Tagged with "Michigan St"
Exorcise the Saban Ghost
Category: NCAA
Tags: ALABAMA AUBURN BEAR BRYANT COLLEGE FOOTBALL FLORIDA GEORGIA GERRY DINARDO KENTUCKY LES MILES LSU MIAMI DOLPHINS MICHIGAN ST. Nick Saban

I know this is long, but there are a few things I cover.† I give an overview of his time at both Michigan St. and LSU (with more detail for LSU of course) and then I talk about some things that went Alabama's favor that don't necessarily go in LSU's favor had Saban stayed all this time.

People talk about ghosts of Tiger Stadium (which turns 90 on Tuesday, by the way). Usually itís positives like Billy Cannonís Halloween Run in 1959, the 1988 Earthquake Game against Auburn, the five fourth-down conversions against Florida in 2007. There were a couple of other classics against those opponents and others.

There have also been negatives. One negative was when the Tigers went 30 years without a win against Alabama at home. Even though Bear was only there for about the first 1/3 of that time, it was like his ghost was still on the sidelines, pushing the Tide to victory in a way that it wasnít even present in the state of Alabama.

Other than the national championship, one of the main things Iím grateful for from Sabanís tenure is the fact that he had two home wins over Alabama, the first of which ended that long streak. Neither win came against a great Alabama team, but that wasnít important. Just like it wasnít important how young this LSU team was or how well Ole Miss had played in previous games this season.

In January, it will have been ten years since Nick Saban coached an LSU team.

In January, it will have been ten years since Nick Saban coached an LSU team.

Under Miles, things against Alabama started even better. After winning two games over Mike Shulaís teams (I also find it kind of funny that Miami is the team Saban came from due to that last name), Miles won three of his first five games against Saban. If Miles had left after 7 seasons, heíd be known the guy who (unlike Saban) actually beat a number of good Alabama teams at LSU. (In addition to the three wins over Saban, LSU beat a previously unbeaten, 4th-ranked Alabama team in 2005.)

The ghost of Bear might be gone now, but now there is a living ghost in the collective psyche of LSU fans by the name of Nick Saban. Some still openly regret the fact that heíd left and wanted him to come back. Iíve heard from multiple sources there was a group of boosters who thought they could get Saban back if Miles were to leave. Others bitterly resent what they see as his betrayal of LSU by going to Alabama.

I believe like most supposedly supernatural phenomena, this ghost is present in our minds only to the extent we allow it to be, but itís been really hard to shake since 1/9/12, that fateful day that ended what would have been LSUís first undefeated season since 1958 (although LSU still won two more games in 2011 than it had in 1958). It also prematurely ended what should have been at least 24 consecutive months of bragging rights over the Tide and gave Alabama another national championship to rub everyoneís noses in.

To backtrack a bit, I want to note that very few people mind the fact that he went to Miami. He had rejected many NFL offers out of respect for LSU, and he was still of the age that it made sense to give it a try. Also Wayne Huizenga, the owner of the Dolphins, had bent over backwards to accommodate Sabanís every contractual demand.

The betrayal was going to Alabama. Alabama may not have ever put too much emphasis on beating LSU, but the same could not be said of LSUís priorities. Of course, Alabama was not what it once was in 2007, but I think most LSU fans knew it would only be dormant for so long. For the catalyst of Alabamaís return to be Nick Saban was the ultimate slap in the face.

Both LSU and Michigan St. (his two stops before his brief experiment with NFL head coaching) fans took part in derogatory chants against Saban a couple of weeks ago. The Michigan St. fans did it when Chris Fowler interviewed Saban by satellite (if thatís even still the technology used), and the LSU fans did so in person when the Tide came to Tiger Stadium.

What annoys me more though is the perception by some that LSU and Michigan St. owe any success in the last few years to Saban. I wanted to set the record straight on some things, because Saban did not have anything close to the kind of improvement or level of consistency heís had at Alabama since 2008.

I could probably write a book about all the things I like and donít like about him and my observations of him as a person and a coach over the last 20 years (I clearly remember Michigan St. both before he took the job and during his time there), but I just want to focus on what exactly changed at Michigan St. and LSU when you look at the results on the field. I also want to consider the argument or suggestion that if heíd stayed at LSU, the LSU football team would be what Alabama has been over the last five seasons.

