The Pi-Rate Ratings

November 18, 2018

PiRate Ratings–College Football Week 13

There are a bevy of interesting games with something on the line this week. Playoff games are on the line, bowl eligibility is on the line, and a few coaching jobs are on the line as Rivalry Week returns.
If you are a fan of a 5-6 team this week, you better hope that they win, because there is 0.01% chance or 1 in 10,000 that a bowl will have to take a team that is worse than 6-6. As of today, 71 teams are now bowl eligible. Three games this week will pit teams with identical 5-6 records, so three more are guaranteed to become bowl eligible, bringing the total to 74. There needs to be four more teams that will need one more win, and there are an additional 16 teams that have a chance to do so. The chances that 13 of these 16 teams lose their final game are less than the chances of the San Diego Padres facing the Chicago White Sox in the 2019 World Series.
Below, we take another look at each conference so you can determine which games you want to watch this week, or if you’d rather go shopping on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. You really should spend a few bucks with a locally owned small business this Saturday. We recommend our favorite jewelry artist, Marjorie Miller of Marjorie Miller Designs right here in the Music City at Beautiful Gifts for Her

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Tuesday November 20
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Western Michigan Northern Illinois -6.5 -6.0 -6.2
Miami (O) Ball St. 17.9 17.6 20.4

 

Thursday November 22
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Air Force Colorado St. 14.7 14.6 15.4
Ole Miss Mississippi St. -17.4 -16.1 -18.1

 

Friday November 23
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Ohio U Akron 19.3 19.6 20.6
Cincinnati East Carolina 17.8 19.3 18.3
Kent St. Eastern Michigan -14.7 -15.2 -15.4
Bowling Green Buffalo -13.3 -14.5 -14.3
Iowa Nebraska 17.0 16.3 17.2
Kansas Texas -13.8 -13.8 -14.7
Missouri Arkansas 24.8 25.6 26.8
South Alabama Coastal Carolina -0.3 -1.0 -0.6
Toledo Central Michigan 19.6 18.8 19.5
South Florida Central Florida -21.0 -20.0 -21.5
Oregon St. Oregon -20.9 -22.8 -22.4
Memphis Houston 3.1 3.9 3.7
Virginia Tech Virginia -0.6 -2.1 -1.0
West Virginia Oklahoma -1.0 -0.7 -1.4
Washington St. Washington -1.6 -0.4 -2.1

 

Saturday November 24
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Miami (Fla.) Pittsburgh 6.0 5.0 5.5
Connecticut Temple -30.1 -29.9 -31.6
Louisville Kentucky -21.4 -20.6 -22.4
Clemson South Carolina 28.8 27.6 30.1
Michigan St. Rutgers 29.0 28.0 29.5
Georgia St. Georgia Southern -12.2 -12.3 -12.7
Florida Int’l. Marshall -2.1 -1.1 -2.5
Boston College Syracuse 7.6 6.8 8.0
Ohio St. Michigan -3.5 -4.2 -4.3
Northwestern Illinois 24.9 23.8 26.2
Georgia Georgia Tech 15.5 14.1 17.1
Duke Wake Forest 11.7 11.5 12.8
Wisconsin Minnesota 14.3 13.3 14.3
North Carolina North Carolina St. -11.6 -11.6 -11.2
Louisiana Tech Western Kentucky 12.4 11.6 12.4
Rice Old Dominion -13.1 -13.6 -14.0
UTEP Southern Miss. -13.3 -13.4 -14.0
Liberty New Mexico St. 11.0 8.6 11.4
Boise St. Utah St. 3.9 2.2 3.1
Utah BYU 17.8 15.8 17.6
Appalachian St. Troy 9.5 10.1 9.6
New Mexico Wyoming -8.5 -7.9 -9.0
Middle Tennessee UAB -2.1 -2.6 -1.8
California Colorado 12.9 10.6 12.8
UCLA Stanford -11.9 -10.1 -13.9
Vanderbilt Tennessee 4.3 3.6 4.8
TCU Oklahoma St. -2.2 -2.1 -3.7
Florida St. Florida -4.9 -4.5 -6.4
Penn St. Maryland 16.1 14.9 16.3
Baylor Texas Tech -7.0 -7.3 -6.2
Fresno St. San Jose St. 36.9 35.3 37.9
Iowa St. Kansas St. 11.8 11.5 12.3
Texas A&M LSU -1.4 -1.5 -1.7
Indiana Purdue -6.6 -6.0 -6.4
Tulane Navy 6.9 5.5 6.9
UL-Monroe Louisiana 5.3 3.7 4.6
Tulsa SMU -2.9 -2.9 -2.3
Florida Atlantic Charlotte 20.3 19.1 19.9
Texas St. Arkansas St. -13.8 -12.8 -15.0
UTSA North Texas -22.5 -20.9 -22.5
USC Notre Dame -17.3 -16.7 -17.8
Alabama Auburn 25.4 24.8 25.5
UNLV Nevada -13.3 -12.5 -13.4
San Diego St. Hawaii 20.3 18.8 21.5
Arizona Arizona St. -7.2 -7.3 -6.5

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 141.0 139.3 142.6 141.0
2 Clemson 139.2 136.9 140.1 138.7
3 Michigan 129.1 127.9 129.8 128.9
4 Georgia 127.8 125.3 129.0 127.3
5 Notre Dame 126.9 124.6 126.2 125.9
6 Mississippi St. 122.5 120.7 123.6 122.3
7 Ohio St. 122.6 120.6 122.4 121.9
8 Oklahoma 121.4 120.0 121.1 120.8
9 Washington 120.6 118.4 120.9 119.9
10 Missouri 119.8 118.3 120.8 119.6
11 L S U 117.9 117.0 118.7 117.9
12 Iowa 118.0 116.1 117.6 117.2
13 Auburn 117.1 116.0 118.6 117.2
14 West Virginia 117.4 116.3 116.7 116.8
15 Utah 116.9 115.5 117.5 116.7
16 Washington St. 117.0 116.0 116.8 116.6
17 Penn St. 117.4 114.9 116.9 116.4
18 Texas 114.9 113.5 114.6 114.3
19 Central Florida 114.0 114.4 114.3 114.2
20 Stanford 114.8 112.5 115.0 114.1
21 Boston College 114.8 112.6 114.5 114.0
22 Texas A&M 114.0 113.0 114.5 113.8
23 Michigan St. 114.6 112.5 113.9 113.7
24 Miami 114.3 112.7 113.6 113.6
25 Georgia Tech 113.7 112.7 113.3 113.3
26 Fresno St. 113.3 112.7 113.5 113.2
27 Iowa State 113.8 112.2 113.4 113.1
28 N. Carolina St. 113.3 112.5 112.7 112.8
29 Florida 112.8 111.1 113.3 112.4
30 S. Carolina 112.0 110.8 111.5 111.4
31 Northwestern 111.8 110.3 111.8 111.3
32 Duke 112.2 110.2 111.4 111.3
33 Wisconsin 112.1 109.7 111.4 111.1
34 Boise St. 110.9 110.6 111.2 110.9
35 Utah St. 110.0 111.4 111.1 110.8
36 Pittsburgh 110.8 110.2 110.6 110.6
37 Kentucky 110.5 109.2 110.3 110.0
38 Arizona St. 110.5 109.2 110.1 109.9
39 Oklahoma St. 110.3 108.8 110.3 109.8
40 Syracuse 110.2 108.9 109.5 109.5
41 Purdue 110.0 108.2 109.6 109.3
42 Oregon 109.1 108.9 109.7 109.2
43 Texas Tech 108.8 107.3 107.6 107.9
44 California 108.3 106.2 108.3 107.6
45 Virginia 106.3 106.4 105.7 106.1
46 U S C 106.5 104.9 105.4 105.6
47 Florida St. 105.8 104.6 104.9 105.1
48 T C U 105.6 104.2 104.1 104.6
49 Temple 103.9 104.1 104.5 104.2
50 Kansas St. 104.5 103.2 103.6 103.8
51 Ohio U 103.0 104.2 103.9 103.7
52 Maryland 104.3 103.0 103.6 103.6
53 Ole Miss 103.7 103.2 104.0 103.6
54 Vanderbilt 103.5 103.4 103.7 103.6
55 Memphis 102.8 104.1 103.7 103.5
56 Nebraska 104.1 102.9 103.4 103.4
57 Army 103.1 103.8 103.3 103.4
58 Virginia Tech 104.2 102.8 103.2 103.4
59 Houston 102.7 103.2 102.9 102.9
60 Cincinnati 100.9 102.4 101.2 101.5
61 Arizona 101.8 100.4 102.1 101.4
62 Wake Forest 102.5 100.7 100.7 101.3
63 BYU 100.6 101.3 101.4 101.1
64 Baylor 101.8 100.1 101.3 101.1
65 Indiana 101.4 100.3 101.2 101.0
66 Tennessee 100.8 101.3 100.4 100.8
67 N. Carolina 100.2 99.4 100.0 99.9
68 Appalachian St. 98.6 100.6 100.2 99.8
69 U C L A 100.4 99.9 98.7 99.6
70 Minnesota 100.3 98.9 99.6 99.6
71 U A B 98.2 100.6 99.0 99.3
72 Buffalo 98.0 100.0 99.3 99.1
73 Colorado 98.4 98.6 98.5 98.5
74 Toledo 97.6 99.0 97.6 98.1
75 Northern Illinois 97.5 98.5 97.9 98.0
76 N. Texas 96.9 99.2 97.1 97.7
77 Florida Atlantic 97.0 98.2 97.5 97.6
78 Kansas 98.1 96.7 96.9 97.2
79 San Diego St. 96.8 96.9 97.3 97.0
80 Arkansas 98.0 95.6 97.0 96.9
81 Miami (O) 95.5 97.3 97.7 96.8
82 Nevada 96.4 96.5 96.4 96.4
83 Air Force 95.9 96.5 96.3 96.2
84 Eastern Michigan 95.4 96.9 95.9 96.1
85 Marshall 94.2 96.8 95.3 95.5
86 Wyoming 95.4 95.7 95.3 95.4
87 Middle Tennessee 93.6 95.5 94.7 94.6
88 SMU 94.8 94.4 94.0 94.4
89 Tulane 93.3 93.8 93.2 93.4
90 Troy 91.5 93.0 93.0 92.5
91 Louisiana Tech 91.5 93.5 92.0 92.3
92 South Florida 91.5 92.9 91.3 91.9
93 Florida Int’l. 89.6 93.2 90.3 91.0
94 Arkansas St. 89.9 91.4 91.5 90.9
95 Georgia Southern 89.9 91.7 90.5 90.7
96 Western Michigan 88.5 90.0 89.2 89.3
97 Tulsa 89.4 89.1 89.2 89.2
98 Navy 88.4 90.2 88.3 89.0
99 Rutgers 88.6 87.5 87.5 87.9
100 Illinois 88.5 87.9 87.2 87.9
101 Southern Miss. 85.9 89.0 86.5 87.2
102 Louisville 87.6 87.0 86.4 87.0
103 UL-Monroe 86.5 87.2 87.2 87.0
104 Akron 85.7 86.6 85.2 85.9
105 East Carolina 85.6 85.6 85.4 85.5
106 Oregon St. 86.2 84.2 85.2 85.2
107 New Mexico 84.4 85.3 83.7 84.5
108 Old Dominion 82.9 86.1 82.8 84.0
109 Louisiana 82.7 85.0 84.1 83.9
110 Colorado St. 83.2 83.9 82.9 83.3
111 W. Kentucky 81.6 84.4 82.0 82.7
112 Bowling Green 82.1 83.0 82.5 82.5
113 U N L V 81.6 82.5 81.5 81.9
114 Massachusetts 80.9 82.3 81.2 81.5
115 Central Michigan 80.5 82.6 80.7 81.3
116 Hawaii 80.5 82.1 79.7 80.8
117 Ball St. 80.1 82.2 79.8 80.7
118 Liberty 80.6 79.9 80.8 80.5
119 Charlotte 79.2 81.7 80.0 80.3
120 Kent St. 78.7 79.7 78.5 79.0
121 San Jose St. 78.9 79.9 78.1 79.0
122 Coastal Carolina 76.1 78.4 76.6 77.0
123 Georgia St. 76.2 77.9 76.3 76.8
124 Texas State 74.1 76.6 74.5 75.1
125 South Alabama 73.3 74.9 73.5 73.9
126 U T S A 72.4 76.2 72.6 73.8
127 N. Mexico St. 72.1 73.8 71.9 72.6
128 Connecticut 71.8 72.2 70.9 71.6
129 U T E P 70.6 73.7 70.6 71.6
130 Rice 67.8 70.5 66.8 68.4

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average AAC Overall
Central Florida 114.0 114.4 114.3 114.2 7-0 10-0
Temple 103.9 104.1 104.5 104.2 6-1 7-4
Cincinnati 100.9 102.4 101.2 101.5 5-2 9-2
South Florida 91.5 92.9 91.3 91.9 3-4 7-4
East Carolina 85.6 85.6 85.4 85.5 1-6 3-7
Connecticut 71.8 72.2 70.9 71.6 0-7 1-10
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average AAC Overall
Memphis 102.8 104.1 103.7 103.5 4-3 7-4
Houston 102.7 103.2 102.9 102.9 5-2 8-3
SMU 94.8 94.4 94.0 94.4 4-3 5-6
Tulane 93.3 93.8 93.2 93.4 4-3 5-6
Tulsa 89.4 89.1 89.2 89.2 1-6 2-9
Navy 88.4 90.2 88.3 89.0 2-5 3-8
AAC Averages 94.9 95.5 94.9 95.1
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average ACC Overall
Clemson 139.2 136.9 140.1 138.7 8-0 11-0
Boston College 114.8 112.6 114.5 114.0 4-3 7-4
N. Carolina St. 113.3 112.5 112.7 112.8 4-3 7-3
Syracuse 110.2 108.9 109.5 109.5 5-2 8-3
Florida St. 105.8 104.6 104.9 105.1 3-5 5-6
Wake Forest 102.5 100.7 100.7 101.3 2-5 5-6
Louisville 87.6 87.0 86.4 87.0 0-8 2-9
Coastal Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average ACC Overall
Miami 114.3 112.7 113.6 113.6 3-4 6-5
Georgia Tech 113.7 112.7 113.3 113.3 5-3 7-4
Duke 112.2 110.2 111.4 111.3 3-4 7-4
Pittsburgh 110.8 110.2 110.6 110.6 6-1 7-4
Virginia 106.3 106.4 105.7 106.1 4-3 7-4
Virginia Tech 104.2 102.8 103.2 103.4 3-4 4-6
N. Carolina 100.2 99.4 100.0 99.9 1-6 2-8
ACC Averages 109.7 108.4 109.1 109.0
Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average B12 Overall
Oklahoma 121.4 120.0 121.1 120.8 7-1 10-1
West Virginia 117.4 116.3 116.7 116.8 6-2 8-2
Texas 114.9 113.5 114.6 114.3 6-2 8-3
Iowa State 113.8 112.2 113.4 113.1 5-3 6-4
Oklahoma St. 110.3 108.8 110.3 109.8 3-5 6-5
Texas Tech 108.8 107.3 107.6 107.9 3-5 5-6
T C U 105.6 104.2 104.1 104.6 3-5 5-6
Kansas St. 104.5 103.2 103.6 103.8 3-5 5-6
Baylor 101.8 100.1 101.3 101.1 3-5 5-6
Kansas 98.1 96.7 96.9 97.2 1-7 3-8
Big 12 Averages 109.6 108.2 109.0 108.9
Big Ten Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average BTen Overall
Michigan 129.1 127.9 129.8 128.9 8-0 10-1
Ohio St. 122.6 120.6 122.4 121.9 7-1 10-1
Penn St. 117.4 114.9 116.9 116.4 5-3 8-3
Michigan St. 114.6 112.5 113.9 113.7 4-4 6-5
Maryland 104.3 103.0 103.6 103.6 3-5 5-6
Indiana 101.4 100.3 101.2 101.0 2-6 5-6
Rutgers 88.6 87.5 87.5 87.9 0-8 1-10
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average BTen Overall
Iowa 118.0 116.1 117.6 117.2 4-4 7-4
Northwestern 111.8 110.3 111.8 111.3 7-1 7-4
Wisconsin 112.1 109.7 111.4 111.1 5-3 7-4
Purdue 110.0 108.2 109.6 109.3 4-4 5-6
Nebraska 104.1 102.9 103.4 103.4 3-5 4-7
Minnesota 100.3 98.9 99.6 99.6 2-6 5-6
Illinois 88.5 87.9 87.2 87.9 2-6 4-7
Big Ten Averages 108.8 107.2 108.3 108.1
Conference USA
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average CUSA Overall
Florida Atlantic 97.0 98.2 97.5 97.6 3-4 5-6
Marshall 94.2 96.8 95.3 95.5 5-2 7-3
Middle Tennessee 93.6 95.5 94.7 94.6 6-1 7-4
Florida Int’l. 89.6 93.2 90.3 91.0 6-1 8-3
Old Dominion 82.9 86.1 82.8 84.0 2-5 4-7
W. Kentucky 81.6 84.4 82.0 82.7 1-6 2-9
Charlotte 79.2 81.7 80.0 80.3 3-4 4-7
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average CUSA Overall
U A B 98.2 100.6 99.0 99.3 7-0 9-2
N. Texas 96.9 99.2 97.1 97.7 4-3 8-3
Louisiana Tech 91.5 93.5 92.0 92.3 5-2 7-4
Southern Miss. 85.9 89.0 86.5 87.2 3-4 5-5
U T S A 72.4 76.2 72.6 73.8 2-5 3-8
U T E P 70.6 73.7 70.6 71.6 1-6 1-10
Rice 67.8 70.5 66.8 68.4 0-7 1-11
CUSA Averages 85.8 88.5 86.2 86.8
FBS Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average Conf. Overall
Notre Dame 126.9 124.6 126.2 125.9 x 11-0
Army 103.1 103.8 103.3 103.4 x 9-2
BYU 100.6 101.3 101.4 101.1 x 6-5
Massachusetts 80.9 82.3 81.2 81.5 x 4-8
Liberty 80.6 79.9 80.8 80.5 x 4-6
N. Mexico St. 72.1 73.8 71.9 72.6 x 3-8
Indep. Averages 94.0 94.3 94.1 94.1
Mid-American Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MAC Overall
Ohio U 103.0 104.2 103.9 103.7 5-2 7-4
Buffalo 98.0 100.0 99.3 99.1 6-1 9-2
Miami (O) 95.5 97.3 97.7 96.8 5-2 5-6
Akron 85.7 86.6 85.2 85.9 2-5 4-6
Bowling Green 82.1 83.0 82.5 82.5 2-5 3-8
Kent St. 78.7 79.7 78.5 79.0 1-6 2-9
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MAC Overall
Toledo 97.6 99.0 97.6 98.1 4-3 6-5
Northern Illinois 97.5 98.5 97.9 98.0 6-1 7-4
Eastern Michigan 95.4 96.9 95.9 96.1 4-3 6-5
Western Michigan 88.5 90.0 89.2 89.3 4-3 6-5
Central Michigan 80.5 82.6 80.7 81.3 0-7 1-10
Ball St. 80.1 82.2 79.8 80.7 3-4 4-7
MAC Averages 90.2 91.7 90.7 90.9
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MWC Overall
Boise St. 110.9 110.6 111.2 110.9 6-1 9-2
Utah St. 110.0 111.4 111.1 110.8 7-0 10-1
Air Force 95.9 96.5 96.3 96.2 2-5 4-7
Wyoming 95.4 95.7 95.3 95.4 3-4 5-6
New Mexico 84.4 85.3 83.7 84.5 1-6 3-8
Colorado St. 83.2 83.9 82.9 83.3 2-5 3-8
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MWC Overall
Fresno St. 113.3 112.7 113.5 113.2 6-1 9-2
San Diego St. 96.8 96.9 97.3 97.0 4-3 7-4
Nevada 96.4 96.5 96.4 96.4 5-2 7-4
U N L V 81.6 82.5 81.5 81.9 1-6 3-8
Hawaii 80.5 82.1 79.7 80.8 4-3 7-5
San Jose St. 78.9 79.9 78.1 79.0 1-6 1-10
MWC Averages 93.9 94.5 93.9 94.1
Pac-12 Conference
North Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average P12 Overall
Washington 120.6 118.4 120.9 119.9 6-2 8-3
Washington St. 117.0 116.0 116.8 116.6 7-1 10-1
Stanford 114.8 112.5 115.0 114.1 4-3 6-4
Oregon 109.1 108.9 109.7 109.2 4-4 7-4
California 108.3 106.2 108.3 107.6 3-4 6-4
Oregon St. 86.2 84.2 85.2 85.2 1-7 2-9
South Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average P12 Overall
Utah 116.9 115.5 117.5 116.7 6-3 8-3
Arizona St. 110.5 109.2 110.1 109.9 4-4 6-5
U S C 106.5 104.9 105.4 105.6 4-5 5-6
Arizona 101.8 100.4 102.1 101.4 4-4 5-6
U C L A 100.4 99.9 98.7 99.6 3-5 3-8
Colorado 98.4 98.6 98.5 98.5 2-6 5-6
Pac-12 Averages 107.5 106.2 107.3 107.0
Southeastern Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SEC Overall
Georgia 127.8 125.3 129.0 127.3 7-1 10-1
Missouri 119.8 118.3 120.8 119.6 3-4 7-4
Florida 112.8 111.1 113.3 112.4 5-3 8-3
S. Carolina 112.0 110.8 111.5 111.4 4-4 6-4
Kentucky 110.5 109.2 110.3 110.0 5-3 8-3
Vanderbilt 103.5 103.4 103.7 103.6 2-5 5-6
Tennessee 100.8 101.3 100.4 100.8 2-5 5-6
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SEC Overall
Alabama 141.0 139.3 142.6 141.0 7-0 11-0
Mississippi St. 122.5 120.7 123.6 122.3 3-4 7-4
L S U 117.9 117.0 118.7 117.9 5-2 9-2
Auburn 117.1 116.0 118.6 117.2 3-4 7-4
Texas A&M 114.0 113.0 114.5 113.8 4-3 7-4
Ole Miss 103.7 103.2 104.0 103.6 1-6 5-6
Arkansas 98.0 95.6 97.0 96.9 0-7 2-9
SEC Averages 114.4 113.2 114.8 114.1
Sunbelt Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SBC Overall
Appalachian St. 98.6 100.6 100.2 99.8 6-1 8-2
Troy 91.5 93.0 93.0 92.5 7-0 9-2
Georgia Southern 89.9 91.7 90.5 90.7 5-2 8-3
Coastal Carolina 76.1 78.4 76.6 77.0 2-5 5-6
Georgia St. 76.2 77.9 76.3 76.8 1-6 2-9
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SBC Overall
Arkansas St. 89.9 91.4 91.5 90.9 4-3 7-4
UL-Monroe 86.5 87.2 87.2 87.0 4-3 6-5
Louisiana 82.7 85.0 84.1 83.9 4-3 6-5
Texas State 74.1 76.6 74.5 75.1 1-6 3-8
South Alabama 73.3 74.9 73.5 73.9 1-6 2-9
Sun Belt Averages 83.9 85.7 84.7 84.8

 

The Conferences Rated

# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 114.4 113.2 114.8 114.1
2 ACC 109.7 108.4 109.1 109.0
3 B12 109.6 108.2 109.0 108.9
4 BTEN 108.8 107.2 108.3 108.1
5 PAC12 107.5 106.2 107.3 107.0
6 AAC 94.9 95.5 94.9 95.1
7 IND 94.0 94.3 94.1 94.1
8 MWC 93.9 94.5 93.9 94.1
9 MAC 90.2 91.7 90.7 90.9
10 CUSA 85.8 88.5 86.2 86.8
11 SUN 83.9 85.7 84.7 84.8

Group of 5 Teams Still in Running for NY6 Bowl

  1. Central Florida
  2. Utah St.
  3. Boise St.
  4. Fresno St.
  5. Army

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Playoff and Bowl Projections

Bowl Conferences Team 1 Team 2
New Mexico MWC CUSA Utah St. North Texas
Cure AAC SBC Cincinnati Troy
Las Vegas MWC Pac-12 Boise St. Stanford
Camellia MAC SBC Northern Illinois Appalachian St.
New Orleans CUSA SBC Southern Miss. Louisiana
Boca Raton AAC CUSA SMU Florida Atlantic
Frisco AAC At-Large Memphis [BYU]
Gasparilla AAC CUSA South Florida UAB
Bahamas MAC CUSA Toledo Florida Int’l.
Idaho Potato MAC MWC Ohio U San Diego St.
Birmingham AAC SEC Tulane Vanderbilt
Armed Forces AAC Big 12 Houston [Army]
Dollar General MAC SBC Buffalo Georgia Southern
Hawaii CUSA MWC Louisiana Tech Hawaii
Heart of Dallas Big Ten CUSA [Arizona] Marshall
Quick Lane ACC Big Ten Boston College [Eastern Michigan]
Cactus Big 12 Pac-12 [Nevada] Arizona St.
Independence ACC SEC Virginia [Middle Tennessee]
Pinstripe ACC Big Ten Pittsburgh Wisconsin
Texas Big 12 SEC Oklahoma St. Texas A&M
Music City ACC/Big Ten SEC Syracuse Mississippi St.
Camping World ACC Big 12 North Carolina St. Texas Tech
Arizona MWC SBC Fresno St. Arkansas St.
Alamo Big 12 Pac-12 Iowa St. Utah
Belk ACC SEC Duke South Carolina
Peach At-large At-large West Virginia Florida
Military AAC ACC Temple Miami (Fla.)
Sun ACC Pac-12 Georgia Tech California
San Francisco Big Ten Pac-12 Michigan St. Oregon
Liberty Big 12 SEC TCU Missouri
Holiday Big Ten Pac-12 Iowa Washington
Gator ACC/Big Ten SEC Indiana Auburn
Outback Big Ten SEC Penn St. LSU
Fiesta At-large At-large Oklahoma Central Florida
Citrus ACC/Big Ten SEC Northwestern Kentucky
Rose Big Ten Pac-12 Ohio St. Washington St.
Sugar Big 12 SEC Texas Georgia
FBS PLAYOFFS
Cotton Alabama Michigan
Orange Clemson Notre Dame
Championship Game Alabama Clemson
Teams in [Brackets] are at-large selections

 

Key Games on TV This Week

All times given are Eastern Standard

American Athletic
UCF vs. USF: Central Florida easily disposed of Cincinnati, and now they must end the regular season with a swooning South Florida team that looks all out of kilter. USF was 7-0 and has now lost four consecutive games. The Bulls play one good half and one bad half in nearly every game, and if this repeats itself, UCF should win by more than 20 points. However, we suspect USF will play its best game of the year, so this game could be closer than expected, especially if USF’s better half is the first half.

