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Johnny Jones on Hotseat

In response to an article in Tiger Rag on the LSU basketball coach starting at the end of his tenure at his alma mater but ignoring all the hubbub and just concentrating on coaching his team to get better, I posted the following on the Tiger Rag website.

Johnny says, "I've won everywhere I've been." But the only place he's been head coach other than LSU (not counting an interim stint at Memphis in 1999-2000) was North Texas, then of the Sun Belt. He had six winning seasons in eleven years and one of those was 15-14. He won just 56.5% of his games there. I ask the same question I asked when he was first hired: "If he's so good, why was he eleven years at North Texas before anyone else hired him?"
I see a parallel between Johnny's hiring and Ed Orgeron's. They both were touted as Louisiana guys who love LSU and can recruit and are well-liked by their players. I sure hope Ed turns out better than Johnny has.

NFL Playoffs 2017
We list eight sets of statistical factors for each game and keep track of which factor is the best predictor of the winners.

2017 Playoff Predictors
(Through 8 Games)
Category Wins
Total Offense 7
Rushing Offense 5
Passing Offense 7
Total Defense 4
Rushing Defense 5
Passing Defense 3
Turnover Margin 6
Home Team 6
Higher Golden Ranking 4
Last Six Games Record 6

"Wins" = # times the team leading in that category won the game.

So far, the team with the better offense has won seven of the eight games. Is that a commentary on today's football?

Regular Season Ranks for All 12 Playoff Teams
   
Offense
Defense
 
Seed/Team
Total
Rush
Pass
Total
Rush
Pass
Turnover Margin
Total Rank
 NFC  1. Cowboys 5 2 23 5 1 26 +5 62
2. Falcons 1 5 3 27 17 28 +11 91
3. Seahawks 18 25 10 3 7 8 +1 71
4. Packers 4 20 7 21 8 31 +8 91
5. Giants 26 29 17 2 3 23 -2 100
6. Lions 20 30 11 13 18 19 -1 111
 
NFC Total
74 111 71 71 54 135 +22 526
 AFC  1. Patriots 3 7 4 1 4 12 +12 32
2. Chiefs 13 15 19 7 26 18 +16 98
3. Steelers 10 14 5 10 13 16 +5 68
4. Texans 29 8 29 11 12 2 -7 91
5. Raiders 7 6 13 20 23 24 +16 93
6. Dolphins 17 9 26 18 30 15 +2 115
 
AFC Total
79 59 96 67 103 87 +44 507
 
Grand Total
153 170 167 138 157 222 +66 1033

The numbers are the team's rank in each category. So a lower number is better. The red numbers indicate the best ranking among the conference playoff teams in that category.

This Weekend's Games
 
Offense
Defense
Team
Total
Rush
Pass
Total
Rush
Pass
Turnover
Margin
Total
3. Seahawks 18 25 10 3 7 8 +1 71
2. Falcons 1 5 3 27 17 28 +11 91

The Falcons rank higher in FOUR of the seven categories.
Comment: This will be a classic Top Offense vs Top Defense clash.
Golden NFL Rankings: Atlanta (17.87) over Seattle (17.01)
RESULT: Atlanta 36 Seattle 20

 
Offense
Defense
Team
Total
Rush
Pass
Total
Rush
Pass
Turnover
Margin
Total
4. Texans 29 8 29 11 12 2 -7 91
1. Patriots 3 7 4 1 4 12 +12 32

The Patriots rank higher in SIX of the seven categories.
Comment: This appers to be the biggest mismatch of the weekend. How will the
Texans inept offense score enough to win?
Golden NFL Rankings: New England (18.66) over Houston (16.44)
RESULT: New England 34 over Houston 16

 
Offense
Defense
Team
Total
Rush
Pass
Total
Rush
Pass
Turnover
Margin
Total
4. Packers 4 20 7 21 8 31 +8 91
1. Cowboys 5 2 23 5 1 26 +5 62

The Cowboys rank higher in FOUR of the seven categories.
Comment: This matchup provides the best chance for an upset to end the streak of home teams (higher seeds) winning.
Golden NFL Rankings: Dallas (18.79) over Green Bay (17.40)
RESULT: Green Bay 34 Dallas 31

 
Offense
Defense
Team
Total
Rush
Pass
Total
Rush
Pass
Turnover
Margin
Total
3. Steelers 10 14 5 10 13 16 +5 68
2. Chiefs 13 15 19 7 26 18 +16 98

The Steelers rank higher in FIVE of the seven categories.
Comment: The Steelers have won eight in a row counting last weekend's playoff triumph.
Golden NFL Rankings: Kansas City (18.16) over Pittsburgh (17.53)
RESULT: Pittsburgh 18 Kansas City 16

My Live Game Saturday

I'll watch in person another game in the Johnny Jones' Death March.

  • Alabama comes to the PMac for a 2:30 tipoff on the SEC Network.
  • Avery Johnson from St. Augustine High School in New Orleans returns to the city where he played college ball at Southern University.
  • Will the Tigers have any fight in them at all?
  • Will the Bama fans outnumber us LSU fans?
  • LSU actually has the same record (9-6) as the Tide for what that's worth. Of course, many of LSU's victories were attained with Craig Victor in the lineup.

POST GAME REPORT

Unlike the previous two conference losses, the Tigers played hard, especially on defense. They hung with Alabama for 35 minutes. But turnovers on three straight possessions helped the Tide go on a 25-10 run to make the final score, 81-66, look worse than the game was.

