The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 1, 2022

PiRate Picks–September 1-5, 2022

You know what they say about a broken clock being accurate twice a day? The PiRate Ratings happened to hit the right time on our broken clock in week one. We began the season with three totals’ plays in Week 0, and by luck, all three won. So, we start the season 3-0 against the spread, but are our picks a broken clock that happened to get lucky and be broken on the right time, or did we legitimately begin the season on a winning note?

In most years, our picks begin seasons on a somewhat mediocre beginning and then hit a hot spot in October and early November. What are we to make of a 3-0 start, where if we had begun with an imaginary bank account of $1,000 and wagered $100 on each of the three picks, we would have $1,300 in our account today? Maybe, if we were smart enough, we’d cash in our winning 30% profit and go away for the season. Not many people can make a 30% profit on an investment in one year.

Ah, but here’s the rub. In actuality a 30% profit on $0 is still $0. We could lose every pick we make the rest of the season, and we will have the same amount of real money we would have if we won every wager the rest of the year, because out real investment in this is $0. We never wager real money on these picks, and please don’t do so either.

Some of you do wager for real. We hope this site is merely an addendum to your process.

We have chosen three more selections in Week 1 of the College Football Season, and the three selections involve three different types of wagers. We are going with one side, one total, and one Money Line Parlay with a potential payoff of 141.77%.

Selection #1: Florida + 2 1/2 vs. Utah

Utah probably has three key games this year, where if the Utes go 3-0, they might be 13-0 when the College Football Playoff Committee chooses the four big teams. This is one of those three. I’d really like to see this game move to 3 1/2 points, because about 1 of every 11 college football games end with a 3-point spread. However, this one is a game where we believe the wrong team might be favored. Florida was much better than their record last year. The Gators basically mailed it in the second half of the year, and Dan Mullen was shown the door. New coach Billy Napier has restored the faith at the Swamp. While this Gator team has some vulnerable areas, maybe on the offensive side of the ball, the thought here is that the defense will be fired up and play above their heads in Napier’s first game. While the average of the three PiRate Ratings show Utah to be more than a 6-point favorite in this game, the thought here is that the Gators will be a touchdown better than their real worth, and that makes Florida a slight favorite. Getting 2 1/2 points when the underdog looks like a 55% outright winner is enough to work and make this a pick.

Selection #2: Michigan and Colorado St. UNDER 61 1/2

The question here to us is, “Can Michigan score over 50 points in this game?” The reason we ask this is that Colorado State is likely to score 10 points or less trying to break in a new offense with a new coach and without the necessary players to make it work? Michigan figures to win this game by more than 4 touchdowns, more likely 5 touchdowns. A score of 45-10 looks about right here, and that’s 6 1/2 points less than the total for this game.

Selection #3: Money Line Parlay–3 games at +141.77

Pittsburgh over West Virginia

TCU over Colorado

Houston over UTSA

The Backyard Brawl to start the season is an incredible first game rivalry. Pittsburgh lost a lot of talent off last year’s team, but the Panthers had a good bit of depth. Meanwhile, West Virginia is slowly building up their talent level, but the Mountaineers have a long way to go. In fact, this could be the year where the game with Kansas determines which team finishes last in the Big 12. Pittsburgh looks 10-13 points better to start the season.

TCU starts a new era in Fort Worth for the first time since 2000. Sonny Dykes tries to give the Horned Frogs a little more offense and brings more of a passing game, air-raid style. After surprising some people in the 2020 Covid year and guiding the Buffs to four consecutive wins to start his tenure in Boulder, Colorado has since gone 4-10. This game looks like a 10-14 point win for TCU.

Houston figures to contend along with Central Florida as Cincinnati’s top competitors in the American Athletic Conference. While UTSA is a top of the food chain team in CUSA, they are not ready to stake a claim to second best team in the Lonestar State after Texas A&M. Even playing in San Antonio, the Cougars are at least a touchdown better than the Roadrunners.

Season to Date

Beginning Bankroll (not real): $1,000

Imaginary Investment Last Week: $300

Outcome 3-0

Imaginary return $600

New Bank Account: $1,300

August 17, 2022

Big 12 Preview

This will be the final year that the Big 12 will have 10 teams. Next year, Central Florida, Houston, Cincinnati, and BYU will join the league, and for one to two years, the league will have 14 teams. Texas and Oklahoma are committed for now to remain in the Big 12 through the 2024 season. Things could change, as new league Commissioner Brett Yormark has indicated that he would be fine finding a win-win situation that would allow the Sooners and Longhorns to leave for the SEC before their scheduled July 1, 2025 date.

