The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 18, 2011

2011 Western Athletic Conference Preview

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:46 am

2011 Western Athletic Conference Preview

 

The WAC as we know it has been victimized by the Mountain West Conference.  In a move akin to the American League East losing the New York Yankees, the MWC stole Boise State.  Next year, Nevada, Hawaii, and Fresno State will join the Broncos in the Mountain West, leaving this conference a mere shell of itself.  The future of this league is in serious jeopardy, and the addition of two new teams to FBS football in 2012 (Texas State and Texas-San Antonio, may not be enough to save this league.

 

Without Boise State, the WAC race will be more open this season.  Four teams have the talent to contend for the conference championship, while a fifth has the capability of finishing over .500.

 

Nevada finished in a three-way tie for first with Boise State and Hawaii, and the Wolf Pack finished #11 in the final poll.  Gone from the school’s best ever team are stellar quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the WAC’s leading rusher Vai Taua, receiver Virgil Green, 1st Team All-WAC tackle Jose Acuna and four of the top tacklers.

 

All is not gloomy in the biggest little town in America.  Coach Chris Ault will simply reload rather than rebuild, and with the absence of a blue turf in league play, Nevada will contend for a second consecutive WAC title.  

 

Tyler Lantrip is not the runner Kaepernick was, but he has a better arm.  Lantrip should pass for more yards this year than Kaepernick did last year (3,022).  He will get a Baptism under fire when the Wolf Pack play their first four games away from Reno.

 

Mike Ball is the new tailback in the Pistol Offense. Ball has speed and quickness to excel in this offense.  He averaged 6.8 yards per carry last year in limited action.  Lampford Mark will get his shares of touches and could challenge for a starting bid.

 

The top receiver in the WAC this year will be Rishard Matthews.  He may not lead in catches or yards, because those stats belong to Hawaii receivers, but Matthews is the best at his position.  The former Oregon recruit led Nevada with 56 receptions and averaged 15.7 yards per catch.  The unexpected loss of Brandon Wimberly, who was shot in the off-season, will force Matthews to face more double teams and combo defenses.

 

The offense will click because the blocking corps is the best in the league.  Junior Chris Barker is the best guard in the league, while center Jeff Meads is one of three really good snappers in the WAC.

 

Nevada averaged 41 points and 519 yards per game last year.  Those numbers will decline a little this year.  The Wolf Pack will not be able to move up and down the field at will, but in the new WAC, they can win the title with a 35 point and 450 yard performance.

 

Nevada’s defense was just as responsible for last year’s title run as the offense.  It surrendered just 21 points per game in a league where 28 points was average.  Seven starters return, including three with all-star accolades in 2010.

 

Up front, tackle Brett Roy is poised to contend for 1st Team All-WAC honors.  He introduced enemy QBs to the turf eight times last year.  The loss of 3rd round draft pick Dontay Moch will hurt.

 

Middle linebacker James-Michael Johnson should repeat as a 1st Team All-WAC defender.  He led the Pack with 88 tackles last year.  In the back line of defense, Isaiah Frey is one of the best cover corners in the league.  He batted away 14 passes and picked off another last year.

 

The non-conference schedule is tough this year.  Nevada opens at Oregon and plays at Texas Tech and at Boise State, all in the first four games.  The schedule gets easier from there with home games against rival UNLV and helpless New Mexico.  In WAC play, Nevada hosts the other three contenders, and this should help the Wolf Pack claim another conference championship.

 

Hawaii recovered from a subpar 2009 with a 10-win season last year.  Once again, it was an aerial circus on the island, as the Warriors averaged 394 yards through the air to lead the nation.  The Run ‘n’ Shoot offense took a major hit with the loss of eight starters, but we would be surprised if Hawaii did not average more than 300 passing yards again this season.

 

One of those trio of returnees is quarterback Bryant Moniz.  Moniz topped 5,000 passing yards last year and threw 39 touchdown passes.  He tends to hold onto the ball a little longer than an average run ‘n’ shoot passer, and he went down 40 times last year, seven against Boise State in the lone game that UH failed to score in double digits.

 

Moniz lost his top two receivers, and they combined for 207 receptions and almost 3,200 yards.  Royce Pollard will be the new 100+-reception receiver for the Warriors.  There are questions at the other receiver positions, as two players figured to be starters are ailing and missing practice.

 

As pass happy as Hawaii is, they still run the ball with authority.  Alex Green rushed for almost 1,200 yards last year, but he must be replaced.  Sterling Jackson will be the new starter, but he lacks the speed and quickness of Green.  He will be more of a between the tackles pounder.

 

The offensive line was above average but not great last year, and four starters have used up their eligibility, including the two best blockers.  It will take a few weeks for the newly rebuilt line to come together, so Moniz may be facing a lot more pressure than last year.

 

The Warriors never get much credit for their defensive play.  They gave up a respectable 25.5 yards per game last year, only 20 in league play.  Coach Greg McMackin believes in aggressive attacking defenses, and he has the players to cause a lot of disruption to enemy offenses.

 

The front seven is the best in the WAC by far, and Hawaii should lead the conference in sacks and in lowest rushing average allowed.  Up front, tackles Vaughn Meatoga and Kaniela Tuipulotu are the best tandem in the conference.  Few teams will find success running line plunges up the gut against Hawaii.

 

The Warriors make hay at the linebacker position with multi-tool players.  Corey Paredes is a WAC Player of the Year candidate.  He led the conference with 151 stops, and he picked off four enemy passes last year while knocking away five others.  Aaron Brown is another linebacker who is strong against both the run and pass.

 

The back line of defense is the vulnerable unit on this side of the ball.  The two starters lost combined for 12 interceptions and 27 total passes defended.  Safety Richard Torres will need to step up and break out with a big year.

 

As usual, Hawaii plays a 13-game schedule, which means they will play six non-conference games this year.  The Warriors should beat UNLV, UC-Davis, and Tulane.  The opener against Colorado is a toss-up, but we believe Hawaii will have several intangible factors in their favor in this one.  Games with Washington and BYU should be losses.  The Warriors will only need to go 3-4 in the league to get back to the Hawaii Bowl.  They could double that amount.

 

Louisiana Tech is not far away from being a serious title contender.  Second year head coach Sonny Dykes has not been able to fully implement his version of Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense.  He believes the Bulldogs are ready to start making the offense click.

 

If the offense is going to start putting up numbers similar to Texas Tech in the Leach years. New quarterback Colby Cameron is going to have to improve by a great amount.  Last year, in limited action, Cameron could not complete longer passes, unless you count the high percentage of passes completed to the wrong colored jersey.  He ended up with five picks in just 91 attempts.

 

The Bulldogs took a hit with the dismissal of projected starting receiver Ahmad Paige and Tim Molton.  The Bulldogs still have their two leading receivers from last year; Taulib Ikharo and Richie Casey combined for 92 receptions and 962 yards.

 

Lennon Creer is another pass catching threat coming out of the backfield.  He caught 25 passes last year, but his running acumen is what made him a 2nd Team All-WAC performer.  He gained 1,181 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.

 

The offensive line is not the best in the league, but it is not far from it.  The Bulldogs will be nearly lethal inside with excellent guards Kevin Saia and Oscar Johnson (Saia is nursing an injury) and center Stephen Warner.

 

Will this be the year LT breaks out with scary offensive numbers?  Probably not, but their numbers will head north.  Call it 270 passing yards and 425+ total yards with a scoring average of 30-32 points per game.

 

If the Bulldogs are to make an unexpected run for the conference title and earn a bowl bid for the first time in four seasons, their defense must improve.  Tech gave up 31 points and 460+ yards per game in 2010.

 

One area where there will be improvement is up front in the trenches.  The Bulldogs have an excellent pair of ends in Matt Broha and IK Enemkpali.  Broha has developed into a great pass rusher and led LT with nine sacks last year. 

 

Two starters return to the second line of defense.  Linebackers Jay Dudley and Adrien Cole combined for 174 tackles but only 6 ½ for minus yardage.  This number needs to go up, for it will not help improve the defense if too many of those tackles come at the end of five yard gains.

 

The secondary is loaded with depth, and this should be the unit that shows the greatest improvement in 2011.  Look for more interceptions and passes defended this season. 

 

Louisiana Tech hosts Hawaii, so the Bulldogs will play a 12-game schedule.  Four of their five non-conference games will be tough to win, so the Bulldogs will need five conference wins at the least to become bowl eligible.  They are capable of achieving that feat this year.  

 

Fresno State has been so good for so long, it is hard to believe the Bulldogs have never won the WAC.  You have to go back to the days of the old Big West Conference to find FSU’s last title, when the Bulldogs finished 11-1-0 and clobbered Ball State in the old California Bowl.

 

The WAC is down, so Fresno State will benefit, because this will not be Coach Pat Hill’s best Bulldog team.  Too many good players are missing from both sides of the ball.  One of those is quarterback Ryan Colburn, who completed better than 63% of his passes with a 23/9 TD/Int ratio last year.  The new QB has a familiar name on campus.  Derek Carr is the younger brother of former FSU great David.  Carr has five games of experience from 2009, but he missed all of last season.  Look for Carr to struggle early but begin to live up to his family name as the season progresses.

 

Running back Robbie Rouse returns after enjoying a big season in 2010.  He rushed for 1,129 yards and eight scores.  Former UCLA Bruin Milton Knox should see some action as well.

 

Jalen Saunders is the best FSU has at the receiver position, but he is not a threat to crack the 1st or 2nd team all-conference roster.  Saunders caught 30 passes and scored three times.

 

The offensive line is not a team strength.  It could actually be the weakest in the league.  Two starters return, and the three that departed were all-league players.  Expect a considerable retreat in sacks allowed and rushing yards per carry this year.

 

The defense gave up 30 points per game last year, but the Bulldogs allowed just 367 total yards per game.  Their 37 sacks topped the league charts, as Bulldog players finished one-two in the league.  One of those players returns this season.  Tackle Logan Harrell is back after recording 10 ½ sacks and 14 total tackles for loss.    Three new starters will line up in the trenches, so Harrell will see more double team blocks this year.

 

Travis Brown and Kyle Knox are back to wreak havoc from their linebacker positions.  The two teamed up for 153 tackles last year.

 

There are some concerns in the secondary, and if the pass rush is not as good as last year, it will be exploited.  Free safety Phillip Thomas is the star of this unit.  He intercepted three passes and knocked away nine others.

 

Fresno State has a 13-game schedule since they play at Hawaii.  It will be difficult to match last year’s eight wins, but the Bulldogs have a chance to compete in the weaker WAC.  We still see this team becoming bowl eligible.

 

San Jose State has fallen on hard times in the last two seasons, finishing 2-10 and 1-12.  Second year coach Mike MacIntyre has a lot of experience returning from a team that took its lumps early but became much more competitive in the second half of the season.  With 18 starters returning, we see the Spartans could win more games in 2011 than they won in 2009 and 2010 combined.

 

The big bugaboo is at the most important position on the team.  As of this writing in mid-August, MacIntyre has yet to choose a starter, or even a leader of the pack, from among three candidates.  Senior Matt Faulkner has limited experience, but that limited experience is the most on the squad.  Contending with Faulkner are sophomore Dasmen Stewart and redshirt freshman Blake Jurich.  Too bad former Michigan starter Tate Forcier will not be eligible until 2012.

 

SJSU has a nice stable of receivers, and if a quarterback can emerge and at least be decent, this unit could shine in 2011.  Noel Grigsby is a breakaway threat.  He can get open deep and has good hands.  The sophomore could emerge as a 1st Team All-WAC player.

 

The running game has been nonexistent for four years, as the Spartans have averaged 84, 87, 77, and 79 yards per game and less than three yards per carry.  Starter Brandon Rutley had one big run as a freshman when he broke free for a long touchdown against Boise State.  He has yet to show any flashes since then.  Actually, Rutley has been a better pass receiver than runner.  He did break off a long breakaway with a reception last year.  

 

The offensive line will be improved this season, but it will still be an overall liability.  Tackle Andres Vargas is the best of the quintet.

 

SJSU averaged just 16 points per game last year, but in four of their final five games, they averaged better than 30 points per game.  We see the Spartans scoring about 23-25 points per game this year.

 

The good news is that more than 11 (several saw more than 6 starts) defensive starters return in 2011; the bad news is that those starters were not all that good last year, as SJSU surrendered 464 yards per game (502 in league play) and nearly 35 points per game.

 

All joking aside, this defense will be much better this season.  In fact, the Spartans could easily shave 100 yards off what they allowed in WAC games.  It isn’t impossible that they could go from last to first in yards allowed!

 

Start in the secondary, where the four holdovers just might make up the best unit in the league.  The name “Peyton” is an important name in football, and SJSU has one of their own.  Peyton Thompson is the top cover corner in the league.  In 2010, he recorded 12 passes defended, and quarterbacks tended to throw away from him.  Safety Duke Ihenacho missed all of last year, but he should regain his starting job after earning 1st Team All-WAC honors in 2009.

 

The secondary will benefit from an improved pass rush this year.  End Travis Johnson led the Spartans with 7 ½ sacks as well as four QB hurries.  He leads a two-deep of experienced players in the trenches.

 

The second line of defense features the reigning WAC Freshman of the Year.  Keith Smith earned that award after leading the Spartans with 116 tackles and 14 tackles for loss.  

 

San Jose State starts off the season with three tough games, and the Spartans will begin in an 0-3 hole after facing Stanford, UCLA, and Nevada.  Road games with Colorado State and BYU will leave SJSU at no better than 1-5, so 2011 will not be the year the Spartans get back to the plus side of .500.  They can win three or four games though.

 

Utah State has endured losing season after losing season with false expectations of an end to that skein.  Last year looked like ‘the year” when the Aggies upset BYU to open the season 3-2.  A 1-6 finish doomed them to yet another sub-.500 year, as the offense failed to ignite.

 

Coach Gary Andersen will choose between Adam Kennedy and Chuckie Keeton as his starting quarterback.  Thus far, neither has emerged as a primetime player.  The Aggies had poor play at this position last year, so it will not take much to surpass the production of 2010.

 

The rest of the skilled positions are in good shape.  Former all-conference running back Robert Turbin missed last season with an ACL injury, but he appears to be ready to pound his way through defenses.  He rushed for almost 1,300 yards two years ago.

 

Seven of the top eight pass catchers are back for more this year, but it’s the return of two 2009 starters that missed last season that will make this unit much better this season.  Stanley Morrison could top 1,000 receiving yards.

 

The offensive line returns four starters and will be the best this unit has been under Andersen.  Center Tyler Larsen and guards Fuanki Asisi and Philip Gapelu will contend for some all-conference recognition.  Larsen made the 2nd Team Freshman All-American Team last year.

 

Utah State should improve its offensive number back to where they were prior to all the 2010 injuries.  We believe the Aggies could top 27 points and 380 yards per game.

 

Unfortunately, the outlook on the other side of the ball is a bit gloomy.  USU is a little suspect in the front line and only average in the secondary.  One area that will be a team strength is the linebacker position.  Bobby Wagner and Kyle Gallagher are studs.  Wagner is on NFL scouts’ radar.  He led USU with 135 tackles including eight for losses.

 

The secondary took a major graduation hit, but it returns its top player in safety Walter McClenton.  McClenton made 62 tackles, but Andersen would like to see him make less this year; too many of those tackles came about because opposing teams had already defeated the other 10 defenders on the field.

 

Up front, The Aggies were abysmal in 2010.  They recorded just 13 sacks and allowed opposing backs to gain five yards per carry.  Ends Quinn Garner and Levi Koshan are the lone holdovers from the two-deep, and Andersen is switching to a 3-4 defense to try to disguise this weakness.

 

USU surrendered 34 points and 430 yards per game last year.  We do not see much improvement if any this year.  To make matters worse, the Aggies lose both their punter and place kicker from last year.

 

The schedule includes non-league tilts against defending champ Auburn, BYU, and Wyoming.  Unfortunately, the easiest conference opponents, Idaho and New Mexico State, must be faced on the road.  It looks like another long year in Logan.

 

Idaho took a step back last year after earning and winning the most exciting bowl game of 2009.  The Vandals could be looking at a major rebuilding project on the attack side of the ball with the departure of quarterback Nathan Enderle and three of the top four receivers.  However, there is cautious optimism that the newcomers are as talented as those they will replace.

 

The new signal caller is senior Brian Reader.  Reader looked sharp in limited action last year and appears to be primed to equal Enderle’s production.

 

Reader’s passing targets are not the most talented players in the league, but there are a lot of options.  Preston Davis figures to be much improved now that he is fully recovered from an ACL injury in 2010.  Walk-on junior college transfer Mike Scott could emerge as a key contributor.

 

The running game did not show much in 2010, and it will be a liability again this year.  Four backs should split time at this spot, led by former Arizona State Sun Devil Ryan Bass and Kama Bailey.

 

The offensive line is strongest at the terminals, where Matt Cleveland and Tyrone Novikoff are big and strong.  Cleveland should contend for 1st Team All-WAC honors.

 

Idaho averaged 27 points last year, and we expect the Vandals to replicate that number this season. 

 

Even though the Vandals fell from 8-5 to 6-7 last year, the defense showed great improvement, shaving almost eight points off their average allowed.  Some of that had to do with an improved turnover margin.  The news is not all that good on this side of the ball.  UI was going to be strong at linebacker, but their top player, Robert Siavii suffered a season-ending knee injury in Spring practice.

 

The Vandals will rally around middle linebacker TreShawn Robinson, who recorded 10 total tackles for loss last year.  Homer Mauga returns to start at the other linebacker spot.

 

Up front, Idaho had a strong pass rush last year, but the chief instigator of mayhem is gone.  Aaron Lavarias departs after leading the team with 10 sacks.  Tackle Michael Cosgrove is the best of the holdovers.

 

The secondary returns three 2010 starters, but none of the trio figures to make 1st Team All-WAC accolades this year.  If the pass rush is weaker, this group will be exposed and give up more than 250 passing yards per game.

 

Idaho has a fair schedule.  Non-league games with Texas A&M, Virginia, and BYU figure to be automatic losses.  North Dakota figures to be an easy victory.  The season opener with Bowling Green is a rematch of that great 2009 Humanitarian Bowl, and we consider this game a must-win affair for the Vandals.  If they win, and Reader proves to be as capable as Enderler, this team could make this prediction look silly.  If they lose, then Coach Robb Akey could become achy over his future.

 

New Mexico State has been one of the five weakest teams in FBS football in recent years, but luckily for them, the worst team has been in-state rival New Mexico.  Third year coach DeWayne Walker must show some form of improvement this year, or he could be headed away from the Land of Enchantment.

 

The offense scored 14 or fewer points five times last year and averaged less than 16 for the season.  Former Kent State coach Doug Martin takes over as the new offensive Coordinator.  Martin hopes quarterback Andrew Manley can solve the problem at quarterback.  Manley completed just 52% of his passes with a 1/6 TD/Int ratio last year as a true freshman.  Former starter Matt Christian completed just 48% of his passes but had a much better 8/2 TD/Int ratio.  There is only one way to go for this position.

 

The big problem with the passing game is the receiving corps.  Not only are the top two pass catchers from last year missing, those that are returning do not offer much in the area of quickness or mobility.  Taveon Rogers is the closest thing to a star, and he only caught 18 balls last year.  Juco Transfer Kemonte Bateman could emerge as the leader here.

 

Robert Clay figures to start at running back with 2010 leading rusher Kenny Turner at H-back.  The tandem rushed for just 687 yards and two touchdowns.

 

The one bright spot on the offense is an experienced and improving offensive line.  Sioeli Fakalata can play center or guard, and he is the best man in the front line.

 

The Aggies should see improved numbers all around this season.  Look for about 21 points and 325 yards.  However, that will not be enough to move them out of the WAC basement.

 

The defense figures to take another step backwards after giving up 40 points and 450+ yards per game last year.  It doesn’t help when two of your top players are declared academically ineligible.  Those two, tackle Augafa Vaaulu and end Donte Savage figured to be the stars of the front four.  Now, the Aggies are hurting in the trenches.

 

The linebackers are more of a liability than an asset, even though two starters return from last season.  B. J. Adolpho was a 3rd Team All-WAC player last year, but he cannot make plays for the other six players in the front seven.

 

Any hope for defensive improvement must come from the secondary.  We fear that with little or no pass rush, the back four will eventually break down and give up too many big plays.  The Aggies may have the best tandem at cornerback with Donyae Coleman and Jonte Green.  Last year, the pair teamed for 166 tackles, many times being the last hope to prevent breakaway plays.

 

Things do not look hopeful for Walker and his Aggies.  At least they have a game with New Mexico, but that is not a given win.  Even though NMSU’s offense is much improved, they will not be able to outscore the other teams in the WAC.  It will be another long year in Las Cruces.

 

2011 WAC Preseason Media Poll

Team

1st Place Votes

Points

Hawaii

18

292

Fresno State

11

284

Nevada

11

264

Lousiana Tech

 

184

Utah State

 

166

Idaho

 

141

San Jose State

 

85

New Mexico State

 

60

 

 

2011 WAC PiRate Ratings

Team

PiRate #

Prediction

Nevada

101.4

7-1/8-4

Hawaii

98.4

5-3/8-5

Louisiana Tech

93.5

5-3/5-7

Fresno State

93.0

6-2/7-6

San Jose State

91.1

2-6/2-10

Utah State

90.2

2-6/3-9

Idaho

88.2

4-4/5-7

New Mexico State

78.8

1-7/1-11

 

Next: A look at the four independents, Friday, August 19

 

Advertisements

August 28, 2009

2009 Western Athletic Conference Preview

2009 Western Athletic Conference Preview

A PiRate Look

In the fourth in our series of conference previews, we take a look at the Western Athletic Conference, where Boise State has dominated this loop like no other team has dominated their conference in the 21st Century.  The Broncos have never lost a home game in the WAC, and they have won six of seven conference titles.  It took a 12-0 Hawaii team in 2007 to edge them in Honolulu to prevent them from a total skunking of the league.  The 2009 WAC preview was the first conference where the staff at the PiRate Ratings had to discuss at length before issuing predictions.  The raw preseason ratings gave Utah State the third best beginning rating, but none of us believed the Aggies will finish there, even though we all agree they are very much improved this year.

