The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 22, 2017

Red, White, and Blue Ratings for Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament Games

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:33 pm

Sweet 16

Thursday, March 23
Team Team Red White Blue
Oregon Michigan -1 -1 -1
Gonzaga West Virginia 4 2 9
Kansas Purdue 4 4 1
Arizona Xavier 4 4 4

 

Friday, March 24
Team Team Red White Blue
North Carolina Butler 6 6 12
Baylor South Carolina 3 5 7
Kentucky UCLA 2 -1 1
Florida Wisconsin 5 4 -2

 

TV Schedule

Region Time (EDT) Network Team vs. Team
Thursday, March 23
Midwest 7:09 PM CBS Oregon vs. Michigan
West 7:39 PM TBS Gonzaga vs. West Virginia
Midwest 9:39 PM CBS Kansas vs. Purdue
West 10:09 PM TBS Arizona vs. Xavier
Friday, March 24
South 7:09 PM CBS North Carolina vs. Butler
East 7:29 PM TBS Baylor vs. South Carolina
South 9:39 PM CBS Kentucky vs. UCLA
East 9:59 PM TBS Florida vs. Wisconsin
           
Saturday, March 25
Midwest TBA TBA Oregon/Michigan vs. Kansas/Purdue
West TBA TBA Gonzaga/WVU vs. Arizona/Xavier
           
Sunday, March 26
South TBA TBA UNC/Butler vs. Kentucky/UCLA
East TBA TBA Baylor/S Car vs. Florida/Wisconsin

 

 

 

March 18, 2017

Red, White, and Blue Ratings for Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Games

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:02 pm

Sunday, March 18, 2017

Team Team Red White Blue
Louisville Michigan 4 3 6
Kentucky Wichita St. 1 1 8
Kansas Michigan St. 11 8 1
North Carolina Arkansas 14 10 8
Oregon Rhode Island 7 6 4
Baylor USC 17 9 8
Duke South Carolina 6 6 5
UCLA Cincinnati 1 1 -1

TV Schedule

Time (EDT) Network Team vs. Team
12:10 PM CBS Louisville vs. Michigan
2:40 PM CBS Kentucky vs. Wichita St.
5:15 PM CBS Kansas vs. Michigan St.
6:10 PM TNT North Carolina vs. Arkansas
7:10 PM TBS Oregon vs. Rhode Island
7:45 PM truTV Baylor vs. USC
8:40 PM TNT Duke vs. South Carolina
9:40 PM TBS UCLA vs. Cincinnati

Morning & Afternoon: Swallow Return to Capistrano

Spring Equinox: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 6:29 AM EDT

 

 

January 16, 2017

The Best of the Best and Where They Might Be Vulnerable

Every year about this time, a group of anywhere from a half dozen to 30 college basketball teams rank as possible national title contenders.  In some years, only a handful of teams have reasonable title aspirations.  In some years, there are no clear cut favorites, and many teams could become Cinderella’s with the perfect fit for the glass slipper.

There has been a bit of a paradigm shift in college basketball the last two seasons.  It wasn’t much of a change, but lowering the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds has done a world of good for the game.  The 14% less time per possession has led to 8-12 more possessions per game for each team.  Teams that three years ago averaged 65 possessions per game are today pushing the ball to the tune of 80 possessions per game.

Contrary to what may have been predicted, offensive efficiency has not gone down.  It has gone up, because the layup and dunk off a fast break when the attacking team has a number’s advantage has led to more points per possession.  The offensive increase has once again made college basketball as exciting as it was in its hey days of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Also contrary to belief, the increased pace has not created a new UCLA dynasty in the men’s game like U Conn has done with the women’s side.  There are more than enough quality athletes throughout the nation and the world to make 100 teams competitive enough to win an NCAA Tournament game and 25 teams strong enough to reel off six consecutive wins after March 10.

We are not saying that the following 25 teams are the best 25 in the nation.  We have taken a sampling of the top teams from power conferences, the two or three current leaders from among the leagues just shy of being a power conference, as well as a couple of teams from mid-major conferences.

Today’s first look at the contenders will concentrate on showing you how the Four Factors and some of our own PiRate Ratings criteria can isolate where a contender might be vulnerable come NCAA Tournament time.  When it comes time for the teams to have one shining moment, the game changes a little.

In the past, teams that got to the Dance by beating opponents at the foul line sometimes floundered in the tournament, because officials let the players have a little more leeway before blowing their whistles.

Additionally, some teams that went 28-4 in the regular season but did so by running opponents out of the gym or holding onto the ball in a slower-paced offense found that quality opponents like they faced in the Dance did not succumb to their methods of operation.

Likewise, some full court pressure teams that entered the Dance with large scoring margin advantages (often padded by beating poor teams by 40 points), found that quality ball-control teams did not turn the ball over and allow these teams to score in transition.  These pressing teams had little half-court offense and quickly fell to teams that turned the ball over 10 times per game.

Today, we look at 25 chosen teams to tell you where they can exploit other quality teams, and also where they are vulnerable.  As you will see in this first look, there are no teams today that are not totally vulnerable in some way.  Thus, there is no clear-cut favorite to cut down the nets in Phoenix on April 3.  In point of fact, as we see it today, there are a couple dozen quality teams capable of making the Final Four, and yet all of these teams have an Achilles’ Heel and could lose before the Sweet 16 commences.

Before we get into the meat of this report, there could be a few readers not totally familiar with the Four Factors in basketball.  It is not rocket science.  The Four Factors (applies to both offense and defense) are:

  1. Field Goal Efficiency
  2. Turnover Rate
  3. Offensive Reboundin Rate
  4. Free Throw Rate

Field Goal Efficiency: [FGM+(3ptM * 0.5)]/FGA

Where FGM is field goals made; 3ptM is three-pointers made; and FGA is field goals attempted.  If your favorite team attempted 60 shots in a game and made 28 of these shots with 8 coming as three-pointers, then their FG Efficiency is [28+(8*0.5)]/60 which equals .533 or 53.3%

The difference between the offensive FG efficiency and the defensive FG efficiency is the FG efficiency margin.  This is by far the most important contributory part to winning in basketball, which is obvious, since the object of the game is to put the ball in the basket and score points, while limiting the opponents from putting the ball in the basket.

Turnover Rate:  TOV/100 Possessions figured as:  [TOV/(FGA+(FTA*0.475)+TOV]*100 and expressed as a percentage

This is a simple metric.  All it seeks to discover is how many turnovers does a team commit for every 1oo possessions.  There is a small adjustment in what qualifies as a possession for this metric as opposed to actual possessions.  Offensive rebounds are not factored into the possession counting here, as once a team secures an offensive rebound, they have already attempted a shot without committing a turnover.  The chance for a turnover after this is limited and can skew the real rate at which a team turns the ball over or forces their opponent to turn the ball over.

If your team committed 14 turnovers in a game in which they took 60 field goal attempts and 25 free throw attempts, their turnover rate for that game was: [14/(60+(25*.475)+14]*10o which comes to: 16.3%

Offensive Rebounding Rate: [OR/(OR+ Opponents’ DR)]*100, 

Where OR is offensive rebounds and DR is defensive rebounds.

If your team had 12 offensive rebounds, and their opponent had 32 defensive rebounds, your team’s offensive rebounding rate was: [12/(12+32)] * 100 which is 27.3%

Obviously, the compliment to this is defensive rebounding rate, which is the same formula applied to the opponents’ rebounding.

Free Throw Rate: FTM/100 Possessions or (FTM/[FGA+(FTA*0.475)-OR+TOV]) *100

There is a difference of opinion on how the expert analytics gurus figure this metric.  Some simple use FTA/FGA.  Some prefer FTM/FGA.  We have heard arguments in favor of both of these metrics, but we really liked a paper written by The Harvard Sports Analysis Collective’s John Ezekowitz, who argued for the metric we chose above in his February 21, 2011, paper entitled Re-examining The Four Factors: The Case For Free Throws Made Per 100 Possessions.

Putting It All Together

The key to the four factors is finding an algorithm in which the results of each team can be turned into some form of a rating or to produce a spread for a game between teams.  What good is it to know that Team A has X, Y, Z, and W rates in the four factors, and their opponent has a little better X and Z, and weaker Y and W rates.  So, where does that get us?  Only when the Four Factors can be turned into a rating of some sort is the data useful to the fan.

The PiRates tried for a few years to come up with an accurate rating from the Four Factors.  Our original mistake was assuming the different factors would not affect the college game any different than it does the NBA, where the numbers were determined to be 40% FG efficiency, 25% turnover rate, 20% offensive rebounding rate, and 15% free throw rate.

This did not make for an accurate rating when applied to college teams and uses to compare them in a point spread sort of way.  Whereas the NBA teams basically play equal schedules in terms of strengths of opponents (once enough games had been played), this cannot be said of the college game, where one team’s schedule could be as much as 20 points per game stronger than another team’s schedule.  Also, in the NBA, every team plays 41 home games and 41 road games.  The top college teams might schedule 19 home games, 3 neutral games, and just 9 road games.

We also realized that not all turnovers are the same.  A steal is worth more than any other type of turnover, because the ball remains live, and the defense frequently finds itself with a 2 on 1 or 3 on 2 fast break opportunity following a high percentage of their steals.  In the college game, more full court pressure can lead to steals that produce a lot of easy baskets, whereas in the NBA, this is a rare occurrence.

After much trial and error, we came up with three separate algorithms that when back-tested in past seasons produced acceptable predictive results.

Now, we can take a look at these 25 teams and make some assumptions based on their four factors data to date.  We can add some PiRate Rating data (like our unique R+T formula) to polish our beliefs.

The numbers you see below are our Blue Rating Scores for each of the Four Factors plus the Strength of Schedule score, the R+T rating, and the teams rating in true road and neutral games (neutral games when a team plays in another gym in their area against an out of town team does not count–like Kansas playing a Big East team in Kansas City).

AAC

Cincinnati: FG 6.4  TO 0.8  OR 0.6  FT 0.2  SOS 56.1  R+T 18.4 Rd W-L 4-2

The Bearcats do not excel in any one factor, but they are better than average in all factors.  Their SOS is good but not great, and their R+T rating is very good.  They will benefit from having extra scoring opportunities.  Cinti will run into trouble against big muscle teams from the power conferences, and they will struggle against teams that play choking man to man defense.  However, this team has enough talent to make it to the second weekend of the Big Dance.

ACC

Virginia: FG 12.0   TO 4.7   OR 4.3   FT -1.2   SOS 59.6   R+T 16.2   Rd W-L 6-1

The Cavaliers are going to be a tough out for any opponent in the NCAA Tournament.  Their style of defense will destroy teams that cannot shoot from the perimeter, and the Cavs will also exploit teams that do not have excellent passers.  To beat UVa, you must be able to pass the ball quick enough from the strong side to the weak side and then penetrate their interior defense for either an open look inside or a pass to a wide open three-point shooter.  Virginia will not beat itself.  Wisconsin and Arizona could be trouble for the Cavs, whereas Virginia could be a tough out for a team like Florida.

North Carolina: FG 6.4  TO 3.7   OR 17.4   FT 7.7   SOS 58.9   R+T 33.6   Rd W-L 7-3

The Tar Heels have the look of a Final Four team.  However, they have some small vulnerabilities.  First, they are not the best shooting team in Chapel Hill history, in fact far from it.  They do make up for this by being the best offensive rebounding team in college basketball.  They are not that shabby in the turnover department either, and thus, they have the best R+T rating in many years.  By the time the season moves into March, UNC will either be unbeatable and peaking at the right time or a major disappointment due to fatigue and injuries.  This is one team we cannot see losing prior to the Sweet 16, as they will be a 1 or 2 seed and no 15 or 16 seed can compete with them, with only a slim chance that a 7 or 8 seed can keep a game within single digits.

The team that beats UNC will be the team that can muscle their way under the basket and make the rebounding part of the equation only a minor Tar Heel victory.  Said team will also have to force the Heels into a few more turnovers than normal and produce some quick points off those turnovers.  West Virginia and Kentucky are the teams that will give UNC fits, while a great shooting team like UCLA or Gonzaga will find that they must do more than shoot lights out to beat this team.

Florida St.: FG 11.2   TO 2.8   OR 2.5   FT 2.4   SOS 58.6   R+T 15.6   Rd W-L 4-2

The Seminoles are going to be a tough match-up for teams outside the ACC that have never played against them.  Their style of play will lead to large victories in the early rounds of the tournament, but once FSU faces stiff competition, their inconsistent style of play will hurt their chances.  There will be many teams with a resume similar to theirs from amongst the power leagues.  FSU will be more like a poor man’s Kentucky.  They might win by 20-30 in the opening game, and they might make it to the Sweet 16 by way of a double digit win in their next game, but once they get to the Sweet 16, the Seminoles should be a quick out against a quality opponent like Villanova, Kansas, or Oregon.

Louisville: FG 6.5   TO 4.8  OR 7.9   FT 1.7   SOS 62.9   R+T 20.3   Rd W-L 5-2

Don’t dismiss this edition of Cardinals.  Rick Pitino knows how to coach in March, and there is enough talent at the Yum Center to guide UL to the Final Four.  The Cards have played a tough schedule to date and pulling off numbers like their current Four Factors against the opposition they have faced is a sign of a top 10 team.  In most years, these numbers would be the best in the nation, and even in a year where there are many great teams, these numbers stick out as among the best.

To beat the Cards, it is going to take a team that can shut off their inside game and force UL to beat them from the perimeter.  Not many teams can do this, but there are some potential teams out there that can send the Cards home, such as Virginia from their own league, Oregon, and Purdue.

Notre Dame: FG 8.5   TO 4.0   OR 0.2   FT 3.8   SOS 56.3   R+T 11.2   Rd W-L 5-2

The Fighting Irish have been consistently good for several years but with also a consistent liability.  Notre Dame has not been a dominant rebounding team since Digger Phelps retired.  While, the Irish have numbers strong enough to indicate they are Sweet 16 worthy, they do not have the dominating inside game that will get them to Phoenix.  A host of quality teams are out there that can hit the glass and limit ND to one shot per possession, and the Irish are bound to face one of them if they make it to the Sweet 16.  Baylor, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Kentucky could send Mike Brey’s bunch home to Indiana.  On the other hand, Notre Dame could be a tough opponent for UCLA, Villanova, or Maryland.

Big 12

West Virginia: FG 7.2    TO 16.0   OR 5.8   FT 5.1   SOS 53.7   R+T 27.2   Rd W-L 5-2

The jury is still out on this team, even though our PiRate Blue metrics say that Coach Bob Huggins has the currently top team in the land.  Huggie Bear’s Mountaineers have to prove they can sustain these fat metric ratings against the top teams.  WVU’s SOS is rather low for a Power Conference team, and they have yet to face Kansas or any tough team on enemy hardwood.  Their toughest road game to date came against Texas Tech, and they flunked that exam.

If WVU can keep their TO rate at astronomically high numbers and also maintain their better than average rebound rate, they are capable of making it to Phoenix.  Whereas many pressing teams eventually run into a team that does not fret the pressure and actually exploits it for points, WVU is more than your typical on the line/up the line gimmick defense.  This team can win by dominating on the glass, getting the ball inside for easy baskets, hitting the three, and playing strong half-court defense.  Once again, until they play Kansas a couple times, Kansas State on the road, as well as road trips to Iowa State and Baylor, it is too early to make a logical call on this team.

Baylor: FG 11.1   TO -0.2   OR 9.5   FT 8.1   SOS 61.8   R+T 20.5   Rd W-L 6-1

 

Scott Drew has been to the Elite 8 before, and this Baylor team looks like his next Elite 8 club.  Until the Bears face a team that can force the issue and pressure the ball, they look like a favorite to advance in each round.  As West Virginia showed, Baylor is not equipped to handle crazy pressure.  Other teams that might exploit this weakness include Virginia, Butler, Kentucky, and Florida.  And, if a mid-major like UNC-Wilmington or Middle Tennessee meets the Bears in the round of 32, Baylor will have to bring their A-game to avoid a major upset loss.

Kansas: FG 11.2   TO 1.7   OR 6.2  FT 0.1   SOS 59.1   R+T 16.4   Rd W-L  4-1

The Jayhawks have been flying under the radar if that is possible, but now that KU has ascended to the top of the charts, they will be on the center stage every game they occupy the penthouse.  Bill Self always has a contender in Lawrence, so this should come as no surprise when we say that the Jayhawks have the right stuff to make it all the way to the Final Four.  They can shoot the ball with the best of them, and they can defend the ball with the best of them.  They are not world-beaters anywhere else, but their other metrics are quite strong.  And, they have produced these numbers against a very good schedule.  KU has another big bonus, something they had when they won the title back in 1988.  With a star like Frank Mason III, teams will have to concentrate and dedicate another defender to stop this star.  That might work against some teams, but KU has five or six other players that can carry the team, so it is impossible to really double up on Mason.  If you are old enough to remember 1988, this reminds us of Danny Manning.

Big East

Villanova: FG 12.1   TO 1.6   OR 4.1    FT 9.6   SOS 61.1    R+T 16.1    Rd W-L 8-1

The Wildcats have proven so far this year to be good enough to repeat as National Champions, and in point of fact, at this point in the season compared to last year, they are a better team.  The rub is that so are about 30 other dominating teams.  VU has been putting teams away by getting their regulars into foul trouble from making quick moves to the basket.  Unlike other teams with very high FT rates, they are less likely to suffer from how the game is called differently in the Big Dance, because officials will blow their whistles on drives to the basket that produce contact.

Considering ‘Nova has put up these gaudy numbers against A+ competition, and they have an 8-1 record away from Philly, they are more than capable of making it back to Phoenix.  But, as Alabama just found out in football, getting back to the title game and winning it, are in different universes.  Villanova wants no part of North Carolina in a rematch.

Creighton: FG 12.5   TO 2.7   OR -3.4   FT 2.7    SOS 58.8   R+T 7.3    Rd W-L 7-0

Every year, one or two highly-rated teams gets sent home from the Dance early by a mid-major team that can exploit the power team’s weakness.  Creighton has the resume of a power team that could be susceptible to an early round loss.  Their negative rebounding rate might be covered up by other assets during the regular season, but come tournament time, just about every opponent they might face will be able to exploit this poor metric.  If their TO rate was really good, they could overcome this liability, but this is not the case, as the Blue Jays are just average or a little below in this department as well.  Their R+T rating is too low to make it to the Elite 8, and the Sweet 16 is their ceiling.  If they make it to the Sweet 16, teams like Baylor, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Kentucky can beat them by double digits.

Butler: FG 6.5   TO 5.1   OR 0.1   FT 2.1   SOS 61.3  R+T 10.0   Rd W-L 5-3

When Butler made back-to-back appearances in the National Championship Game, their Four Factors numbers were consistently good but not outstanding in any category.  This Butler team has somewhat inconsistent numbers compared to those Bulldog teams, but at the same time, they are stronger in the turnover rates and have played a much tougher schedule to date than those teams that won five tournament games.

Butler is probably a little too inconsistent this year to win five games and make it to the championship.  They might be better equipped to beat a North Carolina or Kansas than the 2010 and 2011 teams, but this Bulldog edition could easily stub its toe right out of the gates and not get a chance to upset teams like the 2010 and 2011 teams did (Syracuse, Kansas State, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, and Florida).

Big Ten

The Big Ten has been able to make it to the Final Four multiple times in recent years, but no league team has cut down the nets since Michigan State in 2000 (Maryland was in the ACC when they won in 2002).  There are a couple teams this year capable of giving it a good try.

Wisconsin: FG 8.9  TO 3.9  OR 15.9   FT 2.6    SOS 52.7  R+T 28.8   Rd W-L 4-3

The Badgers have played a rather weak schedule to date, and that could send their current numbers much lower once the better Big Ten opponents have been faced away from Madison.  With Bronson Koenig, Ethan Happ, and Nigel Hayes, the Badgers have a trio of quality players good enough to carry them to the Final Four.  In past years, overall team speed was an issue with this team, but the Badgers have quickness, finesse, and power this year.  UW has been much, much better at home than away from home, and a lot of teams that go 18-0 at home and 9-6 away from home leave the Dance early.  A quality team that is headed to the Elite 8 usually wins 70% or more of its games away from home, and UW is just 4-3 at this point.  Of course, those three losses came to Creighton, North Carolina, and Purdue.  Recent road wins against Marquette and Indiana could be an indication that UW is on the verge of breaking out and becoming a serious contender.

Maryland: FG 6.1  TO 0.5   OR 3.4  FT 7.5  SOS 56.4   R+T 8.8  Rd W-L 6-0

An aside: Back in the days when only one team per conference went to the NCAA Tournament, Maryland had a team that was good enough to win the national championship but was just a couple points away from getting a chance to play in it.  The 1974 Terrapins went 23-5.  Their five losses represent the best five-loss team in history.  Loss number one came at the hands of #1 UCLA in Pauley Pavillion to open the season (Bruins had won more than 70 consecutive games), in a game in which the officiating was very generous to the Bruins and yet UM lost by just one point and had a chance to win the game at the buzzer.  Loss number two came at North Carolina State, who had won 35 of its previous 36 games (lone loss to UCLA) and who would be the eventual national champs.  This loss was a six-point loss, and the Terps led this game into the second half before a Wolf Pack rally won it for the home team.  Loss number three came on the road against #4 North Carolina, yet another contest where UM had a chance to win until late in the second half.  The Terps only home loss came against NC State, who by now would not lose again until the following season.  This loss to the Pack was another close affair with UM losing by six after leading in the second half.  You can probably guess where loss number five came.  Once again, NC State topped UM in the ACC Championship Game in what is probably the best every ACC Title game.  State won by a score of 103-100 in overtime.  Maryland’s 23 wins were mostly lopsided affairs.  Even the two other contests against North Carolina were not close, as the Terps won by 11 in College Park and by 20 in Greensboro in the ACC Tournament semifinals.