Sabanís last year at Michigan St. was a good one; but before that, his teams were just about as mediocre as they were under his predecessor there (although to be fair, 6-5-1 and 6-6 at least arenít losing seasons, which his predecessor had suffered a couple of times). Still, Sabanís second-best season there was only 7-5.

I donít want to dwell on Michigan St. too much ó his last season there was 15 years ago ó but in his first season gone, they went right back to 5-6, which they had finished the year before Saban started there. That was a long-term impact of approximately 0. In fact, you can go out even further. In the five years before Saban, Michigan St. won 48% of its games. In the five years after he left, Michigan St. won 48% of its games. What are fans today supposed to thank him for again? Other than memories of the 1999 Citrus Bowl?

It doesnít take a great coach to have a single ten-win season in five years. I donít think any major programs are beating down the doors of Will Muschamp, Larry Coker, Gerry DiNardo (Sabanís full-time predecessor), or even Gene Chizik, who has a national championship to his credit. Another example from the SEC, David Cutcliffe, took a long time to get back into a head coaching job despite having led Ole Miss to its best season in decades in 2003.

Saban did step things up in his fourth and fifth years at LSU, but the Tigers had a combined 12 losses in his first three years. The conference championship in 2001 was a fluke. How often has the SEC champion had three conference losses? How often does the SEC champion have a loss by 29 points at home?

LSU had worse in the previous two seasons than Michigan St. had had immediately before Saban but had two season of the previous four with wins of 9 games or more, whereas the last time Michigan St. had won even 8 games was five seasons before Saban got there.

LSU likely had better athletes to start with. After being a dormant program for 6 seasons, DiNardo did have some initial success. In his first season, he led the Tigers to only their second bowl win in 16 years, and it was over Sabanís first Michigan St. team. This was followed by a 19-5 record over the next two seasons, which included a win over defending national champions Florida in 1997. Also, Louisiana is more fertile recruiting ground for recruiting than the state of Michigan, and LSU isnít ďlittle brotherĒ to anyone in the state of Louisiana.

It was not that difficult to have a spike in Louisiana recruiting. It also wasnít the case that DiNardo couldnít develop players, which he clearly did given some of the close results against good teams. He just lost the ability (partly due to turnover among his assistants) to manage the team to wins.

Iím sure that put a damper on recruiting in the 1998-99 offseason, but LSU would finish the 1999 campaign with a strong win over a ranked Arkansas team (with an interim coach), and the hope that the hire of Saban brought (probably as much as or more than Saban himself) kept the recruiting after the 1999 season from being a problem. If they could beat a ranked team with a no-name interim coach at the helm, the sky was the limit.

Nonetheless, Sabanís first three seasons were actually worse than DiNardoís first three by record, and there had been no winning seasons that preceded any of the recruiting classes DiNardo worked with in that time.

Sabanís 9 wins in his final season were good in the context of the 12 years before his arrival, but I donít remember Les Miles getting a ton of credit for following a national championship season with 8-win and 9-win seasons, respectively. Nor did he get a lot of credit for winning 33 games in the past three full seasons combined. Sabanís best three years at LSU together didnít account for that many wins.

One of the other coaches I mentioned likely could have coached Sabanís 2004 team to 9 wins or more. Also, the loss to Georgia that season was reminiscent of the handful of bad losses Miles has had. So there was really only one season at LSU that was better than what had taken place at LSU the five seasons before Sabanís arrival.

As he did at Michigan St., he did raise the floor at LSU. When things didnít go well, he went 8-5 and 8-4 instead of 4-7 and (starting) 2-8. That was an improvement, but just like with Michigan St., he only raised the ceiling in one year.

In both instances, those singular seasons caused his stock to go through the roof (continuing with the housing analogy), although he did decide to stick around at LSU another year anyway. Also, itís not just wins and losses on their own. There were baffling losses under Saban. In his first season, he lost to Florida by 32, he lost to UAB (with only 10 points scored), and he lost to an Arkansas team (which had gone into the game with a losing record), 14-3.

Itís not good if you have three games where you score 10 or fewer points and four games where you score 17 or fewer.

The next year, they had the opposite problem. The offense was only held under 20 twice, but they allowed 44 to Florida, 25 to a bad Kentucky team, 35 to Ole Miss, 38 to Arkansas, and 34 to Illinois.

2002 was all over the map. They scored 14 or fewer four times, but they scored over 30 seven times. They allowed over 25 points five times.

