There have been a lot of people who have looked at the top four – whether it was the CFP’s or the mock BCS’s or my objective computer ratings – and have gotten all upset that it contains three SEC West teams.
First of all, that kind of consensus tells you they’re wrong to complain; but secondly, people forget this isn’t an 11-team Big Ten with an 8-game schedule and no championship game. No one is just going to avoid another top team or two and coast to the playoff.
Every team in the SEC West has to play every other team. The remaining battles start on Saturday, when Auburn plays Ole Miss. I can pretty much guarantee you they won’t both stay ahead of Florida St. and Oregon if the Noles and Ducks both win this weekend (if you count Thursday night).
It is impossible for any combination of three SEC West teams to finish with one loss or fewer and therefore extremely unlikely that three of them would be in the top 4 at the end of the year.
Each of the four teams at the top of the SEC West right now has two games left against the other four. Auburn plays Ole Miss and Alabama; Ole Miss plays Auburn and Mississippi St.; Mississippi St. plays Alabama and Ole Miss; and Alabama plays Mississippi St. and Auburn.
That’s not to mention the fact that two of the teams (Mississippi St. and Ole Miss) still have to play Arkansas. I know the Hogs are winless in conference, but their only losses are in the SEC West and to the best team in the SEC East so far, Georgia. The only other loss from outside of this top group was in overtime to Texas A&M. Also, they put a scare into Alabama, so they can knock off one of these teams.
Speaking of Alabama, even though they got past Arkansas, they have to win in Tiger Stadium at night in about two weeks. They have done that a couple of times in recent years, but it wasn’t easy. They needed to win in overtime in 2008 (even though that was the worst team Miles has had at LSU and the Tide were undefeated at the time) and in the last minute in 2012.
Auburn has to play Georgia, which appears to be the top team in the East, also on the road.
Speaking of Georgia, they’re the one SEC team that I could even imagine causing three of the top four to be SEC. Mississippi St. and Alabama could each finish with one loss (if Alabama wins out and Mississippi St. wins out apart from the Alabama game).
Alabama could be consensus #1 and go into the SEC championship game against Georgia (who themselves could win their remaining games). Georgia could win the SEC. I’m not sure if a loss to another one-loss team in Game 13 of the season knocks a team down from #1 to #5, but if I were a one-loss Oregon team, for instance, I wouldn’t want to have to find out the answer to that question.
On the other hand, LSU’s only losses are to two top-5 teams and they’re way down at #19 despite beating the committee’s #4 team last week. So the committee probably wouldn’t even allow that scenario to happen.
Speaking of LSU, they could be a catalyst for the SEC having just one team in the top 4. The Tigers are not eliminated from the SEC West. Alabama and Ole Miss beat Mississippi St., and Auburn could beat Ole Miss but lose to Alabama and possibly one other team (Arkansas and Georgia are possibilities). There would be nothing particularly strange about any of those results.
If there were a 4-way tie without Auburn under the above scenario, LSU would win the tie. LSU and Ole Miss would both be 2-1 against other teams in the tie, and then the resulting 2-way tie would be broken by LSU’s win over Ole Miss. There could be a 5-way tie, but unless one of the losses is to another team (such as Arkansas or Georgia), everyone in the tie would then be 2-2 against the other teams. This tie would then be broken by best SEC East opponents, which right now would be won by Auburn with LSU a close second. LSU’s opponents would have to be better (and not even) because they would obviously lose a 2-way tie with Auburn.
Anyway, even if Georgia wins out, they already have one loss, so a loss in the SEC Championship Game would give them 2 losses. If the entire SEC has at least two losses, it would make sense to give the champion a spot in the top four and no one else.
It doesn’t take anything crazy though for the champion of the SEC could have one or no losses and everyone else could have 2 losses. This would also probably result in only that one team in the playoff.
So it seems nearly impossible for there to be three SEC teams in the playoffs, more likely than not for there to be two teams, and quite possibly just one team.
In short, if you’re really nervous about there being too many SEC teams…
Mississippi St. winning out will make sure everyone but Auburn finished with at least two losses. The chances are pretty good that Auburn will lose a second game anyway.
I, on the other hand, want to see LSU get as close as they can.
Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. Many weeks ago, I wrote about my son transferring to Ranger College to play Junior College baseball this year. Julie and I looked forward to watching baseball in the fall, but have discovered that much of the games are really nothing more than scrimmages. Last weekend Ranger traveled to Nacogdoches to play three games that more or less complete the baseball part of the fall. After a quick discussion, we decided to take off early Friday and hit the road. Of course, with the best laid plans…there always seems to be “surprises”. Ours was that we had to tie up the loose ends on finalizing the car deal for my daughter…which meant that we needed the insurance check to be delivered before we left. So, we packed and waited for the Fed Ex guy to show up. To make a long story short, we did not get off in time to see the Friday night game. I have always preferred to drive at night as the traffic is less and it usually means that I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn. Anyway, we rolled up just as the players were walking off the field and I got a few minutes to talk to my son. He was pretty pumped about how he had played behind the plate. Three runners attempted to steal and all three went back to the bench. Ranger was down by a run in the last inning and Blake led off the inning with a walk. They ended up with runners on 1st and 3rd and one out. A medium ground ball looked to be enough to get the tying runner home, but the SFA player recruited to umpire 1st base must have been ready to leave as he raised the thumb to signal a double play and end the game.
