theknightswhosay

Posts Tagged ‘ULM’

Week Four SEC Preview

In College Football, General LSU, History, Me, Preview, SEC Wednesdays on September 25, 2015 at 11:44 AM

This won’t be the full “SEC Wednesdays” feature I have planned, but I thought I’d start off with comments and predictions of the coming week so I’ll have more to talk about when Wednesday gets here.

Central Florida @ South Carolina

South Carolina’s season hasn’t been pretty so far, but it’s been better than that of Central Florida, who has lost to both FIU and Furman (as well as Stanford) to start the year.  Despite this, the Gamecocks are only favored by 15.  Perhaps it was due to the fact that they didn’t win easily in their only win, only scoring 17 in that contest with a maximum output of 22 points in the loss to Kentucky.

Still, I think this is by far the worst opponent the Gamecocks have faced and expect them to win something like 31-10.

LSU @ Syracuse

This is also a tough one.  Not that I think LSU will be sweating out the fourth quarter like they did in the game in Starkville, but 24 points is a large spread to expect a road team to beat, especially when it will be 11 a.m. Central at kickoff.

I'll have to get up early if I want to see the kickoff live.  I am excited the Tigers will be playing at this venue...

I’ll have to get up early if I want to see the kickoff live. I am excited the Tigers will be playing at this venue…

But these uniforms hurt my eyes already. Imagine how much worse they'll be when I'm just waking up.

But these uniforms hurt my eyes already. Imagine how much worse they’ll be when I’m just waking up.

Even the 2007 LSU team that won the BCS championship struggled at Tulane early, and that was a short trip with a relatively friendly crowd.  Also, Tulane was a losing team of the CUSA that year.  Syracuse isn’t guaranteed a bowl berth out of the ACC this year, but I still think we can assume they’re a good bit better than Tulane was in 2007.  LSU still eventually won that game 34-9, but the Tigers were more pass-oriented with Matt Flynn under center (he threw for 258 despite the slow start).  I’d expect something similar to score I picked for South Carolina above even if things go well, so I would take the points.  I could be wrong though. I would have taken the points for the Auburn game as well.

Southern @ Georgia

ULM @ Alabama

I don’t think it’s even worth discussing whether Georgia will beat Southern or Alabama will beat ULM (despite what happened in 2007).  I don’t have a line for Georgia, but I know Alabama is favored by 38.  The Warhawks lost to Georgia by “only” 37, so I’m not sure I see Alabama beating ULM by 38.  I’d take the points.

Tennessee @ Florida

I usually lean against favored road teams.  The line is only 1.5 though, so it’s essentially a pick ’em. The Gators did a good job to win by 5 at Kentucky, but I have to guess Tennessee would have won by more than that given the Vols defeat of Bowling Green by 29.  Florida also didn’t play great at home against East Carolina, winning by only 7.

Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (Arlington, TX)

Texas A&M is favored by 7.5 on a neutral field against Arkansas.  Arky kept it close last year, but I’m not seeing the same fight they had last season.  A&M has done significantly better, including comfortably beating Arizona St. on another neutral field.  I would take the Aggies minus the points.

Vanderbilt @ Ole Miss

Vandy has done well in this series in recent years, but I don’t see them doing so well against this Ole Miss team on the road.  I don’t know that Vandy is much better than the Fresno St. team the Rebels beat by 52, so I’d take Ole Miss minus the 25.

Mississippi St. @ Auburn

LSU just beat both of these teams, and obviously the Bulldogs did better against the Fighting Tigers, but maybe the location (and it being LSU’s first game) had something to do with it.  This is a very good line.  I would pick Auburn by 3.  That puts them just over the line of 2.5.

Missouri @ Kentucky

The Wildcats are favored in this one.  Might have something to do with the Tigers’ underwhelming performances against Arkansas St. and Connecticut, but after the last couple of years I’m not underestimating Missouri in conference play.  As I mentioned, Florida won by five in Lexington, and I don’t see the Gators knocking it out of the ballpark against the likes of East Carolina.  I’ll take Mizzou and the points.  I also think they’re the more likely victor even though they haven’t beaten the Wildcats for 29 straight years like the Gators have.

Twitter

I am not really an expert at Twitter and as you might guess, I’m not a huge fan of the character limit.  If you want to read my tweets, my handle (I also don’t like the whole nomenclature of Twitter) is @TheBayouBlogger.

I had an interesting exchange with Chris Low (@ClowESPN) about Bear Bryant today.  Low mentioned the Bear visited the Mississippi St. locker room to congratulate the Bulldogs after they ended a long Tide winning streak in 1980.  I mentioned a story I liked after another rare Alabama loss.  I guess there was a weekly local football show, and the homer announcer said something like, “Well coach, I guess the Lord just wasn’t on our side in that one.”  Bryant uttered in a low tone: “The Lord expects you to block and tackle.”

Low is probably my favorite writer for ESPN.  He’s certainly better than anyone they typically put on TV to cover college football.

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Week 4 Commentary and Top 25

In College Football, General LSU, Rankings, Rankings Commentary on September 24, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Alabama stays #1 and seems to have widened the gap over the competition.

Some may have expected LSU to continue the dominance it had shown in earlier games, the closest of which was the Tigers’ 41-14 win over North Texas in Week 1.

Although a win by a touchdown or so would have been preferable, I didn’t expect it to be an easy win at all. This was an SEC road game for the Tigers of LSU (in a pretty intense series of late at that), and wins at Auburn don’t come easy in these situations. As good of a program as LSU has had the last 12 years or so, it has not won by more than 5 points (which occurred in 2008, the 5-7 year that ended the Tuberville era) at Auburn since 1998 despite going to Auburn every other year since then. The prior instance of an LSU win of more than 5 points at Auburn was 25 years before that.

