The Pi-Rate Ratings

January 3, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Football Championship Game Spreads

Team 1Team 2PiRateMeanBias

November 23, 2021

PiRate Picks–Thanksgiving Week

A Windfall!

It wasn’t the best ever for the PiRate Ratings, as we’ve had greater than 200% returns on investment in a handful of weeks in the last 17 years, but last week’s 171.2% ROI was our best in the last three years. We played six wagers last week, ranging from +159.65 to +360. We lost the +360, but we won the other five selections for an imaginary gain of $1,027.74 on an imaginary investment of $600.

Coming this late in the year, if we play a bit conservatively the rest of the year, we will be guaranteed of having our 5th winning season in the last 6 years and our 14th winning season in the 17 years we have been pretending to wager. For the season, our imaginary 54 wagers at $100 per game for $5,400 in imaginary currency has returned an imaginary $6,337.83, for a profit of $937.83, and a ROI of 17.4%. Hopefully, you have seen the word “imaginary” a few times to this point. We hope you get what we’re saying; we do not wager real money on these parlays.

We are issuing just two parlays this week. The odds were not what we hoped for, as too many games have very large Money Lines. Additionally, our plan is to play one, two, or three games in each parlay while receiving odds better than +120 and preferably better than +150. Having to ask four teams to win for us is basically one too many. Alas, we had to issue a 4-game parlay this week to bring the odds up above +150.

Here are the two parlays we have selected this week. If either one wins, we are guaranteed to have another winning week. If both win, we may retire for the season and enjoy our imaginary winnings. If neither win, we will have given back a little of our profits.

Must WinOpponent
Ball St.Buffalo
Georgia St.Troy

Must WinOpponent
Central MichiganEastern Michigan
Old DominionCharlotte

October 27, 2021

PiRate Picks–October 28-30, 2021

Back To Back Winning Weeks

Usually, the middle of October to the middle of November has been the period where our college football parlay picks have made their move into positive territory, and this year has been another example of that. After going north and south of the break-even line, in the last two weeks, a couple of big wins with fat payouts has taken our imaginary bankroll and turned it from red to black numbers.

We won two of the four parlays, one paying out at +187 and the other at +147.40. That comes to a 33.6% return on investment for the weekend. For the year, $3,500 in imaginary funds have been wagered with the sports books, and $3,704.28 in imaginary funds have been returned for an ROI of 5.84%.

Last week, we did not particularly like the games overall. It was difficult finding suitable parlays with payouts better than +120 that our “system” said had a better chance than the minimum needed to show a profit. The week before, too many games presented themselves as playable, and we had to limit the ones we wanted.

This week, it is somewhere in between. We selected to underdogs to win outright with rather fat payout odds. Our methods say these two games are virtual tossup games, so if we can get better than +120 on these games, we feel compelled to take the ‘dogs.

However, after the two straight up upset selections, we spent an extra hour plus trying to combine games into suitable odds while remaining confident that the teams would win.

So, without further adieu, here are our five selections for this week.

Note: Corrected Parlay after astute football guru Dustdog spotted an error.

Date:October 28-30


Must WinOpponent
UTEPFlorida Atlantic

Must WinOpponent
Michigan St.Michigan

Must WinOpponent
Notre DameNorth Carolina

Must WinOpponent
Central FloridaTemple
Kansas St.TCU
RiceNorth Texas

Must WinOpponent
Utah St.Hawaii
San Jose St.Wyoming

September 15, 2021

PiRate Picks For September 16-20, 2021

After a swing and a miss on opening week of the football season, last week we went two for two with big wins. Not only did we win both of our Money Line Parlays, we mentioned a first week NFL system that has worked well over the course of a couple of decades. We told you that even though we are only issuing Money Line Parlays this year, that playing the NFL underdogs of 1/2 to 3 points in Week 1 was a winning proposition. There were seven such underdogs last week, and playing them and the points went 5-2.

For the year, our pretend bank account has wagered pretend money on four games, $400 at $100 per wager, and we have received $604.56 in return from the pretend book. That’s a return on investment of 51.14%.

