Teams are down to their final two or three games, with several schools still vying for conference titles and the playoffs. For the first time in a couple weeks, we have not one, not two, but three games featuring Louisiana teams taking on each other.
Louisiana Tech is off this weekend after taking care of business against UAB last Saturday. The Bulldogs improved to 7-3 overall and remain in 1st place in Conference USA.
In one of three games between in-state teams, Northwestern State hosts fellow Boot team Nicholls State in their last home game of 2014. The Demons cruised to victory against Abilene Christian last Saturday, evening their record out at 5-5. The Colonels had a chance to rest up last weekend, and they're still seeking their first win of the year after losing 16 games in a row dating back to last year.
The Tulane Green Wave welcom in the Memphis Tigers. Tulane notched their first road win last week with a 31-24 victory over Houston. The 31 points matched the second highest total for the Green Wave this season, and they rank just 115th in scoring offense. The struggling offense will go up against an impressive Memphis defense that's 13th in the nation.
Grambling State takes on the Alabama State Hornets Saturday, their first home game since October 18th and their last one of the year. The Tigers are the only undefeated team in SWAC play, and the Bayou Classic is shaping up to be a huge game that could determine who wins the West division.
The Jaguars of Southern University continue their home stand Saturday, this time against Mississippi Valley State. The Jags pulled away from Texas Southern in the second half last weekend to secure a 30-20 win, their 7th of the year. This is a must win for Southern if they want to have a shot at winning the division.
In another Boot-on-Boot match-up, the #11 McNeese State Cowboys head over to Hammond to take on the #10 Southeastern Lions. Southeastern spanked the Houston Baptist Huskies last week 76-7. The Lions are in the driver's seat for the Southland Conference title, but they'll need to win out. McNeese suffered their third loss of the year, getting felled by the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin last week. The Cowboys still have a shot in the Southland race, but they would need some help. This match-up features two high-powered offenses, with Southeastern's ranked 6th and McNeese's ranked 18th.
ULL heads up to Monroe for the annual Battle on the Bayou with the ULM Warhawks. The Ragin Cajuns crushed New Mexico State last weekend to win their fifth in a row and remain undefeated in Sun Belt play. Louisiana-Monroe lost their fifth in a row after Appalachian State beat them on a last minute field goal. The rivalry has been even overall with the Ragin Cajuns holding a one game lead 25-24. After losing five in a row in the series, the Warhawks pulled out a win last year. ULM will have their hands full with ULL's 29th ranked run game.
#17 LSU pays a visit to Fayateville and the Arkansas Razorbacks for the Battle of the Boot. LSU suffered a heartbreaker last week, losing in overtime to Alabama 20-13 after almost pulling off the monumental upset. The Tigers may be the ranked team in this game, but Arkansas is actually favored. Don't let the Hogs record fool you. They may be 4-5 and winless in the SEC, but they've been a play or two away from several upsets. Tailbacks Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins have rushed for over 1,700 yards and are averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Coach Bret Bielema lets his Hogs run.
LSU's offense is just as one dimensional, with only 7 teams rushing more than the Bayou Bengals. Freshman Leonard Fournette gained the most yards on the ground by any back that's faced Alabama this year, and he leads the team with 736 yards and 7 touchdowns. Quarterback Anthony Jennings struggled once again last week; and he is now completing just 47.1% of his passes, dead last in the SEC among qualifying QBs. With cold weather and the possibility of snow on the forecast, both teams will likely rely on the run even more.
Where does he rank compared to other Saints QBs of yore?
Counting only quarterbacks who had at least 500 pass attempts, Brooks ranks 3rd all-time in passing yards; 5th in completion percentage (4th if you only include those QBs had at least 600 pass attempts); 2nd in passing TDs; 2nd lowest INT%; and 3rd in QB rating.
Those are some pretty darn good numbers.
Oh yeah, he also threw 4 touchdown passes in the Saints first playoff win.
