The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 18, 2019

PiRate Ratings Picks For September 19-23, 2019

Well, hello there.  Welcome to the worst sports picks on the Internet in 2019.  These last two weeks have been so monumentally terrible, that one must go back to 1982 to find a worse two weeks for our selections.  Why have we gone from so good in 2018 to so rotten this year?  If we only knew the answer to that question.

One thing we noticed is that our parlays have been 67% correct, or in other words, we are hitting on all but one game in each parlay.  Or, in other words, if we had re-arranged our picks, we could have in theory won well over half of these selections.  There’s the rub.  When you pick parlays, you have to be 100% right to win your parlay.

We have decided to stick with what has worked for us in the past and hope to improve enough to get back into the black before the end of the year.  It’s going to be a tough hill to climb, but we issue our selections without any stress.

Why is this stress free?  We NEVER wager real money on our selections.  We are in this for fun, and we have always advised you to do the same.  Even in years where our picks would have in theory returned you more than 40% on your investment, we never took ourselves seriously enough to have faith in these choices.

You have had your weekly forewarning.  DO NOT WAGER REAL MONEY ON THESE PICKS!

Odds as of 2:00 PM EDT on Wednesday, September 18

 

Selection #1: 10-point Teaser, 3 teams at 10-12

 

Houston + 15 1/2 vs. Tulane

Boston College +3 vs. Rutgers

Louisiana-Monroe +29 vs. Iowa St.

 

Selection #2: 10-point Teaser, 3 teams at 10-12

 

Northwestern +19 1/2 vs. Michigan St.

TCU + 1/2 vs. SMU

Wyoming +13 1/2 vs. Tulsa

 

Selection #3: 10-point Teaser, 3 teams at 10-12

 

New Mexico St. +15 vs. New Mexico

Oklahoma St. +15 1/2 vs. Texas

Nevada -4 1/2 vs. UTEP

 

Selection #4: 10-point Teaser, 3 teams at 10-12

 

Jacksonville + 11 1/2 vs. Tennessee

Green Bay +2 vs. Denver

Cincinnati +16 vs. Buffalo

 

Selection #5: 10-point Teaser, 3 teams at 10-12

 

Carolina +7 1/2 vs. Arizona

Seattle +6 vs. New Orleans

San Francisco +3 1/2 vs. Pittsburgh

 

Selection #6: 10-point Teaser, 3 teams at 10-12

 

Tennessee & Jacksonville OVER 29

New England & NY Jets OVER 33 1/2

Dallas & Miami UNDER 57 1/2

 

Selection #7: Money Line Parlay, 2 teams at +152

 

Syracuse over Western Michigan

North Carolina over Appalachian St.

 

Selection #8: Money Line Parlay, 3 teams at +137

 

Louisiana Tech over Florida Int’l.

TCU over SMU

Arizona St. over Colorado

 

Selection #9: Money Line Parlay, 3 teams at +180

 

Boston College over Rutgers

Texas A&M over Auburn

UAB over South Alabama

 

Davey19

The experimental Davey19 model took it on the chin as well last week, and it went into the red for the season.  This week, we double-checked the information to make sure we interpreted the statistical data correctly, and it looks like we made no mistakes in the calculations last week.  The picks just plain stunk.

 

Here are Davey19’s selections as we play it a little more conservatively.

 

  1. Stanford & Oregon UNDER 58 1/2

  2. Air Force & Boise St. UNDER 55

  3. Northwestern +9 1/2 vs. Michigan St.

  4. Illinois +13 1/2 vs. Nebraska

  5. Ole Miss -2 vs. California

August 28, 2019

PiRate Ratings Picks For August 29-September 2, 2019

Last week, the PiRate Ratings did not make any selections on the two FBS games on the schedule, but our experimental Davey19 system made its first ever pick, and it chose a good one.  The computer program chose Hawaii at +11 against Arizona, and UH not only covered the spread, they won the game outright.

So, entering official week 1 of the college season, the PiRate Ratings stay at $0, while the Davey19 program sits at +$100.

With no NFL games for another weekend, we will jump into the water and stay in the shallow end of the betting pool this week with a minimum of plays.

PiRate Ratings Picks

#1: Money Line Parlay @ +189

SMU over Arkansas St.

South Carolina over North Carolina

 

#2: Money Line Parlay @ +146

Utah over BYU

Purdue over Nevada

Colorado over Colorado St.

Rutgers over UMass

 

#3: Money Line Parlay @ +182

Pittsburgh over Virginia

N. Carolina St. over East Carolina

Missouri over Wyoming

 

#4: 13-Point Teaser @ 10-14

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Rutgers

U Mass

28.5

U Mass

Colorado

Colorado St.

0.5

Colorado

Virginia Tech

Boston College

18.5

Boston College

Florida St.

Boise St.

17.5

Boise St.

 

Davey19 Selections

Straight Selections Against the Spread

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Virginia Tech

Boston College

5.5

Boston College

Florida St.

Boise St.

5.5

Boise St.

Southern Cal

Fresno St.

13.5

Fresno St.

 

10-Point Teaser @10-12

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Army

Rice

11.5

Army

Illinois

Akron

28

Akron

N. Carolina St.

East Carolina

6.5

North Carolina St.

 

10-Point Teaser @10-12

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Alabama

Duke

44.5

Duke

Michigan

Middle Tennessee

45

Middle Tennessee

Georgia

Vanderbilt

30.5

Vanderbilt

 

 

 

August 11, 2019

2019 Mountain West Conference Football Preview

In the first decade of the 21st Century, the Mountain West Conference was without a doubt the best of the non power leagues.  Slowly, some of the best programs left the league.  Utah went to the Pac-12; TCU left for the Big 12; Brigham Young copied the Notre Dame formula and went independent in football, while joining the West Coast Conference in other sports.  Boise State joined when BYU left, but the Broncos’ best teams were in the old Western Athletic Conference.

You can see this league beginning to reload.  Boise State has begun to recruit like they did in Chris Peterson’s era at the Field of Blue.  Under former Cal coach Jeff Tedford, Fresno State has returned to prominence.  Utah State, Wyoming, San Diego State, Hawaii, and Nevada have gotten a bit stronger in recent years.  Air Force has been down in the last couple of years, but the Falcons have the experience to rebound this year.

With the new strength in so many locations, the unfortunate reality is that it is highly unlikely that any one team will dominate the others and make a run for the New Year’s Six Bowl that goes to the top-rated Group of Five Conference team.

Both divisions should see competitive races this year, and when November comes,  at least five teams should still have a legitimate chance to make the conference championship game.

 

Here is how the Mountain West Conference media voted in the preseason poll

Mountain West Conference Media Poll
Mountain Division
Pos. Team 1st Place Votes Overall Votes
1 Boise St. 15 120
2 Utah St. 6 108
3 Air Force 0 73
4 Wyoming 0 66
5 Colorado St. 0 52
6 New Mexico 0 22
 

 

West Division
Pos. Team 1st Place Votes Overall Votes
1 Fresno St. 17 122
2 San Diego St. 3 106
3 Nevada 0 74
4 Hawaii 1 67
5 UNLV 0 51
6 San Jose St. 0 21
 

 

Championship Game Winner
None Chosen

The PiRate Ratings offer a little bit of a variation from the Media Poll.

Preseason PiRate Ratings–Mountain West
Mountain Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Utah St. 105.4 104.3 106.8 105.5
Boise St. 105.0 104.3 105.3 104.9
Air Force 96.5 98.0 97.3 97.3
Wyoming 94.4 96.6 95.2 95.4
New Mexico 83.0 86.3 82.4 83.9
Colorado St. 79.2 84.2 79.3 80.9
 

 

West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Fresno St. 99.8 100.2 100.6 100.2
Hawaii 95.5 97.7 94.8 96.0
San Diego St. 94.4 96.2 94.1 94.9
Nevada 92.9 93.9 92.5 93.1
U N L V 85.8 88.9 85.9 86.9
San Jose St. 83.6 86.0 82.7 84.1
 

 

MWC Averages 93.0 94.7 93.1 93.6

 

Note:  These preseason ratings are accurate as of August 1, 2019, and subject to change before the first week of the season due to personnel changes prior to the first week of the season.

 

Predicted Won-Loss Records

The PiRate Ratings were not created to forecast won-loss records like other ratings might attempt.  Our ratings are valid for just the next game on the teams’ schedules, and we have pre-set adjustments built into our ratings on many teams.  For instance, if a team has exceptional starting talent but little depth, their rating has a pre-set reduction per week of the season, so that even if they win or lose a game by the exact expected margin, they will lose some of their power rating due to their depth issues.

If a team has exceptional, but inexperienced talent, their rating will have a pre-set addition per week of the season, and even if their performance may be exactly what was expected, their power rating will rise.

What you see in these predicted won-loss records are our opinion and not calculated from the ratings.  These are the estimated records based on a vote, with the Captain having 50% of the vote and the crew having the other 50%.  The Captain then rounded up or down those teams picked to have an average wins that were not whole numbers.

 

PiRate Members Predicted Won-Loss
Mountain Division
Pos Team Conference Overall
1 Utah St. 7-1 10-3*
2 Boise St. 7-1 9-3
3 Air Force 5-3 7-5
4 Wyoming 4-4 6-6
5 New Mexico 1-7 3-9
6 Colorado St. 0-8 1-11
 

 

West Division
Pos Team Conference Overall
1 Hawaii 6-2 9-5
2 Fresno St. 6-2 8-4
3 San Diego St. 5-3 7-5
4 Nevada 4-4 6-6
5 UNLV 2-6 3-9
6 San Jose St. 1-7 2-10
 

*

 

Utah State picked to win MWC Championship Game

 

Bowl Predictions
Las Vegas Utah St.
Arizona Fresno St.
Armed Forces Boise St.
Idaho Potato Air Force
New Mexico San Diego St.
 

 

Alternate Bowl
Cheez-it Hawaii
 

 

Also Bowl Eligible
Nevada
Wyoming

 

Coaches That Could Move to Power 5 Conferences

Bryan Harsin, Boise St.

Craig Bohl, Wyoming

Nick Rolovich, Hawaii

Jay Norvell, Nevada

 

Coaches On The Hot Seat

Mike Bobo, Colorado St.

Bob Davie, New Mexico

Brent Brennan, San Jose St.

Tony Sanchez, UNLV

 

Top Quarterbacks

Jordan Love, Utah St.

Cole McDonald, Hawaii

Armani Rogers, UNLV

 

Best Offense

Utah St.

Boise St.

Hawaii

 

Best Defense

Utah St.

Boise St.

Fresno St.

 

Coming Tomorrow: The FBS Independents, including Notre Dame and BYU.

 

 

 

 

August 17, 2017

2017 Mountain West Conference Preview

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 2:37 am

In past years, the Mountain West Conference preview has come several days later.  We preview the conferences in reverse order of their overall power rating, and the MWC starts the 2017 season at its lowest rank in many years.  Part of that reason is that the one power program, Boise State, is not so powerful these days.  The Broncos are still very much a contender to win the Mountain Division and play in the league championship game, but they are not a prohibitive favorite, nor are they the regular favorite.

Last year, five teams competed for the Mountain Division title, while San Diego State cruised to the West Division title with no competition.  It should be more of the same formula this year, as the MWC Championship Game is starting to look like the Aztec Invitational Tournament.

Here is how the MWC Media picked the races in the preseason.

