The Pi-Rate Ratings

July 30, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Football Update

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , — piratings @ 2:57 pm

Since we last posted, there have been considerable changes to the 2020 college football landscape.  We waited to hear what the Southeastern Conference planned to do before deciding what we would do on the PiRate Ship.  Obviously, we are sailing in uncharted waters, and we don’t know where this ship will be sailing in the next four months.

Here is where we are today as far as what we plan to do.  We will soon be finished with our preseason ratings.  This has been quite difficult, as we update the ratings from the end of the previous season by adjusting the power ratings up or down based on the changes to the depth chart between the final month of the last season and the Spring Outlook depth chart after Spring Practice concludes and Spring games have been played.

That dastardly Covid-19 virus attacked the landlubbers at the beginning of Spring practice.  Some schools had as much as a week of practice.  Some had just one or two practices.  Some had no Spring practice.  All 130 did not issue the media publications we really need to determine how much stronger and weaker each team should be based on who returns, who departs, and who will contribute of new players, be from transfers or in most cases redshirt freshmen and sophomores.

As a substitute, we have been reading a lot of online information trying to see who is back and who isn’t.  In many cases, we have to look at who started in November, December, and January, and then perform personal searches for each player to make sure they are still on the team.

Normally, we would be finished with the base ratings and be ready to plug them in our algorithms and have a raw PiRate, Mean, and Bias rating for each team.  We have 27 more teams to go before we will be able to do so.

The plan is to take two weeks in August and do nothing but work on those final teams to get ready and then to comb the Internet for as much information as we can to see what players are opting out or moving late when their particular team does not plan to play in the Fall.

We admit up front that our early season ratings could be all over the map, or they could be too conservative.  We just don’t know until we get there.  Hopefully by the end of the year, the ratings will return to some form of normalcy, even if we have no inter-conference games to compare a team like Clemson with a team like Oklahoma or Oregon.

Our schedule is up in the air as to when we will post the initial ratings for the season.  We can tell you that there will be no previews this year, just the ratings release.  We hope to be able to then issue weekly ratings and spreads for all the games.  We really hope that the schedules don’t change two days before a kickoff like the Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Yankees have already seen happen in baseball.  But, we will take whatever comes and try to do our best this year.

Thank You from all the Pirates on board the old schooner.

November 20, 2019

Special Editorial–Vanderbilt Football Conundrum

American University, Boston University, Long Beach State University, The University of Denver, the University of Detroit, George Washington University, Marquette University, New York University, St. John’s University, Saint Joseph’s University, The University of San Francisco, Santa Clara University, Seton Hall University, and Xavier University are smaller colleges that at one time fielded intercollegiate football programs and then saw Pro Football support chip away just enough of their fan base to make football too expensive to continue to finance at the major college level.

The University of Chicago was once a member of what is now called the Big Ten Conference, and their star back Jay Berwanger won the first Heisman Trophy.  The Maroons won the Big Ten Conference (then called The Western Conference) seven times under legendary coach Amos Alonzo Stagg.

The University of Dayton was a division 1 football program into the mid 1970’s, and as late as the 1960’s, the Flyers were beating Louisville and Cincinnati.  They played a lot of teams from the Mid-American Conference and won a good share of those contests.  Dayton is in the Cincinnati market for those not geographically interested.

The University of Denver won three championships in the Skyline Conference, which is the league that sowed the seeds for today’s Mountain West Conference.  As late as their final season in college football, 1960, the Pioneers were beating Washington State and Colorado State.  DU once dominated programs like Brigham Young, Utah, New Mexico, and San Jose St.  When the Broncos were born in 1960, the Pioneers football program ended.

The University of Detroit played Big Ten and SEC opponents into the early 1960’s, and the Titans beat teams like Boston College, Cincinnati, Tulsa, and Oklahoma State in the 1950’s.  Support for UD football waned as the Detroit Lions’ support increased.

Duquesne University played teams like Alabama, Florida, Clemson, North Carolina, and Mississippi State into the 1950s.  The Dukes finished in the top 10 in 1939, having beaten former number one Pittsburgh in a battle of the Steel City.

George Washington was a member of the Southern Conference when that league was still Division 1 and included teams like West Virginia.  The Colonials went to the Sun Bowl, beating home town favorite Texas Western (UTEP) 13-0.  GWU played SEC teams into the 1960s and competed in some of those games.

In the late 1950’s, Marquette’s schedule was more difficult then than most FBS teams today.  The Golden Eagles, then known as the Warriors, played teams like Oklahoma State, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Boston College, TCU, Arizona State, and Penn State.  MU actually went to the Cotton Bowl in the mid 1930’s.

Saint Mary’s, Santa Clara, and San Francisco all played Division 1 football into the early 1950’s.  SMC was strong enough to play a bowl-bound Georgia team to a tie in 1950.  The Gaels also beat Oregon that year.  Santa Clara went to the Orange Bowl in 1950 and beat a Bear Bryant-coached Kentucky team that had the great Babe Parilli at quarterback.  They had recent wins over Oklahoma and Stanford prior to beating Kentucky.  San Francisco had one of the greatest players of all time in Ollie Matson, who enjoyed a lengthy pro career with four NFL teams.  USF was 9-0 in 1951, their final year playing football.

All of these programs were once major college teams.  Most of these schools are private and small.  Another thing all of these schools have in common is they are located in cities where pro football eventually became the dominant sport in town, and these small, private schools lost too much of their support to sustain their programs.  

The Washington Redskins were in Boston before moving to the nation’s capital.  After they arrived, American University  and George Washington University lost a lot of their support, as fans chose Sammy Baugh over the old college try.

The University of Chicago lost most of its support when the Chicago Bears became the Monsters of the Midway and began winning big in the NFL.

The University of Detroit stopped getting support when Bobby Layne made the Detroit Lions the hot ticket in the Motor City.  Duquesne stopped getting crowds when the Steelers took over the market, and even though the Steelers were not good until 1972, DU couldn’t compete with the much larger University of Pittsburgh in town.

Marquette lost too much support when Vince Lombardi became head coach of the Green Bay Packers.  Back then, Green Bay played half of their home games in Milwaukee’s County Stadium.

The San Francisco 49ers were part of the upstart All-American Football Conference.  When the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts, and 49ers merged into the NFL in 1950, it marked the death knell for the smaller private college football programs in the Bay Area.  California and Stanford survived but lost a lot of fans, but Saint Mary’s, Santa Clara, and San Francisco could not survive.

Denver and Dayton, along with Xavier, were cities where the American Football League came to town and in a couple of years had become as popular as the NFL, maybe more popular to younger football fans like me, who chose the pass-happy AFL over the conservative NFL.

What am I getting at by this long introduction?  As someone that has lived in Nashville for most of my six decades, I have watched Vanderbilt University struggle to compete in college football for the last 60 years.  The Commodores have never been a factor in the SEC since I was born.  Vandy had been a dominant program in the South through the 1920’s, and as late as 1937, the black and gold came within minutes of winning the SEC and going to the Rose Bowl, only to lose 9-7 to Alabama in the final game.

In 1948, the great Grantland Rice, a Vanderbilt alum, wrote in his national column at the end of the year that Vanderbilt was the best team in the nation.  That Commodore squad caught fire at halftime of the Kentucky game.  Sporting a record of 0-2-1 and trailing Kentucky 7-6, then Coach Henry “Red” Sanders blew his top in the locker room at the half.  Vanderbilt came out in the second half and destroyed a good Kentucky team 26-7.  Vandy followed it up with seven consecutive wins, all of them blowout victories, to finish 8-2-1.  They were invited to the 1949 Orange Bowl to play Georgia, but the Bulldogs had the right to refuse Vandy as part of a contractual agreement with the SEC Champions being allowed to choose their Orange Bowl opponent.  Georgia voted to play a much weaker Texas team, and the joke was on the Bulldogs, as Texas didn’t take kindly to being considered fodder.  The Longhorns hooked the Bulldogs.

In the 1950’s, under Coach Art Guepe, Vanderbilt completed a 5-year string where their worst record was 5-5.  Included in that run, the 1955 team went 8-3 with a Gator Bowl win over Auburn.  The 1955 to 1959 record was a combined 28-16-6.  Their last game of the 1950’s was a 14-0 win over Tennessee in Knoxville that kept the Vols out of a bowl.

Something happened in 1960 that forever changed Vanderbilt’s chances to compete in the SEC.  Beginning in 1960, and becoming more liberalized for the next four seasons, the NCAA changed the rules on substitution.  Through the 1950’s, college football was one platoon football.  In other words, a team’s starting eleven on offense was also its starting eleven on defense.  Centers became linebackers. Halfbacks became defensive halfbacks.  Often, a team’s quarterback was its free safety and basically defensive quarterback.  The change in rules started with one that allowed teams to remove their quarterback from having to play on defense.  By 1964, football was 100% two platoon.  Nobody had to start on both sides of the ball any more.  Teams could basically substitute at will on every play.

At the same time, another rule changed the game.  With one platoon football, coaches could not send a player into the game with the play call decided by coaches.  They could not use signals to try to relay a play call, as this resulted in a 15-yard penalty.  Thus, quarterbacks had to be their own offensive coordinators while their team had the ball and defensive coordinators when their team was on defense.,   

Under the one platoon rule, a team with 15 to 20 good players and a smart quarterback, like Don Orr, who could be a coach on the field could compete and even thrive.  By the 1960’s, to compete in major conferences like the SEC, a team needed 40 to 50 really good players, because teams with just 10-15 good players would be worn down by multiple substitutions.  This allowed players to beef up by 50 to 100 pounds, because they no longer needed to play 60 minutes.  

Vanderbilt stopped competing at the end of 1959.  Starting in 1960, with all the rules changes, other SEC schools could dominate the Commodores in most years just by numbers alone.  Tennessee could send three sets of offensive and defensive linemen into a game and see very little reduction in talent.  Georgia could send three sets of running backs into games against a Vanderbilt defense that did not have the depth to counter the move.  Thus, in many games over the next 25 years, Vandy could keep games close for a half and even into the third quarter, before they wore down and lost.

In the 1977 season, Vanderbilt led number one Oklahoma into the fourth quarter in Norman.  They were in a tossup game with Alabama.  They led LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Kentucky for large parts of the games before falling apart in the second half.  They lost all of those games and finished 2-9.

