The Pi-Rate Ratings

November 24, 2009

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

Rivalry Week

Throw The Stats Out The Window

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Big East Conference
 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Big Ten

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Big 12
North Division

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

South Division

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Conference USA
East Division

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Independents

 

 

 

 

Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame

 

6-5 106.1
Navy

 

8-3 103.2
Army

 

5-6 82.0

 

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

 

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

 

Mid American Conference
East Division

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Mountain West Conference

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pac-10 Conference

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Sunbelt Conference

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

Western Athletic Conference

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, November 24

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, November 26

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 27

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 28

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

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

 

 

Bowl Speculations

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

November 16, 2009

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

Down The Stretch They Come

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

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

 

Big East Conference
 

 

 

 

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

 

Big Ten

 

 

 

 

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

 

Big 12
North Division

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

South Division

 

 

 

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

 

Conference USA
East Division

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

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

 

Independents

 

 

 

 

Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame

 

6-4 107.1
Navy

 

8-3 103.2
Army

 

3-7 81.9

 

Mid American Conference
East Division

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

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

 

Mountain West Conference

 

 

 

 

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

 

Pac-10 Conference

 

 

 

 

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

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

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

 

Sunbelt Conference

 

 

 

 

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

 

Western Athletic Conference

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, November 18

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, November 19

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 20

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 21

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

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

 

Bowl Speculating

 

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

 

The Atlantic Coast Conference

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

 

1. Orange Bowl—Clemson

2. Chick-fil-A—Virginia Tech

3. Gator—Georgia Tech

4. Champs Sports—Miami (Fl)

5. Music City—North Carolina

6. Meineke Car Care—Boston College

7. Emerald—Florida State

8. Eagle Bank—Duke

9. GMAC—No Team Available

 

The Big East

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

 

1. Orange Bowl—Pittsburgh

2. Sun—Cincinnati

3. Meineke Car Care—Rutgers

4. Papa John’s—South Florida

5. International—West Virginia

6. St. Petersburg—Connecticut

 

The Big Ten

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

 

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

 

1. Rose-OHIO STATE (accepted bid)

2. Fiesta—Iowa

3. Capital One—Wisconsin

4. Outback—Penn State

5. Alamo—Michigan State

6. Champs Sports—Minnesota

7. Insight—Northwestern

8. Pizza—No team available

 

The Big 12

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

 

1. National Championship—Texas

2. Cotton–Nebraska

3. Holiday—Oklahoma

4. Alamo—Oklahoma State

5. Sun—Missouri

6. Insight—Texas Tech

7. Independence—Kansas State

8. Texas—Texas A&M

 

Iowa State out of luck at 6-6

 

Conference USA

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

 

1. Liberty—East Carolina

2. Hawaii—Houston

3. Armed Forces—S M U

4. New Orleans—Southern Miss

5. St. Petersburg—Central Florida

 

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

 

Independents

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

 

1. Texas—Navy

2. Eagle Bank—Notre Dame (at-large)

 

Mid-American

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

 

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

 

1. G M A C—Central Michigan

2. Pizza—Temple

3. International—Ohio U

4. Humanitarian—Northern Illinois (at-large)

5. Pizza—Bowling Green (at-large)

 

Mountain West

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

 

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

 

1. Fiesta—T C U

2. Las Vegas—Utah

3. Poinsettia—B Y U

4. Armed Forces—Air Force

5. New Mexico—Wyoming

6. Humanitarian—No team available

 

Pac-10

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

 

1. Rose—Stanford

2. Holiday—Oregon

3. Sun—Southern Cal

4. Las Vegas—Arizona

5. Emerald—Oregon State

6. Poinsettia—California

 

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

 

Southeastern

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

 

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

 

1. National Championship—Alabama

2. Sugar—Florida

3. Capital One—Ole Miss

4. Cotton—L S U

5. Outback—Tennessee

6. Chick-fil-A—Auburn

7. Music City—Georgia

8. Liberty—Arkansas

9. Independence—South Carolina

10. Papa John’s—Kentucky

 

Sunbelt

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

 

1. New Orleans—Troy

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

 

Western Athletic

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

 

1. Sugar—Boise State

2. Hawaii—Fresno State

3. New Mexico—Nevada

4. Humanitarian—Idaho

 

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

 

November 2, 2009

Bowl Projections For November 2, 2009

Weekly Bowl Predictions

Monday, November 2, 2009

 

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

 

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

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

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

 

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

 

1. BCS Automatic (Orange)—Clemson

2. Chick-fil-A—Miami

3. Gator—Georgia Tech

4. Champ Sports—Virginia Tech

5. Music City—North Carolina

6. Champs Sports—Boston College

7. Emerald—Florida State

8. Eagle Bank—Duke

9. G M A C—No Team Available

 

Big East

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

 

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

 

1. BCS Automatic (Orange)—Pittsburgh

2. Gator—Notre Dame

3. Meineke Car Care—Cincinnati

4. Papa John’s—West Virginia

5. International—Rutgers

6. St. Petersburg—South Florida

 

Big Ten

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

 

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

 

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

 

1. BCS Automatic (Rose)—Iowa

1a. BCS At-large ( )—Penn State

2. Capital One—Wisconsin

3. Outback—Ohio State

4. Alamo—Michigan

5. Champs Sports—Minnesota

6. Insight—Michigan State

7. Pizza—Northwestern

 

Big 12

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

 

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

 

1. BCS Automatic (National Championship)—Texas

2. Cotton—Oklahoma State

3. Holiday—Oklahoma

4. Alamo—Texas Tech

5. Sun—Nebraska

6. Insight—Texas A&M

7. Independence—Missouri

8. Texas—Kansas State

 

Bowl Eligible (at 6-6)

Kansas

Iowa State

 

Conference USA

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

 

1. Liberty—Houston

2. Hawaii—East Carolina

3. Armed Forces—S M U

4. New Orleans—Southern Miss

5. St. Petersburg—Marshall

 

Bowl Eligible (all at 6-6)

Tulsa

Central Florida

U A B

 

Independents

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

 

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

2. Texas—Navy

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

 

Mid-American

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

 

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

 

1. Pizza—Northern Illinois

2. GMAC—Central Michigan

3. International—Temple

 

Bowl Eligible (7-5 or better)

Ohio U

Kent State

 

Mountain West

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

 

A. BCS At-Large (Fiesta)—T C U

1. Las Vegas—B Y U

2. Poinsettia—Utah

3. Armed Forces—Air Force

4. New Mexico—San Diego State

5. Humanitarian—No Team Available

 

Pac-10

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

 

1. BCS Automatic (Rose)—Oregon

2. Holiday—Southern Cal

3. Sun—California

4. Las Vegas—Arizona

5. Emerald—Stanford

6. Poinsettia—Oregon State

 

Bowl Eligible (6-6)

U C L A

 

Southeastern

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

 

1. BCS Automatic (National Championship Game)—Florida

1a. BCS At-large (Sugar)—Alabama

2. Capital One—L S U

3. Outback—Tennessee

4. Cotton—Auburn

5. Chick-fil-A—Ole Miss

6. Music City—Georgia

7. Liberty—Ole Miss

8. Independence—Kentucky

9. Papa John’s—South Carolina

 

Sunbelt

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

 

1. New Orleans—Troy

 

Bowl Eligible (7-5 or better)

Middle Tennessee

 

Western Athletic

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

 

A. BCS At-Large (Sugar)—Boise State

1. Humanitarian—Idaho

2. New Mexico—Nevada

3. Hawaii—Fresno State

 

The BCS Bowls

National Championship Game—Texas vs. Florida

Fiesta Bowl—Penn State vs. T C U

Orange Bowl—Clemson vs. Pittsburgh

Sugar Bowl—Alabama vs. Boise State

Rose Bowl—Oregon vs. Iowa

 

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

 

The Rest

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

October 26, 2009

Bowl Projections For October 26, 2009

TCU and Boise State in Hectic Race For BCS Gold

 

The BCS bowl agreement only awards one guaranteed at-large invitation to a qualifying team from a non-BCS conference.  Two non-BCS teams can be selected for a BCS at-large bowl, but they can turn away a 12-0 team in favor of another team from a BCS conference.  Thus, if Boise State and TCU both finish 12-0, only one of the two will be guaranteed a spot in a BCS Bowl Game.  The other team could and will more than likely lose out to a 10-2 team from the Pac-10, Big 10, Big East, or SEC.

 

For our weekly Bowl Projections, we are going with TCU to finish a shade higher than Boise State and earn the automatic BCS Bowl bid.  We believe that Penn State, Southern Cal, and Florida will also earn at-large invitations, so Boise State will be excluded from the big bowls.  At 12-0, the Humanitarian won’t be good enough for the Broncos, so for the second season in a row, there will be some back room deals made.  Our bowl projections are the only ones that are factoring this as of now.

 

New Mexico: Utah vs. Nevada

This would be a great battle between Utah’s strong defense and Nevada’s eye-popping pistol offense.

 

St. Petersburg: Rutgers vs. Marshall

Mark Snyder was on the hot seat entering this season, but he has the Thundering Herd on track to finish with seven wins.  If Marshall can upset Central Florida this week, they could even jump into the CUSA Championship game.

 

New Orleans: Troy vs. UTEP

Mike Price has the Miners poised to win the CUSA’s West Division, as they already hold the tiebreaker advantage over Houston and Tulsa.  We expect them to lose in the conference championship game and slip to the Crescent City.

 

Las Vegas: Boise State vs. Cincinnati

What better place for an arranged marriage in a bowl than sin city?  We believe Boise State will run the table and, at 12-0, lose out in the BCS sweepstakes to a 10-2 team with more ticket-buying and media-garnering clout.  Like last year, the WAC will be shopping to move the Broncos up into a better bowl.  The Pac-10 will fall short by one spot if both Oregon and Southern Cal make BCS bowls and Stanford finishes 5-7. 

 

We believe Cincinnati will lose to Pittsburgh in the season finale, and the 11-1 Bearcats will also be shunned by the BCS in favor of a 10-2 team.  So, this million dollar payout bowl will set up a great match.

 

Poinsettia: B Y U vs. Oregon State

Any chance for a big bowl for these teams ended this past Saturday.  BYU’s pasting by TCU and Oregon State’s near miss at USC will move these teams down to lower tiered bowls.

 

Hawaii: Fresno State vs. Houston

Since Hawaii will not be bowl eligible this season, another WAC team will get the honors.  Fresno State would fit here quite comfortably.  As for Houston, the Cougars might deserve much better, but they still must play at Tulsa and at UCF, and they need UTEP to lose at least once.

 

Pizza (formerly Motor City): Minnesota vs. Northern Illinois

The Gophers have slipped quite a bit in recent weeks and need to recover just to gain bowl eligibility.  Northern Illinois won’t win the MAC, but we believe the Huskies will be the choice team for this bowl, sending the MAC Champ south to Mobile.

 

Meineke Car Care: Boston College vs. Connecticut

This would be an excellent regional game between teams that should be playing each other.  Connecticut would be the sixth Big East team to make a bowl, made possible by Cincinnati moving up to a better bowl than what would be available.

 

Emerald: U C L A vs. Florida State

This would be a decent attraction and a nice rematch of the 2006 game.  UCLA missed out on a bowl last year, and this could be Bobby Bowden’s final game, so it would be interesting.

 

Music City: South Carolina vs. North Carolina

These two teams played in the regular season last year, and it would be a great rivalry matchup in Nashville.  It’s a border war with two legendary coaches.

 

Independence: Kentucky vs. Kansas

These two basketball schools with familial ties would give this bowl its best matchup in years.

 

Eagle Bank: Kent State vs. Central Florida

These are two quasi at-large selections.  It looks like Army will finish 5-7 at best and fail to qualify.  If Army isn’t eligible, this bowl is supposed to take an at-large team from CUSA.  The ACC may not have a ninth team available, and this bowl is supposed to choose an at-large team from the MAC.  Kent State hasn’t been to a bowl since Coach Don James took them to the 1972 Tangerine Bowl (lost to Tampa).

 

Champ Sports: Georgia Tech vs. Michigan St.

Almost all other prognosticators are picking Georgia Tech to make it to the Orange Bowl.  We have an opposing view right now.  We think Clemson may very well run the table and oppose Tech in the ACC Championship Game.  Having already faced the spread option and actually beating themselves more than losing this game, we see CU getting revenge and plunging the Yellow Jackets to this bowl.

 

Humanitarian: Idaho vs. Kansas State

We place Idaho here after moving Boise State to a better locale.  The Vandals played here in their only bowl game 11 years ago, edging Southern Miss in a high-scoring affair.  Kansas State is the current leader in the Big 12 North, but with a concluding schedule of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, we see them losing at least twice more.  Since the Big 12 will not produce an at-large BCS participant, we see nine bowl-eligible teams for eight spots.  The Wildcats are the odd team out and will have to go to the field of blue.

 

Holiday: Oklahoma vs. California

This might be a disappointment game as neither team will believe it a reward to play in this game after both had aspirations of greatness.

 

Armed Forces: Tulsa vs. Air Force

Tulsa’s high-powered passing game against Air Force’s option offense and strong defense will make this an interesting study in contrasts.  Air Force has been here two consecutive seasons, but for obvious reasons, they belong in this game most years.

