The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 19, 2016

2016 FBS Independents Football Preview

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:40 am

At one time, there were 30 college football teams at the highest level playing as independents not affiliated with any conference. There was a veritable who’s who of college football members that lived a nomadic existence. Notre Dame, Penn State, Miami, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Air Force, Houston, Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and others once made hay in the sunshine of the independent ranks.

In 2016, one new team has been added to the independent ranks, bringing the total to just four. With conferences scrambling to add conference games to their schedules (Big Ten moved up to 9 this year, while Big 12 and Pac-12 already play 9), it could be tough for these teams to make future schedules, or at least schedules strong enough to sell tickets.

Notre Dame is fortunate. The Irish can participate in the ACC in all other sports, plus they get the benefit of having five guaranteed games against ACC football members, and they can also take one of the ACC’s automatic bowl bids, even with one-fewer win than the ACC regular team. Let’s see: A 6-6 Notre Dame team or a 7-5 Wake Forest team: which one would the next bowl in the pecking order take?

BYU is almost as fortunate as Notre Dame. The Cougars still have enough prestige based on a gloried past to sell seats on the road, while their home base is very loyal. BYU could be a future member of the Big 12, but the Cougars do not want to play Sunday games, and it could be a problem for some sports like baseball. Our guess is that the Big 12 will find a way to play Thursday-Saturday games against BYU.

Army West Point remains the lone service academy not in a conference. The Black Knights are no longer a power player like they once were in the days of Colonel Earl “Red” Blaik, who went 121-33-10 in 18 years at West Point, including three national championships and three more seasons where Army kept a goose egg in the loss column.

Today, Army must rely on scheduling games against FCS schools, MAC teams, and the two service academy rivals. Still, the Cadets cannot manage a winning record and bowl eligibility. Worse, their losing streak to Navy has now reached 14, and the chances for that number hitting 15 are better than 50%.

Army fans should cheer up some, because the PiRates believe the Black Knights have a decent shot at getting to six wins and taking an at-large bowl bid this year, even if Navy is not one of those wins. Coach Jeff Monken has two experienced quarterbacks, and enough talent returning to make the offense add a few points per game to the average, while the defense should see major improvement this year, shedding at least a field goal off the generosity of last year. Nine of their 12 games are winnable, so getting to 6-6 is quite possible this year.

Massachusetts was not a great fit in the Mid-American Conference. The Minutemen may be a better option one day in the AAC, but UMass must first become respectable on the gridiron. Their record for the last four seasons is just 8-40, and it’s not like they have been playing a difficult schedule. The biggest loss for this school is not having Eastern Michigan, Miami of Ohio, and Kent State on their schedule. Other than weak FCS member Wagner, there are no other guaranteed wins on the Minutemen’s 2016 slate.

There is no pre-season media polls for the four independents. Therefore, here is the consensus of computer ratings (including the three PiRate Ratings) for the teams to start the season. There are no surprises.

Independents
# Team
Includes PiRate Retrodictive
1 Notre Dame
2 BYU
3 Army
4 Massachusetts

Here are the initial PiRate Ratings for the quartet.

Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame 116.0 110.8 114.6 113.8
BYU 110.4 102.7 110.1 107.7
Army 84.7 93.7 87.1 88.5
Massachusetts 74.9 84.4 76.1 78.5
         
Independents Averages 96.5 97.9 97.0 97.1

The PiRate Ratings are meant to be used only to predict the outcomes of the next week of games, and are not best used to predict beyond that point. Because we use algorithms that include automatic adjustments by each team based on depth and experience, two different teams can win by the exact score we predict, and their new ratings might change differently.

Thus, using our ratings to predict won-loss records and bowl projections is a bit comical, but then we all need some laughs every now and then. So, laugh away at our projected standings and bowls.

Independents Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Notre Dame x 9-3 Orange
BYU x 6-6 Poinsettia
Army x 6-6 [Cure]*
Massachusetts x 1-11  
       
* Army fills in as an at-large team in the Cure Bowl

Starting Saturday, August 20: The PiRates begin previewing the Power 5 Conferences.  First up–The Big Ten.  Can a new team emerge as the team to beat in 2016, or will it be a repeat?

 

Advertisements

August 19, 2011

2011 FBS Independents Preview

2011 FBS Independents Preview

 

While not a conference, there has been expansion in the ranks of the FBS Independents.  In fact, it has expanded by 33.3%.  Okay, that just means that one new team has been added to the ranks this year.  Brigham Young has left the Mountain West Conference to go out on their own.

 

All four independents have bowl guarantees if they become bowl eligible, so it is not such a bad deal to be unaligned with a conference—for now.  If for some reason, this group were to grow by one next year, and that team hails from Austin, Texas, then the Independents will have major relevance again.  At one time, the best teams in the nation were independent.  Remember Florida State, Miami, Syracuse, Penn State, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame were all independents in the 1980’s, when they dominated nationally.

 

Notre Dame

Coach Brian Kelly has the Irish faithful “drinking the Kool-Aid.”  After a 4-5 start last year, the Irish won their last four games against three bowl teams and a Southern Cal team that would have been eligible for a bowl by an average score of 27-10.

 

Now those fans are expecting a return to a BCS Bowl Game and a possible run to the big game.  It isn’t impossible; Notre Dame is loaded and has only three tough games.  They should be favored to beat two of them.

 

Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees are back to battle for the starting quarterback job.  Crist has the stronger arm, but Rees has a more accurate arm.  The two combined for 3,100+ yards and 27 touchdowns and should top those numbers this season.  Rees started the final four games when the Irish went 4-0.

 

Most of the top receivers return from last year.  Michael Floyd is one of the best in the nation.  He caught 79 passes for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns last year, and with the rest of this unit having quickness and great hands, defenses will not be able to double up on him all that often.  Theo Riddick is one of the best out of the slot; he finished second on the team last year with 40 receptions.  Tight end Tyler Eifert should compete for the Mackey Award.  He should top 30 receptions this season.  T.J. Jones and John Goodman give the Irish more weapons at this position.

 

Notre Dame has not been a scary running team since Lou Holtz was the coach, but they started to show signs of returning to a more daunting ground team.  In that four game winning streak to end the season, the Irish averaged 4.3 yards per rush and 156 yards per game.  Cierre Wood may not be the next Allen Pinkett, but he could approach the 1,000 yard mark this season.

 

Making the offensive efficient and consistent is a strong and somewhat quick offensive line with four experienced starters returning as well as several quality backups. Center Braxton Cave, guard Trevor Robinson and tackle Zack Martin could all contend for some form of national honors.

 

Notre Dame scored just 26 points per game in 2010, and we can see that number jumping by as much as 10 points this year.  Expect more than 400 total yards per game out of this offense.

 

Kelly’s biggest footprint on this team last year was the defensive improvement, as the Irish allowed just 20 points and 360 yards per game after giving up 26 points and 400 yards the year before.  With most of the key players from last year returning this season, expect more improvement in those numbers.  All three units are top notch.

 

The strongest of these strong units is the quartet of linebackers.  Inside, the tandem of Manti Te’o and Carlo Calabrese have no equals from among the 3-4 defenses in college football.  Te’o will be a high draft pick if he decides to come out after his junior season.

 

Up front, nose guard might be the only question mark in the defense.  The 3-4 needs a big, beefy guy who can control two gaps, and this may be the only weakness in this defense.  Teams with big beefy backs that can hit between the tackles may be able to find occasional success.  Ends Kapron Lewis-Moore and Ethan Johnson both have the potential to become NFL draft choices.

 

The secondary is sound thanks to the return of three starters.  Harrison Smith has few peers at the free safety position.  He intercepted seven passes and knocked away seven others last year.  Cornerback Gary Gray is a multi-talented defender.  He covers well and provides an excellent force against the run.

 

The schedule should give the Irish their first route to a BCS bowl game in five years.  Notre Dame plays no cupcakes this year, but most of the opponents are beatable.  A road game with Michigan in week two should be interesting, and a road game in the season finale against Stanford could be another “Game of the Year.”  Of course, there are the additional rivalry games with Michigan State, Purdue, and Southern Cal.  We tend to believe Kelly’s heroes will prevail in most if not all of these games.  In fact, we would not be surprised if the Irish were 11-0 when they head to Palo Alto.

 

Brigham Young

To many teams, winning seven games including a 52-24 bowl victory would be considered a successful season.  In Provo, it is considered an off year.  Relax Cougar fans; your team will improve this season as an independent.  Your schedule is tough, but your offense will be explosive once again.

 

Every skill position player that contributed for more than a play or two will be back.  Start at quarterback, where BYU has been known to produce a few good ones over the last 45 years.  The current future NFL player is Jake Heaps.  As a freshman, Heaps completed 57.2% of his passes for 2,300+ yards and 15 touchdowns.  We believe his numbers will top 3,300 yards and maybe 3,500 yards with 25+ touchdowns in 2011.

 

On the other end of Heaps’ missiles, the Cougars have two specialists in getting open nine yards deep when it is 3rd and 8.  Cody Hoffman and McKay Jacobson will not average 15 yards per reception, but they will convert a lot of third downs with receptions against pressure.  Tight end Devin Mahina provides a mighty big target at 6-06, and he should top his totals of last year (11-118).

 

In the past, BYU’s backs were noted for exceptional pass blocking and route running out of the backfield.  Unlike most teams, the Cougars have kept a split back alignment to run the original West Coast Offense.  The running game does not get the credit it deserves, but this team is capable of running the ball 50-60 times and gaining 300 yards.  J.J. DiLuigi and Bryan Kariya combined for more than 1,450 yards and 14 touchdowns last year, while Joshua Quezada added more than 500 yards and five touchdowns.  All three return.  DiLuigi caught 45 passes, and Kariya added 21, so the tradition continues in that respect.

 

Four starters return to a very capable offensive line that allowed just four sacks in the final six games.  Tackle Matt Reynolds may be the best player on the team, and he could be starting in the NFL next year.  Tackle Braden Brown and guard Braden Hansen were 2nd Team All-MWC choices last year.

 

Look for BYU to average more than 35 points and 425 yards per game this season.  Don’t be surprised if there are games in which the Cougars top 200 yards on the ground and 300 through the air, or 250 both ways.  It will be difficult if not impossible to stop them.

 

It is another story on the defensive side of the ball, where there is rebuilding to do.  The top three tacklers will not be around, and six starters are missing.  Coach Bronco Mendenhall took over the defensive coordinator duties last year, and he will remain in that position this year.

 

Mendenhall will need to work magic to come up with a championship-caliber secondary.  The Cougars lost three starters including the number one and three tacklers, who accounted for 22 passes defended.  After limiting opposing passers to a low 53% pass percentage and just 192 yards in a league where quarterbacks routinely pass for 250, BYU will give up more than 200 yards and allow as much as 60% completion percentages this season.

 

BYU is in better shape at linebacker.  The return of a healthy Jordan Pendleton  along with Brandon Ogletree gives the Cougars two quality players at this position.  Uona Kaveinga began his career at USC, and he is eligible this year and could start from day one.

 

Another former Trojan, nose guard Hebron Fangupo is perfect for a 3-4 defense.  He should control the A-gaps and give the linebackers the freedom to pursue aggressively.  Ends Eathhyn Manumaleuna and Matt Putnam need to improve and provide more pass rushing to their repertoire, as the Cougars did not disrupt enemy quarterbacks enough last year.

 

BYU gave up 21 points per game last year, but it was a “Tale of Two Cities.”  In the first seven games, they allowed 28 points and 400+ yards per game.  In the final six games, they gave up 14 points and less than 250 yards per game.  We have confidence in Mendenhall; he is a terrific defensive coordinator, and hiring himself for that position verifies he is a smart head coach.  However, the Cougars will take a step backwards on this side of the ball in 2011.  Call it 24-26 points allowed per game.

 

BYU’s schedule is tough.  The Cougars keep Utah and TCU from their old conference.  They go on the road to face Ole Miss, Texas, Oregon State and Hawaii.  They should dominate all the other teams on the schedule.  We believe they can win two or three of those tough games, so call it an 8-9 win season with a trip to the Armed Forces Bowl.

 

Navy

For a short time after the end of the 2010 season, it looked like Coach Ken Niumatalolo might be headed to an AQ school in a big conference, but in the end, he stayed in Annapolis.  After winning 27 games in his three years at the Naval Academy, look for the Midshipmen to take a small step backward for Coach N.

 

When an option team loses an experienced quarterback, they almost always regress a little.  Ricky Dobbs led Navy in rushing while passing for more than 1,500 yards as a senior.  His replacement, Kriss Proctor, threw a total of five passes last year, but he will be a better runner than Dobbs.  Proctor started against Central Michigan, a game in which Navy won 38-37.  He rushed for 201 yards in that game.  In 2009, he ran for 89 yards, including the decisive 40-yard touchdown jaunt to beat Wake Forest.  Proctor could rush for more than 1,000 yards this year, but he may find it hard matching his rushing output with his passing output.

 

Two of the three starting backs return this year, led by fullback Alexander Teich.  Teich is hard to bring down with just one defender, and that makes the spread option go.  He averaged almost six yards a try in 2010 and rarely lost yardage.  B-Back Gee Gee Greene rushed for almost 500 yards caught 18 passes at a 16-yard clip.

 

The receivers will be called on to block more than ever this season.  Brandon Turner has big play potential, especially when the opposing safeties begin to think Navy will never pass.  He averaged 28.2 yards on his four receptions last year.  He could catch as many as 25 passes this year, and if he can average “just” 20 yards per catch, he could take enough pressure off the running game.

 

The offensive line should be a strength this year.  In this offense, offensive lines do not need much time to gel.  With center Brady DeMell and guard John Dowd, Navy has a couple of blockers that will open some holes for Teich.  That will force an extra defender to cover inside, and that will allow Proctor more room to attack the perimeter.

 

Navy’s offense will be potent this year.  Last year, they averaged 30 points and 405 yards per game.  They may not equal those numbers this year, because the Midshipmen will try to control the clock more to keep a green defense off the field.  We can see this team leading the nation in rushing with about 325-350 yards per game, while throwing for only 60-75 yards per game.  It adds up to about 28 points per game.  If the offense can control the ball for about 68 plays and allow only 60-64, Navy can go bowling yet again.

