The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 17, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Football Forecast for September 21-23, 2017

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:15 pm

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
South Florida Temple 18.3 15.9 19.4
Boise St. Virginia 5.1 3.0 3.2
Arizona Utah -3.6 -6.7 -5.6
Appalachian St. Wake Forest -6.1 -7.6 -5.5
North Carolina Duke 2.7 2.8 2.6
Purdue Michigan -11.7 -9.6 -10.2
Georgia Tech Pittsburgh 10.8 8.0 9.5
Iowa Penn St. -14.3 -12.2 -15.6
Clemson Boston College 36.5 31.9 36.8
Florida St. North Carolina St. 16.5 14.8 16.1
Georgia Mississippi St. 7.7 8.2 7.3
South Carolina Louisiana Tech 22.1 20.1 20.2
Tennessee Massachusetts 31.5 30.3 29.8
Kansas West Virginia -18.4 -15.9 -19.0
Kentucky Florida 0.5 -0.1 1.0
Maryland Central Florida 5.9 6.0 5.1
Louisville Kent St. 37.5 34.8 36.7
Eastern Michigan Ohio U 6.9 4.7 6.0
Central Michigan Miami (O) 1.3 -0.8 -0.4
Virginia Tech Old Dominion 31.1 27.6 31.1
Charlotte Georgia St. -6.7 -3.4 -6.1
Indiana Georgia Southern 28.1 26.8 28.9
Buffalo Florida Atlantic 2.1 1.5 3.0
Nebraska Rutgers 6.9 8.6 6.4
Miami (Fla.) Toledo 22.0 19.7 19.5
Colorado Washington -12.3 -10.9 -15.2
New Mexico St. UTEP 18.0 11.4 16.8
Navy Cincinnati 11.2 9.9 9.4
Ohio St. UNLV 44.7 39.0 43.5
Michigan St. Notre Dame -11.7 -6.4 -11.1
Wyoming Hawaii 11.2 7.5 9.8
Tulsa New Mexico 14.0 13.2 13.6
LSU Syracuse 11.2 11.2 12.7
Troy Akron 14.1 10.5 13.6
Middle Tennessee Bowling Green 14.3 14.4 14.0
Missouri Auburn -21.3 -21.8 -22.2
Houston Texas Tech 4.6 3.7 5.6
SMU Arkansas St. 10.8 9.4 9.4
Vanderbilt Alabama -18.3 -15.4 -17.8
Tulane Army 0.7 1.5 0.1
Oklahoma St. TCU 14.2 15.1 15.7
Western Kentucky Ball St. 17.8 14.3 17.4
North Texas UAB 20.3 17.0 18.3
Texas St. UTSA -19.2 -18.0 -22.4
Air Force San Diego St. -6.3 -6.0 -7.2
Texas A&M Arkansas 1.1 -0.5 -0.1
Rice Florida Int’l. 0.1 0.9 -0.7
South Alabama Idaho 4.9 5.6 4.1
UL-Lafayette UL-Monroe 5.4 6.3 6.7
Baylor Oklahoma -25.9 -21.3 -27.2
California USC -16.4 -18.4 -18.2
Washington St. Nevada 36.0 30.2 33.2
Arizona St. Oregon -11.0 -7.1 -11.2
Stanford UCLA 9.8 9.2 9.3
San Jose St. Utah St. 0.3 0.8 0.5
Connecticut East Carolina 6.6 7.9 7.5
This Week’s FBS vs. FCS Games
Home Visitor PiRate
Coastal Carolina Western Illinois 5
Western Michigan Wagner 40
Memphis Southern Illinois 26

Same Two Again?
With Clemson’s dominating win at Louisville, our ratings now show the top two teams from last year resuming the top two spots again this season. For now, Alabama stays ahead of Clemson in our ratings, but internally, our Retrodictive Ratings show that Clemson is less than .2 point behind the Tide and just .5 point behind ‘Bama in the Predictive Ratings.

Who at this point looks like the best contenders for the other two Playoff spots? Oklahoma figures in as a high contender, but then so does Oklahoma State. If either runs the table, they are in. Out west, Washington and USC hold the top two spots, but Washington State, Utah, and Colorado are still in contention, as is a Dark Horse Cal Bears team.

In the Big Ten, Penn State has the look of a team that can go into the Horseshoe and do the same thing to Ohio State that Oklahoma did. Michigan is chugging along but looks to be missing something and probably cannot run the table. Ohio State is still in the Big Ten race, but to make the Playoffs now, the Buckeyes must start winning consistently and take out all Big Ten foes. In the West, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota are in contention but any of these teams will have to run the table to make it to the Final Four.

Aside from the Crimson Tide, Georgia and Mississippi State have chances to earn a playoff spot. The two Bulldogs face off in what has become a very important contest on Saturday.

Top Group of 5 Teams
Two teams appear to be at the top of the list for the Group of 5 Automatic New Year’s 6 Bowl Bid, but there are plenty of contenders, and it is much too early to call any one team convincingly ahead of the rest.

South Florida has had a little difficulty early in their games, but once the Bulls get on track, they play competently enough to run the table and earn that NY6 Bowl. San Diego State actually has a bigger win, having just knocked off Stanford, but the Aztecs still have a difficult couple of games to take the bid. Memphis, Houston, Central Florida, Toledo, and Navy are the top contenders for now.

PiRate Retrodictive Ratings

(like a poll based on what they have done to date)

PiRate Retrodictive
# Team
1 Alabama
2 Clemson
3 Washington
4 Oklahoma
5 USC
6 Penn St.
7 LSU
8 Ohio St.
9 Oklahoma St.
10 Wisconsin
11 Michigan
12 Miami (Fla)
13 Georgia
14 Louisville
15 Florida St.
16 Virginia Tech
17 Mississippi St.
18 TCU
19 Auburn
20 Stanford
21 Utah
22 Washington St.
23 Iowa
24 Florida
25 Colorado
26 Kansas St.
27 Tennessee
28 Minnesota
29 Houston
30 San Diego St.
31 South Florida
32 Georgia Tech
33 Wake Forest
34 Oregon
35 Notre Dame
36 Vanderbilt
37 West Virginia
38 Boise St.
39 Toledo
40 Duke
41 Kentucky
42 Michigan St.
43 South Carolina
44 UCLA
45 Maryland
46 California
47 Texas A&M
48 North Carolina St.
49 Memphis
50 Northwestern
51 Navy
52 Texas
53 Western Michigan
54 Texas Tech
55 Tulsa
56 Arkansas
57 North Carolina
58 Air Force
59 Ole Miss
60 Pittsburgh
61 Nebraska
62 Colorado St.
63 Appalachian St.
64 Central Florida
65 Temple
66 Purdue
67 UTSA
68 Iowa St.
69 Indiana
70 Arizona
71 Northern Illinois
72 Army
73 Troy
74 Louisiana Tech
75 Arkansas St.
76 Western Kentucky
77 SMU
78 BYU
79 Eastern Michigan
80 Syracuse
81 Southern Miss.
82 Boston College
83 Old Dominion
84 Illinois
85 Tulane
86 Cincinnati
87 Virginia
88 Ohio
89 Middle Tennessee
90 Arizona St.
91 Wyoming
92 New Mexico
93 Baylor
94 Central Michigan
95 Marshall
96 Missouri
97 Oregon St.
98 Rutgers
99 Miami (O)
100 Hawaii
101 Ball St.
102 Idaho
103 UL-Lafayette
104 Coastal Carolina
105 Utah St.
106 New Mexico St.
107 Akron
108 South Alabama
109 North Texas
110 Fresno St.
111 Buffalo
112 Connecticut
113 Nevada
114 UAB
115 Georgia Southern
116 UL-Monroe
117 San Jose St.
118 Kansas
119 Rice
120 UNLV
121 East Carolina
122 Kent St.
123 Florida Atlantic
124 Florida Int’l.
125 Bowling Green
126 Georgia St.
127 UTEP
128 Texas St.
129 Massachusetts
130 Charlotte

PiRate Predictive Ratings

(tries to predict the outcome of the next game on each team’s schedule)

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 132.2 127.6 131.0 130.3
2 Clemson 131.2 127.6 130.7 129.8
3 Ohio St. 129.2 126.5 128.5 128.1
4 Oklahoma 128.1 125.9 129.1 127.7
5 Washington 128.4 125.0 129.1 127.5
6 Penn St. 127.7 125.5 128.5 127.2
7 Oklahoma St. 126.1 124.4 127.6 126.0
8 Florida St. 126.9 124.9 126.2 126.0
9 Auburn 122.7 120.6 122.5 121.9
10 Wisconsin 122.8 118.6 121.0 120.8
11 U S C 120.8 120.3 120.9 120.7
12 Virginia Tech 118.3 117.5 118.9 118.2
13 Miami 118.7 116.3 117.8 117.6
14 Georgia 116.7 117.9 116.8 117.1
15 Stanford 116.6 115.2 115.8 115.9
16 Washington St. 117.0 114.3 116.1 115.8
17 Michigan 116.2 115.8 115.4 115.8
18 Louisville 116.0 114.7 116.0 115.6
19 L S U 115.5 113.7 116.2 115.1
20 Florida 115.4 114.7 114.7 114.9
21 Kansas St. 114.1 113.8 114.3 114.1
22 T C U 114.9 112.3 114.9 114.0
23 Texas 113.2 114.0 113.4 113.6
24 N. Carolina St. 113.4 113.1 113.1 113.2
25 Oregon 114.3 110.8 113.6 112.9
26 Notre Dame 113.3 111.5 113.6 112.8
27 Mississippi St. 112.1 112.7 112.5 112.4
28 Kentucky 113.0 111.5 112.7 112.4
29 Colorado 113.1 111.1 110.9 111.7
30 Georgia Tech 113.1 110.6 111.1 111.6
31 Tennessee 112.0 110.0 110.2 110.7
32 Iowa 110.4 110.3 109.9 110.2
33 Vanderbilt 110.9 109.2 110.2 110.1
34 N. Carolina 110.8 109.7 109.3 109.9
35 South Florida 109.9 108.2 110.9 109.7
36 Northwestern 110.2 108.4 110.3 109.6
37 U C L A 109.8 109.0 109.5 109.4
38 West Virginia 109.1 109.9 109.1 109.4
39 Minnesota 109.5 109.3 109.3 109.4
40 Duke 109.6 108.4 108.2 108.7
41 Utah 106.6 108.7 107.0 107.4
42 S. Carolina 107.6 106.8 106.6 107.0
43 Arkansas 106.7 106.2 106.5 106.5
44 Syracuse 107.2 105.6 106.5 106.4
45 Maryland 105.6 107.7 105.7 106.3
46 Wake Forest 106.7 105.8 106.3 106.2
47 Indiana 105.0 105.1 105.4 105.2
48 Pittsburgh 105.3 105.6 104.6 105.2
49 Memphis 105.3 104.1 105.5 104.9
50 Ole Miss 105.9 104.4 104.1 104.8
51 Houston 105.0 103.9 104.9 104.6
52 Colo. State 105.0 103.4 105.1 104.5
53 Texas A&M 104.8 102.7 103.4 103.6
54 Iowa State 102.9 104.1 103.8 103.6
55 Central Florida 102.6 104.7 103.5 103.6
56 San Diego St. 103.1 103.0 104.2 103.4
57 Texas Tech 102.9 102.7 101.8 102.5
58 Tulsa 102.6 102.0 102.7 102.4
59 Purdue 101.5 103.2 102.2 102.3
60 Nebraska 100.6 102.3 99.6 100.8
61 Virginia 100.2 100.3 101.6 100.7
62 Boise St. 101.4 99.3 100.8 100.5
63 Arizona St. 100.4 100.7 99.4 100.2
64 Toledo 99.6 99.6 101.3 100.2
65 Michigan St. 98.6 102.0 99.5 100.0
66 California 101.4 98.9 99.6 100.0
67 Baylor 99.2 101.6 98.9 99.9
68 Navy 99.0 100.0 98.9 99.3
69 Arizona 100.0 99.0 98.4 99.1
70 Western Michigan 99.2 97.4 100.5 99.0
71 BYU 98.9 98.1 99.4 98.8
72 Boston College 97.7 98.7 96.9 97.8
73 Appalachian St. 98.0 95.7 98.3 97.3
74 SMU 97.1 97.3 97.4 97.3
75 Missouri 98.4 95.9 97.2 97.2
76 Army 96.5 96.0 97.4 96.6
77 Rutgers 96.7 96.7 96.2 96.5
78 U T S A 94.4 96.1 96.6 95.7
79 Temple 94.6 95.3 94.5 94.8
80 Wyoming 95.8 93.7 94.4 94.6
81 Eastern Michigan 94.6 94.2 94.5 94.4
82 Tulane 94.2 94.5 94.5 94.4
83 W. Kentucky 94.1 93.0 95.3 94.1
84 Air Force 93.7 94.1 94.0 93.9
85 Miami (O) 92.1 94.6 94.0 93.6
86 Troy 93.7 93.8 92.9 93.5
87 Middle Tennessee 92.2 92.7 92.7 92.5
88 Cincinnati 90.7 93.1 92.5 92.1
89 Oregon St. 92.6 92.6 91.1 92.1
90 New Mexico 91.6 91.8 92.1 91.8
91 Illinois 91.6 92.9 90.6 91.7
92 Central Michigan 90.9 91.3 91.1 91.1
93 Ohio U 90.2 92.0 91.0 91.1
94 Arkansas St. 89.3 90.9 91.0 90.4
95 Old Dominion 89.2 91.9 89.7 90.3
96 Northern Illinois 89.4 89.3 89.8 89.5
97 Louisiana Tech 88.5 89.7 89.4 89.2
98 Hawaii 88.6 90.2 88.6 89.1
99 Kansas 87.7 91.0 87.1 88.6
100 U N L V 87.5 90.4 87.9 88.6
101 Fresno St. 88.6 87.0 88.8 88.2
102 Southern Miss. 87.7 88.9 87.7 88.1
103 Connecticut 86.4 89.5 87.0 87.6
104 Marshall 85.9 87.1 87.2 86.8
105 N. Mexico St. 87.1 84.7 86.6 86.1
106 Nevada 84.0 87.1 86.0 85.7
107 Florida Atlantic 84.1 87.4 85.2 85.6
108 S. Alabama 84.5 87.4 84.7 85.5
109 Utah St. 86.0 85.1 85.0 85.4
110 Buffalo 83.2 85.9 85.2 84.8
111 UL-Lafayette 84.2 85.5 84.0 84.6
112 Idaho 83.2 85.3 84.1 84.2
113 Akron 82.6 86.3 82.4 83.8
114 N. Texas 82.7 84.1 82.8 83.2
115 Massachusetts 83.5 82.7 83.4 83.2
116 San Jose St. 83.3 82.9 82.5 82.9
117 East Carolina 82.3 84.2 82.0 82.8
118 Georgia St. 83.0 82.2 82.8 82.7
119 Kent St. 81.5 82.9 82.3 82.2
120 Florida Int’l. 81.2 81.4 82.2 81.6
121 UL-Monroe 81.2 81.7 79.8 80.9
122 Bowling Green 80.4 80.9 81.1 80.8
123 Georgia Southern 79.9 81.2 79.5 80.2
124 Ball St. 78.8 81.2 80.4 80.1
125 Rice 78.8 79.8 79.0 79.2
126 Charlotte 74.3 76.9 74.7 75.3
127 Coastal Carolina 73.5 74.9 75.2 74.6
128 Texas St. 73.2 76.0 72.2 73.8
129 U T E P 71.6 75.8 72.2 73.2
130 UAB 65.4 70.1 67.5 67.7

PiRate Ratings by Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division            
Team AAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 0-0 3-0 109.9 108.2 110.9 109.7
Central Florida 0-0 1-0 102.6 104.7 103.5 103.6
Temple 0-0 2-1 94.6 95.3 94.5 94.8
Cincinnati 0-0 2-1 90.7 93.1 92.5 92.1
Connecticut 0-0 1-1 86.4 89.5 87.0 87.6
East Carolina 0-0 0-3 82.3 84.2 82.0 82.8
             
West Division            
Team AAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Memphis 0-0 2-0 105.3 104.1 105.5 104.9
Houston 0-0 2-0 105.0 103.9 104.9 104.6
Tulsa 0-0 1-2 102.6 102.0 102.7 102.4
Navy 1-0 2-0 99.0 100.0 98.9 99.3
SMU 0-0 2-1 97.1 97.3 97.4 97.3
Tulane 0-1 1-2 94.2 94.5 94.5 94.4
             
AAC Averages     97.5 98.1 97.9 97.8
             
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division            
Team ACC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 1-0 3-0 131.2 127.6 130.7 129.8
Florida St. 0-0 0-1 126.9 124.9 126.2 126.0
Louisville 1-1 2-2 116.0 114.7 116.0 115.6
N. Carolina St. 0-0 2-1 113.4 113.1 113.1 113.2
Syracuse 0-0 2-1 107.2 105.6 106.5 106.4
Wake Forest 1-0 3-0 106.7 105.8 106.3 106.2
Boston College 0-1 1-2 97.7 98.7 96.9 97.8
             
Coastal Division            
Team ACC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Virginia Tech 0-0 3-0 118.3 117.5 118.9 118.2
Miami 0-0 1-0 118.7 116.3 117.8 117.6
Georgia Tech 0-0 1-1 113.1 110.6 111.1 111.6
N. Carolina 0-1 1-2 110.8 109.7 109.3 109.9
Duke 0-0 3-0 109.6 108.4 108.2 108.7
Pittsburgh 0-0 1-2 105.3 105.6 104.6 105.2
Virginia 0-0 2-1 100.2 100.3 101.6 100.7
             
ACC Averages     112.5 111.3 111.9 111.9
             
Big 12 Conference
Team B12 Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 0-0 3-0 128.1 125.9 129.1 127.7
Oklahoma St. 0-0 3-0 126.1 124.4 127.6 126.0
Kansas St. 0-0 2-1 114.1 113.8 114.3 114.1
T C U 0-0 3-0 114.9 112.3 114.9 114.0
Texas 0-0 1-2 113.2 114.0 113.4 113.6
West Virginia 0-0 2-1 109.1 109.9 109.1 109.4
Iowa State 0-0 2-1 102.9 104.1 103.8 103.6
Texas Tech 0-0 2-0 102.9 102.7 101.8 102.5
Baylor 0-0 0-3 99.2 101.6 98.9 99.9
Kansas 0-0 1-2 87.7 91.0 87.1 88.6
             
