The Pi-Rate Ratings

October 27, 2021

PiRate Picks–October 28-30, 2021

Back To Back Winning Weeks

Usually, the middle of October to the middle of November has been the period where our college football parlay picks have made their move into positive territory, and this year has been another example of that. After going north and south of the break-even line, in the last two weeks, a couple of big wins with fat payouts has taken our imaginary bankroll and turned it from red to black numbers.

We won two of the four parlays, one paying out at +187 and the other at +147.40. That comes to a 33.6% return on investment for the weekend. For the year, $3,500 in imaginary funds have been wagered with the sports books, and $3,704.28 in imaginary funds have been returned for an ROI of 5.84%.

Last week, we did not particularly like the games overall. It was difficult finding suitable parlays with payouts better than +120 that our “system” said had a better chance than the minimum needed to show a profit. The week before, too many games presented themselves as playable, and we had to limit the ones we wanted.

This week, it is somewhere in between. We selected to underdogs to win outright with rather fat payout odds. Our methods say these two games are virtual tossup games, so if we can get better than +120 on these games, we feel compelled to take the ‘dogs.

However, after the two straight up upset selections, we spent an extra hour plus trying to combine games into suitable odds while remaining confident that the teams would win.

So, without further adieu, here are our five selections for this week.

Note: Corrected Parlay after astute football guru Dustdog spotted an error.

Date:October 28-30


Odds:


+360
Must WinOpponent
UTEPFlorida Atlantic


Odds:+170
Must WinOpponent
Michigan St.Michigan


Odds:+225.59
Must WinOpponent
IllinoisRutgers
Notre DameNorth Carolina


Odds:+269.54
Must WinOpponent
Central FloridaTemple
Kansas St.TCU
RiceNorth Texas


Odds:+150
Must WinOpponent
Utah St.Hawaii
San Jose St.Wyoming

October 20, 2021

PiRate Picks–October 21-23, 2021

What a minor difference a week made! After just missing on three big-payout parlays two weeks ago, we played the same strategy last week and made a minor splash thanks to the help of one long shot parlay that won and returned better than 3 to 1 odds. With another win at +187, we made a small profit last week, but large enough to turn our minor net loss for the season into a net gain of 2.3%.

Of course, as we say every week, our financial loss or gain is merely imaginary, as we are playing with imaginary funds that never run out but never accrue. This feature is presented just for fun, and we strongly urge you not to wager real money on what you read here, unless it merely validates your research.

This week presents the fewest number of games that met our criteria this year in any week. We could only go with four parlays of two teams apiece. None are major long shots, but they all top +120, which is the minimum odds we will play. Enjoy!

Date:

October 21-25

Odds:+187
Must WinOpponent
Central FloridaMemphis
Notre DameUSC

Odds:+147.40
Must WinOpponent
Eastern MichiganBowling Green
Kent St.Ohio U


Odds:+138.99
Must WinOpponent
San Jose St.UNLV
Ball St.Miami (O)


Odds:+131.08
Must WinOpponent
MinnesotaMaryland
TCUWest Virginia

August 16, 2021

Mountain West Coast Conference Preview

Like every other conference in 2020, the Mountain West Conference was forced to make some eleventh hour changes, delaying the start of the season to late October.  One team, Colorado State, played just four games.  Several teams made it to six games.  A couple played seven times, and no team played double digit games.

Divisional play was cancelled last year, with the top two finishers facing off in the MWC Championship Game.  San Jose State finished first with a 6-0 league record, while Boise State finished a half-game back at 5-0.  In the MWC Championship Game, the Spartans bested the Broncos by two touchdowns.

Normalcy returns in 2021, as the teams return to divisional play.  At the preseason meetings the MWC Media voted their predicted order of finish for the season.  Here is how it turned out:

Mountain West Conference Preseason Media Poll
Mountain Division1st PlOverall
Boise St.23148
Wyoming2115
Air Force104
Colorado St.72
Utah St.47
New Mexico39
West Division1st PlOverall
Nevada19141
San Jose St.5121
San Diego St.96
Fresno St.185
Hawaii56
UNLV26

Here is the PiRate Ratings Preview for the MWC

Boise State breaks in a new head coach, after Bryan Harsin left for Auburn.  The Broncos return 16 starters including their starting quarterback and two excellent receivers.  New coach Andy Avalos needs to get more consistency out of the Boise State offense.  The defense is good enough to win games for the Broncos as long as the offense tops 30 points.

