Last Week's Games: The PiRates went 39-14 for the week of October 7, giving them a year-to-date record of 224-69-3 (76.5%) in picking the winning team. A quick glance at a couple dozen computer ratings published on the Internet shows that the PiRates are picking the winner more frequently than greater than 2/3 of them.
PiRate Ratings For Thursday, October 12, 2006
Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number
# Team W L Rating
1 Ohio State 6 0 128
2 California 5 1 125
3 Michigan 6 0 124
4 Southern Cal 5 0 124
5 Texas 5 1 123
6 Clemson 5 1 121
7 Florida 6 0 120
8 Oregon 4 1 119
9 Louisville 5 0 118
10 L S U 4 2 118
11 Tennessee 5 1 117
12 Wisconsin 5 1 117
13t West Virginia 5 0 116
13t Boise St. 6 0 116
15t Nebraska 5 1 116
15t Notre Dame 5 1 116
17 Auburn 5 1 116
18 OKlahoma 3 2 116
19 Penn State 4 2 115
20 Missouri 6 0 113
21t Arkansas 4 1 113
21t Iowa 5 1 113
23 Georgia Tech 5 1 112
24 B Y U 4 2 111
25 Virginia Tech 4 1 110
SEC PiRate Ratings
Florida 6 0 120
Tennessee 5 1 117
Georgia 5 1 106
South Carolina 4 2 105
Kentucky 3 3 99
Vanderbilt 2 4 97
L S U 4 2 118
Auburn 5 1 116
Arkansas 4 1 113
Alabama 4 2 106
Ole Miss 2 4 92
Miss. State 1 5 89
Future Vandy Opponents
Duke 0 5 83
PiRates Show Vandy Now Finishing: 0-8/3-9
This Week's Schedule
This is an off week in the SEC.
With the exception of the Auburn-Florida, there are no other marquee
games. Tennessee and South
Carolina have the week off, while Mississippi State and Arkansas play Ohio Valley Conference
Nationally, there are a limited number of big games this week, but there
are some interesting games on the slate.
The odds are that at least one national contender will lose like
Auburn did last
Here are the SEC games for the week.
State @ Mississippi State
PiRate Predicts: N/A
Peiser Predicts: The Bulldogs get to find out how the other half
A team that lost to UT-Martin by 10 points should not give any SEC team
much fits, right? Well,
Mississippi State isn't up to SEC standards, and the Bulldogs lost
to Maine two
years ago. Still, Omarr Conner has
too much talent and enough support to churn out 350 yards and 28 points, while
the Bulldog defense should hold the Gamecocks to less than 275 yards and 12
SEMO @ Arkansas
PiRate Predicts: N/A
Peiser Predicts: Arkansas blitzes the
first of three consecutive patsies prior to heading to South Carolina on
Until Coach Houston Nutt calls off the hogs, this game will be a huge
mismatch. SEMO has a hard time
moving the ball in OVC games, while they are rather weak against the pass and
mediocre against the run. This
could be a week where Darren McFadden and Felix Jones both top 100 yards rushing
and never see the field after the midway point of the 3rd
quarter. Mitch Mustain will
probably attempt about 15 passes, completing 11 for 200+ yards. Arkansas can win this one by 40 or more if
they desire. The best guess here is
they will lead by 28 points some time in the first
Ole Miss @ Alabama
PiRate Predicts: Alabama 30 Ole Miss 10
Peiser Predicts: The PiRates are off on this one. If Duke could hold the Tide down for
three quarters, Ole Miss can do so for the
I'm going against the PiRates on this one. I think Alabama is going to have a tough time moving
the ball against the Rebels Saturday. Ole Miss may only cross the goal line one
time in this game, but I believe the Rebels will continue playing opportunistic
defense and keep the winning Alabama margin under 17 points, something like
The Crimson Tide finally got their running game going last week against
Duke, but the Blue Devils do not have a one-two punch at linebacker like Patrick
Willis and Rory Johnson.
Ole Miss is plagued by injuries to its offense. Dexter McCluster may be coming out of
the fog after being put to sleep on the opening kickoff last week. But, tight end Robert Lane, tackle David Traxler, and guard Darryl
Harris are likely to miss the game.
Kentucky @ L S
PiRate Predicts: L S U 38
Peiser Predicts: Tigers will exploit Wildcat defense and control this
game from the outset.
