The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 11, 2023

PiRate Ratings Bracketology Special

With just one day to go before the real bracket reveal on Selection Sunday, I am not posting an update to my bracketology. Instead, I am listing the teams on the Bubble along with some of their accolades. Most of today and tomorrow will be spent doing more in-depth analysis and calculations than a typical day’s bracketology-analysis so the final prediction tomorrow afternoon can be as accurate as possible. In the past nine years, PiRate Ratings’ Bracketology has correctly picked all 68 teams five times, 67 teams three times, and 66 teams one time.

Let’s look at the raw data for each of the Bubble Teams.

Arizona St.6666621235-64-55-08-112-7
Mississippi St.4950432044-84-35-18-09-8
North Carolina464412182-95-47-06-08-10
North Texas3846831121-33-211-19-114-5
Oklahoma St.4338111586-124-23-15-07-10
Utah St.181820292-49-113-01-212-5SDSU

These are not all the factors, but they are a lot of the factors that will lead to the final selections by the NCAA Selection Committee, and me. There is a wildcard factor called “The Eye Test,” which is the Committee’s one non-mathematical part of the puzzle. Nobody will ever admit this, but this is their “good ole boy” method of selecting the big name program over the “little guy” when the data is close enough to justify their selection. Every year, CBS announcers will question the head of the Committee about why a big team got the final bid when a 30-4 Mid-major team was left out. One year, the excuse will be that Goliath had a better Net Rating than Mouse Tech. The next year, when Mouse Tech has the better Net, the excuse will be that Goliath had a better non-conference strength of schedule. The next year, when Mouse Tech has a better Net and Strength of Schedule, the excuse will be that Goliath had a 5-9 record against Q1 opponents, while Mouse Tech was 3-2. You get the picture. There is but one real reason why, if it is close enough, Goliath always gets the nod over Mouse Tech. The reasons can come after the fact.

Our final bracket reveal will publish here on Selection Sunday, as soon as the last game that can affect the bracket goes final. There are some potential bid-stealers still playing.

In the American Athletic Conference, Houston and Memphis are locks. So, if Cincinnati or Tulane wins the automatic bid, one Bubble will burst.

Red hot Ohio State has advanced to the Big Ten semifinals. If the Buckeyes beat Purdue today and then either Indiana or Penn State tomorrow, they are in with the automatic bid.

If UAB beats Florida Atlantic today in the CUSA Championship Game, FAU is close to a sure thing to receive an at-large bid.

February 23, 2023

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Thursday, February 23, 2023

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 2:00 am
Cal St. FullertonUC Davis3.1
Cal St. NorthridgeCal St. Bakersfield0.2
CharlotteNorth Texas-2.5
DetroitNorthern Kentucky1.9
Florida AtlanticUTSA20.7
Florida Intl.UTEP0.6
GonzagaSan Diego21.0
Green BayCleveland St.-13.7
Houston ChristianMcNeese St.0.0
Idaho St.Idaho4.2
Incarnate WordNorthwestern St.-6.8
IUPUIRobert Morris-10.2
LamarSoutheastern Louisiana-5.0
LindenwoodSoutheast Missouri St.-3.1
MerrimackCentral Connecticut St.3.6
MilwaukeePurdue Ft. Wayne1.9
MontanaPortland St.6.3
Montana St.Sacramento St.9.6
New OrleansNicholls St.-6.8
North Carolina A&TDelaware-1.9
North DakotaWestern Illinois2.4
North Dakota St.St. Thomas (MN)1.5
OaklandWright St.-2.9
Ohio St.Penn St.2.8
Sacred HeartSt. Francis (NY)6.5
Saint Mary’sPacific19.3
Sam HoustonCal Baptist8.7
San FranciscoPortland7.7
Santa ClaraPepperdine10.3
SIU EdwardsvilleLittle Rock8.1
South DakotaOral Roberts-13.7
South Dakota St.UMKC9.1
Southern IndianaTennessee Tech4.5
St. Francis (PA)Fairleigh Dickinson1.0
StanfordWashington St.0.8
Tarleton St.Utah Valley-4.3
Texas A&M-CCTexas A&M-Commerce10.2
UC IrvineUC San Diego14.6
UC Santa BarbaraLong Beach St.5.3
UNC WilmingtonStony Brook12.2
UT ArlingtonSouthern Utah-5.4
UT MartinTennessee St.4.3
UT-Rio Grande ValleyUtah Tech-1.4
WagnerStonehill College4.3
Weber St.Eastern Washington-2.5
Western KentuckyLouisiana Tech1.3
Wichita St.Memphis-5.1
William & MaryElon2.6

February 9, 2023

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Thursday, February 9, 2023

Cal St. BakersfieldCal St. Northridge4.0
Central ArkansasLipscomb-7.6
Coastal CarolinaMarshall-9.7
Eastern IllinoisUT Martin-4.2
Florida AtlanticRice13.6
Florida Intl.Louisiana Tech-2.3
Georgia SouthernJames Madison-6.7
Georgia St.Old Dominion-1.3
GonzagaSan Francisco14.1
Green BayOakland-10.6
Idaho St.Montana-1.7
Incarnate WordLamar6.0
Jacksonville St.Kennesaw St.-4.1
LindenwoodSIU Edwarsville-5.7
Little RockMorehead St.-2.2
Long Beach St.UC Santa Barbara-0.4
Long IslandFairleigh Dickinson-8.1
Louisiana MonroeAppalachian St.-2.4
Loyola MarymountSaint Mary’s-7.7
McNeese St.Southeastern Louisiana-1.8
MerrimackStonehill College1.9
Nicholls St.New Orleans11.7
North AlabamaAustin Peay4.4
North DakotaDenver1.5
North Dakota St.Omaha7.0
North FloridaFlorida Gulf Coast-1.6
North TexasUAB1.1
Northern ArizonaSacramento St.0.2
Northern ColoradoPortland St.1.0
Ohio St.Northwestern5.7
Oregon St.UCLA-17.0
QueensEastern Kentucky1.3
Santa ClaraSan Diego10.6
Southern Miss.Louisiana2.6
Southern UtahTarleton St.7.2
St. Francis (NY)Wagner-3.6
St. Francis (PA)Sacred Heart1.3
St. Thomas (MN)Oral Roberts-9.3
StanfordArizona St.0.3
Tennessee St.Southeast Missouri St.-0.5
Tennessee TechSouthern Indiana-8.5
Texas A&M-CCHouston Christian14.0
Texas A&M-CommerceNorthwestern St.-3.2
Texas St.Arkansas St.8.0
TroySouth Alabama2.8
UC IrvineCal Poly15.6
UC RiversideUC Davis1.9
UT-Rio Grande ValleyUT Arlington1.9
Weber St.Montana St.-2.8
Western IllinoisUMKC1.9
Western KentuckyMiddle Tennessee-0.1

