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Golden College Rankings after Twelve Weeks
Golden Rankings Top Ten
Pos.
Team
Record
Average Opp.
wins
Opp.
Opps
Score
Value
Last
Week
1
Alabama
11-0
16.74
60 229 11.98 1
2
Notre Dame
9-2
16.69
56 271 12.80 2
3
Wisconsin
11-0
16.59
58 249 10.98 3
4
Georgia
10-1 16.46 56 242 11.38 5
5
Miami
10-0
16.40
52 230 8.79 4
6
Central Florida
10-0
15.97
45 177 10.16 6
7
Penn State
9-2
15.80
50 183 11.45 8
8
Clemson
10-1
15.75
55 181 8.52 7
9
Auburn
9-2
15.55
45 176 11.02 11
10
Ohio State
9-2
15.43
48 9.91 9.91 9
  • "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
Pos.
Conference
Average Impressive Non-Conference Wins
1
SEC
13.485
Florida State, Ga Tech, K-State, N. C. State, Notre Dame
2
Big Ten
13.102
Air Force, Florida, Iowa State, Pitt, Texas, Virginia
3
ACC
12.897
Auburn, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Purdue, West Va
4
Pac-12
12.804
, Nebraska, No.Car., Texas, Texas A&M
5
American AC
12.270
Arizona, Illinois,Maryland, UCLA
6
Big 12
12.212
Arizona State, Arkansas, Ohio State, Pitt
7
Mtn. West
11.564
Arizona State, Oregon State, Stanford
8
C-USA
11.212
Baylor, Cincinnati, Syracuse
9
MAC
10.943
Kansas (2), Nebraska, Rutgers
10
Sun Belt
10.858
LSU, New Mexico

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

My Live Games This Weekend
I'm flying to Chicago Friday afternoon to meet friends from Ann Arbor.
  • We drive Saturday morning to Madison WI for the Michigan-Wisconsin game. Kickoff is 11 AM on ESPN. This is perhaps the top game of the day since the 10-0 Badgers are #5 in the latest CFP rankings and 8-2 Michigan is #24.
  • I got the tickets by contacting Warde Manuel, the Brother Martin graduate who is the Michigan Athletic Director.
  • Forecast as of Friday morning calls for rain or snow Saturday with temperature in the 30s and winds NNW 17 mph.
  • We're at the top corner of the upper deck on the home side of the stadium. So I'm bringing a sweatshirt and a heavy jacket to put over that and my poncho on top of everything. The weather should clear out by the end of the game. (Lucky us.)
  • We should be back in Chicago in time to see most of the LSU-Tennessee game on ESPN starting at 6 PM.

Sunday we will go to another game.

  • As luck would have it, the Lions are playing the Bears at Soldier Field at noon.
  • So there should be time for me to make my 6:45 PM flight back to New Orleans (via Atlanta).
  • Arrival in the Crescent City 11:30 PM Sunday.

So I won't be posting anything else on this site until Monday morning. Hopefully, I'll have both LSU and Saints victories to extol.

My last thoughts on LSU: I see the same story as last week against Arkansas. Tennessee will come out fired up by their interim coach with some new wrinkles and do well at first, but LSU will adjust and eventually take control of the game. I'm taking the Tigers and giving the 15.5 points.
My Week 12 SEC Picks 7-2
Record after twelve weeks: 67-42 (Includes many games against FCS teams had no spread.)
Home team in CAPS. Point spread is consensus of Vegas lines.
  • ALABAMA over Mercer NO SPREAD
  • SOUTH CAROLINA over Wofford NO SPREAD
  • Louisiana-Monroe +37 over AUBURN
    Tigers take it easy before Iron Bowl.
  • Mississippi State -12 over ARKANSAS X
    Bielema death march continues.
  • FLORIDA -10.5 over Alabama-Birmingham
    Gators get to enjoy themselves again.
  • Kentucky +21.5 over GEORGIA X
    Bulldogs
    still stunned from last week.
  • Texas A&M +2.5 over OLE MISS
    Aggies have more to play for.
  • LSU -15.5 over TENNESSEE
    New coach may help Vols for a quarter or so but nation's 3rd-worst run D won't hold up.
  • Missouri -8.5 over VANDERBILT
    Tigers stay hot.

