The Pi-Rate Ratings

November 25, 2014

PiRate Ratings College Football Playoffs and Bowl Projections

This will be the penultimate week of College Football’s regular season. The current top 4 teams, Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Mississippi State, will probably not be the same top four teams by the time the committee meets again and issues the actual four teams in the playoffs in December, maybe more than a little different thanks to games this week.

There are numerous teams with 5-6 records needing to win their final game; some will lose and miss out on a bowl. Some will win and earn a trip to an “also-ran” bowl. Yet others will win but not be selected for a bowl.

The race to see which Group of 5 Conference top team will receive a bid to a Big Six Bowl could be decided this week, as Marshall hosts improving Western Kentucky, while Colorado State plays at in-state rival Air Force. Boise State clings to life hoping that the Thundering Herd and Rams both lose. Should Marshall lose either this week or next week in the Conference USA Championship Game, and both Colorado State and Boise State lose, then the door might be slightly ajar for a Cincinnati or Memphis to back into the Peach Bowl.

There are still playoff spots up for grabs in the conference championship game races.

In CUSA, the winner of this week’s Louisiana Tech-Rice game in Ruston, LA, will get the privilege of facing Marshall for the conference title.

There are still three teams alive in the MAC-West trying to advance to the conference championship game against Bowling Green. If Northern Illinois beats Western Michigan, the Huskies earn the nod. Should Western Michigan prevail, then Toledo would win the division if the Rockets take care of lowly Eastern Michigan. If EMU upsets Toledo, then Western Michigan would earn the spot if the Broncos beat NIU.

Both divisions of the Mountain West Conference are up for grabs. In the Mountain Division, Boise State controls their destiny. The Broncos win the division title with a win at home over Utah State. If the Aggies upset the Broncos, then they would take the division if Air Force beats Colorado State, but the Rams would win the division title if they beat the Falcons in Colorado Springs.

In the West Division, it’s almost ashamed that any team can still win this race, when CSU could finish 11-1 and not get into the championship. San Diego State and Fresno State are currently tied at 4-3 in league play. If both win this week, Fresno State would claim the division flag with a 6-6 overall record. Obviously, if one wins and one loses, the winner goes to the MWC Championship Game.

If the Aztecs and Bulldogs both lose to finish 4-4, then Hawaii will also be 4-4 by virtue of defeating Fresno State. Nevada can also get to 4-4 with a win over rival UNLV. In a four-way tie like this, Nevada would win the division based on best head-to-head record among the four tied teams. If Nevada loses to UNLV, and Hawaii wins over Fresno State, then the flag goes to Fresno due to their win over Nevada (and filtering through three prior tiebreakers to get to this point).

The Big Ten West goes to the team that claims Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Babe the Blue Ox wears number 25 for Wisconsin, and Minnesota may need axes to beat the Badgers in Madtown.

The Big 12 is still a three-team race. Baylor plays Texas Tech at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Bears control their own destiny and finish the regular season at home against Kansas State.

TCU plays a real trap game in Austin against Texas, and the Longhorns are a team nobody looks forward to playing in late November. TCU closes with a home game over Iowa State the following week.

Kansas State needs a little help to win the Big 12. The Wildcats should dismiss Kansas this week, and they need a Texas win over TCU. If that happens, then their game at Baylor would decide the Big 12 title.

The Pac-12 South is still a three-team race. USC and Utah were eliminated last week. If UCLA defeats Stanford in Pasadena Friday, the Bruins win the division. If Stanford wins, then the winner of the Arizona-Arizona State game Friday in Tucson advances to the Pac-12 Championship Game. Remember that Arizona penned the lone loss on North Division champion Oregon.

Finally, in the Southeastern Conference, both division races are yet to be decided. In the East, if Missouri beats Arkansas, the Tigers win the East with a 7-1 record. If Arkansas wins, then Georgia claims the title. In the West, if Alabama beats Auburn or Ole Miss beats Mississippi State, the Crimson Tide wins the division crown. If Auburn beats Alabama and Mississippi State wins The Egg Bowl, then Mississippi State wins the division title.

Should the West Division champion lose to Missouri or Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, the committee will have a difficult time selecting a two-loss SEC champion over any of the one-loss teams in the other Power 5 conferences.

Here is our current look at Playoff and Bowl Projections by conference.

If a team is bracketed thusly, [ Team ], they are an at-large selection.

Group of 5 Conferences

American Athletic Conference

Central Florida has a tough game at East Carolina remaining, and we believe the Pirates will prevail. Cincinnati has a tough game at Temple remaining, but we believe the Bearcats will win in Philly. Memphis has just one game left to play, at home against Connecticut. A win over the lowly Huskies gives the Tigers the AAC Championship. Unfortunately, winning the AAC Title may only get the Memphians a trip down US 72 to Birmingham.

Temple is likely headed to a 6-6 record, and there will not be a contracted spot for the Owls. We believe Temple has little chance to earn an at-large bowl invitation, as the bowls most likely to need a replacement team are all several hundred miles away from the Keystone State.

1. Birmingham Bowl: Memphis (7-1/9-4) vs. South Carolina
2. St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida (6-2/8-4) vs. Miami (Fla.)
3. Miami Beach Bowl: Cincinnati (7-1/9-3) vs. B Y U
4. Military Bowl: East Carolina (6-2/9-3) vs. North Carolina St.
5. Armed Forces Bowl: Houston (5-3/7-5) vs. [ Ohio U ]

Bowl Eligible but no bowl: Temple (4-4/6-6)

Conference USA

Marshall fans were nervous for awhile last week as UAB gave the Thundering Herd all they could handle. A home finale against Western Kentucky might be an interesting high scoring game, but we believe MU will win by double digits. The CUSA Championship Game might be interesting for a quarter to a half, but MU looks to strong for any league opponent. We are sticking with Doc Holliday and his troops to be the initial Group of 5 Conference team to earn a Big Six Bowl bid.

1. Big Six—Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Marshall (8-0/13-0) vs. Georgia
2. Hawaii Bowl: Louisiana Tech (7-1/8-5) vs. Utah St.
3. Bahamas Bowl: Rice (5-3/7-5) vs. Toledo
4. New Mexico Bowl: U T E P (5-3/7-5) vs. Air Force
5. Boca Raton Bowl: Middle Tennessee (5-3/6-6) vs. Northern Illinois
6. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Western Kentucky (3-5/6-6)

Bowl Eligible but no bowl: Old Dominion (4-4/6-6), UAB (4-4/6-6)

Mid-American Conference

Fortunately, the Buffalo-Kent State game had no postseason implications as both teams had already been eliminated from bowl eligibility. It appears that there will be seven bowl eligible teams from the MAC for five guaranteed bowl bids. We believe one of the two other teams will earn the last bowl invitation. The MAC has been a little down this year, but it would not surprise us if the league goes 5-1 or even 6-0 in the bowls.

1. Bahamas Bowl: Toledo (7-1/9-4) vs. Rice
2. Boca Raton Bowl: Northern Illinois (6-2/9-3) vs. Middle Tennessee
3. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Bowling Green (6-2/8-5) vs. Nevada
4. Camellia Bowl: Western Michigan (7-1/9-3) vs. South Alabama
5. GoDaddy.com Bowl: Central Michigan (5-3/7-5) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
6. Armed Forces Bowl: [ Ohio (4-4/6-6) ] vs. Houston

Bowl Eligible but no bowl:Akron (4-4/6-6)

Mountain West Conference
We are going to go with Boise State over Utah State this week to secure the Mountain Division title, and then take the Broncos to win the Conference Championship Game the following week. We also believe Colorado State will win at Air Force. Regardless these four teams are the top quartet in the league and will receive the four

1. Las Vegas Bowl: Boise St. (7-1/11-2) vs. Arizona St.
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Colorado St. (7-1/11-1) vs. Navy
3. Hawaii Bowl: Utah St. (6-2/9-4) vs. Louisiana Tech
4. New Mexico Bowl: Air Force (4-4/8-4) vs. U T E P
5. New Orleans Bowl: San Diego St. (5-3/7-5) vs. Arkansas St.
6. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Nevada (4-4/7-5) vs. Bowling Green

Note: Fresno State is projected to win the West Division and lose to Boise State to finish 6-7. In the past, special waivers have been made for 6-7 teams like this to accept a bowl invitation. Fresno could trump Ohio for an at-large bowl invitation in this instance, but we will leave the Bulldogs out this week.

Sunbelt Conference

Georgia Southern could win the Sunbelt with a perfect 8-0 conference record and a 9-3 overall record, but the Eagles will not get a bowl invitation. GSU can only earn a bowl bid if there are not enough bowl eligible teams to fill all the bowls, and their will be more than enough teams this year.

Louisiana-Lafayette lost to a very hot Appalachian State team last week, but the Ragin’ Cajuns will still receive the top bowl offer from the SBC, due to Georgia Southern’s ineligibility. The New Orleans Bowl has selected ULL three years in a row, while the GoDaddy.com Bowl has become Arkansas State’s annual 13th game. This year, we believe the bowls might like to have a little variation. There will be two extra bowl eligible teams, and we are certain that at least one bowl needing an at-large representative will choose a team from this league.

1. GoDaddy.com Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette (7-1/8-4) vs. Central Michigan
2. New Orleans Bowl: Arkansas St. (5-3/7-5) vs. San Diego St.
3. Camellia Bowl: South Alabama (5-3/6-6) vs. Western Michigan
4. Heart of Dallas Bowl: [ Texas St. (5-3/7-5) ] vs. Western Kentucky

Bowl Eligible but no bowl: Appalachian St. (6-2/7-5) and very deserving

Independents

Notre Dame is included in the Atlantic Coast Conference bowl tie-ins, and the Irish are dropping fast. A loss to USC could place Notre Dame in El Paso or Nashville in December.

BYU is the first team to know for sure where they are headed. The Cougars will play in the Miami Beach Bowl won or lose against California.

Navy needs one more win and has two chances. We believe the Middies will win out and finish 7-5, and their reward will be a possible Top 15 opponent.

1. Miami Beach Bowl: B Y U (8-4) vs. Cincinnati
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Navy (7-5) vs. Colorado St.

Power 5 Conferences

Atlantic Coast Conference

Florida State is creeping closer and closer to the edge on slippery ground. The Seminoles cannot keep winning ugly like this and expect to remain in the Top Four if Baylor, TCU, and even Ohio State win big. A regular season finale against rival Florida is going to be a real fight, and the Seminoles then have to deal with Georgia Tech’s option offense in order to get to the Playoffs.

The Orange Bowl might prefer Florida State to lose to Florida and win the ACC Championship Game, because the Seminoles would head to Miami instead of the Playoffs and sport a 12-1 record. If FSU makes the Playoffs at 13-0, then a possible four-loss Georgia Tech team could end up in the Orange Bowl over three-loss Duke and Louisville teams and possible four-loss Clemson team.

Pittsburgh can still gain bowl eligibility with a mild upset win at Miami, while the Virginia-Virginia Tech game is a bowl qualifier for the winner and eliminator for the loser.

1. PLAYOFFS—Rose Bowl: Florida St. (8-0/13-0) vs. Oregon
2. Big Six—Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech (6-2/9-4) vs. Wisconsin
3. Russell Athletic Bowl: Duke (5-3/9-3) vs. Kansas St.
4. Gator Bowl: Louisville (5-3/9-3) vs. Ole Miss
5. Belk Bowl: Clemson (6-2/8-4) vs. Florida
6. Sun Bowl: Notre Dame (7-5) vs. Washington
7. Pinstripe Bowl: North Carolina (5-3/7-5) vs. Penn St.
8. Military Bowl: North Carolina St. (2-6/6-6) vs. East Carolina
9. Independence Bowl: Virginia (4-4/6-6) vs. Texas A&M
10. Quick Lane Bowl: Boston College (4-4/7-5) vs. Rutgers
11. St. Petersburg Bowl: Miami (Fla.) (4-4/7-5) vs. Central Florida

Big Ten

While we do not project Ohio State to make the Playoffs, mainly because we have the Buckeyes losing to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, we do believe that three league teams will receive Big Six Bowl invitations.

Not much has changed in the bowl pecking order here. We have removed Michigan from the bowl list, because a loss to Ohio State will leave the Wolverines at 5-7. The winner of the Illinois-Northwestern game in Evanston will decide the last league bowl representative.

1. Big Six—Orange Bowl: Wisconsin (7-1/11-2) vs. Georgia Tech
2. Big Six—Cotton Bowl: Ohio St. (8-0/11-2) vs. T C U
3. Big Six—Fiesta Bowl: Michigan St. (7-1/10-2) vs. Baylor
4. Buffalo Wild Wings (Citrus) Bowl: Iowa (5-3/8-4) vs. Missouri
5. Outback Bowl: Nebraska (4-4/8-4) vs. Auburn
6. Holiday Bowl: Minnesota (5-3/8-4) vs. Arizona
7. Music City Bowl: Maryland (5-3/8-4) vs. Tennessee
8. San Francisco Bowl: Northwestern (4-4/6-6) vs. U S C
9. Pinstripe Bowl: Penn St. (2-6/6-6) vs. North Carolina
10. Quick Lane Bowl: Rutgers (2-6/6-6) vs. Boston College

Big 12

Should Texas beat TCU and Kansas State beat Baylor, the Big 12 will lose all chances to place a team in the Playoffs. If both TCU and Baylor win out, then there is a chance one or even both could end up playing for all the marbles. What hurts the Big 12 is not having a conference championship game (which could hurt an 11-1 Mississippi State team if Alabama wins the SEC West).

Because of the likelihood that both Baylor and TCU will at least earn Big Six Bowl bids, and because four league teams, instead of the usual two or three, will fail to earn bowl eligibility, the Big 12 will not meet its obligations to supply enough teams to the contracted bowls. In fact, we believe two bowls will be forced to find alternatives.

1. Big Six—Cotton Bowl: T C U (8-1/11-1) vs. Ohio St.
2. Bix Six—Fiesta Bowl: Baylor (8-1/11-1) vs. Michigan St.
3. Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma (6-3/9-3) vs. U C L A
4. Russell Athletic Bowl: Kansas St. (7-2/9-3) vs. Duke
5. Liberty Bowl: Texas (5-4/6-6) vs. Arkansas
6. Cactus Bowl: West Virginia (5-4/7-5) vs. Utah

Pac-12 Conference

Oregon slipped in November last year with a loss to Arizona that cost the Ducks any chance to finish in the top two of the final BCS standings. This year, they are playing for their Playoff lives. The Ducks should win their Civil War battle against Oregon State, but the game is at Reser Stadium, where the Beavers can be tough. The Pac-12 Championship Game then must be won to guarantee Oregon a spot in the Final Four.

U C L A was supposed to contend for a Playoff spot, but the Bruins lost one too many games to stay in the chase. Even if the SEC finishes with four two-loss teams, and Ohio State loses to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, it will be difficult for an 11-2 Bruins team to sneak into the Final Four.

California is 5-6 with a home game against BYU this week. The Bears have a chance to get to 6-6 and take the final at-large bowl bid away from Ohio, but we believe the Cougars will score 35-40 points and keep the Bears out of a bowl.

1. PLAYOFFS—Rose Bowl: Oregon (8-1/12-1) vs. Florida St.
2. Alamo Bowl: U C L A (7-2/10-3) vs. Oklahoma
3. Holiday Bowl: Arizona (7-2/10-2) vs. Minnesota
4. San Francisco Bowl: U S C (6-3/8-4) vs. Northwestern
5. Sun Bowl: Washington (4-5/8-5) vs. Notre Dame
6. Las Vegas Bowl: Arizona St. (6-3/9-3) vs. Boise St.
7. Cactus Bowl: Utah (5-4/8-4) vs. West Virginia
8. Texas Bowl: [ Stanford (4-5/6-6) ] vs. L S U

Southeastern Conference

There are three questions this week with the SEC. The first one is the more important one. What happens to Mississippi State if the Bulldogs beat Ole Miss, while Alabama beats Auburn to earn the West Division flag? The Committee has indicated that conference champions will be given higher priority over non-conference champions. Mississippi State is still number four, but The Committee cannot place another team past the Bulldogs with the understanding that Baylor, TCU, or Ohio State could be a conference champion. Might the Big 12 Champion or Ohio State pass an idle Bulldog team in the final poll?

Question number two involves two teams still attempting to become bowl eligible. Tennessee is 5-6 with what amounts to a home game on their rival’s home field. The Volunteers should handle Vanderbilt easily to earn a bowl bid. Kentucky was once 5-1 and the sexy choice for contention for a Big Six bowl. At 5-1, we wrote that the Wildcats could easily lose their final six games and not go to a bowl. UK is one loss to Louisville away from making us soothsayers.

Question number three involves the SEC not wanting to give the Big 12 a chance to move Texas into the Texas Bowl against Texas A&M. The SEC most definitely will arrange for the Aggies to go to a bowl that cannot invite a Big 12 team. Thus, we believe another interesting matchup is possible. Look below at our Liberty Bowl projection.

1. PLAYOFFS—Sugar Bowl: Alabama (7-1/12-1) vs. Mississippi St.
2. PLAYOFFS—Sugar Bowl: Mississippi St. (7-1/11-1) vs. Alabama
3. Big Six—Peach Bowl: Georgia (6-2/10-2) vs. Marshall
4. Buffalo Wild Wings (Citrus) Bowl: Missouri (7-1/10-3) vs. Iowa
5. Outback Bowl: Auburn (4-4/8-4) vs. Nebraska
6. Gator Bowl: Ole Miss (4-4/8-4) vs. Louisville
7. Texas Bowl: L S U (4-4/8-4) vs. [ Stanford ]
8. Belk Bowl: Florida (4-4/6-5) vs. Clemson
9. Music City Bowl: Tennessee (3-5/6-6) vs. Maryland
10. Liberty Bowl: Arkansas (2-6/6-6) vs. Texas
11. Birmingham Bowl: South Carolina (3-5/7-5) vs. Memphis
12. Independence Bowl: Texas A&M (3-5/7-5) vs. Virginia

November 17, 2014

PiRate Ratings College Football Playoffs and Bowl Projections

See the PiRate Ratings and Spreads for college and pro football at: http://www.piratings.webs.com
How many points is Alabama worth in home field advantage at Bryant-Denny Stadium? Would you say that five points is about right? If so, then The Crimson Tide and Mississippi State are dead even on a neutral field, correct?