 

Sun: Arizona vs. Texas Tech

This matchup should fill up the Sun Bowl as both teams wouldn’t have all that far to travel.  It would be a fresh pairing.

 

Texas: Texas A&M vs. Navy

Navy will automatically earn this bowl with a win over Temple this weekend.  Texas A&M joins the bowl talk after their upset over Texas Tech.  This would be an interesting and very high scoring game.

 

Insight.com: Missouri vs. Northwestern

Yes, these two teams played each other in the Alamo Bowl last year, but that game was the most exciting bowl game of all.  It would be a great rematch in a different venue.

 

Chick-fil-A: Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech

The Volunteers have now played the number one team close twice this season.  If they get by South Carolina this week, then watch out.  They could win out and move up to this game.  Interestingly, when Coach Lane Kiffin’s mentor, Pete Carroll, took over at Southern Cal, the Trojans followed this gameplan exactly, coming on strong to win out and get to seven wins.  Might Tennessee be poised to become the USC of the Southeast?

 

Outback: Ole Miss vs. Wisconsin

This isn’t the New Year’s Bowl Ole Miss expected to be playing in this year.  They had thoughts of Sugar.  Wisconsin wasn’t picked to play in a New Year’s Bowl at all, so this would be a grand reward for the Badgers, especially since it could be 70 degrees warmer in Tampa than in Madison on January 1.

 

Capital One: Ohio State vs. L S U

This is a rematch of the 2007-08 BCS Championship Game.  Ohio State would move up to this one if Penn State and Iowa both received BCS Bowl bids, and we think that will happen.

 

Gator: Notre Dame vs. Miami-FL

It’s been seven years since the Irish played in the Gator Bowl, and if they have eight or nine wins, they will be back in Jacksonville.  Having a former heated rival as an opponent makes this one a must-watch game.

 

Rose: Oregon vs. Iowa

Oregon has to beat USC in Eugene this weekend, or all bets are off in this one.  If USC wins, then the Trojans will play here and Oregon will be on the BCS bubble with Boise State.  Iowa can lose a game and still secure this bid.  We see them finishing 11-1.  Iowa’s last Rose Bowl trip was 19 years ago, while Oregon hasn’t been to Pasadena in 15 years.

 

Sugar: Florida vs. Pittsburgh

This one may look odd to you, but here’s how we decided on this pairing.  As of today, we believe Alabama would beat Florida in the SEC Championship Game and Pittsburgh would edge Cincinnati in their final regular season game.  The Sugar Bowl would get first choice to pick a replacement when Alabama earned the Top Seed.  The Sugar Bowl would then have to wait while the Fiesta and Orange Bowls selected ahead of them.  The Panthers would be what was left.

 

International: West Virginia vs. Temple

Five years ago, this would have been a conference game.  Temple is close to becoming bowl eligible.  The Owls last played in a bowl in 1979, when Mark Bright and Kevin Duckett ran all over California in the now defunct Garden State Bowl.

 

Cotton: Oklahoma State vs. Arkansas

The Cotton Bowl officials could jump over the Cowboys in favor of their arch-rival, but OSU should have at least one more win.  Arkansas is always a great draw for this bowl, and we see them earning this spot over Ole Miss.

 

PapaJohns.com: South Florida vs. Auburn

Auburn missed out on a bowl last year, and the Tigers have never played in this Birmingham bowl.  This bowl hasn’t drawn well, so this might be a great choice.

 

Liberty: Georgia vs. Southern Miss

It may be a slight stretch, but we believe Southern Miss will edge East Carolina and win the CUSA East title (forcing ECU to finish 6-6 and miss out on a bowl).  We then believe they will beat UTEP and earn this automatic bid.

 

Georgia hasn’t played in the Liberty Bowl since 1987, so this would be a decent location for the finish to a rebuilding year.

 

Alamo: Michigan vs. Nebraska

This was an excellent Alamo Bowl game four years ago, and we see it as a great repeat this year.  The Wolverines high-flying offense against the Cornhuskers’ Black Shirt defense would be a great draw.

 

Fiesta: Southern Cal vs. T C U

With Texas earning the number two ranking, the Fiesta Bowl would get the second at-large pick.  We see them taking the Trojans.  Then, after the Orange Bowl chose their at-large selection, this bowl would grab TCU over Pittsburgh.  It would be an interesting game and give the Horned Frogs a chance to show they belong among the nation’s elite for the first time since the Jim Swink days in the mid 1950’s.

 

Orange: Clemson vs. Penn State

Clemson has Coastal Carolina, Florida State, North Carolina State, Virginia, and South Carolina remaining on their schedule, and we see no impediment between the Tigers and the Atlantic Division title.  If they face Georgia Tech in a rematch, we believe they will win and win handily.  That would earn them an automatic trip to Miami.  Penn State may be the controversial choice if they are 10-2 and Boise State is 12-0 and Cincinnati 11-1, but money matters more to the bowl games.

 

G M A C: Central Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee

Central Michigan will win the MAC Championship, but since the Chippewas played in Detroit last year, we think they will be sent to Mobile this year.  We don’t see a ninth ACC team qualifying, and Middle Tennessee will earn this bowl over a half dozen 6-6 teams from bigger conferences.

 

National Championship Game: Alabama vs. Texas

These teams have faced off in several five memorable bowl games in the past.  Texas won four and the other ended in a tie.  Alabama was supposed to win all five times.  This will be an excellent game with twists and turns, and it could pit the top two vote-getters in the Heisman Trophy race as well.

August 31, 2009

2009 Mountain West Conference Preview

2009 Mountain West Conference Preview

A PiRate Look

In the last in our series of non-BCS conference previews, we take a look at the Mountain West Conference, the most successful of the non-BCS leagues.  Last year, Utah ran the table for the second time in five seasons and won a BCS Bowl in convincing fashion.  We believe the league has the best shot at placing yet another team in a BCS Bowl in January, 2010.  However, it won’t be Utah.

Here are the preseason PiRate ratings for the league.  The ratings have been rounded to the nearest whole number even though we calculate them to two decimal places.  Thus, when you see multiple teams with the same rating, they are not actually exactly even.  To understand what the rating means, it is set so that 100 is average.  Thus, a rating of 90 means the team is 10 points weaker than the average team in the FBS.  The average of all 120 FBS teams should round to 100 if the math has been successfully calculated.

For those who have not followed the PiRate Ratings before and wonder about the home field advantage, we do not assign set in stone advantages.  These are assigned on a game-by-game basis.  For instance, When Utah hosts BYU or vice versa in the “Holy War,” there really isn’t much home field advantage for either team.  However, if Utah hosted Boston College on a Thursday night after BC played at Miami just five days earlier, then Utah might receive a touchdown in home field advantage.  The PiRates think it’s ridiculous to issue a blank home field advantage for all teams or even assign a range of set home field advantages.

   

Mountain West Conference Preseason Ratings

     

 

Prediction *

    Team

PiRate

MWC

Overall

    T C U

111

   8-0

11-1

    Utah

108

   5-3

8-4

    Brigham Young

104

   6-2

9-3

    Air Force

99

   5-3

8-4

    Colorado State

92

   3-5

5-7

    San Diego State

91

   2-6

5-7

    U N L V

91

   6-2

8-4

    New Mexico

88

   0-8

1-11

    Wyoming

88

   1-7

2-10

     

 

 

 

   

*  Predictions not based on PiRate Rating but

   

on expected changes to rating during the year

 

T C U: The Horned Frogs have flirted with a BCS at-large bid in recent years, falling one game short last year and falling one game short of possibly playing in the Fiesta Bowl for a chance at a number three finish in 2005.  This year, TCU has possibly the best chance of any non-BCS team of running the table and crashing the BCS party.  Out of the league, they will have to win at Virginia and Clemson just two weeks apart with a breather against Texas State in between.  We think they will win just one of those two games, and Coach Gary Patterson’s team could finish 11-1 and sit on the bubble.

The vaunted Horned Frog defense led the nation last year allowing just 11.3 points and 218 total yards per game.  Even the national title game participant Oklahoma couldn’t run the ball against their front line.  That defense took a major graduation hit with seven players departing.  One of those four holdovers is All-American end Jerry Hughes.  The future NFL star dropped enemy QBs an NCAA-best 15 times and was credited with 4 ½ other tackles for loss; he intercepted a couple of passes to boot.  The three new starters on the line will benefit from all the double teams on Hughes. 

The news is worse in the second line of defense, where both starting linebackers and the top reserve have picked up their sheepskins.  Jason Phillips, Stephen Hodge, and Robert Henson were also the team’s top three tacklers.

The five-man secondary returns three starters, including two excellent cornerbacks (Rafael Priest and Nick Sanders) who batted away 22 enemy passes and picked off three more.

We know the defensive statistics will be off compared to last year, but fret not Frog fans.  TCU will give up less than 20 points per game for the fifth year in a row, and they will allow only 280-320 total yards per game.  Now, for even better news: the offense is going to be just as good if not better than last year, and it was a record-setting unit in Ft. Worth.  TCU averaged better than 200 yards both rushing and passing while scoring almost 34 points per game.

Quarterback Andy Dalton should top 2,500 passing yards with 15-20 touchdowns this year.  Considering that TCU usually tries to run the ball into the end zone when they get into the red zone, that number is impressive.   

Dalton’s top receiver is Jimmy Young.  Young narrowly missed 1,000 receiving yards last year, and if he stays healthy this year, he should top that mark.

The running game returns three of the four backs who rushed for 380 or more yards return this year, led by Joseph Turner, who is capable of rushing for 1,000 yards. 

The offensive line has some rebuilding to do, but both tackles return this year.  Marcus Cannon and Marshall Newhouse will compete for All-MWC honors.

Will 11-1 earn TCU an at-large BCS bowl?  It’s 50-50.

Utah:  The Utes ran over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl like a herd of elephants on the rampage.  Don’t expect a return trip to a BCS bowl this year, because too many key players have run out of eligibility.

The offense lost six starters, including MWC Offensive Player of the Year Brian Johnson.  The former QB passed for 2,972 yards and 27 touchdowns with just nine picks.  True Freshman Jordan Wynn has apparently won the starting job this year, so expect the team’s passing numbers to drop from 244 to possibly less than 200 yards per game.

Making things more difficult for Wynn is the fact that the top three receivers from last year have moved on.  David Reed is the leading yardage returnee, and he only caught 25 passes for 427 yards.  He is a deep ball threat.

The running game will carry a much bigger share of the offense this year.  Three very good offensive linemen return, including tackle Zane Beadles, and leading rusher Matt Asiata is back after rushing for 707 yards and 12 scores.  Look for him to get more touches this year and possibly top 1,000 yards.

The defense should be about as strong this year as they were last year, when the Utes surrendered 17.2 points and 289 total yards per game.  Seven starters return including the top four tacklers.  The linebacker trio of Nai Fotu, Mike Wright, and Stevenson Sylvester has no equal in the MWC.

Up front, Koa Misi is a multi-talented end.  He can get to the enemy QB or running back in the backfield, and he can play pass defense like a good linebacker.

The strength of the secondary will be the safeties.  Free safety Robert Johnson is the type of player coaches want as the last line of defense.

The schedule includes out of conference games against Utah State and Louisville at home and Oregon and San Jose State on the road.  The TCU and BYU games are both on the road, and a road game against UNLV could be tough as well.  There are too many chances for losses this year, so we think Utah could lose three times.

Brigham Young: A team noted for super offenses may succeed due to defense this year.  The Cougars suffered heavily to graduation on the attack side.  One of the four returning starters is quarterback Max Hall.  Hall just missed passing for 4,000 yards and hit pay dirt 35 times.

One player Hall will miss is Austin Collie, who caught 106 passes for 1,538 yards and 15 touchdowns.  BYU always has able replacements waiting to assume starting duties, but Collie’s contribution will not be equaled.  Dennis Pitta returns after grabbing 83 passes for 1,083 yards; he’s the top pass-catching tight end in college football.

It’s not well known, but BYU has had some running success the last few years.  Harvey Unga topped 1,100 yards rushing last year, making it three 1,000 yard rushers in four years.  Unga may have a hard time matching those numbers this year, as four starters need to be replaced on the offensive line.

The defensive line could have been dominating, but tackle Russell Tialavea decided earlier this summer to go on a mission for the church.  End Jan Jorgensen should continue to dominate after contributing 8 ½ tackles behind the line.

BYU is set at linebacker, where the starters all return after combining for 223 tackles and 11 sacks.  Behind that unit, the secondary returns two starters. 

One intangible to factor in early in the season is a rash of minor injuries to key players.  While none of the starters should miss much game time if any, they are missing practices.

The schedule does not allow Cougar fans to think BCS Bowl this year.  BYU opens with Oklahoma at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium.  Maybe punter Tyler Holt can hit the jumbotron.  A home game with Florida State could give the Cougars a chance to score an upset.  In MWC play, BYU hosts both Utah and TCU, as well as Air Force.  The one tough road game is at UNLV.  If the Cougars can shore up their offensive line and come up with a couple of good receivers to compliment Pitta, they could pull off the conference championship.

Air Force:  The service academies usually have high football graduation losses every year, so when Air Force returns six starters to both sides of the ball, it has to be considered a glut of experience.

Quarterback Tim Jefferson earned Freshman of the Year honors in the league last year even though he didn’t post gaudy statistical numbers.  When he passed the ball, he completed 55% of his passes and averaged 8.2 yards per attempt.