Brief interludes allowed Vanderbilt to post a couple of winning seasons overall.  Thanks to playing five “out of conference” games and just six conference games, the Commodores were able to go 5-0 outside of the SEC in both 1974 and 1975 and enjoy winning seasons.  The 1975 team went 7-4 but was outscored by almost two to one overall and more than three to one in conference games.  Only in 1982 did Vandy compete for the SEC championship.  

Under the genius of offensive coordinator Watson Brown, the Commodores became the first SEC team in over a dozen years to pass the ball more than they ran the ball.  Vandy threw the ball 40 to 50 times a game, and other teams were not ready with planned pass defense, as most defenses were still trying to stop the veer and wishbone offenses.  A fourth quarter collapse against number one Georgia led to the Bulldogs coming back to win.  Had Vandy hung on to win that game, they would have been SEC Champions and would have gone to the Sugar Bowl rather than the Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham.

After 1982, Vanderbilt did not post a winning season until they went 7-6 in 2008.  They have only enjoyed one other winning record in conference play, in 2012.  With the 2019 season concluding in two weeks for this year’s Commodores, and with a last place finish in the SEC East already assured, let’s look at some facts from the last 60 seasons of college football in Vandyville.

In 60 years:

Vanderbilt has finished with two winning records in the SEC, and they have finished in the top 5 of the league once.

Vanderbilt has finished in last place 32 out of 60 years and in second to last place another 18, meaning in 83.3%  of the time, Vandy has finished in last place or second to last place in the SEC.

Vanderbilt has finished SEC play without a conference win 19 different times and with one conference win 22 times.  That’s 68.3% of the time that they finished with zero or one conference win.

I could go on and on and show you how many times Vanderbilt finished last in offense and in defense in conference play, and how they once lost 33 consecutive SEC games, and so on.

Since 1998, Vanderbilt has had to share Nashville with the Tennessee Titans.  The Titans won the AFC and came within a yard of winning the Super Bowl in February of 2000.  They followed that up with the best record in the NFL in 2000 and players like Eddie George, Steve McNair, Albert Haynesworth, Frank Wycheck, and others became as famous in Nashville as Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, and Babe Ruth were in New York City.

Once the Titans owned the Nashville market, Vanderbilt football attendance fell off by large numbers.  Even in the days when Vanderbilt was a perennial last place team in the SEC, Vanderbilt Stadium was full or close to full with Vanderbilt fans.  During the 1980’s, Vanderbilt public address announcer Frank Crowell would yell through the microphone for the fans in the stands to “stand up and show your gold!”  The deafening roar was so loud that the SEC opponents began to complain to the SEC that Vanderbilt held an unfair advantage, and their players could not hear their quarterbacks’ signals.  As unfair as the sideline benches were at Vandy’s Memorial Gymnasium, watching other teams jump and lose five yards for illegal procedure over and over led to the league banning Crowell’s calling for 35,000+ Vandy fans to stand up and show their gold.

As Nashville has become America’s “It” city, and 100 people began moving to town every day, the city became a new melting pot in America.  What was once a nice metropolitan area of about a half million people morphed into a major metropolis of two million in very little time.  The newcomers that came to town brought their former allegiances with them, and in a typical Saturday, you can find more people watching Big Ten football games on TV in Middle Tennessee than going to Vanderbilt games.  On a typical Saturday around Noon, if you drive to establishments showing football, you will see many out of state license plates, especially those from Illinois, Michigan, and Texas.  

Vanderbilt Stadium only sells out now when the opposing team buys 35,000 or more tickets.  At the Georgia and LSU games this year, the visiting crowd was so loud that Vanderbilt had to use silent signals in their home stadium to avoid jumping on offense and losing five yards for illegal procedure.  

As Nashville continues to become the new Los Angeles, and the majority of the sports fans in Nashville turn more and more to professional sports and continue to fill sports bars to watch their Big Ten and Pac-12 games on Saturday, Vanderbilt Stadium will continue to see fewer and fewer local fans coming to cheer the black and gold.  Even though Vanderbilt’s stadium seats 40,000, and the next smallest stadium in the SEC seats more than 61,000, there are not enough living alumni in the Nashville area to fill up Vanderbilt Stadium.  Only about 24,000 Vandy alums live within 90 minutes of Dudley Field.  At every other SEC school, there are more local alums within 90 minutes of their much larger stadiums than there are seats.  In Nashville, there are more than 5,000 Auburn alums living in the area, and most of these 5,000 will be in a seat at Vanderbilt Stadium when the Tigers make their infrequent visits to Vandy.  Obviously, the University of Tennessee dwarfs Vanderbilt in alums in the Nashville area, but there are also Nashville area alumni clubs for schools like Alabama, Florida, and Kentucky that outnumber membership of the local Vanderbilt club.  Only a small minority of Vanderbilt alumni “waste time on sports,” according to one distinguished Vandy alum I know.

Malcolm Turner has given Derek Mason a vote of confidence and a guarantee that he will continue to serve as head football coach at Vanderbilt.  What few fans that are left, and this could be as few as a couple thousand, were mostly opposed to this move.  Local media in Nashville reacted like the citizens of Nashville might have reacted had Governor Isham G. Harris stated in 1861 that Tennessee would stay in the Union. 

Coach Mason is not the reason for Vanderbilt’s 60 year inconsequential existence in the SEC during the Autumn months.  There are layers and layers of reasons why the program has failed with small peaks and large valleys through the decades.  Mason was spot on when he spoke of the program moving in waves.  In actuality, as I told a friend of mine who then posted what I said on another website, Vanderbilt has been caught up in a six-decade Tsunami, and only briefly was the football team able to poke its head above water.

There are other reasons why Vanderbilt football stands to suffer in the next decade.  The school is becoming more select when choosing its student body.  At the present time, Vanderbilt admits just one out of every 12 applicants.  That is more select than half of the Ivy League schools.  However, I have heard from faculty members that the figure of 5% has been mentioned as a future acceptance rate of applicants.

Vanderbilt does not have a Physical Education major or anything close to this.  Any student-athlete enrolling in the school is going to study more hours a day than he gets to devote to football.  Even though there are a couple of programs that athletes have been funneled toward, these are not the proverbial “basket-weaving” courses that public universities have offered for years. 

In a typical year, the top 350 high school football recruits are 4-stars with the top 25 qualifying for 5-stars.  The top SEC programs typically sign 20 to 25 players that are rated as 4-stars or 5-stars.  The next tier of SEC programs typically sign 10-20 of these top recruits.  The rest of the league, not including Vanderbilt, signs around 5 to 10 of these elite athletes.  In most years, Vanderbilt does not sign even one.  Only 16, 4-star recruits have signed with Vanderbilt in the 21st Century, according to  No 5-star player has ever signed with Vanderbilt, and the school’s historically top two recruits both transferred to other schools during their collegiate careers when they figured out that the academic load and the poor results on the field were greatly reducing their draft stock. 

This year, three Vanderbilt offensive skill players chose to remain in school for their final seasons, when they all would have been second day draft picks had they chosen to go pro, and they would have walked down Lower Broadway in Nashville to crowds of more than 200,000 football fans at the NFL Draft.  Keyshawn Vaughn, Jared Pinkney, and Kalija Lipscomb have all seen their draft status weakened.  If they had another chance, they all would have likely declared for the NFL Draft or if possible would have become immediately eligible transfers elsewhere like Jalen Hurts at Oklahoma.  All three could have chosen to finish their careers at a place like Clemson or Oregon, where a future legendary pro quarterback was leading the offense.  How many catches might Pinkney or Lipscomb made with Trevor Lawrence or Justin Herbert throwing them the ball?  Imagine Vaughn playing in the backfield at Washington State, where Mike Leach could use a 1,000-yard running back who can also catch 50 passes out of the backfield.

This next part is strictly my opinion, but as a former coach of junior high and senior high basketball programs, I have seen reasons for why Vanderbilt football has ridden the so-called waves that Coach Mason speaks of.  Rather than describe the varying degrees of lack of success sprinkled with little teases of success, I would instead refer to the generations of America.  I am no Gertrude Stein, so I don’t tend to agree with the naming of the generations from the GI Generation through today’s Generation Z youth.  I have seen changes that require more than the generational tags that are famous today.  For instance, the so-called Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1955 are not the same as those like me born between 1956 and 1964.  I was just young enough to miss Vietnam, but just old enough to remember Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald on live television.  My philosophy of life differs from my first cousin born in 1954 who saw many friends burning draft cards and leaving the US for Canada to avoid the Draft, or who fought courageously and then came home to be treated like they were coaches that went 0-12 on the football field.

For competition purposes, I separate this current young generation into two sub-groups: “Everybody Gets A Trophy” and “Every Competition Must Be Won.”   There was a time when Generation Z children competing in sports played on teams that did not keep score or standings.  Every child was a winner and nobody was a loser, and everybody received a trophy.  As a former basketball coach with a winning percentage over 80% over the course of two decades, when this became the norm, I left coaching.  Teaching our youth to play to win while playing fair and playing with sportsmanship was important to me.  Competition is important with some limits.

In recent years, as I neared the start of my golden years, I have been volunteering for a local group of kids that need organized athletic activity.  This includes basketball, baseball, and other sports.  In addition after dark during the late Fall and Winter, these kids conclude their late afternoons indoors playing air hockey, ping pong, chess, and other games.

Enough of today’s kids have gone to the other extreme from the “Everybody Gets A Trophy Kids.”   These kids play like every event is as important as the gladiators of ancient Rome.  They play for blood, and if anybody gets in their way, there is heck to pay.  If these kids I mentor were to form a basketball team, without any encouragement from me, they would play with the intensity that Bob Knight’s Indiana teams played between 1973 and 1987.  Just last week, one of these kids, a young girl, lost in a game of around the world basketball shooting for the very first time in her life.  This child has the potential to be a basketball star in high school and could have a college basketball career if she continues to grow to the height of her mother.

When she lost to a very athletic boy a year older than her, I thought she was going to destroy the building and bring it down like Samson.  She blew her top and accused the boy of cheating, which he did not.  She tried to throw a punch at him, and this is a boy that she has grown up knowing for all of their lives, as they couldn’t be any closer if they were brother and sister.

The psychology of being wrong with giving every kid a trophy has moved to the other extreme where every child believes he or she is the best and expects to win all the time.  This can only be viewed in generalities, as the term “every child” really only means that the needle has moved from 60% trophy and 40% win all the time to 60% win all the time and 40% trophy.

