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Composite Preseason College Rankings
Below is the list of Top 25 teams in the compilation of the various college preseason rankings. Notice how closely the AP vote follows the composite of the magazines and websites.
2016 Pro Football Preview: Lindy's Sports
Division Predictions
National Conference
NFC South
  1. Carolina Panthers
  2. New Orleans Saints
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  3. Atlanta Falcons
NFC East
  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. Philadelphia Eagles
  3. New York Giants
  4. Washington Redskins
NFC North
  1. Green Bay Packers
  2. Minnesota Vikings
  3. Detroit Lions
  4. Chicago Bears
NFC West
  1. Arizona Cardinals
    Seattle Seahawks
  2. Los Angeles Rams
  3. San Francisco 49ers
American Conference
AFC South
  1. Houston Texans
    Indianapolis Colts
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars
  3. Tennessee Titans
AFC East
  1. New England Patriots
  2. New York Jets
  3. New York Giants
  4. Miami Dolphins
AFC North
  1. Cincinnati Bengals
  2. Baltimore Ravens
    Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Cleveland Browns
AFC West
  1. Denver Broncos
  2. Oakland Raiders
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. San Diego Chargers
Intriguing Numbers
12 Years since Oakland had a winning season and made the playoffs
$72M Value of four-year contract Houston gave Brock Osweiler
5 Games Osweiler has started coming into 2016
5
Consecutive seasons Cleveland has finished last in the AFC North
24 Starting QBs for Cleveland since the franchise began in 1999
5 Years since the Giants made the playoffs
0-7 Bengals coach Marvin Lewis's record in the playoffs
1991 Last year the Bengals won a playoff game.
106.3 Andy Dalton's passer rating for 2015, a record for the Cincinnati franchise.
9 Fumbles by Bengals RB Jeremy Hill the last two years, with six of them lost.
21 Years since Los Angeles last had an NFL team
8, 17 The Bears' total for INTs and turnovers last year, both record lows for the franchise
92.7 Aaron Rodgers' QB rating last year, the first time he's been under 100 since his first season as starter (2008)
17 Wins in two seasons by Teddy Bridgewater with the Vikings, tying Brett Favre and Warren Moon for most wins by a Minnesota QB through two seasons
5th Rank of the Vikings in scoring defense (18.9 ppg) last year in Mike Zimmer's third seasons as head coach after finishing last his first year (30.0) and 13th in 2014 (20.3).
1 INTs by S Jairus Byrd in his two seasons with the Saints
0 Times the Saints have missed the playoffs three straight years under Sean Payton - a record that may be broken if New Orleans fails to qualify again this season
1 Victories Payton needs to become the winningest coach in Saints history; he is 93-61 and tied with Jim Mora who was 93-76 in 10 1/2 seasons.
459 Passing yards Drew Brees needs to move past Dan Marino into 3rd place on the NFL's all-time list.
10 Consecutive seasons the Saints have finished in the top 10 in total offense in the NFL, a feat the club achieved only three times in its first 39 years of existence
6 Rushing TDs by rookie Jameis Winston for Tampa Bay last year, tying him with Doug Martin for the team lead
13 Times the Patriots have finished first in the AFC East the last 15 seasons.
10 Times the Patriots have played in the AFC title game in the past 15 years, winning six.
30th Patriots' rank in rushing last season (87.8 ypg).5
5 Wins by the Ravens last year, their lowest total in eight years.
9 Coaches in NFL history who won 90 games in their first nine seasons, the latest being Mike Tomlin of the Steelers, whose 92 wins are tied for third-most of all teams over the past nine years.
35 INTs thrown by Blake Bortles in his first two NFL seasons with the Jaguars.
45 Times Chiefs QB Alex Smith was sacked in 2015.
4 Wins by San Diego last year, the Chargers' worst showing since 2003.