What has that got to do with this year’s Terp team?  Nothing, except this year’s UM team will be in the Big Dance even if they do not win the Big Ten Tournament or the regular season title.  However, this year’s UM team is primed to be an early round upset loser, because it is nowhere near as talented as that 1974 team that featured John Lucas, Tom McMillen, and Len Elmore.  That UM team out-shot quality opposition by 11%, out-rebounded them by 11 per game, and outscored them by 17 points per game.

Purdue: FG 10.1  TO -0.7  OR 10.5  FT 8.3   SOS 55.9  R+T 19.7   Rd W-L 5-2

We could give another history lesson on this Big Ten team.  Purdue has been to the Final Four twice before, but both times, it was with teams that played an entirely different style of basketball from this team and from all the teams during the Gene Keady era.

We have a lot of respect for Coach Keady and his successful disciples, including current Boilermaker coach Matt Painter.  However, history has not been kind to the “Keady system” in NCAA Tournament history.  Purdue never made it to the Final Four with all the highly-ranked teams of the 1980’s and 1990’s and seldom made it past the second game.  Case in point, last year, the Boilermakers left the Dance immediately, losing to Arkansas-Little Rock in their first game.

Why is it that Purdue has under-performed so consistently for so many years?  Coach Keady and his disciples strongly advocate an intelligent offensive half-court set and tough man-to-man defense to prevent good shots.  That works well in the regular season, as teams like this routinely play smart ball and beat all the teams they are supposed to beat, and even upset some better teams.  But, when you get into the second week of March, the opposition is usually as good as you at shooting and preventing good shots.  Games are more frequently decided by which team gets more opportunities to shoot.  Thus rebounding and turnover margin play significantly more important roles than they do in the regular season.  Purdue has not been a consistently tough team on the boards, and they do not pressure the passing lanes.

This year’s Boilermaker squad is one of the best rebounding teams in Mackey Arena in a long time, but once again, PU is stinking it up in the turnover rate metric.  The rebounding strength could get Painter’s squad past the first game and maybe even into the Sweet 16, but when the Boilermakers run into a team like Butler, Kentucky, or Florida, or even a Mid-major like UNC-Wilmington or Middle Tennessee, they are going to have a tough time advancing.  And, should they find West Virginia in their bracket…..

Pac-12

UCLA: FG 14.2   TO 0.3   OR -1.0   FT 3.2   SOS 53.4   R+T 10.0   Rd W-L 8-1

This might be the most exciting team to watch, but this UCLA team suffers from the same issues that Purdue suffers from as stated above.  When the Bruins are hot, they can put any team away, and their win at Kentucky showed this.  However, they will run into defenses that can slow them down when they get to March, and the Bruins do not have what it takes to get additional scoring chances through rebounding and turnover margin.  Additionally, the Bruins have played a lot of cupcakes this year, and a lot of their shooting stats have been aided by playing weak defensive teams.  Until they are ousted thought, Lonzo Ball and company promise to give the fan his or her money’s worth.

Oregon: FG 10.2   TO 3.0   OR 7.5   FT 6.5   SOS 57.1   R+T 19.5   Rd W-L 5-2

The Ducks could be a contender for the Final Four.  After a slow start, Oregon has now won 14 consecutive games and looks like the team the pundits expected they would be this season.  The Ducks have a really tough closing stretch in the regular season with seven consecutive tough games between February 4 and 25.  Included in this slate is a three-game stretch against Arizona, UCLA, and USC, with the latter two on the road.  If Oregon can come through this three-week stretch without injuries or undue fatigue, this team can repeat its performance of last year and maybe make it one round past what it did last year.  That would mean they make it to Phoenix.

Arizona: FG  8.3  TO 0.6   OR 7.3   FT 10.4   SOS 58.1   R+T 20.2   Rd W-L 5-2

At first glance, Arizona’s numbers don’t look much different than Oregon’s above.  Look a little closer.  This is a team that relies a bit too much on free throw rate and is vulnerable against a team that can pressure the ball and force turnovers.  Arizona wants no part of West Virginia, but they could fall prey to a lesser pressure team or a team that turns the ball over less than 10 times a game like Virginia.  In their loss to Gonzaga, the Wildcats turned the ball over nine times in the first half and didn’t shoot well, and Gonzaga pulled out to a double digit lead.  Arizona did get to the foul line several times, but they missed too many foul shots to get back in the game.  This is likely to happen to them in an NCAA Sweet 16 game if UA makes it that far.

SEC

Kentucky: FG  9.1  TO 6.7   OR 7.4   FT 4.7   SOS 61.1   R+T 22.3   Rd W-L 6-1

This is always a tough team to figure out.  Annually, John Calipari recruits the top talent in the nation to Lexington, and Kentucky has better talent than every team on its schedule.  However, that talent is almost always freshmen, and even five McDonald’s All-Americans as college freshmen are bound to play a bit inconsistently.  On any given night, these future NBA stars are liable to blow out an average team by 30 to 40 points.  On any given night, these future NBA stars are liable to fiddle around and allow a mediocre team to stay in contention.

In Kentucky’s favor, these freshmen will have 33 to 35 games of experience by the time the NCAA Tournament begins, and the Wildcats will have a 1 or 2 seed, able to get to the Sweet 16 just by showing up.  Once at the Sweet 16, this team will have the talent and tools to keep winning, but they will still be just raw enough to lay an egg and go home with a disappointing loss.

It will take a muscle team to beat Kentucky, one that can throw its weight around on the glass, make their fouls count more like unnecessary roughness penalties in football, and has the ability to outscore the Wildcats from behind the arc.

Florida: FG 3.1  TO 6.6  OR 1.7   FT 8.9   SOS 63.0   R+T 11.4   Rd W-L 8-3

Here is a really interesting team.  At first glance, this Florida team looks like many of the Florida teams under former coach Billy Donovan.  The Gators’ ball-hawking defense tends to lead to more scoring opportunities for the orange and blue than for their opponents.  However, the really good Gator teams under Donovan played incredible half-court defense.  This Gator team is a bit weak defending inside, and that will be their downfall in March.  The Gators are adequate but not great shooting the ball, and when they don’t force a turnover, they are not great at stopping the ball from going through the opponents’ basket.

One thing in UF’s favor is their schedule has prepared them to play top-flight teams.  Outside of the league Florida played Seton Hall, Miami, Gonzaga, Florida State, and Duke.

South Carolina: FG 7.8   TO 4.9   OR 4.6   FT -5.4   SOS 56.2   R+T 13.9   Rd W-L 4-2

You have to look at South Carolina’s statistics a bit differently than just viewing their numbers.  This is a tale of two teams.  There is the USC team that is 11-0 when its best player, Sindarius Thornwell has been healthy enough to play, and there is the USC team that is 3-3 when Thornwell has not played.

The bad news for SEC teams is that Thornwell is close to 100% well again, and the Gamecocks are 4-0 in the league because of it.  A healthy Thornwell is a threat to record a triple double or score 20 points and pull down a dozen boards, while playing exemplary defense.

If the Gamecocks stay healthy this year, they look like a near lock to make the Dance, and once they get there, we have faith in Coach Frank Martin that they will play multiple games.  USC’s defense is tournament worthy, and they have just enough offense to pull away in the second half.  Their major liability is at the foul line, where they commit more than an average number of fouls.  However, this stat suffered considerably during Thornwell’s absence.  Since his return, the Gamecocks have a much better showing.

The Rest

Gonzaga: FG 15.6  TO 1.6   OR  2.6  FT 5.6   SOS 55.9  R+T 16.9   Rd W-L 7-0

Gonzaga faces a similar task that Wichita State faced in 2014, when they went 34-0 in the regular season.  The Bulldogs are the last undefeated team standing at 17-0, and the way they dominated St. Mary’s Saturday night, many sports professionals are calling for an undefeated regular season.  They still have to go to St. Mary’s, and they have to play at BYU, so they could still lose one or two regular season games this year.

Gonzaga has been a number one seed before as well as the top-ranked team in the nation, and things did not go all that well for the Bulldogs.  In 2013, the Zags entered NCAA Tournament play with a 31-2 record.  They almost became the first number one seed to lose to a 16-seed, when they had to hold on to narrowly edge Southern University in the Round of 64.  Then, GU fell in the Round of 32 to Wichita State, and the Shockers rolled to the Final Four from there.

Might things be different this year for Mark Few’s squad?  Gonzaga looks a lot like UCLA.  They are not quite as good shooting the ball, but they are a tad better defending the ball.  They are considerably better on the boards, but by the time the Dance begins to tap, their strength of schedule will have dropped to a point where they may not be ready to face a quality team in the Sweet 16.  The Kyle Wiltjer Gonzaga team that made it to the Elite 8 was more equipped for the tournament than this year’s squad, so we believe Gonzaga will fall in the Sweet 16 round.

Nevada: FG 5.4   TO -1.8   OR 3.5   FT 9.8   SOS 52.3   R+T 8.0   Rd W-L 8-3

If you consider Gonzaga not to be a mid-major, then Nevada is the best non Power Conference team in the West this year, but the Wolfpack are a paper tiger.  They do not have the numbers to be a serious contender like some former Mountain West Conference teams in the past.  Their low R+T number coming from a below average schedule strength means Nevada is likely to exit the Dance quickly and by double digits.  We wanted to include them here today so you can compare them to the two mid-majors most likely to advance to the second weekend this year.

UNC-Wilmington: FG 3.8   TO 7.1   OR 3.7   FT -2.0  SOS 51.2   R+T 12.9  Rd W-L 9-2

UNCW gave Duke a big scare last year in the Round of 64, and this year’s team is better, capable of making a run to the Sweet 16.  Coach Kevin Keatts is a Rick Pitino disciple, and we would not be shocked to see Keatts taking over a big time program sooner rather than later.  He has all the tools to be a star on the big stage, and his team plays like it deserves a shot on basketball’s Broadway.

UNCW’s biggest liability is their negative FT rate.  This has come about because the Seahawks commit a lot of fouls with their pressure defense.  We tend to believe that some of this has been because they have played a lot of games on the road, where the officials whistled them for more fouls than they would have received had they been at home.  When the NCAA Tournament begins, a lot of the plays in which they might have been whistled for a foul in the regular season will no longer draw a foul call.

UNCW is the poor man’s West Virginia, and they could easily be this year’s Stephen F. Austin.  Beware if your favorite big time program makes the Tournament and they draw this team, and your team is like Purdue, Baylor, UCLA, Arizona, or Creighton.  The Seahawk press can produce a quick burst of points and put your team behind the eight ball.

Middle Tennessee: FG 3.7  TO 5.0  OR 7.4  FT -2.5  SOS 56.3  R+T 17.5  Rd W-L 8-1

If you like UNCW’s chances, then you’ll love Middle Tennessee’s chances this year.  This is the CUSA team that upset Michigan State in last year’s tournament, and this year’s Blue Raider squad is maybe 10 points better than last year’s group.  Middle Tennessee actually played UNCW over the Thanksgiving holiday and beat the Seahawks by five.  The Blue Raiders went on the road to Ole Miss and destroyed the Rebels in the first half with a 29-point halftime lead before coasting to a 15-point win.  They repeated the performance against SEC neighbor Vanderbilt winning by 23 and never being challenged.

The Blue Raiders could have 30 wins when the NCAA Tournament begins, and it would not surprise us if they receive a seed as high as 9 or 10.  Of course, this would mean they would play a 1 or 2 seed in the Round of 32 should they win their first game.  The Blue Raiders’ fans should root for your team to draw a team like Purdue, Notre Dame, Creighton, Butler, or Maryland in the first game and not someone like West Virginia, Virginia, Wisconsin, Oregon, or Kentucky.  Of course, these teams are most likely to be encountered after the opening game, which means the Blue Raiders should be a hot pick in the Round of 64.

We did not include the 25 best teams in this presentation.  There are many other quality teams like Indiana, Duke, Miami, TCU, Xavier, Akron, Illinois State, California, Utah, USC, and New Mexico State.

We hope you enjoyed this piece and learned a little about how the Four Factors has been part of the new analytical study of basketball.

Coming Friday: We take our next stab at the Field of 68, and if we can get our gurus to send us the information in time, we will debut our annual Bracketology Guru report.  Shout out to the Gurus that have not done so–please return the email we sent you to tell us if you plan to participate this year.  If we do not have enough information to debut our guru composite, we will attempt to select 68 teams ourselves.

January 6, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview For January 7-8, 2017

Early Look At Mid and Low Major Conferences
As we take our first look at the conferences that should receive just one NCAA Tournament bid, we are in total agreement among the lot of us that 22 leagues will definitely produce just one tournament team–the winner of their conference tournament, or in the case of the Ivy League, the regular season conference championship, and it is likely that a 23rd league will receive just one bid.

Let’s take a look at the 23 probable one-bid leagues.

America East
Vermont, MD.-Baltimore Co., UMass-Lowell, and Stony Brook are tied for first, but only with 1-0 conference marks. Vermont is 11-5 overall, with two losses to top 25 teams.

Atlantic Sun
Conference play has yet to begun, but Florida Gulf Coast and Jacksonville look strong in the pre-conference. FGCU lost at Michigan State by just one point, while Jacksonville sports the top won-loss record at 12-5. We believe overall that this league is stronger than it has been in recent years, but no at-large bid is possible this year.

Big Sky
Eastern Washington, Southern Utah, and Weber State have begun the conference race at 2-0, with Montana a half-game back at 2-1. EWU owns a hot home court advantage, and they already have four overtime wins in their 15 games played.

Big South
With losses by 55 to Creighton, 37 to George Mason, and 31 to Texas Tech, you would not expect Longwood to be on top in the conference race at 3-0, but the Lancers from tiny Farmville, Virginia, own first place by themselves by a game over Radford, UNC-Asheville, Winthrop, Campbell, and Liberty. UNCA lost at Ohio State by a bucket.

Big West
It’s a down year in this league, as no team looks capable of avoiding a 15 or 16-seed. Most of the members in this league perform poorly away from home, and we expect this year’s race to be won with a record as low as 10-6. UC-Irvine, Long Beach State, and UC-Davis appear to be the top teams, but there is not much separating the teams at this point. While somewhat mediocre, this league could put on one of the most exciting conference tournament’s this season.

Colonial Athletic
UNC-Wilmington is on the cusp of competing for a spot on the bubble, but at this point, it looks like they would have to win the CAA Tournament to get into the Big Dance. The Seahawks join Charleston, Northeastern, and James Madison at 3-0 in league play. Northeastern is the hot team at this point. The Huskies have won six games in a row, including four on the road, with one of those coming at Michigan State.

Conference USA
Middle Tennessee is 2-0 in the league and 12-3 overall, as well as 2-0 against SEC teams, but the Blue Raiders would be a long shot in the at-large sweepstakes this year. If Middle wins the automatic bid with a record in the vicinity of 29-5, they could receive an 11 seed and possibly a 10 seed. Chief challengers to the Blue Raiders this year are Marshall, Louisiana Tech, and Western Kentucky. Keep an eye on Marshall, as their unique fast-paced philosophy can give the Thundering Herd a big advantage against teams lacking depth, especially at conference tournament time.

Horizon
No, it’s not a Super Bowl preview, but Oakland and Green Bay look like the top two teams in this league. Actually, both of these teams are close runners-up to Valparaiso at this point. The Crusaders are 1-0 in the conference and 11-3 overall, with wins over Alabama, BYU, and Rhode Island. Northern Kentucky and Wright State have shown signs of moving up into the top tier with the big three.

Ivy
This is still the one holdout league that does not sanction a post-season conference tournament. Thus, one hot team can become the first official invitee to the Big Dance, but in recent years, this has not happened. There is no clear-cut favorite to win the crown as the first conference games commence next weekend. Princeton, Yale, Harvard, and Penn look to be the leading contenders at this point, but this group is not setting the woods on fire.

Metro Atlantic
After a sluggish first month of the season, Canisius has found its groove. The Golden Griffins have reeled off seven consecutive wins, averaging 88.6 points per game. With approaching road games with Iona and Fairfield, if Canisius wins both, they will be in the driver’s seat in the MAAC. Pre-season favorite Monmouth has not been as strong as expected and just lost three games in a row. Still, you cannot dismiss the Hawks, as they have non-conference win over Memphis and an overtime loss to South Carolina. Monmouth beat Canisius and can gain command by pulling off the sweep when they face them in Buffalo on January 16.

Mid-American
The MAC once was worthy of multiple bids to the NCAA Tournament, but in recent years, this league has been down some. Akron, Ohio, and Eastern Michigan have separated a bit from the rest of the pack in this league, and these three top contenders are just talented enough to compete in the Round of 64. Home court advantanges are rather strong in this league, so expect the teams to beat up on each other, leaving no team with a conference mark better than 14-4.

Mideastern Athletic
The MEAC has frequently been given #15 and #16 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, but this league consistently produces teams capable of pulling off huge upsets. The league does not get the credit it deserves, because the teams tend to begin the season slowly and develop as the year progresses. We like what UNC-Central has done to this point, and it would not surprise us if the Eagles make a run to 20 regular season wins. UNCC won at Missouri and led at LSU by as much as 13, before the Tigers came back to win in the final minute.

Missouri Valley
This is a caveat one-bid league. Wichita State would be on the bubble if the Shockers won 25 games but not the MVC Tournament title. However, at this point, we do not see a serious contender to knock WSU off the perch at Arch Madness. Illinois State currently shares first with the Shockers with a 3-0 league mark, but WSU looks to be double digits better than any league opponent. Sure, some team is liable to upset the Shockers, but we don’t see WSU losing more than two conference games, and they have as good a chance at running the table in the league as the do at losing twice.

Mountain West
The MWC has taken quite a tumble this year, as this looks like a sure one-bid league. Nevada and Boise State are this year’s quality clubs, but they do not have at-large approved resumes. Normal power San Diego State has begun league play at 0-2, so this does not look like the Aztecs’ year.

Northeast
It looks like a strong possibility that the conference tournament champion in this league will be headed to the opening round (first four) in Dayton. The NEC is rather weak this year, even though second division Wagner has a win at Connecticut. Fairleigh Dickinson has a game and a half lead in the race with a perfect 3-0 mark, but the Knights tumbled off their horses outside of league play. Keep an eye on Long Island. The Blackbirds are just 9-7 and 2-1 in the league, but most of their losses have been close, and they did beat St. John’s.

Ohio Valley
In past years, both Murray State and Belmont have done quite well in NCAA Tournament play. The two contenders already have moved to the top of the standings in their respective divisions, and it looks like they might square off when the bid is on the line in March.

Patriot
Bucknell and Boston U are tied at 3-0 in league play with Loyola (MD), Holy Cross, and Lafayette a game back at 2-1. Lehigh looked like a top contender in the preseason, taking Xavier to the final gun before losing by 3 and winning at Mississippi State, but the Mountain Hawks lost at home to Loyola to fall to 1-2 in league play.

Southern
This will be an exciting conference race with five teams competing for the regular season title. Furman, East Tennessee, Chattanooga, Samford, and UNC-Greensboro are about equal, and the five could stay within two games of each other all season. A multiple tie in the 14-4 and 13-5 range is quite possible.

Southland
Stephen F. Austin has lost the magic, as it left town for Stillwater, Oklahoma. Now, this league is wide open. New Orleans, and Nicholls State, two teams not expected to contend for league honors, currently are unbeaten in league play.

Southwestern Athletic
In recent years, the SWAC champion has known it would be headed to Dayton, and chances are strong that could happen again this year. In recent years, multiple league members have been ineligible for postseason play due to low APR scores, but that number has been reduced to just Alcorn State this year, and the Braves are an also-ran in the SWAC this year. Jackson State and Texas Southern have begun league play at 2-0, with Arkansas Pine-Bluff at 1-0. Grambling and Southern are 1-1, and most of their out of conference losses have been closer than normal for this league. We believe Southern might be the best representative for this league this year.

Summit
Bigger schools better keep an eye on this league. Whoever draws the conference tournament champion better not overlook their opponent, because their is quality in numbers in the Summit League this season. North Dakota State got hot at the right time, and the Bison are 3-0 in league play. Fort Wayne can play quality defense, bang the boards, and run the fast break like a team from the 1970’s. The Mastodons beat Indiana and gave a good game against Notre Dame. They can score points in spurts, and they average close to 90 points per game.

Sun Belt
UT-Arlington is off to a 12-3 start with a 2-0 mark in conference play. Included in those dozen wins is a big upset of Saint Mary’s, but as each day passes, that win does not look so much like an upset, just more like one really good team beating another really good team. Still, the Mavericks do not have enough on their resume to contend for a bubble spot. Arkansas State is also 2-0 in the league, but the Red Wolves do not have a signature win that gives them a shot at the bubble. Their win at Georgetown could look better in March than it does now, but still we see only one team making the dance from this league.