Many remember Brooks' infamous backward pass:
The Saints QB also was criticized for often smiling after making mistakes.
The end is nigh...the end of the college football season that is. There may be just a couple games left, but these are games of serious import. Conference battles are still being waged and fought, with titles up in the air.
Grambling State got the action started for the Boot on Thursday with a 38-23 win over Mississippi Valley State. The Tigers improved to 7-3 and remain one of the season's biggest surprises after winning just one game last year. Grambling has two games remaining, both at home.
Nicholls State is off this weekend and have a chance to prepare for their last two games after dropping their 16th straight last Saturday. The Colonels will close out the season against two teams from the Boot and are likely to finish the year winless.
Louisiana Tech kick things off for the Boot Saturday morning with a road trip to UAB and the Blazers. The Bulldogs pounded another opponent last week, crushing Western Kentucky 59-10. Tech's offense is now averaging over 35 points per game while the Blazers rank just 92nd in scoring defense
The 2-6 Tulane Green Wave head over to Texas to play the Houston Cougars. Tulane received a beatdown against Cincy on Halloween night for their second loss in a row. The Green Wave's struggling offense will find it tough going up against Houston's stingy, 16th ranked defense.
The Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana Lafayette head back out on the road for the first time since October 14th to take on the New Mexico State Aggies. ULL has bounced back from an early season three game losing skid to win four straight, all Sun Belt conference wins. Running back Elijah McGuire continues to put the team on his back, gaining over 200 total yards for the second straight week.
#14 Southeastern had an extra week to try and correct their mistakes after getting upset by Stephen F. Austin. The Lions receive a visit from the 2-7 Houston Baptist Huskies in what should be a warm-up for Southeastern's big match-up against McNeese State next week, which will have huge implications for the Southland Conference.
The Northwestern State Demons fell back under .500 with last week's loss to McNeese State, but they almost took down the highly ranked Cowboys. The Demons pay a visit to the 5-5 Abilene Christian Wildcats this weekend.
Louisiana-Monroe kicks off against the Appalachian State Mountaineers. The Warhawks lost last weekend, but they hung with Texas A&M all game and fell just short of a monumental upset after failing to find the endzone in the second half. ULM catches an Appalachian State team that started out 1-5 but have rebounded to win two in a row.
#6 McNeese State takes on the the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks this evening. The Cowboys held off a furious 4th quarter comeback attempt by Northwestern State to narrowly win 35-28. Fans could find themselves watching a shoot out between the 9th and 20th ranked offenses.
The Southern Jaguars host the Texas Southern Tigers at 6pm. The Jags edged out Alabama State last Saturday, and they close out the year with three more home games. Southern is 6-3 overall and 5-1 in the SWAC, just a game and half behind 1st place Grambling.
And in the weekend's premier match-up, the #16 LSU Tigers welcome in the #5 Alabama Crimson Tide to Death Valley tonight. The 7-2 Tigers still have a path to the SEC Championship, but a win tonight is imperative to keep that hope alive. LSU is coming off their bye week after upseting highly ranked Ole Miss the weekend before. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? We'll find out tonight, as the Tigers ground game has really hit its stride over the last three games, rushing for 762 yards and 6 touchdowns. Leonard Fournette, Terrence Magee, and the rest of the running back corps will have their work cut out for them against Alabama's run defense, which is 2nd in the nation, giving up a mere 78 yards per game. Quarterback Anthony Jennings will have to hit some passes against a Tide secondary that has been susceptible at times.
Bama's offense has been nothing if not balanced, with their passing attack ranking 23rd and rushing attack ranking 30th. Wide receiver Amari Cooper has been one of the most prolific pass-catchers in the nation, and LSU's 4th rated passing defense must shut him down. Running backs T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry have had an up and down year thus far, and they'll be running into a recently improved Tiger front seven. Bama quarterback Blake Sims also presents a threat on the ground, and the Bayou Bengals have struggled somewhat with dual-threat QBs this season.