The Pi-Rate Ratings

February 26, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for February 26, 2018 & Conference Tourneys

A lot has changed in the week since the Gurus released their bracketology seedings.  However, as of this moment, the Gurus are sticking with normalcy.  Whereas some teams might eventually be declared ineligible for the NCAA Tournament, until it happens, the Gurus are going to keep seeding the teams where their resumes show they should be seeded.  To be more precise, the Gurus are not actually seeding the teams where THEY think they should be seed, but instead they are seeding the teams where they believe THE SELECTION COMMITTEE will seed the teams.  Please make a note of this:  The Gurus are not to blame if your favorite team (hear that Nebraska fans) is not included in the field.  It is plain and simple–The Committee has a set of criteria to select its teams and place them in proper seed lines.  Where a team finishes in its conference and conference record is not even in the criteria.  So, a Cornhusker team that is 13-5 in the Big Ten and tied for fourth with Michigan is not even among the last six teams in the Dance.  Nebraska only scheduled two non-conference opponents this year that could have helped their resume.  Losing at Creighton and losing at home to Kansas is not enough to put the Cornhuskers on the Bubble.  The KU loss was by a single point, but a miss is as good as a mile.  The only win that really helps them is the home win over Michigan.  Thus, if you are a Cornhusker fan, you better hope your team is still playing this Sunday, which would be the Big Ten Championship Game.  It will take wins over Michigan and Michigan State to even put Nebraska on the Bubble, and if Nebraska makes it to the title game without facing both Michigan teams, then they must win the automatic bid with no chance to make the field any other way.  So, Nebraska fans must cheer for Michigan to win Thursday and Michigan State to win Friday, just so your team can have a chance to pick up two Quadrant One wins.

A couple of teams made major moves forward in the Bracketology Gurus seed line this week.  Tennessee moved up to the 3-line with a win over Florida and another at Ole Miss.  The Volunteers now have a chance to win the SEC regular season championship if Auburn falters and loses its final two games (at Arkansas and vs. South Carolina), while the Vols win at Mississippi State and at home against Georgia.  Auburn has lost three of its last six games and has been moderately affected by the injury loss of Anfernee McLemore, who was one of the Tigers’ few talented big men.

Mississippi State is in a similar boat as Nebraska, but the Bulldogs are in better shape.  The Bulldogs are in a third place tie in the SEC and have won 21 games overall, but unless they upset Tennessee in Starkville and then close with a win at LSU, they will have to make it to the Championship Game of the SEC Tournament to have a chance.  Even if MSU finishes with two wins, at 11-7/23-8, they will still need to do some damage in the SEC Tournament.

In the Pac-12, UCLA has collapsed, and the Bruins are now on the outside, looking in.  Utah failed to win a crucial home game against USC after knocking UCLA to the Bubble.  Washington split on the road in the Bay Area, losing at Stanford and winning at Cal, but the Huskies have that win over Kansas at Phog Allen, plus wins against Arizona, Arizona State, and USC, so they are in contention for a bid.  USC made a slight upward move with road wins over Colorado and Utah, giving the Trojans four consecutive victories.  Arizona, most likely with Lorenzo Romar as interim head coach, closes at home with Stanford and Cal, so the Wildcats are likely to edge the Trojans for the top seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, but this is a team that has been wounded and may falter early.

In the ACC, North Carolina State has now won four consecutive games to move to 10-6 in the league.  The Wolf Pack have two winnable games to close out the season, and they could sneak up to the third seed in the ACC Tournament if they get to 12-6.  First year coach Kevin Keatts, who worked the same magic at UNC-Wilmington may be the best overall coach in college basketball, and he should compete with Tony Bennett for ACC COY and National COY.

In the Big East, Butler moved up thanks to home wins over Providence and Creighton, while Seton Hall won twice to earn a three-game winning streak after suffering a four-game losing streak prior.  After a 1-4 slide in conference play, Creighton rebounded with a big win over Villanova.

Middle Tennesse State and Western Kentucky continued winning big in CUSA play, and the two mid-major powers and arch-rivals could be headed to a momentous CUSA Tournament Championship Game where only the winner will be safely in the Dance.  Old Dominion and Marshall cannot be overlooked, but it would be ashamed if neither Middle or Western get in the tournament.  Both have Sweet 16 talent.

Out West, Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, Nevada, and New Mexico State continued to win, and the first three on this list are locks for the NCAA Tournament.  NMSU might still have an outside chance to get in if they lost in the WAC Tournament, but the Aggies most likely must win the WAC automatic bid.  Grand Canyon, Utah Valley, and Seattle all have enough talent to pull off an upset.

Here is this week’s Bracket Gurus Bracketology Report

Seed Team Conference
1 Villanova B-East
1 Virginia ACC
1 Xavier B-East
1 Kansas B12
2 Duke ACC
2 Auburn SEC
2 North Carolina ACC
2 Michigan St. BTen
3 Purdue BTen
3 Cincinnati AAC
3 Tennessee SEC
3 Texas Tech B12
4 Wichita St. AAC
4 Clemson ACC
4 West Virginia B12
4 Arizona Pac12
5 Ohio St. BTen
5 Kentucky SEC
5 Gonzaga WCC
5 Rhode Island A-10
6 Michigan BTen
6 Houston AAC
6 Seton Hall B-East
6 TCU B12
7 Nevada MWC
7 Texas A&M SEC
7 Arkansas SEC
7 Florida SEC
8 Oklahoma B12
8 Arizona St. Pac12
8 Butler B-East
8 Creighton B-East
9 Florida St. ACC
9 Alabama SEC
9 Missouri SEC
9 Miami (Fla.) ACC
10 North Carolina St. ACC
10 Providence B-East
10 Virginia Tech ACC
10 Saint Mary’s WCC
11 St. Bonaventure A-10
11 Texas B12
11 Middle Tennessee CUSA
11 New Mexico St. WAC
12 Kansas St. B12
12 USC Pac12
12 Washington Pac12
12 Louisville ACC
12 Loyola (Chi.) MVC
12 UL-Lafayette SBC
13 Buffalo MAC
13 South Dakota St. Summ
13 Vermont A-East
13 Murray St. OVC
14 UNC-Greensboro Socon
14 College of Charleston CAA
14 Rider MAAC
14 Bucknell Pat
15 Montana B-Sky
15 UC-Davis B-West
15 Northern Kentucky Horiz
15 Wagner NEC
16 Penn Ivy
16 UNC-Asheville B-Sth
16 Nicholls St. SLC
16 Florida Gulf Coast A-Sun
16 Bethune-Cookman MEAC
16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff SWAC

 

Top 6 Out  Conf.
Baylor B12
UCLA Pac12
Syracuse ACC
Utah Pac12
Mississippi St. SEC
Marquette B-East

 

Last 10 Byes (highest to lowest)
Florida St.
Alabama
Missouri
Miami (Fla.)
North Carolina St.
Providence
Virginia Tech
Saint Mary’s
St. Bonaventure
Texas

 

First Four Round
Kansas St. vs. Washington
USC vs. Louisville
 
Florida Gulf Coast vs. Bethune-Cookman
Nicholls St. vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

 

Conference Tournament Action Tips Off Tonight

Championship Fortnight begins tonight, as the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament begins on campus sites.  The A-Sun holds its tournament on the home floors of the higher seeds, so tonight’s quarterfinal round finds four games playing simultaneously.  ESPN3 will carry all four games.

Here is the bracket and schedule for the A-Sun.

Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
All Times EST
       
Quarterfinals–February 26
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Florida Gulf Coast #8 USC Upstate ESPN3
7:30 PM #4 NJIT #5 North Florida ESPN3
8:00 PM #2 Lipscomb #7 Stetson ESPN3
7:00 PM #3 Jacksonville #6 Kennesaw St. ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA FGCU/USCU NJIT/N.Fla. ESPN3
TBA Lipsc./Stetson Jville/Kenn ESPN3
       
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
3:00 PM Higher Remaining Seed Lower Remaining Seed ESPN

Florida Gulf Coast (12-2/21-10) is the sexy team in this league, but the Lipscomb Bisons (10-4/20-9) are the hot team.  Lipscomb closed out the regular season on a five-game winning streak, which included a win at FGCU.  Lipscomb’s non-conference schedule was considerably stronger than FGCU, so the Bisons might be able to move up to a 15-seed if they win the automatic bid, while the Eagles and anybody else in the league would be a 16-seed.  If somebody other than the top two wins the tournament, they can book reservations in Dayton for a First Four game.

Eight other leagues begin their conference tournaments between today and Friday.  Here is a look at the brackets and schedules for these conferences.

Big South Conference Tournament
1st Round & Championship Game at Higher Seeds
Quarterfinals and Semfinals at #1 Seed
All Times EST
       
First Round–February 27
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #7 High Point #10 Longwood BSN
7:00 PM #8 Charleston Southern #9 Presbyterian BSN
BSN TV at http://bigsouthsports.com    

 

Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #2 Radford High Point or Longwood ESPN3
3:30 PM #3 Winthrop #6 Gardner-Webb ESPN3
7:00 PM #1 UNC-Asheville Presbyterian or Chas Sou. ESPN3
9:30 PM #4 Campbell #5 Liberty ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Rad/HP/Longwood Winthrop/G-Webb ESPN3
8:30 PM UNCA/Presby/Chas Sou Campbell or Liberty ESPN3
       
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
1:00 PM Higher Seed Lower Seed ESPN

 

Big Ten Conference Tournament
New York City
All Times EST
       
First Round–February 28
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM #12 Iowa #13 Illinois Big Ten
7:45 PM #11 Minnesota #14 Rutgers Big Ten
       
Second Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 Maryland #9 Wisconsin Big Ten
2:15 PM #5 Michigan Iowa or Illinois Big Ten
6:30 PM #7 Penn St. #10 Northwestern Big Ten
8:45 PM #6 Indiana Minn. or Rutgers Big Ten
       
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Michigan St. Mary or Wisc Big Ten
2:15 PM #4 Nebraska Mich/Iowa/Ill Big Ten
6:30 PM #2 Ohio St. PSU or N’Western Big Ten
8:45 PM #3 Purdue Ind/Minn/Rutg Big Ten
       
Semifinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:00 PM MSU/Mary/Wisc Neb/Mich/Iowa/Ill CBS
4:30 PM OSU/Purd/NW Purd/Ind/Minn/Rutg CBS
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:30 PM     CBS

 

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament
Albany, NY
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #8 Monmouth #9 St. Peter’s ESPN3
7:30 PM #7 Quinnipiac #10 Siena ESPN3
10:00 PM #6 Fairfield #11 Marist ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 Rider Monmouth or St. Peter’s ESPN3
9:30 PM #2 Canisius Quinn. or Siena ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #3 Niagara Fair. or Marist ESPN3
9:30 PM #4 Iona #5 Manhattan ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM Rider/Monm/St. P Iona or Manhattan ESPN3
9:30 PM Can/Quinn/Siena Niag/Fair/Marist ESPN3
       
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     TBA

 

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
St. Louis (Arch Madness)
All Times CST
       
First Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 Evansville #9 Northern Iowa ESPN3
8:30 PM #7 Missouri St. #10 Valparaiso ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Loyola (Chi.) Evansville or UNI ESPN3
2:30 PM #4 Drake #5 Bradley ESPN3
6:00 PM #2 Southern Illinois MSU or Valpo ESPN3
8:30 PM #3 Illinois St. #6 Indiana St. ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:30 PM Loyola/Evans/UNI Drake or Bradley CBSSN
5:00 PM SIU/MSU/Valpo Ill St. or Ind St. CBSSN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     CBS

 

Northeast Conference Tournament
All Games at Higher Seed
Top 8 Teams Qualify and Tournament Re-seeds after Quarterfinals
All Times EST
       
Quarterfinals–February 28
Time Home Team Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Wagner #8 Central Connecticut NEC *
7:00 PM #2 Mount St. Mary’s #7 Robert Morris NEC *
7:00 PM #3 St. Francis (PA) #6 Fairleigh-Dickinson NEC *
7:00 PM #4 Long Island #5 St. Francis (Bkn) NEC *
* NEC Front Row at http://necfrontrow.com/
       
Semifinals–March 3
Time Home Team Visitors TV
12:00 PM Highest Remaining Lowest Remaining ESPN3
2:00 PM 2nd Highest 3rd Highest ESPN3
       
Championship–March 6
Time Home Team Visitors TV
7:00 PM Higher Seed Lower Seed ESPN2

 

Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
Evansville, IN
Top 8 Teams Qualify, Southeast Missouri ineligible due to low APR Scores
All Times CST
       
First Round–February 28
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #5 Tennessee Tech #8 SIU-Edwardsville OVC
9:00 PM #6 Tennessee St. #7 Eastern Illinois OVC
OVC Network at http://www.ovcdigitalnetwork.com/watch
       
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #4 Jacksonville St. Tenn Tech or SIU-E OVC
9:00 PM #3 Austin Peay TSU or EIU OVC
       
Semifinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 Murray St. JSU/TTU/SIU-E ESPNU
9:30 PM #2 Belmont APSU/TSU/EIU ESPNU
       
Championship–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2

 

Patriot League Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
All Times EST
       
First Round–February 27
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #7 Lafayette #10 American Stadium
7:00 PM #8 Loyola (MD) #9 Army Stadium
       
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Bucknell Loyola or Army Stadium
7:00 PM #4 Lehigh #5 Boston U Stadium
7:00 PM #2 Colgate Lafayette or American Stadium
7:00 PM #3 Navy #6 Holy Cross Stadium
       
Semifinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
12/2 Bucknell/Loyola/Army Lehigh or Boston U CBSSN
12/2 Colgate/Lafayette/American Navy or Holy Cross CBSSN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
7:30 PM     CBSSN

 

Southern Conference Tournament
Asheville, NC
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #8 The Citadel #9 VMI ESPN3
7:30 PM #7 Samford #10 Chattanooga ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 UNC-Greensboro Citadel or VMI ESPN3
2:30 PM #4 Mercer #5 Wofford ESPN3
6:00 PM #2 East Tennessee St. Samford or Chatt. ESPN3
8:30 PM #3 Furman #6 Western Carolina ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM UNCG/Cit/VMI Mercer or Wofford ESPN3
6:30 PM ETSU/Sam/Chatt Furman or WCU ESPN3
       
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2

 

West Coast Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 Loyola Marymount #9 Portland NBCSN
8:00 PM #7 Santa Clara #10 Pepperdine NBCSN
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #3 BYU #6 San Diego NBCSN
3:00 PM #4 San Francisco #5 Pacific NBCSN
7:00 PM #1 Gonzaga LMU or Portland ESPN2
9:00 PM #2 Saint Mary’s Santa Clara or Pepperdine ESPN2
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Gonz/LMU/Portland USF or Pacific ESPN
8:00 PM SMU/SCU/Pepperdine BYU or USD ESPN2
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM     ESPN

All conference tournament brackets will be updated the morning after any conference games have been played. Check back here for up-to-date schedules and tip times.

 

 

 

 

 

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December 27, 2017

PiRate Ratings–College Basketball Issue 1 2017-18

Normally, we do not commence with our basketball coverage until after New Year’s Day, but this year all 351 Division 1 teams have reached the 10-game plateau before the turn of the year.  It takes our PiRate Ratings 10 games into everybody’s schedule before the average statistics calm down enough to make our ratings worth a grain of salt.

We have made a couple of changes this season.  First, our Red, White, and Blue ratings have been sent to the scrap pile.  They were just minor variations in the algorithm of the stats we use to determine power ratings.  Instead, beginning this season, we have put all three algorithms together into one conglomerate rating, simply “The PiRate Rating.”

We have been in contact with most of our Bracketology Gurus from last year, and we hope to have this function up and running soon.  We are still efforting to contact two of our past contributors, and we hope they will soon return to the ship.  As some of our loyal followers remember last season, our Gurus were 100% accurate, 68 for 68, in picking the NCAA Tournament teams on the morning of Selection Sunday.  As far as we can tell, no national bracketologist matched this feat.

The lineup this year is for a bracketology composite to be released on Monday or Tuesday (depends on when all our Gurus get their data to us), and for a preview of the weekend games of the top conferences to be issued on Friday afternoons.  Unfortunately, since we are not automated, we cannot release selections for all 351 teams nor for weekday games.  We will limit our selections to Saturday and Sunday conference games and games between NCAA contenders of the power leagues.  We will also release our ratings of the power conferences.  For those that want more information on mid-major and low-major conferences, we will periodically report on these conference races, beginning with our first one today.

The PiRate Ratings Top 25 for December 27, 2017

A rating of 100 is the national average.  115 or above is a final four caliber team.

