The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 13, 2022

FBS Independents Preview

In 1971, there were 34 major college independents playing football. In 2022, there are seven independents, and the ranks are going to shrink soon. Liberty and New Mexico State will join Conference USA next year. BYU is headed to the Big 12. The question remains what will Notre Dame do?

Can the Irish afford to remain an independent? By the time the season starts, we may know the answer. With NBC rumored to be ready to pay big bucks to get a weekly Big Ten game in prime time, there may be little need to offer Notre Dame the vault the Irish desire. The Big Ten may be on the precipice of paying out 9-figures to its teams. If the Irish are only offered 30 to 40 million dollars, they may be willing to become Big Ten team number 17.

Of the seven indies this year, four figure to be good, and three will struggle to win three ball games apiece.

FBS Independents PiRate Ratings

Notre Dame119.0117.0118.9118.3
New Mexico St.74.877.174.075.3

There are no official Independent Media Polls like there are for conferences, but I have included the consensus of seven of my friends that produce computer ratings like the PiRate Ratings.

Computer Power Rating Poll

#West1st PlaceOverall
1Notre Dame648
5N. Mexico St.018
7U Mass09

The PiRate Rating are designed to be used for the next week of football games and not meant to be used to predict won-loss records. Nevertheless, here are the projected won-loss records.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

Notre Dame11-1
New Mexico St.3-9

August 26, 2021

PiRate Picks For August 28, 2021

Welcome to all the newcomers to the PiRate Ratings site for the 2021-2022 football season. Saturday, we have the fortune of having a dress rehearsal for the college football season. Nine FBS teams will be in action, as one FBS team plays an FCS opponent.

The PiRate Ratings enjoy issuing picks against the spread or money line on Thursdays each week until January. Because we are most concerned with Money Line Parlays, there are only five options to combine games this week, and many of the books do not issue a line for FBS vs. FCS games. So, in a quest to obtain the best odds, there really are just four games.

This presents multiple issues that basically make it close to impossible to issue a real wager, because the options don’t fit our paradigm. Let’s take a look.

First, before we get started, you must know and understand one thing. We offer these selections purely for the fun of it. It is math and not gambling to us. We NEVER bet on sports. We play with a pretend bankroll that never runs out. We wager the same amount of fake currency on every selection–$100. It could just as easily be $5, $10, $1000, $5000, whatever, but $100 is an easy number and typical of many wagers in real life.

Second, we urge you with everything we can say about it to NOT use this weekly feature as betting advice, unless you have legitimate advice or are a professional, and then this becomes a secondary reference.

Third, we hunt around for the best possible odds on our pretend wagers. You may or may not be able to find the same odds we do, because you would have to search at the exact same time we do. Because, we are not limited to just the legal books available to us in our state of Tennessee, where betting is legal, we might pick a parlay based on a sports book that is only for people in Nevada, or New Jersey, or even off shore.

Okay, now that you know the ground rules, here is our specialty–Money Line Parlays. The money line is different from the spread of a game, but the number is the equivalent of a spread. If a team is favored by 7 points, their money line is going to be roughly -330, and if a team is a 7-point underdog, their money line is going to be roughly +250.

How does a Money Line work? If the line is a negative number, if you wager the amount of the negative number and win, you will receive $100 plus the amount you wagered. So, if you wager on a team at -300, and you bet $300, if the bet wins, you will get back $400 (your investment money plus $100). If you lose, you are out the $300. On the other hand, if the line is a positive number, you can win that amount of money with a $100 wager. So, if the line on a team is +300, you can wager $100, and if the team wins, you receive $400 (your investment money plus $300).

In Money Line wagers, all that matters is that the team you picked wins the game, be it by 1 point or 63 points. Obviously, if Alabama is playing Mercer, the odds are going to be such that to win $100, you will have to put up maybe $100,000. So, if you bet $100 on Alabama at -100000, when Alabama wins, you receive $100.01. Would you risk $100,000 to win one penny?