2022 expects to be an interesting year in the Big 12. Oklahoma welcomes a new head coach in Brent Venables, the former defensive coordinator at Clemson. There was a lot of player movement in Norman when former coach Lincoln Riley bolted for USC, but Venables has a lot of depth and talent remaining. Oklahoma is still the team to beat.

Rival Oklahoma State should see marked improvement on the defensive side, and the Cowboys must be considered the leading contender to earn the second spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Baylor, Texas, Iowa State, and Kansas State figure to fight it out in the next tier with TCU just behind. These seven teams should all make bowl games. The bottom three could potentially tie for last at 1-8. Texas Tech has a lot of talent but a lot of holes. West Virginia is at a crossroads. Kansas is still the least talented team in the league, but second year coach Lance Leipold has the Jayhawks trending upward.

Preseason PiRate Ratings

Oklahoma St.118.2116.3117.6117.4
Kansas St.111.1109.7109.9110.2
Iowa St.108.6108.5108.8108.6
T C U108.8107.2107.2107.7
Texas Tech107.0105.5107.4106.6
West Virginia103.7103.5102.4103.2

Big 12110.1108.9109.2109.4

Preseason Big 12 Official Media Poll

#Team1st PlaceOverall
3Oklahoma St.9342
5Kansas St.0261
6Iowa St.1180
8West Virginia0147
9Texas Tech0119

The PiRate Ratings are designed to look at just the next week’s schedule of games and not to use to look forward. Nevertheless, here are the predicted won-loss records for the league.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

Oklahoma St.8-111-2
Kansas St.4-57-5
Iowa St.4-56-6
Texas Tech2-74-8
West Virginia1-82-10

January 28, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

4IllinoisTennesseeTexas TechMichigan St.
5LSUProvidenceOhio St.Connecticut
7XavierIowa St.IowaColorado St.
8Wake ForestIndianaBYUMiami (Fla.)
9Saint Mary’sLoyola (Chi.)Boise St.Florida St.
10ArkansasNorth CarolinaOregonDavidson
11CreightonMurray St.TCUOklahoma
12UABIonaSan FranciscoWyomingSan Diego St.Notre Dame
13ChattanoogaToledoVermontSouth Dakota St.
14WagnerPrincetonSeattleJacksonville St.
15Cleveland St.Appalachian St.Cal St. FullertonWeber St.
16LongwoodColgateNorfolk St.SouthernUNC-WilmingtonNew Orleans

Best Of The Rest

69Mississippi St.
72West Virginia
73Seton Hall
74Texas A&M


I try to mimic what the Selection Committee Does each year. I weigh several factors, including the NET Rankings, Strength of Record, a few select computer ratings (not my own, since as far as I know, only one former Committee member has ever acknowledged knowledge of the PiRate Ratings), wins against Quadrant 1 opponents and Quadrant 2 opponents versus losses against Quadrant 4 opponents, results away from home, and to a lesser extent conference record, and even though they will never admit it, there is a political aspect involved. The eighth best team in the Atlantic Coast or Big Ten Conference will beat out the second best team in the Missouri Valley Conference nine out of ten times when their resumes are similar.

Every year, the selection criteria claimed to be the most important by the Committee changes a little to fit what I believe are the desired results. For instance, in one year, in order to include a team like Syracuse at 19-14 over a team like Murray State at 29-4 that lost in the OVC Tournament to Belmont, the Committee referred to the fact that Syracuse went 2-8 against Quad 1 teams on the road, while Murray State went 1-1, and thus Syracuse’s schedule was so much stronger.

Then the next year, Kansas State gets in at 19-14 over Wofford at 30-4 that lost in the SoCon Tournament Championship to UNC-Greensboro; the Committee ignores the fact that Wofford went 5-2 against Quadrant 1 opponents while Kansas State went 3-9. Now, they state that Kansas State’s overall schedule strength was number 11, while Wofford’s was number 103. Never mind that West Virginia swept Kansas State during the regular season and then knocked the Mountaineers out of the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals, while Wofford beat WVU by eight points in Hawaii in November.

One additional factor used in today’s Bracketology was conference record to date. If a team is three games under .500 in their conference at the halfway point of their conference season, such as Seton Hall at 3-6, the rest of their resume is strong enough to be considered, but if The Hall finishes 7-11 or worse in the Big East, I don’t see them getting into the field with so many strong teams in conferences that normally receive a maximum of two teams getting into the Field.

Mid-Major Spoilers

This year, there are more Mid-Major teams in the running for at-large bids, and if a couple are upset in their conference’s tournament, they are still likely to be considered. Let’s take a look.

