The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 23, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Football For August 28

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:00 am

Monday, August 23, 2021

This Week’s PiRate Ratings
Date:August 28, 2021
New Mexico St.UTEP-4.5-4.7-5.3
Fresno St.Connecticut20.221.126.5


San Jose St.Southern Utah23.8

It’s called Week 0. Four FBS college football games will kick off the 2021 season. Included in the quartet of games is a Big Ten conference game with an old Big Ten coach returning to a new Big Ten school to face another coach that is sitting on a very hot seat.

On the West Coast, Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins host Hawaii, and a good showing with no injuries could set the Bruins up for a potential upset of LSU next week.

If you have followed our site so far this year, you have now seen the preseason ratings and predictions for all 130 FBS teams. Here are those ratings in full.

The PiRate Ratings for August 23

4Iowa St.124.8
6Ohio St.121.9
7U S C119.4
9Texas A&M118.1
10North Carolina117.7
11Miami (Fla.)116.9
14T C U116.0
18Ole Miss113.3
19Arizona St.113.1
20Oklahoma St.113.1
21Penn St.113.1
24West Virginia112.3
25L S U112.1
28U C L A110.5
29Notre Dame110.2
30Mississippi St.110.1
34Coastal Carolina108.4
35Wake Forest107.7
38Oregon St.106.9
41NC State106.1
45Virginia Tech105.3
46Boston College105.2
49Kansas St.104.4
51Boise St.103.9
53Florida St.103.5
55Michigan St.103.0
59Washington St.102.5
61Texas Tech101.9
62Appalachian St.101.0
63South Carolina100.8
65San Jose St.100.3
67San Diego St.100.2
70Miami (Ohio)99.7
71Central Michigan99.7
76Georgia Tech98.2
78Ball St.97.4
80Air Force96.5
81Georgia St.96.5
83Fresno St.95.3
84East Carolina95.3
85U A B95.2
90U T S A93.9
96Kent St.91.7
97Georgia Southern91.6
98Eastern Michigan91.4
99South Alabama91.2
100Western Michigan91.0
104Arkansas St.89.9
106Colorado St.89.0
107Texas St.87.8
108Florida Atlantic87.7
109Northern Illinois87.5
111Louisiana Tech86.5
112Utah St.85.8
113New Mexico85.7
115U N L V84.9
116Southern Miss.84.4
117Middle Tennessee83.7
118Western Kentucky82.7
119North Texas81.7
123Florida Int’l.79.0
125U T E P76.0
128Old Dominion71.4
129Bowling Green70.8
130New Mexico St.69.7

American Athletic Conference
East Carolina95.394.396.295.3
AAC Averages96.796.297.696.8

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division
Wake Forest108.0106.7108.3107.7
NC State106.5105.8105.9106.1
Boston College104.7105.3105.7105.2
Florida St.103.4103.6103.5103.5
Coastal Division
North Carolina116.4116.7119.9117.7
Miami (Fla.)117.1116.1117.7116.9
Virginia Tech106.4104.9104.7105.3
Georgia Tech98.098.398.398.2
ACC Averages104.9105.0105.3105.0

Big 12 Conference
Iowa St.125.3123.5125.6124.8
T C U116.6115.1116.3116.0
Oklahoma St.113.5113.2112.5113.1
West Virginia113.8112.0111.1112.3
Kansas St.104.9104.7103.5104.4
Texas Tech102.0102.8100.8101.9
Big 12 Averages111.5110.3110.0110.6

Big Ten Conference
East Division
Ohio St.121.1121.3123.2121.9
Penn St.111.7112.8114.6113.1
Michigan St.103.5103.0102.5103.0
West Division
Big Ten Averages107.0107.3108.0107.5

Conference USA
East Division
Florida Atlantic86.788.687.887.7
Middle Tennessee83.483.184.783.7
Western Kentucky81.783.682.882.7
Florida Int’l.77.978.980.179.0
Old Dominion71.271.971.271.4
West Division
U A B95.495.294.995.2
U T S A94.094.593.493.9
Louisiana Tech86.987.485.286.5
Southern Miss.83.385.284.584.4
North Texas82.181.781.481.7
U T E P76.377.274.476.0
CUSA Averages84.184.884.484.4

FBS Independents
Notre Dame108.8110.6111.2110.2
New Mexico St.70.371.167.669.7
Indep. Averages92.192.691.592.1

Mid-American Conference
East Division
Miami (Ohio)101.999.298.199.7
Kent St.91.393.490.591.7
Bowling Green71.672.168.870.8
West Division
Central Michigan100.599.199.599.7
Ball St.98.498.395.597.4
Eastern Michigan93.191.289.891.4
Western Michigan91.291.690.191.0
Northern Illinois89.387.086.187.5
MAC Averages92.391.790.491.4