When we decided to make the trip to Nacogdoches, we had no idea that Saturday was home coming for Stephen F Austin State University. The town was crowded with alumni and there was a tinge of excitement in the air. Since Nacogdoches was a new destination for us, we used the break between games to check out downtown. It is funny, but with all of the travels we have had in the past few years…I realize now that we have been sizing each location as a potential retirement spot. Austin has been a great place to live and raise kids, but with the increased population and traffic…we are seeking a something different for the next phase of life. A city like Nacogdoches has possibilities. It is big enough (32,000) to have decent restaurants, stores, etc…but not too big. Honestly, I was very impressed with the school. It is a fairly large school (12,000 students), but the university has a very traditional quality that we both found appealing. I did not realize it, but Nacogdoches is the oldest town in Texas. Sam Houston was a resident for several years and what was a surprise to me is that 9 flags have flown over this city in its history. Reportedly, there have been residents in the area for an amazing 10,000 years…pretty cool. All in all, it was a great weekend. Although the Ranger team packed up and drove home Saturday night, we decided to stay Saturday night and enjoy the scenery on the way home. Here are a few pics from our trip:
From our last trip to Ranger.
From this angle, I thought I had found the Go Fart Center. It turns out it was Cole Art and I was bummed.
We were admiring this art at a shop and found out that we were talking to the artist. Mary Hooper does amazing watercolors.
Stephen F. Austin State University...a beautiful campus
Some of the tournament games were a few miles down the road. This is Angelina College in Lufkin
This the night game back in Nacogdoches.
We found this wonderful little lake in the middle of the Davy Crockett National Forest
You never know when you will run across some great BBQ. This little spot in Centerville had awesome brisket.
I almost forgot...Happy Halloween to everyone. Remember to be drive safely as those young trick or treaters will be on the streets this Friday.
Halloween 2014 with Steve and Laura...a Halloween tradition.
Since I was out of pocket most of the weekend, I did not have a chance to watch much football. Based upon the comments I read about the Texas game against Kansas State, I suppose I am lucky to have missed that game. If ever there was a team that has had the Longhorns number it is Kansas State. I got to thinking about Bill Snyder and just how damn good of a coach he is. While you don’t hear much about Snyder, those that know football are quick to acknowledge his football genius. When he took the Kansas State job in 1988, the Wildcats were quite literally the dregs of college football. They were voted the nations “worst” football team by Sports Illustrated and it was clear that Snyder had his hands full. In his first year of competition The Wildcats won one game in 1989, a last second win over North Texas. One win may not seem like a big deal, but it was the first victory for Kansas State in three years. From that meager beginning, Snyder quickly had the Wildcats playing and winning bowl games. In 1998, Snyder’s team made it all the way to the #1 spot in the nation. Barry Switzer called Snyder the coach of the century for the job he had done at Kansas State…and he makes a damn good point. Coach Snyder is the type of coach that we would all love to have our son’s play for. He is what is right about college football and despite his habit of whipping my favorite team; I have to admit that I have a great deal of admiration for the man. So, even though I was disappointed in the result Saturday…there is no shame to losing to Kansas State. Having tipped my hat to Snyder, I still believe that the Longhorns are moving in the right direction. After the Iowa State game, I was hopeful that the Horns might go on a nice run and find a way to win 6 games. At 3 and 5, the Longhorns now face an uphill battle to reach 6 wins. With four games remaining against Texas Tech, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and TCU…I only see one game that looks to be an “easy” win. And…considering that “easy” game is in Lubbock, perhaps I should reevaluate that “easy” word. Tech is struggling for sure, but they always are tough at home against the Longhorns. Thankfully, Texas plays West Virginia at home, but make no doubt…it will still be a battle. Last year, I stood behind Mack Brown and voiced my support for the university to honor the remaining year of his contract. Remember that the Horns were one loss to Baylor from winning the Big 12 last year. While I support the changes that Charlie Strong has implemented…I scratch my head when I see that Malcom Brown only had 6 carries against Kansas State. Last year, Brown nearly carried the Horns to a Big 12 title and suddenly he only gets 6 carries in a shut out loss to the Wildcats? While much of what Strong has done makes sense, this game plan makes no sense to me at all. Again I will say that Strong is on the right path, but there are rumblings in Austin after this game.
