PiRate Update/ Bowl Outlook

Howell Peiser shares with us his updated top 25 and gives us a look at the bowl situation.

PiRate Top 25 For November 15, 2005
 
1. Texas          10-0                135.2
2. USC            10-0                134.7
3. Miami (Fla.)    8-1                124.6
4. Penn State      9-1                122.6
5. L S U           8-1                120.8
6. Ohio State      8-2                120.3
7. Auburn          8-2                119.0
8. Alabama         9-1                118.2
9. Virginia Tech   8-1                116.7
10. Notre Dame     7-2                116.3
11. Fresno State   8-1                116.1
12. West Virginia  8-1                116.0
13. Georgia        7-2                115.2
14. U C L A        9-1                114.8
15. T C U         10-1                114.4
16. Michigan       7-3                114.0
17. Texas Tech     8-2                113.7
18. Minnesota      7-3                113.5
19. Louisville     7-2                112.9
20. Oregon         9-1                111.2
21. Oklahoma       6-3                111.0
22. South Carolina 7-3                110.5
23. Iowa State     7-3                110.1
24. Florida        7-3                109.9
25. Colorado       7-3                109.8
 
 
PiRate SEC Rankings
East
 
1. Georgia                        115.2
2. South Carolina                 110.5
3. Florida                        109.9
4. Tennessee                      104.6
5. Kentucky                        96.8
6. Vanderbilt                      94.2
 
West
 
1. L S U                           120.8
2. Auburn                          119.0
3. Alabama                         118.2
4. Arkansas                        100.0
5. Ole Miss                         96.4
6. Mississippi State                96.3  

 
A Look At The Conference Races
 
ACC
 
Even though Florida State is crashing, they will play in the ACC Championship Game.  They have concluded ACC play at 5-3, and hold wins over the other three-loss teams, Boston College and Maryland.  The Seminoles could very well enter bowl season at 7-5 on a four-game losing streak.
 
Miami has home games remaining with Georgia Tech and Virginia.  Chances are 95-99% they will win both and advance to a rematch with The Seminoles.
 
Virginia Tech must play a tricky game at Virginia before finishing against North Carolina.  The Hokies still have an excellent shot at a BCS at-large berth.
 
Virginia's must-win over Georgia Tech clinches a bowl bid for the Cavaliers.  Clemson's win over Florida State made the Tigers bowl eligible. 
 
Georgia Tech and Boston College were already bowl eligible.  That makes seven bowl eligible teams with six automatic invitations. 
 
Maryland, North Carolina, and North Carolina State still hold bowl hopes.  The Terps host Boston College and visit The Wolfpack to close the season.  North Carolina State should dispose of MTSU, making the November 26 finale with Maryland the battle for the eighth bowl eligible team.
 
BCS: Miami
BCS At-Large: Virginia Tech
Gator: Boston College
Peach: Florida State
Champs Sports: Clemson
Meineke Car Care: Virginia
MPC Computers: Georgia Tech
 
At-large bowl availability: Maryland (Houston Bowl would like an ACC team)
 
Big East
 
If South Florida beats Cincinnati and Connecticut, then they set up a match for the BCS bowl with West Virginia on December 3.  The Mountaineers have to qualify as one of the top overachieving teams this year.
 
Louisville lost to West Virginia and South Florida.  The Cardinals should have no trouble beating Syracuse and Connecticut to finish 9-2.
 
Rutgers has already qualified for a bowl, while Pittsburgh will have to win at West Virginia in order to get six games.  Cincinnati and Connecticut still have tiny hopes of winning six games, but don't count on it.
 
BCS: West Virginia
Gator: Louisville
Insight: Rutgers
Meineke Car Care: South Florida
 
Big 10
 
Penn State will have to bring their A-game to East Lansing this week, as Michigan State is playing for bowl eligibility.  If the Nittany Lions fall, then the big rivalry match at the big house between Ohio State and Michigan will decide the conference champion.
 
Wisconsin and Minnesota should nab the next tier of bowls after the top two or three take theirs.  Iowa and Northwestern will get the last two.
 
Should Ohio State beat Michigan handily and sneak into a BCS at-large bowl and Penn State wins, the Motor City Bowl will have to find an at-large team.
 
BCS: Penn State
Capital One: Ohio State
Outback: Wisconsin
Alamo: Michigan
Sun: Minnesota
Music City: Iowa
Motor City: Northwestern
 
Big 12
 
Texas A&M was supposed to contend for the South Division crown this year.  Instead, they will have to pull off the upset of the season against Texas in order to avoid a losing season.  The Longhorns don't appear to be capable of blowing this game.  They should steamroller the Aggies and win handily.
 
Oklahoma and Texas Tech face off in Lubbock with the winner likely headed to Dallas.
 
Oklahoma State should handle Baylor, making the Oklahoma game a must-win for bowl eligibility; it looks doubtful for the Cowboys.
 
In the North Division, Colorado felt like the Ames tornado hit their sidelines Saturday.  Iowa State is the best team in the division today, but they will need a Nebraska win in Boulder and Kansas State win over Missouri to claim the crown. 
 
Missouri and Nebraska both gained bowl eligibility Saturday, while Kansas will have to upset the Cyclones to earn their sixth win.
 
BCS: Texas
Cotton: Oklahoma
Holiday: Texas Tech
Alamo: Colorado
Champs Sports: Iowa State
Houston: Nebraska
Independence: Missouri
Ft. Worth: At-large team must be selected
 
Conference USA
 
UTEP is 8-1 and has a relatively easy road to 10-1.  The Miners have a clear path to Memphis.  Tulsa is also bowl eligible out of the West Division, while Houston with games remaining against SMU and Rice should win seven games.
 