January 27, 2023

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Saturday, January 28, 2023

Abilene ChristianUtah Tech1.9
Appalachian St.Arkansas St.10.9
Arkansas Pine BluffMississippi Valley St.8.2
ArmyHoly Cross9.5
Bethune-CookmanAlabama St.0.5
Boise St.Colorado St.10.2
ButlerSeton Hall-1.0
BYUSaint Mary’s-5.7
Cal PolyCal St. Fullerton-4.1
CampbellUNC Asheville-1.0
Central ArkansasJacksonville-6.5
Central Connecticut St.St. Francis (PA)1.3
Central FloridaTemple7.7
Central MichiganWestern Michigan0.3
Coastal CarolinaOld Dominion-1.0
Delaware St.Morgan St.-7.5
East Tennessee St.Chattanooga-2.2
Eastern IllinoisSoutheast Missouri St.-4.3
Eastern KentuckyBellarmine5.5
Eastern WashingtonWeber St.5.9
Florida A&MAlabama A&M-1.5
Florida AtlanticWestern Kentucky12.9
Florida Intl.Middle Tennessee-4.8
Florida St.Clemson-4.6
FordhamGeorge Washington3.3
Fresno St.Utah St.-6.3
Gardner-WebbHigh Point9.3
GeorgiaSouth Carolina12.0
Georgia TechDuke-7.8
GramblingJackson St.8.3
HamptonStony Brook-0.5
HowardNorth Carolina Central-0.2
IdahoIdaho St.1.2
Incarnate WordNicholls St.-5.7
IndianaOhio St.3.5
Indiana St.Northern Iowa5.1
Jacksonville St.Austin Peay4.1
James MadisonLouisiana Monroe13.8
Kansas St.Florida4.0
Kennesaw St.Lipscomb3.9
LibertyFlorida Gulf Coast10.9
Long Beach St.UC Davis2.5
LongwoodCharleston Southern10.5
LouisianaGeorgia Southern9.5
Loyola (MD)Bucknell-0.8
Loyola MarymountPepperdine9.5
LSUTexas Tech-2.5
MarshallGeorgia St.12.5
Maryland Eastern ShoreCoppin St.6.9
MerrimackFairleigh Dickinson1.6
Miami (O)Eastern Michigan5.8
Mississippi St.TCU-2.9
MissouriIowa St.-1.7
Morehead St.SIU Edwardsville-0.8
Mount St. Mary’sSaint Peter’s3.3
Murray St.Missouri St.0.9
New HampshireUMass Lowell-4.2
New OrleansSoutheastern Louisiana-3.3
Norfolk St.South Carolina St.14.3
North AlabamaNorth Florida1.8
North Carolina A&TMonmouth12.4
North TexasUTEP9.4
Northern ArizonaNorthern Colorado1.2
Northern IllinoisBall St.-2.6
Northern KentuckyMilwaukee2.8
Northwestern St.Lamar15.8
Notre DameLouisville10.8
Oklahoma St.Mississippi8.4
Oral RobertsOmaha19.4
Oregon St.Colorado-8.6
PittsburghMiami (Fla.)-0.8
Portland St.Montana0.6
Rhode IslandLa Salle5.2
Sacramento St.Montana St.-2.2
San DiegoSan Francisco-3.2
San Diego StSan Jose St.13.1
Santa ClaraPacific11.9
South AlabamaTroy-0.5
Southern Miss.Texas St.8.7
Southern U.Alcorn St.4.7
St. Francis (NY)Long Island8.5
St. Thomas (MN)South Dakota7.3
Stephen F. AustinSeattle1.2
Stonehill CollegeSacred Heart1.7
Tarleton St.Grand Canyon-3.6
Tennessee St.Lindenwood5.0
Tennessee TechLittle Rock6.3
Texas A&MVanderbilt8.3
Texas A&M-CCMcNeese St.9.4
Texas A&M-CommerceHouston Christian8.6
Texas SouthernPrairie View2.9
The CitadelMercer-1.3
ToledoBowling Green11.6
TowsonWilliam & Mary11.8
UC IrvineCal St. Northridge16.2
UC RiversideUC San Diego9.6
USC UpstateRadford-4.9
UT MartinSouthern Indiana1.8
UT-Rio Grande ValleyCal Baptist-6.7
Utah ValleyNew Mexico St.8.9
UTSALouisiana Tech-7.8
VCUSt. Bonaventure10.6
VirginiaBoston College16.8
Virginia TechSyracuse6.1
VMIWestern Carolina-3.0
Wake ForestNorth Carolina St.0.2
Washington St.Arizona St.1.8
West VirginiaAuburn2.9
Western IllinoisSouth Dakota St.-2.5
Wright St.Green Bay17.4

