The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 25, 2011

2011 Pac-12 Conference Preview

2011 Pacific 12 Conference Preview

 

Larry Scott didn’t start the fire, but he did ignite it.  After Nebraska bolted the Big 12 for the Big Ten, Scott tried to lure Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Colorado to form the first 16-team super-conference.  Sure, the Western Athletic Conference tried a 16-team setup in the 1990’s but the winner did not receive a bid to a major bowl.

 

Although Scott had to settle for Colorado and Utah, he fired the first shot toward what could become four major conferences of 16 teams.  It isn’t far beyond the imagination to see a four-team playoff down the road with a “plus one” format.

 

The strength of the league is in the North Division this year.  The South is faced with the strong possibility of sending its number two team to the first Pac-12 Championship Game, since Southern Cal is still on probation and prohibited from appearing in post-season games.

 

NORTH DIVISION

Stanford

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Stanford has a reputation for producing great quarterbacks over the decades.  Four past passers are in the College Football Hall of Fame—Frankie Albert, John Brodie, Jim Plunkett, and John Elway.  Add Trent Edwards, Steve Stentstrom, Turk Schonert, and others.  Could the current quarterback actually be the best of the bunch?  If you believe A-Rod is better than Gehrig and Ruth or Pujols is better than Musial, then maybe you can say the same about Andrew Luck.

 

Luck is the best college quarterback in 2011, and he is the prohibitive favorite to cart off the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, and most importantly, the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.  A joke is already going around NFL circles that one or more teams may deliberately “sandbag” this year in an attempt to post the worst record and take the next Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.

 

Luck completed almost 71% of his passes last year for 3,338 yards and 32 touchdowns.  He averaged almost nine yards per attempt, which is almost unstoppable.  As a runner, he added over 500 yards when sacks are factored out.  As long as he stays 100% healthy, he is the player you want to watch every week—the modern day Babe Ruth of college football.

 

Receivers

Luck lost his top two targets from 2010, but we do not believe it will greatly affect his production.  Great QBs can take average receivers and make them look like stars; just ask Indianapolis Colts fans. 

 

Unlike almost every other college team, Stanford actively includes two tight ends for a considerable amount of playing time.  It allows the Cardinal to get extra blocking for the running game, and it makes it very difficult on diminutive safeties trying to stop 250-pound receivers.

 

The Cardinal have three excellent tight ends capable of making a big play.  Coby Fleener caught 28 passes and averaged 15.5 yards per catch with seven touchdowns last year; he became a star in the Orange Bowl with three touchdown receptions.  Levine Toilolo and Zach Ertz will also see significant amounts of playing time.

 

Stanford’s new wideouts will do just fine and will not be a liability.  Griff Whalen and Chris Owusu should average about 14-18 yards per catch and combine for about 90-110 receptions.  There is ample depth here with Jemari Roberts, Jamaal-Rashad Patterson, and Drew Terrell.  Terrell is a sleeper; he could emerge as a star.

 

Running Backs

What makes the offense so unstoppable is the running game.  Defenses cannot forget it is there, because the Cardinal can beat you on the ground.  Stepfan Taylor returns after gaining 1,137 yards with 15 touchdowns.  Taylor is also a big weapon in the passing game, and he grabbed 28 passes.  Defenses forget him on a running fake, but Luck is great at faking to him and then passing to him when the defense covers the downfield receivers.

 

Behind Taylor are three other competent backs that will receive playing time.  Anthony Wilkerson, Tyler Gaffney, and Usua Amanam teamed for 789 yards and seven scores in 2010.  This unit is loaded.

 

Stanford uses a fullback, but he is a blocker 99% of the time.  Last year’s “third guard,” Owen Marecic, was so good, he was a fourth round draft pick.  He also played full-time at linebacker, frequently playing 90-100 scrimmage plays in a game.  The new Marecic will be Ryan Hewitt, but he will only play on this side of the ball.

 

Offensive Line

The line must replace three excellent players from last year, including 1st Team All-American Chase Beeler at center.  Khalil Wilkes and Sam Schwartzstein are battling neck and neck to replace him.

 

David DeCastro is entrenched at one guard spot after earning 1st Team All-Pac-10 honors in 2010.  Kevin Danser will start on the other side.  At tackle, Jonathan Martin earned 1st Team All-Pac-10 accolades last year.  Tyler Mabry and Cameron Fleming are in a heated battle for the other tackle position. 

 

While not as talented overall as last year, this unit will still be an asset.

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

Stanford gave up just 56 points in their final six games last year, and the defensive line really toughened up down the stretch.  They allowed just 89.7 yards rushing 276.8 total yards per game in that stretch.

 

New head coach David Shaw appointed defensive back coach Derek Mason and former San Francisco 49er defensive coach Jason Tarver as co-defensive coordinators.  With the change comes a switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 defense.

 

Terrence Stephens will start at the nose.  At 290 pounds, he is a little on the light side for a two-gap defender.  Ben Gardner and Matthew Masifilo start at the end positions.  This unit is the weakest link on the team, and it will be here where Stanford either wins or loses the Pac-12 title.

 

Linebackers

Two starters return from last year, and of course, there will be an extra linebacker in the alignment this year.  Shayne Skov will start at one inside position, while Chase Thomas will start at an outside position.  They led the Cardinal with 84 and 70 tackles respectively.  Both players co-led the team with 7 ½ sacks, and they combined for 22 tackles behind the line.  They also showed prowess for stopping passes, combining for nine passes defended.

 

Trent Murphy and Max Bergen will be the new starters on this unit.  Bergen made 21 tackles in limited playing time last year.  Blake Lueders could crack the starting lineup this year.  Keep an eye on Alex Debniak.

 

Secondary

Three starters return to this unit, and it should be in good shape.  Safety Delano Howell is the stud of this unit.  He led the Cardinal with five interceptions and 10 passes defended.  Michael Thomas returns to the other safety spot after finishing third on the team with 61 tackles.

 

At cornerback, Johnson Bademosi started nine times last year, while Barry Browning takes over for Richard Sherman, another NFL draft choice.

 

OTHER

Stanford lost a lot of talent via graduation, but the biggest loss will be coach Jim Harbaugh, who graduated to the 49ers.  Shaw has never been a head coach, but we believe he has enough talent to learn on the job without losing a game due to inexperience.

 

The Cardinal were one of four teams to average better than 40 points per game and give up less than 20 points per game (Oregon, Boise St., and TCU were the others).  In the 21st Century, any team that can pull off this feat is capable of contending for a national title.  We believe Stanford’s offense could be just strong enough to control the ball and the clock and allow the defense to mature without giving up 25 points per game.  We would not be surprised if Stanford repeats their averages of last year.

 

SUMMARY

Stanford has a dream schedule for a Pac-12 team.  They open the season with area rival San Jose State and then go on the road to Duke.  They should be 2-0 before opening conference play on the road at a rebuilding Arizona.  They then get a week off before hosting UCLA and Colorado.  A road game with Washington State follows, before Washington, without Jake Locker, comes to Palo Alto.  Stanford should be 7-0 when they head to the Coliseum to face Southern Cal in the first of a tough closing schedule.  By then, the defense should be up to snuff.  Following USC, Stanford has a trap game with Oregon State in Corvallis.  Then, on November 12 is the big rematch with Oregon, and this time it is at Stanford Stadium.  Arch-rival Cal comes in the following week, and then the Cardinal close out at home with Notre Dame, in what could be a battle of 11-0 teams.

 

Stanford has not run the table with a bowl win since 1940 when they became the first college team to use the modern T-Formation.  Could it happen again?  We believe it could, but chances are the defense will stumble at least one time.  The Pac-12 does not get its due in the eastern half of the country, but there is a lot of talent spread throughout the teams, and upsets are more prevalent here than in any of the Big Six conferences.

 

Oregon

Oregon is another of the teams that faced off-the-field issues during the summer.  The football program made several thousand dollars in payments to a recruiting service in Texas for what appeared to look like a third grade art project given in return, as well as the delivery of multiple key recruits out of the Lone Star State.  Running back Lache Seastrunk left UO over the controversy.  The NCAA is investigating.

 

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Darron Thomas made fans forget Jeremiah Masoli.  Thomas made the Ducks fly last year.  He passed for 2,881 yards and 30 touchdowns and rushed for more than 550 yards (sacks not included).  He can only hope for a repeat as a 2nd Team All-Pac-12 choice, but he is the best quarterback in the league after the new “franchise” down the road.

 

Receivers

Like Mr. Luck, Thomas loses his top two targets from a year ago.  Jeff Maehl and D. J. Davis teamed for 119 receptions and 15 touchdowns, but their replacements will be quicker and more elusive this season.

 

One of those speedy guys is not quite 100% as of this writing.  Josh Huff has the talent and potential to play on Sundays.  He is recuperating from an ankle injury.  Rahsaan Vaughn will fill in for him until he is ready.  Justin Hoffman will see significant time and will use his size and speed to make big plays.  Lavasier Tuinei is more of a possession receiver, and he is the leading returning pass-catcher with 36 receptions. 

 

Tight end David Paulson returns after catching 24 passes and showing some ability to run to daylight.  He earned 1st Team All-Pac-12 honors last year.

 

Running Backs

Oregon’s Heisman Trophy candidate is LaMichael James.  James led the league with 1,731 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns.  If Oregon ran the ball 70% of the time (instead of 61%), James might be a serious candidate to top 2,000 yards on the ground.  James also caught 17 passes, with three going for touchdowns.

 

Slot back Kenjon Barner should change his name to “Burner.”  The track sprinter is a hybrid running back/receiver.  He rushed for 551 yards and six touchdowns (6.1 yds/rush) and caught 13 passes with two more scores.

 

This dynamic duo plus the running ability of Thomas gives the Ducks the best running game in the league and one of the best in the nation—the best of the non-triple option teams.

 

Offensive Line

It will be hard to replace the three graduated stars from this unit, but the Ducks could still have the best blocking corps in the Pac-12.  Carson York is a returning 1st Team All-Pac-12 at guard.  Ryan Clanton will be the new starter at the other guard spot.  Mark Asper and Darrion Weems will start at tackle, while the center position is still a two-man race between Hroniss Grasu and Karrington Armstrong.

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

Here is the first question mark in 2011.  Three starters must be replaced.  End Terrell Turner returns after recording just 32 tackles and 2 ½ sacks.  At the other end spot, Dion Jordan saw limited action in 2010, making 33 tackles and two sacks.  The two new tackles will be Ricky Heimuli and Wade Keliikipi, who combined for 27 tackles.  The defensive line was exposed by Auburn in the Championship Game, but the Ducks gave up only 117.5 rushing yards per game in the regular season.  Expect that number to jump by about 20 to 25 yards this year.

 

Linebackers

This is the second and even bigger question mark.  The Ducks will be without their top two linebackers from last year.  Casey Matthews led in tackles and played both the run and pass better than most.  Spencer Paysinger was almost as talented.

 

Josh Kaddu is the lone holdover.  He was the weakest of the three starters last year and is not a candidate to become an all-conference player.  Dewitt Stuckey and Michael Clay will be the two new starters.  Clay saw as much time as Kaddu and made 42 tackles.

 

Secondary

This was to be the best defensive backfield in the league, but it is not now.  The front seven may not provide a decent pass rush, diminishing the secondary’s effectiveness.  The bigger factor in the decline is the suspension of one of its key components; cornerback Cliff Harris is out indefinitely after running afoul of the law, and Oregon’s defense begins to show a couple of holes and enough vulnerability to be exploited by quality teams (like LSU, USC, and Stanford) with these factors.  Harris was the premier cover corner in the nation last year.  He intercepted six passes and had an unbelievable 23 passed defended.  He is not replaceable.  He also led the nation with four punts returned for a touchdown, so his loss is worth about as much as Stanford losing Luck.

 

Anthony Gildon will start at one corner after seeing limited action last year.  Eddie Pleasant and John Boyett make a decent pair of safeties, but without Harris, this secondary will be lit up against quality passers.

 

OTHER

It is hard to predict what the investigatory cloud hanging over the program might do for team morale.  Oregon figured to be a top contender for the National Championship Game following their narrow loss to Auburn last year.  However, the cloud hanging over is definitely a black one.  It could eventually cost Coach Chip Kelly his job.  Other players could be implicated as the season progresses.

 

SUMMARY

The schedule is a bit more difficult this season, and we cannot see the Ducks running the table in the regular season.  An opener with LSU at Jerry Jones’ Cowboys’ Stadium in Arlington could be interesting if only for the fact that both teams have off-the-field issues.  The Ducks could get lucky if more than one key opponent is unable to play.  Oregon has to play at Stanford, and they host Southern Cal.  We believe at least one of those teams will get them this year.

 

Oregon State

OFFENSE

Quarterback

In a league with multiple NFL quarterback prospects, Ryan Katz gets overlooked.  Katz might be a contender for all-conference designation in other leagues, but in the Pac-12, he does not even challenge for third team.

 

Katz completed 60% of his passes for 2,401 yards and 18 touchdowns last season.  He should improve upon those numbers in his second season as a starter. 

 

Backup Cody Vaz has potential, but he is nursing a bad back and will miss the start of the season.

 

Receivers

Katz’s top three receivers (Markus Wheaton, Jordan Bishop, and tight end Joe Halahuni) are back for more after teaming for 107 catches and 12 touchdowns.  However, the sensation of the August practices has been a true freshman.  Brandin Cooks was challenging for a starting bid until he injured his ankle.  When he is fully recovered, look for him to contribute immediately.

 

James Rodgers caught only 16 passes last year in limited action, as he missed most of the season with knee injuries.  He has undergone two surgeries earlier this year, so he may not be ready to play.  He was a star in 2009 when he was last healthy.  Redshirt freshman Obum Gwachman could start in Rodgers place.  This unit will allow Katz to surpass his stats of last year.

 

Halahuni had shoulder surgery earlier this season, and he will miss all of September.  Backup tight ends Tyler Perry and Connor Hamlett face one game suspensions that will be staggered.  Tight end will be a concern in the early part of the season.

 

Running Backs

“The Quizz” is gone.  Jacquizz Rodgers left early and was a fifth round NFL Draft choice.  There will be a drop in talent and production here this year, as Coach Mike Riley uses the committee approach to replace him.

 

True freshman Malcolm Agnew may be the surprise opening day starter for OSU.  Terron Ward and Ryan McCants are contending with Agnew, but all three should see ample playing time. 

 

Offensive Line

Four of the five positions are set in stone.  The four holdovers from last year are center Grant Johnson, guard Burke Ellis, and tackles Michael Philipp and Mike Remmers.  Philipp and Remmers have the potential to become all-conference blockers.  Joshua Andrews was set to start at the vacant guard slot, but he suffered a concussion in practice and could be out for the opener.  Grant Enger had been moved to tight end but was moved back to guard and may start. 

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

Injuries and academics are causing Riley some headaches this pre-season.  Both of his projected starting tackles will not be available for the opening of the season.  Dominic Glover, who recorded 43 tackles with 7 ½ for loss, is not academically eligible, and Riley is not sure when he will be available.  Kevin Frahm injured his meniscus and could be out four weeks. 

 

Redshirt freshman Scott Crichton will start at one end, while Taylor Henry should start at the other spot.  Henry started four games last year.  Rusty Fernando will become the designated pass rusher and come in on passing downs.

 

Manu Tuivailala should start at one of the tackle positions, with the other one still up for grabs as of this writing.  The Beavers will struggle here for the first month of the season.

 

Linebackers

The trio in this unit better overachieve, or else OSU’s defense will give up an increase in points per game for the fifth year in a row.

 

Rueben Robinson returns to the middle linebacker spot after registering 35 tackles in seven starts.  Cameron Collins started twice and saw considerable action in the other games.  He made 39 tackles.  Michael Doctor played in every game as a reserve and registered 11 tackles.  This group is not a top trio, but it is the best unit on this side of the ball.

 

Secondary

Once again, here is a unit that has been hit with injuries.  Top cornerback Brandon Hardin suffered a shoulder injury that required surgical repair.  He is out until October.  Two reserves are out for the season.

 

Safety Lance Mitchell finished third with 74 tackles last year.  He intercepted two passes and knocked away three others.  Anthony Watkins will start at the other safety position.  He got in on 27 tackles as a key reserve last year.  Ryan Murphy should see plenty of playing time.

 

Jordan Poyer figures to start at one cornerback position.  As a reserve in 2010, he had six passes defended.  Rashaad Reynolds will replace Hardin at the other corner.  He made 14 tackles and had no passes defended last year.

 

OTHER

The Beavers have seen their points allowed increase from 22.2 to 22.6 to 23.1 to 25.0 to 26.8 in the last five seasons.  The possibility of extending that negative streak to six is very high.  OSU could give up more than 28 points per game this season with all their injury troubles and a tough schedule against high-scoring opponents.

 

SUMMARY

The Beavers took a step backward last season, finishing with seven losses for the first time in over a decade.  This program has been on a small decline since 2006. 

 

Oregon State was once one of the weakest programs in major college football.  They went close to three decades without a winning season.  There was a quick transition from winning seasons in the 1960’s to losing seasons for the next 30 years.  Could the Beavers be on the cusp of repeating history?  We don’t know the answer, but we are a little pessimistic about 2011.

 

Katz is going to have to improve to a level similar to Thomas at Oregon if the Beavers are to score enough points to win most games.

 

The schedule gives them one cupcake—the opener with Sacramento State.  Conference games at home against UCLA, Arizona, and Washington are winnable, and road games with Cal and Washington State are winnable.  The Beavers must win all five of these games to become bowl eligible, and we cannot see this happening.

 

Washington

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Jake Locker had his critics.  He threw too many off-target passes; he held onto the ball too long and took a lot of sacks; he ran the ball when he could have passed it, etc.

 

A quarterback at Southern Mississippi in the late 1980’s had many of the same criticisms bestowed on him.  His name was Favre.  Locker is Favre redux, and the Huskies will quickly realize how much he is missed.  Locker completed just 55.4% of his passes, for 2,265 yards and 17 touchdowns in his final year at UW.  He added over 500 rushing yards (sacks removed) and six touchdowns. 

 

Keith Price takes over after completing 19 of 37 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman.  He has talent and potential, but he will not duplicate Locker’s performance.

 

Receivers

Coach Steve Sarkisian welcomes back two stars on this side of the ball.  One of them is wideout Jermaine Kearse.  Kearse hauled in 63 passes for 1,005 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2010. 

 

Devin Aguilar and Kevin Smith will supplement Kearse.  Aguilar caught 28 balls and averaged 12.6 yards per catch. 

 

The Huskies have two young, but inexperienced, quality tight ends; Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the top incoming recruit and should play right away, while redshirt freshman Michael Hartvigson will see significant playing time.

 

Running Backs

The other star on this offense is Chris Polk.  As a sophomore, he rushed for 1,415 yards and nine touchdowns, and he nabbed 22 passes for 180 yards.  Polk recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss the start of the season.  Jesse Callier will replace him.  Callier rushed for 400+ yards and actually averaged a little more per rush than Polk.  Fullback Jonathan Amosa will open holes for Polk and Callier.

 

Offensive Line

Three starters return to the blocking corps.  Center Drew Schaffer, guard Coline Porter, and Tackle Senio Kelemente combined for 36 starts with Kelemente earning some all-conference consideration.

 

Erik Kohler should start at the vacant tackle position, while redshirt freshman Colin Tanigawa will take the vacant guard position.  Overall, this is a fair unit. 

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

The Huskies gave up more rushing yards last year than the year before, but four tough opponents accounted for most of that deterioration. 

 

The Huskies have depth here.  All four starters return from last year, but one or two may be supplanted by others.  Alameda Ta’Amu is the big man in the trenches.  The 6-3, 330-pound tackle plugs multiple gaps.  True freshman Danny Shelton could start opposite him.  Hau’oli Jamora and Everette Thompson should start at end, with Josh Shirley serving as a designated pass rusher.  Providing depth in the line are Sione Potoa’e and Talia Crichton.  This unit will perform better in 2011.

 

Linebackers

Here is Sarkisian’s headache, and the reason the defense may not improve overall.  Middle linebacker Cort Dennison is a good defender, having made 93 tackles with 8 ½ behind the line and defending five passes.  John Timu and Princeton Fuimaono are untested.  Garret Gilliland is available here as well.  This is the weakest trio in the Pac-12, and replacing Mason Foster and his league-leading 161 tackles will be impossible.

 

Secondary

When healthy, this is a tough unit.  However, as of this writing, one of its key components is recuperating from an ankle injury that may prevent him from starting the season opener.  Cornerback Quinton Richardson intercepted two passes among his 10 passed defended, and he will likely be replaced by Greg Ducre for the Eastern Washington game.

 

Safety Nathan Fellner led the Huskies with five interceptions and 13 passes defended.  Cornerback Desmond Trufant posted 48 tackles and defended five passes.  His counterpart will be sophomore Sean Parker, who picked off one pass in limited duty.

 

OTHER

2011 presents UW with a tough schedule.  The non-conference slate includes games with Hawaii and Nebraska (in Lincoln).  In conference play, the Huskies must play at Utah, Stanford, USC, and Oregon State.  The Apple Cup game with WSU has been moved to Qwest Field and will not be as much of a home field advantage.

 

 

SUMMARY

We have a lot of confidence in Sarkisian and his two coordinators, Doug Nussmeier on offense and Nick Holt on defense.  They have just enough talent to compete against everybody but Stanford and Oregon.  UW could win six or seven games again even without Locker at quarterback.

 

California

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Coach Jeff Tedford has developed some outstanding quarterbacks here, including current Super Bowl Champion QB Aaron Rodgers, Kyle Boller.  As OC at Oregon, he had Joey Harrington, A. J. Feely, and Akili Smith.  At Fresno State before that, he tutored Trent Dilfer, David Carr, and Billy Volek.  In other words, Tedford knows a thing or two about quarterback development.

 

This year, he welcomes Zach Maynard from the University of Buffalo.  Maynard has beaten out last year’s starter Brock Mansion and sophomore Allan Bridgford.  Look for Maynard to easily surpass last year’s off-season for Cal in yardage and touchdowns (2,101 yards and 15 touchdowns).  Look for a return of 200+ yards through the air and 20 touchdowns or more.

 

Receivers

The Bears’ top two receivers return in Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen, who teamed for 96 receptions and 1,255 yards.  Michael Calvin started three times and caught 13 passes.  Anthony Miller returns at tight end after hauling in 13 passes.  Look for steady improvement here with Maynard throwing the pigskin.

 

Running Backs

Tedford is also known for developing 1,000-yard rushing backs.  Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett, and the just departed Shane Vereen are prime examples.  Vereen does not have a likely 1,000-yard back replacing him this year.

 

This could be a year in which Cal uses a running back by committee.  Isi Sofele, Covauhgn DeBoskie-Johnson, and C. J. Anderson could split the carries, but the freshman Anderson has the skills to eventually become the feature back.  Cal averaged just 159 yards on the ground, which is a multi-year low in the Tedford era.  Look for better overall results, with the new trio combining for about 175 yards per game.

