The Pi-Rate Ratings

December 9, 2019

NFL Schedule Recommendation

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , — piratings @ 3:37 pm

The NFL has discussed contracting the number of games in the preseason, while possibly adding extra games to the regular season schedule and increasing the number of teams in the Playoffs.  Us PiRates here on the SS Buckaroo believe we can solve all the problems and make it a win-win for owners, players, and fans alike.  Here is our PiRate Principles for the NFL’s future.

  1. Reduce the number of preseason games from 4 to 2

  2. Make training camp 6 weeks long with preseason games during week 3 and week 4.  Then, teams can practice for another week after their second preseason game before making final cuts.

  3. Expand Rosters to 60 players with 3 active quarterbacks in that group of 60

  4. A practice or taxi squad of 7 players would be allowed.

  5. Expand the regular season to 17 games, with the extra game played at neutral sites.  This would allow teams to play in London, Toronto, and Mexico City without losing home games.  Other incredible venues where there is no pro football team could be Lincoln, NE, San Antonio, Iowa City, IA, Louisville, KY, Birmingham, AL, Knoxville, TN, State College, PA, Ann Arbor, MI, Columbus, OH, South Bend, IN, basically any 80,000 seat plus venue.  The Falcons and Titans could probably fill up Legion Field in Birmingham.  The Bears and Colts could definitely fill up Notre Dame’s stadium.

  6. This 17th game would be an inter-conference game.

  7. Make the playoffs a full 16 teams with the 4 division winners hosting the next 4 teams with winning records.  This could still be played out in four games like the wildcard and two division winners must play in both conferences.

Look for updated NFL Ratings Tuesday morning, including a plethora of what if playoff situations.

Our PiRate Bowl Coverage will publish Saturday, December 14, after the Army-Navy game has concluded.

August 24, 2019

A Great Compromise For The NFL

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:47 am

As Week Three of the NFL Preseason continues today, the hot topic among the NFL teams, media, and fans is the preseason itself.  Four preseason games are definitely too many in the 21st Century.  With mini-camps and organized team activities, NFL football does not need more than a month of preseason preparing for the regular season.

At one time, NFL teams played six preseason games and then played a 12-game regular season.  It expanded to six preseason and 14 regular season games in 1961 (1960 in the American Football League).  When the NFL schedule expanded to 16 games in 1979, the preseason shortened to the four games we have now.  So, this current formula has been in place for 40 years.

The owners believe that any reduction in preseason games should be accompanied by an increase in regular season games.  The players don’t believe an 18-game regular season schedule is such a good idea, as injuries are considerably more prevalent the more games they play.  With an 18-game regular season, some players will play 22 regular season games if they make the Super Bowl as a Wildcard.

Obviously, the NFL owners will not agree to removing two preseason games with no extra regular season games.  The players may not agree on the 18-game schedule either.

Here’s our compromise proposal.  Remove two preseason games, which means just one home game per team, and replace it with just one extra regular season games.  That means the regular season would be 17 games.  How could we favor an odd number of games, since that would mean half the league would play nine home games and the other half eight.  Wouldn’t that give the half with nine home games a big advantage?

That’s not what we are proposing.  What we propose is that this 17th game would be played at a neutral site.  There are many excellent college football venues and bowl sites that do not host NFL football.  How would a Dallas-Houston game at the University of Texas play in Austin?  What about the Steelers and Eagles playing at Penn State in Happy Valley?  Or, consider the Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals playing at the University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium?

Opening pro football to all these other markets would grow the brand nationally like playing in London has internationally.  Games in London, Madrid, Paris, Rome, and Munich could be schedules as neutral site games rather than home games.  The NFL could add Mexico City, Honolulu, Tokyo, and Melbourne to its regular season schedule.

What would be done with the extra week of the season when the schedule reduced from 20 different weeks to 19?  Throw in a second bye week for every team and construct schedules that give teams an off week following their neutral site game.

If this plan were put in place, the NFL season would begin tomorrow, Sunday, August 25.

