The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 19, 2018

PiRate Ratings Selections for September 20-24, 2018

Hooray for once.  The PiRate Ratings official picks last week enjoyed a nice winning record, sending the year to date record into positive territory.  It is a small profit, as the return on investment is just 1.92%, but at least it isn’t a red number.  Better yet, our straight picks against the spread or in the totals have a record of 11-6-1 for the season.  It is the exotic picks that have stunk up the joint.  Thus, we will go with just straight picks this week.

Best of all, out special Land Sharps are just torching the books with their selections.  One of the sharps, Buckeye Michelle, has been insane with her picks the last two weeks, and we have received messages from some of our regular subscribers asking for more information about her.  First of all, we are not in the business of matchmaking, so don’t ask.  And, yes, she is an incredibly beautiful 29-year old football fanatic.

One of you actually revealed to us that you know who Stewed Meat is.  Stewed is a real sharp.  Stewed lives in Nevada, and handicapping is Stewed career.  Stewed has shown us something special this week that many people never get the opportunity to see performed–playing the middle against both sides.  We’ll explain more about this at the end.

Here are this week’s PiRate Ratings Selections Against The Spread

Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Wisconsin Iowa 3.5 Iowa
Louisiana Coastal Carolina 4.5 Coastal Carolina
North Carolina St. Marshall 4.5 North Carolina St.
Maryland Minnesota 3 Minnesota
Stanford Oregon 1.5 Stanford
West Virginia Kansas St. 17 Kansas St.
Chicago Arizona 7 Arizona
Philadelphia Indianapolis 6 Philadelphia
Green Bay Washington 3 Washington

Now for the Land Sharps.  At the present time, this is how each has done so far.

Buckeye Michelle is 9-1 for 90% against the spread and +$790 a 79% ROI

Cal Gal Tiffy is 9-3 for 75% against the spread and +$570 a 47.5% ROI

Friday Dog 13 is 4-2 for 67% against the spread and +$180 a 30% ROI

Stewed Meat is 6-4 for 60% against the spread and +$160 a 16% ROI

Dean 615 is 3-3 for 50% against the spread and -$30 a -5% ROI

If more than one of our expert pickers agree on picking the same game, it must be a strong pick.  You will notice that a couple of games were selected by multiple sharps this week.  You will also notice that a couple of sharps picked against each other.

If you are just tuning in to this feature, the rules are simple.  The 5 participants can select against the margin or going over or under the total for any FBS college football game.  They can select 3, 5,7, or 9 games each week.  We then select the most favorable spread available at oddshark.com.

Here are the Land Sharps Picks For the Week.

Buckeye Michelle

Minnesota +3 vs. Maryland

Kansas St. +17 vs. West Virginia

Wake Forest +8 vs. Notre Dame

Army +32 vs. Oklahoma

Stanford -1.5 vs. Oregon

 

Cal Gal Tiffy

Minnesota +3 vs. Maryland

Kansas St. +17 vs. West Virginia

South Carolina -2 vs. Vanderbilt

North Carolina St. -4.5 vs. Marshall

UTSA -7 vs. Texas St.

 

Friday Dog 13

Penn St. -28 vs. Illinois

North Carolina St. -4.5 vs. Marshall

Virginia -5 vs. Louisville

Clemson -16 vs. Georgia Tech

TCU -3 vs. Texas

 

Stewed Meat

Minnesota +3 vs. Maryland

Kansas St. +17 vs. West Virginia

Iowa +3.5 vs. Wisconsin

Stanford -1.5 vs. Oregon

Louisville +5.5 vs. Virginia

 

Dean 615

Notre Dame -7 vs. Wake Forest

Michigan St. -4.5 vs. Indiana

USC -3.5 vs. Washington St.

Texas +3.5 vs. TCU

Nebraska +18 vs. Michigan

 

Special Look At Stewed Meat’s Real Life Strategy

Stewed is an expert at “Middling”.  In order to be able to do this, Stewed gets access to playing the early line and then immediately plays one side of a game in which Stewed believes the line is off and will move in the opposite direction of which Stewed originally played.  Then, when the line moves in the opposite direction, Stewed plays the other side

Let’s look at an example.  Let’s say Alabama opens as a 14.5 point favorite over Auburn, and Stewed likes Auburn at this number.  So Stewed wagers on Auburn at +14.5.  During the week, a lot of other people believe 14.5 points are too much for Alabama, and they bet the spread down to 11.5.  Now, Stewed wagers on Alabama at -11.5.

On the surface, you might think this is nuts.  Stewed will have a slim chance of the game ending up at 12, 13, or 14 points in Alabama’s favor, giving Stewed two wins.  In most cases, Stewed will win one and lose one and lose $10 for every $100 wagered on both sides.

However, if you look at the 11-10 odds and do a little mathematical calculations, Stewed only needs to have the game come in at the middle of the extremes one time out of 19 in order to turn a profit, plus Stewed has a Margin of Safety in place, because the most Stewed can lose is 10% on the dollar wagered.

Earlier this week, Stewed Wagered on the following games that have seen a significant line change and then wagered on the other team once the line moved in the other direction.

SMU +12.5 vs. Navy

Navy -7 vs. SMU

 

Ball St. Pk vs. Western Kentucky

Western Kentucky +3 vs. Ball St.

 

Alabama -23.5 vs. Texas A&M

Texas A&M +27 vs. Alabama

 

Auburn -24 vs. Arkansas

Arkansas +30 vs. Auburn

If just one of these four games come in with the spread in the middle, Stewed will turn a nice profit.

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September 12, 2018

PiRate Ratings Selections for September 13-17, 2018

Filed under: PiRate Picks_College & Pro — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:56 pm

We received a lot of comments last week from regular readers to this site that know how to contact us through another site.  We tend to keep our comments sections closed, because it becomes a task to monitor it for stuff that does not need to appear here.

The comments had nothing to do with our own picks last week.  We introduced five guest pickers, three of them members of the fairer sex, and overall, they had quite a successful week.

By far the overwhelming amount of responses were aimed at Buckeye Michelle.  The Ohio Transplant to the Sunny South merely went 5-0 picking 5 underdogs, and we received all kinds of comments pertaining to her, including a couple of marriage proposals.

Friday Dog 13 went 3-0 picking three prohibitive favorites that won by even larger scores than the line they were asked to cover.

Cal Gal Tiffany went 5-2 in her seven picks, again, a very successful week that equates to a 56% Return on Investment.

Stewed Meat narrowly missed having a winning week, as Stewed went 2-3.  Bringing up the rear at 1-2 was Dean 615.

What about our own picks?  We suffered a lot of near misses and finished the week losing $90 imaginary after wagering $1,100 and going 5-6.  For the years, after two weeks, we are down $220 on a total of $1,700 wagered in our pretend bank account, so we are off to a bad year so far.

Just remember, all the picks you receive here this week and every week are free, and you should consider them worth exactly what you pay for them.

First, here are the PiRate’s official selections for the week.

Straight Spreads and Totals Selections–7

Favorite Underdog Spread/Total Pick
Army Hawaii           6 Army
Baylor Duke          6.5 Duke
Minnesota Miami (Ohio)          13 Minnesota
Denver Oakland          46 Under
Washington Indianapolis          47 Under
Cincinnati Baltimore           1 Baltimore
Dallas N.Y. Giants           3 Dallas

10-point Teaser Parlays–2

If you are unfamiliar with 10-point teasers, you can move the line by 10 points in your favor and play at less favorable odds than if you wager a straight wager against the spread or total.  By combining more than one game into a parlay, you can adjust the odds.  A 10-point teaser using three games makes the odds the same as wagering a straight wager.  You put up $11 of your money against $10 of the books, or what is referred to as -110 (You wager $110 versus the book wagering $100).

10-point teaser 3-team parlay -110
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Florida Colorado St. 31 Colorado St.
Texas USC 13.5 USC
Boston College Wake Forest 15 Wake Forest

 

10-point teaser 3-team parlay -110
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Indiana Ball St. 4 Indiana
Penn St. Kent St. 24.5 Penn St.
Wisconsin BYU 11 Wisconsin

The Land Sharps

Now for our special sharps–our 5 guest pickers.  They have been tasked with selecting 3, 5, 7, or 9 college games each week.  None of the 5 know what the other 4 are picking, so in some cases, more than one guest is picking the same game, and even though it did not happen this week, we are sure that at some point, they could be on opposite sides of the same game.

We search for the best available line at oddshark.com.

Buckeye Michelle (5-0 for the season)

Syracuse + 3 1/2 vs. Florida St.

LSU +10 vs. Auburn

Duke +6 1/2 vs. Baylor

San Diego St. +5 1/2 vs. Arizona St.

Toledo +10 1/2 vs. Miami (Fla.)

 

Friday Dog 13 (3-0 for the season)

Missouri -6 vs. Purdue

Tennessee -30 1/2 vs. UTEP

Virginia -3 1/2 vs. Ohio

 

Cal Gal Tiffany  (5-2 for the season)

Florida Int’l. -4 vs. U Mass.

Army -6 vs. Hawaii

Oklahoma St. -2 1/2 vs. Boise St.

Washington – 6 1/2 vs. Utah

Georgia Tech +4 vs. Pittsburgh

 

Stewed Meat (2-3 for the season)

Colorado St. +20 1/2 vs. Florida

Buffalo -3 vs. Eastern Michigan

Oregon St. +3 1/2 vs. Nevada

Washington -6 1/2 vs. Utah

Oklahoma St. -2 1/2 vs. Boise St.

 

Dean 615 (1-2 for the season)

Notre Dame -14 vs. Vanderbilt

North Texas +7 vs. Arkansas

TCU +14 vs. Ohio St.

 

 

 

September 5, 2018

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlays for September 6-10, 2018

With the NFL kicking off Thursday night, this is the first weekend where the handicappers have both college and pro regular season football to consider when making their selections.

It has been a custom at the PiRate Ratings that we make the maximum number of picks on this week of the season.  We will be going with 11 selections this week, using a combination of straight wagers, money line parlays, and 10-point teasers.

As usual, please be advised that every selection made on this website is absolutely free to you, and you should consider the value of the information to struggle to meet the monetary cost you pay to receive it.  In other words, unless you are a sharp in the Caribbean that knows how to use our picks and make a fortune, please do not wager your hard-earned money on games using this site as your sole reference.  The PiRates do this strictly for mathematical fun.

Here are this week’s PiRate Picks.

Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Michigan St. Arizona St. 5 1/2 Mich. St.
BYU California 3 1/2 California
Indiana Virginia 7 Virginia
Georgia Tech South Florida 3 Ga. Tech
Stanford USC 4 Stanford
Money Line Parlay @+238
Winner Loser
North Carolina East Carolina
Maryland Bowling Green
Florida Kentucky
Stanford USC
Michigan St. Arizona St.
Money Line Parlay @ +182
Winner Loser
Purdue Eastern Michigan
Georgia South Carolina
Appalachian St. Charlotte
UAB Coastal Carolina
Penn St. Pittsburgh
Money Line Parlay @+237
Winner Loser
Pittsburgh Cleveland
Baltimore Buffalo
New Orleans Tampa Bay
New England Houston
Money Line Game @+140
Winner Loser
Cincinnati Indianapolis
10-point teaser 3-team parlay -110
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Coastal Carolina UAB 1 UAB
Indiana Virginia 17 Virginia
Purdue Eastern Mich. 5 1/2 Purdue
10-point teaser 3-team parlay -110
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Georgia South Carolina Pk Georgia
USC Stanford 6 Stanford
Clemson Texas A&M 2 Clemson

The PiRates are adding some buckaroos to the ship this season for their expertise in picking football games. In addition to our own picks, each of the buckaroos and buckarettes will supply his or her own picks to us each week. If they prove their worth, we’ll run their picks up the flagpole every week, but if they lose too much, they’ll walk the plank.

To start off, each has been granted an unlimited bank account to wager an odd number of games of 3, 5, 7, or 9 selections each week isolated to just college football. All pretend wagers will be $100 a game, so it will be easy to calculate. If they win, they earn another $100 to their imaginary account. If they lose, then $110 will be deducted.

