The Pi-Rate Ratings

December 26, 2010

PiRate Ratings College Football Bowl Preview, Part Two

We are posting three bowl previews this year; this is the second preview.  We will give you the current odds for each game, the PiRate, Mean, and Bias spreads for each game, and the results of our 100 computer simulations for each game.

 

Today, we cover the bowls from Boxing Day through New Year’s Day.  Next week, we will preview the bowls from January 2 to the Championship Game. 

 

Sunday, December 26

Little Caesar’s Bowl

Detroit, MI

8:30 PM EST on ESPN

Toledo (8-4)  vs. Florida Internationl (6-6)

Vegas: Toledo by 1

Totals: 57

PiRate: Toledo by 3.3

Mean: Toledo by 2.8

Bias: Toledo by 16.8

100 Sims: Toledo 67  Florida International 33

Avg. Sim Score: Toledo 33.6  Florida International 25.7

Outlier A: Toledo 49  Florida International 19

Outlier B: Florida International 37  Toledo 24

 

Monday, December 27

Independence Bowl

Shreveport, LA

5:00 PM EST on ESPN

Air Force (8-4)  vs.  Georgia Tech (6-6)

Vegas: Air Force by 2 ½  

Totals: 56

PiRate: Georgia Tech by 1.7

Mean: Air Force by 5.2

Bias: Air Force by 5.9

100 Sims: Air Force 55  Georgia Tech 45

Avg. Sim Score: Air Force 29.2  Georgia Tech 26.9

Outlier A: Air Force 41  Georgia Tech 23

Outlier B: Georgia Tech 34  A Force 23

 

Tuesday, December 28

Champs Sports Bowl

Orlando, FL

6:30 PM EST on ESPN

West Virginia (9-3)  vs. North Carolina State (8-4)

Vegas: West Virginia by 2 ½

Totals: 49

PiRate: West Virginia by 6.8

Mean: West Virginia by 2.3

Bias: West Virginia by 3.0

100 Sims: West Virginia 53  North Carolina State 47 (6 games decided by OT)

Avg. Sim Score: West Virginia 25.8  North Carolina State 25.2

Outlier A: West Virginia 27  North Carolina State 10

Outlier B: North Carolina State 28  West Virginia 12

 

Insight Bowl

Tempe, AZ

10:00 PM EST

Missouri (10-2)  vs.  Iowa (7-5)

Vegas: Missouri by 2 ½

Totals: 46 ½

PiRate: Even

Mean: Missouri by 4.1

Bias: Missouri by 12.6

100 Sims: Missouri 58  Iowa 42

Avg. Sim Score: Missouri 25.6  Iowa 22.3

Outlier A: Missouri 31  Iowa 13

Outlier B: Iowa 21  Missouri 7

 

Wednesday, December 29

Military Bowl

Washington, D.C.

2:30 PM on EST

Maryland (8-4)  vs. East Carolina (6-6)

Vegas: Maryland by 7 ½

Totals: 68 ½

PiRate: Maryland by 18.4

Mean: Maryland by 11.2

Bias: Maryland by 13.8

100 Sims: East Carolina 51  Maryland 49

Avg. Sim Score: Maryland 34.4  East Carolina 34.1

Outlier A: East Carolina 47  Maryland 31

Outlier B: Maryland 42  East Carolina 20

 

Texas Bowl

Houston, TX

6:00 PM EST on ESPN

Baylor (7-5)  vs. Illinois (6-6)

Vegas: Baylor by 1

Totals: 62 ½

PiRate: Baylor by 2.4

Mean: Illinois by 1.6

Bias: Baylor by 6.9

100 Sims: Illinois 54  Baylor 46

Avg. Sim Score: Illinois 32.1  Baylor 28.6

Outlier A: Illinois 34  Baylor 17

Outlier B: Baylor 28  Illinois 18

 

Alamo Bowl

San Antonio, TX

9:15 PM EST on ESPN

Oklahoma State (10-2)  vs. Arizona (7-5)

Vegas: Oklahoma State by 5 ½

Totals: 66

PiRate: Oklahoma State by 1.1

Mean: Oklahoma State by 6.1

Bias: Oklahoma State by 9.6

100 Sims: Oklahoma State 61  Arizona 39

Avg. Sim Score: Oklahoma State 38.0  Arizona 29.1

Outlier A: Oklahoma State 51  Arizona 27

Outlier B: Arizona 34  Oklahoma State 28 (and one other 6-point spread)

 

Thursday, December 30

Armed Forces Bowl

Dallas, TX

12:00 Noon EST on ESPN

S M U (7-6)  vs. Army (6-6)

Vegas: S M U by 7

Totals: 52

PiRate: S M U by 7.7

Mean: S M U by 3.2

Bias: S M U by 10.6

100 Sims: S M U 64  Army 36

Avg. Sim Score: S M U 28.2  Army 20.6

Outlier A: S M U 34  Army 10

Outlier B: Army 24  S M U 16

 

Pinstripe Bowl

New York, NY

3:20 PM EST

Syracuse (7-5)  vs. Kansas State (7-5)

Vegas: Pick’em

Totals: 47 ½

PiRate: Syracuse by 1.5

Mean: Kansas State by 4.6

Bias: Syracuse by 2.3

100 Sims: Syracuse 53  Kansas State 47

Avg. Sim Score: Syracuse 20.1  Kansas State 18.6

Outlier A: Syracuse 24  Kansas State 7

Outlier B: Kansas State 17  Syracuse 3

 

Music City Bowl

Nashville, TN

6:30 PM EST

Tennessee (6-6)  vs. North Carolina (7-5)

Vegas: North Carolina by 1 ½  

Totals: 50 ½

PiRate: North Carolina by 6.8

Mean: North Carolina by 1.5

Bias: Tennessee by 6.6

100 Sims: Tennessee 50  North Carolina 50

Avg. Sim Score: Tennessee 24.5  North Carolina 23.9

Outlier A: Tennessee 30  North Carolina 14

Outlier B: North Carolina 27  Tennessee 12

 

Holiday Bowl

San Diego, CA

10:00 PM EST

Nebraska (10-3)  vs. Washington (6-6)

Vegas: Nebraska by 14

Totals: 52 ½

PiRate: Nebraska by 11.8

Mean: Nebraska by 11.5

Bias: Nebraska by 5.3

100 Sims: Nebraska 57  Washington 43

Avg. Sim Score: Nebraska 26.1  Washington 19.3

Outlier A: Nebraska 27  Washington 6

Outlier B: Washington 23  Nebraska 14

 

Friday, December 31

Meineke Car Care Bowl

Charlotte, NC

12:00 Noon EST

South Florida (7-5)  vs. Clemson (6-6)

Vegas: Clemson by 5 ½

Totals: 40 ½

PiRate: Clemson by 5.1

Mean: Clemson by 3.7

Bias: South Florida by 6.1

100 Sims: South Florida 58  Clemson 42

Avg. Sim Score: South Florida 25.1  Clemson 19.2

Outlier A: South Florida 31  Clemson 12

Outlier B: Clemson 28  South Florida 16

 

Sun Bowl

El Paso, TX

2:00 PM EST on CBS

Notre Dame (7-5)  vs. Miami (Fl) (7-5)

Vegas: Miami by 3

Totals: 47

PiRate: Miami by 6.3

Mean: Notre Dame by 1.2

Bias: Miami by 6.0

100 Sims: Notre Dame 52  Miami 48

Avg. Sim Score: Notre Dame 23.4  Miami 23.2

Outlier A: Notre Dame 30  Miami 14

Outlier B: Miami 35  Notre Dame 14

 

Liberty Bowl

Memphis, TN

3:30 PM EST on ESPN

Central Florida (10-3)  vs. Georgia (6-6)

Vegas: Georgia by 6 ½

Totals: 55 ½

PiRate: Georgia by 12.8

Mean: Georgia by 5.3

Bias: Georgia by 11.3

100 Sims: Georgia 72  Central Florida 28

Avg. Sim Score: Georgia 28.6  Central Florida 17.3

Outlier A: Georgia 38  Central Florida 10

Outlier B: Central Florida 24  Georgia 19

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Atlanta, GA

7:30 PM EST on ESPN

South Carolina (9-4)  vs. Florida State (9-4)

Vegas: South Carolina by 3

Totals: 55

PiRate: Florida State by 0.4

Mean: South Carolina by 0.5

Bias: Florida State by 1.6

100 Sims: Florida State 52  South Carolina 48

Avg. Sim Score: South Carolina 26.7  Florida State 26.6

Outlier A: Florida State 30  South Carolina 16

Outlier B: South Carolina 44  Florida State 17

 

