Tagged with "Florida"
SEC Losses Are Coming
Category: NCAA
Tags: ALABAMA ARKANSAS AUBURN CFP COLLEGE FOOTBALL FLORIDA ST. GEORGIA LSU MISSISSIPPI ST. OLE MISS OREGON TEXAS A&M

There have been a lot of people who have looked at the top four Ė whether it was the CFPís or the mock BCSís or my objective computer ratings Ė and have gotten all upset that it contains three SEC West teams.

First of all, that kind of consensus tells you theyíre wrong to complain; but secondly, people forget this isnít 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 wonít 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.

Thatís 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 wasnít 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, theyíre 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. Iím 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 wouldnít want to have to find out the answer to that question.

On the other hand, LSUís only losses are to two top-5 teams and theyíre way down at #19 despite beating the committeeís #4 team last week. So the committee probably wouldnít 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 LSUís 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. LSUís 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 doesnít 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 youíre really nervous about there being too many SEC teamsÖ

miss st keep calm

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.

...For earlier access to my blogs, archives, etc., you can follow my†wordpress site†or my page on†facebook.

Week 9 College Football Rankings 2014
Category: NCAA
Tags: ALABAMA AUBURN BOISE ST. CFP COLORADO ST. FLORIDA ST. LSU MARSHALL MICHIGAN ST. MISSISSIPPI ST. NEBRASKA OLE MISS OREGON West Virginia

ím going to do things a little differently this week. To avoid confusion, Iím omitting last weekís rankings from the chart (I will discuss movement of teams in the discussion below). Iím listing my top 25 in order and to the right, Iím first listing the college football playoff top 25, followed by a mock BCS (Iíll just call it BCS from now on since there is no ďrealĒ BCS ranking anymore) ranking.

There are 36 teams that got at least some level of points under this approximated BCS system, so Iíll mention those who arenít in my top 25 afterward.

The BCS formula canít be completely replicated because there is no longer a Harris poll, and one of the computer systems (Massey) no longer lists ratings that comply with BCS rules, which included a ban on any consideration for margin of victory. I think Iíve made a pretty good approximation by using the AP poll and Masseyís ďnormalĒ ratings.

At least we can all agree on #1.

At least we can all agree on #1.

My Top 25
Rank/team/CFP/BCS

1 Miss. St. 1 , 1
2 Ole Miss 4 , 6
3 Auburn 3 , 4
4 Florida St. 2 , 2
5 Alabama 6 , 3
6 Oregon 5 , 5
7 LSU 19 , 13
8 Nebraska 15 , 17
9 Marshall ó , 23
10 Mich. St. 8 , 8
11 Notre Dame 10 , 7
12 Georgia 11 , 9
13 Ohio St. 16 , 15
14 UCLA 22 , 24
15 Arizona 12 , 16
16 Colo. St. ó , (27)
17 TCU 7 , 11
18 Kansas St. 9 , 10
19 Arizona St. 14 , 12
20 Clemson 21 , 20
boise-state-logo
21 Boise St. ó , (31)
22 Baylor 13 , 14
23 Oklahoma 18 , 19
24 Duke 24 , 25
WVU
25 W. Virginia 20 , 21

Out of my top 25: (11) Minnesota, (21) USC

My full list of FBS teams

These are all other teams that would have received some level of points in the BCS system (same format as above; if theyíre completely unranked, theyíre omitted):

26. Missouri Ė, 29
27. Ga. Tech Ė, 34
28. Minnesota Ė, 33
29. USC Ė, 28
30. Louisville 25, 35
31. East Carolina 23, 22
34. Wisconsin Ė. 30
36. Texas A&M Ė, 26
38. Stanford Ė, 32
40. Okla. St. Ė, 36

Explanation and future rankings

I donít have time for too much editorializing, but before seeing these I already thought it was an oversight not to have a system that was at least partially objective. Iím not going to judge the whole thing on one rankings list, but based on what I see here, I would have preferred to keep something like the BCS formula and pick the top four from that.

I know people who donít understand how my system works wonít be happy with these. Last week, Ole Miss was technically #1, but I just didnít rank them as such on my blog because I wanted to see if they would beat LSU before taking that step. Iím glad I made that choice.

Anyway, the question remains: how do they only lose one spot? I even thought I might have made a mistake, but Iíll explain.