January 26, 2023

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Thursday, January 26, 2023

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:00 am
Abilene ChristianGrand Canyon-4.9
Appalachian St.Georgia St.5.7
BellarmineEastern Kentucky-0.7
Cal PolyLong Beach St.-3.3
Cal St. BakersfieldUC Davis-4.7
Cal St. FullertonUC Irvine-2.8
Cal St. NorthridgeUC San Diego0.9
Central ArkansasNorth Florida-3.2
Central Connecticut St.Merrimack2.7
Eastern WashingtonIdaho St.9.5
Fairleigh DickinsonSt. Francis (PA)2.1
Florida AtlanticMiddle Tennessee9.5
Florida Intl.Western Kentucky-3.2
IdahoWeber St.-2.0
Incarnate WordMcNeese St.-0.1
Jacksonville St.Lipscomb-3.6
James MadisonCoastal Carolina12.4
Kennesaw St.Austin Peay9.5
LamarTexas A&M-Commerce-6.1
Loyola MarymountPortland7.5
MarshallLouisiana Monroe16.7
Michigan St.Iowa1.7
Morehead St.Little Rock7.2
Mount St. Mary’sFairfield-0.1
North AlabamaJacksonville-4.2
North Carolina A&TDrexel-2.8
North TexasUTSA18.9
Northern KentuckyGreen Bay18.2
Northwestern St.Houston Christian13.0
Oral RobertsDenver16.8
Oregon St.Utah-8.7
PepperdineSan Diego3.7
Portland St.Montana St.-3.2
QueensFlorida Gulf Coast0.1
Sacramento St.Montana0.3
Sacred HeartLong Island13.2
Sam HoustonSeattle6.1
South AlabamaOld Dominion2.4
Southeast LouisianaNew Orleans8.8
Southeast Missouri St.Tennessee St.5.9
Southern IndianaEastern Illinois10.3
Southern Miss.Arkansas St.14.4
Southern UtahUtah Valley-0.1
St. ThomasSouth Dakota St.-0.3
Tarleton St.Utah Tech3.0
Tennessee TechSIU Edwardsville-2.4
Texas A&M-CCNicholls St.2.6
Texas St.Georgia Southern3.2
UABLouisiana Tech8.9
UNC WilmingtonMonmouth19.5
UT MartinLindenwood9.3
WagnerSt. Francis (NY)10.5
WashingtonArizona St.-1.9
Washington St.Arizona-4.1
Western IllinoisSouth Dakota4.2
William & MaryStony Brook3.7
Wright St.Milwaukee1.8

August 21, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Football for August 27, 2022

This Week’s Spreads

Florida AtlanticCharlotte4.95.85.9
Nebraska (n)Northwestern10.49.311.3
New Mexico St.Nevada-9.7-9.5-10.3
Utah St.Connecticut20.919.825.1
UTEPNorth Texas0.81.2-0.3

FBS vs. FCS Games

Western KentuckyAustin Peay24.6
UNLVIdaho St.18.5
Florida St.Duquesne34.2
North CarolinaFlorida A&M29.8

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

3Ohio St.128.3
7NC State118.1
8Michigan St.117.7
10Oklahoma St.117.5
11Notre Dame116.8
18Miami (Fla.)114.7
19Penn St.114.6
20Texas A&M114.3
21Mississippi St.113.9
25L S U112.5
26Ole Miss112.2
30Florida St.111.3
33Kansas St.110.3
37U C L A109.1
38South Carolina109.1
39Iowa St.108.7
40North Carolina108.0
41T C U107.8
42Oregon St.107.2
43Texas Tech106.7
45Boise St.106.0
46U S C105.9
48Wake Forest105.4
51Arizona St.104.5
55Fresno St.103.5
56West Virginia103.3
60Washington St.101.5
61Air Force101.4
62Boston College101.2
64Georgia St.100.1
66East Carolina99.8
67Virginia Tech99.7
71N. Illinois98.2
73U A B98.1
74Appal. St.97.8
75San Diego St.97.7
78W. Kentucky97.2
82U T S A96.5
83Utah St.96.0
86Georgia Tech95.0
87Central Mich.95.0
90Coastal Car.94.0
91Miami (Ohio)93.5
92Western Mich.93.1
97J. Madison89.5
98Old Dominion89.4
99Colorado St.89.2
100North Texas88.9
101Eastern Mich.88.5
102Kent St.88.4
104U N L V87.6
105San Jose St.87.4
106Bowling Green87.1
107U T E P86.9
108Ga. Southern86.6
109Middle Tennessee86.5
110Florida Atlantic86.1
112South Alabama85.8
113Southern Miss.85.3
115Ball St.85.1
121Texas St.81.0
122Arkansas St.80.8
124Louisiana Tech80.4
125New Mexico80.2
129New Mexico St.75.4
131Florida Int’l.67.6

PiRate Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Carolina99.699.2100.599.8


Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division
NC State118.4117.4118.6118.1
Florida St.111.8111.1111.0111.3
Wake Forest105.9105.2105.2105.4
Boston College100.6102.6100.3101.2

Coastal Division
Miami (Fla.)115.2113.8115.0114.7
North Carolina108.1108.3107.6108.0
Virginia Tech100.4100.897.999.7
Georgia Tech95.795.693.795.0


Big 12 Conference
Oklahoma St.118.3116.4117.7117.5
Kansas St.111.2109.8110.0110.3
Iowa St.108.7108.6108.9108.7
T C U108.9107.3107.3107.8
Texas Tech107.1105.6107.5106.7
West Virginia103.8103.6102.5103.3

Big 12110.2108.9109.2109.5

Big Ten Conference
East Division
Ohio St.128.7126.7129.6128.3
Michigan St.119.0117.4116.8117.7
Penn St.115.1114.6114.1114.6

West Division

Big Ten112.7112.0111.4112.0

Conference USA
U A B97.497.699.298.1
W. Kentucky96.596.199.197.2
U T S A97.295.496.796.5
North Texas88.787.990.088.9
U T E P87.086.587.286.9
Middle Tennessee85.786.886.986.5
Florida Atlantic85.487.385.786.1
Louisiana Tech80.382.078.880.4
Florida Int’l.


