The Pi-Rate Ratings

February 23, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For February 23, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 6:47 am

Sunday’s Games

 

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Boise St.

New Mexico

7.8

Boston University

American

6.9

Bryant

Sacred Heart

0.1

Cincinnati

Wichita St.

2.8

Colgate

Holy Cross

19.5

Connecticut

South Florida

8.0

Creighton

Butler

5.4

Detroit

Milwaukee

0.8

East Carolina

Temple

-4.5

Evansville

Indiana St.

-6.6

Fairfield

Siena

-3.3

Fairleigh Dickinson

Robert Morris

-1.3

Indiana

Penn St.

-0.4

Lafayette

Loyola (MD)

14.5

Lehigh

Bucknell

-1.1

Manhattan

Canisius

3.4

Marist

Niagara

1.8

Monmouth

Quinnipiac

6.4

Mount St. Mary’s

Merrimack

-0.5

Northern Iowa

Southern Illinois

11.6

Northwestern

Minnesota

-4.8

Notre Dame

Miami (Fla.)

6.9

Oakland

Green Bay

2.7

Ohio St.

Maryland

2.9

Saint Peter’s

Rider

1.7

Seton Hall

St. John’s

10.2

South Dakota St.

South Dakota

6.4

St. Francis (NY)

Wagner

6.7

St. Francis (PA)

Long Island

7.9

Utah

USC

-2.1

Washington St.

Stanford

-4.1

Wisconsin

Rutgers

3.7

 

Sunday’s Key TV Games

 

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

12:00 PM

FS1

Indiana

Penn St.

1:00 PM

ESPN

Cincinnati

Wichita St.

1:00 PM

BTN

Wisconsin

Rutgers

2:00 PM

ESPN3

Saint Peter’s

Rider

2:00 PM

ESPNU

Northern Iowa

Southern Illinois

3:00 PM

ESPN+

South Dakota St.

South Dakota

4:00 PM

CBS

Ohio St.

Maryland

4:00 PM

FS1

Creighton

Butler

 

 

 

 

February 11, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For February 11, 2020

Tuesday’s Games

 

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Akron

Bowling Green

9.0

Ball St.

Northern Illinois

6.8

Boise St.

Air Force

11.4

Central Michigan

Eastern Michigan

5.4

Colorado St.

Utah St.

-2.0

Davidson

Fordham

14.5

Dayton

Rhode Island

9.6

Illinois

Michigan St.

-1.7

Kansas St.

Oklahoma St.

2.3

LSU

Missouri

10.7

Maryland

Nebraska

17.3

Ohio

Western Michigan

5.7

Ole Miss

Mississippi St.

-1.8

Purdue

Penn St.

3.0

Saint Joseph’s

St. Bonaventure

-6.9

San Diego St.

New Mexico

16.7

Syracuse

North Carolina St.

3.1

Tennessee

Arkansas

-0.3

Toledo

Miami (O)

10.2

Vanderbilt

Kentucky

-9.8

Virginia

Notre Dame

3.3

Wake Forest

North Carolina

0.3

 

The Captain’s Table

 

Top Games on TV Tuesday

 

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

6:30 PM

BTN

Purdue

Penn St.

7:00 PM

ESPN+

Akron

Bowling Green

7:00 PM

SECN

Tennessee

Arkansas

7:00 PM

ESPN2

Syracuse

North Carolina St.

7:30 PM

CBSSN

Dayton

Rhode Island

9:00 PM

ESPN

Illinois

Michigan St.

9:00 PM

ESPN2

Virginia

Notre Dame

9:30 PM

CBSSN

Colorado St.

Utah St.

 

Captain’s Musings

 

Where the NCAA Selection Committee Gets It Wrong

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee has issued its first preliminary seeding of top 16 teams, and we at the PiRate Ratings are happy to say we predicted all 16 teams on the correct seed line.  Predicting seed lines and teams accepted to the Big Dance isn’t all that difficult, because the NCAA clearly shows its cards.  With the exception of Team 68 and occasionally Team 67, determining in advance which 68 teams receive Dance Invitations is almost as exact as multiplication and division.

Usually, when our Bracketology, or our friends on the Internet that supply their own Bracketology, are finalized on Selection Sunday, the only differences in the brackets come on the lower seed lines.  Many times, predictions for a seed line were accurate, but the Committee had to move a team up or down one seed in order to obey the NCAA’s rules about facing an opponent from the same conference in the opening rounds.

Basically, the process is done correctly every time, and when Team number 69 is left out, no matter who that team is, the folks at CBS and ESPN immediately cross-examine the Committee Chairman as if a major slight has taken place.  That is done strictly to get the public to keep watching their Selection Sunday special show, because face it, the public could just as easily wait 30 minutes and quickly see the entire field in the bracket on their computer or phone.

We have no issues with the Selection Committee every year.  They do a great job, and it isn’t easy to get a dozen highly opinionated people to agree on whether Teams 67, 68, 69, and 70 deserve to be in or left out.  The consensus usually is right.

Our problem hangs entirely on the process itself, and we have one major complaint that we believe needs to move high up on the priority line.  That statistic is where a team finishes in its own conference.

Why continue to even have conference play if a team that finishes in third place sweeps the 7th place team and then watches the 7th place team get an NCAA bid, while they have to go to the NIT.  Do you think this doesn’t happen?  Unfortunately, this, or something similar, happens almost every year.

Take a look at South Carolina last year.  The Gamecocks handily beat Florida in Gainesville, and they wiped Ole Miss off the floor.  They split with Mississippi St.  All told, USC finished a game ahead of the two Magnolia State teams and two games ahead of Florida.  Yet, they were the team left out of the NCAA Tournament, while the three teams below them in the standings all went to the Big Dance.

What good is having a conference race at all, if it means absolutely nothing, other than that the regular season champion is guaranteed a spot in the NIT if it fails to make the NCAA Tournament?

If we were named the Commissioner of College Basketball, there would be changes made.  First, we would flip the rules on automatic NCAA Tournament bids.  We’d award an automatic NCAA Tournament bid to the regular season champion of each conference and then guarantee an NIT bid to all Conference Tournament winners that did not receive an NCAA Tournament bid.

Let’s look at a possibility that would make this rule show how much better the tournament might be flipping the automatic bids.  Look at this year’s Southland Conference.  Stephen F. Austin is talented enough and well-coached enough to challenge for a Sweet 16 appearance if not more.  The Lumberjacks won at Duke in one of those games where the zebras tried their hardest to give the big team the win.  SFA players were whistled for fouls just for occupying the same city block in Durham, while Duke players had to commit felonious assault before they were whistled for fouls.  Still, SFA won the game, and had this game been played with totally unbiased officials, the Lumberjacks would have actually blown Duke off the Cameron Indoor Stadium floor.

SFA (12-1/21-3) is three games ahead of its nearest conference foe.  They are likely to enter the Southland Conference Tournament at 28-3 and no worse than 27-4.  And, for this incredible run, the Lumberjacks will be guaranteed only an NIT bid.  They will have to win the SLC Tournament to get into the Field of 68.  What if a team like Nicholls State catches SFA on a cold shooting day and upsets the Lumberjacks?  Nicholls will go bye bye in the opening game, while SFA will probably be forced to play a road NIT game and receive the same type of home-cooking officiating that they faced in Durham.

Under our system, The Lumberjacks would still go to the NCAA Tournament, while Nicholls State would be guaranteed that NIT bid or be allowed to accept the CIT bid if they preferred.  The Colonels might finish four games in back of SFA, and after a 20-game conference schedule, when one team finishes 19-1 in the league and the second best team goes 15-5, it is quite clear which team is better and more deserving of the NCAA bid.

The same holds true in the Power Conferences.  Let’s look at the crazy Big Ten race this year.  Currently, three teams, Ohio State, Indiana, and Michigan, are tied for 12th place at 5-7 in the conference.  Minnesota is a half-game ahead of the trio at 6-7.  However, if you look at the criteria used by the NCAA Selection Committee, Minnesota is barely on the bad side of the Bubble and looking at the NIT, while the other three teams are in the Field.  The Big Ten plays a 20-game conference schedule, so if any number of these four teams get in the Field, the preference should be to take the team(s) that finish higher in the standings.  20 games are enough to determine which teams are better than which teams.  Using advanced metrics is great, and we are devoted Sabermetric devotees, but we realize that actual results trump theoretical results.

 

The 2020 R+T Rating Revision

Recently, we were asked to explain how our power ratings are computed, and we gave a detailed explanation of how we rely on the “Four Factors” of basketball and then apply weightings to each of the four offensive and four defensive factors and then adjust the data based on strength of schedule and a constant (that changes a little every year).  What we basically end up with is something similar to baseball’s weighted on-base average and WAR, where instead of estimating how many wins the players on a baseball team are worth, we estimate how many points better or worse than average each team is worth.

In that explanation, we relied heavily on something that has been obvious in Major League Baseball through the “Moneyball” years.  As Oakland Athletics’ General Manager Billy Beane has so succinctly said in the past, “My stuff doesn’t work in the playoffs.”  He didn’t use the word “stuff” but the PiRates refrain from using foul language.

What Beane said was proven to be correct over and over again.  The analytics that show a team how to win 90+ games don’t apply to winning in the playoffs, and there is a reason for this.  Let’s use last year’s Tampa Bay Rays as an example.

The Rays finished 96-66 and made the playoffs.  Tampa Bay played Baltimore and Toronto 19 times each.  They played Kansas City and the LA Angels seven times and Detroit and Seattle six times.   Even against good teams like the Yankees, Twins, Indians, Astros, and Athletics, they faced those teams’ number four and number five starting pitchers between one third and 40% of the time.

In the playoffs, the Yankees are not going to use their number four and number five pitchers, except in mop up duty.  In a seven game series, they might send their number one ace out there to start games 1, 4, and 7, if he can pitch on three days rest.

Moneyball statistics and all the evolved improved statistics are meant to be used over the course of an entire season’s worth of games.  After 100 games played, the strategies of going for big innings and limiting strategies like sacrifice bunting, hit and run, stolen bases, and hitting to the right side of the infield prove to be less efficient and successful in scoring runs on the whole and even winning games.  Small ball doesn’t work when almost every team now plays in a “band box” ballpark.

However, in the playoffs, when a team is facing the opposing ace or number two pitcher, and when they face the top relievers earlier in the games at the highest leverage, attempting to draw walks and hit three-run homers isn’t going to pop those cheap champagne bottles in the clubhouse.  When Justin Verlander takes the bump in October, you beat him by scratching out a couple runs here and there and hoping your pitching staff can hold the Astros in check for a 3-2 or 2-1 victory.  If you expect to put a crooked number on the scoreboard in the 6 or 7 innings he’s on the hill, you stand a big chance of putting up a run of goose eggs.