Saturday, January 1

TicketCity Bowl

Dallas, TX

12:00 Noon EST on ESPN-U

Texas Tech (7-5)  vs. Northwestern (7-5)

Vegas: Texas Tech by 10

Totals: 60

PiRate: Texas Tech by 12.5

Mean: Texas Tech by 7.3

Bias: Texas Tech by 9.6

100 Sims: Texas Tech 86  Northwestern 14

Avg. Sim Score: Texas Tech 34.6  Northwestern 21.2

Outlier A: Texas Tech 45  Northwestern 17

Outlier B: Northwestern 30  Texas Tech 24 (3 other by 6)

 

Outback Bowl

Tampa, FL

1:00 PM EST on ABC

Florida (7-5) vs. Penn State (7-5)

Vegas: Florida by 7 ½  

Totals: 48

PiRate: Florida by 13.2

Mean: Florida by 5.1

Bias: Florida by 5.5

100 Sims: Florida 54  Penn State 46

Avg. Sim Score: Florida 22.6  Penn State 19.8

Outlier A: Florida 28  Penn State 13

Outlier B: Penn State 21  Florida 10

 

Capital One Bowl

Orlando, FL

1:00 PM EST on ESPN

Michigan State (11-1) vs.  Alabama (9-3)

Vegas: Alabama by 10

Totals: 52 ½

PiRate: Alabama by 15.5

Mean: Alabama by 10.4

Bias: Alabama by 3.2

100 Sims: Alabama 59  Michigan State 41

Avg. Sim Score: Alabama 27.6  Michigan State 24.7

Outlier A: Alabama 31  Michigan State 12

Outlier B: Michigan State 35  Alabama 25

 

Gator Bowl

Jacksonville, FL

1:30 PM EST on ESPN2

Mississippi State (8-4)  vs.  Michigan (7-5)

Vegas: Mississippi State by 5 ½

Totals: 61

PiRate: Mississippi State by 10.3

Mean: Mississippi State by 6.3

Bias: Mississippi State by 4.8

100 Sims: Mississippi State 52  Michigan 48

Avg. Sim Score: Mississippi State 33.7  Michigan 30.1

Outlier A: Mississippi State 38  Michigan 20

Outlier B: Michigan 36  Mississippi State 27

 

Rose Bowl

Pasadena, CA

5:00 PM EST on ESPN

T C U (12-0)  vs. Wisconsin (11-1)

Vegas: T C U by 3

Totals: 58 ½

PiRate: T C U by 7.9

Mean: T C U by 5.8

Bias: Wisconsin by 6.6

100 Sims: Wisconsin 54  T C U 46

Avg. Sim Score: Wisconsin 30.4  T C U 28.8

Outlier A: Wisconsin 40  T C U 24

Outlier B: T C U 34  Wisconsin 24

 

Fiesta Bowl

Glendale, AZ

8:30 PM EST

Oklahoma (11-2)  vs. Connecticut (8-4)

Vegas: Oklahoma by 16 1/2

Totals: 55

PiRate: Oklahoma by 19.7

Mean: Oklahoma by 16.2

Bias: Oklahoma by 20.7

100 Sims: Oklahoma 91  Connecticut 9

Avg. Sim Score: Oklahoma 35.3  Connecticut 14.8

Outlier A: Oklahoma 49  Connecticut 7

Outlier B: Connecticut 27  Oklahoma 23

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December 6, 2010

PiRate Ratings For College Football: Final Regular Season

Have To Wait A Day

Normally, we would post how well our picks fared against the spread, but we must wait one day because the Monday Night Football game is part of a parlay.  Check back tomorrow to see how we did.

 

NCAA PiRate Simulated Playoffs Return

In what has been one of our most popular pieces, the NCAA Football Simulated Playoffs will return later this week.  For those of you new to this blog, we have access to a powerful computer simulator that we have used in the past to simulate real games, such as the bowls and the NFL playoffs.  It has been surprisingly accurate, especially in picking Super Bowl scores.

 

Here is how the PiRate Computer Simulated NCAA Playoffs work.  We choose to go with a 12-team playoff.  We take the winners of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC and give them automatic bids.

 

Any other conference champions that finish in the top 16 of the BCS Standings also receive an automatic bid.  Then, at-large teams are selected based on BCS Standings until 12 teams have been selected.

 

Here are your 2010-11 NCAA Simulated Playoff Teams:

 

Automatic Qualifiers

ACC Champion: Virginia Tech

Big East Champion: Connecticut

Big Ten Champion: Wisconsin

Big 12 Champion: Oklahoma

Pac-10 Champion: Oregon

SEC Champion: Auburn

 

Two other teams received automatic bids for winning (or finishing tied in) their conference and placing in the top 16 of the BCS Standings.

 

Mountain West Champion: T C U

WAC co-Champion: Boise State

 

This leaves four spaces for at-large teams.

 

At-large: Stanford

At-large: Ohio State

At-large: Arkansas

At-large: Michigan State

 

Now, the teams are seeded 1 to 12, and we use 11 bowls to play our playoffs.  Here are the seeds and brackets.

 

 1. Auburn

 2. Oregon

 3. T C U

 4. Stanford

 5. Wisconsin

 6. Ohio State

 7. Oklahoma

 8. Arkansas

 9. Michigan State

10. Boise State

11. Virginia Tech

12. Connecticut

 

Round One

Chick-fil-A Bowl: #5 Wisconsin vs. #12 Connecticut

Alamo Bowl: #6 Ohio State vs. #11 Virginia Tech

Insight Bowl: #7 Oklahoma vs. #10 Boise State

Outback Bowl: #8 Arkansas vs. #9 Michigan State

 

Quarterfinal Round

Sugar Bowl: #1 Auburn vs. Outback Bowl Winner

Fiesta Bowl: #2 Oregon vs. Insight Bowl Winner

Capital One Bowl: #3 T C U vs. Alamo Bowl Winer

Cotton Bowl: #4 Stanford vs. Chick-fil-A Bowl Winner

 

Semifinal Round

Orange Bowl: Sugar Bowl Winner vs. Cotton Bowl Winner

Rose Bowl: Fiesta Bowl Winner vs. Capital One Bowl Winner

 

Simper Bowl

National Championship Game: Orange Bowl Winner vs. Rose Bowl Winner

 

Check back next Monday for Round One results.

 

The Final Regular Season PiRate Ratings

The regular season does not officially end until this weekend when Army plays Navy at Philadelphia.  That game will not affect the standings, so we will issue our final regular season ratings today and issue the PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings for the Army-Navy game.

 

NCAA Top 25 December 6, 2010
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 T C U 133.1 12 0
2 Oregon 132.5 12 0
3 Stanford 131.8 11 1
4 Auburn 131.0 13 0
5 Boise State 128.8 11 1
6 Ohio State 128.3 11 1
7 Oklahoma 127.7 11 2
8 Alabama 126.2 9 3
9 Wisconsin 125.2 11 1
10 Arkansas 124.7 10 2
11 Virginia Tech 124.2 11 2
12 Florida State 119.8 9 4
13 South Carolina 119.4 9 4
14 Nebraska 118.9 10 3
15 Texas A&M 118.5 9 3
16 L S U 117.7 10 2
17 West Virginia 117.0 9 3
18 Oklahoma State 116.3 10 2
19 Nevada 115.7 12 1
20 Georgia 115.7 6 6
21 Mississippi State 115.6 8 4
22 Florida 115.3 7 5
23 Missouri 115.2 10 2
24t Arizona 115.2 7 5
24t Iowa 115.2 7 5
         
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida State 6-2 9-4 119.8
Clemson 4-4 6-6 111.0
North Carolina State 5-3 8-4 110.2
Maryland 5-3 8-4 105.9
Boston College 4-4 7-5 105.0
Wake Forest 1-7 3-9 92.0
       
Coastal Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Virginia Tech 8-0 11-2 124.2
Miami-FL 5-3 7-5 115.2
North Carolina 4-4 7-5 114.8
Georgia Tech 4-4 6-6 108.5
Duke 1-7 3-9 95.9
Virginia 1-7 4-8 95.0

 

 

Big East Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
West Virginia 5-2 9-3 117.0
Pittsburgh 5-2 7-5 110.7
Connecticut 5-2 8-4 108.0
South Florida 3-4 7-5 106.9
Louisville 3-4 6-6 104.1
Cincinnati 2-5 4-8 100.7
Syracuse 4-3 7-5 100.0
Rutgers 1-6 4-8 89.5

 

 

