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Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2016-kicker-rankings-week-4
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Week 4 of the fantasy football season is here and a new kicker is ranked No. 1. After nailing a field goal from beyond 50 yards in each of the first three games, Justin Tucker finds himself tied with Dustin Hopkins for the most fantasy points (depending on scoring) at the position this season. Tucker and the Ravens face Oakland this week, which is a decent matchup. Head coach John Harbaugh has plenty of faith in Tucker’s leg, so he’s our No. 1 kicker this week. It can’t be Stephen Gostkowski every week can it?

 

Dallas’ Dan Bailey, with the third-highest fantasy point total this season, checks in at No. 2 for Week 4. The Cowboys take on San Francisco, and he should be able to put points on the board for them. Also don’t forget, no Mason Crosby or Caleb Sturgis this week because Green Bay and Philadelphia are on bye. Yes, the bye weeks are back!

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Green Bay, Philadelphia

 

 

 

— Rankings by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2016 Kicker Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 08:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2016-tight-end-rankings-week-4
Body:

It’s Week 4 and fantasy owners that drafted Rob Gronkowski in the first round are hoping this might finally be the week the No. 1 tight end finally starts producing like one. His matchup Sunday at home against the Bills is appealing, but who is going to be throwing Gronk the ball? Tom Brady still has one more game to sit.

Either way, Gronk is ranked high once again, but Jordan Reed and/or Greg Olsen could be viewed as safer bets. Also is it time to trust Dennis Pitta, after two-plus seasons lost to injuries, as a no-doubt, every-week TE1 again? The early returns (18 rec., 183 yards) are certainly promising, and he has a nice matchup against Oakland this week. I’m sure Coby Fleener (7-109-1) and Jimmy Graham (6-100-1) owners are smiling a little more this week too. But the question now is can they maintain this type of production?

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Green Bay, Philadelphia

 

Rk Player Team Opp
1 Jordan Reed WAS vs. CLE
2 Rob Gronkowski NE vs. BUF
3 Dennis Pitta BAL vs. OAK
4 Greg Olsen CAR at ATL
5 Delanie Walker TEN at HOU
6 Coby Fleener NO at SD
7 Travis Kelce KC  at PIT
8 Eric Ebron DET at CHI
9 Julius Thomas JAC vs. IND (London)
10 Kyle Rudolph MIN vs. NYG (Mon.)
11 Jason Witten DAL at SF
12 Zach Miller CHI vs. DET
13 Hunter Henry SD vs. NO
14 Dwayne Allen IND at JAC (London)
15 Jimmy Graham SEA at NYJ
16 Gary Barnidge CLE at WAS
17 Cameron Brate TB vs. DEN
18 Martellus Bennett NE vs. BUF
19 Jack Doyle IND at JAC (London)
20 Jacob Tamme ATL vs. CAR
21 C.J. Uzomah CIN vs. MIA (Thurs.)
22 Clive Walford OAK at BAL
23 Jesse James PIT vs. KC
24 Jordan Cameron MIA at CIN (Thurs.)
25 Charles Clay BUF at NE
26 Vance MacDonald SF vs. DAL
27 Virgil Green DEN at TB
28 Garrett Celek SF vs. DAL
29 Anthony Fasano TEN at BAL
30 Will Tye NYG at MIN (Mon.)


— Rankings 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:
Fantasy Football 2016 Tight End Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 08:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2016-running-back-rankings-week-4
Body:

It’s Week 4 of the fantasy football season and it’s time to welcome back a familiar face or two to the running back rankings. Le’Veon Bell’s three-game suspension is done with, so this is the week those who took him with a first- or early second-round pick have been patiently waiting for. In case there was any doubt, plug him into your lineup, sit back and enjoy.

 

This also could be the week that Jamaal Charles, a No. 1 fantasy RB in the not-so-distant past, makes his season debut. Charles’ situation is entirely different from Bell’s, however, as Spencer Ware still figures to get the bulk of the carries as the Chiefs ease the veteran into the game plan slowly.

 

Also don’t forget that this is the first bye week, so no Eddie Lacy, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, James Starks or Wendell Smallwood should any of them be on your roster.

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Green Bay, Philadelphia

 

Rk Player Team Opp
1 Melvin Gordon SD vs. NO
2 Le'Veon Bell PIT vs. KC
3 David Johnson ARI vs. LA
4 Lamar Miller HOU vs. TEN
5 Ezekiel Elliot DAL at SF
6 DeMarco Murray TEN at HOU
7 Jeremy Hill CIN at MIA (Thurs.)
8 LeGarrette Blount NE vs. BUF
9 LeSean McCoy BUF at NE
10 Mark Ingram NO at SD
11 Jordan Howard CHI vs. DET
12 Todd Gurley LA at ARI
13 C.J. Anderson DEN at TB
14 Devonta Freeman ATL vs. CAR
15 Carlos Hyde SF vs. DAL
16 Christine Michael SEA at NYJ
17 Frank Gore IND at JAC (London)
18 Spencer Ware KC at PIT
19 Matt Forte NYJ vs. SEA
20 Charles Sims TB vs. DEN
21 Dwayne Washington DET at CHI
22 Latavius Murray OAK at BAL
23 Tevin Coleman ATL vs. CAR
24 Isaiah Crowell CLE at WAS
25 Theo Riddick DET at CHI
26 Jerick McKinnon MIN vs. NYG (Mon.)
27 Chris Ivory JAC vs. IND (London)
28 Giovani Bernard CIN  vs. MIA (Thurs.)
29 Matt Jones WAS vs. CLE
30 Cameron Artis-Payne CAR at ATL
31 DeAngelo Williams PIT vs. KC
32 Duke Johnson CLE at WAS
33 Justin Forsett BAL vs. OAK
34 T.J. Yeldon JAC vs. IND (London)
35 Orleans Darkwa NYG at MIN (Mon.)
36 Jamaal Charles KC at PIT
37 Derrick Henry TEN at HOU
38 Chris Thompson WAS vs. CLE
39 Rashad Jennings NYG at MIN (Mon.)
40 Kenyan Drake MIA at CIN (Thurs.)
41 Alfred Morris DAL at SF
42 DeAndre Washington OAK at BAL
43 Matt Asiata MIN vs. NYG (Mon.)
44 James White NE vs. BUF
45 Jay Ajayi MIA at CIN (Thurs.)
46 Terrance West BAL vs. OAK
47 Fozzy Whittaker CAR at ATL
48 Devontae Booker DEN at TB
49 Bilal Powell NYJ vs. SEA
50 Jalen Richard OAK at BAL


— Rankings 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:
Fantasy Football 2016 Running Back Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 08:30
Path: /nfl/miami-dolphins-vs-cincinnati-bengals-preview-and-prediction-2016
Body:

It hasn’t been a great start to the 2016 season for the Miami Dolphins. After losing their first two games on the road to the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots, the Dolphins barely squeaked out a 30-24 victory over the Cleveland Browns last Sunday. Miami will take aim at its first signature win against the defending AFC North champion Cincinnati on “Thursday Night Football.”

 

Much like the Dolphins, this season hasn’t gone the way the Bengals had envisioned. After winning their season opener 23-22 over the New York Jets, Cincinnati has lost consecutive games to division rival Pittsburgh and reigning Super Bowl champion at Denver, the latter coming at home.

 

Thursday will be the first time the Dolphins and Bengals have played each other since Oct. 31, 2013, when Miami won in overtime on a safety by Cameron Wake. Miami holds a 16-5 advantage in head-to-head games with Cincinnati.

 

Miami at Cincinnati

 

Kickoff: Thursday, Sept. 29 at 8:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NFL Network

Spread: Cincinnati -7.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Dolphin rush defense
Entering Thursday night’s game, the Dolphins are ranked next to last (31st) in the NFL in rushing defense at 147.3 yards per game. Last Sunday against the lowly Browns, Miami surrendered 169 yards on the ground (5.3 ypc).

 

Expect the Bengals to be committed to the running game on Thursday, much like they were in the first half against the Broncos. Cincinnati has two talented running backs in Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, who both are capable of having big games against the Dolphins’ defense.

 

Miami defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh knows how talented the Cincinnati backfield is.

 

“They have some good downhill runners,” Suh said. “They have two solid (running) backs (Hill and Bernard). Both of them can run the ball. One of them is more specialized to get out in the passing and screen game. At the end of the day, we have to be able to contain both of them and shut down the run and put it on the quarterback’s shoulders, who is obviously capable of winning games.

 

If Miami is going to defeat Cincinnati, the defense will have to force Andy Dalton to carry the Bengals’ offense by throwing the ball. While Dalton has improved in a number of areas, the Dolphins have a better chance of winning if Cincinnati is one-dimensional on offense.

 

2. Geno Atkins
Miami could be down to its third-string center Kraig Urbik against the Bengals. Starting center Mike Pouncey hasn’t played since the preseason and he will miss his fourth regular season game with a hip injury. Backup center Anthony Steen injured his ankle last week against the Browns and is doubtful to play Thursday night. 

 

Urbik will have a tough assignment as he will be expected to block one of the NFL’s best in defensive tackle Geno Atkins. During his time in the league, Atkins has dominated some of the best offensive lines in the league. The four-time Pro Bowler could have a huge night working against Urbik and rookie tackle Laremy Tunsil.

 

3. Byron Maxwell and the Dolphins’ secondary
Miami’s back end, specifically Maxwell, had a tough time containing Cleveland wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. Miami allowed Pryor to catch eight passes for 144 yards, and that’s not counting the plays he made as a ball carrier and passer as well. This week’s assignment for the Dolphins’ secondary gets even more difficult with All-Pro A.J. Green as the primary focus. Through three games, Green is averaging 13.4 yards per catch and has a 54-yard TD reception.

 

“He has good ball skills,” Maxwell said. “I think that’s the thing that separates him. He comes in and out of his breaks like a little guy. He’s good.”

 

Maxwell has struggled this season containing the opposition’s top receiver. If that trend continues Thursday night, it will be interesting to see if the coaching staff decides to change things up and put rookie cornerback Xavien Howard on Green.

 

Final Analysis

 

On a typical week, it would be a surprise if the Dolphins went on the road to defeat the Bengals. On a short week, it will be an even taller order considering Miami’s injury situation.

 

The Dolphins could be without their starting and backup center, starting two linebackers (Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi) and starting tight end Jordan Cameron. Miami must establish its running game with the backfield committee of Kenyan Drake, Damien Williams and Jay Ajayi to avoid quick three and outs. If quarterback Ryan Tannehill has to throw the ball a lot, it could be a night full of sacks and turnovers for the Dolphins.

 

Cincinnati is healthier, more talented and is playing at home, which spells trouble for Miami.

 

Prediction: Bengals 31, Dolphins 17

 

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.

Teaser:
Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/kansas-jayhawks-vs-texas-tech-red-raiders-preview-and-prediction-2016
Body:

Kansas faces Texas Tech Thursday night in the first Big 12 conference game for both teams. The Jayhawks hope to snap their 12-game losing streak in league play, but must slow down one of the nation’s most potent offenses to do so. A win also would halt a string of 39 consecutive road losses, a streak that dates back to 2009.

 

Kansas at Texas Tech

 

Kickoff: Thursday, Sept. 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FS1

Spread: Texas Tech -28

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Texas Tech’s Explosive Offense
The Red Raiders have scored 61.0 points and tallied 678.7 yards of total offense per game this season, both of which lead the Big 12 and rank second nationally. Tech leads the nation with 547.7 passing yards per contest and ranks third in the country with an explosive average of 8.05 yards per play.

 

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the country with 497.7 passing yards per game and ranks in the top five nationally in touchdown passes (14), yards per attempt (11.3) and completion percentage (71.2). Mahomes has completed 94 of 132 pass attempts for 1,493 yards with only two interceptions through three games. He has 138 rushing yards and a team-leading four touchdowns.

 

Simply, Mahomes is off to a historic start. No quarterback in the nation has accounted for more total yardage through the first three games of a season since 2000.

 

Though he has connected with an astounding 17 different receivers thus far in 2016, Mahomes’ favorite target this year has been Jonathan Giles, who leads the Red Raiders in receptions (19), receiving yards (346) and TD catches (5). Giles had six receptions for 186 yards and three scores in the 59-45 victory over Louisiana Tech last week.

 

2. Signs of Improvement for Kansas
Kansas entered the season on a 15-game losing streak, but promptly trounced FCS member Rhode Island 55-6 in Week 1. The Jayhawks averaged an impressive 7.8 yards per play and racked up 570 total yards of offense. The Kansas defense held Rhode Island to 219 total yards (3.5 yards per play) and forced three turnovers. Though Kansas fell to 1-2 following a 37-21 loss to the Bobcats and a 43-7 drubbing at the hands of Memphis in Week 3, the Jayhawks still made some positive strides.

 

Defensively, Kansas has allowed 28.7 points per game this year, which compares favorably to the 46.1 points per game opponents scored last season, including 41.0 in non-conference play. The Kansas defense also recorded five sacks last week against Memphis – the most for the team since registering the same number against Texas Tech in 2015.

 

Kansas has limited opponents to an average of 4.86 yards per play this season compared to a 6.96 in 2015. The Jayhawks held just one opponent to fewer than 6.0 yards per play last season but has yet to allow that number to any opponent this year.

 

On offense, Kansas is averaging 5.9 yards per play, which is a nice improvement over last year’s average of 4.4. The squad also has scored 12 touchdowns, which is halfway to the total the Jayhawks posted a season ago. Eight of those scores have come through the air. Last season, Kansas QBs combined to throw just 12 touchdowns.