Kentucky fell short
at home against South
Carolina last week, when the Wildcat offense was held
well below its average in both points and yards. LSU's defense is a step above
Carolina's, so considering that and factoring in a change of home field
advantage, it looks like Kentucky is going to be fodder for the Bayou
On offense, LSU should top 400 yards and do so by going over 200 in both
rushing and passing. That should
propel the Tigers to the 40-point range.
possibly be held to 25 yards or less rushing and struggle to gain 150 yards
passing. Since they only scored
seven points on Florida with 249 yards gained, the Cats could
be held to six, three, or no points on 180 or less total
Florida @ Auburn
PiRate Predicts: Auburn 17 Florida 15
Peiser Predicts: Florida pulls out a
squeaker on the road.
I'm going against the computer on this one (when I go against my own
computer rankings, I am wrong more than I am right). Even though Auburn has not lost
back-to-back home games since 1999, I think the Gators are capable of pulling
out a close win. If they happen to
win this one, then the odds of a Florida-Arkansas SEC Championship game would be
lower than even money.
Florida has an
offense that is difficult for any defense to totally shut down. LSU and Tennessee did a decent job reducing the
Gators' yardage output, but still Urban Meyer's troops topped 20 points in those
games. Auburn is likely to hold the Gators to about 280 to 300
yards, but Florida will find a way to get to 21
Auburn will be
facing a defense better than they saw last week from Arkansas and about on par
with the LSU defense that held them to a single score. That does not bode well for the
Tigers. I see them getting a
maximum of 300 total yards in this game, and that adds up to less than 21
points. Thus, Florida should win this
one by a small margin.
Vanderbilt @ Georgia
PiRate Predicts: Georgia 28 Vanderbilt
Peiser Predicts: Mad Dogs put the bite on the Commodores for big bounce
Vanderbilt has the unenviable task of facing a wounded, cornered group of
dogs. Last week,
Georgia gave up 50 points in a game
at Sanford Stadium for just the second time ever. You can bet the stop troops will be more
than ready and hungry to go mining for gold.
Vanderbilt dominated Ole Miss everywhere but on the scoreboard last week,
and the loss was one of those that historically has driven a stake into the
Commodore hearts. Any realistic
long shot chance of getting to six wins went out the window when Vandy turned
the ball over all day in Oxford.
The big question marks concerning Vanderbilt are whether Chris Nickson
and Brian Stamper can contribute in this game. Nickson was on his way to a 200 yard
passing day and 20+ completions before two injuries forced him to the
sidelines. Stamper makes the entire
offensive line better, not just his tackle position. If he cannot go full speed, it will be
tough stopping Georgia's excellent defensive
If you want to know my exact pick in this game, read my game preview
tomorrow on VandyMania. You will
need a premium membership to read it and find out something that I think is
being overlooked by the public.
Purchase your membership now in time for basketball
10 Other Games of Note
PiRate Predicts: West Virginia 28 Syracuse 3
Peiser Predicts: This game should be closer than expected, but WVU will
On paper, this looks like a major blowout game. West Virginia averaged more than 300 yards
rushing with a powerful offensive line and a top-flight back in Steve
Slaton. Syracuse gave up well over 200 yards rushing against
week. The Orange have had trouble
moving the ball against so-so teams, and now they face a Mountaineer defense
that is better than average.
So, what gives? Syracuse is a team that is
improving week-to-week without much fanfare. Coach Greg Robinson has the SU defense
performing better than it has in the last five years. Add to this the fact that this was just
a 15-7 game last year, and it appears to me that West Virginia is going to win this one by less
than expected. I foresee a final
score of 27-10. It's still a
healthy margin, but it's nowhere near where the general public believes it will
PiRate Predicts: Wisconsin 28 Minnesota 14
Peiser Predicts: Badgers keep Paul Bunyan's Axe for third straight
This rivalry for Paul Bunyan's Axe usually is a high-scoring, exciting
match. The weather may play a
factor this go around. It could be
cold and wet Saturday.
Another factor to consider in this game is the strength of schedule of
the two teams. The Badgers and
Gophers have both played and lost to Michigan. Wisconsin's wins have come against Bowling Green, Western Illinois, San Diego State, Indiana, and Northwestern. Minnesota has played California and Penn State.
For these reasons, I am picking Wisconsin to win by a narrow margin in a game
that should be lower scoring than the most recent ones in this series. Call it a 21-17 win for UW. The Badger fans will still have a great
time getting their organic, whole grain muffins at the Farmer's Market before
the game and celebrating on State
Street after the game. As for Minnesota fans, it will be a long drive back for Ole and
Lena to their lutefisk and Swedish meatball
supper Saturday night.
PiRate Predicts: Nebraska 24 Kansas State 12
Predicts: Cornhuskers are on a roll and will pick up a crucial road
coach Ron Prince has the Wildcats primed to make it back to a bowl for the first
time in three years. Kansas State is 4-2 with three winnable games
remaining. One of those games is
not this week.