Time: Friday, 4:00 PM
TV: ESPN

Memphis vs. Houston: The West Division race is still up for grabs, and it will go to the winner of the Houston-Memphis game at the Liberty Bowl. Houston may have a little bit of dissension after some issues on the sidelines against Tulane last week. Memphis is playing its best ball of the season, and the Tigers enjoy a modicum of home field advantage. This game could have some head coaching implications. Major Applewhite is not a huge favorite in Houston, and a loss plus a bowl loss could put his job in jeopardy. On the other side, Memphis coach Mike Norvell could be on the short list of multiple Power 5 Conference jobs.
Time: Friday, 12:00 PM
TV: ABC

Teams needing to win Saturday to become bowl eligible
Tulane vs. Navy, 12 Noon on ESPNU
SMU vs. Tulsa, 3:30 PM on CBSSN

Atlantic Coast
Clemson will play Pittsburgh in the ACC Championship Game, but there are other reasons to watch the Tigers this week. CU plays rival South Carolina, and this should give us all a chance to see Trevor Lawrence face a tough SEC defense. Somewhere down the road, Clemson might play for a National Championship against an even better SEC defense. In limited action earlier this year Lawrence was 5 of 9 for 99 yards and a touchdown against Texas A&M. South Carolina became bowl eligible against Chattanooga last night, and the Gamecocks added a late replacement game for their hurricane cancellation. They now play Akron next week, so there is a chance to get to 8-4 if they can pull off the big upset in this game. At 8-4, they could move up over Missouri and Auburn in the bowl pecking order.  Clemson vs. South Carolina

Time: Saturday, 7 PM
TV: ESPN

Teams needing to win Saturday to become bowl eligible
Florida State vs. Florida, 12 PM on ABC
Wake Forest vs. Duke, 12:30 PM on ACCn

Big 12
This conference has multiple games of importance in both the Playoff and bowl picture. Let’s start by explaining how the Conference Championship Game looks.

Oklahoma leads Texas and West Virginia by one game in the standings, but the Sooners have not clinched a spot in the Championship Game. Oklahoma plays at West Virginia this week. Texas visits Kansas.

If Oklahoma wins, they are the #1 seed, and West Virginia falls to 6-3 in the league. If Texas then beats Kansas, it will be a rematch of the Red River Rivalry in Arlington, Texas, as the Longhorns will be 7-2.

If West Virginia beats Oklahoma, and Texas beats Kansas, then the Sooners are eliminated, while West Virginia and Texas play in the title game.

If Texas loses to Kansas in a monumental upset, then no matter what happens in the OU-WVU game, the two will play again the next week for the Big 12 Championship.

Oklahoma needs to beat West Virginia and Texas and hope for Northwestern to pull off a big upset in the Big Ten Championship Game to have any chance at making the Playoffs. There is a minor chance that they could get in if Notre Dame lays an egg at the Coliseum against USC this week, but the way the Trojans are playing, don’t bet on it.

There are three more important games in the Big 12 this week.  Texas Tech plays Baylor at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. The winner earns a bowl bid, while the loser plays again next September. If the loser is Texas Tech, there’s a good chance that somebody other than Kliff KIngsbury will be coaching the Red Raiders in 2019. His job is not totally secure unless TTU wins this game and the bowl game.
Oklahoma State is bowl eligible thanks to the upset over West Virginia. The Cowboys close the season against TCU, and the 5-6 Horned Frogs need a win to become bowl eligible. TCU had several near misses, but their defense looked strong in stopping Baylor Saturday.
Kansas State might be playing its final game under the direction of legendary coach Bill Snyder. At 79, there’s a chance that Snyder will retire for good after this season. Kansas State is 5-6 and faces a tough finishing game against Iowa State in Ames. Iowa State coach Matt Campbell might also be leading his Cyclones on the field for the last time. He could easily be gobbled up by a bigger school looking to hire a new coach. Should Urban Meyer step down at Ohio State, a lot of insiders believe that Campbell would be on a very short list in Columbus.

Big 12 Key Game Schedule
Oklahoma vs. West Virginia
Time: Friday, 8 PM
TV; ESPN

Texas vs. Kansas
Time: Friday, 12 Noon
TV: FS1

Texas Tech vs. Baylor
Time: Saturday, 12 Noon
TV: FS1

TCU vs. Oklahoma St.
Time: Saturday, 8 PM
TV: Fox

Kansas St. vs. Iowa St.
Time: Saturday, 7 PM
TV: FS1

 

Big Ten
Michigan vs. Ohio State: It’s all about the big rivalry game at the Giant Horseshoe. Michigan and Ohio State will meet for the annual grudge match, and the winner wins the East and stays in contention for the Playoffs. The loser most likely would get the consolation prize of a Rose Bowl game. Michigan has not won in Columbus since 2000, which means they are zero for their last eight. In that span, they lose their most important game prior to this one, when they fell by a field goal in 2006. Expect a hard-fought effort on both sides, and the winner just may come out of this game at somewhat less than 100%, giving Northwestern a bit more chance to pull off a big upset in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Time: 12 Noon, Saturday
TV: Fox

Indiana and Purdue face off in Bloomington in a bowl qualification/elimination game. These may be the two best 5-6 teams in the nation, and the winner will be a tough 6-6 bowl team. Purdue may be playing with some distractions, as it appears as if Coach Jeff Brohm is halfway out the door and headed south to his Alma Mater in Louisville.

Time: 12 Noon, Saturday
TV: ESPN2

The Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe must fall in the favor of Minnesota against Wisconsin if the Golden Gophers are to nab the Big Ten’s ninth bowl bid. UM is 5-6 and extremely inconsistent, sometimes in the same half of games. Wisconsin is coming in for a landing with a stalled engine, so this game should be close and relatively low scoring.

Time: 3:30 PM, Saturday
TV: ESPN2

Maryland has not won a game since D.J. Durkin was officially re-instated and then fired. The Terrapins were 5-3 and looking like a bowl team before the news hit. They have dropped three games in a row and must win at Penn State to become bowl eligible. Penn State is winning on fumes in November. The Nittany Lions’ offense has disappeared. Still, PSU looks like a prohibitive favorite in this game, and they actually still hold a remote chance of earning the final New Year’s Six Bowl bid. A win would almost guarantee them no worse than the Citrus or Outback Bowl games on New Year’s Day. Maryland vs. Penn St.

Time: 3:30 PM, Saturday
TV: ABC

Conference USA
CUSA lost any chance of sending a team to the Peach Bowl when UAB coughed up the ball too many times and lost at Texas A&M after coming out even in total yardage. The Blazers have clinched a berth in the CUSA Championship Game, and their contest at Middle Tennessee this week will still be important, because the East Division race is still to be decided. If Middle beats UAB, and Marshall beats Florida International, then Middle and UAB would play again next week in the CUSA Championship Game. If FIU beats Marshall and UAB beats Middle Tennessee, then FIU wins the East Division race.

Middle Tennessee vs. UAB
Time: 3PM, Saturday
TV: Online only at ESPN3

Florida International vs. Marshall
Time: 12 Noon, Saturday
TV: Stadium and Facebook

Teams needing to win Saturday to become bowl eligible
Florida Atlantic vs. Charlotte
Time: Saturday, 6PM
TV: Stadium

Southern Mississippi vs. UTEP
Time: 3 PM, Saturday
TV: ESPN+

Independents
Notre Dame can become the first team to secure a spot in the Playoffs by topping USC in Los Angeles. USC will be playing for bowl eligibility as well as Coach Clay Helton’s job security. There might be a couple of NFL head coaches, including former coach Pete Carroll interested in taking the job if it becomes available, but we tend to believe Dino Babers might be the answer if this job opens up. As for the Irish, they are peaking at the right time. A double-digit win should leave Notre Dame in the 3-slot with a trip to the Orange Bowl to face Clemson the most likely scenario.  Notre Dame vs. USC

Time: 8 PM, Saturday
TV: ABC

 

Mid-American
The MAC Championship Game will pit Buffalo and Northern Illinois unless the unthinkable happens, and the Bulls lose to a weak Bowling Green team. Should Buffalo lose, then Miami of Ohio has a chance to do the unthinkable for the second time in three years if they beat Ball St. Miami began 2016 at 0-6 and then won six games in a row to come from last to first and make a bowl game. This year the Red Hawks were 1-4 and then 3-6 before winning back-to-back games over favored Ohio and Northern Illinois teams. Ohio can only win the division if Buffalo and Miami both lose.
In the West, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan all have six wins and are bowl eligible, but there is little chance that all three will be invited to bowls. At least one of these three will miss out, so, it is important to get that seventh win this week.

Key MAC Games Schedule

Buffalo vs. Bowling Green
Time: 12 Noon, Friday
TV: ESPNU

Miami (O) vs. Ball St.
Time: 7PM, Tuesday
TV: ESPN+

Ohio U vs. Akron
Time: 12 Noon, Friday
TV: CBSSN
Note: Akron is technically still in the running for bowl eligibility at 4-6, but the Zips must beat Ohio and then South Carolina, so we have eliminated them from the bowl team possibles.

Eastern Michigan vs. Kent St.
Time: 12 Noon, Friday
TV: ESPN3 online

Western Michigan vs. Northern Illinois
Time: 7 PM, Tuesday
TV: ESPNU

Toledo vs. Central Michigan
Time: 12 Noon, Friday
TV: ESPN3 online
Mountain West
Fresno State clinched a spot in the conference championship game and will face the winner of the Boise State-Utah State game. Utah State is playing for more than just a spot in the MWC Championship Game. They are the team on-deck should Central Florida fall to USF or in the AAC Championship Game. The Aggies could sneak into the Fiesta Bowl with wins over Boise State and Fresno State and a loss by UCF.

Boise State-Utah St.
Time: 10:15 PM, Saturday
TV: ESPN

Wyoming is 5-6 and needs a win over New Mexico to become bowl eligible. Even at 6-6, the Cowboys have only a slim chance to earn a bowl bid.

Time: 2:30 PM, Saturday
TV: MWCn
Pac-12
Both division races will be decided this week. In the North Division race, it comes down to the Apple Cup game between Washington and Washington St. Washington State has not won the Apple Cup since Mike Leach’s first year in the Palouse. UW has won the last five years by better than three touchdowns per game. An impressive win over Washington combined with a blowout win in the Pac-12 Championship Game could bring the Playoffs into view for WSU if Northwestern won the Big Ten Championship Game and Oklahoma did not win the Big 12 Championship.  Washington State vs. Washington

Time: 8:30 PM, Friday
TV: Fox

The South Division comes down to Utah or Arizona State. Utah has already finished their conference slate, and their game against BYU is strictly for bragging rights in the Beehive State. The Arizona State-Arizona game is the important one. If the Sun Devils win, then Coach Herm Edwards will force all those pundits to eat crow when they called his hiring a farce. ASU would win the South with a win over their rival. Arizona has a lot to play for as well. The Wildcats are 5-6 and must win to become bowl eligible, where they most likely would be shipped east as an at-large team for a bowl needing to fill a spot.

Arizona-Arizona State
Time: 3:30 PM, Saturday
TV: FS1

Colorado was 5-0, and now the Buffaloes are 5-6. Coach Mike MacIntyre is on a hot seat in snowy Boulder, and CU must venture to smoky Berkeley to face a hot Cal team that got an unexpected week off last week. CU better hope that Cal is looking forward to the Stanford makeup game the following week and overlooks the Buffs, because CU hasn’t got much left in the tank at this point.  Colorado vs. California

Time: 7PM, Saturday
TV: Pac-12
Southeastern
Alabama and Georgia will meet in the next chapter of greatness in the SEC Championship Game next week, but both teams must not overlook their arch-rivals this week, both of whom come into this game in peak performance.

Alabama should have little problem with Auburn, but the Tide showed some vulnerabilities that Auburn, and then Georgia, and possibly Clemson can attack. By saying “vulnerabilities,” we refer to something similar to the 1927 New York Yankees being a little weak at third base with Jumping Joe Dugan. Auburn last beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 2010, but that team has Cam Newton at quarterback and still only won by a point.

Alabama vs. Auburn
Time: 3:30 PM, Saturday
TV: CBS

Georgia cannot afford a loss to Georgia Tech, as the Bulldogs might not make the playoffs even if they subsequently beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Tech has made a big turnaround since starting the season 1-3. Quarterback TaQuon Marshall has a chance to reach 1,000 rushing yards with a good game here and another in the bowl game.

Georgia vs. Georgia Tech
Time: 12 Noon, Saturday
TV: SECn

Vanderbilt and Tennessee face off in Nashville with a bowl game going to the winner and the end of the line coming for the loser. Tennessee needs quarterback Jarrett Guarantano to return from a head and neck injury suffered Saturday against Missouri. Guarantano is worth more than a touchdown to the Vols compared to backup Keller Chryst. The Vols also have concerns at wideout where Marquez Callaway also was injured against Missouri. Vanderbilt has some injury concerns at quarterback as well, but it is their number two guy that will probably miss this game. Should anything happen to Kyle Shurmur, then the Commodores would be forced to put a true freshman with zero game experience into the most important game of their season. Vandy coach Derek Mason could receive some feelers from other job openings if he can guide the Commodores to their second bowl in three years. He was courted by California last year, and a possible opening or two in the Pac-12 could attract him.  Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt
Time: 4 PM, Saturday
TV: SECn

Sun Belt
Half of the league still holds SBC Championship Game aspirations. In the East, Troy plays Appalachian State, and the winner takes the division title and hosts the inaugural SBC Championship Game. The Mountaineers host this game and have not lost a conference game at home in more than three years. These two teams did not play each other last year when they tied for first, and the last two times they played, the games came down to the final minute.

Time: 2:30 PM, Saturday
TV: ESPN+

The West Division is currently log-jammed with three teams tied for first at 4-3. Louisiana holds the trump card in this three-way race. If the Ragin’ Cajuns defeat rival UL-Monroe, they will win the division title and play in the league title game. If UL-Monroe beats Louisiana, then Arkansas State would get in if the Red Wolves beat Texas State. If UL-Monroe wins and Arkansas State loses, then the Warhawks would win the division title outright.
Louisiana vs. UL-Monroe
Time: 3 PM ,Saturday
TV: ESPN+

Arkansas State vs. Texas State
Time: 4PM, Saturday
TV: ESPN3

 

November 11, 2018

PiRate Ratings–College Football Week 12

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Tuesday November 13
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Ball St. Western Michigan -6.3 -6.0 -7.9

 

Wednesday November 14
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Ohio U Buffalo 2.1 1.2 1.5
Northern Illinois Miami (O) 7.1 6.5 5.4

 

Thursday November 15
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Kent St. Toledo -16.5 -16.7 -16.3
Houston Tulane 7.4 7.4 7.7
North Texas Florida Atlantic 2.4 3.4 2.2

 

Friday November 16
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
SMU Memphis -4.4 -6.0 -5.8
New Mexico Boise St. -23.1 -21.5 -23.7

 

Saturday November 17
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Michigan Indiana 32.8 32.7 33.6
Wake Forest Pittsburgh -2.5 -3.8 -4.1
Illinois Iowa -21.0 -19.7 -21.9
Purdue Wisconsin 0.9 1.9 1.6
Georgia Tech Virginia 11.6 10.6 12.2
Minnesota Northwestern -8.4 -8.0 -9.0
Clemson Duke 30.1 29.6 31.6
Rutgers Penn St. -28.1 -26.4 -29.3
Kansas St. Texas Tech -4.8 -4.7 -4.7
East Carolina Connecticut 12.7 12.1 13.2
Temple South Florida 15.3 14.1 16.7
Georgia Massachusetts 51.8 47.9 52.7
Coastal Carolina Georgia Southern -9.6 -8.7 -9.3
Tennessee Missouri -13.0 -11.1 -14.3
Kentucky Middle Tennessee 20.3 17.1 19.2
Maryland Ohio St. -16.4 -16.0 -17.4
Louisville North Carolina St. -17.1 -16.9 -17.7
Central Florida Cincinnati 15.6 14.0 15.1
Auburn Liberty 36.4 35.5 37.3
Charlotte Florida Int’l. -8.6 -9.9 -8.5
BYU New Mexico St. 31.1 29.9 31.9
Wyoming Air Force 1.2 0.5 0.1
Colorado Utah -13.2 -11.5 -13.3
Colorado St. Utah St. -26.3 -27.1 -28.0
Notre Dame Syracuse 16.2 14.9 15.9
Appalachian St. Georgia St. 24.7 24.7 26.1
Marshall UTSA 24.9 23.6 25.7
California Stanford -5.0 -4.8 -5.2
Oregon Arizona St. 1.6 2.8 2.5
Washington St. Arizona 13.2 13.5 12.6
San Jose St. Nevada -15.4 -14.7 -17.0
Baylor TCU -1.4 -1.5 0.3
Navy Tulsa 1.1 3.5 0.8
Texas A&M UAB 18.6 14.6 17.9
Mississippi St. Arkansas 23.4 23.7 25.2
Oklahoma St. West Virginia -5.4 -6.2 -4.9
Southern Miss. Louisiana Tech -4.1 -3.0 -4.4
Akron Bowling Green 9.8 10.2 9.5
LSU Rice 54.4 50.8 56.2
Vanderbilt Ole Miss 2.5 3.2 2.6
Florida St. Boston College -8.5 -7.6 -9.4
Oklahoma Kansas 27.7 27.9 29.4
Washington Oregon St. 38.8 38.8 40.7
Arkansas St. UL-Monroe 4.8 5.6 5.7
Troy Texas St. 22.1 20.9 23.6
Louisiana South Alabama 12.1 12.8 13.4
Virginia Tech Miami (Fla.) -3.6 -3.2 -3.5
Western Kentucky UTEP 8.4 8.3 9.0
Nebraska Michigan St. -11.1 -10.1 -11.5
Texas Iowa St. 2.2 2.2 1.8
UCLA USC -7.4 -6.3 -8.6
Fresno St. San Diego St. 20.1 19.7 20.3
Hawaii UNLV 1.8 2.5 0.5

 

FBS FCS
Home Visitor PiRate
Florida Idaho 33.0
Alabama Citadel 58.2
Army Colgate 21.2
Old Dominion VMI 20.9
North Carolina Western Carolina 25.6
South Carolina Chattanooga 36.0