Players and coaches "On the Hot Seat"

  • Giants - Steve Spagnuolo
    Armed with several new pieces, ... defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo should have all the pieces in place to lift the 32nd-ranked defense last season out of the cellar. While injuries did contribute to the defense's problems last year, Spagnuolo's lack of success as a coordinator since his first stint with the Giants in 2007-2008 (including a disastrous year with the Saints) have some wondering if perhaps he is the long-term solution to orchestrate the defense.
  • Redskins - OL Junior Galette
    Galette didn't want a long-term contract. After his falling out in New Orleans, he had to take a "prove-it" deal from the Redskins last summer, but didn't get the chance to show what he could do thanks to an Achilles tendon injury. Galette fired his representative and hired powerhouse agent Drew Rosenhaus. If he has a great year - double-digit sacks - then he will cash in with a massive contract after signing yet another team-friendly one-year deal. If he doesn't? Then he will be two years removed from his last productive year and a 29-year-old free agent with a significant recent injury on his resume.
  • Falcons - QB Matt Ryan
    Ryan is on the hot seat after a woeful showing in 2015. Before last season, the Falcons' struggles were clearly placed on a meek and timid offensive line. Last season, Ryan was at the heart of their woes as he threw interceptions, fumbled the ball and dropped snaps from center. Ryan admitted that it sometimes took too long to process the verbiage in the new offensive scheme.
  • Seahawks - TE Jimmy Graham
    The Seahawks gave up a lot to get Graham before last season: their 2015 first-round pick and C Max Unger. The jury was still out at the end of his first year whether the trade was worth it. Graham had 48 receptions when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 11, and had just two TDs. Seattle coaches defended Graham, noting he was on pace for 70 catches, down from the 85 he averaged with the Saints but something that was to be expected given that he went from one of the most pass-heavy offenses in the NFL to one of the most run-heavy.
  • Browns - QB Robert Griffin III
    The riches to rags story of Griffin might not be over. The 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year, 5-15 the next two years and inactive every game in 2015 with the Redskins, is getting another chance with the Browns. If he doesn't redeem himself this season, though, his football career could flame out before he turns 27 next February.

Saints in the Players and Units Rankings

  • QB Drew Brees #5
  • WRs - none in the top 56
  • TE Coby Fleener #14, Josh Hill #8 among "The Two's"
  • RB Mark Ingram #9, C. J. Spiller #10 among "The Two's All-Purpose"
  • C Max Unger #6
  • G - none in top 20
  • LT Terron Armstead #7
  • DE Cam Jordan #7 among "4-3 Right Side"
  • LB Cannell Ellerbe #9 among "Will"
  • CB Delvin Breaux #2 among "The Two's"
  • No Saint unit is ranked in the Top Five of its position group in the NFC.

QUICK QUIZ
What was the last team to win back-to-back Super Bowls?

Mike Tomlin is only the third Steelers coach since 1969. Who were the other two?

Listed below are the repeat winners of the NFL's MVP award. Which one of this distinguished group achieved that feat twice?

(A) Jim Brown
(B) Brett Favre
(C) Peyton Manning
(D) Joe Montana

2016 College Football Preview: Phil Steele
We always end our college previews with the best of them all, year after year.

Phil Steele's Preseason Top 10
Phil
explains: My preseason rankings are NOT my Power Ratings. These rankings take into account the totality of the circumstances that I feel each team will face in the 2016 season, i.e., schedule strength, foes' schedules (coming off byes), experience edges at the start of the year and so forth.

  1. Florida State
  2. Alabama
  3. Oklahoma
  4. LSU
    Since their last year to the Nat'l Title Game, LSU has lost 14 games the last 4 years and almost fired their head coach at the end of 2015. This year they have RB Leonard Fournette, two NFL caliber WR's and my #5 rated offensive line. New defensive coordinator Dave Aranda inherits more talent than he ever had at Wisconsin and yet he produced the #1 defense in college football from '13-'15. They will battle Alabama for the title of nation's top defense. The only question is at QB. None of their 5 away games are against a team in my Top 15, plus they get Bama and Ole Miss at home. I have them making the playoffs and that gives them a shot at the National Title.
  5. Clemson
  6. Ohio State
  7. Tennessee
  8. Washington
  9. Notre Dame
  10. Stanford

Phil's Power Poll Top 10
This ranking is based purely on a team's talent, experience, etc., without consideration of strength of schedule.

