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Path: /college-football/minnesota-creates-frogger-inspired-game-its-opener-against-tcu
Body:

Minnesota’s Thursday night opener against TCU is one of Week 1’s most anticipated games. And what better way to prepare for the opener than with a Frogger-inspired video game?

 

Thanks to Minnesota’s official Twitter account (@GopherSports), college football fans can have a little fun in the video game form. On Friday, the school released “Go Gopher Go,” a game where Minnesota's mascot (Goldy) tries to dodge TCU defenders, as well as a few other objects to reach the endzone.

 

No, this won’t fill the void of the annual college football game from EA Sports that’s currently on hiatus. However, it’s a good way to pass the time until the offseason officially ends.

 

Teaser:
Minnesota Creates Frogger-Inspired Game for its Opener Against TCU
Post date: Friday, August 28, 2015 - 12:48
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac-12, Stanford Cardinal
Path: /college-football/stanford-goes-crazy-when-walk-gets-scholarship-craig-jones-david-shaw-cardinals
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As everyone probably knows around these parts, getting a scholarship as a walk-on is a pretty emotional moment.

 

Stanford walk-on Craig Jones has put in work, and that moment was thrust upon him when coach David Shaw announced he was now on scholarship. At a school like Stanford, that's something worth getting emotional about.

 

 

Jones tweeted about the moment he thought would never come.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, August 28, 2015 - 12:38
Path: /college-football/pac-12s-top-freshmen-watch-2015
Body:

Aaliyah sang, "Age Ain't Nothing But A Number." The title track off the late R&B singer's debut album may have been released in 1994, well before any of the Pac-12's freshman class were born, but it's a sentiment the group's standouts will prove.

 

Related: The Pac-12's Top 15 Must-See Games of 2015

 

What the conference's top freshmen lack in experience, they make up for in promise. Many will get an opportunity to make an immediate splash on the Pac-12 scene in the upcoming campaign.

 

CB Ugo Amadi, Oregon

The departures of All-American Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Troy Hill and Dior Mathis leave a considerable hole in the secondary — typically a strength of the Duck defense. Reports emanating from early Oregon practices suggest Amadi is prepared to help fill the gap. Defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, the star of this Oregon defense, told Pete Martini of the Statesman Journal Amadi is performing well in practices.

 

WR Shun Brown, Arizona

Brown joins a loaded wide receiver corps at Arizona, with the Wildcats returning Cayleb Jones, Nate Phillips, Trey Griffey and Samajie Grant from a unit responsible for 3,945 yards of offense. While finding a spot in such a deep rotation is a challenge, the speedy and elusive Brown is reportedly playing his way into a role, per Bard Allis of 247Sports.com.

 

QB K.J. Carta-Samuels | Jake Browning, Washington

Washington's three-man quarterback race between Jeff Lindquist, Carta-Samuels and Browning appears headed into the Huskies' Week 1 matchup with Boise State. Redshirt freshman Carta-Samuels and true freshman Browning should be in the mix, and starting either signals an investment in the long-term future of Huskies football.

 

Carta-Samuels has the slight experience edge over Browning as a redshirt. He was Washington's Offensive Scout Team MVP in 2014.

 

QB Seth Collins | Marcus McMaryion, Oregon State

Oregon State will have a new starting quarterback for the first since 2012 this season. And the Beavers will have two of them.

 

True freshman Collins and redshirt freshman McMaryion have been locked in such a tight battle that new Beavers head coach Gary Andersen plans to start both.

 

"I'm pretty impressed with those guys, how they carry themselves," said senior running back Storm Barrs-Woods. "They command the offense pretty well."

An early enrollee, Collins had the opportunity to participate with the Beavers in spring practices. He electrified in his first collegiate workouts, breaking out a front flip in the Beavers' spring game.

 

RB Dominic Davis, USC

A variety of newcomers making noise in USC fall camp should came as no surprise, given the lofty billing of the Trojans' recruiting class. That Davis is one of those commanding attention is somewhat unexpected, however.

 

A 3-star recruit, Davis has quickly turned heads with his quick feet and ability to find holes. He was a standout of USC's traning camp-concluding scrimmage on Aug. 22, earning kudos from head coach Steve Sarkisian.

 

"Dom did what Dom's been doing all training camp," Sarkisian said. "No. 16 showed up today and said, 'You know what? I'm capable of playing football for USC.'"

 

DE Canton Kaumatule, Oregon

With the departure of Arik Armstead, an opportunity for playing time on the Oregon defensive line is wide open. Kaumatule got a jump on contributing when he enrolled in the spring and particated in practices then. He's now settling into a more prominent role through training camp and preparations for the Ducks' opener against Eastern Washington.

 

QB Josh Rosen, UCLA

Hype was brewed around true freshman Rosen from the moment he committed to UCLA. The 5-star prospect enrolled early and participated in spring practices, almost immediately leaping to the front of the competition to replace Brett Hundley — at least, in terms of public sentiment.

 

It took awhile, but Bruins head coach Jim Mora validated that sentiment on Aug. 26 by naming Rosen UCLA's starter for the season opener against Virginia. "Chosen Rosen" has drawn comparisons to Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck — only two of the best college and NFL quarterbacks of the last 20 years. No pressure.

 

LB Cam Smith, USC

The USC linebacker corps is loaded with talented newcomers. Five-star prospects Osa Masina and Porter Gustin have both seen first-team reps in early-season practices, and you can anticipate both seeing extensive field time come autumn.

 

Of the group thus far, however, Smith stands out as the leader. His early enrollment allowed him to acclimate in spring ball.

 

S Marvel Tell, USC

USC played one of the nation's youngest secondaries last season, in part because of lack of depth. A freshman, Tell doesn't make the unit any older, but he certainly gives defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox more option. Along with 5-star cornerback prospect Iman Marshall, Tell was expected to have an instant impact for the Trojan secondary.

 

While the talented Marshall will indeed see plenty of action, Tell has stood out as a potential starter through initial workouts. He's impressed with his uncanny athleticism and Tell's demonstrated keen instincts while manning the Trojans' backline.

 

DT Joseph Wicker, Arizona State

In Todd Graham's first two seasons at Arizona State, the Sun Devil defense built around star tackle Will Sutton. Arizona State might have its next Sutton in the talented Wicker.

 

Scout.com's Chris Karpman reports Wicker is seeing repetitions with the first team, playing both on the interior of the line and in the blitz-heavy devil-backer position. Such versatility goes a long way in the Arizona State defense.

 

Best of the Rest:

 

WR Britain Covey, Utah
RB Taj Griffin, Oregon
RB Ronald Jones II, USC
RB Lonny Powell, Cal
OT Keenan Walker, Arizona

 

— Written by Kyle Kensing, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a sportswriter in Southern California. Kensing is publisher of CFBHuddle.com. Follow him on Twitter @kensing45.

Teaser:
The Pac-12's Top Freshmen to Watch in 2015
Post date: Friday, August 28, 2015 - 12:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Utah Utes, Pac 12
Path: /college-football/ranking-toughest-games-utahs-college-football-schedule-2015
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Building a winning program in the Pac-12 South is not an easy task. Utah finally figured out the formula for doing it a year ago. The Utes built an identity rooted in aggressive, swarming defense, a bruising running game and spectacular special teams play.

 

It helped Utah finish with a 9-4 record and notch a Las Vegas Bowl victory over Colorado State even while playing one of the nation's toughest schedules last fall. The Utes ended a season with an Associated Press Top 25 ranking for the first time since leaving the Mountain West Conference.

 

Duplicating such a feat in 2015 will not be easy. Utah faces four 2014 bowl teams within its own division. The Utes are also one of only a handful of FBS teams who do not play an FCS opponent. The Utes will need to elevate their offense to rise up the Pac-12 South ladder and finally claim a division title – all while grinding through another brutal schedule.

 

Related: The Pac-12's Top 15 Must-See Games of 2015

 

Here's a look at Utah's 2015 schedule, ranking opponents from easiest to toughest:

 

12. Sept. 19 at Fresno State

Utah's one-time WAC rival is now light years behind the Utes on the football field. Fresno State's porous defense yielded 32.4 points and 456 yards per game a year ago. Travis Wilson shredded the Bulldogs for five touchdown passes in a 59-27 victory for Utah last September. A similar outcome in 2015 will not surprise anyone.

 

11. Nov. 28 vs. Colorado

Since resuming their rivalry in 2011, Utah and Colorado have fought to the finish each time the two teams have met. The last four games in the series have been decided by an average of 5.3 points. Those nail-biters have favored Utah. The Utes have beaten their Pac-12 rival three straight seasons.

 

Colorado will not make it a simple task. Nelson Spruce is a dangerous receiver who will test Utah's secondary. Spruce tallied 106 passes for 1,198 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2014. Still the Buffaloes must improve on a 102nd-ranked run defense and  a 116th-ranked scoring defense a year ago to keep Devontae Booker and company from shredding it to pieces.

 

10. Oct. 31 vs. Oregon State

Utah has been caught up in shootouts with Oregon State in past seasons. Each of the last two games has been decided by overtime – with the road team claiming victory both times.

 

New head coach Gary Andersen returns to face his mentor Kyle Whittingham on Halloween night. It could be a scary proposition for the Beavers. Oregon State must break in a new quarterback to replace Sean Mannion. Returning all five starting offensive linemen and running back Storm Woods should ease the offensive transition. The Beavers also return just two defensive starters. That's not a good formula for new defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake.

 

9. Oct. 10 vs. California

If California's defense can take some steps forward this season, this could turn into a much more dangerous game. The Golden Bears boasted the 10th-ranked scoring offense among FBS teams a year ago and should be equally potent in 2015. Still, California missed out on a bowl after allowing opponents to score at least 31 points in each of its final 10 games.

 

Jared Goff enters his third season at quarterback with 7,481 yards and 53 touchdowns in two years in Sonny Dykes' high-octane offense. Cal also returns Daniel Lasco, who piled up 1,115 yards in the backfield last season.

 

8. Sept. 11 (Friday) vs. Utah State

Utah's oldest rival is coming off the schedule after this season, with no future games lined up beyond 2015. Utah State will be motivated to walk away from the Battle of the Brothers with a final upset. It won't be easy for the Aggies. Utah has won seven straight games in Salt Lake City against Utah State dating back to 1997.

 

Upset hopes for the Aggies likely hinge on senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton's health. When Keeton is 100 percent, he confuses defenses with his mobility and smart play. Utah State's main strength lies on defense. Linebackers Kyler Fackrell and Nick Vigil set the tone with swarming and aggressive play. Don't be surprised to see a low-scoring dogfight between these two teams.

 

7. Nov. 7 at Washington

The Huskies have never lost to Utah in eight previous meetings. With Chris Petersen's squad facing major rebuilding this season, that winning streak could end. Washington returns only one full-time starter, Travis Feeney, in its defensive front seven and no full-time starters on the offensive line after Dexter Charles retired from football in fall camp because of injuries.

 

If that wasn't enough, a freshman quarterback will face Utah's sack-happy defense. Redshirt freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels and true freshman Jake Browning are battling for the starting job. The winner must figure out how to elevate an offense that averaged 30.2 points and 388.6 yards per games in 2014.

 

6. Sept. 3 (Thursday) vs. Michigan

A rematch with Utah marks the beginning of the Jim Harbaugh era at Michigan. The Wolverines are yearning to dish out revenge after being embarrassed in the Big House last season. Utah did not allow an offensive touchdown in a 26-10 win at Michigan a year ago.

 

Michigan had one of the nation's worst offenses last season, ranking 112th in total offense. Having Harbaugh at the controls should elevate things. Defense, on the other hand, should be a strong point again. The Wolverines ranked seventh nationally in total defense and return depth and experience across the board – highlighted by senior linebacker Joe Bolden, who registered 102 tackles a year ago.

 

5. Nov. 21 UCLA

Former UCLA standout Brett Hundley is probably still having nightmares of getting sacked by Utah players. The Utes registered 10 sacks on Hundley to lead Utah to a huge upset win in the Rose Bowl last season. With Utah's defensive line stronger than ever, and the Bruins likely breaking in new QB Josh Rosen, it could get ugly at the line of scrimmage once again this fall.

 

UCLA does have some experienced playmakers where it counts. Nine starters return overall on offense – highlighted by Paul Perkins, the Pac-12 leader in rushing yards last season. Defensively, linebackers Myles Jack and Deon Hollins create all sorts of problems with the pressure they create for opposing quarterbacks.

 

4. Oct. 17 vs. Arizona State

The Sun Devils have beaten Utah 11 straight times, dating back to 1976. None of those losses hurt as much as the last pair of setbacks. The Utes blew fourth-quarter leads each of the last two years against Arizona State and lost by a combined four points.

 

Breaking the jinx might not be any easier in 2015. Arizona State returns seven defensive starters. The Sun Devils also return strong-armed quarterback Mike Bercovici, who threw for 1,445 yards and 12 touchdowns a year ago. D.J Foster and UCLA transfer Devin Lucien are both dangerous receivers who can make Bercovici look good. Demario Richard leads a deep and balanced backfield.

 

3. Nov. 14 at Arizona

Rich Rodriguez has Utah's number. Since Rodriguez took over the Wildcat program, Arizona has beaten the Utes three straight times and averaged 37 points per game in those victories. It won't get easier for Utah against the defending Pac-12 South champions this season.

 

Arizona still has all the pieces in place that obliterated Utah a year ago. Anu Solmon broke freshman records after passing for 3,793 yards and 28 touchdowns for the Wildcats last season. Nick Wilson powered his way for 1,375 yards in his debut season. Scooby Wright, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, comes off a season where he totaled 163 tackles, 29 tackles for a loss and 14 sacks.

