Articles By All

All taxonomy terms: monthly, NFL, Monthly
Path: /nfl/crazy-stories-behind-athletes-and-numbers

Much like tattoos or passwords, jersey numbers can be a highly personal affair for their owners. The significance behind a jersey number can sometimes offer a little glimpse into an athlete’s psyche, his past, or his hopes for the future. Other times, the number reflects a team’s plans for the player wearing it. Here’s a sampling from the surprisingly rich world of jersey numbers.

Peyton and Archie Manning

18—Archie Manning wore No. 18 during his college days at Ole Miss, where he scrambled his way into the hearts of Dixie and married the Homecoming Queen, Olivia. After Archie left Oxford, the campus posted speed limits of 18 MPH in his honor. Archie’s middle son, Peyton, wears No. 18 in the NFL — not only in homage to his father, but also as a tribute to Cooper, the oldest of the three Manning boys. Cooper wore No. 18 in high school but was forced to give up football when he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis as a true freshman at Ole Miss.

33—Former major league outfielder Larry Walker wasn’t the greatest 33 ever — good morning, Kareem and Larry — but Walker was, without a doubt, the most superstitious athlete ever to wear the number. Walker had a thing about 3s. To wit: He routinely set his alarm for 8:03 in the morning. His parking stall in the players’ lot was 3. He routinely would take three practice swings and dig his foot into the ground three times in the on-deck circle, then take three check swings before heading to the plate. Walker wore 33 in an attempt to derive twice as much luck out of his favorite number. He also got married on Nov. 3 at 3:33 p.m.

Said Walker, when asked back in the day about his thing for threes: “I’d wear 333 if they’d let me.”

17Former Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner was operating on a shoestring budget in the mid-1970s when he signed pitcher Andy Messersmith to one of baseball’s first megabucks free-agent contracts. Turner’s UHF station in Atlanta, WTCG, was struggling to attract viewers, so Turner decided to turn Messersmith into a human billboard. Messersmith wore 17 on the back of his jersey. Above it was the word Channel.
24—Former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis anted up $50,000 to new Bucs teammate Mark Barron for No. 24, believed to be the highest price ever paid for a number.
10 and 17—Former Giants punter Jeff Feagles sold 10 to Eli Manning for a week-long Florida vacation, then sold his new number, 17, to Plaxico Burress for an outdoor kitchen in his Phoenix home.
28—While today’s players pay thousands for numbers, it wasn’t always that way. Former Phillies lefty Mitch Williams received 28 from John Kruk for the princely sum of two cases of beer.

12—Nine consecutive Super Bowls (VI through XIV) were won by quarterbacks wearing No. 12. 

44—Syracuse football jersey number worn by Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little, among others. The university zip code was changed from 13210 to 13244 in honor of the number, which was retired on Nov. 12, 2005.

72—Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk wore 27 during his days with the Red Sox. After joining the White Sox, he wanted to put his days at Fenway Park behind him, so he switched to 72. The number, he said, represented a turnaround in his career. 

50Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino wore No. 50 for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic to honor his native Hawaii. Honoring the 50th State is a tradition among Hawaiian players launched by former Mets lefty Sid Fernandez.

76—What, you thought 76 was a football number? Think again. Shawn Bradley was 7-foot-6 and was drafted by the 76ers. Any guesses as to which number he was issued?

72—For whatever reason, 72 inspires nicknames. It was worn by Carlton “Pudge” Fisk, William “The Refrigerator” Perry, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and John “Tooz” Matuszak.

38—Ole Miss football jersey given annually to the player who receives the Chucky Mullins Memorial Courage Award, named after the former player who was paralyzed during the Rebels’ Homecoming game in 1989.

68Future Hockey Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr wears 68 to commemorate the Soviet invasion of his native Czechoslovakia in 1968.

088586—Rockies manager Walt Weiss wears 22 in honor of boyhood hero Mercury Morris, who, incidentally, wore No. 088586 during his stretch in a Florida prison for drug trafficking.


Notable Retired Numbers

40—Fallen soldier and former safety Pat Tillman’s number, which was retired by the Arizona Cardinals in 2004.

12—The Seattle Seahawks have retired the number of the “12th Man” — their fans.

42—Jackie Robinson’s number, which was retired across MLB in 1997. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera  was the last player to wear No. 42.

48—Former President Gerald Ford had his No. 48 retired by the University of Michigan.

99Wayne Gretzky’s number, which was retired across the NHL, fittingly, in 1999. 

Much like tattoos or passwords, jersey numbers can be a highly personal affair for their owners. The significance behind a jersey number can sometimes offer a little glimpse into an athlete’s psyche, his past, or his hopes for the future. Other times, the number reflects a team’s plans for the player wearing it. Here’s a sampling from the surprisingly rich world of jersey numbers.
Post date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 17:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-20-2013

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 20.


• Lizzy Caplan will be appearing on tonight's episode of "The League." In other news, Lizzy Caplan is hot.


• Normally, "keys to the game" style analysis is pretty stupid, but C-Webb was making sense last night.


• Amazing that it's been 21 months since the eruption of Linsanity. Last night, Jeremy Lin returned to Madison Square Garden.


50 years ago, in the wake of the Kennedy assassination, the NFL played on.


Here's one of those Hitler reaction videos, with Nick Saban's words. Not making any sort of statement here, just passing along a link.


• Saturday brings a rare treat: a meaningful Vanderbilt-Tennessee game.


Shocking study reveals that men with hot wives are happier. Next they'll tell us that people living in mansions are happier than the homeless.


• With the holidays approaching, here are some passive-aggressive insults you can expect to hear from your relatives. Just trying to prepare you.


Jessica Dorrell, the other woman in the Bobby Petrino scandal, had a happy ending. Mazel tov.


Chi Chi Rodriguez nailed himself right in the chi-chi's.


A sports reporter wanted to get close to the action. He succeeded, all too well.


• This new Foot Locker "Week of Greatness" commercial is actually pretty great.




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

Post date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 10:45
All taxonomy terms: Funny, Video, videos, Overtime
Path: /overtime/our-favorite-jean-claude-van-damme-epic-split-parodies

Recently karate action star Jean-Claude Van Damme took his amazing flexibility to new heights, performing an epic slit between two Volvo trucks (watch at bottom). The video went viral and now the parodies have begun. Here are our two favorites, so far. 

Channing Tatum on the set of "22 Jump Street" does his best impersonation.
Disgraced Toronto Mayor Rob Ford gives it a shot.

The original Jean-Claude Van Damme Volvo ad.

Recently karate action star Jean-Claude Van Damme took his amazing flexibility to new heights, performing an epic slit between two Volvo trucks. The video went viral and now the parodies have begun. Here are our two favorites, so far.
Post date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 08:36
Path: /college-football/florida-or-mississippi-state-will-either-team-make-bowl-2013

With just three weeks left in the regular season, the SEC has nine bowl-eligible teams. And the conference could add to that total if Tennessee wins its final two games, and if Florida or Mississippi State can get to six victories.

Florida has been one of the biggest disappointments in the SEC this year. The Gators have been dealing with a rash of injuries, but this program recruits at a high level and a 5-7 mark should never happen in Gainesville.

Mississippi State is one of the SEC’s toughest jobs, but coach Dan Mullen has guided the Bulldogs to three consecutive bowl games.

However, with two games remaining, Mississippi State’s postseason streak is in jeopardy. The Bulldogs are favored to beat Arkansas but have to play rival Ole Miss in the season finale.

Will Florida and Mississippi State get bowl eligible in 2013?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
No, I don’t think either team will get bowl eligible. It seems odd to have this conversation about Florida, especially at the level that this program recruits. However, the Gators have experienced a rash of injuries this year, and rival Florida State is clearly one of the top-two teams in the nation. Florida will get by Georgia Southern, but it will take a miracle to beat the Seminoles. Mississippi State has a better chance to reach the six-win mark than Florida. The Bulldogs are a slight favorite over Arkansas and host rival Ole Miss in the finale. Mississippi State has won four in a row at home against the Rebels, but I think Ole Miss will break that streak this season. The Bulldogs have a better chance than Florida to get to the six-win mark. However, I think both teams come up short this season.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
To quote a great movie, I will say "erroneous, on both counts." The Gators argument is easy — Florida has to beat No. 2 Florida State. And unless Jameis Winston — and every member of the starting defense — gets suspended, that won't happen. The Seminoles are in no danger of losing in Gainesville and therefore the Gators finish 5-7 and out of the postseason. The Bulldogs of Starkville are in a slightly better situation as Arkansas in Little Rock and Mississippi at home are both winnable games for Dan Mullen. State, generally under Mullen, has won games they are supposed to and lost games across the board as underdogs. Anything can happen in a historic rivalry like the Egg Bowl, especially at home for MSU, but Ole Miss will be a solid favorite to win that game. A split to finish the year doesn't get Hail State into the postseason, so I will say no on both counts.

Mark Ross
If either has a shot, it's Mississippi State, but I'm not convinced it's going to happen. Both teams are 4-6 with two games left, meaning six wins is a possibility, but not a reality, certainly for the Gators. Let's face it, if Florida loses Saturday at home to Georgia Southern then Will Muschamp may as well just go ahead and pack up his office belongings as soon as the game is over. Either way, I have a hard time seeing this Gators team beating Florida State the following week, as the Seminoles have their eyes firmly fixed on getting to the BCS National Championship Game and have Idaho (1-9) as a warm up. That leaves us with Mississippi State. The Bulldogs should get their fifth win with relative ease, even on the road at Arkansas, meaning their postseason fate will come down to the Egg Bowl. The game's in Starkville, but Ole Miss is a top-25 team (at least this week) and has three more wins than the Rebels. Hugh Freeze beat Dan Mullen in their first head-to-head meeting last season and unfortunately, I see a similar result coming next week. Sorry Mississippi State fans, I don't see a bowl bid being part of your Thanksgiving feast this season.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
No and no. The only question will be the kind of pressure both coaches will be under if and when both teams miss a bowl. Despite the close game with South Carolina, Florida losing to Georgia Southern is a more likely outcome than the Gators reaching a bowl game. At least Mississippi State faces the worst team in the SEC (Arkansas) and then gets its top rival at home. The finale against Ole Miss is going to be huge for Mississippi State and not just because of bowl implications. Dan Mullen still has never won a game against a major opponent, and I think we can call Ole Miss, with seven wins and all the program momentum, a major opponent for Mullen. I understand Mississippi State wants more out of its football program, but going to bowls every year is good for Mississippi State, especially in the gauntlet of the SEC West these days. If Mullen stops making bowl games, he’s going to be in trouble.

Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
I’ll start with Florida. The answer there is a quick no. Florida should take care of business against Georgia Southern on Saturday, but Florida State is a different animal. The Seminoles will be too much for Florida even with the game being played in Gainesville. Florida State has too much talent and depth for Florida to be able to pull off the upset, which will leave Florida with its first losing record since 1979. Mississippi State has a realistic opportunity to reach the postseason. The Bulldogs are a slight favorite to beat Arkansas this week, although it won’t be easy to do in Little Rock. The Ole Miss game will be the biggest test for Mississippi State. Ole Miss handled Mississippi State 41-24 in Oxford last year. Can the Bulldogs get revenge this season? In the end, I’ll say no. Both teams should be able to score on each other. I’ll take Hugh Freeze’s group at Ole Miss to put up more points than Mississippi State and keep the Bulldogs out of the postseason for only the second time under Dan Mullen.