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 142.0 140.3 143.6 142.0
2 Clemson 139.2 136.9 140.1 138.7
3 Michigan 130.0 128.8 130.7 129.8
4 Georgia 129.0 126.5 130.2 128.5
5 Notre Dame 125.2 122.7 124.3 124.0
6 Ohio St. 123.2 121.3 123.2 122.6
7 Oklahoma 122.1 120.8 122.2 121.7
8 Washington 121.3 119.2 121.9 120.8
9 Mississippi St. 120.4 118.5 121.4 120.1
10 L S U 118.7 117.8 119.5 118.7
11 Missouri 118.3 116.9 119.3 118.1
12 West Virginia 118.2 117.3 117.6 117.7
13 Penn St. 118.3 115.7 118.1 117.4
14 Michigan St. 116.6 114.5 116.1 115.8
15 Boston College 116.3 114.1 116.1 115.5
16 Auburn 115.4 114.1 116.7 115.4
17 Utah 115.6 114.0 116.0 115.2
18 Iowa 115.5 113.6 115.1 114.7
19 Iowa State 114.6 113.1 114.4 114.0
20 Georgia Tech 114.3 113.3 114.1 113.9
21 Stanford 114.6 112.3 114.8 113.9
22 Central Florida 113.7 113.9 113.8 113.8
23 Washington St. 114.2 113.2 114.0 113.8
24 Fresno St. 113.6 113.1 114.0 113.6
25 Texas A&M 113.9 112.6 114.2 113.6
26 Texas 113.8 112.3 113.3 113.1
27 Utah St. 111.2 112.7 112.5 112.1
28 Miami 112.8 111.1 111.9 112.0
29 Florida 111.8 110.1 112.3 111.4
30 Syracuse 111.9 110.8 111.4 111.4
31 Duke 112.2 110.2 111.4 111.3
32 Northwestern 111.7 110.1 111.7 111.2
33 Wisconsin 112.1 109.5 111.2 110.9
34 S. Carolina 111.5 110.3 111.0 110.9
35 Kentucky 110.7 109.4 110.6 110.2
36 Boise St. 110.3 109.8 110.4 110.2
37 N. Carolina St. 110.5 109.7 109.9 110.0
38 Arizona St. 110.5 109.2 110.1 109.9
39 Texas Tech 110.5 109.1 109.5 109.7
40 Purdue 110.0 108.4 109.8 109.4
41 Oregon 109.1 108.9 109.7 109.2
42 Oklahoma St. 109.8 108.1 109.7 109.2
43 Pittsburgh 109.1 108.6 108.9 108.9
44 California 108.1 106.0 108.1 107.4
45 U S C 108.0 106.4 107.2 107.2
46 Virginia Tech 106.2 104.9 105.4 105.5
47 Virginia 105.7 105.8 104.9 105.5
48 Temple 104.1 104.3 105.0 104.5
49 T C U 105.4 103.9 103.6 104.3
50 Florida St. 104.8 103.6 103.8 104.0
51 Vanderbilt 103.6 103.6 103.9 103.7
52 Arizona 104.1 102.7 104.4 103.7
53 Army 103.3 104.0 103.5 103.6
54 Ole Miss 103.6 103.0 103.8 103.4
55 Memphis 102.3 103.6 103.1 103.0
56 Wake Forest 104.2 102.3 102.4 102.9
57 Maryland 103.7 102.3 102.8 102.9
58 Tennessee 102.3 102.7 101.9 102.3
59 Kansas St. 102.8 101.4 101.7 102.0
60 Cincinnati 101.2 102.9 101.7 101.9
61 Nebraska 102.6 101.4 101.7 101.9
62 Buffalo 100.5 102.5 101.8 101.6
63 Baylor 102.0 100.4 101.8 101.4
64 BYU 100.4 101.0 101.1 100.8
65 Houston 100.2 100.7 100.4 100.4
66 Ohio U 99.5 100.7 100.4 100.2
67 N. Carolina 100.2 99.4 100.0 99.9
68 Indiana 100.2 99.1 100.0 99.8
69 Minnesota 100.4 99.1 99.7 99.7
70 Appalachian St. 98.5 100.4 100.1 99.6
71 Colorado 99.4 99.6 99.7 99.6
72 U A B 98.3 101.0 99.3 99.6
73 Northern Illinois 98.6 99.6 99.0 99.1
74 Arkansas 100.1 97.8 99.2 99.0
75 U C L A 99.1 98.6 97.1 98.2
76 Toledo 97.4 98.7 97.2 97.8
77 N. Texas 96.9 99.2 97.1 97.7
78 Florida Atlantic 97.0 98.2 97.5 97.6
79 Nevada 96.6 96.8 97.0 96.8
80 Air Force 96.3 97.1 97.0 96.8
81 San Diego St. 96.5 96.5 96.8 96.6
82 Kansas 97.4 95.9 95.8 96.4
83 Tulane 95.8 96.3 95.7 95.9
84 Eastern Michigan 95.2 96.7 95.7 95.9
85 Miami (O) 94.4 96.2 96.6 95.7
86 Marshall 94.2 96.8 95.3 95.5
87 Wyoming 95.0 95.1 94.6 94.9
88 SMU 95.0 94.6 94.3 94.6
89 Middle Tennessee 93.4 95.3 94.4 94.4
90 Troy 92.6 94.0 94.3 93.6
91 Louisiana Tech 91.8 93.8 92.5 92.7
92 South Florida 91.3 92.7 90.8 91.6
93 Illinois 92.0 91.4 90.7 91.4
94 Florida Int’l. 89.7 93.4 90.4 91.2
95 Arkansas St. 89.4 90.9 90.9 90.4
96 Louisville 90.9 90.3 89.7 90.3
97 Tulsa 90.0 89.6 90.0 89.9
98 Western Michigan 88.7 90.3 89.7 89.6
99 Georgia Southern 88.8 90.4 89.2 89.5
100 Navy 88.1 90.0 87.8 88.7
101 Akron 87.9 88.9 87.6 88.2
102 UL-Monroe 87.0 87.7 87.8 87.5
103 Rutgers 87.7 86.7 86.3 86.9
104 Southern Miss. 85.6 88.7 86.0 86.8
105 New Mexico 84.7 85.8 84.2 84.9
106 Oregon St. 85.5 83.4 84.2 84.4
107 Louisiana 82.8 85.1 84.3 84.1
108 East Carolina 83.8 83.7 83.5 83.7
109 Old Dominion 82.2 85.4 82.1 83.3
110 U N L V 81.9 82.8 82.1 82.3
111 Colorado St. 82.0 82.6 81.5 82.0
112 Liberty 82.0 81.5 82.4 82.0
113 Central Michigan 80.3 82.4 80.5 81.1
114 Massachusetts 80.2 81.6 80.5 80.8
115 Hawaii 80.2 81.8 79.1 80.4
116 Ball St. 79.9 81.9 79.3 80.4
117 Bowling Green 80.1 80.7 80.1 80.3
118 W. Kentucky 79.1 81.9 79.5 80.2
119 Charlotte 79.1 81.5 79.9 80.2
120 Kent St. 78.9 80.0 78.9 79.3
121 San Jose St. 78.7 79.6 77.5 78.6
122 Coastal Carolina 77.2 79.7 77.9 78.3
123 Georgia St. 76.3 78.1 76.4 76.9
124 U T E P 73.1 76.2 73.1 74.1
125 Connecticut 74.1 74.6 73.3 74.0
126 Texas State 73.0 75.6 73.2 73.9
127 South Alabama 73.2 74.8 73.3 73.8
128 U T S A 72.4 76.2 72.6 73.8
129 N. Mexico St. 72.3 74.1 72.2 72.9
130 Rice 67.3 70.0 66.3 67.9

 

PiRate Ratings by Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average AAC Overall
Central Florida 113.7 113.9 113.8 113.8 6-0 9-0
Temple 104.1 104.3 105.0 104.5 5-1 6-4
Cincinnati 101.2 102.9 101.7 101.9 5-1 9-1
South Florida 91.3 92.7 90.8 91.6 3-3 7-3
East Carolina 83.8 83.7 83.5 83.7 0-6 2-7
Connecticut 74.1 74.6 73.3 74.0 0-6 1-9
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average AAC Overall
Memphis 102.3 103.6 103.1 103.0 3-3 6-4
Houston 100.2 100.7 100.4 100.4 4-2 7-3
Tulane 95.8 96.3 95.7 95.9 4-2 5-5
SMU 95.0 94.6 94.3 94.6 4-2 5-5
Tulsa 90.0 89.6 90.0 89.9 1-5 2-8
Navy 88.1 90.0 87.8 88.7 1-5 2-8
AAC Averages 95.0 95.6 95.0 95.2
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average ACC Overall
Clemson 139.2 136.9 140.1 138.7 7-0 10-0
Boston College 116.3 114.1 116.1 115.5 4-2 7-3
Syracuse 111.9 110.8 111.4 111.4 5-2 8-2
N. Carolina St. 110.5 109.7 109.9 110.0 3-3 6-3
Florida St. 104.8 103.6 103.8 104.0 2-5 4-6
Wake Forest 104.2 102.3 102.4 102.9 2-4 5-5
Louisville 90.9 90.3 89.7 90.3 0-7 2-8
Coastal Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average ACC Overall
Georgia Tech 114.3 113.3 114.1 113.9 4-3 6-4
Miami 112.8 111.1 111.9 112.0 2-4 5-5
Duke 112.2 110.2 111.4 111.3 3-3 7-3
Pittsburgh 109.1 108.6 108.9 108.9 5-1 6-4
Virginia Tech 106.2 104.9 105.4 105.5 3-3 4-5
Virginia 105.7 105.8 104.9 105.5 4-2 7-3
N. Carolina 100.2 99.4 100.0 99.9 1-6 1-8
ACC Averages 109.9 108.7 109.3 109.3
Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average B12 Overall
Oklahoma 122.1 120.8 122.2 121.7 6-1 9-1
West Virginia 118.2 117.3 117.6 117.7 6-1 8-1
Iowa State 114.6 113.1 114.4 114.0 5-2 6-3
Texas 113.8 112.3 113.3 113.1 5-2 7-3
Texas Tech 110.5 109.1 109.5 109.7 3-4 5-5
Oklahoma St. 109.8 108.1 109.7 109.2 2-5 5-5
T C U 105.4 103.9 103.6 104.3 2-5 4-6
Kansas St. 102.8 101.4 101.7 102.0 2-5 4-6
Baylor 102.0 100.4 101.8 101.4 3-4 5-5
Kansas 97.4 95.9 95.8 96.4 1-6 3-7
Big 12 Averages 109.6 108.2 109.0 108.9
Big Ten Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average BTen Overall
Michigan 130.0 128.8 130.7 129.8 7-0 9-1
Ohio St. 123.2 121.3 123.2 122.6 6-1 9-1
Penn St. 118.3 115.7 118.1 117.4 4-3 7-3
Michigan St. 116.6 114.5 116.1 115.8 5-3 6-4
Maryland 103.7 102.3 102.8 102.9 3-4 5-5
Indiana 100.2 99.1 100.0 99.8 2-5 5-5
Rutgers 87.7 86.7 86.3 86.9 0-7 1-9
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average BTen Overall
Iowa 115.5 113.6 115.1 114.7 3-4 6-4
Northwestern 111.7 110.1 111.7 111.2 6-1 6-4
Wisconsin 112.1 109.5 111.2 110.9 4-3 6-4
Purdue 110.0 108.4 109.8 109.4 4-3 5-5
Nebraska 102.6 101.4 101.7 101.9 2-5 3-7
Minnesota 100.4 99.1 99.7 99.7 2-5 5-5
Illinois 92.0 91.4 90.7 91.4 2-5 4-6
Big Ten Averages 108.9 107.3 108.4 108.2
Conference USA
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average CUSA Overall
Florida Atlantic 97.0 98.2 97.5 97.6 3-3 5-5
Marshall 94.2 96.8 95.3 95.5 4-2 6-3
Middle Tennessee 93.4 95.3 94.4 94.4 6-1 7-3
Florida Int’l. 89.7 93.4 90.4 91.2 5-1 7-3
Old Dominion 82.2 85.4 82.1 83.3 2-5 3-7
Charlotte 79.1 81.5 79.9 80.2 3-3 4-6
W. Kentucky 79.1 81.9 79.5 80.2 0-6 1-9
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average CUSA Overall
U A B 98.3 101.0 99.3 99.6 7-0 9-1
N. Texas 96.9 99.2 97.1 97.7 3-3 7-3
Louisiana Tech 91.8 93.8 92.5 92.7 5-1 7-3
Southern Miss. 85.6 88.7 86.0 86.8 2-4 3-6
U T E P 73.1 76.2 73.1 74.1 1-5 1-9
U T S A 72.4 76.2 72.6 73.8 2-4 3-7
Rice 67.3 70.0 66.3 67.9 0-7 1-10
CUSA Averages 85.7 88.4 86.2 86.8
FBS Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average Conf. Overall
Notre Dame 125.2 122.7 124.3 124.0 x 10-0
Army 103.3 104.0 103.5 103.6 x 8-2
BYU 100.4 101.0 101.1 100.8 x 5-5
Liberty 82.0 81.5 82.4 82.0 x 4-5
Massachusetts 80.2 81.6 80.5 80.8 x 4-7
N. Mexico St. 72.3 74.1 72.2 72.9 x 3-7
Indep. Averages 93.9 94.1 94.0 94.0
Mid-American Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MAC Overall
Buffalo 100.5 102.5 101.8 101.6 6-0 9-1
Ohio U 99.5 100.7 100.4 100.2 4-2 6-4
Miami (O) 94.4 96.2 96.6 95.7 4-2 4-6
Akron 87.9 88.9 87.6 88.2 2-4 4-5
Bowling Green 80.1 80.7 80.1 80.3 1-5 2-8
Kent St. 78.9 80.0 78.9 79.3 1-5 2-8
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MAC Overall
Northern Illinois 98.6 99.6 99.0 99.1 6-0 7-3
Toledo 97.4 98.7 97.2 97.8 3-3 5-5
Eastern Michigan 95.2 96.7 95.7 95.9 4-3 6-5
Western Michigan 88.7 90.3 89.7 89.6 4-2 6-4
Central Michigan 80.3 82.4 80.5 81.1 0-7 1-10
Ball St. 79.9 81.9 79.3 80.4 2-4 3-7
MAC Averages 90.1 91.5 90.6 90.7
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MWC Overall
Utah St. 111.2 112.7 112.5 112.1 6-0 9-1
Boise St. 110.3 109.8 110.4 110.2 5-1 8-2
Air Force 96.3 97.1 97.0 96.8 2-4 4-6
Wyoming 95.0 95.1 94.6 94.9 2-4 4-6
New Mexico 84.7 85.8 84.2 84.9 1-5 3-7
Colorado St. 82.0 82.6 81.5 82.0 2-4 3-7
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MWC Overall
Fresno St. 113.6 113.1 114.0 113.6 5-1 8-2
Nevada 96.6 96.8 97.0 96.8 4-2 6-4
San Diego St. 96.5 96.5 96.8 96.6 4-2 7-3
U N L V 81.9 82.8 82.1 82.3 1-5 3-7
Hawaii 80.2 81.8 79.1 80.4 3-3 6-5
San Jose St. 78.7 79.6 77.5 78.6 1-5 1-9
MWC Averages 93.9 94.5 93.9 94.1
Pac-12 Conference
North Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average P12 Overall
Washington 121.3 119.2 121.9 120.8 5-2 7-3
Stanford 114.6 112.3 114.8 113.9 4-3 6-4
Washington St. 114.2 113.2 114.0 113.8 6-1 9-1
Oregon 109.1 108.9 109.7 109.2 3-4 6-4
California 108.1 106.0 108.1 107.4 3-4 6-4
Oregon St. 85.5 83.4 84.2 84.4 1-6 2-8
South Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average P12 Overall
Utah 115.6 114.0 116.0 115.2 5-3 7-3
Arizona St. 110.5 109.2 110.1 109.9 4-3 6-4
U S C 108.0 106.4 107.2 107.2 4-4 5-5
Arizona 104.1 102.7 104.4 103.7 4-3 5-5
Colorado 99.4 99.6 99.7 99.6 2-5 5-5
U C L A 99.1 98.6 97.1 98.2 2-5 2-8
Pac-12 Averages 107.5 106.1 107.3 106.9
Southeastern Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SEC Overall
Georgia 129.0 126.5 130.2 128.5 7-1 9-1
Missouri 118.3 116.9 119.3 118.1 2-4 6-4
Florida 111.8 110.1 112.3 111.4 5-3 7-3
S. Carolina 111.5 110.3 111.0 110.9 4-4 5-4
Kentucky 110.7 109.4 110.6 110.2 5-3 7-3
Vanderbilt 103.6 103.6 103.9 103.7 1-5 4-6
Tennessee 102.3 102.7 101.9 102.3 2-4 5-5
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SEC Overall
Alabama 142.0 140.3 143.6 142.0 7-0 10-0
Mississippi St. 120.4 118.5 121.4 120.1 2-4 6-4
L S U 118.7 117.8 119.5 118.7 5-2 8-2
Auburn 115.4 114.1 116.7 115.4 3-4 6-4
Texas A&M 113.9 112.6 114.2 113.6 4-3 6-4
Ole Miss 103.6 103.0 103.8 103.4 1-5 5-5
Arkansas 100.1 97.8 99.2 99.0 0-6 2-8
SEC Averages 114.4 113.1 114.8 114.1
Sunbelt Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SBC Overall
Appalachian St. 98.5 100.4 100.1 99.6 5-1 7-2
Troy 92.6 94.0 94.3 93.6 6-0 8-2
Georgia Southern 88.8 90.4 89.2 89.5 4-2 7-3
Coastal Carolina 77.2 79.7 77.9 78.3 2-4 5-5
Georgia St. 76.3 78.1 76.4 76.9 1-5 2-8
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SBC Overall
Arkansas St. 89.4 90.9 90.9 90.4 3-3 6-4
UL-Monroe 87.0 87.7 87.8 87.5 4-2 6-4
Louisiana 82.8 85.1 84.3 84.1 3-3 5-5
Texas State 73.0 75.6 73.2 73.9 1-5 3-7
South Alabama 73.2 74.8 73.3 73.8 1-5 2-8
Sun Belt Averages 83.9 85.7 84.7 84.8

 

PiRate Ratings of the Conferences

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 114.4 113.1 114.8 114.1
2 ACC 109.9 108.7 109.3 109.3
3 B12 109.6 108.2 109.0 108.9
4 BTEN 108.9 107.3 108.4 108.2
5 PAC12 107.5 106.1 107.3 106.9
6 AAC 95.0 95.6 95.0 95.2
7 MWC 93.9 94.5 93.9 94.1
8 IND 93.9 94.1 94.0 94.0
9 MAC 90.1 91.5 90.6 90.7
10 CUSA 85.7 88.4 86.2 86.8
11 SUN 83.9 85.7 84.7 84.8

 

Top 5 Group of 5

  1. Central Florida
  2. Utah State
  3. Cincinnati
  4. UAB
  5. Army

 

Bowl and Playoff Projections

With two weeks remaining in the regular season plus a weekend of conference championship games, most of the conference races are getting quite interesting. The good news for the bowls this year is that there is now about a one in one hundred thousand chance that a team with a losing record will be needed. Actually, chances are maybe 98% that there will be bowl eligible teams that do not receive bowl bids, even some teams with seven and eight wins.

As we project the bowl and playoff bids today, we believe six bowl eligible teams will be left out of the bowl picture. There are already 64 bowl eligible teams with close to 20 more needing just one more win. Let’s take a look at each conference and show you where they stand today and where we think they will finish.

Group of 5 Conferences

American Athletic
Both division races have interesting key games this weekend. In the East, Central Florida hosts Cincinnati. If the Golden Knights win to remain undefeated, they will clinch the East Division title. However, if one-loss Cincinnati pulls off the win, and Temple beats South Florida, then there will be a three-way tie for first with one game to go. All three have very winnable final games, so at 7-1, there would be a tiebreaker involved, and Cincinnati would get the nod several layers down in the tie-breaking procedure.

Houston looked like a cinch to win the West Division until back-to-back losses to SMU and Temple knocked the Cougars into a three-way tie with SMU and surprising Tulane. Tulane and Houston square off in Houston this weekend, while SMU plays tough Memphis. This race will come down to the last weekend, and SMU has the advantage as of today.

Already Bowl Eligible: Central Florida, Cincinnati, Temple, South Florida, Houston, and Memphis

Predicted to become Bowl Eligible: Tulane and SMU

 

Conference USA
This league will fall shy of the number of bowl eligible teams compared to last year, but there will still be seven conference teams available for the seven bowl tie-ins the league has this year.

The East Division is down to a three-team race between Florida International, Middle Tennessee, and Marshall. Middle currently leads FIU by a half-game in the standings, but the Blue Raiders close with a home game against the top team in the league in UAB. FIU beat Middle and holds the tie-breaker edge, but the Panthers must still beat Marshall.

There is a chance that the three contenders will all finish 6-2, if UAB beats Middle, and Marshall beats FIU. Should that happen, Middle Tennessee would win the tie-breaker well down the procedure list.

UAB has already clinched the West Division championship, but the Blazers have something more to play for. It is a long shot, but if UAB could pull off the big upset at Texas A&M,then win at Middle Tennessee, and then win the CUSA Championship Game, the Blazers could be in the mix for a Peach Bowl bid should Central Florida lose to somebody other than Cincinnati and both Utah State and Boise State lose another game. The Blazers would be 12-1 in this situation.

Already Bowl Eligible: Florida International, Middle Tennessee, Marshall, UAB, North Texas, and Louisiana Tech

Predicted to become Bowl Eligible: Florida Atlantic
Independents
We don’t count Notre Dame in this section, because the Irish are classified with the Power Five conferences. Army is already bowl eligible and will definitely get an at-large bid to a bowl. BYU needs one more win, and the Cougars face a weak New Mexico State team this week, so they should get that win. They are also guaranteed an at-large bid to a bowl that ESPN sponsors.

Liberty will most likely finish 6-6, but the Flames are ineligible in their transition year in FBS. There is a loophole for Liberty to become bowl eligible if there are not enough bowl eligible teams, but as we said before, there will be most likely six bowl eligible teams more than needed this year.

Already Bowl Eligible: Army

Predicted to become Bowl Eligible: BYU (& Liberty in reserve)

 

Mid-American
The two MAC races are basically sewn up with two weeks to go. Buffalo has a two-game lead over Ohio U in the East, and even if the Bulls lose at Ohio this week, they would also have to lose against lowly Bowling Green next week, while Ohio then beats Akron. We don’t see Buffalo finishing 0-2, and the Bulls have a better chance to finish 2-0 and stay alive in the New Year’s 6 Bowl race.

Northern Illinois is in the same boat as Buffalo in the West Division race. The Huskies lead Western Michigan by two games, and even though NIU and WMU face off in the regular season finale, the only way that game will determine the division title is if NIU loses at home to Miami of Ohio this week and WMU wins at Ball St. Miami is trying to sneak into bowl eligibility and needs wins over NIU and Ball State, but we don’t see the Red Hawks competing with the Huskies this week.

Already Bowl Eligible: Buffalo, Ohio U, Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan
Predicted to become Bowl Eligible: Toledo

 

Mountain West
Both races are still undecided with two week to go. Boise State’s big win over Fresno State gave the Broncos a big boost, for if they win out against New Mexico in Albuquerque and Utah State on the Blue Field, then Boise takes the Mountain Division crown.
Utah State plays at Colorado State in a game that mean nothing toward the Mountain Division race, but it means everything if the Aggies want to sneak into the Fiesta Bowl as the Group of 5 representative. If USU beats CSU and then knocks off Boise in Boise, the Aggies would enter the MWC Championship Game needing a win and a UCF loss to earn the Fiesta Bowl bid.

In the West Division, Fresno State is still in control of the race, but the Bulldogs have been exposed with questionable offensive and defensive lines. San Diego State and Nevada are just one game back with two to go, and SDSU and Fresno play this weekend in Fresno. Should the Aztecs recover from a late swoon and pull off the upset, then there could be a three-way tie for first at 6-2. Fresno State would win the tie-breaker.

Already Bowl Eligible: Utah State, Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, and San Diego State

Predicted to become Bowl Eligible: Hawaii and Wyoming

 

Sun Belt
Technically, three teams are still alive in the East Division, as Troy is 6-0, Appalachian State is 5-1, and Georgia Southern is 4-2. However, Troy hosts a very weak Texas State team this week, and a Trojan win eliminates GSU. The regular season finale sends Troy to Appy State, and the winner of that game will win the division title.

The West Division race is also a three-team affair, but the three teams all have legitimate chances of capturing the flag. UL-Monroe leads Louisiana and Arkansas State by a game, but they conclude the regular season playing both contenders–Arkanasas State in Jonesboro and Louisiana in Monroe. Obviously, If ULM wins both games, they win the division title. If they lose one of the two games, then the team that beats them will win the division title if they also win their other game. Louisiana’s other game is a home game with South Alabama, while Arky State plays at Texas State. If both Arky State and Louisiana beat ULM, then Louisiana wins the division.

Already Bowl Eligible: Troy, Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Louisiana-Monroe, and Arkansas St.

Predicted to become Bowl Eligible: Coastal Carolina and Louisiana

 

Power 5 Conferences

Atlantic Coast
Can anybody in this league beat Clemson that still might play the Tigers this year? Duke and South Carolina are not likely candidates, so it figures that CU will enter the ACC Championship Game at 12-0. Who the Tigers will play is still a question with two weeks to go.

After losing to a North Carolina team that has not won another game this year, Pittsburgh did not look like a bowl eligible team at all. The Panthers were 2-3 with two lopsided losses (Penn State and Central Florida). A 3-9 record looked possible at that point, because the back end of the schedule looked brutal. After an upset of Syracuse and a near miss loss at Notre Dame, Pitt was still 3-4 and not looking like they would find three more wins on their schedule. Consecutive wins over Duke, Virginia, and Virginia Tech, have placed the Panthers into first place in the Coastal Division with two games to go. Both games are on the road but winnable against mediocre teams. The problem for the Panthers is that both Wake Forest and Miami are fighting for bowl eligibility, and it would not surprise us if one of the two knock the Panthers off their perch. Pittsburgh will still win the division if they split their final two games, but should the unthinkable happen, and they lose both games, then it throws this division race into a mad world.
Virginia would have a chance to win the division, but the Cavaliers play their final two games on the road against a fast-closing Georgia Tech, and a Virginia Tech team that might be 5-5 and needing a win to earn a bowl bid. Duke, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech all have three conference losses, but the chances that any of the three can win the division are quite remote. And, in the end, who really wants to get drubbed by Clemson in the ACC Championship Game?

Already Bowl Eligible: Clemson, Syracuse, Boston College, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Duke, and Georgia Tech

Predicted to become Bowl Eligible: Miami

 

Big 12
This is another interesting race with four teams contending for the two Championship Game bids. Oklahoma (6-1) and West Virginia (6-1) control their own destiny, but since they still must play each other, at least one of these two teams might no longer control their destiny.

Iowa State (5-2) would sneak into the Big 12 Championship Game, should they beat Texas and Kansas State and Oklahoma beats West Virginia. Texas (5-2) would be the second team if the Longhorns beat Iowa State and Kansas and West Virginia beats Oklahoma.
Should West Virginia lose at Oklahoma State this week and then beat Oklahoma, then there could be a three-way tie at 7-2, with one of the teams eliminated. Should WVU, Oklahoma, and Texas finish tied in this scenario, Texas and Oklahoma would play for the Big 12 Championship. Should WVU, Oklahoma, and Iowa State finish tied in this scenario, then Iowa State and West Virginia would play for the title.

