The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 29, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Football Forecast for August 31-September 3, 2017

This Week’s College Football Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Alabama (N) Florida St. 6.6 3.8 6.3
Arizona St. New Mexico St. 23.0 25.7 22.8
Auburn Georgia Southern 46.7 42.9 47.2
Boise St. Troy St. 8.3 6.2 8.2
Central Florida Florida Intl. 17.1 19.6 16.6
Clemson Kent 48.3 42.9 46.2
Coastal Carolina Massachusetts -10.5 -7.8 -8.4
Colorado Colorado St. 9.4 8.3 7.0
Eastern Mich. Charlotte 22.1 18.5 21.7
Florida (N) Michigan -1.1 -1.0 -0.8
Florida Atlantic Navy -12.5 -9.8 -11.1
Georgia Appalachian St. 19.6 23.9 19.1
Georgia Tech Tennessee 4.8 3.9 4.8
Illinois Ball St. 14.4 14.0 11.2
Indiana Ohio St. -25.1 -21.6 -23.9
Iowa Wyoming 16.2 18.4 17.1
LSU (N) BYU 20.5 19.8 20.6
Marshall Miami (Ohio) -9.4 -9.8 -11.1
Memphis Louisiana-Monroe 30.8 28.9 33.3
Michigan St. Bowling Green 16.0 20.5 14.9
Middle Tenn. Vanderbilt -17.7 -14.9 -15.8
Minnesota Buffalo 30.6 26.1 28.4
Mississippi South Alabama 26.8 22.4 22.0
NC St. (N) South Carolina 8.8 8.4 9.3
Nebraska Arkansas St. 19.4 19.2 17.0
North Carolina California 16.1 17.1 16.6
Northern Ill. Boston College -13.3 -14.1 -12.6
Northwestern Nevada 34.5 28.0 31.8
Notre Dame Temple 15.7 13.1 15.3
Oklahoma UTEP 52.6 46.1 52.3
Oklahoma St. Tulsa 14.5 14.5 16.1
Penn St. Akron 43.6 36.7 43.9
Purdue (N) Louisville -22.0 -18.5 -21.7
Rutgers Washington -29.9 -25.5 -31.8
Southern Miss. Kentucky -24.5 -21.2 -24.1
Texas Maryland 14.0 12.3 14.3
Texas-San Antonio Houston -10.3 -7.3 -8.0
UCLA Texas A&M 4.0 5.5 4.8
USC Western Mich. 22.4 25.8 21.1
Virginia Tech West Va. 9.0 7.5 9.6
Wisconsin Utah St. 37.6 34.4 36.9

(N) means neutral site game

We’ve had a small appetizer of college football games, and the first main course shall be served over the course of five days, commencing with a couple of choice morsels Thursday night. The PiRates will be focused on these games this weekend.

Ohio State at Indiana–It is rare for Big Ten teams to open with a conference game. This one should be a tad more interesting than it looks on the surface. Indiana released former head coach Kevin Wilson from his contract last year (actually a forced resignation), due to an issue with a player with more than an injured back who was told to keep playing.  Wilson didn’t wait long to have a new job. He is now the offensive coordinator at ….. Ohio State! Add Wilson’s chip on his shoulder to Coach Urban Meyer’s boulder chip on his shoulder from his Buckeyes’ being shut out by Clemson in the Playoff Semifinals, and Ohio State will most likely do everything it can to run the score up on IU. It is not supposed to matter, but if the Buckeyes win this game 63-0, the pollsters will immediately overreact and move them up in the polls, maybe up to number one.

Tulsa at Oklahoma State–Are the Cowboys strong enough to challenge rival Oklahoma and compete for the Big 12 Championship? This might be the best Oklahoma State team since the 2011 team came within an upset loss to Iowa State from playing for all the marbles. Tulsa might be a little better than the 10-3 team of last year, possibly the Golden Hurricane’s best team since maybe 1982 and definitely as good as recent dominant TU teams in this century. A close game doesn’t necessarily mean that Oklahoma State isn’t a playoff contender. This game could be rather close for quite a long time.

Colorado vs. Colorado State (in Denver)–The Rams’ offense looked lethal against Oregon State, and a team usually improves the most in the week between game one and game two. CU does benefit from having 2017 game film on CSU, but this advantage does not offset the one game of experience that the Rams have. If CSU pulls off the mild upset, the Rams could be in line to become the top Group of 5 contender for the New Year’s 6 Bowl tie-in. This just might be the actual best game of the week, but few people will watch this one outside the Centennial State.

Maryland at Texas–Tom Herman makes his debut in Austin, and the Longhorn faithful believe the days of wine and roses will return sooner rather than later. Maryland will not back down and be easy fodder for the Longhorns, and there is an extra factor in this game that could lead to a lower than expected game score. Who better to know the weaknesses of the Urban Meyer-style spread offense than somebody that was a defensive assistant under Meyer? In this game, former offensive coordinator Herman will lead UT against former Meyer defensive assistant D. J. Durkin, the head coach on the opposite sideline. This game becomes a real life chess match worth watching.

Wyoming at Iowa–Okay, you may not be all that excited about this game, but we are. First and foremost, some of the PiRates have a love and affinity for the Western part of this nation’s flyover real estate, Iowa and Wyoming included. Also, we are big time supporters of Cowboy coach Craig Bohl and Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz. These two gentlemen know their stuff, and their teams have an incredible grasp of the fundamentals and the “little things”. These two teams may win games in ways that are not easily seen in the box score. We look for this one to be nip and tuck, and it would not shock us if the visitors from Laramie pulled off the upset.

South Carolina vs. North Carolina State (in Charlotte)–The ACC has the small advantage over the SEC these days. The Wolf Pack appear to be primed to challenge Louisville for third best in the ACC Atlantic and maybe even become a dark horse contender for the division flag, while the Gamecocks are on the cusp but not yet playing like a challenger, even in the parity known as the SEC East. Our opinion on this one is that NCSU should win by more than a touchdown if not more than two. However, this should become a shootout, as South Carolin’a offense should annex a lot of territory in this game.

Florida vs. Michigan (in Arlington, TX)–We have been flip-flopping on this game since June. At first, we believed that Michigan could be in danger of falling back to 6-6 or even 5-7, while we believed that Florida was like a snake in high grass waiting to pounce on all the mice in their division of their league. Then, after looking at returning depth and experience, it appeared to us that Michigan had a lot of experienced backups who, with a year of seasoning, could be rather competent regulars in 2017. We were concerned about the Florida quarterback situation, and then Coach Jim McElwain secured the signature of former Notre Dame starter Malik Zaire. It tilted the needle over to the Gator side, but then McElwain was forced to suspend star receiver Antonio Callaway and a half dozen other players for this game. Callaway may have been the one piece in the puzzle that Michigan would have found no real answer in stopping. Now, the needle tilts toward the Maize and Blue. By the way, Michigan will wear maize-colored jerseys in this game, something they have not done in 89 years.

Alabama vs. Florida State (in Atlanta)–Obviously, this is the top game of the week and maybe the top game of the regular season. There are so many layers to peel off in this preview, more than we have space to devote to it. In an abridged version, can Florida State’s offensive line protect quarterback Deondre Francois long enough for him to find a group of raw receivers? Frnacois spent too much time with his back on the turf in 2016, and it will take a major improvement on the Seminoles part to hold off stars like Da’Ron Payne and get past the Crimson Tide trench to linebackers the quality of Rashaan Evans and Shaun Dion Hamilton. On the other side of the ball, Alabama cannot get by predominantly on a power running game. Jalen Hurts has the talent to throw for 200+ yards in this game. This game brings back memories of 50 years ago, when Alabama returned almost their entire two-deep from a defense that gave up 44 points in 11 games the year before and returned Ken Stabler from an offense that scored more than 27 points a game. The Tide were 20+ point favorites in this game and was lucky to escape with a 37-37 tie. Notably, in this game the great Bear Bryant was equipped with a microphone. There were issues with the scoreboard, and late in the game, Bryant was overheard on the mic saying, “What the H is the score any way?”

Texas A&M at UCLA–The losing team’s coach will sit on a seat that is about 10 degrees warmer Monday than it is now. Texas A&M has enough talent to compete for third in the SEC West and challenge for a 10-win season, but the Aggies looked as strong last year as well. After TAMU began the season 6-0, the team collapsed, finishing 2-5. The defense wore down after the overtime win over Tennessee, and the Aggies two wins after that big game came against New Mexico State and UT-San Antonio. UCLA struggled after quarterback Josh Rosen exited with a shoulder injury. However, the Bruins were just 3-2 prior to the injury in the Arizona State game, so Coach Jim Mora, Jr. overhauled the Bruin offense in the off-season and made numerous changes to his offensive coaching assistants. The Bruins also must rebuild a good bit on the defensive side of the ball, so the offense better gel quickly. So, don’t go up to the junior Mora and ask if his team can still make the playoffs this year.

There are a host of additional games on this week’s schedule that hold some bit of unique interest. Those games include:

FIU at Central Florida–Butch Davis returns to the sidelines for FIU and has enough talent to surprise in 2017. UCF believes they can challenge rival USF in the East.

Navy at FAU–Lane Kiffin’s debut with the Owls against the tricky triple option offense of Navy makes this one look like a track meet. It wouldn’t surprise us if more than 75 total points are scored in this one.

Temple at Notre Dame–The Owls begin life without Coach Matt Rhule. New head man Geoff Collins faces a total rebuild in Philly, while Notre Dame looks to recover from a poor 2016 season with a half-dozen new assistants.

Troy at Boise State–We have an eye on Boise at the start of the season. Boise State could be at a crossroads, where their dynasty seasons could be over. Then again, this could also be the low-point of a major rebuild. Troy was down for a few years, but the Trojans returned to Sun Belt fame last year with a 10-3 season and co-championship. It won’t get the headlines that the big games receive, but this game should be an excellent contest.

Kentucky at Southern Mississippi–Last year Southern Miss pulled off an incredible upset at Kentucky to begin the 2016 season, and it looked like Mark Stoops was in a bit of trouble in Lexington. However, the Wildcats turned things around to win seven games that included a trip to the Taxslayer Bowl. Now, there are football experts that believe Kentucky can compete for the 2017 SEC East title. The Blue and White return the bulk of an offense that averaged 30 points and 420 yards per game, while the defense should be a little better than last year. Southern Miss is not as strong as last year, but still good enough to knock off UK in Hattiesburg, especially if the expected rain makes this game sloppy.