The same theory holds true in college basketball.  Over the course of a season, shooting the ball and preventing the other team from shooting the ball is going to determine the winner more times than not.  A team that can get to the foul line and hit 75% of their foul shots to win might go 13-5 in their conference and 24-7 overall.  They might get a fat #4 seed and then promptly lose to the #13 seed from a Mid-Major conference.  And, when you look at that Mid-Major team, they weren’t great shooters, but they could clean the glass better than Windex.

At tournament time, unless your team is playing a 20-loss patsy that got hot and won their post-season tournament, or your team has a number one seed and faces a 16-seed that is far outclassed, your team better be able to rebound the ball and avoid turnovers.

Thus, through the years of the 64 to 68-team NCAA Tournaments, basketball’s “Moneyball” system of trying to win the shooting wars for six or seven games just doesn’t work like it does in the regular season, when a team might win four out of every five games all year to record a 28-7 record.  The only record that matters after the Ides of March is 6-0 or 7-0.

How does a team go 6-0 or 7-0 in the NCAA Tournament?  In almost every case, said team is incredibly proficient in getting extra scoring opportunities.  How does a team get extra scoring opportunities?  They grab more rebounds on the offensive end and prevent the other team from doing the same. They force more turnovers on the opponent than they commit, and they capitalize on steals for easier scoring opportunities.  A steal is much more valuable than any other turnover, because more points per possession are scored following a steal than any other situation.

Thus, for many years, we tried to simulate how many potential extra points a team might experience through superior rebounding and protecting the ball.  We created our R+T Rating and used this formula with great success to predict which teams might advance to the later rounds of the tournament, the Final Four, and the Championship.

In many of the seasons, if the top R+T Rating belonged to a Power Conference team, we made them our favorite to win all the marbles, and we were rewarded multiple times.  We even picked a couple of upset dark horses along the way like Wichita State, Virginia Commonwealth, and Butler to make it to the Final Four.  We even isolated on Connecticut to make a run in the year where they broke all the criteria and won the Championship from way back in the pack.

In this time of advanced statistics, we have been trying to improve upon our R+T Rating with a new calculation, one that relies of rate stats over counting stats.  Rebound and turnover margin and steals per game have done well for us for two decades, but we realize there is a difference between rebounding margins.  If a team wins the rebounding battle 33-28, they have done much better than a team that wins the rebounding battle 43-37.  The R+T shows that the 43-37 result is better than the 33-28 result, but that is incorrect.  The 33-28 team retrieved better than 54% of the missed shots, while the 43-37 team only retrieved 53.8%.  Additionally, because offensive rebounding is so much more difficult than defensive rebounding, we really cannot tell which team did a better job.  What if the team that had 37 rebounds from among the four listed above happened to shoot a very low percentage in their game against the team that had 43 rebounds?  What if from the 80 rebounding opportunities in their game, 48 were at their offensive end of the floor and just 32 were at their defensive end of the floor?  What if this team had 14 offensive rebounds on the 48 rebounding opportunities at their offensive end and 23 rebounds from the 32.  By using the Rebounding Rate of the Four Factors, the team that lost the rebounding battle 43-37 actually performed a little better than the team that got the 43 rebounds by the count of 29.2% to 28.1%.

Thus, we are working on a new R+T Rate.  We have been trying to work out a linear regression line with six variables and a constant, and our friends, that is really hard to do, since it involves changing weights and constants over and over until the results are tighter and tighter to the line.  After a couple months, the line is getting there.  We have settled on the handicapping of each component of the stat and only have to deal with a constant that gives us the best back-tested accuracy.  We hope to debut the new R+T Rate just before the NCAA Tournament commences in Dayton.

February 5, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For February 5, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 1:35 am

Wednesday’s Games

 

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Albany

Binghamton

10.5

Army

Boston University

-3.3

Butler

Villanova

3.7

Cal Poly

Long Beach St.

1.8

Cal St. Fullerton

UC Riverside

-0.7

Chattanooga

East Tennessee St.

-5.1

Drake

Bradley

-0.8

Evansville

Southern Illinois

-4.6

Florida

Georgia

8.8

Florida Intl.

Florida Atlantic

3.4

Furman

Mercer

12.9

Georgetown

Seton Hall

-1.4

Holy Cross

Loyola (MD)

-2.9

Incarnate Word

Sam Houston St.

-14.2

Indiana St.

Loyola (Chi)

0.1

Lamar

Central Arkansas

5.4

Lehigh

Colgate

-7.7

Louisville

Wake Forest

15.6

Memphis

Temple

8.1

Miami

North Carolina St.

-0.6

Minnesota

Wisconsin

2.7

Missouri St.

Illinois St.

6.2

Navy

American

3.1

Northwestern St.

Abilene Christian

-5.1

Notre Dame

Pittsburgh

5.7

Oklahoma St.

TCU

2.8

Ole Miss

South Carolina

0.4

Omaha

North Dakota St.

-1.8

Providence

Creighton

-1.5

Purdue

Iowa

1.2

Purdue Fort Wayne

Western Illinois

7.6

Saint Louis

Duquesne

2.9

Samford

Western Carolina

-5.1

Southeast Louisiana

Houston Baptist

5.4

St. Bonaventure

George Washington

8.3

Stephen F. Austin

Nicholls St.

8.5

Stony Brook

UMass Lowell

12.2

Texas A&M-CC

McNeese St.

-0.9

UMBC

Hartford

0.9

UNC Greensboro

Citadel

20.0

Utah St.

UNLV

10.9

Valparaiso

Northern Iowa

-6.4

Vanderbilt

LSU

-10.0

Vermont

Maine

21.9

Virginia

Clemson

6.3

VMI

Wofford

-5.6

West Virginia

Iowa St

12.5

 

Top Eight Basketball Games on TV Wednesday

 

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

6:00 PM

CBSSN

Indiana St.

Loyola (Chi)

6:30 PM

FS1

Butler

Villanova

7:00 PM

BTN

Purdue

Iowa

7:00 PM

ESPN+

Saint Louis

Duquesne

7:00 PM

ESPNU

Florida

Georgia

7:30 PM

ESPN+

Stephen F. Austin

Nicholls St.

8:30 PM

FS1

Georgetown

Seton Hall

9:00 PM

BTN

Minnesota

Wisconsin

 

 

January 29, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For January 29, 2020

Wednesday’s Games

 

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Arkansas

South Carolina

10.2

Army

Bucknell

0.2

Boise St.

San Jose St.

16.8

Boston College

Louisville

-12.0

Boston University

Loyola (MD)

9.4

Bradley

Valparaiso

7.6

Central Arkansas

Southeast Louisiana

5.5

Central Florida

Memphis

-3.1

Citadel

Wofford

-7.1

Colgate

Lafayette

8.0

Colorado St.

Nevada

1.5

Connecticut

Temple

4.4

Duquesne

Dayton

-9.0

East Carolina

Houston

-13.7

East Tennessee St.

Mercer

16.0

Fordham

St. Bonaventure

-5.3

Furman

VMI

17.3

George Washington

Davidson

-5.5

Hartford

Binghamton

7.8

Houston Baptist

Incarnate Word

5.7

Illinois St.

Evansville

5.8

Indiana St.

Drake

4.4

Iowa St.

Baylor

-4.9

Kansas St.

Oklahoma

-0.6

Kentucky

Vanderbilt

17.5

La Salle

Saint Louis

-3.0

LSU

Alabama

4.3

Massachusetts

Saint Joseph’s

6.4

McNeese St.

Nicholls St.

0.6

Michigan St.

Northwestern

18.3

Navy

Holy Cross

12.2

New Hampshire

Vermont

-10.7

New Mexico

San Diego St.

-8.3

New Orleans

Northwestern St.

4.2

Northern Iowa

Missouri St.

10.6

Notre Dame

Wake Forest

8.1

Oral Roberts

South Dakota St.

3.6

Penn St.

Indiana

5.0

Saint Peter’s

Monmouth

1.5

Sam Houston St.

Texas A&M-CC

10.2

Samford

Chattanooga

-4.1

Seton Hall

DePaul

12.3

Southern Illinois

Loyola (Chi)

-3.3

Stephen F. Austin

Abilene Christian

8.4

TCU

Texas

4.1

Texas Tech

West Virginia

-1.4

Tulane

South Florida

0.4

UMass Lowell

Stony Brook

-5.7

UMBC

Albany

-0.7

Utah Valley

California Baptist

-2.0

Washington St.

Arizona St.

-2.0

Western Carolina

UNC Greensboro

-4.0

Xavier

Marquette

-0.4

 

Important TV Games on Wednesday

You will need multiple monitors tonight if you want to see all the important basketball games.  Besides multiple key games that will help decide seeding in the “one-bid” conferences, there are some big-time power conference games that will determine who stays in the good graces of the NCAA Selection Committee and who has to blow bubbles.

 

DePaul has fallen to last place in the Big East, and the Blue Demons are out of the field for now.  They could get in position to get in position for the Bubble with a road win against Big East leader Seton Hall.  The Hall is merely playing for a chance to move up to the #1 Seed line if a couple teams above the Pirates lose.

 

Duquesne is two games out of first in the Atlantic 10, and the A-10 is not yet a definite two-bid league, unless somebody upsets Dayton in the conference tournament.  So, seeding for the conference tournament is vital.  The Dukes host the Flyers tonight in the  City of Bridges.  If Dayton keeps winning, the Flyers could move up to a #2 Seed.

 

The Game of the Night in the South is the LSU-Alabama contest in Baton Rouge.  The Tigers are riding an 8-game winning streak that includes four road wins.  Alabama comes to town riding a 4-game winning streak, and the Tide are one big win away from crashing into the next Bracketology list.  ‘Bama first-year coach Nate Oats is one of three hot new leaders (along with Buzz Williams at Texas A&M and Eric Musselman of Arkansas) of SEC schools.  Expect a lot of possessions.

 

New Hampshire hosts Vermont in a key America East game between neighborly rivals.  Vermont leads three A-East rivals by one game with UNH two games back.  In a league where the higher seed hosts every conference tournament game, and with Vermont having an incredible home court advantage, upsetting the Catamounts when they play on the road is the only way to bring them back to the pack and possibly make them have to play a championship game on the road.

 

In the SoCon tonight, the Western Carolina-UNC Greensboro winner could find themselves in second place before the night is over.  Both teams are strong enough to challenge league leader East Tennessee State.   If ETSU continues to dominate the regular season and then gets upset in the SoCon Championship Game, this could become a two-bid league.

