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Deke Bellavia

Join Deke and the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert for live, local talk about the Saints, LSU, Pelicans and much more on "Sports Talk!" 

Weekdays 4-8pm

Twitter: @dekebigchief
Email: bigchief@wwl.com

Big Chief's NFL Top 10

The GB Packers are ICE Cold, NE lost finally, Denver got a huge "ManningFULL" win, the Red Birds keep rolling, the Orange Cats bounced back and those Mountain Panthers from the Tar Heel State are the best in the land right now.  Here is this week's top 10!  
1. Carolina Panthers (11-0) – The question is not if they can go 16-0, the question to me is how many more games until they lock up the #1 seed?  Two, three?  Carolina not only has a huge cushion in their division, but these deadly Cats from the Carolina's are ahead of everyone else in the NFC too!  Last week beat Dallas 33-14 / this week @ New Orleans.  

2.  New England Patriots (10-1) –  Ok they lost a game!  To me that means if the Pats do end up with the same record as the White Horses, they would have to play in high altitude.  I don't think it will come to that!  Last week lost to Denver 30-24/ this week vs Philly.

3.  Arizona Cardinals (9-2) - The Red Birds from the Desert Sands are still perhaps the most complete team in the NFL, but if their signal caller goes down (Carson Palmer)... this team is just a hair above average on offense!  Boy, they can't afford for that to happen again this season!  Last week beat San Francisco 19-13 / this week @ St. Louis.

4.  Denver Broncos (9-2) – No Peyton, no problem.  The White Horses got their biggest win in the Manning era, and he was not even on the field.  With that said, I still like my chances with #18 in their compared to not!   Last week beat New England 30-24OT/this week @ San Diego.  

5.  Cincinnati Bengals (9-2) – The have lost two straight and now feel some heat within their own division for the first time since week two of the season.  It’s going to be interesting to see how these Orange Clad Cats from OHIO respond the last six weeks of the season.  Last week lost to Arizona 31-34 / this week @ Arizona.

6.   Minnesota Vikings (8-3) – The Vikings got a big road win over the struggling dirty birds and got some big Turkey help from the Monsters of the Midway.  Now the Vikings can maintain their one game lead in the North and open more eyes if they can knock off the Seabirds.    Last week beat Atlanta 20-10/ this week vs Seattle.  

7.  Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) - Andy Reid can just flat out coach.  This team was 1-5 five weeks ago and now they are 6-5, have won five straight and are in control of the Wild Card in the AFC.  I'm telling you this team is not out of the AFC West hunt yet and no one wants to play this team in January!  Last week beat Buffalo  30-22 / this week @ Oakland.  

8.  Seattle Seahawks (6-5) - Well the Seabirds lost their 2nd best offensive weapon with TE Jimmy Graham going down.  But as long as the Legion of Doom is in place and Russell W on offense the Birds have more, far more than a punchers chance to win.  Last week beat Pittsburgh 39-30 / this week @ Minnesota.  
9. Houston (6-5) & NY Jets (6-5) - I know GB has won more games, but the Packers are as cold as the frozen tundra they play on and the Texans and NY Planes are in a warming trent right now.  Houston (JJ Watt) & NY (D. Revis) have two game changing defenders and with those type players you always have a shot to win.  

10.  Green Bay Packers (7-4) – Losers of four of five and now in a heated battle with three other North Foes, the Cheese Packers are not only in a little trouble but this team is going to have to dog fight to make the playoffs this post season.   Last week lost to Chicago 13-17/ this week @ Detroit.
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Miles again puts LSU 1st, while Alleva gets it wrong AGAIN!

I may be dismissed by those higher educated persons.  My voice will be talked about. Of course those who disagree will say, “Man he don’t know what the hell he’s talking about.”   But what I will tell you is factual, it’s the truth and nothing hurts and hits close to home like the truth does.

Let me start off by saying that for the last 11 years I’ve spend every Monday afternoon interviewing LSU Football Coach Les Miles.  I am not good friends with Coach Miles; we don’t exchange Christmas gifts, and we don’t call each other as friends do.  All Coach Miles and I have is a working relationship, and that’s it.

Now, truth be told do I like Les Miles?  Man I have a deep respect, admiration and hope that one day I can handle tough situations like Les Miles has in the 11 years I’ve come to know him.  Is Les Miles a good or great football coach, man y’all know me, I’m the last person that is qualified to answer that question.  But I can tell you Les Miles is a damn good man.  He did not deserve the treatment that an 11 year, successful, accomplished and respected employee of any business should receive.  

