The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 16, 2022

Atlantic Coast Conference Preview

With all the rumored movement of teams from one conference to another, for now the Atlantic Coast Conference appears to be on solid ground. The league’s Grant of Rights deal with its members make it quite difficult, if not impossible for teams to exit the league. Under this deal, any team would have to forfeit all media revenue earned in another conference back to the ACC. An exit fee of $100 million or more would make leaving the ACC for the SEC or Big Ten financially unwise.

Of course, there are always loopholes that can be discovered by crafty legal departments, so impossible is not in the college football vocabulary. Impossible was a word associated with the words “beating Clemson” until last year. The Tigers failed to win the Atlantic Division for the first time 2014. Wake Forest was the surprise winner in the Atlantic, while Pittsburgh won the Coastal Division title. Wake Forest figured to be a contender for the division title again this year until last week, their starting quarterback, Sam Hartman, was ruled out indefinitely due to a non-football issue that required a surgical procedure. Hartman might return late in the season, but his loss will hit the Demon Deacons hard enough to take them out of the conference championship picture.

2022 will be the final year of divisional play in this league. Here are the preseason PiRate Ratings for the league.

ACC Preseason PiRate Ratings

Atlantic Division
NC State118.3117.3118.5118.0
Wake Forest113.9113.2113.2113.4
Florida St.111.7111.0110.9111.2
Boston College100.5102.5100.2101.1
Coastal Division
Miami (Fla.)115.1113.7114.9114.6
North Carolina108.0108.2107.5107.9
Virginia Tech100.9101.398.4100.2
Georgia Tech95.695.593.694.9

Preseason Official ACC Media Poll

#Atlantic1st PlaceOverall
2North Carolina St.44959
3Wake Forest6783
5Florida St.2509
6Boston College1469
#Coastal1st PlaceOverall
3North Carolina18823
5Virginia Tech3592
6Georgia Tech1343
North Carolina St.38
Wake Forest4
Florida St.2
North Carolina2
Boston College1
Poll Taken Prior To Hartman’s Non-Football Medical Condition

The PiRate Ratings are designed to look at just the next week’s schedule of games and not to use to look forward. Nevertheless, here are the predicted won-loss records for the league.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

North Carolina St.7-111-1
Wake Forest4-48-4
Florida St.4-47-5
Boston College1-74-8
Virginia Tech4-48-4
North Carolina4-47-5
Georgia Tech1-72-10

Clemson picked to win ACC Championship Game

August 15, 2022

Pac-12 Preview

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:00 am

With apologies to William Shakespeare, Alas poor Pac-12. I knew the league, football lovers. No, this conference hasn’t been dead for many years like Yorick in Hamlet, but the league isn’t far from having last rites administered if it cannot find a way to partly replace UCLA and USC when the two most important members leave for the Big Ten.

San Diego State and Fresno State might stop some of the leakage. There has been talk that the league might go after Houston and SMU to get some of the Dallas and Houston markets, but neither team commands huge numbers of the two largest cities in the Southwest.

What this league must worry about is that potentially eight of the remaining teams could try to leave this league.

2022 might produce some irony. In recent seasons, there has been too much parity to produce one undefeated team. In fact, there has never been an undefeated Pac-12 team in the regular season, not even in conference play only. The last time a team ran the table in the league and in the regular season, the league was the Pac-10, when Oregon played Auburn for the National Championship in 2010.

There is a team capable of ending that 12 year drought. Read on to see which team it is. The other big news is that the league has eliminated the two divisions.

Preseason PiRate Ratings For Pac-12 Conference

U C L A108.5108.4110.1109.0
Oregon St.107.1106.5107.7107.1
U S C105.3106.1106.1105.8
Arizona St.104.0104.0105.3104.4
Washington St.100.9101.5101.7101.4

Pac-12 Official Preseason Media Poll

#Team1st PlaceOverall
5Oregon St.0246
7Washington St.0177
10Arizona St.0123

The PiRate Ratings are designed to look at just the next week’s schedule of games and not to use to look forward. Nevertheless, here are the predicted won-loss records for the league.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

Oregon St.5-48-4
Washington St.4-56-6
Arizona St.4-56-6

August 14, 2022

American Athletic Conference Preview

Just when a Group of 5 Conference is getting really good with maybe three teams strong enough to contend for a 2022-23 Playoff berth, said league is about to lose all three really good teams. Cincinnati broke through the insiders’ club last year, when the Bearcats ran the table in the regular season and became the first G5 school to receive a bid to the National Championship Playoffs. It was the second consecutive year that Cinti won every regular season game.