That 20% swing has been murder on schools like Vanderbilt.  Whereas a couple dozen of the top recruits in America might have been interested in finding out more about playing football for one of the finest academic institutions in the world, because just playing would get them a trophy, and in the meantime, that great diploma would lead to riches outside of football, today, the top recruits want to play the minimum three years and head on to the NFL.  They want to win, win, win, and appear on national television week after week where they can in the near future sell their likeness for top dollar.  Going to a top university where they would have to study many nights past Midnight and then have to worry more about that exam coming up next week than the All-American defensive end coming at them on Saturday isn’t something that appeals to enough of the top recruits that there are any left for the Vanderbilt’s of the world once the Georgia’s of the world have signed up their allotments.

The next Vaughn, Pinkney, or Lipscomb will look elsewhere to attend college.  Why ruin your chance to play in the NFL, where the backup quarterback on top college teams can become starters in the NFL?  Vanderbilt will be lucky to recruit 15, 3-star players in 2021.

Look at the rest of the NCAA FBS teams that are academic first schools.  Northwestern, Rice, and Stanford are not enjoying great years either.  Duke is on a downward spiral.  When Vanderbilt was enjoying its brief peak several years back, Stanford was making regular appearances in New Year’s Day Bowl games.  Northwestern was winning the Big Ten, and even Rice was enjoying a 10-win season.   In the past, when Vanderbilt was suffering through 33 consecutive SEC losses, Northwestern was struggling with three total wins in six years.  Rice was bringing up the rear in the old Southwest Conference.  

Vanderbilt cannot compete in the SEC in football, and the academic reputation is priceless; allowing athletes that might struggle at the high school across the street from Vanderbilt (my alma mater–University School) to attend would just not be prudent.  

Coach Mason has done a credible job in six years keeping Vanderbilt in contention to go to a bowl and he has taken the Commodores to two bowl games.  In 60 years, Vandy has been to eight bowls.  Mason has defeated Tennessee three years in a row.  The last coach to beat the Vols three years in a row was Dan McGugin in the mid 1920’s.  No other Vanderbilt coach ever beat Tennessee three times in their tenure much less three times in succession.

My belief is that eventually, Vanderbilt will not be able to afford to finance a football program at the Power Five Conference level and maybe at the FBS level.  Even with the SEC annual paycheck, the program struggles to stay solvent.  When other conference rivals enjoy $100 million annual revenues, and they have profits from $25 to $75 million a year, Vanderbilt struggles to balance their athletic books.

Basketball requires three scholarships per year to field a team of 12 players.  Vanderbilt can find three basketball recruits per year and compete against other Division 1 programs.  Of course, Vanderbilt cannot discontinue their football program and play in the SEC in other sports.  The obvious solution is to either eliminate football and play Division 1 in other sports while searching for another conference; or drop to FCS football and join an FCS conference that does not allow scholarships, while playing Division 1 in all other sports; or as an extreme de-emphasize sports altogether and go to Division III in whatever sports they need to field.

Without a football program, the football stadium can be demolished, and the property can be put to a better use, one that just might help the university move into the one top 10 that really matters to the school–The US News and World Report Top Ten of American Colleges and Universities.

There is a perfect fit for Vanderbilt in the Southern Athletic Association.  Schools in the SAA include Centre, Sewanee, Rhodes, and Millsaps.  These schools also have about the same number of dedicated football fans as Vanderbilt.


The average Vanderbilt fan may counter that Tim Corbin has given the school the best baseball program in the nation.  Corbin can recruit #1 classes year after year just like John Calipari does in basketball.  Baseball is a different affair, as only 11.7 scholarships are offered and spread among 27 students.  SEC baseball teams lose money by six-figures per season.  The sport cannot finance the rest of the athletic program.

More importantly is the loud rumor coming from Baltimore.  The Orioles’ lease at Camden Yards expires after 2021.  The long-time owner, Peter Angelos, has passed the age of 90 and is no longer able to participate in the operation of the club.  His sons have been attempting to sell the team to a local ownership group, but none have offered a reasonable price to keep the Orioles in Baltimore and renew the lease at Camden Yards.  The City of Baltimore has seen considerable decay within a mile or so of the ballpark, and night games at Oriole Park have seen fewer and fewer fans risking coming to the games to see a 100-game loser.  The Dodgers left Brooklyn in 1957 partly because Flatbush was not that safe at night.

To fuel the rumor that the Orioles might consider relocating to Nashville for the 2022 season, John Angelos, the son operating the team, recently purchased a mansion in neighboring Williamson County near I-65.  There have been rumors coming from Baltimore since May that Nashville is definitely in play to become the new home of the Orioles in 2022 if no local baron or baroness comes forward to buy the team and keep it there.  

About that same time this news began to leak, a group of heavy hitters, including Tony LaRussa, Dave Stewart, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Starbucks CEO and briefly Presidential candidate Howard Schultz, and others have created “Music City Baseball,” with a goal of bringing Major League Baseball to the Music City and to construct a retractable dome stadium capable of also hosting basketball’s Final Four, adjacent to the Titan’s Nissan Stadium.  Among others involved in Music City Baseball are Tim Corbin and Malcolm Turner.   MLB Commissioner Ron Manfred publicly stated at the 2018 All-Star Game that Nashville was one of the cities on a short list for a future Major League team, be it a relocated team or expansion team when the league expands to 32.  Manfred explicitly stated that solving the issue of the league’s teams that do not have stadium deals in the near future would take precedence over expansion.  At the time, he referred to the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays, but now Baltimore can be added to that list. 

Oakland appeared to have its stadium issue finally solved, but recent developments have deep-sixed those plans, and the team does not have a plan in place for a new park.  The A’s could very well go with the Raiders to Las Vegas.  Tampa Bay is basically partially moving to Montreal and will play a good number of home games in Quebec.  This is a warning to the Tampa-St. Petersburg market, but the powers that be in West Florida are not listening.  The Rays will move to Montreal in the near future.

Manfred’s remaining short list cities after removing Vegas and Montreal are Portland, Nashville, and Charlotte.  If the Orioles move to Nashville, expansion teams can be placed in Portland and Charlotte, and the entire short-list mentioned by Manfred would get a team. The pieces fit in perfectly. 

If the Baltimore Orioles become the Nashville Orioles or Nashville Stars, Tim Corbin will no longer remain as head baseball coach at Vanderbilt.  He will be part of the management with the Major League team.  Malcolm Turner, recently the highly successful Commissioner of the NBA G-League, could easily slide into an upper management position or even become part of the Major League Baseball Front Office. 

It is time to move Vanderbilt’s Doomsday Clock to two minutes before Midnight.  The next five years may decide whether that clock strikes 12 or if Turner can perform miracles worthy of Sainthood and turn the clock back 60 years.

October 4, 2019

PiRate Ratings Special Money Line Play(s)

Last week, our special money line parlays delivered mixed results.  If you chose to play Duke and Baylor in your upset parlay, you enjoyed a nice bonanza.  If you added or chose Kansas State or Indiana, then your imaginary investment was shredded.

We did not issue any money line parlay picks in our regular weekly picks yesterday.  We decided to save them for this post.  We just want to stress that these selections are totally off the wall long shots at odds of better than +150.  In other words, they are not likely to win, even though they always look handsome on paper.

We have chosen three college parlays and one NFL parlay this week.  Take a look.


Money Line Parlay #1  Odds: +160

San Diego State over Colorado State

UAB over Rice

Texas over West Virginia

Miami (Fla.) over Virginia Tech



Money Line Parlay #2  Odds: +162

Auburn over Florida

North Carolina over Georgia Tech

Maryland over Rutgers



Money Line Parlay #3  Odds: +198

Colorado over Arizona

Eastern Michigan over Central Michigan

Oklahoma State over Texas Tech



Money Line Parlay #4  Odds: +230

Chicago over Oakland

New Orleans over Tampa Bay

LA Chargers over Denver



September 27, 2019

PiRate Ratings Special Money Line Play(s)

Last Friday, we issued a special Money Line Parlay play that went off at +250, and it won.  We had help getting the five winning teams at relatively low odds together.  But, it was up to us to put the parlay together, as none of the “Sharps” that tutored us on how to play smarter actually ended up with this parlay (until one person saw it on this site and did play a small wager on it.

This week, we are swimming in the deep end without the swim instructors.  Can we find another rare gem with a big payout?  We doubt it, but here goes any way.

Remember, the members of the PiRate Ratings NEVER wager money on the picks we issue; actually, we just don’t wager at all, and if you are planning to wager real money, please do not do so based on what you read here.

Even the top Sharps that are now teaching us more about what we have been doing wrong in recent years only win about 62 to 65% of their wagers, and they wager 10-20 games a week.  If you took their advice but only chose a couple of their wagers, the chances that you’d win big would be minimal, because they have to play double digit games a week to avoid risk and let the law of averages tilt to their side.

Since only about 1% of those that wager regularly are profitable, and since 99% of these winners wouldn’t think of giving you advice, realize that practically every service out there that is marketing their talents to you are profiting off your money and not their wagers.  If they were really successful players, they would never offer their advice to the public.  They’d keep it to themselves and selfishly continue to win.

Now that you know that we are giving you these picks, you should understand these two things.

  1. We are not part of the 1% of Sharps that enjoy 6-figure and 7-figure annual careers, as we do not wager one cent.

  2. Our selections provided to you for free are worth exactly what you paid for it.  If we really knew what we were doing, then we might be in Las Vegas with some of our friends placing wagers and never telling anybody else what we selected.


This week’s theme is trying to find incredible value betting a parlay of underdogs.  We looked at all the college games this week and isolated on five teams we believe stand decent chances to win outright as underdogs.  

We actually issued individual Money Line selections on each of these five teams in individual plays, because we feel like three of these teams should pull the actual upset.

The five games where we have studied the personnel groupings and looked for extras like teams playing a sandwich game between two more important games involve these games.


Marshall over Cincinnati

Duke over Virginia Tech

Kansas State over Oklahoma State

Baylor over Iowa State

North Carolina State over Florida State.


You can play each of these game as singular money line plays and get better than +120 odds on each team.

At the time of this writing, you can get Duke at +125 at a couple of the big books in Nevada.  You can get North Carolina State at +210.  Both Marshall and Kansas State can be found at +165.  Baylor can be wagered at +130.

What if you began combining these teams into 2 or 3 game parlays?  The potential odds are incredible.  Yes, the potential for winning is minimal, but for a little pretend money, you could make a pretend killing if you pick the right 2 or 3 teams.