 

Now, for the defense.  Navy’s best defense will be a ball-controlling offense, because the Midshipmen lost too much on this side of the ball.  Eight key players used up their eligibility, including six of the top eight tacklers.

 

Among the holdovers, end Jabaree Tuani is the one real star.  He registered 15 ½ total tackles for loss last year.  Navy was generous against the run last season, giving up 4.6 yards per attempt, and we cannot see any improvement here this year.

 

The four-man linebacker unit returns one starter and one top reserve.  Max Blue  is a little better against the pass than the run.

 

The secondary was not exactly terrific, as it gave up close to 70% completions.  With only one starter returning, teams may pass Navy dizzy this year.

 

An easy schedule will give the Midshipmen enough sure thing wins to propel them back to a bowl, but this team will not win as many games as last year.  If they should happen to lose to Delaware in the opener, then all bets are off.  Navy’s nine-game winning streak over Army could be in jeopardy.

 

Army

Coach Rich Ellerson guided the Knights to a bowl game in just his second season in West Point.  Army finished with a winning record for the first time in 14 years.  In order for the Black Knights of the Hudson to go back to a bowl in 2011, the offense may have to ignite and look somewhat like it did in the days of Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard.  The defense is going to leak like a sieve this year.

 

Trent Steelman returns for his third year as a starter at quarterback.  He rushed for more than 800 yards when you factor out sacks, and he scored 11 rushing touchdowns.  While he was not called on to pass very often, he held his own as a passer, completing 53.4% of his passes for 995 yards and seven touchdowns against just three picks.

 

Fullback Jared Hassin is the best at his position from among the handful of teams that run the option.  He rushed for 1,013 and nine touchdowns last year.  At 6-3 and 235, he is a downhill runner with the ability to run for an extra yard or two after contact. 

 

Malcolm Brown and Brian Cobbs will be dangerous open-field runners when Steelman is force to pitch.  The two combined for 5.7 yards per rush and nine scores in 2010, and we expect more breakaway runs this season.

 

The two starting wide receivers from last year are back for more.  Austin Barr and Davyd Brooks were the leading receivers, but their combined efforts only produced 29 receptions and 453 yards.  Ellerson would probably like to use Brown and Cobbs more in the passing game.

 

Only one starter returns to the offensive line, but in the spread option, it is much easier to break in new linemen.  While there could be a bump or two in the road early in the season, the line should perform fine by the third or fourth game.

 

Army scored 27 points per game last year, while rushing for more than 250 yards per game.  They finished dead last in passing with just 78 yards per game.  Army games take a lot less time to play, and the total number of scrimmage plays in their games last year was less than 125.  That is how the Black Knights have to play to win—control the clock and use long drives to keep the defense on the sidelines.  It worked for Vince Lombardi, and it works for Ellerson.  Look for Army to take the air out of the ball even more this year.  We could even see their games going for just 120 plays.  Thus, we forecast Army to maybe score a couple points less this year but be just as efficient if not more so.

 

The defense is a major problem.  To start off, only five starters return to the fold.  Army runs the old “Desert Swarm” defense (Double Eagle Flex) used by Dick Tomey at Hawaii and Arizona (Ellerson was an assistant), and this defense requires more thinking than most NFL defenses.  New players sometimes get confused themselves, and it only take one missed assignment to create a huge running lane or wide open receiver.  We see this happening more this year than in Ellerson’s first two seasons.

 

Another major problem is the size of the defensive line.  In this defense, size is not as important as quickness and intelligence, as the linemen almost always stunt and switch positions.  However, this leads to a lot of lateral movement at the time of the snap.  Smaller players moving laterally can be annihilated by larger offensive linemen moving north.  One player who should shine is end Jarrett Mackey.  Mackey recorded four sacks in 2010.  Army will sorely miss Josh McNary, who led the team with 10 sacks.

 

The linebackers do a lot of blitzing in this defense.  Middle linebacker Steven Erzinger finished second on the team with 76 tackles, but leading tackler Stephen Anderson is now a commissioned officer.

 

The secondary returns both starting cornerbacks in Richard King and Josh Jackson.  King successfully defended seven passes with four interceptions.

 

Army gave up 24 points and just 338 yards per game last year.  Although undersized, they were able to pester opposing offenses and cause a lot of confusion.  This year, those opponents may not be quite so confused, and the Knights could have a difficult time stopping good running teams.  We look for a step backward here.  However, the schedule includes a bunch of teams that will not be able to exploit Army’s size liabilities.  This will give the Black Knights a chance to challenge for another bowl game.  It could come down to breaking the nine-game losing streak to that team with the goat.

 

Note: There is no official media poll for the FBS Independents.  What we have included here is an average of seven different print magazines and online sources (ours not included).

 

Average of 7 Online and Magazine Predictions

 

Team

Predicted Won-Loss

Notre Dame

10-2

Brigham Young

8-4

Navy

6-6

Army

6-6

 

2011 Independents PiRate Ratings

 

Team

PiRate #

Prediction

Notre Dame

123.9

11-1

Brigham Young

108.5

8-4

Navy

96.1

7-5

Army

86.3

5-7

 

Next: The Mountain West Conference Preview—Monday, August 22

August 3, 2011

The PiRates Have Returned To Dry Land Ready For Football

When we last spoke with you, it was undecided whether we would present football ratings for 2011-12.  At the time, there was no end in sight for the NFL lockout, and we were head strong in support of boycotting the college football season as a show of opposition to the post-season bowls.

 

In July, as our gardens became tumbleweeds in the oppressive heat, we had some extra time on our hands to discuss just what we would do this year.  Upon further review, we have decided to issue our college ratings as usual, but only after we make a special post concerning the bowl games.  That will come next week. 

 

As for the NFL, it will be at least three to three and a half weeks before we can update the ratings due to the tight window of wheeling and dealing.  We will not be able to offer an in-depth preview of each NFL division like in past years—it will just be ratings and a brief synopsis of how we see the races and playoffs.  We will offer a brain-teasing trivia quiz dedicated to those 50 and over who remember the NFL/AFL at its best—in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  For those not gifted with gray hair or hairlessness yet, you just might learn some very interesting facts that you can spring on your friends at your local watering hole.  Some will be very tricky indeed.

 

Beginning August 15, we will begin previewing the college conferences.  Here is the schedule for those conference previews:

 

Monday, August 15:SunbeltConference

Tuesday, August 16: Mid-American Conference

Wednesday, August 17: ConferenceUSA

Thursday, August 18: Western Athletic Conference

Friday, August 19: Independents

Monday, August 22: Mountain West Conference

Tuesday, August 23: Big East Conference

Wednesday, August 24:AtlanticCoastConference

Thursday, August 25: Pacific 12 Conference

Friday, August 26: Big 12 Conference

Monday, August 29: Southeastern Conference

Tuesday, August 30: Big Ten Conference

 

We realize that about 15% of you reading this are fans ofVanderbiltUniversitydown inNashville, who followed our founder when he wrote for Vanderbilt Athletics.  We also realize that about 35% of you reading this are residents of the great state ofWisconsinor Badger fans living in the hinterlands.  Thus, on August 29, there will be expanded coverage of the Vanderbilt Commodores, and on August 30, there will be expanded coverage on the Wisconsin Badgers, as they compete for the first Leaders Division title and another conference championship in the exciting, expanded Big Ten.

 

Check back next week for an all-inclusive post about how you can boycott the bowl sponsors and help bring about a post-season playoff.  We have a fresh way of satisfying both the bowls and a playoff at the same time.  To those that have heard our proposal, we have received 100% approval of our idea.  Check back next week for that idea.

September 8, 2010

College Football PiRate Ratings For September 9-11, 2010

College PiRate Ratings September 9-11, 2010

What a great start to the college football season!  The PiRates began with a 5-1-1 record against the spread.  If you were one of the lucky ones to purchase our picks in week one, you should have a little spending money in your wallets. 

We told you Thursday afternoon that Michigan would not only cover against Connecticut, but that they would win by more than two touchdowns.  We told you that Minnesota would cover on the road at Middle Tennessee, and even though we had to sweat it out, the Gophers dominated the line of scrimmage and ran 82 plays to just 47 for the Blue Raiders.  We told you to go against the flow in the Monday night game and take Boise State.  This pick was based on our contrarian stock-picking philosophy.  Boise was a big underlay, as Virginia Tech was hyped to the point where the line had moved too much.  We told you that we thought Oregon would cover against New Mexico by halftime, and they did it halfway through the second quarter.  72-0 could have easily been 100-0.

Our Moneyline parlay of Southern Cal, Arizona, Colorado, Notre Dame, and Clemson at +90 won with ease.

We lost on the Texas-Rice game, and we were not close on that one.  We pushed on the Notre Dame-Purdue game (we picked Purdue).  That gives us an excellent start at 83.3%.

This week, we add the NFL to our picks.  Go to www.piratings.webs.com to sign up before 7 PM Eastern Time Wednesday.

Is this week two of the NCAA football season, or is it bowl season?  This is the weekend to forgo the lawn work and set up as many TVs as you can fit in your favorite room. Starting at Noon Eastern Time, Georgia and South Carolina hook up in an early season SEC game.  With Florida looking vulnerable after one week, the winner of this game could become the new top contender in the East Division.  Speaking of the Gators, Florida hosts South Florida and new coach Skip Holtz.  Throw in Florida State at Oklahoma, Iowa State at Iowa, Michigan at Notre Dame, Miami (Fl) at Ohio State, BYU at Air Force, Central Michigan at Temple, Penn State at Alabama, Oregon at Tennessee, and Stanford at UCLA, and you have more games than you can watch with just two TVs.

Here are this week’s PiRate Ratings. 

Remember: Never use these raw ratings to determine pointspreads.  We use these only as a starting point.  Other factors move our take on these ratings by as much as 17 points.

NCAA Top 25 August 30, 2010 Season
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Oregon 128.4 1 0
2 Alabama 126.4 1 0
3 Arkansas 125.2 1 0
4 Ohio State 124.3 1 0
5 T C U 124.1 1 0
6 Oklahoma 123.6 1 0
7 Boise State 122.3 1 0
8 Miami (Fla) 121.4 1 0
9 Virginia Tech 121.2 0 1
10 South Carolina 121.0 1 0
11 Nebraska 120.3 1 0
12 Georgia Tech 120.2 1 0
13 Iowa 120.1 1 0
14 North Carolina 119.5 0 1
15 Florida State 119.2 1 0
16 Florida 119.1 1 0
17 Texas 118.7 1 0
18 Stanford 118.2 1 0
19 Wisconsin 117.4 1 0
20 Auburn 117.0 1 0
21 Arizona 116.8 1 0
22 Georgia 116.7 1 0
23 L S U 114.6 1 0
24 Washington 114.0 0 1
25 Texas A&M 113.8 1 0
         
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida State 0-0 1-0 119.2
Clemson 0-0 1-0 112.9
Boston College 0-0 1-0 108.9
Wake Forest 0-0 1-0 103.9
North Carolina State 0-0 1-0 98.3
Maryland 0-0 1-0 95.9
       
Coastal Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Miami-FL 0-0 1-0 121.4
Virginia Tech 0-0 0-1 121.2
Georgia Tech 0-0 1-0 120.2
North Carolina 0-0 0-1 119.5
Virginia 0-0 1-0 95.6
Duke 0-0 1-0 95.0

 

Big East Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
West Virginia 0-0 1-0 112.6
Connecticut 0-0 0-1 111.1
Pittsburgh 0-0 0-1 110.0
Cincinnati 0-0 0-1 109.2
South Florida 0-0 1-0 106.5
Syracuse 0-0 1-0 101.9
Rutgers 0-0 1-0 96.8
Louisville 0-0 0-1 94.6

 

Big Ten
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Ohio State 0-0 1-0 124.3
Iowa 0-0 1-0 120.1
Wisconsin 0-0 1-0 117.4
Penn State 0-0 1-0 109.9
Michigan 0-0 1-0 109.1
Michigan State 0-0 1-0 106.8
Minnesota 0-0 1-0 100.4
Purdue 0-0 0-1 99.4
Illinois 0-0 0-1 98.6
Northwestern 0-0 1-0 95.9
Indiana 0-0 1-0 92.0

 

Big 12
North Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 0-0 1-0 120.3
Missouri 0-0 1-0 111.3
Colorado 0-0 1-0 105.5
Kansas 0-0 0-1 99.0
Kansas State 0-0 1-0 98.2
Iowa State 0-0 1-0 95.6
       
South Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oklahoma 0-0 1-0 123.6
Texas 0-0 1-0 118.7
Texas A&M 0-0 1-0 113.8
Texas Tech 0-0 1-0 111.8
Baylor 0-0 1-0 103.3
Oklahoma State 0-0 1-0 102.4

 

Conference USA
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Florida 0-0 1-0 94.7
Southern Mississippi 0-0 0-1 91.7
East Carolina 1-0 1-0 89.8
U A B 0-0 0-1 88.9
Marshall 0-0 0-1 88.7
Memphis 0-0 0-1 77.1
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Houston 0-0 1-0 104.5
S M U 0-0 0-1 93.1
Tulsa 0-1 0-1 92.6
Rice 0-0 0-1 87.0
U T E P 0-0 1-0 82.0
Tulane 0-0 1-0 71.7

 

Independents
       
Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame   1-0 111.1
Navy   0-1 99.8
Army   1-0 83.5

 

Mid American Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 0-0 1-0 91.0
Miami (O) 0-0 0-1 90.1
Kent St. 0-0 1-0 84.8
Ohio U 0-0 1-0 84.7
Buffalo 0-0 1-0 81.9
Bowling Green 0-0 0-1 78.5
Akron 0-0 0-1 77.7
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Northern Illinois 0-0 0-1 89.3
Central Michigan 0-0 1-0 88.8
Ball State 0-0 1-0 81.4
Toledo 0-0 0-1 79.7
Western Michigan 0-0 0-1 77.6
Eastern Michigan 0-0 0-1 70.3

 

Mountain West Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 0-0 1-0 124.1
B Y U 0-0 1-0 104.8
Utah 0-0 1-0 104.5
Air Force 0-0 1-0 101.6
Wyoming 0-0 1-0 95.1
UNLV 0-0 0-1 93.7
S. D. State 0-0 1-0 93.1
Colo. State 0-0 0-1 85.8
New Mexico 0-0 0-1 79.1

