Tagged with "LSU"
2012 SEC Recap
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Alabama LSU Texas A&M. South Carolina Florida Georgia SEC Big XII Pac-12 Notre Dame Vanderbilt Ole Miss Miss. St.

Iím not happy about Alabama winning the BCS title (and finishing #1 in my ratings) and I still donít like the man at all, but Nick Saban has been pretty good about reminding people what it means to be in the SEC rather than pretending this is all about Alabama. He gave Georgia and the SEC credit, saying, ďWe got here by 5 yards ó Georgia was 5 yards from scoring [the winning touchdown in the SEC title game],Ē Saban said. ďItís a pretty tough league we play in. Weíre going to have to improve as a program to have the opportunity to play for a national championship again, because of the quality of our league.Ē

After, the LSU game, Sabanís opening remarks to the media included the following: ďLSU played a great game. They had a great game plan. They did a great job of executing. I think their quarterback played really well. There was a stretch there in the second half where they converted seven straight third down and five or moresÖ. This was a very physical game. Iím going to tell you that our guys are probably going to be as sore as theyíve ever been after any game.Ē It was obviously in part to give his team credit for winning despite this, but he acknowledged all during the following week that if anything he needed to keep a lid on his teamís self-congratulatory mood (he was smart enough to worry about what happened in the A&M game before it happened), so I donít think he was just patting himself or the team on the back with these comments.

I also want to give Gregg Doyel (who gave the Saban quote about Georgia here) credit for pointing out what an idiot he made out of himself earlier in the year.

I believe the Tide would have finished undefeated and possibly without the scares it had against LSU and Georgia had it competed in any other conference, and the same may well have been true had the Tide faced Notre Dameís schedule. Thatís not to say there wouldnít have been any close games, but I donít think there would have been the type of game that either the Tigers or the Bulldogs had against the Tide. I donít think Texas A&M was as outstanding as some think they were, but they beat Alabama because they got out to a 20-0 lead, and Iím almost certain that theyíre the only team in the country that could have realistically done that.

I just mentioned the three best teams that Alabama played this season (at least based on the games those teams gave Alabama), and it could have easily been any one of them in their place. Iíll further note that the Tide did not play Florida or South Carolina. So if the schedule and a couple other things had worked out differently, Alabama could have been the fifth or sixth team in the SEC this year. After all, thatís the spot LSU (at least according to the polls) ended up in this year, and we saw how close they were to Alabama on the field.

Continue to full blog.

Top Bowls to Watch and Other Reactions
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Clemson Georgia Kansas St. Louisiana Tech LSU N. Illinois Nebraska Oklahoma Oregon South Carolina Texas A&M Wisconsin ULM

There are many more reminders of why this system needs to be put out of its misery than there are positives in the bowl match-ups, but there are four games Iím looking forward to.

Bowls To Watch

The only BCS game Iím even somewhat excited about is Kansas St. vs. Oregon (though the runaway offenses will probably become tiresome). Neither Texas/Texas A&M nor the Backyard Brawl worked out as bowl games. Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M should be a good substitute for the former though. That gets top billing in my mind for best non-BCS contest. The second and third choices are probably Georgia-Nebraska (CapitalOne [which you might remember as the Florida Citrus Bowl]) and LSU-Clemson (Chik-fil-A, aka Peach). But Iím still going to complain about LSUís treatment shortly.

A brief aside about the Cotton. Maybe itís because Iím not Texan, but I really donít understand why someone was going to veto Texas/Texas A&M. I get that Texas had its schedule set, and the non-conference schedule is also curtailed by the fact that the Big XII schedule is now 9 games, and they werenít going to bend over backwards to accommodate a rival who decided to go to the SEC instead. But how is any of that a reason not to play that rival in a bowl game, especially one with such historic ties to both programs? Just for spite someone had to put a stop to it?