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 121.4 BE
2 Duke 120.0 ACC
3 Michigan St. 119.8 B10
4 Purdue 119.7 B10
5 Kansas 119.4 B12
6 Virginia 117.4 ACC
7 North Carolina 116.8 ACC
8 Xavier 115.9 BE
9 Texas A&M 115.9 SEC
10 West Virginia 115.8 B12
11 Wichita St. 115.4 AAC
12 Gonzaga 115.2 WCC
13 Arizona St. 115.0 P12
14 Texas Tech 115.0 B12
15 Cincinnati 114.9 AAC
16 Oklahoma 114.7 B12
17 Arkansas 114.6 SEC
18 Arizona 114.5 P12
19 Creighton 114.1 BE
20 Florida St. 113.4 ACC
21 Tennessee 113.4 SEC
22 Miami FL 113.2 ACC
23 Seton Hall 113.1 BE
24 TCU 113.1 B12
25 Clemson 112.8 ACC

Rankings By Top Conferences

Team PiRate Conf.
Wichita St. 115.4 AAC
Cincinnati 114.9 AAC
SMU 112.0 AAC
Houston 110.6 AAC
Temple 106.7 AAC
UCF 104.5 AAC
Tulsa 102.2 AAC
Connecticut 101.3 AAC
Tulane 100.6 AAC
Memphis 99.0 AAC
South Florida 92.9 AAC
East Carolina 91.7 AAC
Duke 120.0 ACC
Virginia 117.4 ACC
North Carolina 116.8 ACC
Florida St. 113.4 ACC
Miami FL 113.2 ACC
Clemson 112.8 ACC
Virginia Tech 112.6 ACC
Notre Dame 112.5 ACC
Louisville 111.3 ACC
Syracuse 108.2 ACC
North Carolina St. 107.4 ACC
Wake Forest 105.8 ACC
Boston College 105.2 ACC
Georgia Tech 100.6 ACC
Pittsburgh 98.4 ACC
Michigan St. 119.8 B10
Purdue 119.7 B10
Michigan 111.9 B10
Maryland 111.8 B10
Minnesota 110.5 B10
Ohio St. 110.1 B10
Penn St. 109.5 B10
Northwestern 108.4 B10
Wisconsin 106.7 B10
Iowa 106.4 B10
Illinois 106.3 B10
Indiana 104.6 B10
Rutgers 104.4 B10
Nebraska 104.2 B10
Kansas 119.4 B12
West Virginia 115.8 B12
Texas Tech 115.0 B12
Oklahoma 114.7 B12
TCU 113.1 B12
Baylor 112.1 B12
Texas 111.6 B12
Kansas St. 109.3 B12
Oklahoma St. 109.0 B12
Iowa St. 105.1 B12
Villanova 121.4 BE
Xavier 115.9 BE
Creighton 114.1 BE
Seton Hall 113.1 BE
Butler 110.3 BE
St. John’s 108.8 BE
Marquette 108.4 BE
Providence 106.3 BE
Georgetown 103.4 BE
DePaul 103.0 BE
Nevada 112.3 MWC
San Diego St. 109.0 MWC
UNLV 108.9 MWC
Boise St. 107.6 MWC
Fresno St. 106.3 MWC
Utah St. 101.3 MWC
Wyoming 101.0 MWC
New Mexico 99.4 MWC
Colorado St. 96.5 MWC
Air Force 92.7 MWC
San Jose St. 92.4 MWC
Arizona St. 115.0 P12
Arizona 114.5 P12
USC 110.4 P12
Oregon 109.8 P12
UCLA 107.9 P12
Utah 107.4 P12
Colorado 102.3 P12
Stanford 101.7 P12
Washington 101.7 P12
Oregon St. 100.4 P12
Washington St. 100.4 P12
California 97.6 P12
Texas A&M 115.9 SEC
Arkansas 114.6 SEC
Tennessee 113.4 SEC
Kentucky 111.8 SEC
Florida 111.4 SEC
Auburn 111.0 SEC
Missouri 110.0 SEC
Alabama 108.3 SEC
South Carolina 106.9 SEC
Vanderbilt 106.2 SEC
Georgia 106.1 SEC
LSU 106.0 SEC
Mississippi St. 105.8 SEC
Mississippi 105.3 SEC
Gonzaga 115.2 WCC
Saint Mary’s 110.9 WCC
BYU 107.2 WCC
San Diego 102.5 WCC
San Francisco 100.4 WCC
Pacific 97.0 WCC
Loyola Marymount 96.7 WCC
Santa Clara 93.8 WCC
Portland 93.1 WCC
Pepperdine 92.3 WCC

A Look at the 22, One Bid Leagues

America East
Albany has the best record at 11-3, and one of their three losses was by just two points against Louisville, while Vermont at 8-5 has played a slightly tougher schedule and has narrow misses at Kentucky, Marquette, and St. Bonaventure. Vermont ran the table in the AmEast last year, and the Catamounts are the team to beat.

Atlantic Sun
Florida Gulf Coast (7-7) was supposed to be the class of the A-Sun this year with a team similar to their great past squads under former coach Andy Enfield. However, they look like the third best team as conference play begins. Lipscomb (9-4) swept rival and perennial NCAA Tournament team Belmont in a home and home series, and they stayed close with a ranked Tennessee team. NJIT (7-6) appears to be the other team capable of winning the conference race. Of course, this league could easily see a middle of the pack team win the conference tournament. The tournament is played on campus, so the top seed will have home court advantage throughout. Lipscomb is currently 5-0 at home, so this is something to keep an eye on for the next several weeks.

Big Sky
Portland State (10-3) is the cream of the class as the year ends, but this league has some talented teams, and the Vikings will not run the table and easily earn the lone NCAA bid. Challenges will come from Idaho (8-4), Northern Colorado (9-5), Weber State (7-5), and Montana (7-5). Portland State averages over 90 points per game and led Duke at the half earlier this year. They have an outstanding pair of tall guard in Deontae North and Bryce Canda, and this is a team that could be a #13 seed that can beat a #4 seed in the Round of 64.

Big South
The conference race starts with three teams appearing to be above the rest of the league, but this looks like a bit of a down year in the Big South. Liberty (9-4) has a win at Wake Forest, but they also lost at home to Mercer. The Flames have the best defense in the league, led by Bradley transfer Scottie James at power forward. Winthrop (6-5) has the superior offense in the league, thrice exceeding 100 points so far. However, all three of those centennial-topping games came against non-Division I teams. Against a decent team like Auburn, the Eagles gave up 119 points and lost by 34. UNC-Asheville (7-6) has underachieved in November and December, but with three quality starters in Macio Teague, Ahmad Thomas, and Kevin Vannatta, the Bulldogs can still put it together and win the league again.

Big West
UCSB (10-3) has the highest power rating so far, but the three co-favorites to win the conference are just behind and not by much. UC-Davis (8-5), Cal State Fullerton (7-4), and UC-Irvine (5-10) will be there in March. UC-Irvine’s poor record is a bit misleading, as the Anteaters have played a gruesome schedule that includes losses to South Dakota State, Kansas State, Arizona State, UCLA, Nevada, and Saint Mary’s, all who could be in the NCAA Tournament.

Colonial
Towson (10-3) has the best overall record, but their 10 wins have come against nobody special. Charleston (9-3) is in a similar boat with no significant wins. Northeastern (7-5), Hofstra (7-5), and William & Mary (7-4) play much better on their home floors than when away from home, and this group of five teams should contend for top honors. William & Mary may be the team with the potential to improve the most in the next two months and emerge as the favorite. With just a little defensive improvement, the Tribe could be scary in an opening round game.

Conference USA
We will have to monitor this league a bit closer, because there is a small possibility that this league could move up into the multiple bid leagues. Middle Tennessee (8-4) is trying to emerge as the Gonzaga of the South. The Blue Raiders have won back-to-back opening round NCAA Tournament games over Big Ten teams the last two seasons, and they beat Vanderbilt and Ole Miss so far. Their four losses have been to teams that should be in the NCAA Tournament (Belmont, Auburn, USC, and Miami), and they nearly beat USC and Miami in Honolulu. Five other teams could contend with the heavily favored Blue Raiders, and that is where CUSA could eventually get a second team in the Dance. Old Dominion (9-3) has an excellent controlled offense and quality defense, the type that can win conference tournaments in March. Western Kentucky (8-5) has the talent to pull off three conference tournament wins. The Hilltoppers beat Purdue and SMU and lost a narrow game to Villanova, so they will be tough in conference play. Louisiana Tech (9-4), UAB (9-4), and Marshall (9-4) all have stellar offensive games, and in this league, any of this trio could get hot in March and win the conference tournament. If MTSU wins the regular season title with only one or two losses and then loses in the CUSA Tournament Championship Game, the league could get that second bid. For now, we leave this as a one-bid league.

Horizon
Northern Kentucky (7-5) was supposed to win this conference with ease this year after earning its first ever NCAA Tournament bid last year. Oakland (8-5) and Wright State (8-5) look like serious challengers this year. Oakland can score 100 points or give up 100 points on a random night, while Wright State can hold an opponent under 50 points or struggle to score 50 points on a random night. Neither team is complete enough to win a game in the Round of 64.

Ivy
Now that there is a four-team post-season tournament in this league, determining the upper division is more important than ever. This year, it looks rather easy to determine which four teams will make the tournament, as there is quite a division between number four and number five. Penn (8-4), Princeton (7-7), Yale (6-8), and Harvard (5-7) should be the top four in some order or another. Princeton has the best win, besting USC in Los Angeles.

Metro Atlantic
This looks like an off year for Monmouth (4-8). The Hawks could not pull off any signature wins in the pre-conference schedule, and it leaves Iona (6-6) as the only team capable of winning an opening round game in the NCAA Tournament. If any other MAAC team wins the automatic bid, chances are high they will play an early game in Dayton.

Mid-American
This is possibly the most balanced league this year, but then this isn’t anything new. The MAC has several good but not great teams. As many as eight teams have the talent to win the conference tournament, but chances are rather strong that whoever that team is, they will make a quick departure in the Big Dance, losing by a modest amount to their favored opponent. Central Michigan (10-2) has no special wins with a seven point loss at Michigan being their top resume opponent. Eastern Michigan (8-3) can score points quickly in their up-tempo offense, but the Eagles lack the defense to become scary. Ball State (8-4) has a seven-game winning streak, which includes the best win in the league, a win at Notre Dame, and the Cardinals need to be watched a little closer to see if this may develop into something impressive. Other teams to watch include Buffalo (7-5), Ohio (6-5), Toledo (7-5), Western Michigan (7-5), and Kent State (6-6). You can pick one of these eight teams out of a hat and have as good a chance at predicting the NCAA recipient with the same accuracy as the top prognosticators.

Mideastern Athletic
This league has been known to produce some surprise upset winners in the past, including a 15-seed knocking off a 2-seed. Even though no MEAC teams have impressive pre-conference records, the top members are competitive and tend to improve in February and March as they gain confidence from a lot of league wins. Keep an eye on UNC-Central (5-8). While the Eagles have no signature wins, they have lost some close games to good teams. If UNCC doesn’t win the conference, then it will most likely go to either North Carolina A&T (7-7) or Morgan State (4-7).

Missouri Valley
Don’t be confused by the Valley becoming a one-bid league. You may not have realized that Wichita State no longer is a member. The Shockers moved to the American Athletic Conference, leaving the MVC without a major power. Thus, the winner at Arch Madness in St. Louis will get the one bid available to this league. As of now, Missouri State (11-3) and Loyola (Chi.) (10-3) look like the class of the league. The two teams squared off at MSU to begin conference play, and the Bears pulled off a narrow home victory. Other teams to keep an eye on include Bradley (10-3), new member Valparaiso (9-4), and Northern Iowa (8-4).

Northeast
This looks like a First Four Game league with the winner going to Dayton. As of this writing, seven of the league’s ten members are bunched rather closely, although not as much so as the MAC. St. Francis (Pa.) (6-5) has the most impressive resume to date, but the Red Flash have very little to show. They played toe-to-toe on the road against Saint Mary’s for 14 minutes, before they fell far behind early in the second half. They stayed within a few points at Louisville for 17 minutes and even went on a 24-10 run in the second half, but they still lost by double digits. But, they also trailed Duke by 30 points in the first 10 minutes of the game. So, this is still a team that nobody will fear, even in the opening round in Dayton. Wagner (7-4) and Robert Morris (6-7) look like the top two contenders, but the talent in this league is not strong enough to say that these three are surely the best three in the league. It will take 5 or 6 conference games before the true contenders are known.

Ohio Valley
The OVC looks to be an improved league in 2018, but they still have a long way to go before it threatens to be a two-bid league. Perennial favorite Belmont (8-5) has been hot and cold so far, beating Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee, and Western Kentucky, and narrowly losing to Providence and unbeaten TCU, but they also were swept by neighborhood rival Lipscomb in their annual home and home series. Former dominant league member Murray State (8-3) is on the rise once again, and the Racers have a balanced offense, capable of scoring inside and from behind the arc. Jacksonville State (9-4) is an up and comer, and the led deep into the second half at Mississippi State and missed on two good looks in the final 5 seconds in a one point loss at Oregon State.

Patriot
Navy (9-4) and Army (7-4) have the two best records in the league in the preseason, but Bucknell (6-7) appears to be the class of the league like usual. The Bison began 0-4 with a tough three-game stretch that saw them play at Arkansas, North Carolina, and Maryland in the same week, losing close games in the latter two. Bucknell actually led the Terps by 15 at the half. This will be a team that could give a favorite fits in a Round of 64 NCAA Tournament game.

Southern
This league is better than most national media give it credit. In fact, there are four teams this year that have the talent to win a game in the NCAA Tournament, and maybe one team has Sweet 16 potential. That team is East Tennessee State (8-4). The Buccaneers lost by just two at Xavier and led at Kentucky by 10 points in the first half, so they have the potential to pull off an upset in the Dance. Furman (9-4), UNC-Greensboro (9-4), and Mercer (6-6) look to be the other top contenders.

Southland
Stephen F. Austin (11-2) has become the Kansas of this league, and any talk of picking a league champion starts here. The Lumberjacks’ two losses came by slim margins on the road against SEC teams, while they also won at LSU. SFA’s top rivals this year include Abilene Christian (8-5), Lamar (8-5), and Central Arkansas (6-7).

Southwestern Athletic
This is the league that always puts its conference champion in Dayton for an opening round game. It is continually the last-place team in power ratings every year, and this year is no different. How weak is the SWAC? Consider that five teams (Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Mississippi Valley St., Texas Southern, and Arkanas-Pine Bluff are a combined 0-65! Yes, the best record among this quintet is ASU’s 0-12 record. Yet, it would not be surprising if one of these teams eventually wins the conference tournament and gets an automatic bid with 20 losses. Texas Southern (0-13) actually possesses the best PiRate Rating as of today. The best records in the pre-season belong to Grambling (4-8) and Alcorn State (4-9). While Alcorn’s four wins came against non-Division I teams, at least Grambling owns a win over Georgia Tech.

Summitt
Like CUSA, this league is close to moving into potential two-bid status. That’s because South Dakota (12-4) is on the cusp of contending for an at-large bid. The Coyotes have come the closest to knocking off unbeaten TCU, losing by just 5 (it was a 1-point game in the final minute). Two of their other three losses came against Duke and UCLA on the road, and they were very competitive in both contests. Rival South Dakota State (11-5) won at Ole Miss and defeated Iowa on a neutral floor, and they dropped close games to Colorado and Wichita State. Fort Wayne (9-6) is one of the most inconsistent teams in the nation, but if they ever get their act together for three consecutive games, the Mastodons could earn the automatic bid. For the second year in a row, FW clobbered Indiana, winning by 20 at Assembly Hall. They led at Kentucky until just before halftime. But, you never know what Mastodon team will show up.

Sun Belt
Most people think of this as a football conference, but the SBC is a tough mid-major basketball league as well. While there is no chance that more than one team will make it to the NCAA Tournament this year, there are three quality teams that have the talent to make it to the Round of 32. Louisiana-Lafayette (10-3) is one of the most exciting teams to watch. The Ragin’ Cajuns can press the action on both ends of the floor, and they can pound it inside with a couple of talented forwards in Bryce Washington and JaKeenan Grant. Georgia Southern (9-4), Texas-Arlington (9-4), and Georgia State (9-4) look to be the top contenders. All four of these conference foes are talented enough to win in the Round of 64. Keep an eye on UTA’s multi-talented big man Kevin Hervey. He can score inside and outside like a mini-LeBron.

Western Athletic
There are two WAC teams that nobody will want to face in a Round of 64 game, and chances are high that one of the dynamic duo will make the Dance. New Mexico State (11-3) sneaked into the Championship game of the Hawaii Diamondhead Classic after beating previously undefeated Miami. It took a deep three by USC’s Bennie Boatwright to keep the Aggies from winning the tournament. NMSU also owns an impressive double-digit win over Illinois. This is Grand Canyon’s (9-4) first year as an eligible NCAA Tournament team and former NBA great Dan Majerle has a team made up of tough competitors. GCU goes 10-deep without much drop in talent, and this team plays together with no real star. If not for some weak shooting nights, the Antelopes would be the overwhelming favorite, but for now, they remain a co-favorite.

By our count, that leaves 46 bids to be doled out to the remaining 10 conferences. We think as of today that the West Coast, Mountain West and Atlantic 10 conferences will receive just two bids. That will then leave 40 bids for the top seven leagues, or an average of 5.7 teams per power conference.

Predictions for Saturday-Sunday power conference games coming Friday afternoon

 

 

October 29, 2014

PiRate Ratings College Football Playoffs and Bowl Projections

For the projected bowl matchups, as well as ratings and predicted spreads, go to our website at:

http://www.piratings.webs.com

The committee has anted up and thrown out its opening bid, and the public is ready to call its bluff. The three of a kind known as the SEC West will not be the ultimate winning hand in this revolving poker game.

If you haven’t seen the opening ratings for the college football playoffs, it goes like this:

1. Mississippi State
2. Florida State
3. Auburn
4. Ole Miss
5. Oregon
6. Alabama
7. T C U
8. Michigan State
9. Kansas State
10. Notre Dame
11. Georgia
12. Arizona
13. Baylor
14. Arizona State
15. Nebraska
16. Ohio State
17. Utah
18. Oklahoma
19. L S U
20. West Virginia
21. Clemson
22. U C L A
23. East Carolina
24. Duke
25. Louisville

If the season ended today, there would be omelets served in New Orleans on New Year’s Day, as Ole Miss and Mississippi State would hook up to make the Sugar Bowl, the Egg Bowl, part deux. Florida State and Auburn would hook up in the Rose Bowl.

Of course, the season did not end Saturday, and these ratings are going to change, as these teams lose games. Ole Miss and Mississippi State will play in the real Egg Bowl, producing one loser. Ole Miss and Auburn play this week. Alabama still must play LSU, Mississippi State, and Auburn. Auburn and Georgia must play. These teams will cannibalize each other, and it could end up with all the SEC teams suffering two losses.

Florida State has a trap game tomorrow night at Louisville, and the Seminoles may or may not have a legitimate running back able to play, while former Auburn star back Michael Dyer just emerged from a two year sabbatical to torch North Carolina State for 173 yards.

In the Big Ten, Michigan State and Ohio State must still face off in a couple weeks, and the winner of this game could face a one-loss Nebraska team in the Big Ten Championship Game, although we are not ready to say the Cornhuskers are headed to an 11-1 finish.

Oklahoma must still play Baylor in the Big 12, while Baylor must also still play Kansas State. TCU has games remaining against West Virginia and Kansas State. There could be no one-loss teams left here by December 7.

Out West, the Pac-12 is very competitive, and there are still one-loss teams in Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, and Utah. UCLA, USC, Stanford, Washington, and Oregon State could all play spoiler.

Notre Dame still has one loss, but the Irish have tough road games against Arizona State and USC.

For those fans that want an eight-team playoff, you really have a chance to consider the rest of the season a 16-team playoff, because any of the top 16 could possibly move up into the top four depending on how all these crucial games turn out.

Let’s take a look at how we see the rest of the season playing out. It is surely not going to be this way, but we want to make it interesting to read, while still looking possible.

All won-loss records shown are predicted final records and not current records.