 

Offensive Line

This will be an improved unit in 2011.  Three starters return, including 1st Team All-Pac-12 tackle Mitchell Schwartz.  Guards Brian Schwenke and Matt Summers-Gavin are the other two veterans of the line.  Dominic Galas will start at center.  He started once in 2009.  Matt Williams is a famous sports name in the Bay area; Cal’s version will start at the vacant tackle position.  This group could give up less than 20 sacks and block well enough for the backs to average better than 4.5 yards per rush.

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

There is rebuilding to do all throughout the defense this year, and the Bears will take a step backward on this side of the ball.  The line returns just one starter from the 3-man unit and loses a 1st team all-conference player in Cameron Jordan.

 

DeAndre Coleman returns at end after registering 18 tackles as a platoon player.  He did not make a sack or hurry a quarterback.  Trevor Guyton started four games and played in seven more, getting in on 29 tackles with 8 ½ for loss.  At the nose position is a human eclipse.  Viliami Moala is 6-3 and 350 pounds.  The true freshman is one of Cal’s most prized recruits, and he has won the starting job from day one.

 

Linebackers

Two starters return to this four-man unit, one of whom is a legitimate star.  The Bears lose another star with the departure of leading tackler Mike Mohamed to the NFL Draft.

 

Mychal Kendricks led the Bears with 8 ½ sacks and 15 total tackles for loss.  His fellow inside linebacker mate, D. J. Holt, returns after making 85 tackles.  On the outside, redshirt freshman David Wilkerson will man one spot, while the other one is up for grabs between Chris McCain, Ryan Davis, and Cecil Whiteside, none of whom have played here.

 

Secondary

Two starters return to the back line of defense.  Safety Sean Cattouse is the closest thing to a star on this unit.  He intercepted a pass and broke up seven others last year.  D. J. Campbell will start opposite him after making 21 tackles in reserve last year.

 

Marc Anthony returns at one cornerback slot.  He was credited with eight passes defended with two interceptions.  The new corner will be Steve Williams, who intercepted a pass and knocked away four others in reserve.  Overall, this is a reliable but not spectacular secondary.

 

OTHER

The kicking game is in good shape with the return of two quality players.  Bryan Anger narrowly missed leading the league in punting, while Giorgio Tavecchio has a strong leg and was 4-6 on field goal attempts from beyonf 40 yards.

 

Cal will have to play its home games away from campus this season, as Memorial Stadium undergoes some surgery.  The Bears will host Fresno State at Candlestick Park and play the rest of their home games at AT&T (Giants baseball) Park.  If the Giants are in the NLCS, Cal will have to move its game with USC.

 

SUMMARY

It all depends on the rebuilt defense.  Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast knows his stuff, and we believe he will mold the new players into a cohesive unit.  They will not stop everybody on the schedule, but just remember what Cal did to Oregon’s offense last year—15 points and 317 yards (Oregon gained almost 450 yards against Auburn).

 

The offense will be much improved and will easily top last season’s averages.  We would not be shocked if the Bears top 28 points per game and 400 total yards per game.

 

The schedule has just one cupcake—a week three game with Presbyterian.  Cal opens with Fresno State at Candlestick Park, and that is a trap game for sure.  Through a quirk in the schedule, the Bears will play 10 conference games this year.  The Colorado game will not count in the league standings, as this game was already on the schedule before the Buffs joined the Pac-12. 

 

Here is the catch.  Cal was 1-4 on the road last year, and in effect, all 12 games this year will be on the road.  If the two municipal parks provide them with the same homefield advantage as Memorial Stadium, then the Bears will go bowling in El Paso, Las Vegas, or a similar venue.  If not, then Tedford could be sitting on a hot seat.

 

Washington State

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Jeff Tuel is not another Jason Gesser or Alex Brink, but he is going to have a year not too different than the two former stars.  Tuel completed almost 60% of his passes for 2,780 yards and 18 touchdowns last year, and he has the potential to top 3,000 yards in 2011.

 

Marshall Lobbestael has starting experience, and if Tuel is injured, all will not be lost.  He does not have the accuracy of Tuel, but he will not be a deer in the headlights if he must go in.

 

Receivers

The Cougars return three starters here, one of whom was a Freshman All-American last year.  Marquess Wilson could be a 1st Team All-Pac-12 member this year after taking in 55 passes for 1,006 yards and six touchdowns.  He is a threat to take even a one yard pass and turn it into a long touchdown bolt.

 

Jared Karstetter hauled in a team-leading 62 passes and scored seven times.  He is strictly a possession receiver and uses his height to his advantage over smaller cornerbacks.  Isiah Barton and Gino Simone teamed up for 32 receptions and will supplement the two primary options.  Look for true freshman Henry Eaddy to challenge for a starting spot early in the season.

 

A new tight end/h-back must be found.  Coach Paul Wulff will choose between Jared Byers, Andrei Lintz, and Aaron Dunn.  This unit is in good shape overall.

 

Running Backs

WSU has not been able to generate a running game in six years.  The last three seasons have seen the Cougars rush for an average of less than 86 yards!  Of course, giving up 51 sacks in a season is enough to skew those rushing stats.  Removing the sacks, WSU rushed for about 115 yards per game with an average of 3.8 yards per rush.

 

Wulff will rely on a three-man platoon this year and hope to take enough heat off Tuel to prevent defenses from lining up and coming with five and six pass rushers.  Rickey Galvin, Logwone Mintz, and Carl Winston will split the load.  Look for the Cougars to top 100 yards rushing, but only by a little bit.

 

Offensive Line

This won’t be a major asset, but the blocking corps is going to be quite a bit improved in 2011.  Three starters return to this unit, but the new starters have enough experience to be considered quasi-starters.

 

Guard B. J. Guerra is the leader of this unit. He could challenge for 1st team all-conference honors this year.  Fellow guard John Fullington takes over on the other side after starting six times as a freshman.

 

Wade Jacobson and David Gonzales will man the tackle positions.  Jacobson started every game last year, while Gonzales has started seven games in the past.  He missed last season with an injury.

 

Andrew Roxas will be the new starting center.  He has nine career starts under his belt. 

 

This unit is not the equal of Oregon’s or Stanford’s, but they are no longer the weakest in the league here.

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

The Cougars are still in need of a lot of improvement on this side of the line.  They gave up 220 yards per game on the ground (average of 5.6/rush) and made just 23 sacks. 

 

Two starters return to the trenches this year.  End Travis Long led the team with five sacks and 10 ½ tackles for loss.  Tackle Brandon Rankin made just 19 stops, but five were for losses.  The new starters figure to be Anthony Laurenzi at tackle and Adam Coerper at end.  Coerper is a fast developer; he moved from number four to number one in just a couple weeks.

 

Linebackers

This unit is a little stronger than the one in front.  Two starters return here.  Alex Hoffman-Ellis finished second on the squad with 81 tackles, while middle linebacker C. J. Mizell added 57 stops with six for loss.  Sekope Kaufusi is the new starter at the Sam position.  He made 22 tackles in a limited role last year.

 

Secondary

If there is a strong unit on this side of the ball, this is it.  However, it is hard to call this quartet a major asset. 

 

It is never great when your leading tackler is your strong safety.  Deone Bucannon led WSU with 84 tackles.  He intercepted a couple passes and knocked away five more.  Tyree Toomer is the other starting safety.  He is adequate against the pass but better supporting the run.

 

Cornerbacks Daniel Simmons and Nolan Washington combined for 62 tackles but only seven passes defended.  Washington is nursing a sore hamstring, so he will be slow to start the season.

 

OTHER

Washington State’s last winning season was 2003, which was the third consecutive 10-win season.  The Cougars have fallen on rough times since.  Defense has been the major problem, as WSU has given 35 or more points per game the last three years.  We believe that streak will come to an end this season, but not by much.

 

SUMMARY

The schedule should allow Wulff’s Cougars to start 2-0 after they open with Idaho State and UNLV.  Game three will be the bell-weather game.  When the Cougars go to San Diego State, they might even be favored.  If they win the game to move to 3-0, then there is a chance, albeit small, that they could find a way to win three in the conference and make it to a bowl.  We tend to believe they will fall short this year, but they could easily double their win total from last year.

 

SOUTH DIVISION

Southern California

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Matt Barkley is the best second best quarterback in a league since Colt McCoy at Texas in 2008 and 2009.  He might be the top quarterback in every other conference in America.  Last year even though he missed a game and parts of another, he completed 62.6% of his passes for 2,791 yards and 26 touchdowns. 

 

The Trojans are stocked here with three other quality passers.  Jesse Scroggins is out indefinitely with an injured hand, but true freshmen Max Wittek and Cody Kessler have star potential.  The Trojans will rely more on the pass this year, and we expect them to average more than 250 yards per game through the air.

 

Receivers

As a freshman, Robert Woods may have been one of the three best receivers in the league.  He finished with 65 receptions and six touchdowns last year and could top 80 receptions this season.

 

Behind him, the Trojans are inexperienced.  Marqise Lee could start as a true freshman.  Kyle Prater is a redshirt freshman, but at 6-05, he will be a tough matchup problem.  Brice Butler has played sparingly in two seasons.

 

Tight end/H-back Rhett Ellison hauled in 21 passes and scored three times in 2010.  Look for him to get more balls thrown his way this year.

 

Running Backs

Who would have thought that an internet gossip site could affect a college football team?  Starting tailback Marc Tyler ran his mouth off to TMZ.com, and it cost him his spot in the lineup.  Coach Lane Kiffin suspended him indefinitely over his remarks.  Funny, Kiffin’s name has been dragged through the mud from coast to coast in numerous internet sites, yet he still has a job.

 

Tyler led the Trojans’ ground game with 913 yards and nine touchdowns.  Curtis McNeal figured to be his replacement, but he injured his knee and is doubtful for the season opener.  Dillon Baxter and C. J. Morgan will share the reps at running back until one of the other two is able to play again. 

 

Offensive Line

The Trojans are deep here.  Their two-deep is almost as good as Oregon’s, even though just two starters return.  Center Khaled Holmes is one of the best in the league.  Ditto for tackle Matt Kalil.  John Martinez and Abe Markowitz will start at the vacant guard positions, while Kevin Graf will man the vacant tackle spot.  Look for this group to provide excellent pass coverage for Barkley and surrender less than 20 sacks for the seventh year in a row.

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

Any defense with Monte Kiffin and Ed Orgeron coaching is going to be tough up front.  The Trojans have the top defensive line in the league and one of the best in the country.

 

Three starters return, but nose tackle Armond Armstead will have to share his spot with newcomer George Uko, and DaJohn Harris may be relegated to the second team in favor of Christian Tupou.

 

Nick Perry starts at one end, while Wes Horton inherits the other end spot.  Devon Kennard and Kevin Greene will spell the two starters and allow the Trojans to have fresh anchors on the edge.

 

Linebackers

If there is an Achilles’ heel in the defense, it is in the linebacker unit.  It would be hard to find the heel here, because the Trojans’ linebackers are going to make a lot of plays this year.

 

Devon Kennard returns to the middle after making 72 tackles with seven for losses.  Chris Galippo was a part-time starter and made 29 tackles.  Marquis Simmons will split time with Hayes Pullard at the other outside spot.

 

Secondary

This unit is almost as strong as the front line.  The loss of Shareece Wright and his 10 passes defended will be hard to overcome, but new starting cornerback Tony Burnett saw a lot of action last year and made 26 tackles.  He will join Nickell Robey, who led the team with four picks.

 

The two starting safeties are back for more.  Jawanza Starling and T. J. McDonald combined for 126 tackles and nine passes defended.

 

Nickel back Torrin Harris is good enough to be a regular for most teams.

 

OTHER

Kiffin was cleared in the recent investigation of the Tennessee football program.  The Trojans will be off probation after this season, and they will not be eligible for the Pac-12 Championship Game this year.

 

SUMMARY

USC should be 6-0 when they travel to South Bend to take on Notre Dame on October 22, although they must face Arizona State in Tempe on September 24.  They follow that game with Stanford at the Coliseum. A trip to Eugene to face the Quack Attack in November is followed by a visit from cross-town rival UCLA. 

 

Southern Cal should win at least eight games this year, and we would not be surprised if they go 10-2.

 

Arizona State

OFFENSE

Quarterback

When healthy, Brock Osweiler is an effective quarterback.  At 6-08, he has no trouble seeing over the line, but he is mobile enough to be an effective runner.  In limited action last year, he completed 57% of his passes for 797 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions.

 

The Sun Devils will be in a heap of trouble if Osweiler is absent for any length of time.  Redshirt freshman Taylor Kelly is the next best option, but he is not ready for Pac-12 football.

 

Receivers

Coach Dennis Erickson has loads of depth here but no true stars.  His projected three starters, Aaron Pflugrad, Mike Willie, and Gerell Robinson, all topped 25 receptions and combined for 94 total with 13 touchdowns.  T. J. Simpson caught 29 passes for 481 yards, but he is still recovering from ACL surgery in the spring.  Juco Transfer George Bell could see action early.

 

Tevor Kohl and Christopher Coyle could form a double tight end set, but ASU does not throw to their tight ends and uses them basically for blocking.

 

Running Backs

The Sun Devils have some depth here.  Cameron Marshall returns after leading the team with 787 yards and nine touchdowns.  James Morrison saw limited action in 2010, but he will move to number two on the depth chart.  Deantre Lewis will not be ready for the start of the season after suffering a gunshot wound that damaged his hamstring.  He finished second with 539 rushing yards.

 

Look for Marshall to threaten the 1,000 yard mark if Lewis does not see the field this year.

 

Offensive Line

Arizona State welcomes back all five starters from 2010, and this is why the Sun Devils have an excellent shot of advancing to the first Pac-12 Championship Game.

 

Center Garth Gerhart is a Remington Trophy contender.  Tackle Evan Finkenberg could contend for all-conference honors.  Guards Andrew Sampson and Mike Marcisz and tackle Aderious Simmons round out the unit.  Look for the total number of sacks allowed to drop by 5-10 from a rather high 31 in 2010.

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

Erickson’s front four performed admirably last year, giving up just 120 rushing yards, but they did not provide enough of a pass rush.  Both ends, Junior Onyeali and Jamaar Jarrett, return after teaming for 22 tackles for loss and 11 sacks.  Bo Moos and William Sutton will be the new tackles.  They are one-gap aggressors and not big beefeaters.  Corey Adams is making a charge to replace Moos.

 

Linebackers

This could have been one of the top units in the nation, but the loss of key starter Brandon Magee with a torn Achilles’ tendon has dropped it several rungs on the national ladder.  Vontaze Burfict led the team with 90 tackles last year, but he did not record a sack and only knocked away three passes.  Colin Parker made 57 tackles, while Oliver Aaron made 47 with 7 ½ for losses.  Aaron replaces Magee.  Shelly Lyons could crack the starting lineup in place of Parker.

 

Secondary

Here is the problem with the defense.  ASU gave up 245 passing yards per game and allowed a completion percentage of 63.2%.  Two full-time and one part-time starter must be replaced.  Cornerback Deveron Carr started part-time and made just eight tackles.  At the opposite corner, Osahon Irabor made 40 tackles with three passes defended.  Safety Eddie Elder registered 64 tackles with 5 ½ stops for loss and five passes defended.  Clint Floyd will start at the other safety spot after recording 30 tackles.

 

OTHER

The Sun Devils had a -6 turnover margin last year, and a lot of that had to do with a defense that could not create turnovers.  Expect some improvement on that side of the ball but not much.

 

SUMMARY

This is Arizona State’s year to shine, but injuries could hamper the process.  With Southern Cal ineligible for the Pac-12 Championship Game, the Sun Devils are the best of the rest in this weaker division. 

 

ASU may not have a gaudy record, because their out of conference slate includes games against Missouri and Illinois.  They could easily start 1-3, because their first conference game is against the Trojans.  Even if that happens, the Sun Devils can still rebound and go 6-3 in the league.  That should be good enough for second in this division, and at 7-5, they would be playing Oregon or Stanford for the Pac-12’s automatic BCS bowl berth.

 

Arizona

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Nick Foles returns after passing for 3,191 yards and 20 touchdowns.  He completed 67+% of his passes.  The situation is muddled after Foles.  Expected backup Bryson Beirne sprained his ACL and is out for several weeks.  Last year’s backup Matt Scott plans to redshirt this year, and that leaves true freshman Daxx Garman as the only other choice should Foles go down.

 

Receivers

Coach Mike Stoops has quality talent here with the return of his top four receivers.  Juron Criner, David Douglas, David Roberts, and Terrence Miller teamed for 207 receptions and 18 touchdowns.  Criner was the breakaway threat, while the other three were excellent possession receivers.

 

Dan Buckner joins the group after transferring from Texas.  He had starting experience with the Longhorns.

 

Running Backs

One of UA’s two platoon backs return this season.  Keola Antolin rushed for a team-leading 668 yards; he scored seven times.  Antolin also caught 28 passes with two more touchdowns.  The talent behind him is average.

 

Offensive Line

Oh no!  That’s the best way to describe this unit, as all five starters are missing.  Center Kyle Quinn is the only player to ever start a game, and he started a grand total of one.  Guards Trace Biskin and Chris Putton are as green as any starter in college football.  Tackles Fabbians Ebbele and Mickey Baucus are redshirt freshmen.  ‘Zona is going to regress by a considerable amount, and Foles is in danger of having to run for his life.

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

The front line is almost in the same boat as the offensive line.  The Wildcats lose two NFL Draft choices.  Tackle Justin Washington is the lone returnee.  He made 46 stops with 11 ½ for loss and will contend for 1st Team All-Pac-12 honors this year. 

 

Sione Tuihalamaka starts at the other tackle position.  He made 23 stops with three going for losses.  The ends will be Mohammed Usman and C. J. Parrish.

 

Linebackers

Paul Vassallo returns to his Will linebacker position after leading the team with 102 tackles and eight for loss.  Derek Earls returns at the middle spot after making 44 tackles.  David Lopez will be the new starter at the Sam position.  This is an average unit.

 

Secondary

If Arizona has a strength on this side of the ball, it is in the secondary.  Free safety Robert Golden finished tied for third in the league with 13 passes defended, but he only intercepted one pass.  He’ll team with Marquis Flowers, who made 11 tackles as a freshman.

 

At Cornerback, Trevin Wade needs to improve on his four passes defended, while Shaquille Richardson becomes a full-timer after coming up with nine passes defended.  Without a strong pass rush, this unit will struggle a little.  

 

OTHER

Arizona has to visit Oklahoma State just prior to playing Stanford, Oregon, and USC in consecutive weeks.  This four-game losing streak could damage the morale of the new starters and doom Arizona to a losing season.

 

SUMMARY

The only sure wins on the schedule are the opener with Northern Arizona and the finale with Louisiana.  There are chances for maybe four conference wins, so the Wildcats could get to 6-6.  Who knows?  When Arizona faces Arizona State, if they are 4-4 in league play, the game could even be for a trip to the Pac-12 Championship Game.

 

U C L A

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Stanford is noted for its great tradition of outstanding quarterbacks.  UCLA is noted for its awful tradition of injured quarterbacks.  It seems like every starter since Cade McNown graduated in the 1990’s has suffered some injury.

 

Kevin Prince is just the latest in that trend.  He made it through five games last year, passing for 384 yards out of the new pistol offense.  His knee was not well enough to allow him to set and throw quickly, and the extra running from the new formation sent him to the sidelines. 

 

Backup Richard Brehaut returns after leading the Bruins with almost 1,300 passing yards.

 

Two more QBs could see playing time this year; that is if tradition holds, and quarterbacks go out with injuries.  Nick Crissman was a highly sought-after passer four years ago, while true freshman Brett Hundley is a dual threat.  Hundley might have challenged for a starting spot, but he tore his meniscus playing basketball and will not be ready at the start of the season.  Even before he suited up, the injury bugaboo hit him.  Expect more of the jinx in 2011.

 

Late Note: Brehaut sprained his foot in practice and will miss a few days.  JINX!

 

Receivers

If a healthy quarterback can get in a rhythm and start several games, he will be happy with the group of receivers on hand.  Nearly everybody that caught or even dropped a pass in 2010 is back in 2011.  Leading receiver Taylor Embree strained a calf muscle and will be slowed to start the season.  Embree made 32 receptions but did not convert any into touchdowns.

 

Anthony Barr and Nelson Rosario will start at the other two receiver spots; they teamed for 38 receptions but just one touchdown.  Tight end Cory Harkey made 14 catches.  How many touchdowns did he score? Zero!  Of course, the Bruins only scored nine times through the air.  Randall Carroll is the one legitimate long ball threat.  He will see a lot of action after averaging 16.2 yards on his 15 receptions—and with two whole touchdowns!

 

Running Backs

At last, here is one position that will not cause Coach Rick Neuheisel nightmares.  Jonathan Franklin rushed for 1,127 yards and eight scores, while averaging 5.3 yards per rush.  Backup Derrick Coleman added 487 yards and five scores.  If the passing game develops like it could, the running game could see its yardage drop a little, but the average per carry could top 4.5 yards.

 

Offensive Line

Additional injuries and academic issues have put a dark cloud over this unit.  Guard Stan Hasiak had to enroll in a junior college due to grades.  His expected replacement, Jeff Baca, will miss the start of the season with an ankle injury.  The other guard spot was expected to be filled by Chris Ward.  He suffered a sprained ankle and will miss some practice time.

 

At least tackles Mike Harris and Sean Sheller are healthy and experienced.  Center Kai Maiava missed all of last year, but his healthy return is the one bright spot here.

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

The Bruins are in good shape here with a lot of depth and decent talent.  Damien Holmes and Datone Jones make up a quality pair of ends.  That is, if Jones can make a 100% comeback after a medical redshirt year in 2010.  Justin Edison and Cassius Marsh can plug a lot of gaps from their tackle positions. 

 

Linebackers

Will linebacker Sean Westgate made 90 tackles with four sacks and 11 total for losses.  He played tough against the short pass, knocking away four passes.  The unit will build around him.  Patrick Larimore missed Spring Practice, but he should be ready for the start of the season.  Glenn Love will start at the other linebacker spot after making 16 tackles as a reserve.

 

While not spectacular, this trio will not be the reason UCLA loses games this year.

 

Secondary

What looked like a possible strength has taken a pounding through injuries.  Somebody needs to investigate UCLA’s practice field.  Are they going on pavement or something?

 

Three starters return to the defensive backfield, including strong safety Tony Dye.  Dye led the Bruins with 96 tackles (remember what we said about strong safeties leading in tackles), while breaking up nine passes and pilfering one other.  His counterpart will be Dietrich Riley, who made 21 stops in reserve last year.

 

The cornerbacks are set with Aaron Hester and Sheldon Price.  The duo teamed for 51 tackles and 14 passes defended.  Jamie Graham figured to contend for a lot of playing time after transferring from Vanderbilt, but he suffered a meniscus tear that requires surgery and will be out until at least October.  Anthony Jefferson had to have surgery for a herniated disk in his back and will also be out all of September.