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
Boise St.103.9103.3104.3103.9
Air Force96.496.396.996.5
Colorado St.88.888.889.389.0
Utah St.85.686.685.285.8
New Mexico85.886.285.285.7
West Division
San Jose St.100.8101.199.0100.3
San Diego St.100.699.9100.2100.2
Fresno St.93.795.796.795.3
U N L V85.884.384.684.9
MWC Averages94.494.594.594.5

Pac-12 Conference
North Division
Oregon St.106.7106.7107.3106.9
Washington St.102.3103.2102.1102.5
South Division
U S C118.8118.4120.9119.4
Arizona St.112.4113.5113.6113.1
U C L A110.5110.5110.6110.5
Pac-12 Averages107.0107.8107.8107.5

Southeastern Conference
East Division
South Carolina101.1101.0100.4100.8
West Division
Texas A&M117.4118.3118.6118.1
Ole Miss113.3113.3113.2113.3
L S U111.0112.4112.8112.1
Mississippi St.110.2110.4109.7110.1
SEC Averages111.4111.6111.6111.5

Sunbelt Conference
Coastal Carolina109.2106.4109.6108.4
Appalachian St.100.5100.0102.5101.0
Georgia St.
Georgia Southern91.792.191.291.6
South Alabama91.691.590.691.2
Arkansas St.89.891.088.889.9
Texas St.89.486.787.287.8
Sun Averages94.894.194.494.5

Conference Ratings
2Big 12110.6
4Big Ten107.5
5Atlantic Coast105.0
6American Athletic96.8
7Sun Belt94.5
8Mountain West94.5
11Conference USA84.4

August 15, 2021

FBS Independents Preview

While 2020 was one strange logistical nightmare for college football conferences, it was a walk in the park compared to what the FBS Independents endured.

First, Notre Dame decided to join the Atlantic Coast Conference as a full-fledged member for one season.  Then, the Irish ran the table, upsetting Clemson to win the ACC regular season title.  That NBC TV contract must mean a lot to the Irish, because full-time membership in the ACC might have allowed the once top program in football to increase its recruiting base and return to the glory of their earlier times.  Alas, the NBC money meant more than membership in one of the top four leagues.

BYU, Army, and Liberty had to move mountains to play a full schedule, sometimes scheduling a Saturday three or four days before.  It was almost a 21st Century barnstorming tour for the three schools, but it seemed to work as the Cougars went 11-1, the Black Knights went 9-3, and the Flames finished 10-1.  BYU’s lone loss came at the hands of Coastal Carolina in one of those last-minute scheduled games.  Trying to prepare for CCU’s highly unorthodox offense with no advance notice may have been something the Baltimore Ravens might have struggled pulling off.  

Army finished first in the nation in total defense, allowing just 275 yards per game, and they finished runner-up in scoring defense, allowing 14.8 points per game.  Liberty lost by one point at North Carolina State, which is all that kept the Flames from running the table.  Liberty knocked off previously undefeated Coastal Carolina in overtime in the Cure Bowl.

Connecticut, New Mexico State, and UMass didn’t fare so well in the year of Covid.  UConn cancelled their season and never played a game.  This comes off a 2019 season where the Huskies went just 2-10 with one FBS win over UMass.

UMass didn’t play until Mid-October and then the Minutemen played just 240 minutes, going 0-4 and scoring just one touchdown, one field goal, and one safety.  The Minutemen were outgained by more than 400 yards in their season-ending loss to Liberty 45-0.  In the nine years since UMass has been a full FBS member, they have a 19-81 record, with nothing better than a couple of 4-8 seasons.

Then, there is New Mexico State.  The Aggies were one of three FBS schools to cancel their entire 2020 season.  NMSU is just barely hanging on as an FBS football program, and losing the entire season was a big financial tragedy.  However, there was an even bigger tragedy in Las Cruces this Spring.

The Aggies decided to play a couple of FCS opponents that were playing Spring schedules.  On February 21, NMSU welcomed Tarleton State to Aggie Memorial Stadium for a Sunday afternoon contest.  Tarleton State had just lost to McNeese State and would lose again the week after the NMSU game to upstart football program Dixie State.  This should have been a game where the last player on the Aggie bench saw at least a quarter of action when the game was a 35-point blowout.

Sure enough, the game was a blowout, and NMSU got to empty their bench in the final quarter.  Unfortunately, Tarleton State scored two touchdowns in the first four and a half minutes.  Three plays into the third quarter, the Texans led the Aggies 40-7.  They won 43-17 after emptying the bench.

How does a hopeful normal season look for the Independents?  There is no official Independent Media poll.  Instead of showing you how the media voted, here is a composite look at how 20 other computer power ratings see the Independents finishing this year.

  1. Notre Dame
  2. Liberty
  3. Army
  4. BYU
  5. Connecticut
  6. UMass
  7. New Mexico St.

How do the three PiRate Ratings see the 2021 season for this septet?

