The Pi-Rate Ratings

December 31, 2014

PiRate Ratings FBS Playoffs Computer Simulation–Simper Bowl VIII

We apologize for not having this post published when it was supposed to come out.  Major computer issues with substantial losses of data forced us to run an end around play to get back online.

Today, we are combining our annual Simper Bowl computer simulated playoffs (not like the actual playoffs–read prior postings under this category for a complete explanation) with the 100 simulations run for both actual Playoff games.

First, let’s start with our Simper Bowl Results.

In Simper Bowl VIII, #3-seed TCU squared off against #5-seed Baylor in our version of our 12-team playoff.  The game was played in Arlington, TX, and due to the proximity of both clubs, no home-field advantage was added, as we felt that both teams would have an equal amount of fans, and TCU was not all that much closer to the stadium to earn any extra advantage.


TCU!  Congratulations to the Horned Frogs, the team the computer simulator judged to be the best team in the nation.

Final Score: TCU 38  Baylor 26


First Downs: TC 27  BA 20

Rushing: TC 45-203  BA 23-67

Passing: TC 226  BA 291

Passes: TC 20-32-0  BA 28-51-1

Play-Yds: TC 77-429  BA 74-358

After 1st Qtr.: TCU 10  Baylor 6

Half: TCU 17  Baylor 16

After 3rd Qtr.: TCU 31  Baylor 19


100 Sims of Actual Rose and Sugar Bowls

We simulated both Playoff games 100 times.  Here are the results.

Rose Bowl

#2 Oregon vs. #3 Florida St.

Outright Wins: Florida St. 57  Oregon 43

Average Score: Florida St. 24.9  Oregon 22.5

Outlier A: Florida St. 40  Oregon 22

Outlier B: Oregon 45  Florida St. 20

Sugar Bowl

#1 Alabama vs. #4 Ohio St.

Outright Wins: Alabama 89  Ohio St. 11

Average Score: Alabama 32.6  Ohio St. 21.7

Outlier A: Alabama 44  Ohio St. 13

Outlier B: Ohio St. 29  Alabama 23

December 19, 2014

2014-15 Computer Simulated College Football Playoffs—Final Four

The semifinal round of the 2014-15 College Football Computer Simulated Playoffs has been run through the simulation program, and we now know who will play for the Simper Bowl title. If you have not read our entry from December 8 explaining how and why we perform this computer simulation, read here:

In the first round, seeds 5-12 faced off on the higher seeds’ home fields, while seeds 1-4 received byes. In that opening round, #5 Baylor defeated #12 Kansas State 38-24; #6 Florida St. edged #11 Auburn 30-28; #7 Ole Miss beat #10 Georgia 31-28 in 2 ot; and #8 Mississippi St. trounced #9 Michigan St. 45-17.

In the quarterfinal round, #1 Alabama knocked off #8 Mississippi St. 30-17; #7 Ole Miss upset #2 Oregon 24-22; #3 TCU dismissed #6 Florida St. 42-24; and #5 Baylor won at #4 Ohio St. 40-38/
The format for the Final Four is identical to the actual FBS Playoffs. In today’s simulation, we have #7 Ole Miss facing #3 TCU in the Rose Bowl, followed by #1 Alabama and #5 Baylor facing off in the Sugar Bowl.

Without further adieu, here are the results of those games.
Rose Bowl
#3 TCU 27 #7 Ole Miss 10

First Downs: TC 19 OM 13
Rushing: TC 37-149 OM 32-89
Passing: TC 197 OM 239
Passes: TC 19-33-0 OM 21-39-4
Play-Yds: TC 70-346 OM 71-328
After 1st Qtr: TC 0 OM 0
Half: TC 7 OM 7
After 3rd Qtr: TC 20 OM 7

Sugar Bowl
#5 Baylor 26 #1 Alabama 24

First Downs BA 20 AL 19
Rushing: BA 26-79 AL 35-243
Passing: BA 419 AL 238
Passes: BA 35-53-1 AL 19-34-3
Play-Yds: BA 79-498 AL 69-481
After 1st Qtr: AL 10 BA 3
Half: AL 17 BA 16
After 3rd Qtr: BA 19 AL 17

And lo and behold, look who will be facing off in Simper Bowl VIII? It’s the two Big 12 teams that were not invited to the real inaugural playoffs. The simulator says that TCU and Baylor are the two best teams. As Former Texas Governor Rick Perry might say, “Oops!”

Return to this site on Tuesday, December 23 for the results of the simulation for the National Championship between Baylor and TCU.