Now, the pressure is on to keep that profit and not give it back to the imaginary book. We begin including NFL games this week, and we have chosen four different parlays, each with more than +120 odds. Additionally, we are doing something we have only done three or four times in the last decade–combine a college game and NFL game into a parlay. We are number’s enthusiasts here on the PiRate ship, so sometimes we are left with orphan numbers needing to go to a matchmaking service. Combining college and pro football games into a hopeful match is rare for us, but there is no real reason not to do it. We just like to know at 1 AM on Sundays whether we won or not.

Enjoy these four parlays, but remember that these are for entertainment purposes only. We strongly urge you not to wager real money on these picks unless you have done your own research, and this feature merely verifies your own findings.

This Week’s Money Line Parlays

Sept 16-20


Must WinOpponent
Kansas St.Nevada
TroySouthern Miss.

Must WinOpponent
Mississippi St.Memphis

Must WinOpponent
LA RamsIndianapolis
Kansas CityBaltimore

Must WinOpponent

September 8, 2021

PiRate Picks For September 9-13, 2021

Last week’s opening picks missed, as Virginia Tech made Sam Howell look like Thurston Howell. Duke then failed to show up against Charlotte, and poof, our two picks were destroyed. Such is life when you wager on parlays that return the odds we look for when we place our imaginary wagers.

We have two more picks returning some fat odds this week, and maybe we’ll get lucky and hit on one. We will also tell you a week 1 tip for the NFL. Although we are here just for Money Line Parlays this year, it doesn’t mean we cannot give out a little interesting information.

Here are our two Money Line Parlays for Week two of the college season. We will eventually pick some NFL games, but Week one is not the time and place for that.

Parlay 1

Must WinOpponent

Parlay 2

Must WinOpponent
Mississippi St.North Carolina St.

Here’s our tip for Week 1 of the NFL season. Underdogs of 1 to 3 points tend to win outright 50% of the time, but they also lose by less than 3 points another 8-10% of the time. That’s 58-60% success for wagering on 3-point Underdogs.

There are seven games as of this writing with a 3-point spread. The Dogs are:

Houston against Jacksonville

Arizona against Tennessee

Philadelphia against Atlanta

Indianapolis against Seattle

Cincinnati against Minnesota

Miami against New England

N.Y. Giants against Denver

August 26, 2021

PiRate Picks For August 28, 2021

Welcome to all the newcomers to the PiRate Ratings site for the 2021-2022 football season. Saturday, we have the fortune of having a dress rehearsal for the college football season. Nine FBS teams will be in action, as one FBS team plays an FCS opponent.

The PiRate Ratings enjoy issuing picks against the spread or money line on Thursdays each week until January. Because we are most concerned with Money Line Parlays, there are only five options to combine games this week, and many of the books do not issue a line for FBS vs. FCS games. So, in a quest to obtain the best odds, there really are just four games.

This presents multiple issues that basically make it close to impossible to issue a real wager, because the options don’t fit our paradigm. Let’s take a look.

First, before we get started, you must know and understand one thing. We offer these selections purely for the fun of it. It is math and not gambling to us. We NEVER bet on sports. We play with a pretend bankroll that never runs out. We wager the same amount of fake currency on every selection–$100. It could just as easily be $5, $10, $1000, $5000, whatever, but $100 is an easy number and typical of many wagers in real life.

Second, we urge you with everything we can say about it to NOT use this weekly feature as betting advice, unless you have legitimate advice or are a professional, and then this becomes a secondary reference.

Third, we hunt around for the best possible odds on our pretend wagers. You may or may not be able to find the same odds we do, because you would have to search at the exact same time we do. Because, we are not limited to just the legal books available to us in our state of Tennessee, where betting is legal, we might pick a parlay based on a sports book that is only for people in Nevada, or New Jersey, or even off shore.

Okay, now that you know the ground rules, here is our specialty–Money Line Parlays. The money line is different from the spread of a game, but the number is the equivalent of a spread. If a team is favored by 7 points, their money line is going to be roughly -330, and if a team is a 7-point underdog, their money line is going to be roughly +250.

