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All taxonomy terms: Golden State Warriors, NBA
Path: /nba/steve-kerr-best-start-nba-coaching-history
Body:

Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Red Auerbach, Pat Riley — these are the four horsemen of NBA leadership. Among them, they own more than half of the league’s championships.

 

But rookie coach Steve Kerr (who happens to have played for two of those men, in Jackson and Popovich) has all of them beat in one category so far. With his Golden State Warriors’ 19-2 start, he’s off to the best beginning in NBA coaching history.

 

The Warriors notched the latest inch of their scintillating record belt last night, with a 105-93 home victory over the second-best team in basketball, the Houston Rockets. James Harden tried to will Houston to victory almost single-handedly against the deep Warriors roster in Oakland — racking up 34 points on 14-of-27 shooting, to go with eight rebounds, four assists and four steals — but GSW was simply too much.

 

Steph Curry and Harrison Barnes both had 20 points in the Warriors’ win — Klay Thompson had 21. The team has now won fourteen straight.

 

By beating Houston, Kerr’s squad passed phase one of a tough new stretch in their schedule. Up next are the Dallas Mavericks. Then, Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the rejuvenated Oklahoma City Thunder, who’ll be extra motivated with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook back in action and a bad standings hole to climb out of.

 

In the Western Conference, gauntlets like this are a dime a dozen. That’s what makes it hard to believe the Warriors can keep up this pace, even if they are the best team in basketball. The competition is simply too stiff.

 

But if the charmed Kerr’s lifelong streak of success is any indication, the Warriors might just be able to run through the best conference ever with a shining mark. Kerr’s a golden boy; every basketball thing he touches seems to improve. He’s thrived as an NBA role player, a TNT announcer next to the iconic Marv Albert, and now — albeit very early on — he’s unimpeachable as a head coach. 

 

— John Wilmes

@johnwilmesNBA

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 15:55
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-2014-15-bowl-predictions-and-picks
Body:

College football’s bowl season kicks off on Saturday, Dec. 20 and extends until Jan. 12 with the national championship in Arlington, Texas in the first year of the four-team playoff. With the bowl lineup set and confidence pools and pick’em contests set to start on Dec. 20, Athlon’s editors give their predictions for the bowl season.

 

Alabama is the consensus playoff champion, but there’s some disagreement on the Oregon-Florida State matchup. And there’s no shortage of variance on some of the smaller bowls, including the Liberty, Russell Athletic, Alamo and Hawaii.

 

Note: Number in parentheses indicates confidence in prediction. A No. 38 ranking indicates more confidence in the prediction, while a lower number indicates less confidence in a pick.

 

College Football's 2014-15 Bowl Predictions
BowlSteven
Lassan
Mitch
Light
Braden
Gall
David
Fox
Mark
Ross
New Orleans (14) (17) (2) (23) (20)
New Mexico (29) (8) (36) (34) (22)
Las Vegas (24) (29) (22) (13) (24)
Idaho Potato (19) (7) (6) (6) (37)
Camellia (2) (28) (3) (30) (17)
Miami Beach (9) (5) (5) (19) (18)
Boca Raton (25) (6) (37) (16) (35)
Poinsettia (7) (27) (15) (7) (36)
Bahamas (21) (3) (4) (20) (38)
Hawaii (1)(4) (1) (14) (34)
Heart of Dallas (3) (2) (21) (15) (6)
Quick Lane (13) (16) (14) (10) (14)
St. Petersburg (15) (1) (13) (11) (31)
Military(17)(26) (12) (12) (27)
Sun (33)(35) (33) (32) (23)
Independence (23) (15) (7) (1) (7)
Pinstripe (20) (14) (23) (17) (10)
Holiday(34) (25) (34) (33) (5)
Liberty (5) (13) (8) (21) (13)
Russell Athletic (12) (11) (19) (22) (8)
Texas (18) (12) (19) (2) (4)
Music City (38) (36) (38) (31) (32)
Belk (28) (30) (20) (38) (3)
Foster Farms (31)(23) (35) (24) (21)
Outback  (37) (24) (32) (37) (12)
Citrus (30) (31) (25) (25) (1)
Armed Forces (26) (10) (11) (3) (33)
Taxslayer (4) (9) (24) (18) (16)
Alamo (6) (32) (10) (26) (19)
Cactus (32) (22) (29) (35) (2)
Birmingham (16) (21) (31) (8) (26)
GoDaddy (22) (20) (28) (9) (9)
Chick-fil-A (11) (33) (16) (4) (25)
Fiesta (27) (34) (26) (36) (11)
Orange (36) (19) (27) (28) (30)
Cotton (10) (38) (9) (27) (15)
Rose (8) (18) (20) (5) (28)
Sugar (35) (37) (17) (29) (29)
National
Champion
 

 

Teaser:
College Football's 2014-15 Bowl Picks and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-11-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Dec. 11:

 

Broadcaster Chelsa Messinger learned recently that Chris Berman has a Costanza-sized wallet. Also, Chelsa Messinger is rather attractive. 

 

• The time is nigh for year-end lists. Here are the funniest athlete tweets of 2014

 

A question for the ages.

 

Cam Newton's brush with death has given him a new appreciation for life

 

An Iowa State hoops star was popped for hosting a marijuana house.

 

Looks like Willis McGahee wants to try rugby

 

Jim Kelly's nephew committed to the Ole Miss Rebels, can't spell Rebel

 

The Astros sent out an overly optimistic tweet.

 

Alley-oop buzzer-beaters are always fun

 

• An early Christmas present from SI: A Kate Upton video

 

Giants punter Steve Weatherford has himself frozen to -30 degrees.

 

• Is this the worst airball in NBA history?

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 11:29
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-playoff-national-championship-rings-unveiled
Body:

It’s the first year of the college football playoff, so there’s plenty of new surrounding the format, including a championship trophy and rings to the winning team.

Earlier this week, the college football championship playoff ring was unveiled. And the ring certainly isn’t missing in the wow factor department.

Check out the new rings coming to the champion of the college football playoff:

 

 

Teaser:
College Football Playoff National Championship Rings Unveiled
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 10:44
Path: /nfl/nfl-also-rans-are-looking-ahead
Body:
For many, the 2014 season is over — or almost over, at least. Whatever playoff hopes some teams harbored have long disappeared in the mist of yet another disappointing season. Some teams underachieved. Some are just bad. For some, it’s just the way it always is.
 
For some of those teams, though, the seeds have been planted for a somewhat brighter future, and the thought that they could make a playoff run in 2015 doesn’t seem so absurd. There’s a long way to go, of course — free agency and the draft will do the most to shape the futures of most franchises.
 
But for these 2014 also-rans, there are at least the building blocks of a brighter tomorrow. For these 2014 losers, they have the best chance to emerge in 2015:
 
St. Louis Rams (6-7) – Granted, their last two games were against the Raiders and Redskins, but the Rams won those games by a combined 76-0, and two straight shutouts against any team is impressive. This Rams team can play defense and special teams with anybody, and to go along with wins over the 49ers, Broncos and Seahawks they’ve had near-misses against Dallas, Philadelphia and San Diego. And consider this: They’re doing it all without a quarterback, unless you think Austin Davis or 34-year-old Shaun Hill is really the future. What could’ve been a wonderful, breakout season was hampered by yet another injury to franchise quarterback Sam Bradford. If they can find even a temporary, fill-in journeyman quarterback to give stability to the position next season, they could compete in what has become the toughest division in the NFL.
 
New York Giants (4-9) – They’ve had 20 players land on injured reserve, including their best receiver (Victor Cruz), their middle linebacker (Jon Beason), two defensive ends (Mathias Kiwanuka, Robert Ayers), and a long list of other key players. But they have the best quarterback among the NFL’s current crop of losing teams (Eli Manning) and a generally good cast of players augmented by a $116 million offseason spending spree. There could be some offseason upheaval if coach Tom Coughlin is fired. But the building blocks are there, especially if they fix their offensive line and find a pass rush.
 
Chicago Bears (5-8) – Maybe it is all about quarterback Jay Cutler, as many have suggested, but even with a flawed quarterback this team should be better than it is. There may not be a team with a better, more diverse troika of offensive weapons than receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey and running back Matt Forte. Add in tight end Martellus Bennett and there’s plenty of ammunition for a quarterback to succeed. They obviously need to fix their defense, which is one of the worst in the NFL. They also need to be a little more committed to the run game. Maybe Marc Trestman gets the chance to fix that. If not, the ground is fertile for somebody else.
 
Minnesota Vikings (5-7) – The most important ingredient in any team’s success is the presence of a franchise quarterback, and it seems like the Vikings may have found one now that they’ve ended the Christian Ponder era/error and moved on to Teddy Bridgewater. He’s been OK as a starter in general, but pretty good considering he’s a rookie and not exactly surrounded by potent weapons. Now, who knows if they get back running back Adrian Peterson next season. But if they do, paired with a Top 15 defense and an emerging quarterback, they have a chance to rise in a very competitive division.
 
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) – Don’t laugh. While they rank near the bottom in just about everything, they play hard for Gus Bradley and they have a trio of very impressive young talents in quarterback Blake Bortles, running back Denard Robinson and receiver Allen Robinson. They do need a lot of help – like some boost to their pass rush and better luck with injuries. But the potential is there. Most scouts seem to think they’re more likely to arrive on the playoff scene in 2016. But they’re not exactly in a good division, and the Tennessee Titans seem much worse-off than they are. With a little luck and some accelerated growth from Bortles, they could arrive on the scene sooner than anyone thinks.
 
— Ralph Vacchiano
Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 10:39
All taxonomy terms: Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks, NBA
Path: /nba/knicks-hate-triangle-offense-are-comical-mess
Body:

Being a New York Knicks fan typically requires a great tolerance for failure, and a deep, reliable sense of humor. Sincere hope for winning basketball is only going to hurt you in this arena.

 

That continues to be the case in the early stages of new team president Phil Jackson. Despite his tremendous record as a coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers (eleven championships), he hasn’t had a touch magical enough to turn the Knicks around just yet. In fact, they may be digging even deeper into the depths of failure.

