The Pi-Rate Ratings

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 16, 2012

The PiRate Ratings Return For 2012-13

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , — piratings @ 8:34 pm

Welcome back to the PiRate Ratings.  We are anxiously awaiting the start of the 2012-13 NCAA FBS and NFL seasons.  A lot has changed at PiRate Central since the New York Giants wrapped up the Super Bowl in February.


The chief buccaneer himself, which just happens to be yours truly, was cleaning out his basement this spring for wont of a better thing to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  Lo and behold, I discovered an old notebook with the words, “Football Ratings” on the outside.


I took a look at the faded old tractor-fed near letter quality print.  The date on the pages of ratings said, “July, 1986.”  That was not the date for these ratings, just the date I had printed them from an old Zenith 8088 computer.  The ratings actually dated back to 1977.  It was my third generation of ratings, but my first that were based on sound statistical data.  I had the 1976 season’s full ratings on paper, and a 10-2 Texas A&M team was listed number one, a couple tenths of a point better than the AP/UPI national champion Pittsburgh team.


I remember that A&M team.  Coach Emory Bellard had brought the wishbone offense from rival Texas, where he helped Darrel Royal lead the Longhorns to a national championship in 1969.  That 1976 Aggie team was loaded with talent that returned from the 1975 squad. 


The 1975 edition won its first 10 games and looked like a possible national champion until they faced Arkansas in the final game.  Arkansas was 8-2, and if the Razorbacks won the game, they would win the Southwest Conference Championship and earn the Cotton Bowl bid.  If A&M won, they would possibly play for the national championship as one of two major teams (OhioState was the other) from a major conference (ArizonaState was 11-0, but the Seminoles were in the WAC then and not considered strong enough to merit the same prestige.  ASU would finish 12-0 after defeating a 10-1 Nebraska team in the Fiesta Bowl).


Frank Broyles’ hogs knocked the Aggies from their perch that afternoon, and A&M was forced to play a 7-4 Southern California team in the Liberty Bowl.  It also was John Mackay’s final game in Troy, and his squad sent him out a winner with an emotional 20-0 victory.  A&M had nothing to play for.  OhioState lost in the Rose Bowl, so the Aggies would have won the national title by defeating Arkansas and then a so-so Georgia team in the Cotton Bowl.


The 1976 Texas A&M team started slowly and lost two of their first five games.  Then, the Aggie Wishbone got rolling.  They were practically unstoppable the rest of the season, running opponents off the field.  They beat both Arkansas and Texas A&M by more than 20 points, and they blew Florida off the field in the Sun Bowl.  By season’s end, they were the best team in the nation.  In reality, the Sugar Bowl decided the actual champion as Tony Dorsett led Pittsburgh to a smashing and decisive win over Georgia.


I began to think about the upcoming season.  Texas A&M is now a member of the Southeastern Conference.  Pittsburgh has a new head coach that matriculated to the Panthers from my beloved Wisconsin Badgers.  Most importantly, had that 1976 Texas A&M team been around 40 years later, they would have earned the right to play for a national title.


Yes, the NCAA will decide its champion with a four-team playoff in a couple more years.  It may not be the fairest playoff system, but it is a great improvement over the BCS.


All this nostalgia led me to look at that old vintage rating of mine.  I studied it at length throughout May and early June, and I realized that it was a sound base from which to improve this way of rating teams.  With the information age upon us, it was easy to add statistics not available to me then and make these ratings more accurate.  For what it’s worth, the 1976 season was an accurate one indeed.  My ratings correctly picked 73.47% of the winners of all the Division 1 football games that season.  I did not have all the Las Vegas lines then.  I only had access to the lines of the SEC games plus some of the Southern Independents.  I noted when my spread differed from the line by 3 or more points, and my record in those games was 47-38-2 for 55.3%.


I did not find any NFL materials in that notebook, but the rating was easily convertible to the NFL.  So, beginning this year, I will be adding this new (old) rating to both the college and pro submissions.  I am calling this new rating, the “Vintage” rating.  It is not as detailed as my current PiRate Rating for college and pro or the Mean and Bias ratings for pro.  The teams will be rated in half-point increments, whereas the other ratings actually go to 10 decimal places (I round to one decimal place).


Beginning Friday, August 17, I will begin releasing my initial ratings for the season.  Here is the schedule:


August 17:      The Sunbelt Conference

August 18:      The Western Athletic Conference

August 19:      The Mid-American Conference

August 20:      The Mountain West Conference

August 21:      Conference USA

August 22:      The Big East Conference

August 23:      The Independents

August 24:      The AtlanticCoast Conference

August 25:      The Big Ten Conference

August 26:      The Pac-12 Conference

August 27:      The Big 12 Conference

August 28:      The Southeastern Conference

August 29:      The PiRate and Vintage Ratings and Spread for Week 1

August 30:      Our fun picks with an imaginary bank account


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