August 2, 2019

PiRate Ratings Ready To Go Live

Ahoy Mates!  The PiRates have returned from sea this summer and are ready to hoist the football flag on terra firma for 2019-2020.

It took us a bit longer this year with added data hopefully allowing us to refine our preseason ratings’ process.  After more than 100 days of work, we finally have preseason ratings for the 130 FBS teams.

As we have done every year, we will begin previewing the conferences daily from the lowest rated to the highest rated.  Here is the schedule for each of the previews.

Day Date Conference Preview
Friday Aug 9 Conference USA
Saturday Aug 10 Mid-American
Sunday Aug 11 Sun Belt
Monday Aug 12 Mountain West
Tuesday Aug 13 Independents
Wednesday Aug 14 American Athletic
Thursday Aug 15 Atlantic Coast
Friday Aug 16 Pac-12
Saturday Aug 17 Big 12
Sunday Aug 18 Big Ten
Monday Aug 19 Southeastern

Then, on Tuesday, August 20, we will debut our spreads for games involving FBS teams up through Labor Day.  There will be two FBS games on Saturday, August 24, and then the first real week of the season takes place over the Labor Day Holiday Weekend from August 29 through September 2.

As always, we are constantly updating our preseason ratings throughout August as news becomes available concerning personnel changes.  If you are a fan of the Connecticut Huskies, your team has undergone some serious roster moves since the end of Spring Practice, and you have seen some key personnel decide to transfer.

There are also a handful of players that might be awarded immediate eligibility after transferring to a new FBS school.  One or two teams could see a jump of more than one ratings’ point if certain players receive immediate eligibility. allow schools to trade players if both schools have an immediate need for the other school’s player, while their current school has no immediate availability?


Some Fun Stuff To Ponder

What if the NCAA allowed schools to trade players if both schools have an immediate need for the other school’s player, while their current school has no immediate need for said players?

Can you imagine if a school like Ohio State had a third string quarterback that would not see meaningful minutes, while they needed a flanker to replace a 1st round draft pick, and then a school like Washington State had seven capable receivers and no quarterback?  What if Ohio State and Washington State could make a trade so that the third string QB at Ohio State can now become the starter at Washington State, while the number five receiver at Washington State can now become the starting flanker with the Buckeyes?

It might have been crazy to consider this 10 years ago, but who knows what the future might bring with players now winning appeals for immediate eligibility for some of the most outlandish reasons like having a disagreeable dormitory environment.  If both of our imaginary players wanted to transfer but were not graduates with immediate eligibility, might the NCAA see merit in allowing two players that would rarely see the field to become starters at another school?

Thanks to your comments to us from our other website, something has been circulating this summer among many of you concerning what will happen with the FBS Playoffs when the current contract expires. This topic has wings.  There has been appreciable mumbling coming forth from the movers and shakers in the college football world.

The former big-time New Year’s Day bowls (Sugar, Cotton/Fiesta, Rose, and Orange) have seen historic low ratings in the years they were not part of the Semifinals of the Playoffs.  The key bowls this year will be played on Saturday, December 28, and the Cotton and Orange Bowls will not be played on New Year’s Day.

These once major epic festivals are almost like the football equivalent of the NIT, and the bowl sponsors are not happy.  The Tournament of Roses Committee is really not happy with their historically low TV ratings, and it has not just affected the game, but the ratings for the parade have been off as well.  I am sure they’d gladly take the old arrangement of the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions and distance themselves from the Playoffs altogether, like they did when the Bowl Coalition did not include the Rose Bowl conferences.  An undefeated Rose Bowl champion would easily be able to claim a national title without appearing in the playoffs, just like Notre Dame won numerous national titles long before they appeared in bowl games.  The Associated Press has awarded National Championships for years, and the national champion in multiple years did not appear in a bowl game.

When the next Playoff contract commences in 2026, you can bet that there will be more than four teams in the playoffs.  It could be six, eight, 12, or 16.  The major bowls will demand that their game stays vitally important every year.  With six teams, five bowls would be needed, but there are six heavyweights, so one would be left out each year.