 

The Big 12 game of the night finds two potential Elite 8 teams playing in Lubbock as last year’s national runner-up Texas Tech hosts West Virginia.  If Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers win this road game tonight, they are just a Gonzaga or San Diego State loss away from moving to the top seed line.

 

Also in the Big 12, TCU hosts Texas, where the loser of this game falls well back in the pack in at-large tournament consideration, while the winner will most likely move up to one of the last teams out or possibly a 12-seed in a play-in game in Dayton.

 

In The Big Ten, Penn State has been quite a surprise this year, while Indiana has been on the cusp of breaking out and returning to power, but keeps stubbing its toe by blowing second half leads.  The winner of this game will be above .500 in the league, and in this year’s Big Ten, any team finishing at .500 or better in conference play is going dancing in March.

 

We have the Big East as the third toughest conference in the land this week.  It figures that half of the league will get NCAA Tournament Bids.  Xavier is 2-5 in the league hosting a Marquette team that is 4-4 in the league.  The teams are fighting it out tonight with 5th and 6th place in the balance.

 

Arkansas hosts a hot South Carolina team tonight in Fayetteville.  The Gamecocks have an interesting resume, but it isn’t NCAA Tournament worthy–yet.  USC owns road wins against Clemson and Virginia as well as a home win over Kentucky, but they also lost to Boston U and Stetson.  Meanwhile Musselman has Arkansas in line for a top 8 NCAA seed, and he is the co-favorite along with A&M’s Williams for SEC Coach of the Year.

 

Six years ago, Stephen F. Austin beat Virginia Commonwealth in the NCAA Tournament before falling to UCLA in the Round of 32.  Then coach Brad Underwood became a hot commodity, where he moved on to the big time.  He’s doing a great job at Illinois.  Current head coach Kyle Keller has been an assistant to Eddie Sutton, Bill Self, and Billy Kennedy, and he could be the next hot commodity coming out of Nacogdoches.  His Lumberjacks faces one of their toughest conference contests tonight when SFA hosts Abilene Christian.  Coach Joe Goldings’ Wildcats bring the toughest defense in the league to face SFA’s outstanding perimeter offense.

 

Out West in the Mountain West, San Diego State has two somewhat difficult games remaining on their schedule in their attempt to be the first team to arrive at the NCAA with a perfect unbeaten record since Wichita State in 2014.  One of those tough games comes tonight when the Aztecs play at the Pit in Albuquerque against New Mexico.  SDSU Coach Brian Dutcher should be the leading candidate for National Coach of the Year, after he scored the best “free agent” trio at the end of last year.  Dutcher was able to attract Malachi Flynn from Washington State, Yanni Wetzell from Vanderbilt, and K.J. Feagin from Santa Clara, all who start for the Aztecs.  Flynn and Wetzell figure to end up on the All-MWC team.  

 

 

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

6:30 PM

FS1

Seton Hall

DePaul

7:00 PM

CBSSN

Duquesne

Dayton

7:00 PM

ESPN2

LSU

Alabama

7:00 PM

ESPN+

New Hampshire

Vermont

7:00 PM

ESPN+

Western Carolina

UNC Greensboro

8:00 PM

ESPN+

Texas Tech

West Virginia

8:00 PM

ESPN+

TCU

Texas

8:30 PM

BigTen

Penn St.

Indiana

8:30 PM

FS1

Xavier

Marquette

8:30 PM

SECN

Arkansas

South Carolina

8:30 PM

ESPN+

Stephen F. Austin

Abilene Christian

9:00 PM

CBSSN

New Mexico

San Diego St.

 

 

 

 

 

January 22, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For January 22, 2020

Spreads For Games Being Played Wednesday

 

Home

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Xavier

Georgetown

2.6

Auburn

South Carolina

10.9

Louisville

Georgia Tech

13.6

Dayton

St. Bonaventure

16.9

Michigan

Penn St.

4.0

Mississippi St.

Arkansas

1.4

Richmond

La Salle

11.7

Rhode Island

Duquesne

4.3

Fordham

George Washington

0.3

Stony Brook

Binghamton

17.9

Hartford

UMBC

4.6

Albany

UMass Lowell

4.7

Notre Dame

Syracuse

3.2

Temple

Cincinnati

0.1

Marist

Manhattan

-4.2

Loyola (MD)

American

0.4

Lafayette

Army

9.7

Boston U

Navy

5.8

Evansville

Drake

-6.1

Chattanooga

Citadel

10.2

Mercer

Western Carolina

-2.0

Furman

Samford

16.3

Maine

Vermont

-15.9

Davidson

Saint Louis

3.3

George Mason

Massachusetts

5.9

Marshall

Western Kentucky

-0.2

Wofford

VMI

11.8

Holy Cross

Lehigh

-3.5

Northwestern St.

Stephen F. Austin

-10.5

Little Rock

Troy

10.0

Incarnate Word

Lamar

-7.1

Nicholls St.

Houston Baptist

16.4

Loyola (Chi)

Indiana St.

5.1

Texas A&M-CC

New Orleans

4.6

SMU

East Carolina

15.3

Bradley

Illinois St.

11.2

SE Louisiana

McNeese St.

-3.5

South Dakota St.

North Dakota St.

3.6

Virginia Tech

North Carolina

5.4

Seton Hall

Providence

11.4

Sam Houston St.

Abilene Christian

5.3

Tulsa

Memphis

-4.5

DePaul

Creighton

0.5

Pittsburgh

Boston College

10.9

Iowa

Rutgers

5.6

Vanderbilt

Alabama

-8.3

Southern Illinois

Northern Iowa

-6.6

Colorado St.

Fresno St.

4.4

California Baptist

Chicago St.

25.3

UC Davis

Cal St. Fullerton

5.1

Long Beach St.

UC Irvine

-9.6

UCSB

Cal St. Northridge

9.9

Nevada

UNLV

5.1

 

 

 

 

 

January 8, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For January 8, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:19 am

Power Conference & Top 25 Teams Playing Wednesday

 

Home

Visitor

Spread

Alabama

Mississippi St.

3.4

Auburn

Vanderbilt

16.4

Boise St.

UNLV

6.0

Cincinnati

Tulsa

8.0

Connecticut

Tulane

11.0

Georgetown

St. John’s

5.0

Georgia Tech

Duke

-13.1

Indiana

Northwestern

11.1

Iowa St.

Kansas

-7.2

LSU

Arkansas

4.5

North Carolina

Pittsburgh

6.5

North Carolina St.

Notre Dame

5.5

San Jose St.

Nevada

-11.9

SMU

Central Florida

6.1

Texas

Oklahoma

1.4

Wake Forest

Florida St.

-6.4

Wisconsin

Illinois

3.8

Wyoming

San Diego St.

-18.6

Xavier

Seton Hall

0.7

 

October 9, 2019

PiRate Ratings Picks For October 10-14, 2019

Yuck, Yuck, Yuck, I want more luck!  That’s a saying that goes back to the 1960’s, when a certain PiRate Captain was in school trying to impress this really cute blonde-haired, blue-eyed tomboy classmate.  It so happened that she and he were outside on the playground, and he was trying to teach her how to hit foul shots on the basketball goal.  She kept barely missing on those foul shots, when he made this little ditty up as it came to mind.  And, voila!  The pretty girl made three shots in a row.  The rest is history.  In the 1970’s, This girl would go on to become the star of her high school basketball team, setting the all-time single-season and career scoring marks.  She then enjoyed a four-year career as a starting guard for a Division 1 college team, playing in the NCAA Tournament.

 

The Captain figured it wouldn’t hurt to repeat that mantra in hopes that it would turn around the recent misfortunes of the PiRate Ratings.  The ratings in recent weeks have been just barely missing.

How much do you pay for these selections?  Remember, you usually get what you pay for, and that’s what these selections have been worth this season.  So, let’s hope we get more luck this week.

Without further adieu, here are the selections you should avoid like the plague.

 

PiRate Rating Selections

 

10-point Teasers, 3-game parlays

 

#1

Pick

Opponent

Spread

Syracuse

NC St.

+14.5

Virginia

Miami

+12.5

New Mexico

Colorado St.

+13.5

 

 

#2

Pick

Opponent

Spread

Indiana

Rutgers

+38

Navy

Tulsa

+11

Texas

Oklahoma

+21.5

 

 

#3

Pick

Opponent

Spread

Temple

Memphis

+16

Nebraska

Minnesota

+17.5

Boise St.

Hawaii

-1.5

 

 

#4

Pick

Opponent

Spread

Eastern Michigan

Ball St.

+9

Central Michigan

New Mexico St.

Pk

Arizona St.

Washington St.

+11

 

 

#5

Pick

Opponent

Spread

Oregon St.

Utah

+23.5

Ole Miss

Missouri

+22

Ohio

Northern Illinois

+3.5

 

 

#6

Pick

Opponent

Spread

Baylor

Texas Tech

-1

Vanderbilt

UNLV

-4.5

Wisconsin

Michigan St.

-0.5

 

 

#7

Pick

Opponent

Spread

Florida

LSU

+23.5

Nevada

San Jose St.

+8

Alabama

Texas A&M

-6.5

 

 

#8

Pick

Opponent

Spread

Florida Atlantic

Middle Tenn.

-0.5

UAB

UTSA

-2

Notre Dame

USC

-1

 

 

#9

Pick

Opponent

Spread

New England

N.Y. Jets

-6.5

Baltimore

Cincinnati

-1

Cleveland

Seattle

+12

 

 

#10

Pick

Opponent

Spread

New Orleans

Jacksonville

+11.5

Miami

Washington

+13.5

Arizona

Atlanta

+12.5

 

 

#11

Pick

Opponent

Spread

Denver

Tennessee

+7.5

Detroit

Green Bay

+14.5

Carolina

Tampa Bay

+8

 

 

Davey19  Selections

 

Pick

Opponent

Spread

UL-Monroe

Texas St.

-3

Virginia

Miami (Fla.)

+2.5

Colorado

Oregon

+21.5

Illinois

Michigan

+22.5

Nebraska

Minnesota

+8

Arkansas

Kentucky

+7

Air Force

Fresno St.

-3

Coming Friday–We will issue three money line selections, one an outright upset winner currently listed at +200, and two parlays.

 

 

September 25, 2019

PiRate Ratings Picks For September 26-30, 2019

After two dreadful weeks that saw our picks totally tank, we finally enjoyed a somewhat better week.  Right off the bat, we issued you this crazy money line parlay late in the week after receiving some “inside” information from a Sharp.  The 5-team parlay of:

Nebraska over Illinois

Boston College over Rutgers

Washington over BYU

Missouri over South Carolina

UAB over South Alabama

was right on the mark, and its payout was at +250, or $100 wagered would have resulted in cashing in a ticket of $350.  Remember, however, that we only issue these picks to you as entertainment for math nerds.  We NEVER wager real money on our selections.