 

2. Oct. 24 at USC

The Trojans were stung by a last-second loss to Utah last season. USC has the tools in place to exact revenge this time around. Few teams can match the explosive potential of the Trojan offense.

Cody Kessler is deadly in quarterback efficiency. Kessler threw for 39 touchdowns and just five interceptions in 2014. Justin Davis and Tre Madden are talented backs that can churn out enough yards to keep defenses honest. USC is just as tough to handle on defense. Su'a Cravens highlights a strong unit, coming off a season where he led the Trojans with three interceptions and 17 tackles for a loss last season.

 

1. Sept. 26 at Oregon

Utah has struggled to ground the Ducks in recent meetings. The Utes have lost three straight to Oregon overall and has allowed an average of 47.5 points in their last two losses to the Ducks. The task of slowing Oregon down won't get any easier in 2015.

Losing a quarterback like Marcus Mariota might be a blow for most teams. Oregon isn't like most teams. The Ducks still have enough speed, talent and depth at the skill positions that either Jeff Lockie or Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams should be able to keep the offensive engine moving without skipping a beat. The strongest area might be the backfield, where Royce Freeman leads a stable of talented ball carriers.

 

— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.

Teaser:
Ranking the Toughest Games on Utah's College Football Schedule in 2015
Post date: Friday, August 28, 2015 - 12:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/10-bold-fantasy-football-predictions-2015
Body:

Trying to predict the future is hard, especially when it comes to fantasy football, but extremely fun at the same time. But it can also be supremely frustrating. So why do it at all?

 

Well if you are reading this, you love making predictions. That’s what fantasy football is all about. We all look into our own crystal ball to see which players are going to breakout or be a complete bust and we draft our team accordingly.

 

Unfortunately more times than not, we’re wrong. But when we’re right, it’s glorious. But sometimes you really have to go out on a limb. So with that in mind, here are 10 bold fantasy football predictions for 2015.

 

1. Adrian Peterson will score the most fantasy points

The last time Peterson had such a large chip on his shoulder he was coming off a torn ACL and everyone was doubting him, saying that he was coming back too early and that he would never be the same again.

 

That was back in 2012 and all Peterson did was almost set the single-season rushing record, as he ran for 2,097 yards and scored 12 TDs on the ground. Oh and he also added 40 catches for 217 yards and a score, making him a beast in PPR leagues too.

 

Fast-forward to 2015 and after Peterson basically took a year off (I’m not going to get into it), he is once again facing the doubters who say that he has lost a step since he is now 30 years old. But this year will be the first season that Peterson is actually featured in coordinator Norv Turner’s offense and the sky is the limit for Peterson.

 

All-Day is going to challenge Jeremy Hill (see below) for the rushing title and don’t be surprised when he finishes the season with more than 50 receptions and 400 yards receiving. Oh and chalk up about 15 total TDs too.

 

2. Jeremy Hill will lead the league is rushing

Raise your hand if you thought that DeMarco Murray would lead the NFL in rushing last year? That’s right – no one saw that coming. Hill burst onto the scene last year when starter Giovani Bernard got hurt. Seizing the opportunity, Hill averaged 103.2 yards rushing per game and 5.4 yards per carry over the Bengals’ last nine regular season games, scoring six TDs over that stretch and nine on the season.

 

Hill is now the unquestioned bell-cow in an offense led by coordinator Hue Jackson, who loves to pound the ball. Plus, wide receiver A.J. Green is now 100 percent healthy and so is tight end Tyler Eiffert, meaning defenses won’t be able to stack the box to slow Hill down.  Hill is going to rush for more 1,500 yards this year and score 10-plus TDs. If you can get him in the second round you should thank your lucky stars.

 

3. Aaron Rodgers will finish the year as the No. 3 fantasy football quarterback

Blasphemy! Not really – hear me out. This is all due to the loss of Jordy Nelson to a torn ACL for the entire 2015 season. Nelson’s loss means second-year wide receiver Davante Adams (and others) need to step up big time.

 

It’s true that Rodgers (much like Peyton Manning) elevates anyone he plays with to superstar status and Adams will probably finish the season as a top-15 WR. However, until Adams proves himself, defenses probably won’t shade his way like they did last season when Nelson was running routes. This means more coverage underneath where Randall Cobb makes his living. This also means more check downs, which increases the fantasy potential of tight end Richard Rodgers, but lowers Rodgers’ ceiling.

 

In all probability the Packers will become more of a balanced offence and lean on Eddie Lacy in the running game. This might not be a good idea as Lacy has a concussion history and losing him even for a couple of games would really slow down Rodgers and the offense. Plus Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger will be airing it out this year to better targets operating from more wide-open offenses. Yes, the Seahawks are going to lean more of Wilson this year than Marshawn Lynch. Also you can never count out Drew Brees and Peyton Manning from fighting for the No. 2 spot behind presumed position leader Andrew Luck.

 

4. Carson Palmer will be a top-8 fantasy QB this year

Injury limited Palmer to just six starts last year. But he was 6-0 in those starts and if you project that out to a full season the Cardinals would have finished 16-0. Okay, probably not, but Palmer’s stats projected over an entire season would have looked something like 29 TDs and 4,300 passing yards. Not bad numbers for a guy who is currently being drafted as a QB22.

 

The Cardinals will be a very good team again in 2015. Palmer has solid veteran receiving targets in Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd (who should be ready to go for week 1). Plus, Palmer has an emerging star to throw the ball to in John Brown, who some have compared to Marvin Harrison and is almost on everyone’s top-10 sleeper list this year.

 

It’s true that Palmer now has the “injury-prone” label attached to his name, but it’s fair to note that he has started all 16 regular season games six times in his career. He’s a savvy vet that has amazing upside based on his ADP.

 

5. Brandin Cooks will outscore Antonio Brown in fantasy points

Have you seen the insane chemistry between Drew Brees and Cooks this preseason? In about two quarters of action the duo already has two touchdowns and seems unstoppable. This is against opposing defenses who are playing their starters.

 

There is no way that Brown can match his stats from last year (129 catches, 1,689 yards, 13 TDs). Brown is very, very good but the Steelers now have more options than ever before with Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton, plus don’t forget about Le’Veon Bell.

 

The Saints on the other hand lost target monster Jimmy Graham and deep threat Kenny Stills in the offseason and while Marques Colston returns, he has lost a step and is no longer Brees’ No. 1 option. It’s true that New Orleans might run the ball more, but don’t forget this is a team led by Sean Payton with Drew Brees as his QB – both these guys love to air it out. Plus while the Saints’ defense has improved, they aren’t great, which means Brees and company will probably be playing from behind a lot, raising Cooks’ value.

 

Cooks is currently ranked as a WR18 – a complete steal for someone who is going to have 100-plus catches, more than 1,300 receiving yards and 8-plus TDs.

 

6. David Cobb will win offensive rookie of the year

While it’s true that not many NFL teams were beating down the door to draft Cobb, he couldn’t have landed in a better spot than with the Tennessee Titans, who took him in the fifth round. Cobb is a rugged runner who will enter the year as the Titans’ No. 1 RB. Last year the Titans featured the uninspiring combo of Bishop Sankey and Shonn Greene. Sankey is still around and so far is getting every opportunity to be the lead ball carrier and all he is doing is stinking it up.

 

Coob on the other hand has performed extremely well so far in the preseason and looks like he has the tools to be a workhorse. He ran for 1,626 yards and 13 TDs last year at Minnesota. Those numbers are especially impressive when you consider how anemic the Gophers’ passing attack was last season. Cobb (5-11, 229) is built to take NFL punishment.

 

7. Eddie Royal will finish the year with 1,200 receiving yards and 8 TDs

So the Bears decide to let Brandon Marshall go and trade him to the Jets for a bag of footballs. And while the team did draft Kevin White with the seventh overall pick, Chicago also signed Eddie Royal to provide depth to its wide receiver corps. Statistically speaking, Royal enjoyed his best season in 2008, when both he and current Bears quarterback Jay Cutler were in Denver.

 

Now with the possibility that White could miss the entire 2015 season because of a stress fracture in his shin, Cutler will be leaning on Royal even more. Alshon Jeffery is still the No. 1 option, but he’s been hampered during training camp and the preseason by different injuries. If Jeffery’s injury issues persist into the start of the regular season, Royal could emerge as Cutler’s No. 1 target. This is great news for anyone gambling on Royal in the late rounds, as offensive coordinator Adam Gase has a history of relying heavily on his No. 1 WR (Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas).

 

8. Tyler Eiffert will be a top-5 fantasy TE by the end of the year

If you’ve been watching any of the Bengals’ preseason games so far you’ll have noticed that Andy Dalton looks Eiffert’s way a lot. It appears that they have some decent chemistry going into the season. Whether or not you think Dalton is any good doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that Eiffert is the No. 2 receiving option on a team that has a very balanced and well-run offense. What makes Eiffert even more enticing his he is currently being overlooked in many drafts and currently has an ADP in the 10th round as a TE10. You can load up on other positions and wait for Eiffert and reap the rewards.

 

9. Tre Mason will rush for over 1,000 yards

Everyone knows that Todd Gurley is the next great running back. Some have gone as far as comparing him to Adrian Peterson. That might be going a little too far. For one, Gurley has yet to see a single snap in an NFL game. And secondly, he is coming back from a torn ACL and will be playing with a surgically repaired knee.

 

No one knows for sure when Gurley will see game action, but at least for the first few games of the 2015 season, the Rams will be handing the ball off to Mason, probably around 20 times per game. And Mason is going to take this opportunity and run with it (pun intended). Mason is not going to just let Gurley come in and be the starter when he’s ready. Mason finished the 2014 season with 543 yards over his last eight games, averaging 4.3 yards per carry.

 

Mason is currently being drafted as a RB31 in the seventh round. That’s extreme value for a guy who is going to be given every opportunity to produce and is going to surprise everyone with the results.

 

10. Sam Bradford stays healthy and throws more than 30 TD passes

That’s right – this is the year that Bradford puts it all together, stays healthy and plays 16 games and with the tutelage of Chip Kelly, becomes a bona fide star QB.

 

What’s not to like here? Bradford is the best QB Kelly has ever had in the NFL and don’t forget Kelly was the one who turned Nick Foles into a household name. Bradford has the arm, accuracy and smarts that Kelly loves in his QB. Sure Kelly would love it if Bradford was a little more mobile, but Kelly didn’t trade for the No. 1 overall pick from the 2010 draft because of his ability to make plays with his legs.

 

The Eagles are going to have a top-5 offense this year. They have added DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews to their backfield. They have emerging stud WRs in Jordan Matthews and rookie Nelson Agholor plus a soon-to-be top TE in Zac Ertz. The best part about Bradford is that he is going undrafted in the majority of standard leagues, so you can go right now and pick him up on the waiver wire. Go do it now.

 

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.

Teaser:
10 Bold Fantasy Football Predictions for 2015
Post date: Friday, August 28, 2015 - 12:00
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-sec-2015
Body:

Every season of college football starts out the same way. We have all of these things that we think are knowns — lead-pipe locks as one popular radio host calls them. Then, by midseason, we're all wrong, sitting around wondering what happened to all that we thought was written in stone.

 

It shouldn't surprise us, considering that we are dealing with young men in their late teens and early 20s, but it always does.

 

Related: Outrageous College Football Predictions for the Pac-12 in 2015

 

When it comes to the SEC, one of the things we think we know is that, despite not having won the national championship in the last two seasons, it's still the toughest conference. The coaches and media agree, as eight SEC teams appear in the Top 25 of the two major preseason polls. But are those rankings legit, or are we in for a few surprises?

 

Sounds like a good time to makes some outrageous predictions about the SEC in 2015.

 

Vanderbilt will go bowling

The Commodores return 16 starters from a season ago and face a very manageable non-conference schedule. Additionally, by way of playing in the SEC East, they get to play two or three teams with some serious question marks heading into the season. All of these things point to a season where we could very well see Vanderbilt win seven or eight games.

 

Florida won't win a conference game

The Gators may boast one of the finest players in the land in cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, but the rest of the roster leaves a whole lot to be desired. They've got freshmen and inexperienced underclassmen all over the depth chart. They are easily the youngest and most inexperienced team in the conference. To make matters worse, they're going through a regime change. Jim McElwain's first season in Gainesville is going to be long and painful.

 

Nick Chubb will run for 1,000 yards in September

Georgia loves the spotlight. They love having a guy in the Heisman conversation, and in 2015, Chubb is the guy. Look for him to carry the ball 30 times a game in all four September contests against some extremely suspect defenses. The folks at ESPN and the SEC Network (one and the same) will be ready to shut down the Heisman voting altogether after the first month of the season.

 

Ole Miss will win the West

The success the Rebels had at the beginning of 2014 was maybe a season too early. Ole Miss will feature one of the nation's top defenses and play in a fairly weak offensive division. On the other side of the ball, the Rebels return every starting offensive lineman and skill player. That will make life pretty easy for quarterback Chad Kelly.

 

Missouri will win the East for the third straight year

There are only two teams in the country who have played in two consecutive conference title games and return their starting quarterback from a season ago. One is Ohio State. The other is Mizzou. Gary Pinkel and Maty Mauk are the SEC's most successful quarterback/coach combo over the last two seasons. The Tigers have systems that work on both sides of the ball and athletes who are willing to play specific roles to help the team. While everyone else in the SEC East is looking for an identity or to make a move to the next level, Missouri already knows exactly who and what they are.

