The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 14, 2022

PiRate Picks For September 16-17, 2022

That broken clock finally failed to show the correct time on the PiRate Ship. Last week, our five picks came in at 1-4, dropping our profit for the season to $1,211.77 ($1,311.77 left in the imaginary account).

We’re back to where we normally are in September. Usually, when we have a bad week, our saving grace in the past has been Money Line Parlays playing at +140 or higher odds. We had a tough time finding one really good parlay this week. While we like odds in the range of +140 to +180, we couldn’t find the right number of games to make this range work out. We also don’t like to play more than three games in a parlay, so it came down to going with 3 at more than +200 or go to five bigger favorites to get to +155 and change.

We also tend to like to play an odd number of games to eliminate the .500 record that results in a small loss. Of course, when one of those selections is a parlay that pays different than the straight 11-10 odds, a .500 record could be a winning week if one of those wins is the parlay.

Our selections this week are all about the numbers more than the actual teams playing. Without further adieu, here are our selections for the week. Remember: We never wager real money on our picks, and we highly suggest that you follow our lead.

Selection 1: Wyoming +14 1/2 vs. Air Force

This is a nice rivalry game, and the last time the margin of this game exceeded 14 points was 2013. Wyoming’s schedule has been considerably stronger than Air Force’s, as Illinois and Tulsa are both stronger than Colorado. Craig Bohl teams tend to be stronger against the run than the pass, so this looks like a good play to be on the side where the top four margins by frequency come with it (3, 7, 10, and 14 points represent the final margin in 1/4 of all college football games).

Selection #2: Wyoming & Air Force Under 46 1/2

For the same reasons above, this game appeals to us for the total. We think this game is more like a 20-17 game, which falls well under 46 1/2 points.

Selection #3: Maryland -2 1/2 vs. SMU

The PiRates really prefer to go with underdogs that we believe should be favorites, but there were no short ‘dogs this week that really jumped off the page. We believe that Maryland is better than a touchdown stronger than SMU. Game outcomes of 1 and 2 points occur just 5.9% of the time, and that includes 5.9% of the time that the favorite and the underdog win by 1 or 2.

Selection #4: Northern Illinois -2 1/2 vs. Vanderbilt

Ditto the game above. Except, Vanderbilt exposed itself by showing its real weakness last week against Wake Forest. The Huskies were somewhat shocked by Tulsa in week one, but they should rebound in week two.

Selection #5: Nebraska and Oklahoma Under 66 1/2

What do you get when you combine a defensive genius head coach coaching in his third ever game against a big rival with a coach making his debut when a few days ago, he was an assistant coach? Usually, you get a hard-fought game that tends to be a little more defense-oriented. The Cornhuskers should play their best game of the season for interim coach Mickey Joseph, while the Sooners may play it a bit more conservatively. An OU win similar to last year’s game, which ended with 39 total points scored.

Selection #6: California and Notre Dame Over 40 1/2

Notre Dame last started a season 0-3 in 2007. Before Irish fans jump out of buildings, they were 0-2 in 2011 with a loss to a weak South Florida team and proceeded to win eight of their next nine games. Cal isn’t the best defensive team in the land, even though the Bears are only giving up 13.5 points per game so far. UC-Davis and UNLV are not offensive juggernauts.

If this game ends 21-20, it beats the total by a half-point. Notre Dame and Marshall combined for 47 points, and Cal’s offense is better than Marshall’s.

Selection #7: Money Line Parlay at +204.42

Penn State over Auburn

Texas A&M over Miami (Fla.)

North Carolina St. over Texas Tech

Auburn barely beat a mediocre San Jose State team last week. A weaker Penn State team than this year’s squad defeated a stronger Auburn team than this year’s squad last year.

If Texas A&M loses again this week, Jimbo Fisher might be sharing a beer with Scott Frost the following Saturday somewhere outside of a football stadium.

Texas Tech’s win over Houston is getting a lot more accolades than it probably should have gotten. N.C. State’s narrow escape over East Carolina probably got too much as well. This is still a Wolf Pack team capable of winning the ACC Title.

August 14, 2022

American Athletic Conference Preview

Just when a Group of 5 Conference is getting really good with maybe three teams strong enough to contend for a 2022-23 Playoff berth, said league is about to lose all three really good teams. Cincinnati broke through the insiders’ club last year, when the Bearcats ran the table in the regular season and became the first G5 school to receive a bid to the National Championship Playoffs. It was the second consecutive year that Cinti won every regular season game.

Alas, the Bearcats are headed to the Big 12 Conference. Going with them are the other two really good teams–Houston and Central Florida. A host of Conference USA teams will replace the really good teams, and this league will fall back in the Group of 5 pecking order.

This will be one interesting race this year. Houston and Cincinnati are not scheduled to play, but there is a decent chance they will face each other in game 13 in December.

American Athletic Conference Preseason PiRate Ratings

TeamPiRateMeanBiasAverage
Cincinnati111.2110.3112.8111.4
Houston105.0104.7106.5105.4
UCF103.8104.5104.6104.3
SMU102.2101.3102.3101.9
East Carolina99.599.1100.499.7
Tulane98.697.797.998.1
Memphis97.097.596.997.1
Tulsa95.894.895.795.4
USF96.294.795.195.3
Navy92.992.191.392.1
Temple80.983.478.681.0
AAC98.598.298.498.3

American Athletic Conference Official Media Poll

Votes
#Team1st PlaceOverall
1Houston7243
2Cincinnati10242
3Central Florida7225
4SMU0187
5Memphis0162
6East Carolina0157
7Tulane0115
8Tulsa093
9South Florida071
10Navy061
11Temple028

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

AACConfOverall
Cincinnati8-012-1
Houston8-011-2
Central Florida7-110-2
SMU5-37-5
East Carolina4-46-6
Memphis3-56-6
Tulsa3-56-6
Tulane2-65-7
South Florida2-63-9
Navy2-63-9
Temple0-82-10

Cincinnati picked to win AAC Championship Game.

March 7, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:00 am
Date3/7/2022
SeedTeamTeamTeamTeamTeamTeam
1ArizonaGonzagaBaylorAuburn
2KansasKentuckyDukePurdue
3WisconsinVillanovaTennesseeTexas Tech
4IllinoisProvidenceUCLAArkansas
5ConnecticutHoustonTexasAlabama
6Saint Mary’sLSUIowaOhio St.
7Colorado St.USCBoise St.Seton Hall
8Michigan St.Iowa St.Murray St.Marquette
9North CarolinaSan Diego St.TCUSan Francisco
10CreightonMichiganLoyola (Chi.)Davidson
11Miami (Fla.)MemphisXavierNotre Dame
12South Dakota St.North TexasWake ForestWyomingRutgersSMU
13IonaToledoChattanoogaVermont
14New Mexico St.PrincetonTowsonMontana St.
15Long Beach St.LongwoodJacksonville St.Colgate
16Georgia St.Purdue Ft. WayneBryantNicholls St.Norfolk St.Texas Southern

Last 4 Byes

Miami (Fla.)

Memphis

Xavier

Notre Dame

Last Four In

Wake Forest

Wyoming

Rutgers

SMU

First Four Out

VCU

Indiana

BYU

Dayton

Next Four Out

Texas A&M

Florida

Virginia Tech

Saint Louis

February 28, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 2:10 pm
Date2/28/2022
SeedTeamTeamTeamTeamTeamTeam
1ArizonaGonzagaBaylorKansas
2AuburnDukeKentuckyPurdue
3Texas TechVillanovaWisconsinTennessee
4ProvidenceIllinoisConnecticutUCLA
5TexasArkansasOhio St.Alabama
6HoustonSaint Mary’sUSCMichigan St.
7LSUMarquetteIowaIowa St.
8Colorado St.Boise St.Seton HallMurray St.
9WyomingTCUNotre DameXavier
10CreightonSan FranciscoWake ForestDavidson
11North TexasNorth CarolinaSan Diego St.Miami (Fla.)
12IonaSouth Dakota St.IndianaMemphisMichiganSMU
13ChattanoogaNew Mexico St.ToledoVermont
14TowsonTexas St.PrincetonNorthern Iowa
15Jacksonville St.Montana St.Long Beach St.Longwood
16ColgatePurdue Ft. WayneBryantNicholls St.Norfolk St.Texas Southern

Best of the Rest

69Loyola (Chi.)
70BYU
71Rutgers
72Florida
73VCU
74Virginia Tech
75Oregon
76St. Bonaventure
77Dayton
78Oklahoma
79Mississippi St.
80Belmont

February 25, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 1:28 pm
Date2/25/2022
SeedTeamTeamTeamTeamTeamTeam
1GonzagaArizonaKansasAuburn
2KentuckyBaylorPurdueDuke
3Texas TechVillanovaTennesseeWisconsin
4IllinoisUCLAProvidenceTexas
5Ohio St.ConnecticutAlabamaHouston
6ArkansasLSUUSCMarquette
7IowaMichigan St.Iowa St.Saint Mary’s
8Colorado St.Boise St.XavierMurray St.
9Seton HallWyomingCreightonTCU
10Miami (Fla.)MichiganSan FranciscoWake Forest
11Notre DameDavidsonLoyola (Chi.)North Carolina
12North TexasIonaSan Diego St.MemphisRutgersIndiana
13ChattanoogaSouth Dakota St.New Mexico St.Vermont
14ToledoWagnerTowsonMontana St.
15PrincetonTexas St.Long Beach St.Jacksonville St.
16Cleveland St.LongwoodColgateNicholls St.Norfolk St.Texas Southern

Best of the Rest

69SMU
70BYU
71VCU
72Oregon
73Dayton
74Florida
75Virginia
76St. Bonaventure
77UAB
78Virginia Tech
79Belmont
80Mississippi St.