Big Ten
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Ohio State 7-1 11-1 128.3
Wisconsin 7-1 11-1 125.2
Iowa 4-4 7-5 115.2
Michigan State 7-1 11-1 110.7
Michigan 3-5 7-5 105.3
Penn State 4-4 7-5 104.6
Illinois 4-4 6-6 104.4
Minnesota 2-6 3-9 96.1
Northwestern 3-5 7-5 92.9
Purdue 2-6 4-8 91.1
Indiana 1-7 5-7 90.1

 

 

Big 12
North Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 6-2 10-3 118.9
Missouri 6-2 10-2 115.2
Kansas State 3-5 7-5 100.0
Colorado 2-6 5-7 99.6
Iowa State 3-5 5-7 94.9
Kansas 1-7 3-9 88.2
       
South Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oklahoma 6-2 11-2 127.7
Texas A&M 6-2 9-3 118.5
Oklahoma State 6-2 10-2 116.3
Texas 2-6 5-7 106.3
Baylor 4-4 7-5 105.3
Texas Tech 3-5 7-5 104.4

 

 

Conference USA
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Florida 7-1 10-3 102.9
Southern Mississippi 5-3 8-4 98.4
East Carolina 5-3 6-6 90.0
U A B 3-5 4-8 86.3
Marshall 4-4 5-7 83.8
Memphis 0-8 1-11 70.7
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Tulsa 6-2 9-3 98.3
Houston 4-4 5-7 96.3
S M U 6-2 7-6 92.7
U T E P 3-5 6-6 86.0
Rice 3-5 4-8 84.5
Tulane 2-6 4-8 74.6

 

 

Independents
       
Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame   7-5 108.9
Navy   8-3 102.6
Army   6-5 88.2

 

 

Mid American Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 5-3 8-4 92.6
Miami (O) 7-1 9-4 90.6
Ohio U 6-2 8-4 89.4
Kent St. 4-4 5-7 82.9
Bowling Green 1-7 2-10 75.0
Buffalo 1-7 2-10 70.2
Akron 1-7 1-11 67.7
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Northern Illinois 8-0 10-3 104.1
Toledo 7-1 8-4 89.3
Western Michigan 5-3 6-6 88.8
Central Michigan 2-6 3-9 83.7
Ball State 3-5 4-8 73.9
Eastern Michigan 2-6 2-10 66.9

 

 

Mountain West Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 8-0 12-0 133.1
Utah 7-1 10-2 111.1
Air Force 5-3 8-4 106.8
B Y U 5-3 6-6 104.8
S. D. State 5-3 8-4 104.4
Wyoming 1-7 3-9 88.0
UNLV 2-6 2-11 80.4
Colo. State 2-6 3-9 79.8
New Mexico 1-7 1-11 75.2

 

 

Pac-10 Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 9-0 12-0 132.5
Stanford 8-1 11-1 131.8
Arizona 4-5 7-5 115.2
Southern Cal 5-4 8-5 112.0
Arizona St. 4-5 6-6 111.0
Oregon St. 4-5 5-7 109.6
California 3-6 5-7 108.4
Washington 5-4 6-6 107.1
U C L A 2-7 4-8 101.8
Washington State 1-8 2-10 94.2

 

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
South Carolina 5-3 9-4 119.4
Georgia 3-5 6-6 115.7
Florida 4-4 7-5 115.3
Tennessee 3-5 6-6 106.0
Kentucky 2-6 6-6 105.9
Vanderbilt 1-7 2-10 86.8
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Auburn 8-0 13-0 131.0
Alabama 5-3 9-3 126.2
Arkansas 6-2 10-2 124.7
L S U 6-2 10-2 117.7
Mississippi State 4-4 8-4 115.6
Ole Miss 1-7 4-8 100.1

 

 

Sunbelt Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida International 6-2 6-6 87.0
Arkansas State 4-4 4-8 83.9
Troy 6-2 7-5 85.8
Middle Tennessee 5-3 6-6 82.8
North Texas 3-5 3-9 79.7
Louisiana-Monroe 4-4 5-7 78.1
U. of Louisiana 3-5 3-9 77.6
Western Kentucky 2-6 2-10 75.1
Florida Atlantic 3-5 4-8 73.7

 

 

Western Athletic Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 7-1 11-1 128.8
Nevada 7-1 12-1 115.9
Hawaii 7-1 10-3 108.9
Fresno State 5-3 8-4 98.2
Louisiana Tech 4-4 5-7 93.0
Idaho 3-5 6-7 88.1
Utah State 2-6 4-8 88.0
San Jose State 0-8 1-12 78.5
New Mexico State 1-7 2-10 71.9

 

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)    
       
Saturday, December 11      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
Navy Army (Philadelphia) 14.4 31-17

 

 

This Week’s Games–Mean and Bias Ratings
Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)    
       
Saturday, December 11      
Favorite Underdog Mean Bias
Navy Army  (Philadelphia) 31-23 27-21

 

 

A Look At The Bowls

 

Here are the particulars for the 35 bowl matchups for this year. 

 

All Times Eastern Standard

 

Saturday, December 18

The New Mexico Bowl—Albuquerque, NM

2:00 PM  ESPN

B Y U  6-6  vs. U T E P  6-6

 

The Humanitarian Bowl—Boise, ID

5:30 PM  ESPN

Northern Illinois  10-3  vs. Fresno State  8-4

 

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl—New Orleans, LA

9:00 PM  ESPN

Troy  7-5  vs. Ohio U  8-4

 

Tuesday, December 21

Beef O’Brady’s Bowl—St. Petersburg, FL

8:00 PM  ESPN

Louisville  6-6  vs. Southern Mississippi  8-4

 

Wednesday, December 22

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl—Las Vegas, NV

8:00 PM  ESPN

Utah  10-2  vs. Boise State  11-1

Boise State substitutes for a Pac-10 Team

 

Thursday, December 23

San Diego Co. Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl—San Diego, CA

8:00 PM  ESPN

San Diego State  8-4  vs. Navy  8-3 (+ Army Game)

 

Friday, December 24

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl—Honolulu, HI

8:00 PM  ESPN

Hawaii  10-3  vs. Tulsa 9-3

 

Sunday, December 26

Little Caesar’s Bowl—Detroit, MI

8:30 PM  ESPN

Florida International  6-6  vs. Toledo  8-4

Florida International substitutes for a Big Ten Team

 

Monday, December 27

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl—Shreveport, LA

5:00 PM  ESPN-2

Georgia Tech  6-6  vs.  Air Force  8-4

 

Tuesday, December 28

Champs Sports Bowl—Orlando, FL

6:30 PM  ESPN

West Virginia  9-3  vs.  North Carolina St.  8-4

 

Insight Bowl—Tempe, AZ

10:00 PM  ESPN

Missouri  10-2  vs.  Iowa  7-5

 

Wednesday, December 29

Military Bowl—Washington, DC

2:30 PM  ESPN

Maryland  8-4  vs.  East Carolina  6-6

 

Texas Bowl—Houston, TX

6:00 PM  ESPN

Baylor  7-5  vs. Illinois  7-5

 

Valero Alamo Bowl—San Antonio, TX

9:15 PM  ESPN

Oklahoma State  10-2  vs.  Arizona  7-5

 

Thursday, December 30

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl—Ft. Worth, TX

12 Noon  ESPN

S M U  7-6  vs. Army  6-5 (+ Navy Game)

 

New Era Pinstripe Bowl—New York, NY

3:20 PM  ESPN

Syracuse  7-5  vs. Kansas State  7-5

 

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl—Nashville, TN

6:40 PM  ESPN

Tennessee  6-6  vs.  North Carolina  7-5

 

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl—San Diego, CA

10:00 PM  ESPN

Nebraska  10-3  vs.  Washington  6-6

 

Friday, December 31

Meineke Car Care Bowl—Charlotte, NC

12 Noon  ESPN

Clemson  6-6  vs.  South Florida  7-5

 

Hyundai Sun Bowl—El Paso, TX

2:00 PM  CBS

Miami (FL)  7-5  vs. Notre Dame  7-5

Notre Dame Substitutes for Pac-10 Team

 

AutoZone Liberty Bowl—Memphis, TN

3:30 PM  ESPN

Georgia  6-6  vs.  Central Florida  10-3

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl—Atlanta, GA

7:30 PM  ESPN

South Carolina  9-4  vs. Florida State  9-4

 

Saturday, January 1

Ticket City Bowl—Dallas, TX

12 Noon  ESPN-U

Northwestern  6-6  vs.  Texas Tech  7-5

 