Our guest players have all chosen their user names for this event, so here is a brief introduction on each player–in alphabetical order.

1. Buckeye Michelle lives in Florida, after growing up in the Cleveland area. Don’t let her gender fool you; she knows football. She can recognize coverage zones by the defense, but most of all, she sees what most of us don’t see–value. If you ever need a personal shopper, Michie is the one for you. She’ll find you a lot of bargains.

2. Cal Gal Tiffy lives on the West Coast, and yes, she is another member of the fairer sex. A tomboy who played tackle football with the boys growing up, she matured into a model and now is a makeup artist that never misses a Stanford home game.

3. Dean 615 is a former college football star and played in the NFL for a decade. Dean knows how to evaluate talent and can watch a game and see all 22 players and know who missed his assignment. Dean has a room full of trophies in his home.

4. Friday Dog 13 is a rabid football fan and friend of the Captains for 40+ years. Friday Dog has seen more than 100 football games in person, many at Vanderbilt’s Dudley Field and many at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio. Friday Dog is an expert in hometown football.

5. Stewed Meat is a professional sharp. Stewed has cashed some rather expensive tickets in Las Vegas and has been banned in some places or been forced to play no more than a certain amount on college games. Stewed is the Captain’s source for receiving the “Outlaw” line as well as how quickly the lines flattened and which games saw sharps playing both sides for the middle. Stewed has placed a grand on one parlay and won $10K when the parlay came in. Stewed has also watched a botched extra point kill a $25K wager. Stewed plays money line parlays almost exclusively and has admitted that playing individual games against the spread is not Stewed’s expertise.
Note–The odds chosen were the best available at Oddshark.com at the time of the submission to the Captain.

Here are the picks this week for each player.
1. Buckeye Michelle
Rice +17 1/2 vs. Hawaii
Louisiana-Monroe + 6 1/2 vs. Southern Miss.
Colorado St. +13 1/2 vs. Arkansas
Kentucky +14 1/2 vs. Florida
Tulsa +23 vs. Texas

2. Cal Gal Tiffy
Stanford -4 vs. USC
California +3 1/2 vs. BYU
Iowa -3 1/3 vs. Iowa St.
Notre Dame -34 vs. Ball St.
Army -8 1/2 vs. Liberty
Central Michigan -4 vs. Kansas
Georgia -10 vs. South Carolina

3. Dean 73
Notre Dame -34 vs. Ball St.
Appalachian St. -13 1/2 vs. Charlotte
UAB -9 vs. Coastal Carolina

4. Friday Dog 13
Vanderbilt -8 1/2 vs. Nevada
Ohio St. -34 1/2 vs. Rutgers
Mississippi St. -9 1/2 vs. Kansas St.

5. Stewed Meat
Western Michigan +28 vs. Michigan
Stanford -4 vs. USC
Rutgers +35 1/2 vs. Ohio St.
Iowa -3 1/2 vs. Iowa St.
Wyoming +18 vs. Missouri

 

September 4, 2018

PiRate Ratings–College Football Week 2

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 133.5 131.2 135.4 133.4
2 Clemson 131.9 128.6 132.8 131.1
3 Georgia 131.1 126.5 132.6 130.0
4 Washington 126.9 124.4 129.3 126.8
5 Ohio St. 126.2 123.5 126.8 125.5
6 Michigan St. 124.7 122.4 124.8 124.0
7 Notre Dame 125.7 121.9 124.1 123.9
8 Auburn 123.2 121.8 125.8 123.6
9 Oklahoma 122.5 121.1 123.1 122.2
10 Mississippi St. 122.8 119.5 123.0 121.8
11 Michigan 121.6 120.2 122.3 121.3
12 Wisconsin 121.7 118.6 121.7 120.7
13 Stanford 120.1 117.5 120.7 119.4
14 Boston College 118.1 115.1 118.4 117.2
15 Miami 117.1 115.1 116.7 116.3
16 Virginia Tech 116.1 115.6 116.0 115.9
17 Penn St. 116.7 113.5 117.0 115.7
18 Oregon 114.5 114.6 115.2 114.8
19 Missouri 114.6 112.9 116.2 114.5
20 Northwestern 114.8 112.8 115.2 114.3
21 Boise St. 113.3 112.8 114.3 113.5
22 N. Carolina St. 113.6 112.8 113.4 113.3
23 L S U 112.8 112.9 113.5 113.1
24 Central Florida 113.0 112.8 113.1 113.0
25 Florida 113.4 111.1 113.8 112.7
26 Iowa 113.7 111.2 112.9 112.6
27 T C U 112.9 112.2 111.7 112.2
28 Oklahoma St. 113.2 110.8 112.7 112.2
29 Duke 113.3 110.7 112.4 112.2
30 Georgia Tech 112.5 111.2 112.1 112.0
31 S. Carolina 112.3 111.4 111.6 111.8
32 U S C 112.3 110.7 111.6 111.5
33 Utah 111.5 109.5 112.4 111.2
34 West Virginia 111.6 110.8 111.0 111.1
35 Texas A&M 111.2 110.1 111.2 110.8
36 Iowa State 110.5 108.6 110.0 109.7
37 Florida St. 109.7 109.0 109.3 109.3
38 Texas 109.8 108.3 108.9 109.0
39 California 110.0 107.2 109.6 108.9
40 Ole Miss 107.8 107.5 108.6 107.9
41 Washington St. 108.6 107.7 107.5 107.9
42 Fresno St. 108.5 106.9 108.2 107.9
43 Arkansas 109.4 106.5 107.7 107.9
44 Wake Forest 108.7 106.5 106.2 107.1
45 Purdue 107.9 106.1 106.8 106.9
46 Memphis 105.2 107.3 106.7 106.4
47 Kansas St. 106.8 105.4 106.2 106.1
48 Arizona St. 106.7 105.2 105.6 105.8
49 Minnesota 106.0 105.2 105.5 105.6
50 Kentucky 106.0 104.9 105.4 105.4
51 Arizona 106.1 104.1 106.0 105.4
52 Syracuse 106.3 104.7 105.1 105.4
53 Pittsburgh 105.5 105.2 104.7 105.2
54 N. Carolina 105.3 104.3 104.7 104.8
55 Maryland 104.6 102.8 103.4 103.6
56 Louisville 103.6 103.4 103.0 103.3
57 Texas Tech 103.2 101.3 101.4 102.0
58 Baylor 102.7 100.4 102.1 101.7
59 Colorado 100.6 102.3 102.0 101.6
60 Virginia 101.9 102.4 100.3 101.5
61 Utah St. 100.3 101.5 101.9 101.2
62 Houston 99.1 100.6 99.8 99.8
63 Florida Atlantic 99.3 99.9 100.3 99.8
64 Vanderbilt 99.1 100.1 99.2 99.5
65 San Diego St. 98.9 99.5 100.1 99.5
66 BYU 99.0 99.8 99.6 99.4
67 Nebraska 100.3 98.5 97.6 98.8
68 U C L A 98.9 98.7 96.3 97.9
69 Wyoming 98.0 98.1 97.8 97.9
70 Toledo 97.0 99.1 97.1 97.7
71 South Florida 95.8 99.1 96.7 97.2
72 Rutgers 98.1 97.1 96.2 97.1
73 Indiana 97.6 96.5 97.1 97.1
74 N. Texas 95.8 98.7 96.6 97.0
75 Tennessee 96.9 97.2 96.2 96.8
76 Marshall 94.7 97.6 95.9 96.1
77 Northern Illinois 95.8 96.7 95.7 96.1
78 Army 95.6 96.1 95.5 95.8
79 Buffalo 94.5 96.9 95.6 95.7
80 Tulane 95.5 95.6 95.1 95.4
81 Ohio U 94.4 95.8 95.7 95.3
82 Navy 94.5 97.3 93.8 95.2
83 Louisiana Tech 93.3 95.8 94.5 94.5
84 Nevada 93.7 93.8 93.9 93.8
85 Temple 93.3 93.3 93.7 93.4
86 U A B 91.8 94.3 92.2 92.8
87 Air Force 92.7 92.7 91.9 92.4
88 Western Michigan 91.4 93.3 92.4 92.4
89 Illinois 92.9 92.5 91.7 92.4
90 Miami (O) 91.1 93.4 92.5 92.3
91 Appalachian St. 91.5 92.8 92.8 92.3
92 Kansas 93.5 91.9 91.2 92.2
93 Massachusetts 90.5 92.5 92.3 91.8
94 Tulsa 91.9 90.4 92.4 91.6
95 SMU 92.0 91.1 90.7 91.3
96 Akron 90.3 91.9 90.5 90.9
97 Eastern Michigan 89.6 91.0 90.3 90.3
98 Troy 89.2 90.7 90.8 90.2
99 Middle Tennessee 89.1 90.8 90.0 90.0
100 U N L V 89.3 90.8 89.8 90.0
101 Cincinnati 89.7 91.0 89.2 89.9
102 Arkansas St. 88.0 89.8 89.7 89.2
103 UL-Monroe 87.1 86.5 87.9 87.2
104 Central Michigan 85.6 88.9 86.1 86.9
105 New Mexico 85.9 87.8 85.5 86.4
106 Oregon St. 87.4 84.8 85.7 86.0
107 Bowling Green 85.0 85.3 85.6 85.3
108 Florida Int’l. 82.2 86.6 82.8 83.9
109 W. Kentucky 82.3 85.7 83.4 83.8
110 Southern Miss. 82.3 85.7 82.8 83.6
111 Old Dominion 82.0 86.3 82.0 83.5
112 South Alabama 81.9 84.4 83.3 83.2
113 Georgia Southern 82.7 83.9 82.6 83.1
114 East Carolina 82.3 81.4 81.2 81.6
115 Connecticut 81.9 82.0 80.4 81.4
116 Liberty 81.7 79.9 82.2 81.3
117 Colo. State 80.6 81.9 80.7 81.1
118 Kent St. 80.8 82.1 80.2 81.0
119 U T S A 78.9 83.7 79.8 80.8
120 Louisiana 79.3 81.5 80.3 80.4
121 Hawaii 79.8 82.0 78.3 80.0
122 N. Mexico St. 78.9 81.6 79.2 79.9
123 Ball St. 78.2 80.9 77.9 79.0
124 Georgia St. 77.6 80.6 78.4 78.9
125 Charlotte 76.7 79.2 76.8 77.6
126 San Jose St. 76.3 77.1 74.5 76.0
127 Coastal Carolina 73.8 76.7 74.2 74.9
128 Texas State 70.7 73.8 69.9 71.5
129 Rice 70.5 73.6 69.2 71.1
130 U T E P 68.7 71.9 68.0 69.5