How does a Money Line work? If the line is a negative number, if you wager the amount of the negative number and win, you will receive $100 plus the amount you wagered. So, if you wager on a team at -300, and you bet $300, if the bet wins, you will get back $400 (your investment money plus $100). If you lose, you are out the $300. On the other hand, if the line is a positive number, you can win that amount of money with a $100 wager. So, if the line on a team is +300, you can wager $100, and if the team wins, you receive $400 (your investment money plus $300).

In Money Line wagers, all that matters is that the team you picked wins the game, be it by 1 point or 63 points. Obviously, if Alabama is playing Mercer, the odds are going to be such that to win $100, you will have to put up maybe $100,000. So, if you bet $100 on Alabama at -100000, when Alabama wins, you receive $100.01. Would you risk $100,000 to win one penny?

When you wager on more than one money line to win as one bet, this is called a parlay. Let’s say that you like Mississippi State to beat Arkansas and Oklahoma State to beat Texas Tech. Mississippi State’s money line number is -275. Oklahoma State’s money line number is -250. By combining these two wagers into one bet, with $100 riding on the outcome, instead of attempting to win a little more than $36 on MSU and $40 on OSU, by combining the two games into a parlay, you stand to win almost $91 if both teams win. If you bet them individually, you would only win $76, so by combining the two, you win $15 more. Of course, if one team wins and the other loses, your losses would be less by playing the games separately.

The question you most likely wanted to ask while reading the above paragraph is, “Why risk playing two separate games that both teams you selected must win and still not get even money?” Did you ask it? The answer to that question is, “You are correct; why wager $100 to just win $91 and then have to be right twice to cash it?” You can bet a regular game against the spread and get 11-10 odds, just a fraction better than the odds of the parlay above.

The ultimate answer is that we are only looking for parlays that pay better than even money. We really don’t want to play any parlays at less than +120 odds, where we would win $6 for every $5 wagered.

The next question you might have is, “Isn’t finding two teams to win and pay off at +120 going to require me to bet an underdog to win outright?”

Our answer to you is, “Yes, but we don’t look for many two-team money line parlays. Let’s take a look at another example with three teams.

Let’s say that we believe that Washington will beat Oregon State, and the money line is -260.

We also believe that Army will beat Temple, and the money line is -240.

And, we believe that Wisconsin will beat Purdue, and the money line is -250.

If you wager $100 on these three teams to win, and all three teams win, your payout is just under $175 plus the $100 you wagered for almost $275 ($274.62 to be exact.)

Let’s take a look at 5 wagers, where we win two and lose three at these odds

We bet $500 at $100 for 5 wagers.

On the two winning wagers, we receive $275 * 2 or $550.

Invest $500 and win $550 by being right 40% of the time. In one week, we have made a 10% return on an investment. What investment on the Stock Market makes a 10% gain in one week after you have paid the commissions on the trip?

Ah, but here’s the rub: how often can you wager on 5 money line parlays that average +175 and win 40% of the parlays? Most people fall into this trap and only win about one of five of these parlays. At 20% success, you lose $225 a week for a 45% loss. Now, where can you loses 45% in the stock market in one week? We put our real money in high-cap value stocks with durable competitive advantages, long histories of consistent increases in earnings, and long histories of consistent dividend payouts. The pretend money is just fine for football wagering.

By now, you want to know who we are picking in Week 0 of the college football season. Maybe, you have figured it out already. We don’t have any official picks this week, because there are not enough games to come up with a parlay better than +120.

Here is a practice parlay that is not an official pick, but shown here to show you what we mean.

The three games involved are: Nebraska versus Illinois, UCLA versus Hawaii, and UTEP versus New Mexico St.

Let’s say that we think Illinois will upset the Cornhuskers, UCLA will take care of Hawaii, and UTEP will win the big rivalry game.

Here are the three Money Lines for these three games.

Illinois +215 vs. Nebraska

UCLA -875 vs. Hawaii

UTEP -390 vs. New Mexico St.

This parlay calculates to +341. If we wager $100 on this game, and Illinois, UCLA, and UTEP all win, we receive $441 in our account (The $100 we wagered plus the $341 on the win).

