The Pi-Rate Ratings

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

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August 21, 2017

2017 Big 12 Conference Preview

The Big 12 Conference was supposed to be the first super league way back in the 1990’s when the best teams from the former very strong Southwest Conference merged with the Big 8 Conference. It was supposed to be superior to the Southeastern Conference, which had already expanded to 12 teams, and the Big Ten Conference, which had expanded to 11 teams. With Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado perenially among the top 10 in the nation, and with Texas A&M, Missouri, and Oklahoma State competing for a spot among the nation’s elite, the Big 12 looked poised to become the league that all others looked up to.

It didn’t last long. Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas A&M departed for the Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten, and SEC. The league added TCU and West Virginia to get back to 10 teams, but this conference is struggling to remain important. Rumors persist that schools still might bolt the league for one of the other four super conferences.

2017 promises to bring some interesting changes to the league without any teams bolting. There are three new coaches in the league. Matt Rhule takes over a Baylor team in transition, after Jim Grobe served as an emergency fill-in coach for a year. The Bears will play a combination of spread offense and the power offense Rhule used at Temple.

Tom Herman is the new head coach at Texas. Herman made Houston a semi-national power, even getting the Cougars into the Playoff hunt. Texas suffered three consecutive losing seasons under Charlie Strong, and the Longhorns have not been a national contender for eight seasons.

The biggest change of all comes in Norman, Oklahoma, where Bob Stoops made a decision this summer to retire. Lincoln Riley, the wonderboy of the offense is the new coach, and he inherits a Sooner squad that could easily average more than 45 points per game. Whether the defense can stop the top offenses that the Sooners will face will determine if OU can challenge for a playoff spot. A trip to the Giant Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio, looms in week two,

The Big 12 Media and our PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings basically agree that this year’s Big 12 race will come down to the Bedlam game. Oklahoma State hosts Oklahoma in that game this year, but unlike most years, it is not the last weekend on the schedule.

Here’s how the Media voted.

2016 Big 12 Conference Media Poll
# Team 1st Pl. Total
1 Oklahoma 19 303
2 Oklahoma St. 12 294
3 Kansas St. 1 231
4 Texas 0 213
5 TCU 0 202
6 West Virginia 0 183
7 Baylor 0 129
8 Texas Tech 0 85
9 Iowa St. 0 83
10 Kansas 0 37

Here are the PiRate, Mean, and Bias preseason ratings.

Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 123.8 121.8 124.8 123.5
Oklahoma St. 118.2 117.0 119.8 118.3
Kansas St. 113.9 113.4 114.3 113.9
Texas 112.2 113.0 112.4 112.6
T C U 111.4 108.6 111.1 110.3
West Virginia 107.7 108.8 107.5 108.0
Baylor 103.9 106.4 103.8 104.7
Iowa State 101.0 102.4 101.7 101.7
Texas Tech 101.3 101.0 100.1 100.8
Kansas 91.0 94.4 90.3 91.9
         
Big 12 Averages 108.4 108.7 108.6 108.6

And, here are out not-so-scientific preseason won-loss predictions and bowl projections.

 

Big 12 Conference Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Oklahoma 8-1 11-2 Cotton
Oklahoma St. 8-1 11-2 Fiesta
Kansas St. 6-3 8-4 Camping World
Texas 6-3 8-4 Alamo
TCU 6-3 8-4 Texas
West Virginia 4-5 6-6 Cactus
Baylor 4-5 6-6 Liberty
Texas Tech 2-7 4-8  
Iowa St. 1-8 3-9  
Kansas 0-9 2-10  
       
No Big 12 team available for Heart of Dallas Bowl

Oklahoma to win the Big 12 Conference Championship Game in a rematch with Oklahoma State.  The Big 12’s top two teams in the standings will face off in Arlington, Texas, on December 2.

Trivia Answer: Not many people guessed at our trivia question, and none were correct. Here’s the question once again.
In 1918, Georgia Tech beat North Carolina State 118-0. For half a century no Division 1 team scored 100 points on another Division 1 team. In 1949 San Jose State beat New Mexico 103-0, but the Spartans would not become a major college participant until the following season, so this one doesn’t count. The last time a Division 1 team scored 100 points on another Division 1 team was in 1968, when current AAC West member Houston beat current AAC West member Tulsa 100-6.
A Houston wide receiver caught a 25-yard pass for a touchdown in that 100-6 game that made the score 93-6. He later went on to fame in the music business. A Tulsa lineman also became a famous celebrity on television and through his books.
Here are your three trivia questions:
1. Name the Houston Wide Receiver that would become a famous music celebrity.
2. Explain how this wide receiver once performed the National Anthem for a sporting event that was postponed soon after he performed, yet there was no rain, snow, or lightning.
3. Name the Tulsa lineman that became a famous TV celebrity and has used this game as a means to help advance his career.
The answers
1. Larry Gatlin
2. Gatlin and his brothers sang the National Anthem prior to the scheduled Game 3 of the 1989 World Series. Moments later, the great Earthquake hit the Bay, postponing the game for 10 days.
3. Dr. Phil

Coming Tomorrow. The Pac-12. Two teams have the talent to make it to Playoffville this year, but this league is rather balanced with some quality talent, and it could be difficult for any team to win enough games to get there.

