The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 11, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 11 Update

Patriot League Championship—4:45 PM EST On ESPN2

#6 Lafayette (13-18)  at #1 Bucknell (24-8)

 

Lafayette makes an appearance in the conference championship game for the second consecutive year.  The Leopards fell to rival Lehigh last season and were tabbed the best team in the league in the preseason.  They took a step backward and tumbled to sixth in the league.

 

Bucknell closed 2010 with an 8-2 finish and returned all five starters and most of their key reserves.  The Bison continued to play top-notch ball and ran away with the Patriot League title.  Bucknell is on fire, having won nine games in a row by an average of 72-60 and 22 of their last 24 games.

 

The Bison swept the series against their Keystone State rival, winning 75-56 in Lewisburg and 74-69 in overtime at Easton.  Tonight’s game is on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, so Bucknell will enjoy the home court advantage.

 

In the earlier game in Lewisburg, Bucknell began the second half of a close game by going on a 20-3 run to put the game out of reach.  The Bison held Lafayette to 37% shooting and controlled the boards by 14.  In the game at Lafayette, Bucknell led 61-50 with four and a half minutes to go, but the Bison did not score another point in regulation.  Lafayette scored 11 consecutive points to force overtime and then briefly took a 64-61 lead at the start of the extra period.  The Leopards shot under 40% again and were outrebounded once again.

 

Bucknell goes just seven-deep, and all seven contribute to the offense.  Muscular big man Mike Muscala leads the way with 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.  The 6-11 Muscala has recorded six double-doubles in the last 15 games.  Bryson Johnson is an excellent long-range shooter, and he shoots 47% from three-point range.  As a team, Bucknell shoots 40.6% from behind the arc.

 

Lafayette led the entire game at Holy Cross in the conference tournament quarterfinal.  The Leopards placed five players in double figure scoring, and they stole the ball nine times to knock off the Crusaders.  In the semifinal round at number two seed American, the Leopards trailed by two points in the final seconds when Jim Mower buried a three-pointer as the clock expired to seal a double overtime victory.

 

If the Leopards are to pull off the big upset and advance to a First Four game in Dayton next week, big man Jared Mintz will have to neutralize Muscala.  Mintz gives away two inches in height, but he has the power to hold his own inside.  Mintz leads the Leopards with a 15.8 point scoring average and 5.8 rebound average.  Mower averages 12.4 points per game.

 

Thursday’s Results And Friday’s Games With NCAA Tournament Repercussions

All Times EST

Atlantic Coast Conference—Greensboro, NC

1st Round

#9 Miami  69  #8 Virginia  62

#5 Boston College  81  #12 Wake Forest  67

#7 Maryland  75  #10 North Carolina State  67

#6 Virginia Tech  59  #11 Georgia Tech  43

 

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Miami (19-13)  vs. #1 North Carolina (24-6)  12 Noon  ESPN2

#5 Boston College (20-11)  vs. #4 Clemson (20-10)  Approx. 2:15 PM  ESPN2

#7 Maryland (19-13)  vs. #2 Duke (27-4)  7 PM  ESPN2

#6 Virginia Tech (20-10)  vs. #3 Florida State (21-9)  Approx. 9:15 PM  ESPN2

 

North Carolina, Duke, Florida State, Clemson, and Boston College are in.  Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Miami are on the bubble.  Miami and Maryland must win today, or they are NIT-bound.  Virginia Tech is in a near must-win situation.  They are on the middle of the bubble.

 

Atlantic 10 Conference—Atlantic City, NJ

No Games Played Thursday

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Dayton (20-12)  vs. #1 Xavier (24-6)  12 Noon  CBS College

#12 St. Joseph’s (10-21)  vs. #4 Duquesne (18-11)  2:30 PM  CBS College

#10 LaSalle (15-17)  vs. #2 Temple (24-6)  6:30 PM  CBS College

#6 Rhode Island (19-12)  vs. #3 Richmond (24-7)  9 PM  CBS College

 

Xavier, Temple, and Richmond are in.  Duquesne must win the tournament to get in, so the bubble teams will be pulling for Dayton or Xavier to stop them in the semifinals.  Keep an eye on Rhode Island.  The Rams are capable of upsetting Richmond and Temple to get to the finals.

 

Big 12 Conference—Kansas City

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Kansas  53  #9 Oklahoma State  52

#5 Colorado  87  #4 Kansas State  75

#2 Texas  74  #10 Oklahoma  54

#3 Texas A&M  86  #6 Missouri  71

 

Semifinal Round

#1 Kansas (30-2)  vs. #5 Colorado (21-12)  7 PM

#2 Texas (26-6)  vs. #3 Texas A&M (24-7)  9:30 PM

 

Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas State, and Colorado are in.  The Buffalos secured their bid yesterday, so the rest of this tournament is all about the seedings.

 

Big East Conference—New York City

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Connecticut  76  #1 Pittsburgh  74

#4 Syracuse  79  #5 St. John’s  73

#2 Notre Dame  89  #7 Cincinnati  51

#3 Louisville  81  #11 Marquette  56

 

Semifinal Round

#9 Connecticut (24-9)  vs. #4 Syracuse (26-6)  7 PM  ESPN

#2 Notre Dame (26-5)  vs. #3 Louisville (24-8)  Approx. 9:15 PM  ESPN

 

11, yes 11, teams will receive invitations Sunday evening.  This is the strongest league not just this year, but maybe since the Big East placed three teams in the Final Four in 1985.  This should be a great finish to the tournament, and Notre Dame has a chance to move to a number one seed if the Irish win it.  Any one of these four could still be playing in late March.

 

Big Ten Conference—Indianapolis

1st Round

#8 Northwestern  75  #9 Minnesota  65

#7 Michigan State  66  #10 Iowa  61

#6 Penn State  61  #11 Indiana  55

 

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Ohio State (29-2)  vs. #8 Northwestern (18-12) 12 Noon  ESPN

#4 Michigan (19-12)  vs. #5 Illinois (19-12)  Approx 2:20  ESPN

#2 Purdue (25-6)  vs. #7 Michigan State (18-13)  6:30 PM  Big Ten Network

#3 Wisconsin (23-7)  vs. #6 Penn State (17-13)  Approx. 8:45  Big Ten Network

 

Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois are in.  Michigan State can definitely punch a ticket with an upset over Purdue today, and they are still on the highest part of the bubble if they lose.  Northwestern and Penn State must win the tournament to get in, although the Nittany Lions could get in the discussion with a loss in the finals.  We would not be all that surprised if the Wildcats play Ohio State a close game, at least for 30 to 32 minutes.

 

Big West Conference—Anaheim

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Long Beach State 79  #8 UC-Irvine  72

#5 UC-Santa Barbara  79  #4 Pacific  67

#7 UC-Riverside  70  #2 Cal Poly  66  ot

#3 Cal State Northridge  75  #6 Cal State Fullerton  54

 

Semifinal Round

#1 Long Beach State (21-10)  vs. #5 UC-Santa Barbara (16-13)  9:30 PM  ESPNU

#3 Cal State Northridge (14-17)  vs. #7 UC-Riverside (12-18)  12 Midnight  ESPNU

 

The champion is the only team that will advance.  Long Beach State has a minimal at best chance of winning a first round game if they are the champion.

 

Conference USA—El Paso, TX

Quarterfinal Round

#8 East Carolina  75  #1 U A B  70  ot

#4 Memphis  66  #5 Southern Miss.  63

#3 U T E P  77  #6 Marshall  65

#2 Tulsa  81  #7 Rice  72

 

Semifinal Round

#2 Tulsa (19-12)  vs. #3 U T E P  (24-8)  3 PM 

#4 Memphis (23-9)  vs. #8 East Carolina (18-14)  5:30 PM

 

At this point, no team is guaranteed a spot in the Big Dance.  UAB played their way to the bottom half of the bubble with a loss to ECU.  Memphis and UTEP could possibly get into the conversation if they both advance to the championship game.  For now, we are projecting just the champion to make it into the tournament.  The host Miners enjoy a large home court advantage and should top Tulsa in a thriller today.

 

Mid-American Conference—Cleveland

Quarterfinal Round

#2 Western Michigan 67  #7 Bowling Green  56

#6 Akron  82  #3 Miami (O)  75  2ot

#1 Kent State  73  #8 Buffalo  62

#4 Ball State  76  #5 Ohio U  73  ot

 

Semifinal Round

#2 Western Michigan (20-11)  vs. #6 Akron (21-12)  7 PM

#1 Kent State (22-10)  vs. #4 Ball State (19-12)  9:30 PM

 

The MAC has been down in recent years, but the eventual champion of this tournament could be a formidable opponent as a number 13 or 14 seed for a better team in the first round. 

 

M E A C—Winston-Salem, NC

Quarterfinal Round

#4 Morgan State  77  #5 North Carolina A&T  59

#6 Norfolk State  55  #3 Coppin State 53

 

Semifinal Round

#1 Bethune-Cookman (21-11)  vs. #4 Morgan State (16-13)  6 PM

#2 Hampton (22-8) vs. #6 Norfolk State (12-19)  Approx. 8:15 PM

 

These teams are playing for a probable spot in the First Four.  The first semifinal will be a thriller; the top-seeded Wildcats face the three-time defending champion Bears.

 

Hampton has been a surprise team, and they should have an easier contest and be more rested for the championship.

 

Mountain West Conference—Las Vegas

Quarterfinal Round

#1 B Y U  64  #9 T C U  58

#5 New Mexico  67  #4 Colorado State 61

#2 San Diego State  64  #7 Utah  50

#3 U N L V  69  #6 Air Force 53

 

Semifinal Round

#1 B Y U (29-3)  vs. #5 New Mexico (21-11)  9 PM  CBS College

#2 San Diego State (30-2)  vs. #3 U N L V  (24-7)  11:30 PM  CBS College

 

BYU, San Diego State, and UNLV are in.  Colorado State played themselves into the NIT with the loss yesterday to New Mexico.  As for the Lobos, with a third win over BYU today, they could get into the conversation, but they probably need to earn the automatic bid to go dancing.

 

Pac-10 Conference—Los Angeles

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Arizona 78  #9 Oregon State  69

#4 Southern Cal  70  #5 California  56

#7 Oregon  76  #2 U C L A  59

#3 Washington 89  #6 Washington State 87

 

Semifinal Round

#1 Arizona (26-6)  vs. #4 Southern Cal (19-13)  9 PM  Fox Sports

#3 Washington (21-10)  vs. #7 Oregon (16-16)  11:30 PM  Fox Sports

 

Arizona, UCLA, and Washington are in.  Oregon must win this tournament to get in.  As for Southern Cal, the Trojans might work their way into one of the final bubble spots with an upset over the top-seeded Wildcats tonight.  Last night’s battle of the Evergreen State was one of the most exciting of the tournament season with the Huskies coming from behind to knock off arch-rival Washington State by two.

 

Southeastern Conference—Atlanta

1st Round

#4E  Georgia  69  #5W  Auburn  51

#3W  Ole Miss  66  #6E  South Carolina  55

#5E  Tennessee  74  #4W  Arkansas  68

#3E  Vanderbilt  62  #6W  L S U  50

 

Quarterfinal Round

#1W  Alabama (21-10)  vs. #4E Georgia (20-10)  1 PM

#2E  Kentucky (22-8)  vs. #3W Ole Miss (20-12)  3:30 PM

#1E  Florida (24-6)  vs. #5E  Tennessee (19-13)  7:30 PM

#2W Mississippi State (17-13)  vs. #3E  Vanderbilt (22-9)  10 PM

 

Florida, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt are definitely in.  Tennessee is probably in and would only be out if a lot of surprise winners win the remaining conference tournaments.  The Vols would safely secure a spot with a win over the Gators. 

 

The big game in all of college basketball today is the Georgia-Alabama game.  Call this an extra play-in game.  The winner survives to the Dance, while the loser will be hosting an NIT game next week.

 

Southland Conference—Katy, TX

Semifinal Round

#1 McNeese State  91  #4 Texas State  83

#7 UT-San Antonio  79  #3 Sam Houston State 70

 

Championship Game on Saturday

 

S W A C—Garland, TX

Quarterfinal Round

#4 Alabama State  81  #5 Alabama A&M 61

#6 Grambling  65  #3 Mississippi Valley  62

 

Semifinal Round

#2 Jackson State (17-14)  vs. #6 Grambling (11-20)  3:30 PM

#1 Texas Southern (19-11)  vs. #4 Alabama State (15-17)  9 PM

 

The Champion will probably be forced to play in the First Four.  Jackson State is on a mission after losing in the first round last year as the number one seed.

 

W A C—Las Vegas

Quarterfinal Round

#8 San Jose State  74  #4 Idaho 68

#3 New Mexico State  66  #6 Nevada  60

 

Semifinal Round

#1 Utah State (28-3)  vs. #8 San Jose State (17-14)  9 PM

#2 Boise State (19-11)  vs. #3 New Mexico State (16-16)  11:30 PM  ESPN2

 

Utah State is in and should be the higher seed in their first round game.  If the Aggies are upset, then one more bubble will burst.  The one WAC team that beat USU (Idaho) was knocked out of the conference tournament yesterday.

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March 10, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 10 Update

Two Newest Dance Participants

 

Northeast Conference Championship

Long Island  85  Robert Morris  82 ot

 

In what may have been the most exciting championship game of the season, the home-standing Blackbirds and visiting Colonials exchanged leads all night.  Two missed three-point shots in the final seconds, one at the buzzer, was all that prevented this game from going to double overtime.

 

LIU opened with a cold shooting hand, and RMU took the lead.  Once the Blackbirds started hitting their shots, this became a game of runs.  LIU had the hot hand in the second half, but RMU kept getting enough offensive rebounds to keep the Colonials in the game.

 

Jamal Olasewere had a game-high 31 points to go with 11 rebounds; he scored seven points in the overtime.  Team leader Julian Boyd was held to just seven points, but the Blackbirds had excellent showings off the bench.  Jason Brickman tossed in 15 points and dished out eight big assists, while Kenny Onyechi added 13 points.

 

Russell Johnson and Velton Jones teamed up for 42 points for the losers.

 

LIU will be a formidable opponent for their favored foe in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  Their style of play could cause severe matchup problems for a bigger, slower team, especially if that team is not the strongest ball-handling team.  If they were to be bracketed against BYU in the first round, it would be the thriller of the first round. 

 

Big Sky Conference Championship

Northern Colorado  65  Montana  60

 

This game was anticlimactic following the NEC Championship.  Montana kept the pace slow, and the Grizzlies shot out to a 7-0 lead in the first two and a half minutes.  UNC made a run to take its first lead at 17-16 on a three-point shot by Tate Unruh.

 

The lead switched hands several times the remainder of the half with the buzzer sending the teams to the locker tied at 31-31.

 

Montana maintained a small lead for most of the second half, until star guard Devon Beitzel took over.  His three-pointer at the 4:56 mark gave the Bears the lead for good.  Beitzel continued shooting and then forced Montana to foul him, and the Bears hung on to win.

 

Beitzel did not score until late in the first half, but the Big Sky Conference’s leading scorer finished with 27 points.

 

Montana center Brian Qvale hit a layup with 16 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 62-60, but following two made Beitzel free throws, Art Steward committed a turnover to seal the game. 

 

Steward led the Grizzlies with 16 points, while Qvale added 11.

 

Northern Colorado will be one of those teams that will be glad just to be there at the NCAA Tournament.  The Bears should make a quick exit in game one, unless they are chosen as one of the First Four #16 seeds.

 

13 Automatic Qualifiers To Date

Team Conference Record
Arkansas-Little Rock Sunbelt 19-16
Belmont Atlantic South 30-4
Butler Horizon 23-9
Gonzaga West Coast 24-9
Indiana State Missouri Valley 20-13
Long Island Northeast 27-4
Morehead State Ohio Valley 24-9
Northern Colorado Big Sky 21-10
Oakland Summit 25-9
Old Dominion Colonial 27-6
St. Peter’s Metro Atlantic 20-13
UNC-Asheville Big South 19-13
Wofford Southern 21-12

 

No Championship Games Are Scheduled For Thursday

 

Wednesday’s Results/Thursday’s Schedule

All Times EST

Atlantic Coast Conference—Greensboro, NC

1st Round

#8 Virginia (16-14)  vs. #9 Miami (Fla) (18-13)  12 Noon

#5 Boston College (19-11)  vs. #12 Wake Forest (8-23)  Approx. 2:15 PM

#7 Maryland (18-13)  vs. #10 North Carolina State (15-15)  7 PM  ESPN2

#6 Virginia Tech (19-10)  vs. #11 Georgia Tech (13-17)  Approx. 9:15 PM

 

Big 12 Conference—Kansas City

1st Round

#9 Oklahoma State  53  #8 Nebraska  52

#5 Colorado  77  #12 Iowa State  75

#10 Oklahoma  84  #7 Baylor  67

#6 Missouri  88  #11 Texas Tech  84

 

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Oklahoma State (19-12)  vs. #1 Kansas (29-2)  12:30 PM on ESPN2

#5 Colorado (20-12)  vs. #4 Kansas State (22-9)  3PM

#10 Oklahoma (14-17) vs. #2 Texas (25-6)  7 PM

#6 Missouri (23-9) vs. #3 Texas A&M (23-7)  9:30 PM

 

Big East Conference—New York City

2nd Round

#9 Connecticut  79  #8 Georgetown 62

#5 St. John’s  65  #13 Rutgers 63

#7 Cincinnati  87  #15 South Florida 61

#11 Marquette  67  #6 West Virginia  61

 

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Connecticut (23-9)  vs. #1 Pittsburgh (27-4)  12 Noon  ESPN

#5 St. John’s (21-10)  vs. #4 Syracuse (25-6)  Approx. 2:15 PM  ESPN

#7 Cincinnati (25-7)  vs. #2 Notre Dame (25-5)  7 PM  ESPN

#11 Marquette (20-13)  vs. #3 Louisville (23-8)  Approx. 9:15 PM  ESPN

 

Big Ten Conference—Indianapolis

1st Round

#8 Northwestern (17-12)  vs. #9 Minnesota (17-13)  2:30 PM  ESPN2

#7 Michigan State (17-13)  vs. #10 Iowa (11-19)  4:50 PM  ESPN2

#6 Penn State (16-13)  vs. #11 Indiana (12-19)  7:30 PM  Big Ten Network

 

Big West Conference—Anaheim

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Long Beach State (20-10)  vs. #8 UC-Irvine (13-18)  3 PM

#4 Pacific (16-14)  vs. #5 UC-Santa Barbara (15-13)  5:20 PM

#2 Cal Poly (15-14)  vs. #7 UC-Riverside (11-18)  9 PM

#3 Cal State Northridge (13-17)  vs. #6 Cal State Fullerton (11-19)  11:20 PM

 

Conference USA—El Paso, TX

1st Round

#8 East Carolina  78  #9 Central Florida  60

#5 Southern Miss.  63  #12 Tulane  47

#6 Marshall  97  #11 Houston  87

#10 Rice  58  #7 S M U  57

 

Quarterfinal Round

#8 East Carolina (17-14)  vs. #1 U A B  (22-7)  1PM  CBSC

#5 Southern Miss (22-9)  vs. #4 Memphis (22-9)  3:30 PM  CBSC

#6 Marshall (22-10)  vs. #3 U T E P  (23-8)  7:30 PM  CBSC

#10 Rice (14-17)  vs. #2 Tulsa (18-12)  10 PM  CBSC

 

M A C—Cleveland

Quarterfinal Round

#7 Bowling Green (14-18)  vs. #2 Western Michigan (19-11)  12 Noon

#6 Akron (20-12)  vs. #3 Miami (O) (16-15)  2:30 PM

#8 Buffalo (18-12)  vs. #1 Kent State (21-10)  7 PM

#5 Ohio U (18-14)  vs. #4 Ball State (18-12)  9:30 PM

 

M E A C—Winston-Salem, NC

Note: The MEAC has a unique scheduling format which rewards its top three seeds.  Thus, yesterday, there were both first round and quarterfinal round games scheduled.  The quarterfinal round concludes today.

 

1st Round

#6 Norfolk State  68  #11 Howard 53

 

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Bethune-Cookman  66  #9 South Carolina State 50

#2 Hampton  77  #10 Maryland-Eastern Shore  55

 

Quarterfinal Round Continues

#4 Morgan State (15-13)  vs. #5 North Carolina A&T (15-16)  8 PM

#3 Coppin State (16-13)  vs. #6 Norfolk State (11-19)  7 PM

 

Mountain West Conference—Las Vegas

1st Round

#9 T C U  70  #8 Wyoming  61

 

Quarterfinal Round

#9 T C U (11-21)  vs. #1 Brigham Young (28-3)  3 PM

#5 New Mexico (20-11)  vs. #4 Colorado State (19-11)  5:30 PM

#7 Utah (13-17)  vs. #2 San Diego State (29-2)  9 PM

#6 Air Force (15-14)  vs. #3 U N L V  (23-7)  11:30 PM

 

Pac-10 Conference—Los Angeles

1st Round

#9 Oregon State 69  #8 Stanford 67

#7 Oregon 76  #10 Arizona State 69

 

Quarterfinal Round

#4 Southern Cal (18-13)  vs. #5 California (17-13)  3 PM  Fox Sports

#1 Arizona (25-6)  vs. #9 Oregon State (11-19)  5:30 PM  Fox Sports

#2 U C L A  (22-9)  vs. #7 Oregon (15-16)  9 PM  Fox Sports

#3 Washington (20-10)  vs. #6 Washington State (19-11)  11:30 PM  Fox Sports

 

Southeastern Conference—Atlanta

1st Round

#4E  Georgia (20-10)  vs. #5W  Auburn (11-19)  1 PM

#3W  Ole Miss (19-12)  vs. #6E  South Carolina (14-15)  3:30 PM

#4W  Arkansas (18-12)  vs. #5E  Tennessee (18-13)  7:30 PM

#3W  Vanderbilt (21-9)  vs. #6E L S U  (11-20)  10 PM

 

Southland Conference—Katy, TX

Quarterfinal Round

#1 McNeese State 61  #8 Nicholls State 54

#4 Texas State 72  #5 Southeastern Louisiana 68

#7 Texas-San Antonio 97  #2 Northwestern State (LA) 96

#3 Sam Houston State 61  #6 Stephen F. Austin 45

 

Semifinal Round

#3 Sam Houston State (18-12)  vs. #7 Texas-San Antonio (17-13)  7 PM

#1 McNeese State (20-10)  vs. #4 Texas State (16-15)  9:30 PM

 

S W A C–Garland, TX

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Texas Southern 50  #8 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 45

#2 Jackson State 50  #7 Prairie View 38

 

Quarterfinal Round Continues

#3 Mississippi Valley (13-18)  vs. #6 Grambling (10-20)  12:30 PM

#4 Alabama State (14-17)  vs. #5 Alabama A&M (13-14) 9 PM

 

W A C—Las Vegas

1st Round

#8 San Jose State 75  #5 Hawaii 74

#6 Nevada 90  #7 Fresno State 80

 

2nd Round

#4 Idaho (18-12)  vs. #8 San Jose State (16-14)  3 PM  ESPNU

#3 New Mexico State (15-16)  vs. #6 Nevada (13-18)  5:30 PM  ESPNU

March 9, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 9 Update

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:25 am

Three More Tickets Punched

Horizon League Championship

Butler 59  Milwaukee 44

 The Bulldogs held Milwaukee to 30% shooting from the field, and Matt Howard connected on seven of nine shots to pace Butler with 18 points, as the defending National Final runner-up earned another spot in the Big Dance.

 Summit League Championship

Oakland 90  Oral Roberts 76 

The Golden Grizzlies displayed a great offensive show with the aid of numerous first half steals by Drew Valentine and Reggie Hamilton to build a double-digit lead by the break.  After withstanding an early second half run by the Golden Eagles, Oakland pulled away to win the automatic bid.  