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida State
  3. LSU
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Clemson
  6. Tennessee
  7. Stanford
  8. Washington
  9. Ohio State
  10. Ole Miss

Phil's 2016 Surprise Teams

  1. Washington
  2. TCU
  3. Iowa
  4. Baylor [despite Briles's firing]
  5. UCLA
  6. Miami (FL)
  7. Georgia
  8. Houston
  9. Michigan State
  10. Ole Miss

Phil's 2016 Most Improved Teams

  1. Texas
  2. Nebraska
  3. LA Lafayette
  4. Georgia Tech
  5. Boston College
  6. Arizona State
  7. Troy
  8. UTEP
  9. Minnesota
  10. Connecticut

LSU's Rankings in Phil's Top Individual Units

  • QBs - 39th
  • RBs - 1st
    If the Heisman Trophy was awarded mid year, Leonard Fournette would have won it by a landslide. If in '15 the NFL allowed true sophs to enter the draft, Fournette would have been the top RB taken as he rushed for 1,963 (6.5). Derrius Guice would start for a lot of teams and totaled 8.5 ypc and is a solid receiver. He can score any time he touches it.
  • Receivers - 7th
    The Tigers don't throw the ball much so they don't have the stats of the other top units but Malachi Dupre and Travin Duval are two of the top WRs for the '17 draft. They have 3 experienced TE's and 6 Very Highly Touted (VHT) backup WRs.
  • Offensive Line - 5th
    Having a RB like Fournette will help your stats and LSU's O-line stats were 257 ypg rush., 6.1 ypc and just 17 sacks allowed. They return 8 of the top 10 OLs and almost every one is an uber Very Highly Touted.
  • Defensive Line - 8th
    LSU allowed just 123 ypg rushing (3.8) with 34 sacks despite losing a pair of NFL draft choice's last year. This year the entire two deep returns and they switch from a 4 to 3 man D-Line. Lewis Neal, Davon Godchaux and Christian LaCouture all return and are backed by 7 VHT's. This year they get to play in Dave Aranda's disruptive defense.
  • Linebackers - 8th
    Aranda's defenses make stars out of LB's so you can expect some AA's out of this unit. Arden Key is now 245 lbs and had 5 sacks as a true frosh. Kendall Beckwith is a projected #1 draft choice. Twelve VHT's are in the unit.
  • Defensive Backs - 1st
    The Tigers have had 2 recent Jim Thorpe Award winners in Patrick Peterson & Morris Claiborne and CB Tre'Davious White or S Jamal Adams could be the next. White may have been a #1 choice in the '16 draft but opted to stay. At the other CB spot is 6'2" Kevin Toliver and true frosh Saivion Smith who was in for spring and impressive. The unit has 14 VHT's and six of them are ranked #10 or better out of high school.
  • Special Teams - 36th

LSU's Top 15 Rankings in Phil's Projected Units

  • Rushing Offense - 8th
  • Most Improved Passing Offense - 6th
  • Total Offense - 12th
  • Most Improved Passing Defense - 2nd
  • Most Improved in Points Allowed - 2nd
  • Rushing Defense - 6th
  • Pass Defense - 1st
  • Points Allowed - 1st
  • Total Defense - 1st

Phil's SEC Forecast

SEC WEST SEC EAST

1. Alabama
1. LSU
3.
Ole Miss
4. Auburn
5. Texas A&M
5. Arkansas
5. Mississippi State

1. Tennessee
2. Georgia
2. Florida
4. Missouri
5. Kentucky
6. Vanderbilt
6. South Carolina

Phil's comment on LSU in his SEC West forecast
LSU has the 2nd most experienced team in the SEC with 17 returning starters. They should get improved QB play and have a Heisman contender in RB Leonard Fournette. They add Dave Aranda as the DC and he did gret things with Wisconsin's D, which had less talent than he inherits here. While they play 4 SEC bowl teams on the road, they get their toughest SEC games (Ole Miss, Bama) at home. Five of my 9 sets of power ratings call for LSU to go unbeaten this year. Nov. 5th could feel like a playoff game in Death Valley. The Tigers are on the prowl for a 2nd National Title this decade.

Tigers on Phil's 2016 Preseason SEC Teams

1st team Offense - RB Leonard Fournette, C Ethan Pocic
2nd team Offense - WR Malachi Dupre, G William Clapp, T Maea Teuhema
3rd team Offense - WR Travin Dural
1st team Defense - DL Davon Godchaux, LB Kendell Beckwith, CB Tre'Davious White, S Jamal Adams
2nd team Defense - LB Arden Key
4th team Defense - DL Lewis Neal

