Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher when Fisher was Sabanís offensive coordinator at LSU.
There are 40 teams total that got at least some level of ďMock BCSĒ points, so you can follow the link below to find them all.
My Top 25
1 ( 2 ) Alabama 4
2 ( 1 ) Florida St. 3
3 ( 3 ) Oregon 2
4 ( 7 ) Ohio St. 10
5 ( 4 ) Miss. St. 1
6 ( 8 ) Ole Miss 5
7 ( 5 ) TCU 9
8 ( 10 ) UCLA 6
9 ( 19 ) Marshall 13
10 ( 9 ) Georgia 21
11 ( 14 ) Auburn 7
12 ( 28 ) Boise St. 15
13 ( 17 ) Ga. Tech 22
14 ( 23 ) Colo. St. 11
15 ( 15 ) Arizona 20
16 ( 6 ) Baylor 14
17 ( 11 ) Mich. St. 24
18 ( 13 ) Arizona St. 8
19 ( 22 ) Nebraska 12
20 ( 16 ) Wisconsin Ė
21 ( 12 ) Kansas St. 19
22 ( 18 ) Missouri Ė
23 ( 21 ) Oklahoma Ė
24 ( 30 ) Clemson 23
25 ( 24 ) USC Ė
(Utah and LSU are the two Mock BCS top 25 teams who are not in my top 25.)
Full Rankings 1-128
Out of top 25: (16) Notre Dame, (17) Duke, (18) LSU, (25) TX A&M
I have serious reservations about both Alabama and Florida St.; but itís the right thing, at least at this point, for both to be the top 2 teams. Alabama has had major issues with playing on the road (one-point win over Arkansas, virtual loss to LSU, actual loss to Ole Miss), although they donít have any road games left. Florida St. has too; but itís been a more general pattern of slow starts on both sides of the ball, followed by quick scores that the opposition offenses canít keep up with.
Last week, I mentioned that it was possible for both Mississippi St. and Alabama to be in the top 4 with a Tide win over the Bulldogs. This would have happened were it not for another team I didnít anticipate making the top 4, Ohio St.
A few things came together to help this happen. Even though the Gophers were unranked, that still counts as a good win. The fact that TCU escaped against Kansas on Saturday helped that to continue to count as a good win. (TCU beat Minnesota out of conference.) As I discussed last week in reference to Arizona St./Notre Dame, the effects of those out-of-conference results are huge.
If Minnesota lost to Michigan St., for instance, that would be positive for some Big Ten teams and negative for others, but it wouldnít have a huge impact on the conference overall. Out-of-conference results have a uniformly positive or negative effect though. If 8 or 9 games you play are made to look better or worse, that makes a big difference.
Ohio St.ís strength of schedule was also assisted by Virginia Techís win over Duke. Losses hurt more than wins help, so if another loss had been added to Virginia Tech, that would have continued to weigh Ohio St. down. Instead, the Hokiesí ability to beat another pretty good team makes the loss not hurt so much.
Another factor that helped Ohio St. was Navyís win over Georgia Southern. Iím not going to pretend Georgia Southern is a great team, but they have 7 FBS wins, so thatís a positive for Navy, which Ohio St. beat earlier in the year.
A big game for the Big Ten in general was Notre Dame/Northwestern. Not only was that a big win for a Big Ten team, but it also damaged what had been a quality opponent for Pac-12 and ACC teams.
Despite Northwestern taking even more of the luster off of Florida St.ís win over Notre Dame, the Seminoles were still able to move into #2 after a quality win that coincided with an Oregon bye week. Ohio St. was a little too far behind to challenge the íNoles either.
The winner of Ole Miss and Mississippi St. still has a good chance to move into the top 4, particularly if Alabama loses to Auburn. If Ole Miss (@ Arkansas) and Mississippi St. (vs. Vanderbilt) win next week, this would mean that Alabama would be shut out of the SEC championship game.
The way my system operates, itís a disadvantage not to be in the conference-championship game at the end of the year. This is one reason Alabama did not rate as highly in my system as it did in the BCS in 2011, for instance.
I mentioned TCU earlier. Itís not looking good for the Big XII in my system.
It would take a major group of losses by top teams for the Horned Frogs (currently #7) to move up significantly. Theyíre idle next week, then they play Texas during Rivalry Week, which is their last chance to get a decent number of points. During championship week, they play Iowa St., so thatís not going to help them out much. Even Marshall would get more points that week with a win. TCU is just a whisker ahead of UCLA, who can get a lot of points by winning out, especially if the Bruins win the Pac-12 South.
