The Pi-Rate Ratings

October 5, 2015

College Football Preview: October 8-10, 2015

Note: South Carolina – LSU game has been moved from USC to LSU.  We have updated the spreads for that game below.

Deja vu in the Big Ten?

We have stated it earlier in the season, but at this point in the season, the Big Ten race looks eerily similar to the 1969 Big Ten season. Of course, there are differences, especially in the way the game is played today as compared to 46 seasons ago, but there are enough similarities that it has heightened our enthusiasm toward watching the Big Ten games.

For a little background, our PiRate Ratings began about this time 46 years ago. It was about four games into the season (10-game seasons for most, 9-game season still for Ohio St.), that we looked in the newspaper to discover the entire top ten was undefeated and untied. Our founder thought, “how can you determine which of these 10 teams is really the best?”

He began looking at comparative scores and how easily or difficult each win was. That is how the PiRate Ratings started. At first, no numerical rating was awarded; it was strictly who is better than who.
Ohio State entered the 1969 season after becoming the surprise 1968 National Champion. The Buckeyes had knocked off unbeaten USC with Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson the previous year. Coach Woody Hayes’ team was predominately a group of sensational sophomores. Beginning the 1969 season, the Buckeyes were the clear-cut number one team.

Purdue was also a pre-season top 10 team entering 1969. The Boilermakers were coming off three consecutive 8-2 regular seasons (with a Rose Bowl win in 1966-67 to make it a ninth win). Purdue had the top quarterback in the conference in Mike Phipps, and many experts believed he was the best passer in the nation and certain first QB to be picked in the next NFL Draft.

Michigan had finished the 1968 season with a 50-14 pasting by Ohio State. Worse than the final score was that the Buckeyes led the Wolverines 44-14 late in the fourth quarter when outstanding fullback Jim Otis barreled his way into the end zone for a touchdown. Up 50-14, Hayes decided to punish the hated rival to the north and go for two points. Bill Long, the 1967 starter who lost his QB job to Buckeye great Rex Kern attempted to pass to Bill Pollitt but overthrew him, and the try was unsuccessful. The Wolverines had to deal with this defeat for a year, and they vowed to get their revenge.
Michigan began 1969 with a new head coach in fiery Bo Schembechler, who had already enjoyed success as a 6-year head coach at Miami of Ohio. Schembechler favored shortening games with a tough defense that stopped the run and rushed the quarterback, while grinding it out with a power running game and play-action passing game on offense.
By now, you should be able to see the similarities. The 1969 Ohio State team began the season as the obvious number one team with a group of more than two dozen junior stars. Purdue figured to be the top challenger to Ohio State with a great quarterback and an exceptional coach in Jack Mollenkopf, who had built the Boilermaker program up to national prominence, even taking PU to the top spot in the polls for a couple weeks in the past.
Michigan was not picked to contend for the top three spots in the Big Ten with a new coach, with a new philosophy, and a lot of new personnel.

The one substitute in this similarity to 2015 is to change Purdue to Michigan St. Here is what you have in 2015.
Ohio State is the runaway number one choice as the season begins and continues. Michigan State with outstanding coach Mark Dantonio and top quarterback Connor Cook has risen to national prominence and is the top contender. Michigan with fiery new coach Jim Harbaugh with years of past experience is the team nobody picked to contend, coming in behind Penn State in the preseason pecking order for number four in the East Division.

Now, add another little fact to the similarity. The 1969 Wolverine team fell early to a team from another power conference, said team then going on to win that conference and play in the Orange Bowl. Missouri beat the 1969 Wolverines. UM was written off after that defeat, but Missouri won the Big 8 title and played in the Orange Bowl.
2015 Michigan lost at Utah to begin the season. With the Utes now 4-0 and nationally ranked after winning by four touchdowns at Oregon, that UM loss in Salt Lake City does not look so bad. With consecutive shutout wins, the Wolverines surely look like a Schembechler team. Harbaugh did play for Bo in Ann Arbor.

The Wolverines have a tough game this week against unbeaten Northwestern. This one could see less than 20 total points scored, and a 0-0 score late in the game would not be surprising. It is homecoming in Ann Arbor. Michigan better not be looking ahead to the next game for the Paul Bunyan Trophy against the Spartans, because this NU team owns a win over Stanford, and they do not fear the Wolverines.

The Big Ten is going to continue to be the most interesting conference until things play out. With Iowa still undefeated, the races in both divisions will be fun to watch.

Next Coaches to move to Power 5 Conference Teams

There appears to be future openings at teams in Power 5 Conferences. Depending on who you believe, there could be a half-dozen openings in the big time.

Illinois figures to look for a new full-time coach, but if interim Bill Cubit continues to perform well, this job may not be open. Paul Rhoads is in serious jeopardy at Iowa State. Virginia’s Mike London faced a much too difficult schedule, and he has virtually no chance of guiding the Cavaliers to a winning record. Darrell Hazell might have secured his spot at Purdue had the Boilermakers been able to close the deal and upset Michigan State, but Hazell is likely to be fired at the end of this season if Purdue finishes in the West Division basement again.

Then, there are some big name coaches at big name schools that have the fans, alums, and boosters complaining. Charlie Strong at Texas is probably safe because the Longhorns have a long list of folks still on the payroll and no longer. If the Longhorns lose by 30 points this week to Oklahoma and then lose to either Iowa State or Kansas, Strong could find himself in some trouble.

Maryland’s Randy Edsall has never really endeared himself to the Terrapin community, and the Terps could seek a new coach next year, especially if UM loses to Rutgers and finishes last in the Big Ten East.

While we don’t believe it is possible, there are no rumblings to replace Butch Jones at Tennessee, after the Volunteers blew their third 14-point lead of the season in a loss to Arkansas. Losses to Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Alabama would leave the Vols at 5-7, and in the same boat they were when they fired Derek Dooley after three seasons.

Al Golden is in some hot water at Miami, even though he has had to deal with a lot of sanctions from the previous regime. The Hurricanes should be bowl eligible this year, but this school has not traveled to bowls in large numbers in recent years. Golden probably keeps his job unless the ‘Canes collapse and finish below .500.

Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer may be sent out to pasture in a manner similar to Bobby Bowden. The Hokies have not contended for ACC honors in recent years, and the fans in Blacksburg are ready for something new. They may get it.

The ole ball coach is not completely safe at South Carolina. Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks fell from 11-2 to 7-6 last year and could drop below .500 this year. A homecoming loss to Vanderbilt in two weeks could seal his fate.

With a lot of possible job openings, which Group of 5 coaches appear to be ready to move up to the big time? Let’s take a look league by league.

American Athletic Conference
Justin Fuente is the current darling of the mid-major football world. The Memphis coach has won 12 consecutive games, and the Tigers are now more of a football than basketball school. Fuente comes from the Garry Patterson coaching tree, and he could be the leading candidate should the Iowa State job become available. Memphis fans like to believe that their team can move up to the Big 12 and become big-time, thus being able to keep Fuente, but that is not likely to happen in the next six months, and job openings with his name at the top of the list will be available.

Tommy Tuberville is 61 years old, so a little bit of age discrimination could creep into his attempts to move back to the big time. He begged to get out of Lubbock and took the Cincinnati job as somewhat of a step down from Texas Tech. We could see where Virginia might have an interest in him, after David Cutcliffe has done so well at Duke.
Matt Rhule has done wonders at Temple. Several schools could look toward him. Rhule has NFL experience and could also become a candidate for a couple pro jobs.

East Carolina’s Ruffin McNeill creates a lot of excitement with his wide open offense. The Pirates have consistently averaged 35-40 points per game and have been bowling four of his five seasons in Greenville. ECU is in contention in the East Division this year, and if they win the crown, McNeill could vault above many others for job openings, like at Virginia Tech or Maryland.

Houston’s Tom Herman is a first year head coach. It would be a major surprise to see Herman leave after one year, but if the Cougars run the table and earn the New Year’s Six Bowl allocated to a Group of Five member, he might not ever be this hot of a commodity. The former Urban Meyer assistant could be on the radar of several schools.

Conference USA
Maybe the best recruiter in the land resides in CUSA. Marshall’s Doc Holliday would draw interest from any Big Ten or ACC school with an opening. Holliday might prefer to stay in West Virginia, but the job in Mogantown does not appear to have any openings in the near future.

Jeff Brohm is just in his second season at Western Kentucky, but the Hilltoppers are fun to watch, and they win. WKU went should earn back-to-back bowl games, and Brohm could field multiple offers at the end of the season.
With a last name of “Holtz,” if the team you coach has consistent success, you are going to eventually get an offer to move up. Skip Holtz has produced winners at East Carolina and now at Louisiana Tech. His dad started out small at William & Mary before moving on to five big time schools.

Mid-American Conference
The MAC tends to produce more Power 5 head coaches than any other league, mostly ascending to the Big Ten. There is no shortage of future Power 5 possibiities here. Let’s start with Toledo’s Matt Campbell, who has guided the Rockets to wins over Arkansas and Iowa State this year. He may be the first option at the first Big Ten opening this year.

Rod Carey has done quite well at Northern Illinois despite the Huskies not faring so well this year. Still, Carey has produced 12 and 11-win seasons in Dekalb, and NIU has become the new “Cradle of Coaches.”

Dino Babers is already 2-0 in the Big Ten this year, and Bowling Green hopes to go undefeated in the MAC as well. Babers’ offense is another one of those wide-open high-scoring outfits that fans love to watch.

Mountain West Conference
The Boise State coach is always going to be a hot commodity. Bryan Harsin guided the Broncos to the Fiesta Bowl in his first season in Potatoland, and the Broncos are in contention for another New Year’s Six Bowl again this year.

Former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie has slowly built the New Mexico program up to where the Lobos could sneak into a bowl this year. Davie’s teams have consistently led the nation in rushing among teams not using the triple-option offense. He could be an option at an Iowa State, Virginia, Maryland, or Purdue.

Sun Belt Conference
There are no real candidates in this league at the current time, but should Paul Johnson retire at Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern’s Willie Fritz could be the best option, and we do mean to use “option” as a double entendre. Fritz’s option offense is totally different than the option offenses used at Tech, Army, Navy, or Air Force. He likely will never be a serious candidate at any successful Power 5 program, but at a Georgia Tech, Purdue, Vanderbilt, or Kansas, this type of philosophy could turn things around.

This Week’s Ratings

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

PiRate Ratings

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Ohio St. 128.8 121.3 129.7 126.6
2 Alabama 127.4 125.3 126.8 126.5
3 TCU 129.1 120.0 130.2 126.4
4 Baylor 126.4 122.7 127.3 125.5
5 USC 124.9 121.5 125.3 123.9
6 Utah 125.7 119.9 125.1 123.6
7 Oklahoma 122.8 120.0 123.3 122.0
8 Notre Dame 123.0 119.4 123.3 121.9
9 Ole Miss 124.4 117.8 122.3 121.5
10 Stanford 121.2 120.0 121.2 120.8
11 LSU 122.0 118.6 121.6 120.7
12 Texas A&M 120.9 118.7 120.0 119.9
13 UCLA 121.5 115.0 119.3 118.6
14 Georgia 121.3 113.8 120.4 118.5
15 Tennessee 118.7 114.1 118.1 117.0
16 Clemson 116.1 117.0 116.2 116.4
17 Georgia Tech 117.7 114.7 116.9 116.4
18 Michigan 117.3 113.6 117.1 116.0
19 Oregon 118.6 111.3 118.0 116.0
20 Arkansas 118.2 112.4 117.4 116.0
21 Florida 116.9 113.6 116.8 115.8
22 North Carolina 115.9 115.8 115.7 115.8
23 Boise St. 117.1 112.0 117.0 115.4
24 California 116.7 111.6 116.6 115.0
25 Michigan St. 116.4 112.3 115.7 114.8
26 West Virginia 115.6 110.2 115.0 113.6
27 Florida St. 113.8 114.3 112.4 113.5
28 Arizona St. 115.3 110.3 114.2 113.3
29 Mississippi St. 114.3 110.3 114.2 112.9
30 Auburn 113.3 111.1 112.1 112.2
31 Oklahoma St. 112.3 110.5 112.5 111.8
32 North Carolina St. 110.5 112.3 109.4 110.7
33 Louisville 109.3 112.1 109.9 110.4
34 Wisconsin 109.9 110.9 109.1 110.0
35 Virginia Tech 110.4 108.5 110.5 109.8
36 Missouri 110.7 107.8 110.0 109.5
37 Northwestern 108.7 109.6 108.9 109.1
38 Temple 107.1 109.1 108.2 108.1
39 Iowa 106.4 109.5 107.3 107.7
40 Texas Tech 110.8 101.6 110.7 107.7
41 Nebraska 108.9 106.2 108.1 107.7
42 Miami 106.9 107.3 107.2 107.1
43 Arizona 110.1 102.9 107.9 107.0
44 Pittsburgh 105.1 106.5 106.4 106.0
45 Duke 105.7 105.4 106.3 105.8
46 Kansas St. 109.9 98.7 108.8 105.8
47 Illinois 106.9 104.4 105.7 105.7
48 Western Kentucky 104.8 104.1 106.3 105.1
49 South Carolina 106.9 103.3 105.2 105.1
50 Memphis 104.4 104.8 105.5 104.9
51 BYU 105.1 103.6 105.9 104.9
52 Cincinnati 104.2 104.8 105.5 104.8
53 Houston 101.1 109.2 103.9 104.7
54 Kentucky 105.8 102.4 105.1 104.4
55 Penn St. 103.5 106.1 103.6 104.4
56 Minnesota 105.0 103.5 104.2 104.2
57 Colorado 105.7 100.9 104.8 103.8
58 Washington 104.0 102.0 104.5 103.5
59 Texas 104.3 101.7 103.7 103.2
60 Boston College 101.4 105.8 99.9 102.4
61 Toledo 101.5 100.2 102.8 101.5
62 Louisiana Tech 101.6 99.7 102.7 101.3
63 Navy 99.6 103.0 100.1 100.9
64 Virginia 100.6 97.5 99.7 99.3
65 Vanderbilt 100.9 95.8 100.5 99.1
66 Bowling Green 96.8 101.1 98.6 98.8
67 Purdue 99.3 98.9 98.1 98.8
68 Indiana 98.1 99.3 98.2 98.5
69 Middle Tennessee 98.3 97.3 97.9 97.8
70 Washington St. 99.6 94.7 98.3 97.5
71 Appalachian St. 95.6 99.1 97.6 97.4
72 East Carolina 95.8 99.1 96.4 97.1
73 Syracuse 96.0 99.7 95.6 97.1
74 Georgia Southern 96.0 98.3 96.8 97.0
75 Wake Forest 95.6 99.5 94.7 96.6
76 Utah St. 96.8 95.3 96.9 96.3
77 Western Michigan 96.0 95.3 97.2 96.2
78 San Diego St. 93.9 99.2 94.8 96.0
79 San Jose St. 94.3 97.5 94.7 95.5
80 Rutgers 97.3 94.0 95.1 95.5
81 Marshall 95.1 95.6 95.4 95.4
82 Air Force 93.7 98.7 93.4 95.3
83 Ohio 93.2 97.6 94.9 95.2
84 Iowa St. 95.9 92.6 95.1 94.5
85 Northern Illinois 92.7 95.5 93.0 93.7
86 Tulsa 90.9 96.7 92.2 93.3
87 Colorado St. 93.5 91.4 91.9 92.3
88 Oregon St. 93.0 91.4 92.1 92.2
89 Maryland 92.0 89.4 90.5 90.6
90 South Florida 88.6 94.9 88.3 90.6
91 Massachusetts 88.5 91.9 90.3 90.2
92 Nevada 89.0 93.0 88.4 90.1
93 New Mexico 90.1 90.8 89.2 90.0
94 Southern Mississippi 89.6 90.5 89.3 89.8
95 Florida International 88.4 90.8 90.0 89.7
96 Tulane 89.1 91.7 87.8 89.5
97 Central Florida 87.7 91.0 88.5 89.1
98 Central Michigan 86.9 90.9 89.0 88.9
99 Arkansas St. 88.6 88.5 89.3 88.8
100 Hawaii 88.0 89.9 88.2 88.7
101 Akron 85.5 91.8 87.2 88.2
102 Buffalo 84.1 91.3 86.6 87.3
103 Ball St. 85.9 88.6 87.0 87.2
104 SMU 85.3 89.1 85.2 86.5
105 Fresno St. 84.8 90.6 83.1 86.2
106 Rice 83.9 87.6 84.3 85.3
107 Army 81.0 91.6 82.9 85.2
108 Connecticut 83.1 88.5 83.7 85.1
109 Kent St. 83.3 86.1 84.0 84.5
110 UL-Lafayette 82.6 86.0 82.6 83.7
111 UNLV 82.2 84.6 83.1 83.3
112 Florida Atlantic 81.7 85.7 82.1 83.2
113 Texas St. 81.2 85.1 80.9 82.4
114 UT-San Antonio 80.6 83.8 82.0 82.1
115 UL-Monroe 81.9 79.1 81.5 80.8
116 UTEP 79.2 81.8 78.8 79.9
117 South Alabama 76.1 83.2 77.9 79.1
118 Wyoming 78.4 80.4 77.0 78.6
119 Old Dominion 76.5 82.2 75.4 78.0
120 Eastern Michigan 74.7 84.2 74.3 77.7
121 Miami (O) 75.3 80.4 75.4 77.0
122 North Texas 74.9 80.6 75.0 76.8
123 Kansas 78.6 72.3 76.3 75.7
124 Troy 74.6 75.0 76.1 75.2
125 Georgia St. 75.4 74.1 75.1 74.9
126 New Mexico St. 73.9 75.2 74.1 74.4
127 Idaho 70.7 78.2 72.0 73.6
128 Charlotte 69.2 71.3 69.1 69.9

PiRate Rating By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Temple 1-0 4-0 107.1 109.1 108.2 108.1
Cincinnati 0-2 3-2 104.2 104.8 105.5 104.8
East Carolina 1-1 3-2 95.8 99.1 96.4 97.1
South Florida 0-1 1-3 88.6 94.9 88.3 90.6
Central Florida 0-1 0-5 87.7 91.0 88.5 89.1
Connecticut 0-1 2-3 83.1 88.5 83.7 85.1
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Memphis 2-0 5-0 104.4 104.8 105.5 104.9
Houston 1-0 4-0 101.1 109.2 103.9 104.7
Navy 2-0 4-0 99.6 103.0 100.1 100.9
Tulsa 0-1 2-2 90.9 96.7 92.2 93.3
Tulane 1-0 2-2 89.1 91.7 87.8 89.5
SMU 0-1 1-4 85.3 89.1 85.2 86.5
             
AAC Averages     94.7 98.5 95.4 96.2
             
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 1-0 4-0 116.1 117.0 116.2 116.4
Florida St. 2-0 4-0 113.8 114.3 112.4 113.5
North Carolina St. 0-1 4-1 110.5 112.3 109.4 110.7
Louisville 1-1 2-3 109.3 112.1 109.9 110.4
Boston College 0-2 3-2 101.4 105.8 99.9 102.4
Syracuse 1-0 3-1 96.0 99.7 95.6 97.1
Wake Forest 0-2 2-3 95.6 99.5 94.7 96.6
             
Coastal Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Georgia Tech 0-2 2-3 117.7 114.7 116.9 116.4
North Carolina 1-0 4-1 115.9 115.8 115.7 115.8
Virginia Tech 0-1 2-3 110.4 108.5 110.5 109.8
Miami 0-0 3-1 106.9 107.3 107.2 107.1
Pittsburgh 1-0 3-1 105.1 106.5 106.4 106.0
Duke 2-0 4-1 105.7 105.4 106.3 105.8
Virginia 0-0 1-3 100.6 97.5 99.7 99.3
             
ACC Averages     107.5 108.3 107.2 107.7
             
Big 12 Conference
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
TCU 2-0 5-0 129.1 120.0 130.2 126.4
Baylor 1-0 4-0 126.4 122.7 127.3 125.5
Oklahoma 1-0 4-0 122.8 120.0 123.3 122.0
West Virginia 0-1 3-1 115.6 110.2 115.0 113.6
Oklahoma St. 2-0 5-0 112.3 110.5 112.5 111.8
Texas Tech 0-2 3-2 110.8 101.6 110.7 107.7
Kansas St. 0-1 3-1 109.9 98.7 108.8 105.8
Texas 0-2 1-4 104.3 101.7 103.7 103.2
Iowa St. 1-0 2-2 95.9 92.6 95.1 94.5
Kansas 0-1 0-4 78.6 72.3 76.3 75.7
             
Big 12 Averages     110.6 105.0 110.3 108.6
             
Big Ten Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 1-0 5-0 128.8 121.3 129.7 126.6
Michigan 1-0 4-1 117.3 113.6 117.1 116.0
Michigan St. 1-0 5-0 116.4 112.3 115.7 114.8
Penn St. 1-0 4-1 103.5 106.1 103.6 104.4
Indiana 0-1 4-1 98.1 99.3 98.2 98.5
Rutgers 0-1 2-2 97.3 94.0 95.1 95.5
Maryland 0-1 2-3 92.0 89.4 90.5 90.6
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Wisconsin 0-1 3-2 109.9 110.9 109.1 110.0
Northwestern 1-0 5-0 108.7 109.6 108.9 109.1
Iowa 1-0 5-0 106.4 109.5 107.3 107.7
Nebraska 0-1 2-3 108.9 106.2 108.1 107.7
Illinois 1-0 4-1 106.9 104.4 105.7 105.7
Minnesota 0-1 3-2 105.0 103.5 104.2 104.2
Purdue 0-1 1-4 99.3 98.9 98.1 98.8
             
Big Ten Averages     107.0 105.6 106.5 106.4
             
Conference USA
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Kentucky 2-0 4-1 104.8 104.1 106.3 105.1
Middle Tennessee 1-0 2-3 98.3 97.3 97.9 97.8
Marshall 1-0 4-1 95.1 95.6 95.4 95.4
Florida International 0-1 2-3 88.4 90.8 90.0 89.7
Florida Atlantic 1-0 2-3 81.7 85.7 82.1 83.2
Old Dominion 0-1 2-3 76.5 82.2 75.4 78.0
Charlotte 0-2 2-3 69.2 71.3 69.1 69.9
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Louisiana Tech 1-1 3-2 101.6 99.7 102.7 101.3
Southern Mississippi 1-0 3-2 89.6 90.5 89.3 89.8
Rice 1-1 2-3 83.9 87.6 84.3 85.3
UT-San Antonio 1-0 1-4 80.6 83.8 82.0 82.1
UTEP 0-1 2-3 79.2 81.8 78.8 79.9
North Texas 0-2 0-4 74.9 80.6 75.0 76.8
             
