Coming Soon
  • Did You Notice? NFL Week 4
  • My Week 6 College Picks
  • New Golden Football Magazine
Did You Notice? NCAA Week 5
  • Most Improbable Undefeated Teams So Far: California (5-0), Northwestern (4-0), Temple (4-0)
    Most Improbable 0-5 Team: Central Florida
  • Cooked Geese: Coaches Who Won't Be Back in 2016
    Previously Listed:
    Randy Edsall, Maryland: 2-3 after losing to Michigan 28-0; the Terps have scored 6 points the last two games
    Mike London, Virginia: The 1-3 Cavaliers didn't lose last weekend because they didn't play.
    This week's addition to the club:
    Charlie Strong, Texas: 1-4 after losing to TCU 50-7. The Longhorns seem in complete disarray. To make Charlie's plight more dire, the AD who hired him has resigned under pressure. Strong may not make it to the end of the season.
    Keeping an Eye On:
    Butch Jones, Tennessee; Steve Spurrier, South Carolina; Mike Leach, Washington State
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Giving Away a Game, by Mike Riley
    Nebraska led Illinois 13-7. The Cornhuskers faced 2nd-and-10 on the Illinois 30 after the Illini had called their last timeout with 1:46 on the clock. The NU TB ran the ball for 3y. With the clock approaching one minute, the wise approach would have been to repeat that play on 3rd down. Then let almost 40 more seconds expire before repeating the play on 4th down. Even if you don't make the first down, Illinois has to go 70+ yards with about 15 seconds to play and no timeouts. So what did the Huskers do? Junior QB Tommy Armstrong ran a bootleg. Rather than keep the ball, as instructed, he panicked under pressure and flipped an incomplete pass. To compound matters, Armstrong threw another incompletion on the 4th down rollout (although the clock would have stopped anyway for the change of possession)! So the Illini got the ball with 0:51 remaining and, after a 15y completion and a 50y connection to a receiver who managed to get behind the secondary, found themselves on the 7. After several incompletions and two pass interference penalties, QB Wes Lunt connected with Geronimo Allison in the EZ with ten ticks left and, Geronimo!, the Illini won 14-13!
    Coach Mike Riley said that his QB was supposed to run the ball on the rollout and again on the 4th down play. (Watch game highlights ...)
  • 38-10 Squared
    The two games turned both the SEC East and West upside down ended with the same score. In both cases, the statistics were not as one-sided as the score - except for one.
    First Downs: Alabama 14 Georgia 12; Ole Miss 23 Florida 18
    Total Yards: Alabama 379 Georgia 299; Ole Miss 328 Florida 355
    Time of Possession: Alabama 34:03, Georgia 25:57; Ole Miss 28:10, Florida 31:50
    Turnovers: Alabama 2 Georgia 4; Ole Miss 4 Florida 0
    The Rebels got bit by the same turnover bug that infected the Tide several weeks back when a 5-0 turnover margin propelled the Hugh Freeze's boys to a 43-37 upset in Tuscaloosa.
    Have we returned to the halcyon days of 1992-94 and 1996 and 2008-09 when Alabama and Florida met for the SEC championship?
  • Tennessee Again Suffers from Lead ("leed") Poisoning
    Vol fans had to be worried when Butch Jones's club jumped out to a 14-0 lead over Arkansas in Q1. How many thought, "Don't worry. We'll blow it." Sure enough, a minute into Q2, the Razorbacks tied the score at. But the Vols jumped back in front 17-14 only to have the Hogs kick a FG as time expired in the first half. Arkansas scored a TD in Q3 to take a 24-17 lead and hung on to win 24-20. It was the third game that UT lost after taking a 13+ point lead. They had Oklahoma down 17-0 and led 27-14 in Q4 at Florida. Some Big Orange fans now refer to their coach as "Botch" Jones.
  • Wazoo Fake Punt Gone Awry
    Go to this link to watch a trick play backfire on Mike Leach. Why was the punter running the ball?
Baseball Playoff Predictions
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Here are the records of the playoff teams since September 1 and September 15.