Florida or Mississippi State: Will Either Team Make a Bowl in 2013?
Post date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-12-heisman-trophy-voting

Each week of the college football season, Athlon Sports will poll some of the nation's best college football people from every region of the country. Each voter offers up a top five and each first-place vote is worth five points. A second-place vote is worth four points, so on and so forth. With 13 voters, a perfect ballot — i.e., 13 first-place votes — would give a player 65 total points.

The 2013 Heisman race is quickly becoming one of the more bizarre battles in Heisman history. There are five clear-cut frontrunners who are all extremely deserving. And most of them have marquee, championship-type showdowns still to come. With little movement in Week 12, fans can bet Week 13 could be a huge Heisman weekend for more than a few candidates.

Post-Week 12 Voting Results:

1.(1)Jameis WinstonQBFlorida St57742--
2.(2)Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M4954121
3.(3)Bryce PettyQBBaylor38-283-
4.(4)Marcus MariotaQBOregon2813124
5.(5)AJ McCarronQBAlabama15--144
6.(ur)Andre WilliamsRBBoston College5---13
7.(6)Jordan LynchQBN. Illinois3---11

Heisman Headlines:

Boring Week Behind Us. Any week that Johnny Manziel doesn’t play could be considered a boring Heisman weekend. But, on top of that, Jameis Winston, Bryce Petty and Marcus Mariota won by a combined 108 points and scored a total of 10 touchdowns. AJ McCarron didn’t play a great game (187 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) but he also led two critical scoring drives to beat an upstart Mississippi State team.

Top Two Will Hold Serve. McCarron and Alabama hosts Chattanooga while Winston and Florida State host Idaho. There is really nothing to see here with either team or player. In fact, it’s a lose-lose Heisman situation for both players this weekend. Week 13 should maintain BCS National Championship status quo for both teams. Let’s move on to the good stuff…

Manziel’s Showcase. Over the last two weeks, Johnny Manziel will have not one but two huge road SEC showcase games to make his Heisman case. It begins this weekend in Baton Rouge when Texas A&M battles LSU on the bayou. The Tigers have lost only one time in Tiger Stadium since Georgia beat LSU on Oct. 25, 2008 (Alabama, 2012). Manziel’s worst career game came against the Bayou Bengals last season in College Station — 29-of-56, 276 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT, 17 attempts, 27 rush yards — and fans can bet that he will be motivated in a big way to get his revenge. LSU’s defense has struggled on the road but has been very salty at home. This one should be epic.

Bryce Leads Baylor. Bryce Petty’s Heisman hopes not only hang in the balance this weekend in Stillwater but so do the Bears’ Big 12 and BCS national title hopes. Oklahoma State is surging after winning six straight in the league and hasn’t lost in Stillwater to Baylor since 1939. Petty has accounted for 34 touchdowns and just one interception all season and is leading the nation in passing efficiency (206.23). A road win over Oklahoma State not only could vault Petty to the top of Heisman ballots but possibly into the BCS title game.

Andre the Giant. Boston College has gone from two wins to six in one season under Steve Addazio with the help of workhorse tailback Andre Williams. The Eagles tailback has 634 yards over his last two games and now owns the ACC single-game (339 yards) and single-season rushing records (1,810). He still has three games to go and, if he keeps his recent pace, has an outside shot at making a push at Barry Sanders' NCAA single-season record (2,628 yards, 1988). He is the only non-QB on the ballot this weekend.

Arizona Upset Alert. Marcus Mariota leads the Pac-12 frontrunners into the desert this weekend to face the Wildcats. And Oregon fans are queasy for a reason.  The Ducks last lost in Tucson when an injured dual-threat Heisman candidate — Dennis Dixon — crippled his stiff-armed chances by re-injuring his torn-up knee in a loss to Arizona. Just reading that sentence should make Oregon fans nervous about this potential upset spot. Rich Rodriguez’ team is overmatched but will be amped up against the top team in the league.

The Voting Panel:

NameOrganizationWebsiteNo. 1
Tom DienhartBig Ten NetworkBigTenNetwork.comJameis Winston
Bryan FischerPac-12 NetworkPac-12.comJohnny Manziel
David FoxAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comJameis Winston
Braden GallAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comJameis Winston
Steven GodfreySB NationSBNation.comJameis Winston
Chris HustonHeisman PunditHeismanPundit.comMarcus Mariota
Steven LassanAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comJameis Winston
Chris LevelRed Raider SportsRedRaiderSports.comJameis Winston
Mitch LightAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comJohnny Manziel
Billy LiucciTexAgsTexAgs.comJohnny Manziel
Dan RubensteinSB Nation/Solid VerbalSolidVerbal.comJohnny Manziel
Josh WardMr. SEC/WNMLMrSEC.comJohnny Manziel
Jim YoungACC Sports JournalACCSports.comJameis Winston


College Football: Post-Week 12 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-13

The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama. Here's what might happen in Week 13.

Note: The point of this column is to have some fun and make some outlandish predictions. Please react accordingly.

Baylor will do something it hasn’t done since 1939
Oklahoma State is surging, winners of six straight including crushing Texas in Austin last Saturday. The Cowboys also have not lost to Baylor in Stillwater since 1939. That all ends this weekend as the Bears put their Big 12 and BCS title hopes on the line against Mike Gundy and the Pokes. Bryce Petty’s Heisman hopes hang in the balance as well. This is easily the toughest test to date for Art Briles' bunch, but this Bears team is up to the task. Baylor defeated OSU last year 41-34, as the two teams combined for nearly 1,200 yards of offense. Look for a repeat performance from the Bears and a win in Stillwater for the first time in over 70 years.

Urban Meyer will have a 1,000-yard rusher
Meyer has won two BCS National Championships, four conference titles, is about to post his second undefeated regular season and coached 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. But he’s never had a 1,000-yard rusher on any of his teams. Carlos Hyde will change all of that this weekend against Indiana. The Hoosiers just allowed 554 yards rushing to Wisconsin and Hyde is coming off a 246-yard performance against Illinois. Meyer’s workhorse back is just 53 yards away from getting to 1,000 (947) and averages 135.3 yards per game. This one could happen in the first quarter.

Johnny Manziel and Zach Mettenberger will throw as many INTs as TDs
These two quarterbacks combined for zero touchdowns and four interceptions in LSU’s 24-19 win in College Station last year. It was Johnny Manziel’s worst game as a college player. Mettenberger, despite some recent struggles, has shown marked improvement from a year ago. And both Texas A&M and LSU have had defensive issues this fall. These are the Nos. 1 and 2 rated passers in the SEC to date, as the duo has combined for 51 touchdown passes thus far in 2013. But Manziel is leading the SEC in interceptions and Mettenberger has five picks in his last three games (and should have had 3-4 more against Alabama). Look for big numbers and big mistakes from both in what should be an instant classic in Baton Rouge.

Missouri will win at Ole Miss… with Maty Mauk under center
James Franklin is an excellent player and fans in both the Big 12 (2011) and SEC (2013) have seen how good he can be when fully healthy. But we’ve also seen how tough it is for him to stay healthy. He missed three games at three different times in 2012 and has missed the last four games due to injuries. He has proven to be brittle and is expected to return to the starting lineup this weekend against Ole Miss. With the SEC East on the line for Gary Pinkel, he is turning back to his veteran for a big road win. And Pinkel will get the victory, however, it will be with Maty Mauk on the field. Mauk has eight touchdowns and zero interceptions in the last two games and will be needed to win the game when (not if) Franklin gets banged up.

All five winless teams will stay winless
Everyone likes to focus on the unbeatens, and rightly so, as they play for championships. But keep an eye on those winless teams too. Five programs have yet to win a game in 2013 — UConn, Southern Miss, Miami (Ohio), Hawaii and Georgia State. And none of them will get into the win column this weekend. Georgia State (+23.5), Southern Miss (+23) and Miami (Ohio) (+24.5) are more than three-touchdown underdogs. UConn is a nine-point underdog to a one-win Temple team and Hawaii is only a seven-point dog to a Wyoming team that just got beat by 41 points. Still, no reason to not expect all five to lose again this weekend.

Iowa, Penn State and Minnesota will have winning Big Ten records
Had I said Iowa, Penn State and Minnesota would all have winning league records with one week to play in the conference in the summer months, I would have been laughed at. Loudly. But Iowa and Penn State sit at 3-3 in the Big Ten currently and Minnesota is 4-2. The Hawkeyes are a six-point favorite against powerful Michigan at home while the Nittany Lions are a two-point favorite over Nebraska at home. Minnesota is a 16-point underdog to arch rival Wisconsin. Iowa and Penn State will win while the Gophers will lose and all three will sit at 4-3 in the Big Ten with one week to play.

Bonus Prediction: Northwestern will enter the season finale winless (0-7) in the Big Ten.

NC State will go 0-4 in-state in 2013
Dave Doeren has a tougher task in front of him than expected. His team is 0-7 in the ACC and hasn’t won a game since topping Central Michigan in September. During that span the Wolfpack has lost to Wake Forest, North Carolina and Duke within the state by a combined 41 points. NC State now has to face 8-2 East Carolina in Carter-Finley Stadium this weekend. The Pirates are heading towards a 10-win season if it can upset the Pack and has a history of playing very well against ACC teams. Take ECU to win and give Doeren an 0-for in the state in his first season.

Washington State will become bowl eligible
Sticking with the theme of things I never thought I’d hear this summer, the Cougars of Washington State will become bowl eligible this weekend. After upsetting both USC and Arizona on the road this year, Wazzu returns home against Utah with a chance to get to the postseason for the first time since 2003. A win also guarantees the Cougars' first .500 or better regular season mark for the first time since 2006 and gives Mike Leach’s squad an outside shot at its first winning record since ’03 as well.

Outrageous College Football Predictions: Week 13
Post date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-honor-roll-and-dishonor-roll-nov-20

Star power will not be lacking in college basketball this season. The star-studded freshman class and the return of Marcus Smart, Doug McDermott, Russ Smith and so on made that clear in the preseason.

The first two-plus weeks of the season only confirmed it.

Heck, even Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminksy scored 43 points Tuesday night. It was against North Dakota in a rare 100-point outburst for the Badgers, but Kaminsky is about the fifth-most well-known player on Wisconsin’s roster.

Not anymore.

As we move into the 2013-14 basketball season, we’ll take a look all the good and bad in the weekly honor roll and dishonor roll. Here goes the first look around the season so far.

Honor Roll

Power Rankings: Nov. 20
1. Michigan State
2. Kansas
3. Kentucky
4. Louisville
5. Duke
6. Oklahoma State
7. Ohio State
8. Arizona
9. Syracuse
10. VCU
11. Wisconsin
12. Gonzaga
13. Michigan
14. Oregon
15. Iowa State
16. Connecticut
17. Wichita State
18. New Mexico
19. Florida
20. Villanova
21. Iowa
22. UCLA
23. Baylor
24. Creighton
25. Arizona State
Marcus Smart. The freshmen at Kentucky, Duke and Kansas made their statement last week, and Michigan State established itself as a top team in the Champions Classic. This Tuesday, it was Smart’s turn. The Oklahoma State guard had a career day with 39 points on 11 of 21 shooting, plus five rebounds, five steals and two blocks in a 101-80 win. Anyone who was quick to hand the Big 12 to Kansas and national player of the year to a rookie got a good look at who might be a frontrunner at this point. Smart's all-around game was on full display against Memphis.