Western Athletic
New Mexico State is 1-0/14-2, but the Aggies’ best win is only against Arizona State. This is not enough to merit bubble consideration, so if NMSU runs the table in the league and then loses in the WAC Finals, they could be NIT bound at 30-3. UT Rio Grande Valley is a hot team with seven wins in eight games, and the Vaqueros can fill the nets with buckets, but they don’t play enough defense to do damage in the Dance.

Multiple Bid Leagues
45 bids remain after the 23 one bid leagues are accounted for. Those 45 bids will go to nine conferences, an average of five per league. Of course, some of the nine leagues will receive just two or three bids, unless an upset winner earns the automatic bid. Let’s look at those now.

American Athletic
Cincinnati and SMU appear to be in good shape for now. The Bearcats (2-0/12-2) are ranked in the top 25 and have a win at Iowa State. Cinti can strengthen their hold on an at-large bid with a win at Houston (3-0/12-3) tomorrow. SMU (3-0/13-3) currently owns a nine-game winning streak, but they have yet to record a win over a top 25 team (they have yet to play one). They do own a win over Pittsburgh as well as losses to Michigan and USC. Central Florida is in the mix at 3-0/12-3. They present a monster matchup problem with 7 foot 6 inch center Tacko Fall hitting 80% of his shots (95% are within a foot of the basket or dunks) and pulling down double digit rebounds while playing a one-man zone in the low post.

Atlantic 10
Dayton and Rhode Island look like the class of the league at this point, but both teams have a watchful eye on VCU. Two of the three should make the Dance, and it is possible that this league will send a third team there as well, but for now, we are sticking with two for sure.

West Coast
Gonzaga and St. Mary’s should both get bids, but SMC cannot afford to slip and lose more than two conference games. A win at Dayton is not enough to guarantee the Gaels an at-large bid. They will have to go 12-2 in league play or beat Gonzaga one time out of three.

39 Bids Left for 6 Power Leagues
Of the remaining six power leagues, we will give only 3 bids to the SEC. Kentucky, Florida, and one other team from among South Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, and Alabama should receive bids.
The Pac-12 will send 3 or 4 teams. UCLA, Arizona, and Oregon look good at this point, while USC and California vying for a possible fourth bid.

We are going with 5 Big East bids: Villanova, Xavier, Butler, Creighton, and Marquette.

6 bids go to the Big Ten: Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, and either Northwestern, Ohio State, or Michigan State.

The Big 12 could send 8 teams dancing: Baylor, Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa State, Kansas State, Texas Tech, TCU, and Oklahoma State would all be in the tournament if the season ended today.

The ACC will reign supreme in this year’s Dance Party. As of this moment, we have an incredible 10 teams in the tournament: Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Florida State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest all have tourney-worthy resumes.

This brings us to 65 bids. The remaining three bids are reserved for three possible conference tournament surprise winners. If the three do not emerge, then the at-large possibles to secure the bids would come from a pool of these teams: an additional SEC team from the group of Arkansas, Georgia, and Alabama; yet another ACC team from among Syracuse, North Carolina State, and Pittsburgh; Houston from the AAC; an additional Big Ten team from the group of Northwestern, Michigan State, and Ohio State; an additional Pac-12 team from the USC/Cal pairing; and Wichita State, should the Shockers finish highly-ranked but fail to win the MVC Tournament.

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 10
1. West Virginia
2. Villanova
3. Kentucky
4. Baylor
5. Kansas
6. Duke
7. North Carolina
8. Gonzaga
9. UCLA
10. Virginia

ACC
1. Duke
2. North Carolina
3. Virginia
4. Louisville
5. Florida State
6. Clemson
7. Notre Dame
8. Miami (FL)
9. Virginia Tech
10. Wake Forest
11. Pittsburgh
12. Syracuse
13. North Carolina St.
14. Georgia Tech
15. Boston College

Big 12
1. West Virginia
2. Baylor
3. Kansas
4. Texas Tech
5. Iowa St.
6. Kansas St.
7. Oklahoma St.
8. TCU
9. Oklahoma
10. Texas

Big East
1. Villanova
2. Xavier
3. Butler
4. Creighton
5. Marquette
6. Seton Hall
7. Georgetown
8. Providence
9. St. John’s
10. DePaul

Big Ten
1. Purdue
2. Wisconsin
3. Michigan
4. Indiana
5. Minnesota
6. Northwestern
7. Michigan St.
8. Ohio St.
9. Maryland
10. Illinois
11. Iowa
12. Nebraska
13. Penn St.
14. Rutgers

Pac-12
1. UCLA
2. Arizona
3. Oregon
4. USC
5. California
6. Utah
7. Colorado
8. Stanford
9. Arizona St.
10. Washington
11. Washington St.
12. Oregon St.

SEC
1. Kentucky
2. Florida
3. South Carolina
4. Arkansas
5. Georgia
6. Alabama
7. Tennessee
8. Vanderbilt
9. Texas A&M
10. Ole Miss
11. LSU
12. Auburn
13. Mississippi St.
14. Missouri

This Weekend’s Spreads

Games Scheduled for: Saturday, January 7, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Syracuse Pittsburgh 4 4 -4
Duke Boston College 24 28 24
Florida St. Virginia Tech 8 10 13
Georgia Tech Louisville -12 -16 -19
Notre Dame Clemson 3 5 5
North Carolina North Carolina St. 14 15 9
West Virginia TCU 13 15 6
Kansas St. Oklahoma 9 8 9
Baylor Oklahoma St. 10 11 21
Kansas Texas Tech 11 11 13
Iowa St. Texas 11 11 8
Georgetown Butler -3 -4 -1
Seton Hall DePaul 14 15 16
Providence Dayton -1 1 -4
Xavier St. John’s 14 16 15
Villanova Marquette 11 13 19
Penn St. Michigan St. -1 -3 -4
Michigan Maryland 6 7 -1
Indiana Illinois 10 11 2
Washington Oregon St. 10 12 10
Arizona St. Utah -1 -2 -2
Washington St. Oregon -11 -16 -19
Arizona Colorado 12 11 15
Georgia Missouri 14 14 17
South Carolina Texas A&M 7 5 8
LSU Mississippi St. 6 4 11
Florida Tennessee 12 12 15
Auburn Ole Miss 3 1 -6
Alabama Vanderbilt 3 3 1
Kentucky Arkansas 16 17 17

 

Games Scheduled for: Sunday, January 8, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Nebraska Northwestern 1 -2 4
Purdue Wisconsin 4 3 7
Iowa Rutgers 9 10 8
Minnesota Ohio St. 6 6 13
Virginia Wake Forest 10 15 12
UCLA Stanford 19 18 8
USC California 4 2 1

August 21, 2016

2016 Big 12 Conference Football Preview

The Big 12 has been teetering on the brink of unplanned obsolescence for the last couple of years. As the only Power 5 Conference without a postseason Conference Championship Game, the league powers have been a little paranoid that other predators from the West Coast, the Deep South, and the Upper Midwest, might pillage them and leave them without a job. The Pac-12 is anxious to change its name to the Pac-16. The SEC and Big Ten realize that it is easier to work with 16 rather than 14 teams. The ACC has 15 in all sports except football, but even in football, Notre Dame plays basically five conference games per year.

What does a league do with just 10 members? It cannot play a conference title game until it has 12. Obviously, the league must expand by two to six teams, or else, their members will be searching for greener futures and high payouts.

In the meantime, the Big 12 continues to provide some of the most exciting football on the planet. The quasi-renegade league provides the alternative to the SEC’s and Big Ten’s blood and guts play, just like the old American Football League of the 1960’s sold itself as the more entertaining league to the NFL. The AFL had all the razzle dazzle stars like Joe Namath, Len Dawson, Daryle Lamonica, John Hadl, Cookie Gilchrist, Lance Alworth, and others, while the NFL was all about bruising fullbacks running between the tackles and halfbacks running power sweeps behind pulling guards.

The Big 12 is the pass-happy league with wide open offenses, blitzing and gambling defenses, and no game secure even if a team has scored over 50 points. Who can forget the day in 2014 when undefeated TCU led undefeated Baylor by 18 points in the fourth quarter and lost 61-58? You could have watched Alabama beat Arkansas 14-13 that day. Michigan beat Penn State 18-13.

2016 promises to be an interesting season in the Southwest. Oklahoma represented the league in the NCAA Playoffs, after two 11-1 teams failed to earn a spot the year before. The Sooners quickly bowed out in a semifinal loss to Clemson, but OU is loaded this season and in contention for the top overall spot.

The Sooners will not receive a free pass to the playoffs this year. Their schedule is tricky with a pre-conference matchups with Houston at NRG Stadium to start the season and Ohio State on September 17. Then following a bye week, OU has a road game with TCU, and the annual Red River Shootout with Texas the following Saturday. If Coach Bob Stoops can guide his squad to a 5-0 start, a 7-0 finish is very likely.

A group of four teams figure to be the main challengers to the Sooners, or in a probable case, a quartet fighting for a Sugar Bowl berth as the league runnerup. Oklahoma State, TCU, and Baylor figure to be on most pundits’ lists, but the PiRates believe that Coach Charlie Strong will bring the Texas Longhorns back to near the top of the standings this year and even give Oklahoma a run for its money. If he doesn’t, the UT alumni may be advertising for a new coach in 2017.

For the Longhorns, the season kicks off with a Sunday tilt at home against Notre Dame, and a win in the opener could give the burnt orange a shot in the arm. A road game against Oklahoma State precedes the fight with the Sooners at the Texas State Fair the following week, and pulling off back-to-back wins over their rivals to the north is most unlikely. Thus, we believe that Texas can win 10 games and vie for the Sugar Bowl bid, but they cannot win 11 or 12 and contend for a playoff spot.

TCU begins the season ranked ahead of Texas in our ratings and actually within shouting distance of Oklahoma, but the Horned Frogs have to rebuild on offense due to heavy losses, including their star quarterback, running back, and wideout. The defense is still solid, but they may be on the field for too many plays in crucial games. Road games at Baylor and Texas could eliminate any gain made by possibly upsetting Oklahoma ar Amon G. Carter Stadium.

Oklahoma State is flying a little under the radar to begin the season. The Cowboys were 10-0 last year, before losing to Baylor, Oklahoma, and Ole Miss to end the year at 10-3. Their offense could top 42 points per game this year with experience and depth returning, while the defense should be on par with last year’s defense. OSU wins games by outscoring opponents, so scores like 45-31 are frequent happenings, and this team can win double digit games again while giving up 30+ points per game.

Baylor faced a minor rebuilding project heading into this season, but off the field events have wounded the Bears enough to where second half of the season depth issues could cause a minor fold. We do not expect BU to contend for the Big 12 crown, and we would not be shocked if the losses began to mount beginning with a trip to Austin on October 29.

Kansas State, West Virginia, and Texas Tech represent the next wave. In most years, KSU plays one of the softest non-conference slates, guaranteeing themselves of three wins before taking the field, and thus needing just a 3-6 conference mark to earn a bowl bid. However, the Wildcats will begin the season 0-1 with a Friday night game at the Farm against Stanford. The likely 3-6 conference record will leave the guys from the Little Apple home for the holidays.

Texas Tech faces a similar situation. The Red Raiders are looking at 3-6 or even 2-7 in league play, as they must play Kansas State and Iowa State on the road. Playing at Arizona State in September could prevent TTU from going bowling as well.

West Virginia may actually be a tad weaker than the previous two teams, but the Mountaineers have the favorable schedule that could give them the three wins they need to pair with a 3-6 conference mark and finish 6-6.

Iowa State is not ready to compete for bowl eligibility this year, but the Cyclones are moving upwards slowly. They could even sneak into a tie for 7th if the ball bounces their way, but they should win more than one conference game this year.

Kansas still has basketball season to await. The Jayhawks are likely destined for yet another last place finish, but this year KU should at least win a game after finishing 0-12 in 2015. The season opener with Rhode Island is the only for sure winnable game, but the Jayhawks might be confident enough to pull off the mild upset over Ohio the following week. It looks like another 0-9 league mark for the Jayhawks, but then by the time they host Texas on November 19, all will be okay with the Rock Chalkers at Allen Fieldhouse.

Here is how the Big 12 Media predicted the 2016 order of finish.

2016 Big 12 Conference Media Poll
# Team 1st Pl. Total
1 Oklahoma 24 258
2 TCU 2 222
3 Oklahoma St. 0 202
4 Baylor 0 156
5 Texas 0 151
6 Texas Tech 0 141
7 West Virginia 0 126
8 Kansas St. 0 88
9 Iowa St. 0 59
10 Kansas 0 27

Here are the initial 2016 PiRate Ratings for the league.

Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 125.6 122.1 125.6 124.4
Oklahoma St. 117.5 118.8 117.5 117.9
Texas 114.4 118.0 114.4 115.6
TCU 113.3 115.6 113.2 114.0
Baylor 109.4 109.7 110.6 109.9
West Virginia 106.6 106.1 106.0 106.2
Kansas St. 103.1 107.5 102.5 104.4
Texas Tech 104.9 102.3 102.7 103.3
Iowa St. 99.8 99.2 98.7 99.2
Kansas 88.3 96.1 85.9 90.1

The PiRate Ratings are meant to be used only to predict the outcomes of the next week of games, and are not best used to predict beyond that point. Because we use algorithms that include automatic adjustments by each team based on depth and experience, two different teams can win by the exact score we predict, and their new ratings might change differently.

Thus, using our ratings to predict won-loss records and bowl projections is a bit comical, but then we all need some laughs every now and then. So, laugh away at our projected standings and bowls, and notice that this league will not provide the needed number to fill all of its obligations, thus benefiting other leagues like the Big Ten and Pac-12, who both may have extra bowl eligible teams this year.

Big 12 Conference Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Oklahoma 9-0 12-0 Playoffs/Fiesta
Oklahoma St. 7-2 10-2 Alamo
Texas 7-2 10-2 Sugar
TCU 6-3 9-3 Russell Athletic
Baylor 6-3 9-3 Texas
West Virginia 3-6 6-6 Liberty
Kansas St. 3-6 5-7  
Texas Tech 2-7 4-8  
Iowa St. 2-7 4-8  
Kansas 0-9 2-10

Coming Monday, August 22: The Pac-12 Conference with wide open races in both divisions.  Is there a surprise team ready to emerge as the new league beast, or is it more of the same old fare?

November 8, 2015

College Football Preview: November 10-14, 2015

The Week That Was–The Big Skakedown
It started last Tuesday with Northern Illinois knocking off unbeaten Toledo. Memphis, Michigan State, TCU, and LSU followed suit, and now it’s down to Clemson, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Ohio State, and Iowa. Five unbeaten teams remain, but at least two of the quintet must lose, because Ohio State and Iowa would meet in the Big Ten Championship Game if they won out, and Baylor and Oklahoma State must play in the regular season.

Does this mean that #1 Clemson’s path is clear and easy? No, because the Tigers may not be the best team in the ACC at the present time. North Carolina had a bump in the road in the opening week of the season, blowing a lead and losing to South Carolina to open the season. Since then, the Tar Heels have dominated on both sides of the ball. The most recent win, a blowout of rival Duke, moves UNC into the driver’s seat in the Coastal Division.

The schedule does not have as many great games this week, but there are many important ones. Not only are conference races still up for grabs, there are about 20 teams competing for the final six to eight bowl bids. As we believed last week, we continue to believe this week that only 79 teams will reach bowl eligibility. That means one 5-7 team will back into a bowl game. The rule states that if it comes down to 5-7 teams, the tiebreaker is the last football APR (academic progress rate) score. In case you were wondering, Nebraska is number one in line with a 985 score, followed by Vanderbilt (983), Army (981), Rutgers (980), Boston College (980), Georgia Tech (978), Virginia Tech (977), Washington (977), and Kansas St. (976) (teams already bowl eligible were not included in the APR rankings.)

Let’s break the conference races down and show you just how dysfunctional the race to the Playoffs could be.

Power Five Conferences

Atlantic Coast
Clemson sits pretty at 6-0/9-0 with little competition in their site in the regular season. However, North Carolina looks to be headed to an 8-0 finish. We believe that the Tar Heels have a better than 50-50 chance of beating Clemson and securing the automatic New Year’s Six Bowl Bid.

Notre Dame is included in the ACC write-up, since the Irish can receive an ACC bowl bid and even jump over an ACC team with one additional win. The Irish must close out the season at Stanford, and as of now, we believe the Cardinal will win a close one. At 10-2, Notre Dame would jump over everybody else in the ACC that isn’t automatically in a NY6 Bowl.

Florida State will look much better if the Seminoles edge Florida in three weeks, while Duke and Pittsburgh will decide who rates ahead of the other when they face off in Durham this week.

Miami, North Carolina State, and Louisville will go somewhere, while Virginia Tech still has a strong chance of getting a sixth win. Syracuse, Wake Forest, Boston College, Georgia Tech, and Virginia are out for now.

Big Ten
Ohio State and Iowa look like they are headed to an epic 12-0 vs. 12-0 battle in the Big Ten Championship Game, but those sneaky PiRates believe there is going to be a little fly in the Buckeye ointment. All season long, we have been looking at the upstart rival up north. Michigan may be repeating history from 1969. If you didn’t read our analogy from October, we compared this season to 1969, when defending national champion Ohio State entered the final game undefeated and ranked number one, while Michigan came into the game with two losses, one to a conference champion from another power conference, and one to Michigan State. In 1969, Michigan’s defense shut down Ohio State in the second half and pulled off a big upset at the Big House to win the Big Ten title. The PiRates believe history can and will repeat itself, and Michigan will win the East by upsetting Ohio State again.

Iowa must lost twice for Wisconsin to pass them in the standings, and the Hawkeyes close with Minnesota and Purdue at home and Nebraska on the road. The Hawkeyes might run the table, but we believe Michigan or Ohio State would beat them in the Big Ten Championship Game. Should Michigan State upset Ohio State and take the East Division flag, then Iowa might take the conference title and advance to the playoffs at 13-0. For now, we say Michigan over Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game. That would leave an Ohio State team at 11-1 probably as the number four seed in the playoffs.

Besides the five teams previously mentioned, Penn State and Northwestern are sure things for bowls. Indiana and Rutgers have the next two best chances to get to 6-6, while Illinois, Minnesota, and Nebraska have minor chances.

Big 12
TCU can still win the Big 12 Championship, but the Horned Frogs are out of the playoff picture. Oklahoma State and Baylor, remain undefeated, while Oklahoma sits a game back with one loss. Baylor still must play all three of the contenders consecutively, and we believe the Bears are going to lose at least one game and more likely two of the three.

Oklahoma cannot lose another game and win the league, and the Sooners close with the other three contenders, with Baylor and Oklahoma State coming on the road.

Oklahoma State has a winnable road game against Iowa State, and then the Cowboys close with home games against Baylor and Oklahoma. After OSU dismissed TCU, it looks like the boys from Stillwater have the best chance of running the table and entering the playoffs at 12-0.

There is quite a drop after the top four. We see three additional bowl eligible teams in West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Kansas State. As for Texas, the Longhorns are 4-5 with games at West Virginia, home against Texas Tech, and a finale at Baylor. It looks like 5-7 for the Longhorns, and 5-7 may not allow Coach Charlie Strong to keep his job.

Pac-12
This is an interesting race, and it may be so balanced at this point that no team emerges with just one loss. In the North, Stanford needs one more conference win to clinch the division. The Cardinal can do that this week against Oregon, but if the Ducks win, the race is still alive. The Ducks could then win the division by knocking off USC and Oregon State, if California beats Stanford.

Washington State can still tie for the division crown by winning at UCLA, home against Colorado, and at Washington, if Stanford loses to Oregon and Cal, and Oregon wins out. However, the Cougars have been eliminated from the Pac-12 Championship Game, because Oregon would edge WSU with a better intradivisional record.

California needs one more win to become bowl eligible, and the Bears should get that against Oregon State this week. Washington might finish 5-7 with losses at Arizona State and against Washington State, but the Huskies might be the one lucky 5-7 team to make it to a bowl thanks to their APR score.

The South Division title is still undecided with Utah holding a one game lead over USC and UCLA. The Trojans beat the Utes earlier this year, while Utah and UCLA have yet to play, and of course USC and UCLA have yet to play. Utah is not getting much respect, and the Utes are not totally out of the playoff race themselves. If they beat UCLA and then knock off Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game, a 12-1 Utah team could make a case, especially if USC continues to win.

Arizona State is a wounded team coming in with just one engine, but the Seminoles have the best shot of the rest of getting to 6-6.

Southeastern
Who is going to beat Alabama the rest of the way? The Crimson Tide are supposed to be headed for a trap game at Mississippi State this week, but the Bulldogs do not have enough talent to upset the Tide, unless ‘Bama gives them 14 points in turnovers like they did against Ole Miss.

Ole Miss played themselves out of the conference championship picture with the loss to Arkansas. Facemask penalties can be big. LSU could only win the West if they win out and Alabama loses. It may be even harder for the Tigers to win out than for someone else to beat Alabama.

The rest of this division will also be bowl eligible, an incredible seven out of seven. Because of this, a 12-1 Alabama team might deserve to be the overal number one seed regardless of who else goes undefeated.