Six backs saw significant action last year, and five return.  There may not be a star among the group, but they know how to make the option go.  The Falcons averaged 4.5 yards per rush in 2008, and that average should head north of five this year.

The offensive line returns three starters, and the blocking schemes in this offense make it easier than average for new starters to become competent.

The Falcon defense is strongest on the back line.  The secondary returns three starters who combined for 216 tackles, five interceptions, and 13 passes broken up.

The one weak spot is the defensive line, where two of the three starters this year are new to the lineup.  Nose tackle Ben Garland could make the All-MWC team.

The linebackers all have prior experience, led by Ken Lamendola, who topped AFA in tackles last year with 118.

The schedule includes the usual other two service academies plus Nicholls State and Minnesota out of conference.  While the Falcons won’t win the conference title, they should take home the Commander-in-Chief Trophy.  Expect to see the Falcons playing in a bowl for the third consecutive season.

Colorado State:  The Rams were a small surprise in Steve Fairchild’s first year as coach in Ft. Collins.  CSU broke even in the regular season and won the New Mexico Bowl game over Fresno State.  They will be lucky to repeat that feat this season.

Only five starters return on defense, and only two of them play in the front seven.  CSU surrendered 30.2 points and 410 total yards per game in 2008, and those numbers will get worse this year.  Look for a jump to 35-40 points allowed and 430-450 total yards allowed per game.

The secondary has some experienced talent returning, but they will be forced to cover receivers longer per play.  The pass rush should be much weaker. 

Mychal Sisson is the one bright spot on the stop side.  The weakside linebacker led the Rams with 105 tackles including eight behind the line.

The offense should still have some firepower even though a new quarterback and running back must be found.  As of this writing, Fairchild hasn’t officially named a starter, but we believe that choice will be Grant Stucker. 

The new starter behind Stucker is John Mosure.  He won’t remind Ram fans of Gartrell Johnson, who rushed for 1,476 yards and 12 scores last year.

The top two receivers from last year return to start at wipeout.  Dion Morton and Rashuan Greer teamed for 114 receptions and 1,973 yards last year.

The offensive line welcomes back four of the five starters from a year ago, so we expect the Rams to improve in the running game and remain strong in the passing game—if Stucker can take over the controls without short-circuiting.

The Rams open up with Colorado yet again, but this game will be played in Boulder instead of Denver.  After hosting Weber State, they host Nevada and venture to BYU.  TCU and UNLV must be played on the road, while Utah and Air Force come to Hughes Stadium.  It looks like the Rams will come up a bit short this year and win no more than five times.

San Diego State: Brady Hoke worked wonders at Ball State, and he begins his tenure on the West Coast in a great situation.  The Aztecs are going to improve immediately in his first year, and if the ball bounces right, SDSU could even challenge for bowl eligibility.

Seven starters return to both sides of the ball, and most of the key special teams players are back as well.  Quarterback Ryan Lindley didn’t play like a freshman last year, and now as a sophomore he could top 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns through the air.

When Lindley passes, he will have one of the league’s best set of receivers running under the ball.  There are numerous capable hands on the roster, but none of them have breakaway potential. 

The running game has much room for improvement after averaging just 73 yards per game last year.  Atiyyah Henderson led SDSU with 490 yards on the ground.  He’ll run behind an offensive line about as talented this year as last.

For the record to move toward .500, the Aztecs must improve their defense against both the run and pass.  They gave up 461 yards and 37.2 points per game in 2008.  They must come up with a way of stopping the run, and it all begins up front, where three starters return from last year.  In the second line of defense, Luke Laolagi and Andrew Preston are the leading returning tacklers.

The secondary has been weak for two consecutive seasons, and it will be the weak point again this year.  Cornerback Aaron Moore broke up six passes a year ago.

Hoke’s best recruiting efforts were in the choosing of his staff.  Former New Mexico coach Rocky Long is the new defensive coordinator with former Ball State DC Mark Smith coming along as linebacker coach.  The Aztecs will come with many different types of blitzes this year and come up with some big plays.  Al Borges, the former offensive coordinator at Auburn, back when the Tigers had an exceptional offense, takes over in the same position here.  Former Cleveland Browns QB Brian Sipe will coach the QBs here.

The out-of-conference schedule could give SDSU three wins.  A probable loss at UCLA in the opener is the one tough game before conference play.  With New Mexico, Wyoming, New Mexico State, and Southern Utah coming to Qualcomm Stadium, and with a road game scheduled against Idaho, the Aztecs can win five games in year one of the Hoke era.

U N L V: The Rebels came within one game of becoming bowl eligible in 2008, and this should be the year they break through and earn a bowl bid. 

Junior quarterback Omar Clayton missed three games last year but still managed to pass for 1,894 yards and 18 scores versus just four interceptions.  With a strong supporting cast, Clayton should pass for 2,800 to 3,000 yards.

Wipeout Ryan Wolfe is the league’s leading returning receiver after catching 88 passes for 1,040 yards and six touchdowns.  Joining him are two promising receivers who can turn short passes into long gains.  Phillip Payne and Jerriman Robinson both averaged more than 15 yards per reception in 2008 and could combine for 100 receptions in 2009.

The only fly in the ointment for this offense is a solid running attack.  C. J. Cox is the leading returning rusher, and he had just 191 yards rushing last year.

The offensive line has three returning starters, including probable all-MWC tackle Matt Murphy. 

The defense returns seven starters, plus a former starter from 2007, to a unit that gave up 33 points and 423 yards per game.  Three players with starting experience return at linebacker, and three more start in the front line.    Linebackers Jason Beauchamp and Ronnie Paulo are the stars of this team.  Look for the duo to combine for 200-230 tackles.

While the secondary loses three starters, Coach Mike Sanford went the JUCO route to find adequate replacements.

The schedule gives the Rebels multiple chances to pull off an upset or two along the way.  After opening at home with Sacramento State, Oregon State and Hawaii visit Vegas.  Consecutive road games against Wyoming and Nevada precede consecutive home games with BYU and Utah.  TCU and Air Force are road games as well. 

New Mexico:  After guiding New Mexico to five bowl games in six years (a 6-5 record in the year they failed to earn a bid), former Coach Rocky Long was dismissed after posting one losing record.  Enter Mike Locksley, former offensive coordinator at Illinois.  Locksley may find the going rough for a few seasons, as he is making sweeping changes to the offense and defense.  The players to run those systems are not there.

On offense, the Lobos transform from a run the ball up the gut to set up the play-action pass to a no-huddle, spread passing attack.  Quarterback Donovan Porterie was not having a great year early in 2008, but it became much worse when he was lost for the season.  It allowed three other signal callers to see action, and they all return this year.  However, we don’t expect to see spectacular passing statistics.  In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more interceptions than touchdown passes from this group, a lower than expected completion percentage, and a relatively low yardage per pass attempt (maybe as lower than last year’s 5.4).

The running game will suffer immensely with this new offense.  Losing 1,110 yard rusher Rodney Ferguson will make matters worse.  The UNM running game could drop from 208 yards per game to as low as 85-100.

There’s ample experience at the receiver positions, but the talent is not up to the standards set by the upper division teams.  There will be more receptions, for sure, but there will also be considerably more incomplete passes and interceptions.

The defense is switching from a 3-3-5 to a 4-3 this year, and it doesn’t help that there isn’t any experience or much depth in the defensive line.  No starters return, and since the passing game will create more total plays, this green unit will be exploited all year.  We could see opponents rushing for 160-180 yards per game with an average per rush well over four.  Also, the pass rush will not produce as many sacks or hurries.

Only one starting linebacker returns, but he’s the best defensive player on the team.  Clint McPeek led the Lobos with 103 tackles.  He’s not just a run-stuffer; he’s probably the best pass defender on the team as well.

The secondary returns a couple of able safeties, but both cornerbacks must be replaced.  The Lobos gave up 214 passing yards per game, and that number was actually impressive because it came against the likes of Arizona, Tulsa, and New Mexico State out of conference, as well as the usual pass-happy conference opponents.  This year, New Mexico adds Texas Tech to the schedule, so the Lobos could give up 250-275 passing yards per game.

We just don’t see many opportunities for this team to win this year.  The home game against rival New Mexico State may be their best and only shot.  The other games where they have a chance are on the road. 

Wyoming: Joe Glenn was never able to turn the corner in Laramie, and he’s now history.  His replacement is Dave Christensen, the former offensive coordinator at Missouri.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t get to bring Chase Daniel, Derrick Washington, and Jeremy Maclin along to suit up.  He does have a lot of returning talent from a team that wasn’t all that bad at times.

The spread offense will sputter somewhat in year one.  Junior college transfer Robert Benjamin will begin the season as the starter, taking over for former starter Karsten Sween.  Benjamin fits the mold to run Christensen’s offense, and if he can hold onto the job, he should rush for 600-750 yards and pass for 2,500-2,750 yards with a nice TD/INT ratio.

Wyoming lost 1,300 yard blazing rusher Devin Moore and bruising Wynel Seldon (637 yards rushing).  Benjamin is likely to be the leading rusher, and we expect the average yards per game to drop from 178 to 120-130.

Benjamin will have some quality receivers to pass the ball.  Tight end Jesse Salyards gives him a big target over the middle and on delayed release routes.  Defenses will have to respect him, and that will allow wipeouts Greg Bolling and Brandon Stewart to get open more.  Stewart can burn a secondary for a quick six, and he should score a lot more than once (his ’08 stat).

The offensive line welcomes back three starters plus a fourth player with starting experience.  They should provide a formidable pass protection for Benjamin.

Eight starters return to a defense that yielded just 330 yards per game in 2008.  All three defensive line starters from 2008 return, and the three Cowboys aren’t that far behind the lines of TCU and BYU.

Half of the four-man linebacking crew returns this year, led by inside ‘backer Gabe Knapton. 

The secondary returns three starters, and all three are capable of landing on the all-MWC team.  Chris Prosinski and the brothers Gipson (Tashaun and Marcell) teamed to knock down 29 passes last year.

Wyoming opens the season at home with preseason #9-ranked in the BCS Weber State.  The Cowboys should begin the Coach Christensen era on a winning note before facing Texas at home the following week.  A visit down US 287  to Boulder to take on Colorado should be the tell-tale sign of how improved this team will be.  If they can be competitive and pull off the upset in this backyard brawl, the Cowboys could flirt with a winning record and be the big surprise of the West this year.  We think the chances are slim, and CU will win that game handily, so Wyoming will take their lumps this year and compete with New Mexico, Colorado State, and San Diego State for sixth in the league.

Next up: A look at the first of the BCS conferences, The Big East.  It should be an interesting race and a possible death watch for a coach.

August 28, 2009

2009 Western Athletic Conference Preview

2009 Western Athletic Conference Preview

A PiRate Look

In the fourth in our series of conference previews, we take a look at the Western Athletic Conference, where Boise State has dominated this loop like no other team has dominated their conference in the 21st Century.  The Broncos have never lost a home game in the WAC, and they have won six of seven conference titles.  It took a 12-0 Hawaii team in 2007 to edge them in Honolulu to prevent them from a total skunking of the league.  The 2009 WAC preview was the first conference where the staff at the PiRate Ratings had to discuss at length before issuing predictions.  The raw preseason ratings gave Utah State the third best beginning rating, but none of us believed the Aggies will finish there, even though we all agree they are very much improved this year.

Here are the preseason PiRate ratings for the league.  The ratings have been rounded to the nearest whole number even though we calculate them to two decimal places.  Thus, when you see multiple teams with the same rating, they are not actually exactly even.  To understand what the rating means, it is set so that 100 is average.  Thus, a rating of 90 means the team is 10 points weaker than the average team in the FBS.  The average of all 120 FBS teams should round to 100 if the math has been successfully calculated.

For those who have not followed the PiRate Ratings before and wonder about the home field advantage, we do not assign set in stone advantages.  These are assigned on a game-by-game basis.  For instance, if New Mexico State was to get really lucky and host Texas or Oklahoma, it would be expected that the Longhorn or Sooner fans would find a way to get to Las Cruces and make it a home game for the visiting team.  However, if that same Aggie team hosted Army a week after Army played at Air Force, then the Aggies could enjoy as much as five points in home field advantage.  The PiRates think it’s ridiculous to issue a blank home field advantage for all teams or even assign a range of set home field advantages.

   

Western Athletic Conference Preseason Ratings

     

 

Prediction *

 
    Team

PiRate

WAC

Overall

 
    Boise State

109

7-1

10-2

 
    Nevada

98

7-1

9-3

 
    Utah State

96

4-4

5-7

 
    Fresno State

95

6-2

7-5

 
    Louisiana Tech

94

5-3

7-5

 
    San Jose State

92

4-4

5-7

 
    Hawaii

86

1-7

3-10

 
    New Mexico State

78

1-7

2-10

 
    Idaho

75

1-7

1-11

 
     

 

 

 

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

 

Boise State: Can the Broncos run the table in the regular season yet again?  This year, we think that won’t happen for two reasons.  They have non-conference games against Oregon and Tulsa, and we think they will lose one of them.  Also, we believe Fresno State has an excellent shot to pull off the upset in conference play.  Now, we’re still picking BSU to win the conference, but we think it will be with one conference loss.