When you wager on more than one money line to win as one bet, this is called a parlay. Let’s say that you like Mississippi State to beat Arkansas and Oklahoma State to beat Texas Tech. Mississippi State’s money line number is -275. Oklahoma State’s money line number is -250. By combining these two wagers into one bet, with $100 riding on the outcome, instead of attempting to win a little more than $36 on MSU and $40 on OSU, by combining the two games into a parlay, you stand to win almost $91 if both teams win. If you bet them individually, you would only win $76, so by combining the two, you win $15 more. Of course, if one team wins and the other loses, your losses would be less by playing the games separately.

The question you most likely wanted to ask while reading the above paragraph is, “Why risk playing two separate games that both teams you selected must win and still not get even money?” Did you ask it? The answer to that question is, “You are correct; why wager $100 to just win $91 and then have to be right twice to cash it?” You can bet a regular game against the spread and get 11-10 odds, just a fraction better than the odds of the parlay above.

The ultimate answer is that we are only looking for parlays that pay better than even money. We really don’t want to play any parlays at less than +120 odds, where we would win $6 for every $5 wagered.

The next question you might have is, “Isn’t finding two teams to win and pay off at +120 going to require me to bet an underdog to win outright?”

Our answer to you is, “Yes, but we don’t look for many two-team money line parlays. Let’s take a look at another example with three teams.

Let’s say that we believe that Washington will beat Oregon State, and the money line is -260.

We also believe that Army will beat Temple, and the money line is -240.

And, we believe that Wisconsin will beat Purdue, and the money line is -250.

If you wager $100 on these three teams to win, and all three teams win, your payout is just under $175 plus the $100 you wagered for almost $275 ($274.62 to be exact.)

Let’s take a look at 5 wagers, where we win two and lose three at these odds

We bet $500 at $100 for 5 wagers.

On the two winning wagers, we receive $275 * 2 or $550.

Invest $500 and win $550 by being right 40% of the time. In one week, we have made a 10% return on an investment. What investment on the Stock Market makes a 10% gain in one week after you have paid the commissions on the trip?

Ah, but here’s the rub: how often can you wager on 5 money line parlays that average +175 and win 40% of the parlays? Most people fall into this trap and only win about one of five of these parlays. At 20% success, you lose $225 a week for a 45% loss. Now, where can you loses 45% in the stock market in one week? We put our real money in high-cap value stocks with durable competitive advantages, long histories of consistent increases in earnings, and long histories of consistent dividend payouts. The pretend money is just fine for football wagering.

By now, you want to know who we are picking in Week 0 of the college football season. Maybe, you have figured it out already. We don’t have any official picks this week, because there are not enough games to come up with a parlay better than +120.

Here is a practice parlay that is not an official pick, but shown here to show you what we mean.

The three games involved are: Nebraska versus Illinois, UCLA versus Hawaii, and UTEP versus New Mexico St.

Let’s say that we think Illinois will upset the Cornhuskers, UCLA will take care of Hawaii, and UTEP will win the big rivalry game.

Here are the three Money Lines for these three games.

Illinois +215 vs. Nebraska

UCLA -875 vs. Hawaii

UTEP -390 vs. New Mexico St.

This parlay calculates to +341. If we wager $100 on this game, and Illinois, UCLA, and UTEP all win, we receive $441 in our account (The $100 we wagered plus the $341 on the win).

Why isn’t this an official pick? We believe that Illinois might have been an excellent pick against the spread when the Illinois-Nebraska game spread opened at -9 1/2. But, it has come down to -6 1/2 as of this writing. Sharp money was wagers on Illinois +9 1/2, and also on Nebraska -6 1/2. A three-point middling is too good to be true. Playing both sides, the Sharps only need to have the game win both sides one out of every 19 times (5.26%) to make a profit. The spreads of 7, 8, and 9 account for 10.8% of all FBS college football games. That’s double the amount needed to make a profit. The key is the Sharps can find these spreads when they open. Also, playing the opening lines is the most effective way to win for a Sharp.