The Group of Five

These five conferences are the leagues competing for one guaranteed spot in the New Year’s Eve/Day Big Four Bowls (Orange, Fiesta, Cotton, Peach). As of today, East Carolina from the American Athletic Conference is the highest only rated team, but we believe the Pirates will stub their toe one more time this year and allow another team to pass them. Marshall, Central Florida, and Boise State appear to be the only two other teams capable of moving into the top spot.

American Athletic Conference
UCF lost two games early, but the Knights have run off five straight wins and look to be on a roll. Their season-ender at ECU will decide the league title, and we are going to stick with George O’Leary’s squad until somebody beats them.

East Carolina has a couple of tough games to play before hosting UCF on December 4. They venture to Temple this weekend and follow that up with a road game at Cincinnati after a bye week.

Cincinnati, Houston, and Memphis still hold feint hopes of backing into the crown, while Temple is looking for bowl eligibility for the first time since 2011, and the Owls have a tough closing schedule.

1. St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida (8-0/10-2)
2. Miami Beach Bowl: East Carolina (7-1/10-2)
3. Armed Forces Bowl: Houston (6-2/8-4)
4. Military Bowl: Cincinnati (6-2/8-4)
5. Birmingham Bowl: Memphis (6-2/8-4)

Also Bowl Eligible: Temple (4-4/6-6)

Conference USA
Marshall has a better than 50-50 chance of running the table, and we believe the Thundering Herd has the best chance of winning the big prize for the Group of 5 teams. A road game against mediocre UAB and the conference title game, most likely against Louisiana Tech, are the only two possible road blocks. Coach Doc Holliday figures to be a key player in the Power 5 coaching carousel, as he may be the best recruiter in the business. He could be a wildcard in the Florida coaching search.

It looks like as many as seven CUSA teams will become bowl eligible for five guaranteed bids, but three will be mired at 6-6. Geography may help the league place all their bowl eligible teams in bowls if Marshall garners the big prize.

1. Peach Bowl: Marshall (8-0/13-0)
2. Hawaii Bowl: Louisiana Tech (7-1/8-5)
3. Bahamas Bowl: U T E P (5-3/7-5)
4. Boca Raton Bowl: Middle Tennessee (5-3/7-5)
5. New Mexico Bowl: Rice (4-4/6-6)
6. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Western Kentucky (3-5/6-6)
7. Independence Bowl (at-large invitation): U A B (4-4/6-6)

Mid-American Conference
Toledo is the highest-rated team, but the Rockets are too far down in the pecking order to contend for a New Year’s Big Four Bowl. Until a MAC team beats Toledo, we are going to call for the Rockets to run the table in the regular season. But, like in more than half the seasons, we believe the upset could send the underdog team to the top bowl.

The parity among the rest of the league means that as many as eight teams could get to six wins this year. The MAC is only allotted five bowls, so three teams could be left jilted at the end of the year, unless a Midwestern or Northeastern Bowl needs an at-large team.

1. Bahamas Bowl: Bowling Green (6-2/9-4)
2. Boca Raton Bowl: Toledo (8-0/9-4)
3. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Western Michigan (6-2/8-4)
4. Camellia Bowl: Central Michigan (6-2/8-4)
5. GoDaddy.com Bowl: Northern Illinois (4-4/7-5)

Also Bowl Eligible
Akron (5-3/7-5)
Ball State (5-3/6-6)
Ohio (4-4/6-6)

Mountain West Conference
Boise State’s loss at Air Force on September 27 is the only reason the Broncos are not the leading candidate from the Group of 5 leagues to make a New Year’s bowl. Their other loss is to Ole Miss, which is much better than East Carolina’s lone loss to South Carolina. If ECU loses again, and Marshall loses at all, the Broncos can earn the big bowl by winning out. A season finale against Utah State and a conference championship game against a weaker opponent is all that stands in their way of going 11-2.

Colorado State has just one loss this year, but it was to Boise State. The Rams could easily run the table and finish 11-1, and even with a win at Boston College, CSU does not figure to pass Boise State if the Broncos do not lose. Backroom politics could provide the Rams or Boise a shot at moving up to a better bowl even though there are no real rules for such a thing to happen. It has happened in the past.

1. Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State (7-1/11-2)
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Colorado State (7-1/11-1)
3. Hawaii Bowl: Utah State (6-2/9-4)
4. New Mexico Bowl: Air Force (4-4/8-4)
5. New Orleans Bowl: Nevada (5-3/8-5)
6. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: San Diego State (5-3/7-5)
7. Cactus Bowl (alternate affiliate): Fresno State (5-3/6-6)

Sunbelt Conference
The Sunbelt Conference is perpetually the weakest overall league, but it most frequently produces surplus bowl eligible teams that get selected to Southern bowls needing at-large teams. Look for more of the same this year, as there will be at least five bowl eligible SBC teams for just three bowl tie-ins. We believe four of the five bowl eligible teams will be playing late in December or early in January.

Louisiana-Lafayette and Georgia Southern do not play each other this season, and chances are decent that they both will finish unbeaten in league play to split the title. ULL has been to the New Orleans Bowl three years running, and they might as well start putting this game on their regular schedule, because the folks in the Big Easy would like nothing more than to invite the Ragin’ Cajuns for a fourth straight year.

1. GoDaddy.com Bowl: Georgia Southern (8-0/10-2)
2. New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette (8-0/9-3)
3. Camellia Bowl: Arkansas State (6-2/8-4)
4. Independence Bowl (at-large invitation): South Alabama (5-3/6-6)

Also Bowl Eligible: Texas State (5-3/7-5)

Independents
Notre Dame is part of the Power 5 and not included in this section. Army, BYU, and Navy are all guaranteed specific bowls if they become bowl eligible. BYU is fading fast, but the Cougars should get that sixth win with UNLV and Savannah State still on the schedule. Navy might need an unbelievable 13th consecutive win over Army to get to six wins, but as of this week, we believe the Midshipmen will do it. Army will not get there this year, as the Black Knights have losses to Yale and Kent State. Navy will be their bowl game on December 13 in Baltimore.

1. Miami Beach Bowl: B Y U (6-6)
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Navy (6-6)

The Power 5

Atlantic Coast Conference
Florida State can ill afford to drop an ACC game and expect to stay ahead of a host of other one-loss teams. The Seminoles have a lot of outside interference getting in their way at the present time, and a Thursday night nationally televised game at Louisville looks tricky at the moment. FSU must consider this game their “Sweet 16” round game in the playoffs, with their “Elite 8” game coming in the ACC Championship Game.

Duke is still technically alive for the Playoffs, but the Blue Devils would have to run the table and then handily defeat a 12-0 FSU team to have even a remote chance of finishing in the top four. A Duke team at 11-2 and as the highest ranked ACC team after Florida State, could force the Orange Bowl to invoke their clause, where they could invite Big Ten and SEC opponents, forcing Duke into the Buffalo Wild Wings (formerly Capital One) Bowl.

Notre Dame is included in the ACC grouping, and the Irish need to finish 11-1 or 10-2 to earn a Big Four New Year’s bowl. We believe they will.

Clemson is still in the mix for an Orange Bowl bid, but the Tigers must handle arch-rival South Carolina and still have a tricky game at Georgia Tech. We aren’t sure CU has the horses this year to win both games.

Louisville has a lot riding on their big game tomorrow night against Florida State. If the Cardinals win, they could possibly get on a roll, win at both Boston College and Notre Dame and finish 10-2 to get into the mix for the Orange Bowl. If they lose a heartbreaker, things could go the other way, and UL could be 6-5 when they host Kentucky on November 29.

The Coastal Division is looking more and more mixed up. Duke controls their own destiny, while the other six teams could all finish 6-6 or better. We believe one team will sink in the sunset while allowing the other teams to get bowl eligible. Virginia has suffered some disheartening losses this year, and we believe the Cavaliers will fall apart and fail to get to six wins.

Even with Notre Dame included in the bowl tie-ins, because both the Irish and Florida State appear to be headed to games outside the ACC contracts, this league will fall two teams shy in their obligations to bowls, opening up room for two other Southern bowl eligible teams to gain tickets to the waltz.

1. PLAYOFFS—Rose Bowl: Florida State (8-0/13-0)
2. Cotton Bowl: Notre Dame (10-2)
3. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Duke (7-1/11-2)
4. Russell Athletic Bowl: Clemson (7-1/9-3)
5. Gator Bowl: Georgia Tech (5-3/8-4)
6. Belk Bowl: Louisville (4-4/7-5)
7. Sun Bowl: Virginia Tech (4-4/7-5)
8. Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College (4-4/7-5)
9. Military Bowl: North Carolina (4-4/6-6)
10. Quick Lane Bowl: Miami (5-3/8-4)

Big Ten Conference
The Michigan State and Ohio State winner should sneak up into the top four if that team wins the Big Ten Championship Game as well. We believe that will happen, and the loser of the OSU-MSU game will still earn a Big Four New Year’s bowl with two losses.

With two teams expected to play in part of the overall Big Six bowl games, the Big Ten may not have enough bowl eligible teams for all their allotted spots. Teams like Maryland, Rutgers, Illinois, and Northwestern still have work to do to get to six wins. Indiana and Purdue are not included as possible bowl eligible teams at this point. For sanity’s sake, and to provide a surplus of one team to become an a quality at-large bowl invitee, we will call for UM, RU, IU, and NU to all finish 6-6.

1. PLAYOFFS—Rose Bowl: Michigan State (8-0/12-1)
2. Orange Bowl: Ohio State (7-1/10-2)
3. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Nebraska (5-3/9-3)
4. Outback Bowl: Wisconsin (6-2/9-4)
5. Holiday Bowl: Iowa (5-3/8-4)
6. Music City Bowl: Penn State (3-5/7-5)
7. San Francisco Bowl: Minnesota (4-4/7-5)
8. Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers (2-6/6-6)
9. Quick Lane Bowl: Illinois (3-5/6-6)
10. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Maryland (3-5/6-6)
11. St. Petersburg Bowl (at-large invitation): Northwestern (5-3/6-6)

Big 12 Conference
This is the league where a one-loss team has the unfortunate best chance to miss out on the playoffs to a one-loss Big Ten team. TCU and Baylor may not garner the same prestige as Michigan State and Ohio State, and thus the loser of this political game may have to settle for a Cotton Bowl bid, while a second Big 12 team winds up in the Fiesta Bowl, and a third team could go to Atlanta in the Peach Bowl against the Group of 5 invitee.

Texas, Texas Tech, Iowa State, and Kansas are virtually out of contention for bowl eligibility. With three teams expected to play in New Year’s bowls and just six probably bowl eligible teams, this league will not meet its obligations to supply seven bowls with teams.

1. Cotton Bowl: T C U (8-1/11-1)
2. Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma (7-2/10-2)
3. Peach Bowl: Baylor (7-2/10-2)
4. Alamo Bowl: Kansas State (6-3/8-4)
5. Russell Athletic Bowl: West Virginia (6-3/8-4)
6. Liberty Bowl: Oklahoma St. (4-5/6-6)

Pac-12 Conference
The Pac-12 still has four one-loss teams in both Arizona’s, Utah, and Oregon. We believe one team will emerge at 12-1, but because we are picking Arizona to be that team, the Wildcats would have to leapfrog Michigan State, after the Spartans beat Ohio State and either Wisconsin or Nebraska.

Oregon may find itself a victim of geographical circumstances if the Ducks do not win out and finish 12-1. At 11-2, Oregon might take a backseat to two-loss teams more than 1,000 miles closer to bowls available.

If no team from this league makes the playoffs, there will be surplus bowl eligible teams, and this league will be at the top in priority when other bowls start to look for at-large invitees.

1. Fiesta Bowl: Arizona (8-1/12-1)
2. Alamo Bowl: Oregon (7-1/11-2)
3. Holiday Bowl: Arizona St. (7-2/10-2)
4. San Francisco Bowl: U C L A (6-3/9-3)
5. Sun Bowl: U S C (6-3/7-5)
6. Las Vegas Bowl: Washington (4-5/8-5)
7. Cactus Bowl: Stanford (5-4/7-5)
8. Texas Bowl (at-large invitation): Utah (4-5/7-5)
9. Armed Forces Bowl (at-large invitation): Oregon State (3-6/6-6)

Southeastern Conference
The league that perpetually wears the black hat or is like rooting for the Yankees once again appears to be the strongest of all, but cannibalization in November is going to remove at least one of the projected three playoff spots.

Mississippi State is number one and undefeated, but we do not believe the Bulldogs have a snowball’s chance of winning three incredibly tough games they would have to win to be 13-0 on December 7. With Alabama, Ole Miss, and a possible SEC Championship Game bout with Georgia lurking ahead in the next five weeks, nobody could be expected to win all three.

Alabama is the enigma. The Crimson Tide is not a juggernaut and cannot be expected to totally shut down opponents with their defense like in past years. However, their offense is capable of looking more like the Denver Broncos. Alabama has tough games left against LSU, Mississippi State, and Auburn, and we believe they will stub their toe at least once and miss out on the SEC Championship Game.

Auburn also has three tough games in their way of making it to the SEC Championship Game, and it is too tough for the Tigers to beat Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama.

Ole Miss could easily lose to Auburn this week and Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl to finish 9-3. They could also beat both teams to make it to the SEC Championship Game, but Georgia’s defense looks like it could stop the Rebels’ offense.

Somebody from the West must win the division flag and advance to the Championship Game, so we will go with Alabama for now, but we will also call for the Tide to lose to Georgia.

Georgia, the team from the East with little remaining resistance, looks to have a huge advantage to work out the kinks in their offense, get Todd Gurley back in November, and run the table, including winning the SEC Championship Game to sneak into the Playoffs. They will not be battered and bruised like the SEC West Champ.

In other bowl developments, look for Florida to miss out and finish 5-6. The Gators might try to arrange some type of backroom deal to get an invitation because they did not get to play Idaho, which would have been a for sure win to make them 6-6, but until the political stiffs come to that conclusion, we will leave the Gators out of the picture.

Kentucky and Tennessee are the two teams to watch. The Wildcats looked like a possible Buffalo Wild Wings or Outback Bowl contender two weeks ago, but consecutive losses to LSU and Mississippi State have put the Blue and White at the back of the pecking order. If the ‘Cats lose at Missouri this week, it is going to get iffy for the Blue Mist at 5-4. With games against Georgia, Tennessee, and Louisville, 5-7 is very possible.

As for Tennessee, the Volunteers are definitely the best 3-5 team in America with four top 20 losses. The schedule eases up quite a bit for the Big Orange in November, and it isn’t impossible that UT will win all four to finish 7-5. We believe 6-6 is almost assured, and Butch Jones will guide his squad into a bowl.

1. PLAYOFFS—Rose Bowl: Georgia (7-1/12-1)
2. PLAYOFFS—Sugar Bowl: Mississippi State (7-1/11-1)
3. Orange Bowl: Alabama (7-1/11-2)
4. Outback Bowl: Auburn (5-3/9-3)
5. Gator Bowl: Ole Miss (5-3/9-3)
6. Music City Bowl: L S U (5-3/9-3)
7. Belk Bowl: South Carolina (4-4/8-4)
8. Liberty Bowl: Tennessee (3-5/6-6)
9. Texas Bowl: Texas A&M (3-5/7-5)
10. Birmingham Bowl: Missouri (4-4/7-5)

September 12, 2012

PiRate Ratings For College Football: September 13-15, 2012

Week three of the college football season does not present as many marquee games as last week, but there are still multiple interesting games on tap this weekend.  One of our favorite games this week takes place in East Lansing, Michigan, where Michigan State hosts Notre Dame.  Both teams enter the game with 2-0 records.  If you have gray hair somewhere on your body, you might have remembered a game between these two teams on this same field some 46 years ago.  The stakes were a little higher on Novermber 19, 1966.  This was the “Game of the Century” as it was billed then.  Football pundits agreed that it was the most important game since the 1946 Army-Notre Dame game played to a scoreless tie at Yankee Stadium.

 

Coming into this 1966 game, Notre Dame was 8-0 and ranked number one in the AP & UPI polls.  Michigan State was 9-0 and ranked number two in both polls.  The pundits of the day were split on which team was better, which further added to the buildup for this game.  Only two events dampened this game at all.  Number one, on the eve of the game, Sandy Koufax announced his retirement from baseball due to arthritis in his throwing arm.  Second, ABC chose to televise the game only on a regional basis with about 75% of the nation receiving this game.  Folks in the South complained about receiving 5-3 Tennessee hosting 3-5-1 Kentucky, and many of the Dixie markets received the game on a tape delayed basis following the Vols’ and Cats’ game.

 

Notre Dame suffered an early loss in this game when star quarterback Terry Hanratty was knocked out of the game, leaving backup Coley O’Brien to run the Irish offense.  Top running back Nick Eddy was not able to play either, and Rocky Bleier was called on to take up the slack. 

 

After a scoreless first quarter, Michigan State scored early in the second stanza.  Quarterback Jimmu Raye, operating out of a power-I alignment used play-action to throw a long bomb to all-American receiver Gene Washington.  Washington caught the pass to put the Spartans deep into the red zone.  The MSU fullback, Regis Cavender, plunged over guard to score the touchdown and put MSU up 7-0.

 

Later in the second quarter, Michigan State drove the ball to the Notre Dame 30 and stalled.  In 1966, this would have set up a fourth down conversion attempt for most teams, while some might have taken a delay of game and actually punted from the opponents’ 35 yard line.  But, Coach Duffy Daugherty had the nation’s first real kicking weapon (not counting Charlie Gogolak in the Ivy League), in barefoot kicker Dick Kennedy.  Kennedy came in and punched the ball through the uprights for a 47-yards field goal.  Michigan State led 10-0 and looked like they were on their way to a rout.

 

The next kickoff gave Notre Dame excellent field position near midfield.  O’Brien brought Notre Dame out in a spread one-back set and threw passes on the next three plays.  The third pass was a long post pattern to future pro Bob Gladieux, who outran the Spartan safeties and caught it at the goal for a touchdown.  The PAT was good, and Michigan State led 10-7 at the half.

 

The teams traded possession of the ball for most of the rest of the game.  Both teams turned the ball over with interceptions and fumbles, and this made Irish coach Ara Parseghian leery of gambling for broke.  This would come into play later.  Gladieux’s second half injury would remove the only real long threat for Notre Dame, and that too would be very important.

 

In the fourth quarter, Notre Dame mounted two scoring drives.  One resulted in a Joe Azzaro field goal when the Irish drove to the Spartan 10-yard line.  The second ended with Azzaro missing a field goal from about 30-35 yards out.