Quarterback Kellen Moore is already the second best passer in the WAC as a sophomore, and he should top 3,000 yards passing with 25-30 touchdown passes this year.  His percentage (69.4% in ’08) could drop a little because his receiving corps has less experience this season.  The running game could regress without former star Ian Johnson and with a question mark in the offensive line.

Defensively, there is a great deal of rebuilding to do in the front seven, where only two starters return.  The secondary is the strength of the team with safeties Jeron Johnson and George Iloka and cornerbacks Brandyn Thompson and Kyle Wilson leaps and bounds more talented than the next best WAC secondary.

Nevada: The Wolf Pack could play at Boise State on Black Friday with a chance to steal the conference championship.  If the game was played at Mackay Stadium, it might be a 50-50 proposition.  Nevada should have its best team this decade with most of the key elements returning to the defending top offense in the league and one of the best in the nation (509 total yards per game in ’08).

It all starts under center where quarterback Colin Kaepernick is the king of the WAC.  Last year, he rushed for 1,130 yards and passes for 2,849 yards, accounting for 39 touchdowns!  Factor out quarterback sacks, and he averaged over eight yards per rush.  He may rush less and pass more this year because Nevada returns the WAC’s top running back, a sure-handed wide receiver, and a tight end with great hands.  Add to it a strong recruiting class where one or two freshmen receivers could supply great depth.

That top running back is Vai Taua, who rushed for 1,521 yards with 15 touchdowns last year.  Taua reminds us some of Green Bay Packer Ryan Grant.  Behind Taua is a stable of able backs, so the Wolfpack should rush for 275-300 yards per game and could easily top six yards per rush again this season.

There are some new receivers this year, but they will be greatly aided by the fact that defense must try to stop or slow down the run first.  Look for Kaepernick to pass for around 250 yards per game.

The offensive line returns two excellent tackles.  Mike Gallett and Alonzo Durham both earned 2nd team All-WAC honors last year and both could make it to the first team this year.

Defensively, Nevada has liabilities, but they should be able to hold most opponents under 35 points.  With a team capable of easily topping 40 points per game, giving up 30 could be enough to challenge for the league crown.  The strength lies in the terminals as ends Kevin Basped and Dontay Moch combined for 36 tackles behind the line of scrimmage (21 ½ sacks).

The schedule may keep Nevada from a top 25 finish.  The Wolf Pack play at Notre Dame to open the season, and this game could be interesting for most of the day.  A road game at Colorado State could be the pivotal game.  Nevada can still have a decent year if they start 0-2, but they won’t challenge for the conference title after that.  A home game with a rebuilding Missouri team gives them a good shot at an upset, and the following game against UNLV should be exciting.  Unfortunately, the game with Boise State is on the field of blue, and we don’t believe Nevada is up to the task.  It looks like a second place finish and nine regular season wins.

Utah State: We double and triple-checked our statistical formula to make sure this rating was correct; it was.  The PiRate formula believes USU will be one of the five most improved teams in FBS football.  Personally, we believe they will be a better team, but not the third best in the WAC.

Gary Andersen takes over as head coach after serving as the defensive coordinator at Utah for five years.  The Aggies will shift to a no-huddle spread offense from the shotgun, and they have the talent on offense to make it go. 

Quarterback Diondre Borel isn’t as talented as the top passers in this league, but he should be able to approach 2,500 yards and 15-20 touchdowns.  A poor man’s Colin Kaepernick, Borel could approach 800 yards rushing as well.

Borel will have a boatload of average receivers at hand.  While none of them will be all-conference performers, the depth will allow Andersen to shuttle them in and keep them fresh.  Borel will need three of the receivers to step up because he has very little help in the backfield.

The offensive line will be stronger this season, and center Brennan McFadden will receive first place votes for all-WAC.  Look for the Aggies to rush for about 125 yards per game and pass for about 225.  It should give them a great shot at averaging more than 25 points per game for the first time in eight years.

The defense was really weak in 2008, and they face an added obstacle trying to improve this year.  USU games averaged 136 plays per game last year, and with the new offense, they will probably average close to 150 plays this year.  That should lead to about seven more defensive plays, so the Aggies will yield 30-35 points and 400 total yards per game again this year.

What will keep State from posting a winning record is their killer schedule.  Out of conference, they travel to Utah, Texas A&M, and BYU.  Only a home game with Southern Utah will give them a win prior to conference play.  What hurts more is that the weakest conference opponents host the Aggies, while the strongest teams come to Logan.  USU will not upset Boise State or Nevada at home, but Idaho, Hawaii, and New Mexico State cannot be counted as automatic wins.  It adds up to another losing season, but the Aggies could pull off an upset along the way.

Fresno State: The Bulldogs are almost always a tough team to beat, but they always lose to somebody they should have beaten.  That’s why FSU has always been the bridesmaid and never the bride in the WAC.  This year, Coach Pat Hill has enough talent on hand to play head-to-head at home with Boise State, but they could also lose to teams like San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, and even Utah State.

What’s keeping the Bulldogs from seriously challenging Boise State is an experienced quarterback.  Hill has stated that three different players will see playing time early in the season.  Whoever ends up as the regular will have one of the league’s top receivers as well as three other really good receivers at the other end of those passes.  Look for Seyi Ajirotutu to appear on the nation’s receiving leaders.  He could top 1,000 yards in receptions.

Three running backs who each topped 600 yards rushing return this year.  Anthony Harding, Lonyae Miller, and Ryan Matthews combined for 2,250 rushing yards and 19 scores, and they should top that mark this year.

The offensive line needs two new tackles, and with a new quarterback, that could mean a few extra sacks and interceptions. 

The Bulldog defense surrendered 31 points and 411 yards per game in 2008, and those figures are going to drop this season.  We see them coming in at 26 points and 380 yards.  The top four tacklers return from last year, as well as the top two pass defenders.  Look for middle linebacker Ben Jacobs to play for pay in two years.  He made 113 tackles and broke up five passes in 2008.  He’ll be an excellent Tampa 2 defender.

The schedule is manageable, and if the ball bounces the right way, Fresno could pull off a couple of road upsets against teams from BCS conferences.  We don’t see them winning at Illinois, but Cincinnati and Wisconsin are not impossible this year.  UC Davis provides an easy opening win, and all three quarterbacks could get some positive game experience.  The Boise State game is at Bulldog Stadium on Friday night, September 18.

Louisiana Tech: Long-time Georgia football coach Vince Dooley won more than 200 games in a quarter century in Athens.  Most of those teams moved the football by the rush.  Now, his son Derek is following in his footsteps.  Louisiana Tech may line up in the one back offense like most teams these days, but they still deliver the goods by running the ball more than 60% of the time.  Running back Daniel Porter rushed for 1,164 yards and nine touchdowns last year, and he’ll be running behind an offensive line that returns intact from last year.  He could top 1,500 yards this year.

The Bulldogs will not challenge for the WAC title this year unless the passing game improves by 50% or more.  Returning quarterback Ross Jenkins completed just 52.9% of his passes last year for only 1,155 yards and seven scores.  He needs to increase that number to 1,700 yards or more or else the offense will bog down against the WAC teams with good run defenses.  Phillip Livas is the best receiver on the team, but he will need some support.

Defensively, the Bulldogs will be tough again up front.  After allowing just 104 rushing yards per game in 2008, there’s a good chance that number will drop to double digits this season.  All four starting defensive linemen return as does three of the second team quartet.  The problem for LT is that they couldn’t stop an average passing attack last year, and unless some new secondary members become stars, the Bulldogs could give up 275 passing yards per game again this year.

The schedule begins with road games against Auburn and Navy.  The Bulldogs could start 0-2 and just as easily could start 2-0.  If they upset the Tigers and handle the Midshipmen, they should be 4-0 when they play Nevada in Reno on Friday night, October 9.  Boise State is a home game also played on a Friday night.  The only certain loss on the schedule this year is a game at LSU on November 14.  If the Bulldogs come up with any semblance of a passing game and pass defense, they could contend for the conference title.  Of course, conference titles are rather common in the Dooley family, with papa Vince and Uncle Bill owning a bundle of them.

San Jose State: Until the Spartans learn how to move the ball and score points, they will remain in the middle of the pack in the WAC.  SJSU averaged a paltry 283 total yards per game last year and less than 20 points per game.  The defense stayed on the field too long, and it collapsed late in the season.

The Spartans could only gain 87 rushing yards per game in 2008, and to make matters worse, they lost their only decent rusher.  That number should move into triple digits this year, even with a raw set of backs toting the pigskin.  All five starting offensive linemen from last year return.

Quarterback Kyle Reed could be one of the most improved quarterbacks in the league this year.  If a couple of competent receivers can be found, and if tight end Terrance Williams can continue to improve, we project that Reed could pass for more than 200 yards per game with a better TD/INT ratio this year (9/6 in ’08).  If the receivers don’t come through, then SJSU will continue to falter with an anemic offense.

The Spartan defense returns a top-flight front seven, but the back four could be suspect.  End Carl Ihenacho will compete for 1st team All-WAC honors this year after recording 18 ½ tackles behind the line with seven sacks last year.  Brother Duke Ihenacho anchors the second line of defense.  He recorded 5 ½ tackles behind the line, intercepted five passes, and broke up six others.

The secondary surrendered just 170 passing yards last year, but with three new starters, that number could inflate by 35-50 yards per game.

The schedule is the big bugaboo for the Spartans.  An opening game at Southern Cal, followed by a home game with Utah and a game up the road at Stanford could leave them at 0-3.  Fresno State, Boise State, and Louisiana Tech are also road games, so San Jose State would have to beat everybody else on their schedule to repeat the 6-6 record of last year.

Hawaii: June Jones is now two seasons removed from Hawaii, and the downslide in Honolulu will continue.  The Warriors no longer have the devastating passing game that can outscore opponents regardless of how porous the defense might be.  Now, the defense will be even weaker, while the offense is run of the mill.  It all adds up to a major drop in the standings.

The Warriors return just a pair of starters from a defense that yielded 29 points and 361 total yards per game.  Expect those numbers to climb to 35 points and 425 yards allowed.  The secondary will be torn to shreds by Moore, Kaepernick, Borel, and a few others.  Nary a player on the roster has ever started a game in the defensive backfield.

The front seven is only marginally more experienced as end John Fonoti and linebacker Brashton Satele return, but they were not major contributors last season.

The offense is pedestrian at best.  Without Jones and the great passing of Colt Brennan, Hawaii’s numbers fell from 43 to 25 points and 512 to 346 total yards per game.  Quarterback Greg Alexander returns after sharing starting duties last year.  Alexander has experience and depth in his receiving unit, so the Hawaii passing numbers should jump from about 250 to near 300 yards per game this year.

The running game needs improvement, but it’s doubtful those numbers will increase this year.  We figure Hawaii will be forced to pass more due to having to attempt to come back from deficits, and the offensive line may not be up to the task to open enough running lanes.

Another major problem this year are the special teams.  UH couldn’t keep a kicker on campus and didn’t know who would start until Scott Enos arrived late from a junior college.  A true freshman will be the punter.

The schedule is always tough when every road game travels from two to five time zones.  The road games this year find Hawaii travelling to Washington State, UNLV, Louisiana Tech, Idaho, Nevada, and San Jose State.  We believe they will go 0-6 in these games.  Navy, Wisconsin, and Central Arkansas visit Honolulu, as well as conference foes Fresno State, Boise State, Utah State, and New Mexico State.  It looks like the Warriors could be headed to double digit losses this year.

NOTE: Satele out for the season with a shoulder injury

New Mexico State: The Hal Mumme era is over in Las Cruces, and the Aggies could do no better than 4-8 during his tenure.  Enter DeWayne Walker, the former defensive coordinator at UCLA.  Walker’s Bruin defense held Southern Cal to nine points in a 2006 upset, and he coached UCLA in the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl after Karl Dorrell left.

Walker made some major changes when he assumed control.  Gone is the spread passing formation replaced by a more balanced attack.  With NMSU career passing leader Chase Holbrook gone, the job will be inherited by junior college transfer Jeff Fleming.  Expect the Aggie passing attack to shrink from over 300 passing yards per game to just over 200 yards per game.  Running backs Marquell Colston, Tommy Glenn, and Ronald Opetaia will get more carries this year after combining for 683 yards last year.  They will be running behind a line with about the same experience as last year’s line, but the extra rushing attempts (and the reduction in sacks from 44 by almost half) should add up to about 100 rushing yards per game compared to an NCAA 2nd worst 55.

The defense will begin to make strides toward respectability this year.  After surrendering 34 points and 380 yards per game last year, even with massive losses on the stop side.  A fine duo at linebacker returns in Jason Scott and Nick Paden.  The front four has no returning starters, so the pass rush and defense against the run should suffer some early until Walker can “coach ‘em up.”

The schedule gives NMSU a chance to get off to a fast start, and the Aggies could gain some confidence early.  They open at home against Idaho, and that game should be a toss-up.  Next, they host Prairie View.  That will be the last game where they will be favored to win.  Road trips to Ohio State, Boise State, and Louisiana Tech should be unpleasant.

Idaho: Coach Robb Akey’s Vandals doubled their win total last year from the year before, but unfortunately that meant a 2-10 record after a 1-11 record in 2007.  Idaho has not finished over .500 since 1999, and that streak will not end this year.