The Davey19 experimental model enjoyed a modest $80 profit for the week, bringing the total for the year back to -$20.  Again, just like with all our recommendations, we do not encourage you wagering real money on this experimental, technical formula.

This week, we have spent more time devoted to the slate of games than any other week in the season to date, and there is good reason for it.  We have been trying to issue some steam picks, and isolate potential sandwich games.  In the process, we opened up our massive data bank of all the major books in North America waiting to pounce on changes in the numbers when we needed an extra half-point or one point.  In several instances, the swing didn’t come or it went the wrong way.  But, in others, we saw the public move the line in the direction we hoped they would move it, in other words, a lot of “square money” moving spreads an extra half-point in our favor.

Both our regular and experimental systems came up with a season high number of selections.  Let’s get down to business fun and reveal this week’s selections

 

PiRate Ratings Regular Selections

 

10-point Teaser

3-Team Parlay

10-12

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Michigan St.

Indiana

1

Michigan St.

Oklahoma St.

Kansas St.

14 1/2

Kansas St.

Ohio St.

Nebraska

7

Ohio St.

10-point Teaser

3-Team Parlay

10-12

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Iowa St.

Baylor

13

Baylor

Iowa

Middle Tenn.

13 1/2

Iowa

Notre Dame

Virginia

2 1/2

Notre Dame

10-point Teaser

3-Team Parlay

10-12

Team

Team

Total

Pick

Nebraska

Ohio St.

56 1/2

Over

Maryland

Penn St.

51 1/2

Over

Oklahoma St.

Kansas St.

70 1/2

Under

13-point Teaser

4-Team Parlay

10-13

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

UCLA

Arizona

6 1/2

Arizona

Cincinnati

Marshall

17

Marshall

South Carolina

Kentucky

16

Kentucky

Oklahoma

Texas Tech

14

Oklahoma

Money Line

Single Games

Upset Picks

WIN

LOSE

Spread

Pick

Marshall

Cincinnati

+160

Marshall

Duke

Virginia Tech

+120

Duke

Kansas St.

Oklahoma St.

+165

Kansas St.

Baylor

Iowa St.

+130

Baylor

North Carolina St.

Florida St.

+210

North Carolina St.

NFL Games

10-point Teaser

3-Team Parlay

10-12

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Pittsburgh

Cincinnati

14 1/2

Cincinnati

Baltimore

Cleveland

17

Cleveland

Chicago

Minnesota

12 1/2

Minnesota

10-point Teaser

3-Team Parlay

10-12

Team

Team

Total

Pick

Green Bay

Philadelphia

36

Over

Houston

Carolina

57 1/2

Under

Cleveland

Baltimore

55 1/2

Under

10-point Teaser

3-Team Parlay

10-12

Team

Team

Total

Pick

Washington

NY Giants

59 1/2

Under

Kansas City

Detroit

44 1/2

Over

New England

Buffalo

32

Over

10-point Teaser

3-Team Parlay

10-12

Team

Team

Total

Pick

Atlanta

Tennessee

56

Under

Dallas

New Orleans

37

Over

Minnesota

Chicago

48 1/2

Under

 

 

Davey19

 

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

California

Arizona St.

5

Arizona St.

Utah

Washington St.

6

Washington St.

Virginia Tech

Duke

3

Duke

Florida St.

North Carolina St.

7

North Carolina St.

Minnesota

Purdue

1

Minnesota

Stanford

Oregon St.

4 1/2

Oregon St.

Ohio St.

Nebraska

17 1/2

Nebraska

Cincinnati

Marshall

4

Marshall

Appalachian St.

Coastal Carolina

16

Coastal Carolina

Team

Team

Total

Pick

Washington

USC

61

Under

Arizona St.

California

42

Under

Auburn

Mississippi St.

47 1/2

Under

Indiana

Michigan St.

44 1/2

Under

Rutgers

Michigan

49

Under

Old Dominion

East Carolina

48

Under

Wisconsin

Northwestern

47

Under

Central Michigan

Western Michigan

60

Under

Indianapolis

Oakland

44 1/2

Over

Note: Check back with us on Friday.  We just may have another special or specials for you, but nothing like what we have issued in the past.  We are looking at a money line parlay or two that could produce odds of better than +500, and another one at odds of better than +1500!  And, best of all, neither the Miami Dolphins nor the UMass Minutemen have to win to make these selections pay off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 8, 2019

PiRate College Football Ratings: September 9, 2019

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:00 pm

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Friday

September 13

Home

Visitors

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Wake Forest (x)

North Carolina

2.0

0.5

0.8

Boston College

Kansas

15.2

13.8

16.4

Houston

Washington St.

-14.3

-12.3

-12.0

 

 

Saturday

September 14

Home

Visitors

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Georgia

Arkansas St.

34.6

32.3

35.2

Mississippi St.

Kansas St.

9.4

4.9

9.1

West Virginia

North Carolina St.

2.9

2.5

1.5

Penn St.

Pittsburgh

12.8

12.2

13.3

Illinois

Eastern Michigan

12.5

13.4

11.0

Indiana

Ohio St.

-11.3

-11.3

-12.9

Temple

Maryland

-4.7

-5.5

-2.5

Cincinnati

Miami (O)

15.9

16.0

15.3

Colorado

Air Force

3.6

2.2

3.1

Ball St.

Florida Atlantic

-0.1

0.4

-0.9

Notre Dame

New Mexico

40.1

35.2

40.6

Central Michigan

Akron

-1.3

-0.7

-1.2

South Carolina

Alabama

-20.5

-18.1

-21.4

Central Florida

Stanford

8.7

8.7

10.1

BYU

USC

-2.0

-3.3

-2.7

UTSA

Army

-22.9

-20.5

-23.1

Tulsa

Oklahoma St.

-16.6

-16.6

-15.2

Minnesota

Georgia Southern

17.7

17.9

17.2

Northwestern

UNLV

29.5

26.3

28.5

South Alabama

Memphis

-24.9

-20.8

-27.0

Navy

East Carolina

5.3

6.1

5.2

Arkansas

Colorado St.

20.7

17.2

19.6

Michigan St.

Arizona St.

14.8

15.4

14.8

Louisville (n)

Western Kentucky

8.5

7.1

5.7

Iowa St.

Iowa

-4.0

-1.4

-3.9

California

North Texas

19.7

20.5

20.4

Bowling Green

Lousiana Tech

-8.2

-7.9

-7.8

Liberty

Buffalo

2.3

2.7

1.2

Charlotte

Massachusetts

19.4

17.0

20.3

Troy

Southern Miss.

2.8

6.0

1.6

Marshall

Ohio

-0.4

0.3

-0.7

Auburn

Kent St.

34.3

31.8

33.2

Kentucky

Florida

-8.8

-7.1

-9.0

Middle Tennessee

Duke

-9.5

-9.8

-9.1

SMU

Texas St.

19.2

17.4

19.7

Western Michigan

Georgia St.

12.5

9.5

13.5

Washington

Hawaii

19.1

16.4

20.6

Syracuse

Clemson

-24.9

-21.7

-25.6

Virginia

Florida St.

9.0

9.2

9.4

Purdue

TCU

11.0

7.1

10.4

UCLA

Oklahoma

16.1

-15.4

-16.7

New Mexico St.

San Diego St.

-18.4

-18.2

-18.7

Rice (n)

Texas

-32.9

-31.1

-33.2

Nebraska

Northern Illinois

13.3

16.0

12.5

Arizona

Texas Tech

-3.8

-4.0

-2.6

 

(x) The North Carolina vs. Wake Forest game does not count as an Atlantic Coast Conference Game.  It is a non-conference game and will have no effect on the conference standings.

(n) The Rice and Texas game will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston.  Even though Rice is in Houston, we expect more Texas fans at this game and thus have it listed as no home field advantage for Rice.

The Louisville and Western Kentucky game will be played at Nissan Stadium in Nashville and is a true neutral site game.

 

FBS vs. FCS

Home

Visitor

PiRate

Tennessee

Chattanooga

24

Virginia Tech

Furman

26

Georgia Tech

The Citadel

31

Coastal Carolina

Norfolk St.

27

Ole Miss

SE Louisiana

26

Miami (Fla.)

Bethune-Cookman

36

Oregon St.

Cal Poly

16

Utah

Idaho St.

35

Wyoming

Idaho

28

South Florida

South Carolina St.

23

Texas A&M

Lamar

39

Nevada

Weber St.

13

Florida Int’l.

New Hampshire

16

Toledo

Murray St.

27

LSU

Northwestern St.

50

Missouri

SE Missouri St.

34

Louisiana

Texas Southern

39

Tulane

Missouri St.

28

Boise St.

Portland St.

34

Oregon

Montana

29

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

 

American Athletic Conference

East Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

AAC

Overall

Central Florida

111.4

110.5

112.7

111.5

0-0

2-0

Cincinnati

104.8

103.1

104.7

104.2

0-0

1-1

Temple

102.6

101.4

103.9

102.6

0-0

1-0

South Florida

90.7

91.7

91.0

91.1

0-0

0-2

East Carolina

84.9

87.0

84.6

85.5

0-0

1-1

Connecticut

74.2

78.3

73.0

75.2

0-0

1-1

 

 

West Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

AAC

Overall

Memphis

103.8

103.3

104.9

104.0

0-0

2-0

SMU

100.8

100.1

101.4

100.8

0-0

2-0

Tulane

98.9

99.3

99.3

99.2

0-0

1-1

Houston

95.8

97.0

98.5

97.1

0-0

1-1

Tulsa

92.5

93.1

93.4

93.0

0-0

1-1

Navy

87.1

90.1

86.7

88.0

0-0

1-0

AAC Averages

95.6

96.2

96.2

96.0

 

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

ACC

Overall

Clemson

133.8

130.2

134.5

132.9

1-0

2-0

Syracuse

105.9

105.6

105.9

105.8

0-0

1-1

Boston College

104.8

104.5

105.5

104.9

1-0

2-0

North Carolina St.

103.5

103.5

104.3

103.8

0-0

2-0

Wake Forest

103.6

102.9

103.9

103.5

0-0

2-0

Florida St.

102.9

103.2

102.7

103.0

0-0

1-1

Louisville

95.5

94.9

94.3

94.9

0-0

1-1

 

 

Coastal Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

ACC

Overall

Miami (Fla.)