I’m sure that there will be an email, call or text from someone from the land of Purple and Gold disagreeing and maybe even asking for me to take this piece down.  Trust me, the higher ups do indeed listen.  I can remember the Cajun Cannon and myself getting some feedback on our take and our approach on the LSU versus Alabama National Title Game, but I’m going to try and take the highest of roads in explaining and giving my take on what I’ve seen and heard go down the last three weeks.  

LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva is the center of the talks about his handling, or might I say mishandling, of another big time situation involving an athletic department.  National media are treating Alleva like the Special Man at Frankie and Johnny’s.  That is the national media is saying, “let’em have it;” letting the AD have it!  

The last two weeks have sadly reminded us that sometimes in life some people do not learn from mistakes that they make.  I’ve always said that people deserve (depending on the individual and the situation) a second chance, hell even a third chance.  When it comes to Alleva, though, should any of us be surprised at the black eye that he himself has given the LSU program and then entire university?

From the at very least somewhat incompetent way he handled the whole Duke University Lacrosse situation nearly a decade ago; to the last two weeks in which his moments of silence continuously turned into the sound of ignorance, Joe Alleva’s performance needs to come into question.  

For three weeks a man that has been in charge of two of the country’s most prominent athletic departments in Duke and LSU once again did a bad job.  Now some of you may not know how Joe Alleva handled the Duke Lacrosse situation.

Alleva was the AD at Duke from 1998 to 2008. He then took over in Baton Rouge as LSU AD in July of 2008.  Alleva faced some criticism for the way the university handled the controversial Duke Lacrosse team rape allegations in 2006.

The end result was a finding that no sexual misconduct or allegations of rape and assault were ever found to have taken place in an incident that occurred back in 2006.  One of the most respected and successful sports figures in the world took the high road when asked how the entire Duke Lacrosse situation was handled.

Duke Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski said in an interview with Real Sports on HBO that he had wished the student athletes would have had more support.  In a quote from an ESPN Article posted back on June 28, 2006, Coach K said the following.

"What I've tried to do behind the scenes is say, 'We're with you. We'll see what happens, and whatever happened if you did it, you should be punished.'" He added, "Giving support does not mean you're choosing sides. Giving support is what a university should do ... because we're in the kid business."

Joe Alleva did not show public support for his athletes back in 2006, and he did not show support to his head football coach in 2015 in Baton Rouge.  Back to Duke Lacrosse.  Despite the three defendants being later exonerated of the charges against them, the head lacrosse coach who was winner of national coach of the year and at the time of the incident had Duke ranked in the top three in the nation, was forced to resign. Alleva, the Duke AD at the time also saw the Duke lacrosse Team have their 2006 lacrosse season canceled.

Did Joe Alleva rush to judgment?  Yes!  Did he do the right thing?  No!  Could he have shown more public support for his own student athletes?  Yes!  Man, I can apply similar questions to the current Les Miles situation in Baton Rouge, and the answers would be the same.    

Alleva was later proved to have made, at the very least, a rushed decision for his lacrosse program.  The investigation eventually found 43 of the 47 players accused, were not guilty of any wrongdoing.  Despite that, the entire team was punished.  Their season was cancelled due to a knee jerk decision under Joe Alleva’s watch.  

No I’m not saying this and was all on Joe.  If we are going to be fair; we would have to say that maybe, perhaps that behind closed doors Aleva was not in favor of the harsh punishment handed down to his Lacrosse team.  He could have been, but what we do know is that the handling of the Duke Lacrosse situation was not done properly.  We know that Joe Alleva was in charge of athletics.  In my own opinion, criticism was warranted.  

Now fast forward to November 2015.  The last three weeks fall squarely on the shoulders of Joe Alleva, and the way he has handled the Les Miles situation is flat out wrong.  If you want to know the truth, Alleva has possibly done more harm to the LSU Football program moving forward than he could have ever done to help them get better.  

Please don’t give me that line that all Joe did is what the big money people wanted him to do.  If that’s your response, then Joe should stand up like a man and do what is right.  He should do what is needed, what Louisiana State University hired him to do.  Joe did not protect our (LSU) shield, he tarnished it.  And that’s not Deke Bellavia just talking.  Listen, look and read what the rest of the country is saying!

Now by not sticking up (for coach Miles), sounding off and standing by the coach that is in charge of the most important sport in college athletics; Joe Alleva has put LSU in a bad spot.  It’s a spot that could have been avoided had Joe done what he was supposed to do.  Now the LSU coaches face some tough battles pinned on them, and they did nothing to deserve the extra work they will now have to do.