PiRate Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average AAC Overall
Central Florida 113.0 112.8 113.1 113.0 1-0 1-0
South Florida 95.8 99.1 96.7 97.2 0-0 1-0
Temple 93.3 93.3 93.7 93.4 0-0 0-1
Cincinnati 89.7 91.0 89.2 89.9 0-0 1-0
East Carolina 82.3 81.4 81.2 81.6 0-0 0-1
Connecticut 81.9 82.0 80.4 81.4 0-1 0-1
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average AAC Overall
Memphis 105.2 107.3 106.7 106.4 0-0 1-0
Houston 99.1 100.6 99.8 99.8 0-0 1-0
Tulane 95.5 95.6 95.1 95.4 0-0 0-1
Navy 94.5 97.3 93.8 95.2 0-0 0-1
Tulsa 91.9 90.4 92.4 91.6 0-0 1-0
SMU 92.0 91.1 90.7 91.3 0-0 0-1
AAC Averages 94.5 95.1 94.4 94.7
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average ACC Overall
Clemson 131.9 128.6 132.8 131.1 0-0 1-0
Boston College 118.1 115.1 118.4 117.2 0-0 1-0
N. Carolina St. 113.6 112.8 113.4 113.3 0-0 1-0
Florida St. 109.7 109.0 109.3 109.3 0-1 0-1
Wake Forest 108.7 106.5 106.2 107.1 0-0 1-0
Syracuse 106.3 104.7 105.1 105.4 0-0 1-0
Louisville 103.6 103.4 103.0 103.3 0-0 0-1
Coastal Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average ACC Overall
Miami 117.1 115.1 116.7 116.3 0-0 0-1
Virginia Tech 116.1 115.6 116.0 115.9 1-0 1-0
Duke 113.3 110.7 112.4 112.2 0-0 1-0
Georgia Tech 112.5 111.2 112.1 112.0 0-0 1-0
Pittsburgh 105.5 105.2 104.7 105.2 0-0 1-0
N. Carolina 105.3 104.3 104.7 104.8 0-0 0-1
Virginia 101.9 102.4 100.3 101.5 0-0 1-0
ACC Averages 111.7 110.3 111.1 111.0
Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average B12 Overall
Oklahoma 122.5 121.1 123.1 122.2 0-0 1-0
T C U 112.9 112.2 111.7 112.2 0-0 1-0
Oklahoma St. 113.2 110.8 112.7 112.2 0-0 1-0
West Virginia 111.6 110.8 111.0 111.1 0-0 1-0
Iowa State 110.5 108.6 110.0 109.7 0-0 0-0
Texas 109.8 108.3 108.9 109.0 0-0 0-1
Kansas St. 106.8 105.4 106.2 106.1 0-0 1-0
Texas Tech 103.2 101.3 101.4 102.0 0-0 0-1
Baylor 102.7 100.4 102.1 101.7 0-0 1-0
Kansas 93.5 91.9 91.2 92.2 0-0 0-1
Big 12 Averages 108.7 107.1 107.8 107.9
Big Ten Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average BTen Overall
Ohio St. 126.2 123.5 126.8 125.5 0-0 1-0
Michigan St. 124.7 122.4 124.8 124.0 0-0 1-0
Michigan 121.6 120.2 122.3 121.3 0-0 0-1
Penn St. 116.7 113.5 117.0 115.7 0-0 1-0
Maryland 104.6 102.8 103.4 103.6 0-0 1-0
Rutgers 98.1 97.1 96.2 97.1 0-0 1-0
Indiana 97.6 96.5 97.1 97.1 0-0 1-0
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average BTen Overall
Wisconsin 121.7 118.6 121.7 120.7 0-0 1-0
Northwestern 114.8 112.8 115.2 114.3 1-0 1-0
Iowa 113.7 111.2 112.9 112.6 0-0 1-0
Purdue 107.9 106.1 106.8 106.9 0-1 0-1
Minnesota 106.0 105.2 105.5 105.6 0-0 1-0
Nebraska 100.3 98.5 97.6 98.8 0-0 0-0
Illinois 92.9 92.5 91.7 92.4 0-0 1-0
Big Ten Averages 110.5 108.6 109.9 109.7
Conference USA
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average CUSA Overall
Florida Atlantic 99.3 99.9 100.3 99.8 0-0 0-1
Marshall 94.7 97.6 95.9 96.1 0-0 1-0
Middle Tennessee 89.1 90.8 90.0 90.0 0-0 0-1
Florida Int’l. 82.2 86.6 82.8 83.9 0-0 0-1
W. Kentucky 82.3 85.7 83.4 83.8 0-0 0-1
Old Dominion 82.0 86.3 82.0 83.5 0-0 0-1
Charlotte 76.7 79.2 76.8 77.6 0-0 1-0
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average CUSA Overall
N. Texas 95.8 98.7 96.6 97.0 0-0 1-0
Louisiana Tech 93.3 95.8 94.5 94.5 0-0 1-0
U A B 91.8 94.3 92.2 92.8 0-0 1-0
Southern Miss. 82.3 85.7 82.8 83.6 0-0 1-0
U T S A 78.9 83.7 79.8 80.8 0-0 0-1
Rice 70.5 73.6 69.2 71.1 0-0 1-1
U T E P 68.7 71.9 68.0 69.5 0-0 0-1
CUSA Averages 84.8 87.8 85.3 86.0
FBS Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average Conf. Overall
Notre Dame 125.7 121.9 124.1 123.9 x 1-0
BYU 99.0 99.8 99.6 99.4 x 1-0
Army 95.6 96.1 95.5 95.8 x 0-1
Massachusetts 90.5 92.5 92.3 91.8 x 1-1
Liberty 81.7 79.9 82.2 81.3 x 1-0
N. Mexico St. 78.9 81.6 79.2 79.9 x 0-2
Indep.  Averages 95.2 95.3 95.5 95.3
Mid-American Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MAC Overall
Buffalo 94.5 96.9 95.6 95.7 0-0 1-0
Ohio U 94.4 95.8 95.7 95.3 0-0 1-0
Miami (O) 91.1 93.4 92.5 92.3 0-0 0-1
Akron 90.3 91.9 90.5 90.9 0-0 0-0
Bowling Green 85.0 85.3 85.6 85.3 0-0 0-1
Kent St. 80.8 82.1 80.2 81.0 0-0 0-1
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MAC Overall
Toledo 97.0 99.1 97.1 97.7 0-0 1-0
Northern Illinois 95.8 96.7 95.7 96.1 0-0 0-1
Western Michigan 91.4 93.3 92.4 92.4 0-0 0-1
Eastern Michigan 89.6 91.0 90.3 90.3 0-0 1-0
Central Michigan 85.6 88.9 86.1 86.9 0-0 0-1
Ball St. 78.2 80.9 77.9 79.0 0-0 1-0
MAC Averages 89.5 91.3 90.0 90.2
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MWC Overall
Boise St. 113.3 112.8 114.3 113.5 0-0 1-0
Utah St. 100.3 101.5 101.9 101.2 0-0 0-1
Wyoming 98.0 98.1 97.8 97.9 0-0 1-1
Air Force 92.7 92.7 91.9 92.4 0-0 1-0
New Mexico 85.9 87.8 85.5 86.4 0-0 1-0
Colo. State 80.6 81.9 80.7 81.1 0-1 0-2
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average MWC Overall
Fresno St. 108.5 106.9 108.2 107.9 0-0 1-0
San Diego St. 98.9 99.5 100.1 99.5 0-0 0-1
Nevada 93.7 93.8 93.9 93.8 0-0 1-0
U N L V 89.3 90.8 89.8 90.0 0-0 0-1
Hawaii 79.8 82.0 78.3 80.0 1-0 2-0
San Jose St. 76.3 77.1 74.5 76.0 0-0 0-1
MWC Averages 93.1 93.7 93.1 93.3
Pac-12 Conference
North Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average P12 Overall
Washington 126.9 124.4 129.3 126.8 0-0 0-1
Stanford 120.1 117.5 120.7 119.4 0-0 1-0
Oregon 114.5 114.6 115.2 114.8 0-0 1-0
California 110.0 107.2 109.6 108.9 0-0 1-0
Washington St. 108.6 107.7 107.5 107.9 0-0 1-0
Oregon St. 87.4 84.8 85.7 86.0 0-0 0-1
South Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average P12 Overall
U S C 112.3 110.7 111.6 111.5 0-0 1-0
Utah 111.5 109.5 112.4 111.2 0-0 1-0
Arizona St. 106.7 105.2 105.6 105.8 0-0 1-0
Arizona 106.1 104.1 106.0 105.4 0-0 0-1
Colorado 100.6 102.3 102.0 101.6 0-0 1-0
U C L A 98.9 98.7 96.3 97.9 0-0 0-1
Pac-12 Averages 108.6 107.2 108.5 108.1
Southeastern Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SEC Overall
Georgia 131.1 126.5 132.6 130.0 0-0 1-0
Missouri 114.6 112.9 116.2 114.5 0-0 1-0
Florida 113.4 111.1 113.8 112.7 0-0 1-0
S. Carolina 112.3 111.4 111.6 111.8 0-0 1-0
Kentucky 106.0 104.9 105.4 105.4 0-0 1-0
Vanderbilt 99.1 100.1 99.2 99.5 0-0 1-0
Tennessee 96.9 97.2 96.2 96.8 0-0 0-1
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SEC Overall
Alabama 133.5 131.2 135.4 133.4 0-0 1-0
Auburn 123.2 121.8 125.8 123.6 0-0 1-0
Mississippi St. 122.8 119.5 123.0 121.8 0-0 1-0
L S U 112.8 112.9 113.5 113.1 0-0 1-0
Texas A&M 111.2 110.1 111.2 110.8 0-0 1-0
Ole Miss 107.8 107.5 108.6 107.9 0-0 1-0
Arkansas 109.4 106.5 107.7 107.9 0-0 1-0
SEC Averages 113.9 112.4 114.3 113.5
Sunbelt Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SBC Overall
Appalachian St. 91.5 92.8 92.8 92.3 0-0 0-1
Troy 89.2 90.7 90.8 90.2 0-0 0-1
Georgia Southern 82.7 83.9 82.6 83.1 0-0 1-0
Georgia St. 77.6 80.6 78.4 78.9 0-0 1-0
Coastal Carolina 73.8 76.7 74.2 74.9 0-0 0-1
West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average SBC Overall
Arkansas St. 88.0 89.8 89.7 89.2 0-0 1-0
UL-Monroe 87.1 86.5 87.9 87.2 0-0 1-0
South Alabama 81.9 84.4 83.3 83.2 0-0 0-1
Louisiana 79.3 81.5 80.3 80.4 0-0 1-0
Texas State 70.7 73.8 69.9 71.5 0-0 0-1
Sun Belt Averages 82.2 84.1 83.0 83.1

Conference Ratings

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 113.9 112.4 114.3 113.5
2 ACC 111.7 110.3 111.1 111.0
3 BTEN 110.5 108.6 109.9 109.7
4 P-12 108.6 107.2 108.5 108.1
5 B12 108.7 107.1 107.8 107.9
6 IND 95.2 95.3 95.5 95.3
7 AAC 94.5 95.1 94.4 94.7
8 MWC 93.1 93.7 93.1 93.3
9 MAC 89.5 91.3 90.0 90.2
10 CUSA 84.8 87.8 85.3 86.0
11 SBC 82.2 84.1 83.0 83.1

This Week’s PiRate Ratings’ Spreads

Friday September 7
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
SMU TCU -19.4 -19.5 -19.5
Saturday September 8
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Army Liberty 16.4 18.7 15.8
Coastal Carolina UAB -15.5 -15.1 -15.6
South Florida Georgia Tech -13.7 -9.1 -12.4
Michigan Western Michigan 32.7 29.3 32.3
Charlotte Appalachian St. -12.7 -11.6 -13.9
Purdue Eastern Michigan 21.3 18.2 19.5
Wisconsin New Mexico 38.8 33.8 39.2
Florida Atlantic Air Force 9.6 10.2 11.4
Old Dominion Florida Int’l. 2.3 2.3 1.7
Northwestern Duke 4.6 5.0 5.8
Kansas St. Mississippi St. -13.1 -11.1 -13.8
Houston Arizona -3.9 -0.5 -3.2
Vanderbilt Nevada 8.4 9.3 8.3
North Carolina St. Georgia St. 39.1 35.2 38.0
Oklahoma UCLA 26.6 25.4 29.8
Utah St. New Mexico St. 24.4 22.9 25.7
Central Michigan Kansas -4.9 0.0 -2.1
UNLV UTEP 23.6 22.0 24.9
Navy Memphis -7.7 -7.0 -9.9
East Carolina North Carolina -21.0 -20.9 -21.5
Ohio St. Rutgers 31.0 29.4 33.6
Temple Buffalo 0.8 -1.6 0.1
South Carolina Georgia -15.8 -12.1 -18.0
UTSA Baylor -21.3 -14.2 -19.8
Alabama Arkansas St. 48.6 44.4 48.6
Nebraska Colorado 2.6 -0.8 -1.4
Southern Miss. UL-Monroe -2.3 1.7 -2.6
Notre Dame Ball St. 50.4 44.0 49.2
Iowa Iowa St. 4.8 4.1 4.3
Bowling Green Maryland -17.1 -15.0 -15.2
Georgia Southern Massachusetts -4.8 -5.6 -6.7
Texas A&M Clemson -17.8 -15.5 -18.6
Missouri Wyoming 19.6 17.8 21.4
Indiana Virginia -1.3 -2.9 -0.2
Florida Kentucky 10.4 9.2 11.4
Northern Illinois Utah -12.8 -9.8 -13.7
Minnesota Fresno St. 0.5 1.3 0.3
Colorado St. Arkansas -25.8 -21.6 -24.0
Miami (O) Cincinnati 2.9 3.9 4.8
Texas Tulsa 20.9 20.9 19.4
Oklahoma St. South Alabama 34.3 29.4 32.3
Pittsburgh Penn St. -8.7 -5.7 -9.7
Stanford USC 10.8 9.7 12.2
BYU California -8.0 -4.4 -7.0
Boise St. Connecticut 34.4 33.8 36.9
Arizona St. Michigan St. -15.1 -14.3 -16.2
Washington St. San Jose St. 35.3 33.6 36.0
Hawaii Rice 13.3 12.4 13.1