One of these years, Wyoming is going to put it all together and take the Mountain Division flag.  Coach Craig Bohl has what looks like his best team since he arrived in Laramie, and this could be the year the Cowboys challenge for the division title.  The Wyoming defense should challenge for the league lead in points allowed and total yards allowed.

AIr Force led the MWC in scoring defense last year, while the option offense was off and on.  When an option style team has a veteran quarterback, they usually perform a little better than the previous season.  However, even though quarterback Haaziq Daniels returns to start, he will play behind an offensive line that must replace all five starters.  The Falcon defense is going to need to come out with a lot of stalled opponent drives if AFA is going to compete for the division flag.

Colorado State has had a lot of turnover the last couple of seasons with three different head coaches.  Current coach and former Boston College head man Steve Addazio didn’t get much of a chance to coach in Fort Collins in his first year, going just 1-3.  He has an experienced squad returning, but the Rams have a tough schedule.  Competing for a winning record may be two seasons away at the least.

Utah State won just one time last year, a 14-point victory over New Mexico.  Once considered an offensive firepower, the Aggies are anything but that these days.  USU must break in a new quarterback, three new pass catchers, and a new running back, and the offense is going to struggle at times after averaging just 15.5 points per game last year.  The defense was mediocre in 2020, and it could be weaker this year, so the Aggies are not likely to enjoy a winning season.

New Mexico lost their first five games but was competitive in four of those games last year.  The Lobos ended the season with wins over Wyoming and Fresno State, and they return 14 starters.  They are a good quarterback away from contending for a bowl game this year.

In the West Division, the Nevada Wolf Pack clearly begins the season as the team to beat for the championship.  The Wolf Pack have the far and away best quarterback in the league and one of the top five in the nation in Carson Strong.  Give Strong a highly competent receiving corps, and Nevada should ride their version of the Air Raid offense to more than 35 points per game this year.  The good news for the Pack is their defense should be somewhat improved this year after surrendering just 23 points per game last year.  Keep an eye on this team; they have two road games against Power Five conference opponents, and they play Boise State on the road.  It would not be a shock if Nevada pulled off upsets in any or all of these games, assuming they count as upsets.

Nevada will have to compete with San Jose State and San Diego State for the West Division title, as both the Spartans and Aztecs are quite talented.  San Jose State went undefeated in the regular season and topped Boise State in the MWC title game, but they fell to a hot Ball State team in the Arizona Bowl.  The Spartans return their entire starting defense, while the offense returns the second best quarterback in the league in Nick Starkel, playing behind an offensive line that returns all five regulars.  Other than a game at USC in September, the Spartans have a chance to win the rest.  The November 6 game at Nevada might decide the division title.

San Diego State began to play defense in 2020 like the Aztecs were known for a decade ago, giving up 17.8 points per game and finishing third nationally in yards allowed at 283.5 per game.  SDSU doesn’t have the experienced quarterback like the other two contenders, but the Aztec defense should be even stronger in 2021.  

Fresno State had an off year at 3-3, and the Bulldogs concluded 2020 with a 49-39 loss to New Mexico.  Things weren’t as bad as they appeared to be for this team.  They suffered the most logistical nightmare of any team thanks to Covid.  The program totally shut down for more than six months, and after beating Utah State on November 14, they prepared to play for three weeks only to find out late each week that their game had been cancelled.  Additionally, after October’s home game win over Colorado State, they had to play their final four games on the road. Second year coach Kalen DeBoer welcomes back an experienced roster.  DeBoer went 67-3 in his previous stint as a head coach at NAIA power Sioux Falls.  Expect the Bulldogs to begin a trek back toward regular contention for the MWC championship.  Having to play at Oregon and at UCLA in September and then making a trip to Hawaii in early October could task the roster a tad too much, but FSU could easily sneak into contention .

Hawaii cannot be discounted as a dark horse in the West Division race.  Todd Graham guided the Rainbow Warriors to a 5-4 record that included a New Mexico Bowl win over Houston last year.  The UH offense was consistent, but the defense was not.  Expect a better defensive performance this year, and the offense should be strong once again.  UH will be handicapped a bit this year having to play seven road games, while their home games will be played in a retrofitted practice field on campus, while waiting for Aloha Stadium to be rebuilt.  The practice field will serve as the home field for the next three years.