Alas, the Bearcats are headed to the Big 12 Conference. Going with them are the other two really good teams–Houston and Central Florida. A host of Conference USA teams will replace the really good teams, and this league will fall back in the Group of 5 pecking order.

This will be one interesting race this year. Houston and Cincinnati are not scheduled to play, but there is a decent chance they will face each other in game 13 in December.

American Athletic Conference Preseason PiRate Ratings

East Carolina99.599.1100.499.7

American Athletic Conference Official Media Poll

#Team1st PlaceOverall
3Central Florida7225
6East Carolina0157
9South Florida071

The PiRate Ratings are designed to look at just the next week’s schedule of games and not to use to look forward. Nevertheless, here are the predicted won-loss records for the league.

Central Florida7-110-2
East Carolina4-46-6
South Florida2-63-9

Cincinnati picked to win AAC Championship Game.

August 13, 2022

FBS Independents Preview

In 1971, there were 34 major college independents playing football. In 2022, there are seven independents, and the ranks are going to shrink soon. Liberty and New Mexico State will join Conference USA next year. BYU is headed to the Big 12. The question remains what will Notre Dame do?

Can the Irish afford to remain an independent? By the time the season starts, we may know the answer. With NBC rumored to be ready to pay big bucks to get a weekly Big Ten game in prime time, there may be little need to offer Notre Dame the vault the Irish desire. The Big Ten may be on the precipice of paying out 9-figures to its teams. If the Irish are only offered 30 to 40 million dollars, they may be willing to become Big Ten team number 17.

Of the seven indies this year, four figure to be good, and three will struggle to win three ball games apiece.

FBS Independents PiRate Ratings

Notre Dame119.0117.0118.9118.3
New Mexico St.74.877.174.075.3

There are no official Independent Media Polls like there are for conferences, but I have included the consensus of seven of my friends that produce computer ratings like the PiRate Ratings.

Computer Power Rating Poll

#West1st PlaceOverall
1Notre Dame648
5N. Mexico St.018
7U Mass09

The PiRate Rating are designed to be used for the next week of football games and not meant to be used to predict won-loss records. Nevertheless, here are the projected won-loss records.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

Notre Dame11-1
New Mexico St.3-9

August 12, 2022

Mountain West Conference Preview

The Mountain West Conference is the only Group of 5 league that didn’t have realignment issues in the past 12 months. Rumors abound that Boise State, Fresno State, and San Diego State could be on the radar screen with either the Pac-12 or Big 12 Conferences, but those are just rumors for now.

The MWC has enjoyed quite a bit of success in the last decade. Last year, eight MWC teams earned bowl bids. Two of the bowl games were cancelled due to Covid, but in the six bowl games played, MWC teams went 5-1. In the history of this league, MWC teams have won 57% of their bowl games. Only the SEC and the Sun Belt have better bowl game winning percentages in that time.

2022 should be another banner year for the league. Three teams have a chance to compete for the lone New Year’s 6 Bowl Bid.

Mountain West PiRate Ratings

Mountain Division
Boise St.106.0104.9106.9105.9
Air Force100.9100.8102.3101.3
Utah St.95.495.896.695.9
Colorado St.88.589.889.089.1
New Mexico80.381.079.080.1
West Division
Fresno St.103.2102.5104.5103.4
San Diego St.97.497.497.897.6
U N L V88.485.988.087.5
San Jose St.86.887.287.987.3

Mountain West Preseason Media Poll

#Mountain1st PlaceOverall
1Boise St.14151
2Air Force10136
3Utah St.3122
4Colorado St.190
6New Mexico029
#West1st PlaceOverall
1Fresno St.20160
2San Diego St.8148
3San Jose St.0105

The PiRate Rating are designed to be used for the next week of football games and not meant to be used to predict won-loss records. Nevertheless, here are the projected won-loss records.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

Boise St.8-010-3
Air Force6-210-2
Utah St.6-28-4
Colorado St.3-55-7
New Mexico0-82-10
Fresno St.7-110-3
San Diego St.6-29-3
San Jose St.4-46-6

August 11, 2022

Sun Belt Conference Preview

In 2001, the Sun Belt Conference, having sponsored basketball for a quarter century with membership of many programs that didn’t have scholarship football, decided to add football to its sanctioned sports. For several years, the league languished as the weakest Division 1-A and later FBS conference. Teams left the league to join what was then a stronger Conference USA.

