The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 22, 2019

PiRate Ratings Picks For August 24, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

$600 profit at the end of the 50 wagers

12% Return on Investment

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

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

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

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

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

 

PiRate Picks For August 24, 2019

None   (not enough games for a playable parlay)

 

Davey 19 Selection For August 24, 2019

Hawaii +11 vs. Arizona

 

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

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August 11, 2019

2019 Mountain West Conference Football Preview

In the first decade of the 21st Century, the Mountain West Conference was without a doubt the best of the non power leagues.  Slowly, some of the best programs left the league.  Utah went to the Pac-12; TCU left for the Big 12; Brigham Young copied the Notre Dame formula and went independent in football, while joining the West Coast Conference in other sports.  Boise State joined when BYU left, but the Broncos’ best teams were in the old Western Athletic Conference.

You can see this league beginning to reload.  Boise State has begun to recruit like they did in Chris Peterson’s era at the Field of Blue.  Under former Cal coach Jeff Tedford, Fresno State has returned to prominence.  Utah State, Wyoming, San Diego State, Hawaii, and Nevada have gotten a bit stronger in recent years.  Air Force has been down in the last couple of years, but the Falcons have the experience to rebound this year.

With the new strength in so many locations, the unfortunate reality is that it is highly unlikely that any one team will dominate the others and make a run for the New Year’s Six Bowl that goes to the top-rated Group of Five Conference team.

Both divisions should see competitive races this year, and when November comes,  at least five teams should still have a legitimate chance to make the conference championship game.

 

Here is how the Mountain West Conference media voted in the preseason poll

Mountain West Conference Media Poll
Mountain Division
Pos. Team 1st Place Votes Overall Votes
1 Boise St. 15 120
2 Utah St. 6 108
3 Air Force 0 73
4 Wyoming 0 66
5 Colorado St. 0 52
6 New Mexico 0 22
 

 

West Division
Pos. Team 1st Place Votes Overall Votes
1 Fresno St. 17 122
2 San Diego St. 3 106
3 Nevada 0 74
4 Hawaii 1 67
5 UNLV 0 51
6 San Jose St. 0 21
 

 

Championship Game Winner
None Chosen

The PiRate Ratings offer a little bit of a variation from the Media Poll.

Preseason PiRate Ratings–Mountain West
Mountain Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Utah St. 105.4 104.3 106.8 105.5
Boise St. 105.0 104.3 105.3 104.9
Air Force 96.5 98.0 97.3 97.3
Wyoming 94.4 96.6 95.2 95.4
New Mexico 83.0 86.3 82.4 83.9
Colorado St. 79.2 84.2 79.3 80.9
 

 

West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Fresno St. 99.8 100.2 100.6 100.2
Hawaii 95.5 97.7 94.8 96.0
San Diego St. 94.4 96.2 94.1 94.9
Nevada 92.9 93.9 92.5 93.1
U N L V 85.8 88.9 85.9 86.9
San Jose St. 83.6 86.0 82.7 84.1
 

 

MWC Averages 93.0 94.7 93.1 93.6

 

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%.  The Captain then rounded up or down those teams picked to have an average wins that were not whole numbers.

 

PiRate Members Predicted Won-Loss
Mountain Division
Pos Team Conference Overall
1 Utah St. 7-1 10-3*
2 Boise St. 7-1 9-3
3 Air Force 5-3 7-5
4 Wyoming 4-4 6-6
5 New Mexico 1-7 3-9
6 Colorado St. 0-8 1-11
 

 

West Division
Pos Team Conference Overall
1 Hawaii 6-2 9-5
2 Fresno St. 6-2 8-4
3 San Diego St. 5-3 7-5
4 Nevada 4-4 6-6
5 UNLV 2-6 3-9
6 San Jose St. 1-7 2-10
 

*

 

Utah State picked to win MWC Championship Game

 

Bowl Predictions
Las Vegas Utah St.
Arizona Fresno St.
Armed Forces Boise St.
Idaho Potato Air Force
New Mexico San Diego St.
 

 

Alternate Bowl
Cheez-it Hawaii
 

 

Also Bowl Eligible
Nevada
Wyoming

 

Coaches That Could Move to Power 5 Conferences

Bryan Harsin, Boise St.

Craig Bohl, Wyoming

Nick Rolovich, Hawaii

Jay Norvell, Nevada

 

Coaches On The Hot Seat

Mike Bobo, Colorado St.

Bob Davie, New Mexico

Brent Brennan, San Jose St.

Tony Sanchez, UNLV

 

Top Quarterbacks

Jordan Love, Utah St.

Cole McDonald, Hawaii

Armani Rogers, UNLV

 

Best Offense

Utah St.

Boise St.

Hawaii

 

Best Defense

Utah St.

Boise St.

Fresno St.

 

Coming Tomorrow: The FBS Independents, including Notre Dame and BYU.

 

 

 

 

August 24, 2016

College Football Preview–August 26, 2016

The College Football season kicks off a week earlier than normal this year thanks to the California Golden Bears playing the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia.  The chosen venue is the former site of the 2000 Summer Olympic Games, but in our opinion, this game would have been better placed in the Sydney Cricket Grounds, where the current Australian Football League Sydney Swans play.  48,000 seats are more than enough for these two teams, and ANZ Stadium holds around 80K.  Past games in Australia have drawn fewer than 20,000 fans.

 

Here are the initial PiRate Retrodictive Rankings For 2016.  Retrodictive refers to how teams have done so far to date, trying to rate the teams in order of who they have beaten and who has beaten them; they are not able to be used to predict the future, like our regular Predictive Ratings, which follow below.  Obviously, with no games played to date, these rankings are not yet Retrodictive.  Rather than re-list last year’s final Retrodictive Rankings, we have applied the updates to the 128 teams’ regular ratings to last year’s final rankings.

PiRate Retrodictive
# Team
1 Oklahoma
2 LSU
3 Florida St.
4 Alabama
5 Tennessee
6 Clemson
7 Ohio St.
8 Michigan
9 USC
10 Oklahoma St.
11 Ole Miss
12 Stanford
13 Louisville
14 Washington
15 TCU
16 Oregon
17 Georgia
18 Notre Dame
19 North Carolina
20 Florida
21 Arkansas
22 Auburn
23 Pittsburgh
24 Iowa
25 Miami (Fla)
26 UCLA
27 Texas
28 Texas A&M
29 Michigan St.
30 Mississippi St.
31 Washington St.
32 Wisconsin
33 Baylor
34 West Virginia
35 Nebraska
36 Utah
37 Penn St.
38 Virginia Tech
39 Arizona St.
40 Houston
41 BYU
42 North Carolina St.
43 Arizona
44 Georgia Tech
45 Boise St.
46 Northwestern
47 South Florida
48 Kansas St.
49 San Diego St.
50 Boston College
51 Texas Tech
52 Cincinnati
53 Minnesota
54 Virginia
55 Missouri
56 Indiana
57 Western Michigan
58 Temple
59 Vanderbilt
60 Syracuse
61 Kentucky
62 Air Force
63 Navy
64 California
65 Colorado
66 Toledo
67 Wake Forest
68 South Carolina
69 Appalachian St.
70 Illinois
71 Iowa St.
72 Central Michigan
73 Memphis
74 Western Kentucky
75 Duke
76 Northern Illinois
77 Connecticut
78 Georgia Southern
79 Purdue
80 Maryland
81 Utah St.
82 Tulsa
83 Rutgers
84 Marshall
85 Bowling Green
86 Oregon St.
87 Arkansas St.
88 MTSU
89 Nevada
90 Southern Miss.
91 Louisiana Tech
92 East Carolina
93 Ohio
94 San Jose St.
95 SMU
96 Colorado St.
97 New Mexico
98 Army
99 Rice
100 Akron
101 Kansas
102 UNLV
103 Central Florida
104 Troy
105 Florida Atlantic
106 Florida Int’l.
107 Buffalo
108 Fresno St.
109 Ball St.
110 Old Dominion
111 Georgia St.
112 Tulane
113 Kent St.
114 UL-Lafayette
115 Wyoming
116 Miami (O)
117 Idaho
118 South Alabama
119 Massachusetts
120 UTEP
121 Hawaii
122 UTSA
123 Eastern Michigan
124 Charlotte
125 New Mexico St.
126 North Texas
127 UL-Monroe
128 Texas St.

Here are the regular PiRate Ratings for the opening week of the season.  In some cases, these ratings differ slightly from the ratings given during the conference previews of the last 10 days, the reason being that players have quit, been injured, or transferred since the data was first compiled.

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Tennessee 127.7 121.8 128.4 126.0
2 LSU 127.6 121.1 126.8 125.2
3 Oklahoma 125.6 122.1 125.6 124.4
4 Alabama 126.5 119.0 125.0 123.5
5 Clemson 126.8 116.4 125.7 123.0
6 Florida St. 122.9 115.4 121.9 120.1
7 Michigan 120.0 118.0 120.4 119.5
8 Mississippi St. 120.1 115.9 119.7 118.6
9 Stanford 121.3 112.8 120.4 118.2
10 Oklahoma St. 117.5 118.8 117.5 117.9
11 USC 119.7 114.3 118.0 117.3
12 Washington 119.4 110.4 119.1 116.3
13 Louisville 118.6 111.8 118.0 116.1
14 Texas 114.4 118.0 114.4 115.6
15 Pittsburgh 117.1 111.7 116.4 115.1
16 North Carolina 117.4 109.2 117.1 114.6
17 Auburn 114.5 113.8 113.9 114.1
18 TCU 113.3 115.6 113.2 114.0
19 Notre Dame 116.2 111.0 114.8 114.0
20 Florida 113.5 116.8 111.1 113.8
21 Arkansas 116.4 110.3 114.2 113.7
22 Miami 116.6 108.0 115.9 113.5
23 Ohio St. 113.3 113.5 113.5 113.4
24 Iowa 114.6 110.9 114.2 113.2
25 Georgia 112.5 114.0 112.1 112.9
26 Michigan St. 113.1 112.4 111.1 112.2
27 Oregon 112.8 111.8 111.7 112.1
28 Texas A&M 112.1 111.4 112.0 111.8
29 Virginia Tech 111.0 110.8 111.5 111.1
30 Ole Miss 113.6 107.4 112.1 111.0
31 Washington St. 112.3 107.6 112.0 110.7
32 UCLA 110.9 110.2 110.3 110.5
33 Houston 110.1 108.3 111.9 110.1
34 Baylor 109.4 109.7 110.6 109.9
35 Penn St. 109.5 111.3 108.0 109.6
36 Nebraska 110.4 105.9 110.5 108.9
37 Arizona St. 108.7 109.2 107.7 108.6
38 Utah 111.4 105.3 108.9 108.5
39 Wisconsin 109.1 105.9 109.5 108.2
40 BYU 110.6 102.9 110.3 107.9
41 South Florida 108.3 105.7 109.5 107.8
42 Northwestern 109.7 103.5 108.1 107.1
43 North Carolina St. 108.0 104.7 107.6 106.8
44 Georgia Tech 108.1 104.2 107.4 106.6
45 West Virginia 106.6 106.1 106.0 106.2
46 Arizona 107.2 105.2 106.1 106.2
47 Boise St. 104.4 105.7 106.3 105.5
48 Colorado 107.0 102.1 107.0 105.4
49 San Diego St. 104.9 102.2 108.2 105.1
50 Boston College 105.1 103.6 104.9 104.5
51 Kansas St. 103.1 107.5 102.5 104.4
52 Vanderbilt 106.9 100.7 105.1 104.3
53 Minnesota 104.8 102.8 104.7 104.1
54 Texas Tech 104.9 102.3 102.7 103.3
55 Virginia 104.4 101.2 103.8 103.1
56 Syracuse 105.2 101.0 103.1 103.1
57 Indiana 101.5 106.0 100.9 102.8
58 Missouri 103.0 101.8 102.5 102.5
59 Western Michigan 102.0 100.9 103.9 102.3
60 Cincinnati 101.5 102.7 102.5 102.3
61 Temple 102.2 101.2 103.1 102.2
62 Maryland 100.9 104.2 98.1 101.1
63 Wake Forest 102.3 99.2 101.5 101.0
64 Tulsa 99.7 102.2 100.4 100.8
65 Kentucky 100.4 102.3 99.2 100.6
66 Toledo 101.0 98.9 101.8 100.6
67 Memphis 102.7 97.8 100.8 100.5
68 Central Michigan 98.9 101.9 99.9 100.2
69 Air Force 99.9 100.2 100.1 100.1
70 California 104.7 93.3 101.0 99.7
71 Duke 99.4 100.7 98.0 99.4
72 Iowa St. 99.8 99.2 98.7 99.2
73 Illinois 100.6 97.2 99.8 99.2
74 Navy 99.2 99.0 98.6 99.0
75 South Carolina 99.0 99.3 98.1 98.8
76 Northern Illinois 97.3 98.9 98.4 98.2
77 Purdue 99.4 96.6 98.3 98.1
78 Connecticut 98.3 96.1 98.6 97.7
79 Western Kentucky 99.3 93.3 100.0 97.5
80 Rutgers 99.0 96.2 97.3 97.5
81 Bowling Green 96.7 94.7 97.3 96.2
82 Appalachian St. 95.5 95.7 97.1 96.1
83 New Mexico 94.3 97.6 95.6 95.9
84 Oregon St. 97.8 93.0 95.0 95.3
85 Marshall 92.5 96.9 94.3 94.6
86 Utah St. 93.2 97.1 93.0 94.4
87 Nevada 92.3 95.6 93.6 93.9
88 Arkansas St. 91.9 94.2 94.4 93.5
89 Georgia Southern 93.0 91.7 95.5 93.4
90 SMU 93.7 92.1 93.2 93.0
91 Southern Mississippi 92.7 92.1 93.8 92.9
92 East Carolina 91.6 94.6 91.7 92.6
93 Middle Tennessee 91.2 93.8 92.3 92.4
94 Ohio 88.7 98.2 90.1 92.4
95 San Jose St. 91.0 91.0 91.9 91.3
96 UNLV 89.0 93.6 89.1 90.6
97 Kansas 88.3 96.1 85.9 90.1
98 Colorado St. 88.2 90.6 89.0 89.3
99 Army 84.2 93.2 86.6 88.0
100 Rice 84.7 94.1 85.1 88.0
101 Akron 84.8 92.6 86.5 88.0
102 Old Dominion 85.8 89.2 86.4 87.1
103 Central Florida 85.9 88.6 85.9 86.8
104 Florida Atlantic 84.9 88.6 86.8 86.8
105 Louisiana Tech 85.4 88.6 86.0 86.7
106 Troy 83.6 90.2 85.2 86.4
107 Florida International 82.4 89.6 84.3 85.4
108 Buffalo 80.8 90.1 82.2 84.4
109 Ball St. 83.6 85.6 83.8 84.3
110 Georgia St. 81.7 87.1 83.9 84.2
111 Fresno St. 82.1 87.1 81.9 83.7
112 Tulane 82.2 86.1 82.0 83.4
113 Miami (O) 82.2 84.0 82.9 83.0
114 Kent St. 82.3 84.5 82.2 83.0
115 Wyoming 82.5 82.5 82.6 82.6
116 UTSA 78.4 87.1 80.9 82.2
117 Idaho 78.1 85.2 79.7 81.0
118 UL-Lafayette 76.3 86.8 78.7 80.6
119 Eastern Michigan 78.1 83.6 79.5 80.4
120 South Alabama 75.3 85.2 76.2 78.9
121 Massachusetts 75.0 84.5 76.2 78.6
122 UTEP 74.5 79.5 75.8 76.6
123 Hawaii 77.0 76.5 75.7 76.4
124 Charlotte 73.0 81.1 74.6 76.2
125 New Mexico St. 73.7 76.5 74.9 75.0
126 North Texas 74.0 76.6 73.7 74.8
127 UL-Monroe 67.9 73.3 68.3 69.8
128 Texas St. 68.8 69.5 69.5 69.3

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 108.3 105.7 109.5 107.8
Cincinnati 101.5 102.7 102.5 102.3
Temple 102.2 101.2 103.1 102.2
Connecticut 98.3 96.1 98.6 97.7
East Carolina 91.6 94.6 91.7 92.6
Central Florida 85.9 88.6 85.9 86.8
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Houston 110.1 108.3 111.9 110.1
Tulsa 99.7 102.2 100.4 100.8
Memphis 102.7 97.8 100.8 100.5
Navy 99.2 99.0 98.6 99.0
SMU 93.7 92.1 93.2 93.0
Tulane 82.2 86.1 82.0 83.4
         
AAC Averages 98.0 97.9 98.2 98.0
         
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 126.8 116.4 125.7 123.0
Florida St. 122.9 115.4 121.9 120.1
Louisville 118.6 111.8 118.0 116.1
North Carolina St. 108.0 104.7 107.6 106.8
Boston College 105.1 103.6 104.9 104.5
Syracuse 105.2 101.0 103.1 103.1
Wake Forest 102.3 99.2 101.5 101.0
         
Coastal Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Pittsburgh 117.1 111.7 116.4 115.1
North Carolina 117.4 109.2 117.1 114.6
Miami 116.6 108.0 115.9 113.5
Virginia Tech 111.0 110.8 111.5 111.1
Georgia Tech 108.1 104.2 107.4 106.6
Virginia 104.4 101.2 103.8 103.1
Duke 99.4 100.7 98.0 99.4
         
ACC Averages 111.6 107.0 110.9 109.9
         
Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 125.6 122.1 125.6 124.4
Oklahoma St. 117.5 118.8 117.5 117.9
Texas 114.4 118.0 114.4 115.6
TCU 113.3 115.6 113.2 114.0
Baylor 109.4 109.7 110.6 109.9
West Virginia 106.6 106.1 106.0 106.2
Kansas St. 103.1 107.5 102.5 104.4
Texas Tech 104.9 102.3 102.7 103.3
Iowa St. 99.8 99.2 98.7 99.2
Kansas 88.3 96.1 85.9 90.1
         
Big 12 Averages 108.3 109.6 107.7 108.5
         
Big Ten Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Michigan 120.0 118.0 120.4 119.5
Ohio St. 113.3 113.5 113.5 113.4
Michigan St. 113.1 112.4 111.1 112.2
Penn St. 109.5 111.3 108.0 109.6
Indiana 101.5 106.0 100.9 102.8
Maryland 100.9 104.2 98.1 101.1
Rutgers 99.0 96.2 97.3 97.5
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Iowa 114.6 110.9 114.2 113.2
Nebraska 110.4 105.9 110.5 108.9
Wisconsin 109.1 105.9 109.5 108.2
Northwestern 109.7 103.5 108.1 107.1
Minnesota 104.8 102.8 104.7 104.1
Illinois 100.6 97.2 99.8 99.2
Purdue 99.4 96.6 98.3 98.1
         
Big Ten Averages 107.6 106.0 106.7 106.8
         
Conference USA
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Kentucky 99.3 93.3 100.0 97.5
Marshall 92.5 96.9 94.3 94.6
Middle Tennessee 91.2 93.8 92.3 92.4
Old Dominion 85.8 89.2 86.4 87.1
Florida Atlantic 84.9 88.6 86.8 86.8
Florida International 82.4 89.6 84.3 85.4
Charlotte 73.0 81.1 74.6 76.2
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Southern Mississippi 92.7 92.1 93.8 92.9
Rice 84.7 94.1 85.1 88.0
Louisiana Tech 85.4 88.6 86.0 86.7
UTSA 78.4 87.1 80.9 82.2
UTEP 74.5 79.5 75.8 76.6
North Texas 74.0 76.6 73.7 74.8
         