Shabazz Napier. The Connecticut guard is off to a torrid start, including a triple-double against Yale on Nov. 11. With six assists and seven rebound in every game this season, Napier might not have had his last triple-double of the season. The Huskies are 4-0 and continue an intriguing non-conference schedule with Boston College (Thursday), Florida (Dec. 2), Stanford (Dec. 18), at Washington (Dec. 22) and Harvard (Jan. 8). Napier’s 9.5 rebounds per game are great, but no other Huskies player has more than four per game. That could be a problem.

Jabari Parker. The Duke freshman proved he was as good as anticipated in the Champions Classic more than a week ago, but he’s finding new ways to impress. Parker has topped 21 points in all four games this season, including double-doubles in the last two. Against overmatched UNC Asheville, Parker finished 8 of 13 with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists — in only 19 minutes. He threw in six blocks Tuesday night against East Carolina.

The “other” freshmen. The Champions Classic was a chance for Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle to shine, unfortunately at the expense of other freshmen off to hot starts. Noah Vonleh has become the first freshman since Kansas State’s Michael Beasley to record double-doubles in four consecutive games. Aaron Gordon is doing just fine at Arizona, too, with 13.3 points and 9.5 rebounds.

The state of Iowa. Iowa State’s 77-70 win over Michigan was one of the basketball highlights of the week, indicating the Cyclones might be a factor in the Big 12 race rather than a bubble team. Melvin Ejim returned to score 22 points with nine rebounds, and transfer DeAndre Kane is doing the same things he did at Marshall by averaging 13.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists. Meanwhile, rival Iowa has played an easy schedule, but the Hawkeyes are demolishing opponents. The Hawkeyes have topped 100 points in back-to-back games and have shown impressive depth so far this season. Fran McCaffery’s team will be a fun one to watch in the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Indiana State. Like Iowa State, Indiana State picked up a major upset over the weekend over an established team when the Sycamores upset Notre Dame 83-70. The only loss for Indiana State was 96-95 to Belmont, a loss that doesn’t look quite so bad after the Bruins defeated North Carolina on the road Sunday (In a schedule quirk, Indiana State will face Belmont again on Dec. 29 in Terre Haute). Let’s step back, though, and look what Greg Lansing has built at Indiana State. In the post-Creighton Missouri Valley, Indiana State may be the most logical challenger for Wichita State. The Sycamores have played in the postseason every season with Jake Odum on the roster, including an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011.

Dishonor Roll

The ACC. The hits keep coming for the ACC, which was supposed to be the best conference in the country this season. The league is still going to be better than the SEC and a few other powers, but the depth hasn’t been there so far this season. Maryland’s one-point loss to Connecticut wasn’t embarrassing, but at home to Oregon State, a team that lost to Coppin State, is. Also over the weekend, Belmont defeated a suspension-depleted North Carolina team, adding to the Tar Heels' early struggles. Virginia, a fringe top 25 team, continued to have trouble in the non-conference, albeit against VCU. And Boston College, an NCAA Tournament dark horse, has a three-point win over FAU as the high point this season. Even Syracuse limped to a 56-50 win over St. Francis (N.Y.). The conference will be in recovery mode when the ACC-Big Ten Challenge rolls around.

Marquette. It’s really tough to overstate how bad Marquette was at home against Ohio State. Marquette was 10 of 53 from the field (18.9 percent), 1 of 18 from 3-point range), 20 turnovers, four assists. Ohio State had 10 steals and eight blocks. Marquette managed to lose a game in which its opponent was 3 of 18 from the free throw line and 5 of 15 from 3-point range. Buzz Williams is just on the cusp of elite coaches, and Marquette was the preseason favorite in the Big East. Davante Gardner was a non-factor in the paint, and new point guard Derrick Wilson looked lost. After Saturday’s struggles, Marquette looked nothing like a team ready to contend for a league title in any conference.

Michigan. We may need to promise not to overreact to the Wolverines’ 77-70 loss at Iowa State. After all, this was a road game against a probable NCAA Tournament team. Mitch McGary was limited in his first game back from a sore back, coming off the bench to contribute nine points and six rebounds in 22 minutes. But Caris LeVert fell back to Earth and point guard Derrick Walton had his freshman moments with three turnovers and two assists.

Memphis. Few teams would have been able to handle Marcus Smart on Tuesday night, and Gallagher-Iba Arena is one of the toughest venues to play when the place is rocking. The Tigers, though, flopped against Oklahoma State. Memphis entered the game a top 15 team and looked more the part of a Conference USA also-ran than a contender in the American Athletic Conference. The starting backcourt went 5 of 26 from the field and 0 for 7 from 3-point range. The lack of big wins for Josh Pastner is starting to add up. The Memphis coach is winless against ranked teams with too many of those games finishing with lopsided scores like the game against Oklahoma State.

College Basketball Honor Roll and Dishonor Roll: Nov. 20
Post date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/miami-ohio-buffalo-played-front-sparse-crowd-tuesday-night

Midweek MAC games in November are must-see television for starving college football fans.

However, midweek games can be tough on attendance, but that’s the trade-off for the added exposure on television.

The crowd for Tuesday night’s Miami (Ohio)-Buffalo game was incredibly small, which is no surprise considering how bad the RedHawks have been this year (0-11).

Here are a few crowd shots from last night’s game:


Miami (Ohio)-Buffalo Played in Front of Sparse Crowd on Tuesday Night
Post date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 06:41
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-picks-every-game-week-12

Saints (8-2) at Falcons (2-8)
Matt Ryan’s nickname, “Matty Ice,” is intended to be a reference to his cool under pressure. But lately, Atlanta’s quarterback has been ice cold, throwing eight INTs — including two pick-sixes — over the past four games, all losses. Saints by 11

Buccaneers (2-8) at Lions (6-4)
The best receiver on the planet (Calvin Johnson) goes toe-to-toe with the artist formerly known as the greatest cover corner (Darrelle Revis). Lions by 6

Vikings (2-8) at Packers (5-5)
Adrian Peterson limps into Lambeau Field on the heels of a 13-carry, 60-yard, one-TD effort in a 44–31 loss to the Packers in Week 8 this year. Packers by 2

Jaguars (1-9) at Texans (2-8)
This race to the bottom of the AFC South is also a race to the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Texans by 5

Chargers (4-6) at Chiefs (9-1)
Kansas City will need to avoid an AFC West hangover following an over-hyped first loss of the season against Denver on Sunday night. Chiefs by 7

Panthers (7-3) at Dolphins (5-5)
Cam Newton is taking his talents and Carolina’s six-game winning streak to South Beach. Panthers by 4

Bears (6-4) at Rams (4-6)
Jay Cutler (high ankle sprain) has already been ruled out. But Josh McCown (2–0 as a starter) has been as good or better than Cutler of late. Rams by 1

Jets (5-5) at Ravens (4-6)
The J-E-T-S are the first team to alternate wins and losses every week for the first 10 games of a season. Based on that alone, the Jets will win. Ravens by 4

Steelers (4-6) at Browns (4-6)
Big Ben has a 16–1 record against Cleveland. But the Browns did beat the Charlie Batch-led Steelers, 20–14, last season. Is Batch playing this week? Steelers by 2

Titans (4-6) at Raiders (4-6)
Ryan Fitzpatrick will take on Matt McGloin in a matchup of quarterbacks that fans in the Black Hole couldn’t pick out of a lineup. Titans by 1

Colts (7-3) at Cardinals (6-4)
Indianapolis is 4–1 on the road this season, with two blowout wins and a pair of FG margins. Cardinals by 1

Cowboys (5-5) at Giants (4-6)
Dallas came out of the gates with a 36–31 win over its NFC East rivals in Week 1 this season. Prior to that, however, the Boys had gone 1–3 over the past two years against the G-Men — with the victory coming without Tony Romo. Cowboys by 2

Broncos (9-1) at Patriots (7-3)
Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. It really will be “Football Night in America” on Sunday night. Broncos by 4

49ers (6-4) at Redskins (3-7)
Don’t believe the hype. Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III have combined for 28 total TDs and 25 turnovers. What happened, guys? 49ers by 7

Last week: 10–5 // Season: 102–60


Predictions for every game on the NFL schedule for Week 12.
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 20:10
Path: /nfl/manning-brady-bowl-xiv

Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback rivalry in NFL history. It’s as simple as that. There has never been a matchup of signal-callers as historically significant and charismatic as Manning and Brady.

Manning has a record four MVPs and a Super Bowl XLI MVP as well as a loss in Super Bowl XLIV. Brady has two MVPs, three Super Bowl wins (XXXIV, XXXVIII and XXXIX), two Super Bowl MVPs and a pair of Super Sunday losses on his shimmering resume.

But the status of the two goes well beyond the football field. The paths to the pinnacle have been fascinating for both Manning and Brady.

Manning is a blue blood born into NFL royalty who was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy at Tennessee, went No. 1 overall in the 1998 draft and was immediately inserted as the franchise quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.

Brady split time with two-sport star Drew Henson at Michigan, fell to the No. 199 overall pick of the 2000 draft and sat anonymously behind Drew Bledsoe before taking over under center for the New England Patriots.

Despite taking decidedly different routes, both Manning and Brady have risen to the top and remain the gold standard for quarterback play in the modern NFL. Part of that job description includes thriving in the spotlight on and off the field. Both men are extremely capable of that tough task, as well.

Manning dominates commercial breaks in ads for DirecTV and Papa John’s, while Brady and ubermodel wife Gisele Bundchen routinely own the gossip column, not to mention a serious percentage of print ads.

But the appeal of both stems from their play between the lines. And the consensus top two signal-callers of their respective generation will share the field — or at least grace the same blades of grass on alternating possessions — in prime time for what NBC Sports’ Sunday Night Football television executives are billing as “Manning-Brady Bowl XIV,” when the 9–1 Denver Broncos visit the 7–3 New England Patriots.

Currently, Brady holds a 9–4 edge over Manning. But this season, Manning’s Broncos have been superior — at least statistically — to Brady’s Patriots. Denver has scored 51 touchdowns to New England’s 26. The Broncos’ average a league-leading 39.8 points per game compared to the Patriots’ respectable 25.4 points per game. Most impressive, Denver is carrying a plus-143 point differential while New England boasts a net plus-55.

Manning-Brady Bowl XIV should be another good one. But the 37-year-old Manning and 36-year-old Brady can’t go on like this forever. Enjoy the rivalry while it lasts.

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady go head-to-head in Week 12.
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 19:55
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-power-rankings-week-11

Ranking all 32 NFL teams, from the Mile High and mighty Denver Broncos to the rock bottom Jacksonville Jaguars.

1. Broncos (9-1) Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn on sideline Sunday night.

2. Seahawks (10-1) Earn franchise-record 13th straight win at Seattle.

3. Chiefs (9-1) Lose battle of best in the AFC West against Denver.

4. Saints (8-2) Garrett Hartley hits game-winner as time expires.

5. Colts (7-3) Erik Walden suspended one game for head butt.

6. Panthers (7-3) Steve Smith tells Aqib Talib to “ice up, son” after win.

7. Patriots (7-3) No call? Tom Brady says he could throw better ball.

8. Bengals (7-4) Score franchise-record 31 second-quarter points.

9. 49ers (6-4) Ahmad Brooks penalty nullifies Drew Brees fumble.

