In the fall of 2008, Les Miles faced an eerily similar situation with his QB’s. Jarrett Lee was a good looking young QB who had shown some promise, while freshman Jordan Jefferson was a QB who had the ability to extend plays and was the more mobile of the two youngsters. Well, no need for me to go into how those two QB’s played out. But, it is the way that situation was handled that leads me to believe this is why Les Miles has decided to do things a little differently.
Monday, Coach Les Miles said that true freshman QB Brandon Harris would be the Tigers starting QB. This going back and forth is not doing anyone any good, and to me that's why Miles is going with Brandon Harris. We all have seen the Tigers offense plays much better, moves smoother and the production is night and day, when Brandon Harris is at QB compared to when Anthony Jennings is under center.
From what we’ve been told, Jennings looks the best at practice and then struggles when he gets into real game action. On the flip side, Harris has not looked as good as Jennings at practice, but the true freshman is a gamer. Sometimes things are better going unexplained. I don’t have any clue as to why Jennings practices well and plays bad and Harris plays good and does not practice all that well.
Now this week the Tigers go on the road for two weeks in hostile environments at Auburn and Florida. To many of us, going with Harris over Jennings was a no brainer. But, to the coaches there could be more than meets the eye. Which player prepares best? Which player picks up the game plan for that week? Who has the best practice week? And, which player takes better control of the Tigers offense?
I would gander that those are just a handful of things Miles and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron had to think about, when deciding which QB to give the ball to. Jennings has done some good things, but in my own opinion, the Tigers needed to go with Brandon Harris.
Sure, there is a good side and a bad side here. But, the potential upside with Harris under center can’t be overlooked. Harris has more confidence on the field right now. But, more importantly, the Tigers players appear to have more confidence in Harris than Jennings.
The LSU offense came to life against Mississippi State and again last week against New Mexico State, but only after Harris was inserted into the game. Harris looks smoother, calmer and Harris runs the LSU offense more efficiently.
When Brandon Harris was in high school his ability to extend plays and then use his legs or arm to complete big plays was pretty special. Now this is an entire different level of play and players. But I’ve seen enough of Brandon to believe that his special play in high school can continue on the college level.
Harris now gives the LSU offense the rest of this season and three more years in the LSU program. When is the last time LSU had a young QB, who looked good and had the remaining of his eligibility left? Been a long time.
Harris is a part of one of the most talented group of players I’ve seen in all my years covering prep football. LSU is set at the skilled spots for a few years and if they settle at QB, LSU could recruit more talent to surround their young offensive leader.
What Les Miles has to do is keep Anthony Jennings in the right frame of mind, as we all know that he is still one snap away from being the Tigers starter. And, the likelihood of the Tigers needing Jennings services this season is far greater than not.
It’s a difficult spot to be in, but by making a quick decision LSU can now prepare with one QB this week. By giving Brandon Harris all of the snaps, the talented freshman QB can learn as much as he can; get acclimated to what Cam wants him to do, and show confidence in him.
Flipping back and forth from QB to QB has not worked in the past. And Miles knew that It will not work now, nor will it work in the future. Harris will make mistakes, LSU will lose games with him. But, going with Harris at QB and sticking with him will be the best thing for LSU's program right now and moving forward.
Again, I’m just a person who watches from the outside, just like many of you. I think the decision was clear, the choice is obvious and Brandon Harris is the man LSU will go with at QB!
The halfway point of the season happens this week with the biggest weekend ever in the SEC West. Three games that feature six teams ranked in the top 15 says it all. Man, the SEC West is one tough division and the last place team in 2014 could win another conference. Let’s take a look at this week’s top 10!
1. Oregon Ducks (4-0) – The Ducks got some rest and now can remain perfect with a win over the Wildcats. Right now the Pac-12 looks salty with Oregon, USC, UCLA and Stanford. Can the Ducks win out? I doubt it! Last week BYE/ this week vs Arizona October 2nd.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0) – The Tide had the weekend off and two weeks to get ready for Ole Miss. You know, the Tide love to spoil others house parties! A year ago the Rebels thought they were on the same level as the Tide. They thought. Hey, I think Ole Miss is on the right track. But, the Tide will prove that they are still the cream of the crop in the SEC West! Last week BYE / this week @ Ole Miss.
3. Florida State (4-0) – The Noles keep getting by each week. I think the ACC is weak and with one loss the Noles could be out of the playoff chase! Last week beat N.C. State 56-41/ this week vs Wake Forest.
