Tagged with "Florida"
LSU-Alabama Post-game
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Alabama Auburn Florida Georgia LSU Pitt Pittsburgh Steelers Texas A&M Notre Dame

I think my only other blog this week will be for the top 25. Feel free to check out my updated Alabama rivalry post or the Mississippi St. one. I personally like the Mississippi St. one better.

As a Tiger fan, Iíve never been more sickened by two games in a 10-month period in my life than LSUís two losses to Alabama this year. Iíve been sickened by, for example, losing 9 games in the 1992 season, but I canít think of two specific games as frustrating in that short a period of time. That period of time (that was one of 6 consecutive seasons without a winning record or bowl game for LSU) seemed to last a lot longer since it lasted from ages 7 to 13, by the way.

The cumulative losses to teams like Alabama and Florida still get at me, so something like this just re-opens old wounds. Iíd be better able to blow it off if we had finished 14-0 last year of course. As I mention in the rivalry blog, there is a difference of opinion as to LSUís main rival, but for me there is no question itís Alabama. Iím not as crazy about it as the average Auburn fan probably is; but still, if they could win only one game, Iíd pick that one.

Also, for some strange reason, Iím cursed with knowing a bunch of Alabama fans. I lived in Louisiana my whole life until moving to California in 2004, but I guess because someone thought alleged football championships would translate into a good education, a few people from my high school went there, and then some home-grown Bama fans (at least they have an excuse) went to my undergraduate school.

Of course the offense in the bowl game was just useless, and the coaching staff did nothing about it. Itís a miracle that LSU was within two scores until late in the fourth quarter in that oneÖ. But at least I didnít have much hope for a win as the game went into the second half. What made that really bad was the effect it had upon 13 games that otherwise would have comprised the best season in generations if not the best season in LSU history. And it also gave Alabama (and Nick Saban) another national championship to claim in a year in which LSU went to Tuscaloosa and beat the Tide no less.

Todayís game unfortunately forced me to have hope even though I had written it off as a loss before kickoff. LSU was moving the ball, getting first down after first down with the lead, and for some godforsaken reason, apparently it was decided to settle down and kick a field goal (which was missedÖ the reason LSU won the regular-season game last year was Alabamaís repeated settling for field goals they had a good chance of missing) with a minute and a half left. But if you can move the ball with pass plays when the defense knows youíre going to have a pass play, why not keep doing it when the defense is unsure and perhaps even expecting runs? You donít have three boring runs in the middle of the field. And then on defense, how could they not be prepared for a screen pass? Alabama is like the Bill Cowher Steelers with that play. Itís mind-boggling. I was too frustrated to notice, but if the approach to defense changed for the winning Alabama drive, that was foolhardy too.

Full post

LSU-Alabama Pregame & Other Thoughts
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Alabama Arkansas Clemson Florida Les Miles LSU Michigan Michigan St. Nick Saban Oklahoma Oklahoma St. South Carolina Texas

Iíll start off by mentioning a couple other writings of mine that might provide some interesting backstory. I wrote the first last week about Les Milesí record at LSU, but it also compares his record to that of other coaches, including Sabanís at LSU and Alabama. Then of course there is my blog about the LSU/Alabama rivalry, dominated for decades by Alabama but controlled by LSU for much of the first decade of the 21st century before becoming competitive again of late.

This is unrelated, but I also wanted to share a couple of links about Marcus Lattimore. Spurrier got a bit of criticism for his sort of backhanded acknowledgement of Dabo Swinneyís kind words about Lattimore. Dabo didnít go quite as far as ďHog LadyĒ though. The SEC isnít just great defenses and running backs, you have to love the fans and personalities as well.

Back to the important goings on, we do have two of the most successful active head coaches with their current programs facing one another, and of course LSU was fortunate to have had them both.
If youíll look at the stats I gave in the Les Miles blog, I think itís an even bigger coaching match-up with Urban Meyer at a new school and with Pete Carroll in the NFL. Itís harder to argue there are other guys doing as well or better.

There was a time where the Red River Rivalry had two coaches that were at about the same level Miles and Saban are now, but I think both Texas and Oklahoma have gone a little downhill in recent years. And there was never a point where that game featured two programs with a combined 3 national championship and one runner-up in 5 seasons, with of course one runner-up in that time (LSU last year) as well. (It took 10 seasons for Oklahoma and Texas to accumulate two national championships and three runners-up between them; two national championships and one runner-up took place in the six seasons between 2000 and 2005.)

Of course, when Urban Meyer was still at Florida, his game against the Tigers in 2009 represented 4 combined championships since 2003. So that was bigger at the time, especially being that Saban hadnít won one at Alabama yet.

Saban and Miles followed similar trajectories on their way to LSU. A little bit of NFL experiences, but they were hired from being the head coaches at second-fiddle state universities. I donít mean to take anything away from them, but the great programs in Michigan and Oklahoma are not the ones that end in ďStateĒ, although Sparty has a little more of a substantial history.

I wanted to talk about Miles vs. Saban head-to-head and mention a few notes about the series overall before assessing this seasonís game.

Continue to Full Post, including "Miles vs. Saban" and "Game Notes and Preview"

The Mad Hatterís Mad Accomplishments (so far)
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Alabama Florida Georgia Les Miles LSU Michigan Nebraska Notre Dame Ohio St. Oklahoma Ole Miss Penn St. Texas

I was talking to a Florida fan the other day, and shortly after we talked about Spurrier, he mentioned that Miles wasnít doing a very good job at LSU.

Iím as frustrated as a lot of LSU fans with some issues. Clock management at the end of certain games against Ole Miss and Tennessee, refusing to give Jarrett Lee a chance in the BCS championship game in January, sticking with former OC Gary Crowton as long as he did, and so on.

