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My Live Game This Weekend
Falcons @ Saints
NFC South Scenarios

There are seven possible outcomes (without considering a tie in any remaining game) of the last two weeks of games in the NFC South. Let's start with the simplest one, and best one from the Saints' point of view. In each case, -- means the outcome of the game makes no difference.

Remember that the current standings are:
Saints 6-8, Panthers 5-8-1, Falcons 5-9

Scenario 1
Week 16 Saints Panthers Falcons
Falcons @ Saints W   L
Browns @ Panthers   --  
Week 17      
Saints @ Buccaneers W    
Panthers @ Falcons   -- --
Saints win the Division
Scenario 2
Week 16 Saints Panthers Falcons
Falcons @ Saints W   L
Browns @ Panthers   --  
Week 17      
Saints @ Buccaneers L    
Panthers @ Falcons   L W
Saints win the Division
Scenario 3
Week 16 Saints Panthers Falcons
Falcons @ Saints W   L
Browns @ Panthers   W  
Week 17      
Saints @ Buccaneers L    
Panthers @ Falcons   W L
Panthers win the Division.
Scenario 4
Week 16 Saints Panthers Falcons
Falcons @ Saints W   L
Browns @ Panthers   W  
Week 17      
Saints @ Buccaneers L    
Panthers @ Falcons   W L
Panthers win the Division.
Scenario 5
Week 16 Saints Panthers Falcons
Falcons @ Saints L   W
Browns @ Panthers   W  
Week 17      
Saints @ Buccaneers --    
Panthers @ Falcons   W/L L/W
Panthers-Falcons victor wins the Division.
Scenario 6
Week 16 Saints Panthers Falcons
Falcons @ Saints L   W
Browns @ Panthers   L  
Week 17      
Saints @ Buccaneers W    
Panthers @ Falcons   W L
Saints win the Division.
Scenario 7
Week 16 Saints Panthers Falcons
Falcons @ Saints L   W
Browns @ Panthers   L  
Week 17      
Saints @ Buccaneers L    
Panthers @ Falcons   W/L L/W
Panthers-Falcons victor wins the Division.

Conclusions

  1. If the Saints win both their remaining games, they win the Division.
  2. If the Saints lose to the Falcons and the Panthers defeat Cleveland, the Saints are eliminated, and the Falcons-Panthers winner takes the crown.
  3. If the Saints lose to the Falcons and the Panthers also lose to Cleveland, the Saints can still win the division by beating Tampa Bay if Carolina defeats Atlanta.
Bowl Bonanza - I

Bowl Tidbits

  • Highest team in the Golden Rankings not in a bowl: #44 Georgia Southern (9-3), which is ahead of 32 teams that are in bowls, including two of their fellow Sun Belt members
  • Lowest ranked team in a bowl: Fresno State (#87)
  • Only bowl team with a losing record: Fresno State 6-7
    Explanation: The Bulldogs finished the regular season 6-6, then lost to Boise State (for the second time this season) in the Mountain West Championship Game).
  • Bowl teams that have lost their head coaches: Colorado State (coach went to Florida), Florida (fired), Nebraska (fired), Pittsburgh (went to Wisconsin), Wisconsin (went to Oregon State to replace Mike Riley, who took the Nebraska job)
  • Ohio State has gotten much publicity because it used its third starting QB in the Big Ten Championship Game. But Utah State can go the Buckeyes one better as the Aggies start their fourth QB in today's bow game.
  • Utah is 6-1 in bowl games under Coach Kyle Whittingham. The Utes also won their previous for bowls (two under Urban Meyer and, before that, two under Ron McBride) to make it ten wins in their last 11 bowls.

My Predictions
I submitted two entries in my school's bowl pool. One is based strictly on the Golden Football Rankings. The other is based on separate analysis of each game, taking into account factors like a coaching change, key injuries, which team has momentum, which team has more motivation, etc.

So Far
Golden Rankings 1-2 Golden 2-1

Saturday, December 20
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Golden Rankings: Nevada over ULL X
Golden: Nevada over ULL X
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Golden Rankings: Utah State over UTEP
Golden: Utah State over UTEP
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
Golden Rankings: Colorado State over Utah X
Golden: Utah over Colorado State
Idaho Potato Bowl
Golden Rankings: Air Force over Western Michigan
Golden: Air Force over Western Michigan
Camellia Bowl
Golden Rankings: South Alabama over Bowling Green
Golden:South Alabama over Bowling Green

College Football Predictions - Final Checkpoint

These predictions were posted in late August before the first college games were played. It's now time to assess how well I did: 4-3

Don't be surprised if ...