Here are the preseason PiRate ratings for the league.  The ratings have been rounded to the nearest whole number even though we calculate them to two decimal places.  Thus, when you see multiple teams with the same rating, they are not actually exactly even.  To understand what the rating means, it is set so that 100 is average.  Thus, a rating of 90 means the team is 10 points weaker than the average team in the FBS.  The average of all 120 FBS teams should round to 100 if the math has been successfully calculated.

For those who have not followed the PiRate Ratings before and wonder about the home field advantage, we do not assign set in stone advantages.  These are assigned on a game-by-game basis.  For instance, if New Mexico State was to get really lucky and host Texas or Oklahoma, it would be expected that the Longhorn or Sooner fans would find a way to get to Las Cruces and make it a home game for the visiting team.  However, if that same Aggie team hosted Army a week after Army played at Air Force, then the Aggies could enjoy as much as five points in home field advantage.  The PiRates think it’s ridiculous to issue a blank home field advantage for all teams or even assign a range of set home field advantages.

   

Western Athletic Conference Preseason Ratings

     

 

Prediction *

 
    Team

PiRate

WAC

Overall

 
    Boise State

109

7-1

10-2

 
    Nevada

98

7-1

9-3

 
    Utah State

96

4-4

5-7

 
    Fresno State

95

6-2

7-5

 
    Louisiana Tech

94

5-3

7-5

 
    San Jose State

92

4-4

5-7

 
    Hawaii

86

1-7

3-10

 
    New Mexico State

78

1-7

2-10

 
    Idaho

75

1-7

1-11

 
     

 

 

 

 
    *  Predictions not based on PiRate Rating but  
    on expected changes to rating during the year  

 

Boise State: Can the Broncos run the table in the regular season yet again?  This year, we think that won’t happen for two reasons.  They have non-conference games against Oregon and Tulsa, and we think they will lose one of them.  Also, we believe Fresno State has an excellent shot to pull off the upset in conference play.  Now, we’re still picking BSU to win the conference, but we think it will be with one conference loss.

Quarterback Kellen Moore is already the second best passer in the WAC as a sophomore, and he should top 3,000 yards passing with 25-30 touchdown passes this year.  His percentage (69.4% in ’08) could drop a little because his receiving corps has less experience this season.  The running game could regress without former star Ian Johnson and with a question mark in the offensive line.

Defensively, there is a great deal of rebuilding to do in the front seven, where only two starters return.  The secondary is the strength of the team with safeties Jeron Johnson and George Iloka and cornerbacks Brandyn Thompson and Kyle Wilson leaps and bounds more talented than the next best WAC secondary.

Nevada: The Wolf Pack could play at Boise State on Black Friday with a chance to steal the conference championship.  If the game was played at Mackay Stadium, it might be a 50-50 proposition.  Nevada should have its best team this decade with most of the key elements returning to the defending top offense in the league and one of the best in the nation (509 total yards per game in ’08).

It all starts under center where quarterback Colin Kaepernick is the king of the WAC.  Last year, he rushed for 1,130 yards and passes for 2,849 yards, accounting for 39 touchdowns!  Factor out quarterback sacks, and he averaged over eight yards per rush.  He may rush less and pass more this year because Nevada returns the WAC’s top running back, a sure-handed wide receiver, and a tight end with great hands.  Add to it a strong recruiting class where one or two freshmen receivers could supply great depth.

That top running back is Vai Taua, who rushed for 1,521 yards with 15 touchdowns last year.  Taua reminds us some of Green Bay Packer Ryan Grant.  Behind Taua is a stable of able backs, so the Wolfpack should rush for 275-300 yards per game and could easily top six yards per rush again this season.

There are some new receivers this year, but they will be greatly aided by the fact that defense must try to stop or slow down the run first.  Look for Kaepernick to pass for around 250 yards per game.

The offensive line returns two excellent tackles.  Mike Gallett and Alonzo Durham both earned 2nd team All-WAC honors last year and both could make it to the first team this year.

Defensively, Nevada has liabilities, but they should be able to hold most opponents under 35 points.  With a team capable of easily topping 40 points per game, giving up 30 could be enough to challenge for the league crown.  The strength lies in the terminals as ends Kevin Basped and Dontay Moch combined for 36 tackles behind the line of scrimmage (21 ½ sacks).

The schedule may keep Nevada from a top 25 finish.  The Wolf Pack play at Notre Dame to open the season, and this game could be interesting for most of the day.  A road game at Colorado State could be the pivotal game.  Nevada can still have a decent year if they start 0-2, but they won’t challenge for the conference title after that.  A home game with a rebuilding Missouri team gives them a good shot at an upset, and the following game against UNLV should be exciting.  Unfortunately, the game with Boise State is on the field of blue, and we don’t believe Nevada is up to the task.  It looks like a second place finish and nine regular season wins.

Utah State: We double and triple-checked our statistical formula to make sure this rating was correct; it was.  The PiRate formula believes USU will be one of the five most improved teams in FBS football.  Personally, we believe they will be a better team, but not the third best in the WAC.

Gary Andersen takes over as head coach after serving as the defensive coordinator at Utah for five years.  The Aggies will shift to a no-huddle spread offense from the shotgun, and they have the talent on offense to make it go. 

Quarterback Diondre Borel isn’t as talented as the top passers in this league, but he should be able to approach 2,500 yards and 15-20 touchdowns.  A poor man’s Colin Kaepernick, Borel could approach 800 yards rushing as well.

Borel will have a boatload of average receivers at hand.  While none of them will be all-conference performers, the depth will allow Andersen to shuttle them in and keep them fresh.  Borel will need three of the receivers to step up because he has very little help in the backfield.

The offensive line will be stronger this season, and center Brennan McFadden will receive first place votes for all-WAC.  Look for the Aggies to rush for about 125 yards per game and pass for about 225.  It should give them a great shot at averaging more than 25 points per game for the first time in eight years.

The defense was really weak in 2008, and they face an added obstacle trying to improve this year.  USU games averaged 136 plays per game last year, and with the new offense, they will probably average close to 150 plays this year.  That should lead to about seven more defensive plays, so the Aggies will yield 30-35 points and 400 total yards per game again this year.

What will keep State from posting a winning record is their killer schedule.  Out of conference, they travel to Utah, Texas A&M, and BYU.  Only a home game with Southern Utah will give them a win prior to conference play.  What hurts more is that the weakest conference opponents host the Aggies, while the strongest teams come to Logan.  USU will not upset Boise State or Nevada at home, but Idaho, Hawaii, and New Mexico State cannot be counted as automatic wins.  It adds up to another losing season, but the Aggies could pull off an upset along the way.

Fresno State: The Bulldogs are almost always a tough team to beat, but they always lose to somebody they should have beaten.  That’s why FSU has always been the bridesmaid and never the bride in the WAC.  This year, Coach Pat Hill has enough talent on hand to play head-to-head at home with Boise State, but they could also lose to teams like San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, and even Utah State.

What’s keeping the Bulldogs from seriously challenging Boise State is an experienced quarterback.  Hill has stated that three different players will see playing time early in the season.  Whoever ends up as the regular will have one of the league’s top receivers as well as three other really good receivers at the other end of those passes.  Look for Seyi Ajirotutu to appear on the nation’s receiving leaders.  He could top 1,000 yards in receptions.

Three running backs who each topped 600 yards rushing return this year.  Anthony Harding, Lonyae Miller, and Ryan Matthews combined for 2,250 rushing yards and 19 scores, and they should top that mark this year.

The offensive line needs two new tackles, and with a new quarterback, that could mean a few extra sacks and interceptions. 

The Bulldog defense surrendered 31 points and 411 yards per game in 2008, and those figures are going to drop this season.  We see them coming in at 26 points and 380 yards.  The top four tacklers return from last year, as well as the top two pass defenders.  Look for middle linebacker Ben Jacobs to play for pay in two years.  He made 113 tackles and broke up five passes in 2008.  He’ll be an excellent Tampa 2 defender.

The schedule is manageable, and if the ball bounces the right way, Fresno could pull off a couple of road upsets against teams from BCS conferences.  We don’t see them winning at Illinois, but Cincinnati and Wisconsin are not impossible this year.  UC Davis provides an easy opening win, and all three quarterbacks could get some positive game experience.  The Boise State game is at Bulldog Stadium on Friday night, September 18.

Louisiana Tech: Long-time Georgia football coach Vince Dooley won more than 200 games in a quarter century in Athens.  Most of those teams moved the football by the rush.  Now, his son Derek is following in his footsteps.  Louisiana Tech may line up in the one back offense like most teams these days, but they still deliver the goods by running the ball more than 60% of the time.  Running back Daniel Porter rushed for 1,164 yards and nine touchdowns last year, and he’ll be running behind an offensive line that returns intact from last year.  He could top 1,500 yards this year.

The Bulldogs will not challenge for the WAC title this year unless the passing game improves by 50% or more.  Returning quarterback Ross Jenkins completed just 52.9% of his passes last year for only 1,155 yards and seven scores.  He needs to increase that number to 1,700 yards or more or else the offense will bog down against the WAC teams with good run defenses.  Phillip Livas is the best receiver on the team, but he will need some support.

Defensively, the Bulldogs will be tough again up front.  After allowing just 104 rushing yards per game in 2008, there’s a good chance that number will drop to double digits this season.  All four starting defensive linemen return as does three of the second team quartet.  The problem for LT is that they couldn’t stop an average passing attack last year, and unless some new secondary members become stars, the Bulldogs could give up 275 passing yards per game again this year.

The schedule begins with road games against Auburn and Navy.  The Bulldogs could start 0-2 and just as easily could start 2-0.  If they upset the Tigers and handle the Midshipmen, they should be 4-0 when they play Nevada in Reno on Friday night, October 9.  Boise State is a home game also played on a Friday night.  The only certain loss on the schedule this year is a game at LSU on November 14.  If the Bulldogs come up with any semblance of a passing game and pass defense, they could contend for the conference title.  Of course, conference titles are rather common in the Dooley family, with papa Vince and Uncle Bill owning a bundle of them.

San Jose State: Until the Spartans learn how to move the ball and score points, they will remain in the middle of the pack in the WAC.  SJSU averaged a paltry 283 total yards per game last year and less than 20 points per game.  The defense stayed on the field too long, and it collapsed late in the season.

The Spartans could only gain 87 rushing yards per game in 2008, and to make matters worse, they lost their only decent rusher.  That number should move into triple digits this year, even with a raw set of backs toting the pigskin.  All five starting offensive linemen from last year return.

Quarterback Kyle Reed could be one of the most improved quarterbacks in the league this year.  If a couple of competent receivers can be found, and if tight end Terrance Williams can continue to improve, we project that Reed could pass for more than 200 yards per game with a better TD/INT ratio this year (9/6 in ’08).  If the receivers don’t come through, then SJSU will continue to falter with an anemic offense.

The Spartan defense returns a top-flight front seven, but the back four could be suspect.  End Carl Ihenacho will compete for 1st team All-WAC honors this year after recording 18 ½ tackles behind the line with seven sacks last year.  Brother Duke Ihenacho anchors the second line of defense.  He recorded 5 ½ tackles behind the line, intercepted five passes, and broke up six others.

The secondary surrendered just 170 passing yards last year, but with three new starters, that number could inflate by 35-50 yards per game.

The schedule is the big bugaboo for the Spartans.  An opening game at Southern Cal, followed by a home game with Utah and a game up the road at Stanford could leave them at 0-3.  Fresno State, Boise State, and Louisiana Tech are also road games, so San Jose State would have to beat everybody else on their schedule to repeat the 6-6 record of last year.

Hawaii: June Jones is now two seasons removed from Hawaii, and the downslide in Honolulu will continue.  The Warriors no longer have the devastating passing game that can outscore opponents regardless of how porous the defense might be.  Now, the defense will be even weaker, while the offense is run of the mill.  It all adds up to a major drop in the standings.

The Warriors return just a pair of starters from a defense that yielded 29 points and 361 total yards per game.  Expect those numbers to climb to 35 points and 425 yards allowed.  The secondary will be torn to shreds by Moore, Kaepernick, Borel, and a few others.  Nary a player on the roster has ever started a game in the defensive backfield.

The front seven is only marginally more experienced as end John Fonoti and linebacker Brashton Satele return, but they were not major contributors last season.

The offense is pedestrian at best.  Without Jones and the great passing of Colt Brennan, Hawaii’s numbers fell from 43 to 25 points and 512 to 346 total yards per game.  Quarterback Greg Alexander returns after sharing starting duties last year.  Alexander has experience and depth in his receiving unit, so the Hawaii passing numbers should jump from about 250 to near 300 yards per game this year.

The running game needs improvement, but it’s doubtful those numbers will increase this year.  We figure Hawaii will be forced to pass more due to having to attempt to come back from deficits, and the offensive line may not be up to the task to open enough running lanes.

Another major problem this year are the special teams.  UH couldn’t keep a kicker on campus and didn’t know who would start until Scott Enos arrived late from a junior college.  A true freshman will be the punter.

The schedule is always tough when every road game travels from two to five time zones.  The road games this year find Hawaii travelling to Washington State, UNLV, Louisiana Tech, Idaho, Nevada, and San Jose State.  We believe they will go 0-6 in these games.  Navy, Wisconsin, and Central Arkansas visit Honolulu, as well as conference foes Fresno State, Boise State, Utah State, and New Mexico State.  It looks like the Warriors could be headed to double digit losses this year.

NOTE: Satele out for the season with a shoulder injury

New Mexico State: The Hal Mumme era is over in Las Cruces, and the Aggies could do no better than 4-8 during his tenure.  Enter DeWayne Walker, the former defensive coordinator at UCLA.  Walker’s Bruin defense held Southern Cal to nine points in a 2006 upset, and he coached UCLA in the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl after Karl Dorrell left.

Walker made some major changes when he assumed control.  Gone is the spread passing formation replaced by a more balanced attack.  With NMSU career passing leader Chase Holbrook gone, the job will be inherited by junior college transfer Jeff Fleming.  Expect the Aggie passing attack to shrink from over 300 passing yards per game to just over 200 yards per game.  Running backs Marquell Colston, Tommy Glenn, and Ronald Opetaia will get more carries this year after combining for 683 yards last year.  They will be running behind a line with about the same experience as last year’s line, but the extra rushing attempts (and the reduction in sacks from 44 by almost half) should add up to about 100 rushing yards per game compared to an NCAA 2nd worst 55.

The defense will begin to make strides toward respectability this year.  After surrendering 34 points and 380 yards per game last year, even with massive losses on the stop side.  A fine duo at linebacker returns in Jason Scott and Nick Paden.  The front four has no returning starters, so the pass rush and defense against the run should suffer some early until Walker can “coach ‘em up.”

The schedule gives NMSU a chance to get off to a fast start, and the Aggies could gain some confidence early.  They open at home against Idaho, and that game should be a toss-up.  Next, they host Prairie View.  That will be the last game where they will be favored to win.  Road trips to Ohio State, Boise State, and Louisiana Tech should be unpleasant.

Idaho: Coach Robb Akey’s Vandals doubled their win total last year from the year before, but unfortunately that meant a 2-10 record after a 1-11 record in 2007.  Idaho has not finished over .500 since 1999, and that streak will not end this year.

Quarterback Nathan Enderle returns this year after passing for more than 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns last year.  He also tossed 17 interceptions, but he often had to run for his life due to poor pass blocking.  The pass blocking may actually be weaker this year, so expect another year of turnovers.

The running backs may take some of the heat off the passing game.  Donte Jackson and Princeton McCarty combined for 1,176 yards, and Jackson has the potential to be a 1,000 yard rusher.

The passing game could suffer due to the loss of top receiver Eddie Williams, who had more than double the receptions of anybody else on the squad.

The defense was horrible last year, giving up 43 points and 472 yards per game!  Don’t expect much improvement this year, because three of the five decent defenders from last year have graduated.  The defensive line has no pass rushing threats, and the linebacking unit took a major hit.  The secondary returns three starters, but none of them would start at most of the other WAC schools.

The schedule is a killer for this team, and if the Vandals fail to win at New Mexico State in the season opener, it’s going to be a hard road to find a win on the schedule.  A home tilt against Hawaii could be the only other winnable game this year.

Next up: A look at Conference USA. Can this conference finally supply an at-large participant in a BCS Bowl?

December 9, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of: December 9, 2008

NCAA Regular Season Summation

 

Congratulations go to Oklahoma and Florida, and my condolences go to Texas, Southern Cal, and Penn State, and Alabama.  Some biased poll voters, a couple of computer geeks, and a couple of sports elitists have determined that the Sooners and Gators are a couple hundredths of a percentage point better than the rest of the pack and deserve to play for the national title.

 

Florida lost their one game at home.  Oklahoma lost their one game on a neutral field to one of the other teams up for consideration.  Alabama’s loss on a neutral field to Florida is the exact same situation.  Texas lost on the road to an undefeated Texas Tech team on the final play of the game.  Southern Cal lost on the road at Oregon State with one late play figuring greatly in the outcome.  Penn State lost on the road at Iowa on the final play of the game.  So, the computers can tell us that Florida and Oklahoma are the two most deserving? 

 

Here are the final regular season PiRate Top 25 and the PiRate Ratings by conference:

 

NCAA Top 25 For 2-Dec-2008

Rank

Team

PiRate

Won

Lost

1

Florida 

140

12

1

2

Oklahoma

139

12

1

3

Southern Cal

131

11

1

4

Texas

128

11

1

5

Ohio St.

127

10

2

6

Alabama

125

12

1

7

Penn St.

125

11

1

8

Ole Miss

121

8

4

9

Texas Tech

120

11

1

10

Boise State

120

12

0

11

T C U

120

10

2

12

Oregon

120

9

3

13

Utah

118

12

0

14

Iowa

117

8

4

15

Rutgers

117

7

5

16

California

116

8

4

17

Georgia 

115

9

3

18

Oklahoma St.

114

9

3

19

Arizona

114

7

5

20

Clemson

113

7

5

21

Oregon State

113

8

4

22

Missouri

113

9

4

23

Florida State

112

8

4

24

Pittsburgh

112

9

3

25

Cincinnati

110

11

2

     

 

 

Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number

even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Clemson

4-4

7-5

113

68

45

Florida State

5-3

8-4

112

70

42

North Carolina State

4-4

6-6

106

70

36

Boston College

5-3*

9-4

104

63

41

Wake Forest

4-4

7-5

104

56

48

Maryland

4-4

7-5

101

62

39

 

 

 

 

   
Coastal Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Virginia Tech

5-3*+

9-4

109

67

42

Georgia Tech

5-3

9-3

109

68

41

North Carolina

4-4

8-4

105

66

39

Miami

4-4

7-5

102

60

42

Virginia 

3-5

5-7

100

58

42

Duke

1-7

4-8

93

60

33

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Rutgers

5-2

7-5

117

70

47

Pittsburgh

5-2

9-3

112

66

46

Cincinnati

6-1

11-2

110

64

46

West Virginia

5-2

8-4

110

65

45

South Florida

2-5

7-5

106

68

38

Connecticut

3-4

7-5

102

64

38

Louisville

1-6

5-7

91

57

34

Syracuse

1-6

3-9

89

56

33

 

Big Ten

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ohio State

7-1

10-2

127

71

56

Penn State

7-1

11-1

125

76

49

Iowa

5-3

8-4

117

72

45

Wisconsin

3-5

7-5

107

71

36

Northwestern

5-3

9-3

105

64

41

Michigan State

6-2

9-3

104

64

40

Purdue

2-6

4-8

103

67

36

Illinois

3-5

5-7

102

65

37

Michigan

2-6

3-9

96

57

39

Minnesota

3-5

7-5

92

58

34

Indiana

1-7

3-9

79

54

25

 

Big 12

North Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Missouri

5-3*

9-4

113

74

39

Kansas

4-4

7-5

109

67

42

Nebraska

5-3

8-4

108

70

38

Colorado

2-6

5-7

95

57

38

Kansas State

2-6

5-7

92

67

25

Iowa State

0-8

2-10

86

57

29

South Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oklahoma

7-1+

12-1

139

97

42

Texas

7-1

11-1

128

82

46

Texas Tech

7-1

11-1

120

85

35

Oklahoma State

5-3

9-3

114

71

43

Baylor

2-6

4-8

106

68

38

Texas A&M

2-6

4-8

90

56

34

 

Conference USA

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

East Carolina

6-2+

9-4

99

62

37

Southern Miss.

