The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 14, 2022

PiRate Picks For September 16-17, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selection #7: Money Line Parlay at +204.42

Penn State over Auburn

Texas A&M over Miami (Fla.)

North Carolina St. over Texas Tech

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

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

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

August 19, 2022

SEC Preview

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:00 am

Current Penn State head football coach James Franklin once said when he was the head coach at Vanderbilt that there were three major football leagues in America: The NFC, The AFC, and The SEC. This conference has dominated the National Championship Playoffs placing two teams in the four-team field multiple times. Prior to the Playoff era, it produced multiple BCS Championship Game teams, including an Alabama-LSU game. Prior to the BCS era, it produced multiple mythical national champions. It wasn’t just Alabama. Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, and Tennessee claimed titles. Former member Georgia Tech did as well.

The SEC was the pioneer of divisional play with a conference championship game, when Arkansas and South Carolina joined the league in 1991. It was the first conference to expand to 12 teams. Adding Texas A&M and Missouri, it became the first major conference to expand to 14 teams, and by announcing the addition of Texas and Oklahoma in the near future, it became the first major conference to expand to 16. It isn’t the first attempt at a 16-team league, as the Western Athletic Conference expanded to 16 teams in 1996. That overgrowth lasted three seasons, before the league realized that travel expenses were too high and revenue too low to continue. The Mountain West Conference was formed when the league split in half.

The opposite will be true when a 16-team SEC begins in 2024 or 2025. The media rights package will pay each member school about $100 million apiece. Travel from Gainesvile, Florida to Austin, Texas, or Columbia, South Carolina to Norman, Oklahoma will not be a cost probitive as travel from Houston, Texas to Honolulu, Hawaii, as the old WAC had to do. Of course, the TV ratings will be many times greater.

Will the SEC be content to stop at 16 teams in the near future? Commissioner Greg Sankey has admitted multiple times, almost stressing it a bit too far, that multiple school presidents and athletic directors had contacted him about admittance to the league. Sankey wouldn’t continually announce this news if he wasn’t trying to keep it in the news. It looks like a quasi-threat to the other big league that will soon stretch from coast to coast that he can expand to 20 or even 24 teams quite easily.

What about 2022? A year after Alabama and Georgia met in a spectacular National Championship Game, it looks quite possible that the two teams could produce an encore performance. Georgia lost enough talent to form a new team and gain bowl eligibility. Losing that many NFL Draftees, it should lead to a major rebuilding effort. However, Kirby Smart has so much talent on board in Athens. Last year’s Bulldogs’ second team was still the second best team in the SEC East. Those players are a year more experienced, and there is still first team talent remaining. The talent is so abundant with depth that Smart didn’t seek out any added players in the Transfer Portal. Georgia could easily go 12-0 in the regular season again this year, because the rest of the division teams have too many weaknesses.

The second, third, fourth, and fifth best teams all have enough talent to win nine games this year. Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, and South Carolina return exceptional players on both sides of the ball and add players that should contribute this year. But, none of the quartet can go 7-1 in SEC play. Even if Georgia is upset by one of these four, the Bulldogs will go 7-1.

Florida could surprise a lot of people this year. This team has a lot more talent than their 2021 record showed. The team quit on former coach Dan Mullen. They will give their all for new coach Billy Napier, who comes to Gainesville after making the University of Louisiana a top 20 team.

South Carolina could be the other surprise. At this time last year, former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler was the early Heisman Trophy candidate. He’s now a Gamecock, and if he can regain his old form, USC has a chance to increase their points per game by 10 points.

Missouri faces a rebuilding effort under second year coach Eliah Drinkwitz. The Tigers have a tough non-conference game at Kansas State, and it may require a win in that game for MU to gain bowl eligibility this year. It isn’t likely to happen.

