 13 points in five full quarters of play is something to look at.  Pittsburgh’s offense is mediocre at the present time, and the Steelers may find the going tough, especially if inclement weather neutralizes their offense.

 

On the other hand, Pittsburgh slaughtered Cinti 38-10 just a month ago.  The Steelers’ defense is almost as strong as Tennessee’s.  I cannot see the Bengals scoring enough points in this game no matter how few they may need to score to win.  I am looking for the Steelers to come up with a big play or two, probably on the defensive side and possibly due to special teams.  Call it a Steeler win in the neighborhood of 20-7.  Because the weather could be worse or better than expected, I won’t take Pittsburgh outright in a straight play, but I do expect 25 or more points to be scored, even if there is a blizzard.     

 

Minnesota (5-5-0) at Jacksonville (4-6-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature in the low 60’s

 

PiRate:         Jacksonville by 2

Mean:           Jacksonville by 2

Bias:             Jacksonville by 1

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 2      -140/+120

Ov/Un:        40½              

Strategy:     Minnesota +12 in 10-point teaser, Minnesota +15 in 13-point teaser, Over 30½ in 10-point teaser, Over 27½ in 13-point teaser 

This will be a tough battle between two teams just hanging on to playoff hopes.  If Minnesota wins, they get to hang on to a piece of first place in the NFC North and could possibly own it all to themselves.  If Jacksonville wins, they will still be in contention to get into contention.  If the Jags lose, their season is done.

 

I like the Vikings in the teasers because when they lose, it is usually by a touchdown or less, and when the Jags win, it is usually by a touchdown or less.  While this game could be lower scoring than normal, I cannot see it becoming a defensive struggle.  I am looking for a minimum of a 20-13 score either way and a maximum of 28-24 either way, so I am teasing the over in this game.

 

Philadelphia (5-4-1) at Baltimore (6-4-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature in the low 40’s

 

PiRate:         Baltimore by 1

Mean:           Baltimore by 3

Bias:             Baltimore by 3

Vegas:        Baltimore by 1          -120/+100   

Ov/Un:        39½

Strategy:     Philadelphia +11 in 10-point teaser, Philadelphia +14 in 13-point teaser, Over 26½ in 13-point teaser

We have two teams here who will be ready to play hard in an effort to erase the memories of what happened in their previous games.  The Eagles debacle with Cincinnati was made all the more worse when Donovan McNabb obviously did not know the rules of the game.  Of course, he does not call the plays, and the coaching staff knew the rules.  However, thinking that another overtime period was coming, he may not have played with the necessary hurried mentality.  On some of those plays in the second-to-last Eagle possession before the Hail Mary pass at the end, he may have thrown to a different receiver not trying to gamble when it actually was time to gamble.

 

Baltimore thought they were near the equal of the defending Super Bowl champions, and they had their hat handed to them when they played the Giants last week.  The Ravens are still on the good side of the playoff bubble and could still win 11 games this year.  That won’t happen if they don’t win this game.

 

I expect a close, hard-fought game that goes down to the wire.  I consider it a 50-50 contest, so I’ll play the teasers that give me the most points (taking the underdog).  I expect both offenses to be on their game and look for more than 30 total points in this game.  The 13-point tease on the Over looks like a gift here.

 

New England (6-4-0) at Miami (6-4-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Chance of showers, strong wind, temperature in the low to mid 70’s

 

PiRate:         Miami by 2

Mean:           New England by 1

Bias:             Miami by 3

Vegas:        Miami by 2         -125/+105

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     New England +12 in 10-point teaser, New England +15 in 13-point teaser, Under 55 in 13-point teaser

11 weeks ago, who would have thought that this game would match two teams with identical records, and who would have thought that Miami would have clobbered the Patriots in the earlier meeting?  This game will be all about payback.  New England cannot afford to lose this game and remain a serious playoff threat.  Two losses to the Dolphins may leave them on the outside looking in for the rest of the season.

 

Miami has been winning ugly the last few games.  The Dolphins narrowly defeated weak Seattle and Oakland teams.  The Patriots will come out and play the best defense they can play, and I cannot see Miami topping 17 points.  The single wing won’t exploit the Pats like it did in the first game.

 

I expect New England to win this one outright, but I am going to play it safe and just take them and double digit points in the teasers.  Since Miami’s defense is quite capable, I will tease the Under at 13 points.  At 55 points, we still win if the final is 34-17, and I cannot see either team scoring 28 points in this game.

 

Chicago (5-5-0) at St. Louis (2-8-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Chicago by 17

Mean:           Chicago by 9

Bias:             Chicago by 10

Vegas:         Chicago by 8      -350/+320  

Ov/Un:        43

Strategy:     Over 33 in 10-point teaser, Over 30 in 13-point teaser, Chicago +5 in 13-point teaser

The Bears are on the ropes after seemingly being in control of the NFC North two weeks ago.  They stopped the Titans’ ground game but lost the war when they allowed Kerry Collins to look like Peyton Manning.  Last week, Aaron Rodgers and company put a big whipping on them, and now there is a sense of urgency to avoid falling in the crapper.

 

St. Louis is back to being the dregs of the NFC.  I’m not sure they could beat Detroit today.  Injuries have hit, and the Rams just don’t have any depth.

 

Chicago scares me.  Kyle Orton obviously is not 100% healthy, and Rex Grossman is not the man who can run this offense.  Against an inept Rams’ defense, a semi-healthy Orton should put up 24 points or more.  The Rams have a chance at the upset, but even if they were to win, I can only see it coming by a field goal at the most.  Thus, I like taking the Bears in a 13-point teaser, as it gives us 5 points.  A teasing of the Over looks safe.

 

Houston (3-7-0) at Cleveland (4-6-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature in the upper 30’s

 

PiRate:         Cleveland by 5

Mean:           Cleveland by 4

Bias:             Cleveland by 5

Vegas:        Cleveland by 3          -155/+135  

Ov/Un:        49½

Strategy:     Over 36½ in 13-point teaser

Both of these teams have been huge underachievers this year.  When two underachievers meet, there can be four outcomes each with about 25% of happening.  One team can play like they should have been playing while the other continues not to live up to its potential (that’s two different scenarios since it could be either team).  Both teams could play like they were supposed to be playing all along, or both teams could continue to play poorly.

 

Since there is a 50% probability that one of the two teams will play great while the other continues to stink, it makes playing a side too much of a risk.  However, I like the Over in a 13-point tease.  If only one team plays well, that team should top 35 points.  If both teams play well, it should be a track meet with both teams topping 24 points.  If both teams play poorly and underachieve once again, then two poor defenses should lead to a game with 60 or more total points.

 

San Francisco (3-7-0) at Dallas (6-4-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Chance of showers, moderate wind, temperature in upper 60’s

 

PiRate:         Dallas by 9

Mean:           Dallas by 9

Bias:             Dallas by 10

Vegas:        Dallas by 10  

Ov/Un:        47

Strategy:     Dallas Pk in 10-point teaser, Dallas +3 in 13-point teaser, Under 60 in 13-point teaser, Over 34 in 13-point teaser

Having Tony Romo back makes Dallas more than 10 points better than when he is out.  The Cowboys will win this game with about 95% certainty, but I wouldn’t advise giving away 10 points.  Play it safe and take Dallas as part of your parlay on a teaser.  This is a must-win game, and a one-point win is as good as an 11-point win for them.  Let it be that way for you too.

 

The teasing both ways of the totals are secondary plays in this game.  I see a final score being at least 21-17 and as much as 35-13.  Both scenarios fall within the 26-point range of both sides of the 13-point teaser.

 

Tampa Bay (7-3-0) at Detroit (0-10-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Tampa Bay by 15

Mean:          Tampa Bay by 11

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 12

Vegas:         Tampa Bay by 8       -355/+325

Ov/Un:        41

Strategy:     Tampa Bay +2 in 10-point teaser, Tampa Bay +5 in 13-point teaser, Under 54 in 13-point teaser

Detroit last won a game on the Sunday before Thanksgiving eight years ago.  That was a Lion team that had a winning record, and it came against an opponent that finished 5-11.