Notre Dame returns to full Independent status this year.  The Irish face a major rebuild on the offensive side of the ball.  If Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan can find some of the spark that made him shine two years ago, Notre Dame may not suffer greatly from the loss of Ian Book.  However, the offensive line will be inexperienced, and the receiving corps needs a go-to big play receiver.

The Irish return half of their defensive regulars from 2020, but they lose their defensive coordinator, Clark Lea.  Lea’s defense was tops in the ACC, and the 19.7 points per game allowed is incredible when you consider that they played Clemson twice, Alabama, and North Carolina. 

Notre Dame faces a weaker schedule this year, but there are still potential tough games against Florida State, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, USC, North Carolina, Virginia, and Stanford.  Don’t expect another undefeated regular season in South Bend, and don’t expect a return to the Playoffs.  The schedule is full of trap games.  Toledo, Purdue, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, USC, North Carolina, and Stanford will be tough contests, and it is possible that the Irish do no better than 3-4 in these seven games and at best 5-2.

Liberty should be more talented and will be a much more experienced team this year.  The Flames were 10-1 last year, but 2021 presents LU with a considerably tougher schedule.  Coach Hugh Freeze takes the Flames to Oxford, Mississippi, in November, where LU will take on his former team, Ole Miss.  It should be one of the most exciting games of the season, and the final score might look more like a basketball game.  Games against Louisiana and Army follow the Ole Miss game.  If Liberty wins two of their last three, they could win 10 games again.

Army’s offense didn’t click on all cylinders last year, but the Black Knights’ defense surrendered less than 115 rushing and 160 passing yards per game to lead the nation in total defense.  That great defense returns an intact defensive line and an experienced secondary, so it might be even tougher to move the ball on the Black Knights this year.  Unfortunately, a new quarterback and inexperienced offensive line probably means the Cadets will regress a bit this year.

BYU finished third nationally in scoring and fourth nationally in scoring defense.  Key players on both sides of the ball must be replaced, foremost being quarterback Zach Wilson, who now wears a New York Jets’ uniform.  At least, the Cougars should know who they are going to play the following Saturday when they wake up Monday mornings this year.

Connecticut last won a game on October 26, 2019, when they topped a 1-win UMass team.  The Huskies have not defeated a legitimate FBS program since they beat Tulsa in October of 2017.  Expect UConn to show an improved passing game and better all around defense this year, but the Huskies have a long way to go before they will be competing for winning records as a new Independent.

As for UMass and New Mexico State, these two teams may be the weakest among the 130 FBS teams.  They both are definitely in the bottom five.  The two teams close out the 2021 season facing off in Las Cruces.  Unless these schools can find a conference during the upcoming round of realignment, they both face the possibility of joining former FBS Independent Idaho at the FCS level.

Here are the preseason PiRate Ratings for the Independents.

FBS Independents
Notre Dame108.8110.6111.2110.2
New Mexico St.70.371.167.669.7
Indep. Averages92.192.691.592.1

While the PiRate Ratings are designed only to compare teams’ power ratings in their next scheduled game, we can still have a little fun trying to predict won-loss records.  

Notre Dame8-4
New Mexico St.2-10

March 10, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Spreads

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:07 pm

Thursday, March 11, 2021

South FloridaTemple-2.6
Central FloridaEast Carolina4.7
Georgia TechMiami11.1
Florida St.Duke4.8
Virginia TechNorth Carolina-3.0
West VirginiaOklahoma St.1.4
BaylorKansas St.22.7
TexasTexas Tech0.3
St. John’sSeton Hall-0.2
Southern UtahNorthern Colorado6.7
Idaho St.Montana St.-1.6
Eastern WashingtonNorthern Arizona15.2
Weber St.Montana4.9
MarylandMichigan St.2.2
Ohio St.Minnesota7.3
WisconsinPenn St.2.3
UCSBLong Beach St.14.8
UC DavisCal St. Bakersfield-5.4
UC IrvineCal Poly17.1
UC RiversideHawaii7.0
Western KentuckyUTSA5.3
Louisiana TechFlorida Atlantic8.9
Old DominionNorth Texas-6.1
Saint Peter’sRider6.2
ToledoBall St.8.3
Kent St.Ohio U1.1
BuffaloMiami (O)8.0
AkronBowling Green1.2
Florida A&MMorgan St.-1.2
Norfolk St.North Carolina Central4.6
San Diego St.Wyoming15.2
Boise St.Nevada4.0
Utah St.UNLV11.1
Colorado St.Fresno St.10.9
OregonArizona St.7.7
UCLAOregon St.5.4
KentuckyMississippi St.2.5
Ole MissSouth Carolina5.1
Northwestern St.New Orleans-2.2
Sam Houston St.Lamar8.8
Texas SouthernAlcorn St.7.1
California BaptistSeattle0.2
New Mexico St.UT Rio Grande Valley7.9

