The Pi-Rate Ratings

November 2, 2017

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlays for November 2-6, 2017

The PiRate Captain had to send up the white flag after his lasses staged a successful mutiny two weeks ago. Much to his chagrin and ego, the ladies proceeded to come up with back-to-back weeks of pillaging of the Vegas vessels.

Last week, they brought in enough booty to send the SS Fortune into the black for the season. They proceeded to return a profit on the investment of a whopping 147%, missing out on going a perfect 4 for 4 by one play in overtime in the Appy State-U Mass game.  For the season, the PiRate Account is now in the black with a very modest 1% ROI.

The Captain will note that in the previous two seasons, the period from the last of October to the first of December followed the same MO–the selection results went from red numbers to black numbers and clinched a profit for the overall seasons.
Now, the lasses are lobbying to change the name of the PiRate ship to Queen Anne’s Revenge. The Captain is worried that five swollen heads on the lovely ladies could lead to a return of some booty to the Nevada books, but the ladies are overly confident that they have zeroed in using their superior female intuition.

Once again, the ladies picked the teams they thought had the best chance of winning outright but at the same time went off as small favorites, total tossups, or even slight underdogs. The Captain merely served as their accountant, putting together the best possible parlays as far as favorable odds go, thanks to his knowing which of the 2 dozen reputable books had the best overall odds.

 
The PiRate lasses selected four money line parlays, each going off at better than +120 odds, which is the unwritten rule for this weekly feature. Actually, there are just three parlays this week, as the fourth selection is a single game where the ladies believe the underdog should be favored by at least a touchdown.

Enjoy the picks, but remember, neither the ladies nor the Captain ever wager real money on the outcomes of these games. The goal here is to have fun with math.

#1 @ +155  
Must Win Must Lose
North Texas Louisiana Tech
#2 @ +144  
Must Win Must Lose
Georgia St.
Georgia Southern
Kentucky Ole Miss
#3 @ +167  
Must Win Must Lose
Navy Temple
Northwestern Nebraska
#4 @ +204  
Must Win Must Lose
Missouri Florida
UAB Rice
Tulane Cincinnati

 

 

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October 5, 2017

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlays for October 5-9, 2017

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 12:02 pm

Finally, the PiRates had a week to celebrate.  Playing strictly college games, it was quite a profitable week, albeit in imaginary currency.

Three of our five selections won, returning us $718 on our $500 invested for an ROI of 44%  The weekly success almost squared us for the season, as we are now just $83 down on $1,700 invested.  We are one additional successful week from possibly going from red to black figures for the season.

We have selected four parlays this week, all consisting of three-games apiece.  We will be experimenting with additional options this week to test a theory put forth by a mathematics department head of a local university, and if this theory shows some merit, we will discuss it at length in the near future.  For now, we will continue posting only money line parlays that give us better than +120 odds.

Every year, we look to see which games tend to give us the most success, and it is uncanny that two leagues tend to lead the way.  Would you ever guess that the Sun Belt Conference and Mid-American Conference have given us more winners than any of the Power 5 leagues?  Is it because these two leagues are more predictable, or is it because maybe the books do not always have the best gauge on these two conferences, and the numbers produce more favorable odds?  Unfortunately, we do not have enough data saved to give us a factual answer.  However, the percentages that we have saved tell us that we have a statistically important advantage when playing games among the MAC and SBC, so these two leagues will remain in the PiRate diet.

We will preface our picks for this week with the mild warning that we were not in 100% agreement on any of the picks this week, while we were solidly behind the three winning plays last week.  In actuality, we were not in 100% agreement on any potential 3-team parlay that produced greater than +120 odds.  The only parlay we all agreed on involved SIX games, at +205 odds.  Six sure things are seldom 100% sure.  It is most likely that one of the six could be upset, and our leader actually believes one of the six might be a great sides pick at +11 (off the record, he likes New Mexico State +11 vs. Appalachian State).

Here are our four parlays for the week.

#1@ +145  
Must Win Must Lose
Florida LSU
TCU West Virginia
Notre Dame North Carolina

 

#2@ +138  
Must Win Must Lose
Syracuse Pittsburgh
Michigan Michigan St.
Marshall Charlotte

 

#3@ +176  
Must Win Must Lose
Miami Florida St.
UTSA Southern Miss
Navy Air Force

 

#4@ +130  
Must Win Must Lose
Akron Ball St.
Idaho UL-Lafayette
Ohio U Central Mich.

 

Note–Once again, we are not issuing any NFL selections for the obvious reasons and the not-so-obvious reason that our NFL ratings have taken a 50%+ drop in readership.  This speaks loudly, and I hope the NFL brass are paying attention at the mass media with similar drops in patronage.

It is our editorial opinion that the NFL needs to instate a rule outlawing all publicly political opinions and statements during their games, just like most other retail establishments.  When you or we go to the grocery store to buy food, or go to your local insurance agent to renew your policies, none of us would expect to be issued any political litmus tests from either side of an issue, and we would quickly look elsewhere for our groceries or insurance if we did have to hear the employees and management deliver one-sided editorials, whether it was our identical belief or opposing belief. 

The NFL will only continue to lose patronage if they allow politicization in any way, on any side.  Football is just one of many avenues of entertainment.  The NFL has fallen behind trail hiking, reading good books, going shopping with our loved ones, visiting friends, and doing inventory (ugh) in the households of the Pirates.  The TVs have remained silent on Sundays and Monday nights.  Worse for the NFL, we all have discovered a much more enjoyable end to our weekends by not watching the games, something that may become addictive long after the impasse has been retired.  It takes a lot to win customers back after they have made the decision to leave.  Many companies never succeed in returning to what they once were once they experienced a large migration away from their establishment.

August 19, 2017

2017 American Athletic Conference Preview

As it did the previous two years, The American Athletic Conference once again heads the Group of 5 leagues as the top overall to begin the 2017 college football season. However, that does not mean that you can automatically place the league’s champion in a New Year’s 6 Bowl game. Last year, Houston was the favorite to win the league and certainly receive a bid to the Cotton Bowl, and after the Cougars tore Oklahoma’s defense apart, it looked like they could even get into the Playoff picture.

Alas, the league proved to be just balanced enough that UH could not run the table, and the Cougars actually finished in a third place tie in the West, after Navy, SMU, and Memphis beat them in the second half of the season. The race in the East was quite interesting, as South Florida looked to be the early equal of Houston. The Bulls gave Florida State all they could handle, and it looked like USF would go 11-1 from that point on. However, Temple played a brilliant defensive game, and the Owls pulled off the mild upset, leading the men from Philly to the Eastern Crown.
Instead of USF and UH, it was Temple and Navy in the AAC Championship Game, with the Owls solving the Midshipmen multiple option offense.

 

This year brings a lot of change to the league. The AAC Champion Owls, as well as USF and Houston break in new coaches. Former Temple coach Matt Rhule went to Baylor. Former USF coach Willie Taggart took the big pay day to go to Oregon, while Houston’s ex-coach Tom Herman took over the job he supposedly has coveted for years–at Texas.

 

The three powers brought in masterminds to replace the departed successes. Temple hired Geoff Collins, who had been Florida’s defensive coordinator the last two years. The Gators won the SEC East with very little offensive contribution after injuries riddled the attack side.
USF hopes that Charlie Strong can do what he did at Louisville and not Texas. Strong has a successful history recruiting in the Sunshine State, and it should help USF stay atop or near the top of the AAC standings in the future.
Houston stayed in-house and hired offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to become its next head coach. Applewhite will be under the gun to produce immediate results, and his honeymoon will be short.

 

Here’s how the media predicted the AAC for 2017.

American Athletic Conference–East Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 South Florida 30 180 26
2 Central Florida 0 126 0
3 Temple 0 119 0
4 Cincinnati 0 100 0
5 East Carolina 0 63 0
6 Connecticut 0 42 0
         
American Athletic Conference–West Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Memphis 22 169 1
2 Houston 6 137 2
3 Navy 1 128 1
4 Tulsa 1 102 0
5 SMU 0 64 0
6 Tulane 0 30 0

 

The PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings are very similar, matching the East predictions exactly.

American Athletic Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 111.1 109.0 112.3 110.8
Central Florida 99.1 101.5 99.8 100.2
Temple 97.5 98.2 97.8 97.8
Cincinnati 90.2 93.0 91.7 91.6
East Carolina 88.3 89.6 88.3 88.7
Connecticut 87.4 90.6 88.0 88.7
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Memphis 107.4 106.1 108.1 107.2
Tulsa 105.3 104.1 105.3 104.9
Houston 104.1 102.9 104.0 103.7
Navy 98.0 98.9 97.7 98.2
SMU 96.3 96.6 96.7 96.5
Tulane 93.9 94.3 94.3 94.2
         
AAC Averages 98.2 98.7 98.7 98.5

 

And, here are our not-so-scientific predictions and bowl projections for this season.

American Athletic Conference Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
East Division      
South Florida 7-1 12-1 Peach
Temple 5-3 7-5 Cure
Central Florida 4-4 6-6 St. Petersburg
Cincinnati 3-5 5-7  
East Carolina 1-7 2-10  
Connecticut 1-7 2-10  
       
Team Conference Overall Bowl
West Division      
Memphis 6-2 9-4 Hawaii
Houston 5-3 9-3 Boca Raton
Tulsa 5-3 7-5 Birmingham
SMU 4-4 7-5 Frisco
Navy 4-4 6-6 [Independence]
Tulane 3-5 5-7  
       
South Florida to win AAC Title and automatic NY 6 Bowl Bid

Navy’s Independence Bowl Bid is an at-large bid

 

Trivia: In 1918, Georgia Tech beat North Carolina State 118-0. For half a century no Division 1 team scored 100 points on another Division 1 team. In 1949 San Jose State beat New Mexico 103-0, but the Spartans would not become a major college participant until the following season, so this one doesn’t count. The last time a Division 1 team scored 100 points on another Division 1 team was in 1968, when current AAC West member Houston beat current AAC West member Tulsa 100-6.

Here are your three trivia questions today. A Houston wide receiver caught a 25-yard pass for a touchdown in that 100-6 game that made the score 93-6. He later went on to fame in the music business.

1. Name the Wide Receiver that would become a famous music celebrity.
2. Explain how this person once performed the National Anthem for a sporting event that was postponed soon after he performed, and there was no rain or lightning.
3. Name the Tulsa lineman that became a famous TV celebrity and has used this game as a means to help advance his career.