 

Michigan State’s offense could not move the ball in the final 30 minutes.  Notre Dame had one more chance to break the 10-10 tie, as the Irish started their final drive needing about 40 yards to get in field goal range and with less than two minutes left in the game.  Parseghian, leery that his team could turn the ball over and give Kennedy a chance to kick the winning field goal, and also having to play with a backup quarterback and no deep receiving threat, chose to run conservative plays up the middle.  The clock continued to run, and Michigan State defenders began taunting Notre Dame, calling the offense a bunch of sissies among other things.  The Irish got to their own 40 yard line with time for one more play.  O’Brien threw a bomb, which sailed wide of any player, and the game ended 10-10.  That was good enough to keep Notre Dame number one, and Michigan State number two.

 

Had the PiRate Ratings existed in 1966, we probably would have had Alabama as the number one team.  The Tide had won the previous two national championships, and the 1966 team was a good 7-10 points better than either of the prior two.  Alabama thoroughly destroyed Nebraska in that year’s Sugar Bowl (34-7), while neither the Irish or Spartans played in a bowl.

 

This Saturday, we know the game won’t end in a tie.  The winner will simply move to 3-0 and still not be ranked in the top 5.  Alabama will get its revenge in a way.

 

This week’s PiRate and PiRate Vintage FBS Rankings

#

Team

PiRate

#

Team

Vintage

1

L S U

131.5

1

Alabama

121.5

2

Alabama

130.4

2

L S U

119.5

3

Oklahoma

127.7

3

Oregon

119.0

4

U S C

126.9

4

Florida St.

117.5

5

Kansas State

123.6

5

U S C

117.0

6

Florida State

121.8

6

Ohio State

116.0

7

Oklahoma State

121.7

7

Georgia

115.5

8

Texas

120.4

8

Michigan St.

115.0

9

Oregon

120.1

9

Va. Tech

114.5

10

Georgia

120.0

10

Oklahoma

114.5

11

South Carolina

119.7

11

Stanford

114.0

12

Notre Dame

119.0

12

S. Carolina

113.5

13

Stanford

116.9

13

Texas

113.5

14

Nebraska

116.3

14

Notre Dame

113.5

15

Michigan State

115.7

15

West Virginia

113.0

16

West Virginia

115.6

16

U C L A

113.0

17

Ohio State

115.5

17

Florida

112.5

18

Florida

115.5

18

Arizona St.

112.5

19

Baylor

115.4

19

Georgia Tech

112.0

20

Clemson

115.3

20

Clemson

111.5

21

Texas Tech

115.3

21

Kansas St.

111.0

22

Michigan

114.8

22

Nebraska

111.0

23

Tennessee

114.5

23

B Y U

110.5

24

Wisconsin

114.4

24

Miss. State

110.5

25

U C L A

113.9

25

Arizona

110.5

26

Missouri

113.0

26

S. Florida

110.0

27

Mississippi State

112.5

27

Tennessee

109.5

28

Texas A&M

112.5

28

Michigan

109.0

29

Arkansas

112.1

29

Boise St.

108.5

30

T C U

111.3

30

T C U

108.0

31

B Y U

110.4

31

Louisville

108.0

32

Georgia Tech

110.0

32

Oregon St.

107.5

33

Virginia Tech

109.5

33

Texas A&M

107.5

34

Utah

109.2

34

N.C. State

107.5

35

Auburn

109.0

35

U C F

107.5

36

North Carolina

108.8

36

Purdue

107.0

37

Arizona

108.5

37

Arkansas

107.0

38

South Florida

108.4

38

Cincinnati

106.0

39

Oregon State

108.1

39

Wisconsin

106.0

40

Iowa State

107.8

40

Nevada

106.0

41

Vanderbilt

107.8

41

Wake Forest

105.5

42

Purdue

106.1

42

Texas Tech

105.5

43

Louisville

105.8

43

Missouri

105.5

44

Arizona State

105.7

44

Oklahoma St.

105.0

45

California

104.7

45

Tulsa

104.5

46

Tulsa

104.6

46

La. Tech

104.0

47

Cincinnati

104.0

47

Northwestern

103.5

48

Boise State

103.7

48

Washington

103.5

49

Louisiana Tech

103.7

49

Connecticut

103.5

50

Washington

103.6

50

Iowa

103.0

51

North Carolina State

103.5

51

Baylor

102.5

52

Central Florida

103.1

52

Ole Miss

102.5

53

Boston College

102.4

53

Ohio U

102.5

54

Rutgers

102.3

54

Utah St.

102.5

55

Ole Miss

102.0

55

N. Carolina

102.5

56

Illinois

102.0

56

S M U

102.5

57

Iowa

101.8

57

Auburn

102.5

58

Nevada

101.1

58

Virginia

101.5

59

Northwestern

101.0

59

N I U

101.5

60

Connecticut

100.2

60

Fresno St.

101.5

61

Virginia

100.1

61

Syracuse

101.0

62

Minnesota

99.9

62

S.J. State

101.0

63

Wake Forest

99.4

63

Utah

101.0

64

Kansas

99.4

64

Sou. Miss.

100.5

65

Washington State

99.0

65

W M U

100.5

66

Pittsburgh

98.8

66

U L L

100.0

67

S M U

98.7

67

Illinois

100.0

68

Syracuse

98.7

68

S.D. State

100.0

69

Ohio U

98.1

69

Maryland

99.5

70

Miami-FL

97.5

70

Iowa State

99.5

71

Duke

97.2

71

Vanderbilt

99.0

72

Kentucky

97.2

72

Rutgers

98.5

73

Southern Mississippi

97.1

73

Western Ky.

98.0

74

Toledo

97.1

74

Air Force

98.0

75

Houston

97.0

75

Toledo

98.0

76

Utah State

96.2

76

California

98.0

77

San Diego State

95.9

77

U L M

97.0

78

Maryland

95.5

78

Minnesota

97.0

79

Western Michigan

95.4

79

Kentucky

96.5

80

Indiana

95.0

80

E C U

95.5

81

Penn State

94.8

81

Boston Coll.

95.5

82

Fresno State

94.5

82

Miami

95.5

83

San Jose State

94.4

83

Penn State

95.0

84

Northern Illinois

94.0

84

Pittsburgh

94.0

85

Western Kentucky

93.9

85

Houston

94.0

86

UL-Lafayette

93.1

86

Miami (O)

93.5

87

Bowling Green

93.1

87

Washington St.

93.5

88

East Carolina

93.0

88

Rice

93.0

89

Wyoming

92.5

89

Marshall

93.0

90

U T E P

92.0

90

B G U

92.5

91

Louisiana-Monroe

91.7

91

F I U

92.0

92

Rice

91.3

92

Hawaii

92.0

93

Miami (O)

90.8

93

Indiana

91.0

94

Marshall

90.7

94

Kansas

91.0

95

Navy

89.8

95

Buffalo

90.5

96

Ball State

89.8

96

Texas St.

90.5

97

Arkansas State

88.6

97

Duke

90.0

98

Army

88.6

98

Ark. State

90.0

99

Temple

88.2

99

Temple

89.5

100

Air Force

88.1

100

U T E P

89.5

101

Colorado State

88.0

101

Wyoming

89.0

102

North Texas

87.9

102

UTSA

88.5

103

Colorado

87.8

103

Colo. State

88.5

104

Florida International

87.4

104

Kent St.

88.0

105

Kent St.

86.5

105

Ball St.

88.0

106

Central Michigan

85.6

106

Idaho

88.0

107

Hawaii

84.7

107

Colorado

87.5

108

Troy

84.1

108

Troy

87.0

109

Buffalo

84.0

109

Navy

87.0

110

Eastern Michigan

83.6

110

U A B

87.0

111

New Mexico

81.4

111

C M U

87.0

112

Idaho

80.8

112

New Mexico

86.0

113

U A B

80.3

113

N. Texas

85.0

114

Tulane

79.9

114

E M U

85.0

115

New Mexico State

77.7

115

Memphis

84.5

116

UNLV

77.3

116

Army

84.0

117

Texas State

76.2

117

N. Mex.State

84.0

118

U T S A

74.6

118

MTSU

83.5

119

Memphis

74.5

119

UNLV

82.5

120

Middle Tennessee

74.2

120

Tulane

82.0

121

Florida Atlantic

72.8

121

F A U

80.5

122

South Alabama

68.6

122

Akron

79.0

123

Akron

68.4

123

S. Alabama

77.5

124

Massachusetts

65.6

124

U. Mass.

77.0

 

Here are the ratings by conference

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Florida State

0-0

2-0

121.8

117.5

Clemson

0-0

2-0

115.3

111.5

North Carolina State

0-0

1-1

103.5

107.5

Boston College

0-1

1-1

102.4

95.5

Wake Forest

1-0

2-0

99.4

105.5

Maryland

0-0

2-0

95.5

99.5

Coastal Division

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Georgia Tech

0-1

1-1

110.0

112.0

Virginia Tech

1-0

2-0

109.5

114.5

North Carolina

0-1

1-1

108.8

102.5

Virginia

0-0

2-0

100.1

101.5

Miami-FL

1-0

1-1

97.5

95.5

Duke

0-0

1-1

97.2

90.0

 

Conference Means

104.75

105.08

104.4

 

 

Big East Conference

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

South Florida

0-0

2-0

108.4

110.0

Louisville

0-0

2-0

105.8

108.0

Cincinnati

1-0

1-0

104.0

106.0

Rutgers

0-0

2-0

102.3

98.5

Connecticut

0-0

1-1

100.2

103.5

Pittsburgh

0-1

0-2

98.8

94.0

Syracuse

0-0

0-2

98.7

101.0

Temple

0-0

1-1

88.2

89.5

Conference Means

101.056

100.80

101.3

 

 

Big Ten

Leaders Division

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Ohio State

0-0

2-0

115.5

116.0

Wisconsin

0-0

1-1

114.4

106.0

Purdue

0-0

1-1

106.1

107.0

Illinois

0-0

1-1

102.0

100.0

Indiana

0-0

2-0

95.0

91.0

Penn State

0-0

0-2

94.8

95.0

Legends Division
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Nebraska

0-0

1-1

116.3

111.0

Michigan State

0-0

2-0

115.7

115.0

Michigan

0-0

1-1

114.8

109.0

Iowa

0-0

1-1

101.8

103.0

Northwestern

0-0

2-0

101.0

103.5

Minnesota

0-0

2-0

99.9

97.0

Conference Means

105.45

106.44

104.5

 

 

Big 12

 
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Oklahoma

0-0

2-0

127.7

114.5

Kansas State

0-0

2-0

123.6

111.0

Oklahoma State

0-0

1-1

121.7

105.0

Texas

0-0

2-0

120.4

113.5

West Virginia

0-0

1-0

115.6

113.0

Baylor

0-0

1-0

115.4

102.5

Texas Tech

0-0

2-0

115.3

105.5

T C U

0-0

1-0

111.3

108.0

Iowa State

0-0

2-0

107.8

99.5

Kansas

0-0

1-1

99.4

91.0

Conference Means

111.085

115.82

106.4

 

 

Conference USA

East Division
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Central Florida

0-0

1-1

103.1

107.5

Southern Mississippi

0-0

0-1

97.1

100.5

East Carolina

0-0

1-1

93.0

95.5

Marshall

0-0

1-1

90.7

93.0

U A B

0-0

0-1

80.3

87.0

Memphis

0-0

0-2

74.5

84.5

West Division
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Tulsa

1-0

1-1

104.6

104.5

S M U

0-0

1-1

98.7

102.5

Houston

0-0

0-2

97.0

94.0

U T E P

0-0

0-2

92.0

89.5

Rice

0-0

1-1

91.3

93.0

Tulane

0-1

0-2

79.9

82.0

 
Conference Means

93.1542

91.85

94.5

 

 

Independents

Team

 

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Notre Dame

2-0

119.0

113.5

B Y U

2-0

110.4

110.5

Navy

0-1

89.8

87.0

Army

0-1

88.6

84.0

Conference Means

100.35

101.95

98.8

 

 

Mid American Conference

East Division
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Ohio U

0-0

2-0

98.1

102.5

Bowling Green

0-0

1-1

93.1

92.5

Miami (O)

0-0

1-1

90.8

93.5

Kent St.

0-0

1-1

86.5

88.0

Buffalo

0-0

1-1

84.0

90.5

Akron

0-0

0-2

68.4

79.0

Massachusetts

0-0

0-2

65.6

77.0

West Division
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Toledo

0-0

1-1

97.1

98.0

Western Michigan

0-0

1-1

95.4

100.5

Northern Illinois

0-0

1-1

94.0

101.5

Ball State

1-0

1-1

89.8

88.0

Central Michigan

0-0

1-1

85.6

87.0

Eastern Michigan

0-1

0-2

83.6

85.0

 
Conference Means

89.0385

87.08

91.0

 

 

Mountain West Conference

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Boise State

0-0

0-1

103.7

108.5

Nevada

0-0

1-1

101.1

106.0

San Diego State

0-0

1-1

95.9

100.0

Fresno State

0-0

1-1

94.5

101.5

Wyoming

0-0

0-2

92.5

89.0

Air Force

0-0

1-1

88.1

98.0

Colorado State

0-0

1-1

88.0

88.5

Hawaii

0-0

0-1

84.7

92.0

New Mexico

0-0

1-1

81.4

86.0

UNLV

0-0

0-2

77.3

82.5

   
Conference Means

92.96

90.72

95.2

 

 

Pac-12 Conference

North Division
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Oregon

0-0

2-0

120.1

119.0

Stanford

0-0

2-0

116.9

114.0

Oregon State

0-0

1-0

108.1

107.5

California

0-0

1-1

104.7

98.0

Washington

0-0

1-1

103.6

103.5

Washington State

0-0

1-1

99.0

93.5

South Division
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

U S C

0-0

2-0

126.9

117.0

U C L A

0-0

2-0

113.9

113.0

Utah

0-0

1-1

109.2

101.0

Arizona

0-0

2-0

108.5

110.5

Arizona State

0-0

2-0

105.7

112.5

Colorado

0-0

0-2

87.8

87.5

Conference Means

107.558

108.70

106.4

 

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Georgia

1-0

2-0

120.0

115.5

South Carolina

1-0

2-0

119.7

113.5

Florida

1-0

2-0

115.5

112.5

Tennessee

0-0

2-0

114.5

109.5

Missouri

0-1

1-1

113.0

105.5

Vanderbilt

0-1

0-2

107.8

99.0

Kentucky

0-0

1-1

97.2

96.5

West Division
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

L S U

0-0

2-0

131.5

119.5

Alabama

0-0

2-0

130.4

121.5

Mississippi State

1-0

2-0

112.5

110.5

Texas A&M

0-1

0-1

112.5

107.5

Arkansas

0-0

1-1

112.1

107.0

Auburn

0-1

0-2

109.0

102.5

Ole Miss

0-0

2-0

102.0

102.5

 
Conference Means

111.454

114.12

108.8

 

 

Sunbelt Conference

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Western Kentucky

0-0

1-1

93.9

98.0

UL-Lafayette

1-0

2-0

93.1

100.0

Louisiana-Monroe

0-0

1-0

91.7

97.0

Arkansas State

0-0

1-1

88.6

90.0

North Texas

0-0

1-1

87.9

85.0

Florida International

0-0

1-1

87.4

92.0

Troy

0-1

1-1

84.1

87.0

Middle Tennessee

1-0

1-1

74.2

83.5

Florida Atlantic

0-1

1-1

72.8

80.5

South Alabama

0-0

1-1

68.6

77.5

Conference Means

86.64

84.23

89.1

 

 

Western Athletic Conference

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Vintage

Louisiana Tech

0-0

1-0

103.7

104.0

Utah State

0-0

2-0

96.2

102.5

San Jose State

0-0

1-1

94.4

101.0

Idaho

0-0

0-2

80.8

88.0

New Mexico State

0-0

1-1

77.7

84.0

Texas State

0-0

1-1

76.2

90.5

U T S A

0-0

2-0

74.6

88.5

Conference Means

90.15

86.23

94.1

 

 

Here are this week’s PiRate and PiRate Vintage Spreads

Home Team in all CAPS

Vegas Line as of 12PM, Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This Week’s Games

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite

Underdog

PiRate

Vintage

Line

Thursday, September 13

 

 

 

S. FLORIDA

Rutgers

9.1

14.5

7 1/2

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, September 14

 

 

 

Washington St.

U N L V

19.7

9.0

8 1/2

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, September 15

 

 

 

PENN STATE

Navy

8.0

11.0

5 1/2

MICHIGAN

U Mass

52.7

35.5

46 1/2

NORTHWESTERN

Boston College

1.6

11.0

3 1/2

PURDUE

Eastern Michigan

25.5

25.0

24   

Northern Illinois

ARMY

2.4

14.5

3   

FLORIDA STATE

Wake Forest

25.4

15.0

28   

Connecticut

MARYLAND

1.7

1.0

3   

Texas A&M

S M U

11.3

2.5

13   

Virginia Tech

PITTSBURGH

8.2

18.0

10   

Southern Cal

STANFORD

7.0

0.0

7 1/2

SOUTHERN MISS.