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total
1 Boise St. 21 161
2 Colorado St. 6 135
3 Wyoming 1 114
4 Air Force 0 82
5 New Mexico 0 68
6 Utah St. 0 28
       
West Divsion
# Team 1st Pl. Total
1 San Diego St. 28 168
2 Hawaii 0 135
3 UNLV 0 105
4 Nevada 0 79
5 San Jose St. 0 54
6 Fresno St. 0 47

The Preseason PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings agree with SDSU being the clear cut favorite in the West, but they do not agree with the Mountain Division pick.  It looks like a three-team race in this division.

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Colo. State 101.3 100.5 101.2 101.0
Wyoming 99.0 96.4 97.8 97.7
Boise St. 98.4 96.6 97.6 97.5
New Mexico 92.8 93.3 93.7 93.3
Air Force 91.5 92.2 91.8 91.8
Utah St. 87.7 86.7 86.9 87.1
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 99.7 100.7 101.3 100.6
Hawaii 88.8 90.8 88.6 89.4
U N L V 85.3 88.5 85.7 86.5
San Jose St. 86.2 85.5 85.5 85.7
Fresno St. 85.6 84.2 85.7 85.2
Nevada 83.0 86.9 85.3 85.0
         
MWC Averages 91.6 91.9 91.8 91.7

This is our not-so-scientific look at the projected standings and bowl projections.

Mountain West Conference Projected Standings
       
Mountain Division Conference Overall Bowl
Wyoming 7-1 9-4 Idaho Potato
Colorado St. 7-1 9-3 Hawaii
Boise St. 6-2 8-4 Arizona
New Mexico 4-4 6-6 New Mexico
Air Force 3-5 5-7  
Utah St. 1-7 2-10  
       
West Division Conference Overall Bowl
San Diego St. 6-2 9-4 Las Vegas
Hawaii 3-5 5-7  
UNLV 3-5 4-8  
Nevada 2-6 3-9  
Fresno St. 2-6 3-9  
San Jose St. 2-6 3-10  
       
San Diego St. to Win MWC Championship Game

Coming tomorrow: The Sun Belt Conference had always been the lowest rated league each preseason since its inception, but we thought that had changed this year.  Not only did we believe that the SBC moved out of the basement, they climbed up to second best Group of 5 conference.  At first, we believed it was due to a trio of exceptionally strong teams, but then we realized what happened.  It was our mistake.  We forgot to divide the total rating by 12 and divided by 11.  Coastal Carolina joined the league as a full member, and our people did not change the formula until it was too late to change the order of the previews.  We apologize for the error.

 

To make up for this, here is a fun, two-part trivia question for you.  The answers will come in the following previews.

A. Name the four pairs of FBS football schools that play their home games in stadiums less than 10 miles apart.

B. Name the three pairs of FBS football schools  that play their home games in stadiums less than 15 miles apart and are also conference rivals.

Remember, these are FBS schools only.  One hint–there will be one fewer pair that qualify after this season.

August 17, 2016

2016 Mountain West Conference Football Preview

In our first three previews, the races have projected to be competitive with up to four teams figuring to contend for the divisional titles. In today’s Mountain West Conference preview, there is no such competitiveness. Boise State and San Diego State are prohibitive favorites in the divisional races, so much so that the Broncos received 27 of 29 first place votes in the preseason media poll, while the Aztecs selection as number one in the West was unanimous.

The PiRate Ratings concur–Boise State and San Diego State begin the 2016 season as clear-cut favorites. In the Mountain Division, Air Force is within striking distance, less than a touchdown weaker than BSU to start the season. In the West, SDSU begins the season more than a ten points ahead of the pack.

Our Buccaneers have spotted their first surprise team in this year’s previews. UNLV, picked by the media to finish fifth in the West Division, should better that by a lot this year. The Rebels start the season with the fourth best PiRate Rating in the West, but they benefit by hosting Fresno State, Colorado State, Wyoming, and Nevada, while playing at Hawaii, and this gives second year head coach Tony Sanchez a chance to give UNLV a chance to return to a bowl for the first time in three years. Sanchez lost five games in six years as head coach of Bishop Gorman High School in suburban Las Vegas. In his first season at Sam Boyd Stadium, the Rebels finished 3-9, but it was an almost two touchdown improvement in scoring margin. A defense which figures to improve yet again should allow the Rebels to shed another 7-10 points off their points allowed, and Sanchez will mold a credible offense and guide UNLV to bowl eligibility.

The other surprise team should not be a surprise team at all. New Mexico was selected fifth in the Mountain Division after Coach Bob Davie guided the Lobos to a 7-5 regular season record, the first winning season in Albuquerque since 2007. The Lobos return almost every defensive player that contributed last year, and they also return a competent quarterback in Lamar Jordan. The PiRate believe that UNM will not only return to a bowl game again this season, they will even improve on their won-loss record of last year.

Both San Diego State and Boise State figure to contend for the automatic bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game awarded to the top team not from a Power 5 league. The winner of the MWC Championship Game might need to be undefeated this year to take that bid, because there are a couple of teams in the American Athletic Conference capable of going 12-1 this year. Check the PiRate Ratings Friday for a preview of that league.

Here is how the MWC Media Predicted The Race

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total
1 Boise St. 27 172
2 Air Force 2 126
3 Utah St. 0 111
4 Colorado St. 0 95
5 New Mexico 0 74
6 Wyoming 0 31
       
West Divsion
# Team 1st Pl. Total
1 San Diego St. 29 174
2 Nevada 0 129
3 San Jose St. 0 122
4 Fresno St. 0 76
5 UNLV 0 73
6 Hawaii 0 35

The Media did not select an overall champion.

Here are the PiRate Ratings to begin the season.

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 104.4 105.7 106.3 105.5
Air Force 99.9 100.2 100.1 100.1
New Mexico 94.3 97.6 95.6 95.9
Utah St. 93.2 97.1 93.0 94.4
Colorado St. 88.2 90.6 89.0 89.3
Wyoming 82.5 82.5 82.6 82.6
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 104.9 102.2 108.2 105.1
Nevada 92.3 95.6 93.6 93.9
San Jose St. 91.0 91.0 91.9 91.3
UNLV 89.0 93.6 89.1 90.6
Fresno St. 82.1 87.1 81.9 83.7
Hawaii 77.0 76.5 75.7 76.4
         
MWC Averages 91.6 93.4 92.3 92.4

The PiRate Ratings are best used just to look forward to the next week game schedule.  These ratings cannot really be used to predict won-loss records, so with that caveat, here are the projected won-loss records based on the ratings alone.

Mountain West Conference Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Mountain Division      
Boise St. 8-0 12-1 * Las Vegas
Air Force 7-1 11-1 Hawaii
New Mexico 5-3 8-4 New Mexico
Utah St. 4-4 6-6 Arizona
Colorado St. 2-6 4-8  
Wyoming 0-8 1-11  
       
West Division      
San Diego St. 8-0 11-2 Poinsettia
UNLV 5-3 7-5 Idaho Potato
Nevada 4-4 6-6 Bowl Eligible
San Jose St. 4-4 5-7  
Fresno St. 1-7 2-10  
Hawaii 0-8 2-11  
       
* Boise St. Projected to Win MWC Championship Game

Coming Tomorrow–The PiRates will release a double feature–The Independents and the American Athletic Conference. Beginning Saturday, we will commence with the Power 5 conference previews.

August 13, 2015

2015 Mountain West Conference Preview

There was a time when the Mountain West Conference graded out to be a little stronger than the old Big East Conference and was clearly stronger overall than today’s American Conference.  There were a couple seasons where the league was on par with the Atlantic Coast Conference.  Of course, there was a time when both TCU and Boise State were members of this conference, and there was a time that BYU was a member as well.

In 2015, the MWC may be a bit too weak for the champion to get into the playoff mix, but we believe the champion of this league stands an excellent chance to be 13-0 when the committee decides who is in and who is out.  If two of the Big Six conferences produce two or even three-loss champions, there will be a small chance that a 13-0 MWC team could be a surprise #4 seed.

It’s been five seasons since Boise State last finished the year undefeated.  In 2009, The Broncos defeated Oregon at the start of the year and 12-0 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl at the end of the year to finish fourth in the nation overall.  This was the second time the Broncos finished undefeated, having first pulled it of in 2006 when once again, BSU won the Fiesta Bowl in a thrilling finish over Oklahoma.  The 2006 team defeated Oregon State early in the season.

This year, Boise State opens at home against Washington.  In week two, they play at BYU.  An October 16 game at Utah State is the only other possible bump in the 2015 road, but this team is considerably stronger than the 12-2 team that won another Fiesta Bowl last year.  The Broncos were the first of the lone guaranteed non-Big Six conference team to be selected to a Big Six Bowl.  Could they become the first non-Big Six school to earn a playoff spot?

We don’t believe the selection committee will take the Broncos, but we do believe Boise will run the table for the third time in a decade and probably be rewarded with yet another trip to the Fiesta Bowl.

There is only one fly in the ointment.  Boise State is loaded on both sides of the ball, but the one place that is a question mark is at quarterback.  Ryan Finley isn’t totally raw, having seen brief action as a Freshman last year, but 27 career passes is not enough to make a case that he might be the next Kellen Moore.

Utah State has gone bowling the last four years, two under former coach Gary Andersen and two under current coach Matt Wells.  Who knows how good this program could have been if quarterback Chuckie Keeton could have finished a season.  He has suffered numerous injuries in his time in Logan, and he has never played a full schedule.  He returns for one final try, and if he can stay on the field, the Aggies pose the only legitimate threat to Boise State.  The loss of Jo Jo Natson may hamper their chances, but USU still has Hunter Sharp at Wide Receiver and LaJuan Hunt at running back, so there is talent at the skill positions.  Inside linebacker Nick Vigil has all the tools, and he will anchor the division’s top defense.

After the top two, the drop to number three is steep.  Colorado State lost the top quarterback in the league in Garrett Grayson; one of the top running backs in Dee Hart; and two of the top defensive players in the league in Aaron Davis and Max Morgan.  Oh, and they lost all-American coach Jim McElwain to Florida.  New coach Mike Bobo comes from the SEC just like his predecessor.  As the long time offensive coordinator at Georgia, Bobo’s Bulldog offenses were balanced with power running games and vertical passing games.  In his first year in Ft. Collins, he inherits talent not all that equipped to suit his style.  He will not see a Nick Chubb or Aaron Murray on the field at Hughes Stadium.  He also will not see his team playing on the field after November 28.  The Rams draw San Diego State and Fresno State out of the Pacific Division, and it looks like a drop under .500 this year.

Air Force has been up and down in recent years for Coach Troy Calhoun.  The Falcons were up last year, winning 10 games, including an upset of Boise State.  This year, the Falcons will be down due to a rebuilding defense and an offense that must break in a new quarterback.  Down won’t be a total disappointment, as we believe the Falcons will find a way to break even and earn a bowl bid.

Our pick for surprise team in the league this year is New Mexico.  The Lobos have been down and out since former coach Rocky Long was let go in 2008.  Following three consecutive 1-11 seasons that included a loss to Sam Houston, former Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie was brought to Albuquerque to right the ship.  This is his fourth season following 4-9, 3-9, and 4-8 seasons where the Lobos ran the ball better than any team in the league, topping 300 yards per game all three years.  This year, Davie has experienced talent throughout the roster, and with just a little improvement on the defensive side of the ball, New Mexico could win the close games and earn its first bowl bid since 2007.