 

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Scott is the editor-in-chief of KnowItAllFootball.com, a Big Ten site for Big Ten fans. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions for the SEC in 2015
Post date: Friday, August 28, 2015 - 11:30
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-tournament-bragging-rights
Body:

I spend a lot of time perusing college football message boards and fan groups, usually trying to get a read on how each fan base views its team's chances in the upcoming season. Additionally, I notice plenty of trash talk going on between fans of different teams — which isn't surprising. Many times, the trash talk and arguments are over which program is better, has more history, has more wins in the series, or has "scoreboard" (the last victory in the series).

 

This gave me an idea. I would create a tournament — much like college basketball's March Madness — where the best programs in college football history were ranked, broken up into four regions, and seeded in a bracket. The teams are ranked and seeded according to all-time wins. I've included the top 32 teams who currently play in Power 5 conferences.

 

Celebrate, Michigan fans! You got the No. 1 overall seed!

 

The matchups and results are easy, as they have already taken place. To win and move on, a program simply must have more head-to-head wins all-time than its opponent. In the case of a tie, I would give the win to the team that won the last game (scoreboard). In the event that the two teams have never played, I would give the win to the team with the higher all-time winning percentage.

 

It's not science, but it works. The best part is, it can change from year to year.

 

Based on who the top four teams were in all-time wins, I broke the bracket into four geographic regions and gave each of the top four teams a No. 1 seed. I made sure to set up the bracket in a 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3 traditional style, leaving us with this:

 

East vs. West, South vs. Midwest, winners meet in the finals.

 

Here's how the brackets turned out:

 

East Regional

 

1. Michigan vs. 8. Boston College

4. Georgia Tech vs. 5. Syracuse

3. Georgia vs. 6. Clemson

2. Penn State vs. 7. Michigan State

 

West Regional

 

1. Nebraska vs. 8. California

4. Virginia Tech vs. 5. Washington

3. USC vs. 6. Colorado

2. Oklahoma vs. 7. Wisconsin

 

South Regional

 

1. Texas vs. 8. Ole Miss

4. Auburn vs. 5. Texas A&M

3. Tennessee vs. 6. Florida

2. Alabama vs. 7. North Carolina

 

Midwest Regional

 

1. Notre Dame vs. 8. Missouri

4. West Virginia vs. 5. Pittsburgh

3. LSU vs. 6. Arkansas

2. Ohio State vs. 7. Minnesota

 

Using Winsipedia.com, I proceeded to fill out the bracket. Head-to-head records are in parentheses, as well as any other tie-breakers.

 

Round One

 

Michigan over Boston College (4-0)

Georgia Tech over Syracuse (3-0)

Georgia over Clemson (42-18-4)

Michigan State over Penn State (14-14-1, scoreboard)

Nebraska over California (3-0)

Washington over Virginia Tech (all-time winning percentage)

USC over Colorado (9-0)

Oklahoma over Wisconsin (2-0)

Texas over Ole Miss (6-2)

Texas A&M over Auburn (4-1)

Florida over Tennessee (25-19)

Alabama over North Carolina (1-0)

Notre Dame over Missouri (2-2, scoreboard)

Pittsburgh over West Virginia (61-40-3)

LSU over Arkansas (37-21-2)

Ohio State over Minnesota (43-7)

 

Round Two

 

Michigan over Georgia Tech (1-0)

Georgia over Michigan State (2-1)

Nebraska over Washington (5-4-1)

USC over Oklahoma (5-2-1)

Texas over Texas A&M (76-37-5)

Alabama over Florida (23-14)

Notre Dame over Pittsburgh (47-21-1)

LSU over Ohio State (1-1-1, scoreboard)

 

Quarterfinals

 

Georgia over Michigan (1-1, scoreboard)

USC over Nebraska (4-0-1)

Texas over Alabama (7-1-1)

Notre Dame over LSU (6-5)

 

Semifinals

 

USC over Georgia (3-0)

Notre Dame over Texas (8-2)

 

College Football's Tournament of Bragging Rights Championship

 

Notre Dame over USC (45-35-5)

 

So there you have it. Again, this is not science, but something to reference or even do on your own someday. As previously mentioned, these results could change literally every year. For now, however, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and their fans can hold their heads up high. In a sport where your history and the results of your last game means so much simultaneously, Notre Dame wins the argument at the water cooler in 2015.

 

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Scott is the editor-in-chief of KnowItAllFootball.com, a Big Ten site for Big Ten fans. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.

Teaser:
College Football's Tournament of Bragging Rights
Post date: Friday, August 28, 2015 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-35-running-back-units-2015
Body:

While every college football team would prefer to have an established, superstar No. 1 running back, using a committee of options is the preferred approach to save wear and tear on the starter. Some teams prefer to split the carry workload close to a 50-50 split or use certain players in situational roles. Regardless of the usage, more teams are looking to a committee of players to establish a rushing attack. And with that in mind, it's not easy to rank the best backfields in college football. Weighing a team with a clear superstar but little depth, as opposed to a team with three proven options and no standout No. 1 option is a tough assignment.

 

Related: College Football's Top 50 Players for 2015

 

How did we come up with these rankings? A couple of factors were considered. Depth, overall talent, production, level of competition and projected output in 2015 all factored into the rankings for the backfield. While some teams may have experienced a down year last season, having a different quarterback or a change of scheme can make a huge difference. These rankings reflect projection for 2015, not solely what teams have accomplished in 2014.

 

College Football's Top 35 Running Back Units for 2015

 

1. Georgia 

The Bulldogs got an early preview of their 2015 backfield after Todd Gurley’s 2014 season ended following a suspension and torn ACL. Nick Chubb rushed for only 224 yards through the first five games but emerged as one of the SEC’s top running backs in the second half of last year. The five-star recruit from Georgia finished 2014 with 1,547 yards and 14 rushing scores. Chubb averaged at least 8.0 yards per carry in three of his last five games. Sony Michel also impressed as a true freshman last year, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. Michel and Keith Marshall will compete for the No. 2 spot behind Chubb.

 

Related: College Football's Top 30 Linebacker Units for 2015

 

2. Oklahoma 

A freshman was supposed to make an impact at running back for Oklahoma last season, but most believed it would be Joe Mixon. However, Mixon was suspended for the entire year, allowing Samaje Perine to emerge as the Big 12’s top running back. Perine set the single-game rushing record with 427 yards against Kansas, led all freshman running backs with 1,713 yards and added 21 scores. Mixon is slated to return in 2015, giving Oklahoma a dynamic one-two combination at running back. Alex Ross is another weapon for new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley after averaging 6.8 yards per carry in 2014.

 

3. Ohio State 

With an offensive line that was struggling to find its footing early in the year, Ezekiel Elliott got off to a slow start in 2014. However, no running back was performing at a higher level by the end of last season. Elliott finished with three consecutive 200-yard efforts, including 246 yards and four scores in the national championship game against Oregon. Elliott is one of the favorites to win the Heisman, but he won’t have to shoulder all of the workload. Curtis Samuel is ready for a bigger role after averaging 6.6 yards per carry last year. True freshman Mike Weber may end up as Elliott's top backup at running back by the end of 2015.

 

Related: College Football's Top 35 Defensive Lines for 2015

 

4. Alabama

T.J. Yeldon left Tuscaloosa for the NFL, but there’s no shortage of talent at running back in Tuscaloosa. Junior Derrick Henry – one of college football’s most physically impressive running backs – is set to take the lead role in the backfield after recording 990 yards and 11 scores last season. Kenyan Drake is back from a serious leg injury to assume the No. 2 role. He will also see his share of receptions as a weapon on passing downs. Bo Scarbrough’s status is uncertain for the 2015 season after suffering a torn ACL in spring practice. Talented true freshman Damien Harris could be the No. 3 back for coordinator Lane Kiffin. 

 

5. Florida State

With Jameis Winston off to the NFL, the rushing attack should be a bigger part of Florida State’s offense in 2015. Dalvin Cook was one of the top running back recruits in the 2014 signing class and averaged 141.3 rushing yards per game over the final three contests of 2014. After accumulating only 170 carries last season, Cook is poised for an uptick in touches and an opportunity to push for All-America honors in 2015. Mario Pender (206 yards last year) is also due for a bigger workload, while true freshman Jacques Patrick will also factor into the mix.

 

6. LSU

With uncertainty surrounding LSU’s passing attack once again, it’s Leonard Fournette’s show on offense. The sophomore is arguably the most talented running back in college football and should be one of the preseason favorites to win the Heisman Trophy in 2015. In 13 games as a true freshman last year, Fournette rushed for 1,034 yards and 10 scores. While Fournette is locked into the starting job, the backup situation is unsettled. Sophomore Darrel Williams is the frontrunner, but freshmen Derrius Guice and Nick Brossette are expected to see carries.

 

Related: College Football's Top 30 Defensive Backfields for 2015

 

7. Pittsburgh

There’s a new coaching staff, but the gameplan for the Panthers won't change on offense. Running back James Conner is one of the best in the nation and is the reigning ACC Player of the Year. In 13 games last season, Conner recorded 1,765 yards and 26 scores. Rachid Ibrahim was lost with an Achilles injury, leaving Chris James (437 yards) and true freshman Darrin Hall as the top backup options. 

 

Related: College Football's Top 30 Offensive Lines for 2015

 

8. Arkansas 

Behind a massive offensive line and two of the SEC’s top running backs, the Razorbacks have averaged 200 rushing yards per game in back-to-back seasons. Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams finished 2014 as the only running back duo in college football to both reach the 1,000-yard mark. However, the backfield suffered a huge loss when Williams was lost for the season due to a foot injury suffered in fall practice. Collins will step into the No. 1 role after recording 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. True freshman Rawleigh Williams III and fullback Kody Walker provide depth and will help to fill the void left by Jonathan Williams.

 

9. Oregon 

The Ducks have produced a 1,000-yard rusher in eight consecutive seasons, and that streak should extend to nine in 2015. Royce Freeman led the team with 1,365 yards and 18 scores as a true freshman in 2014. Freeman is Oregon’s go-to back, but the No. 2 spot is up for grabs after Thomas Tyner was ruled out for the year due to shoulder surgery. Touted freshmen Taj Griffin and Tony Brooks-James will be needed to fill Tyner’s shoes in 2015.

 

10. Baylor 

While most of the attention on Baylor’s offense usually focuses on the quarterbacks and receivers, the Bears have averaged at least 200 rushing yards a game in four consecutive seasons. This year’s stable of running backs might be the most underrated group nationally. Shock Linwood returns after leading the team with 1,252 yards and 16 scores last season. Johnny Jefferson (5.2 ypc in 2014), Devin Chafin (383 yards) and redshirt freshman Terence Williams will compete for carries behind Linwood.

 

Related: College Football’s Top 35 Receiving Groups for 2015

 

11. UCLA  

12. Tennessee  

13. Auburn

14. Wisconsin  

15. Miami (Fla.)  

16. Michigan State  

17. Utah  

18. Arizona  

19. California

20. West Virginia 

21. TCU  

22. USC

23. Boston College  

24. Toledo 

25. Marshall

26. WKU

27. Rutgers

28. San Diego State

29. Georgia Southern

30. Appalachian State

31. Michigan

32. NC State

33. Northwestern

34. Texas Tech

35. North Carolina

Teaser:
College Football's Top 35 Running Back Units for 2015
Post date: Friday, August 28, 2015 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/sarah-palin-blasts-espn-suspending-curt-schilling-little-league-world-series-nazis
Body:

After Curt Schilling tweeted a Hitler meme regarding Nazis and Muslims, everyone knew there was a suspension from ESPN coming shortly.

 

Although the worldwide leader removed issued a statement saying Schilling's views don't reflect their own, the network removed him Little League World Series coverage. That's when Sarah Palin stepped in to defend the baseball legend, calling ESPN a "journalistic embarrassment." 

 

ESPN IS A JOURNALISTIC EMBARRASSMENT ESPN - what happened to you? Your intolerant PC police are running amok and...

Posted by Sarah Palin on Thursday, August 27, 2015

 

Palin ended her rant with what most people say about the popular network, "stick to sports."

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, August 28, 2015 - 10:08
Path: /college-football/big-12s-top-15-must-see-games-2015
Body:

The balance of power in the Big 12 firmly shifted to Baylor and TCU in 2014, and they return as the favorites to take home the conference title this time around.

 

Waiting in the wings are the two Oklahoma squads, who could throw a wrench or two in the Big 12 champ’s New Year’s Eve plans. In addition to Bedlam and the Red River Shootout, OU’s non-conference game at Tennessee presents a major measuring stick for the conference. The same goes for Texas’ contests with Notre Dame and California.

 

Those are just a few of the top 15 must-see games in the Big 12 in 2015.

 

1. Baylor at TCU (Nov. 27)

College football fans have to wait until Black Friday to see the Bears and Horned Frogs tangle in the sequel to one of the best games of the 2014 season. The winner may end up the Big 12’s one true champion.

 

 

2. Oklahoma at Baylor (Nov. 14)

If any other Big 12 team is going to unseat Baylor and TCU, it might be Oklahoma. The Sooners will head down to Waco in the second weekend of November carrying the scars of two straight blowout defeats at the hands of the Bears.

 

 

3. TCU at Oklahoma (Nov. 21)

Another revenge game for the Sooners a week after their meeting with Baylor. This time, they will host TCU.

 

 

4. Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (Nov. 28)

The Sooners were plummeting toward rock bottom in the wake of OSU’s miraculous Bedlam win last year. Meanwhile, the Cowboys salvaged their season by qualifying for a bowl game and knocking off their in-state rivals. In the past, this one has determined the Big 12 crown on multiple occasions.