The first thing I wanted to mention is theyíre actually #4, behind Auburn and Florida St. (who have had two byes apiece) if you divide the overall rating by playing weeks.

It also helps that Ole Miss started out a large distance over #3. A normal distance from one team to the next is about 0.02. Ole Miss was 0.12 ahead of last weekís (computer) #3, Florida St. Losing to LSU only subtracts 0.09 from Ole Missís score. Ole Miss still goes from 0.04 ahead of Mississippi St. to 0.14 behind. For context, in last weekís ratings, 0.14 was approximately the distance between #6 Oregon and #16 LSU. There just arenít teams between the two in this case.

Just as an aside, this week LSU was only 0.04 short of the Ducks.

With Florida St.ís bye week (most teams lose at least one spot in a bye week), Ole Miss was able to stay ahead and Auburn was able to pass them up. I understand one may object to two one-loss teams being ahead of Florida St., but at the end of last regular season there was just one, and at the end of this year there will likely be one. Someone has to lose Auburn-Ole Miss next week. Itís not guaranteed Mississippi St. will get past Alabama and Ole Miss. Also, someone has to lose between Alabama and Auburn. Auburn also has to play Georgia. So there are plenty of future opportunities on here for Florida St. to move back up.

Even if Ole Miss beats Auburn next week, they will then have a lull in points. They play Presbyterian College the following week, followed by a bye. Florida St.ís opponents of Louisville, Virginia, and U. Miami should pick them up a bit relative to Ole Miss.

Alabama plays LSU and Mississippi St. on the 8th and 15th, respectively, but next week they have a bye week, and on the 22nd they play Western Carolina (while Florida St. will play Boston College that week).

Once again, Auburn is a potential one-loss team that Florida St. may have trouble catching. Florida St. could be no better than third if both Auburn and Mississippi St. win out. Auburn would have a bye week during the championships in that scenario, but a win over Georgia to go along with the SEC West wins would still be difficult to overcome. If South Carolina and Kansas St. win the rest of their games, Auburn would have a very large number of points from those as well.

My computer ratings are a lot more fluid than the polls. Iíll give a couple of examples.

When I had Alabama ahead of Auburn last week, that clearly did not mean that if both won theyíd remain in the same positions. The teams are basically in a race. If youíre ahead in a race and neither you nor your opponent fall down, youíre not guaranteed to finish ahead.

Also, I said that teams playing tough opponents can pass up Marshall. Even though LSU was 9 spots behind, they did just that with the win over Ole Miss. Granted, many teams would have to win two games instead of one to make that distance, but itís not as difficult to move up as it would be in the polls. Nebraska was 7 spots behind Marshall and also passed up the Herd by beating Rutgers.

Marshall has a bye next week so will most likely be passed up by even more teams. Michigan St. is also idle, but then Sparty will have a good chance the next week against the Buckeyes.
In addition to Kansas St., itís also helped the SEC West that Boise St. (beaten by Ole Miss) and West Virginia (beaten by Alabama) have continued to move up. Both are now in the top 25. Wisconsin (beaten by LSU) is one of the next 10 teams out.

Also, SEC West teams have now swept three of the top five SEC East teams, Kentucky, Florida, and South Carolina. Georgia has the only win against the SEC West by any team in college football from outside of the SEC West, but the Bulldogs will play Auburn in a couple of weeks. Missouri has yet to play an SEC West team. Not that it helps much, but Tennessee was also swept by the SEC West, and Vanderbilt lost one and has one to play (against Miss. St.).

The top five teams of the SEC West are still undefeated against all outsiders. As mentioned, there are some really quality wins over those outsiders. LSU is the only one of the five who has lost twice within the group, but thatís about to change with the Auburn-Ole Miss game.

Earlier rankings:
Preseason
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8

I almost forgot to mention Iím now on twitter @TheBayouBlogger

Preview of LSU-Ole Miss Game
Category: NCAA
Tags: ALABAMA AUBURN COLLEGE FOOTBALL FLORIDA KENTUCKY LSU MISSISSIPPI ST. OLE MISS TEMPLE UL-LAFAYETTE VANDERBILT

I posted this yesterday, but it's a good thing I waited to share here because I've thought of a couple of other things.† I made a chart with all the times Ole Miss has been ranked playing against LSU since 1950.† I've just added the other additions to the blog below.