February 21, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:40 pm
Date2/21/2022
SeedTeamTeamTeamTeamTeamTeam
1GonzagaArizonaKansasAuburn
2KentuckyBaylorPurdueDuke
3Texas TechIllinoisVillanovaTennessee
4WisconsinUCLAProvidenceTexas
5AlabamaHoustonOhio St.Connecticut
6LSUArkansasMichigan St.USC
7MarquetteSaint Mary’sXavierColorado St.
8Boise St.Iowa St.Seton HallMurray St.
9WyomingIowaSan FranciscoTCU
10Wake ForestDavidsonSan Diego St.Creighton
11Notre DameMiami (Fla.)IndianaMemphisMichigan
12North TexasIonaChattanoogaLoyola (Chi.)North Carolina
13South Dakota St.New Mexico St.Northern IowaVermont
14ToledoWagnerTowsonMontana St.
15Jacksonville St.PrincetonTexas St.UC-Irvine
16Cleveland St.ColgateLongwoodNew OrleansNorfolk St.Texas Southern

Best of the Rest

69BYU
70SMU
71Florida
72Rutgers
73VCU
74Belmont
75Oklahoma
76Oregon

August 31, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Football–Sep 3-7

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 6:11 am

This Week’s Games

Favorite

Underdog

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Southern Miss.

South Alabama

7.3

6.5

9.3

Army

Middle Tenn.

5.2

6.9

4.5

Texas St.

SMU

-22.6

-21.1

-24.1

Memphis

Arkansas St.

18.0

13.9

17.7

Navy

BYU

4.9

4.5

3.3

FBS vs. FCS (PiRate Only)

FBS

FCS

PiRate

UAB

Cent. Arkansas

8.6

Marshall

E. Kentucky

21.5

North Texas

Hou. Baptist

26.9

UTEP

S F Austin

7.8

Note: Game Spreads Have Been Adjusted From Ratings Due To Covid-19 Opt-outs.

This Week’s Ratings

#

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Avg.

1

Clemson

123.6

124.5

127.8

125.3

2

L S U

123.2

122.5

125.8

123.8

3

Alabama

121.4

122.3

123.3

122.3

4

Georgia

121.1

119.4

121.9

120.8

5

Florida

119.7

119.3

120.8

119.9

6

Auburn

118.0

116.6

117.9

117.5

7

Notre Dame

117.5

116.5

117.7

117.2

8

Oklahoma

116.9

116.9

117.1

117.0

9

Texas A&M

115.7

115.8

115.9

115.8

10

Texas

115.2

113.6

115.3

114.7

11

Oklahoma St.

113.4

112.8

113.6

113.3

12

N. Carolina

111.3

111.5

112.5

111.8

13

Kentucky

110.3

110.5

111.5

110.8

14

Iowa St.

110.9

110.2

110.7

110.6

15

Louisville

110.3

110.9

109.1

110.1

16

Virginia Tech

109.2

109.2

111.3

109.9

17

UCF

109.2

109.6

110.5

109.8

18

Tennessee

109.1

109.0

109.6

109.2

19

Memphis

110.0

108.0

109.3

109.1

20

Cincinnati

109.5

108.3

109.4

109.1

21

S. Carolina

109.3

107.0

108.7

108.3

22

Baylor

108.0

108.1

108.2

108.1

23

Ole Miss

106.7

106.1

108.4

107.1

24

Kansas St.

107.4

106.0

107.5

107.0

25

Florida St.

107.4

105.8

107.7

107.0

26

Virginia

106.6

106.1

106.3

106.4

27

T C U

105.0

102.8

105.1

104.3

28

Houston

104.7

103.2

103.2

103.7

29

Pittsburgh

102.9

104.7

103.1

103.6

30

Miss. St.

104.1

102.5

103.8

103.4

31

Appal. St.

103.0

102.1

104.4

103.2

32

Navy

104.4

102.4

102.3

103.0

33

Louisiana

102.5

101.9

102.3

102.2

34

SMU

102.1

101.5

101.5

101.7

35

BYU

101.9

100.4

101.5

101.3

36

Miami (Fla.)

100.3

103.0

100.3

101.2

37

W. Virginia

100.6

100.7

100.7

100.7

38

Duke

100.3

101.0

99.5

100.2

39

Missouri

99.1

99.2

100.3

99.5

40

Boston Coll.

99.6

99.3

99.6

99.5

41

Texas Tech

99.7

98.5

99.9

99.4

42

Wake Forest

98.4

99.6

98.1

98.7

43

Georgia Tech

98.7

98.0

97.3

98.0

44

W. Kentucky

96.0

97.1

97.0

96.7

45

Temple

96.4

97.0

95.3

96.2

46

Tulsa

97.6

95.7

95.1

96.1

47

Georgia Sou.

95.2

96.2

96.5

96.0

48

Florida Int’l.

95.4

95.2

95.8

95.5

49

Syracuse

94.3

96.6

95.1

95.4

50

Marshall

95.9

95.5

94.6

95.3

51

Tulane

94.8

95.0

94.1

94.6

52

Arkansas

94.7

95.8

92.4

94.3

53

USF

95.3

94.0

93.4

94.2

54

NC State

93.5

93.7

93.6

93.6

55

U A B

93.3

94.0

93.0

93.4

56

Vanderbilt

93.3

92.7

91.8

92.6

57

Arkansas St.

92.0

94.1

91.6

92.6

58

E. Carolina

92.1

92.6

90.9

91.9

59

Southern Miss.

91.1

91.6

91.2

91.3

60

Army

90.1

92.5

89.8

90.8

61

Kansas

89.8

90.0

88.5

89.5

62

Coastal Car.

88.3

88.9

88.7

88.6

63

Middle Tenn.

87.5

88.1

87.8

87.8

64

Troy

87.0

89.0

87.3

87.8

65

Georgia St.

87.8

87.5

87.7

87.7

66

La. Tech

86.5

88.0

87.7

87.4

67

Liberty

86.2

89.1

86.8

87.4

68

Charlotte

86.2

86.5

86.3

86.4

69

Rice

86.2

84.2

85.6

85.3

70

UL-Monroe

84.7

84.9

83.2

84.3

71

S. Alabama

82.8

84.1

80.9

82.6

72

Fla. Atlantic

81.3

83.0

81.4

81.9

73

North Texas

78.1

79.3

78.5

78.7

74

Texas St.

78.0

78.9

76.0

77.6

75

U T S A

76.6

76.3

75.9

76.3

76

U T E P

64.0

67.0

63.6

64.9

Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference

East Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Avg

AAC

Overall

UCF

109.2

109.6

110.5

109.8

0-0

0-0

Memphis

110.0

108.0

109.3

109.1

0-0

0-0

Cincinnati

109.5

108.3

109.4

109.1

0-0

0-0

Houston

104.7

103.2

103.2

103.7

0-0

0-0

Navy

104.4

102.4

102.3

103.0

0-0

0-0

SMU

102.1

101.5

101.5

101.7

0-0

0-0

Temple

96.4

97.0

95.3

96.2

0-0

0-0

Tulsa

97.6

95.7

95.1

96.1

0-0

0-0

Tulane

94.8

95.0

94.1

94.6

0-0

0-0

USF

95.3

94.0

93.4

94.2

0-0

0-0

E. Carolina

92.1

92.6

90.9

91.9

0-0

0-0

AAC Averages

101.5

100.7

100.4

100.9

 

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Avg

ACC

Overall

Clemson

123.6

124.5

127.8

125.3

0-0

0-0

Notre Dame

117.5

116.5

117.7

117.2

0-0

0-0

N. Carolina

111.3

111.5

112.5

111.8

0-0

0-0

Louisville

110.3

110.9

109.1

110.1

0-0

0-0

Virginia Tech

109.2

109.2

111.3

109.9

0-0

0-0

Florida St.

107.4

105.8

107.7

107.0

0-0

0-0

Virginia

106.6

106.1

106.3

106.4

0-0

0-0

Pittsburgh

102.9

104.7

103.1

103.6

0-0

0-0

Miami (Fla.)

100.3

103.0

100.3

101.2

0-0

0-0

Duke

100.3

101.0

99.5

100.2

0-0

0-0

Boston Coll.

99.6

99.3

99.6

99.5

0-0

0-0

Wake Forest

98.4

99.6

98.1

98.7

0-0

0-0

Georgia Tech

98.7

98.0

97.3

98.0

0-0

0-0

Syracuse

94.3

96.6

95.1

95.4

0-0

0-0

NC State

93.5

93.7

93.6

93.6

0-0

0-0

ACC Averages

104.9

105.4

105.3

105.2

 

 

Big 12 Conference

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Avg

B12

Overall

Oklahoma

116.9

116.9

117.1

117.0

0-0

0-0

Texas

115.2

113.6

115.3

114.7

0-0

0-0

Oklahoma St.

113.4

112.8

113.6

113.3

0-0

0-0

Iowa St.

110.9

110.2

110.7

110.6

0-0

0-0

Baylor

108.0

108.1

108.2

108.1

0-0

0-0

Kansas St.

107.4

106.0

107.5

107.0

0-0

0-0

T C U

105.0

102.8

105.1

104.3

0-0

0-0

W. Virginia

100.6

100.7

100.7

100.7

0-0

0-0

Texas Tech

99.7

98.5

99.9

99.4

0-0

0-0

Kansas

89.8

90.0

88.5

89.5

0-0

0-0

Big 12 Averages

106.7

106.0

106.7

106.5

 

 

Conference USA

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Avg

CUSA

Overall

W. Kentucky

96.0

97.1

97.0

96.7

0-0

0-0

Florida Int’l.

95.4

95.2

95.8

95.5

0-0

0-0

Marshall

95.9

95.5

94.6

95.3

0-0

0-0

U A B

93.3

94.0

93.0

93.4

0-0

0-0

Southern Miss.