As for Vanderbilt, second year coach Clarke Lea might have a better team this year than last, but this team is so far behind the rest of the league, that it would be a minor miracle for the Commodores to win a conference game. Vandy has lost its last 18 SEC games, and that number will likely rise to 26 at the end of the year. This isn’t foreign to this school; they once lost 33 consecutive SEC games from 1976 to 1981.

As for the West, here is something scary. Last year, when Alabama went 11-1 in the regular season, slaughtered eventual national champion Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, easily dismissed Cincinnati in the College Football Playoffs as the #1 seed and then sort of blew the National Championship Game against Georgia, it was, according to Coach Nick Saban, a rebuilding season in Tuscaloosa. Saban doesn’t make statements like this often. He’s warning the rest of the nation that he has a team for the ages for 2022. By team for the ages, I refer to legendary college teams like Nebraska in 1971 and 1995, Miami of Florida in 1988 and 2001, and USC in 1972 and 2004. Basically, he is calling this team the equal of the 2020 team that went 13-0 with an average game score of 49-19. If Alabama loses a regular season game, it will make news in 2022.

SEC Preseason PiRate Ratings

East Division
South Carolina109.4108.7108.8109.0

West Division
Texas A&M113.3114.7114.7114.2
Mississippi St.115.1113.0113.4113.8
L S U112.9112.1112.1112.4
Ole Miss113.3111.3111.7112.1


Preseason Official SEC Media Poll (I voted in this poll)

#East1st PlaceOverall
5South Carolina3662

#West1st PlaceOverall
2Texas A&M3968
4Ole Miss0675
6Mississippi St.0390

South Carolina3
Texas A&M1

The PiRate Ratings are not designed to look forward past the next week of games like other computer ratings. My ratings factor experience and depth into the power rating number. Teams with exceptional depth might gain points during the season regardless of the outcome of their previous game. Teams lacking experience but possessing exceptional talent might gain points during the year. Teams lacking depth might lose points during the year. Nevertheless, here are the predictions.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

South Carolina3-56-6

Texas A&M5-39-3
Mississippi State4-48-4
Ole Miss4-48-4

Coming Monday: The first regular season PiRate Ratings with spreads of Week 0 games. College football kicks off Saturday, August 27.

March 29, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , — piratings @ 4:44 am
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
XavierSt. Bonaventure-0.2
Texas A&MWashington St.0.8

March 23, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Texas A&MWake Forest2.5
BYUWashington St.2.5
UNC WilmingtonMiddle Tennessee-0.1
Fresno St.Youngstown St.2.5
Southern UtahPortland2.5

March 13, 2022

PiRate Ratings FINAL Bracketology 2022

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 1:35 pm
3TennesseePurdueTexas TechWisconsin
5ConnecticutHoustonProvidenceSaint Mary’s
6TexasLSUAlabamaColorado St.
7Michigan St.Ohio St.Boise St.USC
8TCUNorth CarolinaSeton HallSan Diego St.
9Murray St.MemphisCreightonMarquette
10San FranciscoIowa St.Loyola (Chi.)Virginia Tech
11Miami (Fla.)DavidsonRichmondIndiana
12South Dakota St.UABNotre DameWyomingTexas A&MMichigan
13VermontChattanoogaNew Mexico St.Akron
14Montana St.DelawareSaint Peter’sCal St. Fullerton
15YaleLongwoodGeorgia St.Colgate
16Jacksonville St.Norfolk St.Wright St.BryantTexas SouthernTexas A&M-CC