Outback Bowl—Tampa, FL

1:00 PM  ABC

Florida  7-5  vs.  Penn State  7-5

 

Capital One Bowl—Orlando, FL

1:00 PM  ESPN

Michigan State  11-1  vs.  Alabama  9-3

 

Gator Bowl—Jacksonville, FL

1:30 PM  ESPN-2

Michigan  7-5  vs.  Mississippi State  8-4

 

Rose Bowl—Pasadena, CA

5:00 PM  ESPN

T C U  12-0  vs.  Wisconsin  11-1

 

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl—Glendale, AZ

8:30 PM  ESPN

Oklahoma  11-2  vs. Connecticut  8-4

 

Monday, January 3

Discover Orange Bowl—Miami, FL

8:30 PM  ESPN

Virginia Tech  11-2  vs. Stanford  11-1

 

Tuesday, January 4

All-State Sugar Bowl—New Orleans, LA

8:30 PM  ESPN

Arkansas  10-2  vs. Ohio State  11-1

 

Thursday, January 6

GoDaddy.com Bowl—Mobile, AL

8:00 PM  ESPN

Middle Tennessee State  6-6  vs.  Miami (OH)  9-4

 

Friday, January 7

AT&T Cotton Bowl—Arlington, TX

8:00 PM  Fox

Texas A&M  9-3  vs. L S U  10-2

 

Saturday, January 8

BBVA Compass Bowl—Birmingham, AL

12 Noon  ESPN

Pittsburgh  7-5  vs. Kentucky  6-6

 

Sunday, January 9

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl—San Francisco, CA

9:00 PM  ESPN

Boston College  7-5  vs.  Nevada  12-1

Boston College Substitutes for a Pac-10 Team

 

Monday, January 10

National Championship Game—Glendale, AZ

8:30 PM  ESPN

Auburn  13-0  vs.  Oregon  12-0

December 27, 2007

PiRate Ratings Look at the Bowls (Champs Sports through Insight)

 

Middle Bowl Game Match-ups (12/28-12/31)

Disclaimer: I am giving advice on pointspreads totally as an act of fun.  I do not personally wager money on these games, and I do not advocate you doing so either.  It’s just a game like Monopoly to me.

I have yet to spend one minute watching or listening to any of the bowls so far, and I must say I’m not regretting it one bit.  These bowls are meaningless to me and most of the country, since they don’t contribute to the national title.  Looking at traffic to this site, it appears more people are interested in the computer simulated playoffs than the actual bowl breakdowns, so I am going to reduce the coverage of these games.

As I previously stated, if the bowls were used for NCAA playoffs, the Cotton Bowl might have an important quarterfinal round game featuring the eventual National Champion instead of a meaningless game that won’t draw many viewers nor return much bang for their sponsor’s buck.  What if LSU and Southern Cal played in the Cotton Bowl instead of Arkansas and Missouri?  I dare say FOX Sports would get a much higher rating for the game, and AT&T, as the sponsor, would receive a bigger return on their investment.

Here is a brief breakdown of the second wave of bowls.  The one prediction I can make with absolute certitude is that I won’t spend a minute watching or listening to these games.  I’ll have been reading an interesting trio of books and listening to shortwave radio over the holidays.  One of the books I am currently reading is, The Lincoln Highway: The Great American Road Trip by Michael Wallis and Michael Williamson. If you like traveling old roads that aren’t boring, straight interstate slabs, check out this book as well as Wallis’s and others’ books about Route 66.  I have traveled large parts of both highways, and these trips have always been comforting, interesting, and beneficial to many mom and pop businesses that are struggling to survive.  One of these days, I am going to drive the entire distance of both highways; maybe start in New York and drive to San Francisco on the Lincoln Highway and then return via Los Angeles to Chicago on Route 66.

Point spreads and totals are those listed as of 11:00 AM ET Thursday, December 27, 2007

Times given are Eastern Standard Tome Zone

Friday, December 28-5:00 PM ESPN

Champs Sports Bowl-Orlando

Boston College 10-3  vs.  Michigan State 7-5

Vegas:  B.C. by 4

PiRate: Tossup

Mean: B.C. 30  Mich. St. 26

At first look, this appears to be a mismatch, but Boston College limped home in November, while Michigan State was an improving team.  Wins over Purdue and Penn State proves the Spartans can compete and even win this game.

Predicted Score: 24-24 going to OT

Friday, December 28-8:00 PM NFL Network

Texas Bowl-Houston

Houston 8-4  vs. T C U  7-5

Vegas: TCU by 6½

PiRate: TCU by 8

Mean: TCU 31  Houston 25

Most people cannot pick up this game up on television, and I’m not sure many outside of the Lone Star State will desire to go to an establishment to tune it in.  This old rivalry of former Southwest Conference teams is the microcosm for the current bowl apathy spreading across the nation.  Who cares?  Maybe by January 5, I will have looked online to see who won this game.  Then again, I may not know until next summer when the football preview magazines hit the stands.

Predicted Score: TCU 24  Houston 16

Friday, December 28-8:30 PM ESPN

Emerald Bowl-San Francisco

Maryland 6-6  vs.  Oregon State 8-4

Vegas: Oregon State by 5

PiRate: Oregon State by 9

Mean: Oregon State 27  Maryland 22

Maryland must travel from one coast to the other and play a Pac-10 team in Pac-10 territory.  That should help Oregon State by a grand total of two points in this game.  The Beavers are stronger on both sides of the ball.

Predicted Score: Oregon State 33  Maryland 24

Saturday, December 29-1:00 PM  ESPN

Meineke Car Care Bowl-Charlotte, NC

Wake Forest 8-4  vs.  Connecticut 9-3

Vegas:  Wake Forest by 2½

PiRate: Wake Forest by 8

Mean:  Wake Forest 24  Connecticut 24 to OT

Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe didn’t jump ship after being courted by more than one school.  His squad should reward him with a bowl win.  UConn expected to be playing in a New Year’s Day Bowl, and I don’t think they will put out a great effort in this game.

Predicted Score: Wake Forest 27  Connecticut 19

Saturday, December 29-4:30 PM  ESPN

Liberty Bowl-Memphis

Mississippi State 7-5  vs.  Central Florida 10-3

Vegas: Central Florida by 2½

PiRate: Mississippi St. by 1

Mean: Central Florida 30  Mississippi St. 28

Mississippi State’s defense should be strong enough to hold down the strong UCF ground game, but I expect UCF to pass for more yards than normal.  The Bulldogs should match them point-for-point, and this game should go down to the wire.

Predicted Score: Mississippi State 24  Central Florida 23

Saturday, December 29-8:00 PM  ESPN

Alamo Bowl-San Antonio

Texas A&M 7-5  vs.  Penn State 8-4

Vegas: Penn State by 4½

PiRate: Penn State by 1

Mean: Penn State 29  Texas A&M 24

Both teams have experienced off-the-field problems this year, and both would probably like to just get this game over with as quickly as possible.  A&M’s defense has a few holes, and I expect the octogenarian, bespectacled coach to find out how to exploit those liabilities deep in the final stanza.  The Lions will meow rather than roar in this one, but it should be enough to escape with a win.

Predicted Score: Penn State 17  Texas A&M 16

Sunday, December 30-8:00 PM  ESPN

Independence Bowl-Shrevport, LA

Colorado 6-6  vs.  Alabama 6-6

Vegas: Alabama by 3½

PiRate: Alabama by 6

Mean: Alabama 27  Colorado 25

Why does this game even have to be played?  If Bear Bryant was still alive and coaching, he would never have accepted this bowl bid.  Former Buffalo coach Eddie Crowder may have concurred with the man in the houndstooth hat.

Colorado probably cares more about this game since they were just 2-10 last year, but I think the Tide is clearly more talented.  Nick Saban will not let his charges take this game for granted, so I’m, taking the Tide.

Predicted Score: Alabama 27  Colorado 21

Monday, December 31-12:30 PM  ESPN

Armed Forces Bowl-Ft. Worth, TX

California 6-6  vs.  Air Force 9-3

Vegas: California by 3½

PiRate: Tossup

Mean: Air Force 27  California 26  

My gut instinct in this one is that Air Force will win this one in a surprising manner.  Cal’s November nosedive doesn’t bode well here.  Air Force improved every week, and after a month of practices, the spread option offense should be explosive.  The PiRates say Cal will exploit AFA through the air and score just as many points.  Look for both teams to top 400 yards.