The brains that vacuum large pots of money out of the books in Las Vegas, Reno, and offshore would tell you this is true, but the elite that select the teams for the playoffs may not see it that way. There is precedent for not seeing the forest for all the trees.

Let’s go back to 2006. Number one Ohio State, 11-0, hosted number two Michigan, also 11-0, at the giant horseshoe in Columbus. Ohio State’s home field advantage was worth at least four and as much as six points, and the Buckeyes had to hold on to edge the Wolverines by three points. In essence, on a neutral field, Michigan figured to be marginally better than Ohio State, and these two teams should have been slotted to face each other for the national championship a month and a half later. It would have been the greatest National Championship Game of the BCS era, but the BCS rankings dropped Michigan down and elevated Florida up into the number two slot.

Florida exploded to embarrass Ohio State in the title game, while a dejected Michigan team failed to show up in the Rose Bowl against a quality USC team. Had there been a playoff that year, these would have been the four teams, so in the end, Florida and USC would have advanced to the title game.

Back to 2014, what say the college football nation should Mississippi State and Alabama both win out? The Bulldogs are most likely going to edge out any 11-1 Big 12 team, as well as a possible 12-1 Ohio State team. In our opinion, any one-loss SEC West team must be in the playoffs, especially since Arkansas is now one win away from making all seven SEC West teams bowl eligible. There are no Iowa State’s, Kansas’s, or Texas Tech’s in the SEC West. There are no Purdue’s, Illinois’s, or Indiana’s in the SEC West. There are no Colorado’s or Washington State’s in the SEC West.

There are still a bevy of tricky games left that could shake up both the playoff race and the bowl projections.

In the ACC, Georgia Tech is one Duke loss away from facing Florida State in the ACC Championship Game. The Seminoles want no part of the spread option of the Yellow Jackets, as one or two breakdowns on defense could be the difference of 14 points. What if GT got an early lead? Can FSU come from behind against the best time-consuming offense there is?

In the Big Ten, Wisconsin might be strong enough to beat Ohio State in a possible conference championship game. The Badgers still have tough games left against Iowa and rival Minnesota.

In the Big 12, Baylor faces an Oklahoma State team this week that must win this game or upset Oklahoma to become bowl eligible. The Cowboys are probably looking at 5-7, but they may force the Bears to extend themselves. Baylor still has a date with Kansas State in December.

TCU has an even tougher assignment coming up on Thanksgiving. The Horned Frogs face a coming-on-strong Texas Longhorns team in Austin. We see that as a tossup as of today.

The Pac-12 could be interesting as well. The South Division is a mess with six of the seven teams still in contention for the division flag. UCLA controls its own destiny, and the Bruins will face Oregon in the conference championship game if they down USC and Stanford, both games to be played at the Rose Bowl. There is a chance for a five-team tie at 6-3, in which case Utah would emerge as the division champion.

In the race for the one Big Six Bowl invitation guaranteed to a Group of Five team, it is Marshall’s to lose. The Thundering Herd has a little bit of a tricky game this week at UAB, but we believe MU will come through. The likely opponent in the Conference USA Championship Game is Louisiana Tech, but Marshall looks like the class of this league, and coach Doc Holliday will be on the short list on many head coaching openings. Should Dana Holgersen get the offer at Florida or Michigan, or any other school that will get him out of West Virginia, then Holliday will be the next coach in Morgantown. If Marshall finishes 13-0, look for the Herd to play in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Should Marshall fall, Colorado State is the team in waiting, but only if the Rams can win at Air Force. At 11-1, the Rams would likely be in the Fiesta Bowl against a Baylor or TCU.

Here is a look at each conference and where we project the teams to go.

Records shown are our projections for where the teams will finish.

[ Team ] Indicates an at-large invitee

Group of 5 Conferences

American Athletic Conference
Coach Justin Fuente has greener pastures in his future after he has brought the Memphis Tigers back from the lowest of the lows to within two wins of a conference championship. The Tigers have home games against South Florida and Connecticut, and they figure to win both games by double digits. Unfortunately, at 9-3, Memphis has no real chance of falling into a Big Six bowl.

Temple appears to be in serious trouble in the bowl hunt. The 5-5 Owls must win out to have any chance to earn a spot, because at 6-6, their fan base is not strong enough to earn an at-large bid, as they cannot average 30,000 per game at Lincoln Financial Field.

1. Birmingham Bowl: Memphis (7-1/9-3) vs. Florida
2. St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida (6-2/8-4) vs. Miami (Fla.)
3. Miami Beach Bowl: Cincinnati (7-1/9-3) vs. B Y U
4. Military Bowl: East Carolina (6-2/9-3) vs. Virginia Tech
5. Armed Forces Bowl: Houston (5-3/7-5) vs. [ California ]

Also Bowl Eligible—Temple 4-4/6-6

Conference USA
As we mentioned above, Marshall has a clear path to a 13-0 finish, which will secure the automatic Group of Five bid to a Big Six Bowl. CUSA will get an extra bowl spot because of this, and the league will still have a surplus of bowl eligible teams. There is a secondary bowl tie-in, but we believe the bowl in question will choose to take a much more prestigious school from out West rather than a 6-6 CUSA team that averages less than 10,000 fans per home game in attendance.

In the West Division Louisiana Tech is not a lock for the top spot. The Bulldogs play at Old Dominion this week, and the Monarchs are in a must-win situation to become bowl eligible. If ODU wins, then LT must defeat Rice in two weeks to win the division title. If Rice beats UTEP this week, and ODU beats LT, then the November 29 game between the Owls and Bulldogs would decide the division title.

1. Big 6—Peach Bowl: Marshall (8-0/13-0) vs. Georgia
2. Hawaii Bowl: Louisiana Tech (8-0/9-4) vs. Air Force
3. Bahamas Bowl: Rice (5-3/7-5) vs. Bowling Green
4. Boca Raton Bowl: Middle Tennessee (5-3/6-6) vs. Northern Illinois
5. New Mexico Bowl: U T E P (5-3/7-5) vs. Utah St.
6. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Western Kentucky (3-5/6-6) vs. Maryland
Also Bowl Eligible: UAB 4-4/6-6

Mid-American Conference
Northern Illinois’s win over Toledo throws the West Division up for grabs with four teams still in the race. Western and Central Michigan join the other two in contention for the division crown. In the East, Bowling Green has already clinched the division title. The Falcons have a tough road game against an angry Toledo team Wednesday night. BGU’s lone conference loss came against Western Michigan, and the Broncos totally shut down the Falcons’ offense in the second half of that game.

The MAC figures to have two extra bowl eligible teams, both at 6-6, and neither will be lucky enough to earn an at-large invitation.

1. Bahamas Bowl: Bowling Green (6-2/9-4) vs. Rice
2. Boca Raton Bowl: Northern Illinois (6-2/9-3) vs. Middle Tennessee
3. Idaho Potato Bowl: Toledo (7-1/8-5) vs. San Diego St.
4. Camellia Bowl: Western Michigan (6-2/8-4) vs. South Alabama
5. GoDaddy Bowl: Central Michigan (6-2/8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Also Bowl Eligible: Ohio 4-4/6-6 & Akron 4-4/6-6

Mountain West Conference
For awhile Saturday night, it looked like the Mountain Division representative in the MWC Championship Game was about to be Colorado State, as San Diego State shot out to a nice lead over Boise State, before the Broncos charged back to win. The top four teams remain Mountain Division schools, as the West Division currently has a three-way tie at 3-3, with one of the co-leaders, Fresno State, mired at 4-6 overall.

The league has six bowl tie-ins and will produce six bowl eligible teams. Should Colorado State edge out Marshall for the Big Six bowl bid, it will force a the Idaho Potato Bowl to search for an at-large team, which most likely would come from the Pac-12.

1. Las Vegas Bowl: Boise St. (7-1/11-2) vs. Utah
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Colorado St. (7-1/11-1) vs. Navy
3. Hawaii Bowl: Air Force (5-3/9-3) vs. Louisiana Tech
4. New Mexico Bowl: Utah St. (6-2/9-4) vs. U T E P
5. New Orleans Bowl: Nevada (5-3/8-5) vs. Arkansas St.
6. Idaho Potato Bowl: San Diego St. (4-4/6-6) vs. Toledo

Sunbelt Conference

Louisiana-Lafayette clinched the top seed in the bowl order, but the Ragin’ Cajuns have not clinched the conference championship. Georgia Southern is also undefeated in conference play, but the Eagles are not bowl eligible this year unless there are not enough bowl eligible teams (which there will be by quite a few). ULL has been in a rut, playing in three consecutive New Orleans Bowl games. We think it is about time, they leave the state in December.

This will be an interesting bowl race among the rest of the field. Arkansas State and South Alabama are already bowl eligible, while Texas State and Appalachian State are one win away.

1. GoDaddy Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette (8-0/9-3) vs. Central Michigan
2. New Orleans Bowl: Arkansas St. (5-3/7-5) vs. Nevada
3. Camellia Bowl: South Alabama (5-3/6-6) vs. Western Michigan

Also Bowl Eligible: Texas St. 5-3/7-5

Independents (Notre Dame included in ACC bowl tie-ins)
Army’s loss to Western Kentucky officially eliminates the Black Knights from their Armed Forces bowl tie-in. BYU clinched their Miami Beach Bowl berth with a win over UNLV, while Navy has two chances left to win one more game and earn their Poinsettia Bowl invitation.

1. Miami Beach Bowl: B Y U (7-5) vs. Cincinnati
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Navy (7-5) vs. Colorado St.

Power 5 Conferences

Atlantic Coast Conference
Whew! That’s what ACC Commissioner John Swofford must have mouthed late Saturday night when Florida State pulled out yet another dramatic finish to stay undefeated. The Seminoles will not make the playoffs if they lose any remaining game, and Swofford needs something positive for his conference with an academic fraud investigation hanging over his head at North Carolina (he was formerly the AD at UNC), as well as numerous rumors about the Florida State program.

Virginia Tech’s upset of Duke opens the door for Georgia Tech to win the Coastal Division title, and the Yellow Jackets will back into that game should North Carolina beat Duke this weekend. FSU will be rooting heavily for the Blue Devils to win that game.

1. PLAYOFFS—Rose Bowl: Florida St. (8-0/13-0) vs. Oregon
2. Big 6—Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech (6-2/9-4) vs. Wisconsin
3. Russell Athletic Bowl: Duke (5-3/9-3) vs. West Virginia
4. Gator Bowl: Clemson (6-2/8-4) vs. Ole Miss
5. Belk Bowl: Notre Dame (8-4) vs. L S U
6. Sun Bowl: Louisville (5-3/8-4) vs. Arizona St.
7. Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College (4-4/7-5) vs. Rutgers
8. Military Bowl: Virginia Tech (4-4/7-5) vs. East Carolina
9. Independence Bowl: North Carolina (5-3/7-5) vs. South Carolina
10. Quick Lane Bowl: North Carolina St. (2-6/6-6) vs. Northwestern
11. St. Petersburg Bowl: Miami (Fla.) (5-3/8-4) vs. Central Florida

Big Ten Conference

Ohio State is still squarely in the playoff race, but after this past Saturday’s games, we now seriously doubt that they can win the Big Ten Championship. After watching Wisconsin run through Nebraska, and remembering what happened the last time OSU and UW faced off, we believe the Badgers might be a little too strong for Ohio State’s run defense if these two face off for the title.

Wisconsin still must earn their spot in the Big Ten Championship Game, and that will be no easy task. The Badgers have a road game against Iowa and a home game for Paul Bunyan’s Axe against Minnesota. Weather could easily play a factor in both games, so it is not guarantee that UW will even make it to Indianapolis.

We have made one change in the bowl eligibility list this week. With Northwestern’s comeback win at Notre Dame, we now move the Wildcats over Illinois.

1. Big 6-Orange Bowl: Wisconsin (7-1/11-2) vs. Georgia Tech
2. Big 6-Cotton Bowl: Ohio St. (8-0/11-2) vs. T C U
3. Big 6-Fiesta Bowl: Michigan St. (7-1/10-2) vs. Baylor
4. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Nebraska (5-3/9-3) vs. Missouri
5. Outback Bowl: Iowa (5-3/8-4) vs. Auburn
6. Holiday Bowl: Minnesota (4-4/7-5) vs. Arizona
7. Music City Bowl: Penn St. (2-6/6-6) vs. Tennessee
8. San Francisco Bowl: Michigan (4-4/6-6) vs. U S C
9. Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers (2-6/6-6) vs. Boston College
10. Quick Lane Bowl: Northwestern (4-4/6-6) vs. North Carolina St.
11. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Maryland (4-4/7-5) vs. Western Kentucky

Big 12 Conference

It has been quite apparent for some time that the Big 12 will not supply enough bowl eligible teams to meet all of its bowl obligations. This will be a certainty if both Baylor and TCU win out. Oklahoma State is now on the outside looking in, as the Cowboys are 5-5 with games remaining against Baylor and Oklahoma.

Texas is the key to this league’s bowl projections. The Longhorns have a legitimate chance to knock off TCU and throw a large monkey wrench into the works. For now, because it makes things much too difficult to rearrange, we are going to go with TCU and Baylor to win out.

1. Big 6-Cotton Bowl: T C U (8-1/11-1) vs. Ohio St.
2. Big 6-Fiesta Bowl: Baylor (8-1/11-1) vs. Michigan St.
3. Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma (6-3/9-3) vs. U C L A
4. Russell Athletic Bowl: West Virginia (6-3/8-4) vs. Duke
5. Liberty Bowl: Texas (5-4/6-6) vs. Arkansas
6. Cactus Bowl: Kansas St. (6-3/8-4) vs. Washington

Pac-12 Conference

Oregon has already clinched the North Division title, but the Ducks have two tough games that must be victories if they are going to make the playoffs. They end the regular season at rival Oregon State, and the Beavers will probably be 5-6 needing a win to earn a bowl bid. Of course, the Pac-12 Championship Game will be tough, and the Ducks will not know their opponent until late on November 29.

We have already written about the South Division title race. If UCLA wins out, the Bruins are in the title game. However, if UCLA loses to either USC or Stanford (or both), there are numerous tie-breaker possibilities that can give USC, Arizona, Arizona State, or Utah the flag.

There are seven teams already bowl eligible, and three teams need just one more win to get there. We believe two of the three will get that sixth win, meaning nine teams will be bowl eligible. We project two of the nine will have to sweat out at-large invitations, and being the top two available at-large candidates, they will secure the projected two at-large available spots.

1. PLAYOFFS-Rose Bowl: Oregon (8-1/12-1) vs. Florida St.
2. Alamo Bowl: U C L A (7-2/10-3) vs. Oklahoma
3. Holiday Bowl: Arizona (6-3/9-3) vs. Minnesota
4. San Francisco Bowl: U S C (6-3/8-4) vs. Michigan
5. Sun Bowl: Arizona St. (6-3/9-3) vs. Louisville
6. Las Vegas Bowl: Utah (6-3/9-3) vs. Boise St.
7. Cactus Bowl: Washington (4-5/8-5) vs. Kansas St.
8. Texas Bowl (at-large): [ Stanford ] (4-5/6-6) vs. Texas A&M
9. Armed Forces (at-large): [ California ] (3-6/6-6) vs. Houston

Southeastern Conference

If Kentucky can beat rival Louisville, and if Arkansas can beat either Ole Miss or Missouri, the SEC will end up with an amazing 13 bowl eligible teams. We are going with 12, and this will be just enough to satisfy all the bowl tie-ins for the king of college conferences.

Read above to reinforce why we believe the SEC will win out over the Big 12 and Big Ten in the one-loss race to the playoffs.

If, by chance, Ole Miss wins the Egg Bowl and Georgia knocks off Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, then it is going to be a very difficult choice for the Playoff Committee to take any SEC team if there are still four teams that have zero or one loss. Imagine if Georgia wins out to finish 11-2. How could the Bulldogs jump over TCU and Baylor, if both finish 11-1? Even a 12-1 Ohio State team would finish ahead of UGA.

Now, let’s say there are five two-loss SEC teams (Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Missouri), and then losses to TCU, Baylor, and Ohio State leave a dozen two loss teams in the mix. The real winner in this scenario would be Novartis, the owner of Maalox, because 12 influential elites would come down with the first case of mass heartburn.

For the sake of Condaleeza Rice’s stomach, let’s stick with the Tide and Bulldogs winning out.

Note—with the SEC’s decision to place conference teams where they can best capitalize on the bowl matchups, we have made some very interesting bowl games thanks to maneuvering like we expect the league will do.

1. PLAYOFFS-Sugar Bowl: Alabama (7-1/12-1) vs. Mississippi St.
2. PLAYOFFS-Sugar Bowl: Mississippi St. (7-1/11-1) vs. Alabama
3. Big 6-Peach Bowl: Georgia (6-2/10-3) vs. Marshall
4. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Missouri (5-3/8-4) vs. Nebraska
5. Outback Bowl: Auburn (4-4/8-4) vs. Iowa
6. Gator Bowl: Ole Miss (4-4/8-4) vs. Clemson
7. Belk Bowl: L S U (4-4/8-4) vs. Notre Dame
8. Music City Bowl: Tennessee (4-4/7-5) vs. Penn St.
9. Texas Bowl: Texas A&M (3-5/7-5) vs. [ Stanford ]
10. Liberty Bowl: Arkansas (3-5/7-5) vs. Texas
11. Independence Bowl: South Carolina (3-5/7-5) vs. North Carolina
12. Birmingham Bowl: Florida (4-4/6-5) vs. Memphis

November 11, 2014

PiRate Ratings College Football Playoffs and Bowl Projections

The College Football Playoff Committee had a couple of surprises in their release of their rankings Tuesday night, when they moved Oregon ahead of Florida State and TCU ahead of Alabama.