 

Tampa Bay is headed to the playoffs as either NFC South champs or a wildcard.  Detroit is just hoping to win a game this year.  They will be thinking about the annual turkey day game on national television, and this game won’t be the one they win.  Look for the Lions to be 0-11 on Thanksgiving day, and it would be ironic if they face an 11-0 Tennessee team.

 

Tampa Bay has more than a 95% chance of winning this game.  By taking the Bucs in 10 and 13-point teasers, we get them as an underdog.

 

Tampa Bay’s defense should do a number on Detroit’s offense.  The Lions will be lucky to reach 17 points, and I believe they could be held under 14.  Tampa Bay isn’t a team that blows opponents off the field.  The Bucs could win 31-10, and that wouldn’t come close to topping our Over.

 

Buffalo (5-5-0) at Kansas City (1-9-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature in the low 50’s

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 5

Mean:          Buffalo by 3

Bias:             Buffalo by 3

Vegas:         Buffalo by 3 -165/+145

Ov/Un:        43½

Strategy:     Buffalo +7 in 10-point teaser, Buffalo +10 in 13-point teaser, Over 30½ in 13-point teaser

Dick Jauron cost his team a chance to win Monday night.  Trent Edwards quickly led the Bills into Browns’ territory at the end of the game.  Cleveland could not stop the Buffalo two-minute offense.  The Bills were facing a moderate wind, and a 46 yard field goal attempt was more like a 55 yard field goal attempt.  Jauron ordered consecutive running plays rather than continue to pass the ball.  Sure, Edwards had problems in the first quarter, but he was exploiting Cleveland’s defense on that final drive.  Jauron showed a lack of confidence in Edwards, and that does not bode well for the Bills.  I believe they are headed to a last place finish in the AFC East, and they could easily finish 7-9 or even 6-10.

 

Kansas City has now lost 19 of their last 20 games, but the Chiefs have suffered four close losses.  Tyler Thigpen is improving, and he could pass for 250 yards in this game.  Kansas City could certainly win this game, and I give them close to a 50% chance of doing so.  If they can pull off the upset, I am sure it will be by a touchdown or less.  Playing Buffalo in a 10 and 13-point teaser gives you seven and 10 points respectively.  I’ll take them.

 

I see this game leading to 40 points, so I’ll play the Over in a 13-point teaser.

 

New York Jets (7-3-0) at Tennessee (10-0-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature in the low 50’s

 

PiRate:         Tennessee by 11

Mean:           Tennessee by 8

Bias:             Tennessee by 6

Vegas:        Tennessee by 5

Ov/Un:        40½

Strategy:     Jets +15 in 10-point teaser, Jets +18 in 13-point teaser, Over 27½ in 13-point teaser

Can Brett Favre torch the best defense in the AFC in the same manner he has done the last two months?  The Jets have averaged better than 33 points per game over the last four games, and better than 32 points per game over the last eight.

 

Tennessee leads the NFL in scoring defense, allowing just 13.1 points per game.  I believe that average will go up some this week, but maybe by just one point. 

 

This game could easily be a warm-up for the AFC Championship Game.  The Jets need it to be a high scoring game to win it, while the Titans need it to be a lower scoring game.  The weather will be perfect, and I believe Favre will be ready to play a great game.  He lives for games like this.

 

Tennessee keeps coming up with ways to win close games.  They may look awful for a half, and then in a span of five minutes, they score two touchdowns.  Then, their defense shuts down the opponents for the rest of the game.

 

I see the Titans struggling to stop the Jets this week.  I believe New York has as much chance of winning as Tennessee.  So, playing my typical strategy, I’ll take the underdog in the teasers and force the Titans to win by more than two touchdowns to beat me.  Playing the Over in a 13-point tease means we win if the score is 16-13, and I think that could be the halftime score this week.

 

Oakland (2-8-0) at Denver (6-4-0)

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature in the low 50’s

 

PiRate:         Denver by 9

Mean:           Denver by 8

Bias:             Denver by 14

Vegas:        Denver by 9 -400/+360 

Ov/Un:        42½

Strategy:     Denver +1 in 10-point teaser, Denver +4 in 13-point teaser, Under 52½ in 10-point teaser Under 55½ in 13-point teaser

Jay Cutler took apart the Raiders’ defense in the opening week of the season.  Oakland’s defense looked like Swiss cheese.  Since then, the Raider offense has disappeared, while the defense has played admirably.

 

Oakland has no offense to speak of since the dismissal of Lane Kiffin.  The Raiders have scored a grand total of 50 points in the last six games.  Even a second-rate Denver defense will hold the silver and black under 20 points.  Denver should gain the sweep and take a commanding lead in the AFC West, but I don’t expect Cutler to repeat the numbers he put up the first time.  I see Denver winning with a score similar to 31-17, 28-10, 30-14, and if it’s really close, 24-17.  Nine points is too much to ask the Broncos to cover, but taking the home team in the teasers is a nice, conservative move.  All of the scoring scenarios I listed are under 50 total points, so an Under tease is an approved move.

 

New York Giants (9-1-0) at Arizona (7-3-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature near 80

 

PiRate:         Giants by 4

Mean:          Giants by 2

Bias:            Giants by 3

Vegas:         Giants by 3

Ov/Un:        48½

Strategy:     Under 61½ in 13-point teaser

There is a second game this week that could be the preview of a conference championship game.  Arizona and the Giants could easily meet for the NFC title, but the game would take place in the Meadowlands and not in Phoenix.

 

I will be interested in seeing what the Giants do defensively to stop Kurt Warner.  The Warner that played for the Giants is not the same Warner today.  He has regained enough zip on his passes to be as dangerous as he was back in the “Greatest Show on Turf” days.

 

Remember two things.  First, the Giants figured a way to stop the Patriots’ offense last year.  That offense was considered the best ever to take the field.  Now, also remember that the Browns torched New York for 35 points. 

 

This will be the Giants’ first road game in the Mountain Time Zone.  It will be their third road game against a team with a winning record.  Those other two road games against winning teams both were in Pennsylvania.  They beat the Eagles by five and the Steelers by seven.

 

I believe Arizona is better than both Pitt and Philly.  I believe the road trip will be harder on the Giants than the hop to the Keystone State.  I believe we have another tossup game here, but I am not as confident as my writing would have you to believe.  If, and only if, you need one more game to fill out a parlay, then I would consider taking the Cardinals in a 10 or 13-point teaser.  I won’t be using that pick this week.  I only like teasing the Under in this game, because I believe the Giants will try to control the ball and eat up the clock and be happy to win 21-20.

 

Carolina (8-2-0) at Atlanta (6-4-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Carolina by 1

Mean:          Tossup

Bias:            Carolina by 1

Vegas:         Atlanta by 1½          -125/+105   

Ov/Un:        42½

Strategy:     Atlanta +8½ in 10-point teaser, Atlanta +11½ in 13-point teaser, Under 52½ in 10-point teaser, Under 55½ in 13-point teaser    

This game has been moved to 4:15 from 1:00, as it is an important game in the NFC South.  If the Panthers win this one, then they are in the driver’s seat in the division.  If Atlanta wins, then this race begins to look like the 1967 American League baseball pennant race.

 

The Falcons lost to Denver at the Georgia Dome last week, and they will bring their A-game this week.  Since their bye, Carolina has looked like they were not firing on all cylinders in relatively close wins over Oakland and Detroit.  They are primed to be upset.

 

I believe the Falcons have a great chance of winning this game, but so do the wise guys in Vegas.  So, I will resort to the teasers and take the Falcons.  We get more than a touchdown in 10 and 13-point teasers.  I also like teasing the Over in this game.  Atlanta’s defense will hold Carolina to 21 points or less, and the Falcons will not top 30.

 

Washington (6-4-0) at Seattle (2-8-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature in the upper 40’s

 

PiRate:         Washington by 3

Mean:           Washington by 2

Bias:             Washington by 3

Vegas:        Washington by 3½         -170/+150

Ov/Un:        40½

Strategy:     Seattle +13½ in 10-point teaser, Seattle +16½ in 13-point teaser, Under 50½  in 10-point teaser, Under 53½ in 13-point teaser    

I thought the odds makers might install Seattle as a slight favorite in this game.  The Redskins are no juggernaut on the East Coast.  Let’s look at their recent history of the last month or so.  They lost at home to the Rams.  They barely edged Cleveland at home.  They had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to win at winless Detroit.  They didn’t show up in a loss at Pittsburgh, and then following a bye week, they blew the lead in a loss to Dallas.  That’s three losses in their last five games.