There are also rumblings around Dallas after the Cowboys loss to the Redskins on Monday night football. While some will use this game as a chance to bust the chops of Tony Romo, that is an ignorant take for me. I will put this loss solely on the coaching staff. If you know much about football, you will surely recognize that 5 linemen cannot block 7 or 8 defenders. The Redskins repeatedly sold out with blitzes, but the Cowboys never made adjustments to the blitzes. Football 101 says, if something is working, keep doing it until the other team stops it. Haslett was right to continue to blitz as the Cowboys never did anything to make him stop. My question is why? In this age of high tech football, coaches sitting high above can see exactly what is being done. I am not a football genius, but from my recliner I am wondering why the Cowboys did not go to max protect on 3rd down. It was interesting to see the success Dallas had after Romo left the game due to injury. This was not because of the great play of Brandon Weeden (although he was efficient), but because the Cowboys relied on the running game to move the ball. I appreciate the toughness of Tony Romo for coming back into the game; I know this won’t be forgotten in the locker room. But honestly, I am not so sure that the Cowboys might not have been better off with Weeden and the conservative running attack in overtime. When it mattered most, the Cowboys forgot a basic rule of football that Jim Haslett used to beat Dallas. If something is working, keep doing it. When Demarco Murray gained 8 yards on the first play of overtime, I expected the Cowboys to continue to pound the rock. Instead, the Cowboys never ran the ball again. For me, that is poor play calling and not on the abilities of Tony Romo. The Cowboys have won 6 games because they have done a superb job of protecting their defense with a power running attack. When it mattered most, the Cowboys forgot who they were and this cost them a loss on Monday night.
To be honest, I was nervous about the Monday night game against the Redskins. While the Cowboys have played much better than Washington this year…it was still a rivalry game and a Monday night game to boot. For me, this game looked very much like the proverbial “trap” game. The Redskins are not a team without talent, but have had a difficult time staying in games due to turnovers. The belief that backup QB Cousins might be a better fit for the Redskins offense than RG III has proven to be a false. In desperation, Jay Gruden turned to forgotten man Colt McCoy. To the surprise of many, McCoy rallied the Skins to a last minute win over the Titans. I watched Colt grow up as a QB at Texas and knew that his mobility and accuracy might present problems for Dallas. I was hoping for a great game for Colt that fell just short of a victory. Despite the loss, watching Steve Young and company laud McCoy after the game made me smile. After being kicked to the curb by Cleveland, Colt found another job and quietly went to work. History is full of successful people that have persevered and I am hopeful that the future holds a similar fate for McCoy. What I know about Colt McCoy is that he is smart and he is a competitor...and he does not quit. It was no surprise to me that Colt was able to play well enough for the Redskins to win. Of course, RGIII will soon take back the starting job in Washington, but I have a hunch that several teams saw enough Monday night to be intrigued by the abilities of one Colt McCoy. Make no mistake, I was rooting for a Cowboy win, but the sting of the loss certainly was lessened because it was Colt at the helm. 25 completions in 30 attempts for 299 yards…not a bad night for a “3rd” string QB. By the way, I am not sure what John Gruden has against McCoy, but it sure seemed to me that he was looking for any reason to rag on Colt. He even blamed McCoy for the penalty when the wrong player came into the huddle. In the end, even Gruden had to admit that Colt had played pretty well. I can only say to Gruden. C'mon man...
I made a comment earlier this week that I would put big money on KC winning Tuesday night. I had no idea that the Royals would go off like they did, but so it has been in this series. Most of us assumed that each game would be a one point game, but instead the Giants and Royals have taken turns blowing each other out. I don’t know about you, but I have had a great time watching this series and find it totally appropriate that this series should end with game 7. Did you think that Bruce Bochy was a bit quick with his removal of Peavey? I really thought that Peavey was more of a victim of bad luck than anything else. That play at 1B when Belt looked the runner back then did not have time to make the play at 1B was a huge play. In the pivotal 2nd inning, Peavey broke three bats and got exactly zero outs. It was a strange inning and one that seems to support the thought that the Royals are possibly a team of destiny. That may well be true, but I believe that the Giants will be ready to throw the kitchen sink on Wednesday to bring another championship to the city by the bay. I figured this series would go to 7 games, but damned if I can figure on who the winner will be. As this is a wild card series, would it surprise anyone if we see an extra inning game? Or…perhaps it will be another blow out. Either way, I know I will be watching.
Did you happen to see this sign during the World Series: "Hunter Pence prefers RBIs to Ribs." Now that is funny…
I read that the Boston Red Sox coaches “hate” Yoenis Cespedes. Apparently, Cespedes refuses to acknowledge the Red Sox coaches or their input. What seemed like a perfect match for the Sox apparently is not a lasting match. It would be interesting to see if Cespedes winds up back in Oakland and Lester back in Boston. It just goes to show you that talent does not always mesh in another dugout.
Yep, that is the finger...
It is being reported that Jose Canseco shot himself while cleaning his gun. Reports indicate that Canseco blew off the middle finger on his left hand. Doctors are not sure if they will be able to save the finger or not. I know that this is not funny, but for the life of me…I can’t keep a smile off my face. Seriously though…best of luck keeping your finger Jose.
Monday night we learned that St. Louis Cardinal uber prospect Oscar Taveras was killed in an auto accident in the Dominican Republic. It was sad news for a very promising talent. It is difficult to realize that such a young player is no longer with us. I offer my condolences to the family of Oscar Taveras and the St. Louis Cardinal family. While words don’t mean much when death robs us of a young player like Taveras, I was proud to hear Mike Matheny offer his words about love. In the world of sports, we often forget that teammates and coaches do become a family in every sense of the word.
By the way, we have new member at the Gab. A good friend of mine has joined, so please give him a welcome if you see him around...look for RagZ. He is a great guy with a wealth of sports knowledge. He has done a tremendous amount for youth sports in the Austin area and has a mighty fine youngster playing high school football and baseball in a local Austin school.