 

Kansas should have plenty of opportunities to score given Texas Tech’s struggles on defense. The Red Raiders have allowed 43.3 points per game (which ranks 124th nationally), 6.43 yards per play (No. 115), and 5.0 yards per rush (No. 106) this season.

 

3. A Quick Start for the Red Raiders
Texas Tech has outscored opponents 56-12 in the first quarter this seaosn. The Red Raiders also have scored at least 35 points in the first half in each of their three games and have averaged 38.0 points per game through the first 30 minutes. There are 68 teams nationally that have averaged fewer than 38.0 points over the course of an entire game in 2016, including Kansas (27.7 ppg).

 

And, the Red Raiders don’t let halftime stop their momentum. Tech has scored a touchdown on each of its initial second-half series in all three games this season.

 

Final Analysis

 

Kansas played one of its best games last season against Texas Tech, holding the Red Raiders to just 30 points – the second fewest Tech scored in a game in 2015. And, through three games, Kansas looks like an improved squad overall, particularly on defense. Still, Texas Tech will score early and often and the Red Raiders are a heavy favorite to pick up an important, opening Big 12 win.

 

Prediction: Texas Tech 55, Kansas 31

 

— Written by Nicholas Ian Allen, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @NicholasIAllen.

Teaser:
Kansas Jayhawks vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders Preview and Prediction
Post date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 14:30
Path: /college-football/uconn-huskies-vs-houston-cougars-preview-and-prediction-2016
Body:

There is no way to argue any Group of Five program has had a better start to the 2016 season than Houston. Entering the season, many thought Tom Herman's Cougars could be capable of making the College Football Playoff discussion interesting, and they have left no doubt they intend to make that happen. With wins against Oklahoma and Cincinnati already under their belts, most have shifted their attention to a November game in Houston against Lamar Jackson and Louisville. But Houston has another objective to take care of this weekend – revenge.

 

UConn heads to Houston for a Thursday night showdown in American Athletic Conference play, and the Cougars have a good reason for having this one circled on their schedules. Can Houston turn in one more dominant showing on national TV, or can the Huskies pull a potentially earth-shattering upset to open the New Year’s Six door for someone else?

 

UConn at Houston

 

Kickoff: Thursday, Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Houston -28

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Greg Ward Jr.’s redemption
There was just one team that defeated Houston a season ago, but it did so without having to go against a healthy Greg Ward Jr. That team, of course, was UConn. The Huskies will have a big enough challenge trying to upset Houston for a second straight season, but this time they must slow down Houston’s dynamic quarterback in order to do so.

 

Ward is off to a good start this season with 936 passing yards and five touchdowns along with 113 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Sure, those numbers may not sound all that great considering Ward has three games under his belt (he sat out a Week 2 game against Lamar), but he also got an early rest last week against Texas State. A well-rested Ward should be a big concern for UConn.

 

2. Houston’s defense may be pretty good too
It can be pretty difficult to fully gauge just how good Houston’s defense may be, but two game s against decent opponents have suggested it may be pretty darn good. Ask Oklahoma about Houston’s defense and the Sooners will likely tell you Houston plays much more aggressively than you might expect from a Group of Five program. Freshman Ed Oliver has fit in quite well in the middle of Houston’s defensive line and he is having an impact in the backfield at times.

 

Ask Cincinnati, and the Bearcats will tell you Houston’s defense has the killer ability to turn a game in its favor in the blink of an eye. In an otherwise closely-played game, Houston’s defense came through with two pick-sixes to help pull away for a road win two weeks ago.

 

3. UConn must convert inside the red zone
The most infamous moment of the season for UConn so far this season may be the bundled clock management at the end of the Navy game down near the goal line. That may be the worst red zone possession of the year for the Huskies, but UConn is struggling once they get inside the 20-yard line to come away with touchdowns. Through four games, UConn has reached the red zone 12 times and come away with just six touchdowns. Three other times resulted in a field goal. Far too many points are being left on the board and that simply cannot happen against a team like Houston.

 

Final Analysis

 

As was the case last year when these two teams played, there is pretty much nothing you can see on paper that suggests UConn has a chance to come away with a massive upset against Houston. Such was the case last year too, though, so you know the Huskies will make the trip to Houston feeling confident. But UConn has already had to slip past Maine and Virginia and has taken losses against Navy and Syracuse. Exactly how confident can these Huskies be? Houston is on a mission right now and should jump all over the visitors early on and never have a need to look back.

 

Prediction: Houston 45, UConn 17

 

— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. McGuire also contributes to College Football Talk and The Comeback as well as hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook

Teaser:
UConn Huskies vs. Houston Cougars Preview and Prediction
Post date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: syndicated, NFL
Path: /nfl/predictions-every-nfl-game-week-4-2016
Body:

Three weeks into the NFL season and there are five undefeated teams remaining. Defending Super Bowl champion Denver and New England, even without the services of quarterback Tom Brady, aren’t that big of surprises. The same can’t be said, however, of Minnesota, Baltimore or certainly Philadelphia.

 

The Vikings’ defense has impressed in the early going, shutting down Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton (13 sacks, 5 turnovers combined). Up next for head coach Mike Zimmer and Minnesota are the Giants on “Monday Night Football.” The Ravens have enjoyed better health and taken advantage of their competition, as the Bills, Browns and Jaguars have combined to go 1-8 thus far. Baltimore takes on Oakland at home on Sunday.

 

The Eagles remain the biggest surprise, as quarterback Carson Wentz continues to play more like a seasoned veteran than a rookie and Philadelphia’s defense has turned things completely around behind coordinator Jim Schwartz. The Eagles (and the Packers) are on bye this week.

 

As for the rest of Week 4, Indianapolis and Jacksonville will get together for the first of three games that will be played in London. The Patriots host AFC East rival Buffalo looking to go 4-0 without Brady. Carolina travels to Atlanta for a key NFC South matchup against the division-leading Falcons, while Arizona hosts Los Angeles in an important NFC West clash. Both teams are 1-2, but the Cardinals are reeling somewhat after a disappointing effort last week on the road against Buffalo.

 

So which teams will come out on top in every NFL game in Week 4? Athlon's own Rob Doster (AthlonDoster), John Gworek (JohnGworek), Steven Lassan (AthlonSteven), and Mark Ross (AthlonMarkR), along with AthlonSports.com contributor Bryan Fischer (BryanDFischer), predict the winners for every game this week:

 

NFL Week 4 Predictions

 

Bye: Green Bay, Philadelphia

 

 

Rob

Doster

Bryan
Fischer

John

Gworek

Steven

Lassan

Mark

Ross

Miami at

Cincinnati (Thurs.)

Indianapolis at

Jacksonville
(London)

Tennessee at

Houston

Cleveland at

Washington

Seattle at

NY Jets

Buffalo at

New England

Carolina at

Atlanta

Oakland at

Baltimore

Detroit at

Chicago

Denver at

Tampa Bay

Los Angeles at

Arizona

New Orleans at

San Diego

Dallas

at San Francisco

Kansas City at

Pittsburgh

NY Giants at
Minnesota (Mon.)

Teaser:
Predictions for Every NFL Game in Week 4
Post date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 13:30
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 West Point Black Knights, 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 Rainbow Warriors, 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, 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, syndicated, 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 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/predictions-every-college-football-game-week-5-2016
Body:

College football’s Week 5 slate kicks off on Thursday night with two matchups. Kansas and Texas Tech meet in Lubbock to open Big 12 play for both teams, while Houston hosts Connecticut in a revenge game for coach Tom Herman’s program. While there’s some intrigue for the two Thursday games, the stakes are even higher on Friday night. Stanford and Washington meet for a huge Pac-12 showdown, while Toledo travels to Provo to take on BYU. Several interesting matchups are on tap for Saturday, including the Clemson-Louisville showdown in Death Valley. Wisconsin-Michigan, Florida State-North Carolina, Tennessee-Georgia, Oregon-Washington State, California-Utah and TCU-Oklahoma are just a few of the other top matchups to watch on Saturday for Week 5.

 

Which teams will come out on top in every FBS game for Week 5? Bryan Fischer and Jim Weber join Athlon Sports' Steven Lassan and Mitch Light to provide weekly predictions for every contest:

 

College Football Week 5 Predictions
 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

Bryan

Fischer

Jim

Weber

UConn at

Houston

Kansas at

Texas Tech

Stanford at

Washington

Toledo at

BYU

Buffalo at

Boston College

Virginia at

Duke

North Carolina at

Florida State

Tennessee at

Georgia

Miami at

Georgia Tech

Wisconsin at

Michigan

Wake Forest at

NC State

Rutgers at

Ohio State

Minnesota at

Penn State

Marshall at

Pitt

Texas A&M at

South Carolina

Notre Dame vs. 
Syracuse

(E. Rutherford)

Kansas State at

West Virginia

Northwestern at

Iowa

USF at

Cincinnati

UCF at

E. Carolina

SMU at

Temple

N. Illinois at

Ball State

W. Michigan at

C. Michigan

Georgia State at

App. State

Kentucky at

Alabama

Alcorn State at

Arkansas

ULM at

Auburn

Baylor at

Iowa State

Missouri at

LSU

Texas at

Oklahoma State

Memphis at

Ole Miss

SDSU at

South Alabama

Oklahoma at 

TCU

Florida at

Vanderbilt

Oregon State at

Colorado

Utah State at

Boise State

Wyoming at

Colorado State

Ohio at

Miami, Ohio

Utah at

California

Arizona at 

UCLA

Arizona State at

USC

Oregon at

Washington State

E. Michigan at

BGSU

Troy at

Idaho

Purdue at

Maryland

Tulane at

UMass

Illinois at

Nebraska

Navy at

Air Force

Akron at

Kent State

SJSU at

New Mexico

Old Dominion at

Charlotte

Incarnate Word at

Texas State

Houston Baptist at

WKU

FAU at

FIU

UTEP at

La. Tech

MTSU at

North Texas

Rice at

USM

Louisville at

Clemson

Michigan State at

Indiana

UL Lafayette at

NMSU

Fresno State at

UNLV

Nevada at

Hawaii

 

Teaser:
Predictions for Every College Football Game in Week 5 2016
Post date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-week-5-preview
Body:

Athlon Sports' Braden Gall and Mitch Light preview Week 5 in college football.

 

- Week 5 features three AP Top 10 matchups and the we disagree on two of them. We break down Stanford-Washington, Louisville-Clemson and Wisconsin-Michigan with in-depth analysis and lots of yelling.

 

- In the SEC, Tennessee makes a huge road trip to Athens while ranked Florida and Texas A&M also must travel in Week 5. LSU hosts Mizzou while Ole Miss hosts Memphis in other SEC action.

 

- Florida State hosts North Carolina in what could be an offensive showdown while Miami tries to prove it's hot start is for real on the road against Miami. And, of course, Wake Forest, duh.

 

- The Big 12 features multiple intriguing matchups that will decide the conference pecking order. Can West Virginia stay unbeaten against Kansas State? Is Texas good enough to go into Stillwater and pull the upset? What do we make of Oklahoma and TCU?

 

- After the battle in the Big House, there isn't much to like about the Big Ten this weekend. But we try anyway.

 

- The Pac-12 once again proves it might be the most entertaining league in the nation. Utah-Cal, Oregon-Washington State, Arizona State-USC and Arizona-UCLA are all must-see TV.

 

Each week, we go head-to-head with our top picks against the spread.

 

Picks Against the Spread Standings:

1. Mitch: 10-9-1 (1-4 LW)

2. Braden: 8-11-1 (2-3 LW)

 

 

 

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

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: The Week 5 Preview
Post date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 12:40
Path: /college-football/5-greatest-michigan-vs-wisconsin-college-football-games-all-time
Body:

Saturday will mark the 65th meeting between Michigan and Wisconsin and arguably the most hyped contest of the series. Those who have just tuned into this rivalry in the last two decades would be surprised to know that Michigan has beaten Wisconsin 49 times. Minus a three-game win streak from 1959-62 and a few shining moments here and there, the Badgers were perennial doormats to the Wolverines for decades.

 

Then in 1993, Wisconsin beat Michigan en route to its first Big Ten title in more than 30 years. Since then, the rivalry has become much more competitive with Wisconsin having won the last two games. It has produced some great football too. Here are the five greatest games of the series and with the exception of one game in the 1980s, you will see that they are all fairly “recent.”

 

5. Michigan 13, Wisconsin 10

Sept. 30, 2000 – Ann Arbor, Mich.

Both teams were ranked in the top 15 coming into this war of attrition. Down 10-6 in the fourth quarter, Michigan quarterback Drew Henson converted two third downs with clutch passes to David Terrell before hitting him in the back of the end zone for the winning score. Wisconsin attempted to tie the game with less than three minutes left, but Vitaly Pisetsky missed a 42-yard field goal. The Wolverines went on to share the Big Ten title that season with Purdue and Northwestern.

 

4. Wisconsin 13, Michigan 10

Oct. 30, 1993 – Madison, Wis.

With its sights set it on its first Big Ten title since 1962, Wisconsin jumped out a 13-3 lead as running back Brent Moss sprinted into the end zone on the final play of the first half.  The Badgers held on to win and a new era of Wisconsin football was born. Sadly, this game is better remembered for the disastrous stampede that took place at Camp Randall Stadium afterwards. In rushing the field, many students were crushed against the stadium fence. Nearly 70 people were injured and universities across the country took note. Students still rush the field on occasion, but it is handled in a much more orderly fashion.