Kansas St. plays Baylor during championship week, but Kansas St. has two losses (and Auburn isnít helping them by losing) and Baylor doesnít have the prior wins. Their non-conference schedule was just awful.
No one outside of the top 10 has much of a chance of making the top 4, but teams like Georgia Tech, Arizona, and Wisconsin could move up significantly by winning their respective conferences.
As we learned in 2007 though, you never want to say itís impossible for either a team like TCU or one of those lower teams.
LSU, Notre Dame, and Duke fell out. I think theyíre all top-25 teams in ability (although none played like it Saturday), but teams in the 20s are packed pretty closely together, and all have at least one good chance for points coming up.
There were 11 losses or bye weeks in the top 18 last week, so that accounts for a lot of the movement. Any team that went into the week in the top 18 and won a game is now in the top 12. All but two (Marshall and Boise St.) are in the top 7.
Pac-12 teams are moving up, in part due to Arizona St.ís win over Notre Dame.
Just like last week, there are no newly-ranked teams for the season, so there are no team logos. There are 39 teams total that got at least some level of ďMock BCSĒ points, so you can follow the link below to find them all.
My Top 25
1 ( 1 ) Miss. St. 1
2 ( 4 ) Oregon 5
3 ( 2 ) Florida St. 3
4 ( 3 ) Alabama 6
5 ( 10 ) Ole Miss 4
6 ( 12 ) UCLA 7
7 ( 8 ) Auburn 2
8 ( 7 ) Arizona St. 8
9 ( 5 ) TCU 12
10 ( 9 ) Ohio St. 15
11 ( 23 ) Colo. St. 14
12 ( 11 ) Nebraska 9
13 ( 21 ) Marshall 17
14 ( 6 ) Baylor 22
15 ( 29 ) Boise St. 18
16 ( 15 ) Notre Dame 13
17 (†20 ) Duke 23
18 ( 17 ) LSU 10
19 ( 13 ) Kansas St. 11
20 ( 19 ) Arizona 21
21 ( 16 ) Georgia 25
22 ( 27 ) Ga. Tech Ė
23 (†18 ) Clemson 20
24 ( 14 ) Mich. St. 16
25 ( 22 ) TX A&M Ė
Full Rankings 1-128
Out of top 25: (19) Oklahoma, (24) Missouri
It makes me sick to have to give Alabama credit for a win and to penalize LSU for a loss, just so you know. At least now I donít have to cheer for the Rammer Jammers in any of their remaining games.
I havenít forced myself to cheer for Alabama since Thanksgiving Day of 2010 (I was neutral when they played Notre Dame in January 2013); but if LSU had kept winning, I would have had to cheer for them in one or possibly both of their remaining games.
Anyway, Oregon is #2 for the moment, but things will even out when the Ducks have a bye week next week. If I were to account for the extra week now, Oregon would actually be #4.
I was pleased that my rankings gave some credit to the Pac-12. I didnít make a rankings system to favor one conference (and neither did any of the widely-recognized systems). So while itís not quite as strong as the SEC West (everyone but Arkansas has no losses outside the division), the Oregon/Arizona St./Arizona/UCLA group of teams has played well enough to help one another out, especially with ASUís win over Notre Dame. UCLA did lose to Utah, and Arizona did lose to USC, so thatís why itís not quite the same as the top of the SEC West.
I explained the circumstances, but the fact that Oregon is close enough to Alabama in the first place shows that itís not impossible to break into the group of SEC teams even if they werenít beating each other constantly. The best Pac-12 team with two losses isnít ahead of the best SEC team with two losses (Ole Miss), but they are ahead of the second-best (Auburn).
Arizona St. only has one loss; but unlike UCLA, they wonít play Oregon until the Pac-12 championship (if at all) and they havenít played Arizona yet. UCLAís win over Texas is also looking better after the Horns beat WVU.
I skipped Florida St. They should be a somewhat comfortable #2 next week if they win.U. Miami is possibly the best three-loss team (after LSU anyway). One of the Hurricanesí losses is to Nebraska, and they are the only team to beat Duke.
Auburn/Ole Miss is not a mistake or oversight. Even though Auburn beat Ole Miss, I still think the Rebels belong ahead. Ole Miss is 1-0 against the top two teams in the West, and Auburn is 0-1. Also, the loss at LSU is more forgivable than the loss at home againstA&M.