There’s the rub.  If you play all five teams as single money line upset choices, you stand a decent chance of making a minor imaginary profit.  But, if just one of the potential big payout parlays pays off, you could make five times what you put in.

Let’s look at some examples.  We can’t list them all, as there are too many combinations.



2-Game Parlays

Marshall over Cincinnati and Duke over Virginia Tech: +485

Marshall over Cincinnati and Kansas St. over Oklahoma St.: +496

Kansas St. over Oklahoma St. & North Carolina St. over Florida St.: +722



3-Game Parlays

Kansas St. over Oklahoma St., Baylor over Iowa St., & NC ST. over Florida St.: +1790

Marshall, Kansas St., and North Carolina St. all in upset wins: +2036

Have fun making combinations of these games.  Here’s the complete crazy parlay where you combine all five of these teams.

If you bet Marshall, Kansas St., North Carolina St., Baylor, and Duke all to win in upsets, the money line parlay payout would be:



Yes, if you were crazy enough to put $100 in Nevada on these five teams to win in upset games, and all five pulled off their upsets, you would cash a winning ticket of $11,053!

If you only put $10 on this parlay, you could cash $1,105.

If you just put that same dollar you use playing Mega Millions, and it won, you’d pocket more than $110, and your chances to win on this parlay are multitudes better than winning the lottery.


Did you hear about the guy that bet 89 cents on a ton of games last week on a parlay, and won every game heading into Monday Night Football.  Had the Washington Redskins won that final bet for him, he would have taken that 89 cents and cashed in a half million dollars!

When the Bears won the game, the naive media announced that the poor sap lost.  Without knowing for sure, we bet that this guy won big, maybe even 6-figures.

The media is never the best place to receive information on anything.  In this case, we are confident that the bettor hedged his wager on Monday morning.  Obviously, he probably didn’t have $100,000 to invest on the MNF game, but he probably found a willing money lender to purchase that ticket for 100 grand.

If you had $100,000, and you bought that ticket, then the guy that spent 89 cents just won $99,999.19 on his wager, and he leaves quite happy as a big winner, at least until he realizes his tax bracket just went way up.

The person that bought that potential half-million dollar ticket then played as many different tickets he needed on Monday afternoon until he had $200,000 in wagers on the Bears.  It would have taken him going to multiple books, but it is easily done.

Let’s look at the money lender on Monday afternoon.

  1. $100,000 spent buying the ticket

  2. $200,000 spent buying tickets on the Bears.

If the Redskins had won the last game on that parlay, the lender collects the half million dollar payout and profits by $200,000 since he invested $300,000.

If the Bears had won (which they did), then the half-million dollar parlay is trashed, but the lender cashes in a winning ticket on his Bears bet and receives $400,000.  The profit is only $100,000 in this case.

Technically, the lender could have places additional bets on the Redskins, which would have brought his guaranteed payout to around $135,000 no matter what the outcome, but we just wanted to show you an example in hedging to get a guaranteed win.

If you had a 50% chance of realizing a 33% of 67% return on your investment in 24 hours, you are guaranteeing yourself an average ROI of 50% in one day!  Now, how many of you with some seed money are planning to relocate to Nevada and do some hedge playing?  Alas, we here are more like the 89 cent investor.

September 20, 2019

PiRate Ratings Special Money Line Play

Filed under: PiRate Picks_College & Pro — Tags: , , — piratings @ 8:18 am

This is a special late play that the PiRate Ratings are unofficially listing for our fans to peruse as an experimental “sure thing” grouping.

We do not advise anybody to actually play this parlay.  This is just an example to show how one group of so-called sharps are looking into making a hefty profit on a group of games that will give them +250 odds at one particular Vegas book that has made Money Line odds too rewarding for non-squares.

We don’t know if the Sharps are actually playing this parlay.  It was inferred from what one particular Sharp (a female that appeared on this site last year) told our captain in an exchange of football information and tasteless jokes about “Squares.”

Here is what the Captain believed she inferred.  This Money Line parlay does show up at +250 at one particular lesser book in Vegas.


Nebraska over Illinois

Boston College over Rutgers

Washington over BYU

Missouri over South Carolina

UAB over South Alabama


The thinking to this parlay is:

  1. Nebraska is not undefeated only because of a fluke play that went for big yards.  Illinois does not have the strength in the trenches or speed on the flanks to contain Nebraska’s offense.

  2. The public is putting too much emphasis on BC’s loss to Kansas, in a game they failed to show up, and Rutgers is still the #14 team in the Big Ten by a lot behind #13 Illinois.

  3. BYU is playing their third consecutive tough game against a Power 5 opponent and played the last two in overtime.  They now face a much better UW team that internal power ratings show the Huskies to be more than a touchdown better than the Cougars.

  4. South Carolina’s freshman QB is starting on the road for the first time after facing Alabama in a high-energy game at home.  Missouri QB Kelly Bryant and the Tigers’ offense is looking like it is coming into form at the right time.

  5. UAB had two weeks to prepare for this game after playing subpar in a win at Akron.  USA is still quite inexperienced and not talented enough to win on the road against a quality team like UAB.  The Nebraska game to start the year was one where the Cornhuskers looked like they could walk over the Jags.  By the second half, depth and reality made this game more of a blowout.

This is the reasoning of what the Captain perceives he heard from one particular Sharp who talked about what a group of Sharps felt.  Neither the Captain, nor any other of us on the PiRate ship endorse these picks, and as always, we recommend you invest your hard-earned dollars in long-term value in the stock market.  Over any 10 years, you are virtually guaranteed to be a winner, whereas the odds are always against you in Las Vegas.

August 22, 2019

PiRate Ratings Picks For August 24, 2019

Filed under: PiRate Picks_College & Pro — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:35 am

Welcome to the debut of the 2019 PiRate Ratings Picks.  During the football season, we will issue our pretend financial advice for you to read as entertainment purposes only and not to wager real money on games.

We pretend to make $100 wagers on whatever it is we select.  In the past, we have done this with money line parlays, teasers, straight wagers, and regular spread parlays.  Through the years, we have discovered our most successful style of wagering has been playing money line parlays.  At one time, we were successful teasing the totals lines.  13-point, 4-game parlays of teaser totals gave us an incredible hot streak one season when the standard deviation of scores was much lower than normal.

In this decade, there has been higher standard deviation in NFL scores, because the new rule moving extra points back 15 yards has created instability in game scores.

Many years ago, we had a rather impressive result playing the middle in games, but that was when we had permission to release the “outlaw” line before the official opening line.  Without the ability to see the Outlaw line and then the opening line, it was impossible to try to guess which games would see a large enough swing to go with both sides.

Since there are only two games this week, both college games, there is no real play that can be issued with our strategy.  If you take both favorites this week, Florida over Miami and Arizona over Hawaii, the best money line parlay odds you can get today is .6941, which means you would win $169.41 if you bet $100 and the two favorites won.  That means you would get your $100 investment back with $69.41 in profits.  Our philosophy is to only play parlays with odds of +120 or better, meaning you would receive $220  or more on a $100 wager.

In order to play a parlay with better than +120 odds this week, we would have to pick Hawaii or Miami to win outright.  If we selected Florida to beat Miami and Hawaii to upset Arizona, the parlay odds would be around +500 at this very moment.  That means, we would win $600 on a $100 wager if Florida and Hawaii won.

Alas, we are only confident this week of one outcome, that Florida will indeed beat Miami.  The actual point spread is right where we believe it should be, so playing the line is out of the question.

The best Money Line spread available to us at midday Thursday is -290, which means if we wager $100 on this game, if Florida won, we’d get a tiny $34.48 profit.  The reward is too small for the risk.

The totals for these two games do not give us a chance to come up with a playable parlay either, so for Week 0, we are not issuing any official picks.  We prefer to pick our spots and play only games that we are confident in occasionally winning.  If we play Money Line parlays with odds of +120 or better, we can win a smaller percentage of games and still turn a profit.

Let’s say we play 50 games this year with an average parlay odd of +180  Let’s say we get lucky and win 20.  Here’s how that would affect our imaginary bank account.

50 wagers of $100 each = $5,000 investment

20 Wins at +180 = $3,600 in winnings

30 Losses at +180 = $3,000 in losses

$600 profit at the end of the 50 wagers

12% Return on Investment

This 12% would take place in roughly 4 months, so the annualized Return on Investment would be 36%.  Not many investments return 36% in one year.

Ah, but here’s the rub: how likely is it that we can win 40% of our Money Line wagers at +180 odds?  The answer at the present time is one year in four, or to re-phrase it, four years ago.  The only solace is that the most recent three years brought imaginary profits as well, just nothing close to an annualized return of 36%.  Our 2018 season profit was so small it is not worth mentioning.  It was better in 2017 and much better in 2016, so the four year trend has been going in the wrong direction.

Ah, but here’s the other rub: We invested imaginary funds in all the years we have issued our selections.  Being 100% accurate and being 0% accurate brings the same outcome on zero real dollars invested.

Last year, we welcomed five of our long time friends to participate in a contest selecting winners against the spread.  It was a close contest all year, and as a group the five turned a small profit.  This year, we are going to have a guest computer program try to pick winners.  We decided to call this program “Davey 19.”  Davey is named for a former quarterback at TCU and for a short time with the Philadelphia Eagles.  Davey was only 5 foot 7 inches tall, but he had the heart of a giant and the fundamentals of a robot, so that’s why we are calling our guest computer program Davey 19 this year.

We will give Davey an identical rule–to make investments in imaginary $100 wagers.  Davey can make any type of selection in college and the NFL.  Davey does have one selection this week.


PiRate Picks For August 24, 2019

None   (not enough games for a playable parlay)


Davey 19 Selection For August 24, 2019

Hawaii +11 vs. Arizona


We do feel like Florida has a better than 60% chance to beat Miami, but the Money Line odd is too low to make enough profit to limit risk.

August 2, 2019

PiRate Ratings Ready To Go Live

Ahoy Mates!  The PiRates have returned from sea this summer and are ready to hoist the football flag on terra firma for 2019-2020.

It took us a bit longer this year with added data hopefully allowing us to refine our preseason ratings’ process.  After more than 100 days of work, we finally have preseason ratings for the 130 FBS teams.

As we have done every year, we will begin previewing the conferences daily from the lowest rated to the highest rated.  Here is the schedule for each of the previews.

