Coming Soon
SI Cover Jinx No More
Remember the "Sports Illustrated Cover jinx"?
  • If you got your picture on the cover of Sports Illustrated, bad things would happen to you within the next few weeks. We haven't heard much about that in recent years.
  • I now nominate a new jinx candidate: ESPN the Magazine
  • Consider the covers of their last two issues.
  • We all know what has happened to LSU and Fournette's Heisman hopes these last three weeks since the cover appeared.
  • As for Andy Dalton, his Bengals lost their first game of the season Monday night November 16 - their next game after the issue hit the newstands. Then they lost again this past weekend.
  • I hope Ben Simmons never makes the cover of ESPN the Magazine.
Did You Notice? NCAA Week 12
  • Gloom in Columbus and Columbia
    The Ohio State Buckeyes gained the fewest yards ever by an Urban Meyer-coached team (132y) and lost their first game of the year as visiting Michigan State scored the last ten points to win 17-14. To add salt in the wounds, star OSU RB Ezekiel Elliott launched into a rant to reporters about his disappointment at carrying the ball only 12 times and ended by saying he's turning pro at the end of the season. Many commentators pointed to Elliott's comments as indicative of what's been wrong with the underachieving defending champions - players worrying about their own stats and NFL future rather than the team.
    Meanwhile, Columbia MO and Columbia SC are also shrouded in black. Many picked Missouri to upset Tennessee in the final home game of beloved Coach Gary Pinkel, who is retiring after this season to battle cancer. But the Vols won 19-8. The players carried Pinkel off on their shoulders anyway. (I wonder if LSU players will do that for their coach this coming Saturday win or lose?)
    But the real embarrassment occured in South Carolina where The Citadel of the FCS upset the Gamecocks 23-22 to kill any chance interim USC coach Shawn Elliott had of being retained permanently.
  • Another OSU Falls
    Ohio State
    's loss was followed by another OSU team - Oklahoma State - tumbling from the ranks of the undefeated. Playing at home against Baylor's second string QB - who didn't play the second half because of injuries - the Cowboys fell 45-35 to give Baylor its first victory in Stillwater since 1939. That left the Big 12 without an undefeated team. That puts the conference in jeopardy of being on the outside looking in at the CFP for the second straight year.
  • McElwain = McElWIN at Florida
    Florida, like Georgia, eked out an OT victory against a "rent-a-win" opponent Saturday. The Bulldogs beat Georgia Southern 23-17 while the Gators had to knock down a potential TD pass in OT to escape Florida Atlantic's upset bid 20-14. The Gators scored a TD to start the OT but missed the PAT. So if FAU had scored, they could have booted the point to win. The victory was UF's tenth of the season, making Jim Elwain the first Gator head coach to gain 10 wins in his first year. Not even Steve Spurrier did that.
  • Fuentes like Miles
    After eight games, Jason Fuente of Memphis was first on many schools' list to fill head coach vacancies. But his Tigers, like the LSU Tigers, had a back-loaded schedule (except for Ole Miss) and have lost three in a row to the toughest opponents in the American Athletic Conference: Navy 45-20, @Houston 35-34, and @Temple 31-12. Still, it seems likely Fuente will coach elsewhere next season. He may have lost his chance for an SEC spot (Missouri or South Carolina) but would still be attractive to "lesser" Power Five schools like Syracuse or Maryland. Also, another AAC coach who has been mentioned for Power Five jobs lost his first game of the season. Tom Herman's Houston Cougars took it on the chin at Connecticut 20-17.
  • Out-of-Spotlight Game of the Week
    Normally a ground-and-pound team with its triple option attack - like the other service academies - Air Force lived up to its name to upset Boise State on the blue turf 37-30. Falcons QB Karson Roberts flashed a wry grin afterwards. That was definitely fun. After not throwing for more than 156y in the first nine games, Roberts has thrown for 271 against Utah State and 279 against Boise the last two weeks. After going 6-7 in 2012 and a miserable 2-10 in 2013, Troy Calhoun has resurrected the Air Force program - and saved his job - with a 10-3 mark last season and 8-2 so far this year with one of the defeats coming to 9-1 Navy.
Miles to Go before We Sleep
As I write this, all signs point to Les Miles' tenure at LSU ending within days.
  • AD Joe Alleva better have somebody BIG lined up to take over. If his first football hire doesn't pan out, then within two years the long knives will be used on him.
  • Here's a name I'll throw out. I claim no inside dope but have just observed the passing scene.

