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Interesting Quotation

LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron worked under Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin at both USC and Tennessee and makes no secret of his respect and affection for his former boss. But he said Tuesday that their typical contact is cut off until after their teams meet on Nov. 5. "I talk to him two or three times a week. But we're going to take a hiatus these next two weeks," Orgeron laughed. "Now I know he's going to want to talk to me, but I ain't answering back man. I know how he is."

David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer

Did You Notice? NCAA Week 8
  • West Virginia Trying to Ascend Big 12 Mountain
    Before the season started, pundits labeled WVU coach Dana Holgorsen's seat as "hot." His record in six seasons in Morgantown was 36-28 overall but only 15-21 in the Big 12 since the Mountaineers switched from the Big East in his second season at the helm. After thumping TCU 34-10 Saturday, WVU is 6-0 for the first time since 2006 when Rich Rodriguez was the coach. Known as an offensive guru, Holgorsen got better play from his defense last year to finish 8-5 and now has a unit that is holding opponents to 17.8 ppg. The result? A #10 ranking in the latest AP poll.
  • Big 12 Offense On Steroids
    The ten-team Big 12 is known for offense, but Oklahoma and Texas Tech put on a show like no other in Lubbock behind two of the most prolific QBs in the land, Baker Mayfield of OU and Patrick Mahomes of Tech. In Oklahoma's 66-59 victory, each team gained exactly 854y. 734 of Tech's came through the air. They combined for 76 first downs, with the Red Raiders actually gaining more (42-34). Seven FBS records were broken:
    Most combined yards - 1,708
    Most passing yards in a game - Patrick Mahomes 734 (tie with Connor Halliday of Washington State 2014)
    Most total offense - 819y by Mahomes
    OU became the first FBS offense to feature a 500y passer, 200y rusher, and 200y receiver in the same game.
    Mayfield, in his first visit to Lubbock since transferring from Texas Tech in 2013, threw for 545y and set a school record of 7 TD passes.
  • What's Happened to Houston?
    SMU gained its first win over a ranked team in five years by upsetting the Cougars 38-16 in Dallas. It was only the Mustangs' fourth win over Houston in 20 tries since returning from the "death penalty" in 1989. The first loss was 95-21. Two defeats this month have taken the luster off Houston's Peach Bowl win over Florida State to end last season and their upset of Oklahoma in the opener. The downturn may or may not have dampened interest in coach Tom Herman from LSU, Texas, and other suitors.
  • Pac-12 Thievery?
    Arizona State
    coach Todd Graham had some harsh words for Mike Leach following Washington State's 37-32 victory. Graham took exception to Leach's midweek comments accusing Graham of operating a secret "command center" for the purpose of signal stealing - a legal practice as long as audio and video equipment are not used. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott fined Leach $10,000 for making the accusation publicly. During their midfield handshake after the game, Graham told Leach his comments were "chicken-shit." Todd added that he always respected Mike but "that's bullshit."
  • Stat Winner Behind on Scoreboard
    Ohio State held a time of possession edge of 37:19-22:41 over Penn State, had 19 first downs to 13 for the opponent, gained 413y to 276y, and had no turnovers to one for PSU. But the Buckeyes left Happy Valley with their first defeat of the season. Part of the reason was 8 penalties for 45y compared to just one for 5y for the home team. The Buckeyes seemed to have the game well in hand, leading 21-7 going into Q4. But the Lions scored 17 unanswered thanks in part to a blocked FG returned 60y for a TD - a 10-point turnaround.
  • Craziest Fake Punt of Season
    It's not often that a team is -5 in turnover margins and wins the game. But that's what happened at Boise Friday night. The Broncos survived 28-27 in an exciting contest that saw the strangest fake punt of the season. Facing 4th-and-19 from its 5 in Q2, BYU ran a fake punt. Did they snap the ball short to an upback? No, they snapped it to the punter in the EZ. He tried to run for the 1st down but was tackled for a 3y loss. However, a personal foul after the play pushed Boise back, and they missed a FG attempt on the ensuing possession. The game ended with two hold-your-breath plays. First, as the Cougars lined up for a game-winning FG from the 34 with 16 seconds left, BSU NT David Moa struggled to get his shoe on along the sideline as head coach Bryan Harsin pleaded for someone to help Moa. He managed to get his shoe in time to block the FG attempt. However, BYU recovered the ball behind the line of scrimmage to give them one more play. But a Hail Mary pass (an inappropriate term for a Mormon school - a Hail Moroni instead?) was batted down in the EZ. Ironically, BYU beat Boise State last year on a last-minute Hail Mary.
  • Interesting Numbers
    1 College games in which the two coaches had taken NFL teams to the Super Bowl: Michigan (Jim Harbaugh - 49ers) and Illinois (Lovie Smith - Bears) last Saturday
    1 INTs thrown by Western Michigan QB Zach Terrell; it came in WMU's surprisingly close 45-31 victory over Eastern Michigan last Saturday
    1 Home games by Western Michigan as a ranked team in program history
    2 8-0 teams in the FBS: Alabama and Western Michigan
    8 Total points by which Brigham Young has lost four games
    8 Completed passes by Penn State in their 24-21 upset of Ohio State
    23 Consecutive home non-conference victories by Boise State
    11 Victories by the five teams LSU has defeated heading into the Alabama game
    332 Yards rushing by Utah RB Joe Williams against UCLA; Williams quit football last month before returning last week
    543 Rushing yards by Auburn against Arkansas, a record for an SEC team against another conference foe
    2007 Last year Colorado was bowl-eligible; the Buffaloes won their sixth game of 2016 - a 10-5 yawner at Stanford.
World Series
I got my wish: Cubs vs Indians.
  • I'm rooting for the Cubs to win the Series for several reasons.
  • One reason is that they haven't won the World Series in over a century.
  • My other motivation is selfish. If they win it all, they'll have less motivation next season. That gives my Cardinals a better chance in the NL Central.
  • Also, the usual slow rot will set in on the World Champions - players wanting more money, key players leaving as free agents, etc.
  • On the other hand, a Series victory would complete a 2016 trifecta for Cleveland - NBA championship, Republican National Convention, baseball championship.
  • If only the Browns could win just one game...
Golden NFL Rankings - after 7 Weeks
Golden NFL Top Ten
Opp. wins
16 1
13 2
New England
17 4
4 Green Bay 4-2 16.95 12 3
10 14
Seattle 4-1-1
10 7
7 New York Giants
13 8
11 6
14 15
10 Pittsburgh
13 11
"Opponent wins" means the total number of wins
by the teams the ranked team defeated.