Appalachian State at Georgia–Appy State came close to upsetting Tennessee in Knoxville to begin the 2016 season. Can the Mountaineers go down between the hedges and make like miserable for the Bulldogs? Georgia’s defense should control this game, holding ASU to about 200-250 total yards, while the offense may not be flashy, but should produce 200 rushing yards. If Georgia wins by less than 17 points, it will be cause for concern. We will look at all the SEC East teams carefully this week to see if one or two emerge as the true top squads.

Houston at UT-San Antonio–UTSA is a contender in the West Division of CUSA, and in a normal week, the Roadrunners would be expected to make this a close game. Houston must play this one with little practice thanks to Hurricane Harvey, and it is Major Applewhite’s debut with the Cougars. This will be interesting to see how much lost preparation hurts UH.

Georgia Southern at Auburn–We don’t expect this game to be close. It could easily be 21-0 in the first quarter. What we are looking for in this one is how well Tiger quarterback Jarrett Stidham runs Gus Malzahn’s offense. If Stidham replicates the stats from his last three FBS games (2015 against Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State), then watch out, because this Auburn team just might be good enough to go to the 2017-18 playoffs. Stidham’s stat line in those three games was 51-81-2 for 934 yards and 6 TDs. If he averages 11.5 yards per pass attempt for Auburn, then even Alabama better beware.

Purdue vs. Louisville (in Indianapolis)–This game features Jeff Brohm making his Boilermaker coaching Purdue against former mentor Bobby Petrino and some QB named Lamar Jackson, who owns some trophy he received from the Downtown Athletic Club in Manhattan named for former coach John Heisman. It would not be shocking if UL won this one by a score similar to 62-24, but what makes this game interesting is to see how a Big Ten team looks running a spread passing game.

South Alabama at Ole Miss–South Alabama upset Mississippi State and San Diego State last year, two teams that played in bowls. So, it would not be a big shock if the Jaguars won in Oxford. However, if USA wins, the blame will be on Ole Miss and interim coach Matt Luke rather than on the performance. Luke is most likely in a position where he has little chance of keeping the job full time, even though he deserves a head coaching job. It would not surprise us if a big name coach was patrolling the home team sidelines at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium next year.

LSU vs. BYU (in New Orleans)–This game was moved from Houston to New Orleans due to the hurricane. It gives the Tigers a tiny bit more advantage, but we didn’t think this game would be all that close in Houston. BYU has a game under its belt, and the Cougars did not show their entire arsenal. What they showed was only adequate at best. This game takes on added interest not because of the weather, but because whether Ed Orgeron can prove that the removing of the interim label was the right move in Baton Rouge. LSU has a considerable amount of talent, just behind Alabama and Auburn and as much as Texas A&M. The Tigers have a chance to win 10 games this year, but there is always that bit of doubt about a new coach. Orgeron has done well as the interim at USC and LSU, but his tenure as head coach at Ole Miss was a major disappointment.

Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee–Both Nashville-area teams played in bowls last year, and this game has become quite the local rivalry. MTSU has one of the top quarterbacks in the Group of 5, who happens to be the coach’s son. Brent Stockstill will draw NFL scouts to Murfreesboro this year, as the Blue Raiders look to have a potent offense capable of putting up 40 points and 500 yards per game. On the other side of the field, Derek Mason has begun to make Vanderbilt look more like Stanford East. The only ingredient missing in recent years has been the most important spot–at quarterback. Now, Vanderbilt has a competent passer, who while not another Andrew Luck or even Keller Chryst, he is competent enough to lead Vanderbilt to the cusp of division contention. Kyle Shurmur, son of Minnesota Viking OC Pat Shurmur, may have the knowledge of the game that a typical NFL quarterback may have. If he can show a bit more arm strength and a slightly quicker release, Vanderbilt’s offense will begin to look like Stanford’s, as the Commodored already have a strong running game and a stingy defense. If MTSU wins this game, then Syracuse and Minnesota will take notice, as the Blue Raiders will be capable of starting 3-0 against FBS competition. If Vanderbilt wins this game, then Kansas State needs to take note, because the Commodores will be 2-0 when the Wildcats come to the Music City on September 16.

Tennessee at Georgia Tech (in Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta)–Volunteer coach Butch Jones knows that he must win and win big in 2017, or else he will have a garage sale in January, where he disposes of a lot of orange-colored clothing and accessories. Tennessee was a disappointing 9-4 team last year and must try to improve with an unproven quarterback, something that usually only works if said raw QB wears crimson-colored clothing. Georgia Tech has an experienced offensive line returning to block for the spread option offense. Usually, if an offensive line is as experienced as the Techsters, the offense automatically improves some from the previous season. However, in this offense, the experience of the quarterback is much more important than the line, because in many cases the key defender at the point of attack is not blocked at all. Hence, the QB reads the defense and options off the reaction of the key defender. Coach Paul Johnson has not officially named his starting quarterback, but we think it will be former slot back TaQuon Marshall. The ultra-quick Marshall has the potential to be a great option quarterback, but getting his Baptism under orange fire is not the ideal way to begin a career. If Johnson goes with last year’s backup Matthew Jordan, then Tennessee’s defense should be good enough to hold the Yellow Jackets under 21 points. This is good, because the Vols may struggle on offense in September.

Note–Ratings and Bowl Projections return next week, as we did not update them after the small sampling of games last week.

Money Line Parlays makes its seasonal debut Thursday morning, August 31, 2017.

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August 24, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Football Forecast for August 26, 2017

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 6:19 am

It’s here!  We hope you enjoyed a nice summer.  It’s football time in America once again.  Yes, in just two days, five college football games will dot the abbreviated schedule, including a game in Sydney, Australia.

For those new to this online establishment, the PiRates have been issuing ratings since 1969, when the Captain was a little buccaneer.  The ratings have been refined through the years, and in its current form, they look beyond the score of the game.  Our ratings rely on a perusal of the play-by-play data of the games, when the scores took place, how many yards were gained by each team, turnovers, and other odds and sods.  Two teams favored by 7 points over their opponents could both win their games 42-24, and they could mean two different things.  One team might have led 42-7 midway through the third quarter and allowed 17 points with their reserves.  The other team might have led 28-24 with 6 minutes to go in the game, and then the trailing team gave up a pick six and a fumble at their own 15 yard line to give up two late scores.  The former team could have won 70-7 if they had not let off the gas pedal, while the latter team might have lost the game had the turnovers not occurred.

Also, we factor in depth all through the season, underclassmen that contribute unexpectedly, and other factors that might affect a game score.  Additionally, our home field advantages are not fluid.  If North Carolina hosts Wake Forest, the home field advantage will be less than if North Carolina hosts Oregon State.  In some instances, the visiting team brings along an away from home field disadvantage.

We have three predictive ratings–PiRate, Mean, and Bias.  We also have retrodictive ratings that look only at past results and try to rank teams the way the polls should rank them.  At the beginning of the season, these retrodictive ratings have a rather high standard deviation, so we normalize them a bit with our predictive ratings.  By mid-October, these ratings are 100% retrodictive.

Let’s take a look at our Predictive Ratings for the 130 FBS schools.