 

3. Wisconsin 21, Michigan 14

Sept. 12, 1981 – Madison, Wis.

Michigan entered the season ranked No. 1 and was shocked in the opener by the Badgers. Wolverines quarterback Steve Smith had as many interceptions as completions (three apiece), including a final pick in the final seconds to seal the home for Wisconsin. To give you a sense of the one-sidedness of this rivalry at the time, the 21 points marked the first time the Badgers had scored on Michigan since 1976. They had suffered four straight shutouts prior entering this game.

 

2. Wisconsin, 23, Michigan 20

Sept. 24, 2005 – Madison, Wis.

Michigan took a 13-6 lead into the fourth quarter, but Wisconsin came alive and quickly scored 10 points. The Wolverines took the lead back with a flea flicker by quarterback Chad Henne to wide receiver Mario Manningham making the score 20-16 with nine minutes to go. Wisconsin drove it deep into Michigan territory, putting the Badgers up at the four-yard line with 38 seconds to go. From there, head coach Barry Alvarez shocked the Wolverines, everyone at Camp Randall Stadium and even quarterback John Stocco by calling a quarterback draw. Nevertheless, Stocco took the snap and ran into the end zone with 24 seconds left. The loss knocked Michigan out of the top 25 for the first time since 1998.

 

1. Michigan 27, Wisconsin 25

Sept. 27, 2008 – Ann Arbor, Mich.

Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez and his team were booed as they left the field down 19-0 at the half. The fans at the Big House were then greeted with a seemingly new squad in the second half. The Wolverines scored 27 unanswered points to take an eight-point lead with 5:11 left in the game. Wisconsin came close to sending the game into overtime when quarterback Allen Evridge hit receiver David Gilreath with a 22-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds left. Evridge then completed the two-point pass to tight end Travis Beckum, but officials determined that Beckum lined up illegally. The next attempt failed and the dramatic comeback remains one of the few bright spots of the RichRod era for Michigan fans.

 
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
 
(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Teaser:
5 Greatest Michigan vs. Wisconsin College Football Games of All-Time
Post date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 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 West Point Black Knights, 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 Rainbow Warriors, 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, 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, syndicated, 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 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, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC
Path: /college-football/ranking-best-college-football-games-october-2016
Body:

The calendar is set to turn to the page to October and as sure as the leaves turning, the pumpkin-spiced lattes going on sale and the conference races in college football are heating up.

 

As much as the fantastic non-conference slate brought us in the month of September however, the potential for some epic clashes await in the coming weeks as national title contenders start to fall and potential surprises jump onto the board.

 

So clear out your schedule, stock up on supplies, say goodbye to your loved ones and get ready for one wild ride in college football over the coming weeks. Here are the best college football games in the month of October and why you should watch.

 

1. Louisville at Clemson (Oct. 1)

Two top-five teams at one of college football’s best venues involving a pair of Heisman Trophy favorites? Sign us up for the atmosphere and a great battle of wits between coaching staffs.

 

2. Clemson at Florida State (Oct. 29)

This was billed as one of the games of the season and was supposed to be a play-in game for the College Football Playoff. It still could be that depending on how the Tigers and Seminoles look the next few weeks but bottom line is there may not be a game this year with more NFL talent on the field than this one.

 

3. Wisconsin at Michigan (Oct. 1)

The Badgers have been one of the biggest surprises so far in 2016 and they’ll have a chance to show they’re for real against a Michigan team with designs on winning a Big Ten title. If you’re interesting in stingy defenses and pro-style offensive attacks, this one is for you.

 

4. Alabama at Tennessee (Oct. 15)

Everybody circled this game in the preseason as a potential SEC Championship Game preview and that’s increasingly what it looks like. This could be the biggest ‘Third Saturday in October’ since 1993 if both are undefeated.

 

5. Texas A&M at Alabama (Oct. 22)

Will the SEC West be won this game? It certainly could as Trevor Knight (who beat Alabama the last time he faced them) and a potent Aggies offense heads to Tuscaloosa to face one of the best defenses in the country. Don’t overlook how fun Myles Garrett against that Tide offensive line matchup will be either.

 

6. Michigan at Michigan State (Oct. 29)

The Spartans have won seven of the last eight and always seem to find a way to win games like this when they enter as what will likely be significant underdogs. Still, Michigan knows it has to close the deal after last season’s miraculous ending.

 

7. Tennessee at Texas A&M (Oct. 8)

Both teams should be undefeated and in the top 10 heading into this game in College Station and it will likely represent the biggest test yet for each squad in terms of talent level. It’s worth tuning in to see two of the best defensive ends in the country in Myles Garrett and Derek Barnett at the very least.

 

8. Oklahoma at TCU (Oct. 1)

The Big 12 has not had a great month of September but a conference title will be on the line when these two preseason favorites meet in Fort Worth. Baker Mayfield and Kenny Hill are two of the top passers in the country and they’ll be tested by two defenses that are talented and love to throw out wrinkles in their schemes.

 

9. Alabama at Arkansas (Oct. 8)

The Crimson Tide have won eight straight against the Razorbacks but the games have been close the past two seasons. The run game is essential to each offense but both Alabama and Arkansas have been spreading the ball out more and more so this isn’t just a “three yards and a cloud of dust” matchup.

 

10. Ohio State at Wisconsin (Oct. 15)

The Buckeyes will have played just one ranked team and one road game in the first six weeks of the season but that changes when they travel to Wisconsin for a night game at Camp Randall. The Badgers will surely be pumped up but they’ll need their stingy defense to step up in order to stop J.T. Barrett and the Big Ten favorites.

 

11. Baylor at Texas (Oct. 29)

Ever since the scandal at Baylor broke out, these two schools just up the road from each other have had a contemptuous relationship. Texas took in several former Baylor recruits over the summer and also took the Bears’ offense when the Longhorns brought in Sterlin Gilbert as the new coordinator. There should be plenty of points and plenty of bad blood when these two Big 12 rivals meet late in the month.

 

12. Florida State at Miami (Oct. 8)

Mark Richt faces off against the school where he made his name as a coach many moons ago for the first time in his new gig at his alma mater. This is always a testy rivalry game considering it pits so many in-state players against others they knew from high school but expect things to be even more interesting on the field considering both should be in the top 25 for this one.

 

13. Texas vs. Oklahoma (Oct. 8, Dallas)

The atmosphere for this one at the Texas State Fair in Dallas is always off the charts and that’s before you even enter the gates to the Cotton Bowl. The two teams have traded close victories in recent years and this is huge for both head coaches who are already feeling the heat from their fan bases.

 

14. Washington at Oregon (Oct. 8)

Is this the year? That’s what Huskies fans are asking themselves as they have what is likely their best chance in a dozen years to capture a win in a series dominated by Oregon since 2004. This game also has some serious Pac-12 North implications as well.

 

15. Nebraska at Wisconsin (Oct. 29)

Given the way things have gone so far in 2016, this is shaping up to be the pivotal game in the race to win the Big Ten West.

 

16. Oklahoma at Texas Tech (Oct. 22)

Just dub this the Baker Mayfield game as the Oklahoma quarterback returns to Lubbock for the first time to face his former team. While the crowd reaction will be fun to track, be prepared for him and Patrick Mahomes to put on an aerial show given the amount of offensive fireworks each team has.

 

17. Ohio State at Penn State (Oct. 22)

The last time these two hooked up in State College, the Nittany Lions nearly spoiled the Buckeyes’ national title run. This is a hard-fought rivalry and the 2016 edition should feature plenty of big plays on offense and a fun battle in the trenches.

 

18. Navy at Air Force (Oct. 1)

Do you love America? Do you love the triple option? If you answered yes to either question (and you should have) then this game is for you. It’s a pivotal and often deciding game for the Commander in Chief’s Trophy too.

 

19. UCLA at Arizona State (Oct. 8)

Through the first month of the season, these teams have looked like two of the top teams in the Pac-12 South. Both the offenses can put up points in the hurry but it’s been the defenses that have helped contribute to a surprising pair of records.

 

20. Ole Miss at Arkansas (Oct. 15)

The last time these two hooked up, things came down to a wild 4th-and-25 lateral and a two-point conversion in overtime. Similar fireworks could be in store given the amount of talent on both sides.

 

21. Miami at Notre Dame (Oct. 29)

This is the first time the two have met up in South Bend since the Irish ended the then-No. 2-ranked Hurricanes’ bid for a national title back in 1990. You’re bound to see a few ‘Catholics vs. Convicts’ t-shirts around and some fond memories from both sides of the good ol’ days but there’s a lot of young talent involved in this one and two excellent quarterbacks in particular.

 

22. Wisconsin at Iowa (Oct. 22)

This was circled early in the year as the potential deciding game in the Big Ten West and still could be the case in late October. With two excellent defenses, this one is going to come down to who can establish any sort of consistency on offense or can get a big special teams play.

 

23. Stanford at Notre Dame (Oct. 15)

These two historical rivals have gone back and forth the past few years with national title implications on the line and delivered some absolute classics. That might not be the case this year but it will be fun to see if the Fighting Irish can hold on at home like they have the past two times the game has been in South Bend.

 

24. Virginia Tech at North Carolina (Oct. 8)

Justin Fuente is starting to get the Hokies humming on offense and the team’s defense hasn’t skipped a beat with Bud Foster still in charge. This is their biggest test in the ACC however and could be for the division title against the high-flying offense of the Tar Heels.

 

25. Mississippi State at BYU (Oct. 14)

In terms of fish out of water, Mississippi State and its fans traveling to Provo, Utah, to take on BYU is up there. At the same time, both teams desperately need to win this one for perception’s sake and bring some bruising, but fast, defenses combined with offenses that may not be pretty but get things done.

 

Best of the rest:
Utah State at Boise State (Oct. 1)
Tulsa at Houston (Oct. 15)
Tennessee at Georgia (Oct. 1)
Utah at UCLA (Oct. 22)
Kansas State at Oklahoma (Oct. 15)
LSU at Florida (Oct. 8)
Texas at Oklahoma State (Oct. 1)
Florida vs. Georgia (Oct. 29, Jacksonville, Fla.)
Memphis at Ole Miss (Oct. 1)
Arizona State at USC (Oct. 1)

 

— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.

 

(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Teaser:
Ranking the Best College Football Games in October
Post date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 10:30
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 West Point Black Knights, 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 Rainbow Warriors, 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, 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, syndicated, 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 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/20-college-football-QBs-breakout-september
Body:

With the exception of two games on Thursday night this week, the first full month of the 2016 college football season is in the books. And as expected, plenty of players are having a breakout year at the quarterback position. Whether it’s a freshman like Florida State’s Deondre Francois, Texas’ Shane Buechele or Alabama’s Jalen Hurts or a senior like Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong, the emergence of quarterbacks in a breakout year are going to play a key role in the races to win conference championships or claim a spot in the top four for the playoff rankings.

 

20 College Football QBs Who Had a Breakout September

 

Austin Allen, Arkansas

Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
81 121 1,026 66.9 9 2

Arkansas’ passing attack was one of the best in the SEC last season and hasn’t missed a beat with Allen under center. The junior leads all SEC quarterbacks in completion percentage (66.9) and delivered big-time performances in the Razorbacks’ toughest tests (TCU and Texas A&M) in 2016.

 

 

Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
60 106 931 56.6 8 1

Minimizing the turnovers was a critical goal for Armstrong in 2016. So far, so good. After tossing 16 picks last fall, Armstrong has only one through four games and has increased his yards per attempt from 7.5 to 8.8. Additionally, Armstrong remains a dangerous threat on the ground for the Cornhuskers (281 yards and four scores).

 

 

Jake Browning, Washington
Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
67 95 904 70.5 14 2

Washington’s schedule will get tougher, but Browning looks like he’s ready to take the next step in his second year under center. Browning has passed for 14 scores, which is nearly as many as he tossed (16) in 2015. The sophomore’s 70.5 completion percentage ranks seventh nationally among FBS quarterbacks.

 

 

Shane Buechele, Texas

Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
57 86 720 66.3 7 2

The combination of new coordinator Sterlin Gilbert and the quarterback duo of Tyrone Swoopes and Buechele have provided a spark for Texas’ offense. After averaging 26.4 points a game in 2015, the Longhorns rank second in the Big 12 with an average of 44.7 points per contest after three games. Buechele – a true freshman – has been sharp. He’s completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 720 yards and seven scores.

 

 

Eric Dungey, Syracuse
Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
117 179 1,367 65.4 9 3

Athlon Sports was high on Dungey’s breakout potential this offseason, and the sophomore has lived up the expectations through four weeks. Dungey leads all ACC quarterbacks with an average of 341.8 passing yards per game and his 179 pass attempts rank third nationally among FBS quarterbacks. New coach Dino Babers has Syracuse trending in the right direction.

 

 

Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech

Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
69 103 964 67 13 1

New coach Justin Fuente certainly has an eye for quarterback talent and Evans looks like his next star pupil. In his first season after transferring in from the junior college ranks, Evans has only one interception on 103 pass attempts and ranks fifth among ACC quarterbacks by averaging 293.3 total yards per game.

 

 

Riley Ferguson, Memphis

Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
61 91 843 67 11 2

Paxton Lynch left big shoes to fill, but Ferguson is off to a fast start under new coach Mike Norvell. Ferguson torched Bowling Green for six touchdown passes and guided the Tigers to a 43-7 victory over Kansas in Week 3. 