CUSA Averages     86.4 88.5 86.8 87.3
             
FBS Independents
Team   Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame   4-1 123.0 119.4 123.3 121.9
BYU   3-2 105.1 103.6 105.9 104.9
Army   1-4 81.0 91.6 82.9 85.2
             
Independents Averages     103.0 104.9 104.0 104.0
             
Mid-American Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Bowling Green 1-0 3-2 96.8 101.1 98.6 98.8
Ohio 1-0 4-1 93.2 97.6 94.9 95.2
Massachusetts 0-0 1-3 88.5 91.9 90.3 90.2
Akron 0-1 2-3 85.5 91.8 87.2 88.2
Buffalo 0-1 2-3 84.1 91.3 86.6 87.3
Kent St. 1-0 2-3 83.3 86.1 84.0 84.5
Miami (O) 0-1 1-4 75.3 80.4 75.4 77.0
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Toledo 1-0 4-0 101.5 100.2 102.8 101.5
Western Michigan 0-0 1-3 96.0 95.3 97.2 96.2
Northern Illinois 0-1 2-3 92.7 95.5 93.0 93.7
Central Michigan 1-0 2-3 86.9 90.9 89.0 88.9
Ball St. 1-1 2-3 85.9 88.6 87.0 87.2
Eastern Michigan 0-1 1-4 74.7 84.2 74.3 77.7
             
MAC Averages     88.0 91.9 89.3 89.7
             
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 1-0 4-1 117.1 112.0 117.0 115.4
Utah St. 1-0 2-2 96.8 95.3 96.9 96.3
Air Force 1-0 2-2 93.7 98.7 93.4 95.3
Colorado St. 0-1 2-3 93.5 91.4 91.9 92.3
New Mexico 1-0 3-2 90.1 90.8 89.2 90.0
Wyoming 0-1 0-5 78.4 80.4 77.0 78.6
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 1-0 2-3 93.9 99.2 94.8 96.0
San Jose St. 1-1 2-3 94.3 97.5 94.7 95.5
Nevada 0-1 2-3 89.0 93.0 88.4 90.1
Hawaii 0-1 2-3 88.0 89.9 88.2 88.7
Fresno St. 0-2 1-4 84.8 90.6 83.1 86.2
UNLV 1-0 2-3 82.2 84.6 83.1 83.3
             
MWC Averages     91.8 93.6 91.5 92.3
             
Pac-12 Conference
North Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Stanford 3-0 4-1 121.2 120.0 121.2 120.8
Oregon 1-1 3-2 118.6 111.3 118.0 116.0
California 2-0 5-0 116.7 111.6 116.6 115.0
Washington 0-1 2-2 104.0 102.0 104.5 103.5
Washington St. 0-1 2-2 99.6 94.7 98.3 97.5
Oregon St. 0-1 2-2 93.0 91.4 92.1 92.2
             
South Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
USC 1-1 3-1 124.9 121.5 125.3 123.9
Utah 1-0 4-0 125.7 119.9 125.1 123.6
UCLA 1-1 4-1 121.5 115.0 119.3 118.6
Arizona St. 1-1 3-2 115.3 110.3 114.2 113.3
Arizona 0-2 3-2 110.1 102.9 107.9 107.0
Colorado 0-1 3-2 105.7 100.9 104.8 103.8
             
Pac-12 Averages     113.0 108.5 112.3 111.3
             
Southeastern Conference
East Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Georgia 2-1 4-1 121.3 113.8 120.4 118.5
Tennessee 0-2 2-3 118.7 114.1 118.1 117.0
Florida 3-0 5-0 116.9 113.6 116.8 115.8
Missouri 1-1 4-1 110.7 107.8 110.0 109.5
South Carolina 0-3 2-3 106.9 103.3 105.2 105.1
Kentucky 2-1 4-1 105.8 102.4 105.1 104.4
Vanderbilt 0-2 2-3 100.9 95.8 100.5 99.1
             
West Division            
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 1-1 4-1 127.4 125.3 126.8 126.5
Ole Miss 2-1 4-1 124.4 117.8 122.3 121.5
LSU 2-0 4-0 122.0 118.6 121.6 120.7
Texas A&M 2-0 5-0 120.9 118.7 120.0 119.9
Arkansas 1-1 2-3 118.2 112.4 117.4 116.0
Mississippi St. 1-2 3-2 114.3 110.3 114.2 112.9
Auburn 0-2 3-2 113.3 111.1 112.1 112.2
             
SEC Averages     115.8 111.8 115.0 114.2
             
Sunbelt Conference
Team Conference Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 0-0 3-1 95.6 99.1 97.6 97.4
Georgia Southern 2-0 4-1 96.0 98.3 96.8 97.0
Arkansas St. 1-0 2-3 88.6 88.5 89.3 88.8
UL-Lafayette 0-0 1-3 82.6 86.0 82.6 83.7
Texas St. 0-0 1-3 81.2 85.1 80.9 82.4
UL-Monroe 0-1 1-3 81.9 79.1 81.5 80.8
South Alabama 1-0 3-2 76.1 83.2 77.9 79.1
Troy 0-1 1-3 74.6 75.0 76.1 75.2
Georgia St. 1-0 1-3 75.4 74.1 75.1 74.9
New Mexico St. 0-1 0-4 73.9 75.2 74.1 74.4
Idaho 0-2 1-4 70.7 78.2 72.0 73.6
             
Sun Belt Averages     81.5 83.8 82.2 82.5

This Week’s Spreads

This Week’s Games
         
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Thursday, October 8        
Houston SMU 18.3 22.6 21.2
USC Washington 23.9 22.5 23.8
         
Friday, October 9        
Marshall Southern Miss. 8.5 8.1 9.1
Virginia Tech North Carolina St. 2.9 -0.8 4.1
         
Saturday, October 10        
Army Duke -22.2 -11.3 -20.9
Ole Miss New Mexico St. 53.5 45.6 51.2
LSU South Carolina 17.6 17.8 18.9
Florida Int’l UTEP 11.7 11.5 13.7
Western Kentucky Middle Tennessee 9.0 9.3 10.9
Iowa Illinois 2.5 8.1 4.6
Kansas Baylor -44.8 -47.4 -48.0
Texas (N) Oklahoma -18.5 -18.3 -19.6
Ohio St. Maryland 39.8 34.9 42.2
Penn St. Indiana 8.4 9.8 8.4
Temple Tulane 20.5 19.9 22.9
Western Michigan Central Michigan 11.1 6.4 10.2
Pittsburgh Virginia 7.0 11.5 9.2
Ohio Miami (O) 19.9 19.2 21.5
Bowling Green Massachusetts 10.8 11.7 10.8
Florida Atlantic Rice 0.3 0.6 0.3
Boston College Wake Forest 8.8 9.3 8.2
Eastern Michigan Akron -8.8 -5.6 -10.9
Toledo Kent St. 20.2 16.1 20.8
Georgia St. Appalachian St. -18.2 -23.0 -20.5
Northern Illinois Ball St. 9.3 9.4 8.5
Clemson Georgia Tech 0.9 4.8 1.8
Tennessee Georgia 0.4 3.3 0.7
South Florida Syracuse -4.4 -1.8 -4.3
Notre Dame Navy 26.4 19.4 26.2
Michigan Northwestern 11.6 7.0 11.2
Nebraska Wisconsin 2.0 -1.7 2.0
Purdue Minnesota -3.2 -2.1 -3.6
Texas Tech Iowa St. 17.9 12.0 18.6
Central Florida Connecticut 7.1 5.0 7.3
Arizona Oregon St. 20.1 14.5 18.8
Mississippi St. Troy 42.7 38.3 41.1
Oregon Washington St. 22.0 19.6 22.7
Tulsa Louisiana-Monroe 12.0 20.6 13.7
Colorado St. Boise St. -20.6 -17.6 -22.1
Louisiana-Lafayette Texas St. 3.9 3.4 4.2
Nevada New Mexico 1.4 4.7 1.7
Alabama Arkansas 12.2 15.9 12.4
Texas-San Antonio Louisiana Tech -18.5 -13.6 -18.2
West Virginia Oklahoma St. 6.3 2.7 5.5
Kansas St. TCU -16.2 -18.3 -18.4
Missouri Florida -3.2 -2.8 -3.8
BYU East Carolina 12.8 8.0 12.0
Florida St. Miami (Fl.) 8.9 9.0 7.2
Rutgers Michigan St. -16.6 -15.8 -18.1
UNLV San Jose St. -9.6 -10.4 -9.1
Arizona St. Colorado 12.6 12.4 12.4
Utah California 12.0 11.3 11.5
Air Force Wyoming 17.3 20.3 18.4
Fresno St. Utah St. -9.5 -2.2 -11.3
Hawaii San Diego St. -1.9 -5.3 -2.6
         
FBS vs. FCS Week 6 PiRate    
North Texas Portland St. -7    

Bowl Projections

Bowl Conferences Team vs. Team
Cure AAC SBC Temple vs. UL-Lafayette
New Mexico MWC CUSA New Mexico vs. Rice
Las Vegas Pac-12 MWC/BYU Oregon vs. Boise St.
Camellia MAC SBC Northern Illinois vs. South Alabama
New Orleans CUSA SBC Louisiana Tech vs. Appalachian St.
Miami Beach AAC CUSA Cincinnati vs. Marshall
Idaho Potato MAC MWC Akron vs. Utah St.
Boca Raton AAC MAC Miami (FL) * vs. Ohio U
Poinsettia MWC Army San Diego St. vs. Minnesota *
GoDaddy MAC SBC Toledo vs. Georgia Southern
Bahamas CUSA MAC Western Kentucky vs. Bowling Green
Hawaii AAC MWC/BYU Tulsa vs. BYU
St. Petersburg AAC CUSA East Carolina vs. Florida Int’l.
Sun ACC Pac-12 Duke vs. Arizona St.
Heart of Dallas Big 12 CUSA Western Mich. * vs. Southern Miss.
Pinstripe ACC Big Ten Syracuse vs. Wisconsin
Independence SEC ACC Mississippi St. vs. N. Carolina St.
Foster Farms Big Ten Pac-12 Nebraska vs. California
Military ACC AAC Virginia Tech vs. Navy
Quick Lane ACC Big Ten Pittsburgh vs. Indiana
Armed Forces Big Ten MWC Illinois vs. Air Force
Russell Athletic ACC Big 12 Florida St. vs. West Virginia
Texas Big 12 SEC Texas Tech vs. Missouri
Birmingham AAC SEC Memphis vs. Middle Tennessee *
Belk ACC SEC Louisville vs. Florida
Music City ACC/Big Ten SEC Penn St. vs. Kentucky
Peach N. Y. 6 N. Y. 6 Baylor vs. Notre Dame
Cotton Playoff Playoff Stanford vs. LSU
Orange Playoff Playoff Clemson vs. Michigan
Holiday Big Ten Pac-12 Northwestern vs. UCLA
Ouback Big Ten SEC Iowa vs. Texas A&M
Citrus Big Ten SEC Michigan St. vs. Ole Miss
Sugar Big 12 SEC Alabama vs. TCU
Rose Big Ten Pac-12 Ohio St. vs. Utah
Fiesta N. Y. 6 N. Y. 6 Oklahoma vs. Houston
TaxSlayer ACC/Big Ten SEC North Carolina vs. Georgia
Liberty Big 12 SEC Kansas St. vs. Tennessee
Alamo Big 12 Pac-12 Oklahoma St. vs. USC
Cactus Big 12 Pac-12 Boston College * vs. San Jose St. *
Nat’l Champ. Semifinal Winners Stanford vs. Michigan
           
* = At-large selection due to contracted conference not having an eligible team for this slot

 

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August 25, 2011

2011 Pac-12 Conference Preview

2011 Pacific 12 Conference Preview

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

NORTH DIVISION

Stanford

OFFENSE

Quarterback

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

 

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

 

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

 

Receivers

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Running Backs

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

 

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

 

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

 

Offensive Line

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

 

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

 

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

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

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

 

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

 

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

 

Linebackers

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

 

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

 

Secondary

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

 

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

 

OTHER

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

 

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

 

SUMMARY

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

 

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

 

Oregon

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

 

OFFENSE

Quarterback

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

 

Receivers

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

 

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

 

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

 

Running Backs

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

 

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

 

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

 

Offensive Line

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

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

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

 

Linebackers

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

 

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

 

Secondary

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

 

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

 

OTHER

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

 

SUMMARY

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

 

Oregon State

OFFENSE

Quarterback

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

 

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

 

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

 

Receivers

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

 

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

 

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

 

Running Backs

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

 

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

 

Offensive Line

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

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

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

 

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

 

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

 

Linebackers

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

 

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

 

Secondary

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

 

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

 

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

 

OTHER

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

 

SUMMARY

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Washington

OFFENSE

Quarterback

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

 

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

 

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

 

Receivers

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

 

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

 

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

 

Running Backs

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

 

Offensive Line

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

 

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

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

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

 

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

 

Linebackers

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

 

Secondary

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

 

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

 

OTHER

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

 

 

SUMMARY

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

 

California

OFFENSE

Quarterback

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

 

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

 

Receivers

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

 

Running Backs

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

 

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

 

Offensive Line

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

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

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

 

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

 

Linebackers

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

 

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

 

Secondary

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

 

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

 

OTHER

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

 

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

 

SUMMARY

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Washington State

OFFENSE

Quarterback

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

 

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

 

Receivers

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

 

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

 

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

 

Running Backs

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

 

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

 

Offensive Line

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

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

 

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

 

Linebackers

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

 

Secondary

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

 

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

 

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

 

OTHER

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

 

SUMMARY

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

 

SOUTH DIVISION

Southern California

OFFENSE

Quarterback

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

 

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

 

Receivers

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

 

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

 

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

 

Running Backs

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

 

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

 

Offensive Line

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

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

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

 

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

 

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

 

Linebackers

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

 

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

 

Secondary

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

 

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

 

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

 

OTHER

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

 

SUMMARY

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

 

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

 

Arizona State

OFFENSE

Quarterback

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

 

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

 

Receivers

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

 

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

 

Running Backs

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

 

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

 

Offensive Line

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

 

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

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

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

 

Linebackers

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

 

Secondary

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

 

OTHER

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

 

SUMMARY

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

 

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

 

Arizona

OFFENSE

Quarterback

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

 

Receivers

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

 

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

 

Running Backs

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

 

Offensive Line

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

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

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

 

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

 

Linebackers

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

 

Secondary

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

 

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

 

OTHER

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

 

SUMMARY

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

 

U C L A

OFFENSE

Quarterback

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Receivers

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

 

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

 

Running Backs

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

 

Offensive Line

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

 

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

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

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

 

Linebackers

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

 

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

 

Secondary

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

 

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

 

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

 

OTHER

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

 

SUMMARY

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

 

Utah

OFFENSE

Quarterback

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

 

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

 

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

 

Receivers

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

 

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

 

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

 

Running Backs

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

 

Offensive Line

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

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

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

 

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

 

Linebackers

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

 

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

 

Secondary

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

 

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

 

OTHER

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

 

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

 

SUMMARY

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

 

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

 

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

 

Colorado

OFFENSE

Quarterback

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

 

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

 

Receivers

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

 

Running Backs

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

 

Offensive Line

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

 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line

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

 

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

 

Linebackers

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

 

Secondary

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

 

OTHER

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

 

SUMMARY

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

 

2011 Pacific 12 Conference Media Poll

Team

1st Place Votes

Points

North Division

 

 

Oregon

29

239

Stanford

13

220

Washington

 

142

Oregon State

 

120

California

 

110

Washington St.

 

51

 

 

 

South Division

 

 

Southern Cal

24

230

Arizona St.

13

207

Utah

4

170

Arizona

1

140

U C L A

 

89

Colorado

 

46

 

 

 

Pac-12 Championship

 

Oregon

 

28

Stanford

 

11

Arizona State

 

3

 

 

2011 Pac-12 Conference PiRate Ratings

Team

PiRate #

Prediction

North Division

 

 

Stanford

126.4

9-0/13-0*

Oregon

125.6

8-1/11-1

Oregon State

112.9

5-4/6-6

Washington

112.9

5-4/7-5

California

111.3

3-6/6-6

Washington St.

102.8

3-6/5-7

   

 

South Division  

 

Southern Cal

117.2

7-2/9-3

Arizona St.

116.6

6-3/8-5

Arizona

113.1

3-6/5-7

U C L A

110.9

3-6/4-8

Utah

108.4

2-7/3-9

Colorado

101.8

0-9/1-12

   

 

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

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

August 18, 2011

2011 Western Athletic Conference Preview

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:46 am

2011 Western Athletic Conference Preview

 

The WAC as we know it has been victimized by the Mountain West Conference.  In a move akin to the American League East losing the New York Yankees, the MWC stole Boise State.  Next year, Nevada, Hawaii, and Fresno State will join the Broncos in the Mountain West, leaving this conference a mere shell of itself.  The future of this league is in serious jeopardy, and the addition of two new teams to FBS football in 2012 (Texas State and Texas-San Antonio, may not be enough to save this league.

 

Without Boise State, the WAC race will be more open this season.  Four teams have the talent to contend for the conference championship, while a fifth has the capability of finishing over .500.

 

Nevada finished in a three-way tie for first with Boise State and Hawaii, and the Wolf Pack finished #11 in the final poll.  Gone from the school’s best ever team are stellar quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the WAC’s leading rusher Vai Taua, receiver Virgil Green, 1st Team All-WAC tackle Jose Acuna and four of the top tacklers.

 

All is not gloomy in the biggest little town in America.  Coach Chris Ault will simply reload rather than rebuild, and with the absence of a blue turf in league play, Nevada will contend for a second consecutive WAC title.  

 

Tyler Lantrip is not the runner Kaepernick was, but he has a better arm.  Lantrip should pass for more yards this year than Kaepernick did last year (3,022).  He will get a Baptism under fire when the Wolf Pack play their first four games away from Reno.

 

Mike Ball is the new tailback in the Pistol Offense. Ball has speed and quickness to excel in this offense.  He averaged 6.8 yards per carry last year in limited action.  Lampford Mark will get his shares of touches and could challenge for a starting bid.

 

The top receiver in the WAC this year will be Rishard Matthews.  He may not lead in catches or yards, because those stats belong to Hawaii receivers, but Matthews is the best at his position.  The former Oregon recruit led Nevada with 56 receptions and averaged 15.7 yards per catch.  The unexpected loss of Brandon Wimberly, who was shot in the off-season, will force Matthews to face more double teams and combo defenses.

 

The offense will click because the blocking corps is the best in the league.  Junior Chris Barker is the best guard in the league, while center Jeff Meads is one of three really good snappers in the WAC.

 

Nevada averaged 41 points and 519 yards per game last year.  Those numbers will decline a little this year.  The Wolf Pack will not be able to move up and down the field at will, but in the new WAC, they can win the title with a 35 point and 450 yard performance.

 

Nevada’s defense was just as responsible for last year’s title run as the offense.  It surrendered just 21 points per game in a league where 28 points was average.  Seven starters return, including three with all-star accolades in 2010.

 

Up front, tackle Brett Roy is poised to contend for 1st Team All-WAC honors.  He introduced enemy QBs to the turf eight times last year.  The loss of 3rd round draft pick Dontay Moch will hurt.

 

Middle linebacker James-Michael Johnson should repeat as a 1st Team All-WAC defender.  He led the Pack with 88 tackles last year.  In the back line of defense, Isaiah Frey is one of the best cover corners in the league.  He batted away 14 passes and picked off another last year.

 

The non-conference schedule is tough this year.  Nevada opens at Oregon and plays at Texas Tech and at Boise State, all in the first four games.  The schedule gets easier from there with home games against rival UNLV and helpless New Mexico.  In WAC play, Nevada hosts the other three contenders, and this should help the Wolf Pack claim another conference championship.

 

Hawaii recovered from a subpar 2009 with a 10-win season last year.  Once again, it was an aerial circus on the island, as the Warriors averaged 394 yards through the air to lead the nation.  The Run ‘n’ Shoot offense took a major hit with the loss of eight starters, but we would be surprised if Hawaii did not average more than 300 passing yards again this season.

 

One of those trio of returnees is quarterback Bryant Moniz.  Moniz topped 5,000 passing yards last year and threw 39 touchdown passes.  He tends to hold onto the ball a little longer than an average run ‘n’ shoot passer, and he went down 40 times last year, seven against Boise State in the lone game that UH failed to score in double digits.

 

Moniz lost his top two receivers, and they combined for 207 receptions and almost 3,200 yards.  Royce Pollard will be the new 100+-reception receiver for the Warriors.  There are questions at the other receiver positions, as two players figured to be starters are ailing and missing practice.

 

As pass happy as Hawaii is, they still run the ball with authority.  Alex Green rushed for almost 1,200 yards last year, but he must be replaced.  Sterling Jackson will be the new starter, but he lacks the speed and quickness of Green.  He will be more of a between the tackles pounder.

 

The offensive line was above average but not great last year, and four starters have used up their eligibility, including the two best blockers.  It will take a few weeks for the newly rebuilt line to come together, so Moniz may be facing a lot more pressure than last year.

 

The Warriors never get much credit for their defensive play.  They gave up a respectable 25.5 yards per game last year, only 20 in league play.  Coach Greg McMackin believes in aggressive attacking defenses, and he has the players to cause a lot of disruption to enemy offenses.

 

The front seven is the best in the WAC by far, and Hawaii should lead the conference in sacks and in lowest rushing average allowed.  Up front, tackles Vaughn Meatoga and Kaniela Tuipulotu are the best tandem in the conference.  Few teams will find success running line plunges up the gut against Hawaii.

 

The Warriors make hay at the linebacker position with multi-tool players.  Corey Paredes is a WAC Player of the Year candidate.  He led the conference with 151 stops, and he picked off four enemy passes last year while knocking away five others.  Aaron Brown is another linebacker who is strong against both the run and pass.

 

The back line of defense is the vulnerable unit on this side of the ball.  The two starters lost combined for 12 interceptions and 27 total passes defended.  Safety Richard Torres will need to step up and break out with a big year.