September 26, 2016

College Football Ratings & Spreads For September 29-October 1, 2016

Less Smiles in Baton Rouge

On Sunday, LSU fired Coach Les Miles after Miles’ team lost at Auburn Saturday night in a game that could have gone LSU’s way had the officials decided that the final play was run in time.  The clock ran out on a play in which it was plain to see that the head referee never signaled to start the clock.

Of course, Miles did not lose his job on this one play.  We believe he lost his job because LSU has not been able to secure a star quarterback since Zach Mettenberger left.  Miles actually had two commitments from potential stars and then lost them at the eleventh hour.  Braxton Miller was set to come to LSU, and that would have made the Tigers much stronger.  Gunner Kiel committed to LSU before de-committing and committing to Notre Dame, before de-committing and committing to Cincinnati, before quitting, before returning as the third string QB for the Bearcats.

Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was let go as well, and former Ole Miss head coach and USC interim Ed Orgeron takes over as the interim in Baton Rouge.  We believe Orgeron has about a 0.3% chance (1 in about 333) of getting the gig full-time.  LSU would have to run the table from here, win the SEC Championship Game, and then win convincingly in the Sugar Bowl for that to happen.

So, who replaces Miles at LSU.  Immediately, the name of Art Briles came up in some circles.  Some say that Briles was merely a scapegoat, and that he will land somewhere in 2017.  There will be numerous openings at schools where winning is all that matters.  We don’t believe Briles will end up in Baton Rouge.

Two names that we feel could be more serious candidates are Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Houston’s Tom Herman.  Prior to becoming the coach in waiting and then the head coach at Florida State, Fisher was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at LSU during a time when the Bengal Tigers produced JaMarcus Russell and won a national championship in 2003.

Herman was Urban Meyer’s offensive guru at Ohio State prior to taking the Houston job.  With the Cougars undefeated and facing a probable run into the top four before playing Louisville in November, if UH runs the table and makes the NCAA Playoffs, there is no way he could leave for another job at that point, and LSU’s recruiting effort for 2017 would be shot by then.

There are a few other options.  Bobby Petrino at Louisville and Todd Graham at Arizona State have proven to be as nomadic as Larry Brown on the basketball court.  A few extra pesos thrown their way can get them to jump.  Then there is the potential NFL route.  USC took Pete Carroll and reaped many rewards.  What if Sean Payton was available before the season ended?  Or, how about Bruce Arians?

 

A Lot of Haves

It’s still early in the season, but there are an inordinate amount of teams still undefeated four weeks into the season.  By December, the number will whittle down to two or three at most, but until then, there are some interesting match ups on the schedule ahead.

It starts this week, when Stanford and Washington square off in Seattle Friday night.  The game will air on ESPN at 9PM Eastern Time for those that want to watch the unofficial crowning of the Pac-12 North champion.  It continues Saturday, when Michigan host Wisconsin at 3:30 PM Eastern Time on ABC.  Then, in prime-time, Louisville ventured to Deaf Valley to face Clemson at 8 PM Eastern on ABC.

In the coming weeks, there are potential unbeaten contests between Tennessee and Texas A&M, Tennessee or Texas A&M against Alabama, Ohio State and Wisconsin, Ohio State and Nebraska, Nebraska and Wisconsin, Washington and Utah, Washington and Arizona State, Utah and Arizona State, Louisville and Houston, and Boise State and San Diego State in the MWC Championship Game.  Oh, and then there is the possibility that Ohio State and Michigan could square off in the Giant Horseshoe on November 26 with “everything” on the line.  The two rivals have been in this boat before.  Both teams were undefeated heading into this game in 1970, 1973, and 2006.

Bowl Projections Begin Today

We usually wait until after the first week in October to post our initial bowl projections, but we went ahead and scooted that up a week this year.  The reason why we did it is that we feel there are already fewer than 80 teams on pace to win six games.  With teams like USC, Oregon, California LSU, Texas Tech, Connecticut, Duke, and others looking at potential 5-7 seasons, it isn’t going to be easy finding some good bowl games.  Then, there are possibilities where a top 20 team could be squaring off against a 6-6 or 5-7 team in a bowl.  Although we do not favor 5-7 or even 6-6 teams getting post-season rewards, we will remind you that three 5-7 teams played in bowls last season, and all three won.  See our projections at the end of this feature.