 

The latest Knicks folly comes in a report from ESPN’s Chris Broussard. According to Broussard, Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway, Jr. are at odds and have nearly come to blows on more than one occasion. One instance happened on the court, when the Knicks were losing to the Brooklyn Nets last week.

 

“Anthony approached Hardaway,” writes Broussard, “and used an expletive to ask Hardaway who in the world he thought he was talking to. Anthony, according to sources, used another expletive in telling Hardaway he was going to beat him up when they got into the locker room after the game.”

 

Melo has subsequently downplayed that drama, for whatever that's worth:

 

Broussard also reports that the team is not fond of Jackson’s storied triangle offense: “One thing Anthony and his teammates do agree on is their disdain for the triangle offense, sources said. For weeks, if not longer, the players have been ready to ditch the triangle and move on to another system. They feel like other teams know what they are going to run and where they are going to go on the court, which makes it easier to stop them.”

 

This report comes on the heels of Jackson saying New York has a “loser’s mentality” and that the team is more “worried about not losing a basketball game, rather than figuring it out, and figuring out how to win basketball games.”

 

Nobody thought a Knicks makeover would be easy. But did we think it would get this ugly, this early into Jackson’s tenure? New York never sleeps, and neither does the presence around their media teams, so all kerfuffles around the Knicks are at least a little bit overblown. But the more the Knicks lose and look pitiful doing it, the easier this sort of strife is to believe.

 

— John Wilmes

@johnwilmesNBA

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 10:17
All taxonomy terms: Arizona Cardinals, NFC, St. Louis Rams, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/arizona-cardinals-vs-st-louis-rams-preview-and-prediction-2014
Body:

The surging St. Louis Rams (7-6) welcome an Arizona Cardinals (10-3) team that shook off two straight tough losses to post a key win over Kansas City in Week 14. Basically, both of these long-suffering franchises are merely happy to be playing meaningful football in December. “For some teams, (playing in December) doesn’t mean a damn thing except the season’s almost over,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “This one means a lot because everything rides from here on in, so every game is a real playoff game, especially in the NFC.”

 

Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears

 

Kickoff: 8:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NFL Network

Spread: St. Louis -4.5

 

Arizona’s Key to Victory: Ask Kerwynn Williams

Who is Kerwynn Williams, you ask? The second-year back from Utah State was an oasis in an offensive desert for the Cards in a desperately needed Week 14 win over Kansas City. Williams, who had never touched the ball in a regular-season game prior to last Sunday, came off of the bench to replace an injured Andre Ellington and churned out 100 yards on 19 carries against Kansas City. Quarterback Drew Stanton is struggling — he’s thrown five interceptions in the four games since Carson Palmer’s injury — and the Cards will need the threat of a running game to take some pressure off of Stanton and open things up for receivers Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald, who have combined for only two touchdown receptions since the calendar turned to November.

 

 

St. Louis’ Key to Victory: Continue the Clampdown

The Rams are the first team since 2009 to post back-to-back shutouts, a truly impressive feat in an offensive era. Yes, the victims were the lowly Raiders and Redskins, but a shutout’s a shutout, and if you go back a few weeks, the Rams surrendered only seven points to Peyton Manning and the reigning AFC champion Denver Broncos. A sputtering Cardinals offense presents the opportunity for something truly historic: three consecutive shutouts for the first time since the 1976 Steelers. Interestingly enough, the Cardinals’ offensive troubles began when quarterback Carson Palmer tore his ACL against the Rams in Week 10. Since then, the Cardinals have managed only four offensive touchdowns in four games, and leading rusher Andre Ellington has joined Palmer on the shelf due to injury. Jeff Fisher is confident that his team can maintain its recent defensive dominance. “I want to see it again,” Fisher said. “We need to keep playing, keep preparing the way we are.”

 

Final Analysis

 

 

The injury-depleted Cardinals are clinging to a one-game lead in the NFC West, and a tussle with a Rams team that is at the top of its game defensively is a tough matchup for a team that is searching for its offensive identity. The Rams may not match the Steel Curtain with a third straight shutout, but they should be able to outscore the Cards.  

 
Prediction: St. Louis 23, Arizona 17
Teaser:
Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/10-amazing-heisman-trophy-stats-you-need-know-2014
Body:

Marcus Mariota is going to win the 2014 Heisman Memorial Trophy.

 

And there couldn’t be a more deserving candidate.

 

The Oregon quarterback won the Pac-12 North, won the Pac-12 championship, earned a spot in the first College Football Playoff and set numerous records. He is the nation’s most efficient passer (186.33) and is the nation’s most productive player with 4,452 yards of total offense.

 

He is a consummate teammate on and off the field, so Saturday night is more a coronation than a highly anticipated announcement. The two numbers to keep an eye on are 2,853 total points and 86 percent of first-place votes.

 

Those are the two Heisman records set by O.J. Simpson in 1968 and Troy Smith in 2006, respectively. In fact, Simpson’s 1,750-point margin in ’68 is still a record and is a third benchmark Mariota could challenge this weekend.

 

Here are the other Heisman stats you need to know:

 

0: Oregon Heisman Trophy winners

Marcus Mariota isn’t just a remarkable player who could lead Oregon to its first national championship with record-setting numbers and astounding maturity. But he also will become Oregon’s first Heisman Trophy winner in school history. The Ducks have been close with LaMichael James (3rd, 2010), Dennis Dixon (7th, 2007) and Joey Harrington (4th, 2001) but have never won.

 

26: More INTs Ty Detmer threw than Marcus Mariota

BYU’s Ty Detmer posted huge numbers when winning the Heisman in 1990, throwing for 5,188 yards and 41 TDs. In fact, Detmer remains the only Heisman winner with 5,000 yards passing in a season. Strangely enough, he also has the most interceptions by a wide margin of any Heisman winner, throwing 28 interceptions in ’90. Jim Plunkett is No. 2 with 19 interceptions in 1979. Marcus Mariota threw two interceptions in 372 attempts this season. Danny Wuerffel’s 13 picks are the most by any winner since Detmer.

 

2003: Last time a WR finished in the top three

Amari Cooper is a Heisman finalist and will be the first wide receiver to finish in the top three since Larry Fitzgerald finished second in 2003 (Jason White). In fact, Cooper and Fitzgerald are the only two wide receivers to finish in the top three since Desmond Howard won the award in 1991. Howard is one of only two wideouts to ever win the award (Tim Brown, 1987). Since Howard won the Trophy only six WRs have even finished in the top five: Marqise Lee (4th) in 2012, Justin Blackmon (5th) in 2010, Michael Crabtree (5th) in 2008 and Randy Moss (4th) in 1997.

 

14: Winners who played QB in the last 15 years

Since the turn of the century, the Heisman Trophy has become a quarterback’s award. Since Ron Dayne won the coveted stiff-armed award in 1999, only one non-QB has won the trophy. Alabama’s Mark Ingram (2009) — largely considered the “weakest” of Heisman winners — is the only non-QB to win the award since Dayne. Mariota would become the 14th quarterback to win the award in the last 15 years.

 

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2: High schools to produce more than one Heisman winner

Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, Texas, is the first and only public high school to produce two Heisman winners. Davey O’Brien won the award in 1938 for TCU and Tim Brown claimed the trophy for Notre Dame in ’87. Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., is the only other high school to have multiple winners. The private school gave college football John Huarte, who won the award in ’64 for Notre Dame, and Matt Leinart, who earned the honor in 2004 for USC. Fork Union Military prep academy also has produced multiple Heisman winners — Vinny Testaverde in 1986 for Miami and Eddie George in '95 for Ohio State — but it doesn't technically count since Testaverde only attended the postgrad program.

 

8: Heisman winners in the NFL Hall of Fame

There are eight former Heisman Trophy winners currently in the NFL Hall of Fame. Marcus Allen (1981), Earl Campbell (1977), Tony Dorsett (1976), Paul Hornung (1956), Barry Sanders (1988), O.J. Simpson (1968), Roger Staubach (1963), and Doak Walker (1948). Interestingly enough, only one Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback has ever made it to the NFL Hall of Fame and that is Staubach. Additionally, only four Heisman winners have gone on to win Super Bowl MVP honors: Staubach, Allen, Jim Plunkett and Desmond Howard.

 

2-8: Notre Dame’s record when Paul Hornung won the Heisman

The only player to ever win the Heisman off of a losing team was Paul Hornung in 1956. He threw for 917 yards, three touchdowns and 13 interceptions while rushing 94 times for 420 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. The Irish went 2-8 that year, beating only Indiana and North Carolina. Hornung beat out Tennessee’s Johnny Majors and Oklahoma’s dynamic duo of Tommy McDonald and Jerry Tubbs.

 

1961: Ernie Davis became the first African-American Heisman winner

It took 27 long years but the voters finally gave the award to an African-American in 1961 when Syracuse’s Ernie Davis topped Ohio State’s Bob Ferguson and Texas’ Jimmy Saxton for the prestigious award. Davis was deserving but his stat line indicates how far the sport has come since the early '60s. He rushed 150 times for 823 yards and 12 touchdowns.

 

0: Games Jay Berwanger played in the NFL

The first Heisman trophy winner in history was a senior running back from the University of Chicago by the name of Jay Berwanger. He was the first pick in the first-ever NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1936. Yet, they traded his rights to the Chicago Bears because they didn’t think they could meet his salary demands (allegedly $1,000 per game). After Olympic tryouts and unsuccessful contract negotiations with George Halas, Berwanger took a job with a Chicago rubber company and never played a down of professional football.

 

7: Ohio State, USC and Notre Dame winners

The Buckeyes, Trojans and Irish are tied for the most Heismans with seven total trophies each. Ohio State’s awards have been spread out over time, winning at least one in five different decades while USC’s come in bunches. Under Pete Carroll, the Trojans won three Heisman Trophies in four seasons from 2002-05 (Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush — yes, I officially count the ’05 trophy even if the Trust does not). The Irish held the Heisman lead for many years, winning six trophies between 1943-64. Tim Brown’s 1987 season is the only Irish Heisman since John Huarte won it in ’64.