TCU and Ohio St. are where they belong. Basically, the wrong teams won. Either conferenceís best chance was for the teams that were undefeated in conference with respectable out-of-conference losses (Michigan St. to Oregon and KSU to Auburn) to win out.
TCUís best win is the one they just had over Kansas St. The Oklahoma win is looking less impressive now. The Frogs beat Minnesota out of conference, but their games againstSamford and still-winless SMU donít help them out much.
Of course, Ohio St.ís loss to mediocre Virginia Tech is going to be difficult to overcome, but they may have an outside shot if they can beat Nebraska (preferably if they donít incur any further losses) in the Big Ten championship.
There is then a huge gap before getting to #11, Colorado St. The Rams have a bye week, followed by New Mexico, so there will be plenty of opportunity for teams to pass them. Marshall already had its bye weeks, but the best team on their schedule right now (pending whoever wins the other division) is Rice.
Nebraska is between the two mid-major/group-of-five teams, but as I indicated, they can find their way to move up by winning.
Baylor only has the one loss, but the Bears played SMU, Northwestern St., and Buffalo out of conference. Also, they have yet to play Kansas St. Thatís on championship week, so I guess it will be a good chance to make one last statement if the Bears keep winning.
Boise St. is not likely to move up very much. Notre Dame can move up a little bit, but neither of those will be particularly relevant with two losses.
Duke certainly still has some potential for points being that they may earn a rematch in the ACC title game with Florida St., but there isnít too much before then.
Everyone else is mostly just jockeying for non-CFP bowl consideration.
Georgia, LSU, and Texas A&M donít want to fall too far down the list of SEC bowls (I donít think the Bulldogs want to see Jacksonville again, for instance). Michigan St. looks like it may be playing an SEC team somewhere in Florida.
I mentioned Kansas St. and Arizona earlier. They look out of their respective conference races for the moment, but there are big games left.
Georgia Tech and Clemson will square off for best two-loss ACC team.
I didn't wait†for the committee this time. Itís LSU/Alabama week, so I want to give my rankings and move on. Iím 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 ďnewĒ 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 Ė
25 ( 18 ) Georgia 12
Full 128 computer ratings
Other teams who would have at least some BCS points:
42 ( 21 ) Utah Ė
31 ( 24 ) W. Virginia 25
29 ( 27 ) Wisconsin Ė
32 ( 28 ) TX A&M Ė
28 ( 29 ) USC Ė
26 ( 31 ) Ga. Tech Ė
33 ( 32 ) Florida Ė
30 ( 33 ) Minnesota Ė
35 ( 34 ) Louisville Ė
43 ( 35 ) Iowa Ė
49 ( 36 ) Stanford Ė
48 ( 37 ) E. Carolina Ė
50 ( 38 ) Cincinnati Ė
27 ( 39 ) U. Miami Ė
Once again, Iím 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 theyíll 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.ís 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 youíve ever said to yourself, ďIíd like to watch Gus Malzahn break dance,Ē 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 Iím going to go through the top 10 and explain why Ole Miss is higher than each team in my ratings at the moment.
Iím not going to comment on every teamís prospect for moving ahead of Ole Miss, but the first two are particularly relevant.
LSU isnít one of the top few teams to lose to, but theyíre 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 thatís why they canít 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 donít 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 donít belong ahead of a team with Ole Missís rťsumť.
#9 Nebraska is another one-loss team that just doesnít 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 donít rate very highly due to their records, and itís 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 LSUís SEC East opponents and rates a good bit higher. The Aggies wouldnít 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 werenít many teams in between ready to move up. Rating-wise, theyíre as close to Mississippi St. as they are to Colorado St. now. Itís 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 doesnít have that much depth in my formula though, so if itís TCU, theyíll 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) wonít 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 ďbest of the restĒ 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 donít expect a big move upward by Clemson. Other than Florida St., the ACC Atlantic doesnít 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 Tigersí schedule. I certainly donít 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 isnít 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 itís a two-way tie with the Bulldogs though. Texas A&M appears to be Missouriís toughest test left, while Georgia still has to play Kentucky (on the road) and Auburn before closing the regular season with non-conference games.
In addition to the blog linked to above, I'm now on twitter @TheBayouBlogger and at www.facebook.com/BayouBlogger
I shared a couple of thoughts on the upcoming game with BOB earlier, but there are a few different LSU-related topics here.
I hadnít really talked about just how LSU is coming along as a team and xís and oís in a couple of weeks, so I thought Iíd do that now.