91.1

91.6

91.2

91.3

0-0

0-0

Middle Tenn.

87.5

88.1

87.8

87.8

0-0

0-0

La. Tech

86.5

88.0

87.7

87.4

0-0

0-0

Charlotte

86.2

86.5

86.3

86.4

0-0

0-0

Rice

86.2

84.2

85.6

85.3

0-0

0-0

Fla. Atlantic

81.3

83.0

81.4

81.9

0-0

0-0

North Texas

78.1

79.3

78.5

78.7

0-0

0-0

U T S A

76.6

76.3

75.9

76.3

0-0

0-0

U T E P

64.0

67.0

63.6

64.9

0-0

0-0

CUSA Averages

86.0

86.6

86.0

86.2

 

 

FBS Independents

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Avg

Conf.

Overall

BYU

101.9

100.4

101.5

101.3

x

0-0

Army

90.1

92.5

89.8

90.8

x

0-0

Liberty

86.2

89.1

86.8

87.4

x

0-0

Ind. Averages

92.7

94.0

92.7

93.2

 

 

Southeastern Conference

East Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Avg

SEC

Overall

Georgia

121.1

119.4

121.9

120.8

0-0

0-0

Florida

119.7

119.3

120.8

119.9

0-0

0-0

Kentucky

110.3

110.5

111.5

110.8

0-0

0-0

Tennessee

109.1

109.0

109.6

109.2

0-0

0-0

S. Carolina

109.3

107.0

108.7

108.3

0-0

0-0

Missouri

99.1

99.2

100.3

99.5

0-0

0-0

Vanderbilt

93.3

92.7

91.8

92.6

0-0

0-0

West Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Avg

SEC

Overall

L S U

123.2

122.5

125.8

123.8

0-0

0-0

Alabama

121.4

122.3

123.3

122.3

0-0

0-0

Auburn

118.0

116.6

117.9

117.5

0-0

0-0

Texas A&M

115.7

115.8

115.9

115.8

0-0

0-0

Miss. St.

106.7

106.1

108.4

107.1

0-0

0-0

Ole Miss

104.1

102.5

103.8

103.4

0-0

0-0

Arkansas

94.7

95.8

92.4

94.3

0-0

0-0

SEC Averages

110.4

109.9

110.9

110.4

 

 

Sunbelt Conference

East Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Avg

SBC

Overall

Appal. St.

103.0

102.1

104.4

103.2

0-0

0-0

Georgia Sou.

95.2

96.2

96.5

96.0

0-0

0-0

Coastal Car.

88.3

88.9

88.7

88.6

0-0

0-0

Troy

87.0

89.0

87.3

87.8

0-0

0-0

Georgia St.

87.8

87.5

87.7

87.7

0-0

0-0

West Division

Team

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Avg

SBC

Overall

Louisiana

102.5

101.9

102.3

102.2

0-0

0-0

Arkansas St.

92.0

94.1

91.6

92.6

0-0

0-0

UL-Monroe

84.7

84.9

83.2

84.3

0-0

0-0

S. Alabama

82.8

84.1

80.9

82.6

0-0

0-0

Texas St.

78.0

78.9

76.0

77.6

0-0

0-0

SBC Averages

90.1

90.7

89.9

90.2

This Week’s Free College Pick–And You Get What You Pay For!

We are toning down the selections against the spread this year due to the lack of games each week and the uncertainty of available personnel.  We will issue a minimum of selections and highly urge you to not use this non-advice.  All wagers will be done at the pretend amount of $100 units.

 

1. Money Line Parlay (+103)

        Southern Miss over South Alabama

        Navy over BYU

August 19, 2013

2013 American Athletic Conference Preview

2013 American Athletic Conference Preview

 

Say hello to the newest FBS conference.  The AAC formed when the Catholic, non-scholarship football schools from the Big East and the schools that play football divided into two leagues.  For just one season, this conference will still field a somewhat decent roster of teams, but two of the most prestigious schools will leave for greener pastures at the end of this season.  With three more teams joining this league from Conference USA next year, it will basically make this new league the original Conference USA with a new name.

 

For this one season, the last that really matters for receiving a bid to a big bowl with the maximum payout, there is a team capable of challenging for the national championship.

 

Louisville should be favored to win all 12 games, and the Cardinals will not be required to play in a conference championship game to advance to the national title game should a 12-0 record earn them one of the top two spots in the final BCS National Championship Game.

 

If any school is capable of upsetting the Cardinals, it would be Cincinnati.  The Bearcats change coaches this season, as Butch Jones left for Tennessee.  He is replaced by journeyman coach Tommy Tuberville, who has piloted the likes of Ole Miss, Auburn, and Texas Tech.

 

Rutgers returns a significant amount of talent from last season’s 9-4 campaign, and the Scarlet Knights should compete with a trio of other teams for the third spot in the league.  Central Florida, South Florida, and SMU will compete with RU for the third spot.

 

Connecticut and Houston should be considered dark horses in the AAC race, while Memphis and Temple will bring up the rear.

 

 

New Teams: The members of the AAC played in either the Big East or CUSA last year.

 

Central Florida   CUSA
Cincinnati   Big East
Connecticut   Big East
Houston   CUSA
Louisville   Big East
Memphis   CUSA
Rutgers   Big East
S M U     CUSA
South Florida   Big East
Temple   Big East

 

 

Departed Teams: None, since this is the first season

 

2014 Additions: East Carolina, Tulane, and Tulsa move from CUSA, giving the AAC nine former CUSA members (Cincinnati and South Florida were once in CUSA).

 

2014 Departures: Louisville leaves for the ACC, while Rutgers heads to the Big Ten, leaving this league with no team that played in every Big East season and leaving just Connecticut and Temple that did not play in CUSA.

 

Pre-season PiRate Ratings

American Athletic Conference

Team

Conf.

Overall

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Louisville

0-0

0-0

115.3

113.4

116.5

Cincinnati

0-0

0-0

105.5

105.9

105.9

Rutgers

0-0

0-0

99.3

104.2

100.1

Central Florida

0-0

0-0

98.2

97.5

99.2

South Florida

0-0

0-0

94.5

92.9

93.5

S M U

0-0

0-0

94.1

101.9

94.6

Connecticut

0-0

0-0

93.6

101.3

94.2

Houston

0-0

0-0

89.4

101.0

90.9

Memphis

0-0

0-0

88.7

98.4

89.7

Temple

0-0

0-0

87.6

85.1

85.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

League Averages

 

 

96.6

100.2

97.0

 

 

Official AAC Media Poll

Pos

Team

Points

1st Place

 

1

Louisville

298

28

 

2

Cincinnati

257

2

 

3

Rutgers

240

0

 

4

Central Florida

210

0

 

5

South Florida

155

0

 

6

Houston

134

0

 

7

Connecticut

131

0

 

8

S M U

118

0

 

9

Temple

60

0

 

10

Memphis

47

0

 

 

The AAC has not released an official preseason all-conference team.  Here is a list of key players for each of the members:

 

Central Florida

Blake Bortles—QB (62.9% comp/7.7 ypa/25 TD/7 Int)

Storm Johnson—RB (507 rush/4.5 avg)

J. J. Worton—WR (44-594/5 TD)

Breshad Perriman—WR (26-388/3 TD)

Justin McCray and Torrian Wilson—OL

Thomas Niles—DL (5 sacks/7 QB hurries)

Terrance Plummer—LB (108 tackles/7 TFL)

Clayton Geathers—DB (117 tackles)

 

Cincinnati

Brendon Kay—QB (63.0%/9.4 ypa/10 TD/2 Int—as co-starter)

Dan Sprague, Sam Longo, Austen Bujnoch, and Eric Lefeld—OL

Jordan Stepp—DL (4 TFL)

Greg Blair—LB (138 tackles/9 TFL/4 QB Hurries/8 Passes Defended)

Deven Drane—DB (43 tackles/9 Passes Defended)

Arryn Chenault—DB (3 Int/6 Passes Defended)

Tony Miliano—K (17-22 FG)

 

Connecticut

Lyle McCombs—RB (860 rush/6 TD)

Geremy Davis—WR (44-613)

Shamar Stephen—DL (26 tackles)

Yawin Smallwood—LB (120 tackles/15 TFL/4 Passes Defended)

Byron Jones—DB (88 tackles)

Chad Kristen—K (14-21 FG Strong Leg)

 

Houston

Daniel Spencer—WR (41-579)

Deontay Greenberry—WR (47-564)

Bryce Redman and Rowdy Harper—OL

Derrick Matthews—LB (126 tackles/6 sacks/17 TFL/9 QB Hurries)

Zach McMillian—DB (5 Int./11 Passes Defended)

Trevon Stewart—DB (126 tackles/8 Passes Defended)

Richie Leone—P (45.5 avg./39.7 net)

 

Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater—QB (68.5% comp./8.9 ypa/27 TD/8 Int. Heisman Candidate)

Michael Dyer—RB (former 1,242 yard rusher for Auburn in 2010)

DeVante Parker—WR (40-744/10 TD)

Damian Copeland—WR (50-628)

Jake Smith and John Miller—OL

Marcus Smith—DL (29 tackles/4 sacks/ 7 TFL)

Preston Brown—LB (109 tackles/5 Passes Defended)

Calvin Pryor—DB (100 tackles/7 Passes Defended)

Terrell Floyd—DB (3 Int./8 Passes Defended)

 

Memphis

Jacob Karam—QB (64.2% comp./14 TD/3 Int.—Formerly at Texas Tech)

Keiwone Malone—WR (44-476)

Alan Cross—TE (23-301/5 TD)

Al Bond—OL

Martin Ifedi—DL (7.5 sacks/11 TFL/4 QB Hurries)

Johnnie Farms—DL (9.5 TFL)

Charles Harris—LB (79 tackles)

Anthony Brown—LB (71 tackles)

Lonnie Ballentine—DB (3 Int./8 Passes Defended)

Tom Hornsey—P (43.4 avg./38.9 net/41.7% inside the 20)

 

Rutgers

Gary Nova—QB (57.0% comp./22 TD/16 Int.)