 

Pac-10 Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 0-0 1-0 128.4
Stanford 0-0 1-0 118.2
Arizona 0-0 1-0 116.8
Washington 0-0 0-1 114.0
Oregon St. 0-0 0-1 113.7
California 0-0 1-0 113.5
Southern Cal 0-0 1-0 110.1
U C L A 0-0 0-1 107.7
Arizona St. 0-0 1-0 99.3
Wash. St. 0-0 0-1 90.3

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
South Carolina 0-0 1-0 121.0
Florida 0-0 1-0 119.1
Georgia 0-0 1-0 116.7
Kentucky 0-0 1-0 102.4
Tennessee 0-0 1-0 102.3
Vanderbilt 0-0 0-1 95.9
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Alabama 0-0 1-0 126.4
Arkansas 0-0 1-0 125.2
Auburn 0-0 1-0 117.0
L S U 0-0 1-0 114.6
Mississippi State 0-0 1-0 111.4
Ole Miss 0-0 0-1 105.3

 

Sunbelt Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Middle Tennessee 0-0 0-1 89.1
Troy 0-0 1-0 86.4
North Texas 0-0 0-1 82.5
U. of Louisiana 0-0 0-1 81.4
Florida Atlantic 0-0 1-0 79.7
Florida International 0-0 0-0 78.2
Arkansas State 0-0 0-1 77.7
Louisiana-Monroe 0-0 0-0 74.8
Western Kentucky 0-0 0-1 73.1

 

Western Athletic Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 0-0 1-0 122.3
Nevada 0-0 1-0 102.6
Fresno State 0-0 1-0 101.1
Utah State 0-0 0-1 98.0
Louisiana Tech 0-0 1-0 96.2
Idaho 0-0 1-0 90.6
Hawaii 0-0 0-1 85.8
San Jose State 0-0 0-1 82.7
New Mexico State 0-0 0-0 78.4

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)    
Thursday, September 9      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
Auburn MISSISSIPPI ST. 2.6 31-28
       
Friday, September 10      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
West Virginia MARSHALL 21.4 35-14
HOUSTON U t e p 25.5 49-23
       
Saturday, September 11      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
FLORIDA South Florida 16.1 30-14
KENTUCKY Western Ky. 32.3 42-10
EAST CAROLINA Memphis 16.2 35-19
WAKE FOREST Duke 11.4 35-24
OKLAHOMA ST. Troy 20.0 41-21
L s u VANDERBILT 16.2 26-10
WISCONSIN San Jose St. 38.7 42-3
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE Arkansas State 6.2 30-24
MICHIGAN ST. (Detroit) Florida Atlantic 30.6 45-14
Georgia Tech KANSAS 17.7 35-17
ARKANSAS (Little Rock) Louisiana Monroe 53.9 61-7
SOUTH CAROLINA Georgia 7.3 30-23
ARMY Hawaii 1.7 32-30
NEBRASKA Idaho 33.7 44-10
CALIFORNIA Colorado 11.5 28-16
BOSTON COLLEGE Kent State 28.1 42-14
MIAMI (OHIO) Eastern Michigan 22.8 35-12
OKLAHOMA Florida State 8.4 24-16
IOWA Iowa State 27.5 38-10
NOTRE DAME Michigan 5.5 34-28
OHIO STATE Miami (Fla) 6.9 20-13
UTAH U n l v 13.8 31-17
B y u AIR FORCE 0.2 31-31 to ot
OHIO U Toledo 7.5 31-23
TULSA Bowling Green 17.6 45-27
TEMPLE Central Michigan 5.7 27-21
BAYLOR Buffalo 25.4 35-10
TEXAS A&M Louisiana Tech 21.6 48-26
Rice NORTH TEXAS 2.0 30-28
TEXAS Wyoming 27.6 42-14
WASHINGTON Syracuse 16.6 34-17
ALABAMA Penn State 20.5 31-10
Oregon TENNESSEE 21.6 31-9
North Carolina St. CENTRAL FLORIDA 0.6 25-24
Rutgers FLORIDA INT’L 15.6 37-21
S M U U a b 7.7 38-30
San Diego State NEW MEXICO ST. 12.2 31-19
Texas Tech NEW MEXICO 30.2 42-12
Ole Miss TULANE 31.1 41-10
Stanford U C L A 7.0 31-24
SOUTHERN CAL Virginia 19.0 31-12
NEVADA Colorado State 19.8 44-24

 

This Week’s Games–Mean & Biased Ratings
       
Thursday, September 2      
Favorite Underdog Mean Biased
Auburn MISSISSIPPI ST. 28-28 to ot 31-27
       
Friday, September 10      
Favorite Underdog Mean Biased
West Virginia MARSHALL 33-21 34-17
HOUSTON U t e p 42-24 52-24
       
Saturday, September 11      
Favorite Underdog Mean Biased
FLORIDA South Florida 35-17 27-14
KENTUCKY Western Ky. 35-7 38-13
EAST CAROLINA Memphis 30-10 35-13
WAKE FOREST Duke 31-24 31-20
OKLAHOMA ST. Troy 36-24 45-27
L s u VANDERBILT 28-12 24-10
WISCONSIN San Jose St. 42-10 45-10
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE Arkansas State 30-28 34-24
MICHIGAN ST. (Detroit) Florida Atlantic 35-17 41-17
Georgia Tech KANSAS 26-14 30-14
ARKANSAS (Little Rock) Louisiana Monroe 41-14 59-10
SOUTH CAROLINA Georgia 21-20 17-20
ARMY Hawaii 26-28 29-28
NEBRASKA Idaho 35-13 41-10
CALIFORNIA Colorado 35-24 38-17
BOSTON COLLEGE Kent State 27-7 31-7
MIAMI (OHIO) Eastern Michigan 27-14 28-12
OKLAHOMA Florida State 31-21 31-21
IOWA Iowa State 28-14 33-14
NOTRE DAME Michigan 31-26 24-28
OHIO STATE Miami (Fla) 31-20 31-26
UTAH U n l v 40-18 30-13
AIR FORCE B y u 27-28 23-28
OHIO U Toledo 35-21 35-24
TULSA Bowling Green 41-35 41-27
TEMPLE Central Michigan 24-24 to ot 24-20
BAYLOR Buffalo 35-27 31-16
TEXAS A&M Louisiana Tech 38-27 48-24
Rice NORTH TEXAS 31-30 38-30
TEXAS Wyoming 42-14 45-13
WASHINGTON Syracuse 27-17 27-17
ALABAMA Penn State 24-12 27-10
Oregon TENNESSEE 30-21 35-14
CENTRAL FLORIDA North Carolina St. 28-23 24-21
Rutgers FLORIDA INT’L 34-17 34-14
S M U U a b 38-28 49-27
San Diego State NEW MEXICO ST. 33-24 35-13
Texas Tech NEW MEXICO 40-14 47-10
Ole Miss TULANE 38-17 34-20
Stanford U C L A 31-27 34-24
SOUTHERN CAL Virginia 41-25 38-17
NEVADA Colorado State 48-28 41-20

August 13, 2010

2010 FBS Independents Preview

2010 FBS Independents Preview

 

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 Overall
1 Navy 9-3
2 Notre Dame 8-4
3 Army 6-6

 

Champs Sports Bowl: Notre Dame

Poinsettia Bowl: Navy

 

Notre Dame is eligible for all bowls that have a Big East representative, including the BCS.

 

Navy is guaranteed a bid to the Poinsettia Bowl this season if the Midshipmen are bowl eligible.

 

Army is the first backup choice for the Armed Forces Bowl if there is an opening there and the Black Knights have six wins prior to their game against Navy.

 

Team By Team Breakdown

 

Team Army Black Knights (Cadets)
               
Head Coach Rich Ellerson
               
Colors Black and Gold
               
City West Point, NY
               
2009 Record              
Overall 5-7
               
PiRate Rating 84.2
               
National Rating 100
               
2010 Prediction              
Overall 6-6

 

Offense: Call this the gingerbread man offense.  At West Point these days, it is “run, run, as fast as you can.”  Second year head coach Rich Ellerson has the Black Knights poised to join the nation’s elite when it comes to running the football.  Army rushed for 204 yards in 2009, and in year two of Ellerson’s option attack, Army could add more than 50 yards to that average.

Quarterback Trent Steelman earned the starting nod as a true freshman, and he led the Cadets with 706 rushing yards.  Factor out sacks, and that number topped 850.  All three 2009 starters in the option running attack return with Steelman, and the top two reserves are back as well.  However, starting fullback Kingsley Ehie has been moved to linebacker.  Taking his place is Air Force transfer Jared Hassin.  He could provide the stability and durability needed at fullback in an option attack.  If he forces defenses to assign two players to stop, then watch out!  Army will march down the field like General Sherman marched through Georgia. 

Patrick Mealy is a threat to take an option pitch and turn it into a big gain down the sidelines.  He averaged better than six yards per carry last year. 

The running game must click, because the passing game is virtually nonexistent.  Army completed just 45% of its passes last year.  In some option attacks, passing percentages are lower than the norm because the attempts are mostly long tossed off play-action.  Army averaged only 11.8 yards per completion last year, so that was not the case.  To make matters worse, the only two real pass catchers from that team are now officers in the United States Army.  The leading returnee is slotback Jameson Carter, who grabbed just four passes for 46 yards!

The offensive line returns four starters, and they will make the running game go, even against defenses that put eight or even nine in the box.

We have every reason to believe Army will compete with the other service academies and Georgia Tech for the top rushing average this season.  Look for 275-300 yards per game on the ground and about 50-75 through the air.  That should give them about 24 points per game in 2010, a 60% increase over 2009.

Defense: Army played admirably on this side of the ball last year in their first year using the 3-4 defense.  The Cadets gave up just 22 points per game.  Having an offense that can control the ball and eat up clock is a major plus for the defense, as Army games averaged just 124 total scrimmage plays.

Adding to the optimism this year is the fact that eight starters, including the top six tacklers, return to the fold.  Three of those come from the second line of defense, where Andrew Rodriguez, Stephen Anderson, and Steve Erzinger finished one-two-three in tackles.  Anderson and Erzinger both made 6 ½ tackles behind the line and combined for 3 ½ QB sacks.

The back line of defense is solid with the leadership of free safety Donovan Travis.  Travis led the Black Knights with four picks, while finishing fourth overall in tackles.  Army gave up just 153 passing yards last year at a low 55.6% completion rate.  Usually option teams have a hard time against the pass because there isn’t a scout team player that can pass the ball like a pro-style quarterback.  That wasn’t a problem at West Point last year, and it should not be one this season.

Army has a fantastic pass rusher at end.  Josh McNary recorded 12 ½ sacks last year, and he should be close to 100% when the season starts.  He suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery, and he missed spring drills.

With an improved offense holding onto the ball for a minute or two more per game this year, Army has a chance to post its best defensive numbers this century.  Look for the Cadets to give up 20 points and 300 yards this season.

Schedule: We applaud Army and Notre Dame for returning to the Bronx, where they faced off for more than two decades at the old Yankee Stadium.  The 1946 scoreless tie may still be the greatest defensive showcase in the history of the game.  Army won’t win this game, but it should be well worth the three hours to watch it.  With a little luck, it could even snow on November 20.  The Cadets have a relatively easy schedule outside of neutral site games with the Irish, Rutgers, and Navy.  Road games at Eastern Michigan, Duke, Tulane, and Kent State are all winnable.  Home games with Hawaii, North Texas, Temple, and VMI are winnable.  Air Force is a tossup game.  We think Duke may get the best of them, and Temple will be able to stop the ground game.  If Army beats Air Force or Navy, they will post a winning season.  6-6 is about as pessimistic a prediction that we can make (one of us believes 9-3 is possible).

 

Team Navy Midshipmen
               
Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo
               
Colors Navy and Gold
               
City Annapolis, MD
               
2009 Record              
Overall 10-4
               
PiRate Rating 100.0
               
National Rating 58
               
2010 Prediction              
Overall 9-3

 

Offense: Navy averaged 28 points and 356 total yards per game last year.  With the return of most of their key players, those figures will improve in 2010.  It all starts with quarterback Ricky Dobbs.  The perfect man for the option attack, Dobbs rushed for 1,203 yards and an unbelievable 27 touchdowns last year.  He added six more through the air and almost averaged 10 yards per pass attempt.

Joining Dobbs in a running attack that averaged over 280 rushing yards per game is fullback Vince Murray, who narrowly missed rushing for 1,000 yards last year.  He averaged 5.3 yards per pop and required more than one defender to bring him down.  That opened up the outside for Dobbs and his pitch backs.

The best of those pitch backs was Marcus Curry, but he was dismissed from the team after failing a drug test.  His loss won’t be catastrophic, because this part of the option scheme is the easiest to replace.

An experienced offensive line that is both quick and intelligent will open holes for the backs to shoot through for big gains.  Tackle Jeff Battipaglia is the perfect option blocker who can seal off the inside.

Navy could top 300 yards rushing this season, but we have a sneaky suspicion that their rushing total could drop a little.  The reason: Dobbs may throw the ball a bit more this year.  It has been five years since Navy averaged more than 100 yards passing per game, but it could happen this year.  Thus, we look for the Midshipmen to score 31-35 points per game and produce 350-375 yards per game.

Defense: Navy fielded its best defense in several years last season, and the Middies lost a bit too much to expect a repeat of that showing.  One area that should not be much of a concern is the secondary where three starters return.  Rover Wyatt Middleton led Navy with four interceptions and seven passed knocked down, while top cornerback Kevin Edwards batted away six balls and picked off another.  Free Safety Emmett Merchant got in for two interceptions and four batted passes.  Look for new cornerback Kwesi Mitchell to make this an excellent quartet.

Linebacker is another story.  The Midshipmen return just one part-time starter to the four-man crew.  Tyler Simmons recorded 68 tackles, so he saw extensive playing time, but the other three projected starters combined for less than 10 tackles last year.

The defensive line is in better shape with the return of nose tackle Chase Burge and end Jabaree Tuani. 