Florida has already clinched the East Division, but the Gators might still lose two more games. A team that scores just nine points at home on Vanderbilt could easily lose at South Carolina or at home to Florida State, and they will lose to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

Tennessee was 3-4 two weeks ago, but the Volunteers should win out to finish 8-4 and take second in the division. Georgia has a tough finishing conference game at Auburn, but the Bulldogs finish with two sure things out of conference against Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. If they lose either one, then Mark Richt becomed unemployed.

Kentucky has now lost four games in a row to fall to 4-5, but the Wildcats’ next two games are winnable. This week’s game at Vanderbilt could be tough, but the Commodores’ offense is as weak as any Power Six Conference team, and a couple of scores could be all the Wildcats need to secure a win. The following week’s game against Charlotte should get the ‘Cats bowl eligible if they knock off the Commodores this week.

South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Missouri are out of the bowl race, and Missouri’s team could be looking at one or more forfeit losses to close the season due to racial tensions on the campus leading to a team walkout. Missouri’s proposed finishing schedule includes a game against BYU in Kansas City this weekend, followed by a home game against Tennessee and a road game against Arkansas.

Group of Five Conferences

American Athletic
Navy’s upset of Memphis ruined the big game for this week, when the Tigers go to Houston. Houston is still in control of the New Year’s Six Bowl that goes to the best Group of Five team, but the Cougars have three tough games to go. Besides needing to beat Memphis, they have to beat Navy and then Temple in the AAC Championship Game.

Don’t count out Navy just yet. The Midshipmen’s lone loss is to Notre Dame, and they did not look like the underdog pulling off a surprise in the win at Memphis. Navy could do the same thing to Houston and take the West Division flag.

Tulsa is not in contention in the West, but the Golden Hurricane needs just one more win to become bowl eligible. The season-ended against Tulane ought to give UT that win.

Temple has a two-game lead in the East Division, but they have a tough closing schedule. The Owls play at the hot South Florida Bulls this week, and USF is still alive in the division race. TU then finishes with home games against Memphis and Connecticut. We believe TU will win out and then win the Conference Championship Game to earn the New Year’s Six Bowl bid.

Besides USF, Cincinnati appears to be the only other team headed to bowl eligibility, as Connecticut and East Carolina don’t appear to have enough winnable games left.

Conference USA
Any chance that a C-USA team could make it to the New Year’s Six Bowl was lost when Marshall lost at Middle Tennessee this past weekend. Western Kentucky already had two losses, and even if the Hilltoppers win out, they will not jump over every AAC team.

The Middle Tennessee win virtually locked up a bowl bid for the Blue Raiders, while Old Dominion and Florida International still hold slim chances of making it to six wins.

In the West, Louisiana Tech looks invincible at this point, but Southern Miss. still has a shot. We believe the winner of that game will eventually emerge as the overall conference champion and have first dibs on which of seven contracted bowls they wish to accept, or in other words accepts the Bahamas Bowl.

Rice and UTEP still have even money odds’ chances of finishing 6-6.

Independents
BYU has already clinched a bowl, and they will be invited to either the Las Vegas or Hawaii Bowl.

Army already has seven losses, but if the Black Knights beat Tulane, Rutgers, and Navy, they could still earn a bowl bid with a superior APR score. We think West Point will lose an eighth, ninth, and tenth game, so it is a moot point.

Mid-American
Bowling Green is up two games with three to play in the East, and the Falcons would have to lose all three for Buffalo to surpass them. The Bulls need just one more win to become bowl eligible, and that should happen with a game against UMass on November 27, if not at Akron the week before.

Akron needs two more wins, and the Zips still have Miami of Ohio and Kent State on their schedule. Call it 6-6 for Terry Bowden’s crew, as Akron makes it to a bowl for the second time ever.

Ohio needs one more win to earn a bowl bid. The Bobcats were once a leading contender to win the division, but the season soured at the halfway point. Weak opponents in consecutive weeks against Kent State and Ball State should get Ohio to 7-5.

The West Division is a mess thanks to last week’s results. Western Michigan is now alone in first place at 5-0, but the Broncos have a killer finishing schedule against Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, and Toledo, the latter two on the road.

Toledo, Northern Illinois, and Central Michigan are in a three-way tie at 4-1. TU has a schedule the equal of WMU with games at CMU, at BGU, and at home against WMU. NIU has it a little easier with games at Buffalo, and home against WMU and Ohio. CMU closes with Toledo at home but their final two games are easy wins against Kent State and Eastern Michigan. The Chippewas were a consensus 5th place choice in the preseason, and first year coach John Bonamego will draw a lot of attention from bigger schools after spending most of his career coaching in the NFL.

Mountain West
It was supposed to be a slam dunk 13-0 season for Boise State, but the Broncos stumbled early against BYU and lost at Utah State. Still, BSU can win the Mountain Division with a closing schedule of New Mexico, Air Force, and San Jose State. The Broncos will not be the favored team in the conference championship game if they win the division title.

Air Force still controls its own destiny in the Mountain Division, and hiding in the bushes, New Mexico also controls its own destiny. Bob Davie’s Lobos may not win out and take the division flag, but UNM needs just one more win to earn their first bowl bid since 2007. Utah State needs help to win the division and appears headed to a 6-6 finish.

Colorado State must win two more games to get to six wins, and the Rams should do it by defeating UNLV and Fresno State. That would mean five of the six Mountain teams would earn a bowl bid.

The West Division is not so fortunate. Only San Diego State is assured of earning a bowl bid at this point, and the Aztecs appear to be the class of the entire league this year.

Nevada should finish 6-6, but there is no guarantee that the Wolfpack will win another game with San Jose State, Utah State, and San Diego State left to play. As for San Jose State, the Spartans are 4-5 after a close loss to BYU, and they close with Nevada, Hawaii, and Boise State. The winner of the Nevada-San Jose State game should finish 6-6, but that is not for sure.

Sun Belt
In a weeknight surprise, Arkansas State upset Appalachian State to take command in the SBC. The Red Wolves have three easy marks in their way to the SBC title in Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State, and Texas State. The fans in Jonesboro might be getting nervous, not because ASU could be upset, but because someone may come calling for Coach Blake Anderson.

Appalachian State will still go bowling this year, as will Georgia Southern and Louisiana-Lafayette.

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 129.6 127.4 129.5 128.8
2 Ohio St. 128.5 123.1 129.3 127.0
3 Baylor 127.8 124.0 128.1 126.6
4 Oklahoma 127.0 123.7 127.6 126.1
5 Stanford 124.2 122.3 124.6 123.7
6 Clemson 122.9 124.1 123.6 123.5
7 TCU 126.0 117.7 126.4 123.4
8 LSU 123.6 120.8 123.7 122.7
9 Notre Dame 123.1 120.2 123.1 122.1
10 USC 122.0 118.1 122.0 120.7
11 North Carolina 120.3 120.8 120.6 120.6
12 Utah 121.9 116.8 121.4 120.0
13 UCLA 122.2 116.2 120.8 119.7
14 Ole Miss 122.2 116.9 120.1 119.7
15 Tennessee 120.6 116.5 120.4 119.2
16 Oklahoma St. 119.2 116.6 119.8 118.5
17 Florida 119.4 116.0 119.4 118.3
18 Michigan 119.0 116.2 119.1 118.1
19 Arkansas 118.8 113.6 118.0 116.8
20 Mississippi St. 116.7 113.4 117.2 115.8
21 Auburn 116.0 113.6 115.4 115.0
22 Oregon 117.1 110.8 116.7 114.9
23 Georgia 117.2 110.7 116.1 114.7
24 Michigan St. 115.5 112.3 114.8 114.2
25 Florida St. 114.1 114.8 113.4 114.1
26 Texas A&M 115.6 112.1 113.4 113.7
27 California 115.1 109.4 114.2 112.9
28 Houston 109.9 115.9 112.1 112.6
29 Wisconsin 112.7 112.3 111.8 112.3
30 Iowa 110.7 112.9 111.3 111.6
31 Georgia Tech 112.7 110.3 111.3 111.4
32 Arizona St. 113.6 108.1 112.1 111.3
33 Boise St. 112.4 109.0 112.1 111.2
34 North Carolina St. 110.4 112.2 109.4 110.7
35 West Virginia 112.9 106.9 111.9 110.6
36 Bowling Green 107.8 112.8 110.9 110.5
37 Virginia Tech 110.2 109.9 110.0 110.0
38 Temple 108.8 110.9 109.5 109.7
39 Washington 110.1 107.1 110.4 109.2
40 Louisville 107.5 110.2 107.3 108.3
41 Nebraska 108.4 106.6 107.6 107.5
42 Pittsburgh 106.8 107.3 107.4 107.2
43 Memphis 106.5 107.4 107.1 107.0
44 Missouri 108.4 104.8 107.3 106.8
45 South Carolina 108.3 104.8 106.8 106.6
46 Cincinnati 105.3 107.2 107.1 106.5
47 Penn St. 106.5 106.7 106.3 106.5
48 Washington St. 107.4 103.8 107.7 106.3
49 Duke 106.1 106.3 106.2 106.2
50 BYU 106.2 105.6 106.8 106.2
51 Navy 104.6 108.1 105.4 106.0
52 Western Kentucky 105.6 105.7 106.6 106.0
53 San Diego St. 104.0 108.4 105.5 106.0
54 Arizona 107.3 101.9 106.5 105.2
55 Miami 104.2 104.7 105.1 104.7
56 Illinois 105.4 103.9 104.5 104.6
57 Minnesota 105.2 103.5 104.5 104.4
58 Texas Tech 107.1 98.9 106.7 104.2
59 Northwestern 104.1 104.3 103.9 104.1
60 Toledo 103.2 104.2 104.7 104.0
61 Texas 105.0 101.7 105.0 103.9
62 Louisiana Tech 103.4 103.6 104.5 103.8
63 Western Michigan 102.3 103.2 103.7 103.1
64 Kansas St. 106.1 96.3 105.3 102.6
65 Colorado 104.7 99.6 102.4 102.2
66 Virginia 101.6 99.7 101.3 100.9
67 Kentucky 102.5 98.0 100.7 100.4
68 Vanderbilt 101.5 97.7 101.7 100.3
69 Utah St. 99.5 99.8 99.5 99.6
70 Boston College 99.2 102.0 97.6 99.6
71 Northern Illinois 97.0 100.9 97.9 98.6
72 Iowa St. 99.6 95.9 99.4 98.3
73 Appalachian St. 96.4 99.3 98.2 98.0
74 Air Force 96.6 100.8 96.0 97.8
75 Georgia Southern 95.9 98.7 96.8 97.1
76 Indiana 96.5 96.5 95.8 96.3
77 Wake Forest 95.2 98.5 94.5 96.1
78 Marshall 95.4 96.3 95.6 95.8
79 South Florida 93.3 99.1 94.4 95.6
80 Purdue 96.4 95.3 94.9 95.5
81 Maryland 95.0 94.1 94.9 94.7
82 East Carolina 92.6 96.2 93.1 94.0
83 Syracuse 93.3 95.7 92.2 93.7
84 Rutgers 94.7 91.4 92.7 92.9
85 Arkansas St. 92.1 93.2 93.3 92.9
86 Middle Tennessee 93.3 92.3 92.9 92.8
87 Central Michigan 90.7 95.0 92.8 92.8
88 Southern Mississippi 91.7 93.8 92.5 92.7
89 San Jose St. 91.7 94.4 91.9 92.7
90 Colorado St. 92.7 92.0 91.9 92.2
91 Tulsa 90.2 94.5 91.2 92.0
92 Connecticut 88.8 93.7 90.0 90.8
93 Florida International 89.8 92.2 89.9 90.6
94 Nevada 89.1 93.0 88.9 90.3
95 New Mexico 89.0 90.0 88.2 89.1
96 Oregon St. 90.4 87.1 88.2 88.6
97 Ohio 85.7 89.8 87.0 87.5
98 Buffalo 83.2 89.3 85.0 85.8
99 Tulane 85.2 87.4 84.4 85.7
100 Akron 83.2 88.9 84.7 85.6
101 UNLV 84.0 86.5 85.4 85.3
102 Massachusetts 84.1 86.9 84.8 85.3
103 SMU 83.9 87.8 83.5 85.1
104 Troy 83.7 85.1 85.2 84.7
105 UL-Lafayette 83.5 86.2 83.8 84.5
106 Rice 82.8 85.9 82.7 83.8
107 Florida Atlantic 82.3 85.4 83.1 83.6
108 Hawaii 82.0 83.7 80.9 82.2
109 Army 77.9 86.7 79.4 81.3
110 Ball St. 80.4 82.6 81.0 81.3
111 Fresno St. 80.1 83.6 78.1 80.6
112 Kent St. 79.5 82.2 80.1 80.6
113 Wyoming 80.1 81.6 78.9 80.2
114 Central Florida 79.1 82.1 79.4 80.2
115 UT-San Antonio 78.8 81.3 79.2 79.8
116 UTEP 77.1 79.8 77.0 78.0
117 Georgia St. 77.3 77.5 78.0 77.6
118 Old Dominion 76.3 80.7 75.7 77.6
119 Texas St. 76.6 79.8 76.2 77.5
120 South Alabama 74.8 80.9 75.9 77.2
121 Miami (O) 74.1 79.0 74.7 75.9
122 Idaho 73.0 78.3 74.1 75.1
123 North Texas 72.6 76.6 72.7 74.0
124 Kansas 75.7 69.3 73.4 72.8
125 UL-Monroe 73.2 72.1 73.2 72.8
126 Eastern Michigan 70.7 76.9 70.0 72.5
127 New Mexico St. 71.6 73.3 71.7 72.2
128 Charlotte 68.4 70.6 68.5 69.2

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

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 115.7 111.9 115.0 114.2
2 Pac-12 113.0 108.4 112.3 111.2
3 Big 12 110.6 105.1 110.4 108.7
4 ACC 107.5 108.3 107.1 107.6
5 Big Ten 107.0 105.7 106.5 106.4
6 Indep. 102.4 104.2 103.1 103.2
7 AAC 95.7 99.2 96.4 97.1
8 MWC 91.8 93.6 91.4 92.3
9 MAC 87.8 91.7 89.0 89.5
10 CUSA 86.0 88.0 86.2 86.7
11 SBC 81.6 84.0 82.4 82.7

American Athletic Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Temple 5-0 8-1 108.8 110.9 109.5 109.7
Cincinnati 2-3 5-4 105.3 107.2 107.1 106.5
South Florida 3-2 5-4 93.3 99.1 94.4 95.6
East Carolina 2-4 4-6 92.6 96.2 93.1 94.0
Connecticut 3-3 5-5 88.8 93.7 90.0 90.8
Central Florida 0-6 0-10 79.1 82.1 79.4 80.2
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Houston 5-0 9-0 109.9 115.9 112.1 112.6
Memphis 4-1 8-1 106.5 107.4 107.1 107.0
Navy 5-0 7-1 104.6 108.1 105.4 106.0
Tulsa 2-3 5-4 90.2 94.5 91.2 92.0
Tulane 1-5 2-7 85.2 87.4 84.4 85.7
SMU 0-5 1-8 83.9 87.8 83.5 85.1
             
AAC Averages     95.7 99.2 96.4 97.1
             
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 6-0 9-0 122.9 124.1 123.6 123.5
Florida St. 5-2 7-2 114.1 114.8 113.4 114.1
North Carolina St. 2-3 6-3 110.4 112.2 109.4 110.7
Louisville 4-2 5-4 107.5 110.2 107.3 108.3
Boston College 0-7 3-7 99.2 102.0 97.6 99.6
Wake Forest 1-5 3-6 95.2 98.5 94.5 96.1
Syracuse 1-4 3-6 93.3 95.7 92.2 93.7
             
Coastal Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
North Carolina 5-0 8-1 120.3 120.8 120.6 120.6
Georgia Tech 1-5 3-6 112.7 110.3 111.3 111.4
Virginia Tech 2-3 4-5 110.2 109.9 110.0 110.0
Pittsburgh 4-1 6-3 106.8 107.3 107.4 107.2
Duke 3-2 6-3 106.1 106.3 106.2 106.2
Miami 3-2 6-3 104.2 104.7 105.1 104.7
Virginia 2-3 3-6 101.6 99.7 101.3 100.9
             
ACC Averages     107.5 108.3 107.1 107.6
             
Big 12 Conference
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Baylor 5-0 8-0 127.8 124.0 128.1 126.6
Oklahoma 5-1 8-1 127.0 123.7 127.6 126.1
TCU 5-1 8-1 126.0 117.7 126.4 123.4
Oklahoma St. 6-0 9-0 119.2 116.6 119.8 118.5
West Virginia 1-4 4-4 112.9 106.9 111.9 110.6
Texas Tech 2-5 5-5 107.1 98.9 106.7 104.2
Texas 3-3 4-5 105.0 101.7 105.0 103.9
Kansas St. 0-5 3-5 106.1 96.3 105.3 102.6
Iowa St. 2-4 3-6 99.6 95.9 99.4 98.3
Kansas 0-6 0-9 75.7 69.3 73.4 72.8
             
Big 12 Averages     110.6 105.1 110.4 108.7
             
Big Ten Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 5-0 9-0 128.5 123.1 129.3 127.0
Michigan 4-1 7-2 119.0 116.2 119.1 118.1
Michigan St. 4-1 8-1 115.5 112.3 114.8 114.2
Penn St. 4-2 7-3 106.5 106.7 106.3 106.5
Indiana 0-5 4-5 96.5 96.5 95.8 96.3
Maryland 0-5 2-7 95.0 94.1 94.9 94.7
Rutgers 1-5 3-6 94.7 91.4 92.7 92.9
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Wisconsin 5-1 8-2 112.7 112.3 111.8 112.3
Iowa 5-0 9-0 110.7 112.9 111.3 111.6
Nebraska 2-4 4-6 108.4 106.6 107.6 107.5
Illinois 2-3 5-4 105.4 103.9 104.5 104.6
Minnesota 1-4 4-5 105.2 103.5 104.5 104.4
Northwestern 3-2 7-2 104.1 104.3 103.9 104.1
Purdue 1-4 2-7 96.4 95.3 94.9 95.5
             
Big Ten Averages     107.0 105.7 106.5 106.4
             
Conference USA
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Kentucky 6-0 8-2 105.6 105.7 106.6 106.0
Marshall 5-1 8-2 95.4 96.3 95.6 95.8
Middle Tennessee 3-2 4-5 93.3 92.3 92.9 92.8
Florida International 3-3 5-5 89.8 92.2 89.9 90.6
Florida Atlantic 2-4 2-7 82.3 85.4 83.1 83.6
Old Dominion 2-3 4-5 76.3 80.7 75.7 77.6
Charlotte 0-6 2-7 68.4 70.6 68.5 69.2
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Louisiana Tech 5-1 7-3 103.4 103.6 104.5 103.8
Southern Mississippi 4-1 6-3 91.7 93.8 92.5 92.7
Rice 2-3 4-5 82.8 85.9 82.7 83.8
UT-San Antonio 1-4 1-8 78.8 81.3 79.2 79.8
UTEP 2-3 4-5 77.1 79.8 77.0 78.0
North Texas 1-5 1-8 72.6 76.6 72.7 74.0
             
CUSA Averages     86.0 88.0 86.2 86.7
             
FBS Independents
Team   Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame   8-1 123.1 120.2 123.1 122.1
BYU   7-2 106.2 105.6 106.8 106.2
Army   2-7 77.9 86.7 79.4 81.3
             
Independents Averages     102.4 104.2 103.1 103.2
             
Mid-American Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Bowling Green 5-0 7-2 107.8 112.8 110.9 110.5
Ohio 2-3 5-4 85.7 89.8 87.0 87.5
Buffalo 3-2 5-4 83.2 89.3 85.0 85.8
Akron 2-3 4-5 83.2 88.9 84.7 85.6
Massachusetts 0-5 1-8 84.1 86.9 84.8 85.3
Kent St. 2-3 3-6 79.5 82.2 80.1 80.6
Miami (O) 1-5 2-8 74.1 79.0 74.7 75.9
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Toledo 4-1 7-1 103.2 104.2 104.7 104.0
Western Michigan 5-0 6-3 102.3 103.2 103.7 103.1
Northern Illinois 4-1 6-3 97.0 100.9 97.9 98.6
Central Michigan 4-1 5-4 90.7 95.0 92.8 92.8
Ball St. 2-4 3-7 80.4 82.6 81.0 81.3
Eastern Michigan 0-6 1-9 70.7 76.9 70.0 72.5
             
MAC Averages     87.8 91.7 89.0 89.5
             
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 4-1 7-2 112.4 109.0 112.1 111.2
Utah St. 4-2 5-4 99.5 99.8 99.5 99.6
Air Force 4-1 6-3 96.6 100.8 96.0 97.8
Colorado St. 2-3 4-5 92.7 92.0 91.9 92.2
New Mexico 3-2 5-4 89.0 90.0 88.2 89.1
Wyoming 1-5 1-9 80.1 81.6 78.9 80.2
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 5-0 6-3 104.0 108.4 105.5 106.0
San Jose St. 3-2 4-5 91.7 94.4 91.9 92.7
Nevada 3-2 5-4 89.1 93.0 88.9 90.3
UNLV 2-3 3-6 84.0 86.5 85.4 85.3
Hawaii 0-6 2-8 82.0 83.7 80.9 82.2
Fresno St. 1-5 2-7 80.1 83.6 78.1 80.6
             