 

As usual, Hawaii plays a 13-game schedule, which means they will play six non-conference games this year.  The Warriors should beat UNLV, UC-Davis, and Tulane.  The opener against Colorado is a toss-up, but we believe Hawaii will have several intangible factors in their favor in this one.  Games with Washington and BYU should be losses.  The Warriors will only need to go 3-4 in the league to get back to the Hawaii Bowl.  They could double that amount.

 

Louisiana Tech is not far away from being a serious title contender.  Second year head coach Sonny Dykes has not been able to fully implement his version of Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense.  He believes the Bulldogs are ready to start making the offense click.

 

If the offense is going to start putting up numbers similar to Texas Tech in the Leach years. New quarterback Colby Cameron is going to have to improve by a great amount.  Last year, in limited action, Cameron could not complete longer passes, unless you count the high percentage of passes completed to the wrong colored jersey.  He ended up with five picks in just 91 attempts.

 

The Bulldogs took a hit with the dismissal of projected starting receiver Ahmad Paige and Tim Molton.  The Bulldogs still have their two leading receivers from last year; Taulib Ikharo and Richie Casey combined for 92 receptions and 962 yards.

 

Lennon Creer is another pass catching threat coming out of the backfield.  He caught 25 passes last year, but his running acumen is what made him a 2nd Team All-WAC performer.  He gained 1,181 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.

 

The offensive line is not the best in the league, but it is not far from it.  The Bulldogs will be nearly lethal inside with excellent guards Kevin Saia and Oscar Johnson (Saia is nursing an injury) and center Stephen Warner.

 

Will this be the year LT breaks out with scary offensive numbers?  Probably not, but their numbers will head north.  Call it 270 passing yards and 425+ total yards with a scoring average of 30-32 points per game.

 

If the Bulldogs are to make an unexpected run for the conference title and earn a bowl bid for the first time in four seasons, their defense must improve.  Tech gave up 31 points and 460+ yards per game in 2010.

 

One area where there will be improvement is up front in the trenches.  The Bulldogs have an excellent pair of ends in Matt Broha and IK Enemkpali.  Broha has developed into a great pass rusher and led LT with nine sacks last year. 

 

Two starters return to the second line of defense.  Linebackers Jay Dudley and Adrien Cole combined for 174 tackles but only 6 ½ for minus yardage.  This number needs to go up, for it will not help improve the defense if too many of those tackles come at the end of five yard gains.

 

The secondary is loaded with depth, and this should be the unit that shows the greatest improvement in 2011.  Look for more interceptions and passes defended this season. 

 

Louisiana Tech hosts Hawaii, so the Bulldogs will play a 12-game schedule.  Four of their five non-conference games will be tough to win, so the Bulldogs will need five conference wins at the least to become bowl eligible.  They are capable of achieving that feat this year.  

 

Fresno State has been so good for so long, it is hard to believe the Bulldogs have never won the WAC.  You have to go back to the days of the old Big West Conference to find FSU’s last title, when the Bulldogs finished 11-1-0 and clobbered Ball State in the old California Bowl.

 

The WAC is down, so Fresno State will benefit, because this will not be Coach Pat Hill’s best Bulldog team.  Too many good players are missing from both sides of the ball.  One of those is quarterback Ryan Colburn, who completed better than 63% of his passes with a 23/9 TD/Int ratio last year.  The new QB has a familiar name on campus.  Derek Carr is the younger brother of former FSU great David.  Carr has five games of experience from 2009, but he missed all of last season.  Look for Carr to struggle early but begin to live up to his family name as the season progresses.

 

Running back Robbie Rouse returns after enjoying a big season in 2010.  He rushed for 1,129 yards and eight scores.  Former UCLA Bruin Milton Knox should see some action as well.

 

Jalen Saunders is the best FSU has at the receiver position, but he is not a threat to crack the 1st or 2nd team all-conference roster.  Saunders caught 30 passes and scored three times.

 

The offensive line is not a team strength.  It could actually be the weakest in the league.  Two starters return, and the three that departed were all-league players.  Expect a considerable retreat in sacks allowed and rushing yards per carry this year.

 

The defense gave up 30 points per game last year, but the Bulldogs allowed just 367 total yards per game.  Their 37 sacks topped the league charts, as Bulldog players finished one-two in the league.  One of those players returns this season.  Tackle Logan Harrell is back after recording 10 ½ sacks and 14 total tackles for loss.    Three new starters will line up in the trenches, so Harrell will see more double team blocks this year.

 

Travis Brown and Kyle Knox are back to wreak havoc from their linebacker positions.  The two teamed up for 153 tackles last year.

 

There are some concerns in the secondary, and if the pass rush is not as good as last year, it will be exploited.  Free safety Phillip Thomas is the star of this unit.  He intercepted three passes and knocked away nine others.

 

Fresno State has a 13-game schedule since they play at Hawaii.  It will be difficult to match last year’s eight wins, but the Bulldogs have a chance to compete in the weaker WAC.  We still see this team becoming bowl eligible.

 

San Jose State has fallen on hard times in the last two seasons, finishing 2-10 and 1-12.  Second year coach Mike MacIntyre has a lot of experience returning from a team that took its lumps early but became much more competitive in the second half of the season.  With 18 starters returning, we see the Spartans could win more games in 2011 than they won in 2009 and 2010 combined.

 

The big bugaboo is at the most important position on the team.  As of this writing in mid-August, MacIntyre has yet to choose a starter, or even a leader of the pack, from among three candidates.  Senior Matt Faulkner has limited experience, but that limited experience is the most on the squad.  Contending with Faulkner are sophomore Dasmen Stewart and redshirt freshman Blake Jurich.  Too bad former Michigan starter Tate Forcier will not be eligible until 2012.

 

SJSU has a nice stable of receivers, and if a quarterback can emerge and at least be decent, this unit could shine in 2011.  Noel Grigsby is a breakaway threat.  He can get open deep and has good hands.  The sophomore could emerge as a 1st Team All-WAC player.

 

The running game has been nonexistent for four years, as the Spartans have averaged 84, 87, 77, and 79 yards per game and less than three yards per carry.  Starter Brandon Rutley had one big run as a freshman when he broke free for a long touchdown against Boise State.  He has yet to show any flashes since then.  Actually, Rutley has been a better pass receiver than runner.  He did break off a long breakaway with a reception last year.  

 

The offensive line will be improved this season, but it will still be an overall liability.  Tackle Andres Vargas is the best of the quintet.

 

SJSU averaged just 16 points per game last year, but in four of their final five games, they averaged better than 30 points per game.  We see the Spartans scoring about 23-25 points per game this year.

 

The good news is that more than 11 (several saw more than 6 starts) defensive starters return in 2011; the bad news is that those starters were not all that good last year, as SJSU surrendered 464 yards per game (502 in league play) and nearly 35 points per game.

 

All joking aside, this defense will be much better this season.  In fact, the Spartans could easily shave 100 yards off what they allowed in WAC games.  It isn’t impossible that they could go from last to first in yards allowed!

 

Start in the secondary, where the four holdovers just might make up the best unit in the league.  The name “Peyton” is an important name in football, and SJSU has one of their own.  Peyton Thompson is the top cover corner in the league.  In 2010, he recorded 12 passes defended, and quarterbacks tended to throw away from him.  Safety Duke Ihenacho missed all of last year, but he should regain his starting job after earning 1st Team All-WAC honors in 2009.

 

The secondary will benefit from an improved pass rush this year.  End Travis Johnson led the Spartans with 7 ½ sacks as well as four QB hurries.  He leads a two-deep of experienced players in the trenches.

 

The second line of defense features the reigning WAC Freshman of the Year.  Keith Smith earned that award after leading the Spartans with 116 tackles and 14 tackles for loss.  

 

San Jose State starts off the season with three tough games, and the Spartans will begin in an 0-3 hole after facing Stanford, UCLA, and Nevada.  Road games with Colorado State and BYU will leave SJSU at no better than 1-5, so 2011 will not be the year the Spartans get back to the plus side of .500.  They can win three or four games though.

 

Utah State has endured losing season after losing season with false expectations of an end to that skein.  Last year looked like ‘the year” when the Aggies upset BYU to open the season 3-2.  A 1-6 finish doomed them to yet another sub-.500 year, as the offense failed to ignite.

 

Coach Gary Andersen will choose between Adam Kennedy and Chuckie Keeton as his starting quarterback.  Thus far, neither has emerged as a primetime player.  The Aggies had poor play at this position last year, so it will not take much to surpass the production of 2010.

 

The rest of the skilled positions are in good shape.  Former all-conference running back Robert Turbin missed last season with an ACL injury, but he appears to be ready to pound his way through defenses.  He rushed for almost 1,300 yards two years ago.

 

Seven of the top eight pass catchers are back for more this year, but it’s the return of two 2009 starters that missed last season that will make this unit much better this season.  Stanley Morrison could top 1,000 receiving yards.

 

The offensive line returns four starters and will be the best this unit has been under Andersen.  Center Tyler Larsen and guards Fuanki Asisi and Philip Gapelu will contend for some all-conference recognition.  Larsen made the 2nd Team Freshman All-American Team last year.

 

Utah State should improve its offensive number back to where they were prior to all the 2010 injuries.  We believe the Aggies could top 27 points and 380 yards per game.

 

Unfortunately, the outlook on the other side of the ball is a bit gloomy.  USU is a little suspect in the front line and only average in the secondary.  One area that will be a team strength is the linebacker position.  Bobby Wagner and Kyle Gallagher are studs.  Wagner is on NFL scouts’ radar.  He led USU with 135 tackles including eight for losses.

 

The secondary took a major graduation hit, but it returns its top player in safety Walter McClenton.  McClenton made 62 tackles, but Andersen would like to see him make less this year; too many of those tackles came about because opposing teams had already defeated the other 10 defenders on the field.

 

Up front, The Aggies were abysmal in 2010.  They recorded just 13 sacks and allowed opposing backs to gain five yards per carry.  Ends Quinn Garner and Levi Koshan are the lone holdovers from the two-deep, and Andersen is switching to a 3-4 defense to try to disguise this weakness.

 

USU surrendered 34 points and 430 yards per game last year.  We do not see much improvement if any this year.  To make matters worse, the Aggies lose both their punter and place kicker from last year.

 

The schedule includes non-league tilts against defending champ Auburn, BYU, and Wyoming.  Unfortunately, the easiest conference opponents, Idaho and New Mexico State, must be faced on the road.  It looks like another long year in Logan.

 

Idaho took a step back last year after earning and winning the most exciting bowl game of 2009.  The Vandals could be looking at a major rebuilding project on the attack side of the ball with the departure of quarterback Nathan Enderle and three of the top four receivers.  However, there is cautious optimism that the newcomers are as talented as those they will replace.

 

The new signal caller is senior Brian Reader.  Reader looked sharp in limited action last year and appears to be primed to equal Enderle’s production.

 

Reader’s passing targets are not the most talented players in the league, but there are a lot of options.  Preston Davis figures to be much improved now that he is fully recovered from an ACL injury in 2010.  Walk-on junior college transfer Mike Scott could emerge as a key contributor.

 

The running game did not show much in 2010, and it will be a liability again this year.  Four backs should split time at this spot, led by former Arizona State Sun Devil Ryan Bass and Kama Bailey.

 

The offensive line is strongest at the terminals, where Matt Cleveland and Tyrone Novikoff are big and strong.  Cleveland should contend for 1st Team All-WAC honors.

 

Idaho averaged 27 points last year, and we expect the Vandals to replicate that number this season. 

 

Even though the Vandals fell from 8-5 to 6-7 last year, the defense showed great improvement, shaving almost eight points off their average allowed.  Some of that had to do with an improved turnover margin.  The news is not all that good on this side of the ball.  UI was going to be strong at linebacker, but their top player, Robert Siavii suffered a season-ending knee injury in Spring practice.

 

The Vandals will rally around middle linebacker TreShawn Robinson, who recorded 10 total tackles for loss last year.  Homer Mauga returns to start at the other linebacker spot.

 

Up front, Idaho had a strong pass rush last year, but the chief instigator of mayhem is gone.  Aaron Lavarias departs after leading the team with 10 sacks.  Tackle Michael Cosgrove is the best of the holdovers.

 

The secondary returns three 2010 starters, but none of the trio figures to make 1st Team All-WAC accolades this year.  If the pass rush is weaker, this group will be exposed and give up more than 250 passing yards per game.

 

Idaho has a fair schedule.  Non-league games with Texas A&M, Virginia, and BYU figure to be automatic losses.  North Dakota figures to be an easy victory.  The season opener with Bowling Green is a rematch of that great 2009 Humanitarian Bowl, and we consider this game a must-win affair for the Vandals.  If they win, and Reader proves to be as capable as Enderler, this team could make this prediction look silly.  If they lose, then Coach Robb Akey could become achy over his future.

 

New Mexico State has been one of the five weakest teams in FBS football in recent years, but luckily for them, the worst team has been in-state rival New Mexico.  Third year coach DeWayne Walker must show some form of improvement this year, or he could be headed away from the Land of Enchantment.

 

The offense scored 14 or fewer points five times last year and averaged less than 16 for the season.  Former Kent State coach Doug Martin takes over as the new offensive Coordinator.  Martin hopes quarterback Andrew Manley can solve the problem at quarterback.  Manley completed just 52% of his passes with a 1/6 TD/Int ratio last year as a true freshman.  Former starter Matt Christian completed just 48% of his passes but had a much better 8/2 TD/Int ratio.  There is only one way to go for this position.

 

The big problem with the passing game is the receiving corps.  Not only are the top two pass catchers from last year missing, those that are returning do not offer much in the area of quickness or mobility.  Taveon Rogers is the closest thing to a star, and he only caught 18 balls last year.  Juco Transfer Kemonte Bateman could emerge as the leader here.

 

Robert Clay figures to start at running back with 2010 leading rusher Kenny Turner at H-back.  The tandem rushed for just 687 yards and two touchdowns.

 

The one bright spot on the offense is an experienced and improving offensive line.  Sioeli Fakalata can play center or guard, and he is the best man in the front line.

 

The Aggies should see improved numbers all around this season.  Look for about 21 points and 325 yards.  However, that will not be enough to move them out of the WAC basement.

 

The defense figures to take another step backwards after giving up 40 points and 450+ yards per game last year.  It doesn’t help when two of your top players are declared academically ineligible.  Those two, tackle Augafa Vaaulu and end Donte Savage figured to be the stars of the front four.  Now, the Aggies are hurting in the trenches.

 

The linebackers are more of a liability than an asset, even though two starters return from last season.  B. J. Adolpho was a 3rd Team All-WAC player last year, but he cannot make plays for the other six players in the front seven.

 

Any hope for defensive improvement must come from the secondary.  We fear that with little or no pass rush, the back four will eventually break down and give up too many big plays.  The Aggies may have the best tandem at cornerback with Donyae Coleman and Jonte Green.  Last year, the pair teamed for 166 tackles, many times being the last hope to prevent breakaway plays.

 

Things do not look hopeful for Walker and his Aggies.  At least they have a game with New Mexico, but that is not a given win.  Even though NMSU’s offense is much improved, they will not be able to outscore the other teams in the WAC.  It will be another long year in Las Cruces.

 

2011 WAC Preseason Media Poll

Team

1st Place Votes

Points

Hawaii

18

292

Fresno State

11

284

Nevada

11

264

Lousiana Tech

 

184

Utah State

 

166

Idaho

 

141

San Jose State

 

85

New Mexico State

 

60

 

 

2011 WAC PiRate Ratings

Team

PiRate #

Prediction

Nevada

101.4

7-1/8-4

Hawaii

98.4

5-3/8-5

Louisiana Tech

93.5

5-3/5-7

Fresno State

93.0

6-2/7-6

San Jose State

91.1

2-6/2-10

Utah State

90.2

2-6/3-9

Idaho

88.2

4-4/5-7

New Mexico State

78.8

1-7/1-11

 

Next: A look at the four independents, Friday, August 19

 

December 16, 2010

PiRate Ratings College Football Bowl Preview, Part One

We will be posting three bowl previews this year.  We will give you the current odds for each game, the PiRate, Mean, and Bias spreads for each game, and our 100 times computer simulation for each game.

Today, we cover the bowls before Christmas Day.  Next week, we will preview the bowls from December 26 through New Year’s Day. Finally, we will preview the bowls after January 1.  Three bowls kick off Saturday, and four more will be played next week.  

Saturday, December 18

New Mexico Bowl

Albuquerque, NM

1 PM EST on ESPN

Brigham Young Cougars 6-6  vs.  Texas-El Paso Miners 6-6

Vegas: BYU by 11 ½

Totals: 50 ½

PiRate: BYU by 18.8

Mean: BYU by 12.3

Bias: BYU by 14.8

100 Sims: BYU 89  UTEP 11

Avg. Sim Score: BYU 33.7  UTEP 20.2

Outlier A: BYU 45  UTEP 17

Outlier B: UTEP 29  BYU 23

 

Humanitarian Bowl

Boise, ID

4:30 PM EST on ESPN

Fresno State Bulldogs 8-4  vs.  Northern Illinois Huskies 10-3

Vegas: Northern Illinois by 1

Totals: 59

PiRate: Northern Illinois by 4.4

Mean: Northern Illinois by 4.1

Bias: Northern Illinois by 9.6

100 Sims: Northern Illinois 58  Fresno State 42

Avg. Sim Score: Northern Illinois 34.6  Fresno State 30.1

Outlier A: Northern Illinois 42  Fresno State 23

Outlier B: Fresno State 37  Northern Illinois 27

 

New Orleans Bowl

New Orleans, LA

8:00 PM EST on ESPN

Troy Trojans 7-5  vs. Ohio U Bobcats 8-4

Vegas: Troy by 2 ½

Totals: 58

PiRate: Ohio U by 3.6

Mean: Ohio U by 2.1

Bias: Ohio U by 16.2

100 Sims: Ohio U 61  Troy 39

Avg. Sim Score: Ohio U 35.1  Troy 29.8

Outlier A: Ohio U 41  Troy 17

Outlier B: Troy 38  Ohio U 27

 

Tuesday, December 21

Beef O’Brady Bowl

St. Petersburg, FL

7:00 PM EST on ESPN

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles 8-4  vs. Louisville Cardinals 6-6

Vegas: Louisville by 3

Totals: 57

PiRate: Louisville by 5.7

Mean: Louisville by 1.2

Bias: Louisville by 10.5

100 Sims: Louisville 60  Southern Miss 40

Avg. Sim Score: Louisville 31.1  Southern Miss 27.9

Outlier A: Louisville 35  Southern Miss 13

Outlier B: Southern Miss 40  Louisville 21

 

Wednesday, December 22

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl

Las Vegas, NV

7:00 PM EST on ESPN

Utah Utes 10-2  vs. Boise State Broncos 11-1

Vegas: Boise State by 17

Totals: 61

PiRate: Boise State by 17.7

Mean: Boise State by 14.0

Bias: Boise State by 16.6

100 Sims: Boise State 76  Utah 24

Avg. Sim Score: Boise State 40.3  Utah 24.1

Outlier A: Boise State 51  Utah 20

Outlier B: Utah 38  Boise State 31 (two different results gave Utah a 7-point win)

 

Thursday, December 23

Poinsettia Bowl

San Diego, CA

7:00 PM EST on ESPN

San Diego State Aztecs 8-4  vs. Navy Midshipmen 9-3

Vegas: San Diego State by 4 ½

Totals: 60

PiRate: San Diego State by 5.6

Mean: San Diego State by 0.8

Bias: San Diego State by 4.3

100 Sims: San Diego State 55  Navy 45

Avg. Sim Score: San Diego State 32.8  Navy 30.7

Outlier A: San Diego State 44  Navy 24

Outlier B: Navy 38  San Diego State 26

 

Friday, December 24

Hawaii Bowl

Honolulu, HI

7:00 PM EST on ESPN

Hawaii Warriors 10-3  vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane 9-3

Vegas: Hawaii by 10

Totals: 73 ½

PiRate: Hawaii by 14.6

Mean: Hawaii by 6.2

Bias: Hawaii by 9.9

100 Sims: Hawaii 58  Tulsa 42

Avg. Sim Score: Hawaii 46.4  Tulsa 40.2

Outlier A: Hawaii 59  Tulsa 35

Outlier B: Tulsa 47  Hawaii 38

December 6, 2010

PiRate Ratings For College Football: Final Regular Season

Have To Wait A Day

Normally, we would post how well our picks fared against the spread, but we must wait one day because the Monday Night Football game is part of a parlay.  Check back tomorrow to see how we did.

 

NCAA PiRate Simulated Playoffs Return

In what has been one of our most popular pieces, the NCAA Football Simulated Playoffs will return later this week.  For those of you new to this blog, we have access to a powerful computer simulator that we have used in the past to simulate real games, such as the bowls and the NFL playoffs.  It has been surprisingly accurate, especially in picking Super Bowl scores.

 

Here is how the PiRate Computer Simulated NCAA Playoffs work.  We choose to go with a 12-team playoff.  We take the winners of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC and give them automatic bids.

 

Any other conference champions that finish in the top 16 of the BCS Standings also receive an automatic bid.  Then, at-large teams are selected based on BCS Standings until 12 teams have been selected.

 

Here are your 2010-11 NCAA Simulated Playoff Teams:

 

Automatic Qualifiers

ACC Champion: Virginia Tech

Big East Champion: Connecticut

Big Ten Champion: Wisconsin

Big 12 Champion: Oklahoma

Pac-10 Champion: Oregon

SEC Champion: Auburn

 

Two other teams received automatic bids for winning (or finishing tied in) their conference and placing in the top 16 of the BCS Standings.

 

Mountain West Champion: T C U

WAC co-Champion: Boise State

 

This leaves four spaces for at-large teams.

 

At-large: Stanford

At-large: Ohio State

At-large: Arkansas

At-large: Michigan State

 

Now, the teams are seeded 1 to 12, and we use 11 bowls to play our playoffs.  Here are the seeds and brackets.