Brandon Coleman—WR (43-718/ 10 TD)

Betim Bujari, Antwan Lowery, and Kaleb Johnson—OL

Jamil Merrell—DL (40 tackles/10.5 TFL/5 QB Hurries)

Jamal Merrell—LB (83 tackles/8.5 TFL

Lorenzo Waters—DB (68 tackles/6.5 TFL)

 

S M U

Garrett Gilbert—QB (2932 yards/15 TD/15 Int./8 rush TD)

Traylon Shead—RB (Juco star should take pressure off passing game)

Jeremy Johnson—WR (67-679)

Der’Rikk Thompson—WR (41-535)

Randall Joyner—LB (93 tackles/8 Passes Defended)

Jay Scott—DB (76 tackles/11 Passes Defended)

Kenneth Acker—DB (50 tackles/3 Int./15 Passes Defended)

 

South Florida

Andre Davis—WR (46-534/6 TD)

Sean Price—TE (21-209)

Austin Reiter and Quinterrius Eatmon—OL

Aaron Lynch—DL (Former Starter at Notre Dame)

DeDe Lattimore—LB (76 tackles/7.5 TFL)

JaQuez Jenkins—DB (53 tackles)

Mark Joyce—DB (74 tackles)

 

Temple

Chris Coyer—RB (444 rush/4.0 avg)

Jalen Fitzpatrick—WR (30-363)

Tyler Matakevich—LB (101 tackles)

Anthony Robey—DB (41 tackles/6 Passes Defended)

 

 

PiRate Ratings Summary

 

About Grades

93-100         A+

86-92           A

79-85           A-

72-78           B+

65-71           B

58-64           B-

51-57           C+

44-50           C

37-43           C-

30-36           D

0-29             F

 

About Predictions

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

 

Team

Central Florida Knights

               
Head Coach

George O’Leary

               
Colors

Black and Gold

               
City

Orlando

               
2012 Record              
Conference

7-1 (in CUSA)

Overall

10-4

               
Grades              
Run Offense

58

Pass Offense

73

Run Defense

57

Pass Defense

62

               
Ratings              
PiRate

98.2

Mean

97.5

Bias

99.2

               
Rankings              
PiRate

68

Mean

71

Bias

63

               
Prediction              
Conference

7-1

Overall

9-3

 

 

Team

Cincinnati Bearcats

               
Head Coach

Tommy Tuberville

               
Colors

Red and Black

               
City

Cincinnati

               
2012 Record              
Conference

5-2 (in Big East)

Overall

10-3

               
Grades              
Run Offense

69

Pass Offense

70

Run Defense

76

Pass Defense

68

               
Ratings              
PiRate

105.5

Mean

105.9

Bias

105.9

               
Rankings              
PiRate

42

Mean

40

Bias

42

               
Prediction              
Conference

6-2

Overall

10-2

 

 

Team

Connecticut Huskies

               
Head Coach

Paul Pasqualoni

               
Colors

Navy and White

               
City

Storrs, CT

               
2012 Record              
Conference

2-5 (in Big East)

Overall

5-7

               
Grades              
Run Offense

48

Pass Offense

58

Run Defense

68

Pass Defense

60

               
Ratings              
PiRate

93.6

Mean

101.3

Bias

94.2

               
Rankings              
PiRate

84

Mean

57

Bias

81

               
Prediction              
Conference

3-5

Overall

5-7

 

 

Team

Houston Cougars

               
Head Coach

Tony Levine

               
Colors

Scarlet and White

               
City

 

               
2012 Record              
Conference

4-4 (in CUSA)

Overall

5-7

               
Grades              
Run Offense

53

Pass Offense

75

Run Defense

45

Pass Defense

42

               
Ratings              
PiRate

89.4

Mean

101.0

Bias

90.9

               
Rankings              
PiRate

95

Mean

58

Bias

90

               
Prediction              
Conference

2-6

Overall

4-8

 

 

Team

Louisville Cardinals

               
Head Coach

Charlie Strong

               
Colors

Cardinal and Black

               
City

 

               
2012 Record              
Conference

5-2 (in Big East)

Overall

11-2

               
Grades              
Run Offense

70

Pass Offense

94

Run Defense

78

Pass Defense

76

               
Ratings              
PiRate

115.3

Mean

113.4

Bias

116.5

               
Rankings              
PiRate

25

Mean

17

Bias

18

               
Prediction              
Conference

8-0

Overall

12-0

 

 

Team

Memphis Tigers

               
Head Coach

Justin Fuente

               
Colors

Royal Blue and Gray

               
City

Memphis

               
2012 Record              
Conference

1-7 (in CUSA)

Overall

4-8

               
Grades              
Run Offense

49

Pass Offense

58

Run Defense

51

Pass Defense

55

               
Ratings              
PiRate

88.7

Mean

98.4

Bias

89.7

               
Rankings              
PiRate

96

Mean

64

Bias

95

               
Prediction              
Conference

1-7

Overall

2-10

 

 

Team

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

               
Head Coach

Kyle Flood

               
Colors

Scarlet and White

               
City

New Brunswick, NJ

               
2012 Record              
Conference

5-2 (in Big East)

Overall

9-4

               
Grades              
Run Offense

65

Pass Offense

64

Run Defense

71

Pass Defense

59

               
Ratings              
PiRate

99.3

Mean

104.2

Bias

100.1

               
Rankings              
PiRate

61

Mean

43

Bias

57

               
Prediction              
Conference

4-4

Overall

6-6

 

 

Team

S M U Mustangs

               
Head Coach

June Jones

               
Colors

Red and Blue

               
City

Dallas

               
2012 Record              
Conference

5-3 (in CUSA)

Overall

7-6

               
Grades              
Run Offense

35

Pass Offense

75

Run Defense

58

Pass Defense

62

               
Ratings              
PiRate

94.1

Mean

101.9

Bias

94.6

               
Rankings              
PiRate

80

Mean

51

Bias

79

               
Prediction              
Conference

5-3

Overall

6-6

 

 

Team

South Florida Bulls

               
Head Coach

Willie Taggart

               
Colors

Green and Gold

               
City

Tampa

               
2012 Record              
Conference

1-6 (in Big East)

Overall

3-9

               
Grades              
Run Offense

62

Pass Offense

67

Run Defense

65

Pass Defense

46

               
Ratings              
PiRate

94.5

Mean

92.9

Bias

93.5

               
Rankings              
PiRate

79

Mean

91

Bias

83

               
Prediction              
Conference

3-5

Overall

5-7

 

 

Team

Temple Owls

               
Head Coach

Matt Rhule

               
Colors

Cherry and White

               
City

Philadelphia

               
2012 Record              
Conference

2-5 (in Big East)

Overall

4-7

               
Grades              
Run Offense

52

Pass Offense

64

Run Defense

51

Pass Defense

43

               
Ratings              
PiRate

87.6

Mean

85.1

Bias

85.6

               
Rankings              
PiRate

98

Mean

115

Bias

106

               
Prediction              
Conference

1-7

Overall

4-8

 

August 17, 2011

2011 Conference USA Preview

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:40 am

2011 Conference USA Preview

 

The Mountain West and Western Athletic Conferences have placed teams in BCS bowls and had teams ranked in the top three.  Conference USA has not been able to break through, but at least their champion finally won a bowl game over an SEC team, when Central Florida beat Georgia last year.

 

2011 should be an interesting year in CUSA, especially in the West Division.  Three teams should contend for the division flag.  In the East Division, we see two teams contending.  Two teams have a chance to run the table thanks to avoiding any powerhouse non-conference opponents.

 

East

Southern Mississippi has consistently fielded good but not great teams in the 21st Century, but the Golden Eagles have not won the conference title since 1999.  Fourth year coach Larry Fedora has his best team yet, and 2011 could find USM playing in the CUSA Championship Game for just the second time.

 

Austin Davis returns at quarterback, and the senior should become the all-time leading passer in Hattiesburg as early as the opening game of the season.  Davis completed 63% of his passes for 3,100+ yards and a terrific 20/6 TD/Int ratio last year.  Davis rushed for 452 and 10 big scores to give him a total of 30 accounted for.

 

Davis’s top pass catcher, Kelvin Bolden, returns to the fold this season after grabbing 46 passes for 722 yards and six scores.  Quentin Pierce should top 50 receptions after finishing with 38 in an injury-plagued season.

 

The Golden Eagles have a two-headed monster at running back.  Starter Kendrick Hardy and key backup Desmond Johnson combined for more than 1,500 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in 2010.

 

The offensive line returns three starters, none of whom are big stars.  USM surrendered just 17 sacks last year, but a lot of that had to do with Davis’s mobility. 

 

The Golden Eagles scored 37 points per game last year, and there is no reason to think they cannot approach or top 40 points per game this season.

 

Southern Miss lost five games in 2010 because their defense could not match their offense’s production.  The Golden Eagles gave up 30 points per game.  The run defense was not all that bad; in fact, it was quite good, giving up just 113 rushing yards per game.  Five of the front six starters return this year, including linebacker Korey Williams, who recorded 14 ½ stops behind the line last year.  End Cordarro Law led USM with six sacks, and he added four QB hurries.

 

The secondary has room for improvement after giving up 243 yards through the air last year.  Three of last year’s five starters will not be around this year, so this unit could even take a minor step backwards.

 

The Golden Eagles have a big weapon in placekicker Danny Hrapmann.  Hrapmann was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award after connecting on all 55 of his extra point attempts and 26 of 31 field goal attempts with a long of 54 yards.