That’s all I have for today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
"I think my new thing will be to try to be a real happy guy. I'll just walk around being real happy until some jerk says something stupid to me."
"If you lived in the Dark Ages and you were a catapult operator, I bet the most common question people would ask is, 'Can't you make it shoot farther?' 'No, I'm sorry. That's as far as it shoots.' "
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…
Recently the issue of race came up in the form of an anonymous quote in the Seattle Seahawks locker room disparaging Russell Wilson as “not being black” enough. I hear about something like that and I bristle, no one would take ownership of the quote and it was black writer (I hate the term African-American) that reported the issue. I then thought, what is “Black enough?” Am I not black enough because I live in the suburbs and not in the hood? Im sorry I like to know I can leave my backpack in my car and it not get into, I like the quietness of my neighborhood. Its not a black/white thing its my home. Russell Wilson is a fine upstanding young man, and his race should not be a factor in how he is perceived. I’d like to think that enough time has passed where the issue of a “black quarterback” is a non issue. Geno Smith struggles in New York and might very well lose his starting job to another black quarterback Michael Vick but no one really cares about skin color here. They are concerned that Smith is throwing interceptions at a frighteningly frequent clip. RGIII looks to be coming back to play for Washington soon, his struggles only looked at from a playing perspective. I think enough time has passed from when a black quarterback was curiosity or novelty. When quarterbacks like Merlin Briscoe, Joe Gilliam and James “Shack” Harris were the rare exception as quarterback and Warren Moon had to go to Canada for seven years before someone happened on the idea that he might be a decent QB. Russell Wilson became the 2nd black quarterback to win a Super Bowl 26 years after Doug Williams did it (ironically in a blowout against the Broncos featuring an iconic QB), but when Wilson won there were few that talked about it. And that in itself was a good thing. Why? I don’t care if the quarterback of my team is black white, a woman or a martian. If they are winning games and carrying themselves with the right kind of attitude, im good with it. I only see color when it comes to my team. And I’ll root hard for or rail on a bad quarterback black or white. Trust me, Tavaris Jackson made my blood boil, and Daunte Culppepper could be frustrating but I also railed on Christian Ponder, Gus Frerotte and Jeff George. But I digress. Ultimately, the term acting black or not being black enough is a misnomer and something that is insulting. I spoke correctly in school and got called a punk for it. I was taught to speak clearly and correctly. Could I hood it up when the need presented itself? Of course I could and at when the scenario presents itself, do. But in my line of work, when the money is on the line I think I speak more “proper” But the term to me in annoying and I think that the person that was responsible for the “anonymous quote” was the real coward.
Goodell continues to ruin the NFL
The NFL is hell bent on shoving the concept of a team in London down our collective throats. The Lions and Falcons played the second of the three scheduled games in Wembley Stadium. The Raiders and Dolphins played a snoozer last month. Now this game played this past Sunday was markedly differnet to be sure the Lions spotted the Falcons a 21-0 before roaring back to win 22-21 on a second chance field goal by Matt Prater. But now the NFL is looking to five games in London in 2015 taking another home game from a pair of teams but damn sure not reducing season ticket package prices. THe NFL wants to dominate the day watching. The Lions-Falcons game kicked off at 9:30a EDT to placate the locals who wanted a day game, and the talk is that more of the London based game will be kicking off at this time to get more TV coverage. Also London is clamoring hard for NFL team of their own, now not only is this sacrilege this smacks in the fast of continuing to ignore the nations #2 TV market LA. Which I think that Der Kommisar Goodell is wanting to remain open to use a leverage for cities that wont toe their stadium building line. The one off game in London is amusing and different but the increasing number of games in London at the expense of the American fans is stupid. Do you think that the Barclays Premier League would move a regular season match by two of its teams to America or that they think that they would try to get an American team here? It wouldn’t happen, period.
End of the Line for Nash?
The Lakers Steve Nash stayed around for the paycheck but it seems that the Lakers are paying for an expensive bench warmer. Nash reinjured his back and is likely out for the season and possibly his career. The wily guard who was the point man for the high scoring Suns team of the mid to late 2000s played only 65 total game for the Lake Show and is likely done for good it’s a sad coda for one of the more brilliant ball handlers and scorers in the game. He was fun to watch and played the game with a fearless drive that made him easy to root for, he won back to back MVP’s in 2005 and 2006 and many are left to wonder if healthy could he have made a real difference in preventing the Lake Show frightening slide into irrelavence in their own city. I would have liked to see Nash playing out this season, having has announced that this season upcoming would be his last. But it its not meant to be and we will have to wonder is the Canadian gem a first ballot hall of famer.