Predicted Score: Air Force 31  California 31 going to OT

Monday, December 31-2:00 PM  CBS

Sun Bowl-El Paso, TX

Oregon 8-4  vs.  South Florida 9-3

Vegas: South Florida by 5½

PiRate: South Florida by 4

Mean: South Florida 31  Oregon 29  

Here’s another bowl where both teams thought they were headed to BCS Bowls midway through the season.  Oregon’s losing Dennis Dixon is comparable to the 1927 Yankees losing Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Earl Combs, and Waite Hoyt.  There’s no quack left in the Ducks.

I look for Oregon coach Mike Bellotti to find a way to squeeze out just enough offense to make this game close throughout.  Still, I’ll go with the Eastern team in green to win this one.

Predicted Score: South Florida 24  Oregon 20

Monday, December 31-2:00 PM  ESPN2

Humanitarian Bowl-Boise, ID

Fresno State 8-4  vs.  Georgia Tech 7-5

Vegas: Georgia Tech by 6

PiRate: Georgia Tech by 4

Mean: Georgia Tech 28  Fresno St. 24  

What better way to say this game isn’t worth watching than to say the most exciting reason to watch is to see if snow covers the blue field?

Georgia Tech is one of a bevy of schools to dump their coach after having a winning season.  If Paul Johnson were already coaching, and the Techsters were already running the triple option, this game might be a little fun.  Look for a dull, colorless contest-unless you consider the blue field colorful.

Predicted Score: Georgia Tech 21  Fresno St. 17

Monday, December 31-4:00 PM  ESPN

Music City Bowl-Nashville

Florida State 7-5  vs.  Kentucky 7-5

Vegas: Kentucky by 10

PiRate: Kentucky by 10

Mean: Kentucky 29  Florida St. 27   

(note: Mean cannot factor FSU’s loss of 36 players for this game, but PiRate rating does factor in the personnel loss)

Shame on Florida State!  They knew about the cheating problem months ago.  They should have removed themselves from bowl contention.  This bowl game is ruined now because Kentucky will be playing against a team that cannot even field a two-deep.  Even if FSU plays above their head and pulls off a couple of surprise plays, they don’t belong in a bowl.  Well, at least all the Kentucky fans who are trying to forget they are a basketball school will paint Nashville blue on New Year’s Eve.

Predicted Score:  Kentucky 30  Florida State 20

Monday, December 31-7:30 PM  ESPN

Chick-Fil-A Bowl-Atlanta

Auburn 8-4  vs.  Clemson 9-3

Vegas: Clemson by 3

PiRate: Clemson by 5

Mean: Clemson 25  Auburn 22  

This is an old rivalry game.  The two schools played each other several times between the 1930’s and early 1970’s.  Clemson dominated in the WWII era, and Auburn dominated from there on.  This would be a great game if it was played in September, but it doesn’t have much appeal on New Year’s Eve night.

Clemson is one of the best teams not playing in a BCS bowl, and Auburn is inconsistent.  Go with the ACC Tigers in this one.

Predicted Score: Clemson 24  Auburn 19

Monday, December 31-5:30 PM  NFL Network

Insight Bowl-Phoenix

Indiana 7-5  vs.  Oklahoma State 6-6

Vegas: Oklahoma St. by 4

PiRate: Oklahoma St. by 6

Mean: Oklahoma St. 34  Indiana 28  

Poor Indiana!  They finally earn a bowl bid for the first time in over a dozen years, and nobody will watch them.  This New Year’s Eve night game is on the covert NFL Network.  The only people watching this game will be folks already loose in bars, and they won’t remember seeing the game. 

What I can say about Oklahoma State is that they are coached by a man who is 40 and who can take criticism as well as donations from T. Boone Pickens and Garth Brooks.

Predicted Score: Oklahoma St. 34  Indiana 28

This Week’s “Picks”

It seems to be working every week since I instituted this strategy in mid-November, so I will continue to employ the same formula for picking games during the bowls.  So far, these picks are 4-1 against the spread through bowl games of December 26.

Where the PiRates and Mean both fall on the same side of the spread and the difference is more than 2.5 points, that game will be picked against the spread.  When they both agree on the winner, and the line is 10 points or less, that game will be picked on the money line.  There will be no totals or teasers picked. 

Straight Plays Against the Spread

# 1:  Air Force +3½ vs. California

Money Line Picks

# 2: TCU -210 vs. Houston

# 3: Oregon State -200 vs. Maryland

# 4: Penn State -205 vs. Texas A&M

# 5: Alabama -155 vs. Colorado

# 6: South Florida -220 vs. Oregon

# 7:  Georgia Tech -220 vs. Fresno State

# 8:  Clemson -125 vs. Auburn

# 9:  Oklahoma State -170 vs. Indiana

December 18, 2007

PiRate Early Bowl Previews (Poinsettia through Holiday)

Early Bowl Game Match-ups

Disclaimer: I am giving advice on pointspreads totally as an act of fun.  I do not personally wager money on these games, and I do not advocate you doing so either.  It’s just a game like Monopoly to me.

It’s time for the not-so-exciting bowl season.  Over the next two weeks, there will be more than two dozen games that mean little or nothing to all but the fans of the particular schools playing in the games.  Because “NCAA playoffs would hurt the bowls,” you get the pleasure (factitiously) of getting Alabama and Colorado face off in a bowl.  Neither team has a winning record.  The Cotton Bowl, which has seen numerous national champions appear in Dallas over the years, gets a battle of runner-ups who will not matter in the final championship picture.  If the bowls were used for the playoffs, the Cotton Bowl might have an important quarterfinal round game featuring the eventual National Champion.  What if LSU and Southern Cal played in the Cotton Bowl instead of Arkansas and Missouri?  I dare say FOX Sports would get a much higher rating for the game, and AT&T, as the sponsor, would receive a bigger return on their investment.

Here is a breakdown of these early bowls.  The one prediction I can make with absolute certitude is that I won’t spend a minute watching or listening to these games.  I’ll be reading an interesting trio of books and listening to shortwave radio over the holidays.  

Point spreads and totals are those listed as of 10:00 AM ET Monday, December 17, 2007

Times given are Eastern Standard Tome Zone

Thursday, December 20-9:00 PM ESPN

Poinsettia Bowl-San Diego

Utah 8-4  vs.  Navy 8-4

Vegas: Utah by 8   

PiRate: Utah by 18

Mean: Utah 34  Navy 24

Utah run offense vs. Navy run defense: Utah should be able to run all day against the Midshipmen rush defense.  175-200 yards

Utah pass offense vs. Navy pass defense: Utah should enjoy one of their best if not their best passing games of the season.  65-70% completions for 200-250 yards

Navy run offense vs. Utah run defense: Navy will not rush for their average against the Utes.  250-275 yards

Navy pass offense vs. Utah pass defense: Navy will top 100 yards passing in this game because they will be forced to pass more than they normally do.  50-55% completions for 125-150 yards

Special Teams: Navy has a slight advantage here, but both teams are sound in special teams play.

Intangibles: Navy coach Paul Johnson has fled to Georgia Tech, and this will be the first game for new coach Ken Niumatalolo.  Navy must travel more than 2,700 miles across three time zones (not as important during the bowls because they will have time to acclimate to the opposite coast and long flight).

Predicted Score: Utah 35  Navy 17

Friday, December 21-8:00 PM ESPN2

New Orleans Bowl

Memphis  7-5  vs.  Florida Atlantic  7-5

Vegas: Florida Atlantic by 3

PiRate: Florida Atlantic by 8

Mean: Florida Atlantic 34  Memphis 29

Memphis run offense vs. FAU run defense: Memphis should have a typical to slightly better than average night running the ball.  150-175 yards

Memphis pass offense vs. FAU pass defense: The Tigers should exceed their average:  55-60% completions for 325 to 350 yards

FAU run offense vs. Memphis run defense: Memphis has trouble stopping the run, and FAU should continue that trend.  150-175 yards

FAU pass offense vs. Memphis pass defense: FAU should enjoy a typical night through the air.  55-60% completions for 275-300 yards

Special Teams: Neither team is special here.  The game shouldn’t be decided here unless someone fumbles a return.

Intangibles: Both teams come into this bowl playing their best ball.  FAU finished the season on a roll winning four of six including a title-clinching victory at Troy.  Memphis won five of their last six games after it appeared as though Coach Tommy West was going to lose his job.  Memphis lost at home to Middle Tennessee by two touchdowns, while FAU beat them by 13 points.