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 131.2 124.1 131.0 128.8
2 Louisville 127.9 122.3 128.1 126.1
3 Michigan 124.7 122.2 125.2 124.0
4 Ohio St. 123.2 122.5 124.7 123.5
5 Clemson 124.0 115.9 122.9 120.9
6 Tennessee 121.9 118.0 121.8 120.6
7 LSU 122.4 117.0 121.4 120.3
8 Oklahoma 120.1 117.4 120.0 119.2
9 Stanford 121.7 114.7 120.6 119.0
10 Houston 117.8 115.8 120.2 117.9
11 Miami 120.3 113.0 120.2 117.8
12 Florida St. 119.6 112.7 118.8 117.0
13 Washington 119.4 111.9 119.3 116.9
14 Virginia Tech 116.4 116.0 116.9 116.4
15 Texas A&M 116.5 115.0 116.4 116.0
16 Auburn 115.5 113.7 115.4 114.9
17 North Carolina 117.0 110.5 116.6 114.7
18 Pittsburgh 116.1 111.4 115.3 114.3
19 Ole Miss 116.4 110.1 115.9 114.1
20 Oklahoma St. 113.7 114.7 113.6 114.0
21 Wisconsin 114.2 112.2 114.7 113.7
22 TCU 113.3 114.6 113.1 113.7
23 Florida 112.8 115.7 111.1 113.2
24 Iowa 114.3 111.3 113.8 113.1
25 Baylor 112.3 112.4 113.3 112.7
26 Texas 112.2 113.7 111.3 112.4
27 Nebraska 113.0 109.4 113.2 111.9
28 USC 113.5 108.9 110.8 111.1
29 UCLA 111.4 110.2 111.0 110.9
30 Notre Dame 112.5 109.2 110.9 110.9
31 Mississippi St. 111.8 109.6 110.9 110.8
32 Oregon 111.3 109.8 110.5 110.5
33 Colorado 111.6 107.3 112.1 110.4
34 Arkansas 112.3 107.9 109.7 110.0
35 Michigan St. 110.9 109.8 109.2 110.0
36 Boise St. 108.8 109.6 110.6 109.7
37 South Florida 109.9 106.9 110.8 109.2
38 Utah 111.3 105.8 109.2 108.8
39 Kansas St. 107.2 110.2 107.1 108.2
40 Georgia Tech 109.7 105.7 108.7 108.0
41 Georgia 108.2 108.1 107.4 107.9
42 Arizona St. 108.2 108.1 107.0 107.8
43 BYU 109.9 103.8 109.5 107.7
44 Western Michigan 107.1 105.3 108.9 107.1
45 West Virginia 107.6 106.4 107.0 107.0
46 Washington St. 107.7 104.9 107.6 106.8
47 North Carolina St. 107.0 104.8 106.4 106.1
48 San Diego St. 106.0 103.1 108.4 105.9
49 Memphis 107.2 103.1 105.5 105.3
50 Penn St. 104.9 107.1 103.7 105.2
51 Arizona 105.6 103.0 104.6 104.4
52 Toledo 104.4 103.0 105.4 104.3
53 Texas Tech 105.6 103.4 103.5 104.2
54 Missouri 104.4 103.6 104.2 104.1
55 Northwestern 105.7 100.7 104.0 103.5
56 Minnesota 103.9 102.3 103.6 103.3
57 Central Michigan 101.6 103.7 102.6 102.6
58 Indiana 101.2 105.1 100.5 102.3
59 Wake Forest 102.9 101.2 102.3 102.2
60 Maryland 101.6 105.2 99.4 102.1
61 Air Force 101.1 101.7 101.6 101.5
62 California 104.8 97.1 102.5 101.5
63 Cincinnati 100.8 101.5 101.1 101.2
64 Vanderbilt 102.6 98.4 101.2 100.8
65 Duke 100.9 101.3 99.5 100.6
66 Virginia 101.5 99.1 101.0 100.5
67 Boston College 100.7 99.7 100.2 100.2
68 Syracuse 101.9 98.2 100.3 100.2
69 Tulsa 98.7 101.0 99.4 99.7
70 Western Kentucky 100.7 96.3 101.8 99.6
71 South Carolina 99.9 99.2 99.2 99.5
72 Temple 99.1 99.6 99.3 99.4
73 Navy 99.0 98.9 98.5 98.8
74 Appalachian St. 97.7 96.8 99.7 98.1
75 Rutgers 98.3 95.7 96.9 97.0
76 Iowa St. 97.4 97.0 96.2 96.9
77 Purdue 97.7 95.7 96.9 96.8
78 Army 92.6 101.0 95.6 96.4
79 Illinois 97.7 94.4 96.7 96.3
80 Kentucky 95.9 98.2 94.8 96.3
81 Connecticut 97.0 94.7 96.6 96.1
82 Oregon St. 97.6 93.4 95.5 95.5
83 Southern Mississippi 94.4 94.4 95.5 94.8
84 Utah St. 93.7 96.3 93.3 94.4
85 Ohio 91.2 99.8 92.2 94.4
86 Middle Tennessee 93.8 95.1 94.3 94.4
87 East Carolina 93.5 95.6 93.7 94.3
88 Troy 91.4 96.2 93.3 93.7
89 New Mexico 92.3 95.3 93.1 93.6
90 Nevada 91.5 94.6 92.5 92.9
91 Northern Illinois 91.7 92.9 92.4 92.3
92 Central Florida 91.2 93.8 91.3 92.1
93 Georgia Southern 91.3 91.1 93.6 92.0
94 SMU 91.2 90.7 93.5 91.8
95 Louisiana Tech 90.0 92.2 91.1 91.1
96 Marshall 89.0 92.8 90.8 90.9
97 UNLV 87.7 92.3 87.7 89.2
98 Akron 86.7 92.7 88.2 89.2
99 Arkansas St. 87.5 89.5 89.0 88.7
100 Colorado St. 87.2 89.5 87.7 88.1
101 San Jose St. 87.4 87.5 87.6 87.5
102 Old Dominion 86.0 89.3 86.2 87.2
103 Ball St. 86.1 88.2 87.1 87.1
104 Kansas 85.0 92.5 82.3 86.6
105 Tulane 84.3 88.1 84.6 85.7
106 Miami (O) 84.7 85.4 86.2 85.4
107 Bowling Green 85.7 84.5 85.1 85.1
108 Kent St. 84.0 85.3 84.2 84.5
109 Massachusetts 81.1 88.6 82.8 84.2
110 Georgia St. 81.6 86.7 83.3 83.9
111 Wyoming 83.3 83.6 83.5 83.5
112 Florida Atlantic 81.5 84.8 83.0 83.1
113 Rice 80.7 88.0 80.5 83.1
114 South Alabama 79.8 87.4 81.2 82.8
115 Fresno St. 81.5 85.6 81.1 82.7
116 UTSA 79.0 86.5 81.6 82.4
117 Buffalo 79.0 87.6 80.5 82.4
118 Eastern Michigan 80.5 85.1 81.4 82.3
119 UL-Lafayette 77.0 84.9 78.8 80.3
120 Idaho 77.8 83.4 79.2 80.1
121 Florida International 77.2 83.9 77.8 79.6
122 Hawaii 77.2 75.9 76.3 76.5
123 North Texas 75.4 78.3 75.6 76.5
124 New Mexico St. 72.9 75.7 73.7 74.1
125 UTEP 71.7 76.0 73.1 73.6
126 Charlotte 70.8 77.2 72.1 73.4
127 UL-Monroe 70.2 75.3 70.8 72.1
128 Texas St. 69.8 71.0 70.8 70.5