Philadelphia jumps back into the Top Ten at #5.
Atlanta and Washington fall out of the Top Ten.
In the Division Rankings, NFC South falls to the bottom .

Complete Golden NFL rankings

Division Rankings
Rank Division Average Last Week
1 NFC East 16.609 1
2 NFC North 16.391 2
3 AFC West 16.265 3
4 AFC East 16.089 4
5 AFC South 15.940 5
8 NFC South 15.542 6
7 AFC North 15.554 7
6 NFC West 15.675 8

Overall: NFC 15.923, AFC 15.914
How about that Tiger defense!
  • Holding Ole Miss scoreless the second half was quite a feat considering the Rebels were averaging 39.7 ppg against the likes of Florida State, Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas.
  • And I can say that I was present for the previous ypg record by an LSU RB - Alley Broussard vs. Ole Miss 2004 - as well as the new record - Leonard Fournette vs Ole Miss 2016.
  • But Broussard gained his 250y on 26 carries whereas Fournette broke the record on just his 8th carry of the night thanks to runs of 78, 76, and 59y. After the third long run, he had an average of 35y per carry!
  • And all that after missing the last two games with a bad ankle.

But as the second half progressed and it became more and more obvious that LSU would win, I couldn't help but think ahead to Alabama.

  • None of LSU's seven foes this year has scored more than 21 points.
  • The Tiger defense is capable of holding Alabama to 21 or less.
  • But two questions:

Can LSU keep Alabama from scoring a non-offensive TD? The Tide has 12 TDs for the season and has tallied at least one in ten consecutive games going back to last season.

Can LSU's offense score 21 points against Bama's defense?

