While still shaking my head in anger, frustration and disappointment...
WHERE STUPIDITY REIGNS SUPREME...APPARENTLY
As many of the Yougabsports community know, I was once a youth basketball coach. I've made it a point to happily report on the high school athletic exploits of my former players over the last couple of years that I've been here on the site. On occasion, I've found myself also writing about former players of mine who found themselves in legal trouble.
And this week, it was a whopper and a half. Four of my former players are in jail where they will soon see the charges against them upgraded to murder. They apparently got into a fight in the middle of a convenience store with some other guy and that guy ended up dead on the ground.
Of the four ex-players, three of them come as no surprise to me at all. As much as it seems cold and unfeeling, I file them under "it had to happen sooner or later". But the fourth guy was a big surprise to me. He played for me for two seasons and was one of the best players I'd coached. He did everything I asked from him on the court and did it without complaint. He went on to have a pretty solid high school basketball career as well. Hell, I'd written about him here in this blog numerous times. He only just graduated in June of this year.
As I read the story, I quickly and silently thanked my parents for being strict with me when I was growing up. It kept me out of trouble (okay MOST of the time) and on the relative straight and narrow. And my sense of disappointment with that one ex-player grew as more details came out.
*WARNING - EXPLICIT LANGUAGE AHEAD*
But don't let that sad disappointed feeling let you think I'm feeling sympathetic towards any of them. Unlike some of the morons that have posted comments on the newspaper articles or on the Facebook pages for the newspapers, I don't feel that they are somehow still "good kids". Good kids know how to stay out of trouble. They don't get tied up in a fucking murder case! There are many rumors floating around town as to why this confrontation happened. And frankly since I don't have any knowledge about which of those theories might be true I'm not going to dignify any of them by writing them here.
But can there really be a reason, short of defense of your own life, that can allow for you and three "buddies" to kill someone in broad daylight in the middle of a store?
In case you are wondering, the answer to that question is no. I don't know where the lives of the four soon to be defendants were going in the passing decades but I doubt the Oval Office was on their life achievement bucket list. But I can't imagine prison was on their minds either. That may be because none of them seemed burdened by an overabundance of brains and/or common sense but still.
Instead, their lives are fucked. You can read the story for yourself, but these four dipshits are candidates for a spot on World's Dumbest Criminals.
So that was the biggest news of my week. Yet more athletes that I had a hand in coaching chose a path that will lead them to a life of being inconsequential.
*Sarcastic Button Turned On* - Just what a former youth coach always hopes for his players, no?
New England Patriots - Wow, the Patriots looked like the Patriots last week eh? Even when you allow for the fact they were playing the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that always fails to come up in a big game on TV, the way the Patriots played had you almost ready to forget how mediocre they'd been over the first month of the season.
I did say almost...because they are still being penalized as if they are the Raiders back when the Raiders were a good team. They got nailed 12 times for 114 yards. With Bill Belichick hating even one penalty in the team execution, 12 yellow flags must've driven him nearly batty.
The most consistent part of the Patriots offense has been kicker Stephen Gostkowski and as the Patriots battered the Bengals 43-17, he again had a big night. He finished with 5 field goals.
But the offense was really clicking as well. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been getting pilloried in New England for their craptastic offense but he was making some solid play calls against Cincy.
Tom Brady passed for 292 yards and 2 touchdows and looked like the Tom Brady we've come to know and love.
And Brady did it without much help from the wide receivers. Instead it was the one-two punch of tandem tight ends that made the passing game so effective. Rob Gronkowski (pictured below 1st) had his best game of the season with 100 yards receiving and a TD. And Tim Wright (pictured below 2nd) caught a TD as well.
The defense helped set up the offense by recovering three fumbles on the night. This helped set up running back Stevan Ridley (pictured below) to rush for 113 yards and a touchdown.
The reaction to just how badly the Patriots beat the Bengals was relatively split. A lot of people acted as if things were suddenly back to their glory days while others were decidedly more cautious in their praise of the team's performance in this one game.
