Week 6 PiRate Picks

Last Week's Games: The PiRates went 31-19 for the week of September 30, giving them a year-to-date record of 185-55-3 (77.1%) in picking the winning team. This marks the first time all season that the total has dropped below 80%, but most of the other computer rankings took a beating last week as well.

PiRate Ratings For Thursday, October 5, 2006
Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number
#	Team	   	W	L	Rating
1	Ohio State   	5	0	129
2	Southern Cal 	4	0	127
3	Michigan 		5	0	124
4	Texas	   	4	1	124
5	Clemson		4	1	122
6	California	4	1	122
7	Auburn		5	0	120
8	L S U		4	1	120
9	Florida 		5	0	118
10	Louisville	4	0	118
11	Notre Dame	4	1	117
12	Oklahoma		3	1	117
13t	Boise State  	5	0	115
13t	Nebraska		4	1	115
15	Wisconsin		4	1	115
16	Penn State	3	2	115
17	West Virginia 	4	0	114
18t	Georgia Tech   	4	1	113
18t	Tennessee		4	1	113
20	Florida State	3	1	113
21	Texas Tech	4	1	112
22	B Y U		3	2	111
23	Georgia   	5	0	110
24	Iowa		4	1	110
25	Virginia Tech	4	1	110
	SEC PiRate Ratings			
	Florida		5	0	118
	Tennessee		4	1	113
	Georgia		5	0	110
	South Carolina	3	2	104
	Kentucky		3	2	100
	Vanderbilt	2	3	 99
	Auburn		5	0	120
	L S U		4	1	120
	Alabama		3	2	109
	Arkansas		3	1	107
	Miss. State	1	4	 91
	Ole Miss		1	4	 91
	Future Vandy Opponents			
	Duke		0	4	 81



This Week's Interesting Schedule


This will be a week where we will see some considerable changes in the national title picture and several conference races.  Additionally, we should see a couple of teams work there way onto the good side of the bowl bubble, while other teams will begin to realize that their season is headed down the tubes.


Here are the SEC games for the week.


West Virginia @ Mississippi State

PiRate Predicts: West Virginia 30  Mississippi State 10

PiRate Predicts: Mountaineers withstand Deep South heat and humidity and defeat the Bulldogs after a closer than expected first 30 minutes.


This game should be interesting for a little while.  The Bulldogs don't give up much on the ground; they are really weak against the pass.  West Virginia's bread and butter is their running attack, but the Mountaineers can throw the ball too. 


WVU's schedule to date is nothing to get excited about with wins over Marshall, Eastern Washington, Maryland, and East Carolina.  Mississippi State has already played Auburn and LSU, so this game won't put a scare in the Maroons.


I think Mississippi State will reach double figures in scoring in this game, and they actually have a chance to make it closer than it's supposed to be.  I actually think West Virginia will struggle to pull away and ice this game.  My guess is the Mountaineers will only win this won by 10-12 points, and the total score will be higher than expected.


Duke @ Alabama

PiRate Predicts: Alabama 34  Duke 0

Peiser Predicts: Tide can name the score.  Duke may not be able to beat Temple right now.


This will be the strongest defense that Duke has faced to date.  That's excruciatingly bad news, because the Blue Devils have managed just 13 points in four games.  Duke's 37.5 yards per game rushing would rank among the all-time worst rushing averages since statistics were first kept if it stays that way for the entire season. 


John Parker Wilson should rip apart the Duke secondary, while the Tide rushing attack enjoys a decent day.  Duke's defense isn't half bad, but they will get absolutely no help from their offense.  Look for Alabama to score on long drives and keep their defense on the sideline.  I believe the PiRate computer is about right on this one.


Arkansas @ Auburn

PiRate Predicts: Auburn 31  Arkansas 12

Peiser Predicts: The PiRates are right on this one.


I'm going with the PiRates on this one.  I think Arkansas is going to have a tough time moving the ball against Auburn Saturday.  The Hogs cannot  give Mitch Mustain enough pass protection, and he is likely to throw an untimely interception that will put the Tigers in scoring position.


Auburn isn't going to destroy opponents with their offense, but their defense can set things up to make the offense more effective.  I think Auburn will hold Arkansas to about 10 points and win by close to three touchdowns.