This Week’s Bowl and Playoff Projections

Bowl Conferences Team 1 Team 2
New Mexico MWC CUSA Wyoming Louisiana Tech
Cure AAC SBC Navy Appalachian St.
Las Vegas MWC Pac-12 Fresno St. Arizona St.
Camellia MAC SBC Northern Illinois Georgia Southern
New Orleans CUSA SBC Western Kentucky Louisiana-Lafayette
Boca Raton MAC CUSA Ohio U Florida Int’l.
Frisco AAC MAC Cincinnati Buffalo
Gasparilla AAC CUSA Memphis Marshall
Bahamas AAC CUSA Central Florida North Texas
Idaho Potato MAC MWC Toledo Utah St.
Birmingham AAC SEC [UAB] [UL-Monroe]
Armed Forces AAC Big 12 Houston [BYU]
Dollar General MAC SBC Western Michigan Troy
Hawaii CUSA MWC Florida Atlantic Hawaii
Heart of Dallas Big Ten CUSA [California] Southern Miss.
Quick Lane ACC Big Ten Virginia [Army]
Cactus Big 12 Pac-12 [Air Force] Colorado
Independence ACC SEC Miami (Fla.) [Middle Tennessee]
Pinstripe ACC Big Ten North Carolina St. Minnesota
Texas Big 12 SEC Iowa St. Texas A&M
Music City ACC/Big Ten SEC Louisville Arkansas
Camping World ACC Big 12 Boston College West Virginia
Arizona MWC SBC San Diego St. Arkansas St.
Alamo Big 12 Pac-12 Oklahoma St. Oregon
Belk ACC SEC Virginia Tech South Carolina
Peach At-large At-large TCU Boise St.
Military AAC ACC South Florida Duke
Sun ACC Pac-12 Georgia Tech Utah
San Francisco Big Ten Pac-12 Iowa Washington St.
Liberty Big 12 SEC Kansas St. Missouri
Holiday Big Ten Pac-12 Michigan Stanford
Gator ACC/Big Ten SEC Northwestern LSU
Outback Big Ten SEC Penn St. Auburn
Fiesta At-large At-large USC Ohio St.
Citrus ACC/Big Ten SEC Wisconsin Mississippi St.
Rose Big Ten Pac-12 Michigan St. Washington
Sugar Big 12 SEC Oklahoma Florida
FBS PLAYOFFS
Cotton FBS PLAYOFF Alabama Notre Dame
Orange FBS PLAYOFF Clemson Georgia
National Championship Game Semifinal Winners Alabama Clemson
Teams in [Brackets] are at-large selections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 16, 2018

2018 Big 12 Conference Preview

Note: The preseason ratings you see in the previews may not be the same as the ratings you see for the first game. We update every team’s rating based on player injuries, changes to the depth charts, and other factors that may change during preseason practice.
Our Power 5 Conference preseason ratings and won-loss predictions were figured before knowing the outcome of recent suspensions to Coaches Urban Meyer and D.J. Durkin at Ohio State and Maryland. Because our ratings set 100.0 as average, and the mean of all 130 teams must be 100.0, taking points away from Ohio State and Maryland require redistributing points to the other 128 teams. Expect these ratings to change prior to August 25.

Today, the PiRates begin to preview the Power 5 conferences. With five leagues and four playoff spots, one Power 5 conference is guaranteed to miss out every year. Last year, with two SEC teams making it, two Power 5 leagues did not make the cut. The Big 12 was one of the fortunate leagues as Oklahoma won the revived Big 12 Conference Championship Game and gave Georgia all it could handle in the National Semifinals before losing in overtime.
The Sooners still have quite a lot of talent remaining in Norman, but Coach Lincoln Riley faces a minor reloading project. Because Texas, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Iowa State are solid this year, and because this league is the only one in which every team plays every other, we believe the champion could easily be 7-2 and miss out on the playoffs.

Oklahoma has stolen the title of Quarterback U. from BYU and Stanford in the last 20 seasons. From Josh Heupel to to Jason White to Paul Thompson to Sam Bradford to Landry Jones to Trevor Knight, the Sooners always had an A+ passing attack and sometimes complimentary running threat. However, Baker Mayfield was in an A++ class by himself. Mayfield averaged 11.5 yards per passing ATTEMPT when most NCAA teams do not average 11.5 yards per completion these days! He threw 43 touchdown passes versus just 6 interceptions. Oklahoma averaged 362 passing yards per game to go with 218 rushing yards per game and Riley’s first year offense scored 45 points per game.
Mayfield is now the new hope in Cleveland, and Oklahoma turns to another future pro as their new quarterback. Kyler Murray will be playing for pay soon, but it will not be in football. He signed with the Oakland Athletics for $4.66 million, and one has to wonder if every time Murray drops back to pass against blitzing monsters, he will subconsciously think about that contract and throw the ball a bit too soon to avoid an injury that would end his baseball career before it starts.
Oklahoma will still be the decided favorite to win the Big 12 thanks to the running game. Backs Rodney Anderson and Trey Sermon teamed up to run the ball 309 times for 1,905 yards. They combined to catch 33 passes for 420 additional yards. They scored 25 total touchdowns, and the dynamic duo have another fine offensive line opening holes for them this year.
Murray will have a trio of top flight receivers catching his passes this year. Marquise Brown, CeeDee Lamb, and Mykel Jones all have the quickness to turn a 7 yard route into a 50 yard touchdown.

If Oklahoma falters this year, or should we say when, it will be because the opponent scored points easier than they could. The Sooner defense is vulnerable this year with a green secondary and a questionable pass rush following the loss of some incredible talent. Linebacker Kenneth Murray and cornerback Parnell Motley return, but the Sooners lost too much talent from a defense that gave up 27 points per game last year, and a couple opponents will top 40 points and most likely beat OU in 2018. The schedule doesn’t offer much help, as the Sooners always play Texas in Dallas and face West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State on the road. 10-2 looks like the ceiling for this team.

Tom Herman’s first season at Texas was somewhat positive and somewhat disappointing. The Longhorns did not immediately take to his spread offense, and the offense was not as strong last year as it was during Charlie Strong’s final season. The defense was strong and kept the burnt orange in many games. Narrow losses to USC, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech could easily flip to the win column this year, as UT is poised to be a serious contender in the conference race and stands a good chance of making the Big 12 Championship Game.

Sam Ehlinger appears to have a slight lead over Shane Buechele to be under center when the Longhorns kick off the season against Maryland. The Longhorn roster is short on talent at running back and receiver, and the offensive line is good but not outstanding, but there is room for improvements. Expect Texas to increase their offensive output by a little.

It’s the defense that will allow the ‘Horns to possibly contend for the Big 12 title. Ironically, Herman, the offensive guru lowered the point total given up by 10 points a game over prior defensive guru coach Strong. Texas gave up 21 points per game in 2017, which is about like giving up 15 points a game in other Power 5 conferences. As good as the defense was last year, this year’s edition will be better, maybe much better. The roster is packed with talented stars, especially in the trenches, where ends Charles Omenihu and Breckyn Hager are the best duo in the league. Anthony Wheeler anchors the second line of defense from his middle linebacker position. He’ll team with Gary Johnson and Malcolm Roach to form the best trio in the league. Arguably, Texas also has the best secondary in the league with potential All-American Kris Boyd returning at cornerback.

The schedule is as favorable for the Longhorns as it is unfavorable for Oklahoma, so we believe Texas has a grand chance at earning one of the two playoff spots.

West Virginia is the sexy choice this year to win the Big 12. The Mountaineers have the top quarterback in the league, when he remains healthy. Will Grier was 6-0 as the quarterback at Florida in 2015. He is 12-4 lifetime at Florida and West Virginia, but he has not complete either season in his short career. His season ended last year in the Texas game when he suffered a fractured finger. When healthy, Grier is a difference maker. He was fifth nationally in passer efficiency rating.

Grier has two elite receivers returning in Gary Jennings and David Sills. The duo teamed up for 157 receptions last year; Jennings is the possession receiver, and Sills is the touchdown machine. For any passing team to be consistently good, the pass blocking has to be outstanding, and the Mountaineers have that type of interior line, as good as the line at Oklahoma.

What will likely keep WVU in the 8-win area is a porous defense. The Mountaineers gave up 31.5 points per game and did so by allowing more than 200 yard rushing and 200 yard passing. It may be considered a good thing that most of that weak defense is no longer around, but the Mountaineers will actually take a step back this year with major concerns on the front line and in the secondary. There is talent in every unit, but not enough to be a force in the league. Linebacker David Long returns after making 15 1/2 tackles for loss last year. Defensive end Ezekiel Rose led the team with 5 sacks, while Dravon Askew-Henry mans the highly important spur safety (a hybrid safety-linebacker position that can make the defense a 3-4 or 3-3-5) spot.

West Virginia has two tough non-conference opponents to face prior to Big 12 play. They open with Tennessee in Charlotte, North Carolina, and two weeks later, they play at North Carolina State. The close the season with a home game against Oklahoma, which could have serious conference championship implications for one or both teams.
Oklahoma State’s string of three consecutive double-digit win seasons is in serious jeopardy in 2018. The Cowboys’ spectacular passing game will take a major hit this year. Mason Rudolph led the nation with more than 4,900 passing yards last year. That number in 13 games topped every NFL quarterback by almost 400 yards! Rudolph is now a backup to Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh. New OSU quarterback Dru Brown has never taken a snap as the Cowboy quarterback, but he’s not a newcomer to FBS football. Brown started the past two years for Hawaii, and he will assume the controls of Coach

Mike Gundy’s offense and bring a new style to the team. Brown does not have Rudolph’s arm strength or quick release, but he can take off and run for a lot of yards in a scramble. OSU might even add a wrinkle or two where Brown fakes to top-flight running back Justice Hill and boots in the opposite direction. Defenses will have to concentrate extra defenders when Hill is a running threat. He burned defenses for 1,467 rushing yards and 15 TDs, while coming out of the backfield to catch 31 passes.
Losing two star receivers that caught 133 passes for 2,705 yards and 21 socres is going to make the passing numbers go down more than having Brown replace Rudolph. OSU still has talent in the receiving corps, but James Washington and Marcell Ateman are not easily replaced.

The Cowboy offensive line is rebuilding this year, and the holes and pass protection just won’t be there like they were the last three years. Oklahoma State averaged 45 points per game in 2017 and finished second in the nation with 569 total yards per game. The numbers could take a 10-point and 100-yard hit this year. The defense might be marginally improved over last season, but after giving up 29.4 points per game, improving to 28 per game may mean the win total will be reduced by two or three.

TCU has more offensive retooling to do than Oklahoma State, as they lost quarterback Kenny Hill, running back Kyle Hicks, their top three receivers, and three offensive linemen. The Horned Frogs feature defense first, and there is enough talent returning to continue the stellar play on this side of the ball in 2018, but not excellent enough to return to the Big 12 Championship Game. There is talent in all three units, led by end Ben Banogu. Last year, Banogu made 16 1/2 tackles behind the line including 8 1/2 sacks. He forced three fumbles in the process.

Stong-side linebacker Ty Summers can stop the run at the line for little or no gain, and he can cover the short passing zones with competence. Safety Niko Small leads a talented secondary that should continue to limit opponent passing by about 25-30 yards under their average.

TCU led all Big 12 teams in scoring defense, rushing defense, and passing defense. It will take a repeat of that feat to contend for second place in the league, and even if the Frogs repeat, the offense may be off just enough to come up a win short.