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 133.4 128.6 132.4 131.5
2 Ohio St. 132.3 129.1 131.3 130.9
3 Washington 129.3 125.1 130.3 128.2
4 Clemson 128.4 124.6 127.5 126.8
5 Florida St. 126.8 124.8 126.1 125.9
6 Penn St. 125.3 122.6 125.8 124.6
7 Oklahoma 123.8 121.8 124.8 123.5
8 Auburn 124.0 121.9 123.9 123.3
9 U S C 120.4 120.1 120.8 120.4
10 Wisconsin 122.2 118.0 120.7 120.3
11 L S U 120.3 118.5 121.0 119.9
12 Oklahoma St. 118.2 117.0 119.8 118.3
13 Washington St. 119.4 116.1 118.6 118.0
14 Miami 118.6 116.2 117.7 117.5
15 Stanford 118.5 116.2 117.1 117.3
16 Georgia 116.3 117.6 116.4 116.8
17 Virginia Tech 116.6 116.2 117.0 116.6
18 Louisville 116.6 115.7 117.0 116.4
19 Michigan 116.5 115.7 115.5 115.9
20 N. Carolina St. 115.2 114.5 114.9 114.9
21 Florida 115.3 114.6 114.6 114.8
22 Kansas St. 113.9 113.4 114.3 113.9
23 Northwestern 113.9 111.3 113.5 112.9
24 Texas 112.2 113.0 112.4 112.6
25 Colorado 114.1 111.5 111.8 112.4
26 Georgia Tech 113.2 110.5 111.3 111.7
27 Iowa 111.6 111.2 111.3 111.4
28 Kentucky 111.7 110.2 111.2 111.0
29 South Florida 111.1 109.0 112.3 110.8
30 T C U 111.4 108.6 111.1 110.3
31 Tennessee 111.4 109.6 109.5 110.2
32 Arkansas 109.5 109.1 109.5 109.4
33 Vanderbilt 110.2 108.5 109.2 109.3
34 Syracuse 110.3 108.1 109.3 109.2
35 Oregon 110.6 107.2 109.6 109.1
36 Notre Dame 109.7 107.8 109.6 109.0
37 N. Carolina 109.9 108.4 108.3 108.9
38 Pittsburgh 108.8 108.8 108.0 108.5
39 U C L A 108.6 107.7 108.0 108.1
40 West Virginia 107.7 108.8 107.5 108.0
41 Memphis 107.4 106.1 108.1 107.2
42 Ole Miss 107.6 106.2 106.0 106.6
43 Minnesota 106.8 106.3 106.5 106.5
44 Utah 105.4 108.1 105.6 106.4
45 Texas A&M 107.6 105.2 106.2 106.3
46 S. Carolina 106.4 106.1 105.6 106.0
47 Duke 106.3 105.1 104.9 105.4
48 Nebraska 104.7 106.3 104.0 105.0
49 Tulsa 105.3 104.1 105.3 104.9
50 Mississippi St. 104.4 105.1 104.6 104.7
51 Baylor 103.9 106.4 103.8 104.7
52 Indiana 104.3 104.6 104.5 104.5
53 Houston 104.1 102.9 104.0 103.7
54 Arizona St. 103.7 103.7 102.5 103.3
55 Missouri 104.7 101.3 103.4 103.1
56 B Y U 103.0 101.9 103.6 102.8
57 Maryland 101.8 104.3 101.7 102.6
58 Wake Forest 102.7 102.2 102.0 102.3
59 Boston Coll. 102.0 102.9 101.5 102.1
60 Oregon St. 102.5 101.7 101.1 101.8
61 Iowa State 101.0 102.4 101.7 101.7
62 Western Michigan 102.1 98.4 103.8 101.4
63 Colo. State 101.3 100.5 101.2 101.0
64 Texas Tech 101.3 101.0 100.1 100.8
65 San Diego St. 99.7 100.7 101.3 100.6
66 Central Florida 99.1 101.5 99.8 100.2
67 Toledo 99.3 99.1 100.9 99.8
68 W. Kentucky 99.8 97.3 101.6 99.6
69 Virginia 98.7 98.8 99.7 99.1
70 Appalachian St. 99.8 96.8 100.4 99.0
71 Navy 98.0 98.9 97.7 98.2
72 Temple 97.5 98.2 97.8 97.8
73 Wyoming 99.0 96.4 97.8 97.7
74 Boise St. 98.4 96.6 97.6 97.5
75 Arizona 98.3 97.1 95.9 97.1
76 Michigan St. 95.4 100.1 95.6 97.0
77 SMU 96.3 96.6 96.7 96.5
78 California 97.8 95.3 95.7 96.3
79 Miami (O) 94.3 96.6 96.8 95.9
80 Purdue 94.7 97.3 95.4 95.8
81 Rutgers 95.5 95.7 94.6 95.3
82 Army 94.6 94.2 95.5 94.8
83 Tulane 93.9 94.3 94.3 94.2
84 Troy 94.1 94.4 93.4 94.0
85 Eastern Michigan 93.5 93.1 93.6 93.4
86 New Mexico 92.8 93.3 93.7 93.3
87 U T S A 91.3 93.1 93.5 92.6
88 Old Dominion 90.9 93.9 91.4 92.1
89 Kansas 91.0 94.4 90.3 91.9
90 Air Force 91.5 92.2 91.8 91.8
91 Cincinnati 90.2 93.0 91.7 91.6
92 Ohio U 90.3 92.0 91.2 91.2
93 Middle Tennessee 90.5 91.6 91.4 91.2
94 Louisiana Tech 90.2 92.0 91.1 91.1
95 Central Michigan 90.4 90.6 90.8 90.6
96 Illinois 90.1 92.0 88.4 90.2
97 Arkansas St. 88.3 90.1 90.0 89.5
98 Hawaii 88.8 90.8 88.6 89.4
99 East Carolina 88.3 89.6 88.3 88.7
100 Connecticut 87.4 90.6 88.0 88.7
101 Idaho 86.4 89.1 87.2 87.5
102 Utah St. 87.7 86.7 86.9 87.1
103 U N L V 85.3 88.5 85.7 86.5
104 Georgia St. 86.3 85.5 86.2 86.0
105 Northern Illinois 85.7 85.8 85.9 85.8
106 Akron 84.3 88.5 84.5 85.8
107 San Jose St. 86.2 85.5 85.5 85.7
108 UL-Lafayette 84.9 86.8 84.7 85.5
109 Massachusetts 86.0 84.4 86.0 85.5
110 Fresno St. 85.6 84.2 85.7 85.2
111 Nevada 83.0 86.9 85.3 85.0
112 S. Alabama 83.8 86.8 84.0 84.9
113 Southern Miss. 84.3 86.1 84.2 84.8
114 Kent St. 83.7 85.3 84.9 84.6
115 Florida Int’l. 84.0 83.9 85.2 84.4
116 Florida Atlantic 82.5 86.1 83.6 84.1
117 N. Mexico St. 84.2 81.5 83.2 83.0
118 Bowling Green 82.4 82.6 83.7 82.9
119 Marshall 81.9 83.8 82.7 82.8
120 Buffalo 79.7 83.7 81.6 81.7
121 N. Texas 80.5 82.1 80.4 81.0
122 Georgia Southern 80.4 82.1 79.8 80.8
123 Rice 80.1 81.0 80.8 80.6
124 Ball St. 78.2 80.5 79.7 79.5
125 UL-Monroe 79.6 80.2 77.8 79.2
126 U T E P 74.8 79.3 76.1 76.8
127 Charlotte 74.4 77.6 74.9 75.6
128 Coastal Carolina 72.1 73.5 73.9 73.2
129 Texas St. 70.7 74.7 69.4 71.6
130 UAB 63.7 69.2 65.9 66.3

Here are the predictive ratings by conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 111.1 109.0 112.3 110.8
Central Florida 99.1 101.5 99.8 100.2
Temple 97.5 98.2 97.8 97.8
Cincinnati 90.2 93.0 91.7 91.6
East Carolina 88.3 89.6 88.3 88.7
Connecticut 87.4 90.6 88.0 88.7
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Memphis 107.4 106.1 108.1 107.2
Tulsa 105.3 104.1 105.3 104.9
Houston 104.1 102.9 104.0 103.7
Navy 98.0 98.9 97.7 98.2
SMU 96.3 96.6 96.7 96.5
Tulane 93.9 94.3 94.3 94.2
         
AAC Averages   98.7 98.7 98.5
         
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 128.4 124.6 127.5 126.8
Florida St. 126.8 124.8 126.1 125.9
Louisville 116.6 115.7 117.0 116.4
N. Carolina St. 115.2 114.5 114.9 114.9
Syracuse 110.3 108.1 109.3 109.2
Wake Forest 102.7 102.2 102.0 102.3
Boston College 102.0 102.9 101.5 102.1
         
Coastal Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Miami 118.6 116.2 117.7 117.5
Virginia Tech 116.6 116.2 117.0 116.6
Georgia Tech 113.2 110.5 111.3 111.7
N. Carolina 109.9 108.4 108.3 108.9
Pittsburgh 108.8 108.8 108.0 108.5
Duke 106.3 105.1 104.9 105.4
Virginia 98.7 98.8 99.7 99.1
         
ACC Averages 112.4 111.2 111.8 111.8
         
Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 123.8 121.8 124.8 123.5
Oklahoma St. 118.2 117.0 119.8 118.3
Kansas St. 113.9 113.4 114.3 113.9
Texas 112.2 113.0 112.4 112.6
T C U 111.4 108.6 111.1 110.3
West Virginia 107.7 108.8 107.5 108.0
Baylor 103.9 106.4 103.8 104.7
Iowa State 101.0 102.4 101.7 101.7
Texas Tech 101.3 101.0 100.1 100.8
Kansas 91.0 94.4 90.3 91.9
         
Big 12 Averages 108.4 108.7 108.6 108.6
         
Big Ten Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 132.3 129.1 131.3 130.9
Penn St. 125.3 122.6 125.8 124.6
Michigan 116.5 115.7 115.5 115.9
Indiana 104.3 104.6 104.5 104.5
Maryland 101.8 104.3 101.7 102.6
Michigan St. 95.4 100.1 95.6 97.0
Rutgers 95.5 95.7 94.6 95.3
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Wisconsin 122.2 118.0 120.7 120.3
Northwestern 113.9 111.3 113.5 112.9
Iowa 111.6 111.2 111.3 111.4
Minnesota 106.8 106.3 106.5 106.5
Nebraska 104.7 106.3 104.0 105.0
Purdue 94.7 97.3 95.4 95.8
Illinois 90.1 92.0 88.4 90.2
         
Big Ten Averages 108.2 108.2 107.8 108.1
         
Conference USA
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
W. Kentucky 99.8 97.3 101.6 99.6
Old Dominion 90.9 93.9 91.4 92.1
Middle Tennessee 90.5 91.6 91.4 91.2
Florida Int’l. 84.0 83.9 85.2 84.4
Florida Atlantic 82.5 86.1 83.6 84.1
Marshall 81.9 83.8 82.7 82.8
Charlotte 74.4 77.6 74.9 75.6
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
U T S A 91.3 93.1 93.5 92.6
Louisiana Tech 90.2 92.0 91.1 91.1
Southern Miss. 84.3 86.1 84.2 84.8
N. Texas 80.5 82.1 80.4 81.0
Rice 80.1 81.0 80.8 80.6
U T E P 74.8 79.3 76.1 76.8
UAB 63.7 69.2 65.9 66.3
         
CUSA Averages 89.9 92.1 91.0 91.0
         
Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame 109.7 107.8 109.6 109.0
B Y U 103.0 101.9 103.6 102.8
Army 94.6 94.2 95.5 94.8
Massachusetts 86.0 84.4 86.0 85.5
         
Independents Averages 98.3 97.1 98.7 98.0
         
Mid-American Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Miami (O) 94.3 96.6 96.8 95.9
Ohio U 90.3 92.0 91.2 91.2
Akron 84.3 88.5 84.5 85.8
Kent St. 83.7 85.3 84.9 84.6
Bowling Green 82.4 82.6 83.7 82.9
Buffalo 79.7 83.7 81.6 81.7
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Michigan 102.1 98.4 103.8 101.4
Toledo 99.3 99.1 100.9 99.8
Eastern Michigan 93.5 93.1 93.6 93.4
Central Michigan 90.4 90.6 90.8 90.6
Northern Illinois 85.7 85.8 85.9 85.8
Ball St. 78.2 80.5 79.7 79.5
         
MAC Averages 88.7 89.7 89.8 89.4
         
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Colo. State 101.3 100.5 101.2 101.0
Wyoming 99.0 96.4 97.8 97.7
Boise St. 98.4 96.6 97.6 97.5
New Mexico 92.8 93.3 93.7 93.3
Air Force 91.5 92.2 91.8 91.8
Utah St. 87.7 86.7 86.9 87.1
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 99.7 100.7 101.3 100.6
Hawaii 88.8 90.8 88.6 89.4
U N L V 85.3 88.5 85.7 86.5
San Jose St. 86.2 85.5 85.5 85.7
Fresno St. 85.6 84.2 85.7 85.2
Nevada 83.0 86.9 85.3 85.0
         
MWC Averages 91.6 91.9 91.8 91.7
         
Pac-12 Conference
North Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Washington 129.3 125.1 130.3 128.2
Washington St. 119.4 116.1 118.6 118.0
Stanford 118.5 116.2 117.1 117.3
Oregon 110.6 107.2 109.6 109.1
Oregon St. 102.5 101.7 101.1 101.8
California 97.8 95.3 95.7 96.3
         
South Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
U S C 120.4 120.1 120.8 120.4
Colorado 114.1 111.5 111.8 112.4
U C L A 108.6 107.7 108.0 108.1
Utah 105.4 108.1 105.6 106.4
Arizona St. 103.7 103.7 102.5 103.3
Arizona 98.3 97.1 95.9 97.1
         
Pac-12 Averages 110.7 109.1 109.8 109.9
         
Southeastern Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Georgia 116.3 117.6 116.4 116.8
Florida 115.3 114.6 114.6 114.8
Kentucky 111.7 110.2 111.2 111.0
Tennessee 111.4 109.6 109.5 110.2
Vanderbilt 110.2 108.5 109.2 109.3
S. Carolina 106.4 106.1 105.6 106.0
Missouri 104.7 101.3 103.4 103.1
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 133.4 128.6 132.4 131.5
Auburn 124.0 121.9 123.9 123.3
L S U 120.3 118.5 121.0 119.9
Arkansas 109.5 109.1 109.5 109.4
Ole Miss 107.6 106.2 106.0 106.6
Texas A&M 107.6 105.2 106.2 106.3
Mississippi St. 104.4 105.1 104.6 104.7
         
SEC Averages 113.1 111.6 112.4 112.4
         
Sunbelt Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 99.8 96.8 100.4 99.0
Troy 94.1 94.4 93.4 94.0
Arkansas St. 88.3 90.1 90.0 89.5
Idaho 86.4 89.1 87.2 87.5
Georgia St. 86.3 85.5 86.2 86.0
UL-Lafayette 84.9 86.8 84.7 85.5
S. Alabama 83.8 86.8 84.0 84.9
N. Mexico St. 84.2 81.5 83.2 83.0
Georgia Southern 80.4 82.1 79.8 80.8
UL-Monroe 79.6 80.2 77.8 79.2
Coastal Carolina 72.1 73.5 73.9 73.2
Texas St. 70.7 74.7 69.4 71.6
         
Sun Belt Averages 84.2 85.1 84.2 84.5

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC Averages 113.1 111.6 112.4 112.4
2 ACC Averages 112.4 111.2 111.8 111.8
3 Pac-12 Averages 110.7 109.1 109.8 109.9
4 Big 12 Averages 108.4 108.7 108.6 108.6
5 Big Ten Averages 108.2 108.2 107.8 108.1
6 AAC Averages 98.2 98.7 98.7 98.5
7 Independents Averages 98.3 97.1 98.7 98.0
8 MWC Averages 91.6 91.9 91.8 91.7
9 CUSA Averages 89.9 92.1 91.0 91.0
10 MAC Averages 88.7 89.7 89.8 89.4
11 Sun Belt Averages 84.2 85.1 84.2 84.5

 

PiRate Retrodictive
# Team
1 Alabama
2 Ohio St.
3 Florida St.
4 Clemson
5 Washington
6 Oklahoma
7 USC
8 Penn St.
9 LSU
10 Oklahoma St.
11 Auburn
12 Miami (Fla)
13 Wisconsin
14 Stanford
15 Michigan
16 Florida
17 Virginia Tech
18 Kansas St.
19 Louisville
20 Washington St.
21 Georgia
22 Texas A&M
23 Georgia Tech
24 Utah
25 Tennessee
26 South Florida
27 Iowa
28 Tulsa
29 West Virginia
30 North Carolina
31 Nebraska
32 Western Michigan
33 Colorado
34 North Carolina St.
35 Pittsburgh
36 BYU
37 Houston
38 Northwestern
39 Kentucky
40 TCU
41 Western Kentucky
42 Boise St.
43 Appalachian St.
44 San Diego St.
45 Toledo
46 Minnesota
47 Arkansas
48 Memphis
49 Texas
50 Baylor
51 Mississippi St.
52 Colorado St.
53 Oregon
54 Vanderbilt
55 Ole Miss
56 South Carolina
57 Temple
58 Troy
59 Navy
60 UCLA
61 Notre Dame
62 California
63 Indiana
64 Idaho
65 Wake Forest
66 Old Dominion
67 Louisiana Tech
68 Boston College
69 Arkansas St.
70 Air Force
71 Michigan St.
72 Central Florida
73 Syracuse
74 Duke
75 Missouri
76 Wyoming
77 Texas Tech
78 Arizona St.
79 New Mexico
80 Maryland
81 Arizona
82 Oregon St.
83 Army
84 Ohio
85 Eastern Michigan
86 Middle Tennessee
87 Southern Miss.
88 SMU
89 Iowa St.
90 Northern Illinois
91 UTSA
92 Hawaii
93 Georgia Southern
94 Central Michigan
95 Miami (O)
96 UL-Lafayette
97 Cincinnati
98 Illinois
99 Tulane
100 South Alabama
101 Purdue
102 Akron
103 Utah St.
104 Virginia
105 San Jose St.
106 Nevada
107 Bowling Green
108 North Texas
109 East Carolina
110 UNLV
111 Rutgers
112 Coastal Carolina
113 Kansas
114 Ball St.
115 Georgia St.
116 Connecticut
117 UL-Monroe
118 Kent St.
119 UTEP
120 Charlotte
121 Marshall
122 Florida Int’l.
123 Rice
124 Massachusetts
125 Florida Atlantic
126 New Mexico St.
127 Fresno St.
128 Texas St.
129 Buffalo
130 UAB

 

This Week’s Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Colorado St. Oregon St. 1.8 1.8 3.1
Massachusetts Hawaii 0.2 -1.4 1.4
San Jose St. South Florida -21.4 -20.0 -23.3
Stanford * Rice 38.4 35.2 36.4
         
* This game will be played in Sydney, Australia

 

This Week’s FBS vs. FCS Games
Home Visitor PiRate
BYU Portland St. 32.0

 

BOWL PROJECTIONS

Bowl Conferences Team 1 Team 2
New Orleans CUSA SBC Middle Tennessee South Alabama
Cure AAC SBC Temple Appalachian St.
Las Vegas MWC 1 PAC-12 5 San Diego St. UCLA
New Mexico CUSA MWC Southern Miss. New Mexico
Camellia MAC SBC Miami (O) Arkansas St.
Boca Raton AAC CUSA Houston Louisiana Tech
Frisco AAC MAC SMU Idaho
St. Petersburg AAC CUSA Central Florida Western Kentucky
Bahamas CUSA 1 MAC Old Dominion Toledo
Idaho Potato MAC MWC Ohio U Wyoming
Birmingham AAC SEC 8-9 Tulsa Mississippi St.
Armed Forces Army BIG TEN 8 Army [Florida Atlantic]
Dollar General MAC SBC Western Michigan Georgia St.
Hawaii AAC MWC Memphis Colorado St.
Heart of Dallas BIG 12 6 CUSA [Syracuse] UTSA
Quick Lane ACC 7-9 BIG TEN 7 Duke Indiana
Cactus BIG 12 5 PAC-12 6 West Virginia Colorado
Independence ACC 7-9 SEC 8-9 Georgia Tech [Navy]
Pinstripe ACC 3-6 BIG TEN 5 Notre Dame Nebraska
Foster Farms BIG TEN 6 PAC-12 8 Minnesota Oregon
Texas BIG 12 3 SEC 2-7 TCU Arkansas
Military AAC 7-9 ACC 7-9 [BYU] North Carolina
Camping World ACC 2 BIG 12 2 Virginia Tech Kansas St.
Holiday BIG TEN 3 PAC-12 2 Iowa Stanford
Alamo BIG 12 1 PAC-12 1 Texas Washington St.
Belk ACC 3-6 SEC 2-7 Louisville Tennessee
Sun ACC 3-6 Pac-12 North Carolina St. Utah
Music City ACC 3-6/B10 4 SEC 2-7 Miami (Fla) Vanderbilt
Arizona MWC SBC Boise St. Troy
Cotton At-large At-large Oklahoma Penn St.
Taxslayer ACC 3-6/B10 4 SEC 2-7 Northwestern Florida
Liberty BIG 12 4 SEC 2-7 Baylor Texas A&M
Fiesta At-large At-large Washington Oklahoma St.
Orange ACC 1 SEC 1/B10 1 Clemson Georgia
Outback BIG TEN 2 SEC 2-7 Michigan Kentucky
Peach At-large At-large Florida St. South Florida
Citrus B10 1/ACC 2 SEC 1 Wisconsin LSU
Rose Playoff Semi-final Auburn Alabama
Sugar Playoff Semi-final Ohio St. USC
Nat’l Champ. Semifinal Winners Ohio St. Alabama

Note: There will be no money line parlay selections issued this week.  There are not enough games.  That feature will commence next Thursday morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 23, 2017

2017 Southeastern Conference Preview

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:54 am

The old adage goes that a southern gentleman’s three favorite professional sports leagues are, the NFC, the AFC, and the SEC.  Others see SEC football as a religion, and whoever is the head coach at Alabama, as the reigning Moses with direct communication to the Great Bear in the Sky.

For those that have not followed college football more than a few years, this league has been around for almost 85 years, but even before then, the league members were “killing it” on the gridiron.  As far back as 1904, the Crimson Tide played excellent footbal, and under Hall of Fame Coach Wallace Wade, the 1925 Alabama football team won the Southern Conference, the Rose Bowl, and finished 10-0 as the nation’s best team.

What is the top annual college football award? Easy: it’s the Heisman Trophy, named for John Heisman.  Heisman coached at two different schools that would become charter members of the SEC–Georgia Tech and Auburn.

General Robert Neyland led Tennessee from 1926 to 1952 with a couple of breaks to serve in the military.  Neyland was considered the best defensive coach in the history of the game, and one of his Volunteer teams shut out every opponent on the schedule.  Even at what is considered the bottom feeder programs of the league, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, both schools have pasts where they were not only great, they were the best in the nation.  Bear Bryant guided the 1950 Wildcats to an 11-1 season and major upset victory over number one Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.  Dan McGugin led the Commodores from 1904 to 1934, finishing with a record of 197-55-19 and winning multiple national championships at Vandy (retroactively according to recognized computer polls).  So, when you see the 14 SEC teams fighting it out week after week this year and think that they all of a sudden became the behemoths of the college football world, recall that this is not a new phenomenon.  The SEC is as storied as Major League Baseball.

2017 figures to be another great year in this league with four or five teams capable of making the Playoffs.  It is higher than an average chance that this season could see two SEC teams making the Playoffs.

Here is how the SEC Media voted in the preseason.