I'd probably fall on the latter†side of that†judgement. It was great to watch the parts of the beatdown that I watched but I'm by no means convinced this means their struggles are over. They still need to play like this consistently. They can't backslide into mediocre offensive playcalling and execution when they play Buffalo this week. The offensive line has to continue to keep Brady upright and open holes for Ridley and/or Shane Vereen. And while it is great that the scary tight end duo could be making a return for the Pats, the wide receivers have to make their contributions. Julian Edelman has been the best pass catcher for New England this season but he had an off game against Cincy and his was the best performance out of everyone not lined up as a tight end. The continued ineffectiveness of Danny Amendola (I believe he's hurt again but trying to play through) and the release of Kenbrell Tompkins means there is playing time for someone that can actually step up and CATCH THE DAMN BALL!
There were a number of articles this week written about teams or players in the NFL that caught my eye and I thought I'd share them with you.
New York Jets - Robert Klemko's SI.com article didn't include the late week admission by backup QB Michael Vick that he didn't really prepare well for the team's loss to the Chargers last week, but he did have a pretty solid breakdown on exactly how and why the Jets stink. You can check it out HERE.
San Diego Chargers - Speaking of the Chargers, their 31-0 beatdown on the Jets was just the latest example of how things have seemed to turn around for their QB Phillip Rivers. Once again SI.com writer Robert Klemko provides an excellent story and analysis.
Miscellaneous Stories - Two more stories that caught my eye focused on two people now out of the game. One by choice, the other not so much. You can learn about retired cornerback Chris Carr's new life as a law student HERE. As for coach Ken Flajole, he's learning to live life without a coaching job for the first time in 37 years.
In a move that should surprise NO ONE given the recent history, it seems integrity might not be all that important to the Heisman committee anymore. You can read more in this article.
Boston College - After enduring a lighting weather delay, the BC Eagles raised their record to 4-2 on the season with a 30-14 win over ACC opponent North Carolina State. It's their first conference win of the season. Quarterback Tyler Murphy (pictured below)†was the big standout on the day. While his passing numbers were relatively mediocre (12-19, 101 yards), it was on the ground where he made his biggest mark on the game. He ran for 132 yards and two scores. One of those TD runs came on a beautiful 47 yard scamper.
Sherman Allston and Jon Hilliman also ran for scores in the game.
Meanwhile the Eagles defense had a solid game. They picked off NC State QB Jacoby Brissett once and sacked him four times. Their rush defense held the Wolfpack to just 43 yards on the ground.
You can see the game highlights below.
Alabama - Blake Sims tossed two touchdown passes (including one to†running back T.J. Yeldon, pictured below)†as the Crimson Tide avoided a second straight upset and squeaked by Arkansas 14-13. For a rather large turnaround in the scheme of things, Alabama was the team that was held to a low total of rushing yards. They managed just 67 yards on the ground against the Razorbacks.
While the Bama defense held Arkansas to 98 yards rushing, it is always a bit odd to see Bama get outgained on the ground. The defense also picked up four sacks and two fumble recoveries. Unfortunately, Sims got sacked twice and the offense lost two fumbles (out of four made) as well.
I don't know what happened with the offense in this game but something is going to have to give to get Alabama back to looking like an efficient if not entirely thrilling offense.
Mass Maritime - The Buccaneers dropped their game against Western Connecticut 30-19. The loss leaves them at 1-4 on the season. E.J. caught 6 passes for 74 yards in the game.
For Red Sox fans of a certain vintage the fifth game of the 1986 ALCS between the Sox and the California Angels was a legendary game. It all boiled down that Dave Henderson whalloping a home run off of Donnie Moore†that led to†Boston eventually†winning the game. It has long been posited that Moore's suicide a few years later was due to this one game. You can read Michael McKnight's longform SI.com story "The Split" and learn more about Moore's story and the falsehood of the home run leading to his death HERE.
It was another crappy week for me as I got wiped out in both leagues last week.
After announcing he would be entering rehab to deal with his alcohol problems, Michael Phelps found himself suspended for 6 months by USA Swimming. And he's apparently won't be competing in next summer's World Championships (long after his suspension ends) either. As I wrote last week, I'm fully in support of Phelps being suspended. Of course, I don't understand why he can't swim at the championships, but that's another matter entirely. You can read more via this Yahoo Sports article.
But what makes me chuckle a bit is how quickly USA Swimming acted in dealing with Phelps. He gets busted for DUI and they whip out the old "code of conduct" stuff. Yet you have "coaches" who molested young swimmers for YEARS and no one either knew or did anything. Driving under the influence is terrible but destroying a life by molestation is something you'd think the paragons of virtue (yeah right) that run USA Swimming would've moved faster to deal with as well.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Wareham Boys Soccer - The boys season continued down a bad spiral as they lost to ORR 5-1 and to Case 4-0.