Phil's Forecast on his LSU page:
OFFENSE - We can enjoy Leonard Fournette for 1 more year of college football and they have 2 super WR's, a veteran O-line and should have improved QB play. They avg. 32.8 ppg in '15 and will be even more potent in '16.
DEFENSE - I have marveled at the job Dave Aranda has done at Wisconsin the last few years and he is a great hire this year as the DC. Last year they had to replace their DC and slipped from allowing 317 ypg to 347 and from 17.5 ppg to 24.2. Aranda runs a defense that turns LB's into stars and he never had the amount of VHT's that he has to work with here. My computer says they go from 24.3 ppg down to 16.03.
2016 - LSU has won 8+ in 15 straight seasons (2nd longest in FBS). LSU has the 2nd most experienced team in the SEC behind Tennessee ... but getting DC Aranda for the defense should have them improve by a TD per game on that side. They can only get more effective QB play and still have Fournette at RB. They do face 5 bowl teams on the road but 5 of my 9 sets of power ratings are calling for 12-0 as they avoid Tenn. and get Bama and Ole Miss in Death Valley. Since their '11 Title game, LSU has lost 3, 3, 5, & 3 games but look like a National Title contender this year.

Intriguing SEC Numbers
1 Times LSU and Missouri have met - 20-15 Mizzou win in 1978 Liberty Bowl
15-1 LSU's record in its last 16 games against Mississippi State
4 Consecutive years home team has won LSU-Ole Miss game
5
Consecutive wins by LSU vs Texas A&M, making the Tigers the only SEC West team A&M has not defeated since they joined the conference
15-3 LSU's record against the SEC East in its last 18 meetings
23 Consecutive SEC openers Alabama had won until beaten at home by Ole Miss last year
1 Times Ole Miss has defeated Alabama in consecutive seasons (2014-15)
14-3 Record of home team in Egg Bowl in last 17 games - Ole Miss hosts State this year.
29 Consecutive non-conference home games won by Auburn
1927-
29
Last time Arkansas won three straight vs LSU, something the Razorbacks can do November 12 in Fayetteville
1-8 Mississippi State's record in last nine trips to Tuscaloosa
11 Consecutive victories by Florida over Tennessee
9 Consecutive victories by Alabama over Tennessee
10 Consecutive victories by Georgia over Ole Miss
22-3 Georgia's record vs Kentucky in most recent games, including six straight by an average of 21 ppg
9-1 Florida's record against Arkansas, only loss being in the schools' first meeting in 1982
111-
13
Margin by which Florida has outscored Kentucky in Q1 of their last seven meetings
5-46-1 Vanderbilt's all-time record against Georgia
7 Consecutive times South Carolina has beaten Mississippi State

Quick Quiz

LSU is 4-0 in neutral site opening games the last six years. List the four opponents the Tigers defeated in those games.

LSU has won 49 consecutive regular season non-conference games. What was the last non-SEC team to defeat LSU in the regular season?

2016 College Football Preview: ESPN the Magazine
ESPN's Top 10
  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Florida State
  5. LSU
  6. Ohio State
  7. Stanford
  8. Michigan
  9. Tennessee
  10. Notre Dame

Comments on LSU:

  • Brad Edwards' Playoff Forecast
    IN IF ... it holds home field. The Tigers host Ole Miss and Alabama in Death Valley, so the SEC West will be theirs to lose. ...
    OUT IF ... the D doesn't return to form. LSU allowed 24.3 ppg last year (10th in the SEC) - the first time outside the SEC's top four since 2008.
  • LSU's dilemma? QB Brandon Harris works best out of the shotgun while Fournette shines in the In formation.
    Yards for Fournette with QB under C: 2,384 (6.8 ypc)
    Yards for Fournette with QB in shotgun: 540 (6.1 ypc)
  • FB J. D. Moore was injured for LSU's final seven games. If healthy, he opens lanes for Fournette as shown by this table.
    Fournette's Yards/Carry in 2015
    Yards Per Carry 2-Back Set 1-Back Set
    First 5 games 8.7 5.4
    Final 7 games 5.1 5.1
  • LSU vs Wisconsin
    Brian Griese: When you play Leonard Fournette, it's not just about the front seven, its how the safeties support, and Wisconsin lost both of theirs.
    Todd McShay: Obviously, ... you expect Wisconsin to load up and do everything they can to get as many guys in the box as they can and challenge LSU to throw the football. Will that be enough?
    Griese: It's time for LSU. We've been having these kinds of conversations: There's no question that they have the talent, but do they have that killer mentality? Do they have the mental focus to take it week by week?
    McShay: For me, just from a pro talent perspective, they're right there with Alabama as one of the two most talented teams in the entire country.
Intriguing Numbers
3 Times Oklahoma State has upset a top-20 Oklahoma team since 2001, the last being in 2014
7 Consecutive SEC titles won by the SEC West
43.7
% of Stanford's rushing and receiving yardage that Christian McCaffrey accounted for last year, the most in nation.
42.0 % of LSU's rushing and receiving yardage that Leonard Fournette accounted for - 2nd most in FBS.
6-1 Las Vegas odds for Alabama to win the national championship, the lowest of any team.
18-0 Ohio State's record in road games under Urban Meyer; the Buckeyes travel to Oklahoma September 17.
15-2 J. T. Barrett's record at starting QB at Ohio State
13 Years since Michigan beat both Michigan State and Ohio State in the same year.
12 Losses by Chris Petersen in his first two seasons at Washington, which is as many as he lost in eight seasons at Boise State
20 Average margin of victory in Alabama's last four season-opening neutral sites games against Michigan, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Quick Quiz

