BATON ROUGE, La. — The SEC probably isn’t the best conference in college football right now. And somehow, this seems to hurt LSU disproportionately largely.
Don’t get me wrong. I still think the SEC has the most-concentrated talent in college football. But that talent has either run out of steam, is injured, hasn’t developed yet, can’t catch a scheduling break or just plain hasn’t played well.
Then there’s the Big 10, which boasts four top-10 and five top-20 programs right now. The bottom of the conference might be a desolate wasteland, but the top half has been the talk of college football this year. So much so that if any conference were to put two teams into the College Football Playoff this year, it’d be the Big 10, not the SEC.
Which brings us back to LSU. By nearly every account, LSU is the second-best team in the SEC right now. If it wins out, it has a legitimate chance of making a New Year’s Six bowl. And as arguably the best three-loss team in college football, one would think it would be the committee’s first choice in whatever nightmare scenario involves putting a three-loss team in the playoff.
But because of the Big 10, LSU seriously couldn’t be that team. The Tigers are trapped behind three teams in the Big 10 East, none of whom can lose out (Ohio State and Michigan have to play each other and Penn State has to play Rutgers), and one in the Big 10 West, a Wisconsin team that has a win over LSU.
So, even if LSU were to win out and those four teams were to cannibalize each other a la the Big 12 in 2014, the Tigers couldn’t penetrate the Big 10’s beachhead. And I know what you might be thinking. Isn’t this true of any team behind the blockade that can’t win a conference championship game like Louisville?
Not exactly. Because those teams haven’t lost to any of the Big 10’s power programs. Except for Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s in the same boat as LSU.
I guess what I’m saying is the Big 10 has made it impossible for us to see a rematch of the 2003 National Championship game. Which is a bummer.
Another Ed Orgeron question
Before we get to this week’s game against Florida, let’s put LSU’s win against Arkansas on Saturday to bed with our Monday poll question.
The first, last and only question surrounding the LSU football team since Les Miles was fired back in September has been what does Ed Orgeron have to do to retain his job as head coach.
Now, with just two weeks remaining in the regular season, Orgeron has put together quite a resume. He’s 4-1, having won three SEC games and played the best team in the country to a stalemate for three quarters.
So, the question I pose to you today is simple: Was LSU’s win over Arkansas on Saturday good enough for you to believe that Orgeron should be retained full time as LSU’s football coach?
Vote in the poll below. I’ll reveal and analyze your answers in Tuesday’s Bayou Bengal Briefing.
Three things: LSU football vs. Florida edition
Last I checked, the weather is clear. There’s no escaping it. There will be a game between LSU and Florida this week.
As a primer, here are three things to consider when the Tigers host the Gators on Saturday.
Thing 1: Florida’s pass defense is legit
The title of “DBU” truly will be up for grabs this week (more on that later). The Florida secondary has allowed fewer completed passes (101) than any team in the FBS, trails only Michigan for fewest passing yards allowed (1,396 yards) and trails only Ohio State in passer rating against (92.26).
The Gators have only allowed six passing touchdowns all season, and four of those came in one game against Tennessee. Don’t expect Danny Etling to have many open receivers this weekend.
Thing 2: Florida isn’t the most disciplined team
No SEC team is penalized more often than Florida. The Gators are flagged 7.6 times per game, ranking them 113th in college football, for 66.2 yards per game. That’s about 20 more penalty yards per game than LSU gives up.
Thing 3: Florida is dreadful in the red zone
Only Central Michigan and Indiana have worse red-zone scoring percentages than Florida this season. The Gators have charged into the red zone 34 times this season, only to come up scoreless 10 times. Despite having been in the red zone nine fewer times than Florida this season, LSU only has two fewer touchdowns to show for it.
Arbitrary Analysis, part 1
As I mentioned not too long ago, Florida and LSU both have a legitimate claim to calling themselves “DBU.” Over the past 10 years or so, no schools have done a better job of defending the pass and generating NFL-caliber talent in the process.
So, as I do every other week here in the Bayou Bengal Briefing, it’s time for an Arbitrary Analysis. This week, to go with the theme of defensive backs, I’ll be counting down my picks for the top 5 defensive backs in NFL history.