Keith Benson topped Oakland with 28 points and 14 rebounds.  Hamilton added 25 with six assists, while Will Hudson recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

 

Sunbelt Conference Championship

U A L R  64  North Texas  63 

The Trojans won their first Sunbelt Championship and earned their first bid to the NCAA Tournament since 1990.

 

SBC Player of the Year Solomon Bozeman drove from the backcourt to the left side of the top of the key and drained a three-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining to give UALR the decisive points.  Bozeman scored a game-high 20 points. 

North Texas had led by seven points with less than two minutes to go, but the Mean Green wilted under the Trojan pressure defense.  With one last chance to try to win, UNT committed a turnover on the inbounds pass. 

11 Automatic Qualifiers To Date

Team Conference Record
Arkansas-Little Rock Sunbelt  19-16
Belmont  Atlantic South 30-4
Butler  Horizon 23-9
Gonzaga West Coast 24-9
Indiana State  Missouri Valley  20-13
Morehead State  Ohio Valley  24-9
Oakland  Summit  25-9
Old Dominion Colonial 27-6
St. Peter’s Metro Atlantic 20-13
UNC-Asheville Big South 19-13
Wofford Southern 21-12

 

Two Tickets To Be Punched Tonight

Big Sky Tournament Championship @ 9PM ET On ESPN2

#2 Montana (21-9) at #1 Northern Colorado (20-10)

 

Semifinal Round

Montana 57  Weber State 40

Northern Colorado 73  Northern Arizona 70

 

These two split their regular season series with Northern Colorado winning 63-45 in Greeley, and Montana winning 55-42 in Missoula.  Tonight’s game will be played at Butler-Hancock Hall in Greeley, so Northern Colorado will enjoy the home court advantage. 

This game is a great study in contrasts.  Northern Colorado is a quicker team, but Montana is a stronger team.  Northern Colorado has one exceptionally dominant player, while Montana has more, albeit less exceptional, weapons.

 

The Bears’ offense runs through 6-1 senior guard Devon Beitzel.  Beitzel averages a league-best 21 points per game, and he is deadly at the free throw line, where he connects on 91% of his tosses. 

The rest of the team collectively shoots under 41% from the field and commits more turnovers than assists, so if the Grizzlies can stop Beitzel, or at least limit his touches, they have a chance of defending their crown.

 

Montana has the dominant big man in the conference in 6-11/260 senior center Brian Qvale.  If the Grizzlies can keep this game a half-court affair, they stand a great chance of winning with Qvale plugging the middle on defense and controlling the boards at both ends of the court.  Qvale averages 15 points and nine boards a game, and he had a double-double with 16 points and 17 rebounds in the semifinal round.  Montana likes to limit possessions, so those numbers are even more impressive than they look. 

In the win over UNC, Montana held the Bears to 23.3% shooting, while they shot just 32.6% in the loss at Greeley.

 

It is our opinion that the visiting number two seed will pull off the mild upset over the host numbone seed, but it is not a strong feeling. 

 Northeast Conference Tournament Championship @ 7PM ET On ESPN2

#3 Robert Morris (18-13) at #1 Long Island (26-5)

Semifinal Round

Long Island 69  Central Connecticut 67

Robert Morris 64  Quinnipiac 62

Brooklyn has not been this excited over one of their own sports teams since the Dodgers won the 1955 World Series.  Long Island is one of the most exciting teams in the nation, and their 26-5 record has throngs of Brooklynites cramming into the Wellness, Recreation, and Athletic Center.  The WRAC holds just 2,500 seats, but you can bet that more than that amount will find their way into the game tonight, as they “Pack the WRAC.” 

Those fans will be converging to the corner of Ashland and Dekalb tonight, dressed in all white, to watch what could be a blowout win for their team.   

LIU is on a roll.  The Blackbirds have won 12 games in a row (longest current streak in the nation) and 20 of their previous 21 games.  They average almost 83 points per game.  The Blackbirds have exceptional depth with eight players capable of scoring 15 or more points. 

 

The Blackbirds pose difficult matchups with their roster, as they rely on quick guards and medium-sized forwards with great leaping ability to play at a fast pace.  There is no center on the roster, but the two 6-7 forwards have controlled the boards in most games this year. 

Those forwards are Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere, who team up for 25.4 points and 15.7 rebounds per game.

 5-10 backup guard Jason Brickman plays just 22 minutes per game, but he leads the team with 5.3 assists per game.  When he comes in the game, the pace picks up, and the Blackbirds shoot a lot of threes in transition.

 

Robert Morris is definitely not cannon fodder.  The Colonials are the two-time defending NEC Tournament champions, and they believe they can three peat even on the road in hostile conditions. 

The Colonials have won eight games in a row, relying on a stellar defense that limits possessions and pressures the guards.  They are missing their leading scorer, as 5-9 guard Karon Abraham’s season ended two weeks ago with a torn Achilles Tendon.  On the positive side, Abraham missed RMU’s win at LIU on December 2, as he was serving a multi-game suspension. 

Velton Jones and Russell Johnson will have to shine tonight for the Colonials to pull off the upset.  The duo are the only double figure scorers left, but both shoot less than 39% from the field. 

Without Abraham, RMU shoots just 33.7% from behind the arc, so the only way they can possibly win tonight is to replicate the formula that was successful more than three months ago—control the tempo and prevent LIU from getting off any uncontested three-pointers. 

We believe this game will begin slowly with RMU taking the lead in the early stages.  Somewhere in the first half, LIU will go on one of their patented runs and gain the lead.  Then, a second spurt will give them a commanding lead.  RMU might cut into that lead, but we believe in the end, the Blackbirds will be celebrating at the WRAC.  We do not believe the Brooklynites will be crying “Wait ‘Til Next Year.”  This will be like October of 1955 in the borough.

 

Yesterday’s Other Tournament Results

Atlantic 10 Conference

First Round

LaSalle 75  St. Bonaventure 73  2ot

St. Joseph’s 71  George Washington 59  ot

Rhode Island 70  St. Louis 61

Dayton 78  U Mass 50

 

Big East Conference

First Round

Connecticut 97  DePaul 71

Rutgers 76  Seton Hall 70 ot

South Florida 70  Villanova 69

Marquette 87  Providence 66 

M A C

First Round

Bowling Green 74  Northern Illinois 54

Ohio U 74  Toledo 57

Akron 67  Eastern Michigan 53

Buffalo 64  Central Michigan 50

 

M E A C

First Round

MD-Eastern Shore 87  F A M U 85  2ot

S. C. State 64  Delaware State 59 

Ivy League Playoff Set

Princeton defeated rival Penn 70-58 last night in Philadelphia, forcing a one-game playoff for the Ivy League’s automatic berth.  Princeton (24-6) will take on co-champion Harvard (23-5) Saturday afternoon at 4PM Eastern Time.  The game will be played at Yale University in New Haven, CT, and it can be seen live on ESPN3.com.

Princeton has appeared in all seven Ivy League tiebreaking playoff games in the history of the league.  This is Harvard’s first Ivy League basketball championship of any kind.  The Crimson last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1946. 

There is a chance that the loser of this game could hold a slim chance of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.  Harvard is ranked #35 in the RPI, while Princeton is ranked #49.  Harvard has two wins over top 50 teams as well as three losses.  Their biggest win was at Boston College.  Princeton has just one win against the top 50 and two losses.  For the Ivy to earn two bids, the Tigers have to win Saturday and hope Harvard’s high RPI is enough to earn the second bid. 

Conference Tournaments In Action Today

Big 12 Conference

Tournament Site: Kansas City

1st Round Games

#8 Nebraska (19-11) vs. #9 Oklahoma State (18-12)  12:30 PM ET

#5 Colorado (19-12) vs. #12 Iowa State (16-15)  3 PM ET

#7 Baylor (18-12) vs. #10 Oklahoma (13-17)  7PM ET

#6 Missouri (22-9) vs. #11 Texas Tech (13-18) 9:30 PM ET 

Big East Conference

Tournament Site: New York City

2nd Round Games

#8 Georgetown (21-9) vs. #9 Connecticut (22-9)  12 Noon ET on ESPN

#5 St. John’s (20-10) vs. #13 Rutgers (15-16)  Approx. 2:15 PM ET on ESPN

#7 Cincinnati (24-7) vs. #15 South Florida (10-22)  7 PM ET on ESPN

#6 West Virginia (20-10) vs. #11 Marquette (19-13)  Approx. 9:15 PM ET on ESPN 

Conference USA

Tournament Site: El Paso, TX

1st Round Games

#8 East Carolina (16-14) vs. #9 Central Florida (19-10)  1 PM ET

#5 Southern Miss (21-9) vs. #12 Tulane (13-16)  3:30 PM ET

#6 Marshall (21-10) vs. #11 Houston (12-17)  7:30 PM ET

#7 S M U (17-13) vs. #10 Rice (13-17)  10 PM ET 

M E A C

Tournament Site: Winston-Salem, NC

Note: The MEAC has a unique way of scheduling their tournament.  As a result, one first round game will be played today as well as two quarterfinal round games.  The other two quarterfinal round games will be played Thursday. 

1st Round

#6 Norfolk State () vs. #11 Howard ()  3 PM ET

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Bethune-Cookman (20-11) vs. #9 South Carolina State (10-21)  7 PM ET

#2 Hampton (21-8) vs. #10 Maryland-Eastern Shore (9-21)  9:30 PM ET 

Mountain West Conference

Tournament Site: Las Vegas

1st Round

#8 Wyoming (10-20) vs. #9 T C U (10-21)  5 PM ET 

Pac-10 Conference

Tournament Site: Los Angeles

1st Round

#8 Stanford (15-15) vs. #9 Oregon State (10-19)  9 PM ET on Fox Sports Net

#7 Oregon (14-16) vs. #10 Arizona State (12-18)  11:30 PM ET on Fox Sports Net 

Southland Conference

Tournament Site: Katy, TX (Houston Area)

Quarterfinal Round

#2 Northwestern State (LA) (18-13) vs. #7 Texas-San Antonio (16-13)  1 PM ET

#3 Sam Houston (17-12) vs. #6 Stephen F. Austin (18-10)  3:30 PM ET

#1 McNeese State (19-10) vs. #8 Nicholls State (14-13)  7 PM ET

#4 Texas State (15-15) vs. #5 Southeastern Louisiana (15-13)  9:30 PM ET 

S W A C

Tournament Site: Garland, TX (Dallas-Ft. Worth Area) 

Quarterfinal Round

#2 Jackson State (16-14) vs. #7 Prairie View (10-21)  12:30 PM ET

#1 Texas Southern (18-11) vs. #8 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (7-23)  9 PM ET

W A C

Tournament Site: Las Vegas

1st Round

#5 Hawaii (18-11) vs. #8 San Jose State (15-14)  3 PM ET

#6 Nevada (12-18) vs. #7 Fresno State (14-16)  5:30 PM ET

March 8, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 8 Update

 

The Four Newest Dance Invitees

Did you see those conference championship games last night?  Was this the Monday Night Fights or basketball?  There were more cut men and cut women than in your average boxing card.

 

When it is all or nothing for these smaller conferences, you get what we saw last night—teams playing like their lives were on the line.

 

Colonial Athletic Association

Old Dominion 70

Virginia Commonwealth 65

 

Old Dominion 27-6

 

The Monarchs are capable of making a semi-surprise run in the Big Dance.  They lead the nation in rebounding margin, and they can score points in the paint. 

 

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

St. Peter’s 62

Iona 57

 

St. Peter’s 20-13

 

The Peacocks beat Alabama earlier in the season, and their defense could keep them within striking defense in an opening round game, but we cannot see SPC advancing to the second round.

 

Southern Conference

Wofford 77

College of Charleston 67

 

Wofford 21-12

 

The Terriers finally beat the Cougars (we predicted this yesterday), and they will not roll over and play dead in the first round.  This team returns to the Dance for the second consecutive season, and they will not back down.  They may not advance, but they will not be in awe of their heavily favored first round opponent.

 

West Coast Conference

Gonzaga 75

Saint Mary’s 63

 

Gonzaga 24-9

 

This edition of Zags may not be the most talented in the Coach Mark Few era, but they are playing their best ball at the right time.  It will depend on their bracket, but this team has Sweet 16 potential.

 

Three More Invitations Go Out Tonight

By 11:15 PM Eastern Time tonight, we will know the names of three more NCAA Tournament participants.  Let’s break down these games.

 

Horizon League Championship @ 9PM ET on ESPN

Butler (22-9)  at  Milwaukee (19-12)

 

Butler defeated Cleveland State in the semifinal round Saturday evening, while Milwaukee topped Valparaiso.  During the regular season, Milwaukee swept the Bulldogs, winning 76-52 at home and 86-80 in overtime on the road.  The top-seeded Panthers host this game.

 

Both teams are red hot coming into this title match.  Milwaukee has gone 10-1 in their last 11 games, and the only loss was in the Bracketbuster to Buffalo.  Their defense is what got them here, as they shoot only 43% from the field and 65% at the foul line.

 

Three Panthers average double figures in scoring, led by Anthony Hill.  Hill averages just under 16 points per game, but he broke out with a 24-point, 11-rebound performance in the semifinal game against Valpo.  Kaylon Williams is the X-factor for Panthers.  He can score when needed, rebound with the big men, and run the offense.  He recorded a triple-double earlier in the season against Butler (10 points-10 rebounds-10 assists), and he added a double-double in the second win over the Bulldogs.

 

Butler missed Gordon Hayward even more than most experts predicted.  The Bulldogs played a tough pre-conference schedule and limped into February.  With their backs against the wall, they reeled off eight consecutive victories to get to the title game tonight.

 

Most basketball fans know Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack from last year’s team that made the surprise run to the National Championship Game.  The duo has teamed for 32 points and 6.5 rebounds per game this year.  However, it has been the emergence of 6-11 sophomore center Andrew Smith that has allowed Butler to turn things around and look like a force to be reckoned with once again.  Smith averaged 11 points per game over the second half of the season.  In the eight game winning streak, he has averaged 32 minutes per game and pulled down close to eight rebounds per game.  His 63% field goal percentage has forced defenses to stop him first, giving Howard and Mack more room to get open.  Smith was a non-factor in the two games against Milwaukee, and he is the key to tonight’s game.  If he plays 32 minutes and gets double figure points and eight rebounds, Butler will be cutting down the nets yet again.

 

Summit League Championship @ 9PM ET on ESPN2

Site: Sioux Falls, SD

Oakland (24-9)  vs. Oral Roberts (19-14)

 

If you like high-scoring, fast-paced games, you will definitely clear your schedule to view this one.  Oakland is the second best offensive team in the nation, averaging 86 points per game (92 ppg in their last 10 games).  The Grizzlies connect on close to 50% of their field goal attempts, and they tend to hit spurts where they score 10 points in two minutes.  Oral Roberts averages 81 points per game and has no qualms running with Oakland.

 

Both teams are riding major winning streaks entering tonight’s title game.  Oakland has won 17 of their last 18 games, while the Golden Eagles have won 10 in a row.  In the regular season, Oakland won both high-scoring games, but both were nail-biters that went down to the wire. 

 

Oakland has a tall and short combination that has done a lot of the damage on opponents.  6-11 center Keith Benson is the best player in the league.  Benson averages 17.7 points and 10 rebounds per game.  He showed he can do it against the big schools, as he had 17 points and 12 rebounds in a close loss to Michigan State and 26 points and 10 rebounds in a big win at Tennessee. 

 

5-11 guard Reggie Hamilton is a threat to top 20 points any night.  He is quick and can get open without help from screens.

 

Oral Roberts has a star in its own right.  Dominique Morrison averages just under 20 points per game, and he doesn’t need to heave up 25 shots per game to get those points.  Morrison shoots 51.3% from the field, 40% from behind the three-point line, and 78.4% at the foul line.  He scored 56 points in the two games against Oakland.

 

This should be a great game, and we don’t believe Oakland is that much of a favorite.  ORU has been to the Big Dance four times in the last six years, while Oakland is the defending tournament champion.  We expect the winner to top 90 points in this game, and it is too close to call.  We say Oakland has about a 54% chance and Oral Roberts a 46% chance of winning.

 

Sunbelt Conference Championship @ 7PM ET on ESPN2

Site: Hot Springs, AR

 

North Texas (22-10)  vs. U A L R (18-16)

 

On paper this looks like a mismatch, even though the teams finished one game apart in the regular season.  North Texas finished fourth in the West with an 8-8 league mark, while Little Rock finished fifth at 7-9.

 

North Texas was one of the biggest underachievers this season.  The Mean Green returned four starters from their 2010 conference champion team and were expected to win again this year with the best backcourt and one of the best frontcourts in the league.  Instead, a 3-9 swoon in the middle of the season placed them out of contention for the West crown.  Since that awful slide, UNT has recovered with five consecutive victories.

 

6-5 senior guard Tristan Thompson has led the way for the Mean Green in the tournament, scoring 80 points in the first three games.  He has done a lot of the damage at the foul line, where he is 31-35 in Hot Springs, including an unbelievable 20-20 performance in the win over top-seed Florida Atlantic.  Thompson combines a quick move to the basket with a sweet shot from outside.  Beefy forward George Odufuwa averages 11 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, and UALR has a tough matchup problem against him.

 

The Trojans dropped both regular season games to North Texas, mostly because they could not compete under the basket.  Their chance to win this game will come down to limiting possessions and trying to win 55-50.  They have won three games in the tournament by getting to the foul line and hitting foul shots, while using the clock and taking 30 seconds to shoot on most possessions.  UALR’s big star in this tournament has been senior guard Solomon Bozeman.  Like Thompson, Bozeman has gotten to the free throw line and made the most of his opportunities.  He has connected on 37 of 42 attempts including an eye-popping 19 of 22 against Middle Tennessee last night.

 

We expect a low-possession, low-scoring game.  There may be fewer than 100 field goal attempts tonight.  North Texas has been there before, while UALR has never won the Sunbelt Conference Tournament.  We think that trend will continue, but it wouldn’t surprise us if this game stays relatively close for the entire 40 minutes.  We could see North Texas winning 60-54.

 

The Other Tournaments In Action Today

 

Atlantic 10 Conference

First Round At Higher Seed Home Court

 

#9 Dayton (19-12) at #8 U Mass (15-14)  9PM ET on CBSC

#12 St. Joseph’s (9-21) at #5 George Washington (17-13)  7PM ET on CBSC

#10 LaSalle (14-17) at #7 St. Bonaventure (16-13)  5 PM ET on CBSC

#11 St. Louis (12-18) at #6 Rhode Island (18-12)  7 PM ET no TV

 

Big East Conference

Madison Square Garden in New York City

 

#16 Depaul (7-23) vs. #9 Georgetown (21-9) 12 Noon ET on ESPN2

#13 Rutgers (14-16) vs. #12 Seton Hall (13-17) Approx. 2:15 PM ET on ESPN2

#15 South Florida (9-22) vs. #10 Villanova (21-10) 7PM ET on ESPNU

#14 Providence (15-16) vs. #11 Marquette (18-13) Approx 9:15 ET on ESPNU

 

Big Sky Conference

Semifinal Round At Higher Seed Home Court

#3 Weber State (18-11) at #2 Montana (20-9)

#4 Northern Arizona (19-11) at #1 Northern Colorado (19-10)

 

Mid-American Conference

1st Round At Higher Seed Home Court  All Games At 7PM ET

 

#10 Northern Illinois (9-20) at #7 Bowling Green (13-18)

#11 Eastern Michigan (9-21) at #6 Akron (19-12)

#9 Central Michigan (10-20) at #8 Buffalo (17-12)

#12 Toledo (4-27) at #5 Ohio U (17-14)

 

Mideastern Athletic Conference

Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, NC

 

#9 South Carolina State (9-21) vs. #8 Delaware State (9-20)  9PM ET

#10 Maryland-Eastern Shore (8-21) vs. #7 Florida A&M (12-19)  6:30 PM ET

 

Note: One more 1st round game Wednesday plus two quarterfinal games

 

 

August 11, 2010

2010 Mid-American Conference Preview

2010 Mid-American Conference Preview

 

After placing five teams in bowl games a year ago, the MAC is now guaranteed three teams in bowl games this season with a chance for a fourth and fifth team garnering an at-large bid.  It is our opinion that this league will produce five bowl-worthy teams this year, so don’t count out the chance of a repeat. 

The champion this year will face the number eight team from the Big Ten in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl in Detroit.  The GMAC Bowl in Mobile gets second choice, and the Humanitarian Bowl at the blue field in Boise gets the third selection.  The PapaJohn’s.com Bowl will give precedence to a fourth bowl-eligible MAC team if they have an opening, and the inaugural Dallas Football Classic will look to the MAC after first looking to CUSA to find an at-large team.

This should be an interesting year in the league, as many teams go through a transition.  There are new coaches at Buffalo, Central Michigan, and Akron, and there are six new starting quarterbacks.  In the East, Temple looks to be the clear-cut favorite, but Ohio U has enough talent returning to repeat as division champs.  Kent State has just one bowl bid in its history, and that was in 1972 when Coach Don James led the Golden Flashes prior to earning legendary status at Washington.  That 38 year absence from post-season play could finally come to an end this year.

In the West, a tight race between Northern Illinois and Western Michigan could get even tighter if Central Michigan, Ball State, and Toledo can find answers at certain iffy positions.

Note: The PiRate Ratings are not meant to be used to predict the outcome of future games.  They are usable only as a basis for the current week’s games.  We do not use these ratings to make our selections.  They are only a starting point.  The predictions given below, as for every college conference and NFL division, are not taken from the ratings themselves.

Mid-American Conference Predictions

 
East  
Pos Team Conf Overall  
1 Temple 7-1 10-3  
2 Ohio U 6-2 8-4  
3 Kent State 6-2 8-4  
4 Miami (Ohio) 3-5 4-8  
5 Buffalo 2-6 3-9  
6 Akron 2-6 3-9  
7 Bowling Green 2-6 2-10  
         
West  
         
1 Northern Illinois 8-0 9-4  
2 Western Michigan 6-2 8-4  
3 Central Michigan 4-4 5-7  
4 Toledo 3-5 3-9  
5 Ball State 2-6 4-8  
6 Eastern Michigan 1-7 1-11  

 

     
               

MAC Conference Championship Game: Temple over Northern Illinois

 

Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl: Temple

G M A C Bowl: Northern Illinois

Humanitarian Bowl: Ohio U

 

Western Michigan and Kent State could be at-large bowl teams

 

 

Team By Team Breakdown

MAC East

 

Team Akron Zips
               
Head Coach Rob Ianello
               
Colors Blue and Gold
               
City Akron, OH
               
2009 Record              
Conference 2-6
Overall 3-9
               
PiRate Rating 77.9
               
National Rating 113
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 2-6
Overall 3-9

 

Offense: New head coach Rob Ianello comes over from Notre Dame where he was an offensive assistant to Charlie Weis.  He will make numerous changes in the offensive philosophy as the Zips were zipless last year on this side of the ball.

Quarterback Patrick Nicely started seven games as a true freshman last year.  However, even though he has more experience this year, his receiving corps has been decimated to graduation.  Only one contributor from last year returns, and Ianello has moved former defensive back Jalil Carter over to this side of the ball.

None of the running backs on the roster strike fear in the eyes of the opponents.  Only one back topped 200 yards rushing last year, and he graduated. 

The one bright spot on this side of the ball is a rather experienced offensive line with credible talent at the terminal positions.

We look for Akron’s new offense to go through some growing pains at first, but by October, the Zips should be moving the ball with more zip.  Call it about 18-22 points and 325-350 yards per game.

Defense: The stop side would have held opponents under 25 points per game last year if it hadn’t been for an offense that turned the ball over too often.  The Zips could field a better defense this year, especially in the points allowed department.