4. Oklahoma Sooners (4-0) - The Sooners have a stretch of five games that is the toughest stretch this season. TCU, Texas, Kansas State and Baylor are four of the Sooners next five games. Win those and see these Sooners play in the Sugar Bowl in one of the playoff games! Last week BYE/ this week @ TCU.
5. Auburn Tigers (4-0) – The Tigers are a team that now faces seven straight ranked opponents beginning with those other Tigers from the Bayou. Will Auburn be back in the ATL this December? This week is a big game, but not the biggest for the boys on the Plains. Last week beat Louisiana Tech 45-17 / this week vs LSU.
6. Texas A&M Aggies (5-0) – Texas A&M proved that having a QB, who does not get rattled, is huge in the SEC. Now, can the Aggies go to Starkville and beat a team that has the best QB in the conference? I can hear the Cowbells now! Last week beat Arkansas 35-28 OT/ this week @ Mississippi State.
7. Baylor Bears (4-0) – The Bears can score, and right now look like the second best team in the Big 12 behind the Sooners. But, another loss to the Longhorns would be a setback. A big one! Last beat Iowa State 49-28 / this week @ Texas.
8. Ole Miss Rebels (4-0) – The Rebels really are a sound team. But, QB Bo Wallace is shaky and the Tide will make him pay for any mistakes. If the Rebels are to beat the Tide, they need Wallace to play big! Last week beat Memphis 24-3/ this week vs Alabama.
9. Georgia Bulldogs (3-1) - The Bulldogs got off to a slow start but then rode the legs of the best RB in the nation in Todd Gurly. Gurly had over 200 yards rushing, and as he goes so do these Bulldogs. I could see UGA losing three or more games! Last week beat Tennessee 35-32 / this week vs Vanderbilt.
10. Notre Dame – (4-0) – The Irish have the schedule to land in the four team playoff this year. A huge test takes place this week with the Cardinal. A win would allow more ND faithful to pump them up and overhype them sadly again! Last week beat Syracuse 31-15/ this week vs Stanford.
I speak for myself and I speak from the heart. I know no more than any of you out there. I will tell you that what I write is what I see and it’s my take. Right now the New Orleans Saints are 1-3. And to me they are not that good! After a 38-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Saints return home to take on a Tampa Bay team that beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh. With the way the Saints are playing, don’t chalk up anything as a win with this Black & Gold team.
This was supposed to be a team that made all the necessary moves; brought in the missing pieces to a puzzle, that was supposedly so close to becoming a complete Super Bowl framed puzzle in the making. I guess I should ask, did the Saints make the necessary moves? Did they bring in the right pieces to the puzzle? And, was the puzzle really that close to being framed? Instead it looks fragile!
As the Saints enter the fifth week of the 2014 season they do so with a 1-3 record. And they do so after playing a Dallas team that is not that good. Inconsistent, undisciplined; lacking fundamentals are words now being written and said about the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints offense will always have good numbers. But, is this offense better? What’s wrong in the early moments of games? What's hindered the Saints offense from scoring TD’s instead of field goals? And why has the Saints offense gotten off to more slow starts in the first four games of this season than in any of the previous years since Sean Payton has been in New Orleans?
The Saints defense looks like a completely different team than they did a year ago. The defense can’t tackle. They can’t rush the passer. They can’t stop the run. And right now the Saints defense is one of the worst and arguably the worst in the NFL.
I’ve watched six high school football games, 15 college games and 10 NFL games. And the Saints defense is by far the worst tackling team I’ve seen play in 2014. The Saints defense should be embarrassed by how they tackle, because they are just that, embarrassing!
The Saints Special Teams can’t make field goals consistently. They can’t make extra points all the time. And, the return game once again looks bad. And to make things worse, former Saints special teams ace Darren Sproles continues to make the Saints front office look silly. Why was he given up for a meager fifth round pick?
And that fake punt. What can I say about that, that hasn't already been said? One has to wonder and at the very least question who thought that fake punt was a good idea? Man, I’m just a broke down, bootleg broadcaster, but it don’t take no Rhodes Scholar to know that was terrible!
In closing I will say that nothing I’ve written is news. It’s not earth shattering. And it sure ain’t anything you all haven’t seen with your own eyes. People, the Saints are 1-3 with 12 games left in the season.
But this is a bad football team. The Saints are doing the things that bad football teams do. I know over the next several days we will hear some of the same stuff we always hear. But I’ll simplify things. I don’t need to watch the tape to see how bad this team is. The first impression is usually the right one. And the impression I get from the Saints is that of a bad football team.