SEC East Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Georgia 138 1,572 6
2 Florida 96 1,526 3
3 Tennessee 3 998 0
4 South Carolina 5 897 1
5 Kentucky 0 869 0
6 Vanderbilt 1 554 1
7 Missouri 0 388 0
         
SEC West Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Alabama 225 1,683 217
2 Auburn 13 1,329 11
3 LSU 4 1,262 3
4 Arkansas 1 796 1
5 Texas A&M 0 722 0
6 Mississippi St. 0 633 0
7 Ole Miss 0 379 0

The PiRate Ratings are a tad different, but you can see there are several highly-regarded teams, as all 14 teams rate above 100.0.

Southeastern Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Georgia 116.3 117.6 116.4 116.8
Florida 115.3 114.6 114.6 114.8
Kentucky 111.7 110.2 111.2 111.0
Tennessee 111.4 109.6 109.5 110.2
Vanderbilt 110.2 108.5 109.2 109.3
S. Carolina 106.4 106.1 105.6 106.0
Missouri 104.7 101.3 103.4 103.1
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 133.4 128.6 132.4 131.5
Auburn 124.0 121.9 123.9 123.3
L S U 120.3 118.5 121.0 119.9
Arkansas 109.5 109.1 109.5 109.4
Ole Miss 107.6 106.2 106.0 106.6
Texas A&M 107.6 105.2 106.2 106.3
Mississippi St. 104.4 105.1 104.6 104.7
         
SEC Averages 113.1 111.6 112.4 112.4

And, take a look at our unscientific won-loss predictions and bowl projections.  You will notce that we believe there will be a surprise this year.

Southeastern Conference Projected Standings
East Division
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Georgia 6-2 10-3 Orange
Florida 6-2 8-4 Taxslayer
Kentucky 5-3 9-3 Outback
Tennessee 4-4 7-5 Belk
Vanderbilt 3-5 7-5 Music City
South Carolina 3-5 5-7  
Missouri 1-7 5-7  
       
West Division
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Auburn 7-1 12-1 PLAYOFFS
Alabama 7-1 11-1 PLAYOFFS
LSU 5-3 9-3 Citrus
Arkansas 3-5 7-5 Texas
Texas A&M 3-5 6-6 Liberty
Mississippi St. 2-6 6-6 Birmingham
Ole Miss 1-7 5-7  
       
Auburn to win SEC Championship Game

What the PiRate Ratings think at the start of this season:  Yes, you see that correctly above!  We have Alabama rated number one in the nation to begin the season, but we have Auburn picked as the SEC West Champion.  The two rivals play in Auburn this year, and our preseason belief is that Alabama will enter that game 11-0, while Auburn is 10-1.  We then show Auburn winning the game to take the West Division, while Alabama finished second with an 11-1 record, probably falling to third in the playoff seeding.

Then, we show Auburn winning the SEC Championship, earning the number two playoff seed.  You will see tomorrow that we have only one team picked to go undefeated, and that will be Ohio State (or in other words the winner of the Ohio State-Penn State game).  We previously showed you that we believe USC at 10-2 will knock off 12-0 Washington in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

We then foresee USC sneaking into the #4 seed in the Playoffs, with Ohio State the top-seed.  Do you know what would happen if the seeding goes Ohio State, Auburn, Alabama, and USC?  The rules for the playoff state that the overall number one seed must have the bowl site advantage over the number four seed.  Since the two playoff semifinal games are the Rose and Sugar Bowls, Ohio State could not possibly play USC in the Rose Bowl.  It would make for a very interesting Sugar Bowl matchup between the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions.

But, then look what the Rose Bowl would get.  How about the crazy rematch of Alabama and Auburn in the Rose Bowl?  Can you imagine the insanity of a week in the L.A. area between the fans of the two schools?  In addition, the City of Angels likes its epic productions, and this would be the Rose Bowl for the ages.  Imagine the Tournament of Roses Parade with all the crimson and white and burnt orange and navy.  Yea, Alabama versus War Eagle.  Los Angeles hasn’t seen anything like this since Cecile B. Demille last made movies–the 10 Commandments of Football become the Greatest Show on Earth!

 

Coming tomorrow: It’s here.  The college football season kicks off Saturday, and we will commence with our regular weekly format.  This is our plan for 2017.

1. A weekly college forecast with our PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings for all 130 FBS teams, and our spreads for the week’s games.

2. A weekly NFL forecast with the same ratings and spreads

3. A weekly Money Line Parlay edition in which we attempt to go for a third consecutive year where we make a large return on investment (just for fun, as we do not wager actual money on games).4. Returning this year on Friday afternoons: During the last three years, we have been a little too busy to devote time to the retro-football league that we enjoyed performing.  Many of you have asked about this in this time, and we are happy to announce it is coming back.

Many of you reading this may know that Sports Illustrated and Avalon Hill put out a couple of excellent and fun tabletop football games several decades ago.  The college version was called, “Bowl Bound,” and the NFL version was called, “Paydirt.”  The games are no longer made, but many football and math lovers have continued making the teams for this game.  The codes were not that hard to crack, and actually, some of the more advanced analytics experts were able to improve on these games.  What we will use for our recreations is an advanced version of this game.  The teams have updated charts to more closely match what these teams’ results.  We must admit that the originator of these games did not have access to an Internet that did not exist.  Enough information is out there to more accurately estimate a teams’ strengths and weaknesses and then to normalize it so that an average team in 1950 and an average team in 1975 should approach a mean score of 21-21 with both teams winning 50 of 100 games.

Thus, if a team is 12 points better than average in 1950, they are as strong as a team that is 12 points better than average in 1975.

This is how it will work this year.

A. We are using 14 NFL teams from the period between 1950 and 1975, using the rules and schedule of 1965.  Kickoffs will be from the 40 yard line; the goalposts will be on the goal lines and not on the end lines (shouldn’t they be called end posts now?); there will be no 10-yard penalties.  Holding and other current 10-yard penalties will be 15-yard penalties like in the “good ole days;” there will be no overtime for regular season games.

B. We are also using the 10 AFL teams from the period between 1960 and 1975, using the rules, and the schedule from the 1968 season.

C. There will be an NFL Championship Game and AFL Championship Game and then a Super Bowl between the two champions.

Here are the 24 teams that will be used for this event.

NFL East

Cleveland 1950

Dallas 1971

NY Giants 1959

Philadelphia 1960

Pittsburgh 1975

St. Louis 1975

Washington 1972

NFL West

Baltimore 1958

Chicago 1963

Detroit 1954

Green Bay 1962

Los Angeles 1967

Minnesota 1975

San Francisco 1970

AFL East

Boston 1964

Buffalo 1964

Houston 1961

Miami 1972

NY Jets 1968

AFL West

Cincinnati 1973

Denver 1973

Kansas City 1969

Oakland 1967

San Diego 1963

The games will be played using a computer-assisted play-calling system based on the tendencies of the teams in question.  For instance, Miami will have more fullback power runs inside the tackles.  Minnesota will feature more passes with the quarterback moving out of the pocket.  The NY Jets and Oakland will feature more of a vertical passing game, while Cincinnati relies more on the precursor to the West Coast Offense.  On defense, teams like the Rams will be tough to run on and trouble for quarterbacks without strong offensive lines.

The teams will play a 14-game regular season schedule with the champions of each division only making the playoffs–no wildcard teams.

2017 Atlantic Coast Conference Preview

The folks around the Atlantic Coast Conference have a decent case to support in the statement that their league, and not the Southeastern Conference, is the supreme college football conference in the land.  Clemson bested Alabama in the National Championship Game.  The ACC went 4-1 against the SEC in bowl games, and the ACC won 10 of 14 games overall against the SEC in 2016.  Five ACC teams finished the season in the top 25.

The 2017 season begins with the SEC just a tiny hair above the ACC in PiRate Ratings averages.  Early games between Alabama and Florida State, Tennessee and Georgia Tech, and Clemson and Auburn will go a long way in determining conference supremacy, and season ending games between Florida and Florida St. Georgia and Georgia Tech, and Louisville and Kentucky will seal the deal if one conference dominates the other.

This league has a little more depth this year.  It may be tougher for any team to go undefeated, as the team with the best quarterback, Louisville with Lamar Jackson, has an average at best defense.  Florida State has the next best quarterback in Deondre Francois, and the Seminoles have a nice stable of running backs.  However, there are some questions at wide receiver, and there could be depth issues in the offensive line.  Clemson still has the overall best combination of offensive and defensive lines, but the defending national champions must replace Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman, and Mike Williams on the attack side.  Figure CU to average about 10-14 fewer points per game.

While the top three in the Atlantic Division have exceptional talent but with some questions, the other four teams could all be better than last year, especially North Carolina State and Syracuse.

The Coastal Division race should be quite interesting.  Miami, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and even Duke could challenge for the divisional flag.  The league could be just balanced enough so that no ACC team earns a Playoff bid.

Here is how the ACC Media voted in the preseason:

ACC Atlantic Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Florida St. 121 1,108 118
2 Clemson 37 1,007 35
3 Louisville 9 843 7
4 North Carolina St. 0 658 0
5 Wake Forest 0 415 0
6 Syracuse 0 362 0
7 Boston College 0 283 0
         
ACC Coastal Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Miami (Fla) 103 1,065 3
2 Virginia Tech 40 932 3
3 Georgia Tech 9 708 0
4 Pittsburgh 7 673 0
5 North Carolina 4 606 0
6 Duke 4 473 1
7 Virginia 0 219 0

The PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings still show Clemson to be slightly better than Florida State in the initial ratings of the season.  However, the margin is razor thin, and we expect a lot of shuffling early in the season due to heavy schedules.

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 128.4 124.6 127.5 126.8
Florida St. 126.8 124.8 126.1 125.9
Louisville 116.6 115.7 117.0 116.4
N. Carolina St. 115.2 114.5 114.9 114.9
Syracuse 110.3 108.1 109.3 109.2
Wake Forest 102.7 102.2 102.0 102.3
Boston College 102.0 102.9 101.5 102.1
         
Coastal Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Miami 118.6 116.2 117.7 117.5
Virginia Tech 116.6 116.2 117.0 116.6
Georgia Tech 113.2 110.5 111.3 111.7
N. Carolina 109.9 108.4 108.3 108.9
Pittsburgh 108.8 108.8 108.0 108.5
Duke 106.3 105.1 104.9 105.4
Virginia 98.7 98.8 99.7 99.1
         
ACC Averages 112.4 111.2 111.8 111.8

Here are our unscientific won-loss predictions and bowl projections for the league.