CUSA Averages 84.5 88.5 85.7 86.2
         
FBS Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame 116.2 111.0 114.8 114.0
BYU 110.6 102.9 110.3 107.9
Army 84.2 93.2 86.6 88.0
Massachusetts 75.0 84.5 76.2 78.6
         
Independents Averages 96.5 97.9 97.0 97.1
 
Mid-American Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Bowling Green 96.7 94.7 97.3 96.2
Ohio 88.7 98.2 90.1 92.4
Akron 84.8 92.6 86.5 88.0
Buffalo 80.8 90.1 82.2 84.4
Miami (O) 82.2 84.0 82.9 83.0
Kent St. 82.3 84.5 82.2 83.0
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Michigan 102.0 100.9 103.9 102.3
Toledo 101.0 98.9 101.8 100.6
Central Michigan 98.9 101.9 99.9 100.2
Northern Illinois 97.3 98.9 98.4 98.2
Ball St. 83.6 85.6 83.8 84.3
Eastern Michigan 78.1 83.6 79.5 80.4
         
MAC Averages 89.7 92.8 90.7 91.1
         
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 104.4 105.7 106.3 105.5
Air Force 99.9 100.2 100.1 100.1
New Mexico 94.3 97.6 95.6 95.9
Utah St. 93.2 97.1 93.0 94.4
Colorado St. 88.2 90.6 89.0 89.3
Wyoming 82.5 82.5 82.6 82.6
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 104.9 102.2 108.2 105.1
Nevada 92.3 95.6 93.6 93.9
San Jose St. 91.0 91.0 91.9 91.3
UNLV 89.0 93.6 89.1 90.6
Fresno St. 82.1 87.1 81.9 83.7
Hawaii 77.0 76.5 75.7 76.4
         
MWC Averages 91.6 93.4 92.3 92.4
         
Pac-12 Conference
North Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Stanford 121.3 112.8 120.4 118.2
Washington 119.4 110.4 119.1 116.3
Oregon 112.8 111.8 111.7 112.1
Washington St. 112.3 107.6 112.0 110.7
California 104.7 93.3 101.0 99.7
Oregon St. 97.8 93.0 95.0 95.3
         
South Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
USC 119.7 114.3 118.0 117.3
UCLA 110.9 110.2 110.3 110.5
Arizona St. 108.7 109.2 107.7 108.6
Utah 111.4 105.3 108.9 108.5
Arizona 107.2 105.2 106.1 106.2
Colorado 107.0 102.1 107.0 105.4
         
Pac-12 Averages 111.1 106.3 109.8 109.1
         
Southeastern Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Tennessee 127.7 121.8 128.4 126.0
Florida 113.5 116.8 111.1 113.8
Georgia 112.5 114.0 112.1 112.9
Vanderbilt 106.9 100.7 105.1 104.3
Missouri 103.0 101.8 102.5 102.5
Kentucky 100.4 102.3 99.2 100.6
South Carolina 99.0 99.3 98.1 98.8
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
LSU 127.6 121.1 126.8 125.2
Alabama 126.5 119.0 125.0 123.5
Mississippi St. 120.1 115.9 119.7 118.6
Auburn 114.5 113.8 113.9 114.1
Arkansas 116.4 110.3 114.2 113.7
Texas A&M 112.1 111.4 112.0 111.8
Ole Miss 113.6 107.4 112.1 111.0
         
SEC Averages 113.9 111.1 112.9 112.6
         
Sunbelt Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 95.5 95.7 97.1 96.1
Arkansas St. 91.9 94.2 94.4 93.5
Georgia Southern 93.0 91.7 95.5 93.4
Troy 83.6 90.2 85.2 86.4
Georgia St. 81.7 87.1 83.9 84.2
Idaho 78.1 85.2 79.7 81.0
UL-Lafayette 76.3 86.8 78.7 80.6
South Alabama 75.3 85.2 76.2 78.9
New Mexico St. 73.7 76.5 74.9 75.0
UL-Monroe 67.9 73.3 68.3 69.8
Texas St. 68.8 69.5 69.5 69.3
         
Sun Belt Averages 80.5 85.1 82.1 82.6

 

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Southeastern 113.9 111.1 112.9 112.6
2 Atlantic Coast 111.6 107.0 110.9 109.9
3 Pac-12 111.1 106.3 109.8 109.1
4 Big 12 108.3 109.6 107.7 108.5
5 Big Ten 107.6 106.1 106.7 106.8
6 American 98.0 97.9 98.2 98.0
7 Independents 96.5 97.9 97.0 97.1
8 Mountain West 91.6 93.4 92.3 92.4
9 Mid-American 89.7 92.9 90.7 91.1
10 Conference USA 84.5 88.5 85.7 86.3
11 Sunbelt 80.5 85.1 82.1 82.6

 

PiRate Ratings Spreads For August 26, 2016

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Hawaii California -27.6 -16.8 -25.2

Bowl Projections

We erred when issuing bowl projections in our conference previews, completely forgetting that the current Rose Bowl tie-in calls for the Pac-12 and Big Ten to supply the highest rated teams not in the playoffs, rather than using the old BCS formula rules.

 

Therefore, we have moved Ohio State into the Rose Bowl in lieu of Alabama, which in turn caused us to rearrange several other bowls once Alabama was moved to an SEC only bowl.

 

We are sorry for the error.  Here are the updated Bowl Projections.

Bowl Conferences Team vs. Team
New Mexico MWC CUSA New Mexico vs. Rice
Las Vegas Pac-12 MWC Arizona St. vs. Boise St.
Cure AAC SBC [Army] vs. Troy
Camellia MAC SBC North. Illinois vs. Ga. Southern
New Orleans CUSA SBC W. Kentucky vs. Arkansas St.
Miami Beach AAC MAC Tulsa vs. West. Michigan
Boca Raton AAC CUSA [Cent. Michigan] vs. Southern Miss.
Poinsettia MWC BYU San Diego St. vs. BYU
Idaho Potato MAC MWC Bowling Green vs. UNLV
Bahamas AAC/CUSA MAC/CUSA Memphis vs. Toledo
Armed Forces Navy Big 12 Navy vs. [Arizona]
Dollar General MAC SBC Ohio U vs. Appalachian St.
Hawaii CUSA MWC Marshall vs. Air Force
St. Petersburg AAC ACC/ND Houston vs. [Colorado]
Quick Lane ACC/ND Big Ten Boston College vs. Wisconsin
Independence SEC ACC/ND [UL-Lafayette] vs. Georgia Tech
Heart of Dallas Big Ten CUSA Indiana vs. Middle Tenn.
Military ACC/ND AAC N. Carolina St. vs. Temple
Holiday Big Ten Pac-12 Penn St. vs. Oregon
Cactus Big 12 Pac-12 [Maryland] vs. Utah
Pinstripe ACC/ND Big Ten Virginia Tech vs. Northwestern
Russell Athletic ACC/ND Big 12 Louisville vs. TCU
Foster Farms Big Ten Pac-12 Minnesota vs. Washington St.
Texas Big 12 SEC Baylor vs. Mississippi St.
Birmingham AAC SEC Cincinnati vs. Texas A&M
Belk ACC/ND SEC Miami (Fla) vs. Florida
Alamo Big 12 Pac-12 Oklahoma St. vs. USC
Liberty Big 12 SEC West Virginia vs. Ole Miss
Sun ACC/ND Pac-12 Pittsburgh vs. UCLA
Arizona CUSA/SBC MWC/SBC Louisiana Tech vs. Utah St.
Music City ACC/ND/B10 SEC Nebraska vs. Auburn
Orange ACC/ND B10/SEC Florida St. vs. Notre Dame
Citrus ACC/ND/B10 SEC Iowa vs. Alabama
TaxSlayer ACC/ND/B10 SEC North Carolina vs. Arkansas
Peach Semifinal Semifinal Tennessee vs. Stanford
Fiesta Semifinal Semifinal Michigan vs. Oklahoma
Outback Big Ten SEC Michigan St. vs. Georgia
Cotton At-Large At-Large Clemson vs. South Florida
Rose Big Ten Pac-12 Washington vs. Ohio St.
Sugar Big 12 SEC Texas vs. LSU
Nat’l Championship Semifinal Winners Tennessee vs. Michigan

Teams in [Brackets] are at-large selections because the contracted conference will not have a bowl eligible team able to fill the slot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 18, 2011

2011 Western Athletic Conference Preview

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:46 am

2011 Western Athletic Conference Preview

 

The WAC as we know it has been victimized by the Mountain West Conference.  In a move akin to the American League East losing the New York Yankees, the MWC stole Boise State.  Next year, Nevada, Hawaii, and Fresno State will join the Broncos in the Mountain West, leaving this conference a mere shell of itself.  The future of this league is in serious jeopardy, and the addition of two new teams to FBS football in 2012 (Texas State and Texas-San Antonio, may not be enough to save this league.

 

Without Boise State, the WAC race will be more open this season.  Four teams have the talent to contend for the conference championship, while a fifth has the capability of finishing over .500.

 

Nevada finished in a three-way tie for first with Boise State and Hawaii, and the Wolf Pack finished #11 in the final poll.  Gone from the school’s best ever team are stellar quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the WAC’s leading rusher Vai Taua, receiver Virgil Green, 1st Team All-WAC tackle Jose Acuna and four of the top tacklers.

 

All is not gloomy in the biggest little town in America.  Coach Chris Ault will simply reload rather than rebuild, and with the absence of a blue turf in league play, Nevada will contend for a second consecutive WAC title.  

 

Tyler Lantrip is not the runner Kaepernick was, but he has a better arm.  Lantrip should pass for more yards this year than Kaepernick did last year (3,022).  He will get a Baptism under fire when the Wolf Pack play their first four games away from Reno.

 

Mike Ball is the new tailback in the Pistol Offense. Ball has speed and quickness to excel in this offense.  He averaged 6.8 yards per carry last year in limited action.  Lampford Mark will get his shares of touches and could challenge for a starting bid.

 

The top receiver in the WAC this year will be Rishard Matthews.  He may not lead in catches or yards, because those stats belong to Hawaii receivers, but Matthews is the best at his position.  The former Oregon recruit led Nevada with 56 receptions and averaged 15.7 yards per catch.  The unexpected loss of Brandon Wimberly, who was shot in the off-season, will force Matthews to face more double teams and combo defenses.

 

The offense will click because the blocking corps is the best in the league.  Junior Chris Barker is the best guard in the league, while center Jeff Meads is one of three really good snappers in the WAC.

 

Nevada averaged 41 points and 519 yards per game last year.  Those numbers will decline a little this year.  The Wolf Pack will not be able to move up and down the field at will, but in the new WAC, they can win the title with a 35 point and 450 yard performance.

 

Nevada’s defense was just as responsible for last year’s title run as the offense.  It surrendered just 21 points per game in a league where 28 points was average.  Seven starters return, including three with all-star accolades in 2010.

 

Up front, tackle Brett Roy is poised to contend for 1st Team All-WAC honors.  He introduced enemy QBs to the turf eight times last year.  The loss of 3rd round draft pick Dontay Moch will hurt.

 

Middle linebacker James-Michael Johnson should repeat as a 1st Team All-WAC defender.  He led the Pack with 88 tackles last year.  In the back line of defense, Isaiah Frey is one of the best cover corners in the league.  He batted away 14 passes and picked off another last year.

 

The non-conference schedule is tough this year.  Nevada opens at Oregon and plays at Texas Tech and at Boise State, all in the first four games.  The schedule gets easier from there with home games against rival UNLV and helpless New Mexico.  In WAC play, Nevada hosts the other three contenders, and this should help the Wolf Pack claim another conference championship.

 

Hawaii recovered from a subpar 2009 with a 10-win season last year.  Once again, it was an aerial circus on the island, as the Warriors averaged 394 yards through the air to lead the nation.  The Run ‘n’ Shoot offense took a major hit with the loss of eight starters, but we would be surprised if Hawaii did not average more than 300 passing yards again this season.

 

One of those trio of returnees is quarterback Bryant Moniz.  Moniz topped 5,000 passing yards last year and threw 39 touchdown passes.  He tends to hold onto the ball a little longer than an average run ‘n’ shoot passer, and he went down 40 times last year, seven against Boise State in the lone game that UH failed to score in double digits.

 

Moniz lost his top two receivers, and they combined for 207 receptions and almost 3,200 yards.  Royce Pollard will be the new 100+-reception receiver for the Warriors.  There are questions at the other receiver positions, as two players figured to be starters are ailing and missing practice.

 

As pass happy as Hawaii is, they still run the ball with authority.  Alex Green rushed for almost 1,200 yards last year, but he must be replaced.  Sterling Jackson will be the new starter, but he lacks the speed and quickness of Green.  He will be more of a between the tackles pounder.

 

The offensive line was above average but not great last year, and four starters have used up their eligibility, including the two best blockers.  It will take a few weeks for the newly rebuilt line to come together, so Moniz may be facing a lot more pressure than last year.

 

The Warriors never get much credit for their defensive play.  They gave up a respectable 25.5 yards per game last year, only 20 in league play.  Coach Greg McMackin believes in aggressive attacking defenses, and he has the players to cause a lot of disruption to enemy offenses.

 

The front seven is the best in the WAC by far, and Hawaii should lead the conference in sacks and in lowest rushing average allowed.  Up front, tackles Vaughn Meatoga and Kaniela Tuipulotu are the best tandem in the conference.  Few teams will find success running line plunges up the gut against Hawaii.

 

The Warriors make hay at the linebacker position with multi-tool players.  Corey Paredes is a WAC Player of the Year candidate.  He led the conference with 151 stops, and he picked off four enemy passes last year while knocking away five others.  Aaron Brown is another linebacker who is strong against both the run and pass.

 

The back line of defense is the vulnerable unit on this side of the ball.  The two starters lost combined for 12 interceptions and 27 total passes defended.  Safety Richard Torres will need to step up and break out with a big year.

 

As usual, Hawaii plays a 13-game schedule, which means they will play six non-conference games this year.  The Warriors should beat UNLV, UC-Davis, and Tulane.  The opener against Colorado is a toss-up, but we believe Hawaii will have several intangible factors in their favor in this one.  Games with Washington and BYU should be losses.  The Warriors will only need to go 3-4 in the league to get back to the Hawaii Bowl.  They could double that amount.

 

Louisiana Tech is not far away from being a serious title contender.  Second year head coach Sonny Dykes has not been able to fully implement his version of Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense.  He believes the Bulldogs are ready to start making the offense click.

 

If the offense is going to start putting up numbers similar to Texas Tech in the Leach years. New quarterback Colby Cameron is going to have to improve by a great amount.  Last year, in limited action, Cameron could not complete longer passes, unless you count the high percentage of passes completed to the wrong colored jersey.  He ended up with five picks in just 91 attempts.

 

The Bulldogs took a hit with the dismissal of projected starting receiver Ahmad Paige and Tim Molton.  The Bulldogs still have their two leading receivers from last year; Taulib Ikharo and Richie Casey combined for 92 receptions and 962 yards.

 

Lennon Creer is another pass catching threat coming out of the backfield.  He caught 25 passes last year, but his running acumen is what made him a 2nd Team All-WAC performer.  He gained 1,181 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.

 

The offensive line is not the best in the league, but it is not far from it.  The Bulldogs will be nearly lethal inside with excellent guards Kevin Saia and Oscar Johnson (Saia is nursing an injury) and center Stephen Warner.

 

Will this be the year LT breaks out with scary offensive numbers?  Probably not, but their numbers will head north.  Call it 270 passing yards and 425+ total yards with a scoring average of 30-32 points per game.

 

If the Bulldogs are to make an unexpected run for the conference title and earn a bowl bid for the first time in four seasons, their defense must improve.  Tech gave up 31 points and 460+ yards per game in 2010.

 

One area where there will be improvement is up front in the trenches.  The Bulldogs have an excellent pair of ends in Matt Broha and IK Enemkpali.  Broha has developed into a great pass rusher and led LT with nine sacks last year. 

 

Two starters return to the second line of defense.  Linebackers Jay Dudley and Adrien Cole combined for 174 tackles but only 6 ½ for minus yardage.  This number needs to go up, for it will not help improve the defense if too many of those tackles come at the end of five yard gains.

 

The secondary is loaded with depth, and this should be the unit that shows the greatest improvement in 2011.  Look for more interceptions and passes defended this season. 

 

Louisiana Tech hosts Hawaii, so the Bulldogs will play a 12-game schedule.  Four of their five non-conference games will be tough to win, so the Bulldogs will need five conference wins at the least to become bowl eligible.  They are capable of achieving that feat this year.  

 

Fresno State has been so good for so long, it is hard to believe the Bulldogs have never won the WAC.  You have to go back to the days of the old Big West Conference to find FSU’s last title, when the Bulldogs finished 11-1-0 and clobbered Ball State in the old California Bowl.

 

The WAC is down, so Fresno State will benefit, because this will not be Coach Pat Hill’s best Bulldog team.  Too many good players are missing from both sides of the ball.  One of those is quarterback Ryan Colburn, who completed better than 63% of his passes with a 23/9 TD/Int ratio last year.  The new QB has a familiar name on campus.  Derek Carr is the younger brother of former FSU great David.  Carr has five games of experience from 2009, but he missed all of last season.  Look for Carr to struggle early but begin to live up to his family name as the season progresses.

 

Running back Robbie Rouse returns after enjoying a big season in 2010.  He rushed for 1,129 yards and eight scores.  Former UCLA Bruin Milton Knox should see some action as well.

 

Jalen Saunders is the best FSU has at the receiver position, but he is not a threat to crack the 1st or 2nd team all-conference roster.  Saunders caught 30 passes and scored three times.

 

The offensive line is not a team strength.  It could actually be the weakest in the league.  Two starters return, and the three that departed were all-league players.  Expect a considerable retreat in sacks allowed and rushing yards per carry this year.

 

The defense gave up 30 points per game last year, but the Bulldogs allowed just 367 total yards per game.  Their 37 sacks topped the league charts, as Bulldog players finished one-two in the league.  One of those players returns this season.  Tackle Logan Harrell is back after recording 10 ½ sacks and 14 total tackles for loss.    Three new starters will line up in the trenches, so Harrell will see more double team blocks this year.

 

Travis Brown and Kyle Knox are back to wreak havoc from their linebacker positions.  The two teamed up for 153 tackles last year.

 

There are some concerns in the secondary, and if the pass rush is not as good as last year, it will be exploited.  Free safety Phillip Thomas is the star of this unit.  He intercepted three passes and knocked away nine others.

 

Fresno State has a 13-game schedule since they play at Hawaii.  It will be difficult to match last year’s eight wins, but the Bulldogs have a chance to compete in the weaker WAC.  We still see this team becoming bowl eligible.

 

San Jose State has fallen on hard times in the last two seasons, finishing 2-10 and 1-12.  Second year coach Mike MacIntyre has a lot of experience returning from a team that took its lumps early but became much more competitive in the second half of the season.  With 18 starters returning, we see the Spartans could win more games in 2011 than they won in 2009 and 2010 combined.

 

The big bugaboo is at the most important position on the team.  As of this writing in mid-August, MacIntyre has yet to choose a starter, or even a leader of the pack, from among three candidates.  Senior Matt Faulkner has limited experience, but that limited experience is the most on the squad.  Contending with Faulkner are sophomore Dasmen Stewart and redshirt freshman Blake Jurich.  Too bad former Michigan starter Tate Forcier will not be eligible until 2012.