Hugh Freeze and Bo Wallace could get their first big road win... or not.

Hugh Freeze and Bo Wallace could get their first big road winÖ or not.

I discussed possible outcomes for this game to some extent when I mentioned mysubjective top three versus my computertop 3. Also, if youíre not among the large rush of people that discovered this for some reason, I updated my LSU/Ole Miss rivalry blog and will do so again after the game.

Iím not enthusiastic about the LSU offense despite the easy win last week. The Tigers were helped out by defensive and special teams play to a large extent. However, Iím very skeptical of this notion Iíve seen out there that LSU wonít do anything in the running game and will be forced to fall back on the passing game.

I highlighted a few comments in one articleat CFN and responded to them:

(1) [Apart from NMSU, LSU hasn't] given it up more than once in any other game. Last week against Kentucky was the first time all year LSU didnít come up with a takeaway and lost the turnover battle, and it was only -1. If the LSU defense can hold down the Rebel offense and not keep it from getting up early, and the O doesnít make a slew of errors, this should be close.

(2) LSU will try running the ball, it wonít work

(3) Prediction: Ole Miss 31 Ö LSU 13

(1) is if things go well for LSU, at least the part that says ďthis should be closeĒ (close meaning within a few points, not within a few touchdowns). In addition to some possible defense and special teams contributions, I think we can run the ball really well; and in recent weeks, weíve added more variation to the running game. LSU might also win if some of the 10- and 20-yard passes are made possible with good decision-making and a varied running game. The passing game has been admittedly weak; but like with Zach Mettenberger against Alabama two years ago (where he had been generally ineffective in earlier games, and it was expected the Alabama defense would destroy him), I think itís due for a decent game. And letís not forget LSU did pass for 341 yards against Mississippi St.

I know we donít want to get down like that again, but those 341 yards probably would have been enough to win the game had LSU managed to punch the ball in the end zone rather than falling a yard short.

I certainly think Mississippi St. knew we would be passing late in the 3rd and in the 4th quarter, and we still got those yards and points (19 in the last 12 minutes, 13 in the last two minutes) . If we donít fall behind like that, Ole Miss wonít necessarily know when a pass is coming rather than a run.

I donít accept (2) at all. I donít know who Elijah McGuire is, but he plays for ULL and he ran for 66 yards on 10 carries. They ran for 197 yards overall, and that was with 30 pass attempts. If our running attack is worse than ULLís, we should be winless in conference.

Vandy (which IS winless in conference) didnít put up as many yards against Ole Miss as ULL did, but one RB ran 18 times for 95 yards. Temple, by contrast, held him to 70 yards and Vandy as a whole to 54 yards (I guess after sacks were subtracted).

I think (3) is realistic though. We could get yards on a few drives, stall around the 30 or 40 and struggle to put any points on the board all night. On the other side, Wallace can have a really good night and lead the Rebels on four or five touchdown drives. Our defense will not be able to keep up if our offense has few if any sustained drives.

I could go on about Ole Miss having inflated defensive statistics, but our offense does have the potential to make them look really good regardless.

Ole Miss fans have talked of ďgood BoĒ and ďbad Bo,Ē in reference to their quarterback. I happen to think bad Bo might make an appearance in dealing with a night game at Tiger Stadium and a defense thatís coming together well.

We did allow too many points at Florida, but one touchdown was on special teams and another was set up by a special teams return. (The Gatorsí go-ahead touchdown resulted from their offense taking over at the LSU 9. That remains the only touchdown the LSU defense has given up in the last seven consecutive quarters.)

I donít think Wallace will completely unravel, so LSU could have a number of things go well and still lose a close game. Also like I said, they could have some things go not so well and yet not disastrous and still lose by a considerable margin.

I mentioned a couple of different Alabama games for comparison earlier (because theyíve more commonly been the level of a team Ole Miss is this year), so Iíll mention one more. This one wasnít a close game.

Last year, LSU lost to the Tide, 38-17. The Tigers lost two fumbles and were penalized for 73 yards, but it didnít take any kind of disaster or meltdown for that big of a loss to take place. Mettenberger actually had a pretty good game: 16/23 for 241 yards. LSU also went a respectable 7/12 on third downs.