Already Bowl Eligible: Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas, and Iowa State

Predicted to become Bowl Eligible: Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and  Baylor

 

Big Ten
The East race is down to the same two teams that have always competed for the Big Ten title. Michigan faces Ohio State in Columbus in two weeks, and the winner will face Northwestern for the Big Ten Championship.
Obviously, the Wolverines are playing for a lot more than just the league title. Wins over Indiana, Ohio State, and Northwestern will clinch a spot in the Playoffs. Ohio State has a minimal chance of making the playoffs by closing out with wins over Maryland, Michigan, and Northwestern. Northwestern can win the Rose Bowl bid by upsetting either team in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Already Bowl Eligible: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Iowa

Predicted to become Bowl Eligible: Indiana, Purdue, and Minnesota

Pac-12
The North Division race will be determined in the Palouse when the Washington Huskies visit Washington State for the Apple Cup. Stanford has been eliminated by virtue of losing to both Olympic State teams.
The South Division is still quite chaotic. Arizona State, Arizona, and Utah have three conference losses, while USC has four. Arizona State is the current tiebreaker leader by virtue of a win over Utah, while Utah drubbed Arizona and holds second place today. However, Arizona has not played Arizona State, and should the Wildcats beat the Sun Devils, and there is a multiple way tie at 5-4 with three or four teams, the possibilities are not endless, but they seem to appear that way. USC is not in the race, even if they finish in a first place tie. In the event of a tie at 5-4 between Arizona State, Arizona, USC, and Utah, the Utes win the tiebreaker. In another scenario, if Colorado beats Utah, Oregon beats Arizona State, and then Arizona State beats Arizona, then Arizona State wins the division at 5-4 no matter what USC does.
Already Bowl Eligible: Washington State, Washington, Oregon, Stanford, California, Utah, and Arizona State

Predicted to become Bowl Eligible: USC and Arizona

 

Southeastern
This is a race that is already determined. Alabama and Georgia will play in the SEC Championship Game no matter what they do the rest of the season. We expect they will both win out. Georgia finishes with two non-conference opponents. They can name the score with UMass, and they should be able to slow down the Georgia Tech option game and run over the Techsters to finish 11-1. Alabama could score 100 points this week against The Citadel if Nick Saban was Barry Switzer or Bill Yeoman, but we expect a possible 56-0 halftime score to lead to a 77-0 win at most. Then, Alabama should handle Auburn in Tuscaloosa to finish 12-0.
Georgia would have to win the SEC Championship to get into the Playoffs unless a lot of nearly impossible events leave a trail of two loss teams in the wake. If the Bulldogs upset the Tide, then most likely Georgia would move up to number two and Alabama would fall to number three, leaving Michigan in a bind.

Already Bowl Eligible: Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Alabama, LSU, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, and Auburn

Predicted to become Bowl Eligible: South Carolina and Tennessee

Here are this week’s playoff and bowl projections.

Bowl Conferences Team 1 Team 2
New Mexico MWC CUSA Utah St. Middle Tennessee
Cure AAC SBC Cincinnati Troy
Las Vegas MWC Pac-12 Boise St. USC
Camellia MAC SBC Buffalo Appalachian St.
New Orleans CUSA SBC Louisiana Tech UL-Monroe
Boca Raton AAC CUSA SMU Florida Atlantic
Frisco AAC At-Large Memphis [BYU]
Gasparilla AAC CUSA South Florida Marshall
Bahamas MAC CUSA Toledo Florida Int’l.
Idaho Potato MAC MWC Ohio U Nevada
Birmingham AAC SEC Tulane Missouri
Armed Forces AAC Big 12 Houston [Army]
Dollar General MAC SBC Northern Illinois Georgia Southern
Hawaii CUSA MWC UAB Hawaii
Heart of Dallas Big Ten CUSA Indiana North Texas
Quick Lane ACC Big Ten Boston College Minnesota
Cactus Big 12 Pac-12 Texas Tech Arizona St.
Independence ACC SEC Miami (Fla.) [Arizona]
Pinstripe ACC Big Ten Pittsburgh Wisconsin
Texas Big 12 SEC Oklahoma St. Texas A&M
Music City ACC/Big Ten SEC North Carolina St. Tennessee
Camping World ACC Big 12 Syracuse Iowa St.
Arizona MWC SBC Fresno St. Arkansas St.
Alamo Big 12 Pac-12 Texas Washington
Belk ACC SEC Virginia South Carolina
Peach At-large At-large West Virginia LSU
Military AAC ACC Temple Duke
Sun ACC Pac-12 Georgia Tech California
San Francisco Big Ten Pac-12 Iowa Oregon
Liberty Big 12 SEC Baylor Mississippi St.
Holiday Big Ten Pac-12 Northwestern Stanford
Gator ACC/Big Ten SEC Purdue Auburn
Outback Big Ten SEC Michigan St. Kentucky
Fiesta At-large At-large Central Florida Utah
Citrus ACC/Big Ten SEC Penn St. Florida
Rose Big Ten Pac-12 Ohio St. Washington St.
Sugar Big 12 SEC Oklahoma Georgia

Teams in [Brackets] are at-large selections

FBS Playoff Projections

Cotton Alabama Michigan
Orange Clemson Notre Dame
Championship Game Alabama Clemson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 15, 2018

2018 American Athletic Conference Preview

Note: The preseason ratings you see in the previews may not be the same as the ratings you see for the first game. We update every team’s rating based on player injuries, changes to the depth charts, and other factors that may change during preseason practice.

Some of our Group of 5 Conference won-loss predictions were figured before the beginning of August preseason practices. Thus, it could be that a player or players on some teams have already suffered season-ending or multiple game injuries or have left their teams, and these won-loss predictions no longer accurately reflect our ratings. We hope that by the time we preview the Power 5 conferences, we will know who is not going to be available (players and head coaches).

This American Athletic Conference believes the number one team in the nation played within its jurisdiction last year. No, Alabama did not have some type of adjunct relationship with the league. Central Florida was the lone unbeaten team in the nation in 2017. In addition, the Knights did something Alabama was unable to do–beat Auburn.
The PiRate Ratings not only said that UCF was not the top team in the nation, we believed there were four better teams last year. UCF’s running the table reminded us a lot of Penn State in 1968, when the Nittany Lions went 11-0 and beat Kansas in the Orange Bowl. So what did that Penn State team do for an encore in 1969? They merely went 11-0 again with one of the most aggressive defenses and special teams in college football history.
UCF just might run the table again this year, just like that great Penn State team.

However, they will have an extra impediment that Penn State did not have in 1969. Coach Scott Frost took his marbles and went home to alma mater Nebraska. The Knights will try to become the first team since Toledo in 1970 and 1971 to go undefeated in back-to-back seasons with different head coaches. That Toledo team actually ran the table for three consecutive years.
UCF returns a talented quarterback in McKenzie Milton, two talented running backs in Adrian Killins and Otis Anderson, and two highly-skilled receivers Dredrick Snelson and Gabriel Davis that helped team up for 530+ yards and 48+ points per game. The Knights should continue to pile up yards and points again this year, and if the defense can hold serve and put up similar numbers to last year, UCF has a chance to repeat at 13-0. The toughest roadblocks will be road games with North Carolina and Memphis and a home game with Pittsburgh. The regular season finale at South Florida could be a trap game.

Speaking of South Florida, the Bulls are not quite up to UCF’s talent level, and they undergo a slight rebuilding project this year. A splendid offensive team in 2017, USF must break in a new quarterback, a new running back or backs to replace two highly talented backs, and their leading receiver. Things are not all that rosy on the defensive side of the ball, but the Bulls had a lot of talented depth and should be okay on this side of the ball, especially with a defensive mastermind like Charlie Strong as head coach.

Temple continued to win with new coach Geoff Collins taking over for Matt Rhule last year. Collins might have a hard time topping last year’s seven wins, but the rest of the division is not ready to move up, so the Owls might have a shot at another bowl-eligible season. Temple has some stars on both sides of the ball, foremost being rush end Quincy Roche, who recorded seven sacks as a freshman. He’ll join the finest trio of linebackers in the league, and Temple should hold opponents to 21 to 24 points per game this year. If the offense can take a small move forward, Temple can contend with South Florida for second in the division.

The bottom three teams in the East Division fall far short of the top three. Cincinnati appears to be nearing the end of the Luke Fickell era. After a 4-8 season in 2017, the Bearcats look like a team that will find it hard to even equal that mark this year. Pass defense will be a major issue, and even if the pass rush improves this year, UC may take a backward turn against the run. The result should be another year where opponents average north of 30 points per game.

East Carolina and Connecticut face major rebuilding projects and should both win fewer games than a year ago. That’s not an easy task, as they both won just three times in 2017.

Memphis lost just twice in the regular season last year, but both times, it was to Central Florida. The Tigers host UCF in the middle of the season, and the game could match a pair of ranked and undefeated teams. The only reason why Memphis may not top the Knights is the breaking in of a new quarterback. David Moore can run and pass with talent, but he lacks the experience that Milton has at UCF. The Tigers should have a better defense this year with most of the key players back, but the offense is going to backtrack, and with it will go the Tigers’ conference championship hopes in 2018.

When Major Applewhite became Houston’s head coach last year, he heard an edict from the school’s president that 8-4 will get a coach fired there. Applewhite only mustered seven wins in his first year, and 8-4 may be about what to expect in year two. The question is: will 8-4 be good enough in year two? The Cougars lost too much talent on both sides of the ball to make a legitimate move forward. Every full-time starting skill position player at one set position on offense must be replaced. The one exception is D’Eriq King, who began the season as one of the leading receivers on the team and then moved to quarterback in the second half.

Navy has been to 14 bowls in the last 15 years, and with an experienced quarterback returning to run the double slot option offense, the Midshipmen will make it 15 in 16 years. Coach Ken Niumatalolo’s teams usually improve by a couple of games when his quarterback returns, so look for Navy to challenge for double-digit wins this year.

Unlike the East, the bottom three teams in the West could all contend for bowl eligibility this year. Tulane and SMU played a bowl-qualifier in the regular season’s final week last year. Tulane appeared to have the game won at the end, but an incorrect referee’s call gave the game and the Frisco Bowl bid to the Mustangs. The PiRate Ratings don’t call for it, but we believe Coach Willie Fritz will build on this near-miss and push Tulane to bowl eligibility. Expect quarterback Jonathan Banks to increase the Green Wave’s passing efficiency, especially since his starting receiving corps returns in full. While at Georgia Southern, Fritz’s offenses averaged better than 425 yards and 35 points per game, and if TU can match that amount this year, Fritz will be coaching in December.

SMU must start all over with a new coach and new offensive system. The Mustangs should be okay on offense, but their defense is still a mess, and the new offense may force it to stay on the field a tad more this year. It may take 40 points per game for the Mustangs to win six games and make a bowl game again.

Tulsa has the least chance of the three bottom-half teams to make a bowl this year, and a reduction in their athletic budget could signal some lean times in the near future. Last year, the Golden Hurricane could not move the football through the air, and it led to a sub 30 points per game output, and a year after winning 10 games, Tulsa lost 10 games.

Here is how the American Athletic Conference Media voted in the preseason poll.

American Athletic
East 1st Place Points
1. Central Florida 25 175
2. South Florida 5 140
3. Temple 0 132
4. Cincinnati 0 91
5. Connecticut 0 51
6. East Carolina 0 41
West 1st Place Points
1. Memphis 23 171
2. Houston 4 146
3. Navy 3 129
4. SMU 0 72
5. Tulane 0 68
6. Tulsa 0 44
Championship Game Winner Points
Central Florida 19
Memphis 7
South Florida 3
Houston 1

The PiRate Ratings agree almost completely with the media experts with the exception of flip-flopping Tulane and SMU

American Athletic Conference
East Division
Team AAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Central Florida 0-0 0-0 110.8 110.4 110.7 110.6
South Florida 0-0 0-0 96.0 99.3 96.9 97.4
Temple 0-0 0-0 95.8 95.8 96.2 95.9
Cincinnati 0-0 0-0 87.1 88.5 86.5 87.3
Connecticut 0-0 0-0 84.1 84.4 82.8 83.8
East Carolina 0-0 0-0 83.1 82.2 82.0 82.4
West Division
Team AAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Memphis 0-0 0-0 104.2 106.3 105.7 105.4
Houston 0-0 0-0 99.9 101.4 101.0 100.8
Navy 0-0 0-0 98.7 101.7 98.5 99.7
Tulane 0-0 0-0 94.4 94.6 94.0 94.3
SMU 0-0 0-0 95.1 93.8 94.0 94.3
Tulsa 0-0 0-0 91.8 90.3 92.3 91.5
AAC Averages 95.1 95.7 95.1 95.3

New Coaches
The biggest coaching change in all of Group of 5 football is at Central Florida, where former Oklahoma passing phenom Josh Heupel takes over for former Nebraska star Scott Frost. Heupel comes from the spread passing philosophy of Bob Stoops and Mike Leach. Heupel most recently served as offensive coordinator at Missouri, where Drew Lock routinely topped 300 yards passing. What a lot of fans might not know is that Heupel’s Missouri offense also finished in the top half of the SEC’s rushing statistics. UCF will most likely continue to average more than 40 points and 500 yards per game.

SMU welcomes former Louisiana Tech and California head coach Sonny Dykes, as he too brings the same offense to Dallas that Heupel will bring to Orlando. Dykes was a special offensive assistant at TCU last year, and the Horned Frogs averaged 33.6 points and 419 yards per game.

Predicted Won-Loss Records
Note: These predicted won-loss records are strictly mechanical based on the initial PiRate Ratings. No upsets are factored in these predictions. Additionally, our PiRate Ratings are only useful for the next week of games and cannot really be used to forecast past that point. Part of our weekly adjustment to our ratings includes a factor where depth issues or non-issues have been pre-set. In other words, a team without talented second stringers may lose ratings points as the season progresses even if they win games by the predicted margin, whereas a team with exceptional depth (like Alabama) will improve during the season and see its rating rise even if they win games by a little less than the predicted margin. What we’re saying is: don’t take these numbers with anything more than a grain of salt.

Team Conference Overall
East
Central Florida 8-0 13-0 *
South Florida 5-3 8-4
Temple 5-3 7-5
Cincinnati 2-6 3-9
East Carolina 1-7 2-10
Connecticut 0-8 1-11
West Conference Overall
Memphis 7-1 10-3
Navy 6-2 10-3
Houston 6-2 8-4
Tulsa 3-5 5-7
Tulane 3-5 4-8
SMU 2-6 3-9
* Central Florida picked to win AAC Champ. Game

Bowl Tie-ins
The American Athletic Conference has contracts to fill seven bowls with no set pecking order.

Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, TX
Bahamas Bowl in Nassau, Bahamas
Birmingham Bowl in Birmingham, AL
Cure Bowl in Orlando, FL
Frisco Bowl in Frisco, TX (The Home Soccer Stadium for FC Dallas of the MLS).
Gasparilla Bowl in St. Petersburg, FL
Military Bowl in Annapolis, MD

Coming Tomorrow–We begin previewing the Power 5 Conferences. First up is the Big 12.

January 9, 2018

PiRate Ratings 2017-18 College Football Final Polls

Congratulations go to Coach Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide for winning the National Championship in a thrilling overtime victory over the Georgia Bulldogs.  Alabama wins the top spot in all three ratings, plus the retro rankings.  Here’s how the final numbers crunched.

Retrodictive Rankings

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

The PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 136.9 133.5 135.8 135.4
2 Ohio St. 132.3 130.2 132.6 131.7
3 Georgia 130.8 130.0 131.4 130.7
4 Clemson 131.3 128.6 130.9 130.3
5 Penn St. 129.4 128.1 129.8 129.1
6 Oklahoma 128.2 126.7 129.4 128.1
7 Auburn 127.0 125.2 127.2 126.5
8 Washington 126.2 124.2 126.1 125.5
9 Wisconsin 126.4 123.9 125.5 125.3
10 Oklahoma St. 121.2 120.4 121.6 121.1
11 Stanford 120.6 119.0 119.9 119.8
12 U S C 120.1 119.2 119.8 119.7
13 L S U 118.5 116.3 118.8 117.9
14 Virginia Tech 118.1 117.6 117.9 117.8
15 Miami 118.6 117.4 117.5 117.8
16 T C U 118.0 116.5 118.2 117.6
17 N. Carolina St. 117.1 116.2 117.0 116.8
18 Central Florida 116.0 116.9 117.2 116.7
19 Louisville 116.8 116.0 116.5 116.4
20 Notre Dame 116.6 115.4 116.8 116.2
21 Florida St. 116.9 116.0 115.7 116.2
22 Northwestern 115.4 114.2 115.5 115.0
23 Iowa 114.3 114.5 113.6 114.2
24 Michigan 114.2 114.0 113.4 113.9
25 Mississippi St. 113.5 113.3 113.3 113.4
26 Memphis 113.2 112.5 114.0 113.2
27 Iowa State 112.8 112.8 113.9 113.2
28 Texas 112.9 112.9 113.5 113.1
29 Kansas St. 112.9 112.7 113.0 112.9
30 Boston College 112.6 112.3 112.6 112.5
31 Michigan St. 111.0 111.6 112.1 111.6
32 Wake Forest 112.1 110.4 112.2 111.6
33 Duke 111.1 110.0 110.4 110.5
34 Utah 109.9 109.9 110.1 110.0
35 Oregon 110.5 108.6 109.9 109.7
36 Georgia Tech 110.2 108.4 108.7 109.1
37 Washington St. 109.8 107.7 109.3 108.9
38 South Florida 109.0 108.2 109.3 108.8
39 S. Carolina 109.1 108.3 108.2 108.5
40 Pittsburgh 108.8 108.1 108.7 108.5
41 Missouri 108.5 107.1 107.8 107.8
42 Boise St. 107.5 106.1 107.6 107.1
43 Texas A&M 107.9 106.0 107.0 107.0
44 West Virginia 106.7 107.4 106.7 106.9
45 Arizona St. 106.4 105.3 106.0 105.9
46 Kentucky 106.4 105.7 105.0 105.7
47 Purdue 105.6 105.4 106.1 105.7
48 Indiana 105.5 105.6 105.9 105.7
49 Ole Miss 106.3 105.0 105.4 105.6
50 Florida 105.7 105.4 105.1 105.4
51 Arizona 106.0 104.9 104.9 105.3
52 Texas Tech 105.2 104.9 104.8 105.0
53 Florida Atlantic 103.4 104.9 105.3 104.5
54 California 105.3 103.2 103.8 104.1
55 Navy 103.5 104.1 103.7 103.8
56 Colorado 104.5 103.4 102.4 103.4
57 U C L A 103.0 102.4 102.3 102.6
58 N. Carolina 102.9 102.0 102.0 102.3
59 San Diego St. 101.5 101.5 102.5 101.8
60 Houston 101.4 101.1 101.5 101.3
61 Syracuse 102.0 100.8 101.1 101.3
62 Army 100.9 100.8 101.3 101.0
63 Appalachian St. 101.2 100.0 101.4 100.9
64 Toledo 100.1 100.1 102.1 100.8
65 Minnesota 100.3 101.2 99.2 100.2
66 Vanderbilt 100.8 99.8 99.7 100.1
67 Troy 99.7 99.8 99.9 99.8
68 Fresno St. 99.9 98.6 100.8 99.8
69 Colo. State 99.8 99.1 99.7 99.5
70 Virginia 99.6 98.6 99.9 99.4
71 Ohio U 98.3 99.6 99.3 99.1
72 Arkansas 99.4 98.5 99.2 99.1
73 Baylor 98.1 99.4 98.2 98.6
74 Temple 98.2 98.5 98.8 98.5
75 Wyoming 97.8 96.9 97.2 97.3
76 Tennessee 97.3 95.9 95.3 96.2
77 Western Michigan 95.8 95.2 96.5 95.8
78 Northern Illinois 95.0 95.0 95.8 95.2
79 Nebraska 94.9 95.4 94.4 94.9
80 Eastern Michigan 94.7 94.8 95.1 94.9
81 Maryland 94.5 95.8 93.9 94.7
82 Arkansas St. 93.8 95.0 94.7 94.5
83 Tulane 94.2 94.4 94.6 94.4
84 SMU 94.0 94.5 94.3 94.3
85 Utah St. 94.0 93.3 93.7 93.7
86 Marshall 92.4 93.5 93.8 93.3
87 Central Michigan 92.8 93.1 93.4 93.1
88 Tulsa 93.1 92.8 92.7 92.9
89 Air Force 92.2 92.5 92.2 92.3
90 Louisiana Tech 90.8 92.4 91.6 91.6
91 Middle Tennessee 90.4 91.4 91.6 91.1
92 Rutgers 91.1 91.1 90.7 91.0
93 BYU 90.0 89.9 89.9 89.9
94 Nevada 88.9 90.5 90.0 89.8
95 Miami (O) 88.7 90.7 89.9 89.8
96 Oregon St. 90.0 89.9 88.4 89.4
97 Massachusetts 88.9 88.4 89.0 88.8
98 U T S A 87.6 90.0 88.4 88.6
99 Buffalo 87.3 89.3 89.3 88.6
100 Florida Int’l. 87.6 88.0 88.4 88.0
101 Illinois 87.9 89.0 86.8 87.9
102 Southern Miss. 87.5 88.4 87.8 87.9
103 N. Texas 86.4 87.8 86.9 87.0
104 U N L V 86.2 87.7 86.3 86.8
105 N. Mexico St. 86.8 85.7 86.9 86.5
106 W. Kentucky 85.7 86.2 86.1 86.0
107 Connecticut 84.5 86.3 84.8 85.2
108 Akron 84.2 86.1 84.9 85.1
109 Cincinnati 83.9 85.7 84.6 84.7
110 New Mexico 84.4 84.4 84.9 84.6
111 East Carolina 83.2 84.5 83.3 83.7
112 Georgia St. 82.7 82.7 82.5 82.7
113 Kansas 81.8 85.1 80.5 82.5
114 Bowling Green 81.5 82.6 81.8 82.0
115 Hawaii 81.8 82.9 81.1 81.9
116 UL-Monroe 81.9 82.8 81.0 81.9
117 S. Alabama 81.1 83.0 81.3 81.8
118 Idaho 80.8 81.6 81.7 81.3
119 Old Dominion 80.3 82.7 80.5 81.2
120 UAB 79.6 79.9 81.3 80.3
121 UL-Lafayette 79.3 80.5 79.0 79.6
122 Georgia Southern 79.1 80.4 78.5 79.3
123 Coastal Carolina 74.5 75.7 75.3 75.2
124 Kent St. 73.9 75.4 74.2 74.5
125 Rice 72.6 74.1 73.0 73.2
126 San Jose St. 72.3 72.4 71.6 72.1
127 Texas St. 70.3 72.5 69.4 70.7
128 Charlotte 69.5 71.8 69.7 70.3
129 U T E P 67.9 70.7 67.9 68.9
130 Ball St. 65.7 67.7 66.4 66.6
           
PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 ACC 112.7 111.6 112.2 112.2
2 SEC 112.0 110.7 111.4 111.4
3 B12 109.8 109.9 110.0 109.9
4 P-12 109.4 108.1 108.6 108.7
5 BTEN 108.8 108.6 108.5 108.6
6 IND 99.1 98.6 99.2 99.0
7 AAC 97.9 98.3 98.2 98.1
8 MWC 92.2 92.2 92.3 92.2
9 MAC 88.2 89.1 89.0 88.8
10 CUSA 84.4 85.8 85.2 85.1
11 SBC 84.3 85.0 84.3 84.5

 

 

 

September 28, 2017

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlays for September 28-October 2, 2017

After four weeks of the football season, our readers might just want to take a knee; then again, they might want to place that knee firmly in some PiRate groin!  Ouch!  1,000 apologies if you took our ill-adivsed advice!

Another losing week, and we are now in the hole to the tune of -25% return on our investment for the season.  We won only one of last week’s four selections, returning $245 on $400 invested.  The -25% return for the season comes from $899 returned on $1,200 invested, quite a hole to try to emerge from before the season runs out of dates.

Our one solace, and we hope this is yours as well, is that these are imaginary dollars.  We can continue to select a liberal amount of games and be a bit wild with our selections, because we are only out the time it takes to pick these games.