  • LSU loses to either Mississippi State or Ole Miss at home.
    One of my predictions last year was that LSU would lose a game in which it was favored and win a game in which it was an underdog. That came to pass when the Tigers lost at Ole Miss but beat Texas A&M at home. This year, LSU has an even younger team with no experience to speak of at QB. That means inconsistent play. Ole Miss has its most talented team in some time and is predicted by many to finish ahead of LSU in the West. And the law of averages may catch up with the Tigers in regard to Mississippi State, whom they've beaten 14 times in a row.

  • LSU beats Alabama. X
    No, this isn't a contradiction to the previous prediction. By November 8, both young QBs will have nine games of experience. The Tigers have the week off before the clash (although Bama does too). The Tide's QB situation is uncer­tain also. Tiger Stadium will be jumping. Miles & Company remember how close they came to an upset two years ago when A. J. McCarron led a last minute winning drive. Saban doesn't have a McCarron under C this year.
    LSU DID NOT PULL OFF THE UPSET OF BAMA BUT THEY SURE CAME CLOSE, DIDN'T THEY? IF THE TIDE WINS THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, REPORTERS WILL SAY THEY WON THE TITLE THE LAST 50 SECONDS IN TIGER STADIUM.

  • LSU's string of four consecutive double-digit win seasons ends.
    Les Miles and his staff will do well to coax nine wins out of this team. Four losses ends any hope of ten wins. Back-to-back games at Auburn and Flori­da will probably produce two of those defeats. A loss to Wisconsin in the opener will make it hard to get ten wins with the conference schedule still ahead. Defeat the Badgers and the Tigers might get to ten wins with a bowl victory.
    THE TIGERS FINISHED 8-4 AND CAN WIN AT MOST 9.

  • The winner of the Georgia-South Carolina game in Week 2 wins the SEC. X
    Predicting the UGa-SC winner captures the East crown is not going out on a limb. But taking the victor to win the Championship Game is a bold choice.

  • Auburn doesn't finish in the Top Ten.
    The Tigers were the biggest surprise of 2013. But their last two wins came on freak plays. One Georgia defender was ready to intercept or at least knock down the desperation pass when a teammate knocked it from him into the arms of the Auburn receiver. Nick Saban and his staff made numerous coaching mistakes in the Iron Bowl, including lobbying for a second to be put back on the clock and sending in the FG unit instead of throwing a Hail Mary. Of course, Auburn might still have won in OT. Also, the week before AU played in Baton Rouge September 21, Nick Marshall came off the bench and led a last ditch drive that culminated in a winning TD pass with 0:10 left. All in all, last season had enough breaks go Auburn's way to last a lifetime. Fur­thermore, opponents have had the entire off-season to study video of Gus Malzahn's offense.

  • UCLA wins the Pac-12 and makes the College Football Playoff. X
    This is my surprise Final Four participant. Jim Mora's Bruins have gone from nine wins his first year to ten last year. He has 16 returning starters including, best of all, QB Brett Hundley, who decided to come back for another year despite being eligible for the NFL draft.
    THE BRUINS ARE ONE OF 2014'S BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS. AFTER BELTING ARIZONA STATE 62-27 ON THE ROAD, THEY'VE LOST AT HOME TO UTAH AND OREGON.