 

SJSU has a nice stable of receivers, and if a quarterback can emerge and at least be decent, this unit could shine in 2011.  Noel Grigsby is a breakaway threat.  He can get open deep and has good hands.  The sophomore could emerge as a 1st Team All-WAC player.

 

The running game has been nonexistent for four years, as the Spartans have averaged 84, 87, 77, and 79 yards per game and less than three yards per carry.  Starter Brandon Rutley had one big run as a freshman when he broke free for a long touchdown against Boise State.  He has yet to show any flashes since then.  Actually, Rutley has been a better pass receiver than runner.  He did break off a long breakaway with a reception last year.  

 

The offensive line will be improved this season, but it will still be an overall liability.  Tackle Andres Vargas is the best of the quintet.

 

SJSU averaged just 16 points per game last year, but in four of their final five games, they averaged better than 30 points per game.  We see the Spartans scoring about 23-25 points per game this year.

 

The good news is that more than 11 (several saw more than 6 starts) defensive starters return in 2011; the bad news is that those starters were not all that good last year, as SJSU surrendered 464 yards per game (502 in league play) and nearly 35 points per game.

 

All joking aside, this defense will be much better this season.  In fact, the Spartans could easily shave 100 yards off what they allowed in WAC games.  It isn’t impossible that they could go from last to first in yards allowed!

 

Start in the secondary, where the four holdovers just might make up the best unit in the league.  The name “Peyton” is an important name in football, and SJSU has one of their own.  Peyton Thompson is the top cover corner in the league.  In 2010, he recorded 12 passes defended, and quarterbacks tended to throw away from him.  Safety Duke Ihenacho missed all of last year, but he should regain his starting job after earning 1st Team All-WAC honors in 2009.

 

The secondary will benefit from an improved pass rush this year.  End Travis Johnson led the Spartans with 7 ½ sacks as well as four QB hurries.  He leads a two-deep of experienced players in the trenches.

 

The second line of defense features the reigning WAC Freshman of the Year.  Keith Smith earned that award after leading the Spartans with 116 tackles and 14 tackles for loss.  

 

San Jose State starts off the season with three tough games, and the Spartans will begin in an 0-3 hole after facing Stanford, UCLA, and Nevada.  Road games with Colorado State and BYU will leave SJSU at no better than 1-5, so 2011 will not be the year the Spartans get back to the plus side of .500.  They can win three or four games though.

 

Utah State has endured losing season after losing season with false expectations of an end to that skein.  Last year looked like ‘the year” when the Aggies upset BYU to open the season 3-2.  A 1-6 finish doomed them to yet another sub-.500 year, as the offense failed to ignite.

 

Coach Gary Andersen will choose between Adam Kennedy and Chuckie Keeton as his starting quarterback.  Thus far, neither has emerged as a primetime player.  The Aggies had poor play at this position last year, so it will not take much to surpass the production of 2010.

 

The rest of the skilled positions are in good shape.  Former all-conference running back Robert Turbin missed last season with an ACL injury, but he appears to be ready to pound his way through defenses.  He rushed for almost 1,300 yards two years ago.

 

Seven of the top eight pass catchers are back for more this year, but it’s the return of two 2009 starters that missed last season that will make this unit much better this season.  Stanley Morrison could top 1,000 receiving yards.

 

The offensive line returns four starters and will be the best this unit has been under Andersen.  Center Tyler Larsen and guards Fuanki Asisi and Philip Gapelu will contend for some all-conference recognition.  Larsen made the 2nd Team Freshman All-American Team last year.

 

Utah State should improve its offensive number back to where they were prior to all the 2010 injuries.  We believe the Aggies could top 27 points and 380 yards per game.

 

Unfortunately, the outlook on the other side of the ball is a bit gloomy.  USU is a little suspect in the front line and only average in the secondary.  One area that will be a team strength is the linebacker position.  Bobby Wagner and Kyle Gallagher are studs.  Wagner is on NFL scouts’ radar.  He led USU with 135 tackles including eight for losses.

 

The secondary took a major graduation hit, but it returns its top player in safety Walter McClenton.  McClenton made 62 tackles, but Andersen would like to see him make less this year; too many of those tackles came about because opposing teams had already defeated the other 10 defenders on the field.

 

Up front, The Aggies were abysmal in 2010.  They recorded just 13 sacks and allowed opposing backs to gain five yards per carry.  Ends Quinn Garner and Levi Koshan are the lone holdovers from the two-deep, and Andersen is switching to a 3-4 defense to try to disguise this weakness.

 

USU surrendered 34 points and 430 yards per game last year.  We do not see much improvement if any this year.  To make matters worse, the Aggies lose both their punter and place kicker from last year.

 

The schedule includes non-league tilts against defending champ Auburn, BYU, and Wyoming.  Unfortunately, the easiest conference opponents, Idaho and New Mexico State, must be faced on the road.  It looks like another long year in Logan.

 

Idaho took a step back last year after earning and winning the most exciting bowl game of 2009.  The Vandals could be looking at a major rebuilding project on the attack side of the ball with the departure of quarterback Nathan Enderle and three of the top four receivers.  However, there is cautious optimism that the newcomers are as talented as those they will replace.

 

The new signal caller is senior Brian Reader.  Reader looked sharp in limited action last year and appears to be primed to equal Enderle’s production.

 

Reader’s passing targets are not the most talented players in the league, but there are a lot of options.  Preston Davis figures to be much improved now that he is fully recovered from an ACL injury in 2010.  Walk-on junior college transfer Mike Scott could emerge as a key contributor.

 

The running game did not show much in 2010, and it will be a liability again this year.  Four backs should split time at this spot, led by former Arizona State Sun Devil Ryan Bass and Kama Bailey.

 

The offensive line is strongest at the terminals, where Matt Cleveland and Tyrone Novikoff are big and strong.  Cleveland should contend for 1st Team All-WAC honors.

 

Idaho averaged 27 points last year, and we expect the Vandals to replicate that number this season. 

 

Even though the Vandals fell from 8-5 to 6-7 last year, the defense showed great improvement, shaving almost eight points off their average allowed.  Some of that had to do with an improved turnover margin.  The news is not all that good on this side of the ball.  UI was going to be strong at linebacker, but their top player, Robert Siavii suffered a season-ending knee injury in Spring practice.

 

The Vandals will rally around middle linebacker TreShawn Robinson, who recorded 10 total tackles for loss last year.  Homer Mauga returns to start at the other linebacker spot.

 

Up front, Idaho had a strong pass rush last year, but the chief instigator of mayhem is gone.  Aaron Lavarias departs after leading the team with 10 sacks.  Tackle Michael Cosgrove is the best of the holdovers.

 

The secondary returns three 2010 starters, but none of the trio figures to make 1st Team All-WAC accolades this year.  If the pass rush is weaker, this group will be exposed and give up more than 250 passing yards per game.

 

Idaho has a fair schedule.  Non-league games with Texas A&M, Virginia, and BYU figure to be automatic losses.  North Dakota figures to be an easy victory.  The season opener with Bowling Green is a rematch of that great 2009 Humanitarian Bowl, and we consider this game a must-win affair for the Vandals.  If they win, and Reader proves to be as capable as Enderler, this team could make this prediction look silly.  If they lose, then Coach Robb Akey could become achy over his future.

 

New Mexico State has been one of the five weakest teams in FBS football in recent years, but luckily for them, the worst team has been in-state rival New Mexico.  Third year coach DeWayne Walker must show some form of improvement this year, or he could be headed away from the Land of Enchantment.

 

The offense scored 14 or fewer points five times last year and averaged less than 16 for the season.  Former Kent State coach Doug Martin takes over as the new offensive Coordinator.  Martin hopes quarterback Andrew Manley can solve the problem at quarterback.  Manley completed just 52% of his passes with a 1/6 TD/Int ratio last year as a true freshman.  Former starter Matt Christian completed just 48% of his passes but had a much better 8/2 TD/Int ratio.  There is only one way to go for this position.

 

The big problem with the passing game is the receiving corps.  Not only are the top two pass catchers from last year missing, those that are returning do not offer much in the area of quickness or mobility.  Taveon Rogers is the closest thing to a star, and he only caught 18 balls last year.  Juco Transfer Kemonte Bateman could emerge as the leader here.

 

Robert Clay figures to start at running back with 2010 leading rusher Kenny Turner at H-back.  The tandem rushed for just 687 yards and two touchdowns.

 

The one bright spot on the offense is an experienced and improving offensive line.  Sioeli Fakalata can play center or guard, and he is the best man in the front line.

 

The Aggies should see improved numbers all around this season.  Look for about 21 points and 325 yards.  However, that will not be enough to move them out of the WAC basement.

 

The defense figures to take another step backwards after giving up 40 points and 450+ yards per game last year.  It doesn’t help when two of your top players are declared academically ineligible.  Those two, tackle Augafa Vaaulu and end Donte Savage figured to be the stars of the front four.  Now, the Aggies are hurting in the trenches.

 

The linebackers are more of a liability than an asset, even though two starters return from last season.  B. J. Adolpho was a 3rd Team All-WAC player last year, but he cannot make plays for the other six players in the front seven.

 

Any hope for defensive improvement must come from the secondary.  We fear that with little or no pass rush, the back four will eventually break down and give up too many big plays.  The Aggies may have the best tandem at cornerback with Donyae Coleman and Jonte Green.  Last year, the pair teamed for 166 tackles, many times being the last hope to prevent breakaway plays.

 

Things do not look hopeful for Walker and his Aggies.  At least they have a game with New Mexico, but that is not a given win.  Even though NMSU’s offense is much improved, they will not be able to outscore the other teams in the WAC.  It will be another long year in Las Cruces.

 

2011 WAC Preseason Media Poll

Team

1st Place Votes

Points

Hawaii

18

292

Fresno State

11

284

Nevada

11

264

Lousiana Tech

 

184

Utah State

 

166

Idaho

 

141

San Jose State

 

85

New Mexico State

 

60

 

 

2011 WAC PiRate Ratings

Team

PiRate #

Prediction

Nevada

101.4

7-1/8-4

Hawaii

98.4

5-3/8-5

Louisiana Tech

93.5

5-3/5-7

Fresno State

93.0

6-2/7-6

San Jose State

91.1

2-6/2-10

Utah State

90.2

2-6/3-9

Idaho

88.2

4-4/5-7

New Mexico State

78.8

1-7/1-11

 

Next: A look at the four independents, Friday, August 19

 

December 16, 2010

PiRate Ratings College Football Bowl Preview, Part One

We will be posting three bowl previews this year.  We will give you the current odds for each game, the PiRate, Mean, and Bias spreads for each game, and our 100 times computer simulation for each game.

Today, we cover the bowls before Christmas Day.  Next week, we will preview the bowls from December 26 through New Year’s Day. Finally, we will preview the bowls after January 1.  Three bowls kick off Saturday, and four more will be played next week.  

Saturday, December 18

New Mexico Bowl

Albuquerque, NM

1 PM EST on ESPN

Brigham Young Cougars 6-6  vs.  Texas-El Paso Miners 6-6

Vegas: BYU by 11 ½

Totals: 50 ½

PiRate: BYU by 18.8

Mean: BYU by 12.3

Bias: BYU by 14.8

100 Sims: BYU 89  UTEP 11

Avg. Sim Score: BYU 33.7  UTEP 20.2

Outlier A: BYU 45  UTEP 17

Outlier B: UTEP 29  BYU 23

 

Humanitarian Bowl

Boise, ID

4:30 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: Northern Illinois by 1

Totals: 59

PiRate: Northern Illinois by 4.4

Mean: Northern Illinois by 4.1

Bias: Northern Illinois by 9.6

100 Sims: Northern Illinois 58  Fresno State 42

Avg. Sim Score: Northern Illinois 34.6  Fresno State 30.1

Outlier A: Northern Illinois 42  Fresno State 23

Outlier B: Fresno State 37  Northern Illinois 27

 

New Orleans Bowl

New Orleans, LA

8:00 PM EST on ESPN

Troy Trojans 7-5  vs. Ohio U Bobcats 8-4

Vegas: Troy by 2 ½

Totals: 58

PiRate: Ohio U by 3.6

Mean: Ohio U by 2.1

Bias: Ohio U by 16.2

100 Sims: Ohio U 61  Troy 39

Avg. Sim Score: Ohio U 35.1  Troy 29.8

Outlier A: Ohio U 41  Troy 17

Outlier B: Troy 38  Ohio U 27

 

Tuesday, December 21

Beef O’Brady Bowl

St. Petersburg, FL

7:00 PM EST on ESPN

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles 8-4  vs. Louisville Cardinals 6-6

Vegas: Louisville by 3

Totals: 57

PiRate: Louisville by 5.7

Mean: Louisville by 1.2

Bias: Louisville by 10.5

100 Sims: Louisville 60  Southern Miss 40

Avg. Sim Score: Louisville 31.1  Southern Miss 27.9

Outlier A: Louisville 35  Southern Miss 13

Outlier B: Southern Miss 40  Louisville 21

 

Wednesday, December 22

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl

Las Vegas, NV

7:00 PM EST on ESPN

Utah Utes 10-2  vs. Boise State Broncos 11-1

Vegas: Boise State by 17

Totals: 61

PiRate: Boise State by 17.7

Mean: Boise State by 14.0

Bias: Boise State by 16.6

100 Sims: Boise State 76  Utah 24

Avg. Sim Score: Boise State 40.3  Utah 24.1

Outlier A: Boise State 51  Utah 20

Outlier B: Utah 38  Boise State 31 (two different results gave Utah a 7-point win)

 

Thursday, December 23

Poinsettia Bowl

San Diego, CA

7:00 PM EST on ESPN

San Diego State Aztecs 8-4  vs. Navy Midshipmen 9-3

Vegas: San Diego State by 4 ½

Totals: 60

PiRate: San Diego State by 5.6

Mean: San Diego State by 0.8

Bias: San Diego State by 4.3

100 Sims: San Diego State 55  Navy 45

Avg. Sim Score: San Diego State 32.8  Navy 30.7

Outlier A: San Diego State 44  Navy 24

Outlier B: Navy 38  San Diego State 26

 

Friday, December 24

Hawaii Bowl

Honolulu, HI

7:00 PM EST on ESPN

Hawaii Warriors 10-3  vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane 9-3

Vegas: Hawaii by 10

Totals: 73 ½

PiRate: Hawaii by 14.6

Mean: Hawaii by 6.2

Bias: Hawaii by 9.9

100 Sims: Hawaii 58  Tulsa 42

Avg. Sim Score: Hawaii 46.4  Tulsa 40.2

Outlier A: Hawaii 59  Tulsa 35

Outlier B: Tulsa 47  Hawaii 38

August 14, 2010

2010 Western Athletic Conference Preview

Go to www.piratings.webs.com where we beat the spread 60.4% in 2009!

 

2010 Western Athletic Conference Preview

 

No team has dominated a conference for an entire decade the way Boise State has dominated the WAC since Alabama toyed with the SEC for 10 years after Bear Bryant went to the wishbone.  The Broncos last eight years in conference play have produced a league mark of 62-2!  Things will change next year, when BSU moves to the Mountain West.  It appears impossible for the Broncos to top last year’s 14-0 record, but this year’s team might be considerably stronger.

Nevada is the clear-cut second best team, and Fresno State is the clear-cut third best team.  After those two, there are three teams that are equally mediocre and three teams that will be fodder for the top six.  With Boise primed to make a run for a National Championship, there is a legitimate possibility that there will not be enough bowl eligible teams for the allotted bowl spots.

Note: The PiRate Ratings are not meant to be used to predict the outcome of future games.  They are usable only as a basis for the current week’s games.  We do not use these ratings to make our selections.  They are only a starting point.  The predictions given below, as for every college conference and NFL division, are not taken from the ratings themselves.

Predictions

Pos Team WAC Overall
1 Boise State 8-0 12-0
2 Nevada 7-1 10-3
3 Fresno State 6-2 9-3
4 Utah State 4-4 5-7
5 Hawaii 4-4 6-7
6 Louisiana Tech 4-4 5-7
7 Idaho 2-6 3-10
8 New Mexico State 1-7 2-10
9 San Jose State 0-8 2-11

 

BCS Bowl: Boise State (possible National Championship Game)

Humanitarian Bowl: Fresno State

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Nevada

Hawaii Bowl: Will need an at-large team

New Mexico Bowl: Will need and at-large team

 

Hawaii is guaranteed a spot in the Hawaii Bowl if they have seven or more wins.  If not, this bowl gets the third choice after the Humanitarian and Kraft Bowls select.

 

Team By Team Breakdown

 

Team Boise State Broncos
               
Head Coach Chris Petersen
               
Colors Blue and Orange
               
City Boise, ID
               
2009 Record              
Conference 8-0
Overall 14-0
               
PiRate Rating 121.7
               
National Rating 8
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 8-0
Overall 12-0

 

Offense: Better?  You betcha.  The Broncos return 10 starters on this side of the ball as well as every player that ran the ball and every receiver that caught a pass!

Let’s start with the nation’s number two quarterback in passing efficiency in 2009, trailing only some guy named Tebow.  Kellen Moore made 3rd Team All-American last year, and he could move up two spots if his team runs the table this year.  We expect him to be making a trip to the Downtown Athletic Club in Manhattan in December.  Moore completed 64.3% of his passes for 3,536 yards.  His TD/Int ration was an astonishing 39/3.  He was a down-the-field passer, so those stats were not inflated by having some speedster frequently turning a two-yard pass into a 65-yard touchdown.

Moore’s only problem may be trying to decide which open receiver to throw the ball.  His top two options are 2009 1st Team All-WAC Austin Pettus and Titus Young.  Those two combined for 142 receptions and 24 touchdowns.  Tyler Shoemaker is the bruiser of this group, and he can go across the middle and make the tough catch in a sea of defenders.

When Boise runs the ball, they will have a trio of special backs toting the pigskin.  Jeremy Avery ran for more than 1,150 yards, and Doug Martin added 765.  Martin led the ground contingent with 15 touchdowns.  Third back D. J. Harper accounted for just 285 yards, but he is the best breakaway threat of the three.  He averaged 6.5 yards per rush a year ago.

The offensive line returns four starters a year after allowing just five QB sacks, only three after the first game.  The entire second team has some starting experience, so Coach Chris Petersen can feel confident relieving his starters for a series.

Boise State averaged 42.2 points and 450 total yards last year, and those numbers should be eclipsed by this veteran squad.  Look for 45-50 points and 450-475 yards per game this season.

Defense: Now the bad news: Uh, the only bad news is for the rest of the league, because Boise State will be more improved on this side of the ball than on offense!

The Broncos gave up 17 points and 300 yards per game last year, and 10 starters also return on this side of the ball.  Almost the entire second team returns as well, and it would not surprise us to see BSU finish in the top five in both total offense and total defense.  We’re talking 1997 Nebraska-type dominance if that happens.

If there is a liability of any kind with this defense, it is at linebacker.  Boise uses a 4-2-5 defense, and the two linebackers get lost among all the stars on the stop side.  Aaron Tevis and Daron Mackey combined for just 90 stops a year ago, and they were merely above-average players in the WAC.

In the trenches, the Broncos can rely on four experienced upperclassmen, including a sure future NFL (assuming the NFL plays in 2011 or 2012) end.  Ryan Winterswyk made 17 tackles on the other team’s side of the line—nine sacks and eight tackles of runners.  Tackle Billy Wynn is just as potent at causing teams to lose yardage.

The secondary is even stronger this year.  Nickel back Winston Venable is a monster against both the run and the pass, and when he is on the field, opposing teams may think there is more than one #17 running around.  Cornerback Brandyn Thompson and strong safety Jeron Johnson should both make 1st Team All-WAC after teaming for 10 interceptions last year.

