Monday, October 13, 2008

Paper Tigers

It certainly hasn’t been the year of the Tiger in college football.

In the preseason Coaches’ Poll, Tiger teams were located thus –

6. LSU
7. Missouri
9. Clemson
11. Auburn

Clemson was exposed the first game of the season with a 34-10 home thrashing by Alabama, but the other Tigers rose even higher than their preseason ranks, with LSU getting to 3rd, Missouri as high as 2nd, and Auburn once as high as 9th.

All ancient history now.

With the defeats of Missouri and LSU this weekend, there are no undefeated Tigers left. This group of highly ranked (preseason) squads stands at a collective 16-8 after the only the 7th week of college football.

But even that doesn’t tell the whole story, as these teams are all probably worse than their actual records.

LSU Tiger

Currently 4-1, the defending BCS Champions were just on the wrong end of a 51-21 beating at the Swamp. Previously known for their stout defenses, the 2008 LSU team gave up an incredible 265 yards rushing to Florida in the largest point victory over a defending “National” champ since 1984 (FSU over Miami).

Thus far LSU has defeated Appalachian State, winless North Texas (college football’s worst team), Mississippi State and Auburn. Mississippi State, the 113th ranked offense, scored 24 on LSU, or 8 more than their season average. Auburn, the 97th ranked offense, scored 21 against them.

LSU is now 52nd in scoring defense nationally.

Final Record Prediction: 8-4

Missouri Tigers

Anyone paying attention saw that loss to Oklahoma State coming from a million miles away, as Missouri has an awful defense. Currently ranked 46th in scoring defense, the real story of how bad this defense is shows up in their total defense, where they are a national 82nd, surrendering 381 yards a game.

And look who they have given those yards up to. Missouri’s wins include 3-3 Illinois (gave up 42 points to), 2-4 Southeast Missouri State, 3-3 Nevada, 2-4 Buffalo (surrendered 21 points to), and 3-3 Nebraska. Cumulative record of this group: 13-17.

They have now lost to the first winning team they have played.

Luckily for them they face only 2 remaining ranked teams – Texas (uh-oh) and Kansas.

Final Record Prediction: 9-3

Clemson Tigers

What to say about this group of Tigers, but that Clemson will always live down to expectations. They returned their most experienced team in years, and after 6 games are .500 to show for it. Their wins are over 3-3 Citadel, 2-4 NC State, and South Carolina State. Losses are Alabama, Maryland and Wake Forest.

Games ahead include Georgia Tech, Boston College, FSU, and South Carolina.

Final Record Prediction: 6-6

Auburn Tigers

In these Tigers we might be saving the worst for last. There is one word for Auburn football this year: Disaster.

Currently 4-3, their wins are over 1-5 Louisiana Monroe, 2-4 Southern Miss, 2-4 Mississippi State (the 3-2 game), and 2-4 Tennessee. Cumulative record of this group 7-17.

Losses are to LSU, Vanderbilt and ….Arkansas. At 3-3 currently, I had thought Arkansas the worst of the SEC until Auburn stepped up to take the title. Arkansas is 102nd in scoring offense, and 112th nationally in scoring defense, but somehow they managed to beat the listless Tigers of Auburn. Offensively challenged themselves, Auburn ranks 97th in scoring offense, and 108th in total offense.

The sad thing for Auburn is they still have to play at West Virginia, Ole Miss and Alabama, and have Georgia at home. The only sure winnable game on their remaining schedule looks to be Tennessee-Martin.

Final Record Prediction: 5-7

____________________

If 2010 is the “Year of the Tiger” on the Chinese calendar, we know 2008 surely isn’t the Year of the Tigers anywhere. By season’s end I’m calling for a single one of these teams to be ranked at all – Missouri – and then just barely.

1 comment:

DolFan 316 said...

On LSU: I was thinking about this today, and one of Auburn's TDs was scored by the D, so LSU's own defensive performance doesn't look *that* bad in hindsight. But they did make the Bulldogs' offense look competent which is inexcusable, and who else besides Big 12 teams gives up 51 points to anyone?

On Missouri: Their D actually wasn't the problem VS OK State, it was their offense that fell off a cliff. Mizzou's D actually performed much BETTER against the Cowboys than expected.

On Clemson: I don;t know if anybody *really* thought they were a top 10 team, it was just that they had so much talent people felt obligated to rank them that high.

On Auburn: Their offense actually looks about the same as last year, only this year they're losing most of the low-scoring gumfests.