Coming Tomorrow–We are down to just Power 5 conferences remaining to be previewed. We start with the Big Ten. Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin have the look of potential playoff teams. Which one do we think might run the table in the regular season? Can Michigan continue to impress with the biggest rebuilding job in the nation (only one starter returns on defense)? Can Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, or Northwestern challenge the Badgers? How will new coach Jeff Brohm improve Purdue, and can he lead the Boilermakers back into contention for the first time since Drew Brees led the PU attack?

December 4, 2016

College Football Ratings & Spreads For December 10, 2016

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:49 pm

There is only one game this week, the annual Army-Navy game, played this season in Baltimore.  Because our ratings for all 128 teams can be affected by just one game, we will not issue our bowl picks until after the conclusion of the game this weekend.

So, since there is not much to post this week, let us relay a little mathematical data concerning the Big Ten Conference, and its one playoff representative.

A similar thing occurred in 2006, when Ohio State played Florida for the national championship.  The Buckeyes were number one after narrowly defeating second-ranked Michigan at the Giant Horseshoe in Columbus.  The score that day was Ohio State 42 Michigan 39.

Ohio State defeated Michigan this year in double overtime and due to a favorable call that might have been and might not have been correct, but wasn’t reviewed.

Ohio State went to the national championship in 2006, and they will go to the playoffs this year.  Michigan will have to be consoled with an Orange Bowl bid.

We asked then and ask now, “How much is Ohio State’s home field advantage worth?”

We can tell you that in 2006, Ohio State’s home field advantage for the Michigan game was worth more than four points, but rounded to four.  They beat Michigan by three.

This year, Ohio State’s home field advantage for the Michigan game was just a tad under three points which rounded to three points.  The score was tied at the end of regulation.

In actuality, both in 2006 and in 2016, Michigan was slightly better than Ohio State in the rivalry game and slightly better ranked, but both times, the Buckeyes earned the right to play for the championship.

This is a recurring theme.  In 1973, Michigan looked like the better team at the end of the day in a 10-10 tie of undefeated teams, but Ohio State received the Rose Bowl invitation (and Michigan stayed home at 10-0-1), because Michigan’s quarterback had been injured and was not a sure thing to be ready for the Rose Bowl (The Big Ten decided who went to Pasadena).

We are not advocating that Michigan be given the Playoff spot over Ohio State.  We are just alluding to the point that home field advantage should be part of the equation as long as there is going to be a playoff committee.

Our true belief is there should be no playoff committee.  The participants should be decided strictly on the results with tiebreakers similar to the NFL.  Of course, the NFL has the advantage in that every team in a division plays its division rivals twice, home and home.  The Big Ten cannot schedule home and home so that Michigan and Ohio State would play both in Columbus and in Ann Arbor every year.

In another dozen or so years, expect the number of playoff teams to expand to 8, and then maybe 12, and maybe even 16, and this controversy will be replaced with the controversy of team number 17 being left out while team number 16 got in.  We only hope that by the time the playoffs expand to 16 teams, there will be a new way to select them, maybe 8 conferences with two divisions each, and each division getting a team in the football dance.

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 138.7 132.5 138.7 136.6
2 Washington 133.0 125.8 132.4 130.4
3 Ohio St. 127.5 127.1 127.8 127.5
4 Clemson 129.5 123.5 128.7 127.2
5 Michigan 127.4 125.5 127.2 126.7
6 Oklahoma 125.2 123.3 125.1 124.5
7 LSU 124.9 120.4 124.4 123.2
8 USC 124.3 119.4 122.8 122.2
9 Florida St. 122.8 117.1 122.1 120.7
10 Louisville 121.9 118.4 121.7 120.7
11 Penn St. 119.9 119.7 120.0 119.9
12 Auburn 120.5 118.5 120.4 119.8
13 Wisconsin 118.7 116.7 119.1 118.2
14 Virginia Tech 118.7 116.9 118.8 118.1
15 Oklahoma St. 116.6 117.9 116.0 116.8
16 Miami 118.4 113.1 118.3 116.6
17 Pittsburgh 117.8 113.8 117.1 116.2
18 Colorado 117.1 112.7 117.0 115.6
19 Iowa 115.9 113.1 115.8 114.9
20 North Carolina 116.2 110.9 116.0 114.4
21 Washington St. 114.9 112.2 114.4 113.9
22 Western Michigan 113.2 113.0 114.9 113.7
23 Stanford 114.9 109.3 114.4 112.9
24 Kansas St. 111.9 113.7 111.9 112.5
25 Tennessee 113.3 110.9 112.4 112.2
26 Texas A&M 112.9 111.4 112.2 112.2
27 Florida 112.4 112.9 110.9 112.1
28 West Virginia 111.9 111.5 111.5 111.6
29 Temple 111.5 110.6 112.3 111.5
30 Notre Dame 112.3 109.5 111.4 111.1
31 Utah 112.7 107.8 111.4 110.6
32 Western Kentucky 110.7 108.8 112.1 110.5
33 Houston 110.0 108.8 111.1 110.0
34 South Florida 110.0 108.3 110.6 109.6
35 Arkansas 111.0 107.1 110.1 109.4
36 BYU 110.7 106.5 110.7 109.3
37 Georgia Tech 110.2 106.4 109.3 108.6
38 Mississippi St. 109.2 107.3 108.0 108.2
39 Georgia 108.3 107.7 107.6 107.9
40 TCU 107.4 109.1 106.4 107.6
41 North Carolina St. 108.8 105.2 108.5 107.5
42 Northwestern 108.8 105.4 107.8 107.3
43 Navy 107.4 106.1 107.5 107.0
44 Minnesota 107.4 105.8 107.1 106.8
45 Vanderbilt 107.5 104.3 106.4 106.1
46 Nebraska 106.5 104.3 106.1 105.6
47 Memphis 106.1 103.9 105.5 105.2
48 Boise St. 104.5 105.7 105.2 105.1
49 Tulsa 104.5 105.7 105.0 105.1
50 Michigan St. 105.1 104.3 103.9 104.4
51 Texas 104.1 105.7 103.0 104.3
52 UCLA 105.1 103.2 104.0 104.1
53 Kentucky 104.1 104.2 103.8 104.0
54 San Diego St. 103.8 102.6 105.6 104.0
55 Baylor 103.8 104.2 103.8 103.9
56 Indiana 103.5 104.6 102.9 103.7
57 Ole Miss 105.3 101.6 104.0 103.6
58 Toledo 102.5 103.2 103.4 103.0
59 Oregon 103.7 101.7 102.6 102.7
60 Texas Tech 102.2 101.6 101.3 101.7
61 California 103.9 97.7 101.7 101.1
62 Duke 101.3 100.3 100.7 100.8
63 Wake Forest 101.2 99.5 101.3 100.7
64 Appalachian St. 99.7 100.9 101.3 100.6
65 Iowa St. 100.6 100.6 99.6 100.3
66 Missouri 99.9 98.6 98.6 99.1
67 Oregon St. 100.6 96.2 99.5 98.8
68 Boston College 99.5 97.9 98.9 98.8
69 Virginia 99.9 97.3 98.9 98.7
70 Colorado St. 97.8 99.4 98.9 98.7
71 Central Florida 97.7 98.7 98.4 98.3
72 Air Force 97.6 99.2 97.8 98.2
73 South Carolina 98.3 97.8 97.8 98.0
74 Arizona St. 99.0 97.4 97.3 97.9
75 Louisiana Tech 96.5 98.7 98.2 97.8
76 Syracuse 98.9 95.6 97.2 97.3
77 New Mexico 95.2 96.9 96.0 96.1
78 Maryland 95.8 97.8 94.2 95.9
79 Northern Illinois 94.6 95.9 95.5 95.3
80 Arkansas St. 93.1 95.8 94.8 94.6
81 Arizona 95.3 93.0 93.8 94.0
82 Wyoming 93.5 94.1 94.5 94.0
83 Ohio 91.4 97.1 92.0 93.5
84 Central Michigan 92.5 94.6 92.9 93.3
85 Troy 91.0 94.8 92.8 92.9
86 SMU 91.9 91.5 93.9 92.5
87 Cincinnati 92.0 92.8 91.7 92.2
88 Army 89.4 95.8 90.6 91.9
89 Purdue 91.7 90.3 90.5 90.8
90 Old Dominion 89.4 92.4 90.6 90.8
91 Miami (O) 89.4 91.1 90.8 90.4
92 Illinois 91.6 88.8 90.4 90.3
93 UTSA 87.2 92.9 89.6 89.9
94 Utah St. 88.8 91.2 88.6 89.5
95 Middle Tennessee 88.5 90.3 89.0 89.3
96 Nevada 88.2 90.2 88.7 89.1
97 Southern Mississippi 88.4 88.6 88.7 88.6
98 Eastern Michigan 87.6 89.6 88.3 88.5
99 East Carolina 87.6 89.0 87.6 88.1
100 Tulane 86.8 89.9 87.4 88.0
101 Idaho 85.6 90.4 87.8 87.9
102 Kansas 87.0 91.0 85.1 87.7
103 Georgia Southern 86.3 87.4 87.9 87.2
104 Bowling Green 86.3 87.4 86.5 86.7
105 UL-Lafayette 84.8 88.6 86.4 86.6
106 Rutgers 86.8 85.3 85.1 85.8
107 Ball St. 84.7 86.7 85.6 85.7
108 Kent St. 84.0 85.5 84.9 84.8
109 Connecticut 84.9 84.6 84.3 84.6
110 South Alabama 81.8 88.0 82.5 84.1
111 San Jose St. 84.1 84.2 84.0 84.1
112 Akron 81.8 86.9 82.7 83.8
113 UNLV 82.5 85.4 83.1 83.7
114 Florida International 81.2 85.4 81.8 82.8
115 Massachusetts 79.8 85.0 80.6 81.8
116 Hawaii 80.9 80.8 80.7 80.8
117 Rice 77.8 83.3 78.3 79.8
118 Georgia St. 77.6 82.0 79.4 79.7
119 Marshall 77.9 81.4 78.4 79.2
120 Charlotte 76.3 81.9 76.9 78.4
121 North Texas 77.2 80.2 77.6 78.4
122 Fresno St. 77.3 80.6 77.0 78.3
123 Buffalo 76.1 81.9 76.7 78.3
124 Florida Atlantic 75.0 79.5 77.1 77.2
125 UTEP 74.4 79.1 75.7 76.4
126 New Mexico St. 74.2 77.2 75.3 75.6
127 UL-Monroe 68.8 74.1 69.8 70.9
128 Texas St. 62.3 64.9 63.3 63.5