MWC Averages     91.8 93.6 91.4 92.3
             
Pac-12 Conference
North Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Stanford 7-0 8-1 124.2 122.3 124.6 123.7
Oregon 4-2 6-3 117.1 110.8 116.7 114.9
California 2-4 5-4 115.1 109.4 114.2 112.9
Washington 2-4 4-5 110.1 107.1 110.4 109.2
Washington St. 4-2 6-3 107.4 103.8 107.7 106.3
Oregon St. 0-6 2-7 90.4 87.1 88.2 88.6
             
South Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
USC 4-2 6-3 122.0 118.1 122.0 120.7
Utah 5-1 8-1 121.9 116.8 121.4 120.0
UCLA 4-2 7-2 122.2 116.2 120.8 119.7
Arizona St. 2-4 4-5 113.6 108.1 112.1 111.3
Arizona 2-5 5-5 107.3 101.9 106.5 105.2
Colorado 1-5 4-6 104.7 99.6 102.4 102.2
             
Pac-12 Averages     113.0 108.4 112.3 111.2
             
Southeastern Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Tennessee 3-3 5-4 120.6 116.5 120.4 119.2
Florida 6-1 8-1 119.4 116.0 119.4 118.3
Georgia 4-3 6-3 117.2 110.7 116.1 114.7
Missouri 1-5 4-5 108.4 104.8 107.3 106.8
South Carolina 1-6 3-6 108.3 104.8 106.8 106.6
Kentucky 2-5 4-5 102.5 98.0 100.7 100.4
Vanderbilt 1-4 3-6 101.5 97.7 101.7 100.3
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 5-1 8-1 129.6 127.4 129.5 128.8
LSU 4-1 7-1 123.6 120.8 123.7 122.7
Ole Miss 4-2 7-3 122.2 116.9 120.1 119.7
Arkansas 3-2 5-4 118.8 113.6 118.0 116.8
Mississippi St. 3-2 7-2 116.7 113.4 117.2 115.8
Auburn 2-4 5-4 116.0 113.6 115.4 115.0
Texas A&M 3-3 6-3 115.6 112.1 113.4 113.7
             
SEC Averages     115.7 111.9 115.0 114.2
             
Sunbelt Conference
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 4-1 7-2 96.4 99.3 98.2 98.0
Georgia Southern 4-1 6-2 95.9 98.7 96.8 97.1
Arkansas St. 5-0 6-3 92.1 93.2 93.3 92.9
Troy 2-3 3-6 83.7 85.1 85.2 84.7
UL-Lafayette 3-1 4-4 83.5 86.2 83.8 84.5
Georgia St. 1-3 2-6 77.3 77.5 78.0 77.6
Texas St. 1-3 2-6 76.6 79.8 76.2 77.5
South Alabama 2-2 4-4 74.8 80.9 75.9 77.2
Idaho 2-4 3-6 73.0 78.3 74.1 75.1
UL-Monroe 0-5 1-8 73.2 72.1 73.2 72.8
New Mexico St. 2-3 2-7 71.6 73.3 71.7 72.2
             
Sun Belt Averages     81.6 84.0 82.4 82.7

NCAA Playoff Projections
1 Clemson
2 Alabama
3 Ohio St.
4 Notre Dame

Group of 5 Contenders For Automatic New Year’s Six Bowl Bid
# Team      
1 Houston      
2 Navy      
3 Temple      
4 Memphis      
5 Boise St.      

Power 5 Conferences Bottom 10
# Team  
10 Boston College  
9 Iowa St.  
8 Indiana  
7 Wake Forest  
6 Purdue  
5 Maryland  
4 Syracuse  
3 Rutgers  
2 Oregon St.  
1 Kansas  

FCS Top 10
# Team PiRate
1 Jacksonville St. 96.9
2 Harvard 94.2
3 North Dakota St. 91.9
4 McNeese St. 91.7
5 Dartmouth 91.5
6 Dayton 91.3
7 Charleston Southern 90.2
8 South Dakota St. 90.0
9 Illinois St. 89.6
10 Coastal Carolina 89.6

This Week’s Games
         
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Tuesday, November 10        
Ohio Kent St. 8.7 10.1 9.4
Central Michigan Toledo -10.0 -6.7 9.4
         
Wednesday, November 11        
Buffalo Northern Illinois -10.8 -8.6 -9.9
Western Michigan Bowling Green -2.5 -6.6 -4.2
         
Thursday, November 12        
South Alabama Louisiana-Lafayette -6.2 -2.8 -5.4
Georgia Tech Virginia Tech 5.5 3.4 4.3
         
Friday, November 13        
Colorado USC -14.3 -15.5 -16.6
         
Saturday, November 14        
Duke Pittsburgh 1.8 1.5 1.3
Auburn Georgia 1.8 5.9 2.3
South Carolina Florida -8.1 -8.2 -9.6
Tennessee North Texas 51.0 42.9 50.7
Army Tulane -4.3 2.3 -2.0
West Virginia Texas 10.9 8.2 9.9
Illinois Ohio St. -20.1 -16.2 -21.8
TCU Kansas 53.3 51.4 56.0
Michigan St. Maryland 23.5 21.2 22.9
Northwestern Purdue 10.2 11.5 11.5
Florida Atlantic Middle Tennessee -8.5 -4.4 -7.3
Miami (O) Akron -7.1 -7.9 -8.0
Old Dominion UTEP 2.2 3.9 1.7
Florida St. North Carolina St. 6.7 5.6 7.0
Louisville Virginia 8.9 13.5 9.0
Charlotte UTSA -7.9 -8.2 -8.2
Air Force Utah St. 0.1 4.0 -0.5
Eastern Michigan Massachusetts -11.4 -8.0 -12.8
Louisana-Monroe Arkansas St. -16.4 -18.6 -17.6
Arizona St. Washington 6.5 4.0 4.7
North Carolina Miami (Fla.) 19.1 19.1 18.5
Notre Dame Wake Forest 30.9 24.7 31.6
Syracuse Clemson -26.6 -25.4 -28.4
Mississippi St. Alabama -9.9 -11 -9.3
Iowa St. Oklahoma St. -16.6 -17.7 -17.4
Marshall Florida Int’l. 8.6 7.1 8.7
Rutgers Nebraska -11.2 -12.7 -12.4
Texas Tech Kansas St. 4.0 5.6 4.4
Indiana Michigan -19.5 -16.7 -20.3
Troy Georgia Southern -9.7 -11.1 -9.1
Rice Southern Miss. -6.4 -5.4 -7.3
Navy SMU 23.7 23.3 24.9
Nevada San Jose St. -0.1 1.1 -0.5
Texas St. Georgia St. 1.8 4.8 0.7
Vanderbilt Kentucky 1.0 1.7 3.0
Idaho Appalachian St. -20.4 -18.0 -21.1
South Florida Temple -12.5 -8.8 -12.1
Colorado St. UNLV 11.7 8.5 9.5
Houston Memphis 6.4 11.5 8.0
LSU Arkansas 7.8 10.2 8.7
Stanford Oregon 10.1 14.5 10.9
Missouri * BYU [3.2] [0.2] [1.5]
Cincinnati Tulsa 18.1 15.7 18.9
Baylor Oklahoma 3.8 3.3 3.5
Iowa Minnesota 8.5 12.4 9.8
Arizona Utah -11.6 -11.9 -11.9
Boise St. New Mexico 26.4 22.0 26.9
San Diego St. Wyoming 26.9 29.8 29.6
California Oregon St. 27.7 25.3 29.0
UCLA Washington St. 17.8 15.4 16.1
Hawaii Fresno St. 5.9 4.1 6.8
         
FBS vs. FCS Week 11 PiRate    
Texas A&M Western Carolina 29    
         
* Ongoing Strike of Missouri Football Team May Force Forfeiture Of This Game In Kansas City

Bowl Conferences Team vs. Team
Cure AAC SBC Cincinnati vs. Appalachian St.
New Mexico MWC CUSA New Mexico vs. Rice
Las Vegas Pac-12 MWC/BYU Washington St. vs. San Diego St.
Camellia MAC SBC Western Michigan vs. Georgia Southern
New Orleans CUSA SBC Southern Miss. vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Miami Beach AAC CUSA South Florida vs. Western Kentucky
Idaho Potato MAC MWC Central Michigan vs. Utah St.
Boca Raton AAC MAC Washington * ^ vs. Northern Illinois
Poinsettia MWC Army Boise St. vs. California *
GoDaddy MAC SBC Bowling Green vs. Arkansas St.
Bahamas CUSA MAC Louisiana Tech vs. Toledo
Hawaii AAC MWC/BYU Tulsa vs. BYU
St. Petersburg AAC CUSA Houston vs. Marshall
Sun ACC Pac-12 Pittsburgh vs. Oregon
Heart of Dallas Big 12 CUSA Akron * vs. UTEP
Pinstripe ACC Big Ten North Carolina St. vs. Rutgers
Independence SEC ACC Arkansas vs. Miami (Fla)
Foster Farms Big Ten Pac-12 Indiana vs. UCLA
Military ACC AAC Navy vs. Virginia Tech
Quick Lane ACC Big Ten Ohio * vs. Nevada *
Armed Forces Big Ten MWC Buffalo * vs. Air Force
Russell Athletic ACC Big 12 Florida St. vs. Oklahoma
Arizona CUSA MWC Middle Tennessee vs. Colorado St.
Texas Big 12 SEC Texas Tech vs. Texas A&M
Birmingham AAC SEC Memphis vs. Kentucky
Belk ACC SEC Duke vs. Auburn
Music City ACC/Big Ten SEC Penn St. vs. Georgia
Peach N. Y. 6 N. Y. 6 North Carolina vs. Michigan
Cotton Playoff Playoff Oklahoma St. vs. Stanford
Orange Playoff Playoff Alabama vs. Ohio St.
Holiday Big Ten Pac-12 Northwestern vs. USC
Ouback Big Ten SEC Wisconsin vs. Tennessee
Citrus Big Ten SEC Michigan St. vs. Florida
Sugar Big 12 SEC Baylor vs. LSU
Rose Big Ten Pac-12 Iowa vs. Notre Dame
Fiesta N. Y. 6 N. Y. 6 Clemson vs. Temple
TaxSlayer ACC/Big Ten SEC Louisville vs. Mississippi St.
Liberty Big 12 SEC West Virginia vs. Ole Miss
Alamo Big 12 Pac-12 TCU vs. Utah
Cactus Big 12 Pac-12 Kansas St. vs. Arizona St.
Nat’l Champ. Semifinal Winners Stanford vs. Alabama
           
* = At-large selection due to contracted conference not having an eligible team for this slot
^ = Washington qualifies for a bowl at 5-7 with highest APR score of 5-7 teams

October 26, 2015

College Football Preview: October 27-31, 2015

Conference Races Enter Crunch Time
There is just one more week of games until the autumn winds of November descend on the football world. At this point, there are very few teams that can be considered locks for winning a conference championship. All of the Power 5 Conference races are very much undecided at this point, and two of the Group of 5 Conferences still contend for that one guaranteed New Year’s 6 Bowl Bid.

Here is our conference by conference breakdown this week.

American Athletic
At this point of the season, a legitimate argument could be made that this league should be included in what would become the Power 6 Conferences. Houston, Memphis, and Temple are still undefeated, Temple owns a win over Penn State. Houston won at Louisville, and Memphis has wins over Ole Miss and at Bowling Green, while Navy is once beaten at Notre Dame. South Florida, Cincinnati, Tulsa, and East Carolina give this league eight quality teams.
If an AAC team runs the table, that team will be headed to the Fiesta Bowl, unless something really odd happens with the Power 6 teams all losing twice. Then, it is possible that a Memphis could sneak into the playoffs with a 13-0 record, if Ole Miss were to win the SEC Championship.

Bowl Guarantees: 7
Estimated Bowl Eigible: 8
If an AAC team secures a New Year’s 6 Bowl, then there will be 8 spots for 8 teams.

Atlantic Coast
The good news is that Clemson chose to play their best game on national television Saturday. The bad news is that Florida State lost, making a CU win over FSU not as sexy as it could have been. However, if Clemson runs the table, there is no way they will miss out on a playoff spot with a win over Notre Dame. The Tigers are in a trap situation with their game this week at North Carolina State. The Wolf Pack catch the Tigers possibly looking ahead to the big game with FSU next week, and they are talented enough to surprise.

Don’t count out the Seminoles just yet. Florida State still controls their own destiny in the ACC Atlantic Division, and a win over Clemson would put them back on top.

In the Coastal Division, it is a three-team race, and it could end in a three-way tie. Pittsburgh hosts North Carolina this week, but the Panthers must play at Duke on November 14, after playing Notre Dame the week before. North Carolina hosts Duke on November 7, so the next three weeks will decide this division or force a tiebreaker.

Bowl Guarantees: 9
Estimated Bowl Eligible: 9 (includes Notre Dame)

Big 12
Baylor suffered a catastrophic loss when the Bears lost starting quarterback Seth Russell for the season due to broken bones in his neck. True freshman Jarrett Stidham will have to face the meat of the schedule, as BU still must play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and TCU in successive weeks, the latter two on the road.

TCU’s defense is not championship quality, and the Horned Frogs still must play at both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State prior to hosting Baylor. We believe TCU will lose to at least one of the Oklahoma teams.

Oklahoma State joins Iowa as an undefeated team that is not getting much respect. With events overshadowing the game Saturday, the Cowboys did not get much credit for improving to 7-0. OSU has the easiest schedule of the contenders, with TCU, Baylor, and Oklahoma all coming to Stillwater. We cannot call for the Cowboys to run the table, but of the three undfeated teams, they have the best shot.

Oklahoma is the spoiler here. The Sooners finish at Baylor, home against TCU, and at Oklahoma State, and they might lose all three, but we believe they will upset one of the three.

Because Kansas should finish 0-9 in the league, and Iowa State 1-8, the other teams in the league should all sneak into bowl eligibility.

Bowl Guarantees: 8
Estimated Bowl Eligible: 7
Two league teams are expected to earn New Year’s 6 Bowl bids, so there will be 8 spots for 8 teams.

Big Ten
After several somewhat close calls for Ohio State, the Buckeyes appear to be putting it all together in time for the stretch run. Putting J. T. Barrett in control of the offense seems to have given the Buckeyes the shot in the arm they need to dominate once again.

Michigan State and Michigan still hold hopes of winning the East Division title. However, Michigan State’s training tables look like MASH units with too many injuries, and Michigan has to get over that awful finish two weeks ago.

In the West, Iowa looks like a team with an outstanding chance to run the table and enter the Big Ten Championship game at 12-0. With Nebraska down and most likely headed to a losing record, a road game at Indiana is the only other possible bump in the road. The Hawkeyes already own wins over Wisconsin and Northwestern.

Bowl Guarantees: 9
Estimated Bowl Eligible: 9

Conference USA
Western Kentucky looks like the team to beat in the league this year, but the Hilltoppers have three key challengers. Marshall would love to ruin WKU’s championship hopes, after the Thundering Herd’s undefeated season came crashing down in game 12 due to the Hilltoppers. A road game against Florida International one week prior to the Marshall game could also be a tricky one.

In the West, the title should be decided this Saturday when Louisiana Tech visits Rice. Southern Mississippi still has a shot, but the Golden Eagles must face the other two contenders on the road.

Bowl Guarantees: 7
Estimated Bowl Eligible: 8
Old Dominion looks like a 6-6 team that will receive an at-large bowl invitation. As of today, we only see 80 teams reaching bowl eligibility, so even a 6-6 Monarchs team will go bowling.

Independents
Notre Dame is really an ACC team playing just six conference games instead of eight and having no opportunity to play in the conference championship game. The Irish will get the top ACC spot after Clemson, if CU makes the playoffs.

BYU is already bowl eligible, and there are two bowls that have agreements with the Cougars. Whichever bowl BYU gets, the Mountain West Conference takes the other bowl.

Army has a bowl agreement to the Poinsettia bowl, but the Black Knights will not be bowl eligible this year.

Mid-American
Bowling Green has become scary in recent weeks. Their 48-0 shellacking of Kent State on the road on Saturday is a lot more impressive than it looks, as the Golden Flashes’ defense had held Minnesota to just 10 points. BGU now has a two-game lead over the remaining East Division contenders and appear to have locked up a spot in the MAC Championship Game.

Toledo is still undefeated with wins at Arkansas and at home against Iowa State. However, the Rockets are far from a lock to win the division title. UT’s four remaining games are all against teams capable of beating them. They close with Northern Illinois, Central Michigan on the road, Bowling Green on the road, and Western Michigan. WMU is still undefeated in conference play, and the Broncos have a slightly easier schedule prior to the meeting with UT on Black Friday.

Bowl Guarantees: 5
Estimated Bowl Eligible: 6
Ohio U looks like the odd team out, and the Bobcats will get an at-large bid to a nice warm locale, unless they get exiled to Boise, Idaho.

Mountain West
Boise State is not in control of their own destiny to win the Mountain Division this year. The loss to Utah State put the Aggies in the driver’s seat, but USU still has a couple landmines in their way, namely at San Diego State this week and at Air Force.

Air Force and Colorado State have a little more work to do to get to six wins, but their schedules are in their favor, while New Mexico needs to finish 2-2 to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2007. The Lobos have to finish with Utah State, Boise State, Colorado State, and Air Force, so it looks like a near miss for Coach Bob Davie.

In the West Division, it is San Diego State’s race to lose. The Aztecs have a two-game lead in the loss column with a win over San Jose State. Nevada is on the edge of whether or not they will reach bowl eligibility, while Fresno State is out of the picture this year. UNLV is 2-5 with Boise State and San Diego State still to play, so it looks like just two West Division teams will be bowl eligible.

Bowl Guarantees: 6
Estimated Bowl Eligible: 6

Pac-12
Utah’s playoff hopes went bye-bye at the Coliseum Saturday night at the Coliseum. The Utes still have a one-game lead over USC, UCLA, and Arizona State, but that lead is not safe. Their remaining schedule includes road games at Washington and Arizona and a home game with UCLA. Another loss is not just possible, it is highly probable.

Before the season began, it was also highly probable that Stanford would be competing with one rival for the North Division title at this point in the season. However, that other team is not Oregon. Who could have imagined that the team the Cardinal would have to beat to secure the division flag would be Washington State?

Yes, the Pirate (not PiRate), Mike Leach, has the Cougars poised to play for first place in the Pac-12 North this week. The game is in Pullman, so WSU will have a much better chance at pulling off the upset and closing the book on this league’s chances to secure a playoff spot. If Stanford wins, then the Cardinal could win out and earn a playoff bid.

Bowl Guarantees: 7
Estimated Bowl Eligible: 9
We expect Arizona and California to be the odd teams out, but the Wildcats and Bears will be the first two choices of the bowls looking for at-large teams.

Southeastern
The SEC is in a precarious position to miss out on the playoffs if Ole Miss or Florida win the conference championship and Alabama loses another game this year. It might be the best thing for those wanting an 8-team playoff, because the winner of the toughest league must be one of the best teams in the land.

Ole Miss is by no means in the driver’s seat in the West. The Rebels still must face LSU and Mississippi State. Oh, and LSU is only 7-0 with the Heisman Trophy favorite in the backfield.

LSU has a little problem, The Tigers do not have a competent passing game, something that has brought prior championship attempts crashing to the ground, namely at the hand of their nemesis. Alabama has a strong enough defense to stack the box to stop Leonard Fournette and force Tiger quarterback Brandon Harris to beat the Tide with his arm. It didn’t work in both games against Alabama during that famous 2011 season.

At the bottom of the league, Arkansas and Auburn are still scratching and clawing their way to get to six wins. We say both find a way to get it done, and that means all seven West teams will make it to a bowl.

The East Division is just as competitive, but it is competitive through mediocrity and not strength. Florida leads with a 4-1 league mark, but they are missing the quarterback that went 4-0 and must get by with the quarterback that is 0-1. The Gators play Georgia in Jacksonville this week, and the Bulldogs are limping at this moment having lost two games in a row since Nick Chubb went down.

Should Georgia win the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party game this week, it throws the East Race wide open. The Bulldogs could easily lose to Kentuky or Auburn or both, and the Gators could limp home with a loss to South Carolina or even Vanderbilt.

Tennessee and Kentucky face off in Lexington this week, and the winner of that game could be back in the race if Georgia beats Florida. Vanderbilt is just 1-3, after Coach Derek Mason finally won an SEC game, and even the Commodores are not completely out of the East Division race. If Florida starts to fold and does lose to Georgia, Vanderbilt could catch the Gators licking their wounds like in 2013.

If Florida wins this week, then all excitement in this division is gone.

Bowl Guarantees: 10
Estimated Bowl Eligible: 11
As of today, we have Alabama slotted to win out and earn a playoff spot, and we have Florida and LSU picked to play in New Year’s 6 bowls. That would leave just 8 bowl eligible teams for the remaining 9 bowls, opening a spot for an at-large team.

Sunbelt
This race appears to be over after Appalachian State clobbered Georgia Southern. The Mountaineers should win out to finish 8-0 in the league and 11-1 overall, their only loss at Clemson.