Because Joe never opened his mouth, sent out an email or released a statement giving some type of indication on where he stood when it came to Miles; he has caused mass confusion. Alleva’s clear lack of leadership has heaped a ton of negative, bad and critical feedback not only on Tiger Football, but all of Louisiana State University.

Folks the issue here is not whether or not Alleva thinks that LSU’s program is not meeting expectations.  LSU Football clearly is not currently meeting expectations.  The issue is that a man that gets paid millions of dollars to do a job did nothing.  If he did do something, he did not say anything!

You can be critical of the job that Les Miles has done, you can make valid points to why a change needed to be made.  What you can’t do is give Alleva a pass on this one.  Folks Joe Alleva did not half step, hell he did not step at all!  

Joe Alleva’s role in all of the last three weeks is ugly, inexcusable and pitiful.  I mean we are talking about a football coach (Les Miles) that is now the longest tenured head football coach in the SEC, a coach that is not coming off a three, four or five win season.  We are talking about the 2nd winningest coach in school history, and a coach that has done far more good than bad in 11 seasons.  Les Miles has never had a losing season in Baton Rouge, and the Tigers are going to a bowl for the 11th straight season under Coach Miles.  

Do I like Les Miles?  Absolutely!  Do I think Les Miles is a good coach?  Dam skippy!  Is Coach Miles a great coach?  I would say that he is a good coach that has not been able to produce the results needed to justify his pay, his staff’s pay and the expectations of the LSU Football program the last four seasons.  LSU is barely above five hundred in SEC play the last three seasons.  The results are not what they should be.    

Nonetheless, Les Miles deserved backing.  Backing the football coach is done all the time.  So why wasn’t it done here?  Miles deserved backing from his AD.  Louisiana State University deserved to have their Athletic Director come out and make a strong statement.  Les Miles got nothing!  Les Miles was treated like a red headed step child, and he was hung out to try in front of the world while everyone watched.

In the past Joe was quick to send out a mass email to the Tiger fan base basically saying that the football program needed to do better.  Joe Alleva has released statements to the Tiger faithful several times before.  So why not this time?  Did Joe really want to see Les fail?  And to say that three games was the ultimate deciding factor in whether or not a change should be made is flat out embarrassing.  Folks, LSU is bigger and better than three games.  That three game let’s wait and see he how does line is played out like a 45 record.  Don’t give me that crap!  

How do you allow a man that has accomplished what Les Miles has done to go out and coach a game (Texas A&M) not knowing if he’s going to be employed when that game is over?  Les Miles was waving to the crowd before the game like it was his last night in Tiger Stadium! Les Miles did not know.  The man had no clue.  Folks you don’t treat people like that.  I’m sorry, that’s a poor sign of how Alleva does business and how Joe Alleva represents LSU.   

Les Miles was paraded in front of the media on at least three occasions (weekly press luncheon, post practice and his weekly radio show) without knowing the future of his job.  The humility, being ridiculed and to have his family embarrassed all week long, and for nothing, is inexcusable.  I ask you, who has done more harm to LSU Football?  Les or Joe?

How does the rest of America view the LSU AD and his handling of this situation?  How do we know that another, other or just one coach would want to come and work with Alleva after knowing how he handled this without giving support to his head football coach?  How hard is it going to be for Les Miles, Frank Wilson, Ed Orgeron and Kevin Steele as they go out to recruit and have to defend the program?  They have to spread the word that everything is okay and Coach Miles is going to be at LSU.  Hell they don’t KNOW that!

I ask you again, who has done more harm to LSU Football?  Yes, Coach Les Miles was treated like garbage; and he did nothing to deserve it.  Joe Alleva looks as bad as any AD has, maybe ever.  The first and only words we heard from Joe was in a postgame news conference to say that coach Miles is and will be our coach!?!  Man please, take that garbage and throw it away.

Had Joe handled the situation like Les Miles did, he (Joe) would have shown something that none of us know he has.  And that is class!  You see folks, Les Miles did nothing he hasn’t already done.  In good times and bad, player discipline, bad play, clock management problems poor losses, you name them all; and you’ve always gotten the same result from Les Miles and that is the HIGH road.

Coach Miles has never put the blame on anyone else.  He has never pushed any coach or player under the bus.  Even in this instance where he had more than a fair shot to take one at his AD, Les Miles did what Joe Alleva should have done and did not do.  Les Miles did the right thing.  He put LSU first!

As LSU fans ponder what has happened and what will happen moving forward, I leave you with this.  If today you, the fan, the supporter, or just the casual follower of this continuing story had to make a hire for your athletic program; what would you do?

Would you hire a coach that has always put his players, his coaches, his team and his school first, front and center?  Or would you hire an AD that did not say a thing, made the wrong moves and again left his own people hung out to dry?