Teaser:
10 Amazing Heisman Trophy Stats You Need To Know for 2014
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/10-teams-made-statement-first-month-college-basketball-season
Body:

Less than a full month into the college basketball season, and we’ve already had a handful of major statements.

Kentucky, Duke and Arizona are as good as advertised. Maybe better. Texas, Louisville and Wisconsin are doing exactly what they should be at this point in the year. Gonzaga is better than many expected. Same with Utah or Butler.

Of course, no one remembers a team for what it did in November or December in college basketball, but these games are important.

If nothing else, they set the tone for the season, establish favorites and put storylines in motion. For a handful of teams, these early games will come in handy for the selection committee. Win a big game in November and perhaps you don’t need to be perfect in February.

 

Here's what we think are the most important statements as we near the end of the first month of the season.

Kentucky’s platoons
John Calipari’s blue platoon (the starters) and white platoon (the best group of sixth men in the country) was met with skepticism to start the season, but Kentucky is sticking with it for good reason. Wednesday’s slow start against Columbia notwithstanding, the Wildcats are the best defensive team in the country. The Wildcats won’t keep up their pace in conference play even if the numbers remain staggering: Kentucky has the best adjusted defensive efficiency rating and defensive effective field goal rate going back to 2002 on KenPom.com

Duke’s freshmen
This is scary: A group that went into Madison and defeated a veteran Wisconsin team 80-70 is only going to get better. If a freshman-led team can shoot 65 percent at the Kohl Center in only their eighth game, what will these rookies be able to do in March? Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones have all taken their turn as the stars for Duke this season while veterans Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon have settled into their roles.

Gonzaga as a national player
The Bulldogs may have Mark Few’s best team or at least a team that ranks up with the 2013 team that finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the country or the 2006 team led by Adam Morrison. Gonzaga lost 66-63 in overtime at Arizona in its biggest game of the year, but there’s no shame in losing to another Final Four contender on the road in a game that came down to free throws (or lack thereof at the end). Gonzaga is one of the most balanced offensive teams in the country with five players averaging double figures and a sixth averaging 8.5. points per game.

Arizona’s defense
Since we mentioned Gonzaga’s hot start, we should mention the team that just defeated the Bulldogs. Arizona, which won the Maui Invitational, clamped down on Gonzaga on the defensive end to erase a six-point deficit in the second half. Four Bulldogs players scored in double figures. But none scored more than 15 and the Zags averaged 0.94 points per possession. The most efficient defense from a year ago might be headed that way again.

Big East depth
Even if the pace of the league has cooled since November, this still looks like a respectable multi-bid league. Villanova is undefeated with wins over VCU, Michigan and Illinois. St. John’s defeated Syracuse for its first win in the Carrier Dome in more than 15 years. Despite an uncertain coaching situation, Butler has defeated North Carolina and Georgetown and has only one loss this season (to Oklahoma on a neutral floor). All hope isn’t lost for Creighton without Doug McDermott as the Bluejays have wins over Oklahoma and Nebraska, the latter on the road. Even DePaul is 6-1 with a win over Stanford.

Utah’s breakout moment
Utah lost seven Pac-12 games by seven points or less last season, including three in overtime. Larry Krystkowiak’s team has been poised for a breakout, and it finally happened late into the night on Dec. 3. Against a Wichita State team that has almost always won the close games in recent years, the Utes got the breaks to defeat the Shockers 69-68 in overtime. Utah could be the No. 2 team in the Pac-12.

Virginia’s defense
The Cavaliers haven’t picked up an eye-popping win. And with a style of play that ranks 330th or worse in possession length on both sides of the court, nothing Virginia does will be eye-popping. Instead, consider what the Cavaliers did in back-to-back true road games against solid Maryland and VCU teams. Virginia held the two teams to a combined 1.02 points per possession, 45 percent shooting from 2-point range and 31 percent from 3.

Jerian Grant’s return
Notre Dame is back in postseason contention with Jerian Grant back in the lineup after missing most of last season following an academic issue. Clearly, the Irish are a different team with their star guard. Grant is averaging 19 points per game during the 9-1 start. In Notre Dame’s best performance of the season, Grant was 9-of-17 with 27 points in an overtime win over Michigan State.

 

Northern Iowa
Wichita State hasn’t had a challenger in the Missouri Valley since Creighton left. Northern Iowa hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since reaching the Sweet 16 in 2010. Could both change this season? The Panthers have only two top-100 wins (Stephen F. Austin and Richmond) but Ben Jacobson’s team is 9-0. With a junior- and senior-laden team, Jacobson is ready for another run, but the true tests will come in the next two weeks against VCU and Iowa.
(Note: The initial posting of this piece Thursday morning included Iowa State’s Bryce Dejean-Jones in this spot. He was removed after news broke of his arrest Thursday.)

TCU’s turnaround
Ten teams remain undefeated, and one of them went winless in conference play last season. Gary Patterson isn’t the only coach engineering a major turnaround in Fort Worth. TCU is 9-0, meaning that the Horned Frogs’ next win will eclipse last year’s total (9-22). Trent Johnson’s team doesn’t have any great wins — Ole Miss and Mississippi State are the only wins over KenPom top 100 teams — but the Frogs have a chance to be 13-0 when they open Big 12 play at home against West Virginia in Jan. 3.

Teaser:
10 Teams That Made a Statement in the First Month of College Basketball Season
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 07:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-kicker-rankings-week-15
Body:

Adam Vinatieri has yet to miss a kick this season, which is a good enough reason by itself to have him lead off Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings for Week 15. Vinatieri will turn 42 years old later this month and is on the verge of finishing up his 19th season in the NFL, yet you could make the argument he’s getting better with age. Vinatieri is second among kickers in fantasy points, tied for second in scoring and is fourth in made field goals (27). But what’s been most impressive about Vinatieri this season is that he’s the only kicker in the league who has been successful on every kick (27-for-27 FGs, 44-for-44 PATs) he’s attempted in 2014. Not bad for someone who’s played this game for two decades, no?

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Adam VinatieriINDvs. HOU
2Stephen GostkowskiNEvs. MIA
3Cody ParkeyPHIvs. DAL
4Steven HauschkaSEAvs. SF
5Mason CrosbyGBat BUF
6Justin TuckerBALvs. JAC
7Matt BryantATLvs. PIT
8Shaun SuishamPITat ATL
9Dan BaileyDALat PHI
10Matt PraterDETvs. MIN
11Connor BarthDENat SD
12Dan CarpenterBUFvs. GB
13Nick NovakSDvs. DEN
14Caleb SturgisMIAat NE
15Randy BullockHOUat IND
16Phil DawsonSFat SEA

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

KICKER SCORING
PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Kicker Rankings: Week 15
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-15
Body:

The St. Louis Rams have posted back-to-back shutouts, an impressive performance that earns them a spot near the top of Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings for Week 15. The Rams haven’t given up a point in three weeks, having shut out the Raiders and Redskins by a combined score of 76-0. This DST also has racked up 13 sacks, seven takeaways (5 INTs, 2 fumbles) and two touchdowns during this span. St. Louis is another strong option this week against Arizona, but don’t sleep on the Cardinals, the No. 5 fantasy DST this season. Elsewhere, Seattle’s defense has really started playing like defending Super Bowl champions recently. The Seahawks’ DST has scored double-digit fantasy points in three straight games and on Sunday hosts a reeling San Francisco team, which is why the champs check in at No. 1 this week.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

 

RankPlayerOpp
1Seattle Seahawksvs. SF
2St. Louis Ramsvs. ARI
3Baltimore Ravensvs. JAC
4Detroit Lionsvs. MIN
5Arizona Cardinalsat STL (Thurs.)
6New England Patriotsvs. MIA
7New York Giantsvs. WAS
8Philadelphia Eaglesvs. DAL
9Denver Broncosat SD
10Cleveland Brownsvs. CIN
11Kansas City Chiefsvs. OAK
12Buffalo Billsvs. GB
13New York Jetsat TEN
14San Francisco 49ersat SEA
15Houston Texansat IND
16Minnesota Vikingsat DET

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

DEFENSIVE SCORING
0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 15
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-tight-end-rankings-week-15
Body:

It’s been a slow couple of games for Jimmy Graham, but it’s going to take a lot more to knock him from his lofty perch on Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings for Week 15. Graham has a total of three catches in his last two games combined, but he’s still third at his position in fantasy points and checks in at No. 2 this week. Graham should bounce back Monday night against Chicago, whose defense is allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing TEs. Speaking of the Bears, Martellus Bennett tied for top scoring honors (with Oakland’s Mychal Rivera) at his position last week, catching 12 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Cowboys. With Brandon Marshall out for the rest of the season, Bennett could be in line for even more targets from here out.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Rob GronkowskiNEvs. MIA
2Jimmy GrahamNOat CHI (Mon.)
3Julius ThomasDENat SD
4Martellus BennettCHIvs. NO (Mon.)
5Greg OlsenCARvs. TB
6Antonio GatesSDvs. DEN
7Delanie WalkerTENvs. NYJ
8Larry DonnellNYGvs. WAS
9Travis KelceKCvs. OAK
10Jason WittenDALat PHI
11Coby FleenerINDvs. HOU
12Jared CookSTLvs. ARI (Thurs.)
13Jordan ReedWASat NYG
14Dwayne AllenINDvs. HOU
15Heath MillerPITat ATL
16Jordan CameronCLEvs. CIN
17Zach ErtzPHIvs. DAL
18Mychal RiveraOAKat KC
19Kyle RudolphMINat DET
20Charles ClayMIAat NE
21Owen DanielsBALvs. JAC
22Scott ChandlerBUFvs. GB
23Vernon DavisSFat SEA
24Jermaine GreshamCINat CLE

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Tight End Rankings: Week 15
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-wide-receiver-rankings-week-15
Body:

Julio Jones set the pace last week, but even his record-setting performance wasn’t enough to knock Antonio Brown from atop Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings for Week 15. Jones was unstoppable on Monday night against the Packers, setting a Falcons single-game record with 250 yards (11 rec.) and a touchdown. Jones left the game early after injuring his hip, but at this point we’re not too concerned, hence his No. 6 ranking. Jones wasn’t the only wide receiver who filled the stat sheet last week either. A total of four wideouts scored 30 or more fantasy points, including A.J. Green. Injuries have impacted Green’s production for much of this season, but he looked plenty healthy against Pittsburgh, torching the Steelers for 11 catches and 224 yards, including an 81-yard touchdown. Green will face a little tougher matchup this Sunday against Cleveland’s Joe Haden, but he’s still a borderline top-10 option. And as far as Brown is concerned, he’s still leading his position in fantasy points and the NFL in receptions (105), while ranking second in both yards (1,375) and touchdown catches (11). It should be business as usual for Brown, as the Steelers will be in Atlanta to take on the Falcons’ 32nd-ranked defense.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Antonio BrownPITat ATL
2Calvin JohnsonDETvs. MIN
3Demaryius ThomasDENat SD
4Jordy NelsonGBat BUF
5Odell Beckham Jr.NYGvs. WAS
6Julio JonesATLvs. PIT
7Dez BryantDALat PHI
8T.Y. HiltonINDvs. HOU
9Alshon JefferyCHIvs. NO (Mon.)
10Emmanuel SandersDENat SD
11A.J. GreenCINat CLE
12Jeremy MaclinPHIvs. DAL
13Mike EvansTBat CAR
14Randall CobbGBat BUF
15Josh GordonCLEvs. CIN
16DeAndre HopkinsHOUat IND
17Roddy WhiteATLvs. PIT
18Kelvin BenjaminCARvs. TB
19Sammy WatkinsBUFvs. GB
20Julian EdelmanNEvs. MIA
21Jordan MatthewsPHIvs. DAL
22Keenan AllenSDvs. DEN
23Golden TateDETvs. MIN
24Brandon LaFellNEvs. MIA
25Kenny StillsNOat CHI (Mon.)
26Steve SmithBALvs. JAC
27Vincent JacksonTBat CAR
28Mike WallaceMIAat NE
29Marques ColstonNOat CHI (Mon.)
30Andre JohnsonHOUat IND
31Eric DeckerNYJat TEN
32Martavis BryantPITat ATL
33DeSean JacksonWASat NYG
34Donte MoncriefINDvs. HOU
35Pierre GarconWASat NYG
36Anquan BoldinSFat SEA
37Larry FitzgeraldARIat STL (Thurs.)
38Torrey SmithBALvs. JAC
39Jarvis LandryMIAat NE
40Marqise LeeJACat BAL
41Charles JohnsonMINat DET
42Marquess WilsonCHIvs. NO (Mon.)
43Nate WashingtonTENvs. NYJ
44Malcom FloydSDvs. DEN
45Kendall WrightTENvs. NYJ
46Robert WoodsBUFvs. GB
47Doug BaldwinSEAvs. SF
48Michael FloydARIat STL (Thurs.)

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

 

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Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 15
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-running-back-rankings-week-15
Body:

Le’Veon Bell is on a historic run right now, so it’s only fitting that he lead off Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings for Week 15. Bell has gone over 200 yards from scrimmage in three straight games; something that hasn’t been done since Hall of Walter Payton accomplished the feat in 1977. During this stretch, Bell has rushed for 484 yards (6.1 ypc), caught 16 passes for 227 yards and scored five total touchdowns. His 44.5 fantasy points last week were not only the most by a RB, but the most by any player. Bell is now the leading fantasy scorer at his position, passing DeMarco Murray, and the good times may not be over just yet. Next up for Bell is a matchup with Atlanta. The Falcons are dead last in the NFL in total defense and also are giving up the most fantasy points to opposing RBs.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Le'Veon BellPITat ATL
2Arian FosterHOUat IND
3Jamaal CharlesKCvs. OAK
4Matt ForteCHIvs. NO (Mon.)
5DeMarco MurrayDALat PHI
6LeSean McCoyPHIvs. DAL
7C.J. AndersonDENat SD
8Justin ForsettBALvs. JAC
9Marshawn LynchSEAvs. SF
10Eddie LacyGBat BUF
11Joique BellDETvs. MIN
12Alfred MorrisWASat NYG
13Mark IngramNOat CHI (Mon.)
14Chris IvoryNYJat TEN
15Rashad JenningsNYGvs. WAS
16Latavius MurrayOAKat KC
17Isaiah CrowellCLEvs. CIN
18LeGarrette BlountNEvs. MIA
19Jeremy HillCINat CLE
20Daniel HerronINDvs. HOU
21Fred JacksonBUFvs. GB
22Ryan MathewsSDvs. DEN
23Jonathan StewartCARvs. TB
24Steven JacksonATLvs. PIT
25Lamar MillerMIAat NE
26Tre MasonSTLvs. ARI (Thurs.)
27Giovani BernardCINat CLE
28Terrance WestCLEvs. CIN
29Chris JohnsonNYJat TEN
30Andre WilliamsNYGvs. WAS
31Doug MartinTBat CAR
32Frank GoreSFat SEA
33Shane VereenNEvs. MIA
34Matt AsiataMINat DET
35Bishop SankeyTENvs. NYJ
36Toby GerhartJACat BAL
37Trent RichardsonINDvs. HOU
38Reggie BushDETvs. MIN
39Kerwynn WilliamsARIat STL (Thurs.)
40Darren SprolesPHIvs. DAL
41Pierre ThomasNOat CHI (Mon.)
42Stepfan TaylorARIat STL (Thurs.)
43Ben TateMINat DET
44Charles SimsTBat CAR
45James StarksGBat BUF
46Juwan ThompsonDENat SD
47Alfred BlueHOUat IND
48Bernard PierceBALvs. JAC

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Running Back Rankings: Week 15
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-quarterback-rankings-week-15
Body:

Andrew Luck is the leading fantasy scorer and he leads off Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings for Week 15, but it’s the signal-callers from the NFC South that have our attention. Matt Ryan tossed four touchdowns and posted a season-best 39.3 fantasy points on Monday night against Green Bay and could be in for another big game Sunday when Atlanta hosts Pittsburgh. As impressive as Ryan’s outing was, it wasn’t the top-scoring effort among QBs. That honor goes to Cam Newton, who accounted for four touchdowns (3 rush, 1 pass) in the Panthers’ 41-10 rout of the Saints. Newton would have been a top-10 option this week, but he sustained two fractures in his lower back in a car accident on Tuesday. Head coach Ron Rivera announced on Wednesday that Derek Anderson would start in Newton's place against Tampa Bay on Sunday. And speaking of the Saints, Drew Brees and company look to rebound Monday night in Chicago when they go up against the NFL’s most generous defense. New Orleans hasn’t been much better defensively, so this should be a nice matchup for Jay Cutler too.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Andrew LuckINDvs. HOU
2Peyton ManningDENat SD
3Aaron RodgersGBat BUF
4Drew BreesNOat CHI (Mon.)
5Tom BradyNEvs. MIA
6Matt RyanATLvs. PIT
7Ben RoethlisbergerPITat ATL
8Matthew StaffordDETvs. MIN
9Jay CutlerCHIvs. NO (Mon.)
10Russell WilsonSEAvs. SF
11Philip RiversSDvs. DEN
12Tony RomoDALat PHI
13Mark SanchezPHIvs. DAL
14Eli ManningNYGvs. WAS
15Joe FlaccoBALvs. JAC
16Ryan TannehillMIAat NE
17Andy DaltonCINat CLE
18Johnny ManzielCLEvs. CIN
19Kyle OrtonBUFvs. GB
20Ryan FitzpatrickHOUat IND
21Derek AndersonCARvs. TB
22Colin KaepernickSFat SEA
23Alex SmithKCvs. OAK
24Blake BortlesJACat BAL
25Derek CarrOAKat KC
26Jake LockerTENvs. NYJ

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Quarterback Rankings: Week 15
Post date: Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /college-football/14-coaching-candidates-replace-gary-andersen-wisconsin
Body:

Wisconsin is surprisingly looking for a new head coach after Gary Andersen left Madison for Oregon State. Andersen went 19-7 in two years with the Badgers, including a 10-3 record and a Big Ten West Division title in 2014.

 

Wisconsin is a solid program with a track record of success and is the No. 2 job behind Nebraska in the West Division. Andersen isn’t leaving the cupboard bare in Madison, but star running back Melvin Gordon is set to depart for the NFL after the Outback Bowl game against Auburn.

 

At the start of the 2015 season, athletic director Barry Alvarez will have worked with his third head coach in four years.

 

14 Candidates to Replace Gary Andersen at Wisconsin

 

Steve Addazio, Head Coach, Boston College

Addazio has spent a good chunk of his coaching career in the Northeast, so he may not be too eager to leave Boston College. However, if Addazio wants to leave Chestnut Hill, the Connecticut native would be a good fit at Wisconsin. In two years with the Eagles, Addazio is 14-11 and went 8-8 in ACC play during that span. Prior to Boston College, Addazio went 13-11 in two years at Temple. Addazio is known as a run-first coach, and his style of play would work well at Wisconsin.

 

Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator, Wisconsin

Aranda is the best choice if athletic director Barry Alvarez wants to promote from within to replace Gary Andersen. Aranda was hired at Utah State by Andersen in 2012 and followed the coaching staff to Madison in 2013. Under Aranda’s watch, Wisconsin’s defense allowed 4.7 yards per play in 2013 and 4.8 in 2014. The Badgers also held opponents to 20 points per game in 2014. Aranda does not have any head coaching experience. Prior to Wisconsin, he worked as an assistant at Hawaii, Southern Utah and Houston.

