I didn't wait for the committee this time. It’s LSU/Alabama week, so I want to give my rankings and move on. I’m going to include the mock BCS standings as I calculate them. They will be the number in parentheses. There are no team logos below because there is only one “new” ranked team (Missouri, which replaces West Virginia), and they were ranked earlier this season.
LSU/Alabama is just one of the big games before the Iron Bowl, but there is a good chance it will be an important game for the national title race once again.
My Top 25
1 ( 1 ) Miss. St. 1
2 ( 3 ) Auburn 3
3 ( 2 ) Florida St. 4
4 ( 10 ) Ole Miss 2
5 ( 5 ) Oregon 6
6 ( 4 ) Alabama 5
7 ( 16 ) UCLA 14
8 ( 12 ) Arizona St. 19
9 ( 15 ) Nebraska 8
10 ( 11 ) LSU 7
11 ( 7 ) Kansas St. 18
12 ( 6 ) TCU 17
13 ( 8 ) Notre Dame 11
14 ( 26 ) Colo. St. 16
15 ( 13 ) Ohio St. 13
16 ( 9 ) Mich. St. 10
17 ( 22 ) Marshall 9
18 ( 30 ) Boise St. 21
19 ( 17 ) Oklahoma 23
20 ( 19 ) Clemson 20
21 ( 20 ) Arizona 15
22 ( 14 ) Baylor 22
23 ( 23 ) Duke 24
24 ( 25 ) Missouri –
25 ( 18 ) Georgia 12
Full 128 computer ratings
Other teams who would have at least some BCS points:
42 ( 21 ) Utah –
31 ( 24 ) W. Virginia 25
29 ( 27 ) Wisconsin –
32 ( 28 ) TX A&M –
28 ( 29 ) USC –
26 ( 31 ) Ga. Tech –
33 ( 32 ) Florida –
30 ( 33 ) Minnesota –
35 ( 34 ) Louisville –
43 ( 35 ) Iowa –
49 ( 36 ) Stanford –
48 ( 37 ) E. Carolina –
50 ( 38 ) Cincinnati –
27 ( 39 ) U. Miami –
Once again, I’m going to have to ask for some patience in Ole Miss going down in the rankings. They have Presbyterian next week and a bye the week after that, so they’ll possibly fall several spots in that time. (LSU, for instance, fell three spots after taking off this past weekend alone. Marshall and Michigan St. fell much more.) The following week, the Rebels play Arkansas, so someone else could also pass them after that week as well.
Why are they so high right now? Other than only having had one bye week, Ole Miss has the 4th-best schedule right now.
The Rebels beat Alabama, which rates as the second-best win by any team this season right now. The best win is Mississippi St.’s win over Auburn. As you might guess, apart from Mississippi St., the best (or least-bad) team to lose to is Auburn.
Speaking of Auburn, if you’ve ever said to yourself, “I’d like to watch Gus Malzahn break dance,” today is your lucky day:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFvqdQnWu9I
Anyway, if I were just making it up from scratch, Ole Miss would be somewhere around #10, so I’m going to go through the top 10 and explain why Ole Miss is higher than each team in my ratings at the moment.
I’m not going to comment on every team’s prospect for moving ahead of Ole Miss, but the first two are particularly relevant.
LSU isn’t one of the top few teams to lose to, but they’re much better than Arizona, which beat #5 Oregon. Oregon is very close to Ole Miss in points though, so I would expect them to easily pass up the Rebels with a win next week.
#6 Alabama has beaten none of the top 5 teams of the West yet, so that’s why they can’t be ahead of Ole Miss right now. Beating LSU would change that. Not only would it be a decent increase in points, but it would hurt Ole Miss more for losing to LSU. (Losses hurt more than wins help.)
#7 UCLA also has two losses (one of them to Utah), so they certainly don’t have a strong argument to be ahead of Ole Miss.
#8 Arizona St. only has one loss, but when your best win is over USC, you don’t belong ahead of a team with Ole Miss’s résumé.
#9 Nebraska is another one-loss team that just doesn’t have the wins to compete with Ole Miss right now. The Huskers did beat Miami (which is no Alabama), but the quality of wins decreases rapidly from there.
#10 LSU needs another big win. They have Ole Miss (which counts for less than Alabama) and Wisconsin (which counts for less than Boise St.) but really not much after that. Kentucky and Florida don’t rate very highly due to their records, and it’s harder to have the same strength of schedule playing in the East, especially when neither team has played a good out-of-conference opponent yet. Ole Miss beat Texas A&M, for instance, which has a better record than either of LSU’s SEC East opponents and rates a good bit higher. The Aggies wouldn’t necessarily beat the Wildcats or Gators, but it makes sense that they have a higher rating right now.
Ole Miss went from being ahead of Mississippi St. in my ratings to being 0.25 behind the Bulldogs in the last two weeks, it just so happens there weren’t many teams in between ready to move up. Rating-wise, they’re as close to Mississippi St. as they are to Colorado St. now. It’s just not translating from ratings to rankings yet.
Along with the top teams of the Pac-12 (mentioned above), the top teams of the Big XII are moving up. Kansas St. plays TCU next week, so the winner will probably find itself well into the top 10. The Big XII doesn’t have that much depth in my formula though, so if it’s TCU, they’ll probably go down from there (Kansas, bye, Texas, Iowa St.). Kansas St. can still finish undefeated in the Big XII (they lost to Auburn out of conference) and still has WVU and Baylor to play, so I believe they would be the stronger candidate for the top 4 by winning out.