Chip Kelly

  • He's in his third year as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. His tenure there started promisingly. He took a team that had been 4-8 the year before and took them to a 10-6 mark and the NFC East championship.
  • Last year, the team finished 10-6 again despite key injuries like QB Nick Foles. However, they failed to make the playoffs.
  • As a result, owner Jeffrey Lurie made Kelly head of football operations in name as well as in fact. Basically, he became GM as well as head coach.
  • However, this season has not gone as planned. The Eagles are 4-6 and just lost to the Buccaneers 45-17.
  • What got Chip the Philadelphia job was his great success at Oregon, where he compiled a 33-3 Pac-12 record and 46-7 overall with two Rose Bowl appearances (1-1 mark) and a Fiesta Bowl victory.
  • Since upgrading the offense seems to be the first priority for LSU, you couldn't do better than Chip, who took the no huddle spread offense to the next level.
  • Wouldn't it be ironic if, in order to beat Alabama, LSU hires a successful college coach who moved to the NFL and became disenchanted - the exact route that Saban traveled from Baton Rouge to Tuscaloosa?
Golden College Rankings after Twelve Weeks
Top two stay the same. Michigan State replaces Ohio State at #3. LSU tumbles further to 17th (from #1 heading into the Alabama game).
Golden Rankings Top Ten
Average Opp.
Alabama 10-1
59 246 10.97 1  
59 216 8.81 2  
Michigan State
60 271 6.22 9  
4 Notre Dame 10-1 15.87 52 213 6.59 4  
55 154 8.66 10  
Ohio State
49 166 9.47 3  
44 143 8.83 7  
48 181 5.80 5  
50 190 6.92 6  
46 199 7.47 8  
  • "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
Ariz.St.,BYU, Louisville, No.Car., Syracuse, West.Ky., Wisconsin
Big Ten
BYU, Duke, Iowa St., Kansas, Oregon, Ore.St., Pitt, Stanford, Va.Tech
Michigan, Rutgers, Texas, Virginia
Big 12
Arkansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Tennessee
Illinois, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Purdue
Air Force, Louisville, Miami, Penn State
Arkansas, Iowa State, Maryland, Purdue, UNLV, Wyoming
Mtn. West
Colorado, Virginia, Washington
UCF, Kent State, Miami (OH), Ole Miss, Purdue, Vandy, Va.Tech
Sun Belt
San Diego State, Western Michigan

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

Most Valuable College Wins
Here are the eight most valuable wins in the Golden College Rankings so far.
Pts. Game (Home team in caps) Victory
22.00 Iowa over Northwestern (9-2) 30
21.00 Michigan over Northwestern (9-2) 38
20.96 Ole Miss over Alabama (10-1) 6
20.64 Baylor over OklahomA State (10-1) 10
20.54 Utah over Oregon (8-3) 42
20.54 LSU over Western Kentucky (9-2) 28
20.26 Michigan State over Ohio State (10-1) 3
20.14 Alabama over Mississippi State (8-3) 25

Remember that, in the Golden system, each team in a game starts with 12 points. The winner gains points based on the number of victories of the vanquished team, the margin of victory, and whether it was a road game. Notice that six of the eight games above were won by the visiting team. The other two games involved a large margin of victory for the home team. Also keep in mind that the above point values are not final. For example, if Ohio State beats Michigan next Saturday, then Michigan State's win over the Buckeyes will increase in value.

Week 12 Picks - 12-10
Home team in CAPS. Rankings are from the AP poll.
  • Wake Forest + 29 over #1 Clemson
    Deacons good enough on D to cover.
  • #2 Ohio State over #9 Michigan State +13 X
    OSU's real season finally begins and Barrett is QB.
  • #3 Alabama over Charleston Southern NO SPREAD
  • #4 Oklahoma State over #4 Baylor +0 X
    Cowboys clear decks for big meeting with in-state rival.
  • Boston College +16.5 over #5 Notre Dame
    Eagles fired up for Fenway Park clash.
  • Purdue +21 over #8 Iowa
    Hawkeyes feeling undefeated pressure.
  • #7 Oklahoma over #11 TCU NO SPREAD
    QB Boykin not available for Frogs.
  • Florida Atlantic +31 vs #11 Florida
    Gators warm up for FSU.
  • Virginia Tech +6.5 over #12 North Carolina
    Frank Beamer's last home game.
  • #13 Houston over Connecticut NO SPREAD X
  • Penn State +4 over #14 Michigan X
    Wolverines haven't played well on road and looking ahead to OSU; Lions coming off bye.
  • California +11 over #15 Stanford X
    Bears catch rival coming off devastating loss.
  • #16 Florida State over Chattanooga NO SPREAD
    Seminoles warm up for Florida.
  • #25 OLE MISS over #17 LSU +4.5
    Oxford not a good place to right the ship.
  • #18 Utah over UCLA +2 X
    Utes bounce back at home.
  • #19 Navy over Tulsa +12
    Middies' option O befuddles Golden Hurricane.
  • #21 Wisconsin over #20 Northwestern +10 X
    Badgers better on both sides of ball.
  • #22 Southern Cal +4.5 over #23 Oregon X
    Trojans playing much better under interim coach.
  • Colorado +15 over #24 Washington State X
    Buffaloes have competed well on road this year.