Why isn’t this an official pick? We believe that Illinois might have been an excellent pick against the spread when the Illinois-Nebraska game spread opened at -9 1/2. But, it has come down to -6 1/2 as of this writing. Sharp money was wagers on Illinois +9 1/2, and also on Nebraska -6 1/2. A three-point middling is too good to be true. Playing both sides, the Sharps only need to have the game win both sides one out of every 19 times (5.26%) to make a profit. The spreads of 7, 8, and 9 account for 10.8% of all FBS college football games. That’s double the amount needed to make a profit. The key is the Sharps can find these spreads when they open. Also, playing the opening lines is the most effective way to win for a Sharp.

The UTEP-New Mexico State game is the biggest issue in this parlay. One axiom that older Sharps believe in is not to rely on a losing program to have to win for you to win. The Miners are probably a 3-9 team, which is almost a good year for this program. The Aggies are really weak and should be an underdog in every game, but this is their big rival, maybe bigger than playing New Mexico. The I-10 rivalry frequently is a tossup game.

Two out of three of these games are iffy. The chances that Illinois pulls off the upset of Nebraska are not good enough to have faith in this parlay winning. Scott Frost is in deep cow poo if the Cornhuskers don’t win at least six games and earn a bowl bid, and losing to the weakest Big Ten team will turn the heater on in his heated seat. This will be Bret Bielema’s first game as Illinois head coach, and he brought in an offensive coordinator that runs a system totally different from what the Illini ran under Lovie Smith. Expect growing pains.

We hope this gets you pumped for next week, when there will be more than enough games to play some parlays.

August 11, 2021

It’s Football Time!

The PiRate Ship arrived at the port today. Our College PiRate Ratings, The PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings to be exact, are ready to go public. As we expected, the top teams in the nation are more experienced as a whole than they were last year, but a large majority of FBS teams are more experienced. In fact, as we hinted earlier this Summer, the total amount of college football experience and average age is at its highest since the late 1940s, when the G.I. Bill allowed former collegians to return from the War and resume their lives where it was before the War.

Because the weakest teams will be better than they have been in normal years, and because our ratings must average 100.0, since 100 is par, that means that the preseason top 10 will have lower then normal power ratings to begin the 2021 season.

As we do every year, we will begin Friday reviewing one conference per day until Monday, February 23. We will start with the weakest conference by average PiRate Ratings, ending with the strongest conference on the 23rd. Here’s the schedule:

Friday, August 13: Conference USA

Saturday, August 14: Mid-American Conference

Sunday, August 15: The FBS Independents

Monday, August 16: Mountain West Conference

Tuesday, August 17: Sun Belt Conference

Wednesday, August 18: American Athletic Conference

Thursday, August 19: Atlantic Coast Conference

Friday, August 20: Big Ten Conference

Saturday, August 21: Pac-12 Conference

Sunday, August 22: Big 12 Conference

Monday, August 23: Southeastern Conference

Later on Monday, August 23, we will post our opening college spreads for Week 0.

July 20, 2021

Adjusting Teams Due To The Transfer Portal

The Transfer Portal Giveth And Taketh Away

Like a lord of the gridiron, the new transfer portal has wreaked havoc on the overall landscape of college football.  We have recently completed updating the effect on the PiRate Ratings for all the transfers that have both left a former school and chosen a new destination for 2021.  Among those that have entered the transfer portal, there are a handful of point spread-moving talents that have not officially chosen a new school.  A trio of what we call 15+ talents on a rating scale of 0-20 are leaning to schools but have yet to officially sign.  These players will affect our ratings when they do sign.

The PiRate Ratings adjusted the talent levels of the teams by considering the players entering the Transfer Portal like they were graduating seniors.  As for the entry to a new team, the field had to be taken on a case by case basis.  The players that played 1 to 4 games last year are classified as redshirt players and rated as such.  There are others that redshirted without playing any games last year, and they are rated a little differently than the 1-4 game players.  We take these 0-game players, and if they rate 15 or above in talent, they become the equivalent of a hot freshman expected to contribute immediately, like Trevor Lawrence or Hershel Walker.

