Week 2 PiRate Picks

The PiRates opened 2006 on a winning note, hitting at 63.6% (14-8-1) success when they differed by the official line by 4 or more points. This week, the PiRates think the line has been over-adjusted based on some first week surprises. Personally, I agree more with the line this week than the PiRates, but those bucs beat my pants off and flew them up the mast of their ship last week.

In the weekly contest in which I play, I dropped seven of 11 games to start off on a lousy note.

PiRate Picks For Week of September 9


PiRate Top 25


                                                                        (Ratings rounded)

         Team        W-L    Rating    Last Game


 1   Southern Cal    1–0     131      Beat Arkansas 50-14
 2   Texas           1–0     127      Beat North Texas 56-7
 3   Ohio State      1–0     122      Beat North. Ill. 35-12
 4   Notre Dame      1–0     120      Beat Ga. Tech 14-10
 5   Auburn          1–0     118      Beat Wash. St. 40-14
 6   Oregon          1–0     118      Beat Stanford 48-10
 7   Michigan        1–0     118      Beat Vandy 27-7
 8   Florida         1–0     117      Beat Sou. Miss. 34-7
 9   L S U           1–0     116      Beat ULL 45-3
10   Florida State   1–0     115      Beat Miami 13-10
11t  Virginia Tech   1–0     115      Beat N'eastern 38-0
11t  Iowa            1–0     115      Beat Montana 41-7
13   Penn State      1–0     115      Beat Akron 34-16
14t  Texas Tech      1–0     115      Beat SMU 35-3    
14t  Oklahoma        1–0     114      Beat UAB 24-17
16t  Georgia         1–0     114      Beat WKU 48-12
16t  Clemson         1–0     114      Beat FAU 54-6     
18   Louisville      1–0     114      Beat Kentucky 59-28
19   Minnesota       1–0     114      Beat Kent St. 44-0
20   Nebraska        1–0     113      Beat La. Tech 49-10
21   West Virginia   1–0     113      Beat Marshall 42-10
22   Miami (F)       0–1     113      Lost to Fla. St. 13-10
23t  Boston College  1–0     112      Beat CMU 31-24
23t  Arizona State   1–0     112      Beat N. Arizona 35-14
25   California      0–1     112      Lost to Tenn. 35-18


Top Four Just Missing at 110+




            Michigan State

                The Southeastern Conference


Team            Conf.    Overall          Rating

Florida         0–0      1–0               117
Georgia         0–0      1–0               114
Tennessee       0–0      1–0               110
South Carolina  1–0      1–0               107
Vanderbilt      0–0      0–1                98
Kentucky        0–0      0–1                96


Team            Conf.   Overall            Rating

Auburn          0–0      1–0               118
L S U           0–0      1–0               116
Alabama         0–0      1–0               111
Arkansas        0–0      1–0               109
Miss. State     0–1      0–1                97
Ole Miss        1–0      1–0                94



Future Vanderbilt Opponents:  Duke 82, Temple 74, Tennessee State Not rated, but estimated at 66.



This Week's Games




Vanderbilt @ Alabama

Vegas: Alabama by 15 ½

PiRate: Alabama by 19


Both teams benefited this week from playing the games they played last week.  Vanderbilt got to go on the road to face a power-running, play-action passing team in the Top 25.  This week, they face basically the same type of team.  Alabama got to see a wide-open spread attack that threw quick passes to stretch the field horizontally and open up running lanes inside.  The saying goes that most teams improve more between game one and game two than any other week.  Unfortunately, for Commodore fans, this is also ‘Bama's second game.  John Parker Wilson looked as good as Brady Croyle, and Joe Kines' defense was tough in the red zone.  Vanderbilt should be in the same boat this week—play a tough game and fight to the end, but come up short.  The PiRates Predict: Alabama 31  Vanderbilt 12.

Note: For in-depth analysis on this game, consult Friday game preview (Premium Content)


Georgia @ South Carolina

Vegas: Georgia by 3

PiRate: Georgia by 2


South Carolina did not look all that strong against Mississippi State in week one, but it's still too early to determine if State's defense hasn't improved a bunch.  Georgia had an easy game against a I-AA team and should come into Columbia well-rested.   This is a grudge match that could go either way, and Steve Spurrier's teams really improve in the first month of the season.  If it stays close in the fourth quarter, don't be surprised if Visor Boy finds a way to pull off the upset.  The PiRates Predict: Georgia 16  South Carolina 14


Auburn @ Mississippi State

Vegas: Auburn by 20

PiRate: Auburn by 18


Will Mississippi State find a map with directions to an end zone this week?  They could conceivably wear the goose egg for all 60 minutes again, but the chances are stronger they will score, albeit just in single digits.  Auburn looked stronger as the game with Washington State wore on.  Their first SEC game should be tougher than game one, but the Tigers have too much talent to lose this one.  The PiRates Predict: Auburn 24  Mississippi State 6