10. Lions (6-4) Winless in Pittsburgh for 58 years and counting.

11. Bears (6-4) Outlast weather delay, overtime to beat Baltimore.

12. Eagles (6-5) Earn first win at Lincoln Financial Field in 413 days.

13. Cardinals (6-4) Carson Palmer throws zero INTs for first time in ’13.

14. Packers (5-5) Three-game losing streak team’s longest since ’08.

15. Cowboys (5-5) JPP says Giants will “put it on” Cowboys on Sunday.

16. Jets (5-5) Geno Smith pulled after three quarters, four turnovers.

17. Giants (4-6) Jason Pierre-Paul predicts his own pick-six in win.

18. Dolphins (5-5) Jim Turner the new face of Jonathan Martin case.

19. Steelers (4-6) Big Ben throws four TDs in win against Detroit.

20. Ravens (4-6) Unlike Super Bowl, lengthy delay ends in defeat.

21. Titans (4-6) Collapse vs. Colts follows meltdown vs. Jaguars.

22. Raiders (4-6) Matthew McGloin throws three TDs, wins debut.

23. Chargers (4-6) Commit 10 penalties in third consecutive defeat.

24. Rams (4-6) Use bye week to prep for banged-up visiting Bears.

25. Browns (4-6) Suffer most lopsided loss to Bengals since 2006.

26. Bills (4-7) EJ Manuel wins rookie QB rematch with Geno Smith.

27. Redskins (3-7) Back foot INT by RG3 ends late rally against Eagles.

28. Vikings (2-8) Percy Harvin return haunts old Vikings teammates.

29. Buccaneers (2-8) Bobby Rainey: From Browns backup to Bucs star.

30. Falcons (2-8) Have lost four consecutive by margin of 135–61.

31. Texans (2-8) Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub upset following loss.

32. Jaguars (1-9) Score first TD at home on Danny Noble’s first catch.

Ranking all 32 NFL teams, from the Broncos to the Jaguars.
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 19:49
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/prime-time-players-week-11

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Controversial no-call ending aside, Newton shined bright under the lights on Monday night during a 24–20 win over the Patriots. The face of the Panthers franchise completed 19-of-28 passes for 209 yards, three TDs and zero INTs while scrambling seven times for a season-high 62 rushing yards. After a 1–3 start to the season, Carolina has reeled off six consecutive wins. During that stretch, Newton has accounted for 13 total TDs and three turnovers, compared to seven total TDs and six turnovers over the first four weeks of the season.

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
The Big Blue Wrecking Crew defense carried the G-Men to their fourth straight victory — after a miserable 0–6 start to the season — with a 27–13 win over the Packers. JPP sealed the deal with an acrobatic, leaping interception of Green Bay backup Scott Tolzien early in the fourth quarter. Pierre-Paul’s 24-yard pick-six gave the Giants a 14-point lead they would not relinquish. New York’s defense has given up just two offensive TDs while scoring two return TDs of its own during the current four-game winning streak.

Bobby Rainey, RB, Buccaneers
Tampa Bay turned to a new workhorse during a 41–28 win over the Falcons. Rainey carried the load with 30 carries for 163 yards and two trips to the end zone on the ground to go along with a third TD through the air. The three-TD effort comes just one week after the 5'8", 212-pound running back out of Western Kentucky scored the first TD of his NFL career during a Monday night win over the Dolphins. The Bucs have now won two straight games after an ugly 0–8 start to the season.

Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals
Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald is usually the first in flight when it comes to the Cardinals’ passing game. But it was Floyd who dictated pecking order during a breakout performance in a 27–14 win at Jacksonville. The second-year pass-catcher out of Notre Dame hauled in six receptions for a career-high 193 yards — on a whopping 32.2 yards per catch — and one TD in victory. Through 10 games this season, Floyd has already exceeded his rookie-year yardage (657 to 562) and TD (3 to 2) totals.

The best performances in the NFL from Week 11.
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 19:38
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week-13

Johnny Manziel vs. LSU is the top game this week despite more meaningful action around the country. A conference title is on the line in the Big 12 and divisions are up for grabs in the SEC East, Pac-12 South and Big Ten Legends. Braden Gall and David Fox talk Les Miles vs. Johnny Football while taking stock of Baylor-Oklahoma State, Arizona State-UCLA and more.

On this week’s podcast:

• Gall and Fox trade reactions on the wild catch at the end of the Auburn-Georgia game. One of the all-time great plays sets up a wild Iron Bowl, but that game is still a week away. We took a second to talk about Auburn anyway and if the Tigers have a chance to beat Alabama.

• How much should the off-field allegations concerns Jameis Winston impact Heisman voting? That answer is complicated.

• After USC’s win over Stanford and a 5-0 record under Ed Orgeron, how serious a candidate should Coach O be for the Trojans. Not very is the consensus.

• The most important game of the week for national championship implications is Baylor’s road trip to Oklahoma State. For all the storylines on offense, Fox is looking more at defensive plays.

• In talking about UCLA’s Myles Jack, Fox learns how to pronounce Paul Hornung before moving on to pick a winner in the Pac-12 South.

• Then moving on to the game with the greatest potential for chaos, Fox and Gall talk about LSU’s defensive dominance at home against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.

• And finally in the rapid fire, a ranking of the coaches at smart people schools and picking the year’s disappointments.

The podcast can be found on, iTunes and our podcast RSS feed.

Please send any comments, questions and podcast topics to @AthlonSports, @BradenGall and @DavidFox615 on Twitter.

Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Week 13
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 17:42
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-19-2013

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 19.


• You've probably never heard of model Daria Werbowy, but it's her 30th birthday, and we like to show the birthday love here at Essential 11 Links.


• The Patriots-Panthers game ended in controversy, drawing an audible F-bomb from an understandably livid Tom Brady. But here's a suprisingly reasonable, level-headed assessment of the final no-call from a Patriots fan.


The "Sorry Your Team Lost" NFL roundup, Week 11 edition.


• You probably saw Drew Brees' neck get unnaturally stretched on a hit from Ahmad Brooks. Some genius made a hilarious GIF to commemorate the moment. Trust me, you need to see it.


Russell Westbrook broke about four ankles on one play.


• I hate things that are prefaced with "This is the cutest thing you'll see all day." But this five-year-old drum major is the cutest thing you'll see all day.


Classic cheerleader photos from the '80s and '90s. Sweet fancy Moses, the hair.


• Interesting social experiment: A prankster freaks people out by regurgitating personal stuff that they themselves have posted on social media. People are dumb.


Tracy McGrady appeared to be wearing Shaq's pants on television last night.


Heisman watch, SEC edition. It's all on you, Johnny Football.


• Game-ending no-call aside, the signature play from last night was this sick scramble from Cam Newton.




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

Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 10:36
Path: /college-football/texas-tech-unveils-lone-star-uniforms-thanksgiving-game-against-texas

Texas Tech is set to close out its regular season schedule with a trip to Texas on Thanksgiving night. And the Red Raiders will break out an alternate uniform against the Longhorns, unveiling a “Lone Star” look for next Thursday’s game.

Here’s a look at Texas Tech’s uniforms for the Nov. 28 game:

See more photos of Texas Tech's Lone Star uniforms here.

Texas Tech Unveils "Lone Star" Uniforms for Thanksgiving Game Against Texas
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 10:13
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-unveils-uniforms-rivalry-game-against-michigan

Ohio State-Michigan is one of the top rivalry games in college football each season, and the Buckeyes plan to wear an alternate uniform for this year’s meeting.

Ohio State will wear all white uniforms, which are a tribute to the 1950 “snow bowl” game played between the Buckeyes and Wolverines.

Here are the Ohio State rivalry uniforms for next week’s game versus Michigan:

Ohio State Unveils Uniforms for Rivalry Game Against Michigan
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 10:06
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football waiver wire, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-waiver-wire-week-12

With the fantasy playoffs just around the corner, there’s not much time left for those teams looking to make a last-minute push. To that end, Athlon Sports has scoured the waiver wire to identify those potential free agent pickups that could potentially buy your squad more time, as you aim to keep those fantasy postseason hopes and championship dreams alive.

The players listed in Athlon’s weekly fantasy football waiver wire may be one-week adds, some may be worth holding onto all season long and some are of the “sleeper” variety that you may want to keep an eye on. So without further ado, here are some players you may want to consider.

Teams on bye in Week 12: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle

Week 11 Recap: Ryan Fitzpatrick posted nearly 250 total yards of offense with no turnovers on Thursday night against Indianapolis, but he managed just one touchdown pass in the close loss to the Colts. The elements certainly were a factor in the Ravens-Bears game in stormy Chicago, as Josh McCown struggled with his accuracy (19 of 31) and finished with 216 yards passing. He did have a touchdown pass with no turnovers and helped lead his team to an overtime victory, bringing his record as the Bears’ starter to 2-0. McCown will get a shot at 3-0 this week with Jay Cutler (ankle) already ruled out against St. Louis.

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
With a significant helping hand from Michael Floyd (see below), Palmer posted his best numbers of the season, throwing for 419 yards and two touchdowns in the win in Jacksonville. The yards were Palmer’s second-highest total in his career and, more importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over. Palmer has 17 or more fantasy points (Athlon scoring) in four of his past five games and has two appealing matchups on tap in Indianapolis and Philadelphia. After that, however, the sledding gets much tougher with an ending slate of St. Louis, Tennessee, Seattle and San Francisco. Think of Palmer as a short-term investment, especially if you need some QB help to get you into the playoffs.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
It wasn’t always pretty, but Big Ben (above) made the most of his opportunities against the Lions. In a game that didn’t lack for offensive fireworks, Roethlisberger out-dueled Matthew Stafford by throwing for 367 yards and four touchdowns. He also didn’t turn the ball over and now finds himself just on the outside of the top 10 in fantasy scoring among quarterbacks. He is by the far the least owned when it comes to the top scorers at his position, despite the fact Roethlisberger has gone over 34 fantasy points in two of his last three games. His schedule the rest of the way is very manageable with four games against teams that are ranked in the top 18 when it comes fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Big Ben is no stranger to postseason success having won two Super Bowl titles. Perhaps he can do the same for your fantasy team this season.

Running Backs
Week 11 Recap: Chris Ivory had a game-high 98 yards rushing in the Jets’ loss to the Bills on Sunday with 69 of those coming on one carry during garbage time in the fourth quarter. He also had a short touchdown run and appears pretty locked in as the Jets’ lead back for the rest of the season. Shane Vereen had just seven rushing yards on Monday night against Carolina, but he led the Patriots with 11 targets, eight receptions and 65 yards receiving. Vereen should be active enough in the Patriots' offense to maintain flex consideration, especially in PPR leagues. Rashard Mendenhall got a team-high 13 carries, but he managed just 14 yards against the Jaguars. He did post his second rushing touchdown in three games and as long as he gets more touches (16) than Andre Ellington (10), he will remain a factor.

Montee Ball, Denver Broncos
Was Sunday night a coming out party for the highly regarded rookie? Even though Knowshon Moreno dominated the carries (27 to 8), Ball scored two rushing touchdowns and caught three passes in the Broncos’ big win over the previously undefeated Chiefs. Ball’s not going to take the No. 1 job away from Moreno, not as long as he continues to have issues with ball security (fumble against the Chiefs) and in pass protection, but it’s clear the Broncos aren’t going to ignore him either. He has seen consistent work in each of the past three games and has three touchdowns during that span. It’s a bit of risk with Moreno getting the vast majority of the touches, but Ball could be setting the stage for a strong finish to his rookie season.

Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts
Brown is not a “new” name for this space, but it’s probably time to start viewing him, and not Trent Richardson, as the Colts’ primary back. Brown led the team in carries (14) against Tennessee on Thursday night, turning those into 80 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile Richardson had just 22 yards on eight carries. Richardson isn’t getting the job done, and considering Brown’s versatility (15 rec., 153 yds., TD), don’t be surprised to see him get more touches than T-Rich the rest of the way.

Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Following Mike James’ injury, the thinking was that Brian Leonard would get the majority of the carries. Instead, the coaching staff turned to the diminutive (5-8) Rainey, who gashed the Falcons for 163 yards on 30 carries. Rainey also had two rushing touchdowns and caught another, which is pretty impressive considering his size and the fact that he started the season with Cleveland. There is no guarantee that Rainey will come anywhere close to replicating this type of success, especially with some tough games remaining (Carolina, Arizona, San Francisco), but any back who gets more than 30 touches and produces more than 35 fantasy points deserves a little recognition.

Wide Receivers
Week 11 Recap: Jerricho Cotchery caught three passes for 48 yards and a touchdown against Detroit. It was his fifth touchdown catch in three games and it’s possible he could continue his hot streak if Emmanuel Sanders’ foot injury causes him to miss some time. Aaron Dobson had four catches for 38 yards in New England's Monday night loss to Carolina, as the Panthers' defense did a good job limiting the big plays. Percy Harvin made his season debut for the Seahawks, catching his lone target for 17 yards, but he also had a 58-yard kickoff return, displaying the explosiveness and big-play ability that makes him so appealing in fantasy. St. Louis rookie Tavon Austin has a similar skill set and is coming off of his best game (314 total yards, 3 TDs) as the Rams got an extra week to prepare for Sunday’s home date with Chicago.

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
Similar to Harvin (see above), San Francisco’s offense could get a much-needed jolt with the return of Crabtree. The 49ers’ leading receiver last season, Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon in late March, but returned to practice last week and could be activated in time to play in the Monday night game against Washington. While it’s certainly risky to trust Crabtree to produce immediately, don’t forget that in the 10 games, including playoffs, that Colin Kaepernick started last season, Crabtree posted the following numbers: 61 receptions, 880 yards, 8 touchdowns.

Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals
After injuring his shoulder last week, Floyd was actually questionable to even play against Jacksonville. Six catches, 193 yards and a touchdown later, the only question that remains is how good can Floyd be the rest of the season? Floyd was targeted a team-high 11 times and his touchdown came on a catch-and-run that covered 91 yards. Larry Fitzgerald (9 targets, 6 rec., 61 yds., TD vs. Jaguars) is the Cardinals’ top target, but if Carson Palmer (see above) can continue his recent strong play, there should be enough passes for both Fitz and Floyd to provide WR1/WR2-level production.

Marquise Goodwin, Buffalo Bills
A long jumper on the 2012 U.S. Olympics team, Goodwin also has plenty of speed to burn on the football field. He ran a 4.27 in the 40-yard dash at the 2013 NFL Combine, one of the reasons why the Bills took him in the third round of April’s draft. He and fellow rookie Robert Woods are considered the Bills’ future at wide receiver, but with Woods nursing a high ankle sprain and Stevie Johnson hobbled by a groin injury, Goodwin has made the most of his additional opportunities. He has 56 or more receiving yards in three of his past four games, including 81 on six catches in Sunday’s win over the Jets. He also has two touchdown catches in his last three outings, both of those covering more than 40 yards. The Bills are on bye this week, but Goodwin is certainly one to keep an eye on as the season winds down, especially if Woods’ or Johnson’s injury lingers.

Tight Ends
Week 11 Recap: John Carlson led Minnesota in catches (five) and receiving yards (69) for the second straight game, further strengthening his case for more ownership as long as Kyle Rudolph is sidelined with a broken foot.

Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
Walker’s role in the Titans’ passing game has seemed to evolve as this season has progressed. A member of San Francisco’s NFC championship team, Walker signed with Tennessee during the offseason and he has quietly put together respectable numbers, totaling 39 catches for 403 yards and five touchdowns. He may not be Jimmy Graham, but Walker has three touchdowns in his last four games and has averaged 12.6 fantasy points per outing during that span. He recorded a season-high 10 catches (on 10 targets) for 91 yards and a score against the Colts on Thursday night. Put it all together and he’s a borderline top-10 fantasy tight end who is barely owned in a fifth of all Yahoo! leagues.

Defense/Special Teams
Week 11 Recap: The New York Giants’ DST maintained its stretch of hot play with three interceptions, including one by Jason Pierre-Paul returned for a touchdown, and only 13 points allowed in a win over Green Bay. This Sunday the G-Men host Dallas and still have two games with Washington on the schedule.

New Orleans Saints
It has been quite the turnaround for the Saints’ defense. From setting the all-time record for most yards allowed (7.042) last season to ranking fourth in the NFL in the same category entering Week 12, first-year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has done an impressive job. The Saints have been especially stingy against the pass (191.4 ypg) and are near the top of the rankings in sacks (32). Next up is an Atlanta (2-8) team that is in shambles and one that New Orleans fared pretty well against back in Week 1. The Saints sacked Matt Ryan three times, forced two turnovers and held them to just 17 points in their season-opening victory, and that was with Julio Jones in the lineup. Jones is on injured reserve, a bunch of other key Falcon players are banged up, and this is basically a team that’s ready to pack it in and focus on turning things around next season. With Seattle, Cincinnati and Buffalo all on bye, there are worse fill-in DST options than New Orleans.

Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point PER 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.

Fantasy Football 2013 Waiver Wire: Week 12
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/amazing-big-12-college-football-stats-week-12

Perhaps the most telling number for Week 13 in the Big 12 is the two teams that aren’t involved in the most important game in the league this year.

Baylor at Oklahoma State is the biggest game in the Big 12 this season (so far), meaning Oklahoma and Texas are nowhere to be found.

The Cowboys have been on the national scene for some time now, but this will be the first time in nearly 60 years Baylor has played in a game involving two top 10 teams.

Surely, that game will give us plenty of fodder for next week’s key numbers in the league thanks to the up-and-down offenses for both teams. The numbers in Week 12, though, still told interesting stories from Baylor and Oklahoma State’s big wins, to Kansas first Big 12 win in a long time and Oklahoma’s record-tying win for its coach.
More Stats from Week 12: ACC | Big Ten Pac-12 | SEC

Key Numbers from the Big 12 from Week 12

0.0013. BCS average separating Ohio State and Baylor
The margin between No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Baylor in Sunday’s BCS standings is razor-thin. The Buckeyes have the edge in the coaches’ and Harris polls to give Ohio State a 0.8869 BCS average. Baylor moved up in the computer component this week, giving the Bears a 0.8856 BCS average. Here’s a primer on how the two stack up in the BCS components, plus other rankings:

1:45. Average time for a Baylor scoring drive this season
1:58. Average time for an Oklahoma State scoring drive this season

In other words, expect an up-and-down game for Baylor and Oklahoma State this week.

1956. The last time Baylor played in a game involving two top-10 teams
This week’s matchup between No. 3 Baylor and No. 10 Oklahoma State will be the first time Baylor has played in a game involving Associated Press top-10 teams since Oct. 3, 1956. That day, No. 8 Baylor lost 19-13 to No. 7 Texas A&M, a team coached by Bear Bryant.

14. Players responsible for Oklahoma State’s 18-game takeaway streak
The Cowboys have had a takeaway in each of the last 18 games for one of the longest such streaks in the nation. One of the most interesting parts of the streak is the 14 players who have combined for the 39 forced turnovers. Leading the way is cornerback Justin Gilbert, who had three interceptions Saturday against Texas. Gilbert’s six interceptions is the most takeaways for any Oklahoma State player during the 18-game stretch.

0. Plays of 30 yards for Oklahoma State against Texas
Oklahoma State’s longest two plays from scrimmage against Texas both went for 29 yards, yet the Cowboys still won 38-13. The only other team this season to keep Oklahoma State from breaking a 30-yard play this season was Lamar. Go figure.

26. Average scoring deficit for Kansas during the 27-game Big 12 losing streak
Perhaps the most surprising of Kansas’ 31-19 win over West Virginia on Saturday was the relative ease of the victory that ended the Jayhawks’ 27-game Big 12 losing streak. Kansas’ last three Big 12 wins — spanning five years — were by a touchdown or less. Since defeating Colorado 52-45 on Nov. 6, 2010, Kansas had been outscored by an average of 26 points per game in Big 12 play.

5. Big 12 coaches to lose to Kansas since 2008
The last Big 12 coach to lose to Kansas was fired three days later. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen will at least beat that mark set by Colorado’s Dan Hawkins in 2008. Still, the list of Big 12 coaches who have lost to Kansas since 2008 is not a good one. Only Holgorsen and Missouri’s Gary Pinkel remain employed. Hawkins and Iowa State coach Gene Chizik did it twice, and Kansas State’s Ron Prince did it once. Chizik went on to coach a national championship team at Auburn in 2010 but was fired before last season.

6-13. West Virginia’s record since Oct. 6, 2012
On Oct. 7, 2012, West Virginia was 5-0 and fifth in the Associated Press poll. Seems like an eternity ago, right? After three consecutive wins over Maryland, Baylor and Texas then, quarterback Geno Smith was the Heisman frontrunner. West Virginia’s fall since has been staggering with a 6-13 record and 4-11 in the Big 12. With an embarrassing 31-19 loss to Kansas, West Virginia has lost to every Big 12 team except Iowa State at least once. The Mountaineers face the Cyclones on Nov. 30.

2. Bowl streaks spanning at least eight years ended in the Big 12 last week
With West Virginia and TCU both losing their seventh game of the season, two of the top 12 longest bowl streaks in the nation were ended on the same day. Entering the season, only seven programs had a longer bowl streak than West Virginia's 11 consecutive years in the postseason. TCU had been in a bowl game every year since 2005. The longest bowl streak in the Big 12 belongs to Oklahoma (since 1999), now followed by Oklahoma State (since 2006).

4. Big 12 teams that will be led by their all-time wins leader
Bob Stoops won his 157th game at Oklahoma on Saturday, tying Barry Switzer for the most victories in school history. By the end of the season, four Big 12 teams will be led by their school’s all-time wins leader with Stoops joining Kansas State’s Bill Snyder (176), TCU’s Gary Patterson (120) and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy (76).

318. Difference in rushing yards for Oklahoma from Week 11 to 12
The Sooners went from one of the worst rushing performances of the Bob Stoops era against Baylor last week (87 yards, 2.56 yards per carry) to the best against Iowa State (405 yards, 9.2 yards per carry). The Sooners’ running performance against the Cyclones was the best for OU since rushing for 411 in 1997 against Louisville. Three Oklahoma players — running backs Damian Williams and Brennan Clay and quarterback Trevor Knight — topped 12 yards per carry.

Amazing Big 12 College Football Stats from Week 12
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-post-week-12-bowl-projections-2013

With 12 weeks in the books, college football’s bowl and national title picture is starting to come into focus.

Alabama and Florida State are headed for an intriguing national championship in Pasadena - provided both teams finish the season without a loss. The Crimson Tide still has to play Auburn, while the Seminoles’ toughest game is a desperate Florida team in the Swamp or the ACC Championship.

With Stanford’s loss to USC, Oregon jumps back to projected Pac-12 champion. The Ducks are projected to play Ohio State, while Wisconsin earns a second spot for the Big Ten in our BCS picks.