The UTEP-New Mexico State game is the biggest issue in this parlay. One axiom that older Sharps believe in is not to rely on a losing program to have to win for you to win. The Miners are probably a 3-9 team, which is almost a good year for this program. The Aggies are really weak and should be an underdog in every game, but this is their big rival, maybe bigger than playing New Mexico. The I-10 rivalry frequently is a tossup game.

Two out of three of these games are iffy. The chances that Illinois pulls off the upset of Nebraska are not good enough to have faith in this parlay winning. Scott Frost is in deep cow poo if the Cornhuskers don’t win at least six games and earn a bowl bid, and losing to the weakest Big Ten team will turn the heater on in his heated seat. This will be Bret Bielema’s first game as Illinois head coach, and he brought in an offensive coordinator that runs a system totally different from what the Illini ran under Lovie Smith. Expect growing pains.

We hope this gets you pumped for next week, when there will be more than enough games to play some parlays.

August 23, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Football For August 28

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:00 am

Monday, August 23, 2021

This Week’s PiRate Ratings
Date:August 28, 2021
New Mexico St.UTEP-4.5-4.7-5.3
Fresno St.Connecticut20.221.126.5


San Jose St.Southern Utah23.8

It’s called Week 0. Four FBS college football games will kick off the 2021 season. Included in the quartet of games is a Big Ten conference game with an old Big Ten coach returning to a new Big Ten school to face another coach that is sitting on a very hot seat.

On the West Coast, Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins host Hawaii, and a good showing with no injuries could set the Bruins up for a potential upset of LSU next week.

If you have followed our site so far this year, you have now seen the preseason ratings and predictions for all 130 FBS teams. Here are those ratings in full.

The PiRate Ratings for August 23

4Iowa St.124.8
6Ohio St.121.9
7U S C119.4
9Texas A&M118.1
10North Carolina117.7
11Miami (Fla.)116.9
14T C U116.0
18Ole Miss113.3
19Arizona St.113.1
20Oklahoma St.113.1
21Penn St.113.1
24West Virginia112.3
25L S U112.1
28U C L A110.5
29Notre Dame110.2
30Mississippi St.110.1
34Coastal Carolina108.4
35Wake Forest107.7
38Oregon St.106.9
41NC State106.1
45Virginia Tech105.3
46Boston College105.2
49Kansas St.104.4
51Boise St.103.9
53Florida St.103.5
55Michigan St.103.0
59Washington St.102.5
61Texas Tech101.9
62Appalachian St.101.0
63South Carolina100.8
65San Jose St.100.3
67San Diego St.100.2
70Miami (Ohio)99.7
71Central Michigan99.7
76Georgia Tech98.2
78Ball St.97.4
80Air Force96.5
81Georgia St.96.5
83Fresno St.95.3
84East Carolina95.3
85U A B95.2
90U T S A93.9
96Kent St.91.7
97Georgia Southern91.6
98Eastern Michigan91.4
99South Alabama91.2
100Western Michigan91.0
104Arkansas St.89.9
106Colorado St.89.0
107Texas St.87.8
108Florida Atlantic87.7
109Northern Illinois87.5
111Louisiana Tech86.5
112Utah St.85.8
113New Mexico85.7
115U N L V84.9
116Southern Miss.84.4
117Middle Tennessee83.7
118Western Kentucky82.7
119North Texas81.7
123Florida Int’l.79.0
125U T E P76.0
128Old Dominion71.4
129Bowling Green70.8
130New Mexico St.69.7

American Athletic Conference
East Carolina95.394.396.295.3
AAC Averages96.796.297.696.8

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division
Wake Forest108.0106.7108.3107.7
NC State106.5105.8105.9106.1
Boston College104.7105.3105.7105.2
Florida St.103.4103.6103.5103.5
Coastal Division
North Carolina116.4116.7119.9117.7
Miami (Fla.)117.1116.1117.7116.9
Virginia Tech106.4104.9104.7105.3
Georgia Tech98.098.398.398.2
ACC Averages104.9105.0105.3105.0