First 4 #16 Seeds: Wright St., Bryant, Texas Southern, Texas A&M–CC

Last 4 Byes: Iowa St., Miami (Fla.), Davidson, Indiana

Last 4 In: Notre Dame, Wyoming, Texas A&M, Michigan

First 4 Out: SMU, Xavier, Rutgers, Wake Forest,

Next 4 Out: BYU, VCU, Oklahoma, Saint Louis

Sunday Morning From The Hull

This early Sunday morning on the PiRate ship, we are hunkered down in the hull with a spreadsheet full of numbers. After New Mexico State, Arizona, and Cal St. Fullerton enjoyed late night trophy raisings in Las Vegas, we added the updated numbers to our Bracketology and narrowed the field of hopefuls down to 70 and then realized we had one more team that maybe should not have been sent to the SS NIT and one team that maybe shouldn’t be considered a lock for the Dance. So, we are sitting at 72 teams this morning. There are six teams at the bottom of the Bubble, and three of them will be happy around 6:30 PM EDT, while three will have to settle for a possible trip to the flowerless garden in the Big Apple rather than the Garden District in the Crescent City.

The six bubblers this morning (in alphabetical order) are: Rutgers, SMU, Texas A&M, Xavier, Wake Forest, and Wyoming. Let us add the last potential bid-stealer to this formula. If Richmond upsets Davidson today in the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Game, the Spiders will receive an automatic bid, while Davidson receives an at-large invitation. That will reduce one spot at the bottom of the Bubble. Additionally, if Texas A&M upsets Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, the Aggies will move ahead of the Last Four in, as they would be guaranteed immunity from going to Dayton early next week. That would then take a team that currently has a bye and drop them into First Four purgatory.

By 3:00 PM EDT, we will know whether Richmond secured a spot in the Field of 68 and if Texas A&M is either an automatic bid-earner or Bubble team in the last decisions to be made. One of our fine Buckaroo lasses then pointed out that the outcome of the American Athletic Conference Championship Game between Houston and Memphis could affect the resume of SMU. A Memphis win might drag the Mustangs along in the Tiger draft. Additionally, the Iowa-Purdue Big Ten Championship Game tips off after 3:00 PM EDT, and both teams’ seed line could move one spot from this game. A Purdue loss and a Tennessee win could see the Boilermakers and Vols switching spots on the seed line. Iowa could possibly jump up one spot with a win, especially if Houston loses today.

Therefore, our final Bracketology prediction will go live only once the outcomes of the last two games are known. If both games are blowouts, we will go ahead and publish the final prediction before the games end. If either game is undecided until the closing minutes, then expect our final Bracketology to go live within 10 minutes of the final horn.

Coming Monday afternoon (Eastern Time Zone), our first installment of Bracketnomics for the 2022 NCAA Tournament will post here. This will be the explanation for how to go about picking your brackets using analytics that have been back-tested for maximum accuracy. We cannot guarantee you will win your bracket-picking contests, but we have a history of many of our subscribers doing that over the two decades this page has existed. And, you cannot beat the price of this information–only the time it takes you to read it.

There is one small warning for this year: Using the criteria we rely on, there is way too much parity in this forthcoming tournament. Usually, five to eight teams have Final Four worthy resumes. As of this morning, only two teams have such wonders. That means that two teams that do not have Final Four resumes are guaranteed to make this year’s Final Four. It also means that a team like Connecticut in both 2011 and 2014 might be poised to make a run to the National Championship Game, and it is a much higher probability that a Mid-Major makes the Final Four like Loyola, Wichita State, Virginia Commonwealth, Butler, and George Mason have done in this Century and Indiana State and Penn did in 1979. If you are wondering when was the last time a team from outside of a power conference actually won the tournament, it was UNLV in 1990, 32 years ago. Gonzaga has come close twice, losing in the final game to North Carolina and to Baylor. Butler came within a final shot rolling on the rim and falling off of winning against Duke.

This shapes up to be a very exciting NCAA Tournament this year. There will be a lot of interesting story lines, so today, we are informing you that you probably feel a bit off. By Thursday morning, you just won’t be able to get up and going, and you will have to call in sick to work with a 48-hour bug, forcing you to take sick days on Thursday and Friday. Being self-employed or a member of sports media through the years, I was fortunate not to have to get Madness Fever.