Navy’s defense will be a bit more generous in 2010, but the Midshipmen can equal their 10-win season even if they give up five more points per game.  Look for defensive averages of 24 points and 350-375 yards allowed per game.

Schedule: The slate is an easier one than 2009.  Navy has home games with Georgia Southern, SMU, Duke, Central Michigan, and Arkansas State.  They face Maryland, Notre Dame, and Army on neutral sites, and they play at Louisiana Tech, Air Force, Wake Forest, and East Carolina.  Nine regular season wins look almost like a given, and we believe they will retain the Commander-in-Chief trophy with a sweep of their rivals.

 

 

Team Notre Dame Fighting Irish
               
Head Coach Brian Kelly
               
Colors Navy and Gold
               
City South Bend, IN
               
2009 Record              
Overall 6-6
               
PiRate Rating 111.1
               
National Rating 33
               
2010 Prediction              
Overall 8-4

 

Offense: Brian Kelly arrives from Cincinnati to resurrect a program that has fallen on hard times.  The Irish lost 21 games in the last three years, the worst in its storied history.  Kelly is the best fit in South Bend since Frank Leahy.  Now if he can just recruit the next Angelo Bertelli, Johnny Lujack, and Leon Hart.

The Irish will change from a pro-style attack to the spread.  Kelly will have to break in a new quarterback, and the projected starter is coming off ACL Surgery.  Dayne Crist saw limited action in 2009, and he may have some mobility problems running the new offense.

When Crist sets up to pass, he won’t have Notre Dame’s all-time leading pass receiver running down the field.  Golden Tate graduated and took his 93 receptions for almost 1,500 yards to the Seattle Seahawks.  Fret not:  the Irish still have Michael Floyd, who is a threat to go all the way every time he catches a pass.  If he can stay on the field for 12 games, Floyd could top 80 receptions and 1,300 yards.   Tight end Kyle Rudolph made 1st Team Freshman All-American in 2008 and followed that up with a stellar 2009 season.  At 6-6 and 265, he supplies Crist with an excellent target in the short passing game.

Kelly will retain the running back platoon from last year, and the Irish can go four deep with quality results.  Armando Allen and Robert Hughes combined for more than 1,110 yards last year, but watch out for redshirt freshman Cierre Wood.  Wood was the star of the Spring Game.  Punishing bruiser Jonas Gray will contribute in short yardage situations.

The offensive line is a possible liability.  Three starters are missing, and the radical change of blocking schemes could make this a tough go in year one of the Kelly era.  One player Kelly will not have to worry about is guard Chris Stewart.  Stewart is a monster at 6-5 and about 350 pounds. 

It is hard to gauge just how Notre Dame will perform.  On paper, it looks like a significant drop in points and yards could occur.  However, Kelly’s Cincinnati team improved by 15 points and 100 yards in his first season, while his Central Michigan team improved by 25 yards.  Due to a softer schedule, we feel that the Irish can score 25-28 points and produce over 400 yards per game.

Defense: Here is where immediate progress will be seen.  Notre Dame’s defense had become downright mediocre in recent years.  Last year, they gave up close to 400 yards per game.  They surrenders close to 500 yards to Stanford in the season finale.

Kelly has a lot of experience and a good deal of talent to work with on this side of the ball, and we expect the new 3-4 alignment to pay off in year one.

Start in the trenches where three experienced players will take up a lot of space and free the linebackers to become heroes.  Nose tackle Ian Williams tops 300 pounds, and he will be a force in the trenches.  He will command double teams, and that will allow the teammates behind him to pursue with reckless abandon.

Look for sophomore linebacker Manti T’eo to begin to live up to his press accolades.  T’eo was the top linebacker recruit in the nation in 2008, and he should lead the Irish in tackles in this new scheme.  Brian Smith and Darius Fleming could finish number two and number three.

The secondary is a cause for concern.  After giving up almost 230 passing yards per game in 2009, they lose their top pass defender and top overall tackler in Kyle McCarthy.  There is some talent here, but depth could be a concern following the unexpected departure of two players and the possible departure of a third player.

We believe Notre Dame will improve to 20-22 points allowed and 350-375 yards allowed this year, but will that be enough to put the Irish back in a bowl?

Schedule: The answer to that previous question is “Yes!”  Notre Dame has seven home games plus two neutral site games that will be home games.  The three road games, at Michigan State, Boston College, and Southern Cal, are winnable because none of these three teams will be world-beaters this year.  The neutral games come against Navy at the new Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and against Army at Yankee Stadium.  The Irish should win both of those games, but Navy could upset them for the third time in four years.  The home schedule includes games with Purdue, Michigan, Stanford, Pittsburgh, Western Michigan, Tulsa, and Utah.  All of these teams could sneak up and surprise the Irish, and we think at least two of them will.  Call it an 8-4 season and return to a bowl.

Coming Tomorrow: The Conference USA Preview–the conference that most closely resembles the old American Football League of the 1960’s, where teams can score 50 points and still have to hold on for victory.

September 15, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads for College Football–September 17-19, 2009

Week 3—September 17-19, 2009

 

Another one bites the dust!  Of course, somebody had to lose when Southern Cal played Ohio State, but the Buckeyes weren’t the only losers coming out of the game.  The entire Big 10 took a blow.  Penn State, Michigan, and Iowa could still conceivably find a way to run the table, but unless the Pac-10 and Big 12 see every team lose at least one time, the Big 10 is going to be shut out in the national championship picture this year.

 

Charlie Weis added fuel to the fire that heats his hot seat by ordering two passing plays.  Weis may earn the Dick Jauron Award for finding ways to pull defeat out of the jaws of victory.  Throw Ralph Friedgen into the hot seat watch.  His Maryland Terrapins almost lost to James Madison.  He joins Virginia’s Al Groh from the ACC.

 

There are a handful of games promising to be exciting this week.  Let’s start with the Weeknight games.  Georgia Tech plays at Miami on Thursday and Boise State visits Fresno State on Friday.  A Miami win sets up two key Saturdays for the U.  The Hurricanes face Virginia Tech in Blacksburg next week and then host Oklahoma on October 3.  All of a sudden those games don’t look impossible if Miami can handle Georgia Tech.  The Yellow Jackets’ schedule isn’t all that difficult, so a road win this week could set them up for a possible run similar to 1990.

 

On Saturday, the key games are Texas Tech vs. Texas, Nebraska vs. Virginia Tech, Auburn vs. West Virginia, Tennessee vs. Florida, and Cincinnati vs. Oregon State.  However, the contest that may affect the standings the most is the Brigham Young-Florida State game.  If the Cougars can thoroughly manhandle the Seminoles, it should solidify them high enough in the rankings to guarantee the eventual Mountain West Champion a spot in a BCS bowl, as long as that champion is undefeated.  TCU and Utah could move up high enough by defeating BYU and taking the league crown.

 

Here is this week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25 Ranking.  Remember that this list does not try to rank teams based on what they have done so far.  The PiRate Ratings are always looking ahead, so these rankings are based on what we expect of these teams this week. 

 

NCAA Top 25 For September 14, 2009

Rank

Team

PiRate

Won

Lost

1

Florida 

142.5

2

0

2

Texas

132.5

2

0

3

Oklahoma

130.0

1

1

4

Southern Cal

128.1

2

0

5

California

123.4

2

0

6

Alabama

122.6

2

0

7

Ole Miss

120.6

1

0

8

Penn St.

117.9

2

0

9

Va. Tech

117.9

1

1

10

Okla. St.

115.7

1

1

11

B Y U

115.6

2

0

12

Iowa

115.0

2

0

13

Texas Tech

114.7

2

0

14

Georgia Tech

114.1

2

0

15

L S U

113.7

2

0

16

Kansas

113.4

2

0

17

N. Carolina

113.2

2

0

18

T C U

112.7

1

0

19

Boise St.

112.4

2

0

20

Ohio St.

112.2

1

1

21

Clemson

112.1

1

1

22

Pittsburgh

112.0

2

0

23

Nebraska

111.6

2

0

24

Notre Dame

110.9

1

1

25

Miami (Fla.)

110.8

1

0

     

 

 

Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point

even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Here are the PiRate Ratings for all 120 teams, arranged by conferences.

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Florida State

0-1

1-1

112.8

Clemson

0-1

1-1

112.1

Boston College

0-0

2-0

109.8

North Carolina State

0-0

1-1

107.2

Wake Forest

0-0

1-1

105.9

Maryland

0-0

1-1

93.6

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Virginia Tech

0-0

1-1

117.9

Georgia Tech

1-0

2-0

114.1

North Carolina

0-0

2-0

113.2

Miami-FL

1-0

1-0

110.8

Virginia

0-0

0-2

94.5

Duke

0-0

1-1

96.5

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Pittsburgh

0-0

2-0

112.0

Cincinnati

1-0

2-0

110.4

South Florida

0-0

2-0

104.9

West Virginia

0-0

2-0

103.0

Connecticut

0-0

1-1

100.6

Rutgers

0-1

1-1

100.5

Louisville

0-0

1-0

94.2

Syracuse

0-0

0-2

93.8

 

Big Ten

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Penn State

0-0

2-0

117.9

Iowa

0-0

2-0

115.0

Ohio State

0-0

1-1

112.2

Michigan

0-0

2-0

105.2

Michigan State

0-0

1-1

101.9

Purdue

0-0

1-1

101.2

Minnesota

0-0

2-0

100.9

Illinois

0-0

1-1

100.6

Wisconsin

0-0

2-0

99.4

Northwestern

0-0

2-0

96.6

Indiana

0-0

2-0

88.2

 

Big 12

North Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Kansas

0-0

2-0

113.4

Nebraska

0-0

2-0

111.6

Missouri

0-0

2-0

107.6

Kansas State

0-0

1-1

94.6

Colorado

0-0

0-2

94.1

Iowa State

0-0

1-1

89.7

       
South Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Texas

0-0

2-0

132.5

Oklahoma

0-0

1-1

130.0

Oklahoma State

0-0

1-1

115.7

Texas Tech

0-0

2-0

114.7

Baylor

0-0

1-0

109.9

Texas A&M

0-0

1-0

97.0

 

Conference USA

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Southern Mississippi

1-0

2-0

101.2

East Carolina

0-0

1-1

100.2

Marshall

0-0

1-1

93.6

U A B

1-1

1-1

88.8

Central Florida

0-1

1-1

88.1

Memphis

0-0

0-2

87.6

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Houston

0-0

2-0

106.6

Tulsa

1-0

2-0

103.8

U T E P

0-0

0-2

89.6

S M U

1-0

2-0

85.7

Rice

0-1

0-2

85.6

Tulane

0-1

0-2

73.4

 

Independents

       
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Notre Dame  

1-1

110.9

Navy  

1-1

100.4

Army  

1-1

83.4

 

Mid American Conference

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Buffalo

0-0

1-1

97.1

Bowling Green

0-0

1-1

91.8

Temple

0-0

0-1

90.6

Akron

0-0

1-1

88.6

Ohio U

0-0

1-1

88.1

Kent St.

0-0

1-1

86.6

Miami (O)

0-0

0-2

73.3

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Central Michigan

0-0

1-1

102.2

Toledo

0-0

1-1

94.7

Western Michigan

0-0

0-2

89.7

Eastern Michigan

0-0

0-2

89.3

Northern Illinois

0-0

1-1

88.2

Ball State

0-0

0-2

82.7

 

Mountain West Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

B Y U

0-0

2-0

115.6

T C U

0-0

1-0

112.7

Utah

0-0

2-0

107.2

Air Force

0-0

1-1

99.7

Colo. State

0-0

2-0

95.6

UNLV

0-0

1-1

93.3

S. D. State

0-0

1-1

90.9

Wyoming

0-0

1-1

88.5

New Mexico

0-0

0-2

79.2

 

Pac-10 Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Southern Cal

0-0

2-0

128.1

California

0-0

2-0

123.4

Stanford

1-0

1-1

108.9

Arizona

0-0

2-0

108.9

Oregon St.

0-0

2-0

107.4

U C L A

0-0

2-0

106.2

Arizona St.

0-0

1-0

103.3

Oregon

0-0

1-1

103.2

Washington

0-0

1-1

99.0

Wash. St.

0-1

0-2

78.7

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Florida

0-0

2-0

142.5

Georgia

1-0

1-1

111.8

Tennessee

0-0

1-1

107.3

South Carolina

0-1

1-1

105.0

Vanderbilt

0-1

1-1

104.7

Kentucky

0-0

1-0

102.4

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Alabama

0-0

2-0

122.6

Ole Miss

0-0

1-0

120.6

L S U

1-0

2-0

113.7

Auburn

1-0

2-0

108.2

Arkansas

0-0

1-0

107.9

Mississippi State

0-1

1-1

89.7

 

Sunbelt Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Troy

0-0

0-2

93.8

Arkansas State

0-0

1-1

89.9

Middle Tennessee

0-0

1-1

88.7

Florida International

0-0

0-1

88.0

Louisiana-Monroe

0-0

0-2

87.5

Louisiana

0-0

2-0

85.8

Florida Atlantic

0-0

0-1

82.2

North Texas

0-0

1-1

79.7

Western Kentucky

0-0

0-2

73.8

 

Western Athletic Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Boise State

0-0

2-0

112.4

Utah State

0-0

0-1

96.2

Fresno State

0-0

1-1

96.8

Nevada

0-0

0-1

95.6

Louisiana Tech

0-0

0-2

91.5

San Jose State

0-0

0-2

89.9

Hawaii

0-0

2-0

89.0

Idaho

1-0

1-1

78.2

New Mexico State

0-1

1-1

73.3

 

Here is a list of this week’s games with both the PiRate and Mean ratings.  Please note that we at the PiRate Ratings don’t recommend you using these ratings when trying to determine how you will make your selections.  We offer that service for the ridiculously low price of $5 a week and deliver the picks to your e-mail at 1PM Eastern Time on Thursdays.  For more info on how to get our selections, please go to: www.piratings.webs.com.