FBS Independents
Notre Dame117.5115.5117.4116.8
New Mexico St.74.977.274.175.4


Mid-American Conference
East Division
Miami (Ohio)91.694.694.493.5
Kent St.87.490.287.788.4
Bowling Green87.886.586.987.1

West Division
N. Illinois97.998.398.498.2
Central Mich.93.195.496.495.0
Western Mich.92.293.593.693.1
Eastern Mich.88.489.088.188.5
Ball St.84.786.084.885.1


Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
Boise St.106.1105.0107.0106.0
Air Force101.0100.9102.4101.4
Utah St.95.595.996.796.0
Colorado St.88.689.989.189.2
New Mexico80.481.179.180.2

West Division
Fresno St.103.3102.6104.6103.5
San Diego St.97.597.597.997.7
U N L V88.586.088.187.6
San Jose St.86.987.388.087.4


Pac-12 Conference
U C L A108.6108.5110.2109.1
Oregon St.107.2106.6107.8107.2
U S C105.4106.2106.2105.9
Arizona St.104.1104.1105.4104.5
Washington St.101.0101.6101.8101.5


Southeastern Conference
East Division
South Carolina109.5108.8108.9109.1

West Division
Texas A&M113.4114.8114.8114.3
Mississippi St.115.2113.1113.5113.9
L S U113.0112.2112.2112.5
Ole Miss113.4111.4111.8112.2


Sunbelt Conference
East Division
Georgia St.99.398.5102.6100.1
Appal. St.
Coastal Car.92.894.295.094.0
J. Madison87.
Old Dominion89.489.489.589.4
Ga. Southern86.686.087.186.6

West Division
South Alabama85.385.686.585.8
Southern Miss.85.185.685.285.3
Texas St.80.481.381.481.0
Arkansas St.80.181.780.680.8

Sun Belt88.889.490.289.5

Conference Ratings

2Big Ten112.0
3Big 12109.5
4Atlantic Coast106.6
6American Athletic98.4
8Mountain West91.8
9Sun Belt89.5
11Conference USA86.5

August 13, 2021

Conference USA Preview

If you are new to the PiRate Ratings, we have three different ratings, which are basically three different algorithms calculated using identical data.  The PiRate and Bias are closely correlated.  The Mean is a bit of an outlier.  The differences in the three ratings’ algorithms are designed to catch different outcomes in a season.  In some years, trends make one rating better than the others.  In some years, all three ratings move in lockstep and appear to be nearly identical.  Additionally, the process for updating the three different ratings differs for each one.  The PiRate has the most conservative updating formula, while the Bias has the most liberal updating formula.  The Mean has an average updating formula.

Wow!  It feels like last week, Alabama was toying with Ohio State to win the 2020-21 FBS National Championship!  If it feels like August 13th came about two months quicker than normal, maybe it has more to do with the fact that updating the PiRate Ratings was a much more involved process this Spring and Summer.  The issues with Covid totally messed up the 2020 season, and the new Transfer Portal led to players leaving school as late as July and waiting until the end of July to choose their new school, so updating the ratings became a two-fold process.  The old way of updating the ratings took place between Memorial Day Weekend and Mid-July.  Then, from Mid-July to last week, we had to perform a new update where, in essence, we had to treat about 165 of the top transfers as lost starters to their old team and as new starters to their new team.  

These 165 players represented 4293 basis points, or to put it into something meaningful to you, 4293 basis points in our ratings’ algorithms account for about 61.3 power rating points, give or take a point or two.  82 different FBS teams had a gain or loss of basis points from at least one player move involving these teams.  48 teams did not have a gain or loss of basis points, with 47 having no meaningful player movement, while the 48th team had a net of 0 basis points from their gain of a player and loss of a player where the players were basically of equal talent.

If you follow our ratings, you probably know that our 130 teams always average 100.0, as 100.0 is par.  When you see a team ranked at 111.3, that means they are 11.3 points better than the average team.  If a team is ranked at 92.8, that means they are 7.2 points weaker than the average team.  Thus, if there are 130 teams, and 100 is par, the grand total of team ratings must be 13,000.  So, if 82 teams had their ratings altered by a total of 61.3 points, the other 48 teams had to have their ratings altered as well so that the total was 13,000.  Those 61.3 points were not all in the same direction.  32.6 points came from improvement, while 28.7 points came from weakening.  The grand total of -3.9 points had to be distributed to the other 48 teams.  Basically 39 teams lost one tenth of a point, while the best nine teams of the 48 stayed stat.

Today, we begin previewing our first FBS conference.  Coming in at 11th place (last place) among the conferences is Conference USA.  Once considered an improved version of the Sun Belt Conference, CUSA has fallen several notches behind their Southern Group of 5 rival.  

In July, CUSA held its annual preseason meeting, and the media voted their preseason picks.  Here it is:

2021 CUSA Football Preseason Poll


  1. Marshall (17)
  2. Florida Atlantic (6)
  3. WKU (1)
  4. Charlotte
  5. Middle Tennessee
  6. FIU
  7. Old Dominion


  1. UAB (15)
  2. UTSA (9)
  3. Louisiana Tech
  4. Southern Miss
  5. Rice
  6. North Texas
  7. UTEP

How does this compare to the PiRate Ratings?  Take a look at our preseason ratings.

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

While the PiRate Ratings are designed only to estimate the result of each team’s next game, we issue predicted standings every year just for fun.  Just because a team is ranked ahead of another, it doesn’t mean we are predicting them to win.  Our ratings have built in alterations to every team’s power rating based on depth and experience.  A team lacking depth may see their power rating fall as the season goes along, and we perceive that these poor depth teams will begin to show fatigue.  Likewise, a team with a lot of talent but low experience may see their power rating rise as the season goes along, and we perceive that these lesser experienced players gain enough experience for the game to slow down to them.

Here are our predicted won-loss records for CUSA.

CUSA EastConf.Overall
Florida Atlantic6-28-4
Florida Int’l.4-45-7
Western Kentucky4-45-7
Middle Tennessee3-55-7
Old Dominion0-81-11



UTSA7-110-3 *
Louisiana Tech6-27-5
Southern Miss.3-54-8

UTSA picked to win CUSA Championship Game

August 8, 2019

2019 Conference USA Football Preview

Welcome to the 2019-2020 College Football season on the SS Touchdown, your favorite PiRate ship of analytical merriment.