Quarterback Nathan Enderle returns this year after passing for more than 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns last year.  He also tossed 17 interceptions, but he often had to run for his life due to poor pass blocking.  The pass blocking may actually be weaker this year, so expect another year of turnovers.

The running backs may take some of the heat off the passing game.  Donte Jackson and Princeton McCarty combined for 1,176 yards, and Jackson has the potential to be a 1,000 yard rusher.

The passing game could suffer due to the loss of top receiver Eddie Williams, who had more than double the receptions of anybody else on the squad.

The defense was horrible last year, giving up 43 points and 472 yards per game!  Don’t expect much improvement this year, because three of the five decent defenders from last year have graduated.  The defensive line has no pass rushing threats, and the linebacking unit took a major hit.  The secondary returns three starters, but none of them would start at most of the other WAC schools.

The schedule is a killer for this team, and if the Vandals fail to win at New Mexico State in the season opener, it’s going to be a hard road to find a win on the schedule.  A home tilt against Hawaii could be the only other winnable game this year.

Next up: A look at Conference USA. Can this conference finally supply an at-large participant in a BCS Bowl?

December 20, 2008

PiRate Ratings College Picks For 2008-2009 Bowl Season

PiRate Ratings For 2008-2009 Bowls

 

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you obviously know that I no longer have much use for the college bowls, and I don’t watch them any more.  They have been reduced to little more than the equivalent of the NIT in college basketball, and even the BCS National Championship Game is bogus in my eyes.  There is no way a computer should decide that Oklahoma and Florida are any better than Texas, Southern Cal, Penn State, or even Utah, Alabama, or Boise State.  If the NCAA wants to keep this bogus system intact, they will do it without my support.  Not only do I not watch and support the bowls, I do not patronize the bowl sponsors.  If enough people let these sponsors know that their endorsements of these games do not help their bottom line and may actually harm it, they will stop infusing the money needed to make these games happen.  Without the money, there will be no bowl games.  That is the only method that will bring about a playoff system.

 

Here is a list of the bowl games, with the times and networks.  Following this are the PiRate and Mean Ratings for these games.  I will not preview any of the games. 

 

Day Date Time EST Bowl City Network Team Team
Sat D. 20 11:00 Eagle Bank Washington DC ESPN Wake Forest Navy
Sat D. 20 2:30 New Mexico Albuquerque ESPN Colorado State Fresno State
Sat D. 20 4:30 St. Petersburg St. Petersburg ESPN 2 South Florida Memphis
Sat D. 20 8:00 Las Vegas Las Vegas ESPN B Y U Arizona
Sun D. 21 8:15 New Orleans New Orleans ESPN Troy Southern Miss.
Tue D. 23 8:00 Poinsettia San Diego ESPN Boise State T C U
Wed D. 24 8:00 Hawaii Honolulu ESPN Hawaii Notre Dame
Fri D. 26 8:00 Motor City Detroit ESPN Central Michigan Florida Atlantic
Sat D. 27 1:00 Meineke Car Care Charlotte ESPN North Carolina West Virginia
Sat D. 27 4:30 Champs Sports Orlando ESPN Florida State Wisconsin
Sat D. 27 8:00 Emerald San Francisco ESPN California Miami (Fl.)
Sun D. 28 8:15 Independence Shreveport ESPN Louisiana Tech Northern Illinois
Mon D. 29 3:00 PapaJohns Birmingham ESPN N. C. State Rutgers
Mon D. 29 8:00 Alamo San Antonio ESPN Northwestern Missouri
Tue D. 30 4:30 Humanitarian Boise ESPN Nevada Maryland
Tue D. 30 8:00 Texas Houston NFL Western Michigan Rice
Tue D. 30 8:00 Holiday San Diego ESPN Oregon  Oklahoma State
Wed D. 31 12:00 Armed Forces Ft. Worth ESPN Air Force Houston
Wed D. 31 2:00 Sun El Paso CBS Oregon State Pittsburgh
Wed D. 31 3:30 Music City Nashville ESPN Vanderbilt Boston College
Wed D. 31 5:30 Insight Tempe NFL Kansas Minnesota
Wed D. 31 7:30 Chick-fil-a Atlanta ESPN Georgia Tech L S U
Thu J. 1 11:00 Outback Tampa ESPN Iowa South Carolina
Thu J. 1 1:00 Capital One Orlando ABC Georgia  Michigan State
Thu J. 1 1:00 Gator Jacksonville CBS Clemson Nebraska
Thu J. 1 4:30 Rose Pasadena ABC Southern Cal Penn State
Thu J. 1 8:30 Orange Miami Fox Virginia Tech Cincinnati
Fri J. 2 2:00 Cotton Dallas Fox Texas Tech Ole Miss
Fri J. 2 5:00 Liberty Memphis ESPN East Carolina Kentucky
Fri J. 2 8:00 Sugar New Orleans Fox Alabama Utah
Sat J. 3 12:00 International Toronto ESPN 2 Connecticut Buffalo
Mon J. 5 8:00 Fiesta Glendale Fox Texas Ohio State
Tue J. 6 8:00 G M A C Mobile ESPN Tulsa Ball State
Thu J. 8 8:00 BCS Championship Miami Fox Florida  Oklahoma

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings

2008-09 Bowl Schedule

       

 

Pred.

Date Bowl Favorite Underdog

Spread

Score

D. 20 Eagle Bank Navy Wake Forest

2

14-12

D. 20 New Mexico Colorado State Fresno State

5

31-26

D. 20 St. Petersburg South Florida Memphis

17

38-21

D. 20 Las Vegas Arizona B Y U

8

35-27

D. 21 New Orleans Troy Southern Miss.

8

35-27

D. 23 Poinsettia T C U Boise State

0

21-21 to OT

D. 24 Hawaii Notre Dame Hawaii

1

20-19

D. 26 Motor City C. Michigan Florida Atlantic

7

38-31

D. 27 Meineke Car Care West Virginia North Carolina

5

24-19

D. 27 Champs Sports Florida State Wisconsin

7

34-27

D. 27 Emerald California Miami (Fl)

17

31-14

D. 28 Independence N. Illinois Louisiana Tech

2

20-18

D. 29 PapaJohns Rutgers N. Carolina St.

11

31-20

D. 29 Alamo Missouri Northwestern

8

31-23

D. 30 Humanitarian Nevada Maryland

1

31-30

D. 30 Texas Rice Western Michigan

0

31-31 to OT

D. 30 Holiday Oregon Oklahoma St.

6

34-28

D. 31 Armed Forces Houston Air Force

2

30-28

D. 31 Sun Oregon State Pittsburgh

1

28-27

D. 31 Music City Boston College Vanderbilt

1

17-16

D. 31 Insight Kansas Minnesota

17

31-14

D. 31 Chick-fil-a Georgia Tech L S U

6

30-24

J. 1 Outback Iowa South Carolina

9

26-17

J. 1 Capital One Georgia  Michigan State

11

31-20

J. 1 Gator Clemson Nebraska

5

28-23

J. 1 Rose Southern Cal Penn State

9

23-14

J. 1 Orange Cincinnati Virginia Tech

1

21-20

J. 2 Cotton Ole Miss Texas Tech

1

38-37

J. 2 Liberty Kentucky East Carolina

3

24-21

J. 2 Sugar Alabama Utah

7

20-13

J. 3 International Connecticut Buffalo

1

28-27

J. 5 Fiesta Texas Ohio State

1

35-34

J. 6 G M A C Ball State Tulsa

6

41-35

J. 8 BCS Championship Florida  Oklahoma 

2

44-42

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings

 

 

 

 

 

2008-09 Bowl Schedule

        Pred.
Date Bowl Favorite Underdog Score
D. 20 Eagle Bank Wake Forest Navy 21-20
D. 20 New Mexico Colorado State Fresno State 27-27 to ot
D. 20 St. Petersburg South Florida Memphis 21-10
D. 20 Las Vegas Arizona B Y U 28-27
D. 21 New Orleans Troy Southern Miss. 31-28
D. 23 Poinsettia T C U Boise State 21-21 to ot
D. 24 Hawaii Notre Dame Hawaii 21-19
D. 26 Motor City C. Michigan Florida Atlantic 35-28
D. 27 Meineke Car Care West Virginia North Carolina 24-23
D. 27 Champs Sports Florida State Wisconsin 30-24
D. 27 Emerald California Miami (Fl) 27-20
D. 28 Independence N. Illinois Louisiana Tech 30-28
D. 29 PapaJohns Rutgers N. Carolina St. 35-30
D. 29 Alamo Missouri Northwestern 38-31
D. 30 Humanitarian Nevada Maryland 30-28
D. 30 Texas Rice W. Michigan 38-38 to ot
D. 30 Holiday Oklahoma St. Oregon 35-34
D. 31 Armed Forces Air Force Houston 33-31
D. 31 Sun Oregon State Pittsburgh 28-26
D. 31 Music City Boston College Vanderbilt 13-7
D. 31 Insight Kansas Minnesota 38-31
D. 31 Chick-fil-a Georgia Tech L S U 41-34
J. 1 Outback Iowa South Carolina 26-21
J. 1 Capital One Georgia  Michigan State 27-24
J. 1 Gator Clemson Nebraska 31-30
J. 1 Rose Southern Cal Penn State 17-12
J. 1 Orange Cincinnati Virginia Tech 16-16 to ot
J. 2 Cotton Texas Tech Ole Miss 41-33
J. 2 Liberty East Carolina Kentucky 27-24
J. 2 Sugar Alabama Utah 21-20
J. 3 International Connecticut Buffalo 20-17
J. 5 Fiesta Texas Ohio State 34-27
J. 6 G M A C Ball State Tulsa 35-30
J. 8 Nat’l Championship Florida  Oklahoma  38-38 to ot

 

For those who desire a playoff and want to see the results of a simulated version of my proposed 2008-2009 season, tune in Sunday, December 21, for the quarterfinal round.  The first round of my 12-team simulation was played last week, with Ohio State defeating Texas Tech, Southern Cal beating Virginia Tech, Boise State upsetting Penn State, and Utah edging Cincinnati.

 

The quarterfinal matches pit Ohio State against Florida, Southern Cal against Alabama, Boise State against Oklahoma, and Utah against Texas.  The results and stats of this round will be posted Sunday, December 21, around Noon Eastern Time.

December 9, 2008

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

NCAA Regular Season Summation

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

NCAA Top 25 For 2-Dec-2008

Rank

Team

PiRate

Won

Lost

1

Florida 

140

12

1

2

Oklahoma

139

12

1

3

Southern Cal

131

11

1

4

Texas

128

11

1

5

Ohio St.

127

10

2

6

Alabama

125

12

1

7

Penn St.

125

11

1

8

Ole Miss

121

8

4

9

Texas Tech

120

11

1

10

Boise State

120

12

0

11

T C U

120

10

2

12

Oregon

120

9

3

13

Utah

118

12

0

14

Iowa

117

8

4

15

Rutgers

117

7

5

16

California

116

8

4

17

Georgia 

115

9

3

18

Oklahoma St.

114

9

3

19

Arizona

114

7

5

20

Clemson

113

7

5

21

Oregon State

113

8

4

22

Missouri

113

9

4

23

Florida State

112

8

4

24

Pittsburgh

112

9

3

25

Cincinnati

110

11

2

     

 

 

Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number

even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Clemson

4-4

7-5

113

68

45

Florida State

5-3

8-4

112

70

42

North Carolina State

4-4

6-6

106

70

36

Boston College

5-3*

9-4

104

63

41

Wake Forest

4-4

7-5

104

56

48

Maryland

4-4

7-5

101

62

39

 

 

 

 

   
Coastal Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Virginia Tech

5-3*+

9-4

109

67

42

Georgia Tech

5-3

9-3

109

68

41

North Carolina

4-4

8-4

105

66

39

Miami

4-4

7-5

102

60

42

Virginia 

3-5

5-7

100

58

42

Duke

1-7

4-8

93

60

33

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Rutgers

5-2

7-5

117

70

47

Pittsburgh

5-2

9-3

112

66

46

Cincinnati

6-1

11-2

110

64

46

West Virginia

5-2

8-4

110

65

45

South Florida

2-5

7-5

106

68

38

Connecticut

3-4

7-5

102

64

38

Louisville

1-6

5-7

91

57

34

Syracuse

1-6

3-9

89

56

33

 

Big Ten

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ohio State

7-1

10-2

127

71

56

Penn State

7-1

11-1

125

76

49

Iowa

5-3

8-4

117

72

45

Wisconsin

3-5

7-5

107

71

36

Northwestern

5-3

9-3

105

64

41

Michigan State

6-2

9-3

104

64

40

Purdue

2-6

4-8

103

67

36

Illinois

3-5

5-7

102

65

37

Michigan

2-6

3-9

96

57

39

Minnesota

3-5

7-5

92

58

34

Indiana

1-7

3-9

79

54

25

 

Big 12

North Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Missouri

5-3*

9-4

113

74

39

Kansas

4-4

7-5

109

67

42

Nebraska

5-3

8-4

108

70

38

Colorado

2-6

5-7

95

57

38

Kansas State

2-6

5-7

92

67

25

Iowa State

0-8

2-10

86

57

29

South Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oklahoma

7-1+

12-1

139

97

42

Texas

7-1

11-1

128

82

46

Texas Tech

7-1

11-1

120

85

35

Oklahoma State

5-3

9-3

114

71

43

Baylor

2-6

4-8

106

68

38

Texas A&M

2-6

4-8

90

56

34

 

Conference USA

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

East Carolina

6-2+

9-4

99

62

37

Southern Miss.