 

 

Deondre Francois, Florida State

Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
76 121 951 62.8 7 2

Francois (33 of 52 for 419 yards) was instrumental in Florida State’s win over Ole Miss and is only going to get better with each snap under coach Jimbo Fisher. He’s also added 97 yards and one score on 37 rush attempts.

 

 

Skyler Howard, West Virginia
Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
74 108 974 68.5 6 3

West Virginia opens Big 12 play this Saturday, but there are positive signs about Howard’s development after an uneven 2015 campaign. The senior completed 31 of 40 passes for 332 yards against a solid BYU defense in Week 4 and has increased his completion percentage from 54.8 in 2015 to 68.5 so far in 2016.

 

 

Jalen Hurts, Alabama

Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
64 102 727 62.7 5 1

Coach Nick Saban and coordinator Lane Kiffin handed the keys to the Alabama offense to Hurts – a true freshman – after the opener against USC. In addition to his success as a passer, Hurts has rushed for 251 yards and three touchdowns. He’s also yet to complete under 60 percent of his passes in each of his three starts.

 

 

Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
74 126 1,330 58.7 13 3

A breakout year from Jackson was expected, and the sophomore has a strong case as the nation’s best player through the first month of 2016. Through four games, Jackson has showed marked improvement as a passer and remains a dangerous option on the ground. The sophomore leads all Louisville rushers with 526 yards and 12 scores and ranks second nationally by averaging 464 total yards per game.

 

 

Daniel Jones, Duke
Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
92 143 1,090 64.3 5 3

Thomas Sirk’s preseason injury was a setback for Duke’s offense, but coach David Cutcliffe has found his next standout under center. The redshirt freshman is off to a strong start through the air (64.3%) and guided the Blue Devils to a road win at Notre Dame in Week 4.


 

Trevor Knight, Texas A&M

Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
75 141 1,055 53.2 7 2

Knight has been the perfect stopgap for Texas A&M’s quarterback situation after the offseason transfers of Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray. Knight – an Oklahoma graduate transfer – ranks second among SEC quarterbacks by completing 11 passes of 30 yards or more and has recorded 308 rushing yards on 38 carries.

 

 

Drew Lock, Missouri
Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
96 162 1,508 59.3 14 3

Lock has showed marked improvement under the direction of new coordinator Josh Heupel. The sophomore has already passed for more touchdowns in four games (14) than Missouri did in all of 2015 (10). Lock’s 1,508 passing yards are the most by any SEC quarterback after four weeks. 

 

 
Philip Nelson, East Carolina

Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
122 167 1,457 73.1 9 3

Nelson was Minnesota’s starting quarterback from 2012-13 but hasn’t taken a snap at the FBS level over the last two years. Rust hasn’t been a problem for the senior, as his 1,457 passing yards leads all quarterbacks in the American Athletic Conference. Nelson also threw for 297 yards in a 33-30 upset win over NC State. 

 

 

Wilton Speight, Michigan
Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
72 114 875 63.2 9 1

Jim Harbaugh is one of the nation’s best quarterback coaches, so it should be no surprise Michigan has already found the right answer under center. After developing Iowa transfer Jake Rudock into a solid option last year, Harbaugh is working his magic with Speight. The sophomore has tossed only one pick on 114 attempts and ranks fourth among Big Ten quarterbacks with seven plays of 30 yards or more.

 

 

Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina

Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
102 137 1,306 74.5 10 0

Trubisky started the year with a tough matchup against Georgia but has been on a tear over North Carolina’s last three matchups. The junior has tossed 10 touchdowns with no interceptions and ranks second nationally by completing 74.5 percent of his passes. 

 

 

Davis Webb, California
Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
138 222 1,837 62.2 18 5

Webb’s decision to transfer to California as a graduate student certainly eased coach Sonny Dykes’ concerns about replacing No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff. Webb threw for 5,557 yards in his Texas Tech career and is on pace to easily eclipse the 4,000-yard mark in 2016. The senior is tied for first nationally among FBS quarterbacks with 14 completions of 30 yards or more.

 

 

Manny Wilkins, Arizona State

Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
84 125 1,085 67.2 5 3

New coordinator Chip Lindsey has eased Wilkins’ transition into the starting lineup and utilized his strengths as a runner. Wilkins is completing 67.2 percent of his throws and ranks third on the team with 263 rushing yards and four scores. 

 

 

Troy Williams, Utah
Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT
75 120 993 62.5 6 4

Williams has provided a spark for Utah’s passing attack this season. The junior made several clutch throws in the Utes’ win over USC and already has more passes of 40 yards or more (six) than last year’s starter Travis Wilson (five) had in the entire 2015 season.

 

Teaser:
20 College Football QBs Who Had a Breakout September
Post date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, syndicated, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/nfl-best-daily-fantasy-football-lineups-fanduel-and-draftkings-week-4-2016
Body:

It’s Week 4 of my offering of top plays and optimal lineups for daily fantasy football on FanDuel and DraftKings or whatever DFS site you use. This week offers something a little different in that byes enter the equation. It’s just two teams (Green Bay, Philadelphia), but it’s still something that must be taken into consideration.

 

As for Week 3, once again it was a big of mixed results, as two of my four suggested lineups cashed in. One of the lineups dailyfantasycafe.com optimized for GPP on FanDuel ended up cashing with value plays from Kirk Cousins, Frank Gore and Doug Baldwin paying off. The other lineup I built for FanDuel fell short in part due to a disappointing performance from DeAngelo Williams.

 

The DraftKings lineups were more of the same. Cam Newton headed up the DK Cash lineups, but Minnesota’s defense made life miserable for him at home. The lineup just missed cashing with 104 points. Andrew Luck and the cash lineup with David Johnson and Odell Beckham Jr. ended up with 151.54 points and cashed everywhere I played it.

 

Jarvis Landry was well worth his price and hit as my WR/Value pick last week. Greg Olsen and the aforementioned Williams struggled, but it is a new week right?

 

Again, the byes mean there’s one less game in Week 4, but the options remain endless and there are a few sneaky values to be had with injuries. So let’s not dwell on the past and hope to cash in all formats this week shall we?

 

What I will be doing in this space is sharing my top plays for the week, a value play, and most importantly a lineup or two. I will likely be focusing on cash games (50/50 and Double Up) and not GPP (tournaments, multi-player) contests. My Week 3 lineups should work in both formats.

 

Week 4 Top Plays

 

This will be my top plays of the week. These are players who I will try to have in as many lineups of mine as possible. If I can, I will use all three in one lineup. A reminder for cash games: going with an elite quarterback is typically recommended. If you opt for a value quarterback he MUST meet value for your loaded lineup to be worth it.

 

QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs. Kansas City ($8,400 FanDuel/$7,100 DraftKings)

Big Ben has been heating up and getting Le’Veon Bell should only help. Although DeAngelo Williams filled in fantastically, the offense is simply more potent with Bell. Let’s not forget Antonio Brown is part of this offense too. The Chiefs actually have a very physical and tough secondary so Roethlisberger and company will have their work cut out. However, after last week’s debacle the Steelers will be looking to bounce back.

 

RB: Melvin Gordon, San Diego vs. New Orleans ($7,600 FanDuel/$6,300 DraftKings)

Gordon is DFC’s top projected running back this week facing the soft New Orleans run defense. The Saints have allowed a whopping 121 yards per game on the ground and with the loss of some key weapons in San Diego Gordon will certainly be called on more this week. Fairly priced on both sites, Gordon is my must-play for Week 4.

 

WR: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh vs. Kansas City ($9,400 FanDuel/$9,700 DraftKings)

Brown dropped a dud in Week 2 and came back fine in Week 3. As stated above the Chiefs have a very tough defense and this could certainly impact Brown and the Steelers, but he is also nearly matchup-proof. The Steelers will come out firing and Brown will be a big part of their offense this week.

 

TE: Jordan Reed, Washington vs. Cleveland ($7,500 FanDuel/$6,300 DraftKings)

Did you see that crazy catch Reed had in Week 3? If not check it out, but either way that doesn’t impact his fantasy relevance at all. What does is his matchup against the lowly Browns. They haven’t been terrible against tight ends in 2016, but Reed is an above-average tight end who also is a major cog in this offense. I like his chances to rack up catches, yards and likely a touchdown for good measure.

 

Value Play of the Week

 

Doug Baldwin, Seattle at New York Jets ($7,400 FanDuel/$6,300 DraftKings)

Baldwin has been very good so far this season and his price remains fair for his output. Even if Russell Wilson misses this week Baldwin will certainly be a target against the Jets. New York’s secondary has not been amazing this season so there is no real fear for Baldwin. I love him as a complementary piece in lineups this week.

 

The Lineup (s)

 

This week the GPP FanDuel lineup was built with a little help from my friends over at dailyfantasycafe.com. Each week I will create a FanDuel lineup using their quick and easy customizable lineup optimizer tool. I will continue to make my own, but who is going to complain about options right? 

 

This week in particular I will be looking at some deeper stats which look at red zone statistics, targets, and snap count. Try it yourself and give it a whirl! 

 

FanDuel Cash Lineup (I will play this some in GPP as well)

 

FanDuel GPP Lineup

 

DraftKings Cash Lineup (GPP too)

 

GPP Lineup (I will use this in some Cash games too)

 

— 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:
NFL Best Daily Fantasy Football Lineups for FanDuel and DraftKings (Week 4)
Post date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 09:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2016-waiver-wire-week-4-2016
Body:

By Week 4, fantasy owners have a sense of who will help their team and who is just taking up space at the end of their bench. Week 4 also is the first of the bye weeks, with Philadelphia and Green Bay not playing. As the bye weeks start, fantasy owners need to be aware of holes in their roster. It's never too early to start thinking about the week ahead, especially when it comes to waivers.

 

Related: Patience or Panic: Eddie Lacy, Jeremy Hill, Russell Wilson, Minnesota RB

 

Following Week 3, only a few players were injured and are sending fantasy owners scrambling to the waiver wire. Shane Vereen is going to miss a couple of months (likely the rest of the fantasy season) and Ryan Mathews is nursing an ankle injury, but he is on a bye this week. Here are some waiver wire options for those needing to fill their roster.

 

Some players that are now droppable include: Shane Vereen, Adrian Peterson, Ameer Abdullah, Tyler Lockett and Devin Funchess.

 

Here are players to pick up if they are available in your league:

 

Quarterback

 

Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (21 percent owned)

He is on a bye in Week 4 so he isn't going to help the Aaron Rodgers owner. However, for owners looking for a backup quarterback or have a QB with a bye week coming up, now is the time to pick up Wentz. He has thrown a touchdown in each of his first three NFL games and he has yet to throw an interception. He's looked and played more like a veteran than a rookie, and while he has had two easy opponents (Cleveland, Chicago), his performance against Pittsburgh last week solidified him as a QB who can be a starter for fantasy leagues. In Week 5 he faces Detroit, which is another good matchup.

 

Running Backs

 

Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears (28 percent owned)

Savvy fantasy owners picked up Howard before Week 3, not knowing that Jeremy Langford was going to get hurt, obviously, but seeing his appeal and upside decline. With Ka'Deem Carey coming back from a hamstring injury, Howard is the only completely healthy running back in Chicago (save for Tuesday’s Joique Bell signing, which doesn't affect Howard's value). Howard has given fantasy owners a small sample size, but in Week 3, he did rush for 45 yards (on nine carries) and he caught four passes for another 47 yards. In a year where a healthy running back is scarce, Howard is a must-own.

 

Orleans Darkwa, RB, New York Giants (4 percent owned)

With Shane Vereen out for the rest of the fantasy season, Rashad Jennings is left as the lead running back. However, Jennings missed Week 3 with a thumb injury. The next man up is Darkwa. He ran for 53 yards in Week 3, but should have a bigger workload moving forward. Jennings could return for Week 4, which will dip into Darkwa's value, but he will still have touches. Bobby Rainey is available in almost every league, and is worth a look in deep PPR leagues as he'll handle the passing downs.

 

Kenneth Dixon, RB, Baltimore Ravens (13 percent owned)

When Dixon tore his MCL in the preseason, he fell off the fantasy radar. Owners in deep leagues drafted him and have stashed him, knowing that he was likely to return in Week 4 or 5. While he may not play in Week 4, this is the time to pick him up and stash him for another week or two if you have the bench space. Dixon looked like the best running back in Baltimore and there currently isn't anyone that has taken the job and run (well) with it. He will be a starting running back when healthy and active, and may end up being a difference-maker for fantasy owners down the stretch.

 

Wide Receivers

 

Terrelle Pryor, WR, Cleveland Browns (26 percent owned)

In Week 3, Pryor rushed for 21 yards and a touchdown, recorded eight receptions for 144 yards and also went 3-for-5 as a passer for 35 yards. Pretty much the only thing Pryor didn't do was kick a field goal, although at this point, would anyone be surprised if he did that too? Pryor will earn fantasy owners points in all different ways as the Browns try to find creative ways to get their offense going. Even with Josh Gordon coming back in Week 5, Pryor should still be owned because of the value he offers. He'll take snaps at quarterback, he'll run the wildcat, and he's always an option to score a touchdown.