South Carolina @ Kentucky

PiRate Predicts: Kentucky 28  South Carolina 27

Peiser Predicts: Gamecocks pull out a close one on the road.


The winner of this game can go ahead and make bowl plans.  It will be the fourth victory for the winner, and both of these teams have two or more winnable games remaining.


Kentucky averages more than 30 points per game, even though they average just 337 yards of total offense.  Expect the Wildcats to be held under those averages this week.


South Carolina isn't going to blow the ‘Cats off their home field, and I foresee the Gamecocks winning a close game with a score of something like 27-24.



L S U @ Florida

PiRate Predicts: Florida 17  LSU 13

Peiser Predicts:  LSU wins a good one in Gainesville.


If you believe that Auburn's Jordan Hare Stadium is worth more than four points a game to the home team, then you must also believe LSU is the best team in the SEC West this year.


If  you believe that history repeats itself, then you might think Urban Meyer will lead Florida to an unbeaten season in year two at the Gators' command.


I believe that LSU is the most talented team in the SEC, and they are just a little too strong for Florida.  The Tiger defense should solve the Tim Tebow single wing riddle this week, and force Chris Leak to throw the ball quicker than he is accustomed to throw.


Marcus Randall is an amazing physical specimen.  At 6-6 and 252 pounds, he's often bigger than the defenders trying to sack him.   In what should be a relatively low scoring game, but not as low as some recent SEC dandies, look for LSU to come away with a huge road win and throw the SEC East standings into a three-way race once again.


I'm going against the PiRates and predicting LSU to win a close game—something like 21-17.  


Tennessee @ Georgia

PiRate Predicts: Georgia 17  Tennessee 14

Peiser Predicts: Vols pick up big win on the road to stay in thick of SEC East race.


We all know how much a great quarterback can affect a game.  We all know how much a weak quarterback can hamper his team's progress. 


Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge is enjoying a huge turnaround season to date, leading the Volunteer offense to a 32 point and 429 yards total offense averages.  Georgia is going back to Joe Tereshinski after failing to move the ball with Joe Cox and Matthew Stafford.  Tereshinski has been injured since early in the season.


If Georgia could only manage 14 points against lowly Colorado and Ole Miss teams, how can they top that against a Tennessee defense that is giving up 284 total yards per game.


LaMarcus Coker has emerged as a prime-time back after topping 100 yards rushing the last two games.  Of course, he faced Marshall and Memphis.  Georgia is much better, giving up just 100 rushing yards per game.


This game will stay close, because that's the only way Georgia can win it.  The PiRate computer says the Bulldogs are just a tad bit better and will win by a field goal.  I think the obvious advantage at quarterback will allow Tennessee to come away with major road win to leave three SEC East teams with one conference loss apiece.  My guess is Tennessee will win a close battle.


Vanderbilt @ Ole Miss

PiRate Predicts: Vanderbilt 20  Ole Miss 16

Peiser Predicts: Rebels foil Vandy's chance to get to 3-3 in an exciting game.


The loser of this game will be relegated to the bottom of the SEC with Mississippi State.  These teams have some similarities.  Both teams are having trouble with their passing games.  They have two new quarterbacks who are presently better running the ball than passing it.  Both teams have improved defenses with top middle linebackers. 


The PiRate ratings say Vanderbilt is going to win its first conference game of the season and even their record at 3-3.  However, I think this is one of those ambush games coming up.


Vanderbilt has played one exceptionally good team, two mediocre teams, and two patsies.  Ole Miss has played three undefeated teams, one improving team, and one patsy, who is better than both of the patsies Vandy played.


I will go into further detail in tomorrow's game preview, but my guess is Ole Miss will win a game that will be as close as the Vandy-Alabama and Vandy-Arkansas games.


10 Other Games of Note


M T S U Vs. Louisville at LP Field in Nashville

PiRate Predicts: Louisville 42  MTSU 14

Peiser Predicts: Cardinals win easily but not like Oklahoma did against the Blue Raiders


MTSU may be sky high for this game, but that will last one possession.  After that, Louisville should control the game on both sides of the ball.  The Blue Raiders are outmanned in this one, and it could get ugly.  The Cardinals will not let up with the game being nationally televised Friday night.