 

Seattle is not much better than Detroit and weaker than Cleveland.  They are better than the Rams.  While they are not in the Cowboys’ league, Washington will not be as up for this game as they were Sunday night. 

 

I give the Seahawks an excellent chance to win and almost recommend them straight up.  However, this week, I am only playing teasers, and I like getting the home team getting double digit points in this situation.  The score of Seattle games has been much lower as of late than it was at the beginning of the season.  Redskin games have been consistently lower than average, so I like teasing the Under in this one.

 

Indianapolis (6-4-0) at San Diego (4-6-0)

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Clear, light wind, temperature falling from upper 60’s to upper 50’s

                    

PiRate:         San Diego by 1

Mean:           San Diego by 3

Bias:             San Diego by 3

Vegas:        San Diego by 3

Ov/Un:        49½

Strategy:     Indianapolis +13 in 10-point teaser, Indianapolis +16 in 13-point teaser

San Diego is the most underachieving team this season.  The 4-6 Chargers were supposed to win 12 to 14 games this year.  Now, they are just barely on playoff life support.  If they are 4-7 Monday morning, and the Broncos are 7-4, then this race is over.  The Chargers will not qualify as a wildcard if they are 4-7 after 11 games.  So, this is definitely a must-win game for the home team.

 

Indianapolis is slowly beginning to look like a 10 or 11-win team.  If they win this game, they could even run the table and finish 12-4.  After this game, the Colts have Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Jacksonville and should win all four.  The season finale at home against Tennessee will only matter to the Titans if they are 15-0 then, and even at 15-0, Jeff Fisher would be crazy to stick with his key regulars and gamble on injuries.  We could see Vince Young running the zone read that week.

 

This game is not a must-win for the Colts, but we can never count out a Peyton Manning team in a nationally televised, primetime game.  I’ll take the Colts in the teasers and force San Diego to beat them big to hurt us.

 

Green Bay (5-5-0) at New Orleans (5-5-0)

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Green Bay by 5 

Mean:           Green Bay by 2

Bias:             Tossup

Vegas:        New Orleans by 2½        -135/+115

Ov/Un:        51½  

Strategy:     Green Bay +12½ in 10-point teaser, Green Bay +15½ in 13-point teaser, New Orleans +10½ in 13-point teaser, Over 38½ in 13-point teaser  

The Monday night games continue to be high scoring affairs, and now we get two teams that like to light up the scoreboards.  This has the makings of a possible 80-point game.  Drew Brees could pass for 350-500 yards, and Aaron Rodgers could be only a couple dozen yards behind him.  I expect a maximum number of plays, in the neighborhood of 135-140.  I cannot see either team holding the other one under 28 points.  This game actually gives us several possible plays.  The winner of this game should win by single digits.  The total points scored should be in the 40’s at the minimum.

 

Foiled By A Missed Interpretation Of The Rules And The Coaching Of Dick Jauron

 

Last week’s picks finished 9-6-0 for what looked like a winning week.  However, when looking at the “money” on the line, I lost $145.  Upon closer inspection, the wrong call in the Pittsburgh game cost me $210, which would have made it a winning week at 10-5-0 with $65 profit.  On Monday night, Buffalo was exploiting Cleveland’s secondary at the end of the game.  Trent Edwards quickly marched the Bills to the Browns 30 yard line, and then Coach Dick Jauron cost his team the game by running the ball forward for a grand total of a yard or two.  A 46 yard field goal attempt into a strong wind was not what to play for, especially when the Bills had time to drive to the goal line or at least into short field goal range.  It’s a little too late to reconsider Jauron’s long contract extension.  I advise you monitoring the Bills to see if Jauron has “lost the team.”  The Bills’ players were not happy with the end of the game management.

 

For the season, my picks against the spread are now 83-48-6 (63.4%).  The account balance is $1,920. 

 

Here are my wagers for week 12 (all wagered to win $100 or $100 wagered if at + odds on a parlay or money line):

 

1. 10-point teaser

       A. Pittsburgh -½ vs. Cincinnati

       B. Miami +12 vs. Jacksonville

       C. Philadelphia +11 vs. Baltimore

 

2. 10-point teaser

       A. New England +12 vs. Miami

       B. Dallas Pk vs. San Francisco

       C. Tampa Bay +2 vs. Detroit

 

3. 10-point teaser

       A. New York Jets +15 vs. Tennessee

       B. Denver +1 vs. Oakland

       C. Seattle +13½ vs. Washington

 

4. 10-point teaser

       A. Indianapolis +13 vs. San Diego

       B. Green Bay + 12½ vs. New Orleans

       C. Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Over 24

 

5. 10-point teaser

       A. Minnesota & Jacksonville Over 30½

       B. Atlanta & Carolina Under 52½

       C. Seattle & Washington Under 50½

 

6. 13-point teaser

       A. Pittsburgh +2½ vs. Cincinnati

       B. New England +15 vs. Miami

       C. Minnesota & Jacksonville Over 27½

       D. Houston & Cleveland Over 36½

 

7. 13-point teaser

       A. Minnesota +15 vs. Jacksonville

       B. Chicago +5 vs. St. Louis

       C. Green Bay & New Orleans Over 38½

       D. Dallas & San Francisco Under 60

 

8. 13-point teaser

       A. Philadelphia +14 vs. Baltimore

       B. Dallas +3 vs. San Francisco

       C. New England & Miami Under 55

       D. Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Over 21

 

9. 13-point teaser

       A. New York Jets +18 vs. Tennessee

       B. Tampa Bay +5 vs. Detroit

       C. Denver +4 vs. Oakland

       D. Green Bay +15½ vs. New Orleans

 

10. 13-point teaser

       A. Atlanta +11½ vs. Carolina

       B. Seattle +16½ vs. Washington

       C. Indianapolis +16 vs. San Diego

       D. Buffalo & Kansas City Over 30½

 

11. 13-point teaser

       A. New York Jets & Tennessee Over 27½

       B. Philadelphia & Baltimore Over 26½

       C. Chicago & St. Louis Over 30

       D. Buffalo +10 vs. Kansas City               

     

AND REMEMBER!!!  Do not use these picks for real.  I have no real money on the line in this mathematical experiment.  I won’t lose a penny if all these wagers lose this week, so you shouldn’t risk a penny on these picks either.  This is strictly for fun.

November 4, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of: November 4-8, 2008

NCAA Week 11: Expect At Least One Major Upset

 

Congratulations go to the Red Raiders from Lubbock.  Now, Texas Tech must face Oklahoma State and Oklahoma their next two games.  There just isn’t enough defense in this league when compared to the outstanding offenses, and it doesn’t look likely that TTU will win both of those games and also beat Missouri in a Big 12 Championship Game.

 

Alabama is the new BCS #1 team, and I just cannot see the Tide beating both LSU and Florida. 

 

Penn State still has two trap games left on their schedule.  Their game at Iowa is the tougher of the two, but Michigan State cannot be overlooked.  I think the Nittany Lions have the best chance of the undefeated BCS trio of finishing 12-0.

 

As for the race for the possible at-large BCS bid for a conference champion, something tells me that Utah will fall to either TCU or BYU if not both teams.  Tulsa was eliminated with their loss to Arkansas.  Ball State has an almost impossible task of having to defeat the other three excellent teams within their division.  I don’t think they can go 3-0 against Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, and Western Michigan.  Boise State is now my overwhelming favorite to run the table and snatch the BCS bowl bid.

 

As for my Top 25, I have two one-loss teams well ahead of the undefeated teams.  If there was a playoff, I believe the boys in Vegas would agree with me that Southern Cal and Florida would be the teams meeting in the championship.

 

The PiRate Top 25 is different from the polls.  I do not rank the teams based on what they have done to date.  These teams are rated on how I think they will perform in the future (predictive ratings).