 

Cole Beasley, WR, Dallas Cowboys (22 percent owned)

Through three games, Beasley is quietly averaging more than 70 yards per game. He hasn't found the end zone, but he has been a target monster for the Cowboys. Beasley has established himself as Dak Prescott’s favorite target in the early going, leading the team in that department with 25, compared to 23 for Dez Bryant and Jason Witten’s 20. Bryant is banged up (again), and if he is to miss any time, Beasley will have an even bigger role. He's not a must-add, but for teams needing a wide receiver that should provide a solid five or six points in standard leagues and double that in PPR leagues, Beasley is an option.

 

Tight End

 

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings (44 percent owned)

With at least eight targets in each of the three games so far this season, Rudolph is becoming fantasy relevant. He has a touchdown in each of the last two games, and Sam Bradford is clearly looking for him in the red zone. Rudolph faces the New York Giants and the Houston Texans in Weeks 4 and 5 before the Week 6 bye. Most fantasy owners aren't looking for a tight end for Week 4, but Delanie Walker or Antonio Gates owners may want to pick up Rudolph in case they need him.

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

 

(Terrelle Pryor photo courtesy of www.clevelandbrowns.com)

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2016 Waiver Wire: Week 4
Post date: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/week-4-2016-nfl-picks-challenge-athlon-sports-experts
Body:

The NFL is in full swing, and the competition off the field among fans is nearly as heated as the competition on the field on game day.

 

The Athlon Sports Pro Football Experts Club presented by New Era gives you the chance to compete with your friends and our experts each week.

 

Think you’re up for taking on our experts every week? Think you can beat the writers and editors each week? Join our weekly pick ‘em game and compete for tons of cool prizes.

 

Here are this week’s picks from Athlon Sports senior editor John Gworek:

 

Thursday's Game

 

Miami at Cincinnati

Cincinnati has lost two in a row against tough opponents but finally got the running game going last week. That bodes well against a Miami team that barely escaped the Browns and ranks 31st against the run.

Gworek's Pick: Cincinnati, 30–17

 

Sunday’s Games

 

Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville (in London)

Andrew Luck hasn’t faced the Jags since 2014, and their defense has come a long way since then. Jacksonville’s offense, however, has been a disappointment.

Gworek's Pick: Indianapolis, 28–26

 

Tennessee at Houston

DeMarco Murray leads the Titans in rushing and receiving, but he can’t do it all. Houston didn’t score at all against New England last week. In fact, these teams are tied for last in the NFL with 42 points each through three games, so don’t expect a shootout.

Gworek's Pick: Houston, 17–13

 

Cleveland at Washington

The Browns found some offense in an overtime loss in Miami, but Kirk Cousins should find open receivers against a defense than ranks near the bottom of the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns allowed.

Gworek's Pick: Washington, 30–21

 

Seattle at N.Y. Jets

Russell Wilson may not be 100 percent for the Seahawks, so look for a lot of Christine Michael. He may find the going tough against a Jets defense that ranks third in rushing yards allowed per game and per carry.

Gworek's Pick: Seattle, 19–17

 

Buffalo at New England

Perhaps the Bills defense is not so bad after all (four sacks and fout interceptions of Carson Palmer in Week 3), and the Pats are banged up at quarterback. But it’s hard to see Buffalo scoring much.

Gworek's Pick: New England, 23–14

 

Carolina at Atlanta

Atlanta leads the league in offense but has had the luxury of facing the NFL’s worst defenses — Saints and Raiders — the last two weeks. The Panthers are looking to avenge their only regular-season loss from last year.

Gworek's Pick: Carolina, 26–20

 

Oakland at Baltimore

Oakland has been outgained in every game — despite ranking second in total offense. Are the Ravens for real? Their three wins have come by an average of 4.3 points and are over teams that are a combined 1–8.

Gworek's Pick: Oakland, 27–20

 

Detroit at Chicago

The Bears had their hands full with Dak Prescott and the Cowboys, which doesn’t bode well with Matthew Stafford coming to town. Stafford has not missed Calvin Johnson; he ranks third in passing yards and touchdowns.

Gworek's Pick: Detroit, 30–20

 

Denver at Tampa Bay

Jameis Winston has been good (NFL-best eight touchdown passes) but also bad (six interceptions. Von Miller (NFL-leading 5.0 sacks) and the Denver defense have continued to dominate.

Gworek's Pick: Broncos, 23–16

 

Los Angeles at Arizona

The Rams may have caught a break with a weather delay and some bad clock management by Tampa Bay last week. Arizona turned the ball over five times against the Bills after coming in at plus-7 in turnovers.

Gworek's Pick: Arizona, 26–14

 

New Orleans at San Diego

Philip Rivers has to be licking his chops watching film of the Saints defense, but injuries are killing the Chargers. Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead and Manti Te’o are all out for the season.

Gworek's Pick: New Orleans, 31–30

 

Dallas at San Francisco

Who would have thought the Cowboys would be in the top 10 in total offense under Dak Prescott? As good as the Niners were to open the season at home, they have been that bad on the road since. They are back home

Gworek's Pick: San Francisco, 21–20

 

Kansas City at Pittsburgh

The return of Le’Veon Bell could boost Pittsburgh, although DeAngelo Williams has been effective (347 yards from scrimmage in three games). Kansas City’s Spencer Ware leads all NFL backs with 387 yards from scrimmage.

Gworek's Pick: Pittsburgh, 27–21

 

Monday’s Game

 

N.Y. Giants at Minnesota

If this turns into anything resembling a shootout, it’s advantage Giants. But it doesn’t seem likely. The biggest advantage for either team will be the Minnesota pass rush, and that should keep the turnovers coming.

Gworek's Pick: Minnesota, 20–16

 

Week 3 Record: 9–7

Overall Record: 24–24

Teaser:
Week 4 2016 NFL Picks: Challenge Athlon Sports Experts!
Post date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 16:35
All taxonomy terms: College Football, LSU Tigers, SEC
Path: /college-football/les-miles-termination-sunshine-pumper-and-nega-tiger-debate-lsu-decision
Body:

Welcome to the Court of Public Opinion where everyone has his or her own opinions, along with his or her own facts, about the termination of former LSU head coach Les Miles. In the corner of the Mad Hatter is Sunshine Pumper, an unwavering optimist who turns a blind eye toward even the most glaringly obvious problems. On the opposing side is Nega-Tiger, an insatiable faultfinder who finds reasons to gripe about everything. Polar opposites will collide!

 

Sunshine Pumper: I can't believe LSU fired Les Miles!

 

Nega-Tiger: Why can't you believe it? Have you forgotten the public speculation for the entire week leading up to last season's finale in Tiger Stadium versus Texas A&M? On the field, Miles looked like a man who knew a pink slip was waiting for him in the locker room after the game.

 

SP: He won a national title! How can a football program dump a coach who won it all?

 

NT: Yeah, nine seasons ago. Even then, Miles needed a lot of help just go to the national title game after choking at home against Arkansas for the Tigers' second loss of the season. Considering only one team with two losses had ever won the Associated Press' or coaches' poll, it shows how close Miles came to blowing a clear shot at the national title. He was fortunate that season that only one team from a major conference had only one loss (Ohio State). The only other team that finished undefeated (Hawaii) was left out of the BCS title game. Miles nor any other coach should expect to have two losses yet still win the national title in the foreseeable future. As far as a national title equating to job security, go talk to Larry Coker or Gene Chizik.

 

SP: Those two losses were in overtime. Before 1996, those games would've ended in ties.

 

NT: Even so, only three teams with records worse than two ties and no losses ever won the title in either of those national polls.

 

SP: He led LSU to two SEC championships in his 11 seasons.

 

NT: So? Nick Saban won the same number of titles in only five seasons at LSU.

 

SP: Miles's overall winning percentage was 77 percent. His winning percentage in SEC games was 69 percent. He has the second-most wins in LSU's history, only behind Charlie McClendon.

 

NT: Speaking of McClendon, he had an overall winning percentage of 69 percent and 59 percent in the SEC. He lost his last nine matchups against his nemesis Bear Bryant. Miles was descending into McClendon's level of mediocrity.

 

SP: Miles had a much better record versus Alabama than McClendon did. Miles was 5-7 against the Crimson Tide.

 

NT: Against Saban at Alabama, Miles only won three times. He had lost the last five times versus the Tide. McClendon was fired because he kept losing that "big game." He lost the last nine times he faced Bear Bryant. Miles was showing the same inability, starting with the Mulligan in the Superdome.

 

SP: Miles' record in bowl games was 7-4. That's tied for most bowl wins in LSU history. He also leaves with the second-most bowl appearances.

 

NT: His record in the last five bowl games was 2-3. Given the absurdly high number of bowls nowadays, merely going to a bowl game isn't much of an accomplishment. LSU was left out of bowls multiple times under McClendon despite having a winning record. You don't think LSU would've gone to more bowls during McClendon's tenure with the current glut of bowls?

 

SP: Look at all the chaos at LSU after pushing McClendon out despite his long, mostly successful tenure: eight head coaches in 25 years! Not one lasted more than five years. You want to endure that again?

 

NT: That number is deceiving. One coach, Bo Rein, died before ever having coached a game. His replacement, Jerry Stovall, had never served as a head coach so only lasted four years. Then Bill Arnsparger bolted after three years to become the athletic director at Florida. Mike Archer was the same: no experience and gone after four seasons. Curley Hallman appeared to be competent because he had Brett Favre while at Southern Mississippi. Gerry DiNardo was inexplicably hired despite never having a winning season during his four previous seasons as a head coach. Saban bolted for the NFL.

 

SP: Mark my words. LSU fans will soon look back at Les Miles' tenure and regret his departure.

 

NT: That's uncertain. What we do know is that the fan base has tired of the also-ran finishes and mediocre win-loss records in SEC games. We don't want another humdrum decade like the 1970s again: started those years with an SEC title and never won another one in that span.

 

SP: Now LSU could end up with another depressing decade like the 1990s: seven losing seasons and no titles of any kind.

 

NT: LSU could end up with another excellent decade like the 2000s: three SEC titles and two national titles.

 

— Written by John La Fleur, a contributor to AthlonSports.com, who focuses on the New Orleans Saints and Michigan State Spartans. He also frequently comments on other teams in the NFL and in NCAA football. Follow him on Twitter @FBConnoisseur and read his viewpoints at gridironconnoisseur.wordpress.com.

Teaser:
Les Miles' Termination: Sunshine Pumper and Nega-Tiger Debate LSU's Decision
Post date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: syndicated, NFL
Path: /nfl/nfl-power-rankings-week-4-2016
Body:

Three straight weeks the No. 1 team in the Athlon Sports NFL Power Rankings has lost, which is giving the Sports Illustrated cover jinx a run for its money. Of course it’s early in the season and teams are still figuring themselves out as much as they are their opponent — leading to some surprising upsets.

 

Related: NFL 2016 Regular and Postseason Predictions

 

Even at this point though, we’re starting to see some clear separation between a few elite teams at the top and the rest of the parity-filled league. Factoring in everything from overall roster strength, to quarterback play, to the head coach’s track record, here is the latest edition of NFL power rankings and where every team stacks up from 1 to 32.

 

Week 4 NFL Power Rankings

 

1. New England Patriots

Last week: 2
Three straight losses by the No. 1 team in the Power Rankings but the Patriots will put a stop to that no matter what by getting Tom Brady back after next week. Not only that, New England is already incredibly a full two games up on the rest of the division.

 

2. Denver Broncos

Last week: 3
Trevor Siemian saved his best game of the season for the road and really impressed with his ability to get the ball down the field. This team is only going to get better offensively, which is a scary thought for everybody else.

 

3. Minnesota Vikings

Last week: 6
The defense is for real after clamping down on Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton in back-to-back weeks. If the offense can continue to push through injuries and Sam Bradford can continue to pick things up, this team will be the class of the NFC the rest of the way.

 

4. Green Bay Packers

Last week: 8
The first-half version of the Packers has been terrific but at some point the team has to get going after halftime. Aaron Rodgers was on point against the Lions and needed just 24 pass attempts to get four touchdowns.

 

5. Philadelphia Eagles

Last week: 19
The defense has improved rapidly under Jim Schwartz and the Carson Wentz Show rolls on. It’s time to ponder if the Eagles are the NFC East favorite now and in contention for hosting a playoff game.

 

6. Pittsburgh Steelers

Last week: 1
An off-day for the offense came at a bad time for a team that still has to sort out some issues on defense.

 

7. Carolina Panthers

Last week: 4
At the rate things were going in their game against Minnesota, are the Panthers going to be able to count on Cam Newton being around all season? After giving up eight sacks, it’s a question that needs to be asked in Charlotte.

 

8. Seattle Seahawks

Last week: 14
Getting back on track against the 49ers was nice but the injuries to Russell Wilson will be a theme in the coming years unless the team fixes its offensive line.

 

9. Baltimore Ravens

Last week: 13
Winning ugly: John Harbaugh’s team is 3-0 in unimpressive fashion against three bottom-tier teams. The next three will really determine if Baltimore is a contender or pretender.

 

10. Kansas City Chiefs

Last week: 11
The defense had eight turnovers against the Jets, enough said.

 

11. New York Giants

Last week: 9
It’s going to be interesting to see how Ben McAdoo deals with a little adversity but you can bet he’ll be focusing on turnovers and penalties in practice this week.

 

12. Dallas Cowboys

Last week: 12
The game plan worked to perfection for Jason Garrett on Sunday night: Run the ball, control the clock and let Dak Prescott pick apart a defense.