But when it got to be late in the game, Alabama would take over and not give the ball back. They took a 7-point lead after a nearly 8-minute drive in the third quarter. Then they took14- and 21-point leads after fourth-quarter drives of about 5 minutes apiece. In total, the Tide had the ball 20 of the final 27 minutes of the game. Meanwhile, LSU just hit a wall on offense. There were a couple of short completions (maximum 20 yards) and a few runs (maximum 5 yards), but they only got a couple of first downs.

So thatís something that can happen against a good team. I think itís more likely LSU will be a better running team than a passing team (the opposite of the Alabama game last year), but sometimes good teams just take over and there isnít much you can do about it.

Basically, I can foresee anything from an LSU win by a few points to an LSU loss by a few touchdowns. Ole Miss could run away with it and win by 30+ like Auburn did, but Iím fairly confident that will be LSUís worst loss of the year, probably by a decent margin.

One other thing I found interesting: although Ole Miss ranks #8 in total defense, #7 is Wisconsin, which LSU beat in Week 1.

LSU Week in (P)Review
Category: NCAA
Tags: LSU FLORIDA LES MILES KENTUCKY COLLEGE FOOTBALL MISSISSIPPI ST. TCU

I shared a couple of thoughts on the upcoming game with BOB earlier, but there are a few different LSU-related topics here.

I hadnít really talked about just how LSU is coming along as a team and xís and oís in a couple of weeks, so I thought Iíd do that now.

Miles tells reporters to

Miles tells reporters to ďhave a great dayĒ before LSU beat Tennessee to win the SEC in 2007.

This last game was Les Miles 100th win at LSU. Maybe itís appropriate that we didnít beat Mississippi St. in the last second. It just would not have been fitting for win #100 to have been a blowout win over New Mexico St. Florida was the 23rd Les Miles win in which the Tigers trailed at some point in the fourth quarter. Thatís nearly 1/4 of his wins.

Here is a video tribute I enjoyed:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmJ0FuTHPqI (I would note that Miles is not the ďwinningestĒ coach at LSU: Charles McClendon is still 37 wins ahead of him.)

To refer to one of his quotes in the video, it does seem like LSUís game plan includes a ďmuddle aroundĒ period.

LSU is .500 in such games under Miles, much better than any other team. I read that Texas is second with 18 wins after trailing in the fourth quarter, but thatís against 32 losses.

I added a new section to the LSU/Florida rivalry blog about how this was similar to a couple other wins at the Swamp in the last 10 years.

I also wrote a complete LSU/Kentucky rivalry blog.

I was counting on Jeff Driskel to screw up and hoping Anthony Jennings didnít screw up too badly, and thatís about what happened. I did think LSU would manage more than 110 passing yards for the game though (41 were on one play, and the only passes of more than 10 yards were in the fourth quarter). Thatís the main problem that I didnít foresee going into this season. I thought we would be consistently 225-250 yards per game passing by this point.

LSU does still average 205 per game, which isnít good, but itís deceivingly good nonetheless. Itís inflated by the Mississippi St. game where LSU threw for 341 yards, most of them in a second-half comeback effort.

The other major area of weakness so far has been rush defense, but I think this game was a much more reasonable gauge of that than Auburn or Mississippi St. were. LSU only allowed 123 rushing yards by Florida. Thatís respectable against a team that had about twice as many rushes as completed passes. Especially a fairly competitive SEC team (they werenít pretty games, but the Gators are 2-0 in the East) in a road game.

When I watched TCU on Saturday, I was reminded of the difficulties LSU had in kick coverage against the Horned Frogs last season. It was weird that they demonstrated precisely the problems I remembered, especially being that Dubose had run back a kick for a touchdown against LSU before.

LSU seems to have a reasonably good location punter. I donít know why they waited until the last punt to kick it out of bounds. So basically they replaced the rush defense problems with the kick coverage problems. Otherwise, this might have been a somewhat comfortable win.

Back to the rush defense, this next game might tell a bit more. LSU has struggled in the past against the wildcat, but I donít think Kentucky has the likes of Felix Jones and Darren McFadden. Also, the scouting reports indicate Kentucky has very little ability to throw from the wildcat, so that might be a comfort.