Schedule: It all comes down to the first game of the season.  Boise travels over 2,000 miles across two time zones to face Virginia Tech at the Washington Redskins’ stadium on Monday night, September 6.  The Broncos proved they could beat a BCS conference champion last year when they completely shut down Oregon in the opener.  That game was at home.  If the Broncos beat the Hokies, we don’t see anybody else threatening them.  A home game with Oregon State and a road game against Nevada might be the only other games where they cannot win by three touchdowns or more.  It will be either 1-0 on the way to 12-0 or 0-1 on the way to maybe 10-2.  At 12-0, they would be riding a 26-game winning streak and deserve to go to Glendale, Arizona, on January 10.

Team Fresno State Bulldogs
               
Head Coach Pat Hill
               
Colors Cardinal and White
               
City Fresno, CA
               
2009 Record              
Conference 6-2
Overall 8-5
               
PiRate Rating 99.6
               
National Rating 60
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 6-2
Overall 9-3

 

Offense: Fresno State has always fielded exciting, well-balanced offenses under Coach Pat Hill.  This year will be no different.  The Bulldogs may have lost their top player on this side of the ball, but they return eight starters and should have another successful season moving the ball.

It will be hard to replace running back Ryan Mathews after he led the league with more than 1,800 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns.  We expect Robbie Rouse to step in and rush for 1,000+ yards in his first year as a starter.  He showed flashes of brilliance last year in a backup role.

In a league of outstanding quarterbacks, Ryan Colburn rarely gets a mention in the press outside of Fresno.  Colburn is a capable, but not flashy passer.  He completed 61% of his tosses for 2,459 yards last year, but he needs to cut down on his 3.7% interception rate.

The Bulldogs lost three of their top four receivers, but there is good talent left.  Jamel Hamler and Devon Wylie can turn a short pass into a long gain.

The offensive line welcomes back all five starters.  This unit could be a little better than Boise State’s interior line.  Best among this quintet are center Joe Bernardi and tackle Kenny Wiggins, two seniors that should have a chance to play professionally (maybe in Canada).

Fresno State may take a small step backward on this side of the ball, but the Bulldogs will still be an offensive threat in every game.  Look for about 28 points and 400 yards per game.

Defense: FSU surrendered 214 rushing and 200 passing yards last year, and we see that problem continuing in 2010.  The Bulldogs return the majority of their contributors from 2009, but we see only three really good players on this side of the ball.

One of those three is end Chris Carter.  The 1st Team All-WAC performer accounted for almost half of the team’s sacks (5 out of FSU’s poor 11) and added eight other tackles for loss.  He’s the only star player in the trenches, and he will see double teams on most plays this year.  The Bulldogs gave up a profane six yards per rush last year, so teams will run the ball at them until they can prove they can slow it down.

The second line of defense is much better than the first and considerably better than the unit behind them.  Linebacker Ben Jacobs led FSU with 106 tackles last year, but too many were five or more yards down the field.  Neither he, nor outside linebacker Kyle Knox recorded a sack.

The secondary is pedestrian, but it was hard to cover the WAC’s receivers when there was no pass rush.  Strong safety Lorne Bell earned 2nd Team All-WAC honors, but he is better in run support than in pass coverage.

Fresno State will give up a lot of points again this season, and it will prevent the Bulldogs from contending with the big two in the league.  Look for 26-30 points and 400-425 yards allowed—about the same as last year.

Schedule: Outside of the WAC, Fresno plays its usual contingent of BCS schools.  This year, they host Cincinnati and Illinois and visit Ole Miss.  They get a breather with FCS member Cal Poly.  Boise State is a road game, and they have no chance in that one.  They get Nevada at home and could sneak up on the Wolf Pack.  6-2 in the league is a strong possibility, and we believe the Bulldogs can upend two of the three BCS conference teams they play.  Call it nine wins and a bowl in 2010.

Team Hawaii Warriors
               
Head Coach Greg McMackin
               
Colors Green, Black, and White
               
City Honolulu, HI
               
2009 Record              
Conference 3-5
Overall 6-7
               
PiRate Rating 85.0
               
National Rating 97
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 4-4
Overall 6-7

 

Offense: Hawaii has once again become a great vacation trip for BCS schools.  Since June Jones left for SMU three years ago, the Warriors have fallen on hard times.  The UH offense went from a 40+ per game juggernaut to a 20-point per game patsy.

Don’t look for any improvement on this side of the ball in 2010.  Coach Greg McMackin has too many holes to fill to expect a better showing.  In fact, things could get worse.  Only five starters return, but only one of them is from the offensive line.  Tackles Austin Hansen and Laupepa Letuli give the Warrior a good couple of anchors.

Quarterback Brian Moniz returns to pilot the attack after starting eight times last year.  He is a good runner as well as passer, but he won’t be confused with Colin Kaepernick.

Moniz will benefit from the return of receivers Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares.  The two combined for 172 receptions and 2,280 yards.  Speedy Rodney Bradley gives Moniz a third good option.

The running game has not been much of a factor in recent years.  As long as the back in the game can block for the quarterback, run a good safety valve route and cut on a draw play, he has done his job.  Alex Green should fit the bill nicely, and he should catch 25-30 passes this year.

With the troubles up front, we just cannot see Hawaii topping 24 points per game this season.  Look for 21-24 points and 375-400 yards.  The Warriors turned the ball over a lot last year, and that trend may continue in 2010. 

Defense: There should be improvement on this side of the ball, but it may not show up that much in the stats.  If the offense gives up the ball quickly due to incompetence, the defense will stay on the field longer.

Seven starters return on this side of the ball, but the top two tacklers from a year ago are gone.  One area that should not be a problem is the secondary.  All four starters return after giving up just 203 passing yards per game (low for this league).  All four (corners Jeramy Bryant and Lametrius Davis and safeties Mana Silva and Spencer Smith) proved to be excellent pass defenders, combining for 10 interceptions and 24 passes batted away.

The front seven is more of a problem.  Hawaii did a poor job against the run last year, and it could continue this season.  Two starters must be replaced up front, and two starters must be replaced at linebacker.  None of this year’s front seven will contend for even honorable mention all-conference.

Hawaii will give up 30-35 points and 400-425 yards per game.  

Schedule: The opener should draw a lot of national attention.  UH entertains bad boy Lane Kiffin and his Southern Cal Trojans on Thursday night, September 2.  They follow it up with a trips to West Point to face Army on 9/11 and to Boulder to take on the Colorado Buffaloes on 9/18.  It could actually be snowing in the Front Range on that date.  The Warriors return home to face Charleston Southern, which should be their first win.  UH concludes the season with UNLV.  The Rebels could possibly be playing for bowl eligibility in that game.  In league play, UH has road games with Fresno State and Boise State and will come home with their tails beneath their legs. 

We believe the Warriors will break even in league play, but they will fall one game short of bowl eligibility again.

Team Idaho Vandals
               
Head Coach Robb Akey
               
Colors Black and Gold
               
City Moscow, ID
               
2009 Record              
Conference 4-4
Overall 8-5
               
PiRate Rating 90.3
               
National Rating 88
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 2-6
Overall 3-10

 

Offense: 2009 was one of those years when the stars aligned just right for Coach Robb Akey’s Vandals.  Idaho won five close games, including a 43-42 Humanitarian Bowl thriller over Bowling Green, on its way to its first winning season of the century.  With the graduation of most of their offensive line, their top running back, and their top receiver, it looks like the one year recovery will be an anomaly. 

The one bright spot on this side of the ball is the return of quarterback Nathan Enderle.  After the big two, he may be the third best QB in the WAC.  Last year, he passed for 2,906 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Enderle’s top target has graduated, and Max Komar was vital to this team’s success.  Maurice Shaw returns after averaging more than 20 yards on his 32 receptions.  He should form a solid trio with Preston Davis and tight end Daniel Hardy, but Komar will be sorely missed.

Idaho used a platoon at tailback, and two of the three principle members of that platoon return.  Princeton McCarty and Deonte Jackson combined for 1,108 yards, so the Vandals’ running game is in good hands this year.

Because the rebuilding blocking wall will be a liability this year, expect both the rushing and passing yardage to fall back in 2010.  Call it about 23-26 points and 380-420 yards per game.  

Defense: Idaho didn’t win because of great defensive play in 2009.  They gave up 36 points and 433 yards per game!  With 10 starters returning, there should be some improvement, but we don’t see enough improvement to justify picking Idaho to return to a bowl.

The entire front seven returns intact.  They were not particularly strong against the run or the pass.  While the Vandals gave up just a tad over 150 rushing yards per game, opponents averaged 4.7 yards per rush.  They were too busy picking the secondary to shreds to run the ball much more than 30 times per game.

The strength of the front seven is on the outside where end Aaron Lavarais and outside linebacker Jo Jo Dickson will contend for all-conference honors.

The secondary will not fare much better than their dismal performance last year after giving up 278 passing yards per game and allowing better than 66% completions.  Without a much better pass rush, look for the Vandals to maybe give up 300 yards per game through the air.

Idaho will once again give up 30+ points per game, but maybe it will be less than last year’s 36.  Let’s go with 32-35 points and 425-450 yards allowed.

Schedule: The Vandals should start off the season on a winning note when they open with North Dakota at home.  Then, they must play at Nebraska, where they could lose by six touchdowns.  A home game with UNLV should tell the fans whether they have any reason to remain optimistic, and we believe the Rebels will leave Moscow with a win.  A trip to Colorado State the following week will either put the nail in the coffin for the 2010 season or give the Vandal hope.  The Rams will treat that game as a must-win contest.  A final non-conference game at Western Michigan won’t give them a win.  Idaho hosts both Nevada and Boise State, which should be considered a curse this year.  They cannot compete with either, and it would be better for the Vandals to have two other home games.  At least, UI gets New Mexico State and San Jose State at home—those are their two conference wins for 2010.

Team Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
               
Head Coach Sonny Dykes
               
Colors Red and Blue
               
City Ruston, LA
               
2009 Record              
Conference 3-5
Overall 4-8
               
PiRate Rating 96.5
               
National Rating 66
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 4-4
Overall 5-7

 

Offense: After half of the coaches in FBS football turned down the Tennessee job last year, Tech coach Derek Dooley took the job.  Welcome new coach Sonny Dykes.  Dykes turned around the Arizona Wildcats’ offense after learning the “Air Raid” Spread offense at Texas Tech under Mike Leach.  Expect a complete overhaul of the offense this year, as the Bulldogs return to a wide open offense like teams of yesteryear in Ruston.

Unfortunately, Tech won’t have Tim Rattay, Luke McCown, or Terry Bradshaw lining up at quarterback.  Actually, neither Dooley nor offensive coordinator Tony Franklin know who will be lining up at quarterback in the opener.  As August practices began, it was a four-way race between incumbent Ross Jenkins, Auburn transfer Steven Ensminger, last year’s backup Colby Cameron, and junior college transfer Tarik Hakim.  Whoever wins the battle will be throwing the ball anywhere from 40 to 60 times a game.

Tech has a fine stable of pass receivers thanks to the school that stole their prior coach.  Tennessee transfer Ahmad Paige left Orangeville last year to escape the tornado known as Lane Kiffin.  Paige will join holdovers Cruz Williams and Phillip Livas to form a solid first team.  In this offense, expect at least five other receivers to catch more than 25 passes. 

Another escapee from the Kiffin asylum is tailback Lennon Creer.  We expect Creer to step in and start from day one, but the Bulldogs backs will not match the production of graduated star Daniel Porter.

The offensive line returns four starters, but there could be some rough times in the transition from a predominantly running attack to an offense that will pass the ball at least 60% of the time and as much as 80-85% of the time.

LT averaged 29 points per game last year, and we think the Bulldogs will shatter that mark this season.  Look for 31-35 points and 400-425 yards per game in year one of the “air raid.”

Defense: This is the reason Dykes won’t turn things around in year one.  Tech gave up 26 points per game last year, and the defense is noticeably weaker this season.

The problems start up front where only one starter returns to the four-man trench.  Included in the graduation losses was two-time All-WAC star D’Anthony Smith.

The three-man linebacking corps returns two starters, including 2009 1st Team All-WAC Mike linebacker Adrien Cole.  Cole led the Techsters with 93 tackles last year.

The secondary is better than average and returns three starters, but they may have trouble matching last year’s numbers due to the weaker pass rush. 

We expect LT to give up more than 28 points and maybe as much as 33 points per game to go along with 375-400 yards per game.

Schedule: Finally it will happen!  Louisiana Tech will play Grambling for the first time ever to kick off the 2010 season.  The schools are within walking distance, but they have been separated by mountains of Southern philosophical opinion for years.  It should be an interesting game, but any chance for Grambling to pull off the upset disappeared when they weren’t able to gain approval for a medical hardship redshirt for their starting quarterback.  Tech will be 1-0 when they venture to Aggieland to take on Texas A&M, and that game should be a shootout.  Ditto the following two weeks’ games with Navy and Southern Miss.  When Tech enters WAC play, they may be just 1-3, but they could be averaging 40 points per game.  We see them splitting their league games, coming up one win short of bowl eligibility.

Team Nevada Wolf Pack
               
Head Coach Chris Ault
               
Colors Blue and Silver
               
City Reno, NV
               
2009 Record              
Conference 7-1
Overall 8-5
               
PiRate Rating 102.6
               
National Rating 51
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 7-1
Overall 10-3

 

Offense: Coaltown, Alydar, Sham, the 1961 Detroit Tigers, the 1962 Detroit Lions—what do these have in common?  Coaltown, Alydar, and Sham were great horses that might have won the Triple Crown in their three-year old campaigns, but they happened to race against Citation, Affirmed, and Secretariat.  The 1961 Tigers won more than 100 games and was probably better than the 1968 World Champions.  The 1962 Lions were probably the best ever in the Motor City.  Those Tigers played second fiddle to the Maris and Mantle Yankees.  Those Lions played second fiddle to the greatest NFL team in history—the 1962 Green Bay Packers.

Nevada is this year’s Coaltown.  The Wolf Pack is clearly the second best team in the WAC and one of the best teams in WAC history (in the current alignment) not wearing an orange and blue uniform.

Coach Chris Ault’s team ran the pistol offense to near perfection a year ago.  Nevada outpaced Georgia Tech and the three service academies that run triple option and averaged a nation’s best 345 yards rushing per game.  They had three players top 1,000 rushing yards.  Not even the great Oklahoma teams of the 1970’s that rushed for more than 400 yards a game had such a trio.

Two of those three stars return this season.  One is quarterback Colin Kaepernick.  He rushed for almost 1,200 yards (actually well over 1,300 when you factor out sacks) and 16 touchdowns.  He tossed another 20 touchdown passes on his way to 2,052 yards passing.

Joining Kaepernick in the pistol backfield will be Vai Taua, the other 1,000 yard back.  He totaled 1,345 yards with 10 touchdowns.  Backup Mike Ball will take over as the number two running back.  He averaged almost 10 yards per try in limited action last year, so he could replace Luke Lippincott as the third 1,000-yard rusher this year.

The receiving corps isn’t exactly chopped liver.  The four main receivers return after combining for 130 receptions and 14 touchdowns.  Brandon Wimberly was the WAC Freshman of the Year after grabbing 53 passes for 733 yards.

The offensive line lost two All-WAC performer, but we think this unit will be close to last year’s unit in blocking ability. 

Unless one of the option teams has an incredible season, there is no reason not to believe that Nevada will top the rushing charts again this season.  Look for another 325-350 effort on the ground with an additional 175-200 yards through the air.  The Wolf Pack should top 40 points per game after threatening that mark the last two seasons.

Defense: This side of the ball is missing just enough to prevent Nevada from competing with Boise State for the title.  As it is, the Wolf Pack is still the second best team by far.  Three of the top four tacklers must be replaced, so it is likely that Nevada will have to outscore opponents this season.

Up front, one of the returning starters is end Dontay Moch, who earned WAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.  Moch registered 20 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including  6 ½ sacks.  At 6-1, he may be on the small side to be a star at the next level.

Brandon Marshall gives Nevada an outstanding strong-side linebacker.  Marshall dumped defenders for loss 9 ½ times in 2009, and he batted away four passes as well.

It is the secondary where Nevada cannot stop Boise State and thus cannot win the WAC this year.  The ‘Pack surrendered almost 300 yards through the air and 61.5% completions in 2009, and no starter had more than one interception.  Former Utah quarterback Corbin Louks has been brought to Reno to anchor the secondary at free safety. 

Nevada will once again give up more than four touchdowns per game.  Look for about 30 points and 425 yards allowed per contest.

Schedule: Nevada gets two breathers to open the season.  They host Eastern Washington and Colorado State.  A third consecutive home game against California could give the Wolf Pack a good chance to pull off the minor upset and crack the polls.  The following week finds them venturing to BYU for a potentially great shootout.  A week later, Nevada plays at UNLV.  They could be 5-0 when WAC play starts, and they will be no worse than 3-2.  They should be 4-0 in conference play when they go to Fresno State on November 13.  After a breather with New Mexico State, they host Boise State on Friday, November 26.  It isn’t impossible, but highly improbable they will win this game unless Boise State falls apart with numerous injuries.  Still, this should be Ault’s best team in Reno since he returned for the third time in 2004.  Call if a double-digit winning year.

Team New Mexico State Aggies
               
Head Coach DeWayne Walker
               
Colors Crimson and White
               
City Las Cruces, NM
               
2009 Record              
Conference 1-7
Overall 3-10
               
PiRate Rating 78.4
               
National Rating 109
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 1-7
Overall 2-10

 

Offense: One word can best sum up the Aggies’ offense—offensive.  NMSU scored just 11.5 points per game and tallied just 229 total yards per game.  That looks like stats you would see from a college team in the days when players went both ways.  The Aggies had no passing game whatsoever, and they were not an option team.  They averaged just 88 yards per game and completed less than half of their passes.

Quarterback Jeff Fleming might do better if he could throw to himself.  He just doesn’t have much talent in which to throw the ball.

Things are much better with the running game.  Seth Smith ran for more than 1,000 yards even though defenses placed an extra defender and sometimes two extra defenders up close to stop the run.

The offensive line returns three starters, but the Aggies pick up a plum in former Texas Longhorn tackle Aundre McGaskey.

With stats like last year, there is only one way to go for Coach DeWayne Walker’s offense, but we don’t expect State to fool many defenses this year.  Look for a slight improvement to 14-17 points and 250-275 yards per game. 

Defense: When your offense cannot sustain many drives and convert first downs, your defense will be on the field much longer than average.  Opponents ran an average of eight more plays per game against the Aggies last year, and more of the same will happen this season.

One unit that will be better is the back line.  All four starters return to the secondary.  This quartet of Stephon Hatchett, Alphonso House, Jonte Green, and Davon House teamed up for 32 batted passes and five picks.

The defensive line will be a little better this year, and that will make the secondary that much better.  Ends Pierre Fils and Donte Savage teamed up to make 13 QB sacks.

It’s at linebacker where there will be difficulties this year.  The Aggies must break in three new starters, only one of whom saw any real action last year.

The Aggies will give up 28-32 points and 400-425 yards again this season.  They are still a long way from competing for bowl eligibility.

Schedule: The one plus for New Mexico State is that as weak as they are, their in-state rival is weaker.  The Aggies should beat New Mexico.  They won’t be so lucky with San Diego State, UTEP, or Kansas.  NMSU gets upstart San Jose State at home, so we believe they will win twice this season.  That is one less than last year.