Big 12 Conference
Iowa St.125.3123.5125.6124.8
T C U116.6115.1116.3116.0
Oklahoma St.113.5113.2112.5113.1
West Virginia113.8112.0111.1112.3
Kansas St.104.9104.7103.5104.4
Texas Tech102.0102.8100.8101.9
Big 12 Averages111.5110.3110.0110.6

Big Ten Conference
East Division
Ohio St.121.1121.3123.2121.9
Penn St.111.7112.8114.6113.1
Michigan St.103.5103.0102.5103.0
West Division
Big Ten Averages107.0107.3108.0107.5

Conference USA
East Division
Florida Atlantic86.788.687.887.7
Middle Tennessee83.483.184.783.7
Western Kentucky81.783.682.882.7
Florida Int’l.77.978.980.179.0
Old Dominion71.271.971.271.4
West Division
U A B95.495.294.995.2
U T S A94.094.593.493.9
Louisiana Tech86.987.485.286.5
Southern Miss.83.385.284.584.4
North Texas82.181.781.481.7
U T E P76.377.274.476.0
CUSA Averages84.184.884.484.4

FBS Independents
Notre Dame108.8110.6111.2110.2
New Mexico St.70.371.167.669.7
Indep. Averages92.192.691.592.1

Mid-American Conference
East Division
Miami (Ohio)101.999.298.199.7
Kent St.91.393.490.591.7
Bowling Green71.672.168.870.8
West Division
Central Michigan100.599.199.599.7
Ball St.98.498.395.597.4
Eastern Michigan93.191.289.891.4
Western Michigan91.291.690.191.0
Northern Illinois89.387.086.187.5
MAC Averages92.391.790.491.4

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
Boise St.103.9103.3104.3103.9
Air Force96.496.396.996.5
Colorado St.88.888.889.389.0
Utah St.85.686.685.285.8
New Mexico85.886.285.285.7
West Division
San Jose St.100.8101.199.0100.3
San Diego St.100.699.9100.2100.2
Fresno St.93.795.796.795.3
U N L V85.884.384.684.9
MWC Averages94.494.594.594.5

Pac-12 Conference
North Division
Oregon St.106.7106.7107.3106.9
Washington St.102.3103.2102.1102.5
South Division
U S C118.8118.4120.9119.4
Arizona St.112.4113.5113.6113.1
U C L A110.5110.5110.6110.5
Pac-12 Averages107.0107.8107.8107.5

Southeastern Conference
East Division
South Carolina101.1101.0100.4100.8
West Division
Texas A&M117.4118.3118.6118.1
Ole Miss113.3113.3113.2113.3
L S U111.0112.4112.8112.1
Mississippi St.110.2110.4109.7110.1
SEC Averages111.4111.6111.6111.5

Sunbelt Conference
Coastal Carolina109.2106.4109.6108.4
Appalachian St.100.5100.0102.5101.0
Georgia St.
Georgia Southern91.792.191.291.6
South Alabama91.691.590.691.2
Arkansas St.89.891.088.889.9
Texas St.89.486.787.287.8
Sun Averages94.894.194.494.5

Conference Ratings
2Big 12110.6
4Big Ten107.5
5Atlantic Coast105.0
6American Athletic96.8
7Sun Belt94.5
8Mountain West94.5
11Conference USA84.4

August 15, 2021

FBS Independents Preview

While 2020 was one strange logistical nightmare for college football conferences, it was a walk in the park compared to what the FBS Independents endured.

First, Notre Dame decided to join the Atlantic Coast Conference as a full-fledged member for one season.  Then, the Irish ran the table, upsetting Clemson to win the ACC regular season title.  That NBC TV contract must mean a lot to the Irish, because full-time membership in the ACC might have allowed the once top program in football to increase its recruiting base and return to the glory of their earlier times.  Alas, the NBC money meant more than membership in one of the top four leagues.