East Carolina

7.1

8.0

7 1/2

OHIO STATE

California

14.8

22.0

17   

Texas

OLE MISS

14.9

7.5

10 1/2

MISSOURI

Arizona State

10.3

-4.0

6 1/2

UTAH

B y u

0.8

-7.5

-4   

LOUISVILLE

North Carolina

0.0

8.5

3   

GEORGIA TECH

Virginia

12.9

13.5

10 1/2

Alabama

ARKANSAS

15.3

11.5

21    

BOISE STATE

Miami (O)

16.9

19.0

21   

T c u

KANSAS

8.9

14.0

21   

LOUISIANA TECH

Rice

14.9

13.5

20 1/2

MINNESOTA

Western Michigan

7.5

-0.5

2 1/2

TOLEDO

Bowling Green

6.5

8.0

3 1/2

SOUTH CAROLINA

U a b

42.4

29.5

33 1/2

Ohio U

MARSHALL

4.9

7.0

6 1/2

TEXAS TECH

New Mexico

36.9

22.5

33 1/2

TENNESSEE

Florida

2.0

0.0

3   

SAN JOSE STATE

Colorado State

9.4

15.5

11   

WISCONSIN

Utah State

21.7

7.0

14   

L S U

Idaho

54.7

35.5

42 1/2

Notre Dame

MICHIGAN STATE

0.3

-4.5

-6   

INDIANA

Ball State

7.7

5.5

2 1/2

FRESNO STATE

Colorado

9.7

17.0

14   

U T E P

New Mexico State

16.8

8.0

12 1/2

U C L A

Houston

20.4

22.5

17   

GEORGIA

Florida Atlantic

50.2

38.0

42 1/2

NEBRASKA

Arkansas State

30.7

24.0

24 1/2

NORTH CAROLINA STATE

South Alabama

37.9

33.0

31   

CENTRAL FLORIDA

Florida Int’l

18.2

18.0

17 1/2

OKLAHOMA STATE

UL-Lafayette

31.6

8.0

22 1/2

KANSAS STATE

North Texas

39.2

29.5

28 1/2

MEMPHIS

Middle Tennessee

2.8

3.5

-3 1/2

KENTUCKY

Western Kentucky

5.8

1.0

7   

Mississippi State

TROY

25.4

20.5

16 1/2

AUBURN

Louisiana-Monroe

20.3

8.5

16 1/2

 

 

March 14, 2011

2011 PiRate NCAA Basketball Tournament Preview

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:01 pm

1. Which teams meet the upper range criteria in every category?  That means they outscored their opponents by eight or more per game; their field goal percentage was greater than 7.5% better than their opponents; they outrebounded their opponents by five or more per game; they forced at least three more turnovers per game than they committed; and they stole the ball 7.5 or more times per game.

 

ANSWER—No teams this year meet all the perfect criteria described above.  Six teams come close to meeting the perfect criteria, but all fall short in at least one statistic.  This means there is no clear-cut favorite—only six teams that most closely resemble the great champions of the past.  Of the six, three come from power conferences.  These three are Kansas, Ohio State, and Syracuse.

 

Kansas fails to meet the turnover margin requirement, but the Jayhawks surpass all the other qualifications.  Ohio State comes up a tad bit short in field goal percentage margin, rebounding margin, and steals per game, but just misses in all three.  Syracuse misses in rebounding and turnover margin, but they Orangemen do not miss by much. 

 

2. Which teams can be immediately eliminated due to a negative R+T rating?  Which teams have an incredibly low R+T Rating (<2.0)?

 

ANSWER—Three teams can immediately be eliminated due to negative R+T Ratings.  It comes as no surprise that Alabama State and Texas-San Antonio, two teams facing off in the First Round in Dayton, have negative R+T ratings.  The third team is Michigan.  The Wolverines were outrebounded by 1.9 boards per game, and they only had a +1.4 turnover margin with just 4.7 steals per game.

 

Five other teams finished with R+T ratings less than 2.0.  This usually means one and done for these teams, unless they have outstanding FG% margins or cupcake opponents with worse criteria numbers.  Those five teams are: Penn State, Richmond, St. Peter’s, UCLA, and UCSB.

 

3. Which teams are capable of winning it all?

 

ANSWER—We separate the contenders from the pretenders by looking at the total PiRate Criteria score and then looking to see if the high criteria scoring teams receive merit on every individual statistic.

 

Last year, Duke was head and heels better than the other 64 teams.  The Blue Devils had the highest score overall, and they satisfactorily rated in every PiRate category.

 

No teams appear to be as strong this year as the Blue Devils were last year, but nine teams meet most of the minimum requirements to be considered Final Four contenders this year.

 

It should come as no surprise that the top two teams, Ohio State and Kansas, rank at the top in the Criteria.  Kansas actually has the highest score of the 68 teams, a score of 23.  The Jayhawks outscored their opposition by 17.2 points, shot 11.7% better from the field than their opponents, and outrebounded their opponents by 7.8 boards per game.  These stats are worthy of a powerhouse.  However, KU enjoyed just a 0.9 turnover margin and stole the ball 7.9 times per game, giving the Jayhawks an R+T Rating of 9.5.  We tend to look for teams with an R+T Rating in excess of 10, so KU is not a great favorite to go all the way. 

 

Ohio State’s total Criteria score is 21, good for second best.  However, the Buckeyes enjoy an R+T Rating of 13.2, which is a number we really like in a Final Four contender.  This number correlates to 13 extra scoring opportunities that their opposition does not receive.  OSU outscores their opponents by 17.3 points per game, shot 6.9% better from the field than they allows, outrebounded their opponents by 4.9 per game, had a turnover margin of +4.8, and stole the ball 7.2 times per game. 

 

San Diego State comes in third with 19 total criteria points.  BYU, Pittsburgh, and Texas come in next with 18 points; the Panthers have an R+T rating above 10.  The other three teams with PiRate Criteria scores showing themselves to be strong contenders for a Final Four berth are Syracuse, Purdue, and Duke

 

Florida, North Carolina, and UNLV are actually almost in a statistical tie with Duke, meaning those three are dark horse candidates for the Final Four.

 

Overall, this is the weakest field by far in the six tournaments where we have ranked the teams according to our criteria.  Looking back, this could be the weakest field since the tournament expanded to 64 teams. 

 

North Carolina State, Kansas, and Villanova won national titles in the past with less than stellar numbers.  We do not have all the statistics from those years, so we cannot really calculate criteria numbers for those three champions.  Could this be a season in which one team gets hot for six games and comes from out of the pack to win it all?  It could happen, but we are sticking with this mechanical system and going with its results.  Kansas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, and Texas appear to be the best PiRate Criteria matches to past Final Four teams, and they are the quartet we officially pick to make it to Houston.  Syracuse becomes the wildcard team that could sneak into the mix.

 

Here is a look at the First Four Round One games and the 32 second round games.  The number in (parentheses) represents the PiRate Bracketnomics criteria number.

 

First Four Round

 

#16 Texas-San Antonio 19-13 (Elim) vs. #16 Alabama State 17-17 (Elim)

At first, we thought this was highly ironic, but upon further review, we consider it sort of a compliment.  These two teams both must be eliminated based on negative R+T ratings.  Of course, one of them must win this game so that they can advance to a 25-point or more loss in the next round.

 

Most of you filling out your brackets do not have to worry about these games in Dayton.  You get to turn in your choices after these games have been played.

 

UTSA has better criteria numbers after you factor out both teams’ R+T numbers. 

 

Prediction: Texas-San Antonio 64  Alabama State 55

 

 

#12 U A B 22-8 (2) vs. #12 Clemson 21-11 (1)

If you have been following the “experts” since the pairings were announced Sunday evening, then you know that these two teams do not belong in the tournament in their opinion.  It is not our mission statement to declare which teams should and should not have been included in the Big Dance, but we will tell you that Harvard and Saint Mary’s enjoyed Criteria scores several points better than these two teams, while Colorado and Virginia Tech had equal numbers to these two.

 

This game should be as close as the criteria scores show.  UAB has a one-point advantage in the criteria, but the Blazers just do not excel in any stage of the game.  Clemson’s strong point is forcing turnovers by way of steals, and that leads to a lot of cheap baskets.  Cheap baskets pay off big time in the NCAA Tournament, so we will take the Tigers in this one.

 

Prediction: Clemson 74  UAB 67

 

#11 Southern Cal 19-14 (-1) vs. #11 Virginia Commonwealth 23-11 (-1)

The winner of this game is going home two days later.  Neither team merits inclusion in the Big Dance this year. 

 

Southern Cal has no apparent weakness according to the PiRate Criteria.  In fact, they have a great resume—for an NIT team.

 

The Trojans outscore their opponents by four points per game, and they outshoot them by 3.3%.  They have a small rebounding margin of 1.2, and they have an even smaller turnover margin of 0.6.  They average six steals per game and have a R+T rating of 2.1.  On top of these modest numbers, their schedule was average.

 

VCU is much in the same boat as USC with two exceptions.  They have a negative turnover margin, but they also average 8.5 steals per game.

 

The only other difference in these teams is their records away from home.  USC won only 41% of their games, while VCU won 60%.

 

This one is quite tough to pick, but we will go with the Trojans due to their superior inside talent.  We expect USC to win the rebounding edge by at least five.

 

Prediction: Southern Cal  65  V C U  60

 

#16 UNC-Asheville 19-13 (-5) vs. #16 Arkansas-Little Rock 19-16 (-13)

Obviously, we have two teams that would not even merit NIT bids had they lost in the championship games of their conference tournaments.  UALR has one of the lowest Criteria Scores in the seven years we have been calculating this data.

 

UNC-Asheville actually has a couple of positive Criteria stats.  Their R+T is 5.5, which had it come against a more difficult schedule, would have made them worthy of becoming a possible team to watch in the Round of 64.

 

We will go with UNCA here, as schedule strength is about the same for both teams.

 

Prediction: UNC-Asheville 69  Arkansas-Little Rock 59

 

 

Second-Round Games

 

East Regional

 

#1 Ohio State 32-2 (21) vs. #16 UTSA (Elim)/Alabama State (Elim)

This game will be over quickly.  There will be no scare, not even for two TV timeouts.  The second highest Criteria score versus one of the teams with an R+T Rating of “Eliminate.”

 

The Buckeyes outscored their opponents by more than 17 points per game.  Their strength of schedule was 13 points better than UTSA and 16 points better than Alabama State. 

 

We will go under the theory that UTSA will be the opponent in this game.  Using our Criteria Rating, Ohio State figures to be 30-40 points better than UTSA.  Coach Thad Matta will definitely empty his bench early in this game, so the Buckeyes may “only win” by 25-30. 

 

Prediction: Ohio State 78  Texas-San Antonio 50

 

#8 George Mason 26-6 (8) vs. #9 Villanova 21-11 (5)

George Mason is the higher seed in this game, so if they win, it cannot really be considered an upset.

 

Villanova was on course to be a four-seed when the Wildcats were 16-5 and contending for the Big East Conference regular season title.  The Wildcats could not compete down low against the more physical teams in their league.

 

George Mason has a higher PiRate Criteria Score, but it is not an insurmountable advantage.  The key stat for this game is the R+T Rating.  For GMU, it is 6.8.  For VU, it is 4.9.  Considering that Villanova played a harder schedule, these numbers basically cancel each other out, thus making this a tossup game.

 

There are two variables to consider here.  George Mason performed much better on the road, and Villanova is banged up a bit.

 

Prediction: George Mason 66  Villanova 62

 

#5 West Virginia 20-11 (6) vs. #12 UAB (2)/Clemson (1)

We believe the Mountaineers will be facing Clemson in this game, but the prediction will hold up if they play UAB. 

 

West Virginia is not as good this season as last season, and the Mountaineers will not advance to the Final Four, or even the Elite Eight.  They are liable to be out by the end of the weekend.  However, they are strong enough to get into the Round of 32. 

 

The Mountaineers best attribute is that they put up decent numbers against one of the toughest schedules in the country.  Of the NCAA Tournament teams, only Georgetown played a tougher schedule.  They will have to limit turnovers, or else this game will be close and go down to the wire.  We believe Coach Bob Huggins will be able to keep the pace at a level he likes and not allow Clemson (or UAB) to force the Mountaineers into enough mistakes to turn the tide.

 

Prediction: West Virginia 69  Clemson 62 (Or UAB 58)

 

#4 Kentucky 25-8 (14) vs. #13 Princeton 25-6 (-2)

Princeton has pulled off the big upset in the past, and they came within a missed jumper at the buzzer of becoming the only #16 seed to beat a #1 seed.  However, that was two decades ago.  The Tigers have not been to the NCAA Tournament in seven years, and that big win over UCLA was 15 years ago. 

 

Kentucky is not the type of team that will allow Princeton’s style of play to affect their style of play.  The Wildcats should actually play better than their norm with fewer mistakes. 

 

We believe that Princeton will actually crumble under relentless man-to-man pressure and turn the ball over enough times in the opening minutes of the game to allow the Wildcats to open a quick double-digit lead.  This group of Cats tends to fiddle around a little once they get a quick double-digit lead and then play uninspired ball until the opponent makes a run.  Then, they go on the attack at the right time and put the game away.

 

Adolph Rupp had a team just like this in 1958.  They were called “The Fiddlin’ Five.”  They were also called National Champions.  We won’t go so far as to put UK into this category, but we will advance the Wildcats into the next round and then into the Sweet 16.

 

Prediction: Kentucky 72  Princeton 59

 

#6 Xavier 24-7 (8) vs. #11 Marquette 20-14 (3)

If you are looking for a tough, hard-fought game with two Midwestern teams, then tune into this game Friday evening.

 

If the Musketeers were a little more competent at forcing turnovers, they could be a dark horse candidate to advance to the Elite Eight.  XU shoots the ball well and plays well on defense when it comes to preventing a lot of easy shots.  They do well on the boards, and against a team that cannot exploit their ball-handling and ball-hawking deficiencies, they will hold their own inside.  The only other possible problem for the Musketeers is a lack of depth, but in the NCAA Tournaments, TV timeouts are longer.  It is hard to wear a team down with such long breaks every four or so minutes.

 

Marquette does not have enough depth to take advantage of Xavier’s lack of depth, so this factor will become a non-factor.  The Golden Eagles got to this tournament due to their ability to put the ball into the basket.  Marquette needs to shoot better than 46% to win, while Xavier is adept at holding teams under 45% as a rule.

 

Prediction: Xavier 71  Marquette 65

 

#3 Syracuse 26-7 (17) vs. #14 Indiana State 20-13 (-4)

Syracuse has been getting very little national exposure since their 18-0 start ended with an 8-7 finish.  The Orangemen are a team to watch in this tournament.  If not for a pedestrian 71% winning percentage away from the Carrier Dome, we would have them as one of the top four teams in this tournament.

 

Coach Jim Boeheim’s team outscores their opposition by 10.3 points per game; they outshoot them by 7.6%, and they outrebound them by 3.6 boards per game.  Their turnover margin is +1.9, and they averaged almost nine steals per game.  Their R+T Rating is 7.6, and their Strength of Schedule is somewhere between above-average and very good.  This is the Criteria Score of a team that will advance to the Sweet 16 and compete for an Elite Eight and Final Four berth.

 

Indiana State needs the return of Larry Bird to win this game.  They are too perimeter-oriented.  The Sycamores do not have the beef down low to contend in the paint, and even though Syracuse plays a 2-3 zone, teams rarely beat the Orangemen by firing up 25 long-range bombs.

 

This one smells like a blowout.

 

Prediction: Syracuse 81  Indiana State 62

 

#7 Washington 23-10 (13) vs. #10 Georgia 21-11 (2)

Washington is one of those teams that can play with anybody in this tournament—when they are playing up to their potential.  The Huskies could also exit in the first round if they play like they did the weekend they went to Oregon and Oregon State.

 

Georgia is much more consistent, but their best effort will not defeat the Huskies’ best effort.

 

Washington lacked the seasoned experience this season, and it showed when they ventured away from Seattle.  The Huskies lost to weaker opponents because they lacked the composure to win on foreign courts.  That changed when they arrived in Los Angeles for the Pac-10 Tournament.  Isaiah Thomas took over command of the team and led them to the tournament title.  This makes UW a scary and dangerous team capable of returning to the Sweet 16.

 

Georgia must really dominate the glass in this game, because we believe they will turn the ball over too many times against UW’s pressure man-to-man defense.  It is our opinion that the Bulldogs will play a little timidly at the start of this game and find themselves in a hole.

 

The Bulldogs had trouble against Alabama’s defense, and Washington is similar but with a much better offense.

 

Prediction: Washington 78  Georgia 70

 

#2 North Carolina 26-7 (15) vs. #15 Long Island 27-5 (-1)

 

Long Island is just the type of team that can forget that their opponent is a dynasty program that chews up and spits out little programs like this.

 

Teams from Brooklyn don’t intimidate easily, especially when they are led by a trio of Texans.  So, LIU will not be intimidated, but will they be talented enough to make a game of this contest?

 

That’s the rub.  They lack the defensive ability to slow down the Tar Heels, while Coach Roy Williams’ team will be able to hold the Blackbirds under their scoring average.  The big problem for LIU will be holding onto the ball, and we could see North Carolina forcing 20 turnovers in this game.  When the Tar Heels force more turnovers than they commit, they are almost unbeatable.  This game could be interesting for a short time, but it will eventually get out of hand.

 

Prediction: North Carolina 88  Long Island 70

 

West Regional

 

#1 Duke 30-4 (15) vs. #16 Hampton 24-8 (-8)

Duke has nothing to worry about here.  This will be like one of their November/December home games where they quickly put the cupcake away with a barrage of power and speed.  You know the type: a 37-point win over Princeton; a 34-point win over Miami of Ohio; a 52-point win over Colgate.

 

Hampton got to the Dance using an aggressive defense and three-point shooting barrage on offense.  Duke will not be affected by the defensive pressure, and they will cut off the open shots from the outside.  It will be a mercy killing, and it will be quick.  Look for the Blue Devils to be up by more than 15 points before the halfway point of the first half.  By the time Coach K empties the bench, the Blue Devils should be up by 25-30 points.

 

Prediction: Duke 81  Hampton 61

 

#8 Michigan 20-13 (Elim) vs. #9 Tennessee 19-14 (10)

Michigan is the highest-rated team that fails to meet our R+T Rating requirement, so the Wolverines are automatically tabbed as a first-round loser.

 

Coach Jim Beilein has been in a similar position before.  He guided a West Virginia team with not-so-flashy Criteria numbers to the Elite Eight, where they forced Louisville to come from 20 points down to rally for the victory.  That WVU team had one of the worst negative rebounding numbers of any team in Elite Eight history, but that team made few mistakes and had a nice turnover margin.

 

This Michigan team was only outrebounded by two a game, but they do not create enough extra possessions with their miniscule turnover margin of 1.4 and their average of just 4.7 steals per game.

 

Tennessee has been up and down, and the Volunteers are not going to make a repeat run to the Elite Eight this year.  However, Coach Bruce Pearl’s troops will control the boards in this game and maybe force more turnovers than they commit.  We figure that Tennessee will have 10 more opportunities to score in this game, and that is too many for the Wolverines to make up with their three-point shooting.

 

Prediction: Tennessee 74  Michigan 69

 

#5 Arizona 27-7 (3) vs. #12 Memphis 25-9 (-1)

Memphis was not going to earn an at-large bid this season had they failed to win the Conference USA Tournament.  They received an ideal first round opponent, and the Tigers actually have a fighting chance to pull off yet another classic #12-seed over #5-seed upset.