I look for MTSU to score only once or twice, while Louisville scores almost at will.  I actually think the outcome could be worse than what the PiRate says.  Call it 49-10 Cardinals.


Indiana @ Illinois

PiRate Predicts: Illinois 35  Indiana 24

Peiser Predicts: Illini have a chance to win second of possible three in a row.


Ron Zook now knows how the other side feels.  After watching Sylvester Croom's and his Mississippi State Bulldogs end his first coaching job at Florida, Zook's Illini just printed the pink slip that will be delivered to John L. Smith at Michigan State.


Indiana has been going through some rough times with head coach Terry Hoeppner and his medical troubles.  Hopefully, those are behind him now. 


Illinois is just a little better both offensively and defensively than Indiana.  Toss in home field advantage, and the Illini should win the game, but not by as much as the PiRate computer says.  I say Illinois wins by a touchdown (28-21).


Clemson @ Wake Forest

PiRate Predicts: Clemson 31  Wake Forest 17

Peiser Predicts: Bowden's Tigers are on a roll and could run the table.


The 5-0 start for Wake Forest equals their start of 1987 and is the best since the 1944 team won its first seven.  That record is safe, because the Demon Deacons are going to suffer their first defeat this week. 


Clemson is just one play from being 5-0 as well, and the Tigers have played a tougher schedule than Wake.  Clemson is averaging 43 points per game and 447 yards per game.  Wake Forest has a good defense, but the Deacs cannot shut down the Tigers.  While I don't think Clemson will blow Wake Forest out of Groves Stadium, I do think they will win by two touchdowns.



Washington @ Southern California

PiRate Predicts: Southern Cal 44  Washington 14

Peiser Predicts: Trojans play their best game since the slaughter over Arkansas and romp over much improved Huskies.


Washington has won three games in a row for Coach Tyrone Willingham and is 4-1 with a good chance to become bowl eligible this year.  Win number five is not forthcoming this week.  Southern Cal is due for a big game, and the Trojans should move the ball with ease at The Coliseum, where they just don't lose.


The 30-point spread that the PiRates give this game may not be enough if USC gets hot.  They really don't have another tough game until Oregon comes to LA on November 11 for the start of a rough three game stretch that will include Cal and Notre Dame.


I think The Men of Troy will break loose and look more like the team that opened the season against Arkansas.  Look for USC to win by as much as five touchdowns.



Texas Vs. Oklahoma at Cotton Bowl in Dallas

PiRate Predicts: Texas 27  Oklahoma 20

Peiser Predicts: Mack gets second consecutive win over Stoops, but it will be much, much closer than last year (maybe in OT).


This is the first year since 1999 that at least one of the participants in the Red River Shootout wasn't undefeated coming into this game.  Texas has lost only to unbeaten and top-ranked Ohio State, while Oklahoma owns only a controversial loss at undefeated Oregon.


Even though the national championship isn't probably on the line, this should be an exciting game worth watching.  Both teams have good offenses, but Texas has a much better defense than the Sooners.  Oklahoma has played the tougher schedule, only because the Longhorns have faced North Texas, Rice, and Sam Houston.


Texas should pull out a second consecutive win in this series, but this will be a close game.  I'm guessing the ‘horns hook'em with a late score.


Michigan State @ Michigan

PiRate Predicts: Michigan 37  Michigan State 14

Peiser Predicts: John L. Smith is a nice guy, and we know what Leo Durocher thought of those people.  He should make another school a nice offensive coordinator next year.


Michigan has won this game in overtime the last two years.  It shouldn't be that close this season, but the Spartans have extra motivation trying to save their coach's job (it apparently has already been terminated effective the end of the season).


I look for the Spartans to pile up 375 yards of offense and 21 points, but it won't be enough to win the game.  Michigan is playing consistently this year, and they will match or exceed MSU's total offense.  The Wolverines make the most out of every yard they gain, so they should score about 20 more points.


Nebraska @ Iowa State

PiRate Predicts: Nebraska 27  Iowa State 18

Peiser Predicts: Cornhuskers aren't all the way back, but they are getting close.  They win by 14 or more.