PiRate Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Temple 111.5 110.6 112.3 111.5
South Florida 110.0 108.3 110.6 109.6
Central Florida 97.7 98.7 98.4 98.3
Cincinnati 92.0 92.8 91.7 92.2
East Carolina 87.6 89.0 87.6 88.1
Connecticut 84.9 84.6 84.3 84.6
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Houston 110.0 108.8 111.1 110.0
Navy 107.4 106.1 107.5 107.0
Memphis 106.1 103.9 105.5 105.2
Tulsa 104.5 105.7 105.0 105.1
SMU 91.9 91.5 93.9 92.5
Tulane 86.8 89.9 87.4 88.0
         
AAC Averages 99.2 99.2 99.6 99.3
         
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 129.5 123.5 128.7 127.2
Florida St. 122.8 117.1 122.1 120.7
Louisville 121.9 118.4 121.7 120.7
North Carolina St. 108.8 105.2 108.5 107.5
Wake Forest 101.2 99.5 101.3 100.7
Boston College 99.5 97.9 98.9 98.8
Syracuse 98.9 95.6 97.2 97.3
         
Coastal Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Virginia Tech 118.7 116.9 118.8 118.1
Miami 118.4 113.1 118.3 116.6
Pittsburgh 117.8 113.8 117.1 116.2
North Carolina 116.2 110.9 116.0 114.4
Georgia Tech 110.2 106.4 109.3 108.6
Duke 101.3 100.3 100.7 100.8
Virginia 99.9 97.3 98.9 98.7
         
ACC Averages 111.8 108.3 111.2 110.4
         
Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 125.2 123.3 125.1 124.5
Oklahoma St. 116.6 117.9 116.0 116.8
Kansas St. 111.9 113.7 111.9 112.5
West Virginia 111.9 111.5 111.5 111.6
TCU 107.4 109.1 106.4 107.6
Texas 104.1 105.7 103.0 104.3
Baylor 103.8 104.2 103.8 103.9
Texas Tech 102.2 101.6 101.3 101.7
Iowa St. 100.6 100.6 99.6 100.3
Kansas 87.0 91.0 85.1 87.7
         
Big 12 Averages 107.1 107.9 106.4 107.1
         
Big Ten Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 127.5 127.1 127.8 127.5
Michigan 127.4 125.5 127.2 126.7
Penn St. 119.9 119.7 120.0 119.9
Michigan St. 105.1 104.3 103.9 104.4
Indiana 103.5 104.6 102.9 103.7
Maryland 95.8 97.8 94.2 95.9
Rutgers 86.8 85.3 85.1 85.8
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Wisconsin 118.7 116.7 119.1 118.2
Iowa 115.9 113.1 115.8 114.9
Northwestern 108.8 105.4 107.8 107.3
Minnesota 107.4 105.8 107.1 106.8
Nebraska 106.5 104.3 106.1 105.6
Purdue 91.7 90.3 90.5 90.8
Illinois 91.6 88.8 90.4 90.3
         
Big Ten Averages 107.6 106.4 107.0 107.0
         
Conference USA
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Kentucky 110.7 108.8 112.1 110.5
Old Dominion 89.4 92.4 90.6 90.8
Middle Tennessee 88.5 90.3 89.0 89.3
Florida International 81.2 85.4 81.8 82.8
Marshall 77.9 81.4 78.4 79.2
Charlotte 76.3 81.9 76.9 78.4
Florida Atlantic 75.0 79.5 77.1 77.2
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Louisiana Tech 96.5 98.7 98.2 97.8
UTSA 87.2 92.9 89.6 89.9
Southern Mississippi 88.4 88.6 88.7 88.6
Rice 77.8 83.3 78.3 79.8
North Texas 77.2 80.2 77.6 78.4
UTEP 74.4 79.1 75.7 76.4
         
CUSA Averages 84.7 87.9 85.7 86.1
         
FBS Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame 112.3 109.5 111.4 111.1
BYU 110.7 106.5 110.7 109.3
Army 89.4 95.8 90.6 91.9
Massachusetts 79.8 85.0 80.6 81.8
         
Independents Averages 98.1 99.2 98.3 98.5
         
Mid-American Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio 91.4 97.1 92.0 93.5
Miami (O) 89.4 91.1 90.8 90.4
Bowling Green 86.3 87.4 86.5 86.7
Kent St. 84.0 85.5 84.9 84.8
Akron 81.8 86.9 82.7 83.8
Buffalo 76.1 81.9 76.7 78.3
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Michigan 113.2 113.0 114.9 113.7
Toledo 102.5 103.2 103.4 103.0
Northern Illinois 94.6 95.9 95.5 95.3
Central Michigan 92.5 94.6 92.9 93.3
Eastern Michigan 87.6 89.6 88.3 88.5
Ball St. 84.7 86.7 85.6 85.7
         
MAC Averages 90.3 92.8 91.2 91.4
         
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 104.5 105.7 105.2 105.1
Colorado St. 97.8 99.4 98.9 98.7
Air Force 97.6 99.2 97.8 98.2
New Mexico 95.2 96.9 96.0 96.1
Wyoming 93.5 94.1 94.5 94.0
Utah St. 88.8 91.2 88.6 89.5
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 103.8 102.6 105.6 104.0
Nevada 88.2 90.2 88.7 89.1
San Jose St. 84.1 84.2 84.0 84.1
UNLV 82.5 85.4 83.1 83.7
Hawaii 80.9 80.8 80.7 80.8
Fresno St. 77.3 80.6 77.0 78.3
         
MWC Averages 91.2 92.6 91.7 91.8
         
Pac-12 Conference
North Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Washington 133.0 125.8 132.4 130.4
Washington St. 114.9 112.2 114.4 113.9
Stanford 114.9 109.3 114.4 112.9
Oregon 103.7 101.7 102.6 102.7
California 103.9 97.7 101.7 101.1
Oregon St. 100.6 96.2 99.5 98.8
         
South Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
USC 124.3 119.4 122.8 122.2
Colorado 117.1 112.7 117.0 115.6
Utah 112.7 107.8 111.4 110.6
UCLA 105.1 103.2 104.0 104.1
Arizona St. 99.0 97.4 97.3 97.9
Arizona 95.3 93.0 93.8 94.0
         
Pac-12 Averages 110.4 106.4 109.3 108.7
         
Southeastern Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Tennessee 113.3 110.9 112.4 112.2
Florida 112.4 112.9 110.9 112.1
Georgia 108.3 107.7 107.6 107.9
Vanderbilt 107.5 104.3 106.4 106.1
Kentucky 104.1 104.2 103.8 104.0
Missouri 99.9 98.6 98.6 99.1
South Carolina 98.3 97.8 97.8 98.0
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 138.7 132.5 138.7 136.6
LSU 124.9 120.4 124.4 123.2
Auburn 120.5 118.5 120.4 119.8
Texas A&M 112.9 111.4 112.2 112.2
Arkansas 111.0 107.1 110.1 109.4
Mississippi St. 109.2 107.3 108.0 108.2
Ole Miss 105.3 101.6 104.0 103.6
         
SEC Averages 111.9 109.7 111.1 110.9
         
Sunbelt Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 99.7 100.9 101.3 100.6
Arkansas St. 93.1 95.8 94.8 94.6
Troy 91.0 94.8 92.8 92.9
Idaho 85.6 90.4 87.8 87.9
Georgia Southern 86.3 87.4 87.9 87.2
UL-Lafayette 84.8 88.6 86.4 86.6
South Alabama 81.8 88.0 82.5 84.1
Georgia St. 77.6 82.0 79.4 79.7
New Mexico St. 74.2 77.2 75.3 75.6
UL-Monroe 68.8 74.1 69.8 70.9
Texas St. 62.3 64.9 63.3 63.5
         
Sun Belt Averages 82.3 85.8 83.8 84.0

 

# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 111.9 109.7 111.1 110.9
2 ACC 111.8 108.3 111.2 110.4
3 Pac-12 110.4 106.4 109.3 108.7
4 Big 12 107.1 107.9 106.4 107.1
5 Big Ten 107.6 106.4 107.0 107.0
6 AAC 99.2 99.2 99.6 99.3
7 Independents 98.1 99.2 98.3 98.5
8 MWC 91.2 92.6 91.7 91.8
9 MAC 90.3 92.8 91.2 91.4
10 CUSA 84.7 87.9 85.7 86.1
11 Sun Belt 82.3 85.8 83.8 84.0

PiRate Retrodictive Rankings–similar to the AP and Coaches polls in its purpose

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

 

Army – Navy Game played at Baltimore

Team Team PiRate Mean Bias
Army (N) Navy -18.0 -10.3 -16.9

 