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate & Mean Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Thursday, September 17  

 

 

 

Favorite Underdog

PiRate

Score

Mean

Georgia Tech MIAMI (FL)

0.3

35-35 ot

-4

   

 

 

 

Friday, September 18  

 

 

 

Favorite Underdog

PiRate

Score

Mean

Boise State FRESNO STATE

12.1

28-16

15

   

 

 

 

Saturday, September 19  

 

 

 

Favorite Underdog

PiRate

Score

Mean

ARMY Ball State

3.7

28-24

2

PURDUE Northern Illinois

16.5

41-24

10

MICHIGAN Eastern Michigan

18.4

35-17

25

PITTSBURGH Navy

14.6

42-27

12

SYRACUSE Northwestern

0.2

27-27 ot

-6

CLEMSON Boston College

5.8

34-28

4

PENN STATE Temple

29.8

37-7

27

NORTH CAROLINA East Carolina

15.5

37-21

12

WESTERN MICHIGAN Miami (O)

18.9

28-9

15

VANDERBILT Mississippi State

17.5

35-17

12

COLORADO Wyoming

8.1

35-27

3

IOWA Arizona

10.1

24-14

4

AKRON Indiana

2.9

20-17

6

KANSAS Duke

20.9

42-21

19

SOUTHERN MISS. Virginia

9.7

31-21

7

Utah OREGON

1.0

28-27

-2

Southern Cal WASHINGTON

26.1

38-12

29

UCLA Kansas State

15.1

27-12

12

VIRGINIA TECH Nebraska

9.8

31-21

4

NOTRE DAME Michigan State

12.5

37-24

7

Ohio State Toledo   (CLEVELAND)

18.5

33-14

21

AUBURN West Virginia

9.2

35-26

2

FLORIDA Tennessee

39.7

49-9

27

S m u WASHINGTON STATE

4.0

31-27

1

San Diego State IDAHO

10.2

30-20

3

COLORADO STATE Nevada

2.5

27-24

6

MARSHALL Bowling Green

4.3

28-24

-8

California MINNESOTA

18.5

38-19

11

Buffalo CENTRAL FLORIDA

5.5

27-21

0

OKLAHOMA STATE Rice

33.6

44-10

25

OKLAHOMA Tulsa

28.7

52-23

16

BAYLOR Connecticut

13.3

27-14

6

TEXAS A&M Utah State

4.3

24-20

12

KENTUCKY Louisville

10.2

34-24

14

Iowa State KENT STATE

0.6

24-23

-1

B Y U Florida State

6.8

38-31

12

Georgia ARKANSAS

0.4

27-27 ot

3

Air Force NEW MEXICO

18.0

42-24

12

U t e p NEW MEXICO STATE

14.3

31-17

10

TEXAS Texas Tech

20.8

45-24

10

U N L V Hawaii

7.3

31-24

5

STANFORD San Jose State

21.5

42-20

15

OREGON STATE Cincinnati

1.5

28-26

-1

RUTGERS Florida International

16.0

30-14

14

ALABAMA North Texas

47.4

47-0

35

MARYLAND Middle Tennessee

8.4

24-16

9

SOUTH CAROLINA Florida Atlantic

26.3

33-7

19

TROY U a b

7.0

28-21

7

L S U Louisiana Lafayette

31.4

38-7

23

ARIZONA STATE Louisiana Monroe

20.3

27-7

20

September 8, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads for College Football–September 10-12, 2009

Week 2—September 10-12, 2009

 

Week one sure brought excitement and surprises to the Football Bowl Subdivision.  With Sam Bradford’s injury and Oklahoma’s loss, the door is open for the Ohio State-Southern Cal winner to move into the number two position.

 

Where does Brigham Young fit into the equation?  We aren’t sure they are the best team in their conference, so the Mountain West is gaining power.  TCU begins play this week, and Utah is riding the nation’s longest winning streak.  Air Force, Colorado State, and UNLV won impressively.

 

The ACC and Big 10 took major hits in week one, and either could fall below the MWC with a few more bad weeks.  Miami’s win over Florida State hurts the ACC, because the Hurricanes have a very difficult schedule, whereas the Seminoles might have had a chance to get on a roll and even run the table with their schedule.

 

NCAA Top 25 For September 8. 2009

Rank

Team

PiRate

Won

Lost

1

Florida 

142.4

1

0

2

Texas

133.3

1

0

3

Oklahoma

129.7

0

1

4

Southern Cal

127.2

1

0

5

Alabama

122.8

1

0

6

California

122.5

1

0

7

Ole Miss

120.6

1

0

8

Okla. St.

119.9

1

0

9

Penn St.

118.5

1

0

10

Va. Tech

115.7

0

1

11

Florida St.

114.2

0

1

12

Georgia Tech

114.1

1

0

13

L S U

113.6

1

0

14

N. Carolina

113.4

1

0

15

Georgia 

113.2

0

1

16

Iowa

112.2

1

0

17

Ohio St.

111.6

1

0

18

Texas Tech

111.6

1

0

19

Notre Dame

111.5

1

0

20

Pittsburgh

111.5

1

0

21

Boise St.

111.3

1

0

22

Miami (Fla.)

110.8

1

0

23

T C U

110.7

0

0

24

B Y U

110.5

1

0

25

Kansas

110.5

1

0

     

 

 

Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point

even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Florida State

0-1

0-1

114.2

Clemson

0-0

1-0

112.0

Boston College

0-0

1-0

109.8

North Carolina State

0-0

0-1

106.4

Wake Forest

0-0

0-1

104.8

Maryland

0-0

0-1

95.3

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Virginia Tech

0-0

0-1

115.7

Georgia Tech

0-0

1-0

114.1

North Carolina

0-0

1-0

113.4

Miami-FL

1-0

1-0

110.8

Virginia

0-0

0-1

96.6

Duke

0-0

0-1

95.2

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Pittsburgh

0-0

1-0

111.5

Cincinnati

1-0

1-0

109.7

South Florida

0-0

1-0

105.6

West Virginia

0-0

1-0

100.9

Connecticut

0-0

1-0

100.5

Rutgers

0-1

0-1

100.1

Louisville

0-0

1-0

94.2

Syracuse

0-0

0-1

93.4

 

Big Ten

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Penn State

0-0

1-0

118.5

Iowa

0-0

1-0

112.2

Ohio State

0-0

1-0

111.6

Michigan State

0-0

1-0

104.1

Michigan

0-0

1-0

104.1

Minnesota

0-0

1-0

100.5

Illinois

0-0

0-1

100.3

Wisconsin

0-0

1-0

100.1

Purdue

0-0

1-0

99.4

Northwestern

0-0

1-0

97.8

Indiana

0-0

1-0

87.5

 

Big 12

North Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Nebraska

0-0

1-0

111.0

Kansas

0-0

1-0

110.5

Missouri

0-0

1-0

109.1

Colorado

0-0

0-1

98.5

Kansas State

0-0

1-0

96.4

Iowa State

0-0

1-0

92.3

 

 

 

 
South Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Texas

0-0

1-0

133.3

Oklahoma

0-0

0-1

129.7

Oklahoma State

0-0

1-0

119.9

Texas Tech

0-0

1-0

111.6

Baylor

0-0

1-0

109.9

Texas A&M

0-0

1-0

97.0

 

Conference USA

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

East Carolina

0-0

1-0

102.3

Southern Mississippi

0-0

1-0

101.5

Marshall

0-0

1-0

95.3

Memphis

0-0

0-1

90.4

Central Florida

0-0

1-0

87.5

U A B

1-0

1-0

90.3

 

 

 

 
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Houston

0-0

1-0

101.4

Tulsa

1-0

1-0

99.4

U T E P

0-0

0-1

92.4

Rice

0-1

0-1

89.4

S M U

0-0

1-0

84.2

Tulane

0-1

0-1

79.6

 

Independents

       
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Notre Dame  

1-0

111.5

Navy  

0-1

98.9

Army  

1-0

84.3

 

Mid American Conference

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Buffalo

0-0

1-0

97.7

Temple

0-0

0-1

90.6

Bowling Green

0-0

1-0

90.3

Ohio U

0-0

0-1

89.0

Akron

0-0

0-1

88.2

Kent St.

0-0

1-0

86.6

Miami (O)

0-0

0-1

74.2

       
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Central Michigan

0-0

0-1

99.5

Western Michigan

0-0

0-1

90.4

Toledo

0-0

0-1

89.8

Eastern Michigan

0-0

0-1

87.8

Northern Illinois

0-0

0-1

87.8

Ball State

0-0

0-1

84.8

 

Mountain West Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

T C U

0-0

0-0

110.7

B Y U

0-0

1-0

110.5

Utah

0-0

1-0

108.0

Air Force

0-0

1-0

99.9

Colo. State

0-0

1-0

95.9

UNLV

0-0

1-0

91.5

S. D. State

0-0

0-1

90.7

Wyoming

0-0

1-0

87.7

New Mexico

0-0

0-1

84.9

 

Pac-10 Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Southern Cal

0-0

1-0

127.2

California

0-0

1-0

122.5

Stanford

1-0

1-0

109.4

Arizona

0-0

1-0

109.2

Oregon St.

0-0

1-0

108.8

Oregon

0-0

0-1

105.0

U C L A

0-0

1-0

104.7

Arizona St.

0-0

1-0

103.3

Washington

0-0

0-1

100.2

Wash. St.

0-1

0-1

83.4

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Florida

0-0

1-0

142.4

Georgia

0-0

0-1

113.2

Tennessee

0-0

1-0

108.4

Vanderbilt

0-0

1-0

104.8

South Carolina

0-0

1-0

103.7

Kentucky

0-0

1-0

102.4

 

 

 

 
West Division      
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Alabama

0-0

1-0

122.8

Ole Miss

0-0

1-0

120.6

L S U

0-0

1-0

113.6

Arkansas

0-0

1-0

107.9

Auburn

0-0

1-0

106.7

Mississippi State

0-0

1-0

91.3

 

Sunbelt Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Troy

0-0

0-1

93.8

Arkansas State

0-0

1-0

90.2

Florida International

0-0

0-0

87.6

Louisiana-Monroe

0-0

0-1

87.3

Middle Tennessee

0-0

0-1

85.9

Louisiana

0-0

1-0

84.7

Florida Atlantic

0-0

0-1

82.2

Western Kentucky

0-0

0-1

73.9

North Texas

0-0

1-0

78.9

 

Western Athletic Conference

       
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Boise State

0-0

1-0

111.3

Utah State

0-0

0-1

96.2

Fresno State

0-0

1-0

96.2

Nevada

0-0

0-1

95.6

Louisiana Tech

0-0

0-1

92.9

San Jose State

0-0

0-1

89.2

Hawaii

0-0

1-0

84.5

Idaho

1-0

1-0

77.1

New Mexico State

0-1

0-1

74.6

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate & Mean Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Thursday, September 10  

 

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Spread

Score

Mean

GEORGIA TECH Clemson

4.6

28-23

0.8

   

 

 

 

Friday, September 11  

 

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Spread

Score

Mean

Colorado TOLEDO

5.7

26-20

4.5

   

 

 

 

Saturday, September 12  

 

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Spread

Score

Mean

PENN STATE Syracuse

28.4

35-7

28.9

North Carolina CONNECTICUT

9.7

24-14

0.4

NORTHWESTERN Eastern Michigan

13.0

37-24

23.7

Western Michigan INDIANA

0.4

20-20 ot

0.5

MICHIGAN STATE Central Michigan

8.1

28-20

14.2

WAKE FOREST Stanford

0.4

28-28

2.4

WISCONSIN Fresno State

8.4

31-23

9.3

Duke ARMY

8.1

35-27

0.6

Pittsburgh BUFFALO

11.5

28-16

9.6

Iowa IOWA STATE

17.4

24-7

13.3

FLORIDA Troy

52.6

56-3

34.0

VIRGINIA TECH Marshall

23.9

34-10

21.8

NEBRASKA Arkansas State

25.3

35-10

23.8

BOSTON COLLEGE Kent State

27.2

34-7

22.7

Texas WYOMING

42.6

49-6

28.0

OKLAHOMA STATE Houston

21.5

44-22

15.5

T c u VIRGINIA

10.6

21-10

13.4

B y u TULANE

27.4

37-10

25.5

Notre Dame MICHIGAN

3.6

28-24

1.8

WASHINGTON Idaho

26.1

35-9

13.4

WEST VIRGINIA East Carolina

2.4

23-21

10.3

NAVY Louisiana Tech

9.0

35-26

15.2

U A B S m u

8.6

40-31

14.5

TENNESSEE U c l a

8.2

28-20

11.1

ALABAMA Florida Int’l

40.7

41-0

32.9

L S U Vanderbilt

13.3

27-14

10.0

GEORGIA South Carolina

12.0

19-7

7.3

AUBURN Mississippi State

18.9

31-12

13.7

MINNESOTA Air Force

4.4

31-27

-1.5

MISSOURI Bowling Green

22.8

40-17

18.2

Ohio U NORTH TEXAS

7.1

27-20

2.6

WASHINGTON STATE Hawaii

2.9

31-28

-4.8

Kansas State LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE

8.7

28-19

4.3

Memphis MIDDLE TENNESSEE

2.0

30-28

-2.5

SOUTHERN MISS. Central Florida

17.5

42-24

13.4

TEXAS TECH Rice

25.7

44-18

22.7

Kansas U T E P

15.1

35-20

14.9

South Florida WESTERN KENTUCKY

29.7

37-7

25.5

Southern Cal OHIO STATE

10.8

35-24

5.9

BOISE STATE Miami (O)

42.6

52-9

40.7

Tulsa NEW MEXICO

12.2

33-21

12.3

OREGON Purdue

10.1

34-24

15.6

Utah SAN JOSE ST.

16.0

30-14

18.9

Oregon State U N L V

14.3

31-17

12.6

August 28, 2009

2009 FBS Independents Preview

2009 FBS Independents Preview

A PiRate Look

In the third in our series of conference previews, we look at the FBS Independents.  There are only three of these teams left, and three previews makes for a rather short piece here, so we will editorialize a bit today.  We here at the PiRate Ratings believe all three independents would be better off joining a conference.  Here’s how we think the realignment should take place.

First, the NCAA should declare that only teams affiliated with a conference can be eligible for a post-season bowl game.  Notre Dame could either choose to discontinue bowl participation like they did until January 1, 1970, or they could join a conference.  I believe they should be members of the Big East, just like they are in other sports.  Now, from the Big East, Pittsburgh should move to the Big Ten, giving that conference 12 teams and allowing for a split into two divisions.