109.4

108.5

110.5

109.5

0-1

0-2

Virginia

108.9

109.4

109.1

109.1

1-0

2-0

Pittsburgh

105.8

105.3

105.2

105.4

0-1

1-1

Virginia Tech

104.6

104.8

104.9

104.8

0-1

1-1

North Carolina

103.1

103.9

104.6

103.9

1-0

2-0

Duke

103.7

103.1

103.4

103.4

0-0

1-1

Georgia Tech

99.0

97.1

99.5

98.5

0-1

1-1

ACC Averages

106.0

105.5

106.3

105.9

 

 

Big 12 Conference

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

B12

Overall

Oklahoma

120.4

119.4

120.1

120.0

0-0

2-0

Texas

112.1

111.9

111.8

111.9

0-0

1-1

Baylor

111.6

111.8

111.3

111.6

0-0

2-0

Iowa St.

110.2

110.6

110.1

110.3

0-0

1-0

Oklahoma St.

110.1

110.7

109.6

110.1

0-0

2-0

Kansas St.

110.1

110.0

109.9

110.0

0-0

2-0

Texas Tech

107.6

107.9

106.7

107.4

0-0

2-0

West Virginia

103.5

103.0

102.8

103.1

0-0

1-1

T C U

101.3

105.1

101.7

102.7

0-0

1-0

Kansas

92.6

93.7

92.1

92.8

0-0

1-1

Big 12 Averages

107.9

108.4

107.6

108.0

 

 

Big Ten Conference

East Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

BTen

Overall

Ohio St.

124.9

123.2

125.3

124.5

0-0

2-0

Michigan

119.3

117.2

119.6

118.7

0-0

2-0

Michigan St.

117.8

117.5

118.2

117.8

0-0

2-0

Penn St.

116.6

115.6

116.4

116.2

0-0

2-0

Indiana

110.6

108.8

109.4

109.6

0-0

2-0

Maryland

109.8

109.4

108.9

109.4

0-0

2-0

Rutgers

92.0

92.0

91.6

91.9

0-1

1-1

 

 

West Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

BTen

Overall

Wisconsin

116.8

116.5

116.7

116.7

0-0

2-0

Iowa

115.2

113.0

115.1

114.4

1-0

2-0

Northwestern

110.9

109.9

109.9

110.2

0-0

0-1

Minnesota

110.5

109.9

109.3

109.9

0-0

2-0

Purdue

109.4

109.2

109.0

109.2

0-0

1-1

Nebraska

105.4

106.8

104.8

105.7

0-0

1-1

Illinois

98.7

99.8

97.8

98.8

0-0

2-0

Big Ten Averages

111.3

110.6

110.9

110.9

 

 

Conference USA

East Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

CUSA

Overall

Marshall

93.3

92.9

94.4

93.5

0-0

1-1

Middle Tennessee

91.6

90.8

91.9

91.4

0-0

1-1

Florida Int’l.

89.7

89.4

90.0

89.7

0-1

0-2

Florida Atlantic

89.8

88.9

90.3

89.7

0-0

0-2

Western Kentucky

86.9

87.8

88.6

87.7

1-0

1-1

Charlotte

86.8

87.2

87.1

87.0

0-0

1-1

Old Dominion

77.6

78.0

77.8

77.8

0-0

1-1

 

 

West Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

CUSA

Overall

Southern Miss.

94.8

92.2

95.0

94.0

0-0

1-1

North Texas

91.7

90.9

92.4

91.7

0-0

1-1

Louisiana Tech

89.1

88.7

88.9

88.9

0-0

1-1

U A B

85.5

87.2

86.1

86.3

0-0

2-0

Rice

79.2

80.8

78.5

79.5

0-0

0-2

Texas-San Antonio

76.6

79.1

76.1

77.2

0-0

1-1

U T E P

66.7

72.2

67.1

68.6

0-0

1-1

CUSA Averages

85.7

86.2

86.0

85.9

 

 

FBS Independents

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

Conf.

Overall

Notre Dame

120.4

118.6

120.4

119.8

x

1-0

BYU

102.2

102.1

102.2

102.2

x

1-1

Army

101.9

102.0

101.7

101.9

x

1-1

Liberty

86.9

88.0

86.9

87.2

x

0-2

New Mexico St.

76.9

79.1

76.5

77.5

x

0-2

Massachusetts

69.9

72.7

69.3

70.6

x

0-2

Indep. Averages

93.0

93.7

92.8

93.2

 

 

Mid-American Conference

East Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

MAC

Overall

Ohio

96.7

95.6

98.1

96.8

0-0

1-1

Miami (Ohio)

90.4

88.7

90.9

90.0

0-0

1-1

Buffalo

87.1

87.8

88.2

87.7

0-0

1-1

Kent St.

85.7

85.9

86.1

85.9

0-0

1-1

Akron

79.8

80.1

79.6

79.8

0-0

0-2

Bowling Green

77.8

77.7

78.0

77.9

0-0

1-1

 

 

West Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

MAC

Overall

Western Michigan

98.2

96.8

98.3

97.8

0-0

1-1

Northern Illinois

95.0

93.8

95.3

94.7

0-0

1-1

Toledo

91.4

91.6

92.5

91.8

0-0

0-1

Eastern Michigan

89.2

89.4

89.8

89.5

0-0

1-1

Ball St.

87.2

86.8

86.9

87.0

0-0

1-1

Central Michigan

76.0

76.9

75.9

76.2

0-0

1-1

MAC Averages

87.9

87.6

88.3

87.9

 

 

Mountain West Conference

Mountain Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

MWC

Overall

Utah St.

106.1

104.9

107.5

106.1

0-0

1-1

Boise St.

106.0

105.3

106.3

105.9

0-0

2-0

Air Force

97.9

99.2

98.7

98.6

0-0

1-0

Wyoming

96.4

98.6

97.0

97.3

0-0

2-0

New Mexico

83.3

86.4

82.7

84.2

0-0

1-0

Colorado St.

80.5

84.8

80.7

82.0

0-0

1-1

 

 

West Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

MWC

Overall

Fresno St.

99.8

100.4

100.5

100.2

0-0

0-2

San Diego St.

97.8

99.7

97.7

98.4

0-0

2-0

Hawaii

97.1

99.0

96.5

97.5

0-0

2-0

Nevada

91.4

93.1

91.2

91.9

0-0

1-1

U N L V

84.4

86.6

84.3

85.1

0-0

1-1

San Jose St.

82.6

84.6

81.7

83.0

0-0

1-1

MWC Averages

93.6

95.2

93.7

94.2

 

 

Pac-12 Conference

North Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

P12

Overall

Oregon

116.1

116.1

117.2

116.5

0-0

1-1

Washington St.

113.1

112.3

113.5

113.0

0-0

2-0

Washington

112.2

111.4

113.1

112.2

0-1

1-1

California

108.4

108.4

109.9

108.9

1-0

2-0

Stanford

106.2

105.3

106.1

105.9

0-1

1-1

Oregon St.

94.8

96.1

93.6

94.8

0-0

0-2

 

 

South Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

P12

Overall

Utah

116.5

114.8

116.7

116.0

0-0

2-0

U S C

107.2

108.4

107.9

107.9

1-0

2-0

Arizona St.

106.0

105.0

106.4

105.8

0-0

2-0

U C L A

101.3

101.0

100.4

100.9

0-0

0-2

Arizona

100.8

100.9

101.0

100.9

0-0

1-1

Colorado

100.1

99.9

100.3

100.1

0-0

2-0

Pac-12 Averages

106.9

106.6

107.2

106.9

 

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

SEC

Overall

Georgia

125.4

123.4

125.8

124.9

1-0

2-0

Florida

120.2

117.3

119.2

118.9

0-0

2-0

Missouri

114.4

111.8

114.5

113.6

0-0

1-1

South Carolina

112.3

110.9

112.3

111.8

0-0

1-1

Kentucky

108.3

107.2

107.2

107.6

0-0

2-0

Tennessee

106.3

106.0

104.7

105.7

0-0

0-2

Vanderbilt

103.1

101.9

102.0

102.3

0-1

0-2

 

 

West Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

SEC

Overall

Alabama

135.8

132.0

136.7

134.8

0-0

2-0

L S U

125.9

123.2

124.7

124.6

0-0

2-0

Texas A&M

118.8

117.2

117.7

117.9

0-0

1-1

Auburn

117.0

114.8

116.3

116.0

0-0

2-0

Mississippi St.

116.4

111.9

116.0

114.8

0-0

2-0

Ole Miss

102.8

102.0

101.8

102.2

1-0

1-1

Arkansas

98.2

98.9

97.3

98.2

0-1

1-1

SEC Averages

114.6

112.7

114.0

113.8

 

 

Sunbelt Conference

East Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

SBC

Overall

Appalachian St.

105.0

103.1

104.2

104.1

0-0

2-0

Georgia Southern

95.8

95.0

95.0

95.3

0-0

1-1

Troy

95.1

95.7

94.1

95.0

0-0

1-0

Georgia St.

88.7

90.3

87.8

88.9

0-0

2-0

Coastal Carolina

83.4

84.6

82.5

83.5

0-0

1-1

 

 

West Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Average

SBC

Overall

Louisiana

94.9

95.2

94.3

94.8

0-0

1-1

Arkansas St.

93.7

94.1

93.6

93.8

0-0

1-1

Louisiana-Monroe

90.6

91.4

90.8

90.9

0-0

1-1

Texas St.

84.1

85.2

84.2

84.5

0-0

0-2

South Alabama

76.4

80.0

75.4

77.3

0-0

1-1

SBC Averages

90.8

91.5

90.2

90.8

 

 

Conference Power Ratings

#

League

Average

1

SEC

113.8

2

BTen

110.9

3

B12

108.0

4

P12

106.9

5

ACC

105.9

6

AAC

96.0

7

MWC

94.2

8

Ind

93.2

9

SUN

90.8

10

MAC

87.9

11

CUSA

85.9

 

Top 5 Group of 5

1

Central Florida

2

Utah St.

3

Boise St.

4

Cincinnati

5

Appalachian St.

 

This Week’s Bowl Projections

This week’s bowl projections finds an uncanny nine bowl spots needing at-large teams.  With Tennessee, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and South Carolina struggling, and with Missouri ineligible for a bowl, the SEC could field just eight bowl eligible teams.  Alabama, LSU, Georgia, and Florida could all be in a NY6 bowl, which means the SEC could fall five teams short fulfilling their bowl agreements.

 

Bowl

Conf

Conf

Team

Team

Bahamas

MAC

CUSA

Miami (O)

Marshall

Frisco

AAC

At-large

Houston

[Colorado]

Cure

AAC

SBC

Cincinnati

Arkansas St.

New Mexico

CUSA

MWC

Louisiana Tech

San Diego St.

Boca Raton

AAC

MAC

Memphis

Ohio

Camellia

MAC

SBC

Northern Illinois

Louisiana

Las Vegas

MWC

Pac-12

Boise St.