Bama did an especially good job on Antonio Blakeney, who scored only 11 points, 10.7 below his average in the four previous SEC contests.


The PMAC was about half full - 7,000 or so. Not as many Alabama fans as I expected.
NFL Playoff Predictions
Don't be surprised if ...
  • At least one #1 seed doesn't make the Super Bowl.
    Dallas and their rookie QB and HB have had a fabulous year. But the playoffs are another matter. It helps their cause that they will play at home. They'll have to play either the Giants, who have beaten them twice, or the Packers, who are the hottest team in the conference. Survive to the finals and they must beat the Falcons-Seahawks winner.
    New England has the most victories in the league: 14. Their two losses both came at home. First, to the Bills in the fourth and last game that Tom Brady missed because of his Deflategate suspension. The other loss came to the Seahawks at home. Despite the Cowboys losing a third game last week when they didn't play all their starters, they still rank slightly ahead of the Patriots at the top of the Golden Rankings. The reason is the two home losses which cost New England enough points to keep them second.

  • The winner of the Packers-Giants game ends up in the Super Bowl. STILL ALIVE HEADING INTO THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.
    The winner plays Dallas. The Giants beat the Cowboys twice, which may actually work in Dallas's favor since it's hard to make lightning strike the same place twice, much less three times. But I don't expect the Giants with their weak offense to get out of Green Bay alive Sunday. So that means Aaron Rodgers will face Dak Prescott in Week 2. I'll go with the more experienced QB and team. You usually have to lose a big game before you can win a big game. The Cowboys have had a great year. But they haven't been in the playoffs since '09. Going from a six-year postseason drought to the Super Bowl in one year is a huge jump, especially for a team led by a rookie QB.
    If Green Bay upsets Dallas, they would have the edge over Seattle or Atlanta (I expect the Falcons to make the finals ) even on the road in the NFC Championship Game.
Golden NFL Rankings - Final Regular Season
Golden NFL Top Ten
Pos.
Team
Record
Average
Opp. wins
Last
Week
1
Dallas
13-3
18.79
90 1
2
New England
14-2
18.66
94 2
3
Kansas City
12-4
18.16
91 3
4
Atlanta 11-5
17.87
78 5
5 Oakland
11-5
17.72
82 4
6
Pittsburgh
11-5
17.53
73 6
7 New York Giants
11-5
17.51
79 7
8
Green Bay
10-6
17.40
73 8
9 Seattle 10-5-1 17.01 68 9
10
Denver
9-7
16.94
65 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 NFC East 17.233 1
2 AFC West 16.891 2
3 AFC East 16.258 3
4 NFC South 16.097 4
5 AFC South 15.656 5
6 NFC North 15.624 6
7 AFC North 15.336 7
8 NFC West 14.305 8

Overall: AFC 16.035, NFC 15.815
Golden College Rankings after Regular Season
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. And now it's happened again for the third straight year.
  • Wisconsin and Colorado fall out of Top Ten. #5 Washington leapfrogs #4 Michigan to make the Final Four.
  • SEC on top of the conference rankings again. (But is the conference as strong as in past years? More on that in the coming days.)
Golden Rankings Top Ten
Pos.
Team
Record
Average Opp.
wins
Opp.
Opps
Score
Value
Schedule
Strength
Last
Week
CFP
Rank
1
Alabama
13-0
18.26
85 438 19.90 49 1 1
2 Ohio State 11-1 17.48 75 341 13.57 49 2 3
3
Clemson
12-1
16.73
80 275 10.48 54 3 2
4
Washington
12-1
16.64
66 289 16.30 64 5 4
5
Michigan
10-2
16.40
63 261 13.40 56 4 6
6
Penn State
11-2
16.06
70 302 8.69 54 7 5
7
Western Michigan
13-0
16.01 63 234 11.27 85 6 15
8
Oklahoma 10-2
15.90
58 222 9.91 62 11 7
9
Boise State
10-2
15.39
57 186 8.19 70 10 --
10
USC
9-3
15.35
51 218 8.00 58 13 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.
  • "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.
Strongest schedule: Ole Miss
Weakest schedule: Army
Team that made the highest jump in Week 14: Temple - up 16 places to 20.
Team that dropped the furthest in Week 14: Navy - down 11 places to 27.
Golden Conference Rankings
Pos.
Conference
Average
Impressive Non-Conference Wins
1
SEC
13.382
Louisville, North Carolina, TCU, UCLA, USC, Va.Tech
2
Big Ten
13.064
Colorado, Duke, Iowa State, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon
3
ACC
12.974
Auburn, Fla., Ga., Illinois, Indiana, Ole Miss, Penn St., S.Car., Vandy
4
Pac-12
12.959
BYU, Kansas St., Notre Dame (2), Rutgers, Texas, Texas Tech, UVa
5
Big 12
12.294
BYU, Missouri, Notre Dame, Pitt
6
American Athletic
12.144
Cincinnati, Kansas, N.C. St., Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Syracuse, UVa
7
Mtn. West
11.664
N. Illinois, Wash. St.
8
Sun Belt
11.318
Akron, Army, Miss.State, New Mexico, Ohio, San Diego State
9
MAC
11.267
Fresno St., Illinois, Kansas, Marshall, Okla. St., UNLV, Wyoming
10
C-USA
10.803
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



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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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