 

OTHER

Neuheisel is on the hot seat.  His three years in Westwood have produced a pair of 4-8 seasons with a 7-6 season in between.  He has two new coordinators this year.  Norm Chow went to Utah, so former 49ers’ offensive guru Mike Johnson takes over.  Joe Tresey is the new DC.  He was Brian Kelly’s DC at Cincinnati for two years.

 

SUMMARY

An opening game against Houston will be very interesting and reveal if UCLA has any chance of moving up from the dregs of the conference.  The next game against San Jose State should produce a win, but game three is against Texas.  The Bruins could be 1-2 and looking at another losing season; they could be 2-1 with a chance to get to seven wins.  If the quarterback play comes around with no injuries, they could even be 3-0.  If that’s the case, and the jinx can be avoided, they could be a dark horse for the South Division title, or at least the eligible team title.

 

Utah

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Welcome to the Pac-12 Jordan Wynn.  Wynn is 1-1 lifetime against conference opponents.  The Utes beat California in the 2009 Poinsettia Bowl, and he almost upset Oregon in the 2009 regular season.

 

Last year in the Mountain West Conference, Wynn completed 62.2% of his passes for 2,334 yards and 17 touchdowns.  He missed Spring Practice, but he should be ready for the start of the season.  With new offensive coordinator Norm Chow tutoring him, he should produce better numbers even in a tougher league.

 

Juco transfer Jon Hayes will be the primary backup this year.

 

Receivers

Utah does not have exceptional talent here this year.  The depth is not there.  DeVonte Christopher is a gem; he led the Utes with 660 yards in receptions, averaging almost 17 yards per catch.

 

H-Back Luke Matthews is another big play receiver, but he only got his hand on 18 passes last year.  He will be called on to block more than catch passes. 

 

Reggie Dunn will split time with Dres Anderson at the flanker position, while Kendrick Moeai starts at tight end.

 

Running Backs

Utah must replace its two-platoon set of runners.  They combined for more than 1,400 yards on the ground and 19 touchdowns.  Juco transfer John White will get first crack at starting, but Tauni Vakapuna should get a lot of attempts in short yardage situations.  He’s 5-09 and 229 pounds, so tackling him will be like stopping a large boulder coming down a mountain.

 

Offensive Line

This is not a strong unit.  Center Tevita Stevens is more than capable after earning 3rd Team All-MWC honors last year.  Tackles John Cullen and Tony Bergstrom have the experience with Bergstrom earning 2nd Team All-MWC honors.  Both projected starting guards will miss the start of the season, and Coach Kyle Whittingham has not yet settled on one of the replacements.

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

There is some talent here, but overall, this is not an exceptional unit.  Star Lotulelei may one day live up to his name, but the nose tackle is an unknown commodity at the moment.  The other tackle will see a platoon between James Aiono and Dave Kruger.

 

Derrick Shelby and Joe Kruger will start at end.  Shelby made 6 ½ stops for loss last year. 

 

Linebackers

This is the strongest unit of a weak defense.  All three starters from last year return, and they finished one, two, and four in tackles.

 

Chaz Walker led the Utes with 113 tackles, while making seven for losses.  Hybrid linebacker/safety Matt Martinez made 91 tackles, while Brian Blechen added 67 stops and proved to be excellent against the pass with nine passes defended, four of them interceptions.

 

Secondary

The Utes have to start over here, as all four 2010 starters are gone.  Cornerbacks Conroy Black and Ryan Lacy have some experience, and Lacy has sprinter’s speed, so he will make up for a few mistakes before it can hurt the team.

 

Juco transfer Keith McGill will join true freshman Eric Rowe and sophomore Michael Walker at safety.

 

OTHER

Whittingham has expressed some concerns with his place kickers, as Coleman Petersen and Nick Marsh have been inconsistent in practice.

 

The Utes will miss punt returner Shaky Smithson, who took two back the distance last year, while averaging 19.1 yards per return to lead the nation.

 

SUMMARY

It is going to be a rough first season in the Pac-12 for the Utes.  Their offense will not equal last season’s production of 33 points and 389 yards, and their defense will give up more than 2010’s 20 points and 337 yards.

 

After an opening game with Montana State, Utah faces USC and BYU on the road.  They get a week off before starting conference play in earnest.  Mixed in the middle of the schedule is a trip to Pittsburgh. 

 

We see a 1-2 non-league record and then a struggle to win three more games.  At least, the Utes play neither Oregon nor Stanford.

 

Colorado

OFFENSE

Quarterback

New coach Jon Embree and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy return to their alma mater to light a fire in the Buffaloes’ offense.  They inherit co-starter Tyler Hansen, who completed 68% of his passes but averaged less than 10 yards per completion.

 

Juco transfer Brent Burnette could challenge Hansen for the job.  Overall, this is the weakest QB roster in the Pac-12.

 

Receivers

Paul Richardson is sure to start after leading the Buffs with a 15.1 yard average per catch.  He grabbed 34 passes and scored six times.  Logan Gray, a former QB at Georgia, is immediately eligible and will start.  The other position will be split between Toney Clemons and true freshman Tyler McCulloch.  There is potential here, but they may need another season of experience.

 

Running Backs

Rodney Stewart is “the man.”  He was the Buffaloes’ offense last year, rushing for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Bieniemy may sound like a broken record calling his number over and over again this year.

 

Offensive Line

Three starters return to a rather decent unit.  Ryan Miller and Ethan Adkins form a formidable pair of guards, while David Bakhtiari is a plus at tackle.  Jack Harris earned the other starting tackle nod, but he has never played in a college game in two years at CU.  There is a two-man battle to fill the center spot that would have belonged to Mike Iltis had he not given up football.  Daniel Munyer and Gus Handler are neck and neck.

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

The Buffs are hurting on this side of the ball.  They will have a weaker defense than Washington State this year.  However, the four-man D-line is not all that bad.

 

Josh Hartigan and Chidera Uzo Diribe will make a decent pair of ends.  Hartigan made seven QB sacks as a designated pass rusher last year and will be more of a linebacker than end, while Will Pericak will play more like an end than a tackle.  Curtis Cunningham and Conrad Obi will play inside.  This unit has depth and some talent.

 

Linebackers

Unless you count Hartigan as a true linebacker, this unit is in need of a transfusion.  Jon Major made 57 tackles at the Will position last year, but too many of them were after nice gains by the enemy.  Derrick Webb and Douglas Rippy are not the answer and will be exploited.

 

Secondary

CU will be lit up via the passing game, as the secondary is not Pac-12 caliber.  Safeties Ray Polk and Anthony Perkins will make a lot of tackles, but officials will be signaling “first down” on most of them.  Travis Sandesfeld and Greg Henderson are subpar at cornerback.

 

OTHER

Colorado plays at Hawaii, so the Buffs will have 13 games on their schedule.  The contest with California in week two will not count as a Pac-12 game, since it was previously scheduled as a non-conference game.

 

SUMMARY

Because they play 13 games, there is a good chance CU will suffer through a double-digit loss season.  They play at Hawaii and at Ohio State outside of the league, and they face rival Colorado State at Invesco Field in Denver.  It will be a long first year for Embree.

 

2011 Pacific 12 Conference Media Poll

Team

1st Place Votes

Points

North Division

 

 

Oregon

29

239

Stanford

13

220

Washington

 

142

Oregon State

 

120

California

 

110

Washington St.

 

51

 

 

 

South Division

 

 

Southern Cal

24

230

Arizona St.

13

207

Utah

4

170

Arizona

1

140

U C L A

 

89

Colorado

 

46

 

 

 

Pac-12 Championship

 

Oregon

 

28

Stanford

 

11

Arizona State

 

3

 

 

2011 Pac-12 Conference PiRate Ratings

Team

PiRate #

Prediction

North Division

 

 

Stanford

126.4

9-0/13-0*

Oregon

125.6

8-1/11-1

Oregon State

112.9

5-4/6-6

Washington

112.9

5-4/7-5

California

111.3

3-6/6-6

Washington St.

102.8

3-6/5-7

   

 

South Division  

 

Southern Cal

117.2

7-2/9-3

Arizona St.

116.6

6-3/8-5

Arizona

113.1

3-6/5-7

U C L A

110.9

3-6/4-8

Utah

108.4

2-7/3-9

Colorado

101.8

0-9/1-12

   

 

* Stanford picked to defeat Arizona State
in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game.

 Coming Friday Night: A look at what’s left of the Big 12 Conference.

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March 13, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 13 Update

Selection Sunday Is Here

Over the weekend, we here at the PiRate Ratings have been perusing all the statistical information relevant to our popular PiRate Bracket-picking criteria.  What began as a simple back-testing exercise six years ago has evolved into a lengthy formula that has proven to be rather accurate at isolating the real contenders from the pretenders.

 

We have determined which factors are important and which are irrelevant when it comes to the NCAA Tournament.  Last year, with about 1,150 readers coming to our site to read the pre-tournament prediction, we shocked a lot of Blue Mist fanatics by predicting that their beloved Wildcats would fail to reach the Final Four.  We said the same thing about Kansas.  It was a foregone conclusion that the Wildcats and Jayhawks were on a collision course to play in one of those games of the century.

 

We crunched the numbers and predicted Coach K and Duke to win the title.  The choice was not popular.  We were told, sometimes not in the King’s English, how stupid our formula must be to take a not-so-great Duke team (when compared to the really good Duke teams in the past), and how our formula was full of baloney.  We had to laugh when one reader lambasted us using the same words he had used the year before when we tabbed North Carolina as a bigger favorite to win it all than Ronald Reagan was in the 1984 election.

 

For the record, we predicted Kansas and Memphis to make it to the finals in 2008, and we forecasted Florida and UCLA to meet for the championship in 2006.  We also told you to watch out for tiny George Mason that year as they had a criteria score that made them a contender to advance to the Elite Eight.

 

We made a handful of West Virginia fans happy when we called for the Mountaineers to win four games and crash the Final Four party.  We forecasted the Regional Final win over Kentucky before the play-in game tipped off.  On the bright side, for some fans from the Bluegrass, we correctly predicted Murray State to upset Vanderbilt in the first round.

 

This formula has its drawbacks as well as its benefits.  It is strictly a mechanical formula much like a stock screener.  It does not consider a lot of the intangibles, such as emotion, motivation, and intestinal fortitude.  Of course, it removes all the biases and looks only for the pertinent statistics that propelled past teams into the Final Four.

 

For instance, we missed on Butler last year.  We called for UTEP to upset the Bulldogs in the first round in what we thought was the best overall matchup of the first two days.  We missed on other first and second round games as well.  We explicitly state that this formula is geared toward finding the teams that can advance to the Elite Eight and Final Four and finding the team that best emulates past champions.

 

Remember this:  the 1927 New York Yankees, the best baseball team ever (better than the 1939 Yankees in our opinion), lost 44 games during the season.  28.6% of the time, an inferior team defeated the Bronx Bombers.  There are 32 games in the first round, so a record of 23-9 should be considered as dominating as the 1927 Yankees.

 

Let’s say that the top predictors can successfully pick 80% of the tournament games correctly when filling out their brackets.  Apply common mathematics to the 64 advancing teams after the First Four Round is played in Dayton, and that leaves you with 25.6 correct picks in the first round.  That means that 6.4 of the teams you picked are gone, so you cannot win any more games involving those exited teams.

 

In the second round, if you are fortunate to pick 80% correctly once again, 10.24 of the Sweet 16 will be teams you picked to make it to the second week of the tournament.  The other 5.76 teams still around are teams you did not pick, so they cannot help you in your brackets.  Remember, this amount is about the high end of the threshold for the best prognosticators.

 

Applying our 80% success rate in the next two rounds, 4.1 of our teams will make the Elite Eight, and 1.64 of our teams will make the Final Four.  You see just how difficult it can be to fill out your brackets.  It really gives you a headache when the junior executive’s sweet little secretary wins the office pool because she chose her teams based on the number of syllables in their name.  Pure luck sometimes wins over hard work.  That’s life.

We can tell you one thing about this year’s probable NCAA Tournament field.  It is not the most dominating field.  We have yet to finish collecting all the data we need to put numbers to the criteria, but we can tell you that we expect more first round and second round games to be decided in the final minutes than most years.  It makes for a great tournament to watch, but it makes for five headaches for the five of us to live up to our past successes.

 

Tonight, we will begin our NCAA Tournament coverage with a full explanation of our system.  Beginning Monday, we will start to analyze each of the four regionals and tell you which teams have the best chance of advancing to Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

 

Let’s take a look at some unfinished business.  There are four conference tournament championships on tap for today.  One of them can cause a chain reaction and force the bottom team on the bubble into the NIT.

 

Atlantic Coast Conference—Greensboro, NC

#1 North Carolina (26-6)  vs. #2 Duke (29-4)

1:00 PM EDT  ESPN

It’s always great when the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox meet in the American League Playoffs.  Well, it is great if you are not a fan of the other teams.  The Big Two from Tobacco Road meet for a third time this season in the rubber game.  It is the 30th time for both in the ACC Championship Game.

 

North Carolina blew a large lead at Cameron Indoor Stadium in February, but the Tar Heels breezed to a win at the Dean Dome last week to wrap up the regular season championship.  Carolina has not lost since that game at Duke, and the Tar Heels are on a 14-1 streak since mid-January.  It has not been easy for Coach Roy Williams and his team, as they have had to come back from double digit deficits in the second half of both of their tournament games.

 

Duke weathered a mighty scare when Nolan Smith went down with a toe injury in the quarterfinal game against Maryland, but Smith showed no signs that it affected him when he returned Saturday to score 27 points in an easy win over Virginia Tech.

 

This is definitely the game of the day as you prepare for the big announcements this evening.  Flip a coin.  This is a 50-50 affair.  We’ll go with the Tar Heels because they looked better overall down the stretch than the Blue Devils, but we have no real reason to pick one rival over the other.  It will come down to which team has a better shooting eye today and has the most rest.

 

Atlantic 10 Conference—Atlantic City, NJ

#3 Richmond (26-7)  vs. #9 Dayton (22-12)

1:00 PM EDT  CBS

Fans of Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Southern Cal, Alabama, and other bubble teams will be rooting like crazy for the Spiders today.  If Dayton upsets Richmond, the last team in the tournament will be exiled to the NIT.

 

Richmond has won six games in a row and 10 of 11.  The Spiders have outscored their opponents by 12 points per game in their current streak, and their Princeton-style offense has really jelled down the stretch.  Their defense has been as potent as their offense.  In the last four games, opponents have connected on just 35.3% of their shots.

 

Dayton connected on just 34.4% of their shots in a nine-point home loss to Richmond in the regular season.  The Flyers were in the middle of a 6-9 slide when they played Richmond in late January.

 

The Flyers came out flying in the A-10 Tournament.  In the first two rounds, Dayton couldn’t miss from outside.  Three-point barrages in both games gave the Flyers early double-digit leads.  Yesterday, the shots did not fall, but the Flyers held on with defense.

 

We do not expect Dayton to jump out to a big lead today.  In fact, we believe they will commit just enough errors for Richmond to exploit with their patient offense and help one bubble team stay alive.

 

Big Ten Conference—Indianapolis

#1 Ohio State (31-2)  vs. #6 Penn State (19-13)

3:30 PM EDT  CBS

If this were only football, we would call this the game of the day.  Then, again, we would probably break out into a discussion about Joe Paterno and his squeaky clean history against Jim Tressel and his e-mail history.

 

On paper, this game looks like a mismatch, but in reality, Ohio State has not dominated this weekend, while Penn State has.

 

The Buckeyes are playing for the first overall seed.  A loss today would give that honor to Kansas.  Penn State appears to be in the Big Dance, but there is still a tiny pinhole of doubt.  A loss would leave the Nittany Lions at 19-14.

 

Ohio State struggled all day against Northwestern’s slowdown.  Penn State can slow this game down and play much better defense than the Wildcats.  We believe the big underdog has a legitimate chance to win the title.

 

Southeastern Conference—Atlanta

#1E  Florida (26-6)  vs. #2E  Kentucky (24-8)
1:00 PM EDT  ABC

Florida does not need much help to win this game and move up as high as a number two seed.  Kentucky’s lack of depth forced Coach John Calipari to stick with his starters long after he needed to do so yesterday, and two Wildcat starters exited the game with ankle injuries in the final minutes.

 

The worse of the two injuries belong to star Doron Lamb, and Lamb may or may not be available to play today.  Florida’s offense forces defenders to cover a lot of territory, and Lamb will not be able to play defense the way it is needed to stop the Gators’ offense.

 

We look for the Gators to put this game away in the first five minutes of the second half.

 

Check back just before the brackets are announced tonight.  We will have our bracket-picking primer online around 5:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time.

March 12, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 12 Update

Bucknell Joins The Dance Party

The Bucknell Bison earned the Patriot League’s automatic bid Friday with a 72-54 victory over Lafayette.  Versatile big man Mike Muscala led the Bison with 18 points while sharpshooter Bryson Johnson added 15.

 

Bucknell improved to 25-8 on the season.  They project to be a 12 or 13-seed.

 

12 More Bids To Go Out Saturday

 

This is the busiest day of the tournament schedule.  13 conferences will crown their champion, and four other conferences will conduct semifinal rounds.  All told, every single one of the 21 games scheduled will be televised nationally.  Do you have enough televisions and a good high-speed computer?

 

Here is a conference-by-conference look at all the action.

 

All Game Times EST

 

Atlantic Coast Conference—Greensboro, NC

Quarterfinal Round

#1 North Carolina  61  #9 Miami  59

#4 Clemson  70  #5 Boston College  47

#2 Duke  87  #7 Maryland  71

#6 Virginia Tech  52  #3 Florida State  51 

 

Semifinal Round

#1 North Carolina (25-6)  vs. #4 Clemson (21-10)  1:30 PM  ESPN 

#2 Duke (28-4)  vs. #6 Virginia Tech (21-11)  3:45 PM  ESPN

 

All four teams are safely in the NCAA Tournament.  The Hokies secured a spot in the Dance with the nail-biting win over the Seminoles.

 

America East Conference

Championship Round

#5 Stony Brook (15-16)  at #2 Boston U (20-13)  12 Noon  ESPN2

 

Boston U won both regular season meetings.  The Terriers won 67-62 at home and 62-49 on the road.  They win with their defense, as they only shoot 40.6% from the field.

 

Atlantic 10 Conference—Atlantic City, NJ

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Dayton  68  #1 Xavier  67

#12 St. Joseph’s  93  #4 Duquesne  90  ot

#2 Temple  96  #10 LaSalle  76

#3 Richmond  55  #6 Rhode Island 45

 

Semifinal Round

#9 Dayton (21-12)  vs. #12 St. Joseph’s (11-21)  1 PM  CBS College

#2 Temple (25-6)  vs. #3 Richmond (24-7)  3:30 PM  CBS College

 

The Bubble teams will have to sweat it out all the way until Sunday.  At least one long shot will advance to the Championship Game.  Neither St. Joe’s nor Dayton is getting an at-large bid, and one of the two will be playing for an automatic bid Sunday.  Both Temple and Richmond are in the Dance.

 

Big 12 Conference—Kansas City

Semifinal Round

#1 Kansas  90  #5 Colorado  83

#2 Texas  70  #3 Texas A&M  58

 

Championship Game

#1 Kansas (31-2)  vs. #2 Texas (27-6)  6 PM  ESPN

 

The Jayhawks are still playing for the overall number one seed, while Texas is probably locked in on a number two seed.  However, with Notre Dame losing, a Longhorn win could put them in the conversation, especially if Duke does not win the ACC Tournament.

 

Big East Conference—New York City

Semifinal Round

#9 Connecticut  76  #4 Syracuse  71  ot

#3 Louisville 83  #2 Notre Dame  77  ot 

 

Championship Game

#3 Louisville (25-8)  vs. #9 Connecticut (25-9)  9 PM  ESPN

 

Connecticut becomes the first team ever to play five games in five days in modern college basketball history.  Will they have anything left in the tank next week when it really counts?  Louisville’s win more than likely killed any chance for the Irish getting a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament.

 

Big Ten Conference—Indianapolis

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Ohio State  67  #8 Northwestern  61 ot

#4 Michigan  60  #5 Illinois  55

#7 Michigan State  74  #2 Purdue  56

#6 Penn State  36  #3 Wisconsin 33

 

Semifinal Round

#1 Ohio State (30-2)  vs. #4 Michigan (20-12)  1:40 PM  CBS

#6 Penn State (18-13)  vs. #7 Michigan State (19-13)  4 PM  CBS

 

Michigan State has now earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament.  Penn State might move from the Bubble to in the tournament with a win over the Spartans.

 

Big West Conference—Anaheim

Semifinal Round

#1 Long Beach State  74  #7 UC-Riverside  63

#5 UC-Santa Barbara 83  #3 Cal State Northridge 63

 

Championship Game

#1 Long Beach State (22-10)  vs. #5 UC-Santa Barbara (17-13)  8 PM  ESPN2

 

Long Beach State won both meetings against the Gauchos in the regular season, and neither game was close.  The 49ers are not going to become another Butler or even repeat the exploits of Northern Iowa last year, but they could scare a favored team in the first round.  If UCSB wins, then they will make a quick exit in the first round.

 

Conference USA—El Paso, TX

Semifinal Round

#4 Memphis  76  #8 East Carolina  56

#3 U T E P  66  #2 Tulsa  54

 

Championship Game

#3 UTEP (25-8)  vs. #4 Memphis (24-9)  11:30 AM  CBS

 

The host Miners blew Memphis off the floor 74-47 in their only regular season meeting.  That game took place on this court.

 

Ivy League Playoff

Harvard (23-5)  vs. Princeton (24-6)  at Yale University  4 PM  ESPN3.com 

 

If Princeton wins a close game, there is an outside chance that the Ivy League could get two bids.

 

Mid-American Conference—Cleveland

Semifinal Round

#6 Akron  79  #2 Western Michigan  68

#1 Kent State 79  #4 Ball State 68

 

Championship Game

#1 Kent State (23-10)  vs. #6 Akron (22-12)  6 PM  ESPN2

 

The winner goes dancing, while the loser can only hope for a trip to Madison Square Garden in late March.

 

M E A C—Winston-Salem, NC

Semifinal Round

#4 Morgan State  61  #1 Bethune-Cookman  48

#2 Hampton  85  #6 Norfolk State  61

 

Championship Game

#2 Hampton (23-8)  vs. #4 Morgan State (17-13)  2 PM  ESPN2

 

Morgan State goes for a four-peat.  The Bears beat Hampton in the regular season 78-72.