My MOST confident pick: Missouri
My LEAST confident pick: Texas A&M

Interesting SEC Numbers
22-1 LSU's record the past three years when scoring at least 20 points in a game; the loss was 24-21 to Troy this season
8 Points LSU has surrendered in Q4 of its last five games.
2008 Last time Alabama trailed against Mississippi State before falling behind in Q1 and several more times Saturday night in Starkville.
20 Consecutive games in which Alabama did not give up a Q1 TD before Mississippi State.
83
Plays run by Missouri against Tennessee last Saturday
659
Total yardage for Mizzou in Butch Jones's last game as Vols coach
0 Times Tennessee has lost eight games in a season as the 4-6 Vols prepare to play LSU, then Vanderbilt.
2007 Last time Kentucky was 7-3 in a season
REVIEWING MY 2017 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS (as of 10/20)
Prediction for LSU 2017

Pluses for LSU entering the 2017 season

  • Terrific defense led by outstanding coordinator Dave Aranda DIDN'T PLAY WELL AGAINST TROY
  • Improved special teams with Coach O's emphasis on this area and the hiring of consultant Greg McMahon, formerly of the Saints DIDN'T PAYOFF UNTILAUBURN
  • More varied offensive scheme under new coordinator Matt Canada, whose Pitt unit finished 10th in the nation in scoring last year TOO BAD ORGERON PUT THE CLAMPS ON CANADA THE 1ST HALF AGAINST TROY
  • Improved QB play from Danny Etling for three reasons: (a) He is free of the back issues, which, unknown to everyone, limited his effectiveness last year; (b) The improvement in his fundamentals and awareness under Canada's tutelage; (c) the unpredictability of Canada's offensive scheme

Minuses for 2017

  • Uncertainty in the offensive line, in part because of injuries, in part because of shifts in position, especially Will Clapp to C
  • Youth on defense, with possibly as many as four true freshmen starting
  • Difficult schedule with five SEC road games (damn you, Jeremy Foley!). THE TIGERS WON IN GAINESVILLE BUT LOST TO TROY AT HOME