Day Date Conference Preview
Friday Aug 9 Conference USA
Saturday Aug 10 Mid-American
Sunday Aug 11 Sun Belt
Monday Aug 12 Mountain West
Tuesday Aug 13 Independents
Wednesday Aug 14 American Athletic
Thursday Aug 15 Atlantic Coast
Friday Aug 16 Pac-12
Saturday Aug 17 Big 12
Sunday Aug 18 Big Ten
Monday Aug 19 Southeastern

Then, on Tuesday, August 20, we will debut our spreads for games involving FBS teams up through Labor Day.  There will be two FBS games on Saturday, August 24, and then the first real week of the season takes place over the Labor Day Holiday Weekend from August 29 through September 2.

As always, we are constantly updating our preseason ratings throughout August as news becomes available concerning personnel changes.  If you are a fan of the Connecticut Huskies, your team has undergone some serious roster moves since the end of Spring Practice, and you have seen some key personnel decide to transfer.

There are also a handful of players that might be awarded immediate eligibility after transferring to a new FBS school.  One or two teams could see a jump of more than one ratings’ point if certain players receive immediate eligibility. allow schools to trade players if both schools have an immediate need for the other school’s player, while their current school has no immediate availability?


Some Fun Stuff To Ponder

What if the NCAA allowed schools to trade players if both schools have an immediate need for the other school’s player, while their current school has no immediate need for said players?

Can you imagine if a school like Ohio State had a third string quarterback that would not see meaningful minutes, while they needed a flanker to replace a 1st round draft pick, and then a school like Washington State had seven capable receivers and no quarterback?  What if Ohio State and Washington State could make a trade so that the third string QB at Ohio State can now become the starter at Washington State, while the number five receiver at Washington State can now become the starting flanker with the Buckeyes?

It might have been crazy to consider this 10 years ago, but who knows what the future might bring with players now winning appeals for immediate eligibility for some of the most outlandish reasons like having a disagreeable dormitory environment.  If both of our imaginary players wanted to transfer but were not graduates with immediate eligibility, might the NCAA see merit in allowing two players that would rarely see the field to become starters at another school?

Thanks to your comments to us from our other website, something has been circulating this summer among many of you concerning what will happen with the FBS Playoffs when the current contract expires. This topic has wings.  There has been appreciable mumbling coming forth from the movers and shakers in the college football world.

The former big-time New Year’s Day bowls (Sugar, Cotton/Fiesta, Rose, and Orange) have seen historic low ratings in the years they were not part of the Semifinals of the Playoffs.  The key bowls this year will be played on Saturday, December 28, and the Cotton and Orange Bowls will not be played on New Year’s Day.

These once major epic festivals are almost like the football equivalent of the NIT, and the bowl sponsors are not happy.  The Tournament of Roses Committee is really not happy with their historically low TV ratings, and it has not just affected the game, but the ratings for the parade have been off as well.  I am sure they’d gladly take the old arrangement of the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions and distance themselves from the Playoffs altogether, like they did when the Bowl Coalition did not include the Rose Bowl conferences.  An undefeated Rose Bowl champion would easily be able to claim a national title without appearing in the playoffs, just like Notre Dame won numerous national titles long before they appeared in bowl games.  The Associated Press has awarded National Championships for years, and the national champion in multiple years did not appear in a bowl game.

When the next Playoff contract commences in 2026, you can bet that there will be more than four teams in the playoffs.  It could be six, eight, 12, or 16.  The major bowls will demand that their game stays vitally important every year.  With six teams, five bowls would be needed, but there are six heavyweights, so one would be left out each year.

With eight teams, seven bowls would be needed, which would satisfy the needs of the Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta, and Peach every year.  The seventh site could rotate among the other bowls, throwing a one-time bone to the Citrus, Outback, Holiday, Sun, Alamo, and one or two additional bowls.

At 12 or 16 teams, first round games could be played on the home field of the higher-seeded teams before progressing to the bowls.  This would most likely signal the end of conference championship games, but you could see where the big-time schools would gladly give up conference championship games for playoff games.

There is one other topic that has been circulating in college football fan talk this summer, and that is the idea of a Super Football Division consisting of the top 32 programs.  As an example, the top 32 football powers could form their own conference and play only against each other with a super TV contract and NFL-style playoffs based on standings and not the vote of a Committee.  The talk is that these 32 programs could make so much money in football, that they could fund all their other sports and sort of secede from the current NCAA Division 1.  What this would lead to would be the end of Alabama playing Western Carolina in November and Michigan State playing Western Michigan in September.  Instead, there would be weekly games like  Alabama versus Oklahoma, and Ohio State versus Clemson.  All these super schools would play in stadiums with 75,000 to 110,000 seats.  The TV contract would be more like the NFL at its peak.  Imagine a 12-team NFL style playoff with the top superpowers of the gridiron?

This has been rumored for about a quarter century.  Originally, this idea was brushed aside when the major conferences began to expand.  The current belief is that if any conference expands again, they will only do so to bring in teams from outside their current conference media markets.  In other words, The Big Ten would not want Iowa State with Iowa already in the league.  They might want Oklahoma or Oklahoma State but not both, because those rivals come from the same media market.

Likewise, the SEC would not want to add Clemson or Florida State, as they already have South Carolina and Florida.  However, they would gladly take Virginia Tech and one of the Oklahoma schools.

The organic progression would seem to indicate that in the future, one of the Power 5 conferences could fold and its teams would merge into one of the other majors, and there would be four, 16-team super conferences.  However, the media market expansion would not work, because there would be multiple teams from some states, like Texas, and not enough super conferences to join.  Therefore, it is our belief that the only logical solution to this matter is for the top 32 football programs to go at it on their own.  The current Division 1 could be altered from FBS and FCS to 1 A, 1 AA, and 1 AAA.  The 1 AAA would be the top 32 teams.  The 1 AA would be the current remaining 98 FBS plus the top 30 FCS programs that could now compete without the 32 powers.  1 AAA would be all the remaining teams, and then some D2 and NAIA schools might wish to move up.

An NFL Fan Sent This To Us

One of our biggest fans at this site (we didn’t receive permission from him to name him), opined that there could be more than one NFL team trying to position themselves to be 0-16 in 2020.  Much like the Indianapolis Colts tanking to “Suck for Luck,”  the new slogan we have given this is: “Be Clever and Suck for Trevor.”  Trevor Lawrence will be draft eligible in April of 2021.

That doesn’t mean that there won’t be a nice group of available quarterbacks in 2020, as Tua Tagovailoa, Sam Ehlinger, Jake Fromm, Justin Herbert, and others will be available.  However, Lawrence might be the best QB prospect since John Elway, so the stakes will be high in 2021, and it is likely that the team with the worst record in 2020 could be playoff bound by 2022 and Super Bowl worthy by 2023 and for the next 15 years after that.  Teams like Buffalo, Miami, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Oakland/Las Vegas, and Arizona could be in position to sell off one or two key players and be in position to lose big in 2020.  A team like Green Bay or New Orleans could decide to blow up their aging rosters and be terrible for one year, but it would be the right one year.

Looking For The Next Tom Brady

As much as the Colts benefited from drafting Andrew Luck, they have run out of it in January.  Meanwhile, the almost forgotten draft pick  at #199 in 2000, the inimitable Tom Brady, must keep remodeling his home to store all the hardware he has accrued.

Is there a potential second or third day draft quarterback from this year’s crop that could be the diamond in the rough like Touchdown Tom?

We think there is, and ironically, he hails from Brady’s alma mater.  Shea Patterson might be available into the 5th round, because this next class of quarterbacks is full of very good but not superior guys.  The quantity might eventually prove to be greater than the quality, but we see Patterson as flying under the radar.  He has all the tools needed to play at the next level, and we believe his best ability is still to emerge.  Patterson plays in an offense that will not allow him the opportunity to throw the ball 400+ times in 12 games, but what he does with the 350 or so passes should show the right NFL team that he is worth making a late second day or early third day pick on him.

August 21, 2018

PiRate Ratings–College Football Week 0

It’s here!  After a long hot, humid Summer that still wears on, the college football season has a dress rehearsal weekend where you are invited to see a couple of FBS games on Saturday, plus a couple more FBS vs. FCS games.

We still have no word from the two coaches in limbo.  As of this writing, neither Urban Meyer nor D.J. Durkin know their fate for the 2018 season and beyond.  Because of these two coaches being in limbo, so are the PiRate Ratings for Week 1.

We are calling this Week 0, and we are keeping the preseason ratings about where they were when we previewed each of the 10 conferences and the independents.  The six FBS teams in action this weekend have had their ratings tweaked minimally due to some injuries and suspensions, but this has amounted to tenths of a point for each team.

Without further adieu, the PiRates are ready to officially debut with the ratings.

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

August 25, 2018
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
New Mexico St. Wyoming -13.9 -10.8 -13.7
Colorado St. Hawaii 14.7 14.2 17.4
Home Visitor PiRate
Massachusetts Duquesne 17.4
Rice Prairie View 13.7

This Week’s PiRate Ratings 

Note: We will not offer retrodictive rankings this season–it is too time-consuming to use this algorithm.