With eight teams, seven bowls would be needed, which would satisfy the needs of the Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta, and Peach every year.  The seventh site could rotate among the other bowls, throwing a one-time bone to the Citrus, Outback, Holiday, Sun, Alamo, and one or two additional bowls.

At 12 or 16 teams, first round games could be played on the home field of the higher-seeded teams before progressing to the bowls.  This would most likely signal the end of conference championship games, but you could see where the big-time schools would gladly give up conference championship games for playoff games.

There is one other topic that has been circulating in college football fan talk this summer, and that is the idea of a Super Football Division consisting of the top 32 programs.  As an example, the top 32 football powers could form their own conference and play only against each other with a super TV contract and NFL-style playoffs based on standings and not the vote of a Committee.  The talk is that these 32 programs could make so much money in football, that they could fund all their other sports and sort of secede from the current NCAA Division 1.  What this would lead to would be the end of Alabama playing Western Carolina in November and Michigan State playing Western Michigan in September.  Instead, there would be weekly games like  Alabama versus Oklahoma, and Ohio State versus Clemson.  All these super schools would play in stadiums with 75,000 to 110,000 seats.  The TV contract would be more like the NFL at its peak.  Imagine a 12-team NFL style playoff with the top superpowers of the gridiron?

This has been rumored for about a quarter century.  Originally, this idea was brushed aside when the major conferences began to expand.  The current belief is that if any conference expands again, they will only do so to bring in teams from outside their current conference media markets.  In other words, The Big Ten would not want Iowa State with Iowa already in the league.  They might want Oklahoma or Oklahoma State but not both, because those rivals come from the same media market.

Likewise, the SEC would not want to add Clemson or Florida State, as they already have South Carolina and Florida.  However, they would gladly take Virginia Tech and one of the Oklahoma schools.

The organic progression would seem to indicate that in the future, one of the Power 5 conferences could fold and its teams would merge into one of the other majors, and there would be four, 16-team super conferences.  However, the media market expansion would not work, because there would be multiple teams from some states, like Texas, and not enough super conferences to join.  Therefore, it is our belief that the only logical solution to this matter is for the top 32 football programs to go at it on their own.  The current Division 1 could be altered from FBS and FCS to 1 A, 1 AA, and 1 AAA.  The 1 AAA would be the top 32 teams.  The 1 AA would be the current remaining 98 FBS plus the top 30 FCS programs that could now compete without the 32 powers.  1 AAA would be all the remaining teams, and then some D2 and NAIA schools might wish to move up.

An NFL Fan Sent This To Us

One of our biggest fans at this site (we didn’t receive permission from him to name him), opined that there could be more than one NFL team trying to position themselves to be 0-16 in 2020.  Much like the Indianapolis Colts tanking to “Suck for Luck,”  the new slogan we have given this is: “Be Clever and Suck for Trevor.”  Trevor Lawrence will be draft eligible in April of 2021.

That doesn’t mean that there won’t be a nice group of available quarterbacks in 2020, as Tua Tagovailoa, Sam Ehlinger, Jake Fromm, Justin Herbert, and others will be available.  However, Lawrence might be the best QB prospect since John Elway, so the stakes will be high in 2021, and it is likely that the team with the worst record in 2020 could be playoff bound by 2022 and Super Bowl worthy by 2023 and for the next 15 years after that.  Teams like Buffalo, Miami, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Oakland/Las Vegas, and Arizona could be in position to sell off one or two key players and be in position to lose big in 2020.  A team like Green Bay or New Orleans could decide to blow up their aging rosters and be terrible for one year, but it would be the right one year.

Looking For The Next Tom Brady

As much as the Colts benefited from drafting Andrew Luck, they have run out of it in January.  Meanwhile, the almost forgotten draft pick  at #199 in 2000, the inimitable Tom Brady, must keep remodeling his home to store all the hardware he has accrued.

Is there a potential second or third day draft quarterback from this year’s crop that could be the diamond in the rough like Touchdown Tom?