For the rest of the group of experienced college players, we consider these as regular talent added at what we consider full strength.  If a defensive end that started for a Power Conference team last year or the year before becomes a starter at a new Power Conference team, the new team is graded like the new player is a returning starter, which is optimal for the team.  If the Power Conference starter moves to a Group of 5 team, there is a bonus score if that player is expected to be the starter.

All transfers are not only rated for their talent, but there is a positional adjustment as well.  The starting QB from a Power 5 team is a little more important than the starting punter.  We use the accepted advanced metric positional hierarchy used in pro football and put our own stamp on it;  the hierarchy goes:

  1. Quarterback
  2. Top Outside Pass Rusher (DE or OLB)
  3. Blind-side Tackle (Left tackle for Right-hand QB)
  4. Top Cover Cornerback
  5. #1 Wide Receiver
  6. Defensive Tackle
  7. Running Back
  8. #2 Outside Pass Rusher (DE or OLB)
  9. Middle/Inside Linebacker
  10. Tight End
  11. Free Safety
  12. Weakside Linebacker (or Nickel Back)
  13. Right Tackle (or LT for left-handed QB)
  14. #2 Cornerback
  15. Right Guard
  16. #2 Wide Receiver
  17. Center
  18. Strong Safety
  19. Strongside Linebacker
  20. Left Guard
  21. Nose Tackle
  22. #3 Wide Receiver
  23. Kicker
  24. Punter
  25. Return Specialist

It isn’t exactly cut and dry, as we have to analyze each team to see if their style of play is a pro-style.  For teams that run the option, either from the spread or with a QB under center, the positional adjustment is a bit different.  What it adds up to is a lot of extra work, but without this work, the preseason power ratings would be too inaccurate to be useful.  

Let’s look at an example of a couple of teams that have seen their historical preseason power rating altered by the Transfer Portal.  

The Auburn Tigers have a new coaching staff with Bryan Harsin coming in from Boise State.  Harsin hired two gems as his coordinators, both with extensive SEC experience.  Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo and Defensive Coordinator Derek Mason are like having two extra head coaches on staff, and this generates a movement in the preseason rating.  But, we must also count the positives that former head coach Gus Malzahn and Kevin Steele brought to Auburn and make a coaching adjustment score from the January Citrus Bowl to the start of this season.  

Now, take a look at the key transfers for Auburn as the 2021 season nears.  Wide receiver Hal Presley left for Baylor.  He’s a redshirt freshman who played 0 games last year.  

Big Cat Bryant had three QB sacks, an interception, a couple of QB hurries, and 17 tackles at his defensive tackle position.  His leaving to join Malzahn at Central Florida is a bigger loss than Presley as it applies to week 1 of the 2021 season.  

Daquan Newkirk is a senior for the second year and put up similar numbers to Bryant, while being able to play both defensive tackle and defensive end.  His loss to SEC rival Florida hurts the Tigers a tad more.  

Running back D.J. Williams was only Auburn’s third option last year, but he has some worth.  If you follow the game rabidly like we do, you might remember Williams putting a hurt on #1 LSU two years ago, as his 150+ total yards led to Auburn almost knocking off the eventual national champion.  Florida State will get more out of him than Auburn would this year.

Safety Chris Thompson, Jr. was a freshman who saw action in enough games to be considered a sophomore in experience, but he will still be a freshman at his new school, USC.  Thompson rates as a 16 on our talent scale, so he counts like adding a Trevor Lawrence or Hershel Walker freshman to the Trojans.

These five players are the five that can actually move a team’s rating by more than 0.3 points, and together, the quintet reduces Auburn’s overall positional-adjusted talent score by 177 basis points.

Now let’s look at the key players that Auburn gained through the Portal.  We count seven players as being talented enough to improve the War Eagles’ point spread by 0.3 or more points.

They picked up a talented all-star safety from FCS Southeast Missouri in Bydarrius Knighten, who has NFL potential and needs to showcase his talents on the big stage.