2003ís team only had a single loss, but it was an ugly one: 19-7 at home against Ron Zookís Gators. The Tigers struggled offensively at times against the better teams such as Georgia, Ole Miss, and Oklahoma. It helped that that team was able to play 6 teams with losing records and a I-AA opponent. Before the last four games of that season, LSU had not played two teams back-to-back that would finish with winning records. Contrast that with Milesí last couple of seasons.

The 2004 team did not have a stellar offense, and LSU actually hurt themselves by trying to start JaMarcus Russell too soon. They nearly lost to Florida before Marcus Randall came off the bench to lead a comeback. They also needed Oregon St. to miss a few extra points in order to win the opener by 1 point in overtime. I already mentioned the Georgia loss that year.

LSU scored over 40 points three times that year (against teams with a combined 11 wins), but their highest point output otherwise was 27 against an Ole Miss team that finished 4-7. They only managed to score 24 apiece against the likes of Troy and Vanderbilt.

This was with Jimbo Fisher as the offensive coordinator. To apply the criticism Miles gets to Saban, he must have been holding the offensive coordinator back, right? It would seem to apply to Saban even more. In fact, Iím calling it right now: Cam Cameron is not going to be the head coach of a national-championship team in the next 10 years.

One could have also argued Saban only developed one ďrealĒ quarterback (Matt Mauck, whom he actually first recruited during his Michigan St. days) in those five years.

Saban was there when Russell came to LSU, but Iím sure that had more to do with Jimbo. Also, Russell didnít really come into his own until the middle of his last year, which had nothing to do with Saban.

Point being, if you start from the perspective of looking to blame the head coach for everything, Saban could have taken a lot of blame as well as credit during his time at LSU. I think people just donít realize how much their expectations have changed, which made every big win Saban had wonderful and every loss (or sometimes even close win) under Miles tragic.

So if weíre going to be assigning blame, we can blame Saban for causing LSU fans to forget what a losing season feels like. I still donít think we have him to thank for the 7 double-digit-win seasons since he left, although of course he was instrumental for at least the first couple of them.

The LSU fans who do have this pathetic sense of longing for Saban are misguided. Alabama has certain advantages that LSU just isnít going to have.

I donít buy into conspiracies, but I think there is a natural degree of deference they get from recruits, from referees, from the media, from conference officials (who, perhaps not coincidentally, are based in Alabama), etc. Notre Dame has not had a sustained presence atop college football in 20 years. For Nebraska, itís been about 15 years. So Alabama is the focal point of the historically great programs right now. There is just a different level of mystique for such programs. Nick Saban or not, that wasnít going to be LSU.

People canít accept that though. They just think that had Saban been here in 2009, 2011, and 2012, we would have had three national championships in those years rather than none. Maybe Saban wins in 2011 with either team (although even thatís arguable), but Iím doubtful about 2009 and 2012.

What if LSU (rather than Alabama) had been undefeated in 2009 and threw an interception on the game-clinching drive against Alabama. You think that gets ruled incomplete and LSU goes on to kick the field goal anyway?

LSU got some flak for winning in 2007 with two losses, but at least they won the conference, unlike Alabama in 2011.

Letís say LSU loses a home game to Alabama like they did this year and everything else plays out like 2011. Do you think LSU gets a re-match over a one-loss champion of another conference? I doubt it.

LSU hasnít gotten a soft touch at all in their slate against the SEC East even though their annual opponent (Florida) has been better than Alabamaís annual opponent (Tennessee).
The previous two seasons have had ďbridgeĒ schedules, temporary stop-gaps before they started off the new rotation, which was formalized before this season.

Alabama drew Missouri in 2012. Missouri played in the 2011 Independence Bowl, but they had an anticipated lull in adjusting to the SEC slate in 2012. In addition to the one good Muschamp team (which would only lose one SEC game), LSU had to play South Carolina, which had gone 11-2 in 2011. South Carolina would finish with the same record in 2012.

If you switch both SEC East opponents around, chances are LSU goes to the SEC Championship game instead of Alabama in 2012, even assuming Alabama still beats LSU in the closing seconds. Point being, I donít think had Saban coached LSU that year (even if he had players just as good as the ones he had at Alabama), he would have beaten both Florida and South Carolina.