This week, you will notice that all of our selections are college football games.  There are no NFL picks.  Make of this what you want, and you will be partially correct.  For one, we just didn’t feel like looking at the NFL Money Lines.  None of us will attend any games this week, and as far as we know, none of us will be watching on TV or listening on the radio.  Another reason why we didn’t select any NFL games is that the league is extremely erratic this year.  The supposed sure-thing 0-16 Jets won big over a playoff contender, and the Texans with a rookie QB almost beat New England, so let’s just walk away from the NFL for now.  The politics can only make the outcomes more unpredictable.

That leaves us with college football, and there are a lot of good games this week.  By good, we mean games in which the favorite is in the 5 to 10 point range, which presents us excellent Money Line potentials.  We actually like one underdog winning outright on the road, and we are going to put that one out as a single entry.

Here are our 5 parlay selections for this week.  Remember this: The members of the PiRate Ratings are not foolish enough to wager real currency on these selections.  We are nervous enough with our value stock selections, which are real, so we don’t need the added stress.  You to should avoid the stress of worrying about losing $500 real dollars on these selections, so only wager imaginary money if you must.

#1 @ +155  
Must Win Must Lose
Georgia Tech North Carolina
Georgia Tennessee
Nebraska Illinois
#2 @ +150  
Must Win Must Lose
Iowa Michigan St.
#3 @ +146  
Must Win Must Lose
Central Florida Memphis
Cincinnati Marshall
#4 @ +128  
Must Win Must Lose
Kentucky Eastern Mich.
Western Mich. Ball St.
La. Tech South Alabama
Boston College Central Mich.
#5 @ +135  
Must Win Must Lose
UNLV San Jose St.
Florida Intl. Charlotte
San Diego St. N. Illinois
Florida Vanderbilt

 

 

 

 

August 19, 2013

2013 American Athletic Conference Preview

2013 American Athletic Conference Preview

 

Say hello to the newest FBS conference.  The AAC formed when the Catholic, non-scholarship football schools from the Big East and the schools that play football divided into two leagues.  For just one season, this conference will still field a somewhat decent roster of teams, but two of the most prestigious schools will leave for greener pastures at the end of this season.  With three more teams joining this league from Conference USA next year, it will basically make this new league the original Conference USA with a new name.

 

For this one season, the last that really matters for receiving a bid to a big bowl with the maximum payout, there is a team capable of challenging for the national championship.

 

Louisville should be favored to win all 12 games, and the Cardinals will not be required to play in a conference championship game to advance to the national title game should a 12-0 record earn them one of the top two spots in the final BCS National Championship Game.

 

If any school is capable of upsetting the Cardinals, it would be Cincinnati.  The Bearcats change coaches this season, as Butch Jones left for Tennessee.  He is replaced by journeyman coach Tommy Tuberville, who has piloted the likes of Ole Miss, Auburn, and Texas Tech.

 

Rutgers returns a significant amount of talent from last season’s 9-4 campaign, and the Scarlet Knights should compete with a trio of other teams for the third spot in the league.  Central Florida, South Florida, and SMU will compete with RU for the third spot.

 

Connecticut and Houston should be considered dark horses in the AAC race, while Memphis and Temple will bring up the rear.

 

 

New Teams: The members of the AAC played in either the Big East or CUSA last year.

 

Central Florida   CUSA
Cincinnati   Big East
Connecticut   Big East
Houston   CUSA
Louisville   Big East
Memphis   CUSA
Rutgers   Big East
S M U     CUSA
South Florida   Big East
Temple   Big East

 

 

Departed Teams: None, since this is the first season

 

2014 Additions: East Carolina, Tulane, and Tulsa move from CUSA, giving the AAC nine former CUSA members (Cincinnati and South Florida were once in CUSA).

 

2014 Departures: Louisville leaves for the ACC, while Rutgers heads to the Big Ten, leaving this league with no team that played in every Big East season and leaving just Connecticut and Temple that did not play in CUSA.

 

Pre-season PiRate Ratings

American Athletic Conference

Team

Conf.

Overall

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Louisville

0-0

0-0

115.3

113.4

116.5

Cincinnati

0-0

0-0

105.5

105.9

105.9

Rutgers

0-0

0-0

99.3

104.2

100.1

Central Florida

0-0

0-0

98.2

97.5

99.2

South Florida

0-0

0-0

94.5

92.9

93.5

S M U

0-0

0-0

94.1

101.9

94.6

Connecticut

0-0

0-0

93.6

101.3

94.2

Houston

0-0

0-0

89.4

101.0

90.9

Memphis

0-0

0-0

88.7

98.4

89.7

Temple

0-0

0-0

87.6

85.1

85.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

League Averages

 

 

96.6

100.2

97.0

 

 

Official AAC Media Poll

Pos

Team

Points

1st Place

 

1

Louisville

298

28

 

2

Cincinnati

257

2

 

3

Rutgers

240

0

 

4

Central Florida

210

0

 

5

South Florida

155

0

 

6

Houston

134

0

 

7

Connecticut

131

0

 

8

S M U

118

0

 

9

Temple

60

0

 

10

Memphis

47

0

 

 

The AAC has not released an official preseason all-conference team.  Here is a list of key players for each of the members:

 

Central Florida

Blake Bortles—QB (62.9% comp/7.7 ypa/25 TD/7 Int)

Storm Johnson—RB (507 rush/4.5 avg)

J. J. Worton—WR (44-594/5 TD)

Breshad Perriman—WR (26-388/3 TD)

Justin McCray and Torrian Wilson—OL

Thomas Niles—DL (5 sacks/7 QB hurries)

Terrance Plummer—LB (108 tackles/7 TFL)

Clayton Geathers—DB (117 tackles)

 

Cincinnati

Brendon Kay—QB (63.0%/9.4 ypa/10 TD/2 Int—as co-starter)

Dan Sprague, Sam Longo, Austen Bujnoch, and Eric Lefeld—OL

Jordan Stepp—DL (4 TFL)

Greg Blair—LB (138 tackles/9 TFL/4 QB Hurries/8 Passes Defended)

Deven Drane—DB (43 tackles/9 Passes Defended)

Arryn Chenault—DB (3 Int/6 Passes Defended)

Tony Miliano—K (17-22 FG)

 

Connecticut

Lyle McCombs—RB (860 rush/6 TD)

Geremy Davis—WR (44-613)

Shamar Stephen—DL (26 tackles)

Yawin Smallwood—LB (120 tackles/15 TFL/4 Passes Defended)

Byron Jones—DB (88 tackles)

Chad Kristen—K (14-21 FG Strong Leg)

 

Houston

Daniel Spencer—WR (41-579)

Deontay Greenberry—WR (47-564)

Bryce Redman and Rowdy Harper—OL

Derrick Matthews—LB (126 tackles/6 sacks/17 TFL/9 QB Hurries)

Zach McMillian—DB (5 Int./11 Passes Defended)

Trevon Stewart—DB (126 tackles/8 Passes Defended)

Richie Leone—P (45.5 avg./39.7 net)

 

Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater—QB (68.5% comp./8.9 ypa/27 TD/8 Int. Heisman Candidate)

Michael Dyer—RB (former 1,242 yard rusher for Auburn in 2010)

DeVante Parker—WR (40-744/10 TD)

Damian Copeland—WR (50-628)

Jake Smith and John Miller—OL

Marcus Smith—DL (29 tackles/4 sacks/ 7 TFL)

Preston Brown—LB (109 tackles/5 Passes Defended)

Calvin Pryor—DB (100 tackles/7 Passes Defended)

Terrell Floyd—DB (3 Int./8 Passes Defended)

 

Memphis

Jacob Karam—QB (64.2% comp./14 TD/3 Int.—Formerly at Texas Tech)

Keiwone Malone—WR (44-476)

Alan Cross—TE (23-301/5 TD)

Al Bond—OL

Martin Ifedi—DL (7.5 sacks/11 TFL/4 QB Hurries)

Johnnie Farms—DL (9.5 TFL)

Charles Harris—LB (79 tackles)

Anthony Brown—LB (71 tackles)

Lonnie Ballentine—DB (3 Int./8 Passes Defended)

Tom Hornsey—P (43.4 avg./38.9 net/41.7% inside the 20)

 

Rutgers

Gary Nova—QB (57.0% comp./22 TD/16 Int.)

Brandon Coleman—WR (43-718/ 10 TD)

Betim Bujari, Antwan Lowery, and Kaleb Johnson—OL

Jamil Merrell—DL (40 tackles/10.5 TFL/5 QB Hurries)

Jamal Merrell—LB (83 tackles/8.5 TFL

Lorenzo Waters—DB (68 tackles/6.5 TFL)

 

S M U

Garrett Gilbert—QB (2932 yards/15 TD/15 Int./8 rush TD)

Traylon Shead—RB (Juco star should take pressure off passing game)

Jeremy Johnson—WR (67-679)

Der’Rikk Thompson—WR (41-535)

Randall Joyner—LB (93 tackles/8 Passes Defended)

Jay Scott—DB (76 tackles/11 Passes Defended)

Kenneth Acker—DB (50 tackles/3 Int./15 Passes Defended)

 

South Florida

Andre Davis—WR (46-534/6 TD)

Sean Price—TE (21-209)

Austin Reiter and Quinterrius Eatmon—OL

Aaron Lynch—DL (Former Starter at Notre Dame)

DeDe Lattimore—LB (76 tackles/7.5 TFL)

JaQuez Jenkins—DB (53 tackles)

Mark Joyce—DB (74 tackles)

 

Temple

Chris Coyer—RB (444 rush/4.0 avg)

Jalen Fitzpatrick—WR (30-363)

Tyler Matakevich—LB (101 tackles)

Anthony Robey—DB (41 tackles/6 Passes Defended)

 

 

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.

 

Team

Central Florida Knights

               
Head Coach

George O’Leary

               
Colors

Black and Gold

               
City

Orlando

               
2012 Record              
Conference

7-1 (in CUSA)

Overall

10-4

               
Grades              
Run Offense

58

Pass Offense

73

Run Defense

57

Pass Defense

62

               
Ratings              
PiRate

98.2

Mean

97.5

Bias

99.2

               
Rankings              
PiRate

68

Mean

71

Bias

63

               
Prediction              
Conference

7-1

Overall

9-3

 

 

Team

Cincinnati Bearcats

               
Head Coach

Tommy Tuberville

               
Colors

Red and Black

               
City

Cincinnati

               
2012 Record              
Conference

5-2 (in Big East)

Overall

10-3

               
Grades              
Run Offense

69

Pass Offense

70

Run Defense

76

Pass Defense

68

               
Ratings              
PiRate

105.5

Mean

105.9

Bias

105.9

               
Rankings              
PiRate

42

Mean

40

Bias

42

               
Prediction              
Conference

6-2

Overall

10-2

 

 

Team

Connecticut Huskies

               
Head Coach

Paul Pasqualoni

               
Colors

Navy and White

               
City

Storrs, CT

               
2012 Record              
Conference

2-5 (in Big East)

Overall

5-7

               
Grades              
Run Offense

48

Pass Offense

58

Run Defense

68

Pass Defense

60

               
Ratings              
PiRate

93.6

Mean

101.3

Bias

94.2

               
Rankings              
PiRate

84

Mean

57

Bias

81

               
Prediction              
Conference

3-5

Overall

5-7

 

 

Team

Houston Cougars

               
Head Coach

Tony Levine

               
Colors

Scarlet and White

               
City

 

               
2012 Record              
Conference

4-4 (in CUSA)

Overall

5-7

               
Grades              
Run Offense

53

Pass Offense

75

Run Defense

45

Pass Defense

42

               
Ratings              
PiRate

89.4

Mean

101.0

Bias

90.9

               
Rankings              
PiRate

95

Mean

58

Bias

90

               
Prediction              
Conference

2-6

Overall

4-8

 

 

Team

Louisville Cardinals

               
Head Coach

Charlie Strong

               
Colors

Cardinal and Black

               
City

 

               
2012 Record              
Conference

5-2 (in Big East)

Overall

11-2

               
Grades              
Run Offense

70

Pass Offense

94

Run Defense

78

Pass Defense

76

               
Ratings              
PiRate

115.3

Mean

113.4

Bias

116.5

               
Rankings              
PiRate

25

Mean

17

Bias

18

               
Prediction              
Conference

8-0

Overall

12-0

 

 

Team

Memphis Tigers

               
Head Coach

Justin Fuente

               
Colors

Royal Blue and Gray

               
City

Memphis

               
2012 Record              
Conference

1-7 (in CUSA)

Overall

4-8

               
Grades              
Run Offense

49

Pass Offense

58

Run Defense

51

Pass Defense

55

               
Ratings              
PiRate

88.7

Mean

98.4

Bias

89.7

               
Rankings              
PiRate

96

Mean

64

Bias

95

               
Prediction              
Conference

1-7

Overall

2-10

 

 

Team

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

               
Head Coach

Kyle Flood

               
Colors

Scarlet and White

               
City

New Brunswick, NJ

               
2012 Record              
Conference

5-2 (in Big East)

Overall

9-4

               
Grades              
Run Offense

65

Pass Offense

64

Run Defense

71

Pass Defense

59

               
Ratings              
PiRate

99.3

Mean

104.2

Bias

100.1

               
Rankings              
PiRate

61

Mean

43

Bias

57

               
Prediction              
Conference

4-4

Overall

6-6

 

 

Team

S M U Mustangs

               
Head Coach

June Jones

               
Colors

Red and Blue

               
City

Dallas

               
2012 Record              
Conference

5-3 (in CUSA)

Overall

7-6

               
Grades              
Run Offense

35

Pass Offense

75

Run Defense

58

Pass Defense

62

               
Ratings              
PiRate

94.1

Mean

101.9

Bias

94.6

               
Rankings              
PiRate

80

Mean

51

Bias

79

               
Prediction              
Conference

5-3

Overall

6-6

 

 

Team

South Florida Bulls

               
Head Coach

Willie Taggart

               
Colors

Green and Gold

               
City

Tampa

               
2012 Record              
Conference

1-6 (in Big East)

Overall

3-9

               
Grades              
Run Offense

62

Pass Offense

67

Run Defense

65

Pass Defense

46

               
Ratings              
PiRate

94.5

Mean

92.9

Bias

93.5

               
Rankings              
PiRate

79

Mean

91

Bias

83

               
Prediction              
Conference

3-5

Overall

5-7

 

 

Team

Temple Owls

               
Head Coach

Matt Rhule

               
Colors

Cherry and White

               
City

Philadelphia

               
2012 Record              
Conference

2-5 (in Big East)

Overall

4-7

               
Grades              
Run Offense

52

Pass Offense

64

Run Defense

51

Pass Defense

43

               
Ratings              
PiRate

87.6

Mean

85.1

Bias

85.6

               
Rankings              
PiRate

98

Mean

115

Bias

106

               
Prediction              
Conference

1-7

Overall

4-8

 

August 21, 2012

2012 Conference USA Preview

Conference USA placed two teams in the Final Poll last year; Houston finished number 18, and Southern Mississippi came in at number 20.  Tulsa and SMU were not far from cracking the poll as well.  Just when this league appears ready to break out and become the top non-BCS conference, the weakest BCS league pirated four teams.  CUSA stays the same for one more season, but the league will lose four teams to the Big East in 2013 and pick up four new members.  The four departing teams will be Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, and SMU.  Joining the league next year will be Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, and UT-San Antonio.

 

The league will be down some this year with the loss of some great talents, especially at quarterback.  Gone are Houston’s Case Keenum, Tulsa’s G. J. Kinne, Southern Mississippi’s Austin Davis, East Carolina’s Dominique Davis, SMU’s J. J. McDermott, and Rice’s Nick Fanuzzi.  Five of the top seven receivers (three of them from Houston) are missing.

 

The Conference races should be more wide open this year.  In the East, the team picked to win the division by the media, as well as both the PiRate and PiRate Vintage Ratings, may be ineligible for the Conference USA Championship Game.  Central Florida was placed on a one year bowl ban in football, as well as additional punitive actions for the football and basketball program, but the school is appealing the ruling.  Chances are high that the Knights will be finished playing in November.

 

The league media poll and our two polls are almost exactly the same, something that has rarely occurred at the PiRate Ratings.

 

Media Poll

 

CUSA East

Votes

Rank

Team

1st Place

Total

1

Central Florida

13

85

2

Southern Miss.

2

70

3

Marshall

0

58

4

East Carolina

0

56

5

U A B

0

29

6

Memphis

0

17

 

 

 

 

 

CUSA West

Votes

Rank

Team

1st Place

Total

1

Houston

8

81

2

Tulsa

4

73

3

S M U

3

67

4

U T E P

0

39

5

Rice

0

35

6

Tulane

0

20

 

 

PiRate Ratings

Rank

CUSA East

PiRate

1

Central Florida

100.5

2

Southern Miss.

98.3

3

Marshall

94.3

4

East Carolina

93.6

5

U A B

81.9

6

Memphis

75.7

 

   

Rank

CUSA West

PiRate

1

Houston

105.9

2

Tulsa

104.9

3

S M U

97.9

4

U T E P

90.2

5

Rice

89.0

6

Tulane

79.9

 

 

 

Vintage Ratings

 

Rank

CUSA East

Vintage

1

Central Florida

102

2

Southern Miss.

98

3

Marshall

96

4

East Carolina

95

5

U A B

91

6

Memphis

84

 

   

 

Vintage Ratings

 

Rank

CUSA West

Vintage

1

Tulsa

105

2

S M U

103

3

Houston

100

4

U T E P

93

5

Tulane

89

6

Rice

86

 

 

Team

U A B  Blazers

               
Head Coach

Garrick McGee

               
Colors

Green and Gold

               
City

Birmingham, AL

               
2011 Record              
Conference

3-5

Overall

3-9

               
PiRate Rating

81.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Rating

111

               
Vintage Rating

91

               
National Rating

98

               
2012 Prediction              
Conference

2-2

Overall

4-8

 

Neil Callaway’s five year record of 18-42 did not cut it in Birmingham, especially when Alabama and Auburn topped 18 wins in the last two years.  Garrick McGee takes over after running the offense at Arkansas.

 

The Blazers’ offense came alive in November last year, as UAB scored 41 points on Memphis, 34 points in an upset of Southern Miss, and 35 points on Florida Atlantic.  Quarterback Jonathan Perry started eight games and completed 58% of his passes for 2,042 yards and 10 touchdowns.  If he stays healthy, Perry should pass for more than 3,000 yards this year.

 

Perry benefits from having an experienced group of receivers returning.  The top seven pass catchers are back again this season.  Jackie Williams is a fine possession receiver, while Nick Adams, Patrick Hearn, and Jamarcus Nelson can turn a short pass into a long gain.

 

Greg Franklin is the returning starter at running back, but he will be pressed hard by former highly-rated recruit and Georgia transfer Dontavius Jackson.  McGee also plans to play Darrin Reaves and Bashr Coles.

 

The offensive line is the biggest liability on the offensive side of the ball.  Four starters must be replaced.  The lone returnee, tackle Chris Hubbard, was an honorable mention All-CUSA pick last year, but there isn’t enough talent here to make the offensive explosive enough to move UAB in to the upper half of the East standings.

 

The UAB defense gave up almost 37 points per game last year and close to 490 yards per game.  Oddly, their best defensive effort came against SEC foe Mississippi State.  With a tougher schedule that includes games at South Carolina and Ohio State, as well as conference games at Southern Miss and Houston and a home game against Tulsa, the Blazers could actually take another step back this year.  

 

The only bright spot on this side of the ball is at linebacker.  Marvin Burdette and Greg Irvin made a lot of tackles, some of them as the last defender before the opposing player broke loose for a long gain.

 

The front four is not strong enough to stop the run or rush the passer with any success.  UAB registered an anemic eight sacks last year; end Diaheem Watkins led with just 1 ½ sacks.

 

The secondary doesn’t have much chance to shine when opposing quarterbacks can read War and Peace before they throw the ball and still not worry about getting hurt.  Safety Jamie Bender made way too many tackles last year (119), and he has moved on.  No starters return to this unit, so opposing quarterbacks will have excellent dreams the night before they face UAB.

 

The good news in Birmingham is that UAB faces Troy, Memphis, Tulane, and Southeast Louisiana. As weak as the Blazers are, they can win these four games, and even if they lose one, they could pull off an unbelievable upset like they did last year when they defeated Southern Miss as a 23-point ‘dog.

 

 

Team

Central Florida Knights

               
Head Coach

George O’Leary

               
Colors

Black and Gold

               
City

Orlando, FL

               
2011 Record              
Conference

3-5

Overall

5-7

               
PiRate Rating

100.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Rating

59

               
Vintage Rating

102

               
National Rating

58

               
2012 Prediction              
Conference

6-2

Overall

8-4

 

The Knights could finish first in the East this year, but it appears they will be prevented from playing in the conference title game or going to a bowl game.  Too bad for Coach George O’Leary: He has 16 starters returning from a team that should have won seven or eight games last year and could have won as many as 11.  UCF finished 5-7 despite outgaining opponents by more than 100 yards per game and outscoring opponents by nine points per game.  In their five wins, they outscored their opponents by an average score of 36-5.

 

Blake Bortles takes over starting quarterback duties full time this year.  As a part-timer last season, he completed 68% of his passes and averaged 8.7 yards per attempt.  Tyler Gabbert was not happy at Missouri, where his older brother Blaine was a star.  He transferred to Orlando and will back up Bortles.

 

Dropped passes have been a bugaboo for the receiving corps, but J. J. Worton, Quincy McDuffie, and Josh Reese still combined for 114 receptions, 1,474 yards, and seven touchdowns.

 

Brynn Harvey and Latavius Murray teamed for 1,123 yards and 11 touchdowns last year, but they will take a backseat to Miami transfer Storm Johnson.  Johnson has 1,000-yard potential.

 

The offensive line returns four starters.  Center Jordan Rae, guard Theo Goins, and tackle Phil Smith are good enough to make one of the all-conference teams.

 

The defense features three talented units.  The front seven is the best in the league this year.  Troy Davis is one of the top ends in the league.  In 2011, he made 8 ½ stops for loss, including five sacks.  Former tackle Victor Gray has moved to end, and he has all-league potential.

 

Linebackers Jonathan Davis and Troy Gray teamed up for 74 tackles.  Sophomore Terrance Plummer takes over at the vacant middle linebacker spot.

 

The secondary will benefit from a good pass rush up front.  Three starters return to the back line including a fine pair of safeties in Kemal Ishmael and Clayton Geathers.  The duo finished one-two in tackles with 81 and 67 respectively.  UCF needs to have more of a ball-hawking presence.  Cornerback A. J. Bouye is the only returning player that had more than one interception last year.

 

UCF could finish first in the East standings, but the Knights’ final year in this conference will see them home for the holidays.

 

 

Team

East Carolina Pirates

               
Head Coach

Ruffin McNeill

               
Colors

Purple and Gold

               
City

Greenville, NC

               
2011 Record              
Conference

4-4

Overall

5-7

               
PiRate Rating

93.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Rating

80

               
Vintage Rating

95

               
National Rating

83

               
2012 Prediction              
Conference

5-3

Overall

7-5

 

Usually when a team improves defensively by 12 points and 100 yards per game, their record improves by three or four wins.  East Carolina actually won one less game.

 

Third year coach Ruffin McNeill welcomes back 15 starters, but one of the seven missing is quarterback Dominique Davis, who passed for 3,225 yards and 25 touchdowns.

 

A number one quarterback has yet to be named, but junior Rio Johnson has had the best scrimmage results so far.  Johnson saw limited action last year, completing 20 of 29 passes for 157 yards.  Cody Keith is the future here, but he is likely to see no action this season.  Shane Carden and Brad Warnick are competing with Johnson.

 

Whoever starts under center should immediately produce fat passing numbers thanks to a talented and deep pool of receivers.  As a freshman last year, Justin Hardy led the team with 64 receptions.  Fellow freshman Danny Webster grabbed 43 passes.  This now sophomore duo should combine for 125 receptions this season.  Reese Wiggins is the one real deep threat.