 

Mountain West Conference—Las Vegas

Semifinal Round

#1 B Y U  87  #5 New Mexico  76

#2 San Diego State  74  #3 UNLV 72

 

Championship Game

#1 B Y U  (30-3)  vs. #2 San Diego State (31-2)  7 PM  Versus

 

Is the third time the charm for San Diego State?  The Aztecs’ two losses were to the Cougars.  If they can hold Jimmer Fredette under 35 points, we have a feeling that SDSU will cut down the nets. 

 

Both teams are legitimate threats to make it to the Sweet 16 and possibly a round or two farther.

 

Pac-10 Conference—Los Angeles

Semifinal Round

#1 Arizona  67  #4 Southern Cal  62

#3 Washington 69  #7 Oregon 51

 

Championship Game

#1 Arizona (27-6)  vs. #3 Washington (22-10)  6 PM  CBS

 

This should be an exciting game, even though it will not greatly affect the NCAA Tournament seedings.

 

The two teams split the season series, but the Huskies came close to sweeping.  UW won by 17 at home and fell by a single point in Tucson.  We think this is a tossup game.

 

Southeastern Conference—Atlanta

Quarterfinal Round

1W  Alabama 65  4E Georgia 59  ot

2E  Kentucky  75  3W  Ole Miss 66

1E  Florida  85  5E  Tennessee  74

3E  Vanderbilt  87  2W  Mississippi State  81

 

Semifinal Round

1W  Alabama (21-10)  vs. 2E  Kentucky (23-8)  1 PM  ABC

1E  Florida (25-6)  vs.  3E  Vanderbilt (23-9)  3:30 PM  ABC

 

Alabama played themselves into position to get one of the final at-large bids.  The Crimson Tide fans need to route against a Dayton or St. Joseph’s tournament championship in the Atlantic 10, because there is still little room for error for ‘Bama.

 

Kentucky looks unstoppable at times and then looks like a team that doesn’t belong in the tournament at others.  That’s what you get with a bunch of underclassmen and with no depth.

 

We believe this game will be close for most of the day, but the Wildcats will enjoy one nice spurt in both halves to hold off the Tide by six to 12 points.

 

Florida is playing about as well as either of their two National Champion teams.  It is hard to stop a team with five guys capable of scoring 20 points.  The Gators’ have few weaknesses.

 

Vanderbilt is a lot like Florida, but not as talented.  The Commodores have excellent outside shooters, but they cannot create their own shot like Florida’s outside shooters.  They have a couple of excellent inside scorers, but they can disappear against Florida’s inside players.  We look for the Gators to dominate this one from the beginning and win by double digits.

 

Southland Conference—Katy, TX

Championship Game

#1 McNeese State (21-10)  vs. #7 UT-San Antonio (18-13)  4 PM  ESPN2

 

S W A C—Garland, TX

Semifinal Round

#4 Alabama State  73  #1 Texas Southern  66

#6 Grambling  81  #2 Jackson State  75  ot

 

Championship Game

#4 Alabama State (16-17)  vs. #6 Grambling (12-20)  8:30 PM  ESPNU

 

The winner of this game can definitely plan on heading to Dayton for a First Four game.

 

W A C—Las Vegas

Semifinal Round

#1 Utah State  58  #8 San Jose State  54

#2 Boise State 81  #3 New Mexico State  63

 

Championship Game

#1 Utah State (29-3)  vs. #2 Boise State (20-11) 10 PM  ESPN2

 

Utah State is definitely in the Dance, so if the Broncos can pull off the big upset, another bubble will burst somewhere else.

 

Note: St. Mary’s defeated Weber State Friday night 77-54 in a non-conference game that was scheduled only two months ago.  The Gaels appear to be safe as an at-large team.

March 11, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 11 Update

Patriot League Championship—4:45 PM EST On ESPN2

#6 Lafayette (13-18)  at #1 Bucknell (24-8)

 

Lafayette makes an appearance in the conference championship game for the second consecutive year.  The Leopards fell to rival Lehigh last season and were tabbed the best team in the league in the preseason.  They took a step backward and tumbled to sixth in the league.

 

Bucknell closed 2010 with an 8-2 finish and returned all five starters and most of their key reserves.  The Bison continued to play top-notch ball and ran away with the Patriot League title.  Bucknell is on fire, having won nine games in a row by an average of 72-60 and 22 of their last 24 games.

 

The Bison swept the series against their Keystone State rival, winning 75-56 in Lewisburg and 74-69 in overtime at Easton.  Tonight’s game is on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, so Bucknell will enjoy the home court advantage.

 

In the earlier game in Lewisburg, Bucknell began the second half of a close game by going on a 20-3 run to put the game out of reach.  The Bison held Lafayette to 37% shooting and controlled the boards by 14.  In the game at Lafayette, Bucknell led 61-50 with four and a half minutes to go, but the Bison did not score another point in regulation.  Lafayette scored 11 consecutive points to force overtime and then briefly took a 64-61 lead at the start of the extra period.  The Leopards shot under 40% again and were outrebounded once again.

 

Bucknell goes just seven-deep, and all seven contribute to the offense.  Muscular big man Mike Muscala leads the way with 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.  The 6-11 Muscala has recorded six double-doubles in the last 15 games.  Bryson Johnson is an excellent long-range shooter, and he shoots 47% from three-point range.  As a team, Bucknell shoots 40.6% from behind the arc.

 

Lafayette led the entire game at Holy Cross in the conference tournament quarterfinal.  The Leopards placed five players in double figure scoring, and they stole the ball nine times to knock off the Crusaders.  In the semifinal round at number two seed American, the Leopards trailed by two points in the final seconds when Jim Mower buried a three-pointer as the clock expired to seal a double overtime victory.

 

If the Leopards are to pull off the big upset and advance to a First Four game in Dayton next week, big man Jared Mintz will have to neutralize Muscala.  Mintz gives away two inches in height, but he has the power to hold his own inside.  Mintz leads the Leopards with a 15.8 point scoring average and 5.8 rebound average.  Mower averages 12.4 points per game.

 

Thursday’s Results And Friday’s Games With NCAA Tournament Repercussions

All Times EST

Atlantic Coast Conference—Greensboro, NC

1st Round

#9 Miami  69  #8 Virginia  62

#5 Boston College  81  #12 Wake Forest  67

#7 Maryland  75  #10 North Carolina State  67

#6 Virginia Tech  59  #11 Georgia Tech  43

 

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Miami (19-13)  vs. #1 North Carolina (24-6)  12 Noon  ESPN2

#5 Boston College (20-11)  vs. #4 Clemson (20-10)  Approx. 2:15 PM  ESPN2

#7 Maryland (19-13)  vs. #2 Duke (27-4)  7 PM  ESPN2

#6 Virginia Tech (20-10)  vs. #3 Florida State (21-9)  Approx. 9:15 PM  ESPN2

 

North Carolina, Duke, Florida State, Clemson, and Boston College are in.  Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Miami are on the bubble.  Miami and Maryland must win today, or they are NIT-bound.  Virginia Tech is in a near must-win situation.  They are on the middle of the bubble.

 

Atlantic 10 Conference—Atlantic City, NJ

No Games Played Thursday

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Dayton (20-12)  vs. #1 Xavier (24-6)  12 Noon  CBS College

#12 St. Joseph’s (10-21)  vs. #4 Duquesne (18-11)  2:30 PM  CBS College

#10 LaSalle (15-17)  vs. #2 Temple (24-6)  6:30 PM  CBS College

#6 Rhode Island (19-12)  vs. #3 Richmond (24-7)  9 PM  CBS College

 

Xavier, Temple, and Richmond are in.  Duquesne must win the tournament to get in, so the bubble teams will be pulling for Dayton or Xavier to stop them in the semifinals.  Keep an eye on Rhode Island.  The Rams are capable of upsetting Richmond and Temple to get to the finals.

 

Big 12 Conference—Kansas City

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Kansas  53  #9 Oklahoma State  52

#5 Colorado  87  #4 Kansas State  75

#2 Texas  74  #10 Oklahoma  54

#3 Texas A&M  86  #6 Missouri  71

 

Semifinal Round

#1 Kansas (30-2)  vs. #5 Colorado (21-12)  7 PM

#2 Texas (26-6)  vs. #3 Texas A&M (24-7)  9:30 PM

 

Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas State, and Colorado are in.  The Buffalos secured their bid yesterday, so the rest of this tournament is all about the seedings.

 

Big East Conference—New York City

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Connecticut  76  #1 Pittsburgh  74

#4 Syracuse  79  #5 St. John’s  73

#2 Notre Dame  89  #7 Cincinnati  51

#3 Louisville  81  #11 Marquette  56

 

Semifinal Round

#9 Connecticut (24-9)  vs. #4 Syracuse (26-6)  7 PM  ESPN

#2 Notre Dame (26-5)  vs. #3 Louisville (24-8)  Approx. 9:15 PM  ESPN

 

11, yes 11, teams will receive invitations Sunday evening.  This is the strongest league not just this year, but maybe since the Big East placed three teams in the Final Four in 1985.  This should be a great finish to the tournament, and Notre Dame has a chance to move to a number one seed if the Irish win it.  Any one of these four could still be playing in late March.

 

Big Ten Conference—Indianapolis

1st Round

#8 Northwestern  75  #9 Minnesota  65

#7 Michigan State  66  #10 Iowa  61

#6 Penn State  61  #11 Indiana  55

 

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Ohio State (29-2)  vs. #8 Northwestern (18-12) 12 Noon  ESPN

#4 Michigan (19-12)  vs. #5 Illinois (19-12)  Approx 2:20  ESPN

#2 Purdue (25-6)  vs. #7 Michigan State (18-13)  6:30 PM  Big Ten Network

#3 Wisconsin (23-7)  vs. #6 Penn State (17-13)  Approx. 8:45  Big Ten Network

 

Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois are in.  Michigan State can definitely punch a ticket with an upset over Purdue today, and they are still on the highest part of the bubble if they lose.  Northwestern and Penn State must win the tournament to get in, although the Nittany Lions could get in the discussion with a loss in the finals.  We would not be all that surprised if the Wildcats play Ohio State a close game, at least for 30 to 32 minutes.

 

Big West Conference—Anaheim

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Long Beach State 79  #8 UC-Irvine  72

#5 UC-Santa Barbara  79  #4 Pacific  67

#7 UC-Riverside  70  #2 Cal Poly  66  ot

#3 Cal State Northridge  75  #6 Cal State Fullerton  54

 

Semifinal Round

#1 Long Beach State (21-10)  vs. #5 UC-Santa Barbara (16-13)  9:30 PM  ESPNU

#3 Cal State Northridge (14-17)  vs. #7 UC-Riverside (12-18)  12 Midnight  ESPNU

 

The champion is the only team that will advance.  Long Beach State has a minimal at best chance of winning a first round game if they are the champion.

 

Conference USA—El Paso, TX

Quarterfinal Round

#8 East Carolina  75  #1 U A B  70  ot

#4 Memphis  66  #5 Southern Miss.  63

#3 U T E P  77  #6 Marshall  65

#2 Tulsa  81  #7 Rice  72

 

Semifinal Round

#2 Tulsa (19-12)  vs. #3 U T E P  (24-8)  3 PM 

#4 Memphis (23-9)  vs. #8 East Carolina (18-14)  5:30 PM

 

At this point, no team is guaranteed a spot in the Big Dance.  UAB played their way to the bottom half of the bubble with a loss to ECU.  Memphis and UTEP could possibly get into the conversation if they both advance to the championship game.  For now, we are projecting just the champion to make it into the tournament.  The host Miners enjoy a large home court advantage and should top Tulsa in a thriller today.

 

Mid-American Conference—Cleveland

Quarterfinal Round

#2 Western Michigan 67  #7 Bowling Green  56

#6 Akron  82  #3 Miami (O)  75  2ot

#1 Kent State  73  #8 Buffalo  62

#4 Ball State  76  #5 Ohio U  73  ot

 

Semifinal Round

#2 Western Michigan (20-11)  vs. #6 Akron (21-12)  7 PM

#1 Kent State (22-10)  vs. #4 Ball State (19-12)  9:30 PM

 

The MAC has been down in recent years, but the eventual champion of this tournament could be a formidable opponent as a number 13 or 14 seed for a better team in the first round. 

 

M E A C—Winston-Salem, NC

Quarterfinal Round

#4 Morgan State  77  #5 North Carolina A&T  59

#6 Norfolk State  55  #3 Coppin State 53

 

Semifinal Round

#1 Bethune-Cookman (21-11)  vs. #4 Morgan State (16-13)  6 PM

#2 Hampton (22-8) vs. #6 Norfolk State (12-19)  Approx. 8:15 PM

 

These teams are playing for a probable spot in the First Four.  The first semifinal will be a thriller; the top-seeded Wildcats face the three-time defending champion Bears.

 

Hampton has been a surprise team, and they should have an easier contest and be more rested for the championship.

 

Mountain West Conference—Las Vegas

Quarterfinal Round

#1 B Y U  64  #9 T C U  58

#5 New Mexico  67  #4 Colorado State 61

#2 San Diego State  64  #7 Utah  50

#3 U N L V  69  #6 Air Force 53

 

Semifinal Round

#1 B Y U (29-3)  vs. #5 New Mexico (21-11)  9 PM  CBS College

#2 San Diego State (30-2)  vs. #3 U N L V  (24-7)  11:30 PM  CBS College

 

BYU, San Diego State, and UNLV are in.  Colorado State played themselves into the NIT with the loss yesterday to New Mexico.  As for the Lobos, with a third win over BYU today, they could get into the conversation, but they probably need to earn the automatic bid to go dancing.

 

Pac-10 Conference—Los Angeles

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Arizona 78  #9 Oregon State  69

#4 Southern Cal  70  #5 California  56

#7 Oregon  76  #2 U C L A  59

#3 Washington 89  #6 Washington State 87

 

Semifinal Round

#1 Arizona (26-6)  vs. #4 Southern Cal (19-13)  9 PM  Fox Sports

#3 Washington (21-10)  vs. #7 Oregon (16-16)  11:30 PM  Fox Sports

 

Arizona, UCLA, and Washington are in.  Oregon must win this tournament to get in.  As for Southern Cal, the Trojans might work their way into one of the final bubble spots with an upset over the top-seeded Wildcats tonight.  Last night’s battle of the Evergreen State was one of the most exciting of the tournament season with the Huskies coming from behind to knock off arch-rival Washington State by two.

 

Southeastern Conference—Atlanta

1st Round

#4E  Georgia  69  #5W  Auburn  51

#3W  Ole Miss  66  #6E  South Carolina  55

#5E  Tennessee  74  #4W  Arkansas  68

#3E  Vanderbilt  62  #6W  L S U  50

 

Quarterfinal Round

#1W  Alabama (21-10)  vs. #4E Georgia (20-10)  1 PM

#2E  Kentucky (22-8)  vs. #3W Ole Miss (20-12)  3:30 PM

#1E  Florida (24-6)  vs. #5E  Tennessee (19-13)  7:30 PM

#2W Mississippi State (17-13)  vs. #3E  Vanderbilt (22-9)  10 PM

 

Florida, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt are definitely in.  Tennessee is probably in and would only be out if a lot of surprise winners win the remaining conference tournaments.  The Vols would safely secure a spot with a win over the Gators. 

 

The big game in all of college basketball today is the Georgia-Alabama game.  Call this an extra play-in game.  The winner survives to the Dance, while the loser will be hosting an NIT game next week.

 

Southland Conference—Katy, TX

Semifinal Round

#1 McNeese State  91  #4 Texas State  83

#7 UT-San Antonio  79  #3 Sam Houston State 70

 

Championship Game on Saturday

 

S W A C—Garland, TX

Quarterfinal Round

#4 Alabama State  81  #5 Alabama A&M 61

#6 Grambling  65  #3 Mississippi Valley  62

 

Semifinal Round

#2 Jackson State (17-14)  vs. #6 Grambling (11-20)  3:30 PM

#1 Texas Southern (19-11)  vs. #4 Alabama State (15-17)  9 PM

 

The Champion will probably be forced to play in the First Four.  Jackson State is on a mission after losing in the first round last year as the number one seed.

 

W A C—Las Vegas

Quarterfinal Round

#8 San Jose State  74  #4 Idaho 68

#3 New Mexico State  66  #6 Nevada  60

 

Semifinal Round

#1 Utah State (28-3)  vs. #8 San Jose State (17-14)  9 PM

#2 Boise State (19-11)  vs. #3 New Mexico State (16-16)  11:30 PM  ESPN2

 

Utah State is in and should be the higher seed in their first round game.  If the Aggies are upset, then one more bubble will burst.  The one WAC team that beat USU (Idaho) was knocked out of the conference tournament yesterday.

March 10, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 10 Update

Two Newest Dance Participants

 

Northeast Conference Championship

Long Island  85  Robert Morris  82 ot

 

In what may have been the most exciting championship game of the season, the home-standing Blackbirds and visiting Colonials exchanged leads all night.  Two missed three-point shots in the final seconds, one at the buzzer, was all that prevented this game from going to double overtime.

 

LIU opened with a cold shooting hand, and RMU took the lead.  Once the Blackbirds started hitting their shots, this became a game of runs.  LIU had the hot hand in the second half, but RMU kept getting enough offensive rebounds to keep the Colonials in the game.

 

Jamal Olasewere had a game-high 31 points to go with 11 rebounds; he scored seven points in the overtime.  Team leader Julian Boyd was held to just seven points, but the Blackbirds had excellent showings off the bench.  Jason Brickman tossed in 15 points and dished out eight big assists, while Kenny Onyechi added 13 points.

 

Russell Johnson and Velton Jones teamed up for 42 points for the losers.

 

LIU will be a formidable opponent for their favored foe in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  Their style of play could cause severe matchup problems for a bigger, slower team, especially if that team is not the strongest ball-handling team.  If they were to be bracketed against BYU in the first round, it would be the thriller of the first round. 

 

Big Sky Conference Championship

Northern Colorado  65  Montana  60

 

This game was anticlimactic following the NEC Championship.  Montana kept the pace slow, and the Grizzlies shot out to a 7-0 lead in the first two and a half minutes.  UNC made a run to take its first lead at 17-16 on a three-point shot by Tate Unruh.

 

The lead switched hands several times the remainder of the half with the buzzer sending the teams to the locker tied at 31-31.

 

Montana maintained a small lead for most of the second half, until star guard Devon Beitzel took over.  His three-pointer at the 4:56 mark gave the Bears the lead for good.  Beitzel continued shooting and then forced Montana to foul him, and the Bears hung on to win.

 

Beitzel did not score until late in the first half, but the Big Sky Conference’s leading scorer finished with 27 points.

 

Montana center Brian Qvale hit a layup with 16 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 62-60, but following two made Beitzel free throws, Art Steward committed a turnover to seal the game. 

 

Steward led the Grizzlies with 16 points, while Qvale added 11.

 

Northern Colorado will be one of those teams that will be glad just to be there at the NCAA Tournament.  The Bears should make a quick exit in game one, unless they are chosen as one of the First Four #16 seeds.

 

13 Automatic Qualifiers To Date

Team Conference Record
Arkansas-Little Rock Sunbelt 19-16
Belmont Atlantic South 30-4
Butler Horizon 23-9
Gonzaga West Coast 24-9
Indiana State Missouri Valley 20-13
Long Island Northeast 27-4
Morehead State Ohio Valley 24-9
Northern Colorado Big Sky 21-10
Oakland Summit 25-9
Old Dominion Colonial 27-6
St. Peter’s Metro Atlantic 20-13
UNC-Asheville Big South 19-13
Wofford Southern 21-12

 

No Championship Games Are Scheduled For Thursday

 

Wednesday’s Results/Thursday’s Schedule

All Times EST

Atlantic Coast Conference—Greensboro, NC

1st Round

#8 Virginia (16-14)  vs. #9 Miami (Fla) (18-13)  12 Noon

#5 Boston College (19-11)  vs. #12 Wake Forest (8-23)  Approx. 2:15 PM

#7 Maryland (18-13)  vs. #10 North Carolina State (15-15)  7 PM  ESPN2

#6 Virginia Tech (19-10)  vs. #11 Georgia Tech (13-17)  Approx. 9:15 PM

 

Big 12 Conference—Kansas City

1st Round

#9 Oklahoma State  53  #8 Nebraska  52

#5 Colorado  77  #12 Iowa State  75

#10 Oklahoma  84  #7 Baylor  67

#6 Missouri  88  #11 Texas Tech  84

 

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Oklahoma State (19-12)  vs. #1 Kansas (29-2)  12:30 PM on ESPN2

#5 Colorado (20-12)  vs. #4 Kansas State (22-9)  3PM

#10 Oklahoma (14-17) vs. #2 Texas (25-6)  7 PM

#6 Missouri (23-9) vs. #3 Texas A&M (23-7)  9:30 PM

 

Big East Conference—New York City

2nd Round

#9 Connecticut  79  #8 Georgetown 62

#5 St. John’s  65  #13 Rutgers 63

#7 Cincinnati  87  #15 South Florida 61

#11 Marquette  67  #6 West Virginia  61

 

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Connecticut (23-9)  vs. #1 Pittsburgh (27-4)  12 Noon  ESPN

#5 St. John’s (21-10)  vs. #4 Syracuse (25-6)  Approx. 2:15 PM  ESPN

#7 Cincinnati (25-7)  vs. #2 Notre Dame (25-5)  7 PM  ESPN

#11 Marquette (20-13)  vs. #3 Louisville (23-8)  Approx. 9:15 PM  ESPN

 

Big Ten Conference—Indianapolis

1st Round

#8 Northwestern (17-12)  vs. #9 Minnesota (17-13)  2:30 PM  ESPN2

#7 Michigan State (17-13)  vs. #10 Iowa (11-19)  4:50 PM  ESPN2

#6 Penn State (16-13)  vs. #11 Indiana (12-19)  7:30 PM  Big Ten Network

 

Big West Conference—Anaheim

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Long Beach State (20-10)  vs. #8 UC-Irvine (13-18)  3 PM

#4 Pacific (16-14)  vs. #5 UC-Santa Barbara (15-13)  5:20 PM

#2 Cal Poly (15-14)  vs. #7 UC-Riverside (11-18)  9 PM

#3 Cal State Northridge (13-17)  vs. #6 Cal State Fullerton (11-19)  11:20 PM

 

Conference USA—El Paso, TX

1st Round

#8 East Carolina  78  #9 Central Florida  60

#5 Southern Miss.  63  #12 Tulane  47

#6 Marshall  97  #11 Houston  87

#10 Rice  58  #7 S M U  57

 

Quarterfinal Round

#8 East Carolina (17-14)  vs. #1 U A B  (22-7)  1PM  CBSC

#5 Southern Miss (22-9)  vs. #4 Memphis (22-9)  3:30 PM  CBSC

#6 Marshall (22-10)  vs. #3 U T E P  (23-8)  7:30 PM  CBSC

#10 Rice (14-17)  vs. #2 Tulsa (18-12)  10 PM  CBSC

 

M A C—Cleveland

Quarterfinal Round

#7 Bowling Green (14-18)  vs. #2 Western Michigan (19-11)  12 Noon

#6 Akron (20-12)  vs. #3 Miami (O) (16-15)  2:30 PM

#8 Buffalo (18-12)  vs. #1 Kent State (21-10)  7 PM

#5 Ohio U (18-14)  vs. #4 Ball State (18-12)  9:30 PM

 

M E A C—Winston-Salem, NC

Note: The MEAC has a unique scheduling format which rewards its top three seeds.  Thus, yesterday, there were both first round and quarterfinal round games scheduled.  The quarterfinal round concludes today.