 

NCAA Top 25 For 4-Nov-2008
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Florida  135 7 1
2 Southern Cal 133 7 1
3 Penn St. 127 9 0
4 Texas 127 8 1
5 Oklahoma 126 8 1
6 Ohio St. 123 7 2
7 Texas Tech 122 9 0
8 Alabama 121 9 0
9 Oklahoma St. 121 8 1
10 Missouri 121 7 2
11 Georgia  121 7 2
12 T C U 118 9 1
13 Boise State 116 8 0
14 South Carolina 115 6 3
15 West Virginia 114 6 2
16 Oregon 114 6 3
17 Utah 113 9 0
18 California 113 6 2
19 Oregon State 113 5 3
20 Arizona 113 5 3
21 L S U 112 6 2
22 Ball State 111 8 0
23 Kansas 110 6 3
24 Ole Miss 110 5 4
25 Iowa 110 5 4
         
Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida State 3-2 6-2 109 69 40
Clemson 2-3 4-4 109 66 43
Maryland 3-1 6-2 105 65 40
Boston College 2-3 5-3 102 64 38
Wake Forest 3-2 5-3 102 55 47
North Carolina State 0-4 2-6 94 64 30
           
Coastal Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
North Carolina 2-2 6-2 108 69 39
Virginia Tech 2-2 5-3 107 67 40
Miami 3-2 6-3 104 61 43
Georgia Tech 4-2 7-2 104 64 40
Virginia  3-2 5-4 102 59 43
Duke 1-3 4-4 98 63 35

 

Big East Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
West Virginia 3-0 6-2 114 69 45
Cincinnati 2-1 6-2 109 65 44
South Florida 1-3 6-3 109 69 40
Rutgers 2-2 3-5 108 65 43
Pittsburgh 2-1 6-2 106 64 42
Connecticut 2-2 6-3 103 64 29
Louisville 1-2 5-3 99 61 38
Syracuse 1-3 2-6 88 55 33

 

Big Ten
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Penn State 5-0 9-0 127 76 51
Ohio State 4-1 7-2 123 68 55
Iowa 2-3 5-4 110 69 41
Illinois 3-3 5-4 108 68 40
Wisconsin 1-5 4-5 107 69 38
Michigan State 5-1 8-2 106 64 42
Northwestern 3-2 7-2 102 63 39
Minnesota 3-2 7-2 102 64 38
Purdue 1-4 3-6 97 63 34
Michigan 1-4 2-7 95 58 37
Indiana 1-4 3-6 88 58 30

 

Big 12
North Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Missouri 3-2 7-2 121 75 46
Kansas 3-2 6-3 110 67 43
Nebraska 2-3 5-4 103 65 38
Kansas State 1-4 4-5 97 68 29
Colorado 1-4 4-5 94 56 38
Iowa State 0-5 2-7 84 56 28
South Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Texas 4-1 8-1 127 81 46
Oklahoma 4-1 8-1 126 85 41
Texas Tech 5-0 9-0 122 83 39
Oklahoma State 4-1 8-1 121 72 49
Baylor 1-4 3-6 101 64 37
Texas A&M 2-3 4-5 93 57 36

 

Conference USA
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
East Carolina 3-1 5-3 98 63 35
Marshall 3-1 4-4 93 59 34
Southern Miss. 1-4 3-6 93 64 29
Memphis 2-3 4-5 90 60 30
Central Florida 1-3 2-6 89 50 39
U A B 1-4 2-7 79 51 28
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Tulsa 5-0 8-1 106 72 34
Houston 3-1 4-4 92 62 30
Rice 5-1 6-3 91 62 29
U T E P 3-2 3-5 83 56 27
Tulane 1-3 2-6 82 55 27
S M U 0-5 1-8 81 59 22

 

Independents
           
Team   Overall Rating Off Def
Notre Dame   5-3 106 64 42
Navy   6-3 97 60 37
Army   3-6 86 49 37

 

Mid American Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Buffalo 2-2 4-4 97 64 33
Bowling Green 2-3 4-5 96 65 31
Temple 2-3 3-6 96 56 40
Akron 2-2 4-4 91 60 31
Ohio U 1-4 2-7 90 51 39
Kent State 1-4 2-7 89 58 31
Miami (O) 1-3 2-6 87 57 30
           
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Ball State 4-0 8-0 111 72 39
Northern Illinois 4-1 5-3 101 61 40
Western Michigan 5-1 7-2 100 64 36
Central Michigan 5-0 7-2 98 66 32
Toledo 1-3 2-6 88 56 32
Eastern Michigan 1-5 2-8 83 52 31

 

Mountain West Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
T C U 6-0 9-1 118 67 51
Utah 5-0 9-0 113 68 45
Brigham Young 4-1 8-1 106 66 40
New Mexico 2-4 4-6 98 60 38
Air Force 4-1 7-2 97 58 39
Colorado State 2-3 4-5 91 59 32
UNLV 0-5 3-6 88 58 30
Wyoming 1-5 3-6 83 53 30
San Diego State 0-5 1-8 72 47 25

 

Pac-10 Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Southern Cal 5-1 7-1 133 74 59
Oregon 4-2 6-3 114 71 43
California 4-1 6-2 113 72 41
Oregon State 4-1 5-3 113 74 39
Arizona 3-2 5-3 113 73 40
Stanford 4-2 5-4 108 65 43
Arizona State 1-4 2-6 105 64 41
U C L A 2-3 3-5 101 59 42
Washington 0-5 0-8 87 57 30
Washington State 0-6 1-8 70 47 23

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida  5-1 7-1 135 84 51
Georgia  4-2 7-2 121 74 47
South Carolina 3-3 6-3 115 67 48
Tennessee 1-5 3-6 107 64 43
Kentucky 2-3 6-3 105 62 43
Vanderbilt 3-2 5-3 104 58 46
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Alabama 5-0 9-0 121 69 52
L S U 3-2 7-2 112 71 41
Ole Miss 3-3 5-4 110 67 43
Auburn 2-4 4-5 105 58 47
Mississippi State 1-4 3-6 102 57 45
Arkansas 1-4 4-5 101 67 34

 

Sunbelt Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Troy 4-1 6-3 98 65 33
Louisiana-Lafayette 4-0 5-3 97 68 29
Florida Atlantic 1-2 3-5 90 60 30
Arkansas State 2-1 4-4 89 59 30
Middle Tennessee 1-3 2-6 88 56 32
Louisiana-Monroe 2-3 3-6 88 57 31
Florida International 2-2 3-5 86 56 30
* Western Kentucky 0-0 2-7 82 52 30
North Texas 0-4 1-8 72 55 17
           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009      
Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008    

 

Western Athletic Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Boise State 4-0 8-0 116 72 44
Fresno State 2-2 5-3 96 66 30
Nevada 2-2 4-4 96 69 27
San Jose State 4-1 6-3 93 57 36
Louisiana Tech 2-2 4-4 91 55 36
Hawaii 3-3 4-5 89 53 36
Utah State 2-3 2-7 87 54 33
New Mexico State 1-3 3-5 78 50 28
Idaho 1-5 2-8 75 58 17

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site    
       
Tuesday, November 4      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
BUFFALO Miami (O) 13 34-21
       
Wednesday, November 5      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
BALL STATE Northern Illinois 13 34-21
AKRON Toledo 6 30-24
       
Thursday, November 6      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
VIRGINIA TECH Maryland 5 28-23
T c u UTAH 2 21-19
       
Friday, November 7      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
FRESNO STATE Nevada 3 41-38
       