Team San Jose State Spartans
               
Head Coach Mike MacIntyre
               
Colors Dark Blue and Gold
               
City San Jose, CA
               
2009 Record              
Conference 1-7
Overall 2-10
               
PiRate Rating 82.7
               
National Rating 101
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 0-8
Overall 2-11

 

Offense: New Spartan head coach Mike MacIntyre takes over at San Jose after earning the national Assistant Coach of the Year award as the defensive coordinator at Duke.  Too bad he won’t get to defend against his own offense.  The Spartans scored just 13.8 points and produced 284 yards of total offense in 2009. 

Quarterback Jordan La Secla returns after passing for 1,926 yards at a 60% completion rate.  He tossed more interceptions than touchdown passes.

La Secla will have to make do without the top two receivers from last year.  Kevin Jurovich graduated, while Marquis Avery was declared academically ineligible.  Throw in the sudden departure of offensive coordinator Hugh Freeze to Arkansas State, and it looks like another long season on this side of the ball.

The running game was abysmal last year; don’t expect much improvement, after the Spartans averaged a meager 77 yards per game.

The offensive line is probably the strongest component of the offense, but it is still below average in the WAC. 

If MacIntyre can squeeze 17 points and 300 yards out of this offense, it will be a huge success.

Defense: San Jose State must replace four of their front seven defenders, so there won’t be much improvement on this side of the ball.  The Spartans didn’t fare much better on defense than offense last year. 

SJSU surrendered 259 rushing yards (6.1 yds./rush) last year, and with three of the front four having to be replaced against a slate of teams that can pound the ball down the field, the Spartans might actually fare worse this year.

All four starters return to the secondary.  Unfortunately, this quartet had to stop a lot of running plays last year and didn’t face many passing plays, as opponents ran the ball almost 65% of the time.

After giving up 35 points and 443 yards per game last year, the numbers could actually head south this year.  Look for maybe 36-40 points and 450-475 yards allowed.

Schedule:  By the time San Jose State faces a team they can beat, their players will be demoralized after beginning the season on the road with Alabama and Wisconsin. The Spartans will be 0-2, nursing a lot of bumps and bruises, and facing a scoring deficit of about 90-10!  They should find a way to beat Southern Utah in game three.  The following week finds them heading to Utah, where the Utes will remember the scare this team gave them last year.  Look for another blowout loss.  Then, SJSU faces UC Davis.  They should get a nice win in that one, but that will be their last of the season.  We see them losing all eight league games.

Team Utah State Aggies
               
Head Coach Gary Andersen
               
Colors Navy and White
               
City Logan, UT
               
2009 Record              
Conference 3-5
Overall 4-8
               
PiRate Rating 95.3
               
National Rating 72
               
2010 Prediction              
Conference 4-4
Overall 5-7

 

Offense: Coach Gary Andersen was a defensive genius as Utah’s defensive coordinator.  In his first year in Logan, he looked more like Urban Meyer.  If it wasn’t for a couple of key injuries, Utah State might have been looking at a winning season and bowl bid this year for the first time since 1997.

Running back Robert Turpin tore his ACL earlier this year and appears to be out for the season.  He led the Aggies with close to 1,300 rushing yards.  In his place, Michael Smith will carry the load.  Don’t expect 1,300 yards, but Smith has breakaway speed and can turn a small hole into a big gain.

Quarterback Diondre Borel ranks with Nathan Enderle as one of the WAC’s two best passers not named Moore or Kaepernick.  Borel had a splendid junior season in 2009 passing for 2,885 yards with 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions. 

The Aggies had a lot of options in the passing game, but they have been henpecked with injuries.  Turpin was a great receiver out of the backfield.  2009’s top receiver, Stanley Morrison, caught 33 passed and averaged 19 yards per catch.  He is gone for the season with a broken foot.  Then, just before practice began, wide out Eric Moats dropped a refrigerator on his foot.  He needed stitches, and as of this writing, he has yet to practice.  Junior college star Matt Austin was supposed to be a starter last year, but he missed the entire season.  He returns and will have to live up to his potential immediately.

The offensive line returns four starters, so if Borel has any talent running routes, he will have time to find them. 

Even with all the injuries, we believe USU will move the ball and score points this year, just not enough to move from middle of the pack to within shouting distance of Fresno State.  Look for 25-30 points and 400-425 yards per game.

Defense: Defense was a major problem last year, as USU gave up 34 points and 455 yards per game.  They could not stop the run or the pass.  With eight starters returning, expect some form of improvement.

The three linebackers are as good as any other WAC unit short of Boise State.  Bobby Wagner, Kyle Gallagher, and Junior Keiaho should team for more than 200 tackles.  Hopefully, not too many will be more than five yards downfield.

The defensive line returns three starters, but there is nothing special up front.  Actually, new starter Levi Koskan recorded more three more sacks than the three returning starters, who recorded ZERO SACKS!

The secondary had no chance last year with no pass rush.  Two starters return, and the two new starters saw considerable action last year.

If the Aggies can trim a touchdown off their defensive scoring average, they have a shot to emerge as the fourth bowl eligible WAC team.  Look for the defense to yield 26-31 points and 425-450 yards.

Schedule: The Aggies start the season at Oklahoma.  Assuming they have any depth left after that game, they should slaughter Idaho State.  If they are relatively healthy, game three could determine whether or not they can get over the hump and become the Idaho of 2009.  The Fresno State game in Logan is a make or break game.

Following that game, USU plays at San Diego State and then hosts BYU on Friday, October 1.  They should go 1-3 out of league play, so they will need five WAC wins to become bowl eligible.  They will have to beat either Fresno State or Louisiana Tech plus Hawaii to get there.  We believe they will come up one win short.

 

Coming Tomorrow: The Mountain West Conference—Can anybody beat TCU?  Are there six bowl eligible teams?

November 30, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For College Football–November 30-December 12

It’s The Week We’ve All Been Waiting For

 

It seems like just last week the college football season kicked off, and here it is the end of the regular season.  A handful of games can potentially scramble the bowl bids that will go out Sunday.  With the holidays bringing the five PiRates together under the same roof in northwest Wisconsin for too much turkey and other booty, we stayed up late gathering information for this special bowl edition.  We think through hard work and phone calls to contacts in multiple locations, we have one of the best views of the bowl games.

This edition will not be a speculative one.  We are actually trying to use information we have gathered to report where we believe the bowls are looking with six days to go.

The BCS Bowls

National Championship Game:  Obviously the winner of this week’s Alabama-Florida game in the SEC Championship will finish number one.  If Texas wins, then everything is rather easy.  The Longhorns will finish number two.  Here’s where things get dicey.  If Texas loses, there will be controversy no matter which team makes it to Pasadena.  TCU would be the logical choice, but Cincinnati could edge ahead of the Horned Frogs with a convincing win over Pittsburgh.  And, if Alabama were to edge Florida by a point or win in overtime, there is still a possibility that Alabama and Florida could meet in a rematch.  Remember something; part of the BCS equation is human voting.  The fourth estate has never been confused for being honest and just.  All it takes is for a few voters to move TCU down one spot, and the fix would be in.

We believe Nebraska’s lack of offense will make this all superfluous.  Texas will win by double digits this week and face the SEC winner for the national championship.  We’ve taken a vote here in the Northwoods; one of us believes Florida will win this week.  One of us believes Alabama will win, and the other three consider it a tossup.  It should be the next “greatest game,” in the mold of Ohio State and Michigan in 2006, Florida State and Florida in 1996, Notre Dame and USC in 1988, and the two greatest late season matchups of #1 vs. #2—Oklahoma and Nebraska in 1971 and Notre Dame and Michigan State in 1966. 

Orange Bowl: The winner of this week’s Clemson-Georgia Tech game for the ACC Championship will automatically go to Miami.  We believe Clemson has a better than 50% chance of pulling off the upset.  In their regular season game, Clemson’s comedy of errors led to the Yellow Jackets getting a big lead.  The Tigers made a great comeback and almost pulled it off.  We thing CU gets revenge this week and heads to Miami with a weak 8-4 record.  The Orange Bowl will get the third selection in the at-large draft if Texas wins.  The Sugar and Fiesta Bowls will have already picked because they will have lost teams to the National Championship Game.  With Alabama or Florida and Iowa already taken off the board, this pick will come down to either the Big East champion, Boise State, or TCU.  If Cincinnati beats Pittsburgh, we don’t see the Bearcats being chosen even though they would be 12-0.  Cincinnati played in Miami last year.  It would come down to TCU and Boise State.  Believe it or not, Boise’s fans travel better, so we will go with Boise State here.

If Pittsburgh beats Cincinnati, the Panthers will probably wind up here, and Boise State would head to the Fiesta Bowl.

Fiesta Bowl: Assuming Texas wins, the Fiesta Bowl will get the second and fourth picks in the at-large draft.  The SEC loser will be off the table, and we believe the best choice for this bowl will be Iowa.  After the Orange Bowl picks Boise State, TCU becomes the logical choice.  If Pittsburgh beats Cincinnati, then Boise State would land here.

Sugar Bowl: Without a doubt, the loser of the SEC Championship will play here if both SEC teams don’t play again in Pasadena.  The Sugar Bowl gets the first pick to replace the number one team being lost to the National Championship Game.  The Sugar Bowl also gets the last pick in the at-large draft.  Since this cannot be a Hobson’s Choice, Cincinnati would land here as the only option if the Bearcats beat Pittsburgh.  If Pittsburgh wins this week, then TCU would land here.

Rose Bowl: Ohio State is already assured of playing here.  The winner of Thursday night’s Oregon-Oregon State game will be the opponent.  There can be no other options this year.

The Top-Tier Non-BCS Bowls

 

Capital One Bowl: LSU seems to be a shoo-in for this bowl after Ole Miss fell to Mississippi State.  Penn State will land here if Iowa is chosen over the Lions for a BCS Bowl.  We see no reason for Penn State fans to believe they can beat out Iowa, especially if the bowl in question is the Fiesta Bowl.

Outback Bowl: The top remaining SEC East team is supposed to play here, while the top remaining SEC West team is supposed to play in the Cotton Bowl. Ole Miss played in Dallas last year, and there was talk that there could be a trade-off with Ole Miss heading to Tampa.  However, late news seems to support the Rebels playing in the Cotton Bowl again, so Tennessee looks like the choice here.  The Big Ten representative will be Wisconsin unless the Badgers lose in Hawaii this weekend.  If that happens, it changes a lot of other bowls. 

Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State should receive this invitation, since the Cowboys have the second best record, but Nebraska or over Oklahoma could leapfrog them.  For now, we will stick with the most politically correct pick and go with Oklahoma State.  According to late-breaking news, the SEC representative will be Ole Miss. 

Gator Bowl: Notre Dame’s fold means the Big East gets this spot.  The loser of the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game will end up in Jacksonville.  We believe Georgia Tech will lose to Clemson this week, so the Yellow Jackets will play here.  Our pick then is Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh.  If the Yellow Jackets win the ACC, then it appears that Miami would be the ACC representative.

Holiday Bowl: Southern Cal will get this bid if Oregon beats Oregon State.  If the Beavers beat the Ducks, then Oregon will drop to this bowl.  Nebraska is the logical Big 12 choice for this game.

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Georgia’s win over Georgia Tech will put the Bulldogs at the top of the list for this game, but a second year in a row of fewer hotel rooms needing to be booked (Georgia Tech played here last year) probably sends the Bulldogs somewhere else.  The likely ACC opponent will be Virginia Tech, and the SEC will try to find the best opponent.  Auburn would be the best choice, providing a match-up of offense against defense, but most of their fans can drive to this game.  We’re going with Auburn because officials from this bowl repeatedly attended their games.  Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

The Mid-Level Bowls

 

Las Vegas Bowl: Even though they have been to this bowl four years in a row, it looks like Brigham Young is headed here again.  The Mountain West would like Utah to go here, but BYU will sell their allotment for this one, while the Utes will not.

The Pac-10 opponent could be a host of teams, but we think it will be either Stanford or Oregon State.  One of those two will play here, while the other plays in the Emerald Bowl.  We’ll go with Stanford here.  If Oregon State beats Oregon, then Southern Cal or California might fall to this game.

Meineke Car Care Bowl: This bowl will have a choice of Florida State or Boston College.  With Bobby Bowden announcing his retirement tomorrow, the Seminoles will jump over the Eagles.  Rutgers should get the Big East invitation in this game.

Music City Bowl: This could be an interesting rivalry game.  How about North Carolina facing South Carolina?  Since the Gamecocks joined the SEC in 1991, these two teams have played just once.

Liberty Bowl: Arkansas looks like the best option here.  The Razorbacks will fill up the stadium.  The Conference USA champion automatically plays here, so that means either Houston or East Carolina will be the opponent.  Houston and Arkansas would make this a 100-pass, 4-hour game with maybe 100+ points scored.

Sun Bowl: If Oregon wins Thursday, we believe California will be the Pac-10 representative.  Oklahoma looks like the best fit for the Big 12.

Champs Sports Bowl: If Clemson wins over Georgia Tech, Miami should fall to this bowl.  If Georgia Tech wins over Clemson, then Miami moves up to the Gator and Clemson falls here.  Northwestern should be the Big 10 opponent, but if Wisconsin loses to Hawaii, NU could move up and the Badgers could fall here.

Alamo Bowl: Texas Tech should receive this bid, and their opponent should be Michigan State.  It could take 40 points to win this game.

The Bottom Tier

 

St. Petersburg Bowl: This second year bowl has a chance to make a big splash by bringing together two in-state teams that played each other the last four years but not this year.  Central Florida and South Florida could sell this game out.  We think it is a strong possibility, but the chances for this dream game have dropped some the last few days.

New Mexico Bowl: Unless some back room deals are made, the Mountain West opponent will be Wyoming.  There could be some wheeling and dealing to bring an at-large team here and ship Wyoming to the Humanitarian Bowl, but for now, we’ll keep the Cowboys here.  The WAC opponent will be either Nevada or Fresno State.  If Hawaii upsets Wisconsin, then there will be one extra WAC team available.  For now, we’ll stick with Nevada.

New Orleans Bowl: Troy won the Sunbelt Conference Championship and earns the automatic bid here.  There is a rule where the SBC champion could move to a higher-paying bowl, but for that to happen, the SBC must supply two additional seven-win teams.  There are only two of these teams, so Troy will play here barring some “exception.”   The C-USA opponent should be Southern Mississippi.

Poinsettia Bowl: All signs point to BYU playing here, but we just don’t see the Las Vegas bowl passing over the Cougars for Utah.  So, we’re going against the grain and picking Utah to end up in San Diego.  Arizona looks like the Pac-10 opponent.  If the Wildcats upset USC, then there is a small chance they could move up.

Hawaii Bowl:  Here’s where a giant monkey wrench could be thrown into the bowl games.  Hawaii will get this bid with a win over Wisconsin.  We might be biased, but we think the Badgers can pull this one out.  So, in that case, Fresno State should be the WAC representative.  The hot CUSA choice is SMU, which would bring June Jones back to the island.  Since this bowl desperately wants a Hawaii-SMU game, look for this week’s Hawaii-Wisconsin game to be one of the most partially-biased officiated games.

Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl: This bowl could be in for a mess.  Central Michigan played here last year, so it looks like the Chippewas are headed to Mobile, Alabama.  A bigger problem is that there will not be a Big 10 team available for this game.  Because the at-large pool must take all the seven-win teams before any 6-6 team can be selected, this bowl might have to invite two MAC teams, neither of which are the conference champion.

Ohio U should be the official MAC selection.  This bowl would love to bring Notre Dame here, but even if one 6-6 team can be chosen, it looks like the Irish will vote not to play in any bowls.  Middle Tennessee, at 9-3, would be the best at-large option, but we believe the Blue Raiders will be invited somewhere else first.  So, this bowl will have to look for two MAC teams that have not played.  That leaves Northern Illinois against Bowling Green.

Emerald Bowl: Boston College will be the last available ACC team, and they will fortunate to sell half of their ticket allotment.  Oregon State or Stanford will be the opponent here, and since we pegged Stanford for the Las Vegas Bowl, we’ll put the Beavers here.

Independence Bowl: This bowl is tired of having teams that don’t want to be here, but it will be the case once again with the SEC.  Georgia could very well end up here if the Chick-fil-A looks elsewhere.  The Big 12 representative will come down to either Texas A&M or Iowa State.  If Georgia is chosen to play in Atlanta, then this bowl will jump at the chance to pit Auburn with Iowa State for obvious reasons (Auburn coach Gene Chizik was at Iowa State and Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads was at Auburn).  Under the assumption that Auburn will play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, we’ll slate Georgia here against Texas A&M.

Eagle Bank Bowl: This second year bowl faces the possibility that neither of its two tie-ins will be able to supply a team.  Army has to beat Navy to earn their bid.  We believe that will happen, and the Cadets will make life easier for this bowl.  The ACC will definitely not have an available team for this bowl, so an at-large team will be selected.  Temple will be making its first bowl trip in almost two decades, so the Owls will be a good choice.  If Army loses to Navy, then a 6-6 team will end up here.  Since Notre Dame will not be available if they vote not to go to a bowl, Marshall may get this bid, even though Coach Mark Snyder just resigned.

Humanitarian Bowl: With Boise State almost assured of making it to a BCS Bowl if Texas beats Nebraska, this bowl will look to Idaho to replace the Broncos.  With TCU earning a BCS bowl, the MWC will not have an available team for this game.  With all the seven-win teams coming from over 1,500 miles away from Boise, it looks like UCLA could become the one 6-6 bowl team and play here.

Armed Forces Bowl:  The MWC team should be Air Force, as it is a no-brainer to have a service academy playing here.  The C-USA opponent should be the loser of the ECU-Houston game this week.  Houston would be a great counterpart.

Texas Bowl: Navy has already secured one of these spots.  Iowa State or Texas A&M will be the opponent depending on which way the Independence bowl goes.

Insight.com Bowl: Minnesota will be the last Big Ten team in the bowl pecking order, so the Gophers will get this bid.  Missouri is the likely Big 12 opponent.

International Bowl:  Connecticut is the logical choice as the Big East representative.  Ohio U may be shipped here, as they cannot play in the Pizza Bowl against either Bowling Green or Northern Illinois (they beat both).

PapaJohns.com Bowl: Kentucky should be the last available SEC team, and the Wildcats will travel well to Birmingham.  West Virginia would be an excellent opponent here.