Identify the last SEC East champion that won the SEC title.

Conference Football Rankings 2004-2015
You probably think that the SEC has been the dominant conference in college football the last decade. You're right and I have proof. Namely, the final conference rankings in the Golden Football Rankings, as shown below. The conferences are ranked by average rank over the years from lowest to highest. The conferences were ranked according to the average final "power score" of all the members for that season.
2016 College Football Preview: Sports Illustrated
SI's Top 10
  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Florida State
  4. Michigan
  5. LSU
    OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE: "New defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is re­nowned for using multiple looks, but he's got so much talent that he could just play base defense if he wanted. A hulking line will once again rotate plenty of fresh bodies. Their linebackers are solid and have lots of speed. The secondary is as talented as it gets with future NFL picks in CB Tre'Davious White and SS Jamal Adams. Hopefully you can find a way to run the ball against them, but their front seven is so good that's a tough task.
    Leonard Fournette isn't just the best RB in the country - he's the best to play the position in years. But they're not only a run-the-ball-down-you-throat of­fense. They do a really nice job with the play-action pass, which is hard to de­fend when Fournette is always one broken tackle away from the end zone. They've got a talented receiving corps to go along with a massive, physical of­fensive line, but the biggest question is QB Brandon Harris [54% completions, 13 TDs, six INTs]. He's a capable passer, and now that he's got a year of expe­rience as a starter, he should be better. From the start to the end of last sea­son, he made a lot of progress.
    I don't see a lot of weaknesses in this team. They've got the talent to not only win the SEC, but also the national championship."
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Washington
  8. Houston
  9. Ohio State
  10. Tennessee
Intriguing Numbers
18 Returning starters (nine of each side) for LSU, most of any team in the SI's Top 25
10 Number of LSU's 12 opponents that had winning records in 2015
5
Consecutive victories by Alabama over LSU, the longest such streak since 1981 when the Tide won their 11th straight.
76 Combined career carries among Alabama's five returning backs.
8 Consecutive 10-win seasons for the Crimson Tide, the longest current streak in the FBS
1 Clemson's rank in 3rd-down defense each of the last two seasons
8 Florida State defensive players who left for the NFL.
+21 Turnover margin for Houston, the second best in the country last season
18 Ohio State true freshmen that coach Urban Meyer ex­pects to play this year
67 Total TDs in 17 starts by Ohio State junior QB J. T. Bar­rett

Quick Quiz

Who are the only two schools to win back-to-back games against Ala­bama during Nick Saban's tenure?

Identify the three SEC players over the last 20 years who have passed for 300y and rushed for 100y in the same game.

Interesting Quotations

  • An opposing coach on Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin: He brings some flavor. He changes it up. It makes it hard to focus on one thing. You used to just worry about stopping the run. Now they spread you out. .... They're go­ing to miss Ryan Kelly tremendously at center. He was the QB of their line.
  • An opposing coach on Florida State RB Dalvin Cook: You try to slow him down. You can't stop him. You've got to limit him to singles and doubles, be­cause if he gets going, he's going to get home runs.
  • An opposing coach on Oklahoma: Coach Bob Stoops walks and talks with a lot of swagger, and his guys feed off it. They think they're the best, and they play like it.
  • An opposing coach on Ohio State: This is going to sound weird because they finished No. 2 in scoring defense, but new co-coordinator Greg Schiano will make them better. His specialty at Rutgers was third-down pressure packages - finding creative ways to get to the QB. Ohio State will force more turnoavers because of what he'll do on third down.
  • Opposing coach on Tennessee: This is one of the most complete teams I've seen. They're the team to beat in SEC East.
2016 College Football Preview: Athlon Sports