4-4

6-6

97

64

33

Memphis

4-4

6-6

92

61

31

Marshall

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Central Florida

3-5

4-8

88

46

42

U A B

3-5

4-8

84

51

33

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Tulsa

7-1*

10-3

103

72

31

Rice

7-1

9-3

97

66

31

Houston

6-2

7-5

97

67

30

U T E P

4-4

5-7

87

59

28

S M U

0-8

1-11

78

57

21

Tulane

1-7

2-10

69

50

19

 

Independents

           
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Navy  

8-4

104

61

43

Notre Dame  

6-6

98

58

40

Army  

3-9

82

46

36

 

Mid American Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Bowling Green

4-4

6-6

103

68

35

Buffalo

5-3+

8-5

101

68

33

Temple

4-4

5-7

96

57

39

Ohio U

3-5

4-8

91

51

40

Kent State

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Akron

3-5

5-7

89

60

29

Miami (O)

1-7

2-10

81

54

27

           
West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ball State

8-0

12-1

109

73

36

Western Michigan

6-2

9-3

100

63

37

Northern Illinois

5-3

6-6

98

59

39

Central Michigan

6-2

8-4

97

68

29

Eastern Michigan

2-6

3-9

88

59

29

Toledo

2-6

3-9

85

55

30

 

Mountain West Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

T C U

7-1

10-2

120

68

52

Utah

8-0

12-0

118

70

48

Brigham Young

6-2

10-2

106

67

39

Air Force

5-3

8-4

95

58

37

Colorado State

4-4

6-6

93

60

33

New Mexico

2-6

4-8

93

56

37

UNLV

2-6

5-7

85

56

29

Wyoming

1-7

4-8

85

51

34

San Diego State

1-7

2-10

76

49

27

 

Pac-10 Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Cal

7-1

11-1

131

72

59

Oregon

7-2

9-3

120

77

43

California

6-3

8-4

116

73

43

Arizona

5-4

7-5

114

75

39

Oregon State

7-2

8-4

113

74

39

Stanford

4-5

5-7

106

64

42

Arizona State

4-5

5-7

103

63

40

U C L A

3-6

4-8

100

57

43

Washington

0-9

0-12

81

54

27

Washington State

1-8

2-11

74

49

25

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida 

7-1+

12-1

140

86

54

Georgia 

6-2

9-3

115

73

42

South Carolina

4-4

7-5

108

63

45

Tennessee

3-5

5-7

107

62

45

Kentucky

2-6

6-6

102

62

40

Vanderbilt

4-4

6-6

100

55

45

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Alabama

8-0

12-1

125

69

56

Ole Miss

5-3

8-4

121

74

47

L S U

3-5

7-5

106

68

38

Arkansas

2-6

5-7

102

68

34

Auburn

2-6

5-7

102

56

46

Mississippi State

2-6

4-8

97

55

42

 

Sunbelt Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Troy

6-1

8-4

105

69

36

Florida Atlantic

4-3

6-6

90

61

29

Middle Tennessee

3-4

5-7

90

58

32

Arkansas State

4-3

6-6

89

59

30

Florida International

3-4

5-7

89

58

31

Louisiana-Lafayette

5-2

6-6

88

66

22

Louisiana-Monroe

3-4

4-8

87

56

31

* Western Kentucky

0-0

2-10

79

49

30

North Texas

0-7

1-11

70

55

15

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

 

Western Athletic Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Boise State

8-0

12-0

120

74

46

Nevada

5-3

7-5

102

73

29

Louisiana Tech

5-3

7-5

94

56

38

Utah State

3-5

3-9

93

57

36

Hawaii

5-3

7-6

93

55

38

Fresno State

4-4

7-5

88

61

27

San Jose State

4-4

6-6

85

53

32

New Mexico State

1-7

3-9

74

48

26

Idaho

1-7

2-10

73

57

16

 

Here is the bowl schedule

 

Date

Time EST

Bowl

City

Team

Team

D. 20

11:00

Eagle Bank

Washington DC

Wake Forest

Navy

D. 20

2:30

New Mexico

Albuquerque

Colorado State

Fresno State

D. 20

4:30

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg

South Florida

Memphis

D. 20

8:00

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

B Y U

Arizona

D. 21

8:15

New Orleans

New Orleans

Troy

Southern Miss.

D. 23

8:00

Poinsettia

San Diego

Boise State

T C U

D. 24

8:00

Hawaii

Honolulu

Hawaii

Notre Dame

D. 26

8:00

Motor City

Detroit

Central Michigan

Florida Atlantic

D. 27

1:00

Meineke Car Care

Charlotte

North Carolina

West Virginia

D. 27

4:30

Champs Sports

Orlando

Florida State

Wisconsin

D. 27

8:00

Emerald

San Francisco

California

Miami (Fl.)

D. 28

8:15

Independence

Shrevport

Louisiana Tech

Northern Illinois

D. 29

3:00

PapaJohns

Birmingham

N. C. State

Rutgers

D. 29

8:00

Alamo

San Antonio

Northwestern

Missouri

D. 30

4:30

Humanitarian

Boise

Nevada

Maryland

D. 30

8:00

Texas

Houston

Western Michigan

Rice

D. 30

8:00

Holiday

San Diego

Oregon 

Oklahoma State

D. 31

12:00

Armed Forces

Ft. Worth

Air Force

Houston

D. 31

2:00

Sun

El Paso

Oregon State

Pittsburgh

D. 31

3:30

Music City

Nashville

Vanderbilt

Boston College

D. 31

5:30

Insight

Tempe

Kansas

Minnesota

D. 31

7:30

Chick-fil-a

Atlanta

Georgia Tech

L S U

J. 1

11:00

Outback

Tampa

Iowa

South Carolina

J. 1

1:00

Capital One

Orlando

Georgia 

Michigan State

J. 1

1:00

Gator

Jacksonville

Clemson

Nebraska

J. 1

4:30

Rose

Pasadena

Southern Cal

Penn State

J. 1

8:30

Orange

Miami

Virginia Tech

Cincinnati

J. 2

2:00

Cotton

Dallas

Texas Tech

Ole Miss

J. 2

5:00

Liberty

Memphis

East Carolina

Kentucky

J. 2

8:00

Sugar

New Orleans

Alabama

Utah

J. 3

12:00

International

Toronto

Connecticut

Buffalo

J. 5

8:00

Fiesta

Glendale

Texas

Ohio State

J. 6

8:00

G M A C

Mobile

Tulsa

Ball State

J. 8

8:00

Nat’l Championship

Miami

Florida 

Oklahoma

December 1, 2008

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

NCAA Week 15: The Postseason Falls to BieCeS

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

NCAA Top 25 For 2-Dec-2008

Rank

Team

PiRate

Won

Lost

1

Florida 

141

11

1

2

Oklahoma

134

11

1

3

Southern Cal

132

10

1

4

Texas

128

11

1

5

Ohio St.

127

10

2

6

Penn St.

125

11

1

7

Alabama

124

12

0

8

Ole Miss

121

8

4

9

Texas Tech

120

11

1

10

Boise State

120

12

0

11

T C U

120

10

2

12

Oregon

120

9

3

13

Utah

118

12

0

14

Missouri

118

9

3

15

Iowa

117

8

4

16

Georgia 

115

9

3

17

Ball State

114

12

0

18

California

114

7

4

19

Oklahoma St.

114

9

3

20

Clemson

113

7

5

21

Oregon State

113

8

4

22

Florida State

112

8

4

23

Rutgers

112

6

5

24

Cincinnati

111

10

2

25

Arizona

111

6

5

     

 

 

Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number

even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Clemson

4-4

7-5

113

68

45

Florida State

5-3

8-4

112

70

42

Boston College

5-3*

9-3

107

65

42

North Carolina State

4-4

6-6

106

70

36

Wake Forest

4-4

7-5

104

56

48

Maryland

4-4

7-5

101

62

39

 

 

 

 

   
Coastal Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Georgia Tech

5-3

9-3

109

68

41

Virginia Tech

5-3*

8-4

106

65

41

North Carolina

4-4

8-4

105

66

39

Miami

4-4

7-5

102

60

42

Virginia 

3-5

5-7

100

58

42

Duke

1-7

4-8

93

60

33

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Rutgers

4-2

6-5

112

67

45

Cincinnati

6-1

10-2

111

65

46

West Virginia

4-2

7-4

111

66

45

Pittsburgh

4-2

8-3

109

65

44

Connecticut

3-3

7-4

105

65

40

South Florida

2-4

7-4

105

68

37

Louisville

1-5

5-6

96

59

37

Syracuse

1-6

3-9

89

56

33

 

Big Ten

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ohio State

7-1

10-2

127

71

56

Penn State

7-1

11-1

125

76

49

Iowa

5-3

8-4

117

72

45

Wisconsin

3-5

7-5

107

71

36

Northwestern

5-3

9-3

105

64

41

Michigan State

6-2

9-3

104

64

40

Purdue

2-6

4-8

103

67

36

Illinois

3-5

5-7

102

65

37

Michigan

2-6

3-9

96

57

39

Minnesota

3-5

7-5

92

58

34

Indiana

1-7

3-9

79

54

25

 

Big 12

North Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Missouri

5-3*

9-3

118

75

43

Kansas

4-4

7-5

109

67

42

Nebraska

5-3

8-4

108

70

38

Colorado

2-6

5-7

95

57

38

Kansas State

2-6

5-7

92

67

25

Iowa State

0-8

2-10

86

57

29

South Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oklahoma

7-1

11-1

134

93

41

Texas

7-1

11-1

128

82

46

Texas Tech

7-1

11-1

120

85

35

Oklahoma State

5-3

9-3

114

71

43

Baylor

2-6

4-8

106

68

38

Texas A&M

2-6

4-8

90

56

34

 

Conference USA

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

East Carolina

6-2

8-4

98

62

36

Southern Miss.

4-4

6-6

97

64

33

Memphis

4-4

6-6

92

61

31

Marshall

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Central Florida

3-5

4-8

88

46

42

U A B

3-5

4-8

84

51

33

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Tulsa

7-1*

10-2

104

73

31

Rice

7-1

9-3

97

66

31

Houston

6-2

7-5

97

67

30

U T E P

4-4

5-7

87

59

28

S M U

0-8

1-11

78

57

21

Tulane

1-7

2-10

69

50

19

 

Independents

           
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Navy  

7-4

100

60

40

Notre Dame  

6-6

98

58

40

Army  

3-8

86

49

37

 

Mid American Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Bowling Green

4-4

6-6

103

68

35

Buffalo

5-3

7-5

96

64

32

Temple

4-4

5-7

96

57

39

Ohio U

3-5

4-8

91

51

40

Kent State

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Akron

3-5

5-7

89

60

29

Miami (O)

1-7

2-10

81

54

27

           
West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ball State

8-0

12-0

114

75

39

Western Michigan

6-2

9-3

100

63

37

Northern Illinois

5-3

6-6

98

59

39

Central Michigan

6-2

8-4

97

68

29

Eastern Michigan

2-6

3-9

88

59

29

Toledo

2-6

3-9

85

55

30

 

Mountain West Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

T C U

7-1

10-2

120

68

52

Utah

8-0

12-0

118

70

48

Brigham Young

6-2

10-2

106

67

39

Air Force

5-3

8-4

95

58

37

Colorado State

4-4

6-6

93

60

33

New Mexico

2-6

4-8

93

56

37

UNLV

2-6

5-7

85

56

29

Wyoming

1-7

4-8

85

51

34

San Diego State

1-7

2-10

76

49

27

 

Pac-10 Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Cal

7-1

10-1

132

73

59

Oregon

7-2

9-3

120

77

43

California

5-3

7-4

114

72

42

Oregon State

7-2

8-4

113

74

39

Arizona

4-4

6-5

111

74

37

Arizona State

4-4

5-6

106

65

41

Stanford

4-5

5-7

106

64

42

U C L A

3-5

4-7

99

57

42

Washington

0-8

0-11

83

55

28

Washington State

1-8

2-11

74

49

25

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida 

7-1

11-1

141

87

54

Georgia 

6-2

9-3

115

73

42

South Carolina

4-4

7-5

108

63

45

Tennessee

3-5

5-7

107

62

45

Kentucky

2-6

6-6

102

62

40

Vanderbilt

4-4

6-6

100

55

45

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Alabama

8-0

12-0

124

69

55

Ole Miss

5-3

8-4

121

74

47

L S U

3-5

7-5

106

68

38

Arkansas

2-6

5-7

102

68

34

Auburn

2-6

5-7

102

56

46

Mississippi State

2-6

4-8

97

55

42

 

Sunbelt Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Troy

5-1

7-4

104

68

36

Middle Tennessee

3-3

5-6

92

58

34

Arkansas State

4-2

6-5

90

60

30

Florida Atlantic

4-3

6-6

90

61

29

Louisiana-Monroe

3-4

4-8

87

56

31

Louisiana-Lafayette

4-2

5-6

86

64

22

Florida International

3-4

4-7

86

57

29

* Western Kentucky

0-0

2-9

82

51

31

North Texas

0-7

1-11

70

55

15

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

 

Western Athletic Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Boise State

8-0

12-0

120

74

46

Nevada

5-3

7-5

102

73

29

Louisiana Tech

5-3

7-5

94

56

38

Utah State

3-5

3-9

93

57

36

Hawaii

5-3

7-5

91

54

37

Fresno State

4-4

7-5

88

61

27

San Jose State

4-4

6-6

85

53

32

New Mexico State

1-7

3-9

74

48

26

Idaho

1-7

2-10

73

57

16

 

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

   

 

 

Wednesday, December 3  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Middle Tennessee LA.-LAFAYETTE

3

34-31

   

 

 

Thursday, December 4  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

RUTGERS Louisville

19

31-12

   

 

 

Friday, December 5  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Ball State            (Detroit) Buffalo

18

42-24

   

 

 

Saturday, December 6      
Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Pittsburgh CONNECTICUT

1

24-23

TULSA East Carolina

9

40-31

Navy Army

14

21-7

Boston College Virginia Tech

1

21-20

CALIFORNIA Washington

34

44-10

Florida Alabama

17

31-14

Southern Cal U C L A

30

30-0

FLA. INT’L Western Ky.