4-4

6-6

97

64

33

Memphis

4-4

6-6

92

61

31

Marshall

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Central Florida

3-5

4-8

88

46

42

U A B

3-5

4-8

84

51

33

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Tulsa

7-1*

10-3

103

72

31

Rice

7-1

9-3

97

66

31

Houston

6-2

7-5

97

67

30

U T E P

4-4

5-7

87

59

28

S M U

0-8

1-11

78

57

21

Tulane

1-7

2-10

69

50

19

 

Independents

           
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Navy  

8-4

104

61

43

Notre Dame  

6-6

98

58

40

Army  

3-9

82

46

36

 

Mid American Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Bowling Green

4-4

6-6

103

68

35

Buffalo

5-3+

8-5

101

68

33

Temple

4-4

5-7

96

57

39

Ohio U

3-5

4-8

91

51

40

Kent State

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Akron

3-5

5-7

89

60

29

Miami (O)

1-7

2-10

81

54

27

           
West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ball State

8-0

12-1

109

73

36

Western Michigan

6-2

9-3

100

63

37

Northern Illinois

5-3

6-6

98

59

39

Central Michigan

6-2

8-4

97

68

29

Eastern Michigan

2-6

3-9

88

59

29

Toledo

2-6

3-9

85

55

30

 

Mountain West Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

T C U

7-1

10-2

120

68

52

Utah

8-0

12-0

118

70

48

Brigham Young

6-2

10-2

106

67

39

Air Force

5-3

8-4

95

58

37

Colorado State

4-4

6-6

93

60

33

New Mexico

2-6

4-8

93

56

37

UNLV

2-6

5-7

85

56

29

Wyoming

1-7

4-8

85

51

34

San Diego State

1-7

2-10

76

49

27

 

Pac-10 Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Cal

7-1

11-1

131

72

59

Oregon

7-2

9-3

120

77

43

California

6-3

8-4

116

73

43

Arizona

5-4

7-5

114

75

39

Oregon State

7-2

8-4

113

74

39

Stanford

4-5

5-7

106

64

42

Arizona State

4-5

5-7

103

63

40

U C L A

3-6

4-8

100

57

43

Washington

0-9

0-12

81

54

27

Washington State

1-8

2-11

74

49

25

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida 

7-1+

12-1

140

86

54

Georgia 

6-2

9-3

115

73

42

South Carolina

4-4

7-5

108

63

45

Tennessee

3-5

5-7

107

62

45

Kentucky

2-6

6-6

102

62

40

Vanderbilt

4-4

6-6

100

55

45

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Alabama

8-0

12-1

125

69

56

Ole Miss

5-3

8-4

121

74

47

L S U

3-5

7-5

106

68

38

Arkansas

2-6

5-7

102

68

34

Auburn

2-6

5-7

102

56

46

Mississippi State

2-6

4-8

97

55

42

 

Sunbelt Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Troy

6-1

8-4

105

69

36

Florida Atlantic

4-3

6-6

90

61

29

Middle Tennessee

3-4

5-7

90

58

32

Arkansas State

4-3

6-6

89

59

30

Florida International

3-4

5-7

89

58

31

Louisiana-Lafayette

5-2

6-6

88

66

22

Louisiana-Monroe

3-4

4-8

87

56

31

* Western Kentucky

0-0

2-10

79

49

30

North Texas

0-7

1-11

70

55

15

           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009      
Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008    

 

Western Athletic Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Boise State

8-0

12-0

120

74

46

Nevada

5-3

7-5

102

73

29

Louisiana Tech

5-3

7-5

94

56

38

Utah State

3-5

3-9

93

57

36

Hawaii

5-3

7-6

93

55

38

Fresno State

4-4

7-5

88

61

27

San Jose State

4-4

6-6

85

53

32

New Mexico State

1-7

3-9

74

48

26

Idaho

1-7

2-10

73

57

16

 

Here is the bowl schedule

 

Date

Time EST

Bowl

City

Team

Team

D. 20

11:00

Eagle Bank

Washington DC

Wake Forest

Navy

D. 20

2:30

New Mexico

Albuquerque

Colorado State

Fresno State

D. 20

4:30

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg

South Florida

Memphis

D. 20

8:00

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

B Y U

Arizona

D. 21

8:15

New Orleans

New Orleans

Troy

Southern Miss.

D. 23

8:00

Poinsettia

San Diego

Boise State

T C U

D. 24

8:00

Hawaii

Honolulu

Hawaii

Notre Dame

D. 26

8:00

Motor City

Detroit

Central Michigan

Florida Atlantic

D. 27

1:00

Meineke Car Care

Charlotte

North Carolina

West Virginia

D. 27

4:30

Champs Sports

Orlando

Florida State

Wisconsin

D. 27

8:00

Emerald

San Francisco

California

Miami (Fl.)

D. 28

8:15

Independence

Shrevport

Louisiana Tech

Northern Illinois

D. 29

3:00

PapaJohns

Birmingham

N. C. State

Rutgers

D. 29

8:00

Alamo

San Antonio

Northwestern

Missouri

D. 30

4:30

Humanitarian

Boise

Nevada

Maryland

D. 30

8:00

Texas

Houston

Western Michigan

Rice

D. 30

8:00

Holiday

San Diego

Oregon 

Oklahoma State

D. 31

12:00

Armed Forces

Ft. Worth

Air Force

Houston

D. 31

2:00

Sun

El Paso

Oregon State

Pittsburgh

D. 31

3:30

Music City

Nashville

Vanderbilt

Boston College

D. 31

5:30

Insight

Tempe

Kansas

Minnesota

D. 31

7:30

Chick-fil-a

Atlanta

Georgia Tech

L S U

J. 1

11:00

Outback

Tampa

Iowa

South Carolina

J. 1

1:00

Capital One

Orlando

Georgia 

Michigan State

J. 1

1:00

Gator

Jacksonville

Clemson

Nebraska

J. 1

4:30

Rose

Pasadena

Southern Cal

Penn State

J. 1

8:30

Orange

Miami

Virginia Tech

Cincinnati

J. 2

2:00

Cotton

Dallas

Texas Tech

Ole Miss

J. 2

5:00

Liberty

Memphis

East Carolina

Kentucky

J. 2

8:00

Sugar

New Orleans

Alabama

Utah

J. 3

12:00

International

Toronto

Connecticut

Buffalo

J. 5

8:00

Fiesta

Glendale

Texas

Ohio State

J. 6

8:00

G M A C

Mobile

Tulsa

Ball State

J. 8

8:00

Nat’l Championship

Miami

Florida 

Oklahoma

December 1, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of: December 3-6, 2008

NCAA Week 15: The Postseason Falls to BieCeS

 

With one weekend remaining in the regular season, the dreadful BCS has suffered from yet another snafu.  Oklahoma is in the Big 12 Championship Game because a computer or two has deemed the Sooners to be a tiny bit better than the Longhorns even though Texas beat them by 10 points on a neutral field.  The Big 12 should have never used BCS ranking to break three-way ties, but then again the BCS shouldn’t be there in the first place for the Big 12 brass to be dumb enough to use it as its tiebreaker.

 

I don’t advocate that Texas should be in that title game instead of Oklahoma or even Texas Tech.  I don’t believe the BCS system to be credible; the vote of Oklahoma over Texas is ridiculous, and if Texas had been voted in by a miniscule amount, it would have been just as ridiculous.

 

If Oklahoma wins this week over an inferior Missouri squad, the Sooners will play for the national title against the winner of the Alabama-Florida game.  Southern Cal, Texas Tech, and Penn State, as well as Utah, Boise State, and Ball State among other top contenders will get no chance to compete for all the marbles.

 

The Top 25 had very little movement after this past weekend.  The bowl situations started to come into focus, as information started to leak out on which bowls want which teams if they are available.  So, when you read the bowl section below, realize that these are not just predictions now; some of the teams are slotted based on leaked information from bowl scouts.

 

Personally, I believe Florida and Southern Cal are the two best teams in the nation.  The Gators’ offense is as good as any college team in 13 years, while the Trojans’ defense is the best college defense in 16 years.

 

NCAA Top 25 For 2-Dec-2008

Rank

Team

PiRate

Won

Lost

1

Florida 

141

11

1

2

Oklahoma

134

11

1

3

Southern Cal

132

10

1

4

Texas

128

11

1

5

Ohio St.

127

10

2

6

Penn St.

125

11

1

7

Alabama

124

12

0

8

Ole Miss

121

8

4

9

Texas Tech

120

11

1

10

Boise State

120

12

0

11

T C U

120

10

2

12

Oregon

120

9

3

13

Utah

118

12

0

14

Missouri

118

9

3

15

Iowa

117

8

4

16

Georgia 

115

9

3

17

Ball State

114

12

0

18

California

114

7

4

19

Oklahoma St.

114

9

3

20

Clemson

113

7

5

21

Oregon State

113

8

4

22

Florida State

112

8

4

23

Rutgers

112

6

5

24

Cincinnati

111

10

2

25

Arizona

111

6

5

     

 

 

Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number

even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Clemson

4-4

7-5

113

68

45

Florida State

5-3

8-4

112

70

42

Boston College

5-3*

9-3

107

65

42

North Carolina State

4-4

6-6

106

70

36

Wake Forest

4-4

7-5

104

56

48

Maryland

4-4

7-5

101

62

39

 

 

 

 

   
Coastal Division

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Georgia Tech

5-3

9-3

109

68

41

Virginia Tech

5-3*

8-4

106

65

41

North Carolina

4-4

8-4

105

66

39

Miami

4-4

7-5

102

60

42

Virginia 

3-5

5-7

100

58

42

Duke

1-7

4-8

93

60

33

 

Big East Conference

 

 

 

 

   
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Rutgers

4-2

6-5

112

67

45

Cincinnati

6-1

10-2

111

65

46

West Virginia

4-2

7-4

111

66

45

Pittsburgh

4-2

8-3

109

65

44

Connecticut

3-3

7-4

105

65

40

South Florida

2-4

7-4

105

68

37

Louisville

1-5

5-6

96

59

37

Syracuse

1-6

3-9

89

56

33

 

Big Ten

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ohio State

7-1

10-2

127

71

56

Penn State

7-1

11-1

125

76

49

Iowa

5-3

8-4

117

72

45

Wisconsin

3-5

7-5

107

71

36

Northwestern

5-3

9-3

105

64

41

Michigan State

6-2

9-3

104

64

40

Purdue

2-6

4-8

103

67

36

Illinois

3-5

5-7

102

65

37

Michigan

2-6

3-9

96

57

39

Minnesota

3-5

7-5

92

58

34

Indiana

1-7

3-9

79

54

25

 

Big 12

North Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Missouri

5-3*

9-3

118

75

43

Kansas

4-4

7-5

109

67

42

Nebraska

5-3

8-4

108

70

38

Colorado

2-6

5-7

95

57

38

Kansas State

2-6

5-7

92

67

25

Iowa State

0-8

2-10

86

57

29

South Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oklahoma

7-1

11-1

134

93

41

Texas

7-1

11-1

128

82

46

Texas Tech

7-1

11-1

120

85

35

Oklahoma State

5-3

9-3

114

71

43

Baylor

2-6

4-8

106

68

38

Texas A&M

2-6

4-8

90

56

34

 

Conference USA

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

East Carolina

6-2

8-4

98

62

36

Southern Miss.

4-4

6-6

97

64

33

Memphis

4-4

6-6

92

61

31

Marshall

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Central Florida

3-5

4-8

88

46

42

U A B

3-5

4-8

84

51

33

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Tulsa

7-1*

10-2

104

73

31

Rice

7-1

9-3

97

66

31

Houston

6-2

7-5

97

67

30

U T E P

4-4

5-7

87

59

28

S M U

0-8

1-11

78

57

21

Tulane

1-7

2-10

69

50

19

 

Independents

           
Team

 

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Navy  

7-4

100

60

40

Notre Dame  

6-6

98

58

40

Army  

3-8

86

49

37

 

Mid American Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Bowling Green

4-4

6-6

103

68

35

Buffalo

5-3

7-5

96

64

32

Temple

4-4

5-7

96

57

39

Ohio U

3-5

4-8

91

51

40

Kent State

3-5

4-8

89

58

31

Akron

3-5

5-7

89

60

29

Miami (O)

1-7

2-10

81

54

27

           
West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ball State

8-0

12-0

114

75

39

Western Michigan

6-2

9-3

100

63

37

Northern Illinois

5-3

6-6

98

59

39

Central Michigan

6-2

8-4

97

68

29

Eastern Michigan

2-6

3-9

88

59

29

Toledo

2-6

3-9

85

55

30

 

Mountain West Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

T C U

7-1

10-2

120

68

52

Utah

8-0

12-0

118

70

48

Brigham Young

6-2

10-2

106

67

39

Air Force

5-3

8-4

95

58

37

Colorado State

4-4

6-6

93

60

33

New Mexico

2-6

4-8

93

56

37

UNLV

2-6

5-7

85

56

29

Wyoming

1-7

4-8

85

51

34

San Diego State

1-7

2-10

76

49

27

 

Pac-10 Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Cal

7-1

10-1

132

73

59

Oregon

7-2

9-3

120

77

43

California

5-3

7-4

114

72

42

Oregon State

7-2

8-4

113

74

39

Arizona

4-4

6-5

111

74

37

Arizona State

4-4

5-6

106

65

41

Stanford

4-5

5-7

106

64

42

U C L A

3-5

4-7

99

57

42

Washington

0-8

0-11

83

55

28

Washington State

1-8

2-11

74

49

25

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida 

7-1

11-1

141

87

54

Georgia 

6-2

9-3

115

73

42

South Carolina

4-4

7-5

108

63

45

Tennessee

3-5

5-7

107

62

45

Kentucky

2-6

6-6

102

62

40

Vanderbilt

4-4

6-6

100

55

45

West Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Alabama

8-0

12-0

124

69

55

Ole Miss

5-3

8-4

121

74

47

L S U

3-5

7-5

106

68

38

Arkansas

2-6

5-7

102

68

34

Auburn

2-6

5-7

102

56

46

Mississippi State

2-6

4-8

97

55

42

 

Sunbelt Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Troy

5-1

7-4

104

68

36

Middle Tennessee

3-3

5-6

92

58

34

Arkansas State

4-2

6-5

90

60

30

Florida Atlantic

4-3

6-6

90

61

29

Louisiana-Monroe

3-4

4-8

87

56

31

Louisiana-Lafayette

4-2

5-6

86

64

22

Florida International

3-4

4-7

86

57

29

* Western Kentucky

0-0

2-9

82

51

31

North Texas

0-7

1-11

70

55

15

           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009      
Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008    

 

Western Athletic Conference

           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Boise State

8-0

12-0

120

74

46

Nevada

5-3

7-5

102

73

29

Louisiana Tech

5-3

7-5

94

56

38

Utah State

3-5

3-9

93

57

36

Hawaii

5-3

7-5

91

54

37

Fresno State

4-4

7-5

88

61

27

San Jose State

4-4

6-6

85

53

32

New Mexico State

1-7

3-9

74

48

26

Idaho

1-7

2-10

73

57

16

 

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

   

 

 

Wednesday, December 3  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Middle Tennessee LA.-LAFAYETTE

3

34-31

   

 

 

Thursday, December 4  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

RUTGERS Louisville

19

31-12

   

 

 

Friday, December 5  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Ball State            (Detroit) Buffalo

18

42-24

   

 

 

Saturday, December 6      
Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

Pittsburgh CONNECTICUT

1

24-23

TULSA East Carolina

9

40-31

Navy Army

14

21-7

Boston College Virginia Tech

1

21-20

CALIFORNIA Washington

34

44-10

Florida Alabama

17

31-14

Southern Cal U C L A

30

30-0

FLA. INT’L Western Ky.

7

28-21

TROY Arkansas State

17

38-21

ARIZONA Arizona State

8

35-27

WEST VIRGINIA South Florida

9

30-21

Oklahoma Missouri

16

49-33

Cincinnati HAWAII

16

26-10

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

Wednesday, December 3  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

LA.-LAFAYETTE Middle Tennessee

27-24

   

 

Thursday, December 4  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

RUTGERS Louisville

34-21

   

 

Friday, December 5  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

Ball State            (Detroit) Buffalo

37-24

   

 

Saturday, December 6  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

Pittsburgh CONNECTICUT

21-21 to OT

TULSA East Carolina

42-34

Navy             (Philadelphia) Army

35-24

Boston Coll.   (Jacksonville) Virginia Tech

20-17

CALIFORNIA Washington

42-10

Florida                 (Atlanta) Alabama

27-17

Southern Cal U C L A

34-7

FLA. INT’L Western Ky.

30-20

TROY Arkansas State

34-24

ARIZONA Arizona State

28-20

WEST VIRGINIA South Florida

24-19

Oklahoma    (Kansas City) Missouri

44-31

Cincinnati HAWAII

27-17

 

Bowl Outlook By Conference

 

Teams in all CAPS have already accepted invitations to that bowl.

 

ACC

After having a new team at the top of each division for multiple weeks, Boston College and Virginia Tech both won last week when they had to win.  Now, the winner of their game will advance to the Orange Bowl, while the loser probably drops to the Champs Sports Bowl.

 

With Georgia Tech’s win over Georgia, their hometown bowl will be glad to take the Yellow Jackets.  That bowl prefers a ranked team coming off a win, and Tech fits that bill.

 

Florida State will get the Gator Bowl invitation regardless of how the ACC title game turns out.  The Gator Bowl does not want to have the loser of the title game returning to Jacksonville three weeks later.

 

1. Orange Bowl-Boston College 10-3 vs. Cincinnati

2. Chick-fil-a-Georgia Tech 9-3 vs. L S U

3. Gator-Florida State 8-4 vs. Nebraska

4. Champs Sports-Virginia Tech 8-5 vs. Wisconsin

5. Music City-North Carolina 8-4 vs. Vanderbilt

6. Meineke Car Care-Miami 7-5 vs. West Virginia

7. Eagle Bank-Wake Forest 7-5 vs. NAVY

8. Emerald-Clemson 7-5 vs. California

9. Humanitarian-Maryland 7-5 vs. Nevada

10. Hawaii (at-large)-N.C. State 6-6 vs. Southern Miss.

 

Big East

Cincinnati has clinched a BCS Bowl spot.  The Bearcats are more than likely headed to the Orange Bowl.

 

Notre Dame’s loss to USC means the Irish may not seize one of this league’s bids.  If Rutgers beats Louisville, then there will be six, seven-win bowl eligible teams for six bowls; Notre Dame would not be eligible for a Big East Bowl, so they would become the top 6-6 at-large possibility.  Should Louisville win this week, then Notre Dame will be headed to El Paso.

 

1. Orange-Cincinnati 11-2 vs. Boston College

2. Sun-Rutgers 7-5 vs. Oregon State

3. St. Petersburg-South Florida 7-5 vs. East Carolina

4. Meineke Car Care-West Virginia 8-4 vs. Miami (Fla)

5. International-Connecticut 8-4 vs. Buffalo

6. Papa John’s-Pittsburgh 8-4 vs. Middle Tennessee State

 

Big Ten

Ohio State is almost assured to get the final BCS Bowl bid over Boise State, so the Big Ten will not have enough bowl-eligible teams for their seven allotted bids.  That may open the Motor City Bowl for a possible match of undefeated teams.

 

Although not technically official, Penn State has been mathematically eliminated from moving into the National Championship Game.  Thus, I have them “officially” in the Rose Bowl.

 

1. Rose-PENN STATE 11-1 vs. Southern Cal

2. Fiesta-Ohio State 10-2 vs. Texas

3. Capital One-Michigan State 9-3 vs. Georgia

3. Outback-Iowa 8-4 vs. South Carolina

4. Champs Sports-Wisconsin 7-5 vs. Virginia Tech

5. Alamo-Northwestern 9-3 vs. Missouri

6. Insight-Minnesota 7-5 vs. Kansas

7. Motor City-No qualifying team

 

Big 12

Missouri is being overlooked by everybody but Oklahoma this week, so I expect the Sooners to drill the Tigers.

 

With two teams headed to BCS Bowls, and with Colorado failing to upset Nebraska, this league will fall two teams short.

 

1. BCS National Championship-Oklahoma 12-1 vs. Florida

2. Fiesta-Texas 11-1 vs. Ohio State

3. Cotton-Texas Tech 11-1 vs. Ole Miss

4. Gator-Nebraska 8-4 vs. Florida State

5. Holiday-Oklahoma State 9-3 vs. Oregon

6. Alamo-Missouri 9-4 vs. Northwestern

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Minnesota

8. Independence-No Qualifying Team

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

Tulsa and East Carolina are the two divisional champions, and I believe the Golden Hurricane will win the title game this week.  Rice is the best team in this league as the season ends, but the Owls will not be at the top of the list for those remaining bowl-eligible teams.  Expect to see Rice fall to the Texas Bowl.

 

Unless another bowl chooses them first, Houston may wind up in Ft. Worth playing Air Force in a rematch of a game played in the regular season.  I think Rice would be a better opponent, but the Cougars are the better drawing team. 

 

1. Liberty-Tulsa 11-2 vs. Kentucky

2. St. Petersburg-East Carolina 8-5 vs. South Florida

3. G M A C-Southern Miss. 6-6 vs. Central Michigan

4. Armed Forces-Houston 7-5 vs. Air Force

5. Texas-Rice 9-3 vs. Notre Dame

6. New Orleans-Memphis 6-6 vs. Troy

 

Independent

Navy is headed to the Eagle Bank Bowl regardless of their outcome with Army this week.  We know for sure that Maryland will not be their opponent in a possible in-state rivalry game.  The Terps have final exams that week, and they will not accept a bowl bid during exam week.

 

Notre Dame will still be invited to a bowl at 6-6.  They will be the first 6-6 team invited as an at-large team.  I believe they will be headed to Houston.

 

1. Texas (at-large)-Notre Dame 6-6 vs. Rice

2. Eagle Bank-NAVY 7-5 vs. Miami (Fla.)

 

M A C

Ball State should handle Buffalo this week.  If they do, I expect the Motor City Bowl to make a deal with the WAC to release Boise State to come to Detroit in a battle of the unbeatens.  It will thus become the top non-BCS bowl.