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 132.0 129.3 133.8 131.7
2 Clemson 131.7 128.4 132.6 130.9
3 Georgia 130.9 126.3 132.4 129.8
4 Washington 128.1 125.0 130.7 127.9
5 Michigan St. 127.7 125.1 128.1 127.0
6 Ohio St. 125.1 122.3 125.6 124.3
7 Notre Dame 125.6 121.5 123.7 123.6
8 Auburn 122.0 121.2 124.4 122.5
9 Wisconsin 123.1 119.2 123.4 121.9
10 Michigan 121.7 120.6 122.7 121.6
11 Mississippi St. 122.5 119.2 122.7 121.5
12 Penn St. 121.2 117.7 121.6 120.2
13 Stanford 120.3 117.5 121.0 119.6
14 Miami 120.3 118.2 120.0 119.5
15 Oklahoma 119.5 117.7 119.8 119.0
16 Boston College 117.3 113.7 117.2 116.1
17 Oregon 114.4 114.5 115.1 114.7
18 Missouri 114.4 112.7 116.0 114.3
19 Northwestern 114.8 112.6 115.4 114.3
20 Virginia Tech 114.3 113.7 114.0 114.0
21 N. Carolina St. 113.8 113.0 113.6 113.5
22 Texas 113.2 111.9 112.8 112.6
23 S. Carolina 112.9 111.7 112.2 112.3
24 Florida 112.9 110.6 113.3 112.2
25 Oklahoma St. 113.2 110.8 112.7 112.2
26 Duke 113.3 110.4 112.4 112.1
27 T C U 112.7 112.0 111.5 112.0
28 Iowa 113.2 110.0 112.0 111.7
29 Georgia Tech 112.2 110.9 111.8 111.7
30 U S C 112.5 110.7 111.8 111.7
31 Florida St. 111.5 110.9 111.3 111.2
32 Utah 111.0 109.0 111.9 110.7
33 Central Florida 110.8 110.4 110.7 110.6
34 L S U 110.1 110.3 110.7 110.4
35 Texas A&M 110.7 109.6 110.7 110.3
36 Boise St. 110.2 109.3 110.9 110.1
37 Iowa State 110.7 108.8 110.2 109.9
38 California 110.3 107.5 110.1 109.3
39 West Virginia 110.0 108.8 109.1 109.3
40 Arizona 109.9 107.6 110.0 109.1
41 Wake Forest 109.8 107.5 107.3 108.2
42 Arkansas 109.3 106.4 107.6 107.8
43 Purdue 107.9 106.3 106.6 106.9
44 Kansas St. 107.4 106.0 106.8 106.7
45 Fresno St. 107.0 105.4 106.7 106.4
46 Kentucky 106.8 105.3 106.3 106.1
47 Washington St. 107.0 105.8 105.4 106.1
48 Ole Miss 105.3 105.1 106.1 105.5
49 Memphis 104.2 106.3 105.7 105.4
50 Pittsburgh 105.5 105.2 104.7 105.2
51 Louisville 105.1 105.3 104.6 105.0
52 Syracuse 106.2 104.2 104.6 105.0
53 Texas Tech 106.0 104.0 104.2 104.7
54 N. Carolina 105.3 104.3 104.5 104.7
55 Arizona St. 105.4 103.3 103.8 104.2
56 Minnesota 104.7 103.6 104.0 104.1
57 Florida Atlantic 102.0 103.0 103.3 102.8
58 Baylor 102.9 100.6 102.3 101.9
59 U C L A 102.5 102.2 100.0 101.5
60 Virginia 101.5 102.0 99.9 101.1
61 Maryland 102.2 100.2 100.5 101.0
62 Houston 99.9 101.4 101.0 100.8
63 Colorado 98.9 100.4 100.1 99.8
64 Navy 98.7 101.7 98.5 99.7
65 San Diego St. 98.7 99.5 99.8 99.3
66 Nebraska 100.5 98.7 97.8 99.0
67 Tennessee 98.8 99.5 98.4 98.9
68 Wyoming 98.5 98.6 98.8 98.6
69 Utah St. 96.8 98.3 98.1 97.7
70 South Florida 96.0 99.3 96.9 97.4
71 Rutgers 98.4 97.0 96.2 97.2
72 Indiana 97.8 96.3 97.3 97.1
73 Toledo 96.3 98.4 96.4 97.0
74 Northern Illinois 96.3 97.9 96.6 96.9
75 Vanderbilt 96.8 97.5 96.2 96.9
76 BYU 95.9 97.0 96.3 96.4
77 Ohio U 95.1 96.5 96.4 96.0
78 Temple 95.8 95.8 96.2 95.9
79 Army 95.6 96.4 95.5 95.9
80 Marshall 94.3 97.1 95.0 95.5
81 Buffalo 94.3 96.7 95.4 95.5
82 Louisiana Tech 93.8 96.4 95.2 95.1
83 Tulane 94.4 94.6 94.0 94.3
84 SMU 95.1 93.8 94.0 94.3
85 N. Texas 93.0 96.3 93.6 94.3
86 Illinois 94.0 93.5 92.9 93.5
87 Troy 91.8 93.7 93.7 93.1
88 Miami (O) 91.5 93.9 93.4 92.9
89 Western Michigan 91.5 93.8 92.9 92.8
90 Middle Tennessee 91.4 93.4 93.0 92.6
91 Kansas 93.9 92.3 91.6 92.6
92 Nevada 92.4 92.5 92.6 92.5
93 U A B 91.1 93.6 91.5 92.1
94 Tulsa 91.8 90.3 92.3 91.5
95 Air Force 91.7 91.7 90.9 91.4
96 Massachusetts 89.8 92.4 92.0 91.4
97 Akron 90.5 92.1 90.7 91.1
98 U N L V 89.1 90.8 89.6 89.8
99 Eastern Michigan 89.1 90.5 89.8 89.8
100 Old Dominion 87.5 91.3 89.0 89.3
101 Arkansas St. 88.0 89.8 89.7 89.2
102 Appalachian St. 87.5 89.1 88.7 88.4
103 UL-Monroe 87.3 86.7 88.1 87.4
104 Cincinnati 87.1 88.5 86.5 87.3
105 Oregon St. 88.5 86.0 86.9 87.1
106 Colo. State 85.6 87.1 86.1 86.3
107 New Mexico 85.7 87.6 85.3 86.2
108 Central Michigan 84.8 88.5 85.2 86.2
109 Bowling Green 85.1 85.4 85.7 85.4
110 Florida Int’l. 82.0 86.8 82.6 83.8
111 Connecticut 84.1 84.4 82.8 83.8
112 N. Mexico St. 82.0 85.3 82.5 83.3
113 Southern Miss. 81.6 85.0 82.1 82.9
114 Georgia Southern 82.5 83.7 82.4 82.9
115 South Alabama 81.4 83.8 82.6 82.6
116 U T S A 80.2 85.6 81.6 82.5
117 East Carolina 83.1 82.2 82.0 82.4
118 W. Kentucky 80.4 84.6 81.2 82.1
119 Kent St. 80.2 81.6 79.5 80.4
120 Louisiana 78.9 81.1 79.9 80.0
121 Georgia St. 77.6 80.6 78.4 78.9
122 Ball St. 77.7 80.4 77.4 78.5
123 Charlotte 76.2 78.7 76.3 77.1
124 San Jose St. 76.6 77.4 74.8 76.3
125 Liberty 75.2 73.9 74.2 74.5
126 Coastal Carolina 73.2 76.4 73.6 74.4
127 Hawaii 74.4 76.4 72.2 74.3
128 Rice 71.4 74.5 69.7 71.9
129 Texas State 70.4 73.9 69.9 71.4
130 U T E P 69.3 72.5 68.6 70.1