USC

New Orleans

CUSA

SBC #1

North Texas

Troy

Gasparilla

AAC

CUSA

[Buffalo]

Charlotte

Hawaii

BYU/MWC

AAC

Hawaii

SMU

Independence

ACC

SEC

Wake Forest

[Southern Miss.]

Quick Lane

ACC

Big Ten

Miami (Fla.)

Nebraska

Military

ACC

AAC

Syracuse

Temple

Pinstripe

ACC

Big Ten

Boston College

Maryland

Texas

Big 12

SEC

Texas

Mississippi St.

Holiday

Pac-12

Big Ten

Washington

Iowa

Cheez-It

Big 12

Pac-12

Oklahoma St.

Arizona St.

Camping World

ACC

Big 12

Virginia

Iowa St.

Cotton

At-large

At-large

Central Florida

Georgia

First Responder

CUSA

Big 12

UAB

[Nevada]

Redbox

Pac-12

Big Ten

Washington St.

Minnesota

Music City

SEC

ACC

[Western Michigan]

Virginia Tech

Orange

ACC

BTen/SEC

Notre Dame

Florida

Belk

ACC

SEC

North Carolina

[Purdue]

Sun

ACC

Pac-12

North Carolina St.

Oregon

Liberty

Big 12

SEC

Kansas St.

[Army]

Arizona

SBC

MWC

UL-Monroe

Wyoming

Alamo

Big 12

Pac-12

TCU

California

Citrus

SEC

BTen/ACC

Michigan St.

Texas A&M

Outback

Big Ten

SEC

Penn St.

Kentucky

Rose

Big Ten

Pac-12

Wisconsin

Utah

Sugar

Big 12

SEC

Baylor

LSU

Birmingham

AAC

SEC

[Georgia Southern]

[Liberty]

Taxslayer/Gator

SEC

Big Ten

Auburn

Michigan

Idaho Potato

MAC

MWC

Eastern Michigan

Utah St.

Armed Forces

Big Ten

MWC

Indiana

Fresno St.

Dollar General

MAC

SBC

Toledo

Appalachian St.

 

 

FBS PLAYOFFS

Fiesta

Top 4

Top 4

Alabama

Clemson

Peach

Top 4

Top 4

Ohio St.

Oklahoma

 

 

Champsionship

Fiesta

Peach

Alabama

Ohio St.

 

 

Teams in [Brackets] are at-large selections

 

Heat on a Seat and Hot Coaches

Look all over the Internet, and listen all over sports talk radio this week, and you will hear about college football coaches on the way to unemployment. In Knoxville, Tennessee, the talk isn’t if second year Volunteer coach Jeremy Pruitt will be ousted at the end of the season, it’s whether he can make it to November. Pruitt doesn’t have the talent on either side of the ball to compete, and he should get more time to turn things around on Rocky Top, but the fans might not allow this to happen.

Making things a little worse for Pruitt, former coach Urban Meyer made statements about how the Volunteers should be a top 10 program. Might Meyer be already campaigning for this job as insurance in the event that Clay Helton builds on his 2-0 start at USC and keeps his job?

Willie Taggart was about to join Pruitt at the very hottest of the seats, but his Florida State Seminoles survived an overtime scare to beat Louisiana-Monroe. Playing at Virginia may be a tough pill for Seminole fans to swallow. If Florida State loses this game, that will make the Seminoles 6-9 in Taggart’s year and a quarter in Tallahassee. FSU could be headed to their worst back-to-back records since Darrell Mudra went 4-18 in 1974 and 1975.

Chip Kelly’s UCLA offense looks weaker than the end of the Karl Dorrell era in Westwood. Will the Bruin fans allow another year of this if UCLA falls to 6th in the South Division? Neither Cincinnati nor San Diego State are juggernauts, as the Bearcats fell 42-0 to Ohio State, while San Diego State had narrowly edged Weber State the week prior.

There three coaches appear to have the hottest seats in college football, but what about the opposite end of the equation? Which coaches are the hottest commodities at this point of the season? Who might be a head coach in 2020 at a bigger program than where he is now?

I have broken this down into four categories. The lowest on the food chain are the handful of FCS head coaches that might move up. The past record is so-so when a champion FCS coach moves to FBS. For every Jim Tressel and Bobby Bowden, you have coaches that totally flamed out when moving up. Wyoming is hoping that Craig Bohl proves to be a better hire than Joe Glenn. Glenn was the hottest FCS coach when the Cowboys hired him away from Montana following a 39-6 three-year record. Glenn went 30-41 in Laramie. Bohl came from North Dakota State, where he won three consecutive FCS Championships, and so far he is 30-35 at Wyoming, but 24-17 in his last three years and two games.

Second on the list are the coordinators at some successful FBS programs. Some of the best college head coaches ascended to their jobs from coordinator positions. Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma, Ryan Day at Ohio State, and Kirby Smart at Georgia were coordinators at big time programs before becoming head coaches.

Third on the list are current head coaches at FBS schools in line to move to a bigger and better program. These can be both Group of 5 and Power 5 coaches.
Finally, there are some (one) currently out of coaching coaches. This person may be working for Fox Sports today. He claims he has retired, but until he is out of the game for a few years, nobody believes this.

Here’s the PiRate 2-deep of coaches. These 22 could improve a downtrodden program.

Category 1: Current FCS Head Coaches

Many of the top FCS teams in 2019 have first or second year coaches, because their program has produced new hires elsewhere. In addition, some of the remaining great FCS coaches are at a point in their careers where they are not going to have a chance to be hired at the FBS level, or they have previously failed as an FBS coach.
There are three prime coaches in this level that the PiRate Ratings believes can move to FBS and succeed.

1.Jay Hill, Weber State: Hill is 44 years old and has many coaching years left in his career. He’s spent most of his career in the State of Utah, having been an assistant with the Utes. At Weber State, he’s made the playoffs three years in a row, and his Wildcats have won consecutive Big Sky Conference titles. If a Group of 5 job opens out west, like New Mexico or UTEP, Hill could be in line to get a FBS job.

2. Brian Bohananon, Kennesaw St.: At 48, Bohannon is nearing the time where he will have to make the move up to FBS or be content to remain in FCS football. He won immediately after building this program up from scratch, and KSU almost won at Kent State this past weekend. The one possible issue is that Bohannon is a triple option style coach coming from the Paul Johnson coaching tree. KSU averaged more than 350 yards per game on the ground last year, and the service academies and Georgia Tech proved you can win at the FBS level with this offense. Will fans of a school concur?

3. Bob Surace, Princeton: Are you looking for another Urban Meyer in the making? Surace’s Princeton teams have been big-time spread offense powerhouses. The Tigers could run for 300 and pass for 200 yards a game, and that’s a hard task to stop. Princeton went 10-0 last year, beating 9-1 Dartmouth in the top Ivy League game in 30+ years. At 51, 2020 is probably the end of the line for getting a job at an FBS school. He could be in line for an AAC or MAC job if one became available.

Category 2: Current FBS Coordinators

This list is usually the longest of the categories, but this year it is number two. There are a handful of coordinators that appear to be on the radar to move up to the head position.

4. Bob Shoop, Mississippi State DC: Age may hamper his efforts to land a head coaching job, as he’s 53 and would be 54 in 2020. He was head coach at Columbia for three years and only went 7-23, but Columbia has been the bottom feeder of the Ivy League for almost 60 years. Winning in any sport in upper Manhattan is nearly impossible. Shoop should be judged on his excellent defensive work with Boston College, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Tennessee, and Mississippi State. State led the SEC in scoring and led the nation in total defense last year and finished second in the nation in scoring defense. With LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn, and Kentucky on the schedule, that’s quite a feat.

5. Chris Long, Notre Dame OC: Long produced big numbers in his one year as OC at Memphis before coming to South Bend to run the Irish offense. In 2017, he helped the Irish offense roll up more than 440 total yards and 34 points per game with dual threat QB Brandon Wimbush. Last year, the Irish made the playoffs with pro-style QB Ian Book guiding the team to 31 points and 440 yards of offense. Notre Dame has a history of moving coordinators to head coaching hires at other schools, but it’s been a mixed bag at best. You may not know the name John Ray. He may have had the brightest star of any past Irish coordinator, after his defense led Notre Dame to the 1966 national championship while giving up less than four points per game. He was hired to turn Kentucky back into a big time football program and in four years, Ray went 10-33 in Lexington and 4-24 in the SEC. Giving up 58 points to a mediocre Indiana team in his debut set the stage for four years of despair at Stoll Field. Long is just 36 years old, so he’s got additional time to prove himself.

6. Alex Grinch, Oklahoma DC: Grinch is in his first year at Oklahoma after spending time as Urban Meyer’s DC at Ohio State. If Oklahoma shows any improvement defensively this year, the Sooners are a threat to win it all, and Grinch would become a hero ready to take over a team of his own.

7. Dave Aranda, LSU DC: Prior to this year, LSU had to rely on stingy defense and conservative offense to win games. Coach Ed Orgeron has opened up the offense in 2019, and quarterback Joe Burrow is slinging the ball all over the yard. This has led to a great 2-0 start for the Tigers, but it means that Arranda’s defense must play extra snaps. There were some incredible and some not so incredible results against Texas, and there will probably be some issues stopping top notch offenses remaining on the schedule, but LSU has the talent and coaching to compete with Alabama and Georgia for the SEC Championship. If Arranda’s defense produces a “Chinese Bandits” year in Baton Rouge, look for another school to come calling to make him the head coach.

8. Brent Venables, Clemson DC: Where not going to kid you about this; Venables is number one with a bullet among this category. If Clemson should run the table again this year, Trevor Lawrence and the offense will get most of the credit. However, Clemson finished number one nationally last year in scoring defense and number five in total defense. The Tigers had to reload on the stop side of the ball, as that incredible front four of 2018 closed up their college careers. In two games into the new season, Clemson has given up just 12 points per game. Before coming to Clemson, Venables ran the defense at Oklahoma, and defense slowly disappeared in Norman after he left.

 

Category 3: Current FBS Head Coaches at Power 5 Schools

9. Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia: Virginia had fallen on hard times with seven losing season in eight years under former coaches Al Groh and Mike London. After a rough first year in Charlottesville, Mendenhall began to produce magic like he did at BYU. Bryce Perkins may be the best QB in the ACC not named Lawrence, and Virginia is the current favorite to win the Coastal Division title. Mendenhall is 53 and maybe on the upper limits of his being able to move to another school, but if his alma mater comes knocking, he could take the Oregon State job.