I think Iíll be more worried about the other plays. QB Patrick Towles has completed over 62% of his passes and has thrown for over 1500 yards (more than 8 yards per attempt). He also can throw to just about any wide receiver on the field, which can strain pass coverage of course.

On the other hand, many of those yards came against UT-Martin and Florida (which was a 3OT game). If you take out those two games, Kentucky has fewer passing yards per game than LSU does.

Towles can run a little bit though. Heís no Dak Prescott, but he ran for 59 yards against Ohio, for example.

I didnít mention place-kicking earlier. I didnít see anything wrong with the missed extra-point attempt other than it missing. Hopefully, that was just a fluke event. PK Colby Delahoussaye said he just got too close to the ball. At any rate, it was nice to make up for it with a 50-yard field goal. Itís good to know he can do that.

Not to delve into philosophy too much, but he probably wouldnít have had a chance to win the game had he made the extra point. Florida likely would have gone for the end zone had they trailed by four. If rather than a tie game, Florida had a three-point lead on the last drive, Driskel may not have thrown the pass that was intercepted. If Florida had failed to score altogether, the kick at the end would not have been necessary either.

Anyway, because of some of the things I mentioned earlier (as well as the recent LSU-Kentucky games I wrote about in detail ), I Ďm thinking of doing a blog about crazy LSU wins. There was a fair number under Saban as well. Seasons like this one might be an exception (assuming we lose four or five instead of two or three)., but Sabanís teams tended to be a little more unpredictable overall, so that helped. I donít think they had the same knack for falling behind teams they shouldnít though.

...For earlier access to my blogs, archives, etc., you can follow my†wordpress site†or my page on†facebook.

Rivalry Series: LSU-Kentucky
Category: NCAA
Tags: ALABAMA COLLEGE FOOTBALL FLORIDA KENTUCKY LSU

Series facts

LSU leads, 39-16-1
In Baton Rouge, LSU leads, 23-5-1
In Lexington, LSU leads, 16-11

Currently, LSU has won three in a row at home and five of six in the series overall. Also, in three of the last five and four of the last eight games in the series, four points or fewer separated the two teams in regulation.

Longest home/away streaks
Home winning streak Ė LSU, 12 games, 1955-1975
Home unbeaten streak Ė LSU, 13 games, 1953-1975
Road winning streak Ė LSU, 5 games, 1978-1986

Kentucky won two in a row at home 3 times, 1954-6, 1974-6, and 1993-5. The Wildcats never won consecutive games in Baton Rouge.

Highest-scoring games:
LSU 63, @Kentucky 28, 1997
@Kentucky 43, LSU 37 (3 OT), 2007
Kentucky 39, @LSU 36, 1998
LSU 33, @Kentucky 30, 2002
LSU 29, @Kentucky 25, 2001

Lowest-scoring games:
@Kentucky 3, LSU 0, 1960
LSU 7, @Kentucky 0, 1962
LSU 9, @Kentucky 0, 1959
@LSU 10, Kentucky 0, 1972 and 1985

Largest margins of victory:
@LSU 49, Kentucky 0, 2006
@LSU 34, Kentucky 0, 2000
LSU 30, @Kentucky 0, 1966
LSU 37, @Kentucky 10, 1969
@LSU 41, Kentucky 14, 1996
LSU 34, @Kentucky 7, 1952

Largest Kentucky wins over LSU:
Kentucky 33, @LSU 13, 1977
Kentucky 19, @LSU 0, 1949


Historical Narrative (skip to the last section for recent games)

I mentioned in the last blog that I had done this same basic blog before on TSN. I believe that blog was done before the 2007 game. That will be one of three specific games Iíll talk about in detail, but first I just wanted to cover the major developments in the history of the rivalry.

Before the SEC went to the 5-1-2 scheduling system (Iíll explain) in 2003, LSU had played Kentucky in 51 consecutive seasons. There were only two games before that streak began, but I suspect the annual nature of the game was because neither team had particularly clear rivals in the SEC. Kentuckyís closest rival is Tennessee, but the Vols have bigger rivalries with both Vanderbilt and Alabama.

That LSU-Kentucky streak of games began in the waning days of Tulaneís membership in the SEC. The only other must-play conference rivals for LSU were Mississippi St. and Ole Miss, at that time the only SEC schools in neighboring states. Florida andAlabama didnít become annual series for LSU until 20 years later.

