The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 15, 2022

Pac-12 Preview

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

With apologies to William Shakespeare, Alas poor Pac-12. I knew the league, football lovers. No, this conference hasn’t been dead for many years like Yorick in Hamlet, but the league isn’t far from having last rites administered if it cannot find a way to partly replace UCLA and USC when the two most important members leave for the Big Ten.

San Diego State and Fresno State might stop some of the leakage. There has been talk that the league might go after Houston and SMU to get some of the Dallas and Houston markets, but neither team commands huge numbers of the two largest cities in the Southwest.

What this league must worry about is that potentially eight of the remaining teams could try to leave this league.

2022 might produce some irony. In recent seasons, there has been too much parity to produce one undefeated team. In fact, there has never been an undefeated Pac-12 team in the regular season, not even in conference play only. The last time a team ran the table in the league and in the regular season, the league was the Pac-10, when Oregon played Auburn for the National Championship in 2010.

There is a team capable of ending that 12 year drought. Read on to see which team it is. The other big news is that the league has eliminated the two divisions.

Preseason PiRate Ratings For Pac-12 Conference

TeamPiRateMeanBiasAverage
Utah116.4114.9118.3116.5
Oregon111.6111.3110.8111.2
U C L A108.5108.4110.1109.0
Oregon St.107.1106.5107.7107.1
U S C105.3106.1106.1105.8
Washington104.1104.9105.4104.8
Arizona St.104.0104.0105.3104.4
Stanford103.7100.9101.7102.1
Washington St.100.9101.5101.7101.4
California97.698.099.098.2
Colorado98.496.697.697.5
Arizona94.094.093.994.0
Pac-12104.3103.9104.8104.3

Pac-12 Official Preseason Media Poll

Votes
#Team1st PlaceOverall
1Utah26384
2Oregon2345
3USC5341
4UCLA0289
5Oregon St.0246
6Washington0212
7Washington St.0177
8Stanford0159
9California0154
10Arizona St.0123
11Arizona086
12Colorado058

The PiRate Ratings are designed to look at just the next week’s schedule of games and not to use to look forward. Nevertheless, here are the predicted won-loss records for the league.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

Pac-12ConfOverall
Utah9-013-0
Oregon8-110-3
UCLA7-210-2
USC6-38-4
Washington5-47-5
Oregon St.5-48-4
Washington St.4-56-6
Arizona St.4-56-6
Stanford3-64-8
California1-83-9
Arizona1-82-10
Colorado1-81-11

August 9, 2022

2022 Conference USA Preview

Conference USA has been the weakest FBS league the last few years, and it looks to be on the verge of getting even weaker.  When the league sponsored its first football season, the football members were Cincinnati, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, South Florida, Southern Miss., Tulane, and UAB.  Over the course of its early years, Central Florida, East Carolina, SMU, TCU, and Tulsa were members.

Of the original teams, only UAB remains, but the Blazers are leaving the league to join the American Athletic Conference in 2023.  Going with UAB will be Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice and UTSA.  Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky almost made the move to the Mid-American Conference.  The league stayed alive by getting Liberty and New Mexico State to come in from the ranks of the independents while inviting current FCS members Jacksonville State and Sam Houston to enter next year.

CUSA lost Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss. to the Sun Belt, and thus the league will have just one division of 11 teams this year.  The top two in the conference standings will meet in the Conference Championship Game.

The CUSA Media poll did not record total vote numbers, just first place votes and predicted order of finish.  Here is how the media picked the race in 2022.

Conference USA
Votes
#Team1st PlaceOverall
1UTSA14
2UAB8
3Western Ky.0
4Fla. Atlantic0
5North Texas0
6UTEP0
7Charlotte0
8Middle Tenn.0
9Louisiana Tech0
10Rice0
11Fla. Int’l.0

The opening PiRate Ratings differ minimally.

Conference USA
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAverage
U A B97.397.599.198.0
W. Kentucky96.496.099.097.1
U T S A97.195.396.696.4
North Texas88.687.889.988.8
U T E P86.986.487.186.8
Middle Tennessee85.686.786.886.4
Florida Atlantic85.387.285.686.0
Charlotte82.983.982.383.0
Rice81.280.680.180.6
Louisiana Tech80.281.978.780.3
Florida Int’l.67.070.165.367.5

CUSA86.286.786.486.4

If you are new to the PiRate Ratings, there are three different power ratings and an average of the three.  All three ratings, PiRate, Mean, and Bias, are calculated using the same statistical data but with different algorithmic formulas.  The PiRate and Bias are closely related, while the Mean is somewhat different.  Each of the three different ratings accentuate certain statistical events that have proven at times to be more essential than the other two.  Thus, in some years, the PiRate has more success.  In some years, the Bias has more success, and in some years the Mean has more success.
The PiRate Ratings are meant to predict the next week’s games on the schedule, so using them to predict the entire season’s results is unwarranted.  Nevertheless, here are the predicted won-loss records prior to the postseason.