We think there is, and ironically, he hails from Brady’s alma mater.  Shea Patterson might be available into the 5th round, because this next class of quarterbacks is full of very good but not superior guys.  The quantity might eventually prove to be greater than the quality, but we see Patterson as flying under the radar.  He has all the tools needed to play at the next level, and we believe his best ability is still to emerge.  Patterson plays in an offense that will not allow him the opportunity to throw the ball 400+ times in 12 games, but what he does with the 350 or so passes should show the right NFL team that he is worth making a late second day or early third day pick on him.

September 9, 2015

Fixing The NFL Schedule

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , — piratings @ 5:44 am

Those of you that have followed the PiRate Ratings for more than a year may remember that we had a novel idea about how to add one regular season NFL game to the schedule while removing one preseason game.  Today, we refine that idea just a tad and re-issue it so that the newcomers to this site can read it and pass it along to the sports talk shows in their markets.  Last year, when this article first ran, we had responses from several dozen readers telling us (through the contact page at  they loved this idea and planned to share it on their local sports talk radio programs.

The problem with the NFL preseason is that it is one week too long.  That is the opinion of many involved in the league, be it players, coaches, front office personnel, the media, the league office, and especially the fans.  Paying for 10 games on a season ticket package when 20% of those games are virtually worthless is a major rip-off.

The catch to removing a preseason game is that the owners will not give up revenue.  Something has to replace it.  Obviously, since there have been 20 total guaranteed games for every NFL team for more than 45 years, the owners are not going to sacrifice 5% of their gate just to do the right thing.  No, that 20th game would have to continue to be a part of the schedule.  The only logical thing to do would be to add a 17th regular season game.

This, of course, brings up a concern.  With 17 regular season games, the schedule would then become unfair to the 16 teams that would face a slate of eight home games and nine away games.  Certainly, this would not work, because it would skew the schedule in favor of the 16 teams with the nine home games, while forcing the unlucky 16 teams to continue to play two preseason games at home.

What if the NFL decided to take that 17th regular season game and make it a neutral site game?  There are several large venues throughout the United States, as well as in other countries, where fans would pack the house to see any two NFL teams square off in a game that counts.  How would a game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers do at the Swamp at the University of Florida in Gainesville?  Or, how about a Philadelphia-Pittsburgh game at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium?  What about a game in Vancouver?  How about one in football crazy Birmingham, or Austin, Texas?

There are more than enough large venues to rotate a regular season game with a preseason game so that owners could keep those 20 dates while eliminating one preseason home game that fans would not be forced to buy to keep their season ticket.  The 17th regular season neutral site games would make more money for the owners than the 4th preseason game, and by holding the game in a city without an NFL team, the NFL brand expands and becomes even more popular than it is now.

We believe there are two excellent options to implement this 17th regular season game.  Option one would be to pair off teams from opposite conferences and make them permanent rivalry games.  For instance, you would pair the Jets with the Giants, the Texans with the Cowboys, the Eagles with the Steelers, the Raiders with the 49ers, the Chiefs with the Rams, and so on.  However, this brings up two issues.  First, there are teams with no legitimate rivals in the opposing conference.  Second, in every four year period, all AFC teams will have played all NFC teams due to the schedule.  So, every fourth year, the natural rivals are going to play.  It would be foolish for the Eagles and Steelers to play twice in the same season with one game being a neutral site game.

Our other option, and the one we prefer is for this game to be an interconference game set in the same manner that the extra two intraconference games are decided today–by the standings.  Take the interconference divisional matchups for two years in advance and then pair the teams off by how they finished in the standings the previous season.  For instance, this year the AFC East plays the AFC South, while there is one game against the AFC North and one game against the AFC West determined by last year’s standings.  Since New England finished first last year, the Patriots play the teams that finished first in the North (Pittsburgh) and in the West (Denver).

The AFC East also plays the NFC East this year.  Two years down the road, the AFC East plays the NFC South.  So, for the Patriots, their 17th game opponent would have been the first place team from last year’s NFC South, the Carolina Panthers.  This 17th game would be played on a neutral site.

