OTHER RECENT POSTS
  • LSU Basketball
  • Golden Baseball Magazine
Baseball Archives Football Archives Basketball Archives
Another Disgusting End to a Season

It would have been better if the Saints had never come back to take the lead, at least not the second time.
It would have been better if the Vikings had kicked a long FG to win the game on the last play.
But having the heroic efforts of the whole team to take the lead with less than 30 seconds to play erased by the ineptitude of one player (#43 Marcus Williams, rookie S) is too much to take. He made Case Keenum the hero instead of Drew Brees.
He's now like Bill Buckner in Boston or Jackie Smith in Dallas or Earnest Byner in Cleveland or Scott Norwood in Buffalo. Marcus Williams - #1 goat in Saints history. (There have been others, such as John Carney missing the PAT to tie the game after the River City Relay on the last play in Jacksonville in 2003. But this was a playoff game to go to the NFC championship game.)
Watching the replay, in which Williams did not play the ball at all but instead put his head down and whiffed on the tackle, I concluded that he probably was thinking, "I'll make a smashing tackle and send this guy head over heels crashing to the ground, causing him to drop the ball. I'll be the hero." But Marcus, YOU WERE THE SAFETY MAN! LITERALLY, THE LAST LINE OF DEFENSE! Even if he caught the ball and was hit immediately, the Vikings would be in FG range. But at least they'd have to execute the FG. Instead, you handed them victory on a silver platter! I suggest Sean Payton trade Williams in the off-season. Don't just cut him. Get something for him.
UPDATE MONDAY MORNING: I'M GLAD TO READ THAT WILLIAMS CRIED AFTER THE GAME. THAT MAKES ME RESPECT HIM MORE, NOT LESS. THERE'S NOTHING I HATE MORE THAN A PLAYER WHO MAKES A BAD PLAY THAT HELPS LOSE A GAME AND JUST SHRUGS HIS SHOULDERS.
So my football season is over. I can't take any more disappointing endings after:
The Saints lost to Tampa Bay in the last minute.
LSU lost to Notre Dame in the last minute.
Georgia lost to Alabama in OT.
The Saints lost to the Vikings on the last play.
I've had my fill of football.
My only interest in the remaining NFL playoffs is that anybody but New England win the Super Bowl. I like Jacksonville because of Leonard Fournette but they have little chance to beating the Patriots up there. And I don't care who wins between the Eagles and Vikings. If anything, I hope Minnesota doesn't win because that would make the Saints' loss to them even more bitter.
This is like the 2014-15 season. I was disgusted by a Packers' player knocking the ball out of his teammate's hand to allow the Seahawks to recover the onside kick and go down and tie the game to win the NFC Championship in OT. So I didn't watch a second of the Super Bowl that year.
I need eight months off from football again. LSU basketball will occupy me until LSU baseball season begins.

Saints-Vikings Preview

IT'S POINTLESS TO REVIEW ALL THIS. THE TEAMS WERE EVENLY MATCHED AND IT CAME DOWN TO ONE PLAY.

USA Today Sports Weekly gives these Keys to the Game.

  1. Make money: The Saints are dynamic but their 19th-ranked third-down offense is the least efficient of the Brees-Payton era. The Vikings' third-down defense is the best since the NFL first tracked the stat in 1991. It's all about controlling Minnesota's pressure, and the Saints will be starting a backup in LG Senio Kelemete.
  2. Lock it down: The Saints' secondary had numerous breakdowns against Carolina and will face better wideouts in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, who combined for 250 yards and two touchdowns during Week 1. CB Ken Crawley was inactive in the first meeting, and Marshon Lattimore's star was just rising.
  3. Case management: Keenum has rarely had to carry Minnesota. That must continue in his first playoff start as he faces a defense with the third-most interceptions. Keenum has gone three consecutive games without a giveaway. The Vikings need to let the defense and running game star.
  4. Air Jordan: Coordinator Pat Shurmur can't let Jordan beat the Vikings. LT Riley Reiff must prevent the 6-4, 287-pounder from spending the day in 6-0 Keenum's sights.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY (USA Today Sports Weekly)
Vikings, 24-21
Consensus line: Vikings by 4
Prediction: The Vikings have a defense capable of slowing the Saints. It's No. 1 in total points and yards allowed and has the stoutness up front and physicality in the secondary to counter New Orleans' playmakers. Normally, Drew Brees' multidimensional attack would be favored over a Case Keenum-led offense, but defense still wins championships. The Vikings will take a step closer to hosting and appearing in the Super Bowl.