Conference Tournaments Update

America East Conference

Championship Game–Saturday, March 13, 11 AM, ESPN2

6 U Mass-Lowell at 4 Hartford

American Athletic Conference

1st Round–Thursday, March 11 @ Fort Worth, TX

8 South Florida vs. 9 Temple (winner plays 1 Wichita St. Friday)

(4 SMU plays 5 Cincinnati Friday)

7 Tulsa vs. 10 Tulane (winner plays 2 Houston Friday)

6 Central Florida vs. 11 East Carolina (winner plays 3 Memphis Friday)

Atlantic Coast Conference

Quarterfinals, Thursday, March 11

1 Virginia vs. 8 Syracuse

4 Georgia Tech vs. 13 Miami (Fla.)

2 Florida St. vs. 10 Duke

3 Virginia Tech vs. 6 North Carolina

Atlantic 10 Conference

Championship Game–Sunday, March 14, 1PM, CBS @ Dayton, OH

1 Saint Bonaventure vs. 2 Virginia Commonwealth

Big East Conference

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ New York, NY

1 Villanova vs. 8 Georgetown

4 St. John’s vs. 5 Seton Hall

2 Creighton vs. 10 Butler

3 Connecticut vs. 11 DePaul

Big Sky Conference

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ Boise, ID

1 Southern Utah vs. 8 Northern Colorado

4 Idaho St. vs. 5 Montana St.

2 Eastern Washington vs. 10 Northern Arizona

3 Weber St. vs. 6 Montana

Big Ten Conference

2nd Round–Thursday, March 11 @ Indianapolis, IN

8 Maryland vs. 9 Michigan St.

5 Ohio St. vs. 13 Minnesota

7 Rutgers vs. 10 Indiana

6 Wisconsin vs. 11 Penn St.

Big 12 Conference

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ Kansas City, MO

1 Baylor vs. 9 Kansas St.

4 West Virginia vs. 5 Oklahoma St.

2 Kansas vs. 7 Oklahoma

3 Texas vs. 6 Texas Tech

Big West Conference

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ Las Vegas

1 UCSB vs. 9 Long Beach St.

4 Cal St. Bakersfield vs. 5 UC-Davis

2 UC-Irvine vs. 10 Cal Poly

3 UC-Riverside vs. 6 Hawaii

Conference USA

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ Frisco, TX (Dallas Cowboys Practice Facility)

1E Western Kentucky vs. 4W UTSA

2W UAB vs. 6W Rice

1W Louisiana Tech vs. 4E Florida Atlantic

2E Old Dominion vs. 3W North Texas

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Quarterfinals Continue, Thursday, March 11 @ Atlantic City, NJ

4 Marist vs. 5 Niagara

3 St. Peter’s vs. 11 Rider

Mid-American Conference

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ Cleveland

1 Toledo vs. 8 Ball St.

4 Kent St. vs. 5 Ohio U

2 Buffalo vs. 7 Miami (O)

3 Akron vs. 6 Bowling Green

Mideastern Athletic Conference

Quarterfinals, Thursday, March 11 @ Norfolk, VA

2S Florida A&M vs. 3N Morgan St.

2N Norfolk St. vs. 3S UNC-Central

Mountain West Conference

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ Las Vegas

1 San Diego St. vs. 8 Wyoming

4 Boise St. vs. 5 Nevada

2 Utah St. vs. 7 UNLV

3 Colorado St. vs. 6 Fresno St.

Pac-12 Conference

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ Las Vegas

1 Oregon vs. 8 Arizona St.

4 UCLA vs. 5 Oregon St.

2 USC vs. 7 Utah

3 Colorado vs. 11 California

Patriot League

Championship Game, Sunday March 14, 12 PM EST, CBSSN

9 Loyola (MD) at 2 Colgate

Southeastern Conference

2nd Round–Thursday, March 11 @ Nashville, TN

8 Kentucky vs. 9 Mississippi St. (winner plays 1 Alabama Friday)

5 Florida vs. 13 Vanderbilt (winner plays 4 Tennessee Friday)

7 Missouri vs. 10 Georgia (winner plays 2 Arkansas Friday)

6 Ole Miss vs. 11 South Carolina (winner plays 3 LSU Friday)

Southland Conference

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ Katy, TX (Greater Houston)