 

 

5. Oklahoma at Tennessee (Sept. 12)

You’re measured these days in college football by the company you keep, which means that how the league’s members play outside the conference matters to everyone. The Sooners can strike a blow for the Big 12 with a win in Knoxville against a UT team that is considered a legitimate contender in the SEC East.

 

 

6. TCU at Oklahoma State (Nov. 7)

TCU better watch itself. Ask Baylor how games in Stillwater go for Big 12 favorites.

 

 

7. California at Texas (Sept. 19)

If the Sooners can win one for the entire conference against the Volunteers, Texas can do the Big 12 a favor and not lose to what is expected to be a feisty Cal team. The Longhorns could have problems keeping up with the Golden Bears’ explosive offense.

 

 

8. Baylor at Oklahoma State (Nov. 21)

See No. 6.

 

 

9. Oklahoma vs. Texas (Oct. 10)

The Red River Shootout is the ninth on this list? Indeed. Times have changed in one of college football’s fiercest rivalries.

 

 

10. Baylor at Kansas State (Nov. 5)

A Thursday night game in Manhattan, Kan., will test Baylor’s mettle. The Wildcats are dangerous when Bill Snyder has an extra week to prepare his team, as will be the case here.

 

 

11. TCU at Texas Tech (Sept. 26)

The Red Raiders have the kind of dynamic playmakers on offense to knock off at least one of the Big 12’s best teams. It could be TCU, as Gary Patterson will still be working in newcomers across his secondary when the Horned Frogs visit Waco.

 

 

12. Texas at Notre Dame (Sept. 5)

A clash between two of college football’s marquee programs in one of the sport’s most iconic stadiums makes for a great way to start the season. The Longhorns will have their hands full with the Fighting Irish, who harbor legitimate College Football Playoff hopes.

 

 

13. Maryland at West Virginia (Sept. 26)

Much like Cal-Texas, a loss by WVU to a decidedly mediocre Big Ten foe wouldn’t help the conference’s rep.

 

 

14. South Dakota State at Kansas (Sept. 5)

Don’t laugh — this could be the Jayhawks’ only shot at a win.

 

 

15. Texas Tech at Arkansas (Sept. 19)

Things turned ugly quickly when the Razorbacks came to Lubbock a year ago. Maybe Tech returns the favor this season, although Kliff Kingsbury might be satisfied if his squad just stays competitive.

 

— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.

Teaser:
The Big 12's Top 15 Must-See Games of 2015
Post date: Friday, August 28, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/tennessee-volunteers-wr-preston-williams-cleared-return-team
Body:

Tennessee Volunteer true freshman wide receiver Preston Williams has been cleared by the NCAA to rejoin the football team after a lengthy absence from the team. Tennessee head coach Butch Jones took to Twitter on Thursday to make the good news official.

 

 

Vols’ wide receivers coach, Zach Azzanni, soon followed with a tweet of his own.

 

The former 5-star High School All-American from Hampton, Ga., was deemed ineligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse just prior to the start of fall camp after his ACT test score was red-flagged. In order to return to the Tennessee football program, Williams would have to retake the standardized test and score within a reasonable margin of the red-flagged test. He re-took the test on Aug. 10 and was finally deemed eligible by the NCAA 17 days later.

 

Williams, who is in the late stages of recovering from an ACL tear last fall, was on track to participate in fall camp. There also was some optimism that he would be able to begin the season in the Vols’ wide receiver rotation. He is still expected to play a contributing role in Tennessee’s 2015 offense. However, Williams’ Vol debut may come later than originally expected after missing fall camp, which can be viewed as a positive in terms of allowing his knee to be at optimum strength upon his return to game action. He will be eligible to join the team and practice immediately.

 

Related: Tennessee Volunteers Open 2015 Fall Camp Without WRs Von Pearson and Preston Williams

 

The elite 6-foot-4, 209-pound receiver was considered one of the top players in America coming out of high school. Williams chose the Vols fairly early in the recruiting process, but continued to entertain other offers in what can best be described as one of the more interesting recruitments of the 2015 class. He was famously asked to leave an Auburn visit last January after he allegedly showed up wearing head-to-toe Vol gear and attempted to recruit other Auburn visitors to join him at Tennessee.

 

— Written by Rob McVey, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. McVey is a diehard Tennessee Volunteers' fan who loves singing "Rocky Top" every opportunity he gets. Follow him on Twitter @Rob_UTVOLS

Teaser:
Tennessee Volunteers WR Preston Williams Cleared to Return to Team
Post date: Friday, August 28, 2015 - 09:45
Path: /college-football/fallacy-nebraskas-nine-win-season-streak
Body:

Mike Riley was named the new head coach of Nebraska football last December amidst anger by some Cornhusker fans and confusion by the college football world, both fans and analysts. Only a few days out from the start of the 2015 season, ESPN showed this graphic (information on achievements added) on the most consecutive nine-win seasons (active) among FBS programs:

 

 

Why did the Huskers fire a coach who consistently won nine games per season? The Big Red is currently only one of three teams to have such a streak, tying Alabama with seven and sitting just behind Oregon with eight. However, one of these teams is not like the others.

 

Nine wins is a decent season. Not bad, not great. One could call it a “stepping-stone season,” but the Ducks and Crimson Tide didn’t stop there and stepped on a few more heads to bigger and better things.

 

Oregon claimed four conference titles, showed up to the national championship game twice and took part in the first ever College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

 

Related: Why No DPE Doesn’t Mean Nebraska Football Is DOA

 

Alabama one-upped the Ducks with three national championships, three conference titles and also participated in the College Football Playoff.

 

Yes, Nebraska won nine games too and I’ve heard all of the excuses. Teams would kill for nine-win seasons. And they’re in the MWC or the MAC. The Huskers are never going to see the glory days of the 1990s. I don’t hear fans saying they actually expect that.

 

While Oregon and Alabama have their streaks and something to show for them, the Big Red can claim two Big 12 North Division championships and a Big Ten Legends Division championship for its trouble. Nebraska would lose the three conference title games it showed up for by a combined score of 106-63.

 

As if that wasn’t enough to prove that Nebraska’s streak under Bo Pelini wasn’t a farce, how about the opposition all three teams beat?

 

Oregon’s eight-year streak comes complete with three top-5 victories for a total of 11 top-15 wins.

 

Alabama took down five top-5 teams including four No. 1s and a No. 2. A total of 23 teams in the top 15 fell to the Tide over seven years.

 

Nebraska won three top-15 games over that span during Pelini’s tenure, which just happens to coincide with the seven-year streak.

 

Yes, he was 67-27 as Nebraska football’s head man. He won 71 percent of the games he coached as a Husker. Heaven forbid the team across the field had a pulse, though.

 

It wasn’t even easy to rack up wins over the likes of Iowa State (who Nebraska lost to in 2009) or McNeese State. If Ameer Abdullah wasn’t in the backfield, the Huskers would’ve lost that game last season.

 

Don’t let the tip of the iceberg fool you. Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst knew what he was doing when he canned the Youngstown, Ohio, native.

 

Not only the current team but also former Cornhusker players and coaches rave about the culture in Lincoln. The old guard remembers it. The newbies see why it’s so memorable.

 

Nine wins may be a nice metric for some teams, but as Alabama and Oregon have shown us, it’s not for the elite and that, ladies and gentlemen, should include Nebraska.

 

— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Cavanaugh is founder of Eightlaces.com, a site devoted to in-depth Nebraska coverage. Be sure to follow Brandon on Twitter @eightlaces and Periscope (eightlaces), and like his Facebook page.

Teaser:
The Fallacy of Nebraska’s Nine-Win Season Streak
Post date: Friday, August 28, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: New England Patriots, NFL
Path: /nfl/5-areas-watch-new-england-patriots-preseason-game-vs-carolina-panthers
Body:

The third NFL preseason game is always the most interesting dress rehearsal of the summer. The starters often see time well into the second half and it's a chance to see which players are really atop the depth chart and how the coaches plan on using them.

 

The New England Patriots do a fair amount of rotation and experimentation in the preseason, but Friday's game against the Carolina Panthers should reveal a little more about how Bill Belichick's 2015 edition is coming together. With plenty of wide-open position battles and a fair number of significant injuries, there are still quite a few questions that need to be answered before the season starts in just under two weeks.

 

Here are five areas that deserve attention:

 

1. Travaris Cadet and the Running Backs

With the departure of Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley this offseason, the Patriots had at least two roles to fill at running back. In the first two preseason games we saw impressive flashes from both James White and Dion Lewis, but it's the return of free-agent signing Travaris Cadet that might garner the most attention. Cadet missed most of the last two weeks of camp with an undisclosed injury, but had his moments prior to that. Cadet had 38 catches for 296 yards and a touchdown with the Saints last season and is the most experienced pass-catching back on the roster, but his extended absence from camp currently has him off many 53-man roster projections.

 

Replacing Vereen will likely be done by committee, at least early on in the season, but how the snaps are broken down is still up in the air. Cadet has one of the most intriguing skill sets on the roster, but as the saying goes, you can't make the club from the tub. He'll need a big game to re-insert himself into the running back conversation.

 

2. Rookie Reality on the Offensive Line

Veteran Ryan Wendell returned to practice this week and, assuming he plays in the game, will answer some tough questions we've been asking all summer. Rookies Shaq Mason and Tre' Jackson have been fixtures at the starting guard spots since the start of training camp. Jackson is the more pro-ready of the two, but after only being a right guard in college, he's been only at right guard in the pros as well. This was Wendell's spot last season after making an unexpected transition from center, his starting spot in 2013. Now the question is can Wendell make another transition to left guard? Or perhaps can Jackson? We know that Nate Solder, Bryan Stork and Sebastian Vollmer will start at three of the offensive line spots, but how the guard positions play out now that Wendell is back will be an area to watch.

 

3. Safety in the Defensive Backfield

After starting camp with 10 cornerbacks, the Pats are now down to six healthy ones. While it appears Malcolm Butler and Tarrell Brown should lock down the two outside spots, little else is set in stone. Robert McClain has looked solid in the slot role while Logan Ryan has been up and down.

 

But it's at the safety spot where there are the biggest decisions to make. Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung are locks, while Duron Harmon and rookie Jordan Richards should be too, but the futures of Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner are up in the air. Both Wilson and Ebner are solid special team players, making them wild cards to make the roster. Keeping six safeties might seem a stretch, but when the team could be looking to play more three-safety sets is it crazy to keep three strong safeties who could all play on defense? Maybe not. Wilson needs a big game against the Panthers and should see plenty of action.

 

4. Reggie Wayne and Aaron Dobson

Julian Edelman returned to practice this week, but Brandon LaFell remains on the PUP list and it's starting to seem possible he won't be ready to go out of the gate. That opens up a spot for someone to start at the X receiver spot, and after season-ending injuries to Brandon Gibson and Brian Tyms, things are wide open. This is the chance Dobson has been waiting for, but a hamstring injury has sidelined him after an impressive offseason in OTAs. He was back at practice this week and could cement a roster spot if he can show good chemistry with Tom Brady. Then there's Wayne, who was expected to play only a specialized role in the offense, but you can never write off a future Hall of Famer with something to prove. Dobson or Wayne need to show something against the Panthers to ensure the Pats' offensive weaponry is ready to go against the Steelers.

 

Related: Reggie Wayne: The Right Fit at the Right Time for New England Patriots

 

5. Defensive Front Seven Starters

Jerod Mayo and Dont'a Hightower are both coming off significant injuries and have yet to see any game action this preseason despite being full-go in practice. Now is the time for Mayo and Hightower to get their feet wet with some game action and it will give us a sense of how the Pats plan on using their talented linebacker corps.

 

In front of them there's been a healthy rotation at defensive end and tackle, but now we'll see how that rotation might look once the season starts. Will they use big tackles like Sealver Siliga and Malcom Brown as space-eaters together? Or will they balance them with more up-field guys like Dominique Easley and Zach Moore? The Patriots have so much versatility in their front seven, now we'll get a taste of just how they might use it.

 

— Written by Mike Dussault, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and writer/editor of PatsPropaganda.com (@PatsPropaganda), a comprehensive blog covering the New England Patriots.

Teaser:
5 Areas to Watch in New England Patriots' Preseason Game vs. Carolina Panthers
Post date: Friday, August 28, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-official-conference-and-playoff-predictions
Body:

We’ve had all offseason to think about this, but the time has final come:

 

Time to make our official conference and playoff picks.

 

Though Athlon Sports magazines have been on shelves since the summer, the debate over teams and leagues has been ongoing here in our newsroom and our podcast.

 

Now, however, is when we’ll put our pen to paper — figuratively speaking — on our picks for the season. Athlon’s brain trust of Mitch Light, Braden Gall, David Fox and Steven Lassan picked every division and every conference, plus playoff teams, sleepers and potential Heisman finalists in this rapid-fire edition of the Athlon Sports Cover 2.

 

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @DavidFox615 or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com/podcastiTunesStitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Official Conference and Playoff Predictions
Post date: Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 17:56
Path: /college-football/ranking-toughest-games-boise-states-college-football-schedule-2015
Body:

Last year at this time, there was a lot of uncertainty around the Boise State program. People around the country were wondering if Boise’s best days were behind them with Chris Petersen bolting for Washington and the Broncos coming off an 8-5 season. My, how much a year can change narratives. Boise State is as strong as ever establishing themselves again as the best program in the “Group of 5” with a Mountain West title and a Fiesta Bowl win last year over Arizona in year one under Bryan Harsin.