Knighten will be joined by a former SEC starting safety in Vanderbilt’s Donovan Kaufman.  Kaufman played just two games in 2020 before a medical issue forced the freshman’s season to end.  He reunites with his former coach and should compete for a starting job at safety and as a return specialist.  Having two safeties with this amount of talent come on board awards a little bonus for the defensive backfield.

We aren’t done with the secondary just yet.  The best transfer of the defensive backfield is former West Virginia starting cornerback Dreshun Miller, a graduate 5th year player.  He started multiple games inside Big 12 play as well as having an excellent career at Eastern Arizona Junior College.

Staying on the defensive side, Auburn adds Kansas defensive end Marcus Harris.  Harris started multiple games for the Jayhawks last year and in 8 games, he had 7 ½ tackles for loss.  

Now, on the offensive side of the ball, there are a lot of specialized calculations to make because Auburn picked up a quarterback with starting experience in the SEC.  T.J. Finley comes to the Plains from LSU, where he started after Myles Brennan was lost for the year.  However, Auburn still has two-year regular Bo Nix as their expected starter just before August practices commence.  There should be a heated race for the starting job in the Bobo offense, but Nix will most likely be taking the snaps when Auburn hosts Akron on September 4.  Finley’s contribution might be limited, but on the other hand, if he wins the battle to start, he might be the most significant addition to the team.  It leaves us having to consider many possibilities before arriving at a score for Finley.

Redshirt freshman Jordan Ingram returns to the state where he was a star running back in high school after not seeing action at Central Michigan last year.  Ingram is not expected to see a great deal of action with Auburn’s top two running backs returning, but he’s talented enough to make a positive contribution.

Finally, there is journeyman wide receiver Demetris Robertson.  He’s the most difficult player in the entire Portal to grade.  Starting from the beginning, Robertson was a 5-star recruit and the top receiver in his recruiting class when he committed to Alabama as a highschool senior.  He ended up signing with California and shredded the Pac-12 as a true freshman.  He suffered an injury as a sophomore and played in just two games.  He then transferred to Georgia, where he was somewhat of a disappointment the last two seasons.  He was expected to be a fourth receiver for the Bulldogs before transferring to Auburn two weeks ago.  There’s another big issue though; he’s facing multiple felony charges, which may be why he entered the Portal near the deadline, because University of Georgia rules may have forced his ineligibility.  If Robertson can play a full season for Auburn, he will contribute to the Bobo offense.  But, he may never get a chance to play a game!  That’s a large subset of possibilities to calculate into the preseason equation.

All told, the incoming players on Auburn’s Transfer Portal list sum to 258 basis points with the defensive backfield bonus included.  Factor in the loss of 177 basis points from the players transferring out, and you get a surplus of 81 basis points improvement through the transfer portal.  Using our talent algorithm, Auburn expects to gain 4.1 power rating points in this area. 

For example number two, let’s inspect Oklahoma without delving into all the plot twists we showed you with Auburn.

Oklahoma lost seven players that will negatively affect their talent score by enough points to matter.  Additionally, at two positions, they lost multiple players to the Portal.  Safety Brendan Radley-Hiles had 115 career tackles in his time in Norman, while hybrid safety/linebacker Robert Barnes took four years of experience to Colorado.  Wide Receiver Jalin Conyers did not play as a freshman but he has NFL potential at Wide Receiver or Tight End and might eventually cost Oklahoma more down the road than they will in September of this year.  Losing wide receiver Charleston Rambo will hurt the Sooners in week one. Not affecting Oklahoma at all for 2021 is former tight end Grant Calcaterra, who retired from football at the end of 2019 after multiple concussions, but he un-retired and transferred to Auburn before the coaching change saw him transfer again to SMU.

The Sooners lost a 4-star tackle to Louisiana-Monroe in Stacey Wilkins.  Wilkins has not played for the Sooners, and his loss will be felt down the road, but it will be just the minimum to matter in 2021.  

Finally, there is quarterback Tanner Mordecai.  The fourth year sophomore was going to be a spectator watching All-American Spencer Rattler lead the Sooners, so Mordecai joined Calcaterra at SMU.  This has potential to affect Oklahoma should Rattler suffer an injury.  The #2 QB at a passing school is as important as the #2, #3, and #4 running backs at a running school.