7

28-21

TROY Arkansas State

17

38-21

ARIZONA Arizona State

8

35-27

WEST VIRGINIA South Florida

9

30-21

Oklahoma Missouri

16

49-33

Cincinnati HAWAII

16

26-10

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

Wednesday, December 3  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

LA.-LAFAYETTE Middle Tennessee

27-24

   

 

Thursday, December 4  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

RUTGERS Louisville

34-21

   

 

Friday, December 5  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

Ball State            (Detroit) Buffalo

37-24

   

 

Saturday, December 6  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

Pittsburgh CONNECTICUT

21-21 to OT

TULSA East Carolina

42-34

Navy             (Philadelphia) Army

35-24

Boston Coll.   (Jacksonville) Virginia Tech

20-17

CALIFORNIA Washington

42-10

Florida                 (Atlanta) Alabama

27-17

Southern Cal U C L A

34-7

FLA. INT’L Western Ky.

30-20

TROY Arkansas State

34-24

ARIZONA Arizona State

28-20

WEST VIRGINIA South Florida

24-19

Oklahoma    (Kansas City) Missouri

44-31

Cincinnati HAWAII

27-17

 

Bowl Outlook By Conference

 

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

 

ACC

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Emerald-Clemson 7-5 vs. California

9. Humanitarian-Maryland 7-5 vs. Nevada

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

 

Big East

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

5. International-Connecticut 8-4 vs. Buffalo

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

 

Big Ten

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

5. Alamo-Northwestern 9-3 vs. Missouri

6. Insight-Minnesota 7-5 vs. Kansas

7. Motor City-No qualifying team

 

Big 12

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

6. Alamo-Missouri 9-4 vs. Northwestern

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Minnesota

8. Independence-No Qualifying Team

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

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

 

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

 

1. Liberty-Tulsa 11-2 vs. Kentucky

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

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

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

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

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

 

Independent

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

M A C

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

 

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

 

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

2. International-Buffalo 8-5 vs. Connecticut

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

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

 

Mountain West

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

 

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

 

1. Sugar-Utah 12-0 vs. Alabama

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

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

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

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

 

Pac-10

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

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

 

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

 

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

2. Sugar-Alabama 12-1 vs. Utah

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

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

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

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

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

8. Liberty-Kentucky 6-6 vs. Tulsa

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

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

 

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

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

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

 

W A C

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

 

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

2. Humanitarian-Nevada 6-6 vs. Maryland

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

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

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

 

 

November 24, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of November 25-29, 2008

NCAA Week 14: Oh What A Mess!!!

 

The conclusion of the 2008 FBS regular season begins this week and finishes next week.  There are multiple problems with the postseason as of now, and I don’t believe these problems will all be resolved by Saturday, December 6.

 

The national championship will produce controversy no matter which two teams are picked for the game.  Eight or more teams could conceivable have realistic arguments in favor of their being one of the final two.  The system is set up for failure, especially this season.  Except for 2005, this inept method of picking teams has “gotten it wrong” just about every season since its inception.

 

The non-BCS bowl situation couldn’t be more messed up today.  Six bowl will more than likely need at-large entries as the conferences which with they have agreements will not provide enough bowl eligible teams.  The poor Independence bowl will have to find two at-large teams unless a couple of miracle upsets occur this week.

 

NCAA Top 25 For 25-Nov-2008
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost

1

Florida 

140

10

1

2

Oklahoma

133

10

1

3

Southern Cal

132

9

1

4

Texas

128

10

1

5

Ohio St.

127

10

2

6

Penn St.

125

11

1

7

Texas Tech

122

10

1

8

Missouri

121

9

2

9

Alabama

120

11

0

10

T C U

120

10

2

11

Georgia 

119

9

2

12

Utah

118

12

0

13

Oregon State

118

8

3

14

Ole Miss

117

7

4

15

Iowa

117

8

4

16

Boise State

116

11

0

17

Oklahoma St.

115

9

2

18

Oregon

115

8

3

19

California

114

7

4

20

Ball State

113

11

0

21

Florida State

113

8

3

22

Rutgers

112

6

5

23

West Virginia

112

7

3

24

Cincinnati

111

9

2

25

South Carolina

111

7

4

Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida State

5-3

8-3

113

70

43

Clemson

4-4

6-5

110

66

44

Boston College

4-3

8-3

108

65

43

N. Carolina State

3-4

5-6

106

70

36

Wake Forest

4-4

6-5

102

56

46

Maryland

4-3

7-4

100

61

39

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Virginia Tech

4-3

7-4

106

65

41

Georgia Tech

5-3

8-3

105

64

41

North Carolina

3-4

7-4

105

66

39

Miami

4-3

7-4

102

60

42

Virginia 

3-4

5-6

100

58

42

Duke

1-6

4-7

93

60

33

 

Big East Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Rutgers

4-2

6-5

112

67

45

West Virginia

4-1

7-3

112

67

45

Cincinnati

5-1

9-2

111

65

46

Pittsburgh

3-2

7-3

108

65

43

Connecticut

3-3

7-4

105

65

40

South Florida

2-4

7-4

105

68

37

Louisville

1-5

5-6

96

59

37

Syracuse

1-5

3-8

89

56

33

 

Big Ten
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ohio State

7-1

10-2

127

71

56

Penn State

7-1

11-1

125

76

49

Iowa

5-3

8-4

117

72

45

Wisconsin

3-5

7-5

107

71

36

Northwestern

5-3

9-3

105

64

41

Michigan State

6-2

9-3

104

64

40

Purdue

2-6

4-8

103

67

36

Illinois

3-5

5-7

102

65

37

Michigan

2-6

3-9

96

57

39

Minnesota

3-5

7-5

92

58

34

Indiana

1-7

3-9

79

54

25

 

Big 12
North Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Missouri

5-2

9-2

121

75

46

Nebraska

4-3

7-4

109

70

39

Kansas

3-4

6-5

106

66

40

Colorado

2-5

5-6

94

56

38

Kansas State

2-6

5-7

92

67

25

Iowa State

0-8

2-10

86

57

29

South Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oklahoma

6-1

10-1

133

90

43

Texas

6-1

10-1

128

82

46

Texas Tech

6-1

10-1

122

85

37

Oklahoma State

5-2

9-2

115

69

46

Baylor

2-5

4-7

104

66

38

Texas A&M

2-5

4-7

90

56

34

 

Conference USA
East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Miss.

3-4

5-6

97

64

33

East Carolina

5-2

7-4

94

59

35

Central Florida

3-4

4-7

92

50

42

Memphis

3-4

5-6

89

59

30

Marshall

3-4

4-7

87

56

31

U A B

2-5

3-8

80

51

29

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Tulsa

6-1

9-2

106

73

33

Houston

6-1

7-4

99

67

32

Rice

6-1

8-3

95

64

31

U T E P

4-3

5-6

91

61

30

S M U

0-7

1-10

78

57

21

Tulane

1-6

2-9

72

50

22

 

Independents
           
Team  

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Notre Dame  

6-5

98

58

40

Navy  

6-4

97

60

37

Army  

3-8

86

49

37

 

Mid American Conference
East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Buffalo

5-2

7-4

99

66

33

Bowling Green

3-4

5-6

98

66

32

Temple

3-4

4-7

94

57

37

Akron

3-4

5-6

91

62

29

Ohio U

2-5

3-8

89

49

40

Kent State

2-5

3-8

86

57

29

Miami (O)

1-6

2-9

83

55

28

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ball State

7-0

11-0

113

74

39

Western Michigan

6-1

9-2

101

64

37

Northern Illinois

5-3

6-5

101

62

39

Central Michigan

6-1

8-3

100

68

32

Toledo

2-5

3-8

90

58

32

Eastern Michigan

1-6

2-9

84

55

29

 

Mountain West Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

T C U

7-1

10-2

120

68

52

Utah

8-0

12-0

118

70

48

Brigham Young

6-2

10-2

106

67

39

Air Force

5-3

8-4

95

58

37

Colorado State

4-4

6-6

93

60

33

New Mexico

2-6

4-8

93

56

37

UNLV

2-6

5-7

85

56

29

Wyoming

1-7

4-8

85

51

34

San Diego State

1-7

2-10

76

49

27

 

Pac-10 Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Cal

7-1

9-1

132

73

59

Oregon State

7-1

8-3

118

75

43

Oregon

6-2

8-3

115

73

42

California

5-3

7-4

114

72

42

Arizona

4-4

6-5

111

74

37

Stanford

4-5

5-7

106

64

42

Arizona State

3-4

4-6

105

64

41

U C L A

3-4

4-6

100

57

43

Washington

0-8

0-11

83

55

28

Washington State

1-8

2-10

73

49

24

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida 

7-1

10-1

140

87

53

Georgia 

6-2

9-2

119

73

46

South Carolina

4-4

7-4

111

65

46

Tennessee

2-5

4-7

105

61

44

Kentucky

2-5

6-5

104

63

41

Vanderbilt

4-4

6-5

102

57

45

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Alabama

7-0

11-0

120

68

52

Ole Miss

4-3

7-4

117

71

46

L S U

3-4

7-4

107

68

39

Auburn

2-5

5-6

106

58

48

Mississippi State

2-5

4-7

102

57

45

Arkansas

1-6

4-6

101

67

34

 

Sunbelt Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Troy

5-1

7-4

104

68

36

Arkansas State

3-2

5-5

93

61

32

Middle Tennessee

3-3

5-6

92

58

34

Florida Atlantic

3-3

5-6

92

61

31

La.-Monroe

3-4

4-8

87

56

31

La.-Lafayette

4-2

5-6

86

64

22

Fla. International

3-3

4-6

84

55

29

* Western Ky.

0-0

2-9

82

51

31

North Texas

0-6

1-10

67

53

14

           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009

Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008

 

Western Athletic Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Boise State

7-0

11-0

116

72

44

Nevada

4-3

6-5

102

73

29

Louisiana Tech

5-2

7-4

94

56

38

Hawaii

5-3

6-5

92

55

37

Fresno State

4-3

7-4

92

63

29

Utah State

2-5

2-9

88

55

33

San Jose State

4-4

6-6

85

53

32

New Mexico State

1-6

3-8

79

51

28

Idaho

1-7

2-10

73

57

16

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

   

 

 

Tuesday, November 25  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

BALL STATE Western Michigan

15

38-23

NORTHERN ILLINOIS Navy

7

27-20

   

 

 

Thursday, November 27  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

TEXAS Texas A&M

41

48-7

   

 

 

Friday, November 28  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

West Virginia PITTSBURGH

1

21-20

OLE MISS Mississippi State

18

27-9

Ohio U MIAMI (O)

3

20-17

EAST CAROLINA U t e p

6

30-24

TEMPLE Akron

6

28-22

Central Michigan EASTERN MICHIGAN

13

37-24

BUFFALO Kent State

16

37-21

L s u ARKANSAS

3

31-28

NEBRASKA Colorado

18

35-17

Bowling Green TOLEDO

5

31-26

BOISE STATE Fresno State

27

44-17

ARIZONA STATE U c l a

8

21-13

   

 

 

Saturday, November 29      
Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

ALABAMA Auburn

17

20-3

TEXAS TECH Baylor

21

49-28

Florida FLORIDA STATE

24

42-18

Oklahoma OKLAHOMA STATE

15

42-27

GEORGIA Georgia Tech

17

34-17

North Carolina DUKE

9

31-22

CINCINNATI Syracuse

25

35-10

WAKE FOREST Vanderbilt

3

13-10

CLEMSON South Carolina

2

21-19

BOSTON COLLEGE Maryland

11

28-17

N.C. STATE Miami-Fl

7

28-21

VIRGINIA TECH Virginia

9

23-14

TENNESSEE Kentucky

4

20-16

Missouri        (Kansas City) Kansas

15

35-20

MEMPHIS Tulane

20

38-18

Arkansas State NORTH TEXAS

23

44-21

Nevada LA. TECH

5

35-30

Houston RICE

1

35-34

UTAH STATE New Mexico St.