4 Northwestern St. vs. 5 New Orleans

3 Sam Houston St. vs. 6 Lamar

Southwestern Athletic Conference

Quarterfinals Continue, Thursday, March 11 @ Birmingham, AL

4 Grambling vs. 5 Southern

3 Texas Southern vs. 6 Alcorn St.

Western Athletic Conference

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ Las Vegas

4 California-Baptist vs. 5 Seattle (winner plays 1 Grand Canyon Friday)

3 New Mexico St. vs. 6 UT-Rio Grande Valley (winner plays 2 Utah Valley Friday)

Automatic Qualifiers

Liberty 23-5

Winthrop 23-1

Loyola (Chi.) 24-4

Morehead St. 23-7

UNC-Greensboro 21-8

Appalachian St. 17-11

Drexel 12-7

Cleveland St. 19-7

Mount St. Mary’s 12-10

Oral Roberts 16-10

Gonzaga 26-0

February 26, 2021

PiRate Ratings Bracketology


1GonzagaBaylorMichiganOhio St.
3West VirginiaHoustonFlorida St.Oklahoma
6Texas TechPurdueColoradoClemson
7Oklahoma St.FloridaMissouriBYU
8RutgersVirginia TechLSULoyola (Chi.)
9UCLASan Diego St.OregonMaryland
10North CarolinaBoise St.LouisvilleDrake
11VCUSt. BonaventureColorado St.Connecticut
12ToledoWestern Ky.Seton HallXavierIndianaGeorgia Tech
14Wright St.LibertyFurmanAbilene Christian
15IonaVermontE. WashingtonGrand Canyon
16James MadisonS. Dakota St.Texas St.Prairie ViewWagnerN.C. A&T

First 8 Out

69Michigan St.
70Wichita St.
74Utah St.
76Ole Miss

Conference Tournaments underway!

With March getting ready to come in like a lion, here’s a look at each of the conferences heading into conference tournament play.

One-Bid Leagues

America East: Maryland-Baltimore Co. & Vermont are tied at 10-4 in the league. The teams split a weekend series in Maryland. Vermont is the team more likely to contend in a #15 vs. #2 seed game in the NCAA Tournament.

Atlantic Sun: Liberty is 10-2 in the league but not as strong as last year’s team. Bellarmine is not eligible for the NCAA Tournament but will play in the A-Sun tournament. If they win, then Liberty gets the automatic bid. Lipscomb is 9-5 in the league and the hottest team of the contenders.

Big Sky: There will be many mid-major and low-major tournaments this year that should be wide open. This is one. Eastern Washington at 11-2 in conference play currently leads for the top seed, with Southern Utah (9-2) and Weber St. (10-3) vying for second place. Weber St. is probably the best of the three, but we wouldn’t be shocked if Montana (just 6-9 in the league) sneaks into the semifinals with a chance to win it from well back in the field.

Big South: Winthrop ran way with the league title and has lapped the field. At 17-1/20-1, the Eagles are contending for a #12 seed. If anybody else wins, it’s 16-seed almost for sure. Winthrop will be the biggest favorite to win their conference tournament, even more than Gonzaga.

Big West: UCSB will end UC-Irvine’s reign as regular season champions. The Gauchos (12-2/16-3) will still likely have to face either UCI (9-4/12-8) or UC Riverside (7-4/10-6) in the Big West Championship Game.

Colonial: It’s a down year in the CAA. In past years, four or five teams had the talent to do damage in a Round of 64 game. This year, we don’t see a win in the cards for this league. James Madison (8-1/13-5) and Northeastern (8-2/9-8) are the leading contenders for the automatic bid.

Conference USA: This is a conference with at least five teams talented enough to upset a higher seeded team in the Big Dance. Western Kentucky (8-2/15-5) has been at the top of the league all year. North Texas (8-2/12-6) and UAB (10-4/18-5) have been right there with the Hilltoppers. Louisiana Tech (10-4/17-6) and Marshall (6-4/12-5) are the hot contenders late in the season. Marshall may be the best of the bunch.

Horizon: This has been a two-team race like Easy Goer and Sunday Silence in past Triple Crown horse racing. Wright St. and Cleveland St. share the conference lead at 16-4. The only other team in the picture is Detroit at 10-6. WSU or CSU could win an opening round game in the Dance.

Metro Atlantic: This looks like a three-team race for the MAAC automatic bid. Siena (9-3) has led the league most of the season, with Monmouth (10-6) trailing. But, Iona (6-3) has started playing again after a long Covid layoff. They have an experienced tournament coach in New Rochelle; if you didn’t know, Rick Pitino is in charge, and the Gaels are the team to beat in our opinion. For declaration purposes, Monmouth coach King Rice is a friend of the PiRate Captain, and he’s rooting for the Hawks to fly high.

Mid-American: Of all the conference tournaments, this one historically has been the most exciting, because rarely has there been a clear-cut favorite. More teams from back in the pack have won this tourney in our memories than any other league. Toledo (13-3/18-6) has led the West all year with no competition, but the East looks like the 1967 American League pennant race. Akron (12-4/14-5) leads Ohio (9-3/13-6) only because of more games played. Kent St. (11-5/14-6) and Buffalo (9-5/11-7) are right there. Any of these five could win the lone bid, and then again, someone from back in the pack could do it again. Toledo could be a #12 seed if they win out.