 

Arizona needs to pound the ball inside and rely on numerous offensive rebounds to win this game.  Other teams might be able to exploit Memphis’s poor ball-handling skills, but the Wildcats do not have the defensive acumen to take advantage here.

 

Memphis will try to make this an up-tempo game where they can neutralize Arizona’s height advantage inside.  It has a chance of working, but Arizona probably has too much power inside and just enough quickness to stop the Tigers’ transition game.

 

Prediction: Arizona 76  Memphis 69

 

#4 Texas 27-7 (18) vs. #13 Oakland 25-9 (3)

This has become a popular upset pick in the media.  Oakland has generated a lot of positive press, and many “experts” are calling for the upset in this game.  We are not one of them.  Not only do we believe the Longhorns will take care of Oakland with relative ease in this game, we believe Texas is a force to be reckoned with in the next two or three rounds. 

 

Let’s look at Texas’ Criteria Rating.  At 18, the ‘Horns rate as our sixth best team in the tournament.  They have a 13.5 point scoring margin, a 7.1% field goal margin, a 6.6 rebounding margin, and a 1.2 turnover margin.  Their only Achilles Heel is a low amount of steals resulting in a R+T Rating of 8.3.  Had that number been above 10, we would be selecting Coach Rick Barnes’ team for the Final Four.

 

Oakland won this year with strong rebounding and an excellent ability to force their opponents into bad shots.  Center Keith Benson is a future NBA player, but he is not enough to propel the Golden Grizzlies into the next round.

 

Prediction: Texas 77  Oakland 65

 

#6 Cincinnati 25-8 (9) vs. #11 Missouri 23-9 (10)

On paper, this looks like the best game of this round between a team with contrasting styles.

 

Cincinnati is one of the top defensive teams in the tournament.  The Bearcats are tough inside, and they have quality depth to continue playing hard in the paint. 

 

Missouri uses the “40 minutes of Hell” approach that Coach Mike Anderson learned under his mentor Nolan Richardson.  The Tigers press full court and run the fast break as often as they get the chance.  They are perimeter-oriented and can score a lot of points in a hurry.

 

When we try to decide tossup games, we look to the all-important defense and rebounding stats, since that is what wins close games in the Big Dance. 

 

Missouri is vulnerable in both of these crucial areas.  They have given up a lot of cheap baskets this year when teams solved their press.  The Tigers were outrebounded by 1.7 boards per game.

 

Cincinnati owns a +2.7 rebounding margin, and the Bearcats held onto the ball quite competently.  We believe Coach Mick Cronin’s crew will advance.

 

Prediction: Cincinnati 68  Missouri 65

 

#3 Connecticut 26-9 (9) vs. #14 Bucknell 25-8 (-4)

Ask Kansas Coach Bill Self if it is wise to underestimate Bucknell.  The Bison know how to hold onto the ball and work for intelligent shots.  Give them an opening, and they can bury you with a high field goal percentage.

 

Connecticut did the unthinkable by winning five games in five days.  Their defense does not get the merit it deserves, because Kemba Walker gets more attention for his offensive antics.  The Huskies actually held teams under 40% from the field.

 

Coach Jim Calhoun knows how to prepare a team for tournament action.  He will have UConn ready for this game, and the Huskies will not overlook the Bison.

 

Prediction: Connecticut 73  Bucknell 58

 

#7 Temple 25-7 (5) vs. #10 Penn State 19-14 (-1)

Temple’s score must be tempered by the fact that they are a wounded team coming into this tournament.  Two starters suffered injuries late in the season, and one is out for the remainder of the year, while the other may or may not be ready to play.  We must throw out Temple’s score of “5” in the PiRate Criteria, because 40% of the key players that produced that number will either not play or be greatly less effective.

 

Penn State is a lot like Southern Cal in this tournament.  The Nittany Lions have the look of a strong NIT team.  Aside from a so-so record against a strong schedule, they really have little to offer outside of one star player. 

 

We believe this Keystone State rivalry game will be close, and it could come down to the last shot.  Because the Owls are limping, we will go with the Big Ten representative.

 

Prediction: Penn State 59  Temple 56

 

#2 San Diego State 32-2 (19) vs. #15 Northern Colorado 21-10 (-6)

Most of you reading this probably cannot remember Texas Western University, but you may have scene the movie where the Miners were too quick for Kentucky and pulled off the big upset to win the 1966 National Championship.  Maybe some of you remember the Long Beach State 49ers ascension into the top 10 under Jerry Tarkanian and then Lute Olson.  Still more can remember when Tark the Shark moved to UNLV and turned the Runnin’ Rebels into a national power.

 

San Diego State is the next Western team to fit this bill.  The Aztecs are legitimate contenders to advance deep into this tournament.  They have few exploitable weaknesses, and they are the best team West of the Rockies.  Coach Steve Fisher knows how to get teams ready for tournament play, as he has three Final Fours on his resume and one National Championship.

 

SDSU’s PiRate Criteria numbers are flashy.  Their scoring margin is 13.3 points per game.  Their FG% margin is 7.1%.  They outrebound their opposition by almost seven per game, and they force 1.6 more turnovers than they commit.  Their one weak spot is a pedestrian 6.2 steals average.  If they run up against a more powerful team inside, they could have trouble getting enough extra scoring opportunities.

 

Northern Colorado will not be one of those teams that can cause trouble for the Aztecs.  The Bears are a good rebounding team, but their rebounding prowess came against a schedule that rates 10 points weaker than San Diego State’s schedule.

 

Prediction: San Diego State 73  Northern Colorado 51

 

Southwest Regional

#1 Kansas 32-2 (23) vs. #16 Boston U 21-13 (-11)

Kansas is a team on a mission.  The Jayhawks will not allow a repeat of what happened last year, and that extra incentive should be enough to send KU to Houston.

 

Kansas has the top PiRate Criteria Score this year.  They meet the basic requirements that most prior National Champions have met—scoring margin: 17.2; FG% margin: 11.7; Rebounding margin: 7.8; Turnover Margin: 0.9; Steals per game: 7.9; R+T Ratings: 9.5.

 

How do you beat this year’s KU team?  Kansas State and Texas pulled it off by matching up well inside and going head-to-head with them in the paint.

 

Boston U has the second lowest PiRate Criteria score of the 65 teams that have positive R+T Ratings.  The Terriers are way overmatched in this game, and they will have to be glad they just made it here.

 

Prediction: Kansas 90  Boston U 62

 

#8 U N L V 24-8 (15) vs. #9 Illinois 19-13 (1)

If our ratings are worth their salt, then this game should not be all that close.  UNLV may be just the third best team in the Mountain West, but the MWC was better overall this year than the Pac-10.  Third best in the MWC makes the Runnin’ Rebels one of the dozen or so teams capable of making a two weekend run.

 

Coach Lon Kruger has taken two different teams to the Elite Eight (Kansas State and Florida).  His teams play intelligently without being flashy.

 

UNLV went 24-3 against teams not named Brigham Young or San Diego State.  They are not particularly strong on the boards, and this will eventually be their downfall.  The Rebels shoot the ball brilliantly, and they alter enough opponent shots to force a lower field goal percentage.  They also take care of the ball and do not make a lot of floor mistakes.

 

Illinois is an inconsistent, underachieving team.  This can be dangerous for the prognosticator, because it is difficult if not impossible to predict which schizophrenic state will appear for each game.

 

The Illini are not particularly strong on the glass or at taking care of the ball, and that is a recipe for disaster when the opponent is as good as UNLV.  Even if Illinois comes out playing their best basketball, it may not be enough to beat UNLV playing their typical game.

 

Prediction: U N L V  72  Illinois 64

 

#5 Vanderbilt 23-10 (5) vs. #12 Richmond 26-7 (2)

Here is another game getting a lot of attention due to its upset potential.  Historically, the #12 seed produces the a lot of great upsets.

 

This game could go either way.  Both teams have exploitable weaknesses, and it just so happens that both teams’ have the assets capable of exploiting the other’s weaknesses.

 

Let’s start with Vanderbilt.  The Commodores are not particularly strong on the defensive perimeter.  Worthy opponents have been able to beat them off the drive and get a lot of open inside shots.  This weak perimeter defense has also led to frontcourt players having to help, thus leaving open holes near the basket.

 

Richmond’s offense is a modified version of the Princeton Offense.  The Spiders have the talent to get open shots inside and in the five to ten-foot range.

 

Richmond cannot rebound against more physical teams.  The Spiders make up for their rebounding liabilities by seldom throwing the ball away.

 

Vanderbilt has an excellent physical presence inside with three beefy players that can rebound the ball on offense and defense.

 

So, which team gets the edge in our PiRate Ratings?  We always look to defense in rebounding in tossup games.  Vanderbilt holds the rebounding edge, while Richmond holds the defensive edge.  It is basically a wash, so we have to look elsewhere.  While Richmond has been much better away from home, Vanderbilt’s schedule is seven points more difficult.  We’ll go with the power conference team, but not by much

 

Prediction: Vanderbilt 70  Richmond 67

 

#4 Louisville 25-9 (12) vs. #13 Morehead State 24-9 (3)

This should be an interesting game, but in the end the big brothers are going to defeat their little brothers in this battle of two Bluegrass State teams.

 

40 years ago this week, another little brother upset a big brother on their way to a surprise appearance in the Final Four (later vacated).  In 1971, Western Kentucky did not just upset Kentucky, the Hilltoppers ran the Wildcats off the floor.  Can there be a repeat two score later?  No!

 

Coach Rick Pitino’s Cardinals are vulnerable on the boards, and Morehead State has the nation’s best rebounder in the nation in Kenneth Faried.  However, the Eagles do not have enough talent or depth to keep up with Louisville.  They may emerge with a slight rebounding edge in this game, but it will not be enough to make up for all the open shots the Cardinals will get.

 

Louisville is going to run into trouble when they meet up with a team that can rebound and play credible defense.  That would be Kansas in the Sweet 16.  Until then, they have a relatively easy route to the Sweet 16.

 

Prediction: Louisville 78  Morehead State 62

 

#6 Georgetown 21-10 (8) vs. #11 Southern Cal (-1)/Va. Commonwealth (-1)

Last year, we discussed Georgetown’s vulnerabilities and the probability that they would fail to make it past the first weekend.  We expected the Hoyas to fall as a favorite in their second game, but they were a one and done team.

 

This year’s team is not much better than last year’s Hoya team, but they received a much more favorable draw.

 

Coach John Thompson III’s Hoyas once again have a rather low R+T Rating thanks to a turnover margin of -1.9 and a low amount of steals per game.  They will exit from the tournament in the next round unless there is a monumental upset in their pairing.

 

Neither USC nor VCU has the talent to take advantage of Georgetown’s deficiencies.  The three teams combined have a R+T rating below Purdue’s.

 

One additional note: The Hoyas will be a tad bit better than their Criteria Score in the tournament.  Chris Wright suffered a hand fracture in the middle of the schedule, and he is expected to be near 100% for the tournament.  You have to add maybe one point to their Criteria Score, but that is not enough to put them over the top in their second game.

 

Prediction: Georgetown 69  Southern Cal 61 (or VCU 60)

 

#3 Purdue 25-7 (16) vs. #14 St. Peter’s 20-13 (-7)

If only… Purdue fans will never know just how good their team might have been with Robbie Hummel joining JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore playing together.  This would have been the best Boilermaker team since Rick Mount led Purdue to the Championship Game against UCLA in 1969.

 

The Boilermakers no longer have that one glaring weakness that Gene Keady’s teams had and thus prevented Purdue from getting past the second round.  This team does well on the boards like most of those past Purdue teams, but they are particularly strong when it comes to forcing turnovers and taking advantage by converting steals into points.  It is the way many teams go on runs that put opponents out of commission.

 

St. Peter’s just barely avoided being immediately eliminated with a negative R+T Rating.  They squeaked by at 0.1.  It might as well be a negative number, as the Peacocks were outrebounded by 0.4 per game and had a turnover margin of -0.9 against a schedule that was four points below average and seven points weaker than the schedule Purdue faced.

 

Prediction: Purdue 73  St. Peter’s 56

 

#7 Texas A&M 24-8 (8) vs. #10 Florida State 21-10 (2)

The Big 12’s third best team has enough talent to challenge for a Sweet 16 berth.  We’ll leave the next round for another time and talk about this game.

 

The Aggies have no glaring weakness, and they have a few strengths, namely rebounding and defense (which wins games in the NCAA Tournament).  They are much like Kansas Lite.  A&M was not a team of surprises during the regular season.  They beat the teams they were supposed to beat and failed to upset the teams better than they were.  We expect the trend to continue.  They are better than the Seminoles.

 

Florida State does not take good care of the ball, and that costs them in confrontations against good opponents.  The Seminoles do not play particularly well away from Tallahassee, and they should be making a quick exit from the Dance.

 

Prediction: Texas A&M 73  Florida State 65

 

#2 Notre Dame 26-6 (11) vs. #15 Akron 23-12 (-9)

This is the best Irish team since Digger Phelps led Notre Dame in the late 1980’s.  Throw in the fact that this team has a chip on its shoulders following a first round exit last year, and the Irish have to be considered the Sweet 16 favorite in their four-team pairing this weekend.

 

The Irish finished the regular season with a scoring margin of 10.4 points per game.  Down the stretch, they went 7-2 against teams in this tournament.  The Selection Committee placed Notre Dame in a bracket that should provide a very memorable Sweet 16 contest against one of their most bitter arch-rivals.

 

Akron has a big seven-foot center, but the Zips do not rebound the ball all that well.  Zeke Marshall, the aforementioned big man, concentrates his efforts on blocking shots, and he frequently is not in position to rebound the ball.  So, the blocked shot frequently turns into a made basket off an offensive rebound.  The Zips did not fare well on the road this year, and with a considerably weaker schedule than average, this does not bode well.

 

Prediction:  Notre Dame 81  Akron 57

 

Southeast Regional

#1 Pittsburgh 27-5 (18) vs. #16 UNC-Asheville (-5)/U A L R (-13)

One of us here at the PiRate Ratings might be dating himself, but he sees a lot of the 1962 Cincinnati Bearcats in this year’s Pitt team.  The Panthers have a dominating inside power game that will pulverize any finesse team that cannot hit 10 three-pointers.  Neither UNCA nor UALR has a remote chance to make this game a close contest.

 

Pitt outscored their opposition by 13.1 points per game.  This stat looks even better when you factor in that they compiled this gaudy stat playing in a league that produced 11 NCAA Tournament teams.  The Panthers outshot their opponents by 7.6%, and they totally dominated the glass with a 10.4 rebounding advantage.  If you are thinking the way to beat them is to play a packed in zone, think again.  Ashton Gibbs can bury you from outside with his near 50% three-point accuracy, and Brad Wannamaker can still get the ball inside to one of the bruisers waiting to punish you with a thunder dunk.

 

Only a negative turnover margin prevents the Panthers from being there with Kansas as a co-favorite for winning all the marbles.

 

Pitt’s cupcake opponent will have to be happy with winning their First Four game, because they will be humiliated in this game.

 

Prediction: Pittsburgh 78  UNC-Asheville 54 (or UALR 48)

 

#8 Butler 23-9 (7) vs. #9 Old Dominion 27-6 (10)

This is the second best matchup in this round, and the winner will put a scare into Pittsburgh in the next round and even have a decent shot at the upset.

 

Butler is now the hunted rather than the hunter.  The Bulldogs will not sneak up on anybody this year.  More importantly, they are not as talented as they were last year.  The Bulldogs fared much better on the road last year than this season.  However, down the stretch, Butler started to look like a team proficient enough to get past the first weekend once again.

 

Old Dominion has the talent to advance past the first weekend as well.  The Monarchs are a miniature version of Pittsburgh, the team they would face in the next round should they win this game.

 

ODU is the nation’s number one rebounding team with a +12.2 margin.  The Monarchs’ schedule was not outstanding, but it was on par with several teams from the so-called power conferences, and they finished 6-4 against teams in this tournament.  This is a better ODU team than the one that upset Notre Dame in the first round last year, and this game should be one you do not want to miss.

 

 

Prediction: Old Dominion 72  Butler 70 in overtime

 

#5 Kansas State 22-10 (9) vs. #12 Utah State 30-3 (14)

This is the one game where a number 12 seed winning would not really be all that much of an upset.  Utah State should have been a top eight seed in this tournament.  If we were conspiracy buffs, we would say that the Selection Committee searched for a team that the Aggies do not match up with all that well and placed them in this spot to verify their actions.

 

Kansas State does not take care of the ball well enough to advance very deep into this tournament, but their first game opponent cannot take advantage of that weakness.

 

Utah State has dominated their opponents by forcing them to play a patient half-court game with very little scoring in transition.  They prefer to work the ball patiently for a good shot and then force opponents to take a low-percentage shot.  Thus, the Aggies outrebound their opponents, but they do so by forcing more bad shots than by out-leaping their opponents.

 

Kansas State has the talent to force Utah State to play at a quicker tempo and force them to defend one-on-one.  Jacob Pullen is a poor man’s (and smaller) Derrick Rose.  He can break down most opponents off the dribble, and he should be able to force USU to resort to some type of combination defense to keep him from going wild.

 

What scares us most about Utah State is that they had two opportunities to show they are deserving of their lofty ranking.  They lost to BYU and to Georgetown, and they never really threatened to pull of the upset in either game.

 

This is one game where we are going to go against our own chalk.  Kansas State’s schedule was seven points tougher, and the Wildcats can exploit the Aggies’ weaknesses.

 

Prediction: Kansas State 70  Utah State 63

 

#4 Wisconsin 23-8 (7) vs. #13 Belmont 30-4 (9)

This game has become the most-picked upset special around the nation.  Belmont is being compared with Butler of last year.  The Bruins are lofty of all this attention-gathering admiration, but Wisconsin is not the Washington Generals.

 

Belmont has the highest scoring margin in the nation at 18.4 points per game.  The Bruins outshot their opposition by 5.7% per game, and they took a lot of three-point attempts.  They outrebounded their opponents by 3.9, and they had an eye-popping 5.3 turnover margin.  They share the top steals per game average in this tournament with Missouri at 9.7, and their R+T Rating is the best in the tournament at 16.2 (three better than number two Ohio State).

 

Of course, these statistics were compiled against inferior competition.  Belmont’s schedule strength is nine points below the national average and a dozen below their first round opponent.  Against the opponents that made it to this tournament, they were 1-3.  They beat Alabama State by 13.  The three losses were on the road to in-state rivals Tennessee (twice) and Vanderbilt, but they led in the second half of those games.