Iowa State was a major surprise in 2017, as the Cyclones topped Oklahoma in Norman and TCU in October on the way to an 8-5 season. Coach Matt Campbell, who had previously done wonders at Toledo, became a hot commodity in the big-time coaching market, and another 8-win season in Ames could see several rich offers coming his way. The Cyclones left something on the table last year, as narrow losses to Iowa in overtime, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State could have made 2018 a historic high in Ames.

The Cyclones actually return more starters than any of the other contenders in the league, but overall, they are still a few players short from becoming a serious contender. Quarterback Kyle Kempt was the major cog that turned the season around for ISU, as he torched Oklahoma’s defense for 343 passing yards and three touchdowns. His being granted a 6th year of eligibility means that ISU is an outside contender for the Big 12 Championship Game. Stubby back David Montgomery bulled his way to 1,146 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He won’t run the toss sweep down the sideline for a long touchdown, but he rarely goes down on first contact, and it frequently takes two defenders to bring him to the ground.

The receiving corps lost a stud in Allen Lazard, who is turning heads in Jacksonville as an undrafted free-agent that will most likely make the Jaguars’ roster. Hakeem Butler was a fine second option last year, and he should be the go-to guy this year, as the other receivers on the roster are possession receivers lacking the ability to turn a 7-yard pattern into a 50-yard gain.

Iowa State’s big jump happened because the defense no longer resembled 11 matadors against bulls with the letter “O” somewhere on their helmets. The Cyclones finished a close second to TCU in scoring defense last year. Enough talent returns this year to keep this unit strong. The front seven is second or third best in the league. As weak-side edge rusher JaQuan Bailey goes, so goes the ISU pass defense. Bailey has the ability to meet the quarterback about one second after the quarterback takes his fifth step in his drop. Defenses will have to double up on him, so it will be important for outside linebacker Willie Harvey to step up and improve on last year’s numbers.

Kansas State enters most seasons as an also-ran in the league, but the Wildcats always beat one or two teams they are not supposed to beat. KSU knocked off Oklahoma State in Stillwater and then knocked off Iowa State to earn a Cactus Bowl bid at the 11th hour last year. The Wildcats lost close games to Vanderbilt, Texas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, meaning they were not farm from being 12-1. Only TCU dominated them on the scoreboard. Expect more of the same in 2018, as Coach Bill Snyder guides his team to one or two upsets and earns yet another bowl bid.

Texas Tech has not been a factor in the Big 12 race since Mike Leach was fired. The Red Raiders tried the Tommy Tuberville way for a few years and fell back into the middle of the pack. Former TTU quarterback Kliff Kingsbury has taken the program down another couple notches, as the Raiders have struggled to get six wins during his tenure. If Kingsbury cannot right the ship this year and take his team up a notch or so, there probably will be a new man walking the sidelines at Jones Stadium next year. Prospects are not all that excellent for this TTU edition. The team has not been able to produce a running game that forces defensive coaches to have to stop it, so the passing game has to “struggle” to put up gawdy numbers. Too often, the defense stays on the field too long and tires, eventually succumbing to opposing offenses that punish tired defenses. The Red Raiders gave up 444 yards per game and 32+ points per game last year, and the schedule offers them no favors with out of conference games against Ole Miss and Houston. Additionally, the one toss-up game on the conference schedule, versus Kansas State, will be played in the Little Apple, making KSU a decided favorite.

Baylor has a long way to go to return to prominence. Matt Rhule turned the program around at Temple, but quite frankly, that was easier than having to win in the Lone Star State where 100 FBS teams recruit the state like they play their home games in Dallas. The Bears were plainly the ninth best team in the league, both offensively and defensively. They lost at home to Liberty, and had it not been for the worst FBS team also being a Big 12 team, BU could have gone 0-12 last year. There is a little talent in Waco this year, but it will take a gargantuan improvement for the Bears to improve from one to six wins. Having the easiest opening schedule of any Big 12 team could allow Baylor to enter October with two or three wins, but they may lose out the rest of the way.

Kansas is worse in the Big 12 than the Cleveland Browns are in the AFC North Division. The Jayhawks went 1-11 last year with the lone win coming against FCS member Southeast Missouri State, a team that went 3-8 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Coach David Beaty is now 3-33 in Lawrence through three years. He won’t see a fifth season if he is 4-44 after this season. The Jayhawks should be a better team this year, especially on defense, but then it is harder to be worse when you finish in last place in the league in offense and defense and lose to the next weakest team at home by more than four touchdowns!

Here is how the Big 12 Conference Media voted in the preseason poll

Big 12 1st Place Points
1. Oklahoma 46 509
2. West Virginia 2 432
3. TCU 1 390
4. Texas 1 370
5. Oklahoma St. 0 300
6. Kansas St. 2 283
7. Iowa St. 0 250
8. Texas Tech 0 149
9. Baylor 0 125
10. Kansas 0 52

The PiRate Ratings differ somewhat after the top.

Big 12 Conference
Team B12 Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 0-0 0-0 119.5 117.7 119.8 119.0
Texas 0-0 0-0 113.2 111.9 112.8 112.6
Oklahoma St. 0-0 0-0 113.2 110.8 112.7 112.2
T C U 0-0 0-0 112.7 112.0 111.5 112.0
Iowa State 0-0 0-0 110.7 108.8 110.2 109.9
West Virginia 0-0 0-0 110.0 108.8 109.1 109.3
Kansas St. 0-0 0-0 107.4 106.0 106.8 106.7
Texas Tech 0-0 0-0 106.0 104.0 104.2 104.7
Baylor 0-0 0-0 102.9 100.6 102.3 101.9
Kansas 0-0 0-0 93.9 92.3 91.6 92.6
Big 12 Averages 108.9 107.3 108.1 108.1

New Coaches
There are no new coaches in the Big 12 this year, but there are a couple on very hot seats, and 2019 might see some new faces.

David Beaty needs to show some kind of advancement at Kansas, or the Jayhawks will be in the market for a new coach, possibly one from the Dakotas and the FCS ranks.
Kliff Kingsbury needs to win at least seven regular season games and look competitive in the losses, or else Texas Tech may look to move in another direction, maybe hiring a power-style coach.

Dana Holgorsen cannot afford to see West Virginia disappoint this season with so much offensive firepower. Anything short of nine wins would be a disappointment, and there are some restless fans in Morgantown.

Matt Campbell can do no wrong in the eyes of the fans at Iowa State. However, another 8-win season would most likely see him receive job offers with contracts too rich for Iowa State to match or top. His name has already been bantered among heavy-hitters at Ohio State should Urban Meyer be dismissed.

Predicted Won-Loss Records
Note: These predicted won-loss records are strictly mechanical based on the initial PiRate Ratings. No upsets are factored in these predictions. Additionally, our PiRate Ratings are only useful for the next week of games and cannot really be used to forecast past that point. Part of our weekly adjustment to our ratings includes a factor where depth issues or non-issues have been pre-set. In other words, a team without talented second stringers may lose ratings points as the season progresses even if they win games by the predicted margin, whereas a team with exceptional depth (like Alabama) will improve during the season and see its rating rise even if they win games by a little less than the predicted margin. What we’re saying is: don’t take these numbers with anything more than a grain of salt.   

Team Conference Overall
Oklahoma 9-0 13-0*
Oklahoma St. 7-2 10-3
Texas 7-2 10-2
TCU 6-3 8-4
Iowa St. 5-4 7-5
West Virginia 5-4 7-5
Kansas St. 3-6 5-7
Baylor 2-7 4-8
Texas Tech 1-8 3-9
Kansas 0-9 2-10

 

Bowl Tie-ins
1. Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, LA
2. Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, TX
3. Camping World Bowl in Orlando, FL
4. Texas Bowl in Houston, TX
5. Liberty Bowl in Memphis, TN
6. Cactus Bowl in Tucson, AZ
7. Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, TX

Coming Tomorrow–The Pac-12 Conference

June 10, 2018

The PiRates Are Hard At Work For Football Season

Hello Mates.

This is the head PiRate telling you that we have set sail and are on our way out to the green sea, otherwise known as the Football Field.

We have already begun to update our college football ratings for the 2018 season.  We have a unique way of updating our ratings from the end of the previous season to the beginning of the new season.  We have point values assigned to every starting and backup position on offense and defense plus an overall rating for the components of special teams.

For instance, as it should be obvious, the Quarterback is the most important position in college football.  So, we take special care in determining how many points better or worse each of the 130 teams is in week one compared to their final game of the year before by adding or subtracting points based on the QB.  We look at certain analytics data, just like baseball teams look at advanced statistics.  We actually have our own version of WAR for college football.  Instead of Batting, Fielding, and Pitching WAR, we have offense, defense, and special teams WAR, only instead of putting the final numbers into wins above average, we use points per game above average.  In the PiRate Ratings, a rating of 100.0 is average.  If a quarterback is worth 6.3 points better than an average QB, then before we look at the reserves, a team that is totally average at every other position would begin the season at 106.3 for this particular piece of the ratings’ puzzle.  If a quarterback has been determined to be 3.8 points below average, it would reduce the average team from 100.0 to 96.2.

On offense, the receiving corps is the next most important part of the equation, while the offensive line and running back corps are equal in importance as the last two parts.

Defensively, we look at all three units as they play against the run and the pass.  Stopping the pass is more important these days than stopping the run.  Interceptions, Passes Broken Up, Sacks, and Hurries are all parts of the Pass defense stats we look at.  We also have special ratings for nose guards that have the responsibility of taking up space and keeping blockers away from the linebackers, as these heroes of the trenches rarely show up in box scores, until one of the behemoths gets injured, and his replacement prevents the star will linebacker from making his usual 14 tackles with 2 for loss.

We have an intangible part of this equation as well.  Say a team has a change in coaches.  The old coach was a spread option or flexbone disciple, while the new coach is an air raid disciple.  It’s going to take 2-4 years to fully implement the changes, as that five foot nine inch triple option QB is not going to work as a dropback passer.

Another example in an intangible is the team that had 9 key injuries the year before, and 8 of the 9 return at 100% after missing parts or all of the year before.

In 2018, there will be a case where a potential all-star junior quarterback will transfer from one Power 5 school to another and be immediately eligible.  This will have major effects on his new team, much more than if he were the top incoming freshman in the nation.  This QB has already proven himself in a power conference, while the top incoming freshman only proved himself in Georgia high school action.  There is a difference as deep as the Grand Canyon in comparing the two, even though the incoming freshman might eventually become the next John Elway.  The seasoned starter showed what he could do when he passed for close to 350 yards against Auburn, while the freshman threw for 220 yards against Troup County High School.

This is just one piece of a 5-prong process.  We rate each team against every other team using 5 different processes.  Once we are done, we use three different algorithms to come up with a PiRate, Mean, and Bias rating for each of the 130 teams.  The PiRate and Bias differ by very little, so they will frequently be highly correlated, while the Mean rating is somewhat different than the other two, because it takes the equally-weighted average of the five ratings, while the other two apply heavier weights to some of the five components.  Because they share the exact same weighting of the prong we showed you above, these two tend to stay correlated.

We know we have a lot of advanced mathematicians reading our blog, and we are grateful for your patronage.  We try to make this more analytically dominated than you might get from other sports rating sites and even break down the fourth wall from time to time to show you what we do.

If you are not a math fan and just love football, then fear not.  We still hope to have computer ratings that are as accurate as possible, and we still will make fools of ourselves weekly to issue free picks that you can then take and gift to Las Vegas if you are foolish enough to not realize that these picks are worth exactly what you pay for them.

We have 10 weeks to go.  With a lot of late night work, we hope to have the ratings ready for you in 9 weeks max.