 

This season, the Broncos enter 2015 ranked No. 25 in Athlon Sports’ preseason Top 25, and are a consensus favorite to be the automatic Group of 5 bid in a New Year’s Six game again.

 

Related: College Football's Top 10 Dark Horse Playoff Contenders for 2015

 

What does the schedule look like for this year’s Boise State squad? Is it a schedule that would give them an opportunity to be in the College Football Playoff conversation if the Broncos were to run the table? The committee will be the judge of that. Right now, let’s break down the Broncos’ 2015 schedule from the easiest game all the way to the toughest.

 

12. Sept. 18 (Friday) vs. Idaho State

It’s tough to get quality opponents to come up to the blue turf. Few teams want to take on the high risk of suffering a loss against the Broncos in Boise. Going 92-4 at home since 2000 will put fear into programs, so the Broncos had to turn to an FCS program. At least for the Broncos, it’s a regional team in Idaho State that brings some local in-state flavor.

 

11. Oct. 3 vs. Hawaii

The Rainbow Warriors under Norm Chow have been a mess. It’s easy to forget that within the past decade, the Warriors were battling with Boise State to be one of the top non-BCS/Group of 5 teams when they went undefeated in 2007 and played in the Sugar Bowl before eventually losing to Georgia. This year the Warriors are hoping USC transfer QB Max Wittek can inject life into an offense that only averaged 21 points per game a year ago. If Wittek can’t turn the offense around, it could be the end of the Chow era on the islands.

 

10. Oct. 24 vs. Wyoming

Since Boise State joined the Mountain West in 2011, the Broncos have defeated Wyoming by an average of 35 points per game. The Pokes have never defeated Boise and are 0-9 all-time against BSU. Don’t expect much of that to change, as Wyoming returns only 10 starters this season.

 

9. Oct. 31 at UNLV

Halloween in Las Vegas will probably bring out some scary sights, but none of those scares or frights will strike the Broncos in Sam Boyd Stadium. I'd expect the Broncos to enjoy a lot of "treats" against UNLV. The Rebels begin year one of the Tony Sanchez era, as he makes the difficult jump from high school head coach to FBS headman. Can he make the leap? The Rebels have always had the potential to be a player in the Mountain West but they can’t seem to string it together on a yearly basis. Boise State will cruise to another easy win against a cross-division foe.

 

8. Nov. 14 vs. New Mexico

New Mexico gave the Broncos a scare last year in Albuquerque, as the Lobos were up by eight points entering the fourth quarter. Boise scored 19 unanswered to come away with a double-digit win, but the Lobos, entering the fourth year of the Bob Davie era, have established an identity as a team that will pound it away on the ground. The past two years the Lobos have averaged over 300 yards per game rushing the ball, and they return their top three rushers from last season.

 

7. Nov. 27 (Friday) at San Jose State

Ask Fresno State back in 2013 how tough it can be to go to San Jose to end a season. Derek Carr and the Bulldogs were undefeated and on track to go to a BCS bowl game until the Spartans pulled off an upset. Could the Broncos be undefeated heading into the regular season finale, and will history repeat itself? The Spartans return 10 starters on offense, and will have one of the most explosive offenses in the Mountain West this season.

 

6. Oct. 10 at Colorado State

Last year, the Rams had their best season since Sonny Lubick was roaming the sidelines in the Choice City. The Rams went 10-3 and were making a case to get the New Year’s Six spot until they lost to Air Force in the regular season finale. The Rams fell to the Broncos in week two on the blue turf, and will be looking to get revenge in Fort Collins this year. All-American WR Rashard Higgins returns, but will he have the same level of production now that Garrett Grayson is in the NFL? Nick Stevens was named the starting quarterback last week, and will have a chance to prove himself.

 

5. Sept. 25 (Friday) at Virginia

Cavaliers head coach Mike London enters his sixth season in Charlottesville, and his seat is as hot as ever after a third consecutive losing campaign. When London and the Cavs take on Boise State it’ll be the fourth game in a difficult September schedule that boasts a road trip to UCLA and a home game against Notre Dame. What will the Wahoos have left when Boise rolls into town?

 

4. Sept. 4 (Friday) vs. Washington

The return of Washington head coach Chris Petersen to the blue turf makes U-Dub-Boise State one of the more anticipated games on the week one slate. The emotions will be high for this one, but if Boise can get over those emotions early it has a great opportunity to make a statement on Coach Pete and his Huskies. The Broncos are currently an 11-point favorite on the Huskies, who return only nine starters from last season.

 

3. Nov. 20 (Friday) vs. Air Force

One of Boise’s two losses last season came against Air Force, who has been a tough out for the Broncos since joining the Mountain West Conference in 2011. Last year, Troy Calhoun’s program won 10 games which was an eight-win improvement from the previous year, and that was the biggest turnaround in college football last season.

 

The Falcons return five of their top six rushers from 2014 and are projected to be one of the top teams in the Mountain division.

 

2. Oct. 16 (Friday) at Utah State

The Aggies claimed the Mountain Division title in their inaugural season in the MWC in 2013, and last season were looking to have a second championship game appearance in as many years until they ran into a buzz saw against the Broncos in the regular season finale. Boise State had a dominating 50-19 win over the Aggies, which still leaves a bad memory for the Utah State veterans.

 

Utah State senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton returns after receiving a medical redshirt due to a season-ending injury he suffered against Arkansas State last year. If healthy, Keeton is one of the better quarterbacks out west. Keeton has yet to face the Broncos since the Aggies became members of the MWC. This will be the game that determines the champion of the Mountain Division.

 

1. Sept. 12 at BYU

This will be the fourth year of a 12-year series between the Broncos and BYU. The conference realignment craze has phased out a lot of traditional rivalries, but it has also formed great matchups like this one. The Broncos have a 4-1 lead all-time on the Cougars, but the last time Boise played in Provo, Utah, in 2013, the Cougars came away with a dominating two-touchdown win that propelled the Broncos to an uncharacteristic five-loss season that year.

 

BYU quarterback Taysom Hill is one of the most versatile signal-callers in the land. If the Broncos keep him in check they will have a great chance to come away with a big win in Provo, and the stage will then be set for them to possibly run the table in 2015.

 

— Written by Mitch Harper, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Harper is the BYU reporter and insider for 1320 KFAN and co-host of "The Cougar Center" podcast. Follow him on Twitter @Mitch_Harper.

Teaser:
Ranking the Toughest Games on Boise State's College Football Schedule in 2015
Post date: Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 13:15
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-2015-conference-and-national-championship-predictions
Body:

The start of college football’s 2015 season is less than 10 days away. The 2015 season officially begins on Thursday, Sept. 3 and ends on Jan. 11 with the national championship in Glendale, Ariz. The first season of the College Football Playoff was a huge success and the second year should have just as much intrigue.

 

Athlon’s editors met before the preseason magazine was released to iron out the predictions for the upcoming year, but there wasn’t a consensus on every conference title race, playoff predictions or top 25 rankings. From the ACC to the Sun Belt, there was plenty of disagreement from the staff on conference winners or the predicted order of finish.

 

In addition to the predicted winners of the conferences, Athlon’s editors also project the four teams to make the playoff and a national champion.   

 

Podcast: Official ’15 College Football Playoff Predictions



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

* Indicates projected champion of league's conference title game.

 

Predicting CFB's Conferences, Playoff and National Champion

ACC

   
 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

Mark

Ross

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@DavidFox615@BradenGall
Atlantic
   
1** * * *
2
3
4
5
6
7
      
Coastal
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7

 

American Athletic

 
 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

Mark

Ross

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@DavidFox615@BradenGall
East
   
1* * **
2
3
4
5
6
      
West
  
1 *
2
3
4
5
6

Big 12

 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

Mark

Ross

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@DavidFox615@BradenGall
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

 

Big Ten

 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

Mark

Ross

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@DavidFox615@BradenGall
East
   
1 * * * * *
2
3
4
5
6
7
      
West
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7

Conference USA

 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

Mark

Ross

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@DavidFox615@BradenGall
East
   
1 * * * *
2
3
4
5
6
7
      
West
  
1 *
2
3
4
5
6

MAC

 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

Mark

Ross

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@DavidFox615@BradenGall
East
   
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
      
West
  
1 * * * * *
2
3
4
5
6

Mountain West

 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

Mark

Ross

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@DavidFox615@BradenGall
Mountain
   
1 * * * * *
2
3
4
5
6
      
West
  
1
2
3
4
5
6

Pac-12

 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

Mark

Ross

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@DavidFox615@BradenGall
North
   
1* *
2
3
4
5
6
      
South
  
1 ** *
2
3
4
5
6

SEC

 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

Mark

Ross

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@DavidFox615@BradenGall
East
   
1 *
2
3
4
5
6
7
      
West
  
1 * * * *
2
3
4
5
6
7

Sun Belt

 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

Mark

Ross

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@DavidFox615@BradenGall
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11

Independents

 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

Mark

Ross

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@DavidFox615@BradenGall
1
2
3

Playoff Predictions

 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

Mark

Ross

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@DavidFox615@BradenGall
 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

National Champion

 

 

Teaser:
College Football 2015 Conference and National Title Predictions
Post date: Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 13:00
Path: /college-football/louisville-unveils-all-black-alternate-uniform-sept-17-game-against-clemson
Body:

Louisville recently unveiled an alternate uniform for its opener against Auburn, and the Cardinals now have an all-black design for the Sept. 17 showdown against Clemson.

 

The all-black design is a sharp look for Louisville, featuring the “L” logo on the pants, along with a red Cardinal on the helmet.

 

Check out Louisville’s all-black uniform for the critical ACC showdown on Thursday, Sept. 17:

 

 

 

 

Teaser:
Louisville Unveils All-Black Alternate Uniform for Sept. 17 Game Against Clemson
Post date: Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 12:55
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Overtime
Path: /overtime/richard-sherman-drew-brees-clay-matthew-star-xbox-commercial
Body:

Imagine being in a class with these guys.

 

In a new Xbox commercial, Richard Sherman, Drew Brees, and Clay Matthews give us a pretty accurate portrayal of what would happen if they were all in a class together. Sherman is definitely a know-it-all, but one of those cool ones you don't hate, while Matthews is in the back waiting for the time to pass.

Something tells me this is probably how Brees would really act in a classroom setting.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 12:43
Path: /college-football/pac-12s-top-15-must-see-games-2015
Body:

Welcome to the Wild West. Two straight seasons in which half of the Pac-12 Conference’s members finished ranked in the final Associated Press Top 25 commanded national attention and respect. This year, the Pac-12 opens with six of its 12 programs ranked in AP’s preseason poll.

 

Related: Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Pac-12 Preview and Predictions

 

Such a collection of quality teams means an array of excellent games on the upcoming docket. The Pac-12 title race can turn on any week, as last year’s wild South division proved. Four of the South’s five teams that were in the mix last November are ranked to open 2015.

 

Whichever team emerges from the South is tasked with taking the crown from Oregon. The Ducks are primed to run-and-gun their way back into College Football Playoff contention.

 

1. USC at Oregon (Nov. 21)

USC and Oregon are the media’s preseason picks to win their respective divisions. Just two weeks before the prognosticators have the Ducks and Trojans tabbed to meet at Levi’s Stadium in the Pac-12 Championship Game, they’ll face at Autzen Stadium.

 

2. Oregon at Michigan State (Sept. 12)

No other non-conference game on the 2015 slate pits two Top 10 teams against one another. Expect a Playoff atmosphere in East Lansing nearly four months before the real postseason tournament. A second-half rally in Michigan State’s visit to Autzen Stadium last September helped lay the foundation for Oregon’s run to the national title game.

 

3. UCLA at USC (Nov. 28)

Crosstown rivals UCLA and USC could both be in the mix for a Pac-12 Championship Game bid when the Bruins make the trek from Westwood to the Coliseum. Such high stakes would only add fuel to what is arguably the West’s marquee rivalry. Also at stake: UCLA’s three-game win streak under head coach Jim Mora, who has yet to lose to the Trojans.

 

4. Oregon at Arizona State (Thursday, Oct. 29)

Arizona State’s expressed goal of winning a national championship gets put to the test against the Pac-12 team that’s been closest to the mountaintop in the last decade. The Ducks have not danced with the Sun Devils since 2012, so expect Arizona State’s rowdy home fans to give Oregon a fitting greeting for this Thursday night affair.

 

5. Arizona State vs. Texas A&M (Sept. 5, in Houston)

Pac-12 vs. SEC games are to college football what DC-Marvel crossovers are to comics. These rare events give ardent fan-boys and fan-girls fleeting bragging rights to tout their favored brand. In this case, the featured showcase pits The Flash against Quicksilver – that is to say, two sides that move fast.

 

6. Arizona State at UCLA (Oct. 3)

The winner of Arizona State-UCLA every year from 2011 through ‘13 played in that season’s Pac-12 Championship Game. Last year snapped that streak, but the Sun Devils and Bruins were both still in the divisional title hunt. Expect similar implications again in 2015.

 

7. Arizona at Arizona State (Nov. 21)

Arizona and Arizona State have had since 1899 to cultivate a bitter and history-rich rivalry, but only since Arizona State’s Todd Graham and Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez came into the Grand Canyon State has the Duel in the Desert had championship stakes.

 

8. Stanford at USC (Sept. 19)

Starting with coaching rivals Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll in 2007, Stanford vs. USC has developed into a fun series marked by close finishes and memorable moments. The Trojans defend a two-game winning streak after losing the previous four.