 

PiRate Retrodictive
# Team
1 Alabama
2 Ohio St.
3 Clemson
4 Houston
5 Michigan
6 Tennessee
7 Stanford
8 Washington
9 Louisville
10 Texas A&M
11 Wisconsin
12 Baylor
13 Nebraska
14 Arkansas
15 Florida St.
16 Utah
17 Oklahoma
18 Ole Miss
19 Miami (Fla)
20 LSU
21 Michigan St.
22 Georgia
23 San Diego St.
24 Florida
25 Toledo
26 Western Michigan
27 North Carolina
28 South Florida
29 Boise St.
30 Iowa
31 TCU
32 West Virginia
33 Oregon
34 Navy
35 UCLA
36 Arizona St.
37 Virginia Tech
38 Memphis
39 Notre Dame
40 Oklahoma St.
41 Central Michigan
42 Auburn
43 USC
44 Georgia Tech
45 California
46 Minnesota
47 Colorado
48 Pittsburgh
49 Texas
50 Western Kentucky
51 Texas Tech
52 Kansas St.
53 Penn St.
54 BYU
55 Mississippi St.
56 Air Force
57 Washington St.
58 Georgia Southern
59 Wake Forest
60 Maryland
61 Indiana
62 North Carolina St.
63 Cincinnati
64 Tulsa
65 Missouri
66 Army
67 South Carolina
68 Arizona
69 Southern Miss.
70 Troy
71 Appalachian St.
72 Northwestern
73 East Carolina
74 Temple
75 Utah St.
76 Akron
77 Louisiana Tech
78 Duke
79 Vanderbilt
80 Middle Tennessee
81 Marshall
82 Boston College
83 Rutgers
84 Connecticut
85 Ohio
86 Syracuse
87 Nevada
88 Colorado St.
89 Ball St.
90 Kentucky
91 Illinois
92 SMU
93 Virginia
94 Purdue
95 Oregon St.
96 Bowling Green
97 Tulane
98 San Jose St.
99 Wyoming
100 UL-Lafayette
101 Idaho
102 Central Florida
103 Arkansas St.
104 South Alabama
105 Texas St.
106 New Mexico
107 Northern Illinois
108 Fresno St.
109 Iowa St.
110 Florida Atlantic
111 UNLV
112 Old Dominion
113 UTEP
114 Massachusetts
115 Georgia St.
116 Kansas
117 Rice
118 UTSA
119 Eastern Michigan
120 UL-Monroe
121 New Mexico St.
122 Hawaii
123 Kent St.
124 North Texas
125 Buffalo
126 Miami (O)
127 Florida Int’l.
128 Charlotte