Mideastern: This league has been really hit by Covid issues, with two teams choosing not to play and a third opting out in mid-season. North Carolina A&T (6-1) has been in first place all year. Norfolk St. (8-4) may be a little better come March. But, Morgan St. (6-4) is coming on strong and might be the true favorite to take the MEAC Tournament. The winner is looking squarely at a 16-seed play-in game.

Northeast: The NEC usually places their automatic qualifier in the Dayton play-in game for a 16-seed. The only difference this year, is the game will be played in the Hoosier State. Wagner (11-4) leads Bryant (9-4) with the rest of the field out of the race. Bryant might be the better team.

Ohio Valley: Belmont looked unbeatable in this league, until the Bruins went up to Eastern Kentucky and found out how tough the Colonels are on their home, even with no fans. Belmont (18-1/24-2) now must face an even tougher Morehead St. team (16-3 in the OViC) tomorrow. This league tournament is no longer just a rubber stamp for Belmont. The Morehead/EKU winner in a likely semifinal game will have a 40% chance of knocking out the Bruins.

Patriot: Colgate is in the top 20 of the NET ratings, the one data point that the NCAA Selection Committee places as the primary seeding factor. At 11-1 overall, all their games were played in the league. Four of those games came against Army, where the Raiders won three but lost once at home to the Black Knights. Colgate is an enigma. We don’t understand why they are rated so highly with no non-conference games, because the Patriot League is not highly-rated. Navy at 10-1/13-2 looks like a better team, and Army 6-6/10-7 already knows they can beat the heavy favorite. Colgate could be a 12-seed if they win out, and in this case, their 5-seed opponent will not be on upset alert.

Southern: This league has produced multiple bids in the past, but it won’t happen this year. There are five good but not great teams in contention, and the eventual winner will not be highly regarded as an upset special possibility. Furman (10-4/16-7) is methodically better than average but not flashy. They stay on an even keel with talent not quite as deep as the other contenders, but with more consistency. UNCG (12-5/17-8) plays a style of play that opponents don’t like to face, but when a team is solid handling the ball, the Spartans are not that hard to beat. Wofford (11-5/14-8) has been a snake in the tall grass, sneaking into the top of the league. East Tennessee St. (8-6/12-10) is a mere shell of its former self left by Steve Forbes, while Chattanooga (9-7/18-7) has been a major underperformer since New Year’s Day.

Southland: The potential seeding of this league took a big turn last week, when Stephen F. Austin decided to become ineligible this year rather than next year. What would have been an incredible 4-team scramble has lost one of its scramblers. Abilene Christian (11-1/19-3) is a team no Power Conference opponent wants to see in their bracket. The Wildcats are really tough on the defensive side of the ball, and a poor passing team can turn ACU into an efficient offensive puncher, because the Wildcats can intercept passes like the 1963 Chicago Bears! Sam Houston (11-2/17-7) and Nicholls (11-2/14-6) are the top contenders without SFA.

Summit: This should be another wide open conference tournament with four co-favorites. South Dakota (10-3/12-9), North Dakota St. (10-4/12-10), South Dakota St. (7-3/13-6) and Oral Roberts (8-5/11-10) are on close to equal terms at the end of February. We think SDSU is the favorite to win the tournament.

Sun Belt: This league is slowly falling in overall strength, and it is in danger of joining the NEC, MEAC, and SWAC in the annual play-in round for a 16-seed. Texas St. (10-3/16-6) has held the SBC lead for several weeks, but South Alabama (10-5/16-8), Louisiana (9-6/15-7), and Georgia St. (6-4/12-5) are lurking close behind. We like GSU from this group to win the conference tournament.

Southwestern: Covid may have helped this league a tad. The co-leaders, Prairie View (9-0/10-4) and Jackson St. (7-0/7-5) don’t play each other in the regular season. It could lead to a SWAC title game between two undefeated teams in conference play, making it one of the most exciting of the postseason. Texas Southern (6-3/9-8) is the dark horse.

Western: After the MEAC, the WAC has been next most affected by Covid issues. Technically, UT Rio Grande Valley leads the league today at 2-0 in the WAC and 9-4 overall. But, Grand Canyon (7-1/13-4) is two games ahead in the won-loss, even if UTRGV is 1.000 in percentage. Utah Valley is third at 6-3 in the WAC, but we wouldn’t rule out New Mexico St. (3-5/6-6). The Aggies not only couldn’t play home games, they couldn’t even return home during the shutdown of the Land of Enchantment. Chris Jans is the type of coach that can motivate and use the right strategy to win this tournament.