People are frustrated, People question why the Saints went to WVA for training camp. People want to know why a team that the overwhelming majority of experts picked to be a Super Bowl caliber team is anything but right now.
I’m a firm believer in not calling anything until it happens. And with 12 games left the Saints still have everything in front of them. But, if what we have seen in four games is an indication of what the next 12 games will be like...then 2014 will go down as the most disappointing season in the history of the Saints. And that is the damn truth! It hurts, don’t it!
Sunday, September 28; kick-off 7:30 @ Arlington, Texas
SERIES HISTORY: The Saints and Cowboys battled 26 times. Dallas leads the series 15-11. But, the Black & Gold have dominated the series lately. New Orleans won eight of the last nine meetings between the two. And, since 2006, when Sean Payton took over, the Black & Gold average 34.4 points per game against Dallas. Last season the Saints beat the Cowboys 49-17 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: New Orleans beat Minnesota 20-9; Dallas beat St. Louis 34-31
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING:
Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant on Saints CB Kennan Lewis - Where would you rank Keenan Lewis among cornerbacks you’ve faced? “He’s a great cornerback. He is one of those guys that you have to be on top of your game. You are not just going to beat him. He is a physical corner. This is a game where you have to be well-prepared, because if you are not you are going to get beat.”
Saints QB Drew Brees on what is considered a big play by the Saints offense: “A big play is considered a run play of over 10 yards and a pass play of over 20. I’d say in general that is how most people evaluate it. It might vary by a few yards here or there but that’s generally how we look at it.”
Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett on why he thinks the Saints have struggled: “I think they’re a really good defense. We just put the tape on and watched them play. They do a lot of good things. They have a lot of really good players, a really good front seven. They have some back end guys who they’ve made a commitment to who can really be difference-making players. We obviously know Rob Ryan well. He’s an outstanding football coach and challenges you a lot of different ways. We have a real healthy respect for them and really when we watch the tape we are really impressed by them in a lot of different ways.”
Saints Coach Sean Payton on why playing the Dallas Cowboys is personal: “Yes, listen there are a lot of people I’m close with there. I’ve said this before, my three years there are really important and rewarding. I learned a lot. I think playing on Sunday night, playing in a primetime game is exciting…I think for players and all of us involved, but typically you could pick a team, go there and there are ties. I’ve said this all the time, there’s ties for some people and there are maybe some teams and some cities where there aren’t many for myself, but having coached there, I think it’s obviously a storied program.”
The Cowboys have been able to do good things on the offensive side of the football. The main concern--two halves of football where the Cowboys offense was basically asleep at the wheel. In two of their three games, Dallas had trouble in the first half. In week one against the 49ers Dallas was outscored 28-3. Versus the Rams the Cowboys fell back 21-10 by the break. But, a high number of turnovers have to be alarming for Coach Jason Garrett. Dallas had 11 first half drives combined against San Francisco and St. Louis. On those 11 drives, Tony Romo was picked off four times and the Cowboys fumbled the ball away twice. So, more than half of those combined drives ended with turnovers. That is a bad pattern. With the Saints struggling to create turnovers, one has to wonder is this the week the Cowboys have a clean game in the first half?
Cowboys RB Demarco Murray has been one of the most consistent rushers in the NFL. Murray hit the century mark in each of the Cowboys first three games. Murray rushed for a total of 385 yards, which is tops in the league. He averages 5.1 yards per carry. I expect Dallas to make the Saints prove they can consistently stop the run. And Dallas will stick with the run as long as the game is tight. If New Orleans jumps on the Cowboys like the 49ers did, Dallas will have to rely more on the arm of Romo.
The Cowboys defense, like the Saints, has not played all that well. And Dallas, like the Saints, is struggling in the defensive backfield. Both QB's should be able to have some success throwing the football. The Cowboys defense could be without their best player in DL Henry Melton. Melton is one of the best interior DL in the game and not having him would be more bad news for an already suspect defense. Remember, the Saints 2012 defense gave up the most yards in NFL history. Well, Dallas got close in 2013 giving up the third most yards in history.
I truly believe what another team does against your opponent only matters when you are game planning. For example just because Rams third string QB Austin Davis had 327 yards passing and three TD's does not mean Drew Brees will light up the Dallas defense. With that said, I do think a future Hall of Fame QB would be able to do a few good things. Just a few!