In 2013, LSU got Georgia, which had nearly beaten Alabama in the 2012 championship game, while Alabama played Kentucky, fresh off another losing season. Again, that scenario does not get reversed if Saban coaches LSU instead of Alabama.

It was an extra advantage for Alabama because what turned out to be their top challenger, Auburn, had to play Georgia also. Auburn had a favorable bounce and there were some unfortunate injuries to Bulldogs players between playing LSU and Auburn, but that could have easily been another Alabama divisional win (even with the Iron Bowl loss) owing in significant part to the schedule.

A Saban team might have won another game last season at LSU, but if they donít end up winning two more, they donít win the championship anyway.

So all things considered, maybe Saban wins one more championship than Miles did over the last 10 years (thatís right, this is the 10th LSU season after Saban). On the other hand, maybe they donít win in 2007. You might blame Miles for the OT losses, but maybe Saban loses games to Florida and Auburn (there were some gutsy calls Saban may not have made) and they either lose a third somewhere along the way or someone else wins the division. So it could even be the same number of championships.

I donít mind the idea of looking at the unmatched level of success Alabama has had over the better part of the last seven seasons (the only time a program had done anything like that in my memory was Nebraska in the mid-1990s) and wanting to match that, but just get over the fact that the head coach there coached LSU 10 years ago. That goes for people who want to insult him and those who wish heíd stayed (or fantasize about his return) alike. For those who persist in being hung up on Saban, at least get your facts right.

This is my previous post here at the Gab. I included a picture of Saban with Jimbo Fisher, who was an assistant throughout Saban's time at LSU.

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

Week 6 College Football Rankings 2014
Category: NCAA
Tags: LSU FLORIDA OLE MISS ALABAMA AUBURN COLLEGE FOOTBALL PENN ST. OHIO ST. NOTRE DAME ARIZONA MICHIGAN ST. MISSISSIPPI ST. TCU FLORIDA ST

LSU plays Florida this week, so if youíre interested, here is my LSU/Florida Rivalry blog.

Dak Prescott evades an Auburn defender last year.  I rank the two teams #1 and #3 going into their game Saturday.

Dak Prescott evades an Auburn defender last year. I rank the two teams #1 and #3 going into their game Saturday.

Rank/team/previous
1 Auburn 1
2 Florida St. 2
3 Miss. St. 6
4 Ole Miss 11
5 Arizona 15
6 Notre Dame 12
7 Ga. Tech 13
8 TCU 23
9 UCLA 9
10 Alabama 3
11 Marshall 24
12 Oregon 4
13 Nebraska 10
14 TX A&M 8
15 Oklahoma 5
16 Mich. St. Ė
17 Baylor 17
18 Missouri 25
19 Penn St. Ė
minnesota
20 Minnesota Ė
21 Ohio St. Ė
22 Arizona St. Ė
23 Louisville 20
Cal-Football-Golden-Bears
24 UC-Berkeley Ė
25 Florida Ė

Full computer rankings 1-128 (as I will explain, these are not in agreement with the top 25 given above)

Out of rankings: (7) BYU, (14) LSU. (16) E. Carolina, (18) Georgia, (19) S. Carolina, (21) Okie St.. (22) NC State

Explanation and future rankings

I only made two adjustments to my computer ratings to make this top 25. One was to keep Florida St. at #2. They actually were #2 in the computer rating last week, but the big points by undefeated Ole Miss, Miss. St., and Arizona teams them all ahead of the Seminoles. I still think itís too early to put any of them #2 though.

If the Bulldogs win next week, I may even put them #1. If Ole Miss and Auburn win, they may be 1 and 2, but then Florida St. would have a chance to get back in the top 2 with a win over Notre Dame the following week. In that scenario, I may again keep Florida St. #2 pending the outcome of the game against the Irish.

The other adjustment was to keep UCLA at #9. It just doesnít look right to lose to an unranked team and move up. They were #1 in the computer ratings last week.

I may make similar minor adjustments next week (I mentioned one possibility), but after the following week, I plan to just follow the computer rating to the letter.

In total, 7 of my top 11 teams lost of the 9 possible. There were three games where top-11 teams were playing one another, so thatís why there were only 9 possible losses. The only survivor against a team ranked below #15 was Florida St. Auburn was also a survivor, but LSU was #14 going into last week. (More on LSU below.)