PiRate Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average AAC Overall
Central Florida 110.8 110.4 110.7 110.6 0-0 0-0
South Florida 96.0 99.3 96.9 97.4 0-0 0-0
Temple 95.8 95.8 96.2 95.9 0-0 0-0
Cincinnati 87.1 88.5 86.5 87.3 0-0 0-0
Connecticut 84.1 84.4 82.8 83.8 0-0 0-0
East Carolina 83.1 82.2 82.0 82.4 0-0 0-0
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average AAC Overall
Memphis 104.2 106.3 105.7 105.4 0-0 0-0
Houston 99.9 101.4 101.0 100.8 0-0 0-0
Navy 98.7 101.7 98.5 99.7 0-0 0-0
Tulane 94.4 94.6 94.0 94.3 0-0 0-0
SMU 95.1 93.8 94.0 94.3 0-0 0-0
Tulsa 91.8 90.3 92.3 91.5 0-0 0-0
AAC Averages 95.1 95.7 95.1 95.3
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average ACC Overall
Clemson 131.7 128.4 132.6 130.9 0-0 0-0
Boston College 117.3 113.7 117.2 116.1 0-0 0-0
N. Carolina St. 113.8 113.0 113.6 113.5 0-0 0-0
Florida St. 111.5 110.9 111.3 111.2 0-0 0-0
Wake Forest 109.8 107.5 107.3 108.2 0-0 0-0
Louisville 105.1 105.3 104.6 105.0 0-0 0-0
Syracuse 106.2 104.2 104.6 105.0 0-0 0-0
Coastal Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average ACC Overall
Miami 120.3 118.2 120.0 119.5 0-0 0-0
Virginia Tech 114.3 113.7 114.0 114.0 0-0 0-0
Duke 113.3 110.4 112.4 112.1 0-0 0-0
Georgia Tech 112.2 110.9 111.8 111.7 0-0 0-0
Pittsburgh 105.5 105.2 104.7 105.2 0-0 0-0
N. Carolina 105.3 104.3 104.5 104.7 0-0 0-0
Virginia 101.5 102.0 99.9 101.1 0-0 0-0
ACC Averages 112.0 110.6 111.3 111.3
Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average B12 Overall
Oklahoma 119.5 117.7 119.8 119.0 0-0 0-0
Texas 113.2 111.9 112.8 112.6 0-0 0-0
Oklahoma St. 113.2 110.8 112.7 112.2 0-0 0-0
T C U 112.7 112.0 111.5 112.0 0-0 0-0
Iowa State 110.7 108.8 110.2 109.9 0-0 0-0
West Virginia 110.0 108.8 109.1 109.3 0-0 0-0
Kansas St. 107.4 106.0 106.8 106.7 0-0 0-0
Texas Tech 106.0 104.0 104.2 104.7 0-0 0-0
Baylor 102.9 100.6 102.3 101.9 0-0 0-0
Kansas 93.9 92.3 91.6 92.6 0-0 0-0
Big 12 Averages 108.9 107.3 108.1 108.1
Big Ten Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average BTen Overall
Michigan St. 127.7 125.1 128.1 127.0 0-0 0-0
Ohio St. 125.1 122.3 125.6 124.3 0-0 0-0
Michigan 121.7 120.6 122.7 121.6 0-0 0-0
Penn St. 121.2 117.7 121.6 120.2 0-0 0-0
Maryland 102.2 100.2 100.5 101.0 0-0 0-0
Rutgers 98.4 97.0 96.2 97.2 0-0 0-0
Indiana 97.8 96.3 97.3 97.1 0-0 0-0
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average BTen Overall
Wisconsin 123.1 119.2 123.4 121.9 0-0 0-0
Northwestern 114.8 112.6 115.4 114.3 0-0 0-0
Iowa 113.2 110.0 112.0 111.7 0-0 0-0
Purdue 107.9 106.3 106.6 106.9 0-0 0-0
Minnesota 104.7 103.6 104.0 104.1 0-0 0-0
Nebraska 100.5 98.7 97.8 99.0 0-0 0-0
Illinois 94.0 93.5 92.9 93.5 0-0 0-0
Big Ten Averages 110.9 108.8 110.3 110.0
Conference USA
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average CUSA Overall
Florida Atlantic 102.0 103.0 103.3 102.8 0-0 0-0
Marshall 94.3 97.1 95.0 95.5 0-0 0-0
Middle Tennessee 91.4 93.4 93.0 92.6 0-0 0-0
Old Dominion 87.5 91.3 89.0 89.3 0-0 0-0
Florida Int’l. 82.0 86.8 82.6 83.8 0-0 0-0
W. Kentucky 80.4 84.6 81.2 82.1 0-0 0-0
Charlotte 76.2 78.7 76.3 77.1 0-0 0-0
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average CUSA Overall
Louisiana Tech 93.8 96.4 95.2 95.1 0-0 0-0
N. Texas 93.0 96.3 93.6 94.3 0-0 0-0
U A B 91.1 93.6 91.5 92.1 0-0 0-0
Southern Miss. 81.6 85.0 82.1 82.9 0-0 0-0
U T S A 80.2 85.6 81.6 82.5 0-0 0-0
Rice 71.4 74.5 69.7 71.9 0-0 0-0
U T E P 69.3 72.5 68.6 70.1 0-0 0-0
CUSA Averages 85.3 88.5 85.9 86.6
FBS Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average Overall
Notre Dame 125.6 121.5 123.7 123.6 0-0
BYU 95.9 97.0 96.3 96.4 0-0
Army 95.6 96.4 95.5 95.9 0-0
Massachusetts 89.8 92.4 92.0 91.4 0-0
N. Mexico St. 82.0 85.3 82.5 83.3 0-0
Liberty 75.2 73.9 74.2 74.5 0-0
Indep. Averages 94.0 94.4 94.0 94.2
Mid-American Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MAC Overall
Ohio U 95.1 96.5 96.4 96.0 0-0 0-0
Buffalo 94.3 96.7 95.4 95.5 0-0 0-0
Miami (O) 91.5 93.9 93.4 92.9 0-0 0-0
Akron 90.5 92.1 90.7 91.1 0-0 0-0
Bowling Green 85.1 85.4 85.7 85.4 0-0 0-0
Kent St. 80.2 81.6 79.5 80.4 0-0 0-0
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MAC Overall
Toledo 96.3 98.4 96.4 97.0 0-0 0-0
Northern Illinois 96.3 97.9 96.6 96.9 0-0 0-0
Western Michigan 91.5 93.8 92.9 92.8 0-0 0-0
Eastern Michigan 89.1 90.5 89.8 89.8 0-0 0-0
Central Michigan 84.8 88.5 85.2 86.2 0-0 0-0
Ball St. 77.7 80.4 77.4 78.5 0-0 0-0
MAC Averages 89.4 91.3 90.0 90.2
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MWC Overall
Boise St. 110.2 109.3 110.9 110.1 0-0 0-0
Wyoming 98.5 98.6 98.8 98.6 0-0 0-0
Utah St. 96.8 98.3 98.1 97.7 0-0 0-0
Air Force 91.7 91.7 90.9 91.4 0-0 0-0
Colo. State 85.6 87.1 86.1 86.3 0-0 0-0
New Mexico 85.7 87.6 85.3 86.2 0-0 0-0
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MWC Overall
Fresno St. 107.0 105.4 106.7 106.4 0-0 0-0
San Diego St. 98.7 99.5 99.8 99.3 0-0 0-0
Nevada 92.4 92.5 92.6 92.5 0-0 0-0
U N L V 89.1 90.8 89.6 89.8 0-0 0-0
San Jose St. 76.6 77.4 74.8 76.3 0-0 0-0
Hawaii 74.4 76.4 72.2 74.3 0-0 0-0
MWC Averages 92.2 92.9 92.2 92.4
Pac-12 Conference
North Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average P12 Overall
Washington 128.1 125.0 130.7 127.9 0-0 0-0
Stanford 120.3 117.5 121.0 119.6 0-0 0-0
Oregon 114.4 114.5 115.1 114.7 0-0 0-0
California 110.3 107.5 110.1 109.3 0-0 0-0
Washington St. 107.0 105.8 105.4 106.1 0-0 0-0
Oregon St. 88.5 86.0 86.9 87.1 0-0 0-0
South Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average P12 Overall
U S C 112.5 110.7 111.8 111.7 0-0 0-0
Utah 111.0 109.0 111.9 110.7 0-0 0-0
Arizona 109.9 107.6 110.0 109.1 0-0 0-0
Arizona St. 105.4 103.3 103.8 104.2 0-0 0-0
U C L A 102.5 102.2 100.0 101.5 0-0 0-0
Colorado 98.9 100.4 100.1 99.8 0-0 0-0
Pac-12 Averages 109.1 107.4 108.9 108.5
Southeastern Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SEC Overall
Georgia 130.9 126.3 132.4 129.8 0-0 0-0
Missouri 114.4 112.7 116.0 114.3 0-0 0-0
S. Carolina 112.9 111.7 112.2 112.3 0-0 0-0
Florida 112.9 110.6 113.3 112.2 0-0 0-0
Kentucky 106.8 105.3 106.3 106.1 0-0 0-0
Tennessee 98.8 99.5 98.4 98.9 0-0 0-0
Vanderbilt 96.8 97.5 96.2 96.9 0-0 0-0
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SEC Overall
Alabama 132.0 129.3 133.8 131.7 0-0 0-0
Auburn 122.0 121.2 124.4 122.5 0-0 0-0
Mississippi St. 122.5 119.2 122.7 121.5 0-0 0-0
L S U 110.1 110.3 110.7 110.4 0-0 0-0
Texas A&M 110.7 109.6 110.7 110.3 0-0 0-0
Arkansas 109.3 106.4 107.6 107.8 0-0 0-0
Ole Miss 105.3 105.1 106.1 105.5 0-0 0-0
SEC Averages 113.2 111.8 113.6 112.9
Sunbelt Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SBC Overall
Troy 91.8 93.7 93.7 93.1 0-0 0-0
Appalachian St. 87.5 89.1 88.7 88.4 0-0 0-0
Georgia Southern 82.5 83.7 82.4 82.9 0-0 0-0
Georgia St. 77.6 80.6 78.4 78.9 0-0 0-0
Coastal Carolina 73.2 76.4 73.6 74.4 0-0 0-0
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SBC Overall
Arkansas St. 88.0 89.8 89.7 89.2 0-0 0-0
UL-Monroe 87.3 86.7 88.1 87.4 0-0 0-0
South Alabama 81.4 83.8 82.6 82.6 0-0 0-0
Louisiana 78.9 81.1 79.9 80.0 0-0 0-0
Texas State 70.4 73.9 69.9 71.4 0-0 0-0
Sun Belt Averages 81.9 83.9 82.7 82.8
PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 113.2 111.8 113.6 112.9
2 ACC 112.0 110.6 111.3 111.3
3 BTEN 110.9 108.8 110.3 110.0
4 P-12 109.1 107.4 108.9 108.5
5 B12 108.9 107.3 108.1 108.1
6 AAC 95.1 95.7 95.1 95.3
7 IND 94.0 94.4 94.0 94.2
8 MWC 92.2 92.9 92.2 92.4
9 MAC 89.4 91.3 90.0 90.2
10 CUSA 85.3 88.5 85.9 86.6
11 SBC 81.9 83.9 82.7 82.8

This Week’s Bowl Projections

Bowl Conferences Team 1 Team 2
New Mexico MWC CUSA Nevada Southern Miss.
Cure CUSA SBC Navy Georgia Southern
Las Vegas MWC Pac-12 Fresno St. Arizona
Camellia MAC SBC Buffalo Appalachian St.
New Orleans CUSA SBC UAB UL-Monroe
Boca Raton MAC CUSA Toledo Marshall
Frisco AAC MAC Tulane Western Michigan
Gasparilla AAC CUSA USF North Texas
Bahamas AAC CUSA UCF Florida Atlantic
Idaho Potato MAC MWC Northern Illinois Utah St.
Birmingham AAC SEC Memphis [Army]
Armed Forces AAC Big 12 Houston [UCLA]
Doll. General MAC SBC Ohio Troy
Hawaii CUSA MWC Louisiana Tech Wyoming
Ht. of Dallas Big Ten CUSA [BYU] Middle Tennessee
Quick Lane ACC Big Ten Louisville Minnesota
Cactus Big 12 Pac-12 Iowa St. Washington St.
Independence ACC SEC Duke LSU
Pinstripe ACC Big Ten Georgia Tech Purdue
Texas Big 12 SEC TCU Mississippi St.
Music City ACC/B10 SEC Virginia Tech Tennessee
Camp. World ACC Big 12 Boston College West Virginia
Arizona MWC SBC San Diego St. Arkansas St.
Alamo Big 12 Pac-12 Oklahoma St. USC
Belk ACC SEC North Carolina St. South Carolina
Peach At-large At-large Miami (Fl) Texas
Military AAC ACC Temple Wake Forest
Sun ACC Pac-12 Florida St. California
San Francisco Big Ten Pac-12 Iowa Oregon
Liberty Big 12 SEC Kansas St. Texas A&M
Holiday Big Ten Pac-12 Michigan Utah
Gator ACC/B10 SEC Northwestern Florida
Outback Big Ten SEC Penn St. Missouri
Fiesta At-large At-large Ohio St. Boise St.
Citrus ACC/B10 SEC Wisconsin Auburn
Rose Big Ten Pac-12 Michigan St. Stanford
Sugar Big 12 SEC Oklahoma Georgia
Cotton FBS FBS Alabama Washington
Orange FBS FBS Clemson Notre Dame
Nat’l Champ. Orange Cotton Clemson Alabama
Teams in [Brackets] are at-large selections

This Week’s Selections–This will normally run on Thursdays and include both NCAA and NFL selections.  Since there are only 2 possible games this week, we will not make any selections.  We will not limit ourselves to just Money Line Parlays this season.  We will go with whatever we feel least indecisive about publicly listing.







August 9, 2018

PiRate Ratings Ready To Rock and Roll for 2018

Hello Mates

After hours and hours of intensive study, the PiRate Ratings are ready to debut for the 2018 college and professional football season.  We have made some major tweaks to our ratings’ algorithms as more and more analytical data has become available, some of which has contradicted some of our prior beliefs.

The main change we have made this year is how we rate new starters that replaced graduating starters in the NCAA ranks and changes in personnel at the NFL level.  We had been giving too much weight to certain positions and not enough weight at others.  This is why we spent an extra 40-50 hours this season refining our personnel ratings for each starting position of all 130 FBS teams and the 32 NFL teams.