The Bowl Schedule

Day Date Bowl Conferences Time (ET) Network
Sat Dec-17 New Mexico MWC CUSA 2:00 PM ESPN
New Mexico (7-5) vs. Texas-San Antonio (6-6)
Sat Dec-17 Las Vegas Pac-12 MWC 3:30 PM ABC
Houston * (9-3) vs. San Diego St. (11-2)
Sat Dec-17 Cure AAC SBC 5:30 PM CBSSN
Central Florida (6-6) vs. Arkansas St. (7-5)
Sat Dec-17 Camellia MAC SBC 5:30 PM ESPN
Toledo (9-3) vs. Appalachian St. (9-3)
Sat Dec-17 New Orleans CUSA SBC 9:00 PM ESPN
Southern Miss. (6-6) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6)
Mon Dec-19 Miami Beach AAC MAC 2:30 PM ESPN
Tulsa (9-3) vs. Central Michigan (6-6)
Tue Dec-20 Boca Raton AAC CUSA 7:00 PM ESPN
Memphis (8-4) vs. Western Kentucky (11-2)
Wed Dec-21 Poinsettia MWC BYU 9:00 PM ESPN
Wyoming (9-4) vs. BYU (8-4)
Thu Dec-22 Idaho Potato MAC MWC 7:00 PM ESPN
Idaho * (8-4) vs. Colorado St. (6-6)
Fri Dec-23 Bahamas AAC/CUSA MAC/CUSA 1:00 PM ESPN
Old Dominion (9-3) vs. Eastern Michigan (7-5)
Fri Dec-23 Armed Forces Navy Big 12 4:30 PM ESPN
Navy (9-3) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-5)
Fri Dec-23 Dollar Gen. MAC SBC 8:00 PM ESPN
Ohio U (8-5) vs. Troy (9-3)
Sat Dec-24 Hawaii CUSA MWC 8:00 PM ESPN
Middle Tennessee (8-4) vs. Hawaii (6-7)
Mon Dec-26 St. Petersburg AAC ACC/ND 11:00 AM ESPN
Miami (O) * (6-6) vs. Mississippi St. * (5-7)
Mon Dec-26 Quick Lane ACC/ND Big Ten 2:30 PM ESPN
Boston College (6-6) vs. Maryland (6-6)
Mon Dec-26 Independence SEC ACC/ND 5:00 PM ESPN2
Vanderbilt (6-6) vs. North Carolina St. (6-6)
Tue Dec-27 Ht. of Dallas Big Ten CUSA 12:00 PM ESPN
Army * (6-5) vs. North Texas (5-7)
Tue Dec-27 Military ACC/ND AAC 3:30 PM ESPN
Wake Forest (6-6) vs. Temple (10-3)
Tue Dec-27 Holiday Big Ten Pac-12 7:00 PM ESPN
Minnesota (8-4) vs. Washington St. (8-4)
Tue Dec-27 Cactus Big 12 Pac-12 10:15 PM ESPN
Baylor (6-6) vs. Boise St. (10-2)
Wed Dec-28 Pinstripe ACC/ND Big Ten 2:00 PM ESPN
Pittsburgh (8-4) vs. Northwestern (6-6)
Wed Dec-28 Russell Athl. ACC/ND Big 12 5:30 PM ESPN
Miami (Fla.) 8-4 vs. West Virginia (9-3)
Wed Dec-28 Foster Farms Big Ten Pac-12 8:30 PM FOX
Indiana (6-6) vs. Utah (8-4)
Wed Dec-28 Texas Big 12 SEC 9:00 PM ESPN
Kansas St. (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (8-4)
Thu Dec-29 Birmingham AAC SEC 2:00 PM ESPN
South Florida (10-2) vs. South Carolina (6-6)
Thu Dec-29 Belk ACC/ND SEC 5:30 PM ESPN
Virginia Tech (9-4) vs. Arkansas (7-5)
Thu Dec-29 Alamo Big 12 Pac-12 9:00 PM ESPN
Oklahoma St. (9-3) vs. Colorado (10-3)
Fri Dec-30 Liberty Big 12 SEC 12:00 PM ESPN
TCU (6-6) vs. Georgia (7-5)
Fri Dec-30 Sun ACC/ND Pac-12 2:00 PM CBS
North Carolina (8-4) vs. Stanford (9-3)
Fri Dec-30 Music City ACC/ND/B10 SEC 3:30 PM ESPN
Nebraska (9-3) vs. Tennessee (8-4)
Fri Dec-30 Arizona SBC MWC 5:30 PM No TV ^
South Alabama (6-6) vs. Air Force (9-3)
Fri Dec-30 Orange ACC/ND B10/SEC 8:00 PM ESPN
Florida St. (9-3) vs. Michigan (10-2)
Sat Dec-31 Citrus ACC/ND/B10 SEC 11:00 AM ABC
Louisville (9-3) vs. LSU (7-4)
Sat Dec-31 TaxSlayer ACC/ND/B10 SEC 11:00 AM ESPN
Georgia Tech (8-4) vs. Kentucky (7-5)
Sat Dec-31 Peach Semifinal Semifinal 3:00 PM ESPN
Alabama (13-0) vs. Washington (12-1)
Sat Dec-31 Fiesta Semifinal Semifinal 7:00 PM ESPN
Clemson (12-1) vs. Ohio St. (11-1)
Mon Jan-2 Outback Big Ten SEC 1:00 PM ABC
Iowa (8-4) vs. Florida (8-4)
Mon Jan-2 Cotton At-Large At-Large 1:00 PM ESPN
Western Michigan (13-0) vs. Wisconsin (10-3)
Mon Jan-2 Rose Big Ten Pac-12 5:00 PM ESPN
Penn St. (11-2) vs. USC (9-3)
Mon Jan-2 Sugar Big 12 SEC 8:30 PM ESPN
Oklahoma (10-2) vs. Auburn (8-4)
Mon Jan-9 Championship Semifinal Winners 8:00 PM ESPN
Alabama/Washington vs. Clemson/Ohio St.
  • * Replacement Team
  • ^ Arizona Bowl will be broadcast online only at Campus Insiders website

August 19, 2016

2016 American Athletic Conference Football Preview

Today, we conclude with our previews of the Group of 5 conferences and throw in the four independents to boot. The American Athletic Conference produced the Group of 5 at-large representative to the New Year’s 6 Bowls last year. Houston represented the little brothers well last year, when the Cougars bested Florida State in the Peach Bowl last year.

Houston should be right in the thick of the AAC and NY6 Bowl race this year, but we believe that another league member is talented enough to take this year’s automatic NY6 Bowl bid, and if they can pull off one upset, maybe even challenge for the #4 seed in the playoffs.

Coach Willie Taggart has his South Florida team ready to make a run toward an undefeated season this year. The Bulls must pull off the upset against Florida State, but USF gets to host the Seminoles in that game a week after FSU must face Louisville on the road.

USF returns an exceptional dual threat quarterback in Quinton Flowers. Flowers topped 1,000 yards rushing (not counting QB sacks, or if NFL statistic rules were used) last year, while averaging more than 8 yards per passing attempt. Seven of his top eight targets from last year return to give the Bulls an improved passing attack. That should allow multi-talented running back Marlon Mack to see less eight-man defensive fronts and give him a chance to improve on his 1,381 rushing yards from a year ago.

Defensively, USF 10 of their top dozen tacklers from a year ago, including potential All-American Deatrick Nichols as a cover cornerback. USF should trim about 5 points and 30-50 total yards off what the defense allowed last year, and that should give the Bulls a fighting chance to conquer that one great matador in their path to a perfect season.

Houston is still the class of the West Division. The Cougars came within an upset loss against Connecticut in November last year of possibly getting into the Playoff picture. Second year head coach Tom Herman proved to be a talented protege of his mentor Urban Meyer, as he guided the Cougars to a 13-1 season. Only a few questions on the defensive side keep us from making UH our clear-cut favorite for the NY6 Bowl, but they only trail USF by a tiny margin as the season begins. What hurts the Cougars is an opening game against Oklahoma at NRG Stadium, and we cannot see the Cougars’ defense being ready to stop the Sooners’ offense. Starting 0-1, Houston will be behind the eight-ball all season. Road games against Cincinnati, Navy, and Memphis may be more than UH can handle, so the Cougars could be a two-loss team heading into the AAC Championship Game.

Here is how the Media picked this year’s AAC race.

American Athletic Conference–East Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 South Florida 15 164 2
2 Temple 9 144 1
3 Cincinnati 6 130  
4 Connecticut 0 89  
5 East Carolina 0 55  
6 Central Florida 0 48  
         
American Athletic Conference–West Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Houston 30 180 27
2 Navy 0 128  
3 Memphis 0 124  
4 Tulsa 0 92  
5 SMU 0 65  
6 Tulane 0 41  

And, here are how our PiRates rate the teams to begin the 2016 season.

American Athletic Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 108.3 105.7 109.5 107.8
Cincinnati 101.5 102.7 102.5 102.3
Temple 102.2 101.2 103.1 102.2
Connecticut 98.3 96.1 98.6 97.7
East Carolina 91.6 94.6 91.7 92.6
Central Florida 85.9 88.6 85.9 86.8
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Houston 110.1 108.3 111.9 110.1
Tulsa 99.7 102.2 100.4 100.8
Memphis 102.7 97.8 100.8 100.5
Navy 99.2 99.0 98.6 99.0
SMU 93.7 92.1 93.2 93.0
Tulane 82.2 86.1 82.0 83.4
         
AAC Averages 98.0 97.9 98.2 98.0

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

 

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

American Athletic Conference Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
East Division      
South Florida 8-0 12-1 * Cotton–NY6
Temple 6-2 9-3 Military
Cincinnati 4-4 6-6 Birmingham
Connecticut 3-5 4-8  
East Carolina 2-6 3-9  
Central Florida 1-7 2-10  
       
Team Conference Overall Bowl
West Division      
Houston 8-0 10-3 St. Petersburg
Navy 6-2 8-4 Armed Forces
Tulsa 5-3 8-4 Miami Beach
Memphis 4-4 7-5 Bahamas
SMU 1-7 3-9  
Tulane 0-8 3-9  
       
* South Florida to win AAC Title and automatic NY 6 Bowl Bid

Coming Later Today–A look at the four independents.

 

 

 

December 7, 2015

College Football Preview–December 12, 2015

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 6:42 am

There is just one regular season FBS game remaining, and it’s the Army-Navy game this week to be played at Franklin Financial Field in Philadelphia.

 

Because our ratings rely on the results of all teams, we cannot post our bowl predictions until this game is finished. Our spreads of all 40 bowl games/playoff games will be posted after this game concludes.