Bottom line

The Tigers should win nine games for sure. STILL POSSIBLE. The final record comes down to how they do against Florida, Auburn, and Alabama. I think they'll win at least one of those (most likely Auburn at home) to finish 10-2. BECAUSE OF TROY LOSS, TIGERS CAN WIN 10 ONLY BY WINNING ALL REMAINING GAMES, INCLUDING ALABAMA. AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN.
Predictions for College Football 2017
Don't be surprised if ...
  • At least two SEC coaches don't return for the 2018 season - and I'm not including the Ole Miss interim coach as one of the two.
    Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M and Tennessee's Butch Jones are the most likely targets. But Kentucky fans are losing patience with Mark Stoops also, and Missouri may jettison its second-year coach if a better alternative appears. LOOKS GOOD - JONES WILL GO AND PROBABLY ODOM AT MIZZOU.
  • Alabama does not go undefeated.
    The almost unanimous coronation of the Tide as national champions puzzles me. First, they lost seven defenders to the NFL draft. Sure, Saban has talented recruits to take their plac,e but they're young. Also, Bama lost a key component of their recent success: O-coordinator Lane Kiffin. Saban was reduced to his third choice when Kiffin's replacement, Steve Sarkisian, left for the NFL. Will Jalen Hurts continue to improve under the new O-coordinator?
    DOESN'T LOOK LIKE TIDE WILL LOSE IN REGULAR SEASON. COULD FALL TO GEORGIA IN SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME OR IN CFP.
  • Georgia wins the SEC East.
    Florida has won the last two East titles almost by default, losing to Alabama by 14 and 38 points in the championship clashes. Jim McElwain's domain is showing cracks, as evidenced by the 10 suspensions for the opener against Michigan. The Bulldogs have lost three straight to the Gators but that will change in 2017. GEORGIA CAN LOSE TO FLORIDA AND STILL WIN THE EAST.
  • Derrius Guice makes the trip to NYC as one of the five finalists for the Heisman Trophy. X LIKE FOURNETTE LAST YEAR, GUICE STARTED THE SEASON INJURED AND, THOUGH HE LOOKED BETTER AGAINST AUBURN, IS TOO FAR BEHIND TO GET IN THE TOP FIVE.
    LSU has been burned the last two seasons by high expectations for Leonard Fournette that didn't materialize - in 2015 because of the debacle in Tuscaloosa and last year because of a string of injuries that began in August. But Guice is a more elusive and shift runner than Leonard, which means he is less injury prone. He'll catch more passes in Matt Canada's offense as well as have ample opportunities to reach 1000y rushing again.
  • The following teams will not finish the season as high as they are ranked in the Composite College Preseason Rankings:
    USC (composite #4) - The last four times the Trojans were ranked in the Top Ten to start a season, they lost at least four games. QB Sam Darnell set the Trojan world on fire with his 2016 performance, culminating in a sensational Rose Bowl. The Trojans play Stanford at home September 9 and don't have Washington on their schedule. But I'm not convinced second-year coach Clay Helton is ready for the pressure that comes from high expectations. TROJANSHAVE ALREADY BEEN UPSET AND COULD WELL LOSE AT LEAST ONE MORE GAME, WHICH WILL BE ENOUGH TO KEEP THEM OUT OF TOP FOUR.
    Clemson (#5) - The defending national champions, who were runners-up in 2015, lose eight starters on defense but return eight on offense. But they lost the most important piece of their puzzle - QB DeShaun Watson, whose failure to win the Heisman Trophy either of the last two seasons is disgraceful. He made the difference in many games, most especially the championship game when he led the drive to the winning TD in the last seconds against the outstanding Bama defense. CLEMSON HAS ALREADY LOST TO SYRACUSE AND, WITH INJURED QB, MAY WELL LOSE AGAIN.
    Oklahoma (#7) - Most of the preseason magazines went to press before Bob Stoops surprised the football world by retiring. His offensive coordinator assumed the top job but will take some time to adjust to the role. SOONERS BEAT OHIO STATE BUT WERE UPSET BY IOWA STATE. STILL HAVE TO PLAY TCU AND OKLAHOMA STATE.
    Tennessee (#25) - If Butch Jones couldn't win the relatively weak SEC East with Joshua Dobbs as his QB, how can he do it without him?
  • The following teams will do better than predicted in the Composite College Preseason Rankings:
    TCU (#26) - The last time the Frogs endured a losing record (2013), they rebounded with a fine 12-1 record and just missed the first CFP. This year, they're coming off a losing season because of a bowl defeat. FROGS ARE 6-0 BUT STILL MUST PLAY OKLAHOMA.
    Oregon (#28) - New coach Willie Taggart has done a fine job at Western Kentucky and South Florida. He'll have an immediate impact in Eugene, making the Ducks a more physical team in the first year of a quest to return to the Pac-12 title game. OREGON IS 4-3 AND LOST TO STANFORD 49-7 LAST WEEK.
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
LSU 0 5 GOOD
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.
Total
8-10 = EXCELLENT
5-7 = GOOD
3-5 = MEDIOCRE
0-2 = POOR