December 16, 2014

2014-15 Computer Simulated College Football Playoffs—Elite 8 Round

The quarterfinal round of the 2014-15 College Football Computer Simulated Playoffs has been run through the simulation program, and unlike the first round, there were some surprises.

If you have not read our entry from December 8 explaining how and why we perform this computer simulation, read here:

In the first round, seeds 5-12 faced off on the higher seeds’ home fields, while seeds 1-4 received byes. In that opening round, #5 Baylor defeated #12 Kansas State 38-24; #6 Florida St. edged #11 Auburn 30-28; #7 Ole Miss beat #10 Georgia 31-28 in 2 ot; and #8 Mississippi St. trounced #9 Michigan St. 45-17.

Here is the schedule for today’s quarterfinal round games:
#8 Mississippi State at #1 Alabama
#7 Ole Miss at #2 Oregon
#6 Florida State at #3 T C U
#5 Baylor at #4 Ohio State

Without further adieu, here are the results of those games.

#8 Mississippi State at #1 Alabama
Final Score: Alabama 30 Mississippi St. 17

First Downs: AL 24 MS 16
Rushing: AL 41-209 MS 29-137
Passing: AL 226 MS 168
Passes: AL 20-34-1 MS 19-29-2
Play-Yds: AL 75-435 MS 58-305
After 1st Qtr: AL 6 MS 0
Half: AL 16 MS 7
After 3rd Qtr: AL 23 MS 10


#7 Ole Miss at #2 Oregon
Final Score: Ole Miss 24 Oregon 22

First Downs: OM 19 OR 19
Rushing: OM 28-118 OR 41-189
Passing: OM 309 OR 231
Passes: OM 28-44-1 OR 24-45-1
Play-Yds: OM 72-427 OR 86-420
After 1st Qtr: OM 7 OR 6
Half: OM 21 OR 12
After 3rd Qtr: OM 21 OR 19


#6 Florida St. at #3 TCU
Final Score: TCU 42 Florida St. 24

First Downs: TC 26 FS 18
Rushing: TC 34-177 FS 30-99
Passing: TC 289 FS 308
Passes: TC 25-38-0 FS 26-49-3
Play-Yds: TC 72-466 FS 79-407
After 1st Qtr: TC 14 FS 0
Half: TC 28 FS 14
After 3rd Qtr: TC 42 FS 24


#5 Baylor at #4 Ohio St.
Final Score: Baylor 40 Ohio St. 38

First Downs BA 30 OS 23
Rushing: BA 28-109 OS 45-313
Passing: BA 484 OS 210
Passes: BA 38-51-0 OS 18-29-1
Play-Yds: BA 79-593 OS 74-523
After 1st Qtr: OS 17 BA 10
Half: OS 31 BA 19
After 3rd Qtr: OS 38 BA 26

The Final Four Is Now Set. Moving on to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl, we have #3 TCU and #7 Ole Miss. Facing off in the Sugar Bowl, #5 Baylor challenges top-seeded Alabama.
Return to this site on Friday, December 19 for the results of that simulation.

December 12, 2014

2014-15 Computer Simulated College Football Playoffs–1st Round

The opening round of the 2014-15 computer simulated college football playoffs has been played, and there were a couple of really close games along with two games that were not all that close.

If you have not read our entry from December 8 explaining how and why we perform this computer simulation, read here:

In the first round, seeds 5-12 face off on the higher seeds’ home fields, while seeds 1-4 receive byes.

Here are the results of those four games.

#12 Kansas State at #5 Baylor
Final Score: Baylor 38 Kansas State 24


First Downs: BU 24, KS 19

Rushing: BU 34-188, KS 41-161

Passing: BU 372, KS 211

Passes: BU 25-38-1, KS 18-33-1

Play-Yds: BU 72-560, KS 74-372

After 1st qtr: Baylor 10-0

Half: Baylor 17-7

After 3rd qtr: Baylor 31-10

#11 Auburn at #6 Florida State
Final Score: Florida State 30 Auburn 28


First Downs: FS 23, AU 25

Rushing: FS: 29-106, AU 48-279

Passing: FS 402, AU 209

Passes: FS 34-46-2, AU 17-27-1

Play-Yds: FS 75-508, AU 75-488

After 1st qtr: Auburn 7-0

Half: Auburn 14-7

After 3rd qtr: Auburn 28-20

#10 Georgia at #7 Ole Miss
Final Score: Ole Miss 35 Georgia 31 2 ot


First Downs: OM 23, GA 20

Rushing: OM 34-152, GA 42-273

Passing: OM 236, GA 171

Passes: OM 21-37-1, GA 15-27-2

Play-Yds: OM 71-388, GA 69-444

After 1st qtr: Tied 7-7

Half: Georgia 14-10

After 3rd qtr: Georgia 14-13

After 4th qtr: Tied 21-21

After 1st OT: Tied 28-28

#9 Michigan State at #8 Mississippi State
Final Score: Mississippi State 45 Michigan St. 17