Big 12 Averages     109.8 110.0 110.0 109.9
             
Big Ten Conference
East Division            
Team BTen Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 1-0 2-1 129.2 126.5 128.5 128.1
Penn St. 0-0 3-0 127.7 125.5 128.5 127.2
Michigan 0-0 3-0 116.2 115.8 115.4 115.8
Maryland 0-0 2-0 105.6 107.7 105.7 106.3
Indiana 0-1 1-1 105.0 105.1 105.4 105.2
Michigan St. 0-0 2-0 98.6 102.0 99.5 100.0
Rutgers 0-0 1-2 96.7 96.7 96.2 96.5
             
West Division            
Team BTen Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Wisconsin 0-0 3-0 122.8 118.6 121.0 120.8
Iowa 0-0 3-0 110.4 110.3 109.9 110.2
Northwestern 0-0 2-1 110.2 108.4 110.3 109.6
Minnesota 0-0 3-0 109.5 109.3 109.3 109.4
Purdue 0-0 2-1 101.5 103.2 102.2 102.3
Nebraska 0-0 1-2 100.6 102.3 99.6 100.8
Illinois 0-0 2-1 91.6 92.9 90.6 91.7
             
Big Ten Averages     109.0 108.9 108.7 108.9
             
Conference USA
East Division            
Team CUSA Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
W. Kentucky 0-1 1-2 94.1 93.0 95.3 94.1
Middle Tennessee 0-0 1-2 92.2 92.7 92.7 92.5
Old Dominion 0-0 2-1 89.2 91.9 89.7 90.3
Marshall 0-0 2-1 85.9 87.1 87.2 86.8
Florida Atlantic 0-0 1-2 84.1 87.4 85.2 85.6
Florida Int’l. 0-0 1-1 81.2 81.4 82.2 81.6
Charlotte 0-0 0-3 74.3 76.9 74.7 75.3
             
West Division            
Team CUSA Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
U T S A 0-0 2-0 94.4 96.1 96.6 95.7
Louisiana Tech 1-0 2-1 88.5 89.7 89.4 89.2
Southern Miss. 0-0 2-1 87.7 88.9 87.7 88.1
N. Texas 0-0 1-2 82.7 84.1 82.8 83.2
Rice 1-0 1-2 78.8 79.8 79.0 79.2
U T E P 0-1 0-3 71.6 75.8 72.2 73.2
UAB 0-0 2-1 65.4 70.1 67.5 67.7
             
CUSA Averages     83.6 85.4 84.4 84.5
             
FBS Independents
Team   Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame   2-1 113.3 111.5 113.6 112.8
BYU   1-3 98.9 98.1 99.4 98.8
Army   2-1 96.5 96.0 97.4 96.6
Massachusetts   0-4 83.5 82.7 83.4 83.2
             
Indep. Averages     98.0 97.1 98.4 97.8
             
Mid-American Conference
East Division            
Team MAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Miami (O) 0-0 1-2 92.1 94.6 94.0 93.6
Ohio U 0-0 2-1 90.2 92.0 91.0 91.1
Buffalo 0-0 1-2 83.2 85.9 85.2 84.8
Akron 0-0 1-2 82.6 86.3 82.4 83.8
Kent St. 0-0 1-2 81.5 82.9 82.3 82.2
Bowling Green 0-0 0-3 80.4 80.9 81.1 80.8
             
West Division            
Team MAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Toledo 0-0 3-0 99.6 99.6 101.3 100.2
Western Michigan 0-0 1-2 99.2 97.4 100.5 99.0
Eastern Michigan 0-0 2-0 94.6 94.2 94.5 94.4
Central Michigan 0-0 2-1 90.9 91.3 91.1 91.1
Northern Illinois 0-0 2-1 89.4 89.3 89.8 89.5
Ball St. 0-0 2-1 78.8 81.2 80.4 80.1
             
MAC Averages     88.5 89.6 89.5 89.2
             
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division            
Team MWC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Colo. State 0-0 2-2 105.0 103.4 105.1 104.5
Boise St. 1-0 2-1 101.4 99.3 100.8 100.5
Wyoming 0-0 1-2 95.8 93.7 94.4 94.6
Air Force 0-0 1-1 93.7 94.1 94.0 93.9
New Mexico 0-1 1-2 91.6 91.8 92.1 91.8
Utah St. 0-0 1-2 86.0 85.1 85.0 85.4
             
West Division            
Team MWC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 0-0 3-0 103.1 103.0 104.2 103.4
Hawaii 0-0 2-1 88.6 90.2 88.6 89.1
U N L V 0-0 1-1 87.5 90.4 87.9 88.6
Fresno St. 0-0 1-2 88.6 87.0 88.8 88.2
Nevada 0-0 0-3 84.0 87.1 86.0 85.7
San Jose St. 0-0 1-3 83.3 82.9 82.5 82.9
             
MWC Averages     92.4 92.3 92.4 92.4
             
Pac-12 Conference
North Division            
Team P12 Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Washington 0-0 3-0 128.4 125.0 129.1 127.5
Stanford 0-1 1-2 116.6 115.2 115.8 115.9
Washington St. 1-0 3-0 117.0 114.3 116.1 115.8
Oregon 0-0 3-0 114.3 110.8 113.6 112.9
California 0-0 3-0 101.4 98.9 99.6 100.0
Oregon St. 0-1 1-3 92.6 92.6 91.1 92.1
             
South Division            
Team P12 Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
U S C 1-0 3-0 120.8 120.3 120.9 120.7
Colorado 0-0 3-0 113.1 111.1 110.9 111.7
U C L A 0-0 2-1 109.8 109.0 109.5 109.4
Utah 0-0 3-0 106.6 108.7 107.0 107.4
Arizona St. 0-0 1-2 100.4 100.7 99.4 100.2
Arizona 0-0 2-1 100.0 99.0 98.4 99.1
             
Pac-12 Averages     110.1 108.8 109.3 109.4
             
Southeastern Conference
East Division            
Team SEC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Georgia 0-0 3-0 116.7 117.9 116.8 117.1
Florida 1-0 1-1 115.4 114.7 114.7 114.9
Kentucky 1-0 3-0 113.0 111.5 112.7 112.4
Tennessee 0-1 2-1 112.0 110.0 110.2 110.7
Vanderbilt 0-0 3-0 110.9 109.2 110.2 110.1
S. Carolina 1-1 2-1 107.6 106.8 106.6 107.0
Missouri 0-1 1-2 98.4 95.9 97.2 97.2
             
West Division            
Team SEC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 0-0 3-0 132.2 127.6 131.0 130.3
Auburn 0-0 2-1 122.7 120.6 122.5 121.9
L S U 0-1 2-1 115.5 113.7 116.2 115.1
Mississippi St. 1-0 3-0 112.1 112.7 112.5 112.4
Arkansas 0-0 1-1 106.7 106.2 106.5 106.5
Ole Miss 0-0 2-1 105.9 104.4 104.1 104.8
Texas A&M 0-0 2-1 104.8 102.7 103.4 103.6
             
SEC Averages     112.4 111.0 111.8 111.7
             
Sunbelt Conference
Team SBC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 1-0 2-1 98.0 95.7 98.3 97.3
Troy 1-0 2-1 93.7 93.8 92.9 93.5
Arkansas St. 0-0 1-1 89.3 90.9 91.0 90.4
N. Mexico St. 0-1 1-2 87.1 84.7 86.6 86.1
S. Alabama 0-0 1-2 84.5 87.4 84.7 85.5
UL-Lafayette 0-0 1-2 84.2 85.5 84.0 84.6
Idaho 0-0 1-2 83.2 85.3 84.1 84.2
Georgia St. 0-0 0-2 83.0 82.2 82.8 82.7
UL-Monroe 0-0 0-2 81.2 81.7 79.8 80.9
Georgia Southern 0-0 0-2 79.9 81.2 79.5 80.2
Coastal Carolina 0-0 1-1 73.5 74.9 75.2 74.6
Texas St. 0-1 1-2 73.2 76.0 72.2 73.8
             
Sun Belt Averages     84.2 85.0 84.3 84.5

Conference Ratings
Thanks to Wake Forest, Virgnia Tech, Syracuse, and North Carolina State improving with non-conference wins, while Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and Missouri sunk after so-so non-conference performances, the ACC overtook the SEC by a tiny bit for top conference. There are only three points separating the Power 5 conferences after three weeks of the season.

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 ACC 112.5 111.3 111.9 111.9
2 SEC 112.4 111.0 111.8 111.7
3 BIG 12 109.8 110.0 110.0 109.9
4 PAC-12 110.1 108.8 109.3 109.4
5 BIG TEN 109.0 108.9 108.7 108.9
6 INDEP. 98.0 97.1 98.4 97.8
7 AAC 97.5 98.1 97.9 97.8
8 MWC 92.4 92.3 92.4 92.4
9 MAC 88.5 89.6 89.5 89.2
10 Sun Belt 84.2 85.0 84.3 84.5
11 CUSA 83.6 85.4 84.4 84.5

Bowl Projections Debut in October

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November 28, 2016

College Football Ratings & Spreads For December 1-3, 2016

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:24 am

The 2016 football season seemed to have just started a couple weeks ago, but here we are already to Championship Week.  This year’s list of Conference Championship Games are sure to provide excitement, but there may be a little less intrigue in some of the contests.  Of course, just one upset in a game figured to be an easy win for the favorite can make one of these games become monumental.

 

Without further adieu, here is a breakdown of the week’s big games.

Friday

The opening conference title game begins at 7 PM Eastern Time on ESPN2 when Western Michigan and Ohio University square off in Detroit in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game.  The Broncos are in the Cotton Bowl with a win unless Navy wins the AAC by enough to jump WMU in the final playoff rankings.

In the nightcap, Colorado faces Washington in Santa Clara, California, as the host site of the last Super Bowl to decide the Pac-12 Conference Championship.  A UW win would likely allow the Huskies the privilege of playing top-seeded Alabama in the Peach Bowl in the playoff semifinals.  Colorado is likely to receive the Rose Bowl bid, win or lose this game.  9 PM EST on Fox

 

Saturday

all times EST

12 Noon on ABC–The American Athletic Conference Championship Game

Temple at Navy

Navy faces a strange circumstance in that they will play in their league’s conference championship this week and then play rival Army next week.  They could win the AAC title and then lose to Army and miss out on a possible Cotton Bowl bid as the highest-rated Group of 5 team.  Even in the Midshipmen win both games, they might not pass a 13-0 Western Michigan team.

12 Noon on ESPN–The Conference USA Championship Game

Louisiana Tech at Western Kentucky

This conference doesn’t actually rank its bowl tie-ins.  They try to guide their member teams to bowls that create the best possible match-ups, so the game’s outcome could have very little effect on the bowls.  These teams played earlier in the year, with LT handing Western its lone conference loss in a 55-52 shootout.  Hilltopper Coach Jeff Brohm could be coaching his final game with the Hilltoppers, as he will be a prime candidate in multiple open jobs among Power 5 leagues.

12:30 PM on Fox–The De Facto Big 12 Championship Game

Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

The winner of this game wins the Big 12 regular season title and most likely earns a trip to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.  A very convincing Sooner win and losses by Clemson and Washington could give OU a small chance to make the Playoffs, but this league is going to be hurt by not having that 13th game with highly-ranked teams facing off.

4 PM on CBS–The Southeastern Conference Championship Game

Alabama vs. Florida in Georgia Dome in Atlanta

The Crimson Tide basically clinched a berth in the Playoffs, and now they must win one more game to guarantee the top seed and know they will be returning to Atlanta for the Semifinal Round on New Year’s Eve.

Florida is playing for a Sugar Bowl bid only, as they are 8-3 and have no chance to make the Playoffs.  They also have virtually no chance to win this game, but they could make it interesting for a half.  The way the Tide has been playing defense in November, they could possibly pitch a shutout in this game.

 

7:45 PM on ESPN–The Mountain West Conference Championship Game

San Diego State at Wyoming

These two teams squared off two weeks ago in Laramie with Wyoming winning a hard-fought game.  Both teams come into this game off regular season losses.  The winner heads to Las Vegas for bowl season.  If SDSU loses, they could play at home in the Poinsettia Bowl, and if Wyoming loses, they could be headed to the field of Blue to play in the Idaho Potato Bowl.

 

8PM on ABC–The Atlantic Coast Conference Championship

Clemson vs. Virginia Tech in Orlando, Florida

Clemson is playing for a playoff spot, and a win secures their golden ticket.  A Virginia Tech upset would send the Hokies to the Orange Bowl, and CU possibly to the Cotton Bowl.

 

8 PM on Fox–The Big Ten Conference Championship

Wisconsin vs. Penn State at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana

To the winner goes a trip to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl and the chance for their band to play in the greatest parade on Earth.  The loser could be faced with an uninspiring trip to Dallas to face Western Kentucky or Navy in the Cotton Bowl.

 

Here are this week’s PiRate Ratings

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 137.5 131.1 137.5 135.4
2 Washington 131.0 123.8 130.4 128.4
3 Ohio St. 127.5 127.1 127.8 127.5
4 Clemson 129.7 123.5 128.9 127.4
5 Michigan 127.4 125.5 127.2 126.7
6 Oklahoma 124.3 122.7 124.1 123.7
7 LSU 124.9 120.4 124.4 123.2
8 USC 124.3 119.4 122.8 122.2
9 Florida St. 122.8 117.1 122.1 120.7
10 Louisville 121.9 118.4 121.7 120.7
11 Auburn 120.5 118.5 120.4 119.8
12 Penn St. 119.1 119.4 118.9 119.1
13 Wisconsin 119.5 117.0 120.2 118.9
14 Virginia Tech 118.5 116.9 118.6 118.0
15 Oklahoma St. 117.5 118.5 117.0 117.7
16 Colorado 119.1 114.7 119.0 117.6
17 Miami 118.4 113.1 118.3 116.6
18 Pittsburgh 117.8 113.8 117.1 116.2
19 Iowa 115.9 113.1 115.8 114.9
20 North Carolina 116.2 110.9 116.0 114.4
21 Washington St. 114.9 112.2 114.4 113.9
22 Western Michigan 113.2 113.0 114.9 113.7
23 Florida 113.6 114.3 112.1 113.3
24 Stanford 114.9 109.3 114.4 112.9
25 Tennessee 113.3 110.9 112.4 112.2
26 West Virginia 112.5 111.8 112.2 112.2
27 Texas A&M 112.9 111.4 112.2 112.2
28 Notre Dame 112.3 109.5 111.4 111.1
29 Utah 112.7 107.8 111.4 110.6
30 Western Kentucky 110.8 108.7 112.2 110.6
31 TCU 110.3 111.7 109.4 110.5
32 Houston 110.0 108.8 111.1 110.0
33 Kansas St. 109.0 111.1 108.9 109.7
34 South Florida 110.0 108.3 110.6 109.6
35 Navy 110.0 108.4 110.2 109.6
36 Arkansas 111.0 107.1 110.1 109.4
37 BYU 110.7 106.5 110.7 109.3
38 Temple 108.9 108.3 109.6 109.0
39 Georgia Tech 110.2 106.4 109.3 108.6
40 Mississippi St. 109.2 107.3 108.0 108.2
41 Georgia 108.3 107.7 107.6 107.9
42 North Carolina St. 108.8 105.2 108.5 107.5
43 Northwestern 108.8 105.4 107.8 107.3
44 Minnesota 107.4 105.8 107.1 106.8
45 Vanderbilt 107.5 104.3 106.4 106.1
46 Nebraska 106.5 104.3 106.1 105.6
47 Memphis 106.1 103.9 105.5 105.2
48 Boise St. 104.5 105.7 105.2 105.1
49 Tulsa 104.5 105.7 105.0 105.1
50 Michigan St. 105.1 104.3 103.9 104.4
51 Texas 104.1 105.7 103.0 104.3
52 San Diego St. 104.0 102.7 105.9 104.2
53 UCLA 105.1 103.2 104.0 104.1
54 Kentucky 104.1 104.2 103.8 104.0
55 Indiana 103.5 104.6 102.9 103.7
56 Ole Miss 105.3 101.6 104.0 103.6
57 Baylor 103.2 103.9 103.1 103.4
58 Toledo 102.5 103.2 103.4 103.0
59 Oregon 103.7 101.7 102.6 102.7
60 Texas Tech 102.2 101.6 101.3 101.7
61 California 103.9 97.7 101.7 101.1
62 Duke 101.3 100.3 100.7 100.8
63 Wake Forest 101.2 99.5 101.3 100.7
64 Appalachian St. 99.7 100.9 101.3 100.6
65 Iowa St. 100.6 100.6 99.6 100.3
66 Missouri 99.9 98.6 98.6 99.1
67 Oregon St. 100.6 96.2 99.5 98.8
68 Boston College 99.5 97.9 98.9 98.8
69 Virginia 99.9 97.3 98.9 98.7
70 Colorado St. 97.8 99.4 98.9 98.7
71 Central Florida 97.7 98.7 98.4 98.3
72 Air Force 97.6 99.2 97.8 98.2
73 South Carolina 98.3 97.8 97.8 98.0
74 Arizona St. 99.0 97.4 97.3 97.9
75 Louisiana Tech 96.4 98.8 98.1 97.8
76 Syracuse 98.9 95.6 97.2 97.3
77 New Mexico 95.2 96.9 96.0 96.1
78 Maryland 95.8 97.8 94.2 95.9
79 Northern Illinois 94.6 95.9 95.5 95.3
80 Arkansas St. 93.3 95.9 95.1 94.8
81 Arizona 95.3 93.0 93.8 94.0
82 Wyoming 93.3 94.0 94.2 93.9
83 Troy 91.7 95.6 93.6 93.7
84 Ohio 91.4 97.1 92.0 93.5
85 Central Michigan 92.5 94.6 92.9 93.3
86 SMU 91.9 91.5 93.9 92.5
87 Cincinnati 92.0 92.8 91.7 92.2
88 Army 89.4 95.8 90.6 91.9
89 Purdue 91.7 90.3 90.5 90.8
90 Old Dominion 89.4 92.4 90.6 90.8
91 Miami (O) 89.4 91.1 90.8 90.4
92 Illinois 91.6 88.8 90.4 90.3
93 UTSA 87.2 92.9 89.6 89.9
94 Utah St. 88.8 91.2 88.6 89.5
95 Middle Tennessee 88.5 90.3 89.0 89.3
96 Nevada 88.2 90.2 88.7 89.1
97 Southern Mississippi 88.4 88.6 88.7 88.6
98 Eastern Michigan 87.6 89.6 88.3 88.5
99 East Carolina 87.6 89.0 87.6 88.1
100 Tulane 86.8 89.9 87.4 88.0
101 Kansas 87.0 91.0 85.1 87.7
102 Bowling Green 86.3 87.4 86.5 86.7
103 Georgia Southern 85.6 86.6 87.1 86.5
104 Idaho 83.8 88.8 85.8 86.1
105 Rutgers 86.8 85.3 85.1 85.8
106 Ball St. 84.7 86.7 85.6 85.7
107 UL-Lafayette 83.0 87.1 84.7 85.0
108 Kent St. 84.0 85.5 84.9 84.8
109 Connecticut 84.9 84.6 84.3 84.6
110 South Alabama 81.9 88.2 82.7 84.3
111 San Jose St. 84.1 84.2 84.0 84.1
112 Akron 81.8 86.9 82.7 83.8
113 UNLV 82.5 85.4 83.1 83.7
114 Florida International 81.2 85.4 81.8 82.8
115 Massachusetts 79.8 85.0 80.6 81.8
116 Georgia St. 79.4 83.6 81.4 81.5
117 Hawaii 80.9 80.8 80.7 80.8
118 Rice 77.8 83.3 78.3 79.8
119 Marshall 77.9 81.4 78.4 79.2
120 Charlotte 76.3 81.9 76.9 78.4
121 North Texas 77.2 80.2 77.6 78.4
122 Fresno St. 77.3 80.6 77.0 78.3
123 Buffalo 76.1 81.9 76.7 78.3
124 Florida Atlantic 75.0 79.5 77.1 77.2
125 UTEP 74.4 79.1 75.7 76.4
126 New Mexico St. 74.1 77.0 75.1 75.4
127 UL-Monroe 70.6 75.6 71.5 72.6
128 Texas St. 62.1 64.8 63.0 63.3