BYU, Army, and Liberty had to move mountains to play a full schedule, sometimes scheduling a Saturday three or four days before.  It was almost a 21st Century barnstorming tour for the three schools, but it seemed to work as the Cougars went 11-1, the Black Knights went 9-3, and the Flames finished 10-1.  BYU’s lone loss came at the hands of Coastal Carolina in one of those last-minute scheduled games.  Trying to prepare for CCU’s highly unorthodox offense with no advance notice may have been something the Baltimore Ravens might have struggled pulling off.  

Army finished first in the nation in total defense, allowing just 275 yards per game, and they finished runner-up in scoring defense, allowing 14.8 points per game.  Liberty lost by one point at North Carolina State, which is all that kept the Flames from running the table.  Liberty knocked off previously undefeated Coastal Carolina in overtime in the Cure Bowl.

Connecticut, New Mexico State, and UMass didn’t fare so well in the year of Covid.  UConn cancelled their season and never played a game.  This comes off a 2019 season where the Huskies went just 2-10 with one FBS win over UMass.

UMass didn’t play until Mid-October and then the Minutemen played just 240 minutes, going 0-4 and scoring just one touchdown, one field goal, and one safety.  The Minutemen were outgained by more than 400 yards in their season-ending loss to Liberty 45-0.  In the nine years since UMass has been a full FBS member, they have a 19-81 record, with nothing better than a couple of 4-8 seasons.

Then, there is New Mexico State.  The Aggies were one of three FBS schools to cancel their entire 2020 season.  NMSU is just barely hanging on as an FBS football program, and losing the entire season was a big financial tragedy.  However, there was an even bigger tragedy in Las Cruces this Spring.

The Aggies decided to play a couple of FCS opponents that were playing Spring schedules.  On February 21, NMSU welcomed Tarleton State to Aggie Memorial Stadium for a Sunday afternoon contest.  Tarleton State had just lost to McNeese State and would lose again the week after the NMSU game to upstart football program Dixie State.  This should have been a game where the last player on the Aggie bench saw at least a quarter of action when the game was a 35-point blowout.

Sure enough, the game was a blowout, and NMSU got to empty their bench in the final quarter.  Unfortunately, Tarleton State scored two touchdowns in the first four and a half minutes.  Three plays into the third quarter, the Texans led the Aggies 40-7.  They won 43-17 after emptying the bench.

How does a hopeful normal season look for the Independents?  There is no official Independent Media poll.  Instead of showing you how the media voted, here is a composite look at how 20 other computer power ratings see the Independents finishing this year.

  1. Notre Dame
  2. Liberty
  3. Army
  4. BYU
  5. Connecticut
  6. UMass
  7. New Mexico St.

How do the three PiRate Ratings see the 2021 season for this septet?

Notre Dame returns to full Independent status this year.  The Irish face a major rebuild on the offensive side of the ball.  If Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan can find some of the spark that made him shine two years ago, Notre Dame may not suffer greatly from the loss of Ian Book.  However, the offensive line will be inexperienced, and the receiving corps needs a go-to big play receiver.

The Irish return half of their defensive regulars from 2020, but they lose their defensive coordinator, Clark Lea.  Lea’s defense was tops in the ACC, and the 19.7 points per game allowed is incredible when you consider that they played Clemson twice, Alabama, and North Carolina. 

Notre Dame faces a weaker schedule this year, but there are still potential tough games against Florida State, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, USC, North Carolina, Virginia, and Stanford.  Don’t expect another undefeated regular season in South Bend, and don’t expect a return to the Playoffs.  The schedule is full of trap games.  Toledo, Purdue, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, USC, North Carolina, and Stanford will be tough contests, and it is possible that the Irish do no better than 3-4 in these seven games and at best 5-2.

Liberty should be more talented and will be a much more experienced team this year.  The Flames were 10-1 last year, but 2021 presents LU with a considerably tougher schedule.  Coach Hugh Freeze takes the Flames to Oxford, Mississippi, in November, where LU will take on his former team, Ole Miss.  It should be one of the most exciting games of the season, and the final score might look more like a basketball game.  Games against Louisiana and Army follow the Ole Miss game.  If Liberty wins two of their last three, they could win 10 games again.