I know the non-BCS bowls I mention all involve SEC teams, but the SEC has the best non-BCS teams. Clemson and Nebraska are two of the best non-champions. Nebraska would have easily been regular-season champions of a combined Big Ten (but got creamed by a Wisconsin team that didnít even really belong in the title game), and Clemson tied in the ACC Atlantic (the one with the only ACC teams worth a whole lot) with Florida St. but lost the head-to-head tie-breaker. Oklahoma actually tied for the Big XII championship but didnít get the Fiesta invite for losing head-to-head (not to mention out of conference to Notre Dame).

Seeing Red

Iím still annoyed that Northern Illinois was forced into a BCS game, but they still may be better than Louisville. I have never understood why they made it top 16 rather than top 12. Any undefeated team is almost guaranteed to be in the top 12, as will many strong one-loss non-major-conference teams. But Northern Illinois has played probably the easiest schedule in FBS. Theyíre in 2007 Hawaii vicinity with how bad it was, and we all remember how that turned out. And that was an undefeated Hawaii team. As mentioned, at least there is some solace in the fact that this system will be replaced.

Not that NIU is sure to be embarrassed. If North Carolina St. can beat Florida St., why not the Huskies? Iíve already mentioned Wisconsin by winning a game it didnít belong in (and actually doing the embarrassing in the process).

And Wisconsin is still an example of why you donít put the wrong team in a match-up, they can always win. Iím not saying the Big Ten had a choice here (I understand the probations of both Ohio St. and Penn St.), but it just didnít work out well for neutral fans here.

Full blog, including reactions to Louisiana teams' placements (or lack thereof).

Pre-championship notes and Week 13 Top 25
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Alabama Clemson Florida Florida St. Georgia Georgia Tech Kent St. LSU Notre Dame Ohio St. Oregon South Carolina Texas A&M

Iím going to switch it up and put my top 25 last, since thatís old news at this point. But you can always look up my new ratings early Sunday morning and all week long via that link.

Saban vs. Muschamp and SEC notes

Also, I donít think we really learned anything new last week. Iím not saying I predicted every game to happen as it did, but there was nothing earth-shattering. I do think the SEC should have quieted a bit of the talk about it being some kind of fraud illusion. Iíll get back to that after mentioning the Muschamp/Saban dispute, both of whom I remember well as LSU coaches of course.

Florida is a solid #3 now in my top 25. If Alabama beats Georgia, I would honestly rather see the Gators in the title game to Notre Dame. At least the Tide would have a greater chance of losing. But a certain head coach doesnít even think Florida deserves the Sugar.

ďYou play your way into the (SEC) championship game, which means youíre the best team in your division. ÖĒ

Does it always mean that? Really? We wouldnít to give a one-loss team that didnít win its division the benefit of the doubt in some cases, right?

And Florida actually tied for its division, kind of like Alabama would have done with Texas A&M (which would have been followed by Alabama watching from home and hoping for a Sugar invite) had Florida not beaten Texas A&M. I hardly think it a coincidence that the two of the top-6 SEC teams who are playing for the championship had the weakest interdivisional competition (Alabama played Tennessee and Missouri, while Georgia played Auburn and Ole Miss).

So letís look at top wins and losses by either potential loser against Florida. I list all the wins over teams .500 or better in BCS-conference competition. And donít forget that youíre adding a second loss to either Georgia or Alabama.

(you'll have to go here to check out the table I made)

How do you NOT pick Florida?

Muschamp offered to play in the game in lieu of Alabama, and implicitly would have let the Tide have the Sugar Bowl. Iíd probably rather see that game, actually.

Of course, I indicated above two of the SECís wins over the ACC over the weekend. Also, South Carolina beat Clemson and Vandy beat Wake Forest. The fact that Vandy not only won but was expected to win and won easily shows how far theyíve come. Being in the middle of this league (#7 based on wins and losses in conference) is hard to do. Vandy did lose to Northwestern earlier in the year though. No other such losses by the SEC top 8 though.