Here is a theoretical look at how that 17th game would look if it had been implemented this season.  First, we kept three games in London.  We added a game back to Toronto, but not with Buffalo.  We then added games to Montreal, Vancouver, Mexico City, Paris, Rome, Munich, Madrid, Tokyo, and Melbourne.  Of course, there are two fantastic venues in Los Angeles that are not adequate for  regular use, but fantastic for one game.

Remember that these game number 17’s are not scheduled on the same week.  Just like now, when three games are played in London, they are not played in London on the same week.  Take a look at this schedule of extra games.


Buffalo New Orleans London
Miami Atlanta Munich
New England Carolina Mexico City
New York Jets Tampa Bay Rome
Baltimore New York Giants Toronto
Cincinnati Philadelphia Tokyo
Cleveland Washington Madrid
Pittsburgh Dallas Ann Arbor, MI
Houston Detroit London
Indianapolis Green Bay Honolulu
Jacksonville Minnesota London
Tennessee Chicago Melbourne
Denver Seattle Rose Bowl–Pasadena, CA
Kansas City Arizona Paris
Oakland St. Louis Vancouver
San Diego San Francisco Los Angeles Coliseum

August 26, 2009

The PiRates Have Come Ashore For The 2009-10 Football Season

Filed under: College Football, Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:44 am

The PiRates Have Come Ashore For The 2009-10 Football Season

Come Aboard The PiRate Ship at

Ahoy there mates!  After a summer of mayhem and merriment on the high seas, the PiRates are rested and ready to hoist the pigskin flag to the top.  Yes, we are back for a new season.  We have some exciting changes to tell you about, and it includes more in-depth coverage college and the NFL. 

First and foremost, we will produce complete ratings for both college and professional football this season.  As a result, the Pro Football Computer Simulation League has folded after two seasons.  It monopolized the available time even with five of us here to serve you. 

The next big change concerns the PiRate Ratings for the NFL.  Prior to this season, these ratings were calculated with set mathematical formulae which could be easily reproduced if you had the formula.  These ratings were no different than about three dozen other retrodictive ratings available on the Internet.  Starting this season, the NFL PiRate Ratings are based on very similar information to the college ratings.  The ratings are purely predictive and have both human input and computerized formulae in their calculation. 

There’s one more change.  The PiRates have launched a webpage, and through that webpage, you will be able to receive our top picks of the week for college and pro football.  What you do with that information is your choice, and we do not condone wagering with real money.  We do not wager real money here, but we do use our picks to participate in legal contests that require no investment.  We won’t kid you with scam advertisements telling you that you are guaranteed to win and you can move on a game like it has already been played.  We won’t have 16 different wagering plans (like the 4-star play of the week and the guaranteed lock of the week) where we can toot our horn weekly when one or two of them outperform the average and the others lose.  What we will present will be what we ourselves use in our contests.  This will include straight plays, teasers, and money line picks.  For what it’s worth, we have been keeping records since 1981, and in that time, these weekly picks have beaten the spread just over 58% of the time.  In those 28 seasons, we have beaten the magical number of 52.4% (what it takes to earn a profit) 24 times.  

Last year, our college picks for the regular season finished 71-51-5 for 58.2%.  Our NFL picks finished 47-35-3 for 57.3%.  We did not issue playoff picks officially, but for what it’s worth we called the Super Bowl almost exactly the way it played out.  Our pick was 27-25 Pittsburgh and the exact score was 27-23.  Our founder believed the game would have an outstanding chance of going to overtime, and the Steelers were one play away from having to kick the tying field goal in the final minute when they were trailing 23-20. 

We’ll start the season by previewing each of the NCAA FBS conferences, followed by a preview of the eight NFL divisions.  The first PiRate Picks will run in early September.  This blog will contain the ratings for all 120 FBS and 32 NFL teams.  For college, we’ll include the old mean ratings.  For the NFL games, we’ll include the mean and the bias ratings just like last year. 

The new webpage will exclusively allow you to see our weekly picks. 

Are you ready for some football?

Blog at