There was a time when Wyoming was the class of the Rockies.  The Cowboys were the western Cradle of Coaches for years producing the likes of Bob Devaney, Pat Dye, Fred Akers, Joe Tiller, and Bowden Wyatt, all of whom ascended to big time programs and took teams to conference championships and New Year’s Day Bowls.  As of late, the pickings have been slim in Laramie.  Joe Glenn and Dave Christensen both had great promise but neither turned the tide.  Craig Bohl brought a similar resume to the Rockies as Glenn, having won big at North Dakota State, but his first year in Laramie was no different than recent editions.  This year’s team may make last year’s 4-8 team look like a success as graduation has taken a heavy toll.

The Pacific Division race should be a little more competitive than the Mountain Division.  Four teams have realistic chances to compete for the division title, while a fifth has the potential to get into the race.  It’s not that this side of the league is powerful; the parity is owed more to sub-par rosters than anything else.

San Diego State has been flirting with a division title for five years, and this looks like the year where the Aztecs are the favorite to finally get over the hump.  Coach Rocky Long’s defense is the best in the division and maybe the best in the entire league, and he returns 14 of his top 18 tacklers from last year.  If his offense can maintain the competency of recent years, SDSU could win double digit games for the first time since 1977.

Nevada exploded with a 13-1 record in 2010 and has since returned to mediocrity with three 7-6 seasons wrapped around a 4-8 season.  Third year coach Brian Polian must polish a new quarterback to replace Cody Fajardo, who led the Wolf Pack in addition to his passing skills, led the Wolf Pack in rushing.  The secondary must be rebuilt as well, and in a pass-happy league, a weak secondary can be a recipe for disaster.  However, both sides of the line of scrimmage are stocked with quality brutes, so we believe Nevada will stay in the hunt for another bowl bid.

Fresno State is in a similar boat as Nevada.  Coach Tim DeRuyter must replace his starting quarterback for the second consecutive season, but replacing Brian Burrell will be easier than replacing Derek Carr.  There is a question at the moment concerning the possible starting quarterback this year.  Former West Virginia signal caller Ford Childress is the most talented QB on the roster and should be the starter, but there are questions concerning his eligiblity status.  He is currently practicing with the squad, but there is a chance he will not be eligible to play until the second week of the season.  If Childress is okayed to play, the Bulldogs immediately move up a notch as SDSU’s top contender.  Without him, FSU may have to rely on a freshman or less talented sophomore.

San Jose State fell back in the pack last year, suffering through a 3-9 season which included a season-ending six game losing streak.  Third year coach Ron Carragher returns 10 starters on offense, but the attack troops suffered a mighty blow when freshman phenom and expected starting wide receiver Kanya Bell was dismissed following his arrest on domestic battery charges.  Many of his teammates disagreed with the dismissal, citing that there could be more to the story, and this sounds like it created possible dissension within the ranks.  If so, Carragher faces a tough uphill climb to keep the team believing in his leadership.  If the season heads south early, Carragher could find himself on a hot seat in San Jose.

If there is to be a surprise team in the Pacific Division, we believe it will be Hawaii.  Fourth year coach Norm Chow welcomes the best new quarterback in the league.  Former USC Trojan Max Wittek could be the missing ingredient Chow has needed to run his complicated offense.  The Warriors failed to complete 50% of their passes last year, and Wittek is a major upgrade.  The UH defense was vastly improved last year, and if the offense can improve in the same manner, then Hawaii could compete for that elusive seventh win and get a 14th game in December in Honolulu.  Road games in September at Ohio State and Wisconsin are the big issues.  Not that Hawaii has a chance of upsetting either team, but if injuries in those games prevent the roster from being near full strength in November, when the Warriors have a very favorable schedule, there will be no chance to get to 7-6.

What do you do if you are a first year college head coach, and you inherit a 2-11 team that gave up more than 500 yards per game and barely beat Northern Colorado by a point the year before?  What do you do when said team was decimated by graduation losses and appears to be considerably weaker than the 2-11 team you inherited?  That’s what first year UNLV coach Tony Sanchez faces in Las Vegas.  Sanchez has zero head coaching experience in college football.  He only has one year of any college football experience, and that came a generation ago when he was a graduate assistant at New Mexico State.  Sanchez has been the Knute Rockne of high school coaches in the Silver State.  He never lost a conference game at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, and his annual won-loss records were 15-0, 13-2, 16-0, 13-1, 13-2, and 15-0, winning the Nevada State Championship every year.  Those five losses in six seasons will be eclipsed in little more than half a season this year, because that Gorman team had more future FBS all-star players than this UNLV team, and Sanchez cannot play rising high school junior Tate Martell at quarterback.

Let’s take a look at how the MWC Media predicted the standings for this season.

Mountain West Conference Media Poll
Pos. Team 1st Place Total
Mountain Division
1 Boise St. 28 177
2 Utah St. 2 150
3 Colorado St. 0 108
4 Air Force 0 90
5 Wyoming 0 64
6 New Mexico 0 41
West Division
1 San Diego St. 27 177
2 Fresno St. 3 141
3 Nevada 0 113
4 San Jose St. 0 91
5 Hawaii 0 70
6 UNLV 0 38

Here is the Media’s preseason All-MWS team.

Conference USA Preseason All-Conference Team
Offense Player School
Quarterback Chuckie Keeton Utah St.
Running Back Donnel Pumphrey San Diego St.
Running Back Martez Waller Fresno St.
Wide Receiver Rashard Higgins Colorado St.
Wide Receiver Devonte Boyd UNLV
Tight End Steven Walker Colorado St.
Offensive Line Marcus Henry Boise St.
Offensive Line Rees Odhiambo Boise St.
Offensive Line Alex Fifita Fresno St.
Offensive Line Ben Clarke Hawaii
Offensive Line Pearce Slater San Diego St.
Defense Player School
Defensive Line Eddie Yarbrough Wyoming
Defensive Line Alex Hansen Air Force
Defensive Line Kamalei Correa Boise St.
Defensive Line Ian Seau Nevada
Linebacker Tanner Vallejo Boise St.
Linebacker Kyler Fackrell Utah St.
Linebacker Nick Vigil Utah St.
Defensive Back Weston Steelhammer Air Force
Defensive Back Donte Deayon Boise St.
Defensive Back Darian Thompson Boise St.
Defensive Back Damontae Kazee San Diego St.
Special Teams Player School
Punter Alex Boy Nevada
Kicker Donny Hageman San Diego St.
Return Specialist Carols Wiggins New Mexico

Here are the Preseason PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings along with the averages of the three.

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 114.5 108.6 114.1 112.4
Utah St. 99.7 98.9 100.0 99.5
Colorado St. 95.4 92.9 93.4 93.9
Air Force 91.1 96.6 90.1 92.6
New Mexico 90.7 91.8 90.2 90.9
Wyoming 84.3 86.6 82.5 84.5
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 96.3 102.6 98.0 99.0
Nevada 91.7 96.6 91.0 93.1
Fresno St. 89.3 98.1 88.7 92.0
San Jose St. 89.3 92.9 89.2 90.5
Hawaii 87.4 91.6 87.7 88.9
UNLV 76.7 79.6 76.5 77.6
MWC Averages 92.2 94.7 91.8 92.9

And, here are the PiRate Ratings Won-Loss predictions and bowl projections.

PiRate Ratings Predicted Records
Pos Team Conf. Overall Bowl
Mountain Division
1 Boise St. 8-0 13-0 * Big Six
2 Utah St. 6-2 8-4 Las Vegas
3 New Mexico 4-4 7-5 New Mexico
4 Air Force 4-4 6-6 Arizona #
5 Colorado St. 3-5 5-7 None
6 Wyoming 1-7 3-9 None
West Division
1 San Diego St. 7-1 9-4 ^ Poinsettia
2 Nevada 5-3 7-5 Idaho Potato
3 Fresno St. 4-4 5-7 None
4 Hawaii 3-5 5-8 None
5 San Jose St. 3-5 4-8 None
6 UNLV 0-8 1-11 None
* Wins Title Game
^ Loses Title Game
# The Arizona Bowl does not have a sponsor and may be postponed

Coming Next: The American Athletic Conference

August 17, 2013

2013 Mountain West Conference Football Preview

2013 Mountain West Conference Preview

 

The Mountain West Conference expands to 12 teams this year and divides into two divisions with a championship game to be held on December 7 at the home field on the division winner with the higher BCS ranking.

 

The divisional split here is geographical in an east/west split, but the divisions are named, Mountain and West.  All Mountain teams reside in cities in the Mountain Time Zone, while all West Teams resided in cities in the Pacific Time Zone, or in the case of Hawaii, in the Hawaii Time Zone (2 hours behind the Pacific Time Zone).

 

Last year, Fresno St., San Diego St., and Boise St. tied for the conference title.  Throw in two new teams (both 11-2) that finished in the top 25 in last year’s final poll, and the league should be stronger this season, but not as strong as when TCU was in the league.

 

We expect a little changing of the guard this season.  We suspect Boise State to experience a rebuilding season and have their worst season in a decade.  It is the first time our ratings have not listed BSU as the top-rated team in their league since 2005.

 

This league has produced multiple BCS Bowl qualifiers, and we believe there is a good chance that one more team could challenge for a spot this season.  An October 26 road game against San Diego St. and a November 29 road game against San Jose St. and a win in the inaugural MWC title game are the three crucial games that must be victorious for Fresno St.  If the Bulldogs win those three games, they should be 13-0.  Our ratings have FSU favored in every game.

 

Additions: San Jose St. and Utah St. move from the now football defunct WAC.

 

Departures: None

 

Pre-season PiRate Ratings

 

Mountain West Conference

Mountain Division

Team

Conf.

Overall

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Utah St.

0-0

0-0

100.9

92.5

101.1

Boise St.

0-0

0-0

100.0

102.3

101.7

Colorado St.

0-0

0-0

90.3

94.4

90.8

Wyoming

0-0

0-0

85.8

85.6

85.9

Air Force

0-0

0-0

81.3

87.7

81.2

New Mexico

0-0

0-0

78.8

83.9

79.4

     

 

 

 

West Division

Team

Conf.

Overall

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Fresno St.

0-0

0-0

104.0

101.4

105.0

San Jose St.

0-0

0-0

100.3

94.9

100.7

San Diego St.

0-0

0-0

98.6

98.3

98.8

Nevada

0-0

0-0

88.5

96.2

89.5

U N L V

0-0

0-0

85.7

92.0

86.3

Hawaii

0-0

0-0

82.0

82.4

82.4

     

 

 

 

League Averages    

91.4

92.6

91.9

 

 

Official Pre-season Media Poll

Mountain Division    

Pos

Team

Points

1st Place

1

Boise St.

245

40

2

Utah St.

204

1

3

Air Force

143

0

4

Wyoming

116

0

5

Colorado St.

90

0

6

New Mexico

63

0

       
West Division    

Pos

Team

Points

1st Place

1

Fresno St.

243

39

2

San Diego St.

181

1

3

San Jose St.