Atlantic 10: Davidson will most likely receive a bid if they don’t earn the league’s automatic berth. A team like Dayton, Saint Louis, or VCU is capable of winning the automatic bid, and personally, I think the Billekens are the team to beat in March in DC.

Conference USA: Andy Kennedy has done a fantastic job at UAB, but if the Blazers don’t win the CUSA Tournament at the Cowboys’ practice facility in Frisco, Texas, they have a decent shot at getting in as an at-large team. Louisiana Tech and North Texas must be considered co-favorites to win the conference tournament, especially with Frisco being almost a home game for the Mean Green from nearby Denton. Keep an eye on both Charlotte and Middle Tennessee, as the 49ers and Blue Raiders are rounding into shape.

Metro Atlantic: Rick Pitino knows how to win, even if he may cut corners at times. His Iona Gaels are definitely a Bubble team if they are 29-5 but runners up in the MAAC Tournament to Monmouth or Saint Peter’s.

Mid-American: Both Toledo and Ohio U are on the cusp of being at-large worthy. If the Rockets meet the Bobcats in the MACtion Title Game, the loser has a small chance to earn a spot.

Missouri Valley: Loyola of Chicago is a near lock to get into the Dance even if they fall short in Arch Madness. The MVC has multiple teams with enough talent and excellent coaching to win in Saint Louis. Missouri State, Drake, Northern Iowa, and Bradley are teams to watch.

Mountain West: It is likely that at least three and possibly four MWC teams will hear their names called on Selection Sunday. Colorado State and Boise State are near locks at this point, while San Diego State and Wyoming are strong candidates. Also, Utah State is recovering from a rough patch, but even at 2-5 in the league, the Aggies are talented enough to win the conference tournament if totally healthy.

Ohio Valley: Murray State might be deserving of a single-digit seed if the Racers win out from here. Even if they lose a game to Morehead State or Belmont, and they lose in the finals of their conference tournament, the Racers could still get in, just like Belmont a couple years ago.

West Coast: The WCC is used to getting Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s into the Field in the same year, but this year four teams have Tournament-worthy resumes. BYU and San Francisco also have decent shots to get into the field.

January 21, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

4DukeTexas TechConnecticutXavier
5WisconsinTexasUCLAOhio St.
6Loyola (Chi.)AlabamaIowaIowa St.
7Michigan St.USCIndianaSeton Hall
9BYUSan Diego St.North CarolinaMiami (Fla.)
10Colorado St.DavidsonCreightonWake Forest
11Saint Mary’sBoise St.West VirginiaOregonFlorida St.
12Murray St.UABChattanoogaTCUSan Francisco
14WagnerGrand CanyonSouth Dakota St.Oakland
15LibertyTexas St.UC-IrvinePrinceton
16NavyMontana St.LongwoodNorfolk St.Texas A&M-CCTexas Southern

Last Four Byes: Wake Forest, Saint Mary’s, Boise St., West Virginia

Last Four In: Oregon, Florida St., TCU, San Francisco

First Four Out: Wyoming, Mississippi St., Texas A&M, Michigan

Next Four Out: Belmont, Arkansas, Dayton, Fresno St.

January 18, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Saint Peter’sCanisius7.4
West VirginiaBaylor-6.5
AkronWestern Michigan16.2
Ohio St.IUPUI34.9
DaytonSt. Bonaventure0.8
East CarolinaCentral Florida-4.6
Miami (Fla.)North Carolina-3.9
StetsonFlorida Gulf Coast-3.0
Eastern KentuckyLipscomb6.9
BellarmineNorth Alabama7.0
Eastern MichiganKent St.-3.7
ToledoBall St.14.9
Miami (O)Ohio-1.2
ArkansasSouth Carolina10.1
HoustonSouth Florida24.1
EvansvilleLoyola (Chi.)-15.7
Central ArkansasJacksonville St.-12.5
Northern IllinoisBowling Green-6.1
TexasKansas St.10.0
Florida St.Duke-4.8
Texas TechIowa St.6.3
Boise St.Air Force18.2
Cal St. BakersfieldCal Poly6.7
Fresno St.Utah St.1.3

January 1, 2022

PiRate Ratings–College Basketball Spreads

Saturday, January 1, 2022

TexasWest Virginia6.6
Wichita St.Memphis-1.7
South FloridaEast Carolina-0.3
Iowa St.Baylor-8.5
Seton HallVillanova-0.1
North Carolina St.Florida St.-4.5
UNLVSan Diego St.-4.1
Fresno St.Air Force16.0
KansasGeorge Mason20.0
RutgersCentral Connecticut20.5
Miami (Fla.)Wake Forest-0.6
Saint Mary’sSan Francisco2.2
OklahomaKansas St.8.0
NevadaNew Mexico11.1

November 11, 2021

PiRate Picks–November 11-13, 2021

We almost made it, but a small miss is as good as a long mile. Last week, with a fourth consecutive winning week looking promising, a couple of fourth quarters went against us, and alas we suffered a tiny loss of 0.9%, or less than $5 on $500 invested in imaginary currency.