UNLV wore the collar in 2020, going 0-6 in Coach Marcus Arroyo’s first season.  The Rebels will be interesting to watch this year, even if the total level of talent isn’t ready to compete in the MWC.  While 10 starters return to the weakest defense in the league, and a couple of  players that missed 2020 will be back to make the defense stronger, the focus will be on the offense, namely at quarterback.  

Tate Martell was the Gatorade National Player of the Year as a senior at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.  Martell took a circuitous route home after committing to multiple colleges and playing for both Ohio State and Miami of Florida.  He has one year to show NFL scouts that he is worthy of being drafted.  If he can live up to expectations, Martell could challenge Starkel as second best passer in the league.  If not, UNLV could struggle to win a conference game this year.

Here are the preseason PiRate Ratings for the MWC

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAverage
Boise St.103.9103.3104.3103.9
Wyoming97.798.499.598.5
Air Force96.496.396.996.5
Colorado St.88.888.889.389.0
Utah St.85.686.685.285.8
New Mexico85.886.285.285.7
West Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAverage
San Jose St.100.8101.199.0100.3
San Diego St.100.699.9100.2100.2
Nevada98.499.798.498.8
Fresno St.93.795.796.795.3
Hawaii94.894.194.794.6
U N L V85.884.384.684.9
MWC Averages94.494.594.594.5

The PiRate Ratings are designed only to predict the next game for each team and not to look forward past that game, but just for fun, here are our predictions for 2021.

MWC MountainConf.Overall
Boise St.7-18-5
Wyoming6-210-2
Air Force4-47-5
New Mexico3-56-6
Colorado St.2-64-8
Utah St.1-73-9
MWC WestConf.Overall
San Jose St.6-210-3*
Nevada6-28-4
San Diego St.5-38-4
Hawaii4-47-6
Fresno St.3-55-7
UNLV1-72-10
* San Jose St. wins MWC Championship Game

August 17, 2013

2013 Mountain West Conference Football Preview

2013 Mountain West Conference Preview

 

The Mountain West Conference expands to 12 teams this year and divides into two divisions with a championship game to be held on December 7 at the home field on the division winner with the higher BCS ranking.

 

The divisional split here is geographical in an east/west split, but the divisions are named, Mountain and West.  All Mountain teams reside in cities in the Mountain Time Zone, while all West Teams resided in cities in the Pacific Time Zone, or in the case of Hawaii, in the Hawaii Time Zone (2 hours behind the Pacific Time Zone).

 

Last year, Fresno St., San Diego St., and Boise St. tied for the conference title.  Throw in two new teams (both 11-2) that finished in the top 25 in last year’s final poll, and the league should be stronger this season, but not as strong as when TCU was in the league.

 

We expect a little changing of the guard this season.  We suspect Boise State to experience a rebuilding season and have their worst season in a decade.  It is the first time our ratings have not listed BSU as the top-rated team in their league since 2005.

 

This league has produced multiple BCS Bowl qualifiers, and we believe there is a good chance that one more team could challenge for a spot this season.  An October 26 road game against San Diego St. and a November 29 road game against San Jose St. and a win in the inaugural MWC title game are the three crucial games that must be victorious for Fresno St.  If the Bulldogs win those three games, they should be 13-0.  Our ratings have FSU favored in every game.

 

Additions: San Jose St. and Utah St. move from the now football defunct WAC.

 

Departures: None

 

Pre-season PiRate Ratings

 

Mountain West Conference

Mountain Division

Team

Conf.

Overall

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Utah St.

0-0

0-0

100.9

92.5

101.1

Boise St.

0-0

0-0

100.0

102.3

101.7

Colorado St.

0-0

0-0

90.3

94.4

90.8

Wyoming

0-0

0-0

85.8

85.6

85.9

Air Force

0-0

0-0

81.3

87.7

81.2

New Mexico

0-0

0-0

78.8

83.9

79.4

     

 

 

 

West Division

Team

Conf.

Overall

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Fresno St.

0-0

0-0

104.0

101.4

105.0

San Jose St.

0-0

0-0

100.3

94.9

100.7

San Diego St.

0-0

0-0

98.6

98.3

98.8

Nevada

0-0

0-0

88.5

96.2

89.5

U N L V

0-0

0-0

85.7

92.0

86.3

Hawaii

0-0

0-0

82.0

82.4

82.4

     

 

 

 

League Averages    

91.4

92.6

91.9

 

 

Official Pre-season Media Poll

Mountain Division    

Pos

Team

Points

1st Place

1

Boise St.