Full post

LSU-Arkansas Rivalry Update
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Arkansas Auburn Lou Holtz LSU Mississippi St. Oklahoma Oklahoma St. Ole Miss Texas

Intro to Arkansas-LSU and 2006 to present

You might wonder why I seem so interested in this rivalry series thing.

The first seeds of thought about this were planted by these comments by a former SportingNews columnist:

I believe Arkansas fans would be more fired up about playing schools like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Kansas. They could drive to those venues with their hot hats on. And how cool would it be if the Razorbacks could renew their old SWC hate-fest with Texas?

Go ahead, call the Hogs.

Instead, Hogs fans have been force-fed a ďrivalryĒ with LSU.

ĖTom Dienhart, 2/23/2006

My first blog in defense of the LSU/Arkansas rivalry was written on November 23, 2006, just hours before the game the next day. That was the first blog of mine that generated any significant number of responses (I got 22 comments in all). 2006 was my first college football season of blogging. My first blog on the SportingNews had been a re-post of my final rankings for the 2005 season.

I didnít think people would be that interested in historical facts and figures about college football rivalries, but since that interests me and it interested my readers then, I started doing them for all the teams. One benefit of the SportingNews closing its community has been my opportunity to revisit these.

In Deinhartís defense, the rivalry has gotten a lot more interesting since his blog. That year, LSU knocked off Arkansas in Little Rock that year, 31-26, putting any thoughts of the Hogs playing for the national championship to rest (they had had a 10-game winning streak going into the game). LSU made the Sugar Bowl as a result of that win.

In 2007, Arkansas apparently returned the favor, handing the Tigers their second loss with a 50-48 3-overtime win in Baton Rouge. LSU of course would win the BCS and AP national titles anyway after a series of losses by higher-ranked teams and the Tigersí SEC championship win over Tennessee pur LSU in the BCS championship game.

The two teams exchanged home wins in 2008 and 2009Ö

2009 POST-GAME: The last 5 games (2005-09) were decided by a total of 13 points, and two of those games were in overtime. 6 of the last 9 games were decided by three points or less, and a 7th was decided by 5 points. If Arkansas had won this game, it would have been the first time Arkansas beat LSU three games in a row in 80 years. 1929 had been Arkansasís last win over LSU before Arkansas joined the SEC. The Hogs beat the Tigers 7 times in the 1920s. The decades since then depend on what you count. In the numerical í90s, Arkansas won three times, but if count the í90s as 1991-2000, Arkansas won four times. If you count 2000 as part of the í00s, Arkansas won three times in the í00s. If not, Arkansas has won twice with a chance to make it three.

I gave my reactions to 2010ís game here.

2011 and 2012 Notes: In 2011, LSU won by 24 points, the largest margin of victory in the series since Les Miles became the head coach at LSU. The previous largest-margin was Arkansasís 8-point win in 2010. The largest margin in an LSU win had been 5 points in 2006.

2012 was a more typical LSU-Arkansas game. LSU led by only 4 going into the last two minutes before kicking a field goal. Then Arkansas had a 60-yard drive, giving the Hogs a chance to tie with a touchdown on the final play from the LSU 20. But Tyler Wilsonís pass to the end zone fell incomplete. This broke a streak of four consecutive games in the series in which the home team won. However, it marked the seventh time in eight games (and ninth time in twelve games) that the margin was 8 points or fewer.

The games since Arkansas joining the SEC are somewhat easily summarized: Arkansas won 2 in a row, LSU won 4 in a row, Arkansas won 3 of 5, LSU won 4 in a row, Arkansas won 3 of 4, and now LSU has won 2 in a row.

Full post

BCS Title Update & LSU Notes
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Alabama Florida Florida St. Georgia Ga. Tech Kansas St. LSU Notre Dame Ole Miss Oregon South Carolina Stanford USC

Normally I wait until I publish my top 25 to go into detail about the previous week, but I think an exception is in order here.