This Week’s Game
         
Opponent Opponent PiRate Mean Bias
Saturday, December 12
Army Navy -27.8 -24.3 -27.6
Game to be played in Philadelphia

PiRate Ratings For This Week

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

 

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 131.5 129.1 131.4 130.7
2 Oklahoma 130.2 126.5 130.9 129.2
3 Ohio St. 129.0 124.6 129.8 127.8
4 Stanford 124.5 121.7 124.9 123.7
5 Ole Miss 124.7 120.2 123.9 122.9
6 Clemson 121.8 122.6 122.0 122.1
7 Baylor 122.9 118.8 122.7 121.5
8 North Carolina 121.1 121.4 120.7 121.1
9 TCU 123.1 115.6 124.0 120.9
10 Notre Dame 121.2 118.9 120.9 120.3
11 Arkansas 121.3 116.4 120.8 119.5
12 Michigan St. 119.7 117.2 119.7 118.9
13 Tennessee 120.1 116.2 120.2 118.8
14 LSU 119.8 116.4 119.4 118.5
15 UCLA 120.5 114.8 118.9 118.1
16 USC 119.7 115.0 118.7 117.8
17 Florida St. 117.2 118.4 117.1 117.6
18 Oregon 118.6 113.3 118.8 116.9
19 Utah 118.1 112.3 116.3 115.6
20 Mississippi St. 116.5 113.1 116.5 115.4
21 Washington 115.9 112.6 115.8 114.8
22 Michigan 115.8 113.0 115.3 114.7
23 Texas A&M 116.4 112.9 114.4 114.6
24 Georgia 116.1 111.2 115.4 114.2
25 Oklahoma St. 115.1 111.9 114.7 113.9
26 Florida 114.5 111.4 114.4 113.4
27 California 115.0 109.7 114.1 112.9
28 West Virginia 114.9 109.2 114.3 112.8
29 Arizona St. 114.4 109.5 114.0 112.6
30 Iowa 111.7 113.3 112.5 112.5
31 Houston 109.8 115.2 112.0 112.3
32 Auburn 113.6 110.4 112.3 112.1
33 Wisconsin 111.6 111.2 110.8 111.2
34 Bowling Green 108.5 113.3 111.6 111.1
35 Virginia Tech 110.7 110.4 110.8 110.6
36 Western Kentucky 109.5 110.4 111.2 110.4
37 North Carolina St. 109.4 110.4 107.9 109.2
38 BYU 108.1 108.3 109.3 108.6
39 Louisville 108.0 109.5 107.9 108.5
40 Temple 106.9 109.9 108.4 108.4
41 Memphis 107.7 108.8 108.0 108.2
42 Pittsburgh 107.5 108.1 107.8 107.8
43 Nebraska 108.5 106.9 107.8 107.7
44 Georgia Tech 109.1 106.5 107.5 107.7
45 Washington St. 108.5 105.1 109.3 107.6
46 Navy 105.9 109.9 107.0 107.6
47 San Diego St. 105.7 109.8 106.9 107.5
48 Miami 106.1 106.7 107.2 106.7
49 Northwestern 106.4 106.6 106.6 106.5
50 Boise St. 107.3 105.1 107.2 106.5
51 Texas 107.5 103.4 107.3 106.1
52 South Carolina 107.3 104.2 106.3 105.9
53 Arizona 107.9 102.4 106.8 105.7
54 Texas Tech 108.1 100.4 108.3 105.6
55 Missouri 106.9 103.4 105.6 105.3
56 Toledo 103.7 105.0 104.9 104.5
57 South Florida 102.1 107.8 103.4 104.4
58 Minnesota 105.1 103.6 104.2 104.3
59 Western Michigan 102.6 103.8 104.0 103.5
60 Penn St. 103.8 103.3 103.0 103.4
61 Colorado 105.3 100.5 103.7 103.2
62 Kansas St. 106.0 97.5 105.7 103.1
63 Cincinnati 102.0 103.9 103.3 103.1
64 Duke 103.0 103.0 102.8 102.9
65 Illinois 104.1 101.9 102.8 102.9
66 Virginia 102.7 101.8 103.1 102.5
67 Indiana 101.0 101.3 101.3 101.2
68 Boston College 100.3 102.6 98.8 100.6
69 Kentucky 101.8 98.4 100.1 100.1
70 Air Force 98.7 102.1 99.1 100.0
71 Southern Mississippi 98.8 100.9 99.6 99.8
72 Iowa St. 100.4 96.3 100.1 98.9
73 Georgia Southern 97.2 100.0 99.1 98.8
74 Louisiana Tech 98.3 98.6 99.1 98.7
75 Vanderbilt 100.2 96.0 99.4 98.5
76 Marshall 97.9 98.5 97.6 98.0
77 Appalachian St. 96.4 99.5 97.9 97.9
78 Northern Illinois 96.0 99.8 96.9 97.6
79 Wake Forest 96.5 99.3 96.1 97.3
80 Utah St. 97.6 97.8 96.0 97.1
81 Arkansas St. 95.2 97.0 97.5 96.6
82 Middle Tennessee 96.6 96.2 96.7 96.5
83 East Carolina 94.7 98.5 95.6 96.3
84 Syracuse 95.1 97.9 95.0 96.0
85 Purdue 95.1 94.1 93.4 94.2
86 Maryland 94.5 93.4 94.4 94.1
87 Connecticut 91.0 95.5 92.3 92.9
88 San Jose St. 92.2 94.2 92.2 92.9
89 Colorado St. 92.8 93.3 92.3 92.8
90 New Mexico 92.3 93.4 91.8 92.5
91 Central Michigan 90.3 94.2 91.7 92.1
92 Rutgers 93.5 90.8 91.2 91.8
93 Tulsa 89.8 93.9 90.9 91.5
94 Nevada 89.7 93.6 90.0 91.1
95 Ohio 88.8 93.2 90.9 91.0
96 Akron 86.1 92.9 88.4 89.1
97 Georgia St. 86.2 87.9 87.6 87.2
98 Oregon St. 88.7 85.3 86.6 86.9
99 Florida Atlantic 84.1 87.5 84.9 85.5
100 Troy 84.2 85.5 84.8 84.8
101 Florida International 83.8 86.2 83.9 84.6
102 SMU 83.3 86.9 82.9 84.4
103 Massachusetts 82.6 86.1 83.4 84.0
104 Buffalo 81.1 86.3 81.7 83.0
105 Tulane 82.2 84.7 80.9 82.6
106 UNLV 81.9 83.6 81.9 82.5
107 Fresno St. 81.5 84.2 79.7 81.8
108 Army 78.1 85.6 79.4 81.0
109 Wyoming 80.0 81.6 79.2 80.3
110 Rice 78.6 81.4 78.4 79.5
111 Ball St. 78.7 80.7 78.9 79.4
112 UTEP 78.4 81.0 78.2 79.2
113 Old Dominion 76.7 80.6 76.4 77.9
114 Kent St. 77.1 79.0 77.4 77.8
115 Hawaii 77.9 79.0 76.3 77.7
116 UT-San Antonio 76.8 79.2 77.1 77.7
117 Miami (O) 75.4 80.3 76.3 77.3
118 UL-Lafayette 76.6 79.1 76.3 77.3
119 South Alabama 75.0 79.8 75.9 76.9
120 Idaho 74.1 79.1 75.5 76.2
121 Central Florida 74.9 77.8 74.6 75.8
122 Texas St. 73.2 75.6 72.8 73.9
123 Eastern Michigan 71.5 77.6 71.7 73.6
124 North Texas 72.4 75.8 72.2 73.5
125 New Mexico St. 72.6 73.8 72.0 72.8
126 Kansas 75.5 68.7 72.9 72.4
127 UL-Monroe 71.4 71.4 71.7 71.5
128 Charlotte 67.5 69.1 67.0 67.9

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 115.1 111.4 114.3 113.6
2 Pac-12 113.1 108.5 112.3 111.3
3 Big 12 110.4 104.8 110.1 108.4
4 ACC 107.8 108.5 107.5 107.9
5 Big Ten 107.1 105.8 106.6 106.5
6 Indep. 102.5 104.3 103.2 103.3
7 AAC 95.9 99.4 96.6 97.3
8 MWC 91.5 93.1 91.1 91.9
9 MAC 87.9 91.7 89.1 89.5
10 CUSA 86.1 88.1 86.3 86.8
11 SBC 82.0 84.4 82.8 83.1

 

Bowl Pairings

Bowl Conferences Team vs. Team
Cure AAC SBC San Jose St. * vs. Georgia St.
New Mexico MWC CUSA New Mexico vs. Arizona *
Las Vegas Pac-12 MWC/BYU Utah vs. BYU
Camellia MAC SBC Ohio vs. Appalachian St.
New Orleans CUSA SBC Louisiana Tech vs. Arkansas St.
Miami Beach AAC CUSA South Florida vs. Western Kentucky
Idaho Potato MAC MWC Akron vs. Utah St.
Boca Raton AAC MAC Temple vs. Toledo
Poinsettia MWC Army Boise St. vs. Northern Illinois
GoDaddy MAC SBC Bowling Green vs. Georgia Southern
Bahamas CUSA MAC Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan
Hawaii AAC MWC/BYU Cincinnati vs. San Diego St.
St. Petersburg AAC CUSA Connecticut vs. Marshall
Sun ACC Pac-12 Miami vs. Washington St.
Heart of Dallas Big 12 CUSA Washington * vs. Southern Miss.
Pinstripe ACC Big Ten Duke vs. Indiana
Independence SEC ACC Tulsa * vs. Virginia Tech
Foster Farms Big Ten Pac-12 Nebraska vs. UCLA
Military ACC AAC Pittsburgh vs. Navy
Quick Lane ACC Big Ten Central Michigan * vs. Minnesota
Armed Forces Big Ten MWC California * vs. Air Force
Russell Athletic ACC Big 12 North Carolina vs. Baylor
Arizona CUSA MWC Colorado St. * vs. Nevada
Texas Big 12 SEC Texas Tech vs. LSU
Birmingham AAC SEC Memphis vs. Auburn
Belk ACC SEC North Carolina St. vs. Mississippi St.
Music City ACC/Big Ten SEC Louisville vs. Texas A&M
Peach N. Y. 6 N. Y. 6 Florida St. vs. Houston
Cotton Playoff Playoff Alabama vs. Michigan St.
Orange Playoff Playoff Clemson vs. Oklahoma
Holiday Big Ten Pac-12 Wisconsin vs. USC
Ouback Big Ten SEC Northwestern vs. Tennessee
Citrus Big Ten SEC Michigan vs. Florida
Sugar Big 12 SEC Oklahoma St. vs. Ole Miss
Rose Big Ten Pac-12 Iowa vs. Stanford
Fiesta N. Y. 6 N. Y. 6 Ohio St. vs. Notre Dame
TaxSlayer ACC/Big Ten SEC Penn St. vs. Georgia
Liberty Big 12 SEC Kansas St. vs. Arkansas
Alamo Big 12 Pac-12 TCU vs. Oregon
Cactus Big 12 Pac-12 West Virginia vs. Arizona St.
Nat’l Champ. Semifinal Winners Michigan St. vs. Oklahoma
           
* = At-large selection due to contracted conference not having an eligible team for this slot

 

FCS Playoffs

2nd Round    
Jacksonville St. 41 ot
Chattanooga 35  
     
Charleston Sou. 14  
Citadel 6  
     
Colgate 44  
James Madison 38  
     
Sam Houston 34  
McNeese St. 29  
     
North Dakota St. 37  
Montana 6  
     
Northern Iowa 29  
Portland St. 17  
     
Richmond 48  
William & Mary 13  
     
Illinois St. 36  
Western Illinois 19  

 

Quarterfinal Round Games

Quarterfinals D. 11-13 All times ET
@ Illinois St. 10-2 D.11 7:30 PM
Richmond 9-3 ESPN3
     
@ Sam Houston 10-3 D.12 8PM
Colgate 9-4  No TV
     
@ Jacksonville St. 11-1 D.11 8 PM
Charleston Southern 10-2 ESPN2
     
@ North Dakota St. 10-2 D.13 12 AM
Northern Iowa 9-4 ESPN

 

 

August 14, 2015

2015 American Athletic Conference Preview

2015 brings changes to the American Athletic Conference.  Navy joins the league, giving the AAC 12 teams, and with 12, you get a championship game.  The league has now been divided into divisions with Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, South Florida, and Temple placed in the East, and Houston, Memphis, Navy, SMU, Tulane, and Tulsa placed in the West.