We will begin previewing the NCAA football conferences Friday, August 9, beginning with the lowest overall rated conference and adding a new conference each day, until we culminate with the highest rated league on Sunday, August 19.

We will then debut our point spreads for the first week of college games on Tuesday, August 21, as there are a handful of games on Saturday, August 25.  Then, on August 28, we will have our first full preview for the real first week of the college football season.

Our NFL ratings will debut after the final cuts have been made following the final preseason games, most likely on Monday, September 3.  We will not offer an NFL preview this year.  We have noticed that since the Colin Kaepernick affair began, that the numbers of you reading our NFL-themed presentations have declined by 50% or more, while the number of patrons reading the college ratings and forecasts have increased by almost 50%.  This is about the same as with TV ratings, as the NFL Hall of Fame Game experienced its lowest ratings in over 20 years, and season ticket sales are off at almost every stadium.

For those wondering about out money line and/or teaser selections, we are leaning toward going only with straight wagers this season.  Our 4-year winning streak with the money line picks ended last year, when we could only win 51% of the time, which counts as a loss against the vigorish.  The one thing in our favor, is that we our wagers are always imaginary.  We neither win nor lose no matter the outcome of the games.

We do know there are a number of you that follow this site because you have statistical data that gives you a decided edge in your professional wagering.  Please be advised that our algorithms have experienced major alterations this year, and our ratings are not going to be the same as prior years.

Additionally, we have ended our retrodictive ratings, which required us to keep two separate databases.  These were excellent ways to rank the teams in order, but we know most of you are looking for predictive ratings and not rankings.

Here’s to an exciting season!

November 15, 2017

Making College Football Even Better

This is our annual and somewhat repetitive treatise dealing with how to improve the college football game as it pertains to the current status.

College football is thriving since the advent of the 4-team playoff.  Unfortunately, those in charge made a little mistake in previous years when they scheduled semifinal bowls for the PM hours of New Year’s Eve.  Numerous fans across the nation chose (in some cases it was chosen for them by a significant other), to attend other festivities.  The semifinal games belong on New Year’s Day, which is the slot Americans have associated with bowl games for decades.  The ultimate college football experience starts with celebrating the birth of the new year while camping out on Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena with hundreds if not thousands of potentially new friends; then watching the most magnificent two hours of the Tournament of Roses Parade, contemplating how much work has gone into the planning of this event (it actually begins on January 2nd every year), and then realizing that the bands will march and play their instruments for 5 1/2 miles.

One of the neat things to do if you have been to multiple Rose Parades is to stake out a spot on Paloma at the end of the route and then to be the first to view the floats as they go on display near Victory Park.

The culmination of a fantastic event should be the Rose Bowl Game, which should not be played on any other date but New Year’s Day at 3PM PST (Jan. 2 if the first is on a Sunday).

That being said, there are a few other changes that we believe will take a great game and shoot it into orbit.

ISSUE 1–The Playoffs (8 is not enough)

The Playoffs need more teams, so that all Power 5 Conference champions get an automatic bid.  How would you feel if the Pittsburgh Steelers won the AFC North and then did not have the opportunity to appear in the NFL Playoffs?  Or what if the Houston Astros would have been cut out of the Major League playoffs because Cleveland had a better resume this year?

Here’s how the PiRates see it at the present time.  We are unanimously in favor of giving all five Power Conference champions an automatic invitation to the gridiron dance, while at the same time, we believe the top four teams should receive a reward.  One method could be that the top four would host the next four in an 8-team tournament, but to us that is not enough reward for the top four teams.  Also, there are going to be years were the number 9 team is as good as the number 4 team, and instead of arguing that number 4 should not have been selected, as number 9 was just as deserving, why not extend it out by a half round?  12 is the perfect number of playoff teams.  Most importantly, a 12-team tournament gives the top four teams a bye to the quarterfinals, and they can still host a quarterfinal round game on their home turf.  That is the proper reward for finishing in the top four.

Additionally, a 12-team tournament gives the Group of 5 conferences a chance.  Guarantee that one of the 12 spots goes to the top Group of 5, just like it receives a New Year’s 6 Bowl bid now.  If Central Florida runs the table this year, rather than receive the last slot in the NY6, at least they could be the #12 seed in a 12-team playoff.  If they really are deserving, then they can prove it by taking out the #5 seed in a road contest.

With 5 Power Conference teams and one Group of 5 Conference team receiving automating bids, it leaves six at-large bids.  In our opinion, these six at-large teams should cover the bases for finding teams worthy of playing for all the marbles.  You are talking about teams ranked around #10 overall at this point.  The #10 vs. #11 team is much less important than the #5 and #4 team competing for a spot.

If we were to look at this season, playing out the remaining games for our purposes in this editorial, the playoffs might look something like this:

ACC Champion–Miami

Big 12 Champion–Oklahoma

Big Ten Champion–Wisconsin

Pac-12 Champion–USC

SEC Champion–Alabama

Best Group of 5–Central Florida

At large 1–Georgia

At large 2–Clemson

At large 3–Ohio St.

At large 4–TCU

At large 5–Penn St.

At large 6–Notre Dame

Top teams left out–Washington, Auburn, Michigan St., Boise St., Memphis, Oklahoma St., and LSU

At the present time, Wisconsin would be left out of the Playoff, even though the Badgers are undefeated.  This would be a travesty if a 13-0 UW team failed to make the playoffs while a 2-loss team sneaked in ahead of the Badgers.  Under our format, none of the teams left out would have any legitimate reason to state a case that they deserved to be in, because in actuality the last two seeds probably should not be in the tournament at all.  However, this actually serves a useful purpose.  If seeds 10, 11, and 12 are not all that worthy of being in the playoffs, then their first round hosts (seeds 5, 6, and 7) get a little benefit that seed 8 does not receive.

Seeding the 12 teams above, you would get something like this:

Opening Round

#12 Central Florida at #5 Georgia

#11 Notre Dame at #6 Clemson

#10 USC at #7 Ohio St.

#9 Penn St. at #8 TCU

Quarterfinal Round

UCF-Ga. Winner at #4 Wisconsin

N. Dame-Clemson Winner at #3 Oklahoma

USC-Ohio St. Winner at #2 Miami

Penn St.-TCU Winner at #1 Alabama

From here the playoffs would be back to where they are now–two bowl games for the Semifinals, followed by the National Championship Game.


ISSUE 2–The Games are Toooooooo Lonnnnnng

The NFL realized a few years back that their once 2 1/2 hour games had jumped by an hour, because players believed in going out of bounds rather than absorb contact by a quickly moving 300-pound wall of steel.  They began starting the clock after the ball was brought back in bounds by the side judge or line judge.  Thus, the number of scrimmage plays returned to about where it had been for decades, in the 120-130 per game neighborhood.

College football used to see anywhere from 110 to 150 scrimmage plays per game.  Today, one team might run 100 plays, while the other gets 75, and the game becomes the football version of War and Peace.  The game needs to get to a point where 120-150 plays is the average range.  There is one definite way to make the clock move more than it does today–end the stoppage of the clock on first downs.  The NFL does just fine without the clock stopping on first downs.  The sideline official simply places his lead foot on the spot where the scrimmage stick needs to go, and he keeps it there until the man holding the stick arrives, which is almost always before the ball is snapped for the next play.

If you keep the clock moving after a play results in a first down during a typical college football game today, you are not stopping the clock about 45 times per game.  On games where there are fewer first downs, the clock will keep running any way, so this will basically just keep your 1,000 total yard games under 4 hours, while doing little to the 500 total yard games.

ISSUE 3–We Want Real Overtime

The current mode of college overtime can take a hard fought, defensive gem 13-13 tie at the end of regulation and turn it into a 43-41 4OT game that looks like nobody played a lick of defense.

College overtime should start with one team kicking off to the other, and with a touchdown needed on the first drive in order to end the game without the kicking team getting the ball, just like in the NFL.  Play 10 or 15 minutes, and if the teams are still tied, then let it be a tie game.  Tie games can be just as important as wins and losses.  In today’s world of computer technology, a tie game will not throw a monkey wrench into the works.  Here’s a little secret for you: When the PiRates adjust our ratings after every college football game, we adjust all overtime games back to the tie score at the end of regulation and throw out what happens in overtime, with the exception of factoring in the possibilities of key players being injured and if it could deflate the loser in the future.  What goes on in the current overtime does not tell us anything important.  We need to know how teams perform on both sides of the ball on a 100-yard field and not a 25-yard field.  In actuality, it makes the game a different sport entirely.  How would you like a college basketball overtime only played in the half-court with each team getting a possession per overtime?  That is not real basketball either.

ISSUE 4: A Wet Turf Should Never Be Credited With a Tackle

How many times have you seen a player make a brilliant move to get open in the clear only to slip on wet turf or dive to make a play and then cannot advance the ball, even though no defender has participated in the play?  The NFL totally gets this issue.  A player should not be considered tackle, unless a defender is responsible for downing him or has made contact with him while he is on the ground.  Watching a receiver embarrass a defender, make a brilliant highlight-film catch, and then have to settle for a 6-yard gain, when he could get up and run for 25 yards robs not only the player and his team, but also the fans who want to see action.  When that player dives for the ball and makes the catch today, the turf gets the tackle.  Only vegetation can be happy about that.

ISSUE 5: Pass Interference Should Never Be Allowed to Become a Defensive Strategy

In the early 1980’s, the college football world changed defensive pass interference penalties to a maximum of 15 yards and an automatic first down.  In today’s game, there are times when it is beneficial to clobber a receiver and give up the 15 yards and first down rather than give up the 30-yard pass completion or the touchdown catch.  With less than a minute to go in the game when one team needs only a touchdown to win, but they must go 80 yards, every time the offensive team throws at an attempt to gain more than 35 yards, it is wise to merely clobber the receiver if there is any chance the ball will be caught.  You give up 15 yards and a first down, but now the receiver is hearing footsteps.  The next pass may find him not really extending his arms out to try to catch the pass, knowing that the defender can perform as much unnecessary roughness on him and only suffer the interference penalty.

The right thing to do is to restore pass interference penalties back to awarding the offense a first down at the spot of the foul, just like it has remained in the NFL.  Now, if a team interferes on a Hail Mary pass in the end zone, the offense gets the ball at the opponent’s one yard line, and gets another play, even if the clock shows 0:00.  Pass interference should never be allowed to become a strategy.  It is the equivalent of a flagrant foul in basketball on a breakaway drive to the hoop.


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