 

The last time Belmont was in the Big Dance, the Bruins came within a missed last shot of sending Duke home.   

 

Wisconsin was not expected to be this good in 2011.  This was supposed to be a minor rebuilding season for the Badgers.  The Badgers usually run Coach Bo Ryan’s Swing Offense with great efficiency, rarely turning the ball over.  They outscored their opponents by 9.9 points per game, and they outshot they outrebounded them by 3.8 boards per game. 

 

The Badgers have been a hot and cold team this year.  When they have been hot, they have been nearly unbeatable, because Ryan’s teams always limit possessions.  When they have been cold, they have been easily beatable, because Ryan’s teams always limit possessions.  They finished the season as cold as ice, so the Badgers must be considered a slight underdog in this game.

 

Prediction: Belmont 74  Wisconsin 70

 

#6 St. John’s 21-11 (9) vs. #11 Gonzaga 24-9 (13)

Here is a game where we believe the seedings should be switched.  Gonzaga has been here enough times to be considered a regular in the NCAA Tournament, like Duke, Kansas, Ohio State, and Connecticut.  This makes a baker’s dozen consecutive appearances in the Big Dance for the Bulldogs. 

 

In past years, Gonzaga had a big scorer that could take over games.  Adam Morrison comes to mind.  This year, the Zags are more difficult to prepare for, because they are more team-oriented.  There is not a big star on the roster, but all five starters are capable of taking the team on his shoulders with a hot night.

 

In their nine-game winning streak to close the season, Gonzaga eliminated Saint Mary’s from the Dance party with two victories.  The Bulldogs scoring margin in those nine games was 76-58.  This is a good team playing its best ball of the year, and we expect Coach Mark Few to win yet another NCAA Tournament game.

 

St. John’s comes into the tournament minus one of its stars.  Starting forward D. J. Kennedy went down for the season with a knee injury in the Big East Tournament, and the Red Storm is now suspect in the paint.  Their Criteria Score of nine should be discounted by two to three points.  It is enough to take this contest from tossup status to near-comfortable status for Gonzaga.

 

Prediction: Gonzaga 74  St. John’s 66

 

#3 Brigham Young 30-4 (18) vs. #14 Wofford 21-12 (-1)

So, you didn’t get a chance to see Pete Maravich play at LSU in 1968, 1969, or 1970, eh?  We must admit that nobody will ever be the collegiate equal for Maravich, but Jimmer Fredette may be the closest thing to him.

 

Throw out the floppy socks and floppy Beatles haircut and throw out some of the most unbelievable passes in the history of the game (so unbelievable that Maravich’s teammates frequently could not see them coming), and Fredette is not that far behind Maravich.

 

The sports nation will be turning its eyes to this game just to see if Fredette can make a run at a single game scoring mark.  If we remember correctly, Notre Dame’s Austin Carr set the mark back in 1970 with 61 points against Ohio U in a regional qualifier game.

 

BYU may have been a strong Final Four contender had Brandon Davies not loved his girlfriend so much.  The Cougars averaged 8.7 fewer points per game once Davies was suspended. 

 

Wofford will not be able to take much advantage of Davies’ absence.  The Terriers fared well in all PiRate Criteria categories, but they did not meet even the minimum “numbers to look for” in any category, and their schedule strength was five points below the norm. 

 

Prediction: Brigham Young 75  Wofford 63

 

#7 U C L A 22-10 (-3) vs. #10 Michigan State 19-14 (1)

If only this were a few years ago.  Neither of these historically dominating teams is going to make waves in this year’s tournament, and the winner will be around for just one more game.

 

UCLA would be a national title contender if Kevin Love had stuck around for four years.  Imagine Love as a senior on this team.  Can you say Bill Walton-like numbers?  Alas, the Bruins must get by with a couple of well above-average forwards instead of the best three-man tandem in the nation.

 

The Bruins have the worst turnover margin of any team in this tournament.  At -3.4, UCLA would need to dominate on the boards, and while they usually win that battle, it is anything but dominating.

 

Michigan State’s one asset year in and year out under Coach Tom Izzo has been their rebounding acumen.  For most teams, a +4.3 edge on the boards would be considered outstanding, but in East Lansing, this is considered a down year. 

 

Neither team has done all that well away from their home court this season, and there really is only one stat where one team stands out ahead of the other.  MSU’s schedule was four points tougher than UCLA’s schedule.  That’s our spread for this game.  

 

Prediction: Michigan State 64  UCLA 60

 

#2 Florida 26-7 (15) vs. #15 UC-Santa Barbara 18-13 (-10)

The Gators looked like a potential Final Four team in the last month, at least when they were not playing Kentucky.  UCSB is not Kentucky. 

 

Florida tends to commit too many floor mistakes to win four games in this year’s tournament.  They have enough talent to get through the first weekend, but we do not see the Gators extending their stay after that.

 

UCSB upset Long Beach State to get here, and the Gauchos are one of the weakest teams in the tournament according to our Criteria Score.  With negative rebounding and turnover margins, they just barely escape automatic elimination with a R+T rating of 0.3. 

 

Prediction: Florida 76  U C S B  54

 

 

 

Our Bracket

 

You have seen the 32 teams that we believe will win the second round games.  Here is how we fill out the rest of our bracket.

 

Third Round Winners

Ohio State over George Mason

Kentucky over West Virginia

Syracuse over Xavier

North Carolina over Washington

Duke over Tennessee

Texas over Arizona

Connecticut over Cincinnati

San Diego State over Penn State

Kansas over UNLV

Louisville over Vanderbilt

Purdue over Georgetown

Notre Dame over Texas A&M

Pittsburgh over Old Dominion

Kansas State over Belmont

Gonzaga over Brigham Young

Florida over Michigan State

 

Sweet 16 Winners

Ohio State over Kentucky

Syracuse over North Carolina

Texas over Duke

San Diego State over Connecticut

Kansas over Louisville

Purdue over Notre Dame

Pittsburgh over Kansas State

Florida over Gonzaga

 

Elite 8 Winners

Ohio State over Syracuse

Texas over San Diego State

Kansas over Purdue

Pittsburgh over Florida

 

Semifinal Winners

Ohio State over Texas

Kansas over Pittsburgh

 

National Championship

Kansas over Ohio State

December 27, 2010

The 2010-11 College Football Playoff Computer Simulation–Semifinals

The 2010-11 College Football Playoff Computer Simulation—The Final Four

 

You are looking live at the College Football Playoff Computer Simulation for 2010-11.

 

In the first round, Arkansas defeated Michigan State, Wisconsin defeated Connecticut, Boise State defeated Oklahoma, and Ohio State knocked off Virginia Tech.  Last week in the quarterfinals, Auburn beat Arkansas, Wisconsin edged Stanford, Oregon trounced Boise State, and Ohio State bested TCU.

 

For those of you that did not read our features from the previous two weeks, here are the particulars.  We have access to a university computer that has a simulation program that has been used for several years to pick football winners.  Its results in picking winners have been quite accurate, but it has failed in picking games against the spread.  Thus, it can only be used to pick winners.

 

We have used this simulator for three and a half years.  If you follow our NFL playoff coverage, then you have seen how accurate it can be.

 

Last year, the simulator gave us Boise State as the national champion, defeating TCU in the “Simper Bowl.”  The results were similar to the actual Fiesta Bowl won by Boise State.

 

Our simulated playoffs started with 12 teams.  We took the champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC and awarded them automatic bids.  We then took all other conference champions that finished in the top 12 of the BCS and awarded them automatic bids.  We then selected the highest-rated BCS teams not already given automatic bids and awarded at-large bids until we had our “Dandy Dozen.”  The teams were then seeded 1-12 based on their BCS rating.

 

The top four seeds received first round byes as a reward.  We limit our playoff to 12, because we feel the number 16 team would never be deserving of winning the national championship, while there have been seasons where the number 12 team could have been a contender.

 

With a 12-team playoff, we needed 11 games.  So, we used the top 11 bowls to play these games.  The first round began two weeks ago with four games being played.  The quarterfinals ran last Monday; today, the semifinals run, and next Monday, January 3, the Championship Game, called “The Simper Bowl,” will run.

 

In prior years, we used one simulation and reported the score and stats.  This year, we changed our format. 

 

We are running the simulation 100 times and taking the average score of these 100 simulations as our score for the playoff game. 

 

We will show you how many games each team won, the average score of these 100 simulations, the outlier scores on both sides, and the average rushing and passing yards for each team.

 

Here is the bracket for this season’s playoffs:

 

First Round

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

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

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

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

 

Quarterfinal Round

Sugar Bowl: #8 Arkansas vs. #1 Auburn

Cotton Bowl: #5 Wisconsin vs. #4 Stanford

Fiesta Bowl: #10 Boise State vs. #2 Oregon

Capital One Bowl: #6 Ohio State vs. #3 T C U

 

 

As we stated above, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Boise State, and Ohio State emerged victorious in the opening round games, and Auburn, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Ohio State advanced to today’s semifinal games. 

 

The simulations have been conducted, and here are the results.  They were extremely close today.  In the Orange Bowl, 88 sims were decided by five points or less.  In the Rose Bowl, all 100 sims were decided by single digits, and 17 went to overtime!

 

 

Orange Bowl

#1 Auburn vs. #5 Wisconsin

 

WINNER: WISCONSIN

 

Average Score: Wisconsin 40.6  Auburn 38.7

Wisconsin wins: 53

Auburn wins: 47

 

Outlier A: Wisconsin 48  Auburn 36

Outlier B: Auburn 42  Wisconsin 29

Average Wisconsin Yards: rush-248  pass-177

Average Auburn Yards: rush-208  pass-211

 

Rose Bowl

#2 Oregon vs. #6 Ohio State

 

WINNER: OHIO STATE

 

Average Score: Ohio State 26.9  Oregon 24.8

Ohio State wins: 50

Oregon wins: 50

Outlier A: Ohio State 45  Oregon 37 3ot

Outlier B: Oregon 30  Ohio State 21

Average Ohio State Yards: rush-183  pass-179

Average Oregon Yards: rush-186  pass-180

 

 

Simper Bowl IV is set.  Congratulations to the Big Ten Conference for landing both championship game participants.  Wisconsin will play Ohio State for all the marbles, and you can see the results next Monday in play-by-play format.

 

The format for the championship game will be different.  We will simulate this game 100 times to discover the winner of the game to determine the winner.  Then, we will simulate it again as many times as needed for the winner to come up with another win.  The first simulation past number 100 that shows our 100-game simulation as the winner will be the official Simper Bowl results.  Since we will give you the results in a play-by-play format, if you do not peak at the bottom, you can follow the action as if you are seeing it unfold live, sort of.

 

For example, let’s say we were simulating 2009 Alabama against 2008 Florida.  Let’s say that Alabama wins the 100 simulations by a margin of 52 to 48.  We will then simulate this game again and again until the result shows Alabama winning and take that first simulation from #101 on that shows Alabama winning as the game result.

 

So, come by this website next Monday afternoon, January 3, 2011, for Simper Bowl IV.

 

Happy New Years to all, and please be responsible Friday night.  Don’t miss 2011 because you were ignorant on the last day of 2010.

December 26, 2010

PiRate Ratings College Football Bowl Preview, Part Two

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

 

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

 

Sunday, December 26

Little Caesar’s Bowl

Detroit, MI

8:30 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: Toledo by 1

Totals: 57

PiRate: Toledo by 3.3

Mean: Toledo by 2.8

Bias: Toledo by 16.8

100 Sims: Toledo 67  Florida International 33

Avg. Sim Score: Toledo 33.6  Florida International 25.7

Outlier A: Toledo 49  Florida International 19

Outlier B: Florida International 37  Toledo 24

 

Monday, December 27

Independence Bowl

Shreveport, LA

5:00 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: Air Force by 2 ½  

Totals: 56

PiRate: Georgia Tech by 1.7

Mean: Air Force by 5.2

Bias: Air Force by 5.9

100 Sims: Air Force 55  Georgia Tech 45

Avg. Sim Score: Air Force 29.2  Georgia Tech 26.9

Outlier A: Air Force 41  Georgia Tech 23

Outlier B: Georgia Tech 34  A Force 23

 

Tuesday, December 28

Champs Sports Bowl

Orlando, FL

6:30 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: West Virginia by 2 ½

Totals: 49

PiRate: West Virginia by 6.8

Mean: West Virginia by 2.3

Bias: West Virginia by 3.0

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

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

Outlier A: West Virginia 27  North Carolina State 10

Outlier B: North Carolina State 28  West Virginia 12

 

Insight Bowl

Tempe, AZ

10:00 PM EST

Missouri (10-2)  vs.  Iowa (7-5)

Vegas: Missouri by 2 ½

Totals: 46 ½

PiRate: Even

Mean: Missouri by 4.1

Bias: Missouri by 12.6

100 Sims: Missouri 58  Iowa 42

Avg. Sim Score: Missouri 25.6  Iowa 22.3

Outlier A: Missouri 31  Iowa 13

Outlier B: Iowa 21  Missouri 7

 

Wednesday, December 29

Military Bowl

Washington, D.C.

2:30 PM on EST

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

Vegas: Maryland by 7 ½

Totals: 68 ½

PiRate: Maryland by 18.4

Mean: Maryland by 11.2

Bias: Maryland by 13.8

100 Sims: East Carolina 51  Maryland 49

Avg. Sim Score: Maryland 34.4  East Carolina 34.1

Outlier A: East Carolina 47  Maryland 31

Outlier B: Maryland 42  East Carolina 20

 

Texas Bowl

Houston, TX

6:00 PM EST on ESPN

Baylor (7-5)  vs. Illinois (6-6)

Vegas: Baylor by 1

Totals: 62 ½

PiRate: Baylor by 2.4

Mean: Illinois by 1.6

Bias: Baylor by 6.9

100 Sims: Illinois 54  Baylor 46

Avg. Sim Score: Illinois 32.1  Baylor 28.6

Outlier A: Illinois 34  Baylor 17

Outlier B: Baylor 28  Illinois 18

 

Alamo Bowl

San Antonio, TX

9:15 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: Oklahoma State by 5 ½

Totals: 66

PiRate: Oklahoma State by 1.1

Mean: Oklahoma State by 6.1

Bias: Oklahoma State by 9.6

100 Sims: Oklahoma State 61  Arizona 39

Avg. Sim Score: Oklahoma State 38.0  Arizona 29.1

Outlier A: Oklahoma State 51  Arizona 27

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

 

Thursday, December 30

Armed Forces Bowl

Dallas, TX

12:00 Noon EST on ESPN

S M U (7-6)  vs. Army (6-6)

Vegas: S M U by 7

Totals: 52

PiRate: S M U by 7.7

Mean: S M U by 3.2

Bias: S M U by 10.6

100 Sims: S M U 64  Army 36

Avg. Sim Score: S M U 28.2  Army 20.6

Outlier A: S M U 34  Army 10

Outlier B: Army 24  S M U 16

 

Pinstripe Bowl

New York, NY

3:20 PM EST

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

Vegas: Pick’em

Totals: 47 ½

PiRate: Syracuse by 1.5

Mean: Kansas State by 4.6

Bias: Syracuse by 2.3

100 Sims: Syracuse 53  Kansas State 47

Avg. Sim Score: Syracuse 20.1  Kansas State 18.6

Outlier A: Syracuse 24  Kansas State 7

Outlier B: Kansas State 17  Syracuse 3

 

Music City Bowl

Nashville, TN

6:30 PM EST

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

Vegas: North Carolina by 1 ½  

Totals: 50 ½

PiRate: North Carolina by 6.8

Mean: North Carolina by 1.5

Bias: Tennessee by 6.6

100 Sims: Tennessee 50  North Carolina 50

Avg. Sim Score: Tennessee 24.5  North Carolina 23.9

Outlier A: Tennessee 30  North Carolina 14

Outlier B: North Carolina 27  Tennessee 12

 

Holiday Bowl

San Diego, CA

10:00 PM EST

Nebraska (10-3)  vs. Washington (6-6)

Vegas: Nebraska by 14

Totals: 52 ½

PiRate: Nebraska by 11.8

Mean: Nebraska by 11.5

Bias: Nebraska by 5.3

100 Sims: Nebraska 57  Washington 43

Avg. Sim Score: Nebraska 26.1  Washington 19.3

Outlier A: Nebraska 27  Washington 6

Outlier B: Washington 23  Nebraska 14

 

Friday, December 31

Meineke Car Care Bowl

Charlotte, NC

12:00 Noon EST

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

Vegas: Clemson by 5 ½

Totals: 40 ½

PiRate: Clemson by 5.1

Mean: Clemson by 3.7

Bias: South Florida by 6.1

100 Sims: South Florida 58  Clemson 42

Avg. Sim Score: South Florida 25.1  Clemson 19.2

Outlier A: South Florida 31  Clemson 12

Outlier B: Clemson 28  South Florida 16

 

Sun Bowl

El Paso, TX

2:00 PM EST on CBS

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

Vegas: Miami by 3

Totals: 47

PiRate: Miami by 6.3

Mean: Notre Dame by 1.2

Bias: Miami by 6.0

100 Sims: Notre Dame 52  Miami 48

Avg. Sim Score: Notre Dame 23.4  Miami 23.2

Outlier A: Notre Dame 30  Miami 14

Outlier B: Miami 35  Notre Dame 14

 

Liberty Bowl

Memphis, TN

3:30 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: Georgia by 6 ½

Totals: 55 ½

PiRate: Georgia by 12.8

Mean: Georgia by 5.3

Bias: Georgia by 11.3

100 Sims: Georgia 72  Central Florida 28

Avg. Sim Score: Georgia 28.6  Central Florida 17.3

Outlier A: Georgia 38  Central Florida 10

Outlier B: Central Florida 24  Georgia 19

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Atlanta, GA

7:30 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: South Carolina by 3

Totals: 55

PiRate: Florida State by 0.4

Mean: South Carolina by 0.5

Bias: Florida State by 1.6

100 Sims: Florida State 52  South Carolina 48

Avg. Sim Score: South Carolina 26.7  Florida State 26.6

Outlier A: Florida State 30  South Carolina 16

Outlier B: South Carolina 44  Florida State 17

 

Saturday, January 1

TicketCity Bowl

Dallas, TX

12:00 Noon EST on ESPN-U

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

Vegas: Texas Tech by 10

Totals: 60

PiRate: Texas Tech by 12.5

Mean: Texas Tech by 7.3

Bias: Texas Tech by 9.6

100 Sims: Texas Tech 86  Northwestern 14

Avg. Sim Score: Texas Tech 34.6  Northwestern 21.2

Outlier A: Texas Tech 45  Northwestern 17

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

 