Iím going to talk about new teams in the top 25 and old teams that fell out. I think itís pretty obvious why South Carolina (losers to Kentucky) and North Carolina St. (losers to Clemson) fell out. Some teams only moved into the rankings because 12 teams ahead of them lost.

BYU fell all the way out after losing to Utah St. That wasnít based on past opponents so much (although Texas didnít help), but Utah St. (#87 going into the week) is a bad loss at this point, so having a bad loss this early makes you sink like a stone. Virginia is still a quality win though.

East Carolinaís loss to South Carolina continues to drag them down. Also, the Pirates essentially have zero points to show for the last two weeks (a bye and a win over SMU). Virginia Tech won, but they beat North Carolina (another prior opponent of East Carolina), so that didnít help much.

Georgia also lost to South Carolina, so that is hurting them as well. Also, Tennesseeís loss wasnít helpful either.

Oklahoma St. is having issues with prior opponents, and Saturdayís win over Iowa St. (which only has one win) didnít help much. Texas-San Antonio has struggled, and Texas Tech lost yet again as well. Florida St. is still a respectable loss, but itís not really more respectable than it was already.

Michigan St. is back after finally getting a good win over Nebraska, nothing controversial there. Their land grant rivals (Penn St.) might be more of a mystery, but Akron, Rutgers, Northwestern, and Central Florida all won last week, and of course some higher teams suffered losses.

There isnít much analysis required for Minnesota, Ohio St., and Arizona St. Minnesota was idle, so they didnít really have points added, but it still helped a lot that TCU (the team they lost to) beat Oklahoma. The other two also had fairly decent wins.

Cal is probably the worst 4-1 team, but their only loss is to undefeated Arizona. Even though the Colorado and Washington St. wins werenít pretty and the Bears have allowed 144 points in their last 9 quarters, a win is a win. The Pac-12 schedule is a decent boost as well. Iíll mention Florida below.

I donít factor in margin of victory, so you might wonder why LSU fell so far. The Tigers had two wins over otherwise-unbeaten teams (ULM and Wisconsin) going into the week, but both lost. LSU does still have an extremely good schedule (#12 in FBS average), but itís very difficult to be in the top 25 with two losses this early, and the ULM and Wisconsin losses made it impossible. Also, an average FBS opponent would have given more points than Sam Houston St.

Iíve already given my thoughts about LSU in the past few blogs, but this was a very good article about what is important in this season at this point.http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/90273/developing-talent-the-key-now-for-lsu?ex_cid=espnapi_public

Forget winning the SEC West. Sure, competitive divisions like that can theoretically have a two-loss champion, but they need to just put it out of their minds completely. It should be a relaxed atmosphere where if you can upset Alabama, Ole Miss, or whoever, thatís great, but just play a good game. We didnít do that against Auburn, it was like the worse it got the more afraid LSU was of making it even worse. Even though Auburn is in playoff position and could easily be overshadowed with just one slip-up, they played more like a team with nothing to lose than LSU did.

My one disagreement with the author in the piece above is I donít think you settle on one quarterback. If one of them plays a bad half, take him out. The only decent drives were orchestrated by Jennings in the last game (the touchdown drive was essentially one good play rather than a well-orchestrated drive) and by Harris in the previous game. Neither one should have stayed in. We donít have to pick next yearís quarterback until next year. If they both get an equal number of snaps this year, then you have even more to go on in picking the quarterback for next year.

I think itís far worse to wrongly settle on a quarterback and stubbornly refuse to make a change. Thatís what happened in the 2012 title game. Maybe they wouldnít have gotten any points with Lee (who had struggled in the first game against Alabama), but you canít do worse than 0. Saturday was only one of two times since then (the other being @Alabama last year) that LSU lost by more than one possession.

As mentioned, LSU plays Florida next week. They also have two quarterbacks. Will Muschamp benched one of them to provide an offensive spark, and it worked. I donít know if he put a better QB in the abstract in, and he probably doesnít either, but he made a change to see if it would help against a given team in a given situation and it did. I suspect the second quarterback will do better against LSU based on his skill set (at least they might not be shut out for three quarters); but if not, Iím sure Muschamp will put the other guy back in.

The Gators snuck into my top 25 because the Kentucky win was strengthened when the Wildcats beat South Carolina. The one-point win at Tennessee got them some points as well. I think beating a team like that on the road would be something for LSU to be proud of. There will be a lot of unhappy people if they donít win; but like the ESPN article says, there is a lot of potential for the future either way.