 

1st Round

#6 Norfolk State  68  #11 Howard 53

 

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Bethune-Cookman  66  #9 South Carolina State 50

#2 Hampton  77  #10 Maryland-Eastern Shore  55

 

Quarterfinal Round Continues

#4 Morgan State (15-13)  vs. #5 North Carolina A&T (15-16)  8 PM

#3 Coppin State (16-13)  vs. #6 Norfolk State (11-19)  7 PM

 

Mountain West Conference—Las Vegas

1st Round

#9 T C U  70  #8 Wyoming  61

 

Quarterfinal Round

#9 T C U (11-21)  vs. #1 Brigham Young (28-3)  3 PM

#5 New Mexico (20-11)  vs. #4 Colorado State (19-11)  5:30 PM

#7 Utah (13-17)  vs. #2 San Diego State (29-2)  9 PM

#6 Air Force (15-14)  vs. #3 U N L V  (23-7)  11:30 PM

 

Pac-10 Conference—Los Angeles

1st Round

#9 Oregon State 69  #8 Stanford 67

#7 Oregon 76  #10 Arizona State 69

 

Quarterfinal Round

#4 Southern Cal (18-13)  vs. #5 California (17-13)  3 PM  Fox Sports

#1 Arizona (25-6)  vs. #9 Oregon State (11-19)  5:30 PM  Fox Sports

#2 U C L A  (22-9)  vs. #7 Oregon (15-16)  9 PM  Fox Sports

#3 Washington (20-10)  vs. #6 Washington State (19-11)  11:30 PM  Fox Sports

 

Southeastern Conference—Atlanta

1st Round

#4E  Georgia (20-10)  vs. #5W  Auburn (11-19)  1 PM

#3W  Ole Miss (19-12)  vs. #6E  South Carolina (14-15)  3:30 PM

#4W  Arkansas (18-12)  vs. #5E  Tennessee (18-13)  7:30 PM

#3W  Vanderbilt (21-9)  vs. #6E L S U  (11-20)  10 PM

 

Southland Conference—Katy, TX

Quarterfinal Round

#1 McNeese State 61  #8 Nicholls State 54

#4 Texas State 72  #5 Southeastern Louisiana 68

#7 Texas-San Antonio 97  #2 Northwestern State (LA) 96

#3 Sam Houston State 61  #6 Stephen F. Austin 45

 

Semifinal Round

#3 Sam Houston State (18-12)  vs. #7 Texas-San Antonio (17-13)  7 PM

#1 McNeese State (20-10)  vs. #4 Texas State (16-15)  9:30 PM

 

S W A C–Garland, TX

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Texas Southern 50  #8 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 45

#2 Jackson State 50  #7 Prairie View 38

 

Quarterfinal Round Continues

#3 Mississippi Valley (13-18)  vs. #6 Grambling (10-20)  12:30 PM

#4 Alabama State (14-17)  vs. #5 Alabama A&M (13-14) 9 PM

 

W A C—Las Vegas

1st Round

#8 San Jose State 75  #5 Hawaii 74

#6 Nevada 90  #7 Fresno State 80

 

2nd Round

#4 Idaho (18-12)  vs. #8 San Jose State (16-14)  3 PM  ESPNU

#3 New Mexico State (15-16)  vs. #6 Nevada (13-18)  5:30 PM  ESPNU

December 7, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For College Football–Regular Season Final

NCAA 2009 College Football Playoff Simulation

The Playoffs You Wished For 

Welcome to season number three of the NCAA College Football Playoff Simulation.  For those reading this blog for the first time, the PiRate College Football Playoffs take the champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC as automatic qualifiers.  Any of the remaining conference champions (including the top independent) that finish in the top 16 in the final regular season BCS Standings also qualify automatically.  At-large teams are then selected in the order of BCS finish until 12 total teams have been selected.  The 12 teams are then seeded by BCS ranking with no maximum number of teams per conference.

 

Here is how the 12 teams were selected for the 2009 playoffs.

 

Top Six Conference Champions

ACC–Georgia Tech 11-2           #9 Seed

Big East–Cincinnati 12-0                   #3 Seed

Big Ten–Ohio State 10-2         #8 Seed

Big 12—Texas 13-0                    #2 Seed

Pac-10—Oregon 10-2                #7 Seed

SEC—Alabama 13-0                             #1 Seed

 

Automatic Qualifiers By Virtue Of Top 16 In BCS

MWC—T C U 12-0                       #4 Seed

WAC—Boise State 13-0             #6 Seed

 

Top Four At-Large To Fill Out 12-Team Field

Florida 12-1                                 #5 Seed

Iowa 10-2                                    #10 Seed

Virginia Tech 10-2                     #11 Seed

L S U 9-3                                      #12 Seed

 

The PiRate Playoff System uses the top 11 bowl games to play the four rounds.  The 5th through 12th seeds must play in the first round, while the top four seeds receive byes to the quarterfinals.

Opening Round

 

Outback Bowl    #5 Florida vs. #12 L S U  Dec 17

Alamo Bowl       #6 Boise State vs. #11 Virginia Tech  Dec 18

Holiday Bowl     #7 Oregon vs. #10 Iowa  Dec 19

Gator Bowl         #8 Ohio State vs. #9 Georgia Tech  Dec 19

 

Quarterfinal Round

 

Cotton Bowl                #4 T C U vs. Outback Bowl Winner  Jan 1

Capital One Bowl       #3 Cincinnati vs. Alamo Bowl Winner  Jan 1

Rose Bowl                             #2 Texas vs. Holiday Bowl Winner  Jan 1

Sugar Bowl                  #1 Alabama vs. Gator Bowl Winner  Jan 1

 

Semifinal Round

 

Fiesta Bowl        Sugar Bowl Winner vs. Fiesta Bowl Winner Jan 9

Orange Bowl     Rose Bowl Winner vs. Capital One Bowl Winner Jan 9

 

National Championship Game

 

Fiesta Bowl Winner vs. Orange Bowl Winner  Jan 23

 

1. This system awards the four best teams with byes.

2. This system not only keeps the bowls alive, but it gives them more importance and prestige, as 11 bowls decide the title.

3. Instead of undefeated Cincinnati, TCU, and Boise State getting left out of the national championship picture, number 13 Penn State is the first team left out.  This is much more fair, as this system will always allow a 12-0 team to have a chance regardless of whether it is Alabama or Boise State.

4. The remaining bowls would not have to settle for 6-6 teams.  The rules could demand at least 7 wins as a minimum.

5. Three of the four rounds would occur during winter break for the schools, thus quashing the myth that players would miss too much time.

 

Check back on December 20 for simulated results of the first round games.

 

Final Regular Season PiRate Ratings

 

The Army-Navy game must still be played, but that game doesn’t warrant an extra week’s worth of ratings.  Neither team can break the top 25 even if they win 222-0.  The game still has bowl implications.  If Army wins, the Cadets will advance to the Eagle Bank Bowl to face Temple.  If Navy wins, then UCLA takes Army’s place in Washington, DC.

NCAA Top 25 For December 7, 2009
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Alabama 133.0 13 0
2 Texas 131.4 12 0
3 Florida 128.2 12 1
4 T C U 125.4 12 0
5 Oklahoma 124.0 7 5
6 Boise State 120.9 12 0
7 Virginia Tech 120.5 9 3
8 Oregon 119.8 10 2
9 Georgia Tech 119.4 11 2
10 Nebraska 118.8 9 4
11 Texas Tech 117.9 8 4
12 Penn State 117.7 10 2
13 Ohio State 117.6 10 2
14 Miami (Fla) 117.4 9 3
15 Stanford 116.9 8 4
16 Arkansas 115.5 7 5
17 Southern Cal 115.1 8 4
18 Cincinnati 114.9 12 0
19 Iowa 114.8 10 2
20 Arizona 114.0 8 4
21 Oklahoma State 113.9 9 3
22 Pittsburgh 113.7 9 3
23 Ole Miss 113.2 8 4
24 L  S  U 112.5 9 3
25 Oregon State 112.0 8 4
         
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Clemson 6-2 8-5 111.7
Florida State 4-4 6-6 107.6
Boston College 5-3 8-4 107.1
Wake Forest 3-5 5-7 104.8
North Carolina State 2-6 5-7 102.7
Maryland 1-7 2-10 93.0
       
Coastal Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Virginia Tech 6-2 9-3 120.5
Georgia Tech 7-1 11-2 119.4
Miami-FL 5-3 9-3 117.4
North Carolina 4-4 8-4 110.9
Duke 3-5 5-7 98.4
Virginia 2-6 3-9 94.8

 

Big East Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Cincinnati 8-0 12-0 114.9
Pittsburgh 5-2 9-3 113.7
West Virginia 5-2 9-3 106.0
Connecticut 3-4 7-5 105.8
Rutgers 3-4 8-4 102.1
South Florida 3-4 7-5 101.8
Syracuse 1-6 4-8 93.9
Louisville 1-6 4-8 90.5

 

Big Ten
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Penn State 6-2 10-2 117.7
Ohio State 7-1 10-2 117.6
Iowa 6-2 10-2 114.8
Wisconsin 5-3 9-3 108.5
Michigan State 4-4 6-6 101.5
Northwestern 5-3 8-4 99.3
Purdue 4-4 5-7 99.0
Minnesota 3-5 6-6 97.9
Michigan 1-7 5-7 96.6
Illinois 2-6 3-9 96.0
Indiana 1-7 4-8 90.9

 

Big 12
North Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 6-2 9-4 118.9
Missouri 4-4 8-4 104.8
Kansas 1-7 5-7 103.9
Kansas State 4-4 6-6 99.4
Colorado 2-6 3-9 97.4
Iowa State 3-5 6-6 94.9
       
South Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Texas 8-0 13-0 131.4
Oklahoma 5-3 7-5 124.0
Texas Tech 5-3 8-4 117.9
Oklahoma State 6-2 9-3 113.9
Texas A&M 3-5 6-6 103.4
Baylor 1-7 4-8 96.6

 

Conference USA
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
East Carolina 7-1 9-4 105.2
Central Florida 6-2 8-4 104.1
Southern Mississippi 5-3 7-5 100.9
Marshall 4-4 6-6 92.4
U A B 4-4 5-7 91.0
Memphis 1-7 2-10 83.4
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Houston 6-2 10-3 107.4
Tulsa 3-5 5-7 91.6
U T E P 3-5 4-8 90.8
S M U 6-2 7-5 88.4
Rice 2-6 2-10 76.4
Tulane 1-7 3-9 71.1

 

Independents
       
Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame   6-6 105.9
Navy   8-4 100.6
Army   5-6 82.0

 

Mid American Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 7-1 9-3 100.7
Ohio U 7-1 9-4 94.9
Buffalo 3-5 5-7 92.4
Bowling Green 6-2 7-5 91.4
Kent St. 4-4 6-6 84.7
Akron 2-6 3-9 81.5
Miami (O) 1-7 1-11 76.3
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Michigan 8-0 11-2 109.0
Northern Illinois 5-3 7-5 95.1
Toledo 3-5 5-7 87.1
Western Michigan 4-4 5-7 86.2
Ball State 2-6 2-10 83.0
Eastern Michigan 0-8 0-12 74.2

 

Mountain West Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 8-0 12-0 125.4
B Y U 7-1 10-2 111.1
Utah 6-2 9-3 107.7
Air Force 5-3 7-5 100.7
Wyoming 4-4 6-6 87.9
UNLV 3-5 5-7 86.8
Colo. State 0-8 3-9 86.1
S. D. State 3-5 5-7 85.2
New Mexico 1-7 1-11 77.8

 

Pac-10 Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 8-1 10-2 119.8
Stanford 6-3 8-4 116.9
Southern Cal 5-4 8-4 115.1
Arizona 6-3 8-4 114.0
Oregon St. 6-3 8-4 112.0
California 5-4 8-4 108.6
U C L A 3-6 6-6 105.3
Arizona St. 2-7 4-8 102.1
Washington 4-5 5-7 103.6
Wash. St. 0-9 1-11 70.8

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida 8-0 12-1 128.2
Tennessee 4-4 7-5 110.9
South Carolina 3-5 7-5 110.9
Georgia 4-4 7-5 110.4
Kentucky 3-5 7-5 104.4
Vanderbilt 0-8 2-10 93.1
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Alabama 8-0 13-0 133.0
Arkansas 3-5 7-5 115.5
Ole Miss 4-4 8-4 113.2
L S U 5-3 9-3 112.5
Auburn 3-5 7-5 107.7
Mississippi State 3-5 5-7 104.2

 

Sunbelt Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Troy 8-0 9-3 99.0
Middle Tennessee 7-1 9-3 96.2
Louisiana-Monroe 5-3 6-6 86.8
Arkansas State 3-5 4-8 85.8
Florida Atlantic 5-3 5-7 84.6
U. of Louisiana 4-4 6-6 83.7
Florida International 3-5 3-9 80.3
North Texas 1-7 2-10 76.4
Western Kentucky 0-8 0-12 73.7

 

Western Athletic Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 8-0 13-0 120.9
Nevada 7-1 8-4 108.6
Louisiana Tech 3-5 4-8 99.8
Fresno State 6-2 7-4 99.0
Utah State 3-5 4-8 91.9
Idaho 4-4 7-5 89.6
Hawaii 3-5 6-6 87.7
San Jose State 1-7 2-10 78.5
New Mexico State 1-7 3-10 71.0

 

Bowl Lineups

Day Date Time EST Bowl Team   Team
Sat 19-Dec 4:30 PM New Mexico Wyoming vs. Fresno State
Sat 19-Dec 8:00 PM St. Petersburg Rutgers vs. Central Florida
Sun 20-Dec 8:15 PM New Orleans Middle Tenn vs. Southern Miss
Tue 22-Dec 8:00 PM Las Vegas B  Y  U vs. Oregon State
Wed 23-Dec 8:00 PM Poinsettia Utah vs. California
Thu 24-Dec 8:00 PM Hawaii Nevada vs. S  M  U
Sat 26-Dec 1:00 PM Little Caesar’s Pizza Marshall vs. Ohio U
Sat 26-Dec 4:30 PM Meineke Car Care North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh
Sat 26-Dec 8:00 PM Emerald Southern Cal vs. Boston College
Sun 27-Dec 8:15 PM Music City Kentucky vs. Clemson
Mon 28-Dec 5:00 PM Independence Georgia vs. Texas A&M
Tue 29-Dec 4:30 PM Eagle Bank Temple vs. Army/UCLA
Tue 29-Dec 8:00 PM Champs Sports Miami-Fl vs. Wisconsin
Wed 30-Dec 4:30 PM Humanitarian Idaho vs. Bowling Green
Wed 30-Dec 8:00 PM Holiday Nebraska vs. Arizona
Thu 31-Dec 11:00 AM Armed Forces Houston vs. Air Force
Thu 31-Dec 2:00 PM Sun Stanford vs. Oklahoma
Thu 31-Dec 3:30 PM Texas Missouri vs. Navy
Thu 31-Dec 6:00 PM Insight.com Iowa State vs. Minnesota
Thu 31-Dec 7:30 PM Chick-fil-A Tennessee vs. Va. Tech
Fri 1-Jan 11:00 AM Outback Auburn vs. Northwestern
Fri 1-Jan 1:00 PM Capital One Penn State vs. L  S  U
Fri 1-Jan 1:00 PM Gator West Va. vs. Florida State
Fri 1-Jan 5:10 PM Rose Oregon vs. Ohio State
Fri 1-Jan 8:00 PM Sugar Florida vs. Cincinnati
Sat 2-Jan 12:00 PM International South Florida vs. Northern Illinois
Sat 2-Jan 2:00 PM Cotton Oklahoma St. vs. Ole Miss
Sat 2-Jan 2:00 PM Papajohns.com Connecticut vs. South Carolina
Sat 2-Jan 5:30 PM Liberty Arkansas vs. East Carolina
Sat 2-Jan 9:00 PM Alamo Texas Tech vs. Michigan St.
Mon 4-Jan 8:00 PM Fiesta Boise State vs. T C U
Tue 5-Jan 8:00 PM Orange Georgia Tech vs. Iowa
Wed 6-Jan 8:00 PM G M A C Troy vs. Central Mich.
Thu 7-Jan 8:00 PM Nat’l Championship Alabama vs. Texas

Coming This Week–What you can do to help bring about a college football playoff

November 30, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For College Football–November 30-December 12

It’s The Week We’ve All Been Waiting For

 

It seems like just last week the college football season kicked off, and here it is the end of the regular season.  A handful of games can potentially scramble the bowl bids that will go out Sunday.  With the holidays bringing the five PiRates together under the same roof in northwest Wisconsin for too much turkey and other booty, we stayed up late gathering information for this special bowl edition.  We think through hard work and phone calls to contacts in multiple locations, we have one of the best views of the bowl games.

This edition will not be a speculative one.  We are actually trying to use information we have gathered to report where we believe the bowls are looking with six days to go.

The BCS Bowls

National Championship Game:  Obviously the winner of this week’s Alabama-Florida game in the SEC Championship will finish number one.  If Texas wins, then everything is rather easy.  The Longhorns will finish number two.  Here’s where things get dicey.  If Texas loses, there will be controversy no matter which team makes it to Pasadena.  TCU would be the logical choice, but Cincinnati could edge ahead of the Horned Frogs with a convincing win over Pittsburgh.  And, if Alabama were to edge Florida by a point or win in overtime, there is still a possibility that Alabama and Florida could meet in a rematch.  Remember something; part of the BCS equation is human voting.  The fourth estate has never been confused for being honest and just.  All it takes is for a few voters to move TCU down one spot, and the fix would be in.

We believe Nebraska’s lack of offense will make this all superfluous.  Texas will win by double digits this week and face the SEC winner for the national championship.  We’ve taken a vote here in the Northwoods; one of us believes Florida will win this week.  One of us believes Alabama will win, and the other three consider it a tossup.  It should be the next “greatest game,” in the mold of Ohio State and Michigan in 2006, Florida State and Florida in 1996, Notre Dame and USC in 1988, and the two greatest late season matchups of #1 vs. #2—Oklahoma and Nebraska in 1971 and Notre Dame and Michigan State in 1966. 

Orange Bowl: The winner of this week’s Clemson-Georgia Tech game for the ACC Championship will automatically go to Miami.  We believe Clemson has a better than 50% chance of pulling off the upset.  In their regular season game, Clemson’s comedy of errors led to the Yellow Jackets getting a big lead.  The Tigers made a great comeback and almost pulled it off.  We thing CU gets revenge this week and heads to Miami with a weak 8-4 record.  The Orange Bowl will get the third selection in the at-large draft if Texas wins.  The Sugar and Fiesta Bowls will have already picked because they will have lost teams to the National Championship Game.  With Alabama or Florida and Iowa already taken off the board, this pick will come down to either the Big East champion, Boise State, or TCU.  If Cincinnati beats Pittsburgh, we don’t see the Bearcats being chosen even though they would be 12-0.  Cincinnati played in Miami last year.  It would come down to TCU and Boise State.  Believe it or not, Boise’s fans travel better, so we will go with Boise State here.

If Pittsburgh beats Cincinnati, the Panthers will probably wind up here, and Boise State would head to the Fiesta Bowl.

Fiesta Bowl: Assuming Texas wins, the Fiesta Bowl will get the second and fourth picks in the at-large draft.  The SEC loser will be off the table, and we believe the best choice for this bowl will be Iowa.  After the Orange Bowl picks Boise State, TCU becomes the logical choice.  If Pittsburgh beats Cincinnati, then Boise State would land here.

Sugar Bowl: Without a doubt, the loser of the SEC Championship will play here if both SEC teams don’t play again in Pasadena.  The Sugar Bowl gets the first pick to replace the number one team being lost to the National Championship Game.  The Sugar Bowl also gets the last pick in the at-large draft.  Since this cannot be a Hobson’s Choice, Cincinnati would land here as the only option if the Bearcats beat Pittsburgh.  If Pittsburgh wins this week, then TCU would land here.

Rose Bowl: Ohio State is already assured of playing here.  The winner of Thursday night’s Oregon-Oregon State game will be the opponent.  There can be no other options this year.

The Top-Tier Non-BCS Bowls

 

Capital One Bowl: LSU seems to be a shoo-in for this bowl after Ole Miss fell to Mississippi State.  Penn State will land here if Iowa is chosen over the Lions for a BCS Bowl.  We see no reason for Penn State fans to believe they can beat out Iowa, especially if the bowl in question is the Fiesta Bowl.

Outback Bowl: The top remaining SEC East team is supposed to play here, while the top remaining SEC West team is supposed to play in the Cotton Bowl. Ole Miss played in Dallas last year, and there was talk that there could be a trade-off with Ole Miss heading to Tampa.  However, late news seems to support the Rebels playing in the Cotton Bowl again, so Tennessee looks like the choice here.  The Big Ten representative will be Wisconsin unless the Badgers lose in Hawaii this weekend.  If that happens, it changes a lot of other bowls. 

Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State should receive this invitation, since the Cowboys have the second best record, but Nebraska or over Oklahoma could leapfrog them.  For now, we will stick with the most politically correct pick and go with Oklahoma State.  According to late-breaking news, the SEC representative will be Ole Miss. 

Gator Bowl: Notre Dame’s fold means the Big East gets this spot.  The loser of the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game will end up in Jacksonville.  We believe Georgia Tech will lose to Clemson this week, so the Yellow Jackets will play here.  Our pick then is Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh.  If the Yellow Jackets win the ACC, then it appears that Miami would be the ACC representative.

Holiday Bowl: Southern Cal will get this bid if Oregon beats Oregon State.  If the Beavers beat the Ducks, then Oregon will drop to this bowl.  Nebraska is the logical Big 12 choice for this game.

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Georgia’s win over Georgia Tech will put the Bulldogs at the top of the list for this game, but a second year in a row of fewer hotel rooms needing to be booked (Georgia Tech played here last year) probably sends the Bulldogs somewhere else.  The likely ACC opponent will be Virginia Tech, and the SEC will try to find the best opponent.  Auburn would be the best choice, providing a match-up of offense against defense, but most of their fans can drive to this game.  We’re going with Auburn because officials from this bowl repeatedly attended their games.  Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

The Mid-Level Bowls

 

Las Vegas Bowl: Even though they have been to this bowl four years in a row, it looks like Brigham Young is headed here again.  The Mountain West would like Utah to go here, but BYU will sell their allotment for this one, while the Utes will not.