10. Matt Rhule, Baylor: Baylor was in dire straits following all the damage done by former coach Art Briles. The Bears had moved into the top 10 on an annual basis before the bottom fell out in the wake of a sexual assault scandal. After a 1-11 debut in Waco, Rhule turned things around and guided Baylor to a 7-6 season and Texas Bowl win last year. His team is 2-0 to start this season, and they Bears are now a strong contender for the second spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. Rhule turned the program around at Temple before coming to Baylor, and he was 20-7 in his final two years in Philadelphia, including a win over Penn State. Rhule could be the answer at a bigger Power 5 school. Or, he could take Baylor back to where it was at the beginning of this decade.

11. Matt Campbell, Iowa St.: Campbell’s name has been rumored at USC, and it was rumored at Ohio State, but he’s more likely to stay at Iowa State until a top 10 program comes along and seeks his services. Even if the USC job should become available, his name might not be “sexy” enough for the Socal fanatics. Campbell has done an incredible job in Ames, even beating Oklahoma in Norman. His Cyclones have a big game this week in the annual Cy-Hawk Trophy game with rival Iowa. If ISU wins this one, they must be considered a top contender along with Baylor for the second spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. Add a 35-15 record with two divisional titles at Toledo, and Campbell’s resume is as good as any other potential candidate for a top 5 program.

12. Mark Stoops, Kentucky: It was expected that Kentucky would struggle to win six games and return to a bowl in 2019, after the Wildcats had their best year in 41 seasons in 2018. With the loss of the best player in college football, as well as their only sure offensive weapon, the Wildcats figured to struggle and have a difficult time staying out of the SEC East cellar. But, after two games, this Kentucky team looks as strong as last year’s edition, and with issues at Tennessee, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt, UK could find itself in the race for the number two spot in the division with Florida and Missouri. If Stoops guides the ‘Cats to another 10-win season, a giant may throw enough money to get him to move on. It worked rather well for two past coaches that succeeded in Lexington. Bear Bryant won national championships at Alabama, while Blanton Collier won an NFL Championship with the Cleveland Browns.

Category 4: Current Head Coaches at Group of 5 FBS Schools

13. Luke Fickell, Cincinnati: The Bearcats might be the only team in the AAC East that can give Central Florida a scare, and UC has produced past head coaches that went elsewhere and won, like Mark Dantonio and Brian Kelly. Sid Gillman was once the Cinti head coach before making a name for himself in the American Football League with the Chargers. On the other hand, Butch Jones did not fare well at Tennessee after leading this school, and the father of the triple option, Homer Rice, never won again after leaving UC for Rice and then coming back to coach the Bengals for two years. Fickell might get a chance to coach in the Big Ten down the road if he can put together a few more seasons like 2018.

14. Josh Heupel, Central Florida: Heupel replaced Scott Frost in Orlando, and the Golden Knights have continued to win using a totally different style of play. If Heupel can run the table at UCF this year and then beat a big program in the Cotton Bowl, he could be in line for a job at a Power 5 school. If for some reason Lincoln Riley takes an NFL job as has been hinted, Heupel could easily be the man his alma mater looks for as the replacement.

15. Mike Norvell, Memphis: Norvell has done more than maintain the success that Justin Fuente had at Memphis. He’s come extremely close to winning the AAC Championship. His Memphis teams have been Central Florida’s number one nemesis, and UCF had to rally twice last year to beat the Tigers as it did in the 2017 AAC Championship Game. Norvell has experience as an assistant in the Pac-12, and if a Pac-12 job other than USC became available at the end of the year, he’d have to be a contender.

16. Willie Fritz, Tulane: Fritz has been a winner at every stop along the way in his career. He guided Tulane to a bowl win last year, the first time the Green Wave had won a bowl in 16 years. He won 18 games in two years at Georgia Southern including the Eagles’ first ever bowl win before coming to New Orleans, and prior to that, he went 40-15 at Sam Houston and 97-47 at Central Missouri. He’s the second oldest candidate on this list at 59, so he’d be quite a stretch for a Power 5 school to hire. He might be more suited to a place like one of the service academies if a job opens, as his offensive style includes a lot of the option game.

17. Jeff Monken, Army: If you like Fritz, then you must love Monken. Monken was the option guru at Georgia Southern prior to Fritz, when the Eagles were still in the FCS. He went 38-16 at GSU, which included playoff appearances in the three years that they were eligible before transitioning to FBS. Monken turned Army around quickly, and his triple option offense and tough defense could work in the FBS, just like it did for his mentor Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech. A school like Vanderbilt might succeed with this strategy if the Commodores have an opening. Or, Monken could get a financial promotion to coach at a Group of 5 school in a conference, where he would have a chance to compete for a New Year’s Six Bowl. UTEP or Connecticut might be willing to take a chance.

18. Seth Littrell, North Texas: Now, let’s go to the other end of the spectrum. Littrell is an Air Raid coach, and he’s going to be missing the pilot of his offense when Mason Fine graduates at the end of this school year. North Texas has been quite entertaining to watch in Littrell’s time in Denton. While the OC at North Carolina, he tutored Mitch Trubisky and left Chapel Hill for this job following an 11-3 season that has not been matched since he moved on. A school like Illinois or Rutgers might be interested in him if they have to hire a coach in 2020.

19. Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan: Winning at EMU is one of the toughest assignments an FBS coach can undertake. Between 1975 and 2013 (1975 was their first as D1), EMU made it to one bowl game. Between 1990 and 2013, EMU had one winning season. Since Creighton came to Ypsilanti, the Eagles have had two winning seasons and two bowl appearances in the last three years. Creighton had to earn his way to FBS Football. He began at NAIA Ottawa College and then moved to D3 Wabash. He won 6 championships in 11 years below the D1 level. He took over at FCS Drake in 2008 and took the Bulldogs to a 41-22 record in six years there. This man can re-tool a program from the bottom up and should get a chance to coach at an FBS school. He’s 50, so his time is now. If EMU gets to another bowl this year, some school will most likely offer him a substantial raise. He’s a natural for a Big Ten or Big 12 job.

20. Jason Candle, Toledo: The MAC always has future Power 5 coaches roaming the sidelines, and Candle must be considered a prime suspect to make that move up, just like his predecessor, Campbell. At 39, he’s still got something to prove at Toledo, but the Rockets are always fun to watch, and this could attract schools that are having issues selling tickets.

21. Craig Bohl, Wyoming: Bohl is 24-17 in his last three years and two games in Laramie. He was 104-32 in 11 years at North Dakota State, which ended with three FCS National Championships in a row. His number one issue is the same as Fritz’s; he’s 61 and most likely won’t be approached by a major program. Still, he could be a short-time answer at a Big 12 or Pac-12 school, and Bill Snyder showed you can coach well into your 70’s. He could easily finish his career with 10 years of service.

22. Nick Rolovich, Hawaii: It might be hard to convince a coach to leave the Elysian Fields to coach on the more stressful Mainland. Rolovich has returned Hawaii to the status it enjoyed June Jones. Jones left Hawaii for SMU, and it may or may not have been the right move. Rolovich has little experience with any big time coaches that you could call mentors. He was an assistant for one year under Chris Ault at Nevada plus three years under Brian Polian. So, his name is not going to win any press conferences. Look at Hawaii’s stats under Rolovich. Some school might like 400 passing yards and 38 points per game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 12, 2019

2019 FBS Independents Preview

Note: There isn’t much to preview about the 2019 FBS Independents, so today you get a little incite about how these ratings began and how the Independents of football began to see the light about the weaknesses of not having conference affiliation.

This is the 150th year anniversary for college football.  Yours truly vividly remembers the 100th year anniversary in 1969.  That’s the year these ratings were born.  At the time, I was sort of enamored with Ohio State University and Coach Woody Hayes.  He was dedicated to perfecting what he thought was the way to win football.  Having watched the Buckeyes defeat O.J. Simpson and the USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl the season before, I expected Ohio State to challenge the 1944 and 1945 Army teams for best in the history of the game.

On October 11, 1969, Ohio State faced a ranked Michigan State team that had just lost a close game to Notre Dame.  The Buckeyes had begun the season with slaughters over TCU and Washington.  This was the fateful Saturday that led to the creation of the PiRate Ratings.

On that Saturday, Ohio State took care of business by running the Spartans into the ground and winning by more than 30 points.  Then, something incredible happened that night.  My hometown team, the school where multiple family members attended, Vanderbilt hosted Alabama at Dudley Field.  Vanderbilt was 0-3, and ‘Bama was 3-0.  Led by sophomore phenom and future head coach Watson Brown, Vanderbilt beat Alabama 14-10 in the greatest upset of the season.

The following Monday, I went to school and a teacher asked me what I thought about the weekend’s games.  On the playground, when we played touch football, we chose teams.  We called my team “Ohio State,” while the other team called themselves “Penn State,” because Alabama was no longer worthy of being good enough.

There was an argument that day.  Which team was better–Ohio State or Penn State?  Both teams won every game the year before.  Both teams had won every game so far this year, and both teams had just easily defeated ranked teams on that Saturday.

I went home the following day to read the old Nashville Banner newspaper, an afternoon publication.  The AP and UPI top 20 rankings were in the sports pages of that day’s paper.  The entire top 10 featured undefeated teams.  Among the teams besides Ohio State and Penn State were Texas and Arkansas from the Southwest Conference, UCLA and USC from the Pac-8 Conference, and Tennessee, LSU, and Florida from the SEC.  The other team was Missouri, a team that had just creamed Michigan and Nebraska.

I looked at the rankings and then glanced over at the “Litratings.”  The Litratings were a ratings system compiled by Dr. Edward Litkenhous, a famed Vanderbilt engineering professor.  In the days before computers, there were three alternatives to the AP and UPI rankings.  They were Dunkel, Carr, and Litkenhous.  The Nashville Banner carried the Litratings, as Dr. Litkenhous personally delivered his ratings to the paper every week.

I began comparing scores and opponents of the top 10 teams.  It was crude, but I basically started this to show my friends why Ohio State was the best team in college football, and that Penn State was not even as good as any of those undefeated conference teams.

The rest of the season, I happily compiled new top 10 rankings based on my crude mathematical knowledge, and each week through the middle of November, Ohio State was still the best team.  There were just four teams remaining that were unbeaten and untied–Ohio State, Penn State, Texas, and Arkansas.  On that next Saturday, Michigan gave Ohio State a spanking in Ann Arbor.  Seeking revenge for a 50-14 defeat in Columbus the year before, the Wolverines’ defense was superb, and the Buckeyes’  season ended at 8-1 and no chance for a national championship.

Meanwhile, Texas and Penn State slaughtered and shut out their opponents, while Arkansas beat a better quality opponent in SMU.  So, who was the top team in the nation?  My personal ratings said that Penn State was a tad better than Texas and Arkansas.  Once tied USC and once beaten LSU were just a tad behind.

