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Did You Notice? NFL Week 6
  • Winless Teams - The Giants escaped the winless list by upsetting the Broncos in the Mile High City Sunday night, 23-10. So just two teams still have a goose egg in the win column.
    New York Giants
    San Francisco 49ers
    Cleveland Browns
  • Resurgent Rams
    The Rams' 27-17 victory over the Jaguars gave Los Angeles's NFC team four wins, which equals their total for the entire 2016 season. 31-year-old Sean McVay took over as head coach in January and began to make changes immediately. Just as Dallas had done six years earlier, LA bolstered the offensive line by signing free agents John Sullivan and Andrew Whitworth (LSU) to protect 2016 #1 pick, QB Jared Goff. Satisfied with their defense, which McVay hired legendary coach Wade Phillips to coordinate, the Rams went all-offense in the draft and also signed free agent WR Sammy Watkins.
  • Resurgent Roethlisberger
    Remember how despondent Big Ben was after the Steelers' 30-9 home loss to Jacksonville? Well, he bounced back against the only undefeated team in the league, the Chiefs. Here's the stats from the two games.
    Opponent Cmp Att Yds TD Int Rating
    Jacksonville 33 55 312 0 5 37.8
    Kansas City 17 25 252 1 1 97.4
    With Le'Veon Bell rushing for 179y on 32 carries - much better than the 47y in 15 carries the week before - the Steelers jumped out to a 12-3 halftime lead and stayed ahead the rest of the way. So Ben didn't have to throw the ball as much.
  • How Are They Leading Their Division?
    The Patriots became the first team in NFL history to allow 300y passing in six straight games. Yet they defeated the Jets 24-17 - thanks in part to an outrageous replay reversal of an NY TD - to move to 4-2 and a half-game lead in the AFC East. It also gave New England their 11th straight road victory - impressive but only the second-best streak in team history since they won 12 in a row from 2006-08.
  • Enough Is Enough!
    The Titans beat the Colts 36-22 Monday night to snap an 11-game skid that tied for the NFL's longest active losing streak against one team. The wonder of the streak is that the recent Indy squads haven't been the powerhouses of the Peyton Manning era.
By the Numbers
Days since the Saints had been .500 (last game of the 11-5 2013 season) before beating Detroit Sunday to go to 3-2.
Pittsburgh's first downs compared to Kansas City's with two minutes left in the first half. The Chiefs finally made a 1st down right before halftime.
Kansas City's record against Pittsburgh the last two seasons
The Chiefs' record against the rest of the NFL the last two seasons
Rushing yards by Adrian Peterson in Arizona's game Sunday before the Saints-Lions game ended.
Peterson's total rushing yards in the Cardinals' 38-33 victory over Tampa Bay, 51 more than Adrian had gained in four games with the Saints.
Combined rushing yardage by Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara for the Saints against the Lions
187 Regular-season wins by Tom Brady, an NFL record.
63 Points by which Indianapolis has been outscored in Q4 this season.
Did You Notice? NCAA Week 7
  • Undefeated Teams (Undefeated teams that lost last week crossed out)
    Central Florida
    Penn State
    San Diego State