The Crimson Tide will move into the top four next week, possibly jumping the rest of the field to number one if they shellac Mississippi State this weekend. Of course, a loss to the Bulldogs probably puts Alabama into the Orange Bowl or even Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, depending on what happens in the Iron Bowl.

The sixth-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils sit pretty as well. If ASU wins out, which is a tough if with a home finale at Arizona needing to be won before a Pac-12 Championship Game against Oregon, they will most certainly be one of the top four.

Ohio State and Baylor need a lot of help, and Nebraska and Duke are one-loss teams with no chance at making it to the playoffs.

The race for the best Group of Five team and recipient of a Big Six bowl invitation is a three-team race between Marshall, Colorado State, and Boise State. The Rams have been moving up every week, but it with New Mexico and Air Force left on the schedule, CSU cannot leapfrog over an undefeated Marshall team.

Here is our bowl outlook per conference. Note, that this outlook was written before Tuesday night’s games were played.

Note: Records shown are projected final regular season records, with conference record followed by total record.

Group of Five

American Athletic Conference
Memphis won at Temple last week, and the Tigers now have the championship in their site. Cincinnati, East Carolina, and Central Florida are still in contention, while Houston suffered a big loss at Tulane.

Since the champion of this league is not guaranteed any particular bowl, the probably bowl teams are merely playing for the trophy. The bowl bids will go to the teams that make the most sense for each bowl.

With Temple’s loss last week, the Owls are likely looking at being left out of the bowl picture unless they upset Penn State or Cincinnati.

1. Birmingham Bowl: Memphis 7-1/9-3 (vs. Florida)
2. St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida 6-2/8-4 (vs. Miami)
3. Miami Beach Bowl: Cincinnati 7-1/9-3 (vs. BYU)
4. Military Bowl: East Carolina 6-2/9-3 (vs. Virginia Tech)
5. Armed Forces Bowl: Houston 5-3/7-5 (vs. South Alabama [at-large])

Also Bowl Eligible: Temple 4-4/6-6

Conference USA
Marshall will get a bit of a test at home this week against a hot Rice team, and they could have a trap game at UAB a week later, but the Thundering Herd appears to be somewhat safe in getting into the CUSA Championship Game with a 12-0 record. Louisiana Tech could be a tough opponent, but MU should be able to sneak by and earn a Big Six Bowl bid. One loss will probably doom those chances.

Louisiana Tech must get by Rice on November 29 to win the West Division, but that game is in Ruston, so the Bulldogs will be a hefty favorite.

1. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Marshall 8-0/13-0 (vs. Michigan St.)
2. Hawaii Bowl: Louisiana Tech 8-0/9-4 (vs. Utah St.)
3. Bahamas Bowl: Rice 5-3/7-5 (vs. Toledo)
4. Boca Raton Bowl: Middle Tennessee 6-2/7-5 (vs. Northern Illinois)
5. New Mexico Bowl: U T E P 5-3/7-5 (vs. Air Force)
6. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Western Kentucky 3-5/6-6 (vs. Michigan)
7. Independence Bowl (at-large): U A B 4-4/6-6 (vs. North Carolina)

Mid-American Conference
Reminder: This review was written prior to kickoff of the two MAC games Tuesday night.

The MAC is out of the Big Six Bowl picture this year. The Toledo-Northern Illinois winner will still be too far behind the other contenders from the AAC, CUSA, and Mountain West.

As of this writing, it looks like seven MAC teams will be bowl eligible, but only five teams will receive invitations.

1. Bahamas Bowl: Toledo 8-0/10-3 (vs. Rice)
2. Boca Raton Bowl: Northern Illinois 5-3/8-4 (vs. Middle Tennessee)
3. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Bowling Green 6-2/8-5 (vs. Nevada)
4. Camellia Bowl: Central Michigan 6-2/8-4 (vs. Texas St.)
5. GoDaddy.com Bowl: Western Michigan 6-2/8-4 (vs. Louisiana-Lafayette)

Also Bowl Eligible: Akron 5-3/7-5 & Ohio 4-4/6-6

Mountain West Conference
Boise State and Colorado State are two MWC teams that nobody in a Power Five conference wants to play at this point. The Broncos and Rams are capable of defeating a 9-3 team from any of the big conferences.

All of the strength in this league lies in the Mountain Division, as the West Division should be won with a 5-3 conference mark, while three from the other division will be 6-2 or better. With the top two teams headed to possible 11-win seasons, this league deserves better bowl destinations, but they probably will not get them.

1. Las Vegas Bowl: Boise St. 7-1/11-2 (vs. Stanford)
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Colorado St. 7-1/11-1 (vs. Navy)
3. Hawaii Bowl: Utah St. 6-2/9-4 (vs. Louisiana Tech)
4. New Mexico Bowl: Air Force 4-4/8-4 (vs. UTEP)
5. New Orleans Bowl: San Diego St. 5-3/7-5 (vs. Arkansas St.)
6. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Nevada 5-3/8-5 (vs. Bowling Green)

Sunbelt Conference
We erred in recent weeks. Georgia Southern is not eligible for a bowl this season unless there are not enough FBS teams bowl eligible. There will be more than enough, so GSU is playing simply for the pride of becoming co-champs of the SBC.

Louisiana-Lafayette figures to be the other co-champ, and the Ragin’ Cajuns have been to the New Orleans bowl so many years in a row, the Sports Information Department in Lafayette can almost place this game on the schedule on their media guide.

Because we believe ULL would like to go somewhere else this year, we are placing them in another bowl.

1. GoDaddy.com Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette 8-0/9-3 (vs. Western Michigan)
2. New Orleans Bowl: Arkansas St. 6-2/8-4 (vs. San Diego St.)
3. Camellia Bowl: Texas St. 5-3/7-5 (vs. Central Michigan)
4. Armed Forces Bowl (at-large): South Alabama 5-3/6-6 (vs. Houston)

Independents (not including Notre Dame)
BYU is a lock to become bowl eligible, while Navy should get there as well. Army is not yet eliminated from bowl eligibility, but the Black Knights must eliminate Western Kentucky from bowl eligibility this week, or else the season will end against Navy.

1. Miami Beach Bowl: B Y U 7-5 (vs. Cincinnati)
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Navy 7-5 (vs. Colorado St.)

The Power Five Conferences
Atlantic Coast Conference
Florida State looks less and less impressive every week, and another poor first half performance this week against Miami could be too difficult to overcome. The Seminoles falling to number three in the Playoff rankings should wake the team up, and FSU could go out and play their best game of the season this weekend.

Duke is not getting any respect at 8-1, and even ACC pundits believe Virginia Tech could upset the Blue Devils this week.

Clemson remains in contention for a Big Six Bowl, but if Duke goes 11-2, the Tigers will have to settle for the best of the rest.

Virginia, Syracuse, and Wake Forest figure to miss out on bowls, while the loser of this week’s North Carolina-Pittsburgh game will probably join that trio.

1. PLAYOFFS—Rose Bowl: Florida St. 8-0/13-0 (vs. Mississippi St.)
2. Orange Bowl: Duke 7-1/11-2 (vs. Ohio St.)
3. Russell Athletic Bowl: Clemson 7-1/10-2 (vs. Kansas St.)
4. Gator Bowl: Notre Dame 9-3 (vs. Ole Miss)
5. Belk Bowl: Georgia Tech 5-3/8-4 (vs. LSU)
6. Sun Bowl: Louisville 5-3/8-4 (vs. Arizona)
7. Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College 4-4/7-5 (vs. Rutgers)
8. Military Bowl: Virginia Tech 3-5/6-6 (vs. East Carolina)
9. Independence Bowl: North Carolina 4-4/6-6 (vs. UAB [at-large])
10. Quick Lane Bowl: North Carolina St. 2-6/6-6 (vs. Illinois)
11. St. Petersburg Bowl: Miami 5-3/8-4 (vs. Central Florida)

Big Ten Conference
Ohio State might be a contender for national champion if they had not fallen to a mediocre Virginia Tech team. We believe the Buckeyes are strong enough today to compete against any of the four top teams.

If Michigan State wins out to finish 10-2, the Spartans should be in good shape for a Big Six bowl. If Sparty falls again, then either Nebraska or Wisconsin could sneak into the bonanza.

If Nebraska goes 10-2, the Cornhuskers could bully their way over many others into a Big Six Bowl.

Michigan is now just one win away from bowl eligibility, and the Wolverines must beat Maryland to get that bid, because upsetting Ohio State does not look possible. So, this Saturday’s game with the Terps could be Brady Hoke’s last win in Ann Arbor.

Illinois is just 4-5 with three games to go, but we believe the Illini will win two more games to give this league 11 bowl eligible teams.

1. Orange Bowl: Ohio St. 8-0/12-1 (vs. Duke)
2. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Michigan St. 7-1/10-2 (vs. Marshall)
3. Cotton Bowl: Nebraska 6-2/10-2 (vs. TCU)
4. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Wisconsin 7-1/10-3 (vs. Auburn)
5. Outback Bowl: Iowa 4-4/7-5 (vs. Georgia)
6. Holiday Bowl: Minnesota 4-4/7-5 (vs. USC)
7. Music City Bowl: Penn St. 2-6/6-6 (vs. Tennessee)
8. San Francisco Bowl: Maryland 4-4/7-5 (vs. Washington)
9. Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers 2-6/6-6 (vs. Boston College)
10. Quick Lane Bowl: Illinois 3-5/6-6 (vs. North Carolina St.)
11. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Michigan 4-4/6-6 (vs. Western Kentucky)

Big 12 Conference
TCU has moved into the top four of the most recent rankings, and we believe the Horned Frogs will win out to finish 11-1, but we do not have TCU in our playoff predictions. We also believe Baylor will finish 11-1 and not get into the playoffs. Alabama can beat Mississippi State and Auburn to win the SEC West, and then after dismissing Florida in the SEC Championship Game, the Tide could actually end up ranked number one. Losing on the road against the top team would not be enough to drop Mississippi State out of the playoff race, and if Oregon and Florida State keep winning, we believe TCU will be the team falling out of the top four.

We have moved Texas into the bowl probables at the expense of Oklahoma State. Texas Tech, Iowa State, and Kansas are not in the picture.

1. Cotton Bowl: T C U 8-1/11-1 (vs. Nebraska)
2. Fiesta Bowl: Baylor 8-1/11-1 (vs. Arizona St.)
3. Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma 6-3/9-3 (vs. UCLA)
4. Russell Athletic Bowl: Kansas St. 7-2/9-3 (vs. Clemson)
5. Liberty Bowl: West Virginia 5-4/7-5 (vs. Missouri)
6. Cactus Bowl: Texas 5-4/6-6 (vs. Utah)

Pac-12 Conference
Arizona State’s win over Notre Dame was a shot in the arm for the entire conference. If the Sun Devils don’t overlook a weakening Oregon State team in Corvallis and then take care of business against Washington State, the regular season finale at Arizona will be the most important game for this team since the 1997 Rose Bowl or 1975 Fiesta Bowl.

Arizona State is not automatically going to win the Pac-12 South. UCLA, USC, and Arizona still have shots to get into the conference championship game.

In the North, Oregon is already assured of the division title, and if they win out, they will get a chance to play for the national title for the second time in five seasons.

We have dropped Oregon State from the bowl probable list this week. The Beavers would have to win two out of their final three to get to 6-6, and their final three come against Arizona State, Washington, and Oregon. We believe 0-3 is likely.

1. PLAYOFFS—Sugar Bowl: Oregon 8-1/12-1 (vs. Alabama)
2. Fiesta Bowl: Arizona St. 8-1/11-2 (vs. Baylor)
3. Alamo Bowl: U C L A 7-2/10-2 (vs. Oklahoma)
4. Holiday Bowl: U S C 6-3/8-4 (vs. Minnesota)
5. San Francisco Bowl: Washington 4-5/8-5 (vs. Maryland)
6. Sun Bowl: Arizona 6-3/9-3 (vs. Louisville)
7. Las Vegas Bowl: Stanford 5-4/7-5 (vs. Boise St.)
8. Cactus Bowl: Utah 4-5/7-5 (vs. Texas)
9. Texas Bowl (at-large): California 3-6/6-6 (vs. Texas A&M)

Southeastern Conference
If Alabama wins this week against Mississippi State, which we believe they will, and if Mississippi State recovers to beat Ole Miss, while the Crimson Tide beat Auburn and win the SEC Championship Game, we cannot see how the committee cannot take both teams.

Nobody else in the league has a chance to sneak into the top four without about seven or eight other teams losing. Auburn and LSU played their way out of the tournament last week, while Georgia did so the week before.

Kentucky was once 5-1 and looking like a lock to make it to a bowl game for the first time in four seasons. But, four consecutive losses have UK at 5-5 with Tennessee and Louisville remaining on the schedule. We have the Wildcats out.

South Carolina must beat either Florida or Clemson to earn a bowl bid, and we do not see the Gamecocks doing so.

1. PLAYOFFS—Sugar Bowl: Alabama 7-1/12-1 (vs. Oregon)
2. PLAYOFFS—Rose Bowl: Mississippi State 7-1/11-1 (vs. Florida St.)
3. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Auburn 5-3/9-3 (vs. Wisconsin)
4. Outback Bowl: Georgia 5-3/9-3 (vs. Iowa)
5. Gator Bowl: Ole Miss 5-3/9-3 (vs. Notre Dame)
6. Belk Bowl: L S U 5-3/9-3 (vs. Georgia Tech)
7. Texas Bowl: Texas A&M 4-4/8-4 (vs. California [at-large])
8. Liberty Bowl: Missouri 5-3/8-4 (vs. West Virginia)
9. Music City Bowl: Tennessee 4-4/7-5 (Penn St.)
10. Birmingham Bowl: Florida 5-3/7-5 (vs. Memphis)

November 4, 2014

PiRate Ratings College Football Playoffs and Bowl Projections

For the projected bowl matchups, as well as ratings and predicted spreads for both college and pro, go to our website at:

http://www.piratings.webs.com

There are 38 bowls plus the National Championship Game, meaning 76 teams out of the 128 total playing in the FBS. As of today, we project 79 teams to become bowl eligible, so just three 6-6 teams will be left out of the postseason party.

All won-loss records shown are predicted final records and not current records.

The Group of Five

These five conferences are the leagues competing for one guaranteed spot in a Big Six Bowl (actually one of the four NewYear’s Eve/Day big bowls not involved in the playoffs, since no Group of Five team will qualify for the playoffs).

As of today, Marshall from Conference USA figures to be the highest rated Group of Five team, as East Carolina fell out of contention with their loss to Temple. Central Florida’s loss at UConn knocked the AAC from consideration. Should Marshall stumble, the door is now open for both Boise State and Colorado State to sneak into the top position. Boise would be there already had the Broncos not lost at Air Force, while CSU might have placed themselves on the cuff of contention for the playoffs had they won their game at Boise and stood at 9-0 today.

American Athletic Conference
The AAC balloon has deflated with the upset losses of both East Carolina and Central Florida. While the league is out of the Big Six picture for now, it promises to be possibly the most incredible finish of the conference races. Our prognosticators here now believe there is a credible chance that this league could end in a six-way tie for first at 6-2 in conference play between Central Florida, East Carolina, Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, and Temple. The league has five guaranteed bowl bids, so one of these six would have to earn an at-large bowl invitation. The AAC should have no problem placing that sixth bowl eligible team in a bowl.

1. Birmingham Bowl: East Carolina (6-2/9-3)
2. Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida (6-2/8-4)
3. Miami Beach Bowl: Cincinnati (6-2/8-4)
4. Military Bowl: Temple (6-2/8-4)
5. Armed Forces Bowl: Houston (6-2/8-4)
6. Independence Bowl (at-large invitation): Memphis (6-2/8-4)

Conference USA
Doc Holliday may be the best college football recruiter in America, and his Marshall Thundering Herd may be the best CUSA team in the league’s history. Marshall has five games remaining in November and December standing in its way of a probable Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl bid. A November 22 game at UAB could be tricky, and a probable CUSA Championship Game tilt against Louisiana Tech is the biggest obstacle in the Herd’s trampling of their schedule.

We have removed Western Kentucky from the prospective bowl eligible teams and added UTEP. Rice is making another second half of the season run like Coach David Bailiff’s Owls have done the last two seasons. To run the table the rest of the way in 2014, Rice will have to pull off major upsets on the road against Marshall and Louisiana Tech and handle an improving UTEP team at home.

With Marshall expected to earn the Big Six Bowl invitation, this conference will have six bowl bids, and we predict there will be six bowl eligible teams.

1. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Marshall (8-0/13-0)
2. Hawaii Bowl: Louisiana Tech (8-0/9-4)
3. Bahamas Bowl: UTEP (6-2/8-4)
4. Boca Raton Bowl: Middle Tennessee (6-2/7-5)
5. New Mexico Bowl: U A B (4-4/6-6)
6. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Rice (5-3/7-5)

Mid-American Conference
This is a down season of sorts in the MAC, mostly because there is a lot of parity and no dominant team. Northern Illinois is rebuilding, and Toledo and Bowling Green are not quite up to the standards of a typically dominant NIU team. This league figures to produce a glut of bowl eligible squads, probably two more than there is space avaialable in the bowl party.