A world class world series
The World Series is looking like it could be a classic with the Giants now hold a 3-2 edge behind Madison Baumgartner’s complete game 5 gem as the series returns to Kansas City. The scrappy Royals are facing elimination for the first time since the wild card game against the Giants cross-bay neighbors in Oakland. Here is where the Americans win in the all-star game is proving to be critical. The Giants will have to clinch it on the road in front the rowdy Royals fans who are unleashing 29 years of pent up playoff frustration. I think that the big city pundits that are whining that since the big names and big stars are not on the major stage the series isn’t worth watching. I disagree, this is shaping to be one of the best series in quite a while. I mean seriously when did you remember a series this action packed? So what both teams won less than 90 games in the regular season, they are playing scrappy passionate baseball and you have to know that Bud Selig in his final series as commissioner is delighted that the small market Royals are standing tall in the mega spotlight of the World Series and are still very much in the hunt to take the title. But the battle tested Giants seem to never be rattled and just seem to have every answer.
To Oak Harbors football team that forfeits game to give title to Marysville after a tragic shooting earlier in the day. Rather than rescheduling the game after the shooting. Oak Harbor forfeited the game to give Marysville the conference title and attended a vigil at Marysville that night. You have to give dap to Oak Harbor for thinking of their fellow football players in their time of grief and love to Marysville, Hoodwood grieves with you.
Lamarr Houston of the Bears who injured himself celebrating a sack. Did I mention that it was of Jimmy Garopalo? And that it was late in the Pats blowout of the Bears? Houston tore his ACL and is out for the season. What a moron
82 points for TCU…in a football game? The basketball team hasn’t scored that much in 2 years
I like Peyton Manning (hes the QB of one of my fantasy teams) but the rant at the scoreboard operator was stupid
Why do I get the feeling that the college football playoff will find a way to get it wrong? If Notre Dame is anywhere near this or multiple SEC teams, this playoff scheme will be a sham
My first four teams Miss. St, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State
Is there a clear cut favorite for the Heisman?
Kobe’s mad at his player ranking, why is he on the delusion that he is one of the best players in the NBA?
If the Giants take the series isn’t it about time that we start talking about Bruce Bochy being one of the best baseball managers of this era, three titles in five years but he gets no love outside the bay area.
One of my fantasy teams is climbing back from an 0-4 deficit while my 6-1 team took an unexpected pratfall to the worst team in the league. THe natives are restless (when aren’t they?)
Im no fan of Ben Roethlisberger, but you have to be impressed with him throwing for 5 bills against a Colts team that was coming off an impressive shutout of the Bengals
I don’t know who I trust less Romo or Jay Cutler...how the hell do you lose to Washington and Colt McCoy?
LSU Freshman WR Trey Quinn surfs the crowd after the win on Saturday.
Just so you know, I'm waiting until after the college football playoff committe rankings before posting my top 25, but you can check out my computer rankings here.
A few preliminary things. I updated the chart I made a few days ago with Ole Miss’s performance against LSU when renked. Their last win over LSU when both teams were ranked was 1962. I also updated the blog about the overall series that I published here for the first time in 2010.
Since LSU has a bye week and just had another game with a great finish, I think this week will be the perfect time to the blog I’ve been planning on with the crazy LSU finishes over the last 15 years. It will also be fun because obviously the next game is Alabama, and there were some crazy finishes when Saban was at LSU too. It’s not just a Miles thing. If you want to get an early start on Alabama, I also have a blog about that series of course.
On to the game, I was leaning toward Ole Miss winning, but for some reason I’ve been picking the wrong teams in close games the last several weeks. I also picked Penn St. and USC, for instance.
However, I had a feeling it would be a game like the one that was played and that we would see an improved LSU team from Miss. St. and Auburn. A couple of guesses for potential LSU wins were 17-14 (the score LSU won by in 2003) and 17-16 (the score LSU won by in the disputed 1972 game).
I knew there was a risk Ole Miss would get things going on offense, so I thought they might win by something like 27-24 as they did last year. If things went more poorly for LSU, maybe 28-17, something like that.
The LSU defense was dominant at times, but what I like about this defense is if you get one first down you’re not off to the races. You have to fight for the next one and the one after that. So it stopped or drove Ole Miss back at least three times from borderline field-goal range. There were a few other key stops in the vicinity of midfield as well.
If you had told me the final score would be 10-7, I would have known that favored LSU.
Comparison to recent games and trivia
As a fan, I feel vindicated by this game. When we went to Oxford last year, we were still playing for a national championship, and we got derailed by Ole Miss with a late field goal. Ole Miss only has one loss, so they’re not out of it, but it was still nice to return the favor.
Also, in 2009, we made some mistakes right at the end that potentially cost the game as well, so I felt like this helped even the score. Down by 2, the Tigers drove to the Ole Miss 32, the edges of field goal range. After an incompletion on first down, LSU went backwards. QB Jordan Jefferson was sacked, knocking the Tigers out of field goal range, but it was only third down. When the play ended, 17 seconds ticked off the clock before LSU called a timeout. Miles said he thought a timeout had been called, but the clock ticked down from 0:49 to 0:32 before it was actually stopped by that timeout. LSU then lost more ground on third down, leading to a 4th and 26 with 9 seconds left. I don’t know what that took up so much time either, but the Tigers completed a 42-yard pass for a first down at the Ole Miss 6. They could not get the final play off though, and the game ended.
Ole Miss Head Coach Hugh Freeze reacts to the late interception.
We did get wins over the Rebels in 2010, 2011, and 2012 of course, but it’s nice to get one back that they likely feel they should done better with clock management to give themselves a chance at coming back at the end. To be honest, I thought that might be the kind of thing LSU would do at the end of the game.