Notre Dame finally has a chance to make a move by beating Arizona St. Louisville and USC (later this month) won’t be bad additions to the resume either.
Everyone lower down lacks a great schedule at this point. I know this because there are no 3-loss teams in my top 25.
Colorado St. has a better rating than Marshall or Boise St., but the Broncos (with two losses overall) hold the tie-breaker in the Mountain West, so picking the “best of the rest” team might be tricky.
Like the TCU/KSU game, Ohio St. and Michigan St. should produce a team that can move up and do well. Unlike that game, both teams have competitive opponents coming up and neither has a bye week. If Nebraska keeps winning, that would help the winner of the Big Ten East even more down the road if they end up winning the Big Ten title game.
Oklahoma would get a big boost by beating Baylor, but there is not much left for the Sooners points-wise after that.
I don’t expect a big move upward by Clemson. Other than Florida St., the ACC Atlantic doesn’t have much to offer as far as potential points. Georgia Tech and a South Carolina team that will probably finish .500 are the best left on the purple and orange Tigers’ schedule. I certainly don’t see Florida St. losing twice, which Clemson would need to happen to make the ACC title game.
Arizona can still influence things with game against Washington, Utah, and Arizona St. Making the Pac-12 title game certainly isn’t out of the question. It seems like apart from Colorado, anyone in the Pac-12 South can easily beat anyone else.
I mentioned Baylor. The Bears still have Oklahoma and Kansas St. left, so they can still win the Big XII.
Duke looks like a good-but-not-great divisional winner again.
Lastly, no one wants to win the SEC East, it seems, but Missouri has a one-game advantage right now. The black and gold Tigers would lose the tie-breaker if it’s a two-way tie with the Bulldogs though. Texas A&M appears to be Missouri’s toughest test left, while Georgia still has to play Kentucky (on the road) and Auburn before closing the regular season with non-conference games.
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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.
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’m going to do things a little differently this week. To avoid confusion, I’m omitting last week’s rankings from the chart (I will discuss movement of teams in the discussion below). I’m listing my top 25 in order and to the right, I’m first listing the college football playoff top 25, followed by a mock BCS (I’ll just call it BCS from now on since there is no “real” BCS ranking anymore) ranking.
There are 36 teams that got at least some level of points under this approximated BCS system, so I’ll mention those who aren’t in my top 25 afterward.
The BCS formula can’t 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 I’ve made a pretty good approximation by using the AP poll and Massey’s “normal” ratings.
At least we can all agree on #1.
My Top 25
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 — , 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. — , (27)
17 TCU 7 , 11
18 Kansas St. 9 , 10
19 Arizona St. 14 , 12
20 Clemson 21 , 20
21 Boise St. — , (31)
22 Baylor 13 , 14
23 Oklahoma 18 , 19
24 Duke 24 , 25
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 they’re completely unranked, they’re omitted):
26. Missouri –, 29
27. Ga. Tech –, 34
28. Minnesota –, 33
29. USC –, 28
30. Louisville 25, 35
31. East Carolina 23, 22
34. Wisconsin –. 30
36. Texas A&M –, 26
38. Stanford –, 32
40. Okla. St. –, 36
Explanation and future rankings
I don’t 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. I’m 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 don’t understand how my system works won’t be happy with these. Last week, Ole Miss was technically #1, but I just didn’t rank them as such on my blog because I wanted to see if they would beat LSU before taking that step. I’m 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 I’ll explain.
The first thing I wanted to mention is they’re 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 week’s (computer) #3, Florida St. Losing to LSU only subtracts 0.09 from Ole Miss’s score. Ole Miss still goes from 0.04 ahead of Mississippi St. to 0.14 behind. For context, in last week’s ratings, 0.14 was approximately the distance between #6 Oregon and #16 LSU. There just aren’t 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.’s 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. It’s 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.’s 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. I’ll give a couple of examples.
When I had Alabama ahead of Auburn last week, that clearly did not mean that if both won they’d remain in the same positions. The teams are basically in a race. If you’re ahead in a race and neither you nor your opponent fall down, you’re 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 it’s 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., it’s 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 that’s about to change with the Auburn-Ole Miss game.
I almost forgot to mention I’m now on twitter @TheBayouBlogger
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).
Some of the big plays were posted in .gif (moving image) format here:http://www.tigerdroppings.com/rant/p/53243724/gifs—hillard—buga—stokes—freeze/
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.
Welcome to Death Valley.”
Anyway, Martha Miles ;-)
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.
I discussed possible outcomes for this game to some extent when I mentioned mysubjective top three versus my computertop 3. Also, if you’re 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.
I’m 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, I’m very skeptical of this notion I’ve seen out there that LSU won’t 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 didn’t 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 doesn’t make a slew of errors, this should be close.
(2) LSU will try running the ball, it won’t work
(3) Prediction: Ole Miss 31 … LSU 13
(1) is if things go well for LSU, at least the part that says “this should be close” (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, we’ve 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 it’s due for a decent game. And let’s not forget LSU did pass for 341 yards against Mississippi St.
I know we don’t 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 don’t fall behind like that, Ole Miss won’t necessarily know when a pass is coming rather than a run.
I don’t accept (2) at all. I don’t 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 ULL’s, we should be winless in conference.
Vandy (which IS winless in conference) didn’t 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 “good Bo” and “bad Bo,” 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 that’s 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 Gators’ 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 don’t 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 they’ve more commonly been the level of a team Ole Miss is this year), so I’ll mention one more. This one wasn’t 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 didn’t 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 that’s something that can happen against a good team. I think it’s 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 isn’t 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 I’m fairly confident that will be LSU’s 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.