The PiRates have spent hours upon hours doing research this summer getting ready for another football season.  2018 was an incredible year for our ratings, as we finished at the top of the Prediction Tracker against the spread in college football, and the best against the spread and at picking winners in NFL football.  We have seen a steady bump in additional readers, so we hope we can follow up with another great year.

Today, we begin previewing one NCAA FBS conference per day for the next 11 days.  In past years, we published lengthy previews, but after hearing from a lot of you tell us that you come here for the stats, we are going to try to become the Sergeant Joe Friday of football, “Just the Stats.”  Oh, we’ll throw in a little Joe Gannon and include something from out of left field when something warrants it.

We begin with Conference USA, the #11 rated conference to begin the PiRate Ratings season.

The Official Media Poll

Conference USA Media Poll
East Division
Pos. Team 1st Place Votes
1 Marshall 14
2 Florida Int’l. 9
3 Florida Atlantic 3
4 Middle Tennessee 0
5 Western Kentucky 0
6 Old Dominion 0
7 Charlotte 0


West Division
Pos. Team 1st Place Votes
1 North Texas 20
2 Southern Miss. 4
3 Louisiana Tech 0
4 UAB 2
5 UTSA 0
6 Rice 0
7 UTEP 0

For some reason, Conference USA did not release the total vote count by the media.  We only received the First Place Votes and position each team finished in the voting.  Additionally, the media did not vote on an overall champion.


The PiRate Ratings

Preseason PiRate Ratings–CUSA
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Florida Int’l. 93.6 93.7 94.4 93.9
Marshall 92.9 92.6 93.8 93.1
Florida Atlantic 91.7 91.1 92.4 91.7
Middle Tennessee 90.5 90.0 90.6 90.4
Western Kentucky 87.5 88.7 89.0 88.4
Charlotte 86.6 87.0 87.0 86.9
Old Dominion 75.1 76.0 75.1 75.4


West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Southern Miss. 93.4 92.2 93.7 93.1
North Texas 92.5 92.3 93.4 92.7
Louisiana Tech 90.7 90.8 90.8 90.7
U A B 88.2 89.1 88.7 88.7
U T S A 77.5 80.0 77.2 78.2
Rice 77.7 78.8 77.0 77.9
U T E P 67.9 72.6 68.3 69.6
CUSA Averages 86.1 86.8 86.5 86.5

Note:  These preseason ratings are accurate as of August 1, 2019, and subject to change before the first week of the season due to personnel changes prior to the first week of the season.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

The PiRate Ratings were not created to forecast won-loss records like other ratings might attempt.  Our ratings are valid for just the next game on the teams’ schedules, and we have pre-set adjustments built into our ratings on many teams.  For instance, if a team has exceptional starting talent but little depth, their rating has a pre-set reduction per week of the season, so that even if they win or lose a game by the exact expected margin, they will lose some of their power rating due to their depth issues.

If a team has exceptional, but inexperienced talent, their rating will have a pre-set addition per week of the season, and even if their performance may be exactly what was expected, their power rating will rise.

What you see in these predicted won-loss records are our opinion and not calculated from the ratings.  These are the estimated records based on a vote, with the Captain having 50% of the vote and the crew having the other 50%.  Then, if the Captain didn’t like the result, he swung his sword and chose them by himself.  Actually, the conference records had to be balanced, and all the half-win votes made it a mess, so it’s probably 100% his opinion.

PiRate Members Predicted Won-Loss
East Division
Pos Team CUSA Overall
1 Florida Atlantic 6-2 8-5
2 Marshall 6-2 9-3
3 Florida Int’l. 5-3 7-5
4 Western Kentucky 4-4 5-7
5 Middle Tennessee 4-4 5-7
6 Charlotte 3-5 5-7
7 Old Dominion 1-7 2-10


West Division
Pos Team CUSA Overall
1 Southern Miss. 7-1 9-4*
2 Louisiana Tech 6-2 9-3
3 North Texas 6-2 7-5
4 UAB 5-3 8-4
5 UTSA 2-6 3-9
6 Rice 1-7 1-11
7 UTEP 0-8 1-11
* Southern Miss. picked to win CUSA Championship


Bowl Projections

Bowl Team
Bahamas Southern Miss.
First Responder Marshall
Gasparilla Cincinnati
New Mexico Louisiana Tech
New Orleans UAB


Alternate Bowl Teams
Frisco Florida Int’l
Independence North Texas

Coaches That Could Move To FBS Power Conference Schools

Seth Littrell–North Texas

Lane Kiffin–Florida Atlantic

Jay Hopson–Southern Miss.


Coaches on The Hot Seat

Dana Dimel–UTEP

Frank Wilson–UTSA

Bobby Wilder–Old Dominion


Top Quarterbacks

Mason Fine–North Texas

Tyler Johnson III–UAB

James Morgan–Florida Int’l.


Best Offense

North Texas

Florida Int’l.



Best Defense


Louisiana Tech

Southern Miss.


Coming Tomorrow–The Mid-American Conference




August 11, 2018

2018 Conference USA Preview

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

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


Conference USA is an interesting league. Annually, it comes in as the second weakest conference overall to begin each season, sometimes just a fraction ahead of the Sun Belt. Yet. this league produces a plethora of bowl-eligible teams. Last year was no different, as 10 of the 14 schools earned bowl eligibility, and nine received bowl invitations.

Last year, after a slow start that saw his team lose big to Navy and Wisconsin and then suffer a heartbreaking loss at Buffalo, Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic team caught fire and won their final 10 games. Included in the season-ending sweep were a CUSA Championship Game title and a victory in the Boca Raton Bowl, both by fat margins. The Owls finished the season averaging better than 40 points and almost 500 total yards per game, but Kiffin will have to rebuild on this side of the ball. Expect defense to help FAU contend for another conference title.