 

While this team may be no more talented than any of the previous 10 Golden Eagle squads, the schedule could not be any more beneficial.  The toughest non-conference game is at Virginia, and the toughest two conference games are at home.  If USM can win at Virginia and at Navy, they have a chance to run the table in the regular season.

 

Trivia question: Who is the only team to make it to a bowl game after giving up 44 points and more than 475 total yards per game?  Do you think this is a trick question and that no team has ever done that?  Think again.  East Carolina gave up those numbers and still went to the Military Bowl in 2010. 

 

The Pirates won because they outscored opponents last year.  They beat Tulsa 51-49; Southern Miss 44-43; and UAB 54-42.  They also lost to Navy 76-35 and Maryland 51-20.

 

In the second year of the Air Raid offense, look for ECU’s already scary offensive numbers to get even scarier.  Quarterback Dominique Davis just missed the 4,000-yard passing mark, and he tossed 37 touchdown passes last year.  He will certainly miss Dwayne Harris and his 101 receptions from last year, but he welcomes the return of Lance Lewis, who caught 89 passes for 1,116 yards and 14 touchdowns (tied for the lead in the conference).

 

The running game loses its top two rushers from last season, but welcomes junior college transfer Reggie Bullock and freshman Alex Owah.  The success of the running game has more to do with forcing defenses into using five and even six defensive backs.

 

The offensive line is a bit of a concern with the loss of three starters, including two that made All-CUSA teams last year.  Look for the number of sacks to go up from last year’s ultra-low of 15 out of 647 possibilities.

 

ECU will score a ton of points this season, but the offense may not be as consistent as 2010.  We believe the Pirates can be as successful as last season thanks to a big improvement on the other side of the ball.

 

Where is there to go but up for this defense?  ECU gave up 227 rushing and 252 passing yards per game.  That put them in a two-team league with New Mexico!

 

The Pirates will use a 3-4 defense this season.  Coach Ruffin McNeill will blitz his linebackers much more this season in an attempt to put more pressure on the quarterbacks.  The Pirates only recorded 15 sacks and very few hurries. 

 

Up front, the new three-man line is stocked with veterans, but nose guard Michael Brooks is a bit undersized for a 3-4 scheme.  ECU may be vulnerable to runs between the tackles and quick traps.

 

The secondary will be the strength of the defense. Emanuel Davis and Derek Blacknall are decent cover corners, while Bradley Jacobs plugs the deep half as good as any safety in the league.  Davis will miss the first game against South Carolina due to a suspension for public drunkenness and resisting arrest (Wide receiver Michael Bowman also was suspended).

 

ECU’s schedule is difficult, and the Pirates will have a difficult time improving upon last year’s 6-6 regular season record.  After a probable 0-2 start, the home game with UAB on September 24 will be a must-win game.  After that game, there are only three cupcakes on the schedule.

 

Central Florida won the conference championship and then upset Georgia in the Liberty Bowl to finish 11-3 last year.  Coach George O’Leary can put that on his resume.  He may not want to include this season’s results though, because his excellent defense was decimated by graduation.  Gone are seven starters and several key reserves from a team that gave up just 17 points and 315 yards per game.  To make matters worse, defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable replaced Dave Doeren as Wisconsin’s DC.

 

All is not lost on the defensive side of the ball.  The secondary should be fine with cornerback Josh Robinson being one of the four returning starters.  Robinson was a 1st team all-conference player last year after intercepting a couple of passes and batting away a baker’s dozen passes.  Free safety Kemal Ishmael led the Knights in tackles.

 

At linebacker, Josh Linam is strong against the run and the pass, but the two teammates lining up with him in the second line of defense are raw and inexperienced.  Up front, only one starter returns, and that is tackle Victor Gray.  However, Darius Nall returns after serving as the designated pass rusher.  Coming in on passing situations, Nall led the team with 8 ½ sacks and another 14 QB hurries.  Look for Nall and end Troy Davis to team for 15-20 sacks this year.

 

The UCF offense gained less than 375 yards per game but still topped 32 points per game, thanks to a great field position advantage given to it by the defense.  Expect the offensive production to suffer some this year due to the weaker defense.

 

Quarterback Jeff Godfrey will not be confused for Case Keenum, but the sophomore signal caller should top 2,500 yards through the air this year and make few mistakes.  He also can run the ball, as his  nearly 700 rushing yards (factoring out sacks) proves.  Godfrey will have an entirely new set of receivers after the top three from last year are gone.  With the return of all the key running backs, UCF will run to set up the pass.  With running backs Latavius Murray and Ronnie Weaver, the Knights have three players (Godfrey included) capable of topping 100 rushing yards in a game.

 

The offensive line lost its top blocker in tackle Jah Reid, but with three starters back, it should be in decent shape.

 

UCF has a tougher schedule than Southern Miss, and that could prevent the Knights from challenging for the division title.

 

U A B was so close last year.  What turned out to be a 4-8 season could have been 8-4, but the Blazers lost a lot of close games.  They came up short four times, losing to Florida Atlantic by a point, Tennessee by a field goal in double overtime, Mississippi State by five, and Rice by five.

 

This could be the year the Blazers break through and challenge for a bowl bid, but the schedule maker did the team no favors with three tough non-conference games.

 

Quarterback Bryan Ellis almost made UAB fans forget Joe Webb last year.  Ellis threw 25 touchdown passes while completing 56+% of his passes for 2,940 yards.  He was not the runner Webb was.

 

Two of Ellis’s favorite receiver targets return this season.  Patrick Hearn finished second on the team with 536 receiving yards and four touchdowns, while Jackie Williams caught 30 balls.  Running back Pat Shed is a great dual threat.  Aside from his 847 rushing yards, he came out of the backfield to grab a team-leading 47 catches.

 

The offensive line will be the strength of the offense this season.  Four starters return from last year, and all of them should contend for all-league honors.  The fifth offensive linemen has seen considerable action and has started in the past, so this unit will be top notch.

 

UAB averaged better than 26 points per game and almost 425 yards per game, but the Blazers could have averaged more than 30 if they had been able to hang onto the ball better.  We think they will this year and will average at least 28 points per game.

 

As good as the offense should be, the defense should improve even more.  The front four needs to be rebuilt, but the back seven are experienced, talented, and deep. 

 

In the trenches, tackle Elliott Henigan is the leader of the unit.  Henigan led UAB with 15 ½ total tackles for loss.  At 6-4, he was able to get his hands up and knock away five passes last year.

 

Marvin Burdette could become a 1st team All-CUSA player this year.  He led the Blazers with 114 tackles with three sacks.  In the secondary, safety Jamie Bender will try to earn a second 1st team All-CUSA award.

 

This is not a great defense, but it will be better than last year and surrender less than 30 points per game for the first time in five years.  UAB has a chance to get to six wins, but it will not be easy with out-of-conference games at Florida and Troy as well as a home game with Mississippi State.

 

Marshall is another team that narrowly missed bowl eligibility in 2010.  The Thundering Herd came up one win short for first year coach Doc Holliday.  An overtime loss to in-state rival West Virginia was the difference.

 

2011 does not look like the year Marshall will return to greatness.  Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich are not eligible.  Instead, a true freshman could end up starting at quarterback.  Rakeem Cato will battle sophomore A. J. Graham for the starting nod.  Whoever starts will have one of the best receivers in the league running underneath those passes.  Aaron Dobson is as quick as a hiccup, and he can take a five yard slant pass and turn it into a 75-yard touchdown.  Dobson averaged almost 16 yards per reception last year.  Look for Troy Evans to contribute more this year.

 

Marshall could not run the ball last year, finishing with less than 100 yards in eight games.  Another true freshman, Travon Van, could step in and start from day one.  Martin Ward and Essray Taliafero are sure to see playing time at back as well.

 

The offensive line will need to be rebuilt after three starters departed.  Two of the returnees, tackle Ryan Tillman and guard C. J. Wood could contend for all-conference accolades.

 

Marshall averaged less than 21 points per game and only 314 yards per game, and it could be hard to improve on those numbers with a tough non-conference slate of opponents (West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Louisville, and Ohio).

 

Defensively, the Herd is in better shape.  It all starts up front, where Marshall has the best defensive end in the league.  Vinny Curry introduced his body to enemy quarterbacks a dozen times last year, while forcing them to hurry throws another 16 times.  He added six other tackles behind the line.  Curry should be an early draft choice in the 2012 NFL draft.

 

Three experienced veterans will line up at linebacker.  Kellen Harris, Tyson Gale, and Devin Arrington will not appear on the all-conference 1st team, but the trio is more than capable.

 

Things are not so optimistic in the secondary.  What was going to be a major asset has turned into a minor liability due to a situation at the safety positions.  2010 starter Donald Brown was dismissed and then projected starter D. J. Hunter suffered a knee injury and may not be ready to plug the strong safety position.  When Marshall conducted its first scrimmage, former wide receiver Raheem Waiters was running with the first team.  Five other safeties are ailing, and it is unsure who will start at the free safety position against West Virginia on September 4.

 

Too many freshmen and sophomores having to play do not bode well for the Thundering Herd.  This team will be exciting to watch, but they will experience growing pains.  Holliday’s recruiting efforts will begin to pay off, but not this season.  Marshall may take a small step backwards in 2011 before challenging for a bowl berth next year.

 

Memphis has fallen on hard times.  The Tigers finished 2-10 in 2009 and 1-11 last year.  Prospects are not bright for 2011, and second year coach Larry Porter could very well see his career record move to 2-22.

 

The offense never got in a groove at any point last year.  The Tigers averaged just 14 points and 285 yards per game.  The offensive line could not protect inexperienced quarterbacks that could not read defenses fast enough.  None of the backs reminded anybody of DeAngelo Williams.  To make matters worse, the one of the two real stars on last year’s offense, wideout Jermaine McKenzie, has used up his eligibility.