LSU wasn’t completely inept on offense, it just couldn’t turn field position into points or turn gaining a decent number of yards into first downs very reliably. LSU had 15 first downs to Auburn’s 9 and 351 total yards to Auburn’s 183. Auburn was 2/12 on third downs while LSU was 6/18. LSU was penalized about twice as much and had one fewer turnover, but Auburn’s third turnover was on the last play, so that wasn’t really a determining factor.

Both turnovers by the Bayou Bengals were fumbles by Zach Mettenberger (one of them with an assist from the center) in the first quarter. The first was when LSU had the ball at the Auburn 2. LSU kicked the ball at 4th and 2 or fewer four times, one field goal (which was good) and three punts.

I understand that there are normal fluctuations of a few points in the polls and either LSU will be undefeated and get a bit more support or will have a loss and will have to climb back up anyway, but I’m really annoyed that Oregon has been put ahead of LSU. I can understand if someone wants to say Auburn hasn’t started well, and some teams that clearly aren’t top teams have done better against them (though not at Auburn). That’s if you’re consistent about applying that standard and you’ll punish Stanford, for instance, for only beating San Jose St. by 3. Few are consistent though.

As an aside, that’s one reason I don’t have the Cardinal ahead of USC. USC had the somewhat shaky game against Syracuse, but it was much better than Stanford/SJSU, and at least the Trojans were impressive against somewhat of a lightweight at home. Another reason is the USC/Stanford game was at Stanford. Also, there seems to be something unique about the combination of the two teams that favors Stanford that might not indicate, for example, that Stanford would beat Oregon but USC wouldn’t.

I wonder if many pollsters who moved the Ducks ahead of LSU even bothered to look to find out Oregon scored 21 of its points in the fourth quarter and 36 of its points in the second half. I wonder how many of them realize that Arizona really should have been ahead at halftime after it had the ball at the Oregon 4, the Oregon 18, and the Oregon 2 on consecutive drives in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Wildcats had the ball at the Oregon 13 on one drive and at the Oregon 30 on another.

I guess we’ll have to hope the Washington Huskies can do more with their opportunities than Arizona did and this will make LSU (who beat Washington, 41-3) look better, but that would require that the pollsters remember. I’m not betting on it.

This is only an anecdotal example of the problem, but I do take some comfort in the notion that pretty soon their opinions will just be advisory. It’s just too bad that there it still really matters this season and next what the pollsters (officially just those in the coaches’ and Harris polls, though both are influenced by the AP) believe.

If LSU wins easily at Florida in a couple of weeks, that might trump the Oregon situation. There is a lot left to play out of course.

I kept Georgia at #3. They beat Vandy pretty easily, and I don’t think Vandy threw away opportunities the way Arizona did. I don’t see any basis to move them down. I realize my top 3 is all SEC, but it’s not my fault Oklahoma and USC lost instead of two SEC teams. The other USC is actually below where they started the season due to struggling against that Vanderbilt team I mentioned. South Carolina is behind Oregon, so it’s not like I’m averse to moving Oregon ahead of an SEC team if warranted.

As for my #5, I had Oklahoma #2 going in, and Kansas St. beat them and also beat the tar out of Miami. They had a somewhat close game against North Texas, but as I mentioned, North Texas had done the best against LSU going into last week, better than a Washington team that was getting serious top-25 consideration did. I put Oklahoma below Stanford and USC because Oklahoma didn’t do very well in its opener against UTEP (which doesn’t seem like a much different team than they usually are) or beat anyone that seems good. But I’m still allowing for some traces of preseason bias to creep in.

#6 Florida St. finally beat someone, so I didn’t feel a need to hold them back as much this time around. I’m still skeptical though.

Everyone else pretty much moved up in order until we get to the bottom. Michigan didn’t move all the way out like their in-state rivals did because they put up a better fight against Notre Dame. I’m still not thinking this is a good year for Boise St., which only beat BYU 7-6, so that home win doesn’t redeem Sparty in my opinion. This is Michigan’s second loss of course, but I think all but about 13 teams (or fewer) would lose to Notre Dame and Alabama.

I’m less comfortable keeping Nebraska in now that UCLA lost (at home, where the Bruins had beaten Nebraska), and Florida seems to be improving, so this helps Tennessee not to look as bad.

I didn’t think Louisville appeared to be a top-25 team going in, and they have not done anything to convince me they should be one, especially not beating North Carolina by 5 (at home) and FIU by 7 (on the road).

Rutgers is undefeated, but I’m still waiting to be impressed there as well. There are FCS teams who can beat Tulane by 12 (Tulane’s other two games thus far are a 35-point loss to Tulsa and a 39-point loss to Ole Miss). ULM also won at Arkansas, and that was after falling behind when Arkansas still had a good quarterback. Rutgers also beat South Florida by 10 (I’m ignoring the FCS win over Howard), but Ball St. beat the Bulls by 4, so that’s not too impressive either.

Top 25

rank / team / prior
1 Alabama 1
2 LSU 2
3 Georgia 4
4 Oregon 5
5 Kansas St. 6
6 Florida St. 12
7 S Carolina 7
8 W Virginia 9
9 USC 10
10 Stanford 11
11 Oklahoma 3
12 TCU 13
13 Texas 14
14 Florida 15
15 Notre Dame 16
16 Oregon St. 17
17 Cincinnati 18
18 Wisconsin 19
19 Miss. St. 20
20 Clemson 21
21 Baylor 22
22 Ohio St. 23
23 Michigan 8
24 UCLA 24
25 Tennessee —

Out of rankings:
(25) Nebraska

Prior rankings:
Preseason
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3