Marshall and Middle Tennessee should be FAU’s chief competition for the title. Coach Doc Holliday is one of the best recruiters in the Group of 5 conferences, and he has a lot of experienced talent returning to Marshall. If not for the fact that the Thundering Herd will have to break in a new quarterback and has no player that has thrown even one pass for the school in a game. Additionally, there will be a new offensive coordinator, as Tim Cramsey comes to Huntington from Sam Houston State and brings a new offense.  Of course, his 2017 SHU offense merely averaged better than 43 points per game and proved to be powerful running and passing the ball.

Middle Tennessee has the top returning quarterback in the division in Brent Stockstill, but the Blue Raiders have an iffy secondary and could be forced to outscore opponents every week.

The West Division looks like a three-team race. North Texas, Lousiana Tech, and UAB could finish in a three-way tie, with Southern Mississippi a distant fourth. Having two of the weakest FBS teams in the same division in Rice and UTEP, means that the other four division rivals can almost count on two conference victories already.

North Texas has the top overall quarterback in the league and maybe the best overall in the Lone Star State in Mason Fine. As a sophomore last season, he finished 6th nationally in passing yards, and he is the leading passing yardage leader among returning quarterbacks. Fine has most of his receiving corps returning this year, so if he gets just a little better pass protection, he could lead the Mean Green to the best season in Denton since Hayden Fry coached there in the late 1970’s. UNT Coach Seth Littrell is on a fast track to taking over a big time program. Every stop along the way, the team he has coached as an assistant set passing and total offense records. Mentoring Fine is not the first time he has trained a top prospect into a big-time talent. He previously tutored Nick Foles at Arizona.

UAB coach Bill Clark takes a back seat to nobody. How’s this for an incredible feat of wizardry? Clark stayed with the program when the school dropped football for two seasons. With just a handful of recruits to work with and a promise of playing again in the future, he recruited enough talent and then “coached ’em up.” Picked to maybe win two games by most pundits last year in their return to the game, UAB enjoyed an 8-win season and bid to the Bahamas Bowl. With 14 starters returning from last year’s first team back in football and a decent recruiting class, UAB should be right there with North Texas in the West Division race.

Skip Holtz is the big name in the West Division of CUSA, and his Louisiana Tech Bulldogs have to be considered one of the tri-favorites in this division. His team underperformed a bit last year but still managed to win seven times and make an appearance in the Frisco Bowl, where LT looked more like the team people expected them to be, dusting SMU 51-10. The Techsters have a lot of returning talent, and if said talent plays more like they did in the bowl and less like they did against Southern Miss and Rice, then the Bulldogs could make it back to the top of the division.

Here is how the CUSA media voted in the preseason poll.

East Division 1st Place Votes
1. Florida Atlantic 22
2. Marshall 4
3. Middle Tennessee 0
4. Florida Int’l. 0
5. Western Kentucky 0
6. Old Dominion 0
7. Charlotte 0
West Division 1st Place Votes
1. North Texas 18
2. Louisiana Tech 4
3. UAB 3
4. Southern Miss. 1
5. UTSA 0
6t. Rice 0
6t. UTEP 0

There were no votes for overall conference champion.

The PiRate Ratings basically confirm the media’s preseason opinions.

Conference USA
East Division
Team CUSA Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Florida Atlantic 0-0 0-0 102.0 103.0 103.3 102.8
Marshall 0-0 0-0 94.3 97.1 95.0 95.5
Middle Tennessee 0-0 0-0 91.4 93.4 93.0 92.6
Old Dominion 0-0 0-0 87.5 91.3 89.0 89.3
Florida Int’l. 0-0 0-0 82.0 86.8 82.6 83.8
W. Kentucky 0-0 0-0 80.4 84.6 81.2 82.1
Charlotte 0-0 0-0 76.2 78.7 76.3 77.1
West Division
Team CUSA Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Louisiana Tech 0-0 0-0 93.8 96.4 95.2 95.1
N. Texas 0-0 0-0 93.0 96.3 93.6 94.3
U A B 0-0 0-0 91.1 93.6 91.5 92.1
Southern Miss. 0-0 0-0 81.6 85.0 82.1 82.9
U T S A 0-0 0-0 80.2 85.6 81.6 82.5
Rice 0-0 0-0 71.4 74.5 69.7 71.9
U T E P 0-0 0-0 69.3 72.5 68.6 70.1
CUSA Averages 85.3 88.5 85.9 86.6

New Coaches

When a large majority of schools gain bowl eliibility, there are not going to be a lot of coaching dismissals. Unless coaches get better jobs, they will return to their respective schools. As mentioned previously, Rice and UTEP ranked in the bottom 10 of all FBS schools last year, and these two teams will welcome new leaders.

Rice hired MIke Bloomgren and hopes to get the same results that Bloomgren produced as offensive coordinator at Stanford. He also has experience coaching with the New York Jets during the Rex Ryan era. The Owls will use power running mixed with play-action passing and hope to improve on 16 points and 330 yards per game on offense. Thanks to home games with Prairie View and UTEP, Bloomgren should double the win total from one to two.

UTEP wore the collar last year, going 0-12 and losing by an average of 25 points per game. The Miners hired 55-year old Dana Dimel, who for the last decade has been the offensive coordinator at Kansas State. Dimel has past head coaching stops at Wyoming and Houston. He succeeded in Laramie but failed in Houston. In year one, he faces a gargantuan rebuilding process, but you cannot really go south from 0-12, unless you repeat with another 0-12 that includes a loss to an FCS team. Northern Arizona will be a tough FCS opponent for the Miners.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

Team Conference Overall
Florida Atlantic 8-0 11-2 *
Marshall 7-1 9-3
Middle Tennessee 6-2 7-5
Old Dominion 4-4 6-6
Western Kentucky 3-5 5-7
Florida Int’l. 2-6 3-9
Charlotte 0-8 1-11
Team Conference Overall
North Texas 6-2 9-4
UAB 6-2 9-3
Louisiana Tech 6-2 8-4
Southern Miss. 4-4 5-7
UTSA 3-5 5-7
Rice 1-7 2-11
UTEP 0-8 1-11
* Fla. Atlantic picked to win CUSA Championship Game

Bowl Tie-ins
CUSA does not have a set bowl order. They send teams to bowls to create the best overall matchups.