172

1

4

Nevada

135

0

5

U N L V

71

0

6

Hawaii

59

0

 

     

 

2013 MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Offense      
QB Derek Carr * Sr. Fresno State
WR Davante Adams * So. Fresno State
WR Noel Grigsby Sr. San José State
RB Kasey Carrier ** Sr. New Mexico
RB Adam Muema ** Jr. San Diego State
OL Charles Leno ** Sr. Boise State
OL Matt Paradis * Sr. Boise State
OL Weston Richburg Sr. Colorado State
OL Austin Wentworth * Sr. Fresno State
OL Tyler Larsen Sr. Utah State
TE Marcel Jensen Sr. Fresno State
       
Defense      
DL Demarcus Lawrence * Jr. Boise State
DL Tyeler Davison * Jr. Fresno State
DL Brock Hekking ** Jr. Nevada
DL Travis Raciti Jr. San José State
LB Jake Fely ** Jr. San Diego State
LB Keith Smith Sr. San José State
LB Kyler Fackrell So. Utah State
DB L.J. Jones Sr. Fresno State
DB Derron Smith * Jr. Fresno State
DB Nat Berhe ** Sr. San Diego State
DB Bené Benwikere Sr. San José State
       
Specialists    
P Ben Skaer Sr. New Mexico
PK Austin Lopez So. San José State
Ret. Chase Clayton Jr. New Mexico
       
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Derek Carr, Sr., QB, Fresno State
       
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Derron Smith, Jr., DB, Fresno State
       
Preseason Spcl Teams Player of the Year: Chase Clayton, Jr., KR, New Mexico
       
* – member of the 2012 All-Mountain West first team.
** – member of the 2012 All-Mountain West second team.

 

 

PiRate Ratings Summary

 

About Grades

93-100         A+

86-92           A

79-85           A-

72-78           B+

65-71           B

58-64           B-

51-57           C+

44-50           C

37-43           C-

30-36           D

0-29             F

 

About Predictions

Predictions are based on the PiRate Ratings with home field advantage factored in.  The PiRate Ratings use different home field advantages for every game, since the opponent factors into the equation.

 

Mountain Division

Team

Utah St. Aggies

               
Head Coach

Matt Wells

               
Colors

Navy and White

               
City

Logan, UT

               
2012 Record              
Conference

6-0 (in WAC)

Overall

11-2

               
Grades              
Run Offense

67

Pass Offense

63

Run Defense

75

Pass Defense

61

               
Ratings              
PiRate

100.9

Mean

92.5

Bias

101.1

               
Rankings              
PiRate

53

Mean

93

Bias

50

               
Prediction              
Conference

7-1

Overall

8-5 (Lose MWC Championship Game)

 

 

Team

Boise St. Broncos

               
Head Coach

Chris Petersen

               
Colors

Blue and Orange

               
City

Boise, ID

               
2012 Record              
Conference

7-1

Overall

11-2

               
Grades              
Run Offense

59

Pass Offense

67

Run Defense

63

Pass Defense

69

               
Ratings              
PiRate

100.0

Mean

102.3

Bias

101.7

               
Rankings              
PiRate

58

Mean

49

Bias

47

               
Prediction              
Conference

5-3

Overall

7-5

 

 

Team

Colorado St. Rams

               
Head Coach

Jim McElwain

               
Colors

Forest Green and Gold

               
City

Ft. Collins, CO

               
2012 Record              
Conference

4-4

Overall

4-8

               
Grades              
Run Offense

55

Pass Offense

55

Run Defense

51

Pass Defense

59

               
Ratings              
PiRate

90.3

Mean

94.4

Bias

90.8

               
Rankings              
PiRate

91

Mean

86

Bias

91

               
Prediction              
Conference

5-3

Overall

7-5

 

 

Team

Wyoming Cowboys

               
Head Coach

Dave Christensen

               
Colors

Brown and Gold

               
City

Laramie, WY

               
2012 Record              
Conference

3-5

Overall

4-8

               
Grades              
Run Offense

41

Pass Offense

69

Run Defense

40

Pass Defense

68

               
Ratings              
PiRate

85.8

Mean

85.6

Bias

85.9

               
Rankings              
PiRate

103

Mean

114

Bias

105

               
Prediction              
Conference

2-6

Overall

5-7

 

 

Team

Air Force Falcons

               
Head Coach

Troy Calhoun

               
Colors

Blue and Silver

               
City

Colorado Springs, CO

               
2012 Record              
Conference

5-3

Overall

6-7

               
Grades              
Run Offense

69

Pass Offense

28

Run Defense

43

Pass Defense

50

               
Ratings              
PiRate

81.3

Mean

87.7

Bias

81.2

               
Rankings              
PiRate

115

Mean

107

Bias

114

               
Prediction              
Conference

2-6

Overall

3-9

 

 

Team

New Mexico Lobos

               
Head Coach

Bob Davie

               
Colors

Cherry and Silver

               
City

Albuquerque, NM

               
2012 Record              
Conference

1-7

Overall

4-9

               
Grades              
Run Offense

66

Pass Offense

26

Run Defense

45

Pass Defense

44

               
Ratings              
PiRate

78.8

Mean

83.8

Bias

79.4

               
Rankings              
PiRate

120

Mean

117

Bias

119

               
Prediction              
Conference

1-7

Overall

2-10

 

 

Team

Fresno St. Bulldogs

               
Head Coach

Tim DeRuyter

               
Colors

Cardinal and Blue

               
City

Fresno, CA

               
2012 Record              
Conference

7-1

Overall

9-4

               
Grades              
Run Offense

 

Pass Offense

 

Run Defense

 

Pass Defense

 

               
Ratings              
PiRate

104.0

Mean

101.4

Bias

105.0

               
Rankings              
PiRate

44

Mean

56

Bias

43

               
Prediction              
Conference

8-0

Overall

13-0 (win MWC title game)

 

 

Team

San Jose St. Spartans

               
Head Coach

Ron Caragher

               
Colors

Blue and Gold

               
City

San Jose

               
2012 Record              
Conference

5-1 (in WAC)

Overall

11-2

               
Grades              
Run Offense

39

Pass Offense

83

Run Defense

63

Pass Defense

69

               
Ratings              
PiRate

100.3

Mean

94.9

Bias

100.7

               
Rankings              
PiRate

56

Mean

85

Bias

55

               
Prediction              
Conference

7-1

Overall

9-3

 

 

Team

San Diego St. Aztecs

               
Head Coach

Rocky Long

               
Colors

Red and Black

               
City

San Diego

               
2012 Record              
Conference

7-1

Overall

9-4

               
Grades              
Run Offense

62

Pass Offense

56

Run Defense

76

Pass Defense

63

               
Ratings              
PiRate

98.6

Mean

98.3

Bias

98.8

               
Rankings              
PiRate

66

Mean

66

Bias

65

               
Prediction              
Conference

6-2

Overall

8-4

 

 

Team

Nevada Wolf Pack

               
Head Coach

Brian Polian

               
Colors

Blue and Silver

               
City

Reno, NV

               
2012 Record              
Conference

4-4

Overall

7-6

               
Grades              
Run Offense

 

Pass Offense

 

Run Defense

 

Pass Defense

 

               
Ratings              
PiRate

88.5

Mean

96.2

Bias

89.5

               
Rankings              
PiRate

97

Mean

80

Bias

96

               
Prediction              
Conference

3-5

Overall

4-8

 

 

Team

U N L V Rebels

               
Head Coach

Bobby Hauck

               
Colors

Scarlet and Gray

               
City

Las Vegas

               
2012 Record              
Conference

2-6

Overall

2-11

               
Grades              
Run Offense

55

Pass Offense

62

Run Defense

31

Pass Defense

51

               
Ratings              
PiRate

85.7

Mean

92.0

Bias

86.3

               
Rankings              
PiRate

104

Mean

95

Bias

103

               
Prediction              
Conference

2-6

Overall

4-8

 

 

Team

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

               
Head Coach

Norm Chow

               
Colors

Green, Black, and Silver

               
City

Honolulu

               
2012 Record              
Conference

1-7

Overall

3-9

               
Grades              
Run Offense

27

Pass Offense

62

Run Defense

39

Pass Defense

53

               
Ratings              
PiRate

82.0

Mean

82.4

Bias

82.4

               
Rankings              
PiRate

114

Mean

120

Bias

113

               
Prediction              
Conference

0-8

Overall

1-11

 

October 23, 2011

PiRate Ratings: College Football for October 25-29, 2011

A Different Look At The Bowls

You can go to a couple dozen sites to get bowl projections, but those are simply opinionated predictions.  At the PiRate Ratings, we like to look at the bowls in the same way the bowls themselves look at the teams.  We go conference-by-conference and try to act as if we were representatives of the bowls.

 

Before going further, let us not forget that we issued a challenge at the first of this year to boycott the sponsors of the bowls and to notify the sponsors of your choice that you are boycotting their products for that purpose.  This was done as a ploy to take away the only reason there is not an NCAA Playoff in FBS Football.  If corporations were to become afraid to sponsor a bowl, then the bowl cannot make money.  If there was an “Occupy the Bowls” movement, the corporate big-wigs just might decide to sponsor playoffs and not bowl games.  When that happens, there will be playoffs.

 

Okay, that said, let us look at each conference and give you their bowl tie-ins and show you which teams are on the radar screen for invitations.

 

A C C

1. BCS Automatic Bid (Orange Bowl if not Championship Game)

2. Chick-fil-A

3. Champs Sports

4. Sun

5. Belk

6. Music City

7. Independence

8. Military

Note: The ACC is the first substitute if the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl cannot fill its Pac-12 spot or if Army is not bowl eligible

 

The ACC Championship Game winner will get an automatic BCS Bowl bid, and it will be the Orange Bowl unless the champion goes to the National Championship Game.  For the Tigers to get to the title game, at least four teams from among LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Boise State, and Stanford will have to lose while CU goes 13-0.  Clemson is not a sure thing to get that far.  Virginia Tech is capable of beating the Tigers in a rematch.

 

The loser of the ACC Championship Game should end up in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A. 

 

The next tier of teams that should get the next bowl slots are Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina.  Wake Forest and North Carolina State will fill out the last two spots.  There is a good chance that Virginia will win six games, and they could push Wake Forest for the eighth bowl spot.  In that case a 7-5 Demon Deacon team could fill in as an at-large entry in another bowl, and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl will have an opening for an ACC team, since Army will not be bowl eligible.

 

Big East

1. BCS Automatic Bid (At-Large)

(Notre Dame is eligible for all spots below here)

2. Champs Sports

3. Belk

4. Pinstripe

5. Liberty or BVAA Compass *

6. Beef O’Brady’s

 

* The Liberty Bowl has the option of selecting a Big East team in lieu of a Conference USA team or in place of the SEC if there are not enough bowl eligible SEC teams.  See SEC for more details.

 

Cincinnati is currently on top of the Big East at 2-0, but the Bearcats still have road games with Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Syracuse and a game at Paul Brown Stadium off campus against West Virginia.  Cinti will be in a bowl, but we are not sure they are the true favorite to make it a BCS bowl.

 

With the exception of South Florida, any of the other seven teams could win the league title.  Syracuse sure looks like the team to beat as of this week.  The Orange have a key game at Louisville this weekend.

 

Notre Dame is not headed to a BCS bowl with three losses and a road game still to play against Stanford.  The Irish will grab one of the five non-BCS bowl bids.  Counting Cincinnati and Syracuse, there will need to be three more bowl-eligible teams to fill the required slots.  Rutgers and West Virginia are sure things.  Pittsburgh and Louisville might decide the last bowl-eligible team when they face off in November.  Connecticut and South Florida are least likely to win six games.

 

Big Ten

1. BCS Automatic Bid (Rose Bowl if not Championship Game)

2. Capital One

3. Outback

4-5. Gator or

4-5. Insight

6. Meineke Car Care

7. Ticket City

8. Little Caesar’s

 

The Big Ten champion will be headed to Pasadena this year, as it is almost impossible for this league to finish in the top two of the BCS Standings.