Athlon's Top 10

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida State
  3. Ohio State
  4. Clemson
  5. Michigan
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Tennessee
  8. Notre Dame
  9. LSU
  10. Ole Miss

2016 College Football Playoff Predictions

  • Peach Bowl: Alabama vs Clemson
  • Fiesta Bowl: Florida State vs Ohio State

Seven Coaches on the Hot Seat

  1. Charlie Strong, Texas (11-14, two seasons)
    Strong's brief tenure in Austin has produced more losses than any two-year stretch at the school since 1955-56. There have been some bright spots - none brighter than last year's stunning win over Oklahoma - but Texas has looked alarmingly uncompetitive far too often.
  2. Darrell Hazell, Purdue (6-30, three seasons)
    Three of Hazell's six wins have come against FCS opponents, and the Boilermakers are a woeful 2-22 in the Big Ten in the past three seasons. It's hard to envision Hazell keeping his job unless Purdue reaches bowl-eligibility.
  3. Paul Haynes, Kent State (9-26, three seasons)
    Haynes inherited a program that went 8-0 in the MAC in 2012 but has managed only a 6-17 league record in the three years since. In 2015, the Golden Flashes were second-to-last in the nation in total offense ... and last in the nation in both yards per play ... and scoring offense.
  4. Gus Malzahn, Auburn (27-13, three seasons)
    It might seem a bit odd to put a coach who played for a national championship in 2013 on a Hot Seat list in 2016, but this is quite normal at Auburn. Consider the cases of Tommy Tuberville and Gene Chizik. From 2000-07, Tuberville went 47-17 in the SEC, won or shared five SEC West titles and dominated rival Alabama (7-1). He was fired after going 5-7 in 2008. Chizik won a national championship in 2010 but was fired two seasons later. So that should explain why Malzahn, just 6-10 in league play in the past two seasons, is on less-than-solid footing ...
  5. Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State (29-23, four seasons)
    DeRuyter went 20-6 overall and 15-2 in the Mountain West in his first two seasons, but the program has taken several steps back in the last two years. In 2015, the Bulldogs went 3-9, and all but one of the nine losses came by 14 points or more. DeRuyter fired offensive coordinator Dave Schramm and reassigned defensive coordinator Nick Toth.
  6. Dana Holgerson, West Virginia 36-28, five seasons)
    There were reports that West Virginia considered dismissing Holgorsen after the Mountaineers lost to Kansas State in the 2015 regular-season finale. That, obviously, did not happen, but there's no denying that his job is far from secure. The Mountaineers have had a losing Big 12 record in three of four seasons and have only three Big 12 wins over teams that finished with a winning league record.
  7. Les Miles, LSU (112-32, 11 seasons)
    There was seemingly a 90 percent chance that Miles was going to be fired after the Tigers' final regular-season game, but the veteran coach received a stay of execution. Miles' record is extremely impressive, but he has lost five straight games to Alabama and has lost at three games in four straight seasons - a record of "futility" that does not please the natives. Recruiting top players to LSU has not been a problem. Developing that talent, especially on offense, has been the issue.