Wareham Girls Volleyball - As their hopes for a playoff berth flickered down to almost nothing, the Vikings lost two five set thrillers to ORR and Dighton Rehoboth. Against D-R, Erica (pictured below from the ORR game, photos by Adam K. Ellis of the Wareham Courier) had 16 digs and 12 service points.
Oh and here's a shot of Rae-Lyn from that same ORR match:
Wareham Girls Soccer - ORR gave Wareham yet another shutout loss beating them 7-0.
Upper Cape JV Football - The Rams picked up their first win of the season beating Blue Hills 22-14 this past Monday.
UCT Girls Soccer - Upper Cape stands at†4-8-1†after a 4-0 win over Old Colony and a 6-1 loss to Pope John Paul II High.
Wareham Football - After their big win last week, the Vikings were unable to keep that momentum going and lost to Fairhaven 20-8.
Wareham Girls Field Hockey - After a 7-1 loss to Apponequet and a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Bourne to start off their week, the Vikings closed out their week with a 2-0 win over Case. Kali had one of the goals, her first career score.†The team is now 2-10. You can see an excited Kali after the goal (in pink) below. (Photo by Adam Ellis of the Wareham Courier). There's also a video of the goal that you can see HERE. (also by Adam Ellis)
Books - I finished the Archer Mayor novel Proof Positive this week. Although the ending of the book was rather abrupt I still quite enjoyed this latest Joe Gunther story.
TV - It was a big week for TV this past week as two shows debuted that had comic book fans breathless in anticipation. The series premiere of The Flash lived up to most of its hype as the show began to set up their storytelling tent. The Pop-topia.com site I do some writing for is covering both The Flash and Arrow this season. You can read the recap for The FlashHERE.
As for the 3rd season premiere of Arrow, let me just say that I loved it. It might just have been the best premiere of any of the returning series that I watch. And what an ending to the episode to make fans gasp or cry out "NOOOOO!". Here's the recap.
Of course, the premiere that is almost certainly the one a LOT of people are waiting for is tonight's 5th season premiere of The Walking Dead. I know that I'll be glued to my TV tonight. To whet your appetite, check out the season 5 trailer below.
Oh, and I picked up Season 7 of NYPD Blue on DVD this week too.
Movies - I saw the Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow this week. It's a military science fiction version of Groundhog Day. For the most part it was a very good action flick. But for me, I thought the ending was just a bit too blase for my liking. Overall I gave it a 7 out of 10 on the IMDB.com site.
For those of you on the fence about seeing the Ben Affleck movie Gone Girl, why not check out the Pop-topia.com review.
Music - Last week, I linked my review of the new John Mellencamp CD Plain Spoken here. I linked it on a few other places as well including Mellencamp's own Facebook page. Well they shared it there and it's been pretty successful there. It's been liked more than 700 times and shared at least 40 times. It is likely my most viewed CD review thus far.
My latest CD review is for the Unisonic album Light of Dawn. You can check it out via this KNAC.com link.
The new AC/DC album Rock or Bust is due out December 9th. The first song from the album is called "Play Ball" and you can listen to that below.
Out of rankings: (7) BYU, (14) LSU. (16) E. Carolina, (18) Georgia, (19) S. Carolina, (21) Okie St.. (22) NC State
Explanation and future rankings
I only made two adjustments to my computer ratings to make this top 25. One was to keep Florida St. at #2. They actually were #2 in the computer rating last week, but the big points by undefeated Ole Miss, Miss. St., and Arizona teams them all ahead of the Seminoles. I still think itís too early to put any of them #2 though.
If the Bulldogs win next week, I may even put them #1. If Ole Miss and Auburn win, they may be 1 and 2, but then Florida St. would have a chance to get back in the top 2 with a win over Notre Dame the following week. In that scenario, I may again keep Florida St. #2 pending the outcome of the game against the Irish.
The other adjustment was to keep UCLA at #9. It just doesnít look right to lose to an unranked team and move up. They were #1 in the computer ratings last week.
I may make similar minor adjustments next week (I mentioned one possibility), but after the following week, I plan to just follow the computer rating to the letter.
