Tagged with "LSU"
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.

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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.

Week 11 Top 25 and Commentary
Category: NCAA
Tags: Alabama Florida NCAA football Georgia Kansas St. LSU Michigan Nebraska Notre Dame Ohio St. Oregon South Carolina Stanford Texas A&M

I apologize for this being so late. Iíve been without home internet most of the week. Please check out my blogs about VanderbiltĎs accomplishments in general and GeorgiaĎs lack thereof relative to Florida. The Georgia one was just published today, but I thought all of this should be published before games start tomorrow morning.

Top 25

rank / team / prior

1 Notre Dame 1

2 Kansas St. 4

3 Alabama 2

4 Florida 6

5 Oregon 5

6 Ohio St. 3

7 Georgia 7

8 S Carolina 10

9 LSU 14

10 Nebraska 12

11 Stanford 16

12 TX A&M 15

13 Clemson 11

14 Florida St. 13

15 Oregon St. 8

16 Texas 18

17 Oklahoma 19

18 La. Tech 20

19 Louisville 9

20 Rutgers 22

21 Toledo 17

22 Michigan Ė

23 SJSU 23

24 UCLA 24

25 Utah St. Ė

Out of rankings: (21) Northwestern, (25) Mississippi St.

Full 124 permalink

Full Blog with Commentary

Georgia should not represent the SEC East
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Alabama Florida football Georgia Kentucky LSU Missouri South Carolina Tennessee Texas A&M Vanderbilt

I was reading a blog by one of the few people who has bothered to comment on a wordpress blog of mine. He wrote a blog illogically denouncing the SEC and he has Georgia as the SECís best team. In reflecting upon how wrong this is, it occurred to me that Georgia should not even be considered the best team in the East, particularly if both Florida and Georgia finish with one loss apiece. Iíve now left two comments on his blog to discuss this.

Just to avoid any idea of bias against them, I actually like Georgia. After Kentucky and Vanderbilt, who I mostly favor as regular underdogs, Georgia has been my favorite team in the East. I canít think of a recent instance where I didnít cheer for them against Florida, Tennessee, or South Carolina. I guess Iím more neutral with Tennessee now, but I remember being very annoyed on the Bulldogsí behalf that Tennessee won the SEC East in 2007, and I was definitely for Georgia before that. So Iím being consistent now that the team I like less deserves to play in the game and will not be able to.

As an aside, I also like newcomer MissourióI remember cheering for them many times as underdogs against teams like Nebraska and Oklahomaóbut I knew no matter how many losses there had been by A&M and Missouri, the first time one of the two got a breakthrough win, people were going to say, ďAha! The SEC defenses arenít so good after all. Look at that Big XII team go!Ē And thatís exactly what happened when Texas A&M, despite falling flat offensively against LSU and Florida after going out to early leads, finally managed to win such a game against Alabama. So Iím not quite in solidarity with the new Tigers and the Aggies just yet.

There is a fan interest that has made me passionate about this issue, and thatís being a fan of LSU. As you may have noticed, Florida has been pretty good for about the last 25 years, and theyíve played LSU in all of those years. Every single one of them. Does LSU get any consideration if they tie for something as a result of this? Win or lose, the answer is no. So when I see that a team like Florida, who played LSU and Texas A&M, is being passed over by Georgia, who instead played Ole Miss and Auburn, I sympathize with Florida even though I like Georgia much better.

Georgia earned a win over Florida, donít get me wrong, but donít forget South Carolina beat Georgia handily. The only reason weíre not looking at a 3-way tie right now is that unlike Florida, South Carolina didnít win its game against LSU.

Full blog

Vanderbilt, All Hail!
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Florida Georgia Gerry DiNArdo Kentucky LSU Missouri Northwestern Ole Miss South Carolina Tennessee Vanderbilt

Iíll post my top 25 blog later in the week, but I have updated the LSU/Mississippi St. rivalry post and released my weekly computer ratings.

After the impressive first six teams of the SEC, a lot of commentators look down the standings and seem to focus on programs in decline. People are wondering what is going on at Arkansas, Auburn, Tennessee, even Kentucky (which was on the verge of bowl-eligibility last season). But I think itís been overlooked that Vanderbilt has become bowl-eligible for the third time in five years. Their 2008 appearance against Boston College had been their first bowl game since 1982.

Things were looking so bad at one point that in 1995, LSU actually hired Gerry DiNardo, who had been the Vanderbilt coach, because he had accomplished the feat of winning 5 games in a season there not once but twice. I guess that was harder to do when it was an 11-game season though, to be fair. Only once in the following 10 years would Vanderbilt win 4 games or more (going 5-6 in 1999).

Something is different this year though. When Vandy went 6-6 in 2008, they had lost 6 of 7 going into the bowl game, only becoming bowl eligible in a close game against Kentucky after having lost three similarly close games (to Mississippi St., Georgia, and Duke) in consecutive weeks at the beginning of a 4-game losing streak.

In 2009 and 2010, Vandy started 2-2 and 2-3, respectively, before finishing with 2-10 marks in both seasons.

Then last season, the Commodores started 3-0 only to finish 6-7.

This is also the fifth time in eight seasons Vandy has won 5 games or more. In 2005, Vanderbilt won the first 4 games before losing 7 in a row then beat Tennessee in the finale. In 2007, the íDores started 5-3 then lost 2 games by a touchdown or less (either of which would have made them bowl-eligible) as they ended the year with a 4-game losing streak.

Granted, this was partly because the end of the season has a lot more conference games than the beginning does, but I think it was more than that. I think that confidence and killer instinct goes away, and itís more a sense of ďnot againĒ and playing not to lose game after game.

This is the first time Iíve seen Vanderbilt as the team thatís making things happen rather than having things happen to it.

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