Last year, Memphis, Cincinnati, and Central Florida tied for first with East Carolina, Houston, and Temple finishing bowl eligible.  Only Temple failed to earn a bowl bid.  This year, as many as eight teams could wind up bowl eligible, but the league will probably just send seven teams to bowls.  Not having the planned Austin Bowl this year will be a major bummer to one possible 6-6 team.

The clear-cut media favorite in the East Division is Cincinnati.  Coach Tommy Tuberville’s first two Bearcat teams ended with identical 9-4 records, which followed consecutive 10-3 records by his predecessor Butch Jones.  Tuberville welcomes back the vagabond quarterback Gunner Kiel, who when he finally settled on Nippert Stadium as his home field, instantly became the top passer in the league last year.  Kiel helped Cinti top 300 passing yards per game in 2014, and 2015 should be more of the same, as the top six receivers are back in the fold.  The Bearcats must rebuild in the defensive front seven, but they have a seasoned and talented secondary, so don’t expect much falloff on this side of the ball.

Temple began to turn the corner last year under Coach Matt Rhule, as the Owls finished 6-6 after going 2-10 the year before.  Rhule welcomes back a league high 19 starters as well as better than 80% of the letterwinners from 2014, and this TU team is talented enough to edge out Cincinnati for the East Division title.  The Owls must play the Bearcats in the Queen City, and that game will take place early in the season on September 12.  Temple must play Penn State the week before, while UC gets a patsy in Alabama A&M.  If the Temple front seven can stay healthy in week one, the Owls can slow down Cinti’s offense and have a chance to get the upper hand in the division race.

The drop from number two to number three in the East is steep.  Central Florida must rebuild on both sides of the ball, as Coach George O’Leary lost all of his key pass catchers on offense and all of his starting secondary and his top five tacklers from last year.  There is enough talent remaining for UCF to post a winning record, but the Knights will be fighting off East Carolina for third and not the top two contenders.

Speaking of East Carolina, the Pirates also face a minor rebuilding reclamation.  Shane Carden graduated as the top passer in school history and Justin Hardy left as the top receiver in school history, and it will be impossible to replace their contributions.  A better than average offensive line will make it a bit easier for new skill position players to have some success, but the offensive points per game is going to take a hit.  Defensively, ECU is thin on the front line, so the rushing defense could weaken as the season wears on.

Willie Taggart maybe has one more season to resurrect the South Florida program.  Coach T doubled the wins from two to four in year two, but Bulls fans believe this team should dominate the league, and they may look to make changes if USF doesn’t double the win total again this year.  That is not going to happen, as the Bulls must start anew on the offensive end.  Taggart is switching to a faster-paced offense, and breaking in a new quarterback with a new offense is a recipe for many mistakes, mistakes which lead to losses.  The USF defense should be improved, but the offense may not give the stop troops a lot of rest.

Connecticut has not enjoyed a good season since 2010, when former coach Randy Edsall took the Huskies to the Fiesta Bowl.  Second year coach Bob Diaco went 2-10 in his first year in Storrs, and this year’s team is more talented.  However, more talented may only lead to closer losses, as both sides of the interior line are not yet up to AAC standards.

The race in the West Division should be a three-team affair.  Memphis, Houston, and Navy all have the horses to take the division crown, while Tulane, Tulsa, and SMU should fight for fourth.
Memphis was the big surprise in the league last year.  Coach Justin Fuente began his coaching career with 4-8 and 3-9 records, and the Tigers were not expected to do any better in 2014.  After beginning the season 2-2 with expected wins over Austin Peay and Middle Tennessee with competitive losses to UCLA and Ole Miss, Memphis blew Cincinnati off the Liberty Bowl field.  Following a close loss to Houston, the Tigers then ran the table to finish 10-3, including a bowl win over BYU.

This year, Memphis has the bulk of its offense returning, and the Tigers could threaten to average 40 points per game.  They are going to need those points, because the defense was decimated by graduation losses.  Only one starter from the back seven returns, and the pass defense will get a Baptism under fire with early games against pass happy Bowling Green, Cincinnati, and Ole Miss.

Houston welcomes a new coach after firing a coach that went 8-5 in back-to-back seasons.  There are many examples in the past where schools got too stingy and replaced a better than average coach with what they thought was an even better coach, only to experience many disappointing seasons.  Can Tom Herman bring the Urban Meyer magic to Houston?  Herman was Ohio State’s offensive coordinator, but Herman couldn’t bring along Cardale Jones, J. T. Barrett, Ezekiel Elliott, or Braxton Miller.  He’ll have to make do with better than average Greg Ward at quarterback, talented Kenneth Farrow at running back, and a group of credible but not flashy wide receivers.  His offensive line won’t remind him of the Buckeye line he had last year.  Defensively, the Cougars return the bulk of the two deep secondary, and this will be the best pass defense in the league.

Navy brings the spread option offense to the league, and because none of their conference foes faced this offense last year, the Midshipmen will benefit from the lack of experience facing the regular and triple option.  Coach Ken Niumatalolo typically starts as many seniors as he can, so every year, Navy must break in a batch of new starters.  However, one player that returns to his spot is quarterback Keenan Reynolds.  An experienced option quarterback is like a Major League baseball team having three 20-game winners in its starting rotation.  Reynolds should leave Navy as the all-time leading rusher, and he is going to set a mark for career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback that may not be topped for decades.

Tulane represents the best of the rest in the West.  The Green Wave should be much improved over last year’s 3-9 mark, and it would not surprise us if Coach Curtis Johnson guides TU back to bowl eligibility.  Last year’s offense actually outgained the 2013 offense in yardage but scored eight fewer points per game.  Look for TU to return to the 2013 scoring rate.  The Green Wave defense is not strong enough to stop the top teams in the league, so fourth is the best this team can hope for in the division.

There was a time when Tulsa would have dominated the West Division if not the entire league.  In 2008, the Golden Hurricane offense led the nation with 47.2 points per game and 570 total yards per game.  In 2012, TU won the Conference USA championship and then knocked off Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl.  Since then, TU has won just five of 24 games, and that has brought a coaching change.  Enter Phillip Montgomery, the former Baylor assistant who mentored RGIII and Bryce Petty.  There is good news and bad news for TU fans this year.  The good news: expect Montgomery’s air show to light up the scoreboards and bring a lot of  excitement to Champan Stadium.  With 10 starters returning, including a fine quarterback in Dane Evans and a potential NFL receiver in Keevan Lucas, the Hurricane should top 30 points per game and maybe even 35 with the new wide open passing game.  The bad news: the defense is going to give up points just as quickly as the offense and maybe even a bit quicker.  It adds up to a season where there won’t be a lot of kicks on Route 66 down in T-Town.

SMU is almost back in the same position as they were when they returned from the Death Penalty in the 1980’s.  Following a 1-11 season where the Mustangs played like more like Shetland Ponies, the school has made sweeping changes.  Gone is Coach June Jones and his run and shoot offense.  Enter former Clemson offensive guru Chad Morris and his spread offense.  Morris is highly connected in the Lonestar State, and he will eventually bring enough talent to return SMU to some of its former glory, but it isn’t going to happen in year one.  SMU can hope to double its win total this year, but 2-10 is not much to get excited over.  There is a long way to go to return to respectability.

Here are the AAC Media’s preseason predictions.

American Athletic Conference Media Poll
Pos. Team 1st Place Total
East Division
1 Cincinnati 29 179
2 Central Florida 1 135
3 Temple 0 116
4 East Carolina 0 105
5 South Florida 0 53
6 Connecticut 0 42
West Division
1 Memphis 13 153
2 Houston 10 149
3 Navy 7 148
4 Tulane 0 74
5 SMU 0 59
6 Tulsa 0 47
Overall Champion
Cincinnati 22, Memphis 5, Houston 2, UCF 1

The media did not select a preseason All-AAC team, so we are posting our own preseason team based on highest individual PiRate Ratings, the basic component for our PiRate and Bias team ratings and a key component of the Mean Rating.

Conference USA Preseason All-Conference Team
Offense Player School
Quarterback Gunner Kiel Cincinnati
Running Back Marlon Mack South Florida
Running Back Kenneth Farrow Houston
Wide Receiver Keevan Lucas Tulsa
Wide Receiver Mekale McKay Cincinnati
Tight End Alan Cross Memphis
Offensive Line Kyle Friend Temple
Offensive Line J. T. Boyd East Carolina
Offensive Line Ike Harris East Carolina
Offensive Line Parker Ehringer Cincinnati
Offensive Line Garrett Stafford Tulsa
Defense Player School
Defensive Line Silverberry Mouhon Cincinnati
Defensive Line Thomas Niles Central Florida
Defensive Line Praise Martin-Oguike Temple
Defensive Line Royce Lafrance Tulane
Linebacker Tyler Matakevich Temple
Linebacker Zeek Bigger East Carolina
Linebacker Nigel Harris South Florida
Defensive Back William Jackson Houston
Defensive Back Adrian McDonald Houston
Defensive Back Josh Hawkins East Carolina
Defensive Back Zach Edwards Cincinnati
Special Teams Player School
Punter Spencer Smith Memphis
Kicker Jake Elliott Memphis
Return Specialist Shaq Washington Cincinnati

Here are the preseason PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings and average of the three.

American Athletic Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Temple 103.5 106.6 104.5 104.9
Cincinnati 104.2 104.6 105.7 104.8
Central Florida 94.7 99.6 96.3 96.9
East Carolina 93.3 99.2 93.7 95.4
South Florida 86.0 93.9 85.8 88.6
Connecticut 79.3 85.9 79.1 81.4
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Memphis 101.3 101.6 102.6 101.8
Houston 94.2 102.6 96.8 97.9
Navy 96.8 99.6 96.8 97.7
Tulane 92.4 95.6 92.2 93.4
Tulsa 86.9 94.1 88.1 89.7
SMU 84.1 89.8 83.2 85.7
AAC Averages 93.1 97.8 93.7 94.9

And, here are our won-loss predictions and bowl projections.