 

Darrell Bevell, Offensive Coordinator, Seattle Seahawks
Bevell has ties to the Wisconsin program as a former quarterback under Barry Alvarez. The Arizona native has not worked on the collegiate level since 1999 but has worked his way up the ladder in the NFL and has called the plays for Seattle since 2011. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Bevell worked with the Vikings and the Packers. Bevell is familiar with the program and would be a solid fit in Madison. However, there would likely be an adjustment period as he gets acclimated back to college.

 

Craig Bohl, Head Coach, Wyoming

Bohl just completed his first season at Wyoming, recording a 4-8 overall record and a 2-6 mark in conference play. Although Bohl’s first season with the Cowboys was a struggle, it’s not a surprise considering Wyoming was picked near the bottom of the Mountain West’s Mountain Division. However, prior to Wyoming, Bohl led North Dakota State to a 104-32 record and three consecutive FCS national championships. The Nebraska native also spent time as an assistant at Nebraska, Duke, Rice and Wisconsin prior to taking the top job with the Bison in 2003. It’s a longshot, but Bohl is a better coach than his record showed in 2014 at Wyoming.

 

Matt Campbell, Head Coach, Toledo

Much like Wyoming’s Craig Bohl, Campbell is probably a longshot to replace Andersen in Madison. However, Campbell is a rising star in the coaching ranks and should be in the mix for jobs at the Power 5 level in the coming seasons. Campbell is 25-13 in three full years with the Rockets and has guided the program to two bowl appearances. He also coached the 2011 Military Bowl win over Air Force after Tim Beckman left for Illinois. Campbell is from Ohio and played his college ball at Mount Union.

 

Rod Carey, Head Coach, Northern Illinois

Carey is a Madison native and has Big Ten experience after a playing career at Indiana and a stop at Minnesota as a graduate assistant. Carey worked his way through the assistant ranks prior to taking over as Northern Illinois’ coach in 2011. He had stops at Illinois State and North Dakota as an offensive line coach and spent two years with the Huskies before he was promoted after Dave Doeren left for NC State. Carey is 23-5 in two full seasons with Northern Illinois. A longshot, but Carey has kept the Huskies among the top programs in the MAC.

 

Paul Chryst, Head Coach, Pittsburgh

If there’s a perfect fit for Wisconsin, it has to be Chryst. The current Pittsburgh coach is a Madison native, played quarterback at Wisconsin and coached with the Badgers in 2002 and 2005-11. Chryst is just 19-19 through three seasons with the Panthers but guided the program to three consecutive bowl appearances. The Madison native did not inherit the best of roster situations when he came to Pittsburgh, and the program seems to be trending up after finishing with a .500 mark in conference play after a 3-5 record in 2013. Chryst also runs Wisconsin’s style of play and would be an easy transition for the players after two years under Andersen. 

 

Dave Doeren, Head Coach, NC State

If not Chryst, what about another former Wisconsin assistant? Doeren is two years into his tenure at NC State and guided the Wolfpack to a bowl in 2014 after a 3-9 mark in his first season. Prior to his stint at NC State, Doeren spent two years at Northern Illinois and went 23-4 from 2011-12. Doeren worked under former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema from 2006-10 as the team’s defensive coordinator and also has stops as an assistant at Kansas and Montana.

 

Justin Fuente, Head Coach, Memphis

Fuente is 16-20 in three seasons at Memphis, but his record is why it’s difficult to judge a coach just on wins and losses. The Tigers were among the nation’s worst programs prior to his arrival, and Fuente made steady gains from 2012-13. Memphis also made the transition from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference, which increased the overall strength of schedule. The Tigers improved significantly in Fuente’s third year (2014), finishing 9-3 and claiming a share of the conference title with a 7-1 mark in American Athletic Conference play. Prior to Memphis, Fuente worked as an assistant under Gary Patterson at TCU.

 

Al Golden, Head Coach, Miami

Golden’s name popped up in the rumor mill the last time Wisconsin had an opening. Is he interested in leaving Miami after a 6-6 record in 2014? Golden is 28-21 in four seasons with the Hurricanes and went 27-34 in five years at Temple. Golden inherited a mess at Temple and led the Owls back to respectability and a 17-8 record in his last two seasons. Success at Miami hasn’t been experienced on a large scale for Golden, but the program also had to deal with a scandal that impacted recruiting. Golden is certainly familiar with the Big Ten, as he played at Penn State and spent one season with the Nittany Lions (2000) as the team’s linebacker coach. 

 

Tom Herman, Offensive Coordinator, Ohio State

It’s been a busy season for Herman. Not only has the Ohio native had to replace two starting quarterbacks due to injury, but he also won the Broyles Award for the nation’s top assistant. Herman is considered one of college football’s rising stars in the assistant ranks and has experience from stops at Texas State, Rice and Iowa State prior to his three years with the Buckeyes. Herman does not have any head coaching experience.

 

Pete Lembo, Head Coach, Ball State

Lembo is coming off a 5-7 season at Ball State, but he’s still considered one of the top coaches in the MAC. In four years with the Cardinals, Lembo has a 30-20 record and guided the program to a 19-7 mark from 2012-13. Prior to taking over in Muncie, Lembo had stops as a head coach at Elon (2006-10) and Lehigh (44-14). Lembo was successful at both jobs, which included appearances in the FCS playoffs. There’s a clear track record of success with Lembo at three different programs. However, would the 5-7 mark in 2014 make him a tough sell to Wisconsin fans?

 

Pat Narduzzi, Defensive Coordinator, Michigan State

Narduzzi is one of the top defensive minds in the nation and is always in the rumor mill for openings every offseason. The Ohio native is in no hurry to leave Michigan State, but if he’s ready to be a FBS head coach, Wisconsin would be a good landing spot. Narduzzi has coordinated some of the Big Ten’s top defenses since coming to East Lansing, as the Spartans allowed just 19.9 points per game in 2014, and Michigan State ranked first nationally by holding opponents to four yards per play in 2013. Prior to joining coach Mark Dantonio’s staff before the 2007 season, Narduzzi spent time as an assistant at Cincinnati, Miami (Ohio) and Northern Illinois.

 

Greg Schiano, Former Head Coach at Rutgers/Tampa Bay

Schiano has been out of work since he was dismissed with the Buccaneers after a 4-12 record in 2013. Prior to the two-year stint at Tampa Bay, Schiano was a successful coach in the collegiate ranks with a 68-67 record at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights struggled mightily prior to his arrival but went to six bowl games over his final seven seasons. Schiano is also believed to be in the mix at Michigan. 

Teaser:
14 Coaching Candidates to Replace Gary Andersen at Wisconsin
Post date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 19:09
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/2014-college-football-awards-predictions-finalists-and-winners
Body:

Before a team hoists a national championship trophy, before one outstanding player hoists the Heisman Trophy, a handful of other hardware will be awarded over the coming days.

 

Part of college football’s rich tradition is the dozens of individual and positional awards to be distributed over the coming days and weeks.

 

Most of these will be during ESPN’s College Football Awards show on Thursday, Dec. 11., at 7 p.m.

 

Here are the finalists, the winners and our picks for each of the major awards.

 

FinalistsAthlon's PickWinner

Heisman Trophy

Most Outstanding Player

Amari Cooper, Alabama

Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Mariota 

Maxwell Award

Player of the Year

Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

MariotaMariota

Bednarik Award

Defensive Player of the Year

Vic Beasley, Clemson

Joey Bosa, Ohio State

Scooby Wright, Arizona

WrightWright

Nagurski Trophy

Top defensive player

Malcolm Brown, Texas

Landon Collins, Alabama

Senquez Golson, Ole Miss

Gerod Holliman, Louisville

Scooby Wright, Arizona

Wright 

Eddie Robinson Award

Coach of the year

Art Briles, Baylor

Jimbo Fisher, Florida State

Justin Fuente, Memphis

Bryan Harsin, Boise State

Mark Helfrich, Oregon

Urban Meyer, Alabama

Gary Patterson, TCU

Nick Saban, Alabama

Patterson 

Maxwell Coach of the Year

Mark Helfrich, Oregon

Urban Meyer, Ohio State

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State

Mullen 

Johnny Unitas Golden Arm

Top senior quarterback

Brett Hundley, UCLA

Cody Kessler, USC

Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Bryce Petty, Baylor

Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

MariotaMariota

Davey O’Brien Award

Top quarterback

Trevone Boykin, TCU

Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

MariotaMariota

Doak Walker Award

Top running back

Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska

Tevin Coleman, Indiana

Melvin Gordon, Nebraska

GordonGordon

Biletnikoff Award

Top wide receiver

Amari Cooper, Alabama

Rashard Higgins, Colorado State

Kevin White, West Virginia

CooperCooper

Mackey Award

Top tight end

Nick O’Leary, Florida State

Clive Walford, Miami

Maxx Williams, Minnesota

O'LearyO'Leary

Outland Trophy

Top interior lineman

Malcolm Brown, Texas

Reese Dismukes, Auburn

Brandon Scherff, Iowa

ScherffScherff

Rimington Award

Top center

Jack Allen, Mississippi State

David Andrews, Georgia

Reese Dismukes, Abuburn

B.J. Finney, Kansas State

Andy Gallik, Boston College

Hroniss Grasu, Oregon

Dismukes 

Lombardi Award

Top lineman/linebacker

Vic Beasley, Clemson

Joey Bosa, Ohio State

Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington

Scooby Wright, Arizona

WrightWright

Butkus Award

Top linebacker

Erik Kendricks, UCLA

Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington

Denzel Perryman, Miami

Jake Ryan, Michigan

Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

KikahaKendricks

Thorpe Award

Top defensive back

Landon Collins, Alabama

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Gerod Holliman, Louisville

HollimanHolliman

Lou Groza Award

Top kicker

Robert Aguayo, Florida State

Brad Craddock, Maryland

Josh Lambert, West Virginia

AguayoCraddock

Ray Guy Award

Top punter

Tom Hackett, Utah

Austin Rekhow, Idaho

J.K. Scott, Alabama

HackettHackett

Broyles Award

Top assistant coach

Scott Frost, Oregon

Tom Herman, Ohio State

Lane Kiffin, Alabama

Doug Meacham, TCU

Dave Steckel, Missouri

MeachamHerman

 

Teaser:
2014 College Football Awards Predictions, Finalists and Winners
Post date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 17:04
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/johnny-manziel-get-start-browns
Body:

Berea, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Johnny Manziel will make his first NFL start when the Cleveland Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday, head coach Mike Pettine announced Tuesday.