In total, 7 of my top 11 teams lost of the 9 possible. There were three games where top-11 teams were playing one another, so thatís why there were only 9 possible losses. The only survivor against a team ranked below #15 was Florida St. Auburn was also a survivor, but LSU was #14 going into last week. (More on LSU below.)
Iím going to talk about new teams in the top 25 and old teams that fell out. I think itís pretty obvious why South Carolina (losers to Kentucky) and North Carolina St. (losers to Clemson) fell out. Some teams only moved into the rankings because 12 teams ahead of them lost.
BYU fell all the way out after losing to Utah St. That wasnít based on past opponents so much (although Texas didnít help), but Utah St. (#87 going into the week) is a bad loss at this point, so having a bad loss this early makes you sink like a stone. Virginia is still a quality win though.
East Carolinaís loss to South Carolina continues to drag them down. Also, the Pirates essentially have zero points to show for the last two weeks (a bye and a win over SMU). Virginia Tech won, but they beat North Carolina (another prior opponent of East Carolina), so that didnít help much.
Georgia also lost to South Carolina, so that is hurting them as well. Also, Tennesseeís loss wasnít helpful either.
Oklahoma St. is having issues with prior opponents, and Saturdayís win over Iowa St. (which only has one win) didnít help much. Texas-San Antonio has struggled, and Texas Tech lost yet again as well. Florida St. is still a respectable loss, but itís not really more respectable than it was already.
Michigan St. is back after finally getting a good win over Nebraska, nothing controversial there. Their land grant rivals (Penn St.) might be more of a mystery, but Akron, Rutgers, Northwestern, and Central Florida all won last week, and of course some higher teams suffered losses.
There isnít much analysis required for Minnesota, Ohio St., and Arizona St. Minnesota was idle, so they didnít really have points added, but it still helped a lot that TCU (the team they lost to) beat Oklahoma. The other two also had fairly decent wins.
Cal is probably the worst 4-1 team, but their only loss is to undefeated Arizona. Even though the Colorado and Washington St. wins werenít pretty and the Bears have allowed 144 points in their last 9 quarters, a win is a win. The Pac-12 schedule is a decent boost as well. Iíll mention Florida below.
I donít factor in margin of victory, so you might wonder why LSU fell so far. The Tigers had two wins over otherwise-unbeaten teams (ULM and Wisconsin) going into the week, but both lost. LSU does still have an extremely good schedule (#12 in FBS average), but itís very difficult to be in the top 25 with two losses this early, and the ULM and Wisconsin losses made it impossible. Also, an average FBS opponent would have given more points than Sam Houston St.
Forget winning the SEC West. Sure, competitive divisions like that can theoretically have a two-loss champion, but they need to just put it out of their minds completely. It should be a relaxed atmosphere where if you can upset Alabama, Ole Miss, or whoever, thatís great, but just play a good game. We didnít do that against Auburn, it was like the worse it got the more afraid LSU was of making it even worse. Even though Auburn is in playoff position and could easily be overshadowed with just one slip-up, they played more like a team with nothing to lose than LSU did.
My one disagreement with the author in the piece above is I donít think you settle on one quarterback. If one of them plays a bad half, take him out. The only decent drives were orchestrated by Jennings in the last game (the touchdown drive was essentially one good play rather than a well-orchestrated drive) and by Harris in the previous game. Neither one should have stayed in. We donít have to pick next yearís quarterback until next year. If they both get an equal number of snaps this year, then you have even more to go on in picking the quarterback for next year.
I think itís far worse to wrongly settle on a quarterback and stubbornly refuse to make a change. Thatís what happened in the 2012 title game. Maybe they wouldnít have gotten any points with Lee (who had struggled in the first game against Alabama), but you canít do worse than 0. Saturday was only one of two times since then (the other being @Alabama last year) that LSU lost by more than one possession.
As mentioned, LSU plays Florida next week. They also have two quarterbacks. Will Muschamp benched one of them to provide an offensive spark, and it worked. I donít know if he put a better QB in the abstract in, and he probably doesnít either, but he made a change to see if it would help against a given team in a given situation and it did. I suspect the second quarterback will do better against LSU based on his skill set (at least they might not be shut out for three quarters); but if not, Iím sure Muschamp will put the other guy back in.
The Gators snuck into my top 25 because the Kentucky win was strengthened when the Wildcats beat South Carolina. The one-point win at Tennessee got them some points as well. I think beating a team like that on the road would be something for LSU to be proud of. There will be a lot of unhappy people if they donít win; but like the ESPN article says, there is a lot of potential for the future either way.