The Pac-10 opponent could be a host of teams, but we think it will be either Stanford or Oregon State.  One of those two will play here, while the other plays in the Emerald Bowl.  We’ll go with Stanford here.  If Oregon State beats Oregon, then Southern Cal or California might fall to this game.

Meineke Car Care Bowl: This bowl will have a choice of Florida State or Boston College.  With Bobby Bowden announcing his retirement tomorrow, the Seminoles will jump over the Eagles.  Rutgers should get the Big East invitation in this game.

Music City Bowl: This could be an interesting rivalry game.  How about North Carolina facing South Carolina?  Since the Gamecocks joined the SEC in 1991, these two teams have played just once.

Liberty Bowl: Arkansas looks like the best option here.  The Razorbacks will fill up the stadium.  The Conference USA champion automatically plays here, so that means either Houston or East Carolina will be the opponent.  Houston and Arkansas would make this a 100-pass, 4-hour game with maybe 100+ points scored.

Sun Bowl: If Oregon wins Thursday, we believe California will be the Pac-10 representative.  Oklahoma looks like the best fit for the Big 12.

Champs Sports Bowl: If Clemson wins over Georgia Tech, Miami should fall to this bowl.  If Georgia Tech wins over Clemson, then Miami moves up to the Gator and Clemson falls here.  Northwestern should be the Big 10 opponent, but if Wisconsin loses to Hawaii, NU could move up and the Badgers could fall here.

Alamo Bowl: Texas Tech should receive this bid, and their opponent should be Michigan State.  It could take 40 points to win this game.

The Bottom Tier

 

St. Petersburg Bowl: This second year bowl has a chance to make a big splash by bringing together two in-state teams that played each other the last four years but not this year.  Central Florida and South Florida could sell this game out.  We think it is a strong possibility, but the chances for this dream game have dropped some the last few days.

New Mexico Bowl: Unless some back room deals are made, the Mountain West opponent will be Wyoming.  There could be some wheeling and dealing to bring an at-large team here and ship Wyoming to the Humanitarian Bowl, but for now, we’ll keep the Cowboys here.  The WAC opponent will be either Nevada or Fresno State.  If Hawaii upsets Wisconsin, then there will be one extra WAC team available.  For now, we’ll stick with Nevada.

New Orleans Bowl: Troy won the Sunbelt Conference Championship and earns the automatic bid here.  There is a rule where the SBC champion could move to a higher-paying bowl, but for that to happen, the SBC must supply two additional seven-win teams.  There are only two of these teams, so Troy will play here barring some “exception.”   The C-USA opponent should be Southern Mississippi.

Poinsettia Bowl: All signs point to BYU playing here, but we just don’t see the Las Vegas bowl passing over the Cougars for Utah.  So, we’re going against the grain and picking Utah to end up in San Diego.  Arizona looks like the Pac-10 opponent.  If the Wildcats upset USC, then there is a small chance they could move up.

Hawaii Bowl:  Here’s where a giant monkey wrench could be thrown into the bowl games.  Hawaii will get this bid with a win over Wisconsin.  We might be biased, but we think the Badgers can pull this one out.  So, in that case, Fresno State should be the WAC representative.  The hot CUSA choice is SMU, which would bring June Jones back to the island.  Since this bowl desperately wants a Hawaii-SMU game, look for this week’s Hawaii-Wisconsin game to be one of the most partially-biased officiated games.

Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl: This bowl could be in for a mess.  Central Michigan played here last year, so it looks like the Chippewas are headed to Mobile, Alabama.  A bigger problem is that there will not be a Big 10 team available for this game.  Because the at-large pool must take all the seven-win teams before any 6-6 team can be selected, this bowl might have to invite two MAC teams, neither of which are the conference champion.

Ohio U should be the official MAC selection.  This bowl would love to bring Notre Dame here, but even if one 6-6 team can be chosen, it looks like the Irish will vote not to play in any bowls.  Middle Tennessee, at 9-3, would be the best at-large option, but we believe the Blue Raiders will be invited somewhere else first.  So, this bowl will have to look for two MAC teams that have not played.  That leaves Northern Illinois against Bowling Green.

Emerald Bowl: Boston College will be the last available ACC team, and they will fortunate to sell half of their ticket allotment.  Oregon State or Stanford will be the opponent here, and since we pegged Stanford for the Las Vegas Bowl, we’ll put the Beavers here.

Independence Bowl: This bowl is tired of having teams that don’t want to be here, but it will be the case once again with the SEC.  Georgia could very well end up here if the Chick-fil-A looks elsewhere.  The Big 12 representative will come down to either Texas A&M or Iowa State.  If Georgia is chosen to play in Atlanta, then this bowl will jump at the chance to pit Auburn with Iowa State for obvious reasons (Auburn coach Gene Chizik was at Iowa State and Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads was at Auburn).  Under the assumption that Auburn will play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, we’ll slate Georgia here against Texas A&M.

Eagle Bank Bowl: This second year bowl faces the possibility that neither of its two tie-ins will be able to supply a team.  Army has to beat Navy to earn their bid.  We believe that will happen, and the Cadets will make life easier for this bowl.  The ACC will definitely not have an available team for this bowl, so an at-large team will be selected.  Temple will be making its first bowl trip in almost two decades, so the Owls will be a good choice.  If Army loses to Navy, then a 6-6 team will end up here.  Since Notre Dame will not be available if they vote not to go to a bowl, Marshall may get this bid, even though Coach Mark Snyder just resigned.

Humanitarian Bowl: With Boise State almost assured of making it to a BCS Bowl if Texas beats Nebraska, this bowl will look to Idaho to replace the Broncos.  With TCU earning a BCS bowl, the MWC will not have an available team for this game.  With all the seven-win teams coming from over 1,500 miles away from Boise, it looks like UCLA could become the one 6-6 bowl team and play here.

Armed Forces Bowl:  The MWC team should be Air Force, as it is a no-brainer to have a service academy playing here.  The C-USA opponent should be the loser of the ECU-Houston game this week.  Houston would be a great counterpart.

Texas Bowl: Navy has already secured one of these spots.  Iowa State or Texas A&M will be the opponent depending on which way the Independence bowl goes.

Insight.com Bowl: Minnesota will be the last Big Ten team in the bowl pecking order, so the Gophers will get this bid.  Missouri is the likely Big 12 opponent.

International Bowl:  Connecticut is the logical choice as the Big East representative.  Ohio U may be shipped here, as they cannot play in the Pizza Bowl against either Bowling Green or Northern Illinois (they beat both).

PapaJohns.com Bowl: Kentucky should be the last available SEC team, and the Wildcats will travel well to Birmingham.  West Virginia would be an excellent opponent here.

NCAA Top 25 For November 30, 2009
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Texas 134.2 12 0
2 Florida 133.2 12 0
3 Alabama 128.0 12 0
4 T C U 125.4 12 0
5 Oklahoma 124.0 7 5
6 Boise State 120.9 12 0
7 Virginia Tech 120.5 9 3
8 Oregon 119.7 9 2
9 Georgia Tech 119.3 10 2
10 Texas Tech 117.9 8 4
11 Penn State 117.7 10 2
12 Southern Cal 117.7 8 3
13 Ohio State 117.6 10 2
14 Miami (Fla) 117.4 9 3
15 Stanford 116.9 8 4
16 Nebraska 116.1 9 3
17 Arkansas 115.5 7 5
18 Iowa 114.8 10 2
19 California 114.6 8 3
20 Cincinnati 114.4 11 0
21 Pittsburgh 114.2 9 2
22 Oklahoma State 113.9 9 3
23 Ole Miss 113.2 8 4
24 L  S  U 112.5 9 3
25 Oregon State 112.1 8 3
         
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Clemson 6-2 8-4 111.8
Florida State 4-4 6-6 107.6
Boston College 5-3 8-4 107.1
Wake Forest 3-5 5-7 104.8
North Carolina State 2-6 5-7 102.7
Maryland 1-7 2-10 93.0
       
Coastal Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Virginia Tech 6-2 9-3 120.5
Georgia Tech 7-1 10-2 119.3
Miami-FL 5-3 9-3 117.4
North Carolina 4-4 8-4 110.9
Duke 3-5 5-7 98.4
Virginia 2-6 3-9 94.8
Big East Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Cincinnati 7-0 11-0 114.4
Pittsburgh 5-1 9-2 114.2
West Virginia 4-2 8-3 105.9
Connecticut 2-4 6-5 105.8
Rutgers 3-3 8-3 102.2
South Florida 3-3 7-4 101.8
Syracuse 1-6 4-8 93.9
Louisville 1-6 4-8 90.5
Big Ten
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Penn State 6-2 10-2 117.7
Ohio State 7-1 10-2 117.6
Iowa 6-2 10-2 114.8
Wisconsin 5-3 8-3 105.3
Michigan State 4-4 6-6 101.5
Northwestern 5-3 8-4 99.3
Purdue 4-4 5-7 99.0
Minnesota 3-5 6-6 97.9
Michigan 1-7 5-7 96.6
Illinois 2-6 3-8 96.2
Indiana 1-7 4-8 90.9
Big 12
North Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 6-2 9-3 116.1
Missouri 4-4 8-4 104.8
Kansas 1-7 5-7 103.9
Kansas State 4-4 6-6 99.4
Colorado 2-6 3-9 97.4
Iowa State 3-5 6-6 94.9
       
South Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Texas 8-0 12-0 134.2
Oklahoma 5-3 7-5 124.0
Texas Tech 5-3 8-4 117.9
Oklahoma State 6-2 9-3 113.9
Texas A&M 3-5 6-6 103.4
Baylor 1-7 4-8 96.6
Conference USA
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Florida 6-2 8-4 104.1
East Carolina 7-1 8-4 103.9
Southern Mississippi 5-3 7-5 100.9
Marshall 4-4 6-6 92.4
U A B 4-4 5-7 91.0
Memphis 1-7 2-10 83.4
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Houston 6-2 10-2 108.7
Tulsa 3-5 5-7 91.6
U T E P 3-5 4-8 90.8
S M U 6-2 7-5 88.4
Rice 2-6 2-10 76.4
Tulane 1-7 3-9 71.1
Independents
       
Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame   6-6 105.9
Navy   8-4 100.6
Army   5-6 82.0
Mid American Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 7-1 9-3 100.7
Ohio U 7-1 9-3 95.0
Buffalo 3-5 5-7 92.4
Bowling Green 6-2 7-5 91.4
Kent St. 4-4 6-6 84.7
Akron 2-6 3-9 81.5
Miami (O) 1-7 1-11 76.3
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Michigan 8-0 10-2 108.9
Northern Illinois 5-3 7-5 95.1
Toledo 3-5 5-7 87.1
Western Michigan 4-4 5-7 86.2
Ball State 2-6 2-10 83.0
Eastern Michigan 0-8 0-12 74.2
Mountain West Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 8-0 12-0 125.4
B Y U 7-1 10-2 111.1
Utah 6-2 9-3 107.7
Air Force 5-3 7-5 100.7
Wyoming 4-4 6-6 87.9
UNLV 3-5 5-7 86.8
Colo. State 0-8 3-9 86.1
S. D. State 3-5 5-7 85.2
New Mexico 1-7 1-11 77.8
Pac-10 Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 7-1 9-2 119.7
Southern Cal 5-3 8-3 117.7
Stanford 6-3 8-4 116.9
California 5-3 8-3 114.6
Oregon St. 6-2 8-3 112.1
Arizona 5-3 7-4 111.4
U C L A 3-6 6-6 105.3
Arizona St. 2-7 4-8 102.1
Washington 3-5 4-7 97.6
Wash. St. 0-9 1-11 70.8
Southeastern Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida 8-0 12-0 133.2
Tennessee 4-4 7-5 110.9
South Carolina 3-5 7-5 110.9
Georgia 4-4 7-5 110.4
Kentucky 3-5 7-5 104.4
Vanderbilt 0-8 2-10 93.1
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Alabama 8-0 12-0 128.0
Arkansas 3-5 7-5 115.5
Ole Miss 4-4 8-4 113.2
L S U 5-3 9-3 112.5
Auburn 3-5 7-5 107.7
Mississippi State 3-5 5-7 104.2
Sunbelt Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Troy 8-0 9-3 99.0
Middle Tennessee 7-1 9-3 96.2
Louisiana-Monroe 5-3 6-6 86.8
Arkansas State 2-5 3-8 86.2
U. of Louisiana 4-4 6-6 83.7
Florida Atlantic 4-3 4-7 83.2
Florida International 3-4 3-8 81.7
North Texas 1-7 2-10 76.4
Western Kentucky 0-7 0-11 73.3
Western Athletic Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 7-0 12-0 120.9
Nevada 7-1 8-4 108.6
Fresno State 6-2 7-4 99.0
Louisiana Tech 2-5 3-8 97.2
Utah State 3-5 4-8 91.9
Idaho 4-4 7-5 89.6
Hawaii 3-5 6-6 87.7
San Jose State 1-6 2-9 81.1
New Mexico State 1-6 3-9 71.0
This Week’s Games–PiRate & Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site      
         
Thursday, December 3   PiRate Spread    
Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Arkansas State WESTERN KY. 10.2 34-24 9
OREGON Oregon State 10.3 38-28 9
         
Friday, December 4   PiRate Spread    
Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Central Michigan  (Det.) Ohio U 14.9 35-20 7
         
Saturday, December 5   PiRate Spread    
Favorite Underdog Score Mean
CONNECTICUT South Florida 7.3 27-20 7
PITTSBURGH Cincinnati 2.8 24-21 0
West Virginia RUTGERS 0.7 28-27 0
Houston EAST CAROLINA 1.8 37-35 5
ILLINOIS Fresno State 0.7 31-30 -3
LOUISIANA TECH San Jose St. 19.1 40-21 16
BOISE STATE New Mexico St. 53.4 63-10 44
SOUTHERN CAL Arizona 10.6 24-13 6
Florida (Atlanta) Alabama 5.2 21-16 2
California WASHINGTON 14.0 35-21 8
FLORIDA INT’L Florida Atlantic 0.5 27-26 1
Texas (Dallas) Nebraska 19.6 27-7 14
Wisconsin HAWAII 13.6 38-24 11
         
Saturday, December 12   PiRate Spread    
Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Navy  (N-Philadelphia) Army 18.6 35-16 8

November 24, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For College Football–November 23-28, 2009

Rivalry Week

Throw The Stats Out The Window

 

This is the college football week where more money is lost by those who don’t know what they are doing and more money is made by those who do know.  Certain rivalry games are just that—real rivalries.  Others are nothing but an annual beating on a little sister.

 

There is another bigger factor to this week’s games.  It’s the bowl factor.  Several teams are still looking for one final win to become bowl eligible.  A 5-6 team hosting an 8-3 team must be looked at quite differently than a 2-9 team hosting a 4-7 team.  The desire to get to 6-6 far outweighs the desire to avoid a 10-loss season.

 

NCAA Top 25 For November 23, 2009
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Texas 137.0 11 0
2 Florida  133.1 11 0
3 Alabama 130.4 11 0
4 T C U 125.3 11 0
5 Oklahoma 122.5 6 5
6 Georgia Tech 121.5 10 1
7 Boise St. 120.8 11 0
8 Oregon 119.7 9 2
9 Va. Tech 119.5 8 3
10 Texas Tech 118.8 7 4
11 Penn St. 117.7 10 2
12 Ohio St. 117.6 10 2
13 Southern Cal 116.9 7 3
14 Nebraska 116.7 8 3
15 Stanford 116.7 7 4
16 Ole Miss 116.5 8 3
17 Miami (Fla.) 116.1 8 3
18 Pittsburgh 115.6 9 1
19 Arkansas 115.5 7 4
20 Okla. St. 115.4 9 2
21 Cincinnati 115.2 10 0
22 Iowa 114.8 10 2
23 California 114.6 8 3
24 Clemson 114.5 8 3
25 L  S  U 112.5 8 3

 

 

     
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

 

Let’s look at the bowl eligible teams by conference as well as the teams needing to win this week to gain bowl eligibility.

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Clemson 6-2 8-3 114.5
Boston College 4-3 7-4 107.8
Florida State 4-4 6-5 107.7
Wake Forest 2-5 4-7 104.0
North Carolina State 1-6 4-7 101.2
Maryland 1-6 2-9 92.3

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Georgia Tech 7-1 10-1 121.5
Virginia Tech 5-2 8-3 119.5
Miami-FL 5-3 8-3 116.1
North Carolina 4-3 8-3 112.4
Duke 3-4 5-6 99.2
Virginia 2-6 3-8 95.8

 

Clemson and Georgia Tech have already clinched their divisions and will meet for the ACC Championship.  Tech edges the Tigers in Atlanta in September, but Clemson gave the game away.

 

Duke needs to beat Wake Forest this week to earn their first bowl in 15 years.  David Cutcliffe is one of the most underrated coaches in the country, and he should receive some national recognition in the Coach of the Year balloting.

 

The ACC has nine automatic bowl bids, and only seven bowl eligible teams as of now.  The GMAC Bowl will need to find an at-large team to fill the vacant position, and if Duke loses this week, the Eagle Bank Bowl will look to the MAC to fill that vacant slot.

 

Big East Conference
 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Pittsburgh 5-0 9-1 115.6
Cincinnati 6-0 10-0 115.2
West Virginia 3-2 7-3 104.5
Connecticut 1-4 5-5 104.1
Rutgers 2-3 7-3 101.1
South Florida 3-3 7-3 103.1
Syracuse 1-5 4-7 95.6
Louisville 1-5 4-7 91.6

 

Regardless of what happens in the Backyard Brawl in Morgantown this weekend, the winner of next week’s Cincinnati-Pittsburgh game will be Big East Champions and automatic BCS Bowl representative.  Cincinnati could still conceivably earn an at-large BCS Bowl bid at 11-1, but that chance is slimmer than slim.

 

Connecticut can gain bowl eligibility with a win at home against Syracuse this weekend, and they would get another chance next week against South Florida if they faltered against the Orangemen.  If the Huskies get that win, then the Big East will have six bowl eligible teams for six guaranteed spots.  Notre Dame could still possibly steal the Sun Bowl/Gator Bowl spot that goes to a Big East team if the Irish beat Stanford, but it would be a disgrace for them to steal a post at 7-5.  We believe Stanford will take care of business and keep Notre Dame out of the bowl picture altogether this year.

 

Big Ten

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Penn State 6-2 10-2 117.7
Ohio State 7-1 10-2 117.6
Iowa 6-2 10-2 114.8
Wisconsin 5-3 8-3 105.3
Michigan State 4-4 6-6 101.5
Northwestern 5-3 8-4 99.3
Purdue 4-4 5-7 99.0
Minnesota 3-5 6-6 97.9
Michigan 1-7 5-7 96.6
Illinois 2-6 3-7 95.4
Indiana 1-7 4-8 90.9

 

The Big 10 season is basically over.  Illinois has a couple of non-conference games remaining, and the only important factor in that is they play Cincinnati this weekend.  Wisconsin goes to Hawaii in two weeks, and the Outback Bowl bid could be riding on them winning the game.

 

It is almost a foregone conclusion that a second Big 10 team, either Iowa or Penn State, will receive an at-large BCS Bowl bid.  So, there will be seven teams available for eight bowls.  The Pizza Bowl (formerly Motor City Bowl) will have to look elsewhere and may be forced to invite two MAC teams.

 

Big 12
North Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 5-2 8-3 116.7
Missouri 3-4 7-4 104.7
Kansas 1-6 5-6 104.0
Kansas State 4-4 6-6 99.4
Colorado 2-5 3-8 96.8
Iowa State 3-5 6-6 94.9

 

 

 

 

South Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Texas 7-0 11-0 137.0
Oklahoma 4-3 6-5 122.5
Texas Tech 4-3 7-4 118.8
Oklahoma State 6-1 9-2 115.4
Texas A&M 3-4 6-5 100.6
Baylor 1-6 4-7 95.7

 

Nebraska and Texas will face off in the Big 12 Championship Game, and the Cornhuskers may have a shot at pulling off a huge upset.  We give the ‘Huskers about a 15% chance of frustrating the Longhorn offense and win ugly.  If so, then another team from the Lone Star State will benefit.

 

After beginning the season at 5-0, Kansas finds itself in a must-win situation against Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.  They must earn The Brass Drum to earn a bowl bid.

 

The most important game though will be the Oklahoma and Oklahoma State game in Norman.  If the Cowboys beat the Sooners, they will more than likely earn an at-large BCS Bowl Bid at the expense of Boise State.  The Sooners must win to guarantee themselves a winning season.  The PiRate Ratings have had a devil of a time with OU this year.  Even at 6-5, their power rating keeps them in the top 10.  It’s hit or miss with them, as they showed how strong they are when they took Texas to the final gun.

 

If Kansas wins over Missouri, there will be 10 bowl eligible teams for eight guaranteed bowl spots (nine if Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma).  Look for Iowa State to be the odd team out of the mix.

 

Conference USA
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Florida 5-2 7-4 104.1
East Carolina 6-1 7-4 103.8
Southern Mississippi 5-2 7-4 101.0
Marshall 4-3 6-5 95.6
U A B 4-3 5-6 91.0
Memphis 1-6 2-9 82.2

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Houston 5-2 9-2 105.2
Tulsa 2-5 4-7 92.8
S M U 5-2 6-5 90.1
U T E P 2-5 3-8 87.6
Rice 2-5 2-9 79.9
Tulane 1-6 3-8 69.4

 

Welcome to the conference where everything changes weekly.  With SMU losing to Marshall, the door opened once again for Houston to ascend to the CUSA Championship Game.  A win over Rice is all that’s needed, but all of a sudden the Owls have found their way.  It could be an interesting game—at least for a half.

 

The East Division championship will be decided this weekend when Southern Miss visits East Carolina.

 

UAB can gain bowl eligibility with a win over  Central Florida, but it may be a moot point.  There are only five guaranteed bowl spots with a sixth if Army fails to earn the Eagle Bank Bowl bid.  Six CUSA teams are already bowl eligible, and the Blazers cannot compete with Marshall or SMU in fanbase.

 

Independents

 

 

 

 

Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame

 

6-5 106.1
Navy

 

8-3 103.2
Army

 

5-6 82.0

 

All three independents are still in the bowl mix, but as of now, only Navy is guaranteed a spot.  Notre Dame must beat Stanford to get to 7-5 and earn priority over every other possible at-large team.  At 6-6, they more than likely will find themselves out of the picture as there will be enough seven-win teams to fill the at-large spots.

 

Army must beat Navy to earn the Eagle Bank Bowl bid.  Navy has won seven in a row in this series, so it should be one of the best in this series in many years.

 

Mid American Conference
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 7-0 9-2 103.8
Buffalo 2-5 4-7 92.1
Ohio U 6-1 8-3 91.9
Bowling Green 5-2 6-5 91.0
Kent St. 4-3 6-5 85.0
Akron 1-6 2-9 81.4
Miami (O) 1-7 1-11 76.3

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Michigan 7-0 9-2 108.5
Northern Illinois 5-2 7-4 95.2
Western Michigan 4-3 5-6 88.2
Toledo 3-4 5-6 87.5
Ball State 1-6 1-10 81.0
Eastern Michigan 0-7 0-11 74.3

 

Central Michigan has already clinched the West Division, and the Chippewas will play the winner of this week’s Ohio U-Temple game in the MAC Championship Game. 