Did You Notice? NFL Week 10
  • Winless Teams - The 49ers found a team they could beat - the hapless 1-8 Giants.
    San Francisco 49ers
    Cleveland Browns
  • nfl.com Takeaways from Last Weekend
    The staff at nfl.com listed these comments about Week 10's action.
    --"This Cowboys team is a shell of itself when it's missing (RB) Ezekiel Elliott and (LT) Tyron Smith."
    --"C.J. Beathard had the greatest game of his young career."
    --"On paper, Pittsburgh is hot and in charge of the conference, but we should be wary before crowning them as the AFC's cream."
    --"Alvin Kamara is everything Christian McCaffrey was billed to be -- and more."
    --"If the Jets fashioned themselves as a playoff contender before Sunday, they can probably forget it now."
  • nfl.com Take on the Saints
    Chris Wesseling wrote this about the Saints' 47-10 romp at Buffalo: "For all of the passing records Drew Brees has shattered in the cozy indoor confines of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Sean Payton's Super Bowl formula has long been a strong running game complemented by a swarming, opportunistic defense that allows the Saints to succeed in the harsh elements outside of their dome-field advantage. Easily establishing a rhythm while taking advantage of Payton's brilliant play-calling, Brees is orchestrating an unstoppable, all-weather attack that features a stout offensive line, a dynamic backfield duo, a legitimate No. 1 receiver in Michael Thomas, an electric game-breaker in Ted Ginn and a physical big-play threat in Brandon Coleman. The Saints appear to be on an NFC collision course with the Eagles, their challenger as the most balanced team in the league."
  • Maybe a Team Meeting Will Help
    After losing to winless San Francisco, beleaguered Giants coach Ben McAdoo held a "long, hard, honest meeting" Wednesday with his players after giving them two days off. "Message to them in the meeting was we had some open conversations, some hard talks, some plain talks, some simple talk, played some film and were brutally honest with each other," McAdoo said. "We'll see how the players respond. They had a nice day of practice [Wednesday]. We also talked about the great opportunity in front of us." Unfortunately, the Giants' next opponent is the Chiefs, who are coming off their bye week.
  • Who Needs Garoppolo?
    The 49ers started C. J. Beathard at QB again while Jimmy Garoppolo, acquired in a trade with New England November 1, stayed on the sidelines. Making his pitch to remain the starter, Beathard had the greatest game of his young career. In his fourth start, he completed a career-high 76% of his passes and was responsible for three TDs in the 31-21 victory over the Giants. With SF enjoying its bye this week, it's likely Garoppolo will take over. But at least C.J. has the Giants game on his resume when he becomes a free agent.
By the Numbers
9
Consecutive games in which the Dolphins have failed to score a rushing TD
672
Days Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater was inactive before being in uniform watching Case Keenum lead the 38-30 victory over the Redskins Sunday.
6
Sacks by Falcons' DE Adrian Clayborn against Cowboys LT Chaz Green, who was filling in for starter Tyron Smith
10
Sacks of Cowboys QB Zak Prescott in his first eight games this season before last Sunday
2,275
Rushing yards the Saints would gain if they continue at the present rate for the rest of the season, which would be the first time the club topped the 2,000 mark since the Super Bowl year of 2011
2010
Last time the Jaguars won six games in a season before achieving that figure last Sunday against the Chargers
6 Games in which the Rams have scored at least 30 points, including the last three
Did You Notice? NCAA Week 11
  • Undefeated Teams - four remain
    Alabama
    Central Florida
    Georgia
    Miami
    Wisconsin
  • Winless Teams - still two
    Georgia Southern
    UTEP
  • No ACC Suspense
    Both divisions of the ACC have been clinched by Clemson and Miami respectively. The two teams have only one defeat between them - the Tigers' loss to Syracuse. N. C. State is the only other conference team with less than three losses in ACC play. But Clemson defeated the Wolfpack 38-31 November 4. The championship game looms as a playoff elimination contest since both Clemson and Miami are in the CFP Top Four. But both must take care of business the remaining two weeks of the regular season - the Tigers over Citadel and South Carolina and the Hurricanes over Virginia and Pittsburgh.