Some disturbing numbers (for Saints' fans) from Marc Lawrence of USA Today

  • New Orleans is 1-10 straight-up (SU) and 3-6-2 against-the-spread (ATS) in its past 11 games as an underdog against NFC North opponents.
  • With the Vikings, QB Case Keenum is 7-1 SU and 6-1-1 ATS against foes coming off a loss.
  • With Mike Zimmer as head coach, the Vikings are 18-3 ATS at home against non-division opponents.
  • Who wins: Minnesota, 27-17
NFL Playoffs 2018
We list eight sets of statistical factors for each game and keep track of which factor is the best predictor of the winners.

RESULTS AFTER SIX GAMES
2018 Playoff Predictors
Category Wins
Total Offense 5
Rushing Offense 4
Passing Offense 4
Total Defense 6
Rushing Defense 5
Passing Defense 6
Turnover Margin 5
Home Team 5
Higher Golden Ranking 4

"Wins" = # times the team leading in that category won the game.

Regular Season Ranks for All 12 Playoff Teams
   
Offense
Defense
 
Seed/Team
Total
Rush
Pass
Total
Rush
Pass
Turnover Margin
Total of
Rankings
 NFC  1. Eagles 7 3 13 4 1 17 +11 45
2. Vikings 11 7 11 1 2 2 +5 34
3. Rams 10 8 10 19 28 13 +7 88
4. Saints 2 5 5 17 16 15 +7 60
5. Panthers 19 4 28 7 3 18 -1 79
6. Falcons 8 13 8 9 9 12 -2 59
 AFC  1. Patriots 1 10 2 29 20 30 +6 92
2. Steelers 3 20 3 5 10 5 +2 46
3. Jaguars 6 1 17 2 21 1 +10 47
4. Chiefs 5 9 7 28 25 29 +15 103
5. Titans 23 15 23 13 4 25 -4 103
6. Bills 29 6 31 26 29 20 +9 141

The numbers are the team's rank in each category. So a lower number is better
except for Turnover Margin. The black numbers indicate the best ranking
among the conference playoff teams in that category.

This Weekend's Games
 
Offense
Defense
Team
Total
Rush
Pass
Total
Rush
Pass
Turnover
Margin
Total
6. Falcons 8 13 8 9 9 12 -2 59
1. Eagles 7 3 13 4 1 17 +11 45

The Eagles rank higher in four of the seven categories.
Comment: The unknown factor is the performance of Philly's backup QB, Nick Foles.
Golden NFL Rankings: Eagles (19.07) over Falcons (17.58)
RESULT: Eagles 15 Falcons 10

 
Offense
Defense
Team
Total
Rush
Pass
Total
Rush
Pass
Turnover
Margin
Total
5. Titans 23 15 23 13 4 25 -4 103
1. Patriots 1 10 2 29 20 30 +6 92

The Patriots rank higher in four of the seven categories.
Comment: The Patriots hold a large edge in the offensive categories
and are at home in their outdoor stadium.
Golden NFL Rankings: Patriots (18.53) over Titans (15.91)
RESULT: Patriots 35 Titans 7

 
Offense
Defense
Team
Total
Rush
Pass
Total
Rush
Pass
Turnover
Margin
Total
3. Jaguars 6 1 17 2 21 1 +10 47
2. Steelers 3 20 3 5 10 5 +2 46

The Jaguars rank higher in four of the seven categories.
Comment: The Jaguars won in Pittsburgh in Week 5, 30-9, in a game
in which they picked off Roethlisberger five times.
Golden NFL Rankings: Steelers (18.31) over Jaguars (16.47)
RESULT: Jaguars 45 Steelers 42

 
Offense
Defense
Team
Total
Rush
Pass
Total
Rush
Pass
Turnover
Margin
Total
4. Saints 2 5 5 17 16 15 +7 60
2. Vikings 11 7 11 1 2 2 +5 34

The Saints rank higher in the three offensive categories while the Vikes are much better
in the three defensive categories. The Saints have a slightly better turnover margin.
Comment: The Vikings won at home in Week 1, 29-19.
Golden NFL Rankings: Vikings (19.16) over Saints (18.31)
RESULT: Vikings 29 Saints 24

Resistance Is Futile

It took me a while to get around to writing about Monday night's game.