TeamCUSAOverall
Western Kentucky *7-111-2
UAB7-19-4
UTSA7-18-4
UTEP6-28-4
North Texas4-45-7
Middle Tenn.4-45-7
Florida Atlantic3-54-8
Charlotte3-54-8
Louisiana Tech2-63-9
Rice1-72-10
Florida Int’l.0-81-11

* Western Kentucky picked to defeat UAB in the CUSA Championship Game

Note: UAB head coach Bill Clark retired due to health issues this Summer, and offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent has been named interim head coach.

Coming tomorrow: The Mid-American Conference

August 8, 2022

The PiRates Are Leaving The Port For 2022-23

It’s Football Time In Tennessee! Actually it’s football time everywhere, but when you live in the Volunteer State and spent 30+ years listening to the radio play-by-play GOAT, John Ward, say that phrase 11 or 12 times a season, it becomes the adrenaline boosting tagline to put one in the mood for “THE SPORT” that matters.

College football as we know it has reached the dawn of evolutionary change. Massive restructuring of the game is forthcoming, and some of that change will be apparent this season, as the Sun Belt Conference has more teams at the expense of Conference USA. With Texas and Oklahoma possibly becoming SEC members as early as next season, and USC and UCLA making the move to the Big Ten, there are a couple more major dominoes that could fall and send the conventional football alignment falling en masse.

I have tried to stay in the loop with more than a dozen insider contacts developed from my years in sports journalism in radio, TV, and in print. There are many differing opinions about what could happen and what they have heard is in the works. However, nearly every one of them agree on one thing: everything is in a holding pattern concerning the move beyond 16 teams in the Big Ten and SEC, until Notre Dame learns what their potential media contract will be and what the Big Ten media contract will be.

Notre Dame is getting $22 million from NBC and $12 million from the ACC. Next year, the final year of that contract with NBC, it will rise by $2.5 million. The Big Ten is being rumored to distribute possibly $1.2 billion in media revenue share. Notre Dame is seeking $75 million a year from NBC to renew the contract. If the offer is not in that ballpark, the Irish are likely to bite the bullet and join the Big Ten. One or two Southern insiders believes Notre Dame has not completely eliminated the possibility of seeking SEC membership, but my Midwest contacts say that their fan base will demand Big Ten membership so that travel will be minimized.

Let me address something else that has come to my attention. In various ways, I receive comments from others asking what I think about the big conferences forcing the small private schools out of their leagues. It usually goes something like, “Why does the SEC allow Vanderbilt to remain in the conference, when they sponge millions of dollars and don’t contribute much to the total pot?”

Three private schools have departed the SEC through the last eight decades. Sewanee, Georgia Tech, and Tulane left on their own account. Tech and Tulane would gladly return to the league today if they could. Vandy is not leaving the SEC, and the SEC is not kicking the Commodores out either. Even though all this realignment and expansion is 100% about football, and Vanderbilt football is basically a perpetual expansion team, their value to the conference comes in multiple essential ways. First, the league now considers Nashville their most essential city in their footprint. The 2023 Football Media Days will relocate from Atlanta to the Music City. The league’s annual postseason men’s basketball tournament is under contract for Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for many years to come. Yes, the Tennessee Vols are the top college team in the city, but Knoxville is 185 miles to the east.

There is another major reason that every conference wants to have a private school as a member. When every conference member is a public institution, then the entire league is subject to open records laws. With just one private school in the league, that school closes those records. The SEC isn’t going to give up their covert operating methods.

Now for the real reason that 99% of you come to this site to read. Beginning Tuesday, August 9, 2022, the annual PiRate Ratings’ Conference Previews will begin posting here one league at a time, debuting in order of lowest-ranked conference to highest-ranked conference.

Here is the schedule for each preview:

August 9: Conference USA

August 10: Mid-American Conference

August 11: Sun Belt Conference

August 12: Mountain West Conference

August 13: FBS Independents

August 14: American Athletic Conference

August 15: Pac-12 Conference

August 16: Atlantic Coast Conference

August 17: Big 12 Conference

August 18: Big Ten Conference

August 19: Southeastern Conference

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