Saturday, November 8      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Ohio State NORTHWESTERN 18 28-10
Georgia KENTUCKY 13 28-15
MICHIGAN STATE Purdue 12 31-19
NORTH CAROLINA Georgia Tech 7 31-24
FLORIDA STATE Clemson 3 27-24
Wisconsin INDIANA 16 37-21
MINNESOTA Michigan 10 30-20
WAKE FOREST Virginia 3 13-10
RUTGERS Syracuse 23 35-12
PITTSBURGH Louisville 10 27-17
Illinois Western Michigan  (in Detroit) 7 31-24
TEXAS TECH Oklahoma St. 4 35-31
TEXAS  Baylor 29 45-16
Florida  VANDERBILT 28 38-10
Oklahoma TEXAS A&M 30 48-18
MISSOURI Kansas State 27 48-21
Kansas NEBRASKA 4 28-24
SOUTH CAROLINA Arkansas 17 34-17
TENNESSEE Wyoming 27 34-7
BOISE STATE Utah State 32 42-10
B Y U San Diego St. 37 44-7
COLORADO Iowa State 13 30-17
Bowling Green OHIO U 3 24-21
RICE Army 8 28-20
Memphis S M U 6 35-29
Alabama L S U 6 27-21
Penn State IOWA  14 34-20
DUKE North Carolina St. 7 34-27
EAST CAROLINA Marshall 8 29-21
Southern Miss. CENTRAL FLORIDA 1 24-23
MIDDLE TENNESSEE La.-Monroe 3 27-24
OREGON Stanford 9 30-21
TROY Western Kentucky 19 36-17
Hawaii NEW MEXICO ST. 8 24-16
FLORIDA ATLANTIC North Texas 21 45-24
Arizona WASHINGTON STATE 40 47-7
UL-LAFAYETTE U t e p 17 41-24
FLA.-INT’L Arkansas State 0 28-28 to ot
SOUTHERN CAL California 23 35-12
SAN JOSE STATE Louisiana Tech 5 21-16
Notre Dame BOSTON COLLEGE 1 24-23
HOUSTON Tulane 13 37-24
New Mexico U N L V 7 28-21

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site  
Tuesday, November 4    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
BUFFALO Miami (O) 30-14
     
Wednesday, November 5    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
BALL STATE Northern Illinois 28-13
AKRON Toledo 26-17
     
Thursday, November 6    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
VIRGINIA TECH Maryland 20-14
UTAH T c u 17-16
     
Friday, November 7    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
FRESNO STATE Nevada 28-23
     
Saturday, November 8    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Ohio State NORTHWESTERN 20-14
Georgia KENTUCKY 21-13
MICHIGAN STATE Purdue 31-17
NORTH CAROLINA Georgia Tech 21-16
FLORIDA STATE Clemson 21-12
Wisconsin INDIANA 31-23
MINNESOTA Michigan 37-21
WAKE FOREST Virginia 21-17
RUTGERS Syracuse 37-21
PITTSBURGH Louisville 34-24
Illinois Western Michigan  (in Detroit) 26-24
TEXAS TECH Oklahoma St. 38-31
TEXAS  Baylor 44-14
Florida  VANDERBILT 31-13
Oklahoma TEXAS A&M 41-17
MISSOURI Kansas State 45-24
NEBRASKA Kansas  35-33
SOUTH CAROLINA Arkansas 28-17
TENNESSEE Wyoming 27-10
BOISE STATE Utah State 38-6
B Y U San Diego St. 44-10
COLORADO Iowa State 40-27
Bowling Green OHIO U 27-24
RICE Army 28-14
Memphis S M U 34-28
Alabama L S U 24-17
Penn State IOWA  20-7
DUKE North Carolina St. 35-20
EAST CAROLINA Marshall 31-21
CENTRAL FLORIDA Southern Miss. 24-24 to ot
MIDDLE TENNESSEE La.-Monroe 27-21
OREGON Stanford 34-24
TROY Western Kentucky 33-14
Hawaii NEW MEXICO ST. 27-21
FLORIDA ATLANTIC North Texas 44-27
Arizona WASHINGTON STATE 40-14
UL-LAFAYETTE U t e p 33-24
FLA.-INT’L Arkansas State 28-27
SOUTHERN CAL California 34-17
SAN JOSE STATE Louisiana Tech 31-22
BOSTON COLLEGE Notre Dame 26-24
HOUSTON Tulane 38-24
New Mexico U N L V 24-22

 

 

Bowl Outlook by Conference

 

What a change one week makes!  Texas falls to at-large BCS Bowl status.  Texas Tech moves up for the time being, while Penn State is punished for not playing.  Joe Paterno’s teams have been left out of the national championship race four times in the past when they finished undefeated (1968, 1969, 1973, and 1994).  I don’t think it can happen this year.  If they are 12-0 on November 23, they will be in the BCS Championship game; I just don’t see both Texas Tech and Alabama finishing the regular season at 13-0, and I don’t really think either of them will do so.  Let’s look at each conference and see how the bowls are shaping up.  We officially saw the first bowl invitation extended this week.  From here on, if you see a team listed in all caps, they have committed to the bowl in question.

 

ACC

This is a muddied race.  There is a good chance that 5-3 could earn a tie in both divisions.  There just isn’t a high-quality team in this league, and there isn’t really a terrible team either.  I have seven of the ACC teams finishing 5-3 as of today, and both divisions will need a tiebreaker to determine their representatives in the ACC Championship Game.

 

1. Orange Bowl-Virginia Tech 9-4 vs. West Virginia

2. Chick-fil-a-North Carolina 9-3 vs. Kentucky

3. Gator-Florida State 8-4 vs. Missouri

4. Champs Sports-Maryland 8-5 vs. Northwestern

5. Music City-Miami 8-4 vs. Tennessee

6. Meineke Car Care-Georgia Tech 8-4 vs. Cincinnati

7. Eagle Bank-Wake Forest 8-4 vs. NAVY

8. Emerald-Boston College 7-5 vs. Oregon State

9. Humanitarian-Clemson 6-6 vs. Fresno State

 

Virginia 6-6 but no invitation

 

Big East

West Virginia has taken a commanding lead after beating Connecticut last week.  I still think they will lose at least one conference game, but even at 6-1, they should win the Big East title by two games.  Pittsburgh and Cincinnati can still win the crown, but the odds favor the Mountaineers.

 

1. Orange-West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech

2. Sun-Notre Dame (see independents)

3. St. Petersburg-Pittsburgh 8-4 vs. Tulsa

4. Meineke Car Care-Cincinnati 9-4 vs. Georgia Tech

5. International-Connecticut 8-4 vs. Ball State

6. Papa John’s-South Florida 8-4 vs. Buffalo

7. Texas *-Louisville 7-5 vs. Houston

*=The Big East is the official backup conference for the Texas Bowl.

 

Rutgers 6-6 but no invitation

 

Big Ten

Penn State is not a lock to finish 12-0, but I have them doing so for this exercise.  Should they lose, then they will end up in Pasadena rather than Miami.  There is still a chance that the Big 10 could come up one team short, but for now I have Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois finishing strong enough to satisfy the allotments.

 

1. BCS National Championship-Penn State 12-0 vs. Florida

2. Fiesta-Ohio State 10-2 vs. Texas Tech

3. Capital One-Michigan State 9-3 vs. Georgia

4. Outback-Minnesota 9-3 vs. South Carolina

5. Champs Sports-Northwestern 8-4 vs. Maryland

6. Alamo-Illinois 7-5 vs. Nebraska

7. Insight-Wisconsin 6-6 vs. Kansas

8. Motor City-Iowa 6-6 vs. Central Michigan

 

Big 12

Here is where having five really good teams hurts a conference.  It is highly likely that Texas Tech will lose to either Oklahoma State or Oklahoma and possibly both.  Texas should finish 11-1; if Texas Tech finished 11-1, losing to Oklahoma, and Oklahoma also finishes 11-1, then the highest BCS-rated team would win the tiebreaker.  Texas would probably be that team, and they could easily lose to Missouri in a rematch.  Then, Oklahoma could have a shot at the BCS National Championship game if they clobbered both Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.  I think Texas Tech might beat Oklahoma State and lose to Oklahoma, while Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State; that would give Tech the South title.

 

The one sure thing from this league is that they will have a difficult time fulfilling their allotments.  The Texas Bowl has a contingency to take a Big East team should the final Big 12 slot go untaken.

 

1. Fiesta-Texas Tech 12-1 vs. Ohio State

2. Sugar-Texas 11-1 vs. Boise State

3. Cotton-Oklahoma 10-2 vs. LSU

4. Gator-Missouri 10-3 vs. Florida State

5. Holiday-Oklahoma State 10-2 vs. California

6. Alamo-Nebraska 7-5 vs. Illinois

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Wisconsin

8. Independence-Kansas State 6-6 vs. UL-Lafayette

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

Tulsa lost out on its chance to garner a BCS at-large bowl bid, and they may lose again in the regular season.  The Golden Hurricane still have two tough road games in conference play and could even drop to second place if they lose both games.  Rice has an easier finish and could sneak into the title game should Tulsa fall apart.  I think Tulsa coach Todd Graham is going to be in the mix for several job openings, and it could hurt his team’s concentration.