PiRate Rating By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 109.9 106.9 110.8 109.2
Cincinnati 100.8 101.5 101.1 101.2
Temple 99.1 99.6 99.3 99.4
Connecticut 97.0 94.7 96.6 96.1
East Carolina 93.5 95.6 93.7 94.3
Central Florida 91.2 93.8 91.3 92.1
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Houston 117.8 115.8 120.2 117.9
Memphis 107.2 103.1 105.5 105.3
Tulsa 98.7 101.0 99.4 99.7
Navy 99.0 98.9 98.5 98.8
SMU 91.2 90.7 93.5 91.8
Tulane 84.3 88.1 84.6 85.7
         
AAC Averages 99.2 99.2 99.5 99.3
         
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Louisville 127.9 122.3 128.1 126.1
Clemson 124.0 115.9 122.9 120.9
Florida St. 119.6 112.7 118.8 117.0
North Carolina St. 107.0 104.8 106.4 106.1
Wake Forest 102.9 101.2 102.3 102.2
Boston College 100.7 99.7 100.2 100.2
Syracuse 101.9 98.2 100.3 100.2
         
Coastal Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Miami 120.3 113.0 120.2 117.8
Virginia Tech 116.4 116.0 116.9 116.4
North Carolina 117.0 110.5 116.6 114.7
Pittsburgh 116.1 111.4 115.3 114.3
Georgia Tech 109.7 105.7 108.7 108.0
Duke 100.9 101.3 99.5 100.6
Virginia 101.5 99.1 101.0 100.5
         
ACC Averages 111.8 108.0 111.2 110.4
         
Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 120.1 117.4 120.0 119.2
Oklahoma St. 113.7 114.7 113.6 114.0
TCU 113.3 114.6 113.1 113.7
Baylor 112.3 112.4 113.3 112.7
Texas 112.2 113.7 111.3 112.4
Kansas St. 107.2 110.2 107.1 108.2
West Virginia 107.6 106.4 107.0 107.0
Texas Tech 105.6 103.4 103.5 104.2
Iowa St. 97.4 97.0 96.2 96.9
Kansas 85.0 92.5 82.3 86.6
         
Big 12 Averages 107.4 108.3 106.7 107.5
         
Big Ten Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Michigan 124.7 122.2 125.2 124.0
Ohio St. 123.2 122.5 124.7 123.5
Michigan St. 110.9 109.8 109.2 110.0
Penn St. 104.9 107.1 103.7 105.2
Indiana 101.2 105.1 100.5 102.3
Maryland 101.6 105.2 99.4 102.1
Rutgers 98.3 95.7 96.9 97.0
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Wisconsin 114.2 112.2 114.7 113.7
Iowa 114.3 111.3 113.8 113.1
Nebraska 113.0 109.4 113.2 111.9
Northwestern 105.7 100.7 104.0 103.5
Minnesota 103.9 102.3 103.6 103.3
Purdue 97.7 95.7 96.9 96.8
Illinois 97.7 94.4 96.7 96.3
         
Big Ten Averages 108.0 106.7 107.3 107.3
         
Conference USA
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Kentucky 100.7 96.3 101.8 99.6
Middle Tennessee 93.8 95.1 94.3 94.4
Marshall 89.0 92.8 90.8 90.9
Old Dominion 86.0 89.3 86.2 87.2
Florida Atlantic 81.5 84.8 83.0 83.1
Florida International 77.2 83.9 77.8 79.6
Charlotte 70.8 77.2 72.1 73.4
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Southern Mississippi 94.4 94.4 95.5 94.8
Louisiana Tech 90.0 92.2 91.1 91.1
Rice 80.7 88.0 80.5 83.1
UTSA 79.0 86.5 81.6 82.4
North Texas 75.4 78.3 75.6 76.5
UTEP 71.7 76.0 73.1 73.6
         
CUSA Averages 83.9 87.3 84.9 85.4
         
FBS Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame 112.5 109.2 110.9 110.9
BYU 109.9 103.8 109.5 107.7
Army 92.6 101.0 95.6 96.4
Massachusetts 81.1 88.6 82.8 84.2
         
Independents Averages 99.0 100.7 99.7 99.8
         
Mid-American Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio 91.2 99.8 92.2 94.4
Akron 86.7 92.7 88.2 89.2
Miami (O) 84.7 85.4 86.2 85.4
Bowling Green 85.7 84.5 85.1 85.1
Kent St. 84.0 85.3 84.2 84.5
Buffalo 79.0 87.6 80.5 82.4
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Michigan 107.1 105.3 108.9 107.1
Toledo 104.4 103.0 105.4 104.3
Central Michigan 101.6 103.7 102.6 102.6
Northern Illinois 91.7 92.9 92.4 92.3
Ball St. 86.1 88.2 87.1 87.1
Eastern Michigan 80.5 85.1 81.4 82.3
         