  • Navy Catches Up with Army
    The Naval Academy had a better football program that West Point for many years. The Midshipmen have qualified for bowl games 13 of the last 14 years whereas the Cadets have been to bowls only twice (2010 and 2016) since 1996. But last season, Jeff Monken's club finally beat their archrivals for the first time in 15 years. This year, the Cadets became bowl eligible in week 8 and immediately accepted an invitation to the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth. Since then they have extended their record to 8-2, with one of the losses at the hands of mighty Ohio State. Navy, on the other hand, had to wait until this past weekend to get its sixth victory, 43-40 over SMU.
  • Almost a Milestone
    As the Alabama-Mississippi State game approached its exciting climax, researchers combed their files to find the last time that the #1, #2, and #3 ranked teams lost on the same day. The answer? January 1, 1966 when #1 Michigan State fell to UCLA in the Rose Bowl, LSU upset Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl, and Alabama knocked off Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. After #1 Georgia fell to Auburn last Saturday and #3 Notre Dame bit the dust at Miami, the Tide scored in the last minute to escape Starkville undefeated.
  • CFP Committee Problem
    Arkansas created a crisis for the College Football Playoff when the school fired AD Jeff Long Wednesday. He was the first chairman of the committee and has remained one of the 13 members. A decision was made in a teleconference with CFP executive director Bill Hancock and the 10 FBS commissioners and the Notre Dame AD, who unanimously voted to invite Long to remain on the committee for the final three meetings. Long accepted the invitation. Arkansas' move is not good news for embattled Bret Bielema, whom Long hired five years ago but who has just a 29-32 record as Razorbacks' coach. Speculation has raged most of this season that Bielema might be retained because of a contract buyout of approximately $15M if he's fired without cause. The one sliver of hope for Bielema is that the Hogs can still become bowl eligible by winning their last two games over #17 Mississippi State on the road and Missouri, winners of four straight, at home.
22-1 LSU's record the past three years when scoring at least 20 points in a game; the loss was 24-21 to Troy this season
8 Points LSU has surrendered in Q4 of its last five games.
2008 Last time Alabama trailed against Mississippi State before falling behind in Q1 and several more times Saturday night in Starkville.
20 Consecutive games in which Alabama did not give up a Q1 TD before Mississippi State.
2 INTs thrown by Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush in the first nine games of the season
2 INTs thrown by Wimbush last Saturday night against Miami, including a 65y pick six
83
Plays run by Missouri against Tennessee last Saturday
659
Total yardage for Mizzou in Butch Jones's last game as Vols coach
0 Times Tennessee has lost eight games in a season as the 4-6 Vols prepare to play LSU, then Vanderbilt.
0
Times Wisconsin had been 10-0 before achieving that goal last Saturday
0-13 Iowa's 3rd-down conversions against Wisconsin in the Badgers' 38-14 rout
2007 Last time Kentucky was 7-3 in a season
Golden NFL Rankings after 10 Weeks - Still on Top!
Golden NFL Top Ten
Pos.
Team
Record
Average Opp. W-L Last
Week
1
New Orleans
7-2
18.22
32-4 1
2 Philadelphia 8-1 17.69 26-3 2
4
Los Angeles
7-2
17.27
23-8 3
4
Minnesota 7-2
17.39
26-5 5
5
Pittsburgh
7-2
17.22
29-9 4
6
New England
7-2
17.22
28-7 7
7
Detroit
6-3
17.04
23-8 8
8 Kansas City
6-3
17.00
28-11 6
9
Carolina
6-4
16.78
25-12 11
10
Jacksonville
6-3
16.72
23-11 9
"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

NFC South at the top also!
Division Rankings
Rank Division Average Last Week
1 NFC South 16.723 2
2 NFC North 16.632 1
3 AFC East 16.182 3
4 NFC East 16.077 4
5 AFC South 15.821 6
6 NFC West 15.803 7
7 AFC West 15.778 5
8 AFC North 15.403 8

Overall: NFC 16.245, AFC 15.876

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.

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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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