Meanwhile, Memphis and East Carolina should join the Big East.  With one defection and three additions, the Big East would now have 10 teams.  Conference USA would be down to 10 teams, and both Army and Navy could be added to keep that league at 12.

Now, the six big conferences could crown their champions with those fortunate teams qualifying automatically in a 12-team playoff field.  The top six remaining teams regardless of conference would then be added as at-large teams.  That would give the Boise State’s and Utah’s a fair chance of playing for the national championship. 

As for Notre Dame’s television contract with NBC, if NBC should decide to keep it, we don’t see any reason why that contract couldn’t be renewed.  We believe the Big East wouldn’t mind the extra exposure.  However, with ratings weakening for those games, NBC might prefer having a Big East Game of the Week much like CBS has with the SEC.  That would give the weakest of the BCS conferences a huge boost.

A 12-team playoff would then utilize the top 11 bowls as playoff venues.  The teams would be seeded one to 12, with the better seeds getting preferential treatment in the bowl they are sent to in the first two rounds.  The first round would consist of four bowl games played on the Friday and Saturday falling between December 11 and December 17.  The top four seeds would get byes as rewards for their exceptional seasons.  Round two would take place one week later (The Friday and Saturday between December 18-24).  The semifinal games would be played on New Year’s Day or January 2 if the first fell on a Sunday.  The championship game would be played on the Saturday falling between January 12 and January 18.

Okay, rant over.  Let’s preview the three independents.

Last year, Notre Dame backed into a bowl game by the skins of their teeth.  The Irish finished the regular season at 6-6 after losing four of their final five games including a home game with Syracuse.  Charlie Weis occupies the hottest seat among FBS head coaches this season, and there are several possible trap games on the schedule in 2009.

Navy has dominated Army as of late winning the last seven games in the series.  The Midshipmen will be rebuilding this season, while Army looks to begin a slow climb back toward respectability.  However, they have a long hill to climb, and we believe the Cadets will suffer an eighth consecutive defeat to their rivals.

Here are the preseason PiRate ratings for the Independents.  The ratings have been rounded to the nearest whole number even though we calculate them to two decimal places.  To understand what the rating means, it is set so that 100 is average.  Thus, a rating of 110 means the team is 10 points better than the average team in the FBS.  The average of all 120 FBS teams should round to 100 if the math has been successfully calculated.

For those who have not followed the PiRate Ratings before and wonder about the home field advantage, we do not assign set in stone advantages.  These are assigned on a game-by-game basis.  For instance, if Army was to get really lucky and host Penn State, it would be expected that the Nittany Lion fans would find a way to get to West Point and make it a home game for the visiting team.  However, if that same Army team hosted Hawaii when the Rainbows played at Idaho the week before, then the Cadets could enjoy as much as a touchdown in home field advantage.  The PiRates think it’s ridiculous to issue a blank home field advantage for all teams or even assign a range of set home field advantages.

   

Independents Preseason PiRatings

 
     

 

Prediction *

 
    Team

PiRate

Overall

 
    Notre Dame

108

9-3

 
    Navy

95

5-8

 
    Army

79

2-10

 
     

 

 

 
    *  Predictions not based on PiRate Rating but  
    on expected changes to rating during the year  

 

Notre Dame: It’s win big or else for Coach Weis in South Bend this season.  The Irish have a 10-15 record the last two seasons, and anything short of making the three year record a winning one may be the end of the Weis era.  The Irish must win nine games, or else we believe the brass in South Bend will open the vault in an attempt to lure Urban Meyer away from Florida.  Meyer has stated in the past that Notre Dame is his dream job.

The Irish offense should resemble Weis’s first two at Notre Dame.  Junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen should top 3,500 yards passing with 30 touchdowns.  A year like that would entice him to declare for the NFL draft.  Clausen has talented receivers to aim for in Golden Tate, Michael Floyd, and tight end Kyle Rudolph.  Throw in new starter Duval Kanara, and the Irish have one of the top receiving units in the land!

How well Notre Dame runs the ball will determine whether the Irish can control the ball when the situation calls for that.  Armando Allen, Robert Hughes, and James Aldridge should see their numbers increase thanks to a vastly improving offensive line.  We see the Irish topping 125 yard per game on the ground to go with 275-300 passing yards per game.  It adds up to an attack unit that scores more than 30 points per game.

If Notre Dame is to challenge for a BCS Bowl bid, the defense will have to make a leap forward.  The talent is there, but there are enough holes to make that possibility a bit iffy.  The strength of the defense is a skilled secondary.  Free safety Harrison Smith covers up a lot of mistakes, and he is like having Willie Mays in center field.  Strong safety Kyle McCarthy makes a lot of open field tackles, and together they make up one of the top 10 safety tandems in college football.

The trio of linebackers is better than average and with a little improvement could be exceptional.  Middle linebacker Brian Smith has the potential to be a star.  Steve Filer needs to take a leap forward and play up to his potential.

The defensive line is the question mark of this team.  The Irish cannot be a top 10 team if they continue to give up more than four yards per rush like they have both of the last two years.

The schedule is manageable but tricky.  An opening game at home against Nevada could be an ambush game if Wolfpack quarterback Colin Kaepernick fires on target from Nevada’s pistol offense.  Next up is a trip to Ann Arbor to face Michigan in a game that could prove to be a coach’s elimination contest.  If ND wins those two games, then the third game at home against Michigan State could be the big one that allows the Irish to return to move into the top five or six teams.  Games against Purdue and Washington precede a crucial off week to prepare for a home tilt against Southern Cal.  The Trojans are not infallible this season.  Boston College should be somewhat weaker this season than last, and then the Irish gets Washington State and Navy.  On November 14, they play at Pittsburgh, and if the ND record is 8-2 after that game, then they should defeat Connecticut and Stanford and earn a trip to a BCS bowl.  If they lose four or more games this season, the fans in Gatorland will become nervous.

Navy: When Paul Johnson bolted last year to Georgia Tech, Navy fans weren’t sure the Midshipmen could continue their winning ways running the offense that he perfected at Hawaii and Georgia Southern in addition to Annapolis.  Coach Ken Niumatalolo learned well as offensive coordinator, and the Middies won eight games last year making it eight or more wins for six straight seasons.  We think that string is going to come to an end this year, as Navy lost too much talent on offense and doesn’t have enough talent on defense to win low scoring games.  In fact, we think Navy will lose eight times this year.

New quarterback Ricky Dobbs has a little experience, but he plays erratically.  Look for the rushing and passing numbers to drop off a good amount from the numbers put up by departed QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada.  We expect the Midshipmen to rush for 225-250 yards, but this is a miniscule amount compared to recent years when Navy averaged 318 rushing yards over the last six years.

The running back corps was hit hard by graduation, as Shun White and Eric Kettani are gone after combining for more than 2,000 yards and 12 touchdowns.  Even though passing is basically a surprise weapon, the opposing defense must respect the deep threat to keep them from stacking up against the run and eliminating the option.  This Navy team just doesn’t have that necessary receiver.

The offensive line returns some experienced starters, but in this offense, that isn’t as important as in passing offenses.

Defensively, Navy always has trouble stopping good quarterbacks and for good reason.  They never really have an able scout team quarterback in practice because they don’t recruit that type of player.  Thus, even in recent good years, they have allowed 230 yards per game through the air and over 65% completion success.  There’s some talent on the defense with safety Wyatt Middleton and linebacker Ross Pospisil combined for 12 passes deflected.

The schedule provides a few easy wins, but there are just as many sure losses.  The season kicks off with a road game at the giant horseshoe against Ohio State.  Game number two at home against Louisiana Tech might drop the Middies to 0-2.  Following that game, they play at Pittsburgh and could easily be 0-3 and no better than 1-2.  A home game against Western Kentucky must be a win, or else it’s going to be a very long year.  Navy must play at Rice and SMU, and with their pass defense woes could easily be two more losses.  Wake Forest, Temple, and Hawaii are probably losses, and Air Force is a tossup at best.  Delaware and Army are not sure wins either, so it looks like a long year in Annapolis.

Army: It’s hard to imagine, but in 1944 through 1946, Army was as powerful then as Florida and Oklahoma are today, maybe even more so.  That squad of Cadets went 26-0-1 with the one tie being the historic 0-0 game against unbeaten Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium.  Recent Army teams have more closely resembled what used to be called I-AA teams.  In fact, Army has been only competitive against what is now called FCS teams.  They lost at home to New Hampshire 28-10 last year; they barely edged Rhode Island in overtime in 2007, so the first order of building toward the future is to dominate VMI when the two military institutions square off at West Point on November 14.

Army introduces their fifth head coach since 2001.  The new leader, Rich Ellerson, turned Cal Poly into a FCS monster.  His team beat San Diego State last year and would have upset Wisconsin if they could have converted just one of three missed PATs in that game.  Ellerson is a master in multiple triple option football run out of a spread formation.  Army switched to a spread option scheme last year, so the learning curve should be much shorter.  The Cadets could actually rush for 275 yards per game this year.  Quarterbacks Chip Bowden and Carson Williams aren’t prototypical option-style players, but with military discipline, they both became adequate last year.  Fullback Bryson Carl tries to replace Collin Mooney, but Mooney rushed for 1,339 yards and eight scores last year.  Carl will be lucky to rush for 800 yards.

Damion Hunter and Jameson Carter will try to keep secondaries honest by providing downfield passing options, but neither is a roadrunner.  Army will be fortunate to average 50 passing yards per game. 

The offensive line has been shredded due to graduation.  Only one starter returns.  As far as the running game goes, the frequent double team blocks and quarterback reads lessen the necessity for super linemen, but pass blocking is a different story.

Defensively, Army was an improved ball club last year, and it showed in the statistics as they allowed one touchdown per game less in 2008 than in 2007.  Enough talent returns on the stop side for the Cadets to equal that performance again in 2009.  The secondary has two exceptional defenders in cornerback Mario Hill and safety Donovan Travis.  End Joshua McNary could compete for playing time at a Big East school.  Middle linebacker Stephen Anderson is a pint size version of a standard MLB, but his hustle makes up for his lack of size.

Army’s schedule actually gives them a chance to become bowl eligible.  The opening game at Eastern Michigan could be the tell-tale sign.  Following that game, they host Duke and Ball State in successive weeks.  If they are 2-1 at that point, the fourth game at Iowa State could be the one that sets the Cadets on course to turn things around in year one of the Ellerson regime.  Army then hosts a very beatable Tulane team and then the road gets a bit tougher.  A home game with Vanderbilt, a game at Temple, and a home game with Rutgers looks like three losses.  The Cadets need to be 4-4 after this stretch.  The final four games are at Air Force, home with VMI, at North Texas, and against Army in Philly.  If they are 4-4 entering this stretch, then the North Texas game on November 21 could be for bowl eligibility.  We tend to think it will take another season of experience, and Army will lose a couple of those winnable games.

Next up: Can Boise State make it seven out of the last eight in the WAC?  Can Nevada, Fresno State, or Louisiana Tech threaten to end the Broncos’ reign at the top?  Can Utah State, Idaho, or New Mexico State break through with a bowl-eligible season for the first time this century?

December 9, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of: December 9, 2008

NCAA Regular Season Summation

 

Congratulations go to Oklahoma and Florida, and my condolences go to Texas, Southern Cal, and Penn State, and Alabama.  Some biased poll voters, a couple of computer geeks, and a couple of sports elitists have determined that the Sooners and Gators are a couple hundredths of a percentage point better than the rest of the pack and deserve to play for the national title.

 

Florida lost their one game at home.  Oklahoma lost their one game on a neutral field to one of the other teams up for consideration.  Alabama’s loss on a neutral field to Florida is the exact same situation.  Texas lost on the road to an undefeated Texas Tech team on the final play of the game.  Southern Cal lost on the road at Oregon State with one late play figuring greatly in the outcome.  Penn State lost on the road at Iowa on the final play of the game.  So, the computers can tell us that Florida and Oklahoma are the two most deserving? 

 

Here are the final regular season PiRate Top 25 and the PiRate Ratings by conference:

 

NCAA Top 25 For 2-Dec-2008

Rank

Team

PiRate

Won

Lost

1

Florida 

140

12

1

2

Oklahoma

139

12

1

3

Southern Cal

131

11

1

4

Texas

128

11

1

5

Ohio St.

127

10

2

6

Alabama

125

12

1

7

Penn St.

125

11

1

8

Ole Miss

121

8

4

9

Texas Tech

120

11

1

10

Boise State

120

12

0

11

T C U

120

10

2

12

Oregon

120

9

3

13

Utah

118

12

0

14

Iowa

117

8

4

15

Rutgers

117

7

5

16

California

116

8

4

17

Georgia 

115

9

3

18

Oklahoma St.

114

9

3

19

Arizona

114

7

5

20

Clemson

113

7

5

21

Oregon State

113

8

4

22

Missouri

113

9

4

23

Florida State

112

8

4

24

Pittsburgh

112

9

3

25

Cincinnati

110

11

2

     

 

 

Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number

even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Clemson

4-4

7-5

113

68

45

Florida State

5-3

8-4

112

70

42

North Carolina State

4-4

6-6

106

70

36

Boston College

5-3*

9-4

104

63

41

Wake Forest

4-4

7-5

104

56

48

Maryland

4-4

7-5

101

62

39

 

 

 

 

   
Coastal Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Virginia Tech

5-3*+

9-4

109

67

42

Georgia Tech

5-3

9-3

109

68

41

North Carolina

4-4

8-4

105

66

39

Miami

4-4

7-5

102

60

42

Virginia 

3-5

5-7

100

58

42

Duke

1-7

4-8

93

60

33

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Rutgers

5-2

7-5

117

70

47

Pittsburgh

5-2

9-3

112

66

46

Cincinnati

6-1

11-2

110

64

46

West Virginia

5-2

8-4

110

65

45

South Florida

2-5

7-5

106

68

38

Connecticut

3-4

7-5

102

64

38

Louisville

1-6

5-7

91

57

34

Syracuse

1-6

3-9

89

56

33

 

Big Ten

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ohio State

7-1

10-2

127

71

56

Penn State

7-1

11-1

125

76

49

Iowa

5-3

8-4

117

72

45

Wisconsin

3-5

7-5

107

71

36

Northwestern

5-3

9-3

105

64

41

Michigan State

6-2

9-3

104

64

40

Purdue

2-6

4-8

103

67

36

Illinois

3-5

5-7

102

65

37

Michigan

2-6

3-9

96

57

39

Minnesota

3-5

7-5

92

58

34

Indiana

1-7

3-9

79

54

25

 

Big 12

North Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Missouri

5-3*

9-4

113

74

39

Kansas

4-4

7-5

109

67

42

Nebraska

5-3

8-4

108

70

38

Colorado

2-6

5-7

95

57

38

Kansas State

2-6

5-7

92

67

25

Iowa State

0-8

2-10

86

57

29

South Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oklahoma

7-1+

12-1

139

97

42

Texas

7-1

11-1

128

82

46

Texas Tech

7-1

11-1

120

85

35

Oklahoma State

5-3

9-3

114

71

43

Baylor

2-6

4-8

106

68

38

Texas A&M

2-6

4-8

90

56

34

 

Conference USA

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

East Carolina

6-2+

9-4

99

62

37

Southern Miss.