 

Two teams will be playing for that important seventh win this week.  Bowling Green hosts Toledo, and Kent State hosts Buffalo.

 

The MAC gets three guaranteed bowl bids and will get a fourth if Duke fails to beat Wake Forest and earn an Eagle Bank Bowl bid.   That’s where the Bowling Green and Kent State games come into play.  Both could earn bowl bids with wins, and one could even play in the Pizza Bowl against another MAC team.

 

Mountain West Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 7-0 11-0 125.3
B Y U 6-1 9-2 111.6
Utah 6-1 9-2 107.2
Air Force 5-3 7-5 100.7
Wyoming 3-4 5-6 87.6
UNLV 2-5 4-7 86.8
Colo. State 0-7 3-8 86.4
S. D. State 2-5 4-7 85.2
New Mexico 1-6 1-10 77.9

 

TCU will manhandle New Mexico this week and then hope that either Texas A&M or Nebraska can upset Texas, Florida State can upset Florida, or Auburn can upset Alabama.  The Horned Frogs need two of the big three teams ahead of them to lose.  The loser of the SEC Championship Game means that either Texas must lose this week or next or the winner of the SEC Championship Game must lose this week.  If one of these events happen, then TCU will be playing for the national championship in January.  It’s hard to believe that this program was once as weak as Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Washington State are today.

 

The one team still trying to gain bowl eligibility is Wyoming.  The Cowboys must beat Colorado State in Ft. Collins this week, and these two teams truly put the “war” in “Border War.”  It’s not a given that Wyoming can top the 3-8 Rams.

 

Pac-10 Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 7-1 9-2 119.7
Southern Cal 4-3 7-3 116.9
Stanford 6-3 7-4 116.7
California 5-3 8-3 114.6
Oregon St. 6-2 8-3 112.1
Arizona 4-3 6-4 111.4
U C L A 3-5 6-5 106.1
Arizona St. 2-6 4-7 102.1
Washington 2-5 3-7 97.3
Wash. St. 0-8 1-10 71.1

 

For the first time ever, the winner of the “Civil War” game between Oregon and Oregon State will earn the Rose Bowl bid.  The Ducks and Beavers are one of the best rivalry games in college football, and I’d love to have a 50-yard line seat next week in Eugene.

 

The Pac-10 receives six automatic bowl bids, but there are seven bowl eligible teams.  It looks like UCLA will miss out this year unless they can upset USC.  Arizona must beat either Arizona State or USC to get to seven wins.  If both the Bruins and Wildcats win seven games, then expect to see the Pac-10 receiving an extra bid to a western bowl.

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida 8-0 11-0 133.1
Tennessee 3-4 6-5 110.7
Georgia 4-4 6-5 108.2
South Carolina 3-5 6-5 108.2
Kentucky 3-4 7-4 104.6
Vanderbilt 0-8 2-10 93.1

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Alabama 7-0 11-0 130.4
Ole Miss 4-3 8-3 116.5
Arkansas 3-4 7-4 115.5
L S U 4-3 8-3 112.5
Auburn 3-4 7-4 105.3
Mississippi State 2-5 4-7 100.9

 

This is a monster conference!  With Alabama and Florida headed to Atlanta to play what will be the “Game Of The Decade” (assuming both win this week), it is a given that the loser will still play in a BCS Bowl.  It isn’t completely out of the realm that if the SEC Championship game goes to overtime or is decided in regulation by a point, and if Texas loses to either Texas A&M or Nebraska, that Alabama and Florida could meet in a rematch for all the marbles.

 

With 10 bowl eligible teams, the SEC will place all 10 in bowls.  There will be a lot of last minute shuffling because there isn’t much difference between team number three and team number 10.

 

Sunbelt Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Troy 7-0 8-3 98.4
Middle Tennessee 6-1 8-3 94.8
Louisiana-Monroe 5-2 6-5 88.2
Arkansas State 1-5 2-8 86.6
U. of Louisiana 4-3 6-5 84.3
Florida Atlantic 3-3 3-7 83.2
Florida International 3-4 3-8 81.7
North Texas 1-6 2-9 76.0
Western Kentucky 0-6 0-10 73.3

 

This league is almost assured of earning a second bowl bid this year.  Troy will play in the New Orleans Bowl, but Middle Tennessee will get an at-large bid somewhere.  Both Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe can get to seven wins, but it will take big upsets for both to do so.  ULL plays Troy, while ULM plays MTSU.

 

Western Athletic Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 6-0 11-0 120.8
Nevada 7-0 8-3 108.7
Fresno State 6-2 7-4 99.0
Louisiana Tech 2-5 3-8 97.2
Utah State 2-5 3-8 91.2
Idaho 4-3 7-4 90.3
Hawaii 3-5 5-6 85.1
San Jose State 0-6 1-9 82.1
New Mexico State 1-5 3-8 70.0

 

Here’s where things should get interesting.  Boise State is a win over Nevada away from being 12-0 and the proverbial odd team out.  If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma, the Cowboys will steal the last BCS Bowl bid at the Broncos’ expense.  Then, watch for the United States Government to put their messy fingers into the college football pigpen. 

 

Before we get into this mess, Boise State has to beat Nevada.  The Wolf Pack is not a pushover, and it could easily take 50 or more points to win this game.

 

Of course, if the Sooners win over OSU, then it looks favorable for BSU getting into the field.  Then, they would be competing against a one or two-loss Big East team and maybe a two-loss Georgia Tech team.

 

If Boise State moves up, then the WAC is safe with four bowls for four bowl eligible teams.

 

Hawaii could still sneak into the mix, but they would have to beat Navy and Wisconsin.  We don’t see that happening.

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate & Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, November 24

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
WESTERN MICHIGAN Ball State 10.2 31-21 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, November 26

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Texas TEXAS A&M 32.9 54-21 21

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 27

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Rutgers LOUISVILLE 6.5 28-21 5
CINCINNATI Illinois 22.5 37-14 25
CENTRAL MICHIGAN Northern Illinois 16.3 28-12 12
AKRON Eastern Michigan 9.8 34-24 13
BOWLING GREEN Toledo 6 40-34 11
COLORADO STATE Wyoming 1.8 23-21 0
Buffalo KENT STATE 3.9 28-24 -1
Temple OHIO U 8.9 30-21 3
Alabama AUBURN 22.6 33-10 12
Nebraska COLORADO 16.9 24-7 12
TULSA Memphis 13.6 38-24 12
Pittsburgh WEST VIRGINIA 8.6 28-19 3
BOISE STATE Nevada 15.4 45-30 16

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 28

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
CONNECTICUT Syracuse 11.5 28-16 12
Wake Forest DUKE 2.1 24-22 -1
North Carolina N. C. STATE 8.5 26-17 12
Clemson SOUTH CAROLINA 3.8 31-27 6
Ole Miss MISSISSIPPI STATE 13.1 34-20 6
OKLAHOMA Oklahoma State 9.6 38-28 5
T C U New Mexico 50.9 51-0 43
EAST CAROLINA Southern Miss 5.8 34-28 6
Central Florida ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM 10.4 38-28 5
ARKANSAS STATE North Texas 13.3 34-21 8
S M U Tulane 23.7 41-17 18
Marshall U T E P 5.0 35-30 7
Arizona ARIZONA STATE 6.8 27-20 6
FLORIDA Florida State 27.9 38-10 21
Missouri  (n) Kansas 0.7 31-30 3
Boston College MARYLAND 12.5 34-21 10
Miami-Fl SOUTH FLORIDA 10.6 28-17 4
Virginia Tech VIRGINIA 21.2 38-17 15
FLORIDA ATLANTIC Western Kentucky 12.9 27-14 16
Middle Tennessee UL-MONROE 3.6 31-27 4
B  Y  U Utah 7.1 34-27 4
IDAHO Utah State 2.1 34-32 6
Texas Tech (n) Baylor 23.1 42-19 18
WASHINGTON Washington State 28.9 42-13 19
Tennessee KENTUCKY 3.1 27-24 -1
L  S  U Arkansas 0.0 27-27 ot 3
Troy UL-LAFAYETTE 11.1 35-24 9
GEORGIA TECH Georgia 15.6 44-28 16
HOUSTON Rice 27.8 49-21 29
SAN JOSE STATE New Mexico St. 15.1 35-20 7
STANFORD Notre Dame 13.6 42-28 9
U  N  L  V San Diego State 4.6 28-23 5
SOUTHERN CAL U  c  l  a 13.5 28-14 10
Navy HAWAII 14.1 45-31 12

 

 

Bowl Speculations

Bowl Conference Team Conference Team
New Mexico MWC #4 Wyoming WAC #3 Nevada
St. Petersburg Big East #6 Connecticut C-USA #5 Central Fla
New Orleans Sunbelt #1 Troy C-USA #4 Southern Miss
Las Vegas MWC #1 B Y U Pac 10 #4 or 5 Stanford
Poinsettia MWC #2 Utah Pac 10 #6 Arizona
Hawaii WAC Fresno St. C-USA Houston
Little Caesar’s Pizza Big 10 #7 (Bowling Green) MAC #1 or 2 Temple
Meineke Car Care ACC #5-6-7 Boston College Big East #3 West Virginia
Emerald Pac 10 #4 or 5 Oregon State ACC #5-6-7 Florida State
Music City SEC #6 or 7 Kentucky ACC #5-6-7 North Carolina
Independence SEC #8 Georgia Big 12 #7 Kansas State
Eagle Bank ACC #8 Duke Army/C-USA (Marshall)
Champs Sports ACC #4 Miami-Fl Big 10 #5 Northwestern
Humanitarian WAC #1 Idaho MWC (Kent State)
Holiday Big 12 #3 Nebraska Pac 10 #2 Southern Cal
Armed Forces C-USA #3 S M U MWC #3 Air Force
Sun Pac 10 #3 California Big 12 #5 or Big East #2 Oklahoma
Texas Big 12 #8 Texas A&M Navy or C-USA NAVY
Insight.com Big 12 #6 Missouri Big 10 #6 Minnesota
Chick-fil-A SEC #5 Auburn ACC #2 Va. Tech
Outback SEC #3 or 4 Tennessee Big 10 #3 Wisconsin
Capital One Big 10 #2 Iowa SEC #2 Ole Miss
Gator Big East #2 or Big 12 #5 Cincinnati ACC #3 Ga. Tech
Rose BCS Pac10 Stanford BCS Big 10 OHIO STATE 
Sugar BCS SEC (Florida) BCS At-Large Boise State
International Big East #5 Rutgers MAC #3 Ohio U
Cotton Big 12 #2 Nebraska SEC #3 or 4 L S U
Papajohns.com Big East #4 South Florida SEC #9 South Carolina
Liberty SEC #6 or 7 Arkansas C-USA #1 East Carolina
Alamo Big 10 #4 Texas Tech Big 12 #4 Michigan St.
Fiesta BCS Big 12 (Penn State) BCS At-Large T C U
Orange BCS ACC Clemson BCS At-Large Pittsburgh
G M A C ACC #9 (Middle Tenn) MAC Central Mich.
National Championship *** BCS #1 *** Alabama *** BCS #2 *** Texas

November 16, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For College Football–November 17-21, 2009

Down The Stretch They Come

 

November has certainly already seen a host of upsets in the college football world, and we here at the PiRate Ratings believe big surprises are still to come.  With six undefeated teams (Florida, Alabama, Texas, TCU, Cincinnati, and Boise State), we see at least two falling before the bowl season.  Obviously, either Alabama or Florida must lose. The last time five teams finished the regular season winning every game was 1951, when Maryland, Tennessee, Michigan State, San Francisco, and Princeton did the trick.

 

The first wave of rivalry games begin this week, topped off by “The Big Game” in Palo Alto between Stanford and Cal.  The Cardinal now have a shot at winning the Pac-10 and earning a trip to Pasadena to face Ohio State.

 

Speaking of the Buckeyes, Ohio State ventures to the Big House to take on Michigan.  The Wolverines must win to gain bowl eligibility, and a loss will send several dozen more Maize & Blue fans to www.firerrod.com.

 

NCAA Top 25 For November 16, 2009
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Texas 136.9 10 0
2 Florida  131.9 10 0
3 Alabama 129.9 9 0
4 Oklahoma 129.5 6 4
5 T C U 125.0 10 0
6 Georgia Tech 121.5 10 1
7 Boise St. 120.2 10 0
8 Oregon 119.9 8 2
9 Va. Tech 118.6 7 3
10 Stanford 118.0 7 3
11 Ohio St. 117.9 9 2
12 Nebraska 117.5 7 3
13 Okla. St. 117.0 8 2
14 Southern Cal 116.9 7 3
15 Ole Miss 116.7 7 3
16 Miami (Fla.) 116.1 7 3
17 Pittsburgh 115.6 9 1
18 Clemson 115.4 7 3
19 Cincinnati 115.2 10 0
20 Penn St. 115.1 9 2
21 Iowa 115.1 9 2
22 Arkansas 115.0 6 4
23 California 113.3 7 3
24 L  S  U 112.3 8 2
25 Texas Tech 112.3 6 4

 

 

     
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Clemson 5-2 7-3 115.4
Boston College 4-2 7-3 110.6
Florida State 3-4 5-5 109.3
Wake Forest 2-5 4-7 104.0
North Carolina State 1-5 4-6 102.1
Maryland 1-5 2-8 90.7

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Georgia Tech 7-1 10-1 121.5
Virginia Tech 4-2 7-3 118.6
Miami-FL 4-3 7-3 116.1
North Carolina 3-3 7-3 109.6
Duke 3-3 5-5 99.2
Virginia 2-5 3-7 94.9

 

Big East Conference
 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Pittsburgh 5-0 9-1 115.6
Cincinnati 6-0 10-0 115.2
West Virginia 3-2 7-3 104.5
Rutgers 2-2 7-2 104.2
Connecticut 1-4 4-5 103.1
South Florida 2-3 6-3 102.9
Syracuse 0-5 3-7 92.5
Louisville 1-4 4-6 91.8

 

Big Ten

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Ohio State 6-1 9-2 117.9
Penn State 5-2 9-2 115.1
Iowa 5-2 9-2 115.1
Wisconsin 5-2 8-2 106.1
Michigan State 4-3 6-5 104.1
Northwestern 4-3 7-4 98.5
Minnesota 3-4 6-5 97.6
Purdue 3-4 4-7 96.8
Michigan 1-6 5-6 96.3
Illinois 2-6 3-7 95.4
Indiana 1-6 4-7 93.1

 

Big 12
North Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 4-2 7-3 117.5
Missouri 2-4 6-4 104.6
Kansas 1-5 5-5 104.1
Kansas State 4-3 6-5 98.6
Colorado 2-4 3-7 95.2
Iowa State 3-4 6-5 95.0

 

 

 

 

South Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Texas 6-0 10-0 136.9
Oklahoma 4-2 6-4 129.5
Oklahoma State 5-1 8-2 117.0
Texas Tech 3-3 6-4 112.3
Baylor 1-5 4-6 101.2
Texas A&M 2-4 5-5 95.1

 

Conference USA
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
East Carolina 5-1 6-4 103.8
Southern Mississippi 4-2 6-4 100.9
Central Florida 4-2 6-4 98.1
Marshall 3-3 5-5 95.5
U A B 4-2 5-5 91.0
Memphis 1-5 2-8 83.0

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Houston 4-2 8-2 104.4
Tulsa 2-4 4-6 92.9
S M U 5-1 6-4 90.2
U T E P 2-4 3-7 89.9
Rice 1-5 1-9 77.3
Tulane 1-5 3-7 75.4

 

Independents

 

 

 

 

Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame

 

6-4 107.1
Navy

 

8-3 103.2
Army

 

3-7 81.9

 

Mid American Conference
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 6-0 8-2 101.4
Ohio U 5-1 7-3 91.3
Bowling Green 4-2 5-5 90.6
Buffalo 1-5 3-7 90.5
Kent St. 4-2 5-5 87.4
Akron 1-5 2-8 81.8
Miami (O) 1-6 1-10 77.9

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Michigan 6-0 8-2 107.1
Northern Illinois 5-1 7-3 95.8
Western Michigan 4-3 5-6 88.2
Toledo 2-4 4-6 86.3
Ball State 1-5 1-9 82.4
Eastern Michigan 0-6 0-10 75.5

 

Mountain West Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 6-0 10-0 125.0
B Y U 5-1 8-2 110.9
Utah 5-1 8-2 105.8
Air Force 5-2 7-4 101.3
Colo. State 0-6 3-7 88.5
Wyoming 3-3 5-5 87.9
UNLV 2-5 4-7 86.8
S. D. State 2-4 4-6 86.6
New Mexico 0-6 0-10 75.8

 

Pac-10 Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 6-1 8-2 119.9
Stanford 6-2 7-3 118.0
Southern Cal 4-3 7-3 116.9
California 4-3 7-3 113.3
Arizona 4-2 6-3 111.2
Oregon St. 5-2 7-3 109.5
U C L A 2-5 5-5 105.6
Arizona St. 2-5 4-6 102.6
Washington 2-5 3-7 97.3
Wash. St. 0-7 1-9 73.7

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida 8-0 10-0 131.9
Tennessee 2-4 5-5 111.3
Georgia 4-3 6-4 109.2
South Carolina 3-5 6-5 108.2
Kentucky 2-4 6-4 103.6
Vanderbilt 0-7 2-9 92.5

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Alabama 7-0 10-0 129.9
Ole Miss 3-3 7-3 116.7
Arkansas 2-4 6-4 115.0
L S U 4-2 8-2 112.3
Auburn 3-4 7-4 105.3
Mississippi State 2-4 4-6 101.4

 

Sunbelt Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Troy 6-0 7-3 97.6
Middle Tennessee 5-1 7-3 92.4
Louisiana-Monroe 5-1 6-4 89.3
Arkansas State 1-4 2-7 89.0
Florida Atlantic 3-2 3-6 84.0
U. of Louisiana 3-3 5-5 83.2
Florida International 3-4 3-7 82.9
North Texas 1-6 2-8 76.1
Western Kentucky 0-6 0-10 73.3

 

Western Athletic Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 5-0 10-0 120.2
Nevada 6-0 7-3 107.1
Fresno State 5-2 6-4 99.7
Louisiana Tech 2-4 3-7 96.5
Utah State 2-4 3-7 91.8
Idaho 4-3 7-4 90.3
Hawaii 2-5 4-6 85.0
San Jose State 0-5 1-8 82.2
New Mexico State 1-4 3-7 71.6

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate & Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, November 18

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Central Michigan BALL STATE 22.2 38-16 20
Buffalo MIAMI (O) 10.1 27-17 3

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, November 19

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
OKLAHOMA STATE Colorado 24.8 38-13 21

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 20

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
BOWLING GREEN Akron 11.5 35-23 15
TOLEDO E  M  U 13.8 41-27 15
Boise State UTAH STATE 25.4 35-10 25

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 21

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Ohio State MICHIGAN 18.1 35-17 16
Northern Illinois OHIO U 1.5 26-24 -1
CLEMSON Virginia 23.8 34-10 19
Wisconsin NORTHWESTERN 4.6 28-23 7
IOWA Minnesota 20.5 35-14 14
SOUTH FLORIDA Louisville 14.1 24-10 12
Rutgers SYRACUSE 8.7 30-21 12
Purdue INDIANA 1.0 35-34 0
FLORIDA STATE Maryland 21.6 40-18 18
BOSTON COLLEGE North Carolina 4.0 21-17 3
VIRGINIA TECH North Carolina State 19.8 34-14 21
MISSOURI Iowa State 12.6 34-21 9
TENNESSEE Vanderbilt 21.8 28-6 19
GEORGIA Kentucky 8.6 33-24 6
TEMPLE Kent State 17.0 38-21 13
T  c  u WYOMING 34.1 44-10 26
ARKANSAS Mississippi State 16.6 45-28 10
NOTRE DAME Connecticut 7.0 35-28 6
Oregon State WASHINGTON STATE 33.1 40-7 25
Penn State MICHIGAN STATE 8.0 31-23 5
U  C  L  A Arizona State 6.0 27-21 5
STANFORD California 7.2 30-23 7
OLE MISS L  s  u 7.4 31-24 1
B  Y  U Air Force 12.6 27-14 7
EAST CAROLINA U  a  b 15.8 37-21 10
NEBRASKA Kansas State 22.4 31-9 15
Oklahoma TEXAS TECH 13.2 34-21 2
Baylor TEXAS A&M 3.1 27-24 -5
U  t  e  p RICE 10.1 37-27 5
UTAH San Diego State 22.2 35-13 21
FRESNO STATE La. Tech 6.5 31-24 11
Colorado State NEW MEXICO 9.7 24-14 8
Oregon ARIZONA 5.4 31-26 4
MARSHALL S  m  u 8.3 31-23 4
SOUTHERN MISS Tulsa 11.0 31-20 9
TEXAS Kansas 36.3 50-14 29
MIAMI (FLA) Duke 19.9 37-17 17
HOUSTON Memphis 24.4 55-31 23
CENTRAL FLORIDA Tulane 25.7 40-14 20
Nevada NEW MEXICO ST. 32.8 50-17 22
SAN JOSE ST. Hawaii 0.7 28-27 -3
FLORIDA Florida Int’l 52.0 52-0 41
Army NORTH TEXAS 2.3 24-22 0
TROY Florida Atlantic 16.6 34-17 14
UL-Monroe UL-LAFAYETTE 3.6 27-23 2
MIDDLE TENNESSEE Arkansas State 6.4 28-22 13

 

Bowl Speculating

 

Ohio State has become the second team to know where they will be bowling this year and the first team to clinch a BCS Bowl Bid.  However, the weekend may have muddied up the bowl projections more than helped clear things up.

 

The Atlantic Coast Conference

Georgia Tech continues to impress every week, and the Yellow Jackets have clinched the Coastal Division championship.  Clemson needs only to beat Virginia to earn the Atlantic Division title.  It is our opinion that Clemson will beat Georgia Tech in a rematch for the ACC Championship and Orange Bowl Bid.  At 11-2, the Yellow Jackets could still gain an at-large BCS Bowl Bid, but it would have to come at the expense of a 13-0 Boise State team.  With Wake Forest being ousted from bowl talk, it looks like the ACC will come up at least one team short and possibly two.  Duke must beat Wake Forest to get to six wins and make it to their first bowl in 15 years.