Central Florida @ Florida

Vegas: Florida by 23

PiRate: Florida by 26


This intra-state game is supposed to be closer than expected because UCF will be up for it, while the Gators look forward to Tennessee a week later.  The PiRates disagree and say Chris Leak and company will score almost at will.  The PiRates Predict: Florida 40  Central Florida 14


Air Force @ Tennessee

Vegas: Tennessee by 20

PiRate: Tennessee by 23


Air Force was one of just two I-A teams not to play in week one (Tulane).  Their triple-option, double slot offense may not be as game-ready as Tennessee's defense against the triple option.  Of course, the Vols get only three practices to face a scout team that isn't adept at mimicking the series.  Regardless, Air Force doesn't have the defense to stay close enough to have a chance at the end.  The Vols scored 35 points on California and called off the dogs.  They will have a chance to do so once again.  Tennessee will face Florida next week at 2-0.  The PiRates Predict: Tennessee 44  Air Force 21.


Utah State @ Arkansas

Vegas: Arkansas by 28 ½

PiRate: Arkansas by 34


Houston Nutt is no nut.  He brilliantly held Mitch Mustain out against Southern Cal until the game was far out of reach and the Trojans had reserves in the game.  Now, he "earns" a start against one of the weaker teams in I-A.  His stats will look magnificent, giving the freshman and his teammate's confidence in him.  Arkansas would not have beaten USC with Mustain, or even a 22-year old Joe Ferguson, last week.  It would have demoralized Mustain to begin his career with abysmal stats.  He might vault to the top of the SEC in efficiency after this week.  The PiRates Predict: Arkansas 47  Utah State 13


Arizona @ L S U

Vegas: LSU by 15

PiRate: LSU by 16


This is becoming one of those smart-guy upset of the year choices.  I have heard at least four so-called experts say Arizona and ace quarterback Willy Tuitama will knock off the Tigers in their den.  Tuitama didn't set the woods on fire against Brigham Young's mediocre stop troops.  LSU will shut him down or at least limit him to little success.  Meanwhile, the purple and gold will find enough success to get out to an early lead and hold it.  The PiRate Predict:  LSU 26  Arizona 10


Ole Miss @ Missouri

Vegas: Missouri by 9

PiRate: Missouri by 17


BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and not Brent Schaeffer, was the new smash hit for the Rebels on Sunday.  His running propelled Ole Miss to the win over Memphis.  Schaeffer had a rough day, completing under half of his tosses.  Missouri has a better defense than Memphis, so expect the Johnny Rebs to meet their 21st Century Vicksburg this week.  General Grant, er Pinkel, will guide his troops on the offensive and place General Pemberton, er, Orgeron, and his troops on the defensive most of the day.  The PiRates Predict: Missouri 34  Ole Miss 17


Texas State @ Kentucky

Vegas: NL

PiRate: NL


The PiRates do not rate teams not in division 1-A, but I can approximate a score:  Peiser Predicts: Kentucky 35  Texas State 22


Other Games Where PiRate Differs by 4 or More from Vegas


Rutgers over Illinois by 7

Wake Forest over Duke by 26

Purdue over Miami (O) by 23

Army over Kent State by 14

Michigan State over Eastern Michigan by 30

Oklahoma over Washington by 24

Colorado over Colorado State in an upset by 8

Stanford over San Jose State by 18

Indiana over Ball State by 8

Iowa State over UNLV by 25

Houston over Tulane by 18

California over Minnesota by 3

Texas over Ohio State by 12

Arizona State over Nevada by 20

Florida State over Troy by 38

Kansas State over Fla. Atlantic by 29

Maryland over MTSU by 26

South Florida over Fla. International by 31

Oklahoma State over Arkansas State by 8

Kansas over La.-Monroe by 28

Texas A&M over UL-Lafayette by 27


Other Games Where PiRate Differs by 3 or Less from Vegas


Boise State over Oregon State by 9

Pittsburgh over Cincinnati by 6

Virginia Tech over North Carolina by 11

North Carolina State over Akron by 10

Michigan over Central Michigan by 30

Louisville over Temple by 37

Northern Illinois over Ohio by 14

Virginia over Wyoming by 10

UCLA over Rice by 26

Boston College over Clemson by 2

Iowa over Syracuse by 20

Notre Dame over Penn State by 12

B Y U over Tulsa by 3

Bowling Green over Buffalo by 23

Toledo over Western Michigan by 9

Washington State over Idaho by 20

U A B over East Carolina by 6

New Mexico over New Mexico State by 10

Texas Tech over U T E P by 10

Oregon over Fresno State by 8

S M U over North Texas by 5


Remember this important adage from old greybeard:  He who uses the PiRate experimental ratings to wager his/her hard-earned income has nobody but himself to blame when he cannot pay the bills on Monday.

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