Earlier rankings:
Preseason
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5

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

Week 5 College Football Rankings 2014
Category: NCAA
Tags: ALABAMA AUBURN COLLEGE FOOTBALL FLORIDA ST. LSU MARSHALL MICHIGAN ST. MISS ST. NEBRASKA OHIO ST. OKLAHOMA OREGON TCU TEXAS A&M

Let me know if any of you would be interesting in participating in a poll. I may start one next week if there is sufficient interest.

LSU plays Auburn this week, so if youíre interested, here is my LSU/Auburn Rivalry blog.

Rank/team/previous
1 Auburn 1
2 Florida St. 3
3 Alabama 5
4 Oregon 4
5 Oklahoma 2
6 Miss. St. 10
7 BYU 7
8 TX A&M 6
9 UCLA 16
10 Nebraska 23
11 Ole Miss 8
12 Notre Dame 12
13 Ga. Tech 17
14 LSU 13
15 Arizona 22
16 E. Carolina 14
17 Baylor Ė
18 Georgia 15
19 S. Carolina 9
20 Louisville Ė
21 Okie St. 20
22 NC State 24
TCU
23 TCU Ė
lgo_ncaa_marshall_thundering_herd
24 Marshall Ė
25 Missouri Ė

Full computer rankings 1-128 (as I will explain, these are not in agreement with the top 25 given above)

Out of rankings: (11) Penn St., (18) Rutgers, (19) Arkansas. (21) Washington, (25) Virginia

Explanation and future rankings

As I mentioned last week, this is my transition week into adopting all or most of my computer rankings.

I would have liked to have kept Arkansas, after its very good game against Texas A&M, and Virginia, which lost to two top-10 teams above and beat a top-20 team. I didnít keep them because they were not in the top 35, and I didnít want to deviate more than 10 spots.

The team where I deviated the most was East Carolina. I couldnít justify putting them behind a Baylor team whose best win is Iowa St. Georgia has one win over an ACC team, but East Carolina has two.

South Carolina is the only two-loss team that made it, but the Gamecocks did so on the strength of their wins. Virginiaís just werenít strong enough to merit consideration.

I donít like ranking Missouri, but they have three wins over FBS teams. Obviously one of them is a very good win. I consider Indiana a bad loss, but it will take some time for them to show up that way even if the Hoosiers are in fact bad. Indiana is 2-2, including an FCS win; but the FCS team they beat is Indiana St., who is otherwise undefeated and has a win over an FBS team. So for right now itís just sort of a mediocre loss. I do have Missouri a few spots below where the computer put them though.

I certainly didnít want to put USC (the loss to Boston College isnít looking so good) or Minnesota (who was destroyed by TCU) in the top 25 even though the computer had them there.

The only other team I was really reluctant to rank was Marshall, but theyíre undefeated, and I couldnít justify putting anyone else ahead of them.

I tried with Michigan St. and Ohio St., because I certainly think either would beat Marshall; but there just isnít a good argument being that Iím trying to transition into the objective system. Michigan St. was the best available team; but they were 10 spots lower than Marshall, so there was really no way to justify bridging that gap. Ohio St. was even lower.

Michigan St.ís only wins are Jacksonville St., Eastern Michigan, and Wyoming, so I donít think thatís good enough. At least Marshall beat Akron (who beat Pittsburgh). I know that isnít much to go on, but itís more than Michigan St. has; and again, the formula is something to go on as well.

Itís also more than Ohio St. has to go on. Navy and Cincinnati are just not looking like good wins right now. Cincinnati only beat Miami U. and Toledo, and Navy now has three losses after losing to Western Kentucky. Even if the Buckeyes do have better wins than Marshall does, that still doesnít address the loss to Virginia Tech, whose only other wins are William and Mary and Western Michigan.

Cincinnati travels to U. Miami (the one in Florida) in a couple of weeks and also plays East Carolina in November, so if they win a string of games, that will help Ohio St. of course. Two byes and two wins over MAC teams (with two FBS wins between them) doesnít help much right now though.

Ohio St. and Michigan St. both have decent opportunities to join the top 25 next week.

I moved the top 25 teams an average of four spots each. There are only four teams that I moved 7 or more spots up or down. I moved Arizona down 8, North Carolina St. down 7, East Carolina up 10, and Louisville up 7. I am trying to avoid any larger jumps next week.