The total loss in basis points for Oklahoma is 272, which is enough to affect the outcome of a game or two before we look at who the Sooners picked up.  The five players that transferred into Norman are the best quintet in the nation.  Former Tennessee running back Eric Gray and former LSU running back Kevontre Bradford, who has speed in the Chris Johnson CJ2K range, gives the Sooners a national top five running back corps when you add former starter Kennedy Brooks.  The Sooners’ running game combined with Rattler’s passing ability into a possible 45-points per game offense.

There is one more offensive stalwart to add to the mix, as former 5-star tackle recruit Wanya Morris started for two years at Tennessee and should step in and start at the all-important blind-side tackle.  Oklahoma’s potential to average 45 ppg may also come with consistency.

The defense added safety Key Lawrence, the third former Tennessee Vol to matriculate to Oklahoma.  Lawrence saw considerable action on defense and special teams as a true freshman last year.  He will do so for Oklahoma in 2021.

All told, the Sooners gain 200 basis points from incoming transfers, and combining it with the 272 lost, the net change is -72 basis points on transfers alone.  This equals about 3.9 points lost in power rating.

Some of the teams expected to profit the most off the Transfer portal in 2021 include: Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, Miami (Fla.), Penn State, SMU, South Carolina, Texas Tech, UCLA, USC,   Teams that lost considerable talent include: Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Memphis, Tennessee, and Texas.

This adjustment makes up just one part of a multiple part adjustment to the power ratings for each of the 130 FBS teams.  In the case of Clemson losing 245 basis points of talent, fear not for the Tigers.  They still have more than enough talent and added enough from past recruiting classes to make it back to the College Football Playoffs in 2021-2022.

June 15, 2021

2021 College Football Season Historically Before It Happens

Hello out there in Pigskinville, especially all of our super fans of the Southeastern Conference. The PiRates have left the harbor in our vessel for 2021, hoping it will get us out into the shipping lanes for the 2021-2022 football season.

Needless to say, this has been the most difficult Spring for updating college football ratings in the 52 years that the ratings have existed. To be more exact, the PiRate Ratings have been utilizing the same formulas with off-season updates since 1996, as pre-Internet, our system was quite a bit more spartan in calculations. Since 1996, off-season updating has been a mechanical process that involved about 8 weeks of working an average of 20 hours per week in the early mornings and evenings, or roughy 160 hours to update 130 teams.

That dastardly little virus totally fouled up the process last year. At first, just a few dozen teams committed to playing a season. Then, it jumped to 76 then 90-something, and finally 127 of the 130 teams played football, even if they only played five games. Then, in the Spring the FCS played a season, but FBS Independent New Mexico State played two FCS games, getting blown out by Tarleton State and barely edging a fledgling program in Dixie State.

The question became, “How do we update teams that played between 0 and 12 games, including three teams that did not play, one of which played two FCS Spring games and trailed one of those teams 40-7 less than a minute into the second half?

Just coming up with an alternate one-year re-calculation that could be applied to our mechanical updating system took most of the Month of April, and applying the one-year substitute formulas in a process that maintained a level statistical playing field gobbled up all of May through Memorial Day weekend.

Alas, by June 5, we had the process finalized. However, acquiring the stats from all 130 FBS schools took another 10 days, with the acquisition of team #130, U Mass, coming this morning.

Now, the hard work begins today in earnest. At two teams per weekday, one in the early morning and one in the evening and four teams per weekend day, it will take a little over 7 weeks to finalize the preseason ratings for the 2021 college football season. Thus, we expect to be ready by August 10 and should begin our previews around Saturday, August 14 through 24. The season kicks off Saturday, August 28, with what is being called, “Week 0.”

The 2021 season is going to be somewhat like the 1946-1949 seasons. World War II led to many war veterans playing college football well into their 20’s. Oklahoma’s 1949 had more war veterans over the age of a normal college senior than they had correct age underclassmen. The Sooners won 31 games in a row during this era, and multiple players commented that playing football was much easier than fighting a war. That 1949 Sooner team could have had a speedy back from Commerce, OK, on the roster, but Mickey Mantle chose to play baseball after visiting Norman on a recruiting trip and discovering that there were men in the locker room, meaning he would see little action until they finally graduated about the time their children were entering grade school.