  • At most one team nationally goes undefeated.
    Only one squad, Florida State, finished the regular season unblemished last year. With eight SEC teams, including Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia, deploying new QBs, it is highly likely no team in the nation's tough­est league will emerge without a loss. With the exception of FSU, no squad in any other conference seems capable of running the table. And I wouldn't be surprised if the Seminoles dropped a game along the way - hence the "at most one" in my prediction.
Did You Notice? NFL Week 15
  • No Sixes
    The Cardinals and Rams played the first game of the season in which neither team scored a TD. Arizona made four FGs to two for St. Louis to clinch a playoff spot, although the Cards' seeding is still way up in the air. Backup QB Drew Stanton, who had taken over for Carson Palmer after the latter's season-ending knee injury several weeks ago, left the game in Q3 with a knee problem of his own that will keep him out several weeks. Ryan Lindley took over and at least did no harm. But it's hard to believe the Cardinals can defeat Seattle this Sunday with a third-stringer under C to avoid falling into a tie with the Seahawks for the NFC West lead with Seattle holding the tiebreaker by virtue of two wins over Arizona. Then Bruce Arians' club ends the season at San Francisco while the Hawks host St. Louis.
  • Packers = Anti-Cowboys
    Green Bay lost their fourth game of the season, all on the road. Aaron Rodgers failed to throw a TD pass as Buffalo's D proved it is one of the best in the league in the 21-13 victory a week after ending Peyton Manning's consecutive game TD streak at 51 (in a 24-17 loss at Denver). Rodgers was hurt by seven dropped passes by his receivers, including reliable Jordy Nelson dropping a perfect pass that probably would have produced a 94y TD late in the game. The Bills' last points came on a strange safety with a minute to play. Rodgers dropped back to pass from his 10 and had the ball knocked out of his hand into the EZ. After the ball lay on the turf for several seconds, RB Eddie Lacey grabbed it and tried to run it out of the EZ. But the referee blew the play dead as soon as he picked it up because only Rodgers was allowed to advance the ball with under 2:00 remaining.
  • Cowboys Like to Roam
    Meanwhile, Jerry Jones's boys continued their amazing success on the road, getting revenge on the Eagles after the Thanksgiving beatdown in Big D in a topsy-turvy game. The Cowboys bolted to a 21-0 lead only to have the Eagles score the next 24 to take the lead in Q3. But Dallas ralllied for two TDs before the teams exchanged FGs to make the final 38-27 and put the Cowboys in sole possession of the NFC East lead. Dallas is only 3-4 at home but 7-0 on the road, including a win at Seattle in addition to the one at Philly.
  • Overturned TD Thwarts Washington
    On the last play of the first half, Washington QB Robert Griffin scrambled for an apparent 8y TD that would have given the Politically Incorrects a 17-7 lead over the Giants. But video review showed that, as Griffin dived for the pylon, he lost the ball before crossing the goal line for a touchback. Washington WR Santana Moss was so incensed by the overturn that he stormed the officials and was ejected. New York kicked off to start the second half but with two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties putting the ball at the Washington 35, they did an onside kick and recovered at the 17 to set up a tying 32y FG by Josh Brown. The D.C. team retook the lead with a FG before two TD passes from Eli Manning to sensational rookie WR Odell Beckham Jr. produced a 24-13 win for the G-men.
By the Numbers - NFL Week 15
4 QBs that have played for Arizona this season.
0-6 Green Bay's all-time record at Buffalo.
21-13 The Packers' margin in first downs over the Bills, the opposite of the point totals of the two teams.
4-0 Buffalo's record this year against the NFC North.
1 QBs with more than 300y passing in Week 15 - Matt Ryan of Atlanta in a loss to Pittsburgh.
80 Passing yards by Cleveland's Johnny Manziel in his first NFL start.
1 Manziel's Total QB Rating Sunday
12 Receptions by WR Odell Beckham Jr. in the Giants' victory over Washington - one shy of NY's single-game record.
972 Beckham's receiving yardage, a Giants record for a rookie, despite missing the first four games of the season
148 Rushing yards by another LSU rookie, the Bengals RB Jeremy Hill, in the 30-0 victory over Cleveland after calling the Browns "worse than I thought" after they beat Cincy 24-3 November 6
Golden Rankings - NFL after 15 Weeks
Golden NFL Top Ten
Pos.
Team
Record
Average Opp. wins Opp.
Losses
Last
Week
1
Arizona
11-3
18.42
74 16 2
2 Denver 11-3 18.39 80 15 4
3
Seattle 10-4
18.29
70 24 3
4
New England
11-3
18.21
79 17 5
5
Green Bay
10-4
18.02
62 22 1
6
Philadelphia
9-5
17.49
50 22 6
7
Detroit
10-4
17.40
55 20 7
8
Indianapolis
10-4
17.29
53 16 8
9 Dallas
10-4
17.26
57 26 9
10
Cincinnati
9-4-1
17.14
49 19 10
"Opponent wins" means the total number of wins
by the teams the ranked team defeated.
"Opponent losses" means the total number of losses
by the teams that defeated the ranked team.

Complete Golden NFL rankings

Division Rankings
Rank Division Average Last Week
1 NFC West 17.067 1
2 AFC North 16.509 3
3 AFC West 16.375 4
4 NFC North 16.338 2
5 AFC East 16.277 5
6 NFC East 15.618 6
7 AFC South 14.929 7
8 NFC South 14.319 8

Overall: AFC 16.022, NFC 15.835

Ten Most Valuable NCAA Wins This Season

Which college games earned the victorious team the most points in the Golden Ranking System? Here's the top ten, with comments below.