Additional Big Ten Games

  • Rutgers over Army +4.5
    Scarlet Knights over Black Knights.
  • Maryland over Indiana +2.5 X
    Hoosiers let down after hanging with big guys.
  • Minnesota over Illinois +4.5
    Gophers give new coach his first win.
Intriguing Numbers - Week Eleven
13-2 Underdog's record against the spread in the last 15 LSU-Ole Miss games.
11-1 Home team's record in the last twelve games of the Wisconsin-Northwestern series
Unbeaten team's record against the spread last week.
6-0 Visitors' record against the spread in the last six games of the Ohio State-Michigan State series.
231-81 Amount by which Wake Forest has been outscored by Clemson in the Tigers' six straight wins in the series
66 Rushing yards Navy QB Keenan Reynolds needs to surpass the school mark of 4,179 set by Napoleon McCallum
1 Times this season that Notre Dame has failed to gain 400y - last week vs Wake Forest
2009 Last time California beat archrival Stanford
8 Consecutive 100y rushing games by Christian McCaffrey - a Stanford record
9 Years since #24 Washington State has been ranked
4,067 Passing yards of Washington State QB Luke Falk - tops in the nation
25 Consecutive road losses by Colorado to Top 25 opponents

Record after ELEVEN weeks: 110-107-2

A Head-Spinning Two Weeks
I'm still trying to process what has happened to the LSU football season since November 7.
  • At that point, the Tigers were 7-0 and #2 in the first CFP rankings.
  • After losing to Alabama 30-16 and to Arkansas 31-14, the Tigers are not only out of the CFP race but also out of SEC contention.
  • And suddenly Les Miles is "coaching for his job" against Ole Miss this coming Saturday.
  • In a startling article Wednesday, the Advocate's Scott Rabalais wrote this: It's early yet, relatively speaking, and as can be expected, no one is eager to go public regarding Ole Miss' future at this point. But 25 years of covering LSU, cultivating a variety of knowledgeable sources, have led this writer to believe that there is a serious threat to Miles' tenure here. ...
    The Miles’ offensive philosophy is also a big issue. Yes, the Tigers threw it 35 times against Arkansas compared to 30 rushes, but LSU fell behind 21-0. Overall, the Tigers are still passing only 32.4 percent of the time, lowest percentage in the SEC. Miles used to have power running allies in Bama’s Nick Saban and Arkansas' Bret Bielema, but both have entrusted their offensive coordinators to use more modern methods to move the football. Georgia and Auburn are the only other two SEC teams besides Auburn that gain more yards rushing than passing, and neither are having what you would call stellar seasons.
    Auburn supporters have grown tired of what looks most of the time like a conservative offensive approach. Pair that with habitual problems with penalties, delay of game issues, and this year's special teams breakdowns, and it's a recipe for dissatisfaction, on the verge of changing over to apathy.
    Off the field, one would be hard pressed to find major boosters, big financial supporters of the program, who are in Miles' corner. His cultivation of those relationships has been wanting, especially for someone who has won as much as Miles has. Word is the big-money folks will mass to help pay his buyout before rushing to Miles' defense, though talk traditionally is cheaper than actually writing a check.
    The buyout of course is literally a huge issue.
    If Miles is terminated without cause before Jan. 1, he would be owed $15 million, payable over eight years (twice the time remaining on his current contract). His assistants would have to be paid roughly an additional $2 million for six months salary (thanks to the "Les Miles clause" in their contracts) for a total buyout of $17 million.
    It's a staggering sum, but apparently not a deal breaker.
  • So Miles has accelerated from flying high to getting fired in just two weeks? It seems to me to be precipitous to talk about Miles not returning next year. What usually happens in this situation is that the AD insists that the coach bring in a new offensive (in this case) coordinator and give him full reign to upgrade that unit. The head coach is put on notice that the team must improve next year or else the guillotine will fall. LSU owes Les that much. A coach with a 78% winning record over 11 years deserves a chance to fix his program.
  • The problem, of course, is similar to what led Steve Spurrier to resign last month at South Carolina. Uncertainty about Miles's future will cause high profile commitments to go elsewhere. And that trend sounds the death knell for the program.