It also adds something to the fun when you get a win as an underdog. If you’re supposed to win, it’s usually just more of a relief instead.
LSU has not beaten Ole Miss by more than 7 points at Tiger Stadium since 1995, but somehow LSU has won 6 of the last 7 at home against the Rebels. Ole Miss has still won two of the last three at home against LSU after four straight losses.
LSU is now 24-23 under Les Miles when trailing at some point in the fourth quarter, not only the only team with a winning record but also the only team over 35% in such games. Texas is second since 2005 in both wins (18) and winning percentage (34.6).
Here are a couple more factoids for you: In the last 20 years, only 2 teams have defeated a Top-3 opponent while scoring 10 or fewer points… LSU did it both times: 2011 at No. 2 Alabama (9-6) and 2014 vs No. 3 Ole Miss (10-7). LSU has won 5 out of six games when hosting top 10 teams since 2010. I shouldn’t have to mention the exception.
I correctly anticipated Anthony Jennings would feel the pressure, but I was pleasantly surprised that he seemed to handle it better than Bo Wallace did. While he did turn the ball over twice, they were both long throws and the defense performed well to keep them from being very damaging. Also, it didn’t seem to damage his ability to focus and handle the rest of the game.
Bo Wallace, by contrast, really seemed overwhelmed at times, and not just when he head-butted an LSU player or when he started jawing with the crowd (It reminded me of when Tim Tebow tried to show up the LSU crowd in a loss). He did not turn the ball over until his last throw of the night, but that was obviously a lot more crucial of a mistake.
Also, the interception that was negated by a pass interference was a horrible throw. It was arguably uncatchable, but I’ve studied this rule at length since the Auburn game in 2006 (when LSU was denied an obvious pass interference when the referees picked up the flag). It has to be very clearly uncatchable or it is interference, so the call could have justifiably gone either way. The interpretation that likely prevailed was that the receiver theoretically could have fought off two defenders (the one flagged and the one who caught the ball) and made a play on the ball, but that doesn’t mean it was anything but a bad throw.
Ole Miss’s only score was technically off of a turnover, but it still required an 80-yard drive. So the Tigers really should have been ahead in the early going of the game since one of the fumbles was at the Rebel three-yard line, and after another good drive the LSU kicker missed a 28-yard field goal. He would also make a 21-yard field goal (which was ultimately necessary for the win of course), but that also indicates how close they were to more points on that possession.
LSU did have, surprisingly, over 400 yards of total offense, and they needed just about every one of them, so I don’t think my analysis in picking Ole Miss to win was really that far off. I knew the Ole Miss defense was overrated (at least by those who predicted the LSU running attack would be stopped cold), but I don’t think anyone anticipated giving up that many yards to an offense that had struggled so much in the passing game. (Jennings was still only 8/16 for 142, but that’s better than 7/15 for 120 against Kentucky or 10/21 for 110 against Florida.)
Time of possession is widely considered over-rated, but not for these teams in this game. If your defense needs to hold the other team to 7 points, you want them on the field as little as possible. 36 minutes of possession is pretty substantial.
It seems especially crucial for this LSU defense, which got shredded by Wisconsin, Mississippi St., and Auburn, but only when the Tiger offense could not move the ball against those teams.
I REALLY don’t mean to slight the Ole Miss defense here. I don’t blame them for giving up these yards given the time of possession battle I mentioned. Also, LSU was not just clumsily tossing the ball around and dropping it. The “land sharks” (classic SNL references ftw) deserve primary credit for least three of the four LSU turnovers, and partial credit for the other one. Stopping a team at the three with a turnover is still a stop even if they drove 96 yards to get there (it was actually 69).
As if the game wasn’t emotional enough, I just want to express profound sympathy and admiration for what Miles has gone through over this time. I don’t know how he does everything he does under normal circumstances, but with how big of a game this was and the media circus and so forth, I don’t know how you can deal with all that and the loss of a parent in the same 24 hours.
Also, the LSU fan who had a heart attack and died in the fourth quarter. I hope he learned of the outcome somehow. May he become another Tiger Stadium ghost who watches over us. Someone wrote a comment about that before the game, so I thought I’d share:
“When The Golden Band From Tiger Land plays the “Duuuun, dun, dun, dunt” – those four notes that send chills up the back of the Tiger faithful, the Chinese Bandits reemerge. Billy Cannon slips through another tackler. Bert Jones gets another second on the clock. Hodson hits Fuller in the back of the end zone on 4th down again. Matt Mauck finds Skyler Green one more time. Tyrann Mathieu returns that punt against Arkansas down 14-0 and the ghosts cascade down onto the field with the roar of 100,000 wild Louisianians and the dreams of opponents begin to die.
I know this is supposed to be a powerful statement against sexism and such, but aside from that, I just couldn't stop laughing at this hilarious video.
It was quite the eventful week in college football and it really began last Saturday when former USC star LenDale White went on Twitter to blast AD Pat Haden after White got kicked out of the stadium. Reading the news article, White makes a case for why ex-players should never be allowed around a program once they leave the school.