1. Bahamas Bowl: Toledo (7-1/9-4)
2. Boca Raton Bowl: Northern Illinois (5-3/8-4)
3. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Western Michigan (6-2/8-4)
4. Camellia Bowl: Central Michigan (6-2/8-4)
5. GoDaddy.com Bowl: Akron (6-2/8-5)
6. Birmingham Bowl (at-large invitation): Bowling Green (5-3/7-5)

Also Bowl Eligible
Ohio (4-4/6-6)
Ball St. (5-3/6-6)

Mountain West Conference
This league does not have the notoriety it did when TCU was a member and earning trips to the Rose Bowl. Still, there are some quality teams in the MWC, namely Boise State and Colorado State. Utah State, Air Force, and Nevada add to the quality.

Fresno State has been a big disappointment this season, and we have now removed the Bulldogs from the probable bowl eligible list. Wyoming and San Jose State are both in contention, but their schedules are not favorable, so we have not included them in the privileged list.

That leaves six bowl eligible teams in a league with six bowl tie-ins.

1. Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State (7-1/11-2)
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Colorado State (7-1/11-1)
3. Hawaii Bowl: Utah State (6-2/9-4)
4. New Mexico Bowl: Air Force (4-4/8-4)
5. New Orleans Bowl: Nevada (5-3/8-5)
6. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: San Diego State (5-3/7-5)

Sunbelt Conference
We will probably know in two weeks whether or not this league will have undefeated co-champions. Louisiana-Lafayette should have little trouble at New Mexico State this week, but a road game against rival Louisiana-Monroe is not going to be easy, especially since the Warhawks will need to win that game to get to 6-6.

Georgia Southern plays a tough Texas State team in San Marcos and may be looking ahead a week to a trip to Navy. Should the Eagles win this week, and UL-Lafayette wins next week, the two top teams should both finish 8-0 in league play.

Besides the previously mentioned Texas State Bobcats, Arkansas State will finish bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive season with four different head coaches. South Alabama is probably headed to a 6-6 finish and no bowl invitation.

1. GoDaddy.com Bowl: Georgia Southern (8-0/9-3)
2. New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette (8-0/9-3)
3. Camellia Bowl: Arkansas State (6-2/8-4)
4. Armed Forces Bowl (at-large invitation): Texas State (5-3/7-5)

Also Bowl Eligible: South Alabama (5-3/6-6)

Independents (Notre Dame is included in the ACC)
Army must win out to become bowl eligible, and the Black Knights cannot even take Fordham lightly, as they already have a loss to Yale. This will not be the year the men from West Point get back to a bowl. Thus, the Armed Forces Bowl will need to find a replacement team.

BYU is one win away from bowl eligibility and will get that sixth win, if not November 15 against UNLV, then definitely the following week against Savannah State.

Navy still has some work to do. The Midshipmen are 4-5. All three of their final games are tricky, as Georgia Southern and South Alabama are sneaky good, while even a winless Army team would be tough to beat much less this 2-win squad. However, Navy has a week off between each of these games and should win at least two if not all three to gain their automatic bowl bid.

1. Miami Beach Bowl: B Y U (7-5)
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Navy (7-5)

The Power 5

We do not use the current rankings to set our playoff and bowl pairings. “If the season ended today” is only good when the season actually ends today. We look into the future to try to predict where the teams will be on December 7.

This week presents multiple contests which serve as eliminator games. It is like a Round of 64 and 32 NCAA Basketball weekend, where by Sunday morning, there will be a Sweet 16.

Here are the top games that will affect the Power 5 rankings this week:

Baylor at Oklahoma: The Bears are still in the thick of the playoff race, while Oklahoma is merely playing for a Cotton Bowl or Fiesta Bowl bid. Baylor won 41-12 last year and outgained the Sooners by more than 220 yards. OU will be ready to play its best game of the season.

Notre Dame at Arizona St.: Call this a pure elimination game for sure. The loser has no chance, while the winner stays in contention from near the back of the pack, but if the winner wins out, they will have a shot at playing in the Rose or Sugar Bowl. Even if the winner misses out on the playoffs, they are sure to get one of the other Big Six bowls.

The Sun Devils need Oregon to keep winning until the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Kansas State at TCU: The winner of this game has an excellent shot at finishing 12-1. The Big 12 may not be as highly ranked as in past years, but a 12-1 team here will have a nice resume.

Alabama at LSU: This is never a gimme game for the Crimson Tide. A loss here would just about end ‘Bama’s chances to make the playoffs but not totally eliminate them. With wins over Mississippi State and Auburn, Coach Nick Saban’s squad could still sneak in as the number four team. A win Saturday combined with wins over Mississippi State, Auburn, and the SEC East champion probably moves the Tide to number two and host of the Sugar Bowl in the playoffs.

LSU would need a lot of help to sneak into the playoffs. The Bengal Tigers would have to beat ‘Bama by double digits and then easily dismiss Arkansas and Texas A&M on the road. Then, Mississippi State would have to lose to both Alabama and Ole Miss, and the champions of the Big Ten and Big 12 would have to lose a second game as well.

Ohio State at Michigan State: This is a pure playoff eliminator. The winner can earn a playoff spot if they finish 12-1, and still it could be tough. The Spartans still have to jump at least one SEC school plus TCU and Oregon, and that loss to the Ducks will keep the quack attack ahead of them if both finish 12-1.

Ohio State needs a lot of help and could still finish on the outside looking in at 12-1.

Oregon at Utah: The Utes are done and can only hope for an Alamo or Holiday Bowl bid as a consolation prize or else settle for a lesser bowl. Oregon is still very much in the playoff picture and should make the final four if they win out. They will not sniff the playoffs with one more loss.

Atlantic Coast Conference
Florida State reminds our founder of the 1958 Kentucky basketball team that won the national championship. That group of Wildcats were known as the “Fiddlin’ Five.” They just fiddled around for 25-30 minutes before going on one big run at the end to win.

Can the Seminoles continue this style of fiddlin’ for 2 ½ quarters before scoring three touchdowns in a five to seven-minute span and win the National Championship for a second consecutive season?

We don’t know the answer, but FSU probably can play this way the rest of the regular season and finish 13-0. The game at Miami on November 15 could be close for awhile, and maybe if Duke wins the Coastal Division, the Blue Devils can make a Championship Game rematch much closer than 2013, when the Seminoles won 45-7.

Elsewhere in the league, we have removed Virginia from bowl eligible likelihood, and this places Coach Mike London back on that hot seat. In the Cavaliers’ place, we have added North Carolina State back into the bowl mix.

Even though three league members might finish 6-6, the entire trio will have bowl preference over a possible 8-4 Miami Hurricanes. If they cannot put 10,000 fans in their home stadium, they aren’t likely to bring many to a bowl game.

In the past, Boston College has not sent many fans to its bowl games, but we believe a site closer to home will help the Eagles sell more tickets.

1. PLAYOFFS—Rose Bowl: Florida State (8-0/13-0)
2. Orange Bowl: Duke (7-1/11-2)
3. Russell Athletic Bowl: Clemson (6-2/9-3)
4. Gator Bowl: Notre Dame (9-3)
5. Belk Bowl: Georgia Tech (6-2/9-3)
6. Sun Bowl: Louisville (4-4/7-5)
7. Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College (5-3/8-4)
8. Military Bowl: North Carolina (4-4/6-6)
9. Independence Bowl: Virginia Tech (3-5/6-6)
10. Quick Lane Bowl: North Carolina State (2-6/6-6)
11. Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl: Miami (5-3/8-4)

Big Ten Conference
Who would have ever thought that a Nebraska team could go 12-1 in the regular season and just be an afterthought in the NCAA Championship picture? You have to figure that had they stayed in the Big 12, the Cornhuskers would have been a cinch to make the playoffs at 12-1. That shows how far the Big Ten has fallen in prestige. Could it be that this league is now more of a basketball power than football power? Of course, this league has been the bridesmaid in the Final Four since Michigan State won that title more than a dozen years ago.

All eyes will be looking in at East Lansing Saturday, when Michigan State and Ohio State settle the East Division title. The Buckeyes have a huge revenge factor in this game, as they were 12-0 when MSU knocked them out of the BCS Championship picture last year with a stunning 34-24 upset win.

We have removed Penn State and Northwestern from the bowl picture this week, and we have kept Illinois and added Michigan to the mix. With nine bowls guaranteed and ten bowls likely with two league teams playing in Big Six bowls, there will be space for all bowl eligible clubs.

1. Orange Bowl: Ohio State (8-0/12-1)
2. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Michigan State (7-1/10-2)
3. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Nebraska (5-3/9-3)
4. Outback Bowl: Iowa (6-2/9-4)
5. Holiday Bowl: Wisconsin (6-2/9-3)
6. Music City Bowl: Maryland (4-4/7-5)
7. San Francisco Bowl: Minnesota (4-4/7-5)
8. Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers (2-6/6-6)
9. Quick Lane Bowl: Michigan (4-4/6-6)
10. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Illinois (3-5/6-6)

Big 12 Conference
TCU, Baylor, and Kansas State all still hold playoff hopes, but they will all need some help. Even with one SEC team assured of falling out of the top four, Oregon is still in front of this trio, and the Ducks will have defeated Michigan State, UCLA, Stanford, Utah, and probably Arizona State if they finish 12-1.

This league is almost a lock to place two teams in Big Six bowls, even if no team makes the playoffs. With two Big Six bowls plus six other bowl tie-ins, there needs to be eight bowl eligible teams to fill the slots. We believe there will only be six bowl eligible teams, so there will be room for two at-large invitations courtesy of the Big 12.

1. Cotton Bowl: T C U (8-1/11-1)
2. Fiesta Bowl: Baylor (8-1/11-1)
3. Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma (6-3/9-3)
4. Russell Athletic Bowl: West Virginia (7-2/9-3)
5. Liberty Bowl: Kansas State (6-3/8-4)
6. Cactus Bowl: Oklahoma State (4-5/6-6)

Pac-12 Conference
Oregon controls its own destiny in our opinion. If the Ducks win out, at 12-1, they have about a 97% chance of finishing in the top four.

Arizona State needs help to move into the top four even if they win out by defeating Notre Dame, Oregon State, Arizona, and Oregon. Coach Todd Graham may be the best coach under the radar, as he has built winners at Rice, Tulsa, and Pittsburgh prior to coming to Tempe. Arizona State is the largest undergraduate university in FBS football, and the means are there for Graham to make this one of the top programs in the nation.

The Pac-12 has only seven guaranteed bowl bids, because a proposed bowl at the Los Angeles Coliseum around Christmas never materialized. This conference will be the top banana in the at-large priority mix. We believe there will be room for one Pac-12 to accept an at-large bowl bid.

1. PLAYOFFS—Sugar Bowl: Oregon (8-1/12-1)
2. Fiesta Bowl: Arizona State (8-1/11-2)
3. Alamo Bowl: U S C (7-2/9-3)
4. Holiday Bowl: U C L A (6-3/9-3)
5. San Francisco Bowl: Washington (5-4/8-4)
6. Sun Bowl: Arizona (5-4/8-4)
7. Las Vegas Bowl: Utah (5-4/8-4)
8. Cactus Bowl: Stanford (5-4/7-5)
9. Texas Bowl (at-large invitation): California (3-6/6-6)

Southeastern Conference
The “Good Ole Boys” down South would argue that the top four teams in the SEC should be the four playoff teams, and with Alabama, Mississippi State, and Auburn this season, they might be 75% correct.

However, we see no possibility where three SEC teams will make the playoffs in year one. If it were to happen, there would be hell to pay by the other leagues.

In all honesty, the playoffs should be eight deep, and we believe this will happen in the next five or six years, thus allowing for automatic bids for all the Power 5 conference champions.

When Alabama has something to play for in November, you never bet against the Crimson Tide. They may be out of favor following their loss to Ole Miss and narrow win over Arkansas, but they are still Alabama, just like Kentucky in basketball.

Auburn is probably a little better in 2014 than they were last year when they advanced to the National Championship Game, but the Tigers still must face the Tide in Tuscaloosa.

Mississippi State is only the top-rated team in the land, but the Bulldogs have a November 15 date in Tuscaloosa and figure to end their reign at the top that day. Even a dejected Ole Miss squad could spoil the Maroons playoff chances at the Egg Bowl.

LSU’s season is on the line this Saturday night, and you know the Tigers have that magic at Tiger Stadium when the moon is out.

The East is a mess now with Florida knocking Georgia out of the playoff picture. If Georgia loses to Auburn, which is now a good bet, and Missouri falls at Texas A&M or Tennessee, which is also a high probability, and Florida beats South Carolina and Vanderbilt, which is highly probable, then there will be a three-way tie for first in the division. Let’s look at the tiebreaker system to see which team would be fodder for the West Division champion.

1. Head-to-Head: all three teams will be 1-1 against each other.
2. East Division Records: Georgia would be 4-2; Florida would be 5-1; and Missouri would be either 5-1 or 4-2 depending on whether they lost to A&M or UT. If Missouri lost to the Aggies and beat the Vols, then they would lose in the SEC Championship Game. If the Tigers lost to the Vols instead, then Florida would lose in the SEC Championship Game. For now, we believe the Gators will be that unfortunate team, and it will be hard to can Will Muschamp if he take UF to Atlanta on December 6.

With three teams playing in Big Six bowls, the league will not meet its bowl obligations, probably falling short by two, because we believe Kentucky will lose out to finish 5-7, and South Carolina will come up one game short as well.

1. PLAYOFFS—Sugar Bowl: Alabama (7-1/12-1)
2. PLAYOFFS—Rose Bowl: Mississippi State (7-1/11-1)
3. Cotton Bowl: Auburn (6-2/10-2)
4. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Missouri (5-3/9-3)
5. Outback Bowl: L S U (5-3/9-3)
6. Gator Bowl: Ole Miss (5-3/9-3)
7. Music City Bowl: Tennessee (4-4/7-5)
8. Liberty Bowl: Georgia (5-3/9-3)
9. Belk Bowl: Florida (5-3/7-5)

See more at http://www.piratings.webs.com

October 29, 2014

PiRate Ratings College Football Playoffs and Bowl Projections

For the projected bowl matchups, as well as ratings and predicted spreads, go to our website at:

http://www.piratings.webs.com

The committee has anted up and thrown out its opening bid, and the public is ready to call its bluff. The three of a kind known as the SEC West will not be the ultimate winning hand in this revolving poker game.

If you haven’t seen the opening ratings for the college football playoffs, it goes like this:

1. Mississippi State
2. Florida State
3. Auburn
4. Ole Miss
5. Oregon
6. Alabama
7. T C U
8. Michigan State
9. Kansas State
10. Notre Dame
11. Georgia
12. Arizona
13. Baylor
14. Arizona State
15. Nebraska
16. Ohio State
17. Utah
18. Oklahoma
19. L S U
20. West Virginia
21. Clemson
22. U C L A
23. East Carolina
24. Duke
25. Louisville

If the season ended today, there would be omelets served in New Orleans on New Year’s Day, as Ole Miss and Mississippi State would hook up to make the Sugar Bowl, the Egg Bowl, part deux. Florida State and Auburn would hook up in the Rose Bowl.

Of course, the season did not end Saturday, and these ratings are going to change, as these teams lose games. Ole Miss and Mississippi State will play in the real Egg Bowl, producing one loser. Ole Miss and Auburn play this week. Alabama still must play LSU, Mississippi State, and Auburn. Auburn and Georgia must play. These teams will cannibalize each other, and it could end up with all the SEC teams suffering two losses.

Florida State has a trap game tomorrow night at Louisville, and the Seminoles may or may not have a legitimate running back able to play, while former Auburn star back Michael Dyer just emerged from a two year sabbatical to torch North Carolina State for 173 yards.

In the Big Ten, Michigan State and Ohio State must still face off in a couple weeks, and the winner of this game could face a one-loss Nebraska team in the Big Ten Championship Game, although we are not ready to say the Cornhuskers are headed to an 11-1 finish.

Oklahoma must still play Baylor in the Big 12, while Baylor must also still play Kansas State. TCU has games remaining against West Virginia and Kansas State. There could be no one-loss teams left here by December 7.

Out West, the Pac-12 is very competitive, and there are still one-loss teams in Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, and Utah. UCLA, USC, Stanford, Washington, and Oregon State could all play spoiler.

Notre Dame still has one loss, but the Irish have tough road games against Arizona State and USC.

For those fans that want an eight-team playoff, you really have a chance to consider the rest of the season a 16-team playoff, because any of the top 16 could possibly move up into the top four depending on how all these crucial games turn out.

Let’s take a look at how we see the rest of the season playing out. It is surely not going to be this way, but we want to make it interesting to read, while still looking possible.

All won-loss records shown are predicted final records and not current records.

The Group of Five

These five conferences are the leagues competing for one guaranteed spot in the New Year’s Eve/Day Big Four Bowls (Orange, Fiesta, Cotton, Peach). As of today, East Carolina from the American Athletic Conference is the highest only rated team, but we believe the Pirates will stub their toe one more time this year and allow another team to pass them. Marshall, Central Florida, and Boise State appear to be the only two other teams capable of moving into the top spot.

American Athletic Conference
UCF lost two games early, but the Knights have run off five straight wins and look to be on a roll. Their season-ender at ECU will decide the league title, and we are going to stick with George O’Leary’s squad until somebody beats them.

East Carolina has a couple of tough games to play before hosting UCF on December 4. They venture to Temple this weekend and follow that up with a road game at Cincinnati after a bye week.

Cincinnati, Houston, and Memphis still hold feint hopes of backing into the crown, while Temple is looking for bowl eligibility for the first time since 2011, and the Owls have a tough closing schedule.