  • No one wants to excel against the Tide more than Fournette, whose Heisman hopes died on the Bryant-Denny Stadium field last year when Nick Saban's defense (with help from Les Miles's unimaginative offense) held him to just 31y in 19 carries.
  • Alabama's defense suffered a blow when senior all-SEC S Eddie Jackson fractured his leg against Texas A&M and will miss the rest of the season. Eddie had scored three of Bama's 12 non-offensive TDs with two punt returns and an INT.

First time I've ever sat in the southwest corner, lower deck of the South end zone at Tiger Stadium.
Good view when the action was on our end; not so good when at the far end.
Two of Fournette's TD runs came right at us. Also Ole Miss's TD right before halftime.
Notice in the righthand photo from the 1st half how the East lower and upper decks are packed.
For once, the announced attendance of 101,720 was accurate.
My Live Game This Saturday: Ole Miss @ LSU - WITH FOLLOW-UP
Rivalries in the SEC are interesting.
  • Mississippi State's archrival is Ole Miss.
  • But the Rebels consider LSU the foe they most want to beat.
  • LSU, on the other hand, ranks Alabama as its most hated opponent.
  • But the Tide, of course, list cross-state Auburn as their chief rivals.
  • Finally, the circle is closed as Auburn reciprocates Bama's hatred for them.

So tonight the Rebels get a chance to beat their archrival for the first time in four tries in Tiger Stadium, where each of the three defeats has been an exciting, down-to-the-wire contest.

  • 2010: Jordan Jefferson threw for a career-best 254y and Stevan Ridley ran for three TDs as the #5-ranked Tigers came back three times in the final 20 minutes to beat Ole Miss, 43-36. View the highlights ...
  • 2012: Odell Beckham Jr. brought back memories of Billy Cannon's 1959 Halloween night punt return of the same distance against the Rebels with a dazzling 89y punt return to spark another Q4 comeback, 41-35. View the highlights ...
  • 2014: "You might have thought it was a middle-1970s game," said Les Miles after LSU's 10-7 homecoming victory the day after his 91-year-old mother died. Anthony Jennings hit TE Logan Stokes with a 3y TD pass with 5:07 remaining to give the Tigers the lead. But the victory was not secured until Ronald Martin intercepted Bo Wallace's desperation pass in the EZ with two seconds to go. View the highlights ...

I don't care if the game is exciting as long as LSU wins. But chances are it will be exciting, especially since in Chad Kelly Ole Miss has a better QB than in any of its three previous visits to Baton Rouge.

  • The Reb defense is not nearly as good as last year after the loss of several key players to the NFL.
  • So LSU should be able to keep Kelly & Company on the sidelines by running the ball, especially with Leonard Fournette expected to be back in action. There's also rumors that the Tigers will run some no-huddle, hurry-up offense themselves. BUT FOURNETTE SCORED SO QUICKLY THAT THE LSU DEFENSE GOT LITTLE REST!
  • We also have the added intrigue of Coach O going against the school where he was head coach for three not-so-great seasons. IT WAS A SWEET VICTORY FOR LSU'S INTERIM COACH AND ANOTHER STEP TOWARD THE POSSIBILITY OF "INTERIM" BECOMING "PERMANENT."
  • Overall, this year's Rebels don't seem to be as good a team as last year's Sugar Bowl champs.
  • With LSU ranked #25 and Ole Miss #23, this game is in my Yahoo Pick'Em groups list. I took the Tigers over the Rebels +6.