 

 1. Auburn

 2. Oregon

 3. T C U

 4. Stanford

 5. Wisconsin

 6. Ohio State

 7. Oklahoma

 8. Arkansas

 9. Michigan State

10. Boise State

11. Virginia Tech

12. Connecticut

 

Round One

Chick-fil-A Bowl: #5 Wisconsin vs. #12 Connecticut

Alamo Bowl: #6 Ohio State vs. #11 Virginia Tech

Insight Bowl: #7 Oklahoma vs. #10 Boise State

Outback Bowl: #8 Arkansas vs. #9 Michigan State

 

Quarterfinal Round

Sugar Bowl: #1 Auburn vs. Outback Bowl Winner

Fiesta Bowl: #2 Oregon vs. Insight Bowl Winner

Capital One Bowl: #3 T C U vs. Alamo Bowl Winer

Cotton Bowl: #4 Stanford vs. Chick-fil-A Bowl Winner

 

Semifinal Round

Orange Bowl: Sugar Bowl Winner vs. Cotton Bowl Winner

Rose Bowl: Fiesta Bowl Winner vs. Capital One Bowl Winner

 

Simper Bowl

National Championship Game: Orange Bowl Winner vs. Rose Bowl Winner

 

Check back next Monday for Round One results.

 

The Final Regular Season PiRate Ratings

The regular season does not officially end until this weekend when Army plays Navy at Philadelphia.  That game will not affect the standings, so we will issue our final regular season ratings today and issue the PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings for the Army-Navy game.

 

NCAA Top 25 December 6, 2010
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 T C U 133.1 12 0
2 Oregon 132.5 12 0
3 Stanford 131.8 11 1
4 Auburn 131.0 13 0
5 Boise State 128.8 11 1
6 Ohio State 128.3 11 1
7 Oklahoma 127.7 11 2
8 Alabama 126.2 9 3
9 Wisconsin 125.2 11 1
10 Arkansas 124.7 10 2
11 Virginia Tech 124.2 11 2
12 Florida State 119.8 9 4
13 South Carolina 119.4 9 4
14 Nebraska 118.9 10 3
15 Texas A&M 118.5 9 3
16 L S U 117.7 10 2
17 West Virginia 117.0 9 3
18 Oklahoma State 116.3 10 2
19 Nevada 115.7 12 1
20 Georgia 115.7 6 6
21 Mississippi State 115.6 8 4
22 Florida 115.3 7 5
23 Missouri 115.2 10 2
24t Arizona 115.2 7 5
24t Iowa 115.2 7 5
         
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida State 6-2 9-4 119.8
Clemson 4-4 6-6 111.0
North Carolina State 5-3 8-4 110.2
Maryland 5-3 8-4 105.9
Boston College 4-4 7-5 105.0
Wake Forest 1-7 3-9 92.0
       
Coastal Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Virginia Tech 8-0 11-2 124.2
Miami-FL 5-3 7-5 115.2
North Carolina 4-4 7-5 114.8
Georgia Tech 4-4 6-6 108.5
Duke 1-7 3-9 95.9
Virginia 1-7 4-8 95.0

 

 

Big East Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
West Virginia 5-2 9-3 117.0
Pittsburgh 5-2 7-5 110.7
Connecticut 5-2 8-4 108.0
South Florida 3-4 7-5 106.9
Louisville 3-4 6-6 104.1
Cincinnati 2-5 4-8 100.7
Syracuse 4-3 7-5 100.0
Rutgers 1-6 4-8 89.5

 

 

Big Ten
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Ohio State 7-1 11-1 128.3
Wisconsin 7-1 11-1 125.2
Iowa 4-4 7-5 115.2
Michigan State 7-1 11-1 110.7
Michigan 3-5 7-5 105.3
Penn State 4-4 7-5 104.6
Illinois 4-4 6-6 104.4
Minnesota 2-6 3-9 96.1
Northwestern 3-5 7-5 92.9
Purdue 2-6 4-8 91.1
Indiana 1-7 5-7 90.1

 

 

Big 12
North Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 6-2 10-3 118.9
Missouri 6-2 10-2 115.2
Kansas State 3-5 7-5 100.0
Colorado 2-6 5-7 99.6
Iowa State 3-5 5-7 94.9
Kansas 1-7 3-9 88.2
       
South Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oklahoma 6-2 11-2 127.7
Texas A&M 6-2 9-3 118.5
Oklahoma State 6-2 10-2 116.3
Texas 2-6 5-7 106.3
Baylor 4-4 7-5 105.3
Texas Tech 3-5 7-5 104.4

 

 

Conference USA
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Florida 7-1 10-3 102.9
Southern Mississippi 5-3 8-4 98.4
East Carolina 5-3 6-6 90.0
U A B 3-5 4-8 86.3
Marshall 4-4 5-7 83.8
Memphis 0-8 1-11 70.7
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Tulsa 6-2 9-3 98.3
Houston 4-4 5-7 96.3
S M U 6-2 7-6 92.7
U T E P 3-5 6-6 86.0
Rice 3-5 4-8 84.5
Tulane 2-6 4-8 74.6

 

 

Independents
       
Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame   7-5 108.9
Navy   8-3 102.6
Army   6-5 88.2

 

 

Mid American Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 5-3 8-4 92.6
Miami (O) 7-1 9-4 90.6
Ohio U 6-2 8-4 89.4
Kent St. 4-4 5-7 82.9
Bowling Green 1-7 2-10 75.0
Buffalo 1-7 2-10 70.2
Akron 1-7 1-11 67.7
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Northern Illinois 8-0 10-3 104.1
Toledo 7-1 8-4 89.3
Western Michigan 5-3 6-6 88.8
Central Michigan 2-6 3-9 83.7
Ball State 3-5 4-8 73.9
Eastern Michigan 2-6 2-10 66.9

 

 

Mountain West Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 8-0 12-0 133.1
Utah 7-1 10-2 111.1
Air Force 5-3 8-4 106.8
B Y U 5-3 6-6 104.8
S. D. State 5-3 8-4 104.4
Wyoming 1-7 3-9 88.0
UNLV 2-6 2-11 80.4
Colo. State 2-6 3-9 79.8
New Mexico 1-7 1-11 75.2

 

 

Pac-10 Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 9-0 12-0 132.5
Stanford 8-1 11-1 131.8
Arizona 4-5 7-5 115.2
Southern Cal 5-4 8-5 112.0
Arizona St. 4-5 6-6 111.0
Oregon St. 4-5 5-7 109.6
California 3-6 5-7 108.4
Washington 5-4 6-6 107.1
U C L A 2-7 4-8 101.8
Washington State 1-8 2-10 94.2

 

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
South Carolina 5-3 9-4 119.4
Georgia 3-5 6-6 115.7
Florida 4-4 7-5 115.3
Tennessee 3-5 6-6 106.0
Kentucky 2-6 6-6 105.9
Vanderbilt 1-7 2-10 86.8
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Auburn 8-0 13-0 131.0
Alabama 5-3 9-3 126.2
Arkansas 6-2 10-2 124.7
L S U 6-2 10-2 117.7
Mississippi State 4-4 8-4 115.6
Ole Miss 1-7 4-8 100.1

 

 

Sunbelt Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida International 6-2 6-6 87.0
Arkansas State 4-4 4-8 83.9
Troy 6-2 7-5 85.8
Middle Tennessee 5-3 6-6 82.8
North Texas 3-5 3-9 79.7
Louisiana-Monroe 4-4 5-7 78.1
U. of Louisiana 3-5 3-9 77.6
Western Kentucky 2-6 2-10 75.1
Florida Atlantic 3-5 4-8 73.7

 

 

Western Athletic Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 7-1 11-1 128.8
Nevada 7-1 12-1 115.9
Hawaii 7-1 10-3 108.9
Fresno State 5-3 8-4 98.2
Louisiana Tech 4-4 5-7 93.0
Idaho 3-5 6-7 88.1
Utah State 2-6 4-8 88.0
San Jose State 0-8 1-12 78.5
New Mexico State 1-7 2-10 71.9

 

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)    
       
Saturday, December 11      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
Navy Army (Philadelphia) 14.4 31-17

 

 

This Week’s Games–Mean and Bias Ratings
Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)    
       
Saturday, December 11      
Favorite Underdog Mean Bias
Navy Army  (Philadelphia) 31-23 27-21

 

 

A Look At The Bowls

 

Here are the particulars for the 35 bowl matchups for this year. 

 

All Times Eastern Standard

 

Saturday, December 18

The New Mexico Bowl—Albuquerque, NM

2:00 PM  ESPN

B Y U  6-6  vs. U T E P  6-6

 

The Humanitarian Bowl—Boise, ID

5:30 PM  ESPN

Northern Illinois  10-3  vs. Fresno State  8-4

 

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl—New Orleans, LA

9:00 PM  ESPN

Troy  7-5  vs. Ohio U  8-4

 

Tuesday, December 21

Beef O’Brady’s Bowl—St. Petersburg, FL

8:00 PM  ESPN

Louisville  6-6  vs. Southern Mississippi  8-4

 

Wednesday, December 22

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl—Las Vegas, NV

8:00 PM  ESPN

Utah  10-2  vs. Boise State  11-1

Boise State substitutes for a Pac-10 Team

 

Thursday, December 23

San Diego Co. Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl—San Diego, CA

8:00 PM  ESPN

San Diego State  8-4  vs. Navy  8-3 (+ Army Game)

 

Friday, December 24

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl—Honolulu, HI

8:00 PM  ESPN

Hawaii  10-3  vs. Tulsa 9-3

 

Sunday, December 26

Little Caesar’s Bowl—Detroit, MI

8:30 PM  ESPN

Florida International  6-6  vs. Toledo  8-4

Florida International substitutes for a Big Ten Team

 

Monday, December 27

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl—Shreveport, LA

5:00 PM  ESPN-2

Georgia Tech  6-6  vs.  Air Force  8-4

 

Tuesday, December 28

Champs Sports Bowl—Orlando, FL

6:30 PM  ESPN

West Virginia  9-3  vs.  North Carolina St.  8-4

 

Insight Bowl—Tempe, AZ

10:00 PM  ESPN

Missouri  10-2  vs.  Iowa  7-5

 

Wednesday, December 29

Military Bowl—Washington, DC

2:30 PM  ESPN

Maryland  8-4  vs.  East Carolina  6-6

 

Texas Bowl—Houston, TX

6:00 PM  ESPN

Baylor  7-5  vs. Illinois  7-5

 

Valero Alamo Bowl—San Antonio, TX

9:15 PM  ESPN

Oklahoma State  10-2  vs.  Arizona  7-5

 

Thursday, December 30

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl—Ft. Worth, TX

12 Noon  ESPN

S M U  7-6  vs. Army  6-5 (+ Navy Game)

 

New Era Pinstripe Bowl—New York, NY

3:20 PM  ESPN

Syracuse  7-5  vs. Kansas State  7-5

 

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl—Nashville, TN

6:40 PM  ESPN

Tennessee  6-6  vs.  North Carolina  7-5

 

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl—San Diego, CA

10:00 PM  ESPN

Nebraska  10-3  vs.  Washington  6-6

 

Friday, December 31

Meineke Car Care Bowl—Charlotte, NC

12 Noon  ESPN

Clemson  6-6  vs.  South Florida  7-5

 

Hyundai Sun Bowl—El Paso, TX

2:00 PM  CBS

Miami (FL)  7-5  vs. Notre Dame  7-5

Notre Dame Substitutes for Pac-10 Team

 

AutoZone Liberty Bowl—Memphis, TN

3:30 PM  ESPN

Georgia  6-6  vs.  Central Florida  10-3

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl—Atlanta, GA

7:30 PM  ESPN

South Carolina  9-4  vs. Florida State  9-4

 

Saturday, January 1

Ticket City Bowl—Dallas, TX

12 Noon  ESPN-U

Northwestern  6-6  vs.  Texas Tech  7-5

 

Outback Bowl—Tampa, FL

1:00 PM  ABC

Florida  7-5  vs.  Penn State  7-5

 

Capital One Bowl—Orlando, FL

1:00 PM  ESPN

Michigan State  11-1  vs.  Alabama  9-3

 

Gator Bowl—Jacksonville, FL

1:30 PM  ESPN-2

Michigan  7-5  vs.  Mississippi State  8-4

 

Rose Bowl—Pasadena, CA

5:00 PM  ESPN

T C U  12-0  vs.  Wisconsin  11-1

 

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl—Glendale, AZ

8:30 PM  ESPN

Oklahoma  11-2  vs. Connecticut  8-4

 

Monday, January 3

Discover Orange Bowl—Miami, FL

8:30 PM  ESPN

Virginia Tech  11-2  vs. Stanford  11-1

 

Tuesday, January 4

All-State Sugar Bowl—New Orleans, LA

8:30 PM  ESPN

Arkansas  10-2  vs. Ohio State  11-1

 

Thursday, January 6

GoDaddy.com Bowl—Mobile, AL

8:00 PM  ESPN

Middle Tennessee State  6-6  vs.  Miami (OH)  9-4

 

Friday, January 7

AT&T Cotton Bowl—Arlington, TX

8:00 PM  Fox

Texas A&M  9-3  vs. L S U  10-2

 

Saturday, January 8

BBVA Compass Bowl—Birmingham, AL

12 Noon  ESPN

Pittsburgh  7-5  vs. Kentucky  6-6

 

Sunday, January 9

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl—San Francisco, CA

9:00 PM  ESPN

Boston College  7-5  vs.  Nevada  12-1

Boston College Substitutes for a Pac-10 Team

 

Monday, January 10

National Championship Game—Glendale, AZ

8:30 PM  ESPN

Auburn  13-0  vs.  Oregon  12-0

November 28, 2010

PiRate Ratings For College Football: December 2-4, 2010

PiRate Ratings Go Perfect 3-0

After suffering through our first losing week of the season last week when we finished 2-2-1, we decided to go with three, 13-point sweetheart teasers.  We won all three.  We went back to what was working and found three gems.  Let’s take a look at the three selections we made for our customers.

1. Texas A&M +10 vs. Texas, West Virginia +16 vs. Pittsburgh, South Florida +25 vs. Miami, and Tennessee +10 vs. Kentucky

WON

We went with a theme in these picks.  We had three rivalry games where we believed all three offered us a chance to take a rival with an edge over their opponent.

Texas A&M was on a roll, having disposed of both Oklahoma and Nebraska, while Texas was going the opposite direction.  We thought the Aggies would win outright and took 10 points insurance.

We also believed that West Virginia had a slight edge over Pittsburgh in the Backyard Brawl.  Getting 16 points felt like a huge gift.  When we issued our selections last Wednesday afternoon, we told our customers that we thought the Mountaineers would be playing for Coach Bill Stewart’s job.  Ironically, when WVU won, it may have sealed Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt’s fate.  Stewart appears to be set to retire any way.

As for the Tennessee game, we knew the Vols were playing for bowl eligibility, and they had defeated Kentucky every year since 1984.  Getting 10 points at home was yet another gift.

2. Wake Forest +19 vs. Vanderbilt, Minnesota +28 ½ vs. Iowa, Boston College +16 vs. Syracuse, and Kansas +38 vs. Missouri

WON

In this teaser, we went with underdogs that we felt would have a good chance to beat the regular spread but would most definitely cover with an extra 13 points.

We told our customers that we believed that Vanderbilt could not beat any FBS team by 19 points at this point in the season, and that the Demon Deacons stood a better than 50-50 chance of winning outright.  We believed that the Gophers would keep the game with Iowa close and have a chance to win Floyd of Rosedale back.  Iowa had little desire after losing close games to fall out of the Big Ten race.

Our key pick this week was the Boston College selection at +16, because we figured that Syracuse would not top 14 points.  We had to sweat out the Kansas-Missouri game, but the Jayhawks just covered.

3. Dallas Cowboys +17 vs. New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills +19 ½ vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars +20 vs. New York Giants, and Chicago Bears +16 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

WON

We went with underdogs in our NFL pick, which has been our most reliable strategy all season.  Too much parity means lower spreads and more underdogs covering and winning outright.  All four of these games were never in doubt.

Championship Week

Five conferences crown their conference champion by way of a championship game this week.  Here is a little primer of those games.

Friday, December 3

The Mid-American Conference Championship Game at Ford Field in Detroit

6:00 PM EST on ESPN2

Northern Illinois 10-2 vs. Miami (Ohio) 8-4

Saturday, December 4

The Conference USA Championship Game at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando

12 Noon EST on ESPN

S M U 7-5 at Central Florida 9-3

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Southeastern Conference Championship Game at The Georgia Dome in Atlanta

3:00 PM EST on CBS

Auburn 12-0 vs. South Carolina 9-3

—————————————————————————————————————————-

The Atlantic Coast Conference Championship at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte

6:45 PM EST on ESPN

Virginia Tech 10-2 vs. Florida State 9-3

—————————————————————————————————————————–

The Big 12 Conference Championship at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas

7:00 PM EST on ABC

Oklahoma 10-2 vs. Nebraska 10-2

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

NCAA Top 25 November 29, 2010
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 T C U 133.1 12 0
2 Oregon 131.9 11 0
3 Stanford 131.8 11 1
4 Boise State 130.6 10 1
5 Ohio State 128.3 11 1
6 Auburn 127.5 12 0
7 Oklahoma 127.1 10 2
8 Alabama 126.2 9 3
9 Wisconsin 125.2 11 1
10 Arkansas 124.7 10 2
11 Virginia Tech 123.1 10 2
12 South Carolina 122.9 9 3
13 Florida State 120.9 9 3
14 Nebraska 119.5 10 2
15 Texas A&M 118.5 9 3
16 L S U 117.7 10 2
17 West Virginia 116.8 8 3
18 Oklahoma State 116.3 10 2
19 Arizona 116.3 7 4
20 Georgia 115.7 6 6
21 Mississippi State 115.6 8 4
22 Nevada 115.3 11 1
23 Florida 115.3 7 5
24 Missouri 115.2 10 2
25 Iowa 115.2 7 5
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points
 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Division
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida State 6-2 9-3 120.9
Clemson 4-4 6-6 111.0
North Carolina State 5-3 8-4 110.2
Maryland 5-3 8-4 105.9
Boston College 4-4 7-5 105.0
Wake Forest 1-7 3-9 92.0
Coastal Division
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Virginia Tech 8-0 10-2 123.1
Miami-FL 5-3 7-5 115.2
North Carolina 4-4 7-5 114.8
Georgia Tech 4-4 6-6 108.5
Duke 1-7 3-9 95.9
Virginia 1-7 4-8 95.0
 

Big East Conference

Team Conf. Overall Rating
West Virginia 4-2 8-3 116.8
Pittsburgh 4-2 6-5 108.6
Connecticut 4-2 7-4 107.6
South Florida 3-3 7-4 107.3
Louisville 3-4 6-6 104.1
Cincinnati 2-4 4-7 102.8
Syracuse 4-3 7-5 100.0
Rutgers 1-5 4-7 89.7
 

Big Ten

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Ohio State 7-1 11-1 128.3
Wisconsin 7-1 11-1 125.2
Iowa 4-4 7-5 115.2
Michigan State 7-1 11-1 110.7
Michigan 3-5 7-5 105.3
Illinois 4-4 6-5 105.1
Penn State 4-4 7-5 104.6
Minnesota 2-6 3-9 96.1
Northwestern 3-5 7-5 92.9
Purdue 2-6 4-8 91.1
Indiana 1-7 5-7 90.1
 

Big 12

North Division
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 6-2 10-2 119.5
Missouri 6-2 10-2 115.2
Kansas State 3-5 7-5 100.0
Colorado 2-6 5-7 99.6
Iowa State 3-5 5-7 94.9
Kansas 1-7 3-9 88.2
South Division
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oklahoma 6-2 10-2 127.1
Texas A&M 6-2 9-3 118.5
Oklahoma State 6-2 10-2 116.3
Texas 2-6 5-7 106.3
Baylor 4-4 7-5 105.3
Texas Tech 3-5 7-5 104.4
 

Conference USA

East Division
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Florida 7-1 9-3 103.2
Southern Mississippi 5-3 8-4 98.4
East Carolina 5-3 6-6 90.0
U A B 3-5 4-8 86.3
Marshall 4-4 5-7 83.8
Memphis 0-8 1-11 70.7
West Division
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Tulsa 6-2 9-3 98.3
Houston 4-4 5-7 96.3
S M U 6-2 7-5 92.4
U T E P 3-5 6-6 86.0
Rice 3-5 4-8 84.5
Tulane 2-6 4-8 74.6
 

Independents

Team Overall Rating
Notre Dame 7-5 108.9
Navy 8-3 102.6
Army 6-5 88.2
 

Mid American Conference

East Division
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 5-3 8-4 92.6
Ohio U 6-2 8-4 89.4
Miami (O) 7-1 8-4 87.8
Kent St. 4-4 5-7 82.9
Bowling Green 1-7 2-10 75.0
Buffalo 1-7 2-10 70.2
Akron 1-7 1-11 67.7
West Division
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Northern Illinois 8-0 10-2 106.9
Toledo 7-1 8-4 89.3
Western Michigan 5-3 6-6 88.8
Central Michigan 2-6 3-9 83.7
Ball State 3-5 4-8 73.9
Eastern Michigan 2-6 2-10 66.9
 

Mountain West Conference

Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 8-0 12-0 133.1
Utah 7-1 10-2 111.1
Air Force 5-3 8-4 106.8
B Y U 5-3 6-6 104.8
S. D. State 5-3 8-4 104.4
Wyoming 1-7 3-9 88.0
UNLV 2-6 2-10 82.5
Colo. State 2-6 3-9 79.8
New Mexico 1-7 1-11 75.2
 

Pac-10 Conference

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 8-0 11-0 131.9
Stanford 8-1 11-1 131.8
Arizona 4-4 7-4 116.3
Southern Cal 4-4 7-5 111.0
Oregon St. 4-4 5-6 110.2
Arizona St. 3-5 5-6 109.9
California 3-6 5-7 108.4
Washington 4-4 5-6 106.9
U C L A 2-6 4-7 102.8
Washington State 1-7 2-9 94.4
 

Southeastern Conference

East Division
Team Conf. Overall Rating
South Carolina 5-3 9-3 122.9
Georgia 3-5 6-6 115.7
Florida 4-4 7-5 115.3
Tennessee 3-5 6-6 106.0
Kentucky 2-6 6-6 105.9
Vanderbilt 1-7 2-10 86.8
West Division
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Auburn 8-0 12-0 127.5
Alabama 5-3 9-3 126.2
Arkansas 6-2 10-2 124.7
L S U 6-2 10-2 117.7
Mississippi State 4-4 8-4 115.6
Ole Miss 1-7 4-8 100.1
 