 

The MAC will benefit from the failure of other conferences not being able to fulfill their bowl quotas.  Three more teams (Western Michigan, Central Michigan, and Buffalo) have seven wins, so there will be one extra bowl invitation for the MAC.  I have Western Michigan playing in an at-large bowl, but there is no news leaks about where they might be headed.  I have them headed west based on the fact that Boise State won’t be selected by the Poinsettia Bowl as they have that right.

 

1. Motor City-Ball State 13-0 vs. Boise State

2. International-Buffalo 8-5 vs. Connecticut

3. G M A C-Central Michigan 9-3 vs. Southern Miss.

4. Poinsettia (at-large)-Western Michigan 9-3 vs. T C U

 

Mountain West

Utah is officially a BCS bowl invitee.  It appears that they are headed to the Big Easy to play in the Sugar Bowl.

 

BYU has been to the Las Vegas Bowl the last three years, and I believe the folks in sin city will invite the Cougars a fourth consecutive time.  TCU is still a possibility, but in this time of economic turmoil, I’m guessing it will be a number’s game that comes up craps for the Frogs.

 

1. Sugar-Utah 12-0 vs. Alabama

2. Las Vegas-B Y U 10-2 vs. Arizona

3. Poinsettia-T C U 10-2 vs. Western Michigan

4. New Mexico-Colorado State 6-6 vs. Fresno State

5. Armed Forces-Air Force 8-4 vs. Houston

 

Pac-10

Oregon made the Rose Bowl officials happy when they defeated Oregon State.  Now Southern Cal needs to defeat UCLA to return to Pasadena for another game.

 

Arizona State can still become bowl-eligible with a win at Arizona, but I think the Wildcats have a huge revenge motive that will end the season for the Sun Devils.  Thus, I have the Pac-10 falling two spots shy of fulfilling its obligations.

 

 

1. Rose-Southern Cal 11-1 vs. Penn State

2. Holiday-Oregon 9-3 vs. Oklahoma State

3. Sun-Oregon State 8-4 vs. Rutgers

4. Las Vegas-Arizona 7-5 vs. B Y U

5. Emerald-California 8-4 vs. Wake Forest

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

What happens if Florida beats Alabama in overtime or by one point in regulation?  Might there be a rematch in a month for the National Championship?  It’s not going to happen for two reasons.  First, a loss of any kind will put Alabama behind both Oklahoma and Texas.  Second, I believe Florida will win this week by double digits.  No matter which team loses, it will be headed to New Orleans.  A Florida-Utah game would be interesting because of Urban Meyer.

 

There is a rumor going around that the Capital One Bowl could take Ole Miss over Georgia.  I think that rumor has merits, but I don’t expect the Rebels to end up in Orlando.

 

1. National Championship-Florida 12-1 vs. Oklahoma

2. Sugar-Alabama 12-1 vs. Utah

3. Capital One-Georgia 10-2 vs. Ohio State

4. Outback-South Carolina 7-5 vs. Michigan State

5. Cotton-Ole Miss 8-4 vs. Texas Tech

6. Chick-fil-a-L S U 7-5 vs. Georgia Tech

7. Music City-Vanderbilt 6-6 vs. North Carolina

8. Liberty-Kentucky 6-6 vs. Tulsa

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

Troy should beat Arkansas State this weekend to wrap up the SBC title.  They will be the only seven-win team in the league, but it is likely that two six-win teams will receive at-large bids.  The winner of the UL-Lafayette-Middle Tennessee game will likely wind up in Birmingham, while either Arkansas State or Florida Atlantic will take the Independence Bowl bid.  I’m guessing ASU will be picked over FAU.  Of course, if ASU beats Troy, they will head to New Orleans.  Troy would then head to Birmingham, and ULL or MTSU will end up in Shreveport.

 

1. New Orleans-Troy 8-4 vs. Memphis

2. Independence (at-large) Arkansas State 6-6 vs. La. Tech

3. Papa John’s (at-large) Middle Tennessee 6-6 vs. Pittsburgh

 

W A C

The Boise State-Ball State mini-dream game is still full of potential pitfalls.  The Humanitarian Bowl wants to host this game, but Ball State doesn’t want to play Boise State on the blue turf.  Boise State may think Detroit is too close to Muncie, Indiana.  The Independence Bowl has been mentioned as a possible site since it will have to find two at-large teams, but the Independence Bowl is supposed to take a Sunbelt team if they don’t have an SEC team.  Louisiana Tech is a great bet to be the other at-large team in Shreveport.  I believe the Motor City Bowl is the best option.  That will allow the Humanitarian Bowl to take Nevada and cause no further bowl interruptions.  If the big game ends up in Boise, then the ACC will have to be compensated.  They have more than enough eligible teams to meet their obligations. 

 

1. Motor City-Boise State 12-0 vs. Ball State

2. Humanitarian-Nevada 6-6 vs. Maryland

3. New Mexico-Fresno State 7-5 vs. Colorado State

4. Hawaii-Hawaii 7-6 vs. North Carolina State

5. Independence (at-large)-La. Tech 8-4 vs. Arkansas St.

 

 

November 24, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of November 25-29, 2008

NCAA Week 14: Oh What A Mess!!!

 

The conclusion of the 2008 FBS regular season begins this week and finishes next week.  There are multiple problems with the postseason as of now, and I don’t believe these problems will all be resolved by Saturday, December 6.

 

The national championship will produce controversy no matter which two teams are picked for the game.  Eight or more teams could conceivable have realistic arguments in favor of their being one of the final two.  The system is set up for failure, especially this season.  Except for 2005, this inept method of picking teams has “gotten it wrong” just about every season since its inception.

 

The non-BCS bowl situation couldn’t be more messed up today.  Six bowl will more than likely need at-large entries as the conferences which with they have agreements will not provide enough bowl eligible teams.  The poor Independence bowl will have to find two at-large teams unless a couple of miracle upsets occur this week.

 

NCAA Top 25 For 25-Nov-2008
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost

1

Florida 

140

10

1

2

Oklahoma

133

10

1

3

Southern Cal

132

9

1

4

Texas

128

10

1

5

Ohio St.

127

10

2

6

Penn St.

125

11

1

7

Texas Tech

122

10

1

8

Missouri

121

9

2

9

Alabama

120

11

0

10

T C U

120

10

2

11

Georgia 

119

9

2

12

Utah

118

12

0

13

Oregon State

118

8

3

14

Ole Miss

117

7

4

15

Iowa

117

8

4

16

Boise State

116

11

0

17

Oklahoma St.

115

9

2

18

Oregon

115

8

3

19

California

114

7

4

20

Ball State

113

11

0

21

Florida State

113

8

3

22

Rutgers

112

6

5

23

West Virginia

112

7

3

24

Cincinnati

111

9

2

25

South Carolina

111

7

4

Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida State

5-3

8-3

113

70

43

Clemson

4-4

6-5

110

66

44

Boston College

4-3

8-3

108

65

43

N. Carolina State

3-4

5-6

106

70

36

Wake Forest

4-4

6-5

102

56

46

Maryland

4-3

7-4

100

61

39

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Virginia Tech

4-3

7-4

106

65

41

Georgia Tech

5-3

8-3

105

64

41

North Carolina

3-4

7-4

105

66

39

Miami

4-3

7-4

102

60

42

Virginia 

3-4

5-6

100

58

42

Duke

1-6

4-7

93

60

33

 

Big East Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Rutgers

4-2

6-5

112

67

45

West Virginia

4-1

7-3

112

67

45

Cincinnati

5-1

9-2

111

65

46

Pittsburgh

3-2

7-3

108

65

43

Connecticut

3-3

7-4

105

65

40

South Florida

2-4

7-4

105

68

37

Louisville

1-5

5-6

96

59

37

Syracuse

1-5

3-8

89

56

33

 

Big Ten
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ohio State

7-1

10-2

127

71

56

Penn State

7-1

11-1

125

76

49

Iowa

5-3

8-4

117

72

45

Wisconsin

3-5

7-5

107

71

36

Northwestern

5-3

9-3

105

64

41

Michigan State

6-2

9-3

104

64

40

Purdue

2-6

4-8

103

67

36

Illinois

3-5

5-7

102

65

37

Michigan

2-6

3-9

96

57

39

Minnesota

3-5

7-5

92

58

34

Indiana

1-7

3-9

79

54

25

 

Big 12
North Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Missouri

5-2

9-2

121

75

46

Nebraska

4-3

7-4

109

70

39

Kansas

3-4

6-5

106

66

40

Colorado

2-5

5-6

94

56

38

Kansas State

2-6

5-7

92

67

25

Iowa State

0-8

2-10

86

57

29

South Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Oklahoma

6-1

10-1

133

90

43

Texas

6-1

10-1

128

82

46

Texas Tech

6-1

10-1

122

85

37

Oklahoma State

5-2

9-2

115

69

46

Baylor

2-5

4-7

104

66

38

Texas A&M

2-5

4-7

90

56

34

 

Conference USA
East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Miss.

3-4

5-6

97

64

33

East Carolina

5-2

7-4

94

59

35

Central Florida

3-4

4-7

92

50

42

Memphis

3-4

5-6

89

59

30

Marshall

3-4

4-7

87

56

31

U A B

2-5

3-8

80

51

29

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Tulsa

6-1

9-2

106

73

33

Houston

6-1

7-4

99

67

32

Rice

6-1

8-3

95

64

31

U T E P

4-3

5-6

91

61

30

S M U

0-7

1-10

78

57

21

Tulane

1-6

2-9

72

50

22

 

Independents
           
Team  

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Notre Dame  

6-5

98

58

40

Navy  

6-4

97

60

37

Army  

3-8

86

49

37

 

Mid American Conference
East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Buffalo

5-2

7-4

99

66

33

Bowling Green

3-4

5-6

98

66

32

Temple

3-4

4-7

94

57

37

Akron

3-4

5-6

91

62

29

Ohio U

2-5

3-8

89

49

40

Kent State

2-5

3-8

86

57

29

Miami (O)

1-6

2-9

83

55

28

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Ball State

7-0

11-0

113

74

39

Western Michigan

6-1

9-2

101

64

37

Northern Illinois

5-3

6-5

101

62

39

Central Michigan

6-1

8-3

100

68

32

Toledo

2-5

3-8

90

58

32

Eastern Michigan

1-6

2-9

84

55

29

 

Mountain West Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

T C U

7-1

10-2

120

68

52

Utah

8-0

12-0

118

70

48

Brigham Young

6-2

10-2

106

67

39

Air Force

5-3

8-4

95

58

37

Colorado State

4-4

6-6

93

60

33

New Mexico

2-6

4-8

93

56

37

UNLV

2-6

5-7

85

56

29

Wyoming

1-7

4-8

85

51

34

San Diego State

1-7

2-10

76

49

27

 

Pac-10 Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Southern Cal

7-1

9-1

132

73

59

Oregon State

7-1

8-3

118

75

43

Oregon

6-2

8-3

115

73

42

California

5-3

7-4

114

72

42

Arizona

4-4

6-5

111

74

37

Stanford

4-5

5-7

106

64

42

Arizona State

3-4

4-6

105

64

41

U C L A

3-4

4-6

100

57

43

Washington

0-8

0-11

83

55

28

Washington State

1-8

2-10

73

49

24

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division          
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Florida 

7-1

10-1

140

87

53

Georgia 

6-2

9-2

119

73

46

South Carolina

4-4

7-4

111

65

46

Tennessee

2-5

4-7

105

61

44

Kentucky

2-5

6-5

104

63

41

Vanderbilt

4-4

6-5

102

57

45

West Division

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Alabama

7-0

11-0

120

68

52

Ole Miss

4-3

7-4

117

71

46

L S U

3-4

7-4

107

68

39

Auburn

2-5

5-6

106

58

48

Mississippi State

2-5

4-7

102

57

45

Arkansas

1-6

4-6

101

67

34

 

Sunbelt Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Troy

5-1

7-4

104

68

36

Arkansas State

3-2

5-5

93

61

32

Middle Tennessee

3-3

5-6

92

58

34

Florida Atlantic

3-3

5-6

92

61

31

La.-Monroe

3-4

4-8

87

56

31

La.-Lafayette

4-2

5-6

86

64

22

Fla. International

3-3

4-6

84

55

29

* Western Ky.

0-0

2-9

82

51

31

North Texas

0-6

1-10

67

53

14

           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009

Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008

 

Western Athletic Conference
           
Team

Conf.

Overall

Rating

Off

Def

Boise State

7-0

11-0

116

72

44

Nevada

4-3

6-5

102

73

29

Louisiana Tech

5-2

7-4

94

56

38

Hawaii

5-3

6-5

92

55

37

Fresno State

4-3

7-4

92

63

29

Utah State

2-5

2-9

88

55

33

San Jose State

4-4

6-6

85

53

32

New Mexico State

1-6

3-8

79

51

28

Idaho

1-7

2-10

73

57

16

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

   

 

 

Tuesday, November 25  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

BALL STATE Western Michigan

15

38-23

NORTHERN ILLINOIS Navy

7

27-20

   

 

 

Thursday, November 27  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

TEXAS Texas A&M

41

48-7

   

 

 

Friday, November 28  

 

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

West Virginia PITTSBURGH

1

21-20

OLE MISS Mississippi State

18

27-9

Ohio U MIAMI (O)

3

20-17

EAST CAROLINA U t e p

6

30-24

TEMPLE Akron

6

28-22

Central Michigan EASTERN MICHIGAN

13

37-24

BUFFALO Kent State

16

37-21

L s u ARKANSAS

3

31-28

NEBRASKA Colorado

18

35-17

Bowling Green TOLEDO

5

31-26

BOISE STATE Fresno State

27

44-17

ARIZONA STATE U c l a

8

21-13

   

 

 

Saturday, November 29      
Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

ALABAMA Auburn

17

20-3

TEXAS TECH Baylor

21

49-28

Florida FLORIDA STATE

24

42-18

Oklahoma OKLAHOMA STATE

15

42-27

GEORGIA Georgia Tech

17

34-17

North Carolina DUKE

9

31-22

CINCINNATI Syracuse

25

35-10

WAKE FOREST Vanderbilt

3

13-10

CLEMSON South Carolina

2

21-19

BOSTON COLLEGE Maryland

11

28-17

N.C. STATE Miami-Fl

7

28-21

VIRGINIA TECH Virginia

9

23-14

TENNESSEE Kentucky

4

20-16

Missouri        (Kansas City) Kansas

15

35-20

MEMPHIS Tulane

20

38-18

Arkansas State NORTH TEXAS

23

44-21

Nevada LA. TECH

5

35-30

Houston RICE

1

35-34

UTAH STATE New Mexico St.

12

28-16

Southern Miss. S M U

16

41-25

Tulsa MARSHALL

16

40-24

CENTRAL FLORIDA U a b

15

21-6

FLA. ATLANTIC Fla. International

11

35-24

OREGON STATE Oregon

6

34-28

SOUTHERN CAL Notre Dame

35

35-0

HAWAII Washington State

23

33-10

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

Tuesday, November 25  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

BALL STATE Western Michigan

31-20

Navy NORTHERN ILLINOIS

31-31 to OT

   

 

Thursday, November 27  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

TEXAS Texas A&M

49-14

   

 

Friday, November 28  

 

Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

PITTSBURGH West Virginia

27-24

OLE MISS Mississippi State

28-10

Ohio U MIAMI (O)

28-26

EAST CAROLINA U t e p

38-30

TEMPLE Akron

31-29

Central Michigan EASTERN MICHIGAN

33-20

BUFFALO Kent State

30-14

L s u ARKANSAS

35-30

NEBRASKA Colorado

44-27

Bowling Green TOLEDO

30-27

BOISE STATE Fresno State

41-19

ARIZONA STATE U c l a

31-23

   

 

Saturday, November 29    
Favorite Underdog

Pred. Score

ALABAMA Auburn

30-7

TEXAS TECH Baylor

52-26

Florida FLORIDA STATE

35-21

Oklahoma OKLAHOMA STATE

42-35

GEORGIA Georgia Tech

37-28

North Carolina DUKE

30-24

CINCINNATI Syracuse

32-10

WAKE FOREST Vanderbilt

17-12

CLEMSON South Carolina

28-26

BOSTON COLLEGE Maryland

31-21

Miami-Fl N.C. STATE

31-28

VIRGINIA TECH Virginia

21-12

TENNESSEE Kentucky

17-16

Missouri        (Kansas City) Kansas

42-28

MEMPHIS Tulane

37-24

Arkansas State NORTH TEXAS

38-21

Nevada LA. TECH

38-35

RICE Houston

35-34

UTAH STATE New Mexico St.

27-22

Southern Miss. S M U

34-21

Tulsa MARSHALL

40-28

CENTRAL FLORIDA U a b

24-14

FLA. ATLANTIC Fla. International

38-33

OREGON STATE Oregon

31-24

SOUTHERN CAL Notre Dame

34-7

HAWAII Washington State

42-23

 

 

Bowl Outlook by Conference

 

Another week of games have been played, and nothing was really determined bowl-wise.  Instead of knowing where some of the teams are headed, the picture is actually more clouded than it was last week.  A couple of teams were eliminated from the bowl picture, but we’re talking about UNLV and Illinois.  As we enter the Thanksgiving holiday, we only know for sure that Navy is in the inaugural Eagle Bank Bowl.  Penn State is all but assured of a spot in the Rose Bowl, but it isn’t official yet.

 

Teams in all CAPS have already accepted invitations to that bowl.

 

ACC

Another week, another couple of frontrunners are ripe for upset losses.  Miami and Maryland controlled their own destinies last week, but both were blown out.  Now Virginia Tech and Boston College have the easiest roads to the title game.  If the Eagles beat Maryland in Chestnut Hill this week, they are headed to Atlanta.  If Virginia Tech beats Virginia, the Hokies are joining the Eagles.

 

The overall mediocrity of this league actually could help the ACC get an extra team in the bowl discussion.  If North Carolina State beats Miami or Virginia beats Virginia Tech, the league will have 10 bowl eligible teams.  Should both the Wolfpack and Cavs win, then 11 of the 12 teams will be bowl eligible.

 

1. Orange Bowl-Boston College 10-3 vs. Cincinnati

2. Chick-fil-a-North Carolina 9-3 vs. South Carolina

3. Gator-Florida State 8-4 vs. Nebraska

4. Champs Sports-Virginia Tech 8-5 vs. Northwestern

5. Music City-Georgia Tech 8-4 vs. Vanderbilt

6. Meineke Car Care-Miami (Fla) 7-5 vs. West Virginia

7. Eagle Bank-Clemson 7-5 vs. NAVY

8. Emerald-Maryland 7-5 vs. Notre Dame

9. Humanitarian-Wake Forest 7-5 vs. Boise State

10. Texas (at-large)-N.C. State 6-6 vs. Southern Miss.

 

Big East

Cincinnati is a win away from securing a BCS Bowl bid, and it looks like they would be headed to Miami.  Coach Brian Kelly will be very popular Sunday morning if the Bearcats win, and he could be the head coach at a larger school before December 15.

 

Once Cincinnati wraps up the Orange Bowl berth, the dominoes should begin to fall.  I believe the bowls will possibly sacrifice won-loss record for distance.  With the economy in shambles, fans may be reluctant to travel great distances and spend a lot of money.  Thus, I am picking South Florida to stay at home for their bowl.  I am going with West Virginia to stay close to home.  I am sending Connecticut north of the border.

 

With Notre Dame losing to Syracuse, the Irish are no longer in the Gator Bowl picture, and I don’t think the Sun Bowl will be able to select them as the Big East representative because they will finish 6-6 and six Big East teams will win seven or more games. 

 

I have Louisville out of the picture.  The Cardinals have been a major disappointment for the second consecutive year.  Coach Steve Kragthorpe’s seat is getting hot.

 

1. Orange-Cincinnati 11-2 vs. Boston College

2. Sun-Pittsburgh 8-4 vs. Arizona

3. St. Petersburg-South Florida 7-5 vs. East Carolina

4. Meineke Car Care-West Virginia 8-4 vs. Miami (Fla)

5. International-Connecticut 8-4 vs. Buffalo

6. Papa John’s-Rutgers 7-5 vs. Middle Tennessee State

 

Big Ten

Illinois was eliminated from bowl contention last week, but I now have Ohio State slated to miss out on an at-large BCS bowl bid.  So, this league will have seven teams for seven bowls.

 

Even thought Minnesota fell mightily in November, I have the Gophers ahead of Wisconsin because it appears that the Badger fans do not plan on supporting their team en masse this year.  In a poll in the Milwaukee paper, a plurality of fans voted their opinion that UW should not even go to a bowl this year.

 

1. Rose-Penn State 11-1 vs. Oregon State

2. Capital One-Ohio State 10-2 vs. Georgia

3. Outback-Michigan State 9-3 vs. L S U

4. Champs Sports-Northwestern 9-3 vs. Virginia Tech

5. Alamo-Iowa 8-4 vs. Oklahoma State

6. Insight-Minnesota 7-5 vs. Kansas

7. Motor City-Wisconsin 7-5 vs. Ball State

 

Big 12

Missouri is definitely in the Big 12 Championship Game next week.  The other side of the league is still a three-team race.  If Oklahoma wins at Oklahoma State, then the Sooners should jump ahead of Texas in the BCS standings, even if the Longhorns beat Texas A&M 56-0.  If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma, then Texas Tech will back in to the title game if they beat Baylor.  I think Texas can only get into the Big 12 title game if Texas Tech loses to Baylor.  However, the Longhorns still have a chance to make it to the National Championship Game if Missouri beats Oklahoma in the conference title game and Southern Cal doesn’t jump ahead of them.

 

Colorado still has an outside chance of becoming bowl-eligible.  They have to win at Nebraska.  I don’t give the Buffs much chance of doing that, and I believe Coach Dan Hawkins is riding down a slippery slope in the Rockies.