LSU 27 Ole Miss 20

Golden College Rankings after Eight Weeks
In the two years of the College Football Playoffs, the Golden Rankings has gotten the Final Four correct each time. And in 2014, Golden had the teams in the correct order at the end of the regular season, with Ohio State (committee's #4) first and Oregon second.
  • Washington drops out of the Top Ten after defeating a weak Oregon State squad by only 17 points.
  • Penn State moves up to #10 after upsetting #3 Ohio State.
  • American Conference swaps places with the Big 12 for the second straight week.
Golden Rankings Top Ten
Average Opp.
34 108 8.06 43 1
28 82 6.47 54 2
28 49 2.96 52 4
Western Michigan
27 62 5.24 72 8
21 50 5.70 67 6
Boise State
25 59 3.02 70 10
Tennessee 5-2
24 65 2.40
8 Ohio State 6-1 14.30 21 55 4.37 55 3
Texas A&M
21 70 2.59 51 5
Penn State
23 59 2.22 38 17
  • "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.
  • "Schedule Strength" is the average of the rankings of the opponents the team has played so far. So the smaller the number, the stronger the schedule.
Team that made the highest jump in Week 8: SMU - up 32 places to 64 after defeating Houston
Team that dropped the furthest in Week 8: Ole Miss - down 26 spots after losing to LSU.
Golden Conference Rankings
Impressive Non-Conference Wins
North Carolina, TCU, UCLA, USC, Va.Tech
Big Ten
Colorado, Duke, Iowa State, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon
Auburn, Illinois, Indiana, Ole Miss, Penn St., Vanderbilt
BYU, Kansas St., Notre Dame, Rutgers, Texas, Texas Tech, UVa
American Athletic
Cincinnati, Kansas, N.C. St., Oklahoma, Purdue. Syracuse, UVa
Big 12
BYU, Missouri, Notre Dame, Pitt
Sun Belt
Akron, Army, Miss.State, New Mexico, Ohio, San Diego State
Mtn. West
N. Illinois, Wash. St.
Fresno St., Illinois, Kansas, Marshall, Okla. St., UNLV, Wyoming
Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri

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 bonuses for road wins against good teams or penalties for home losses to weak teams. Read complete rules.

Compilation of Dozens of Rankings

Week 8 Picks 8-11
Home team in CAPS. Rankings are from the AP poll.

Top 25

  • #1 Alabama over #6 Texas A&M +18.5
    Best two lines in the country prevail again.
  • #2 Ohio State over Penn State +19.5 X
    Buckeyes roll on the road.
  • #3 MICHIGAN over Illinois +35.5 X
    Harbaugh runs it up again.
  • #5 WASHINGTON over Oregon State +36.5 X
    Beavers down to their 3rd string QB.
  • #7 LOUISVILLE over North Carolina State +19
    Wolfpack down after tough loss to Clemson.
  • Purdue +24 over #8 Nebraska
    Interim coach makes enough changes to keep it close.
  • #10 Wisconsin over IOWA +3.5
    Badgers win at Iowa City again.
  • #11 Houston over SMU +21 X
    Cougars break loose after two frustrating weeks.
  • Texas Christian +6.5 over #12 West Virginia X
    WVU tries to go 6-0.
  • #16 Oklahoma over TEXAS TECH +14 X
    Tech D just can't stop Sooners.
  • #17 Arkansas +9.5 over #21 AUBURN X
    Too many points to give Hogs even on the road.
  • #19 Utah over UCLA NO SPREAD
    No spread because Bruins' QB has been injured.
  • #20 WESTERN MICHIGAN over Eastern Michigan +23.5 X
    Undefeated Broncos keep rolling.
  • Virginia +8.5 over #22 North Carolina X
    Improving Cavaliers cover at home.
  • #25 LSU over #23 Ole Miss +6
    Tigers' running game keeps Kelly & Company on sidelines.
  • #24 Navy +2.5 over Memphis
    Tigers can't stop Midshipmen option.

Additional Big Ten Games

  • Minnesota over Rutgers +17 X
    Gophers cover on the road.
  • Northwestern over Indiana +1.5
    Wildcats playing better lately.
  • Michigan State over Maryland +2.5 X
    Spartans desperate for a win.
Intriguing Numbers
3 Consecutive games Ole Miss has lost in Baton Rouge
16 Total points Ole Miss lost the three games by
1 FBS teams that have held every opponent to 20 or fewer points this season - LSU
3 Consecutive times Wisconsin has won at Iowa
Michigan's national rank in scoring defense (10.3 ppg), total defense (212.8 ypg), and passing defense (113.7 ypg).
51 Rushing yards for Michigan State against Northwestern last week
2,579 Passing yards by Texas Tech's Pat Mahomes, tops in the FBS
1 Times this season that Texas Tech has been held under 50 points at home - last week against West Virginia (17 points)
2004 Last time Oklahoma started Big 12 play 4-0
1 Times UCLA has been 1-3 in its first four Pac-12 games in Jim Mora's five seasons as coach
91.1 Rushing yards per game for UCLA, third worst in the FBS