PiRate Retrodictive Rankings–Like the Coaches Poll and Not For Predicting Future Outcomes

PiRate Retrodictive
# Team
1 Alabama
2 Ohio St.
3 Clemson
4 Michigan
5 Wisconsin
6 Washington
7 Penn St.
8 USC
9 Colorado
10 Western Michigan
11 Oklahoma
12 Florida St.
13 Stanford
14 Oklahoma St.
15 LSU
16 Louisville
17 Auburn
18 Florida
19 Washington St.
20 West Virginia
21 South Florida
22 Iowa
23 Houston
24 Navy
25 Boise St.
26 Virginia Tech
27 Pittsburgh
28 Nebraska
29 Miami (Fla)
30 Tennessee
31 Texas A&M
32 Utah
33 Temple
34 North Carolina
35 Tulsa
36 Western Kentucky
37 Minnesota
38 BYU
39 Georgia Tech
40 Kansas St.
41 Appalachian St.
42 Toledo
43 Troy
44 Memphis
45 Georgia
46 Arkansas
47 San Diego St.
48 Northwestern
49 TCU
50 Air Force
51 Kentucky
52 Colorado St.
53 Vanderbilt
54 North Carolina St.
55 Indiana
56 Ole Miss
57 Wyoming
58 California
59 Old Dominion
60 Louisiana Tech
61 New Mexico
62 Mississippi St.
63 Baylor
64 Central Florida
65 Maryland
66 UCLA
67 South Carolina
68 Oregon
69 Notre Dame
70 Boston College
71 Texas
72 Ohio
73 Idaho
74 Wake Forest
75 Arkansas St.
76 Arizona St.
77 Oregon St.
78 Eastern Michigan
79 Middle Tennessee
80 Texas Tech
81 SMU
82 Missouri
83 Duke
84 Michigan St.
85 Syracuse
86 Central Michigan
87 UTSA
88 Army
89 Miami (O)
90 Northern Illinois
91 Iowa St.
92 Arizona
93 Southern Miss.
94 Georgia Southern
95 Hawaii
96 UL-Lafayette
97 South Alabama
98 Illinois
99 Cincinnati
100 Tulane
101 Akron
102 Utah St.
103 Bowling Green
104 Purdue
105 East Carolina
106 Virginia
107 San Jose St.
108 Nevada
109 North Texas
110 UNLV
111 Ball St.
112 UL-Monroe
113 Georgia St.
114 Rutgers
115 Kent St.
116 Kansas
117 Connecticut
118 Charlotte
119 UTEP
120 New Mexico St.
121 Florida Int’l.
122 Marshall
123 Rice
124 Massachusetts
125 Florida Atlantic
126 Texas St.
127 Fresno St.
128 Buffalo

PiRate Rating By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 110.0 108.3 110.6 109.6
Temple 108.9 108.3 109.6 109.0
Central Florida 97.7 98.7 98.4 98.3
Cincinnati 92.0 92.8 91.7 92.2
East Carolina 87.6 89.0 87.6 88.1
Connecticut 84.9 84.6 84.3 84.6
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Houston 110.0 108.8 111.1 110.0
Navy 110.0 108.4 110.2 109.6
Memphis 106.1 103.9 105.5 105.2
Tulsa 104.5 105.7 105.0 105.1
SMU 91.9 91.5 93.9 92.5
Tulane 86.8 89.9 87.4 88.0
         
AAC Averages 99.2 99.2 99.6 99.3
         
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 129.7 123.5 128.9 127.4
Florida St. 122.8 117.1 122.1 120.7
Louisville 121.9 118.4 121.7 120.7
North Carolina St. 108.8 105.2 108.5 107.5
Wake Forest 101.2 99.5 101.3 100.7
Boston College 99.5 97.9 98.9 98.8
Syracuse 98.9 95.6 97.2 97.3
         
Coastal Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Virginia Tech 118.5 116.9 118.6 118.0
Miami 118.4 113.1 118.3 116.6
Pittsburgh 117.8 113.8 117.1 116.2
North Carolina 116.2 110.9 116.0 114.4
Georgia Tech 110.2 106.4 109.3 108.6
Duke 101.3 100.3 100.7 100.8
Virginia 99.9 97.3 98.9 98.7
         
ACC Averages 111.8 108.3 111.2 110.4
         
Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 124.3 122.7 124.1 123.7
Oklahoma St. 117.5 118.5 117.0 117.7
West Virginia 112.5 111.8 112.2 112.2
TCU 110.3 111.7 109.4 110.5
Kansas St. 109.0 111.1 108.9 109.7
Texas 104.1 105.7 103.0 104.3
Baylor 103.2 103.9 103.1 103.4
Texas Tech 102.2 101.6 101.3 101.7
Iowa St. 100.6 100.6 99.6 100.3
Kansas 87.0 91.0 85.1 87.7
         
Big 12 Averages 107.1 107.9 106.4 107.1
         
Big Ten Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 127.5 127.1 127.8 127.5
Michigan 127.4 125.5 127.2 126.7
Penn St. 119.1 119.4 118.9 119.1
Michigan St. 105.1 104.3 103.9 104.4
Indiana 103.5 104.6 102.9 103.7
Maryland 95.8 97.8 94.2 95.9
Rutgers 86.8 85.3 85.1 85.8
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Wisconsin 119.5 117.0 120.2 118.9
Iowa 115.9 113.1 115.8 114.9
Northwestern 108.8 105.4 107.8 107.3
Minnesota 107.4 105.8 107.1 106.8
Nebraska 106.5 104.3 106.1 105.6
Purdue 91.7 90.3 90.5 90.8
Illinois 91.6 88.8 90.4 90.3
         
Big Ten Averages 107.6 106.4 107.0 107.0
         
Conference USA
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Kentucky 110.8 108.7 112.2 110.6
Old Dominion 89.4 92.4 90.6 90.8
Middle Tennessee 88.5 90.3 89.0 89.3
Florida International 81.2 85.4 81.8 82.8
Marshall 77.9 81.4 78.4 79.2
Charlotte 76.3 81.9 76.9 78.4
Florida Atlantic 75.0 79.5 77.1 77.2
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Louisiana Tech 96.4 98.8 98.1 97.8
UTSA 87.2 92.9 89.6 89.9
Southern Mississippi 88.4 88.6 88.7 88.6
Rice 77.8 83.3 78.3 79.8
North Texas 77.2 80.2 77.6 78.4
UTEP 74.4 79.1 75.7 76.4
         
CUSA Averages 84.7 87.9 85.7 86.1
         
FBS Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame 112.3 109.5 111.4 111.1
BYU 110.7 106.5 110.7 109.3
Army 89.4 95.8 90.6 91.9
Massachusetts 79.8 85.0 80.6 81.8
         
Indep. Averages 98.1 99.2 98.3 98.5
         
Mid-American Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio 91.4 97.1 92.0 93.5
Miami (O) 89.4 91.1 90.8 90.4
Bowling Green 86.3 87.4 86.5 86.7
Kent St. 84.0 85.5 84.9 84.8
Akron 81.8 86.9 82.7 83.8
Buffalo 76.1 81.9 76.7 78.3
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Michigan 113.2 113.0 114.9 113.7
Toledo 102.5 103.2 103.4 103.0
Northern Illinois 94.6 95.9 95.5 95.3
Central Michigan 92.5 94.6 92.9 93.3
Eastern Michigan 87.6 89.6 88.3 88.5
Ball St. 84.7 86.7 85.6 85.7
         
MAC Averages 90.3 92.8 91.2 91.4
         
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 104.5 105.7 105.2 105.1
Colorado St. 97.8 99.4 98.9 98.7
Air Force 97.6 99.2 97.8 98.2
New Mexico 95.2 96.9 96.0 96.1
Wyoming 93.3 94.0 94.2 93.9
Utah St. 88.8 91.2 88.6 89.5
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 104.0 102.7 105.9 104.2
Nevada 88.2 90.2 88.7 89.1
San Jose St. 84.1 84.2 84.0 84.1
UNLV 82.5 85.4 83.1 83.7
Hawaii 80.9 80.8 80.7 80.8
Fresno St. 77.3 80.6 77.0 78.3
         
MWC Averages 91.2 92.6 91.7 91.8
         
Pac-12 Conference
North Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Washington 131.0 123.8 130.4 128.4
Washington St. 114.9 112.2 114.4 113.9
Stanford 114.9 109.3 114.4 112.9
Oregon 103.7 101.7 102.6 102.7
California 103.9 97.7 101.7 101.1
Oregon St. 100.6 96.2 99.5 98.8
         
South Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
USC 124.3 119.4 122.8 122.2
Colorado 119.1 114.7 119.0 117.6
Utah 112.7 107.8 111.4 110.6
UCLA 105.1 103.2 104.0 104.1
Arizona St. 99.0 97.4 97.3 97.9
Arizona 95.3 93.0 93.8 94.0
         
Pac-12 Averages 110.4 106.4 109.3 108.7
         
Southeastern Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Florida 113.6 114.3 112.1 113.3
Tennessee 113.3 110.9 112.4 112.2
Georgia 108.3 107.7 107.6 107.9
Vanderbilt 107.5 104.3 106.4 106.1
Kentucky 104.1 104.2 103.8 104.0
Missouri 99.9 98.6 98.6 99.1
South Carolina 98.3 97.8 97.8 98.0
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 137.5 131.1 137.5 135.4
LSU 124.9 120.4 124.4 123.2
Auburn 120.5 118.5 120.4 119.8
Texas A&M 112.9 111.4 112.2 112.2
Arkansas 111.0 107.1 110.1 109.4
Mississippi St. 109.2 107.3 108.0 108.2
Ole Miss 105.3 101.6 104.0 103.6
         
SEC Averages 111.9 109.7 111.1 110.9
         
Sunbelt Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 99.7 100.9 101.3 100.6
Arkansas St. 93.3 95.9 95.1 94.8
Troy 91.7 95.6 93.6 93.7
Georgia Southern 85.6 86.6 87.1 86.5
Idaho 83.8 88.8 85.8 86.1
UL-Lafayette 83.0 87.1 84.7 85.0
South Alabama 81.9 88.2 82.7 84.3
Georgia St. 79.4 83.6 81.4 81.5
New Mexico St. 74.1 77.0 75.1 75.4
UL-Monroe 70.6 75.6 71.5 72.6
Texas St. 62.1 64.8 63.0 63.3
         
Sun Belt Averages 82.3 85.9 83.8 84.0

This Week’s PiRate Spreads

This Week’s Games–December 2-3, 2016
         
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
TCU Kansas St. 4.3 3.6 3.5
Georgia Southern Troy -3.6 -6.5 -4.0
Navy Temple 4.1 3.1 3.6
Western Kentucky Louisiana Tech 17.4 12.9 17.1
Oklahoma Oklahoma St. 7.8 10.2 8.1
South Alabama New Mexico St. 10.3 13.7 10.1
UL-Monroe UL-Lafayette -8.9 -10.0 -11.7
West Virginia Baylor 12.3 10.9 12.1
Alabama Florida 23.9 18.8 25.4
Idaho Georgia St. 7.4 8.2 7.4
Texas St. Arkansas St. -28.7 -28.6 -29.6
Wyoming San Diego St. -7.7 -5.7 -8.7
Clemson Virginia Tech 11.2 6.6 10.3
Wisconsin Penn St. 0.4 -2.4 1.3

 

Washington Colorado 12.1 9.1 11.4
Western Michigan Ohio 21.8 15.9 22.9

 

This Week’s Bowl Projections

Bowl Conferences Team vs. Team
New Mexico MWC CUSA New Mexico vs. La. Tech
Las Vegas Pac-12 MWC {Hawaii} vs. Wyoming
Cure AAC SBC Central Fla. vs. UL-Lafayette
Camellia MAC SBC Central Mich. vs. Troy
New Orleans CUSA SBC Sou. Miss. vs. Appy St.
Miami Beach AAC MAC Tulsa vs. Ohio
Boca Raton AAC CUSA Houston vs. W. Kentucky
Poinsettia MWC BYU San Diego St. vs. * BYU *
Idaho Potato MAC MWC Eastern Mich. vs. Boise St.
Bahamas AAC/CUSA MAC/CUSA South Florida vs. Toledo
Armed Forces Navy Big 12 Navy vs. {North Texas}
Dollar General MAC SBC Miami (O) vs. Arkansas St.
Hawaii CUSA MWC Old Dominion vs. Air Force
St. Petersburg AAC ACC/ND {Army} vs. Miami (Fla.)
Quick Lane ACC/ND Big Ten Boston College vs. {Miss. St.}
Independence SEC ACC/ND Vanderbilt vs. Wake Forest
Heart of Dallas Big Ten CUSA {S.Alabama} vs. UTSA
Military ACC/ND AAC N. Carolina St. vs. Temple
Holiday Big Ten Pac-12 Minnesota vs. Stanford
Cactus Big 12 Pac-12 TCU vs. [Idaho]
Pinstripe ACC/ND Big Ten Pittsburgh vs. Maryland
Russell Athletic ACC/ND Big 12 Louisville vs. West Virginia
Foster Farms Big Ten Pac-12 Northwestern vs. Wash. St.
Texas Big 12 SEC Baylor vs. Texas A&M
Birmingham AAC SEC Memphis vs. S. Carolina
Belk ACC/ND SEC Virginia Tech vs. Georgia
Alamo Big 12 Pac-12 Oklahoma St. vs. USC
Liberty Big 12 SEC Kansas St. vs. Tennessee
Sun ACC/ND Pac-12 N. Carolina vs. Utah
Arizona CUSA/SBC MWC/SBC Middle Tenn. vs. Colorado St.
Music City ACC/ND/B10 SEC Indiana vs. Kentucky
Orange ACC/ND B10/SEC Florida St. vs. Michigan
Citrus ACC/ND/B10 SEC Nebraska vs. Florida
TaxSlayer ACC/ND/B10 SEC Georgia Tech vs. Arkansas
Peach Semifinal Semifinal Alabama vs. Washington
Fiesta Semifinal Semifinal Ohio St. vs. Clemson
Outback Big Ten SEC Iowa vs. LSU
Cotton At-Large At-Large Western Mich. vs. Penn St.
Rose Big Ten Pac-12 Wisconsin vs. Colorado
Sugar Big 12 SEC Oklahoma vs. Auburn
Championship Semifinal Winners Alabama vs. Clemson
           
           
* Team * This Team Has Officially Accepted This Bid
{Team} Alternate Selection of non-bowl eligible team
[Team] At-Large Selection

 

March 6, 2016

NCAA Men’s Basketball Conference Tournament Update: 3/6/16

Teams Earning Automatic Bids
Ohio Valley: Austin Peay (18-17)
Ivy League: Yale (22-6)

 

Automatic Bids To Be Awarded Today
Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast vs. Stetson 12:30 PM ESPN2 *
Stetson is ineligible for the postseason. North Florida will go if the Hatters win.
 