Washington State’s upset win over Arizona means the Cougars are just one win away from bowl eligibility. If Mike Leach’s team can knock off Utah this week, Washington State should find a home as an at-large selection. The Pac-12 will likely have more teams bowl eligible than available spots. However, with an opening in the Poinsettia and potentially the Hawaii Bowl, the Pac-12 should be able to find spots for its bowl-eligible teams.

The bowl season doesn’t start until December, but with less than one month to go in the season, it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like.
The post-Week 12 bowl projections are a mixture between projections for the next few weeks, how things would look if the season ended today, and the results from the first 12 weeks of action. Expect more changes over the next few weeks. With several teams projected to be right around the six-win mark, more at-large spots in bowls should open in the next month.

A few teams barely missed the projections this week, including Syracuse and Utah from BCS conferences. And Texas State, Arkansas State, Ohio, FAU, ULM and Troy from the non-BCS ranks.

College Football's Post-Week 12 Bowl Projections for 2013

New MexicoDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCColo. State vs. Oregon State
Famous Idaho PotatoDec. 21MAC vs. MWCUNLV vs. Bowling Green
Las VegasDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCBoise State vs. USC
New OrleansDec. 21Sun Belt vs. CUSAUL Lafayette vs. Tulane
Beef 'O' Brady'sDec. 23American vs. CUSAToledo* vs. MTSU
HawaiiDec. 24MWC vs. CUSASJSU vs. Rice
Little Caesars PizzaDec. 26MAC vs. Big TenNo. Illinois vs. Maryland*
PoinsettiaDec. 26Army vs. MWCUtah State vs. Buffalo*
MilitaryDec. 27CUSA vs. ACCE. Carolina vs. Boston College
TexasDec. 27Big 12 vs. Big TenK-State vs. Iowa
Fight HungerDec. 27BYU vs. Pac-12BYU vs. Washington
PinstripeDec. 28American vs. Big 12Cincinnati vs. Notre Dame
BelkDec. 28American vs. ACCHouston vs. North Carolina
Russell AthleticDec. 28American vs. ACCLouisville vs. Miami
Buffalo Wild WingsDec. 28Big 12 vs. Big TenTexas vs. Michigan
Armed ForcesDec. 30MWC vs. NavyNavy vs. SDSU
Music CityDec. 30ACC vs. SECGeorgia vs. Pittsburgh
AlamoDec. 30Big 12 vs. Pac-12Oklahoma vs. Stanford
HolidayDec. 30Pac-12 vs. Big 12Arizona State vs. Texas Tech
AdvoCare V100Dec. 31ACC vs. SECGeorgia Tech vs. Arizona*
SunDec. 31Pac-12 vs. ACCUCLA vs. Virginia Tech
LibertyDec. 31SEC vs. CUSATennessee vs. Marshall
Chick-fil-ADec. 31SEC vs. ACCSouth Carolina vs. Duke
GatorJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenOle Miss vs. Minnesota
Heart of DallasJan. 1Big Ten vs. CUSANorth Texas vs. Washington State*
OutbackJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenMissouri vs. Nebraska
Capital OneJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenMichigan State vs. Texas A&M
RoseJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOhio State vs. Oregon
FiestaJan. 1BCS vs. BCSFresno State vs. Baylor
SugarJan. 2BCS vs. BCSAuburn vs. UCF
CottonJan. 3SEC vs. Big 12LSU vs. Oklahoma State
OrangeJan. 3BCS vs. BCSClemson vs. Wisconsin
BBVA CompassJan. 4SEC vs. AmericanVanderbilt vs. Rutgers
GoDaddyJan. 5MAC vs. Sun BeltBall State vs. Western Kentucky
National TitleJan. 6BCS vs. BCSAlabama vs. Florida State

* Indicates conference is not expected to fill its alloted bowl slots, leaving an at-large spot available.

Bold indicates team has accepted bid to bowl.

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Pac-12 Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings
SEC Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings
Stats to Know from Week 12

College Football's Post-Week 12 Bowl Projections
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-coach-hot-seat-rankings-post-week-12-edition

With three weeks left in the 2013 season, college football’s coaching carousel is set to begin. There were no coaching changes over the last week, but with the end of the year coming for a few teams, expect to see more movement over the next three weekends.

Texas’ Mack Brown and Nebraska’s Bo Pelini have moved up and down the hot seat watch this season, and both are back in the top 10 after losses in Week 12. The Longhorns were easily handled by Oklahoma State, while the Cornhuskers committed five turnovers in a loss to Michigan State.

Virginia’s Mike London, Hawaii’s Norm Chow and Illinois’ Tim Beckman take the top three spots in this week’s coach on the hot seat watch. However, all three are likely to return in 2014. London has two of the nation’s top recruits headed to Virginia, and athletic director Craig Littlepage continues to give the embattled coach a vote of confidence. The Fighting Illini has made a little progress this year, but Beckman cannot afford a loss to Purdue in Week 13.

Each week, we will take a look at the hot seat/pressure on a program for all 125 coaches. Some new coaches will rank high due to poor performances but aren't in any danger of losing their job.

And another important note when reading our coach on the hot seat rankings: Outside of the top-10 coaches, it’s all about the pressure on a program. While some coaches – like Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Indiana’s Kevin Wilson and Maryland’s Randy Edsall – aren’t in any danger of being fired. However, both coaches need to continue to show the program is headed in the right direction.

Ranking All 125 CFB Coaches on Hot Seat/Pressure on Program to Win in 2013

RkCoachTeam2013 RecordAnalysis
1Mike London2-8All signs point to London returning for 2014.
2Norm Chow0-10Hawaii's worst season since 1998 (0-12).
3Tim Beckman3-7Beckman under pressure but should return for 2014.
4Ron Turner1-9 
5Dave Christensen4-6Cowboys have lost four in a row.
6Dana Holgorsen4-7Will miss out on bowl for the first time since 2001.
7Bo Pelini7-3Is Pelini coaching for his job in the last two games?
8Charley Molnar1-9 
9Garrick McGee2-8Blazers have lost 119-28 in last two games.
10Mack Brown7-3Longhorns likely out of the Big 12 title picture.
11Bobby Hauck5-5Rebels have two winnable games remaining. 
12Kevin Wilson4-6Hoosiers need to find some answers on defense.
13Bill Blankenship2-8 
14Will Muschamp4-6Will need upset over FSU to make bowl.
15Charlie Weis3-7Win over WVU snapped 27-game Big 12 losing streak.
16Todd Monken0-10
17Dan Enos4-6Weak November schedule should get CMU to 6-6.
18Rich Ellerson3-7
19Dan Mullen4-6Bulldogs battled against Alabama.
20Randy Edsall6-4Win over Va. Tech should get Terps in bowl.
21June Jones4-6QB Garrett Gilbert quietly having good season.
22Kyle Flood5-4Lost 3 out of last 4; Recruiting class falling apart.
23P.J. Fleck1-10
24Doug Martin1-9
25Sean Kugler2-8
26Paul Petrino1-9Vandals play at Florida State this week. 
27Skip Holtz4-6
28Paul Haynes3-8
29Darrell Hazell1-9
30Sonny Dykes1-10
31Jim Grobe4-6Demon Deacons can play spoiler against Duke.
32Troy Calhoun2-8
33Bret Bielema3-7
34Bob Davie3-7Lobos could be without RB Kasey Carrier rest of year.
35Dave Doeren3-7Wolfpack has one more chance to avoid winless ACC record.
36Joey Jones3-6
37Tony Levine7-3Levine having a solid second season in Houston.
38Brian Polian4-7
39Doc Holliday7-3
40Kirk Ferentz7-4
41Bobby Petrino6-4
42Rick Stockstill6-4
43Ron Caragher5-5Spartans need to beat Navy or Fresno to make bowl.
44Jeff Quinn7-3
45Willie Taggart2-7
46Trent Miles0-10
47Steve Sarkisian6-4Huskies headed for another 7-6 season?
48Paul Johnson6-4
49Kyle Whittingham4-6
50Rocky Long6-4Aztecs have won six out of last seven games.
51Mark Stoops2-8
52Scott Shafer5-5
53Matt Rhule1-9Back-to-back three-point losses for Temple.
54Terry Bowden4-7Zips have won more games in 2013 than 2010-12.
55Paul Rhoads1-9
56Frank Beamer7-4
57Mike Leach5-5Cougars picked up impressive road win over Arizona.
58Paul Chryst5-5
59Frank Solich6-4Bobcats outscored 79-3 in last two games.
60Larry Fedora5-5Future looks bright for Tar Heels.
61Mike MacIntyre4-6
62Jim McElwain6-5Rams have won four out of last five games.
63Larry Blakeney5-6
64Mark Richt6-4
65Brady Hoke7-3
66Matt Wells6-4
67Justin Fuente3-6
68Bryan Harsin6-4ASU is bowl eligible for third year in a row.
69Butch Jones4-6
70David Bailiff7-3
71Curtis Johnson6-4
72Dennis Franchoine6-4
73Ken Niumatalolo6-4
74George O'Leary8-1
75Tommy Tuberville8-2
76Dave Clawson7-3
77Ruffin McNeill8-2
78Dabo Swinney9-1Tigers in good shape to play in BCS bowl.
79Rich Rodriguez6-4
80Brian Kelly7-3
81Todd Berry5-5
82Bob Stoops8-2
83Al Golden7-3
84Mark Helfrich9-1
85Larry Coker5-5
86Matt Campbell7-3
87Rod Carey10-0
88Jerry Kill8-2
89Mike Riley6-4
90Todd Graham8-2
91Jim Mora8-2
92Dan McCarney7-3
93Bronco Mendenhall7-3
94Steve Addazio6-4
95Bill O'Brien6-4
96Les Miles7-3
97Gary Pinkel9-1
98Pat Fitzgerald4-6
99Gary Patterson4-7
100James Franklin6-4Commodores bowl eligible for third year in a row.
101Mark Dantonio9-1Spartans in driver's seat for Legends Division title.
102Hugh Freeze7-3
103Tim DeRuyter9-0
104Gary Andersen8-2
105Mike Gundy9-1
106Pete Lembo9-2
107Gus Malzahn10-1
108Mark Hudspeth8-2
109David Cutcliffe8-2
110Kliff Kingsbury7-4
111Jimbo Fisher10-0
112Kevin Sumlin8-2
113Charlie Strong9-1
114David Shaw8-2
115Steve Spurrier8-2
116Chris Petersen7-3
117Bill Snyder6-4
118Art Briles9-0
119Urban Meyer10-0
120Nick Saban10-0
NREd Orgeron5-1
NRT.J. Weist0-5
NRMike Bath0-5
NRBrian Wright2-0
NRStan Parrish1-0

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ACC Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings
Big 12 Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings
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Pac-12 Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings
SEC Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings
Stats to Know from Week 12

College Football's Coach on the Hot Seat Rankings: Post-Week 12 Edition
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/amazing-big-ten-college-football-stats-week-12

True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether it's a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the Big Ten to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference in Week 12:

More Stats from Week 12: ACC | Big 12 Pac-12 | SEC

11-25: Ohio State’s opposing Big Ten record
The Buckeyes scored 60 points against Illinois on the road and has topped at least 56 points in three straight games. Ohio State is 6-0 in Big Ten play but has only played one team with a Big Ten winning record (Wisconsin). In fact, the conference schedule the Buckeyes have played is against six teams with a combined 10-26 record. Three of those wins — Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois — are a combined 0-18 in the Big Ten this year. Overall, Wisconsin (8-2) and Buffalo (7-3) have the best two overall records on Ohio State’s schedule thus far. Indiana and Michigan, the two remaining Big Ten opponents for OSU, are a combined 5-6 in the Big Ten and 11-9 overall.