 

Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State, and Nebraska all have just one loss and are bowl eligible.  Illinois is bowl eligible as well.  Iowa should get there this weekend after playing Minnesota.  Purdue and Ohio State, both 4-3, face off in November, and the winner of that game will finish the season with six or more wins.  If the conference sends a second team to the BCS, the Little Caesar’s Bowl could be looking to the Sunbelt to fill the vacant slot.  We think the Big Ten will miss out on getting a second BCS spot.

 

Big 12

1. BCS Automatic Bid (Fiesta Bowl if not Championship Game)

2. Cotton

3. Alamo

4. Insight

5. Holiday

6. Meineke Car Care

7. Pinstripe (Notre Dame is eligible for this if Big 12 cannot provide a team)

 

With Oklahoma losing to Texas Tech, it throws a monkey wrench into the Big 12’s “sure-thing” chance to produce two BCS Bowl teams.  Oklahoma State is the only National Championship Game possibility now, as it appears that Boise State will not fall enough in the computer rankings for a one-loss Big 12 team to pass them, especially if Georgia keeps winning in the SEC.

 

Kansas State is still undefeated, but the Wildcats have Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M in the next three weeks.  If they win all three, then they deserve to move into the top two, but there’s a greater chance of a satellite fragment crashing at the 50-yard line at Snyder Family Stadium than the Wildcats completing that sweep.

 

Oklahoma State needs to win out, and they will play the Alabama-LSU winner for the national championship (assuming LSU does not beat Alabama and then lose to Arkansas).

After the Sooners, Cowboys, and Wildcats, Texas A&M is the best of the rest.  The Aggies could easily be undefeated, but they blew double digit leads in back-to-back weeks against Oklahoma State and Arkansas.

 

Baylor, Texas Tech, and Texas are sure to gain bowl eligibility, while Missouri has a good shot to get to 6-6.  If Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State and finishes 10-2, we believe they will still have a chance to garner a BCS At-large spot.  If the Sooners beat OSU and both finish 11-1, then it will be an almost certainty that the league will send two teams.

 

Pac-12

1. BCS Automatic Bid (Rose Bowl if not Championship Game)

2. Alamo

3. Holiday

4. Sun

5. MAACO

6. Kraft Fight Hunger

7. New Mexico

 

Stanford will deserve a spot in the National Championship Game if they go 13-0 with their schedule.  They face USC at the Coliseum this weekend, and must also defeat Oregon and Notre Dame in Palo Alto.  Then, they have to win the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game, most likely against Arizona State.

 

Oregon is still a co-favorite to win the league title for the second consecutive year.  The Ducks lost to LSU to open the season, but they have gotten better and better each week.  Oregon has a tough three-game stretch at Washington, at Stanford, and versus USC.  If they win out and then take Arizona State in the conference title game, they might be the top one-loss team and the only one capable of leapfrogging over an undefeated Boise State team.

 

Since the Trojans are not eligible for bowl participation until next year, there is a very good possibility that this conference will not have seven bowl eligible teams this year.

 

Washington and Arizona State are the other sure things, while Cal will probably do it if they beat UCLA this week.  It is a high probability that no other team will win six games, so the Pac-12 will come up short by two teams, three if they send a second team to the BCS. 

 

S E C

1. BCS Automatic Bid (Sugar Bowl if not Championship Game)

2. Capital One

3-4-5. Outback or

3-4-5. Cotton or

3-4-5. Chick-fil-A

6. Gator

7. Music City

8-9. Liberty *

8-9 BVAA Compass *

 

* If the SEC cannot provide enough teams, the Liberty and Compass bowls alternate each year which bowl will find an at-large participant.  If the Liberty Bowl does not get an SEC team, they will take a Big East team that would have been the Compass Bowl’s selection.

 

It is very hard to believe the winner of the Alabama-LSU game would not be in the National Championship Game.  It isn’t impossible, but it’s hard to see any other SEC team beating the winner of this game.  It is also possible that if the winner of this epic matchup on November 5 wins by less than a field goal in one of those game for the ages, that the two teams could play again in New Orleans for all the marbles.

 

Arkansas is lurking in the bushes.  They have upset LSU before, including the Tigers’ national championship year of 2007.

 

Auburn, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina will be bowl eligible, and all of them could have eight wins on their resume.

 

Mississippi State is having an off-year after winning nine games in 2010, but the Bulldogs should get to 6-6 with Kentucky, UT-Martin, and Ole Miss still on the schedule.

 

Tennessee and Vanderbilt both have a chance to get to six wins, and it is likely that the winner of their November 19 game will be 6-6, while the loser finishes 5-7.  Kentucky and Ole Miss will not become bowl eligible this year.  So, it looks like nine bowl eligible teams for a probable 10 slots.

 

Best of the Rest

Mountain West

1. MAACO

2. Poinsettia

3. Independence

4. Famous Idaho Potato

5. New Mexico

 

Boise State has road victories over Georgia and Toledo, two teams that will be in bowls.  They have home victories over Tulsa, Nevada, and Air Force, who should all be in bowls.  The Broncos still have games with TCU and San Diego State, who should both be in bowls.  That adds to seven bowl teams on their schedule, and if they go 12-0, they will definitely be deserving of a BCS at-large Bowl Bid, but not the National Championship Game.  The Broncos will only get to New Orleans if every other team loses at least one game (Houston not included).  In our opinion, the Broncos deserve a BCS Bowl game over any Big East or ACC team.

 

TCU and San Diego State are sure things to become bowl eligible, while Air Force has concluded the difficult part of their schedule and could win out.

 

This is where things get murky.  If BSU earns a BCS bowl bid, this league will be liable for six bowl teams.  They may only have four.  Wyoming is 4-2, but the Cowboys will be hard pressed to come up with two more wins with a schedule that includes San Diego State, Air Force, and Boise State on the road and TCU at home.  A win over New Mexico is almost a guarantee, so the Cowboys would have to win against rival Colorado State in Ft. Collins on December 3.

 

The Rest

 

Conference USA

1. Liberty *

2. Hawaii

3. Ticket City

4. Armed Forces

5. Beef O’Brady’s

6. New Orleans

* BVAA Compass

 

* The Liberty Bowl can select a Big East team in place of the CUSA champion and send the league champion to Birmingham to the Compass Bowl.

 

Houston could go 13-0 and still be forced to play in the Liberty Bowl, although the Cougars could be shipped to a better bowl, such as the Alamo Bowl, in a “back room deal.”

 

Southern Mississippi and Tulsa are the two best teams after Houston, and both still have to play the Cougars (that is if USM wins the East Division and Houston wins the West).

 

SMU and UTEP should both be bowl eligible.  Of the remaining East Division teams, East Carolina has the best chance of sneaking in with six wins, while Central Florida and Marshall are long shots.  There is a chance that this league will come up one team short.

 

Independents

1. Notre Dame: Irish get a BCS bid if they finish in the top 8 in the final BCS standings.  They can also qualify for any Non-BCS bowl with ties to the Big East, and they can fill the Big 12’s Pinstripe Bowl slot if it is not filled by a Big 12 team).

 

2. B Y U: Cougars will earn a bid to the Armed Forces Bowl if they win seven games.

 

3. Navy: Midshipmen qualify for the Military Bowl if they are bowl eligible.

 

4. Army: The Black Knights qualify for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl if they are bowl eligible.  The ACC will replace a non-eligible Army team if they have a ninth bowl eligible team.

 

The only sure thing here is that BYU will earn their Armed Forces Bowl bid.  Notre Dame will go to one of the Big East bowls, while Army and Navy will be home for the holidays this year.

 

M A C

1. GoDaddy.com

2. Little Caesar’s

 

Toledo is the one sure thing this year.  The Rockets have been on a mission since the referees took away the Syracuse game from them with the blatantly terribly wrong PAT call.  They will earn one of the two guaranteed bowl bids.

 

Five teams will be competing for the other bowl spot.  In the East, where four teams have two conference losses, Temple, Ohio, and Bowling Green could all become bowl eligible.  In the West, besides Toledo, Northern Illinois can never be counted out of contention, as the Huskies have enough support to earn an at-large bid.  The two surprise teams here are Ball State and Eastern Michigan.  Both are 3-1/5-3, and both should win again to become bowl eligible.  While the Cardinals were in a bowl during Brady Hoke’s final season at BSU in 2008, it has been 24 years since EMU made its only bowl appearance.  The Eagles could win eight games, and Coach Ron English would have to merit some National Coach of the Year votes for taking a team that was #120 in the BCS two years ago.

 

Sunbelt

1. New Orleans

2. GoDaddy.com

* Beef O’Grady’s

* BVAA Compass

 

* The SBC is the principal backup choice of the Beef O’Grady’s Bowl if it cannot fill its spots with their regular tie-ins.  It is a secondary backup for the BVAA Compass Bowl.

 

Arkansas State is 3-0 in league play, while UL-Lafayette and Western Kentucky have one league loss apiece.  ASU beat WKU, and WKU beat ULL.  If ULL beats ASU, then the three could share the title, but we do not believe that will happen.  We’ll stick with ASU until somebody beats them in league play.

 

Florida International has a good chance of getting to seven wins and almost guaranteeing their receiving an at-large bowl bid.

 

The typical powers Troy and Middle Tennessee are out of the bowl picture for now.

 

W A C

Famous Idaho Potato

Poinsettia

Hawaii (Hawaii if they have seven or more wins)

New Mexico

 

Nevada will be the conference champion again, and Hawaii will win at least eight games.  After that, there is a question whether any other team will be bowl eligible.

 

San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, and New Mexico State are 3-4, while Fresno State is 3-5.  FSU plays 13 games, and the Bulldogs are on pace to finish 6-7 and out of the bowl picture.

 

Of the 3-4 teams, Louisiana Tech still must face Fresno State, Ole Miss, and Nevada on the road, and that leads to seven losses.  New Mexico State still has games against Nevada, Georgia, and BYU, and that leads to at least seven losses.  San Jose State has the best chance to finish 3-2 and become bowl eligible.  The Spartans close with Louisiana Tech, Idaho, Utah State, Navy, and Fresno State.  2nd year coach Mike MacIntyre has done a great job in two years there, and with former Michigan starting quarterback Tate Forcier set to become eligible next year, the Spartans could be on the verge of returning to their former winning ways when they went to four bowls in a decade.

 

This Week’s Power Ratings 1-120

#

Team

PiRate

1

Alabama

138.1

2

Stanford

136.5

3

L S U

136.1

4

Oregon

131.6

5

Oklahoma St.

129.3

6

Oklahoma

129.3

7

Boise St.

126.9

8

Wisconsin

124.5

9

TexasA&M

123.3

10

Notre Dame

119.8

11

Florida St.

119.8

12

Clemson

119.5

13

Southern Cal

119.2

14

Arkansas

119.0

15

Michigan St.

118.8

16

Arizona St.

118.1

17

S. Carolina

116.7

18

Michigan

116.3

19

Missouri

115.6

20

Nebraska

114.9

21

Virginia Tech

114.3

22

Florida 

113.5

23

Georgia 

113.0

24

Miami(FL)

112.7

25

Washington

112.6

26

T C U

112.6

27

Kansas St.

112.3

28

Texas

111.3

29

TexasTech

111.1

30

Mississippi St.

111.0

31

Ohio St.

110.4

32

Cincinnati

109.5

33

W. Virginia

109.0

34

California

108.9

35

Arizona

108.5

36

Penn St.