The head coach of Kentucky the first time the Wildcats played LSU was none other than Bear Bryant, who always seemed to give the Tigers trouble. His teams shut out the Tigers the first two times he faced them, before LSU beat Kentucky in his second-to-last season there and tied them in his last.

Bryantís successor had three decent years after he left (I guess until the talent dried up), and the Wildcats beat the Tigers two of the next three seasons to go out to a 4-2-1 series lead in 1956.

The 1950s were not particularly good for LSU until 1958 though. LSU was #1 again for most of 1959, so they beat Kentucky for the third straight time that year. Kentucky got one back in 1960 (both teams were barely above .500 that season) but then lost the next 13 games in a row in the series. The Tigers have had a commanding lead in the series since then.

LSU had a winning record every year during that time, but Kentucky only had one.

The Wildcats won three out of four from 1974 to 1977, but the Tigers lost 4 games or more in each of those years. Kentucky also had a little bit of a revival during that time, building up to a 10-1 season in 1977.

Ten of the next 11 were won by LSU. while Kentucky went back into the pattern of having a losing record almost every year (although not as badly). The Wildcats beat the Tigers during one of only two winning records over that period, 1983, one of the worst LSU seasons since that 1958 national championship.

LSUís next 4-7 season was in 1989, and that was the next loss to Kentucky (who had a relatively good 6-5 season). The following loss to Kentucky was in the 1992, the worst LSU season since 1910.

Speaking of the early í90s, Bear Bryant wasnít the only mutual coach between Alabama and Kentucky. I also mentioned Bill Curry in my Alabama rivalry post:

ďLSU continued its losing ways almost throughout Curryís tenure at Kentucky, but the Wildcats didnít fare much better. 1992 and 1994 were probably the sorriest match-ups during that period. 1992 was Curryís only win with the Cats in Baton Rouge, but LSU would finish 2-9 and Kentucky would finish 4-7. In 1994, Kentuckyís lone win of the season was over Louisville in the opener. They still managed to make it close against LSU, losing 17-13 in Baton Rouge. LSU finished 4-7.

ďIn 1993, Curryís most successful season at Kentucky (6-6, with a loss to Clemson in the Peach Bowl), Kentucky won 35-17

ďAlthough LSU would finish 7-4-1 in 1995, the Tigers lost to Kentucky, who would finish 4-7, anyway. LSU made the unfortunate decision to wear purple pants for the game. And rather than causing Kentucky to avert its eyes for the entire contest, it seemed to make the Tigers self-conscious. I donít think LSU has worn purple pants since. The final was 24-16 in Lexington. Curry had another 4-7 campaign in his final year, but LSU, on its way to a 10-2 record, had no problem with the Cats this time, 41-14.Ē

Kentucky would go 5-3 against LSU from 1992 to 1999. The only one that was really an upset in hindsight was in 1995. LSU had its first bowl season since 1988, but they struggled on the road that year, going 1-3-1, the only win coming against a Mississippi St. team that would go 3-8. Kentucky only went 4-7 that season, but they did get the Tigers at home.

The Tigers have won 5 of 6 since then, but there was one major upset (the one loss) and a close call in another. 2002 wouldnít have been a huge upset since that wasnít a very good LSU season (thankfully 8-4 isnít what LSU fans call a good season these days), but it was the second consecutive year that the Tigers won in the last 15 seconds. I will detail those three games below.

LSU-UK into the New Millenium

I mentioned the setback in 1995 above. The next four years had expected results based on the strengths of the teams. In 2000, after two losing seasons, a new coach named Nick Saban came to town. He had mixed results his first year, which included an early loss to UAB and a characteristic blowout loss at the hands of Steve Spurrierís Florida Gators.

Kentucky proved to be no problem that year (the Wildcats had two non-conference wins but would go winless in the SEC), but the following two seasons would be adventures.

In 2001, Kentucky started similarly: 1-4 with a win over Ball St. LSU had two convincing wins over non-conference opponents, followed by setbacks against Tennessee (in a close game on the road) and Florida (another blowout).

A loss at Kentucky would have meant an 0-3 start in conference and almost no chance of winning the sec west. (At this time, two losses to sec east teams were not fatal.)