Big South: Winthrop vs. UNC-Asheville 2:30 PM ESPN2
 
Missouri Valley: Evansville vs. Northern Iowa 2:00 PM on CBS

 

Results of Tournaments Played To Date

America East Conference Tournament Score
Site: Campus Sites @ Higher Seeds  
Quarterfinal Round  
Wednesday, March 2  
#8 UMBC (7-24) @ #1 Stony Brook (23-6) 76-86
#7 Hartford (9-22) @ #2 Albany (24-7) 68-59
#6 Maine (8-21) @ #3 Vermont (19-12) 82-99
#5 Binghamton (8-21) @ #4 New Hampshire (18-11) 51-56
   
Semifinal Round  
Monday, March 7  
#7 Hartford (10-22) @ #1 Stony Brook (24-6)  
#4 New Hampshire (19-11) @ #3 Vermont (20-12)  
   
Championship  
Saturday, March 12  
11:00 AM EST on ESPN2  
   
   
Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament  
Site: Campus Sites @ Higher Seeds  
Quarterfinal Round  
Tuesday, March 1  
G1: #8 USC-Upstate (10-21) @ #1 North Florida (21-10) 69-92
G2: #5 Kennesaw St. (11-19) @ #4 Florida Gulf Coast (17-13) 64-74
G3: #7 Stetson (10-21) @ #2 NJIT (17-13) 82-67
G4: #6 Lipscomb (11-20) @ #3 Jacksonville (16-15) 92-89
   
Semifinal Round  
Thursday, March 3  
#4 Florida Gulf Coast (18-13) @ #1 North Florida (22-10) 89-56
#7 Stetson (11-21) @ #6 Lipscomb (12-20) 96-75
   
Championship  
Sunday, March 6 12:30 PM on ESPN2  
#7 Stetson (12-21) @ #4 Florida Gulf Coast (19-13)  
   
Note: If Stetson wins the tournament, then North Florida will  
represent the A-Sun in the NCAA Tournament due to Stetson  
being ineligible for the postseason.  
   
   
Big South Conference Tournament  
Site: Buies Creek, NC (Campbell)  
   
1st Round  
Thursday, March 3  
G1: #8 Longwood (9-22) vs. #9 Charleston Southern (9-20) 75-69
G2: #7 Radford (16-14) vs. #10 Presbyterian (10-19) 64-65
G3: #6 Gardner-Webb (15-15) vs. #11 Campbell (12-17) 79-69
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Friday, March 4  
G4: #1 High Point (20-9) vs. #8 Longwood (10-22) 89-78
G5: #4 UNC-Asheville (19-11) vs. #5 Liberty (13-18) 80-49
G6: #2 Winthrop (21-8) vs. #10 Presbyterian (11-19) 67-53
G7: #3 Coastal Carolina (18-10) vs. #6 Gardner-Webb (16-15) 65-69
   
Semifinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
#1 High Point (21-9) vs. #4 UNC-Asheville (20-11) 69-80
#2 Winthrop (22-8) vs. #6 Gardner-Webb (17-15) 82-69
   
Championship  
Sunday, March 6  
#2 Winthrop (23-8) vs. #4 UNC-Asheville (21-11)  
   
   
Colonial Athletic Association Tournament  
Site: Baltimore  
   
1st Round  
Friday, March 4  
G1: #8 Elon (16-15) vs. #9 Drexel (5-24) 56-57
G2: #7 Charleston (16-13) vs. #10 Delaware (7-22) 67-63
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
G3: #1 Hofstra (22-8) vs. #9 Drexel (6-24) 80-67
G4: #4 James Madison (21-10) vs. #5 William & Mary (19-10) 64-79
G5: #2 UNC-Wilmington (22-7) vs. #7 Charleston (17-13) 66-64
G6: #3 Towson (20-11) vs. #6 Northeastern (17-14) 60-71
   
Semifinal Round  
Sunday, March 6  
#1 Hofstra (23-8) vs. #5 William & Mary (20-10)  
#2 UNC-Wilmington (23-7) vs. #6 Northeastern (18-14)  
   
Championship  
Monday, March 7  
7:00 PM on NBC Sports Network  
   
   
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament  
Site: Albany (Siena)  
   
1st Round  
Thursday, March 3  
G1: #8 Rider (12-19) vs. #9 Quinnipiac (9-20) 60-57
G2: #7 Canisius (13-18) vs. #10 Niagara (7-24) 102-97
G3: #6 Manhattan (12-17) vs. #11 Marist (7-22) 81-63
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Friday, March 4  
G4: #1 Monmouth (25-6) vs. #8 Rider (13-19) 59-48
G6: #2 Iona (19-10) vs. #7 Canisius (14-18) 71-55
   
Saturday, March 5  
G5: #4 Saint Peter’s (14-15) vs. #5 Fairfield (18-12) 64-55
G7: #3 Siena (20-11) vs. #6 Manhattan (13-17) 89-76
   
Semifinal Round  
Sunday, March 6  
#1 Monmouth (26-6) vs. #4 Saint Peter’s (15-15)  
#2 Iona (20-10) vs. #3 Siena (21-11)  
   
Championship Round  
Monday, March 7  
7:00 PM on ESPN  
   
   
Missouri Valley Conference Tournament  
Site: St. Louis  
   
1st Round  
Thursday, March 3  
G1: #8 Loyola (Chi.) (14-16) vs. #9 Bradley (5-26) 74-66
G2: #7 MIssouri St. (12-18) vs. #10 Drake (7-23) 69-67
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Friday, March 4  
G3: #1 Wichita St. (23-7) vs. #8 Loyola (Chi.) (15-16) 66-58
G4: #4 Northern Iowa (19-12) vs. #5 Southern Illinois (22-9) 66-60
G5: #2 Evansville (23-8) vs. #7 Missouri St. (13-18) 66-56
G6: #3 Illinois St. (18-13) vs. #6 Indiana St. (14-16) 57-65
   
Semifinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
#1 Wichita St. (24-7) vs. #4 Northern Iowa (20-12) 52-57
#2 Evansville (24-8) vs. #6 Indiana St. (15-16) 68-42
   
Championship Game  
Sunday, March 6  
#2 Evansville (25-8) vs. #4 Northern Iowa (21-12)  
   
   
Northeast Conference  
Site: Campus Sites @ Higher Seeds  
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Wednesday, March 2  
G1: #8 Robert Morris (10-21) @ #1 Wagner (20-9) 50-59
G2: #5 Mount St. Mary’s (13-18) @ #4 St. Francis (Bklyn) (15-16) 60-51
G3: #7 St. Francis (Pa.) (13-16) @ #2 Fairleigh Dickinson (15-14) 72-74
G4: #6 Long Island (15-14) @ #3 Sacred Heart (12-17) 84-76
   
Semifinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
#6 Long Island (16-14) @ #1 Wagner (21-9) 65-81
#5 Mount St. Mary’s (14-18) @ #2 Fairleigh Dickinson (16-14) 75-80
   
Championship  
Tuesday, March 8  
#2 Fairleigh Dickinson (17-14) at @1 Wagner (22-9)  
   
   
Ohio Valley Conference Tournament  
Site: Nashville  
   
1st Round  
Wednesday, March 2  
G1: #5 Tennessee Tech (19-10) vs. #8 Austin Peay (14-17) 72-92
G2: #6 Murray St. (16-13) vs. #7 Eastern Illinois (13-16) 78-62
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Thursday, March 3  
G3: #4 Tennessee St. (20-9) vs. #8 Austin Peay (15-17) 72-74
G4: #3 Morehead St. (18-11) vs. #6 Murray St. (17-13) 75-66
   
Semifinal Round  
Friday, March 4  
G5: #1 Belmont (20-10) vs. #8 Austin Peay (16-17) 96-97
G6: #2 UT-Martin (18-13) vs. #3 Morehead St. (19-11) 83-70
   
Championship  
Saturday, March 5 6:00 PM on ESPN2  
#2 UT-Martin (19-13) vs. #8 Austin Peay (17-17) 73-83
   
   
Patriot League Tournament  
Site: Campus Sites @ Higher Seeds  
   
1st Round  
Monday, March 1  
G1: #9 Holy Cross (10-19) @ #8 Loyola (Md.) (9-20) 72-67
G2: #10 Lafayette (6-23) @ #7 Navy (18-13) 70-78
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Wednesday, March 3  
G3: #9 Holy Cross (11-19) @ #1 Bucknell (17-12) 77-72
G4: #5 Colgate (13-16) @ #4 Army (18-12) 69-82
G5: #6 American (11-18) @ #3 Boston U (18-13) 69-64
G6: #7 Navy (19-13) @ #2 Lehigh (15-14) 63-65
   
Semifinal Round  
Sunday, March 6  
#9 Holy Cross (12-19) @ #4 Army (19-12)  
#6 American (12-18) @ #2 Lehigh (16-14)  
   
Championship  
Wednesday, March 9 @ Higher Seed  
7:30 PM on CBS Sports Network  
   
   
Southern Conference  
Site: Asheville, NC  
   
1st Round  
Friday, March 4  
G1: #8 Samford (13-18) vs. #9 VMI (9-20) 92-85
G2: #7 Mercer (18-13) vs. #10 Citadel (10-21) 71-69
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
G3: #1 Chattanooga (26-5) vs. #8 Samford (14-18) 59-54
G4: #4 Wofford (15-16) vs. #5 Western Carolina (15-16) 83-88
G5: #2 East Tennessee (21-10) Vs. Mercer (19-13) 81-65
G6: #3 Furman (17-14) vs. #6 UNC-Greensboro (14-17) 80-64
   
Semifinal Round  
Sunday, March 6  
#1 Chattanooga (27-5) vs. #5 Western Carolina (16-16)  
#2 East Tennessee (22-10) vs. #3 Furman (18-14)  
   
Championship  
Monday, March 7  
9:00 PM on ESPN2  
   
   
West Coast Conference Tournament  
Site: Las Vegas  
   
1st Round  
Friday, March 4  
G1: #8 Loyola Marymount (13-16) vs. #9 San Diego (9-20) 64-61
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
G2: #3 BYU (22-9) vs. #6 Santa Clara (11-19) 72-60
G3: #4 Pepperdine (17-12) vs. #5 San Francisco (15-14) 90-86
G4: #1 Saint Mary’s (24-4) vs. #8 Loyola Marymount (14-16) 60-48
G5: #2 Gonzaga (23-7) vs. #7 Portland (12-19) 92-67
   
Semifinal Round  
Monday, March 7  
#1 Saint Mary’s (25-4) vs. #4 Pepperdine (18-12)  
#2 Gonzaga (24-7) vs. #3 BYU (23-9)  
   
Championship  
Tuesday, March 8  
9:00 PM on ESPN  

 

Brackets For Tournaments Not Yet Underway

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Sites: Washington, DC
1st Round
Tuesday, March 8
G1: #12 North Carolina St. (15-16) vs. #13 Wake Forest (11-19)
G2: #11 Florida St. (18-12) vs. #14 Boston College (7-24)
 
2nd Round
Wednesday, March 9
G3: #8 Pittsburgh (20-10) vs. #9 Syracuse (19-12)
G4: #5 Duke (22-9) vs. G1 Winner
G5: #7 Clemson (17-13) vs. #10 Georgia Tech (18-13)
G6: #6 Virginia Tech (18-13) vs. G2 Winner
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G7: #1 North Carolina (25-6) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #4 Notre Dame (20-10) vs. G4 Winner
G9: #2 Virginia (24-6) vs. G5 Winner
G10: #3 Miami (24-6) vs. G6 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
G9 Winner vs. G10 Winner
 
Championship Round
Saturday, March 12
9:00 PM on ESPN
 
Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
Site: Brooklyn
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #12 George Mason (11-20) vs. #13 St. Louis (10-20)
G2: #11 Duquesne (16-15) vs. #14 LaSalle (8-21)
 
2nd Round
Thursday, March 10
G3: #8 Fordham (17-12) vs. #9 Richmond (15-15)
G4: #5 George Washington (22-9) vs. G1 Winner
G5: #7 Rhode Island (17-14) vs. #10 U Mass (13-17)
G6: #6 Davidson (18-11) vs. G2 Winner
 
Quarterfinal Round
Friday, March 11
G7: #1 Dayton (24-6) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #4 St. Joseph’s (24-7) vs. G4 Winner
G9: #2 VCU (22-9) vs. G5 Winner
G10: #3 St. Bonaventure (22-7) vs. G6 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Saturday, March 12
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
G9 Winner vs. G10 Winner
 
Championship
Sunday, March 13
12:30 PM on CBS
 
 
Big 12 Conference Tournament
Site: Kansas City
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #8 Kansas St. (16-15) vs. #9 Oklahoma St. (12-19)
G2: #7 Texas Tech (19-11) vs. #10 TCU (11-20)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G3: #4 Texas (20-11) vs. #5 Baylor (21-10)
G4: #1 Kansas (27-4) vs. G1 Winner
G5: #2 West Virginia (24-7) vs. G2 Winner
G6: #3 Oklahoma (24-6) vs. #6 Iowa St. (21-10)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G3 Winner vs. G4 Winner
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
 
Championship Game
Saturday, March 12
6:00 PM on ESPN
 
 
Big East Conference Tournament
Site: New York
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #8 Georgetown (14-17) vs. #9 DePaul (9-21)
G2: #7 Marquette (19-12) vs. #10 St. John’s (8-23)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G3: #1 Villanova (27-4) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #4 Providence (22-9) vs. #5 Butler (21-9)
G5: #2 Xavier (26-4) vs. G2 Winner
G6: #3 Seton Hall (22-8) vs. #6 Creighton (18-13)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G3 Winner vs. G4 Winner
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
 
Championship Round
Saturday, March 12
5:30 PM on Fox
 
 
Big Sky Conference Tournament
Site: Reno, NV
 
1st Round
Tuesday, March 8
G1: #8 Portland St. (12-17) vs. #9 Northern Colorado (10-20)
G2: #5 North Dakota (15-14) vs. #12 Southern Utah (5-23)
G3: #7 Montana St. (14-16) vs. #10 Sacramento St. (13-16)
G4: #6 Eastern Washington (16-14) vs. #11 Northern Arizona (5-24)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G5: #1 Weber St. (23-8) vs. G1 Winner
G6: #4 Idaho St. (16-14) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #2 Montana (19-10) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #3 Idaho (20-11) vs. G4 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
8:45 PM on ESPNU
 
 
Big West Conference Tournament
Site: Anaheim
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
#4 UCSB (17-12) vs. #5 UC Davis (10-18)
#1 Hawaii (24-5) vs. #8 Cal St. Fullerton (10-19)
#2 UC-Irvine (24-8) vs. #7 Cal Poly (10-19)
#3 Long Beach St. (18-13) vs. #6 UC Riverside (14-18)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
Highest Remaining Seed vs. Lowest Remaining Seed
2nd Highest Remaining Seed vs. 3rd Highest Remaining Seed
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
11:30 PM on ESPN2
 
 
Conference USA Tournament
Site: Birmingham
 
1st Round
Tuesday, March 8
G1: #12 Florida Atlantic (7-24) vs. #13 UTSA (5-26)
 
2nd Round
Wednesday, March 9
G2: #8 Western Kentucky (16-15) vs. #9 North Texas (12-19)
G3: #5 Old Dominion (19-12) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #7 Charlotte (13-18) vs. #10 Rice (12-19)
G5: #6 UTEP (18-13) vs. #11 Florida Int’l (13-18)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G6: #1 UAB (26-5) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #4 Louisiana Tech (23-8) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #2 Middle Tennessee (21-9) vs. G4 Winner
G9: #3 Marshall (16-15) vs. G5 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G6 Winner vs. G7 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
2:30 PM on Fox Sports 1
 
 
Horizon League Tournament
Site: Detroit
 
1st Round
Saturday, March 5
G1: #4 Green Bay (19-12) vs. #9 Cleveland St. (9-22)
G2: #5 Milwaukee (19-12) vs. #8 Northern Kentucky (9-20)
G3: #3 Wright St. (19-12) vs. #10 Illinois-Chicago (5-24)
G4: #6 Detroit (15-14) vs. #7 Youngstown St. (11-20)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Sunday, March 6
G5: G1 Winner vs. G2 Winner
G6: G3 Winner vs. G4 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Monday, March 7
G5 Winner vs. #1 Valparaiso (26-5)
G6 Winner vs. #2 Oakland (21-10)
 
Championship
Tuesday, March 8
7:00 PM on ESPN
 
 
Mid-American Conference Tournament
Site: Cleveland, 1st Round at Higher Seed
 
1st Round
Monday, March 7
G1:#9 Toledo (17-14) at #8 Eastern Michigan (17-14)
G2: #12 Bowling Green (14-17) at #5 Kent St. (19-12)
G3: #10 Western Michigan (13-18) at #7 Northern Illinois (20-11)
G4: #11 Miami (O) (12-19) at #6 Ball St. (19-12)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G5: #1 Akron (24-7) vs. G1 Winner
G6: #4 Central Michigan (17-14) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #2 Ohio (20-10) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #3 Buffalo (17-14) vs. G4 Winner
 
Semfinal Round
Friday, March 11
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
 
Championship Round
Saturday, March 12
7:30 PM on ESPN
 
 
Mid-eastern Athletic Conference Tournament
Site: Norfolk, VA
 
1st Round
Monday, March 7
G1: #5 Savannah St. (14-14) vs. #12 Delaware St. (7-24)
G2: #6 North Carolina A&T (10-21) vs. #11 Coppin St. (8-21)
 
Tuesday, March 8
G3: #8 UM-Eastern Shore (10-21) vs. #9 Morgan St. (8-21)
G4: #7 UNC-Central (12-18) vs. #10 Howard (12-19)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Wednesday, March 9
G5: #1 Hampton (18-10) vs. G3 Winner
G6: #2 Norfolk St. (16-15) vs. G4 Winner
 
Thursday, March 10
G7: #3 South Carolina St. (17-13) vs. G2 Winner
G8: #4 Bethune-Cookman (14-17) vs. G1 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G5 Winner vs. G8 Winner
G6 Winner vs. G7 Winner
 
Championship Game
Saturday, March 12
1:00 PM on ESPN2
 
 
Mountain West Conference Tournament
Site: Las Vegas
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #8 Wyoming (14-17) vs. #9 Utah St. (15-14)
G2: #7 UNLV (17-14) vs. #10 Air Force (14-17)
G3: #6 Colorado St. (16-15) vs. #11 San Jose St. (9-21)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G4: #1 San Diego St. (23-8) vs. G1 Winner
G5: #4 New Mexico (17-14) vs. #5 Nevada (18-12)
G6: #2 Fresno St. (22-9) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #3 Boise St. (20-11) vs. G3 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G4 Winner vs. G5 Winner
G6 Winner vs. G7 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
5:00 PM on CBS
 