 

The Cornhuskers may cut in line in the bowl pecking order.  The Gator Bowl will probably take them ahead of a 10-3 Missouri or 9-3 Oklahoma State team.

 

1. BCS National Championship-Oklahoma 12-1 vs. Florida

2. Fiesta-Texas 11-1 vs. Southern Cal

3. Cotton-Texas Tech 11-1 vs. Ole Miss

4. Gator-Nebraska 8-4 vs. Florida State

5. Holiday-Missouri 10-3 vs. California

6. Alamo-Oklahoma State 9-3 vs. Iowa

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Minnesota

8. Independence-No Qualifying Team

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

There is still unfinished business in this conference.  East Carolina has won the East Division, but the West is still a three-team race.  Tulsa has a tough road game at Marshall, while Houston plays across town at Rice.  If Rice and Tulsa finished ties, Tulsa wins.  If Tulsa loses to Marshall, the winner of the Rice-Houston game wins.  All three will go to bowls.

 

UTEP and Memphis must win their final games to become bowl-eligible.  Memphis has an easy game against lowly Tulane, but UTEP must play at East Carolina.  Should the Tigers lose, Coach Tommy West could be in trouble.

 

1. Liberty-Tulsa 11-2 vs. Kentucky

2. St. Petersburg-East Carolina 8-5 vs. South Florida

3. G M A C-Rice 8-4 vs. Central Michigan

4. Armed Forces-Houston 8-4 vs. Air Force

5. Texas-Southern Miss. 6-6 vs. N.C. State

6. New Orleans-Memphis 6-6 vs. Troy

 

Independent

Navy is the only team that definitely knows what bowl it will be playing in this year.  The Midshipmen have already accepted a bid to the first Eagle Bank Bowl. 

 

Notre Dame will still be invited to a bowl after USC slaughters them to drop them to 6-6.  They will be the first 6-6 team invited as an at-large team.  Whether they accept the bid is another story, but I’m selecting them here.

 

1. Emerald (at-large)-Notre Dame 6-6 vs. Maryland

2. Eagle Bank-NAVY 7-5 vs. Clemson

 

M A C

Ball State has a big home game with Western Michigan Tuesday night.  Then, they would have to beat Buffalo in the MAC Championship Game and hope Boise State, Alabama, and Southern Cal all lose just to have a minute chance at getting an at-large bid to a BCS bowl.  It looks like the Motor City Bowl is the best they can hope for.  I would love to see some arrangement made to pit a 13-0 Ball State team against a 12-0 Boise State team.  A lot of deals would have to be made.

 

Central and Western Michigan should easily receive bowl bids.  Buffalo is a virtually guaranteed a bowl as well thanks to them picking up their seventh win last week.

 

Northern Illinois will become the fifth bowl team if they defeat Navy.  Even if they lose, they could still have a shot at 6-6, since their fans travel well.

 

1. Motor City-Ball State 13-0 vs. Wisconsin

2. International-Buffalo 8-5 vs. Connecticut

3. G M A C-Central Michigan 9-3 vs. Rice

4. Hawaii (at-large)-Western Michigan 9-3 vs. Hawaii

 

Mountain West

Utah is officially a BCS bowl invitee.  It appears that they are headed to the Big Easy to play in the Sugar Bowl.

 

BYU has been to the Las Vegas Bowl the last three years, and I believe the folks in sin city will invite the Cougars a fourth consecutive time.  TCU is still a possibility, but in this time of economic turmoil, I’m guessing it will be a number’s game that comes up craps for the Frogs.

 

1. Sugar-Utah 12-0 vs. Alabama

2. Las Vegas-B Y U 10-2 vs. Oregon

3. Poinsettia-T C U 10-2 vs. Boise State

4. New Mexico-Colorado State 6-6 vs. Fresno State

5. Armed Forces-Air Force 8-4 vs. Houston

 

Pac-10

Oregon State won at Arizona, and now the Beavers need to take care of business at home against Oregon.  If they win, they head to the Rose Bowl for the first time in more than four decades!  They would get a chance to redeem themselves against Penn State.

 

Southern Cal could still climb up to second in the BCS if Oklahoma and Texas both lose again this season.

 

Arizona State could still become bowl eligible by beating both UCLA and Arizona.  It could happen, but for now I am picking Arizona to end that dream.

 

 

1. Rose-Oregon State 9-3 vs. Penn State

2. Fiesta (at-large) Southern Cal 11-1 vs. Texas

3. Holiday-California 8-4 vs. Missouri

4. Sun-Arizona 8-4 vs. Pittsburgh

5. Las Vegas-Oregon 8-4 vs. B Y U

6. Emerald-No qualifying team

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

Florida continues to move farther and farther ahead of the pack in college football.  I have the Gators at least a touchdown ahead of any other team.

 

Alabama is still number one in the official polls.  What if the Crimson Tide destroys Auburn and loses to Florida in overtime on a missed two-point conversion?  Might we see the same two teams play again for the national title?  Could it happen?  I think the Gators will take ‘Bama by more than two touchdowns to make it a moot point.

 

Arkansas was eliminated from the bowl talk last week, and I expect Auburn to go away this week.  If Auburn fires Tommy Tuberville, the Tigers deserve to rot into the basement in the SEC West for years.  Tuberville is a class act, and he knows how to coach.  I don’t think there is a savior out there who can do any better.

 

Kentucky and Vanderbilt will probably both finish 6-6, and that presents a mismatch problem if Tulsa wins the C-USA title.  The Golden Hurricane would be a prohibitive favorite over both teams.  Might the Liberty Bowl decide to allow the Independence of Papa John’s Bowl to take one of these 6-6 and then go after an undefeated Ball State team as an at-large opponent?  It’s something to consider, but I believe the Wildcats will travel to Memphis.  If Rice wins the C-USA title, then Kentucky will definitely be the opponent, since Vandy has already played the Owls.

 

1. National Championship-Florida 12-1 vs. Oklahoma

2. Sugar-Alabama 12-1 vs. Utah

3. Capital One-Georgia 10-2 vs. Ohio State

4. Outback-L S U 8-4 vs. Michigan State

5. Cotton-Ole Miss 8-4 vs. Texas Tech

6. Chick-fil-a-South Carolina 7-5 vs. North Carolina

7. Music City-Vanderbilt 6-6 vs. Georgia Tech

8. Liberty-Kentucky 6-6 vs. Tulsa

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

Troy has all but wrapped up the New Orleans Bowl berth.  It looks highly likely that no other SBC team will finish 7-5, but as many as three will finish 6-6.  Because I see at least four and possibly five 6-6 teams being required to fill out the at-large spots, two at-large bids could go to this league. 

 

The Sunbelt has side bets with three other bowls, and two of them will be needing to find alternative invitees.  So, I am going with the two teams I believe will travel the best here.

 

1. New Orleans-Troy 8-4 vs. Memphis

2. Independence (at-large) Arkansas State 6-6 vs. La. Tech

3. Papa John’s (at-large) Middle Tennessee 6-6 vs. Rutgers

W A C

Boise State should take care of business against Fresno State this week and finish the regular season at 12-0.  They won’t get a sniff at an at-large BCS bowl bid.  Their only hope is if Oregon State loses to Oregon, Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State, Texas loses to Texas A&M, and Texas Tech loses to Baylor (or if Missouri wins the Big 12 title).

 

The WAC has a provisional agreement with the Poinsettia Bowl should the Pac-10 not have a team available.  They won’t this year, and that could allow Boise State to go there.  Economics may trump this theory as the Humanitarian Bowl will want the Broncos to stay home.  For now, I am selecting Boise to head south and west to play a better opponent than they would face on the blue field.

 

San Jose State looks like the odd man out this year, unless the Poinsettia Bowl would prefer them to Boise State.  Then, Nevada might be the odd man out.  If the Wolf Pack take care of business this week at Louisiana Tech, then they will take a bid away from a 6-6 team.

 

1. Poinsettia (at-large) Boise State 12-0 vs. T C U

2. Humanitarian-Nevada 6-6 vs. Wake Forest

3. New Mexico-Fresno State 7-5 vs. Colorado State

4. Hawaii-Hawaii 7-6 vs. Western Michigan

5. Independence (at-large)-La. Tech 8-4 vs. Arkansas St.

 

November 18, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of: November 18-23, 2008

NCAA Week 13: It’s Resolution Week, Part One

 

This week starts the beginning of the end of the regular season for college football.  Many teams will be playing their final games of the year, and many teams will be either playing themselves into a bowl or being eliminated from a bowl.   In addition, there are numerous big rivalry games.

 

The bowl situation couldn’t be more messed up today.  I believe six bowls will have to find at-large entries as the conferences which with they have agreements will not provide enough bowl eligible teams.  I believe the Independence bowl will have to find two at-large teams.

 

NCAA Top 25 For 18-Nov-2008
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Florida  139 9 1
2 Southern Cal 132 9 1
3 Texas 128 10 1
4 Texas Tech 127 10 0
5 Oklahoma 127 9 1
6 Ohio St. 125 9 2
7 Penn St. 123 10 1
8 Missouri 121 9 2
9 Alabama 120 11 0
10 Georgia  119 9 2
11 Oregon State 118 7 3
12 T C U 117 9 2
13 Boise State 116 10 0
14 Utah 116 11 0
15 Oklahoma St. 115 9 2
16 Oregon 115 8 3
17 Ball State 113 10 0
18 Ole Miss 113 6 4
19 L S U 112 7 3
20 California 112 6 4
21 Rutgers 112 5 5
22 West Virginia 112 6 3
23 Cincinnati 111 8 2
24 Iowa 111 7 4
25 Arizona 111 6 4
         
Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Clemson 3-4 5-5 109 66 43
Boston College 3-3 7-3 108 65 43
Florida State 4-3 7-3 108 68 40
Maryland 4-2 7-3 105 64 41
Wake Forest 4-3 6-4 102 56 46
North Carolina State 2-4 4-6 100 67 33
           
Coastal Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
North Carolina 3-3 7-3 109 68 41
Virginia Tech 3-3 6-4 107 66 41
Miami 4-2 7-3 105 61 44
Georgia Tech 4-3 7-3 102 62 40
Virginia  3-3 5-5 101 59 42
Duke 1-5 4-6 92 60 32

 

Big East Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Rutgers 4-2 5-5 112 67 45
West Virginia 3-1 6-3 112 67 45
Cincinnati 4-1 8-2 111 65 46
Pittsburgh 3-1 7-2 108 65 43
Connecticut 3-2 7-3 105 65 40
South Florida 1-4 6-4 105 68 37
Louisville 1-4 5-5 96 59 37
Syracuse 1-5 2-8 86 54 32

 

Big Ten
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Ohio State 6-1 9-2 125 70 55
Penn State 6-1 10-1 123 74 49
Iowa 4-3 7-4 111 69 42
Wisconsin 3-5 6-5 108 71 37
Illinois 3-4 5-6 107 68 39
Michigan State 6-1 9-2 106 64 42
Northwestern 4-3 8-3 101 62 39
Minnesota 3-4 7-4 99 63 36
Purdue 1-6 3-8 98 63 35
Michigan 2-5 3-8 98 58 40
Indiana 1-6 3-8 85 57 28

 

Big 12
North Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Missouri 5-2 9-2 121 75 46
Nebraska 4-3 7-4 109 70 39
Kansas 3-4 6-5 106 66 40
Colorado 2-5 5-6 94 56 38
Kansas State 1-6 4-7 93 67 26
Iowa State 0-7 2-9 85 57 28
South Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Texas 6-1 10-1 128 82 46
Texas Tech 6-0 10-0 127 86 41
Oklahoma 5-1 9-1 127 86 41
Oklahoma State 5-2 9-2 115 69 46
Baylor 2-5 4-7 104 66 38
Texas A&M 2-5 4-7 90 56 34

 

Conference USA
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Southern Miss. 3-4 5-6 97 64 33
East Carolina 4-2 6-4 95 60 35
Central Florida 2-4 3-7 91 50 41
Memphis 3-3 5-5 90 60 30
Marshall 3-3 4-6 90 57 33
U A B 2-4 3-7 79 51 28
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Tulsa 5-1 8-2 102 71 31
Houston 5-1 6-4 100 67 33
Rice 5-1 7-3 91 62 29
U T E P 4-2 5-5 90 60 30
S M U 0-7 1-10 78 57 21
Tulane 1-5 2-8 76 52 24

 

Independents
           
Team   Overall Rating Off Def
Notre Dame   6-4 103 61 42
Navy   6-4 97 60 37
Army   3-7 86 49 37

 

Mid American Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Bowling Green 3-3 5-5 99 66 33
Buffalo 4-2 6-4 98 65 33
Temple 2-4 3-7 95 56 39
Akron 3-3 5-5 93 62 31
Kent State 2-4 3-7 90 59 31
Ohio U 1-5 2-8 87 48 39
Miami (O) 1-5 2-8 87 57 30
           
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Ball State 6-0 10-0 113 74 39
Western Michigan 6-1 9-2 101 64 37
Central Michigan 6-0 8-2 99 67 32
Northern Illinois 4-3 5-5 97 60 37
Toledo 1-5 2-8 87 57 30
Eastern Michigan 1-5 2-8 83 52 31

 

Mountain West Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
T C U 6-1 9-2 117 66 51
Utah 7-0 11-0 116 69 47
Brigham Young 6-1 10-1 108 68 40
Air Force 5-2 8-3 98 60 38
New Mexico 2-6 4-8 93 56 37
UNLV 2-5 5-6 91 59 32
Colorado State 3-4 5-6 91 59 32
Wyoming 1-6 4-7 87 52 35
San Diego State 0-7 1-10 70 46 24

 

Pac-10 Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Southern Cal 7-1 9-1 132 73 59
Oregon State 6-1 7-3 118 75 43
Oregon 6-2 8-3 115 73 42
California 4-3 6-4 112 71 41
Arizona 4-3 6-4 111 74 37
Stanford 4-4 5-6 108 65 43
Arizona State 3-4 4-6 105 64 41
U C L A 3-4 4-6 100 57 43
Washington 0-7 0-10 85 56 29
Washington State 0-8 1-10 71 48 23

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida  7-1 9-1 139 86 53
Georgia  6-2 9-2 119 73 46
South Carolina 4-4 7-4 111 65 46
Vanderbilt 4-3 6-4 106 59 47
Kentucky 2-5 6-5 104 63 41
Tennessee 1-5 3-7 101 59 42
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Alabama 7-0 11-0 120 68 52
Ole Miss 3-3 6-4 113 69 44
L S U 3-3 7-3 112 71 41
Auburn 2-5 5-6 106 58 48
Mississippi State 1-5 3-7 102 57 45
Arkansas 1-5 4-6 101 67 34

 

Sunbelt Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Troy 4-1 6-4 99 66 33
Florida Atlantic 3-2 5-5 95 63 32
Louisiana-Lafayette 4-1 5-5 91 66 25
Arkansas State 2-2 4-5 89 59 30
Middle Tennessee 2-3 4-6 89 56 33
Florida International 3-2 4-5 86 56 30
Louisiana-Monroe 2-4 3-8 85 55 30
* Western Kentucky 0-0 2-9 82 51 31
North Texas 0-5 1-9 70 54 16
           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009      
Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008    

 

Western Athletic Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Boise State 6-0 10-0 116 72 44
Nevada 4-2 6-4 101 72 29
Louisiana Tech 4-2 6-4 95 56 39
Hawaii 4-3 5-5 90 54 36
Fresno State 3-3 6-4 90 62 28
Utah State 2-5 2-9 88 55 33
San Jose State 4-3 6-5 87 54 33
New Mexico State 1-5 3-7 78 50 28
Idaho 1-6 2-9 75 58 17

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site    
       
Tuesday, November 18      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Northern Illinois KENT STATE 4 28-24
       
Wednesday, November 19      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Ball State CENTRAL MICHIGAN 11 41-28
       
Thursday, November 20      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Miami-Fl GEORGIA TECH 0 21-21 to ot
       
Friday, November 21      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
BOWLING GREEN Buffalo 4 35-31
TOLEDO Miami-OH 3 27-24
SAN JOSE STATE Fresno State 0 28-28 to ot
       
Saturday, November 15      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
OHIO STATE Michigan 30 33-3
NORTH CAROLINA North Carolina St. 12 35-23
West Virginia LOUISVILLE 13 27-14
RUTGERS Army 29 32-3
Clemson VIRGINIA 5 22-17
PURDUE Indiana 16 35-19
VANDERBILT Tennessee 8 17-9
TEMPLE Eastern Michigan 15 27-12
MEMPHIS Central Florida 2 21-19
Colorado State WYOMING 1 21-20
NOTRE DAME Syracuse 20 30-10
MISSISSIPPI STATE Arkansas 4 24-20
TULSA Tulane 29 49-20
Washington WASHINGTON STATE 11 31-20
Florida Atlantic ARKANSAS STATE 3 31-28
PENN STATE Michigan State 20 34-14
T C U Air Force 22 28-6
L S U Ole Miss 2 28-26
Boston College WAKE FOREST 3 17-14
CALIFORNIA Stanford 7 28-21
Illinois NORTHWESTERN 3 27-24
Akron OHIO U 3 21-18
RICE Marshall 4 31-27
HOUSTON U t e p 13 37-24
MIDDLE TENNESSEE North Texas 22 42-20
KANSAS STATE Iowa State 11 42-31
Louisiana Tech NEW MEXICO STATE 11 28-17
Boise State NEVADA 11 42-31
VIRGINIA TECH Duke 18 35-17
UTAH B y u 11 31-20
CINCINNATI Pittsburgh 6 23-17
East Carolina U A B 13 30-17
Oregon State ARIZONA 4 35-31
Iowa MINNESOTA 9 30-21
FLORIDA INT’L La-Monroe 4 28-24
TROY La-Lafayette 11 42-31
MARYLAND Florida State 0 24-24 to ot
OKLAHOMA Texas Tech 3 45-42
U n l v SAN DIEGO STATE 18 32-14
HAWAII Idaho 18 38-20
       
Sunday, November 23      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
SOUTH FLORIDA Connecticut 3 27-24

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site  
Tuesday, November 18    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Northern Illinois KENT STATE 28-23
     
Wednesday, November 19    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Ball State CENTRAL MICHIGAN 30-24
     
Thursday, November 20    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
GEORGIA TECH Miami-Fl 19-17
     
Friday, November 21    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Bowling Green BUFFALO 28-26
TOLEDO Miami-OH 27-21
SAN JOSE STATE Fresno State 28-28 to ot
     
Saturday, November 15    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
OHIO STATE Michigan 31-7
NORTH CAROLINA North Carolina St. 34-17
West Virginia LOUISVILLE 27-21
RUTGERS Army 35-16
VIRGINIA Clemson 21-21 to ot
PURDUE Indiana 34-24
VANDERBILT Tennessee 20-10
TEMPLE Eastern Michigan 28-16
MEMPHIS Central Florida 34-28
Colorado State WYOMING 20-17
NOTRE DAME Syracuse 35-16
Arkansas  MISSISSIPPI STATE 20-17
TULSA Tulane 47-21
Washington WASHINGTON STATE 35-34
ARKANSAS STATE Florida Atlantic 30-28
PENN STATE Michigan State 28-13
T C U Air Force 27-12
L S U Ole Miss 34-28
WAKE FOREST Boston College 24-24 to ot
CALIFORNIA Stanford 35-24
NORTHWESTERN Illinois 28-23
Akron OHIO U 34-28
RICE Marshall 42-31
HOUSTON U t e p 45-34
MIDDLE TENNESSEE North Texas 42-24
KANSAS STATE Iowa State 40-28
Louisiana Tech NEW MEXICO STATE 36-30
Boise State NEVADA 28-17
VIRGINIA TECH Duke 24-12
UTAH B y u 30-21
CINCINNATI Pittsburgh 28-24
East Carolina U A B 34-24
Oregon State ARIZONA 35-34
Iowa MINNESOTA 27-24
FLORIDA INT’L La-Monroe 34-24
TROY La-Lafayette 31-23
MARYLAND Florida State 24-23
OKLAHOMA Texas Tech 41-38
U n l v SAN DIEGO STATE 27-14
HAWAII Idaho 42-21
     
Sunday, November 23    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Connecticut SOUTH FLORIDA 20-19

 

 

Bowl Outlook by Conference

 

This week may be the most decisive week in the season in deciding which teams will go to bowls and which teams will stay home.  Every conference has at least one key game, and most have multiple key games.

 

Due to the mediocrity of the ACC and Big East this year, these two leagues may benefit from having a bunch of 6-6 & 7-5 teams.  They may take as many as three of the at-large bowl bids, especially if the Sunbelt fails to produce a second seven-win team.

 

Teams in all CAPS have already accepted invitations to that bowl.

 

ACC

Both divisions are still very much up for grabs.  In the Atlantic Division, Maryland leads today, but Boston College, Wake Forest, and Florida State can still win the division.  The Terps can eliminate the Seminoles with a win this week in College Park, but they must still play at BC.  Wake Forest hosts BC this week, and a win over the Eagles could give them a piece of the title.  However, Maryland holds a tiebreaker edge over Wake if they finish in a two-way tie. 

 

In the Coastal Division, Miami has the lead, but the Hurricanes finish with two tough road games against Georgia Tech and a much-improved North Carolina State.  Miami must finish ahead of North Carolina, for the Tar Heels hold the tie-breaker edge.  Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and even Virginia still could win the title, but there are too many possibilities to mention.

 

Virginia plays Clemson this week, and the winner will be bowl eligible.  The loser could still get in with a win in their season finale.