LSU started out reasonably well, taking a 19-3 lead at one point and a 22-10 lead into the half. The tigers had scored in four of their first five possessions. The only failure to score had been a missed field goal. The two teams had exchanged interceptions late in the first half, but there was no major cause for concern.

Kentucky must have made some adjustments on defense though, because LSU just could not move the ball down the field in the second half. It was still 22-10 going into the final third of the game, so at less the LSU defense had kept the lead.

Not for long though. Kentucky, led by Jared Lorenzen, would engineer touchdown drives on consecutive possessions (he threw for 70 yards in the first drive alone) while all LSU could manage was a series of punts.

After the go-ahead Kentucky touchdown with just over 8 minutes remaining, LSU still could not get a drive going, giving the ball back to the Wildcats with about 7 minutes left. Kentucky, with a three-point lead, drove to the LSU 44 before their drive stalled with 3 1/2 minutes to go. With the lead and the defense playing well, the Kentucky coach Guy Morriss stayed conservative and opted to punt on 4th and 1.

Kentucky quickly got LSU into a 3rd and 4 situation, but LSU quarterback Rohan Davey all of a sudden had an answer to Lorenzen. Instead of throwing for 30 yards at once, he threw for shorter distances, but 14 yards on the third-down play was more than enough.

After three more passes and two more first downs, LSU was in reasonable scoring position at the Kentucky 27. On the next play, Davey was sacked for a loss of 9 and it looked like the Tigers might not even be able to tie the game. He then completed a pass to his favorite target Michael Clayton for 18 yards, bringing up a third and 1. A pass to Clayton worked on the last third and less-than-5, so thatís what they did again, this time for 8 yards, bringing up a first and goal at the 10.

Davey nearly ran it all the way in on first down, but that would have been scoring too soon, so he waited until third and six (after an illegal procedure and threw to Clayton yet again for the go-ahead score with 13 seconds left.

After beating Vanderbilt to end its 15-game SEC losing streak, Kentucky would once again finish with only two wins.

LSU was still inconsistent the next two weeks: a blowout win over a weak Mississippi St. team, followed by a disappointing home loss to Ole Miss, but then something happened the following week at Tuscaloosa. LSU beat a comparable Alabama team by 14 and would not lose again.

The Tigers snuck into the SEC championship game, where they knocked off #2 Tennessee. Then LSU beat Illinois to finish 10-3 and win its first Sugar Bowl since 1967 That was an improvement of seven wins over two seasons before. But none of it likely would have happened has Kentucky won that game.

LSU would learn pretty quickly in 2002that you donít just magically keep your spot in the pecking order. The Tigers lost their opener at Virginia tech convincingly. Then, the week before the Kentucky game, LSU was walloped by Auburn, 31-7.

Kentucky, however, was much-improved and entered the game with 6-3 record, only two wins shy of their highest season win total since 1984. Also, they were to play LSU at home.

The Tigers seemed to recover well to the loss to Auburn and played reasonably well on both sides of the ball. LSUís offense wasnít the greatest, but it went up 21-7 at the beginning of the third quarter, which isnít bad against a winning team on the road.

The Tigers still held onto to 24-14 lead with around 12 minutes left. Kentucky was driving in LSU territory and faced a fourth and 1. Not knowing how many chances they would get (and likely not wanting to repeat the mistake of 2001), Morriss went for it.

Kentuckyís go-to back Artose Pinner easily ran for the first down, and this put the Wildcats within easy striking distance for Lorenzen, who completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to put Kentucky within 4. For some reason, they unsuccessfully tried for two.

The craziness was only beginning. When LSU went three and out and punted, the Wildcat returner fumbled, allowing the Tigers to take over at the Kentucky 19.

LSU got the ball to the two, but played it safe with a 19-yard field goal to go back up 7.

Aided by three different first downs resulting from penalties, Kentucky drove right down the field for the tie with 2:24 to go.

LSU then went backwards in its next possession and punted. A 21-yard punt return and face ask penalty for good measure put Kentucky back in scoring position.

Another LSU penalty made it just a 29-yard attempt, which gave Kentucky the lead with just 11 seconds left.

The Tigers took over at their own 13, and then seemingly in an effort to delay the inevitable, got a delay-of-game penalty.

Randall completed a modest 17-yard pass to Clayton, and everyone thought it was over. It wasnít over on the clock, but still, thatís not good field position for any type of scoring play. If you havenít seen what happens next, just watch the video at the beginning of this blog.