Nebraska is rolling
along at 5-1, with that one loss coming at Southern
Cal. Cornhusker coach
Bill Callahan can count his blessings that he is no longer coaching the Oakland
Raiders. He has transformed the
former power running team into a capable West Coast offense team. The defense isn't as tough as the black
shirts of the 1990's, but the ‘Huskers have held four of six opponents to 14
points or less.
The Wildcats could keep this one close for a half, but Nebraska has too much
offensive firepower. The
Cornhuskers will pull away in the second half and win by two touchdowns or
PiRate Predicts: Utah 24 Wyoming 21
Predicts: I totally agree with the computer; this will go down to the wire, and
I wouldn't be surprised to see Joe Glenn's Cowboys pull off the
Back on September 13, I predicted that Boise State
would have an extremely tough go of it in Laramie
playing Wyoming and called for this game to be much
closer than expected. BSU won by
just a touchdown, there closest game of the season.
State thoroughly dismantled Utah two weeks ago. Now, the Utes must venture to Laramie, and it's the
Cowboys' homecoming to boot. You
can figure out where I'm going with this.
Wyoming is a team
just shy of being quite good. They
are just a couple of quality players shy of being bowl-caliber. At 2-4, the Cowboys must upset
Utah to have
any chance of finishing 6-6.
The Utes embarrassed TCU last week to bounce back after getting blown off
the field by Boise
State. Utah's weakness is their pass defense. Any team with an above average passing
game has been able to solve their defensive riddle.
game borders on exceptional.
Combine a nice home field advantage, and Wyoming should keep this one close. It could go either way and should be one
of the most exciting games of the week.
PiRate Predicts: Cal 37 Washington State 24
Peiser Predicts: Cougars are still flying under the radar screen. This one is set up for WSU to shock the
nation, but I think they will come up short at the
State took Southern Cal to the final horn and came up just a bit
short. The Cougars have played much
better at home than on the road.
out of the gate at Tennessee, but ever since, the Bears have
looked like the best team on the left coast. Cal has
topped 40 points in every game and averaged 466 yards per game since the fiasco
The Cougars may start strong in this one, but the Bears will have just a
little too much firepower for them.
In a high-scoring affair, I see Cal winning by about 38-34.
State @ Michigan State
PiRate Predicts: Ohio
State 33 Michigan State 17
Peiser Predicts: John L. Smith's last chance to save his job could be
this week. This is the game that
really took his seat to the hot level last
Let's take a look back to this game last year when it was played in
Columbus. Michigan State had just lost in overtime to Michigan and came into
the game at 4-1. The Spartans raced
out to a 17-7 lead in the second quarter and began a long drive just before the
half to put the game out of reach.
With less than 30 seconds to go in the half, Spartan quarterback Drew
Stanton was sacked for a five or six yard loss. The clock continued to run. MSU had no timeouts remaining, but it
was just third down. Stanton could have spiked
the ball to stop the clock and give Coach John L. Smith's squad ample time to
set up for the 35 yard field goal attempt.
Instead, MSU hurried their field goal unit on the field while the clock
ticked down. One problem—only 10
Spartan players made it onto the field.
The kick was blocked and Ohio State's Ashton Youboty returned it for a
touchdown. MSU still led 17-14 at
the half, but the writing was on the wall.
OSU won the game 35-24, and Coach Smith's seat began to simmer. Four more losses forced this season to
There has been no difference in 2006, as Michigan State has blown a huge fourth quarter lead against
Notre Dame and lost to a weak Illinois team. The only glimmer of hope for him is if
his team can knock off the number one team in the
It won't happen this year because Ohio State is just plain tough on both offense
and defense, similar to the 1968 national championship squad. It may be close for a half, but the
Buckeyes will eventually emerge with a 10 to 20 point victory.
State @ Washington
PiRate Predicts: Washington 27 Oregon State 14
Predicts: Willingham's Huskies are on their way to a bowl in his second year in
Seattle. This gives them their fifth
Tyrone Willingham has resurrected both the Huskies and his career after
getting shown the door at Notre Dame.
Washington is off to a 4-2 start and has at
least three more games left on the schedule that they should win. One of those games is this one.
State has managed wins over just
Eastern Washington and Idaho.
The Beavers have lost to Boise State,
Cal, and Washington State. They haven't been able to move the ball
on the ground against the good teams, and that trend should continue this
Look for Washington to pick up win number five with a
7-12 point win.
UCLA @ Oregon
PiRate Predicts: Oregon 32 UCLA 13
Predicts: Bruins are better than that.