THE BIG CHIEF'S FINAL ANALYSIS
Okay, folks, I know the Cowboys are not that good. But, you can't use 2013 as your reference. Right now, all I know is Dallas is 2-1 and their offense is playing pretty good. Dallas has ball security issues on offense, and the Saints have issues on defense creating turnovers. Whoever wins that battle may very well win this game. One thing the Saints have to feel good about is the way they've rushed the football on offense. Lost in the Black and Gold's 1-2 record is the #6 rushing team in the NFL. New Orleans gains more yards rushing the football on first down (7) than any other team in the league. Giving Sean Payton second and short is too easy. Payton already has an impressive set of plays to use and that short distance on second down only allows Payton to be more creative on the early downs.
The Saints want to start this game exactly how they did the first game of the season against Atlanta. With one exception--New Orleans wants 7's and not 3's. If the Saints come out and score TD's on their early possessions, that is a great sign. I think RB Khiry Robinson could be in store for a big game. And then Drew Brees will be able to use one of his many targets to pass on the Cowboys defense. On the flip side, I have to wonder is this is the week the Saints defense reveals their true identity? The first two weeks were bad. Last week was good. Dallas has a great QB, dangerous WR and a solid RB. Playing well against the Cowboys offense would be a good sign that the first two outings of the season were not an indication of who the Saints defense really is.
Pass rushers Cam Jordan and Junior Galette started to heat up last week. But, when will the interior DL amp up their game? For the Saints to become the defensive unit they want to be, the front line has to play big. The Cowboys O-line is legit. The Saints front seven has their work cut out for them. And, applying pressure on Tony Romo is essential. Romo can extend plays and move well in the pocket. But, if the pocket collapses, Romo could be in trouble. The Saints interior D-line needs a good outing against Dallas. The Cowboys have turned the ball over at least once in each of their first three games. I would think the likelihood of at least one Cowboys mistake handling the football is far greater to take place than not. This is a big game for the Saints…not only to win on the road, but to do so against a good offense, that has one of the better QB's in the game…would allow me and everybody following Saints football to think the Saints are about to get on a roll. 2-2 after four games with the Tampa Bay Bucs in town next week would put New Orleans in good shape. I don't like the match-up between the Cowboys offense and the Saints defense, but I think the Saints offense can aid the Black & Gold defense in more ways than one.
The Saints offense can force the Dallas offense to score each time they have the football. And, that added pressure on a good QB, who has succumbed to pressure more than he has flourished in it, would be big. I'm laying the three points and taking the overs in this one. I think in the fourth quarter of the game the WDN will take over the stadium and chants of “Who Dat, Who Dat” will echo everywhere and on national TV. If not, then it could be an up and down season for New Orleans. Win one, lose won, lose two, win one…that can't keep happening. If the Saints are who the entire world thinks they are, they will show it starting with Dallas. If not…
The Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert visited with iconic New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister on SportsTalk. Deuce sized up the Saints season so far and talked about his former college team Ole Miss. A major point of discussion—how critical that first win against the Vikings was for the psyche of the Black & Gold.
"The biggest thing is...you've (Saints) got that one win. Yo win and get that monkey off your back. Now you've got a game in prime time. And you want to go out and play your best. I think you'll see the Saints best effort this weekend."
McAllister said the Sunday night prime time game in Dallas against the Cowboys allows the team not only to play to the expectation of greatness, but it gives the Saints critical extra time to prepare. "They have a little more time to get ready. People may not think those four-five hours are not that much. But it really helps the players get their bodies better ready for a game."
The 1-2 Saints are 8-0 under Sean Payton in Sunday night games. #26 was helping the Black & Gold the first time Sean Payton beat Dallas on Sunday might during the 2006 season. Deuce shared the three targets he believes the Saints have to focus on against the Cowboys.
"You don't want (Tony) Romo to get out of the pocket and make plays. You have to know where WR Dez Bryant is...and TE Jason Witten is one of the best in the game. Dallas has a very good offense."
Next week at this time Deuce will be keeping a close eye on what takes place in Oxford, Mississippi as his Ole Miss Rebels prepare to host perhaps the biggest home game ever against Alabama Saturday, October 4th.
"That is going to be a very big game. The Rebels can't overlook Memphis this week, but the Alabama game is one that Ole Miss fans are looking forward to for sure. Last season Alabama really had a solid game against Ole Miss and now people want to see how the Rebels match-up with a great Alabama team."
Deuce keeps up with fans and interacts on Twitter and invites you to follow him @dmcallister26.