107.7

37

Iowa

107.5

38

Southern Miss.

107.4

39

Tennessee

106.8

40

Utah

106.7

41

Auburn

106.7

42

Houston

106.6

43

Nevada

106.6

44

Baylor

106.5

45

Oregon St.

105.6

46

B Y U

105.0

47

Georgia Tech

104.1

48

Vanderbilt

103.9

49

WakeForest

103.0

50

San Diego St.

102.8

51

Pittsburgh

102.7

52

N. Carolina

102.4

53

Illinois

101.9

54

N. Carolina St.

101.7

55

Tulsa

101.4

56

S M U

101.3

57

S. Florida

101.3

58

Purdue

101.1

59

Toledo

100.6

60

U C L A

100.6

61

Maryland

100.4

62

Temple

100.3

63

Air Force

100.3

64

Washington St.

99.8

65

Hawaii

99.3

66

Northwestern

99.2

67

Rutgers

99.1

68

Utah St.

98.7

69

Ole Miss

97.7

70

Syracuse

97.1

71

Duke

96.7

72

BostonColl.

96.6

73

Iowa St.

95.9

74

Virginia

95.8

75

Connecticut

95.1

76

Navy

95.0

77

LouisianaTech

95.0

78

San Jose St.

94.8

79

Louisville

93.9

80

Central Florida

93.9

81

Fresno St.

93.7

82

Northern Illinois

93.4

83

Colorado

92.7

84

Western Michigan

92.6

85

East Carolina

92.5

86

Arkansas St.

91.9

87

Kentucky

89.1

88

Kansas

88.5

89

Wyoming

88.1

90

Bowling Green

87.7

91

U T E P

87.6

92

FloridaInt’l

87.1

93

Minnesota

86.8

94

Miami(O)

86.3

95

OhioU

85.9

96

U A B

85.8

97

Rice

85.5

98

Marshall

84.7

99

New Mexico St.

84.5

100

Colorado St.

84.5

101

Army

84.1

102

UL-Monroe

84.0

103

WesternKy.

83.1

104

Idaho

83.0

105

UL-Lafayette

82.1

106

Indiana

81.2

107

North Texas

81.0

108

Eastern Michigan

80.9

109

Ball St.

80.7

110

Central Michigan

80.0

111

MiddleTennessee

78.6

112

Buffalo

78.0

113

Troy

77.8

114

U N L V

77.8

115

Kent St.

74.5

116

New Mexico

70.1

117

Memphis

69.2

118

Tulane

68.7

119

Akron

67.5

120

FloridaAtlantic

64.8

 

By Conference

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

FloridaState

2-2

4-3

119.8

Clemson

5-0

8-0

119.5

WakeForest

4-1

5-2

103.0

North CarolinaState

1-2

4-3

101.7

Maryland

1-3

2-5

100.4

BostonCollege

0-4

1-6

96.6

       
Coastal Division

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Virginia Tech

3-1

7-1

114.3

Miami-FL

2-2

4-3

112.7

Georgia Tech

3-2

6-2

104.1

North Carolina

1-3

5-3

102.4

Duke

1-2

3-4

96.7

Virginia

1-2

4-3

95.8

 

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Cincinnati

2-0

6-1

109.5

West Virginia

1-1

5-2

109.0

Pittsburgh

1-1

3-4

102.7

South Florida

0-3

4-3

101.3

Rutgers

2-1

5-2

99.1

Syracuse

1-1

5-2

97.1

Connecticut

1-1

3-4

95.1

Louisville

1-1

3-4

93.9

 

 

Big Ten

       
Leaders Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Wisconsin

2-1

6-1

124.5

OhioState

1-2

4-3

110.4

PennState

4-0

7-1

107.7

Illinois

2-2

6-2

101.9

Purdue

2-1

4-3

101.1

Indiana

0-4

1-7

81.2

       
Legends Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

MichiganState

3-0

6-1

118.8

Michigan

2-1

6-1

116.3

Nebraska

2-1

6-1

114.9

Iowa

2-1

5-2

107.5

Northwestern

0-4

2-5

99.2

Minnesota

0-3

1-6

86.8

 

 

Big 12

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

OklahomaState

4-0

7-0

129.3

Oklahoma

3-1

6-1

127.5

TexasA&M

3-1

5-2

123.3

Missouri

1-3

3-4

115.6

KansasState

4-0

7-0

112.3

Texas

1-2

4-2

111.3

TexasTech

2-2

5-2

111.1

Baylor

1-2

4-2

106.5

IowaState

0-4

3-4

95.9

Kansas

0-4

2-5

88.5

 

 

Conference USA

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Southern Mississippi

2-1

6-1

107.4

Central Florida

1-2

3-4

93.9

East Carolina

2-1

3-4

92.5

U A B

1-3

1-6

85.8

Marshall

2-2

3-5

84.7

Memphis

1-2

2-6

69.2

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Houston

3-0

7-0

106.6

Tulsa

3-0

4-3

101.4

S M U

3-1

5-2

101.3

U T E P

1-2

4-3

87.6

Rice

1-3

2-5

85.5

Tulane

1-3

2-6

68.7

 

 

Independents

       
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Notre Dame  

4-3

119.8

B Y U  

6-2

105.0

Navy  

2-5

95.0

Army  

2-5

84.1

 

 

Mid American Conference

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Temple

3-2

5-3

100.3

Bowling Green

2-2

4-4

87.7

Miami(O)

1-2

2-5

86.3

OhioU

2-2

5-3

85.9

Buffalo

1-3

2-6

78.0

Kent St.

0-3

1-6

74.5

Akron

0-3

1-6

67.5

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Toledo

4-0

5-3

100.6

Northern Illinois

3-1

5-3

93.4

Western Michigan

2-2

4-4

92.6

Eastern Michigan

3-1

5-3

80.9

BallState

3-1

5-3

80.7

Central Michigan

1-3

2-6

80.0

 

 

Mountain West Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

BoiseState

2-0

7-0

126.9

T C U

3-0

5-2

112.6

San DiegoState

1-1

4-2

102.8

Air Force

0-3

3-4

100.3

Wyoming

1-0

4-2

88.1

ColoradoState

1-1

3-4

84.5

UNLV

0-1

1-5

77.8

New Mexico

0-2

0-7

70.1

 

 

Pac-12 Conference

       
North Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Stanford

5-0

7-0

136.5

Oregon

4-0

6-1

131.6

Washington

3-1

5-2

112.6

California

1-3

4-3

108.9

OregonState

2-2

2-5

105.6

WashingtonState

1-3

3-4

99.8

       
South Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

U S C

3-1

6-1

119.2

ArizonaState

3-1

5-2

118.1

Arizona

1-3

2-5

108.5

Utah

0-4

3-4

106.7

U C L A

2-2

3-4

100.6

Colorado

0-4

1-7

92.7

 

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

South Carolina

4-1

6-1

116.7

Florida

2-3

4-3

113.5

Georgia

4-1

5-2

113.0

Tennessee

0-4

3-4

106.8

Vanderbilt

1-3

4-3

103.9

Kentucky

0-3

3-4

89.1

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Alabama

5-0

8-0

138.1

L S U

5-0

8-0

136.1

Arkansas

2-1

6-1

119.0

MississippiState

0-4

3-4

111.0

Auburn

3-2

5-3

106.7

Ole Miss

0-4

2-5

97.7

 

 

Sunbelt Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

ArkansasState

3-0

5-2

91.9

FloridaInternational

1-2

4-3

87.1

Louisiana-Monroe

1-2

2-5

84.0

Western Kentucky

3-1

3-4

83.1

U.ofLouisiana

4-1

6-2

82.1

North Texas

2-2

3-5

81.0

MiddleTennessee

1-2

2-4

78.6

Troy

1-2

2-4

77.8

FloridaAtlantic

0-4

0-7

64.8

 

 

Western Athletic Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Nevada

2-0

4-3

106.6

Hawaii

2-1

4-3

99.3

UtahState

0-2

2-5

98.7

LouisianaTech

2-1

3-4

95.0

San JoseState

2-1

3-4

94.8

FresnoState

2-1

3-5

93.7

New MexicoState

1-2

3-4

84.5

Idaho

0-3

1-6

83.0

 

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings

   

 

 

 

Tuesday, October 25  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Line

FLORIDAINT’L Troy

11.8

33-21

5   

   

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 26  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Line

PITTSBURGH Connecticut

10.6

28-17

10 1/2

   

 

 

 

Thursday, October 27  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Line

MIAMI(FL) Virginia

19.9

34-14

14 1/2

HOUSTON Rice

23.1

51-28

26 1/2

   

 

 

 

Friday, October 28  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Line

T C U B y u

11.1

35-24

11 1/2

   

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Saturday, October 29  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Line

Mississippi St. KENTUCKY

18.9

31-12

10 1/2

MARSHALL U a b

1.9

26-24

6   

Central Mich. AKRON

10.0

31-21

8 1/2

WESTERNMICH. Ball St.

14.4

31-17

13 1/2

NORTH CAROLINA WakeForest

2.4

28-26

7   

FLORIDA ST. North Carolina St.

21.6

38-16

19 1/2

Clemson GEORGIATECH

12.4

42-30

NL

Iowa MINNESOTA

17.7

28-10

17 1/2

Michigan St. NEBRASKA

0.4

24-24 to ot

-5 1/2

Northwestern INDIANA

15.5

37-21

9 1/2

MICHIGAN Purdue

18.2

38-20

15   

PENN ST. Illinois

9.3

23-14

6   

Virginia Tech DUKE

15.1

27-12

14   

West Virginia RUTGERS

6.9

31-24

7   

Syracuse LOUISVILLE

0.2

26-26 to ot

-4   

MARYLAND BostonCollege

6.8

27-20

7 1/2

AUBURN Ole Miss

12.0

35-23

10 1/2

Arkansas VANDERBILT

12.6

34-21

12 1/2

TEXAS Kansas

26.3

38-12

24   

Bowling Green KENT ST.

10.7

31-20

5   

Air Force NEW MEXICO

27.7

42-14

28 1/2

TULSA S m u

3.1

37-34

3   

ARIZONA ST. Colorado

28.4

38-10

30 1/2

EAST CAROLINA Tulane

26.8

40-13

18   

TEXASA&M Missouri

11.2

38-27

11   

TEXASTECH Iowa St.

18.2

38-20

17 1/2

MIAMI(O) Buffalo

5.8

28-22

8   

NOTRE DAME Navy

27.8

45-17

17 1/2

Florida  (N) Georgia

0.5

24-23

NL

LOUISIANATECH San Jose St.

3.7

31-27

9 1/2

CENTRAL FLORIDA Memphis

27.7

41-13

29   

Hawaii IDAHO

12.8

38-25

11   

Colorado St. U N L V

3.7

28-24

3 1/2

UTAH Oregon St.

4.1

27-23

7   

California U C L A

5.3

31-26

5 1/2

WASHINGTON Arizona

7.1

30-23

8   

OREGON Washington St.

35.3

56-21

32 1/2

South Carolina TENNESSEE

6.9

20-10

6 1/2

Oklahoma KANSAS ST.

12.2

42-30

13 1/2

OKLAHOMA ST. Baylor

25.8

50-24

18   

Wisconsin OHIO ST.

11.1

25-14

8 1/2

Southern Miss. U T E P

16.8

38-21

11   

Stanford SOUTHERN CAL

13.8

35-21

8 1/2

Nevada NEW MEXICO ST.