NCAA Top 25 For November 30, 2009
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Texas 134.2 12 0
2 Florida 133.2 12 0
3 Alabama 128.0 12 0
4 T C U 125.4 12 0
5 Oklahoma 124.0 7 5
6 Boise State 120.9 12 0
7 Virginia Tech 120.5 9 3
8 Oregon 119.7 9 2
9 Georgia Tech 119.3 10 2
10 Texas Tech 117.9 8 4
11 Penn State 117.7 10 2
12 Southern Cal 117.7 8 3
13 Ohio State 117.6 10 2
14 Miami (Fla) 117.4 9 3
15 Stanford 116.9 8 4
16 Nebraska 116.1 9 3
17 Arkansas 115.5 7 5
18 Iowa 114.8 10 2
19 California 114.6 8 3
20 Cincinnati 114.4 11 0
21 Pittsburgh 114.2 9 2
22 Oklahoma State 113.9 9 3
23 Ole Miss 113.2 8 4
24 L  S  U 112.5 9 3
25 Oregon State 112.1 8 3
         
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
Clemson 6-2 8-4 111.8
Florida State 4-4 6-6 107.6
Boston College 5-3 8-4 107.1
Wake Forest 3-5 5-7 104.8
North Carolina State 2-6 5-7 102.7
Maryland 1-7 2-10 93.0
       
Coastal Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Virginia Tech 6-2 9-3 120.5
Georgia Tech 7-1 10-2 119.3
Miami-FL 5-3 9-3 117.4
North Carolina 4-4 8-4 110.9
Duke 3-5 5-7 98.4
Virginia 2-6 3-9 94.8
Big East Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Cincinnati 7-0 11-0 114.4
Pittsburgh 5-1 9-2 114.2
West Virginia 4-2 8-3 105.9
Connecticut 2-4 6-5 105.8
Rutgers 3-3 8-3 102.2
South Florida 3-3 7-4 101.8
Syracuse 1-6 4-8 93.9
Louisville 1-6 4-8 90.5
Big Ten
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Penn State 6-2 10-2 117.7
Ohio State 7-1 10-2 117.6
Iowa 6-2 10-2 114.8
Wisconsin 5-3 8-3 105.3
Michigan State 4-4 6-6 101.5
Northwestern 5-3 8-4 99.3
Purdue 4-4 5-7 99.0
Minnesota 3-5 6-6 97.9
Michigan 1-7 5-7 96.6
Illinois 2-6 3-8 96.2
Indiana 1-7 4-8 90.9
Big 12
North Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 6-2 9-3 116.1
Missouri 4-4 8-4 104.8
Kansas 1-7 5-7 103.9
Kansas State 4-4 6-6 99.4
Colorado 2-6 3-9 97.4
Iowa State 3-5 6-6 94.9
       
South Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Texas 8-0 12-0 134.2
Oklahoma 5-3 7-5 124.0
Texas Tech 5-3 8-4 117.9
Oklahoma State 6-2 9-3 113.9
Texas A&M 3-5 6-6 103.4
Baylor 1-7 4-8 96.6
Conference USA
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Florida 6-2 8-4 104.1
East Carolina 7-1 8-4 103.9
Southern Mississippi 5-3 7-5 100.9
Marshall 4-4 6-6 92.4
U A B 4-4 5-7 91.0
Memphis 1-7 2-10 83.4
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Houston 6-2 10-2 108.7
Tulsa 3-5 5-7 91.6
U T E P 3-5 4-8 90.8
S M U 6-2 7-5 88.4
Rice 2-6 2-10 76.4
Tulane 1-7 3-9 71.1
Independents
       
Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame   6-6 105.9
Navy   8-4 100.6
Army   5-6 82.0
Mid American Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 7-1 9-3 100.7
Ohio U 7-1 9-3 95.0
Buffalo 3-5 5-7 92.4
Bowling Green 6-2 7-5 91.4
Kent St. 4-4 6-6 84.7
Akron 2-6 3-9 81.5
Miami (O) 1-7 1-11 76.3
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Michigan 8-0 10-2 108.9
Northern Illinois 5-3 7-5 95.1
Toledo 3-5 5-7 87.1
Western Michigan 4-4 5-7 86.2
Ball State 2-6 2-10 83.0
Eastern Michigan 0-8 0-12 74.2
Mountain West Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 8-0 12-0 125.4
B Y U 7-1 10-2 111.1
Utah 6-2 9-3 107.7
Air Force 5-3 7-5 100.7
Wyoming 4-4 6-6 87.9
UNLV 3-5 5-7 86.8
Colo. State 0-8 3-9 86.1
S. D. State 3-5 5-7 85.2
New Mexico 1-7 1-11 77.8
Pac-10 Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 7-1 9-2 119.7
Southern Cal 5-3 8-3 117.7
Stanford 6-3 8-4 116.9
California 5-3 8-3 114.6
Oregon St. 6-2 8-3 112.1
Arizona 5-3 7-4 111.4
U C L A 3-6 6-6 105.3
Arizona St. 2-7 4-8 102.1
Washington 3-5 4-7 97.6
Wash. St. 0-9 1-11 70.8
Southeastern Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida 8-0 12-0 133.2
Tennessee 4-4 7-5 110.9
South Carolina 3-5 7-5 110.9
Georgia 4-4 7-5 110.4
Kentucky 3-5 7-5 104.4
Vanderbilt 0-8 2-10 93.1
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Alabama 8-0 12-0 128.0
Arkansas 3-5 7-5 115.5
Ole Miss 4-4 8-4 113.2
L S U 5-3 9-3 112.5
Auburn 3-5 7-5 107.7
Mississippi State 3-5 5-7 104.2
Sunbelt Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Troy 8-0 9-3 99.0
Middle Tennessee 7-1 9-3 96.2
Louisiana-Monroe 5-3 6-6 86.8
Arkansas State 2-5 3-8 86.2
U. of Louisiana 4-4 6-6 83.7
Florida Atlantic 4-3 4-7 83.2
Florida International 3-4 3-8 81.7
North Texas 1-7 2-10 76.4
Western Kentucky 0-7 0-11 73.3
Western Athletic Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 7-0 12-0 120.9
Nevada 7-1 8-4 108.6
Fresno State 6-2 7-4 99.0
Louisiana Tech 2-5 3-8 97.2
Utah State 3-5 4-8 91.9
Idaho 4-4 7-5 89.6
Hawaii 3-5 6-6 87.7
San Jose State 1-6 2-9 81.1
New Mexico State 1-6 3-9 71.0
This Week’s Games–PiRate & Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site      
         
Thursday, December 3   PiRate Spread    
Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Arkansas State WESTERN KY. 10.2 34-24 9
OREGON Oregon State 10.3 38-28 9
         
Friday, December 4   PiRate Spread    
Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Central Michigan  (Det.) Ohio U 14.9 35-20 7
         
Saturday, December 5   PiRate Spread    
Favorite Underdog Score Mean
CONNECTICUT South Florida 7.3 27-20 7
PITTSBURGH Cincinnati 2.8 24-21 0
West Virginia RUTGERS 0.7 28-27 0
Houston EAST CAROLINA 1.8 37-35 5
ILLINOIS Fresno State 0.7 31-30 -3
LOUISIANA TECH San Jose St. 19.1 40-21 16
BOISE STATE New Mexico St. 53.4 63-10 44
SOUTHERN CAL Arizona 10.6 24-13 6
Florida (Atlanta) Alabama 5.2 21-16 2
California WASHINGTON 14.0 35-21 8
FLORIDA INT’L Florida Atlantic 0.5 27-26 1
Texas (Dallas) Nebraska 19.6 27-7 14
Wisconsin HAWAII 13.6 38-24 11
         
Saturday, December 12   PiRate Spread    
Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Navy  (N-Philadelphia) Army 18.6 35-16 8

November 24, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For College Football–November 23-28, 2009

Rivalry Week

Throw The Stats Out The Window

 

This is the college football week where more money is lost by those who don’t know what they are doing and more money is made by those who do know.  Certain rivalry games are just that—real rivalries.  Others are nothing but an annual beating on a little sister.

 

There is another bigger factor to this week’s games.  It’s the bowl factor.  Several teams are still looking for one final win to become bowl eligible.  A 5-6 team hosting an 8-3 team must be looked at quite differently than a 2-9 team hosting a 4-7 team.  The desire to get to 6-6 far outweighs the desire to avoid a 10-loss season.

 

NCAA Top 25 For November 23, 2009
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Texas 137.0 11 0
2 Florida  133.1 11 0
3 Alabama 130.4 11 0
4 T C U 125.3 11 0
5 Oklahoma 122.5 6 5
6 Georgia Tech 121.5 10 1
7 Boise St. 120.8 11 0
8 Oregon 119.7 9 2
9 Va. Tech 119.5 8 3
10 Texas Tech 118.8 7 4
11 Penn St. 117.7 10 2
12 Ohio St. 117.6 10 2
13 Southern Cal 116.9 7 3
14 Nebraska 116.7 8 3
15 Stanford 116.7 7 4
16 Ole Miss 116.5 8 3
17 Miami (Fla.) 116.1 8 3
18 Pittsburgh 115.6 9 1
19 Arkansas 115.5 7 4
20 Okla. St. 115.4 9 2
21 Cincinnati 115.2 10 0
22 Iowa 114.8 10 2
23 California 114.6 8 3
24 Clemson 114.5 8 3
25 L  S  U 112.5 8 3

 

 

     
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

 

Let’s look at the bowl eligible teams by conference as well as the teams needing to win this week to gain bowl eligibility.

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Clemson 6-2 8-3 114.5
Boston College 4-3 7-4 107.8
Florida State 4-4 6-5 107.7
Wake Forest 2-5 4-7 104.0
North Carolina State 1-6 4-7 101.2
Maryland 1-6 2-9 92.3

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Georgia Tech 7-1 10-1 121.5
Virginia Tech 5-2 8-3 119.5
Miami-FL 5-3 8-3 116.1
North Carolina 4-3 8-3 112.4
Duke 3-4 5-6 99.2
Virginia 2-6 3-8 95.8

 

Clemson and Georgia Tech have already clinched their divisions and will meet for the ACC Championship.  Tech edges the Tigers in Atlanta in September, but Clemson gave the game away.

 

Duke needs to beat Wake Forest this week to earn their first bowl in 15 years.  David Cutcliffe is one of the most underrated coaches in the country, and he should receive some national recognition in the Coach of the Year balloting.

 

The ACC has nine automatic bowl bids, and only seven bowl eligible teams as of now.  The GMAC Bowl will need to find an at-large team to fill the vacant position, and if Duke loses this week, the Eagle Bank Bowl will look to the MAC to fill that vacant slot.

 

Big East Conference
 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Pittsburgh 5-0 9-1 115.6
Cincinnati 6-0 10-0 115.2
West Virginia 3-2 7-3 104.5
Connecticut 1-4 5-5 104.1
Rutgers 2-3 7-3 101.1
South Florida 3-3 7-3 103.1
Syracuse 1-5 4-7 95.6
Louisville 1-5 4-7 91.6

 

Regardless of what happens in the Backyard Brawl in Morgantown this weekend, the winner of next week’s Cincinnati-Pittsburgh game will be Big East Champions and automatic BCS Bowl representative.  Cincinnati could still conceivably earn an at-large BCS Bowl bid at 11-1, but that chance is slimmer than slim.

 

Connecticut can gain bowl eligibility with a win at home against Syracuse this weekend, and they would get another chance next week against South Florida if they faltered against the Orangemen.  If the Huskies get that win, then the Big East will have six bowl eligible teams for six guaranteed spots.  Notre Dame could still possibly steal the Sun Bowl/Gator Bowl spot that goes to a Big East team if the Irish beat Stanford, but it would be a disgrace for them to steal a post at 7-5.  We believe Stanford will take care of business and keep Notre Dame out of the bowl picture altogether this year.

 

Big Ten

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Penn State 6-2 10-2 117.7
Ohio State 7-1 10-2 117.6
Iowa 6-2 10-2 114.8
Wisconsin 5-3 8-3 105.3
Michigan State 4-4 6-6 101.5
Northwestern 5-3 8-4 99.3
Purdue 4-4 5-7 99.0
Minnesota 3-5 6-6 97.9
Michigan 1-7 5-7 96.6
Illinois 2-6 3-7 95.4
Indiana 1-7 4-8 90.9

 

The Big 10 season is basically over.  Illinois has a couple of non-conference games remaining, and the only important factor in that is they play Cincinnati this weekend.  Wisconsin goes to Hawaii in two weeks, and the Outback Bowl bid could be riding on them winning the game.

 

It is almost a foregone conclusion that a second Big 10 team, either Iowa or Penn State, will receive an at-large BCS Bowl bid.  So, there will be seven teams available for eight bowls.  The Pizza Bowl (formerly Motor City Bowl) will have to look elsewhere and may be forced to invite two MAC teams.

 

Big 12
North Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 5-2 8-3 116.7
Missouri 3-4 7-4 104.7
Kansas 1-6 5-6 104.0
Kansas State 4-4 6-6 99.4
Colorado 2-5 3-8 96.8
Iowa State 3-5 6-6 94.9

 

 

 

 

South Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Texas 7-0 11-0 137.0
Oklahoma 4-3 6-5 122.5
Texas Tech 4-3 7-4 118.8
Oklahoma State 6-1 9-2 115.4
Texas A&M 3-4 6-5 100.6
Baylor 1-6 4-7 95.7

 

Nebraska and Texas will face off in the Big 12 Championship Game, and the Cornhuskers may have a shot at pulling off a huge upset.  We give the ‘Huskers about a 15% chance of frustrating the Longhorn offense and win ugly.  If so, then another team from the Lone Star State will benefit.

 

After beginning the season at 5-0, Kansas finds itself in a must-win situation against Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.  They must earn The Brass Drum to earn a bowl bid.

 

The most important game though will be the Oklahoma and Oklahoma State game in Norman.  If the Cowboys beat the Sooners, they will more than likely earn an at-large BCS Bowl Bid at the expense of Boise State.  The Sooners must win to guarantee themselves a winning season.  The PiRate Ratings have had a devil of a time with OU this year.  Even at 6-5, their power rating keeps them in the top 10.  It’s hit or miss with them, as they showed how strong they are when they took Texas to the final gun.

 

If Kansas wins over Missouri, there will be 10 bowl eligible teams for eight guaranteed bowl spots (nine if Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma).  Look for Iowa State to be the odd team out of the mix.

 

Conference USA
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Florida 5-2 7-4 104.1
East Carolina 6-1 7-4 103.8
Southern Mississippi 5-2 7-4 101.0
Marshall 4-3 6-5 95.6
U A B 4-3 5-6 91.0
Memphis 1-6 2-9 82.2

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Houston 5-2 9-2 105.2
Tulsa 2-5 4-7 92.8
S M U 5-2 6-5 90.1
U T E P 2-5 3-8 87.6
Rice 2-5 2-9 79.9
Tulane 1-6 3-8 69.4

 

Welcome to the conference where everything changes weekly.  With SMU losing to Marshall, the door opened once again for Houston to ascend to the CUSA Championship Game.  A win over Rice is all that’s needed, but all of a sudden the Owls have found their way.  It could be an interesting game—at least for a half.

 

The East Division championship will be decided this weekend when Southern Miss visits East Carolina.

 

UAB can gain bowl eligibility with a win over  Central Florida, but it may be a moot point.  There are only five guaranteed bowl spots with a sixth if Army fails to earn the Eagle Bank Bowl bid.  Six CUSA teams are already bowl eligible, and the Blazers cannot compete with Marshall or SMU in fanbase.

 

Independents

 

 

 

 

Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame

 

6-5 106.1
Navy

 

8-3 103.2
Army

 

5-6 82.0

 

All three independents are still in the bowl mix, but as of now, only Navy is guaranteed a spot.  Notre Dame must beat Stanford to get to 7-5 and earn priority over every other possible at-large team.  At 6-6, they more than likely will find themselves out of the picture as there will be enough seven-win teams to fill the at-large spots.

 

Army must beat Navy to earn the Eagle Bank Bowl bid.  Navy has won seven in a row in this series, so it should be one of the best in this series in many years.

 

Mid American Conference
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 7-0 9-2 103.8
Buffalo 2-5 4-7 92.1
Ohio U 6-1 8-3 91.9
Bowling Green 5-2 6-5 91.0
Kent St. 4-3 6-5 85.0
Akron 1-6 2-9 81.4
Miami (O) 1-7 1-11 76.3

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Michigan 7-0 9-2 108.5
Northern Illinois 5-2 7-4 95.2
Western Michigan 4-3 5-6 88.2
Toledo 3-4 5-6 87.5
Ball State 1-6 1-10 81.0
Eastern Michigan 0-7 0-11 74.3

 

Central Michigan has already clinched the West Division, and the Chippewas will play the winner of this week’s Ohio U-Temple game in the MAC Championship Game. 

 

Two teams will be playing for that important seventh win this week.  Bowling Green hosts Toledo, and Kent State hosts Buffalo.

 

The MAC gets three guaranteed bowl bids and will get a fourth if Duke fails to beat Wake Forest and earn an Eagle Bank Bowl bid.   That’s where the Bowling Green and Kent State games come into play.  Both could earn bowl bids with wins, and one could even play in the Pizza Bowl against another MAC team.

 

Mountain West Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 7-0 11-0 125.3
B Y U 6-1 9-2 111.6
Utah 6-1 9-2 107.2
Air Force 5-3 7-5 100.7
Wyoming 3-4 5-6 87.6
UNLV 2-5 4-7 86.8
Colo. State 0-7 3-8 86.4
S. D. State 2-5 4-7 85.2
New Mexico 1-6 1-10 77.9

 

TCU will manhandle New Mexico this week and then hope that either Texas A&M or Nebraska can upset Texas, Florida State can upset Florida, or Auburn can upset Alabama.  The Horned Frogs need two of the big three teams ahead of them to lose.  The loser of the SEC Championship Game means that either Texas must lose this week or next or the winner of the SEC Championship Game must lose this week.  If one of these events happen, then TCU will be playing for the national championship in January.  It’s hard to believe that this program was once as weak as Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Washington State are today.

 

The one team still trying to gain bowl eligibility is Wyoming.  The Cowboys must beat Colorado State in Ft. Collins this week, and these two teams truly put the “war” in “Border War.”  It’s not a given that Wyoming can top the 3-8 Rams.

 

Pac-10 Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 7-1 9-2 119.7
Southern Cal 4-3 7-3 116.9
Stanford 6-3 7-4 116.7
California 5-3 8-3 114.6
Oregon St. 6-2 8-3 112.1
Arizona 4-3 6-4 111.4
U C L A 3-5 6-5 106.1
Arizona St. 2-6 4-7 102.1
Washington 2-5 3-7 97.3
Wash. St. 0-8 1-10 71.1

 

For the first time ever, the winner of the “Civil War” game between Oregon and Oregon State will earn the Rose Bowl bid.  The Ducks and Beavers are one of the best rivalry games in college football, and I’d love to have a 50-yard line seat next week in Eugene.

 

The Pac-10 receives six automatic bowl bids, but there are seven bowl eligible teams.  It looks like UCLA will miss out this year unless they can upset USC.  Arizona must beat either Arizona State or USC to get to seven wins.  If both the Bruins and Wildcats win seven games, then expect to see the Pac-10 receiving an extra bid to a western bowl.

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida 8-0 11-0 133.1
Tennessee 3-4 6-5 110.7
Georgia 4-4 6-5 108.2
South Carolina 3-5 6-5 108.2
Kentucky 3-4 7-4 104.6
Vanderbilt 0-8 2-10 93.1

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Alabama 7-0 11-0 130.4
Ole Miss 4-3 8-3 116.5
Arkansas 3-4 7-4 115.5
L S U 4-3 8-3 112.5
Auburn 3-4 7-4 105.3
Mississippi State 2-5 4-7 100.9

 

This is a monster conference!  With Alabama and Florida headed to Atlanta to play what will be the “Game Of The Decade” (assuming both win this week), it is a given that the loser will still play in a BCS Bowl.  It isn’t completely out of the realm that if the SEC Championship game goes to overtime or is decided in regulation by a point, and if Texas loses to either Texas A&M or Nebraska, that Alabama and Florida could meet in a rematch for all the marbles.

 

With 10 bowl eligible teams, the SEC will place all 10 in bowls.  There will be a lot of last minute shuffling because there isn’t much difference between team number three and team number 10.