Record after eight weeks: 84-75

Did You Notice? NFL Week 6
  • A Rare Event
    The Saints had a dubious distinction Sunday. They were called for not one, not two, but three interference calls in or near the EZ that gave the Panthers first-and-goal at the 2. Carolina scored a TD each time to fight back from a 21-0 deficit. Fortunately, Drew Brees registered his 15th 400y game to break a tie with Peyton Manning for most all time in the regular season to help the Saints send the spiraling Panthers to 1-5 41-38. Carolina has replaced three members of its vaunted defensive backfield from last year's NFC champs with rookies. One of the departed DBs is Josh Normand. Another, S Roman Harper, is back with the Saints.
  • Take That, Coach!
    LeSean McCoy gained 2926y for two seasons in 2013-14 for the Philadelphia Eagles. But coach Chip Kelly, who brought McCoy to The City of Brotherly Love, traded him to the Bills in March 2015. The puzzling move was one of many that led to Kelly's firing after six games of the '15 season. Sunday, Kelly's new team, the 49ers, visited Buffalo. McCoy gleefully (at least on the inside) burned the Eagles for 140y on 19 carries as the Bills blasted SF 45-16. LeSean was somewhat magnanimous when asked whether he had any bitter feelings toward his former coach. "To sit here and tell you that it didn't affect me last year, I would be lying. But I'm past that."
  • Dak's Streak Ends
    Dak Prescott's record streak of 176 pass attempts without an INT at the start of a career ended when Packer S Morgan Burnett made a diving INT on a throw from the Dallas EZ with 20 seconds left in Q3. Prescott broke the record set by none other than Tom Brady. The pride of Mississippi State continued to show tremendous poise in leading the Cowboys to their fifth straight victory, this one on the hallowed turf of Lambeau Field. The loss dropped Green Bay's record to 3-2 and broke their streak of eleven straight victories in October. The rabid Packer fans actually booed their offense at times in their frustration. Despite Aaron Rodgers going 31-for-42 for a sesaon-high 294y, the Pack didn't get into the EZ until Aaron connected with Randall Cobb on a 6y TD pass with 6:53 left to pull to within 27-16. Along the way, the two-time MVP QB accounted for two turnovers with an INT and a fumble, the latter occuring on 1st-and-Goal at the Dallas 1. While Prescott has gotten the lion's share of the credit for the Cowboys' surprising start with veteran QB Tony Romo on the shelf, another rookie, RB Ezekiel Elliott also deserves credit for his contribution. He gained 157y on 28 carries to give him 703y so far - the second-most in a player's first six career games behind only the great Eric Dickerson (787). Elliott also became the only rookie to rush for at least 130y in four consecutive games.
Intriguing Numbers
8 TD receptions of 50+y by Odell Beckham, the highest total in the NFL since he entered the league in 2014.
65.3 Passer-rating of QBs against the 5-0 Vikings - the lowest in the NFL.
The two longest pass receptions this season, both by Saints WR Brandin Cooks
2 Career starts by Steelers backup QB Landry Jones, who will replace Ben Roethlisberger during his recovery from an operation on a torn meniscus
346 Weight of KC DT Dontari Poe who scored a rushing TD against Oakland
-3 Green Bay's turnover differential, its worst mark with Aaron Rodgers as the healthy starting QB
8 Number of QBs who have thrown 300 career TD passes with the addition of Eli Manning, who joined the elite group Sunday
8 Chiefs' winning streak at Arrowhead Stadium going into the game with the Saints Sunday
9 Consecutive losses by the Titans at the hands of the Colts
52 Penalties against the Ravens, most in the NFL and a pace that would establish a franchise record with 139.
5 Consecutive games in which an opposing RB has eclipsed 100y rushing vs San Francisco
15-3 Seattle's prime time record under Pete Carroll as they prepare to play the Cardinals Sunday night

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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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