MAC Averages 90.2 92.8 91.2 91.4
         
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 108.8 109.6 110.6 109.7
Air Force 101.1 101.7 101.6 101.5
Utah St. 93.7 96.3 93.3 94.4
New Mexico 92.3 95.3 93.1 93.6
Colorado St. 87.2 89.5 87.7 88.1
Wyoming 83.3 83.6 83.5 83.5
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 106.0 103.1 108.4 105.9
Nevada 91.5 94.6 92.5 92.9
UNLV 87.7 92.3 87.7 89.2
San Jose St. 87.4 87.5 87.6 87.5
Fresno St. 81.5 85.6 81.1 82.7
Hawaii 77.2 75.9 76.3 76.5
         
MWC Averages 91.5 93.0 91.9 92.1
         
Pac-12 Conference
North Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Stanford 121.7 114.7 120.6 119.0
Washington 119.4 111.9 119.3 116.9
Oregon 111.3 109.8 110.5 110.5
Washington St. 107.7 104.9 107.6 106.8
California 104.8 97.1 102.5 101.5
Oregon St. 97.6 93.4 95.5 95.5
         
South Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
USC 113.5 108.9 110.8 111.1
UCLA 111.4 110.2 111.0 110.9
Colorado 111.6 107.3 112.1 110.4
Utah 111.3 105.8 109.2 108.8
Arizona St. 108.2 108.1 107.0 107.8
Arizona 105.6 103.0 104.6 104.4
         
Pac-12 Averages 110.3 106.3 109.2 108.6
         
Southeastern Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Tennessee 121.9 118.0 121.8 120.6
Florida 112.8 115.7 111.1 113.2
Georgia 108.2 108.1 107.4 107.9
Missouri 104.4 103.6 104.2 104.1
Vanderbilt 102.6 98.4 101.2 100.8
South Carolina 99.9 99.2 99.2 99.5
Kentucky 95.9 98.2 94.8 96.3
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 131.2 124.1 131.0 128.8
LSU 122.4 117.0 121.4 120.3
Texas A&M 116.5 115.0 116.4 116.0
Auburn 115.5 113.7 115.4 114.9
Ole Miss 116.4 110.1 115.9 114.1
Mississippi St. 111.8 109.6 110.9 110.8
Arkansas 112.3 107.9 109.7 110.0
         
SEC Averages 112.3 109.9 111.5 111.2
         
Sunbelt Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 97.7 96.8 99.7 98.1
Troy 91.4 96.2 93.3 93.7
Georgia Southern 91.3 91.1 93.6 92.0
Arkansas St. 87.5 89.5 89.0 88.7
Georgia St. 81.6 86.7 83.3 83.9
South Alabama 79.8 87.4 81.2 82.8
UL-Lafayette 77.0 84.9 78.8 80.3
Idaho 77.8 83.4 79.2 80.1
New Mexico St. 72.9 75.7 73.7 74.1
UL-Monroe 70.2 75.3 70.8 72.1
Texas St. 69.8 71.0 70.8 70.5
         
Sun Belt Averages 81.5 85.3 83.0 83.3

Conference Ratings

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 112.3 109.9 111.5 111.2
2 ACC 111.8 108.0 111.2 110.4
3 Pac-12 110.3 106.3 109.2 108.6
4 Big 12 107.4 108.3 106.7 107.5
5 Big Ten 108.0 106.7 107.3 107.3
6 Independents 99.0 100.7 99.7 99.8
7 AAC 99.2 99.2 99.5 99.3
8 MWC 91.5 93.0 91.9 92.1
9 MAC 90.2 92.8 91.2 91.4
10 CUSA 83.9 87.3 84.9 85.4
11 Sun Belt 81.5 85.3 83.0 83.3

 

This Week’s Games–September 29-October 1
         
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Thursday, September 29      
Texas Tech Kansas 23.6 13.9 24.2
Houston Connecticut 23.8 24.1 26.6
         
Friday, September 30      
BYU Toledo 9.0 4.3 7.6
Washington Stanford 0.7 0.2 1.7
         