 

Sunbelt Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Troy 7-0 8-3 98.4
Middle Tennessee 6-1 8-3 94.8
Louisiana-Monroe 5-2 6-5 88.2
Arkansas State 1-5 2-8 86.6
U. of Louisiana 4-3 6-5 84.3
Florida Atlantic 3-3 3-7 83.2
Florida International 3-4 3-8 81.7
North Texas 1-6 2-9 76.0
Western Kentucky 0-6 0-10 73.3

 

This league is almost assured of earning a second bowl bid this year.  Troy will play in the New Orleans Bowl, but Middle Tennessee will get an at-large bid somewhere.  Both Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe can get to seven wins, but it will take big upsets for both to do so.  ULL plays Troy, while ULM plays MTSU.

 

Western Athletic Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 6-0 11-0 120.8
Nevada 7-0 8-3 108.7
Fresno State 6-2 7-4 99.0
Louisiana Tech 2-5 3-8 97.2
Utah State 2-5 3-8 91.2
Idaho 4-3 7-4 90.3
Hawaii 3-5 5-6 85.1
San Jose State 0-6 1-9 82.1
New Mexico State 1-5 3-8 70.0

 

Here’s where things should get interesting.  Boise State is a win over Nevada away from being 12-0 and the proverbial odd team out.  If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma, the Cowboys will steal the last BCS Bowl bid at the Broncos’ expense.  Then, watch for the United States Government to put their messy fingers into the college football pigpen. 

 

Before we get into this mess, Boise State has to beat Nevada.  The Wolf Pack is not a pushover, and it could easily take 50 or more points to win this game.

 

Of course, if the Sooners win over OSU, then it looks favorable for BSU getting into the field.  Then, they would be competing against a one or two-loss Big East team and maybe a two-loss Georgia Tech team.

 

If Boise State moves up, then the WAC is safe with four bowls for four bowl eligible teams.

 

Hawaii could still sneak into the mix, but they would have to beat Navy and Wisconsin.  We don’t see that happening.

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate & Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, November 24

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
WESTERN MICHIGAN Ball State 10.2 31-21 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, November 26

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Texas TEXAS A&M 32.9 54-21 21

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 27

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Rutgers LOUISVILLE 6.5 28-21 5
CINCINNATI Illinois 22.5 37-14 25
CENTRAL MICHIGAN Northern Illinois 16.3 28-12 12
AKRON Eastern Michigan 9.8 34-24 13
BOWLING GREEN Toledo 6 40-34 11
COLORADO STATE Wyoming 1.8 23-21 0
Buffalo KENT STATE 3.9 28-24 -1
Temple OHIO U 8.9 30-21 3
Alabama AUBURN 22.6 33-10 12
Nebraska COLORADO 16.9 24-7 12
TULSA Memphis 13.6 38-24 12
Pittsburgh WEST VIRGINIA 8.6 28-19 3
BOISE STATE Nevada 15.4 45-30 16

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 28

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
CONNECTICUT Syracuse 11.5 28-16 12
Wake Forest DUKE 2.1 24-22 -1
North Carolina N. C. STATE 8.5 26-17 12
Clemson SOUTH CAROLINA 3.8 31-27 6
Ole Miss MISSISSIPPI STATE 13.1 34-20 6
OKLAHOMA Oklahoma State 9.6 38-28 5
T C U New Mexico 50.9 51-0 43
EAST CAROLINA Southern Miss 5.8 34-28 6
Central Florida ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM 10.4 38-28 5
ARKANSAS STATE North Texas 13.3 34-21 8
S M U Tulane 23.7 41-17 18
Marshall U T E P 5.0 35-30 7
Arizona ARIZONA STATE 6.8 27-20 6
FLORIDA Florida State 27.9 38-10 21
Missouri  (n) Kansas 0.7 31-30 3
Boston College MARYLAND 12.5 34-21 10
Miami-Fl SOUTH FLORIDA 10.6 28-17 4
Virginia Tech VIRGINIA 21.2 38-17 15
FLORIDA ATLANTIC Western Kentucky 12.9 27-14 16
Middle Tennessee UL-MONROE 3.6 31-27 4
B  Y  U Utah 7.1 34-27 4
IDAHO Utah State 2.1 34-32 6
Texas Tech (n) Baylor 23.1 42-19 18
WASHINGTON Washington State 28.9 42-13 19
Tennessee KENTUCKY 3.1 27-24 -1
L  S  U Arkansas 0.0 27-27 ot 3
Troy UL-LAFAYETTE 11.1 35-24 9
GEORGIA TECH Georgia 15.6 44-28 16
HOUSTON Rice 27.8 49-21 29
SAN JOSE STATE New Mexico St. 15.1 35-20 7
STANFORD Notre Dame 13.6 42-28 9
U  N  L  V San Diego State 4.6 28-23 5
SOUTHERN CAL U  c  l  a 13.5 28-14 10
Navy HAWAII 14.1 45-31 12

 

 

Bowl Speculations

Bowl Conference Team Conference Team
New Mexico MWC #4 Wyoming WAC #3 Nevada
St. Petersburg Big East #6 Connecticut C-USA #5 Central Fla
New Orleans Sunbelt #1 Troy C-USA #4 Southern Miss
Las Vegas MWC #1 B Y U Pac 10 #4 or 5 Stanford
Poinsettia MWC #2 Utah Pac 10 #6 Arizona
Hawaii WAC Fresno St. C-USA Houston
Little Caesar’s Pizza Big 10 #7 (Bowling Green) MAC #1 or 2 Temple
Meineke Car Care ACC #5-6-7 Boston College Big East #3 West Virginia
Emerald Pac 10 #4 or 5 Oregon State ACC #5-6-7 Florida State
Music City SEC #6 or 7 Kentucky ACC #5-6-7 North Carolina
Independence SEC #8 Georgia Big 12 #7 Kansas State
Eagle Bank ACC #8 Duke Army/C-USA (Marshall)
Champs Sports ACC #4 Miami-Fl Big 10 #5 Northwestern
Humanitarian WAC #1 Idaho MWC (Kent State)
Holiday Big 12 #3 Nebraska Pac 10 #2 Southern Cal
Armed Forces C-USA #3 S M U MWC #3 Air Force
Sun Pac 10 #3 California Big 12 #5 or Big East #2 Oklahoma
Texas Big 12 #8 Texas A&M Navy or C-USA NAVY
Insight.com Big 12 #6 Missouri Big 10 #6 Minnesota
Chick-fil-A SEC #5 Auburn ACC #2 Va. Tech
Outback SEC #3 or 4 Tennessee Big 10 #3 Wisconsin
Capital One Big 10 #2 Iowa SEC #2 Ole Miss
Gator Big East #2 or Big 12 #5 Cincinnati ACC #3 Ga. Tech
Rose BCS Pac10 Stanford BCS Big 10 OHIO STATE 
Sugar BCS SEC (Florida) BCS At-Large Boise State
International Big East #5 Rutgers MAC #3 Ohio U
Cotton Big 12 #2 Nebraska SEC #3 or 4 L S U
Papajohns.com Big East #4 South Florida SEC #9 South Carolina
Liberty SEC #6 or 7 Arkansas C-USA #1 East Carolina
Alamo Big 10 #4 Texas Tech Big 12 #4 Michigan St.
Fiesta BCS Big 12 (Penn State) BCS At-Large T C U
Orange BCS ACC Clemson BCS At-Large Pittsburgh
G M A C ACC #9 (Middle Tenn) MAC Central Mich.
National Championship *** BCS #1 *** Alabama *** BCS #2 *** Texas

November 16, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For College Football–November 17-21, 2009

Down The Stretch They Come

 

November has certainly already seen a host of upsets in the college football world, and we here at the PiRate Ratings believe big surprises are still to come.  With six undefeated teams (Florida, Alabama, Texas, TCU, Cincinnati, and Boise State), we see at least two falling before the bowl season.  Obviously, either Alabama or Florida must lose. The last time five teams finished the regular season winning every game was 1951, when Maryland, Tennessee, Michigan State, San Francisco, and Princeton did the trick.

 

The first wave of rivalry games begin this week, topped off by “The Big Game” in Palo Alto between Stanford and Cal.  The Cardinal now have a shot at winning the Pac-10 and earning a trip to Pasadena to face Ohio State.

 

Speaking of the Buckeyes, Ohio State ventures to the Big House to take on Michigan.  The Wolverines must win to gain bowl eligibility, and a loss will send several dozen more Maize & Blue fans to www.firerrod.com.

 

NCAA Top 25 For November 16, 2009
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Texas 136.9 10 0
2 Florida  131.9 10 0
3 Alabama 129.9 9 0
4 Oklahoma 129.5 6 4
5 T C U 125.0 10 0
6 Georgia Tech 121.5 10 1
7 Boise St. 120.2 10 0
8 Oregon 119.9 8 2
9 Va. Tech 118.6 7 3
10 Stanford 118.0 7 3
11 Ohio St. 117.9 9 2
12 Nebraska 117.5 7 3
13 Okla. St. 117.0 8 2
14 Southern Cal 116.9 7 3
15 Ole Miss 116.7 7 3
16 Miami (Fla.) 116.1 7 3
17 Pittsburgh 115.6 9 1
18 Clemson 115.4 7 3
19 Cincinnati 115.2 10 0
20 Penn St. 115.1 9 2
21 Iowa 115.1 9 2
22 Arkansas 115.0 6 4
23 California 113.3 7 3
24 L  S  U 112.3 8 2
25 Texas Tech 112.3 6 4

 

 

     
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
Clemson 5-2 7-3 115.4
Boston College 4-2 7-3 110.6
Florida State 3-4 5-5 109.3
Wake Forest 2-5 4-7 104.0
North Carolina State 1-5 4-6 102.1
Maryland 1-5 2-8 90.7

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Georgia Tech 7-1 10-1 121.5
Virginia Tech 4-2 7-3 118.6
Miami-FL 4-3 7-3 116.1
North Carolina 3-3 7-3 109.6
Duke 3-3 5-5 99.2
Virginia 2-5 3-7 94.9

 

Big East Conference
 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Pittsburgh 5-0 9-1 115.6
Cincinnati 6-0 10-0 115.2
West Virginia 3-2 7-3 104.5
Rutgers 2-2 7-2 104.2
Connecticut 1-4 4-5 103.1
South Florida 2-3 6-3 102.9
Syracuse 0-5 3-7 92.5
Louisville 1-4 4-6 91.8

 

Big Ten

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Ohio State 6-1 9-2 117.9
Penn State 5-2 9-2 115.1
Iowa 5-2 9-2 115.1
Wisconsin 5-2 8-2 106.1
Michigan State 4-3 6-5 104.1
Northwestern 4-3 7-4 98.5
Minnesota 3-4 6-5 97.6
Purdue 3-4 4-7 96.8
Michigan 1-6 5-6 96.3
Illinois 2-6 3-7 95.4
Indiana 1-6 4-7 93.1

 

Big 12
North Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 4-2 7-3 117.5
Missouri 2-4 6-4 104.6
Kansas 1-5 5-5 104.1
Kansas State 4-3 6-5 98.6
Colorado 2-4 3-7 95.2
Iowa State 3-4 6-5 95.0

 

 

 

 

South Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Texas 6-0 10-0 136.9
Oklahoma 4-2 6-4 129.5
Oklahoma State 5-1 8-2 117.0
Texas Tech 3-3 6-4 112.3
Baylor 1-5 4-6 101.2
Texas A&M 2-4 5-5 95.1

 

Conference USA
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
East Carolina 5-1 6-4 103.8
Southern Mississippi 4-2 6-4 100.9
Central Florida 4-2 6-4 98.1
Marshall 3-3 5-5 95.5
U A B 4-2 5-5 91.0
Memphis 1-5 2-8 83.0

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Houston 4-2 8-2 104.4
Tulsa 2-4 4-6 92.9
S M U 5-1 6-4 90.2
U T E P 2-4 3-7 89.9
Rice 1-5 1-9 77.3
Tulane 1-5 3-7 75.4

 

Independents

 

 

 

 

Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame

 

6-4 107.1
Navy

 

8-3 103.2
Army

 

3-7 81.9

 

Mid American Conference
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 6-0 8-2 101.4
Ohio U 5-1 7-3 91.3
Bowling Green 4-2 5-5 90.6
Buffalo 1-5 3-7 90.5
Kent St. 4-2 5-5 87.4
Akron 1-5 2-8 81.8
Miami (O) 1-6 1-10 77.9

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Michigan 6-0 8-2 107.1
Northern Illinois 5-1 7-3 95.8
Western Michigan 4-3 5-6 88.2
Toledo 2-4 4-6 86.3
Ball State 1-5 1-9 82.4
Eastern Michigan 0-6 0-10 75.5

 

Mountain West Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 6-0 10-0 125.0
B Y U 5-1 8-2 110.9
Utah 5-1 8-2 105.8
Air Force 5-2 7-4 101.3
Colo. State 0-6 3-7 88.5
Wyoming 3-3 5-5 87.9
UNLV 2-5 4-7 86.8
S. D. State 2-4 4-6 86.6
New Mexico 0-6 0-10 75.8

 

Pac-10 Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 6-1 8-2 119.9
Stanford 6-2 7-3 118.0
Southern Cal 4-3 7-3 116.9
California 4-3 7-3 113.3
Arizona 4-2 6-3 111.2
Oregon St. 5-2 7-3 109.5
U C L A 2-5 5-5 105.6
Arizona St. 2-5 4-6 102.6
Washington 2-5 3-7 97.3
Wash. St. 0-7 1-9 73.7

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida 8-0 10-0 131.9
Tennessee 2-4 5-5 111.3
Georgia 4-3 6-4 109.2
South Carolina 3-5 6-5 108.2
Kentucky 2-4 6-4 103.6
Vanderbilt 0-7 2-9 92.5

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Alabama 7-0 10-0 129.9
Ole Miss 3-3 7-3 116.7
Arkansas 2-4 6-4 115.0
L S U 4-2 8-2 112.3
Auburn 3-4 7-4 105.3
Mississippi State 2-4 4-6 101.4

 

Sunbelt Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Troy 6-0 7-3 97.6
Middle Tennessee 5-1 7-3 92.4
Louisiana-Monroe 5-1 6-4 89.3
Arkansas State 1-4 2-7 89.0
Florida Atlantic 3-2 3-6 84.0
U. of Louisiana 3-3 5-5 83.2
Florida International 3-4 3-7 82.9
North Texas 1-6 2-8 76.1
Western Kentucky 0-6 0-10 73.3

 

Western Athletic Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 5-0 10-0 120.2
Nevada 6-0 7-3 107.1
Fresno State 5-2 6-4 99.7
Louisiana Tech 2-4 3-7 96.5
Utah State 2-4 3-7 91.8
Idaho 4-3 7-4 90.3
Hawaii 2-5 4-6 85.0
San Jose State 0-5 1-8 82.2
New Mexico State 1-4 3-7 71.6

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate & Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, November 18

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Central Michigan BALL STATE 22.2 38-16 20
Buffalo MIAMI (O) 10.1 27-17 3

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, November 19

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
OKLAHOMA STATE Colorado 24.8 38-13 21

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 20

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
BOWLING GREEN Akron 11.5 35-23 15
TOLEDO E  M  U 13.8 41-27 15
Boise State UTAH STATE 25.4 35-10 25

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 21

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Ohio State MICHIGAN 18.1 35-17 16
Northern Illinois OHIO U 1.5 26-24 -1
CLEMSON Virginia 23.8 34-10 19
Wisconsin NORTHWESTERN 4.6 28-23 7
IOWA Minnesota 20.5 35-14 14
SOUTH FLORIDA Louisville 14.1 24-10 12
Rutgers SYRACUSE 8.7 30-21 12
Purdue INDIANA 1.0 35-34 0
FLORIDA STATE Maryland 21.6 40-18 18
BOSTON COLLEGE North Carolina 4.0 21-17 3
VIRGINIA TECH North Carolina State 19.8 34-14 21
MISSOURI Iowa State 12.6 34-21 9
TENNESSEE Vanderbilt 21.8 28-6 19
GEORGIA Kentucky 8.6 33-24 6
TEMPLE Kent State 17.0 38-21 13
T  c  u WYOMING 34.1 44-10 26
ARKANSAS Mississippi State 16.6 45-28 10
NOTRE DAME Connecticut 7.0 35-28 6
Oregon State WASHINGTON STATE 33.1 40-7 25
Penn State MICHIGAN STATE 8.0 31-23 5
U  C  L  A Arizona State 6.0 27-21 5
STANFORD California 7.2 30-23 7
OLE MISS L  s  u 7.4 31-24 1
B  Y  U Air Force 12.6 27-14 7
EAST CAROLINA U  a  b 15.8 37-21 10
NEBRASKA Kansas State 22.4 31-9 15
Oklahoma TEXAS TECH 13.2 34-21 2
Baylor TEXAS A&M 3.1 27-24 -5
U  t  e  p RICE 10.1 37-27 5
UTAH San Diego State 22.2 35-13 21
FRESNO STATE La. Tech 6.5 31-24 11
Colorado State NEW MEXICO 9.7 24-14 8
Oregon ARIZONA 5.4 31-26 4
MARSHALL S  m  u 8.3 31-23 4
SOUTHERN MISS Tulsa 11.0 31-20 9
TEXAS Kansas 36.3 50-14 29
MIAMI (FLA) Duke 19.9 37-17 17
HOUSTON Memphis 24.4 55-31 23
CENTRAL FLORIDA Tulane 25.7 40-14 20
Nevada NEW MEXICO ST. 32.8 50-17 22
SAN JOSE ST. Hawaii 0.7 28-27 -3
FLORIDA Florida Int’l 52.0 52-0 41
Army NORTH TEXAS 2.3 24-22 0
TROY Florida Atlantic 16.6 34-17 14
UL-Monroe UL-LAFAYETTE 3.6 27-23 2
MIDDLE TENNESSEE Arkansas State 6.4 28-22 13

 

Bowl Speculating

 

Ohio State has become the second team to know where they will be bowling this year and the first team to clinch a BCS Bowl Bid.  However, the weekend may have muddied up the bowl projections more than helped clear things up.

 

The Atlantic Coast Conference

Georgia Tech continues to impress every week, and the Yellow Jackets have clinched the Coastal Division championship.  Clemson needs only to beat Virginia to earn the Atlantic Division title.  It is our opinion that Clemson will beat Georgia Tech in a rematch for the ACC Championship and Orange Bowl Bid.  At 11-2, the Yellow Jackets could still gain an at-large BCS Bowl Bid, but it would have to come at the expense of a 13-0 Boise State team.  With Wake Forest being ousted from bowl talk, it looks like the ACC will come up at least one team short and possibly two.  Duke must beat Wake Forest to get to six wins and make it to their first bowl in 15 years.

 

1. Orange Bowl—Clemson

2. Chick-fil-A—Virginia Tech

3. Gator—Georgia Tech

4. Champs Sports—Miami (Fl)

5. Music City—North Carolina

6. Meineke Car Care—Boston College

7. Emerald—Florida State

8. Eagle Bank—Duke

9. GMAC—No Team Available

 

The Big East

Cincinnati just escaped against West Virginia, while Pittsburgh handled Notre Dame.  The Panthers game with the Mountaineers in the “Backyard Brawl” actually doesn’t matter this year.  The winner of the Pitt-Cincinnati game wins the championship.  We’ll go with Coach Dave Wannstedt’s Panthers.  Cincinnati could qualify as an at-large BCS team at 11-1, but we don’t think the big bowls will take the Bearcats.  That might be the final straw for Brian Kelly in the Queen City.  He may bolt for South Bend or even Ann Arbor.

 

1. Orange Bowl—Pittsburgh

2. Sun—Cincinnati

3. Meineke Car Care—Rutgers

4. Papa John’s—South Florida

5. International—West Virginia

6. St. Petersburg—Connecticut

 

The Big Ten

Ohio State clinched the Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl bid with the overtime win over Iowa.  It now looks like the second best team in this league will earn a last-minute BCS at-large bid.  If Iowa wins this week against Minnesota, the Hawkeyes should get that bid.

