The Pi-Rate Ratings

February 3, 2023

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

4MarquetteKansas St.TCUIowa St.
5ConnecticutSaint Mary’sRutgersIllinois
6IndianaSan Diego St.DukeMiami (Fla)
7AuburnProvidenceCreightonBoise St.
8New MexicoMissouriNorth Carolina St.Florida Atlantic
9IowaMemphisNorth CarolinaMaryland
10ArkansasWest VirginiaMichigan St.USC
11NevadaKentuckyPittsburghOklahoma St.ClemsonNorthwestern
12Southern Miss.Oral RobertsVCUKent St.
13LibertyDrakeUtah ValleyHofstra
15SienaYoungstown St.Eastern WashingtonVermont
16UNC AshevilleSE LouisianaMD Eastern ShoreMorehead St.SouthernFairleigh Dickinson

Last 4 Byes: Michigan State, USC, Nevada, Kentucky

Last 4 In: Pittsburgh, Oklahoma St., Clemson, Northwestern

First 4 Out: Utah St., Wisconsin, Arizona St., Seton Hall

Next 4 Out: Texas A&M, Penn St., Florida, Mississippi St.

January 31, 2023

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 2:00 am
Air ForceBoise St.-9.0
ArkansasTexas A&M5.7
Boston CollegeClemson-11.4
Bowling GreenBall St.-2.2
Colorado St.UNLV0.2
DaytonLoyola (Chi)15.5
DukeWake Forest8.6
Eastern MichiganOhio2.1
FordhamSaint Louis-3.5
KansasKansas St.6.2
Kent St.Central Michigan18.7
Miami (Fla)Virginia Tech3.8
Miami (O)Toledo-9.9
NevadaSan Diego St.-1.1
South CarolinaMississippi St.-10.4
TCUWest Virginia4.9
Western MichiganNorthern Illinois2.6
WyomingFresno St.3.1

January 20, 2023

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 2:36 pm

2UCLATennesseeKansas St.Iowa St.
5TCUAuburnMiami (Fla)Rutgers
6San Diego St.DukeSaint Mary’sProvidence
7North Carolina St.ArkansasIllinoisMichigan St.
8New MexicoNorth CarolinaMissouriIowa
9IndianaBoise St.Arizona St.Creighton
10Florida AtlanticClemsonWisconsinWest Virginia
12Kent St.Oral RobertsDaytonOhio St.Penn St.
13SeattleMarshallSouthern IllinoisIona
14LibertyUC Santa BarbaraCornellColgate
15UMass LowellSamfordYoungstown St.Eastern Washington
16LongwoodSIU EdwardsvilleSouthernTexas A&M-CCMorgan St.Fairleigh Dickinson

Last 4 Byes: Wisconsin, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Memphis

Last 4 In: Maryland, Northwestern, Ohio St., Penn St.

First 4 Out: Utah St., Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Texas A&M

Next 4 Out: Nevada, Central Florida, USC, Seton Hall

Note: The last 4 teams in the field this week are all Big Ten teams. These would be First Four teams playing in Dayton, but the NCAA Selection Committee will not put four Big Ten teams in this round.

December 27, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Texas A&MNorthwestern State15.9
Notre DameJacksonville6.4
TexasTexas A&M-Commerce27.6
MarquetteSeton Hall6.9
Texas TechSouth Carolina State28.2

November 23, 2022

PiRate Picks For November 24-26, 2022

Just when we got our imaginary bank account into the black, we lost just enough this past week to take it a few dollars back into the red. What worked so well for a couple weeks came to a crashing halt last week in this topsy-turvy season.

We’re going to play it a bit more conservatively this week, but play more games in a conservative manner. We’ve chosen to games to play straight up, and then five Money Line Parlays. Remember, we never wager real money on these selections and suggest you follow our lead. Don’t get heartburn after consuming your turkey and then not be able to go max your cards out on Friday.