 

1. Orange Bowl-Miami 10-3 vs. Cincinnati

2. Chick-fil-a-North Carolina 9-3 vs. Kentucky

3. Gator-Virginia Tech 8-4 vs. Missouri

4. Champs Sports-Maryland 8-5 vs. Minnesota

5. Music City-Boston College 8-4 vs. Ole Miss

6. Meineke Car Care-Wake Forest 7-5 vs. Connecticut

7. Eagle Bank-Georgia Tech 7-5 vs. NAVY

8. Emerald-Florida State 7-5 vs. Oregon State

9. Humanitarian-Clemson 6-6 vs. Boise State

10. Texas (at-large)-Virginia 6-6 vs. Memphis

 

Big East

Cincinnati held onto the lead by winning at Louisville.  The Bearcats face Pittsburgh this week, and the winner will be in first place.  West Virginia plays at Louisville, and the Mountaineers can move into a first place tie if they win and Pitt beats Cincinnati.  Rutgers and Connecticut still have outside chances to win the league.

 

Louisville and Rutgers still need one win to gain bowl eligibility.  In the other part of the equation, Notre Dame can steal either a Gator or Sun Bowl berth that would go to this conference should the Irish get to seven wins.  They are 6-4 with a home game against lowly Syracuse this week.  The Orangemen just fired Coach Greg Robinson, so they may be motivated to play a big game.  Notre Dame’s other game is against Southern Cal.  I think the Irish will finish 7-5, and the Sun Bowl will take them.

 

1. Orange-Cincinnati 10-3 vs. Miami-Fl

2. Sun-Notre Dame 7-5 vs. Arizona

3. St. Petersburg-Pittsburgh 8-4 vs. East Carolina

4. Meineke Car Care-Connecticut 8-4 vs. Wake Forest

5. International-West Virginia 7-5 vs. Central Michigan

6. Papa John’s-South Florida 7-5 vs. Buffalo

7. Motor City (at-large)-Rutgers 7-5 vs. Ball State

8. Independence (at-large)-Louisville 6-6 vs. Bowling Green

 

Big Ten

Penn State is in the Rose Bowl if they defeat Michigan State.  If the Spartans win, then Ohio State is in with a win over Michigan.  If both Michigan teams win, then Michigan State is in the Rose Bowl.  I’m going with the Nittany Lions to win and close the other loopholes.

 

Ohio State will more than likely secure an at-large BCS bowl with a win over Michigan.  At 10-2, they would trump a second undefeated team from a non-BCS conference.  Money is all that matters in these bowls, and the Fiesta or Sugar Bowl would take the Buckeyes before considering a 12-0 Boise State or a 13-0 Ball State.

 

Illinois is still one win shy of gaining a bowl bid, and they must beat Northwestern this week.  If the Wildcats win, as I believe will happen, then the Motor City Bowl will need to search for an at-large team. 

 

I believe an excellent opportunity will present itself should Illinois lose and Ball State and Boise State both run the table.  The Motor City Bowl could strike a deal with the Humanitarian Bowl so that Boise State could be freed up to play Ball State in a battle of the unbeatens.

 

1. Rose-Penn State 11-1 vs. Southern Cal

2. Fiesta-Ohio State 10-2 vs. Oklahoma

3. Capital One-Michigan State 9-3 vs. Georgia

4. Outback-Northwestern 9-3 vs. South Carolina

5. Champs Sports-Minnesota 8-4 vs. Maryland

6. Alamo-Iowa 7-5 vs. Nebraska

7. Insight-Wisconsin 7-5 vs. Kansas

8. Motor City-No Team Available

 

Big 12

This is where all the big action takes place.  Texas Tech ventures to Norman to take on Oklahoma this week, and I’m going with OU to win.  If the Sooners then win at Oklahoma State the following week, then the Big 12 South will end in a three-way tie between Tech, OU, and Texas (assuming Texas beats A&M).  The tiebreaker for the Big 12 uses highest BCS ranking, and Texas is currently ahead of Oklahoma.  Would OU jump UT if they beat Tech and Oklahoma State?  I think it’s possible, but not probable.  So, in a three-way tie, I’m guessing Texas would be the lucky team.

 

In the North, Missouri has already secured a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.  The Tigers have already played Texas, and the Longhorns whipped them.  A rematch would be much closer in my opinion, and the Tigers would have close to a 50-50 chance of winning this time around.  Should the eventual South Division champion lose to Missouri, then it will give Southern Cal a chance to move up to the BCS Championship game.  A USC-Florida game would be the best possible title fight.

 

With Kansas State losing last week, this league is now guaranteed to come up short in its bowl obligations.  In fact, it will be two teams short.  That’s too bad for the Independence Bowl, because I believe it will have to search for two at-large teams. 

 

1. BCS National Championship-Texas 12-1 vs. Florida

2. Fiesta-Oklahoma 11-1 vs. Ohio State

3. Cotton-Texas Tech 11-1 vs. LSU

4. Gator-Missouri 10-3 vs. Virginia Tech

5. Holiday-Oklahoma State 9-3 vs. California

6. Alamo-Nebraska 7-5 vs. Iowa

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Wisconsin

8. Independence-No Qualifying Team

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

As I expected last week, Houston beat Tulsa to forge a three-way tie at the top of the West Division.  Rice is the third of the trio, and the Owls still host Houston.  Tulsa still has a tough road game at Marshall.  So, any one of these three could end up in the C-USA Championship Game.

 

In the East, East Carolina is going to limp home with the title, but the Pirates are playing a good 10 to 13 points weaker in November than they did in September.  The only way Memphis or Marshall could supplant ECU is if the Pirates lose at UAB and at home to Marshall in the final game.  Look for ECU to beat UAB and clinch the division this week.

 

The good news for this conference is there will be enough bowl eligible teams to fill the six bowl allotments, and if UTEP can win one more game, there could be an extra bowl eligible team.  The Miners have a lot of digging to do, as they close at Houston and at ECU.  Southern Mississippi will become bowl eligible when they beat SMU in two weeks. 

 

1. Liberty-Houston 9-4 vs. Vanderbilt

2. St. Petersburg-East Carolina 8-5 vs. Pittsburgh

3. G M A C-Rice 8-4 vs. Western Michigan

4. Armed Forces-Tulsa 10-2 vs. U N L V

5. Texas-Memphis 7-5 vs. Virginia

6. New Orleans-Southern Miss. 6-6 vs. Troy

 

Independent

Navy is the only team that definitely knows what bowl it will be playing in this year.  The Midshipmen have already accepted a bid to the first Eagle Bank Bowl.  If Georgia Tech is the ACC representative, it will pit Paul Johnson against his former team in a triple option challenge.

 

Notre Dame will earn a bowl bid with a win over Syracuse this week.  The Gator Bowl could take them in lieu of a really good Big 12 team, but the Sun Bowl is a more likely destination.

 

1. Sun-Notre Dame 7-5 vs. Arizona

2. Eagle Bank-NAVY 7-5 vs. Georgia Tech

 

M A C

Other than the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game this week, the next most important match could be the one in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, Wednesday night.  Central Michigan hosts Ball State, and this game should be must-watch TV.  If Ball State wins this road game, then the Cardinals will be in the cat-bird seat at undefeated stadium.  They still would have to beat a tough Western Michigan team in Muncie plus the Eastern champion in the MAC title game, but CMU is the real tough assignment.  Central Michigan and Western Michigan have earned bowl bids, and they will go somewhere.

 

In the East, Bowling Green hosts Buffalo Friday night, and the winner of that game is the division champ.  The loser should still finish with seven wins, and that will be enough to get them an at-large invitation to another bowl.

 

Northern Illinois may have played themselves out of bowl competition.  The Huskies are 5-5 and must beat both Kent State and Navy to get to a bowl.  I think they will fall one game short.

 

1. Motor City-Ball State 13-0 vs. Rutgers

2. International-Central Michigan 9-3 vs. West Virginia

3. G M A C-Western Michigan 9-3 vs. Rice

4. Papa John’s (at-large)-Buffalo 7-5 vs. South Florida

5. Independence (at-large)-Bowling Green 7-6 vs. Louisville

 

Mountain West

If Utah beats BYU this week, then the Utes are going to the Sugar Bowl.  The Sugar Bowl would get the last pick of available BCS teams, and Utah will qualify with a win over the Cougars.  Should BYU upset their in-state rival, then Utah will drop out of the BCS picture and open up a spot for Boise State or possibly Ball State should the Broncos also lose.

 

UNLV and Colorado State both need one more win to gain bowl eligibility.  If Utah wins, then there will be room for both the Rebels and the Rams in the bowl picture.  UNLV must defeat San Diego State, and this appears to be almost a certainty.  CSU plays at Wyoming in a big rivalry game, and their task is much more difficult.

 

1. Sugar-Utah 12-0 vs. Alabama

2. Las Vegas-TCU 10-2 vs. Oregon

3. Poinsettia-BYU 10-2 vs. San Jose State

4. New Mexico-Air Force 8-4 vs. Louisiana Tech

5. Armed Forces-UNLV 6-6 vs. Tulsa

6. Hawaii (at-large)-Colorado State 6-6 vs. Hawaii

 

Pac-10

All eyes are in Tucson this week.  Should Oregon State win on the road at Arizona, the Beavers are a home win over Oregon away from being the Pac-10 Champions and Rose Bowl representative.  If Arizona wins or Oregon upsets the Beavers in the season-ender, then Southern Cal will win the Pac-10.

 

Stanford, UCLA and Arizona State are still mathematically alive in the bowl picture.  UCLA would have to win at Arizona State and then upset USC.  It won’t happen.  Arizona State would have to beat UCLA and Arizona; it could happen, but chances are they won’t win both games.  Stanford must defeat Cal this week, but the Bears have about a 60-65% chance of winning.  Thus, the Pac-10 could miss out on their allotments by two teams.

 

 

1. Rose-Southern Cal 11-1 vs. Penn State

2. Holiday-California 8-4 vs. Oklahoma State

3. Sun-Arizona 8-4 vs. Notre Dame

4. Las Vegas-Oregon 8-4 vs. TCU

5. Emerald-Oregon State 8-4 vs. Florida State

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

This conference has the definite top team in the land, and it isn’t number one Alabama.  Florida may be as dominant today as Nebraska was in 1995 and 1997.  The Gators could score 100 points this week against Citadel if Urban Meyer allowed them to do so.  They will pummel Florida State the following week, and then they should handle Alabama by more than 10 points in the SEC Championship Game.  If they lose another game this year it will be a bigger story than the Presidential election!

 

Alabama will clinch a BCS bowl game with a win over hapless Auburn next week.  That game will also eliminate the Tigers and could conceivably cost Tommy Turbeville his job (which would be ridiculous).

 

Vanderbilt clinched a bowl with their win over Kentucky in Lexington Saturday.  The Commodores now have two very winnable games remaining against Tennessee and Wake Forest.  Should they finish 8-4, they will deserve the Outback Bowl bid, but I’m guessing they would get snubbed if South Carolina beats Clemson in their final game.  However, a Vandy-Northwestern game would stir a lot of interest with the similarities between the two academic institutes of much higher learning.

 

Ole Miss also became bowl eligible Saturday, and the Rebels could move up to the Cotton Bowl if they could beat a battered LSU team in the Tiger’s Den this week.

 

Arkansas still has a remote shot at getting to a bowl.  The Razorbacks would have to win at Mississippi State and against LSU the following week.  For now, I’m calling for them to lose one of those games, so the SEC will fall two teams short in its obligations.

 

1. National Championship-Florida 12-1 vs. Texas

2. Sugar-Alabama 12-1 vs. Utah

3. Capital One-Georgia 10-2 vs. Michigan State

4. Outback-South Carolina 7-5 vs. Northwestern

5. Cotton-L S U 9-3 vs. Texas Tech

6. Chick-fil-a-Kentucky 7-5 vs. North Carolina

7. Music City-Ole Miss 7-5 vs. Miami

8. Liberty-Vanderbilt 8-4 vs. Houston

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

The New Orleans Bowl should be decided this week when Troy hosts Louisiana-Lafayette.  If ULL wins and then loses at home to Middle Tennessee in two weeks, Florida Atlantic could claim the title with wins at Arkansas State and against Florida International.  Both ASU and FIU could get into the championship picture if Troy, ULL, and FAU all lose.  For now, let’s just go with Troy to beat ULL and end all the commotion.

 

If Troy wins this week, there is a good chance that the other teams will beat each other up and leave three teams at 6-6.  If a second team does get to seven wins, then they will be assured of an at-large bid to either the Papa John’s or Independence Bowl.

 

1. New Orleans-Troy 8-4 vs. Southern Miss.

 

W A C

I have a sneaky suspicion that Boise State could find itself in a heap of trouble this week.  The Broncos travel to Reno to take on Nevada.  The Wolf Pack took Boise to four overtimes last year at the blue field before losing 69-67.  I think Nevada could be waiting to ambush the undefeated Broncos.  Boise will be lucky to escape with a win of any type.

 

Louisiana Tech has emerged as the second best team in the WAC.  Second year coach Derek Dooley is the son of former Georgia great Vince Dooley, and he could be on the verge of seeing his name on the rolodexes of several athletics directors at BCS schools.  If the Bulldogs win at New Mexico State this week, they will lock up a bowl bid.

 

Fresno State and San Jose State are both on the skids.  The two play Friday night at Spartan Stadium, and the winner will be virtually assured of grabbing a bowl.  The loser won’t be eliminated, but their road will be quite rough.

 

Hawaii is 5-5 with three games to go.  They should beat Idaho this week, and Washington State the following week to earn a bid to the Hawaii Bowl.

 

1. Humanitarian-Boise State 12-0 vs. Clemson

(Boise State could swap with Rutgers and face a 13-0 Ball State team if a deal could be made).

2. New Mexico-Louisiana Tech 8-4 vs. Air Force

3. Hawaii-Hawaii 7-6 vs. Colorado State

4. Poinsettia (at-large)-San Jose State 7-5 vs. B Y U

 

November 11, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football: Week Of November 11-15, 2008

NCAA Week 12: BCS Could Be On Verge Of Getting Quite Muddled

 

Bye Bye Penn State.  Alabama just barely survived in the Bayou.  Florida and Southern Cal showed they are the two best teams in the nation, but it’s going to take a few more losses at the top before that match-up has any chance of ever occurring.

 

Last week’s games really threw a monkey wrench into the lower bowls.  There is a good chance now that at least six bowls will have to look for at-large teams because the conferences that have agreements with these bowls will not have enough bowl eligible teams.  Read below in my bowl section to see the ensuing problems.

 

The PiRate Top 25 is different from the polls.  I do not rank the teams based on what they have done to date.  These teams are rated on how I think they will perform in the future (predictive ratings).

 

NCAA Top 25 For 11-Nov-2008
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Florida  135 8 1
2 Southern Cal 132 8 1
3 Texas Tech 127 10 0
4 Oklahoma 127 9 1
5 Texas 126 9 1
6 Ohio St. 126 8 2
7 Penn St. 124 9 1
8 Missouri 121 8 2
9 Alabama 120 10 0
10 Georgia  120 8 2
11 Oklahoma St. 117 8 2
12 T C U 117 9 2
13 Boise State 116 9 0
14 Oregon State 116 6 3
15 South Carolina 115 7 3
16 Utah 114 10 0
17 Ball State 114 9 0
18 Oregon 114 7 3
19 California 114 6 3
20 L S U 113 6 3
21 Iowa 112 6 4
22 Arizona 112 6 3
23 West Virginia 112 6 3
24 Cincinnati 111 7 2
25 Florida State 111 7 2
         
Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida State 4-2 7-2 111 70 41
Clemson 2-4 4-5 107 65 42
Boston College 2-3 6-3 105 64 41
Maryland 3-2 6-3 104 64 40
Wake Forest 4-2 6-3 103 56 47
North Carolina State 1-4 3-6 98 66 32
           
Coastal Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
North Carolina 3-2 7-2 110 69 41
Virginia Tech 3-2 6-3 108 67 41
Miami 3-2 6-3 104 61 43
Georgia Tech 4-3 7-3 102 62 40
Virginia  3-3 5-5 101 59 42
Duke 1-4 4-5 94 61 33

 

Big East Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
West Virginia 3-1 6-3 112 67 45
Cincinnati 3-1 7-2 111 65 46
South Florida 1-3 6-3 109 69 40
Rutgers 3-2 4-5 108 65 43
Pittsburgh 3-1 7-2 108 65 43
Connecticut 2-2 6-3 103 64 39
Louisville 1-3 5-4 96 59 37
Syracuse 1-4 2-7 88 55 33

 

Big Ten
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Ohio State 5-1 8-2 126 70 56
Penn State 5-1 9-1 124 75 49
Iowa 3-3 6-4 112 70 42
Wisconsin 2-5 5-5 110 71 39
Michigan State 6-1 9-2 106 64 42
Illinois 3-3 5-5 106 67 39
Michigan 2-4 3-7 100 60 40
Northwestern 3-3 7-3 99 62 37
Minnesota 3-3 7-3 97 61 36
Purdue 1-5 3-7 97 63 34
Indiana 1-5 3-7 85 57 28

 

Big 12
North Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Missouri 4-2 8-2 121 75 46
Kansas 3-3 6-4 108 67 41
Nebraska 3-3 6-4 106 68 38
Kansas State 1-5 4-6 97 68 29
Colorado 2-4 5-5 93 56 37
Iowa State 0-6 2-8 85 57 28
South Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Texas Tech 6-0 10-0 127 86 41
Oklahoma 5-1 9-1 127 86 41
Texas 5-1 9-1 126 81 45
Oklahoma State 4-2 8-2 117 71 46
Baylor 1-5 3-7 102 65 37
Texas A&M 2-4 4-6 92 57 35

 

Conference USA
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
East Carolina 4-1 6-3 97 62 35
Southern Miss. 2-4 4-6 95 64 31
Marshall 3-2 4-5 94 59 35
Memphis 3-3 5-5 90 60 30
Central Florida 1-4 2-7 87 48 39
U A B 1-4 2-7 79 51 28
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Tulsa 5-0 8-1 106 72 34
Houston 4-1 5-4 95 63 32
Rice 5-1 7-3 91 62 29
U T E P 3-2 4-5 87 59 28
S M U 0-6 1-9 81 59 22
Tulane 1-4 2-7 79 53 26

 

Independents
           
Team   Overall Rating Off Def
Notre Dame   5-4 103 61 42
Navy   6-3 97 60 37
Army   3-7 86 49 37

 

Mid American Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Bowling Green 3-3 5-5 99 66 33
Buffalo 3-2 5-4 98 65 33
Temple 2-3 3-6 96 56 40
Akron 3-2 5-4 93 62 31
Kent State 1-4 2-7 89 58 31
Ohio U 1-5 2-8 87 48 39
Miami (O) 1-4 2-7 86 57 29
           
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Ball State 5-0 9-0 114 74 40
Western Michigan 5-1 8-2 102 64 38
Central Michigan 5-0 7-2 98 66 32
Northern Illinois 4-2 5-4 98 60 38
Toledo 1-4 2-7 86 56 30
Eastern Michigan 1-5 2-8 83 52 31

 

Mountain West Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
T C U 6-1 9-2 117 66 51
Utah 6-0 10-0 114 68 46
Brigham Young 5-1 9-1 106 66 40
Air Force 5-1 8-2 99 60 39
New Mexico 2-5 4-7 96 59 37
UNLV 1-5 4-6 90 59 31
Colorado State 2-4 4-6 89 58 31
Wyoming 1-5 4-6 88 53 35
San Diego State 0-6 1-9 72 47 25

 

Pac-10 Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Southern Cal 6-1 8-1 132 73 59
Oregon State 5-1 6-3 116 74 42
Oregon 5-2 7-3 114 71 43
California 4-2 6-3 114 72 42
Arizona 4-2 6-3 112 73 39
Stanford 4-3 5-5 108 65 43
Arizona State 2-4 3-6 105 64 41
U C L A 2-4 3-6 98 56 42
Washington 0-6 0-9 87 57 30
Washington State 0-7 1-9 71 48 23

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida  6-1 8-1 135 84 51
Georgia  5-2 8-2 120 74 46
South Carolina 4-3 7-3 115 67 48
Kentucky 2-4 6-4 106 63 43
Vanderbilt 3-3 5-4 104 58 46
Tennessee 1-5 3-7 101 59 42
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Alabama 6-0 10-0 120 68 52
L S U 3-3 6-3 113 71 42
Ole Miss 3-3 5-4 110 67 43
Auburn 2-4 5-5 105 58 47
Mississippi State 1-4 3-6 102 57 45
Arkansas 1-5 4-6 101 67 34

 

Sunbelt Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Troy 4-1 6-3 97 64 33
Louisiana-Lafayette 4-0 5-4 93 67 26
Florida Atlantic 2-2 4-5 93 62 31
Arkansas State 2-2 4-5 89 59 30
Middle Tennessee 2-3 3-6 88 56 32
Louisiana-Monroe 2-4 3-7 88 57 31
Florida International 3-2 4-5 86 56 30
* Western Kentucky 0-0 2-8 83 52 31
North Texas 0-5 1-9 70 54 16
           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009      
Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008    

 

Western Athletic Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Boise State 5-0 9-0 116 72 44
Fresno State 2-3 5-4 92 64 28
Nevada 3-2 5-4 99 71 28
San Jose State 4-2 6-4 89 54 35
Louisiana Tech 3-2 5-4 96 56 40
Hawaii 4-3 5-5 90 54 36
Utah State 2-4 2-8 87 54 33
New Mexico State 1-4 3-6 77 50 27
Idaho 1-5 2-8 75 58 17

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site    
       
Tuesday, November 11      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Ball State MIAMI (O) 25 45-20
       