 
Pac-12 Conference Tournament
Site: Las Vegas
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #8 Washington (17-13) vs. #9 Stanford (15-14)
G2: #5 Colorado (21-10) vs. #12 Washington St. (9-21)
G3: #7 USC (20-11) vs. #10 UCLA (15-16)
G4: #6 Oregon St. (18-11) vs. #11 Arizona St. (15-16)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G5: #1 Oregon (25-6) vs. G1 Winner
G6: #4 Arizona (24-7) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #2 Utah (24-7) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #3 California (22-9) vs. G4 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
10:15 PM on FS1
 
 
Southeastern Conference Tournament
Site: Nashville
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #12 Tennessee (13-18) vs. #13 Auburn (11-19)
 
2nd Round
Thursday, March 10
G2: #8 Florida (18-13) vs. #9 Arkansas (16-15)
G3: #5 Vanderbilt (19-12) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #7 Ole Miss (20-11) vs. #10 Alabama (17-13)
G5: #6 Georgia (17-12) vs. #11 Mississippi St. (14-16)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Friday, March 11
G6: #1 Texas A&M (24-7) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #4 LSU (18-13) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #2 Kentucky (23-8) vs. G4 Winner
G9: #3 South Carolina (24-7) vs. G5 Winnerr
 
Semifinal Round
Saturday, March 12
G6 Winner vs. G7 Winner
G8 Winner vs. G9 Winner
 
Championship
Sunday, March 13
2:00 PM on ESPN
 
 
Southland Conference Tournament
Site: Katy, TX
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #5 Southeastern Louisiana (11-20) vs. #8 New Orleans (10-19)
G2: #6 McNeese St. (9-19) vs. #7 Nicholls St. (10-22)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G3: #4 Houston Baptist (16-15) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #3 Sam Houston (17-14) vs. G2 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
#1 Stephen F. Austin (25-5) vs. G3 Winner
#2 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (24-6) vs. G4 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
9:30 PM on ESPN2
 
 
Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament
Site: Houston
 
1st Round
Tuesday, March 8
G1: #7 Mississippi Valley St. (6-26) vs. #10 Grambling (7-23)
G2: #8 Alabama A&M (10-17) vs. #9 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (8-24)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Wedneday, March 9
G3: #2 Alcorn St. (15-14) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #1 Texas Southern (17-13) vs. G2 Winner
 
Thursday, March 10
G5: #3 Jackson St. (17-14) vs. #6 Prairie View A&M (7-23)
G6; #4 Southern (19-12) vs. #5 Alabama St. (14-16)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G3 Winner vs. G5 Winner
G4 Winner vs. G6 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
6:30 PM on ESPNU
 
 
Summit League Tournament
Site: Sioux Falls, SD
 
Quarterfinal Round
Saturday, March 5
G1: #1 IPFW (23-8) vs. #8 South Dakota (14-17)
G2: #2 South Dakota St. (23-7) vs. #7 Oral Roberts (14-16)
 
Sunday, March 6
G3: #4 IUPUI (13-18) vs. #5 North Dakota St. (18-12)
G4: #3 Omaha (18-12) vs. #6 Denver (15-14)
 
Semifinal Round
Monday, March 7
G5: G1 Winner vs. G3 Winner
G6: G2 Winner vs. G4 Winner
 
Championship
Tuesday, March 8
9:00 PM on ESPN2
 
Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Site: New Orleans
 
1st Round
Thursday, March 10
G1: #5 Georgia Southern (14-16) vs. #8 South Alabama (13-18)
G2: #6 Georgia St. (16-13) vs. #7 Texas St. (14-15)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Friday, March 11
G3: #4 UL-Lafayette (16-13) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #3 UT-Arlington (22-9) vs. G2 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Saturday, March 12
#1 UALR (27-4) vs. G3 Winner
#2 UL-Monroe (19-12) vs. G4 Winner
 
Championship
Sunday, March 13
1:00 PM on ESPN2
 
 
Western Athletic Conference Tournament
Site: Las Vegas
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G1: #4 Utah Valley (12-17) vs. #5 Missouri-KC (11-18)
G2: #2 Cal St. Bakersfield (21-8) vs. #7 Chicago St. (4-27)
G3: #3 Seattle (13-15) vs. #6 UT-Rio Grande Valley (8-21)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
#1 New Mexico St. (22-9) vs. G1 Winner
G2 Winner vs. G3 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
11:00 PM on ESPNU

 

The American Athletic Conference and Big Ten Conference brackets will be determined later today after their regular season schedules conclude.

 

 

 

 

February 5, 2016

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Picks For February 6-7, 2016

Breaking News: The University of Louisville has self-imposed a ban on the postseason for this year.  This means one extra bubble team just benefitted greatly.

 

Here are this weekend’s picks from the top 6 conferences.

 

Remember:

Red= An algorithm based 100% on the Four Factors

White= An algorithm combining the Four Factors and a Least Squares formula on who beat who where and when

Blue= A 100% ratings’ based algorithm concentrating on scoring margin and strength of schedule

All ratings rounded to nearest whole number except when that number is 0.  Then, even if the rating is 1/1000 of a point different, the team 1/1000 of a point better is listed as a 1-point favorite.

Games Scheduled for: Saturday, February 6, 2016
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Pittsburgh Virginia -2 1 1
Wake Forest Florida St. -4 -5 -3
Louisville Boston College 24 26 19
Duke North Carolina St. 12 12 10
Virginia Tech Clemson 1 1 -1
Notre Dame North Carolina -3 -1 -5
TCU Kansas -10 -10 -12
Oklahoma St. Iowa St. -4 -4 1
Texas Texas Tech 7 6 8
Kansas St. Oklahoma -7 -3 -7
West Virginia Baylor 8 8 10
Xavier Marquette 15 14 12
Creighton Depaul 12 15 17
Providence Villanova -4 -2 -5
St. John’s Butler -11 -14 -8
Seton Hall Georgetown 6 16 9
Michigan Michigan St. -3 -3 -5
Nebraska Rutgers 16 17 14
Maryland Purdue 5 5 6
Penn St. Indiana -10 -24 -15
California Stanford 8 8 7
Washington Arizona -3 -2 -9
Washington St. Arizona St. -3 -5 -3
Oregon St. Colorado 2 -1 -1
Alabama Missouri 11 10 10
Kentucky Florida 6 4 7
Texas A&M South Carolina 9 7 10
Georgia Auburn 10 13 7
LSU Mississippi St. 8 9 14
Arkansas Tennessee 7 7 8
Ole Miss Vanderbilt -2 -3 2

 

Games Schedule for: Sunday, February 7 2016
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Georgia Tech Miami (Fl.) -3 -2 -5
Illinois Iowa -13 -11 -16
Oregon Utah 11 9 12

 

January 29, 2016

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Picks For January 30-31, 2016

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:05 pm
Games Schedule for: Saturday, January 30, 2016
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Syracuse Georgia Tech 6 5 9
Florida St. Clemson 6 5 8
Louisville Virginia 8 7 5
North Carolina St. Miami (Fl.) -5 -5 -3
North Carolina Boston College 28 28 30
Florida West Virginia -1 2 -1
Texas Vanderbilt 5 3 6
Kansas St. Ole Miss 9 10 12
TCU Tennessee -2 -4 -1
Texas A&M Iowa St. 2 4 5
Arkansas Texas Tech 4 3 10
LSU Oklahoma -7 -5 -4
Baylor Georgia 11 6 15
Kansas Kentucky 6 4 8
Auburn Oklahoma St. -3 -1 2
Marquette Butler 1 1 -1
Depaul Xavier -12 -14 -15
Creighton Seton Hall 5 5 2
Georgetown Providence 3 2 1
Penn St. Michigan -6 1 -5
Indiana Minnesota 19 19 23
Purdue Nebraska 13 13 10
USC Washington 9 9 4
Utah Stanford 8 1 6
UCLA Washington St. 10 11 12
Arizona Oregon St. 12 12 14
South Carolina Alabama 8 10 8
Missouri Mississippi St. 1 -1 -2
Games Schedule for: Sunday, January 31, 2016
Home Visitor Red White Blue
St. John’s Villanova -18 -20 -25
Notre Dame Wake Forest 11 11 10
Ohio St. Maryland -4 -3 -5
Iowa Northwestern 18 14 19
Colorado California 3 3 5
Michigan St. Rutgers 26 27 22
Pittsburgh Virginia Tech 8 9 7
Illinois Wisconsin -1 -2 -5
Arizona St. Oregon -2 1 2

 

August 23, 2015

2015 Southeastern Conference Preview

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 4:05 pm

Former Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin said that the three toughest leagues in football were the AFC, the NFC, and the SEC.  In most years in recent memory, the Southeastern Conference has been the clear-cut best league in college football, and in 2015, they are at the least number two and probably tied for first.

Like its chief rival, the Pac-12 Conference, the SEC has a problem this year.  That dreaded “P” word, parity, will possibly leave the one conference that could theoretically produce all four playoff representatives based on true power rating completely out of the playoff picture with seven teams suffering two losses.

Imagine this:  In the Big Ten, Ohio State and Michigan State finish 13-0 and 11-1.  TCU runs the table at 12-0 while Baylor finishes 11-1.  Notre Dame finishes 11-1.  Before looking at any other league, you have five teams vying for the four playoff spots.  Politically, we believe that if a Big 12 team is in final contention for a playoff spot, the Selection Committee will almost be forced to take one or even two teams from that league to make up for the fact that it looked like two teams were headed to the playoffs last year and, then after both won convincingly, were jilted.

The SEC missing out on the playoffs with up to seven two-loss teams could be a blessing for the rest of the FBS.  How will the multi-thousands of fans and hundreds of media in these southern states react if the SEC is left on the outside of that door?  Can you say “8 team playoffs” much sooner than planned?

It is ludicrous that if the NCAA is going to conduct a playoff that one of its Power 5 conference champions will be guaranteed to be excluded?  If the NFL started omitting an 11-5 Pittsburgh Steelers team from the playoffs even though they won the AFL North ahead of 10-6 Cincinnati and 10-6 Baltimore, do you think the Super Bowl would be the same as it is now?  Of course not, and the NCAA must fix this the sooner the better.  So, for the sake of correctness, maybe it would be a good thing for the TV ratings to take a major hit with no team from the South participating in them.

Back to the facts.  The SEC West Division’s seven teams are without a doubt the best seven in any group in the nation.  Throw in the top half of the East, and you have 10 teams that could easily win the ACC this year.  When the team that is the consensus last choice in the West having a possible Heisman Trophy quarterback candidate returning after taking his team to the top spot in the rankings for part of 2014, you know your division is incredibly stacked and one that will most likely go 28-0 outside of SEC play.

In all the years of rating college teams, we have never seen anything like this, as five of the seven teams begin the season within the home field advantage of each other.  There is no real separation between Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, and Ole Miss.  With standard deviations and  home field advantage factored into the equation, there is no real way to say that one of these five is any better than the other.  If it were just two, or at most three, then one could be expected to go undefeated in the league.  With five teams closely matched, and with three more in the East strong enough to pin an extra loss on these five contenders, 6-2 is about the best that can be expected by any team in the West Division.  And, this sounds totally crazy, but it is even possible that there could be a five-way tie at 5-3!  Just let the Selection Committee choose a three-loss SEC school over a one-loss Baylor, Michigan State, Stanford, or Clemson, and watch what happens.

For the SEC, parity could also be a good thing.  While seven teams may finish the regular season at 10-2, five more teams could become bowl eligible.  Yes, all but two schools figure to get six wins, and it isn’t impossible that a 13th team, with an upset, could get to 6-6.  Only one team is totally out-manned and out of the bowl picture to start the season.

In case you haven’t figure it out, what we are stating is, “There are seven SEC schools capable of playing for the National Championship!”

EAST
While the West Division is getting all the attention, there are three East Division schools with enough talent and experience to sneak up and actually produce the best overall record in the league.  Georgia, Tennessee, and Missouri may not finish in the top five in the West, but in the easier East, any of this trio could go 6-0 in the division and 7-1 overall.  So, while the West is considerably stronger, the East actually has a better percentage chance of producing a resume that the Selection Committee would accept as a playoff team.

Georgia has a couple questions on offense, while their defense has to replace a couple of stars.  However, the Bulldogs continue to be the team to beat in the East.  Coach Mark Richt has been the John Cooper of the SEC, perennially producing teams that compete for championships but always come up short.  The last two years, the Bulldogs appeared to be the best team in the division, only to suffer an unexpected loss and watch Missouri pass them up.  Last year, it was an 18-point loss to a weakened Florida squad.  Two years ago, Vanderbilt humiliated UGA.

This year, Georgia’s preseason superiority has been reduced to near zero over its next two competitors.  The Bulldogs break in a new quarterback and must find receivers to replace their top two receivers from last year.  However, they have Nick Chubb, the powerful running back with enough speed to burst through the line and then run to daylight.  They also have a new offensive coordinator from a legendary coaching family.  The good news is Brian Schottenheimer has nine years experience as an NFL OC.  The not so good news is that his nine NFL offenses were very vanilla, very conservative, and on the dull side to watch.  Like his father, Schottenheimer has been criticized for playing not to lose rather than to win.  This method might have worked in the 1960’s and 1970’s when Vince Dooley had dozens of running plays and a handful of passing plays in his playbook, but in 2015, you better be able to throw the pigskin 30 times a game and run the ball inside and outside.

We are not concerned with the Bulldog defense.  In fact, we consider defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to be an elite assistant.  Look at how Florida State regressed when Pruitt left the Seminoles and came to Athens.  FSU gave up 13.5 points and 116 yards per game more in 2014 than in 2013.  Meanwhile, Georgia improved its numbers by 8.3 points and 39 yards per game in Pruitt’s first year between the hedges.

The Bulldogs have a tough conference schedule with road games against Tennessee and Auburn, along with the neutral game with Florida in Jacksonville.  Alabama comes to Athens on October 3, and the loser is virtually guaranteed to be 6-2 at best.  Georgia also must finish the regular season at Georgia Tech, and the ‘Dogs have a score to settle with their in-state rival.

Even with all the possible roadblocks, this is a highly talented team capable of beating a conference champion outside the SEC.  If Georgia gets to the SEC Championship Game, they could be the fresher team than their West Division opponent, and maybe it could finally be their year to take home the trophy.

Tennessee was not supposed to be this good this fast under Coach Butch Jones.  We predicted three years ago that Jones would take the Volunteers back to the top of the league in about four years, but it appears he has the Big Orange there in year three.  In our minds, Jones is an almost clone to former Vol coach Doug Dickey.  He is a relentless recruiter and exceptional organizer.  Think of Dean Smith coaching on the gridiron.

If quarterback Joshua Dobbs takes a leap forward similar to the leap he made last year, the Vols will be looking at the plus side of 35 points and 400 yards per game.  In Jalen Hurd and Pig Howard, they have a lethal one-two punch at running back, and there is depth behind this duo.  Howard is a dual threat back able to run pass routes and find daylight after the catch.

Dobbs has a bevy of quality receivers to catch his passes, and Tennessee dodged a bullet when one of their best suffered a torn bicep in practice.  Marquez North should be healthy and able to play from the start of the season.  Von Pearson and Jason Croom give the Vols the number one backups in the league; both can turn short tosses into ones that cross several white lines.

The UT defense shaved five points and 50+ yards off their averages in year two of the Jones tenure, and with most of the key players returning this year, the Vols could contend for top defense in the division.  End Derek Barnett as a true freshman put up numbers capable of making an All-American squad if produced by a senior.  Barnett put enemy QBs on the turf 10 times last year and added another 10.5 tackles behind the line.  When he wasn’t disrupting passing plays, Sam linebacker Curt Maggitt’s blitzing was.  Maggitt recorded 11 sacks.

A strong secondary features shutdown cornerback Cameron Sutton and safety LaDarrell McNeil, and it has excellent depth.  Expect more nickel and dime packages with the quality depth in this unit.

Tennessee’s season could receive a big boost in September.  If the Vols knock off Oklahoma when the Sooners visit Neyland Stadium on the 19th, and if UT can get over its Florida problem by defeating a definitely weaker than they are Gators squad, then there is a legitimate window toward a 6-0 start entering the bye week before the big game at Alabama.  The Crimson Tide has a tough road game during the Vols’ bye week, so there is a possibility that this team could win in Tuscaloosa and continue to run the table to a road game against Missouri.  Of course, the Vols could also drop the OU game, the Florida game, a home game against Georgia, as well as the road games against Alabama and Missouri.  In a highly competitive league, we figure that all the contenders will split their games against other contenders, which we believe leads to the Vols finishing in a three way tie in the division and losing on a tiebreaker for the right to go to Atlanta on December 5.

Missouri has not gotten a lot of respect for two years running, and all the Tigers have done is won back-to-back division titles.  Coach Gary Pinkel rarely gets the due he deserves.  Once again this year, Mizzou is not getting its due.  The Tigers have slowly built up quality depth capable of competing week in and week out against the SEC.  Only a dearth of talent at the receiving positions may prevent MU from three-peating in the East.

Maty Mauk didn’t have the zip on the ball last year, but the junior quarterback was not healthy.  Expect vast improvement this year in his passes, but who is going to be catching those passes?  Gone are the top four pass catchers from 2014, who combined for 175 receptions, 24 (of the team’s 25) touchdowns, and almost 2,300 yards.  Tight end Sean Culkin returns after grabbing 20 passes but with no breakaway speed.  J’Mon Moore has the potential to become a big-time receiver, but the sophomore may need additional seasoning first.

Russell Hansbrough was one of seven SEC backs to top 1,000 rushing yards last year, but MU had a two-headed monster last year with Marcus Murphy almost making it to 1,000 yards.  Hansbrough needs a partner to split reps in the backfield, as his frame cannot handle toting the pigskin 25 times each week.

The Tiger offensive line is a blue collar success.  The Tigers do not have an All-American in the unit, but they have no real liability either.  Center Evan Boehm has three years of starting experience, and as a senior, he will lead this veteran unit.

The Tigers’ other side of the ball could be called a “no-name defense,” but the stop troops actually carried the load for this team last year.  Linebackers Kentrell Brothers and Michael Sherer created their own force field last year, when the teammates combined to make 236 tackles.  They will need to continue their relentless pursuit this year, because the defensive line is a bit suspect with four new starters inheriting the positions.  If the front four can provide a decent pass rush, then the secondary will make some big plays.  Cornerbacks Kenya Dennis and Aarion Penton both registered double digits in passes defended, while Ian Simon proved to be an excellent last line of defense last year.