PiRate Ratings Predicted Records
Pos Team Conf. Overall Bowl
East Division
1 Cincinnati 7-1 10-3 * Birmingham
2 Temple 6-2 8-4 Military
3 Central Florida 5-3 7-5 Miami Beach
4 East Carolina 5-3 6-6 St. Petersburg
5 South Florida 2-6 3-9 None
6 Connecticut 0-8 2-10 None
West Division
1 Memphis 7-1 10-3 ^ Cure
2 Navy 6-2 9-3 Boca Raton
3 Houston 5-3 8-4 Hawaii
4 Tulane 4-4 6-6 At-Large
5 Tulsa 1-7 3-9 None
6 SMU 0-8 2-10 None
* Wins Title Game
^ Loses Title Game

Coming Later Today: The FBS Independents (what’s left of them).

 

December 9, 2013

PiRate Ratings–College Football for December 14, 2013

One Regular Season Game Left

The Army-Navy game concludes the regular season this Saturday afternoon.  Navy has won 11 in a row in this series, and Black Knights’ coach Rich Ellerson could be coaching his last game for the USMA.  His team is beaten up, while Navy appears to be playing its best ball of the season since the first of November.

 

Since there is just one game, we will give you the ratings for this game here:

 

PiRate: Navy by 15.3

Mean: Navy by 11.6

Bias: Navy by 14.5

 

The Bowl Schedule

2013-14 Bowl Schedule

GAME DATE SITE TIME–ET TV
New Mexico

12/21/2013

Albuquerque 2:00pm ESPN
Opponents:

Colorado St. (7-6) vs. Washington St. (6-6)

         
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas

12/21/2013

Las Vegas 3:30pm ABC
Opponents:

Fresno St. (11-1) vs. USC (9-4)

         
Famous Idaho Potato

12/21/2013

Boise, ID 5:30pm ESPN
Opponents:

San Diego St. (7-5) vs. Buffalo (8-4)

         
New Orleans

12/21/2013

New Orleans 9:00pm ESPN
Opponents:

UL-Lafayette (8-4) vs. Tulane (7-5)

         
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s

12/23/2013

St. Petersburg 2:00pm ESPN
Opponents:

East Carolina (9-3) vs. Ohio (7-5)

         
Hawai’i

12/24/2013

Honolulu 8:00pm ESPN
Opponents:

Boise St. (8-4) vs. Washington St. (6-6)

         
Little Caesars Pizza

12/26/2013

Detroit 6:00pm ESPN
Opponents:

Bowling Green (10-3) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6)

         
Poinsettia

12/26/2013

San Diego 9:30pm ESPN
Opponents:

Utah St. (8-5) vs. Northern Illinois (12-1)

         
Military Bowl

12/27/2013

Washington, DC 2:30pm ESPN
Opponents:

Maryland (7-5) vs. Marshall (9-4)

         
Texas

12/27/2013

Houston 6:00pm ESPN
Opponents:

Minnesota (8-4) vs. Syracuse (6-6)

         
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

12/27/2013

San Francisco 9:30pm ESPN
Opponents:

Washington (8-4) vs. BYU (8-4)

         
Pinstripe

12/28/2013

Bronx 12:00pm ESPN
Opponents:

Rutgers (6-6) vs. Notre Dame (8-4)

         
Belk

12/28/2013

Charlotte 3:20pm ESPN
Opponents:

Cincinnati (9-3) vs. North Carolina (6-6)

         
Russell Athletic

12/28/2013

Orlando 6:45pm ESPN
Opponents:

Louisville (11-1) vs. Miami (9-3)

         
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

12/28/2013

Tempe, AZ 10:15pm ESPN
Opponents:

Kansas St. (7-5) vs. Michigan (7-5)

         
Armed Forces

12/30/2013

Ft. Worth, TX 11:45am ESPN
Opponents:

Navy (7-4*) vs. Middle Tennessee (8-4)

         
Music City

12/30/2013

Nashville 3:15pm ESPN
Opponents:

Ole Miss (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5)

         
Alamo

12/30/2013

San Antonio 6:45pm ESPN
Opponents:

Texas (8-4) vs. Oregon (10-2)

         
Holiday

12/30/2013

San Diego 10:15pm ESPN
Opponents:

Arizona St. (10-3) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)

         
AdvoCare V100 Bowl

12/31/2013

Shreveport, LA 12:30pm ESPN
Opponents:

Boston College (7-5) vs. Arizona (7-5)

         
Sun

12/31/2013

El Paso, TX 2:00pm CBS
Opponents:

Virginia Tech (8-4) vs. UCLA (9-3)

         
Liberty

12/31/2013

Memphis 4:00pm ESPN
Opponents:

Mississippi St. (6-6) vs. Rice (10-3)

         
Chick-fil-A

12/31/2013

Atlanta 8:00pm ESPN
Opponents:

Duke (10-3) vs. Texas A&M (8-4)

         
Heart Of Dallas

1/1/2014

Dallas 12:00pm ESPN-U
Opponents:

North Texas (8-4) vs. UNLV (7-5)

         
Gator

1/1/2014

Jacksonville 12:00pm ESPN-2
Opponents:

Nebraska (8-4) vs. Georgia (8-4)

         
Outback

1/1/2014

Tampa 1:00pm ESPN
Opponents:

LSU (9-3) vs. Iowa (8-4)

         
Capital One

1/1/2014

Orlando 1:00pm ABC
Opponents:

Wisconsin (9-3) vs. South Carolina (10-2)

         
Rose

1/1/2014

Pasadena, CA 5:00pm ESPN
Opponents:

Michigan St. (12-1) vs. Stanford (11-2)

         
Fiesta

1/1/2014

Glendale, AZ 8:30pm ESPN
Opponents:

Baylor (11-1) vs. Central Florida (11-1)

         
Sugar

1/2/2014

New Orleans 8:30pm ESPN
Opponents:

Alabama (11-1) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)

         
Cotton

1/3/2014

Arlington, TX 7:30pm Fox
Opponents:

Missouri (11-2) vs. Oklahoma St. (10-2)

         
Orange

1/3/2014

Miami 8:30pm ESPN
Opponents:

Clemson (10-2) vs. Ohio St. (12-1)

         
BBVA Compass Bowl

1/4/2014

Birmingham 1:00pm ESPN
Opponents:

Vanderbilt (8-4) vs. Houston (8-4)

         
GoDaddy.com

1/5/2014

Mobile, AL 9:00pm ESPN
Opponents:

Ball St. (10-2) vs. Arkansas St. (7-5)

         
BCS Championship

1/6/2014

Pasadena, CA 8:30pm ESPN
Opponents:

Florida St. (13-0) vs. Auburn (12-1)

         
Teams in Italics are at-large selections      

 

We will have an in-depth preview of each bowl game next week, either Tuesday or Wednesday.

August 18, 2013

2013 FBS Independents Preview

2013 FBS Independents Preview

 

The number of independents in Division 1 FBS has expanded to six teams this year, the most this century.  With the Western Athletic Conference closing for football business, not all former members found homes in conference subdivisions.

 

Of course, it wasn’t so bad for this group last year.  Brigham Young and Navy enjoyed eight-win seasons, while Notre Dame made it to the National Championship Game with a 12-0 regular season mark before experiencing the drowning in the sea of Crimson Tide.

 

Into Spring, it looked like Notre Dame had a decent chance to repeat their regular season success of last year, but that chance disappeared when starting quarterback Everett Golson became academically ineligible.  The Fighting Irish schedule has some easy victories wrapped around several tough games, and this team cannot win all the tough games in 2013.

 

BYU must incorporate a new quarterback into an offense that otherwise returns a lot of talent, but the Cougars’ defense will be a work in progress, as just three starters return to one of the top stop units in the country last year.  Still, they should return to a bowl this year.

 

Navy returns enough talent to continue to cause headaches for opposing defensive coordinators.  With experience at quarterback and fullback, and with more than usual experience returning in the blocking corps, the Middies should continue to move the ball on the ground and possibly top 300 rushing yards per game this year.  Once again, the defense will be the unknown factor.  Last year, Navy surrendered more than 400 yards per game on average with the ration about equal between rushing and passing yards allowed.  Add to this that the top four tacklers from last year are now Lieutenants in the Navy, and it could be a problem.

 

Army has been forced to retreat the last two years, winning just three and two games with a couple of very tough losses to their arch-rival.  Who can forget the look on former QB Trent Steelman’s face when he fumbled the ball at the end of last year’s Army-Navy game.

 

The Cadets led the nation with 370 rushing yards per game last year, but they finished last in passing with just 66 yards per game.  Expect the rushing yards to take a considerable hit this year, but we expect Army’s passing numbers to improve, maybe even approaching the triple digit mark for the first time since they went back to the triple option philosophy.

 

 

New Mexico St. starts over yet again with its fourth head coach in the last 10 years.  Doug Martin was the offensive coordinator here two years ago, and the Aggies had their most successful output since Hal Mumme’s Air Raid offense of 2006.  It won’t take much to improve upon last season’s disastrous 1-11 record (lone win over Sacramento St.), but the schedule is a bit tougher this year.

 

Idaho fans are excited with Paul Petrino coming to the Kibbie Dome.  Vandal fans should be treated to several exciting ball games in year one, but their team is going to be on the losing end of almost every contest.  Still, it should be fun to play in one of the most interesting stadiums in America.

 

New Independents: Idaho and New Mexico St.

Departed Teams: None

 

2014 Additions: None

 

2014 Departures: Idaho and New Mexico St. will join the Sunbelt.  Navy is scheduled to join the American Athletic Conference in 2015.  Notre Dame’s working agreement with the Atlantic Coast Conference begins in 2014, but the Fighting Irish will remain football independents.

 

Pre-season PiRate Ratings

Independents

Team

 

Overall

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Notre Dame

 

0-0

121.6

115.0

120.5

B Y U

 

0-0

108.2

107.8

108.9

Navy

 

0-0

91.7

94.5

91.4

Army

 

0-0

85.7

91.8

86.4

New Mexico St.

 

0-0

75.4

86.4

75.3

Idaho

 

0-0

71.3

80.6

69.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

Independent Avg’s.