Ianello will install a 4-3 defense, and he has three quality defenders returning up front.  Hasan Hazime, James Harvey, and Almondo Sewell combined for 17 tackles for loss, and that number should head north of 20 this year.

The three-man linebacker crew returns starters in Sean Fobbs, Brian Wagner, and Mike Thomas.  Wagner was the leading tackler in the league with 132 stops and 7 behind the line.  Thomas is a better zone pass defender than run-stopper, while Fobbs’ strength is against the run.

The secondary is the vulnerable part of the defense.  The loss of Miguel Graham is too much for the backfield to make up for, and Akron will give up more than 200 yards per game through the air.

Look for the Zips to yield about 25-30 points per game while giving up about 350-375 yards per game.

Schedule: Akron has one easy mark on their non-conference schedule in Gardner-Webb.  The Zips open against a Syracuse team eager to show the nation they can compete for a bowl bid.  Back-to-back road games against Kentucky and Indiana close out what should be a rough September.  Look for Akron to go 1-3 outside of league play and then struggle to pick up two more victories.

 

Team Bowling Green Falcons
               
Head Coach Dave Clawson
               
Colors Orange and Brown
               
City Bowling Green, OH
               
2009 Record              
Conference 6-2
Overall 7-6
               
PiRate Rating 78.0
               
National Rating 112
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 2-6
Overall 2-10

 

Offense: Dave Clawson implemented one of the top passing games in the country in his first year with the Falcons, but year two finds him having to rebuild from scratch.  Gone is superb passer Tyler Sheehan who completed 65% of his passes for more than 4,000 yards and a TD/Int ratio of 27/7.

Redshirt freshman Matt Schilz and true sophomore Aaron Pankratz will compete to fill Sheehan’s shoes.  Look for a major drop in passing yards, touchdowns, and completion percentage this year, and a rise in interceptions.

BGU lost its top two receivers, including Freddie Barnes (155-1,770 & 19 TD).  Nobody on this roster is capable of catching a dozen balls per game, and nobody has the blazing speed to turn a five-yard pass into a 40-yard gain.

The Falcons averaged just 87 rushing yards per game last year, but that number is a bit misleading.  In college football, sacks are ridiculously counted as rushing yards.  Factoring out sacks, BGU went from averaging 3.1 yards per carry to a more respectable 3.9.  Willie Geter could actually threaten the 1,000 yard rushing mark if he can get any help from his blockers.

BGU could drop by a touchdown or more offensively this year, so we will predict an output of 20-23 points and 325-350 yards per game.

Defense: This side of the ball is in worse shape than the offense.  Gone are the top six tacklers and leading pass defender from last year.  The defensive line appears to be in great shape, but the back seven are in shambles.  End Angelo Magnone and tackle Kevin Alvarado combined for 5 sacks last year.  

The pass defense returns players who combined for just two interceptions.  Cornerback Adrien Spencer and safety Keith Morgan will anchor the back line.  The two teamed up for nine passes deflected.

Bowling Green will give up more than 30 points and 400 yards per game this year, and the Falcons could yield more than 200 rushing and 200 passing yards.

Schedule: This looks like an 0-4 start out of conference.  The Falcons open with road games against Troy and Tulsa.  They then face Marshall at home before going to Ann Arbor to face Michigan.  Without a week off until November, the young squad could be nursing a lot of injuries.  The odd number of teams in the league leads to quirks in the schedule, and the Falcons will not play Akron this year.  They also miss the two easiest teams in the other division, so 2010 will be a long one in Bowling Green.

 

Team Buffalo Bulls
               
Head Coach Jeff Quinn
               
Colors Royal Blue and White
               
City Buffalo, NY
               
2009 Record              
Conference 3-5
Overall 5-7
               
PiRate Rating 81.6
               
National Rating 106
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 2-6
Overall 3-9

 

Offense: Turner Gill has left Upstate New York for Kansas, and new coach Jeff Quinn inherits enough talent to make the Bulls move on offense.  Quinn was the offensive coordinator at Cincinnati, and he will implement Brian Kelly’s spread offense here.

Unfortunately, Buffalo unexpectedly lost the services of an inexperienced quarterback when Zach Maynard transferred to California.  Lightly used sophomore Jerry Davis and untested redshirt freshman Alex Dennison will compete for the starting job.  Look for some growing pains and the possibility of one or two more players being tried at QB during the season.  Freshman Rudy Johnson is highly heralded.

Inexperience carries over to the receiving corps.  The top three pass catchers from last year are gone, and the leading returnee had just 25 receptions. 

Gill improved the running game every year he was at Buffalo, and he left the stables stocked with two fine runners.  Ike Nduka and Brandon Thermilius shared the load last year and combined for more than 1,150 yards.  They will benefit from the blocking of an experienced offensive line featuring all-MAC guard Peter Bittner.

There will be some transition in the offense this year, and it could lead to a couple of bad performances.  However, by the second half of the season, the Bulls could be a dangerous opponent for the other MAC defenses.  Look for about the same output as last year—24 points and 400 yards, but look for the Bulls to average more than 28 points per game after their bye week in October.

Defense: Quinn will switch the Bulls from a 4-3 to a 3-4 this year, and it should work fine thanks to a great quartet of linebackers.  On the outside, no MAC team can do better than Buffalo with Steven Means and Justin Winters.  Means will be an excellent zone blitzer in the new defense, while Winters forces offenses to run the other way.

Up front, nose tackle Richie Smith has the girth to keep runners from plunging past the line for big gains.  He won’t register many tackles, but he will occupy a lot of space and require double team blocks, which will free up the linebackers to pursue and tackle.

The secondary actually performed better last year than in 2008 when the Bulls won the MAC.  Look for even more improvement with the return of both cornerbacks, including all-conference Domonic Cook, and the league’s best free safety in Davonte Shannon. 

Buffalo has the potential to post better defensive stats this year, and that makes the Bulls a dangerous team in an offensive-dominated league.  We believe the Bulls will surrender about 24 points and 325 yard this season. 

Schedule: An opener at home against Rhode Island should be a breather game.  The rest of the non-league schedule will be the opposite, as Buffalo plays at Baylor, hosts Central Florida, and goes to Connecticut.  At 1-3, the Bulls visit Bowling Green in what will be a tossup game.  If they can win this one, the season could turn around.  If they lose, it could drain the squad.  Buffalo closes with Ball State, Eastern Michigan, and Akron.  If they beat Bowling Green and then upset one other team in October, they could be looking at a .500 record.  We’ll say that the offense will take a little longer to gel, and the Bulls will have to wait until next year.

 

Team Kent State Golden Flashes
               
Head Coach Doug Martin
               
Colors Navy and Gold
               
City Kent, OH
               
2009 Record              
Conference 4-4
Overall 5-7
               
PiRate Rating 84.5
               
National Rating 98
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 6-2
Overall 8-4

 

Offense: It has been nine years since Kent State last enjoyed a winning season (6-5 in 2001).  The Golden Flashes are excited this year, because they have an offense capable of putting up enough points to end that drought.

Coach Doug Martin has all the pieces in place to make a run at the division title, and if the top two falter, it would not be a big surprise to see KSU in the MAC Championship game.

The return of star running back Eugene Jarvis is worth five to seven extra points per game.  Jarvis missed almost all of last season with a lacerated kidney.  When he last played an entire season, he rushed for 1,669 yards.  He is just 5-5 and 170 pounds, so he is very susceptible to injury.  The Flashes have more than adequate depth at his position.

Sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith gave Kent State its best passing game in four years last season, and he should continue to show progress in year two.  He will team up with top receiver Tyshon Goode to form one of the top combinations in the league.  Goode caught 53 passes for 755 yards in 2009.

The offensive line returns some good, young talent and should provide excellent protection for Keith while opening holes for the backs.

Look for Kent State to put up much better offensive numbers this year.  We see something in the order of 24-28 points and 350-375 yards per game.

Defense: Enough talent returns on this side of the ball to believe that the Flashes will perform at a similar or better rate than last year.  In 2009, Kent State gave up just 137 rushing yards per game and held enemy quarterbacks to just 56.7% completions.

The top six tacklers return including the league’s best linebacker.  Former Michigan Wolverine Cobrani Mixon led the Flashes with 108 tackles with 10 ½ behind the line.  He added seven deflected passes from his Mike linebacker spot. 

Hybrid End/Will linebacker Monte Simmons recorded eight sacks and eight other tackles for loss last year, giving Kent State the best linebacker unit in the league.

The defensive backfield is not as strong as the unit in front of them, but it is better than average.  Three starters return, including an outstanding pair of safeties.  Free safety Brian Lainhart led the MAC with seven interceptions.  Strong safety Dan Hartman picked off four passes and broke up nine others, but he is even better in support of the run.

The defensive line is the one weak spot on the entire roster.  If Simmons can have another outstanding year, the inexperience here could be partially hidden.

Kent State could easily lead the MAC in total defense and scoring defense this season.  We believe they will yield less than 20 points and 330 yards per game.

Schedule: The Flashes have one sure win, two sure losses, and one tossup game in their out-of-conference schedule.  An opening tilt with Murray State should be a breather.  Consecutive road games against Boston College and Penn State will not be much fun.  The November 13 home game with Army could be a bowl elimination game for the two teams.  Kent State gets both Temple and Ohio at home, and they have the talent to upset both teams.  Road games against Toledo and Western Michigan could decide in the end if 2010 will be “the year.”

 

Team Miami (Ohio) Redhawks
               
Head Coach Mike Haywood
               
Colors Red and White
               
City Oxford, OH
               
2009 Record              
Conference 1-7
Overall 1-11
               
PiRate Rating 87.8
               
National Rating 93
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 3-5
Overall 4-8

 

Offense: The good news:  Miami returns 10 starters to its offense.  The bad news: Miami returns 10 starters to an offense that scored just 15.6 points per game, rushed for just 70 yards per game, and turned the ball over via interceptions and fumbles almost as often as it did by punting (an exaggeration, but the Redhawks had a horrible -24 turnover margin last year!)

The rushing statistic looks much worse than it really was.  Miami quarterbacks endured 58 sacks due to a porous offensive line.  That line returns intact, and it has to be somewhat better.  Using an entirely new system hurt, and a year of experience should lead to better blocking this year.  Still, don’t expect Miami to lead the league in offense.

Quarterback Zac Dysert took his lumps as a freshman last year.  If he can cut down on his interceptions, he has the potential to be the best passer in the league.  Give him three more years, and he could surpass Ben Roethlisberger as the school’s top passer.

Dysert has some quality receivers to throw to, but there is no deep threat to spread defenses.  Miami will have to rely on converting first downs and sustaining drives to reach paydirt this year.

It won’t be hard to top last year’s poor offensive showing.  We believe Miami can top 20 points and 350 yards per game this season.

Defense: A better offense that can keep drives alive means a defense can stay on the bench for longer stretches.  Throw in the fact that 10 of the top 11 tacklers return, and Miami should make great strides on this side of the ball as well.

The monster on this side of the ball is middle linebacker Jerrell Wedge.  He was a one-man wrecking crew last year, recording 114 tackles with 18 ½ behind the line of scrimmage.

In front of Wedge is a very experienced defensive line that returns almost all of its two-deep from last year.  Still, it is a line that will not cause many problems for offensive linemen. 

The secondary wasn’t all that bad last year, holding half of their opponents to less than 200 passing yards.  Safety Anthony Kokal finished with 105 tackles, but second year coach Mike Haywood would be much happier if Kokal’s tackles fell into double digits this year.

Look for Miami to improve on this side of the ball as well.  The Redhawks surrendered better than 34 points per game last year, but they only gave up about 375 yards.  Just by cutting down on turnovers, the points allowed will improve.  Throw in an actual better defense, and that number should drop by more than a touchdown.  Call it 24-27 points and 350-370 yards allowed this year.

Schedule: This is a major drawback.  Miami has just one winnable non-conference game.  Road tilts with Florida, Missouri, and Cincinnati could see the Redhawks give up more than 120 points.  A home game with Colorado State should give Miami a better than 50% chance of winning.  The Redhawks get Eastern Michigan at home.  Road games against Bowling Green, Akron, Buffalo, and Central Michigan give them a chance for maybe two more wins.  Four wins would be four times more than last year.

 

Team Ohio Bobcats
               
Head Coach Frank Solich
               
Colors Green and White
               
City Athens, OH
               
2009 Record              
Conference 7-1
Overall 9-5
               
PiRate Rating 84.4
               
National Rating 99
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 6-2
Overall 8-4

 

Offense: Coach Frank Solich’s Bobcats benefited from a +12 turnover margin last season and won the MAC East.  The offense did not strike fear in their opponents, posting averages of 112 rush yards and 198 pass yards per game.

The Bobcats lose their top rusher, top passer, and top pass catcher this year, but the offense could actually improve some.  Solich uses a smorgasbord approach to his offense, using aspects of the spread, the pistol, and the zone read. 

Former Iowa State starter Phil Bates will battle 2008 starter Boo Jackson at quarterback; Bates is an all-out competitor, and we believe he will win the job.  Bates, or Jackson, will have two fine receivers running routes this year in Athens.  LaVon Brazill and Terrence McCrae both have the ability to turn a short pass into a long gain.  Brazill is the speedier of the two, while McCrae is the better target in a crowd.  Former Vanderbilt wide out Steven Goulet gives the Bobcats an excellent third option.

The running game will take a step backward this year.  Junior college transfer Kenny Ashley should be the lead back this year, as there isn’t much quality on the roster. 

The offensive line should be marginally better this year with three starters returning, as well as four from the second team.

We think Ohio will improve its yardage from 310 to about 350 per game, but the Bobcats may not score any more points than they did last year, when they averaged 24.8 per game.

Defense: The Bobcats could have the best defense in the MAC this year after having the second best stop troops last year.  It all starts up front where Ohio has a stellar line returning all four starters from a year ago.  All four can get in the backfield and stop a runner for a loss.  They need to improve their pass rushing ability, as the Bobcats had just 22 sacks all season.

The star of the defense is Mike linebacker Noah Keller, who recorded 155 tackles (23 more than any other MAC player).  Equally adept against the run or the pass, Keller could be the MAC Defensive Player of the Year this season.

The secondary may not dominate, but they won’t be embarrassed all that often.  Strong safety Gerald Moore picked off six passes last year.

Ohio gave up just 21 points per game in 2009, and the Bobcats should equal or even better that mark this year.  They should contend for the best total defense as well and surrender around 300-325 yards per game.

Schedule: Ohio faces Ohio State on September 18.  They won’t pull off the monumental upset, but the Bobcats put a scare in a really good Buckeye team two years ago.  Home games with Wofford and Louisiana-Lafayette should provide the Bobcats with two wins, while a trip to Marshall should be interesting.  Since that comes the week after Ohio State, we will give the edge to the Thundering Herd.  Ohio must play at Temple and Kent State this year, so we believe the road is too tough for the Bobcats to win the division again.  Six conference wins and eight overall should get Ohio back into a bowl game.

 

Team Temple Owls
               
Head Coach Al Golden
               
Colors Cherry and White
               
City Philadelphia, PA
               
2009 Record              
Conference 7-1
Overall 9-4
               
PiRate Rating 91.0
               
National Rating 85
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 7-1
Overall 10-3

 

Offense: When Al Golden took over this Temple team in 2006, the Owls were coming off an 0-11 season in which they scored less than 10 points per game.  His first squad “improved” to 1-11 and scored 11 points per game while actually falling to just 216 yards per game.  The next three years, Temples scoring output increased by six points per season.  Now, coming off a 9-4 campaign that included a bowl loss to UCLA, the Owls are poised to top 30 points per game for the first time since 1979.

Vaughn Charlton began 2009 as the starting quarterback, but Chester Stewart took over in the second half of the season.  Stewart will be number one from the opening snap this year, while Charlton has moved to tight end.  At 6-4, he will provide Stewart with an excellent target in the middle.

Temple didn’t pass the ball all that well last year, so even though the top three receivers return, the trio only combined for 67 receptions and 1,133 yards.  One of those three receivers, James Nixon, moved to defense and will be the best kick returner in the league.

The running game clicked for the Owls last year, and it should continue to work wonders.  Back Bernard Pierce rushed for a league-leading 1,361 yards and 16 touchdowns last year, and he should top 1,500 this year if he stays healthy.

The Owls boast the best offensive line in the MAC.  Four starters return to the fold including three who earned all-conference mention.

We look for Temple to score 30-35 points per game while averaging 350-380 total yards.  The rushing total could top 200, while the passing tops 150.  Temple should lead the league in yards per reception as defenses have to cheat up to the line to slow down the running game.

Defense: Like he has with the offense, Golden’s defenses have improved every year from 45 to 41 to 26 to 23 to 22 points allowed.  There is no reason to believe that trend won’t continue this year, as the Owls are loaded on this side of the ball.

The defensive line shares with its offensive counterpart—it is the best in the league hands down.  Tackle Muhammad Wilkerson and end Adrian Robinson teamed up for 20 QB sacks and seven passes batted down.  Robinson is the reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year.  Though both juniors, they could easily be playing in the NFL next year.

The second line of defense is only average, and if the Owls do not win the MAC this year, it could be because opponents gain an extra yard or two at opportune moments.  One player who takes a backseat to nobody in the MAC is middle linebacker Elijah Joseph, but the outside spots are question marks.

The secondary is tough.  Two of the three returning starters are All-MAC performers.  Safeties Kevin Kroboth and Jaiquawn Jarrett both knocked down seven passes last year.

Temple could yield as few as 17 points and 300 yards per game in a league noted for high-flying offenses.  If so, look for a very memorable season in Philadelphia.

Schedule: What appears to be a “gimme” win for the Owls may be anything but this year.  Temple opens with cross-town rival Villanova on Friday, September 3.  The Wildcats defeated the Owls last year on their way to a 14-1 season and FCS National Championship.  VU returns 15 starters, so this game will be a hard-fought struggle.  Temple faces Connecticut, Penn State, and Army out of conference, so it could be anything from 2-2 to 0-4 outside of league play.  The Owls host Ohio U, but they must play at Kent State and Northern Illinois.  We don’t see them running the table in the conference, and if Kent State beats them, the Owls may need help from another team to win their first division title.

 

MAC West

 

Team Ball State Cardinals
               
Head Coach Stan Parrish
               
Colors Red and White
               
City Muncie, IN
               
2009 Record              
Conference 2-6
Overall 2-10
               
PiRate Rating 81.7
               
National Rating 104
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 2-6
Overall 4-8

 

Offense: Head coach Stan Parrish has got to be the most unlucky coach in FBS history.  He has been a head coach at the top level for four seasons spread out over a quarter century, and he has a 4-41-1 record to show for it.  Three of those seasons were at Kansas State from 1986 to 1988, when the Wildcats did not emphasize football.  The fourth season came last year here in Muncie, as Ball State faced a serious rebuilding effort.

Parrish could see his career wins double this season thanks to an offense that returns 10 starters.  Quarterback Kelly Page only had to take over for the school’s top career passer last year and he didn’t have the school’s number two and three career pass catchers; he was not ready for the league rigors as a freshman.  Look for much better production from him this year.

The top nine receivers return this season, led by Briggs Orsborn and Torieal Gibson.  They aren’t an exceptional group overall, but the Cardinals can only improve in this area after averaging a paltry 134 yards through the air in 2009.

The BSU running game is in much better shape with the return of star back Miquale Lewis.  Lewis rushed for more than 1,700 yards in 2008 with a veteran offensive line blocking for him.  Last year, with a very young and inexperienced line, that number dropped to 871.  Look for something in between in his final year here, but that should be enough to make him the school’s all-time leading runner (he needs just 669 yards to do so).

The offensive line returns intact from a year ago after three freshmen and a sophomore started for most of the season.  Look for the line to open up more holes and give Page more time to pass.

Ball State scored 15 fewer points per game last year than in 2008.  Look for the Cardinals to top 20 points per game this year, but they will not approach the great numbers from two years ago.  BSU should average about 320-340 total yards per game.

Defense: The Cardinals fielded a credible defense in 2009 that was just on the field too much.  With a little better offense that can keep possession of the ball a minute or two more per game this year, Ball State should see their stop troops improve substantially.  Whether or not that improvement will be enough to guide the team back to a winning record may be asking too much.

The defense switched to a 4-3 alignment last year, and having an extra year of experience should help improve the numbers.  The strength of this unit is at linebacker, where all three starters return.  Davyd Jones and Travis Freeman led the team in tackles with 100 and 93 respectively, but too many of those stops occurred after sizeable gains by the offense.

The secondary was much too generous last year, giving up 65% completions and 234 yards per game.  Three starters return, plus the Cardinals add former Michigan safety Artis Chambers.  Look for BSU to be a little stingier this year.

Ball State will give up about 24-27 points and 350-375 yards per game.

Schedule: The Cardinals should start 2-0 with home games against Southeast Missouri and Liberty.  When conference play begins three weeks later, BSU will be 2-2 after losing at Purdue and Iowa.  They get Eastern Michigan and Akron at home, so there is a good chance Ball State will at least double its win total from a year ago.

 

Team Central Michigan Chippewas
               
Head Coach Dan Enos
               
Colors Maroon and Gold
               
City Mt. Pleasant, MI
               
2009 Record              
Conference 8-0
Overall 12-2
               
PiRate Rating 88.5
               
National Rating 92
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 4-4
Overall 5-7

 

Offense: New head coach Dan Enos was the running backs coach at Michigan State the last three years.  He helped develop Javon Ringer into an NFL talent.  He better hope that somebody on the CMU roster can resemble Ringer, because the Chippewas have lost the services of the league’s top career passer.  Dan LeFevour is now in training camp with the Chicago Bears.

Ryan Radcliff saw very limited action for CMU last year, and the lightly used sophomore will get first crack at filling the giant shoes of LeFevour.  Radcliff will move under center unlike LeFevour, who operated from a shotgun where he could run and pass.  Look for a severe drop-off in both rushing and passing yards.

CMU lost its top two receivers, who combined for 174 receptions, 1,982 yards, and 16 touchdowns.  Kito Poblah and Cody Wilson give the Chippewas a foundation to rebuild on.  The tandem combined for 78 catches and 907 yards last year.

The running game relied on LeFevour the way Florida relied on Tim Tebow.  There isn’t much to get excited about in this department as Carl Volny and Paris Cotton are decent relief runners but poor feature backs.  Cotton figures to see a few more carries than Volny.  The two could combine for 1,000 plus rushing yards, but they will not match the 4.6 yards per rush recorded by last year’s runners.

An experienced offensive line should give CMU a fighting chance to run the ball and produce some decent results through the air.  Four starters return from last year led by the league’s best center Colin Miller.

CMU averaged 34 points and 423 yards per game last year.  Those numbers will fall to 22-26 points and 350-375 yards per game this season.

Defense: While the offense made the headlines, it was the Chippewa defense that got the job done when the title was on the line.  CMU held Ohio to 10 points and 275 yards in the MAC Championship game.

A lot of talent was lost to graduation, but there are still some very good players returning on this side of the ball.  At linebacker, Nick Bellore earned 1st Team All-MAC honors after posting 132 tackles, 13 of those behind the line.  He played well in pass coverage as well.  Will linebacker Mat Berning had 108 tackles and 8 ½ behind the line.  He knocked down seven passes as well.

Up front, half of the stellar defensive line starters return this year.  How well the two new starting ends perform could go a long way in determining the Chippewa’s fate.

The secondary is a concern this year, and we expect opposing quarterbacks to throw early and often against this untested quartet.  As a result, the linebackers may have to cheat back a little, thus weakening their ability to stop the run.

CMU will give up more than 20 points and 350 yards per game this year.  If that number approaches 25 points per game, it could be a long transitional season.