Team Record Since 9/1 Since 9/15
National League
Cardinals 100-62 15-16 11-8
Pirates 98-64 19-14 12-8
Cubs 97-65 23-9 15-5
Dodgers 92-70 19-13 9-10
Mets 90-72 17-14 7-11
American League
Royals 95-67 15-17 11-8
Blue Jays 93-69 19-12 11-8
Rangers 88-74 20-12 12-7
Yankees 87-75 15-17 8-11
Astros 86-76 13-17 9-9

My two favorite teams, Cardinals and Yankees, are in the field, but I have little hope that either will make the World Series.

  • The Cardinals are limping into the playoffs, a shadow of the team that led the NL Central by nine games June 28.
  • The injury to Yadier Molina alone would be cause for alarm. He is the club's MVP for the way he handles the pitching staff. He's going to try to play with a splint on his injured thumb but how can he hold a bat?
  • The starting staff, which as late as August had all five ERAs under 3, has been reduced to two under 3, John Lackey (2.77) and Jaime Garcia (2.43). Lance Lynn has risen to 3.03 and, most alarmingly, Michael Wacha to 3.38. The latter two have not been the same since Matheny and his staff got the bright idea to have each skip a start to limit their innings heading into the playoffs.
  • Also, the hitting has fallen off. The Redbirds scored fewer than four runs in 17 of the 31 games since September 1.
  • I was already fearful that the team would just not score enough runs in the playoffs. And that was when the starting pitchers were lights out.
  • As to the Yankees, they will be lucky to win the wild card game. If they do, they don't have the pitching or the hitting to overcome the Royals in a five-game series.

Instead of predicting the teams that will make the World Series, I will predict two teams in each league that definitely will NOT.

National League: Cardinals and Mets
American League: Yankees or Houston, Rangers

I've discussed the Cards and Yanks. Here's my reasons for the others.

  • Astros - new to the post-season, rookie manager, lost their AL West lead down the stretch but rallied the last weekend to make the wild card
  • Rangers - suspect bullpen
  • Mets - see Astros (young pitchers, manager new to post-season)
Golden Rankings - NFL after 4 Weeks
Golden NFL Top Ten
Average Opp. wins Last
6 2
New England
5 1
3 Green Bay 4-0 16.76 5 4
6 3
5 Carolina
4 5
4 12
New York Giants 2-2
4 16
3 9
3 8
Kansas City
1 14
"Opponent wins" means the total number of wins
by the teams the ranked team defeated.

Complete Golden NFL rankings

Division Rankings
Rank Division Average Last Week
1 AFC East 16.146 1
2 NFC South 16.123 5
3 AFC West 16.094 3
4 AFC North 16.125 2
5 NFC West 16.006 6
6 NFC East 15.984 4
7 NFC North 15.860 8
8 AFC South 15.708 7

Overall: AFC 16.003, NFC 15.993
Whew! Finally! The Saints pulled one out.
  • Yes, the Cowboys were without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. But they're still a good team.
  • There were many encouraging aspects to the Saints' victory.
  • The defense played much better. Expensive S Jairus Byrd finally took the field. Two rookie LBs, Hau'oli Kikaha and Stephone Anthony, led the team in tackles with 8 and 7 respectively, including nine solo stops between them.
  • With C. J. Spiller finally making an impact on offense, we're beginning to see the team that Payton-Loomis envisioned in the off-season.
  • One game does not a season make, but there is hope going forward.
  • The game at Philadelphia doesn't seem as formidable as it did at the beginning of the season. Beating the disappointing 1-3 Eagles is necessary to give the team confidence heading into games with the Falcons (4-0) and Colts (another disappointing team).
  • The main area of concern is the offensive line. Brees was hit repeatedly and that can't happen if the Saints are to climb into playoff contention. Unfortunately, veteran G Jahri Evans is out indefinitely after arthroscopic knee surgery.
LSU-Eastern Michigan Comments
This is more aptly called SEC comments than LSU comments.

It's amazing how much prospects change from week to week in college football.