  • After thinking for most of the game that I was on my way to winning $205 in the bowl pool at school, I watched in disgust and dismay as Nick Saban resuscitated his offense by bringing a freshman QB from Hawaii - halfway around the globe - off the bench.
  • Forget about beating Alabama the next two seasons. (Georgia with their outstanding freshman QB and a coach who worked for Saban may get another chance in the SEC Championship Game.) The Saban Machine has a new driver but will still roll over everyone. Jalen Hurts is too good an athlete to keep off the field and has no chance of playing QB in the NFL. So he'll be switched to WR to replace the departing Calvin Ridley or possibly to DB. He can always step in at QB to run a wildcat package.
  • I wonder why LSU AD Joe Alleva spent so much money to retain D-coordinator Dave Aranda. He can pay half as much to someone else to lose to the Tide the next two years and finish no better than 9-4.
  • Then Orgeron compounded the problem by giving the boot to Matt Canada and giving the O-coordinator job to Steve Ensminger, who was his interim O-coordinator after Coach O replaced Les Miles after four games of the '16 season.
  • Ensminger did better than Cam Cameron that season but that's faint praise. And his offense scored zilch against Bama in Tiger Stadium. (Aranda's defense held the Tide scoreless for three periods, but so what? It still wasn't good enough in the 10-0 defeat.)
  • The stats show that the production of Canada's 2017 offense was essentially the same as the Cameron/Ensminger offense of 2016. In both cases, the QB play of Danny Etling was adequate at best. He cut down on his INTs under Canada, but that could have been because of having a year of SEC play under his belt. (Etling will always be one of my LSU heroes. What would we have done without him these last two years? No bowl games, for starters. Danny is right up there with an unsung LSU QB from the late 90s, Herb Tyler, who did yeoman work supplementing the exploits of Kevin Faulk on three straight bowl teams after a six-year drought.)
  • I have the same feeling about Ensminger that I had about Orgeron when Ed was named the new coach by default following the 2016 season. Alleva "settled" on O when his main candidates - first Jimbo Fisher, then Tom Herman - turned him down. And now Orgeron has "settled" on Ensminger because he wasn't comfortable with Canada's style of offense.
  • As commentators have already pointed out, it's hard to find high school QBs with experience in what O calls the "USC-style" (also called "pro-style") run heavy/pass downfield offense. I saw Myles Brennan play for St. Stanislaus his junior and senior years. He ran a spread, shotgun offense with quick throws. He displayed some running ability when he couldn't find a receiver or was flushed out of the pocket.
  • In today's football, you need a dual-threat QB. Alabama has two of them. LSU supposedly has one in Lowell Narcisse, a redshirt freshman this past year whose promising high school career was derailed by serious injuries both his junior and senior seasons. But I wouldn't be surprised if he transfers this spring or summer.
  • My first take on 2018 is that LSU will be fortunate to get six wins and make a bowl game. Miami (Game 1), Auburn (Game 3), Florida (Game 6), Georgia (Game 7), and Alabama (Game 9) appear to be certain losses. Texas A&M under Jimbo Fisher will be tough to beat in College Station. That's six defeats right there. Lose to Ole Miss or Mississippi State or Arkansas and you're 5-7 and out of the bowl picture for the first time since 1999.
Final Golden College Rankings for 2017-18
Golden Rankings Top Ten
Pos.
Team
Record
Average Opp.
wins
Opp.
Opps
Score
Value
Sch
Str
Reg.
Season
1
Alabama
13-1
17.79
93 483 15.67 52 6
2
Central Florida
13-0
17.58
83 387 14.10 65 3
3
Wisconsin
13-1
17.24
84 430 15.27 55 5
4
Ohio State
12-2
17.23
87 445 14.94 49 8
5
Clemson
12-2
17.06
84 370 15.01 49 2
6
Notre Dame
10-3
16.92
76 346 13.55 39 7
7
Penn State
11-2
16.83
72 321 14.96 53 9
8
Oklahoma
12-2
16.74
79 368 13.14 56 4
9
Georgia
13-2 16.63 91 504 16.85 49 1
10
Auburn
10-4
16.05
65 333 13.84 50 10
  • "Opps. wins" is the number of victories by the teams the ranked team defeated.
  • "Opp. opps". is the number of victories by the teams the defeated teams beat.
  • "Score value" is a measure of the margin of victory in relation to the defeated team's number of wins coupled with the margin of defeat in relation to the victorious team's number of losses.
  • "Sch. Str." is Schedule Strength - the average ranking of all the teams that team has played.
Golden Conference Rankings
Pos.
Conference
Average Impressive Non-Conference Wins
1
Big Ten
13.394
Ariz.,Bos.Col.,Iowa St.,Kentucky,Miami,Texas,USC,Virginia,Wash.,Wash.St.
2
SEC
13.291
Clemson, K-State, Louisville, Michigan, N. C. State, Notre Dame,Oklahoma
3
ACC
12.982
Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Northwestern, ND, S.Car., Texas A&M, West Va
4
Big 12
12.510
Arizona State, Memphis,Missouri,Ohio State,Stanford,UCLA,Va.Tech
5
Pac-12
12.372
, Nebraska, No.Car., Texas, Texas A&M, West Virginia
6
American AC
12.111
Arizona, Auburn, Texas Tech, TCU, UCLA, Virginia
7
Mtn. West
11.048
Arizona State, Central Michigan, Houston, Oregon, Stanford, Wyoming
8
MAC
10.825
Alabama-Birmingham, Florida Atlantic, Kansas, Nebraska, Rutgers
9
C-USA
10.817
Akron, Arkansas State, Cincinnati, Marshall, SMU
10
Sun Belt
10.442
LSU, North Texas, Toledo, Utah State, Western Kentucky