19.1

40-21

15   

SAN DIEGO ST. Wyoming

17.7

35-17

17   

UL-MONROE Western Kentucky

3.4

31-28

6 1/2

ARKANSAS ST. North Texas

13.4

34-21

14 1/2

UL-Lafayette MIDDLETENNESSEE

1.0

26-25

-3   

 

 

October 16, 2011

PiRate Ratings: College Football for October 18-22, 2011

The Surprises and The Disappointments

As we pass the halfway point in the season, let’s take a look at each conference and review which teams have outperformed their expectations, underperformed their expectations.

 

A C C

Surprises: Clemson suffered through a 6-7 season last year, but the Tigers are 7-0 with wins over Auburn, Florida State, and Virginia Tech.  They play at Georgia Tech in two weeks and close the regular season at South Carolina.  CU has the horses to run the table and win the ACC Championship Game, but they will not be a contender for the National Championship Game unless they are the lone undefeated team remaining on December 4.

 

Georgia Tech figured to struggle to reach .500 this year with a young defense, but the Yellow Jackets’ offense has been outscoring opponents, until Saturday when they lost to Virginia.

 

Disappointments: Florida State was supposed to contend for national honors this year, but the Seminoles are a mediocre 3-3 halfway through the schedule.  FSU could run the table in the second half, but there is little to no chance they will claim the Atlantic Division crown.

 

Boston College is 1-5, and the Eagles close with their toughest games.  BC could lose 10 games for the first time since 1978.  Firing Jeff Jagodzinski for interviewing for an NFL job may have come back to bite the Eagles.  Frank Spaziani’s career record in Chestnut Hill is now 17-16 (Jago was 20-8 in his two years).

 

Big East

Surprises: That the league is still alive and may even keep their automatic BCS bid is the biggest surprise.  If Boise State and Air Force actually become members, it will be an even bigger surprise.

 

West Virginia and Cincinnati were expected to be as good as they are, but Rutgers was not supposed to be 5-1 and almost 6-0.  The Scarlet Knights had been going downhill since they went 11-2 in 2006.  Coach Greg Schiano’s team gets both WVU and Cinti at home, so don’t count out RU.

 

Disappointments: Pittsburgh is the one real disappointment in this league.  The Panthers are 3-4 under first year coach Todd Graham.  Many prognosticators pegged Pitt to contend with West Virginia.

 

Big Ten

Surprises: Until Saturday, Illinois and Michigan were the two big surprises.  Both teams lost to fall to 6-1.

 

Penn State, Michigan State, and Nebraska were expected to contend for division titles, while Wisconsin is no surprise. 

 

Disappointments: There are really no surprises here.  Ohio State is 4-3, but after all their bad news, the Buckeyes are about where everybody thinks they would be.  Northwestern is 2-4 and a mild disappointment, but then again, we’re talking about a team that can never take a win for granted.

 

Big 12

Surprises: Kansas State is one of the top surprises in the nation.  Hurray for the Septuagenarian set, as Coach Bill Snyder has his Wildcats at 6-0.  KSU should be 7-0 when they host Oklahoma in two weeks.  It isn’t possible, is it?

 

Disappointments: It’s hard to call it a disappointment, but 4-2 Texas A&M has blown large leads in their two losses.  The Aggies could easily be 6-0, and their two losses came to Oklahoma State and Arkansas, two teams that will probably play in January.

 

Conference USA

Surprises: Obviously, the biggest surprise is this league’s proposed merger with the Mountain West Conference to form the biggest league since the old Southern Conference had 22 members in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.

 

They are not a major surprise, but UTEP is 3-3 with a chance to get to 6-6 and a bowl for the second consecutive season.  The Miners had to start from scratch on offense, but Coach Mike Price knows how to develop an attack unit.

 

Disappointments: Central Florida is 3-3 but could still finish 8-4.  The Knights should be 5-3 when they host Tulsa on Thursday, November 3.  If UCF wins that game, the following game at Southern Miss could decide the East Division title.

 

Independents

Surprises: There are no surprises among the independents.  BYU is the closest thing to a surprise at 5-2.  The Cougars will finish 8-4 or 9-3, which is about where most experts predicted.

 

Disappointments: The other three independent teams are disappointments thus far.  Notre Dame kicked off the season with a home loss to South Florida and followed it up with a loss to Michigan.  They have since reeled off four wins in a row and could travel to Stanford on November 26 with a 9-2 record.

 

Navy has not been able to generate enough passing to keep defenses honest, and the Midshipmen are 2-4 halfway through the season.  The back half of the schedule is tougher than what was expected, and the Middies could be out of the bowl picture this season.

You can say the same thing about Army.  The Black Knights are also 2-4, but they are 2-4 for a different reason.  Their desert swarm defense has stayed camouflaged after the opponent snaps the ball.  Like Navy, it looks like there will be no bowling for Army this year.

 

M A C

Surprises: Little surprises us when it comes to the MAC.  From week to week, you never know what you are going to get.  One week Temple looks unbeatable, then they lose big to Toledo.  Of course, since then, they have merely shut out back-to-back opponents.

 

Eastern Michigan is 4-3, but two of those wins were against FCS teams.  However, the Eagles have not been above .500 in the second half of a season since 1995, when they last finished above .500.

 

Disappointments: Ohio U was supposed to contend with Temple for the East Division title, but the Bobcats are sinking fast.  At 1-2/4-3, it appears as though they are out of the division race.

 

Mountain West

Surprises: (See Conference USA for the big surprise).  It is certainly no surprise that Boise State is undefeated and headed to a possible third 12-0 regular season in the last six years.  The Broncos will need Oklahoma or both Alabama and LSU to lose to have a shot at the National Championship Game.  If Oklahoma State runs the table, they could top BSU as well.

 

San Diego State and Wyoming are 4-2, but neither team is a surprise at this point.  The Aztecs were expected to contend for another bowl game, while Wyoming is almost a disappointment halfway through their schedule.  The Cowboys could have won an extra game in the first half of the season, and they could easily go 1-5 in the second half to miss out on a bowl.

 

Disappointments: Air Force is 3-3 after being expected to contend for 2nd place in the league.  The Falcons should rebound to win at least four of their final six if not five.

 

Pac-12

Surprises: If there are surprises here, then you have to look at the Evergreen State.  Washington is 5-1.  They face Stanford in Palo Alto this weekend, and the Huskies could make it an interesting game.

 

Washington State is 3-3, and the Cougars have an outside shot of going 3-3 in the second half of the season.  It has been eight years since WSU has been to a bowl.

 

Disappointments: California was supposed to rebound from a subpar 2010 season, but the Bears are 3-3 after losing three games in a row.  Coach Jeff Tedford’s offense is not churning out the yards and points like it did in earlier in the decade.  Another 5-7 season is possible.

 

Oregon State could be headed back to a place they were familiar with for almost three decades.  The Beavers never approached a winning season from the early 1970’s until the late 1990’s.  After losing to Sacramento State to begin the season, OSU has reached the halfway point at 1-5.  1-11 is a possibility.

 

S E C

Surprises: There are no real surprises in the top conference in the nation.  Alabama and LSU are headed to a possible epic game in November, while Arkansas is not to be counted out yet.  If LSU beats Alabama, and Arkansas beats LSU, the West Division could end up with three 7-1/11-1 teams.

 

Could the defending national champions be a surprise at 5-2?  Yes!  Auburn was expected to struggle to reach six wins this year, but the Tigers are headed to at least a 7-5 season if not better.

 

In the East, Georgia has rebounded with five consecutive wins after starting 0-2.  The Bulldogs could make it 10 in a row before having to face Alabama, LSU, or Arkansas in the SEC Championship Game.

 

Disappointments: In the East, Florida is a huge disappointment.  Losing John Brantley has been as devastating at the Colts losing Peyton Manning.  The Gators are 4-3 and could drop to 6-6 before bowl season.

 

In the West, Ole Miss is 2-4 and headed to a second consecutive 4-8 season.  Coach Houston Nutt could be on the hot seat.  Ole Miss letting David Cutcliffe go after the 2004 was as big a mistake as New Mexico forcing Rocky Long out.

 

Mississippi State is 3-4 and will most likely be 5-6 prior to the Egg Bowl on November 26.  It will take a win over Ole Miss to become bowl eligible.

 

Sunbelt

Surprises: The SBC may be the weakest FBS conference overall, but the biggest surprise of all comes from this league.  Louisiana was expected to struggle to beat out Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic to avoid the cellar.  Instead, the Ragin’ Cajuns are 4-0/6-1.  UL-Lafayette has never been to a bowl game, but that is going to change.  If they should happen to win out and finish 11-1, they could even garner some top 25 votes.  Their one loss came at Oklahoma State in the opener.

 

Disappointments: The two teams that have been the top contenders in recent years have fallen this year.  Troy has won or shared the league title for five consecutive years, but the 2-4 Trojans will have a tough time getting to 6-6 let alone finish with a piece of the title.

 

Middle Tennessee was expected to contend for the league title after going two bowls the last two seasons.  The 1-4 Blue Raiders own only one win, and that came against the hapless Memphis Tigers.

 

W A C

Surprises: The biggest surprise is that not a single team has a winning record halfway through the season.  New Mexico State has to be considered the only positive surprise, as the Aggies are 3-3.  It has been nine seasons since NMSU last finished with a winning record, and we do not believe they will make it this year due to a really tough closing schedule.  They play 13 regular season games, and we cannot see four more wins.

 

San Jose State is 3-4, but that equals the total number of games they won in 2009 and 2010 combined.  The Spartans have a shot at getting to 6-6.

 

Disappointments: Except for New Mexico State and San Jose State, the rest of the league is a disappointment.  Nevada and Hawaii are not going to make waves this year.  For years, Fresno State has been pulling off major upsets and going to bowls, but the Bulldogs have never won the WAC.  In what could be Coach Pat Hill’s weakest team in five years, it would be quite ironic if FSU finally won the title in this major down year for the league.

 

The Cream Rises Farther From The Skim Milk

In PiRate Ratings’ history, only one time did five teams finish with what today would equal 130.0 or above PiRate Ratings; Back then, our founder rated teams with 0 as the mid-point, whereas today 100 is the norm. 

 

That year was 1973.  That year, Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame, Michigan, and Alabama all finished above 30, which is 130 today.

 

Halfway through 2011, four teams are currently above 130, while a fifth team is very close.  Take a look at this week’s ratings.

 

#

Team

PiRate

1

Alabama

138.6

2

Oklahoma

134.5

3

L S U

134.1

4

Stanford

132.5

5

Boise St.

129.7

6

Oregon

128.7

7

Oklahoma St.

127.3

8

Wisconsin

127.2

9

Notre Dame

126.0

10

TexasA&M

124.0

11

Arkansas

121.3

12

Clemson

119.1

13

Florida St.

118.3

14

Arizona St.

118.1

15

Missouri

117.4

16

S. Carolina

116.7

17

Michigan

116.3

18

Michigan St.

116.2

19

Washington

115.9

20

Southern Cal

114.8

21

Virginia Tech

114.0

22

Nebraska

113.7

23

Florida 

113.5

24

Georgia 

113.0

25

W. Virginia

112.5

26

Miami(FL)

111.5

27

Texas

111.3

28

Mississippi St.

111.0

29

Utah

110.7

30

Ohio St.

110.4

31

Cincinnati

109.8

32

Kansas St.

109.1

33

T C U

108.8

34

Auburn

108.5

35

Nevada

107.1

36

Penn St.