These are the bowls tie-ins for 2018.

Bahamas Bowl in Nassau, Bahamas
Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, FL
Gasparilla Bowl in St. Petersburg, FL
Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu, HI
Heart of Dallas Bowl in Dallas, TX
New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, NM
New Orleans Bowl in New Orleans, LA

There are secondary bowl agreements with the Frisco Bowl in Frisco, Texas, and the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, if those bowl need at-large alternates.

Coming Tomorrow–The Mid-American Conference

March 9, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 9 Update

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:25 am

Three More Tickets Punched

Horizon League Championship

Butler 59  Milwaukee 44

 The Bulldogs held Milwaukee to 30% shooting from the field, and Matt Howard connected on seven of nine shots to pace Butler with 18 points, as the defending National Final runner-up earned another spot in the Big Dance.

 Summit League Championship

Oakland 90  Oral Roberts 76 

The Golden Grizzlies displayed a great offensive show with the aid of numerous first half steals by Drew Valentine and Reggie Hamilton to build a double-digit lead by the break.  After withstanding an early second half run by the Golden Eagles, Oakland pulled away to win the automatic bid.  

Keith Benson topped Oakland with 28 points and 14 rebounds.  Hamilton added 25 with six assists, while Will Hudson recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.


Sunbelt Conference Championship

U A L R  64  North Texas  63 

The Trojans won their first Sunbelt Championship and earned their first bid to the NCAA Tournament since 1990.


SBC Player of the Year Solomon Bozeman drove from the backcourt to the left side of the top of the key and drained a three-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining to give UALR the decisive points.  Bozeman scored a game-high 20 points. 

North Texas had led by seven points with less than two minutes to go, but the Mean Green wilted under the Trojan pressure defense.  With one last chance to try to win, UNT committed a turnover on the inbounds pass. 

11 Automatic Qualifiers To Date

Team Conference Record
Arkansas-Little Rock Sunbelt  19-16
Belmont  Atlantic South 30-4
Butler  Horizon 23-9
Gonzaga West Coast 24-9
Indiana State  Missouri Valley  20-13
Morehead State  Ohio Valley  24-9
Oakland  Summit  25-9
Old Dominion Colonial 27-6
St. Peter’s Metro Atlantic 20-13
UNC-Asheville Big South 19-13
Wofford Southern 21-12


Two Tickets To Be Punched Tonight

Big Sky Tournament Championship @ 9PM ET On ESPN2

#2 Montana (21-9) at #1 Northern Colorado (20-10)


Semifinal Round

Montana 57  Weber State 40

Northern Colorado 73  Northern Arizona 70


These two split their regular season series with Northern Colorado winning 63-45 in Greeley, and Montana winning 55-42 in Missoula.  Tonight’s game will be played at Butler-Hancock Hall in Greeley, so Northern Colorado will enjoy the home court advantage. 

This game is a great study in contrasts.  Northern Colorado is a quicker team, but Montana is a stronger team.  Northern Colorado has one exceptionally dominant player, while Montana has more, albeit less exceptional, weapons.


The Bears’ offense runs through 6-1 senior guard Devon Beitzel.  Beitzel averages a league-best 21 points per game, and he is deadly at the free throw line, where he connects on 91% of his tosses. 

The rest of the team collectively shoots under 41% from the field and commits more turnovers than assists, so if the Grizzlies can stop Beitzel, or at least limit his touches, they have a chance of defending their crown.


Montana has the dominant big man in the conference in 6-11/260 senior center Brian Qvale.  If the Grizzlies can keep this game a half-court affair, they stand a great chance of winning with Qvale plugging the middle on defense and controlling the boards at both ends of the court.  Qvale averages 15 points and nine boards a game, and he had a double-double with 16 points and 17 rebounds in the semifinal round.  Montana likes to limit possessions, so those numbers are even more impressive than they look. 

In the win over UNC, Montana held the Bears to 23.3% shooting, while they shot just 32.6% in the loss at Greeley.


It is our opinion that the visiting number two seed will pull off the mild upset over the host numbone seed, but it is not a strong feeling. 

 Northeast Conference Tournament Championship @ 7PM ET On ESPN2

#3 Robert Morris (18-13) at #1 Long Island (26-5)

Semifinal Round

Long Island 69  Central Connecticut 67

Robert Morris 64  Quinnipiac 62

Brooklyn has not been this excited over one of their own sports teams since the Dodgers won the 1955 World Series.  Long Island is one of the most exciting teams in the nation, and their 26-5 record has throngs of Brooklynites cramming into the Wellness, Recreation, and Athletic Center.  The WRAC holds just 2,500 seats, but you can bet that more than that amount will find their way into the game tonight, as they “Pack the WRAC.” 

Those fans will be converging to the corner of Ashland and Dekalb tonight, dressed in all white, to watch what could be a blowout win for their team.   

LIU is on a roll.  The Blackbirds have won 12 games in a row (longest current streak in the nation) and 20 of their previous 21 games.  They average almost 83 points per game.  The Blackbirds have exceptional depth with eight players capable of scoring 15 or more points. 


The Blackbirds pose difficult matchups with their roster, as they rely on quick guards and medium-sized forwards with great leaping ability to play at a fast pace.  There is no center on the roster, but the two 6-7 forwards have controlled the boards in most games this year. 

Those forwards are Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere, who team up for 25.4 points and 15.7 rebounds per game.

 5-10 backup guard Jason Brickman plays just 22 minutes per game, but he leads the team with 5.3 assists per game.  When he comes in the game, the pace picks up, and the Blackbirds shoot a lot of threes in transition.


Robert Morris is definitely not cannon fodder.  The Colonials are the two-time defending NEC Tournament champions, and they believe they can three peat even on the road in hostile conditions. 

The Colonials have won eight games in a row, relying on a stellar defense that limits possessions and pressures the guards.  They are missing their leading scorer, as 5-9 guard Karon Abraham’s season ended two weeks ago with a torn Achilles Tendon.  On the positive side, Abraham missed RMU’s win at LIU on December 2, as he was serving a multi-game suspension. 