Schedule: A season opener at home with Hampton should give the new players a little confidence.  That should be the Chippewas only non-conference win, as they must face Northwestern, Virginia Tech, and Navy on the road.  Inside the MAC, CMU should split their eight games, which means they will fall under .500 overall.

 

Team Eastern Michigan Eagles
               
Head Coach Ron English
               
Colors Dark Green and White
               
City Ypsilanti, MI
               
2009 Record              
Conference 0-8
Overall 0-12
               
PiRate Rating 69.6
               
National Rating 120
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 1-7
Overall 1-11

 

Offense: The Eagles don’t have much going for them on this side of the ball, and yet it is the stronger unit of the two.  There is but one way for an 0-12 team to go, but improvement in 2010 could be negligible.

Second year head coach Ron English will more than likely rely on a two-man platoon at quarterback.  Alex Gillett is a dual-threat player who can score with his feet or his arm.  Redshirt freshman Devontae Payne is a pure pocket passer with a rifle for an arm.  Opposing defenses will have to prepare for both players.

At running back, returning starter Dwayne Priest has exceptional speed, but he lacks the power to escape a single tackler.  He could rush for 800 yards with a little better blocking up front.

The offensive line is stronger the closer you get to the ball, or to put it another way, it gets weaker as it moves away from the ball.  None of the players on this roster will contend for 1st or 2nd team all-conference honors.

EMU should surpass last year’s statistical figures, but the improvement may not be enough to stop the losing streak.  Look for 18-21 points and 300 yards per game this year.

Defense: English inherited a defense that had surrendered 36 points and 400+ yards a game in 2008, and his first team in Ypsilanti actually performed worse, giving up 38 points and 427 yards per game.  Against the run, the numbers were scary bad—277 yards allowed at 6.3 yards per rush!  Three defensive line starters return, but the one lost starter was the best of the four by far. 

The second unit, much like the linemen, returns all but one starter, and that lost starter was the best player on the entire defense. 

The secondary gave up just 151 passing yards per game last year, but opposing teams only passed the ball 19 times per game.  There is some talent in this unit, and if the Eagles actually take a second half lead in a game, this group could come up with a big play to end the long losing streak.

We see EMU improving some on this side of the ball, but that means they might give up 33-35 points and 400-425 yards per game.

Schedule: Once again, it appears that EMU has little or no chance to win a game outside of league play.  The Eagles face a much improved Army team that should rush for 300 yards against this defense.  They must go on the road to Ohio State, Vanderbilt, and Virginia, and while the latter two face major rebuilding projects, the Eagles are not talented enough to beat either team on enemy turf.  EMU will be an underdog in all 12 games, and there is a chance they could go winless again.  We think they will come up with an upset in conference play to finish 1-11.  It’s been 29 years since a FBS school lost every game for two consecutive years (Northwestern) (Kansas State went 0-10-1 and 0-11 in 1987 and 1988).

 

Team Northern Illinois Huskies
               
Head Coach Jerry Kill
               
Colors Red and Black
               
City Dekalb, IL
               
2009 Record              
Conference 5-3
Overall 7-6
               
PiRate Rating 90.5
               
National Rating 86
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 8-0
Overall 9-4

 

Offense: The MAC version of Fresno State, Northern Illinois picked up another Big Ten win last year with a 28-21 upset of Purdue.  They gave Wisconsin all they could handle in a 28-20 loss.  Third year coach Jerry Kill has his best team yet in Dekalb, as the Huskies are primed for a run to the league title thanks to a rushing attack that should top 200 yards per game. 

Chad Spann returns to the fold after earning 1st Team All-MAC honors last year.  Spann topped 1,000 yards on the ground even though he had to split carries with another player.  He should get about 50 more attempts this year.  Top newcomer Jasmin Hopkins led the Juco ranks last year with more than 1,900 yard rushing, so he could provide an ample change of pace to Spann. 

A talented and experienced offensive line is set to open holes for the stable of running backs.  Tackle Trevor Olson could contend for 1st Team All-MAC honors.

There is a heated battle for the starting quarterback position between last year’s starter Chandler Harnish, backup DeMarcus Grady, and Juco newcomer Casey Weston.  Grady is currently number one at the start of preseason drills, but it would not surprise me if Harnish regains his starting spot after a quick recovery from a 2009 knee injury.  No matter who lines up under center in week one, the passing game will be merely a secondary option to the running game. 

Receiver Landon Cox returns after leading NIU with 45 catches a year ago.  The makings of a good unit is here, but the rest of the receiving corps lacks experience.

Northern Illinois will not put up gaudy statistics due to the reliance on the running game, but the Huskies should consistently use ball-possession as a major weapon.  Look for NIU to score about 28-31 points and gain 350-375 yards per game while holding total plays per game for both teams under 125.

Defense: NIU’s defense could be on the field about 10 fewer plays per game than the average MAC defense.  That should equal about one long drive per game not allocated to the opposition.  Last year, with only three starters returning, NIU still finished third in the league in defense.  This year, eight starters return, and the Huskies look like the cream of the MAC crop.

The secondary is the best part of the defense.  All four starters return, including an excellent duo at cornerback in Patrick George and Chris Smith.

The front seven should be as good as last year with the return of two defensive line starters and two linebackers.  Sam linebacker Alex Kube and Will linebacker Pat Schiller should combine for more than 150 tackles and 15 stops for loss.

NIU gave up 21.6 points and 330 yards per game last year, and those numbers should be a little better this season.  If they approach 17 points and 300 yards, the fans in Dekalb could be celebrating a MAC Championship.

Schedule: We think the Huskies have a 50-50 chance of running the table in conference play, at least until the MAC Championship Game.  The non-league schedule presents a wide variation of possibilities.  The Huskies open at Iowa State on Thursday night, September 2.  The Cyclones will be weaker this season and beatable in Ames.  After a home game with North Dakota, NIU travels to Illinois and Minnesota in consecutive weeks.  Again, both of these games are winnable but not sure things.  NIU could enter conference play at 1-3, 2-2, 3-1, or even 4-0.  The potential is there for a repeat of 2003, or even better.

 

Team Toledo Rockets
               
Head Coach Tim Beckman
               
Colors Midnight Blue and Gold
               
City Toledo, OH
               
2009 Record              
Conference 3-5
Overall 5-7
               
PiRate Rating 80.5
               
National Rating 108
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 3-5
Overall 3-9

 

Offense: The Rockets were an exciting team last year with a wide open offense that produced 30 points and almost 440 yards per game.  Expect more of the same in year two of the Coach Tim Beckman era in Toledo.

Quarterback Austin Dantin received three starts as a true freshman last year filling in for the injured Aaron Opelt.  Dantin averaged better than eight yards per attempt, and he could possibly top 3,000 yards through the air this season.

Receiver Eric Page is the league’s leading returning pass catcher after grabbing 82 passes for 1,159 yards.  He was just a freshman!  Could a triple digit reception season be in his future?  It’s possible.

Running back Morgan Williams lost his starting job last year after rushing for more than 1,000 yards in 2008.  If he returns to form, the Rockets will be impossible to stop this season.

The offensive line is one of the most experienced group of blockers in the nation.  They gave up just 18 sacks to a group of passers that combined for 37 passing attempts per game.

The Rockets should average 33-36 points and 450-475 yards per game this season; they will continue to be one of the most exciting teams in the nation to watch.

Defense: As good as the offense is, the defense is the polar opposite.  Toledo gave up 38 points and 400+ yards per game last season, and it doesn’t appear that 2010 will see enough improvement to win more games.

Two starters return up front, but neither of them will be confused for all-conference players.  Toledo had just 20 sacks last year, and they lose their top sack man.

The Rockets use a 4-2-5 defense, and they return just one of their linebacker tandem.  That lost player was the best player on the entire defense, Barry Church, who made all-conference all four years.

The quintet in the secondary is the strength of this unit.  Toledo started three freshmen last year, and as sophomores, they should be much better.  The Rockets welcome back Desmond Morrow, a 2008 starter who missed most of last year with an ACL injury.

Toledo should surrender fewer points this year.  However, a weaker run defense could keep the stop troops on the field for longer stretches.  Look for the Rockets to give up as much as 200 rushing yards and 375-400 total yards per game while allowing about 28-33 points per game.

Schedule: This is a major problem.  Toledo will not win a non-conference game, and they could be quite banged up by the time they are finished with the last of those games.  Arizona visits the Glass Bowl to kick off the season.  Road games at Purdue and Boise State will be trouble.  A homecoming game with Wyoming comes sandwiched between Purdue and Boise State.  The Rockets will compete in most of their conference games, but they could repeat their 3-5 mark.

 

Team Western Michigan Broncos
               
Head Coach Bill Cubit
               
Colors Brown and Gold
               
City Kalamazoo, MI
               
2009 Record              
Conference 4-4
Overall 5-7
               
PiRate Rating 77.0
               
National Rating 115
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 6-2
Overall 8-4

 

Offense: The Broncos were inconsistent on offense last year.  They topped 30 points four times and scored 17 or less points five times.  With the loss of the school’s career best passer, 2010 could be a trying one for a team that has enough talent to contend for the division flag.

Quarterback Alex Carder saw limited action as a freshman last year, but he begins 2010 as the clear-cut starter.  He won’t be asked to pass the ball over 40 times per game like Tim Hiller, but he has a great set of receivers on hand. 

The top five receivers from last year are back in the fold, giving the Broncos the hands down best receiving unit in the league.  Drew Burdi, an option-style QB was moved to wide receiver to add to those riches.

WMU must replace star running back Brandon West, who rushed for 1,164 yards and 10 TDs.  He leaves a major void, as the new starter, Aaron Winchester, ran for just 148 yards and averaged just 3.2 yards per carry.

The lack of a proven runner might force Carder to take the ball to the air a bit too much, and his inexperience could lead to an increase in interceptions.  Still, WMU should average better than 25 points and 375 yards per game.

Defense: There are definite strengths and glaring weaknesses on this side of the ball, but the Broncos are sure to improve on their lousy showing of last year when they gave up 28 points and 419 yards per game.

First the bad news:  the secondary gave up 241 passing yards per game and seldom supplied much pressure on receivers.  Two freshmen could start this year.

The Broncos are a little more settled at linebacker.  Rover Jamail Berry is more of a linebacker than secondary player.  He led WMU with five interceptions (half of the team’s picks).  Newcomer Dex Jones possesses great speed, and the former Wisconsin player should be a vast improvement on the weak side.

The defensive line is not impressive, but there is more experience returning this year than returned in 2009.

If the Broncos can develop an average pass rush, they could make an unexpected run at Northern Illinois.  We believe they will improve some, but not enough.  Call it 24-27 points and 375-400 yards allowed.

Schedule: The Broncos are looking at a 2-2 mark outside of conference play.  They host Nicholls State and Idaho and travel to Michigan State and Notre Dame.  League games with Eastern Michigan, Ball State, Toledo, Central Michigan, and Akron give WMU a good shot at enjoying a winning league mark.  The Broncos get Kent State and Northern Illinois at home, and if they win one of those games, they will be bowling this year. 

 

Coming Tomorrow: A look at the three independents—Army, Navy, and Notre Dame.  Could the entire trio be bowl eligible in 2010?

December 9, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of: December 9, 2008

NCAA Regular Season Summation

 

Congratulations go to Oklahoma and Florida, and my condolences go to Texas, Southern Cal, and Penn State, and Alabama.  Some biased poll voters, a couple of computer geeks, and a couple of sports elitists have determined that the Sooners and Gators are a couple hundredths of a percentage point better than the rest of the pack and deserve to play for the national title.

 

Florida lost their one game at home.  Oklahoma lost their one game on a neutral field to one of the other teams up for consideration.  Alabama’s loss on a neutral field to Florida is the exact same situation.  Texas lost on the road to an undefeated Texas Tech team on the final play of the game.  Southern Cal lost on the road at Oregon State with one late play figuring greatly in the outcome.  Penn State lost on the road at Iowa on the final play of the game.  So, the computers can tell us that Florida and Oklahoma are the two most deserving? 

 

Here are the final regular season PiRate Top 25 and the PiRate Ratings by conference:

 

NCAA Top 25 For 2-Dec-2008

Rank

Team

PiRate

Won

Lost

1

Florida 

140

12

1

2

Oklahoma

139

12

1

3

Southern Cal

131

11

1

4

Texas

128

11

1

5

Ohio St.

127

10

2

6

Alabama

125

12

1

7

Penn St.

125

11

1

8

Ole Miss

121

8

4

9

Texas Tech

120

11

1

10

Boise State

120

12

0

11

T C U

120

10

2

12

Oregon

120

9

3

13

Utah

118

12

0

14

Iowa

117

8

4

15

Rutgers

117

7

5

16

California

116

8

4

17

Georgia 

115

9

3

18

Oklahoma St.

114

9

3

19

Arizona

114

7

5

20

Clemson

113

7

5

21

Oregon State

113

8

4

22

Missouri

113

9

4

23

Florida State

112

8

4

24

Pittsburgh

112

9

3

25

Cincinnati

110

11

2

     

 

 

Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number

even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Clemson

4-4

7-5

113

68

45

Florida State

5-3

8-4

112

70

42

North Carolina State

4-4

6-6

106

70

36

Boston College

5-3*

9-4

104

63

41

Wake Forest

4-4

7-5

104

56

48

Maryland

4-4

7-5

101

62

39

 

 

 

 

   
Coastal Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Virginia Tech

5-3*+

9-4

109

67

42

Georgia Tech

5-3

9-3

109

68

41

North Carolina

4-4

8-4

105

66

39

Miami

4-4

7-5

102

60

42

Virginia 

3-5

5-7

100

58

42

Duke

1-7

4-8

93

60

33

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Rutgers

5-2

7-5

117

70

47

Pittsburgh

5-2

9-3

112

66

46

Cincinnati

6-1

11-2

110

64

46

West Virginia

5-2

8-4

110

65

45

South Florida

2-5

7-5

106

68

38

Connecticut

3-4

7-5

102

64

38

Louisville

1-6

5-7

91

57

34

Syracuse

1-6

3-9

89

56

33

 

Big Ten

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ohio State

7-1

10-2

127

71

56

Penn State

7-1

11-1

125

76

49

Iowa

5-3

8-4

117

72

45

Wisconsin

3-5

7-5

107

71

36

Northwestern

5-3

9-3

105

64

41

Michigan State

6-2

9-3

104

64

40

Purdue

2-6

4-8

103

67

36

Illinois

3-5

5-7

102

65

37

Michigan

2-6

3-9

96

57

39

Minnesota

3-5

7-5

92

58

34

Indiana

1-7

3-9

79

54

25

 

Big 12

North Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Missouri

5-3*

9-4

113

74

39

Kansas

4-4

7-5

109

67

42

Nebraska

5-3

8-4

108

70

38

Colorado

2-6

5-7

95

57

38

Kansas State

2-6

5-7

92

67

25

Iowa State

0-8

2-10

86

57

29

South Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oklahoma

7-1+

12-1

139

97

42

Texas

7-1

11-1

128

82

46

Texas Tech

7-1

11-1

120

85

35

Oklahoma State

5-3

9-3

114

71

43

Baylor

2-6

4-8

106

68

38

Texas A&M

2-6

4-8

90

56

34

 

Conference USA

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

East Carolina

6-2+

9-4

99

62

37

Southern Miss.

4-4

6-6

97

64

33

Memphis

4-4

6-6

92

61

31

Marshall

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Central Florida

3-5

4-8

88

46

42

U A B

3-5

4-8

84

51

33

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Tulsa

7-1*

10-3

103

72

31

Rice

7-1

9-3

97

66

31

Houston

6-2

7-5

97

67

30

U T E P

4-4

5-7

87

59

28

S M U

0-8

1-11

78

57

21

Tulane

1-7

2-10

69

50

19

 

Independents

           
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Navy  

8-4

104

61

43

Notre Dame  

6-6

98

58

40

Army  

3-9

82

46

36

 

Mid American Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Bowling Green

4-4

6-6

103

68

35

Buffalo

5-3+

8-5

101

68

33

Temple

4-4

5-7

96

57

39

Ohio U

3-5

4-8

91

51

40

Kent State

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Akron

3-5

5-7

89

60

29

Miami (O)

1-7

2-10

81

54

27

           
West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ball State

8-0

12-1

109

73

36

Western Michigan

6-2

9-3

100

63

37

Northern Illinois

5-3

6-6

98

59

39

Central Michigan

6-2

8-4

97

68

29

Eastern Michigan

2-6

3-9

88

59

29

Toledo

2-6

3-9

85

55

30

 

Mountain West Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

T C U

7-1

10-2

120

68

52

Utah

8-0

12-0

118

70

48

Brigham Young

6-2

10-2

106

67

39

Air Force

5-3

8-4

95

58

37

Colorado State

4-4

6-6

93

60

33

New Mexico

2-6

4-8

93

56

37

UNLV

2-6

5-7

85

56

29

Wyoming

1-7

4-8

85

51

34

San Diego State

1-7

2-10

76

49

27

 

Pac-10 Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Cal

7-1

11-1

131

72

59

Oregon

7-2

9-3

120

77

43

California

6-3

8-4

116

73

43

Arizona

5-4

7-5

114

75

39

Oregon State

7-2

8-4

113

74

39

Stanford

4-5

5-7

106

64

42

Arizona State

4-5

5-7

103

63

40

U C L A

3-6

4-8

100

57

43

Washington

0-9

0-12

81

54

27

Washington State

1-8

2-11

74

49

25

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida 

7-1+

12-1

140

86

54

Georgia 

6-2

9-3

115

73

42

South Carolina

4-4

7-5

108

63

45

Tennessee

3-5

5-7

107

62

45

Kentucky

2-6

6-6

102

62

40

Vanderbilt

4-4

6-6

100

55

45

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Alabama

8-0

12-1

125

69

56

Ole Miss

5-3

8-4

121

74

47

L S U

3-5

7-5

106

68

38

Arkansas

2-6

5-7

102

68

34

Auburn

2-6

5-7

102

56

46

Mississippi State

2-6

4-8

97

55

42

 

Sunbelt Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Troy

6-1

8-4

105

69

36

Florida Atlantic

4-3

6-6

90

61

29

Middle Tennessee

3-4

5-7

90

58

32

Arkansas State

4-3

6-6

89

59

30

Florida International

3-4

5-7

89

58

31

Louisiana-Lafayette

5-2

6-6

88

66

22

Louisiana-Monroe

3-4

4-8

87

56

31

* Western Kentucky

0-0

2-10

79

49

30

North Texas

0-7

1-11

70

55

15

           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009      
Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008    

 

Western Athletic Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Boise State

8-0

12-0

120

74

46

Nevada

5-3

7-5

102

73

29

Louisiana Tech

5-3

7-5

94

56

38

Utah State

3-5

3-9

93

57

36

Hawaii

5-3

7-6

93

55

38

Fresno State

4-4

7-5

88

61

27

San Jose State

4-4

6-6

85

53

32

New Mexico State

1-7

3-9

74

48

26

Idaho

1-7

2-10

73

57

16

 

Here is the bowl schedule

 

Date

Time EST

Bowl

City

Team

Team

D. 20

11:00

Eagle Bank

Washington DC

Wake Forest

Navy

D. 20

2:30

New Mexico

Albuquerque

Colorado State

Fresno State

D. 20

4:30

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg

South Florida

Memphis

D. 20

8:00

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

B Y U

Arizona

D. 21

8:15

New Orleans

New Orleans

Troy

Southern Miss.

D. 23

8:00

Poinsettia

San Diego

Boise State

T C U

D. 24

8:00

Hawaii

Honolulu

Hawaii

Notre Dame

D. 26

8:00

Motor City

Detroit

Central Michigan

Florida Atlantic

D. 27

1:00

Meineke Car Care

Charlotte

North Carolina

West Virginia

D. 27

4:30

Champs Sports

Orlando

Florida State

Wisconsin

D. 27

8:00

Emerald

San Francisco

California

Miami (Fl.)

D. 28

8:15

Independence

Shrevport

Louisiana Tech

Northern Illinois

D. 29

3:00

PapaJohns

Birmingham

N. C. State

Rutgers

D. 29

8:00

Alamo

San Antonio

Northwestern

Missouri

D. 30

4:30

Humanitarian

Boise

Nevada

Maryland

D. 30

8:00

Texas

Houston

Western Michigan

Rice

D. 30

8:00

Holiday

San Diego

Oregon 

Oklahoma State

D. 31

12:00

Armed Forces

Ft. Worth

Air Force

Houston

D. 31

2:00

Sun

El Paso

Oregon State

Pittsburgh

D. 31

3:30

Music City

Nashville

Vanderbilt

Boston College

D. 31

5:30

Insight

Tempe

Kansas

Minnesota

D. 31

7:30

Chick-fil-a

Atlanta

Georgia Tech

L S U

J. 1

11:00

Outback

Tampa

Iowa

South Carolina

J. 1

1:00

Capital One

Orlando

Georgia 

Michigan State

J. 1

1:00

Gator

Jacksonville

Clemson

Nebraska

J. 1

4:30

Rose

Pasadena

Southern Cal

Penn State

J. 1

8:30

Orange

Miami

Virginia Tech

Cincinnati

J. 2

2:00

Cotton

Dallas

Texas Tech

Ole Miss

J. 2

5:00

Liberty

Memphis

East Carolina

Kentucky

J. 2

8:00

Sugar

New Orleans

Alabama

Utah

J. 3

12:00

International

Toronto

Connecticut

Buffalo

J. 5

8:00

Fiesta

Glendale

Texas

Ohio State

J. 6

8:00

G M A C

Mobile

Tulsa

Ball State

J. 8

8:00

Nat’l Championship

Miami

Florida 

Oklahoma

December 1, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of: December 3-6, 2008

NCAA Week 15: The Postseason Falls to BieCeS

 

With one weekend remaining in the regular season, the dreadful BCS has suffered from yet another snafu.  Oklahoma is in the Big 12 Championship Game because a computer or two has deemed the Sooners to be a tiny bit better than the Longhorns even though Texas beat them by 10 points on a neutral field.  The Big 12 should have never used BCS ranking to break three-way ties, but then again the BCS shouldn’t be there in the first place for the Big 12 brass to be dumb enough to use it as its tiebreaker.

 

I don’t advocate that Texas should be in that title game instead of Oklahoma or even Texas Tech.  I don’t believe the BCS system to be credible; the vote of Oklahoma over Texas is ridiculous, and if Texas had been voted in by a miniscule amount, it would have been just as ridiculous.

 

If Oklahoma wins this week over an inferior Missouri squad, the Sooners will play for the national title against the winner of the Alabama-Florida game.  Southern Cal, Texas Tech, and Penn State, as well as Utah, Boise State, and Ball State among other top contenders will get no chance to compete for all the marbles.

 

The Top 25 had very little movement after this past weekend.  The bowl situations started to come into focus, as information started to leak out on which bowls want which teams if they are available.  So, when you read the bowl section below, realize that these are not just predictions now; some of the teams are slotted based on leaked information from bowl scouts.

 

Personally, I believe Florida and Southern Cal are the two best teams in the nation.  The Gators’ offense is as good as any college team in 13 years, while the Trojans’ defense is the best college defense in 16 years.

 

NCAA Top 25 For 2-Dec-2008

Rank

Team

PiRate

Won

Lost

1

Florida 

141

11

1

2

Oklahoma

134

11

1

3

Southern Cal

132

10

1

4

Texas

128

11

1

5

Ohio St.

127

10

2

6

Penn St.

125

11

1

7

Alabama

124

12

0

8

Ole Miss

121

8

4

9

Texas Tech

120

11

1

10

Boise State

120

12

0

11

T C U

120

10

2

12

Oregon

120

9

3

13

Utah

118

12

0

14

Missouri

118

9

3

15

Iowa

117

8

4

16

Georgia 

115

9

3

17

Ball State

114

12

0

18

California

114

7

4

19

Oklahoma St.