 

 

92.3

96.0

92.1

 

 

There are no official media polls or preseason all-Independent teams.  Instead, here is a consensus ranking of the five independents according to the current conglomerate of Mathematics Professor Ken Massey’s College Football Ranking Composite (of which the PiRate Ratings are a contributor).  You can find his site at: http://masseyratings.com/cf/compare.htm

 

Massey College Football Ranking Composite

(as of Sunday, August 18, 2013)

 

Pos

Team

Ranking

1

Notre Dame

6

2

B Y U

33

3

Navy

76

4

Army

111

5

Idaho

122

6

New Mexico St.

123

 

Here is a list of key players for each of the six independents values in parentheses represent 2012 statistics:

 

Army

Raymond Maples—RB (1,215 rush yds/5.4 avg)

Larry Dixon—RB (839 rush yds/6.0 avg/6TD)

Ryan Powis, Stephen Shumaker, and Michael Kime—OL

Robert Kough—DL (9.5 TFL)

Alex Meier—LB (71 tackles)

Geoffrey Bacon—DB (136 tackles)

 

B Y U

Taysom Hill—QB (59.2%/6.0 ypa/4TD-2Int) [was 3rd string QB in 2012]

Jamaal Williams—RB (775 rush/4.7 avg/12 TD & 27 receptions/11.1 avg)

Cody Hoffman—WR (100-1,248/11 TD)

Kaneakua Friel—TE (30-308/5 TD & good blocker)

Manaaki Vaitai, Solomone Kafu, and Ryker Mathews—OL

Bronson Kaufusi—DL (4.5 sacks)

Kyle Van Noy—LB (13 sacks/22 TFL/8 QB hurries/7 Passes Defended)[1st rd. potential]

Daniel Sorensen—DB (3 Int./8 Passes Defended)

 

Idaho

Najee Lovett—WR (50-543/6 TD)

Jahrie Level—WR (46-538)

Mike Marboe—OL

Maxx Forde—DL (4 sacks/4 QB hurries/4 Passes Defended)

Solomon Dixon—DB (3 Int./6 Passes Defended)

 

Navy

Keenan Reynolds—QB (749 rush/5.1 avg [sacks removed]/56.5% comp/8.3 ypa)

Noah Copeland—FB (738 rush/4.6 avg/5 TD)

Shawn Lynch—WR (14-281 20.1 ypc)

Tanner Fleming, Jake Zuzek, Graham Vickers—OL

Barry Dabney & Evan Palelei—DL

Cody Peterson—LB (67 tackles)

Parrish Gaines—DB (69 tackles/4 Passed Defended)

Pablo Beltran—P (43.6 avg/37.8 net/41% inside 20 yard line)

 

New Mexico St.

Germi Morrison—RB (767 rush/4.8 avg)

Austin Franklin—WR (74-1,245/9 TD)

Andy Cunningham & Davonte Wallace—OL

Matt Ramondo—DL (transfer from Michigan St.)

Trashaun Nixon—LB (96 tackles/3 sacks/9.5 TFL/5 QB hurries/5 Passed Defended)

Davis Cazares—DB (116 tackles)

George Callender—DB (86 tackles)

Cayle Chapman-Brown—P (44.3 avg/37.3 net)

 

Notre Dame

George Atkinson—RB (7.1 yards per rush as backup)

T. J. Jones—WR (50-649/4 TD)

DaVaris Daniels—WR (31-490)

Chris Watt, Christian Lombard, & Zack Martin—OL (All NFL prospects)

Louis Nix—DL (50 tackles/7.5 TFL/5 Passes Defended)

Stephon Tuitt—DL (47 tackles/12 sacks/9 QB hurries)

Prince Shembo—LB (7.5 sacks/10.5 TFL/12 QB hurries)

Dan Fox—LB (63 tackles)

Danny Spond—LB (39 tackles)

Bennett Jackson—DB (65 tackles/4 Int./8 Passed Defended)

KeiVarae Russell—DB (58 tackles)

Matthias Farley—DB (49 tackles)

 

 

     

PiRate Ratings Summary

 

About Grades

93-100    A+

86-92      A

79-85      A-

72-78      B+

65-71      B

58-64      B-

51-57      C+

44-50      C

37-43      C-

30-36      D

0-29        F

 

About Predictions

Predictions are based on the PiRate Ratings with home field advantage factored in.  The PiRate Ratings use different home field advantages for every game, since the opponent factors into the equation.

 

Team

Army Black Knights

               
Head Coach

Rich Ellerson

               
Colors

Black and Gold

               
City

West Point, NY

               
2012 Record              
Conference

 

Overall

2-10

               
Grades              
Run Offense

90

Pass Offense

22

Run Defense

40

Pass Defense

58

               
Ratings              
PiRate

85.7

Mean

91.8

Bias

86.4

               
Rankings              
PiRate

105

Mean

97

Bias

102

               
Prediction              
Conference

 

Overall

3-9

 

 

Team

B Y U Cougars

               
Head Coach

Bronco Mendenhall

               
Colors

Dark Blue and White

               
City

Provo, UT

               
2012 Record              
Conference

 

Overall

8-5

               
Grades              
Run Offense

61

Pass Offense

79

Run Defense

74

Pass Defense

76

               
Ratings              
PiRate

108.2

Mean

107.8

Bias

108.9

               
Rankings              
PiRate

39

Mean

36

Bias

39

               
Prediction              
Conference

 

Overall

9-3

 

 

Team

Idaho Vandals

               
Head Coach

Paul Petrino

               
Colors

Black, Silver, and Gold

               
City

Moscow, ID

               
2012 Record              
Conference

1-5 (in WAC)

Overall

1-11

               
Grades              
Run Offense

30

Pass Offense

54

Run Defense

42

Pass Defense

19

               
Ratings              
PiRate

71.3

Mean

80.6

Bias

69.9

               
Rankings              
PiRate

123

Mean

123

Bias

124

               
Prediction              
Conference

 

Overall

0-12

 

 

Team

Navy Midshipmen

               
Head Coach

Ken Niumatalolo

               
Colors

Navy, Gold, and White

               
City

Annapolis, MD

               
2012 Record              
Conference

 

Overall

8-5

               
Grades              
Run Offense

77

Pass Offense

45

Run Defense

49

Pass Defense

59

               
Ratings              
PiRate

91.7

Mean

94.5

Bias

91.4

               
Rankings              
PiRate

89

Mean

84

Bias

89

               
Prediction              
Conference

 

Overall

5-7

 

 

Team

New Mexico St. Aggies

               
Head Coach

Doug Martin

               
Colors

Crimson and White

               
City

Las Cruces, NM

               
2012 Record              
Conference

0-6 (in WAC)

Overall

1-11

               
Grades              
Run Offense

22

Pass Offense

60

Run Defense

32

Pass Defense

41

               
Ratings              
PiRate

75.4

Mean

86.4

Bias

75.3

               
Rankings              
PiRate

121

Mean

111

Bias

121

               
Prediction              
Conference

 

Overall

2-10

 

 

Team

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

               
Head Coach

Brian Kelly

               
Colors

Navy and Gold

               
City

South Bend, IN

               
2012 Record              
Conference

 

Overall

12-1

               
Grades              
Run Offense

 

Pass Offense

 

Run Defense

 

Pass Defense

 

               
Ratings              
PiRate

121.6

Mean

115.0

Bias

120.5

               
Rankings              
PiRate

8

Mean

11

Bias

10

               
Prediction              
Conference

 

Overall

11-1

 

 

********************************************************

Teams Transitioning From FCS to FBS

 

Four teams are in the process of becoming FBS schools.  Old Dominion is in its transition season before becoming a member of Conference USA.  Appalachian St. and Georgia Southern are in transition to the Sunbelt Conference.  Charlotte will entertain its first season of football this year, and the 49ers will play two seasons as a FCS Independent before joining Conference USA in 2015.

 

We do not have detailed information on these four schools, but we have rated them.  We used as much of our PiRate formulas as we can for these schools.  However, for Charlotte, since the 49ers have never played a game, we are interpolating data from other first-year programs to arrive at a very basic opening rating.

 

We will follow these four teams all season, so as to better judge them when they move to FBS.

 

Transitioning Teams

Team

 

Overall

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Georgia Southern

 

0-0

85.0

86.1

92.1

Old Dominion

 

0-0

81.5

82.6

88.6

Appalachian St.

 

0-0

81.4

82.5

88.5

Charlotte

 

0-0

55.0

56.1

62.1

           
Not figured in regular averages to 100      

 

This submission concludes the previews of the non-automatic qualifying conferences.  Beginning tomorrow, we preview the six big conferences, starting with the new American Athletic Conference (former Big East).  Many argue that this league does not deserve an automatic bid to the FBS bowls, and it figures that the league champion will be the last team selected, but at least this lasts for just one more season.

 

Here is the schedule for the remaining previews:

 

Date Conference
Tuesday, August 20 American Athletic Conference
Wednesday, August 21 Atlantic Coast Conference
Thursday, August 22 Big Ten Conference
Friday, August 23 Big 12 Conference
Saturday, August 24 Pac-12 Conference
Sunday, August 25 Southeastern Conference
Monday, August 26 AFC West
Tuesday, August 27 AFC South
Tuesday, August 27 Week 1 College Football Report
Wednesday, August 28 AFC North
Thursday, August 29 AFC East
Friday, August 30 NFC East
Saturday, August 31 NFC North
Sunday, September 1 NFC South
Monday, September 2 NFC West
Tuesday, September 3 NFL Week 1 Report
Wednesday, September 4 Week 2 College Football Report

 

And, remember:  The PiRate Ratings are part of Ken Massey’s College Football Ranking Composite at: http://masseyratings.com/cf/compare.htm

 

&

 

Todd Beck’s College and Pro Football Prediction Tracker at:

http://www.thepredictiontracker.com/

 

August 19, 2011

2011 FBS Independents Preview

2011 FBS Independents Preview

 

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

 

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

 

Notre Dame

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Brigham Young

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Navy

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Army

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Average of 7 Online and Magazine Predictions

 

Team

Predicted Won-Loss

Notre Dame

10-2

Brigham Young

8-4

Navy

6-6

Army

6-6

 

2011 Independents PiRate Ratings

 

Team

PiRate #

Prediction

Notre Dame

123.9

11-1

Brigham Young

108.5

8-4

Navy

96.1

7-5

Army

86.3

5-7

 

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

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