Georgia Southern and Arkansas State have no worries, as these two will win 8 or 9 games. UL-Lafayette and South Alabama have work to do to make it to 6-6, but easy schedules should allow both to get to .500 and earn a 13th game. Because both schools are local favorites for bowl games they could take a spot from either Georgia Southern or Arkansas State. Or, an 11-1 Appalachain State team could be allowed to become the at-large team in a more prestigious bowl.

Bowl Guarantees: 4
Estimated Bowl Eligible: 5

 

Complete Bowl Projections Follow Below

This Week’s Ratings

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 128.7 126.3 128.3 127.8
2 Ohio St. 128.8 123.4 129.6 127.3
3 Baylor 128.2 124.7 128.7 127.2
4 TCU 128.3 119.4 128.8 125.5
5 Oklahoma 125.7 122.2 125.9 124.6
6 LSU 124.1 121.3 124.5 123.3
7 Stanford 123.6 122.2 123.6 123.1
8 Clemson 121.8 122.8 122.3 122.3
9 Notre Dame 123.1 119.8 123.1 122.0
10 USC 122.3 118.7 122.6 121.2
11 Utah 123.2 117.7 122.4 121.1
12 Ole Miss 122.1 116.8 120.0 119.6
13 UCLA 121.5 115.5 119.9 119.0
14 Tennessee 119.9 115.5 119.6 118.3
15 Florida 118.9 115.9 119.1 118.0
16 Michigan 119.1 115.8 118.9 117.9
17 North Carolina 117.2 117.3 116.9 117.1
18 Georgia 119.8 112.5 118.6 117.0
19 Texas A&M 118.5 115.4 116.9 116.9
20 Arkansas 117.9 112.4 116.9 115.7
21 Michigan St. 116.4 113.2 116.1 115.2
22 Mississippi St. 115.8 112.5 116.2 114.8
23 California 116.3 111.0 115.8 114.4
24 Arizona St. 116.2 111.2 115.3 114.2
25 Florida St. 114.0 114.3 113.1 113.8
26 Oklahoma St. 114.1 111.9 114.4 113.5
27 Georgia Tech 114.6 112.4 113.4 113.5
28 Oregon 115.8 108.9 115.0 113.2
29 Auburn 114.1 111.8 113.3 113.1
30 West Virginia 114.7 109.4 114.0 112.7
31 Iowa 110.8 113.4 111.7 112.0
32 Houston 107.8 115.4 110.6 111.3
33 Wisconsin 111.3 111.7 110.8 111.3
34 Boise St. 112.3 108.3 111.9 110.8
35 Memphis 110.0 110.7 111.3 110.7
36 North Carolina St. 110.1 111.7 109.1 110.3
37 Duke 109.1 109.7 110.0 109.6
38 Temple 108.5 110.8 109.2 109.5
39 Virginia Tech 109.6 108.5 109.3 109.1
40 Bowling Green 106.2 111.0 109.0 108.7
41 Nebraska 109.6 107.8 108.7 108.7
42 Louisville 107.9 110.3 107.5 108.6
43 Arizona 110.6 104.9 109.4 108.3
44 Pittsburgh 107.0 107.9 107.8 107.6
45 Missouri 109.0 105.4 108.0 107.5
46 Texas 108.0 105.1 108.3 107.1
47 Western Kentucky 106.6 106.4 108.1 107.0
48 BYU 107.0 106.2 107.9 107.0
49 Washington 107.3 104.7 107.9 106.6
50 Toledo 104.6 105.6 106.3 105.5
51 South Carolina 107.0 103.3 105.1 105.1
52 Illinois 105.7 103.6 104.6 104.6
53 Texas Tech 107.6 98.9 107.1 104.5
54 Cincinnati 103.9 104.5 104.9 104.4
55 San Diego St. 101.8 106.6 103.4 103.9
56 Northwestern 103.9 104.0 103.5 103.8
57 Penn St. 103.6 104.1 103.5 103.7
58 Appalachian St. 101.9 105.1 104.1 103.7
59 Miami 103.1 103.5 103.7 103.4
60 Minnesota 104.1 102.6 103.2 103.3
61 Kentucky 104.8 101.2 103.6 103.2
62 Washington St. 104.2 99.9 103.7 102.6
63 Colorado 104.0 98.8 102.2 101.7
64 Kansas St. 105.3 95.2 104.3 101.6
65 Louisiana Tech 102.0 100.3 102.4 101.6
66 Navy 100.1 103.1 100.6 101.3
67 Boston College 100.4 104.4 99.1 101.3
68 Vanderbilt 102.3 97.5 102.0 100.6
69 Utah St. 99.8 100.0 100.1 100.0
70 Western Michigan 99.3 99.6 100.4 99.8
71 Virginia 100.3 98.1 99.7 99.4
72 East Carolina 96.3 99.7 97.3 97.8
73 Purdue 97.9 97.2 96.4 97.2
74 Northern Illinois 95.3 99.2 96.0 96.8
75 Georgia Southern 95.4 97.7 96.2 96.4
76 Indiana 96.2 96.2 95.5 96.0
77 Marshall 95.5 96.6 95.8 96.0
78 Iowa St. 97.1 93.2 96.8 95.7
79 Rutgers 97.0 93.9 95.5 95.5
80 Wake Forest 94.7 98.0 93.7 95.5
81 South Florida 92.7 99.1 93.6 95.1
82 Air Force 93.8 97.8 93.3 95.0
83 Syracuse 94.0 97.1 93.6 94.9
84 Florida International 92.2 95.0 93.5 93.6
85 Maryland 94.4 92.4 93.6 93.5
86 Colorado St. 93.9 92.1 92.6 92.9
87 Middle Tennessee 93.2 92.0 92.7 92.6
88 Central Michigan 90.4 94.3 92.5 92.4
89 Southern Mississippi 91.5 93.3 92.1 92.3
90 San Jose St. 91.3 94.2 91.2 92.2
91 Tulsa 89.8 93.9 90.6 91.4
92 Arkansas St. 89.2 90.2 90.3 89.9
93 Nevada 88.8 92.5 88.4 89.9
94 Oregon St. 91.1 87.8 89.3 89.4
95 Ohio 87.0 91.3 88.6 89.0
96 New Mexico 88.2 89.0 86.9 88.0
97 Connecticut 85.7 90.6 86.4 87.6
98 Hawaii 86.9 89.1 86.6 87.5
99 Massachusetts 85.7 88.6 86.8 87.0
100 Buffalo 83.2 89.8 85.4 86.1
101 Tulane 85.4 87.9 84.4 85.9
102 Akron 83.3 89.6 84.7 85.9
103 Rice 83.8 88.2 84.4 85.5
104 SMU 83.9 88.0 83.7 85.2
105 UL-Lafayette 83.7 87.1 84.3 85.0
106 UNLV 82.7 85.3 83.4 83.8
107 Ball St. 81.6 83.7 82.2 82.5
108 Central Florida 80.8 84.3 81.4 82.2
109 Texas St. 80.9 84.8 80.5 82.1
110 Wyoming 81.1 83.6 80.5 81.7
111 UT-San Antonio 80.6 83.0 81.6 81.7
112 Fresno St. 80.7 84.4 78.9 81.3
113 Army 77.7 86.7 79.1 81.2
114 Florida Atlantic 79.7 82.6 79.5 80.6
115 Kent St. 79.5 82.0 80.0 80.5
116 Troy 77.9 79.3 79.4 78.9
117 UTEP 76.8 79.6 76.6 77.7
118 South Alabama 74.7 80.7 75.6 77.0
119 Georgia St. 76.8 76.4 77.0 76.7
120 Old Dominion 75.1 79.8 73.9 76.3
121 UL-Monroe 76.6 75.2 76.5 76.1
122 Idaho 73.3 79.2 74.8 75.8
123 Eastern Michigan 72.4 79.4 71.9 74.6
124 Miami (O) 73.1 77.3 73.2 74.5
125 Kansas 77.3 70.9 75.2 74.5
126 North Texas 72.4 77.3 72.6 74.1
127 New Mexico St. 68.6 69.6 68.6 68.9
128 Charlotte 68.1 70.1 67.9 68.7

 

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

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Temple 4-0 7-0 108.5 110.8 109.2 109.5
Cincinnati 1-2 4-3 103.9 104.5 104.9 104.4
East Carolina 2-2 4-4 96.3 99.7 97.3 97.8
South Florida 2-1 4-3 92.7 99.1 93.6 95.1
Connecticut 1-3 3-5 85.7 90.6 86.4 87.6
Central Florida 0-4 0-8 80.8 84.3 81.4 82.2
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Houston 4-0 7-0 107.8 115.4 110.6 111.3
Memphis 3-0 7-0 110.0 110.7 111.3 110.7
Navy 3-0 5-1 100.1 103.1 100.6 101.3
Tulsa 0-3 3-4 89.8 93.9 90.6 91.4
Tulane 1-3 2-5 85.4 87.9 84.4 85.9
SMU 0-3 1-6 83.9 88.0 83.7 85.2
             
AAC Averages     95.4 99.0 96.2 96.9
             
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 4-0 7-0 121.8 122.8 122.3 122.3
Florida St. 4-1 6-1 114.0 114.3 113.1 113.8
North Carolina St. 1-2 5-2 110.1 111.7 109.1 110.3
Louisville 2-2 3-4 107.9 110.3 107.5 108.6
Boston College 0-5 3-5 100.4 104.4 99.1 101.3
Wake Forest 1-4 3-5 94.7 98.0 93.7 95.5
Syracuse 1-2 3-4 94.0 97.1 93.6 94.9
             
Coastal Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
North Carolina 3-0 6-1 117.2 117.3 116.9 117.1
Georgia Tech 1-4 3-5 114.6 112.4 113.4 113.5
Duke 3-0 6-1 109.1 109.7 110.0 109.6
Virginia Tech 1-3 3-5 109.6 108.5 109.3 109.1
Pittsburgh 4-0 6-1 107.0 107.9 107.8 107.6
Miami 1-2 4-3 103.1 103.5 103.7 103.4
Virginia 1-2 2-5 100.3 98.1 99.7 99.4
             
ACC Averages     107.4 108.3 107.1 107.6
             
Big 12 Conference
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Baylor 4-0 7-0 128.2 124.7 128.7 127.2
TCU 4-0 7-0 128.3 119.4 128.8 125.5
Oklahoma 3-1 6-1 125.7 122.2 125.9 124.6
Oklahoma St. 4-0 7-0 114.1 111.9 114.4 113.5
West Virginia 0-3 3-3 114.7 109.4 114.0 112.7
Texas 2-2 3-4 108.0 105.1 108.3 107.1
Texas Tech 2-3 5-3 107.6 98.9 107.1 104.5
Kansas St. 0-4 3-4 105.3 95.2 104.3 101.6
Iowa St. 1-3 2-5 97.1 93.2 96.8 95.7
Kansas 0-4 0-7 77.3 70.9 75.2 74.5
             
Big 12 Averages     110.6 105.1 110.4 108.7
             
Big Ten Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 4-0 8-0 128.8 123.4 129.6 127.3
Michigan 2-1 5-2 119.1 115.8 118.9 117.9
Michigan St. 4-0 8-0 116.4 113.2 116.1 115.2
Penn St. 3-1 6-2 103.6 104.1 103.5 103.7
Indiana 0-4 4-4 96.2 96.2 95.5 96.0
Rutgers 1-3 3-4 97.0 93.9 95.5 95.5
Maryland 0-3 2-5 94.4 92.4 93.6 93.5
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Iowa 3-0 7-0 110.8 113.4 111.7 112.0
Wisconsin 3-1 6-2 111.3 111.7 110.8 111.3
Nebraska 1-3 3-5 109.6 107.8 108.7 108.7
Illinois 1-2 4-3 105.7 103.6 104.6 104.6
Northwestern 2-2 6-2 103.9 104.0 103.5 103.8
Minnesota 1-2 4-3 104.1 102.6 103.2 103.3
Purdue 0-3 1-6 97.9 97.2 96.4 97.2
             
Big Ten Averages     107.1 105.7 106.5 106.4
             
Conference USA
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Kentucky 4-0 6-2 106.6 106.4 108.1 107.0
Marshall 4-0 7-1 95.5 96.6 95.8 96.0
Florida International 2-2 4-4 92.2 95.0 93.5 93.6
Middle Tennessee 2-2 3-5 93.2 92.0 92.7 92.6
Florida Atlantic 1-3 1-6 79.7 82.6 79.5 80.6
Old Dominion 1-2 3-4 75.1 79.8 73.9 76.3
Charlotte 0-4 2-5 68.1 70.1 67.9 68.7
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Louisiana Tech 3-1 5-3 102.0 100.3 102.4 101.6
Southern Mississippi 3-1 5-3 91.5 93.3 92.1 92.3
Rice 2-1 4-3 83.8 88.2 84.4 85.5
UT-San Antonio 1-2 1-6 80.6 83.0 81.6 81.7
UTEP 1-2 3-4 76.8 79.6 76.6 77.7
North Texas 0-4 0-7 72.4 77.3 72.6 74.1
             
CUSA Averages     86.0 88.0 86.2 86.7
             
FBS Independents
Team   Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame   6-1 123.1 119.8 123.1 122.0
BYU   6-2 107.0 106.2 107.9 107.0
Army   2-6 77.7 86.7 79.1 81.2
             
Independents Averages     102.6 104.2 103.4 103.4
             
Mid-American Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Bowling Green 4-0 6-2 106.2 111.0 109.0 108.7
Ohio 2-2 5-3 87.0 91.3 88.6 89.0
Massachusetts 0-3 1-6 85.7 88.6 86.8 87.0
Buffalo 1-2 3-4 83.2 89.8 85.4 86.1
Akron 1-2 3-4 83.3 89.6 84.7 85.9
Kent St. 2-2 3-5 79.5 82.0 80.0 80.5
Miami (O) 0-4 1-7 73.1 77.3 73.2 74.5
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Toledo 4-0 7-0 104.6 105.6 106.3 105.5
Western Michigan 3-0 4-3 99.3 99.6 100.4 99.8
Northern Illinois 3-1 5-3 95.3 99.2 96.0 96.8
Central Michigan 3-1 4-4 90.4 94.3 92.5 92.4
Ball St. 1-3 2-6 81.6 83.7 82.2 82.5
Eastern Michigan 0-4 1-7 72.4 79.4 71.9 74.6
             
MAC Averages     87.8 91.6 89.0 89.5
             
Pac-12 Conference
North Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Stanford 5-0 6-1 123.6 122.2 123.6 123.1
California 2-2 5-2 116.3 111.0 115.8 114.4
Oregon 2-2 4-3 115.8 108.9 115.0 113.2
Washington 1-3 3-4 107.3 104.7 107.9 106.6
Washington St. 3-1 5-2 104.2 99.9 103.7 102.6
Oregon St. 0-4 2-5 91.1 87.8 89.3 89.4
             
South Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
USC 2-2 4-3 122.3 118.7 122.6 121.2
Utah 3-1 6-1 123.2 117.7 122.4 121.1
UCLA 2-2 5-2 121.5 115.5 119.9 119.0
Arizona St. 2-2 4-3 116.2 111.2 115.3 114.2
Arizona 2-3 5-3 110.6 104.9 109.4 108.3
Colorado 1-3 4-4 104.0 98.8 102.2 101.7
             
Pac-12 Averages     113.0 108.4 112.3 111.2
             
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 3-1 6-2 112.3 108.3 111.9 110.8
Utah St. 3-1 4-3 99.8 100.0 100.1 100.0
Air Force 3-1 4-3 93.8 97.8 93.3 95.0
Colorado St. 1-2 3-4 93.9 92.1 92.6 92.9
New Mexico 2-2 4-4 88.2 89.0 86.9 88.0
Wyoming 1-3 1-7 81.1 83.6 80.5 81.7
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 4-0 5-3 101.8 106.6 103.4 103.9
San Jose St. 3-2 4-4 91.3 94.2 91.2 92.2
Nevada 2-2 4-4 88.8 92.5 88.4 89.9
Hawaii 0-4 2-6 86.9 89.1 86.6 87.5
UNLV 1-2 2-5 82.7 85.3 83.4 83.8
Fresno St. 1-4 2-6 80.7 84.4 78.9 81.3
             
MWC Averages     91.8 93.6 91.4 92.3
             
Southeastern Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Tennessee 1-3 3-4 119.9 115.5 119.6 118.3
Florida 4-1 6-1 118.9 115.9 119.1 118.0
Georgia 3-2 5-2 119.8 112.5 118.6 117.0
Missouri 1-4 4-4 109.0 105.4 108.0 107.5
South Carolina 1-4 3-4 107.0 103.3 105.1 105.1
Kentucky 2-3 4-3 104.8 101.2 103.6 103.2
Vanderbilt 1-3 3-4 102.3 97.5 102.0 100.6
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 4-1 7-1 128.7 126.3 128.3 127.8
LSU 4-0 7-0 124.1 121.3 124.5 123.3
Ole Miss 3-1 6-2 122.1 116.8 120.0 119.6
Texas A&M 2-2 5-2 118.5 115.4 116.9 116.9
Arkansas 2-2 3-4 117.9 112.4 116.9 115.7
Mississippi St. 2-2 6-2 115.8 112.5 116.2 114.8
Auburn 1-3 4-3 114.1 111.8 113.3 113.1
             
SEC Averages     115.9 112.0 115.2 114.4
             
Sunbelt Conference
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 3-0 6-1 101.9 105.1 104.1 103.7
Georgia Southern 3-1 5-2 95.4 97.7 96.2 96.4
Arkansas St. 3-0 4-3 89.2 90.2 90.3 89.9
UL-Lafayette 1-1 2-4 83.7 87.1 84.3 85.0
Texas St. 1-1 2-4 80.9 84.8 80.5 82.1
Troy 1-2 2-5 77.9 79.3 79.4 78.9
South Alabama 1-2 3-4 74.7 80.7 75.6 77.0
Georgia St. 1-1 2-4 76.8 76.4 77.0 76.7
UL-Monroe 0-3 1-6 76.6 75.2 76.5 76.1
Idaho 2-2 3-4 73.3 79.2 74.8 75.8
New Mexico St. 0-3 0-7 68.6 69.6 68.6 68.9
             
Sun Belt Averages     81.7 84.1 82.5 82.8

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 115.9 112.0 115.2 114.4
2 Pac-12 113.0 108.4 112.3 111.2
3 Big 12 110.6 105.1 110.4 108.7
4 ACC 107.4 108.3 107.1 107.6
5 Big Ten 107.1 105.7 106.5 106.4
6 Indep. 102.6 104.2 103.4 103.4
7 AAC 95.4 99.0 96.2 96.9
8 MWC 91.8 93.6 91.4 92.3
9 MAC 87.8 91.6 89.0 89.5
10 CUSA 86.0 88.0 86.2 86.7
11 SBC 81.7 84.1 82.5 82.8

 

NCAA Playoffs
1 Ohio St.
2 LSU
3 Clemson
4 Baylor

 

Group of 5 Contenders For Automatic New Year’s Six Bowl Bid
# Team      
1 Memphis      
2 Houston      
3 Temple      
4 Toledo      
5 Navy      

 

 Power 5 Conferences Bottom 10
# Team
10 Virginia
9 Purdue
8 Indiana
7 Iowa St.
6 Rutgers
5 Wake Forest
4 Syracuse
3 Maryland
2 Oregon St.
1 Kansas

 

FCS Top 10
# Team PiRate
1 Harvard 96.2
2 Jacksonville St. 96.1
3 Coastal Carolina 91.2
4 North Dakota St. 91.2
5 Illinois St. 90.8
6 Dartmouth 89.8
7 McNeese St. 89.6
8 Richmond 89.4
9 Dayton 89.2
10 James Madison 89.1

 

This Week’s Games
         
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Thursday, October 22        
Pittsburgh North Carolina -7.2 -6.4 -6.1
TCU West Virginia 16.6 13.0 17.8
Eastern Michigan Western Michigan -24.9 -18.2 -26.5
Miami (O) Buffalo -7.6 -10.0 -9.7
Georgia Southern Texas St. 17.5 15.9 18.7
Arizona St. Oregon 3.4 5.3 3.3
         
Friday, October 23        
Wake Forest Louisville -10.7 -9.8 -11.3
Connecticut East Carolina -8.1 -6.6 -8.4
Rice Louisiana Tech -15.7 -9.6 -15.5
Utah St. Wyoming 21.7 19.4 22.6
         