Multi-Bid Leagues

American: Houston is a lock, but the Cougars are in second place in the AAC to a Wichita St. team that beat them. WSU is likely to earn the top seed in the AAC Tournament, and the Shockers are on the Bubble and need a little more to add to their resume. Memphis has more than enough talent to win the tournament, but the Tigers don’t play cohesively.

Atlantic Coast: In the past, any team with a winning record in conference play was close to assured of earning a bid. Syracuse went 10-8 in 2017 and didn’t get a bid. This year, Florida St., Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Louisville, and Clemson are Dancing. Duke, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina St., in that order, are still in contention. We think the Seminoles are strong enough to advance past the Sweet 16.

Atlantic 10: St. Bonaventure and VCU share the lead at 10-3, and the Bonnies and Rams are close to becoming locks for the Big Dance. Richmond, at 6-3, has been on the Bubble for most of the season. Saint Louis (4-4) has suffered the same fate as New Mexico State, missing weeks of scheduled games. The Billikens may be the best team in the league if they have completely dusted off the cobwebs in March.

Big 12: Undefeated Baylor probably won’t enter the Big 12 Tournament without a blemish. The Bears could even have two league losses. BU is still rusty from a long layoff, and they must play at Kansas, at West Virginia, and at home against Oklahoma St. and Texas Tech. This league is probably set in tournament teams. Baylor, Kansas, West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma St. should be in the field. TCU is too far back to sneak into the field without earning the automatic bid.

Big East: Villanova and Creighton are locks, while Seton Hall, Connecticut, and Xavier still have work to do before they are safely in the field. Xavier faces a must-win game at home against Creighton tomorrow.

Big Ten: This league is still in a state of flux. The teams that were close to being safe at the back of the field have done everything they could to play themselves out, while Michigan St., once given up for dead, has done everything to play themselves in.

As of today, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio St., Iowa, Wisconsin, and Purdue are locks. The Big Ten will probably get nine teams in the field. Rutgers, Maryland, Michigan St., Indiana, and Minnesota are competing for three bids. If Indiana or Minnesota fall short, there could be a coaching availability or two in the Big Ten in March.

Missouri Valley: With Wichita State relocated to the AAC, one would think the days of the venerable Valley earning multiple bids was over. Guess again. Drake and Loyola are close to sure things before Arch Madness starts in Saint Louis. There is even a scenario where if one of the two co-leaders loses in the semifinals of the conference tournament, and the other loses in the finals, that three teams could earn spots in the Field of 68.

Mountain West: How about four MWC teams in the Big Dance? San Diego St. is one of the hottest teams in the nation at the end of February. They’ve made a move like Whirlaway, swatting their long tail at the rest of the field as the Aztecs head to the finish line gaining distance from the place and show teams.

Boise St. and Colorado St. have tournament-worthy resumes, while Utah St. is now well back on the bad side of the Bubble. The Aggies need to win the conference tournament. Watch out for Steve Alford’s Nevada Wolfpack! Nevada has won four consecutive ga,es to move into fifth place.

Pac-12: What looked like a five-bid league has lessened to four bids and a prayer. USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Colorado have done enough to win bids. Stanford has lost five of nine games, including two in a row to teams they needed to beat. The Cardinal need to win at USC next Wednesday, or they may be forced to win the Pac-12 Tournament to get in.

Southeastern: Don’t count out Kentucky just yet! The Wildcats (7-7/8-13) look like the team they were supposed to be. UK cannot earn an at-large bid with just three regular season games remaining, but once they get to Nashville, The Music City turns into the Bluegrass City. Calipari’s Cats can win four games in four days.

Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Florida, and Tennessee are in the field. Missouri was in for sure, but losses in four of their last five has created a shadow of doubt. Ole Miss has moved a half-game ahead of Mizzou in the league. The Tigers must close with Florida and LSU, while Ole Miss gets two games against last place Vanderbilt and a home game with Kentucky.

If there is a dark horse possibility in the SEC, then Georgia and Mississippi St. can stake claims to it. If Ole Miss and Missouri falter at the finish, the two Bulldogs can get into contention by winning out headed to Nashville.

West Coast: Gonzaga has yet to face any real competition. The Bulldogs look like the 1991 UNLV team that ran the table to the Final Four without opposition. Then, the Runnin’ Rebels ran into a Duke team that had not forgotten the 30+-point loss dealt to them in 1990’s Championship. The Bulldogs look like a potential run-the-table team, more like John Wooden’s UCLA teams than the 1991 UNLV team. Outside of the WCC, Gonzaga easily dismissed Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa, and Virginia. Normally, this would have been enough to show the nation that the Zags were without a doubt the best team in the nation. Had Baylor not cancelled their scheduled game, Gonzaga might be sitting with the appropriate strength of schedule typical of a national champion in our Bracketnomics criteria.

BYU is the other team with an NCAA Tournament guarantee. The Cougars have been distant number two to Gonzaga, but at 9-3/18-5, BYU has a win at San Diego St.