114

9

3

20

Clemson

113

7

5

21

Oregon State

113

8

4

22

Florida State

112

8

4

23

Rutgers

112

6

5

24

Cincinnati

111

10

2

25

Arizona

111

6

5

     

 

 

Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number

even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Clemson

4-4

7-5

113

68

45

Florida State

5-3

8-4

112

70

42

Boston College

5-3*

9-3

107

65

42

North Carolina State

4-4

6-6

106

70

36

Wake Forest

4-4

7-5

104

56

48

Maryland

4-4

7-5

101

62

39

 

 

 

 

   
Coastal Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Georgia Tech

5-3

9-3

109

68

41

Virginia Tech

5-3*

8-4

106

65

41

North Carolina

4-4

8-4

105

66

39

Miami

4-4

7-5

102

60

42

Virginia 

3-5

5-7

100

58

42

Duke

1-7

4-8

93

60

33

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Rutgers

4-2

6-5

112

67

45

Cincinnati

6-1

10-2

111

65

46

West Virginia

4-2

7-4

111

66

45

Pittsburgh

4-2

8-3

109

65

44

Connecticut

3-3

7-4

105

65

40

South Florida

2-4

7-4

105

68

37

Louisville

1-5

5-6

96

59

37

Syracuse

1-6

3-9

89

56

33

 

Big Ten

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ohio State

7-1

10-2

127

71

56

Penn State

7-1

11-1

125

76

49

Iowa

5-3

8-4

117

72

45

Wisconsin

3-5

7-5

107

71

36

Northwestern

5-3

9-3

105

64

41

Michigan State

6-2

9-3

104

64

40

Purdue

2-6

4-8

103

67

36

Illinois

3-5

5-7

102

65

37

Michigan

2-6

3-9

96

57

39

Minnesota

3-5

7-5

92

58

34

Indiana

1-7

3-9

79

54

25

 

Big 12

North Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Missouri

5-3*

9-3

118

75

43

Kansas

4-4

7-5

109

67

42

Nebraska

5-3

8-4

108

70

38

Colorado

2-6

5-7

95

57

38

Kansas State

2-6

5-7

92

67

25

Iowa State

0-8

2-10

86

57

29

South Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oklahoma

7-1

11-1

134

93

41

Texas

7-1

11-1

128

82

46

Texas Tech

7-1

11-1

120

85

35

Oklahoma State

5-3

9-3

114

71

43

Baylor

2-6

4-8

106

68

38

Texas A&M

2-6

4-8

90

56

34

 

Conference USA

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

East Carolina

6-2

8-4

98

62

36

Southern Miss.

4-4

6-6

97

64

33

Memphis

4-4

6-6

92

61

31

Marshall

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Central Florida

3-5

4-8

88

46

42

U A B

3-5

4-8

84

51

33

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Tulsa

7-1*

10-2

104

73

31

Rice

7-1

9-3

97

66

31

Houston

6-2

7-5

97

67

30

U T E P

4-4

5-7

87

59

28

S M U

0-8

1-11

78

57

21

Tulane

1-7

2-10

69

50

19

 

Independents

           
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Navy  

7-4

100

60

40

Notre Dame  

6-6

98

58

40

Army  

3-8

86

49

37

 

Mid American Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Bowling Green

4-4

6-6

103

68

35

Buffalo

5-3

7-5

96

64

32

Temple

4-4

5-7

96

57

39

Ohio U

3-5

4-8

91

51

40

Kent State

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Akron

3-5

5-7

89

60

29

Miami (O)

1-7

2-10

81

54

27

           
West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ball State

8-0

12-0

114

75

39

Western Michigan

6-2

9-3

100

63

37

Northern Illinois

5-3

6-6

98

59

39

Central Michigan

6-2

8-4

97

68

29

Eastern Michigan

2-6

3-9

88

59

29

Toledo

2-6

3-9

85

55

30

 

Mountain West Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

T C U

7-1

10-2

120

68

52

Utah

8-0

12-0

118

70

48

Brigham Young

6-2

10-2

106

67

39

Air Force

5-3

8-4

95

58

37

Colorado State

4-4

6-6

93

60

33

New Mexico

2-6

4-8

93

56

37

UNLV

2-6

5-7

85

56

29

Wyoming

1-7

4-8

85

51

34

San Diego State

1-7

2-10

76

49

27

 

Pac-10 Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Cal

7-1

10-1

132

73

59

Oregon

7-2

9-3

120

77

43

California

5-3

7-4

114

72

42

Oregon State

7-2

8-4

113

74

39

Arizona

4-4

6-5

111

74

37

Arizona State

4-4

5-6

106

65

41

Stanford

4-5

5-7

106

64

42

U C L A

3-5

4-7

99

57

42

Washington

0-8

0-11

83

55

28

Washington State

1-8

2-11

74

49

25

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida 

7-1

11-1

141

87

54

Georgia 

6-2

9-3

115

73

42

South Carolina

4-4

7-5

108

63

45

Tennessee

3-5

5-7

107

62

45

Kentucky

2-6

6-6

102

62

40

Vanderbilt

4-4

6-6

100

55

45

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Alabama

8-0

12-0

124

69

55

Ole Miss

5-3

8-4

121

74

47

L S U

3-5

7-5

106

68

38

Arkansas

2-6

5-7

102

68

34

Auburn

2-6

5-7

102

56

46

Mississippi State

2-6

4-8

97

55

42

 

Sunbelt Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Troy

5-1

7-4

104

68

36

Middle Tennessee

3-3

5-6

92

58

34

Arkansas State

4-2

6-5

90

60

30

Florida Atlantic

4-3

6-6

90

61

29

Louisiana-Monroe

3-4

4-8

87

56

31

Louisiana-Lafayette

4-2

5-6

86

64

22

Florida International

3-4

4-7

86

57

29

* Western Kentucky

0-0

2-9

82

51

31

North Texas

0-7

1-11

70

55

15

           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009      
Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008    

 

Western Athletic Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Boise State

8-0

12-0

120

74

46

Nevada

5-3

7-5

102

73

29

Louisiana Tech

5-3

7-5

94

56

38

Utah State

3-5

3-9

93

57

36

Hawaii

5-3

7-5

91

54

37

Fresno State

4-4

7-5

88

61

27

San Jose State

4-4

6-6

85

53

32

New Mexico State

1-7

3-9

74

48

26

Idaho

1-7

2-10

73

57

16

 

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

   

 

 

Wednesday, December 3  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Middle Tennessee LA.-LAFAYETTE

3

34-31

   

 

 

Thursday, December 4  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

RUTGERS Louisville

19

31-12

   

 

 

Friday, December 5  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Ball State            (Detroit) Buffalo

18

42-24

   

 

 

Saturday, December 6      
Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Pittsburgh CONNECTICUT

1

24-23

TULSA East Carolina

9

40-31

Navy Army

14

21-7

Boston College Virginia Tech

1

21-20

CALIFORNIA Washington

34

44-10

Florida Alabama

17

31-14

Southern Cal U C L A

30

30-0

FLA. INT’L Western Ky.

7

28-21

TROY Arkansas State

17

38-21

ARIZONA Arizona State

8

35-27

WEST VIRGINIA South Florida

9

30-21

Oklahoma Missouri

16

49-33

Cincinnati HAWAII

16

26-10

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

Wednesday, December 3  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

LA.-LAFAYETTE Middle Tennessee

27-24

   

 

Thursday, December 4  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

RUTGERS Louisville

34-21

   

 

Friday, December 5  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

Ball State            (Detroit) Buffalo

37-24

   

 

Saturday, December 6  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

Pittsburgh CONNECTICUT

21-21 to OT

TULSA East Carolina

42-34

Navy             (Philadelphia) Army

35-24

Boston Coll.   (Jacksonville) Virginia Tech

20-17

CALIFORNIA Washington

42-10

Florida                 (Atlanta) Alabama

27-17

Southern Cal U C L A

34-7

FLA. INT’L Western Ky.

30-20

TROY Arkansas State

34-24

ARIZONA Arizona State

28-20

WEST VIRGINIA South Florida

24-19

Oklahoma    (Kansas City) Missouri

44-31

Cincinnati HAWAII

27-17

 

Bowl Outlook By Conference

 

Teams in all CAPS have already accepted invitations to that bowl.

 

ACC

After having a new team at the top of each division for multiple weeks, Boston College and Virginia Tech both won last week when they had to win.  Now, the winner of their game will advance to the Orange Bowl, while the loser probably drops to the Champs Sports Bowl.

 

With Georgia Tech’s win over Georgia, their hometown bowl will be glad to take the Yellow Jackets.  That bowl prefers a ranked team coming off a win, and Tech fits that bill.

 

Florida State will get the Gator Bowl invitation regardless of how the ACC title game turns out.  The Gator Bowl does not want to have the loser of the title game returning to Jacksonville three weeks later.

 

1. Orange Bowl-Boston College 10-3 vs. Cincinnati

2. Chick-fil-a-Georgia Tech 9-3 vs. L S U

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

4. Champs Sports-Virginia Tech 8-5 vs. Wisconsin

5. Music City-North Carolina 8-4 vs. Vanderbilt

6. Meineke Car Care-Miami 7-5 vs. West Virginia

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

8. Emerald-Clemson 7-5 vs. California

9. Humanitarian-Maryland 7-5 vs. Nevada

10. Hawaii (at-large)-N.C. State 6-6 vs. Southern Miss.

 

Big East

Cincinnati has clinched a BCS Bowl spot.  The Bearcats are more than likely headed to the Orange Bowl.

 

Notre Dame’s loss to USC means the Irish may not seize one of this league’s bids.  If Rutgers beats Louisville, then there will be six, seven-win bowl eligible teams for six bowls; Notre Dame would not be eligible for a Big East Bowl, so they would become the top 6-6 at-large possibility.  Should Louisville win this week, then Notre Dame will be headed to El Paso.

 

1. Orange-Cincinnati 11-2 vs. Boston College

2. Sun-Rutgers 7-5 vs. Oregon State

3. St. Petersburg-South Florida 7-5 vs. East Carolina

4. Meineke Car Care-West Virginia 8-4 vs. Miami (Fla)

5. International-Connecticut 8-4 vs. Buffalo

6. Papa John’s-Pittsburgh 8-4 vs. Middle Tennessee State

 

Big Ten

Ohio State is almost assured to get the final BCS Bowl bid over Boise State, so the Big Ten will not have enough bowl-eligible teams for their seven allotted bids.  That may open the Motor City Bowl for a possible match of undefeated teams.

 

Although not technically official, Penn State has been mathematically eliminated from moving into the National Championship Game.  Thus, I have them “officially” in the Rose Bowl.

 

1. Rose-PENN STATE 11-1 vs. Southern Cal

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

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

3. Outback-Iowa 8-4 vs. South Carolina

4. Champs Sports-Wisconsin 7-5 vs. Virginia Tech

5. Alamo-Northwestern 9-3 vs. Missouri

6. Insight-Minnesota 7-5 vs. Kansas

7. Motor City-No qualifying team

 

Big 12

Missouri is being overlooked by everybody but Oklahoma this week, so I expect the Sooners to drill the Tigers.

 

With two teams headed to BCS Bowls, and with Colorado failing to upset Nebraska, this league will fall two teams short.

 

1. BCS National Championship-Oklahoma 12-1 vs. Florida

2. Fiesta-Texas 11-1 vs. Ohio State

3. Cotton-Texas Tech 11-1 vs. Ole Miss

4. Gator-Nebraska 8-4 vs. Florida State

5. Holiday-Oklahoma State 9-3 vs. Oregon

6. Alamo-Missouri 9-4 vs. Northwestern

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Minnesota

8. Independence-No Qualifying Team

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

Tulsa and East Carolina are the two divisional champions, and I believe the Golden Hurricane will win the title game this week.  Rice is the best team in this league as the season ends, but the Owls will not be at the top of the list for those remaining bowl-eligible teams.  Expect to see Rice fall to the Texas Bowl.

 

Unless another bowl chooses them first, Houston may wind up in Ft. Worth playing Air Force in a rematch of a game played in the regular season.  I think Rice would be a better opponent, but the Cougars are the better drawing team. 

 

1. Liberty-Tulsa 11-2 vs. Kentucky

2. St. Petersburg-East Carolina 8-5 vs. South Florida

3. G M A C-Southern Miss. 6-6 vs. Central Michigan

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

5. Texas-Rice 9-3 vs. Notre Dame

6. New Orleans-Memphis 6-6 vs. Troy

 

Independent

Navy is headed to the Eagle Bank Bowl regardless of their outcome with Army this week.  We know for sure that Maryland will not be their opponent in a possible in-state rivalry game.  The Terps have final exams that week, and they will not accept a bowl bid during exam week.

 

Notre Dame will still be invited to a bowl at 6-6.  They will be the first 6-6 team invited as an at-large team.  I believe they will be headed to Houston.

 

1. Texas (at-large)-Notre Dame 6-6 vs. Rice

2. Eagle Bank-NAVY 7-5 vs. Miami (Fla.)

 

M A C

Ball State should handle Buffalo this week.  If they do, I expect the Motor City Bowl to make a deal with the WAC to release Boise State to come to Detroit in a battle of the unbeatens.  It will thus become the top non-BCS bowl.

 

The MAC will benefit from the failure of other conferences not being able to fulfill their bowl quotas.  Three more teams (Western Michigan, Central Michigan, and Buffalo) have seven wins, so there will be one extra bowl invitation for the MAC.  I have Western Michigan playing in an at-large bowl, but there is no news leaks about where they might be headed.  I have them headed west based on the fact that Boise State won’t be selected by the Poinsettia Bowl as they have that right.

 

1. Motor City-Ball State 13-0 vs. Boise State

2. International-Buffalo 8-5 vs. Connecticut

3. G M A C-Central Michigan 9-3 vs. Southern Miss.

4. Poinsettia (at-large)-Western Michigan 9-3 vs. T C U

 

Mountain West

Utah is officially a BCS bowl invitee.  It appears that they are headed to the Big Easy to play in the Sugar Bowl.

 

BYU has been to the Las Vegas Bowl the last three years, and I believe the folks in sin city will invite the Cougars a fourth consecutive time.  TCU is still a possibility, but in this time of economic turmoil, I’m guessing it will be a number’s game that comes up craps for the Frogs.

 

1. Sugar-Utah 12-0 vs. Alabama

2. Las Vegas-B Y U 10-2 vs. Arizona

3. Poinsettia-T C U 10-2 vs. Western Michigan

4. New Mexico-Colorado State 6-6 vs. Fresno State

5. Armed Forces-Air Force 8-4 vs. Houston

 

Pac-10

Oregon made the Rose Bowl officials happy when they defeated Oregon State.  Now Southern Cal needs to defeat UCLA to return to Pasadena for another game.

 

Arizona State can still become bowl-eligible with a win at Arizona, but I think the Wildcats have a huge revenge motive that will end the season for the Sun Devils.  Thus, I have the Pac-10 falling two spots shy of fulfilling its obligations.

 

 

1. Rose-Southern Cal 11-1 vs. Penn State

2. Holiday-Oregon 9-3 vs. Oklahoma State

3. Sun-Oregon State 8-4 vs. Rutgers

4. Las Vegas-Arizona 7-5 vs. B Y U

5. Emerald-California 8-4 vs. Wake Forest

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

What happens if Florida beats Alabama in overtime or by one point in regulation?  Might there be a rematch in a month for the National Championship?  It’s not going to happen for two reasons.  First, a loss of any kind will put Alabama behind both Oklahoma and Texas.  Second, I believe Florida will win this week by double digits.  No matter which team loses, it will be headed to New Orleans.  A Florida-Utah game would be interesting because of Urban Meyer.

 

There is a rumor going around that the Capital One Bowl could take Ole Miss over Georgia.  I think that rumor has merits, but I don’t expect the Rebels to end up in Orlando.

 

1. National Championship-Florida 12-1 vs. Oklahoma

2. Sugar-Alabama 12-1 vs. Utah

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

4. Outback-South Carolina 7-5 vs. Michigan State

5. Cotton-Ole Miss 8-4 vs. Texas Tech

6. Chick-fil-a-L S U 7-5 vs. Georgia Tech

7. Music City-Vanderbilt 6-6 vs. North Carolina

8. Liberty-Kentucky 6-6 vs. Tulsa

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

Troy should beat Arkansas State this weekend to wrap up the SBC title.  They will be the only seven-win team in the league, but it is likely that two six-win teams will receive at-large bids.  The winner of the UL-Lafayette-Middle Tennessee game will likely wind up in Birmingham, while either Arkansas State or Florida Atlantic will take the Independence Bowl bid.  I’m guessing ASU will be picked over FAU.  Of course, if ASU beats Troy, they will head to New Orleans.  Troy would then head to Birmingham, and ULL or MTSU will end up in Shreveport.

 

1. New Orleans-Troy 8-4 vs. Memphis

2. Independence (at-large) Arkansas State 6-6 vs. La. Tech

3. Papa John’s (at-large) Middle Tennessee 6-6 vs. Pittsburgh

 

W A C

The Boise State-Ball State mini-dream game is still full of potential pitfalls.  The Humanitarian Bowl wants to host this game, but Ball State doesn’t want to play Boise State on the blue turf.  Boise State may think Detroit is too close to Muncie, Indiana.  The Independence Bowl has been mentioned as a possible site since it will have to find two at-large teams, but the Independence Bowl is supposed to take a Sunbelt team if they don’t have an SEC team.  Louisiana Tech is a great bet to be the other at-large team in Shreveport.  I believe the Motor City Bowl is the best option.  That will allow the Humanitarian Bowl to take Nevada and cause no further bowl interruptions.  If the big game ends up in Boise, then the ACC will have to be compensated.  They have more than enough eligible teams to meet their obligations. 

 

1. Motor City-Boise State 12-0 vs. Ball State

2. Humanitarian-Nevada 6-6 vs. Maryland

3. New Mexico-Fresno State 7-5 vs. Colorado State

4. Hawaii-Hawaii 7-6 vs. North Carolina State

5. Independence (at-large)-La. Tech 8-4 vs. Arkansas St.

 

 

November 24, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of November 25-29, 2008

NCAA Week 14: Oh What A Mess!!!

 

The conclusion of the 2008 FBS regular season begins this week and finishes next week.  There are multiple problems with the postseason as of now, and I don’t believe these problems will all be resolved by Saturday, December 6.

 

The national championship will produce controversy no matter which two teams are picked for the game.  Eight or more teams could conceivable have realistic arguments in favor of their being one of the final two.  The system is set up for failure, especially this season.  Except for 2005, this inept method of picking teams has “gotten it wrong” just about every season since its inception.

 

The non-BCS bowl situation couldn’t be more messed up today.  Six bowl will more than likely need at-large entries as the conferences which with they have agreements will not provide enough bowl eligible teams.  The poor Independence bowl will have to find two at-large teams unless a couple of miracle upsets occur this week.

 

NCAA Top 25 For 25-Nov-2008
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost

1

Florida 

140

10

1

2

Oklahoma

133

10

1

3

Southern Cal

132

9

1

4

Texas

128

10

1

5

Ohio St.

127

10

2

6

Penn St.

125

11

1

7

Texas Tech

122

10

1

8

Missouri

121

9

2

9

Alabama

120

11

0

10

T C U

120

10

2

11

Georgia 

119

9

2

12

Utah

118

12

0

13

Oregon State

118

8

3

14

Ole Miss

117

7

4

15

Iowa

117

8

4

16

Boise State

116

11

0

17

Oklahoma St.

115

9

2

18

Oregon

115

8

3

19

California

114

7

4

20

Ball State

113

11

0

21

Florida State

113

8

3

22

Rutgers

112

6

5

23

West Virginia

112

7

3

24

Cincinnati

111

9

2

25

South Carolina

111

7

4

Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida State

5-3

8-3

113

70

43

Clemson

4-4

6-5

110

66

44

Boston College

4-3

8-3

108

65

43

N. Carolina State

3-4

5-6

106

70

36

Wake Forest

4-4

6-5

102

56

46

Maryland

4-3

7-4

100

61

39

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Virginia Tech

4-3

7-4

106

65

41

Georgia Tech

5-3

8-3

105

64

41

North Carolina

3-4

7-4

105

66

39

Miami

4-3

7-4

102

60

42

Virginia 

3-4

5-6

100

58

42

Duke

1-6

4-7

93

60

33

 

Big East Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Rutgers

4-2

6-5

112

67

45

West Virginia

4-1

7-3

112

67

45

Cincinnati

5-1

9-2

111

65

46

Pittsburgh

3-2

7-3

108

65

43

Connecticut

3-3

7-4

105

65

40

South Florida

2-4

7-4

105

68

37

Louisville

1-5

5-6

96

59

37

Syracuse

1-5

3-8

89

56

33

 

Big Ten
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ohio State

7-1

10-2

127

71

56

Penn State

7-1

11-1

125

76

49

Iowa

5-3

8-4

117

72

45

Wisconsin

3-5

7-5

107

71

36

Northwestern

5-3

9-3

105

64

41

Michigan State

6-2

9-3

104

64

40

Purdue

2-6

4-8

103

67

36

Illinois

3-5

5-7

102

65

37

Michigan

2-6

3-9

96

57

39

Minnesota

3-5

7-5

92

58

34

Indiana

1-7

3-9

79

54

25

 

Big 12
North Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Missouri

5-2

9-2

121

75

46

Nebraska

4-3

7-4

109

70

39

Kansas

3-4

6-5

106

66

40

Colorado

2-5

5-6

94

56

38

Kansas State

2-6

5-7

92

67

25

Iowa State

0-8

2-10

86

57

29

South Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oklahoma

6-1

10-1

133

90

43

Texas

6-1

10-1

128

82

46

Texas Tech

6-1

10-1

122

85

37

Oklahoma State

5-2

9-2

115

69

46

Baylor

2-5

4-7

104

66

38

Texas A&M

2-5

4-7

90

56

34

 

Conference USA
East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Miss.

3-4

5-6

97

64

33

East Carolina

5-2

7-4

94

59

35

Central Florida

3-4

4-7

92

50

42

Memphis

3-4

5-6

89

59

30

Marshall

3-4

4-7

87

56

31

U A B

2-5

3-8

80

51

29

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Tulsa

6-1

9-2

106

73

33

Houston

6-1

7-4

99

67

32

Rice

6-1

8-3

95

64

31

U T E P

4-3

5-6

91

61

30

S M U

0-7

1-10

78

57

21

Tulane

1-6

2-9

72

50

22

 

Independents
           
Team  

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Notre Dame  

6-5

98

58

40

Navy  

6-4

97

60

37

Army  

3-8

86

49

37

 

Mid American Conference
East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Buffalo

5-2

7-4

99

66

33

Bowling Green

3-4

5-6

98

66

32

Temple

3-4

4-7

94

57

37

Akron

3-4

5-6

91

62

29

Ohio U

2-5

3-8

89

49

40

Kent State

2-5

3-8

86

57

29

Miami (O)

1-6

2-9

83

55

28

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ball State

7-0

11-0

113

74

39

Western Michigan

6-1

9-2

101

64

37

Northern Illinois

5-3

6-5

101

62

39

Central Michigan

6-1

8-3

100

68

32

Toledo

2-5

3-8

90

58

32

Eastern Michigan

1-6

2-9

84

55

29

 

Mountain West Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

T C U

7-1

10-2

120

68

52

Utah

8-0

12-0

118

70

48

Brigham Young

6-2

10-2

106

67

39

Air Force

5-3

8-4

95

58

37

Colorado State

4-4

6-6

93

60

33

New Mexico

2-6

4-8

93

56

37

UNLV

2-6

5-7

85

56

29

Wyoming

1-7

4-8

85

51

34

San Diego State

1-7

2-10

76

49

27

 

Pac-10 Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Cal

7-1

9-1

132

73

59

Oregon State

7-1

8-3

118

75

43

Oregon

6-2

8-3

115

73

42

California

5-3

7-4

114

72

42

Arizona

4-4

6-5

111

74

37

Stanford

4-5

5-7

106

64

42

Arizona State

3-4

4-6

105

64

41

U C L A

3-4

4-6

100

57

43

Washington

0-8

0-11

83

55

28

Washington State

1-8

2-10

73

49

24

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida 

7-1

10-1

140

87

53

Georgia 

6-2

9-2

119

73

46

South Carolina

4-4

7-4

111

65

46

Tennessee

2-5

4-7

105

61

44

Kentucky

2-5

6-5

104

63

41

Vanderbilt

4-4

6-5

102

57

45

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Alabama

7-0

11-0

120

68

52

Ole Miss

4-3

7-4

117

71

46

L S U

3-4

7-4

107

68

39

Auburn

2-5

5-6

106

58

48

Mississippi State

2-5

4-7

102

57

45

Arkansas

1-6

4-6

101

67

34

 

Sunbelt Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Troy

5-1

7-4

104

68

36

Arkansas State

3-2

5-5

93

61

32

Middle Tennessee

3-3

5-6

92

58

34

Florida Atlantic

3-3

5-6

92

61

31

La.-Monroe

3-4

4-8

87

56

31

La.-Lafayette

4-2

5-6

86

64

22

Fla. International

3-3

4-6

84

55

29

* Western Ky.