Saturday, October 24        
Old Dominion Western Kentucky -29.0 -24.1 -31.7
Cincinnati Central Florida 26.1 23.2 26.5
Navy South Florida 10.4 7.0 10.0
Penn St. Illinois 0.9 3.5 1.9
Purdue Nebraska -9.2 -8.1 -9.8
Wisconsin Rutgers 17.3 20.8 18.3
Auburn Ole Miss -5.0 -2.0 -3.7
Texas A&M South Carolina 14.5 15.1 14.8
Florida St. Syracuse 23.0 20.2 22.5
Boston College Virginia Tech -6.2 -1.1 -7.2
Ball St. Massachusetts -1.6 -2.4 -2.1
Akron Central Michigan -4.6 -2.2 -5.3
Southern Miss. UTEP 17.2 16.2 18.0
Virginia Georgia Tech -11.3 -11.3 -10.7
California USC -3.0 -4.7 -3.8
UCLA Colorado 20.5 19.7 20.7
North Carolina St. Clemson -8.7 -8.1 -10.2
Florida (N) Georgia -0.9 3.4 0.5
Charlotte Marshall -25.4 -24.5 -25.9
Florida Atlantic Florida Int’l. -11.5 -11.4 -13.0
Kansas Oklahoma -45.4 -48.3 -47.7
Texas Tech Oklahoma St. -3.5 -10.0 -4.3
Iowa Maryland 19.4 24 21.1
UNLV Boise St. -27.1 -20.5 -26.0
Colorado St. San Diego St. -4.9 -11.5 -7.8
Appalachian St. Troy 26.5 28.3 27.2
SMU Tulsa -3.4 -3.4 -4.4
Louisiana-Lafayette Louisiana-Monroe 9.1 13.9 9.8
Arkansas St. Georgia St. 15.4 16.8 16.3
Memphis Tulane 27.6 25.8 29.9
Utah Oregon St. 35.1 32.9 36.1
Houston Vanderbilt 8.0 20.4 11.1
Duke Miami (Fla.) 8.5 8.7 8.8
Minnesota Michigan -12.0 -10.2 -12.7
Iowa St. Texas -7.9 -8.9 -8.5
North Texas UT-San Antonio -2.4 -0.3 -2.0
Kentucky Tennessee -12.1 -11.3 -13.0
Temple Notre Dame -12.1 -6.5 -11.4
New Mexico St. Idaho -2.2 -7.1 -3.7
Hawaii Air Force -2.9 -4.7 -2.7
Washington St. Stanford -16.4 -19.3 -16.9
Washington Arizona -0.3 2.8 1.5
         
FBS vs. FCS Week 9 PiRate    
Arkansas UT-Martin 35    

 

Here are our complete Bowl Projections

Bowl Conferences Team vs. Team
Cure AAC SBC Temple vs. Georgia Southern
New Mexico MWC CUSA Nevada vs. Florida Int’l.
Las Vegas Pac-12 MWC/BYU Oregon vs. BYU
Camellia MAC SBC Western Michigan vs. South Alabama
New Orleans CUSA SBC Rice vs. Arkansas St.
Miami Beach AAC CUSA East Carolina vs. Marshall
Idaho Potato MAC MWC Akron vs. Boise St.
Boca Raton AAC MAC Memphis vs. Toledo
Poinsettia MWC Army San Diego St. vs. Arizona *
GoDaddy MAC SBC Bowling Green vs. Appalachian St.
Bahamas CUSA MAC Western Kentucky vs. Northern Illinois
Hawaii AAC MWC/BYU Tulsa vs. Utah St.
St. Petersburg AAC CUSA South Florida vs. Louisiana Tech
Sun ACC Pac-12 Pittsburgh vs. Arizona St.
Heart of Dallas Big 12 CUSA Kansas St. vs. Southern Miss.
Pinstripe ACC Big Ten Duke vs. Rutgers
Independence SEC ACC Old Dominion * vs. Louisiana-Lafayette *
Foster Farms Big Ten Pac-12 Indiana vs. USC
Military ACC AAC Navy vs. Georgia Tech
Quick Lane ACC Big Ten North Carolina St. vs. Ohio *
Armed Forces Big Ten MWC California * vs. Air Force
Russell Athletic ACC Big 12 Florida St. vs. Oklahoma
Arizona CUSA MWC Middle Tennessee vs. Colorado St.
Texas Big 12 SEC Texas Tech vs. Auburn
Birmingham AAC SEC Cincinnati vs. Kentucky
Belk ACC SEC North Carolina vs. Tennessee
Music City ACC/Big Ten SEC Louisville vs. Mississippi St.
Peach N. Y. 6 N. Y. 6 Notre Dame vs. Florida
Cotton Playoff Playoff Ohio St. vs. Stanford
Orange Playoff Playoff Clemson vs. Alabama
Holiday Big Ten Pac-12 Northwestern vs. Washington St.
Ouback Big Ten SEC Michigan vs. Texas A&M
Citrus Big Ten SEC WIsconsin vs. Ole Miss
Sugar Big 12 SEC TCU vs. LSU
Rose Big Ten Pac-12 Michigan St. vs. Baylor
Fiesta N. Y. 6 N. Y. 6 Iowa vs. Houston
TaxSlayer ACC/Big Ten SEC Penn St. vs. Georgia
Liberty Big 12 SEC West Virginia vs. Arkansas
Alamo Big 12 Pac-12 Oklahoma St. vs. Utah
Cactus Big 12 Pac-12 Texas vs. UCLA
Nat’l Champ. Semifinal Winners Stanford vs. Alabama
           
* = At-large selection due to contracted conference not having an eligible team for this slot

September 9, 2015

PiRate Ratings College Football For Week 2: September 10-12, 2015

One week is all it took for the cream to rise to the top.  The Southeastern Conference, coming off a year in which its top team failed to play in the National Championship Game since Vince Young led Texas over Matt Leinert and USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl, placed 10 of its 14 teams in the nation’s top poll.  Yes, 40% of the Top 25 has an SEC flavor.  All seven SEC West teams are ranked.

Our PiRate Ratings have just nine SEC teams ranked in the top 25, but overall, we have the SEC separating itself from the number two league by almost five points per team.

Texas A&M, Auburn, and Alabama all won on neutral fields against teams from Power 5 conferences.  Additionally, the league’s top rival, the Pac-12 had a miserable weekend.  Arizona State failed to show up against Texas A&M.  Arizona just barely escaped lowly Texas-San Antonio.  Oregon State looked weak beating Weber St.  Washington State was worse than that; the Cougars lost at home to Portland State, and now Mike Leach is no longer looked upon as the genius he once was.

Colorado lost to a Hawaii team that hasn’t been decent in five years.  Even Oregon looked average in their win over Eastern Washington.

There were some bright spots.  UCLA, USC, Utah, and California all looked impressive in season-opening wins.  Washington put a scare on Boise State on the road.  Still, the league as a whole dropped well behind the SEC.

The Big 12 received a minor black eye in the opening week.  TCU looked beatable in their win at Minnesota.  Baylor did not look like a world beater against SMU.  Texas looked more like SMU of 2014 in their blowout loss to Notre Dame.  Oklahoma State had difficulties beating Central Michigan.  Texas Tech could have lost to Sam Houston.  And, Kansas lost at home to South Dakota St..

Week two brings a couple of interesting games worth watching.  Start with Oregon visiting Michigan State, where the loser is likely finished in the College Playoff race, while the winner moves up a couple places in the pecking order.  Neither team was all that impressive in week one, but both more than likely held back a lot of their repertoires on both sides of the ball.

Oklahoma visits Neyland Stadium to take on Tennessee in what looks like a tossup game.  The Vols’ offense looked unstoppable against a decent Bowling Green team, while Oklahoma looked solid but not spectacular against Akron.  This game should be exciting.

Two crucial SEC games should give the winners a leg up on bowl eligibility.  In the East, South Carolina hosts Kentucky, and the winner will be 2-0.  The Wildcats upset the Gamecocks in Lexington last year.  Mississippi State hosts an LSU team that played all of five minutes against McNeese State in week one with lightning coming out the victor.  Mississippi State needs an upset in league play to smell bowl eligibility this year.  The Bulldogs are raw on both sides of the ball.  It will be interesting to see how much LSU relies on Leonard Fornette and whether State can shut down the Tiger running game and force the Bayou Bengals to throw the ball.

In the AAC, Temple visits Cincinnati, and the winner of this game becomes a top contender for the automatic New Year’s Six Bowl game allocated to the top team from the Group of 5 conferences (AAC, MWC, Sun Belt, CUSA, and MAC plus BYU and Army among the Independents).

There are a couple of in-state rivalry games this week.  The Friday game, Utah State at Utah, may not be that close, but the Saturday game, Iowa at Iowa State, should be one of the most entertaining games of the week,

Then, there are a couple of under the radar games that we find interesting.  Wake Forest visits Syracuse, and the winner will improve to 2-0 with a chance to sneak into the bowl conversation in October.  Kansas State visits UT-San Antonio a week after UTSA put a scare on Arizona in Tucson.  Many times, when a team plays an incredible road game and loses in a close game that should have been a blowout loss, they return home the following week and have enough confidence to complete the surprise.  It would be quite a surprise if UTSA upset the Wildcats.

Missouri travels to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to take on Arkansas State, and this is a huge trap game for the Tigers.  Missouri has been a slow-starter in recent years, and ASU has enough talent to keep this game close and pull out a sneaky upset at the end.

And finally, there are three games where another poor performance following an opening week bomb could get the Bunsen Burners started warming up some seats.  Texas better look 100% better at home against Rice, or Charlie Strong might start facing a little heat.  Penn State needs to rebound against Buffalo and move the football for 400 yards and 35 points, or else James Franklin could feel a little heat in Happy Valley.  By far the coach with the most to lose this week is the coach with little chance of seeing his team compete.  Mike London and his Virginia Cavaliers take on Notre Dame, a week after facing UCLA at the Rose Bowl.  With Boise State scheduled to come to Charlottesville in week four, the Cavs better show up and give a good effort against the Irish and then demolish William and Mary next week, or London could be the first coach to get a pink slip during the season, when UVa is off in week five (Tim Beckman was fired at Illinois prior to the beginning of the season).

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Ohio St. 137.7 127.0 138.9 134.5
2 TCU 129.6 118.0 131.0 126.2
3 Ole Miss 129.0 121.4 127.3 125.9
4 Alabama 125.1 123.7 124.8 124.5
5 Baylor 125.0 121.1 125.5 123.9
6 LSU 125.2 120.9 125.1 123.7
7 Notre Dame 123.7 120.1 124.4 122.7
8 UCLA 125.2 118.0 123.4 122.2
9 Oregon 124.7 116.3 124.5 121.8
10 USC 123.3 118.6 123.2 121.7
11 Arkansas 123.8 117.8 123.4 121.7
12 Auburn 121.3 119.8 120.5 120.5
13 Oklahoma 121.4 118.3 121.8 120.5
14 Georgia 123.6 115.2 122.7 120.5
15 Michigan St. 121.6 115.6 121.8 119.7
16 Tennessee 121.1 116.6 121.1 119.6
17 Texas A&M 119.7 117.5 118.6 118.6
18 Georgia Tech 120.8 112.0 120.2 117.7
19 Utah 119.4 112.3 118.8 116.8
20 California 118.2 112.0 118.5 116.2
21 Stanford 116.5 113.3 117.1 115.6
22 Clemson 114.6 115.7 114.5 114.9
23 Florida St. 115.2 115.2 113.9 114.8
24 West Virginia 116.2 110.8 115.6 114.2
25 Missouri 115.6 111.6 115.1 114.1
26 Arizona St. 116.2 110.4 114.8 113.8
27 Virginia Tech 114.3 110.3 114.4 113.0
28 Wisconsin 112.7 113.0 112.4 112.7
29 Oklahoma St. 112.1 112.3 112.5 112.3
30 Boise St. 114.3 108.5 113.6 112.1
31 Florida 113.5 108.9 113.0 111.8
32 Michigan 112.9 108.7 112.2 111.3
33 Louisville 110.3 112.5 110.6 111.1
34 Minnesota 111.6 109.7 112.0 111.1
35 North Carolina 111.1 111.0 110.3 110.8
36 Mississippi St. 112.4 107.7 112.1 110.7
37 Arizona 113.6 105.6 111.5 110.2
38 Miami 109.1 110.0 109.6 109.6
39 North Carolina St. 109.2 111.0 108.2 109.5
40 South Carolina 109.9 107.2 109.1 108.7
41 Nebraska 110.1 106.4 109.3 108.6
42 Penn St. 107.8 109.8 108.1 108.6
43 Temple 107.1 109.8 108.4 108.4
44 Texas 108.0 106.6 107.6 107.4
45 Illinois 107.6 105.3 107.0 106.6
46 Northwestern 106.2 107.1 105.7 106.3
47 Cincinnati 104.7 105.1 106.2 105.3
48 Pittsburgh 104.0 105.8 105.5 105.1
49 Kansas St. 111.0 94.6 109.3 105.0
50 Memphis 104.4 104.7 105.7 104.9
51 BYU 104.8 103.3 106.2 104.8
52 Colorado 105.5 101.1 104.6 103.7
53 Kentucky 105.2 101.7 104.3 103.7
54 Duke 102.0 102.7 103.1 102.6
55 Texas Tech 106.1 95.5 105.3 102.3
56 Iowa 100.9 104.1 101.0 102.0
57 Washington 102.5 100.5 102.6 101.9
58 Virginia 103.0 100.0 102.2 101.7
59 Boston College 99.9 105.0 98.4 101.1
60 Western Kentucky 101.0 98.8 102.1 100.6
61 Louisiana Tech 100.4 98.1 101.2 99.9
62 Purdue 99.6 99.4 97.9 99.0
63 Wake Forest 97.4 102.2 97.0 98.9
64 San Diego St. 96.1 102.4 97.8 98.8
65 Western Michigan 97.9 98.7 99.5 98.7
66 Navy 97.6 100.4 97.6 98.5
67 Houston 94.6 103.0 97.2 98.3
68 Rutgers 99.4 96.8 97.8 98.0
69 Marshall 97.5 97.2 98.3 97.7
70 Maryland 98.4 94.3 97.0 96.6
71 Toledo 96.0 94.4 96.9 95.8
72 Indiana 95.3 96.7 95.2 95.7
73 Washington St. 98.5 92.0 96.7 95.7
74 Middle Tennessee 95.9 95.4 95.3 95.5
75 Vanderbilt 97.7 91.7 96.4 95.3
76 Syracuse 94.2 98.2 93.1 95.2
77 Utah St. 95.1 94.3 95.4 94.9
78 Bowling Green 91.8 97.5 93.6 94.3
79 Iowa St. 96.0 92.2 94.7 94.3
80 Appalachian St. 92.5 95.7 94.6 94.3
81 Colorado St. 95.6 93.1 93.6 94.1
82 Central Florida 92.0 96.2 93.3 93.8
83 Air Force 92.3 97.8 91.3 93.8
84 New Mexico 93.5 94.6 93.0 93.7
85 San Jose St. 92.3 95.9 92.2 93.5
86 Nevada 90.9 95.8 90.2 92.3
87 Northern Illinois 91.2 94.3 91.3 92.3
88 Ohio 90.1 95.1 91.6 92.3
89 Hawaii 90.5 93.5 91.1 91.7
90 Oregon St. 92.6 90.2 91.6 91.5
91 Georgia Southern 90.9 92.7 90.7 91.4
92 Fresno St. 88.3 97.1 87.7 91.0
93 East Carolina 88.8 94.7 89.2 90.9
94 South Florida 88.3 96.2 88.1 90.9
95 Florida International 88.6 91.4 90.5 90.2
96 Tulane 89.6 92.5 88.0 90.0
97 Tulsa 86.5 93.3 87.4 89.1
98 Massachusetts 86.8 90.4 88.6 88.6
99 Rice 86.7 91.3 86.9 88.3
100 Arkansas St. 87.9 88.0 88.7 88.2
101 Ball St. 86.2 88.6 87.4 87.4
102 UTEP 85.1 89.1 85.4 86.5
103 UL-Lafayette 85.0 89.1 85.4 86.5
104 Akron 82.7 89.5 84.2 85.5
105 Texas St. 83.8 88.5 83.9 85.4
106 Florida Atlantic 83.4 88.0 84.4 85.3
107 SMU 83.8 88.8 83.1 85.2
108 Southern Mississippi 85.6 85.2 84.2 85.0
109 Central Michigan 82.0 88.0 83.9 84.6
110 North Texas 81.7 88.9 83.0 84.5
111 Old Dominion 81.1 88.7 80.2 83.3
112 Buffalo 80.1 87.6 82.1 83.3
113 Kent St. 80.9 83.9 81.3 82.0
114 Connecticut 79.5 86.1 79.3 81.6
115 Wyoming 81.4 83.7 79.6 81.6
116 UT-San Antonio 78.3 84.5 79.9 80.9
117 Army 76.4 87.5 77.8 80.6
118 UL-Monroe 81.4 78.0 80.7 80.0
119 South Alabama 76.0 84.7 77.8 79.5
120 Miami (O) 76.1 83.4 76.2 78.6
121 UNLV 77.5 80.6 77.6 78.6
122 Kansas 79.9 72.9 77.8 76.9
123 Eastern Michigan 72.1 83.2 72.1 75.8
124 New Mexico St. 74.4 75.5 74.5 74.8
125 Idaho 70.9 80.6 72.6 74.7
126 Georgia St. 73.4 72.2 72.4 72.7
127 Troy 72.1 71.6 72.8 72.2
128 Charlotte 70.8 73.0 70.6 71.5

Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Temple 0-0 1-0 107.1 109.8 108.4 108.4
Cincinnati 0-0 1-0 104.7 105.1 106.2 105.3
Central Florida 0-0 0-1 92.0 96.2 93.3 93.8
East Carolina 0-0 1-0 88.8 94.7 89.2 90.9
South Florida 0-0 1-0 88.3 96.2 88.1 90.9
Connecticut 0-0 1-0 79.5 86.1 79.3 81.6
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Memphis 0-0 1-0 104.4 104.7 105.7 104.9
Houston 0-0 1-0 94.6 103.0 97.2 98.3
Navy 0-0 1-0 97.6 100.4 97.6 98.5
Tulane 0-0 0-1 89.6 92.5 88.0 90.0
Tulsa 0-0 1-0 86.5 93.3 87.4 89.1
SMU 0-0 0-1 83.8 88.8 83.1 85.2
             
AAC Averages     93.1 97.6 93.6 94.8
             
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 0-0 1-0 114.6 115.7 114.5 114.9
Florida St. 0-0 1-0 115.2 115.2 113.9 114.8
Louisville 0-0 0-1 110.3 112.5 110.6 111.1
North Carolina St. 0-0 1-0 109.2 111.0 108.2 109.5
Boston College 0-0 1-0 99.9 105.0 98.4 101.1
Wake Forest 0-0 1-0 97.4 102.2 97.0 98.9
Syracuse 0-0 1-0 94.2 98.2 93.1 95.2
             
Coastal Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Georgia Tech 0-0 1-0 120.8 112.0 120.2 117.7
Virginia Tech 0-0 0-1 114.3 110.3 114.4 113.0
North Carolina 0-0 0-1 111.1 111.0 110.3 110.8
Miami 0-0 1-0 109.1 110.0 109.6 109.6
Pittsburgh 0-0 1-0 104.0 105.8 105.5 105.1
Duke 0-0 1-0 102.0 102.7 103.1 102.6
Virginia 0-0 0-1 103.0 100.0 102.2 101.7
             
ACC Averages     107.5 108.0 107.2 107.6
             
Big 12 Conference
  Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
TCU 0-0 1-0 129.6 118.0 131.0 126.2
Baylor 0-0 1-0 125.0 121.1 125.5 123.9
Oklahoma 0-0 1-0 121.4 118.3 121.8 120.5
West Virginia 0-0 1-0 116.2 110.8 115.6 114.2
Oklahoma St. 0-0 1-0 112.1 112.3 112.5 112.3
Texas 0-0 0-1 108.0 106.6 107.6 107.4
Kansas St. 0-0 1-0 111.0 94.6 109.3 105.0
Texas Tech 0-0 1-0 106.1 95.5 105.3 102.3
Iowa St. 0-0 1-0 96.0 92.2 94.7 94.3
Kansas 0-0 0-1 79.9 72.9 77.8 76.9
             
Big 12 Averages     110.5 104.2 110.1 108.3
             
Big Ten Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 0-0 1-0 137.7 127.0 138.9 134.5
Michigan St. 0-0 1-0 121.6 115.6 121.8 119.7
Michigan 0-0 0-1 112.9 108.7 112.2 111.3
Penn St. 0-0 0-1 107.8 109.8 108.1 108.6
Rutgers 0-0 1-0 99.4 96.8 97.8 98.0
Maryland 0-0 1-0 98.4 94.3 97.0 96.6
Indiana 0-0 1-0 95.3 96.7 95.2 95.7
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Wisconsin 0-0 0-1 112.7 113.0 112.4 112.7
Minnesota 0-0 0-1 111.6 109.7 112.0 111.1
Nebraska 0-0 0-1 110.1 106.4 109.3 108.6
Illinois 0-0 1-0 107.6 105.3 107.0 106.6
Northwestern 0-0 1-0 106.2 107.1 105.7 106.3
Iowa 0-0 1-0 100.9 104.1 101.0 102.0
Purdue 0-0 0-1 99.6 99.4 97.9 99.0
             
Big Ten Averages     108.7 106.7 108.3 107.9
             
Conference USA
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Kentucky 0-0 1-0 101.0 98.8 102.1 100.6
Marshall 0-0 1-0 97.5 97.2 98.3 97.7
Middle Tennessee 0-0 1-0 95.9 95.4 95.3 95.5
Florida International 0-0 1-0 88.6 91.4 90.5 90.2
Florida Atlantic 0-0 0-1 83.4 88.0 84.4 85.3
Old Dominion 0-0 1-0 81.1 88.7 80.2 83.3
Charlotte 0-0 1-0 70.8 73.0 70.6 71.5
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Louisiana Tech 0-0 1-0 100.4 98.1 101.2 99.9
Rice 0-0 1-0 86.7 91.3 86.9 88.3
UTEP 0-0 0-1 85.1 89.1 85.4 86.5
Southern Mississippi 0-0 0-1 85.6 85.2 84.2 85.0
North Texas 0-0 0-0 81.7 88.9 83.0 84.5
UT-San Antonio 0-0 2-1 78.3 84.5 79.9 80.9
             