 

13. Houston Texans

Last week: 5
Nobody looked as listless as the Texans did on Thursday night but at least they can take some comfort knowing they’re still the class of the AFC South (which admittedly, isn’t much).

 

14. Arizona Cardinals

Last week: 7
Not sure anybody saw the Cardinals sitting at 1-2 at this point in the season given the talent on the roster. If they can’t get things going against two divisional opponents on a short week, things could get interesting in the desert.

 

15. Cincinnati Bengals

Last week: 10
The Bengals are better than their record but at some point the team will need to start to look like it on the field or else they won’t even get the chance to lose in the first round of the playoffs.

 

16. Atlanta Falcons

Last week: 23
Atlanta’s offensive balance was impressive on the road at New Orleans and that should give the team some hope as they embark on a rough stretch of back-to-back games against the two teams in last year’s Super Bowl.

 

17. Oakland Raiders

Last week: 16
A much better showing by the defense against the Titans but Khalil Mack still hasn’t found the quarterback for a sack.

 

18. Miami Dolphins

Last week: 17
Being taken to overtime by a Browns team starting a rookie at quarterback is not a good look. At least the Dolphins won though.

 

19. Detroit Lions

Last week: 22
The second half of their game against the Packers was at least a little encouraging despite losing to a division rival.

 

20. Indianapolis Colts

Last week: 20
The Colts cannot be dropping games at home if they want a shot to win the division and Sunday probably wasn’t the last time they’ll need some late heroics to win a game this season.

 

21. Washington Redskins

Last week: 24
Five field goals and a couple of late-game interceptions to win a division game on the road? It’s a start after looking so dreadful the first two weeks.

 

22. New York Jets

Last week: 15
A six-turnover day from Ryan Fitzpatrick made Jets fans pine for Mark Sanchez, that’s how bad Sunday was for New York.

 

23. San Diego Chargers

Last week: 18
There are giving games away, and then there’s not covering T.Y. Hilton and giving the game away twice. Guess which one San Diego did at Indianapolis this past week?

 

24. Los Angeles Rams

Last week: 30
It’s still a bit concerning that Todd Gurley is not going off like he did as a rookie but at least the offense is starting to move the ball with a tad more consistency.

 

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last week: 21
On the bright side, the weather delay probably allowed many Bucs fans to miss that ending against the Rams.

 

26. Jacksonville Jaguars

Last week: 25
0-3 for the third time in four years and Gus Bradley might not make it to Halloween at this rate.

 

27. New Orleans Saints

Last week: 26
About the only positive on the night for the Saints, aside from Drew Brees putting up good numbers (minus the pick-six), was that they held a clearly hobbled Julio Jones to one catch for 16 yards. Not good when the moral victories come at home for New Orleans either.

 

28. Buffalo Bills

Last week: 31
Quite the outing for new OC Anthony Lynn as the team re-established the run game but it was the defensive improvement that really jumped out on the tape against the Cardinals.

 

29. Tennessee Titans

Last week: 27
The team isn’t good enough for Marcus Mariota to turn the ball over like he has been and still win but the quarterback also is turning the ball over because the team isn’t very good.

 

30. San Francisco 49ers

Last week: 28
The 49ers have been outscored by 19 points a game in their two losses to make that opening win look more and more like a mirage.

 

31. Chicago Bears

Last week: 29
As bad as the score seemed, it could have been a lot worse had the Cowboys not committed to slicing up the defense slowly and methodically.

 

32. Cleveland Browns

Last week: 32

Missing three field goals and losing in overtime seems like a perfect way to sum up the season for the Browns.

 

— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.

Teaser:
NFL Power Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 11:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2016-patience-or-panic-eddie-lacy-jeremy-hill-russell-wilson-minnesota-rbs
Body:

Week 3 is complete and it is officially time to be hitting the panic button in your seasonal fantasy leagues. To be honest, I could have written this post last week with all of the injuries, and slow starts. However the other aspect of this post is patience. So, freaking out after Week 2 is a little too much for me, although there were several players who deservedly so are making owners sweat their lineups and decisions every week already.

 

This will be a longer than normal post this week due to it being the first of the season. I have had some time to think about this.

 

So should you panic on a struggling early-round draft pick or be patient? Should you actively seek trades involving these struggling players? Perhaps. Knowing when to panic and when to be patient is one of the keys to fantasy success.

 

Either way you should fit into one of these groups and whether it was injury, disappointing seasons, dangerously slow starts, or even worse poor fantasy management... I know, I know but it DOES happen! This is the point of the season where there is no rest for the weary. You must kick it into overdrive, not get complacent and most importantly know whether to show…

 

Patience or Panic?

 

1. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers

Lacy seemed to finally have some forward progress in Week 3 against one of the worst run defenses in the league. The other issue is plain and simply his usage. With only 14 and 12 carries in the first two weeks Fit Eddie (Did you know he worked out with Tony Horton? The creator of P90X?). He did his part averaging better than four yards a carry in those first two weeks.

 

Week 3? He gets bumped up to 17 carries and 103 yards. No touchdowns yet, which is killer, but they will come and Green Bay’s offense should be clicking soon enough. The Packers have scored plenty, but still have kinks to work out. They scored ALOT in Week 3, but again penalties and other factors led to this. Aaron Rodgers for example threw four touchdown passes but finished with just 205 yards.

 

The Verdict: Patience

You can’t be considering dropping Formerly Fat Eddie yet, and he had enough of a glimmer in Week 3 that you can continue starting him with confidence as a RB2, or flex. He also has favorable matchups coming up with the Cowboys, Giants and Bears on tap after the Week 4 bye. If you are a buy low owner now is a great time, with Lacy coming off of a promising, yet not great, game and now the bye. Throw an offer out there and see what happens.

 

2. Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Hill appears on these types of lists often doesn’t he? I also know he is coming off a very nice Week 3 – 97 rushing yards, two touchdowns. This is the Hill we all know and love, but we also are quite familiar with his roller-coaster nature – up one week, down the next. But his performance Sunday against Denver could be just the thing to get him going, just like what happened late last season.

 

The Verdict: Patience

I am a Hill believer so I would very, very hard-pressed to move him or drop him right now. His trade value may not be exceptionally high (yet) and he definitely isn’t droppable unless you have an amazing stable of backs. He will hopefully keep his Week 3 pace up and reward owners who likely got him for cheap or late in their respective drafts. He will certainly frustrate you, but be patient, if you can.

 

3. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

Wilson’s ankle and knee injuries and porous offensive line are definitely concerns. In fact Wilson will in all likelihood be missing some time in Week 4, if not the entire game. This may not be as much of an issue at this point as starting him every week. I myself own him in several leagues and have been frustratingly watch my bench quarterbacks easily outscore Wilson.

 

The Verdict: Patience

Wilson is too valuable of a quarterback to give up on at this point. His trade value will never be lower and cutting him is a little rash in my opinion. The only consideration would be if there’s a better option on the waiver wire and that’s seems highly unlikely, especially in two-QB leagues. I rarely draft quarterbacks early and this year for whatever reason I did so with Wilson and Andrew Luck. So far the results haven’t been fantastic, but I am holding out hope and taking advantage of my bench options.

 

4. Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Floyd is in the concussion protocol, so certainly keep an eye on his playing status for Week 4. Aside from that, however, is the fact that he has gotten off to a start similar to what happened last season. Floyd is part of a fairly deep wide receiver pool, so benching him or replacing him figures to be easier than say a running back like Eddie Lacy or Jeremy Hill.

 

At this point, Floyd is no longer a must-start option and although I think he will turn things around (provided his concussion is not serious), there is no reason to have him in your lineups as more than a flex. With so many receivers producing early Floyd is more reputation than production at the moment.

 

The Verdict: Patience

This is a “wait and see” call. Floyd conceivably could some real damage in Weeks 4 and 5 facing the Rams and 49ers in what should be a revenge game for Carson Palmer following a disappointing showing in Buffalo. Again, Floyd must first clear the concussion protocols in enough time to be able to play this Sunday.

       

5. Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago Bears

I wasn’t very high on Langord this season due to his weak production with heavy volume in 2015. So far in 2016 it has been more of the same with a few touchdowns in the first two games fueling his fantasy value. A closer look reveals 17 carries for 57 rushing yards in Week 1 and 11 and 28 in Week 2. The carries have already dwindled and other backs are getting involved in a Bears offense that has enough issues of its own. Throw in an ankle injury that will sideline him for at least a month and most of Langford’s preseason appeal has disappeared.

 

The Verdict: Panic

I usually don’t suggest dropping players this early but if you don’t have an IR spot in your league, there is no reason to keep Langford at this point besides blind optimism. Even when he returns, he figures to be a part of a committee and not the guy who will get the majority of the carries. This could change depending on how Jordan Howard and Ka’Deem Carey fare in Howard’s absence, but right now there’s not much reason to be encouraged about the fantasy viability of the Bears’ backfield.

 

6. Minnesota Vikings RBs

As a Vikings fan, I am thrilled with the 3-0 start. Minnesota is playing mistake-free on offense under the direction of new starting quarterback Sam Bradford and a breakout performance by wide receiver Stefon Diggs. But let’s be honest, the Vikings’ defense has been downright criminal so far this season. If you doubt me, replay Sunday’s game in Carolina where they decimated Cam Newton (8 sacks, 3 INTs) and their Week 2 showing against Aaron Rodgers (3 sacks, INT, fumble). Penalties and the loss of Adrian Peterson were the biggest reasons why that game was as close as it was.

 

Peterson’s loss was a devastating blow to both Minnesota and his fantasy owners, while also presenting Jerick Mckinnon with a huge opportunity. He got his first significant workload against the stout Panthers defense and did about as well one who isn’t Peterson would be expected. McKinnon is an elusive and shifty back who can make plays as a receiver and do things in the open field most ball carriers can’. We just haven’t seen it yet.

 

Matt Asiata is the plodding and bruising back who will be used in short-yardage and goal-line situations. He didn’t look very good against the Panthers in Week 3.

 

The Verdict: Patience for a few weeks...

McKinnon is the back to own if you need one and has a very high ceiling, but with the turmoil of running backs, injuries and so many other factors you may not have the patience to keep plugging him in week to week. I am willing to wait and see what he does against a weaker front seven and think he will be rewarding owners sooner than later. I also am not delusional and if he is stuck scoring eight fantasy points or fewer each week, it may be time to move on and cheer him on as a Vikings fan only…(in my McKinnon jersey of course).

 

— 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:
Fantasy Football 2016 Patience or Panic: Eddie Lacy, Jeremy Hill, Russell Wilson, Minnesota RBs
Post date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, LSU Tigers, syndicated, SEC
Path: /college-football/5-reasons-lsu-was-justified-firing-les-miles
Body:

To the casual observer, LSU’s decision to fire head coach Les Miles four games into the season may seem like just another absurd move by another SEC school with no perspective. Miles was 114-34 and won two SEC championships and a national title in 12 seasons in Baton Rouge. Many schools can only dream of that type of success.

 

Related: 10 Coaching Candidates to Replace Les Miles at LSU

 

Only time and the next coaching hire will tell if LSU made the right decision in firing Miles when it did. One thing is for certain, though. LSU was justified in its decision. Here are five reasons why.

 

5. College Football’s Only Two-Loss National Championship Team

Yes, Miles does have one national title and his 2007 team was the most talented in college football that season. However, it remains the only two-loss national champion since the polls began naming them after bowl games. Granted, most SEC champions usually suffer one loss during the season and LSU’s loss to a ranked Kentucky team in overtime in Lexington was not highly criticized. Then the Tigers closed the regular season with another overtime loss to Arkansas, prompting Miles’ famous, “We’re undefeated in regulation” line. Fortunately for the Tigers, West Virginia and Missouri lost and the BCS average vaulted LSU back to No. 2 in the rankings. The Tigers then dominated Ohio State in the national championship game. That being said, if 2007 had not been one of the wackiest seasons in college football history, it would have been considered just another disappointing season for LSU.

 

4. LSU 30, Auburn 24

Oct. 20, 2007 – Baton Rouge, La.

Many would list this moment in LSU’s championship season as one of Miles’ greatest, but it actually was more of a sign of things to come. Down 24-23 on Auburn’s 22-yard line with the clock winding down, Miles chose to forgo a game-winning field goal and last timeout and instead have Matt Flynn throw a fade pass to Demetrius Byrd as time expired. Byrd caught it in one of college football’s more dramatic finishes. After the celebration died down, fans began to ask, “Is he gutsy or just not good at managing games?” Many similar decisions that blew up in his face would prove the latter.

 

3. Auburn 18, LSU 13

Sept. 24, 2016 – Auburn, Ala.

Years of poorly managed endings came to a head this past Saturday night. As he did many times over the last several years, Miles let too much time run off the clock as his team tried to eke out a last-second win. This time LSU threw the game-winning touchdown AFTER time expired. For SEC fans, it was not surprising. For LSU officials, it was the last straw.

 

2. 2012 BCS National Championship Game vs. Alabama

Jan. 9, 2012 – New Orleans

After going undefeated and beating eight ranked teams, the Tigers met Alabama in a rematch in the BCS National Championship Game. There, one of the best regular seasons in college football history ended with a whimper in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. LSU made it across the 50-yard line only once and was shut out 21-0 by the Crimson Tide. The moments before the game seemed to be the high water mark for Miles’ tenure in Baton Rouge and today the date of Jan. 9, 2012, lives in infamy in the western part of the Deep South.