Selection #1: Eastern Michigan +1 1/2 vs. Central Michigan

Selection #2: Florida Atlantic + 7 1/2 vs. Western Kentucky

Selection #3: Money Line Parlay @ +136.48

Cincinnati over Tulane

LSU over Texas A&M

Selection #4: Money Line Parlay @ +136.90

Washington over Washington State

Ohio State over Michigan

Selection #5: Money Line Parlay @ +127.74

Southern Miss. over UL-Monroe

North Carolina over North Carolina St.

Selection #6: Money Line Parlay @ +125.59

Arizona over Arizona St.

Marshall over Georgia St.

Selection #7: Money Line Parlay @ +250.54

Buffalo over Kent St.

SMU over Memphis

Louisiana over Texas St.

October 6, 2022

PiRate Picks — October 6, 2022

After coming back down to Earth last week with a 2-5 record against the spread, our seasonal record now stands at 18-10. That’s still abnormally high. Let’s hope we can get back on the winning side this week with seven selections, hoping to go 4-3 and be happy with a profit.

About 18 other games came within a point or two of being playable for us in our in-house method of picking games either against the spread, the total, or in creating a money line parlay where the odds are +120 or higher, preferably higher than +130 or +140.

Here are this week’s selections. Remember: We never wager real money on our selections, and we suggest you follow this lead.

Selection #1: Alabama and Texas A&M Over 51 1/2

First, we expect Bryce Young to be ready for this game, and he will only need a half or so of time he will be needed, as Alabama exacts some revenge against the Aggies. We chose to take the Over here, because ‘Bama could cover the total by themselves. We aren’t saying that a 52-0 game is in the offing, but 41-14 would be realistic.

Selection #2: Georgia Southern and Georgia St. Under 67 1/2

Both of these teams can put points on the scoreboard and score 35 points against a defense the caliber of their opponent this week, but this heated rivalry game is liable to have added defensive stops. Thus, we think the total is a little too high. We think this game could be 31-28, as high as 35-28, and we still win at 35-31. As long as this game doesn’t go to overtime, we think this is our top play of the week.

Selection #3: Army and Wake Forest Under 66 1/2

Our thinking here is that Army will try to reduce this game to a minimum of plays, and Wake Forest is coming off consecutive big games. Army’s offense isn’t assessing the real estate like it has in recent years, so scoring 20 points is not automatic, as they could only manage 14 against a weaker Georgia State defense last week. Wake Forest gave up 25 points to a Vanderbilt team that is somewhat comparable offensively to Army’s offensive abilities, and the Demon Deacons put up a strong defensive effort last week. We see this game as a 35-14, and 45-21 still wins this one.

Selection #4: Arkansas + 9 1/2 vs. Mississippi State

It is not in our DNA to play an underdog at 9 1/2 points, as 10 1/2 gives us so much better odds for the money. And, we know that teams that play Alabama frequently show the effects of the pasting they received in the next game.

Our internal game projection makes this spread playable for us, as we see this as almost a tossup and only give the Bulldogs the edge due to home field advantage. We don’t see State winning by more than a touchdown, if they win at all.

Selection #5: Money Line Parlay at +144.92

Notre Dame over BYU

Utah over UCLA

We wanted to find a way to get the Utes into our selections this week, and this appears to be the best possible play. After dropping the opener to Florida, the Utes have begun to look like the class of the Pac-12. As for the Notre Dame-BYU game, it is our belief that Notre Dame’s game with Marshall was a wake up call for the Irish. Looking at how close they came to winning at Ohio State compared to how the Buckeyes have fared since, we believe Notre Dame is sitting on their best game of the year this week. This is a neutral site game in Las Vegas, and it could be one of the more exciting TV games. But, we think the outcome is not all that much in doubt.

Selection #6: Money Line Parlay at +148.05

Nevada over Colorado St.

Tulane over East Carolina

These two games are simply a matter of our thinking that the ML is too low for the favorites, and thus, it gives us an inflated potential payout for playing the two favorites.

Money Line Parlay at +202.93

Oklahoma St. over Texas Tech

Kentucky over South Carolina

North Carolina St. over Florida St.

Similar to the #6 selection, our beliefs that these three favorites will win, while not as strong as the two-gamer above, still remains strong enough to make it playable at better than 2-1 odds.

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
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