Complete Golden Rankings

Synopsis of the ranking system: Each team starts with 12 points for each game. The winning team goes up from there depending on the number of wins of the defeated opponent and the margin of victory. The loser goes down from 12 depending on the losses of the opponent and the margin of defeat. Teams can gain a bonus for road wins or a penalty for home losses. Read complete rules.

Top Ten Games in # Points Gained by Victors
Includes Bowls and CFP
Pos.
Pts.
Game (Winner-Loser)
Victory
Margin
1
25.13 @Auburn-Georgia 23
2 24.90 Oklahoma-@Ohio State 16
3
24.21 Navy-@Florida Atlantic 23
4
23.56 @Notre Dame-USC 35
5
23.52 Alabama-Clemson 18
6
23.50 Iowa State-@Oklahoma 12
7
22.64 Ohio State-Wisconsin 6
8
22.53 Alabama-Georgia 3
9
22.48 Clemson-Miami 35
10
22.20 Fresno State-@San Diego State 24

Since each team starts a game with 12 points (the # of games in the regular season), you can see that Auburn more than doubled that amount in its victory over Georgia. UGa ended with 12 victories, which gave Auburn 6 points (1/2 per victory of loser). Also, UGa's number of wins was multiplied by the margin of victory and divided by 100 to add the remaining amount.
In the second highest game, Oklahoma gained 1.5 extra points because it scored a road victory over an eleven-win team.

Compilation of Dozens of Rankings

My NFL Predictions for 2017 - How Did I Do?

The following teams will win MORE games than they did last year.

  • Buffalo Bills
  • Chicago Bears
  • Detroit Lions PUSH (9 wins each year)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Los Angeles Rams

These teams will win FEWER games than last year.

  • Indianapolis Colts
  • New England Patriots
  • New York Jets PUSH (5 wins each year)
  • New York Giants
  • Oakland Raiders

SAINTS' PREDICTION

After three straight 7-9 seasons, the Saints finally get back to the .500 mark: 8-8
I WAS CORRECT IN PREDICTING THEY'D DO BETTER THAN 7-9. BUT I DIDN'T ENVISION 11-5 AND NFC SOUTH CHAMPS. DID YOU?