Today’s Conference Tournament Schedule

All Times Eastern Daylight

12:00 PM on ESPN2: Ivy League Championship Game

Princeton vs. Yale

1:00 PM on ESPN: Southeastern Conference Championship Game

Tennessee vs. Texas A&M

1:00 PM on CBS: Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Game

Davidson vs. Richmond

3:15 PM on ESPN: Conference USA Championship Game

Houston vs. Memphis

3:30 PM on CBS: Big Ten Conference Championship Game

Iowa vs. Purdue

6:00 PM on CBS: Selection Sunday Show

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Sunday, March 13, 2022

Sunday’s Conference Tournaments
American Athletic Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Fort Worth, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Atlantic 10 Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Washington, D.C.
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Big Ten Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Southeastern Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
TennesseeTexas A&M7.8

Final Bracketology coming this afternoon after SEC Championship Game Concludes

After last night’s late games on the West Coast concluded, our Bracketology hopefuls shrunk to 70 teams. We still have to eliminate two teams from our field of 68 and then do a final seeding after the conclusion of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. The outcome of that game will most definitely affect the field, possibly changing who plays an opening round “play-in” game in Dayton.

March 12, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology–Saturday Morning, the day before Selection Sunday

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:27 am
3VillanovaTennesseeTexas TechWisconsin
6Saint Mary’sLSUAlabamaColorado St.
7Michigan St.Boise St.Ohio St.USC
8San Diego St.TCUMurray St.Creighton
9MemphisNorth CarolinaIowa St.Seton Hall
10MarquetteDavidsonLoyola (Chi.)San Francisco
11IndianaMiami (Fla.)Notre DameMichigan
12South Dakota St.UABSMUWyomingRutgersVirginia Tech
13VermontChattanoogaNew Mexico St.Princeton
14Kent St.Montana St.LongwoodColgate
15Long Beach St.MonmouthDelawareJacksonville St.
16Wright St.BryantNorfolk St.Georgia St.Texas SouthernTexas A&M-CC

Teams That Can Steal a Bid (Alphabetical Order)

Saint Louis
Texas A&M

January 24, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:27 am
4IllinoisTexas TechUCLAXavier
5Michigan St.TennesseeAlabamaOhio St.
7BYULoyola (Chi.)Seton HallIowa St.
8MarquetteWake ForestNorth CarolinaIowa
9Colorado St.Saint Mary’sIndianaSan Francisco
10San Diego St.FloridaDavidsonMurray St.
11OregonFlorida St.Miami (Fla.)TCU
12UABChattanoogaMichiganCreightonVirginia TechWyoming
13IonaToledoVermontSouth Dakota St.
14WagnerNew Mexico St.TowsonOakland
15LibertyPrincetonSouth AlabamaUC-Riverside
16NavyMontana St.Texas SouthernLongwoodNorfolk St.Texas A&M-CC

Best of the Rest

69Boise St.
71Texas A&M
72Mississippi St.
74Saint Louis
75Missouri St.

January 7, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology–January 7, 2022

4IllinoisMichigan St.USCKentucky
5AlabamaUCLAConnecticutIowa St.
6WisconsinXavierOhio St.Texas Tech
7Loyola (Chi.)Seton HallBYUIndiana
8IowaColorado St.W. VirginiaN. Carolina
9OklahomaVa.TechSan FranciscoMississippi St.
10ProvidenceTCUFloridaWake Forest
11Saint Mary’sMichiganSan Diego St.MemphisTexas A&MClemson
14WagnerSouth Dakota St.NavyOakland
15Grand CanyonUC-IrvineLibertyPrinceton
16LouisianaWeber St.Nicholls St.Gardner-WebbTexas SouthernHoward

First Four Out

Florida St.

Next Four Out

Boise St.
Washington St.

Process: The PiRate Ratings use a combination of NET Rankings, Computer Rankings, Strength of Schedule, Strength of Wins, The Eye-Test, and unfortunately Politics to attempt to mimic what the NCAA Selection Committee does leading up to Selection Sunday.

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