Sunbelt Conference

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida International 6-1 6-5 88.4
Arkansas State 4-4 4-8 83.9
Troy 5-2 6-5 82.8
Middle Tennessee 4-3 5-6 81.4
North Texas 3-5 3-9 79.7
Louisiana-Monroe 4-4 5-7 78.1
U. of Louisiana 3-5 3-9 77.6
Florida Atlantic 3-4 4-7 76.7
Western Kentucky 2-6 2-10 75.1
 

Western Athletic Conference

Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 6-1 10-1 130.6
Nevada 6-1 11-1 115.3
Hawaii 7-1 9-3 106.8
Fresno State 5-3 7-4 97.5
Louisiana Tech 4-3 5-6 93.6
Idaho 2-5 5-7 89.3
Utah State 2-5 4-7 86.2
San Jose State 0-7 1-11 77.3
New Mexico State 1-7 2-10 71.9
 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings

Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)
Thursday, December 2
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
ARIZONA Arizona St. 8.9 31-22
Friday, December 3
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
Illinois FRESNO STATE 4.1 31-27
Northern Illinois Miami (O)   (Detroit) 19.1 42-23
Saturday, December 4
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
Southern Cal U C L A 6.2 34-28
SOUTH FLORIDA Connecticut 2.7 20-17
Oregon OREGON STATE 18.7 45-26
Washington WASHINGTON STATE 10.0 31-21
WEST VIRGINIA Rutgers 30.1 42-12
Pittsburgh CINCINNATI 2.8 24-21
FLORIDA INT’L Middle Tennessee 10.0 34-24
Troy FLORIDA ATLANTIC 3.1 30-27
BOISE STATE Utah State 47.4 61-14
Nevada LOUISIANA TECH 18.2 35-17
IDAHO San Jose State 14.5 38-23
HAWAII U n l v 28.3 49-21
Auburn South Carolina (Atlanta) 4.6 35-30
Virginia Tech Florida State (Charlotte) 2.2 25-23
CENTRAL FLORIDA S m u 13.8 35-21
Oklahoma Nebraska (Dallas) 7.6 21-13
 

This Week’s Games–Mean and Bias Ratings

Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)
Thursday, December 2
Favorite Underdog Mean Bias
ARIZONA Arizona St. 31-21 27-24
Friday, December 3
Favorite Underdog Mean Bias
Illinois FRESNO STATE 34-31 34-27
Northern Illinois Miami (O)  (Detroit) 35-24 41-20
Saturday, December 4
Favorite Underdog Mean Bias
Southern Cal U C L A 31-21 30-21
SOUTH FLORIDA Connecticut 27-24 27-23
Oregon OREGON STATE 49-26 51-19
Washington WASHINGTON STATE 35-27 35-20
WEST VIRGINIA Rutgers 34-14 34-14
Pittsburgh CINCINNATI 26-21 24-16
FLORIDA INT’L Middle Tennessee 34-22 28-26
Troy FLORIDA ATLANTIC 31-24 34-28
BOISE STATE Utah State 56-20 59-17
Nevada LOUISIANA TECH 37-17 35-31
IDAHO San Jose State 42-24 45-28
HAWAII U n l v 49-20 48-14
Auburn South Carolina (Atlanta) 38-24 34-24
Virginia Tech Florida State  (Charlotte) 26-25 27-19
CENTRAL FLORIDA S m u 34-26 35-30
Oklahoma Nebraska  (Dallas) 21-16 22-20
 

Bowl Projections

Bowl

Conference Team Conference Team
New Mexico MWC #4 or (5) B Y U 6-6 WAC (#3?) Fresno St. 7-5
Humanitarian MAC #3 Miami (O) 8-5 WAC #(1) or 2 Boise St. 11-1
New Orleans Sunbelt #(1) or 2 Fla. Int’l 7-5 C-USA #5 UTEP 6-6
Beef O’Brady’s Big East #6 Connecticut 7-5 C-USA #4-6 Southern Miss 8-4
MAACO MWC #1 Utah 10-2 Pac 10 #5 [Ga. Tech 6-6]
Poinsettia MWC #2 S. D. State 8-4 Navy or WAC NAVY 9-3
Hawaii Hawaii/WAC #3/4 HAWAII 10-3 C-USA #2-6 Tulsa 9-3
Little Caesar’s Pizza Big 10 #8/SBC [Louisville 6-6] MAC #1-2 N. Illinois 11-2
Independence ACC #7 Clemson 6-6 MWC #3 Air Force 8-4
Champs Sports Big East #2 Notre Dame 7-5 ACC #3 N. C. State 8-4
Insight Big 12 #4 Missouri 10-2 Big 10 #4 or 5 Michigan 7-5
Military ACC #8 Boston Coll. 7-5 C-USA #6 E C U 6-6
Texas Big 12 #6-7 Texas Tech 7-5 Big 10 #6-7 Penn State 7-5
Alamo Big 12 #3 Oklahoma St. 10-2 Pac 10 #2 Arizona 8-4
Armed Forces C-USA #3-4 S M U 7-6 MWC #3-5/Army Army 6-6
Pinstripe Big East #3-4 Syracuse 7-5 Big 12 #6-7 Baylor 7-5
Music City SEC # 7 Tennessee 6-6 ACC #6 Maryland 8-4
Holiday Big 12 #5 Texas A&M 9-3 Pac 10 #3 Washington 6-6
Meineke Car Care ACC #4-5 N. Carolina 8-4 Big East #3-4 S. Florida 7-5
Sun ACC #4 or 5 Miami (FL) 7-5 Pac 10 #4 [Ohio U 8-4]
Liberty SEC #8 or 9 Georgia 6-6 C-USA #1 Central Fla. 10-3
Chick-fil-A SEC #3-6 Miss. State 8-4 ACC #2 Florida State 9-4
Ticket City Big 10 #6-7 Northwestern 7-5 Big 12 #8/CUSA Kansas St. 7-5
Outback SEC #3-6 E S. Carolina 9-4 Big 10 #3 Iowa 7-5
Capital One Big 10 #2 Michigan St. 11-1 SEC #2 L S U 10-2
Gator Big 10 #4 or 5 Illinois 7-5 SEC #6 Florida 7-5
Rose BCS Pac10 T C U 12-0 BCS Big 10 Wisconsin 11-1
Fiesta BCS Big 12 Oklahoma 11-2 BCS At-Large Stanford 11-1
Orange BCS ACC Va. Tech 11-2 BCS At-Large West Va. 9-3
Sugar BCS SEC Ohio State 11-1 BCS At-Large Arkansas 10-2
GoDaddy.com Sunbelt # 2 Troy 7-5 MAC #1 or 2 Toledo 8-4
Cotton Big 12 #2 Nebraska 10-3 SEC #3-6 W Alabama 9-3
BBVA Compass Big East #5 Pittsburgh 7-5 SEC #8 or 9 Kentucky 6-6
Kraft Fight Hunger Pac 10 #6 [Temple 8-4] WAC #1 Nevada 11-1
Championship Game *** BCS #1 *** Oregon 12-0 *** BCS #2 *** Auburn 13-0
Teams in ALL CAPS and Italicized have already accepted a bid to this bowl
Teams in [Brackets] are at-large invitees because a conference cannot supply a qualified team

November 22, 2010

PiRate Ratings For College Football: November 23-27, 2010

The Winning Streak Comes To An End

It had to happen.  We knew we could not go through the entire season with one winning week after another.  Our luck ran dry this weekend.  Our picks went 2-2-1 against the spread, which in our terms, is a losing week, since you lay 10-11 odds when picking straight sides.

 

Perhaps we should not have deviated from our sweetheart teaser picks, but we liked the five games we selected.  Let’s quickly reveal our picks so we can move on and talk college football

 

1. Tennessee -9 vs. Vanderbilt

WON

Okay, if you are one of our regular subscribers to our handicapping service, maybe you did enjoy a winning week.  For, we told you that we felt that the Vols had a 99% chance of covering at -9.  If you decided to make this your only pick, then you went 1-0.

 

Vanderbilt has run out of gas, while Tennessee is on their annual November roll.  The final score was only 24-10, and we had to sweat out a late Vandy run with backup quarterback Jared Funk.

 

2. Ohio State -3 vs. Iowa

Push

This game surprised us a bit.  We felt as if the Buckeyes were ready to pull off a two touchdown win, and when the offense struggled early, we were concerned.  Ohio State is not as strong as they were supposed to be, and they should not have gained ground on Wisconsin in the BCS standings. 

 

3. Texas A&M + 2 ½ vs. Nebraska

WON

Please don’t let Bo Pelini hear this.  We told our subscribers that we had a sneaky suspicion that Nebraska would see a lot of questionable officiating calls go against them in this game, just like it happened against Texas.  The national media has to put on a good face, but we could care less about stepping on toes of the Big 12 Conference.  We warned our fans on Thursday that we suspected this would happen.  The game was considered a tossup, so we felt A&M would win by a touchdown.  It was only by a field goal, but we won any way.

 

4. Cleveland Browns + 1 ½ vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Lost

The Browns’ short flirtation with respectability has gone back into hibernation.  We blew this one royally, thinking the boys from Lake Erie would win by 7-10 points.

 

5. San Francisco 49ers + 3 ½ vs. Tampa Bay Bucaneers

Lost

Tampa Bay has proven they are playoff worthy.  San Francisco’s offensive woes continue, and yet they are still in contention in the worst division in the history of NFL football.

 

A Look At The FBS Conference Races and Bowls

There are 35 bowls this year.  Thus, 70 teams need to be bowl eligible.  With two weeks to go in the season, only 64 teams are bowl eligible.  It is a sure thing that at least one or two others will gain bowl eligibility due to the schedule.  What happens if the magic number falls short of 70?  Will the NCAA allow 5-7 teams into the bowls?  Who would want to see a 5-7 and 6-6 team face off in a loser bowl?

 

A 12-team playoff, using the top 11 bowls would leave 24 bowls for the rest of the NCAA.  This would not be a problem.  The bowl that might end up with a 5-7 team would end up with a 7-5 or 8-4 team under a 12-team playoff.

 

The PiRate Ratings have conducted simulated NCAA football playoffs the past two seasons, and we will do so again after the end of the regular season.

 

Let’s look at each conference as it stands today.

 

A C C

Virginia Tech has sewn up the Coastal Division Championship.  They will face either North Carolina State or Florida State.  If N.C. State beats Maryland, they win the division title.  If Maryland wins, Florida State goes to the ACC title game.

 

Nine teams are already bowl eligible, and the conference has eight bowl tie-ins.  Expect all nine teams to land in bowls.

 

 

Big East

No team in this league belongs in a BCS bowl game.  TCU and Boise State are 21 points better than the best team in the Big East.  The cold hard fact is that the winner of this conference will be the last team chosen in the BCS Bowl picks—the Fiesta Bowl. 

 

Pittsburgh has a one game lead over West Virginia and Connecticut.  They would lose a three-way tiebreaker if the three finished 5-2.

 

Connecticut, South Florida, and Syracuse are bowl eligible.  Louisville is one win away, while Cincinnati and Rutgers are still in contention at 4-6.  We think UL will get that sixth win this week against Rutgers, while Cincinnati falls short.  Throw in Notre Dame, which will finish no worse than 6-6, and there will be enough teams to satisfy the league’s allotment.

 

 

 

Big Ten

Three teams are in contention for the Rose Bowl with one week to go.  Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State are tied at 6-1.  If they all win this week, the highest ranked team in the BCS rankings will get the Rose Bowl bid.  Wisconsin holds a marginal lead over Ohio State.  The Badgers face Northwestern, while the Buckeyes host Michigan.  It will be a close vote if both win.  Michigan State wins a tiebreaker with Wisconsin, while Wisconsin wins a tiebreaker with Ohio State.  If Ohio State and Michigan State finish tied at 7-1, the Buckeyes will be the higher ranked team in the BCS and go to the Rose Bowl.

 

Eight teams are bowl eligible, and there is a decent chance that a second team will get a BCS at-large bid.  That would make nine bowl openings for eight teams, and the need for an at-large representative for the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl.

 

 

 

Big 12

The Big 12 is out of the national championship picture this year.  Nebraska will win the North Division with a win over Colorado or a Missouri loss to Kansas.  Oklahoma State needs to beat Oklahoma to wrap up the South Division, but the Sooners could easily win this game.  If Texas A&M beats Texas, and Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State, it will take five steps into the conference’s tiebreaker rules to determine the representative for the Big 12 Championship Game.  Oklahoma would hold the leg up over the other two.

 

Colorado and Texas need wins to gain bowl eligibility, but it is our opinion that both will lose their finales and miss out.  That will leave eight bowl eligible teams for eight bowls.

 

 

 

Conference USA

In the East, Central Florida is as close to in the league title game as a team can be and not already have it clinched.  UCF only needs to beat hapless Memphis to secure the division flag.  It is a certainty.

 

In the West, SMU controls its own destiny.  However, the Mustangs play at East Carolina this week.  We believe the Pirates will win.  That means Tulsa would capture the flag with a win over Southern Miss.  We will give the Golden Hurricane the edge.

 

Houston needs a win at Texas Tech to gain bowl eligibility, but the Cougars are wounded without their top two quarterbacks.  No bowl for Houston this year.

 

 

 

Independents

Navy is bowl eligible, and the Midshipmen have already accepted a bid to the Poinsettia Bowl.  Army is also bowl eligible, and they will get an at-large selection somewhere.  Notre Dame is bowl eligible, and they will either receive one of the Big East bowl bids or an at-large bid.

 

 

Mid-American

As usual, there are always more bowl eligible teams than bowl bids for the MAC.  Ohio, Temple, and Miami (O) from the East and Northern Illinois and Toledo from the West are bowl eligible.  Western Michigan will become bowl eligible with a win at Bowling Green.  That will leave six teams available for three bids.  Expect five of the six to go bowling.

 

 

Mountain West Conference

TCU’s blowout win over New Mexico this week will give the Horned Frogs their second consecutive undefeated regular season finish and at-large selection to a BCS Bowl.  There is a small chance that they could play for the National Championship.  Their BCS ranking will drop by playing the 1-10 Lobos, while Boise State finished on the road against a ranked team.

 

Five teams are bowl eligible, and all five will go to bowls.  That will leave one bowl spot open for an at-large invitee—the New Mexico Bowl.

 

 

 

Pac-10

This is the messy conference.  To start out, Southern Cal is ineligible for a bowl.  Throw in the chance that Stanford will receive an at-large BCS Bowl bid.  Now, top it off with the fact that Arizona is the only other bowl eligible team at this point.  California, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington, and Arizona State are still alive in the bowl eligibility race, but we believe only one of these five will do it.  That means this league could fall three bids short.

 

 

 

Southeastern

“As the Cam Turns” is the top-rated soap opera in the South during November sweeps.  It just may turn south on Auburn this week.  We think Alabama is going to end the Tigers’ championship hopes this week.  We cannot see any scenario where Auburn would jump Boise State and TCU after losing this late in the season.  It is no gimme that the Tigers can beat South Carolina twice in one season.

 

LSU can grab an at-large bid to a BCS Bowl with a win at Arkansas, but we believe the Razorbacks will put an end to those aspirations.

 

Georgia and Tennessee need victories this week to gain bowl eligibility.  We think both will be victorious.  That will leave 10 bowl eligible teams for nine bowls and an at-large bid.

 

 

 

 

Sunbelt

Somebody has to win this league.  With two weeks left in the season, one for UL-Monroe, no team has earned bowl eligibility.  The schedule guarantees that at least one team will become bowl eligible, and we think at least two will pick up a sixth win.  For a change, Troy may not win the conference championship.

 

 

 

Western Athletic

Boise State has a tough finale at Nevada this week, but we do not believe the boys from Reno have a strong enough defense to slow down the Broncos.  Boise State is our top-rated team, and we feel like they would be a field goal choice over Oregon in a national title game.  A win at Nevada should allow the Broncos to jump over TCU in the BCS standings, and if Auburn loses to Alabama, it should put BSU into the number two slot.

 

Louisiana Tech and Idaho still have remote chances at bowl eligibility, but we think both will fall one game short.  With BSU getting a BCS Bowl bid, the WAC will fall one team short in its bowl obligations. 

 

The Pi-Rate Ratings

NCAA Top 25 November 22, 2010
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Boise State 134.6 10 0
2 T C U 132.9 11 0
3 Oregon 132.1 10 0
4 Stanford 129.7 10 1
5 Alabama 127.5 9 2
6 Ohio State 127.1 10 1
7 Oklahoma 127.0 9 2
8 Auburn 126.2 11 0
9 Arkansas 124.4 9 2
10 Virginia Tech 122.8 9 2
11 Wisconsin 122.7 10 1
12 South Carolina 121.1 8 3
13 Texas A&M 118.8 8 3
14 Nebraska 118.8 9 2
15 Florida State 118.2 8 3
16 L S U 118.0 10 1
17t Florida 118.0 7 4
17t Miami (Fla) 118.0 7 4
19 Iowa 117.3 7 4
20 Oklahoma State 116.4 10 1
21 Arizona 116.1 7 3
22 North Carolina 115.6 6 5
23 Georgia 115.5 5 6
24 Missouri 114.9 9 2
25 Mississippi State 114.8 7 4
         
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida State 6-2 8-3 118.2
Clemson 4-4 6-5 112.8
North Carolina State 5-2 8-3 111.4
Maryland 4-3 7-4 104.7
Boston College 4-4 6-5 103.9
Wake Forest 1-7 2-9 89.9
       
Coastal Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Virginia Tech 7-0 9-2 122.8
Miami-FL 5-3 7-4 118.0
North Carolina 3-4 6-5 115.6
Georgia Tech 4-4 6-5 108.7
Virginia 1-6 4-7 95.3
Duke 1-6 3-8 95.1

 

 

Big East Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
West Virginia 3-2 7-3 114.6
Pittsburgh 4-1 6-4 110.8
Connecticut 3-2 6-4 106.4
South Florida 3-3 6-4 104.5
Cincinnati 2-3 4-6 104.0
Louisville 2-4 5-6 102.7
Syracuse 4-3 7-4 101.1
Rutgers 1-4 4-6 91.1

 

 

Big Ten
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Ohio State 6-1 10-1 127.1
Wisconsin 6-1 10-1 122.7
Iowa 4-3 7-4 117.3
Michigan State 6-1 10-1 110.2
Michigan 3-4 7-4 106.5
Penn State 4-3 7-4 105.1
Illinois 4-4 6-5 105.1
Northwestern 3-4 7-4 95.4
Minnesota 1-6 2-9 94.0
Purdue 2-5 4-7 92.5
Indiana 0-7 4-7 88.7

 

 

Big 12
North Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 5-2 9-2 118.8
Missouri 5-2 9-2 114.9
Kansas State 3-5 6-5 100.7
Colorado 2-5 5-6 100.3
Iowa State 3-5 5-7 94.9
Kansas 1-6 3-8 88.5
       
South Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oklahoma 5-2 9-2 127.0
Texas A&M 5-2 8-3 118.8
Oklahoma State 6-1 10-1 116.4
Texas 2-5 5-6 106.0
Baylor 4-4 7-5 105.3
Texas Tech 3-5 6-5 104.2

 

 

Conference USA
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Florida 6-1 8-3 104.8
Southern Mississippi 5-2 8-3 98.6
East Carolina 5-2 6-5 90.2
U A B 3-4 4-7 86.8
Marshall 3-4 4-7 83.6
Memphis 0-7 1-10 69.1
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Tulsa 5-2 8-3 98.1
Houston 4-4 5-6 96.5
S M U 5-2 6-5 92.2
U T E P 3-5 6-6 86.0
Rice 2-5 3-8 84.0
Tulane 2-5 4-7 74.8

 

 

Independents
       
Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame   6-5 107.0
Navy   8-3 102.6
Army   6-5 88.2

 

 

Mid American Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 5-2 8-3 95.2
Ohio U 6-1 8-3 91.7
Miami (O) 6-1 7-4 85.2
Kent St. 3-4 4-7 80.6
Bowling Green 1-6 2-9 77.1
Buffalo 1-6 2-9 71.5
Akron 0-7 0-11 66.4
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Northern Illinois 7-0 9-2 103.9
Toledo 6-1 7-4 88.5
Western Michigan 4-3 5-6 86.7
Central Michigan 2-5 3-8 84.5
Ball State 3-5 4-8 73.9
Eastern Michigan 2-5 2-9 69.9

 

 

Mountain West Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 7-0 11-0 132.9
Utah 6-1 9-2 111.7
Air Force 5-3 8-4 106.8
B Y U 5-2 6-5 104.2
S. D. State 4-3 7-4 102.4
Wyoming 1-7 3-9 88.0
UNLV 2-5 2-9 84.5
Colo. State 2-6 3-9 79.8
New Mexico 1-6 1-10 75.4

 

 

Pac-10 Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 7-0 10-0 132.1
Stanford 7-1 10-1 129.7
Arizona 4-3 7-3 116.1
Southern Cal 4-4 7-4 112.9
Oregon St. 4-3 5-5 112.3
California 3-5 5-6 110.2
Arizona St. 2-5 4-6 109.2
Washington 3-4 4-6 105.1
U C L A 2-5 4-6 103.5
Washington State 1-7 2-9 94.4

 

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
South Carolina 5-3 8-3 121.1
Florida 4-4 7-4 118.0
Georgia 3-5 5-6 115.5
Kentucky 2-5 6-5 106.9
Tennessee 2-5 5-6 105.0
Vanderbilt 1-7 2-9 88.9
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Alabama 5-2 9-2 127.5
Auburn 7-0 11-0 126.2
Arkansas 5-2 9-2 124.4
L S U 6-1 10-1 118.0
Mississippi State 3-4 7-4 114.8
Ole Miss 1-6 4-7 100.9

 

 

Sunbelt Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida International 5-1 5-5 88.1
Arkansas State 4-3 4-7 84.2
Troy 4-2 5-5 82.2
Middle Tennessee 3-3 4-6 79.9
North Texas 3-5 3-8 79.0
Louisiana-Monroe 4-3 5-6 78.9
Florida Atlantic 3-3 4-6 78.2
U. of Louisiana 2-5 2-9 76.8
Western Kentucky 2-5 2-9 75.7

 

 

Western Athletic Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 6-0 10-0 134.6
Nevada 5-1 10-1 111.3
Hawaii 6-1 8-3 106.2
Fresno State 4-3 6-4 97.7
Louisiana Tech 3-3 4-6 94.0
Idaho 2-4 5-6 89.1
Utah State 2-5 4-7 86.2
San Jose State 0-6 1-10 76.9
New Mexico State 1-6 2-9 72.5

 

 