 

Manziel, one of Cleveland's two first-round picks in the 2014 draft, takes over for struggling veteran Brian Hoyer with the Browns trying to stay alive in the AFC playoff race at 7-6.

 

Hoyer has started each of the Browns' first 13 games, but has been ineffective in the team's past four outings. He has thrown eight interceptions and just one touchdown pass over that stretch, during which Cleveland has gone 1-3.

 

Manziel saw his first real action in a relief role two weeks ago in a loss to Buffalo and guided the Browns to their lone touchdown in a 26-10 setback, though Pettine decided to stay with Hoyer for another week. Hoyer completed only 14-of-31 passes for 140 yards and was intercepted twice against Indianapolis on Sunday, however, with Cleveland dealt a potentially costly 25-24 home loss.

 

"This decision is really not about Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel, it is about the Cleveland Browns," Pettine said. "We are always going to make decisions that we feel are in the best interest of the team."

 

Over 13 games this season, Hoyer has thrown for 3,196 yards with 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

 

"Brian has done everything that has been asked of him and he has done so as a true professional," Pettine said. "It's never just any one position when a unit is not functioning at the level you'd like. We are trying to get the offense to perform at a higher level. Johnny has worked very hard to earn this opportunity and it will be very important for every member of the offense to elevate their play for us to obtain our desired result."

 

Manziel was 5-of-8 for 63 yards passing and ran for a touchdown against the Bills. He also fumbled.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 12:27
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/panthers-cam-newton-fair-condition-after-car-accident
Body:

Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is in fair condition at a Charlotte hospital after being involved in a two-car accident on Tuesday afternoon.

 

The Panthers later announced that Newton suffered two transverse process fractures in his lower back during the crash but no other internal injuries. The 2011 No. 1 overall pick will remain at Carolinas Medical Center overnight for further observation.

 

According to the Charlotte Observer, the accident occurred at about 12:50 p.m. ET near Bank of America Stadium. The paper said one of the vehicles involved in the accident overturned.

 

A picture from the Observer's Twitter page showed Newton conscious and smiling while being examined by medical personnel.

 

Newton's status for Sunday's contest against Tampa Bay is uncertain. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo missed one game earlier this season after sustaining a similar injury to his back against Washington on Oct. 27.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 12:26
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/cincinnati-bengals-place-burfict-injured-reserve
Body:

Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The season is officially over for Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, as the club placed him on injured reserve Tuesday.

 

The 24-year-old has been sidelined since undergoing knee surgery on Oct. 29 to have loose cartilage removed, after suffering an injury during a game against the Baltimore Ravens three days prior.

 

At the time, head coach Marvin Lewis said Burfict was likely to return for a Nov. 16 game against New Orleans, but that did not come to pass.

 

Burfict, who signed a new four-year contract this summer after leading the team in tackles each of his first two seasons, missed two games earlier this year because of concussions and also hurt his neck in a game against Indianapolis one week prior to his knee issue.

 

The Arizona State product ends 2014 with 29 tackles in five appearances.

 

In a corresponding roster move, Cincy activated quarterback A.J. McCarron from the reserve/non-football injury list. The Alabama product and rookie suffered a shoulder injury prior to the start of training camp which precluded his return to the field until now. He had been practicing with the club since it was granted a roster exception on Nov. 18.

 

McCarron threw for 3,063 yards and 28 touchdowns against seven interceptions during his senior season for the Crimson Tide.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 12:24
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/tennessee-titans-sign-ol-meredith-place-cb-wreh-wilson-ir
Body:

Nashville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - The Tennessee Titans signed veteran offensive lineman Jamon Meredith and placed cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson on season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday.

 

Wreh-Wilson suffered a dislocated shoulder in Tennessee's 36-7 loss to the Giants on Sunday. The 25-year-old compiled 57 tackles, 10 passes defensed and an interception over 11 starts this season.

 

Meredith, 28, played in four games for Indianapolis this season after appearing in 30 games (20 starts) with Tampa Bay over the previous two seasons.

 

The six-year veteran has played in 51 games with the Bills, Giants, Steelers, Buccaneers and Colts.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 12:22
Path: /college-football/sec-2014-season-awards-and-all-conference-team
Body:

The SEC’s trophy case is already full of championships during the BCS era, but the conference is set to once again welcome a handful of national award winners to its collection of previous talent. Alabama receiver Amari Cooper was one of the best players in the nation this year and is a lock for All-America honors after catching 115 passes. But Cooper isn’t the only Crimson Tide player likely to win awards, as coordinator Lane Kiffin was one of the top candidates for the Broyles Award that went to Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman, and safety Landon Collins should be a first-team All-American.

 

Missouri is another one of the big winners in the award selections by Athlon Sports, as defensive end Shane Ray earns defensive player of the year honors. Ray and fellow end Markus Golden were both selected to the Athlon Sports first-team All-SEC squad.

 

Outside of the two division champs, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen checks in as coach of the year, while South Carolina receiver Pharoh Cooper is the league’s top breakout player.

 

2014 Season Awards and All-Conference Teams:
ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten Pac-12

 

SEC 2014 Season Awards

 

Coach of the Year: Dan Mullen, Mississippi State

Mullen elevated Mississippi State into the SEC and national title mix this season, guiding the program to a 10-2 mark with a second-place finish in the brutal West Division. The Bulldogs ranked No. 1 in the first college football playoff rankings and ranked inside of the top four until a loss to Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. Mullen’s 10-2 mark was the best of his tenure in Starkville, and the Bulldogs are set to make their first appearance in the Orange Bowl since 1940 this season.
 

Offensive Player of the Year: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

Cooper was easily the best player in the SEC this season. The junior thrived under the watch of coordinator Lane Kiffin by catching 115 passes for 1,656 yards and 14 scores. Cooper averaged 14.4 yards per catch and nearly nine receptions per game (8.8.). The junior delivered in Alabama’s biggest games in 2014, including a huge performance (13 catches for 224 yards and three touchdowns) in the Iron Bowl win over Auburn and a 12-catch afternoon against Missouri in the SEC Championship.
 

Defensive Player of the Year: Shane Ray, DE, Missouri

Strong consideration for Alabama safety Landon Collins and Missouri defensive end Markus Golden are needed here, but Ray gets the edge as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. The junior led all SEC defenders with 12.5 sacks, including two in a critical road win at South Carolina in late September. Ray also led all SEC defenders with 21 tackles for a loss, recorded 61 tackles and forced two fumbles.
 

Newcomer of the Year: D’haquille Williams, WR, Auburn
A knee injury slowed Williams in November, but he finished the season with 45 catches for 730 yards and five scores. The junior college transfer recorded four 100-yard performances and caught two scores against Mississippi State. Williams teamed with Sammie Coates to give Auburn one of the nation’s most-talented duos at receiver in 2014.

 

Freshman of the Year: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

It’s a tossup between Garrett, Georgia running back Nick Chubb and Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson. A slight edge goes to Garrett here, as it’s not easy being an impact defender as a true freshman in the SEC. Garrett was a bright spot for Texas A&M’s defense in 2014, recording 50 tackles (12.5 tackles for a loss), one pass breakup and 11 sacks in 11 games. Expect Garrett to be one of the leading candidates for All-America honors at defensive end in 2015.

 

Coordinator of the Year: Lane Kiffin, Offensive Coordinator, Alabama

Kiffin inherited plenty of talent, but the former USC coach was instrumental in the emergence of receiver Amari Cooper and the development of quarterback Blake Sims. Cooper was one of the nation’s top talents at receiver coming into 2014, but his numbers as a sophomore dipped after a promising freshman campaign. Under Kiffin’s watch, Cooper emerged as a Heisman finalist by catching 115 passes for 1,656 yards and 14 scores. Sims went into the preseason as a question mark, yet finished as a second-team All-SEC quarterback. Alabama averaged 6.4 yards per play and 34.2 points per contest in SEC games this season. The Crimson Tide also scored at least 40 points in each of their final three contests.

 

Breakout Player of the Year: Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina

Cooper caught only three passes for 54 yards last season, but big things were expected from the sophomore in 2014. And there’s no doubt Cooper delivered. The North Carolina native led all South Carolina receivers with 60 catches for 966 yards and eight scores. Cooper also rushed for 198 yards and two touchdowns and recorded 78 punt return yards on 14 attempts. Cooper is expected to be one of the SEC’s top receivers and all-purpose threats returning for 2015.