1. St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida (8-0/10-2)
2. Miami Beach Bowl: East Carolina (7-1/10-2)
3. Armed Forces Bowl: Houston (6-2/8-4)
4. Military Bowl: Cincinnati (6-2/8-4)
5. Birmingham Bowl: Memphis (6-2/8-4)

Also Bowl Eligible: Temple (4-4/6-6)

Conference USA
Marshall has a better than 50-50 chance of running the table, and we believe the Thundering Herd has the best chance of winning the big prize for the Group of 5 teams. A road game against mediocre UAB and the conference title game, most likely against Louisiana Tech, are the only two possible road blocks. Coach Doc Holliday figures to be a key player in the Power 5 coaching carousel, as he may be the best recruiter in the business. He could be a wildcard in the Florida coaching search.

It looks like as many as seven CUSA teams will become bowl eligible for five guaranteed bids, but three will be mired at 6-6. Geography may help the league place all their bowl eligible teams in bowls if Marshall garners the big prize.

1. Peach Bowl: Marshall (8-0/13-0)
2. Hawaii Bowl: Louisiana Tech (7-1/8-5)
3. Bahamas Bowl: U T E P (5-3/7-5)
4. Boca Raton Bowl: Middle Tennessee (5-3/7-5)
5. New Mexico Bowl: Rice (4-4/6-6)
6. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Western Kentucky (3-5/6-6)
7. Independence Bowl (at-large invitation): U A B (4-4/6-6)

Mid-American Conference
Toledo is the highest-rated team, but the Rockets are too far down in the pecking order to contend for a New Year’s Big Four Bowl. Until a MAC team beats Toledo, we are going to call for the Rockets to run the table in the regular season. But, like in more than half the seasons, we believe the upset could send the underdog team to the top bowl.

The parity among the rest of the league means that as many as eight teams could get to six wins this year. The MAC is only allotted five bowls, so three teams could be left jilted at the end of the year, unless a Midwestern or Northeastern Bowl needs an at-large team.

1. Bahamas Bowl: Bowling Green (6-2/9-4)
2. Boca Raton Bowl: Toledo (8-0/9-4)
3. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Western Michigan (6-2/8-4)
4. Camellia Bowl: Central Michigan (6-2/8-4)
5. GoDaddy.com Bowl: Northern Illinois (4-4/7-5)

Also Bowl Eligible
Akron (5-3/7-5)
Ball State (5-3/6-6)
Ohio (4-4/6-6)

Mountain West Conference
Boise State’s loss at Air Force on September 27 is the only reason the Broncos are not the leading candidate from the Group of 5 leagues to make a New Year’s bowl. Their other loss is to Ole Miss, which is much better than East Carolina’s lone loss to South Carolina. If ECU loses again, and Marshall loses at all, the Broncos can earn the big bowl by winning out. A season finale against Utah State and a conference championship game against a weaker opponent is all that stands in their way of going 11-2.

Colorado State has just one loss this year, but it was to Boise State. The Rams could easily run the table and finish 11-1, and even with a win at Boston College, CSU does not figure to pass Boise State if the Broncos do not lose. Backroom politics could provide the Rams or Boise a shot at moving up to a better bowl even though there are no real rules for such a thing to happen. It has happened in the past.

1. Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State (7-1/11-2)
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Colorado State (7-1/11-1)
3. Hawaii Bowl: Utah State (6-2/9-4)
4. New Mexico Bowl: Air Force (4-4/8-4)
5. New Orleans Bowl: Nevada (5-3/8-5)
6. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: San Diego State (5-3/7-5)
7. Cactus Bowl (alternate affiliate): Fresno State (5-3/6-6)

Sunbelt Conference
The Sunbelt Conference is perpetually the weakest overall league, but it most frequently produces surplus bowl eligible teams that get selected to Southern bowls needing at-large teams. Look for more of the same this year, as there will be at least five bowl eligible SBC teams for just three bowl tie-ins. We believe four of the five bowl eligible teams will be playing late in December or early in January.

Louisiana-Lafayette and Georgia Southern do not play each other this season, and chances are decent that they both will finish unbeaten in league play to split the title. ULL has been to the New Orleans Bowl three years running, and they might as well start putting this game on their regular schedule, because the folks in the Big Easy would like nothing more than to invite the Ragin’ Cajuns for a fourth straight year.

1. GoDaddy.com Bowl: Georgia Southern (8-0/10-2)
2. New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette (8-0/9-3)
3. Camellia Bowl: Arkansas State (6-2/8-4)
4. Independence Bowl (at-large invitation): South Alabama (5-3/6-6)

Also Bowl Eligible: Texas State (5-3/7-5)

Independents
Notre Dame is part of the Power 5 and not included in this section. Army, BYU, and Navy are all guaranteed specific bowls if they become bowl eligible. BYU is fading fast, but the Cougars should get that sixth win with UNLV and Savannah State still on the schedule. Navy might need an unbelievable 13th consecutive win over Army to get to six wins, but as of this week, we believe the Midshipmen will do it. Army will not get there this year, as the Black Knights have losses to Yale and Kent State. Navy will be their bowl game on December 13 in Baltimore.

1. Miami Beach Bowl: B Y U (6-6)
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Navy (6-6)

The Power 5

Atlantic Coast Conference
Florida State can ill afford to drop an ACC game and expect to stay ahead of a host of other one-loss teams. The Seminoles have a lot of outside interference getting in their way at the present time, and a Thursday night nationally televised game at Louisville looks tricky at the moment. FSU must consider this game their “Sweet 16” round game in the playoffs, with their “Elite 8” game coming in the ACC Championship Game.

Duke is still technically alive for the Playoffs, but the Blue Devils would have to run the table and then handily defeat a 12-0 FSU team to have even a remote chance of finishing in the top four. A Duke team at 11-2 and as the highest ranked ACC team after Florida State, could force the Orange Bowl to invoke their clause, where they could invite Big Ten and SEC opponents, forcing Duke into the Buffalo Wild Wings (formerly Capital One) Bowl.

Notre Dame is included in the ACC grouping, and the Irish need to finish 11-1 or 10-2 to earn a Big Four New Year’s bowl. We believe they will.

Clemson is still in the mix for an Orange Bowl bid, but the Tigers must handle arch-rival South Carolina and still have a tricky game at Georgia Tech. We aren’t sure CU has the horses this year to win both games.

Louisville has a lot riding on their big game tomorrow night against Florida State. If the Cardinals win, they could possibly get on a roll, win at both Boston College and Notre Dame and finish 10-2 to get into the mix for the Orange Bowl. If they lose a heartbreaker, things could go the other way, and UL could be 6-5 when they host Kentucky on November 29.

The Coastal Division is looking more and more mixed up. Duke controls their own destiny, while the other six teams could all finish 6-6 or better. We believe one team will sink in the sunset while allowing the other teams to get bowl eligible. Virginia has suffered some disheartening losses this year, and we believe the Cavaliers will fall apart and fail to get to six wins.

Even with Notre Dame included in the bowl tie-ins, because both the Irish and Florida State appear to be headed to games outside the ACC contracts, this league will fall two teams shy in their obligations to bowls, opening up room for two other Southern bowl eligible teams to gain tickets to the waltz.

1. PLAYOFFS—Rose Bowl: Florida State (8-0/13-0)
2. Cotton Bowl: Notre Dame (10-2)
3. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Duke (7-1/11-2)
4. Russell Athletic Bowl: Clemson (7-1/9-3)
5. Gator Bowl: Georgia Tech (5-3/8-4)
6. Belk Bowl: Louisville (4-4/7-5)
7. Sun Bowl: Virginia Tech (4-4/7-5)
8. Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College (4-4/7-5)
9. Military Bowl: North Carolina (4-4/6-6)
10. Quick Lane Bowl: Miami (5-3/8-4)

Big Ten Conference
The Michigan State and Ohio State winner should sneak up into the top four if that team wins the Big Ten Championship Game as well. We believe that will happen, and the loser of the OSU-MSU game will still earn a Big Four New Year’s bowl with two losses.

With two teams expected to play in part of the overall Big Six bowl games, the Big Ten may not have enough bowl eligible teams for all their allotted spots. Teams like Maryland, Rutgers, Illinois, and Northwestern still have work to do to get to six wins. Indiana and Purdue are not included as possible bowl eligible teams at this point. For sanity’s sake, and to provide a surplus of one team to become an a quality at-large bowl invitee, we will call for UM, RU, IU, and NU to all finish 6-6.

1. PLAYOFFS—Rose Bowl: Michigan State (8-0/12-1)
2. Orange Bowl: Ohio State (7-1/10-2)
3. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Nebraska (5-3/9-3)
4. Outback Bowl: Wisconsin (6-2/9-4)
5. Holiday Bowl: Iowa (5-3/8-4)
6. Music City Bowl: Penn State (3-5/7-5)
7. San Francisco Bowl: Minnesota (4-4/7-5)
8. Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers (2-6/6-6)
9. Quick Lane Bowl: Illinois (3-5/6-6)
10. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Maryland (3-5/6-6)
11. St. Petersburg Bowl (at-large invitation): Northwestern (5-3/6-6)

Big 12 Conference
This is the league where a one-loss team has the unfortunate best chance to miss out on the playoffs to a one-loss Big Ten team. TCU and Baylor may not garner the same prestige as Michigan State and Ohio State, and thus the loser of this political game may have to settle for a Cotton Bowl bid, while a second Big 12 team winds up in the Fiesta Bowl, and a third team could go to Atlanta in the Peach Bowl against the Group of 5 invitee.

Texas, Texas Tech, Iowa State, and Kansas are virtually out of contention for bowl eligibility. With three teams expected to play in New Year’s bowls and just six probably bowl eligible teams, this league will not meet its obligations to supply seven bowls with teams.

1. Cotton Bowl: T C U (8-1/11-1)
2. Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma (7-2/10-2)
3. Peach Bowl: Baylor (7-2/10-2)
4. Alamo Bowl: Kansas State (6-3/8-4)
5. Russell Athletic Bowl: West Virginia (6-3/8-4)
6. Liberty Bowl: Oklahoma St. (4-5/6-6)

Pac-12 Conference
The Pac-12 still has four one-loss teams in both Arizona’s, Utah, and Oregon. We believe one team will emerge at 12-1, but because we are picking Arizona to be that team, the Wildcats would have to leapfrog Michigan State, after the Spartans beat Ohio State and either Wisconsin or Nebraska.

Oregon may find itself a victim of geographical circumstances if the Ducks do not win out and finish 12-1. At 11-2, Oregon might take a backseat to two-loss teams more than 1,000 miles closer to bowls available.

If no team from this league makes the playoffs, there will be surplus bowl eligible teams, and this league will be at the top in priority when other bowls start to look for at-large invitees.

1. Fiesta Bowl: Arizona (8-1/12-1)
2. Alamo Bowl: Oregon (7-1/11-2)
3. Holiday Bowl: Arizona St. (7-2/10-2)
4. San Francisco Bowl: U C L A (6-3/9-3)
5. Sun Bowl: U S C (6-3/7-5)
6. Las Vegas Bowl: Washington (4-5/8-5)
7. Cactus Bowl: Stanford (5-4/7-5)
8. Texas Bowl (at-large invitation): Utah (4-5/7-5)
9. Armed Forces Bowl (at-large invitation): Oregon State (3-6/6-6)

Southeastern Conference
The league that perpetually wears the black hat or is like rooting for the Yankees once again appears to be the strongest of all, but cannibalization in November is going to remove at least one of the projected three playoff spots.

Mississippi State is number one and undefeated, but we do not believe the Bulldogs have a snowball’s chance of winning three incredibly tough games they would have to win to be 13-0 on December 7. With Alabama, Ole Miss, and a possible SEC Championship Game bout with Georgia lurking ahead in the next five weeks, nobody could be expected to win all three.

Alabama is the enigma. The Crimson Tide is not a juggernaut and cannot be expected to totally shut down opponents with their defense like in past years. However, their offense is capable of looking more like the Denver Broncos. Alabama has tough games left against LSU, Mississippi State, and Auburn, and we believe they will stub their toe at least once and miss out on the SEC Championship Game.

Auburn also has three tough games in their way of making it to the SEC Championship Game, and it is too tough for the Tigers to beat Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama.

Ole Miss could easily lose to Auburn this week and Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl to finish 9-3. They could also beat both teams to make it to the SEC Championship Game, but Georgia’s defense looks like it could stop the Rebels’ offense.

Somebody from the West must win the division flag and advance to the Championship Game, so we will go with Alabama for now, but we will also call for the Tide to lose to Georgia.

Georgia, the team from the East with little remaining resistance, looks to have a huge advantage to work out the kinks in their offense, get Todd Gurley back in November, and run the table, including winning the SEC Championship Game to sneak into the Playoffs. They will not be battered and bruised like the SEC West Champ.

In other bowl developments, look for Florida to miss out and finish 5-6. The Gators might try to arrange some type of backroom deal to get an invitation because they did not get to play Idaho, which would have been a for sure win to make them 6-6, but until the political stiffs come to that conclusion, we will leave the Gators out of the picture.

Kentucky and Tennessee are the two teams to watch. The Wildcats looked like a possible Buffalo Wild Wings or Outback Bowl contender two weeks ago, but consecutive losses to LSU and Mississippi State have put the Blue and White at the back of the pecking order. If the ‘Cats lose at Missouri this week, it is going to get iffy for the Blue Mist at 5-4. With games against Georgia, Tennessee, and Louisville, 5-7 is very possible.

As for Tennessee, the Volunteers are definitely the best 3-5 team in America with four top 20 losses. The schedule eases up quite a bit for the Big Orange in November, and it isn’t impossible that UT will win all four to finish 7-5. We believe 6-6 is almost assured, and Butch Jones will guide his squad into a bowl.

1. PLAYOFFS—Rose Bowl: Georgia (7-1/12-1)
2. PLAYOFFS—Sugar Bowl: Mississippi State (7-1/11-1)
3. Orange Bowl: Alabama (7-1/11-2)
4. Outback Bowl: Auburn (5-3/9-3)
5. Gator Bowl: Ole Miss (5-3/9-3)
6. Music City Bowl: L S U (5-3/9-3)
7. Belk Bowl: South Carolina (4-4/8-4)
8. Liberty Bowl: Tennessee (3-5/6-6)
9. Texas Bowl: Texas A&M (3-5/7-5)
10. Birmingham Bowl: Missouri (4-4/7-5)

October 21, 2014

PiRate Ratings College Football Playoffs and Bowls Coverage

For October 21, 2014

Note: You can find our award-winning ratings at http://www.piratings.webs.com

You can find numerous bowl projection sights on the Internet, so we see no reason to just put forth our projections like 100 others. The PiRate Ratings have always been a little different than other ratings. Our computer ratings use a system other than the actual scores of the games, using unique statistical data to come up with a truer score of every game before adjusting the ratings. Likewise, our bowl projections do not use the same criteria as other projectors.
We try to use our ratings to look forward and determine what the standings will look like on December 7. Then, we try to surmise the “political” nature of the bowls. For instance, you know that the ACC bowls would prefer to invite anybody other than Miami if they have a chance. When you cannot put 5,000 fans in your stadium for a home game against Cincinnati, another likely bowl team, it is not going to give a bowl like the Sun Bowl much faith that the Hurricanes will bring 20,000 fans to El Paso. Likewise, a 10-2 Auburn team is going to garner one of the big Bowl games not in the playoffs (Fiesta, Orange, Peach, or Cotton this year) before a 10-2 Washington team.

What we will do here is cover the bowls by conference. If you want to see the projections like 100 other sites, go to our website at the link below.
http://piratings.webs.com/bowlprojections.htm

Here is where we see the conferences and bowl possibilities for October 21, 2014.
Note: An Asterisk (*) means this is an at-large selection because the conference cannot meet its bowl tie-in obligation due to lack of bowl eligible team.

The Playoffs as we see it today

Sugar Bowl: #1 Ole Miss vs. #4 Ohio St.

Rose Bowl: #2 Florida St. vs. #3 Alabama

Group of 5 Conferences

American Athletic Conference
East Carolina controls its own destiny to become the first Group of 5 conference member to play in one of the Four New Year’s Eve/Day Big Bowls. At 11-1, the Pirates would top a 13-0 Marshall team. ECU has three potential possible upset games yet to play, but the Pirates are clearly better than anybody left on their schedule. Those three tough games to come are against Temple in Philadelphia on November 1; at Cincinnati on Thursday night, November 13; and a Thursday night regular season finale at home against Central Florida.

Central Florida should be on a roll when the Knights roll into Greenville for that big December 4 game. UCF should win nine games, and the Knights figure to be the second bowl selection out of the AAC.

Houston started the season with some trouble, but the Cougars have begun to play their best football of the season in the last few weeks. UH does not face ECU, so chances are slim that Coach Tony Levine’s team can sneak up and take the conference crown.

Cincinnati, Memphis, and Temple all should be bowl eligible, and there will be enough conference bids for all three.

1. Peach Bowl: East Carolina (vs. Notre Dame)
2. Birmingham Bowl: Memphis (vs. Kentucky)
3. St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida (vs. Miami)
4. Miami Beach Bowl: Cincinnati (vs. BYU)
5. Military Bowl: Temple (vs. Virginia)
6. Armed Forces Bowl: Houston (vs. Rutgers)

Conference USA
Marshall has a clear path to a 13-0 season, but the Thundering Herd still must get past UAB on the road and a possible tough Louisiana Tech team in the C-USA Championship Game. Marshall needs an ECU loss to occur in order to sneak into a possible Peach Bowl invitation.

Louisiana Tech appears to be the class of the West Division, but Bulldogs are no cinch with games still remaining against UAB on the road and Rice at home.

Middle Tennessee is on pace to win seven games and a mild upset over a swooning BYU Cougars team could lift that number to eight and make the Blue Raiders the third choice in the conference bowl pecking order.

The rest of the bowl invitations will go out to the three teams that can get to 6-6. As of today, we predict Rice, UAB, and Florida Atlantic will be those three teams. Failure to get three to 6-6 will help the Sunbelt or MAC.