 
Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)    
       
Tuesday, November 23      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
Temple MIAMI (O) 7.0 28-21
       
Thursday, November 25      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
Texas A&M TEXAS 10.3 24-14
       
Friday, November 26      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
Louisville RUTGERS 8.6 28-19
Western Michigan BOWLING GREEN 6.6 27-20
West Virginia PITTSBURGH 1.3 21-20
ALABAMA Auburn 3.8 31-27
Buffalo AKRON 2.6 24-21
TOLEDO Central Michigan 7.0 38-31
Northern Illinois EASTERN MICHIGAN 31.5 45-13
EAST CAROLINA S m u 1.0 35-34
Ohio U KENT STATE 8.6 30-21
ARIZONA STATE U c l a 8.7 26-17
NEBRASKA Colorado 21.5 28-6
TULSA Southern Miss. 2.5 38-35
OREGON Arizona 19.5 44-24
Boise State NEVADA 26.3 46-20
       
Saturday, November 27      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
ARKANSAS L s u 9.4 35-26
STANFORD Oregon State 20.4 37-17
CONNECTICUT Cincinnati 5.4 26-21
FLORIDA STATE Florida 2.7 27-24
GEORGIA Georgia Tech 9.3 33-24
North Carolina St. MARYLAND 3.7 24-20
Iowa MINNESOTA 20.3 37-17
Mississippi State OLE MISS 11.4 28-17
North Carolina DUKE 18.5 45-26
SYRACUSE Boston College 0.2 17-17 to ot
OHIO STATE Michigan 23.6 44-20
Oklahoma OKLAHOMA STATE 8.1 34-26
Michigan State PENN STATE 2.1 30-28
South Carolina CLEMSON 5.8 34-28
VANDERBILT Wake Forest 2.0 26-24
RICE U a b 0.2 34-34 to ot
Kansas State NORTH TEXAS 18.7 44-25
VIRGINIA TECH Virginia 30.0 37-7
WISCONSIN Northwestern 30.3 51-21
FLORIDA INT’L Arkansas State 6.4 34-28
MIAMI (FL) South Florida 16.5 38-21
MIDDLE TENNESSEE Florida Atlantic 4.2 31-27
UL-MONROE UL-Lafayette 4.6 26-21
PURDUE Indiana 6.8 38-31
TENNESSEE Kentucky 1.1 35-34
TEXAS TECH Houston 10.7 45-34
TROY Western Kentucky 9.5 38-28
Central Florida MEMPHIS 33.2 40-7
MARSHALL Tulane 11.8 35-23
Missouri Kansas (Kansas City) 26.4 40-14
Hawaii NEW MEXICO STATE 30.7 45-14
UTAH B y u 10.0 34-24
T c u NEW MEXICO 55.0 55-0
SAN DIEGO STATE U n l v 20.9 42-21
Louisiana Tech SAN JOSE STATE 14.1 31-17
SOUTHERN CAL Notre Dame 8.9 33-24
FRESNO STATE Idaho 11.6 38-26

 

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)    
       
Tuesday, November 23      
Favorite Underdog Mean Bias
Temple MIAMI (O) 27-20 27-16
       
Thursday, November 25      
Favorite Underdog Mean Bias
Texas A&M TEXAS 23-13 20-14
       
Friday, November 26      
Favorite Underdog Mean Bias
Louisville RUTGERS 24-21 28-17
Western Michigan BOWLING GREEN 35-28 38-16
PITTSBURGH West Virginia 17-14 17-14
ALABAMA Auburn 31-27 31-28
Buffalo AKRON 23-20 23-20
TOLEDO Central Michigan 38-30 41-21
Northern Illinois EASTERN MICHIGAN 45-19 49-17
EAST CAROLINA S m u 36-34 34-38
Ohio U KENT STATE 35-23 33-14
ARIZONA STATE U c l a 31-20 27-20
NEBRASKA Colorado 28-9 23-17
TULSA Southern Miss. 41-37 44-34
OREGON Arizona 42-23 41-23
Boise State NEVADA 42-30 60-31
       
Saturday, November 27      
Favorite Underdog Mean Bias
ARKANSAS L s u 31-27 31-20
STANFORD Oregon State 37-20 38-19
CONNECTICUT Cincinnati 26-21 24-16
FLORIDA STATE Florida 30-27 30-27
GEORGIA Georgia Tech 31-20 28-24
North Carolina St. MARYLAND 24-20 27-17
Iowa MINNESOTA 30-13 34-10
Mississippi State OLE MISS 33-25 34-24
North Carolina DUKE 35-24 35-24
SYRACUSE Boston College 16-14 19-17
OHIO STATE Michigan 37-17 38-24
OKLAHOMA STATE Oklahoma 30-27 27-31
Michigan State PENN STATE 30-27 20-23
South Carolina CLEMSON 35-30 36-20
VANDERBILT Wake Forest 23-17 20-23
RICE U a b 35-35 to ot 38-36
Kansas State NORTH TEXAS 41-21 45-24
VIRGINIA TECH Virginia 35-9 31-14
WISCONSIN Northwestern 45-24 45-24
FLORIDA INT’L Arkansas State 34-27 34-27
MIAMI (FL) South Florida 30-17 30-20
MIDDLE TENNESSEE Florida Atlantic 27-26 24-23
UL-MONROE UL-Lafayette 35-27 35-21
PURDUE Indiana 38-31 37-28
TENNESSEE Kentucky 34-31 35-30
TEXAS TECH Houston 41-32 41-28
TROY Western Kentucky 40-28 35-31
Central Florida MEMPHIS 42-14 47-10
MARSHALL Tulane 35-28 32-31
Missouri Kansas (Kansas City) 41-17 31-13
Hawaii NEW MEXICO STATE 45-17 44-17
UTAH B y u 37-24 28-24
T c u NEW MEXICO 50-7 56-0
SAN DIEGO STATE U n l v 44-24 44-20
Louisiana Tech SAN JOSE STATE 27-16 28-16
SOUTHERN CAL Notre Dame 34-27 28-25
FRESNO STATE Idaho 38-30 38-26

 

 

Bowl Conference Team Conference Team
New Mexico MWC #4 or (5) [Temple 9-3] WAC (#3?) [Army 6-6]
Humanitarian MAC #3 Toledo 9-3 WAC #(1) or 2 Fresno St. 7-5
New Orleans Sunbelt #(1) or 2 Fla. Int’l 7-5 C-USA #5 S M U 6-6
Beef O’Brady’s Big East #6 Connecticut 7-5 C-USA #4-6 East Carolina 7-5
MAACO MWC #1 Utah 10-2 Pac 10 #5 [Kentucky 6-6]
Poinsettia MWC #2 San Diego St. 8-4 Navy or WAC NAVY 9-3
Hawaii Hawaii/WAC #3/4 HAWAII 10-3 C-USA #2-6 Central Fla. 9-4
Little Caesar’s Pizza Big 10 #8/SBC [Boston Coll. 6-6] MAC #1-2 N. Illinois 11-2
Independence ACC #7 Clemson 6-6 MWC #3 B Y U 6-6
Champs Sports Big East #2 West Va. 8-4 ACC #3 Miami 8-4
Insight Big 12 #4 Missouri 10-2 Big 10 #4 or 5 Michigan 7-5
Military ACC #8 Georgia Tech 6-6 C-USA #6 U T E P 6-6
Texas Big 12 #6-7 Texas Tech 7-5 Big 10 #6-7 Northwestern 7-5
Alamo Big 12 #3 Nebraska 10-3 Pac 10 #2 Arizona 8-4
Armed Forces C-USA #3-4 Southern Miss 8-4 MWC #3-5/Army Air Force 8-4
Pinstripe Big East #3-4 Syracuse 8-4 Big 12 #6-7 Baylor 7-5
Music City SEC # 7 Tennessee 6-6 ACC #6 Maryland 7-5
Holiday Big 12 #5 Texas A&M 9-3 Pac 10 #3 California 6-6
Meineke Car Care ACC #4-5 N. Carolina 7-5 Big East #3-4 S. Florida 7-5
Sun ACC #4 or 5 N.C. State 9-4 Pac 10 #4 [Notre Dame 6-6]
Liberty SEC #8 or 9 Florida 7-5 C-USA #1 Tulsa 10-3
Chick-fil-A SEC #3-6 L S U 10-2 ACC #2 Florida St. 9-3
Ticket City Big 10 #6-7 Illinois 7-5 Big 12 #8/CUSA Kansas St. 7-5
Outback SEC #3-6 E S. Carolina 9-4 Big 10 #3 Iowa 8-4
Capital One Big 10 #2 Mich. St. 11-1 SEC #2 Alabama 10-2
Gator Big 10 #4 or 5 Penn State 7-5 SEC #6 Miss. State 8-4
Rose BCS Pac10 Stanford 11-1 BCS Big 10 Wisconsin 11-1
Fiesta BCS Big 12 Oklahoma 11-2 BCS At-Large Pittsburgh 8-4
Orange BCS ACC Va. Tech 11-2 BCS At-Large T C U 12-0
Sugar BCS SEC Auburn 12-1 BCS At-Large Ohio State 11-1
GoDaddy.com Sunbelt # 2 Troy 6-6 MAC #1 or 2 Ohio U 9-4
Cotton Big 12 #2 Okla. St. 10-2 SEC #3-6 W Arkansas 10-2
BBVA Compass Big East #5 Louisville 6-6 SEC #8 or 9 Georgia 6-6
Kraft Fight Hunger Pac 10 #6 [Miami (O) 7-5] WAC #1 Nevada 11-2
Nat’l Championship *** BCS #1 *** Oregon 12-0 *** BCS #2 *** Boise State 12-0

 

All CAPS and Italics—Team has already accepted bid to this bowl

Teams in [Brackets] are at-large entries.

November 15, 2010

PiRate Ratings For College Football: November 16-20, 2010

Another Great Week Versus Spread

2010 is proving to be a season to remember for picking games against the spread.  The mediocrity in the middle has made picking games much easier when using 10-point and 13-point Sweetheart Teasers.

 

As we informed our subscription customers before we sent out our picks for the week, we will be playing fewer games per week now that a winning season has been guaranteed. 

 

Our most recent picks went 4-1, bringing our total for the season to 60-24-3 for 71.4%.  We have been happy and pleased with our ability to average about 60% success over the course of time, so this is definitely an anomaly.  Let’s look at how the picks played out:

 

1. 10-point Teaser:

Boise State -24 ½ vs. Idaho, West Virginia +5 vs. Cincinnati, and Syracuse + 7 ½ vs. Rutgers

WON

 

We had Boise State picked to win by 40 points, and we were not the least bit worried about the Broncos covering at 24 and a hook.  The other two picks in the parlay let us play what we thought were solid favorites now getting points.  We figured that both Cincinnati and Rutgers would lose by more than a touchdown.

 

2. 13-point Teaser:

Northwestern +22 ½ vs. Iowa, Michigan Pk vs. Purdue, Indiana +34 ½ vs. Wisconsin, and Minnesota +33 ½ vs. Illinois

Lost

 

We really liked this Big Ten parlay.  We figured Northwestern would keep the game close against Iowa and lose by a touchdown or less, so when they upset the Hawkeyes, we were happy.  We figured that Michigan was 10-14 points better than Purdue, and even though Denard Robinson had a weak game, the Wolverines prevailed by 11.  We never figured that Indiana would lose by 63 to Wisconsin.  We had predicted the Badgers to win by three touchdowns, so this one lost it for us.  We called for Minnesota to battle Illinois to the wire and have a shot at the upset.  We were right, but it did not matter.  It may matter for Ron Zook.  Losses to Northwestern and Fresno State will send him to the unemployment line.

 

3. 13-point Teaser:

Oklahoma -2 vs. Texas Tech, Texas A&M +10 ½ vs. Baylor, Kansas +48 vs. Nebraska, and Colorado +11 vs. Iowa State

WON

 

We loved this Big 12-themed parlay.  We called for Oklahoma to beat Texas Tech by at least 20 points, and the Sooners put an exclamation point on the deLeaching of the Red Raiders.  We stated that it was our opinion that Texas A&M was still not getting enough respect and figured they would beat Baylor outright.  We believed that Nebraska would slaughter Kansas but by more like 35 and not 48 points.  When the Cornhuskers only won by 17, we were winners in this parlay.  As for Colorado, the Buffalos were two-point picks over Iowa State, and they were playing for deposed coach Dan Hawkins.  Getting 11 points was more than we could have hoped for, and CU won outright.

 

4. 10-point Teaser

Tennessee Titans & Miami Dolphins Over 33, Detroit Lions & Buffalo Bills Under 54, and Cincinnati Bengals & Indianapolis Colts Under 57

WON

 

This totals parlay of pro teams was our strategy pick of the week.  We figured that with Randy Moss added to a lineup that was already scoring close to 28 points per game, and with the Titans having problems stopping the running game, both teams would top 21 points.  Miami controlled the game after the first quarter, and more than enough points were scored.  The Lions-Bills pick was more due to climate forecast.  Heavy snow was in the forecast, and we figured the colder weather would make this a defensive struggle.  As for the Bengals-Colts game, we did not think Cincinnati could score 17 points in this game, and we did not see Indy getting to 40.  It was much closer than we thought it would be.

 

5. 10-point Teaser

Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals Over 31 ½, Dallas Cowboys & New York Giants Under 55 ½, and St. Louis Rams & San Francisco 49ers Over 28

WON

 

We called for the Seattle-Arizona game to be a shootout with little defense, and we were surprised with the ease in which Seattle won.  Still, this was an easy cover.  We must admit that we blew the Giants-Cowboys game.  We figured New York would win by 21 points, but we were okay because this game narrowly covered when Dallas reacted to Jason Garrett’s coaching.  We played the Rams-49ers game thinking that both teams would top 14 points and were happy to see both do exactly that.

 

Coaching Carousel

At this point in the season, we already know there are openings at Colorado and Minnesota.  It looks like there will be an openings at New Mexico and Vanderbilt, and there will be others that will become available in the next three weeks.  Here are the candidates we hear are in the mix for these jobs:

 

1. New Mexico—The Lobos were not happy with minor bowl appearances almost every season under Rocky Long.  They ended up with back-to-back double digit loss seasons with Mike Locksley.  Mike Leach has been rumored here for a month, but we believe Leach will spend one more season out of the mix before somebody is brave enough to approach him.  We believe that this job will go to a coordinator at the college level.  It is not a glamour job.  Basketball is king in Albuquerque.

 

2. Colorado—Several names have been mentioned in this search, including former coach Bill McCartney, former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, Georgia coach Mark Richt, and Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson.  LSU coach Les Miles has been rumored by the Denver Post.  We believe that McCartney may have a legitimate chance to get back into coaching after having retired 17 years ago.  Dick Vermeil proved you can take off 17 years and come back to the game.  Bill Snyder has proved you can come back at age 70 and win.

 

3. Minnesota—San Diego State’s Brady Hoke and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Miami coach Randy Shannon,  former coaches Phil Fulmer and Mark Mangino are on the radar in Minneapolis.  The Gophers are pleased with Tubby Smith on the hardwoods, and it could be that another former SEC coach joins him in the great white north.  We think Fulmer could be the leading candidate. 

 

4. Vanderbilt—It is becoming apparent that Robbie Caldwell will indeed be a one-season stopgap.  However, this school does not have much to offer a big-time coach.  Gary Barnett and Tyrone Willingham turned this job down the last time it was available.  The Commodores just don’t have what it takes to entice a big-time coach to commit coaching suicide here.  We believe that a head coach from the Football Championship Series will get this job if it becomes available.  James Madison coach Mickey Matthews is apparently on the radar.  Miami offensive coordinator Mark Whipple could emerge as a candidate in this job as well.  Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo could be a dark horse candidate, but the spread option may not be a great choice for the SEC.  SEC linebackers and defensive backs can make enough big plays to grind the option to a halt when it is the lone weapon.  That is why no teams use it today.

 

The PiRate Ratings

Once again, there is a change at the top.  Oregon lost to Cal in every regard except the final score.  Who ever heard of a false start on a placekicker?  Then, he misses a 29-yarder.  We believe Boise State would beat Cal by 21-28 points if the Broncos had played them.  So, Boise State is our new number one. 

 

Remember, our ratings look forward and not backward like the polls.  When you see a team ranked in our top 25 but with a losing record, it is because we believe that is where they belong in the mix for the next week’s games.  Georgia is 5-6, but we still have them as one of our top 25.  That is because they are only 12 points weaker than Alabama and Auburn on a neutral field.

 

Overall, except for the top five or six teams, this is the weakest college football season since 1984.  That year, Brigham Young won the national championship.  Could it be “the year” for Boise State or TCU?

 

NCAA Top 25 November 15, 2010
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Boise State 133.4 9 0
2 T C U 132.9 11 0
3 Oregon 132.1 10 0
4 Ohio State 126.8 9 1
5 Stanford 126.7 9 1
6 Alabama 126.5 8 2
7 Auburn 126.2 11 0
8 Oklahoma 125.8 8 2
9 Arkansas 125.3 8 2
10 Virginia Tech 122.4 8 2
11 Wisconsin 121.6 9 1
12 South Carolina 120.4 7 3
13 Nebraska 119.5 9 1
14 Miami (Fla) 118.9 7 3
15 L S U 118.8 9 1
16 Florida State 118.5 7 3
17 Texas A&M 118.1 7 3
18 Iowa 117.6 7 3
19 North Carolina 116.5 6 4
20 Arizona 116.1 7 3
21 Florida 116.0 6 4
22 Southern Cal 115.5 7 3
23 Georgia 115.5 5 6
24 Missouri 115.4 8 2
25 Oklahoma State 115.3 9 1
         
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida State 5-2 7-3 118.5
Clemson 3-4 5-5 112.5
North Carolina State 4-2 7-3 110.5
Boston College 3-4 5-5 104.7
Maryland 4-2 7-3 104.4
Wake Forest 1-6 2-8 90.2
       
Coastal Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Virginia Tech 6-0 8-2 122.4
Miami-FL 5-2 7-3 118.9
North Carolina 3-3 6-4 116.5
Georgia Tech 3-4 5-5 109.1
Duke 1-5 3-7 94.7
Virginia 1-5 4-6 94.5

 

 

Big East Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
West Virginia 2-2 6-3 114.0
Pittsburgh 3-1 5-4 110.4
Connecticut 2-2 5-4 105.3
South Florida 3-2 6-3 104.9
Louisville 2-3 5-5 103.3
Syracuse 4-2 7-3 102.2
Cincinnati 1-3 3-6 101.7
Rutgers 1-3 4-5 93.4

 

 

Big Ten
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Ohio State 5-1 9-1 126.8
Wisconsin 5-1 9-1 121.6
Iowa 4-2 7-3 117.6
Michigan State 5-1 9-1 111.5
Michigan 3-3 7-3 107.6
Penn State 3-3 6-4 105.4
Illinois 3-4 5-5 104.1
Northwestern 3-3 7-3 96.9
Minnesota 1-6 2-9 94.0
Purdue 2-4 4-6 91.2
Indiana 0-6 4-6 88.4

 

 

Big 12
North Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 5-1 9-1 119.5
Missouri 4-2 8-2 115.4
Kansas State 3-4 6-4 101.6
Colorado 1-5 4-6 99.4
Iowa State 3-4 5-6 94.4
Kansas 1-5 3-7 89.6
       
South Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oklahoma 4-2 8-2 125.8
Texas A&M 4-2 7-3 118.1
Oklahoma State 5-1 9-1 115.3
Baylor 4-3 7-4 106.5
Texas 2-5 4-6 105.7
Texas Tech 3-5 5-5 103.2

 

 

Conference USA
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Florida 5-1 7-3 102.3
Southern Mississippi 4-2 7-3 96.9
East Carolina 5-1 6-4 93.7
U A B 2-4 3-7 87.0
Marshall 3-3 4-6 84.2
Memphis 0-6 1-9 68.9
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Tulsa 4-2 7-3 98.7
Houston 4-3 5-5 98.2
S M U 4-2 5-5 91.6
U T E P 3-4 6-5 85.4
Rice 1-5 2-8 80.5
Tulane 2-4 4-6 78.3

 

 

Independents
       
Team   Overall Rating
Notre Dame   5-5 106.2
Navy   7-3 103.0
Army   6-4 89.0

 

 

Mid American Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 5-1 8-2 96.5
Ohio U 5-1 7-3 90.4
Miami (O) 5-1 6-4 86.4
Kent St. 3-3 4-6 84.2
Bowling Green 1-5 2-8 77.7
Buffalo 1-5 2-8 73.1
Akron 0-6 0-10 65.2
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Northern Illinois 6-0 8-2 101.6
Toledo 5-1 6-4 87.9
Central Michigan 2-5 3-8 84.5
Western Michigan 3-3 4-6 83.1
Ball State 3-4 4-7 76.2
Eastern Michigan 1-5 1-9 68.3

 

 

Mountain West Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 7-0 11-0 132.9
Utah 5-1 8-2 112.3
Air Force 4-3 7-4 106.3
B Y U 4-2 5-5 103.9
S. D. State 4-2 7-3 101.8
UNLV 2-4 2-8 85.0
Colo. State 2-5 3-8 84.6
Wyoming 0-7 2-9 84.2
New Mexico 1-5 1-9 75.7

 

 

Pac-10 Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 7-0 10-0 132.1
Stanford 6-1 9-1 126.7
Arizona 4-3 7-3 116.1
Southern Cal 4-3 7-3 115.5
California 3-4 5-5 113.2
Oregon St. 3-3 4-5 109.7
Arizona St. 2-5 4-6 109.2
U C L A 2-4 4-5 106.1
Washington 2-4 3-6 103.5
Washington State 1-7 2-9 94.4

 

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
South Carolina 5-3 7-3 120.4
Florida 4-4 6-4 116.0
Georgia 3-5 5-6 115.5
Kentucky 2-5 6-5 106.9
Tennessee 1-5 4-6 105.2
Vanderbilt 1-6 2-8 88.7
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Alabama 5-2 8-2 126.5
Auburn 7-0 11-0 126.2
Arkansas 4-2 8-2 125.3
L S U 5-1 9-1 118.8
Mississippi State 3-3 7-3 113.9
Ole Miss 1-5 4-6 100.1

 

 