Iíve added to and updated my LSU-Auburn Rivalry blog.† Also, my new computer ratings are up.† Of the teams in my top 11 last week who weren't playing another team in my top 11, only Florida St. survived.† I'll post my official top 25 with discussion later in the week.
I guess I should start by giving credit to someone I talk to who goes by scurds. He predicted Auburn would win easily. Iím glad no one offered me LSU +21 (that was his predicted margin of victory for Auburn), because I would have taken it. There is a bit of a caveat to that: he seems to enjoy picking LSU to do poorly, and as you might guess has been wrong a few times. Broken clocks should be congratulated when they are nonetheless correct.
Iím disappointed. Not because it was a loss, which I expected. I ranked Auburn #1 for good reasons, and they were playing at home against a young team that hadnít really traveled before. I was disappointed that the young men on the field from LSU werenít given a fair chance to at least make it interesting.
Iím mostly just going to talk about the first half, because Auburn was able to kind of cruise through the second half; and to be honest, I skipped parts of it anyway. Other than losses to Alabama in January 2012 and November 2013, this was the first game where LSU lost by more than 10 since November 2008 against Ole Miss.
I was hopeful after seeing a couple of the upsets and especially seeing how well Mississippi St. handled Texas A&M. At kickoff though, they mentioned that four top-six teams had already lost. This made me even more skeptical about a fifth.
I thought LSU would play a bit better early on. There were a couple of minor mistakes typical in any college game, but the only real criticism I have of the early going (which was mostly just good plays by Auburn) was I thought LSU should have been more aggressive on offense.
They tried all these different looks and were able to execute the previous week (I know it wasnít a good team, but you could tell the plays had been practiced well), but then they didnít carry forward anything interesting into this game. Whatís the worst that could have happened? Falling behind early and the game being over at halftime? The runs were less up-the-middle and there were a couple of different blocking schemes, but it wasnít anything creative.
You donít give a team like that easy running plays to defend. Harris had some early jitters to put it mildly, so Iím not sure if different plays would have kept it from being 17-0 at some point. On the other hand, had they worked, he might have lost those jitters. I just thought they could have tried to use an element of surprise. Playing conservative in the first few possessions hadnít worked in the games against Wisconsin and Mississippi St. and didnít work yet again. It was also more of a problem since this was a road game. Auburn, on the other hand, did call plays to keep LSU unbalanced, such as the flea-flicker, which was successful.
Other than that, I donít blame LSU much for having trouble out of the gate against Auburn (one touchdown resulted from basically a jump ball that Auburn caught; I mentioned the flea-flicker). After LSU scored to get on the board, it was a manageable 17-7 score.
There were then two crucial defensive errors after the LSU kickoff. One was an easy interception that the average senior citizen in a walker could have caught that was dropped. LSU would have most likely gotten at least a field goal had the pass been intercepted (defenses on quick turnarounds after a touchdown drive usually donít have a three and out). So instead of maybe 17-10, it was 24-7 after a few more plays. Another error was a defensive hands to the face that gave Auburn first and goal around the 5 instead of 3rd and 10 at the 11. That may have made the difference between a field goal for Auburn and the touchdown.
The pieces to the puzzle seem to be on the field, but theyíre just not being put together very well, at least not where it does any good. When there is a sense of urgency, Harris has done well. So there needs to be some kind of tempo on the field, but they just canít get out of the traditional pocket passing type of setup, along with this thing that colleges do way too much where they look to the sidelines for directions and use almost the entire play clock before each play.
For instance, Harris completed a few passes (one was called back) and also ran for 32 yards to put LSU in field goal range at the end of the first half. Donít ask me why they didnít call a timeout or try a field goal, but playing like that makes him about 10 times better for some reason. It also seemed to help Jennings both in this game and against Wisconsin. It wasnít a hurry-up when they put Jennings in this game (late in the third quarter), but they did play with a focus on looking for openings downfield. I continued to be baffled as to why the coaching staff waits for there to be a significant deficit before changing the style of play.
The final Auburn touchdown of the half was poorly defended, but it wasnít drawn up poorly. I think thatís entirely the result of the defense not getting off the field. In both the Wisconsin and Mississippi St. games, when LSU established a productive offense, the defense shut everything down. Also, even in this game, Auburn only scored 3 points in the first 20+ minutes of the second half. They were trying to get that final touchdown at that point, so I think thatís relevant.