1. Hawaii Bowl: Marshall (vs. Utah St.)
2. Bahamas Bowl: Louisiana Tech (vs. Toledo)
3. Boca Raton Bowl: Middle Tennessee (vs. Northern Illinois)
4. New Mexico Bowl: Rice (vs. Air Force)
5. Heart of Dallas Bowl: U A B (vs. Arkansas St. *)
6. Independence Bowl: Florida Atlantic * (vs. Georgia Tech)

Mid-American Conference
Toledo appears to be the top team at this point, but the Rockets are not a for-sure selection to win the MAC Championship, as there is some parity in the league this year.

Because there is not dominant team like an undefeated Northern Illinois team, there will definitely be many more bowl eligible teams than bowl spots. We foresee eight bowl eligible MAC teams with three not receiving bowl bids.

Politics and financial priorities will allow a team like Ohio to beat out Buffalo or Central Michigan if they all finish 7-5. Choosing between Ohio and Bowling Green will be tough, but we will take the Bobcats.

1. Bahamas Bowl: Toledo (vs. Louisiana Tech)
2. Boca Raton Bowl: Northern Illinois (vs. Middle Tennessee)
3. Idaho Potato Bowl: Akron (vs. Nevada)
4. Camellia Bowl: Western Michigan (vs. South Alabama)
5. Go Daddy Bowl: Ohio U (vs. Georgia Southern)

Mountain West Conference
Boise State’s upset loss to Air Force has kept the Broncos down at number three or four in the Group of 5 teams vying for the New Year’s Eve/Day bowl bid. The Broncos only other loss it to Ole Miss, which looks a lot better now than it did on August 28. BSU’s only bump in the road ahead is a home finale against Utah State on November 29.

Utah State, Colorado State, and Air Force are certainly going bowling from the Mountain Division. In the West Division, it looks like three teams could finish tied at 5-3. One of the three, Fresno State as of this week, is likely not to receive a bowl bid.

1. Las Vegas Bowl: Boise St. (vs. Stanford)
2. Poinsettia Bowl: Colorado St. (vs. Oregon St. *)
3. Hawaii Bowl: Utah St. (vs. Marshall)
4. New Mexico Bowl: Air Force (vs. Rice)
5. New Orleans Bowl: San Diego St. (vs. Louisiana-Lafayette)
6. Idaho Potato Bowl: Nevada (vs. Akron)

Sunbelt Conference
This is the only Group of Five conference with zero chance of having a team play in a New Year’s Eve/Day bowl. Georgia Southern had their chances, blowing second half leads to North Carolina State and Georgia Tech. The Eagles appear to be the class of the league this year, with Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State just behind. GSU does not play either team this year and should run the table in league play.

UL-Lafayette and Arkansas State should receive some form of bowl invitation, be it from a conference tie-in or as an at-large. (Note—this was written before these two teams faced off Tuesday night.)

South Alabama may finish a game or even two behind Louisiana-Monroe and may finished tied with Texas State, but the Jaguars figure to earn the Camellia Bowl bid just up the road in Montgomery with six or more wins.

Texas State could luck into an at-large bowl invitation, since it appears there will be some Lone Star State bowl games needing an at-large team.

1. Go Daddy Bowl: Georgia Southern (vs. Ohio U)
2. New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette (vs. San Diego St.)
3. Camellia Bowl: South Alabama (vs. Western Michigan)
4. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Arkansas St. * (vs. U A B)
5. Texas Bowl: Texas St. * (vs. Texas A&M)

Independents
For Notre Dame, please see the Atlantic Coast Conference

The Army artillery has come up a mile short of its target this year, so the Black Knights will once again fail to achieve bowl eligibility. The Navy’s ship is taking on water quickly and appears headed to the bottom of the ocean floor. Look for the Armed Forces and Poinsettia Bowls to look elsewhere.

BYU is sinking in quicksand since the loss of their star quarterback, but the Cougars already had enough wins in the bank to see bowl eligibility.

1. Miami Beach Bowl: B Y U (vs. Cincinnati)

Power 5 Conferences

Atlantic Coast Conference (& Notre Dame)
Florida State has two tiny hurdles left to cross before waltzing into the playoffs. The Seminoles play at Louisville a week from Thursday, and they will more than likely face Duke in the ACC Championship Game. FSU has the best chance of any FBS team of running the table this season.

Notre Dame might lose to USC, but we believe the Fighting Irish still earn a New Year’s Eve/Day bowl bid at 10-2. Clemson will not be so lucky if the Irish end up 10-2, for a 10-2 Tiger team would not get into one of the Big Six bowls.

Duke could repeat as Coastal Division champions, but the Blue Devils still appear to be a two to three touchdown underdog to FSU. Any of the six Coastal teams could finish bowl eligible, and we believe six of the seven will. The bowl representatives hope the one that doesn’t is Miami, but the Hurricanes have the look of a 6-6 team. This week, we select North Carolina to finish 5-7.

1. Rose Bowl: Florida St. (vs. Alabama)
2. Peach Bowl: Notre Dame (vs. East Carolina)
3. Russell Athletic Bowl: Duke (vs. Kansas St.)
4. Capital One Bowl ^: Clemson (vs. Mississippi St.)
5. Gator Bowl: Louisville (vs. South Carolina)
6. Belk Bowl: Virginia Tech (vs. Tennessee)
7. Sun Bowl: Pittsburgh (vs. Arizona St.)
8. Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College (vs. Penn St.)
9. Military Bowl: Virginia (vs. Temple)
10. Independence Bowl: Georgia Tech (vs. Florida Atlantic *)
11. Quick Lane Bowl: North Carolina St. (vs. Maryland)
12. St. Petersburg Bowl: Miami (vs. Central Florida

^: If a Big Ten team plays in the Orange Bowl as the SEC opponent, the Capital One Bowl can issue a bid to an ACC Team

Big Ten Conference
Michigan State and Ohio State are headed to a major clash in East Lansing on November 8, and the winner can back into a playoff spot if they win out and finish 12-1. Nebraska has a minor chance to sneak in if the Cornhuskers run the table and beat the Michigan State-Ohio State winner in the conference title game.

We have removed one team from the total here this week, as we now believe that Northwestern could lose to Purdue, and neither team will win six games. Indiana and Illinois appear to have too much left to do to get to six wins. Michigan is not even among the possibilities.

1. Sugar Bowl: Ohio St. (vs. Ole Miss)
2. Orange Bowl: Michigan St. (vs. Georgia)
3. Outback Bowl: Nebraska (vs. Auburn)
4. Holiday Bowl: Wisconsin (vs. Arizona)
5. Music City Bowl: Minnesota (vs. L S U)
6. San Francisco Bowl: Iowa (vs. U C L A)
7. Pinstripe Bowl: Penn State (vs. Boston College)
8. Quick Lane Bowl: Maryland (vs. North Carolina St.)
9. Armed Forces Bowl: Rutgers (vs. Houston)

Big 12 Conference
That hissing sound you heard the last two weeks was the sound of the Big 12 Conference balloon losing all its playoff air. TCU fell out of the picture when they blew a 21-point lead to Baylor. Then Baylor and Oklahoma fell out of the race with bad losses last week.

Kansas State could sneak into the picture if the Wildcats run the table, beating TCU and Baylor, both on the road. We don’t see that happening.

Because Texas and Texas Tech do not have favorable remaining schedules and appear to be headed to losing seasons, the Big 12 will only have six bowl eligible teams, and even though none will make the playoffs, two should earn Big Six bowl bids. That will leave two bowls Texas and Armed Forces) looking for at-large invitees.

1. Fiesta Bowl: T C U (vs. U S C)
2. Cotton Bowl: Baylor (vs. Oregon)
3. Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma (vs. Washington)
4. Russell Athletic Bowl: Kansas St. (vs. Duke)
5. Liberty Bowl: West Virginia (vs. Missouri)
6. Cactus Bowl: Oklahoma St. (vs. Utah)

Pac-12 Conference
It is going to be very tough for a Pac-12 team to make the playoffs this year. Oregon could do so by running the table, but the Ducks seem to have a defensive breakdown once a month, and we see one more loss in their future. Utah and Arizona still have just one loss, but we see multiple losses ahead for both.

USC may be the best team on the coast, but the Trojans have two losses and appear to have no chance to earn a spot in the playoffs. UCLA, Washington, Arizona State, Stanford, and Oregon State should join the others mentioned in a bowl. One will have to receive an at-large invitation, but there will be one available for sure.

1. Fiesta Bowl: U S C (vs. T C U)
2. Cotton Bowl: Oregon (vs. Baylor)
3. Alamo Bowl: Washington (vs. Oklahoma)
4. Holiday Bowl: Arizona (vs. Wisconsin)
5. San Francisco Bowl: U C L A (vs. Iowa)
6. Sun Bowl: Arizona St. (vs. Pittsburgh)
7. Las Vegas Bowl: Stanford (vs. Boise St.)
8. Cactus Bowl: Utah (vs. Oklahoma St.)
9. Poinsettia Bowl: Oregon St. * (vs. Colorado St.)

Southeastern Conference
The league everybody else likes to hate can seriously stake a claim to having the top four teams in the nation and possibly top five teams. We do not believe Florida State could finish in the top half of the West Division standings this year.

In fact, our Mean ratings this week have Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn, and Mississippi State as the top four teams. The SEC will get no more than two teams into the playoffs, because the rest of the FBS leagues would pick up their marbles and go home if more than two make it.

Our ratings show Ole Miss to be the hands-down best team in the nation at the present time, and Alabama is right there just behind. Auburn lost at Mississippi State, and the Bulldogs are still undefeated, but our ratings believe the Maroon and White will lose to both Alabama and Ole Miss.

Georgia is the wildcard in the hunt, as the Bulldogs need only beat Auburn to avoid another loss. At 7-1/11-1, UGA is one win away from a playoff spot.

Last week, Kentucky showed signs of a possible upcoming swoon, where the Wildcats could have to claw to that sixth win. Tennessee will be looking at a November where the Vols must go 3-1, but the schedule gives the Orange and White four winnable November games.

South Carolina and Missouri have shown numerous weaknesses but both teams will become bowl eligible. LSU and Texas A&M will join this group in the lower pecking order.

Florida appears to be headed to a 5-6 season, and the cancelled game with Idaho will not be made up, so Will Muschamp will go out with consecutive losing seasons in Gainesville, and the Gators will look hard at trying to lure Art Briles away from Baylor. And, it will mean that there will be one bowl (Independence) available to another team as an at-large selection.

1. Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss (vs. Ohio St.)
2. Rose Bowl: Alabama (vs. Florida St.)
3. Orange Bowl: Georgia (vs. Michigan St.)
4. Capital One Bowl: Mississippi St. (vs. Clemson)
5. Outback Bowl: Auburn (vs. Nebraska)
6. Gator Bowl: South Carolina (vs. Louisville)
7. Music City Bowl: L S U (vs. Minnesota)
8. Liberty Bowl: Missouri (vs. West Virginia)
9. Texas Bowl: Texas A&M (vs. Texas St. *)
10. Belk Bowl: Tennessee (vs. Virginia Tech)
11. Birmingham Bowl: Kentucky (vs. Memphis)

Teams that should be bowl eligible but not invited to bowls: Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Fresno St., and Louisiana-Monroe

December 26, 2010

PiRate Ratings College Football Bowl Preview, Part Two

We are posting three bowl previews this year; this is the second preview.  We will give you the current odds for each game, the PiRate, Mean, and Bias spreads for each game, and the results of our 100 computer simulations for each game.

 

Today, we cover the bowls from Boxing Day through New Year’s Day.  Next week, we will preview the bowls from January 2 to the Championship Game. 

 

Sunday, December 26

Little Caesar’s Bowl

Detroit, MI

8:30 PM EST on ESPN

Toledo (8-4)  vs. Florida Internationl (6-6)

Vegas: Toledo by 1

Totals: 57

PiRate: Toledo by 3.3

Mean: Toledo by 2.8

Bias: Toledo by 16.8

100 Sims: Toledo 67  Florida International 33

Avg. Sim Score: Toledo 33.6  Florida International 25.7

Outlier A: Toledo 49  Florida International 19

Outlier B: Florida International 37  Toledo 24

 

Monday, December 27

Independence Bowl

Shreveport, LA

5:00 PM EST on ESPN

Air Force (8-4)  vs.  Georgia Tech (6-6)

Vegas: Air Force by 2 ½  

Totals: 56

PiRate: Georgia Tech by 1.7

Mean: Air Force by 5.2

Bias: Air Force by 5.9

100 Sims: Air Force 55  Georgia Tech 45

Avg. Sim Score: Air Force 29.2  Georgia Tech 26.9

Outlier A: Air Force 41  Georgia Tech 23

Outlier B: Georgia Tech 34  A Force 23

 

Tuesday, December 28

Champs Sports Bowl

Orlando, FL

6:30 PM EST on ESPN

West Virginia (9-3)  vs. North Carolina State (8-4)

Vegas: West Virginia by 2 ½

Totals: 49

PiRate: West Virginia by 6.8

Mean: West Virginia by 2.3

Bias: West Virginia by 3.0

100 Sims: West Virginia 53  North Carolina State 47 (6 games decided by OT)

Avg. Sim Score: West Virginia 25.8  North Carolina State 25.2

Outlier A: West Virginia 27  North Carolina State 10

Outlier B: North Carolina State 28  West Virginia 12

 

Insight Bowl

Tempe, AZ

10:00 PM EST

Missouri (10-2)  vs.  Iowa (7-5)

Vegas: Missouri by 2 ½

Totals: 46 ½

PiRate: Even

Mean: Missouri by 4.1

Bias: Missouri by 12.6

100 Sims: Missouri 58  Iowa 42

Avg. Sim Score: Missouri 25.6  Iowa 22.3

Outlier A: Missouri 31  Iowa 13

Outlier B: Iowa 21  Missouri 7

 

Wednesday, December 29

Military Bowl

Washington, D.C.

2:30 PM on EST

Maryland (8-4)  vs. East Carolina (6-6)

Vegas: Maryland by 7 ½

Totals: 68 ½

PiRate: Maryland by 18.4

Mean: Maryland by 11.2

Bias: Maryland by 13.8

100 Sims: East Carolina 51  Maryland 49

Avg. Sim Score: Maryland 34.4  East Carolina 34.1

Outlier A: East Carolina 47  Maryland 31

Outlier B: Maryland 42  East Carolina 20

 

Texas Bowl

Houston, TX

6:00 PM EST on ESPN

Baylor (7-5)  vs. Illinois (6-6)

Vegas: Baylor by 1

Totals: 62 ½

PiRate: Baylor by 2.4

Mean: Illinois by 1.6

Bias: Baylor by 6.9

100 Sims: Illinois 54  Baylor 46

Avg. Sim Score: Illinois 32.1  Baylor 28.6

Outlier A: Illinois 34  Baylor 17

Outlier B: Baylor 28  Illinois 18

 

Alamo Bowl

San Antonio, TX

9:15 PM EST on ESPN

Oklahoma State (10-2)  vs. Arizona (7-5)

Vegas: Oklahoma State by 5 ½

Totals: 66

PiRate: Oklahoma State by 1.1

Mean: Oklahoma State by 6.1

Bias: Oklahoma State by 9.6

100 Sims: Oklahoma State 61  Arizona 39

Avg. Sim Score: Oklahoma State 38.0  Arizona 29.1

Outlier A: Oklahoma State 51  Arizona 27

Outlier B: Arizona 34  Oklahoma State 28 (and one other 6-point spread)

 

Thursday, December 30

Armed Forces Bowl

Dallas, TX

12:00 Noon EST on ESPN

S M U (7-6)  vs. Army (6-6)

Vegas: S M U by 7

Totals: 52

PiRate: S M U by 7.7

Mean: S M U by 3.2

Bias: S M U by 10.6

100 Sims: S M U 64  Army 36

Avg. Sim Score: S M U 28.2  Army 20.6

Outlier A: S M U 34  Army 10

Outlier B: Army 24  S M U 16

 

Pinstripe Bowl

New York, NY

3:20 PM EST

Syracuse (7-5)  vs. Kansas State (7-5)

Vegas: Pick’em

Totals: 47 ½

PiRate: Syracuse by 1.5

Mean: Kansas State by 4.6

Bias: Syracuse by 2.3

100 Sims: Syracuse 53  Kansas State 47

Avg. Sim Score: Syracuse 20.1  Kansas State 18.6

Outlier A: Syracuse 24  Kansas State 7

Outlier B: Kansas State 17  Syracuse 3

 

Music City Bowl

Nashville, TN

6:30 PM EST

Tennessee (6-6)  vs. North Carolina (7-5)

Vegas: North Carolina by 1 ½  

Totals: 50 ½

PiRate: North Carolina by 6.8

Mean: North Carolina by 1.5

Bias: Tennessee by 6.6

100 Sims: Tennessee 50  North Carolina 50

Avg. Sim Score: Tennessee 24.5  North Carolina 23.9

Outlier A: Tennessee 30  North Carolina 14

Outlier B: North Carolina 27  Tennessee 12

 

Holiday Bowl

San Diego, CA

10:00 PM EST

Nebraska (10-3)  vs. Washington (6-6)

Vegas: Nebraska by 14

Totals: 52 ½

PiRate: Nebraska by 11.8

Mean: Nebraska by 11.5

Bias: Nebraska by 5.3

100 Sims: Nebraska 57  Washington 43

Avg. Sim Score: Nebraska 26.1  Washington 19.3

Outlier A: Nebraska 27  Washington 6

Outlier B: Washington 23  Nebraska 14

 

Friday, December 31

Meineke Car Care Bowl

Charlotte, NC

12:00 Noon EST

South Florida (7-5)  vs. Clemson (6-6)