 

1. No Offense

Miles consistently brought in great recruiting classes, but you wouldn’t have known it by watching his offense. Over the past five years, he only had one offense that ranked higher than 57th in the nation in productivity. That was in 2013, when he had a receiving corps that included Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. LSU finished that year ranked 33rd in total offense. Critics of Miles expected more.

 

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

Teaser:
5 Reasons LSU Was Justified in Firing Les Miles
Post date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, syndicated
Path: /college-football/les-miles-brian-vangorder-firings-demonstrate-importance-winning-now
Body:

More than anything else, college football is about winning. Some people may not like to hear that. Some people want to believe that the sport is simply a vehicle used in an academic and social development process of young men. Those of us who follow the sport closely know better.

 

Les Miles and Brian VanGorder are evidence of that.

 

The LSU head coach and Notre Dame defensive coordinator were both canned by their respective employers this past weekend. In the case of Miles, many saw it coming — but perhaps not four weeks into this season like it did. In the case of VanGorder, his departure was slightly more of a surprise, albeit not completely shocking. Both men — justified or not — were let go because of their teams’ performances during the first month of the 2016 season.

 

This is the new college football. Gone are the days of coaches hanging around at a school through a roller-coaster-like tenure of up-and-down years. Pundits around the country scoffed at the idea of Kirk Ferentz getting another contract extension and the guarantees that he did a few weeks back. Ferentz has one of the better bodies of work of any head coach in all of college football, so to an outsider, the move seemed completely reasonable. To those close to and who follow the sport, the firings of Miles and VanGorder are the new reasonable.

 

You'll often hear people talk about college football being a "what have you done for me lately?" world. It's not. The recent firings of the high-profile coaches are a clear demonstration that college football operates on a "what are you doing for me right now?" basis.

 

In his 11 full seasons at the helm in Baton Rouge, Miles never led the Tigers to fewer than eight wins in a single campaign. LSU went to a bowl game during every season of Miles' tenure, won two SEC titles and one national championship. He's been a pillar of the Baton Rouge community, especially during natural disasters and senseless tragedies. That's still not good enough at LSU.

 

VanGorder was an easy scapegoat for Notre Dame. Any head coaching change at the school is front page news – not just in sports. It's also a distraction, and nobody likes distractions. Brian VanGorder was a new face in South Bend. He hadn't been there long enough for anyone to have strong feelings for him. Unfortunately, despite finishing in the top third of the country in total defense in 2015, VanGorder's defense is among the worst in the nation statistically this season. Dropping him was quick and painless for Brian Kelly, who arguably has a less impressive resume at Notre Dame than what Miles had at LSU.

 

Kelly's job is safe — for now.

 

The pressure to win and the money tossed around in college football (not mutually exclusive) is causing big-time programs to shorten their leashes on head coaches. What you did as a coach in the past – even a season ago — is not guaranteed to buy you any time. This is especially true at your typical "blue blood" programs. Often times, the school's brand recruits itself. You merely need a guy who can develop and coach the talent recruited into a consistent winner.

 

The lower ranks of college football, especially in the Group of Five conferences, never have a shortage of guys who can flat out coach football. In addition to Houston's Tom Herman, up-and-comers like Western Michigan's P.J. Fleck, Western Kentucky's Jeff Brohm and South Florida's Willie Taggart are all ripe to be picked from their current positions and given shots to pilot some of the nation's more prestigious programs.

 

If I were a head coach, offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator at USC, Penn State, UCLA, Oregon or yes, even Notre Dame, I wouldn't get comfortable looking at that group of candidates gunning to take your gig. Now, you can even add Miles to that pool.

 

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.

Teaser:
Les Miles and Brian VanGorder Firings Demonstrate the Importance of Winning Now
Post date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-week-4-recap
Body:

College Football's fourth weekend featured multiple ranked matchups, a couple of big upsets, dramatic finishes and even some coach firings. Don't forget to subscribe here and rate us if you like (or don't like) what you hear!

 

- Did LSU make the right call to fire Les Miles just four weeks into the season? Which direction should LSU turn? Should Art Briles be in the mix? And is coaching the big question mark in the SEC now?

 

- Tennessee, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Auburn all won huge games in the SEC.

 

- The Badgers deserve an apology from Braden, but will he give it to Wisconsin? Also in the Big Ten, Michigan crushes an arch rival while Nebraska proves it could be legit.

 

- Duke upset Notre Dame and Brian Kelly fired his defensive coordinator. But should Irish fans be pushing for Kelly to be fired too?

 

- The rest of the ACC saw the power brokers win easily on the road while North Carolina and Virginia Tech did some good things.

 

- Baylor and West Virginia won the only two meaningful games in the Big 12 but how much did we really learn?

 

- Out west, Stanford, Utah and Washington each won close games to prove they may be the class the Pac-12. But what about Colorado, Arizona State and UCLA? And could it be one and done for Clay Helton at USC?

 

 

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

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: The Week 4 Recap
Post date: Monday, September 26, 2016 - 13:01
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /week-5-college-football-picks-challenge-athlon-sports-experts-2016
Body:

The college football season is off to a roaring start, and the competition off the field is almost as heated as the action on it.

 

The Athlon Sports College Football Experts Club gives you the chance to compete with your friends and our experts each week.

 

Think you’re up for taking on our experts every week? Think you can beat the writers and editors each week? Join our weekly pick 'em game and compete for tons of cool prizes.

 

Here are this week’s top picks from Athlon Sports senior editor Rob Doster:

 

Texas at Oklahoma State

The scoreboard operator should be busy in this one, as neither team has yet proved that it can stop a Power 5 offense. Notre Dame's recent struggles have stripped the luster off Texas' marquee win, leaving the Horns where they started the season — as an unproven team searching for an identity.

Doster's pick: Oklahoma State 35–31

 

Rutgers at Ohio State

Rutgers is still trying to learn how to win. This game won't do much to help the Knights learn that lesson. The Buckeyes will roll in their Big Ten opener.

Doster’s pick: Ohio State 37–10

 

Notre Dame at Syracuse

Notre Dame's 35–31 loss at home to Duke was likely the low point of the Brian Kelly era, and in the wake of that humbling defeat, Kelly fired defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and announced that every position was up for grabs. Syracuse should present a chance for the Irish to get back on track, but they would be wise not to sleep on Dino Babers' improved Orange. 

Doster’s pick: Notre Dame 28–20

 

Baylor at Iowa State

Baylor looks like the best of a bunch of good-but-not-great teams in the Big 12 — a group that does not include Iowa State. Seth Russell & Co. should roll in Ames.

Doster’s pick: Baylor 38–17

 

Miami at Georgia Tech

The Canes have been even better than expected in Mark Richt's first year, and the opportunity is there for Miami to win a wide-open ACC Coastal. The Canes have historically struggled against Paul Johnson's option, but Clemson provided a blueprint for Richt to follow in a 26–7 win.

Doster's pick: Miami 24–14

 

Florida at Vanderbilt

Don't dismiss this sneaky-good matchup. Vanderbilt comes in off the emotional high of beating a talented Western Kentucky team in overtime on the road, while Florida limps in following a second-half blitzkrieg at the hands of Tennessee. The Gators defense should prove to be the difference, but it could be closer than expected.

Doster’s pick: Florida 24–17

 

Northwestern at Iowa

Points will be at a premium in this one, as these two teams are allowing a combined 30.5 points per game. The difference should be the Hawkeyes offense, which, unlike Northwestern's, has shown signs of competence this season. 

Doster's pick: Iowa 17–10

 

Wisconsin at Michigan

The Badgers’ two-week jaunt to the Great Lakes State concludes with a trip to the Big House, where their stingy defense will be put to the test by an explosive UM offense. Even with stars at multiple positions, though, all eyes will be on Wolverines multi-purpose superstar Jabrill Peppers, the LB/DB/return specialist who conjures memories of Charles Woodson with his versatility and value. The Badgers have been one of the nation’s biggest surprises; we could start talking about them as a CFB Playoff team with a win in Ann Arbor. That seems unlikely, though.

Doster's pick: Michigan 24–17

 

North Carolina at Florida State

The Mitch Trubisky-to-Ryan Switzer combo led the Tar Heels to a thrilling 37–36 win over Pitt in their ACC opener, giving them an early leg up in the ACC Coastal. This game could bring them back down to earth. The Noles' Dalvin Cook is finally getting untracked, and that's a bad sign for the ACC. 

Doster's pick: Florida State 34–28

 

Tennessee at Georgia

The Vols are in the midst of a critical four-game gauntlet that will tell the tale on their 2016 season. Tennessee must gain no worse than a split against the quartet — Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M and Alabama — to realize its dreams of a division crown, making a win over the Dawgs all the more critical. The Vols finally showed what they are capable of last week in the big win over Florida, but this team still struggles with consistency. Georgia must bounce back from a blowout loss at Ole Miss that featured poor play on both sides of the ball. 

Doster's pick: Tennessee 27–21

 

Kansas State at West Virginia

The Big 12 opener for both teams presents an intriguing matchup of teams with plenty of potential but much to prove. The Mountaineers are getting good production from senior quarterback Skyler Howard, and Dana Holgorsen should find a way to outscore the offensively limited Wildcats.

Doster's pick: West Virginia 27–17

 

Texas A&M at South Carolina

Kevin Sumlin's Aggies have emerged as the primary challenger to Alabama in the SEC West behind the stellar play of quarterback Trevor Knight and a surprising running game. Will Muschamp has the Gamecocks playing good defense, but the offense has been abysmal.  

Doster's pick: Texas A&M 31–10

 

Oklahoma at TCU

Oklahoma's two early losses have rendered the Sooners an afterthought, but let's not forget that those losses came to playoff contenders, and a wide-open Big 12 is still there for the taking. TCU is producing big offensive numbers again, but this will be the Frogs' toughest test to date. 

Doster’s pick: Oklahoma 31-28

 

Utah at California

Don't look now, but the Utes are unbeaten and are finding new ways to win for underappreciated head coach Kyle Whittingham. The Utes defense will have its hands full with quarterback Davis Webb and the Cal offense, but the Bears have yet to prove that they can stop anybody.

Doster's pick: Utah 35–31

 

Memphis at Ole Miss

No Justin Fuente? No problem for the Tigers, who have steamrolled three opponents by an average score of 52–9. The Rebels are much more battle-tested, though, having played three ranked opponents in four games. Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly should outduel his Tigers counterpart Riley Ferguson in this one. 

Doster's pick: Ole Miss 38–34

 

Kentucky at Alabama

Now that Les Miles has been fired at LSU and Kevin Sumlin has things going at Texas A&M, the hottest seat in the SEC likely belongs to Kentucky's Mark Stoops. This game won't help. Bama should have its way against a leaky Wildcats defense.

Doster’s pick: Alabama 42–14

 

Missouri at LSU

The abrupt firing of Les Miles gives Missouri a rare opportunity to steal a win in Death Valley. The homestanding Bayou Bengals have to be reeling, although a steady diet of Leonard Fournette could help start the healing process in Baton Rouge. And let's not forget — LSU still has a huge talent advantage.

Doster’s pick: LSU 21–20

 

Louisville at Clemson

UL signal-caller Lamar Jackson has supplanted Clemson’s Deshaun Watson as the ACC’s marquee attraction, but Watson and Co. can flip this season’s script back to its original draft with a win in this one. Despite some early-season struggles, Clemson is still more than capable of a championship run. Whichever defense can muster a few key stops will put its team in position for a critical conference statement win. 

Doster's pick: Louisville 38–31

 

Arizona State at USC

It hasn't always been pretty, but Todd Graham's Sun Devils are 4–0 on the strength of an offense that is producing 500-plus yards per game. That surprising success could continue against a USC team that is struggling on both sides of the ball.

Doster's pick: Arizona State 35–28

 

Arizona at UCLA

Both teams come into this game off disappointing losses to Pac-12 frontrunners. UCLA, led by sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen, looks like the better bet to get its season back on track.

Doster's pick: UCLA 24–14

 

Last Week: 13-7

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 26, 2016 - 12:13
Path: /college-football/brian-kelly-latest-notre-dame-head-coach-be-false-messiah
Body:

The 38-35 loss to Duke on Saturday didn’t just drop Notre Dame to 1-3, it definitely exposed the latest false messiah to coach the Fighting Irish.

 

It all feels so familiar, doesn’t it?

 

Notre Dame hires a new head coach and he wakes up the echoes with some early success only to fall flat on his face and put the Irish back at Square One. After all, it’s been that way for the last 20 years.

 

The Irish were declared “back” for the first time in 2000 when Bob Davie went 9-2 in the regular season and went to the Fiesta Bowl — only to get waxed there by Oregon State, 41-9. Davie went 5-6 the following season and was canned.

 

If you blinked, you missed the George O’Leary Era that lasted all of five days over lies on his résumé.

 

Then came Tyrone Willingham, the Stanford head coach who knew how to win big at a great academic school. He started the 2002 season 8-0 and landed the Irish on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the words “Return to Glory” plastered across the front — also the title of a book about his first season there. Those became famous last words as Notre Dame lost three of its final five games and went a woeful 11-12 over the next two seasons before Willingham also got the heave-ho.

 

But the delusions of grandeur were never greater in South Bend than when Charlie Weis returned to his alma mater in 2005. Coming to town with his three Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots and a “decided schematic advantage” from coaching in the NFL, Weis started his head coaching career with wins over No. 23 Pitt and No. 3 Michigan on the road and the athletic department lost all grip on reality. After nearly beating No. 1 USC if not for the “Bush Push,” Notre Dame gave Weis a 10-year contract extension just seven games into his return to South Bend.