 

McNeill’s Air Raid (Mike Leach-style) offense actually passes the ball less than 60% of the time.  Last year, the running game let him down, as ECU rushed for just 109.1 yards per game and averaged 3.3 yards per try.  Four backs return this year, but one should emerge as a possible 1,000-yard rusher.  Reggie Bullock was on pace to approach 1,000 yards rushing before he was injured midway through the year and saw limited carries from then on.  Hunter Farr transferred from North Carolina, and he has all the tools needed to be a big time contributor.

 

Four starters and three key backups return to the offensive line, and the Pirates should see their offensive numbers improve this year, even with a new quarterback.  Look for ECU to score more than 30 points this season.

 

The defense gave up 32 points per game after yielding an incredible 44 points per game in the 2010 bowl season.  The strength of the 3-4 scheme is at linebacker, where all four 2011 starters return.  Jeremy Grove led ECU with 122 tackles.  Fellow inside backer Daniel Drake added 74 tackles.

 

Michael Brooks held his own at nose guard, and his play allowed the two inside linebackers to roam freely to the ball.  ECU is a little thin at end, and the Pirates need a better pass rusher to emerge.

 

The secondary has to holes to plug as three starters have used up their eligibility.  Safety Damon Magazu intercepted four passes last year and finished second on the team with 80 tackles.  At cornerback, Leonard Paulk and Jacobi Jenkins have considerable experience as backups and limited starting experience, but McNeill feels comfortable with these two seniors.

 

One player that will sorely be missed is placekicker Mike Barbour.  The Pirates were in field goal position when they got to the opponents 40 yard line.

 

McNeill is on the hot seat.  While his teams have been exciting to watch, they have not built upon what former coach Skip Holtz left.  ECU must win seven or more games this year or else his Air Raid offense will have to fly to another destination.

 

 

Team

Marshall Thundering Herd

               
Head Coach

Doc Holliday

               
Colors

Green and White

               
City

Huntington, WV

               
2011 Record              
Conference

5-3

Overall

7-6

               
PiRate Rating

94.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Rating

78

               
Vintage Rating

96

               
National Rating

81

               
2012 Prediction              
Conference

4-4

Overall

5-7

 

Marshall fans are anxious for a return to the good ole days of the 1990’s and early 2000’s.  The Thundering Herd has a cumulative record of 35-50 in the last seven years.  Third year coach Doc Holliday guided Marshall to a bowl win last year, but the Herd came up one game short in the conference race.

 

MU has a better team this year, but their schedule is still the toughest in the division.  The Herd must face Tulsa and Houston from the West.  Their third Western foe is Rice, and that game is played in Houston this year.

 

Holliday faces some rebuilding on the defensive side of the ball.  The secondary loses its top player from last year; Rashad Jackson intercepted four passes and broke up nine others.  Two transfers from Boston College, Dominick LeGrande and Okechukwu Okoroha, both started six games with the Eagles, and they make this unit deep.  However, nobody on this roster can replace Jackson.

 

It will be even more difficult to replace second round draft pick Vinny Curry.  The end finished second in the league with 11 sacks and 22 total tackles for loss.  Jeremiah Taylor has all-league potential, but he will not record 11 sacks.

 

The second line of defense actually has the most rebuilding to do as two of last year’s three starters must be replaced.  Devin Arrington is a better pass defender than run stopper.

 

The schedule starts with the short trip to Morgantown to face West Virginia.  A home game with Ohio and road game at Purdue makes it difficult for MU to become bowl eligible this year.

 

 

Team

Memphis Tigers

               
Head Coach

Justin Fuente

               
Colors

Blue and Gray

               
City

Memphis, TN

               
2011 Record              
Conference

1-7

Overall

2-10

               
PiRate Rating

75.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Rating

118

               
Vintage Rating

84

               
National Rating

114

               
2012 Prediction              
Conference

2-6

Overall

4-8

 

The Tigers have been uncompetitive the last three seasons, and they bring in their third head coach in four seasons.  The new man, Justin Fuente, comes from TCU, where he helped guide the offense.  This program could hire Nick Saban to run the defense and Chip Kelly to run the offense, but if the school does not devote more resources to the program, it isn’t going to move out of the basement.

 

The Tigers start over on offense with a new plan after finishing dead last in the league in rushing offense, passing offense, and scoring offense.  The two quarterbacks scheduled to return from 2011 both transferred, and Fuente brought in Texas Tech transfer Jacob Karam to run the offense.  Karam rarely saw the field in two seasons in Lubbock, appearing in limited action in five games.  Still, he should be considered an upgrade at this position.

 

Karam does not inherit a good situation, as UM has limited talent at receiver.  Kevin Wright figures to be the primary receiver this year, and he could see his total catches double from the 36 he had last year.

 

The passing game might be more efficient if the running game could get going.  If Jerrell Rhodes can stay healthy, he has the potential to help the UM ground game get above triple digit in yardage per game for the first time in three years.

 

The offensive line will not produce any all-conference players, but the 2012 version will be better than its 2011 counterpart.  Five players have multiple-game starting experience, and they should help the Tigers improve their rushing and passing numbers.  UM may actually move up to number 11.

 

In a league where seven teams surrendered more than 30 points per game, Memphis was not too far behind on this side of the ball.  In fact, the Tigers finished ahead of UAB and Tulane in scoring defense.

 

Pass defense has the potential to be greatly improved if a credible pass rush can develop up front.  The Tigers only produced 14 sacks last year, so replacing most of the key pass rushers should not be as harmful as it could have been.  Memphis actually produced a first round NFL draft pick from its interior line.  End Dontari Poe finished with eight tackles for loss.  Opposite end Frank Trotter leaves after leading UM with five sacks.  Nose tackle Johnnie Farms can cover two gaps just by lining up.  The 310-pounder recorded 2 ½ sacks.

 

The back two lines of defense should be improved this year. The linebacker quartet features Akeem Davis, who plays tough against the run and covers well against the pass.  Davis registered 78 tackles with eight going for losses last year, and he led the Tigers with three interceptions and seven passes defended. 

 

The Tigers gave up right at 300 passing yards per game last season, and a weak pass rush was equally to blame with the secondary.  All four starters return with a year’s more experience, so the Tigers should improve just a little this year.  If any type of pass rush can emerge, this group could improve by more than a little.  Former starting quarterback Cannon Smith now patrols the deep zones at safety.  He broke up six passes last year, but he was burned a few times as well.

 

Memphis could actually begin the season 5-0 if everything went their way.  Their first five games come against UT-Martin, Arkansas State in nearby Jonesboro, Middle Tennessee, Duke in Durham, and Rice.  There is one additional winnable game when Tulane visits in November.  Of these six games, we believe Memphis can win as many as four.  That would almost give Fuente the Coach of the Year award in this conference.

 

 

Team

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

               
Head Coach

Ellis Johnson

               
Colors

Black and Gold

               
City

Hattiesburg, MS

               
2011 Record              
Conference

6-2

Overall

12-2

               
PiRate Rating

98.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Rating

69

               
Vintage Rating

98

               
National Rating

71

               
2012 Prediction              
Conference

6-2

Overall

7-6

 

 

The Golden Eagles improved steadily under former coach Larry Fedora the previous three seasons, and USM upset Houston to win the CUSA Championship last year.  Now Ellis Johnson takes over after spending four years directing South Carolina’s defense.  Johnson, a former defensive coordinator here, faces a major rebuilding project on that side of the ball.

 

The front wall of defensive coordinator Tommy West’s defense features just one player with any starting experience, but all three projected starters contributed last year.  Khyri Thornton showed flashed of greatness at one tackle spot, and he could emerge as the leader of this unit.  Nose tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches has the perfect body for his position.  At 312 pounds, he will plug the “A-gaps.”

 

The top player on this side of the ball lines up at the bandit position (a hybrid linebacker/end) Jamie Collins is a multi-tool weapon.  He made 98 tackles, 6 ½ sacks, 19 ½ tackles for loss, eight QB hurries, and nine passes defended.  Collins is the only experienced player on the second line of defense.

 

The back line features two potential 1st team All-CUSA players.  Cornerback Deron Wilson led the league with 17 passes defended last year (four interceptions), and safety Jacorius Cotton added seven passed defended to 98 tackles.

 

After giving up 21 points and 340 yards last year, the defense may take a minor step backwards in 2012.  We could see USM surrendering 24 points and 360 yards per game this season.

 

The offense will also experience some growing pains as the passing game has to be rebuilt.  Austin Davis will be a tough quarterback to replace, after he passed for 3,500 yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior.  There is a three-way race to earn the starting nod in the opener against Nebraska.  Junior Chris Campbell leads the race, but true freshman Anthony Alford and redshirt freshman Ricky Lloyd are still in the race.  Eventually, this job will become Alford’s, as he has the tools to be another RG3.  He could become the starter after the opener, as the Golden Eagles have a bye week following their trip to Lincoln.

 

Whoever wins the QB job will have a decent set of receivers running routes, but the top two pass-catchers from last year are gone.  Slotback Tracy Lampley is speedy and can break loose for long gains as a pass receiver and as a runner.  Dominique Sullivan is a deep threat and runs well after the catch.  Senior Quentin Pierce is a sleeper; he could emerge as a key contributor as a first-time regular.

 

Two running backs figure to share the majority of the carries this season.  Desmond Johnson and Kendrick Hardy are more north-south bulldozers than breakaway threats, but a power running game forces defenses to cheat their safeties up a bit.

 

Experienced talent returns to the offensive line.  Four starters are back, and all four could vie for all-conference recognition.  Center Austin Quattrochi has an NFL future.

 

One late change involves the offensive coordinator’s position.  Steve Buckley has moved up to OC, while Rickey Bustle has moved down to running backs coach due to illness.

 

Southern Miss will have some excellent days moving the ball, but they will not be as consistent as they were in 2011.  Look for about 28 points and 400 total yards per game.

 

With Central Florida more than likely ineligible, Southern Miss may repeat as East Champs almost by default.  The Eagles host East Carolina and Marshall, the two teams that have a fighting chance to contend.  We see USM winning both games.

 

 

Team

Houston Cougars

               
Head Coach

Tony Levine

               
Colors

Red and White

               
City

Houston, TX

               
2011 Record              
Conference

8-0

Overall

13-1

               
PiRate Rating

105.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Rating

44

               
Vintage Rating

100

               
National Rating

64

               
2012 Prediction              
Conference

5-3

Overall

8-4

 

New Houston coach Tony Levine hopes that history can repeat itself.  Back in 1990, Houston had to replace Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware, and David Klingler stepped in and passed for more yards than Ware had.

 

That’s wishful thinking for Levine, because nobody is going to top the yardage produced by Case Keenum last year.  Keenum finished the season with 5,631 yards to shatter the all-time Division 1 career passing mark.  His 48 touchdowns to just five interceptions and 71% completion rate were mind-boggling as well.  Keenum did not pad those numbers with a bunch of “dink and doink” passes two yards away.  He showed remarkable accuracy throwing the deep routes as well.

 

David Piland is not an untested replacement.  He actually replaced Keenum once before.  When Keenum was injured in 2010, Piland started the final eight games and passed for 2,600+ yards with a TD/Int ratio of 24/14.  Expect Houston to still be among the nation’s passing leaders, but the drop in yards per game could top 100.

 

Also gone are three highly talented receivers that took 272 receptions worth 3,939 yards and 37 touchdowns.  That is too much talent to replace for any team.  Fifth year senior Ronnie Williams caught just 16 passes, but he should at least triple that number as the new starting H-back.  Mark Roberts and Chance Blackmon figure to be the starting wideouts, while Daniel Spencer gets the nod at the other inside receiver spot.  This trio combined for just 19 receptions last year.

 

Charles Sims averaged an eye-popping 7.5 yards per rush last year, which was better than any other back in the nation that was not the pitch option at Army, Navy, or Georgia Tech.  Sims carried the ball just nine times per game, and he will see more action this season (and thus his average per carry will fall).

 

Thanks to the return of almost all 2011 contributors, the offensive line will be a team strength.  Guard Jacolby Ashworth should be a 1st team All-CUSA player this year.

 

The defense was overlooked last year, but UH played tough on that side of the ball.  The stats didn’t look as good as other teams, but they had to defend for 75 scrimmage plays per contest, whereas Central Florida’s defense only had to defend 61 plays.

 

New defensive coordinator Jamie Bryant switched Houston to a 4-3 alignment in hopes of improving against the run.  Factoring out sacks, the Cougars gave up 4.7 yards per run!  Tackle Dominic Miller should benefit from the switch.  Look for his tackles to increase by 50%.  Ends Kelvin King and Eric Braswell teamed for 73 tackles last year, but neither was a sack monster.

 

UH will miss two talented linebackers in Marcus McGraw and Sammy Brown (234 tackles, 16 sacks, 44 ½ tackles for loss).  However, there is returning quality in Derrick Mathews and Phillip Steward.  Steward is a dual threat linebacker (tough vs. run and pass), while Mathews is not far behind talent-wise.

 

The back line of defense returns three starters and four top reserves from last year, so it should be in great shape.  Cornerback D. J. Hayden is the best of the bunch; he intercepted a couple of passes and broke up 11 more.

 

Even with all the losses sustained by this team, Houston figures to contend for the CUSA West Division crown.  The Cougars play at SMU in October and host Tulsa in November.  Road trips to East Carolina and Marshall could be tricky, and a loss in either one could be enough to finish second or third in the division. 

 

 

Team

Rice Owls

               
Head Coach

David Bailiff

               
Colors

Dark Blue and Gray

               
City

Houston, TX

               
2011 Record              
Conference

3-5

Overall

4-8

               
PiRate Rating

89.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Rating

97

               
Vintage Rating

86

               
National Rating

112

               
2012 Prediction              
Conference

1-7

Overall

2-10

 

Since their outstanding 10-3 season in 2008, Rice has won just 10 of 36 games.  Sixth year coach David Bailiff will not end the malaise this season, as he faces heavy graduation losses on both sides of the ball.

 

On offense, the Owls were very inconsistent last year.  Quarterback Taylor McHargue had good games and bad games, as he could not hold onto the starting job the last two seasons.  McHargue completed 57.5% of his passes with a TD/Int ratio of 8/5.  He only averaged 6.2 yards per pass attempt.  Redshirt freshman Driphus Jackson is more of a running quarterback, but he could see considerable time if McHargue struggles again.

 

Rice has depth at receiver this year with the return of three receivers plus the addition of a potential star who could line up just about anywhere on the offense.  That star is Sam McGuffie.  McGuffie missed most of 2011 due to injury, and his healthy return could be worth three or four points per game.  Look for him to line up in the slot, but he could return to the backfield as well.  It wouldn’t be shocking to see him even take some snaps in a wild owl formation.  Tight end Luke Willson could top 40 receptions this year.  The 6-5 senior caught 29 passes last year.

 

Running back Charles Ross looks to rebound from injury as well.  The junior can bulldoze his way for an extra yard or two on power runs, but he is not going to sweep around the flank for long gains.

 

The offensive line is in shambles with only one full-time starter returning.  Guard Drew Carroll could potentially make an all-conference team in a year or two, but he is the senior statesman of this unit as a sophomore.

 

The Rice defense gave up 460+ yards per game last year, and prospects are not all that good for any improvement in 2012.  In fact, things could get worse if the offense cannot sustain time-consuming drives.

 

The Owls will use a 4-2-5 defense as their base this year, and the five defensive backs are the strength on this side.  Bryce Callahan is the big star on the defense.  The cornerback tied for the conference lead with six interceptions last year, and he batted away nine others.  Kat Safety Paul Porras and free safety Corey Frazier combined for 137 tackles last year.

 

The linebacker tandem is still up for grabs in August.  Former highly recruited Kyle Prater did not live up to his press clippings when he transferred here from LSU.  He made just 19 tackles and just one for a loss.  He competed with James Radcliffe at the weak side spot, while Cameron Nwosu tries to hold on to his starting strong side spot.  Nwosu led the team with 108 tackles, but he is being pushed hard by two others.

 

There will be three new starters up front, and nobody on this roster can adequately replace Scott Solomon at end.  Solomon led the Owls with 8 ½ sacks and 13 ½ tackles for loss last year.  Jared Williams is the lone holdover from this unit.

 

The Owls non-conference schedule is tricky.  After opening at home with UCLA, which should be a loss, they visit Kansas and Louisiana Tech, before hosting Marshall.  It isn’t impossible that they could be 0-4 when they play Houston at Reliant Stadium.  They follow that game with a visit to Memphis, and still, the Owls could be winless when they play UT-San Antonio on homecoming.

 

It is going to be a long year for the Owls.  They should be competitive in about half their games, but they may only win about two.

 

 

 

Team

S M U  Mustangs

               
Head Coach

June Jones

               
Colors

Crimson and Blue

               
City

Dallas, TX

               
2011 Record              
Conference

5-3

Overall

8-5

               
PiRate Rating

97.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Rating

70

               
Vintage Rating

103

               
National Rating

53

               
2012 Prediction              
Conference

6-2

Overall

7-5

 

 

June Jones has no trouble recruiting quarterbacks to pilot his run and shoot offense.  If he cannot pull them out of the high school ranks, he gets them from other colleges.  He has a potential 1st team all-conference player in Texas transfer Garrett Gilbert.

 

Gilbert was pressed into duty against Alabama in the 2009-10 National Championship Game, and he showed he was up to the task as a freshman.  He was blamed for Texas’s downturn in 2010, but he was not the reason why the Longhorns did not win.  Expect Gilbert to complete about 60-62% of his passes and gain around 3,300 yards.

 

Gilbert will have two exceptional receivers to hook up with this year.  Darius Johnson returns after leading the Mustangs with 79 receptions and 1,118 yards.  Der’ricck Thompson caught 30 passes good for 411 yards in eight starts.

 

Keeping defenses honest is the top running back in the league. Zach Line missed three games and still rushed for 1,224 yards and 17 touchdowns. 

 

The offensive line is the big question this year.  All five starters must be replaced, two of whom were NFL draft choices.  Blocking for the run and shoot is not the easiest thing in the world, and guard Blake McJunkin is the only returnee on par with what was lost.

 

The Mustangs have improved their defensive numbers every year under Jones.  If you follow the linear progression, SMU is due to give up about 21 points and 330 yards per game this year.  If they do, they will be at the top of the CUSA West Standings.

 

The 3-4 alignment will revolve around the quartet at linebacker, where all four starters return this year.  Ja’Gared Davis and Taylor Reed were the top two tacklers last year.  The dynamic duo teamed up for 184 stops, 9 ½ sacks, 21 ½ total stops for loss, and 11 passes defended.  Cameron Rogers is a potential star here as well.

 

The front line features a giant in Margus Hunt.  The 6-8, 295 end dumped enemy quarterbacks three times last year in a designated pass rush role.  Nose tackle Torlan Pittman made 37 tackles, with six going for losses.

 

The secondary was more of a liability last season, and it is a minor question as 2012 starts.  The best player from this unit has moved on to the NFL, so SMU could be vulnerable against the pass. 

 

SMU benefits in league play by getting to host both Houston and Tulsa.  Additionally both games follow relatively easy games the week before.  The Mustangs have a tough out-of-league schedule with games at Baylor and at home against TCU and Texas A&M.  They also draw Central Florida and Southern Miss out of the East, so they could lose enough games to finish in second place even if they beat Houston and Tulsa.  We think this team will fall one game short of taking the West flag, but they will be bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive season.

 

Team

Tulane Green Wave

               
Head Coach

Curtis Johnson

               
Colors

Olive Green and Sky Blue

               
City

New Orleans, LA

               
2011 Record              
Conference

1-7

Overall

2-11

               
PiRate Rating

79.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Rating

113

               
Vintage Rating

89

               
National Rating

103

               
2012 Prediction              
Conference

2-6

Overall

3-9

 

It has been 10 years since Tulane last had a winning season.  There are no J. P. Losman’s or Mewelde Moore’s on this current Green Wave edition, so it will be at least 11 years after this season.

 

Curtis Johnson is the new head coach.  He comes from the New Orleans Saints via the Miami Hurricanes.  Johnson faces a tough uphill battle in the Crescent City.

 

What had the makings for an improved defense has quickly eroded into another fine mess.  TU had one of the top defensive players in the league in middle linebacker Trent Mackey (145 tackles, 4 ½ sacks, 14 TFL).  Mackey was just suspended indefinitely following his arrest.  Mackey is worth about 2 ½ to 3 points to the Green Wave.

 

Three additional players expected to contribute and contend for starting spots on the defensive side will not be around this year, including expected starting end Michael Pierce.

 

What do these defections leave in the front seven?  Not much.  Sam Linebacker Darryl Farley finished a distant second to Mackey with 69 tackles.  Matthew Bailey made just 33 tackles from his weakside linebacker position.

 

Up front, end Austen Jacks is the sole returning starter.  Jacks made 32 tackles with 2 ½ sacks in 2011.

 

The back line of defense suffered no late scratches, and it is the only area of the defense that is not a major concern.  Cornerback Ryan Travis is now the top player on the stop side.  Travis intercepted four passes and knocked away six more last year.  Safety Shakiel Smith finished third on the team with 68 tackles, but he needs to step up in pass coverage.

 

The TU defense gave up 37.5 points and 410 yards of offense last year.  Without Mackey, those numbers could be worse. 

 

There is a glimmer of hope on the other side of the ball, as Tulane has some decent offensive talent.  Quarterback Ryan Griffin will benefit from the implementation of the new pro-set offense.  Griffin completed 55.6% of his passes for 2,502 yards and 13 touchdowns last year, but he needs to cut down on his 10 interceptions.

 

Orleans Darkwa came close to rushing for 1,000 yards for the second year in a row, and maybe the third time is the charm.  Darkwa scored 13 touchdowns and proved to be a receiving threat with 37 receptions.

 

Darkwa was the number four receiver on this team, and the good news is that the three players with more receptions all return.  The best news is that neither of the three will be the best receiver this year.  Ryan Grant returns after missing almost all of last year with a hernia.  Add Grant to Wilson Van Hooser, Justyn Shackleford, and Xavier Rush, and TU should have a much improved passing game this year.

 

The offensive line is a little inexperienced with just two starters returning, but there should not be much drop-off.  Tackle Eric Jones has all-conference potential.

 

Tulane averaged just 21 points and 340 yards per game last year.  We expect the Green Wave to run for 130 and pass for 230 yards this year and score about 24 points per game. 

 

Home games with Ole Miss, Louisiana-Monroe, UAB, and Rice coupled with road games against Louisiana and Memphis give TU a chance to win more games this season than last.  Three wins would be a 50% improvement.

 

 

Team

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

               
Head Coach

Bill Blankenship

               
Colors

Blue and Gold

               
City

Tulsa, OK

               
2011 Record              
Conference

7-1

Overall

8-5

               
PiRate Rating

104.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Rating

49

               
Vintage Rating

105

               
National Rating

43

               
2012 Prediction              
Conference

6-2

Overall

10-3

 

It can be tough being number three in your state, but Tulsa has been successful and exciting in recent years and with three coaches.  In the past five seasons, the Golden Hurricane have averaged 8.8 wins per year, 38.4 points per game, and 494 yards per game.

 

TU relied on a Texas transfer the previous three seasons, and now they turn to a Nebraska transfer.  Cody Green takes over at quarterback for G. J. Kinne.  Green completed 54% of his passes in two seasons at Nebraska (17 games).  If Green can live up to his potential, the TU offense will shine once again, because the Hurricane are loaded at back and receiver.

 

The receiving corps ranks at the top of the league.  Three players have the ability to turn any pass into a long gain.  Willie Carter and Bryan Burnham both made the 2nd team all-conference list last year after teaming for 115 catches and 1,718 yards.  Jordan James added 31 receptions.  Out of the backfield, Trey Watts caught 31 passes.

 

Watts teams with Ja’Terian Douglas to form the best one-two running back punch in the league.  Both topped 880 yards rushing last year.  Watts is the more consistent of the two, but Douglas is the game-changer.

 

The offensive line faces a minor rebuilding effort.  Center Trent Dupy and guard Stetson Burnett will form the nucleus, and they are all-conference quality.

 

Coach Bill Blankenship’s offense could easily top last year’s results (33.1 points/440 yards).  Whether the defense can improve on its numbers will determine if the Hurricane can get back to the CUSA Championship Game for the first time since 2008.  TU gave up 27.3 points and 415 yards per game last year, but those numbers were skewed by the fact that they faced Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Boise State, and Houston.  In the other nine games, TU gave up 17.8 points and 352 yards per game.