Atlantic Coast Conference Projected Standings
Atlantic Division
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Florida St. 7-1 11-2 Peach
Clemson 6-2 10-2 Orange
Louisville 6-2 9-3 Belk
North Carolina St. 5-3 8-4 Sun
Syracuse 3-5 6-6 [Heart of Dallas]
Boston College 1-7 4-8  
Wake Forest 1-7 3-9  
       
Coastal Division
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Miami (Fla) 6-2 10-3 Music City
Virginia Tech 6-2 10-2 Camping World
Georgia Tech 5-3 8-4 Independence
North Carolina 3-5 7-5 Military
Duke 3-5 6-6 Quick Lane
Pittsburgh 3-5 5-7  
Virginia 1-7 3-9  
Florida St. to win the ACC Championship Game
Notre Dame predicted to take ACC’s bid to the Pinstripe Bowl
Syracuse’s bid to Heart of Dallas Bowl is an at-large bid

Notre Dame qualifies for any ACC Bowl other than the Orange Bowl, if the Irish are within one win of the next available ACC team.  For instance, if Notre Dame goes 8-4, the Irish can leapfrog any 9-3 ACC team in an ACC Bowl.

Notre Dame can also qualify for the Orange Bowl as the replacement for the Big Ten or SEC team.

Later today: We will preview the Southeastern Conference in the afternoon (Eastern Time).  Can a West Division team dethrone Alabama?  Can any team from the West challenge for the SEC Championship?  Can more than one SEC team make this season’s playoffs?  Check back later today.

Coming Tomorrow: It is game week!  There are only five total games involving FBS teams, but it is real, and it counts.  So, we will debut our 2017 PiRate College Football Forecast.  We will show you all 130 teams ranked predictively and retrodictively, give you the spreads for the five games, and give you all of our bowl projections.

There will be no Money Line Parlay suggestions this week with so few games, but when we debut this feature next week, look for it on Friday morning.

 

August 22, 2017

2017 Pac-12 Preview

The Pac-12 has not had a member win the National Championship in quite some time. Washington and Oregon made trips to the Playoffs in recent years, but they came up short. USC won multiple national titles earlier in this century, and Washington shared one with Miami back in 1991, but this once toughest conference has come up short ever since Vince Young scored the winning touchdown for Texas against USC in 2005.

The Trojans might have won an additional national title in this century had the four team playoffs been in existence in 2002. While unbeated Ohio State and unbeaten Miami played a memorable championship game, it was USC that was clearly the best team in the nation at the end of the year. The Trojans went 11-2, and 12 of the 13 teams on their schedule went to bowls. The Tojans split the title with LSU in 2003 and won the title outright in 2004. They went 38-2 in a three-year period losing only to Young and Texas and Aaron Rodgers and Cal. Since that time, 11 of the last 12 national champions have come from South of the Mason-Dixon Line. Can this be the year the Pac-12 breaks through with another national champion?

USC and Washington both appear to be contenders for playoff bid during the preseason. In today’s college football world, the quarterback is just as vital as the position in the NFL. The Trojans and Huskies both have top 5 signal callers directing their attacks. Sam Darnold took over a 1-3 Trojan team and guided USC to nine consecutive victories. Washington’s Jake Browning led the Huskies to the Playoff semi-finals, before UW bowed out against Alabama.

There are three other teams with the type of quality QB that can lead a school to a conference championship. Washington State’s Luke Falk is now a senior, and when QB’s under Mike Leach’s tutelage reach their fourth year in the program, they tend to lead the conference and the nation in total offense. Look for WSU to continue to advance forward from the surprise 2016 season.

Josh Rosen leads the UCLA offense, but like so many past Bruin quarterbacks, injuries have sort of derailed his career. A healthy Rosen is capable of leading the Bruins to a record reversal or better in Westwood. A 4- 8 disappointment in 2016, led Coach Jim Mora, Jr. to overhaul his assistant coaching corps.

Oregon is another team that disappointed in 2016. It cost Mark Helfrich his job. Enter new coach Willie Taggart, who turned around programs at Western Kentucky and South Florida. At his two prior stops, Taggart’s first editions have taken their lumps learning to play his style of ball, but he did not have a quarterback with the talent of Justin Herbert at either past school. Look for the Ducks to turn things around quickly and become bowl-eligible again this season. Give Taggart three years, and Oregon will be challenging for the Pac-12 North title again.

Here is how the Pac-12 Media voted in the preseason.

 

Pac-12 North Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Washington 49 309 22
2 Stanford 1 247 0
3 Washington St. 1 206 0
4 Oregon 1 163 1
5 Oregon St. 0 101 0
6 California 0 64 0
         
Pac-12 South Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 USC 49 309 28
2 Utah 1 220 1
3 UCLA 1 209 0
4 Colorado 1 182 0
5 Arizona St. 0 109 0
6 Arizona 0 61 0

The PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings agree on the division leaders, but our ratings show a different order to start the season. Bear in mind that our ratings factor depth and other factors that could help a team improve (or decline) in the ratings more than another team with the same results, based on this factor. USC is one of those teams that has a chance to improve more than average, so by late November, the Trojans could be rated higher than Washington, even if both teams go 11-1 and face off in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Pac-12 Conference
North Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Washington 129.3 125.1 130.3 128.2
Washington St. 119.4 116.1 118.6 118.0
Stanford 118.5 116.2 117.1 117.3
Oregon 110.6 107.2 109.6 109.1
Oregon St. 102.5 101.7 101.1 101.8
California 97.8 95.3 95.7 96.3
         
South Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
U S C 120.4 120.1 120.8 120.4
Colorado 114.1 111.5 111.8 112.4
U C L A 108.6 107.7 108.0 108.1
Utah 105.4 108.1 105.6 106.4
Arizona St. 103.7 103.7 102.5 103.3
Arizona 98.3 97.1 95.9 97.1
         
Pac-12 Averages 110.7 109.1 109.8 109.9

And, here are our not-so-scientific predictions for won-loss and bowl projections.

Pac-12 Conference Projected Standings
North Division
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Washington 9-0 12-1 Fiesta
Washington St. 7-2 10-2 Alamo
Stanford 6-3 9-3 Holiday
Oregon 5-4 8-4 Foster Farms
Oregon St. 2-7 4-8  
California 1-8 2-10  
       
South Division
Team Conference Overall Bowl
USC 7-2 11-2 PLAYOFFS
Utah 5-4 8-4 Sun
UCLA 5-4 7-5 Las Vegas
Colorado 4-5 7-5 Cactus
Arizona St. 1-8 3-9  
Arizona 1-8 3-9  
       
USC to win Pac-12 Championship Game

Coming Tomorrow: The Atlantic Coast Conference–Does Florida State deserve its lofty preseason rating? How much will Clemson suffer without Deshaun Watson, Mike Williams, and Wayne Gallman? Can Louisville challenge the two behemoths? Is there a dark horse team lurking, maybe North Carolina State? In the Coastal, can any team finish better than 6-2 in league play, or will there be a major logjam with four or five teams contending for the division flag?

August 21, 2017

2017 Big 12 Conference Preview

The Big 12 Conference was supposed to be the first super league way back in the 1990’s when the best teams from the former very strong Southwest Conference merged with the Big 8 Conference. It was supposed to be superior to the Southeastern Conference, which had already expanded to 12 teams, and the Big Ten Conference, which had expanded to 11 teams. With Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado perenially among the top 10 in the nation, and with Texas A&M, Missouri, and Oklahoma State competing for a spot among the nation’s elite, the Big 12 looked poised to become the league that all others looked up to.

It didn’t last long. Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas A&M departed for the Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten, and SEC. The league added TCU and West Virginia to get back to 10 teams, but this conference is struggling to remain important. Rumors persist that schools still might bolt the league for one of the other four super conferences.

2017 promises to bring some interesting changes to the league without any teams bolting. There are three new coaches in the league. Matt Rhule takes over a Baylor team in transition, after Jim Grobe served as an emergency fill-in coach for a year. The Bears will play a combination of spread offense and the power offense Rhule used at Temple.

Tom Herman is the new head coach at Texas. Herman made Houston a semi-national power, even getting the Cougars into the Playoff hunt. Texas suffered three consecutive losing seasons under Charlie Strong, and the Longhorns have not been a national contender for eight seasons.

The biggest change of all comes in Norman, Oklahoma, where Bob Stoops made a decision this summer to retire. Lincoln Riley, the wonderboy of the offense is the new coach, and he inherits a Sooner squad that could easily average more than 45 points per game. Whether the defense can stop the top offenses that the Sooners will face will determine if OU can challenge for a playoff spot. A trip to the Giant Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio, looms in week two,

The Big 12 Media and our PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings basically agree that this year’s Big 12 race will come down to the Bedlam game. Oklahoma State hosts Oklahoma in that game this year, but unlike most years, it is not the last weekend on the schedule.

Here’s how the Media voted.

2016 Big 12 Conference Media Poll
# Team 1st Pl. Total
1 Oklahoma 19 303
2 Oklahoma St. 12 294
3 Kansas St. 1 231
4 Texas 0 213
5 TCU 0 202
6 West Virginia 0 183
7 Baylor 0 129
8 Texas Tech 0 85
9 Iowa St. 0 83
10 Kansas 0 37

Here are the PiRate, Mean, and Bias preseason ratings.

Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 123.8 121.8 124.8 123.5
Oklahoma St. 118.2 117.0 119.8 118.3
Kansas St. 113.9 113.4 114.3 113.9
Texas 112.2 113.0 112.4 112.6
T C U 111.4 108.6 111.1 110.3
West Virginia 107.7 108.8 107.5 108.0
Baylor 103.9 106.4 103.8 104.7
Iowa State 101.0 102.4 101.7 101.7
Texas Tech 101.3 101.0 100.1 100.8
Kansas 91.0 94.4 90.3 91.9
         
Big 12 Averages 108.4 108.7 108.6 108.6

And, here are out not-so-scientific preseason won-loss predictions and bowl projections.

 

Big 12 Conference Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Oklahoma 8-1 11-2 Cotton
Oklahoma St. 8-1 11-2 Fiesta
Kansas St. 6-3 8-4 Camping World
Texas 6-3 8-4 Alamo
TCU 6-3 8-4 Texas
West Virginia 4-5 6-6 Cactus
Baylor 4-5 6-6 Liberty
Texas Tech 2-7 4-8  
Iowa St. 1-8 3-9  
Kansas 0-9 2-10  
       
No Big 12 team available for Heart of Dallas Bowl

Oklahoma to win the Big 12 Conference Championship Game in a rematch with Oklahoma State.  The Big 12’s top two teams in the standings will face off in Arlington, Texas, on December 2.