 

At least the other big play receiver returns, and that is where Memphis will try to revive its offense.  Marcus Rucker will see a lot of double teams this year after catching 41 passes and averaging 17.2 yards and scoring eight times (Memphis only scored 19 touchdowns).  Former Alabama wideout Keiwone Malone is trying to gain immediate elibility due to family health issues, but the NCAA will probably not rule before the end of August.  If he is eligible, the receiving corps could become an asset.

 

Quarterback was a major problem last year, as it has been for several years.  Memphis seems to have a jinx here with frequent injuries at this spot.  Andy Summerlin, a juco transfer appears to have the edge over former Wake Forest QB Skylar Jones and true freshman Taylor Reed, but if fate holds out, all three may have to see the field this year.  None of the trio is going to star, because the offensive line will still be a major liability. 

 

Jerrell Rhodes could be a diamond in the rough at running back.  He rushed for 469 yards last year, and he could be ready to break out and have a big year.  But, he will need help, and the holes just may not open for him. 

 

Only one starting lineman returns this season, but at least he was the best of the quintet last year.  The Tigers will rebuild around tackle Ronald Leary.

 

The defense was equally to blame for Memphis’s 1-11 record.  Opponents scored 40 points per game and gained 461 yards per game.  Six starters return, but eight reserves that saw considerable playing time return as well.

 

The defensive line could develop into something memorable.  Tackles Frank Trotter and Dontari Poe could be the best tandem at this position.  They teamed for 23 total tackles for loss last year.

 

Troubles begin once you get past the front four.  Memphis will have trouble stopping the excellent bevy of CUSA quarterbacks this year.  Last year. the Tigers gave up 289 passing yards per game and allowed enemy passers to complete better than 65% of their passes.  To make matters worse, the best pass defender has used up his eligibility, and the second best transferred after Spring practice.

 

The schedule gives Memphis a chance to win at least one game.  A September home game against FCS school Austin Peay should be a nice win.  Memphis does not play UTEP from the West, and we do not see the Tigers winning in league play this year.

 

West

Tulsa might have been our choice to break through and become the first CUSA team to make it to a BCS bowl game this year, but two factors prevented us from going out on that limb.  First, former coach Todd Graham left for Pittsburgh, leaving a rookie, Bill Blankenship, as the new coach.  More importantly, the Golden Hurricane open the season at Oklahoma and then host Oklahoma State two weeks later.  They then make a trip to the field of blue to play Boise State; no CUSA team will play in a BCS Bowl with a 10-3 record, even if the three losses are to top 10 teams.

 

Tulsa returns 10 starters from the fifth best offense in the nation.  TU averaged 41 points and more than 500 yards per game last year, and there is no reason to expect much drop-off this year.  It all starts at quarterback in the spread formation, and G. J. Kinne is a magician.  The former Texas QB passed for 3,650 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2010, and he led the team with 561 rushing yards (more than 750 when factoring out sacks). 

 

As good as Kinne is, his offensive line is the real strength of this team.  All five of these prized possessions return for an encore, and three could earn 1st Team All-CUSA honors.  Center Trent Dupy, guard Clint Anderson, and Tackle Tyler Homes will all be watched by NFL scouts this year.

 

It is rare when a wide receiver becomes a team’s big play man in the running game, but Damaris Johnson was that man.  He averaged more than 10 yards per rush and ran the ball 55 more than four times per game.  When he wasn’t sprinting wide with the ball, he found time to lead the team with 57 pass receptions good for 872 yards.  In his spare time, he returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown.  We haven’t heard yet whether he sells programs before the games or marches in the band at halftime.

 

Willie Carter and Ricky Johnson teamed up for just 41 receptions last year, but they both averaged 16 yards per catch.  They will team with Mr. Everything to make a dangerous group.

 

Tulsa’s Achilles heel last year was its defense.  The Golden Hurricane surrendered more than 30 points and 450 yards per game last year.  New defensive coordinator Brent Guy moves TU from a 3-3-5 to a 4-3 defense.  Expect middle linebacker Curnelius Arnick to become an even bigger playmaker in this alignment after he led the team with 115 tackles in 2010.  Shawn Jackson and DeAundre Brown team with Arnick to form one of the top linebacker trios in the league.  If Brown can return to his pre-injury 2009 form, this will be the best unit.  Jackson led TU with 15 ½ stops for loss, including 8 ½ sacks.

 

Safeties Dexter McCoil and Marco Nelson form an excellent tandem of ball hawks.  Both players intercepted six passes last year.

 

Up front, end Tyrunn Walker is the top holdover, earning 2nd Team All-CUSA honors last year.  He recorded 12 tackles for loss.

 

Tulsa hosts Houston in the season finale, and that game should determine the West Division representative in the conference title game.  If Tulsa can stay healthy against this demanding schedule, we believe the Golden Hurricane is the favorite for that spot.

 

S M U returns most of their key players from a team that won the West Division last year, but the Mustangs are the third choice to start 2011.  Coach June Jones’ team finished just 7-7 overall due to 1-3 non-conference record and losses to UCF in the Championship Game and Army in the bowl.  Another tough non-conference schedule will prevent the Mustangs from making any major leap forward.

 

Kyle Padron returns at quarterback after throwing for 3,828 yards and 31 touchdowns.  Five of his top six receivers return, including Cole Beasley, who caught 87 passes for 1,060 yards.  However, the one receiver lost was an NFL draft choice.  Aldrick Robinson caught 65 passes and averaged 20 yards per catch with 14 touchdowns.  With the breakaway threat gone, the other receivers will find the going a little tougher, and SMU will pass for less yards this season.

 

Taking up the slack in the yardage department will be an excellent running game.  Zach Line rushed for almost 1,500 yards last year and averaged more than six yards per carry. 

 

Up front, SMU’s offensive line is almost as talented as Tulsa’s.  All five starters return as well as the five second teamers.  Tackle Kelvin Beachum earned 1st team all-conference honors last year and could contend for Honorable Mention All-American honors this year.

 

SMU gained more than 5,800 total yards last year but only scored 360 points.  That averages out to more than 16 yards per point.  The average effective offense scores a point for about 13 yards of offense, meaning SMU should have scored close to 450 points last year.  The Mustangs could gain fewer yards and score more points this season, but only if the backs can hold onto the ball, and Padron can keep his interceptions down.

 

SMU’s defense has improved for three consecutive seasons, and it could be more of the same in season four of the Jones era.  Eight different defensive players made an all-conference team last year, and six of them return, two each in the three different units.  Ends Margus Hunt and Taylor Thompson were two of those award winners.  The duo teamed up for 7 ½ sacks. 

 

In the second line of defense, linebackers Taylor Reed and Ja’Gared Davis combined for 235 tackles.  Both could earn 1st Team All-CUSA accolades this year.

 

Cornerback Richard Crawford and safety Chris Banjo are the stars of the secondary.  Crawford recorded 12 passes defended with four interceptions, while Banjo proved to be strong against both the run and the pass.

 

September will bring an almost assured 3-2 start for SMU.  Road games against Texas A&M and TCU bookmark games with UTEP, Northwestern State, and Memphis.  After a week off, the Mustangs host Central Florida in a game that will decide if either team will contend in their respective division.

 

Houston has the schedule Tulsa needs to become a BCS Bowl participant.  The Cougars are not that far behind Tulsa in talent, and if Coach Kevin Sumlin can plug a couple of holes on both sides of the ball, we would not be surprised to see Houston visiting Tulsa with a perfect won-loss record on the line.

 

All this optimism hinges on the 100% return of Heisman Trophy candidate Case Keenum.  The Cougars have had some outstanding quarterbacks, including a Heisman Trophy winner in Andre Ware and current Arizona Cardinals’ QB Kevin Kolb.  However, Keenum may be better than both.  When he was healthy in 2009, he completed 70% of his passes for 5,671 yards and 44 touchdowns.  If he replicates those numbers this year, all other marbles should fall in place.  Backup David Piland threw for 2,641 yards and 24 touchdowns as Keenum’s fill-in, so there is excellent depth.

 

Keenum will hook up frequently with Patrick Edwards.  Edwards led the Cougars with 71 receptions, 13 touchdowns and 1,100 yards.  Houston will have to break in two new receivers, but they have some real sprinters ready to go in 2011. 

 

Houston has not been a running back factory since the old veer offense days of the 1960’s and 1970’s; more recently, they have produced one productive back at a time.  This year, the Cougars have three great running backs.  Bryce Beall and Michael Hayes teamed for almost 1,500 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns last year, while former co-regular Charles Sims returns after missing last season.  The trio should team up for about 175 rushing yards per game this season; considering that Houston passes the ball about 60% of the time, this is a scary statistic.  It will give Keenum more open looks when defenses have to remain honest.

 

The one question mark to the 2011 offense is a rebuilding offensive line.  Keenum was not sacked in the two plus games that he played before his ACL injury.  Piland only went down 12 times after that.  Expect the sack total to go up by at least 50% this year due to some inexperience in the blocking corps.  Center Chris Thompson is one of the best at his position in the conference, and Keenum should feel comfortable with him.

 

Houston averaged more than 40 points per game with Keenum directing the offense in 2008 and 2009.  They scored 122 points in the first two games last year before he went down for the count and averaged “just” 33 points per game without him.  We believe he will regain his old form, and the Cougars will move north of the 40-point mark again this year.

 

Whether 40 points per game will be enough to win all the games on the schedule is an unknown at this point.  Houston’s defense will not be championship material this year.  The Cougars gave up more than 32 points and 430 yards per game, and there may be no improvement and even a small deterioration in the numbers this year.