Vegas: Clemson by 5 ½

Totals: 40 ½

PiRate: Clemson by 5.1

Mean: Clemson by 3.7

Bias: South Florida by 6.1

100 Sims: South Florida 58  Clemson 42

Avg. Sim Score: South Florida 25.1  Clemson 19.2

Outlier A: South Florida 31  Clemson 12

Outlier B: Clemson 28  South Florida 16

 

Sun Bowl

El Paso, TX

2:00 PM EST on CBS

Notre Dame (7-5)  vs. Miami (Fl) (7-5)

Vegas: Miami by 3

Totals: 47

PiRate: Miami by 6.3

Mean: Notre Dame by 1.2

Bias: Miami by 6.0

100 Sims: Notre Dame 52  Miami 48

Avg. Sim Score: Notre Dame 23.4  Miami 23.2

Outlier A: Notre Dame 30  Miami 14

Outlier B: Miami 35  Notre Dame 14

 

Liberty Bowl

Memphis, TN

3:30 PM EST on ESPN

Central Florida (10-3)  vs. Georgia (6-6)

Vegas: Georgia by 6 ½

Totals: 55 ½

PiRate: Georgia by 12.8

Mean: Georgia by 5.3

Bias: Georgia by 11.3

100 Sims: Georgia 72  Central Florida 28

Avg. Sim Score: Georgia 28.6  Central Florida 17.3

Outlier A: Georgia 38  Central Florida 10

Outlier B: Central Florida 24  Georgia 19

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Atlanta, GA

7:30 PM EST on ESPN

South Carolina (9-4)  vs. Florida State (9-4)

Vegas: South Carolina by 3

Totals: 55

PiRate: Florida State by 0.4

Mean: South Carolina by 0.5

Bias: Florida State by 1.6

100 Sims: Florida State 52  South Carolina 48

Avg. Sim Score: South Carolina 26.7  Florida State 26.6

Outlier A: Florida State 30  South Carolina 16

Outlier B: South Carolina 44  Florida State 17

 

Saturday, January 1

TicketCity Bowl

Dallas, TX

12:00 Noon EST on ESPN-U

Texas Tech (7-5)  vs. Northwestern (7-5)

Vegas: Texas Tech by 10

Totals: 60

PiRate: Texas Tech by 12.5

Mean: Texas Tech by 7.3

Bias: Texas Tech by 9.6

100 Sims: Texas Tech 86  Northwestern 14

Avg. Sim Score: Texas Tech 34.6  Northwestern 21.2

Outlier A: Texas Tech 45  Northwestern 17

Outlier B: Northwestern 30  Texas Tech 24 (3 other by 6)

 

Outback Bowl

Tampa, FL

1:00 PM EST on ABC

Florida (7-5) vs. Penn State (7-5)

Vegas: Florida by 7 ½  

Totals: 48

PiRate: Florida by 13.2

Mean: Florida by 5.1

Bias: Florida by 5.5

100 Sims: Florida 54  Penn State 46

Avg. Sim Score: Florida 22.6  Penn State 19.8

Outlier A: Florida 28  Penn State 13

Outlier B: Penn State 21  Florida 10

 

Capital One Bowl

Orlando, FL

1:00 PM EST on ESPN

Michigan State (11-1) vs.  Alabama (9-3)

Vegas: Alabama by 10

Totals: 52 ½

PiRate: Alabama by 15.5

Mean: Alabama by 10.4

Bias: Alabama by 3.2

100 Sims: Alabama 59  Michigan State 41

Avg. Sim Score: Alabama 27.6  Michigan State 24.7

Outlier A: Alabama 31  Michigan State 12

Outlier B: Michigan State 35  Alabama 25

 

Gator Bowl

Jacksonville, FL

1:30 PM EST on ESPN2

Mississippi State (8-4)  vs.  Michigan (7-5)

Vegas: Mississippi State by 5 ½

Totals: 61

PiRate: Mississippi State by 10.3

Mean: Mississippi State by 6.3

Bias: Mississippi State by 4.8

100 Sims: Mississippi State 52  Michigan 48

Avg. Sim Score: Mississippi State 33.7  Michigan 30.1

Outlier A: Mississippi State 38  Michigan 20

Outlier B: Michigan 36  Mississippi State 27

 

Rose Bowl

Pasadena, CA

5:00 PM EST on ESPN

T C U (12-0)  vs. Wisconsin (11-1)

Vegas: T C U by 3

Totals: 58 ½

PiRate: T C U by 7.9

Mean: T C U by 5.8

Bias: Wisconsin by 6.6

100 Sims: Wisconsin 54  T C U 46

Avg. Sim Score: Wisconsin 30.4  T C U 28.8

Outlier A: Wisconsin 40  T C U 24

Outlier B: T C U 34  Wisconsin 24

 

Fiesta Bowl

Glendale, AZ

8:30 PM EST

Oklahoma (11-2)  vs. Connecticut (8-4)

Vegas: Oklahoma by 16 1/2

Totals: 55

PiRate: Oklahoma by 19.7

Mean: Oklahoma by 16.2

Bias: Oklahoma by 20.7

100 Sims: Oklahoma 91  Connecticut 9

Avg. Sim Score: Oklahoma 35.3  Connecticut 14.8

Outlier A: Oklahoma 49  Connecticut 7

Outlier B: Connecticut 27  Oklahoma 23

December 6, 2010

PiRate Ratings For College Football: Final Regular Season

Have To Wait A Day

Normally, we would post how well our picks fared against the spread, but we must wait one day because the Monday Night Football game is part of a parlay.  Check back tomorrow to see how we did.

 

NCAA PiRate Simulated Playoffs Return

In what has been one of our most popular pieces, the NCAA Football Simulated Playoffs will return later this week.  For those of you new to this blog, we have access to a powerful computer simulator that we have used in the past to simulate real games, such as the bowls and the NFL playoffs.  It has been surprisingly accurate, especially in picking Super Bowl scores.

 

Here is how the PiRate Computer Simulated NCAA Playoffs work.  We choose to go with a 12-team playoff.  We take the winners of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC and give them automatic bids.

 

Any other conference champions that finish in the top 16 of the BCS Standings also receive an automatic bid.  Then, at-large teams are selected based on BCS Standings until 12 teams have been selected.

 

Here are your 2010-11 NCAA Simulated Playoff Teams:

 

Automatic Qualifiers

ACC Champion: Virginia Tech

Big East Champion: Connecticut

Big Ten Champion: Wisconsin

Big 12 Champion: Oklahoma

Pac-10 Champion: Oregon

SEC Champion: Auburn

 

Two other teams received automatic bids for winning (or finishing tied in) their conference and placing in the top 16 of the BCS Standings.

 

Mountain West Champion: T C U

WAC co-Champion: Boise State

 

This leaves four spaces for at-large teams.

 

At-large: Stanford

At-large: Ohio State

At-large: Arkansas

At-large: Michigan State

 

Now, the teams are seeded 1 to 12, and we use 11 bowls to play our playoffs.  Here are the seeds and brackets.

 

 1. Auburn

 2. Oregon

 3. T C U

 4. Stanford

 5. Wisconsin

 6. Ohio State

 7. Oklahoma

 8. Arkansas

 9. Michigan State

10. Boise State

11. Virginia Tech

12. Connecticut

 

Round One

Chick-fil-A Bowl: #5 Wisconsin vs. #12 Connecticut

Alamo Bowl: #6 Ohio State vs. #11 Virginia Tech

Insight Bowl: #7 Oklahoma vs. #10 Boise State

Outback Bowl: #8 Arkansas vs. #9 Michigan State

 

Quarterfinal Round

Sugar Bowl: #1 Auburn vs. Outback Bowl Winner

Fiesta Bowl: #2 Oregon vs. Insight Bowl Winner

Capital One Bowl: #3 T C U vs. Alamo Bowl Winer

Cotton Bowl: #4 Stanford vs. Chick-fil-A Bowl Winner

 

Semifinal Round

Orange Bowl: Sugar Bowl Winner vs. Cotton Bowl Winner

Rose Bowl: Fiesta Bowl Winner vs. Capital One Bowl Winner

 

Simper Bowl

National Championship Game: Orange Bowl Winner vs. Rose Bowl Winner

 

Check back next Monday for Round One results.

 

The Final Regular Season PiRate Ratings

The regular season does not officially end until this weekend when Army plays Navy at Philadelphia.  That game will not affect the standings, so we will issue our final regular season ratings today and issue the PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings for the Army-Navy game.

 

NCAA Top 25 December 6, 2010
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 T C U 133.1 12 0
2 Oregon 132.5 12 0
3 Stanford 131.8 11 1
4 Auburn 131.0 13 0
5 Boise State 128.8 11 1
6 Ohio State 128.3 11 1
7 Oklahoma 127.7 11 2
8 Alabama 126.2 9 3
9 Wisconsin 125.2 11 1
10 Arkansas 124.7 10 2
11 Virginia Tech 124.2 11 2
12 Florida State 119.8 9 4
13 South Carolina 119.4 9 4
14 Nebraska 118.9 10 3
15 Texas A&M 118.5 9 3
16 L S U 117.7 10 2
17 West Virginia 117.0 9 3
18 Oklahoma State 116.3 10 2
19 Nevada 115.7 12 1
20 Georgia 115.7 6 6
21 Mississippi State 115.6 8 4
22 Florida 115.3 7 5
23 Missouri 115.2 10 2
24t Arizona 115.2 7 5
24t Iowa 115.2 7 5
         
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida State 6-2 9-4 119.8
Clemson 4-4 6-6 111.0
North Carolina State 5-3 8-4 110.2
Maryland 5-3 8-4 105.9
Boston College 4-4 7-5 105.0
Wake Forest 1-7 3-9 92.0
       
Coastal Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Virginia Tech 8-0 11-2 124.2
Miami-FL 5-3 7-5 115.2
North Carolina 4-4 7-5 114.8
Georgia Tech 4-4 6-6 108.5
Duke 1-7 3-9 95.9
Virginia 1-7 4-8 95.0

 

 

Big East Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
West Virginia 5-2 9-3 117.0
Pittsburgh 5-2 7-5 110.7
Connecticut 5-2 8-4 108.0
South Florida 3-4 7-5 106.9
Louisville 3-4 6-6 104.1
Cincinnati 2-5 4-8 100.7
Syracuse 4-3 7-5 100.0
Rutgers 1-6 4-8 89.5

 

 

Big Ten
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Ohio State 7-1 11-1 128.3
Wisconsin 7-1 11-1 125.2
Iowa 4-4 7-5 115.2
Michigan State 7-1 11-1 110.7
Michigan 3-5 7-5 105.3
Penn State 4-4 7-5 104.6
Illinois 4-4 6-6 104.4
Minnesota 2-6 3-9 96.1
Northwestern 3-5 7-5 92.9
Purdue 2-6 4-8 91.1
Indiana 1-7 5-7 90.1

 

 

Big 12
North Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 6-2 10-3 118.9
Missouri 6-2 10-2 115.2
Kansas State 3-5 7-5 100.0
Colorado 2-6 5-7 99.6
Iowa State 3-5 5-7 94.9
Kansas 1-7 3-9 88.2
       
South Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oklahoma 6-2 11-2 127.7
Texas A&M 6-2 9-3 118.5
Oklahoma State 6-2 10-2 116.3
Texas 2-6 5-7 106.3
Baylor 4-4 7-5 105.3
Texas Tech 3-5 7-5 104.4

 

 

Conference USA
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Florida 7-1 10-3 102.9
Southern Mississippi 5-3 8-4 98.4
East Carolina 5-3 6-6 90.0
U A B 3-5 4-8 86.3
Marshall 4-4 5-7 83.8
Memphis 0-8 1-11 70.7
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Tulsa 6-2 9-3 98.3
Houston 4-4 5-7 96.3
S M U 6-2 7-6 92.7
U T E P 3-5 6-6 86.0
Rice 3-5 4-8 84.5
Tulane 2-6 4-8 74.6

 

 

Independents
       
Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame   7-5 108.9
Navy   8-3 102.6
Army   6-5 88.2

 

 

Mid American Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 5-3 8-4 92.6
Miami (O) 7-1 9-4 90.6
Ohio U 6-2 8-4 89.4
Kent St. 4-4 5-7 82.9
Bowling Green 1-7 2-10 75.0
Buffalo 1-7 2-10 70.2
Akron 1-7 1-11 67.7
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Northern Illinois 8-0 10-3 104.1
Toledo 7-1 8-4 89.3
Western Michigan 5-3 6-6 88.8
Central Michigan 2-6 3-9 83.7
Ball State 3-5 4-8 73.9
Eastern Michigan 2-6 2-10 66.9

 

 

Mountain West Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 8-0 12-0 133.1
Utah 7-1 10-2 111.1
Air Force 5-3 8-4 106.8
B Y U 5-3 6-6 104.8
S. D. State 5-3 8-4 104.4
Wyoming 1-7 3-9 88.0
UNLV 2-6 2-11 80.4
Colo. State 2-6 3-9 79.8
New Mexico 1-7 1-11 75.2

 

 

Pac-10 Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 9-0 12-0 132.5
Stanford 8-1 11-1 131.8
Arizona 4-5 7-5 115.2
Southern Cal 5-4 8-5 112.0
Arizona St. 4-5 6-6 111.0
Oregon St. 4-5 5-7 109.6
California 3-6 5-7 108.4
Washington 5-4 6-6 107.1
U C L A 2-7 4-8 101.8
Washington State 1-8 2-10 94.2

 

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
South Carolina 5-3 9-4 119.4
Georgia 3-5 6-6 115.7
Florida 4-4 7-5 115.3
Tennessee 3-5 6-6 106.0
Kentucky 2-6 6-6 105.9
Vanderbilt 1-7 2-10 86.8
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Auburn 8-0 13-0 131.0
Alabama 5-3 9-3 126.2
Arkansas 6-2 10-2 124.7
L S U 6-2 10-2 117.7
Mississippi State 4-4 8-4 115.6
Ole Miss 1-7 4-8 100.1

 

 

Sunbelt Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida International 6-2 6-6 87.0
Arkansas State 4-4 4-8 83.9
Troy 6-2 7-5 85.8
Middle Tennessee 5-3 6-6 82.8
North Texas 3-5 3-9 79.7
Louisiana-Monroe 4-4 5-7 78.1
U. of Louisiana 3-5 3-9 77.6
Western Kentucky 2-6 2-10 75.1
Florida Atlantic 3-5 4-8 73.7

 

 

Western Athletic Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 7-1 11-1 128.8
Nevada 7-1 12-1 115.9
Hawaii 7-1 10-3 108.9
Fresno State 5-3 8-4 98.2
Louisiana Tech 4-4 5-7 93.0
Idaho 3-5 6-7 88.1
Utah State 2-6 4-8 88.0
San Jose State 0-8 1-12 78.5
New Mexico State 1-7 2-10 71.9

 

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)    
       
Saturday, December 11      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
Navy Army (Philadelphia) 14.4 31-17

 

 

This Week’s Games–Mean and Bias Ratings
Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)    
       
Saturday, December 11      
Favorite Underdog Mean Bias
Navy Army  (Philadelphia) 31-23 27-21

 

 

A Look At The Bowls

 

Here are the particulars for the 35 bowl matchups for this year. 

 

All Times Eastern Standard

 

Saturday, December 18

The New Mexico Bowl—Albuquerque, NM

2:00 PM  ESPN

B Y U  6-6  vs. U T E P  6-6

 

The Humanitarian Bowl—Boise, ID

5:30 PM  ESPN

Northern Illinois  10-3  vs. Fresno State  8-4

 

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl—New Orleans, LA

9:00 PM  ESPN

Troy  7-5  vs. Ohio U  8-4

 

Tuesday, December 21

Beef O’Brady’s Bowl—St. Petersburg, FL

8:00 PM  ESPN

Louisville  6-6  vs. Southern Mississippi  8-4

 

Wednesday, December 22

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl—Las Vegas, NV

8:00 PM  ESPN

Utah  10-2  vs. Boise State  11-1

Boise State substitutes for a Pac-10 Team

 

Thursday, December 23

San Diego Co. Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl—San Diego, CA

8:00 PM  ESPN

San Diego State  8-4  vs. Navy  8-3 (+ Army Game)

 

Friday, December 24

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl—Honolulu, HI

8:00 PM  ESPN

Hawaii  10-3  vs. Tulsa 9-3

 

Sunday, December 26

Little Caesar’s Bowl—Detroit, MI

8:30 PM  ESPN

Florida International  6-6  vs. Toledo  8-4

Florida International substitutes for a Big Ten Team

 

Monday, December 27

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl—Shreveport, LA

5:00 PM  ESPN-2

Georgia Tech  6-6  vs.  Air Force  8-4

 

Tuesday, December 28

Champs Sports Bowl—Orlando, FL

6:30 PM  ESPN

West Virginia  9-3  vs.  North Carolina St.  8-4

 

Insight Bowl—Tempe, AZ

10:00 PM  ESPN

Missouri  10-2  vs.  Iowa  7-5

 

Wednesday, December 29

Military Bowl—Washington, DC

2:30 PM  ESPN

Maryland  8-4  vs.  East Carolina  6-6

 

Texas Bowl—Houston, TX

6:00 PM  ESPN

Baylor  7-5  vs. Illinois  7-5

 

Valero Alamo Bowl—San Antonio, TX

9:15 PM  ESPN

Oklahoma State  10-2  vs.  Arizona  7-5

 

Thursday, December 30

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl—Ft. Worth, TX

12 Noon  ESPN

S M U  7-6  vs. Army  6-5 (+ Navy Game)

 

New Era Pinstripe Bowl—New York, NY

3:20 PM  ESPN

Syracuse  7-5  vs. Kansas State  7-5

 

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl—Nashville, TN

6:40 PM  ESPN

Tennessee  6-6  vs.  North Carolina  7-5

 

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl—San Diego, CA

10:00 PM  ESPN

Nebraska  10-3  vs.  Washington  6-6

 