 

ESPN even rushed out a book called The New Gold Standard after his Weis’ season (you can now buy it on Amazon.com for a penny — seriously).

 

But after reaching back-to-back BCS bowls in 2006 and ’06, the wheels came flying off Notre Dame’s program faster than ever before as Weis went 16-21 over the next three seasons and Notre Dame decided it was better to pay Weis nearly $20 million in buyout money rather than let him continue to submarine the program.

 

Enter Brian Kelly.

 

After two mediocre seasons, Kelly went a perfect 12-0 in 2012 to play in the BCS Championship Game against Alabama. Sure, the Fighting Irish were run off the field by the Crimson Tide, but reaching the national title game in Year 3 was a minor miracle.

 

Out came another book for Irish fans: Faith Restored.

 

Certainly, Notre Dame had finally found the head coach that would deliver a national title in the near future, right?

 

Wrong.

 

Following three ensuing mediocre seasons, the bottom officially fell out on Kelly and the Irish on Saturday in a loss to Duke and backup quarterback Daniel Jones. Even worse, Kelly then proceeded to throw his players under the bus and back over them by saying all 22 starting positions were up for grabs but "coaching had nothing to do with the outcome" — then promptly fired defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder less than 24 hours later.

 

What Kelly apparently meant to say is head coaching had nothing to do with the outcome. Because apparently a team that starts a season 1-3 after being ranked No. 10 in the preseason is all the fault of 21- and 22-year-old college kids and not their head coach making millions of dollars per year.

 

Duly noted.

 

Of course, all this comes just months after Notre Dame extended Kelly’s contract until 2021 so the Irish are likely stuck with him for the foreseeable future unless things get so bad Notre Dame boosters are willing to pony up enough money to pay a second monster buyout right after Weis’ finally came to an end last year.  

 

And so Notre Dame fans find themselves in a familiar spot over the last two decades: Wondering how a head coach who once looked like the program’s savior could turn out to be fool’s gold.

 

— Rankings by Jim Weber, a veteran college sports journalist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. Weber has written for CBS Sports Network, NBCSports.com, ESPN the Magazine and the college sports website he founded and sold, LostLettermen.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JimMWeber.

Teaser:
Brian Kelly the Latest Notre Dame Head Coach to be False Messiah
Post date: Monday, September 26, 2016 - 12:00
Path: /college-football/seven-step-drop-les-miles-and-lsu-wont-fool-each-other-again
Body:

The coaching carousel is underway in earnest and it’s not even Halloween. Most notably, Les Miles now finds himself out of a job at LSU with the season not even halfway done.

 

Related: 10 Coaching Candidates to Replace Les Miles at LSU

 

It was shocking news to hear only with regard to its timing on the final Sunday afternoon of September and not at all that it had happened.

 

Miles departs with a 114-34 record, a pair of SEC championships and one national title ring. History will end up showing that he was the most successful coach at LSU given the benchmarks, longevity and the era he competed in. He not only won it all once but was winning fairly consistently even when he wasn’t. The school had only seven double-digit win seasons before Miles arrived in town and he simply added seven more to the total.

 

More than the memorable wins however, what came across to fans, players and the media was how un-coach-like Miles was. He was fun. He was fresh. He pulled trick plays out with aplomb to earn his “Mad Hatter” nickname. He ate grass as though it was the perfect pairing for a lunchtime sandwich. In retrospect, becoming the only modern national title winner with two losses probably only underscores Miles’ legendary quirkiness and penchant for the bizarre.

 

While nobody ever labeled him the best coach around, he certainly was on the shortlist of very good ones and that’s what ultimately caught up to him in the end.

 

Miles fooled us. Each and every season. That was part of his charm for a while but soon it turned into the reason he was shown the door. There hasn’t been real change, or more specifically evolution, at LSU in years. The program hasn’t adjusted to changing times, using some remarkable NFL talent as a crutch for not taking that next step everybody else already has.

 

There has been an obvious need for offensive development at LSU ever since Miles arrived and instead of channeling Urban Meyer with Tom Herman or Nick Saban with Lane Kiffin, Miles doubled-down on Cam Cameron. Fool me once with a move like that, shame on us. Fool us again by giving Cameron a second contract and not developing a passable quarterback, well, that’s firmly on Miles.

 

So it seems remarkably appropriate that the grass-eating, tongue-twisting, clock-mismanaging Miles ended his career at LSU on a play both did and did not count. That Auburn failed to score a touchdown on Saturday in the win made for a remarkable punchline in the end and a bat-signal that it was time to go.

 

Sure you could argue that the timing was bad and that it was unfair to somebody so historically tied to a program like he was for Miles to get the axe after just four games. But it was going to be time eventually and the Tigers can finally stop fooling themselves and move on now.

 

As for where LSU goes from here, you can already read dozens of lists of potential candidates. The first thing to keep in mind is wondering who exactly is running this search. Many within the industry expect athletic director Joe Alleva to follow Miles out the door over the coming months. The Tigers should be able to land a big-name candidate but if Alleva is still around doing the hiring come December, that will likely be viewed as a negative to the job. It’s further down on the list than, say, playing Saban every year, but it’s a factor.

 

One should have every reason to believe Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher will get the first call when LSU actually starts reaching out to folks later this year. He knows the landscape at the school from his time as an assistant and is one of the four coaches with a national title ring who could realistically leave his current setup for another by choice.

 

One could argue FSU is the better job than LSU right now and a much better path to the national title in the ACC Atlantic instead of the SEC West. But beyond a decent pay increase, one wonders if Fisher simply wants a new challenge on a slightly bigger stage (a change of scenery after some personal turmoil in the past year is something to consider too).

 

Tom Herman figures to be Tigers fans’ No. 1 pick to replace Miles and it’s not hard to see why. He’s 17-1 as a head coach and, though young, has quickly developed a reputation for being an offensive guru who can recruit at a high level and instill toughness in a program. There are plenty of reasons why he would fit in well with the purple and gold but Herman can be quite picky as the trendy name for every opening in the country. If he simply decides things aren’t well suited for him at the moment, he can pass for something else down the road.

 

Bobby Petrino’s name will get some play but, given the size of his buyout combined with Miles’ (and his staff’s) buyout, that’s a lot to ask for any school no matter how big the booster wallets are. Art Briles is unrealistic on a number of levels. The fact is, once you get beyond Fisher and Herman’s names, the options aren’t quite as rosy for LSU. Don’t be shocked when a bungled search plays out in a painfully public manner and the school eventually winds up with new Tigers coach Todd Graham.

 

LSU football will move on though. Miles will too. It was just time that this great-turned-good combination of coach and school were finally split up. The ending got messy sure but at least we’re finally to a point where both Miles and LSU won’t fool each other again.

 

Stat of the Week

With Les Miles getting the axe, Nick Saban now has as many SEC titles (6) as every other active head coach in the country does combined. The state of Alabama also is home to the only active head coaches who are still in the SEC and have won the league in Saban and Gus Malzahn. By firing Miles, there are now only four active head coaches to have won the national championship still coaching in Saban, Bob Stoops, Urban Meyer and Jimbo Fisher.

 

Tweet of the Week

 

Superlatives of the Week

 

Best player: Dalvin Cook (Florida State)

 

Heisman five: 1. Lamar Jackson (Louisville), 2. Christian McCaffrey (Stanford), 3. J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), 4. Greg Ward Jr. (Houston), 5. Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)

 

Team of the week: Colorado

 

Honorary Les Miles Goat of the week: Brian Kelly (Notre Dame)

 

Quote of the week: "Watching them drive the ball down kind of crushed our soul," USC receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said after the loss to Utah, according to the Associated Press.

 

Play of the Week

 

Super 16

I’m a voter in the FWAA/National Football Foundation Super 16 Poll and will be releasing my ballot here every week. Here’s my ballot heading into Week 5.

 

1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

3. Louisville

4. Houston

5. Texas A&M

6. Michigan

7. Wisconsin

8. Clemson

9. Stanford

10. Washington

11. Florida State

12. Ole Miss

13. Tennessee

14. Boise State

15. Baylor

16. Utah

 

Best of the rest: Arizona State, Arkansas, San Diego State, West Virginia, Oklahoma, UCLA, North Dakota State, Miami, Nebraska

 

Pre-snap Reads

 

Stanford at Washington (Friday)

Both teams squeaked by on the road last week and it probably was the case of a look-ahead game for Washington in particular. The Cardinal haven’t been particularly great so far over the course of a complete game and really need to get Christian McCaffrey going for some big gains on Friday night. Winter comes in the Pac-12 however, as the Huskies pull it off at home and dethrone the defending league champions.

 

Wisconsin at Michigan

At some point we’ll stop overlooking Wisconsin and recognize the Badgers have a legitimately good defense. The problem is that Michigan has one that is just as good and an offense that, at this point, you can trust a little more. At home, the Wolverines get tested but pull out a win.

 

Louisville at Clemson

Clemson will undoubtedly be up for this one and should put forth its best effort of the season after a few mediocre ones. The Tigers have the talent to win but Louisville has Lamar Jackson. Advantage: Cardinals, even if the quarterback doesn’t score seven touchdowns.

 

— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.

Teaser:
Seven-Step Drop: Les Miles and LSU won’t fool each other again
Post date: Monday, September 26, 2016 - 11:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, syndicated, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/college-fantasy-football-top-waiver-wire-pickups-week-5-2016
Body:

We are through the first month of the college football season and there are still plenty of names out there that are continuing to pop up on the stat sheet and are still not on any fantasy rosters.

 

A successful college fantasy football season hinges on a keeping a close eye on the waiver wire and AthlonSports.com will be the place each week during the year to find the top pickups for your roster.

 

Below are the top waiver wire selections for Week 5.

 

Corey Willis (WR, Central Michigan)

We mentioned Willis last week in our start/sit column and the junior did not disappoint with six receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to Virginia. With Saturday’s performance, Willis has caught at least one touchdown in each of the first four games to start the season and now leads Central Michigan in receptions, yards and touchdowns. With no improvement in sight from the Chippewas’ rushing attack, expect to see quarterback Cooper Rush continue to sling it around through the air with Willis being the primary recipient.

 

Shun Brown (WR, Arizona)

Arizona starting quarterback Brandon Dawkins has found his clear go-to target the past two weeks in sophomore Shun Brown. During that span, Brown has 12 catches for 206 yards and a touchdown. The next closest receiver after that has just 40 receiving yards. The schedule does not get easier for Brown and the Wildcats during the month of October with UCLA, Utah and USC in the next three games, but the sophomore wideout has an apparent connection with his quarterback that should continue to develop.

 

Trayveon Williams (RB, Texas A&M)

The true freshman gave the Aggies offense a spark for the second straight week, rushing for 153 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Arkansas. Williams did have more than 100 yards last week as well, but 89 of those came on one play. This week, Williams saw his touches increase against a good SEC opponent, which bodes well for his usage moving forward, though don’t expect a significant boost as head coach Kevin Sumlin has already announced the plan to continue a running back rotation. Williams’ apparent big-play ability, though, makes him a threat to find the end zone any time he touches the football.

 

James Gardner (WR, Miami, Ohio)

Another receiver mentioned in the start/sit column for Week 4, Gardner kept alive his streak of four straight games with a touchdown as he had six catches for 79 yards and a score in the loss to Cincinnati. Considered the fifth option at receiver by many entering the season, Gardner is now the clear go-to target in the passing game as no other target on the team has more than one receiving touchdown compared to his five. Making Gardner an even more intriguing option as a waiver wire selection is the RedHawks’ upcoming schedule with Ohio (85th in the FBS in passing defense) and Akron (126th)  next up.

 

Austin Carr (WR, Northwestern)

Prior to the season, there wasn’t a single player outside of Justin Jackson on the Northwestern offense that was worthy of fantasy consideration, but that has changed with the improvement of Carr. The senior wideout caught eight passes for 109 yards and a score in the loss to Nebraska, giving him two straight 100-yard performances and his third consecutive game with a touchdown. Compared to the rest of the team, it’s evident who is the primary target for quarterback Clayton Thorson, as Carr has more than twice as many receptions than any other wide receiver on the team. After four games, Carr is tied for 13th in the country with 26 catches.

 

Other Players Worth Considering

Michael Gallup (WR, Colorado State)

Andre Patton/Jawuan Harris (WR, Rutgers)

Donnie Corley (WR, Michigan State)

Brian Herrien (RB, Georgia)

Olamide Zaccheaus (WR, Virginia)

Ross Trail (QB, Cincinnati)

John Diarse (WR, TCU)

Jordan Huff (RB, Northern Illinois)

Seth Collins (WR, Oregon State)

Justice Hill/Rennie Childs (RB, Oklahoma State)

Anthony Nash (WR, Duke)

Austin Proehl (WR, North Carolina)

Jeremy Cox (RB, Old Dominion)

Steven Montez (QB, Colorado)

Kalib Woods (WR, Florida Atlantic)

Dontravious Wilson (RB, Central Florida)

James Morgan (QB, Bowling Green)

Ron’Quavion Tarver (WR, Utah State)

 

— Written by Mike Bainbridge, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bainbridge is a graduate of Northern Illinois University. Make sure to follow him on Twitter @MikeBainbridge2.

 

(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Teaser:
College Fantasy Football Top Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 5
Post date: Monday, September 26, 2016 - 11:00

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