245

40

2

Utah St.

204

1

3

Air Force

143

0

4

Wyoming

116

0

5

Colorado St.

90

0

6

New Mexico

63

0

       
West Division    

Pos

Team

Points

1st Place

1

Fresno St.

243

39

2

San Diego St.

181

1

3

San Jose St.

172

1

4

Nevada

135

0

5

U N L V

71

0

6

Hawaii

59

0

 

     

 

2013 MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Offense      
QB Derek Carr * Sr. Fresno State
WR Davante Adams * So. Fresno State
WR Noel Grigsby Sr. San José State
RB Kasey Carrier ** Sr. New Mexico
RB Adam Muema ** Jr. San Diego State
OL Charles Leno ** Sr. Boise State
OL Matt Paradis * Sr. Boise State
OL Weston Richburg Sr. Colorado State
OL Austin Wentworth * Sr. Fresno State
OL Tyler Larsen Sr. Utah State
TE Marcel Jensen Sr. Fresno State
       
Defense      
DL Demarcus Lawrence * Jr. Boise State
DL Tyeler Davison * Jr. Fresno State
DL Brock Hekking ** Jr. Nevada
DL Travis Raciti Jr. San José State
LB Jake Fely ** Jr. San Diego State
LB Keith Smith Sr. San José State
LB Kyler Fackrell So. Utah State
DB L.J. Jones Sr. Fresno State
DB Derron Smith * Jr. Fresno State
DB Nat Berhe ** Sr. San Diego State
DB Bené Benwikere Sr. San José State
       
Specialists    
P Ben Skaer Sr. New Mexico
PK Austin Lopez So. San José State
Ret. Chase Clayton Jr. New Mexico
       
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Derek Carr, Sr., QB, Fresno State
       
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Derron Smith, Jr., DB, Fresno State
       
Preseason Spcl Teams Player of the Year: Chase Clayton, Jr., KR, New Mexico
       
* – member of the 2012 All-Mountain West first team.
** – member of the 2012 All-Mountain West second team.

 

 

PiRate Ratings Summary

 

About Grades

93-100         A+

86-92           A

79-85           A-

72-78           B+

65-71           B

58-64           B-

51-57           C+

44-50           C

37-43           C-

30-36           D

0-29             F

 

About Predictions

Predictions are based on the PiRate Ratings with home field advantage factored in.  The PiRate Ratings use different home field advantages for every game, since the opponent factors into the equation.

 

Mountain Division

Team

Utah St. Aggies

               
Head Coach

Matt Wells

               
Colors

Navy and White

               
City

Logan, UT

               
2012 Record              
Conference

6-0 (in WAC)

Overall

11-2

               
Grades              
Run Offense

67

Pass Offense

63

Run Defense

75

Pass Defense

61

               
Ratings              
PiRate

100.9

Mean

92.5

Bias

101.1

               
Rankings              
PiRate

53

Mean

93

Bias

50

               
Prediction              
Conference

7-1

Overall

8-5 (Lose MWC Championship Game)

 

 

Team

Boise St. Broncos

               
Head Coach

Chris Petersen

               
Colors

Blue and Orange

               
City

Boise, ID

               
2012 Record              
Conference

7-1

Overall

11-2

               
Grades              
Run Offense

59

Pass Offense

67

Run Defense

63

Pass Defense

69

               
Ratings              
PiRate

100.0

Mean

102.3

Bias

101.7

               
Rankings              
PiRate

58

Mean

49

Bias

47

               
Prediction              
Conference

5-3

Overall

7-5

 

 

Team

Colorado St. Rams

               
Head Coach

Jim McElwain

               
Colors

Forest Green and Gold

               
City

Ft. Collins, CO

               
2012 Record              
Conference

4-4

Overall

4-8

               
Grades              
Run Offense

55

Pass Offense

55

Run Defense

51

Pass Defense

59

               
Ratings              
PiRate

90.3

Mean

94.4

Bias

90.8

               
Rankings              
PiRate

91

Mean

86

Bias

91

               
Prediction              
Conference

5-3

Overall

7-5

 

 

Team

Wyoming Cowboys

               
Head Coach

Dave Christensen

               
Colors

Brown and Gold

               
City

Laramie, WY

               
2012 Record              
Conference

3-5

Overall

4-8

               
Grades              
Run Offense

41

Pass Offense

69

Run Defense

40

Pass Defense

68

               
Ratings              
PiRate

85.8

Mean

85.6

Bias

85.9

               
Rankings              
PiRate

103

Mean

114

Bias

105

               
Prediction              
Conference

2-6

Overall

5-7

 