Army’s offense didn’t click on all cylinders last year, but the Black Knights’ defense surrendered less than 115 rushing and 160 passing yards per game to lead the nation in total defense.  That great defense returns an intact defensive line and an experienced secondary, so it might be even tougher to move the ball on the Black Knights this year.  Unfortunately, a new quarterback and inexperienced offensive line probably means the Cadets will regress a bit this year.

BYU finished third nationally in scoring and fourth nationally in scoring defense.  Key players on both sides of the ball must be replaced, foremost being quarterback Zach Wilson, who now wears a New York Jets’ uniform.  At least, the Cougars should know who they are going to play the following Saturday when they wake up Monday mornings this year.

Connecticut last won a game on October 26, 2019, when they topped a 1-win UMass team.  The Huskies have not defeated a legitimate FBS program since they beat Tulsa in October of 2017.  Expect UConn to show an improved passing game and better all around defense this year, but the Huskies have a long way to go before they will be competing for winning records as a new Independent.

As for UMass and New Mexico State, these two teams may be the weakest among the 130 FBS teams.  They both are definitely in the bottom five.  The two teams close out the 2021 season facing off in Las Cruces.  Unless these schools can find a conference during the upcoming round of realignment, they both face the possibility of joining former FBS Independent Idaho at the FCS level.

Here are the preseason PiRate Ratings for the Independents.

FBS Independents
Notre Dame108.8110.6111.2110.2
New Mexico St.70.371.167.669.7
Indep. Averages92.192.691.592.1

While the PiRate Ratings are designed only to compare teams’ power ratings in their next scheduled game, we can still have a little fun trying to predict won-loss records.  

Notre Dame8-4
New Mexico St.2-10

September 27, 2020

College PiRate Ratings DELAYED

The Reinstatement of the Pac-12, Mountain West, and Mid-American Conferences, as well as Independent UMass, has caused a somewhat lengthy delay in our college football ratings update for this coming week.

Because the PiRate Ratings use an algorithm with a cumulative par rating of 100.0 for the PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings, we cannot simply place the original August ratings for the teams that decided in the last week to play football. Doing so would throw the cumulative par well below 100.0.

We cannot simply add the necessary amount needed per team to raise the par values to 100.0 for multiple reasons. First, the amount needed to be added to each of the three ratings would be totally different. Why would a team all of a sudden become .2 points better in the Mean, but .4 points better in the Bias? Actually, some teams might gain points in one rating and lose points in another. That would not be just or accurate.

Second, why would you reward a team with points that is obviously struggling at the present time, while at the same time punish a team that hasn’t played yet by keeping their rating where it was when everybody was 0-0?

When the Big Ten returned, we had to raise some ratings and lower others to keep the overall par at 100.0 for our three different algorithms, and to be quite frank, we had to use some one-time extracurricular data to come to a conclusion.

The need to reincorporate the teams is vital thanks to the Navy-Air Force game this weekend. The Mountain West is looking to return at the end of October, but the Air Force Academy is scheduled to play Navy this Saturday as part of the Commander-in-Chief Trophy series. We cannot issue power ratings for Air Force until we have done the work to reincorporate all the teams that will return to play in 2020.

As of this writing, the Pac-12, Mountain West, and Mid-American Conferences are on board with a late October or early November re-start. UMass plans to attempt to find some teams to play and hopefully get in six games. Old Dominion, New Mexico State, and Connecticut still plan to take off this season, but New Mexico State hopes to play a half-dozen games in the Spring against FCS, Division II, and possibly Connecticut with a remote possibility that they could play UMass.