Sunbelt Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida International 4-1 4-5 86.6
Arkansas State 4-3 4-6 83.8
Troy 4-2 5-4 82.9
North Texas 3-4 3-7 80.2
Middle Tennessee 2-3 3-6 80.2
Florida Atlantic 3-3 4-5 78.5
U. of Louisiana 2-4 2-8 78.3
Louisiana-Monroe 3-3 4-6 77.7
Western Kentucky 2-4 2-8 75.4

 

 

Western Athletic Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 5-0 9-0 133.4
Nevada 4-1 9-1 110.3
Hawaii 5-1 7-3 104.9
Fresno State 4-2 6-3 98.9
Louisiana Tech 3-3 4-6 94.0
Utah State 2-4 4-6 89.5
Idaho 1-4 4-6 85.8
San Jose State 0-5 1-9 78.2
New Mexico State 1-5 2-8 73.5

 

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)    
       
Tuesday, November 16      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
TEMPLE Ohio U 9.1 31-22
       
Wednesday, November 17      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
Miami (O) AKRON 19.2 31-12
TOLEDO Bowling Green 12.7 37-24
       
Thursday, November 18      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
WASHINGTON U c l a 0.4 28-28 to ot
Air Force U N L V 18.3 35-17
       
Friday, November 19      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
BOISE STATE Fresno State 38.0 55-17
       
Saturday, November 20      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
COLORADO Kansas State 0.8 27-26
Pittsburgh SOUTH FLORIDA 2.5 27-24
GEORGIA TECH Duke 17.4 44-27
Missouri IOWA STATE 18.0 38-20
Penn State Indiana    (Landover, MD) 18.5 33-14
West Virginia LOUISVILLE 7.7 28-20
Middle Tennessee WESTERN KY. 1.8 33-31
BOSTON COLLEGE Virginia 13.2 27-14
Florida State MARYLAND 11.1 31-20
MICHIGAN STATE Purdue 23.3 40-17
Wisconsin MICHIGAN 11.0 38-27
NORTH CAROLINA N. Carolina State 8.5 28-19
Clemson WAKE FOREST 19.8 34-14
Connecticut SYRACUSE 0.1 20-20 to ot
TULSA U t e p 16.3 38-22
Tennessee VANDERBILT 14.5 35-20
Oklahoma BAYLOR 16.3 37-21
East Carolina RICE 10.2 41-31
TEXAS A&M Nebraska 1.6 26-24
TEXAS Florida Atlantic 30.2 37-7
Florida Int’l LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 5.3 31-26
Arkansas MISSISSIPPI STATE 8.4 38-30
CINCINNATI Rutgers 11.3 35-24
Ohio State IOWA 6.2 24-18
Oklahoma State KANSAS 22.7 33-10
Virginia Tech MIAMI-FL 0.5 25-24
LOUISIANA-MONROE North Texas 0.0 30-30 to ot
SOUTH CAROLINA Troy 40.5 55-14
Illinois N’western (Wrigley Field) 6.2 34-28
Northern Illinois BALL STATE 22.4 38-16
BUFFALO Eastern Michigan 7.8 35-27
WESTERN MICHIGAN Kent State 1.9 33-31
WYOMING Colorado State 2.6 31-28
UTAH STATE Idaho 6.7 38-31
S M U Marshall 10.4 34-24
Stanford CALIFORNIA 11.5 28-16
NAVY Arkansas State 22.2 49-27
Central Florida TULANE 21.0 38-17
U A B Memphis 21.1 40-19
NEVADA New Mexico State 39.8 47-7
B Y U New Mexico 31.2 41-10
Notre Dame Army  (Yankee Stadium) 17.2 27-10
SOUTHERN MISS Houston 1.7 33-31
L S U Ole Miss 21.7 35-13
Southern Cal OREGON STATE 2.8 30-27
Utah SAN DIEGO STATE 7.5 38-30
HAWAII San Jose State 30.2 47-17

 

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)    
       
Tuesday, November 16      
Favorite Underdog Mean Biased
TEMPLE Ohio U 31-21 26-24
       
Wednesday, November 17      
Favorite Underdog Mean Biased
Miami (O) AKRON 34-21 27-13
TOLEDO Bowling Green 40-28 38-20
       
Thursday, November 18      
Favorite Underdog Mean Biased
U c l a WASHINGTON 30-30 to ot 27-24
Air Force U N L V 35-17 35-14
       
Friday, November 19      
Favorite Underdog Mean Biased
BOISE STATE Fresno State 47-20 48-17
       
Saturday, November 20      
Favorite Underdog Mean Biased
Kansas State COLORADO 28-23 23-26
Pittsburgh SOUTH FLORIDA 24-21 20-26
GEORGIA TECH Duke 38-28 37-28
Missouri IOWA STATE 35-24 34-17
Penn State Indiana    (Landover, MD) 27-14 41-17
West Virginia LOUISVILLE 24-21 20-21
WESTERN KY. Middle Tennessee 30-27 31-28
BOSTON COLLEGE Virginia 25-16 24-17
Florida State MARYLAND 27-24 23-26
MICHIGAN STATE Purdue 38-16 37-16
Wisconsin MICHIGAN 38-31 44-31
NORTH CAROLINA N. Carolina State 25-24 24-21
Clemson WAKE FOREST 35-21 38-17
SYRACUSE Connecticut 20-14 20-16
TULSA U t e p 41-24 45-28
Tennessee VANDERBILT 28-20 41-13
Oklahoma BAYLOR 38-30 42-24
East Carolina RICE 47-35 52-21
Nebraska TEXAS A&M 31-30 24-30
TEXAS Florida Atlantic 28-9 31-20
Florida Int’l LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 38-30 41-23
Arkansas MISSISSIPPI STATE 31-27 35-20
CINCINNATI Rutgers 28-24 28-27
Ohio State IOWA 26-23 30-20
Oklahoma State KANSAS 40-17 45-13
Virginia Tech MIAMI-FL 27-27 to ot 24-20
LOUISIANA-MONROE North Texas 34-31 35-33
SOUTH CAROLINA Troy 40-14 45-20
Northwestern Illinois  (Wrigley Field) 28-27 35-31
Northern Illinois BALL STATE 44-24 48 -16
BUFFALO Eastern Michigan 34-27 34-30
WESTERN MICHIGAN Kent State 30-27 31-27
WYOMING Colorado St. 28-27 21-27
UTAH STATE Idaho 34-32 40-30
S M U Marshall 35-26 35-28
Stanford CALIFORNIA 28-19 27-20
NAVY Arkansas State 41-24 42-24
Central Florida TULANE 38-24 38-24
U A B Memphis 45-28 44-24
NEVADA New Mexico State 52-16 51-17
B Y U New Mexico 34-7 47-17
Notre Dame Army  (Yankee Stadium) 26-17 28-17
SOUTHERN MISS Houston 37-31 37-32
L S U Ole Miss 35-13 27-10
Southern Cal OREGON STATE 31-26 38-20
Utah SAN DIEGO STATE 34-30 31-34
HAWAII San Jose State 49-20 56-17

 

 

Looking At The Bowls

Pity the bowls with Pac-10 tie-ins.  It looks like Oregon will play in the National Championship Game, and Stanford could easily earn an at-large BCS Bowl Bid.  Only Arizona and California could be eligible for all the remaining bowls.  Southern Cal is not eligible, and it looks like a strong possibility that Arizona State, Oregon State, UCLA, and Washington will not become bowl eligible.

 

The Big Ten could be looking at two BCS bowl teams, so they could come up one team shy in meeting its bowl obligations.

 

The Mid-American Conference will have five bowl eligible teams with seven or more wins, so expect the MAC to get two extra bids as at-large teams.

 

Army needs one win to virtually guarantee the Black Knights a bowl bid.

 

The SEC could find itself with just one BCS bowl member if Arkansas beats LSU.  If Georgia beats Georgia Tech and Tennessee beats Vanderbilt and Kentucky, 10 teams could be available for nine bowl spots.  Expect a 6-6 Kentucky team to become the top at-large candidate from among the 6-6 teams.

 

We believe the Big East and Atlantic Coast Conference could produce one extra bowl eligible team than they have spots available, so those two teams would become very attractive.

 

[Teams in brackets are at-large selections]
Bowl Conference Team Conference Team
New Mexico MWC #4 or (5) [Connecticut 6-6] WAC (#3?) [Miami (O) 8-5]
Humanitarian MAC #3 Toledo 8-4 WAC #(1) or 2 Nevada 10-2
New Orleans Sunbelt #(1) or 2 Fla. Int’l 7-5 C-USA #5 SMU 6-6
St. Petersburg Big East #6 Pittsburgh 7-5 C-USA #4-6 Sou. Miss 8-4
Las Vegas MWC #1 Utah 9-3 Pac 10 #5 [Temple 9-3]
Poinsettia MWC #2 S. Diego St. 9-3 Navy or WAC Navy 8-4
Hawaii Hawaii/WAC #3/4 Hawaii 10-3 C-USA #2-6 Central Fla. 9-4
Little Caesar’s Pizza Big 10 #8/SBC [Boston Coll. 6-6] MAC #1-2 N. Illinois 11-2
Independence ACC #7 Clemson 6-6 MWC #3 Air Force 8-4
Champs Sports Big East #2 S. Florida 8-4 ACC #3 Florida St. 8-4
Insight Big 12 #4 Missouri 10-2 Big 10 #4 or 5 Northwestern 8-4
Military ACC #8 Georgia Tech 6-6 C-USA #6 E. Carolina 8-4
Texas Big 12 #6-7 Texas Tech 7-5 Big 10 #6-7 Illinois 6-6
Alamo Big 12 #3 Oklahoma 9-3 Pac 10 #2 Arizona 8-4
Armed Forces C-USA #3-4 UTEP 6-6 MWC #3-5/Army BYU 6-6
Pinstripe Big East #3-4 Notre Dame 6-6 Big 12 #6-7 Baylor 7-5
Music City SEC # 7 Tennessee 6-6 ACC #6 N. C. State 8-5
Holiday Big 12 #5 Texas A&M 9-3 Pac 10 #3 California 6-6
Meineke Car Care ACC #4-5 Maryland 8-4 Big East #3-4 West Va. 7-5
Sun ACC #4 or 5 Miami (F) 8-4 Pac 10 #4 [Kentucky 6-6]
Liberty SEC #8 or 9 Florida 7-5 C-USA #1 Tulsa 10-3
Chick-fil-A SEC #3-6 Arkansas 10-2 ACC #2 N. Carolina 8-4
Dallas Football Classic Big 10 #6-7 Michigan 7-5 Big 12 #8/CUSA Kansas St.7-5
Outback SEC #3-6 E S. Carolina 9-4 Big 10 #3 Penn St. 8-4
Capital One Big 10 #2 Mich. St. 10-2 SEC #2 Alabama 10-2
Gator Big 10 #4 or 5 Iowa 8-4 SEC #6 Miss. St. 8-4
Rose BCS Pac10 Stanford 11-1 BCS Big 10 Wisconsin 11-1
Fiesta BCS Big 12 Oklahoma St. 12-1 BCS At-Large Syracuse 9-3
Orange BCS ACC Va. Tech 11-2 BCS At-Large TCU 12-0
Sugar BCS SEC Auburn 12-1 BCS At-Large Ohio St. 11-1
GoDaddy.com Sunbelt # 2 Troy 6-6 MAC #1 or 2 Ohio U 8-4
Cotton Big 12 #2 Nebraska 10-3 SEC #3-6 W LSU 10-2
Birmingham Big East #5 Louisville 7-5 SEC #8 or 9 Georgia 6-6
Kraft Fight Hunger Pac 10 #6 [Army 7-5] WAC #1 Fresno St. 7-5
National Championship *** BCS #1 *** Oregon 12-0 *** BCS #2 *** Boise St. 12-0
         
         
         

 

November 8, 2010

PiRate Ratings For College Football: November 9-13, 2010

We’re In The Money

2010 has been a banner year for the PiRate Rankings.  Our picks against the spread for our customers have been hitting at better than 66.7% all year, but still we were in total shock when this past weekend’s games brought us an incredible 9-1-1 record.  For the year, our record moves to 56-23-3 for an incredible 70.9%.

 

It’s always nice to hear from you if you purchased our picks for the season back in August.  Why have we been so successful this year?  We believe it is the incredible parity in the NFL and a great deal of mediocrity in the NCAA.  So many of the NFL games have been close, and so many of the college teams after the top four or five are weaker than in past years.  So, when you play a 13-point teaser, it is like having gold in your hands if you know a little about numbers and football percentages.  Let’s take a look at our picks from this past weekend.

 

1. 13-point Teaser

Air Force +6 vs. Army, Miami (Fl) +5 ½ vs. Maryland, Texas A&M +16 ½ vs. Oklahoma, and Kansas State +16 ½ vs. Texas

WON

We had Air Force rated as a solid favorite over Army.  The Black Knights are enjoying their best season in years, but they do not have enough offense to face a potent Air Force team.  We figured the Falcons would win by 10-12 points, and even that was an understatement.

 

We felt that Miami had about a 65% chance of beating Maryland outright, so getting 5 ½ made us feel like it was a 95% chance of covering.  Our statement to our subscribers was, “Maryland’s record is too deceiving.  They could drop four in a row to finish 6-6.”

 

We are not about to tell you that we called for A&M to beat Oklahoma by two touchdowns, but we told our subscribers that, “Oklahoma cannot win this game by more than 10 points.”

 

As for the Kansas State-Texas game, we did call for KSU to win outright.  Getting 16 ½ points was pure gravy.

 

2. 13-point Teaser

Nevada +2 vs. Idaho, California -1 vs. Washington State, Stanford +4 vs. Arizona, and TCU +8 ½ vs. Utah

WON

We went with four clear favorites over four weaker opponents and got points in three of the four plays in the parlay.  We felt that all four would win by double digits, and even though Cal only won by seven, we easily won this teaser.

 

3. 13-point Teaser

Indiana +27 vs. Iowa, Michigan +6 ½ vs. Illinois, Wisconsin -10 vs. Purdue, and Arkansas +14 vs. South Carolina

WON

We were wrong in predicting how the Iowa-Indiana game would turn out, but it still won for us.  We expected a 35-24 type game and not the low scoring affair that happened.  As for Michigan-Illinois, we had to sweat this out for a while.  We expected the shootout, but we thought Michigan would win 42-31.  Tate Forcier pulled this one out for us.  He has to be the best number two QB in the nation.  Wisconsin needed to go well into the 3rd quarter before taking over this game, but they won by the same 21 points we predicted.  We called for Arkansas to outscore South Carolina.  We were looking for a 35-31 win, so the 21-point blowout was just fine for us.

 

4. Florida -14 vs. Vanderbilt

WON

We consider ourselves experts in the plight of poor Vanderbilt, as our founder grew up watching them play week after week.  He told us that Vanderbilt would be down 35 points by halftime, and he was off by six.  It was 41-0!

 

5. Louisiana Tech Pk vs. Fresno State

Loss

This is the one game we lost, and we thought it was one of our strongest plays of the week.  This is one of Fresno’s weaker teams in this run of winning years.  Thinking that a long trip to the Deep South might be a little too much, we went with Tech to win and missed it.

 

6. Tennessee -20 ½ vs. Memphis

WON

Again, we deferred to our founder and relied on his information in the Volunteer State.  He believed that Tennessee was better than an average C-USA team, and the average C-USA team was more than three touchdowns better than Memphis.  He also told us that Tennessee is 10-points better in November than in any other month.  That was good enough for us.

 

7. Buffalo Bills +3 vs. Chicago Bears

Push (Tie)

The Bears edged the Bills by a field goal to make this game a push.  We felt that Buffalo would break through for its first win playing on foreign soil.

 

8. Buffalo Bills & Chicago Bears OVER 40 ½

WON

We won the other part of this game by predicting it to be a 28-24 final.  The 41 points was a razor thin margin to win by, but we have lost our share of games by a point or half-point in the past, and those still counted as losses.

 

9. Arizona Cardinals +8 vs. Minnesota Vikings

WON

With the Vikings full of dissension, and Brett Favre tossing more interceptions than touchdowns, we thought the Minnesota defense would give up too many points, even to the lowly Cardinals.  Favre had a great day, but he tossed two interceptions.  The game stayed close, and Arizona almost won it outright.

 

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers & Atlanta Falcons OVER 44 ½

WON

We called this game almost exactly correct.  We called for the Falcons to win 28-24, but even though the actual final was a bit lower, it covered the total.

 

11. Green Bay Packers -7 ½ vs. Dallas Cowboys

WON

This was a gift from the odds makers.  Dallas is as weak as Carolina, but the public perception is that they are not.  Without Tony Romo, the spread should have been 13 ½ or even more. 

 

A New Number One

The PiRate Rankings have a new number one team.  TCU vaulted to first place after beating an undefeated Top 10 team on the road by 40 points.  This was a Utah team that proved it could beat Iowa State in Ames by several touchdowns more than Nebraska was able to do.

 

The Horned Frogs, unlike Auburn and Oregon, are equally strong on both offense and defense.  Boise State is proving to be the same.  We believe that both TCU and Boise State would defeat Oregon and Auburn in a national semifinal if there were playoffs.  The two non-automatic qualifiers are the two best teams in the land, even if our own PiRate Ratings has Oregon rated a little above Boise State.

 

The current BCS is just not acceptable as a real method of choosing the two best teams.  The two best teams should be the two teams playing the best.  Oregon and Auburn are both one half of a real juggernaut.  Neither has a championship defense.  Boise State and TCU have both a championship offense and defense.

 

What else do the MWC and WAC undefeated teams have to prove?  Boise State beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, and Utah massacred Alabama in the Sugar Bowl when they were given the chance.  Previously, Utah won its other BCS Bowl game in the 2004 season.

 

Here is where the BCS is flawed.  You have heard us say this before.  If you took the entire First and Second Team All-American squads and put them in a San Jose State uniform, and the Spartans went 12-0, they would not get the chance to play for the National Championship, even though it would be clear that they were 21 points better than any other team.  The National Championship Game should have the two best teams, or it is bogus.

 

The NCAA elite do not want to include the TCU’s and Boise State’s.  It is a corrupt system, and the PiRates are all about waging war against elitist corruption.  Wait until you see what we dictate for the bowls.  It is the only way to end this primitive system for selecting a national champion.

 

NCAA Top 25 November 8, 2010
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 T C U 134.5 9 0
2 Oregon 134.3 9 0
3 Boise State 132.2 8 0
4 Stanford 127.5 8 1
5 Ohio State 125.8 8 1
6t Arkansas 125.8 7 2
6t Alabama 125.8 7 2
8 Auburn 125.1 10 0
9 Oklahoma 123.2 7 2
10 Iowa 121.1 7 2
11 Virginia Tech 120.9 7 2
12 Nebraska 120.3 8 1
13 Florida State 119.1 6 3
14 Florida 119.0 6 3
15 Wisconsin 118.6 8 1
16 L S U 117.0 8 1
17 Arizona 117.6 7 2
18 North Carolina 117.5 6 3
19 Texas A&M 116.8 6 3
20 South Carolina 116.8 6 3
21 Georgia 116.6 5 5
22 Utah 116.0 8 1
23 Miami (Fla) 115.9 6 3
24 Missouri 115.9 7 2
25 Oregon State 115.5 4 4
         
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida State 4-2 6-3 119.1
Clemson 3-3 5-4 111.9
North Carolina State 3-2 6-3 107.9
Boston College 2-4 4-5 105.0
Maryland 3-2 6-3 102.3
Wake Forest 1-5 2-7 93.3
       
Coastal Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Virginia Tech 5-0 7-2 120.9
North Carolina 3-2 6-3 117.5
Miami-FL 4-2 6-3 115.9
Georgia Tech 3-3 5-4 112.6
Virginia 1-4 4-5 96.1
Duke 1-4 3-6 94.4

 

Big East Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Pittsburgh 3-0 5-3 111.5
West Virginia 1-2 5-3 111.5
Cincinnati 1-2 3-5 105.0
Connecticut 1-2 4-4 104.2
Louisville 2-2 5-4 104.0
South Florida 2-2 5-3 103.7
Syracuse 3-2 6-3 101.2
Rutgers 1-2 4-4 93.9

 

Big Ten
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Ohio State 4-1 8-1 125.8
Iowa 4-1 7-2 121.1
Wisconsin 4-1 8-1 118.6
Michigan State 5-1 9-1 111.5
Michigan 2-3 6-3 106.7
Penn State 3-2 6-3 106.1
Illinois 3-3 5-4 106.1
Northwestern 2-3 6-3 95.9
Indiana 0-5 4-5 92.2
Purdue 2-3 4-5 91.6
Minnesota 0-6 1-9 91.5

 

Big 12
North Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Nebraska 4-1 8-1 120.3
Missouri 3-2 7-2 115.9
Kansas State 3-3 6-3 101.1
Colorado 0-5 3-6 97.8
Iowa State 3-3 5-5 96.0
Kansas 1-4 3-6 88.8
       
South Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oklahoma 3-2 7-2 123.2
Texas A&M 3-2 6-3 116.8
Oklahoma State 4-1 8-1 112.8
Texas 2-4 4-5 108.7
Baylor 4-2 7-3 107.8
Texas Tech 3-4 5-4 105.5

 

Conference USA
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Central Florida 5-0 7-2 104.7
Southern Mississippi 3-2 6-3 94.5
East Carolina 4-1 5-4 93.0
U A B 2-3 3-6 87.7
Marshall 2-3 3-6 84.5
Memphis 0-5 1-8 68.1
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Houston 4-2 5-4 99.4
Tulsa 3-2 6-3 98.0
S M U 4-2 5-5 91.6
U T E P 3-4 6-4 84.4
Rice 1-4 2-7 80.8
Tulane 1-4 3-6 77.7

 

Independents
       
Team   Overall Rating
Navy   6-3 105.4
Notre Dame   4-5 103.5
Army   5-4 88.2

 

Mid American Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Temple 5-1 8-2 96.5
Ohio U 5-1 7-3 90.4
Miami (O) 4-1 5-4 86.5
Kent St. 3-3 4-5 85.0
Bowling Green 1-4 2-7 77.6
Buffalo 1-4 2-7 76.4
Akron 0-6 0-10 65.2
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Northern Illinois 5-0 7-2 98.6
Toledo 5-0 6-3 88.2
Western Michigan 2-3 3-6 83.7
Central Michigan 2-5 3-7 81.6
Ball State 2-4 3-7 73.9
Eastern Michigan 1-4 1-8 67.7

 