Predicted Score:  Florida Atlantic 31  Memphis 23

Saturday, December 22-1:00 PM ESPN2

Papa John’s Bowl-Birmingham, AL

Cincinnati  9-3  vs.  Southern Mississippi  7-5

Vegas: Cincinnati by 11

PiRate: Cincinnati by 20

Mean: Cincinnati 35  Southern Miss. 19

Cincinnati run offense vs. Southern Miss. run defense: Cincinnati should run for a little less than their average.  Southern Miss., while not a great defender against the run should pick up a couple of sacks to lower the rushing total.  125-150 yards

Cincinnati pass offense vs. Southern Miss. pass defense: Cincinnati should top their passing average, possibly by quite a bit.  65-70% completions for 325-350 yards

Southern Miss. run offense vs. Cincinnati run defense: Southern Miss. will finish with fewer than their average rushing yards.  Cincinnati will pick up multiple quarterback sacks to further lower this number.  100-125 yards

Southern Miss. pass offense vs. Cincinnati pass defense: Southern Miss should enjoy one of their better passing performances of the season, but they will be forced to pass the ball 5-10 plays more than normal.  55-60% completions for 225-250 yards

Special Teams: Cincinnati has a slight advantage, but Southern Miss. is quite strong in this department.  Excellent punt units should force many possessions to begin inside the offensive 20 yard lines.

Intangibles: Southern Miss coach Jeff Bower has been let go, and the Eagles have hired Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Larry Fedora as his replacement.  Bower will coach this game.  Southern Miss fans have not been buying tickets to this game in large numbers, while Cincinnati is close to selling out their allotment.  Expect a Bearcat domination in the stands.

Cincinnati felt it was snubbed by the Meineke Car Care Bowl, and the players could either come out with a chip on their shoulders or not show up ready to play due to indifference.  I predict Cinti will be ready to make a statement, and this game will be a mismatch.

Predicted Score: Cincinnati 34  Southern Mississippi 14

Saturday, December 22-4:30 PM  ESPN

New Mexico Bowl-Albuquerque

New Mexico 8-4  vs. Nevada  6-6

Vegas:  New Mexico by 3

PiRate: New Mexico by 5

Mean:  New Mexico 31  Nevada 26

New Mexico run offense vs. Nevada run defense: Nevada has a weak run defense, but New Mexico isn’t the type of team that can exploit that weakness for much.  150-175 yards

New Mexico pass offense vs. Nevada pass defense: Nevada should meet or slightly exceed their average.  60-65% completions for 225-250 yards

Nevada run offense vs. New Mexico run defense: Nevada has one of the better running attacks in the nation, but I expect the Wolfpack to fail to reach their norm in this game.  175-200 yards

Nevada pass offense vs. New Mexico pass defense: Nevada’s pistol offense hasn’t fired as accurately this season as they did in 2005 and 2006.  New Mexico has a better than average pass defense.  50-55% completions for 225-250 yards

Special Teams: edge to New Mexico.  The Lobos punting game is superior to Nevada on both sides.  The difference is enough to move the spread one point in New Mexico’s favor.

Intangibles:  New Mexico gets three points for home field advantage.  However, New Mexico is 0-5 in bowl games in the last 15 years.

Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick is a freshman who became the starter in the middle of the season.  The extra four weeks of practice should be key in this game, because Kaepernick has the potential to be a better quarterback than Colt Brennan by the time he leaves Reno.

Predicted Score: New Mexico 31  Nevada 26

Saturday, December 22-8:00 PM  ESPN

Las Vegas Bowl

U C L A  6-6  vs. Brigham Young  10-2

Vegas: B Y U by 6

PiRate: U C L A by 1

Mean: B Y U 26  UCLA 22

UCLA run offense vs. BYU run defense: UCLA’s running game was better with quarterback Ben Olson in the game, solely because defenses couldn’t bring an extra player to the line of scrimmage.  Even with Olson ready for the bowl, the Bruins will find the going tough against BYU’s defense.  Throw in a sack or two, and UCLA should have a tough time.  75-100 yards

UCLA pass offense vs. BYU pass defense: If Olson plays the entire game, the Bruins can easily top the passing yardage they produced against BYU in September.  If Olson cannot go the distance or plays well below his capacity due to pain, then UCLA could be held down to where they were the first time they played BYU.  55-60% completions for 175-200 yards.

BYU run offense vs. UCLA run defense: BYU had a difficult time moving the ball against the Bruins run defense in the September game.  I look for the Cougars to perform more efficiently this time around, but they won’t break loose for a big night.  125-150 yards

BYU pass offense vs. UCLA pass defense:  BYU threw it 53 times and picked up 391 passing yards in the earlier game, but I don’t foresee a repeat-mainly due to an improved running performance 55-60% completions for 250-275 yards

Special Teams: UCLA has the advantage here.  The Bruins are strong in all special teams play and can create points with these units.

Intangibles: UCLA coach Karl Dorrell was fired and will not coach in the bowl.  Interim Coach DeWayne Walker will handle the head coaching duties.  Rick Neuheisel, Norm Chow, or someone else could be named head coach before game night, creating diversions amongst the players.

Whenever two college teams play for the second time in the same season, the loser usually finishes with a better score.  BYU lost 27-17 in September, so it is highly likely that they will either win or lose by less than 10 points.

BYU finished the season on a nine-game winning streak, whereas UCLA struggled to finish the season.  Sometimes, a team that struggled to finish the regular season regroups in the postseason and plays their best game of the year.

Predicted Score: UCLA 24  BYU 23

Sunday, December 23-8:00 PM  ESPN

Hawaii Bowl-Honolulu

Boise State  10-2  vs. East Carolina  7-5

Vegas: Boise State by 10½

PiRate: Boise State by 17

Mean: Boise State 37  East Carolina 25

Boise State run offense vs. East Carolina run defense: Ian Johnson will get his yards, but I suspect ECU will hold Boise under their average.  150-175 yards

Boise State pass offense vs. East Carolina pass defense: Taylor Tharp might have the best performance of the bowl season.  ECU may not mount much of a threat against the Bronco air game.  65-70% completions for 325-350 yards

East Carolina run offense vs. Boise State run defense: Chris Johnson is one of the best running backs you’ve never heard of, but Boise has a tough run defense.  Look for a little less than normal for the Pirates.  150-175 yards

East Carolina pass offense vs. Boise State pass defense: Expect a typical game performance by ECU; neither team is exceptional in this head-to-head battle.  55-60% completions for 200-225 yards

Special Teams: Boise State has a considerable advantage here.  With every exchange of punts, BSU should gain close to 10 yards.  Five punts by both teams could mean a 50-yard advantage, worth one score.

Intangibles: Boise State will be playing their second consecutive game in Honolulu.  The players thought they were going to beat Hawaii and steal their Sugar Bowl bid.  Methinks some of the players will not be focused.  ECU is happy to be there, and I expect them to perform better than expected.  The PiRates officially pick against the Pirates here, but my gut instinct is that ECU will be ready to play and make this game a true battle.

Wednesday, December 26-7:30 PM  ESPN

Motor City Bowl-Detroit

Purdue  7-5  vs. Central Michigan  8-5

Vegas: Purdue by 8½

PiRate: Purdue by 5

Mean: Purdue 35  Central Michigan 30

Purdue run offense vs. Central Michigan run defense: Purdue didn’t run the ball with much authority this year, but they should find some success against the Chippewas.  150-175 yards

Purdue pass offense vs. Central Michigan pass defense: Curtis Painter didn’t have a great year, but he should have a decent game in this one.  CMU isn’t overly strong against the pass.  55-60% completions for 275-300 yards

Central Michigan run offense vs. Purdue run defense: CMU should find limited success against the Boilermaker run defense.  Quarterback Dan Lafevour can gain yards on the ground as well as through the air.  125-150 yards

Central Michigan pass offense vs. Purdue pass defense: I expect Lafevour to have a great game and give his underdog team a chance to win the game.  Purdue had trouble several times this year against pedestrian quarterbacks.  60-65% completions for 275-300 yards

Special Teams: Purdue has a considerable advantage here and can change the game on one big play.

Intangibles: Some of Purdue’s players would rather be home for the holidays rather than play in this game.  CMU is happy to be here, and they will be out for blood. 

There are rumblings in Indiana by Purdue fans who would like to see Coach Joe Tiller replaced.  A bad performance in this game, ala Glen Mason’s Minnesota team last year in their bowl, could be the final nail in the coffin.

Predicted Score: Purdue 35  CMU 30

Thursday, December 27-8:00 PM  ESPN

Holiday Bowl-San Diego

Arizona State  10-2  vs. Texas  9-3

Vegas: Texas by 2½

PiRate: Arizona State by 2

Mean: Arizona State 30  Texas 27   

Arizona State run offense vs. Texas run defense: ASU doesn’t butter its bread with the running attack. Texas’s outstanding run defense will hold the Sun Devils in double digits, but it may not be enough for the ‘Horns to hook’em.