Anyway, LSU should have been behind no more than 14 going into the half and instead they were behind 24. Thatís a dramatic difference. Look how quickly Ole Miss came up with the last two touchdowns against Alabama. Thatís no joke of a defense either, but three or four scores? Thatís not even a game really. (People say itís three scores, but who goes 3/3 in two-point conversions?)
I knew we had a young team this year, and Iíve expressed disappointment (but not shock) in how slowly both quarterbacks are coming along. It happens though. Experience can do a lot of good and its absense can be clear. The coaches have to give the team a better chance to win though, even if a win still would have been unlikely had things been done well. The halftime score was ultimately the result of a lack of good strategy and leadership.
LSU did have scoring opportunities in the second half, but rather than kicking field goals, they went for it on fourth downs. I would have probably kicked field goals personally just to try to build some momentum, but thatís the least of my complaints.
Trivia and Looking Ahead
Tommy Tuberville remains an unpopular person in Baton Rouge for smoking a cigar on the field after the big Auburn win in 1999.
Likely due to those decisions, this is LSUís worst loss sinceÖ Auburn in 1999. LSU lost by an identical score that year when the Fighting Tigers started 0-7 in conference before Gerry DiNardo was relieved of his duties (leading to the hiring of Nick Saban in the following offseason). LSU won by 35 in 2011, so thatís still the biggest win in the series by either team. This is the fifth time Auburn has beaten LSU by more than 20 (49 games dating back to 1901), but it is only the third time since 1938. The closest of the three was by 24 in 1993.
LSU did have five losses of 28 or more since then, but only once was under Les Miles. They were Florida 2000, Florida 2001, Alabama 2002, Georgia 2004, and Florida 2008.
Miles will try to win his 100th game since coming to LSU at Florida next Saturday.
Since the SEC expanded to 12 teams in 1992, LSU has traveled to both Auburn and Florida in every even year. LSU has never won both games and not coincidentally has never won the SEC West in an even year, so this pretty much assures it wonít happen this year either.
Auburn is now the only undefeated SEC team outside of Mississippi, but they have what should be an interesting trip to Starkville next week. Ole Miss will travel to Texas A&M, so there may be only one SEC undefeated after next week.
This is more just trivia and information than analysis.† I went into more detail about x's and o's here.
No SEC West team has a loss outside of the SEC West yet. That may not change in the next few weeks, but one thing is certain: the number of undefeated teams in the division will be reduced considerably from the current number (5).
Below are the upcoming intra-divisional games. Two games in each of the next two weeks are between pairs of currently unbeaten teams.
Texas A&M @ Miss st.
Alabama @ ole miss
LSU @ Auburn
Ole miss @ Texas A&M
Auburn @ Mississippi st.
Alabama @ Arkansas
Texas A&M @ Alabama
I thought of one scenario where there could be no undefeated teams and a 5-way tie for first at one loss apiece.
LSU beats auburn, who beats miss st., who beats A&M, who beats Alabama, who beats ole miss. That would assume wins in other conference games.
LSU has won 15 of 28 (going back to 1982) and 4 of 7 games (going back to 2007) in the state of Alabama. The last game (in Tuscaloosa last November) was of course a loss though.
When LSU travels to the state of Alabama, we are generally talking about close games though. Last year wasnít close, but the few times before thatÖ (Even years are Auburn, odd are Alabama)
Spencer Ware was one of the few offensive play-makers when LSU last visited Auburn in 2012. Over his right shoulder is Gene Chizik.
Auburn only has one recent single-digit game at Tiger Stadium, the 30-24 LSU win on a touchdown right before the final gun in 2007. That had been the fourth straight LSU-Auburn game decided by less than 7 points.
Another interesting thing I read was that Les Miles is just one win short of his 100th victory at LSU (in his 10th season).
Out of rankings: (11) Penn St., (18) Rutgers, (19) Arkansas. (21) Washington, (25) Virginia
Explanation and future rankings
As I mentioned last week, this is my transition week into adopting all or most of my computer rankings.
I would have liked to have kept Arkansas, after its very good game against Texas A&M, and Virginia, which lost to two top-10 teams above and beat a top-20 team. I didnít keep them because they were not in the top 35, and I didnít want to deviate more than 10 spots.