4-4

6-6

97

64

33

Memphis

4-4

6-6

92

61

31

Marshall

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Central Florida

3-5

4-8

88

46

42

U A B

3-5

4-8

84

51

33

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Tulsa

7-1*

10-3

103

72

31

Rice

7-1

9-3

97

66

31

Houston

6-2

7-5

97

67

30

U T E P

4-4

5-7

87

59

28

S M U

0-8

1-11

78

57

21

Tulane

1-7

2-10

69

50

19

 

Independents

           
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Navy  

8-4

104

61

43

Notre Dame  

6-6

98

58

40

Army  

3-9

82

46

36

 

Mid American Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Bowling Green

4-4

6-6

103

68

35

Buffalo

5-3+

8-5

101

68

33

Temple

4-4

5-7

96

57

39

Ohio U

3-5

4-8

91

51

40

Kent State

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Akron

3-5

5-7

89

60

29

Miami (O)

1-7

2-10

81

54

27

           
West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ball State

8-0

12-1

109

73

36

Western Michigan

6-2

9-3

100

63

37

Northern Illinois

5-3

6-6

98

59

39

Central Michigan

6-2

8-4

97

68

29

Eastern Michigan

2-6

3-9

88

59

29

Toledo

2-6

3-9

85

55

30

 

Mountain West Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

T C U

7-1

10-2

120

68

52

Utah

8-0

12-0

118

70

48

Brigham Young

6-2

10-2

106

67

39

Air Force

5-3

8-4

95

58

37

Colorado State

4-4

6-6

93

60

33

New Mexico

2-6

4-8

93

56

37

UNLV

2-6

5-7

85

56

29

Wyoming

1-7

4-8

85

51

34

San Diego State

1-7

2-10

76

49

27

 

Pac-10 Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Cal

7-1

11-1

131

72

59

Oregon

7-2

9-3

120

77

43

California

6-3

8-4

116

73

43

Arizona

5-4

7-5

114

75

39

Oregon State

7-2

8-4

113

74

39

Stanford

4-5

5-7

106

64

42

Arizona State

4-5

5-7

103

63

40

U C L A

3-6

4-8

100

57

43

Washington

0-9

0-12

81

54

27

Washington State

1-8

2-11

74

49

25

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida 

7-1+

12-1

140

86

54

Georgia 

6-2

9-3

115

73

42

South Carolina

4-4

7-5

108

63

45

Tennessee

3-5

5-7

107

62

45

Kentucky

2-6

6-6

102

62

40

Vanderbilt

4-4

6-6

100

55

45

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Alabama

8-0

12-1

125

69

56

Ole Miss

5-3

8-4

121

74

47

L S U

3-5

7-5

106

68

38

Arkansas

2-6

5-7

102

68

34

Auburn

2-6

5-7

102

56

46

Mississippi State

2-6

4-8

97

55

42

 

Sunbelt Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Troy

6-1

8-4

105

69

36

Florida Atlantic

4-3

6-6

90

61

29

Middle Tennessee

3-4

5-7

90

58

32

Arkansas State

4-3

6-6

89

59

30

Florida International

3-4

5-7

89

58

31

Louisiana-Lafayette

5-2

6-6

88

66

22

Louisiana-Monroe

3-4

4-8

87

56

31

* Western Kentucky

0-0

2-10

79

49

30

North Texas

0-7

1-11

70

55

15

           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009      
Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008    

 

Western Athletic Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Boise State

8-0

12-0

120

74

46

Nevada

5-3

7-5

102

73

29

Louisiana Tech

5-3

7-5

94

56

38

Utah State

3-5

3-9

93

57

36

Hawaii

5-3

7-6

93

55

38

Fresno State

4-4

7-5

88

61

27

San Jose State

4-4

6-6

85

53

32

New Mexico State

1-7

3-9

74

48

26

Idaho

1-7

2-10

73

57

16

 

Here is the bowl schedule

 

Date

Time EST

Bowl

City

Team

Team

D. 20

11:00

Eagle Bank

Washington DC

Wake Forest

Navy

D. 20

2:30

New Mexico

Albuquerque

Colorado State

Fresno State

D. 20

4:30

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg

South Florida

Memphis

D. 20

8:00

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

B Y U

Arizona

D. 21

8:15

New Orleans

New Orleans

Troy

Southern Miss.

D. 23

8:00

Poinsettia

San Diego

Boise State

T C U

D. 24

8:00

Hawaii

Honolulu

Hawaii

Notre Dame

D. 26

8:00

Motor City

Detroit

Central Michigan

Florida Atlantic

D. 27

1:00

Meineke Car Care

Charlotte

North Carolina

West Virginia

D. 27

4:30

Champs Sports

Orlando

Florida State

Wisconsin

D. 27

8:00

Emerald

San Francisco

California

Miami (Fl.)

D. 28

8:15

Independence

Shrevport

Louisiana Tech

Northern Illinois

D. 29

3:00

PapaJohns

Birmingham

N. C. State

Rutgers

D. 29

8:00

Alamo

San Antonio

Northwestern

Missouri

D. 30

4:30

Humanitarian

Boise

Nevada

Maryland

D. 30

8:00

Texas

Houston

Western Michigan

Rice

D. 30

8:00

Holiday

San Diego

Oregon 

Oklahoma State

D. 31

12:00

Armed Forces

Ft. Worth

Air Force

Houston

D. 31

2:00

Sun

El Paso

Oregon State

Pittsburgh

D. 31

3:30

Music City

Nashville

Vanderbilt

Boston College

D. 31

5:30

Insight

Tempe

Kansas

Minnesota

D. 31

7:30

Chick-fil-a

Atlanta

Georgia Tech

L S U

J. 1

11:00

Outback

Tampa

Iowa

South Carolina

J. 1

1:00

Capital One

Orlando

Georgia 

Michigan State

J. 1

1:00

Gator

Jacksonville

Clemson

Nebraska

J. 1

4:30

Rose

Pasadena

Southern Cal

Penn State

J. 1

8:30

Orange

Miami

Virginia Tech

Cincinnati

J. 2

2:00

Cotton

Dallas

Texas Tech

Ole Miss

J. 2

5:00

Liberty

Memphis

East Carolina

Kentucky

J. 2

8:00

Sugar

New Orleans

Alabama

Utah

J. 3

12:00

International

Toronto

Connecticut

Buffalo

J. 5

8:00

Fiesta

Glendale

Texas

Ohio State

J. 6

8:00

G M A C

Mobile

Tulsa

Ball State

J. 8

8:00

Nat’l Championship

Miami

Florida 

Oklahoma

December 1, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of: December 3-6, 2008

NCAA Week 15: The Postseason Falls to BieCeS

 

With one weekend remaining in the regular season, the dreadful BCS has suffered from yet another snafu.  Oklahoma is in the Big 12 Championship Game because a computer or two has deemed the Sooners to be a tiny bit better than the Longhorns even though Texas beat them by 10 points on a neutral field.  The Big 12 should have never used BCS ranking to break three-way ties, but then again the BCS shouldn’t be there in the first place for the Big 12 brass to be dumb enough to use it as its tiebreaker.

 

I don’t advocate that Texas should be in that title game instead of Oklahoma or even Texas Tech.  I don’t believe the BCS system to be credible; the vote of Oklahoma over Texas is ridiculous, and if Texas had been voted in by a miniscule amount, it would have been just as ridiculous.

 

If Oklahoma wins this week over an inferior Missouri squad, the Sooners will play for the national title against the winner of the Alabama-Florida game.  Southern Cal, Texas Tech, and Penn State, as well as Utah, Boise State, and Ball State among other top contenders will get no chance to compete for all the marbles.

 

The Top 25 had very little movement after this past weekend.  The bowl situations started to come into focus, as information started to leak out on which bowls want which teams if they are available.  So, when you read the bowl section below, realize that these are not just predictions now; some of the teams are slotted based on leaked information from bowl scouts.

 

Personally, I believe Florida and Southern Cal are the two best teams in the nation.  The Gators’ offense is as good as any college team in 13 years, while the Trojans’ defense is the best college defense in 16 years.

 

NCAA Top 25 For 2-Dec-2008

Rank

Team

PiRate

Won

Lost

1

Florida 

141

11

1

2

Oklahoma

134

11

1

3

Southern Cal

132

10

1

4

Texas

128

11

1

5

Ohio St.

127

10

2

6

Penn St.

125

11

1

7

Alabama

124

12

0

8

Ole Miss

121

8

4

9

Texas Tech

120

11

1

10

Boise State

120

12

0

11

T C U

120

10

2

12

Oregon

120

9

3

13

Utah

118

12

0

14

Missouri

118

9

3

15

Iowa

117

8

4

16

Georgia 

115

9

3

17

Ball State

114

12

0

18

California

114

7

4

19

Oklahoma St.

114

9

3

20

Clemson

113

7

5

21

Oregon State

113

8

4

22

Florida State

112

8

4

23

Rutgers

112

6

5

24

Cincinnati

111

10

2

25

Arizona

111

6

5

     

 

 

Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number

even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Clemson

4-4

7-5

113

68

45

Florida State

5-3

8-4

112

70

42

Boston College

5-3*

9-3

107

65

42

North Carolina State

4-4

6-6

106

70

36

Wake Forest

4-4

7-5

104

56

48

Maryland

4-4

7-5

101

62

39

 

 

 

 

   
Coastal Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Georgia Tech

5-3

9-3

109

68

41

Virginia Tech

5-3*

8-4

106

65

41

North Carolina

4-4

8-4

105

66

39

Miami

4-4

7-5

102

60

42

Virginia 

3-5

5-7

100

58

42

Duke

1-7

4-8

93

60

33

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Rutgers

4-2

6-5

112

67

45

Cincinnati

6-1

10-2

111

65

46

West Virginia

4-2

7-4

111

66

45

Pittsburgh

4-2

8-3

109

65

44

Connecticut

3-3

7-4

105

65

40

South Florida

2-4

7-4

105

68

37

Louisville

1-5

5-6

96

59

37

Syracuse

1-6

3-9

89

56

33

 

Big Ten

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ohio State

7-1

10-2

127

71

56

Penn State

7-1

11-1

125

76

49

Iowa

5-3

8-4

117

72

45

Wisconsin

3-5

7-5

107

71

36

Northwestern

5-3

9-3

105

64

41

Michigan State

6-2

9-3

104

64

40

Purdue

2-6

4-8

103

67

36

Illinois

3-5

5-7

102

65

37

Michigan

2-6

3-9

96

57

39

Minnesota

3-5

7-5

92

58

34

Indiana

1-7

3-9

79

54

25

 

Big 12

North Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Missouri

5-3*

9-3

118

75

43

Kansas

4-4

7-5

109

67

42

Nebraska

5-3

8-4

108

70

38

Colorado

2-6

5-7

95

57

38

Kansas State

2-6

5-7

92

67

25

Iowa State

0-8

2-10

86

57

29

South Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oklahoma

7-1

11-1

134

93

41

Texas

7-1

11-1

128

82

46

Texas Tech

7-1

11-1

120

85

35

Oklahoma State

5-3

9-3

114

71

43

Baylor

2-6

4-8

106

68

38

Texas A&M

2-6

4-8

90

56

34

 

Conference USA

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

East Carolina

6-2

8-4

98

62

36

Southern Miss.