Oct. 26, 2008: The last time Minnesota was ranked in the BCS
The BCS Standings came out Sunday evening as usual and 8-2 Minnesota found itself ranked No. 25. It was the first time the Gophers have been in the BCS Standings since Oct. 26, 2008 when Tim Brewster led Minnesota to a 7-1 start to the season. Goldie then proceeded to lose five straight to end the season, including the Insight Bowl against Kansas. With Wisconsin and Michigan State left on the schedule, Minny fans should enjoy this week while they can.

554: Wisconsin's rushing yards against Indiana
Michigan State and Ohio State are on a collision course in the Big Ten Championship Game, but few teams in the nation are playing as well as Wisconsin. The Badgers rushed for 554 yards — 10 shy of the school record and the most by any FBS team in 2013 — against Indiana in a 51-3 romp in Camp Randall. It marked the third time this season Gary Andersen had three backs go over 100 yards rushing in the same game. James White (205 yards, TD), Melvin Gordon (146 yards, TD) and Corey Clement (108 yards, 2 TDs) led the way, while star wide receiver Jared Abbrederis was just 14 yards shy of joining them (three carries, 86 yards, 2 TD). Even more impressively, the Badgers held the Hoosiers' offense to 224 yards and three points. Indiana, who came into the weekend averaging 527.1 yards of offense and 43.1 points per game, had not scored fewer than 13 points in any half this year. Wisconsin shut out Indiana in the first half and allowed just a field goal in the second.

32.3: Michigan State's points per game in Big Ten play
Mark Dantonio’s team have been consistently knocked for being lackluster and boring on offense. His 2013 teams is actually averaging 32.3 points per game in Big Ten play. It is the highest total for a Dantonio team since leading the Big Ten in scoring in conference games since 2007 (34.8 ppg). That was his first year coaching in East Lansing, making his 2013 team his second-best Big Ten offense during his seven-year tenure. This turnaround comes after Michigan State posted Dantonio lows of 19.9 points per game against Big Ten teams and 20.0 overall last season.

81: Allen Robinson's single-season school receptions record
Last week, Robinson topped Bobby Engram as the all-time Penn State single-season receiving yard record holder. This week, he broke his own single-season Penn State receptions record with eight catches for 98 yards in the win over Purdue. He now has 81 receptions and 1,204 yards on the season and will only continue to push those numbers higher with two games left to play. Robinson might be the greatest wide receiver to ever play in Happy Valley.

5.3: Points per game Northwestern has lost by over the last four
Northwestern has lost six straight games — all six of which came in the Big Ten. But the last four have been particularly painful. Defensive touchdowns gave them a three-point loss to the Gophers at home. Iowa scored on third down in overtime. Of course, there was the historic Hail Mary loss to Nebraska. And this week, Michigan kicked a controversial field goal with a second left on the clock to send the game into overtime. Three OTs later, Michigan won by eight. Poor Pat Fitzgerald has lost five games in a row by a combined 21 points — or 5.3 per game.

246: Carlos Hyde's third-most rushing yards in Ohio State history
Ohio State scored 60 points but the road win against Illinois was tougher than expected. Hyde was the star of the day for the Buckeyes. He rushed 24 times for 246 yards and four touchdowns, including two fourth-quarter scoring runs of more than 50 yards (51, 55). He also caught two passes for 26 yards and a fifth touchdown through the air. His 246 yards rushing tied Archie Griffin for the third-highest single-game rushing total in school history behind only Eddie George (314) and Keith Byars (274).

15.5: Ryan Shazier's Big Ten-leading tackles for a loss
Hyde wasn’t the only Buckeyes star to post a huge stat line in the win over Illinois. Shazier, a Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year candidate, was simply unstoppable in Week 12. The junior posted 16.0 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and registered a safety against the Fighting Illini. He now has 15.5 tackles for a loss on the season, as he is leading the Big Ten in plays made behind the line of scrimmage.

Amazing Big Ten College Football Stats from Week 12
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/fresno-state-and-northern-illinois-does-either-team-deserve-spot-bcs-bowl

Fresno State and Northern Illinois are a combined 19-0 heading into Week 13. The Bulldogs rank No. 15 in the latest release of the BCS standings, while the Huskies check in at No. 16.

With both programs in the top 16 of the BCS standings, the opportunity is there for a bid to one of college football’s premier bowl games.

Northern Illinois played Florida State in the Orange Bowl last year and lost 31-10. Fresno State has never played in a BCS bowl.

Both teams will be favored in their remaining games, but the path isn’t completely clear. Northern Illinois has to play at Toledo, and assuming the Huskies win the division, will play Buffalo or Bowling Green in the MAC title game. Fresno State plays at San Jose State in the regular-season finale, followed by a potential rematch against Boise State in the Mountain West title game.

Fresno State and Northern Illinois: Does either team deserve a spot in a BCS bowl?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Tough to say. For the most part, Northern Illinois and Fresno State have dominated within their conferences. The Huskies handled a solid Ball State team 48-27 last week and defeated Eastern Michigan and UMass by a combined score of 122-39. The Bulldogs had to withstand a late rally to beat Hawaii, but Tim DeRuyter’s team has only two other conference games decided by a touchdown or less. What’s lacking on both resumes is a marquee non-conference win. Yes, Northern Illinois beat Iowa and Fresno State beat Rutgers, but both of those BCS teams are hovering around .500. Looking at the BCS standings, Arizona State, Wisconsin, LSU and Louisville are all ranked behind Fresno State and Northern Illinois. I think all four of those teams are better than the Bulldogs or Huskies, but that’s not what the BCS is designed to take into account. With the limitations on how many teams per conference, and Louisville and UCF – the frontrunners to win the American Athletic title – behind both teams, Northern Illinois and Fresno State have done all that has been asked of them to make a BCS game. I don’t think either team is one of the top 10-15 in the nation. But in this setup, if Northern Illinois and Fresno State win out, one will be in a BCS bowl.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
The answer I suppose is supposed to be no. Whether Fresno State or Northern Illinois reaches the BCS, that team will be one of the worst non-major conference teams to play in the BCS, joining 2012 Northern Illinois and 2007 Hawaii. Neither Fresno State nor Northern Illinois are nearly as good as the Boise State, TCU or Utah teams that reached the BCS in years past. Still, I’ve always been a proponent of seeing non-AQs in major bowl games. We’re supposed to believe a bowl game is a reward, and an undefeated season deserve a reward even if it occurs in the MAC or Mountain West. I know many people yawn at non-traditional powers in the BCS, but I like seeing an undefeated non-AQ team get its shot against one of the big boys — even if some of them in routs.

Mark Ross
As two of the remaining undefeated teams left standing in college football, the Bulldogs and Huskies are both having impressive seasons. Each has a legitimate shot of running the table, including a win in their respective conference championship games. From a resume standpoint, neither Fresno State nor Northern Illinois has really beaten anyone of significance this season. The Bulldogs have a non-conference win over Rutgers, who is just 5-4 and fighting for bowl eligibility, and have already beaten Boise State once. The Bulldogs could play the Broncos again for the Mountain West Conference title, but even two victories over Boise doesn't look as impressive as it would in years past. The Huskies have run roughshod over their Mid-American Conference competition to this point, but their other wins have come against Iowa and Purdue, who are a combined 7-13 overall and 3-9 in the Big Ten, and 1-9 Idaho. 

However, this may not matter, as long as either the Bulldogs or Huskies ends up running the table and finishes in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings or in the top 16 and ahead of a conference champion from one of the automatic qualifying (AQ) conferences — AAC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC. The former is very unlikely to happen, but don't count out the latter as UCF is in the driver's seat to win the AAC. The Knights currently sit 18th in the BCS Standings and are behind both Fresno State (15th) and Northern Illinois (16th). So does either team "deserve" a spot in a BCS bowl? Honestly, no, but because of the BCS system and the numerous twists and turns that have already shaped this season, the path for either the Bulldogs or Huskies to get one of the 10 highly covered, not to mention profitable, BCS bowl spots is clearly laid out. It also appears to be realistic goal for Fresno State or Northern Illinois to attain, and in the end that's all that matters to either "mid-major" program.

Fresno State and Northern Illinois: Does either team deserve a spot in a BCS bowl?
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, USC Trojans, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/should-usc-hire-ed-orgeron-its-next-head-coach

USC knocked off Stanford 20-17 on Saturday, improving to 5-1 under interim coach Ed Orgeron.

The Trojans’ only loss under Orgeron’s watch was a 14-10 defeat at Notre Dame.

It’s clear USC is playing with a renewed sense of energy and optimism under Orgeron, which has only complicated athletic director Pat Haden’s decision.

Orgeron replaced Lane Kiffin after USC’s 62-41 defeat against Arizona State, and USC has responded well to the coaching change.

Haden has the necessary resources to pay big for USC’s next coach, and there will be plenty of candidates interested in moving to the West Coast.

But considering Orgeron’s success this year, should he get more consideration for the full-time spot?

Should USC Hire Ed Orgeron as its Next Head Coach?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
No, I don’t think Orgeron should be hired as USC’s next head coach. Anytime an interim coach takes over, it seems most teams get an extra boost in terms of energy and emotion, but that’s tough to capture the next season. That’s exactly what USC is going through now. This level of performance is what is expected out of the Trojans each year, as despite the NCAA sanctions, there’s no shortage of talent on the roster. Orgeron deserves credit for what he’s done this year, and there’s no question he’s learned a thing or two from his time at Ole Miss. However, USC can pay big and will have plenty of interested candidates at the end of the year. Maybe Orgeron can stay on staff and help bridge the transition. The next head coach at USC should be someone that’s currently coaching elsewhere - and should be someone other than Jack Del Rio.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is the only interim coach from a fired head coach I can remember that has had any success after he was promoted. I can safely say this: There aren’t many like Dabo. Perhaps in many ways Orgeron is like Dabo. He’s clearly an emotional leader, and his recruiting track record precedes him. But USC should fight the emotions of the moment and look beyond Coach O. Orgeron was one of the worst hires in recent SEC history. Even counting his 5-0 record in the Pac-12 as USC’s coach, Orgeron still has an 8-21 record in conference games in his career. The Trojans must aim higher. That said, if I’m an athletic director at a Conference USA, Mountain West or Sun Belt school, I’m reconsidering Orgeron as a head coach. That, in itself, is an amazing statement. In September, the ceiling for Orgeron seemed to be recruiting ace and defensive assistant. He should be a head coach again if he wants to be. Just not at USC.

Mark Ross
Orgeron's doing what Lane Kiffin couldn't — get the most out of this scholarship-strapped team — and suddenly finds himself with an outside shot at a Pac-12 South title. That's quite remarkable considering where this program was back in late September when Kiffin was fired following a 62-41 loss to Arizona State. Fast forward to the present and USC is 8-3 after a last-minute upset of then-No. 4 Stanford, something that no doubt thrilled the home crowd at the Coliseum. I've always been a believer in that you shouldn't fire someone if you don't have the next guy lined up and who knows, maybe athletic director Pat Haden had this succession plan in mind after all? Orgeron has been a head coach before (10-25 at Ole Miss from 2005-07) and as Kiffin's recruiting coordinator at both Tennessee and USC, he's largely responsible for the players he's now leading. With USC still dealing with NCAA-mandated scholarship reductions, maximizing the talent on the roster is critical as it relates to the Trojans' success moving forward. Orgeron has done just that since becoming the interim head coach. Why not drop the "interim" tag and see what he can do with a little more security? Besides, who else would be perfect for coaching in Los Angeles than a guy who has already proven his acting chops? After all it was Orgeron, not Nick Saban, who got more screen time in "The Bilnd Side." That's got to count for something, right?