Pinkel’s Tigers have a favorable schedule, especially in the first half of the season.  The first three games should be easy wins, allowing the new starters to gel in time for a crucial road game at Kentucky followed by home games against South Carolina and Florida.  It is possible, MU will be 6-0 when they go to Georgia on October 17.  Last year, Mizzou was destroyed by the Bulldogs 34-0 in Columbia, and it could have been worse, as Maty Mauk completed as many passes to Georgia players as he did his teammates (not really, but it seemed so).

While the Tigers have the third best talent in the division, they have the easiest schedule of the three contenders.  Even another loss to Georgia may not be a killer.  They get Tennessee at home, and they draw Mississippi State and Arkansas from the West.  Two of their road games come against Kentucky and Vanderbilt, and this team has the look of a 6-2 conference team.
The top three teams have created some distance from the next two in the East.  South Carolina and Florida do not figure to contend for the division title, but both should find a way to become bowl eligible.  The Gamecocks might surprise a few folks this year, as many of the so-called pundits believe Steve Spurrier will suffer his first losing season since he was at Duke in 1987.  It’s hard to believe the “Ole Ball Coach” will go 5-7 or worse.  Last year, the USC defense nosedived into an out of control tailspin, beginning with their opener against Texas A&M.  The Gamecocks gave up 52 points and 680 yards.  Against Kentucky, Carolina yielded 45 points 447 yards.  On the year, USC gave up 30 points and 433 yards, a year after giving up 20 points and 350 yards.

The Gamecock defense returns eight starters and adds a new co-defensive coordinator in Jon Hoke (Brady’s brother), who has a long relationship with Coach Steve Spurrier.  When last he was a defensive coordinator for Spurrier (Florida, 2001), his defense gave up less than 15 points and just 290 yards per game.  Hoke will immediately impact the South Carolina passing game.

Offensively, Carolina has a lot of holes to fill, especially at quarterback.  Connor Mitch has not firmly secured the starting nod yet, and Spurrier has been known to have a short leash with his passers, so expect more than one to play early in the season.  It’s not that Mitch doesn’t have the skills; the Gamecocks have three quarterbacks that are all equally above average but not spectacular.

The other key issue with this offense is an inexperienced receiving corps.  Pharoh Cooper is the leading returning receiver in the league, and he could top 1,250 receiving yards this year.  After Cooper, there is no experience, and the young receivers are not overly talented.  Drops and improper route-running could be a problem and lead to interceptions that are not the QBs’ fault.

The USC running game loses its top rusher from last year, but there is talent here.  Brandon Wilds is a game-changer when he gets a little bit of running room.  David Williams combines more power running ability but isn’t quite the breakaway threat.  Might Spurrier go with two backs in the backfield to take some of the heat off the passing game and help keep his defense off the field?  If anybody might go with split backs, it would be Spurrier.

An average offensive line has one potential star, and fortunately for USC, he plays the most important position.  Left tackle Brandon Shell will protect the blind side.

The toughest roadblock in USC’s road to bowl eligibility is one of the toughest schedules in the nation.  Their four non-conference games include a neutral opener against North Carolina and a season finale against Clemson.  Central Florida is no cupcake.  Inside the SEC, Carolina draws LSU and Texas A&M from the West and must go on the road to face Georgia, Missouri, and Tennessee.  Still, we believe this team will be tough enough to get six wins.

Many in the media believe Florida will struggle to have a winning or break even season this year.  New head coach Jim McElwain did great things at Colorado State, and he should return the Gators to greatness, but in year one, there will be weeks where Florida does not compete.  The Gators have a weak offensive line (as SEC standards go).  McElwain will not have a two-deep at this position, and finding eight blockers capable of playing in the SEC will be a stretch.  Among those expected to earn a starting spot are a transfer from Fordham University and a true freshman who would redshirt at Alabama, Auburn, or Georgia.

The Gators have issues at quarterback as well.  Will Grier and Treon Harris are currently in a dead heat for the starting job, and McElwain has indicated that he may platoon them at the start of the season.  Harris is a better runner, and Grier is a better passer, but neither will make Gator fans think they have their next Danny Wuerffel or Chris Leak.

The receivers feature one near star in Demarcus Robinson.  Last year, Robinson nabbed 53 passes for 810 yards and seven scores, showing an ability to add yards per catch.  In Latroy Pittman and Ahmad Fulwood, the Gators have potential in this position.

The running back position is in a similar boat to the receivers.  Potential is there, but somebody has to step up and prove he can carry the load.  Kelvin Taylor has drawn comparisons to Emmitt Smith, but he has yet to come close to Smith’s production in Gainesville back in the 1980’s.

Defensively, expect Florida to take some lumps this year.  Departing coach Will Muschamp may have had his problems winning big at UF, but his defenses were top rate.  Geoff Collins was a decent defensive coordinator at Mississippi State, but he is not Muschamp, and Florida’s defense will suffer a bit this year.

Each unit on the defensive side has its star.  Up front, tackle Jonathan Bullard has NFL potential.  He did not produce many QB sacks and made just 8.5 tackles for loss, but he did plug the inside.  Linebacker Antonio Morrison led the Gators with 101 tackles, and he will probably lead the team once again this year.  Where those tackles are made will determine how tough the UF defense is this year.  Cornerback Brian Poole recorded 14 passes defended, including four picks.

Florida’s schedule makes the Gators play a ninth regular season opponent as tough as an SEC contender in Florida St.  The Gators figure to win their other three non-conference games.  The key to their season will be in the three SEC games they figure to be favored in or are considered toss-ups.  Kentucky and South Carolina are road games, while the Gators play Vanderbilt at home on homecoming.

Mark Stoops inherited a Kentucky team that had been outscored 36-11 in conference play in 2012.  After a repeat 0-8/2-10 season in 2013, the Wildcats shot out to a 5-1 record last year.  Needing one win in the final six to get bowl eligible, Kentucky dropped all six contests.  The Wildcats were competitive in three of those losses, and just a little improvement and maybe one upset could propel the Big Blue into a bowl this year.

Stoops has a potentially powerful offense this year.  The ‘Cats improved from 20.5 to 29.2 points and added more than 40 yards per game last year.  With most of the key players returning this year, expect Kentucky to top 30 points a game for the first time in five years.  Quarterback Patrick Towles won the starting job over redshirt freshman Drew Barker, and we expect Kentucky’s passing game to improve by 20 or more yards per game this year.  Towles does not have a receiving corps as talented as the other East Division contenders, but he can count on Ryan Timmons and Garrett Johnson to hold onto most of the balls thrown their way.  In the past, UK has been notorious for receiver drops.

The running game has been hampered with injuries in recent years.  If Stanley Williams can stay healthy, the Wildcats will be hard to stop.  Williams requires an extra defender to spy on him, because just one small opening can turn into a 70-yard touchdown run.  When Kentucky adds a fullback and goes to a power running game, expect a lot of attention to focus on nose tackle Jacob Hyde.  Why?  Stoops has added Hyde to the offense as a blocking fullback, and we pity the poor linebackers that must face an isolation block from the 330+ pounder with enough quickness to allow Williams to follow at near top speed and cut to daylight.  And, if Stoops should decide to call a play for Hyde, we can see the behemoth converting on third or fourth and one or two or at the one yard line.  Will the fans in Lexington start calling him “The Fridge?”

Kentucky’s blocking wall has improved both years under Stoops, and with four starters returning, there will be additional improvement in 2015.  This will allow Towles a little more comfort, and just a half-second more time to survey the defense could be the difference between 6.5 to 7 yards per pass attempt and 7.5 to 8 yards per attempt.  That extra yard per attempt is similar to the running game improving from 3 to 4 yards per attempt.

Stoops is a long time defensive coach, but his Wildcat teams have yet to catch the magic.  In his nine years as defensive coordinator at Arizona and Florida State, Stoops’ teams gave up 21 points per game.  His UK squads have given up 31 points per game.  None of the three units can be considered top notch.  While not spectacular, the secondary should be decent after finishing 5th in the league against the pass last year.  Three starters return to the back line.  Safety A. J. Stamps had four interceptions, while cornerback Fred Tiller recorded 11 passes defended.  Nickel back Blake McClain has potential to become a third potential star in this unit.

Middle Linebacker Josh Forrest returns after leading the ‘Cats with 110 tackles.  Forrest showed an ability to play the run and pass with equal competency.  Up front, nose tackle Melvin Lewis hits the scales in the 350-pound range, and moving him out of the way is a tough task.

Kentucky begins the season with three guaranteed wins (UL Lafayette, Eastern Kentucky, and Charlotte).  They host Florida,   Louisville, and Missouri, three teams that give the Wildcats a fighting chance to pull off an upset.  Road games against South Carolina, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt give the Wildcats two additional chances at wins.  All told, Kentucky has eight games that can be considered winnable.  Can they win six of these?  Our ratings show it to be about a 30% chance that UK will go bowling in the postseason.  This team could be better but repeat the 5-7 season.

What happens when a team that had a 50-year period of mostly not being able to compete in their league all of a sudden competes for three consecutive seasons and then reverts back to their 50-year failure the next season?  You look for correlations that reveal why the three-year turnabout occurred.

At Vanderbilt, the correlation can be easily found in two words–James Franklin.  Franklin rates in the top five of head coaches in our PiRate Ratings.  His presence at Vanderbilt from 2011 to 2013 gave the Commodores an extra touchdown plus in overall power ratings.  His 2014 replacement, Derek Mason, unfortunately cost the Commodores more than a touchdown per game in overall power rating, and the organizational incompetency showed itself immediately, when Vanderbilt lost by 30 points as a double digit home favorite to Temple.

Year two in Nashville under the Mason regime should find better organization.  The Commodores may come closer to getting everything out of the talent on hand.  The problem is that Vanderbilt’s talent rates a distant 14th in the SEC.  There is limited SEC caliber talent, with no SEC caliber depth.  So, losing a starter is to Vandy what losing both the starter and the top reserve is to other SEC schools.

The Commodore offense struggled to move the ball against SEC foes, as Vanderbilt averaged less than 13 points and just 257 yards per game in conference play.  VU used four different starting quarterbacks last year, never allowing the offense to achieve any type of consistency.  The most effective QB (Patton Robinette) and the most talented QB (Stephen Rivers) have both departed, leaving the third and fourth QB from last year to compete for the starting position this year.  Wade Freebeck and Johnny McCrary are not SEC passers.  True freshman Kyle Shurmur might be, but we doubt he will win the starting nod this year–unless the roulette wheel starts spinning once again.

Further hurting the offense is the fact that this team has no legitimate SEC caliber receivers.  They had one, but C. J. Duncan unfortunately did not make it two the second August scrimmage.  Losing Duncan is like the Detroit Tigers losing Miguel Cabrera.  Enemy defenses will now concentrate on defending horizontally without worrying about getting beat vertically.  Tight end Steven Scheu is one of the few players on this team that might start at other SEC schools, but the passing game will not flourish if Scheu is the only consistent pass catcher.  Latevius Radford and Kyle Kentera have potential to become contributors, but the Commodores as a whole have a receiving unit equal to that of an average Conference USA team.

Worse than the receiving unit is a weak and undermanned blocking group.  Like the receivers, this unit recently lost its only star lineman.  Left tackle Andrew Jelks figured to be a contender for All-SEC honors, but he was lost for the season a week after Duncan was lost.  Depth is such a critical issue here, and replacing the most important blocker on this team is like replacing Mike Trout with a minor league centerfielder.  Star kick returner Darrius Sims may need to become more of an option here, but he is likely to get more touches returning kicks due to the number of scores Vandy gave up last year.

The running game is the one strength of this side of the ball.  Vanderbilt’s running back contingent is still in the bottom third of the SEC, but it is the only offensive unit not deeply entrenched in last place in the league.  Ralph Webb rushed for more than 900 yards last year, and although many of those runs consisted of picking up 10 yards on 3rd and 15, he also had some nice gains when they counted for something.  Dallas Rivers is not as speedy as Webb, but he has more bulk and could get a lot of looks at the fullback position.  A possible wildcard may not get much playing time this year, but it will be interesting to watch the progress of true freshman Jaire George, the son of NFL great and former Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George.

The Vanderbilt defense has some talent and a little depth, but with the offense showing no ability to sustain long drives, it stayed on the field too long last year, and it frequently had to take the field with very few stripes between their opponent’s line of scrimmage and the end zone.  The three years of the Franklin regime produced defenses that surrendered an average of 337 yards and 21.6 points per game.  Last year under Mason, VU gave up 33.3 pints and 402 yards per game.  In SEC play, those numbers inflated to 35+ points and 425 yards per game.

You won’t find a Commodore starter on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team preseason All-SEC squad, but the Commodores’ top unit on the entire team is at linebacker.  Three full-time and one part-time starter return to this unit, including leading tackler Nigel Bowden and leading quarterback sacker and tackler for loss Stephen Weatherly.

Up front, Caleb Azubike combines size and speed and just needs a little more consistency to become a quality anchor on the three- man front.  He and fellow end Adam Butler need to improve on their 6.5 total sacks.

The secondary returns all four starters from a year ago, and with Mason taking over as defensive coordinator, the Commodores should perform better against the pass this year.  The problem the secondary has is a pass rush that does not make their job easier.  Cornerback Torren McGaster and safety Oren Burks could make double digits in passes defended this year.

Vanderbilt’s out-of-conference schedule only guarantees the Commodores one win.  Games against Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee will be tossups at best, and a road game at Houston may give the Cougars a chance to get revenge for the pasting the Franklin Commodores handed them in the 2013 Birmingham Bowl.  Realistically, this team cannot be a serious threat to win a conference game this year, and just equaling last year’s 0-8/3-9 season should be considered an accomplishment.  There is a chance the win total could slip to just one.  Remember the correlation: James Franklin was the three-year anomaly, and he isn’t walking through the Vanderbilt Stadium door.

WEST
Now to the Wild, Wild West.  Put the names of Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, and Ole Miss in a hat and then draw them out one at a time.  You might be more successful picking the final order of these contenders more successfully than any of the professional handicappers.  Any of these five contenders would be instant favorites to win the ACC, and we believe any of these five would beat Ohio State, TCU, Baylor, Oregon, USC, and Notre Dame in a home game.

The above paragraph was written prior to Arkansas losing Jonathan Williams’ injury.  We have lowered UA’s ratings.

Alabama is the team that must be considered the hunter, even though there might be some holes in the Crimson ship.  Nick Saban has become the Vince Lombardi of college football.  He can do no wrong in the eyes of ‘Bama fans.  However, in the last two years, his Tide teams have come up a bit short.  It reminds us a little of Bear Bryant’s 1967 and 1968 teams, two squads that were heavily talented but could not complete the deal that the 1964-66 teams did and two teams that lost unexpectedly in bowl games.

Alabama faces a major rebuilding job on the offensive side of the ball.  What they lost in talent would make for a decent NFL expansion team’s offense.  The first concern this year for the Tide is the quarterback position.  Saban wanted senior Jake Coker to easily win the starting job so he could concentrate on plugging the holes elsewhere, but apparently ‘Bama still has not found its definite starter.  In fact, Saban has not been able to narrow it down to two.  As a matter of fact, heading into a weekend scrimmage, UA still had five, count them FIVE, players contending for the starting spot.  Saban has not been pleased with any of the quintet’s consistency and execution of the offense, and this could make it easier for top flight defenses to focus on the ground game and essentially send the Tide out to sea.

Whoever wins the starting job will have an entirely new group of receivers lining up.  The best receiver in college ball, Amari Cooper, will not be replaceable this year.  Cooper left Alabama after catching an incredible 124 passes for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns!  Some of the past Alabama National Championship teams did not produce this amount on the whole.  His loss is Derek Carr’s gain in Oakland.

Running back Derrick Henry shared the load with T. J. Yeldon last year, and this year he will no doubt share it with a new contributor.  This position is like the pitching staff with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where there will always be more than one star in the backfield.  However, the backfield needs to find a complimentary fullback for offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin’s offense to shine.  Jalston Fowler opened a lot of holes for the backs last year and provided an excellent pass target for former QB Blake Sims.

Only two starters return to the offensive line, but Alabama will plug those openings with future stars.  One returnee, tackle Cam Robinson could earn All-American honors as a true sophomore.  Center Ryan Kelly is a Rimington Award candidate.

As questionable as the offense is, the defense is as sure.  Alabama’s stop troops are the best in the land!  After giving up 18.4 points and almost 330 yards per game (something 120 other teams would love), expect the numbers to improve to something similar to the year before (14 points and 290 yards).  Look for Saban to try to shorten games and let his defense create great field position for his fledgling offense.

There hasn’t been a front seven in college football this talented since maybe the 2011 Alabama team.  It would not surprise us at all if all seven starters eventually make it to the NFL.  Ends Jonathan Allen and Jarran Reed have no equals as a tandem in the 3-4 defense.  As good as these two are, nose tackle A’Shawn Robinson is better.  How much better?  He just may be the best defensive player in college football.

Four linebackers will often find themselves unblocked and easily able to pursue the ball thanks to the trio helping up front.  Inside linebacker Reuben Foster is a new starter this year, and before he gets one snap as starter, he may already be the equal of fellow ILB Reggie Ragland.  We’re talking a pair of defenders in the Derrick Thomas range.

The secondary is the closest thing to a liability on this team, as Alabama did have some breakdowns here last year, which led to quick scores by the opponent.  Cornerback Cyrus Jones and safety Eddie Jackson both have NFL potential.

Helping the defense out is one of the top punters in the nation.  J. K. Scott ran away with the punting title in the SEC last year, both in average yards and in net punting.  Alabama pushed opponent offenses more than five yards farther back than the average team, and five yards in college football adds up to about a half-point additional power rating.

Looking at the conference schedule, The Crimson Tide faces Georgia, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Auburn on the road, and we believe they will split these four games.  Facing LSU at home is not a given, and additional home games with Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Arkansas cannot be considered iron-clad sure things.  It is why we believe no West Division team will top 6-2 in the conference.