As an aside to this, keep an eye on New Mexico State basketball coach Chris Jans. The Aggies are not completely sure their basketball team will be able to play in 2020-2021. If the Aggies cancel their basketball season, expect multiple Power Conference schools to move Jans up high on their lists of potential head coaches if they have a vacancy. If you follow our college basketball coverage, you know that we rate coaches by their ability to improve their teams’ offensive efficiency, while weakening their opponents’ offensive efficiencies. In the Winter of 2020, our analysis rated Jans as number one overall among Mid-Major and Low-Major coaches in his ability to improve the talent on his roster above the norm. In 2019, we named Eric Musselman, then of Nevada, as number one and predicted that a Power Conference school would hire him and not regret it. Arkansas was that fortunate school to hire Muss, and Muss has the Razorbacks moving forward toward a top 20 program quickly. It is our opinion that Jans has the competency to do for a Power Conference school what Musselman has done for Arkansas. If NMSU does not play basketball this season, we believe Jans will take another job for 2021-2022.

August 15, 2016

2016 Sun Belt Conference Football Ratings Preview

The PiRate Ratings kick off its 2016 college football coverage today with the first of 11 previews. We will preview conferences in order of lowest overall average rating to highest, so as we have every year since this league’s inception, we begin with the Sun Belt Conference today.

Last year, Arkansas State ventured to Appalachian State to decide the conference championship in early November. Both teams were undefeated in conference play at the time, and Appy State was a 10-point home favorite. The Mountaineers led 21-14 just before the half, but the Red Wolves scored 26 straight points and won 40-27 and ran the table to finish 8-0 in the league.

This year, the same two teams, plus third place Georgia Southern will contend for the 2016 SBC crown. The PiRates believe four additional teams will compete for bowl eligibility, with three becoming successful, and four teams will try to stay out of the basement and go winless in the league, and possibly winless overall.

With the more favorable FBS vs. FCS schedules this year, it is our opinion that considerably more than the needed teams will be bowl eligible, so this league is likely to see at least one team end the season bowl eligible and not receive a bowl invitation.

Here is how the Sun Belt Media predicted the order of finish in the pre-season media roundup.

2016 Sun Belt Conference Media Poll
# Team 1st Pl. Total
1 Appalachian St. 5 114
2 Arkansas St. 5 110
3 Georgia Southern 1 98
4 Georgia St. 0 73
5t UL-Lafayette 0 70
5t Troy 0 70
7 South Alabama 0 62
8 Idaho 0 48
9 New Mexico St. 0 37
10 Texas St. 0 30
11 UL-Monroe 0 14

The Beginning PiRate Numbers differ very little from the official poll.

Sunbelt Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 95.5 95.7 97.1 96.1
Arkansas St. 91.9 94.2 94.4 93.5
Georgia Southern 93.0 91.7 95.5 93.4
Troy 83.6 90.2 85.2 86.4
Georgia St. 81.7 87.1 83.9 84.2
Idaho 78.1 85.2 79.7 81.0
UL-Lafayette 76.3 86.8 78.7 80.6
South Alabama 75.3 85.2 76.2 78.9
New Mexico St. 73.7 76.5 74.9 75.0
UL-Monroe 67.9 73.3 68.3 69.8
Texas St. 68.8 69.5 69.5 69.3
Sun Belt Averages 80.5 85.1 82.1 82.6

The PiRate Ratings are best used just to look forward to the next week game schedule.  These ratings cannot really be used to predict won-loss records, so with that caveat, here are the projected won-loss records based on the ratings above.

Sun Belt Conference Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Arkansas St. 8-0 9-3 New Orleans
Appalachian St. 7-1 9-3 GoDaddy
Georgia Southern 7-1 8-4 Cammelia
Troy 5-3 7-5 Cure
UL-Lafayette 5-3 6-6 [Independence] *
Idaho 5-3 6-6 Bowl Eligible
Georgia St. 3-5 5-7
South Alabama 2-6 3-9
UL-Monroe 1-7 2-10
New Mexico St. 1-7 1-11
Texas St. 0-8 1-11

*  This is an at-large bowl bid

Next Preview: Tuesday, August 16–Conference USA

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