Kentucky didnít play LSU again until 2006. The Wildcats were having another fairly good season and actually would win 8 games this time (new {from LSUís perspective} head coach Rich Brooks would lead the Wildcats to four consecutive bowl games starting in 2006), but they had to travel to LSU and were coming off a tough loss to South Carolina. LSU had lost on the road to a very good Florida team (which would eventually beat Ohio St. for the BCS championship). I guess they had opposite reactions to losses, because LSU seemed hungry for blood, and Kentucky seemed to be looking forward to its bye week. The Tigers absolutely destroyed the Wildcats, 49-0, and would not lose another game that year. In fact, they would not lose again before their trip to Kentucky in 2007Ö

The winning streak had pushed LSU to a #1 ranking, which they had not held in the regular season since 1959 when the Tigers lost by a single point at Tennessee.

Even though no players and few (if any) coaches were in common, the game followed a similar pattern to 2001 and 2002. Kentucky did score first, but LSU would go up 17-7 in the first half and 27-14 with 3:49 to go in the third quarter.

The Wildcats would score almost immediately afterward. Led by QB Andre Woodson, UK did not even face a third down on the touchdown drive.

LSU had to punt on the next possession, but they nearly had a three-and-out defensively on Kentuckyís next set of downs. The Tigers were whistled for a pass interference that kept the drive going. The Wildcats would eventually reduce the margin to three points with just under 8 minutes to play in regulation.

Two plays later, LSU QB Matt Flynn threw an interception way downfield, setting up the Wildcats at their own 37.

After an incompletion on first down, the tired Tiger defense gave up passes of 11 and 35 yards. Kentucky tried to run down he clock a bit before kicking the tying field goal.

LSU got the ball back with time for a winning drive, but it took 2:45 just to get to the Kentucky 40. Colt David was a good kicker with the Tigers, but 57 yards was a bit out of his range, so the game went to overtime.

The Wildcats got the first possession, and the LSU defense shot itself in the foot again, it would have been second and 15 from the 30, but a roughing the passer penalty gave Kentucky a first down at the 15. Kentucky later faced a third and 8, but Woodson completed a 12-yard pass, which led to the touchdown.

The Tigers had little trouble responding. It took just four plays to find the end zone, and LSU didnít even face a third down.

The next LSU offensive possession did not go so smoothly. The Tigers faced third and 19 after a penalty and a sack, but got back into comfortable field goal range. The Wildcats responded with a three-and-out followed by their own field goal, but then the LSU defense was expected to hold them again and could not.

Actually, holding was the problem. After a Woodson incomplete pass on third and goal from the 6, the Tigers were whistled for a holding penalty. This allowed Kentucky a new set of downs, which led to the touchdown.

LSU ran four straight running plays, and the game ended about a yard short of the first.

No accidental Gatorade baths this time, Kentucky fans stormed he field and stayed there awhile. Maybe the team enjoyed it a bit too much,as they would lose four of the next five games. LSU would win 6 of the next 7 (the only loss to Arkansas, another team that would finish 8-5, also in here overtimes) on the way to itís second BCS championship.

In 2011, Kentucky, which was in the midst of a losing season under Brooksí successor Joker Philips, did not spoil LSUís next serious attempt at an undefeated season.

(LSU had started 7-0 in 2010, but that was before Alabama, Auburn, or Arkansas, the only eventual 10-game winners the Tigers would face that season.)

LSUís return trip to Lexington should have been in 2012, but that was Missouriís and Texas A&Mís first year in the SEC, so it went to a 6-1-1 rotation, which means 6 divisional games (as a result of the seventh team being added to each division), one permanent opponent, and one rotating opponent. So rather than 2 spots rotating among five teams in that last number, one spot rotates among six teams. Back-to-back games are not done under the new system, but there is still some uncertainty over the long-term scheduling format, so they didnít insist that LSU and Kentucky wait until 5 years had passed. That may happen before the next game, however.

Other ďRivalry SeriesĒ entries:

Team List:
Alabama (Pregames: 2011, 2013)
Arkansas
Auburn (2010 post-game)
Florida
Georgia
Mississippi St.
Ole Miss
(Steve Spurrier and) South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas A&M

Special editions:
Pac-12

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