February 22, 2021

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

1GonzagaBaylorMichiganOhio St.
3IowaOklahomaWest VirginiaVirginia
4Florida St.KansasTexasTexas Tech
6WisconsinMissouriVirginia TechArkansas
7ClemsonOklahoma St.FloridaBYU
9UCLALoyola (Chi.)LouisvilleSan Diego St.
10Boise St.North CarolinaMarylandDrake
11Colorado St.IndianaSt. BonaventureSeton Hall
12Western Ky.BelmontVCUXavierGa. TechSyracuse
14UNCGStephen F. AustinLibertyWright St.
15South DakotaGrand CanyonIonaVermont
16E. WashingtonWagnerTexas St.James MadisonPrairie ViewN. C. A&T

February 19, 2021

PiRate Ratings Bracketology


1GonzagaBaylorMichiganOhio St.
3OklahomaVirginiaWest VirginiaHouston
4Florida St.USCTexasTexas Tech
5KansasVirginia TechTennesseeCreighton
7RutgersColoradoBYUOklahoma St.
9OregonUCLASan Diego St.Indiana
10Boise St.Loyola (Chi.)North CarolinaSeton Hall
11MinnesotaColorado St.DrakeVCU
12BelmontWestern Ky.StanfordSt. BonaventureConnecticutSaint Louis
14Wright St.S.F. AustinLibertyUNCG
15VermontS. Dakota St.SienaGrand Canyon
16James MadisonE. WashingtonTexas St.WagnerPrairie ViewN.C. A&T

Last 4 Byes: Seton Hall, Minnesota, Colorado St., Drake

Last 4 In: Stanford, St. Bonaventure, Connecticut, Saint Louis

First 4 Out: Xavier, Maryland, Wichita St., St. John’s

Next 4 Out: Utah St., Ole Miss, Syracuse, Georgia Tech

Note: After careful perusal of the mock top four seeds released a week ago, we have discovered some new tendencies that the Committee gave more weight to than they usually do when there is a lot more interconference play. Thus, expect our bracketology to change a little next week showing seeds in somewhat different order from what they are this week. For instance, we believe that a team like Colgate may be drastically underrated, while a team like 23-1 Belmont may be overrated a bit even after winning their 20th consecutive game last night.

February 16, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Spreads

February 16, 2021

Rhode IslandDayton3.1
Saint LouisLa Salle14.1
Oklahoma St.Iowa St.12.0
St. John’sXavier0.3
PurdueMichigan St.6.3
Santa ClaraLoyola Marymount-0.7

February 15, 2021

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 2:36 pm


1GonzagaBaylorMichiganOhio St.
3VirginiaOklahomaIowaWest Virginia
4TennesseeTexas TechTexasFlorida St.
5USCKansasMissouriVirginia Tech
7FloridaOklahoma St.PurdueArkansas
9MinnesotaBYUSan Diego St.LSU
10Loyola (Chi.)North CarolinaBoise St.Oregon
11Seton HallDrakeSt. BonaventureUtah St.
12BelmontWinthropColorado St.IndianaStanfordConnecticut
13ToledoWestern Ky.UCSBWright St.
14LibertyUNCGS.F. AustinColgate
15VermontSienaTexas St.Grand Canyon
16James MadisonS. Dakota St.E. WashingtonPrairie ViewMt. St. Mary’sN. C. A&T

First 8 Teams Out

70Saint Louis
74Wichita St.
75Georgia Tech

February 12, 2021

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 12:01 pm


1GonzagaBaylorMichiganOhio St.
3VirginiaWest VirginiaIowaTennessee
4Texas TechWisconsinUSCTexas
5MissouriOklahomaFlorida St.Kansas
6CreightonColoradoVirginia TechRutgers
8Oklahoma St.LouisvilleClemsonMinnesota
9Loyola (Chi.)North CarolinaBYUIndiana
10San Diego St.ArkansasSeton HallLSU
11DrakeSt. BonaventureBoise St.Utah St.
12BelmontToledoOregonStanfordColorado St.VCU
14NavyUC-IrvineS. F. AustinGrand Canyon
15South DakotaNortheasternSienaCleveland St.
16Texas St.UMBCE. WashingtonBryantN. C. A&TPrairie View

Bubble Contenders

69Saint Louis
72Western Kentucky
73Penn St.
75St. John’s

February 9, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Spreads

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:00 pm

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Saint LouisRhode Island4.6
South FloridaHouston-11.0
Central FloridaWichita St.-0.8
Georgia TechVirginia-3.4
Boston CollegeWake Forest2.3
Utah St.Wyoming14.7
Ole MissMissouri-2.5
Mississippi St.LSU-1.8
San FranciscoPepperdine5.4
San Diego St.San Jose St.25.2
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