  • After Week 3, with LSU bulldozing Auburn and Ole Miss upsetting Alabama, it was possible to dream of our Tigers returning to the SEC Championship Game for the first time since 2011.
  • "If the Rebels can beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, so can we." The LSU-Ole Miss game the second-to-last Saturday of the regular season loomed as the Game of the Year in the SEC.
  • "The Tide has QB problems, and Harris is giving LSU what it needs to complement the Fournette-led rushing attack."
  • "LSU will be undefeated through the end of October. South Carolina will be no problem. Nor will Florida, which is feeling its way under a new coach who must rebuild confidence in Gainesville."
  • "The Syracuse game was a lackluster effort by the Tigers but, hey, they won. We still haven't turned the ball over after three weeks. Harris will continue to progress so that he'll be ready for the Murderers Row of November."

Then came Week 5.

  • Alabama looked awesome in destroying Georgia. Jake Coker, the fifth-year senior transfer from Florida State, went 11-for-16 for 190y with a TD but no INT. (Against Ole Miss, Coker was a shaky 21-for-45 for 201y with 3 TDs but 2 INTs.) Sophomore Cooper Bateman (who also threw an INT vs the Rebels) stayed on the sideline. Derrick Henry rolled up 148y rushing. Georgia's QB Greyson Lambert, who had electrified Bulldog Nation with a 24-for-25 performance against South Carolina for 330y, 3 TD, and 0 INT, looked overmatched against the Crimson defense: 10-for-24, 86y, 0 TD, 1 INT (a pick six).
  • If the news from Athens wasn't bad enough, Saturday night in Gainesville, Florida, which no one gave much of a chance for the SEC East title in a "rebuilding year" with a new coach, ambushed #3 Ole Miss 38-10, the identical score by which Bama pummeled Georgia. Had the Rebels been lulled to sleep by reports from Gainesville that more than 20 players, including freshman QB Will Grier, had been sick with the flu earlier in the week? Before they knew what hit them, Hugh Freeze's boys were in the deep freeze, down 25-0 at the half as Grier did his best Greyson Lambert imitation: 24-for-29 for 271y, 4 TD, 0 INT. On the other side, junior college transfer Chad Kelly, who had led the Rebels to two 70+ point laughers to start the season and gone a respectable 18-for-33 for 341y, 3 TDs, and 0 INT in Tuscaloosa, put up solid numbers, 26-for-40 for 259y with 1 TD and 1 INT - not bad considering his team fell behind early and gained only 69y rushing.
  • Meanwhile, LSU had another ho-hum performance, 44-22 over Eastern Michigan. The alarming stat was this: Brandon Harris went 4-for-15 with 0 TD and 1 INT (LSU's first turnover of the season). Now some of the incompletions came from receivers' drops but, still, LSU's passing game, which was 29-for-47 for 302y, 2 TD, and 0 INT the first three games, sank back to last year's ineptitude.

Looking forward, what have we learned?

  • Alabama may still be Alabama. The Crimson Tide scored TDs on offense, defense, and special teams to reestablish themselves as a force not only in the SEC but also in the national playoff picture. Reevaluating the Ole Miss game, the Tide had a 29-16 advantage in first downs and a 503-433 yardage edge. But a whopping five turnovers, including two fumbles on kickoffs, did them in.
  • Ole Miss is not as powerful as the Alabama game made them seem. They're probably not as bad as they looked against Florida, especially on defense, but somewhere in between the two performances.
  • Georgia is the same old Georgia under Mark Richt - not living up to preseason billing although, again, the Bulldogs are probably not as inept as a fired up Alabama team made them look.
  • LSU QB Brandon Harris is still a question mark as the Tigers enter the meat of their schedule. Since getting bopped 45-21 in Baton Rouge, Auburn has lost at home to Mississippi State 17-9 and scored a lackluster homecoming win over San Jose State 35-21 - a contest in which Gus Malzahn's club led only 21-14 midway through Q3. So in retrospect the LSU victory over the Plainsmen, and Harris's role in that triumph, don't look as impressive as they did at that time. Brandon must Miles-Cameron that they can trust him by having a bounce back performance at South Carolina this Saturday.
  • Further west, Texas A&M scored a solid 30-17 victory over Mississippi State to move to 5-0 and a tie with LSU atop the SEC West at 2-0. John Chavis's defenders say they're getting more and more confidence as they learn his system.
  • My preseason prediction that no SEC team would go undefeated in conference play is looking better by the week. There are only three spotless records left: Florida in the East and LSU and A&M in the West. And, of course, the Tigers and Aggies meet the last weekend of the regular season. Plus, the Gators come to Baton Rouge in two weeks. A game that looked eminently winnable for the Tigers before last weekend now looms large in both division races in the SEC. I'll be there to give Florida's rookie QB the same welcome to Tiger Stadium that we gave Auburn's Jeremy Johnson.
Golden College Rankings after Five Weeks
As usual, much volatility this early in the season, this teams jumping much higher with significant wins (Florida) and teams dropping because of either a mediocre win (LSU) or a loss (Ole Miss).
Golden Rankings Top Ten
Average Opp.
13 7
10 8
3 Texas A&M 5-0 13.78 20 4
10 11
13 14
14 1
Oklahoma 4-0
9 2
Ohio State
11 6
9 26
9 15