107.0

37

Iowa

106.8

38

Baylor

106.5

39

Tennessee

106.3

40

California

106.0

41

Georgia Tech

105.6

42

U C L A

105.6

43

TexasTech

104.9

44

Arizona

104.8

45

S M U

104.6

46

B Y U

104.5

47

Illinois

104.1

48

Houston

103.9

49

Southern Miss.

103.9

50

Washington St.

103.8

51

Vanderbilt

103.5

52

WakeForest

102.9

53

San Diego St.

102.8

54

Pittsburgh

102.7

55

N. Carolina

102.6

56

Temple

102.5

57

Oregon St.

102.2

58

Maryland

102.0

59

S. Florida

101.0

60

Rutgers

100.7

61

Hawaii

100.6

62

N. Carolina St.

100.2

63

Tulsa

100.0

64

Northwestern

99.8

65

Toledo

99.7

66

Utah St.

98.7

67

Purdue

98.7

68

Navy

98.2

69

Air Force

98.0

70

Virginia

97.1

71

Duke

96.8

72

BostonColl.

96.7

73

Western Michigan

96.4

74

Colorado

96.4

75

Central Florida

96.2

76

Iowa St.

95.7

77

Ole Miss

95.7

78

Connecticut

95.1

79

LouisianaTech

95.0

80

Northern Illinois

95.0

81

San Jose St.

94.8

82

Fresno St.

92.7

83

Syracuse

92.1

84

Louisville

92.1

85

Kansas

91.5

86

Arkansas St.

89.6

87

East Carolina

89.4

88

FloridaInt’l

89.2

89

Kentucky

88.8

90

Wyoming

88.1

91

Colorado St.

88.0

92

UL-Monroe

88.0

93

Minnesota

87.8

94

Marshall

87.2

95

Miami(O)

87.0

96

Rice

86.7

97

OhioU

85.1

98

Bowling Green

85.0

99

UL-Lafayette

84.8

100

Army

84.4

101

U T E P

84.2

102

U A B

83.4

103

Idaho

83.0

104

New Mexico St.

82.7

105

Indiana

81.9

106

Central Michigan

80.3

107

Ball St.

80.2

108

WesternKy.

78.2

109

North Texas

77.9

110

Troy

77.8

111

U N L V

77.8

112

Buffalo

76.4

113

MiddleTennessee

75.5

114

Tulane

74.7

115

Kent St.

74.5

116

Eastern Michigan

74.5

117

New Mexico

73.8

118

FloridaAtlantic

70.4

119

Akron

68.2

120

Memphis

64.5

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Clemson

4-0

7-0

119.1

Florida State

1-2

3-3

118.3

Wake Forest

3-1

4-2

102.9

Maryland

1-2

2-4

102.0

North Carolina State

0-2

3-3

100.2

Boston College

0-3

1-5

96.7

       
Coastal Division

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Virginia Tech

2-1

6-1

114.0

Miami-FL

1-2

3-3

111.5

Georgia Tech

3-1

6-1

105.6

North Carolina

1-2

5-2

102.6

Virginia

1-1

4-2

97.1

Duke

1-1

3-3

96.8

 

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

West Virginia

1-0

5-1

112.5

Cincinnati

1-0

5-1

109.8

Pittsburgh

1-1

3-4

102.7

South Florida

0-2

4-2

101.0

Rutgers

2-0

5-1

100.7

Connecticut

1-1

3-4

95.1

Syracuse

0-1

4-2

92.1

Louisville

0-1

2-4

92.1

 

 

Big Ten

       
Leaders Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Wisconsin

2-0

6-0

127.2

Ohio State

1-2

4-3

110.4

Penn State

3-0

6-1

107.0

Illinois

2-1

6-1

104.1

Purdue

1-1

3-3

98.7

Indiana

0-3

1-6

81.9

       
Legends Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Michigan

2-1

6-1

116.3

Michigan State

2-0

5-1

116.2

Nebraska

1-1

5-1

113.7

Iowa

1-1

4-2

106.8

Northwestern

0-3

2-4

99.8

Minnesota

0-2

1-5

87.8

 

 

Big 12

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Oklahoma

3-0

6-0

134.5

Oklahoma State

3-0

6-0

127.3

Texas A&M

2-1

4-2

124.0

Missouri

1-2

3-3

117.4

Texas

1-2

4-2

111.3

Kansas State

3-0

6-0

109.1

Baylor

1-2

4-2

106.5

Texas Tech

1-2

4-2

104.9

Iowa State

0-3

3-3

95.7

Kansas

0-3

2-4

91.5

 

 

Conference USA

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Southern Mississippi

1-1

5-1

103.9

Central Florida

1-1

3-3

96.2

East Carolina

2-1

2-4

89.4

Marshall

2-1

3-4

87.2

U A B

0-3

0-6

83.4

Memphis

0-2

1-6

64.5

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

S M U

3-0

5-1

104.6

Houston

2-0

6-0

103.9

Tulsa

2-0

3-3

100.0

Rice

1-2

2-4

86.7

U T E P

1-2

3-3

84.2

Tulane

1-2

2-5

74.7

 

 

Independents

       
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Notre Dame  

4-2

126.0

B Y U  

5-2

104.5

Navy  

2-4

98.2

Army  

2-4

84.4

 

 

Mid American Conference

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Temple

3-1

5-2

102.5

Miami (O)

1-1

2-4

87.0

Ohio U

1-2

4-3

85.1

Bowling Green

1-2

3-4

85.0

Buffalo

1-2

2-5

76.4

Kent St.

0-3

1-6

74.5

Akron

0-2

1-5

68.2

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Toledo

3-0

4-3

99.7

Western Michigan

2-1

4-3

96.4

Northern Illinois

2-1

4-3

95.0

Central Michigan

1-2

2-5

80.3

Ball State

2-1

4-3

80.2

Eastern Michigan

2-1

4-3

74.5

 

 

Mountain West Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Boise State

1-0

6-0

129.7

T C U

2-0

4-2

108.8

San Diego State

1-1

4-2

102.8

Air Force

0-2

3-3

98.0

Wyoming

1-0

4-2

88.1

Colorado State

1-1

3-3

88.0

UNLV

0-1

1-5

77.8

New Mexico

0-1

0-6

73.8

 

 

Pac-12 Conference

       
North Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Stanford

4-0

6-0

132.5

Oregon

3-0

5-1

128.7

Washington

3-0

5-1

115.9

California

0-3

3-3

106.0

Washington State

1-2

3-3

103.8

Oregon State

1-2

1-5

102.2

       
South Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Arizona State

3-1

5-2

118.1

U S C

3-1

5-1

114.8

Utah

0-3

3-3

110.7

U C L A

2-1

3-3

105.6

Arizona

0-3

1-5

104.8

Colorado

0-3

1-6

96.4

 

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

South Carolina

4-1

6-1

116.7

Florida

2-3

4-3

113.5

Georgia

4-1

5-2

113.0

Tennessee

0-3

3-3

106.3

Vanderbilt

1-3

3-3

103.5

Kentucky

0-3

2-4

88.8

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Alabama

4-0

7-0

138.6

L S U

4-0

7-0

134.1

Arkansas

1-1

5-1

121.3

Mississippi State

0-4

3-4

111.0

Auburn

3-1

5-2

108.5

Ole Miss

0-3

2-4

95.7

 

 

Sunbelt Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Arkansas State

2-0

4-2

89.6

Florida International

1-1

4-2

89.2

Louisiana-Monroe

1-1

2-4

88.0

U. of Louisiana

4-0

6-1

84.8

Western Kentucky

2-1

2-4

78.2

North Texas

1-2

2-5

77.9

Troy

1-2

2-4

77.8

Middle Tennessee

0-2

1-4

75.5

Florida Atlantic

0-3

0-6

70.4

 

 

Western Athletic Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Nevada

1-0

3-3

107.1

Hawaii

1-1

3-3

100.6

Utah State

0-1

2-4

98.7

LouisianaTech

1-1

2-4

95.0

San Jose State

2-1

3-4

94.8

Fresno State

2-0

3-4

92.7

Idaho

0-3

1-6

83.0

New Mexico State

1-1

3-3

82.7

 

 

Here are the PiRate Ratings for this week’s games.

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings

   

 

 

 

Tuesday, October 18  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Line

ARKANSAS ST. Florida International

3.4

34-31

2 1/2

   

 

 

 

Thursday, October 20  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Line

Central Florida U A B

10.3

30-20

15   

ARIZONA U c l a

2.2

26-24

4   

   

 

 

 

Friday, October 21  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Line

Rutgers LOUISVILLE

5.6

23-17

2 1/2

West Virginia SYRACUSE

17.4

38-21

13 1/2

   

 

 

 

Saturday, October 22  

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Score

Line

IOWA Indiana

28.4

38-10

21 1/2

North Carolina St. VIRGINIA

0.1

23-23 to ot

-4   

Illinois PURDUE

2.4

21-19

6   

FLORIDA ST. Maryland

19.3

35-16

16   

MIAMI (FL) Georgia Tech

8.9

33-24

3   

Wake Forest DUKE

3.6

27-23

3   

Arkansas OLE MISS

22.6

35-12

14 1/2

Cincinnati SOUTH FLORIDA

5.3

35-30

-1   

CLEMSON North Carolina

19.5

41-21

11   

Northern Illinois BUFFALO

16.1

34-18

12   

VIRGINIA TECH Boston College

20.3

33-13

21 1/2

Texas A&M IOWA ST.

25.3

45-20

17 1/2

Western Mich. EASTERN MICH.

19.4

36-17

16 1/2

T C U New Mexico

38.0

45-7

39   

BALL ST. Central Mich.

2.4

26-24

1   

Tulsa RICE

10.8

38-27

NL

VANDERBILT Army

22.1

31-9

8 1/2

UTAH ST. LouisianaTech

7.2

34-27

5 1/2

Temple BOWLING GREEN

15.0

31-16

12 1/2

Ohio U AKRON

14.4

31-17

15   

TULANE Memphis

12.7

33-20

NL

Oklahoma St. MISSOURI

6.9

45-38

7 1/2

Oregon COLORADO

28.8

42-13

NL

Nebraska MINNESOTA

22.9

33-10

26 1/2

Utah CALIFORNIA

1.7

25-23

-1   

BOISE ST. Air Force

35.2

49-14

29 1/2

Kansas St. KANSAS

15.6

30-14

15   

OKLAHOMA Texas Tech

32.6

50-17

25 1/2

WASHINGTON ST. Oregon St.

4.6

31-26

2 1/2

NAVY East Carolina

11.8

38-26

10   

NEVADA Fresno St.

17.4

38-21

10   

HOUSTON Marshall

19.7

40-20

16   

Penn St. NORTHWESTERN

4.2

21-17

3   

TOLEDO Miami (O)

15.2

36-21

14 1/2

ALABAMA Tennessee

35.8

45-9

27 1/2

NOTRE DAME Southern Cal

14.7

27-12

8 1/2

SOUTHERN MISS. S m u

2.3

30-28

3 1/2

STANFORD Washington

19.6

44-24

20   

L S U Auburn

28.6

42-13

21   

Wisconsin MICHIGAN ST.

7.5

35-27

7   

Colorado St. U T E P

1.3

27-26

-6 1/2

UL-Lafayette WESTERN KENTUCKY

4.1

24-20

4   

MiddleTennessee FLORIDA ATLANTIC

2.6

24-21

6   

UL-Monroe NORTH TEXAS

7.6

34-26

3   

 

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