About five years ago, the league began to rapidly improve. Not only did it become the equal of Conference USA, when a couple of programs became really good, the SBC left CUSA in its rear view mirror and then passed the Mid-American Conference. The league planned to expand to 14 teams next year, but an 11th hour decision brought Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Mississippi into the league this year. Additionally, James Madison makes its FBS debut. This league has the potential to improve to the point where it is the equal of the Mountain West and American Athletic Conferences.

Sun Belt PiRate Ratings–Preseason

East Division
Georgia St.99.298.4102.5100.0
Appal. St.
Coastal Car.92.794.194.993.9
J. Madison87.
Old Dominion89.389.389.489.3
Ga. Southern86.585.987.086.5
West Division
South Alabama85.285.586.485.7
Southern Miss.85.085.585.185.2
Texas St.80.381.281.380.9
Arkansas St.80.081.680.580.7
Sun Belt88.789.390.189.4

Sun Belt Conference Official Media Poll

#East1st PlaceOverall
1Appalachian St.1094
2Coastal Carolina277
3Georgia St.168
5Georgia Southern135
6James Madison031
7Old Dominion025
#West1st PlaceOverall
2South Alabama279
4Texas St.041
5Southern Miss.040
6Arkansas St.037

The PiRate Ratings are meant to be used to predict the outcomes of games being played in the week that they are released and updated. They are not really meant to look forward past the next week of games, but nevertheless, here are the predicted won-loss records for the league.

Appalachian St.7-19-4
Georgia St.7-18-4
Coastal Carolina6-28-4
Old Dominion6-26-6
James Madison3-55-6
Georgia Southern2-64-8
South Alabama3-55-7
Southern Miss.3-54-8
Texas St.1-73-9
Arkansas St.1-73-9

Louisiana picked to beat Appalachian St. in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game.

August 10, 2022

Mid-American Conference Preview

The MAC has been up and down for many years, rarely a middle of the pack conference among the non-elite. There was a time when Toledo and Miami of Ohio were regulars in the major polls. Miami actually beat Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina in three consecutive bowl games. The MAC has produced the New Year’s Day Bowl team that was guaranteed to the top Group of 5 team.

There have been years where this league was considerably weaker than the better Group of 5 conferences, and there have been a couple teams that have come and gone from the league. Over the Winter, the MAC appeared to be expanding to 14 teams with the additions of Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State. The two Conference USA schools and rivals chose to remain where they were.

Here is the official media poll for the Mid-American Conference

Mid-American Conference
#East1st PlaceOverall
1Miami (O)20139
2Kent St.3116
5Bowling Green171
#West1st PlaceOverall
1Northern Illinois11122
3Central Michigan4112
4Western Michigan056
5Eastern Michigan052
6Ball St.042
Northern Illinois9
Miami (O)5
Central Michigan4

Here are the preseason PiRate Ratings for the MAC.

Mid-American Conference
East Division
Miami (Ohio)91.594.594.393.4
Kent St.87.390.187.688.3
Bowling Green87.786.486.887.0
West Division
N. Illinois97.898.298.398.1
Central Mich.93.095.396.394.9
Western Mich.92.193.493.593.0
Eastern Mich.88.388.988.088.4
Ball St.84.685.984.785.0

The PiRate Ratings are predictive in nature. However, they are only designed to look forward one week. Nevertheless, here are the predicted won-loss records for the MAC.

Miami (O)7-18-5
Kent St.5-36-6
Bowling Green3-54-8
Northern Illinois8-011-2
Central Michigan6-28-4
Western Michigan5-37-5
Ball St.2-64-8
Eastern Michigan2-64-8

Northern Illinois picked to beat Miami (O) in the MAC Championship Game.

Coming Tomorrow: The Sun Belt Conference

August 9, 2022

2022 Conference USA Preview

Conference USA has been the weakest FBS league the last few years, and it looks to be on the verge of getting even weaker.  When the league sponsored its first football season, the football members were Cincinnati, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, South Florida, Southern Miss., Tulane, and UAB.  Over the course of its early years, Central Florida, East Carolina, SMU, TCU, and Tulsa were members.