Well, folks, in 2013 we saw two teams not ranked in the pre-season top 25 (Auburn and Missouri) climb all the way into the top 10…then both Tigers squared off for the SEC Title. Now, a Bulldog from the great state of Mississippi can climb as high but even faster, after an eye opening 34-29 win over LSU. Alabama gave Florida 21 points and still beat the Gators to death. Auburn proved that a win on Thursday night is a little tougher than expected. And, next week one of the biggest days in recent memory takes place. Let's take a look at how I stack up the nation's best conference going into week five of the season.
1. Alabama (4-0) - Alabama gave Florida 21 points and still covered the spread. The Tide's offense is not as in sync or consistent as it’s been in past years. It might be even better! Alabama has the ability to make monster plays in the passing game. And, moving forward teams are going to find out that the Bama is the only team in the nation that can line up and come right at you. Or, should they choose to, the Tide can spread you out and pick you apart. Name your poison!
2. Auburn (3-0) - Auburn showed a lot of resolve in a big Thursday night win at Kansas State. Folks, the Wildcats are damn good and have a great coach. This was a quality win for Auburn. Two of the next three weeks will be telling with dates at home against LSU and a trip to Starkvegas to visit the Bulldogs!
3. Texas A&M (4-0) - A&M has a tougher than expected test this week. The best way to beat the Aggies is to play keep away from their high powered and potent offense. Uh oh…the Hogs from Arkansas can run the ball with the best of them. Should be a great match-up…on paper at least!
4. Ole Miss (4-0) - The Rebels had the week off and now face local rival Memphis before the biggest game ever in Oxford in two weeks. Ole Miss can let the rest of the world know that college football in the state of Mississippi is pretty damn good too!
5. South Carolina (2-1) - The ole ball coach and his Gamecocks ran into a tougher game than thought against the Vandy Doors. No fret, Coach and his gang won and now face a Missouri team that looks like one of the best in the East so far! Wait…didn't Missouri just lose to Indiana? Damn…I'm wrong for dat!
6. Mississippi State (4-0) - Dak is the best player in the SEC right now. Dan Mullen eats for free in Starkville and now with a week off and two huge home games, these Bulldogs can go from being an unknown to a top 8 team. Should Mississippi State win home games against A&M and Auburn, the Dogs will be and deserve to be in the national conversation. Huge win last week in BR.
7. LSU (3-1) - LSU defense's was exposed beat the Bulldogs last week. I think over the next three weeks we all may very well learn that LSU is still pretty good. But, Mississippi State is even better…this season. Hey, it sounded good when it typed it!
8. Georgia (2-1) - 66 points and a lot of confidence were acquired last week in UGA's blasting of Troy. Now a feel good win can be obtained with victory over the rising Vols from Tennessee.
9. Missouri (3-1) - The Tigers had the Hoosiers beat…then let them off the hook. Hey Missouri, it's okay to lose one game in the SEC. You can still achieve all of your season goals. A win this week puts Missouri right back in the hunt for everything. A loss…and well, y'all know the rest!
10. Tennessee (2-1) - The Vols can assert themselves as a legit SEC East Title contender over the next two weeks…with games at UGA and back at home against Florida. I think Tennessee will win one of those. Which one? Hell, I don't know that!
11. Florida (3-1) - The future of Coach Will Mushchamp will be determined over the next three games. Tennessee, LSU and Missouri are the next opponents for the Gators before a bye week. If UF loses all three games, I'm not sure that Will will make it through the bye week and still keep his job. The Gator Nation will speak loudly!
12. Arkansas (3-1) - The Hogs are being built like the Badgers, when Coach Bielema was in Wisconsin. Arkansas can make life tough on everyone they play because of their ability to rush the football. Man, a win (or even a respectable) loss to the Aggies could go a long with the
Ar-Kansas fan base. I could see Arkansas knocking off a big opponent and landing in a bowl.
13. Kentucky (2-1) - I'm telling you UK is not that bad. The Wildcats can get to 3-1 with a win over Vanderbilt this weekend. Finding three more wins after that is tough just looking at the schedule. But, don't sleep on these Wildcats.
14. Vanderbilt (1-3) - Give the Commodores some credit…they did play their best game of the season last weekend against S.C.. That statement alone sounds like observations I made about Vanderbilt say five, six years ago. Former coach James Franklin was downgraded to having “moral victories,” but he overcame that. I'm not sure the Doors can do that this season!
by Deke Bellavia, firstname.lastname@example.org, @dekebigchief,posted Sep 23 2014 7:27AM
The Seabirds and White Horses played the game everyone wanted to see eight months too late. The Tigers from the Natti are looking Super right now. The Red Birds from the desert want to play in the Super Bowl they host. And the Eagles from the City of Brotherly Love and Steelers from the same state both had nice wins. Let's look at this week's Top 10.