Go back and do your own research and see what each of these two gentlemen have done in the past.  Wherever Les Miles has been, he has always put everyone else above him and taken the high road.  

Yes people Les Miles did what he has always done, and that is put his school first.  While on the flip side, Joe Alleva has done what seems to be a disturbing trend that has followed him from Durham, North Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Joe Alleva got it wrong.  Joe got it wrong AGAIN!  

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Deke's NFL Top Ten, week eleven

1.     New England Patriots (10-0) – They had a tough time with Buffalo but hey each week is going to get harder and harder with so many wins in a row stacking up.  With that said, a win this week could very well be the nail in the coffin as far as landing the top seed in the AFC.  And that basically guarantees the Pats back in the Super Bowl again.  Last week beat Buffalo 20-13 / this week @ Denver. 

2.     Carolina Panthers (10-0) – Cam is on fire, their defense is as hot and this team could win at least 14 games this season.  But still can they get to Super status?  Perhaps the last big hurdle between the Cats and a serious run at 16-0 takes place this week in Big D!  Last week beat Washington 44-16 / this week @ Dallas. 

3.     Cincinnati Bengals (8-2) – The have lost two straight and now feel some heat within their own division for the first time well since week two of the season.  It’s going to be interesting to see how these Orange Clad Cats from OHIO respond the last six weeks of the season.  Last week lost to Arizona 31-34 / this week @ Arizona.

4.     Arizona Cardinals (8-2) – They need some help to catch the Carolina Cats, but if there is a team that looks like a legit Super Sunday contender other than Carolina and GB it’s the Red Birds from the desert.  Last week beat Cincinnati 34-21/ this week @ San Francisco. 

5.     Minnesota Vikings (7-3) – Ok they failed to put the Cheese Packers in a huge hole and now face an uphill climb out of Wild Card status.  I think this team could win 11 games and lead the pack of Wild Card contending teams!  Last week lost to Green Bay 30-13 / this week vs Atlanta.

6.     Denver Broncos (8-2) – The White Horses went to the Windy City and won a tough one against a good Bears Team.  How long Peyton is out may not matter as the Broncos defense is good enough to hold serve while #18 gets well!  Last week beat Chicago 17-15/this week vs New England. 

7.     Green Bay Packers (7-3) – Ok odds were in favor of the Cheese Heads as there was no way that Aaron Rodgers was going to lose four straight games.  Now the Packers can continue working on locking down the NFC North with a Turkey Night date against the hated Bears.  Last week beat Minnesota 30-13 / this week vs Chicago. 

8.     Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) – The Steelers had a break last Sunday with a day off.  Good thing because going cross country to battle the Seabirds is a tough task indeed! Last week BYE / this week @ Seattle. 

9.      Kansas City Chiefs (5-5) – They are 4-1 in their last five and these KC Chiefs are quietly becoming the team that no one wants to see in the post season.  Watch out this team is White Hot!  Last week beat San Diego / this week vs Buffalo. 

10.      OPEN – I’m leaving this spot open and y’all can pick from a handful of teams like Seattle, Buffalo, Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis and the NY Jets.  All of those teams are 5-5 with the Black Birds at 6-4.  Knee jerk reaction would be to place the Birds at #10 but Atlanta has dropped four of five and is in a tailspin! 
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Deke: Les Miles says "Les Miles is fine"

OK, we all know what the talk of the town is. "I don't want to go there," said Les Miles when asked the first question at his weekly Lunch with Les. Miles told the media that he would take two questions about his job and then proceed with his presser as normal, breaking down the Tigers' next opponent in the Texas A&M Aggies.

"Les Miles is fine," Coach told me in our weekly meeting.  "I've been here before and I know there are a lot of things swirling out there.  Our team will go to work, prepare for a rival game and get ready to take on Texas A&M Saturday on Senior Day."  

READ MORE: Kristian: Miles absolutely does not deserve another year at LSU 

Yes, an uncomfortable feeling - to say the least -  dawned upon me when the man I've worked closely with for over 10 years walked from the podium to Michael Bonnette's (LSU SID) office. All sorts of rumors and various reports have surfaced in the last week or so about Miles' future in Baton Rouge.  Here's what know.

From all the people I've talked to, money is not a question. If the higher ups at LSU truly want to make a change, money will not be the reason they don't.

Who does LSU want?  I can tell you that someone from LSU with strong ties to the football program did speak with current Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher. What exactly was discussed with Fisher, I'm not sure, but you draw your own conclusion on that one.