  • The LBs are much faster this year, which will make the defense better.
  • The offense, which has never finished lower than 6th in the Payton-Brees Era, will be as good or better. 2ND IN TOTAL OFFENSE
  • Injuries will determine the final mark, as always. If key players stay healthy, the Saints should improve on last year's mark despite a tough schedule.
  • Another factor this season is the possibility that this will be Drew Brees's last with the Saints since his contract has not been extended. And Payton, who was all but sealed and delivered to Indianapolis several years ago, may go also if he can't produce at least a .500 record.

Golden NFL Rankings Final Regular Season - Saints #3
Golden NFL Top Ten
Pos.
Team
Record
Average Opp. W-L Last
Week
1
Minnesota 13-3
19.16
93-15 3
2 Philadelphia 13-3 19.07 90-20 1
3
New Orleans
11-5
18.63
85-28 2
4
New England
13-3
18.53
97-21 5
5
Pittsburgh
13-3
18.31
88-20 7
6
Los Angeles
11-5
18.21
81-32 4
7
Carolina
11-5
18.15
88-30 6
8 Atlanta
10-6
17.58
76-33 8
9
Kansas City
10-6
16.91
77-51 10
10
Detroit
10-6
16.64
53-38 13
"Opp. W-L" means the total number of wins by the teams the ranked team defeated and the total number of losses of the teams who beat that team.

Complete Golden NFL rankings

No change in division rankings since all games the last week were within divisions. So for every win by a division team, there was a loss.
Division Rankings
Rank Division Average Last Week
1 NFC South 17.265 1
2 NFC North 16.473 2
3 NFC West 16.289 3
4 AFC East 16.227 4
5 NFC East 16.033 5
6 AFC West 15.570 6
7 AFC North 15.297 7
8 AFC South 14.969 8

Overall: NFC 16.507, AFC 15.630

Synopsis of the ranking system: Each team starts with 16 points for each game. The winning team goes up from there depending on the number of wins of the defeated opponent and the margin of victory. The loser goes down from 16 depending on the losses of the opponent and the margin of defeat. Teams can gain a bonus for road wins or a penalty for home losses.

Top of Page

About This Site
This site is devoted primarily but not exclusively to college and pro football. The unique feature of this site is the publication each fall of the author's rankings of all FBS college football teams and similar rankings for the NFL. I live in New Orleans and am a graduate of LSU and FSU. So I present a Southern and particularly an SEC point of view but one that is reasonably objective. I also publish a monthly Football Magazine with stories from the past and a monthly Baseball Magazine with a similar format. During the winter and spring, there's a monthly Basketball Magazine.

web counter
web counter
Hits since 8/3/12

For Your Reading Pleasure

The Dark Ages of LSU football again on the horizon

Tiger Den: 1996 Comebacks - Tulane
Saints Saga: Profile - Jim Finks III
Seminoles Sidelines: Profile - Burt Reynolds - 1
Super Bowl VII - Redskins vs Dolphins
Profile: Bill Walsh - IX
Short Story
: Paranoia Abounds
How Well Do You Know the Rules?
Football Quiz
Basketball Short Story Turning It Around
Tiger Den Basketball Pete Maravich's LSU Career - 1
Basketball Week in Time February 25, 1963
Basketball Quiz Home Arenas
Cardinals Clubhouse: Profile: Rogers Hornsby - III
The Ultimate Game 2017 World Series - Game 7
Baseball Firsts - 1940s
PostSeason Surprises
- Bob Kuzava
How Would You Rule? -
Brawl While Play Is Live
Baseball Quiz
- Who am I?
Short Story - Heated Rivalry


Les Miles Retrospective
Part I | Part II
| Part III
Part IV | Part V | Part VI

My College Predictions for 2017

2017 College Football Preseason Magazine Summaries

My Pro Predictions for 2017
2017 Pro Football Preseason Magazine Summaries

About This Site

Past Articles

Tigers in NFL - 2016

Parallels

Top of Page