Outback Bowl

Tampa, FL

1:00 PM EST on ABC

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

Vegas: Florida by 7 ½  

Totals: 48

PiRate: Florida by 13.2

Mean: Florida by 5.1

Bias: Florida by 5.5

100 Sims: Florida 54  Penn State 46

Avg. Sim Score: Florida 22.6  Penn State 19.8

Outlier A: Florida 28  Penn State 13

Outlier B: Penn State 21  Florida 10

 

Capital One Bowl

Orlando, FL

1:00 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: Alabama by 10

Totals: 52 ½

PiRate: Alabama by 15.5

Mean: Alabama by 10.4

Bias: Alabama by 3.2

100 Sims: Alabama 59  Michigan State 41

Avg. Sim Score: Alabama 27.6  Michigan State 24.7

Outlier A: Alabama 31  Michigan State 12

Outlier B: Michigan State 35  Alabama 25

 

Gator Bowl

Jacksonville, FL

1:30 PM EST on ESPN2

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

Vegas: Mississippi State by 5 ½

Totals: 61

PiRate: Mississippi State by 10.3

Mean: Mississippi State by 6.3

Bias: Mississippi State by 4.8

100 Sims: Mississippi State 52  Michigan 48

Avg. Sim Score: Mississippi State 33.7  Michigan 30.1

Outlier A: Mississippi State 38  Michigan 20

Outlier B: Michigan 36  Mississippi State 27

 

Rose Bowl

Pasadena, CA

5:00 PM EST on ESPN

T C U (12-0)  vs. Wisconsin (11-1)

Vegas: T C U by 3

Totals: 58 ½

PiRate: T C U by 7.9

Mean: T C U by 5.8

Bias: Wisconsin by 6.6

100 Sims: Wisconsin 54  T C U 46

Avg. Sim Score: Wisconsin 30.4  T C U 28.8

Outlier A: Wisconsin 40  T C U 24

Outlier B: T C U 34  Wisconsin 24

 

Fiesta Bowl

Glendale, AZ

8:30 PM EST

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

Vegas: Oklahoma by 16 1/2

Totals: 55

PiRate: Oklahoma by 19.7

Mean: Oklahoma by 16.2

Bias: Oklahoma by 20.7

100 Sims: Oklahoma 91  Connecticut 9

Avg. Sim Score: Oklahoma 35.3  Connecticut 14.8

Outlier A: Oklahoma 49  Connecticut 7

Outlier B: Connecticut 27  Oklahoma 23

December 20, 2010

The 2010-11 College Football Playoff Computer Simulation–Quarterfinals

The 2010-11 College Football Playoff Computer Simulation—Quarterfinal Round

 

You are looking live at College Football Playoff Computer Simulation for 2010-11.

 

In the first round, Arkansas defeated Michigan State, Wisconsin defeated Connecticut, Boise State defeated Oklahoma, and Ohio State knocked off Virginia Tech.

 

For those of you that did not read our feature from last week, here are the particulars.  We have access to a university computer that has a simulation program that has been used for several years to pick football winners.  Its results in picking winners have been quite accurate, but it has failed in picking games against the spread.  Thus, it can only be used to pick winners.

 

We have used this simulator for three and a half years.  If you follow our NFL playoff coverage, then you have seen how accurate it can be.

 

Last year, the simulator gave us Boise State as the national champion, defeating TCU in the “Simper Bowl.”  The results were similar to the actual Fiesta Bowl won by Boise State.

 

Our simulated playoffs started with 12 teams.  We took the champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC and awarded them automatic bids.  We then took all other conference champions that finished in the top 12 of the BCS and awarded them automatic bids.  We then selected the highest-rated BCS teams not already given automatic bids and awarded at-large bids until we had our “Dandy Dozen.”  The teams were then seeded 1-12 based on their BCS rating.

 

The top four seeds received first round byes as a reward.  We limit our playoff to 12, because we feel the number 16 team would never be deserving of winning the national championship, while there have been seasons where the number 12 team could have been a contender.

 

With a 12-team playoff, we needed 11 games.  So, we used the top 11 bowls to play these games.  The first round began last Monday with four games being played.  The quarterfinals will run today; the semifinals run next Monday, December 27, and the Championship Game will run on Monday, January 3.

 

In prior years, we used one simulation and reported the score and stats.  This year, we changed our format. 

 

We are running the simulation 100 times and taking the average score of these 100 simulations as our score for the playoff game. 

 

We will show you how many games each team won, the average score of these 100 simulations, the outlier scores on both sides, and the average rushing and passing yards for each team.

 

Here is the bracket for this season’s playoffs:

 

First Round

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

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

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

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

 

As we stated above, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Boise State, and Ohio State emerged victorious in the opening round games. 

 

Here are the matchups for today’s quarterfinal round.

 

Sugar Bowl: #8 Arkansas vs. #1 Auburn

Cotton Bowl: #5 Wisconsin vs. #4 Stanford

Fiesta Bowl: #10 Boise State vs. #2 Oregon

Capital One Bowl: #6 Ohio State vs. #3 T C U

 

The simulations have been conducted, and here are the results.

 

 

Sugar Bowl

#8 Arkansas vs. #1 Auburn

 

WINNER: AUBURN

 

Average Score: Auburn 44.6  Arkansas 23.9

Auburn wins: 93

Arkansas wins: 7

Outlier A: Auburn 59  Arkansas 17

Outlier B: Arkansas 49  Auburn 42 2OT

Average Auburn Yards: rush-231  pass-280

Average Arkansas Yards: rush-108  pass-271

 

Cotton Bowl

#5 Wisconsin vs. #4 Stanford

 

WINNER: WISCONSIN

 

Average Score: Wisconsin 43.3  Stanford 36.1

Wisconsin wins: 59

Stanford: 41

Outlier A: Wisconsin 51  Stanford 30

Outlier B: Stanford 40  Wisconsin 27

Average Wisconsin Yards: rush-251  pass-208

Average Stanford Yards: rush-106  pass-311

 

Fiesta Bowl

#10 Boise State vs. #2 Oregon

 

WINNER: OREGON

 

Average Score: Oregon 50.6  Boise State 31.7

Oregon wins: 88

Boise State wins: 12

Outlier A: Oregon 56  Boise State 16

Outlier B: Boise State 48  Oregon 35

Average Oregon Yards: rush-307  pass-277

Average Boise State Yards: rush-133  pass-299

 

Capital One Bowl

#6 Ohio State vs. #3 T C U

 

WINNER: OHIO STATE

 

Average Score: Ohio State 19.7  T C U 14.4

Ohio State wins: 60

T C U: 40

Outlier A: Ohio State 28  T C U 6

Outlier B: T C U 20  Ohio State 7

Average Ohio State Yards: rush-147  pass-155

Average T C U Yards: rush-97  pass-146

 

The semifinal round is set.  In the Orange Bowl, top-seeded Auburn takes on number five seed Wisconsin.  In the Rose Bowl, number two seed Oregon faces number six seed Ohio State.  Have a Merry Christmas, and we will see you next Monday with the new results.

December 13, 2010

The 2010-11 College Football Playoff Computer Simulation

The 2010-11 College Football Playoff Computer Simulation

 

You are looking live at College Football Playoff Computer Simulation for 2010-11.

 

Can Boise State defend their Simper Bowl title from last season?  Will Auburn and Oregon make it to the title game?  Is there a dark horse team that can emerge like Butler in basketball?

 

Let’s get started with the particulars.  We have access to a university computer that has a simulation program that has been used for several years to pick football winners.  Its results in picking winners have been quite accurate, but it has failed in picking games against the spread.  Thus, it can only be used to pick winners.

 

We have used this simulator for four and a half years.  If you follow our NFL playoff coverage, then you have seen how accurate it can be.

 

Last year, the simulator gave us Boise State as the national champion, defeating TCU in “Simper Bowl III.”  The results were similar to the actual Fiesta Bowl won by Boise State, as the teams played to a 10-10 tie in regulation before Boise won in six overtimes 39-37.

 

Southern California won the first two Simper Bowls, 38-24 over Oklahoma in Simper Bowl I and 27-23 over Florida in Simper Bowl II.

 

Our simulated playoffs have 12 teams.  We take the champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC and award them automatic bids.  We then take all other conference champions that finish in the top 12 of the BCS and award them automatic bids.  We then select the highest-rated BCS teams not already given automatic bids and award at-large bids until we have our “Dandy Dozen.”  The teams are then seeded 1-12 based on their BCS rating.

 

The top four seeds receive first round byes as a reward.  We also limit to 12, because we feel the number 16 team would never be deserving of winning the national championship, while there have been seasons where the number 12 team could have been a contender.

 

With a 12-team playoff, we need 11 games.  So, we use the top 11 bowls to play these games.  The first round begins today with four games being played.  The quarterfinals will run next Monday; the semifinals on Monday, December 27, and the Championship Game on Monday, January 3.

 

In prior years, we used one simulation and reported the score and stats.  This year, we are changing our format.  We are running the simulation 100 times and taking the average score of these 100 simulations as our score for the playoff game. 

 

We will show you how many games each team won, the average score of these 100 simulations, the outlier scores on both sides, and the average rushing and passing yards for each team.

 

Here is the bracket for this season’s playoffs:

 

First Round

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

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

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

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

 

Quarterfinals

Sugar Bowl: #1 Auburn vs. Arkansas or Michigan State

Cotton Bowl: #4 Stanford vs. Wisconsin or Connecticut

Fiesta Bowl: #2 Oregon vs. Oklahoma or Boise State

Capital One Bowl: #3 T C U vs. Ohio State or Virginia Tech

 

Semifinals

Orange Bowl: Winners of the Sugar and Cotton Bowls

Rose Bowl: Winners of the Fiesta and Capital One Bowls

 

Simper Bowl IV—The National Championship Game

Orange Bowl winner vs. Rose Bowl winner

 

Are you ready?  Here are the results of the first round games.

 

Outback Bowl

#8 Arkansas vs. #9 Michigan State

 

WINNER: ARKANSAS

 

Average Score: Arkansas 30.4  Michigan State 27.6

Arkansas wins: 59

Michigan State wins: 41

Outlier A: Arkansas 44  Michigan State 17

Outlier B: Michigan State 37  Arkansas 20

Arkansas Avg Yards: rush-113  pass-274

Michigan State Avg Yards: rush-144  pass-228

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl

#5 Wisconsin vs. #12 Connecticut

 

WINNER: WISCONSIN

 

Average Score: Wisconsin 43.7  Connecticut 22.6

Wisconsin wins: 94

Connecticut wins: 6

Outlier A: Wisconsin 61  Connecticut 13

Outlier B: Connecticut 33  Wisconsin 28

Average Wisconsin Yards: rush-246  pass-234

Average Connecticut Yards: rush-153  pass-159

 

Insight Bowl

#7 Oklahoma vs. #10 Boise State

 

WINNER: BOISE STATE

 

Average Score: Boise State 37.3  Oklahoma 29.2

Boise State wins: 66

Oklahoma wins: 34

Outlier A: Boise State 41  Oklahoma 20

Outlier B: Oklahoma 34  Boise State 26

Average Boise State Yards: rush-157  pass-269

Average Oklahoma Yards: rush-128  pass-249

 

Alamo Bowl

#6 Ohio State vs. #11 Virginia Tech

 

WINNER: OHIO STATE

 

Average Score: Ohio State 26.0  Virginia Tech 18.7

Ohio State wins: 68

Virginia Tech: 32

Outlier A: Ohio State 37  Virginia Tech 10

Outlier B: Virginia Tech 24  Ohio State 17

Average Ohio State Yards: rush-151  pass-177

Average Virginia Tech Yards: rush-111  pass-149

 

 

The quarterfinal round is now set and will be played next Monday, December 20.  Here is the schedule.

 

Sugar Bowl: #8 Arkansas vs. #1 Auburn

Cotton Bowl: #5 Wisconsin vs. #4 Stanford

Fiesta Bowl: #10 Boise State vs. #2 Oregon

Capital One Bowl: #6 Ohio State vs. #3 T C U

December 6, 2010

PiRate Ratings For College Football: Final Regular Season

Have To Wait A Day

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

 

NCAA PiRate Simulated Playoffs Return

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

 

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

 

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

 

Here are your 2010-11 NCAA Simulated Playoff Teams:

 

Automatic Qualifiers

ACC Champion: Virginia Tech

Big East Champion: Connecticut

Big Ten Champion: Wisconsin

Big 12 Champion: Oklahoma

Pac-10 Champion: Oregon

SEC Champion: Auburn

 

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

 

Mountain West Champion: T C U

WAC co-Champion: Boise State

 

This leaves four spaces for at-large teams.

 

At-large: Stanford

At-large: Ohio State

At-large: Arkansas

At-large: Michigan State

 

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

 

 1. Auburn

 2. Oregon

 3. T C U

 4. Stanford

 5. Wisconsin

 6. Ohio State

 7. Oklahoma

 8. Arkansas

 9. Michigan State

10. Boise State

11. Virginia Tech

12. Connecticut

 

Round One

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

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

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

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

 

Quarterfinal Round

Sugar Bowl: #1 Auburn vs. Outback Bowl Winner

Fiesta Bowl: #2 Oregon vs. Insight Bowl Winner

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

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

 

Semifinal Round

Orange Bowl: Sugar Bowl Winner vs. Cotton Bowl Winner

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

 

Simper Bowl

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

 

Check back next Monday for Round One results.

 

The Final Regular Season PiRate Ratings

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

A Look At The Bowls

 

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

 

All Times Eastern Standard

 

Saturday, December 18

The New Mexico Bowl—Albuquerque, NM

2:00 PM  ESPN

B Y U  6-6  vs. U T E P  6-6

 

The Humanitarian Bowl—Boise, ID

5:30 PM  ESPN

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

 

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

9:00 PM  ESPN

Troy  7-5  vs. Ohio U  8-4

 

Tuesday, December 21

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

8:00 PM  ESPN

Louisville  6-6  vs. Southern Mississippi  8-4

 

Wednesday, December 22

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl—Las Vegas, NV

8:00 PM  ESPN

Utah  10-2  vs. Boise State  11-1

Boise State substitutes for a Pac-10 Team

 

Thursday, December 23

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

8:00 PM  ESPN

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

 

Friday, December 24

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl—Honolulu, HI

8:00 PM  ESPN

Hawaii  10-3  vs. Tulsa 9-3

 

Sunday, December 26

Little Caesar’s Bowl—Detroit, MI

8:30 PM  ESPN

Florida International  6-6  vs. Toledo  8-4

Florida International substitutes for a Big Ten Team

 

Monday, December 27

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl—Shreveport, LA

5:00 PM  ESPN-2

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

 

Tuesday, December 28

Champs Sports Bowl—Orlando, FL

6:30 PM  ESPN

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

 

Insight Bowl—Tempe, AZ

10:00 PM  ESPN

Missouri  10-2  vs.  Iowa  7-5

 

Wednesday, December 29

Military Bowl—Washington, DC

2:30 PM  ESPN

Maryland  8-4  vs.  East Carolina  6-6

 

Texas Bowl—Houston, TX

6:00 PM  ESPN

Baylor  7-5  vs. Illinois  7-5

 

Valero Alamo Bowl—San Antonio, TX

9:15 PM  ESPN

Oklahoma State  10-2  vs.  Arizona  7-5

 

Thursday, December 30

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl—Ft. Worth, TX

12 Noon  ESPN

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

 

New Era Pinstripe Bowl—New York, NY

3:20 PM  ESPN

Syracuse  7-5  vs. Kansas State  7-5

 

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl—Nashville, TN

6:40 PM  ESPN

Tennessee  6-6  vs.  North Carolina  7-5

 

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl—San Diego, CA

10:00 PM  ESPN

Nebraska  10-3  vs.  Washington  6-6

 

Friday, December 31

Meineke Car Care Bowl—Charlotte, NC

12 Noon  ESPN

Clemson  6-6  vs.  South Florida  7-5

 

Hyundai Sun Bowl—El Paso, TX

2:00 PM  CBS

Miami (FL)  7-5  vs. Notre Dame  7-5

Notre Dame Substitutes for Pac-10 Team

 

AutoZone Liberty Bowl—Memphis, TN

3:30 PM  ESPN

Georgia  6-6  vs.  Central Florida  10-3

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl—Atlanta, GA

7:30 PM  ESPN

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

 

Saturday, January 1

Ticket City Bowl—Dallas, TX

12 Noon  ESPN-U

Northwestern  6-6  vs.  Texas Tech  7-5

 

Outback Bowl—Tampa, FL

1:00 PM  ABC

Florida  7-5  vs.  Penn State  7-5

 

Capital One Bowl—Orlando, FL

1:00 PM  ESPN

Michigan State  11-1  vs.  Alabama  9-3

 

Gator Bowl—Jacksonville, FL

1:30 PM  ESPN-2

Michigan  7-5  vs.  Mississippi State  8-4

 

Rose Bowl—Pasadena, CA

5:00 PM  ESPN

T C U  12-0  vs.  Wisconsin  11-1

 

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl—Glendale, AZ

8:30 PM  ESPN

Oklahoma  11-2  vs. Connecticut  8-4

 

Monday, January 3

Discover Orange Bowl—Miami, FL

8:30 PM  ESPN

Virginia Tech  11-2  vs. Stanford  11-1

 

Tuesday, January 4

All-State Sugar Bowl—New Orleans, LA

8:30 PM  ESPN

Arkansas  10-2  vs. Ohio State  11-1

 

Thursday, January 6

GoDaddy.com Bowl—Mobile, AL

8:00 PM  ESPN

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

 

Friday, January 7

AT&T Cotton Bowl—Arlington, TX

8:00 PM  Fox

Texas A&M  9-3  vs. L S U  10-2

 

Saturday, January 8

BBVA Compass Bowl—Birmingham, AL

12 Noon  ESPN

Pittsburgh  7-5  vs. Kentucky  6-6

 

Sunday, January 9

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl—San Francisco, CA

9:00 PM  ESPN

Boston College  7-5  vs.  Nevada  12-1

Boston College Substitutes for a Pac-10 Team

 

Monday, January 10

National Championship Game—Glendale, AZ

8:30 PM  ESPN

Auburn  13-0  vs.  Oregon  12-0

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