Miles tells reporters to ďhave a great dayĒ before LSU beat Tennessee to win the SEC in 2007.
This last game was Les Miles 100th win at LSU. Maybe itís appropriate that we didnít beat Mississippi St. in the last second. It just would not have been fitting for win #100 to have been a blowout win over New Mexico St. Florida was the 23rd Les Miles win in which the Tigers trailed at some point in the fourth quarter. Thatís nearly 1/4 of his wins.
Here is a video tribute I enjoyed:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmJ0FuTHPqI (I would note that Miles is not the ďwinningestĒ coach at LSU: Charles McClendon is still 37 wins ahead of him.)
To refer to one of his quotes in the video, it does seem like LSUís game plan includes a ďmuddle aroundĒ period.
LSU is .500 in such games under Miles, much better than any other team. I read that Texas is second with 18 wins after trailing in the fourth quarter, but thatís against 32 losses.
I added a new section to the LSU/Florida rivalry blog about how this was similar to a couple other wins at the Swamp in the last 10 years.
I also wrote a complete LSU/Kentucky rivalry blog.
I was counting on Jeff Driskel to screw up and hoping Anthony Jennings didnít screw up too badly, and thatís about what happened. I did think LSU would manage more than 110 passing yards for the game though (41 were on one play, and the only passes of more than 10 yards were in the fourth quarter). Thatís the main problem that I didnít foresee going into this season. I thought we would be consistently 225-250 yards per game passing by this point.
LSU does still average 205 per game, which isnít good, but itís deceivingly good nonetheless. Itís inflated by the Mississippi St. game where LSU threw for 341 yards, most of them in a second-half comeback effort.
The other major area of weakness so far has been rush defense, but I think this game was a much more reasonable gauge of that than Auburn or Mississippi St. were. LSU only allowed 123 rushing yards by Florida. Thatís respectable against a team that had about twice as many rushes as completed passes. Especially a fairly competitive SEC team (they werenít pretty games, but the Gators are 2-0 in the East) in a road game.
When I watched TCU on Saturday, I was reminded of the difficulties LSU had in kick coverage against the Horned Frogs last season. It was weird that they demonstrated precisely the problems I remembered, especially being that Dubose had run back a kick for a touchdown against LSU before.
LSU seems to have a reasonably good location punter. I donít know why they waited until the last punt to kick it out of bounds. So basically they replaced the rush defense problems with the kick coverage problems. Otherwise, this might have been a somewhat comfortable win.
Back to the rush defense, this next game might tell a bit more. LSU has struggled in the past against the wildcat, but I donít think Kentucky has the likes of Felix Jones and Darren McFadden. Also, the scouting reports indicate Kentucky has very little ability to throw from the wildcat, so that might be a comfort.
I think Iíll be more worried about the other plays. QB Patrick Towles has completed over 62% of his passes and has thrown for over 1500 yards (more than 8 yards per attempt). He also can throw to just about any wide receiver on the field, which can strain pass coverage of course.
On the other hand, many of those yards came against UT-Martin and Florida (which was a 3OT game). If you take out those two games, Kentucky has fewer passing yards per game than LSU does.
Towles can run a little bit though. Heís no Dak Prescott, but he ran for 59 yards against Ohio, for example.
I didnít mention place-kicking earlier. I didnít see anything wrong with the missed extra-point attempt other than it missing. Hopefully, that was just a fluke event. PK Colby Delahoussaye said he just got too close to the ball. At any rate, it was nice to make up for it with a 50-yard field goal. Itís good to know he can do that.
Not to delve into philosophy too much, but he probably wouldnít have had a chance to win the game had he made the extra point. Florida likely would have gone for the end zone had they trailed by four. If rather than a tie game, Florida had a three-point lead on the last drive, Driskel may not have thrown the pass that was intercepted. If Florida had failed to score altogether, the kick at the end would not have been necessary either.
Anyway, because of some of the things I mentioned earlier (as well as the recent LSU-Kentucky games I wrote about in detail ), I Ďm thinking of doing a blog about crazy LSU wins. There was a fair number under Saban as well. Seasons like this one might be an exception (assuming we lose four or five instead of two or three)., but Sabanís teams tended to be a little more unpredictable overall, so that helped. I donít think they had the same knack for falling behind teams they shouldnít though.
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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.
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
20 Minnesota Ė
21 Ohio St. Ė
22 Arizona St. Ė
23 Louisville 20
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.
...For earlier access to my blogs, archives, etc., you can follow my†wordpress site†or my page on†facebook.