  1. 24.38  Virginia Tech 35 @Ohio State 21
  2. 23.24  Georgia 34 @Missouri 0
  3. 23.18  Arizona 31 @Oregon 24
  4. 22.79  Central Michigan 34 @Northern Illinois 17
  5. 22.76  Ole Miss 35 Boise State 13
  6. 22.72  @Arkansas 52 Northern Illinois 14
  7. 22.44  Oregon 51 Arizona 13
  8. 22.28  Ohio State 59 Wisconsin 0
  9. 22.14  Alabama 42 Missouri 13
  10. 22.08  UCLA 62 @Arizona State 27

Notice that the top four were all road wins over teams that won 9 or more games. Also, games 7, 8, and 9 were conference championship games from last weekend. In all three cases, the margin of victory added greatly to the victor's total.

To show how the Golden system works, let's take game #1 above as an example.

  • Virginia Tech started with 12 points as its opponent, Ohio State, did. But points were added to Tech's score and subtracted from Ohio State's score.
  • Tech received a half point for each of Ohio State's victories: 12 x .5 = 6
  • The margin of victory amount was calculated as the point difference (14) x the number of wins of the loser (12) divided by 100: 14 x 12 / 100 = 1.68. Incidentally, the margin of victory is capped at 30. So Ohio State's win over Wisconsin earned them only 30 x 10 / 100 or 3 margin of victory points.
  • Tech also received a bonus based on the 80 total wins of the teams Ohio State beat. 80 / 25 = 3.20. This "second level" factor is included to give more weight to beating a team with a stronger schedule. Marshall, for example, also won 12 games, but those 12 teams combined for only 56 wins.
  • Finally, Tech received a 1.5 point bonus for winning on the road against a 12-win team.
  • 12 + 6 + 1.68 + 3.20 + 1.5 = 24.38

6-6 Virginia Tech beating 12-1 Ohio State was unquestionably the biggest upset of the season. It kept Ohio State out of the CFP Committee's Final Four until the last game when the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin so badly using a third-string QB that the Committee was convinced the loss in Game 2 was a fluke and not indicative of the strength of the Buckeyes at the end of the regular season.

Despite the "bad" defeat, Ohio State ended up #1 in the final Golden rankings. If the Buckeyes win the championship, I'll feel vindicated. However, they are the last of the four teams I want to win.

Golden College Rankings - Final Regular Season
Golden Rankings Top Ten
Pos.
Team
Record
Average Opp.
wins
Score
Value
Last
Week
CFP
1
Ohio State
12-1
17.21
80 12.1 1 4
2
Oregon
12-1
17.01
71 13.0 2 2
3
Alabama
12-1
16.78
74 8.5 4 1
4 Florida State 13-0 16.73 74 6.1 3 3
5
Boise State 11-2
16.21
71 10.5 5 20
6
Mississippi
9-3
16.05
66 9.1 6 9
7
TCU
11-1
15.85
54 9.3 7 6
8
UCLA
9-3
15.68
62 7.2 10 14
9
Baylor
11-1
15.57
55 7.8 18 5
10
Georgia Tech
10-3
15.45
60 8.8 8 12
  • Ohio State and Oregon remain in the top two spots.
  • Alabama and Florida State switch places but stay in the top four.
  • To see why FSU is only fourth despite being undefeated, look at the Score Value column. This is the total number of points added to a team's score because of the margins of victory (up to a limit of 30 points per game). The Seminoles won seven games by 6 points or less. [A difference between the BCS and the CFP is that the computers were not allowed to include margin of victory for the BCS. But the CFP committee takes margin of victory into consideration in comparing teams, as they should.]
  • Arizona drops out of the Top Ten to 12th after their pitiful performance against Oregon.
  • To see why TCU and Baylor aren't in the top six - and why the CFP committee should make Ohio State the fourth team and not either of the Big 12 teams - look at the Opponent Wins column. Ohio State's twelve victims won a total of 80 games (average of 6.7 wins per opponent). TCU's eleven victims won only 54 games (4.9) while Baylor's opponents won 55 (5.0).
  • If you look below at the Golden Conference Rankings, you'll see that the Big 12 ranks fifth, which is last among the Power 5 conferences, although they're not that far behind the Big Ten.
  • The team with the toughest schedule (average ranking of the teams it played) is Auburn, with Ole Miss and UCLA close behind.
Golden Football Playoff for 2014
Top four conference champions.