Iowa State just barely squeezed by Northern Iowa last week, while Nebraska went to overtime to beat Kansas.  The last two years, this has been a close ball game, but this year the Cornhuskers have too much muscle for the Cyclones. 


Nebraska is still using the West Coast offense, but they are rushing the ball for over 200 yards per game so far.  Iowa State will have to stop the run, and to do that, they will leave themselves vulnerable to the pass. 


I look for Nebraska to pile up 170 yards rushing and 250 yards passing and score in the 30's.  Iowa State cannot match that and will fall at home by two touchdowns


Missouri @ Texas Tech

PiRate Predicts: Texas Tech 24  Missouri 16

Peiser Predicts: Red Raiders win  in possibly the most intriguing game of the weekend.


Missouri puts its unblemished record on the line this week, and like Wake Forest, I expect them to taste defeat for the first time.  Texas Tech is going to win this game by a lot more than people are expecting them to win.  The PiRates say the Red Raiders are eight points better, but I think this will be a double digit win for Mike Leach and company.


Missouri hasn't faced a decent passing attack yet, and they won't be able to slow it down.  Texas Tech may not get 400 total yards in this game, but they will surpass 350 yards and 25 points.  Missouri will find it hard scoring against the Red Raiders' improved defense.  Call it a 27-13 win in Lubbock for the home team.


Oregon @ California

PiRate Predicts: Cal 38  Oregon 33

Peiser Predicts: If the previous game is the most intriguing, this one should be the most exciting game of the weekend.  Bears make Tennessee look better every week.


The winner of this game gets to face USC later in the season with a chance to win the Pac-1o title if they can pull off the upset.  On paper, Oregon looks strong enough to win at Cal and at USC, but California is tough to beat in Berkeley.


I think this game will come down to which team blinks, makes the crucial mistake at the wrong time, or comes up with the big play at the right time.  If they played 100 times at Cal, I think the Bears would win somewhere between 55 and 60 of those games, so I'm taking Jeff Tedford's club to win Saturday's most exciting game on a late score.



Nevada @ Hawaii

PiRate Predicts: Hawaii 48  Nevada 42

Peiser Predicts: Too bad this one plays while the Continental US sleeps.  Warriors and Wolf Pack hook up in a shootout, but the pistol comes up a tad short.


This should be the highest scoring game of the day, and both teams should gain well over 400 total yards.  Unless you have insomnia, you'll have to wait until Sunday morning to find out which WAC team still has a chance to compete with Boise State for league honors.


Hawaii is two different teams.  On the mainland, they are slightly better than mediocre.  On the island, they play more like a Top 25 team.  For Nevada, this is their fourth road game.  If they could slip by with the mild upset, they might sail all the way to the finale at home with Boise State with a chance to take the WAC.  I think they will come close, but Hawaii is too tough at Aloha Stadium.



And The Rest

Winner		Loser		Margin
Florida St.	N.C. State	11
Utah 		T C U		 1
Wisconsin		Northwestern	22
Iowa		Purdue		 9
Pittsburgh	Syracuse	 	6
Miami (F)		N. Carolina	21
Ga. Tech		Maryland		19
Ohio State	Bowling Green	49
Kent State	Temple		23
Ball State	Buffalo		16
Kansas State	Oklahoma State	 5
Kansas		Texas A&M	 	3
B Y U		San Diego St.	28
Rice		Tulane		 4
Navy		Air Force	 	1
Notre Dame	Stanford		39
Washington St.	Oregon St.	 4
U C L A		Arizona		10
Penn State	Minnesota	 	2
Colorado St.	U N L V		22
Idaho		N. Mexico St.	 5
Virginia		East Carolina	 1
Cincinnati	Akron		 4
Colorado		Baylor		 6
U A B		Memphis		 8
Western Mich.	Ohio U		 7
Toledo		Central Mich.	 5
S. Florida	Connecticut	11
Wyoming		New Mexico	 1
Boise State	La. Tech		35
Fresno St.	Utah St.		25
U T E P		S M U		 8
N. Texas		Fla. Int'l	 2
Houston		La-Lafayette	19
Arkansas St.	La-Monroe		11
Northern Ill.	Miami (O)	 	2

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