Golden Conference Rankings
Average Impressive Non-Conference Wins
Ariz.St., Louisville, No.Car., Syracuse, Wisconsin
Big Ten
BYU, Duke, Iowa St., Kansas, Oregon, Ore.St., Pitt, Stanford, Va.Tech
Big 12
Arkansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Tennessee
Michigan, Rutgers, Texas, Virginia
Ill., 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), 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

Week 5 Picks 9-9
Home team in CAPS.
  • #1 Ohio State over Indiana +21 X
    Buckeyes might do better on th road.
  • #2 Michigan State over PURDUE +21.5 X
    Spartans banged up but still prevail.
  • #3 OLE MISS over #25 FLORIDA +7 X
    Flu is Rebels' ally.
  • Texas +14.5 over #4 TCU X DUMB PICK OF WEEK
    Longhorns angry after blowing game last week.
  • #5 Baylor over Texas Tech +17
    Raiders not over last week's bitter defeat.
  • #6 Notre Dame over #12 Clemson +1 X
    Irish defense solid on road.
  • #7 UCLA over Arizona State +13.5 X
    Sun Devils a major disappointment.
  • #13 Alabama +2.5 over #8 GEorgia
    Tide can't afford second loss on rainy day in Athens.
  • Eastern Michigan +44.5 over #9 LSU
    Tigers rest Fournette second half.
  • #11 Florida State over WAKE FOREST +19 X
    Seminole D much better this season.
  • #21 Mississippi State +7 over #14 Texas A&M X
    Prescott keeps it close.
  • #15 Oklahoma over #23 West Virginia +6
    Sooners attack weak secondary.
  • #16 Northwestern over Minnesota +4
    Wildcats D too strong.
  • #18 Stanford over Arizona NO SPREAD
  • Iowa +6 over #19 Wisconsin
    Hawkeyes keep it close on road.
  • #20 Oklahoma State over Kansas State +8 X
    Too much offense for Wildcats.
  • #22 Michigan over MARYLAND +17
    Wolverines bring their D on the road.
  • Washington State +19 over #24 California
    Cal not good enough to cover spread even at home.

Intriguing Non-Top 25 Game

  • Illinois +6.5 over Nebraska
    Huskers shaky on road.
Intriguing Numbers - Week Five
767 Baylor's yards per game average
28-10 Record of AP top 12 teams against the spread so far this year against top 20 foes.
LSU's record against the spread the last four years when the spread is 31+ vs a nonconference foe
7 Times Georgia has lost outright the last two years when favored.
21-3 Northwestern's record in August and September since the start of the 2010 season.
2 Teams that have yet to allow a rushing TD: Iowa and Navy
59 Years since Texas started a season 1-3.
1-10 Texas's record in its last 11 games against ranked teams
1990 Last time Indiana started 4-0.
48 Years since Indiana was 5-0
14 Consecutive road victories by Ohio State
40-2 Oklahoma State's record in its last 42 home games against unranked opponents.
1993 Last time California won road games in consecutive weeks before this season
2009 Last year California was ranked in the AP Top 25