 

East Carolina has the talent and the emotions to win the conference championship.  Memphis has an easy finishing schedule and should join Houston and Marshall as bowl eligible teams.

 

1. Liberty-East Carolina 10-3 vs. Ole Miss

2. St. Petersburg-Tulsa 10-3 vs. Pittsburgh

3. G M A C-Rice 9-3 vs. Northern Illinois

4. Armed Forces-Memphis 7-5 vs. Air Force

5. Texas-Houston 6-6 vs. Louisville

6. New Orleans-Marshall 6-6 vs. Troy

 

Independent

Notre Dame’s setback against Pittsburgh shouldn’t hamper their chances of stealing one of the Big East Bowl slots they are entitled to stealing.  I still think they will get a bid at 7-5.  Navy has officially accepted a bid to the inaugural Eagle Bank Bowl game.

 

1. Sun-Notre Dame 7-5 vs. Arizona

2. Eagle Bank-NAVY 7-5 vs. Wake Forest

 

M A C

Ball State is in the top 25 and is still in the running for an at-large BCS bowl bid.  The road to 13-0 looks too hard for the Cardinals, as Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, and Western Michigan are all good enough to beat half the Big 10 teams on a neutral field.  Ball State could finish 11-1 and miss out on the MAC title game. 

 

The other side of this league is a real mess.  There’s a strong chance that three teams will finish 5-3, and the tiebreaker will have to go past the first test, since they will have all been 1-1 in head-to-head competition.

 

There is a good chance that as many as three extra teams could finish with the most important seven wins.  As the at-large non-BCS bowl rules state, all seven win teams must be invited to fulfill spots left vacant by the allotted conferences before any 6-6 team can be invited.  So, a 7-6 Buffalo team would take precedence over a 6-6 team from a BCS conference.

 

Because a seven-win MAC team will probably be all that’s available to the Poinsettia Bowl, and it looks like a 10-2 or even 11-1 team will be the opponent, there might be some bowl deals to make better match-ups.  I will leave this possibility alone until the rumors begin to make their rounds.

 

1. Motor City-Central Michigan 10-3 vs. Iowa

2. International-Ball State 11-1 vs. Connecticut

3. G M A C-Northern Illinois 8-4 vs. Rice

4. Hawaii (at-large)-Western Michigan 8-4 vs. Louisiana Tech

5. Poinsettia (at-large)-Akron 7-5 vs. Utah

6. Papa John’s (at-large)-Buffalo 7-6 vs. South Florida

 

Mountain West

I just cannot see Utah winning out this year.  I think TCU will beat them Thursday night, and if not, BYU has a 50-50 shot at doing so in the season-ender.  So, I am taking away a BCS bid from this league for the time being.  I usually don’t like to pick a team to repeat in a bowl, but I’ll make an exception for a service academy playing in a bowl honoring the services.

 

1. Las Vegas-TCU 11-1 vs. Oregon

2. Poinsettia-Utah 11-1 vs. Akron

3. New Mexico-BYU 9-3 vs. San Jose St.

4. Armed Forces-Air Force 9-3 vs. Memphis

 

Pac-10

Oregon State must lose a game before Southern Cal can win the automatic BCS Bowl bid.  That possibility looks quite strong, as the Beavers must finish out the season with games against Cal, Arizona (on the road), and Oregon.  Should OSU run the table, then they will be headed to the Rose Bowl, and USC will steal an at-large bowl bid from someone else.  For now, I am going with the thought that the Trojans will win the Pac-10 at 8-1.

 

With Stanford, Arizona State, and UCLA needing some big upsets to finish 6-6, it’s highly unlikely this league will satisfy its allotted bids.  I think they will fall two teams short.

 

1. Rose-Southern Cal 11-1 vs. Alabama

2. Holiday-California 8-4 vs. Oklahoma State

3. Sun-Arizona 8-4 vs. Notre Dame

4. Las Vegas-Oregon 8-4 vs. TCU

5. Emerald-Oregon State 8-4 vs. Boston College

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

Florida has shown to the nation that they are the best team, and I don’t think there is an opponent out there, other than USC, that could beat them today.  I think they will win out, including a nice victory over Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.  If Alabama beats LSU and loses to Florida to finish 12-1, the Tide will more than likely head to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 60-plus years.  The folks in Pasadena would love to land the Crimson Tide, and they would have first dibs on them if Penn State finished number one in the BCS ratings.

 

With Phil Fulmer resigning, I think his Tennessee squad will rally and win out for him to get bowl eligible.  Kentucky became bowl eligible Saturday by winning at Mississippi State.  Arkansas is within striking distance of getting to six wins, but they would have to win two of their final three games (at South Carolina, at Mississippi State, vs. LSU).  I think they will come up short.  Vanderbilt is 5-3, but I think they too will come up short, losing to Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Wake Forest.  So, the SEC will not meets its requirement, and two bowls will need to find substitutes.

 

1. National Championship-Florida 12-1 vs. Penn State

2. Rose-Alabama 12-1 vs. Southern Cal

3. Capital One-Georgia 10-2 vs. Michigan State

4. Outback-South Carolina 8-4 vs. Minnesota

5. Cotton-L S U 9-3 vs. Oklahoma

6. Chick-fil-a-Kentucky 7-5 vs. North Carolina

7. Music City-Tennessee 6-6 vs. Miami

8. Liberty-Ole Miss 7-5 vs. East Carolina

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

Troy’s loss has opened the door for Louisiana-Lafayette, but the Ragin’ Cajuns still must play the Trojans in Troy.

 

1. New Orleans-Troy 9-3 vs. Marshall

2. Independence (at-large)-UL-Lafayette 7-5 vs. Kansas State

 

One other team should finish 6-6 but won’t get an invitation

 

W A C

Boise State should finish 12-0, and I believe they will secure a BCS at-large bowl bid. 

 

Nevada, Hawaii, and New Mexico State have only slim chances of getting to six wins (seven in Hawaii’s case), while Louisiana Tech may be the surprise fourth bowl team.

 

1. Sugar-Boise State 12-0 vs. Texas

2. Humanitarian-Fresno State 7-5 vs. Clemson

3. New Mexico-San Jose State 8-4 vs. BYU

4. Hawaii-Louisiana Tech 7-5 vs. Western Michigan

 

August 25, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of August 30, 2008

The PiRates Are Ready To Board Your Ship For 2008-2009

 

Ahoy there!  The PiRates have returned for another season of mayhem and mischief.  They are ready to pillage those nasty ships from Las Vegas and reap the booty to be had.  Okay, if they are like last year, they may wish to become greeters at the local Wal-Mart, but let’s hope that 2007 was a great aberration. 

 

As you may have read in a post last week, there has been a major change this year.  This blog will concentrate on Pro Football while providing the bare bones in college football.  I just don’t follow college football with a passion any more.  The BCS has turned me off the game.  They need to either go to playoffs like all other sports, or return to the old ways and not let something or someone determine (and almost always getting it wrong) which two teams will have the chance to become the champion.  If you talk to the top experts in the business, and you know who they live in Nevada, they would tell you that Southern Cal and West Virginia were the top two teams last year.  Both of them would have been favored against either LSU or Ohio State.  The criteria that the BCS uses are no more accurate than your average stock screening program. 

 

What I plan to do this year is provide an abbreviated college preview on Wednesday or Thursday and an in-depth NFL preview on Friday.  Once again, I will also carry a pro football computer simulation of NFL teams from yesteryear, and that will run on Mondays once the NFL season begins.

 

I have the preview for the first week of the college season, as time restraints will make it impossible to post on Wednesday or Thursday.

 

Preseason PiRate Top 25

NCAA FBS

 

                 Team            Rating

Won

Lost

1

Ohio St.

128.4

11

2

2

Florida 

126.9

9

4

3

Georgia 

124.0

11

2

4

Missouri

122.9

12

2

5

S. Florida

120.4

9

4

6

Auburn

120.3

9

4

7

Clemson

119.0

9

4

7

Oklahoma

119.0

11

3

9

Oregon

117.7

9

4

10

Southern Cal

117.4

11

2

10

Kansas

117.4

12

1

12

W. Virginia

117.4

11

2

13

L S U

117.3

12

2

14

S. Carolina

115.7

6

6

15

Texas Tech

115.2

9

4

16

Tennessee

114.7

10

4

16

Arizona St.