Thanks,

The Captain

March 16, 2018

PiRate Ratings Spreads For NCAA Tournament Games of Friday, March 16

Friday’s PiRate Rating Spreads For NCAA Tournament Games

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Texas A&M Providence 3.8
Purdue Cal St. Fullerton 17.0
Wichita St. Marshall 9.4
Cincinnati Georgia St. 12.7
North Carolina Lipscomb 17.4
Arkansas Butler -1.2
West Virginia Murray St. 6.3
Nevada Texas 2.5
Creighton Kansas St. 2.5
Michigan St. Bucknell 12.8
Xavier Texas Southern 20.0
Auburn Charleston 11.9
Virginia MD-Baltimore Co. 20.6
TCU Syracuse 4.3
Missouri Florida St. -1.1
Clemson New Mexico St. 4.1

Today’s NCAA Tournament Schedule

Friday, Mar 16, 2018
TIME Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
12:15 PM 7 Texas A&M 10 Providence Charlotte CBS
12:40 PM 2 Purdue 15 Cal St. Fullerton Detroit truTV
1:30 PM 4 Wichita St. 13 Marshall San Diego TNT
2:00 PM 2 Cincinnati 15 Georgia St. Nashville TBS
2:45 PM 2 North Carolina 15 Lipscomb Charlotte CBS
3:10 PM 7 Arkansas 10 Butler Detroit truTV
4:00 PM 5 West Virginia 12 Murray St. San Diego TNT
4:30 PM 7 Nevada 10 Texas Nashville TBS
6:50 PM 8 Creighton 9 Kansas St. Charlotte TNT
7:10 PM 3 Michigan St. 14 Bucknell Detroit CBS
7:20 PM 1 Xavier 16 Texas Southern Nashville TBS
7:27 PM 4 Auburn 13 Charleston San Diego truTV
9:20 PM 1 Virginia 16 MD-Baltimore Co. Charlotte TNT
9:40 PM 6 TCU 11 Syracuse Detroit CBS
9:50 PM 8 Missouri 9 Florida St. Nashville TBS
9:57 PM 5 Clemson 12 New Mexico St. San Diego truTV

Saturday’s Schedule

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018
TIME Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
12:10 PM 1 Villanova 9 Alabama Pittsburgh CBS
2:40 PM 2 Duke 7 Rhode Island Pittsburgh CBS
5:15 PM 5 Kentucky 13 Buffalo Boise, ID CBS
6:10 PM 3 Tennessee 11 Loyola (Chi.) Dallas TNT
7:10 PM 1 Kansas 8 Seton Hall Wichita, KS TBS
7:45 PM 4 Gonzaga 5 Ohio St. Boise, ID CBS
8:40 PM 3 North Texas 6 Florida Dallas TNT
9:40 PM 3 Michigan 6 Houston Wichita, KS TBS

Bracket Results To Date: 15-5

Today’s Criteria Bracket Picks

Virginia over Maryland-Baltimore Co.

Creighton over Kansas St.

Texas over Nevada

Cincinnati over Georgia St.

Xavier over Texas Southern

Missouri over Florida St.

Texas A&M over Providence

North Carolina over Lipscomb

West Virginia over Murray St.

Wichita St. over Marshall

Butler over Arkansas

Purdue over Cal. St. Fullerton

Clemson over New Mexico St.

Auburn over College of Charleston

Syracuse over TCU

Michigan St. over Bucknell

 

 

 

March 14, 2018

PiRate Ratings Spreads For NCAA Tournament Games of Wed., March 14

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
UNC-Central Texas Southern -2.8
Arizona St. Syracuse 1.9

Tournament Schedule

All Times Eastern Daylight

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018
TIME Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
6:40 PM 16 UNC-Central 16 Texas Southern Dayton, OH truTV
9:10 PM 11 Arizona St. 11 Syracuse Dayton, OH truTV

 

Thursday, Mar 15, 2018
TIME Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
12:15 PM 7 Rhode Island 10 Oklahoma Pittsburgh CBS
12:40 PM 3 Tennessee 14 Wright St. Dallas truTV
1:30 PM 4 Gonzaga 13 UNC-Greensboro Boise, ID TNT
2:00 PM 1 Kansas 16 Penn Wichita, KS TBS
2:45 PM 2 Duke 15 Iona Pittsburgh CBS
3:10 PM 6 Miami (Fla.) 11 Loyola (Chi.) Dallas truTV
4:00 PM 5 Ohio St. 12 South Dakota St. Boise, ID TNT
4:30 PM 8 Seton Hall 9 North Carolina St. Wichita, KS TBS
6:50 PM 1 Villanova 16 Radford Pittsburgh TNT
7:10 PM 5 Kentucky 12 Davidson Boise, ID CBS
7:20 PM 6 Houston 11 San Diego St Wichita, KS TBS
7:27 PM 3 Texas Tech 14 Stephen F. Austin Dallas truTV
9:20 PM 8 Virginia Tech 9 Alabama Pittsburgh TNT
9:40 PM 4 Arizona 13 Buffalo Boise, ID CBS
9:50 PM 3 Michigan 14 Montana Wichita, KS TBS
9:57 PM 6 Florida 11 St. Bonaventure Dallas truTV

 

Friday, Mar 16, 2018
TIME Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
12:15 PM 7 Texas A&M 10 Providence Charlotte CBS
12:40 PM 2 Purdue 15 Cal St. Fullerton Detroit truTV
1:30 PM 4 Wichita St. 13 Marshall San Diego TNT
2:00 PM 2 Cincinnati 15 Georgia St. Nashville TBS
2:45 PM 2 North Carolina 15 Lipscomb Charlotte CBS
3:10 PM 7 Arkansas 10 Butler Detroit truTV
4:00 PM 5 West Virginia 12 Murray St. San Diego TNT
4:30 PM 7 Nevada 10 Texas Nashville TBS
6:50 PM 8 Creighton 9 Kansas St. Charlotte TNT
7:10 PM 3 Michigan St. 14 Bucknell Detroit CBS
7:20 PM 1 Xavier 16 UNCC/Tex Sou. Nashville TBS
7:27 PM 4 Auburn 13 Charleston San Diego truTV
9:20 PM 1 Virginia 16 MD-Baltimore Co. Charlotte TNT
9:40 PM 6 TCU 11 Ariz.St./Syracuse Detroit CBS
9:50 PM 8 Missouri 9 Florida St. Nashville TBS
9:57 PM 5 Clemson 12 New Mexico St. San Diego truTV

 

Note: Virginia’s outstanding 6th Man De’Andre Hunter is out for the season, and this will knock the Cavaliers down a few notches in our criteria.  If you have not submitted your brackets yet, you might take this into consideration, as the Cavaliers have lost a potent weapon that could play anywhere on the floor.  He was to Virginia what John Havlicek was to the Boston Celtics in the 1960’s, the 6th man that was the secret sauce of Red Auerbach’s extended success.  Without Hunter, Virginia reverts back to a great defensive team that lacks enough offensive power to beat an athletic opponent the likes of Arizona or Cincinnati.  Hunter was instrumental in helping the Cavs secure two wins over Syracuse, and road wins against Miami and Virginia Tech.

 

The PiRates New Criteria Shows Beginner’s Luck

Did you read our lengthy piece yesterday pertaining to our brand new paradigm?  The PiRates scrapped our old, archaic system of picking brackets and debuted our new mostly statistical metric based criteria.

We were not sure how successful it might be in the first year of its existence, and we are sure we will need to tweak it some in the ensuing years, but we started out with a bang last night.

We hit both games and basically called how St. Bonaventure would send the Sons of Westwood home to SoCal.  We wrote that we believed the Bonnies would force turnovers on the Bruins, which would be the deciding factor in the game, and it was spot on.

We are reminded that a broken watch is also correct twice a day.

 

 

 

 

 

March 11, 2018

PiRate Ratings’ Bracket Gurus’ Final Predictions For the Field of 68

That Darn Davidson
Call it the Steph Curry Effect. It would happen that the one bid-stealing team in the Conference Tournament part of March Madness would be a team from a conference that played its championship game on Selection Sunday afternoon.

 
At least the Selection Committee had to deal with this contingency as well. If our Bracket Gurus know their stuff, they believe that bubble burst popping sound you just heard emanated from Moraga, California, and Saint Mary’s just became a number one seed in the NIT.

What about the other near miss teams?  Our gurus believe (but not unanimously) the bubbles had already burst on Louisville, Middle Tennessee State, Syracuse, Marquette, Baylor, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma St.

Now, with Davidson getting in with the automatic bid, some non-guru bracketologists might simple place the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament and remove A-10 member St. Bonaventure. It doesn’t work like that. All of our Gurus already locked the Bonnies into the field. Saint Mary’s had the bottom score of the 68 teams, and with the Gaels sulking as they prepare to host an NIT game (or if our Gurus miss), now the #68 team is Arizona St. The Sun Devils are not really affected by the upset in D.C., if our Gurus have it right. They were already headed to Dayton as one of the Last Four in.

The team other than Saint Mary’s that suffered from Davidson’s win is the former last team in with a bye. USC was the number 64 team on the seed line, but after Davidson removed Saint Mary’s from the 11-seed line, it knocked the Trojans down to the fourth weakest Guru score. Thus, the Trojans are picked to join Arizona State, St. Bonaventure, and Texas in First Four games in Dayton.

Our Gurus had a difficult time narrowing the field of 68 from a field of 71. Word leaked out of the Selection Committee early Sunday morning, that all but one at-large spot had been determined prior to any games this afternoon. Our Gurus took that as a slap across 14 faces. If the Committee had it down to 69, then they could too. Between 8AM and Noon Eastern Time today, the Gurus agreed to vote Louisville, Middle Tennessee St., Marquette, and Syracuse off the Madness Island. Pending the outcome of the Davidson-Rhode Island game, the Gurus had the teams selected. A couple of late games might have affected a couple of seeds, as Cincinnati and Tennessee could swap with a Volunteer win and Bearcat loss. Tennessee lost to Kentucky in the SEC Championship, so Cincinnati should stay where they are, win or lose in the AAC Championship Game, which is about to tip off.
Since we are going to press before the American Athletic Conference Tournament ends, we told our Gurus to assume that Cincinnati wins the game and keeps their high seed.  There is a chance a Cinti loss could elevate another team from three to two seed, but we believe the Committee doesn’t want to mess with this contingency this late in the game.  We figured that time was more of the essence than waiting for the last game to finish.
So, with that in mind, here is the PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus’ Final Prediction. If we get 68 out of 68 again this year, it will be a minor miracle. It wasn’t easy for the Gurus to come close to a consensus. Middle Tennessee, Louisville, Syracuse, Marquette, and Baylor all received at least one vote out of 14 Guru lists. Saint Mary’s, Arizona St., and Texas were left off at least 3 of the 14 ballots.

 

Seed Team Conference
1 Virginia ACC
1 Villanova B-EAST
1 Xavier B-EAST
1 Kansas B12
2 Duke ACC
2 Purdue B-TEN
2 North Carolina ACC
2 Cincinnati AAC
3 Michigan St. B-TEN
3 Tennessee SEC
3 Michigan B-TEN
3 Auburn SEC
4 West Virginia B12
4 Arizona PAC-12
4 Texas Tech B12
4 Wichita St. AAC
5 Clemson ACC
5 Gonzaga WCC
5 Kentucky SEC
5 Ohio St. B-TEN
6 Houston AAC
6 Florida SEC
6 Miami (Fla.) ACC
6 Arkansas SEC
7 Texas A&M SEC
7 TCU B12
7 Rhode Island A-10
7 Seton Hall B-EAST
8 Nevada MWC
8 Virginia Tech ACC
8 Missouri SEC
8 Providence B-EAST
9 Alabama SEC
9 Butler B-EAST
9 Florida St. ACC
9 Creighton B-EAST
10 North Carolina St. ACC
10 Kansas St. B12
10 UCLA PAC-12
10 Oklahoma B12
11 USC PAC-12
11 Texas B12
11 St. Bonaventure A-10
11 Arizona St. PAC-12
11 Loyola (Chi.) MVC
11 San Diego St. MWC
12 New Mexico St. WAC
12 South Dakota St. SUMMIT
12 Buffalo MAC
12 Davidson A-10
13 Murray St. OVC
13 UNC-Greensboro SOCON
13 Marshall CUSA
13 Charleston CAA
14 Bucknell PATRIOT
14 Montana B-SKY
14 Wright St. HORIZON
14 Georgia St./UT-Arlington SBC
15 Stephen F. Austin SLC
15 Lipscomb A-SUN
15 Iona MAAC
15 Penn IVY
16 MD-Baltimore Co. A-EAST
16 Cal St. Fullerton B-WEST
16 Long Island NEC
16 Radford B-SOUTH
16 UNC-Central MEAC
16 Texas Southern SWAC

Our Gurus’ Additional Picks

First Four Round in Dayton

11-seed line: Texas vs. Arizona St.