What if LSU does not get their "guy?" I've also heard that current D-Line Coach Ed Orgeron could be named the interim coach for the time being.  How long Orgeron would be interim coach I have no clue.  But I do know that Coach Orgeron was not pleased two years ago when he was not given a fair shot at the USC job after he took over for Lane Kiffin.  So factor that into your thought process.  

READ MORE: T-Bob: Why Les Miles should stay at LSU 

So that's what I know.  We all have people we talk too.  I trust the ones I do.  And I know that regardless of how emotional we get, how upset we are at the results of a team, coach and or players, the human side of things is what makes all of this so real.

Was today the last time I, Deke Bellavia, will meet Les Miles on a Monday during football season?  Is Coach going to be here the rest of the day, week or year?  Today gives us a brutal lesson in the harsh truth and reality that college football is a business.  And this side of the business is not fun.  

To hear the complete "Lunch with Les" conference, click the link below.

FULL AUDIO: 11-23 "Lunch with Les" conference

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Deke's college football top 10, week thirteen

Things are shaping up for teams and time is of the essence.  Here is this week's college football top 10!  

1.  Clemson (11-0) – The Tigers are now just two wins away from being the #1 seed in the playoffs.  Can they do it?  I’m not quite ready to say it’s a given.  Last week beat Wake Forest 33-13 this week @ South Carolina.

2.  Alabama (10-1) – RTR!  Ah let’s see, Alabama is ranked #1.  Did anyone doubt they would ever get here?  The Tide are in control of everything and their current play is as strong as their cemented status as the best program in America.  Last week beat Charleston Southern 56-6 / this week @ Auburn

3. Iowa (11-0) – The more times I keep saying they are a fraud, the more times they just keep winning.  Now the lone perfect team in the Big Ten is Iowa?  CFB is crazy isn’t it?  Last week beat Purdue 40-20 this week @ Nebraska.

4. Notre Dame (10-1) – Their lone loss was a two point roadie to Clemson.  How can you keep this Irish Team out if they run the table?  I say you can’t!  Last week beat Boston College 19-16/ this week @ Stanford

5.  Oklahoma (10-1) – The Sooners can now win at rival Okie State and then pump up all the reasons why a one loss team from a conference with no title game should get into the playoffs over a team that has won a conference title game.  Last week beat TCU 30-29 / this week @ Oklahoma State.

6.  Baylor (10-1) - They just keep hanging on week by week.  And coming off their win over Okie State gives the Bears new hope and some life they are still alive.  Barley!  Last week beat Oklahoma State 45-35  / this week vs TCU.  

7.    Florida (10-1) – To say that the weakest team in my top 10 this week is Florida would probably be spot on.  You know sometimes teams just win ugly all the time.  Two more wins and the Gators will be playoff bound!  Last week beat Florida Atlantic 20-14 OT / this week vs Florida State

8.  Michigan State (10-1) – Say what you want about this team but they have two legit road wins and they are now the team to beat in the Big Ten.  Last week beat Ohio State 17-14 / this week vs Penn State

9.   North Carolina (10-1) – They have won 10 straight games and I say if they win two more then they deserve to be in the mix for that final spot.  Well they do as much as a one loss champ from the Big XII does!  Last week beat Virginia Tech 30-27 / this week @ N.C. State.

10.    Oklahoma State (11-0) – Say what you want but the Cowboys got snubbed somewhat in 2011.  How do you keep that from happening again?  Just win this week and it won’t!  Last week beat Baylor / this week vs Oklahoma.

Getting close to the top 10 -  

Michigan (9-2) – Man, how that loss to rival MSU is killing them right now.  Could a handful of teams ahead of them lose?  That would be the only way and of course a win over the Buckeyes that would help Jim and the striped ones land in the playoffs.  Last week beat Penn State 28-16 / this week vs Ohio State. 
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Deke's NFL Top Ten, week ten

The Bengals got popped, while the prettiest QB and QB with the prettiest teeth are both still perfect in Boston and Charlotte.  Arizona is rising in the desert, the Cheese Packers are in a three game skid, the White Horses are two legs down and the Vikings are in the top spot in the NFC North.  Let’s take a look at this week’s top ten!

1.     New England Patriots (9-0) – Well check mastering the G-Men off the list of things to do for the beautiful one and the hood.  Don’t let that regular season mumbo jumbo fool you, the Pats wanted to beat the Giants badly!  Last week beat NY Giants 27-26 / this week vs Buffalo. 

2.     Carolina Panthers (9-0) – They win at home, they win on the road and now they are in complete control of their NFC fate.  But like the Bengals in the AFC many wonder can these Cats and the Cam one make it to Super Sunday!  Last week beat Tennessee 27-10 / this week vs Washington. 