The team where I deviated the most was East Carolina. I couldnít justify putting them behind a Baylor team whose best win is Iowa St. Georgia has one win over an ACC team, but East Carolina has two.
South Carolina is the only two-loss team that made it, but the Gamecocks did so on the strength of their wins. Virginiaís just werenít strong enough to merit consideration.
I donít like ranking Missouri, but they have three wins over FBS teams. Obviously one of them is a very good win. I consider Indiana a bad loss, but it will take some time for them to show up that way even if the Hoosiers are in fact bad. Indiana is 2-2, including an FCS win; but the FCS team they beat is Indiana St., who is otherwise undefeated and has a win over an FBS team. So for right now itís just sort of a mediocre loss. I do have Missouri a few spots below where the computer put them though.
I certainly didnít want to put USC (the loss to Boston College isnít looking so good) or Minnesota (who was destroyed by TCU) in the top 25 even though the computer had them there.
The only other team I was really reluctant to rank was Marshall, but theyíre undefeated, and I couldnít justify putting anyone else ahead of them.
I tried with Michigan St. and Ohio St., because I certainly think either would beat Marshall; but there just isnít a good argument being that Iím trying to transition into the objective system. Michigan St. was the best available team; but they were 10 spots lower than Marshall, so there was really no way to justify bridging that gap. Ohio St. was even lower.
Michigan St.ís only wins are Jacksonville St., Eastern Michigan, and Wyoming, so I donít think thatís good enough. At least Marshall beat Akron (who beat Pittsburgh). I know that isnít much to go on, but itís more than Michigan St. has; and again, the formula is something to go on as well.
Itís also more than Ohio St. has to go on. Navy and Cincinnati are just not looking like good wins right now. Cincinnati only beat Miami U. and Toledo, and Navy now has three losses after losing to Western Kentucky. Even if the Buckeyes do have better wins than Marshall does, that still doesnít address the loss to Virginia Tech, whose only other wins are William and Mary and Western Michigan.
Cincinnati travels to U. Miami (the one in Florida) in a couple of weeks and also plays East Carolina in November, so if they win a string of games, that will help Ohio St. of course. Two byes and two wins over MAC teams (with two FBS wins between them) doesnít help much right now though.
Ohio St. and Michigan St. both have decent opportunities to join the top 25 next week.
I moved the top 25 teams an average of four spots each. There are only four teams that I moved 7 or more spots up or down. I moved Arizona down 8, North Carolina St. down 7, East Carolina up 10, and Louisville up 7. I am trying to avoid any larger jumps next week.
Note that I still moved East Carolina down two spots compared to last week, I still moved Arizona up 7 spots as compared to last week, and I moved North Carolina St. up two spots as compared to last week despite a loss.
I want to go back to the teams I skipped over for a second, Iíll have no problem ranking USC if they beat Arizona St. next week and are still in the computer top 25. I just think they need that additional quality win in light of Boston College losing to Colorado St.
Minnesota has a bye week, so theyíll probably fall slightly on their own. If their past opponents are still good enough for them to stay in the top 25, I will probably still put them there. TCU plays Oklahoma, and Michigan travels to Rutgers, so we shall see. The Gophers are 22nd in the computer formula right now, so if they stay 22nd, that wonít bother me anyway.
Iím not 100% sure that next week wonít be another transition week, but Iím leaning toward going to the computers exclusively or almost exclusively (sometimes I slightly rearrange the very top teams in early October) next week. I take serious issue with a relatively small number of the results for this point in the season.
I predict I will stick to the computer rankings in full after the games of October 18. Alabama plays Texas A&M that day. Auburn is idle, but in the two weekends before their bye (i.e., this coming weekend and the following weekend) they play LSU and Mississippi St. Mississippi St. is idle the week of the 18th as well, but not before playing Texas A&M and Auburn. Florida St. plays Notre Dame on the 18th. Oregon plays UCLA on the 11th (which could also make or keep UCLA #1), followed by Washington on the 18th.
Nebraska plays Michigan St. this Saturday, but I doubt they can get enough points in the next three weeks under any combination of wins and losses by the other teams I mentioned. The Huskers are idle on the 11th and play Northwestern on the 18th.
Oklahoma is back at #10, but they have a decent combination of games in the next three weeks: TCU, Texas, and Kansas St.