 

Michigan will not be bowl eligible after losing at home to Ohio State this weekend, so if the Big 10 gets a second BCS bowl team, they will come up one short.

 

1. Rose-OHIO STATE (accepted bid)

2. Fiesta—Iowa

3. Capital One—Wisconsin

4. Outback—Penn State

5. Alamo—Michigan State

6. Champs Sports—Minnesota

7. Insight—Northwestern

8. Pizza—No team available

 

The Big 12

Texas should quickly dispose of Kansas and Texas A&M to reach the Big 12 Title game, but a possible game against Nebraska could be quite interesting.  For now, we will stick with the notion that the Longhorns will run the table and make it to the National Championship Game.  If the Cornhuskers win out, they should still garner the Cotton Bowl bid if they lose to Texas.  With Iowa State winning its sixth game, and the only chance this conference has of getting a second team in the BCS being a Nebraska upset of Texas, we believe there will be one excess team.  However, that extra team will be 6-6 and out of luck.

 

1. National Championship—Texas

2. Cotton–Nebraska

3. Holiday—Oklahoma

4. Alamo—Oklahoma State

5. Sun—Missouri

6. Insight—Texas Tech

7. Independence—Kansas State

8. Texas—Texas A&M

 

Iowa State out of luck at 6-6

 

Conference USA

As Chester A. Riley would have said, “What a revoltin’ development this is!”  Houston’s loss to Central Florida has thrust SMU into first place in the West Division.  If Coach June Jones’ Mustangs beat Marshall this week, they are in the CUSA Championship Game.  Central Florida is now thickly in the East Division race, but it is now a four-team battle.  If UAB beats East Carolina and UCF, the Blazers would win the division title.  Who would have ever thought that on November 16, the CUSA Championship Game could still be a battle between SMU and UAB?

 

1. Liberty—East Carolina

2. Hawaii—Houston

3. Armed Forces—S M U

4. New Orleans—Southern Miss

5. St. Petersburg—Central Florida

 

Marshall & UAB at 6-6 will miss out on bowl bids

 

Independents

There’s no confusion here.  Navy has earned a Texas Bowl bid.  Army has failed to earn the Eagle Bank Bowl bid that is reserved for them this year.  Notre Dame’s BCS bowl hopes are gone and barring wins over both Connecticut and Stanford, the Irish won’t earn the Sun or Gator Bowl bids that they could receive.  However, with one more win, they become the top non-BCS at-large bowl hopeful.

 

1. Texas—Navy

2. Eagle Bank—Notre Dame (at-large)

 

Mid-American

The MAC will benefit from all the bowls that will need to seek at-large participants.  This league receives three automatic bowl bids, but we expect five schools to go bowling.  Central Michigan played in the Motor City Bowl last year (now the Pizza Bowl), so the Chippewas will probably be sent south to Mobile.

 

The Pizza Bowl will not have a Big 10 representative, and while they’d love to lure Notre Dame, the Irish will go to the highest bidder.  That will force them to invite a second MAC team.

 

1. G M A C—Central Michigan

2. Pizza—Temple

3. International—Ohio U

4. Humanitarian—Northern Illinois (at-large)

5. Pizza—Bowling Green (at-large)

 

Mountain West

T C U plays at Wyoming this weekend, and the Cowboys will be ready to give them all they can handle.  We think TCU will win by double digits, but it is one of those ambush situations.  A home finale with winless New Mexico will be little more than a scrimmage.

 

BYU and Utah close the regular season with their rivalry match, and the winner should wind up in Vegas.  Air Force has wrapped up the fourth bowl bid, and Wyoming is one win away from sneaking in as the fifth.  We expect them to beat Colorado State and get it.

 

1. Fiesta—T C U

2. Las Vegas—Utah

3. Poinsettia—B Y U

4. Armed Forces—Air Force

5. New Mexico—Wyoming

6. Humanitarian—No team available

 

Pac-10

This is another interesting race.  If Arizona beats Oregon this week, and Stanford beats California, then Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, and Stanford will be tied for first with two conference losses.  Arizona would then win the Pac-10 and get the Rose Bowl bid.  However, the Wildcats must finish at Arizona State and at Southern Cal, and we see them failing to get to 7-2.  If Arizona beats Oregon, and Stanford beats Cal, then the Cardinal would be heading to Pasadena, unless Oregon State could win at Oregon “The Civil War.”  At 7-2, Oregon State gets the tiebreaker over Stanford.

 

1. Rose—Stanford

2. Holiday—Oregon

3. Sun—Southern Cal

4. Las Vegas—Arizona

5. Emerald—Oregon State

6. Poinsettia—California

 

U C L A will finish 6-6 and not receive a bid

 

Southeastern

Alabama will practice with Chattanooga this week, and then finish the regular season at Auburn.  It could be interesting for a half, but the Tide will head to Atlanta at 12-0.  Florida also has a breather with Florida International, but they have a tough finale with Florida State.  We believe the Seminoles have a small shot at pulling off the big upset.

 

With two BCS bowl bids virtually a certainty, the SEC will send 10 teams to bowls this year.

 

1. National Championship—Alabama

2. Sugar—Florida

3. Capital One—Ole Miss

4. Cotton—L S U

5. Outback—Tennessee

6. Chick-fil-A—Auburn

7. Music City—Georgia

8. Liberty—Arkansas

9. Independence—South Carolina

10. Papa John’s—Kentucky

 

Sunbelt

Troy has just about clinched the conference championship, so they will receive the sole automatic bowl bid.  Middle Tennessee has already reached the magic seven win mark, so the Blue Raiders will get an at-large bid.

 

1. New Orleans—Troy

2. G M A C—Middle Tennessee (at-large)

 

Western Athletic

Boise State cannot chalk up a perfect regular season just yet.  The Broncos still must face the most potent offense in the nation.  Nevada must play at Bronco Stadium, so Boise State should win and finish 13-0.  We strongly believe that while the BCS Bowls would rather invite a two-loss team from one of the big six conferences, they will have their arms pulled and be highly coerced into inviting a second non-BCS team into the BCS Bowl structure.  It’s funny how the threat of a Justice Department investigation can determine bowl participants.

 

1. Sugar—Boise State

2. Hawaii—Fresno State

3. New Mexico—Nevada

4. Humanitarian—Idaho

 

  • * = At-large selection
  • ALL CAPS AND BOLD = ACCEPTED BID
Bowl Team vs. Team
New Mexico Wyoming vs. Nevada
St. Petersburg Connecticut vs. Central Fla
New Orleans Troy vs. Southern Miss
Las Vegas Utah vs. Arizona
Poinsettia B Y U vs. California
Hawaii Fresno St. vs. Houston
Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowling Green * vs. Temple
Meineke Car Care Boston College vs. Rutgers
Emerald Oregon State vs. Florida State
Music City Georgia vs. North Carolina
Independence South Carolina vs. Kansas State
Eagle Bank Duke vs. Notre Dame *
Champs Sports Miami-Fl vs. Northwestern
Humanitarian Idaho vs. Northern Illinois *
Holiday Oklahoma vs. Oregon
Armed Forces S M U vs. Air Force
Sun Southern Cal vs. Missouri
Texas Texas A&M vs. NAVY
Insight.com Texas Tech vs. Minnesota
Chick-fil-A Auburn vs. Va. Tech
Outback Tennessee vs. Penn State
Capital One Wisconsin vs. Ole Miss
Gator Cincinnati vs. Ga. Tech
Rose Stanford vs. OHIO STATE
Sugar Florida vs. Boise State
International West Virginia vs. Ohio U
Cotton Nebraska vs. L S U
Papajohns.com South Florida vs. Kentucky
Liberty Arkansas vs. East Carolina
Alamo Oklahoma St. vs. Michigan St.
Fiesta Iowa vs. T C U
Orange Clemson vs. Pittsburgh
G M A C Middle Tennessee * vs. Central Mich.
National Championship Alabama vs. Texas

 

November 2, 2009

Bowl Projections For November 2, 2009

Weekly Bowl Predictions

Monday, November 2, 2009

 

This will be a pivotal weekend in the bowl pecking orders, as several marquee games are on tap.  Two of the big three have easy games this week.  Texas will have little more than a workout against Central Florida, while Florida should have enough points on the board two possessions into the game to beat Vanderbilt.

 

Here’s a conference-by-conference outlook for this week.  Unlike many bowl projections, which use a system based on if the season ended today, the PiRate Bowl Projections looks ahead and predicts where the teams will be on December 6.

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

The Atlantic Division is still very much up-for-grabs with Boston College and Clemson tied for first and Florida State and Wake Forest just one game back.  We think Clemson can run the table and grab the division flag.  

 

Georgia Tech has a one game lead over Duke (yes, Duke), but they are tied in the loss column.  We see the Blue Devils having an excellent chance at becoming bowl eligible, but they aren’t going to run the table and win the Coastal Division.  Georgia Tech just edged Clemson in Atlanta, and we think CU would get revenge in an ACC Championship Game.

 

1. BCS Automatic (Orange)—Clemson

2. Chick-fil-A—Miami

3. Gator—Georgia Tech

4. Champ Sports—Virginia Tech

5. Music City—North Carolina

6. Champs Sports—Boston College

7. Emerald—Florida State

8. Eagle Bank—Duke

9. G M A C—No Team Available

 

Big East

Cincinnati is the darling this year, but we think they will stumble at Pittsburgh on December 5.  The Panthers have home games with Syracuse and Notre Dame and the backyard brawl game at West Virginia, and we think Dave Wannstedt’s team will win out to take the Big East Championship.  The question here is where a Cincinnati team at 11-1 would go.  We think the Bearcats would not garner an at-large bid to a BCS Bowl.

 

This conference will have a little shuffling to make sure there will be no rematch games in bowls.  West Virginia played both East Carolina and Marshall, and they will not play either CUSA team in a bowl

 

1. BCS Automatic (Orange)—Pittsburgh

2. Gator—Notre Dame

3. Meineke Car Care—Cincinnati

4. Papa John’s—West Virginia

5. International—Rutgers

6. St. Petersburg—South Florida

 

Big Ten

Iowa is the reincarnated version of Indiana in 1967, the epitome of cardiac comebacks.  That Indiana team finally fell at Minnesota in November, and the schedule is set for Iowa to have that type of game at Ohio State.  For now, we believe Ohio State doesn’t have the offensive talent to upset the Hawkeyes.

 

Penn State should edge Ohio State, but the season finale at Michigan State is definitely a trap game.  At 11-1, they are in a BCS Bowl for sure, but at 10-2, it becomes a little hazy.

 

The bottom four bowls will shuffle to find their best fit, as we see three 6-6 teams and one 7-5 team vying for those bids.  Michigan will trump the other three even with a 6-6 record.

 

1. BCS Automatic (Rose)—Iowa

1a. BCS At-large ( )—Penn State

2. Capital One—Wisconsin

3. Outback—Ohio State

4. Alamo—Michigan

5. Champs Sports—Minnesota

6. Insight—Michigan State

7. Pizza—Northwestern

 

Big 12

Texas is moving along like a steamroller going down hill.  The Longhorns close the season with Central Florida, Baylor, Kansas, Texas A&M, and the Big 12 North Champion.  A&M may be the only team that can come close, so Mack Brown should get a chance to play for his second national championship in Pasadena.

 

Parity leaves this conference with a distinct possibility of having 10 bowl-eligible teams for eight bowls.  The two teams not receiving bids will be 6-6, so there isn’t a great chance either will earn a bowl.

 

1. BCS Automatic (National Championship)—Texas

2. Cotton—Oklahoma State

3. Holiday—Oklahoma

4. Alamo—Texas Tech

5. Sun—Nebraska

6. Insight—Texas A&M

7. Independence—Missouri

8. Texas—Kansas State

 

Bowl Eligible (at 6-6)

Kansas

Iowa State

 

Conference USA

This conference is a jigsaw puzzle.  East Carolina and Houston now appear to be on a collision course toward meeting in the conference championship game, but both teams face opponents that can upset them.  For now, we’ll stick with Case Keenum and the Cougars to win out and finish the regular season at 12-1.  Whether that could propel them out of the automatic bid to the Liberty Bowl to a better bowl, we don’t know.

 

1. Liberty—Houston

2. Hawaii—East Carolina

3. Armed Forces—S M U

4. New Orleans—Southern Miss

5. St. Petersburg—Marshall

 

Bowl Eligible (all at 6-6)

Tulsa

Central Florida

U A B

 

Independents

Notre Dame will not qualify as a BCS Bowl participant, so they will steal a spot from the Big East.  Navy is one win away from an automatic spot in the Texas Bowl, while Army has too much to do to get bowl eligible.

 

1. Gator Bowl—Notre Dame per Gator Bowl rules with Big East

2. Texas—Navy

3. Eagle Bank—No Team Available (Army falls short)

 

Mid-American

Temple and Central Michigan are headed to the MAC Championship Game, while Northern Illinois, Ohio, and Kent State  appear to be headed to the good kind of bowl eligibility (seven or more wins).  Unfortunately for this league, it now looks like the ACC will have an eligible team for this bowl, so the MAC won’t get a guaranteed fourth bid.  However, we see two teams finishing with seven or more wins and jumping ahead of all the 6-6 teams for any at-large bids.

 

The MAC doesn’t automatically send its overall champion to Detroit.  The Pizza Bowl gets first choice, but they don’t have to take the champion.  Central Michigan went there last year, so we think the Chippewas will head to Mobile instead.

 

1. Pizza—Northern Illinois

2. GMAC—Central Michigan

3. International—Temple

 

Bowl Eligible (7-5 or better)

Ohio U

Kent State

 

Mountain West

T C U closes with San Diego State, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico.  SDSU could give the Horned Frogs some competition for 15-25 minutes, but TCU will handle the Aztecs.  Utah is always tough, but the Utes don’t have the horses to win in Ft. Worth.  Wyoming can always surprise in Laramie in late November, but we think TCU will win.  At 12-0 and with road wins against Clemson and BYU, TCU should get a BCS Bowl bid even if Boise State finishes ahead of them in the BCS standings.

 

A. BCS At-Large (Fiesta)—T C U

1. Las Vegas—B Y U

2. Poinsettia—Utah

3. Armed Forces—Air Force

4. New Mexico—San Diego State

5. Humanitarian—No Team Available

 

Pac-10

If Southern Cal receives an at-large BCS bowl bid over a 12-0 TCU or Boise State, it will be highway robbery.  The Trojans could even lose another game, so we are picking them to fall short.  Oregon is in the driver’s seat, but Arizona still lurks in the bushes.  The Ducks must visit Tucson on November 21, and if the Wildcats win at Cal the week before, this game will be for first place in the Pac-10.  We think Oregon can lose this game and still win the championship.

 

1. BCS Automatic (Rose)—Oregon

2. Holiday—Southern Cal

3. Sun—California

4. Las Vegas—Arizona

5. Emerald—Stanford

6. Poinsettia—Oregon State

 

Bowl Eligible (6-6)

U C L A

 

Southeastern

This week, we are back to picking Florida to edge Alabama, but that could change again.  LSU is the clear cut third best team, but there’s a huge drop to the fourth place team.  This league will send 10 teams to bowls, with the bottom five teams finishing with 7-5 or 6-6 records.

 

1. BCS Automatic (National Championship Game)—Florida

1a. BCS At-large (Sugar)—Alabama

2. Capital One—L S U

3. Outback—Tennessee

4. Cotton—Auburn

5. Chick-fil-A—Ole Miss

6. Music City—Georgia

7. Liberty—Ole Miss

8. Independence—Kentucky

9. Papa John’s—South Carolina

 

Sunbelt

Troy has little in its path to securing another SBC title.  This league has only one automatic bowl bid.  Three more bowls guarantee a seven-win SBC team first priority if their contracted conference cannot provide a team, but we believe all three bowls will have a bowl-eligible team from each conference.

 

1. New Orleans—Troy

 

Bowl Eligible (7-5 or better)

Middle Tennessee

 

Western Athletic

Boise State has three games remaining against teams that can give them a run for their money.  A Friday night game this week at Louisiana Tech is a huge trap game, while home games against Idaho and Nevada could be interesting for awhile.  The Broncos should run the table in the regular season for the fourth time in six years.  A win over Pac-10 champ Oregon if the Ducks finish 11-1 should be enough to earn BSU an at-large bid to a BCS Bowl, even if TCU finishes ahead of them.  However, unscrupulous bowl sponsors wouldn’t be required to take the Broncos, even if TCU and Boise State finished 3rd and 4th in the final BCS Standings.

 

A. BCS At-Large (Sugar)—Boise State

1. Humanitarian—Idaho

2. New Mexico—Nevada

3. Hawaii—Fresno State

 

The BCS Bowls

National Championship Game—Texas vs. Florida

Fiesta Bowl—Penn State vs. T C U

Orange Bowl—Clemson vs. Pittsburgh

Sugar Bowl—Alabama vs. Boise State

Rose Bowl—Oregon vs. Iowa

 

With Florida finishing first in the BCS Standings, the Sugar Bowl will get the first at-large pick.  Even though Alabama went there last year, we see the Sugar Bowl officials taking the Tide once again.  The Fiesta Bowl would get the next at-large choice after losing Texas to the title game, and we believe they would take Penn State.  The Orange Bowl would then choose Pittsburgh over the rest of the field.  The Fiesta would then take TCU, and the Sugar Bowl would then have all the pressure to either do the right thing and take Boise State or the wrong thing and take a one or even two-loss team (Cincinnati, Southern Cal, Georgia Tech)

 

The Rest

First, let’s take care of the loose change.  There will be three bowls that will not have regularly contracted team available.  The GMAC Bowl will not have an available ACC team; the Eagle Bank Bowl will not have a bowl-eligible Army team; and the Humanitarian Bowl will not have an available Mountain West Team.

 

We expect there to be exactly three bowl-eligible teams with seven or more wins, and they will fill the three slots ahead of a host of 6-6 teams from BCS conferences.  Those three fortunate teams are Ohio U, Kent State, and Middle Tennessee.  

 

Note: Teams in asterisks are 7-win or better at-large bowl eligible teams

 

New Mexico San Diego State vs. Nevada
St. Petersburg South Florida vs. Marshall
New Orleans Troy vs. Southern Miss
Las Vegas B Y U vs. Arizona
Poinsettia Utah vs. Oregon State
Hawaii Fresno State vs. East Carolina
Little Caesar’s Pizza Northern Illinois vs. Northwestern
Meineke Car Care Boston College vs. Cincinnati
Emerald Florida State vs. Stanford
Music City North Carolina vs. Georgia
Independence Kentucky vs. Missouri
Eagle Bank Duke vs. Kent State
Champs Sports Virginia Tech vs. Minnesota
Humanitarian Idaho vs. Ohio U
Holiday Southern Cal vs. Oklahoma
Armed Forces Air Force vs. S M U
Sun Nebraska vs. California
Texas Navy vs. Kansas State
Insight.com Michigan State vs. Texas A&M
Chick-fil-A Miami-FL vs. Arkansas
Outback Ohio State vs. Tennessee
Capital One Wisconsin vs. L S U
Gator Georgia Tech vs. Notre Dame
International Rutgers vs. Temple
Cotton Oklahoma State vs. Auburn
Papajohns.com West Virginia vs. South Carolina
Liberty Ole Miss vs. Houston
Alamo Michigan vs. Texas Tech
G M A C Central Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee

 

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