 

9. USC at Arizona State (Sept. 26)

Fireworks ensued in each of the last two meetings, both Arizona State wins. Former USC head coach Lane Kiffin was fired following the 2013 encounter, while the Sun Devils beat the Trojans on a Hail Mary last year. This year’s edition could provide more early-season drama.

 

10. Oregon at Stanford (Nov. 14)

From 2010 through ‘13, the Oregon-Stanford game functioned as a de facto Pac-12 championship. Each season’s winner later claimed the conference title. That streak continued last year, though the Cardinal no longer factored into the championship race. Stanford head coach David Shaw had Oregon’s number in 2012 and ’13. With the matchup returning to The Farm, can the Cardinal make it a third win over the Ducks in four years?

 

11. UCLA at Stanford (Thursday, Oct. 15)

Finally breaking through to the Pac-12 championship means for UCLA means finally clearing the Stanford hurdle. Mora is 0-4 against Shaw, with two of those losses effectively denying the Bruins a conference title or shot at the conference title.

 

12. Michigan at Utah (Thursday, Sept. 3)

Harbaugh’s return to the Pac-12 comes as head coach of his alma mater, the Big Ten’s Michigan Wolverines. Host Utah has fallen into the background amid the buildup to this one, though the Utes dominated last year’s matchup in The Big House. Another win sets Utah off into 2015 on the right foot, as it looks to be the Pac-12 South’s dark horse title contender.

 

13. Arizona State at Utah (Oct. 17)

Arizona State is the only Pac-12 South team Utah has yet to defeat since joining the conference in 2011. It’s certainly not for lack of trying – the Utes came within a score each of the last two years, including last season’s overtime finish in Tempe.

 

14. Arizona at Stanford (Oct. 3)

The philosophical styles clash between Rodriguez’s up-tempo offense and Shaw’s NFL-influenced strategy has been tested just once. These teams last met in 2012 in a game Stanford won in overtime.

 

15. USC at Notre Dame (Oct. 17)

Recent installments of this storied rivalry haven’t exactly been befitting the series’ illustrious history. The 2013 edition, for example, was an ugly, plodding mess. Last year’s contest in Los Angeles was a lopsided rout. Still, with both USC and Notre Dame expected to contend for College Football Playoff bids in 2015, October’s meeting promises a return to the glory days.

 

Best of the Rest:

16. UCLA at Arizona (Sept. 26)
17. UCLA at Utah (Nov. 21)
18. Arizona at USC (Nov. 7)
19. Cal at Utah (Oct. 10)
20. USC at Cal (Oct. 31)
21. Arizona at Colorado (Oct. 17)
22. Utah at USC (Oct. 24)
23. Cal at Stanford (Nov. 21)
24. Cal at Texas (Sept. 19)
25. BYU at UCLA (Sept. 19)

 

— Written by Kyle Kensing, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a sportswriter in Southern California. Kensing is publisher of CFBHuddle.com. Follow him on Twitter @kensing45.

Teaser:
The Pac-12's Top 15 Must-See Games of 2015
Post date: Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 12:30
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-30-defensive-backfields-2015
Body:

Finding and evaluating cornerbacks and safeties is one of the most difficult jobs for any college football coaching staff. Competition level and a variety of offenses in high school create a several obstacles in player evaluation. But for some programs, finding the next stars at defensive back is an easy task. LSU and Florida consistently bring in and develop defensive back talent. And it’s no surprise the Tigers and Gators are at the top of the defensive backfield rankings for 2015.

 

Related: College Football's Top 50 Players for 2015

 

How did we come up with these rankings? A couple of factors were considered. Depth, overall talent, production, level of competition and projected output in 2015 all factored into the rankings for the backfield. While some teams may have experienced a down year last season, having a different quarterback or a change of scheme can make a huge difference. These rankings reflect projection for 2015, not solely what teams have accomplished in 2014.

 

College Football's Top 30 Defensive Backfields for 2015

 

1. LSU

Pass defense is an annual strength in Baton Rouge, and the 2015 version of LSU’s defensive backfield will be tough on opposing quarterbacks once again. Two starters depart, but the Tigers will reload with another wave of elite recruits. Tre’Davious White was one of the SEC’s top cover corners last season, recording two interceptions and helping LSU rank third nationally in pass efficiency defense. Sophomore Ed Paris, junior Dwayne Thomas or five-star freshman Kevin Toliver II will start opposite White at corner. True freshman Donte Jackson is another name to watch at cornerback. Jalen Mills and rising star Jamal Adams form one of the nation’s top duos at safety, but Mills is out indefinitely due to an ankle injury suffered in fall camp. The Tigers allowed only nine passing scores in SEC games last year.

 

Related: College Football Bowl Projections for 2015

 

2. Florida

Despite an offense that ranked near the bottom of the SEC, Florida’s defense led the conference by holding opponents to 4.6 yards per play. And even with end Dante Fowler off to the NFL, the Gators should be near the top of the league once again. New coordinator Geoff Collins is known for his aggressive play-calling and inherits a secondary loaded with elite talent, including All-America corner Vernon Hargreaves III. Sophomore Jalen Tabor is expected to win the battle to start at the other corner spot. Safeties Keanu Neal and Marcus Maye and nickel back Brian Poole round out a starting group that limited SEC opponents to 11 passing scores in 2014.

 

3. Ohio State

Standout corner Doran Grant will be missed, but Ohio State returns three starters from a secondary that ranked 13th nationally in pass efficiency defense. Eli Apple started 14 games as a redshirt freshman last season and led all Buckeye defenders with 10 pass breakups. Sophomore Gareon Conley is expected to replace Grant, while Marshon Lattimore and Damon Webb provide extra support at corner. Juniors Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell are as active as any starting safety combination in the nation, recording 10 interceptions and 10 pass breakups in 2014.

 

Related: College Football's Top 30 Offensive Lines for 2015

 

4. Virginia Tech 

Despite ranking 14th nationally in pass efficiency defense last year, Virginia Tech had trouble stopping big plays in the passing game. The Hokies surprisingly allowed 21 plays of 30 yards or more and gave up four of 50-plus yards. With junior Kendall Fuller — an Athlon Sports first-team All-American — back at cornerback, along with the return of Brandon Facyson from injury, Virginia Tech’s secondary should eliminate some of the big plays that plagued this unit last year. Chuck Clark, Donovan Riley, Desmond Frye and Greg Stroman opened fall practice as the favorites to claim the starting spots at safety and rover. True freshmen Mook Reynolds and Adonis Alexander are also expected to factor into the mix for snaps.

 

5. Ole Miss

Two starters — cornerback Senquez Golson and safety Cody Prewitt — depart from a secondary that picked off 19 passes and ranked 16th nationally in pass efficiency defense last year. Additionally, cornerback Mike Hilton was shifted to safety, opening the door for two new cornerbacks at Ole Miss in 2015. Despite the player movement, the Rebels will be tough against the pass once again. Safety Tony Conner should assume Prewitt’s job as an all-around playmaker in the secondary, while junior college recruits Tee Shepard and Tony Bridges are ready to step into the starting jobs at cornerback after standout spring performances.

 

6. USC 

Some of the statistical numbers for USC were a bit unsightly in terms of pass defense last season. However, the overall pass defense numbers aren’t the best way to evaluate a secondary. While the Trojans were 115th nationally in pass defense, this unit ranked 38th nationally in pass efficiency defense (a better metric to evaluate defensive backfields) and gave up only 12 plays of 30 yards or more in 2014. With three starters returning, along with a full season of Adoree’ Jackson at cornerback, USC’s pass defense is poised to rank among the best in the Pac-12 this season. Jackson will be joined by senior Kevon Seymour at cornerback, with Chris Hawkins, John Plattenburg, Leon McQuay III and Marvell Tell rounding out the top options at safety.

 

Related: College Football's Top 35 Receiving Groups for 2015

 

7. West Virginia

The Big 12’s top defensive backfields usually reside at Texas, Oklahoma or TCU. But that’s not the case in 2015. The Mountaineers return all five starters from a unit that limited Big 12 quarterbacks to a 51.1 completion percentage and surrendered only 12 passing scores in conference games. Cornerback Daryl Worley missed two games due to suspension last season but still tied for the team lead in interceptions (three) and recorded 52 tackles. Worley is one of the nation’s most underrated defenders. Joining Worley at cornerback will be Terrell Chestnut, while the safety positions are in good hands with Dravon Henry, All-America candidate Karl Joseph and KJ Dillon.

 

8. Florida State

P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby will be missed at cornerback, but coach Jimbo Fisher has recruited well at this position and a quick reload should be in order. Of course, it doesn’t hurt Jalen Ramsey – arguably the best defensive back in college football – is shifting from safety to cornerback to ease the loss of Williams and Darby. Not only is Ramsey an elite cornerback, his versatility is a huge asset for coordinator Charles Kelly. Marquez White is expected to win the spot opposite of Ramsey at cornerback. Nate Andrews, Tyler Hunter, Lamarcus Brutus and Trey Marshall (a rising star) will anchor the safety/nickel positions. True freshman Derwin James will be tough for Kelly keep on the sidelines.

 

Related: College Football's Top 50 Players for 2015

 

9. Boise State 

This group has work to do, but there are plenty of reasons for coordinator Marcel Yates to be optimistic. Three starters return, including All-Mountain West picks in cornerback Donte Deayon and safety Darian Thompson. This duo combined for 13 interceptions last season and anchored a secondary ranked 31st nationally in pass efficiency defense. Joining Thompson and Deayon in the lineup should be Jonathan Moxey (cornerback), rising star Dylan Sumner-Gardner at safety, while Chanceller James and Mercy Maston are fighting for the edge at nickelback. The Broncos allowed only 10 passing scores in Mountain West games last season.

 

10. Wisconsin 

The Badgers quietly had one of the Big Ten’s best defensive backfields last season. This unit ranked 32nd nationally in pass efficiency defense and limited Big Ten quarterbacks to a completion percentage of 47.4. With three starters back, high expectations surround this group. The cornerback duo of Darius Hillary and Sojourn Shelton should be among the nation’s best, and safety Michael Caputo should push for All-America honors. One goal of this unit in 2015: Improve takeaways. Wisconsin picked off only three passes in Big Ten games last year.

 

11. Penn State 

12. Minnesota

13. Alabama

14. Notre Dame  

15. Georgia

16. Tennessee 

17. Clemson 

18. Auburn

19. Arkansas

20. UCLA 

21. Miami

22. Virginia

23. Michigan 

24. Oklahoma State

25. Houston

26. Kansas State 

27. Duke

28. Missouri

29. Texas

30. Maryland

Teaser:
College Football's Top 30 Defensive Backfields for 2015
Post date: Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 12:00
Path: /college-football/accs-top-15-must-see-games-2015
Body:

This season, the ACC is a tale of two divisions. The Atlantic has Florida State and Clemson, two teams with their eyes on the ultimate prize at the end of the year. On the other side, the majority of the Coastal members believe that they have what it takes to win the division and play the Atlantic champ in the ACC Conference Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C., on Dec. 5.

 

Despite the differing nature of the two divisions, they both will produce intriguing games this year. Some of the best games to watch are conference clashes that will have a huge bearing on the ACC standings. With national powers Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia, Nebraska and Auburn lined up as ACC foes this year; some are non-conference games that will help shape the national landscape.

 

Here are the most interesting games on the ACC schedule for 2015.

 

1. Florida State at Clemson (Nov. 7)

It doesn’t get much juicier than this. It’s a November matchup between two teams not only vying for ACC supremacy, but perhaps a spot in the College Football Playoff as well. The Tigers know they let one slip away in Tallahassee last year and will be ready for the Florida State invasion.

 

 

2. Ohio State at Virginia Tech (Sept. 7)

The No. 1 team in the country may have fond memories of its run to the national championship in January. But the Buckeyes also remember the bitter pill they swallowed last September when the Hokies dealt them their only loss.

 

 

3. Notre Dame at Clemson (Oct. 3)

Notre Dame and Clemson have not played since 1979 and the Irish have gone to Death Valley just once, in their national championship season of ‘77. The storied programs have split the two previous encounters with the road team winning both times.

 

 

4. Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (Nov. 12)

While the Coastal looks wide open going into the fall, the Thursday night game between the Hokies and the Yellow Jackets has the potential to be the division game of the year. Both teams have 12 days to get ready for each other.

 

 

5. Louisville vs. Auburn (Sept. 5 at Georgia Dome in Atlanta)

Many experts have the Tigers as the favorites to win the SEC. Louisville has a number of new faces in its lineup and the Cardinals will find out right away how those players fit. This will be a fascinating duel between two great offensive coaches, Louisville’s Bobby Petrino and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn.

 

 

6. Clemson at Louisville (Sept. 17)

Wake Forest and Syracuse open ACC play on Sept.  12. With apologies to the Demon Deacons and the Orange, this Thursday night game at Papa John’s Stadium is the first game of import on the conference docket. It is also Clemson’s first real measuring stick game.

 

 

7. Florida State at Florida (Nov. 28)

There is the distinct possibility that this game means very little from a national perspective. But this is always the game in the Sunshine State. A victory would be a huge boost for new head coach Jim McElwain’s Gators, who have lost four of the last five meetings with the Seminoles.

 

 

8. Georgia Tech at Notre Dame (Sept. 19)

The Yellow Jackets should go into South Bend unbeaten and if the Irish hold up their end of the bargain by winning their first two games, this will be a biggie. Notre Dame has struggled with the Navy option and Georgia Tech presents that scheme with a different level of athlete.

 

 

9. Georgia Tech at Clemson (Oct. 10)

The Jackets got handed a bad scheduling draw this year. Not only is it their year to play Notre Dame, they also get Clemson and Florida State from the Atlantic. Clemson plays Tech the week after Notre Dame comes calling.