Seattle Seahawks (2-1) - All the talk is about the Seahawks defense and how physical this team is. Those are valid points. But, people, the main difference between Seattle and the rest…is under center. I don't care about all those pretty numbers, give me wins. Russell Wilson has become arguably the most clutch QB in the game in only two seasons and three games! The best is yet to come from this young Seabird! Last week the Seahawks beat Denver 26-20 / this week BYE.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-0) - The Bengals wished for a hot start & they got it. Now Coach Lewis and his Cats can rest before a crucial four game stretch that features the Patriots, Panthers, Ravens and Colts. Time to take a deep breath. Last week Cinci beat Tennessee Titans 33-7/ this week BYE.
Denver Broncos (2-1) – How could the Broncos have a so called “moral” victory? I was more impressed with Denver Sunday in their battle with Seattle, than I have been since Peyton got there. Denver showed a lot of physicality in their loss to the Seahawks and with a little luck and a lot of Peyton we could see a rematch in February! Last week Denver lost to Seattle 26-20 / this week BYE.
Arizona Cardinals (3-0) – A rookie QB guided the Red Birds to a big 23-14 win over the 49ers. Arizona's Drew Stanton tossed two TD passes as the Cards came back for their most impressive win of the season. This team is off to a hot start. Who knows…could Arizona play home for the Super Bowl? Last week the Cardinals beat San Francisco 49ers 23-14 / this week BYE.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) - The Eagles can soar on offense, but like the boys in Black & Gold, can Philly get in one of those slobber knockers and fight among the toughies like Seattle, San Fran and Arizona? We shall see this Sunday. Last week the Eagles beat Washington 37-34 / this week @ San Francisco 49ers.
San Diego Chargers (2-1) - Bolts QB Phillip Rivers has gotten better with age. The Chargers have a legit shot to win each game they play because of Rivers. Now the Bolts can lick their chops and pad the stats with the Jacksonville Kittens in town Sunday. Look out AFC, a new Super Bowl sleeper has arrived! Last week San Diego beat Buffalo 22-10 / this week vs Jacksonville.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) - I know the Burgh lost to the Purple Birds in week two. But I'm going with the boys from the Steel City at #8. Man, that hand delivered beat down of Carolina was vintage Pittsburgh. The NFC West is the best division in the league. But with three legit playoff teams in Steelers, Bengals and Ravens, the AFC North is not far behind! Last week Pittsburgh beat Carolina 37-19 / this week vs Tampa Bay.
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) - Maybe Cleveland is not as bad as I thought. The Ravens needed a last second FG to nip the Browns 23-21. Hey, it's the NFL not horseshoes. All you have to do is win. And, that’s exactly what the Ravens do. Last week Baltimore beat Cleveland 23-21 / this week vs Carolina.
New England Patriots (2-1) – The Patriots offense is somewhat in a funk right now. It's okay! Tom is still good looking…” the hood” is still the game’s best coach…and New England still looks like the class of the AFC East. But, one has to wonder…will Tom ever win another Super Bowl? Last week the Patriots beat Oakland 16-9 / this week @ Kansas City.
Detroit Lions (2-1) - Their lone loss was a road decision to Carolina, and their two wins at home came against two of the best QB's in the league (Eli & Aaron). Could the Cats from Motown be a real threat in the NFC North? Well, right now they are. Anytime someone holds Aaron Rodgers to one TD that's damn good in my book! Last week Detroit beat Green Bay 19-7 / this week @ NY Jets.
It’s only one game. But, my oh my, did that 34-29 loss tell us a lot about the 2014 LSU Tigers. A team that was supposed to be a dominant defensive club got gashed and bullied for four quarters by a much more physical MSU Bulldogs team.
Mississippi State’s O-line manhandled the Tigers defensive front, and the Bulldogs' D-line had their way with what many claimed was the best set of offensive linemen in the SEC. Now, with eight games left in regular season schedule, the question is...where are these Tigers ranked in their own division?
You tell me. Do you think LSU is better than Alabama, Auburn A&M or Ole Miss right now? We know the Tigers are not as good as Mississippi State. And by the looks of how tight the Hogs from Arkansas played the Tigers last season in Death Valley, I would put LSU at the bottom of the West slightly ahead of Arkansas...and I have my doubts about that.
Hey, I’m not giving up on the season, but let’s face it, the Tigers are young at the skilled spots, their O-line has not lived up to expectations, and now with road games at Auburn and Florida looming in the next three weeks, this LSU team could be out of contention for any post-season play by second week of October.