Saturday, October 1      
Boston College Buffalo 24.2 14.6 22.2
Pittsburgh Marshall 29.1 20.6 26.5
Ole Miss Memphis 11.2 9.0 12.4
Massachusetts Tulane -0.2 3.5 1.2
Penn St. Minnesota 4.0 7.8 3.1
Iowa Northwestern 11.6 13.6 12.8
Ohio St. Rutgers 27.9 29.8 30.8
West Virginia Kansas St. 3.4 -0.8 2.9
Duke Virginia 2.4 5.2 1.5
Syracuse Notre Dame -7.6 -8.0 -7.6
Cincinnati South Florida -6.1 -2.4 -6.7
Temple SMU 10.9 11.9 8.8
Charlotte Old Dominion -13.2 -10.1 -12.1
North Texas Middle Tennessee -15.4 -13.8 -15.7
Louisiana Tech UTEP 21.3 19.2 21.0
Florida Int’l Florida Atlantic -12.3 1.1 -3.2
Central Michigan Western Michigan -3.5 0.4 -4.3
Ball St. Northern Illinois -3.1 -1.8 -2.8
Bowling Green Eastern Michigan 7.7 1.9 6.2
Miami (O) Ohio -4.5 -12.4 -4.0
East Carolina Central Florida 5.3 4.8 5.4
Kent St. Akron -0.7 -5.4 -2.0
Maryland Purdue 6.9 12.5 5.5
Georgia Tech Miami (Fla) -7.6 -4.3 -8.5
Nebraska Illinois 18.3 18.0 19.5
Michigan Wisconsin 13.5 13.0 13.5
Clemson Louisville -0.9 -3.4 -2.2
Florida St. North Carolina 5.6 5.2 5.2
Auburn UL-Monroe 48.3 41.4 47.6
Air Force Navy 5.1 5.8 6.1
Southern Miss. Rice 16.7 9.4 18.3
Colorado St. Wyoming 5.9 7.9 6.2
Alabama Kentucky 38.3 39.9 39.2
Georgia Tennessee -10.7 -6.9 -11.4
Appalachian St. Georgia St. 19.1 13.1 19.4
Vanderbilt Florida -7.7 -14.8 -7.4
California Utah -3.5 -5.7 -3.7
Oklahoma St. Texas 4.5 4.0 5.3
Colorado Oregon St. 17.0 16.9 19.6
North Carolina St. Wake Forest 6.6 6.1 6.6
South Carolina Texas A&M -13.6 -12.8 -14.2
UCLA Arizona 8.8 10.2 9.4
USC Arizona St. 8.3 3.8 6.8
Iowa St. Baylor -11.9 -12.4 -14.1
Indiana Michigan St. -6.7 -1.7 -5.7
TCU Oklahoma -3.8 0.2 -3.9
LSU Missouri 21.0 16.4 20.2
South Alabama San Diego St. -22.7 -12.2 -23.7
New Mexico St. UL-Lafayette -1.6 -6.7 -2.6
Idaho Troy -10.6 -9.8 -11.1
New Mexico San Jose St. 7.9 10.8 8.5
Boise St. Utah St. 18.1 16.3 20.3
Washington St. Oregon -0.6 -1.9 0.1
UNLV Fresno St. 9.2 9.7 9.6
Hawaii Nevada -10.3 -14.7 -12.2

This Week’s FBS vs. FCS Games

FBS vs. FCS Week 5  
Home Visitor PiRate
Arkansas Alcorn St. 50
Western Kentucky Houston Baptist 45
Texas St. Incarnate Word 15

Bowl Projections

Bowl Conferences Team vs. Team
New Mexico MWC CUSA New Mexico vs. Old Dominion
Las Vegas Pac-12 MWC USC vs. Boise St.
Cure AAC SBC [Akron] vs. UL-Lafayette
Camellia MAC SBC Ball St. vs. Ga. Southern
New Orleans CUSA SBC W. Kentucky vs. Troy
Miami Beach AAC MAC Cincinnati vs. W. Michigan
Boca Raton AAC CUSA Memphis vs. Sou. Miss.
Poinsettia MWC BYU Air Force vs. BYU
Idaho Potato MAC MWC C. Michigan vs. Colorado St.
Bahamas AAC/CUSA MAC/CUSA Tulsa vs. Toledo
Armed Forces Navy Big 12 Navy vs. Texas Tech
Dollar General MAC SBC Ohio vs. Appy St.
Hawaii CUSA MWC Marshall vs. San Diego St.
St. Petersburg AAC ACC/ND Connecticut vs. Notre Dame
Quick Lane ACC/ND Big Ten Pittsburgh vs. Indiana
Independence SEC ACC/ND [Army] vs. Georgia Tech
Heart of Dallas Big Ten CUSA Maryland vs. Middle Tenn.
Military ACC/ND AAC N. C. State vs. Temple
Holiday Big Ten Pac-12 Michigan St. vs. Colorado
Cactus Big 12 Pac-12 Texas vs. Oregon
Pinstripe ACC/ND Big Ten Wake Forest vs. Minnesota
Russell Athletic ACC/ND Big 12 Florida St. vs. West Virginia
Foster Farms Big Ten Pac-12 Iowa vs. Arizona St.
Texas Big 12 SEC Kansas St. vs. Arkansas
Birmingham AAC SEC South Florida vs. [Duke]
Belk ACC/ND SEC Virginia Tech vs. Georgia
Alamo Big 12 Pac-12 TCU vs. Utah
Liberty Big 12 SEC Oklahoma St. vs. LSU
Sun ACC/ND Pac-12 N. Carolina vs. UCLA
Arizona CUSA/SBC MWC/SBC La. Tech vs. Utah St.
Music City ACC/ND/B10 SEC Penn St. vs. [California]
Orange ACC/ND B10/SEC Louisville vs. Baylor
Citrus ACC/ND/B10 SEC Wisconsin vs. Ole Miss
TaxSlayer ACC/ND/B10 SEC Miami (Fla.) vs. Auburn
Peach Semifinal Semifinal Alabama vs. Washington
Fiesta Semifinal Semifinal Ohio St. vs. Clemson
Outback Big Ten SEC Nebraska vs. Florida
Cotton At-Large At-Large Houston vs. Texas A&M
Rose Big Ten Pac-12 Michigan vs. Stanford
Sugar Big 12 SEC Tennessee vs. Oklahoma
Nat’l Champ. Semifinal Winners Alabama vs. Ohio St.