It's been three years since the Jerry Sandusky scandal erupted at Penn State. SI.com's Tim Layden went to Happy Valley to see how things have changed since then. You can read the story HERE.
The University of North Carolina has long had a strong academic reputation. But that reputation is not only tarnished now, it is in tatters. A report released this week revealed a massive cheating scandal over years that included over 3,100 students. That figure includes 1,500 athletes. While football players aren't the only sport indicted, they do seem to be a large part of it along with men's and women's basketball as well. You can read the story HERE.
Because athletes are involved, that is the angle most stories will carry. It is hard to argue with that notion, but it would be nice to see the 1600 "regular" students get their turn in the harsh media glare as well. As for the athletic department, you do have to ask why in the world they would do this. Okay, yes they need players to pass so they can play but there's two glaring problems with this school of thought. The first is that they aren't doing any real service to the students by letting them cheat. The constant handwringing about giving athletes a chance to change their lives by attending college kind of goes by the boards when it turns they didn't actually do any work in the first place. These same athletes that were being helped to stay eligible will be utterly bereft of further life opportunities that the top notch education they were SUPPOSED to be getting would have given them when their athletic careers end. It's like they want to turn out a generation of idiots who don't know how to do anything.
The second problem is that SECRETS ALWAYS FIND THEIR WAY OUT! Yes, it may take a long time but eventually all these scandals find the spotlight. You may get away with it in the short term, but the hammer is going to come down on your and yours HARD when you do get caught.
I know that the NFL doesn't allow players into the league until three years after high school, but they might want to change that rule. If only so that colleges stop letting people into the school that can't possibly do the work. Social promotion is a horrible excuse for turning out one moron after another. Either teach like you are supposed to do, or get out of the business of education. If that affects the won-loss record of your football team, so be it. You are the ones responsible for the bed you made, now lay down in it.
Yahoo Sports columnist Pat Forde had a great piece on the scandal. Check it out via this link.
Boston College - Before talking about the Eagles on the road vs. Wake Forest yesterday, I thought you might want to check out this article on quarterback Tyler Murphy.
The game against the Demon Deacons started out in the first half as an exercise in total domination by the Eagles. Boston College was up 17-0 at halftime with a total of 213 yards of total offense. 147 of those yards came via the run game. Conversely, Wake Forest had MINUS 3 yards rushing (6 yards total offense) for the half.
In the second half, Wake Forest didn't improve all that much on the ground (19 total yards rushing for the game), but their passing game took off and finished with 242 yards through the air as they pushed BC's seeming inability to get much going offensively. The Eagles held on to win 23-17 but some might say that the Eagles kind of rested on their first half laurels and almost paid a dear price for it.
In moving to 5-3, the Eagles got a superlative rushing defense (see below) that also saw them sack Wake Forest QB John Wolford 4 times. While the secondary did give up yardage in the air, it was DB Justin Simmons picking off Wolford that sealed the victory for the Eagles.
QB Tyler Murphy (pictured below) was an economical 11-15 passing for 165 yards, including a 37 yard TD pass to Shakim Phillips. Murphy also ran for 77 yards.
Freshman sensation Jon Hilliman (pictured below twice) ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
The Eagles are now one win away from becoming bowl eligible
You can check out the game highlight reel below.
Alabama - The Crimson Tide rolled to a 7-1 record with their 34-20 victory over Tennessee last night. While Bama seemed to be in full control as they built a 27-0 lead, the Volunteers did eventually make it a game with their ability to run against the Crimson Tide defense. The Volunteers finished with 181 yards on the ground, which was just 2 yards less than what Alabama finished with.
The edge in the game came via the arm of quarterback Blake Sims (pictured below). He threw for 286 yards including two big scoring strikes (80 and 41 yards) to Amari Cooper in the first quarter. He also ran for another score.
Amari Cooper (pictured below) caught 9 passes for a school record 224 yards to go with those 2 TDs.
Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon (pictured below) each ran for a score.
The defense had a rough day in giving up a total of 383 yards. They managed to pick off Tennessee QB Joshua Dobbs once and had two sacks.
Mass Maritime - The Buccaneers went on the road this week to play UMass-Dartmouth. I went to this game last year when Maritime hosted (brutally freaking cold that day). One of the coaches for UMD is a former basketball player I coached, which always makes me chuckle.
The game ended up resembling a Wild West shootout as the four game losing streak for Mass Maritime came to an end. The final score was 46-41. Maritime is now 2-5 on the season.
The game featured almost 1000 yards in total offense between the two teams, and Maritime's defense tallied 6 sacks on the afternoon. E.J. caught 2 passes for 47 yards and a touchdown.
By the way, you can read a brief article about E.J. that was published in the Cape Cod Times on 10/23/14 HERE.
THE BASEBALL HOT STOVE
While it isn't OFFICIALLY the hot stove season in baseball yet, there were a couple of moves off the field that caught my interest.
Try as I might, the World Series isn't really holding my interest. I don't have anything against either team, but with the Boston Red Sox out of things, the largest part of my rooting interest ended at their game 162.