Of the original teams, only UAB remains, but the Blazers are leaving the league to join the American Athletic Conference in 2023.  Going with UAB will be Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice and UTSA.  Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky almost made the move to the Mid-American Conference.  The league stayed alive by getting Liberty and New Mexico State to come in from the ranks of the independents while inviting current FCS members Jacksonville State and Sam Houston to enter next year.

CUSA lost Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss. to the Sun Belt, and thus the league will have just one division of 11 teams this year.  The top two in the conference standings will meet in the Conference Championship Game.

The CUSA Media poll did not record total vote numbers, just first place votes and predicted order of finish.  Here is how the media picked the race in 2022.

Conference USA
#Team1st PlaceOverall
3Western Ky.0
4Fla. Atlantic0
5North Texas0
8Middle Tenn.0
9Louisiana Tech0
11Fla. Int’l.0

The opening PiRate Ratings differ minimally.

Conference USA
U A B97.397.599.198.0
W. Kentucky96.496.099.097.1
U T S A97.195.396.696.4
North Texas88.687.889.988.8
U T E P86.986.487.186.8
Middle Tennessee85.686.786.886.4
Florida Atlantic85.387.285.686.0
Louisiana Tech80.281.978.780.3
Florida Int’l.


If you are new to the PiRate Ratings, there are three different power ratings and an average of the three.  All three ratings, PiRate, Mean, and Bias, are calculated using the same statistical data but with different algorithmic formulas.  The PiRate and Bias are closely related, while the Mean is somewhat different.  Each of the three different ratings accentuate certain statistical events that have proven at times to be more essential than the other two.  Thus, in some years, the PiRate has more success.  In some years, the Bias has more success, and in some years the Mean has more success.
The PiRate Ratings are meant to predict the next week’s games on the schedule, so using them to predict the entire season’s results is unwarranted.  Nevertheless, here are the predicted won-loss records prior to the postseason.

Western Kentucky *7-111-2
North Texas4-45-7
Middle Tenn.4-45-7
Florida Atlantic3-54-8
Louisiana Tech2-63-9
Florida Int’l.0-81-11

* Western Kentucky picked to defeat UAB in the CUSA Championship Game

Note: UAB head coach Bill Clark retired due to health issues this Summer, and offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent has been named interim head coach.

Coming tomorrow: The Mid-American Conference

August 8, 2022

The PiRates Are Leaving The Port For 2022-23

It’s Football Time In Tennessee! Actually it’s football time everywhere, but when you live in the Volunteer State and spent 30+ years listening to the radio play-by-play GOAT, John Ward, say that phrase 11 or 12 times a season, it becomes the adrenaline boosting tagline to put one in the mood for “THE SPORT” that matters.

College football as we know it has reached the dawn of evolutionary change. Massive restructuring of the game is forthcoming, and some of that change will be apparent this season, as the Sun Belt Conference has more teams at the expense of Conference USA. With Texas and Oklahoma possibly becoming SEC members as early as next season, and USC and UCLA making the move to the Big Ten, there are a couple more major dominoes that could fall and send the conventional football alignment falling en masse.

I have tried to stay in the loop with more than a dozen insider contacts developed from my years in sports journalism in radio, TV, and in print. There are many differing opinions about what could happen and what they have heard is in the works. However, nearly every one of them agree on one thing: everything is in a holding pattern concerning the move beyond 16 teams in the Big Ten and SEC, until Notre Dame learns what their potential media contract will be and what the Big Ten media contract will be.

Notre Dame is getting $22 million from NBC and $12 million from the ACC. Next year, the final year of that contract with NBC, it will rise by $2.5 million. The Big Ten is being rumored to distribute possibly $1.2 billion in media revenue share. Notre Dame is seeking $75 million a year from NBC to renew the contract. If the offer is not in that ballpark, the Irish are likely to bite the bullet and join the Big Ten. One or two Southern insiders believes Notre Dame has not completely eliminated the possibility of seeking SEC membership, but my Midwest contacts say that their fan base will demand Big Ten membership so that travel will be minimized.

Let me address something else that has come to my attention. In various ways, I receive comments from others asking what I think about the big conferences forcing the small private schools out of their leagues. It usually goes something like, “Why does the SEC allow Vanderbilt to remain in the conference, when they sponge millions of dollars and don’t contribute much to the total pot?”