114.7

10

3

18

Wisconsin

113.3

9

4

19

Va. Tech

111.6

11

3

20

Penn St.

111.0

9

4

21

Texas

110.5

10

3

22

B Y U

109.9

11

2

23

Alabama

109.5

7

6

24

California

109.2

7

6

25

Kentucky

109.1

8

5

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Clemson

0-0

0-0

119.0

73

46

Florida State

0-0

0-0

108.5

65

44

Wake Forest

0-0

0-0

107.8

63

45

Maryland

0-0

0-0

106.9

68

39

Boston College

0-0

0-0

101.4

62

39

North Carolina St.

0-0

0-0

92.9

61

32

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Virginia Tech

0-0

0-0

111.6

71

41

North Carolina

0-0

0-0

105.6

68

38

Virginia 

0-0

0-0

99.2

61

38

Georgia Tech

0-0

0-0

97.5

62

36

Miami

0-0

0-0

96.3

58

38

Duke

0-0

0-0

95.7

62

34

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

South Florida

0-0

0-0

120.4

76

44

West Virginia

0-0

0-0

117.4

76

41

Connecticut

0-0

0-0

108.7

67

42

Rutgers

0-0

0-0

108.0

66

42

Cincinnati

0-0

0-0

107.3

64

43

Pittsburgh

0-0

0-0

107.0

63

44

Louisville

0-0

0-0

99.4

64

35

Syracuse

0-0

0-0

91.4

56

35

 

Big Ten

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ohio State

0-0

0-0

128.4

74

54

Wisconsin

0-0

0-0

113.3

71

42

Penn State

0-0

0-0

111.0

67

44

Michigan State

0-0

0-0

107.3

67

40

Illinois

0-0

0-0

106.9

67

40

Michigan

0-0

0-0

103.9

62

42

Purdue

0-0

0-0

101.7

65

37

Northwestern

0-0

0-0

98.2

65

33

Iowa

0-0

0-0

97.3

62

35

Indiana

0-0

0-0

97.2

63

34

Minnesota

0-0

0-0

94.4

62

32

 

Big 12

North Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Missouri

0-0

0-0

122.9

73

50

Kansas

0-0

0-0

117.4

69

48

Colorado

0-0

0-0

103.6

65

39

Kansas State

0-0

0-0

101.9

67

35

Nebraska

0-0

0-0

100.3

61

39

Iowa State

0-0

0-0

92.2

56

36

South Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oklahoma

0-0

0-0

119.0

77

42

Texas Tech

0-0

0-0

115.2

75

40

Texas

0-0

0-0

110.5

71

40

Okla. State

0-0

0-0

105.6

66

40

Texas A&M

0-0

0-0

103.4

62

41

Baylor

0-0

0-0

90.9

58

33

 

Conference USA

East Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

East Carolina

0-0

0-0

103.8

65

39

Central Florida

0-0

0-0

97.6

58

40

Marshall

0-0

0-0

92.7

56

37

Memphis

0-0

0-0

87.3

58

29

Southern Miss.

0-0

0-0

86.8

57

30

U A B

0-0

0-0

82.7

49

34

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Tulsa

0-0

0-0

99.4

66

33

Houston

0-0

0-0

92.1

56

36

Rice

0-0

0-0

87.1

59

28

Tulane

0-0

0-0

84.4

56

28

U T E P

0-0

0-0

82.9

50

33

S M U

0-0

0-0

82.5

57

26

 

Independents

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

 

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Notre Dame

 

0-0

102.4

64

38

Navy

 

0-0

92.7

58

35

Army

 

0-0

77.2

49

28

 

Mid American Conference

East Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Temple

0-0

0-0

96.8

59

38

Bowling Green

0-0

0-0

96.3

63

33

Miami (O)

0-0

0-0

93.9

59

35

Buffalo

0-0

0-0

93.0

60

33

Kent State

0-0

0-0

89.0

56

33

Ohio U

0-0

0-0

85.5

53

33

Akron

0-0

0-0

83.9

57

27

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ball State

0-0

0-0

102.5

67

36

Central Michigan

0-0

0-0

99.0

66

33

Western Michigan

0-0

0-0

97.5

61

37

Northern Illinois

0-0

0-0

91.7

58

34

Toledo

0-0

0-0

89.8

57

33

Eastern Michigan

0-0

0-0

87.1

54

33

 

Mountain West Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

B Y U

0-0

0-0

109.9

70

40

Utah

0-0

0-0

107.5

65

43

T C U

0-0

0-0

106.0

63

43

Wyoming

0-0

0-0

93.8

59

35

New Mexico

0-0

0-0

93.3

58

35

U N L V

0-0

0-0

89.3

58

31

Air Force

0-0

0-0

89.0

54

35

Colorado State

0-0

0-0

86.3

55

31

San Diego State

0-0

0-0

86.2

52

34

 

Pac-10 Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oregon

0-0

0-0

117.7

70

48

Southern Cal

0-0

0-0

117.4

67

50

Arizona State

0-0

0-0

114.7

71

44

California

0-0

0-0

109.2

65

44

Arizona

0-0

0-0

106.7

69

38

Oregon State

0-0

0-0

106.2

68

38

U C L A

0-0

0-0

105.0

62

43

Washington

0-0

0-0

104.9

67

38

Stanford

0-0

0-0

102.7

62

41

Washington State

0-0

0-0

99.2

61

38

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida 

0-0

0-0

126.9

79

48

Georgia 

0-0

0-0

124.0

74

56

South Carolina

0-0

0-0

115.7

70

46

Tennessee

0-0

0-0

114.7

73

42

Kentucky

0-0

0-0

109.1

66

49

Vanderbilt

0-0

0-0

99.5

60

40

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Auburn

0-0

0-0

120.3

74

46

L S U

0-0

0-0

117.3

72

45

Alabama

0-0

0-0

109.5

66

44

Ole Miss

0-0

0-0

108.3

65

43

Mississippi State

0-0

0-0

108.0

62

46

Arkansas

0-0

0-0

102.7

68

35

 

Sunbelt Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida Atlantic

0-0

0-0

99.0

66

33

Troy

0-0

0-0

97.4

61

36

Louisiana Monroe

0-0

0-0

89.8

56

34

*Western Kentucky 

0-0

0-0

85.5

54

32

Arkansas State

0-0

0-0

84.8

56

29

Louisiana Lafayette

0-0

0-0

84.2

56

28

Middle Tennessee

0-0

0-0

84.0

55

29

Florida International

0-0

0-0

79.4

50

29

North Texas

0-0

0-0

74.0

52

22

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009

 

 

 

Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008

 

 

 

Western Athletic Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Fresno State

0-0

0-0

106.8

69

38

Boise State

0-0

0-0

103.4

65

38

Hawaii

0-0

0-0

92.8

57

36

Nevada

0-0

0-0

92.8

62

31

Louisiana Tech

0-0

0-0

88.9

56

33

San Jose State

0-0

0-0

87.5

55

33

Utah State

0-0

0-0

82.7

49

34

New Mexico State

0-0

0-0

82.3

51

31

Idaho

0-0

0-0

81.7

58

24

 

This Week’s Games

Home Team in Bold

(N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, August 28

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Buffalo

U T E P

13

30-17

Vanderbilt

Miami-OH

3

24-21

Troy

Middle Tennessee

10

31-21

Wake Forest

Baylor

14

28-14

South Carolina

North Carolina St.

25

38-13

Oregon State

Stanford

1

27-26

 

 

 

 

Friday, August 29

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Temple

Army

17

31-14

Rice

SMU

7

35-28

 

 

 

 

Saturday, August 30

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Northwestern

Syracuse

10

31-21

Indiana

Western Kentucky

14

34-20

Virginia Tech

East Carolina

5

28-23

Pittsburgh

Bowling Green

14

31-17

Wisconsin

Akron

32

45-13

Florida

Hawaii

39

45-6

Texas

Florida Atlantic

15

41-26

Wyoming

Ohio U

12

28-16

Michigan

Utah

Pk

23-23 to OT

Southern Cal

Virginia

15

28-13

Oklahoma State

Washington State

4

28-24

Tulsa

U A B

13

30-17

T C U

New Mexico

10

27-17

Mississippi State

Louisiana Tech

16

26-10

Auburn

Louisiana Monroe

34

44-10

Minnesota

Northern Illinois

5

31-26

Ole Miss

Memphis

23

37-14

Nebraska

Western Michigan

6

27-21

Texas A&M

Arkansas State

22

35-13

Kansas

Florida International

42

42-0

Southern Miss.