Trivia Answer: Not many people guessed at our trivia question, and none were correct. Here’s the question once again.
In 1918, Georgia Tech beat North Carolina State 118-0. For half a century no Division 1 team scored 100 points on another Division 1 team. In 1949 San Jose State beat New Mexico 103-0, but the Spartans would not become a major college participant until the following season, so this one doesn’t count. The last time a Division 1 team scored 100 points on another Division 1 team was in 1968, when current AAC West member Houston beat current AAC West member Tulsa 100-6.
A Houston wide receiver caught a 25-yard pass for a touchdown in that 100-6 game that made the score 93-6. He later went on to fame in the music business. A Tulsa lineman also became a famous celebrity on television and through his books.
Here are your three trivia questions:
1. Name the Houston Wide Receiver that would become a famous music celebrity.
2. Explain how this wide receiver once performed the National Anthem for a sporting event that was postponed soon after he performed, yet there was no rain, snow, or lightning.
3. Name the Tulsa lineman that became a famous TV celebrity and has used this game as a means to help advance his career.
The answers
1. Larry Gatlin
2. Gatlin and his brothers sang the National Anthem prior to the scheduled Game 3 of the 1989 World Series. Moments later, the great Earthquake hit the Bay, postponing the game for 10 days.
3. Dr. Phil

Coming Tomorrow. The Pac-12. Two teams have the talent to make it to Playoffville this year, but this league is rather balanced with some quality talent, and it could be difficult for any team to win enough games to get there.

August 20, 2017

2017 Big Ten Preview

We kick off our Power 5 Conference previews today with the Big Ten Conference. While the Big Ten is our lowest rated Power 5 league to begin the season, the margin is miniscule. The number two through five leagues are separated by three points. What hurts the Big Ten is that four teams are below the norm among the entire 130 FBS roster. The other Power 5 leagues have 0, 1, or 2.

Most of the nation’s professional media have Ohio State as the overwhelming pick to win the league, and the PiRates believe the Buckeyes are the clear-cut favorite. However, Ohio State will face very stiff competition from Penn State again this season. The two teams are heavily loaded with talent, and the loser of this game could very well finish the regular season at 11-1 and have a small chance to earn a Playoff bid. The two teams square off in Columbus on October 28.

Michigan is looking at a major rebuilding project with the loss of 10 defensive starters. Having just five starters back on offense isn’t a picnic either, and Coach Jim Harbaugh has an opening game with Florida looming. The next three could come in any order, as Maryland, Indiana, and Michigan State are decent but not great teams. Two of this trio should become bowl-eligible.

The West will once again be competitive this year. Last year, five teams competed for the flag, and the same five should be involved in a hotly contested race this season. Wisconsin begins the year as the highest-rated team, but Northwestern, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska are all capable of topping the Badgers. The race could end in a multiple-team tie, and 7-2 could even win the division outright yet again.

Jeff Brohm is the new ingredient in the Midwestern cocktail. He takes over a moribund Purdue program and promises to bring excitement to West Lafayette. Purdue has not been a factor for several years now, but the Boilermakers have a storied history as an exciting and innovative program that has pulled off big upsets. Brohm doesn’t have a lot of quality talent to work with in year one, but it wouldn’t surprise us one bit if the Boilermakers ruined a Saturday for a contending team.

Here is how the Big Ten media voted in the preseason poll.

Big Ten–East Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Ohio St. 34 260 29
2 Penn St. 7 231.5 4
3 Michigan 1 192 1
4 Michigan St. 0 128 0
5 Indiana 0 114 0
6 Maryland 0 100.5 0
7 Rutgers 0 38 0
         
Big Ten–West Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Wisconsin 31 259 4
2 Northwestern 5 219 0
3 Nebraska 2 176.5 0
4 Iowa 0 164.5 0
5 Minnesota 0 131 0
6t Purdue 0 57 0
6t Illinois 0 57 0

The PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings are in close step with the media.

Big Ten Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 132.3 129.1 131.3 130.9
Penn St. 125.3 122.6 125.8 124.6
Michigan 116.5 115.7 115.5 115.9
Indiana 104.3 104.6 104.5 104.5
Maryland 101.8 104.3 101.7 102.6
Michigan St. 95.4 100.1 95.6 97.0
Rutgers 95.5 95.7 94.6 95.3
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Wisconsin 122.2 118.0 120.7 120.3
Northwestern 113.9 111.3 113.5 112.9
Iowa 111.6 111.2 111.3 111.4
Minnesota 106.8 106.3 106.5 106.5
Nebraska 104.7 106.3 104.0 105.0
Purdue 94.7 97.3 95.4 95.8
Illinois 90.1 92.0 88.4 90.2
         
Big Ten Averages 108.2 108.2 107.8 108.1

And, here are our not-so-scientific predictions for won-loss and bowl projections.

Big Ten Conference Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
East Division      
Ohio St. 9-0 13-0 ***PLAYOFFS***
Penn St. 8-1 11-1 Cotton
Michigan 6-3 9-3 Outback
Indiana 3-6 6-6 Quick Lane
Maryland 2-7 4-8  
Michigan St. 2-7 4-8  
Rutgers 2-7 4-8  
       
Team Conference Overall Bowl
West Division      
Wisconsin 8-1 11-2 Citrus
Northwestern 6-3 9-3 Taxslayer
Minnesota 6-3 8-4 Foster Farms
Nebraska 5-4 7-5 Pinstripe
Iowa 4-5 7-5 Holiday
Purdue 1-8 2-10  
Illinois 1-8 2-10  
       
Ohio St. to win Big Ten Championship Game
No Big Ten team available for Armed Forces Bowl

 

Trivia: We are going to keep the previous trivia question open for a day or so. If you missed it, here it is again.
In 1918, Georgia Tech beat North Carolina State 118-0. For half a century no Division 1 team scored 100 points on another Division 1 team. In 1949 San Jose State beat New Mexico 103-0, but the Spartans would not become a major college participant until the following season, so this one doesn’t count. The last time a Division 1 team scored 100 points on another Division 1 team was in 1968, when current AAC West member Houston beat current AAC West member Tulsa 100-6.

A Houston wide receiver caught a 25-yard pass for a touchdown in that 100-6 game that made the score 93-6. He later went on to fame in the music business. A Tulsa lineman also became a famous celebrity on television and through his books.

Here are your three trivia questions:
1. Name the Houston Wide Receiver that would become a famous music celebrity.
2. Explain how this wide receiver once performed the National Anthem for a sporting event that was postponed soon after he performed, yet there was no rain, snow, or lightning.
3. Name the Tulsa lineman that became a famous TV celebrity and has used this game as a means to help advance his career.

 

Coming tomorrow: Read our Big 12 preview before you go watch the eclipse.  Is the sun going dark on this once great league, or is there life still in the Big 12?

August 19, 2017

2017 American Athletic Conference Preview

As it did the previous two years, The American Athletic Conference once again heads the Group of 5 leagues as the top overall to begin the 2017 college football season. However, that does not mean that you can automatically place the league’s champion in a New Year’s 6 Bowl game. Last year, Houston was the favorite to win the league and certainly receive a bid to the Cotton Bowl, and after the Cougars tore Oklahoma’s defense apart, it looked like they could even get into the Playoff picture.

Alas, the league proved to be just balanced enough that UH could not run the table, and the Cougars actually finished in a third place tie in the West, after Navy, SMU, and Memphis beat them in the second half of the season. The race in the East was quite interesting, as South Florida looked to be the early equal of Houston. The Bulls gave Florida State all they could handle, and it looked like USF would go 11-1 from that point on. However, Temple played a brilliant defensive game, and the Owls pulled off the mild upset, leading the men from Philly to the Eastern Crown.
Instead of USF and UH, it was Temple and Navy in the AAC Championship Game, with the Owls solving the Midshipmen multiple option offense.

 

This year brings a lot of change to the league. The AAC Champion Owls, as well as USF and Houston break in new coaches. Former Temple coach Matt Rhule went to Baylor. Former USF coach Willie Taggart took the big pay day to go to Oregon, while Houston’s ex-coach Tom Herman took over the job he supposedly has coveted for years–at Texas.

 

The three powers brought in masterminds to replace the departed successes. Temple hired Geoff Collins, who had been Florida’s defensive coordinator the last two years. The Gators won the SEC East with very little offensive contribution after injuries riddled the attack side.
USF hopes that Charlie Strong can do what he did at Louisville and not Texas. Strong has a successful history recruiting in the Sunshine State, and it should help USF stay atop or near the top of the AAC standings in the future.
Houston stayed in-house and hired offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to become its next head coach. Applewhite will be under the gun to produce immediate results, and his honeymoon will be short.

 

Here’s how the media predicted the AAC for 2017.

American Athletic Conference–East Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 South Florida 30 180 26
2 Central Florida 0 126 0
3 Temple 0 119 0
4 Cincinnati 0 100 0
5 East Carolina 0 63 0
6 Connecticut 0 42 0
         
American Athletic Conference–West Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Memphis 22 169 1
2 Houston 6 137 2
3 Navy 1 128 1
4 Tulsa 1 102 0
5 SMU 0 64 0
6 Tulane 0 30 0

 

The PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings are very similar, matching the East predictions exactly.

American Athletic Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 111.1 109.0 112.3 110.8
Central Florida 99.1 101.5 99.8 100.2
Temple 97.5 98.2 97.8 97.8
Cincinnati 90.2 93.0 91.7 91.6
East Carolina 88.3 89.6 88.3 88.7
Connecticut 87.4 90.6 88.0 88.7
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Memphis 107.4 106.1 108.1 107.2
Tulsa 105.3 104.1 105.3 104.9
Houston 104.1 102.9 104.0 103.7
Navy 98.0 98.9 97.7 98.2
SMU 96.3 96.6 96.7 96.5
Tulane 93.9 94.3 94.3 94.2
         
AAC Averages 98.2 98.7 98.7 98.5

 

And, here are our not-so-scientific predictions and bowl projections for this season.