 

 

 

 

 

August 19, 2016

2016 American Athletic Conference Football Preview

Today, we conclude with our previews of the Group of 5 conferences and throw in the four independents to boot. The American Athletic Conference produced the Group of 5 at-large representative to the New Year’s 6 Bowls last year. Houston represented the little brothers well last year, when the Cougars bested Florida State in the Peach Bowl last year.

Houston should be right in the thick of the AAC and NY6 Bowl race this year, but we believe that another league member is talented enough to take this year’s automatic NY6 Bowl bid, and if they can pull off one upset, maybe even challenge for the #4 seed in the playoffs.

Coach Willie Taggart has his South Florida team ready to make a run toward an undefeated season this year. The Bulls must pull off the upset against Florida State, but USF gets to host the Seminoles in that game a week after FSU must face Louisville on the road.

USF returns an exceptional dual threat quarterback in Quinton Flowers. Flowers topped 1,000 yards rushing (not counting QB sacks, or if NFL statistic rules were used) last year, while averaging more than 8 yards per passing attempt. Seven of his top eight targets from last year return to give the Bulls an improved passing attack. That should allow multi-talented running back Marlon Mack to see less eight-man defensive fronts and give him a chance to improve on his 1,381 rushing yards from a year ago.

Defensively, USF 10 of their top dozen tacklers from a year ago, including potential All-American Deatrick Nichols as a cover cornerback. USF should trim about 5 points and 30-50 total yards off what the defense allowed last year, and that should give the Bulls a fighting chance to conquer that one great matador in their path to a perfect season.

Houston is still the class of the West Division. The Cougars came within an upset loss against Connecticut in November last year of possibly getting into the Playoff picture. Second year head coach Tom Herman proved to be a talented protege of his mentor Urban Meyer, as he guided the Cougars to a 13-1 season. Only a few questions on the defensive side keep us from making UH our clear-cut favorite for the NY6 Bowl, but they only trail USF by a tiny margin as the season begins. What hurts the Cougars is an opening game against Oklahoma at NRG Stadium, and we cannot see the Cougars’ defense being ready to stop the Sooners’ offense. Starting 0-1, Houston will be behind the eight-ball all season. Road games against Cincinnati, Navy, and Memphis may be more than UH can handle, so the Cougars could be a two-loss team heading into the AAC Championship Game.

Here is how the Media picked this year’s AAC race.

American Athletic Conference–East Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 South Florida 15 164 2
2 Temple 9 144 1
3 Cincinnati 6 130  
4 Connecticut 0 89  
5 East Carolina 0 55  
6 Central Florida 0 48  
         
American Athletic Conference–West Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Houston 30 180 27
2 Navy 0 128  
3 Memphis 0 124  
4 Tulsa 0 92  
5 SMU 0 65  
6 Tulane 0 41  

And, here are how our PiRates rate the teams to begin the 2016 season.

American Athletic Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 108.3 105.7 109.5 107.8
Cincinnati 101.5 102.7 102.5 102.3
Temple 102.2 101.2 103.1 102.2
Connecticut 98.3 96.1 98.6 97.7
East Carolina 91.6 94.6 91.7 92.6
Central Florida 85.9 88.6 85.9 86.8
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Houston 110.1 108.3 111.9 110.1
Tulsa 99.7 102.2 100.4 100.8
Memphis 102.7 97.8 100.8 100.5
Navy 99.2 99.0 98.6 99.0
SMU 93.7 92.1 93.2 93.0
Tulane 82.2 86.1 82.0 83.4
         
AAC Averages 98.0 97.9 98.2 98.0

The PiRate Ratings are meant to be used only to predict the outcomes of the next week of games, and are not best used to predict beyond that point.  Because we use algorithms that include automatic adjustments by each team based on depth and experience, two different teams can win by the exact score we predict, and their new ratings might change differently.

 

Thus, using our ratings to predict won-loss records and bowl projections is a bit comical, but then we all need some laughs every now and then.  So, laugh away at our projected standings and bowls.

American Athletic Conference Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
East Division      
South Florida 8-0 12-1 * Cotton–NY6
Temple 6-2 9-3 Military
Cincinnati 4-4 6-6 Birmingham
Connecticut 3-5 4-8  
East Carolina 2-6 3-9  
Central Florida 1-7 2-10  
       
Team Conference Overall Bowl
West Division      
Houston 8-0 10-3 St. Petersburg
Navy 6-2 8-4 Armed Forces
Tulsa 5-3 8-4 Miami Beach
Memphis 4-4 7-5 Bahamas
SMU 1-7 3-9  
Tulane 0-8 3-9  
       
* South Florida to win AAC Title and automatic NY 6 Bowl Bid

Coming Later Today–A look at the four independents.

 

 

 

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