Wednesday, November 12      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Temple KENT STATE 4 24-20
NORTHERN ILLINOIS Central Michigan 3 30-27
       
Thursday, November 13      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Buffalo AKRON 2 33-31
Va. Tech MIAMI-FL 1 22-21
UNLV Wyoming 5 26-21
       
Friday, November 14      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Cincinnati LOUISVILLE 12 26-14
       
Saturday, November 15      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
PENN STATE Indiana 42 49-7
Ohio State ILLINOIS 17 30-13
SOUTH FLORIDA Rutgers 4 27-23
MICHIGAN Northwestern 4 24-20
CLEMSON Duke 16 33-17
Notre Dame NAVY           (Baltimore) 4 24-20
IOWA Purdue 18 38-20
Texas KANSAS 15 40-25
Georgia AUBURN 12 24-12
Middle Tennessee WESTERN KENTUCKY 2 23-21
New Mexico COLORADO STATE 4 27-23
OLE MISS Louisiana-Monroe 25 38-13
WESTERN MICHIGAN Toledo 19 35-16
LOUISIANA TECH Utah State 12 24-12
SOUTHERN MISS. East Carolina 1 31-30
TULANE U a b 3 27-24
FLORIDA South Carolina 23 37-14
North Carolina MARYLAND 3 27-24
B y u AIR FORCE 4 27-23
Wake Forest N.C. STATE 2 22-20
OREGON STATE California 5 33-28
WISCONSIN Minnesota 16 37-21
OREGON  Arizona 5 34-29
Nebraska KANSAS STATE 6 37-31
FLORIDA ATLANTIC Louisiana-Lafayette 3 38-35
BAYLOR Texas A&M 13 31-18
NEVADA San Jose State 13 37-24
MARSHALL Central Florida 10 20-10
Boise State IDAHO 38 52-14
FRESNO STATE New Mexico State 18 38-20
ARIZONA STATE Washington State 37 44-7
Missouri IOWA STATE 33 45-12
Southern Cal STANFORD 21 28-7
Connecticut SYRACUSE 12 28-16
ALABAMA Mississippi State 22 35-13
Utah SAN DIEGO STATE 39 42-3
Oklahoma State COLORADO 21 34-13
FLORIDA STATE Boston College 9 30-21
L S U Troy 19 38-19
Tulsa HOUSTON 8 38-30
KENTUCKY Vanderbilt 5 17-12
U T E P S m u 9 37-28
U c l a WASHINGTON  8 25-17

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site  
Tuesday, November 11    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Ball State MIAMI (O) 37-14
     
Wednesday, November 12    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Temple KENT STATE 28-23
NORTHERN ILLINOIS Central Michigan 24-23
     
Thursday, November 13    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
AKRON Buffalo 28-27
MIAMI-FL Virginia Tech 24-20
UNLV Wyoming 28-20
     
Friday, November 14    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Cincinnati LOUISVILLE 24-17
     
Saturday, November 15    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
PENN STATE Indiana 41-7
Ohio State ILLINOIS 23-14
SOUTH FLORIDA Rutgers 27-19
Northwestern MICHIGAN 31-26
CLEMSON Duke 28-23
NAVY Notre Dame 27-26
IOWA Purdue 28-13
Texas KANSAS 40-27
Georgia AUBURN 20-10
Middle Tennessee WESTERN KENTUCKY 16-14
New Mexico COLORADO STATE 24-23
OLE MISS Louisiana-Monroe 38-14
WESTERN MICHIGAN Toledo 35-19
LOUISIANA TECH Utah State 31-21
East Carolina SOUTHERN MISS. 24-24 to ot
TULANE U a b 30-24
FLORIDA South Carolina 41-21
North Carolina MARYLAND 21-16
B y u AIR FORCE 27-27 to ot
Wake Forest N.C. STATE 24-16
OREGON STATE California 31-27
WISCONSIN Minnesota 38-33
OREGON  Arizona 30-26
KANSAS STATE Nebraska 37-31
FLORIDA ATLANTIC Louisiana-Lafayette 24-23
BAYLOR Texas A&M  34-28
NEVADA San Jose State 31-23
MARSHALL Central Florida 21-13
Boise State IDAHO 44-10
FRESNO STATE New Mexico State 40-27
ARIZONA STATE Washington State 45-21
Missouri IOWA STATE 40-14
Southern Cal STANFORD 23-3
Connecticut SYRACUSE 28-16
ALABAMA Mississippi State 35-7
Utah SAN DIEGO STATE 35-3
Oklahoma State COLORADO 38-23
FLORIDA STATE Boston College 28-20
L S U Troy 31-17
Tulsa HOUSTON 42-35
KENTUCKY Vanderbilt 14-10
U T E P S m u 40-27
U c l a WASHINGTON  26-21

 

 

Bowl Outlook by Conference

 

As I mentioned above, this is becoming a mess.  Let’s take a look at the possible problems facing the bowls that must rely on conferences to produce seven to nine bowl eligible teams.  A half-dozen bowls and maybe more could be forced to find at-large teams.

 

Teams in all CAPS have already accepted invitations to that bowl.

 

ACC

North Carolina State, Virginia, Clemson, and Duke are on the verge of elimination, and I believe three of the four will fail to get to six wins.  The ACC has nine tie-ins, and it looks like they will just barely have nine bowl-eligible schools.  The Clemson-Virginia game at Charlottesville on November 22 will be a bowl elimination game.

 

1. Orange Bowl-North Carolina 11-2 vs. Cincinnati

2. Chick-fil-a-Virginia Tech 8-4 vs. Kentucky

3. Gator-Florida State 8-4 vs. Missouri

4. Champs Sports-Wake Forest 9-4 vs. Northwestern

5. Music City-Miami 8-4 vs. Ole Miss

6. Meineke Car Care-Georgia Tech 8-4 vs. West Virginia

7. Eagle Bank-Maryland 7-5 vs. NAVY

8. Emerald-Boston College 7-5 vs. Arizona

9. Humanitarian-Virginia 6-6 vs. San Jose State

 

Big East

Another week, another leader in the pack for the Big East-Cincinnati is the new team on top.  The Bearcats won at West Virginia, and wins over Louisville this Friday and Pittsburgh the following week will sew up the Big East title.  They could lose either or both games, but for now, I have them penciled in as the champion.

 

With Notre Dame’s consecutive losses and almost assured to lose to Southern Cal, I have removed the Irish from the Big East equation.  However, they will certainly grab an at-large bid from the first bowl that loses a tie-in.

 

I have Rutgers as the sole 6-6 team getting an at-large bowl bid.  Should someone like Temple or Akron finish 7-5, they will take the at-large bid away.

 

1. Orange-Cincinnati 10-3 vs. North Carolina

2. Sun-Pittsburgh 9-3 vs. Oregon State

3. St. Petersburg-South Florida 8-4 vs. East Carolina

4. Meineke Car Care-West Virginia 7-5 vs. Georgia Tech

5. International-Connecticut 7-5 vs. Central Michigan

6. Papa John’s-Louisville 6-6 vs. Florida Atlantic

7. Hawaii (at-large)-Rutgers 6-6

 

Big Ten

Penn State’s loss has virtually relegated the Nittany Lions to the Rose Bowl.  Should Michigan State beat them, then Ohio State can back into Pasadena for a possible rematch with Southern Cal.  Illinois lost to Western Michigan, and now the Illini must beat either Ohio State or Northwestern to gain eligibility.  For now, I have them out of the bowl picture, and that means the Big 10 will likely fall one team short of its obligations.  That means the Motor City Bowl will need to search for a substitute.  Notre Dame would fit in perfectly here, but if Ball State runs the table and finishes 13-0, it could present a special situation for the Motor City Bowl to make a deal with the WAC and take a 12-0 Boise State team for a dream match.

 

Minnesota’s loss to Michigan opens the door for another team to sneak into a New Year’s Bowl, but for now I have the Gophers still there.

 

1. Rose-Penn State 11-1 vs. Southern Cal

2. Fiesta-Ohio State 10-2 vs. Texas

3. Capital One-Michigan State 9-3 vs. Georgia

4. Outback-Minnesota 8-4 vs. South Carolina

5. Champs Sports-Northwestern 8-4 vs. Wake Forest

6. Alamo-Iowa 7-5 vs. Nebraska

7. Insight-Wisconsin 7-5 vs. Kansas

8. Motor City-No Team Available

 

Big 12

Texas Tech looked like a championship team against Oklahoma State, but I think they will find it difficult to win at Oklahoma.  If the Sooners beat the Red Raiders, they will then have to beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater in order to finish in a three-way tie in the Big 12 South.  If they win both games, they should finish with the highest BCS rating among the trio and acquire the bid to the Big 12 Championship Game.  I have them doing just that.  Now, here is where I think the evils of money will win out over what is just.  At 11-1, Texas Tech would deserve an at-large BCS Bowl bid over 11-1 Texas, but I am sure greed would win out.  Texas would get that bid.

 

Colorado and Kansas State still have much work to do to gain bowl eligibility.  I think the Buffaloes will miss out, and it could mean big trouble for Coach Dan Hawkins in Boulder.  Kansas State has a decent chance to upset Nebraska and knock off Iowa State to sneak in at 6-6.  If they lose to the Cornhuskers, then the Big 12 will fall two teams short in their allotments.

 

1. BCS National Championship-Oklahoma 12-1 vs. Florida

2. Fiesta-Texas 11-1 vs. Ohio State

3. Cotton-Texas Tech 11-1 vs. LSU

4. Gator-Missouri 10-3 vs. Florida State

5. Holiday-Oklahoma State 9-3 vs. California

6. Alamo-Nebraska 7-5 vs. Iowa

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Wisconsin

8. Independence-Kansas State 6-6 vs. Louisiana Tech

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

This is a big week in the C-USA, as both divisions have key showdowns that will go a long way in determining their representatives in the conference title game.  Houston hosts Tulsa, and should the Cougars win, the West Division will be tied three ways between these two and Rice.  Houston concludes the season at Rice.  Tulsa holds the tiebreaker over Rice, and Houston would hold the tiebreaker over Tulsa if they beat the Golden Hurricane.

 

In the East, East Carolina visits Southern Mississippi.  If the Pirates win, they are in the title game.  Marshall still has an outside chance to win this division, but I believe the Thundering Herd will lose at least two more games and fail to gain bowl eligibility. 

 

After a start that looked like it would cost Tommy West his job, his Memphis team is the hottest squad in the East Division.  I look for the Tigers to win out and earn their fifth bowl game in six years.

 

Southern Mississippi must defeat ECU and SMU to get to six wins; for now, I have them doing that, but it is quite a tenuous supposition.  Chances are about 60% that the New Orleans Bowl will have to find an at-large team.

 

1. Liberty-Tulsa 11-2 vs. Vanderbilt

2. St. Petersburg-East Carolina 8-5 vs. South Florida

3. G M A C-Rice 9-3 vs. Western Michigan

4. Armed Forces-Houston 7-5 vs. U N L V

5. Texas-Memphis 7-5 vs. Buffalo

6. New Orleans-Southern Miss. 6-6 vs. Troy

 

Independent

The one sure thing is that Navy is headed to the first Eagle Bank Bowl in Washington, D.C.  Notre Dame should be bowl eligible, and at 7-5 they will definitely be invited to fill an at-large spot.  They could still steal the Sun Bowl bid from the Big East, but I believe there will be more deserving teams to go to El Paso.

 

1. Sun-Notre Dame 7-5 vs. Arizona

2. Eagle Bank-NAVY 7-5 vs. Wake Forest

 

M A C

Here is where the bowl situation becomes a bloody mess.  Let’s start with the possibility that Ball State could finish 13-0 and in the top 15 and not qualify for an at-large BCS Bowl.  At 13-0, it would be terrible for the Cardinals to face a 6-6 Big 10 team or some at-large team that barely qualified at 7-5.  I believe an excellent situation would be available if both Boise State and Ball State finished undefeated.  A deal could be struck for the two teams to play, leaving a western bowl with two more evenly-matched teams.  Should Utah lose to BYU, then Ball State would still need a Boise State loss to back into a possible Sugar Bowl bid.

 

Since it is silly to try to predict a back room deal, I am leaving the bowl tie-ins alone for now, but with the above caveat in place.

 

As for the rest of the league, this is getting very interesting.  The MAC finishes the season with November games on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Last week, the nation saw Ball State destroy a good Northern Illinois team.  Tonight (Tuesday), the Cardinals should blow Miami of Ohio off the field.  Three more key conference games tomorrow and Thursday could play important roles in determining bowl bids.  Akron and Buffalo hook up in the Rubber Bowl, where the winner takes a commanding lead in the East.  Temple goes to Kent State, where an Owl win puts them in position to challenge for a piece of the division title.  Northern Illinois and Central Michigan play Wednesday in Dekalb, and if the Chippewas win on the road, they may be a major obstacle for Ball State the following Wednesday.

 

1. Motor City-Ball State 13-0 vs. Notre Dame (Boise State?)

2. International-Central Michigan 9-3 vs. Connecticut

3. G M A C-Western Michigan 9-3 vs. Rice

4. Poinsettia (at-large)-Northern Illinois 7-5 vs. BYU

5. Texas (at-large)-Buffalo 7-6 vs. Memphis

 

Mountain West

Utah’s come-from-behind win over TCU has them firmly holding onto the at-large BCS Bowl bid.  A win over a weakening BYU team will clinch it.  That means, the MWC will get an extra bowl bid, and there will be an available team.  That team will be the one that finishes 6-6 from among UNLV, Wyoming, and Colorado State.  Wyoming plays the other two to finish out the season, while UNLV also plays San Diego State and Colorado State also plays New Mexico.  The Rebels have the easiest path to 6-6.

 

See the WAC for an explanation of the New Mexico.

 

1. Sugar-Utah 12-0 vs. Alabama

2. Las Vegas-TCU 10-2 vs. Oregon

3. Poinsettia-BYU 9-3 vs. Northern Illinois

4. New Mexico-Air Force 9-3 vs. Boise State (Notre Dame?)

5. Armed Forces-UNLV 6-6 vs. Houston

 

Pac-10

Oregon State still controls its own destiny in the Pac-10.  If the Beavers beat California, Arizona, and Oregon, they are in the Rose Bowl no matter what USC does in their games.  An Oregon State-Penn State rematch would not be all that exciting.  I think OSU will lose one of those final three, and USC will win out.

 

Stanford must upset either USC or Cal to gain bowl eligibility, and I don’t believe they can do that.  UCLA will most certainly not win out, so the Bruins will not get to six wins.  Arizona State has a remote chance of winning out to finish 6-6, but for now I have them finishing 5-7.  That means the Pac-10 will fall two teams shy of their bowl allotments.

 

 

1. Rose-Southern Cal 11-1 vs. Penn State

2. Holiday-California 8-4 vs. Oklahoma State

3. Sun-Oregon State 8-4 vs. Pittsburgh

4. Las Vegas-Oregon 8-4 vs. TCU

5. Emerald-Arizona 8-4 vs. Boston College

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

Has there ever been a more dominant one-loss team in college football than the 2008 Florida Gators?  I can only compare them to a few past teams, mostly from six decades past.  In 1943, a 9-1 Notre Dame team easily destroyed eight of their opponents before surviving against one military all-star team and losing late to another.  Of course, the Irish were so dominant then with help of WWII.  I liken this Florida team to the 1968 UCLA Bruin basketball team.  UCLA lost by two points on the road to the best team since 1956 not coached by John Wooden.  They lost with Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) still hampered by an eye injury.  When the Bruins faced Houston in the Final Four, they led by over 40 points with eight minutes remaining before Coach Wooden emptied the bench.  Now Florida did not lose on the road at Alabama, Texas Tech, or USC.  Tim Tebow was not recovering from an injury at the time the Gators lost at home to Ole Miss.  However, this is SEC football.  Any SEC team that is headed to a bowl is by definition one of the best in the nation.  We all know the Gators would beat Ole Miss by five touchdowns in a rematch.  I think Florida today can beat any college team by two touchdowns or more, with the exception of Southern Cal, and they would beat them by 7-10 points. 

 

Alabama is still unbeaten and ranked number one.  The Tide should reach the SEC Championship Game at 12-0, but I’m willing to wager that an 11-1 Florida team will be favored by the wise guys in Las Vegas, who know who is the best team in the nation.  Penn State’s losing last week crushed the hopes of the Rose Bowl to get the Tide out to Pasadena.  If Southern Cal could move into the top spot, then a 12-1 Bama team could still make it west for the first time since January of 1946.  Fat Chance!

 

The SEC is going to fall at least two teams short in meeting their bowl obligations.  Tennessee was eliminated last week.  Auburn would have to beat either Georgia or Alabama, and that won’t happen.  Mississippi State would have to beat Alabama, Arkansas, and Ole Miss, and there’s no chance.  Arkansas might beat Mississippi State, but they won’t defeat LSU and will finish under .500.  Vanderbilt still needs one win and has Kentucky, Tennessee, and Wake Forest left.  For now, I am calling the Tennessee game a win, but I am not confident about that.  They could easily finish 5-7 after starting 5-0 and really put daggers in the hearts of their fans.

 

1. National Championship-Florida 12-1 vs. Oklahoma

2. Sugar-Alabama 12-1 vs. Utah

3. Capital One-Georgia 10-2 vs. Michigan State

4. Outback-South Carolina 8-4 vs. Minnesota

5. Cotton-L S U 9-3 vs. Texas Tech

6. Chick-fil-a-Kentucky 7-5 vs. Virginia Tech

7. Music City-Ole Miss 7-5 vs. Miami

8. Liberty-Vanderbilt 6-6 vs. Tulsa

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

Troy is still in command here, but the Trojans have a tough game remaining against Louisiana-Lafayette.  Troy would have gotten an extra week to prepare for this game, but their game with LSU had to be rescheduled after the September hurricane.  The ULL game is in Troy, so I still have the Trojans penciled in darkly as probable SBC champs.

 

With all the at-large possibilities, chances are quite strong that a second team will get a bowl bid.  There is even a slim chance that a third team could earn one too.

 

1. New Orleans-Troy 8-4 vs. Southern Miss.

2. Papa John’s (at-large)-Florida Atlantic 7-5 vs. Louisville

 

W A C

Boise State should finish 12-0, and they should finish in the top 10.  Unless Utah loses, the Broncos will be left out in the cold when the BCS doles out its big bowl bids.  Personally, I would love to see a Utah-Boise State Fiesta Bowl or even Cotton Bowl, but that isn’t going to happen.  What could happen is a deal for Boise State to be released from their WAC bowl alliance to face Ball State if both are unbeaten. 

 

San Jose State is the only other WAC team that has secured bowl eligibility, and there are four other teams vying for the remaining two bowls.  I believe three will get to seven wins, and one of the trio will get an at-large invitation.

 

1. New Mexico-Boise State 12-0 vs. Air Force

(Boise State could swap with Notre Dame and face a 13-0 Ball State team.  I am sure the New Mexico Bowl would gladly take Notre Dame.)

2. Humanitarian-San Jose State 7-5 vs. Virginia

3. Hawaii-Hawaii 7-6 vs. Rutgers

4. Independence (at-large)-Louisiana Tech 8-4 vs. Kansas St.

 

November 4, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football–Week of: November 4-8, 2008

NCAA Week 11: Expect At Least One Major Upset

 

Congratulations go to the Red Raiders from Lubbock.  Now, Texas Tech must face Oklahoma State and Oklahoma their next two games.  There just isn’t enough defense in this league when compared to the outstanding offenses, and it doesn’t look likely that TTU will win both of those games and also beat Missouri in a Big 12 Championship Game.

 

Alabama is the new BCS #1 team, and I just cannot see the Tide beating both LSU and Florida. 

 

Penn State still has two trap games left on their schedule.  Their game at Iowa is the tougher of the two, but Michigan State cannot be overlooked.  I think the Nittany Lions have the best chance of the undefeated BCS trio of finishing 12-0.

 

As for the race for the possible at-large BCS bid for a conference champion, something tells me that Utah will fall to either TCU or BYU if not both teams.  Tulsa was eliminated with their loss to Arkansas.  Ball State has an almost impossible task of having to defeat the other three excellent teams within their division.  I don’t think they can go 3-0 against Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, and Western Michigan.  Boise State is now my overwhelming favorite to run the table and snatch the BCS bowl bid.

 

As for my Top 25, I have two one-loss teams well ahead of the undefeated teams.  If there was a playoff, I believe the boys in Vegas would agree with me that Southern Cal and Florida would be the teams meeting in the championship.

 

The PiRate Top 25 is different from the polls.  I do not rank the teams based on what they have done to date.  These teams are rated on how I think they will perform in the future (predictive ratings).