 

 

10. Nebraska at Miami (Sept. 19)

After expected wins against Bethune-Cookman and Florida Atlantic, Miami will host the Cornhuskers. This game will begin a difficult string of games that could determine the future of Hurricanes coach Al Golden.

 

 

11. Miami at Florida State (Oct. 10)

Three weeks after meeting up with Nebraska, the Canes head north to play their in-state rival. Miami hasn’t beaten the Noles since 2009 but they gave the defending ACC champs a tussle last year at Sun Life Stadium.

 

 

12. Georgia at Georgia Tech (Nov. 28)

The Dogs never like losing to the Jackets. They will have last year’s meltdown in mind as they head to Atlanta on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

 

 

13. NC State at Florida State (Nov. 14)

The Wolfpack faithful are sick and tired of hearing about how Clemson and Florida State will battle for the Atlantic and how Louisville could be a team to watch. Though the Wolfpack have been blown out in their last two trips to Doak Campbell, NC State won at FSU in 2009 and does not fear the Seminoles.

 

 

14. North Carolina vs. South Carolina (Sept. 3 in Charlotte, N.C.)

This is the kickoff to the FBS season. Both the Tar Heels and the Gamecocks expect to have high-powered offenses while questions abound for both defenses. This one should be a high-scoring affair.

 

 

15. Boston College vs. Notre Dame (Nov. 21 at Fenway Park in Boston)

This selection is not really about the game itself; it’s about the location. This will be the first football game at Fenway since Dec.  1, 1968. On that day, the Patriots defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in their last home game on Jersey Street in Boston.

 

Best of the Rest:

Virginia Tech at Miami (Oct. 17)
Virginia at UCLA (Sept. 5)
Clemson at South Carolina (Nov. 28)
North Carolina at Pittsburgh (Oct. 29)
North Carolina at NC State (Nov. 28)
Georgia Tech at Duke (Sept. 26)  
LSU at Syracuse (Sept. 26)
Duke at North Carolina (Nov. 7)
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh (Nov. 7)
NC State at Virginia Tech (Oct. 9)

 

— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.

Teaser:
The ACC's Top 15 Must-See Games of 2015
Post date: Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 11:30
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-big-12-2015
Body:

Every season of college football starts out the same way. We have all of these things that we think are knowns — lead-pipe locks as one popular radio host calls them. Then, by midseason, we're all wrong, sitting around wondering what happened to all that we thought was written in stone.

 

It shouldn't surprise us, considering that we are dealing with young men in their late teens and early 20s, but it always does.


Related: Outrageous College Football Predictions for the Big Ten in 2015

 

Talk to almost anyone in the country — fan or media member — and they'll all probably tell you the same thing about the Big 12 Conference in 2015: It's a two-team race between non-traditional powers. They'll tell you that the winner of the game between Baylor and TCU will probably end up in the College Football Playoff on the back of an outright conference title and likely an undefeated record. That sounds like reason enough to make some outrageous predictions about the Big 12 that go against the grain in 2015.

 

Kansas won't win a single game

First-year head coach David Beaty has a serious uphill climb in 2015. The cupboard was left bare and his roster is made of guys who had little else but Group of Five offers to play FBS football. There are underclassmen all over the field on both sides of the ball — many of them with very little playing experience. They won't play a game all year where they have more talent than the opponent, including the opener against FCS power South Dakota State. It'll be one of the longest seasons in Lawrence in a long time — and that's saying a lot.

 

Iowa State will be bowl eligible

Unlike Kansas, Iowa State returns a wealth of experience and upperclassmen throughout the depth chart. They also have a fairly manageable non-conference schedule, highlighted by an Iowa team that the Cyclones have been more than capable of competing with in recent years. They could be 5-0 by the time they play TCU and still have very winnable games against Kansas State and Oklahoma State on the schedule. And let's not rule out an upset at home over Texas.

 

Baylor will lose four games

There is a lot of hype around the Bears in 2015, but looking at how their ‘14 campaign ended, the writing is on the wall. The defense gave up more than five touchdowns an outing over the last four games — including the Cotton Bowl meltdown against Michigan State. The defense didn't magically improve over the past eight months, and the team's elite signal-caller from a season ago now gets dressed in the New York Jets’ locker room. In addition to TCU, Baylor is going to have a rough go of it in games with Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia — all of whom should be considerably better teams than they were a season ago.

 

Aaron Green, not Trevone Boykin, will get an invite to the Heisman ceremony

TCU became a more dangerous and complete team after Green took over as the primary ball carrier. The former 5-star recruit from 2011 transferred in from Nebraska a couple of years ago after he couldn't wrestle the starting role away from some guy named Ameer Abdullah. Green put up a total of 607 yards on the ground in six games from Nov. 1 through the Peach Bowl. He averaged nearly 6.4 yards per carry in that stretch and looks like he could be the Horned Frogs’ very own version of Ezekiel Elliott.

 

Oklahoma will win the Big 12

Bob Stoops didn't forget how to coach or recruit overnight. The Sooners are loaded with as much talent as any team in the conference. They boast two of the conference’s most explosive offensive playmakers and are anchored on defense by what is arguably the Big 12's best front seven. They play TCU to open conference play and will be the stiffest competition the Horned Frogs will have played since opening the season against Minnesota. They get Baylor at home on Nov. 8 and should be favored in every other game on the conference schedule.

 

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Scott is the editor-in-chief of KnowItAllFootball.com, a Big Ten site for Big Ten fans. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions for the Big 12 in 2015
Post date: Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 11:15
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-35-wide-receiver-groups-2015
Body:

While offensive and defensive lines are arguably more important to the success of any college football team, it’s the skill talent – running backs or receivers – and quarterbacks that generate most of the preseason attention. And with the balance of power in football shifting to the offense, big-play threats and speedy receivers are more valuable than ever.

 

Compiling the top 35 receiver groups for 2015 clearly showed there's a wealth of talented corps this season. Baylor takes the top spot in Athlon's top 35 receiver groups, with Texas A&M and Clemson rounding out the top three. 

 

Note: This ranking also takes into account tight ends.

 

Related: College Football's Top 50 Players for 2015

 

How did we come up with these rankings? A couple of factors were considered. Depth, overall talent, production, level of competition and projected output in 2015 all factored into the rankings for the backfield. While some teams may have experienced a down year last season, having a different quarterback or a change of scheme can make a huge difference. These rankings reflect projection for 2015, not solely what teams have accomplished in 2014.

 

College Football's Top 35 WR/TE Groups for 2015

 

1. Baylor

Recruiting and developing playmakers at receiver is becoming an annual strength for Baylor under Art Briles. Antwan Goodley departs after a standout career with the Bears, but there’s no concern about the returning group. Junior Corey Coleman led all Big 12 receivers with 10 touchdown catches in league games, while KD Cannon led the team with 17.8 yards per catch. Jay Lee is a reliable third option, and the Bears expect big contributions from sophomore Davion Hall and redshirt freshman Ishmael Zamora in 2015. The cupboard isn’t bare at tight end for Briles with 410-pound converted lineman LaQuan McGowan on board.

 

Related: College Football Bowl Projections for 2015

 

2. Texas A&M 

Kevin Sumlin’s team is loaded once again with playmakers in the receiving corps. Josh Reynolds led the team with 842 receiving yards and 13 touchdown catches in his first year after arriving from the junior college ranks. Speedy Noil and Ricky Seals-Jones combined for 95 catches and nine touchdown receptions as freshmen last season. Edward Pope, Frank Iheanacho and Sabian Holmes are back as other key targets, but true freshman Christian Kirk could be one of quarterback Kyle Allen’s favorite weapons by the end of the year.

 

3. Clemson

Athletic and speedy playmakers are in abundance at Clemson for new co-coordinators Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott. Mike Williams is back after leading the team with 1,030 receiving yards last season, but the offseason buzz with the Tigers revolved around the development of Artavis Scott. As a freshman in 2014, Scott caught 76 passes for 965 yards. Williams and Scott will catch a majority of quarterback Deshaun Watson’s passes, but Germone Hopper, freshmen Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud, Charone Peake and tight end Jordan Leggett will be involved.

 

Related: 10 Players That Will Determine the National Title in 2015

 

4. Ole Miss

The talent and depth of the receiving corps have improved significantly under coach Hugh Freeze, and whichever quarterback starts for the Rebels will have plenty of options. Laquon Treadwell’s 2014 season was cut short by a nasty leg injury against Auburn, but all signs point to the junior returning at full strength by the opener. In nine games last year, Treadwell caught 48 passes for 632 yards. Evan Engram is listed at tight end, but the Georgia native can stretch the field like a receiver. Cody Core (41 catches in 2014), Quincy Adeboyejo, Washington transfer Damore’ea Stringfellow and Markell Pack join Engram and Treadwell as proven and viable candidates. Talented true freshmen Van Jefferson and DaMarkus Lodge are also in the mix for playing time.

 

5. Oregon

The Ducks could be a spot or two higher on this list, but this unit also has a few question marks to sort through. How soon will Devon Allen return at full strength from a knee injury suffered in the Rose Bowl win over Florida State? And how many games will Darren Carrington miss due to a suspension? Even if Allen and Carrington are sidelined for a significant period, Oregon has plenty of options for quarterbacks Jeff Lockie and Vernon Adams. Byron Marshall (74 catches) is the top target, with Dwayne Stanford (43 receptions) and redshirt freshman Jalen Brown also in the mix. The coaching staff was toying with the idea of placing dynamic sophomore Charles Nelson on defense. However, all signs point to Nelson spending most of the 2015 season on offense. Unless Pharaoh Brown returns at full strength from a serious leg injury suffered against Utah, Evan Baylis and Johnny Mundt are expected to share the bulk of the snaps at tight end.

 

6. California

California’s offense averaged 38.3 points a game last season, and the Bear Raid attack could add a few digits to that total in 2015. Coach Sonny Dykes has a loaded offense, starting with quarterback Jared Goff and running back Daniel Lasco. And despite the departure of Chris Harper to the NFL, this is one of the deepest groups in the Pac-12. Kenny Lawler (54 catches), Stephen Anderson (46) and Bryce Treggs are all candidates to earn All-Pac-12 honors this year. Trevor Davis, Darius Powe and Maurice Harris are three other names to watch in this group.

 

7. TCU

The Horned Frogs return four of their top five statistical receivers from last season. Josh Doctson is quarterback Trevone Boykin’s favorite target, and the Wyoming transfer became the first TCU receiver since 2003 to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. Doctson also led the team with 11 touchdown catches last year. Kolby Listenbee averaged 18.4 yards per catch and caught seven passes of 40 yards or more. Deante’ Gray, Ty Slanina, Emanuel Porter and Ja’Juan Story round out an athletic and fast-improving receiving corps.

 

8. Notre Dame

New quarterback Malik Zaire inherits a strong supporting cast. The Fighting Irish return their top four receivers in 2015, including All-America candidate William Fuller (76 catches for 1,094 yards and 15 scores). Fuller is the top option, but he will have plenty of support from Chris Brown (39 receptions), Corey Robinson (40), Amir Carlisle and Torii Hunter Jr. C.J. Prosise caught 29 passes for 516 yards last year and is expected to see more snaps at running back after Greg Bryant was ruled ineligible for 2015. True freshman Alize Jones is expected to push Durham Smythe and Tyler Luatua for the starting tight end spot.  

 

Related: College Football's Top 30 Offensive Lines for 2015

 

9. Ohio State

This group was already stocked with speed, talent and options for quarterbacks Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, but the addition of converted signal-caller Braxton Miller has added another weapon for coach Urban Meyer. Junior Michael Thomas led the team with 54 catches last season and is expected to be the go-to target for Jones and Barrett. There’s no shortage of big-play threats around Thomas, including Jalin Marshall (six touchdown catches in 2014), Dontre Wilson and Miller. Curtis Samuel and converted quarterback Torrance Gibson are other names to watch, especially in the opener with Marshall, Wilson and Smith suspended.

 

10. USC

Nelson Agholor is catching passes with the Eagles on Sundays, but the Trojans are stocked with talent on the outside once again. Sophomore JuJu Smith is poised for a monster year after catching 54 passes for 724 yards and five touchdowns last season. Smith should be the No. 1 option for quarterback Cody Kessler, while dangerous all-purpose threat Adoree’ Jackson is expected to see limited snaps on offense. Darreus Rogers, Steven Mitchell and junior college recruits Isaac Whitney and De’Quan Hampton round out the top weapons for Kessler. The tight end position is a concern for coach Steve Sarkisian after Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick and Bryce Dixon did not return to the team this fall.

 

11. Arizona

12. Penn State  

13. Tennessee

14. UCLA  

15. LSU    

16. Florida State  

17. Auburn

18. Mississippi State

19. Cincinnati 

20. Oklahoma 

21. Oklahoma State

22. North Carolina 

23. Bowling Green

24. Alabama  

25. Colorado State  

26. Washington State

27. Virginia Tech

28. Boise State

29. Texas Tech

30. Iowa State

31. Stanford

32. WKU

33. Tulsa

34. Nebraska

35. Western Michigan

Teaser:
College Football's Top 35 Wide Receiver Groups for 2015
Post date: Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/introduction-daily-fantasy-football-5-ways-help-you-succeed
Body:

This fantasy football season I look forward to bringing you DFS strategies and lineups each week. I aim to help all types of players, but as I am not a “high stakes” player myself, will largely be targeting the average and casual Daily Fantasy player.