0-0

2-9

82

51

31

North Texas

0-6

1-10

67

53

14

           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009

Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008

 

Western Athletic Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Boise State

7-0

11-0

116

72

44

Nevada

4-3

6-5

102

73

29

Louisiana Tech

5-2

7-4

94

56

38

Hawaii

5-3

6-5

92

55

37

Fresno State

4-3

7-4

92

63

29

Utah State

2-5

2-9

88

55

33

San Jose State

4-4

6-6

85

53

32

New Mexico State

1-6

3-8

79

51

28

Idaho

1-7

2-10

73

57

16

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

   

 

 

Tuesday, November 25  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

BALL STATE Western Michigan

15

38-23

NORTHERN ILLINOIS Navy

7

27-20

   

 

 

Thursday, November 27  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

TEXAS Texas A&M

41

48-7

   

 

 

Friday, November 28  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

West Virginia PITTSBURGH

1

21-20

OLE MISS Mississippi State

18

27-9

Ohio U MIAMI (O)

3

20-17

EAST CAROLINA U t e p

6

30-24

TEMPLE Akron

6

28-22

Central Michigan EASTERN MICHIGAN

13

37-24

BUFFALO Kent State

16

37-21

L s u ARKANSAS

3

31-28

NEBRASKA Colorado

18

35-17

Bowling Green TOLEDO

5

31-26

BOISE STATE Fresno State

27

44-17

ARIZONA STATE U c l a

8

21-13

   

 

 

Saturday, November 29      
Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

ALABAMA Auburn

17

20-3

TEXAS TECH Baylor

21

49-28

Florida FLORIDA STATE

24

42-18

Oklahoma OKLAHOMA STATE

15

42-27

GEORGIA Georgia Tech

17

34-17

North Carolina DUKE

9

31-22

CINCINNATI Syracuse

25

35-10

WAKE FOREST Vanderbilt

3

13-10

CLEMSON South Carolina

2

21-19

BOSTON COLLEGE Maryland

11

28-17

N.C. STATE Miami-Fl

7

28-21

VIRGINIA TECH Virginia

9

23-14

TENNESSEE Kentucky

4

20-16

Missouri        (Kansas City) Kansas

15

35-20

MEMPHIS Tulane

20

38-18

Arkansas State NORTH TEXAS

23

44-21

Nevada LA. TECH

5

35-30

Houston RICE

1

35-34

UTAH STATE New Mexico St.

12

28-16

Southern Miss. S M U

16

41-25

Tulsa MARSHALL

16

40-24

CENTRAL FLORIDA U a b

15

21-6

FLA. ATLANTIC Fla. International

11

35-24

OREGON STATE Oregon

6

34-28

SOUTHERN CAL Notre Dame

35

35-0

HAWAII Washington State

23

33-10

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

Tuesday, November 25  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

BALL STATE Western Michigan

31-20

Navy NORTHERN ILLINOIS

31-31 to OT

   

 

Thursday, November 27  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

TEXAS Texas A&M

49-14

   

 

Friday, November 28  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

PITTSBURGH West Virginia

27-24

OLE MISS Mississippi State

28-10

Ohio U MIAMI (O)

28-26

EAST CAROLINA U t e p

38-30

TEMPLE Akron

31-29

Central Michigan EASTERN MICHIGAN

33-20

BUFFALO Kent State

30-14

L s u ARKANSAS

35-30

NEBRASKA Colorado

44-27

Bowling Green TOLEDO

30-27

BOISE STATE Fresno State

41-19

ARIZONA STATE U c l a

31-23

   

 

Saturday, November 29    
Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

ALABAMA Auburn

30-7

TEXAS TECH Baylor

52-26

Florida FLORIDA STATE

35-21

Oklahoma OKLAHOMA STATE

42-35

GEORGIA Georgia Tech

37-28

North Carolina DUKE

30-24

CINCINNATI Syracuse

32-10

WAKE FOREST Vanderbilt

17-12

CLEMSON South Carolina

28-26

BOSTON COLLEGE Maryland

31-21

Miami-Fl N.C. STATE

31-28

VIRGINIA TECH Virginia

21-12

TENNESSEE Kentucky

17-16

Missouri        (Kansas City) Kansas

42-28

MEMPHIS Tulane

37-24

Arkansas State NORTH TEXAS

38-21

Nevada LA. TECH

38-35

RICE Houston

35-34

UTAH STATE New Mexico St.

27-22

Southern Miss. S M U

34-21

Tulsa MARSHALL

40-28

CENTRAL FLORIDA U a b

24-14

FLA. ATLANTIC Fla. International

38-33

OREGON STATE Oregon

31-24

SOUTHERN CAL Notre Dame

34-7

HAWAII Washington State

42-23

 

 

Bowl Outlook by Conference

 

Another week of games have been played, and nothing was really determined bowl-wise.  Instead of knowing where some of the teams are headed, the picture is actually more clouded than it was last week.  A couple of teams were eliminated from the bowl picture, but we’re talking about UNLV and Illinois.  As we enter the Thanksgiving holiday, we only know for sure that Navy is in the inaugural Eagle Bank Bowl.  Penn State is all but assured of a spot in the Rose Bowl, but it isn’t official yet.

 

Teams in all CAPS have already accepted invitations to that bowl.

 

ACC

Another week, another couple of frontrunners are ripe for upset losses.  Miami and Maryland controlled their own destinies last week, but both were blown out.  Now Virginia Tech and Boston College have the easiest roads to the title game.  If the Eagles beat Maryland in Chestnut Hill this week, they are headed to Atlanta.  If Virginia Tech beats Virginia, the Hokies are joining the Eagles.

 

The overall mediocrity of this league actually could help the ACC get an extra team in the bowl discussion.  If North Carolina State beats Miami or Virginia beats Virginia Tech, the league will have 10 bowl eligible teams.  Should both the Wolfpack and Cavs win, then 11 of the 12 teams will be bowl eligible.

 

1. Orange Bowl-Boston College 10-3 vs. Cincinnati

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

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

4. Champs Sports-Virginia Tech 8-5 vs. Northwestern

5. Music City-Georgia Tech 8-4 vs. Vanderbilt

6. Meineke Car Care-Miami (Fla) 7-5 vs. West Virginia

7. Eagle Bank-Clemson 7-5 vs. NAVY

8. Emerald-Maryland 7-5 vs. Notre Dame

9. Humanitarian-Wake Forest 7-5 vs. Boise State

10. Texas (at-large)-N.C. State 6-6 vs. Southern Miss.

 

Big East

Cincinnati is a win away from securing a BCS Bowl bid, and it looks like they would be headed to Miami.  Coach Brian Kelly will be very popular Sunday morning if the Bearcats win, and he could be the head coach at a larger school before December 15.

 

Once Cincinnati wraps up the Orange Bowl berth, the dominoes should begin to fall.  I believe the bowls will possibly sacrifice won-loss record for distance.  With the economy in shambles, fans may be reluctant to travel great distances and spend a lot of money.  Thus, I am picking South Florida to stay at home for their bowl.  I am going with West Virginia to stay close to home.  I am sending Connecticut north of the border.

 

With Notre Dame losing to Syracuse, the Irish are no longer in the Gator Bowl picture, and I don’t think the Sun Bowl will be able to select them as the Big East representative because they will finish 6-6 and six Big East teams will win seven or more games. 

 

I have Louisville out of the picture.  The Cardinals have been a major disappointment for the second consecutive year.  Coach Steve Kragthorpe’s seat is getting hot.

 

1. Orange-Cincinnati 11-2 vs. Boston College

2. Sun-Pittsburgh 8-4 vs. Arizona

3. St. Petersburg-South Florida 7-5 vs. East Carolina

4. Meineke Car Care-West Virginia 8-4 vs. Miami (Fla)

5. International-Connecticut 8-4 vs. Buffalo

6. Papa John’s-Rutgers 7-5 vs. Middle Tennessee State

 

Big Ten

Illinois was eliminated from bowl contention last week, but I now have Ohio State slated to miss out on an at-large BCS bowl bid.  So, this league will have seven teams for seven bowls.

 

Even thought Minnesota fell mightily in November, I have the Gophers ahead of Wisconsin because it appears that the Badger fans do not plan on supporting their team en masse this year.  In a poll in the Milwaukee paper, a plurality of fans voted their opinion that UW should not even go to a bowl this year.

 

1. Rose-Penn State 11-1 vs. Oregon State

2. Capital One-Ohio State 10-2 vs. Georgia

3. Outback-Michigan State 9-3 vs. L S U

4. Champs Sports-Northwestern 9-3 vs. Virginia Tech

5. Alamo-Iowa 8-4 vs. Oklahoma State

6. Insight-Minnesota 7-5 vs. Kansas

7. Motor City-Wisconsin 7-5 vs. Ball State

 

Big 12

Missouri is definitely in the Big 12 Championship Game next week.  The other side of the league is still a three-team race.  If Oklahoma wins at Oklahoma State, then the Sooners should jump ahead of Texas in the BCS standings, even if the Longhorns beat Texas A&M 56-0.  If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma, then Texas Tech will back in to the title game if they beat Baylor.  I think Texas can only get into the Big 12 title game if Texas Tech loses to Baylor.  However, the Longhorns still have a chance to make it to the National Championship Game if Missouri beats Oklahoma in the conference title game and Southern Cal doesn’t jump ahead of them.

 

Colorado still has an outside chance of becoming bowl-eligible.  They have to win at Nebraska.  I don’t give the Buffs much chance of doing that, and I believe Coach Dan Hawkins is riding down a slippery slope in the Rockies.

 

The Cornhuskers may cut in line in the bowl pecking order.  The Gator Bowl will probably take them ahead of a 10-3 Missouri or 9-3 Oklahoma State team.

 

1. BCS National Championship-Oklahoma 12-1 vs. Florida

2. Fiesta-Texas 11-1 vs. Southern Cal

3. Cotton-Texas Tech 11-1 vs. Ole Miss

4. Gator-Nebraska 8-4 vs. Florida State

5. Holiday-Missouri 10-3 vs. California

6. Alamo-Oklahoma State 9-3 vs. Iowa

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Minnesota

8. Independence-No Qualifying Team

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

There is still unfinished business in this conference.  East Carolina has won the East Division, but the West is still a three-team race.  Tulsa has a tough road game at Marshall, while Houston plays across town at Rice.  If Rice and Tulsa finished ties, Tulsa wins.  If Tulsa loses to Marshall, the winner of the Rice-Houston game wins.  All three will go to bowls.

 

UTEP and Memphis must win their final games to become bowl-eligible.  Memphis has an easy game against lowly Tulane, but UTEP must play at East Carolina.  Should the Tigers lose, Coach Tommy West could be in trouble.

 

1. Liberty-Tulsa 11-2 vs. Kentucky

2. St. Petersburg-East Carolina 8-5 vs. South Florida

3. G M A C-Rice 8-4 vs. Central Michigan

4. Armed Forces-Houston 8-4 vs. Air Force

5. Texas-Southern Miss. 6-6 vs. N.C. State

6. New Orleans-Memphis 6-6 vs. Troy

 

Independent

Navy is the only team that definitely knows what bowl it will be playing in this year.  The Midshipmen have already accepted a bid to the first Eagle Bank Bowl. 

 

Notre Dame will still be invited to a bowl after USC slaughters them to drop them to 6-6.  They will be the first 6-6 team invited as an at-large team.  Whether they accept the bid is another story, but I’m selecting them here.

 

1. Emerald (at-large)-Notre Dame 6-6 vs. Maryland

2. Eagle Bank-NAVY 7-5 vs. Clemson

 

M A C

Ball State has a big home game with Western Michigan Tuesday night.  Then, they would have to beat Buffalo in the MAC Championship Game and hope Boise State, Alabama, and Southern Cal all lose just to have a minute chance at getting an at-large bid to a BCS bowl.  It looks like the Motor City Bowl is the best they can hope for.  I would love to see some arrangement made to pit a 13-0 Ball State team against a 12-0 Boise State team.  A lot of deals would have to be made.

 

Central and Western Michigan should easily receive bowl bids.  Buffalo is a virtually guaranteed a bowl as well thanks to them picking up their seventh win last week.

 

Northern Illinois will become the fifth bowl team if they defeat Navy.  Even if they lose, they could still have a shot at 6-6, since their fans travel well.

 

1. Motor City-Ball State 13-0 vs. Wisconsin

2. International-Buffalo 8-5 vs. Connecticut

3. G M A C-Central Michigan 9-3 vs. Rice

4. Hawaii (at-large)-Western Michigan 9-3 vs. Hawaii

 

Mountain West

Utah is officially a BCS bowl invitee.  It appears that they are headed to the Big Easy to play in the Sugar Bowl.

 

BYU has been to the Las Vegas Bowl the last three years, and I believe the folks in sin city will invite the Cougars a fourth consecutive time.  TCU is still a possibility, but in this time of economic turmoil, I’m guessing it will be a number’s game that comes up craps for the Frogs.

 

1. Sugar-Utah 12-0 vs. Alabama

2. Las Vegas-B Y U 10-2 vs. Oregon

3. Poinsettia-T C U 10-2 vs. Boise State

4. New Mexico-Colorado State 6-6 vs. Fresno State

5. Armed Forces-Air Force 8-4 vs. Houston

 

Pac-10

Oregon State won at Arizona, and now the Beavers need to take care of business at home against Oregon.  If they win, they head to the Rose Bowl for the first time in more than four decades!  They would get a chance to redeem themselves against Penn State.

 

Southern Cal could still climb up to second in the BCS if Oklahoma and Texas both lose again this season.

 

Arizona State could still become bowl eligible by beating both UCLA and Arizona.  It could happen, but for now I am picking Arizona to end that dream.

 

 

1. Rose-Oregon State 9-3 vs. Penn State

2. Fiesta (at-large) Southern Cal 11-1 vs. Texas

3. Holiday-California 8-4 vs. Missouri

4. Sun-Arizona 8-4 vs. Pittsburgh

5. Las Vegas-Oregon 8-4 vs. B Y U

6. Emerald-No qualifying team

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

Florida continues to move farther and farther ahead of the pack in college football.  I have the Gators at least a touchdown ahead of any other team.

 

Alabama is still number one in the official polls.  What if the Crimson Tide destroys Auburn and loses to Florida in overtime on a missed two-point conversion?  Might we see the same two teams play again for the national title?  Could it happen?  I think the Gators will take ‘Bama by more than two touchdowns to make it a moot point.

 

Arkansas was eliminated from the bowl talk last week, and I expect Auburn to go away this week.  If Auburn fires Tommy Tuberville, the Tigers deserve to rot into the basement in the SEC West for years.  Tuberville is a class act, and he knows how to coach.  I don’t think there is a savior out there who can do any better.

 

Kentucky and Vanderbilt will probably both finish 6-6, and that presents a mismatch problem if Tulsa wins the C-USA title.  The Golden Hurricane would be a prohibitive favorite over both teams.  Might the Liberty Bowl decide to allow the Independence of Papa John’s Bowl to take one of these 6-6 and then go after an undefeated Ball State team as an at-large opponent?  It’s something to consider, but I believe the Wildcats will travel to Memphis.  If Rice wins the C-USA title, then Kentucky will definitely be the opponent, since Vandy has already played the Owls.

 

1. National Championship-Florida 12-1 vs. Oklahoma

2. Sugar-Alabama 12-1 vs. Utah

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

4. Outback-L S U 8-4 vs. Michigan State

5. Cotton-Ole Miss 8-4 vs. Texas Tech

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

7. Music City-Vanderbilt 6-6 vs. Georgia Tech

8. Liberty-Kentucky 6-6 vs. Tulsa

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

Troy has all but wrapped up the New Orleans Bowl berth.  It looks highly likely that no other SBC team will finish 7-5, but as many as three will finish 6-6.  Because I see at least four and possibly five 6-6 teams being required to fill out the at-large spots, two at-large bids could go to this league. 

 

The Sunbelt has side bets with three other bowls, and two of them will be needing to find alternative invitees.  So, I am going with the two teams I believe will travel the best here.

 

1. New Orleans-Troy 8-4 vs. Memphis

2. Independence (at-large) Arkansas State 6-6 vs. La. Tech

3. Papa John’s (at-large) Middle Tennessee 6-6 vs. Rutgers

W A C

Boise State should take care of business against Fresno State this week and finish the regular season at 12-0.  They won’t get a sniff at an at-large BCS bowl bid.  Their only hope is if Oregon State loses to Oregon, Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State, Texas loses to Texas A&M, and Texas Tech loses to Baylor (or if Missouri wins the Big 12 title).

 

The WAC has a provisional agreement with the Poinsettia Bowl should the Pac-10 not have a team available.  They won’t this year, and that could allow Boise State to go there.  Economics may trump this theory as the Humanitarian Bowl will want the Broncos to stay home.  For now, I am selecting Boise to head south and west to play a better opponent than they would face on the blue field.

 

San Jose State looks like the odd man out this year, unless the Poinsettia Bowl would prefer them to Boise State.  Then, Nevada might be the odd man out.  If the Wolf Pack take care of business this week at Louisiana Tech, then they will take a bid away from a 6-6 team.

 

1. Poinsettia (at-large) Boise State 12-0 vs. T C U

2. Humanitarian-Nevada 6-6 vs. Wake Forest

3. New Mexico-Fresno State 7-5 vs. Colorado State

4. Hawaii-Hawaii 7-6 vs. Western Michigan

5. Independence (at-large)-La. Tech 8-4 vs. Arkansas St.

 

November 18, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of: November 18-23, 2008

NCAA Week 13: It’s Resolution Week, Part One

 

This week starts the beginning of the end of the regular season for college football.  Many teams will be playing their final games of the year, and many teams will be either playing themselves into a bowl or being eliminated from a bowl.   In addition, there are numerous big rivalry games.

 

The bowl situation couldn’t be more messed up today.  I believe six bowls will have to find at-large entries as the conferences which with they have agreements will not provide enough bowl eligible teams.  I believe the Independence bowl will have to find two at-large teams.

 

NCAA Top 25 For 18-Nov-2008
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Florida  139 9 1
2 Southern Cal 132 9 1
3 Texas 128 10 1
4 Texas Tech 127 10 0
5 Oklahoma 127 9 1
6 Ohio St. 125 9 2
7 Penn St. 123 10 1
8 Missouri 121 9 2
9 Alabama 120 11 0
10 Georgia  119 9 2
11 Oregon State 118 7 3
12 T C U 117 9 2
13 Boise State 116 10 0
14 Utah 116 11 0
15 Oklahoma St. 115 9 2
16 Oregon 115 8 3
17 Ball State 113 10 0
18 Ole Miss 113 6 4
19 L S U 112 7 3
20 California 112 6 4
21 Rutgers 112 5 5
22 West Virginia 112 6 3
23 Cincinnati 111 8 2
24 Iowa 111 7 4
25 Arizona 111 6 4
         
Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Clemson 3-4 5-5 109 66 43
Boston College 3-3 7-3 108 65 43
Florida State 4-3 7-3 108 68 40
Maryland 4-2 7-3 105 64 41
Wake Forest 4-3 6-4 102 56 46
North Carolina State 2-4 4-6 100 67 33
           
Coastal Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
North Carolina 3-3 7-3 109 68 41
Virginia Tech 3-3 6-4 107 66 41
Miami 4-2 7-3 105 61 44
Georgia Tech 4-3 7-3 102 62 40
Virginia  3-3 5-5 101 59 42
Duke 1-5 4-6 92 60 32

 

Big East Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Rutgers 4-2 5-5 112 67 45
West Virginia 3-1 6-3 112 67 45
Cincinnati 4-1 8-2 111 65 46
Pittsburgh 3-1 7-2 108 65 43
Connecticut 3-2 7-3 105 65 40
South Florida 1-4 6-4 105 68 37
Louisville 1-4 5-5 96 59 37
Syracuse 1-5 2-8 86 54 32

 

Big Ten
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Ohio State 6-1 9-2 125 70 55
Penn State 6-1 10-1 123 74 49
Iowa 4-3 7-4 111 69 42
Wisconsin 3-5 6-5 108 71 37
Illinois 3-4 5-6 107 68 39
Michigan State 6-1 9-2 106 64 42
Northwestern 4-3 8-3 101 62 39
Minnesota 3-4 7-4 99 63 36
Purdue 1-6 3-8 98 63 35
Michigan 2-5 3-8 98 58 40
Indiana 1-6 3-8 85 57 28

 

Big 12
North Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Missouri 5-2 9-2 121 75 46
Nebraska 4-3 7-4 109 70 39
Kansas 3-4 6-5 106 66 40
Colorado 2-5 5-6 94 56 38
Kansas State 1-6 4-7 93 67 26
Iowa State 0-7 2-9 85 57 28
South Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Texas 6-1 10-1 128 82 46
Texas Tech 6-0 10-0 127 86 41
Oklahoma 5-1 9-1 127 86 41
Oklahoma State 5-2 9-2 115 69 46
Baylor 2-5 4-7 104 66 38
Texas A&M 2-5 4-7 90 56 34

 

Conference USA
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Southern Miss. 3-4 5-6 97 64 33
East Carolina 4-2 6-4 95 60 35
Central Florida 2-4 3-7 91 50 41
Memphis 3-3 5-5 90 60 30
Marshall 3-3 4-6 90 57 33
U A B 2-4 3-7 79 51 28
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Tulsa 5-1 8-2 102 71 31
Houston 5-1 6-4 100 67 33
Rice 5-1 7-3 91 62 29
U T E P 4-2 5-5 90 60 30
S M U 0-7 1-10 78 57 21
Tulane 1-5 2-8 76 52 24

 

Independents
           
Team   Overall Rating Off Def
Notre Dame   6-4 103 61 42
Navy   6-4 97 60 37
Army   3-7 86 49 37

 

Mid American Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Bowling Green 3-3 5-5 99 66 33
Buffalo 4-2 6-4 98 65 33
Temple 2-4 3-7 95 56 39
Akron 3-3 5-5 93 62 31
Kent State 2-4 3-7 90 59 31
Ohio U 1-5 2-8 87 48 39
Miami (O) 1-5 2-8 87 57 30
           
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Ball State 6-0 10-0 113 74 39
Western Michigan 6-1 9-2 101 64 37
Central Michigan 6-0 8-2 99 67 32
Northern Illinois 4-3 5-5 97 60 37
Toledo 1-5 2-8 87 57 30
Eastern Michigan 1-5 2-8 83 52 31

 