Athlon's A+ New Coaching Hires

  1. Virginia TechJustin Fuente
    Replacing a coaching legend like Frank Beamer isn't going to be easy. However, ... Fuente was the engineer behind one of the nation's biggest turnarounds, as he inherited a (Memphis) program that was arguably one of the worst and transformed the Tigers into a team that won 19 games over the past two seasons.
  2. Tulane - Willie Fritz
    Fritz doesn't have the national recognition of Mark Richt or Kirby Smart, but Tulane hit a home run by landing the former Georgia Southern coach. Fritz has been a proven winner throughout his career, with 193 victories over four different stops. ... The American Athletic Donferences West Division is tough ... but Tulane has the right coach in placeto compete with the rest of the division.
  3. Miami Mark Richt
    At most programs, 145 wins in 15 seasons is more than enough to keep your job. But that wasn't the case for Mark Richt in Athens. ... Georgia - one of the top five jobs in the nation - made only two appearances in the SEC title game over the last 10 years, and the program lacked forward momentum. A fresh start for both parties was in order, and Richt landed at his alma mater with a chance to get Miami back on track. ... Richt didn't call plays in recent years at Georgia but plans to do so at Miami. That's a good thing. But can Richt beat Florida State and Florida for talent on the recruiting trail on a consistent basis?
  4. Iowa State - Matt Campbell
    Iowa State is one of the Big 12's toughest obs, so it was somewhat surprising when the program landed Campbell, one of the nation's top up-and-coming coaches. While winning at a high level ...will be challenging, Campbell noted the fan support and facilities in place as reasons Iowa State can compete with the rest of the Big 12. ... Campbell ... worked as an assistant at Toledo from 2009-11 before he was promoted to head coach ... In four seasons with the Rockets, Campbell recorded a 35-15 mark and guided Toledo to a share of the MAC West title twice. Campbell has already injected energy into the program and landed a solid recruiting class for 2016.
  5. Syracuse Dino Babers
    Syracuse got a much-needed shot in the arm with the hiring of Babers ... The Orange have made only three bowl appearances since 205 and badly missed on the hire of Greg Robinson, which resulted in a major rebuilding project for Doug Marrone. Babers isn't inheriting the same type of mess, but he's got a lot of work to do and will be making a significant scheme change on offense. ... At Bowling Green, Babers went 18-9 in two years and guided the Falcons to consecutive MAC East titles. Babers is regarded for his work on offense ... A high-powered offense in a dome should be an advantage for Syracuse, and Babers should have no trouble recruiting talent to run his attack. This is a great hire for Syracuse.

12 Top Coordinator Hires

  1. Don Brown, DC, Michigan
  2. Dave Aranda, DC, LSU
    Les Miles lost Kevin Steele to SEC West rival Auburn but rebounded nicely by luring Aranda to LSU with a lucrative three-year contract. Aranda has been a coordinator for six seasons at three schools (Wisconsin, Utah State, and Hawaii), and his defenses have finished first in the conference twice, second twice, third once, and fourth once.
  3. Bob Shoop, DC, Tennessee
  4. Jeremy Pruitt, DC, Alabama
  5. Greg Schiano, Co-DC, Ohio State
  6. Joe Moorhead, OC, Penn State
  7. Brady Hoke, DC, Oregon
  8. Tom Allen, DC, Indiana
  9. Chip Lindsey, OC, Arizona State
  10. Clancy Pendergast, DC, USC
  11. Walt Bell, OC, Maryland
  12. Kevin Clune, DC, Oregon State

Among the 2016 Breakout Players is Arden Key, DE, LSU.
New coordinator Dave Aranda plans to utilize Key as a hybrid end/linebacker this season. The Georgia native should thrive in that role, as he recorded five sacks and 6.5 tackles for a loss as a true freshman in 2015. Key is already one of the SEC's top pass rushers.

Teams on the Rise

  • Washington
  • Nebraska
  • Tennessee
  • LSU
    Les Miles' LSU Tigers looked abysmal during a three-game, season-defining stretch last November. ... This very nearly got Miles fired and distracted us from the fact that LSU was awfully good the other nine games.
    Thanks in part to one of the hardest scedules in the country, LSU finished the season 9-3 but ranked ninth in S&P ... With a kinder schedule, perhaps the young Tigers wouldn't have briefly run out of gas.
    LSU wasn't as bad as you thought, and now the Tigers return more of last year's production than anyone in the country. They started only four seniors in the bowl win over Texas Tech and lost only two early entries to the draft. They return their Heisman favorite RB, their two deep-threat receivers, four starters on the line and 10 defensive starters. Plus, they likely made an upgrade in defensive coordinators, from Kevin Steele to Dave Aranda.
    LSU has plenty of questions left to answer. The QB position has been in flux for a couple of years, and the defense was pretty weak against the run. But if Aranda can shore up the latter, Father Time might help with the former. Brandon Harris actually has some experience this time around. And he still has some murderous skill position weapons around him.
  • UCLA
  • Wake Forest

LSU Players on Athlon's Preseason All-America Team

First team offense – RB Leonard Fournette
First team defense – DB Jamal Adams
Second team offense - C Ethan Pocic
Second team defense - DL Arden Key