 

NCAA Top 25 For 4-Nov-2008
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Florida  135 7 1
2 Southern Cal 133 7 1
3 Penn St. 127 9 0
4 Texas 127 8 1
5 Oklahoma 126 8 1
6 Ohio St. 123 7 2
7 Texas Tech 122 9 0
8 Alabama 121 9 0
9 Oklahoma St. 121 8 1
10 Missouri 121 7 2
11 Georgia  121 7 2
12 T C U 118 9 1
13 Boise State 116 8 0
14 South Carolina 115 6 3
15 West Virginia 114 6 2
16 Oregon 114 6 3
17 Utah 113 9 0
18 California 113 6 2
19 Oregon State 113 5 3
20 Arizona 113 5 3
21 L S U 112 6 2
22 Ball State 111 8 0
23 Kansas 110 6 3
24 Ole Miss 110 5 4
25 Iowa 110 5 4
         
Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida State 3-2 6-2 109 69 40
Clemson 2-3 4-4 109 66 43
Maryland 3-1 6-2 105 65 40
Boston College 2-3 5-3 102 64 38
Wake Forest 3-2 5-3 102 55 47
North Carolina State 0-4 2-6 94 64 30
           
Coastal Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
North Carolina 2-2 6-2 108 69 39
Virginia Tech 2-2 5-3 107 67 40
Miami 3-2 6-3 104 61 43
Georgia Tech 4-2 7-2 104 64 40
Virginia  3-2 5-4 102 59 43
Duke 1-3 4-4 98 63 35

 

Big East Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
West Virginia 3-0 6-2 114 69 45
Cincinnati 2-1 6-2 109 65 44
South Florida 1-3 6-3 109 69 40
Rutgers 2-2 3-5 108 65 43
Pittsburgh 2-1 6-2 106 64 42
Connecticut 2-2 6-3 103 64 29
Louisville 1-2 5-3 99 61 38
Syracuse 1-3 2-6 88 55 33

 

Big Ten
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Penn State 5-0 9-0 127 76 51
Ohio State 4-1 7-2 123 68 55
Iowa 2-3 5-4 110 69 41
Illinois 3-3 5-4 108 68 40
Wisconsin 1-5 4-5 107 69 38
Michigan State 5-1 8-2 106 64 42
Northwestern 3-2 7-2 102 63 39
Minnesota 3-2 7-2 102 64 38
Purdue 1-4 3-6 97 63 34
Michigan 1-4 2-7 95 58 37
Indiana 1-4 3-6 88 58 30

 

Big 12
North Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Missouri 3-2 7-2 121 75 46
Kansas 3-2 6-3 110 67 43
Nebraska 2-3 5-4 103 65 38
Kansas State 1-4 4-5 97 68 29
Colorado 1-4 4-5 94 56 38
Iowa State 0-5 2-7 84 56 28
South Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Texas 4-1 8-1 127 81 46
Oklahoma 4-1 8-1 126 85 41
Texas Tech 5-0 9-0 122 83 39
Oklahoma State 4-1 8-1 121 72 49
Baylor 1-4 3-6 101 64 37
Texas A&M 2-3 4-5 93 57 36

 

Conference USA
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
East Carolina 3-1 5-3 98 63 35
Marshall 3-1 4-4 93 59 34
Southern Miss. 1-4 3-6 93 64 29
Memphis 2-3 4-5 90 60 30
Central Florida 1-3 2-6 89 50 39
U A B 1-4 2-7 79 51 28
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Tulsa 5-0 8-1 106 72 34
Houston 3-1 4-4 92 62 30
Rice 5-1 6-3 91 62 29
U T E P 3-2 3-5 83 56 27
Tulane 1-3 2-6 82 55 27
S M U 0-5 1-8 81 59 22

 

Independents
           
Team   Overall Rating Off Def
Notre Dame   5-3 106 64 42
Navy   6-3 97 60 37
Army   3-6 86 49 37

 

Mid American Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Buffalo 2-2 4-4 97 64 33
Bowling Green 2-3 4-5 96 65 31
Temple 2-3 3-6 96 56 40
Akron 2-2 4-4 91 60 31
Ohio U 1-4 2-7 90 51 39
Kent State 1-4 2-7 89 58 31
Miami (O) 1-3 2-6 87 57 30
           
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Ball State 4-0 8-0 111 72 39
Northern Illinois 4-1 5-3 101 61 40
Western Michigan 5-1 7-2 100 64 36
Central Michigan 5-0 7-2 98 66 32
Toledo 1-3 2-6 88 56 32
Eastern Michigan 1-5 2-8 83 52 31

 

Mountain West Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
T C U 6-0 9-1 118 67 51
Utah 5-0 9-0 113 68 45
Brigham Young 4-1 8-1 106 66 40
New Mexico 2-4 4-6 98 60 38
Air Force 4-1 7-2 97 58 39
Colorado State 2-3 4-5 91 59 32
UNLV 0-5 3-6 88 58 30
Wyoming 1-5 3-6 83 53 30
San Diego State 0-5 1-8 72 47 25

 

Pac-10 Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Southern Cal 5-1 7-1 133 74 59
Oregon 4-2 6-3 114 71 43
California 4-1 6-2 113 72 41
Oregon State 4-1 5-3 113 74 39
Arizona 3-2 5-3 113 73 40
Stanford 4-2 5-4 108 65 43
Arizona State 1-4 2-6 105 64 41
U C L A 2-3 3-5 101 59 42
Washington 0-5 0-8 87 57 30
Washington State 0-6 1-8 70 47 23

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida  5-1 7-1 135 84 51
Georgia  4-2 7-2 121 74 47
South Carolina 3-3 6-3 115 67 48
Tennessee 1-5 3-6 107 64 43
Kentucky 2-3 6-3 105 62 43
Vanderbilt 3-2 5-3 104 58 46
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Alabama 5-0 9-0 121 69 52
L S U 3-2 7-2 112 71 41
Ole Miss 3-3 5-4 110 67 43
Auburn 2-4 4-5 105 58 47
Mississippi State 1-4 3-6 102 57 45
Arkansas 1-4 4-5 101 67 34

 

Sunbelt Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Troy 4-1 6-3 98 65 33
Louisiana-Lafayette 4-0 5-3 97 68 29
Florida Atlantic 1-2 3-5 90 60 30
Arkansas State 2-1 4-4 89 59 30
Middle Tennessee 1-3 2-6 88 56 32
Louisiana-Monroe 2-3 3-6 88 57 31
Florida International 2-2 3-5 86 56 30
* Western Kentucky 0-0 2-7 82 52 30
North Texas 0-4 1-8 72 55 17
           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009      
Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008    

 

Western Athletic Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Boise State 4-0 8-0 116 72 44
Fresno State 2-2 5-3 96 66 30
Nevada 2-2 4-4 96 69 27
San Jose State 4-1 6-3 93 57 36
Louisiana Tech 2-2 4-4 91 55 36
Hawaii 3-3 4-5 89 53 36
Utah State 2-3 2-7 87 54 33
New Mexico State 1-3 3-5 78 50 28
Idaho 1-5 2-8 75 58 17

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site    
       
Tuesday, November 4      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
BUFFALO Miami (O) 13 34-21
       
Wednesday, November 5      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
BALL STATE Northern Illinois 13 34-21
AKRON Toledo 6 30-24
       
Thursday, November 6      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
VIRGINIA TECH Maryland 5 28-23
T c u UTAH 2 21-19
       
Friday, November 7      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
FRESNO STATE Nevada 3 41-38
       
Saturday, November 8      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Ohio State NORTHWESTERN 18 28-10
Georgia KENTUCKY 13 28-15
MICHIGAN STATE Purdue 12 31-19
NORTH CAROLINA Georgia Tech 7 31-24
FLORIDA STATE Clemson 3 27-24
Wisconsin INDIANA 16 37-21
MINNESOTA Michigan 10 30-20
WAKE FOREST Virginia 3 13-10
RUTGERS Syracuse 23 35-12
PITTSBURGH Louisville 10 27-17
Illinois Western Michigan  (in Detroit) 7 31-24
TEXAS TECH Oklahoma St. 4 35-31
TEXAS  Baylor 29 45-16
Florida  VANDERBILT 28 38-10
Oklahoma TEXAS A&M 30 48-18
MISSOURI Kansas State 27 48-21
Kansas NEBRASKA 4 28-24
SOUTH CAROLINA Arkansas 17 34-17
TENNESSEE Wyoming 27 34-7
BOISE STATE Utah State 32 42-10
B Y U San Diego St. 37 44-7
COLORADO Iowa State 13 30-17
Bowling Green OHIO U 3 24-21
RICE Army 8 28-20
Memphis S M U 6 35-29
Alabama L S U 6 27-21
Penn State IOWA  14 34-20
DUKE North Carolina St. 7 34-27
EAST CAROLINA Marshall 8 29-21
Southern Miss. CENTRAL FLORIDA 1 24-23
MIDDLE TENNESSEE La.-Monroe 3 27-24
OREGON Stanford 9 30-21
TROY Western Kentucky 19 36-17
Hawaii NEW MEXICO ST. 8 24-16
FLORIDA ATLANTIC North Texas 21 45-24
Arizona WASHINGTON STATE 40 47-7
UL-LAFAYETTE U t e p 17 41-24
FLA.-INT’L Arkansas State 0 28-28 to ot
SOUTHERN CAL California 23 35-12
SAN JOSE STATE Louisiana Tech 5 21-16
Notre Dame BOSTON COLLEGE 1 24-23
HOUSTON Tulane 13 37-24
New Mexico U N L V 7 28-21

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site  
Tuesday, November 4    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
BUFFALO Miami (O) 30-14
     
Wednesday, November 5    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
BALL STATE Northern Illinois 28-13
AKRON Toledo 26-17
     
Thursday, November 6    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
VIRGINIA TECH Maryland 20-14
UTAH T c u 17-16
     
Friday, November 7    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
FRESNO STATE Nevada 28-23
     
Saturday, November 8    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Ohio State NORTHWESTERN 20-14
Georgia KENTUCKY 21-13
MICHIGAN STATE Purdue 31-17
NORTH CAROLINA Georgia Tech 21-16
FLORIDA STATE Clemson 21-12
Wisconsin INDIANA 31-23
MINNESOTA Michigan 37-21
WAKE FOREST Virginia 21-17
RUTGERS Syracuse 37-21
PITTSBURGH Louisville 34-24
Illinois Western Michigan  (in Detroit) 26-24
TEXAS TECH Oklahoma St. 38-31
TEXAS  Baylor 44-14
Florida  VANDERBILT 31-13
Oklahoma TEXAS A&M 41-17
MISSOURI Kansas State 45-24
NEBRASKA Kansas  35-33
SOUTH CAROLINA Arkansas 28-17
TENNESSEE Wyoming 27-10
BOISE STATE Utah State 38-6
B Y U San Diego St. 44-10
COLORADO Iowa State 40-27
Bowling Green OHIO U 27-24
RICE Army 28-14
Memphis S M U 34-28
Alabama L S U 24-17
Penn State IOWA  20-7
DUKE North Carolina St. 35-20
EAST CAROLINA Marshall 31-21
CENTRAL FLORIDA Southern Miss. 24-24 to ot
MIDDLE TENNESSEE La.-Monroe 27-21
OREGON Stanford 34-24
TROY Western Kentucky 33-14
Hawaii NEW MEXICO ST. 27-21
FLORIDA ATLANTIC North Texas 44-27
Arizona WASHINGTON STATE 40-14
UL-LAFAYETTE U t e p 33-24
FLA.-INT’L Arkansas State 28-27
SOUTHERN CAL California 34-17
SAN JOSE STATE Louisiana Tech 31-22
BOSTON COLLEGE Notre Dame 26-24
HOUSTON Tulane 38-24
New Mexico U N L V 24-22

 

 

Bowl Outlook by Conference

 

What a change one week makes!  Texas falls to at-large BCS Bowl status.  Texas Tech moves up for the time being, while Penn State is punished for not playing.  Joe Paterno’s teams have been left out of the national championship race four times in the past when they finished undefeated (1968, 1969, 1973, and 1994).  I don’t think it can happen this year.  If they are 12-0 on November 23, they will be in the BCS Championship game; I just don’t see both Texas Tech and Alabama finishing the regular season at 13-0, and I don’t really think either of them will do so.  Let’s look at each conference and see how the bowls are shaping up.  We officially saw the first bowl invitation extended this week.  From here on, if you see a team listed in all caps, they have committed to the bowl in question.

 

ACC

This is a muddied race.  There is a good chance that 5-3 could earn a tie in both divisions.  There just isn’t a high-quality team in this league, and there isn’t really a terrible team either.  I have seven of the ACC teams finishing 5-3 as of today, and both divisions will need a tiebreaker to determine their representatives in the ACC Championship Game.

 

1. Orange Bowl-Virginia Tech 9-4 vs. West Virginia

2. Chick-fil-a-North Carolina 9-3 vs. Kentucky

3. Gator-Florida State 8-4 vs. Missouri

4. Champs Sports-Maryland 8-5 vs. Northwestern

5. Music City-Miami 8-4 vs. Tennessee

6. Meineke Car Care-Georgia Tech 8-4 vs. Cincinnati

7. Eagle Bank-Wake Forest 8-4 vs. NAVY

8. Emerald-Boston College 7-5 vs. Oregon State

9. Humanitarian-Clemson 6-6 vs. Fresno State

 

Virginia 6-6 but no invitation

 

Big East

West Virginia has taken a commanding lead after beating Connecticut last week.  I still think they will lose at least one conference game, but even at 6-1, they should win the Big East title by two games.  Pittsburgh and Cincinnati can still win the crown, but the odds favor the Mountaineers.

 

1. Orange-West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech

2. Sun-Notre Dame (see independents)

3. St. Petersburg-Pittsburgh 8-4 vs. Tulsa

4. Meineke Car Care-Cincinnati 9-4 vs. Georgia Tech

5. International-Connecticut 8-4 vs. Ball State

6. Papa John’s-South Florida 8-4 vs. Buffalo

7. Texas *-Louisville 7-5 vs. Houston

*=The Big East is the official backup conference for the Texas Bowl.

 

Rutgers 6-6 but no invitation

 

Big Ten

Penn State is not a lock to finish 12-0, but I have them doing so for this exercise.  Should they lose, then they will end up in Pasadena rather than Miami.  There is still a chance that the Big 10 could come up one team short, but for now I have Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois finishing strong enough to satisfy the allotments.

 

1. BCS National Championship-Penn State 12-0 vs. Florida

2. Fiesta-Ohio State 10-2 vs. Texas Tech

3. Capital One-Michigan State 9-3 vs. Georgia

4. Outback-Minnesota 9-3 vs. South Carolina

5. Champs Sports-Northwestern 8-4 vs. Maryland

6. Alamo-Illinois 7-5 vs. Nebraska

7. Insight-Wisconsin 6-6 vs. Kansas

8. Motor City-Iowa 6-6 vs. Central Michigan

 

Big 12

Here is where having five really good teams hurts a conference.  It is highly likely that Texas Tech will lose to either Oklahoma State or Oklahoma and possibly both.  Texas should finish 11-1; if Texas Tech finished 11-1, losing to Oklahoma, and Oklahoma also finishes 11-1, then the highest BCS-rated team would win the tiebreaker.  Texas would probably be that team, and they could easily lose to Missouri in a rematch.  Then, Oklahoma could have a shot at the BCS National Championship game if they clobbered both Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.  I think Texas Tech might beat Oklahoma State and lose to Oklahoma, while Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State; that would give Tech the South title.

 

The one sure thing from this league is that they will have a difficult time fulfilling their allotments.  The Texas Bowl has a contingency to take a Big East team should the final Big 12 slot go untaken.

 

1. Fiesta-Texas Tech 12-1 vs. Ohio State

2. Sugar-Texas 11-1 vs. Boise State

3. Cotton-Oklahoma 10-2 vs. LSU

4. Gator-Missouri 10-3 vs. Florida State

5. Holiday-Oklahoma State 10-2 vs. California

6. Alamo-Nebraska 7-5 vs. Illinois

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Wisconsin

8. Independence-Kansas State 6-6 vs. UL-Lafayette

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

Tulsa lost out on its chance to garner a BCS at-large bowl bid, and they may lose again in the regular season.  The Golden Hurricane still have two tough road games in conference play and could even drop to second place if they lose both games.  Rice has an easier finish and could sneak into the title game should Tulsa fall apart.  I think Tulsa coach Todd Graham is going to be in the mix for several job openings, and it could hurt his team’s concentration.

 

East Carolina has the talent and the emotions to win the conference championship.  Memphis has an easy finishing schedule and should join Houston and Marshall as bowl eligible teams.

 

1. Liberty-East Carolina 10-3 vs. Ole Miss

2. St. Petersburg-Tulsa 10-3 vs. Pittsburgh

3. G M A C-Rice 9-3 vs. Northern Illinois

4. Armed Forces-Memphis 7-5 vs. Air Force

5. Texas-Houston 6-6 vs. Louisville

6. New Orleans-Marshall 6-6 vs. Troy

 

Independent

Notre Dame’s setback against Pittsburgh shouldn’t hamper their chances of stealing one of the Big East Bowl slots they are entitled to stealing.  I still think they will get a bid at 7-5.  Navy has officially accepted a bid to the inaugural Eagle Bank Bowl game.

 

1. Sun-Notre Dame 7-5 vs. Arizona

2. Eagle Bank-NAVY 7-5 vs. Wake Forest

 

M A C

Ball State is in the top 25 and is still in the running for an at-large BCS bowl bid.  The road to 13-0 looks too hard for the Cardinals, as Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, and Western Michigan are all good enough to beat half the Big 10 teams on a neutral field.  Ball State could finish 11-1 and miss out on the MAC title game. 

 

The other side of this league is a real mess.  There’s a strong chance that three teams will finish 5-3, and the tiebreaker will have to go past the first test, since they will have all been 1-1 in head-to-head competition.

 

There is a good chance that as many as three extra teams could finish with the most important seven wins.  As the at-large non-BCS bowl rules state, all seven win teams must be invited to fulfill spots left vacant by the allotted conferences before any 6-6 team can be invited.  So, a 7-6 Buffalo team would take precedence over a 6-6 team from a BCS conference.

 

Because a seven-win MAC team will probably be all that’s available to the Poinsettia Bowl, and it looks like a 10-2 or even 11-1 team will be the opponent, there might be some bowl deals to make better match-ups.  I will leave this possibility alone until the rumors begin to make their rounds.

 

1. Motor City-Central Michigan 10-3 vs. Iowa

2. International-Ball State 11-1 vs. Connecticut

3. G M A C-Northern Illinois 8-4 vs. Rice

4. Hawaii (at-large)-Western Michigan 8-4 vs. Louisiana Tech

5. Poinsettia (at-large)-Akron 7-5 vs. Utah

6. Papa John’s (at-large)-Buffalo 7-6 vs. South Florida

 

Mountain West

I just cannot see Utah winning out this year.  I think TCU will beat them Thursday night, and if not, BYU has a 50-50 shot at doing so in the season-ender.  So, I am taking away a BCS bid from this league for the time being.  I usually don’t like to pick a team to repeat in a bowl, but I’ll make an exception for a service academy playing in a bowl honoring the services.

 

1. Las Vegas-TCU 11-1 vs. Oregon

2. Poinsettia-Utah 11-1 vs. Akron

3. New Mexico-BYU 9-3 vs. San Jose St.

4. Armed Forces-Air Force 9-3 vs. Memphis

 

Pac-10

Oregon State must lose a game before Southern Cal can win the automatic BCS Bowl bid.  That possibility looks quite strong, as the Beavers must finish out the season with games against Cal, Arizona (on the road), and Oregon.  Should OSU run the table, then they will be headed to the Rose Bowl, and USC will steal an at-large bowl bid from someone else.  For now, I am going with the thought that the Trojans will win the Pac-10 at 8-1.

 

With Stanford, Arizona State, and UCLA needing some big upsets to finish 6-6, it’s highly unlikely this league will satisfy its allotted bids.  I think they will fall two teams short.

 

1. Rose-Southern Cal 11-1 vs. Alabama

2. Holiday-California 8-4 vs. Oklahoma State

3. Sun-Arizona 8-4 vs. Notre Dame

4. Las Vegas-Oregon 8-4 vs. TCU

5. Emerald-Oregon State 8-4 vs. Boston College

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

Florida has shown to the nation that they are the best team, and I don’t think there is an opponent out there, other than USC, that could beat them today.  I think they will win out, including a nice victory over Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.  If Alabama beats LSU and loses to Florida to finish 12-1, the Tide will more than likely head to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 60-plus years.  The folks in Pasadena would love to land the Crimson Tide, and they would have first dibs on them if Penn State finished number one in the BCS ratings.

 

With Phil Fulmer resigning, I think his Tennessee squad will rally and win out for him to get bowl eligible.  Kentucky became bowl eligible Saturday by winning at Mississippi State.  Arkansas is within striking distance of getting to six wins, but they would have to win two of their final three games (at South Carolina, at Mississippi State, vs. LSU).  I think they will come up short.  Vanderbilt is 5-3, but I think they too will come up short, losing to Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Wake Forest.  So, the SEC will not meets its requirement, and two bowls will need to find substitutes.

 

1. National Championship-Florida 12-1 vs. Penn State

2. Rose-Alabama 12-1 vs. Southern Cal

3. Capital One-Georgia 10-2 vs. Michigan State

4. Outback-South Carolina 8-4 vs. Minnesota

5. Cotton-L S U 9-3 vs. Oklahoma

6. Chick-fil-a-Kentucky 7-5 vs. North Carolina

7. Music City-Tennessee 6-6 vs. Miami

8. Liberty-Ole Miss 7-5 vs. East Carolina

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

Troy’s loss has opened the door for Louisiana-Lafayette, but the Ragin’ Cajuns still must play the Trojans in Troy.

 

1. New Orleans-Troy 9-3 vs. Marshall

2. Independence (at-large)-UL-Lafayette 7-5 vs. Kansas State

 

One other team should finish 6-6 but won’t get an invitation

 

W A C

Boise State should finish 12-0, and I believe they will secure a BCS at-large bowl bid. 

 

Nevada, Hawaii, and New Mexico State have only slim chances of getting to six wins (seven in Hawaii’s case), while Louisiana Tech may be the surprise fourth bowl team.

 

1. Sugar-Boise State 12-0 vs. Texas

2. Humanitarian-Fresno State 7-5 vs. Clemson

3. New Mexico-San Jose State 8-4 vs. BYU

4. Hawaii-Louisiana Tech 7-5 vs. Western Michigan

 

Blog at WordPress.com.