Mountain West Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
T C U 6-1 9-2 117 66 51
Utah 7-0 11-0 116 69 47
Brigham Young 6-1 10-1 108 68 40
Air Force 5-2 8-3 98 60 38
New Mexico 2-6 4-8 93 56 37
UNLV 2-5 5-6 91 59 32
Colorado State 3-4 5-6 91 59 32
Wyoming 1-6 4-7 87 52 35
San Diego State 0-7 1-10 70 46 24

 

Pac-10 Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Southern Cal 7-1 9-1 132 73 59
Oregon State 6-1 7-3 118 75 43
Oregon 6-2 8-3 115 73 42
California 4-3 6-4 112 71 41
Arizona 4-3 6-4 111 74 37
Stanford 4-4 5-6 108 65 43
Arizona State 3-4 4-6 105 64 41
U C L A 3-4 4-6 100 57 43
Washington 0-7 0-10 85 56 29
Washington State 0-8 1-10 71 48 23

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida  7-1 9-1 139 86 53
Georgia  6-2 9-2 119 73 46
South Carolina 4-4 7-4 111 65 46
Vanderbilt 4-3 6-4 106 59 47
Kentucky 2-5 6-5 104 63 41
Tennessee 1-5 3-7 101 59 42
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Alabama 7-0 11-0 120 68 52
Ole Miss 3-3 6-4 113 69 44
L S U 3-3 7-3 112 71 41
Auburn 2-5 5-6 106 58 48
Mississippi State 1-5 3-7 102 57 45
Arkansas 1-5 4-6 101 67 34

 

Sunbelt Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Troy 4-1 6-4 99 66 33
Florida Atlantic 3-2 5-5 95 63 32
Louisiana-Lafayette 4-1 5-5 91 66 25
Arkansas State 2-2 4-5 89 59 30
Middle Tennessee 2-3 4-6 89 56 33
Florida International 3-2 4-5 86 56 30
Louisiana-Monroe 2-4 3-8 85 55 30
* Western Kentucky 0-0 2-9 82 51 31
North Texas 0-5 1-9 70 54 16
           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009      
Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008    

 

Western Athletic Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Boise State 6-0 10-0 116 72 44
Nevada 4-2 6-4 101 72 29
Louisiana Tech 4-2 6-4 95 56 39
Hawaii 4-3 5-5 90 54 36
Fresno State 3-3 6-4 90 62 28
Utah State 2-5 2-9 88 55 33
San Jose State 4-3 6-5 87 54 33
New Mexico State 1-5 3-7 78 50 28
Idaho 1-6 2-9 75 58 17

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site    
       
Tuesday, November 18      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Northern Illinois KENT STATE 4 28-24
       
Wednesday, November 19      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Ball State CENTRAL MICHIGAN 11 41-28
       
Thursday, November 20      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Miami-Fl GEORGIA TECH 0 21-21 to ot
       
Friday, November 21      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
BOWLING GREEN Buffalo 4 35-31
TOLEDO Miami-OH 3 27-24
SAN JOSE STATE Fresno State 0 28-28 to ot
       
Saturday, November 15      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
OHIO STATE Michigan 30 33-3
NORTH CAROLINA North Carolina St. 12 35-23
West Virginia LOUISVILLE 13 27-14
RUTGERS Army 29 32-3
Clemson VIRGINIA 5 22-17
PURDUE Indiana 16 35-19
VANDERBILT Tennessee 8 17-9
TEMPLE Eastern Michigan 15 27-12
MEMPHIS Central Florida 2 21-19
Colorado State WYOMING 1 21-20
NOTRE DAME Syracuse 20 30-10
MISSISSIPPI STATE Arkansas 4 24-20
TULSA Tulane 29 49-20
Washington WASHINGTON STATE 11 31-20
Florida Atlantic ARKANSAS STATE 3 31-28
PENN STATE Michigan State 20 34-14
T C U Air Force 22 28-6
L S U Ole Miss 2 28-26
Boston College WAKE FOREST 3 17-14
CALIFORNIA Stanford 7 28-21
Illinois NORTHWESTERN 3 27-24
Akron OHIO U 3 21-18
RICE Marshall 4 31-27
HOUSTON U t e p 13 37-24
MIDDLE TENNESSEE North Texas 22 42-20
KANSAS STATE Iowa State 11 42-31
Louisiana Tech NEW MEXICO STATE 11 28-17
Boise State NEVADA 11 42-31
VIRGINIA TECH Duke 18 35-17
UTAH B y u 11 31-20
CINCINNATI Pittsburgh 6 23-17
East Carolina U A B 13 30-17
Oregon State ARIZONA 4 35-31
Iowa MINNESOTA 9 30-21
FLORIDA INT’L La-Monroe 4 28-24
TROY La-Lafayette 11 42-31
MARYLAND Florida State 0 24-24 to ot
OKLAHOMA Texas Tech 3 45-42
U n l v SAN DIEGO STATE 18 32-14
HAWAII Idaho 18 38-20
       
Sunday, November 23      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
SOUTH FLORIDA Connecticut 3 27-24

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site  
Tuesday, November 18    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Northern Illinois KENT STATE 28-23
     
Wednesday, November 19    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Ball State CENTRAL MICHIGAN 30-24
     
Thursday, November 20    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
GEORGIA TECH Miami-Fl 19-17
     
Friday, November 21    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Bowling Green BUFFALO 28-26
TOLEDO Miami-OH 27-21
SAN JOSE STATE Fresno State 28-28 to ot
     
Saturday, November 15    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
OHIO STATE Michigan 31-7
NORTH CAROLINA North Carolina St. 34-17
West Virginia LOUISVILLE 27-21
RUTGERS Army 35-16
VIRGINIA Clemson 21-21 to ot
PURDUE Indiana 34-24
VANDERBILT Tennessee 20-10
TEMPLE Eastern Michigan 28-16
MEMPHIS Central Florida 34-28
Colorado State WYOMING 20-17
NOTRE DAME Syracuse 35-16
Arkansas  MISSISSIPPI STATE 20-17
TULSA Tulane 47-21
Washington WASHINGTON STATE 35-34
ARKANSAS STATE Florida Atlantic 30-28
PENN STATE Michigan State 28-13
T C U Air Force 27-12
L S U Ole Miss 34-28
WAKE FOREST Boston College 24-24 to ot
CALIFORNIA Stanford 35-24
NORTHWESTERN Illinois 28-23
Akron OHIO U 34-28
RICE Marshall 42-31
HOUSTON U t e p 45-34
MIDDLE TENNESSEE North Texas 42-24
KANSAS STATE Iowa State 40-28
Louisiana Tech NEW MEXICO STATE 36-30
Boise State NEVADA 28-17
VIRGINIA TECH Duke 24-12
UTAH B y u 30-21
CINCINNATI Pittsburgh 28-24
East Carolina U A B 34-24
Oregon State ARIZONA 35-34
Iowa MINNESOTA 27-24
FLORIDA INT’L La-Monroe 34-24
TROY La-Lafayette 31-23
MARYLAND Florida State 24-23
OKLAHOMA Texas Tech 41-38
U n l v SAN DIEGO STATE 27-14
HAWAII Idaho 42-21
     
Sunday, November 23    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Connecticut SOUTH FLORIDA 20-19

 

 

Bowl Outlook by Conference

 

This week may be the most decisive week in the season in deciding which teams will go to bowls and which teams will stay home.  Every conference has at least one key game, and most have multiple key games.

 

Due to the mediocrity of the ACC and Big East this year, these two leagues may benefit from having a bunch of 6-6 & 7-5 teams.  They may take as many as three of the at-large bowl bids, especially if the Sunbelt fails to produce a second seven-win team.

 

Teams in all CAPS have already accepted invitations to that bowl.

 

ACC

Both divisions are still very much up for grabs.  In the Atlantic Division, Maryland leads today, but Boston College, Wake Forest, and Florida State can still win the division.  The Terps can eliminate the Seminoles with a win this week in College Park, but they must still play at BC.  Wake Forest hosts BC this week, and a win over the Eagles could give them a piece of the title.  However, Maryland holds a tiebreaker edge over Wake if they finish in a two-way tie. 

 

In the Coastal Division, Miami has the lead, but the Hurricanes finish with two tough road games against Georgia Tech and a much-improved North Carolina State.  Miami must finish ahead of North Carolina, for the Tar Heels hold the tie-breaker edge.  Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and even Virginia still could win the title, but there are too many possibilities to mention.

 

Virginia plays Clemson this week, and the winner will be bowl eligible.  The loser could still get in with a win in their season finale.

 

1. Orange Bowl-Miami 10-3 vs. Cincinnati

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

3. Gator-Virginia Tech 8-4 vs. Missouri

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

5. Music City-Boston College 8-4 vs. Ole Miss

6. Meineke Car Care-Wake Forest 7-5 vs. Connecticut

7. Eagle Bank-Georgia Tech 7-5 vs. NAVY

8. Emerald-Florida State 7-5 vs. Oregon State

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

10. Texas (at-large)-Virginia 6-6 vs. Memphis

 

Big East

Cincinnati held onto the lead by winning at Louisville.  The Bearcats face Pittsburgh this week, and the winner will be in first place.  West Virginia plays at Louisville, and the Mountaineers can move into a first place tie if they win and Pitt beats Cincinnati.  Rutgers and Connecticut still have outside chances to win the league.

 

Louisville and Rutgers still need one win to gain bowl eligibility.  In the other part of the equation, Notre Dame can steal either a Gator or Sun Bowl berth that would go to this conference should the Irish get to seven wins.  They are 6-4 with a home game against lowly Syracuse this week.  The Orangemen just fired Coach Greg Robinson, so they may be motivated to play a big game.  Notre Dame’s other game is against Southern Cal.  I think the Irish will finish 7-5, and the Sun Bowl will take them.

 

1. Orange-Cincinnati 10-3 vs. Miami-Fl

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

3. St. Petersburg-Pittsburgh 8-4 vs. East Carolina

4. Meineke Car Care-Connecticut 8-4 vs. Wake Forest

5. International-West Virginia 7-5 vs. Central Michigan

6. Papa John’s-South Florida 7-5 vs. Buffalo

7. Motor City (at-large)-Rutgers 7-5 vs. Ball State

8. Independence (at-large)-Louisville 6-6 vs. Bowling Green

 

Big Ten

Penn State is in the Rose Bowl if they defeat Michigan State.  If the Spartans win, then Ohio State is in with a win over Michigan.  If both Michigan teams win, then Michigan State is in the Rose Bowl.  I’m going with the Nittany Lions to win and close the other loopholes.

 

Ohio State will more than likely secure an at-large BCS bowl with a win over Michigan.  At 10-2, they would trump a second undefeated team from a non-BCS conference.  Money is all that matters in these bowls, and the Fiesta or Sugar Bowl would take the Buckeyes before considering a 12-0 Boise State or a 13-0 Ball State.

 

Illinois is still one win shy of gaining a bowl bid, and they must beat Northwestern this week.  If the Wildcats win, as I believe will happen, then the Motor City Bowl will need to search for an at-large team. 

 

I believe an excellent opportunity will present itself should Illinois lose and Ball State and Boise State both run the table.  The Motor City Bowl could strike a deal with the Humanitarian Bowl so that Boise State could be freed up to play Ball State in a battle of the unbeatens.

 

1. Rose-Penn State 11-1 vs. Southern Cal

2. Fiesta-Ohio State 10-2 vs. Oklahoma

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

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

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

6. Alamo-Iowa 7-5 vs. Nebraska

7. Insight-Wisconsin 7-5 vs. Kansas

8. Motor City-No Team Available

 

Big 12

This is where all the big action takes place.  Texas Tech ventures to Norman to take on Oklahoma this week, and I’m going with OU to win.  If the Sooners then win at Oklahoma State the following week, then the Big 12 South will end in a three-way tie between Tech, OU, and Texas (assuming Texas beats A&M).  The tiebreaker for the Big 12 uses highest BCS ranking, and Texas is currently ahead of Oklahoma.  Would OU jump UT if they beat Tech and Oklahoma State?  I think it’s possible, but not probable.  So, in a three-way tie, I’m guessing Texas would be the lucky team.

 

In the North, Missouri has already secured a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.  The Tigers have already played Texas, and the Longhorns whipped them.  A rematch would be much closer in my opinion, and the Tigers would have close to a 50-50 chance of winning this time around.  Should the eventual South Division champion lose to Missouri, then it will give Southern Cal a chance to move up to the BCS Championship game.  A USC-Florida game would be the best possible title fight.

 

With Kansas State losing last week, this league is now guaranteed to come up short in its bowl obligations.  In fact, it will be two teams short.  That’s too bad for the Independence Bowl, because I believe it will have to search for two at-large teams. 

 

1. BCS National Championship-Texas 12-1 vs. Florida

2. Fiesta-Oklahoma 11-1 vs. Ohio State

3. Cotton-Texas Tech 11-1 vs. LSU

4. Gator-Missouri 10-3 vs. Virginia Tech

5. Holiday-Oklahoma State 9-3 vs. California

6. Alamo-Nebraska 7-5 vs. Iowa

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Wisconsin

8. Independence-No Qualifying Team

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

As I expected last week, Houston beat Tulsa to forge a three-way tie at the top of the West Division.  Rice is the third of the trio, and the Owls still host Houston.  Tulsa still has a tough road game at Marshall.  So, any one of these three could end up in the C-USA Championship Game.

 

In the East, East Carolina is going to limp home with the title, but the Pirates are playing a good 10 to 13 points weaker in November than they did in September.  The only way Memphis or Marshall could supplant ECU is if the Pirates lose at UAB and at home to Marshall in the final game.  Look for ECU to beat UAB and clinch the division this week.

 

The good news for this conference is there will be enough bowl eligible teams to fill the six bowl allotments, and if UTEP can win one more game, there could be an extra bowl eligible team.  The Miners have a lot of digging to do, as they close at Houston and at ECU.  Southern Mississippi will become bowl eligible when they beat SMU in two weeks. 

 

1. Liberty-Houston 9-4 vs. Vanderbilt

2. St. Petersburg-East Carolina 8-5 vs. Pittsburgh

3. G M A C-Rice 8-4 vs. Western Michigan

4. Armed Forces-Tulsa 10-2 vs. U N L V

5. Texas-Memphis 7-5 vs. Virginia

6. New Orleans-Southern Miss. 6-6 vs. Troy

 

Independent

Navy is the only team that definitely knows what bowl it will be playing in this year.  The Midshipmen have already accepted a bid to the first Eagle Bank Bowl.  If Georgia Tech is the ACC representative, it will pit Paul Johnson against his former team in a triple option challenge.

 

Notre Dame will earn a bowl bid with a win over Syracuse this week.  The Gator Bowl could take them in lieu of a really good Big 12 team, but the Sun Bowl is a more likely destination.

 

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

2. Eagle Bank-NAVY 7-5 vs. Georgia Tech

 

M A C

Other than the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game this week, the next most important match could be the one in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, Wednesday night.  Central Michigan hosts Ball State, and this game should be must-watch TV.  If Ball State wins this road game, then the Cardinals will be in the cat-bird seat at undefeated stadium.  They still would have to beat a tough Western Michigan team in Muncie plus the Eastern champion in the MAC title game, but CMU is the real tough assignment.  Central Michigan and Western Michigan have earned bowl bids, and they will go somewhere.

 

In the East, Bowling Green hosts Buffalo Friday night, and the winner of that game is the division champ.  The loser should still finish with seven wins, and that will be enough to get them an at-large invitation to another bowl.

 

Northern Illinois may have played themselves out of bowl competition.  The Huskies are 5-5 and must beat both Kent State and Navy to get to a bowl.  I think they will fall one game short.

 

1. Motor City-Ball State 13-0 vs. Rutgers

2. International-Central Michigan 9-3 vs. West Virginia

3. G M A C-Western Michigan 9-3 vs. Rice

4. Papa John’s (at-large)-Buffalo 7-5 vs. South Florida

5. Independence (at-large)-Bowling Green 7-6 vs. Louisville

 

Mountain West

If Utah beats BYU this week, then the Utes are going to the Sugar Bowl.  The Sugar Bowl would get the last pick of available BCS teams, and Utah will qualify with a win over the Cougars.  Should BYU upset their in-state rival, then Utah will drop out of the BCS picture and open up a spot for Boise State or possibly Ball State should the Broncos also lose.

 

UNLV and Colorado State both need one more win to gain bowl eligibility.  If Utah wins, then there will be room for both the Rebels and the Rams in the bowl picture.  UNLV must defeat San Diego State, and this appears to be almost a certainty.  CSU plays at Wyoming in a big rivalry game, and their task is much more difficult.

 

1. Sugar-Utah 12-0 vs. Alabama

2. Las Vegas-TCU 10-2 vs. Oregon

3. Poinsettia-BYU 10-2 vs. San Jose State

4. New Mexico-Air Force 8-4 vs. Louisiana Tech

5. Armed Forces-UNLV 6-6 vs. Tulsa

6. Hawaii (at-large)-Colorado State 6-6 vs. Hawaii

 

Pac-10

All eyes are in Tucson this week.  Should Oregon State win on the road at Arizona, the Beavers are a home win over Oregon away from being the Pac-10 Champions and Rose Bowl representative.  If Arizona wins or Oregon upsets the Beavers in the season-ender, then Southern Cal will win the Pac-10.

 

Stanford, UCLA and Arizona State are still mathematically alive in the bowl picture.  UCLA would have to win at Arizona State and then upset USC.  It won’t happen.  Arizona State would have to beat UCLA and Arizona; it could happen, but chances are they won’t win both games.  Stanford must defeat Cal this week, but the Bears have about a 60-65% chance of winning.  Thus, the Pac-10 could miss out on their allotments by two teams.

 

 

1. Rose-Southern Cal 11-1 vs. Penn State

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

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

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

5. Emerald-Oregon State 8-4 vs. Florida State

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

This conference has the definite top team in the land, and it isn’t number one Alabama.  Florida may be as dominant today as Nebraska was in 1995 and 1997.  The Gators could score 100 points this week against Citadel if Urban Meyer allowed them to do so.  They will pummel Florida State the following week, and then they should handle Alabama by more than 10 points in the SEC Championship Game.  If they lose another game this year it will be a bigger story than the Presidential election!

 

Alabama will clinch a BCS bowl game with a win over hapless Auburn next week.  That game will also eliminate the Tigers and could conceivably cost Tommy Turbeville his job (which would be ridiculous).

 

Vanderbilt clinched a bowl with their win over Kentucky in Lexington Saturday.  The Commodores now have two very winnable games remaining against Tennessee and Wake Forest.  Should they finish 8-4, they will deserve the Outback Bowl bid, but I’m guessing they would get snubbed if South Carolina beats Clemson in their final game.  However, a Vandy-Northwestern game would stir a lot of interest with the similarities between the two academic institutes of much higher learning.

 

Ole Miss also became bowl eligible Saturday, and the Rebels could move up to the Cotton Bowl if they could beat a battered LSU team in the Tiger’s Den this week.

 

Arkansas still has a remote shot at getting to a bowl.  The Razorbacks would have to win at Mississippi State and against LSU the following week.  For now, I’m calling for them to lose one of those games, so the SEC will fall two teams short in its obligations.

 

1. National Championship-Florida 12-1 vs. Texas

2. Sugar-Alabama 12-1 vs. Utah

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

4. Outback-South Carolina 7-5 vs. Northwestern

5. Cotton-L S U 9-3 vs. Texas Tech

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

7. Music City-Ole Miss 7-5 vs. Miami

8. Liberty-Vanderbilt 8-4 vs. Houston

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

The New Orleans Bowl should be decided this week when Troy hosts Louisiana-Lafayette.  If ULL wins and then loses at home to Middle Tennessee in two weeks, Florida Atlantic could claim the title with wins at Arkansas State and against Florida International.  Both ASU and FIU could get into the championship picture if Troy, ULL, and FAU all lose.  For now, let’s just go with Troy to beat ULL and end all the commotion.

 

If Troy wins this week, there is a good chance that the other teams will beat each other up and leave three teams at 6-6.  If a second team does get to seven wins, then they will be assured of an at-large bid to either the Papa John’s or Independence Bowl.

 

1. New Orleans-Troy 8-4 vs. Southern Miss.

 

W A C

I have a sneaky suspicion that Boise State could find itself in a heap of trouble this week.  The Broncos travel to Reno to take on Nevada.  The Wolf Pack took Boise to four overtimes last year at the blue field before losing 69-67.  I think Nevada could be waiting to ambush the undefeated Broncos.  Boise will be lucky to escape with a win of any type.

 

Louisiana Tech has emerged as the second best team in the WAC.  Second year coach Derek Dooley is the son of former Georgia great Vince Dooley, and he could be on the verge of seeing his name on the rolodexes of several athletics directors at BCS schools.  If the Bulldogs win at New Mexico State this week, they will lock up a bowl bid.

 

Fresno State and San Jose State are both on the skids.  The two play Friday night at Spartan Stadium, and the winner will be virtually assured of grabbing a bowl.  The loser won’t be eliminated, but their road will be quite rough.

 

Hawaii is 5-5 with three games to go.  They should beat Idaho this week, and Washington State the following week to earn a bid to the Hawaii Bowl.

 

1. Humanitarian-Boise State 12-0 vs. Clemson

(Boise State could swap with Rutgers and face a 13-0 Ball State team if a deal could be made).

2. New Mexico-Louisiana Tech 8-4 vs. Air Force

3. Hawaii-Hawaii 7-6 vs. Colorado State

4. Poinsettia (at-large)-San Jose State 7-5 vs. B Y U

 

November 11, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football: Week Of November 11-15, 2008

NCAA Week 12: BCS Could Be On Verge Of Getting Quite Muddled

 

Bye Bye Penn State.  Alabama just barely survived in the Bayou.  Florida and Southern Cal showed they are the two best teams in the nation, but it’s going to take a few more losses at the top before that match-up has any chance of ever occurring.

 

Last week’s games really threw a monkey wrench into the lower bowls.  There is a good chance now that at least six bowls will have to look for at-large teams because the conferences that have agreements with these bowls will not have enough bowl eligible teams.  Read below in my bowl section to see the ensuing problems.