 

The secondary is a major concern.  Just one starter returns from a unit that gave up about 225 passing yards at a 60% completion rate.  As of this writing, Sumlin has not yet decided on his starting four nor has he even decided where to play some of his players.  Expected starting cornerback Chevy Bennett was playing safety in the early scrimmage.

 

As raw as the secondary will be, the linebackers will be grey beards.  Seniors Sammy Brown and Marcus McGraw could both earn all-league honors, and Brown could contend for defensive player of the year.  He recorded 20 tackles for loss with 7 ½ sacks in 2010.  Junior Phillip Steward is an excellent pass defender from his strong side spot.

 

Up front, the three-man line had a tough time stopping the run last year.  UH gave up more than 200 rushing yards as close to a five yard per carry rate.  Ends David Hunter and Kelvin King return, but the Cougars will have a new nose guard as Matangi Tonga graduated.

 

Houston has a couple of special teams weapons as well.  When not catching passes, Edwards is one of the best punt returners in the nation.  Tyron Carrier is an asset in the kick return game.

 

Houston has a slim chance of running the table this year, but with too many questions on the defensive side, we tend to believe they will fall once or twice.

 

Last year, Rice began to recover some from its slide from 10 wins in 2008 to 10 losses in 2009.  The Owls won four games and blew out East Carolina 62-38, so Coach David Bailiff has enough talent to get back above the .500 mark.

 

Injuries ruined any chance for the Owls to contend for a bowl bid last year.  Quarterback Taylor McHargue played sparingly due to injuries last year.  In his time under center, he completed 57% of his passes at 8.5 yards per attempt. 

 

Former quarterback 6-07 Taylor Cook moves to wide receiver and will team with tight end 6-05 Luke Wilson and wideout 6-05 Vance McDonald to make one of the tallest receiver units in college football history.  While there isn’t a trailblazer in this group, there will be a lot of 3rd down passing plays converted to first downs.

 

Sam McGuffie is a dual threat back.  He led the Owls with 883 rushing yards while catching 39 passes.  That earned him 2nd team all-league honors.

 

The offensive line returns four starters, but they are mediocre at best.  Guard Davon Allen and tackle Jake Hicks are the two quality players in the blocking corps.

 

Rice should exceed last season’s production of 29 points and 375 yards.  Look for more than 30 points and 400 yards this season.

 

In Bailiff’s four seasons in Houston, Rice has given up 43, 33, 43, and 39 points per game.  They won 10 games when they gave up 33 points, so it will not take much for a record reversal.  Unfortunately, with the tough out-of-conference schedule and road games against Southern Miss, Houston, and SMU, it does not look like the Owls can chop much off last season’s numbers.

 

The biggest problem with the Rice defense is the secondary.  The Owls gave up 304 passing yards per game last year and intercepted just six passes.  Of course, a better pass rush would have helped, as enemy quarterbacks hit the turf just 14 times.  Four of the five starters return from a year ago, and unfortunately three of them were the top three tacklers on the team.  That can never be a good sign.

 

There is some good news at linebacker.  Kyle Prater takes over in the middle after transferring from LSU two years ago.  There’s more good news in the trenches with the return from injury of end Scott Solomon.  However, that is not enough good news to turn Rice’s fortunes around.

 

The schedule makers did the Owls no favors this year.  Rice plays at Texas, Northwestern, and Baylor and hosts Purdue out of the league, and that could very well equate to an 0-4 mark.  The three conference road games listed above are basically unwinnable, so even if the Owls win the other five games, they will finish with a losing record.  They must sweep the five easier teams and then pick up a big upset somewhere along the line.  We do not see it happening this season.

 

Tulane has not enjoyed a winning season since 2002, when Mewelde Moore was running loose.  The Green Wave always seem to be good for one upset, but they cannot get over the hill.  This could be Coach Bob Toledo’s last attempt to reverse the poor fortunes in the Crescent City.

 

The offense will revolve around running back Orleans Darkwa.  As a freshman, Darkwa rushed for 925 and 11 touchdowns, earning 1st team All-CUSA awards.  Look for Darkwa to run the ball more than the 15 times he averaged last year.  He should carry the ball 25 times for about 125 yards per game.

 

Junior quarterback Ryan Griffin was adequate but not exceptional last year.  He completed 60% of his passes for 2,371 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2010, but he played part of the season with a lame shoulder.  He should have more zip on the ball this year, and his numbers will improve.

 

Only one real threat returns to the receiver corps.  Ryan Grant grabbed 33 passes and blazed for almost 16 yards per catch. 

 

The offensive line could be a liability this year.  Three starters return and three second teamers are back, but we do not see any stars in this group.

 

Tulane averaged 25 points and 373 yards per game last year.  We expect those numbers to improve some this year, but we do not see a 30-point, 400-yard production.  That’s what the Green Wave offense will need to get to seven wins.

 

Defensively, TU gave up more than 37 points per game in 2010.  Six times, they surrendered 42 or more points.  No unit stands out as a strength this year, and we expect the Green Wave to give up more than five touchdowns per game for the third consecutive season.  Tulane’s biggest problem is an inability to stop the run.  Opponents averaged five yards per carry, and you must realize that their schedule found them facing a majority of opponents that preferred to pass rather than run.

 

Up front, end Dezman Moses was the one bright spot.  Moses recorded six sacks and forced seven QB hurries after transferring from Iowa.  In the second line of defense, Trent Mackey made the 1st Team All-CUSA roster after he led TU with 124 tackles.

 

The secondary looked better than it was, because teams found the going so easy running the ball against the Green Wave.  Yet, TU did surrender just 53.9% in completion percentage. 

 

Unlike Rice, Tulane’s schedule is manageable.  Outside of league play, TU should beat Southeast Louisiana.  They should compete against Duke and Army, and Syracuse comes to the Superdome in what looks like a big upset chance for TU.  Remember, they always come up with one upset.  In conference play, home games with UTEP and Memphis will give the Green Wave an excellent chance to pick up two league wins.  There is an outside chance Tulane could be 6-6 and playing for bowl eligibility when they head to Hawaii for the season finale.  This team is not as good as Rice, but the schedule gives them the chance that Rice will not receive.

 

U T E P used to be referred to as the University of Texas at intercepted passo by one a pollster that used to rank the Bottom 10 every year.  Then, the Miners started to get better earning three bowls in six years.  After four sub-.500 seasons, UTEP recovered to break even in the regular season in 2010.  A bowl loss sent their final record back under .500 again.  It looks like 2011 could find the Miners resembling their old moniker once again. 

 

Only one starter returns to an offense that was just pedestrian in CUSA standards last year.  Running back Joe Banyard may wish he wasn’t the lone returnee.  He led TEP with 623 rushing yards last year, but with no starters returning at QB, wide receiver, and offensive line, he will probably not match that number this season.

 

At quarterback, Nick Lamaison has been named the starter.  He completed 60% of his passes for almost 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns as a sophomore at junior college. 

 

Donovan Kemp is the only receiver left on the roster that caught more than 10 passes and gained more than 100 yards.  He is coming off an ACL injury, so he may not be 100% at the beginning of the season.

 

With no returning regulars to the front five, Coach Mike Price had to recruit multiple juco players to fill the spots.  Center Eloy Anderson has one career start.

 

UTEP has averaged no less than 26 points per game for the last seven years.  2011 may find them averaging less than they did in 2003 (22.2).

 

The Miners have almost the exact opposite situation on the other side of the ball.  15 of the top 19 tacklers from 2010 are back this year.  Of course, those players contributed to a defense that gave up 28 points and more than 400 yards per game, so there may be little or no improvement.  If the offense struggles and the time of possession suffers, UTEP could even fare worse defensively in 2011.

 

The secondary is the strongest unit on the stop side.  Safety Travaun Nixon was voted to the All-CUSA 2nd team after he defended 12 passes with four interceptions.  Fellow safety DeShawn Grayson earned honorable mention all-conference honors.

 

At linebacker, all three starters are back for more.  Royzell Smith, Jamie Irving, and Isaiah Carter combined for 226 tackles, each recording more than 70.  Up front, three starters return, but this group lacks a star. 

 

UTEP will start the season 1-0 thanks to a cupcake game with Stony Brook.  After that game, a road trip to Las Cruces to play New Mexico State is their best shot at picking up a second win.

 

Conference USA Preseason Media Poll

 

C-USA EAST

1st Place Votes

Total Votes

Central Florida

20

139

Southern Miss

4

122

East Carolina

 

93

Marshall

 

65

U A B

 

61

Memphis

 

24

     
C-USA WEST

1st Place Votes

Total Votes

Houston

12

127

Tulsa

8

117

S M U

4

116

Rice

 

60

Tulane (tied)

 

42

U T E P (tied)

 

42

 

Conference USA PiRate Ratings

C-USA EAST

PiRate #

Prediction

Southern Miss

97.0

7-1/10-3

East Carolina

94.8

6-2/6-6

Central Florida

91.9

5-3/7-5

U A B

89.1

3-5/3-9

Marshall

85.8

3-5/3-9

Memphis

72.0

0-8/2-10

 

 

 

C-USA WEST

PiRate #

Prediction

Tulsa

103.6

7-1/9-4 *

S M U

102.0

5-3/6-6

Houston

96.7

7-1/10-2

Rice

89.7

3-5/3-9

Tulane

80.9

2-6/4-9

U T E P

76.0

0-8/1-11

 

 

 

* Tulsa picked to beat Southern Miss in the Championship Game

 

Next: The Western Athletic Conference preview—Thursday, August 18

 

December 26, 2010

PiRate Ratings College Football Bowl Preview, Part Two

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

 

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

 

Sunday, December 26

Little Caesar’s Bowl

Detroit, MI

8:30 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: Toledo by 1

Totals: 57

PiRate: Toledo by 3.3

Mean: Toledo by 2.8

Bias: Toledo by 16.8

100 Sims: Toledo 67  Florida International 33

Avg. Sim Score: Toledo 33.6  Florida International 25.7

Outlier A: Toledo 49  Florida International 19

Outlier B: Florida International 37  Toledo 24

 