    South Florida
    Washington State

  • Winless Teams - no change from last week

    Georgia Southern
  • Evergreen State Despondent
    Last week, we had "Evergreen State Triumphant." But Washington and Washington State both fell from the ranks of the undefeated on the road. California clobbered the Cougars 37-3 thanks in part to seven turnovers, including five INTs off Luke Falk - whose Heisman candidacy probably suffered a mortal blow - and nine sacks. The next night, Arizona State, with two weeks to prepare, held a UW offense that had been averaging 43ppg to just 7.
  • Combat Fatigue?
    A week after playing a seven OT game, Buffalo and Western Michigan both lost by the same score, 14-13.
  • UAB Resurrection
    After the 2014 season, the University of Alabama-Birmingham announced it was sutting down its football program despite the fact that the Blazers had just become bowl eligible for the first time since 2004. The reason cited was the deficits being run by the football program. But less than a year later, the school president announced the restoration of the program due to the public outcry and the fact that $27M had been raised to fund the program. With the 2014 coach, Bill Clark, back in charge, the Blazers took the field again this year. How are they doing? Well, last Saturday they defeated Middle Tennessee, conquerors of Syracuse in Week 2, to run their record to 4-2. Their other wins came against Alabama A&M, Coastal Carolina, and Louisiana Tech.
  • Dead Men Walking
    These coaches seem destined to be fired at the end of this season if not sooner.
    David Bailiff, Rice (1-5 this year, 57-74 in 11 seasons)
    Bret Bielema, Arkansas (2-4 this year, 27-30 in his fifth year, 10-25 in SEC) - only question is whether Arkansas can afford his $5.9M buyout
    Butch Jones, Tennessee (3-3 this season, 33-24 overall and 14-21 in SEC games in five years at UT) - the 41-0 loss to Georgia at home two weeks ago undoubtedly sealed his fate but the lackluster 15-9 defeat against South Carolina, again at home, last Saturday reduced his chance of returning to 0%.
    Matt Luke, Ole Miss interim coach - not giving his AD any reason to promote him to full-time coach
    Scottie Montgomery, East Carolina (1-6 this year after 3-9 in 2016, his first year) - ECU was criticized for jettisoning Ruffin McNeill, who had taken the Pirates to four bowls in five years before going 5-7 in 2015. 5-7 would delight the fans these days.
    Jim Mora, UCLA (3-3 this season, 44-27 overall and 26-23 in Pac-12 in six seasons) - Bruin Nation will not put up with another underwhelming season from a team that is constantly ranked high when the season starts
    Barry Odom, Missouri (1-5 this season after 4-8 last year) - promoted from D-coordinator when Gary Pinkel retired after 15 seasons for health reasons, Odom seems to be over his head.
    Mike Riley, Nebraska (3-4 this season, 18-15 overall and 11-10 in Big Ten in three seasons) - the AD who surprised the football world by hiring Riley was fired several weeks ago. The 64-year-old coaching veteran will be able to enjoy a nice buyout income during his forced retirement.
7 Number of top 25 teams that lost to unranked opponents last weekend
11 Consecutive games in which Arizona State gave up 30+ points before holding Washington to just 7.
Consecutive times Washington has lost to Arizona State.
Penalties against Michigan - a school record - in their 27-20 OT victory over Indiana. Three penalties occurred on a single play.
Combined points by which Kansas has lost its last two games - 65-19 to Texas Tech and 45-0 to Iowa State
182 Consecutive games in which a Top Ten team leading 20 points won before LSU came back against Auburn.
6-0 Will Muschamp's record vs Tennessee during his stints at Florida and South Carolina
2 Games this season in which Army has failed to complete a pass but still emerged victorious.
72 Consecutive victories by Alabama over unranked opponents
2:26 Minutes and seconds Alabama has trailed in its six games
100 Points Alabama has scored in Q1 this season
71 Points given up by Alabama in all four quarters this season
23 Consecutive games in which South Florida has scored at least 30 points to match Oregon from 2011-12
50.6 Central Florida's ppg to lead the nation
76-0 Margin by which Penn State has outscored its opponents in Q1
32-7 Baylor's record in its last 39 games midway through the 2016 season
1-12 Baylor's record since
5 Blocked kicks by Hawai'i this season
4 Punts blocked by Utah State this season
Golden NFL Rankings after 6 Weeks
Golden NFL Top Ten
Average Opp. W-L Last
1 Kansas City
17-2 1
2 Philadelphia 5-1 17.14 12-1 5
New Orleans
10-4 12
10-4 2
Minnesota 4-2
11-4 13
11-4 3
New England
11-4 8
10-5 15
6-2 6
Green Bay
9-4 4
"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

Division Rankings
Rank Division Average Last Week
1 NFC North 16.381 1
2 NFC South 16.316 3
3 AFC East 16.304 4
4 NFC East 16.110 5
5 AFC West 16.096 2
6 AFC South 15.792 6
7 NFC West 15.704 7
8 AFC North 15.500 8

Overall: NFC 16.017, AFC 15.935

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.

Golden College Rankings after Seven Weeks
The season has progressed long enough that I'm ready to display my rankings. Central Florida's ranking is skewed by the fact that they've had two games postponed or cancelled.
Golden Rankings Top Ten
Average Opp.
24 48 5.24 3
Central Florida
15 34 4.25 1
Penn State
19 41 4.18 5
7-0 14.23 20 38 4.06 4
23 27 4.02 2
18 28 2.75 6
Ohio State
18 32 5.19 13
14 23 2.21 9
21 43 2.40 8
Notre Dame
14 34 3.60 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.
Golden Conference Rankings
Average Impressive Non-Conference Wins
Big Ten
Air Force, Florida, Iowa State, Pitt, Texas, Virginia
, Nebraska, No.Car., Texas, Texas A&M
Florida State, Ga Tech, K-State, N. C. State, Notre Dame
Auburn, Northwestern, Purdue, West Va
American AC
Arizona, Illinois,Maryland, UCLA
Big 12
Arizona State, Arkansas, Ohio State, Pitt
Mtn. West
Arizona State, Oregon State, Stanford
Baylor, Cincinnati, Syracuse
Sun Belt
LSU, New Mexico
Kansas (2), Nebraska, Rutgers

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.