Should USC Hire Ed Orgeron as its Next Head Coach?
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/amazing-sec-college-football-stats-week-12

True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether it's a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the SEC to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference in Week 12.

More Stats from Week 12: ACC | Big 12 Big Ten Pac-12 

SEC Stats to Know from Week 12

16: Turnovers forced by Vanderbilt in its last four games, more than 55 teams have for the entire season.
The Commodores are 3–1 during this stretch thanks in large part to a plus-11 turnover margin. In the last two games, wins over Florida and Kentucky, Vanderbilt has not committed a turnover on offense while forcing eight (seven interceptions and one fumble recovery) on defense. For the season, Vanderbilt ranks second in the league to Missouri in both turnovers forced (23) and turnover margin (plus-9).

2: Interceptions thrown by AJ McCarron in Alabama’s 20–7 win over Mississippi State.
It was only the third time in McCarron’s three seasons as a starter that he has thrown more than one interception. He threw two in his first start, against Kent State in 2011, and two in last season’s loss at home to Texas A&M.

19: Punt return yards by Mississippi State this season, the fewest in the nation.
The Bulldogs also rank last in college football with only 1.3 yards per return. For comparison’s sake, Kansas State leads the nation with a 17.9-yard average.

284.9: Yards per game rushing by Auburn in SEC games this season, an increase of nearly 200 yards per game from last season.
A year ago, en route to an 0–8 record in the league, the Tigers averaged only 86.8 rushing yards per game and 2.6 yards per carry against conference opponents.

17: Consecutive SEC games in which Kentucky has failed to score more than 24 points.
The Wildcats last scored more than 24 points on Nov. 5, 2011, in a 30–13 win over Ole Miss in Lexington. This season, the Cats are averaging 14.5 points in six league games.

55: Offensive snaps for Florida in Saturday’s 19–14 loss at South Carolina, the fewest by a UF team since the Gator Bowl at the end of the 2011 season.
With third-string quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg getting the start, Florida leaned heavily on the running game and did its best to slow the tempo of the game. The Gators had 307 yards on their 55 plays, and South Carolina had 377 yards on 63 snaps.

1: Number of touchdowns South Carolina scored against Florida, its fewest in a win since also scoring one TD in a 16–10 victory over Ole Miss on Sept. 24, 2009.
On Saturday night, the Gamecocks’ only touchdown came on a 32-yard strike from Connor Shaw to Bruce Ellington. Placekicker Elliott Fry nailed four field goals.

31.5: Georgia’s scoring average in its four losses this season, the most by any team in the nation with at least four defeats.
The Bulldogs scored 35 against Clemson, 26 against Missouri, 27 against Vanderbilt and 38 against Auburn.

751: Yards gained by Ole Miss on Saturday against Troy, a school record.
The Rebels rushed for 382 yards (on a 6.3-yard average) and passed for 369 en route to the 51–21 win. Quarterback Bo Wallace led the way with 272 yards passing and three touchdowns.

1: Number of seniors among the top 15 rushers in the SEC this season.
Tennessee’s Rajion Neal, ranked sixth in the league with 89.5 yards per game, is the only senior on the list. There is one freshman (Arkansas’ Alex Collins), nine sophomores and four juniors. 

Amazing SEC College Football Stats from Week 12
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/amazing-acc-college-football-stats-week-12

True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether it's a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the ACC to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference in Week 12.

More Stats from Week 12: Big 12 | Big Ten Pac-12 | SEC

ACC Stats to Know from Week 12

1990: The last time NC State finished with less than 10 touchdown passes in a season
With two games left this year, NC State has thrown for just eight touchdown passes. Brandon Mitchell and Pete Thomas have combined for just five of those scores, with receiver Rashard Smith tying Mitchell with one this year. The Wolfpack threw for at least 31 touchdown passes in three out of the last four seasons and have not had a season of fewer than 10 since 1990. With games against East Carolina and Maryland remaining, NC State should get to 10 before the final snap. However, the drop-off in production at quarterback is largely why NC State will miss out on a bowl game for the first time in three years.

7.1: Yards per carry by Duke running back Josh Snead – second in school history
An underrated cog in Duke’s turnaround this season has been the rushing attack and its offensive line. The Blue Devils have five players with at least 41 carries, including quarterbacks Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette. Jela Duncan and Josh Snead are the team’s top running backs, combining for 965 yards on 159 attempts. Snead has been the team’s home-run threat, averaging 7.1 yards per carry on 68 attempts. The junior ranks second in school history with a 7.1 average, with Ace Parker (1935) owning the school record at 7.4. If Snead continues to perform as he did against Miami (138 yards), he could finish 2013 with the school record in yards per carry.

257: Total yardage by Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown against Virginia Tech
The Terrapins did not put on an offensive clinic against the Hokies, as the offense managed just 319 yards on 65 plays. With a receiving corps short on options due to injuries, Maryland put the game in the hands of quarterback C.J. Brown. The senior responded by recording 257 of the Terrapins’ 319 yards. Brown’s 122 rushing yards tied his season high, while his touchdown pass against the Hokies was his first since Sept. 21 against West Virginia.

2.4: Pittsburgh’s yards per carry in its last seven games
The Panthers’ offensive line was a huge question mark coming into 2013, and this unit has struggled through the first 10 games. The Panthers have allowed 37 sacks, which ranks as the most in the ACC. Pass protection isn’t the only issue for this unit, as Pittsburgh is averaging 2.4 yards per carry in its last seven games. The Panthers rushed for only 46 yards against North Carolina and were held to -5 against Georgia Tech. Only once in ACC play this year has Pittsburgh rushed for more than 100 yards (Duke). In order for the Panthers to get bowl eligible, the offensive line and rushing attack has to perform better in the final two games.

2001: The last time North Carolina had a five-game winning streak
The Tar Heels earned their fourth consecutive victory of 2013, defeating Pittsburgh 34-27 in Week 12. The win over the Panthers moved North Carolina one step closer to bowl eligibility and improved Larry Fedora’s team to 4-3 in ACC play. The Tar Heels have won four games in a row for the second time under Fedora, and with a victory over Old Dominion this Saturday, would have their first five-game winning streak since 2001.

40: Points allowed by Miami in three consecutive losses
Miami’s three-game losing streak has likely ended any hopes the Hurricanes had of winning the Coastal Division. But that’s not all of the bad news coming out of Coral Gables for coach Al Golden. For the first time in school history, Miami has allowed at least 40 points in three consecutive games. The Hurricanes rank 11th in the ACC against the run, ninth against the pass and 10th in the conference in yards allowed. Coordinator Mark D’Onofrio has coached with Golden since 2004, so there’s little reason to expect a coaching change this offseason. However, if this unit doesn’t improve in 2014, Golden may be forced to change coordinators.

12-1: Wake Forest’s record against Duke in its last 13 games
Duke’s path to a Coastal Division championship still has two difficult hurdles to clear. The Blue Devils play rival North Carolina in the season finale, while a trip to Winston-Salem to play Wake Forest awaits this Saturday. Duke hasn’t had much luck in Winston-Salem recently, losing six out of its last seven trips. However, the Blue Devils won 34-27 at Wake Forest last year. A win over the Demon Deacons would move Duke one step closer to bowl eligibility, while also giving David Cutcliffe’s team a chance to win 10 games for the first time in school history.

14-10: Virginia Tech’s record over the last two years
While 14-10 represents a winning record, it’s a clear drop-off for a program that recorded at least 10 wins for eight consecutive years (2004-11). Under Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech has not recorded back-to-back seasons of fewer than eight wins since 1991-92. The Hokies are just 8-7 in ACC play over the last two years and a loss to Virginia on Nov. 30 would equal the program’s losses in conference play from 2004-08.

24: Points needed by Florida State to break single-season record by an ACC team
Florida State’s offense is on a record-setting pace this year and needs only 24 points to set an ACC record for most points scored in a season. The Seminoles set the conference mark last year, recording 550 in 14 games. But this year’s offense is on pace to shatter that mark in 2013. Florida State should easily record 24 points against Idaho this Saturday and may have 600 overall points by the bowl game.

272.7: Amount of yards Andre Williams needs to average in final three games to break NCAA single-season record
It’s probably unrealistic to expect Boston College running back Andre Williams to average 272.7 yards per game over his final three contests. But after rushing for 339 yards against NC State, anything is possible for this senior back. Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders set the single-season rushing record with 2,628 yards in 1988, and UCF’s Kevin Smith, TCU’s LaDainian Tomlinson, Tulane’s Matt Forte, Penn State’s Larry Johnson, Connecticut’s Donald Brown, California’s J.J. Arrington and Rutgers’ Ray Rice are the only players since 2000 to top 2,000 yards. Williams plays Maryland and Syracuse to close out ACC play, and both teams rank near the bottom of the conference against the run. The senior will also have a bowl game to chase Sanders’ record. It’s unlikely, but Williams is on a roll and should easily top 2,000 yards.

1982: The last time Virginia won two games
Can Virginia avoid its first season of double-digit losses since 1981 this year? The Cavaliers close 2013 with a road trip to Miami, followed by a home matchup against rival Virginia Tech. Virginia desperately needs something good to happen in the final two games to build momentum for the offseason, and coach Mike London continues to get a vote of confidence from his athletic director. While London is expected to return in 2014, 2013 is shaping up to be one of Virginia’s worst seasons in recent memory. The Cavaliers are likely to finish 2-10, which is the program’s worst record since 1982. And Virginia has not lost 10 games since 1981.

117: Yards Syracuse had before its final two possessions against Florida State
Just how dominant was Florida State’s defense against Syracuse? The Orange had only one drive over 20 yards until the fourth quarter, and four of their first-half possessions resulted in a three-and-out. Once the Seminoles began to substitute on defense, Syracuse was able to move the ball more in the fourth quarter. The Orange recorded 130 yards on 31 plays on their final two drives, which was more than the 117 yards the team had through its first 11 drives.

1: Wins needed by Clemson to record three consecutive double-digit win seasons
Clemson is off to a 9-1 start and should earn victory No. 10 with a matchup against Citadel this Saturday. Even with quarterback Tajh Boyd likely less than full strength due to a collarbone injury suffered against Georgia Tech, the Tigers should have little trouble improving to 10-1. With a win over Citadel, Clemson will earn its third consecutive season of double-digit victories. That’s only the second time in program history the Tigers have accomplished this feat, as Danny Ford led Clemson to 10 wins in each season from 1987-89.

13.2: Yards per touch by Georgia Tech running back Robert Godhigh
Georgia Tech’s offense has been inconsistent at times this season, but senior Robert Godhigh has been one of the team’s most-explosive players. Godhigh is averaging 13.2 yards per touch and has seven touchdowns this year. According to Georgia Tech’s game notes, 55 percent of Godhigh’s touches have resulted in a first down or touchdown. And consider this: Godhigh is a former walk-on.

Amazing ACC College Football Stats from Week 12
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 07:15