Penn State closed out the regular season with two convincing road victories over mediocre teams, one over rival Pittsburgh and one over North Carolina St.  Arkansas and Texas both easily handled mediocre Southwest Conference teams.

Penn State accepted the Orange Bowl bid for the second year in a row.  They could have accepted a bid to the Cotton Bowl to play the Arkansas-Texas winner, but at the time they had to vote, Ohio State was still undefeated and a win over Michigan would clinch the national title.  The Buckeyes could not play in the Rose Bowl that year, because the Big Ten still did not allow teams to play in Rose Bowls in consecutive seasons.  They would be 9-0 and undisputed national champions with a win over Michigan.

Additionally, this was just six years after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, and a lot of people from outside the South and Southwest thought of Dallas as an outlaw town where the 1960s were not that much different than the 1860s.  Some of the African-American players on the Penn State team did not want to go to Dallas, so the team voted to return to Miami on New Year’s Day.  Their opponent would be 9-1 Missouri, the team that slaughtered Michigan earlier that season.

Did Penn State have a legitimate claim to the national title?  I thought they did.  Their offense was solid but not spectacular, even though they had three running backs that would play in the NFL, including future all-pros Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell.  It was the Nittany Lions defense and special teams that made this team so special.  The defense gave up fewer points than the defense and special teams scored or set up.

It wasn’t the Associated Press, United Press International, Dunkel, Carr, or Litkenhous that made the decision on which team would win the national championship.  President Richard Nixon proclaimed that the winner of the December game between Arkansas and Texas in Fayetteville, Arkansas, would be the national champion.  He even planned to be there in person to present the trophy to the winner.

Until the early 1970’s, it was the norm for the national championship to be awarded before the bowl games.  The bowl games were considered rewards for great seasons and not like postseason play.  So, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for the national champion to be crowned after the conclusion of the regular season.

That first Saturday in December of 1969, the home team Razorbacks quickly scored two touchdowns to lead 14-0.  It looked like Arkansas was going to win its third national title of the 1960s, as they won a piece of the 1964 and 1965 titles in split decisions.  This would be their first consensus championship, and Coach Frank Broyles would probably take over the title of greatest current college coach.

Texas was on the verge of being defeated.  The Longhorns had an 18-game winning streak on the line as well as the national championship.  The fourth quarter started with Arkansas still ahead 14-0, and the Razorback defense had solved the triple option that no other opponents could stop.  Texas quarterback James Street was not your typical wishbone quarterback.  He was a decent passer, and Royal decided that the Longhorns would have to start passing the ball, something the wishbone offense was not meant to do other than the occasional surprise play-action pass.

Street dropped back to pass, while the Arkansas pass rush forced him to scramble to avoid a 10-yard sack.  Somehow, a small pocket opened, and Street took off down the right sideline for a touchdown.  Royal decided to go for two, and a counter option run was successful to make the score 14-8.

With less than five minutes left in the game, and the score still 14-8 in favor of the Razorbacks, Texas was in deep trouble.  Facing a fourth down and three on their side of the 50 yard line, Coach Darrel Royal decided to gamble and go for the first down.  They came out in their wishbone offense, and Arkansas bunched up with nine defenders near the line of scrimmage.  Not only was Royal ready to gamble, he figured that even if the Longhorns powered for the three yards and a first down, they could not keep the ball on  the ground and score the winning touchdown with so little time left.

Royal called for the play-action long bomb off the option fake.  Street faked to his fullback running into the line and continued to option the Arkansas defensive end–for two steps.  Then, he quickly dropped back three steps and fired the ball long and high into the air.  At the other end of the play, receiver Randy Peschel had maybe a half-step on two Arkansas defenders.  The ball came out of the sky into Peschel’s arms inside the Razorback 15 yard line.  Arkansas was stunned.  They were in place to stop all three phases of the triple option and then run the clock out to play LSU in the Cotton Bowl, the team that had upset them in the Cotton Bowl just four years before.  Alas, neither team would spend New Year’s in Dallas.

Texas ran two plays and scored a touchdown on a counter dive.  The extra point put the Longhorns up 15-14 with just over three minutes to play.

The game wasn’t over.  Unlike Texas, Arkansas ran a pro-style offense, and Quarterback Bill Montgomery had a dangerous receiver in Chuck Dicus.  The Razorbacks quickly drove into Longhorn territory.  They needed one more first down to get into legitimate field goal range with a chance to win the game in the final seconds.  Montgomery rolled out to throw toward Dicus, but the toss was a little off target, and Texas intercepted the pass to clinch the game.

The Longhorns were given the trophy by President Nixon.  It appeared that they would now play 9-1 LSU in the Cotton Bowl, and my ratings would actually make LSU a small favorite.

Except it didn’t happen.  After decades of not permitting the football team to play in bowl games, the elders at Notre Dame decided that it was now okay.  LSU was in essence uninvited to the Cotton Bowl, and a weaker Notre Dame team was invited in their place.  Meanwhile, LSU was now shut out of a bowl, as Ole Miss had already accepted the Sugar Bowl bid when it appeared that LSU was Dallas-bound.

In the bowl games, Texas struggled to beat Notre Dame in what was basically a Longhorn home game.  Irish quarterback Joe Theismann shredded the Texas secondary for well over 200 passing yards, and Texas had to come from behind to win.

At the same time, Ole Miss, led by Archie Manning, beat Arkansas in a mild upset in the Sugar Bowl.  The Rebels had ended the season on a hot streak, having also giving Tennessee and LSU their only regular season losses.  Still, the Southwest Conference teams did not look to be as strong as the poll-voters believed.

That evening, Penn State played a Missouri team that averaged over 40 points per game and held the Tigers to one field goal.  They won only 10-3, but the defense intercepted Missouri quarterback Terry McMillan seven times (he threw just six interceptions in the 10 regular season games).

So, who was the best team in 1969?  Was it Penn State or Texas or maybe even another team?  My ratings said that Penn State was the best team, but I also had LSU number two and USC and Texas tied at number three.

Penn State would enjoy undefeated seasons in 1968, 1969, and 1973 and not win the national championship in any of those years.  The 1973 team finished at the top of my ratings.  The poll voters favored conference teams, and except for Notre Dame, an Independent had to win every game convincingly to win a national title.  Syracuse in 1959 dominated all 11 opponents to win only a split decision, as once-beaten Ole Miss from the SEC received more #1 honors that year.

In 1969, the centennial year for college football, 27 major college teams played as independents.  West Virginia finished 10-1 losing only to Penn State, the Mountaineers just barely made the final top 20.  Houston finished 8-2 in the regular season and also just barely made the top 20 prior to bowl season.  The Cougars then totally thrashed Auburn in the Bluebonnet Bowl to earn some respect.

50 years later, there are just six independent football schools left.  Notre Dame can remain an independent and thrive.  The Irish have their exclusive NBC TV contract.  They can steal a bowl bid from the ACC in a sweetheart arrangement, where they can finish leap over any ACC team that has one more win than they have.

BYU left the Mountain West Conference with aspirations of joining the Pac-12 or Big 12, but they were left at the altar.  The Cougar football program has contracted in recent years.  It won’t be a surprise if they try to return to the Mountain West in three or four years.

Army does not need to join a football conference.  Although their two military rivals belong to conferences, the Black Knights can remain independent and survive by doing what they have been doing for the last few years.  Navy actually has regressed since joining the American Athletic Conference.

As for Massachusetts, Liberty, and New Mexico State, they have to wait until the next round of cannibalism from the Power 5 conferences.  If the AAC loses a team or two, UMass and Liberty could be in line to replace them.  If the Mountain West loses a team to Pac-12 or Big 12 expansion, maybe NMSU could get in as a replacement, or maybe if BYU returns to the MWC, the Aggies can be the 14th members.

There is no such entity as a media poll for the FBS Independents.  Therefore, we will show you how 10 of the most reputable computer forecasters believe.  We are not vain enough to include ourselves in these 10 ratings, plus you will see our ratings below as well.

 

10 Computer Gurus Poll of FBS Independents
Pos. Team 1st Place Votes Overall Votes
1 Notre Dame 9 59
2 Army 1 51
3 BYU 0 38
4 Liberty 0 32
5 New Mexico St. 0 17
6 Massachusetts 0 13

 

Here are the preseason  PiRate Ratings for the FBS Independents.

 

Preseason PiRate Ratings–FBS Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame 121.4 119.1 121.9 120.8
Army 102.6 102.7 102.4 102.6
BYU 101.8 101.7 102.0 101.8
Liberty 87.9 89.6 88.4 88.6
New Mexico St. 77.8 81.2 77.6 78.8
Massachusetts 73.5 76.8 73.1 74.5
 

 

Indep. Averages 94.2 95.2 94.2 94.5

Note:  These preseason ratings are accurate as of August 1, 2019, and subject to change before the first week of the season due to personnel changes prior to the first week of the season.

 

Predicted Won-Loss Records

The PiRate Ratings were not created to forecast won-loss records like other ratings might attempt.  Our ratings are valid for just the next game on the teams’ schedules, and we have pre-set adjustments built into our ratings on many teams.  For instance, if a team has exceptional starting talent but little depth, their rating has a pre-set reduction per week of the season, so that even if they win or lose a game by the exact expected margin, they will lose some of their power rating due to their depth issues.

If a team has exceptional, but inexperienced talent, their rating will have a pre-set addition per week of the season, and even if their performance may be exactly what was expected, their power rating will rise.

What you see in these predicted won-loss records are our opinion and not calculated from the ratings.  These are the estimated records based on a vote, with the Captain having 50% of the vote and the crew having the other 50%.  The Captain then rounded up or down those teams picked to have an average wins that were not whole numbers.

 

PiRate Members Predicted Won-Loss
Pos Team Won-Loss
1 Army 11-2
2 Notre Dame 10-2
3 BYU 8-4
4 Liberty 7-5
5 New Mexico St. 2-10
6 Massachusetts 2-10

 

 

Bowl Predictions

Hawaii BYU
Orange Notre Dame
Cotton Army (top G5 team)
 

 

Also Bowl Eligible
Liberty

 

 

Coaches That Could Move to Power 5 Conferences

Jeff Monken, Army

Hugh Freeze, Liberty

 

Coaches On The Hot Seat

Kelani Sitake, BYU

Doug Martin, New Mexico St.

 

Top Quarterbacks

Ian Book, Notre Dame

Zach Wilson, BYU

Kelvin Hopkins, Army

 

Best Offense

Army

Notre Dame

Liberty

 

Best Defense

Notre Dame

Army

BYU

Coming Tomorrow: The American Athletic Conference–still the #1 Group of 5 conference

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