Compilation of Dozens of Rankings

LSU-Auburn Comments
ESPN's Chris Low was at Tiger Stadium Saturday and posted tweets throughout the game. So I'll put my comments as the game progressed alongside his.
Golden Low/ESPN
1st Quarter 1st Quarter
Kerryon Johnson is having a field day, bouncing off tackles and getting to the second level. I wonder how many people will leave at halftime the way this is going. Will I stay for the second half? The only surprise is that Auburn's 17-0 lead isn't bigger with the way Auburn has completely dominated in the line of scrimmage on both sides. LSU started two true freshmen in the offensive line, but LSU's defensive line has also been pushed around.
2nd Quarter 2nd Quarter
The Tiger defense has made adjustments and is doing better. Auburn has only two FGs this quarter. The LSU offense finally got the big play it needed when Russell Gage took a jet sweep 70y to the 7. Still, it took four downs and an offside penalty on Auburn to score but that started turning the tide.
Another big play to start the next possession - Etling fires quickly to Chark who breaks a tackle and streaks 37y to the AU 38. Danny hits Gage for a 14y TD with just 32 seconds left.
Lucky to be down only 23-14 at halftime.
A ton of empty seats today at Tiger Stadium, and this shot was taken midway through the second quarter.
3rd Quarter 3rd Quarter
A frustrating quarter. The defense stuffed Auburn every time they got the ball, but the offense couldn't get any points, and the margin is still 9 heading into the final 15 minutes.
One of the keys to our defensive improvement in the selective 3rd down blitzing that Dave Aranda is calling.
LSU's 2007 national championship team was honored at halftime, and on the field holding up the crystal football trophy to a roaring crowd was none other than Les Miles, hat and all. Miles was fired after the Auburn game early during the 2016 season.
LSU's defense has gotten much better pressure on Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham in the second half and also stuffed the run to stay in the game. Auburn had just 16 total yards late in the third quarter.
4th Quarter 4th Quarter
Chark's electrifying punt return is a great example of a play that you just can't appreciate on TV the way you can in the stadium, especially from the upper deck where you see the whole field. Jarrett Stidham was completing an FBS-best 79 percent of his passes since losing to Clemson Week 2. He was just 9 of 26 in a loss against LSU.
Post Game Post Game
This was yet another game that I felt LSU won only because it was played in Tiger Stadium. And I felt a part of the victory as one of the tens of thousands who made noise to help spur the Tigers.
This game, on the heels of the victory at Gainesville, can be a season changer. Can the Tigers win every remaining game except Alabama?
LSU overcame a 20-0 deficit Saturday in a victory over 10th-ranked Auburn. Entering the day, AP Top-10 teams were 182-0 when leading by at least 20 points against unranked opponents over the last 4 seasons.
LSU cornerback Donte Jackson says Tiger Stadium was the MVP on Saturday ...
My Live Game #1 This Week: Auburn @ LSU

I'm certainly more excited about this game than I was two weeks ago after the loss to Troy (which, incidentally, lost to 1-4 South Alabama at home Thursday night).

  • The win in Gainesville came with three linemen on the field who had missed the Troy debacle: OT Toby Weathersby and D-linemen Rashard Lawrence and Ed Alexander.
  • It also helped that Derrius Guice was able to play. He showed flashes of his 2016 form in the second half to help LSU win time of possession 33:50 to 26:10. That statistic will be important once again against the visiting Tigers.
  • But here's the problem for today's game: Auburn's offense is much better than Florida's, and the Auburn D-line is considered second only to Alabama in the SEC.
  • Weathersby continues to be gimpy and may play only part time if at all today. LSU could have as many as three freshman on its O-line. So Auburn's strength is matched against LSU's weakness - a recipe for defeat if not disaster.
  • One bit of good news for LSU is that senior DE Frank Herron will make his first appearance on the field after serving a half-season suspension for what is being interpreted as a violation of school rules.
  • My hope is that LSU will be competitive and make the visitors work for their first victory in Baton Rouge since 1999 - the infamous Tommy Tuberville and players smoking victory cigars on the sideline in the last minute game.
  • In my picks below, I'm taking Auburn -7, but who knows what LSU team will show up? And that doesn't just refer to their emotional state and concentration level but, more importantly, to which players are suited up and available for action.
My Live Game #2 This Week: Lions @ Saints

I'll be in the Superdome Sunday as guest of Saints owner Tom Benson in his suite. Kenny Spellman, the Development Director of Brother Martin High School, and I have been invited to attend the Mass in the Saints' offices in the Dome at 10:30 and enjoy the game in luxury afterwards.