Mountain West Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
T C U 6-0 10-0 134.5
Utah 5-1 8-1 116.0
Air Force 3-3 6-4 106.8
B Y U 3-2 4-5 99.6
S. D. State 4-1 7-2 99.2
Colo. State 2-4 3-7 87.9
Wyoming 0-6 2-8 87.7
UNLV 1-4 1-8 81.5
New Mexico 1-4 1-8 74.7

 

Pac-10 Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Oregon 6-0 9-0 134.3
Stanford 5-1 8-1 127.5
Arizona 4-2 7-2 117.6
Oregon St. 3-2 4-4 115.5
Southern Cal 3-3 6-3 114.0
California 3-3 5-4 110.7
Arizona St. 2-4 4-5 107.9
U C L A 2-4 4-5 106.1
Washington 2-4 3-6 103.5
Washington State 0-7 1-9 90.6

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida 4-3 6-3 119.0
South Carolina 4-3 6-3 116.8
Georgia 3-4 5-5 116.6
Kentucky 1-5 5-5 106.7
Tennessee 0-5 3-6 101.2
Vanderbilt 1-5 2-7 88.9
       
West Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Arkansas 4-2 7-2 125.8
Alabama 4-2 7-2 125.8
Auburn 6-0 10-0 125.1
L S U 5-1 8-1 117.7
Mississippi State 3-2 7-2 114.6
Ole Miss 1-4 4-5 102.6

 

Sunbelt Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Troy 4-1 5-3 87.4
Arkansas State 4-2 4-5 85.6
Florida International 3-1 3-5 83.1
Middle Tennessee 2-2 3-5 82.4
Louisiana-Monroe 3-3 4-5 78.8
Florida Atlantic 2-3 3-5 78.7
U. of Louisiana 2-3 2-7 78.1
North Texas 2-4 2-7 78.0
Western Kentucky 1-4 1-8 73.3

 

Western Athletic Conference
       
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Boise State 4-0 8-0 132.2
Nevada 3-1 8-1 111.3
Hawaii 5-1 7-3 104.9
Fresno State 4-1 6-2 97.9
Louisiana Tech 2-3 3-6 93.4
Utah State 1-4 3-6 89.4
Idaho 1-3 4-5 87.0
San Jose State 0-4 1-8 78.3
New Mexico State 1-4 2-7 74.1

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)    
       
Tuesday, November 2      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
NORTHERN ILLINOIS Toledo 13.4 34-21
       
Wednesday, November 3      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
Miami (O) BOWLING GREEN 6.4 26-20
       
Thursday, November 4      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
Pittsburgh CONNECTICUT 4.3 24-20
East Carolina U A B 2.3 35-33
       
Friday, November 5      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
BUFFALO Ball State 5.5 23-17
Boise State IDAHO 42.2 52-10
       
Saturday, November 6      
Favorite Underdog Spread Score
AUBURN Georgia 11.5 42-30
ARKANSAS U t e p 44.9 62-17
Stanford ARIZONA STATE 16.1 40-24
Oregon CALIFORNIA 23.6 44-20
COLORADO Iowa State 4.8 35-30
FLORIDA STATE Clemson 10.2 34-24
FLORIDA South Carolina 5.2 26-21
Miami (Fl) GEORGIA TECH 0.3 27-27 to ot
Iowa NORTHWESTERN 22.2 42-20
KENTUCKY Vanderbilt 20.8 38-17
LOUISVILLE South Florida 3.3 24-21
MISSOURI Kansas State 17.8 35-17
Boston College DUKE 7.6 31-23
N. C. STATE Wake Forest 17.1 35-18
Virginia Tech NORTH CAROLINA 0.4 20-20 to ot
NEBRASKA Kansas 34.5 45-10
Syracuse RUTGERS 4.3 24-20
OHIO STATE Penn State 22.7 33-10
OKLAHOMA Texas Tech 20.7 48-27
OREGON STATE Washington State 27.9 38-10
Texas A&M BAYLOR 6.5 34-27
Oklahoma State TEXAS 1.1 35-34
Maryland VIRGINIA 3.2 27-24
WISCONSIN Indiana 29.2 42-13
MARSHALL Memphis 19.4 35-16
WEST VIRGINIA Cincinnati 9.5 27-17
ALABAMA Mississippi State 14.2 28-14
ILLINOIS Minnesota 17.6 38-20
ARKANSAS STATE Western Kentucky 14.8 42-27
FLORIDA ATLANTIC Louisiana-Lafayette 4.1 27-23
MIDDLE TENNESSEE North Texas 7.4 34-27
Michigan PURDUE 12.1 38-26
TENNESSEE Ole Miss 1.6 28-26
TROY Florida Int’l 7.3 34-27
CENTRAL FLORIDA Southern Miss 13.2 41-28
B y u COLORADO STATE 8.7 37-28
Army KENT STATE 0.2 20-20 to ot
WESTERN MICHIGAN Eastern Michigan 18.5 40-21
Utah NOTRE DAME 8.5 40-31
NAVY Central Michigan 26.8 47-20
Rice TULANE 0.1 30-30 to ot
T C U San Diego State 38.8 49-10
Louisiana Tech NEW MEXICO STATE 16.3 28-12
AIR FORCE New Mexico 35.1 45-10
ARIZONA Southern Cal 6.6 31-24
Utah State SAN JOSE STATE 8.6 37-28
L S U Louisiana-Monroe 41.9 45-3
HOUSTON Tulsa 4.4 42-38
Nevada FRESNO STATE 10.4 41-31
Wyoming U N L V 3.7 28-24

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team Advantage Added (2-5 points)    
       
Tuesday, November 2      
Favorite Underdog Mean Biased
NORTHERN ILLINOIS Toledo 31-21 30-22
       
Wednesday, November 3      
Favorite Underdog Mean Biased
Miami (O) BOWLING GREEN 28-28 to ot 34-13
       
Thursday, November 4      
Favorite Underdog Mean Biased
Pittsburgh CONNECTICUT 24-16 23-17
East Carolina U A B 38-34 38-33
       
Friday, November 5      
Favorite Underdog Mean Biased
BUFFALO Ball State 26-21 27-12
Boise State IDAHO 41-12 56-14
       
Saturday, November 6      
Favorite Underdog Mean Biased
AUBURN Georgia 37-27 41-27
ARKANSAS U t e p 49-20 52-17
Stanford ARIZONA STATE 38-28 38-14
Oregon CALIFORNIA 41-24 54-18
Iowa State COLORADO 31-28 30-20
FLORIDA STATE Clemson 28-20 22-20
FLORIDA South Carolina 23-17 24-17
Miami (Fl) GEORGIA TECH 31-27 24-28
Iowa NORTHWESTERN 31-17 27-16
KENTUCKY Vanderbilt 35-21 42-20
LOUISVILLE South Florida 27-23 27-24
MISSOURI Kansas State 33-24 35-24
Boston College DUKE 29-26 20-23
N. C. STATE Wake Forest 40-18 28-13
Virginia Tech NORTH CAROLINA 27-24 28-24
NEBRASKA Kansas 39-7 45-17
Syracuse RUTGERS 28-26 26-27
OHIO STATE Penn State 26-10 24-14
OKLAHOMA Texas Tech 33-20 34-20
OREGON STATE Washington State 35-10 31-10
Texas A&M BAYLOR 34-32 35-31
Oklahoma State TEXAS 33-24 38-22
Maryland VIRGINIA 24-21 25-26
WISCONSIN Indiana 40-17 38-21
MARSHALL Memphis 37-21 37-19
WEST VIRGINIA Cincinnati 24-17 28-17
ALABAMA Mississippi State 23-10 20-10
ILLINOIS Minnesota 34-10 34-20
ARKANSAS STATE Western Kentucky 38-23 40-24
FLORIDA ATLANTIC Louisiana-Lafayette 25-17 21-18
MIDDLE TENNESSEE North Texas 35-30 33-27
Michigan PURDUE 34-25 38-23
TENNESSEE Ole Miss 28-26 31-26
TROY Florida Int’l 34-26 34-24
CENTRAL FLORIDA Southern Miss 35-23 35-26
B y u COLORADO STATE 34-28 41-22
Army KENT STATE 21-20 27-16
WESTERN MICHIGAN Eastern Michigan 35-17 33-23
Utah NOTRE DAME 34-24 34-21
NAVY Central Michigan 44-24 44-20
TULANE Rice 30-25 31-21
T C U San Diego State 38-10 45-10
Louisiana Tech NEW MEXICO STATE 23-10 25-19
AIR FORCE New Mexico 35-3 34-13
ARIZONA Southern Cal 31-26 30-23
Utah State SAN JOSE STATE 34-30 38-28
L S U Louisiana-Monroe 40-7 37-9
HOUSTON Tulsa 38-38 to ot 45-41
Nevada FRESNO STATE 38-30 40-30
Wyoming U N L V 31-28 26-28

 

The Bowls

A lot of the bowls are going to be games with 7-5 and 6-6 mediocrity this year.  Unless it is your team playing, there will be no need to tune any of them in.  If the bowls were instead used to host playoff rounds, with 11 bowls being used for 12 teams, then the remaining bowls could then invite teams with eight and nine wins instead of six and seven.

 

Here is our look at what we think will happen, but it is not what we think should happen.  If you ask us today, Boise State and TCU should meet for a third consecutive bowl season with the winner being declared National Champion.

 

Bowl Conference Prediction Conference Prediction
New Mexico MWC #4 or (5) B Y U 6-6 WAC (#3?) [Ohio U 8-4]
Humanitarian MAC #3 Miami (O) 8-5 WAC #(1) or 2 Nevada 10-2
New Orleans Sunbelt #(1) or 2 Troy 7-5 C-USA #5 UTEP 6-6
St. Petersburg Big East #6 Connecticut 6-6 C-USA #4-6 Sou. Miss 7-5
Las Vegas MWC #1 Utah 11-1 Pac 10 #5 Oregon St. 6-6
Poinsettia MWC #2 San Diego St. 8-4 Navy or WAC Navy 9-3
Hawaii Hawaii/WAC #3/4 Hawaii 10-3 C-USA #2-6 E C U 8-4
Little Caesar’s Pizza Big 10 #8/SBC Northwestern 6-6 MAC #1-2 N. Illinois 11-2
Independence ACC #7 Georgia Tech 6-6 MWC #3 Air Force 8-4
Champs Sports Big East #2 S. Florida 7-5 ACC #3 Florida St. 8-5
Insight Big 12 #4 Oklahoma 9-3 Big 10 #4 or 5 Mich. St. 10-2
Military ACC #8 Maryland 6-6 C-USA #6 S M U 6-6
Texas Big 12 #6-7 Texas Tech 7-5 Big 10 #6-7 Illinois 8-4
Alamo Big 12 #3 Missouri 10-2 Pac 10 #2 Arizona 9-3
Armed Forces C-USA #3-4 Tulsa 8-4 MWC #3-5/Army Army 6-6
Pinstripe Big East #3-4 Syracuse 7-5 Big 12 #6-7 Baylor 7-5
Music City SEC # 7 Tennessee 6-6 ACC #6 Miami (F) 7-5
Holiday Big 12 #5 Texas A&M 9-3 Pac 10 #3 U C L A 6-6
Meineke Car Care ACC #4-5 Clemson 7-5 Big East #3-4 West Va. 7-5
Sun ACC #4 or 5 N.C. State 8-4 Pac 10 #4 California 6-6
Liberty SEC #8 or 9 Kentucky 6-6 C-USA #1 Central Fla. 11-2
Chick-fil-A SEC #3-6 Miss. State 8-4 ACC #2 N. Carolina 8-4
Dallas Football Classic Big 10 #6-7 Michigan 7-5 Big 12 #8/CUSA Kansas St. 7-5
Outback SEC #3-6 E Florida 9-4 Big 10 #3 Iowa 10-2
Capital One Big 10 #2 Ohio St. 10-2 SEC #2 L S U 10-2
Gator Big 10 #4 or 5 Penn St. 8-4 SEC #6 S. Carolina 7-5
Rose BCS Pac10 Stanford 11-1 BCS Big 10 Wisconsin 11-1
Fiesta BCS Big 12 Nebraska 11-2 BCS At-Large Pittsburgh 7-5
Orange BCS ACC Va. Tech 11-2 BCS At-Large Arkansas 10-2
Sugar BCS SEC [T C U 12-0] BCS At-Large Boise St. 12-0
GoDaddy.com Sunbelt # 2 Florida Int’l 6-6 MAC #1 or 2 Toledo 8-4
Cotton Big 12 #2 Oklahoma St. 11-2 SEC #3-6 W Alabama 9-3
Birmingham Big East #5 Louisville 7-5 SEC #8 or 9 Georgia 6-6
Kraft Fight Hunger Pac 10 #6 [Temple 9-3] WAC #1 Fresno St. 7-5
National Championship *** BCS #1 *** Auburn 13-0 *** BCS #2 *** Oregon 12-0

 

November 1, 2010

PiRate Ratings For College Football: November 2-6, 2010

Ho-Hum Another Winning Weekend

 

Before we get too big of a swelled head and believe we can pick winners in our sleep, let us say that we were not pleased with this past weekend’s picks.  Yes, we had another winning week against the spread, but we have gotten to the point where 4-3 is not acceptable in this season of what looks like easy riches.  We went with underdogs in five picks and took the totals in two others.

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”  Lucky for us, we hope we can be called strong men, because we were prepared to go with 11 picks this week instead of seven.  Those four picks we did not make all lost.  For the season, our record against the spread is 47-22-2, dropping us to 68.1% against the spread.  Here is how it went:

 

1. St. Louis Rams +3 vs. Carolina Panthers

WON

 

We did not feel that one win over a week San Francisco team was the telltale sign that Carolina was on the verge of a major turnaround.  We liked Sam Bradford’s consistent improvement with experience, and we told you we believed the Rams would win outright.

 

2. Miami Dolphins +2 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

WON

 

As we stated in Thursday’s Email to our subscribers, we could not believe the Dolphins were not at least five-point favorites in this game.  If the odds makers continue to treat the Bengals like it was the first half of the 2009 season, then we won’t complain.

 

3. Buffalo Bills +7 ½ vs. Kansas City Chiefs

WON

 

Buffalo had a near miss against Baltimore, and we applauded their offensive changes.  We thought that with anything close to a repeat performance could give the Bills an upset win.  We loved the extra hook in the spread, and it became a solid pick.  When the game went to overtime, we were safe.

 

4. Tennessee Titans +4 vs. San Diego Chargers

Lost

 

We were hurt by two injuries in this game, one of them critical.  Kenny Britt went down early in the first quarter and was lost for the game.  Vince Young was off to a great start, and he ran out of weapons as the game wore on.  Then, he went down in the 4th quarter.  With Kerry Collins in the game, the Chargers could bottle up Chris Johnson, and with no Britt, Collins had little left to pass deep.

 

5. Seattle Seahawks +2 ½ vs. Oakland Raiders

Lost

 

Break up the Raiders!  How did they get Daryle Lamonica, Ben Davidson, Fred Biletnikoff, Art Shell, and the rest of the 1967 team through the fountain of youth?  Who would have thought that the Chiefs and Raiders would be fighting it out once again for the West Division title?  We goofed big time on this one.

 

6. Green Bay Packers & New York Jets OVER 42

Lost

 

Talk about blowing one big time, this game produced no touchdowns.  We thought that with a week off, the Jets would have their offense running smoothly.  We also thought that the Packers’ defense would be a little off after playing the Vikings on Monday Night Football.  It looked like the Lombardi Packers out there Sunday.

 

7. New Orleans Saints & Pittsburgh Steelers UNDER 44 ½

WON

 

We were saved by the Sunday night game.  We felt that the Steelers would not allow the Saints to score 24 points in this game.  This was the best defense New Orleans has faced, and they have been having difficulty scoring.  We figured Pittsburgh would not score 20, and we were correct.

 

An Interesting Week of College Football

 

This will be an exciting week in the college football world.  There are games every night beginning Tuesday, and there will be reason to tune them in.

 

Tuesday night, Middle Tennessee travels to Arkansas State.  While we will not pick this game against the spread, because we pick our games late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning to get them to our subscribers by Thursday afternoon.  This game has added importance now that UL-Monroe knocked off Troy.  Middle Tennessee has one conference loss, while Arkansas State has two.  The loser will be out of the conference race, while the winner will have a chance should Troy fall again.  Additionally, the winner will be in good shape in the bowl picture, while the loser will be on thin ice.

 

Wednesday night, Rutgers visits South Florida.  The winner will emerge with a 5-3 record and an almost certain chance to become bowl eligible.  With Notre Dame falling out of the bowl picture for now, it looks like the Big East will need six bowl eligible teams.

 

Thursday night, Georgia Tech visits Virginia Tech, and the Hokies look like the class of the ACC.  If VT continues to win out and advances to the Orange Bowl, it will help Boise State stay in contention for the National Championship Game.  They would almost assuredly need an Oregon State victory over Oregon as well.

 

Friday night Central Florida plays at Houston in what could be a preview of the Conference USA Championship Game. 

 

On Saturday, there are several great games with important repercussions.  Arizona plays at Stanford.  The winner stays in contention for a possible BCS at-large bowl bid.  Stanford’s road to 11-1 is considerably easier than Arizona’s.

 

Illinois plays at Michigan.  Should the Illini win, expect the heat to come back under the seat of Coach Rich Rodriguez.  Ron Zook’s seat has cooled with Illinois on its way to a bowl game this year.

 

Virginia’s game at Duke did not look important a week ago, but after the Cavaliers knocked off Miami, this game became important.  Duke is coming off a big win against Navy, and they believe they can beat UVA.  Virginia is now in the bowl picture, and this becomes a must-win game.

 

Louisville ventures to Syracuse, where the Orange have become a conference champion contender.  The Cardinals are on the precipice of being good, and it is not impossible to see them pulling off a mild upset.  UL needs an upset to have a shot at a bowl.

 

Baylor plays at Oklahoma State in a game that now has direct bearing on the Big 12 South title.  Both teams have one conference loss, and both must still face Oklahoma.  The winner will have eight victories and move into Cotton Bowl contention as well.

 

North Carolina State plays at Clemson.  Coming off the upset of Florida State, the Wolfpack could be primed for a bounce, and Clemson needs an upset win.  After losing to Boston College, the Tigers are on the outside looking in for a bowl.  A loss here could send them to a 5-7 finish.

 

Oklahoma plays at Texas A&M, and if Ryan Tannehill has another day like he did against Texas Tech, the Aggies will have a chance to be there in the fourth quarter.  An upset would throw the South race wide open.  Oklahoma still has an outside shot at moving back to number two in the BCS, but we do not see it happening.  In fact, we believe they have a better chance of losing a second game this season.

 

Colorado must win at Kansas, or Dan Hawkins’ fate will be sealed.  The Buffalos are 3-5 and they have two other winnable games on the schedule.  We see them winning their fourth this weekend, but we aren’t so sure about those other two.  Hawkins may be finished in Boulder win or lose this week.

 

Texas faces Kansas State in the Little Apple, and this game is now a tossup.  The Longhorns could be in danger of falling all the way to 6-6 if they lose this game.  Kansas State needs one win to become bowl eligible, and they have North Texas at the end of the schedule to virtually guarantee that sixth win.  However, winning this game could move them up a couple notches in bowl priority.

 

Maryland plays at Miami, and the Hurricanes should be without quarterback Jacory Harris.  If Coach Randy Shannon chooses to play Harris after the QB suffered a concussion, then he should be put on the hot seat.  As for the Terps, they are now in strong contention in the ACC Atlantic Division.  With just one conference loss, they host Florida State and North Carolina State to conclude the regular season.

 

Arkansas visits South Carolina, where the winner stays in contention for the Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl, and Cotton Bowl.  South Carolina could still win the automatic BCS Bowl bid, but we see that as a remote chance.

 

Air Force plays at Army, and the Black Knights have a chance to become bowl eligible.  This should be a great game.

 

Alabama ventures to Baton Rouge to take on LSU.  The winner stays in contention for the SEC West title and National Championship Game, while the loser can probably start making plans for the Cotton Bowl.

 

Hawaii is on a roll.  The Warriors have won six games in a row by an average score of 46-16.  Included in that streak are victories over Fresno State and Nevada.  Can the Warriors, who ranked 26th in the AP poll give Boise State a close game at the field of blue?  A Bronco win in this game coupled with Auburn facing Chattanooga could allow BSU to jump over Auburn.

 

The Big Game of the Week

 

#3 T C U has a chance to jump into the Championship Game picture with a win at #5 Utah in what has to be considered the game of the week.  The two undefeated teams will battle it out in Salt Lake City, and the Utes have major revenge on their minds after last season’s humiliating loss in Ft. Worth.  The game will be televised on the CBS College Sports Network, and that network is offering a free preview this week.  If you have Dish Network, Charter Communications Cable, or Time Warner Cable, you should be able to receive this game.  Check with your local cable company if not.

 

The Pi-Rate Ratings For The Week

 

NCAA Top 25 November 1, 2010
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Oregon 134.0 8 0
2 T C U 129.5 8 0
3 Boise State 129.4 7 0
4 Alabama 128.6 7 1
5 Oklahoma 126.2 7 1
6 Ohio State 125.8 8 1
7 Stanford 124.9 7 1
8 Auburn 124.5 9 0
9 Iowa 123.6 6 2
10 Nebraska 122.8 7 1
11 Arkansas 122.8 6 2
12 Virginia Tech 121.6 6 2
13 Florida State 120.9 6 2
14 South Carolina 119.8 6 2
15 Utah 119.5 8 0
16 Wisconsin 119.3 7 1
17 Arizona 119.2 7 1
18 Missouri 118.9 7 1
19 Oregon State 117.2 4 3
20 Miami (Fla) 117.1 5 3
21 Florida 116.2 5 3
22 North Carolina 116.0 5 3
23 Georgia 115.6 4 5
24 Southern Cal 114.9 5 3
25 Mississippi State 114.6 7 2
         
Note: Ratings rounded to one decimal point
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Florida State 4-1 6-2 120.9
Clemson 2-3 4-4 112.5
North Carolina State 3-1 6-2 107.3
Boston College 1-4 3-5 104.5
Maryland 3-1 6-2 99.9
Wake Forest 1-4 2-6 93.8
       
Coastal Division      
Team Conf. Overall Rating
Virginia Tech 4-0 6-2 121.6
Miami-FL 3-2 5-3 117.1
North Carolina 2-2 5-3 116.0
Georgia Tech 3-2 5-3 111.9
Virginia 1-3