First Downs: MSS 32, MCH 16

Rushing: MSS 49-265, MCH 25-69

Passing: MSS 217, MCH 221

Passes: MSS 19-32-0, MCH 24-43-2

Play-Yds: MSS 81-482, MCH 68-290

After 1st qtr: Mississippi St. 14-0

Half: Mississippi St. 21-3

After 3rd qtr: Mississippi St. 42-10

The Quarterfinals are now set and will be simulated Tuesday, December 16, 2014. Here are the pairings for the Elite 8.

#8 Mississippi State at #1 Alabama
#7 Ole Miss at #2 Oregon
#6 Florida State at #3 T C U
#5 Baylor at #4 Ohio State

December 8, 2014

2014-15 Computer Simulated Playoffs

Filed under: 2014 Simulated NCAA Playoffs — Tags: , , , — piratings @ 9:31 am

The Road To Simper Bowl VIII

With the dawning of the inaugural NCAA College Football Playoff, the PiRates figured the Simper Bowl would cease to exist now that the title would be more fair. However, the football gods gave us the utmost controversy this year, as six teams definitely deserved spots in the playoffs.

Imagine if the NFL chose not to include the NFC East champion (Philadelphia or Dallas), while taking Detroit due to a big week 17 win over Green Bay? The NFL is the king of all sports because there is consistency. Maybe too many teams qualify for the playoffs, but the qualification for making the playoffs is clear and plain to see. If you win your division, you are one of the top four seeds, and if you have one of the next two best records in your conference (with rules to break ties), you are one of the final two seeds.

Baylor and TCU are like 12-4 teams in the NFL that finished tied for first in a division and then were not allowed in the playoffs. One of these teams might even receive a first round bye and have home field advantage if this were the NFL.

The PiRate Ratings have a website at, where fans can contact us. We usually receive inquiries about the processes we use in constructing our ratings, why our home field advantage is different for every game played, as well as questions about why our format is Green and Gold (members of the family are “owners” of the Green Bay Packers).

We were surprised this week when 14 of you sent us inquiries asking if we would bring back our computer simulation of the college playoffs like in past years. We usually receive 14 contacts from you in one month, so when 14 asked in a three-day period, we knew we had to bring the simulation back.

We saw this travesty being a real possibility just last season, when if the four-team playoff had been in effect, there would have been many teams feeling jilted from their exclusion from the Final Four. In 2013, Florida State, Auburn, and Alabama were definitely the top three teams, but number four was even more cluttered with Baylor, Michigan St., Stanford, Ohio St., Missouri, South Carolina, and Oregon all having legitimate claims to that fourth slot. That meant 10 teams were deserving of making the playoffs. Additionally, Louisville, still a member of the AAC, was in the Top 16 and thus also deserving of a playoff spot, making 11 teams total that deserved a chance to play for the title. This is why we believe the playoffs need to be 12 teams.

So, welcome to the Road to Simper Bowl VIII. In case you are new to this, we started this 12-team simulation in 2007. It has always been our belief that every conference champion of a major conference should automatically qualify for an NCAA Playoff berth. Since there are now five major conferences, that means five teams should receive automatic bids. This hints at an eight-team playoff, but for two reasons, we do not like the idea of having an eight-team playoff. First, in many years, there are teams just outside the top eight that are worthy of making the playoffs. We love history. In 1976, Texas A&M did not finish the regular season among the Top Eight. Yet, our ratings showed the Aggies to be the number one team in the nation by December, even though their record was 9-2. Our ratings showed the Aggies were four points better than actual champion Pittsburgh and more than a touchdown better than the Georgia team Pittsburgh faced in the Sugar Bowl.

The second reason we do not like an eight-team format is we believe the highest-rated teams deserve some reward in the form of a first-round bye (like the NFL).

This is why we have stuck with our 12-team format. While in some years, the ninth best team has an argument that they belong in an eight-team playoff, rarely ever has the number 13 team had any realistic grounds to complain about being left out of a 12-team playoff. This is the equivalent of the first four out of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Yes, a 19-14 team from the Big Ten may be better than the champion of 15 other mid and low-majors, but they only have themselves to blame for going 19-14. This team is not a contender for the Final Four.