I'm anxious to see how the Saints' rejuvenated defense fares against Matthew Stafford & Company. The Lions rank 10th in the league in points/game, much higher than the Saints' victims in their two recent wins - the Panthers (#17) and the Dolphins (dead last at #32). Interestingly, Detroit is a woeful 29th in yards/game, which tells me they're making good on their red zone trips.

With the Saints coming off a bye week, I'm looking for an energetic performance that produces a victory.

My Week 7 SEC Picks 3-4
Record after seven weeks: 39-26 (Many games against FCS teams had no spread.)
Home team in CAPS. Point spread is consensus of Vegas lines.
  • Arkansas +31.5 over ALABAMA X LOST BY 1/2 POINT.
    Hogs plod along enough to cover the spread.
  • FLORIDA -2.5 over Texas A&M X
    Gators in their ugly uniforms pressure freshman QB in The Swamp.
  • Missouri +29.5 over GEORGIA
    Bulldogs coast at home.
  • Auburn -7 over LSU X
    have much better offense and D-line than Florida
  • Vanderbilt +3.5 over OLE MISS X
    Commodores get a win after running Alabama-Florida-Georgia gauntlet.
  • MISSISSIPPI STATE -24 over Brigham Young WON BY 1 POINT.
    LSU 27 BYU 0; Miss. St. 37 LSU 7
  • South Carolina +3 over TENNESSEE
    Gamecocks nail another spike in Butch Jones's coffin.

My MOST confident pick: Mississippi State
My LEAST confident pick: Arkansas X

Interesting SEC Numbers
$15.4M Arkansas's buyout amount for Bret Bielema, who is an uninspiring 27-29 overall and 10-24 in SEC in his fifth year as head coach.
561 Total yards given up by Ole Miss against Auburn
Completions-attempts by Nick Fitzgerald against Auburn and Georgia in back-to-back losses by Mississippi State
South Carolina's national ranking in fewest penalty yards
Tennessee's turnover margin in its last four games
11 Touchdowns by RB Kerryon Johnson in Auburn's last three games
3 Turnovers by Vanderbilt this season
10 Consecutive wins by Alabama over Arkansas
9 Sacks by Alabama in its last two games after having none in the previous two
-10 Missouri's turnover margin in its games since clobbering Missouri State in the opener
Is LSU Football Mediocre?
Marcus Spears, DE on LSU's 2003 BCS Championship team, created waves with something he said on the SEC Network the week after LSU's shellacking in Starkville. He branded the LSU football program as "mediocre." I don't agree with him but before we can have a meaningful discussion, we must define some terms.

I define the levels of a football program in terms of bowl games.

  • A program that contends for conference championships most years is and at least goes to a bowl every year is EXCELLENT . The obvious example is Alabama. This category includes Ohio State, Clemson, and Oklahoma.
  • A program that goes to bowl games almost every year and occasionally contends for a conference championship is GOOD. That means the program rarely has a losing season. Examples are LSU, Florida, Virginia Tech, Boise State.
  • A program that sometimes goes to bowl games but not every year and rarely contends for a conference championship is MEDIOCRE. Examples are West Virginia, North Carolina State, Arkansas, and Houston.
  • A program that rarely goes to bowl games is POOR. Examples: Tulane, Kansas, Colorado, Eastern Michigan, New Mexico State.

You can measure these levels by going back either five or ten years. Since a program that is poor or mediocre for five years usually changes coaches, I prefer to rate programs based on the last five years only (2012-2016).

Here's my ratings for the SEC.

Team Yrs. Contend Bowl Games Rating
Alabama 5 5 EXCELLENT
Arkansas 0 3 MEDIOCRE
Auburn 1 4 GOOD
Florida 3 4 EXCELLENT
Georgia 2 5 GOOD
Kentucky 0 1 POOR
Mississippi 1 4 MEDIOCRE
Miss. State 1 5 GOOD
Missouri 2 2 MEDIOCRE
South Carolina 2 4 GOOD
Tennessee 0 3 MEDIOCRE
Texas A&M 1 5 GOOD
Vanderbilt 0 3 MEDIOCRE

I used this point system where each year contending counts for 1 point and each bowl game counts for 1 point.
5-7 = GOOD
0-2 = POOR

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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.

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