I've been groping for an explanation as to how Miles's stock sank so fast.

  • After all, he's lost to Alabama before. In 2013, the Tigers played poorly in the second half at Tuscaloosa and saw a 17-14 halftime deficit rise to a 38-17 final score.
  • And Lord knows LSU has had offensive problems before, including all of 2014 when Anthony Jennings "won" the QB job by default.

So why are the big money backers suddenly deserting the ship?

  • I think it's due in large measure to the excitement generated by Leonard Fournette's rise to the top of the Heisman lists.
  • Adding to the expectation of an outstanding season a la 2011 was the improved play of Brandon Harris at QB.
  • So going into Tuscaloosa, many Tiger fans, myself included, thought, "This is the year we finally beat Bama!" We figured Miles/Cameron had been using the first seven games to give Harris the confidence he needed to lead a victory in T-town. We also figured that Miles/Cameron had a number of cards up their sleeves that they would finally play against the Tide - formations, personnel packages, and plays that we hadn't seen before that would be installed during the two-week preparation for the Big Game. Surely they knew that doing the same old same old wouldn't cut it against Bama.
  • So we watched with anticipation as the Tiger offense took the field against the Tide. I knew for sure we would see a scripted series that would hit Bama from every direction with sharp execution of plays that had been rehearsed for weeks.
  • But we got none of that. It was hard to find anything new in what the offense was doing. When Bama repeatedly stuffed Fournette, we thought, "OK, we tried our regular stuff and it didn't work. Surely now we'll spring a new approach on them and exploit the Tide's weakness in the secondary. Having done that, we can spring Leonard loose running and receiving. That wheel route that he ran in the first period after Harris faked a handoff - when Brandon failed to hit #7 wide open over the middle. Surely, we'll call that again and this time make it work."
  • We got some fool's gold with the 40y TD pass to Travin Dural to close the gap to 10-7 midway through Q2. Then the Domingue FG to tie with 2:22 left. Great! We've survived the onslaught. The game can go either way from here on. Sure, Bama kicked a FG in the last seconds to take a 3-point lead into the locker room.
  • But we get the ball to start the second half. Brandon has settled down, and they can trust him to execute more of the "stuff" they put in. Instead, he threw an INT on the first snap of the half and it was all downhill after that. The Tigers didn't score again until they were down 30-10.

OK, we lost for the fifth straight time to the Tide.

  • But Miles's teams have generally shown resilience in bouncing back after tough defeats. He had lost two in a row only twice.
  • Arkansas is beatable, especially at home.
  • We'll see a fired-up Tiger team that's determined to show that they are better than they showed against Alabama. We can score on a defense that's yielding more than 400y per game! Fournette will recharge his Heisman quest!

But we all know what happened.

  • Poorly prepared on both sides of the ball, the Tigers fell behind 21-0, then rallied for TDs to end the first half and start the second and get right back into it.
  • Great! We're set for another terrific Tiger Stadium comeback. The people who planned to leave at halftime stayed in their seats through Q3.
  • But we never scored again, and the Hogs retained The Boot 31-14.

It's like Charlie Brown with Lucy.

  • She kept pulling the ball away as he ran to kick it, causing him to fall on his back.
  • Les, you've tricked us one time too many.
  • You get one more chance to straighten out the offense (as I explained above). If you're unwilling to change, then we'll bid you adieu. Thanks for all you've done but, like Sean Payton with the Saints, it's time to go.