 

The defensive line will show improvement this year with the return of three regulars.  Tackles Derrick Jackson and Daeshon Bufford should keep opponents from running up the middle, while end Cory Dorris should plug the off-tackle hole on his side.

 

Shawn Jackson anchors the second line of defense.  The Will linebacker paced TU with 4 ½ sacks, and he recorded 11 total tackles for loss.  DeAundre Brown returns to the Cane position (hybrid linebacker/safety) after missing nine games to injury last year.

 

Tulsa is loaded on the back line with the best secondary in the league.  Bandit safety Dexter McCoil and free safety Marco Nelson could both make the all-conference team this year.  McCoil tied for the conference lead with six interceptions and knocked away seven others. 

 

You can call the 2012 “A Tale of Two Schedules” for Tulsa.  The Hurricane open with Iowa State, Tulane, Nicholls State, Fresno State, UAB, Marshall, UTEP, and Rice, and it is possible they will be 8-0 and ranked in the top 20 heading into their week off.  They get two weeks to prepare for the final four games: at Arkansas, at Houston, Central Florida, and at SMU.  What a way to end a season!  We think Tulsa may drop one of those first eight but win two of those final four and get back to the CUSA Championship Game.

 

 

Team

U T E P  Miners

               
Head Coach

Mike Price

               
Colors

Orange and Navy

               
City

El Paso, TX

               
2011 Record              
Conference

2-6

Overall

5-7

               
PiRate Rating

90.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Rating

94

               
Vintage Rating

93

               
National Rating

90

               
2012 Prediction              
Conference

3-5

Overall

4-8

 

After guiding the Miners to consecutive 8-4 seasons, Coach Mike Price has suffered through six seasons of near misses where UTEP has been a one or two wins away from returning to a bowl ever since.  The end of the line could be near for Price, and we don’t see him righting the ship this season.  The schedule is much too difficult to find six winnable games.

 

Price likes to throw the ball all over the field, and he has a decent quarterback with experience returning for his senior year.  Nick Lamaison was slowed by injuries last year, missing four games.  He returned in the final month, and UTEP averaged 238 passing yards in those games (but won only one of five).

 

Mike Edwards and Jordan Leslie give Lamaison two credible targets.  Edwards led the team with 50 receptions and 657 yards last year.  Kevin Perry should provide more offense at tight end this year.

 

Nathan Jeffrey started just one game last year, but he will be the regular running back.  Jeffrey may not be a 1,000-yard threat, but he is a fine run-pass combo back.  He may even be more dangerous coming out of the backfield on passing plays.

 

An improved offensive line will make the UTEP offense succeed this year if it can stay healthy.  Center Eloy Atkinson and Tackles James Nelson and Brander Craighead missed spring practice nursing injuries.

 

A vulnerable defense is the reason UTEP will not be able to get above .500 this season.  The Miners have some talent, but they have holes everywhere on the stop side. 

 

End Horace Miller is the top player in the trenches.  Miller led UTEP with five sacks and eight tackles for loss.  Senior Greg Watkins inherits the other end spot after he started five times in 2011.

 

There will be a drop in talent at linebacker following the graduation of leading tackler Jeremy Springer as well as Isaiah Carter.  Josh Fely is the lone holdover.

 

The secondary returns two starters, neither of whom will make even the honorable mention of the all-conference selections.  Safety DeShawn Grayson is the leading returning tackler (67), and if he leads the team this year, it will be bad news.

 

UTEP’s schedule includes non-conference games with Oklahoma and Wisconsin, as well as a road trip to Ole Miss.  1-3 is probably the best they can hope outside of league play, and the Miners are not capable of going 5-3 in the league.  So, it looks like another subpar season, possibly the last for Price.

 

Coming Wednesday afternoon/evening: A look at the Big East Conference.  Should it still be a BCS league?

August 17, 2011

2011 Conference USA Preview

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:40 am

2011 Conference USA Preview

 

The Mountain West and Western Athletic Conferences have placed teams in BCS bowls and had teams ranked in the top three.  Conference USA has not been able to break through, but at least their champion finally won a bowl game over an SEC team, when Central Florida beat Georgia last year.

 

2011 should be an interesting year in CUSA, especially in the West Division.  Three teams should contend for the division flag.  In the East Division, we see two teams contending.  Two teams have a chance to run the table thanks to avoiding any powerhouse non-conference opponents.

 

East

Southern Mississippi has consistently fielded good but not great teams in the 21st Century, but the Golden Eagles have not won the conference title since 1999.  Fourth year coach Larry Fedora has his best team yet, and 2011 could find USM playing in the CUSA Championship Game for just the second time.

 

Austin Davis returns at quarterback, and the senior should become the all-time leading passer in Hattiesburg as early as the opening game of the season.  Davis completed 63% of his passes for 3,100+ yards and a terrific 20/6 TD/Int ratio last year.  Davis rushed for 452 and 10 big scores to give him a total of 30 accounted for.

 

Davis’s top pass catcher, Kelvin Bolden, returns to the fold this season after grabbing 46 passes for 722 yards and six scores.  Quentin Pierce should top 50 receptions after finishing with 38 in an injury-plagued season.

 

The Golden Eagles have a two-headed monster at running back.  Starter Kendrick Hardy and key backup Desmond Johnson combined for more than 1,500 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in 2010.

 

The offensive line returns three starters, none of whom are big stars.  USM surrendered just 17 sacks last year, but a lot of that had to do with Davis’s mobility. 

 

The Golden Eagles scored 37 points per game last year, and there is no reason to think they cannot approach or top 40 points per game this season.

 

Southern Miss lost five games in 2010 because their defense could not match their offense’s production.  The Golden Eagles gave up 30 points per game.  The run defense was not all that bad; in fact, it was quite good, giving up just 113 rushing yards per game.  Five of the front six starters return this year, including linebacker Korey Williams, who recorded 14 ½ stops behind the line last year.  End Cordarro Law led USM with six sacks, and he added four QB hurries.

 

The secondary has room for improvement after giving up 243 yards through the air last year.  Three of last year’s five starters will not be around this year, so this unit could even take a minor step backwards.

 

The Golden Eagles have a big weapon in placekicker Danny Hrapmann.  Hrapmann was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award after connecting on all 55 of his extra point attempts and 26 of 31 field goal attempts with a long of 54 yards.

 

While this team may be no more talented than any of the previous 10 Golden Eagle squads, the schedule could not be any more beneficial.  The toughest non-conference game is at Virginia, and the toughest two conference games are at home.  If USM can win at Virginia and at Navy, they have a chance to run the table in the regular season.

 

Trivia question: Who is the only team to make it to a bowl game after giving up 44 points and more than 475 total yards per game?  Do you think this is a trick question and that no team has ever done that?  Think again.  East Carolina gave up those numbers and still went to the Military Bowl in 2010. 

 

The Pirates won because they outscored opponents last year.  They beat Tulsa 51-49; Southern Miss 44-43; and UAB 54-42.  They also lost to Navy 76-35 and Maryland 51-20.

 

In the second year of the Air Raid offense, look for ECU’s already scary offensive numbers to get even scarier.  Quarterback Dominique Davis just missed the 4,000-yard passing mark, and he tossed 37 touchdown passes last year.  He will certainly miss Dwayne Harris and his 101 receptions from last year, but he welcomes the return of Lance Lewis, who caught 89 passes for 1,116 yards and 14 touchdowns (tied for the lead in the conference).

 

The running game loses its top two rushers from last season, but welcomes junior college transfer Reggie Bullock and freshman Alex Owah.  The success of the running game has more to do with forcing defenses into using five and even six defensive backs.

 

The offensive line is a bit of a concern with the loss of three starters, including two that made All-CUSA teams last year.  Look for the number of sacks to go up from last year’s ultra-low of 15 out of 647 possibilities.

 

ECU will score a ton of points this season, but the offense may not be as consistent as 2010.  We believe the Pirates can be as successful as last season thanks to a big improvement on the other side of the ball.

 

Where is there to go but up for this defense?  ECU gave up 227 rushing and 252 passing yards per game.  That put them in a two-team league with New Mexico!

 

The Pirates will use a 3-4 defense this season.  Coach Ruffin McNeill will blitz his linebackers much more this season in an attempt to put more pressure on the quarterbacks.  The Pirates only recorded 15 sacks and very few hurries. 

 

Up front, the new three-man line is stocked with veterans, but nose guard Michael Brooks is a bit undersized for a 3-4 scheme.  ECU may be vulnerable to runs between the tackles and quick traps.

 

The secondary will be the strength of the defense. Emanuel Davis and Derek Blacknall are decent cover corners, while Bradley Jacobs plugs the deep half as good as any safety in the league.  Davis will miss the first game against South Carolina due to a suspension for public drunkenness and resisting arrest (Wide receiver Michael Bowman also was suspended).

 

ECU’s schedule is difficult, and the Pirates will have a difficult time improving upon last year’s 6-6 regular season record.  After a probable 0-2 start, the home game with UAB on September 24 will be a must-win game.  After that game, there are only three cupcakes on the schedule.

 

Central Florida won the conference championship and then upset Georgia in the Liberty Bowl to finish 11-3 last year.  Coach George O’Leary can put that on his resume.  He may not want to include this season’s results though, because his excellent defense was decimated by graduation.  Gone are seven starters and several key reserves from a team that gave up just 17 points and 315 yards per game.  To make matters worse, defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable replaced Dave Doeren as Wisconsin’s DC.

 

All is not lost on the defensive side of the ball.  The secondary should be fine with cornerback Josh Robinson being one of the four returning starters.  Robinson was a 1st team all-conference player last year after intercepting a couple of passes and batting away a baker’s dozen passes.  Free safety Kemal Ishmael led the Knights in tackles.

 

At linebacker, Josh Linam is strong against the run and the pass, but the two teammates lining up with him in the second line of defense are raw and inexperienced.  Up front, only one starter returns, and that is tackle Victor Gray.  However, Darius Nall returns after serving as the designated pass rusher.  Coming in on passing situations, Nall led the team with 8 ½ sacks and another 14 QB hurries.  Look for Nall and end Troy Davis to team for 15-20 sacks this year.

 

The UCF offense gained less than 375 yards per game but still topped 32 points per game, thanks to a great field position advantage given to it by the defense.  Expect the offensive production to suffer some this year due to the weaker defense.

 

Quarterback Jeff Godfrey will not be confused for Case Keenum, but the sophomore signal caller should top 2,500 yards through the air this year and make few mistakes.  He also can run the ball, as his  nearly 700 rushing yards (factoring out sacks) proves.  Godfrey will have an entirely new set of receivers after the top three from last year are gone.  With the return of all the key running backs, UCF will run to set up the pass.  With running backs Latavius Murray and Ronnie Weaver, the Knights have three players (Godfrey included) capable of topping 100 rushing yards in a game.

 

The offensive line lost its top blocker in tackle Jah Reid, but with three starters back, it should be in decent shape.

 

UCF has a tougher schedule than Southern Miss, and that could prevent the Knights from challenging for the division title.

 

U A B was so close last year.  What turned out to be a 4-8 season could have been 8-4, but the Blazers lost a lot of close games.  They came up short four times, losing to Florida Atlantic by a point, Tennessee by a field goal in double overtime, Mississippi State by five, and Rice by five.

 

This could be the year the Blazers break through and challenge for a bowl bid, but the schedule maker did the team no favors with three tough non-conference games.

 

Quarterback Bryan Ellis almost made UAB fans forget Joe Webb last year.  Ellis threw 25 touchdown passes while completing 56+% of his passes for 2,940 yards.  He was not the runner Webb was.

 

Two of Ellis’s favorite receiver targets return this season.  Patrick Hearn finished second on the team with 536 receiving yards and four touchdowns, while Jackie Williams caught 30 balls.  Running back Pat Shed is a great dual threat.  Aside from his 847 rushing yards, he came out of the backfield to grab a team-leading 47 catches.

 

The offensive line will be the strength of the offense this season.  Four starters return from last year, and all of them should contend for all-league honors.  The fifth offensive linemen has seen considerable action and has started in the past, so this unit will be top notch.

 

UAB averaged better than 26 points per game and almost 425 yards per game, but the Blazers could have averaged more than 30 if they had been able to hang onto the ball better.  We think they will this year and will average at least 28 points per game.

 

As good as the offense should be, the defense should improve even more.  The front four needs to be rebuilt, but the back seven are experienced, talented, and deep. 

 

In the trenches, tackle Elliott Henigan is the leader of the unit.  Henigan led UAB with 15 ½ total tackles for loss.  At 6-4, he was able to get his hands up and knock away five passes last year.

 

Marvin Burdette could become a 1st team All-CUSA player this year.  He led the Blazers with 114 tackles with three sacks.  In the secondary, safety Jamie Bender will try to earn a second 1st team All-CUSA award.

 

This is not a great defense, but it will be better than last year and surrender less than 30 points per game for the first time in five years.  UAB has a chance to get to six wins, but it will not be easy with out-of-conference games at Florida and Troy as well as a home game with Mississippi State.

 

Marshall is another team that narrowly missed bowl eligibility in 2010.  The Thundering Herd came up one win short for first year coach Doc Holliday.  An overtime loss to in-state rival West Virginia was the difference.

 

2011 does not look like the year Marshall will return to greatness.  Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich are not eligible.  Instead, a true freshman could end up starting at quarterback.  Rakeem Cato will battle sophomore A. J. Graham for the starting nod.  Whoever starts will have one of the best receivers in the league running underneath those passes.  Aaron Dobson is as quick as a hiccup, and he can take a five yard slant pass and turn it into a 75-yard touchdown.  Dobson averaged almost 16 yards per reception last year.  Look for Troy Evans to contribute more this year.

 

Marshall could not run the ball last year, finishing with less than 100 yards in eight games.  Another true freshman, Travon Van, could step in and start from day one.  Martin Ward and Essray Taliafero are sure to see playing time at back as well.

 

The offensive line will need to be rebuilt after three starters departed.  Two of the returnees, tackle Ryan Tillman and guard C. J. Wood could contend for all-conference accolades.

 

Marshall averaged less than 21 points per game and only 314 yards per game, and it could be hard to improve on those numbers with a tough non-conference slate of opponents (West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Louisville, and Ohio).

 

Defensively, the Herd is in better shape.  It all starts up front, where Marshall has the best defensive end in the league.  Vinny Curry introduced his body to enemy quarterbacks a dozen times last year, while forcing them to hurry throws another 16 times.  He added six other tackles behind the line.  Curry should be an early draft choice in the 2012 NFL draft.

 

Three experienced veterans will line up at linebacker.  Kellen Harris, Tyson Gale, and Devin Arrington will not appear on the all-conference 1st team, but the trio is more than capable.

 

Things are not so optimistic in the secondary.  What was going to be a major asset has turned into a minor liability due to a situation at the safety positions.  2010 starter Donald Brown was dismissed and then projected starter D. J. Hunter suffered a knee injury and may not be ready to plug the strong safety position.  When Marshall conducted its first scrimmage, former wide receiver Raheem Waiters was running with the first team.  Five other safeties are ailing, and it is unsure who will start at the free safety position against West Virginia on September 4.

 

Too many freshmen and sophomores having to play do not bode well for the Thundering Herd.  This team will be exciting to watch, but they will experience growing pains.  Holliday’s recruiting efforts will begin to pay off, but not this season.  Marshall may take a small step backwards in 2011 before challenging for a bowl berth next year.

 

Memphis has fallen on hard times.  The Tigers finished 2-10 in 2009 and 1-11 last year.  Prospects are not bright for 2011, and second year coach Larry Porter could very well see his career record move to 2-22.

 

The offense never got in a groove at any point last year.  The Tigers averaged just 14 points and 285 yards per game.  The offensive line could not protect inexperienced quarterbacks that could not read defenses fast enough.  None of the backs reminded anybody of DeAngelo Williams.  To make matters worse, the one of the two real stars on last year’s offense, wideout Jermaine McKenzie, has used up his eligibility.

 

At least the other big play receiver returns, and that is where Memphis will try to revive its offense.  Marcus Rucker will see a lot of double teams this year after catching 41 passes and averaging 17.2 yards and scoring eight times (Memphis only scored 19 touchdowns).  Former Alabama wideout Keiwone Malone is trying to gain immediate elibility due to family health issues, but the NCAA will probably not rule before the end of August.  If he is eligible, the receiving corps could become an asset.

 

Quarterback was a major problem last year, as it has been for several years.  Memphis seems to have a jinx here with frequent injuries at this spot.  Andy Summerlin, a juco transfer appears to have the edge over former Wake Forest QB Skylar Jones and true freshman Taylor Reed, but if fate holds out, all three may have to see the field this year.  None of the trio is going to star, because the offensive line will still be a major liability. 

 

Jerrell Rhodes could be a diamond in the rough at running back.  He rushed for 469 yards last year, and he could be ready to break out and have a big year.  But, he will need help, and the holes just may not open for him. 

 

Only one starting lineman returns this season, but at least he was the best of the quintet last year.  The Tigers will rebuild around tackle Ronald Leary.

 

The defense was equally to blame for Memphis’s 1-11 record.  Opponents scored 40 points per game and gained 461 yards per game.  Six starters return, but eight reserves that saw considerable playing time return as well.

 

The defensive line could develop into something memorable.  Tackles Frank Trotter and Dontari Poe could be the best tandem at this position.  They teamed for 23 total tackles for loss last year.

 

Troubles begin once you get past the front four.  Memphis will have trouble stopping the excellent bevy of CUSA quarterbacks this year.  Last year. the Tigers gave up 289 passing yards per game and allowed enemy passers to complete better than 65% of their passes.  To make matters worse, the best pass defender has used up his eligibility, and the second best transferred after Spring practice.

 

The schedule gives Memphis a chance to win at least one game.  A September home game against FCS school Austin Peay should be a nice win.  Memphis does not play UTEP from the West, and we do not see the Tigers winning in league play this year.

 

West

Tulsa might have been our choice to break through and become the first CUSA team to make it to a BCS bowl game this year, but two factors prevented us from going out on that limb.  First, former coach Todd Graham left for Pittsburgh, leaving a rookie, Bill Blankenship, as the new coach.  More importantly, the Golden Hurricane open the season at Oklahoma and then host Oklahoma State two weeks later.  They then make a trip to the field of blue to play Boise State; no CUSA team will play in a BCS Bowl with a 10-3 record, even if the three losses are to top 10 teams.

 

Tulsa returns 10 starters from the fifth best offense in the nation.  TU averaged 41 points and more than 500 yards per game last year, and there is no reason to expect much drop-off this year.  It all starts at quarterback in the spread formation, and G. J. Kinne is a magician.  The former Texas QB passed for 3,650 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2010, and he led the team with 561 rushing yards (more than 750 when factoring out sacks). 

 

As good as Kinne is, his offensive line is the real strength of this team.  All five of these prized possessions return for an encore, and three could earn 1st Team All-CUSA honors.  Center Trent Dupy, guard Clint Anderson, and Tackle Tyler Homes will all be watched by NFL scouts this year.

 

It is rare when a wide receiver becomes a team’s big play man in the running game, but Damaris Johnson was that man.  He averaged more than 10 yards per rush and ran the ball 55 more than four times per game.  When he wasn’t sprinting wide with the ball, he found time to lead the team with 57 pass receptions good for 872 yards.  In his spare time, he returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown.  We haven’t heard yet whether he sells programs before the games or marches in the band at halftime.

 

Willie Carter and Ricky Johnson teamed up for just 41 receptions last year, but they both averaged 16 yards per catch.  They will team with Mr. Everything to make a dangerous group.

 

Tulsa’s Achilles heel last year was its defense.  The Golden Hurricane surrendered more than 30 points and 450 yards per game last year.  New defensive coordinator Brent Guy moves TU from a 3-3-5 to a 4-3 defense.  Expect middle linebacker Curnelius Arnick to become an even bigger playmaker in this alignment after he led the team with 115 tackles in 2010.  Shawn Jackson and DeAundre Brown team with Arnick to form one of the top linebacker trios in the league.  If Brown can return to his pre-injury 2009 form, this will be the best unit.  Jackson led TU with 15 ½ stops for loss, including 8 ½ sacks.

 

Safeties Dexter McCoil and Marco Nelson form an excellent tandem of ball hawks.  Both players intercepted six passes last year.

 

Up front, end Tyrunn Walker is the top holdover, earning 2nd Team All-CUSA honors last year.  He recorded 12 tackles for loss.

 

Tulsa hosts Houston in the season finale, and that game should determine the West Division representative in the conference title game.  If Tulsa can stay healthy against this demanding schedule, we believe the Golden Hurricane is the favorite for that spot.

 

S M U returns most of their key players from a team that won the West Division last year, but the Mustangs are the third choice to start 2011.  Coach June Jones’ team finished just 7-7 overall due to 1-3 non-conference record and losses to UCF in the Championship Game and Army in the bowl.  Another tough non-conference schedule will prevent the Mustangs from making any major leap forward.

 

Kyle Padron returns at quarterback after throwing for 3,828 yards and 31 touchdowns.  Five of his top six receivers return, including Cole Beasley, who caught 87 passes for 1,060 yards.  However, the one receiver lost was an NFL draft choice.  Aldrick Robinson caught 65 passes and averaged 20 yards per catch with 14 touchdowns.  With the breakaway threat gone, the other receivers will find the going a little tougher, and SMU will pass for less yards this season.

 

Taking up the slack in the yardage department will be an excellent running game.  Zach Line rushed for almost 1,500 yards last year and averaged more than six yards per carry. 

 

Up front, SMU’s offensive line is almost as talented as Tulsa’s.  All five starters return as well as the five second teamers.  Tackle Kelvin Beachum earned 1st team all-conference honors last year and could contend for Honorable Mention All-American honors this year.

 

SMU gained more than 5,800 total yards last year but only scored 360 points.  That averages out to more than 16 yards per point.  The average effective offense scores a point for about 13 yards of offense, meaning SMU should have scored close to 450 points last year.  The Mustangs could gain fewer yards and score more points this season, but only if the backs can hold onto the ball, and Padron can keep his interceptions down.

 

SMU’s defense has improved for three consecutive seasons, and it could be more of the same in season four of the Jones era.  Eight different defensive players made an all-conference team last year, and six of them return, two each in the three different units.  Ends Margus Hunt and Taylor Thompson were two of those award winners.  The duo teamed up for 7 ½ sacks. 

 

In the second line of defense, linebackers Taylor Reed and Ja’Gared Davis combined for 235 tackles.  Both could earn 1st Team All-CUSA accolades this year.

 

Cornerback Richard Crawford and safety Chris Banjo are the stars of the secondary.  Crawford recorded 12 passes defended with four interceptions, while Banjo proved to be strong against both the run and the pass.

 

September will bring an almost assured 3-2 start for SMU.  Road games against Texas A&M and TCU bookmark games with UTEP, Northwestern State, and Memphis.  After a week off, the Mustangs host Central Florida in a game that will decide if either team will contend in their respective division.

 

Houston has the schedule Tulsa needs to become a BCS Bowl participant.  The Cougars are not that far behind Tulsa in talent, and if Coach Kevin Sumlin can plug a couple of holes on both sides of the ball, we would not be surprised to see Houston visiting Tulsa with a perfect won-loss record on the line.

 

All this optimism hinges on the 100% return of Heisman Trophy candidate Case Keenum.  The Cougars have had some outstanding quarterbacks, including a Heisman Trophy winner in Andre Ware and current Arizona Cardinals’ QB Kevin Kolb.  However, Keenum may be better than both.  When he was healthy in 2009, he completed 70% of his passes for 5,671 yards and 44 touchdowns.  If he replicates those numbers this year, all other marbles should fall in place.  Backup David Piland threw for 2,641 yards and 24 touchdowns as Keenum’s fill-in, so there is excellent depth.

 

Keenum will hook up frequently with Patrick Edwards.  Edwards led the Cougars with 71 receptions, 13 touchdowns and 1,100 yards.  Houston will have to break in two new receivers, but they have some real sprinters ready to go in 2011. 