For the year, our net profit is now 4.88%, so we are still in the black, just barely. This week, we delayed by a day putting this feature online. The reason is that we did not like the overall numbers and wanted the betting public to help us out by moving the money lines just enough for our program to show the parlays to have an edge by finding the best lines. After looking at 11 different books, we still could only find three wagers to play. Four more were monitored closely and might have eventually moved to make them playable, but we like to publish this before Noon on Thursday, and the movements aren’t moving this morning (Thursday at 9:30 AM EST).

These next two weeks historically have seen monumental upsets in college football when teams that appear to be superior to the opponents they are playing have hidden depth issues. It’s not just players that don’t dress out. By this point in the schedule most college teams have 10-20 players that are playing with minor injuries and are not the same as they were four weeks ago. We look for teams that win consistently through the first week in November but tend to lose power ratings while winning, because instead of producing a statistics box that looks like a 20-point win, they produce a statistics box of 15-17 points, and then 10-14 points. We do not update our ratings by final score. We look at the statistics and make a score adjustment based on the domination or lack thereof and then update. A team that wins by 28 points and is out-gained by 50 yards where the opponent lost fumbles in the Red Zone may actually receive credit for a 14-point “effective win.” A team that wins by 11 points but ends the game at the opponent’s five yard line and chooses to take a knee may receive credit for an 18-point effective win.

You will also notice that since early in the season, we have stopped playing NFL parlays in this feature. The variance in the games is making it impossible for our method to isolate on enough games to make a favorable parlay. We think there are two reasons for this. First, even though there are lousy teams like Detroit, there are no dominant teams that can be counted on to win when they are favored by less than a touchdown. Second, now that many millions more people can legally wager, the odds no longer move by large enough amounts to create favorable odds. There are 60+ college games to find favorable numbers, and the public may not find a Mountain West Conference game worth much, while we do. There are 13-16 NFL games per week, and even Detroit, San Francisco, and Miami get heavy action. We’d like to play three underdogs this week, but the numbers are not favorable according to our program.

Here are our three selections for this week. Remember, we never wager real money on these picks. If we don’t, do you think you should?

Must WinOpponent
East CarolinaMemphis

Must WinOpponent
Kansas St.West Virginia
Air ForceColorado St.
Oklahoma St.TCU

Must WinOpponent
OregonWashington St.

October 20, 2021

PiRate Picks–October 21-23, 2021

What a minor difference a week made! After just missing on three big-payout parlays two weeks ago, we played the same strategy last week and made a minor splash thanks to the help of one long shot parlay that won and returned better than 3 to 1 odds. With another win at +187, we made a small profit last week, but large enough to turn our minor net loss for the season into a net gain of 2.3%.

Of course, as we say every week, our financial loss or gain is merely imaginary, as we are playing with imaginary funds that never run out but never accrue. This feature is presented just for fun, and we strongly urge you not to wager real money on what you read here, unless it merely validates your research.

This week presents the fewest number of games that met our criteria this year in any week. We could only go with four parlays of two teams apiece. None are major long shots, but they all top +120, which is the minimum odds we will play. Enjoy!


October 21-25

Must WinOpponent
Central FloridaMemphis
Notre DameUSC

Must WinOpponent
Eastern MichiganBowling Green
Kent St.Ohio U

Must WinOpponent
San Jose St.UNLV
Ball St.Miami (O)

Must WinOpponent
TCUWest Virginia

March 21, 2021

PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament Spreads

Sunday, March 21, 2021

VillanovaNorth Texas5.7
ArkansasTexas Tech1.9
FloridaOral Roberts9.9
IllinoisLoyola (Chi.)6.2
Oklahoma St.Oregon St.5.6
West VirginiaSyracuse2.8

February 9, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Spreads

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

DukeNotre Dame4.5
St. BonaventureLaSalle12.2
RichmondGeorge Washington14.3
San FranciscoPepperdine4.9
South CarolinaAlabama-9.9
NC St.Syracuse-0.1
Michigan St.Penn St.-1.5
Kansas St.Texas-16.6
Texas TechWest Virginia1.8
ButlerSt. John’s-3.4
TCUIowa St.3.9
Colorado St.New Mexico16.7
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