The thing that alarms me most about LSU...their weaknesses are strengths of other teams. This team is going to have to scrap to win seven games. Can they do it? Sure they can. But it’s going to take a lot of strides, a little luck and a win here or there that LSU is not supposed to win.
It’s only week five, but I’ve seen enough to know this LSU team has some issues, and those issues are far more difficult to correct on the fly than they are during the off season. To be real, the Tigers will more than likely be underdogs in six of their last eight games. So, this is not just me bumping my gums, the boys in Vegas think the same.
The Tigers are 3-1 with eight games left. But where are they now in the SEC West? I’d have to say towards the bottom. And LSU fans are not too happy about that one bit!
by Deke Bellavia, email@example.com, @dekebigchief,posted Sep 22 2014 11:32AM
Why must I be like that? Why must I chase the cat? It must be the dog in me...the Mississippi State Bulldog, that is. Man, give it up for the SEC West.
The two most impressive wins in all of CFB this season have come from SEC West teams Texas A&M and Mississippi State with huge road victories. Don’t look now but with back to back home games against two more top 8 teams, the Bulldogs can skyrocket into the national conversation. Yep!
Starkvegas is on fire right now! FSU is learning the hard way that a knuckle head is worth one title, but how much more? Oregon won a tougher than normal road game in Pullman. And now the first weekend in October has gotten even bigger with the most recent developments in the SEC West.
Hey, how 'bout the rest of the nation take one bowl and then let the SEC play all others among themselves. Hell, that’s what we all want anyway! Hate, hate, hate!
Hey, you know the Iron Bowl has been a play-in for the SEC and National Title before. Could the Egg Bowl be that play-in game this year? I hope so. I got 50 yard line tickets to the Egg Bowl this November! Hell, yes!!
#1 - Oregon Ducks (4-0) – The Ducks were able to overcome a slow start and come back to beat the Cougars. Oregon will stump their toe somewhere down the line. Could it happen this week? Last week Oregon beat Washington State 38-31 / this week vs Arizona October 2nd.
#2 - Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0) – The Tide had a record day passing the football and they gave the Gators all 21 of their points. And y’all said little Nicky wouldn’t take it easy on soon to be outgoing Will! Last week Bama beat Florida 42-21 / this week BYE.
#3 - Florida State (3-0) – The Noles proved (like Roger Goodell) you can mess up; admit it; then still not do anything about your misstep until the national media comes down so hard you change your mind. Oh well, Jamies Winston will be somebody else's problem one day. Soon Jimbo Fisher hopes. Last week FSU beat Clemson 23-17 in overtime/ next @ N.C. State.
#4 - Oklahoma Sooners (4-0) - The Sooners got a good test last week with a 12 point win over WVU. And now Boomer Sooner can continue to march on to what looks like a lock playoff spot. Last week Oklahoma beat West Virginia 45-33 / this week @ TCU.
#5 - Auburn Tigers (3-0) – The Tigers won a close game against a very good Wildcats team. Now a final tune-up before a home date against LSU. Last week Auburn beat Kansas State 20-14/ this week vs Louisiana Tech.
#6 - Texas A&M Aggies (4-0) – The next 2 games for Texas A&M will tell us how legit they are. Arkansas this week, then on to Stark-Vegas next week! Last week the Aggies beat SMU 58-6 / this week vs Arkansas.
#7 - Baylor Bears (3-0) – The Bears got some rest and now hit the road to take on ISU. Baylor and Oklahoma look like they're on a collision course. Last week the Bears had a BYE / next @ Iowa State Saturday Sept 27th.
#8 - Ole Miss Rebels (3-0) – The Rebels had 3 weeks to get ready for the biggest home game perhaps ever, when the Tide come to Oxford in early October. Hotty Toddy baby! Last week The a rebels had a BYE/ this week vs Memphis.
#9 - Georgia Bulldogs (2-1) - The Bulldogs licked their wounds and now will try to get even in SEC play with a home date with the boys from good ole Rocky Top! Last week Georgia beat Troy 66-0 / this week vs Tennessee.
#10 - Notre Dame – (3-0) – With Stanford, USC, Arizona State and Florida State on their schedule, the Irish will be one of 4 playoff teams, if they run the table. That I can guarantee. Last week Notre Dame BYE / this week vs Syracuse.
Minnesota Vikings (1-1) vs New Orleans Saints (0-2)
Sunday September 21, 2014; noon kickoff @ the Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Series History: The Vikings lead series 18-9. The Saints won the last 3 battles.