3.     Cincinnati Bengals (8-1) – Even though they lost their first game of the season, I think the Tiger Cats from Ohio are still an elite team.  Man now they could lose their second straight game!  Is this week’s match-up a preview of the Super Bowl?  Right now the odds lean more towards than answer being a yes instead of a no!  Last week lost to Houston 6-10 / this week @ Arizona.

4.     Arizona Cardinals (7-2) – These Red Birds are red hot and now they can lay the smack down on arguably the best team from the AFC! That seven point win over rival Seattle was huge in more ways than one including the mental approach of this young, talented defensive team.  Last week beat Seattle 39-32/ this week vs Cincinnati. 

5.     Minnesota Vikings (7-2) – QB Teddy B, RB AP and the Vikings defense have quietly become a legit foe to the Cheese Packers in the North Division.  Man look out now!  A win this week and the Vikings become a legit SB contender and will be in contention for home field this post season in the NFC.  Oh yes they got Adrian Peterson too.  That helps!  Last week beat Oakland 30-14 / this week vs Green Bay.

6.     Denver Broncos (7-2) – Denver has to now wonder what life is going to be like with a subpar Peyton!  Yes even the great ones struggle and Manning is having the worst stretch of his career right now in the Mile High City.  And in other cities too!  Last week lost to Kansas City 29-13 /this week @ Chicago. 

7.     Green Bay Packers (6-3) – Now the Green Bay Packers enter the DANGER ZONE!  GB has lost three straight games and now they head to Minnesota with a must win situation.  A loss to the Vikings not only means four straight L’s but GB would fall behind three games in their own division.  Last week lost to Detroit 18-16 / this week @ Minnesota. 

8.     Atlanta Falcons (6-3) – They are 1-3 in their last four games but are in good control for a Wild Card spot.  I think the rest of the league is interested in seeing how the Falcons respond to their recent struggles and their play the second half of the season.  Last week BYE / this week vs Indianapolis.

9.     Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) – Man if the other so called banged up players took a cue from Big Ben, then the saying that some are stealing a check would not be used.  I’m telling you I can see the Berg knocking out one of the big boys this post season.  And no one wants to see the Black and Gold come to their town!  Last week beat Cleveland 30-9 / this week BYE. 

10.      Buffalo & Chicago -- The Bills are 5-4 and came up with a much needed road win over Sexy Rexy’s former club and Coach John Fox just flat out wins wherever he goes.  I think the Bears (although they are 4-5) will turn into the Monster of the Midway very soon.  Chicago stock is something I’m willing to buy.  And a lot of it! 

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Deke: Are the Saints the worst team in the league right now?

Are the Saints the worst team in the NFL? The Cajun Cannon says no, their offense is too good, and I think that has some merit to it.  But on Sunday November 15th the New Orleans Saints were without question the worst team in the NFL - and it wasn't even close!

Each week on my post game feature I usually jot down the keys to the game, how the contest unfolded and what I think took place.  But folks, now is not the day to use that formula.  Simply put, the Saints sucked, and if that hurts their feelings, well, too damn bad.  

We're not talking about amateur athletes here.  We are talking paid professionals that looked pitiful on the defensive side of the ball, and in a team sport, it’s one for all and all for one, and the overall team has to be held accountable here. This three game defensive stretch is by far the worst ever in Black and Gold history and ranks among the worst in NFL history - only their four game win total is somewhat easing the reality of how bad the New Orleans Saints really are.

Folks, I’m being whatever you say I am right now, but I think I speak on behalf of the Who Dat Nation.  If your record says what you are and the numbers don’t lie, then the Saints could make a case for being the worst team in the league at this point of the season. Now with 13 days until their next game we all want to know - what is the Saints' next move?

Is this team going to make any changes?  Is the team just one coaching firing or hiring away from solving their problems?  I mean, this is a team that has no true identity and if you don’t point questions towards the man under the main headset then you’re not coming to grips with the real issues with this team.

Regardless of who stays, who goes, who’s already gone and who’s needed, Sean Payton’s once proud productive franchise has become a team that other clubs see and say “that’s a game we should win,” and those teams are right for thinking that way!  

To me, the Saints are worse than their 4-6 record indicates, and the way they play on defense is as embarrassing as any phase of any team sport can be at this time and that is the flat out truth.  If this were the NBA, NHL or MLB, the Saints would be last in the majority of defensive fronts.  And I sadly remind you all that the Saints have not just been a bad defensive team this season. They’ve been terrible.