Monday, December 27

Independence Bowl

Shreveport, LA

5:00 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: Air Force by 2 ½  

Totals: 56

PiRate: Georgia Tech by 1.7

Mean: Air Force by 5.2

Bias: Air Force by 5.9

100 Sims: Air Force 55  Georgia Tech 45

Avg. Sim Score: Air Force 29.2  Georgia Tech 26.9

Outlier A: Air Force 41  Georgia Tech 23

Outlier B: Georgia Tech 34  A Force 23

 

Tuesday, December 28

Champs Sports Bowl

Orlando, FL

6:30 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: West Virginia by 2 ½

Totals: 49

PiRate: West Virginia by 6.8

Mean: West Virginia by 2.3

Bias: West Virginia by 3.0

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

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

Outlier A: West Virginia 27  North Carolina State 10

Outlier B: North Carolina State 28  West Virginia 12

 

Insight Bowl

Tempe, AZ

10:00 PM EST

Missouri (10-2)  vs.  Iowa (7-5)

Vegas: Missouri by 2 ½

Totals: 46 ½

PiRate: Even

Mean: Missouri by 4.1

Bias: Missouri by 12.6

100 Sims: Missouri 58  Iowa 42

Avg. Sim Score: Missouri 25.6  Iowa 22.3

Outlier A: Missouri 31  Iowa 13

Outlier B: Iowa 21  Missouri 7

 

Wednesday, December 29

Military Bowl

Washington, D.C.

2:30 PM on EST

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

Vegas: Maryland by 7 ½

Totals: 68 ½

PiRate: Maryland by 18.4

Mean: Maryland by 11.2

Bias: Maryland by 13.8

100 Sims: East Carolina 51  Maryland 49

Avg. Sim Score: Maryland 34.4  East Carolina 34.1

Outlier A: East Carolina 47  Maryland 31

Outlier B: Maryland 42  East Carolina 20

 

Texas Bowl

Houston, TX

6:00 PM EST on ESPN

Baylor (7-5)  vs. Illinois (6-6)

Vegas: Baylor by 1

Totals: 62 ½

PiRate: Baylor by 2.4

Mean: Illinois by 1.6

Bias: Baylor by 6.9

100 Sims: Illinois 54  Baylor 46

Avg. Sim Score: Illinois 32.1  Baylor 28.6

Outlier A: Illinois 34  Baylor 17

Outlier B: Baylor 28  Illinois 18

 

Alamo Bowl

San Antonio, TX

9:15 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: Oklahoma State by 5 ½

Totals: 66

PiRate: Oklahoma State by 1.1

Mean: Oklahoma State by 6.1

Bias: Oklahoma State by 9.6

100 Sims: Oklahoma State 61  Arizona 39

Avg. Sim Score: Oklahoma State 38.0  Arizona 29.1

Outlier A: Oklahoma State 51  Arizona 27

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

 

Thursday, December 30

Armed Forces Bowl

Dallas, TX

12:00 Noon EST on ESPN

S M U (7-6)  vs. Army (6-6)

Vegas: S M U by 7

Totals: 52

PiRate: S M U by 7.7

Mean: S M U by 3.2

Bias: S M U by 10.6

100 Sims: S M U 64  Army 36

Avg. Sim Score: S M U 28.2  Army 20.6

Outlier A: S M U 34  Army 10

Outlier B: Army 24  S M U 16

 

Pinstripe Bowl

New York, NY

3:20 PM EST

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

Vegas: Pick’em

Totals: 47 ½

PiRate: Syracuse by 1.5

Mean: Kansas State by 4.6

Bias: Syracuse by 2.3

100 Sims: Syracuse 53  Kansas State 47

Avg. Sim Score: Syracuse 20.1  Kansas State 18.6

Outlier A: Syracuse 24  Kansas State 7

Outlier B: Kansas State 17  Syracuse 3

 

Music City Bowl

Nashville, TN

6:30 PM EST

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

Vegas: North Carolina by 1 ½  

Totals: 50 ½

PiRate: North Carolina by 6.8

Mean: North Carolina by 1.5

Bias: Tennessee by 6.6

100 Sims: Tennessee 50  North Carolina 50

Avg. Sim Score: Tennessee 24.5  North Carolina 23.9

Outlier A: Tennessee 30  North Carolina 14

Outlier B: North Carolina 27  Tennessee 12

 

Holiday Bowl

San Diego, CA

10:00 PM EST

Nebraska (10-3)  vs. Washington (6-6)

Vegas: Nebraska by 14

Totals: 52 ½

PiRate: Nebraska by 11.8

Mean: Nebraska by 11.5

Bias: Nebraska by 5.3

100 Sims: Nebraska 57  Washington 43

Avg. Sim Score: Nebraska 26.1  Washington 19.3

Outlier A: Nebraska 27  Washington 6

Outlier B: Washington 23  Nebraska 14

 

Friday, December 31

Meineke Car Care Bowl

Charlotte, NC

12:00 Noon EST

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

Vegas: Clemson by 5 ½

Totals: 40 ½

PiRate: Clemson by 5.1

Mean: Clemson by 3.7

Bias: South Florida by 6.1

100 Sims: South Florida 58  Clemson 42

Avg. Sim Score: South Florida 25.1  Clemson 19.2

Outlier A: South Florida 31  Clemson 12

Outlier B: Clemson 28  South Florida 16

 

Sun Bowl

El Paso, TX

2:00 PM EST on CBS

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

Vegas: Miami by 3

Totals: 47

PiRate: Miami by 6.3

Mean: Notre Dame by 1.2

Bias: Miami by 6.0

100 Sims: Notre Dame 52  Miami 48

Avg. Sim Score: Notre Dame 23.4  Miami 23.2

Outlier A: Notre Dame 30  Miami 14

Outlier B: Miami 35  Notre Dame 14

 

Liberty Bowl

Memphis, TN

3:30 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: Georgia by 6 ½

Totals: 55 ½

PiRate: Georgia by 12.8

Mean: Georgia by 5.3

Bias: Georgia by 11.3

100 Sims: Georgia 72  Central Florida 28

Avg. Sim Score: Georgia 28.6  Central Florida 17.3

Outlier A: Georgia 38  Central Florida 10

Outlier B: Central Florida 24  Georgia 19

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Atlanta, GA

7:30 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: South Carolina by 3

Totals: 55

PiRate: Florida State by 0.4

Mean: South Carolina by 0.5

Bias: Florida State by 1.6

100 Sims: Florida State 52  South Carolina 48

Avg. Sim Score: South Carolina 26.7  Florida State 26.6

Outlier A: Florida State 30  South Carolina 16

Outlier B: South Carolina 44  Florida State 17

 

Saturday, January 1

TicketCity Bowl

Dallas, TX

12:00 Noon EST on ESPN-U

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

Vegas: Texas Tech by 10

Totals: 60

PiRate: Texas Tech by 12.5

Mean: Texas Tech by 7.3

Bias: Texas Tech by 9.6

100 Sims: Texas Tech 86  Northwestern 14

Avg. Sim Score: Texas Tech 34.6  Northwestern 21.2

Outlier A: Texas Tech 45  Northwestern 17

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

 

Outback Bowl

Tampa, FL

1:00 PM EST on ABC

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

Vegas: Florida by 7 ½  

Totals: 48

PiRate: Florida by 13.2

Mean: Florida by 5.1

Bias: Florida by 5.5

100 Sims: Florida 54  Penn State 46

Avg. Sim Score: Florida 22.6  Penn State 19.8

Outlier A: Florida 28  Penn State 13

Outlier B: Penn State 21  Florida 10

 

Capital One Bowl

Orlando, FL

1:00 PM EST on ESPN

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

Vegas: Alabama by 10

Totals: 52 ½

PiRate: Alabama by 15.5

Mean: Alabama by 10.4

Bias: Alabama by 3.2

100 Sims: Alabama 59  Michigan State 41

Avg. Sim Score: Alabama 27.6  Michigan State 24.7

Outlier A: Alabama 31  Michigan State 12

Outlier B: Michigan State 35  Alabama 25

 

Gator Bowl

Jacksonville, FL

1:30 PM EST on ESPN2

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

Vegas: Mississippi State by 5 ½

Totals: 61

PiRate: Mississippi State by 10.3

Mean: Mississippi State by 6.3

Bias: Mississippi State by 4.8

100 Sims: Mississippi State 52  Michigan 48

Avg. Sim Score: Mississippi State 33.7  Michigan 30.1

Outlier A: Mississippi State 38  Michigan 20

Outlier B: Michigan 36  Mississippi State 27

 

Rose Bowl

Pasadena, CA

5:00 PM EST on ESPN

T C U (12-0)  vs. Wisconsin (11-1)

Vegas: T C U by 3

Totals: 58 ½

PiRate: T C U by 7.9

Mean: T C U by 5.8

Bias: Wisconsin by 6.6

100 Sims: Wisconsin 54  T C U 46

Avg. Sim Score: Wisconsin 30.4  T C U 28.8

Outlier A: Wisconsin 40  T C U 24

Outlier B: T C U 34  Wisconsin 24

 

Fiesta Bowl

Glendale, AZ

8:30 PM EST

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

Vegas: Oklahoma by 16 1/2

Totals: 55

PiRate: Oklahoma by 19.7

Mean: Oklahoma by 16.2

Bias: Oklahoma by 20.7

100 Sims: Oklahoma 91  Connecticut 9

Avg. Sim Score: Oklahoma 35.3  Connecticut 14.8

Outlier A: Oklahoma 49  Connecticut 7

Outlier B: Connecticut 27  Oklahoma 23

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