 

1. Orange Bowl—Clemson

2. Chick-fil-A—Virginia Tech

3. Gator—Georgia Tech

4. Champs Sports—Miami (Fl)

5. Music City—North Carolina

6. Meineke Car Care—Boston College

7. Emerald—Florida State

8. Eagle Bank—Duke

9. GMAC—No Team Available

 

The Big East

Cincinnati just escaped against West Virginia, while Pittsburgh handled Notre Dame.  The Panthers game with the Mountaineers in the “Backyard Brawl” actually doesn’t matter this year.  The winner of the Pitt-Cincinnati game wins the championship.  We’ll go with Coach Dave Wannstedt’s Panthers.  Cincinnati could qualify as an at-large BCS team at 11-1, but we don’t think the big bowls will take the Bearcats.  That might be the final straw for Brian Kelly in the Queen City.  He may bolt for South Bend or even Ann Arbor.

 

1. Orange Bowl—Pittsburgh

2. Sun—Cincinnati

3. Meineke Car Care—Rutgers

4. Papa John’s—South Florida

5. International—West Virginia

6. St. Petersburg—Connecticut

 

The Big Ten

Ohio State clinched the Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl bid with the overtime win over Iowa.  It now looks like the second best team in this league will earn a last-minute BCS at-large bid.  If Iowa wins this week against Minnesota, the Hawkeyes should get that bid.

 

Michigan will not be bowl eligible after losing at home to Ohio State this weekend, so if the Big 10 gets a second BCS bowl team, they will come up one short.

 

1. Rose-OHIO STATE (accepted bid)

2. Fiesta—Iowa

3. Capital One—Wisconsin

4. Outback—Penn State

5. Alamo—Michigan State

6. Champs Sports—Minnesota

7. Insight—Northwestern

8. Pizza—No team available

 

The Big 12

Texas should quickly dispose of Kansas and Texas A&M to reach the Big 12 Title game, but a possible game against Nebraska could be quite interesting.  For now, we will stick with the notion that the Longhorns will run the table and make it to the National Championship Game.  If the Cornhuskers win out, they should still garner the Cotton Bowl bid if they lose to Texas.  With Iowa State winning its sixth game, and the only chance this conference has of getting a second team in the BCS being a Nebraska upset of Texas, we believe there will be one excess team.  However, that extra team will be 6-6 and out of luck.

 

1. National Championship—Texas

2. Cotton–Nebraska

3. Holiday—Oklahoma

4. Alamo—Oklahoma State

5. Sun—Missouri

6. Insight—Texas Tech

7. Independence—Kansas State

8. Texas—Texas A&M

 

Iowa State out of luck at 6-6

 

Conference USA

As Chester A. Riley would have said, “What a revoltin’ development this is!”  Houston’s loss to Central Florida has thrust SMU into first place in the West Division.  If Coach June Jones’ Mustangs beat Marshall this week, they are in the CUSA Championship Game.  Central Florida is now thickly in the East Division race, but it is now a four-team battle.  If UAB beats East Carolina and UCF, the Blazers would win the division title.  Who would have ever thought that on November 16, the CUSA Championship Game could still be a battle between SMU and UAB?

 

1. Liberty—East Carolina

2. Hawaii—Houston

3. Armed Forces—S M U

4. New Orleans—Southern Miss

5. St. Petersburg—Central Florida

 

Marshall & UAB at 6-6 will miss out on bowl bids

 

Independents

There’s no confusion here.  Navy has earned a Texas Bowl bid.  Army has failed to earn the Eagle Bank Bowl bid that is reserved for them this year.  Notre Dame’s BCS bowl hopes are gone and barring wins over both Connecticut and Stanford, the Irish won’t earn the Sun or Gator Bowl bids that they could receive.  However, with one more win, they become the top non-BCS at-large bowl hopeful.

 

1. Texas—Navy

2. Eagle Bank—Notre Dame (at-large)

 

Mid-American

The MAC will benefit from all the bowls that will need to seek at-large participants.  This league receives three automatic bowl bids, but we expect five schools to go bowling.  Central Michigan played in the Motor City Bowl last year (now the Pizza Bowl), so the Chippewas will probably be sent south to Mobile.

 

The Pizza Bowl will not have a Big 10 representative, and while they’d love to lure Notre Dame, the Irish will go to the highest bidder.  That will force them to invite a second MAC team.

 

1. G M A C—Central Michigan

2. Pizza—Temple

3. International—Ohio U

4. Humanitarian—Northern Illinois (at-large)

5. Pizza—Bowling Green (at-large)

 

Mountain West

T C U plays at Wyoming this weekend, and the Cowboys will be ready to give them all they can handle.  We think TCU will win by double digits, but it is one of those ambush situations.  A home finale with winless New Mexico will be little more than a scrimmage.

 

BYU and Utah close the regular season with their rivalry match, and the winner should wind up in Vegas.  Air Force has wrapped up the fourth bowl bid, and Wyoming is one win away from sneaking in as the fifth.  We expect them to beat Colorado State and get it.

 

1. Fiesta—T C U

2. Las Vegas—Utah

3. Poinsettia—B Y U

4. Armed Forces—Air Force

5. New Mexico—Wyoming

6. Humanitarian—No team available

 

Pac-10

This is another interesting race.  If Arizona beats Oregon this week, and Stanford beats California, then Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, and Stanford will be tied for first with two conference losses.  Arizona would then win the Pac-10 and get the Rose Bowl bid.  However, the Wildcats must finish at Arizona State and at Southern Cal, and we see them failing to get to 7-2.  If Arizona beats Oregon, and Stanford beats Cal, then the Cardinal would be heading to Pasadena, unless Oregon State could win at Oregon “The Civil War.”  At 7-2, Oregon State gets the tiebreaker over Stanford.

 

1. Rose—Stanford

2. Holiday—Oregon

3. Sun—Southern Cal

4. Las Vegas—Arizona

5. Emerald—Oregon State

6. Poinsettia—California

 

U C L A will finish 6-6 and not receive a bid

 

Southeastern

Alabama will practice with Chattanooga this week, and then finish the regular season at Auburn.  It could be interesting for a half, but the Tide will head to Atlanta at 12-0.  Florida also has a breather with Florida International, but they have a tough finale with Florida State.  We believe the Seminoles have a small shot at pulling off the big upset.

 

With two BCS bowl bids virtually a certainty, the SEC will send 10 teams to bowls this year.

 

1. National Championship—Alabama

2. Sugar—Florida

3. Capital One—Ole Miss

4. Cotton—L S U

5. Outback—Tennessee

6. Chick-fil-A—Auburn

7. Music City—Georgia

8. Liberty—Arkansas

9. Independence—South Carolina

10. Papa John’s—Kentucky

 

Sunbelt

Troy has just about clinched the conference championship, so they will receive the sole automatic bowl bid.  Middle Tennessee has already reached the magic seven win mark, so the Blue Raiders will get an at-large bid.

 

1. New Orleans—Troy

2. G M A C—Middle Tennessee (at-large)

 

Western Athletic

Boise State cannot chalk up a perfect regular season just yet.  The Broncos still must face the most potent offense in the nation.  Nevada must play at Bronco Stadium, so Boise State should win and finish 13-0.  We strongly believe that while the BCS Bowls would rather invite a two-loss team from one of the big six conferences, they will have their arms pulled and be highly coerced into inviting a second non-BCS team into the BCS Bowl structure.  It’s funny how the threat of a Justice Department investigation can determine bowl participants.

 

1. Sugar—Boise State

2. Hawaii—Fresno State

3. New Mexico—Nevada

4. Humanitarian—Idaho

 

  • * = At-large selection
  • ALL CAPS AND BOLD = ACCEPTED BID
Bowl Team vs. Team
New Mexico Wyoming vs. Nevada
St. Petersburg Connecticut vs. Central Fla
New Orleans Troy vs. Southern Miss
Las Vegas Utah vs. Arizona
Poinsettia B Y U vs. California
Hawaii Fresno St. vs. Houston
Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowling Green * vs. Temple
Meineke Car Care Boston College vs. Rutgers
Emerald Oregon State vs. Florida State
Music City Georgia vs. North Carolina
Independence South Carolina vs. Kansas State
Eagle Bank Duke vs. Notre Dame *
Champs Sports Miami-Fl vs. Northwestern
Humanitarian Idaho vs. Northern Illinois *
Holiday Oklahoma vs. Oregon
Armed Forces S M U vs. Air Force
Sun Southern Cal vs. Missouri
Texas Texas A&M vs. NAVY
Insight.com Texas Tech vs. Minnesota
Chick-fil-A Auburn vs. Va. Tech
Outback Tennessee vs. Penn State
Capital One Wisconsin vs. Ole Miss
Gator Cincinnati vs. Ga. Tech
Rose Stanford vs. OHIO STATE
Sugar Florida vs. Boise State
International West Virginia vs. Ohio U
Cotton Nebraska vs. L S U
Papajohns.com South Florida vs. Kentucky
Liberty Arkansas vs. East Carolina
Alamo Oklahoma St. vs. Michigan St.
Fiesta Iowa vs. T C U
Orange Clemson vs. Pittsburgh
G M A C Middle Tennessee * vs. Central Mich.
National Championship Alabama vs. Texas

 

November 10, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For College Football–November 10-15, 2009

Can This Week Be As Wacky As Last Week?

 

It happens every year; it usually happens in November, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.  After two thirds of the college season was in the books, teams all of a sudden started acting inconsistently.  Teams that couldn’t catch a break started catching breaks.  Teams that caught all the breaks stopped catching them.

 

Teams that had been given up for dead showed a new life.  Teams that consistently did something that made themselves very predictable (to the wagering public) did something completely different.

 

Iowa’s loss was coming.  You cannot win games every week by pulling them out in the final minutes.  When quarterback Ricky Stanzi went down with an injury, there was going to be no last minute heroics this time.

 

All of a sudden, Ron Zook’s Illinois team looks like they were supposed to look like in August.  Stranger things have happened, but it isn’t impossible that they could finish 6-6 after starting 1-6.  It isn’t probable either, because the Illini still have to play Cincinnati and Fresno State outside the Big 10 as well as Northwestern this week to close out conference play.

 

The two really consistent teams are the two BCS bowl-crashing wannabes.  TCU and Boise State both look invincible at the moment.  Both have tricky games this week.  The Horned Frogs get a one-loss Utah team, while Boise has to worry with in-state rival and bowl eligible Idaho.

 

NCAA Top 25 For November 9, 2009
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Texas 136.5 9 0
2 Florida  132.9 9 0
3 Alabama 129.2 8 0
4 Oklahoma 127.5 5 4
5 T C U 123.8 9 0
6 Southern Cal 120.4 7 2
7 Boise St. 119.9 9 0
8 Oregon 119.7 7 2
9 Georgia Tech 118.9 9 1
10 Ohio St. 118.4 8 2
11 Va. Tech 118.0 6 3
12 Okla. St. 117.0 7 2
13 Nebraska 116.9 6 3
14 Penn St. 116.8 8 2
15 Miami (Fla.) 116.7 7 2
16 Cincinnati 115.5 9 0
17 Pittsburgh 115.5 8 1
18 Stanford 115.0 6 3
19 Iowa 114.6 9 1
20 Clemson 114.2 6 3
21 Ole Miss 114.1 6 3
22 Tennessee 113.9 5 4
23 L  S  U 113.6 7 2
24 Arkansas 113.5 5 4
25 California 112.6 6 3

 

 

     
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Clemson 4-2 6-3 114.2
Boston College 3-2 6-3 110.8
Florida State 2-4 4-5 108.2
Wake Forest 2-4 4-6 105.1
North Carolina State 1-4 4-5 103.3
Maryland 1-4 2-7 91.3

 

 

 

 

Coastal Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Georgia Tech 6-1 9-1 118.9
Virginia Tech 3-2 6-3 118.0
Miami-FL 4-2 7-2 116.7
North Carolina 2-3 6-3 109.0
Duke 3-2 5-4 101.8
Virginia 2-3 3-6 94.7

 

Big East Conference
 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Cincinnati 5-0 9-0 115.5
Pittsburgh 5-0 8-1 115.5
South Florida 2-2 6-2 105.3
West Virginia 3-1 7-2 104.2
Connecticut 1-4 4-5 103.1
Rutgers 1-2 6-2 101.8
Syracuse 0-4 3-6 92.2
Louisville 0-4 3-6 92.1

 

Big Ten

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Ohio State 5-1 8-2 118.4
Penn State 4-2 8-2 116.8
Iowa 5-1 9-1 114.6
Wisconsin 4-2 7-2 105.1
Michigan State 3-3 5-5 103.9
Minnesota 3-4 5-5 97.9
Northwestern 3-3 6-4 97.7
Michigan 1-5 5-5 97.3
Purdue 3-3 4-6 97.0
Illinois 2-5 3-6 96.2
Indiana 1-5 4-6 91.4

 

Big 12
North Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 3-2 6-3 116.9
Kansas 1-4 5-4 104.7
Missouri 1-4 5-4 102.8
Kansas State 4-2 6-4 100.4
Colorado 2-3 3-6 95.7
Iowa State 2-4 5-5 94.5

 

 

 

 

South Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Texas 6-0 9-0 136.5
Oklahoma 3-2 5-4 127.5
Oklahoma State 4-1 7-2 117.0
Texas Tech 3-2 6-3 112.3
Baylor 1-4 4-5 101.6
Texas A&M 2-3 5-4 99.1

 

Conference USA
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Southern Mississippi 3-2 5-4 100.7
East Carolina 4-1 5-4 99.8
Marshall 3-2 5-4 95.7
Central Florida 3-2 5-4 95.3
U A B 3-2 4-5 90.3
Memphis 1-4 2-7 83.7

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Houston 4-1 8-1 106.2
Tulsa 2-3 4-5 96.9
U T E P 2-3 3-6 90.1
S M U 4-1 5-4 90.0
Rice 0-5 0-9 76.7
Tulane 1-4 3-6 75.5

 

Independents

 

 

 

 

Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame

 

6-3 107.7
Navy

 

7-3 102.6
Army

 

3-6 82.2

 

Mid American Conference
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 5-0 7-2 99.2
Buffalo 1-4 3-6 91.7
Ohio U 4-1 6-3 90.1
Bowling Green 3-2 4-5 89.3
Kent St. 4-2 5-5 87.4
Akron 1-4 2-7 84.0
Miami (O) 1-5 1-9 79.2

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Michigan 5-0 7-2 106.7
Northern Illinois 4-1 6-3 96.9
Western Michigan 3-3 4-6 87.5
Toledo 2-3 4-5 86.7
Ball State 1-4 1-8 81.3
Eastern Michigan 0-5 0-9 76.2

 

Mountain West Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 5-0 9-0 123.8
B Y U 4-1 7-2 112.2
Utah 5-0 8-1 106.5
Air Force 4-2 6-4 100.0
Colo. State 0-6 3-7 88.5
UNLV 2-4 4-6 88.1
S. D. State 2-3 4-5 87.8
Wyoming 2-3 4-5 86.7
New Mexico 0-5 0-9 74.5

 

Pac-10 Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Southern Cal 4-2 7-2 120.4
Oregon 5-1 7-2 119.7
Stanford 5-2 6-3 115.0
California 3-3 6-3 112.6
Arizona 4-1 6-2 111.9
Oregon St. 4-2 6-3 108.1
U C L A 1-5 4-5 103.5
Arizona St. 2-4 4-5 102.8
Washington 2-4 3-6 98.7
Wash. St. 0-6 1-8 75.8

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida 7-0 9-0 132.9
Tennessee 2-3 5-4 113.9
Georgia 3-3 5-4 109.2
South Carolina 3-4 6-4 106.7
Kentucky 1-4 5-4 102.9
Vanderbilt 0-6 2-8 93.2

 

 

 

 

West Division

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Alabama 6-0 9-0 129.2
Ole Miss 2-3 6-3 114.1
L S U 4-2 7-2 113.6
Arkansas 2-4 5-4 113.5
Auburn 3-3 7-3 105.3
Mississippi State 2-3 4-5 101.6

 

Sunbelt Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Troy 6-0 7-2 99.1
Middle Tennessee 4-1 6-3 91.8
Louisiana-Monroe 4-1 5-4 90.6
Arkansas State 1-3 2-6 89.7
U. of Louisiana 3-2 5-4 83.8
Florida Atlantic 2-2 2-6 83.3
Florida International 2-4 2-7 82.8
North Texas 1-5 2-7 76.2
Western Kentucky 0-5 0-9 72.0

 

Western Athletic Conference

 

 

 

 

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 4-0 9-0 119.9
Nevada 5-0 6-3 103.9
Fresno State 5-1 6-3 102.4
Louisiana Tech 2-4 3-6 95.7
Utah State 1-4 2-7 91.2
Idaho 4-2 7-3 90.6
Hawaii 1-5 3-6 84.8
San Jose State 0-4 1-7 82.8
New Mexico State 1-3 3-6 71.8

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate & Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, November 10

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
BUFFALO Ohio U 4.3 28-24 -2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, November 11

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
CENTRAL MICHIGAN Toledo 23.0 40-17 19

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, November 5

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Bowling Green MIAMI (O) 7.6 31-23 7
NORTHERN ILLINOIS Ball State 18.8 38-19 21
South Florida RUTGERS 0.1 24-24 ot 0

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 6

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Temple AKRON 12.5 27-14 9
CINCINNATI West Virginia 14.3 35-21 14

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 7

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
Boston College VIRGINIA 13.1 27-14 8
ILLINOIS Northwestern 1.5 21-19 2
LOUISVILLE Syracuse 2.9 20-17 5
OHIO STATE Iowa 7.3 21-14 7
WISCONSIN Michigan 10.8 41-30 14
PENN STATE Indiana 28.9 41-12 21
Michigan State PURDUE 3.9 31-27 2
Florida State WAKE FOREST 0.1 20-20 ot 0
Clemson NORTH CAROLINA ST. 7.9 31-23 12
Georgia Tech DUKE 14.4 38-24 13
Kentucky VANDERBILT 7.2 20-13 8
Texas BAYLOR 32.2 45-13 23
Virginia Tech MARYLAND 24.0 34-10 19
Western Michigan EASTERN MICHIGAN 8.8 26-17 10
OLE MISS Tennessee 3.2 27-24 2
B y u NEW MEXICO 35.0 42-7 28
Nebraska KANSAS 9.2 21-12 5
U  a  b MEMPHIS 3.9 31-27 4
IOWA STATE Colorado 1.8 26-24 7
U  c  l  a WASHINGTON ST. 24.7 38-13 14
BOISE STATE Idaho 32.3 45-13 25
S M U U t e p 2.9 35-34 11
PITTSBURGH Notre Dame 10.8 28-17 10
SOUTHERN CAL Stanford 8.4 28-20 8
CALIFORNIA Arizona 3.7 28-24 0
OREGON Arizona State 20.4 34-14 20
KANSAS STATE Missouri 0.6 24-23 2
OKLAHOMA Texas A&M 31.4 38-7 14
UTAH STATE San Jose St. 11.1 35-24 8
NEVADA Fresno State 4.5 35-30 -1
RICE Tulane 3.7 35-31 -1
AIR FORCE U n l v 14.9 31-16 16
OREGON STATE Washington 12.4 33-21 12
Florida SOUTH CAROLINA 23.2 35-13 17
Alabama MISSISSIPPI STATE 24.6 35-10 14
Southern Miss MARSHALL 2.0 26-24 -2
Miami-Fl NORTH CAROLINA 4.7 28-23 4
OKLAHOMA STATE Texas Tech 7.7 40-32 4
T C U Utah 20.3 30-10 16
GEORGIA Auburn 6.9 31-24 2
Houston CENTRAL FLORIDA 7.9 38-30 8
L S U Louisiana Tech 20.6 31-10 22
SAN DIEGO STATE Wyoming 4.3 24-20 4
HAWAII New Mexico State 17.0 45-28 13
FLORIDA ATLANTIC Arkansas St. 9.8 31-21 0
UL-MONROE Western Ky 21.3 38-17 24
ARKANSAS Troy 17.9 45-27 12
FLA. INT’L North Texas 9.6 34-24 7
MIDDLE TENNESSEE UL-Lafayette 11.0 35-24 12

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, November 15

 

PiRate Spread

 

 

Favorite Underdog Score Mean
TULSA East Carolina 0.1 27-27 ot 1

 

Bowl Projections

CAPS/Bold = Excepted Bid

Italics = at-large invitation

 

Bowl Conference

 

Conference Team Team
New Mexico MWC #4 vs. WAC #3 San Diego St. Nevada
St. Petersburg Big East #6 vs. C-USA #5 Middle Tennessee Southern Miss
New Orleans Sunbelt #1 vs. C-USA #4 Troy East Carolina
Las Vegas MWC #1 vs. Pac 10 #4 or 5 B Y U Stanford
Poinsettia MWC #2 vs. Pac 10 #6 Utah U C L A
Hawaii WAC vs. C-USA Fresno St. Marshall
Little Caesar’s Pizza Big 10 #7 vs. MAC #1 or 2 Minnesota Northern Illinois
Meineke Car Care ACC #5-6-7 vs. Big East #3 Boston Coll Rutgers
Emerald Pac 10 #4 or 5 vs. ACC #5-6-7 Oregon State Wake Forest
Music City SEC #6 or 7 vs. ACC #5-6-7 Georgia North Carolina
Independence SEC #8 vs. Big 12 #7 South Carolina Missouri
Eagle Bank ACC #8 vs. Army/C-USA Ohio U Central Florida 
Champs Sports ACC #4 vs. Big 10 #5 Va. Tech Northwestern
Humanitarian WAC #1 vs. MWC Idaho Bowling Green
Holiday Big 12 #3 vs. Pac 10 #2 Nebraska Arizona
Armed Forces C-USA #3 vs. MWC #3 S M U Air Force
Sun Pac 10 #3 vs. B E #2 or B12 #5 California Oklahoma
Texas Big 12 #8 vs. Navy or C-USA Texas A&M NAVY
Insight.com Big 12 #6 vs. Big 10 #6 Kansas State Michigan State
Chick-fil-A SEC #5 vs. ACC #2 Ole Miss Miami-Fl
Outback SEC #3 or 4 vs. Big 10 #3 Tennessee Penn State
Capital One Big 10 #2 vs. SEC #2 Iowa L S U
Gator B E #2 or B12 #5 vs. ACC #3 Cincinnati Ga. Tech
Rose BCS Pac10 vs. BCS Big 10 Oregon Ohio State
Sugar BCS SEC vs. BCS At-Large Alabama Boise State
International Big East #5 vs. MAC #3 West Va. Temple
Cotton Big 12 #2 vs. SEC #3 or 4 Oklahoma State Auburn
Papajohns.com Big East #4 vs. SEC #9 S. Florida Kentucky
Liberty SEC #6 or 7 vs. C-USA #1 Arkansas Houston
Alamo Big 10 #4 vs. Big 12 #4 Wisconsin Texas Tech
Fiesta BCS Big 12 vs. BCS At-Large Southern Cal T C U
Orange BCS ACC vs. BCS At-Large Clemson Pittsburgh
G M A C ACC #9 vs. MAC Notre Dame Central Michigan
National Championship *** BCS #1 *** vs. *** BCS #2 *** Florida Texas

 

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