Speaking of the Red Sox, the team announced the hiring of Chili Davis as their new hitting coach. The former All-Star player was been the hitting coach with the Oakland A's the last three seasons, but worked as the Red Sox instructor at the Triple A level before that. He seemed to have a pretty good run of success with the A's, so let's hope he can get Yoenis Cespedes to have a better OBP next season. And it would also help if he could get some of the younger guys to at least look like they can hit major league pitching.
The far bigger news came on Friday when Joe Maddon opted out of his contract with the Tampa Bay DEVIL Rays. He had a year left on the contract but decided to exercise that clause. After the Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman left to join the Dodgers organization, this latest departure could be the harbinger of the Rays going back to being a non-competitive laughingstock. And it likely gives Maddon a chance to find a new managerial job with a club that actually spends money on players rather than solely draft players and hope for the best. You can read more about Maddon's departure HERE.
Yes, it is really me writing about the topic of golf. However, given my longstanding aversion to the activity, it won't come as too much of a shock when you see that I'm writing about something outside of the actual playing of the game.
On Friday, Ted Bishop, the president of the PGA, was impeached from his position (a month before his term was up anyway) because of comments he made first on Twitter and then expanded upon on Facebook. He was defending Nick Faldo against Ian Poulter (two players feuding with each other) and Bishop referred to Poulter as a "little girl" and then later "like a little girl squealing at recess".
As you might expect, the sexism card was played and though he was offered the chance to resign, he declined. The PGA's board of governors then voted him out anyway. He's losing his job, he won't be recognized as an honory president and won't be referred to by the PGA as a past president.
Seriously? All this over him acting like a two year old and throwing around relatively tame (or should I say lame ass) insults? I'm more offended that he couldn't come up with anything more creative to use to insult Poulter.
But I guess in this day and age, you can't say anything to anyone or about anyone without someone acting like you've just made a sin against all mankind.
You can read more (including some really pathetic cover your ass apologies from both Bishop and the PGA) HERE.
I'm nothing if not mediocre. Another week of splitting the two leagues I'm in with a 1-1 record for yet another week.
Mount Saint Joseph University - Last week's mention of Lauren Hill, the terminally ill player determined to play "One More Game" brought about a request to provide updates as the game gets closer. News about the game being moved to Xavier University's Cintas Center was followed by more news that the tickets were sold out in 30 minutes. It is a 10,000 plus seat arena! You can read the most recent report HERE.
Boston College Men - The season is still a couple weeks away but you can check out this brief interview with Olivier Hanlan. He talks about his work in the summer and why he came back for another season with the Eagles.
Missouri State - You can learn more about Lady Bear Tyonna Snow in this video piece. You can check out a shot of the Lady Bears basketball team from their Media Day event below.
Boston College Women - Nicole Boudreau and Kelly Hughes were the two players from the team that went to the ACC media day event in Greensboro, NC this past week. Along with coach Erik Johnson they met the media for season previews etc. You can see some shots of the two players from the event below.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
There was a ton of rain to deal with in the area this week but some game action did make it in.
Wareham Boys Soccer - The Vikings lost to Apponequet 8-1.
Wareham Girls Soccer - The team lost to Apponequet 3-0. They also had Senior Night this week. My former player Brianna is the only senior on the team so congratulations to her for battling through all her various injuries to make it back to the field this season.
Upper Cape Girls JV Soccer - Against Old Colony, the jayvees opened up a can of whoopass and beat the Cougars 9-0. Ann Marie had 2 assists in the game.
Wareham Field Hockey - The Vikings got knocked off twice this week with a 3-0 loss to Westport and a 4-0 loss to ORR. They are 2-14 on the season.
Wareham Girls Volleyball - The team got swept 3-0 in their match against Apponequet. The team held a free clinic for younger potential players. You can read about that HERE.
Upper Cape Varsity Football - Last Saturday, the Rams blew out Holbrook/Avon 38-14 and my girlfriend's son Connor (who is usually on the JV team) was able to make his varsity debut for a few plays. Way to go Connor!
Wareham Football - Despite talk of how the Wareham defense had been improving over the last couple of weeks, the Vikings were completely annihilated by Apponequet on Friday night. They lost 61-6. Apponequet had 502 yards of total offense while Wareham managed just 84 yards.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity Soccer - I mentioned last week that UCT soccer player Krystle found herself 1 goal shy of the 100 goal plateau after scoring a career high six goals in a game. You can read about that game in this Wareham Courier article. (All photos by Adam K. Ellis of the Wareham Courier.)
On Monday of this past week, the Lady Rams faced Bishop Connolly and Krystle did indeed get her 100th goal (plus one more for good measure). Unfortunately they lost the game 4-2. The loss eliminated the team from postseason contention. A 7-0 loss to Norfolk Aggie left them with a 6-10-1 record.
You can can see Krystle's 100th goal on a PK, along with brief comments from her and her coach in this video link.
Some photos from the Bishop Connolly game as well.
The 100th goal kick:
With her team:
Books - I picked up the new Jon Land thriller Strong Darkness this week. It is the latest in his Caitlin Strong series. I can't wait to dig into it.
TV - Here's the Pop-topia.com recaps at this week's new episodes of The Flash and Arrow.
Movies - The trailer for the new Avengers movie "Age of Ultron" was "accidentally" leaked a week early. And as expected, it set the Internet ablaze. You can check it out for yourself below.