Three private schools have departed the SEC through the last eight decades. Sewanee, Georgia Tech, and Tulane left on their own account. Tech and Tulane would gladly return to the league today if they could. Vandy is not leaving the SEC, and the SEC is not kicking the Commodores out either. Even though all this realignment and expansion is 100% about football, and Vanderbilt football is basically a perpetual expansion team, their value to the conference comes in multiple essential ways. First, the league now considers Nashville their most essential city in their footprint. The 2023 Football Media Days will relocate from Atlanta to the Music City. The league’s annual postseason men’s basketball tournament is under contract for Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for many years to come. Yes, the Tennessee Vols are the top college team in the city, but Knoxville is 185 miles to the east.

There is another major reason that every conference wants to have a private school as a member. When every conference member is a public institution, then the entire league is subject to open records laws. With just one private school in the league, that school closes those records. The SEC isn’t going to give up their covert operating methods.

Now for the real reason that 99% of you come to this site to read. Beginning Tuesday, August 9, 2022, the annual PiRate Ratings’ Conference Previews will begin posting here one league at a time, debuting in order of lowest-ranked conference to highest-ranked conference.

Here is the schedule for each preview:

August 9: Conference USA

August 10: Mid-American Conference

August 11: Sun Belt Conference

August 12: Mountain West Conference

August 13: FBS Independents

August 14: American Athletic Conference

August 15: Pac-12 Conference

August 16: Atlantic Coast Conference

August 17: Big 12 Conference

August 18: Big Ten Conference

August 19: Southeastern Conference

July 18, 2022

PiRate College Football Game Debuts

After months of planning and design, the makers of the PiRate Ratings have created a college football game that can be played by one person in solitaire mode or by two people in head-to-head mode. All teams have been designed to perform as they did in real life using the PiRate Ratings’ Strength of Schedule formula to adjust their statistics to account for quality of opposition.

If you played the Sports Illustrated and Avalon Hill games of Bowl Bound and Pay Dirt, you will find this game a little more strategically involved while a little easier to play, as it used standard dice to see the results.

For the low price of $8, we will send you a zip file with all the charts, rules, and a scoreboard and numbers that you can print out to keep track of the action. We also send you a blank statistics sheet so you can record the action for posterity.

All you need are the dice, or to use one of many different free online dice rollers available online.

Go to to purchase.

Our debut college game is the 1960-1979 Best of the Big Ten Conference. Here are the teams included in this set.

1963 Illinois–The greatest linebacker of all time, Dick Butkus, played center as well and made All-American with a powerful team

1967 Indiana–One of the most exciting teams of all time, the “Cardiac Kids” kept pulling out late victories week after week until they won a trip to the Rose Bowl

1960 Iowa–Some computer formulas say the Hawkeyes were the best team in the nation, as they beat 7 ranked teams and finished 8-1

1973 Michigan–Bo Schembechler’s Wolverines went 10-0-1 but had to stay home for the Holidays thanks to the archaic Big Ten rules of the time

1966 Michigan St.–Duffy Daugherty stockpiled some of the best talent ever to appear on a Big Ten campus at the same time. Bubba Smith anchored a stellar defense, while Gene Washington stretched defenses with his quickness and deceptive moves

1960 Minnesota–Coach Murray Warmath played for General Robert Neyland at Tennessee and continued to follow the General’s philosophy of playing conservative football and waiting for the other team to make the mistakes. He had a great squad in 1960, featuring the multi-tooled Sandy Stephens, who was the starting quarterback, a starting defensive back, the team’s punter, and the top punt returner. Future All-Pro Bobby Bell led the defensive charge and also opened up running lanes as an offensive lineman

1962 Northwestern–Before he became a multiple national championship winning coach at Notre Dame, Ara Parseghian took the Wildcat to Number 1 in the polls for a couple weeks in 1962

1973 Ohio State–Woody Hayes had no trouble stockpiling talent, and he had it on both sides of the ball in 1973, as the Buckeyes went 10-0-1 with a 21-point win in the Rose Bowl

1967 Purdue–The Boilermakers split the conference championship, as Leroy Keyes may have deserved the Heisman Trophy with his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, run the sweep and off-tackle as competently as anybody in the game, and to pull up and throw a halfback option pass like a pro. Having future pro quarterback Mike Phipps made the offense click

1962 Wisconsin-The Badgers came within one close incomplete pass of coming back from a 42-14 deficit to win the Rose Bowl

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