The last three games have been about as bad as they could have been, and the numbers are far more disturbing because they only tell half the story. Putting a #2 pencil to the Saints last three games does not look good folks.  But hey, as coaches say - "it is what it is!"

In their last three games the New Orleans Saints have allowed 1,425 yards of total offense on 191 total plays. 1,001 passing yards have been racked up, another 424 rushing yards have been piled up, 76 first downs, 130 points and two losses in three games. Opposing teams are averaging 475 yards of total offense (333.7 passing/141.3 rushing), 25.3 first downs, 43.3 points and 63.7 offensive plays.  

So the numbers are far uglier than the Saints halfway tolerable 4-6 record. Are the Saints in the class of NFL franchises that measure their success by could-have-been's, close calls, we-are-young-on-defense, and the dreaded we-are-better-than-our record-states?

After 10 seasons where one produced a Super Bowl win and four others ended in the post season, the Saints are a franchise that claims that they are in the elite class - but we all know the truth. Hey, slice it anyway you want.  This franchise did not get bad overnight.  No, the Saints are victims of their own doing and by the looks of things, the doing has been far more wrong than right.

Here's the main thing moving forward - are the Saints going to be able to fix things quickly or are we smack dab in the middle of a downward spiral?  The Saints are 4-6 with six games left with a great QB who leads an OK offense and the worst defense in the land for the third time in four years.

Something has to change. Or should I say some things have to change. Because what is being done right now ain't working.  And it has not for quite a while!  So are the Saints the worst team in the NFL?

Just asking that question is flat out embarrassing.  And it certainly puts the Saints in dat number!  
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Deke: LSU season shaking out just like Vegas predicted

The over/under on the 2015 LSU Tigers win total was 8, according to Las Vegas.  Now the Tigers still need one more win to obtain that total, but if not for the canceled game against McNeese State LSU would be right on schedule.

It’s the numbers inside of the numbers that take shape throughout the course of a season - if I had told you LSU would finish the 2015 regular season with eight wins, many of you would not have liked that.  And to compound that disdain if I had told you LSU would start the season 7-0 and go 1-3 in their last four you would have been highly upset.

Hey let’s face it - LSU knew that the month of November would make or break their season and with two games left the Tigers look more broke than anything else.  Not only has LSU dropped two straight, I think that they are the two worse back to back losses by a Les Miles team since he came here in 2005.

LSU was dominated in their last two games proving once again if you’re going to do things your way, that way better be much greater than the team lining up across from you.  The Tigers have either fallen apart in two weeks or they have revealed their true identity.

Now coaches and players alike will put their own spin on the last two games and make things have a sort of positive outlook.  But I’m here to tell you that LSU after the last two weeks is much more hype than anything else. 

If rushing the football is their strong point, then LSU is in trouble.  I mean who has LSU beat this season?  A one loss Florida team?  Ok I’ll agree with that.  But outside of the win over the Gators, LSU’s seven wins are pretty much veneer.

Auburn was fading as bad as LSU is right now when they came to Tiger Stadium and the other wins have really not been anything to brag about.  Even with a rather so so showing in six other wins, LSU could have validated themselves with a win over Arkansas or Alabama but got hammered in both of those contests.

Now the Tigers last chance at one more decent win comes in Oxford, Mississippi to face a Rebels team that has squandered two back to back wins over Alabama in each of the last two seasons.  However for the Rebels to say that the beat Alabama, LSU and rival Mississippi State in a season would be a nice feat for Hugh Freeze’s team.

Folks, LSU winning one game, assuming that they beat Texas A&M next week, is not acceptable.  I don’t want to hear how young they are and they are going to be better next year.  They will be better next year but is Alabama moving out of the SEC in 2016?  Is Arkansas going to leave to return to the ole Southwest Conference too?

In the last two years both the Hogs and Tide have shown that their programs are ahead of LSU, and they look to continue that stretch in 2016 when the Tigers have to play both of those teams away from Death Valley.

Yes I am looking at the glass half empty because that’s the real vision.  Where LSU goes from here is anyone’s guess.  But two Januarys ago when I asked Les Miles about his 2014 recruiting class and the headline name in Leonard Fournette, Miles told me this is a group that has championship caliber talent in it.

Well, unless the Tigers somehow make their way to Atlanta this season, or LSU gets to the ATL or becomes a playoff team in 2016, then that #2 ranked class will leave out (many going to the NFL after their junior seasons) without accomplishing what they wanted to accomplish.

Maybe I am being a little negative.  But tell me one thing I’ve written above that’s not true!  LSU needs to win their last two games to notch a 9-2 season and have the program feeling better about the next season. If that does not happen, LSU will not be better off, hell they might not be even worse.  But what they will be is the same.  And the same is just not good enough.  And that is totally unacceptable for the highest paid coaching staff in the land! 