Last week's results: New England beat Minnesota 30-7; Cleveland beat New Orleans 26-24
Noteworthy: After just 2 regular season games, both the Saints and Vikings are facing a lot of heat. The entire world is watching Minnesota’s every move ever since their star player RB Adrian Peterson became of the eye of the NFL’s domestic violence (child abuse) storm. At the beginning of the week Peterson was given the okay to play. But, after a national media & social media avalanche of negative feedback and a scolding from Minnesota’s governor, mid-week the Vikings banned Peterson from all team activities until his abuse allegations are legally cleared up. On the flip side, the team everyone thought would be a Super Bowl caliber club is off to a 0-2 start. In fact, if you look at the Saints’ defensive numbers, they’re eerily similar to the 2012 stats, when New Orleans ranked dead last in just about every major category. Something has to give, right?
What they are saying…
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer on not having RB Adrian Peterson
“The one thing that I think we’ve tried to do with this football team is we rely on our core beliefs for everything we do. Obviously, it’s going to change some because of the personnel we have. I’ve always believed that you have to have a foundation you can start with and you can always fall back on that foundation for where you have to get to. In training camp we built the best foundation for what we had. You never prepare for your best player getting hurt, but you do prepare for a lot of scenarios.”
Saints Head Coach Sean Payton on the Saints playing at home for the first time this season
“I think our players are excited. We are. I think more importantly you get excited just for the next opportunity. It can’t come quick enough when you have a tough loss. So now it is just the preparation in the work week and making sure you are doing everything you can to put together the best plan possible.”
The Vikings got off to a good start, when they came up with one of the most impressive opening week victories. Minnesota went on the road and dominated the Rams 34-6. But, last week at home without the aid of star RB Adrian Peterson, the Vikings fell apart against the Patriots.
Minnesota took their first offensive possession and marched down the field on a 7-play drive that chewed up over four minutes on the clock and saw the Vikings go 80 for a TD, when QB Matt Cassel hit Matt Asiata for a 25 yard score to go up 7-0.
Then, the game was over…at least for the Vikings. From that point on the visiting Patriots closed the game on a 30-7 run…winning easily. The Vikings threw 4 picks and finished minus (-4) in the turnover battle in their loss to New England.
New Orleans has to win against Minnesota, if they want to be among the top 6 teams in the NFC. I know there are 13 more games to play after this one, but you have to look in the mirror, before you look across the line at your opponent. Yes, the Saints have been very close, just about as close as any team can get without actually winning, but the Saints defense has some problems and only time will tell if those problems are short term or season lasting!
At 0-2 everyone is shocked that a team the national media hailed as a Super Bowl contender is off to a slow start. It’s only the third week of the season, but the big question now--are the Saints’ issues bigger than a few corrections here and there? The answer will become more obvious after this battle at home against the Vikings.
The Saints will look to put it all together this week and post a win. Last week, New Orleans was stagnant on offense in the first quarter against Cleveland. The Black & Gold passed the football 6 of their first 9 plays without much success.
The Saints did finish up with 174 yards on the ground, and now someone will have to step up as the Black & Gold’s leading rusher (Mark Ingram) is out. The Saints will strive for balance that’s been missing on offense. In the first 2 games combined the Saints have 82 pass attempts and 55 rushes.
In my opinion, the Saints are much harder to defend when they pass somewhere between 38-42 times and rush 28-32 times. On the defensive side of the football, there is nowhere to go but up. The Saints have been flat out bad on D. Then, when you let the opposing team win the game by giving up the ball, after you’ve established the lead…it compounds the problems.
The Big Chief’s Final Analysis
You have to trust the people who’ve made the Saints a contender. Sean Payton has been 0-2 before; the final result was 7-9 in 2007 and 8-8 in 2008. So what will be different this time around? We’ll see.
The Saints need to win and win badly. But more importantly, how the Saints win will be a critical gauge moving forward. Can DB’s Patrick Robinson and Corey White all of the sudden produce? Are they really good players who need time to warm up?
How much attention should we pay to the fact that the Saints have a 6-7 record in their last 13 regular season games? And, is it a bad trend or just bad luck that in 4 of the Saints last 5 road games the Black & Gold gave the football back to the other team (after establishing the lead), only to see their opponent win on the final drive?
I’m no rocket scientist, but I have confidence that the Saints offense will pump out points anyway they have to, but the defense is more of an issue. Hey just win this week. Then worry to death about how P-Rob or C-White are going to cover the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant. After all, who am I to rain on a Black & Gold parade? At least this week anyway. The Saints win big 28-16!