In the East, Central Florida must only beat 1-8 Rice to wrap up a spot in the title game.  UCF is another of the big overachievers this year.
 
Southern Mississippi must beat either Memphis or Tulane to become bowl eligible.  UAB, Marshall, and Memphis must win out.  The Thundering Herd are the only of the trio to have a decent chance.
 
Liberty: U T E P
GMAC: Central Florida
Hawaii: Tulsa
Ft. Worth: Houston
New Orleans: Southern Mississippi
 
Outside shot: Marshall
 
Mid-American
 
Miami (O) and Bowling Green face off Tonight (Tuesday) for the outright lead in the East.  Ohio U and Akron still are mathematically in the race should the Red Hawks and Falcons lose their finales.
 
In the West, Toledo hosts Northern Illinois on Wednesday and must close at Bowling Green.  Western Michigan can still win the West by beating Northern Illinois in Dekalb if NIU beats Toledo.
 
Central Michigan can become bowl eligible if they beat hot Ball State this week.
 
Motor City: Toledo
GMAC: Miami (O)
 
Waiting for at-large invitation: Western Michigan and Central Michigan
Looks grim: Akron, Ohio U, Bowling Green, and Northern Illinois
 
Mountain West
 
TCU has clinched the MWC title and finished the regular season at 10-1.  The Las Vegas Bowl will invite them if one more conference team fails to become bowl eligible.  If either Utah or Colorado State wins this week, then the Horned Frogs can be released to pursue a higher-tiered bowl.  The Liberty and Houston Bowls have an eye on them.
 
Brigham Young and New Mexico secured bowl bids on Saturday.  Colorado State needs to beat 2-8 UNLV to become bowl eligible, while Utah must beat BYU to avoid a losing season.
 
Liberty (as at-large): T C U
Las Vegas: B Y U
Emerald: Colorado State
Poinsettia: New Mexico
 
Pac-10
 
Southern California has home games remaining with a couple of one-loss teams.  The Trojans face Fresno State and UCLA before setting their sites on a monumental match for the ages with Texas.
 
Oregon can still qualify for a BCS at-large bowl bid if they beat Oregon State in "The Civil War."  The Beavers must win on the Ducks' home field to become bowl eligible.
 
Arizona State must beat Arizona to become bowl eligible.  The Wildcats have upset the Sun Devils multiple times in the last two decades.
 
California is fading as the season concludes.  If Stanford can beat the Bears, the Cardinal will earn an invite too.
 
BCS: Southern California
Holiday: Oregon
Sun: U C L A
Insight: California
Las Vegas: Arizona State
Emerald: Stanford
 
Southeastern
 
The SEC title game is practically guaranteed to be a rematch of 2003 game.  Georgia must lose at home to Kentucky to be eliminated from the title game.  LSU must lose to Ole Miss or Arkansas to be eliminated. 
 
Alabama could still back in to an at-large BCS game if the Tide wins at Auburn while Virginia Tech, Oregon, and Notre Dame lose.
 
South Carolina can advance to a New Year's Day Bowl with a win over Clemson.  Florida still holds hope for a New Year's Day Bowl if they can knock off Florida State.
 
With Vanderbilt and Ole Miss losing and being eliminated from bowl talk, Tennessee represents the only hope for a seventh bowl team, which is already one short for this conference.
 
BCS: L S U
Capital One: Auburn
Outback: Georgia
Cotton: Alabama
Peach: South Carolina
Music City: Florida
Independence: Tennessee
Houston: At-large team must be selected
 
Sunbelt
 
Three teams remain in the hunt for the New Orleans Bowl Bid.  Louisiana Monroe eliminated MTSU; Arkansas State eliminated Troy, and Florida Atlantic eliminated North Texas. 
 
Louisiana Lafayette is the hot team.  If the Ragin' Cajuns finish in a three-way tie with Louisiana Monroe and Arkansas State, they will more than likely win the title based upon wins over the top two teams fighting for fourth place.
 
New Orleans (played in Lafayette): Louisiana Lafayette
 
W A C
 
Boise State took a beating in Fresno, but the Broncos will still play a bowl game on their home cerulean turf.  The Bulldogs could be released to a better bowl if they win out in league play; they will lose once more for sure, as they must still play at Southern Cal.
 
Nevada and Louisiana Tech are both 5-1 in league play and tied for second with Boise State.  Both of them could get at-large bowl bids, or one could get a Hawaii Bowl bid if Fresno State goes to a better bowl.
 
At-Large Bowl (possibly Houston): Fresno State
MPC Computers: Boise State
Hawaii: Nevada
 
At-large availability: Louisiana Tech (Houston Bowl could call if Fresno State goes to Hawaii bowl)
 
Independents
 
Notre Dame will blow Syracuse out this week; they must then beat a much-improved Stanford team in Palo Alto to earn a BCS at-large bowl bid.
 
Navy will become bowl eligible after they drub 0-10 Temple this week.  The second they become eligible, the Poinsettia Bowl will immediately issue them an invitation; with all the Naval personnel in San Diego, it will be a smart move.
 
So, what do the PiRate ratings say about a Rose Bowl match between Texas and Southern Cal?  The latest ratings say Texas is the best team in the nation, but USC would be playing just 30 minutes from home.  A slight Trojan home field advantage makes this one a complete tossup as of today.  We could be looking at a colossal game for the ages if these two teams win out.  It would definitely be the collegiate Super Bowl.
 
 

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