Titles are to be expected and not wished for.  It’s been four seasons since LSU played for a league title and that’s going to be five seasons in a matter of weeks.  Is that an elite program?  Some might think LSU is in elite status but when you bounce their numbers against other so called elite programs the so many consecutive seasons with eight or more wins only sounds good.  It don’t look good and it has not championship merit it to it. 

Nothing hurts more than the truth.  And that’s hurting Tigers fans all over the world! 
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Deke's SEC rankings, week twelve

The mighty SEC has weakened some over the last month.  The second best team in the league has four losses.  The East Champ is a few steps behind a few teams in the West and right now Alabama and UF are the league’s best hopes to make the playoffs.

1.  Alabama –  They are the best!  Until they are proven otherwise the best program in the nation continues to work its magic on the rest of the SEC!

 2.  Arkansas – Man if only the Hogs and Tide would play again!  Arkansas is clearly the second best team in the SEC right now! 

3.  Florida – The Gators are the beast in the East but still several steps behind several Western Division Teams. 

After Florida how do you rank the rest of the league?  LSU, UGA, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Mississippi State all look pretty even to me.  Vanderbilt has played the best of the bottom of the league teams the last few weeks.  I still don’t know what to make of a Texas A&M Team that was once #9 in the nation last month.

Missouri is a school that is a mess and now must replace the most consistent part of their program in outgoing coach Gary Pinkel.  And Auburn, South Carolina and Kentucky are going to be hard pressed to make it to a bowl. 

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Deke's college football top ten, week twelve

1.    Ohio State (10-0) – The Buckeyes are three wins away from getting back to the playoffs to defend their title.  Is it me or are the Buckeyes reminding you of the 2014 FSU Seminoles?  Eerily similar I’d say!  Last week beat Illinois 28-3/ this week vs Michigan State. 
2.    Alabama (9-1) – RTR!  NOBODY wants any part of the Tide right now.  Alabama is becoming more complete each week sound in all three phases of the game.  Sho you right!    Last week beat Mississippi State 31-6/ this week vs Charleston Southern.  
3.  Clemson (10-0) – they almost ‘clemsoned” but were able to escape with a win over the Orange.  The last time these Orange Clad Tigers were 10-0 was when ole Danny Ford was coach and the Tigers won the National Title.  Good omen I’d say!   Last week beat Florida Syracuse 37-27/ this week vs Wake Forest.   
4.  Notre Dame (9-1) – The Irish took care of the Freaking Deacons and now are two more wins away from being a playoff team - or are they?  Mmm!  Last week beat Wake Forest 28-7 42-20 / this week @ Boston College. 
5.  Oklahoma (9-1) – QB Bakers Mayfield has quietly become a Heisman dark horse and I think if the Sooners run the table they will make the playoffs.  Last week beat Baylor 44-34 / this week vs TCU. 
6.  Iowa (10-0) – Regardless of if I think they are a fake or not, the Hawkeyes without question deserve to be among the elite teams.  What happens if they run the table?  Playoffs?  Maybe!  Last week beat Minnesota 40-35 / this week vs Purdue.   
7.  Oklahoma State (10-0) – They almost blew it again but came back to beat Iowa State.  Now can these Pokes run the table?  I think not!   Last week beat Iowa State 35-31 / this week vs Baylor.   

8.  Florida (9-1) – I thought the Gators played much better this week against a scrappy South Carolina team.  Hey it’s simple - if the Gators win out they get into the playoffs.  If not maybe they head to the Sugar Bowl!  Last week beat South Carolina 24-14/ this week vs Florida Atlantic.   
9.  Baylor (8-1) – Hey all is not lost as the Bears can rebound this week at Oklahoma State.  Lose that one and it’s so long Bears!  Last week lost Oklahoma 34-44 / this week  @ Oklahoma State.  

10.  North Carolina (9-1) – Ok there are many of you saying what the hell is he saying at #10.  Let me say I’m not putting a two loss team here and I’m not ranking a one loss team that I don’t have a good feel for.  So why UNC?  Well, they have won nine straight games and should have beaten South Carolina the fist week of the season.  None of you will be laughing in three weeks when this team is in the ACC Title Game.  And if they win that won they will and should make the playoffs.   
The Big Chief's Market Tips
Buy:  The ACC, The Big Ten, Houston, North Carolina, Arkansas and Iowa.   
Sell:  Michigan State, TCU, LSU, Stanford and the SEC West! 
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