12

28-16

Southern Miss. S M U

16

41-25

Tulsa MARSHALL

16

40-24

CENTRAL FLORIDA U a b

15

21-6

FLA. ATLANTIC Fla. International

11

35-24

OREGON STATE Oregon

6

34-28

SOUTHERN CAL Notre Dame

35

35-0

HAWAII Washington State

23

33-10

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

Tuesday, November 25  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

BALL STATE Western Michigan

31-20

Navy NORTHERN ILLINOIS

31-31 to OT

   

 

Thursday, November 27  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

TEXAS Texas A&M

49-14

   

 

Friday, November 28  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

PITTSBURGH West Virginia

27-24

OLE MISS Mississippi State

28-10

Ohio U MIAMI (O)

28-26

EAST CAROLINA U t e p

38-30

TEMPLE Akron

31-29

Central Michigan EASTERN MICHIGAN

33-20

BUFFALO Kent State

30-14

L s u ARKANSAS

35-30

NEBRASKA Colorado

44-27

Bowling Green TOLEDO

30-27

BOISE STATE Fresno State

41-19

ARIZONA STATE U c l a

31-23

   

 

Saturday, November 29    
Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

ALABAMA Auburn

30-7

TEXAS TECH Baylor

52-26

Florida FLORIDA STATE

35-21

Oklahoma OKLAHOMA STATE

42-35

GEORGIA Georgia Tech

37-28

North Carolina DUKE

30-24

CINCINNATI Syracuse

32-10

WAKE FOREST Vanderbilt

17-12

CLEMSON South Carolina

28-26

BOSTON COLLEGE Maryland

31-21

Miami-Fl N.C. STATE

31-28

VIRGINIA TECH Virginia

21-12

TENNESSEE Kentucky

17-16

Missouri        (Kansas City) Kansas

42-28

MEMPHIS Tulane

37-24

Arkansas State NORTH TEXAS

38-21

Nevada LA. TECH

38-35

RICE Houston

35-34

UTAH STATE New Mexico St.

27-22

Southern Miss. S M U

34-21

Tulsa MARSHALL

40-28

CENTRAL FLORIDA U a b

24-14

FLA. ATLANTIC Fla. International

38-33

OREGON STATE Oregon

31-24

SOUTHERN CAL Notre Dame

34-7

HAWAII Washington State

42-23

 

 

Bowl Outlook by Conference

 

Another week of games have been played, and nothing was really determined bowl-wise.  Instead of knowing where some of the teams are headed, the picture is actually more clouded than it was last week.  A couple of teams were eliminated from the bowl picture, but we’re talking about UNLV and Illinois.  As we enter the Thanksgiving holiday, we only know for sure that Navy is in the inaugural Eagle Bank Bowl.  Penn State is all but assured of a spot in the Rose Bowl, but it isn’t official yet.

 

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

 

ACC

Another week, another couple of frontrunners are ripe for upset losses.  Miami and Maryland controlled their own destinies last week, but both were blown out.  Now Virginia Tech and Boston College have the easiest roads to the title game.  If the Eagles beat Maryland in Chestnut Hill this week, they are headed to Atlanta.  If Virginia Tech beats Virginia, the Hokies are joining the Eagles.

 

The overall mediocrity of this league actually could help the ACC get an extra team in the bowl discussion.  If North Carolina State beats Miami or Virginia beats Virginia Tech, the league will have 10 bowl eligible teams.  Should both the Wolfpack and Cavs win, then 11 of the 12 teams will be bowl eligible.

 

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

2. Chick-fil-a-North Carolina 9-3 vs. South Carolina

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

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

5. Music City-Georgia Tech 8-4 vs. Vanderbilt

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

7. Eagle Bank-Clemson 7-5 vs. NAVY

8. Emerald-Maryland 7-5 vs. Notre Dame

9. Humanitarian-Wake Forest 7-5 vs. Boise State

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

 

Big East

Cincinnati is a win away from securing a BCS Bowl bid, and it looks like they would be headed to Miami.  Coach Brian Kelly will be very popular Sunday morning if the Bearcats win, and he could be the head coach at a larger school before December 15.

 

Once Cincinnati wraps up the Orange Bowl berth, the dominoes should begin to fall.  I believe the bowls will possibly sacrifice won-loss record for distance.  With the economy in shambles, fans may be reluctant to travel great distances and spend a lot of money.  Thus, I am picking South Florida to stay at home for their bowl.  I am going with West Virginia to stay close to home.  I am sending Connecticut north of the border.

 

With Notre Dame losing to Syracuse, the Irish are no longer in the Gator Bowl picture, and I don’t think the Sun Bowl will be able to select them as the Big East representative because they will finish 6-6 and six Big East teams will win seven or more games. 

 

I have Louisville out of the picture.  The Cardinals have been a major disappointment for the second consecutive year.  Coach Steve Kragthorpe’s seat is getting hot.

 

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

2. Sun-Pittsburgh 8-4 vs. Arizona

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

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

5. International-Connecticut 8-4 vs. Buffalo

6. Papa John’s-Rutgers 7-5 vs. Middle Tennessee State

 

Big Ten

Illinois was eliminated from bowl contention last week, but I now have Ohio State slated to miss out on an at-large BCS bowl bid.  So, this league will have seven teams for seven bowls.

 

Even thought Minnesota fell mightily in November, I have the Gophers ahead of Wisconsin because it appears that the Badger fans do not plan on supporting their team en masse this year.  In a poll in the Milwaukee paper, a plurality of fans voted their opinion that UW should not even go to a bowl this year.

 

1. Rose-Penn State 11-1 vs. Oregon State

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

3. Outback-Michigan State 9-3 vs. L S U

4. Champs Sports-Northwestern 9-3 vs. Virginia Tech

5. Alamo-Iowa 8-4 vs. Oklahoma State

6. Insight-Minnesota 7-5 vs. Kansas

7. Motor City-Wisconsin 7-5 vs. Ball State

 

Big 12

Missouri is definitely in the Big 12 Championship Game next week.  The other side of the league is still a three-team race.  If Oklahoma wins at Oklahoma State, then the Sooners should jump ahead of Texas in the BCS standings, even if the Longhorns beat Texas A&M 56-0.  If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma, then Texas Tech will back in to the title game if they beat Baylor.  I think Texas can only get into the Big 12 title game if Texas Tech loses to Baylor.  However, the Longhorns still have a chance to make it to the National Championship Game if Missouri beats Oklahoma in the conference title game and Southern Cal doesn’t jump ahead of them.

 

Colorado still has an outside chance of becoming bowl-eligible.  They have to win at Nebraska.  I don’t give the Buffs much chance of doing that, and I believe Coach Dan Hawkins is riding down a slippery slope in the Rockies.

 

The Cornhuskers may cut in line in the bowl pecking order.  The Gator Bowl will probably take them ahead of a 10-3 Missouri or 9-3 Oklahoma State team.

 

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

2. Fiesta-Texas 11-1 vs. Southern Cal

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

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

5. Holiday-Missouri 10-3 vs. California

6. Alamo-Oklahoma State 9-3 vs. Iowa

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Minnesota

8. Independence-No Qualifying Team

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

There is still unfinished business in this conference.  East Carolina has won the East Division, but the West is still a three-team race.  Tulsa has a tough road game at Marshall, while Houston plays across town at Rice.  If Rice and Tulsa finished ties, Tulsa wins.  If Tulsa loses to Marshall, the winner of the Rice-Houston game wins.  All three will go to bowls.

 

UTEP and Memphis must win their final games to become bowl-eligible.  Memphis has an easy game against lowly Tulane, but UTEP must play at East Carolina.  Should the Tigers lose, Coach Tommy West could be in trouble.

 

1. Liberty-Tulsa 11-2 vs. Kentucky

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

3. G M A C-Rice 8-4 vs. Central Michigan

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

5. Texas-Southern Miss. 6-6 vs. N.C. State

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

 

Independent

Navy is the only team that definitely knows what bowl it will be playing in this year.  The Midshipmen have already accepted a bid to the first Eagle Bank Bowl. 

 

Notre Dame will still be invited to a bowl after USC slaughters them to drop them to 6-6.  They will be the first 6-6 team invited as an at-large team.  Whether they accept the bid is another story, but I’m selecting them here.

 

1. Emerald (at-large)-Notre Dame 6-6 vs. Maryland

2. Eagle Bank-NAVY 7-5 vs. Clemson

 

M A C

Ball State has a big home game with Western Michigan Tuesday night.  Then, they would have to beat Buffalo in the MAC Championship Game and hope Boise State, Alabama, and Southern Cal all lose just to have a minute chance at getting an at-large bid to a BCS bowl.  It looks like the Motor City Bowl is the best they can hope for.  I would love to see some arrangement made to pit a 13-0 Ball State team against a 12-0 Boise State team.  A lot of deals would have to be made.

 

Central and Western Michigan should easily receive bowl bids.  Buffalo is a virtually guaranteed a bowl as well thanks to them picking up their seventh win last week.

 

Northern Illinois will become the fifth bowl team if they defeat Navy.  Even if they lose, they could still have a shot at 6-6, since their fans travel well.

 

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

2. International-Buffalo 8-5 vs. Connecticut

3. G M A C-Central Michigan 9-3 vs. Rice

4. Hawaii (at-large)-Western Michigan 9-3 vs. Hawaii

 

Mountain West

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

 

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

 

1. Sugar-Utah 12-0 vs. Alabama

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

3. Poinsettia-T C U 10-2 vs. Boise State

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

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

 

Pac-10

Oregon State won at Arizona, and now the Beavers need to take care of business at home against Oregon.  If they win, they head to the Rose Bowl for the first time in more than four decades!  They would get a chance to redeem themselves against Penn State.

 

Southern Cal could still climb up to second in the BCS if Oklahoma and Texas both lose again this season.

 

Arizona State could still become bowl eligible by beating both UCLA and Arizona.  It could happen, but for now I am picking Arizona to end that dream.

 

 

1. Rose-Oregon State 9-3 vs. Penn State

2. Fiesta (at-large) Southern Cal 11-1 vs. Texas

3. Holiday-California 8-4 vs. Missouri

4. Sun-Arizona 8-4 vs. Pittsburgh

5. Las Vegas-Oregon 8-4 vs. B Y U

6. Emerald-No qualifying team

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

Florida continues to move farther and farther ahead of the pack in college football.  I have the Gators at least a touchdown ahead of any other team.

 

Alabama is still number one in the official polls.  What if the Crimson Tide destroys Auburn and loses to Florida in overtime on a missed two-point conversion?  Might we see the same two teams play again for the national title?  Could it happen?  I think the Gators will take ‘Bama by more than two touchdowns to make it a moot point.

 

Arkansas was eliminated from the bowl talk last week, and I expect Auburn to go away this week.  If Auburn fires Tommy Tuberville, the Tigers deserve to rot into the basement in the SEC West for years.  Tuberville is a class act, and he knows how to coach.  I don’t think there is a savior out there who can do any better.

 

Kentucky and Vanderbilt will probably both finish 6-6, and that presents a mismatch problem if Tulsa wins the C-USA title.  The Golden Hurricane would be a prohibitive favorite over both teams.  Might the Liberty Bowl decide to allow the Independence of Papa John’s Bowl to take one of these 6-6 and then go after an undefeated Ball State team as an at-large opponent?  It’s something to consider, but I believe the Wildcats will travel to Memphis.  If Rice wins the C-USA title, then Kentucky will definitely be the opponent, since Vandy has already played the Owls.

 

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

2. Sugar-Alabama 12-1 vs. Utah

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

4. Outback-L S U 8-4 vs. Michigan State

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

6. Chick-fil-a-South Carolina 7-5 vs. North Carolina

7. Music City-Vanderbilt 6-6 vs. Georgia Tech

8. Liberty-Kentucky 6-6 vs. Tulsa

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

Troy has all but wrapped up the New Orleans Bowl berth.  It looks highly likely that no other SBC team will finish 7-5, but as many as three will finish 6-6.  Because I see at least four and possibly five 6-6 teams being required to fill out the at-large spots, two at-large bids could go to this league. 

 

The Sunbelt has side bets with three other bowls, and two of them will be needing to find alternative invitees.  So, I am going with the two teams I believe will travel the best here.

 

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

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

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

W A C

Boise State should take care of business against Fresno State this week and finish the regular season at 12-0.  They won’t get a sniff at an at-large BCS bowl bid.  Their only hope is if Oregon State loses to Oregon, Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State, Texas loses to Texas A&M, and Texas Tech loses to Baylor (or if Missouri wins the Big 12 title).

 

The WAC has a provisional agreement with the Poinsettia Bowl should the Pac-10 not have a team available.  They won’t this year, and that could allow Boise State to go there.  Economics may trump this theory as the Humanitarian Bowl will want the Broncos to stay home.  For now, I am selecting Boise to head south and west to play a better opponent than they would face on the blue field.

 

San Jose State looks like the odd man out this year, unless the Poinsettia Bowl would prefer them to Boise State.  Then, Nevada might be the odd man out.  If the Wolf Pack take care of business this week at Louisiana Tech, then they will take a bid away from a 6-6 team.

 

1. Poinsettia (at-large) Boise State 12-0 vs. T C U

2. Humanitarian-Nevada 6-6 vs. Wake Forest

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

4. Hawaii-Hawaii 7-6 vs. Western Michigan

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

 

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.