Note that I still moved East Carolina down two spots compared to last week, I still moved Arizona up 7 spots as compared to last week, and I moved North Carolina St. up two spots as compared to last week despite a loss.

I want to go back to the teams I skipped over for a second, Iíll have no problem ranking USC if they beat Arizona St. next week and are still in the computer top 25. I just think they need that additional quality win in light of Boston College losing to Colorado St.

Minnesota has a bye week, so theyíll probably fall slightly on their own. If their past opponents are still good enough for them to stay in the top 25, I will probably still put them there. TCU plays Oklahoma, and Michigan travels to Rutgers, so we shall see. The Gophers are 22nd in the computer formula right now, so if they stay 22nd, that wonít bother me anyway.

Iím not 100% sure that next week wonít be another transition week, but Iím leaning toward going to the computers exclusively or almost exclusively (sometimes I slightly rearrange the very top teams in early October) next week. I take serious issue with a relatively small number of the results for this point in the season.

I predict I will stick to the computer rankings in full after the games of October 18. Alabama plays Texas A&M that day. Auburn is idle, but in the two weekends before their bye (i.e., this coming weekend and the following weekend) they play LSU and Mississippi St. Mississippi St. is idle the week of the 18th as well, but not before playing Texas A&M and Auburn. Florida St. plays Notre Dame on the 18th. Oregon plays UCLA on the 11th (which could also make or keep UCLA #1), followed by Washington on the 18th.

Nebraska plays Michigan St. this Saturday, but I doubt they can get enough points in the next three weeks under any combination of wins and losses by the other teams I mentioned. The Huskers are idle on the 11th and play Northwestern on the 18th.

Oklahoma is back at #10, but they have a decent combination of games in the next three weeks: TCU, Texas, and Kansas St.

Earlier rankings:
Preseason
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Monday Moaning 9-8-14
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL NCAA Football Notre Dame Antonio Brown Michigan Cleveland Browns Spencer Lanning Oregon BYU Texas Virginia Tech Ohio State Michigan St

Yep...Monday comes running in like a boot to the head!

Seriously, when I saw this play, I laughed my ass off...This play, and well the play that followed pretty much some up the Cleveland Browns since 1999...

Now lets be honest...Brown could have easily cut left, and blown past Lanning, just as he did to ever other member or the Punt coverage team...But shit, what would make this highlight sweeter? Hurdling the damn punter...Dude had to go for it...But when he realized†he wasn't going to clear Lanning, or Lanning wasn't getting out of the way...Fuck, time to move that punter...BOOT TO THE HEAD!† Not a Steelers fan...Not Browns fan...But damn I loved this play!

So, they moved it back because the refs felt the boot to the head was "unnecessary roughness"...Okay, give it to Bell now that we see the Browns can't quite tackle! It's so damn Cleveland, us Clevelanders can't be mad...You just gotta laugh!

And I don't care fellow Clevelanders...So what the Browns came back in the second half, and tied it up...Way to go! Then they fell for a fake punt deep in the Steelers end...Totally got burned...Right then they lost the momentum...And eventually they gave up a big drive, followed by an easy game winning field goal wit h no time left...Sorry, no moral victory...They did what they do best...They lost!

Up next for the Browns...A pissed off New Orleans Saints team that got beat by the Falcons...

Hey, anyone see what happened in College Football this past weekend? Texas got abused, at home, by BYU...I forget the score, but it was BYU: a lot, and Texas: hey when is Texas showing up?

Ohio State lost in prime-time , at home, to unranked Virginia Tech...Urban Meyer admitted afterwards that the Hokies exposed their weaknesses...Like, apparently they stopped recruiting QB's when Braxton Miller signed there, and their young offensive line needs a fuck-ton of practice...

Oregon was down to Michigan State...But then they flipped the NIKE switch, and blew the Spartans out of the water in the second half...

But the best game, in my opinion, was the final matchup (for the time being) between Notre Dame and Michigan...If there is one thing I have in common with Ohio State fans, it's a pure hatred for Michigan...Well, folks...The Irish ended this rivalry in fucking style...The beat the shit out of Michigan 31-0....31-0!

Awesome! There's nothing else to say....

No, seriously, I've got nothing else to say...

Oh, did I forget your weekly eye candy?

Here ya go...

Have a week...

The Beeze.

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