Because the NCAA granted an extra year for all college football players, the teams will be considerably more mature, both physically and mentally. Add into this equation the rule that has allowed all players a free transfer, and all of a sudden, the transfer list is more important than the freshmen recruiting list and maybe more important than the two year old recruiting list, or players ready to contribute. A relatively new stat that sort of mimics what we have been doing for several years is the returning production ratings made by Billy Connelly, now at ESPN. We don’t know how Billy plans to adjust his ratings, but the PiRates are giving considerable weight to transfers that expect to see extensive playing time. For instance, in less than 48 hours, Georgia picked up two transfers that figure to be major contributors. They previously had two other top-rated transfers. These four players make Georgia almost a full touchdown better than they would be using just returning production. Now, toss into this equation that a couple of point-changing transfers are still undecided on a 2021 team, and the possibility probability that some player or players will make an eleventh hour decision to transfer just before August practices commence, and we will be updating the updated ratings all summer. Our ratings are based on 100.0 being par. With 130 teams playing, the total for each of our three different ratings adds to 13,000. If a team is adjusted, then 129 other teams must adjust by a minute amount. By August, usually 15-20 teams have to be adjusted due to players leaving or entering programs at the last minute. That leads not to 15-20 updates but 15-20 updates of 130 teams.

We hope that our ratings continue to be as accurate as possible. In the past five years, our ratings have remained in the top 10% of all computer football ratings at the Prediction Tracker. Almost every year since we have been part of the Prediction Tracker, our ratings have finished in the top 5 against the Spread and for the all-important Mean Square Error, which basically calculates how close our spreads came to the actual margins. However, we suspect that the opening month of the college football season this year is going to be much more unpredictable than past seasons. We expect many of the computer ratings to begin the season behind the eight ball as the incredible amount of variables affect the game. Hopefully, our unique way of updating our ratings, with the extra attention to the transfer market along with the overall experience of teams that will have multiple six-year personnel, will allow us to get off to a fast start.

Through the years, we have given you our best advice toward football wagering–just don’t do it! At least, we ask that you do not use the PiRate Ratings as your source for gambling your mortgage payment away to corporations that build castles to the clouds in Nevada. We expect the underdogs to cover the spread more than typical in the first two weeks of the college season, unless the books lower lines and find enough people to wrongly choose the favorite. If you have the ability to wager early before the season commences and then play the other side in games where the lines appreciably move, you might be able to find some hot middles to play. Unless you know in advance which lines are likely to move by more than three points, it isn’t going to help you. But, if you have State U at -6 1/2 against Tech and wager on State U on August 12, and then on game week three weeks later, the line has moved to 9 1/2, and you can put the same wager amount on Tech, if you can find three or more of these games, this might be the year to play middles on the opening weekend. Still, we ask you to use some other means as your research if you must donate to Nevada corporations.

There is a group in the Caribbean that uses our ratings as a major part of their gaming selections. However, they have a large computer program that analyzes the spreads and our ratings, knowing when to play a minimal number of games that their program says to wager. They hit over 60% success against the spread, but their method is not possible to utilize unless you can immediately wager on certain line movements at an offshore book. There is also the issue of not just winning from an offshore book; you have to be able to collect from them as well, and some of them are hesitant to allow this.

We look forward to providing you with weekly entertainment. Expect the first conference ratings, preview, and predictions to publish around August 14. Thank you for your support.

If you are a tabletop baseball fan, our Sabertooth Baseball Games have been bases-clearing doubles down the line this Spring. We have an advanced version of great teams of all 16 franchises between 1920 and 1959, and we have a simpler, quicker playing game of all 20 franchises in existence in the early and mid-60’s, with teams between 1959 and 1972. Click on the link below for more information.

January 10, 2021

NCAA FBS Football Championship Spreads

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , — piratings @ 2:34 pm
Jan 11Championship
AlabamaOhio St.
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