Friday, December 31

Meineke Car Care Bowl—Charlotte, NC

12 Noon  ESPN

Clemson  6-6  vs.  South Florida  7-5

 

Hyundai Sun Bowl—El Paso, TX

2:00 PM  CBS

Miami (FL)  7-5  vs. Notre Dame  7-5

Notre Dame Substitutes for Pac-10 Team

 

AutoZone Liberty Bowl—Memphis, TN

3:30 PM  ESPN

Georgia  6-6  vs.  Central Florida  10-3

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl—Atlanta, GA

7:30 PM  ESPN

South Carolina  9-4  vs. Florida State  9-4

 

Saturday, January 1

Ticket City Bowl—Dallas, TX

12 Noon  ESPN-U

Northwestern  6-6  vs.  Texas Tech  7-5

 

Outback Bowl—Tampa, FL

1:00 PM  ABC

Florida  7-5  vs.  Penn State  7-5

 

Capital One Bowl—Orlando, FL

1:00 PM  ESPN

Michigan State  11-1  vs.  Alabama  9-3

 

Gator Bowl—Jacksonville, FL

1:30 PM  ESPN-2

Michigan  7-5  vs.  Mississippi State  8-4

 

Rose Bowl—Pasadena, CA

5:00 PM  ESPN

T C U  12-0  vs.  Wisconsin  11-1

 

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl—Glendale, AZ

8:30 PM  ESPN

Oklahoma  11-2  vs. Connecticut  8-4

 

Monday, January 3

Discover Orange Bowl—Miami, FL

8:30 PM  ESPN

Virginia Tech  11-2  vs. Stanford  11-1

 

Tuesday, January 4

All-State Sugar Bowl—New Orleans, LA

8:30 PM  ESPN

Arkansas  10-2  vs. Ohio State  11-1

 

Thursday, January 6

GoDaddy.com Bowl—Mobile, AL

8:00 PM  ESPN

Middle Tennessee State  6-6  vs.  Miami (OH)  9-4

 

Friday, January 7

AT&T Cotton Bowl—Arlington, TX

8:00 PM  Fox

Texas A&M  9-3  vs. L S U  10-2

 

Saturday, January 8

BBVA Compass Bowl—Birmingham, AL

12 Noon  ESPN

Pittsburgh  7-5  vs. Kentucky  6-6

 

Sunday, January 9

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl—San Francisco, CA

9:00 PM  ESPN

Boston College  7-5  vs.  Nevada  12-1

Boston College Substitutes for a Pac-10 Team

 

Monday, January 10

National Championship Game—Glendale, AZ

8:30 PM  ESPN

Auburn  13-0  vs.  Oregon  12-0

December 3, 2007

PiRate Ratings/Final Regular Season Top 25/Bowl Schedule/NCAA Playoffs

PiRate Rating Picks from this past weekend:

Winners: 8-4  66.7%  Season:   490-173 73.9%

Vs. Spread: 7-4-0 63.6%  Season: 109-132-3 45.2%

PiRate Top 25-Final Regular Season

No.

Team

Won

Lost

PiRate

1

Southern Cal

10

2

127

2

Oklahoma

11

2

126

3

Florida

9

3

126

4

Ohio State

11

1

123

5

Virginia Tech

11

2

122

6

West Virginia

10

2

122

7

L S U

11

2

120

8

Missouri

11

2

120

9

Kansas

11

1

120

10

Georgia

10

2

118

11

Arkansas

8

4

118

12

Oregon State

8

4

117

13

South Florida

9

3

117

14

Clemson

9

3

116

15

Cincinnati

9

3

115

16

Arizona State

10

2

114

17

Boise State

10

2

114

18

Tennessee

9

4

114

19

Utah

8

4

113

20

Oregon 

8

4

113

21

U C L A

6

6

113

22

Illinois

9

3

112

23

Wisconsin

9

3

112

24

Brigham Young

10

2

112

25

Texas

9

3

112

PiRate Ratings By Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

Conference

 

Overall

 

 

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Clemson

5

3

 

9

3

410

220

116

Wake Forest

5

3

 

8

4

338

279

111

Boston College

6

2

 

10

3

372

264

110

Maryland

3

5

 

6

6

299

259

110

Florida State

4

4

 

7

5

275

263

106

North Carolina St.

3

5

 

5

7

249

339

94

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

Conference

 

Overall

 

 

 

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Virginia Tech

7

1

 

11

2

381

201

122

Virginia 

6

2

 

9

3

289

222

109

Georgia Tech

4

4

 

7

5

313

231

104

Miami (FL)

2

6

 

5

7

247

312

98

North Carolina

3

5

 

4

8

254

294

97

Duke

0

8

 

1

11

215

398

86

Big East Conference

Conference

 

Overall

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

West Virginia

5

2

 

10

2

467

207

122

South Florida

4

3

 

9

3

430

248

117

Cincinnati

4

3

 

9

3

441

223

115

Rutgers

3

4

 

7

5

374

262

107

Connecticut

5

2

 

9

3

334

223

105

Louisville

3

4

 

6

6

422

377

105

Pittsburgh

3

4

 

5

7

274

291

105

Syracuse

1

6

 

2

10

197

418

87

Big 10 Conference

Conference

 

Overall

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Ohio State

7

1

 

11

1

384

128

123

Illinois

6

2

 

9

3

345

234

112

Wisconsin

5

3

 

9

3

366

280

112

Penn State

4

4

 

8

4

365

211

111

Michigan St.

3

5

 

7

5

409

322

110

Michigan

6

2

 

8

4

313

243

108

Purdue

3

5

 

7

5

395

297

102

Indiana

3

5

 

7

5

389

321

99

Iowa

4

4

 

6

6

222

225

95

Northwestern

3

5

 

6

6

310

372

93

Minnesota

0

8

 

1

11

315

440

93

Big 12 Conference

North Division

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Missouri

7

1

11

2

522

319

120

Kansas 

7

1

11

1

532

192

120

Colorado

4

4

6

6

331

353

101

Kansas St.

3

5

5

7

422

370

100

Iowa St.

2

6

3

9

218

381

95

Nebraska

2

6

5

7

401

455

95

 

 

 

 

 

South Division

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Oklahoma

6

2

11

2

564

236

126

Texas

5

3

9

3

432

295

112

Texas Tech

4

4

8

4

501

309

109

Texas A&M

4

4

7

5

346

313

108

Oklahoma St.

4

4

6

6

401

351

105

Baylor

0

8

3

9

218

411

83

Conference USA

East Division

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Central Fla.

7

1

10

3

499

362

107

East Carolina

6

2

7

5

362

357

97

Southern Miss.

5

3

7

5

330

283

95

Marshall

3

5

3

9

298

411

89

Memphis

6

2

7

5

353

375

87

U A B

1

7

2

10

235

421

78

 

 

 

West Division

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Tulsa

6

2

9

4

513

458

100

Houston

6

2

8

4

436

359

97

Tulane

3

5

4

8

293

285

87

Rice

3

5

3

9

374

515

85

S M U

0

8

1

11

340

477

83

U T E P

2

6

4

8

403

445

82

Independents

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Navy

X

X

8

4

479

438

97

Notre Dame

X

X

3

9

197

345

94

Western Ky.

X

X

7

5

398

250

78

Army

X

X

3

9

203

364

77

Mid-American Conference

East Division

Division

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Bowling Green

4

2

 

6

2

8

4

385

354

96

Ohio U

3

3

 

4

4

6

6

366

359

89

Buffalo

4

2

 

5

3

5

7

291

331

86

Miami (OH)

4

2

 

5

2

6

7

260

333

85

Temple

3

3

 

4

4

4

8

197

315

85

Akron

2

4

 

3

5

4

8

254

350

84

Kent St.

1

5

 

1

7

3

9

259

350

80

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Division

Division

 

Conference

Overall

 

 

 

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Central Mich.

4

1

 

6

1

8

5

439

466

97

Western Mich.

2

3

 

4

4

5

7

323

347

97

Ball St.

4

1

 

5

2

7

5

379

316

95

Eastern Mich.

3

3

 

3

4

4

8

290

374

87

Toledo

2

3

 

3

5

5

7

395

470

85

Northern Illinois

0

5

 

1

6

2

10

229

370

79

Mountain West Conference

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Utah

5

3

8

4

306

187

113

Brigham Young

8

0

10

2

374

225

112

T C U

4

4

7

5

319

230

108

Air Force

6

2

9

3

353

232

106

New Mexico

5

3

8

4

298

247

98

Colorado St.

2

6

3

9

304

369

93

San Diego St.

3

5

4

8

301

413

90

Wyoming

2

6

5

7

233

311

86

U N L V

1

7

2

10

218

343

85

Pacific 10 Conference

Conference

Overall

 

Team

Won

Lost

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Southern Cal

7

2

10

2

375

191

127

Oregon St.

6

3

8

4

341

280

117

Arizona St.

7

2

10

2

386

241

114

Oregon 

5

4

8

4

440

286

113

U C L A

5

4

6

6

276

272

113

Arizona

4

5

5

7

336

322

112

Washington 

2

7

4

9

380

413

107

California

3

6

6

6

338

313

106

Washington St.

3

6

5

7

308

389

104

Stanford

3

6

4

8

235

339

96

Southeastern Conference

East Division

Conference

 

Overall

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Florida

5

3

 

9

3

 

517

290

126

Georgia

6

2

 

10

2

 

383

252

118

Tennessee

6

2

 

9

4

 

434

365

114

Kentucky

3

5

 

7

5

 

440

357

110

South Carolina

3

5

 

6

6

 

313

282

108

Vanderbilt

2

6

 

5

7

 

260

271

104

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Division

Conference

 

Overall

 

 

 

 

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

 

Pts

Opp

Rating

L S U

6

2

 

11

2

 

503

255

120

Arkansas

4

4

 

8

4

 

478

307

118

Auburn

5

3

 

8

4

 

292

200

111

Mississippi St.

4

4

 

7

5

 

269

301

106

Alabama

4

4

 

6

6

 

322

262

105

Ole Miss

0

8

 

3

9

 

241

342

97

Sunbelt Conference

Conference

 

Overall

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Troy

6

1

 

8

4

408

295

100

Fla. Atlantic

6

1

 

7

5

361

405

95

La.-Monroe

4

3

 

6

6

282

332

91

M T S U

4

3

 

5

7

308

339

86

Arkansas St.

3

4

 

5

7

291

331

85

La.-Lafayette

3

4

 

3

9

285

430

83

Fla. Int’l

1

6

 

1

11

181

469

73

North Texas

1

6

 

2

10

308

541

72

Western Athletic Conference

 

 

 

Team

Won

Lost

 

Won

Lost

Pts

Opp

Rating

Boise St.

7

1

 

10

2

515

238

114

Hawaii

8

0

 

12

0

552

292

111

Fresno St.

6

2

 

8

4

387

323

99

Nevada

3

4

 

5

6

386

385

96

San Jose St.

4

4

 

5

7

245

352

92

La. Tech

4

3

 

5

6

239

319

88

Utah St.

2

6

 

2

10

247

406

84

Idaho

0

8

 

1

11

258

443

79

New Mexico St.

1

7

 

4

9

312

471

78

The Bowl Schedule

Date Time Bowl City Team Team Network
12/20 9:00 PM Poinsettia San Diego Utah 8-4 Navy 8-4 ESPN
12/21 8:00 PM New Orleans New Orleans Florida Atlantic 7-5 Memphis 7-5 ESPN2
12/22 1:00 PM Papa John’s Birmingham Cincinnati 9-3 Southern Miss. 7-5 ESPN2
12/22 4:30 PM New Mexico Albuquerque Nevada 6-6 New Mexico 8-4 ESPN
12/22 8:00 PM Las Vegas Las Vegas U C L A 6-6 Brigham Young 10-2 ESPN
12/23 8:00 PM Hawaii Honolulu East Carolina 7-5 Boise State 10-2 ESPN
12/26 7:30 PM Motor City Detroit Purdue 7-5 Central Michigan 8-5 ESPN
12/27 8:00 PM Holiday San Diego Texas 9-3 Arizona St. 10-2 ESPN
12/28 5:00 PM Champs Sports Orlando Boston College 10-3 Michigan St. 7-5 ESPN
12/28 8:00 PM Texas Houston T C U 7-5 Houston 8-4 NFL
12/28 8:00 PM Emerald San Francisco Maryland 6-6 Oregon State 8-4 ESPN
12/29 1:00 PM Meineke Car Care Charlotte Connecticut 9-3 Wake Forest 8-4 ESPN
12/29 4:30 PM Liberty Memphis Central Florida 10-3 Mississippi St. 7-5 ESPN
12/29 8:00 PM Alamo San Antonio Penn State 8-4 Texas A&M 7-5 ESPN
12/30 8:00 PM Independence Shrevport Colorado 6-6 Alabama 6-6 ESPN
12/31 12:30 PM Armed Forces Ft. Worth California 6-6 Air Force 9-3 ESPN
12/31 2:00 PM Sun El Paso South Florida 9-3 Oregon 8-4 CBS
12/31 2:00 PM Humanitarian Boise Georgia Tech 7-5 Fresno St. 8-4 ESPN2
12/31 4:00 PM Music City Nashville Florida State 7-5 Kentucky 7-5 ESPN
12/31 7:30 PM Chick-fil-A Atlanta Clemson 9-3 Auburn 8-4 ESPN
12/31 8:00 PM Insight Tempe Oklahoma St. 6-6 Indiana 7-5 NFL
1/1 11:00 AM Outback Tampa Wisconsin 9-3 Tennessee 9-4 ESPN
1/1 11:30 AM Cottton Dallas Arkansas 8-4 Missouri 11-2 FOX
1/1 1:00 PM Capital One Orlando Michigan 8-4 Florida 9-3 ABC
1/1 1:00 PM Gator Jacksonville Texas Tech 8-4 Virginia 9-3 CBS
1/1 4:30 PM Rose Pasadena Illinois 9-3 Southern Cal 10-2 ABC
1/1 8:30 PM Sugar New Orleans Hawaii 12-0 Georgia 10-2 FOX
1/2 8:00 PM Fiesta Glendale West Virginia 10-2 Oklahoma 11-2 FOX
1/3 8:00 PM Orange Miami Kansas 11-1 Virginia Tech 11-2 FOX
1/5 12:00 PM International Toronto Rutgers 7-5 Ball State 7-5 ESPN2
1/6 8:00 PM GMAC Mobile Tulsa 9-4 Bowling Green 8-4 ESPN
1/7 8:00 PM National Title New Orleans L S U 11-2 Ohio State 11-1 FOX

Selection Monday: The NCAA Football Computer Simulation Pairings

For all of you who want playoffs in lieu of the BcS joke we have, here is how they would work in the PiRate system.

The PiRate system calls for a 12-team playoff.  The champions of the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC receive automatic bids.  The six highest ranked teams after that, regardless of conference affiliation are then invited as at-large participants.

The four highest ranked automatic qualifiers receive first round byes, while the other eight teams play in the opening round.  Bowls are used for all 11 games needed for a 12-team playoff.

Round One is December 8.  The Quarterfinals are December 22.  The Semifinals are January 1.  The Championship Game is January 14.

The Participants

ACC: Virginia Tech 11-2

Big East: West Virginia 10-2

Big 10: Ohio State 11-1

Big 12: Oklahoma 11-2

Pac-10: Southern California 10-2

SEC: L S U 11-2

At-Large: Georgia 10-2

At-Large: Missouri 11-2

At-Large: Kansas 11-1

At-Large: Hawaii 12-0

At-Large: Arizona St. 10-2

At-Large: Florida 9-3

Instead of the argument that LSU edged Georgia due to political factors made by certain network shirts, the argument would be between Florida, Illinois, Boston College, and Clemson.  At least these teams know they lost three games and have no right to argue like Georgia has this year.

The brainwashers try to tell the public that a playoff would destroy the bowl.  I ask you this:  How many bowls this year have any meaning or appeal to anybody other than the fans of the participating teams?  Does a bowl pitting a 7-5 team against a 6-6 team attract you to watch?  Are you just chomping at the bit to watch the Poinsettia, Armed Forces, Insight, Texas, and Independence Bowls?  Other than the LSU-Ohio State game, none of the other bowls matter.  Even the historic, Sugar, Cotton, Rose, Orange, and Fiesta Bowls have no bearing on the national championship.  There’s no need to watch these games, and when the sponsors of these bowls hear from enough fans who contact them to tell them as much, they will force a playoff.

Under the PiRate system, 11 bowls would play a deciding factor in the NCAA Championship.  The remaining bowls that currently have 6-6 and 7-5 teams would now have 8-4 and 9-3 teams instead. 

Let’s look at the pairings.

Round One-December 8

 

Gator Bowl:              #5 Georgia vs. #12 Florida

Outback Bowl:         #6 Missouri vs. #11 Arizona State

Holiday Bowl:           #7 Southern Cal vs. #10 Hawaii

Chick-fil-A Bowl:     #8 Kansas vs. #9 West Virginia

Quarterfinals-December 22

Fiesta Bowl:              #4 Oklahoma vs. Winner of Gator Bowl

Capital One Bowl:   #3 Virginia Tech vs. Winner of Outback Bowl

Cotton Bowl:             #2 L S U vs. Winner of Holiday Bowl

Rose Bowl:                #1 Ohio State vs. Winner of Chick-fil-A Bowl

Semifinals-January 1

Sugar Bowl:              Winner of Fiesta Bowl vs. Winner of Rose Bowl

Orange Bowl:           Winner of Capital One Bowl vs. Winner of Cotton Bowl

National Championship Game-January 14

New Orleans                        Winner of Sugar Bowl vs. Winner of Orange Bowl

Check back with the PiRate Ratings for the computer simulation of this championship playoff.  I will post scores and statistics for all these games, starting with round one Saturday.

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