Arizona State pass offense vs. Texas pass defense: If a bowl quarterback finishes with better stats than Boise’s Tharp, it may be ASU’s Rudy Carpenter.  I look for Carpenter to shred the Longhorn secondary.  60-65% completions for 300-325 yards

Texas run offense vs. Arizona State run defense: Jamaal Charles may run for 100 yards, but I expect Texas to be held beneath their average in this one.  150-175 yards

Texas pass offense vs. Arizona State pass defense: Colt McCoy should top 200 yards passing in this game, but I think his percentages will be off a little.  ASU is decent against the pass.  55-60% completions for 200-225 yards

Special Teams: This is basically a wash, as neither team is a power in the special team’s games.

Intangibles: This is the first bowl game of the season where both teams belong to be in a bowl game.  I expect a close, hard-fought game.  Neither team has a significant advantage here.

Predicted Score: Arizona State 30  Texas 28

 

 

This Week’s “Picks”

 

It worked the last two weeks of the regular season, so I will continue to employ the same formula for picking games during the bowls.  So, where the PiRates and Mean both fall on the same side of the spread and the difference is more than 2.5 points, that game will be picked against the spread.  When they both agree on the winner, and the line is 10 points or less, that game will be picked on the money line.  There will be no totals or teasers picked. 

 

Straight Plays Against the Spread

# 1:  Cincinnati -11 vs. Southern Mississippi

# 2:  Arizona State +2½ vs. Texas

Money Line Picks

# 3:  Utah -295 vs. Navy

# 4:  F A U -140 vs. Memphis

# 5:  New Mexico -140 vs. Nevada

# 6:  Purdue -310 vs. Central Michigan

# 7:  Arizona State +120 vs. Texas

December 3, 2007

PiRate Ratings/Final Regular Season Top 25/Bowl Schedule/NCAA Playoffs

PiRate Rating Picks from this past weekend:

Winners: 8-4  66.7%  Season:   490-173 73.9%

Vs. Spread: 7-4-0 63.6%  Season: 109-132-3 45.2%

PiRate Top 25-Final Regular Season

No.

Team

Won

Lost

PiRate

1

Southern Cal

10

2

127

2

Oklahoma

11

2

126

3

Florida

9

3

126

4

Ohio State

11

1

123

5

Virginia Tech

11

2

122

6

West Virginia

10

2

122

7

L S U

11

2

120

8

Missouri

11

2

120

9

Kansas

11

1

120

10

Georgia

10

2

118

11

Arkansas

8

4

118

12

Oregon State

8

4

117

13

South Florida

9

3

117

14

Clemson

9

3

116

15

Cincinnati

9

3

115

16

Arizona State

10

2

114

17

Boise State

10

2

114

18

Tennessee

9

4

114

19

Utah

8

4

113

20

Oregon 

8

4

113

21

U C L A

6

6

113

22

Illinois

9

3

112

23

Wisconsin

9

3

112

24

Brigham Young

10

2

112

25

Texas

9

3

112

PiRate Ratings By Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

Conference

 

Overall

 

 

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Clemson

5

3

 

9

3

410

220

116

Wake Forest

5

3

 

8

4

338

279

111

Boston College

6

2

 

10

3

372

264

110

Maryland

3

5

 

6

6

299

259

110

Florida State

4

4

 

7

5

275

263

106

North Carolina St.

3

5

 

5

7

249

339

94

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

Conference

 

Overall

 

 

 

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Virginia Tech

7

1

 

11

2

381

201

122

Virginia 

6

2

 

9

3

289

222

109

Georgia Tech

4

4

 

7

5

313

231

104

Miami (FL)

2

6

 

5

7

247

312

98

North Carolina

3

5

 

4

8

254

294

97

Duke

0

8

 

1

11

215

398

86

Big East Conference

Conference

 

Overall

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

West Virginia

5

2

 

10

2

467

207

122

South Florida

4

3

 

9

3

430

248

117

Cincinnati

4

3

 

9

3

441

223

115

Rutgers

3

4

 

7

5

374

262

107

Connecticut

5

2

 

9

3

334

223

105

Louisville

3

4

 

6

6

422

377

105

Pittsburgh

3

4

 

5

7

274

291

105

Syracuse

1

6

 

2

10

197

418

87

Big 10 Conference

Conference

 

Overall

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Ohio State

7

1

 

11

1

384

128

123

Illinois

6

2

 

9

3

345

234

112

Wisconsin

5

3

 

9

3

366

280

112

Penn State

4

4

 

8

4

365

211

111

Michigan St.

3

5

 

7

5

409

322

110

Michigan

6

2

 

8

4

313

243

108

Purdue

3

5

 

7

5

395

297

102

Indiana

3

5

 

7

5

389

321

99

Iowa

4

4

 

6

6

222

225

95

Northwestern

3

5

 

6

6

310

372

93

Minnesota

0

8

 

1

11

315

440

93

Big 12 Conference

North Division

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Missouri

7

1

11

2

522

319

120

Kansas 

7

1

11

1

532

192

120

Colorado

4

4

6

6

331

353

101

Kansas St.

3

5

5

7

422

370

100

Iowa St.

2

6

3

9

218

381

95

Nebraska

2

6

5

7

401

455

95

 

 

 

 

 

South Division

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Oklahoma

6

2

11

2

564

236

126

Texas

5

3

9

3

432

295

112

Texas Tech

4

4

8

4

501

309

109

Texas A&M

4

4

7

5

346

313

108

Oklahoma St.

4

4

6

6

401

351

105

Baylor

0

8

3

9

218

411

83

Conference USA

East Division

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Central Fla.

7

1

10

3

499

362

107

East Carolina

6

2

7

5

362

357

97

Southern Miss.

5

3

7

5

330

283

95

Marshall

3

5

3

9

298

411

89

Memphis

6

2

7

5

353

375

87

U A B

1

7

2

10

235

421

78

 

 

 

West Division

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Tulsa

6

2

9

4

513

458

100

Houston

6

2

8

4

436

359

97

Tulane

3

5

4

8

293

285

87

Rice

3

5

3

9

374

515

85

S M U

0

8

1

11

340

477

83

U T E P

2

6

4

8

403

445

82

Independents

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Navy

X

X

8

4

479

438

97

Notre Dame

X

X

3

9

197

345

94

Western Ky.

X

X

7

5

398

250

78

Army

X

X

3

9

203

364

77

Mid-American Conference

East Division

Division

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Bowling Green

4

2

 

6

2

8

4

385

354

96

Ohio U

3

3

 

4

4

6

6

366

359

89

Buffalo

4

2

 

5

3

5

7

291

331

86

Miami (OH)

4

2

 

5

2

6

7

260

333

85

Temple

3

3

 

4

4

4

8

197

315

85

Akron

2

4

 

3

5

4

8

254

350

84

Kent St.

1

5

 

1

7

3

9

259

350

80

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Division

Division

 

Conference

Overall

 

 

 

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Central Mich.

4

1

 

6

1

8

5

439

466

97

Western Mich.

2

3

 

4

4

5

7

323

347

97

Ball St.

4

1

 

5

2

7

5

379

316

95

Eastern Mich.

3

3

 

3

4

4

8

290

374

87

Toledo

2

3

 

3

5

5

7

395

470

85

Northern Illinois

0

5

 

1

6

2

10

229

370

79

Mountain West Conference

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Utah

5

3

8

4

306

187

113

Brigham Young

8

0

10

2

374

225

112

T C U

4

4

7

5

319

230

108

Air Force

6

2

9

3

353

232

106

New Mexico

5

3

8

4

298

247

98

Colorado St.

2

6

3

9

304

369

93

San Diego St.

3

5

4

8

301

413

90

Wyoming

2

6

5

7

233

311

86

U N L V

1

7

2

10

218

343

85

Pacific 10 Conference

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Southern Cal

7

2

10

2

375

191

127

Oregon St.

6

3

8

4

341

280

117

Arizona St.

7

2

10

2

386

241

114

Oregon 

5

4

8

4

440

286

113

U C L A

5

4

6

6

276

272

113

Arizona

4

5

5

7

336

322

112

Washington 

2

7

4

9

380

413

107

California

3

6

6

6

338

313

106

Washington St.