11-seed line: USC vs. St. Bonaventure

16-seed line: Long Island vs. Texas Southern

16-seed line: Radford vs. UNC-Central

 

Last 4 Byes

61. North Carolina St.

62. Kansas St.

63. UCLA

64. Oklahoma

 

First Four Out

69. Saint Mary’s

70. Middle Tennessee St.

71. Louisville

72. Syracuse

February 2, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for February 3-4, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:49 am

This Weekend’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

For Multi-Bid  Leagues

Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Connecticut Cincinnati -13.7
Central Florida Houston -3.0
East Carolina Memphis -6.4
St. John’s Duke -11.4
North Carolina St. Notre Dame 0.6
Wake Forest Clemson -4.1
Virginia Tech Miami (Fla.) 3.1
Syracuse Virginia -6.7
Louisville Florida St. 3.3
North Carolina Pittsburgh 21.9
Kansas Oklahoma St. 13.8
TCU Texas Tech 1.7
West Virginia Kansas St. 8.4
Texas Oklahoma 1.2
Baylor Iowa St. 8.6
Butler DePaul 12.9
Marquette Providence 4.9
Xavier Georgetown 15.4
Michigan Minnesota 9.7
Rutgers Purdue -16.9
Penn St. Iowa 6.7
Indiana Michigan St. -10.2
Wyoming Fresno St. 1.6
San Jose St. New Mexico -9.0
Boise St. UNLV 6.3
Colorado St. Nevada -13.3
San Diego St. Air Force 18.2
Stanford Oregon -0.5
UCLA USC 1.4
California Oregon St. -4.2
Washington Arizona -5.8
Missouri Kentucky 1.6
Texas A&M South Carolina 8.3
LSU Arkansas 0.2
Florida Alabama 7.6
Tennessee Ole Miss 12.1
Mississippi St. Georgia 2.8
Auburn Vanderbilt 12.8
Portland Loyola Marymount 1.1
San Diego Saint Mary’s -8.3
Gonzaga BYU 12.1
Pepperdine Pacific -6.1
Santa Clara San Francisco -4.1
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
South Florida Tulsa -9.8
Tulane Temple -2.1
Boston College Georgia Tech 5.7
Villanova Seton Hall 14.0
Ohio St. Illinois 11.7
Maryland Wisconsin 9.7
Washington St. Arizona St. -9.5

Note: As of last night’s games, with both Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky winning big road contests, Conference USA actually moved into multi-bid league status.  We apologize for not including CUSA games in this week’s preview, but if both MTSU and WKU win this weekend and mid-week, then CUSA will be included in next Friday’s preview.

Additionally, Boise State fell from at-large status into one of the First Four out, so the Mountain West Conference should not be included as a multiple bid league.  The update occurred after this week’s games had been rated and placed in our database.  If the MWC is still just a one for sure bid league next Friday, we will remove it from our preview, thus trading CUSA for MWC.  If neither or both leagues remain in the multiple bid leagues, we will cancel both or include both in next Friday’s preview, depending on the outcomes through next Thursday night.

The PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 122.2 BIGE
2 Purdue 121.4 BTEN
3 Duke 120.2 ACC
4 Virginia 119.2 ACC
5 Michigan St. 118.9 BTEN
6 Kansas 117.5 B12
7 Cincinnati 117.4 AAC
8 Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
9 Xavier 115.2 BIGE
10 North Carolina 115.1 ACC
11 Auburn 114.9 SEC
12 Tennessee 114.8 SEC
13 West Virginia 114.4 B12
14 Texas Tech 114.4 B12
15 Wichita St. 114.2 AAC
16 Creighton 113.5 BIGE
17 Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
18 Arizona 113.1 PAC12
19 TCU 113.1 B12
20 Saint Mary’s 112.9 WCC
21 Oklahoma 112.9 B12
22 Clemson 112.8 ACC
23 Nevada 112.4 MWC
24 Butler 112.4 BIGE
25 Florida St. 112.4 ACC

PiRate Ratings By Power Conference

Team PiRate Conf.
Cincinnati 117.4 AAC
Wichita St. 114.2 AAC
Houston 110.3 AAC
SMU 109.4 AAC
Temple 105.3 AAC
UCF 104.3 AAC
Tulsa 102.3 AAC
Tulane 100.2 AAC
Memphis 100.0 AAC
Connecticut 99.7 AAC
East Carolina 90.6 AAC
South Florida 89.5 AAC
Duke 120.2 ACC
Virginia 119.2 ACC
North Carolina 115.1 ACC
Clemson 112.8 ACC
Florida St. 112.4 ACC
Louisville 111.7 ACC
Miami FL 111.4 ACC
Virginia Tech 111.0 ACC
Notre Dame 110.8 ACC
Syracuse 108.5 ACC
North Carolina St. 107.4 ACC
Boston College 105.5 ACC
Wake Forest 105.2 ACC
Georgia Tech 103.3 ACC
Pittsburgh 96.7 ACC
Kansas 117.5 B12
West Virginia 114.4 B12
Texas Tech 114.4 B12
TCU 113.1 B12
Oklahoma 112.9 B12
Texas 110.6 B12
Kansas St. 110.0 B12
Baylor 109.9 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.2 B12
Iowa St. 104.8 B12
Villanova 122.2 BIGE
Xavier 115.2 BIGE
Creighton 113.5 BIGE
Butler 112.4 BIGE
Seton Hall 111.7 BIGE
Marquette 109.1 BIGE
Providence 107.7 BIGE
St. John’s 105.3 BIGE
Georgetown 103.3 BIGE
DePaul 102.5 BIGE
Purdue 121.4 BTEN
Michigan St. 118.9 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
Michigan 112.2 BTEN
Maryland 110.7 BTEN
Penn St. 109.1 BTEN
Nebraska 107.3 BTEN
Northwestern 107.2 BTEN
Minnesota 106.0 BTEN
Iowa 105.4 BTEN
Illinois 105.2 BTEN
Indiana 105.2 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.0 BTEN
Rutgers 101.5 BTEN
Nevada 112.4 MWC
Boise St. 108.9 MWC
San Diego St. 107.8 MWC
UNLV 105.6 MWC
Fresno St. 104.8 MWC
New Mexico 102.4 MWC
Wyoming 102.4 MWC
Utah St. 101.3 MWC
Colorado St. 96.1 MWC
Air Force 93.1 MWC
San Jose St. 90.4 MWC
Arizona 113.1 PAC12
Arizona St. 111.1 PAC12
USC 109.7 PAC12
UCLA 108.1 PAC12
Oregon 107.6 PAC12
Utah 106.9 PAC12
Washington 103.8 PAC12
Stanford 103.6 PAC12
Colorado 102.7 PAC12
Oregon St. 102.7 PAC12
Washington St. 98.6 PAC12
California 95.0 PAC12
Auburn 114.9 SEC
Tennessee 114.8 SEC
Florida 112.3 SEC
Kentucky 112.0 SEC
Texas A&M 111.3 SEC
Arkansas 110.3 SEC
Missouri 110.1 SEC
Alabama 108.2 SEC
Georgia 107.2 SEC
Mississippi St. 107.0 SEC
LSU 107.0 SEC
South Carolina 106.5 SEC
Mississippi 106.2 SEC
Vanderbilt 105.6 SEC
Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
Saint Mary’s 112.9 WCC
BYU 107.4 WCC
San Diego 101.6 WCC
San Francisco 99.5 WCC
Pacific 98.9 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.7 WCC
Portland 92.8 WCC
Santa Clara 92.4 WCC
Pepperdine 89.8 WCC

The PiRates Are Adjusting How We Look For Buried Treasure

The PiRate Ratings began and operated for years as a college and pro football prediction establishment.  The ratings themselves began in October of 1969 and have operated continuously since.  In 1978-79, basketball ratings were added, and from 1980-2009, the PiRates did some horse racing prognosticating.  In all this time, however, it was an added filler that actually became our most patronized product we have publicly issued, be it in print or radio.

Our March Madness Bracket Picking guides have annually dwarfed all others, be it in the number of readers to this site, the number of responses from our historic newspaper presence, or the number of responses to our historic radio presence (and in one case to our sponsor, when one team’s fans threatened to boycott the adult beverage because our leader picked their rival to win the rivalry game).

We back-tested all the past Final Four and National Champions for the years where we had statistical data to identify the fingerprint statistics that might help us forecast future Final Four and National Championship teams.  We identified some consistent stats and discovered that some stats had little or no bearing.

For instance, we discovered that for most years, teams that scored a very high percentage of their points at the foul line tended to lose with more frequency as the rounds progressed.  We surmised that a lesser number of fouls were called in the bigger games, and the teams that got this far that were not great foul shooting teams got to where they were because they were dominant in other areas.  It just so happened that these other areas were the consistent ones that produced the champions.

We wanted to come up with a statistic that could be used to represent what has helped teams dominate in NCAA Tournament play.  We began refining this data over the years.

When our captain became a baseball metric specialist and started researching advanced analytics, he learned what many others had already learned.  What may work to determine the regular season division winners may not work in the playoffs.  Oakland Athletics’ General Manager Billy Beane was quoted as saying (expletive altered), “My stuff doesn’t work in the playoffs.”

Beane was onto something, or in other words, it was plain to see that Oakland’s “Moneyball” ways produced 100-wins in the regular season, but it did not work in the playoffs, since the Athletics never won the pennant.  Forget for a minute that his predecessor Sandy Alderson actually began the advanced statistical age in Oakland, and he won three consecutive AL Pennants using a computer program to help determine some strategies.  Let’s look at why Moneyball issues do not work in the playoffs.

  1. On base percentage is superior to batting average, but in order to draw walks, the pitcher must throw pitches outside the strike zone.  In 130 out of 162 regular season games, a team might face pitching that would throw enough balls outside of the strike zone to walk four times per game.  However, in the playoffs, this team is more likely to face pitchers like Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Carlos Carrasco, Clayton Kershaw, and Steven Strasburg.  These guys will paint the corners and force batters to either swing or walk back to the dugout rather than to first base.
  2. The sacrifice hit, hit and run, stolen base, and taking an extra base on singles and doubles may not be the most intelligent way to score runs in the regular season when again, 130 out of 162 games may present better ways to score runs by getting men on and hitting three-run homers.  However, try to wait for that three-run homer against Strasburg, Kluber, Sale, or Carrasco and see how far that gets you.  You are likely to lose 3-2 more than get that three-run tater.  Many people understand that giving up one of just 27 outs to advance a runner one base is foolish–most of the time.  If you are playing for one run in the eighth or ninth inning and have a runner on 2nd with no outs, it is the right thing to do to bunt the runner over to third.  Also, when the batter is facing a dominant pitcher, and the expected on base average for this batter against this pitcher is far south of what his normal OBA is, then it may also be the smarter option to bunt a runner up a base rather than risk a non-productive out or worse a GIDP.
  3. Relief pitching changes in the playoffs, especially the World Series.  In actuality, managers more intelligently use their best reliever when leverage is the highest, even if that is with two outs in the fifth inning.  Rather than bring in the top ace to protect a 3-run lead in the ninth, managers are more likely to use that ace in a one-run game in earlier innings.  Under Beane in the height of the Moneyball years where the A’s made the playoffs and lost, Oakland never invested a lot in a true stopper.  The numbers said that just about any above-average reliever could get 35 saves coming into the game in the ninth inning protecting a two or three-run lead.  In the playoffs, when Oakland needed the next Rollie Fingers, Paul Lindblad, Bob Locker, or Darold Knowles, or the next Dennis Eckersley, and they needed that stopper to stop a rally in the 6th inning, he wasn’t on the roster.