Velton Jones and Russell Johnson will have to shine tonight for the Colonials to pull off the upset.  The duo are the only double figure scorers left, but both shoot less than 39% from the field. 

Without Abraham, RMU shoots just 33.7% from behind the arc, so the only way they can possibly win tonight is to replicate the formula that was successful more than three months ago—control the tempo and prevent LIU from getting off any uncontested three-pointers. 

We believe this game will begin slowly with RMU taking the lead in the early stages.  Somewhere in the first half, LIU will go on one of their patented runs and gain the lead.  Then, a second spurt will give them a commanding lead.  RMU might cut into that lead, but we believe in the end, the Blackbirds will be celebrating at the WRAC.  We do not believe the Brooklynites will be crying “Wait ‘Til Next Year.”  This will be like October of 1955 in the borough.


Yesterday’s Other Tournament Results

Atlantic 10 Conference

First Round

LaSalle 75  St. Bonaventure 73  2ot

St. Joseph’s 71  George Washington 59  ot

Rhode Island 70  St. Louis 61

Dayton 78  U Mass 50


Big East Conference

First Round

Connecticut 97  DePaul 71

Rutgers 76  Seton Hall 70 ot

South Florida 70  Villanova 69

Marquette 87  Providence 66 


First Round

Bowling Green 74  Northern Illinois 54

Ohio U 74  Toledo 57

Akron 67  Eastern Michigan 53

Buffalo 64  Central Michigan 50



First Round

MD-Eastern Shore 87  F A M U 85  2ot

S. C. State 64  Delaware State 59 

Ivy League Playoff Set

Princeton defeated rival Penn 70-58 last night in Philadelphia, forcing a one-game playoff for the Ivy League’s automatic berth.  Princeton (24-6) will take on co-champion Harvard (23-5) Saturday afternoon at 4PM Eastern Time.  The game will be played at Yale University in New Haven, CT, and it can be seen live on

Princeton has appeared in all seven Ivy League tiebreaking playoff games in the history of the league.  This is Harvard’s first Ivy League basketball championship of any kind.  The Crimson last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1946. 

There is a chance that the loser of this game could hold a slim chance of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.  Harvard is ranked #35 in the RPI, while Princeton is ranked #49.  Harvard has two wins over top 50 teams as well as three losses.  Their biggest win was at Boston College.  Princeton has just one win against the top 50 and two losses.  For the Ivy to earn two bids, the Tigers have to win Saturday and hope Harvard’s high RPI is enough to earn the second bid. 

Conference Tournaments In Action Today

Big 12 Conference

Tournament Site: Kansas City

1st Round Games

#8 Nebraska (19-11) vs. #9 Oklahoma State (18-12)  12:30 PM ET

#5 Colorado (19-12) vs. #12 Iowa State (16-15)  3 PM ET

#7 Baylor (18-12) vs. #10 Oklahoma (13-17)  7PM ET

#6 Missouri (22-9) vs. #11 Texas Tech (13-18) 9:30 PM ET 

Big East Conference

Tournament Site: New York City

2nd Round Games

#8 Georgetown (21-9) vs. #9 Connecticut (22-9)  12 Noon ET on ESPN

#5 St. John’s (20-10) vs. #13 Rutgers (15-16)  Approx. 2:15 PM ET on ESPN

#7 Cincinnati (24-7) vs. #15 South Florida (10-22)  7 PM ET on ESPN

#6 West Virginia (20-10) vs. #11 Marquette (19-13)  Approx. 9:15 PM ET on ESPN 

Conference USA

Tournament Site: El Paso, TX

1st Round Games

#8 East Carolina (16-14) vs. #9 Central Florida (19-10)  1 PM ET

#5 Southern Miss (21-9) vs. #12 Tulane (13-16)  3:30 PM ET

#6 Marshall (21-10) vs. #11 Houston (12-17)  7:30 PM ET

#7 S M U (17-13) vs. #10 Rice (13-17)  10 PM ET 


Tournament Site: Winston-Salem, NC

Note: The MEAC has a unique way of scheduling their tournament.  As a result, one first round game will be played today as well as two quarterfinal round games.  The other two quarterfinal round games will be played Thursday. 

1st Round

#6 Norfolk State () vs. #11 Howard ()  3 PM ET

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Bethune-Cookman (20-11) vs. #9 South Carolina State (10-21)  7 PM ET

#2 Hampton (21-8) vs. #10 Maryland-Eastern Shore (9-21)  9:30 PM ET 

Mountain West Conference

Tournament Site: Las Vegas

1st Round

#8 Wyoming (10-20) vs. #9 T C U (10-21)  5 PM ET 

Pac-10 Conference

Tournament Site: Los Angeles

1st Round

#8 Stanford (15-15) vs. #9 Oregon State (10-19)  9 PM ET on Fox Sports Net

#7 Oregon (14-16) vs. #10 Arizona State (12-18)  11:30 PM ET on Fox Sports Net 

Southland Conference

Tournament Site: Katy, TX (Houston Area)

Quarterfinal Round

#2 Northwestern State (LA) (18-13) vs. #7 Texas-San Antonio (16-13)  1 PM ET

#3 Sam Houston (17-12) vs. #6 Stephen F. Austin (18-10)  3:30 PM ET

#1 McNeese State (19-10) vs. #8 Nicholls State (14-13)  7 PM ET

#4 Texas State (15-15) vs. #5 Southeastern Louisiana (15-13)  9:30 PM ET 


Tournament Site: Garland, TX (Dallas-Ft. Worth Area) 

Quarterfinal Round

#2 Jackson State (16-14) vs. #7 Prairie View (10-21)  12:30 PM ET

#1 Texas Southern (18-11) vs. #8 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (7-23)  9 PM ET


Tournament Site: Las Vegas

1st Round

#5 Hawaii (18-11) vs. #8 San Jose State (15-14)  3 PM ET

#6 Nevada (12-18) vs. #7 Fresno State (14-16)  5:30 PM ET

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