Rose Bowl: #1 Ohio State vs #4 Florida State
Sugar Bowl: #2 Oregon vs #3 Alabama


Golden Conference Rankings
Pos.
Conference
Average Impressive Non-Conference Wins
1
SEC
13.832
Clemson, K.State, Tex.Tech, Wisc, WVU
2
Pac-12
13.305
Ill.,Mich.,Mich.St.,N'western,Texas,UVa
3
ACC
13.031
Fla.,Ga.,Ky, ND, Ohio St.,S.Car.,USC
4
Big Ten
12.949
Miami, Missouri, Pitt., Syracuse, Wash.St.
5
Big 12
12.908
Maryland, Minnesota, Tennessee
6
Mountain West
11.998
BC, Colorado, UConn, Wake F., Wash.St.
7
C-USA
11.433
Akron, Houston, Navy, Tulsa
8
AAC
11.031
Mid.Tenn., UNC, Vandy, Va.Tech
9
MAC
10.628
Ind., N'western, Pitt., Purdue
10
Sun Belt
10.349
Tulsa, Utah State, Wake Forest

No change in the order from last week.

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

NFL Predictions - MIDSEASON CHECKPOINT (11/4)

Don't be surprised if ...

  • ... the winner of the Green Bay-Seattle game represents the NFC in the Super Bowl.
    The Packers and Seahawks are expected to be the class of the conference. So the winner of the game (which was Seattle) has the tiebreaker on the other should they finish with identical records. And that could make the difference in determining home field for a rematch.
    NOT LOOKING GOOD. SEATTLE NOT NEARLY AS STRONG AS LAST YEAR. IN FACT, GREEN BAY, THE LOSER OF THE OPENING GAME, MAY HAVE A BETTER SHOT AT THE SUPER BOWL.

  • ... the Saints make the playoffs.
    I don't think I buy the notion that some have advanced that this is Sean Payton's most talented Saints team. A few writers put them in the Super Bowl. But I do think that, with continued improvement in the defense, the Saints should win the NFC South after finishing 2nd to the Panthers last year.
    LOOKS BETTER THAN IT DID SEVERAL WEEKS AGO. I THINK THE SAINTS' PLAY THIS SEASON, EVEN WITH THE IMPROVEMENT THE LAST TWO WEEKS, SHOWS THAT THIS IS NOT PAYTON'S MOST TALENTED TEAM.

  • ... the following teams improve on their 2013 records.
    Lions (7 wins in 2013) 6 WINS WITH 8 TO PLAY. LOOKS GOOD.
    Vikings (5) 4 WINS WITH 7 TO PLAY. LOOKS GOOD.
    Texans (2) THIS WAS A NO-BRAINER. FOUR WINS SO FAR.
    Bears (8) NOT LOOKING GOOD. ONLY 3 WINS WITH 8 TO PLAY.
    Titans (7) NOT LOOKING GOOD. ONLY 2 WINS WITH 8 TO GO.

  • ... the following teams do not do win as many games as in 2013.
    Eagles (10 wins in 2013) ALREADY HAVE 6 WINS.
    Cowboys (8) STARTED 6-1 BUT TWO STRAIGHT LOSSES. SHOULD GET 8, THOUGH.
    Panthers (12) ONLY 3 WINS WITH 8 TO PLAY. LOOKS GOOD.
    Seahawks (13) LOOKS VERY GOOD. ALREADY HAVE 3 LOSSES. ONE MORE MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE TO GET 13 WINS IN REGULAR SEASON.
    Chiefs (11) HAVE 3 LOSSES WITH 8 GAMES LEFT.

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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 Baseball Magazine [12/19]
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---Surprising 1964 - World Series: Games 4, 5, 6
---Cardinals Quiz
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Did You Know? Hall of Famer with a Lousy Start
The Ultimate Game 1962 World Series - Game 7
How Would You Rule? -
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Baseball Quiz
- Mystery Ball Park
Short Story - Bob Gibson Stories

 

RECENT Edition of the Golden Football Magazine [12/8]
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Seminoles Sidelines: FSU-Georgia Tech 1992
NFL Championship Game: 1954
Interesting Story: Blanda's Incredible String - III
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How Well Do You Know the Rules?
Football Quiz


 

LAST Golden Basketball Magazine until winter [7/3]
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Basketball Snapshot
1957 NBA Finals - Game 7
From the Golden Archives Basketball Week in Time Jan. 1945
Basketball Quiz Coaches of NCAA Champions

 

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Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees - 2014

April Fools 2014

Final Golden College Football Rankings for 2013

Final Golden NFL Rankings Regular Season 2013

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Les Miles and Dale Brown - Two Peas in a Pod?

If Alabama Fans Were Like LSU Fans
I Started Following SEC Football So Long Ago That ...
Future of College Football?

LSU Teams That Supplied the Most Pro Players
LSU Players Who Played the Longest in Pro Football

Biased Football Opinions Archive

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