American Athletic Conference Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
East Division      
South Florida 7-1 12-1 Peach
Temple 5-3 7-5 Cure
Central Florida 4-4 6-6 St. Petersburg
Cincinnati 3-5 5-7  
East Carolina 1-7 2-10  
Connecticut 1-7 2-10  
       
Team Conference Overall Bowl
West Division      
Memphis 6-2 9-4 Hawaii
Houston 5-3 9-3 Boca Raton
Tulsa 5-3 7-5 Birmingham
SMU 4-4 7-5 Frisco
Navy 4-4 6-6 [Independence]
Tulane 3-5 5-7  
       
South Florida to win AAC Title and automatic NY 6 Bowl Bid

Navy’s Independence Bowl Bid is an at-large bid

 

Trivia: In 1918, Georgia Tech beat North Carolina State 118-0. For half a century no Division 1 team scored 100 points on another Division 1 team. In 1949 San Jose State beat New Mexico 103-0, but the Spartans would not become a major college participant until the following season, so this one doesn’t count. The last time a Division 1 team scored 100 points on another Division 1 team was in 1968, when current AAC West member Houston beat current AAC West member Tulsa 100-6.

Here are your three trivia questions today. A Houston wide receiver caught a 25-yard pass for a touchdown in that 100-6 game that made the score 93-6. He later went on to fame in the music business.

1. Name the Wide Receiver that would become a famous music celebrity.
2. Explain how this person once performed the National Anthem for a sporting event that was postponed soon after he performed, and there was no rain or lightning.
3. Name the Tulsa lineman that became a famous TV celebrity and has used this game as a means to help advance his career.

Coming Tomorrow–We are down to just Power 5 conferences remaining to be previewed. We start with the Big Ten. Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin have the look of potential playoff teams. Which one do we think might run the table in the regular season? Can Michigan continue to impress with the biggest rebuilding job in the nation (only one starter returns on defense)? Can Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, or Northwestern challenge the Badgers? How will new coach Jeff Brohm improve Purdue, and can he lead the Boilermakers back into contention for the first time since Drew Brees led the PU attack?

2017 Independents Preview

At one point in the 1960’s and 1970’s there were in excess of 30 college football teams not affiliated with a conference. Schools did not need a conference affiliation to succeed. Penn State, Notre Dame, Florida State, Miami, and other big name schools were power teams that frequently competed for national titles. Michigan State was actually an independent that won a national title prior to becoming the final member of the original Big Ten. There was even a five-year period where Oregon, Oregon State, and Washington State left the Pacific Coast Conference and played as independents, as the forerunner to today’s Pac-12 almost dissolved.

Today, the independent ranks are close to dissolving, but they are hanging on by a thread, or should we say four threads. Army, BYU, Massachusetts, and Notre Dame are what’s left, althought New Mexico State will join this group next year, more because they are being evicted from the Sun Belt. and the MWC has no vacancies for them at this time.

Notre Dame is only a quasi-independent. They belong to the ACC in many ways–they play a five-game schedule of ACC teams, and they can qualify for any ACC Bowl, as long as they are within one win of the next available team.

BYU is a tough fit as a full member in any conference, because the Cougars will not play any athletic competition on Sunday. In basketball, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee seeds them in brackets that keep them away from a Friday-Sunday schedule. They would be a perfect fit with New Mexico State in the Mountain West or even with New Mexico or Utah State in the Big 12, with New Mexico State replacing whichever school left.

Army is okay as an independent, although the West Pointers could fit right into the American Athletic with rival Navy. Massachusetts could easily fit in this league as well, and the independents would be history.

Since there are no preseason media polls, we will start by showing you our own PiRate Retrodictive Ratings for the four schools. You might ask how there could be retrodictive ratings, when no games have been played yet. How can we rate them on their results thus far? Obviously, this is not possible, but we begin each season adjusting the previous season’s final retrodictive ratings just like we do our regular PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings. By the fourth week of the season, the retrodictive ratings are 100% based on the current year’s results.

PiRate Retrodictive Ratings (Independents)

Independents
# Team
PiRate Retrodictive
1 Notre Dame
2 BYU
3 Army
4 Massachusetts

 

Here are our regular predictive PiRate, Mean, and Bias preseason ratings.

Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame 109.7 107.8 109.6 109.0
B Y U 103.0 101.9 103.6 102.8
Army 94.6 94.2 95.5 94.8
Massachusetts 86.0 84.4 86.0 85.5
         
Independents Averages 98.3 97.1 98.7 98.0

And, here are our not-so-scientific predictions for won-loss and bowl projections.

Independents Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
BYU x 9-4 [Military]
Notre Dame x 8-4 Pinstripe
Army x 8-4 Armed Forces
Massachusetts x 3-9  

BYU’s bowl bid is an at-large bid.

 

Trivia: Nobody could come up with the answer to yesterday’s trivia question. Rather than show all the incorrect replies, since we don’t want to embarrass anybody, we erased them from the responses.
Here it is again: Who are these two legendary coaches? Coach number one was a college head coach who won 70% of his games at his first Division 1 school, a team that played in a now defunct conference. He moved on to be a college head coach at two additional schools, the second of which he was replaced by a second coaching legend who won more than 200 games at the college level and more than 250 when his NFL wins were added. Four decades after winning 70% of his games at the first school, Coach number one was still coaching, now the head coach of an NFL team which he guided to the playoffs multiple times. Coach number two was still coaching four decades later after he replaced coach number one. Coach number two won a national championship during his career.
Name the two coaches. If nobody gets the answer by the time we go to press with tomorrow’s preview, we will give the answer, but we know that our readers tend to be among the most knowledgeable football fans and analytical geniuses, so we expect somebody to come up with the correct answer.

We had several guesses, and some of you actually guessed coach number two as coach number one. Nobody guessed correctly on coach number one. He is Marv Levy, who coached at New Mexico in 1958 and 1959, going 7-3 both years. New Mexico played in the defunct Border Conference, a pre-WAC establishment. Levy moved on to an unsuccessful stint at UC-Berkeley, and then to William & Mary. Levy led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls four decades later.

Coach number two, who succeeded Levy at William & Mary was Lou Holtz. Holtz won 249 games at the collegiate level and another three in the NFL with the Jets.

Coming later today–The American Athletic Conference

August 18, 2017

2017 Sun Belt Conference Preview

You can see it coming. This little league, normally the weakest Group of 5 conference in FBS football is beginning to show some teeth. In most years since its inception, the SBC has had one team capable of producing an upset, and maybe another team capable of knocking off a better Group of 5 school in a bowl game.

That’s starting to change. At least for this year, three and possibly four teams are capable of making a run to a double-digit win season and knock off an Power 5 Conference foe.

There is a little bit of change this year, as the league expands temporarily to 12 teams with the addition of Coastal Carolina as a full-fledged member. You would think the league would divide into divisions and play a conference championship game. Next year, the league contracts to 10 teams as New Mexico State and Idaho depart. NMSU will try to make it as an independent like BYU and U Mass, while Idaho drops to the FCS level. Unfortunately for the Vandals, they are making the move downward at the least favorable time in their recent existence. Idaho has the league’s top home field advantage playing in the Kibbe Dome, and their offense is about to make historical strides forward with Matt Linehan at quarterback.

The Vandals should be in a pack of four teams trying to contend with the big three. Appalachian State, Troy, and Arkansas State figure to be the top three teams in the league, while South Alabama, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Georgia State compete with Idaho for best of the rest. Georgia State should get a momentum boost when the Panthers move into the former Atlanta Braves’ Turner Field, which has been remodeled into a beautiful venue for football.

Here’s how the media voted in its preseason predictions.

2017 Sun Belt Conference Media Poll
# Team 1st Pl. Total
1 Appalachian St. 7 136
2 Troy 2 127
3 Arkansas St. 1 122
4 S. Alabama 0 98
5 UL-Lafayette 1 95
6 Idaho 0 84
7 Georgia Southern 0 82
8 Georgia St. 0 48
9 UL-Monroe 0 46
10 N. Mexico St. 1 41
11 Texas St. 0 31
12 Coastal Carolina 0 26

The PiRate Ratings agree on the top three, but there is a bit of difference after that.

Sunbelt Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 99.8 96.8 100.4 99.0
Troy 94.1 94.4 93.4 94.0
Arkansas St. 88.3 90.1 90.0 89.5
Idaho 86.4 89.1 87.2 87.5
Georgia St. 86.3 85.5 86.2 86.0
UL-Lafayette 84.9 86.8 84.7 85.5
S. Alabama 83.8 86.8 84.0 84.9
N. Mexico St. 84.2 81.5 83.2 83.0
Georgia Southern 80.4 82.1 79.8 80.8
UL-Monroe 79.6 80.2 77.8 79.2
Coastal Carolina 72.1 73.5 73.9 73.2
Texas St. 70.7 74.7 69.4 71.6
         
Sun Belt Averages 84.2 85.1 84.2 84.5

And, here are our not-so-scientific predictions for this year’s standings with bowl projections.

Sun Belt Conference Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Appalachian St. 7-1 10-2 Cure
Troy 7-1 9-3 Arizona
Arkansas St. 7-1 8-4 Camellia
S. Alabama 5-3 6-6 New Orleans
Idaho 4-4 6-6 Idaho
Georgia St. 4-4 6-6 Dollar General
UL-Lafayette 4-4 5-7  
Georgia Southern 3-5 4-8  
UL-Monroe 3-5 3-9  
N. Mexico St. 2-6 3-9  
Coastal Carolina 2-6 3-9  
Texas St. 0-8 1-11  

Coming tomorrow: You sort of get a double dose. There are just four Independents, so we will preview the Independents as well as the American Athletic Conference. Then, beginning Sunday, we start with the Power 5 conferences. College football begins in just eight days!

***A special shout out to our reader Ryan. Yesterday, we issued what we thought was a rather tough trivia question, and Ryan nailed it rather quickly. So, today, we will increase the difficulty with a little tougher trivia. ***

 

TRIVIA
Who are these two legendary coaches? Coach number one was a college head coach who won 70% of his games at his first Division 1 school, a team that played in a now defunct conference. He moved on to be a college head coach at two additional schools, the second of which he was replaced by a second coaching legend who won more than 200 games at the college level and more than 250 when his NFL wins were added. Four decades after winning 70% of his games at the first school, Coach number one was still coaching, now the head coach of an NFL team which he guided to the playoffs multiple times. Coach number two was still coaching four decades later after he replaced coach number one. Coach number two won a national championship during his career.

Name the two coaches. If nobody gets the answer by the time we go to press with tomorrow’s preview, we will give the answer, but we know that our readers tend to be among the most knowledgeable football fans and analytical geniuses, so we expect somebody to come up with the correct answer.

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