 

Houston has not been a running back factory since the old veer offense days of the 1960’s and 1970’s; more recently, they have produced one productive back at a time.  This year, the Cougars have three great running backs.  Bryce Beall and Michael Hayes teamed for almost 1,500 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns last year, while former co-regular Charles Sims returns after missing last season.  The trio should team up for about 175 rushing yards per game this season; considering that Houston passes the ball about 60% of the time, this is a scary statistic.  It will give Keenum more open looks when defenses have to remain honest.

 

The one question mark to the 2011 offense is a rebuilding offensive line.  Keenum was not sacked in the two plus games that he played before his ACL injury.  Piland only went down 12 times after that.  Expect the sack total to go up by at least 50% this year due to some inexperience in the blocking corps.  Center Chris Thompson is one of the best at his position in the conference, and Keenum should feel comfortable with him.

 

Houston averaged more than 40 points per game with Keenum directing the offense in 2008 and 2009.  They scored 122 points in the first two games last year before he went down for the count and averaged “just” 33 points per game without him.  We believe he will regain his old form, and the Cougars will move north of the 40-point mark again this year.

 

Whether 40 points per game will be enough to win all the games on the schedule is an unknown at this point.  Houston’s defense will not be championship material this year.  The Cougars gave up more than 32 points and 430 yards per game, and there may be no improvement and even a small deterioration in the numbers this year.

 

The secondary is a major concern.  Just one starter returns from a unit that gave up about 225 passing yards at a 60% completion rate.  As of this writing, Sumlin has not yet decided on his starting four nor has he even decided where to play some of his players.  Expected starting cornerback Chevy Bennett was playing safety in the early scrimmage.

 

As raw as the secondary will be, the linebackers will be grey beards.  Seniors Sammy Brown and Marcus McGraw could both earn all-league honors, and Brown could contend for defensive player of the year.  He recorded 20 tackles for loss with 7 ½ sacks in 2010.  Junior Phillip Steward is an excellent pass defender from his strong side spot.

 

Up front, the three-man line had a tough time stopping the run last year.  UH gave up more than 200 rushing yards as close to a five yard per carry rate.  Ends David Hunter and Kelvin King return, but the Cougars will have a new nose guard as Matangi Tonga graduated.

 

Houston has a couple of special teams weapons as well.  When not catching passes, Edwards is one of the best punt returners in the nation.  Tyron Carrier is an asset in the kick return game.

 

Houston has a slim chance of running the table this year, but with too many questions on the defensive side, we tend to believe they will fall once or twice.

 

Last year, Rice began to recover some from its slide from 10 wins in 2008 to 10 losses in 2009.  The Owls won four games and blew out East Carolina 62-38, so Coach David Bailiff has enough talent to get back above the .500 mark.

 

Injuries ruined any chance for the Owls to contend for a bowl bid last year.  Quarterback Taylor McHargue played sparingly due to injuries last year.  In his time under center, he completed 57% of his passes at 8.5 yards per attempt. 

 

Former quarterback 6-07 Taylor Cook moves to wide receiver and will team with tight end 6-05 Luke Wilson and wideout 6-05 Vance McDonald to make one of the tallest receiver units in college football history.  While there isn’t a trailblazer in this group, there will be a lot of 3rd down passing plays converted to first downs.

 

Sam McGuffie is a dual threat back.  He led the Owls with 883 rushing yards while catching 39 passes.  That earned him 2nd team all-league honors.

 

The offensive line returns four starters, but they are mediocre at best.  Guard Davon Allen and tackle Jake Hicks are the two quality players in the blocking corps.

 

Rice should exceed last season’s production of 29 points and 375 yards.  Look for more than 30 points and 400 yards this season.

 

In Bailiff’s four seasons in Houston, Rice has given up 43, 33, 43, and 39 points per game.  They won 10 games when they gave up 33 points, so it will not take much for a record reversal.  Unfortunately, with the tough out-of-conference schedule and road games against Southern Miss, Houston, and SMU, it does not look like the Owls can chop much off last season’s numbers.

 

The biggest problem with the Rice defense is the secondary.  The Owls gave up 304 passing yards per game last year and intercepted just six passes.  Of course, a better pass rush would have helped, as enemy quarterbacks hit the turf just 14 times.  Four of the five starters return from a year ago, and unfortunately three of them were the top three tacklers on the team.  That can never be a good sign.

 

There is some good news at linebacker.  Kyle Prater takes over in the middle after transferring from LSU two years ago.  There’s more good news in the trenches with the return from injury of end Scott Solomon.  However, that is not enough good news to turn Rice’s fortunes around.

 

The schedule makers did the Owls no favors this year.  Rice plays at Texas, Northwestern, and Baylor and hosts Purdue out of the league, and that could very well equate to an 0-4 mark.  The three conference road games listed above are basically unwinnable, so even if the Owls win the other five games, they will finish with a losing record.  They must sweep the five easier teams and then pick up a big upset somewhere along the line.  We do not see it happening this season.

 

Tulane has not enjoyed a winning season since 2002, when Mewelde Moore was running loose.  The Green Wave always seem to be good for one upset, but they cannot get over the hill.  This could be Coach Bob Toledo’s last attempt to reverse the poor fortunes in the Crescent City.

 

The offense will revolve around running back Orleans Darkwa.  As a freshman, Darkwa rushed for 925 and 11 touchdowns, earning 1st team All-CUSA awards.  Look for Darkwa to run the ball more than the 15 times he averaged last year.  He should carry the ball 25 times for about 125 yards per game.

 

Junior quarterback Ryan Griffin was adequate but not exceptional last year.  He completed 60% of his passes for 2,371 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2010, but he played part of the season with a lame shoulder.  He should have more zip on the ball this year, and his numbers will improve.

 

Only one real threat returns to the receiver corps.  Ryan Grant grabbed 33 passes and blazed for almost 16 yards per catch. 

 

The offensive line could be a liability this year.  Three starters return and three second teamers are back, but we do not see any stars in this group.

 

Tulane averaged 25 points and 373 yards per game last year.  We expect those numbers to improve some this year, but we do not see a 30-point, 400-yard production.  That’s what the Green Wave offense will need to get to seven wins.

 

Defensively, TU gave up more than 37 points per game in 2010.  Six times, they surrendered 42 or more points.  No unit stands out as a strength this year, and we expect the Green Wave to give up more than five touchdowns per game for the third consecutive season.  Tulane’s biggest problem is an inability to stop the run.  Opponents averaged five yards per carry, and you must realize that their schedule found them facing a majority of opponents that preferred to pass rather than run.

 

Up front, end Dezman Moses was the one bright spot.  Moses recorded six sacks and forced seven QB hurries after transferring from Iowa.  In the second line of defense, Trent Mackey made the 1st Team All-CUSA roster after he led TU with 124 tackles.

 

The secondary looked better than it was, because teams found the going so easy running the ball against the Green Wave.  Yet, TU did surrender just 53.9% in completion percentage. 

 

Unlike Rice, Tulane’s schedule is manageable.  Outside of league play, TU should beat Southeast Louisiana.  They should compete against Duke and Army, and Syracuse comes to the Superdome in what looks like a big upset chance for TU.  Remember, they always come up with one upset.  In conference play, home games with UTEP and Memphis will give the Green Wave an excellent chance to pick up two league wins.  There is an outside chance Tulane could be 6-6 and playing for bowl eligibility when they head to Hawaii for the season finale.  This team is not as good as Rice, but the schedule gives them the chance that Rice will not receive.

 

U T E P used to be referred to as the University of Texas at intercepted passo by one a pollster that used to rank the Bottom 10 every year.  Then, the Miners started to get better earning three bowls in six years.  After four sub-.500 seasons, UTEP recovered to break even in the regular season in 2010.  A bowl loss sent their final record back under .500 again.  It looks like 2011 could find the Miners resembling their old moniker once again. 

 

Only one starter returns to an offense that was just pedestrian in CUSA standards last year.  Running back Joe Banyard may wish he wasn’t the lone returnee.  He led TEP with 623 rushing yards last year, but with no starters returning at QB, wide receiver, and offensive line, he will probably not match that number this season.

 

At quarterback, Nick Lamaison has been named the starter.  He completed 60% of his passes for almost 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns as a sophomore at junior college. 

 

Donovan Kemp is the only receiver left on the roster that caught more than 10 passes and gained more than 100 yards.  He is coming off an ACL injury, so he may not be 100% at the beginning of the season.

 

With no returning regulars to the front five, Coach Mike Price had to recruit multiple juco players to fill the spots.  Center Eloy Anderson has one career start.

 

UTEP has averaged no less than 26 points per game for the last seven years.  2011 may find them averaging less than they did in 2003 (22.2).

 

The Miners have almost the exact opposite situation on the other side of the ball.  15 of the top 19 tacklers from 2010 are back this year.  Of course, those players contributed to a defense that gave up 28 points and more than 400 yards per game, so there may be little or no improvement.  If the offense struggles and the time of possession suffers, UTEP could even fare worse defensively in 2011.

 

The secondary is the strongest unit on the stop side.  Safety Travaun Nixon was voted to the All-CUSA 2nd team after he defended 12 passes with four interceptions.  Fellow safety DeShawn Grayson earned honorable mention all-conference honors.

 

At linebacker, all three starters are back for more.  Royzell Smith, Jamie Irving, and Isaiah Carter combined for 226 tackles, each recording more than 70.  Up front, three starters return, but this group lacks a star. 

 

UTEP will start the season 1-0 thanks to a cupcake game with Stony Brook.  After that game, a road trip to Las Cruces to play New Mexico State is their best shot at picking up a second win.

 

Conference USA Preseason Media Poll

 

C-USA EAST

1st Place Votes

Total Votes

Central Florida

20

139

Southern Miss

4

122

East Carolina

 

93

Marshall

 

65

U A B

 

61

Memphis

 

24

     
C-USA WEST

1st Place Votes

Total Votes

Houston

12

127

Tulsa

8

117

S M U

4

116

Rice

 

60

Tulane (tied)

 

42

U T E P (tied)

 

42

 

Conference USA PiRate Ratings

C-USA EAST

PiRate #

Prediction

Southern Miss

97.0

7-1/10-3

East Carolina

94.8

6-2/6-6

Central Florida

91.9

5-3/7-5

U A B

89.1

3-5/3-9

Marshall

85.8

3-5/3-9

Memphis

72.0

0-8/2-10

 

 

 

C-USA WEST

PiRate #

Prediction

Tulsa

103.6

7-1/9-4 *

S M U

102.0

5-3/6-6

Houston

96.7

7-1/10-2

Rice

89.7

3-5/3-9

Tulane

80.9

2-6/4-9

U T E P

76.0

0-8/1-11

 

 

 

* Tulsa picked to beat Southern Miss in the Championship Game

 

Next: The Western Athletic Conference preview—Thursday, August 18

 

December 26, 2010

PiRate Ratings College Football Bowl Preview, Part Two

We are posting three bowl previews this year; this is the second preview.  We will give you the current odds for each game, the PiRate, Mean, and Bias spreads for each game, and the results of our 100 computer simulations for each game.

 

Today, we cover the bowls from Boxing Day through New Year’s Day.  Next week, we will preview the bowls from January 2 to the Championship Game. 

 

Sunday, December 26

Little Caesar’s Bowl

Detroit, MI

8:30 PM EST on ESPN

Toledo (8-4)  vs. Florida Internationl (6-6)

Vegas: Toledo by 1

Totals: 57

PiRate: Toledo by 3.3

Mean: Toledo by 2.8

Bias: Toledo by 16.8

100 Sims: Toledo 67  Florida International 33

Avg. Sim Score: Toledo 33.6  Florida International 25.7

Outlier A: Toledo 49  Florida International 19

Outlier B: Florida International 37  Toledo 24

 

Monday, December 27

Independence Bowl

Shreveport, LA

5:00 PM EST on ESPN

Air Force (8-4)  vs.  Georgia Tech (6-6)

Vegas: Air Force by 2 ½  

Totals: 56

PiRate: Georgia Tech by 1.7

Mean: Air Force by 5.2

Bias: Air Force by 5.9

100 Sims: Air Force 55  Georgia Tech 45

Avg. Sim Score: Air Force 29.2  Georgia Tech 26.9

Outlier A: Air Force 41  Georgia Tech 23

Outlier B: Georgia Tech 34  A Force 23

 

Tuesday, December 28

Champs Sports Bowl

Orlando, FL

6:30 PM EST on ESPN

West Virginia (9-3)  vs. North Carolina State (8-4)

Vegas: West Virginia by 2 ½

Totals: 49

PiRate: West Virginia by 6.8

Mean: West Virginia by 2.3

Bias: West Virginia by 3.0

100 Sims: West Virginia 53  North Carolina State 47 (6 games decided by OT)

Avg. Sim Score: West Virginia 25.8  North Carolina State 25.2

Outlier A: West Virginia 27  North Carolina State 10

Outlier B: North Carolina State 28  West Virginia 12

 

Insight Bowl

Tempe, AZ

10:00 PM EST

Missouri (10-2)  vs.  Iowa (7-5)

Vegas: Missouri by 2 ½

Totals: 46 ½

PiRate: Even

Mean: Missouri by 4.1

Bias: Missouri by 12.6

100 Sims: Missouri 58  Iowa 42

Avg. Sim Score: Missouri 25.6  Iowa 22.3

Outlier A: Missouri 31  Iowa 13

Outlier B: Iowa 21  Missouri 7

 

Wednesday, December 29

Military Bowl

Washington, D.C.

2:30 PM on EST

Maryland (8-4)  vs. East Carolina (6-6)

Vegas: Maryland by 7 ½

Totals: 68 ½

PiRate: Maryland by 18.4

Mean: Maryland by 11.2

Bias: Maryland by 13.8

100 Sims: East Carolina 51  Maryland 49

Avg. Sim Score: Maryland 34.4  East Carolina 34.1

Outlier A: East Carolina 47  Maryland 31

Outlier B: Maryland 42  East Carolina 20

 

Texas Bowl

Houston, TX

6:00 PM EST on ESPN

Baylor (7-5)  vs. Illinois (6-6)

Vegas: Baylor by 1

Totals: 62 ½

PiRate: Baylor by 2.4

Mean: Illinois by 1.6

Bias: Baylor by 6.9

100 Sims: Illinois 54  Baylor 46

Avg. Sim Score: Illinois 32.1  Baylor 28.6

Outlier A: Illinois 34  Baylor 17

Outlier B: Baylor 28  Illinois 18

 

Alamo Bowl

San Antonio, TX

9:15 PM EST on ESPN

Oklahoma State (10-2)  vs. Arizona (7-5)

Vegas: Oklahoma State by 5 ½

Totals: 66

PiRate: Oklahoma State by 1.1

Mean: Oklahoma State by 6.1

Bias: Oklahoma State by 9.6

100 Sims: Oklahoma State 61  Arizona 39

Avg. Sim Score: Oklahoma State 38.0  Arizona 29.1

Outlier A: Oklahoma State 51  Arizona 27

Outlier B: Arizona 34  Oklahoma State 28 (and one other 6-point spread)

 

Thursday, December 30

Armed Forces Bowl

Dallas, TX

12:00 Noon EST on ESPN

S M U (7-6)  vs. Army (6-6)

Vegas: S M U by 7

Totals: 52

PiRate: S M U by 7.7

Mean: S M U by 3.2

Bias: S M U by 10.6

100 Sims: S M U 64  Army 36

Avg. Sim Score: S M U 28.2  Army 20.6

Outlier A: S M U 34  Army 10

Outlier B: Army 24  S M U 16

 

Pinstripe Bowl

New York, NY

3:20 PM EST

Syracuse (7-5)  vs. Kansas State (7-5)

Vegas: Pick’em

Totals: 47 ½

PiRate: Syracuse by 1.5

Mean: Kansas State by 4.6

Bias: Syracuse by 2.3

100 Sims: Syracuse 53  Kansas State 47

Avg. Sim Score: Syracuse 20.1  Kansas State 18.6

Outlier A: Syracuse 24  Kansas State 7

Outlier B: Kansas State 17  Syracuse 3

 

Music City Bowl

Nashville, TN

6:30 PM EST

Tennessee (6-6)  vs. North Carolina (7-5)

Vegas: North Carolina by 1 ½  

Totals: 50 ½

PiRate: North Carolina by 6.8

Mean: North Carolina by 1.5

Bias: Tennessee by 6.6

100 Sims: Tennessee 50  North Carolina 50

Avg. Sim Score: Tennessee 24.5  North Carolina 23.9

Outlier A: Tennessee 30  North Carolina 14

Outlier B: North Carolina 27  Tennessee 12

 

Holiday Bowl

San Diego, CA

10:00 PM EST

Nebraska (10-3)  vs. Washington (6-6)

Vegas: Nebraska by 14

Totals: 52 ½

PiRate: Nebraska by 11.8

Mean: Nebraska by 11.5

Bias: Nebraska by 5.3

100 Sims: Nebraska 57  Washington 43

Avg. Sim Score: Nebraska 26.1  Washington 19.3

Outlier A: Nebraska 27  Washington 6

Outlier B: Washington 23  Nebraska 14

 

Friday, December 31

Meineke Car Care Bowl

Charlotte, NC

12:00 Noon EST

South Florida (7-5)  vs. Clemson (6-6)

Vegas: Clemson by 5 ½

Totals: 40 ½

PiRate: Clemson by 5.1

Mean: Clemson by 3.7

Bias: South Florida by 6.1

100 Sims: South Florida 58  Clemson 42

Avg. Sim Score: South Florida 25.1  Clemson 19.2

Outlier A: South Florida 31  Clemson 12

Outlier B: Clemson 28  South Florida 16

 

Sun Bowl

El Paso, TX

2:00 PM EST on CBS

Notre Dame (7-5)  vs. Miami (Fl) (7-5)

Vegas: Miami by 3

Totals: 47

PiRate: Miami by 6.3

Mean: Notre Dame by 1.2

Bias: Miami by 6.0

100 Sims: Notre Dame 52  Miami 48

Avg. Sim Score: Notre Dame 23.4  Miami 23.2

Outlier A: Notre Dame 30  Miami 14

Outlier B: Miami 35  Notre Dame 14

 

Liberty Bowl

Memphis, TN

3:30 PM EST on ESPN

Central Florida (10-3)  vs. Georgia (6-6)

Vegas: Georgia by 6 ½

Totals: 55 ½

PiRate: Georgia by 12.8

Mean: Georgia by 5.3

Bias: Georgia by 11.3

100 Sims: Georgia 72  Central Florida 28

Avg. Sim Score: Georgia 28.6  Central Florida 17.3

Outlier A: Georgia 38  Central Florida 10

Outlier B: Central Florida 24  Georgia 19

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Atlanta, GA

7:30 PM EST on ESPN

South Carolina (9-4)  vs. Florida State (9-4)

Vegas: South Carolina by 3

Totals: 55

PiRate: Florida State by 0.4

Mean: South Carolina by 0.5

Bias: Florida State by 1.6

100 Sims: Florida State 52  South Carolina 48

Avg. Sim Score: South Carolina 26.7  Florida State 26.6

Outlier A: Florida State 30  South Carolina 16

Outlier B: South Carolina 44  Florida State 17

 

Saturday, January 1

TicketCity Bowl

Dallas, TX

12:00 Noon EST on ESPN-U

Texas Tech (7-5)  vs. Northwestern (7-5)

Vegas: Texas Tech by 10

Totals: 60

PiRate: Texas Tech by 12.5

Mean: Texas Tech by 7.3

Bias: Texas Tech by 9.6

100 Sims: Texas Tech 86  Northwestern 14

Avg. Sim Score: Texas Tech 34.6  Northwestern 21.2

Outlier A: Texas Tech 45  Northwestern 17

Outlier B: Northwestern 30  Texas Tech 24 (3 other by 6)

 

Outback Bowl

Tampa, FL

1:00 PM EST on ABC

Florida (7-5) vs. Penn State (7-5)

Vegas: Florida by 7 ½  

Totals: 48

PiRate: Florida by 13.2

Mean: Florida by 5.1

Bias: Florida by 5.5

100 Sims: Florida 54  Penn State 46

Avg. Sim Score: Florida 22.6  Penn State 19.8

Outlier A: Florida 28  Penn State 13

Outlier B: Penn State 21  Florida 10

 

Capital One Bowl

Orlando, FL

1:00 PM EST on ESPN

Michigan State (11-1) vs.  Alabama (9-3)

Vegas: Alabama by 10

Totals: 52 ½

PiRate: Alabama by 15.5

Mean: Alabama by 10.4

Bias: Alabama by 3.2

100 Sims: Alabama 59  Michigan State 41

Avg. Sim Score: Alabama 27.6  Michigan State 24.7

Outlier A: Alabama 31  Michigan State 12

Outlier B: Michigan State 35  Alabama 25

 

Gator Bowl

Jacksonville, FL

1:30 PM EST on ESPN2

Mississippi State (8-4)  vs.  Michigan (7-5)

Vegas: Mississippi State by 5 ½

Totals: 61

PiRate: Mississippi State by 10.3

Mean: Mississippi State by 6.3

Bias: Mississippi State by 4.8

100 Sims: Mississippi State 52  Michigan 48

Avg. Sim Score: Mississippi State 33.7  Michigan 30.1

Outlier A: Mississippi State 38  Michigan 20

Outlier B: Michigan 36  Mississippi State 27

 

Rose Bowl

Pasadena, CA

5:00 PM EST on ESPN

T C U (12-0)  vs. Wisconsin (11-1)

Vegas: T C U by 3

Totals: 58 ½

PiRate: T C U by 7.9

Mean: T C U by 5.8

Bias: Wisconsin by 6.6

100 Sims: Wisconsin 54  T C U 46

Avg. Sim Score: Wisconsin 30.4  T C U 28.8

Outlier A: Wisconsin 40  T C U 24

Outlier B: T C U 34  Wisconsin 24

 

Fiesta Bowl

Glendale, AZ

8:30 PM EST

Oklahoma (11-2)  vs. Connecticut (8-4)

Vegas: Oklahoma by 16 1/2

Totals: 55

PiRate: Oklahoma by 19.7

Mean: Oklahoma by 16.2

Bias: Oklahoma by 20.7

100 Sims: Oklahoma 91  Connecticut 9

Avg. Sim Score: Oklahoma 35.3  Connecticut 14.8

Outlier A: Oklahoma 49  Connecticut 7

Outlier B: Connecticut 27  Oklahoma 23

August 13, 2010

2010 Conference USA Preview

Go To: www.piratings.webs.com , where we “beat the spread” 60.4% in 2009!

 

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

 

2010 Conference USA Preview

28.8 points per game—that is the average score put up by members of Conference USA in conference games last year.  These teams averaged 417 yards of offense per game.  If wide open offenses and 150 scrimmage plays per game are up your alley, you have found the conference to follow.

The most outstanding of these offenses belongs to the Houston Cougars.  This is the third time in the school’s history that Houston has been so dominating on offense.  In the late 1960’s, it was the veer offense.  The Cougars were the last team to reach 100 points in a game when they did so against Tulsa in 1968.  In the late 1980’s, it was the run and shoot offense.  Houston came within five points of repeating the triple digit score when they hung 95 on SMU.  Now, with Case Keenum running a four wide receiver spread offense, could the Cougars possibly be primed to challenge the triple digit mark again?  Two opportunities present them with a great chance in the month of September.  It will be fun to watch—unless you are a fan of one of the two teams that could see it happen. 

C U S A Predictions
Pos Team Conf Overall
C U S A  EAST
1 Southern Mississippi 6-2 9-4
2 Central Florida 6-2 8-4
3 U A B 4-4 6-6
4 Marshall 4-4 6-6
5 East Carolina 2-6 2-10
6 Memphis 0-8 0-12
       
Pos Team Conf Overall
C U S A  WEST
1 Houston 7-1 10-3
2 S M U 6-2 7-5
3 Tulsa 6-2 8-4
4 U T E P 4-4 7-5
5 Rice 4-4 4-8
6 Tulane 0-8 2-10

 

CUSA Championship Game: Houston over Southern Mississippi

 

Liberty Bowl—Houston

Hawaii Bowl—Southern Mississippi

Armed Forces Bowl—S M U

St. Petersburg Bowl—Central Florida

New Orleans Bowl—U T E P

Eagle Bank Bowl–Tulsa

 

Team By Team Breakdown

CUSA East

 

Team East Carolina Pirates
               
Head Coach Ruffin McNeill
               
Colors Purple and Gold
               
City Greenville, NC