4-4

6-6

97

64

33

Memphis

4-4

6-6

92

61

31

Marshall

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Central Florida

3-5

4-8

88

46

42

U A B

3-5

4-8

84

51

33

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Tulsa

7-1*

10-2

104

73

31

Rice

7-1

9-3

97

66

31

Houston

6-2

7-5

97

67

30

U T E P

4-4

5-7

87

59

28

S M U

0-8

1-11

78

57

21

Tulane

1-7

2-10

69

50

19

 

Independents

           
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Navy  

7-4

100

60

40

Notre Dame  

6-6

98

58

40

Army  

3-8

86

49

37

 

Mid American Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Bowling Green

4-4

6-6

103

68

35

Buffalo

5-3

7-5

96

64

32

Temple

4-4

5-7

96

57

39

Ohio U

3-5

4-8

91

51

40

Kent State

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Akron

3-5

5-7

89

60

29

Miami (O)

1-7

2-10

81

54

27

           
West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ball State

8-0

12-0

114

75

39

Western Michigan

6-2

9-3

100

63

37

Northern Illinois

5-3

6-6

98

59

39

Central Michigan

6-2

8-4

97

68

29

Eastern Michigan

2-6

3-9

88

59

29

Toledo

2-6

3-9

85

55

30

 

Mountain West Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

T C U

7-1

10-2

120

68

52

Utah

8-0

12-0

118

70

48

Brigham Young

6-2

10-2

106

67

39

Air Force

5-3

8-4

95

58

37

Colorado State

4-4

6-6

93

60

33

New Mexico

2-6

4-8

93

56

37

UNLV

2-6

5-7

85

56

29

Wyoming

1-7

4-8

85

51

34

San Diego State

1-7

2-10

76

49

27

 

Pac-10 Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Cal

7-1

10-1

132

73

59

Oregon

7-2

9-3

120

77

43

California

5-3

7-4

114

72

42

Oregon State

7-2

8-4

113

74

39

Arizona

4-4

6-5

111

74

37

Arizona State

4-4

5-6

106

65

41

Stanford

4-5

5-7

106

64

42

U C L A

3-5

4-7

99

57

42

Washington

0-8

0-11

83

55

28

Washington State

1-8

2-11

74

49

25

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida 

7-1

11-1

141

87

54

Georgia 

6-2

9-3

115

73

42

South Carolina

4-4

7-5

108

63

45

Tennessee

3-5

5-7

107

62

45

Kentucky

2-6

6-6

102

62

40

Vanderbilt

4-4

6-6

100

55

45

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Alabama

8-0

12-0

124

69

55

Ole Miss

5-3

8-4

121

74

47

L S U

3-5

7-5

106

68

38

Arkansas

2-6

5-7

102

68

34

Auburn

2-6

5-7

102

56

46

Mississippi State

2-6

4-8

97

55

42

 

Sunbelt Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Troy

5-1

7-4

104

68

36

Middle Tennessee

3-3

5-6

92

58

34

Arkansas State

4-2

6-5

90

60

30

Florida Atlantic

4-3

6-6

90

61

29

Louisiana-Monroe

3-4

4-8

87

56

31

Louisiana-Lafayette

4-2

5-6

86

64

22

Florida International

3-4

4-7

86

57

29

* Western Kentucky

0-0

2-9

82

51

31

North Texas

0-7

1-11

70

55

15

           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009      
Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008    

 

Western Athletic Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Boise State

8-0

12-0

120

74

46

Nevada

5-3

7-5

102

73

29

Louisiana Tech

5-3

7-5

94

56

38

Utah State

3-5

3-9

93

57

36

Hawaii

5-3

7-5

91

54

37

Fresno State

4-4

7-5

88

61

27

San Jose State

4-4

6-6

85

53

32

New Mexico State

1-7

3-9

74

48

26

Idaho

1-7

2-10

73

57

16

 

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

   

 

 

Wednesday, December 3  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Middle Tennessee LA.-LAFAYETTE

3

34-31

   

 

 

Thursday, December 4  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

RUTGERS Louisville

19

31-12

   

 

 

Friday, December 5  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Ball State            (Detroit) Buffalo

18

42-24

   

 

 

Saturday, December 6      
Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Pittsburgh CONNECTICUT

1

24-23

TULSA East Carolina

9

40-31

Navy Army

14

21-7

Boston College Virginia Tech

1

21-20

CALIFORNIA Washington

34

44-10

Florida Alabama

17

31-14

Southern Cal U C L A

30

30-0

FLA. INT’L Western Ky.

7

28-21

TROY Arkansas State

17

38-21

ARIZONA Arizona State

8

35-27

WEST VIRGINIA South Florida

9

30-21

Oklahoma Missouri

16

49-33

Cincinnati HAWAII

16

26-10

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

Wednesday, December 3  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

LA.-LAFAYETTE Middle Tennessee

27-24

   

 

Thursday, December 4  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

RUTGERS Louisville

34-21

   

 

Friday, December 5  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

Ball State            (Detroit) Buffalo

37-24

   

 

Saturday, December 6  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

Pittsburgh CONNECTICUT

21-21 to OT

TULSA East Carolina

42-34

Navy             (Philadelphia) Army

35-24

Boston Coll.   (Jacksonville) Virginia Tech

20-17

CALIFORNIA Washington

42-10

Florida                 (Atlanta) Alabama

27-17

Southern Cal U C L A

34-7

FLA. INT’L Western Ky.

30-20

TROY Arkansas State

34-24

ARIZONA Arizona State

28-20

WEST VIRGINIA South Florida

24-19

Oklahoma    (Kansas City) Missouri

44-31

Cincinnati HAWAII

27-17

 

Bowl Outlook By Conference

 

Teams in all CAPS have already accepted invitations to that bowl.

 

ACC

After having a new team at the top of each division for multiple weeks, Boston College and Virginia Tech both won last week when they had to win.  Now, the winner of their game will advance to the Orange Bowl, while the loser probably drops to the Champs Sports Bowl.

 

With Georgia Tech’s win over Georgia, their hometown bowl will be glad to take the Yellow Jackets.  That bowl prefers a ranked team coming off a win, and Tech fits that bill.

 

Florida State will get the Gator Bowl invitation regardless of how the ACC title game turns out.  The Gator Bowl does not want to have the loser of the title game returning to Jacksonville three weeks later.

 

1. Orange Bowl-Boston College 10-3 vs. Cincinnati

2. Chick-fil-a-Georgia Tech 9-3 vs. L S U

3. Gator-Florida State 8-4 vs. Nebraska

4. Champs Sports-Virginia Tech 8-5 vs. Wisconsin

5. Music City-North Carolina 8-4 vs. Vanderbilt

6. Meineke Car Care-Miami 7-5 vs. West Virginia

7. Eagle Bank-Wake Forest 7-5 vs. NAVY

8. Emerald-Clemson 7-5 vs. California

9. Humanitarian-Maryland 7-5 vs. Nevada

10. Hawaii (at-large)-N.C. State 6-6 vs. Southern Miss.

 

Big East

Cincinnati has clinched a BCS Bowl spot.  The Bearcats are more than likely headed to the Orange Bowl.

 

Notre Dame’s loss to USC means the Irish may not seize one of this league’s bids.  If Rutgers beats Louisville, then there will be six, seven-win bowl eligible teams for six bowls; Notre Dame would not be eligible for a Big East Bowl, so they would become the top 6-6 at-large possibility.  Should Louisville win this week, then Notre Dame will be headed to El Paso.

 

1. Orange-Cincinnati 11-2 vs. Boston College

2. Sun-Rutgers 7-5 vs. Oregon State

3. St. Petersburg-South Florida 7-5 vs. East Carolina

4. Meineke Car Care-West Virginia 8-4 vs. Miami (Fla)

5. International-Connecticut 8-4 vs. Buffalo

6. Papa John’s-Pittsburgh 8-4 vs. Middle Tennessee State

 

Big Ten

Ohio State is almost assured to get the final BCS Bowl bid over Boise State, so the Big Ten will not have enough bowl-eligible teams for their seven allotted bids.  That may open the Motor City Bowl for a possible match of undefeated teams.

 

Although not technically official, Penn State has been mathematically eliminated from moving into the National Championship Game.  Thus, I have them “officially” in the Rose Bowl.

 

1. Rose-PENN STATE 11-1 vs. Southern Cal

2. Fiesta-Ohio State 10-2 vs. Texas

3. Capital One-Michigan State 9-3 vs. Georgia

3. Outback-Iowa 8-4 vs. South Carolina

4. Champs Sports-Wisconsin 7-5 vs. Virginia Tech

5. Alamo-Northwestern 9-3 vs. Missouri

6. Insight-Minnesota 7-5 vs. Kansas

7. Motor City-No qualifying team

 

Big 12

Missouri is being overlooked by everybody but Oklahoma this week, so I expect the Sooners to drill the Tigers.

 

With two teams headed to BCS Bowls, and with Colorado failing to upset Nebraska, this league will fall two teams short.

 

1. BCS National Championship-Oklahoma 12-1 vs. Florida

2. Fiesta-Texas 11-1 vs. Ohio State

3. Cotton-Texas Tech 11-1 vs. Ole Miss

4. Gator-Nebraska 8-4 vs. Florida State

5. Holiday-Oklahoma State 9-3 vs. Oregon

6. Alamo-Missouri 9-4 vs. Northwestern

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Minnesota

8. Independence-No Qualifying Team

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

Tulsa and East Carolina are the two divisional champions, and I believe the Golden Hurricane will win the title game this week.  Rice is the best team in this league as the season ends, but the Owls will not be at the top of the list for those remaining bowl-eligible teams.  Expect to see Rice fall to the Texas Bowl.

 

Unless another bowl chooses them first, Houston may wind up in Ft. Worth playing Air Force in a rematch of a game played in the regular season.  I think Rice would be a better opponent, but the Cougars are the better drawing team. 

 

1. Liberty-Tulsa 11-2 vs. Kentucky

2. St. Petersburg-East Carolina 8-5 vs. South Florida

3. G M A C-Southern Miss. 6-6 vs. Central Michigan

4. Armed Forces-Houston 7-5 vs. Air Force

5. Texas-Rice 9-3 vs. Notre Dame

6. New Orleans-Memphis 6-6 vs. Troy

 

Independent

Navy is headed to the Eagle Bank Bowl regardless of their outcome with Army this week.  We know for sure that Maryland will not be their opponent in a possible in-state rivalry game.  The Terps have final exams that week, and they will not accept a bowl bid during exam week.

 

Notre Dame will still be invited to a bowl at 6-6.  They will be the first 6-6 team invited as an at-large team.  I believe they will be headed to Houston.

 

1. Texas (at-large)-Notre Dame 6-6 vs. Rice

2. Eagle Bank-NAVY 7-5 vs. Miami (Fla.)

 

M A C

Ball State should handle Buffalo this week.  If they do, I expect the Motor City Bowl to make a deal with the WAC to release Boise State to come to Detroit in a battle of the unbeatens.  It will thus become the top non-BCS bowl.

 

The MAC will benefit from the failure of other conferences not being able to fulfill their bowl quotas.  Three more teams (Western Michigan, Central Michigan, and Buffalo) have seven wins, so there will be one extra bowl invitation for the MAC.  I have Western Michigan playing in an at-large bowl, but there is no news leaks about where they might be headed.  I have them headed west based on the fact that Boise State won’t be selected by the Poinsettia Bowl as they have that right.

 

1. Motor City-Ball State 13-0 vs. Boise State

2. International-Buffalo 8-5 vs. Connecticut

3. G M A C-Central Michigan 9-3 vs. Southern Miss.

4. Poinsettia (at-large)-Western Michigan 9-3 vs. T C U

 

Mountain West

Utah is officially a BCS bowl invitee.  It appears that they are headed to the Big Easy to play in the Sugar Bowl.

 

BYU has been to the Las Vegas Bowl the last three years, and I believe the folks in sin city will invite the Cougars a fourth consecutive time.  TCU is still a possibility, but in this time of economic turmoil, I’m guessing it will be a number’s game that comes up craps for the Frogs.

 

1. Sugar-Utah 12-0 vs. Alabama

2. Las Vegas-B Y U 10-2 vs. Arizona

3. Poinsettia-T C U 10-2 vs. Western Michigan

4. New Mexico-Colorado State 6-6 vs. Fresno State

5. Armed Forces-Air Force 8-4 vs. Houston

 

Pac-10

Oregon made the Rose Bowl officials happy when they defeated Oregon State.  Now Southern Cal needs to defeat UCLA to return to Pasadena for another game.

 

Arizona State can still become bowl-eligible with a win at Arizona, but I think the Wildcats have a huge revenge motive that will end the season for the Sun Devils.  Thus, I have the Pac-10 falling two spots shy of fulfilling its obligations.

 

 

1. Rose-Southern Cal 11-1 vs. Penn State

2. Holiday-Oregon 9-3 vs. Oklahoma State

3. Sun-Oregon State 8-4 vs. Rutgers

4. Las Vegas-Arizona 7-5 vs. B Y U

5. Emerald-California 8-4 vs. Wake Forest

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

What happens if Florida beats Alabama in overtime or by one point in regulation?  Might there be a rematch in a month for the National Championship?  It’s not going to happen for two reasons.  First, a loss of any kind will put Alabama behind both Oklahoma and Texas.  Second, I believe Florida will win this week by double digits.  No matter which team loses, it will be headed to New Orleans.  A Florida-Utah game would be interesting because of Urban Meyer.

 

There is a rumor going around that the Capital One Bowl could take Ole Miss over Georgia.  I think that rumor has merits, but I don’t expect the Rebels to end up in Orlando.

 

1. National Championship-Florida 12-1 vs. Oklahoma

2. Sugar-Alabama 12-1 vs. Utah

3. Capital One-Georgia 10-2 vs. Ohio State

4. Outback-South Carolina 7-5 vs. Michigan State

5. Cotton-Ole Miss 8-4 vs. Texas Tech

6. Chick-fil-a-L S U 7-5 vs. Georgia Tech

7. Music City-Vanderbilt 6-6 vs. North Carolina

8. Liberty-Kentucky 6-6 vs. Tulsa

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

Troy should beat Arkansas State this weekend to wrap up the SBC title.  They will be the only seven-win team in the league, but it is likely that two six-win teams will receive at-large bids.  The winner of the UL-Lafayette-Middle Tennessee game will likely wind up in Birmingham, while either Arkansas State or Florida Atlantic will take the Independence Bowl bid.  I’m guessing ASU will be picked over FAU.  Of course, if ASU beats Troy, they will head to New Orleans.  Troy would then head to Birmingham, and ULL or MTSU will end up in Shreveport.

 

1. New Orleans-Troy 8-4 vs. Memphis

2. Independence (at-large) Arkansas State 6-6 vs. La. Tech

3. Papa John’s (at-large) Middle Tennessee 6-6 vs. Pittsburgh

 

W A C

The Boise State-Ball State mini-dream game is still full of potential pitfalls.  The Humanitarian Bowl wants to host this game, but Ball State doesn’t want to play Boise State on the blue turf.  Boise State may think Detroit is too close to Muncie, Indiana.  The Independence Bowl has been mentioned as a possible site since it will have to find two at-large teams, but the Independence Bowl is supposed to take a Sunbelt team if they don’t have an SEC team.  Louisiana Tech is a great bet to be the other at-large team in Shreveport.  I believe the Motor City Bowl is the best option.  That will allow the Humanitarian Bowl to take Nevada and cause no further bowl interruptions.  If the big game ends up in Boise, then the ACC will have to be compensated.  They have more than enough eligible teams to meet their obligations. 

 

1. Motor City-Boise State 12-0 vs. Ball State

2. Humanitarian-Nevada 6-6 vs. Maryland

3. New Mexico-Fresno State 7-5 vs. Colorado State

4. Hawaii-Hawaii 7-6 vs. North Carolina State

5. Independence (at-large)-La. Tech 8-4 vs. Arkansas St.

 

 

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.