Record after four weeks: 61-53-2

Did You Notice? NFL Week 3
  • Most Improbable 3-0 Team: Falcons
    Most Improbable 0-3 Team: Ravens
  • Colts Grab Their First Win - Barely
    Staring at their first 0-3 start since 2011, the Colts got two TD passes from Andrew Luck 56 seconds apart in Q4 to rally Indianapolis over the Titans 35-33 in Nashville. That runs Luck's record against Tennessee to 7-0. Another big factor in the win was a 67y return of Marcus Mariota's first NFL INT by Dwight Lowery in Q2. Earlier, Frank Gore's TD late in Q1 made Indy the last NFL team to score in the first half this season.
  • New Coach, New Falcons
    Trailing the Romo-less, Bryant-less Cowboys 28-17 at the half, Atlanta shut out the home team in the second half to pull out a 39-28 victory. After gaining only 43y in the first two games, Falcons RB Devonta Freeman carried an amazing 30 times for 141y to give new coach Dan Quinn a rushing presence to take the pressure off the Matt Ryan-Julio Jones combo.
  • Seattle Finally Wakes Up
    Even with the QB of the secondary Kam Chancellor back in the lineup after his two-game holdout, the Seahawks still slept walked through the first half of their home debut against the Bears, who were playing without QB Jay Cutler. A cascade of boos rolled over the Seattle offense, which scored only 6 pts in the first 30 minutes. But that changed within seconds of the second half kickoff, which Tyler Lockett returned 105y for a franchise record. Later in Q3, Russell Wilson found TE Jimmy Graham across the middle for his second TD catch of the season. Marshawn Lynch's clown show continued. Questionable ecause of a calf injury, the RB spent half of Q1 in the locker room before coming to the bench. He didn't return after halftime, and his team didn't miss him. On the other side, Cutler's replacement, Jimmy Clausen, ran his record as a starter to 1-11. The Bears had ten possessions, and every one of them ended with a punt. Chicago gained 146y.
  • Peterson Back On Top
    Adrian Peterson gained only 31y on 10 carries in the Vikings' opener at San Francisco, a 20-3 loss. But in the next two games, he has carried 29 and 20 times for a total of 260y to jump to the top of the NFL in rushing. It's no coincidence that Minnesota has won both contests. Peterson has not asked O-coordinator Norv Turner for more carries. I don't request anything. ... He's a legend. He's made some good adjustments. I can't tell him what to do. He's been doing it a lot longer than me.
  • Overshadowed
    While his former LSU teammate Odell Beckham, playing in the media capital of the world, has gotten most of the publicity the last two years, Jarvis Landry continues to plug away for Miami. Jarvis ranks second in the league (behind Julian Edelman of the Patriots) in receptions with 24. With little help from the rest of the Giants receivers, Beckham has 19 catches, 8 more than anyone else of his squad.
  • Extra Point Updates
    The 14 missed PATs in three weeks this season is six more than were missed all of last season. It's already the most missed EPs since 2009, when there were 20 all season. One kicker who likes the new rule mandating the 15 as the line of scrimmage for EPs is Nick Novak, just hired by the Texans to replace Randy Bullock, who's the only kicker in the league to miss more than one EP this season.

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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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For Your Reading Pleasure

2015 Pro Football Preview Magazine Summaries

2015 College Football Preview Magazine Summaries

NEW Edition of the Golden Baseball Magazine [9/10]
Cardinals Clubhouse
---Remarkable Rookie - Bill Doak 1914
---Cardinals Quiz
Baseball Odd Facts Lousy pinch-hitter and more
The Ultimate Game 1973 World Series - Game 7
How Would You Rule? -
Batter swings at pitch that hits him
Baseball Quiz
- Primary position of 2015 managers
Short Story - "The Grand Illusion"


RECENT Edition of the Golden Football Magazine [8/26]
Tiger Den: Season in Time 2005 - II
Saints Saga: Profile - Tom Dempsey
Seminoles Sidelines: Bobby's First Undefeated Season - IV
NFL Championship Game: 1961
AFL Championship Game: 1961
Memorable Game: Yale-Princeton 1893 - II
Short Story: Gifford on Lombardi
How Well Do You Know the Rules?
Football Quiz


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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