Today, I’ll unveil my pick for No. 5. Be sure to check back to the Briefing each day this week to see who climbs the list as we get toward No. 1.
No. 5: Deion Sanders and Champ Bailey (tie)
Because I’m a real-life football nerd, I’ve spent the better part of the last five years trying to decide between Champ Bailey and Deion Sanders. And I still can’t make a choice.
Deion had the flash. Champ had the technique. Deion backed up his talk. Champ didn’t need to. It was a mistake to throw at Deion. People rarely dared to make that mistake against Champ. Bailey has 52 career interceptions. Sanders has 53. According to Pro Football Reference’s Average Value tool, Bailey accumulated an average value of 151 for his career. And Sanders? Same. 151.
They couldn’t have been more different players. But they both were stars. Deion is tied for the record for most first-team All-Pro appearances as a defensive back with six. Champ holds the record for most Pro Bowls made as a DB with 12.
The two players are virtually indistinguishable. So, I’ll pull a cop out and give them a tie. If you think you can break the tie, let me know in the comments below.
Your weekly NFLSU update
Jeremy Hill and the Bengals and Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants play on Monday night this week, so the Sunday edition of this recap is going to be pretty sparse. But with that in mind, here are some of the biggest and brightest performances from former LSU players in the NFL this weekend:
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) November 13, 2016
- Starting on defense, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid had himself a day, recording 5 tackles, 2 passes defensed and an interception in the 49ers’s loss to the Cardinals. The INT was Reid’s first since 2014.
- Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones continued his stellar rookie campaign, notching 11 tackles and 1 pass breakup, albeit in a losing effort.
- Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers returned from injury Sunday after missing about a month of action. He made 1 tackle, a tackle-for-loss, as the Rams beat the Jets 9-6.
- Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught 6 passes for 53 yards. Coming into Sunday’s action, Landry was tied for ninth in the NFL with 49 catches on the year.
- Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware carried 13 times for 61 yards and added 3 catches for 11 more yards.
Your Monday nonrevenue sports update:
It was a busy weekend for sports that aren’t football, with both basketball teams kicking off their seasons and a handful of others continuing theirs.
Here’s a quick look at some scores and events from this weekend’s action:
- As we wrote about Saturday, the men’s basketball team opened its season with a 91-69 win over Wofford. Junior college transfer Duop Reath led the way with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
- The women’s basketball team played two games this weekend, narrowly edging out victories in both. Friday night, the squad opened the year with a 77-73 win over Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La., and on Sunday, the Lady Tigers took down Wake Forest in their home opener by the score of 60-57.
- Women’s basketball wasn’t the only team to go 2-0 this weekend. The volleyball team also swept the weekend, defeating Georgia three sets to two on Friday and beating Mississippi State in straight sets Sunday.
- The women’s tennis team finished up its fall schedule with three singles wins in the LSU Fall Classic on Sunday.
Saturday tweet-a-long: Kristian Fulton edition
After it was announced Thursday that freshman defensive back Kristian Fulton, a 5-star recruit, will miss the remainder of the season recovering from finger surgery, it should come as no surprise that Fulton did not travel to Fayetteville with his teammates Saturday.
Rather, Fulton was watching on the couch, just like you and me. And, just like I did, Fulton spent the game tweeting. Here’s some of his hashtag analysis of LSU’s win.
Wish I was in Arkansas rn bruh
— 2️⃣2️⃣ (@Kriss1_) November 12, 2016
Let My Savages Out @LSUfootball ?
— 2️⃣2️⃣ (@Kriss1_) November 12, 2016
I see youu @DhaSickest ????
— 2️⃣2️⃣ (@Kriss1_) November 13, 2016
Yeahh Donniee @GreatBambino__
— 2️⃣2️⃣ (@Kriss1_) November 13, 2016
And finally, a tweet from Sunday, chronicling just how he feels about missing time.
All the stuff I go through just make me stronger..
— 2️⃣2️⃣ (@Kriss1_) November 14, 2016