Louisiana-Lafayette

6

30-24

Kansas State

North Texas

31

48-17

Boston College

Kent State

10

27-17

California

Michigan State

6

27-21

Clemson  (n-Atlanta)

Alabama

9

29-20

Missouri   (n-St. Louis)

Illinois

16

33-17

Arizona

Idaho

28

45-17

U N L V

Utah State

9

27-18

Oregon

Washington 

16

33-17

 

 

 

 

Sunday, August 31

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Kentucky

Louisville

14

31-17

Colorado  (n-Denver)

Colorado State

18

34-16

 

 

 

 

Monday, September 1

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Rutgers

Fresno State

4

31-27

Tennessee

U C L A

6

30-24

 

Mean Rating Predictions

The Mean Rating is my old rating from the 1970’s and 1980’s.  I brought it back last year as a supplement.  When the PiRate spread and the Mean Rating agree on the point spread choice from the Las Vegas Line and both ratings differ by more than 2½ points from the Vegas Line, then consider that game as a playable game against the spread.  

 

When the two ratings agree on the predicted winner of the game, and the Vegas Line is 1-10 points on that team as the favorite, then consider that game as playable on the Money Line.  These strategies work best against the Monday lines for Saturday games.

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings

Home Team in Bold

(N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, August 28

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Mean Prediction

Buffalo

U T E P

28-24

Vanderbilt

Miami-OH

21-16

Troy

Middle Tennessee

30-23

Wake Forest

Baylor

27-10

South Carolina

North Carolina St.

31-16

Oregon State

Stanford

31-20

 

 

 

 

Friday, August 29

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Mean Prediction

Temple

Army

24-23

Rice

SMU

37-31

 

 

 

 

Saturday, August 30

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Mean Prediction

Northwestern

Syracuse

31-20

Indiana

Western Kentucky

35-20

Virginia Tech

East Carolina

28-12

Pittsburgh

Bowling Green

31-17

Wisconsin

Akron

44-17

Florida

Hawaii

41-21

Texas

Florida Atlantic

42-21

Wyoming

Ohio U

24-17

Michigan

Utah

24-20

Southern Cal

Virginia

27-12

Oklahoma State

Washington State

27-24

Tulsa

U A B

34-17

T C U

New Mexico

20-17

Mississippi State

Louisiana Tech

24-12

Auburn

Louisiana Monroe

34-10

Minnesota

Northern Illinois

28-17

Ole Miss

Memphis

31-21

Nebraska

Western Michigan

28-16

Texas A&M

Arkansas State

35-14

Kansas

Florida International

42-0

Southern Miss.

Louisiana-Lafayette

33-17

Kansas State

North Texas

45-20

Boston College

Kent State

28-6

California

Michigan State

26-21

Clemson (n-Atlanta)

Alabama

27-20

Missouri   (n-St. Louis)

Illinois

28-16

Arizona

Idaho

45-17

U N L V

Utah State

27-20

Oregon

Washington 

35-19

 

 

 

 

Sunday, August 31

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Mean Prediction

Louisville

Kentucky

28-27

Colorado  (n-Denver)

Colorado State

30-20

 

 

 

 

Monday, September 1

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

Mean Prediction

Rutgers

Fresno State

31-23

Tennessee

U C L A

28-27

 

Preview For Wisconsin-Akron

 

Vegas:       Wisconsin by 26½

PiRate:      Wisconsin by 32

Mean:        Wisconsin by 27

Strategy:   Neither Sides nor Moneyline apply to this game

 

The 2008 season finds Coach Bret Bielema’s Badgers loaded.  If it weren’t for the unbelievable mix of talent in Columbus, Ohio, I would tend to pick UW to win the Big Ten title.  The defense should be a little better than last season, while the offense may take a few games to gel.  However, once quarterback Allan Evridge shakes off the rust, he could actually be more explosive than departed star Tyler Donovan.

 

In game one, I am inclined to believe that the Badgers will start a little sluggish.  Akron is much weaker than they were during the Charlie Frye days, and the Zips are no threat to win this game.  It will allow UW to work out the kinks and get a win under their belt without worrying about an Appalachian State moment.

 

My personal prediction here is a 35-17 win for the Badgers.  Yes, I do disagree with my own ratings from time to time.

 

Preview for Vanderbilt-Miami of Ohio

 

Vegas:       Miami by 4

PiRate:      Vanderbilt by 3

Mean:        Vanderbilt by 5

Strategy:   Vanderbilt +3 and Vanderbilt +175 on the moneyline

 

This is a scary proposition.  I’ve witnessed Vanderbilt football games for more than four decades, and the Commodores have broken the hearts of their fans more than once (more like more than one hundred times) in that time span. 

 

Miami has a couple of famous traditions.  First, the school is known as the “Cradle of Coaches.”  I doubt there is another program that can equal the great group of leaders that came from Oxford, Ohio.  Here’s a sampling off the top of my head: Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Weeb Eewbank, Ara Parseghian, Bill Mallory, Dick Crum, Randy Walker, and Terry Hoeppner.

 

It’s the other tradition that worries me.  Miami has been known to upset their share of opponents.  They once beat Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina in bowl games in three consecutive seasons.  They have won at Kentucky and at LSU.  When Northwestern won the Big 10 Championship and went to the Rose Bowl in the mid-90’s, their lone regular season loss was to Miami.

 

Now, take into consideration that this will be the first time an SEC opponent plays at Yager Stadium.  Also take into consideration that Vanderbilt is the number 12 team in the SEC and will be playing this game with an entirely new starting offensive line and with five new players in the defensive front seven.  They will be playing without their most potent weapon from last year in wideout Earl Bennett, and their best returning receiver, George Smith, will miss this game due to injury.  They lost their top running back from last year, and their starting back has never fully recovered from an ACL injury in 2006.

 

Vanderbilt steamrollered over Miami last year.  They simply ran the ball between the tackles, ala Ohio State in the Woody Hayes days.  Miami didn’t have the strength to stop the running attack even though they knew the Commodores were not going to throw the ball with an injured quarterback unable to pass.

 

Logic holds that Vandy can line up and play smash-mouth football and win this game in ugly fashion.  A few well-timed long play-action passes can be more valuable than throwing it 35 times in this game.

 

I think the Commodores will come from behind in the second half and win this game by wearing down the Redhawks in the trenches.  Here’s a little secret: Vanderbilt has possibly the best offensive line coach in college football.  Robbie Caldwell will have molded the new line players into a cohesive unit by the time this game begins, and the Commodores should find success running the ball, while quarterback Chris Nickson should have enough time to locate receivers to keep the defense honest.  This isn’t going to be a team that threatens to break the long streak of losing seasons, but this team should still be competitive.

 

My personal prediction is the same as the PiRate prediction.  Even should Miami pull off the win, four points are a lot to cover.  I like playing underdogs of more than a field goal when they have a good chance of winning outright, even when it’s the school with a tradition of breaking hearts.  Go with Vanderbilt at +4 and at +175 in the Money Line.

 

Other Playable Games According to the PiRates

 

Oregon State -155 vs. Stanford

Troy -260 vs. Middle Tennessee

Temple -270 vs. Army

Rice -3½ and -165 vs. SMU

Ole Miss -7½ and -310 vs. Memphis

Oregon -13½ vs. Washington

TCU -260 vs. New Mexico

Mississippi State -7½ and -350 vs. Louisiana Tech 

Washington State +7 vs. Oklahoma State

Missouri -8½ and -370 vs. Illinois

California -185 vs. Michigan State

Virginia +20 vs. Southern California

Utah State +9½ vs. UNLV and UNLV -500 vs. Utah State

Western Kentucky +20½ vs. Indiana (WKU’s first line ever!)

Florida Atlantic +24 vs. Texas

Kansas -36 vs. Florida International

Kentucky +3½ vs. Louisville

Rutgers -230 vs. Fresno State

Tennessee -290 vs. UCLA   

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