 

That of course doesn’t mean I don’t value winning and/or strategies, or that I don’t put significant time and dedication into building lineups each week. In fact last season I likely put more time into my one day of DFS play for fantasy football than I did for basketball and baseball. It didn’t always equate to more winning, but it did leave me satisfied with my lineups most of the time and not feeling like I threw darts.

 

If you have played fantasy football before you likely know having a solid team and draft can mean everything, but not always. There are typically a few waiver wire players who take over the league and help an ailing team succeed. Each week there is that lucky owner who ekes out wins even though they are in the bottom half of scoring in the league. There are injuries, sudden lack of opportunities for upper echelon players, touchdown vultures, etc., etc.

 

So many factors that can skew the outcome of your fantasy team each and EVERY week. It is a big reason why I love the game so much. It is also why I despise it at times, and consider the most “luck-filled” of fantasy sports.

 

If you play fantasy baseball and basketball, and especially DFS for those two sports you also know there are significant trends, statistics, ballpark factors, and consistency that can help you make decisions. In football there are too, but we all know it is far more volatile. If someone were to say “Without a doubt in my mind Matt Ryan is going to throw 55 passes today with three touchdowns,” or “Alfred Morris will get 28 carries and every single red-zone touch today” how would you react?

 

I would have doubts about such statements, at least more than I would for someone saying Andrew McCutchen will hit a home run against this pitcher because of his OPS history. I am not saying statistics and season-to-date performance aren’t as significant in fantasy football, but each and every week is very different and there are so many other factors that can impact a player’s performance. Weather, injured players, stout defenses, or playing with a lead or deficit can all greatly impact fantasy performances.

 

The key to winning in Daily Fantasy Football is to minimize your risk, while also capturing that random breakout performance or two. I am hoping to help you do just that this season. Since the Daily Fantasy season hasn’t truly started yet this week we will focus on some basic rules to consider for the upcoming season. These aren’t all unique to Daily Fantasy Football either, but they should definitely be applied and considered.

 

1. Have a Budget and Stick to It!

This one is what I think is one of the most important rules. Not everyone is able to deposit hundreds, or thousands of dollars to start playing DFS. Even if you do though you want to ensure you are able to play as long as you can and not have to re-deposit after a few weeks or less.

 

The basic rule of thumb I like to live by is 10 percent of your bankroll. So if you deposit $100 this week it means you should really play no more than $10 in Week 1 games. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it is a safe rule to live by. ESPECIALLY if it is your first time.

 

Winning is not guaranteed, and to consistently win is difficult. They don’t give the Daily Fantasy game a description of “A Grind” for nothing. It takes time, and losses, to eventually get in the green and stay in the green. Again, it is not easy to win in Daily Fantasy, and if you head in to each week thinking you are going to dominate because you can beat 11 other chumps in your home league, well, you have already lost.

 

Back to the budget. Another rule of thumb is to split your 10 percent into an 8/2 ratio of 50/50 contests (Cash Games)/Tournaments (GPPs). If you are brand new to the game I would not enter any tournaments. I know it is the most appealing. You hear and see all the commercials on winning a million dollars, or huge payouts available. This is all true, it is not a lie but the thing is there are people with lots, and lots of money who do this for a living who enter these contests… multiple times!

 

We will get into tourneys a bit more later. For now, stick to the smaller contests and the safer ones. Your odds simply can’t get better than 50 percent in these games. If you go on a winning streak don’t get over-confident and start bumping up your percentage either. Your bankroll can fizzle out as quickly as your over-confidence will.

 

2. Give Yourself Time to Research and Enter Lineups

This doesn’t mean the dude who quickly submits a lineup after their Sunday brunch in five minutes doesn’t stand a chance. As I said above, random and crazy things happen all the time. Sometimes the good ol’ gut works best.

 

Realistically though to do proper research, and to cover all the bases for your lineup building it will take time. How much you spend on it is completely up to you. Looking at things such as rushing yards allowed for a player’s opposing defense, weather forecasts, injury reports, and of course time to read my weekly articles, or others can greatly improve your chances of winning. Guarantee? No.

 

The more time you put in to researching, and building your lineup(s) the better off you will be. This also leads me to say spend your time wisely. Most of us don’t have hours to spare to read articles, crunch numbers, or fiddle with their lineups all week.

 

That is why it is important to find your niche, and build somewhat of a routine. Once you establish certain sites, posts, podcasts, or video shows for example find a way to routinely view them and utilize them.

 

There are plenty of paid sites, and plenty of free ones. Finding whichever ones work for you may take time but having a useful weekly post or show to rely on can be great. Just remember just because you pay for something doesn’t guarantee you everything. If those who provide services for profit are successful, remember what makes them successful. Time and dedication. They likely did not win their big money payouts with a lineup generator that takes minutes to run. There is much more to it than that.

 

Can these sites work? Absolutely, but I like to consider them partnership tools, not as my sole resource.

 

3. Avoid Head to Head Games and Multi-Entry Tournaments… (At First)

I say at first because eventually your bankroll will increase, and your skill set, routine has developed in to consistently winning. That is great! However, starting off as I mentioned earlier try to stick to the larger, and safer 50/50 games. How these work is you compete against 50 or more players and if you finish in the top half you will double, or nearly double your entry fee. Starting off winning a $1.80 in a $1 contest seems trivial, but if you win eight of them you are looking better right?

 

These aren’t necessarily easier to win, but your odds are better and oftentimes using safer and better known fantasy commodities will lead to success. In GPPs you will typically need a mixture of a safe and high-scoring team, with a player who is owned at a miniscule percentage to have a big game to succeed. Namely, you need to be different, very different to separate yourself from the much, much larger crowd in order to profit in tournaments.

 

Also, as I mentioned above these tournaments are typically multi-entry which means exactly what it says. Anyone can enter these contests as many times as they please. That means multiple lineups, or even the same lineups multiple times from people who do this for a living, AND have far more money than you likely do. This is how they profit, and make a living. It is important to remember this.

 

Is it possible to randomly enter one lineup and take down a tournament? Sure. Is it a 50/50 chance? No way.

 

Same thing applies to Head-to-Head (HtH) games. If you do them seek out opponents such as friends, or Twitter followers. Once again, folks who do this for a living will toss hundreds of challenges and HtH entries into the fold. If you click on them sure you have a 50/50 shot at winning, but you are likely playing a professional who will joyfully take your buck, and those 40 other saps who are doing the same thing!

 

Once you get your feet wet and start winning regularly, feel free to toss some moolah in a GPP, or even a HtH just to see how you fare. Taking down a professional always feels good, but it doesn’t excuse losing money.

 

4. Keep Track of What Works

If this is your first time playing this may seem difficult to do, but it shouldn’t be. In fact if you struggle mightily early on analyze the winning teams (top 3) and then a few spread out throughout the standings who also cashed in.

 

If you win with one lineup but not another one, what was the difference? Was it one huge performance from a player? Did you spend up on quarterback and bargain hunt the other positions? Did the winners go cheaper on quarterback with a great matchup and load up on elite plays elsewhere?

 

Watching winning teams, including your own, is one of the easiest ways to log strategies and eliminate outliers (one player’s random three-TD  game like Matt Asiata in 2014), which will totally skew results.

 

Another way to do this besides simple observation is to actually download your team’s results in an Excel document. You can do this from most DFS sites now, and it is a great way to log your winnings, see which contests you fare better in.

 

Either way paying attention only when you are victorious, or thinking you have a brilliant strategy because you win two weeks in a row may not be the case. Keep yourself honest and track your results, and others’, so you can adjust if need be the next week.

 

5. Have Fun!

Yeah, I know this one seems lame. Yet it is important. If you are playing with people you know and can discuss these activities with, it makes the games more appealing. Even better is to toss strategies around, challenge each other, and make new friends by playing in private leagues.

 

Like seasonal leagues, playing with some familiar faces each week can be more challenging, and exciting. Having a weekly contest where a random injury shouldn’t sink your performance is great as a side contest to seasonal leagues. Think of that loudmouth trashing your fantasy skills in your seasonal league. Respond with “I may have lost Jordy Nelson and my seasonal team stinks, but I can destroy you and will prove it! Take me on in DFS” sort of thing.

 

In fact, create a FanDuel or Draft Kings league to coincide with your seasonal league. You can then play your league-mates on both platforms and really rub their faces in it if you beat them twice in one week! This article shares a great way how to do this and I assure you it is fun, and even better you won’t have to do it every week but you will want to!

 

Bottom line — if you are playing and having fun, win or lose you are doing it right. If you are making new friends, some cash, and enjoying football even more? You are doing it right.

 

If you are continually depositing money, getting frustrated, and angry, well find a different strategy, take a breather or stop playing. Either way, that is not how you should do it! Keep expectations real, play what you can easily afford, and HAVE FUN!!

 

Stay tuned for more posts each week of the regular season with lineup help and other strategies. Thanks for reading.

 

— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including socalledfantasyexperts.com. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.

Teaser:
Introduction to Daily Fantasy Football — 5 Ways to Help You Succeed
Post date: Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 10:45
Path: /college-football/ranking-college-footballs-best-and-worst-logos-2015
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Just about every sports fan is tied to their team’s logo, which makes ranking logos complicated. To get an educated opinion on what is a good logo and what isn't, Athlon Sports turned to one of the people most responsible for helping produce some of the best-looking magazines on the newsstands, graphic designer Daly Cantrell.

 

After going through each of the Power 5 conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) with her trained eye, Cantrell decided to look at the FBS a whole. Here is her ranking of the top 20 logos in the FBS ranks, and five she just doesn't care for:

 

 SchoolLogoAnalysis
1.Texas

Talk about classic. The Longhorns’ logo is simply unique and is arguably one of the best  in college football.

2.North CarolinaThe Tar Heels’ logo is a staple. The font used fits the NC perfectly together creating a timeless look.
3.Cal

I love a good script font that is gender neutral… and this logo does the trick. The color scheme along with the beautiful flow of the letters makes this logo top in my book in the Pac-12.

4.Penn StateA very underrated logo, Penn State’s Nittany Lion looks like it is ready to hunt someone down. The oval makes this animal-based logo different from the others and gives it an all-around aggressive feel. I love it.
5.TennesseeThe Volunteers’ power T is probably the best logo in the SEC for one reason: it’s so recognizable. The unique style of the T is unlike any other and who can forget that bright orange?
6.MiamiThe uniqueness of the Canes’ logo is unlike any others. I am a big fan of the symmetry and the color scheme works perfectly together.
7.OregonThe Ducks' O displays simplicity at its finest. The font of the O has a great shape that gives it a different compared to your average O.
8.ClemsonThere are so many different animal logos, but the tiger paw print is synonymous with Clemson. Also, the roughness of the lines gives the logo a nice edgy feel, which goes perfectly with the bright orange.
9.Notre DameThe Notre Dame logo will always be a favorite in my book because of how perfectly the interlocking letters go together. The D is so different than most Ds, and by itself might look off, but placed with the N the pair is simple, readable and creative.
10.West VirginiaPerfect placement. The placement of the WV is what makes this logo. It’s different and the sharp edges really bring a strong, tough look to the logo.
11.LSUI love that LSU finally realized its initials alone are very recognizable. This newer look is sleeker and not so busy. Though the LSU tiger is also very well known and loved, the Tiger is much better as a secondary logo in this case.
12.Michigan State

The Spartans’ logo is spot on; I particularly enjoy the curves of the helmet.

13.AuburnMy roommate is an Auburn grad and I can hardly stand the site of the mass amount of Auburn things in our apartment, but if you actually look at the logo, for what it is, then you’ll notice how well done it is. The pairing of AU is perfectly placed where both letters stick out, but also evolve into its own logotype. It has a great look and they do a good job not overdoing it.
14UConnThe UConn logo is exactly the way a stylized animal logo should look like. The sharpness of the lines give an aggressive feel along with the color scheme. I also really enjoy how the eyes are blue and the tongue is red, they are subtle and simple details that really make the Huskies' logo unique.
15.IndianaThe placement of the Hoosiers logo is what makes it distinctive, and the simplicity of it makes it stand out among the rest.
16.Vanderbilt

The Commodores’ logo is flashy and fun. The gold and black keep sleekness to the logo and the white V really pops next to the black.

17.GeorgiaI actually really love the Georgia logo, but I also love the Green Bay Packers’ logo and they look identical. Georgia’s logo is perfectly clean, both in color combination and in the marriage of the G and the thin red oval.
18.Syracuse

The Syracuse S is simple, stylish and sophisticated. This logo screams “sports” and I enjoy the clean edges of the S paired with the color scheme.

19.USCThe interlocking letters make this logo. That subtle detail in the crossing gives just enough detail to really bring this logo to the next level.
20.Texas A&MThank you Aggies for beveling your T correctly. I can only hope some schools take notice of how well done this look is (cue Texas Tech).

And her picks for the worst college football logos in 2015 (in alphabetical order):

 

 SchoolLogoAnalysis
 Kansas

The Jayhawk has design potential, but this cartoon look isn’t it. Someone needs to jump into the 21st century and modernize this bad boy.

 Oregon StateI am just not a fan of the beaver... it looks like a blob.
.South CarolinaGamecocks, you’ve got too much going on in your logo. It all starts to blur together and then it’s hard to see what it really is.
 UtahThis logo could be really cool, but the circle bothers me. The block U and feather detail is great, but it the circle gives an off-balanced feel.
 WisconsinThis logo wouldn’t be that bad if the W didn’t look like it is dancing. This gives it a cartoonish look and the drop shadow doesn’t help its case.
 
Teaser:
Ranking College Football's Best and Worst Logos in 2015
Post date: Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 10:30

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