Here is our format for our 12-team simulated playoffs. We have adjusted it a little bit from past seasons.

1. This is a 12-team tournament, using home fields for the first two rounds to get from 12 to 8 to 4, and then using the current bowls to play the Final Four and Championship.

2. The champions of the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, and Pac-12 receive automatic bids, but not any preference toward receiving byes.

3. The champions of the AAC, CUSA, MAC, MWC, and Sunbelt receive automatic bids if any finish in the top 16 of the Power Rankings, which replaces the BCS. Thus, theoretically, all five of these conferences could field a team in the same season.
What do we use for “Power Rankings?” The PiRate Ratings are part of the Massey Comparison Rankings, a group of the most accurate computer rankings in the nation. For this purpose, we will use the Massey Comparison Rankings as our equivalent of basketball’s RPI. We’d prefer some tiebreaker system to mechanically determine the playoff teams, but for now, that is not possible.

4. We then select the two to seven highest PR-ranked teams (to fill the bracket to make 12 total) not automatically selected and give them berths in the tournament.

5. We seed the teams by Power Ranking from 1-12. The top 4 teams receive a first round bye as a reward for being one of the top four, while seeds 5-12 face off in the first round.
This year, none of the champions of the AAC, CUSA, MAC, Mountain West, or Sunbelt finished in the Top 16. Boise State just missed, coming in at 19. Thus, with five automatic bids, we must invite the next seven highest-rated teams to fill out our 12-team bracket.

Here are the Dandy Dozen teams, seeded for 2014-15.

1. Alabama 12-1
2. Oregon 12-1
3. TCU 11-1
4. Ohio St. 12-1
5. Baylor 11-1
6. Florida St. 13-0
7. Ole Miss 9-3
8. Mississippi St. 10-2
9. Michigan St. 10-2
10. Georgia 9-3
11. Auburn 8-4
12. Kansas St. 9-3

And here is the bracket for this year’s tournament.

Opening Round
Game 1: #12 Kansas State at #5 Baylor
Game 2: #11 Auburn at #6 Florida St.
Game 3: #10 Georgia at #7 Ole Miss
Game 4: #9 Michigan St. at #8 Mississippi St.

Quarterfinal Round
Game 5: Game 4 Winner (Michigan St./Mississippi St.) at #1 Alabama.
Game 6: Game 3 Winner (Georgia/Ole Miss) at #2 Oregon
Game 7: Game 2 Winner (Auburn/Florida St.) at #3 T C U
Game 8: Game 1 Winner (Kansas St./Baylor) at #4 Ohio St.

Sugar Bowl: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner
Rose Bowl: Game 6 Winner vs. Game 7 Winner

Arlington, TX: Sugar Bowl Winner vs. Rose Bowl Winner

For this computer simulation, games were simulated on a simulator located on a major university campus.
Process: We use a simulation program at a major university computer lab. We will simulate each game just one time, because if we run 100 or 1000 simulations, there will be no chances for upsets, and the top seeds will win every game. By simulating each game just one time, we produce the same chance that each team has to win, be it expected or an upset. If one team has a 75% chance of winning, then the underdog has less than 1% chance of winning if the game is simulated 100 times, but it has a 25% chance of winning if the game is simulated just once.

Home Field advantage is factored into all games, even those played at neutral sites. Alabama never plays a neutral site game, as the Crimson Nation shows up in mass numbers even 2,000 miles away from home.

The simulator uses statistical data much in the same way as popular sports games such as “Strat-O-Matic” and “Paydirt” use to make player and team cards and then simulates a game based on these statistics. Plays are called by artificial intelligence, using tendencies the actual teams use. Generically, these plays are:

Running Plays
1. Power inside
2. Quick inside
3. Power off-tackle
4. Tackle trap
5. Power wide
6. Quick wide
7. Misdirection
8. Draw

Passing Plays
9. Screen
10. Short Play-Action
11. Medium Play-Action
12. Long Play-Action
13. Short Flood
14. Medium Flood
15. Middle Routes
16. Sideline Routes
17. Deep Zone Route
18. Long Bomb

Specialty Plays
19. QB Sneak
20. Trick Play
21. Goalline Fade
22. QB Kneel Down

All forms of special teams are included in this simulation program, and the program generates full stats.


Round One Games will be published on Friday, December 12
Round Two Games will be published in Tuesday, December 16
The Semifinal Round will be published on Friday, December 19
The Championship Round will be published on Tuesday, December 23

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