CUSA Averages     87.4 90.0 87.8 88.4
             
FBS Independents
Team   Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame   1-0 123.7 120.1 124.4 122.7
BYU   1-0 104.8 103.3 106.2 104.8
Army   0-1 76.4 87.5 77.8 80.6
             
Independents Averages     101.6 103.6 102.8 102.7
             
Mid-American Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Bowling Green 0-0 0-1 91.8 97.5 93.6 94.3
Ohio 0-0 1-0 90.1 95.1 91.6 92.3
Massachusetts 0-0 0-0 86.8 90.4 88.6 88.6
Akron 0-0 0-1 82.7 89.5 84.2 85.5
Buffalo 0-0 1-0 80.1 87.6 82.1 83.3
Kent St. 0-0 0-1 80.9 83.9 81.3 82.0
Miami (O) 0-0 1-0 76.1 83.4 76.2 78.6
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Michigan 0-0 0-1 97.9 98.7 99.5 98.7
Toledo 0-0 0-0 96.0 94.4 96.9 95.8
Northern Illinois 0-0 1-0 91.2 94.3 91.3 92.3
Ball St. 0-0 1-0 86.2 88.6 87.4 87.4
Central Michigan 0-0 0-1 82.0 88.0 83.9 84.6
Eastern Michigan 0-0 0-1 72.1 83.2 72.1 75.8
             
MAC Averages     85.7 90.4 86.8 87.6
             
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 0-0 1-0 114.3 108.5 113.6 112.1
Utah St. 0-0 1-0 95.1 94.3 95.4 94.9
Colorado St. 0-0 1-0 95.6 93.1 93.6 94.1
Air Force 0-0 1-0 92.3 97.8 91.3 93.8
New Mexico 0-0 1-0 93.5 94.6 93.0 93.7
Wyoming 0-0 0-1 81.4 83.7 79.6 81.6
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 0-0 1-0 96.1 102.4 97.8 98.8
Nevada 0-0 1-0 90.9 95.8 90.2 92.3
San Jose St. 0-0 1-0 92.3 95.9 92.2 93.5
Hawaii 0-0 1-0 90.5 93.5 91.1 91.7
Fresno St. 0-0 1-0 88.3 97.1 87.7 91.0
UNLV 0-0 0-1 77.5 80.6 77.6 78.6
             
MWC Averages     92.3 94.8 91.9 93.0
             
Pac-12 Conference
North Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oregon 0-0 1-0 124.7 116.3 124.5 121.8
California 0-0 1-0 118.2 112.0 118.5 116.2
Stanford 0-0 0-1 116.5 113.3 117.1 115.6
Washington 0-0 0-1 102.5 100.5 102.6 101.9
Washington St. 0-0 0-1 98.5 92.0 96.7 95.7
Oregon St. 0-0 1-0 92.6 90.2 91.6 91.5
             
South Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
UCLA 0-0 1-0 125.2 118.0 123.4 122.2
USC 0-0 1-0 123.3 118.6 123.2 121.7
Utah 0-0 1-0 119.4 112.3 118.8 116.8
Arizona St. 0-0 0-1 116.2 110.4 114.8 113.8
Arizona 0-0 1-0 113.6 105.6 111.5 110.2
Colorado 0-0 0-1 105.5 101.1 104.6 103.7
             
Pac-12 Averages     113.0 107.5 112.3 110.9
             
Southeastern Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Georgia 0-0 1-0 123.6 115.2 122.7 120.5
Tennessee 0-0 1-0 121.1 116.6 121.1 119.6
Missouri 0-0 1-0 115.6 111.6 115.1 114.1
Florida 0-0 1-0 113.5 108.9 113.0 111.8
South Carolina 0-0 1-0 109.9 107.2 109.1 108.7
Kentucky 0-0 1-0 105.2 101.7 104.3 103.7
Vanderbilt 0-0 0-1 97.7 91.7 96.4 95.3
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ole Miss 0-0 1-0 129.0 121.4 127.3 125.9
Alabama 0-0 1-0 125.1 123.7 124.8 124.5
LSU 0-0 0-0 125.2 120.9 125.1 123.7
Arkansas 0-0 1-0 123.8 117.8 123.4 121.7
Auburn 0-0 1-0 121.3 119.8 120.5 120.5
Texas A&M 0-0 1-0 119.7 117.5 118.6 118.6
Mississippi St. 0-0 1-0 112.4 107.7 112.1 110.7
             
SEC Averages     117.4 113.0 116.7 115.7
             
Sunbelt Conference
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 0-0 1-0 92.5 95.7 94.6 94.3
Georgia Southern 0-0 0-1 90.9 92.7 90.7 91.4
Arkansas St. 0-0 0-1 87.9 88.0 88.7 88.2
UL-Lafayette 0-0 0-1 85.0 89.1 85.4 86.5
Texas St. 0-0 0-1 83.8 88.5 83.9 85.4
UL-Monroe 0-0 0-1 81.4 78.0 80.7 80.0
South Alabama 0-0 1-0 76.0 84.7 77.8 79.5
New Mexico St. 0-0 0-1 74.4 75.5 74.5 74.8
Idaho 0-0 0-1 70.9 80.6 72.6 74.7
Georgia St. 0-0 0-1 73.4 72.2 72.4 72.7
Troy 0-0 0-1 72.1 71.6 72.8 72.2
             
Sun Belt Averages     80.8 83.3 81.3 81.8
PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 117.4 113.0 116.7 115.7
2 Pac-12 113.0 107.5 112.3 110.9
3 Big 12 110.5 104.2 110.1 108.3
4 Big Ten 108.7 106.7 108.3 107.9
5 ACC 107.5 108.0 107.2 107.6
6 Independents 101.6 103.6 102.8 102.7
7 AAC 93.1 97.6 93.6 94.8
8 MWC 92.3 94.8 91.9 93.0
9 CUSA 87.4 90.0 87.8 88.4
10 MAC 85.7 90.4 86.8 87.6
11 Sun Belt 80.8 83.3 81.3 81.8
Power 5 Conferences Bottom 10
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Kansas 79.9 72.9 77.8 76.9
2 Oregon St. 92.6 90.2 91.6 91.5
3 Iowa St. 96.0 92.2 94.7 94.3
4 Syracuse 94.2 98.2 93.1 95.2
5 Vanderbilt 97.7 91.7 96.4 95.3
6 Indiana 95.3 96.7 95.2 95.7
7 Washington St. 98.5 92.0 96.7 95.7
8 Maryland 98.4 94.3 97.0 96.6
9 Rutgers 99.4 96.8 97.8 98.0
10 Virginia 103.0 100.0 102.2 101.7
Group of 5 Contenders For Automatic New Year’s Six Bowl Bid
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Boise St. 114.3 108.5 113.6 112.1
2 Temple 107.1 109.8 108.4 108.4
3 Cincinnati 104.7 105.1 106.2 105.3
4 Memphis 104.4 104.7 105.7 104.9
5 BYU 104.8 103.3 106.2 104.8
6 Western Kentucky 101.0 98.8 102.1 100.6
7 Louisiana Tech 100.4 98.1 101.2 99.9
8 San Diego St. 96.1 102.4 97.8 98.8
9 Western Michigan 97.9 98.7 99.5 98.7
10 Navy 97.6 100.4 97.6 98.5
FCS Top 10
# Team PiRate
1 Jacksonville St. 93.7
2 South Dakota St. 93.4
3 North Dakota St. 91.8
4 Coastal Carolina 90.6
5 Illinois St. 88.4
6 Eastern Washington 88.0
7 SE Louisiana 86.7
8 Cal Poly 86.6
9 Northern Iowa 86.1
10 Harvard 85.2
This Week’s Games
         
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Thursday, September 10        
Western Kentucky Louisiana Tech 3.1 3.2 3.4
         
Friday, September 11        
Florida Atlantic Miami (FL) -24.0 -20.3 -23.5
Utah Utah St. 26.3 20.0 25.4
         
Saturday, September 12        
Florida St. South Florida 28.4 20.2 27.1
Michigan Oregon St. 23.1 21.6 23.2
Connecticut Army 5.1 0.6 3.5
UT-San Antonio Kansas St. -30.2 -7.6 -26.9
Maryland Bowling Green 9.4 -0.4 6.2
Louisville Houston 18.3 12.4 16.1
Penn St. Buffalo 34.2 28.3 32.8
Wisconsin Miami (O) 40.1 33.4 40.0
Syracuse Wake Forest -0.4 -1.2 -1.1
Clemson Appalachian St. 24.5 22.4 22.3
Colorado Massachusetts 22.2 24.2 19.5
Texas Tech UTEP 23.5 8.9 22.4
Ohio St. Hawaii 51.2 37.5 47.4
Colorado St. Minnesota -11.9 -13.7 -14.0
Rutgers Washington St. 4.2 8.1 4.4
Georgia Tech Tulane 32.8 21.1 33.8
Virginia Notre Dame -18.2 -17.3 -19.8
Vanderbilt Georgia -23.9 -21.5 -24.3
Ole Miss Fresno St. 44.2 27.8 43.1
Alabama Middle Tennessee 32.2 31.3 32.5
Arkansas Toledo 30.8 26.4 29.5
Wyoming Eastern Michigan 12.3 3.5 10.5
Iowa St. Iowa -3.7 -10.7 -5.1
California San Diego St. 24.6 12.1 23.2
Tennessee Oklahoma 2.7 1.3 2.3
Akron Pittsburgh -19.8 -14.8 -19.8
Georgia Southern Western Michigan -4.0 -3.0 -5.8
Ohio Marshall -4.9 0.4 -4.2
SMU North Texas 4.1 1.9 2.1
Nevada Arizona -19.7 -6.8 -18.3
Texas A&M Ball St. 36.5 31.9 34.2
Arkansas St. Missouri -25.2 -21.1 -23.9
Florida East Carolina 27.7 17.2 26.8
Kansas Memphis -22.0 -29.3 -25.4
South Carolina Kentucky 7.7 8.5 7.8
USC Idaho 55.4 41.0 53.6
Michigan St. Oregon 0.8 2.6 1.6
Nebraska South Alabama 38.2 25.7 35.7
Texas Rice 23.8 17.8 23.2
Indiana Florida Int’l 12.0 10.6 10.0
New Mexico St. Georgia St. 3.5 5.8 4.6
Cincinnati Temple 0.6 -1.7 0.8
New Mexico Tulsa 10.0 4.3 8.6
Mississippi St. LSU -9.8 -10.2 -10.0
Air Force San Jose St. 3.0 4.9 2.1
BYU Boise St. -6.5 -2.2 -4.4
UNLV UCLA -45.2 -34.9 -43.3
Stanford Central Florida 27.5 20.1 26.8
         
FBS vs. FCS Week 2 PiRate    
Auburn Jacksonville St. 35    
Illinois Western Illinois 23    
Purdue Indiana St. 19    
Charlotte Presbyterian 11    
Boston College Howard 42    
Washington Sacramento St. 36    
West Virginia Liberty 42    
Central Michigan Monmouth 30    
Northern Illinois Murray St. 37    
Southern Miss. Austin Peay 34    
TCU Stephen F. Austin 53    
Virginia Tech Furman 40    
Northwestern Eastern Illinois 34    
Duke UNC-Central 37    
North Carolina North Carolina A&T 32    
N.C. St. Eastern Kentucky 34    
Kent St. Delaware St. 29    
UL-Lafayette Northwestern St. 21    
UL-Monroe Nicholls St. 36    
Texas St. Prairie View 26    
Troy Charleston Southern 6    
Old Dominion Norfolk St. 26    
Oklahoma St. Central Arkansas 36    
Baylor Lamar 50    
Arizona St. Cal Poly 34    

August 18, 2015

2015 Big 12 Preview

A year ago, TCU and Baylor were both within striking distance of making the playoffs late in the season.  Both teams had offenses that could not be stopped and could rarely be slowed.  The Horned Frogs were one of those rare teams that could run for 200+ yards and pass for 300+ yards per game, while their defense was tough against the run and the pass.  Their only blemish was a three-point loss at Baylor, on a field goal on the final play of the game; the Bears were undefeated and ranked number five at the time.  Heading into the final week of the regular season, TCU was one of the Final Four teams in the second-to-last selection poll.  The Horned Frogs then played Iowa State and won 55-3 in a game that could have been 76-3 had Gary Patterson left his starters in the game.  The Frogs amassed more than 700 total yards, apparently wrapping up a playoff bid.
So what happened?  Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big Ten Championship Game, while Oregon beat Arizona 51-13 in the Pac-12 Championship Game.  Defending national champion Florida State barely held off Georgia Tech to win the ACC Championship Game by two points, and at 13-0, the Seminoles basically had to be included in the playoffs, even if they did not appear to be nearly as talented as either Big 12 team.  And, then there was Alabama.  At 12-1, following an SEC Championship Game blowout of Missouri, and with a lone loss to a then undefeated Ole Miss team in Oxford, there would have been a new Civil War had the Crimson Tide been excluded.
TCU, who at the time was our PiRate Ratings clear number one team at the close of the 2014 regular season did not benefit from having a Big 12 Championship Game to boost their strength of schedule at the end.  And, the Horned Frogs actually would have finished behind Baylor in the standings had the two teams been in the same division of a 12-team Big 12, figuring that the schools are in proximity to each other.

In the Peach Bowl, TCU showed the nation who the real best team in the nation was last year.  The Horned Frogs blew Ole Miss off the field, winning 42-3 in a game that was out of hand midway through the second quarter.
Baylor was in the driver’s seat for a playoff berth when they came from behind to beat TCU.  The Bears were 6-0 and ranked in the top four when they ventured to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on a 4-2 Mountaineers team the following week.  Maybe, the Bears overlooked WVU or maybe they were still celebrating their big win the week before, but BU could not get their offense on track against an average WVU defense.  The 41-27 loss could not be overcome, even after the Bears knocked off Oklahoma  by 34 points.  In the Cotton Bowl, Michigan State came from down 20 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Bears 42-41.

The biggest problem the two top Big 12 teams faced last year was strength of schedule.  The league plays a nine-game conference schedule with every team playing all the other teams.  That leaves just three non-conference games for each team, and most of those non-Big 12 games come against the likes of teams that do not strengthen a resume.  Last year, TCU played one slightly above average non-conference foe in Minnesota.  Their other two games came against FCS Samford and 1-11 SMU.  Baylor’s three non-league foes were SMU, FCS Northwestern State, and Buffalo.
In contrast, Ohio State’s non Big Ten foes were Navy, Virginia Tech, Kent State, and Cincinnati (three bowl teams out of four).  Oregon’s non-Pac-12 slate included two clunkers in South Dakota and Wyoming, but the Ducks’ other game came against #7 Michigan St.

Once again, the non-conference schedules for the two league powers are weak, and this could become a factor once again this season.  However, as you will see in the final two previews, the top two leagues are so balanced, we do not believe any team will come through those wars unscathed.  Therefore, there is a chance that rather than having no team invited to the Playoffs this year, the Big 12 could get two!  If the winner of the TCU-Baylor game finishes 12-0, and the loser finishes 11-1, then we believe that the Selection Committee would feel pressured to find some justification that would compel them to take both teams over a two-loss Pac-12 and a two-loss SEC team.
As we have stated previously, the four-team playoff is ridiculous when you have five power conferences.  The champions of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC should have automatic entries into any postseason playoff.  The other 50% of FBS should have some legitimate shot of earning a spot.  So, until there is an eight-team playoff, there will always be a deserving team or teams left out.  If the SEC is the league that gets jilted this year, that eight-team playoff may become reality sooner than expected.

There are additional quality teams in the Big 12 this year besides TCU and Baylor.  Oklahoma returns a bevy of talent and should improve on their 8-5 record from last year.  West Virginia, Texas, and Oklahoma State all have enough talent to pull off a major upset and even get into contention in this league.  Kansas State always surprises handicappers at least once a year.  Texas Tech had a down year in 2014, but they look to be 10 points better this year than last.

The bottom two of this league may be the one liability that makes it hard for two teams to make the playoffs.  Iowa State comes off a 2-10 season that included a loss to FCS North Dakota St and an 0-9 conference record.  Kansas faces the biggest rebuilding job of the 10 teams, and going backward from 1-8/3-9 forecasts some very long Saturdays in Lawrence before Rock Chalk Jayhawk comes to life indoors in November.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Big 12 Media Poll

Big 12 Conference Media Poll
Pos. Team 1st Place Total
1 TCU 32 408
2 Baylor 10 384
3 Oklahoma 0 312
4 Oklahoma St. 0 289
5 Texas 0 245
6 West Virginia 0 204
7 Kansas St. 0 201
8 Texas Tech 0 139
9 Iowa St. 0 83
10 Kansas 0 45

Big 12 Media Preseason All-Conference Team

Big 12 Preseason All-Conference Team
Offense Player School
Quarterback Trevone Boykin TCU
Running Back Shock Linwood Baylor
Running Back Samaje Perine Oklahoma
Fullback Glenn Gronkowski Kansas St.
Wide Receiver Corey Coleman Baylor
Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard Oklahoma
Wide Receiver Josh Doctson TCU
Tight End Tre’Von Armstead Baylor
Offensive Line Spencer Drango Baylor
Offensive Line Cody Whitehair Kansas St.
Offensive Line Joey Hunt TCU
Offensive Line Halapoulivaati Vaitai TCU
Offensive Line Le’Raven Clark Texas Tech
Defense Player School
Defensive Line Andrew Billings Baylor
Defensive Line Shawn Oakman Baylor
Defensive Line Emmanuel Ogbah Oklahoma St.
Defensive Line Davion Pierson TCU
Defensive Line Pete Robertson Texas Tech
Linebacker Eric Striker Oklahoma
Linebacker Ryan Simmons Oklahoma St.
Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski West Virginia
Defensive Back Orion Stewart Baylor
Defensive Back Dante Barnett Kansas St.
Defensive Back Zack Sanchez Oklahoma
Defensive Back Kevin Peterson Oklahoma St.
Defensive Back Duke Thomas Texas
Defensive Back Karl Joseph West Virginia
Special Teams Player School
Punter Taylor Symmank Texas Tech
Kicker Josh Lambert West Virginia
Return Specialist Alex Ross Oklahoma

PiRate, Mean, Bias, and Average Ratings

Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
TCU 131.4 118.6 133.1 127.7
Baylor 125.2 120.6 125.9 123.9
Oklahoma 121.3 117.6 121.7 120.2
Oklahoma St. 113.4 113.1 113.9 113.5
West Virginia 115.2 109.1 114.3 112.9
Texas 111.6 110.6 112.0 111.4
Kansas St. 111.0 94.6 109.3 105.0
Texas Tech 107.2 96.6 106.4 103.4
Iowa St. 95.0 91.2 93.7 93.3
Kansas 80.8 73.8 78.7 77.8
B12 Averages 111.2 104.6 110.9 108.9

PiRate Won-Loss Predictions and Bowl Projections

PiRate Ratings Predicted Records
Pos Team Conf. Overall Bowl
1 TCU 9-0 12-0 Playoffs
2 Baylor 8-1 11-1 Playoffs
3 Oklahoma 7-2 9-3 Sugar
4 West Virginia 5-4 8-4 Russell Athletic
5 Texas 5-4 7-5 Alamo
6 Oklahoma St. 4-5 7-5 Texas
7 Kansas St. 3-6 6-6 Liberty
8 Texas Tech 3-6 5-7 None
9 Iowa St. 1-8 2-10 None
10 Kansas 0-9 1-11 None

Note: The Big 12 will not have eligible teams for the Cactus and Armed Forces Bowls.

Coming Next: The Pac-12 Conference

December 31, 2014

PiRate Ratings FBS Playoffs Computer Simulation–Simper Bowl VIII

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

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

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

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

AND YOUR 2014 SIMPER BOWL VIII CHAMPION IS……………………

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

Final Score: TCU 38  Baylor 26

STATS

First Downs: TC 27  BA 20

Rushing: TC 45-203  BA 23-67

Passing: TC 226  BA 291

Passes: TC 20-32-0  BA 28-51-1

Play-Yds: TC 77-429  BA 74-358

After 1st Qtr.: TCU 10  Baylor 6

Half: TCU 17  Baylor 16

After 3rd Qtr.: TCU 31  Baylor 19

********************************************

100 Sims of Actual Rose and Sugar Bowls

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

Rose Bowl

#2 Oregon vs. #3 Florida St.

Outright Wins: Florida St. 57  Oregon 43

Average Score: Florida St. 24.9  Oregon 22.5

Outlier A: Florida St. 40  Oregon 22

Outlier B: Oregon 45  Florida St. 20

Sugar Bowl

#1 Alabama vs. #4 Ohio St.

Outright Wins: Alabama 89  Ohio St. 11

Average Score: Alabama 32.6  Ohio St. 21.7

Outlier A: Alabama 44  Ohio St. 13

Outlier B: Ohio St. 29  Alabama 23

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