 

SEC 2014 All-Conference Team
First-Team OffenseSecond-Team Offense
QB Dak Prescott
Mississippi State 
QB Blake Sims
Alabama 
RB Cameron Artis-Payne
Auburn 
RB Josh Robinson
Mississippi State 
RB Nick Chubb
Georgia 
RB T.J. Yeldon
Alabama 
WR Amari Cooper
Alabama 
WR Laquon Treadwell
Ole Miss 
WR Pharoh Cooper
South Carolina 
WR Bud Sasser
Missouri 
TE Evan Engram
Ole Miss 
TE Hunter Henry
Arkansas 
C Reese Dismukes
Auburn 
C David Andrews
Georgia 
OG Arie Kouandjio
Alabama 
OG Vadal Alexander
LSU 
OG A.J. Cann
South Carolina 
OG Ben Beckwith
Mississippi State 
OT La'El Collins
LSU 
OT Cam Robinson
Alabama 
OT Laremy Tunsil
Ole Miss 
OT Mitch Morse
Missouri 
AP Marcus Murphy
Missouri 
AP Speedy Noil
Texas A&M 
  
First-Team DefenseSecond-Team Defense
DE Shane Ray
Missouri 
DE Dante Fowler
Florida 
DE Markus Golden
Missouri 
DE Preston Smith
Mississippi State 
DE Myles Garrett
Texas A&M 
DE Derek Barnett
Tennessee 
DT A'Shawn Robinson
Alabama 
DT Robert Nkemdiche
Ole Miss 
DL/LB Bud Dupree
Kentucky 
LB Antonio Morrison
Florida 
LB Benardrick McKinney
Mississippi State 
LB Trey DePriest
Alabama 
LB Martrell Spaight
Arkansas 
LB Amarlo Herrera
Georgia 
CB Senquez Golson
Ole Miss 
CB Damian Swann
Georgia 
CB Vernon Hargreaves III
Florida 
CB Jonathan Jones
Auburn 
S Landon Collins
Alabama 
S Braylon Webb
Missouri 
S Cody Prewitt
Ole Miss 
S Ronald Martin
LSU 
  
First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team Specialists
K Austin MacGinnis
Kentucky 
K Elliott Fry
South Carolina 
P JK Scott
Alabama 
P Jamie Keehn
LSU 
KR Marcus Murphy
Missouri 
KR Darrius Sims
Vanderbilt 
PR Quan Bray
Auburn 
PR Andre Debose
Florida 

 

Teaser:
SEC 2014 Season Awards and All-Conference Team
Post date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten, News
Path: /college-football/big-ten-2014-season-awards-and-all-conference-team
Body:

By a handful of measures, the Big Ten had a successful season. The league produced a College Football Playoff team, a Heisman finalist, one of the top defensive players in the country and one of the nation’s biggest surprise teams.

The conference just took an interesting path to reach the finished product.

Writing off the league in Week 2 couldn’t have been more foolhardy, but at the time, the hopes for the Big Ten were dim.

By then, the power programs all lost non-conference games — Ohio State to Virginia Tech, Michigan to Notre Dame, Michigan State to Oregon and Wisconsin to LSU. Some teams recovered (Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State). Some did not (Michigan). Minnesota lost early to TCU, too, but the Horned Frogs turned out to be better than we anticipated. So did the Gophers.

If seasons are judged by playoff appearances and Heisman contenders, the Big Ten recovered from that week. J.T. Barrett emerged as a star, and Ohio State never lost again. Melvin Gordon was largely absent from the second half against LSU, but he went on to set the national single-game rushing record (for a week) and then broke the Big Ten rushing record held by Ron Dayne.

League newcomers Maryland and Rutgers will finish the season in bowl games. So will Illinois, which saved the job of coach Tim Beckman. So will Penn State, which saw its bowl ban lifted.

But power programs in this league finished where they started the season — looking for answers. Michigan is out of a bowl and still looking for a coach. Nebraska is in a bowl but has one eye on the Mike Riley era.

 

2014 Season Awards and All-Conference Teams:

ACC | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC

 

2014 Big Ten Season Awards


Coach of the Year: Jerry Kill, Minnesota
Minnesota’s trophy case is more full than it’s been in years as the Gophers won both the Little Brown Jug (Michigan) and Floyd of Rosedale (Iowa) in the same season for the first time since 1967. The Gophers, picked by Athlon to finish fifth in the West, came within one game on the last day of the season of playing in the Big Ten championship game. With an 8-4 finish, Kill has led Minnesota to back-to-back eight-win seasons for the first time in more than a decade.

Offensive Player of the Year: Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
This can go to no one else. It’s hard to think what Wisconsin would be without Gordon. The junior put himself into Wisconsin running back lore — not an easy task given the tradition — by rushing for a then-FBS record 408 yards against Nebraska and breaking Ron Dayne’s Big Ten rushing record. Gordon’s 2,336 rushing yards is the fourth-highest total in FBS history.

Defensive Player of the Year: Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Bosa built upon a standout freshman season to become the most disruptive defensive player in the Big Ten. The 6-foot-5, 278-pound defensive end from St. Thomas Aquinas finished in the top five nationally with 13.5 sacks and 20 tackles for a loss. His four forced fumbles this season contributed to 30 Ohio State points.

Newcomer of the Year: Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Minnesota
Boddy-Calhoun is a junior college transfer and a player making a return from injury. The wait was worth it as the Gophers cornerback finished the season with four interceptions and eight pass breakups.

Freshman of the Year: J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
Unless you’re a die-hard Ohio State fan, you probably didn’t know much, if anything, about J.T. Barrett before Aug. 20. That’s when Braxton Miller was lost for the season and Barrett went from unknown to the quarterback of a College Football Playoff contender. The redshirt freshman struggled in his second career start, a home loss to 6-6 Virginia Tech, but led the Buckeyes to an unblemished Big Ten season. His 45 total touchdowns was an Ohio State record and more than Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston during their redshirt freshman seasons.

Coordinator of the Year: Tom Herman, Ohio State
Ohio State entered the season with one sure bet on offense, and that cornerstone, Braxton Miller, never started a game. The 39-year-old coordinator prepped J.T. Barrett to take an unexpected starting role for the season, set the stage for a 1,400-yard season from running back Ezekiel Elliott and then won a Big Ten championship game with another backup quarterback in Cardale Jones. Simply put, Ohio State isn’t in they playoff if the Buckeyes quarterbacks aren’t in position or prepared to flourish on short notice.

Breakout Player of the Year: Tevin Coleman, Indiana
Coleman had a heck of a time overcoming not only Melvin Gordon in publicity or a 1-7 season by Indiana in the Big Ten. Becoming only the third 2,000-yard running back since 2008 was enough to put him on the fringe of the Heisman hunt. At one point, Coleman had rushed for a touchdown in 15 consecutive games dating back to the 2013 opener against Indiana State. Coleman finished with 2,036 yards, more than double his total from a year earlier.


Big Ten 2014 All-Conference Team

 

First TeamSecond Team

QB J.T. Barrett

Ohio State

QB Connor Cook

Michigan State

RB Melvin Gordon

Wisconsin

RB Ameer Abdullah

Nebraska

RB Tevin Coleman

Indiana

RB David Cobb

Minnesota

WR Tony Lippett

Michigan State

WR Devin Smith

Ohio State

WR Leonte Carroo

Rutgers

WR Mike Dudek

Illinois

TE Maxx Williams

Minnesota

TE Josiah Price

Michigan State

OT Brandon Scherff

Iowa

OT Jack Conklin

Michigan State

OT Rob Havenstein

Wisconsin

OT Taylor Decker

Ohio State

OG Kyle Costigan

Wisconsin

OG Pat Elflein

Ohio State

OG Zac Epping

Minnesota

OG Travis Jackson

Michigan State

C Jack Allen

Michigan State

C Dan Voltz

Wisconsin

  

DE Joey Bosa

Ohio State

DE Randy Gregory

Nebraska

DE Shilique Calhoun

Michigan State

DE Andre Monroe

Maryland

DT Anthony Zettel

Penn State

DT Carl Davis

Iowa

DT Michael Bennett

Ohio State

DT Maliek Collins

Nebraska

LB Mike Hull

Penn State

LB Derek Landisch

Wisconsin

LB Vince Biegel

Wisconsin

LB Taiwan Jones

Michigan State

LB Jake Ryan

Michigan

LB Damien Wilson

Minnesota

CB William Likely

Maryland

CB Doran Grant

Ohio State

CB Trae Waynes

Michigan State

CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun

Minnesota

S Kurtis Drummond

Michigan State

S Nate Gerry

Nebraska

S Michael Caputo

Wisconsin

S Frankie Williams

Purdue

  

K Brad Craddock

Maryland

K Sam Ficken

Penn State

P Peter Mortell

Minnesota

P Cameron Johnston

Ohio State

KR Jalen Myrick

Minnesota

KR R.J. Shelton

Michigan State

PR De'Mornay Pierson-El

Nebraska

PR Jalin Marshall

Ohio State

 

Teaser:
Big Ten 2014 Season Awards and All-Conference Team
Post date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-2014-season-awards-and-all-conference-team
Body:

Certainly, Big 12 fans feel jilted by the inaugural College Football Playoff Committee.

 

Both TCU and Baylor were worthy candidates for the national championship tournament. But being left out of the bracket and the subsequent finger pointing has taken away from what was a remarkable season in the Big 12.

 

The 2014 season was one filled with remarkable comebacks, record-setting performances, historic storylines and a lot of purple.

 

2014 Season Awards and All-Conference Teams:
ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

 

Big 12 2014 Season Awards

 

Coach of the Year: Gary Patterson, TCU

In just three short seasons, Patterson took his program from the Mountain West to the top of the Big 12 ladder. After losing close game after close game and finishing 4-8 a year ago with no quarterback play, Patterson reinvented himself on offense by hiring two new coordinators. With a wide receiver playing quarterback and his best defensive player lost for the year in the summer months, all Patterson did was win a share of the Big 12 title. The Frogs were picked sixth in the Big 12.

 

Offensive Player of the Year: Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU

What else can be said about Boykin’s remarkable season? He led the Big 12 with 3,714 yards passing, 30 passing touchdowns and was top 10 nationally in both categories. He also led the Big 12 and finished third nationally in total offense per game at 363.0 yards per game. Of the 11 players with at least 30 touchdown passes, Boykin was one of five with fewer than 10 interceptions. For good measure, he was 10th in the Big 12 in rushing and sixth in rushing touchdowns. This was a no-brainer.

 

Defensive Player of the Year: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas

Brown was downright unstoppable this season for what turned out to be a bowl team in Austin. He anchored a unit that led the league in total defense and passing defense. The massive nose guard is a likely first-team All-American and finished his fine season with 62 total tackles, 12.5 for loss and 6.5 sacks to go with two forced fumbles. He was the most dominant defensive player in the league this year.

 

Newcomer of the Year: Tyreek Hill, AP, Oklahoma State

Hill was the No. 3-rated junior college prospect in the nation according to 247Sports and proved he was worth the lofty expectations. He finished second in the Big 12 with 150.9 all-purpose yards per game and made the biggest play of the Pokes season by tying The Bedlam Series with less than a minute away with his unforgettable punt return. Hill finished with 534 yards rushing on 102 attempts, 281 yards receiving on 31 catches and scored on three different returns (2 kick, 1 punt).