But the man wins games and somehow finds a way to take teams that donít seem particularly strong and have them win 7 of 8 or 6 of 7 and so forth. There was sort of a 2-year rebuilding process after the national championship, but take away Leeís interception affliction in 2008 and a couple two-point losses in 2009, and those teams have similar records to the teams in Milesí other 5 full seasons before this one.

The gold standard in recent coaching stints is Pete Carroll at USC, who went 110-20. I think Miles would have to have a few 1- or 0- loss teams in a row to even come close to 85% (Carroll won 84.6%), but heís competitive with or ahead of other recent luminaries, particularly if you limit it to tenures in the last 10 years or those that (have) lasted longer than his. Iím not looking at career winning percentage but only at a particular school.

Saban (Ala.) 62-12 (83.8%)*
Spurrier (Fla.) 122-27-1 (81.7%)
Meyer (Fla.) 65-15 (81.3%)
Tressel (Ohio St.) 94-22 (81.0%)
Miles (LSU) 71-17 (80.7%)*
Stoops (Okla.) 144-35 (80.4%)*
Brown (Texas) 146-41 (78.1%)*
Richt (Ga.) 122-39 (75.8%)*
Carr (Mich.) 122-40 (75.3%)
Saban (LSU) 48-16 (75.0%)

*=active; record and percentage as of Week 8

Before I continue, I wanted to mention that of course I realize winning 70 games is nothing like winning 150 or 400. Being able to keep ahead of the other great programs over a decade or more is no easy task. Urban Meyer seemed to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown after 6 seasons at Florida.

But nonetheless, this is pretty good company to be in as far as how often your team wins games, and any fan of these teams will tell you that.

These are some historically great coaching tenures that had lower winning percentages (ties counted as half a win) than Miles has had so far:

Full post

Week 8 Top 25 and Commentary
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Alabama Clemson Florida Georgia Kansas St. Mississippi St. Notre Dame Ohio St. Texas Tech Toledo Wisconsin

Top 25

rank / team / prior

1 Alabama 1

2 Notre Dame 2

3 Florida 5

4 Kansas St. 4

5 Ohio St. 3

6 Oregon 7

7 Oregon St. 6

8 LSU 12

9 TX Tech 8

10 Rutgers 11

11 Miss. St. 15

12 Louisville 16

13 Toledo Ė

14 Oklahoma 13

15 S Carolina 9

16 Florida St. 24

17 Boise St. 18

18 Stanford 19

19 W Virginia 10

20 Texas 23

21 Georgia 25

22 Clemson Ė

23 USC 21

24 Wisconsin Ė

25 TX A&M 14

Out of rankings: (17) Cincinnati, (20) Níwestern, (22) La. Tech

Full 124 permalink

(Prior rankings can be found via the link at the bottom of the post.)

Note about the SEC:

Mississippi St. is interesting at this point, even though they do have the games coming up against Texas A&M, LSU, and Alabama. The SEC has 9 of the top 27 best schedules and 11 of the top 44. The outliers are Alabama (#84), Mississippi St. (#107), and Georgia (#116). The bad ones may be better and the good ones may be worse, because when I factor in the third level (opponentsí opponentsí opponents), it evens out a little bit (or Alabama wouldnít be in the top 3), but that gives you an idea of why Georgia is so low also.

Tennessee is Georgiaís best win, and they lost once again. Also, Georgia lost to South Carolina, which has since lost two in a row.

Not surprisingly, the SEC also has high numbers in the ratings. 4 in the top 11, 5 in the top 15, 6 in the top 22, 7 in the top 26. Thatís half the conference in the top 26. There is a bit of a gap before the next SEC team (Ole Miss at #47), and then there is a four-team cluster (Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Missouri, and Arkansas) between #65 and #71. This leaves only Auburn (#97) and Kentucky (#107) as lower teams.

Full post

LSU vs. (Steve Spurrier and) South Carolina
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Curley Hallman Florida Georgia Lou Holtz LSU Michigan St. Nick Saban South Carolina Steve Spurrier

Iíll just write a brief intro to bring this current (some of which is a repeat from my blog from earlier this week), and Iíll also provide the updated records instead of what I had on the original blog (replaced by ellipses).

LSU is 17-2-1 against South Carolina all time, which now includes three wins in the Spurrier era. South Carolina won the first game between the two schools in 1930 and didnít win the second until 1994 (its only win in Baton Rouge), then earning the tie in 1995.

This was the 9th time in the LSU/South Carolina series that the game was decided by 8 points or fewer, so LSU is 6-2-1 in such games against the Gamecocks.

If youíll look at my LSU/Florida rivalry post, I included a list of the larger point totals in that series. In four of the five instances in which the Gators scored over 40 and two of the three instances in which they scored over 50 against the Tigers, Spurrier was their coach. Obviously this game yesterday was a huge game anyway, but it always adds a little extra to the spirit of LSU fans to have Spurrier there.

Spurrier has now fallen to 11-4 against LSU now that he has lost all three games against the Tigers since beginning in South Carolina. Spurrier is now 67 years old, so there may not be too many more games against LSU, particularly if the league sticks with the 6-1-1 format, which means that every year LSU would only play one of the 6 teams in the East apart from Spurrierís alma mater, who the Tigers play every year. If they continue on the same rotation, LSU will not play South Carolina again until 2018 and then not again until 2024. I have a feeling he wonít still be coaching at 79, but I guess itís conceivable.

Continue to full post.

(if you follow that link, it will also take you to the other "rivalry" entries, including LSU/A&M.)

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