3

6

5

7

308

389

104

Stanford

3

6

4

8

235

339

96

Southeastern Conference

East Division

Conference

 

Overall

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Florida

5

3

 

9

3

 

517

290

126

Georgia

6

2

 

10

2

 

383

252

118

Tennessee

6

2

 

9

4

 

434

365

114

Kentucky

3

5

 

7

5

 

440

357

110

South Carolina

3

5

 

6

6

 

313

282

108

Vanderbilt

2

6

 

5

7

 

260

271

104

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Division

Conference

 

Overall

 

 

 

 

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

 

Pts

Opp

Rating

L S U

6

2

 

11

2

 

503

255

120

Arkansas

4

4

 

8

4

 

478

307

118

Auburn

5

3

 

8

4

 

292

200

111

Mississippi St.

4

4

 

7

5

 

269

301

106

Alabama

4

4

 

6

6

 

322

262

105

Ole Miss

0

8

 

3

9

 

241

342

97

Sunbelt Conference

Conference

 

Overall

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Troy

6

1

 

8

4

408

295

100

Fla. Atlantic

6

1

 

7

5

361

405

95

La.-Monroe

4

3

 

6

6

282

332

91

M T S U

4

3

 

5

7

308

339

86

Arkansas St.

3

4

 

5

7

291

331

85

La.-Lafayette

3

4

 

3

9

285

430

83

Fla. Int’l

1

6

 

1

11

181

469

73

North Texas

1

6

 

2

10

308

541

72

Western Athletic Conference

 

 

 

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Boise St.

7

1

 

10

2

515

238

114

Hawaii

8

0

 

12

0

552

292

111

Fresno St.

6

2

 

8

4

387

323

99

Nevada

3

4

 

5

6

386

385

96

San Jose St.

4

4

 

5

7

245

352

92

La. Tech

4

3

 

5

6

239

319

88

Utah St.

2

6

 

2

10

247

406

84

Idaho

0

8

 

1

11

258

443

79

New Mexico St.

1

7

 

4

9

312

471

78

The Bowl Schedule

Date Time Bowl City Team Team Network
12/20 9:00 PM Poinsettia San Diego Utah 8-4 Navy 8-4 ESPN
12/21 8:00 PM New Orleans New Orleans Florida Atlantic 7-5 Memphis 7-5 ESPN2
12/22 1:00 PM Papa John’s Birmingham Cincinnati 9-3 Southern Miss. 7-5 ESPN2
12/22 4:30 PM New Mexico Albuquerque Nevada 6-6 New Mexico 8-4 ESPN
12/22 8:00 PM Las Vegas Las Vegas U C L A 6-6 Brigham Young 10-2 ESPN
12/23 8:00 PM Hawaii Honolulu East Carolina 7-5 Boise State 10-2 ESPN
12/26 7:30 PM Motor City Detroit Purdue 7-5 Central Michigan 8-5 ESPN
12/27 8:00 PM Holiday San Diego Texas 9-3 Arizona St. 10-2 ESPN
12/28 5:00 PM Champs Sports Orlando Boston College 10-3 Michigan St. 7-5 ESPN
12/28 8:00 PM Texas Houston T C U 7-5 Houston 8-4 NFL
12/28 8:00 PM Emerald San Francisco Maryland 6-6 Oregon State 8-4 ESPN
12/29 1:00 PM Meineke Car Care Charlotte Connecticut 9-3 Wake Forest 8-4 ESPN
12/29 4:30 PM Liberty Memphis Central Florida 10-3 Mississippi St. 7-5 ESPN
12/29 8:00 PM Alamo San Antonio Penn State 8-4 Texas A&M 7-5 ESPN
12/30 8:00 PM Independence Shrevport Colorado 6-6 Alabama 6-6 ESPN
12/31 12:30 PM Armed Forces Ft. Worth California 6-6 Air Force 9-3 ESPN
12/31 2:00 PM Sun El Paso South Florida 9-3 Oregon 8-4 CBS
12/31 2:00 PM Humanitarian Boise Georgia Tech 7-5 Fresno St. 8-4 ESPN2
12/31 4:00 PM Music City Nashville Florida State 7-5 Kentucky 7-5 ESPN
12/31 7:30 PM Chick-fil-A Atlanta Clemson 9-3 Auburn 8-4 ESPN
12/31 8:00 PM Insight Tempe Oklahoma St. 6-6 Indiana 7-5 NFL
1/1 11:00 AM Outback Tampa Wisconsin 9-3 Tennessee 9-4 ESPN
1/1 11:30 AM Cottton Dallas Arkansas 8-4 Missouri 11-2 FOX
1/1 1:00 PM Capital One Orlando Michigan 8-4 Florida 9-3 ABC
1/1 1:00 PM Gator Jacksonville Texas Tech 8-4 Virginia 9-3 CBS
1/1 4:30 PM Rose Pasadena Illinois 9-3 Southern Cal 10-2 ABC
1/1 8:30 PM Sugar New Orleans Hawaii 12-0 Georgia 10-2 FOX
1/2 8:00 PM Fiesta Glendale West Virginia 10-2 Oklahoma 11-2 FOX
1/3 8:00 PM Orange Miami Kansas 11-1 Virginia Tech 11-2 FOX
1/5 12:00 PM International Toronto Rutgers 7-5 Ball State 7-5 ESPN2
1/6 8:00 PM GMAC Mobile Tulsa 9-4 Bowling Green 8-4 ESPN
1/7 8:00 PM National Title New Orleans L S U 11-2 Ohio State 11-1 FOX

Selection Monday: The NCAA Football Computer Simulation Pairings

For all of you who want playoffs in lieu of the BcS joke we have, here is how they would work in the PiRate system.

The PiRate system calls for a 12-team playoff.  The champions of the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC receive automatic bids.  The six highest ranked teams after that, regardless of conference affiliation are then invited as at-large participants.

The four highest ranked automatic qualifiers receive first round byes, while the other eight teams play in the opening round.  Bowls are used for all 11 games needed for a 12-team playoff.

Round One is December 8.  The Quarterfinals are December 22.  The Semifinals are January 1.  The Championship Game is January 14.

The Participants

ACC: Virginia Tech 11-2

Big East: West Virginia 10-2

Big 10: Ohio State 11-1

Big 12: Oklahoma 11-2

Pac-10: Southern California 10-2

SEC: L S U 11-2

At-Large: Georgia 10-2

At-Large: Missouri 11-2

At-Large: Kansas 11-1

At-Large: Hawaii 12-0

At-Large: Arizona St. 10-2

At-Large: Florida 9-3

Instead of the argument that LSU edged Georgia due to political factors made by certain network shirts, the argument would be between Florida, Illinois, Boston College, and Clemson.  At least these teams know they lost three games and have no right to argue like Georgia has this year.

The brainwashers try to tell the public that a playoff would destroy the bowl.  I ask you this:  How many bowls this year have any meaning or appeal to anybody other than the fans of the participating teams?  Does a bowl pitting a 7-5 team against a 6-6 team attract you to watch?  Are you just chomping at the bit to watch the Poinsettia, Armed Forces, Insight, Texas, and Independence Bowls?  Other than the LSU-Ohio State game, none of the other bowls matter.  Even the historic, Sugar, Cotton, Rose, Orange, and Fiesta Bowls have no bearing on the national championship.  There’s no need to watch these games, and when the sponsors of these bowls hear from enough fans who contact them to tell them as much, they will force a playoff.

Under the PiRate system, 11 bowls would play a deciding factor in the NCAA Championship.  The remaining bowls that currently have 6-6 and 7-5 teams would now have 8-4 and 9-3 teams instead. 

Let’s look at the pairings.

Round One-December 8

 

Gator Bowl:              #5 Georgia vs. #12 Florida

Outback Bowl:         #6 Missouri vs. #11 Arizona State

Holiday Bowl:           #7 Southern Cal vs. #10 Hawaii

Chick-fil-A Bowl:     #8 Kansas vs. #9 West Virginia

Quarterfinals-December 22

Fiesta Bowl:              #4 Oklahoma vs. Winner of Gator Bowl

Capital One Bowl:   #3 Virginia Tech vs. Winner of Outback Bowl

Cotton Bowl:             #2 L S U vs. Winner of Holiday Bowl

Rose Bowl:                #1 Ohio State vs. Winner of Chick-fil-A Bowl

Semifinals-January 1

Sugar Bowl:              Winner of Fiesta Bowl vs. Winner of Rose Bowl

Orange Bowl:           Winner of Capital One Bowl vs. Winner of Cotton Bowl

National Championship Game-January 14

New Orleans                        Winner of Sugar Bowl vs. Winner of Orange Bowl

Check back with the PiRate Ratings for the computer simulation of this championship playoff.  I will post scores and statistics for all these games, starting with round one Saturday.

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