If you want to see my rankings of all 124 teams, go here.

Before I go into that, a few things about LSU. I wanted to mention that Iíve updated and revised my LSU/Ole Miss ďGo to HellĒ rivalry entry or go here for the summary of most-recent games (at the bottom).

This link compares Beckhamís punt return to Cannonís and also shows part of the Les Miles press conference. Unfortunately, the beginning of Danielsonís comments was cut off. But he pointed out the end (I believe Jalen Collins) routed the outside members of the kicking team toward the middle and then directed Beckham to go around his left side and back toward the middle of the field.

If you havenít seen it yet, Les Miles was on a particularly hilarious emotional rollercoaster after the game. A two-minute clip is included in the link above, but here is the whole thing (link may require scrolling to the Ole Miss game).

BCS Title Race

Some might be shocked by Oregonís and Kansas St.ís losses, but Iím not really. I told people they didnít need to cheer for Alabama against LSU in order to keep an SEC team in the mix, and they just wouldnít listen.

Oregon seems to run into a wall on offense at least once or twice a season. In 2009, they struggled against Boise St., UCLA (whose offense was so bad they couldnít capitalize), and Ohio St., scoring 8, 24, and 17, respectively. In 2010, they struggled against Cal and Auburn, scoring 15 (in a win) and 19, respectively. Then last year, they only really struggled against LSU, scoring a respectable 27 points; but 14 of those points were scored in the final 10 minutes of the game.

Although theyíre not completely out of it, it would require a few strange results to get them into the BCS championship game. First of all, I donít see any way they make it without being conference champion, so this would mean that in addition to beating the Beavers, Oregon would need Stanford to lose to UCLA. UCLA has had its ups and downs and I would anticipate it wonít have the same intensity this coming week as it had Saturday in winning a sloppy game over USC.

Also, they would need the eventual SEC champion or Notre Dame to lose. That might be possible in some years, but I donít see any way Alabama loses to Auburn or Georgia loses to Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech has some chance (but then Georgia would have to beat Alabama afterward), but Auburn is just too consistently bad lately to pull that one out. I give USC a fair chance to beat Notre Dame. Barkley may be out, but Iím sure USC has a QB or two to take his place. And itís not as if you have to be a good team to test Notre Dame. USC is clearly better than BYU, Pitt, or Purdue, all of whom were within a field goal of the Irish. And those three teams were on the road.

Even if one of those two lose, itís still not guaranteed. Voters could pick Florida instead. I mentioned the Gatorsí qualifications already. Florida St. is #5 in the AP poll, so that may be more impressive than even a combination of Oregon St. and UCLA (who has clinched the Pac-12 South). Maybe if Oregon beat UCLA impressively enough, they would pass up the idle Gators, but donít forget that Florida is #2 in the computers right now, so even if voting is close, Florida would probably still prevail.

I think itís over for Kansas St. barring some 2007-like scenario. Itís one thing to lose by a lot or to lose to a team that isnít very good, but to do both in the same game in mid-November is too much.

The only other team I can see making a case is Florida St., which can beat Florida and win the ACC to finish with only a single one-point loss (to N.C. St. on October 6). Some SEC fans and tough-schedule enthusiasts may say that a two-loss SEC team (of which there will almost certainly be at least one) or maybe Kansas St. should go ahead in that instance, but LSU, Texas A&M, and South Carolina all lost to Florida while Oklahoma, Kansas Stís best win, has lost in its only games against top teams. We donít know if Georgia Tech is in the ACC title game, but either way if the Wreck beat Georgia, thatís going to make the ACC champion look better. Alabama canít have two losses in the last few weeks of the season. But you have to scratch out so many teams to even get to this point, itís far-fetched to even talk about.

Iíll talk about teams lower on the list and out of BCS-championship contention later in the week.

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