Les Miles seems to fit perfectly in LSU sports history along with characters like Charlie McClendon, Paul Dietzel, Press Maravich, and Dale Brown.  Maybe you have to be part nut to survive the most incredible fan base in sports.  Miles won more than 100 games in his first 10 years in Baton Rouge with a national championship and a runner-up, yet there are fans that think he has underachieved.  Following an 8-5 subpar finish last year, the fans expect considerable improvement in 2015.  LSU will be much improved, but 2015 is not a season where the Tigers can repeat their feat of 2011.

One advantage LSU has over some of its rivals is knowing who will be their starting quarterback.  Brandon Harris got his Baptism under fire as a true freshman last year, and the now sophomore should be much improved this year, but not enough to make LSU a balanced offense.  Former starter Anthony Jennings is still around and can replace Harris if the predicted improvement does not materialize.

Making the QB job much easier is having a running game that can carry the offensive load.  Leonard Fournette was the top running back recruit in the nation when he signed with the Tigers in the Winter of 2014.  Fournette saved the best for last in 2014, destroying Texas A&M with 146 rushing yards, including a 46-yard touchdown breakaway that looked like Walter Payton, and then topping it with an incredible Music City Bowl game against Notre Dame, in which he looked like part Jim Brown and part Devon Hester.  His 100 yard kickoff return and 89-yard streak up the middle kept the Tigers in the game.  Look for Fournette to become a breakout superstar if he stays healthy.  We foresee 1,800 rushing yards this year, unless another stellar back emerges to help share the load.

The top four receivers from 2014 return, including Travin Dural, Malachi Dupre, and John Diarse.  This trio combined for just 66 receptions but averaged 20.5 yards per catch as offensive coordinator Cam Cameron attempted to stretch the field vertically to take pressure off Fournette.  Fournette is also a candidate to catch a pass out of the backfield and given a little pocket can become just as dangerous as a receiver as he is a runner.

Making all this possible is a deeply talented blocking corps.  The left side should be brutal on opposing defenses with guard Ethan Pocic and tackle Jerald Hawkins pushing defenders out of the way.  Right tackle Vadal Alexander has three years of starting experience under his belt.

The Tiger defense will be a work in progress this year.  Along with five key players from last year, legendary defensive coordinator John Chavis has packed his bags and hopped over to Texas A&M.  The LSU front seven does not approach the Alabama front seven in talent, but the secondary is a little better (although one key member is out for two games with an injury).

The Tigers’ biggest problem last year was a lack of pass rush.  A defense that usually records about 35-40 sacks per season tapered off to just 19.  LSU has been known for putting defensive linemen into the NFL, but at the present time, only tackle Christian LaCouture figures to continue that trend, and it will be 2017 and not 2016.

The linebacker unit has both talent and depth, albeit mostly untested.  Kendell Beckwith and Lamar Louis will try to take over from former star Kiwon Alexander, and the second team has enough talent to give the two stars some rest.

Jalen Mills suffered an ankle injury in Mid-August, and the Tigers’ secondary might need a true freshman to contribute right away.  Fortunately for Miles and new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, one of the nation’s top recruits, Kevin Toliver may be ready to step in and make plays.  Look for LSU to substitute here frequently this year, as there are additional backups talented enough to contribute.

The Bayou Bengals should ace their non-conference part of the schedule.  In league play, LSU ventures to Mississippi State, South Carolina, Alabama, and Ole Miss, while hosting Auburn, Florida, Arkansas, and Texas A&M.  We believe they have the most favorable schedule of the top West Division contenders, and an upset over Alabama might be enough to allow them to emerge ahead of their rivals.  However, the loss of Chavis and the uncertainty with the defensive front seven have us tempering our beliefs that LSU could win the division outright.  Thus, the Tigers become just one of five contenders and yet another probable 6-2 team.

Ole Miss is the one team of the five contenders that has the greatest deviation in our ratings.  Our standard PiRate Ratings picks the Rebels as the top team in the league, while the Mean Rating says they are just fifth best in the division.  This just shows how muddled this division is this year.  Coach Hugh Freeze had Ole Miss close to returning to the lofty status the Rebels enjoyed under Johnny Vaught.  For a couple weeks, Ole Miss looked like the top team in the nation and beating Alabama, Texas A&M, and Tennessee in consecutive weeks moved the Rebs up to number three in the nation.

Ole Miss will be even more talented this year than last year, but it will be hard to improve much in the win area, with one game representing the most the Rebels can add to the left side of the won-loss ledger.  Expect the Rebels to be more consistent and more explosive on offense this year with the return of almost the entire offense.  One exception is at quarterback where Bo Wallace was the leader of the inconsistent brigade.  Wallace looked like Andrew Luck some of the time and bad luck other times.  New quarterback Chad Kelly appears to be the leader in the race for the starting position, but Freeze is remaining tight-lipped about the verification of that presumption.  Kelly has the tools Freeze wants to run his offense.

Ole Miss had a receiver by committee approach last year, not because they lacked a star, but because they had hordes of talent in this position.  It’s not just at the wideout positions where the Rebels excel.  Tight end Evan Engram has no peer in the league and very few in the nation.  A year ago, he caught 38 passes and averaged 17.4 yards per reception.  If he decides to leave Oxford early, he could easily be the first tight end taken in the next NFL Draft.  Fellow junior Laquon Treadwell is certain 1st round NFL pick when he finishes his career in Oxford.  We believe he will have a breakout season and catch 60-70 passes for 850+ yards.

Ole Miss has not had a star running back since Dexter McCluster played for Houston Nutt.  Jaylen Walton, Jordan Wilkins, and Eugene Brazley may split the load this year and combine to equal one McCluster.  It doesn’t matter how the yards are gained as long as they are gained, and a 4.3 to 4.5 yard per attempt average will be sufficient to make the Rebels go.

What’s better than having a really good offensive line that by the end of 2014 was among the best in the nation?  How about having nearly the entire two deep return in 2015, including all the starters, and then how about adding one of the top O-line recruits?  For this reason, the Rebel offense should explode past 30 points and 450 yards per game this year.

The Ole Miss defense was subtly overlooked last year, but in reality, it was this side of the ball that won the big game against Alabama.  The Rebels held SEC foes to less than 17 points per game and return experienced talent to all three units this year.  Except for Alabama’s ridiculously talented front seven, few teams can compare to Ole Miss’s front seven this year.  Start with the second best tackle in college football (to Robinson at ‘Bama) in Robert Nkemdiche.  Nkemdiche is not as strong as Robinson, but he has better first-step quickness, and he figures to become a top NFL player in two years.  End Marquis Haynes will contend for the SEC lead in sacks this year, especially if fellow anchor Fadol Brown can provide some sack contribution from the other side.

The linebacker position got a lot better in the Spring when C. J. Johnson was moved from the line to the Mike position.  Johnson is quick and agile, more suited to the second line of defense than the front.

The key strength of the secondary is the number of players capable of contributing SEC caliber play in the backfield, especially at the corners.  Ole Miss’s nickel defense is as good as it gets, and nickel back Tony Conner can play the run and pass equally well.  Cornerbacks Tony Bridges, Tee Shepard, Kendarius Webster, and Kailo Moore will share time, while safeties Mike Hilton and Trae Elston rank as one of the best tandem in the country.

Ole Miss should easily go 4-0 outside of the SEC, and the Rebels benefit by drawing Vanderbilt and Florida from the East.  The Rebels get Texas A&M, Arkansas, and LSU at home, but they cannot be expected to go 2-1 in road games against Alabama, Auburn, and Mississippi State.  So, once again, you have a potential National Champion contender that might have to be content with a 6-2/10-2 record.

Before discussing Auburn’s roster, let’s begin with the most important factor in their favor this year.  The Tigers face Georgia and Alabama at Jordan-Hare Stadium and draw Kentucky from the East.  Additionally, Auburn’s road schedule in the West Division includes games against Arkansas and Texas A&M, two of the less dangerous opponents.  Of course in the SEC West, the less dangerous opponents are like a couple of Wolverines and piranhas in a league full of hungry tigers and sharks.

Auburn has some rebuilding to do on the offensive side, but with Coach Gus Malzahn, we are sure he will find replacements to make his spread offense work.  It all starts at quarterback, and Auburn will have more of a passing presence with Jeremy Johnson directing the offense.  Johnson is big and strong with a cannon arm, and expect the Tigers to pass the ball a bit more this year from about 25 to 30-33 times per game.  Expect a healthy Johnson to approach the all-time single season passing yards mark on the Plains (3,277 by Dameyune Craig in 1997).

Here’s where the rest of the skill positions gets a bit murky.  At receiver, only D’Haquille Williams returns as a starter, and he will have to team with Ricardo Louis and Jason Smith to try to make up for the loss of Sammy Coates, who led the team with 741 receiving yards and a league best 21.8 average per catch.  Redshirt freshman Kamryn Pettway tries to replace NFL Draft pick C J Uzomah at tight end.  Pettway may be a better receiver but not as talented as a blocker.

Running back is another reclamation project, as the leading returning rusher is a wideout.  Junior college transfer Jovon Robinson was once a top high school recruit out of the state of Tennessee, and he joins the Tigers after becoming the top-rated running back in the Juco ranks and one of the top overall.  Expect Roc Thomas to see action here, but we do not believe Auburn will come close to last year’s 255 rushing yards per game.

The offensive line rates in the middle of the Division, but there are talented players capable of giving Johnson adequate time to throw the ball.  Tackle Avery Young and guard Alex Kozan will contend for all league honors.

The defense has been a tad suspect in Malzahn’s two years on the Plains, and he did something to try to rectify that in the off season by hiring Will Muschamp as his defensive coordinator.  Expect immediate improvement in the aggressiveness of the stop troops, but the talent on hand is at best number four in the West Division.

Up front, the War Eagles feature two four-star linemen in end DaVonte Lambert and tackle Montravius Adams.  The two combined for 15 total tackles for loss and 27 quarterback hurries last year.  The key to this unit improving is the healthy return of end Carl Lawson.  If he recovers fully from his ACL injury, Lawson is a prime pass rusher.

The linebacker unit features two more stars in Cassanova McKinzy and Kris Frost, who combined for 178 tackles, 21 of which were for lost yardage.  Frost is a capable pass defender as well as run stuffer.

The league’s leading returning thief plays cornerback at Auburn.  Jonathan Jones picked off six passes and further broke up another 11 passes.  Safety Johnathan Ford led the Tigers with 93 tackles, but Malzahn would prefer that a linebacker leads in this stat.

When we first began rating the SEC teams, Arkansas was a prime contender and one of the five we expected to compete for the division title.  However, all that changed a week ago when they lost half of the nation’s top running back tandem, when Jonathan Williams went down with a season-ending injury.  Williams rushed for close to 1,200 yards and scored 12 touchdowns last year in Arkansas’s smash-mouth offense.

The Arkansas offense basically requires two backs to share the load, because it asks too much for one to rush the ball 20 times or more per game for 12 games.  Alex Collins cannot mimic Melvin Gordon and continue to run with the same effectiveness as he did last year.  It may take three reserves to replace the carries Williams would have made.  It will cost Arkansas a couple hundred rushing yards this year, and due to that fact, we adjusted their expected win total down.  Whereas they once were a top contender with as much chance to win the division title as the top four, we now believe they will struggle some against those monsters and have to settle for another minor bowl.

Coach Bret Bielema is one of the few coaches in the league that knows for sure who his starting quarterback will be.  One thing we can state for sure is that the son of Bobby and Marcela Allen will take almost every scrimmage snap this year, if not all of them.  Of course, the first and second team quarterback happen to be sons of the Allen’s as older brother Aaron starts and younger brother Austin backs him up.  Last year, the two combined for 2,438 passing yards, but Aaron contributed to the yardage like Hank contributed to the Aaron home run total over Tommy.

The receiving game under Bielema always resolves around a bulky tight end that can block like a tackle and catch passes in a crowd and make the tackler wish he had been elsewhere.  Hunter Henry caught 37 balls last year, ad at 6-5 and 250+ pounds, he fits the Bielema mold.  Keon Hatcher’s job just got a lot more important with the Williams injury, and Arkansas may pass the ball three to five more times per game than originally planned.

What would a Bielema offense be without five bulls leading the charge up front?  The Hogs have the top blocking corps in the league and one of the top five in the nation, led by two highly talented tackles in Dan Skipper and Denver Kirkland.  The interior averages 328 pounds per man, so if you or someone you know is an aspiring restauranteur, consider Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The Razorback defense was a tale of two halves.  In the first six games against FBS opposition, UA surrendered 30.2 points and 400 yards per game.  In the last six games, the Razorbacks gave up just 10.3 points and 262.5 yards per game.  Included in that improvement were back-to-back shutout victories over LSU and Ole Miss.  Kudos go to 2nd year defensive coordinator Robb Smith.

The offense absolutely must eat the clock with sustained drives, because the Arkansas defense this year has some big holes to fill.  Among those gone are leading tackler Martrell Spaight, leading sacker and tackler for loss Trey Flowers.  Arkansas will build its 2015 defense around its front line, where two starters return along with six others that made a start or played significantly in a backup role.  Tackle Taiwan Johnson made 8 total tackles for loss last year.

Brooks Ellis returns to a linebacker unit that must bring in new starters at the other two positions.  Ellis showed an equal ability to play the run and pass last year, and he will need to step up and be a real leader this year, as his partners in this unit have limited experience.

Three of four starters return to the defensive backfield, but this trio combined for just three interceptions (but 23 passes broken up).  Cornerbacks Jared Collins and D. J. Dean should up their interceptions to more than five, while safety Rohan Gaines should add more than the one pick he had last year.

Arkansas should go 4-0 outside the SEC, so the Razorbacks only need two more wins to return to a bowl.  Additionally, the Razorbacks have just three home conference games, choosing to play Texas A&M and Cowboys Stadium, where it will be a 50-50 fan split.  Road games against Tennessee, Alabama, Ole Miss, and LSU could all result in losses, while beating Auburn and Missouri at home is no guarantee.  What might have been a 5-3 or possibly 6-2 conference record has been adjusted down to 3-5 due to the loss of one of the top running backs in the nation.

Texas A&M is the no-respect team this year in the SEC.  The Aggies fell to 3-5/8-5 last year after beginning the season 5-0 and being ranked as high as 6th in the nation.  The Aggies return the most starters and seasoned reserves of any SEC West team, including a budding star quarterback, and they add one of the best defensive coordinators in college football history, yet you will not find A&M picked to contend for the division title.

Fourth year head coach Kevin Sumlin has been a head coach for seven years, and his offenses have averaged 42 points per game in that time.  His lowest mark was the 35.2 points his Aggie team averaged last year.  We believe A&M will move that number north of 40 again, like they did in Sumlin’s first two years in College Station.

Quarterback Kyle Allen started five games in 2015 as a true freshman and appears to have secured the spot for 2015, as expected true freshman phenom Kyler Murray has been dropped to third team behind Juco transfer Jake Hubenak.  Allen needs to improve his accuracy to make the Aggies move more efficiently, as his interception percentage was high at 3.6.

A deep and exceptional receiving corps will make life easier for Allen.  Josh Reynolds, Speedy Noi, and Ricky Seals-Jones teamed for 147 receptions, 1,890 yards, and 22 scores, and they will be joined by four-star recruit Christian Kirk.

The running game returns its top rusher from 2014 in Tra Carson, who ran for 581 yards on 124 attempts.  A&M averaged just 32 rushes per game (including 27 quarterback sacks and a handful scrambles), and the Aggies may run a bit more this year.

Three experienced linemen return to the starting interior this year.  Center Mike Matthews teams with guard Joseph Cheek, and tackle Germain Ifedi, as two juniors with little combined experience must immediately come in and protect the quarterback.

We have a sneaky suspicion that the Aggie defense will respond to Chavis’s teaching and improve quickly.  Chavis always does great things when he has talent at end and at cornerback, and we believe he will like what he gets from these four positions this year.

One of those ends, Myles Garrett, may be the top pass rusher in the league, and Chavis will design stunts to help him improve on his 11.5 sacks.  Daeshon Hall added 4.5 sacks, and you can bet that the teammates will top the 16 combined sacks if they stay healthy.

The aforementioned talent at the cornerback positions include De’Vante Harris, Victor Davis, Nick Harvey, and Alex Sezur.  Harris led this group with 53 tackles and six passes defended.

Linebacker is a work in progress this year after being a train wreck in 2014, where numerous injuries led to a walk-on winding up the number three tackler on the team.  Shaan Washington missed three games, but he still finished number four on the team with 64 tackles.

Texas A&M always has excellent special teams, and “The 12th Man” may be better this year than they have in a long time.  With a newly remodeled Kyle Field, the home field advantage might be worth an extra half-point.  These intangibles give the Aggies an added boost that further strengthens our beliefs that our ratings are full of bunk when looking at this team.  The more we study this group of Aggies, the more we believe that they could be sitting on a major surprise season in College Station.

The Aggie schedule begins with a tough but winnable game against Arizona State played in Houston.  A&M doesn’t have to leave their home area until October 24, their seventh game of the season, as they face Arkansas in the DFW.  Their only true road games come against Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, and LSU, so they could sneak into the West race with a 6-2 record if they can win all their Lone-star State games.  Our official ratings call for 3-5/7-5, but we give those ratings a giant raspberry.

How could a team rated number one in the nation for four weeks last year and that returns one of the top quarterbacks in the nation with one of the top coaches in the nation be picked to fall all the way to last place in their division?  For Mississippi State, it is almost a unanimous belief among the Southeastern media that the Bulldogs will do just that.  Our ratings concur, because the Bulldogs lost more talent than any other SEC team.

Dak Prescott begins the 2015 season as the top quarterback in the league and one of the top five in the nation, but the senior signal caller will likely see his numbers regress this year with most of his receiving corps gone and a trio of capable blockers missing from last year’s squad.  Prescott tossed 27 touchdown passes with 3,449 passing yards and more than 1,000 rushing yards after factoring out sacks.