Did You Notice? NFL Week 10
Interesting Numbers
10-6 Score of two week 10 games: Bucs over Cowboys and Texans over Bengals
1991 Last year that Detroit won in Green Bay before beating the Packers last Sunday 18-16 - remember the Lions play GB home-and-home every season
Games decided by one point last weekend: Dolphins 20 Eagles 19 and Patriots 27 Giants 26
8 Total number of games decided by one point this season. The Giants have lost two of them, the other being at Dallas in Week One by the same score: 27-26
3 Consecutive games in which the Dolphins have suffered a safety
0 Points scored by the Texans on their opening possessions this season
10 Consecutive quarters in which the Texans have not given up a TD: second half of 44-26 vs Dolphins, 20-6 victory over Titans, and 10-6 win at Cincinnati.
27 Receptions by Steelers WR Antonio Brown the last two games, the third-highest total in NFL history
0 Losses at home by Ben Roethlisberger against the Browns in his career
2-13 Browns' record in their last 15 games under coach Mike Pettine.
12-3 Record of visiting teams in last weekend's games
9 Number of underdogs that won on the road
13 Consecutive road losses by the Jaguars before Sunday's 22-20 victory at Baltimore
  • He is risen!
    Ben Roethlisberger started the week on crutches with a sprained left foot and finished it by taking a knee as the clock ticked down in the Steelers' 30-9 romp over Cleveland that he led. Big Ben threw for 379y and three TDs after replacing Landry Jones who went out with a left leg injury of his own. Johnny Manziel played his best game as a pro. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner passed for a career-high 372y with a TD and an INT but was also sacked six times. The Browns have lost five straight.
  • Texans on Top!
    The Bengals had averaged 28.6 ppg in streaking to an 8-0 record. But the visiting Texans held Andy Dalton & Company to 256y, including only 74 rushing. The result was a shocking 10-6 upset Monday night. The victory propelled the 4-5 Texans into a first-place tie with Indianapolis in the AFC South. Will we have a repeat of what happened in the NFC South last year when the Panthers won the division with an 8-9-1 record?
  • What a Way to Lose
    The visiting Jaguars trailed the Ravens 20-19 when they started a possession on their 20 with just 1:06 left and no timeouts. Several completions moved the ball to the Baltimore 49 with 0:14 left. The Jags hurried to the line of scrimmage and tried to get set to run another play. The ball was snapped just as the clock showed 0:00. Amid confusion as to whether the game had ended, many Raven defenders celebrated the victory. But DE Elvis Dumervil rushed past his blocker and sacked QB Blake Bortles for a 6y loss. Unfortunately, in doing so, Elvis grabbed the face mask. Since the game can't end on a defensive penalty, officials placed the ball on the Baltimore 35 for an untimed down. K Jason Myers, who had missed a 28y chip shot in Q3, booted a 53-yarder to win the game 22-20.
    To make the Ravens feel even worse, the NFL acknowledged Monday that the officiating crew erred on the Dumervil sack play by not calling a false start on LT Luke Joeckel who was not set for the requisite one second before the snap. That would have stopped the play and invoked in a 10-second runoff - more than enough to end the game with Baltimore on top 20-19.
Golden NFL Rankings - after 10 Weeks
Golden NFL Top Ten
Average Opp. wins Last
1 Carolina
36 1
New England
37 2
29 3
21 6
27 5
22 7
7 Green Bay 6-3 16.75 21 4
Pittsburgh 6-4
22 8
20 11
Kansas City
19 17
"Opponent wins" means the total number of wins
by the teams the ranked team defeated.

Three new members in Top Ten.
continue in freefall, down seven more places to #25.

Complete Golden NFL rankings

Division Rankings
Rank Division Average Last Week
1 AFC East 16.556 2
2 NFC South 16.019 1
3 NFC North 16.019 6
4 NFC West 15.959 3
5 AFC West 15.917 5
6 AFC North 15.750 4
7 AFC South 15.556 8
8 NFC East 15.399 7

Overall: NFC 15.962, AFC 15.944

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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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NEW Edition of the Golden Football Magazine [11/23]
Tiger Den: Season in Time 2005 - Games 6 & 7
Saints Saga: Record Setter - Archie Manning 1977
Seminoles Sidelines: Bobby's First Undefeated Season - VI
NFL Championship Game: 1963
AFL Championship Game: 1963
Interesting Story Bear and the Baron
Short Story: Parcells Batting for Payton?
How Well Do You Know the Rules?
Football Quiz


RECENT Edition of the Golden Baseball Magazine [10/21]
Cardinals Clubhouse
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---Cardinals Quiz
Memorable Game Historic Extra-Inning Comeback
The Ultimate Game 1975 World Series - Game 7
How Would You Rule? -
Two runners on 3B
Baseball Quiz
- Hall of Fame First Names
Short Story - Dark Takes Over in Oakland


LAST Golden Basketball Magazine Until January [5/28]
Basketball Short Story Combat Pay in Syracuse
Tiger Den Basketball Clip Jayhawk Wings
Basketball Profile Julius Erving - III
Memorable Game Virginia @ William & Mary - 2/14/1953
Basketball Quiz Highest Scorers after Pete

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