 

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

 

NCAA Top 25 For 11-Nov-2008
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Florida  135 8 1
2 Southern Cal 132 8 1
3 Texas Tech 127 10 0
4 Oklahoma 127 9 1
5 Texas 126 9 1
6 Ohio St. 126 8 2
7 Penn St. 124 9 1
8 Missouri 121 8 2
9 Alabama 120 10 0
10 Georgia  120 8 2
11 Oklahoma St. 117 8 2
12 T C U 117 9 2
13 Boise State 116 9 0
14 Oregon State 116 6 3
15 South Carolina 115 7 3
16 Utah 114 10 0
17 Ball State 114 9 0
18 Oregon 114 7 3
19 California 114 6 3
20 L S U 113 6 3
21 Iowa 112 6 4
22 Arizona 112 6 3
23 West Virginia 112 6 3
24 Cincinnati 111 7 2
25 Florida State 111 7 2
         
Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida State 4-2 7-2 111 70 41
Clemson 2-4 4-5 107 65 42
Boston College 2-3 6-3 105 64 41
Maryland 3-2 6-3 104 64 40
Wake Forest 4-2 6-3 103 56 47
North Carolina State 1-4 3-6 98 66 32
           
Coastal Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
North Carolina 3-2 7-2 110 69 41
Virginia Tech 3-2 6-3 108 67 41
Miami 3-2 6-3 104 61 43
Georgia Tech 4-3 7-3 102 62 40
Virginia  3-3 5-5 101 59 42
Duke 1-4 4-5 94 61 33

 

Big East Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
West Virginia 3-1 6-3 112 67 45
Cincinnati 3-1 7-2 111 65 46
South Florida 1-3 6-3 109 69 40
Rutgers 3-2 4-5 108 65 43
Pittsburgh 3-1 7-2 108 65 43
Connecticut 2-2 6-3 103 64 39
Louisville 1-3 5-4 96 59 37
Syracuse 1-4 2-7 88 55 33

 

Big Ten
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Ohio State 5-1 8-2 126 70 56
Penn State 5-1 9-1 124 75 49
Iowa 3-3 6-4 112 70 42
Wisconsin 2-5 5-5 110 71 39
Michigan State 6-1 9-2 106 64 42
Illinois 3-3 5-5 106 67 39
Michigan 2-4 3-7 100 60 40
Northwestern 3-3 7-3 99 62 37
Minnesota 3-3 7-3 97 61 36
Purdue 1-5 3-7 97 63 34
Indiana 1-5 3-7 85 57 28

 

Big 12
North Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Missouri 4-2 8-2 121 75 46
Kansas 3-3 6-4 108 67 41
Nebraska 3-3 6-4 106 68 38
Kansas State 1-5 4-6 97 68 29
Colorado 2-4 5-5 93 56 37
Iowa State 0-6 2-8 85 57 28
South Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Texas Tech 6-0 10-0 127 86 41
Oklahoma 5-1 9-1 127 86 41
Texas 5-1 9-1 126 81 45
Oklahoma State 4-2 8-2 117 71 46
Baylor 1-5 3-7 102 65 37
Texas A&M 2-4 4-6 92 57 35

 

Conference USA
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
East Carolina 4-1 6-3 97 62 35
Southern Miss. 2-4 4-6 95 64 31
Marshall 3-2 4-5 94 59 35
Memphis 3-3 5-5 90 60 30
Central Florida 1-4 2-7 87 48 39
U A B 1-4 2-7 79 51 28
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Tulsa 5-0 8-1 106 72 34
Houston 4-1 5-4 95 63 32
Rice 5-1 7-3 91 62 29
U T E P 3-2 4-5 87 59 28
S M U 0-6 1-9 81 59 22
Tulane 1-4 2-7 79 53 26

 

Independents
           
Team   Overall Rating Off Def
Notre Dame   5-4 103 61 42
Navy   6-3 97 60 37
Army   3-7 86 49 37

 

Mid American Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Bowling Green 3-3 5-5 99 66 33
Buffalo 3-2 5-4 98 65 33
Temple 2-3 3-6 96 56 40
Akron 3-2 5-4 93 62 31
Kent State 1-4 2-7 89 58 31
Ohio U 1-5 2-8 87 48 39
Miami (O) 1-4 2-7 86 57 29
           
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Ball State 5-0 9-0 114 74 40
Western Michigan 5-1 8-2 102 64 38
Central Michigan 5-0 7-2 98 66 32
Northern Illinois 4-2 5-4 98 60 38
Toledo 1-4 2-7 86 56 30
Eastern Michigan 1-5 2-8 83 52 31

 

Mountain West Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
T C U 6-1 9-2 117 66 51
Utah 6-0 10-0 114 68 46
Brigham Young 5-1 9-1 106 66 40
Air Force 5-1 8-2 99 60 39
New Mexico 2-5 4-7 96 59 37
UNLV 1-5 4-6 90 59 31
Colorado State 2-4 4-6 89 58 31
Wyoming 1-5 4-6 88 53 35
San Diego State 0-6 1-9 72 47 25

 

Pac-10 Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Southern Cal 6-1 8-1 132 73 59
Oregon State 5-1 6-3 116 74 42
Oregon 5-2 7-3 114 71 43
California 4-2 6-3 114 72 42
Arizona 4-2 6-3 112 73 39
Stanford 4-3 5-5 108 65 43
Arizona State 2-4 3-6 105 64 41
U C L A 2-4 3-6 98 56 42
Washington 0-6 0-9 87 57 30
Washington State 0-7 1-9 71 48 23

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida  6-1 8-1 135 84 51
Georgia  5-2 8-2 120 74 46
South Carolina 4-3 7-3 115 67 48
Kentucky 2-4 6-4 106 63 43
Vanderbilt 3-3 5-4 104 58 46
Tennessee 1-5 3-7 101 59 42
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Alabama 6-0 10-0 120 68 52
L S U 3-3 6-3 113 71 42
Ole Miss 3-3 5-4 110 67 43
Auburn 2-4 5-5 105 58 47
Mississippi State 1-4 3-6 102 57 45
Arkansas 1-5 4-6 101 67 34

 

Sunbelt Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Troy 4-1 6-3 97 64 33
Louisiana-Lafayette 4-0 5-4 93 67 26
Florida Atlantic 2-2 4-5 93 62 31
Arkansas State 2-2 4-5 89 59 30
Middle Tennessee 2-3 3-6 88 56 32
Louisiana-Monroe 2-4 3-7 88 57 31
Florida International 3-2 4-5 86 56 30
* Western Kentucky 0-0 2-8 83 52 31
North Texas 0-5 1-9 70 54 16
           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009      
Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008    

 

Western Athletic Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Boise State 5-0 9-0 116 72 44
Fresno State 2-3 5-4 92 64 28
Nevada 3-2 5-4 99 71 28
San Jose State 4-2 6-4 89 54 35
Louisiana Tech 3-2 5-4 96 56 40
Hawaii 4-3 5-5 90 54 36
Utah State 2-4 2-8 87 54 33
New Mexico State 1-4 3-6 77 50 27
Idaho 1-5 2-8 75 58 17

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site    
       
Tuesday, November 11      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Ball State MIAMI (O) 25 45-20
       
Wednesday, November 12      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Temple KENT STATE 4 24-20
NORTHERN ILLINOIS Central Michigan 3 30-27
       
Thursday, November 13      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Buffalo AKRON 2 33-31
Va. Tech MIAMI-FL 1 22-21
UNLV Wyoming 5 26-21
       
Friday, November 14      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Cincinnati LOUISVILLE 12 26-14
       
Saturday, November 15      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
PENN STATE Indiana 42 49-7
Ohio State ILLINOIS 17 30-13
SOUTH FLORIDA Rutgers 4 27-23
MICHIGAN Northwestern 4 24-20
CLEMSON Duke 16 33-17
Notre Dame NAVY           (Baltimore) 4 24-20
IOWA Purdue 18 38-20
Texas KANSAS 15 40-25
Georgia AUBURN 12 24-12
Middle Tennessee WESTERN KENTUCKY 2 23-21
New Mexico COLORADO STATE 4 27-23
OLE MISS Louisiana-Monroe 25 38-13
WESTERN MICHIGAN Toledo 19 35-16
LOUISIANA TECH Utah State 12 24-12
SOUTHERN MISS. East Carolina 1 31-30
TULANE U a b 3 27-24
FLORIDA South Carolina 23 37-14
North Carolina MARYLAND 3 27-24
B y u AIR FORCE 4 27-23
Wake Forest N.C. STATE 2 22-20
OREGON STATE California 5 33-28
WISCONSIN Minnesota 16 37-21
OREGON  Arizona 5 34-29
Nebraska KANSAS STATE 6 37-31
FLORIDA ATLANTIC Louisiana-Lafayette 3 38-35
BAYLOR Texas A&M 13 31-18
NEVADA San Jose State 13 37-24
MARSHALL Central Florida 10 20-10
Boise State IDAHO 38 52-14
FRESNO STATE New Mexico State 18 38-20
ARIZONA STATE Washington State 37 44-7
Missouri IOWA STATE 33 45-12
Southern Cal STANFORD 21 28-7
Connecticut SYRACUSE 12 28-16
ALABAMA Mississippi State 22 35-13
Utah SAN DIEGO STATE 39 42-3
Oklahoma State COLORADO 21 34-13
FLORIDA STATE Boston College 9 30-21
L S U Troy 19 38-19
Tulsa HOUSTON 8 38-30
KENTUCKY Vanderbilt 5 17-12
U T E P S m u 9 37-28
U c l a WASHINGTON  8 25-17

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site  
Tuesday, November 11    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Ball State MIAMI (O) 37-14
     
Wednesday, November 12    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Temple KENT STATE 28-23
NORTHERN ILLINOIS Central Michigan 24-23
     
Thursday, November 13    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
AKRON Buffalo 28-27
MIAMI-FL Virginia Tech 24-20
UNLV Wyoming 28-20
     
Friday, November 14    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Cincinnati LOUISVILLE 24-17
     
Saturday, November 15    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
PENN STATE Indiana 41-7
Ohio State ILLINOIS 23-14
SOUTH FLORIDA Rutgers 27-19
Northwestern MICHIGAN 31-26
CLEMSON Duke 28-23
NAVY Notre Dame 27-26
IOWA Purdue 28-13
Texas KANSAS 40-27
Georgia AUBURN 20-10
Middle Tennessee WESTERN KENTUCKY 16-14
New Mexico COLORADO STATE 24-23
OLE MISS Louisiana-Monroe 38-14
WESTERN MICHIGAN Toledo 35-19
LOUISIANA TECH Utah State 31-21
East Carolina SOUTHERN MISS. 24-24 to ot
TULANE U a b 30-24
FLORIDA South Carolina 41-21
North Carolina MARYLAND 21-16
B y u AIR FORCE 27-27 to ot
Wake Forest N.C. STATE 24-16
OREGON STATE California 31-27
WISCONSIN Minnesota 38-33
OREGON  Arizona 30-26
KANSAS STATE Nebraska 37-31
FLORIDA ATLANTIC Louisiana-Lafayette 24-23
BAYLOR Texas A&M  34-28
NEVADA San Jose State 31-23
MARSHALL Central Florida 21-13
Boise State IDAHO 44-10
FRESNO STATE New Mexico State 40-27
ARIZONA STATE Washington State 45-21
Missouri IOWA STATE 40-14
Southern Cal STANFORD 23-3
Connecticut SYRACUSE 28-16
ALABAMA Mississippi State 35-7
Utah SAN DIEGO STATE 35-3
Oklahoma State COLORADO 38-23
FLORIDA STATE Boston College 28-20
L S U Troy 31-17
Tulsa HOUSTON 42-35
KENTUCKY Vanderbilt 14-10
U T E P S m u 40-27
U c l a WASHINGTON  26-21

 

 

Bowl Outlook by Conference

 

As I mentioned above, this is becoming a mess.  Let’s take a look at the possible problems facing the bowls that must rely on conferences to produce seven to nine bowl eligible teams.  A half-dozen bowls and maybe more could be forced to find at-large teams.

 

Teams in all CAPS have already accepted invitations to that bowl.

 

ACC

North Carolina State, Virginia, Clemson, and Duke are on the verge of elimination, and I believe three of the four will fail to get to six wins.  The ACC has nine tie-ins, and it looks like they will just barely have nine bowl-eligible schools.  The Clemson-Virginia game at Charlottesville on November 22 will be a bowl elimination game.

 

1. Orange Bowl-North Carolina 11-2 vs. Cincinnati

2. Chick-fil-a-Virginia Tech 8-4 vs. Kentucky

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

4. Champs Sports-Wake Forest 9-4 vs. Northwestern

5. Music City-Miami 8-4 vs. Ole Miss

6. Meineke Car Care-Georgia Tech 8-4 vs. West Virginia

7. Eagle Bank-Maryland 7-5 vs. NAVY

8. Emerald-Boston College 7-5 vs. Arizona

9. Humanitarian-Virginia 6-6 vs. San Jose State

 

Big East

Another week, another leader in the pack for the Big East-Cincinnati is the new team on top.  The Bearcats won at West Virginia, and wins over Louisville this Friday and Pittsburgh the following week will sew up the Big East title.  They could lose either or both games, but for now, I have them penciled in as the champion.

 

With Notre Dame’s consecutive losses and almost assured to lose to Southern Cal, I have removed the Irish from the Big East equation.  However, they will certainly grab an at-large bid from the first bowl that loses a tie-in.

 

I have Rutgers as the sole 6-6 team getting an at-large bowl bid.  Should someone like Temple or Akron finish 7-5, they will take the at-large bid away.

 

1. Orange-Cincinnati 10-3 vs. North Carolina

2. Sun-Pittsburgh 9-3 vs. Oregon State

3. St. Petersburg-South Florida 8-4 vs. East Carolina

4. Meineke Car Care-West Virginia 7-5 vs. Georgia Tech

5. International-Connecticut 7-5 vs. Central Michigan

6. Papa John’s-Louisville 6-6 vs. Florida Atlantic

7. Hawaii (at-large)-Rutgers 6-6

 

Big Ten

Penn State’s loss has virtually relegated the Nittany Lions to the Rose Bowl.  Should Michigan State beat them, then Ohio State can back into Pasadena for a possible rematch with Southern Cal.  Illinois lost to Western Michigan, and now the Illini must beat either Ohio State or Northwestern to gain eligibility.  For now, I have them out of the bowl picture, and that means the Big 10 will likely fall one team short of its obligations.  That means the Motor City Bowl will need to search for a substitute.  Notre Dame would fit in perfectly here, but if Ball State runs the table and finishes 13-0, it could present a special situation for the Motor City Bowl to make a deal with the WAC and take a 12-0 Boise State team for a dream match.

 

Minnesota’s loss to Michigan opens the door for another team to sneak into a New Year’s Bowl, but for now I have the Gophers still there.

 

1. Rose-Penn State 11-1 vs. Southern Cal

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

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

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

5. Champs Sports-Northwestern 8-4 vs. Wake Forest

6. Alamo-Iowa 7-5 vs. Nebraska

7. Insight-Wisconsin 7-5 vs. Kansas

8. Motor City-No Team Available

 

Big 12

Texas Tech looked like a championship team against Oklahoma State, but I think they will find it difficult to win at Oklahoma.  If the Sooners beat the Red Raiders, they will then have to beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater in order to finish in a three-way tie in the Big 12 South.  If they win both games, they should finish with the highest BCS rating among the trio and acquire the bid to the Big 12 Championship Game.  I have them doing just that.  Now, here is where I think the evils of money will win out over what is just.  At 11-1, Texas Tech would deserve an at-large BCS Bowl bid over 11-1 Texas, but I am sure greed would win out.  Texas would get that bid.

 

Colorado and Kansas State still have much work to do to gain bowl eligibility.  I think the Buffaloes will miss out, and it could mean big trouble for Coach Dan Hawkins in Boulder.  Kansas State has a decent chance to upset Nebraska and knock off Iowa State to sneak in at 6-6.  If they lose to the Cornhuskers, then the Big 12 will fall two teams short in their allotments.

 

1. BCS National Championship-Oklahoma 12-1 vs. Florida

2. Fiesta-Texas 11-1 vs. Ohio State

3. Cotton-Texas Tech 11-1 vs. LSU

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

5. Holiday-Oklahoma State 9-3 vs. California

6. Alamo-Nebraska 7-5 vs. Iowa

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Wisconsin

8. Independence-Kansas State 6-6 vs. Louisiana Tech

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

This is a big week in the C-USA, as both divisions have key showdowns that will go a long way in determining their representatives in the conference title game.  Houston hosts Tulsa, and should the Cougars win, the West Division will be tied three ways between these two and Rice.  Houston concludes the season at Rice.  Tulsa holds the tiebreaker over Rice, and Houston would hold the tiebreaker over Tulsa if they beat the Golden Hurricane.

 

In the East, East Carolina visits Southern Mississippi.  If the Pirates win, they are in the title game.  Marshall still has an outside chance to win this division, but I believe the Thundering Herd will lose at least two more games and fail to gain bowl eligibility. 

 

After a start that looked like it would cost Tommy West his job, his Memphis team is the hottest squad in the East Division.  I look for the Tigers to win out and earn their fifth bowl game in six years.

 

Southern Mississippi must defeat ECU and SMU to get to six wins; for now, I have them doing that, but it is quite a tenuous supposition.  Chances are about 60% that the New Orleans Bowl will have to find an at-large team.

 

1. Liberty-Tulsa 11-2 vs. Vanderbilt

2. St. Petersburg-East Carolina 8-5 vs. South Florida

3. G M A C-Rice 9-3 vs. Western Michigan

4. Armed Forces-Houston 7-5 vs. U N L V

5. Texas-Memphis 7-5 vs. Buffalo

6. New Orleans-Southern Miss. 6-6 vs. Troy

 

Independent

The one sure thing is that Navy is headed to the first Eagle Bank Bowl in Washington, D.C.  Notre Dame should be bowl eligible, and at 7-5 they will definitely be invited to fill an at-large spot.  They could still steal the Sun Bowl bid from the Big East, but I believe there will be more deserving teams to go to El Paso.

 

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

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

 

M A C

Here is where the bowl situation becomes a bloody mess.  Let’s start with the possibility that Ball State could finish 13-0 and in the top 15 and not qualify for an at-large BCS Bowl.  At 13-0, it would be terrible for the Cardinals to face a 6-6 Big 10 team or some at-large team that barely qualified at 7-5.  I believe an excellent situation would be available if both Boise State and Ball State finished undefeated.  A deal could be struck for the two teams to play, leaving a western bowl with two more evenly-matched teams.  Should Utah lose to BYU, then Ball State would still need a Boise State loss to back into a possible Sugar Bowl bid.

 

Since it is silly to try to predict a back room deal, I am leaving the bowl tie-ins alone for now, but with the above caveat in place.

 

As for the rest of the league, this is getting very interesting.  The MAC finishes the season with November games on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Last week, the nation saw Ball State destroy a good Northern Illinois team.  Tonight (Tuesday), the Cardinals should blow Miami of Ohio off the field.  Three more key conference games tomorrow and Thursday could play important roles in determining bowl bids.  Akron and Buffalo hook up in the Rubber Bowl, where the winner takes a commanding lead in the East.  Temple goes to Kent State, where an Owl win puts them in position to challenge for a piece of the division title.  Northern Illinois and Central Michigan play Wednesday in Dekalb, and if the Chippewas win on the road, they may be a major obstacle for Ball State the following Wednesday.

 

1. Motor City-Ball State 13-0 vs. Notre Dame (Boise State?)

2. International-Central Michigan 9-3 vs. Connecticut

3. G M A C-Western Michigan 9-3 vs. Rice

4. Poinsettia (at-large)-Northern Illinois 7-5 vs. BYU

5. Texas (at-large)-Buffalo 7-6 vs. Memphis

 

Mountain West

Utah’s come-from-behind win over TCU has them firmly holding onto the at-large BCS Bowl bid.  A win over a weakening BYU team will clinch it.  That means, the MWC will get an extra bowl bid, and there will be an available team.  That team will be the one that finishes 6-6 from among UNLV, Wyoming, and Colorado State.  Wyoming plays the other two to finish out the season, while UNLV also plays San Diego State and Colorado State also plays New Mexico.  The Rebels have the easiest path to 6-6.

 

See the WAC for an explanation of the New Mexico.

 

1. Sugar-Utah 12-0 vs. Alabama

2. Las Vegas-TCU 10-2 vs. Oregon

3. Poinsettia-BYU 9-3 vs. Northern Illinois

4. New Mexico-Air Force 9-3 vs. Boise State (Notre Dame?)

5. Armed Forces-UNLV 6-6 vs. Houston

 

Pac-10

Oregon State still controls its own destiny in the Pac-10.  If the Beavers beat California, Arizona, and Oregon, they are in the Rose Bowl no matter what USC does in their games.  An Oregon State-Penn State rematch would not be all that exciting.  I think OSU will lose one of those final three, and USC will win out.

 

Stanford must upset either USC or Cal to gain bowl eligibility, and I don’t believe they can do that.  UCLA will most certainly not win out, so the Bruins will not get to six wins.  Arizona State has a remote chance of winning out to finish 6-6, but for now I have them finishing 5-7.  That means the Pac-10 will fall two teams shy of their bowl allotments.

 

 

1. Rose-Southern Cal 11-1 vs. Penn State

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

3. Sun-Oregon State 8-4 vs. Pittsburgh

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

5. Emerald-Arizona 8-4 vs. Boston College

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

Has there ever been a more dominant one-loss team in college football than the 2008 Florida Gators?  I can only compare them to a few past teams, mostly from six decades past.  In 1943, a 9-1 Notre Dame team easily destroyed eight of their opponents before surviving against one military all-star team and losing late to another.  Of course, the Irish were so dominant then with help of WWII.  I liken this Florida team to the 1968 UCLA Bruin basketball team.  UCLA lost by two points on the road to the best team since 1956 not coached by John Wooden.  They lost with Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) still hampered by an eye injury.  When the Bruins faced Houston in the Final Four, they led by over 40 points with eight minutes remaining before Coach Wooden emptied the bench.  Now Florida did not lose on the road at Alabama, Texas Tech, or USC.  Tim Tebow was not recovering from an injury at the time the Gators lost at home to Ole Miss.  However, this is SEC football.  Any SEC team that is headed to a bowl is by definition one of the best in the nation.  We all know the Gators would beat Ole Miss by five touchdowns in a rematch.  I think Florida today can beat any college team by two touchdowns or more, with the exception of Southern Cal, and they would beat them by 7-10 points. 

 

Alabama is still unbeaten and ranked number one.  The Tide should reach the SEC Championship Game at 12-0, but I’m willing to wager that an 11-1 Florida team will be favored by the wise guys in Las Vegas, who know who is the best team in the nation.  Penn State’s losing last week crushed the hopes of the Rose Bowl to get the Tide out to Pasadena.  If Southern Cal could move into the top spot, then a 12-1 Bama team could still make it west for the first time since January of 1946.  Fat Chance!

 

The SEC is going to fall at least two teams short in meeting their bowl obligations.  Tennessee was eliminated last week.  Auburn would have to beat either Georgia or Alabama, and that won’t happen.  Mississippi State would have to beat Alabama, Arkansas, and Ole Miss, and there’s no chance.  Arkansas might beat Mississippi State, but they won’t defeat LSU and will finish under .500.  Vanderbilt still needs one win and has Kentucky, Tennessee, and Wake Forest left.  For now, I am calling the Tennessee game a win, but I am not confident about that.  They could easily finish 5-7 after starting 5-0 and really put daggers in the hearts of their fans.

 

1. National Championship-Florida 12-1 vs. Oklahoma

2. Sugar-Alabama 12-1 vs. Utah

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

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

5. Cotton-L S U 9-3 vs. Texas Tech

6. Chick-fil-a-Kentucky 7-5 vs. Virginia Tech

7. Music City-Ole Miss 7-5 vs. Miami

8. Liberty-Vanderbilt 6-6 vs. Tulsa

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

Troy is still in command here, but the Trojans have a tough game remaining against Louisiana-Lafayette.  Troy would have gotten an extra week to prepare for this game, but their game with LSU had to be rescheduled after the September hurricane.  The ULL game is in Troy, so I still have the Trojans penciled in darkly as probable SBC champs.

 

With all the at-large possibilities, chances are quite strong that a second team will get a bowl bid.  There is even a slim chance that a third team could earn one too.

 

1. New Orleans-Troy 8-4 vs. Southern Miss.

2. Papa John’s (at-large)-Florida Atlantic 7-5 vs. Louisville

 

W A C

Boise State should finish 12-0, and they should finish in the top 10.  Unless Utah loses, the Broncos will be left out in the cold when the BCS doles out its big bowl bids.  Personally, I would love to see a Utah-Boise State Fiesta Bowl or even Cotton Bowl, but that isn’t going to happen.  What could happen is a deal for Boise State to be released from their WAC bowl alliance to face Ball State if both are unbeaten. 

 

San Jose State is the only other WAC team that has secured bowl eligibility, and there are four other teams vying for the remaining two bowls.  I believe three will get to seven wins, and one of the trio will get an at-large invitation.

 

1. New Mexico-Boise State 12-0 vs. Air Force

(Boise State could swap with Notre Dame and face a 13-0 Ball State team.  I am sure the New Mexico Bowl would gladly take Notre Dame.)

2. Humanitarian-San Jose State 7-5 vs. Virginia

3. Hawaii-Hawaii 7-6 vs. Rutgers

4. Independence (at-large)-Louisiana Tech 8-4 vs. Kansas St.

 

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