SEC PICKS

SEC WEST SEC EAST
  1. Alabama
  2. LSU
  3. Ole Miss
  4. Arkansas
  5. Texas A&M
  6. Auburn
  7. Mississippi State
  1. Tennessee
  2. Georgia
  3. Florida
  4. Kentucky
  5. Vanderbilt
  6. Missouri
  7. South Carolina

LSU's units are ranked within the conference this way:
QB - 3 (ahead of Alabama, 5), RB - 1, WR/TE - 5, OL - 2, DL - 2, LB - 7, DB - 2
The top (low) totals for the conference teams from the unit rankings are:

  1. Alabama - 14
  2. LSU - 22
  3. Tennessee - 28
  4. Georgia - 40
  5. Ole Miss - 42
  6. Texas A&M - 48
    Florida - 48

LSU players on Athlon's All-SEC Teams:

  • 1st team offense
    RB Leonard Fournette, C Ethan Pocic
  • 1st team defense
    DL Arden Key, CB Tra'Davious White, S Jamal Adams
  • 2nd team offense
    OL Will Clapp
  • 2nd team defense
    LB Kendell Beckwith

Excerpts from full page write-up on LSU

  • OFFENSE
    Fournette will once again buoy a Tigers offense that broke out in a Texas Bowl win against Texas Tech but is still searching for a consistent passing game. Fournette will be a workhorse, but returning QB Brandon Harris gets his two leading receivers back - along with a new position coach in Dameyune Craig - in hopes of reinvigorating a stagnant passing attack. ... Harris said offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's move from the press box to the sidelines in the Texas Bowl aided his progression and said it'd be "paramount" to the unit's success this year.
  • DEFENSE
    LSU's third D coordinator in three seasons, Dave Aranda, ushers in a new era bringing a 3-4 alignment ... for the first time in Les Miles' tenure. ... Kendell Beckwith headlines an otherwise thin linebacking corps ...
  • FINAL ANALYSIS
    LSU's offense will need to, once again, refine its passing game and get consistent QB play if the Tigers hope to live up to their lofty preseason expectations.

TOP 100 HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS 2016-17 – Louisiana players

2. Dylan Moses OLB (playing at IMG Academy, Bradenton FL)
15. Tyler Shelvin DT Northside (Lafayette)
56. Todd Harris S Plaquemine
78. Devonta Smith WR Amite
91. Bruce Jordan-Swilling OLB Brother Martin


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About This Site
This site is devoted primarily but not exclusively to college and pro football. The unique feature of this site is the publication each fall of the author's rankings of all FBS college football teams and similar rankings for the NFL. I live in New Orleans and am a graduate of LSU and FSU. So I present a Southern and particularly an SEC point of view but one that is reasonably objective. I also publish a monthly Football Magazine with stories from the past and a monthly Baseball Magazine with a similar format. During the winter and spring, there's a monthly Basketball Magazine.

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For Your Reading Pleasure

College Football Preseason Magazines Summaries

NEW Golden Basketball
Magazine
[8/24]
Basketball Short Story I'm Not Stanley Roberts.
Tiger Den Basketball Season in Time: 2005-06 - NCAA Tournament Round 3
Profile The Fab Five - V
Basketball Quiz Colleges Never in NCAA Tournament

 

RECENT Edition of the Golden Baseball Magazine [8/11]
Cardinals Clubhouse
---Four pennants in a row - 1886
---Cardinals Quiz
The Ultimate Game 1991 World Series - Game 7
Remarkable Rookie Boo Ferriss
1945
How Would You Rule? -
Batter Kicks Foul Ball
Baseball Quiz
- First million-dollar-a-year man
Short Story - "I Decided to Cheat"

 

RECENT Golden Football Magazine [7/16]
Tiger Den: Dietzel and McClendon - Episode 1 Part 1
Saints Saga: Best and Worst Games
Seminoles Sidelines: #1 Fan
Profile: Bill Walsh - II
Super Bowl II
Short Story: Bobby and Doak - Nearly College Teammates Too
How Well Do You Know the Rules?
Football Quiz


About This Site

SITE CONTENTS

Past Articles

Tigers in NFL - 2015 Update

Parallels

Les Miles and Dale Brown - Two Peas in a Pod?

If Alabama Fans Were Like LSU Fans
I Started Following SEC Football So Long Ago That ...
Future of College Football?

LSU Teams That Supplied the Most Pro Players
LSU Players Who Played the Longest in Pro Football

Biased Football Opinions Archive

Golden Moments in Sports History Archive

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