 

Freshman of the Year: Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

The burly true freshman carried his way into the NCAA record books this fall. Perine led the Big 12 with 240 carries, 1,579 yards and 21 touchdowns. He posted three 200-yard games and set the NCAA single-game rushing record with 427 against Kansas. He was never the unquestioned starter but was asked to carry the load when Oklahoma dealt with injuries. The Texas native rose to the occasion and finished eighth nationally in rushing and was one of seven players to rush for at least 20 TDs.

 

Coordinator of the Year: Doug Meacham, TCU

He lost out on the Frank Broyles Award given to the nation’s top coordinator (Ohio State’s Tom Herman) but that shouldn’t diminish the work Meacham did in Fort Worth. The Broyles finalist, along with co-coordinator Sonny Cumbie, took an offense that ranked 106th in total offense (344.8) and 88th in scoring offense (25.1 ppg) and turned it into one of the most prolific units in the nation. TCU averaged 542.2 yards and 46.8 points per game, ranking fourth and second nationally, respectively.

 

Breakout Player of the Year: Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU

Boykin pretty much deserves every award possible. He’s the offensive player of the year, he’s the most improved player of the year and is clearly the breakout player of the year. Entering the summer, Boykin was a long shot to start at quarterback and was more likely to be a first-team All-Big 12 wide receiver than Heisman Trophy signal-caller. It was a remarkable year for the TCU QB.

 

Big 12 2014 All-Conference Team
First-Team OffenseSecond-Team Offense
QB Trevone Boykin
TCU 
QB Bryce Petty
Baylor 
RB Samaje Perine
Oklahoma 
RB DeAndre Washington
Texas Tech 
RB Shock Linwood
Baylor 
RB Aaron Green
TCU 
WR Tyler Lockett
Kansas State 

WR Sterling Shepard

Oklahoma 

WR Kevin White
West Virginia 
WR Corey Coleman
Baylor 
TE E.J. Bibbs
Iowa State 
TE Jimmay Mudine
Kansas 
C B.J. Finney
Kansas State
C Joey Hunt
TCU 
OL Spencer Drango
Baylor 
OL Cody Whitehair
Kansas State 
OL Daryl Williams
Oklahoma 
OL Quinton Spain
West Virginia 
OL Le'Raven Clark
Texas Tech 
OL Tayo Fabuluje
TCU 
OL Mike Glowinski
West Virginia 
OL Tyrus Thompson
Oklahoma 
AP Tyreek Hill
Oklahoma State 
AP Aaron Wimberly
Iowa State 
  
First-Team DefenseSecond-Team Defense
DL Malcom Brown
Texas 
DL Andrew Billings
Baylor 
DL Shawn Oakman
Baylor 
DL Ryan Mueller
Kansas State 
DL Chucky Hunter
TCU 
DL Cedric Reed
Texas 
DL Emmanuel Ogbah
Oklahoma State 
DL Jordan Phillips
Oklahoma
LB Paul Dawson
TCU 
LB Eric Striker
Oklahoma 
LB Ben Heeney
Kansas 
LB Bryce Hager
Baylor 
LB Pete Robertson
Texas Tech 
LB Jonathan Truman
Kansas State 
CB Zack Sanchez
Oklahoma 
CB Quandre Diggs
Texas 
CB Sam Carter
TCU 
CB Nigel Tribune
Iowa State 
S Chris Hackett
TCU 
S Karl Joseph
West Virginia 
S Orion Stewart
Baylor 
S Jordan Sterns
Oklahoma State 
  
First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team Specialists
K Josh Lambert
West Virginia 
K Jaden Oberkrom
TCU 
P Trevor Pardula
Kansas 
P Spencer Roth
Baylor 
KR Alex Ross
Oklahoma 
KR Mario Alford
West Virginia 
PR Tyler Lockett
Kansas State 
PR Tyreek Hill
Oklahoma State 

 

Teaser:
Big 12 2014 Season Awards and All-Conference Team
Post date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2014-season-awards-and-all-conference-team
Body:

The Pac-12 entered the season with eyes on knocking off the SEC as the best league in college football.

 

While that may not happen until Oregon knocks off both Florida State and Alabama in the College Football Playoff, the Pac-12 has clearly separated itself as the best league outside of the SEC and has set itself up to be on par with the SEC if the Ducks can win two more games.

 

Star power at quarterback, a deep collection of head coaches and renewed financial support across the league makes the Pac-12 one of the best two conferences in the nation. 

 

As far as conference awards and all-conference teams, there were very few difficult decisions.

 

2014 Season Awards and All-Conference Teams:
ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

 

Pac-12 2014 Season Awards

 

Coach of the Year: Rich Rodriguez, Arizona

The Wildcats were picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 South by Athlon Sports, as well as the preseason media throng. In fact, three different teams got first place votes in the South and Arizona wasn’t one of them. The Wildcats won 10 games, including matchups at Oregon, at Utah and over Arizona State at home in the division clincher. As Pac-12 South champs, Rich Rodriguez is the obvious choice for Coach of the Year and should get plenty of votes nationally.

 

Offensive Player of the Year: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

What more can be said about the star quarterback from Oregon? Marcus Mariota was simply brilliant in 2014, accounting for 53 total touchdowns and just two interceptions. His 4,452 yards of total offense topped the nation as well. He is the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy for a reason.

 

Defensive Player of the Year: Scooby Wright III, LB, Arizona

What more can be said about the star linebacker from Arizona? Wright III is one of the most disruptive players in the nation in leading his team to the Pac-12 title game. He finished second in the nation in tackles (153), first in tackles for loss (27.0), third in sacks (14.0) and first in forced fumbles (6). The Cats linebacker has already won the Nagurski Award as the nation’s best defensive player.

 

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Newcomer of the Year: Devontae Booker, RB, Utah

According to 247Sports.com, Booker was the No. 103-ranked junior college prospect entering the college ranks in 2014. He was a three-star recruit who turned into a first-team performer in just one season in Salt Lake City. He led the Pac-12 with 266 attempts and finished second with 1,350 yards. He carried his team to victory over UCLA, Oregon State, USC and Stanford.

 

Freshman of the Year: Anu Solomon, QB, Arizona

The redshirt freshman quarterback led all freshmen nationally in passing yards (3,458) and finished behind only Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett in touchdown passes (27) and total offense (3,717) among freshmen. He also led his team to an unexpected berth in the Pac-12 title game. He is a perfect fit for RichRod’s offense and has a huge future ahead of him in Tucson.

 

Coordinator of the Year: Scott Frost, Oregon

Many believe Mark Helfrich or Mariota deserve the credit for Oregon’s massive offensive output this fall. While both will get their share of kudos (rightly so), Scott Frost has been recognized by the Frank Broyles Award as one of the five best coordinators in the country. The Ducks were No. 3 in total offense (546.2), No. 2 in yards per play (7.35) and No. 3 in scoring offense (46.3).

 

Breakout Player of the Year: Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon

He led the Pac-12 in rushing touchdowns (16) and was fourth in the league in rushing (1,299). What made Freeman so important to Oregon, however, was his emergence following the loss to Arizona. All six 100-yard games came after the loss as did 11 of his 16 rushing touchdowns. His emergence allowed Mark Helfrich to move Byron Marshall to receiver and it helped protect Mariota in the second half of the season. The elite recruit from California totally lived up to his prep hype.

 

Pac-12 2014 All-Conference Team
First-Team OffenseSecond-Team Offense
QB Marcus Mariota
Oregon 
QB Brett Hundley
UCLA 
RB Javorius Allen
USC 
RB Devontae Booker
Utah 
RB Royce Freeman
Oregon 
RB Paul Perkins
UCLA 
WR Nelson Agholor
USC 
WR Nelson Spruce
Colorado 
WR Jaelen Strong
Arizona State 
WR Vince Mayle
Washington State 
TE Pharaoh Brown
Oregon 
TE Austin Hooper
Stanford 
OL Hroniss Grasu
Oregon 
OL Jake Brendel
UCLA 
OL Andrus Peat
Stanford 
OL Kyle Murphy
Stanford 
OL Jake Fisher
Oregon 
OL Nick Kelly
Arizona State 
OL Max Tuerk
USC 
OL Steven Gurrola
Arizona 
OL Jamil Douglas
Arizona State 
OL Jeremiah Poutasi
Utah 
AP D.J. Foster
Arizona State 
AP Adoree Jackson
USC 
  
Second-Team OffenseSecond-Team Defense
DL Leonard Williams
USC 
DL  Henry Anderson
Stanford 
DL Nate Orchard
Utah 
DL  DeForest Buckner
Oregon 
DL Danny Shelton
Washington 
DL  Owamagbe Odigihizuwa
UCLA 
DL/LB  Hau'oli Kikaha
Washington 
DL  Dylan Wynn
Oregon State 
LB  Shaq Thompson
Washington 
LB  A.J. Tarpley
Stanford 
LB  Eric Kendricks
UCLA 
LB  Myles Jack
UCLA 
LB  Scooby Wright III
Arizona 
LB  Jared Norris
Utah 
CB  Ifo Ekpre-Olomu
Oregon 
CB  Steven Nelson
Oregon State 
CB  Ishmael Adams
UCLA 
CB  Troy Hill
Oregon 
S  Su'a Cravens
USC 
S  Damarious Randall
Arizona State 
S Jordan Richards
Stanford 
S  Erick Dargan
Oregon 
  
First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team Specialists
K  Andy Phillips
Utah 
K  Zane Gonzalez
Arizona State 
P Tom Hackett
Utah 
P  Drew Riggleman
Arizona 
KR  Ty Montgomery
Stanford 
KR  Trevor Davis
Cal 
PR  Kaelin Clay
Oregon 
PR  Nelson Agholor
USC 

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 2014 Season Awards and All-Conference Team
Post date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 11:00

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