This should be a close game, but Ducks should pull it
Let me apologize to the Oregon fans for a small snafu with these
ratings last week. Oregon was left out of
the ratings, when they should have been rated number five. My spreadsheet somehow hid the cells of
State, and Stanford, and it wasn't noticed until a gentleman from the Beaver State brought it to my attention. Let me give a shout out to the great
Herbal Eddie at HerbPharm in Williams, OR.
The Ducks are in need of a rebound game after having a rough go of it
last week. Cal humiliated them on
prime time television.
UCLA coach Karl Dorrell and I share something in common; we both fled
Boulder, Colorado. Dorrell ended up with the better gig in
Westwood. His Bruins were not
supposed to be as competitive as they were last year, but they are off to a 4-1
start. The road from here gets much
steeper, as UCLA must still play at Notre Dame and Cal and host Southern Cal in addition to this
This will be a successful bounce back game for Oregon. The Ducks will pass the ball for 300
yards and win in a shootout. I
disagree with the computer here, and think Coach Mike Bellotti's boys will win
by something like 38-31.
State @ Southern
Predicts: U S C 34 Arizona State
Peiser Predicts: Trojans start to pick up some steam after a couple of
Any talk about Southern Cal not deserving to be ranked in the top four
should merely look at what Arkansas did at
Auburn last week and then look at what the
Trojans did in Fayetteville against the
Sure, USC isn't as good as they were the last three and a half
seasons. However, they are good
enough to make it to the BCS Championship Game in Glendale, Arizona.
The men of Troy will close with Oregon, Cal, Notre Dame, and UCLA, and if they finish
the regular season 12-0, there's no way they will be excluded from the title
State had a week off to prepare for
this game and lick their wounds from consecutive pastings by Cal and Oregon.
Sun Devil Coach Dirk Koetter needs a signature win to solidify his job
status, but I don't see it happening in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Their defense is not strong enough to
stop USC's offense consistently.
I predict Southern Cal will top 200
yards rushing and 200 yards passing and win this game in a breeze. Meanwhile, Arizona State will struggle to get 300 total yards
and more than 14 points. I agree
with the PiRate computer. USC will
cruise to a three touchdown or better win.
PiRate Predicts: Michigan 20 Penn State 17
Peiser Predicts: This is the game of the week. Michigan is headed into an ambush without one
of its big guns. If any top team
falls this week, this will be the most likely
The Pirate ratings cannot be adjusted when teams lose key personnel. Michigan will be playing without star wide out
Mario Manningham this week and will still be without tight end Tyler Ecker. Manningham has 24 receptions for a
22-yard average per catch and nine touchdowns. The Wolverines cannot replace those
numbers. Adrian Arrington can get
open deep, but he is not as talented as Manningham. Michigan definitely will see a drop in their
State isn't as
strong as they were last season, but the Nittany Lions are still more than
adequate on both sides of the ball.
They could be the first team to hold the Wolverines under 20 points this
Michigan has given
up 226 passing yards per game since the opener against Vanderbilt. Offensively, the Wolverines have moved
the ball on the ground and through the air. Take away their key to their vertical
passing game, and the offense becomes a little pedestrian. I don't think the Wolverines can exploit
a Joe Pa defense without their top wide receiver. They can still win the game, but
State has a decent shot at
the upset. The PiRate computer says
this is the most likely upset for a Top 10 team this week, and it's prediction
cannot account for the Manningham injury.
And The Rest
Winner Loser Margin
Clemson Temple 57
Boston College Va. Tech 2
Air Force Colorado St. 6
Pittsburgh U C F 11
Purdue Northwestern 4
Iowa Indiana 18
N. C. State Wake Forest 0
Virginia Maryland 2
S. Florida N. Carolina 4
Miami (O) Buffalo 11
Central Mich. Ball State 3
Connecticut Army 6
Navy Rutgers 5
Missouri Texas A&M 1
Western Mich. N. Illinois 7
Tulsa East Carolina 6
S M U Marshall 6
Florida State Duke 24
Kent State Toledo 5
Bowling Green E. Michigan 8
Oklahoma Iowa State 21
Hawaii Fresno St. 4
Arizona Stanford 7
San Jose St. Utah State 16
U A B Rice 5
Illinois Ohio U 8
Louisville Cincinnati 27
Southern Miss. Houston 7
Kansas Oklahoma St. 6
Texas Tech Colorado 2
Texas Baylor 28
Louisiana Tech Idaho 4
U T E P Tulane 15
New Mexico U N L V 6
Miami (F) Fla. Int'l 35
Memphis Ark. State 7
Troy La. Monroe 7
Boise State N. Mexico St. 32