 

Team

Air Force Falcons

               
Head Coach

Troy Calhoun

               
Colors

Blue and Silver

               
City

Colorado Springs, CO

               
2012 Record              
Conference

5-3

Overall

6-7

               
Grades              
Run Offense

69

Pass Offense

28

Run Defense

43

Pass Defense

50

               
Ratings              
PiRate

81.3

Mean

87.7

Bias

81.2

               
Rankings              
PiRate

115

Mean

107

Bias

114

               
Prediction              
Conference

2-6

Overall

3-9

 

 

Team

New Mexico Lobos

               
Head Coach

Bob Davie

               
Colors

Cherry and Silver

               
City

Albuquerque, NM

               
2012 Record              
Conference

1-7

Overall

4-9

               
Grades              
Run Offense

66

Pass Offense

26

Run Defense

45

Pass Defense

44

               
Ratings              
PiRate

78.8

Mean

83.8

Bias

79.4

               
Rankings              
PiRate

120

Mean

117

Bias

119

               
Prediction              
Conference

1-7

Overall

2-10

 

 

Team

Fresno St. Bulldogs

               
Head Coach

Tim DeRuyter

               
Colors

Cardinal and Blue

               
City

Fresno, CA

               
2012 Record              
Conference

7-1

Overall

9-4

               
Grades              
Run Offense

 

Pass Offense

 

Run Defense

 

Pass Defense

 

               
Ratings              
PiRate

104.0

Mean

101.4

Bias

105.0

               
Rankings              
PiRate

44

Mean

56

Bias

43

               
Prediction              
Conference

8-0

Overall

13-0 (win MWC title game)

 

 

Team

San Jose St. Spartans

               
Head Coach

Ron Caragher

               
Colors

Blue and Gold

               
City

San Jose

               
2012 Record              
Conference

5-1 (in WAC)

Overall

11-2

               
Grades              
Run Offense

39

Pass Offense

83

Run Defense

63

Pass Defense

69

               
Ratings              
PiRate

100.3

Mean

94.9

Bias

100.7

               
Rankings              
PiRate

56

Mean

85

Bias

55

               
Prediction              
Conference

7-1

Overall

9-3

 

 

Team

San Diego St. Aztecs

               
Head Coach

Rocky Long

               
Colors

Red and Black

               
City

San Diego

               
2012 Record              
Conference

7-1

Overall

9-4

               
Grades              
Run Offense

62

Pass Offense

56

Run Defense

76

Pass Defense

63

               
Ratings              
PiRate

98.6

Mean

98.3

Bias

98.8

               
Rankings              
PiRate

66

Mean

66

Bias

65

               
Prediction              
Conference

6-2

Overall

8-4

 

 

Team

Nevada Wolf Pack

               
Head Coach

Brian Polian

               
Colors

Blue and Silver

               
City

Reno, NV

               
2012 Record              
Conference

4-4

Overall

7-6

               
Grades              
Run Offense

 

Pass Offense

 

Run Defense

 

Pass Defense

 

               
Ratings              
PiRate

88.5

Mean

96.2

Bias

89.5

               
Rankings              
PiRate

97

Mean

80

Bias

96

               
Prediction              
Conference

3-5

Overall

4-8

 

 

Team

U N L V Rebels

               
Head Coach

Bobby Hauck

               
Colors

Scarlet and Gray

               
City

Las Vegas

               
2012 Record              
Conference

2-6

Overall

2-11

               
Grades              
Run Offense

55

Pass Offense

62

Run Defense

31

Pass Defense

51

               
Ratings              
PiRate

85.7

Mean

92.0

Bias

86.3

               
Rankings              
PiRate

104

Mean

95

Bias

103

               
Prediction              
Conference

2-6

Overall

4-8

 

 

Team

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

               
Head Coach

Norm Chow

               
Colors

Green, Black, and Silver

               
City

Honolulu

               
2012 Record              
Conference

1-7

Overall

3-9

               
Grades              
Run Offense

27

Pass Offense

62

Run Defense

39

Pass Defense

53

               
Ratings              
PiRate

82.0

Mean

82.4

Bias

82.4

               
Rankings              
PiRate

114

Mean

120

Bias

113

               
Prediction              
Conference

0-8

Overall

1-11

 

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