What does this have to do with March Madness, you may ask?  Plenty, we respond.  In basketball, the Four Factors have come to represent some of the best statistical analysis that can reveal the superior teams over the inferior teams.  During the regular season, these stats may show that State U is a top 25 team and should be no worse than a 5-seed in the Big Dance.  Then, this team gets a 4 or 5-seed in the tournament and goes up against a 12 or 13-seed that dominated a mid-major conference during the regular season.  This underdog possesses some of the dominating stats that work in the tournament, while the big team from the big conference does not.  And, lo and behold, the underdog upsets the favorite, making the sports media talk about how so many 12-seeds beat 5-seeds, like it is a curse.

Never once did these media experts consider that the reason the 12-seeds beat the 5-seeds much more often than normal is because these 12-seeds would beat these 5-seeds 7 times out of 10.  In other words, they are not really upsets.  They are indicators that the people that set the seeds are doing a poor job.

So, by now, you must be anxious to see what these special stats are that help us determine what works in the playoffs.  The answer is: The PiRate R+T Rating.

Huh?  What is the R+T Rating?  If you have followed our site for a long enough time, you have seen the R+T used since the 2000 NCAA Tournament.  It has been refined through the years, sort of like how weighted on-base average goes through refinements based on each season’s environments.

At the present time, our R+T rating is:

(R * 2) + (S * .5) + (6 – Opp S) + T

R = Rebounding Margin per game

S = Average Steals per game

T= Turnover Margin per game

This formula translates into the number of extra scoring opportunities a team should be expected to gain over an average team.  It took hours of backtesting to refine it to the point where the result represented a real number that estimated the number of “cheap” points a team might be expected to receive over an average team.

It looks simple enough. If one team has a large rebounding edge in a game, they will benefit with an extra number of shots.  Depending on whether the advantage is at the offensive or defensive end, or both, limiting shots to one per possession and getting putbacks on the offensive end can create spurts in games that turn close contests into blowouts.

Turnover margin is not as important as rebounding margin except for when the turnover comes by way of a steal.  If the opponent turns the ball over due to travelling or stepping out of bounds or committing a charge, the opponent does not immediately see a benefit.  It ends the opponents’ possession, but it does not lead to fast break opportunities or the ability to tip the ball in the basket from a couple feet away.

When a team steals the ball, however, this is the absolute best extra possession.  Most steals come when the defense gains possession of the ball while their players are facing their basket, and the team turning the ball over has their back to that basket.  Almost all steals immediately present a number’s advantage for the team gaining possession.  If it is 2 on 1 or 3 on 2, this is like having a 3-0 count as a batter with the bases loaded.  Even if the steal results in a 2 on 2 or 3 on 3, the team with the ball has the advantage, since any even strength less than 5 on 5 favors the offense in basketball.

This is what the R+T represents.  A steal and rebound counts more than a turnover or lack of a turnover, but the turnover has value too.

How do we interpret R+T?  We have levels of interpretation.

If a team has an R+T rating of 20 or better, this is a potentially dangerous tournament team.  In a tight, evenly matched game, a team with a 20+ R+T rating has a huge advantage over a team with an average R+T rating.  At crunch time, a crucial steal or offensive rebound resulting in a basket can be the difference.

An R+T rating of 15-20 is a good rating, and a team with a rating in this range has Sweet 16 potential and maybe Elite 8 potential.

An R+T rating of 10-15 is average for an NCAA Tournament team.  Unless this team is outstanding in other areas such as field goal percentage margin, they probably do not have the necessary talent to make it past the Sweet 16.  There have been teams that made the Final Four with R+T ratings in  this range, but most of the time, they got there because they played opponents with even weaker R+T ratings.

An R+T rating in the 5-10 range might win a game or even sneak into the Sweet 16, but they should not be expected to go any farther.  It is unlikely that a team in this range will face three consecutive teams with even weaker R+T ratings.

An R+T rating in the 0-5 range does not have the goods to make it to the second weekend of the tournament.  Favored teams in this range playing underdogs with double-digit R+T ratings are prime to be “upset.”

And, when you see a team with a negative R+T, treat this team like you would treat a race horse with “four white socks.”

There is an old poem about horses wearing white socks (hooves), as it was generally believed, rightly or wrongly, that white hooves were a sign of weakness in a horse.  If we remember correctly it goes:

One white sock, keep him to the end.

Two white socks, give him to a friend.

Three white socks, send him far away.

Four white socks, keep him not a day.

A team with a negative R+T rating has four white socks.  Pick them not a game.  Teams with negative R+T ratings almost always lose in the Round of 64, even if they are a 2-seed playing a 15-seed.  There was a year where three heavily favored teams from power conferences but with negative R+T ratings played three double-digit seeds from mid-major conferences but with good R+T ratings.  All three heavily favored teams lost.

Do you remember in 2013 when Florida Gulf Coast made Andy Enfield famous for something more than his fantastic spouse, when his 15th-seeded Eagles clobbered second-seed Georgetown?  FGCU had a fat R+T rating, while the Hoyas had a negative R+T rating.

Let’s look at this statistic in tabular form with several potential NCAA Tournament teams.  These numbers represent only the stats from conference games for each team, thus eliminating games where a power conference team beat a low-major team by 35 points and padded their stats.

Team Reb. Stl. Opp Stl. TO R+T  Conf.
Alabama -0.1 7.7 6.7 -0.3 2.7 1
Arizona 6.1 4.8 5.7 -0.2 14.7 5
Auburn -0.3 8.1 5.8 4.4 8.1 1
Buffalo 4.1 6.9 4.8 2.4 15.3 13
Cincinnati 9.1 7.1 5.1 3.1 25.8 7
Clemson -1.9 5.4 6.4 -0.5 -2.0 2
Duke 6.9 7.8 5.7 -0.1 17.9 2
East Tennessee 7.7 6.8 5.6 0.2 19.4 17
Florida -3.6 5.2 3.3 3.0 1.1 1
Florida St. 3.6 5.5 5.8 0.0 10.2 2
Gonzaga 10.5 5.7 4.9 2.6 27.6 11
Kansas -5.2 5.8 5.7 0.3 -6.9 3
Kansas St. -8.0 8.3 6.0 3.0 -8.9 3
Kentucky 2.0 5.7 5.1 -1.7 6.1 1
UL-Lafayette 10.2 7.9 5.7 1.1 25.8 23
Louisville 1.6 7.9 7.3 2.1 8.0 2
Loyola (Chi.) 0.8 7.4 5.7 2.2 7.8 9
Miami (Fla.) 0.9 7.6 6.3 1.6 6.9 2
Michigan -0.5 5.1 4.7 3.2 6.1 6
Michigan St. 9.0 3.5 4.8 -4.5 16.5 6
Middle Tennessee 10.0 5.5 6.2 -0.9 21.7 14
Montana 4.5 8.8 4.1 4.3 19.6 20
Nevada -1.2 7.3 4.4 4.8 7.7 10
New Mexico St. 11.5 4.3 5.3 1.7 27.6 15
North Carolina 9.9 5.5 5.7 -1.2 21.7 2
North Carolina St. 0.9 6.8 6.0 1.6 6.8 2
Ohio St. 6.0 5.8 3.9 0.0 17.0 6
Oklahoma 1.6 6.3 7.8 -3.2 1.4 3
Oregon 1.8 6.7 4.8 0.7 8.9 5
Purdue 1.9 5.5 5.4 1.5 8.7 6
Rhode Island 1.5 6.3 5.7 5.6 12.1 8
Saint Mary’s 6.4 5.8 6.3 -0.7 14.7 11
South Dakota St. 2.9 5.1 4.4 -0.2 9.8 16
USC -1.4 8.0 4.7 7.0 9.5 5
SMU -0.7 8.4 4.0 2.8 7.6 7
Tennessee 1.4 6.0 5.7 0.7 6.8 1
Texas Tech 5.1 6.2 6.7 0.6 13.2 3
UCLA -0.1 6.1 4.9 0.5 4.5 5
Villanova -3.2 6.7 4.3 3.6 2.3 4
Virginia -2.9 8.3 4.1 6.2 6.5 2
Virginia Tech -6.4 6.4 5.8 1.4 -8.0 2
West Virginia 2.8 6.9 6.0 2.3 11.4 3
Wichita St. 9.3 4.9 6.1 0.8 21.8 7

There are a couple of extra things to add to this discussion before you receive your BS in R+Tology.  Most of you by now have thought that it is a lot easier for New Mexico State to dominate in the WAC than it is for Kansas to dominate in the Big 12.  Beating Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Texas Tech is a lot harder than beating Chicago State, Missouri-Kansas City, and Seattle.  Definitely, the strength of the conference must be factored into this equation.  In the last column above, you see a number under the heading of “conf.”  This represents the rating of conferences by strength.  As of today, the SEC is the toughest league in college basketball.  The ACC is number two; the Big 12 is number three; and so on.  The WAC is number 15.  There are 31 Division One conferences, so 15 is about average, while the SEC and ACC are many points better than an average conference.

We do handicap these ratings when we do our March Madness picking.  An ACC team with an R+T rating of 15 is better than a Colonial Athletic Association team with an R+T rating of 23.  A SWAC team with an R+T rating of 7 is like a Big 12 team with a negative R+T rating.

One final adjustment.  When looking at the components of the R+T ratings, notice whether a team’s components are all positive numbers.  In other words, look to see if a team has positive rebounding margins, positive turnover margins (commit less than they force), averages more than 6 steals per game and who limits opponents steals to less than 6 per game.  This is the sign of a complete team, and complete teams frequently beat teams with superior R+T ratings when the other team is not a complete team.

Let’s look at two examples from above.

Dan Hurley has done a great job at Rhode Island, and the Rams are a “complete team.”  They have a positive rebounding margin.  They average more than 6 steals per game and give up less than 6 steals per game, and they have a really nice turnover margin.  Their R+T rating is 12.1, and the Atlantic 10 conference is rated #8.  URI is definitely Sweet 16-worthy with these stats before we begin to look at other factors like shooting percentages and defensive shooting percentages.

Now, let’s look at Michigan State.  The Spartans have a 16.5 R+T rating from the number 6 conference.  However, Sparty averages only 3.5 steals per game and have a negative turnover margin of 4.5.  This is a real warning sign for bracket-pickers.  MSU will dominate on the boards in a matchup against Rhode Island, but the Rams will even up that advantage with a large turnover margins against the Spartans.  If both teams shoot a similar percentage from inside and outside the 3-point line, you have a toss-up game.

Michigan State saw how this lack of being complete hurt them in the past.  In the 2016 NCAA Tournament, the Spartans faced a Middle Tennessee State team that excelled in turnover margin and steals.  The Blue Raiders basically were much quicker than Michigan State, and this is why their turnover margin was so excellent.  They could pressure the ball and play in the passing lanes without giving up easy baskets.  MTSU pulled off the upset thanks to turnover margin equalizing the rebounding margin of their opponent.  The Blue Raiders’ quickness led to a lot of open shots, while Michigan State’s power game did not produce an equivalent number of open shots.  MTSU took MSU out of its game plan and forced the tempo, turning this into a 70-possession game.  Michigan State preferred a 60-64 possession game, and those extra 6-10 possessions per side helped the underdog team.

It is not always this cut and dried.  Other factors have to be considered, and this is where the PiRate Ratings have made substantial changes starting this year.  In past years, we did not give a lot of support to excellent three-point shooting teams, because we favored teams that could get shots from within 5 feet of the basket.  During the last three or four years, the three-point shot has become much more important, essential if you will.  The Golden State Warriors and other NBA teams now rely on advanced analytical data almost as much as Major League Baseball teams.  Three-point shooting has been determined to be as vital as having the relief ace that can enter the World Series in the 6th inning and get six high-leverage outs.  The PiRate Bracket-picking protocol has now incorporated true shooting percentages with R+T ratings and conference strength to refine our ratings.

The game has come down to whether a team can be expected to shoot a certain percentage from inside and outside the 3-point line and whether they can be expected to get extra scoring opportunities.  A combination of these two basic factors will be how we handicap games in the future.  Of course, we will handicap the two factors based on conference strength.

When you look at our spreads each week, you are looking at an algorithm that incorporates and handicaps due to conference strength, expected true shooting percentages and scoring opportunities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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