The rest of the State skill position players come up a bit short when compared to the rest of the division.  Receivers Fred Ross and De’Runnya Wilson give Prescott a couple of capable couple of pass-catchers, but the unit does not compare to those of Texas A&M, LSU, Ole Miss, or even Arkansas.

Besides Prescott, it is questionable who will contribute to the running game.  Ashton Shumpert and redshirt freshmen Dontavian Lee and Aeris Williams will try to keep the pressure off Prescott.

The reason why the offense will take a backward move this year is the interior line, which is the definite weakest one in the division.  Just two starters return to this unit, and neither of the Justins (Malone and Senior) will challenge for an all-SEC spot.

The rebuilding on the offensive side of the ball is nothing compared to what faces Coach Dan Mullen and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.  Diaz returns to Starkville after former DC Geoff Collins moved to Florida.  One starter returns to each of the three units on this side of the ball, but some key backups saw significant action in 2014.  While there is more experience than normal from a defense that lost eight starters, the talent level does not match the rest of the West Division.

One player that belongs on any SEC roster is cornerback Will Redmond.  Redmond has all the natural gifts a NFL defensive back needs, including sub-4.0 speed in the 40-yard dash.  Redmond should be an NFL Draft pick next year.  Fellow cornerback Taveze Calhoun is the lone returning starter to this unit, and the Bulldogs could be okay here if the front seven can pressure quarterbacks.

Up front, Ryan Brown is the only returning starter of the quartet.  Brown finished 2014 with 3.5 sacks and 10 QB hurries.  The second team line saw a lot of playing time, so once again there is some experience but less talent in the unit.

The linebacker unit’s one returning starter is Beniquez Brown.  A year ago, Brown finished second on the team with 62 tackles, which included seven stops behind the line.  New starters Richie Brown and Zach Jackson saw extensive playing time, so State should not suffer too much of a regression in this unit.

Even the expected last place team in this division should go 4-0 outside of SEC play.  Finding two additional wins to become bowl eligible will be difficult but possible.  Home games against Kentucky and Ole Miss seem like the most likely chances to get those two wins, and the Bulldogs would just love to ruin Ole Miss’s season by seeking revenge after the Rebels ruined their chance to sneak into the first playoff.

SEC Preseason Media Poll

Southeastern Conference Media Poll
Pos. Team 1st Place Total Champ. Votes
East Division
1 Georgia 166 1,498 28
2 Tennessee 36 1,231 2
3 Missouri 20 1,196
4 South Carolina 1 830
5 Florida 1 768 1
6 Kentucky 1 534
7 Vanderbilt 0 243
West Division
1 Alabama 92 1,405 80
2 Auburn 108 1,362 96
3 LSU 10 870 9
4 Arkansas 6 821 3
5 Ole Miss 3 732 3
6 Texas A&M 4 628 2
7 Mississippi St. 2 482 1

Media Preseason All-SEC Team

SEC Preseason All-Conference Team
Offense Player School
Quarterback Dak Prescott Mississippi St.
Running Back Nick Chubb Georgia
Running Back Leonard Fournette LSU
Wide Receiver Laquon Treadwell Ole Miss
Wide Receiver D’haquille Williams Auburn
Tight End Evan Engram Ole Miss
Offensive Line Cam Robinson Alabama
Offensive Line Laremy Tunsil Ole Miss
Offensive Line Vadal Alexander LSU
Offensive Line John Theus Georgia
Offensive Line Ryan Kelly Alabama
Defense Player School
Defensive Line Robert Nkemdiche Ole Miss
Defensive Line A’Shawn Robinson Alabama
Defensive Line Myles Garrett Texas A&M
Defensive Line Carl Lawson Auburn
Linebacker Reggie Ragland Alabama
Linebacker Jordan Jenkins Georgia
Linebacker Curt Maggitt Tennessee
Defensive Back Vernon Hargreaces III Florida
Defensive Back Cyrus Jones Alabama
Defensive Back Jonathan Jones Auburn
Defensive Back Jalen Mills LSU
Special Teams Player School
Punter J. K. Scott Alabama
Kicker Marshall Morgan Georgia
Return Specialist Speedy Noil Texas A&M
Return Specialist Pharoh Cooper South Carolina

Preseason PiRate, Mean, Bias, and Average Ratings

Southeastern Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Tennessee 122.1 116.8 121.8 120.2
Georgia 123.2 114.6 122.1 120.0
Missouri 115.9 111.9 115.4 114.4
Florida 112.7 107.8 112.0 110.8
South Carolina 108.4 105.6 107.4 107.1
Kentucky 106.7 102.6 106.0 105.1
Vanderbilt 99.8 93.6 98.5 97.3
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 124.3 122.6 123.7 123.5
LSU 124.9 120.6 124.8 123.4
Ole Miss 126.2 118.6 124.5 123.1
Arkansas 125.3 118.6 125.1 123.0
Auburn 121.4 119.6 120.5 120.5
Texas A&M 116.9 114.6 114.9 115.5
Mississippi St. 112.5 107.6 112.5 110.9
SEC Averages 117.2 112.5 116.4 115.3

PiRate Ratings Predicted Won-Loss Records and Bowl Projections

PiRate Ratings Predicted Records
Pos Team Conf. Overall Bowl
East Division
1 Georgia 6-2 11-2 * Sugar
2 Tennessee 6-2 10-2 Outback
3 Missouri 6-2 10-2 Music City
4 South Carolina 3-5 6-6 Birmingham
5 Florida 2-6 6-6 At-Large
6 Kentucky 1-7 4-8 None
7 Vanderbilt 0-8 2-10 None
West Division
1 Alabama 6-2 10-3 ^ Orange
2 Auburn 6-2 10-2 Citrus
3 LSU 6-2 10-2 Gator
4 Ole Miss 6-2 10-2 Texas
5 Arkansas 3-5 7-5 Belk
6 Texas A&M 3-5 7-5 Liberty
7 Mississippi St. 2-6 6-6 Independence
* Wins Title Game
^ Loses Title Game

Coming This Week: We begin previewing the 8 NFL Divisions starting with the AFC North.  Will New England’s won-loss record deflate without Tom Brady playing in the first four games?

January 23, 2015

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Picks: January 24-25, 2015

The second experimental week of the PiRate Ratings Basketball Edition showed some improvement, but our Red rating is a cause for concern.  This is the most fragile of the three, and our early opinion is that the strength of schedule element in this rating is not adequately affecting the statistical data the way it should.  We are monitoring the situation, but at this point, there is insufficient data to draw firm conclusions.

If this is your first time here, our basketball ratings commenced two weeks ago.  For the time being, we are only selecting weekend games played between teams in the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC, chosen strictly because these three conferences represent about 80% of our regular audience that continue to support our football ratings for several years.

Our basketball ratings use three separate formulae based on basketballs “Four Factors,” strength of schedule, home court advantage and visitors’ disadvantage, pace, and just a pinch of school tradition.

 

Here are our selections for January 24-25, 2015

Home

Visitor

Red White Blue
Saturday        

South Carolina

Kentucky

-23 -11

-11

Michigan Wisconsin

-17

-9

-6

North Carolina Florida St.

22

20

20

Purdue Iowa

1

1

2

Clemson Wake Forest

5

3

5

Penn St. Rutgers

8

5

3

Tennessee Texas A&M

-3

4

2

Missouri Arkansas

-18

-7

-11

Minnesota Illinois

6

5

-1

Mississippi St. Georgia

-16

-10

-6

Syracuse Miami (FL)

6

3

5

Nebraska Michigan St.

-5

-3

-7

Vanderbilt LSU

5

1

-6

Ole Miss Florida

-3

4

1

Alabama Auburn

15

12

13

         
Sunday        
Virginia Tech Virginia

-25

-20

-27

NC State Notre Dame

-13

-1

-4

Pittsburgh Louisville

-16

-4

-8

Maryland Northwestern

19

14

15

Ohio St. Indiana

19

6

8

Georgia Tech Boston College

-2

4

2

 

January 16, 2015

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Picks: January 17-18, 2015

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:11 pm

The PiRate Ratings introduced our new basketball ratings last week with mixed results.  This is an experimental rating in its infancy, so our algorithms may be adjusted over time.

Our method is to use basketball’s “Four Factors” and find algorithms that take this data and determine a pointspread based on the data.  Obviously, strength of schedule and home court advantage must be factored into the equation.

We found three separate algorithms that, when back-tested, proved to be more accurate than all others we experimented with.

We call the three ratings, PiRate Red, PiRate White, and PiRate Blue, since it would be ridiculous to call one rating the Effective Field Goal % bias, another one the Rebounding/Turnover Bias, and the third one the rating that incorporates steals into turnover rate.  Red, white, and blue are easier to remember.

Because the amount of time to figure each game is lengthy and cannot be done mechanically, we are covering just the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC games on Saturdays and Sundays for now.

Once the NCAA Tournament seedings are announced, we will select all tournament games.

Here is our second weekend of official “experimental” picks–January 17-18, 2015

A minus number means the visitor is the favorite.

Home Visitor Red White Blue
Saturday        
Alabama Kentucky -23 -8 -12
Arkansas Ole Miss 12 8 10
Auburn South Carolina -13 -4 -2
Boston College Virginia -24 -14 -16
Clemson Syracuse -13 -1 -7
Florida St. NC State -8 -4 -2
Georgia Florida -4 3 -5
Iowa Ohio St. -15 1 2
Louisville Duke 6 5 4
LSU Texas A&M 3 7 7
Maryland Michigan St. 1 4 -2
Michigan Northwestern 10 8 12
Minnesota Rutgers 23 12 11
Mississippi St. Vanderbilt -17 -7 -2
Missouri Tennessee -7 1 3
Notre Dame Miami (FL) 21 11 7
Penn St. Purdue -1 1 -2
Pittsburgh Georgia Tech 8 3 7
Sunday
Illinois Indiana 6 3 3
North Carolina Virginia Tech 18 21 21

January 9, 2015

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Picks: January 10-11, 2015

The PiRate Ratings Introduce our new basketball ratings with this post.

Our method is to use basketball’s “Four Factors” and find algorithms that take this data and determine a pointspread based on it.  Obviously, strength of schedule and home court advantage must be factored into the equation.

We have found three separate algorithms that, when backtested, have proven to be more accurate than all others we experimented with.  We are calling the three ratings, PiRate Red, PiRate White, and PiRate Blue, since it would be ridiculous to call one rating the Effective Field Goal % bias, another one the Rebounding/Turnover Bias, and the third one the rating that incorporates steals into turnover rate.  Red, white, and blue are easy to remember.

Because the amount of time to figure each game is lengthy and cannot be done mechanically, we are going to begin by covering the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC games plus other important games during the regular season.

Once the NCAA Tournament seedings are announced, we will select all tournament games.

Here are our first official “experimental” picks–January 10-11, 2015

Home Visitor Red White Blue
Arkansas Vanderbilt 15 10 14
Auburn Missouri 4 3 2
Florida Mississippi St. 24 18 25
Indiana Ohio St. -16 -1 -7
LSU Georgia -1 2 6
Miami (FL) Boston College 16 8 11
Michigan Minnesota -6 -1 -2
Michigan St. Northwestern 23 16 19
NC State Duke -15 -11 -11
Nebraska Illinois -6 1 -2
North Carolina Louisville -2 6 -3
Notre Dame Virginia 19 1 7
Ole Miss South Carolina -7 2 5
Pittsburgh Clemson 4 8 9
Purdue Maryland -4 -1 -3
Rutgers Wisconsin -32 -15 -19
Syracuse Florida St. 21 13 18
Tennessee Alabama -4 2 1
Texas A&M Kentucky -23 -12 -17
Wake Forest Georgia Tech 2 1 -2

Here are our opening picks.

June 24, 2013

The Better Approach to the NCAA Playoffs

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:37 am

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The NCAA Football Playoff is just two seasons away from becoming a reality.  This is the final season for the BCS Bowl system formula to select two teams to play for the National Championship.

In more years than not, the two teams perceived to be the best two played in the National Championship Game, but was that really the case?

There were seasons where one or more teams appeared to be the class of the country, only to find that another team was actually better, by a large amount in some seasons.

The Southeastern Conference has dominated the National Championship in the 21st Century, and in one of those rare occasions where the SEC was snubbed, an undefeated team might have been better than one of the two teams playing in the title game.  Witnessing all the seasons where a one-loss SEC team pounded its opponent in the championship contest makes one wonder if Auburn might have been the best team in 2004, and at least more deserving than Oklahoma for playing in the title game.

Just because the championship has been expanded by adding two more teams, there is no reason to believe that the NCAA has fixed its problems.  Look at BoiseState in 2006 and 2009.  Look at TCU in 2010.  Look at Utah in 2004 and 2008.  We really cannot state that any of these five undefeated teams did not deserve to be in the Championship Game.

Take 2009.  Both BoiseState and TCU ran the table in the regular season.  They were denied a spot in the title game based on schedule strength.  This is a major flaw that is not being addressed by the NCAA.  How do we know that had either of these teams played for the title that they would have beaten Alabama that year.

Schedule strength is a joke when determining who deserves to play for the national title.  As an example, let’s say that the entire 1st and 2nd team All-Americans were juniors in eligibility but seniors as students.  Now, let’s say that every one of the 22 position players and special teams players decided to transfer to Eastern Michigan.

It would be obvious that Eastern Michigan would be the best team in the nation by far, maybe even a little better than the weakest NFL teams.  EMU would easily go 12-0 and then run all over the MAC East winner in the Conference Championship Game.

Now, let’s say that the Eagles played Illinois State, Idaho, Army, and South Alabama outside of the MAC.  Add games with Akron, U Mass, Miami of Ohio, from the East with the five MAC West teams, and their strength of schedule might be around #120.  This 13-0 team might have a chance at playing as the last selected BCS Bowl team, but the Eagles would have zero chance to play for the championship.  Yet, we all would know that they were the best college team since Army in 1945!  What a travesty to deny this best team in modern football a chance to play for the title!  Do we deny the Baltimore Ravens a chance to get to the Super Bowl, if their schedule is weaker than New England’s?  Ask yourself this: how many times in the last 20 years has the team with the best record made it to the Super Bowl?

The NFL is the number one sports league in the world for a reason.  There is no selection committee choosing who gets into the NFL playoffs.  Every fan in the world can see which teams are in the playoffs without a fancy computer formula that has needed to be tweaked multiple times when it was easy to tell that the most deserving teams did not always receive an invitation.

The NCAA needs to set up a similar system to where all fans can know for sure which teams will make the playoffs.  Rather than choose the representatives, the teams’ play on the field should be the only deciding factor.

It is rather easy to do if you ask us on our PiRate ship.  It would require minimal adjustment to pull it off.  We believe the NCAA FBS division should be subdivided into FBA-1 and FBS-2.  There are about 80 schools that play at a level where they could possibly field a playoff-caliber team.  The other 46, and soon to be more do not have the resources as of now to play at the highest echelon of college football.

Thus, it would be our plan to take these 80 schools and place them into four, 20-team league, subdivided into two, 10-team divisions.  We are not all that far away from having that now.

With 10 teams in a division, every team would be able to play itself into the playoff without having to be selected.  The teams would play every other team in their division plus three at-large games that would have minimal impact on their making the playoffs.

After 12 games, with nine of the games coming within the division, a divisional champion would move on to play the opposite divisional champion in each of the four leagues.  The four champions would then become the four teams in the NCAA playoffs.  No seeding would be done.  The four league championship games would be played at neutral sites, and the four winners would not be seeded.  They would face off in the semifinals on a rotation with East playing Midwest and South playing West one year; East playing South and Midwest playing West the next year; and East playing West and South playing Midwest the next year.

The East, South, Midwest, and West Leagues could keep conference names, so we could be looking at a 20-team ACC, 20-team SEC, 20-team Big 20, and 20-team Pac-20.

We suggest the leagues continue to keep their current teams, with the exception of the Big 12 which would send teams into different leagues.

So, the ACC would keep its Atlantic and Coastal divisions with the seven current teams scheduled to be there in 2014 (Louisville replacing Maryland in the Atlantic Division.  To this 14-team league, we would add West Virginia, Cincinnati, South Florida, Central Florida, Connecticut, and East Carolina with three going to the Atlantic and three to the Coastal.

The SEC would keep its 14 teams in the present form and then add Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, Houston, and SMU,

The Big 20 would take the 14 Big Ten schools of 2014 (Maryland and Rutgers already coming to the conference) and add Kansas, Kansas St., Iowa St., Oklahoma, OklahomaSt., and Notre Dame.

The expanded Pac-20 would include the current 12 members plus BYU, Boise St., Fresno St., Nevada, San Diego St., San Jose St., Hawaii, and Utah St.

Every one of these 80 teams could begin each season knowing that if they won their division, nothing could prevent them from becoming National Champion.

For divisional ties, a tiebreaker system similar to the NFL would be used to break all ties.  A coin flip would be the last of about 7 or 8 tiebreakers (The NFL has never needed to use this, and the chances would be so infinitesimal to believe it would happen while the Sun still shines on the Earth.

Here is an example of how it would work.  We will say that in 2016 under this plan, Florida St. and West Virginia won the two ACC divisions after West Virginia and Louisville had to go to the third tiebreaker to determine who won.  Florida St. then beat West Virginia in the ACC Championship Game to earn the first spot in the NCAA Playoffs.

In the SEC, Texas, LSU, and Alabama all finished tied at 7-2 in their division, but Texas held the tiebreaker over its two rivals. Florida tied South Carolina in the other division but won the head-to-head contest to represent the East Division.  Texas then won the SEC Championship Game.

In the Big 20, Ohio St. won one of the divisions outright, while Oklahoma and Nebraska tied at 8-1, but the Sooners won the head-to-head contest to take the tiebreaker. Ohio St. then beat Oklahoma in the Big 20 Championship Game.

In the Pac-20, Oregon and USC both went 9-0/12-0, with USC winning the Pac-20 Championship Game.  The Trojans are considered the overwhelming number one team, but that matters not in these playoffs.  They are just one of the four participants in the NCAA Playoffs.

This would be the season where the East and West play each other and the South and Midwest play each other in the semifinal round.  So, in the Final Four, we would see Florida St. take on USC and Ohio St. face Texas, with the winners advancing to the National Championship Game.

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