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Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-countdown-no-19-notre-dame-preview
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Visit the online store for Notre Dame and other editions of the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual.

The first practices of college basketball season begin in mid-October, and Athlon Sports 2012-13 preview annuals are starting to arrive on newsstands all over the country.

To prepare for the start of college basketball season, we will preview one team each weekday, counting down to the first official day of basketball practice on Oct. 15, or for some teams on Oct. 12.

We continue our countdown with a preview of No. 19 Notre Dame.

The more pressure on the 2012-13 Notre Dame team the better as far as coach Mike Brey is concerned.

“I like that expectations are high now,” says Brey after signing a 10-year extension upon the completion of his 12th year with the Irish. “We’re coming from different territory. It’s good for the whole program to have that heat on us to deliver.”

Winners of 49 games the last two seasons (including 27–9 in the Big East) with second- and third-place finishes in the conference, the Irish return nearly every significant contributor from the 2011-12 season. Notre Dame is a legitimate contender for the Big East regular-season and tournament titles.

“When I first got here, we hadn’t been in the (NCAA) Tournament in 10 years,” Brey says. “We’ve gone from trying to survive to thriving.”

FRONTCOURT
Notre Dame’s two top big men — 6-9, 244-pound senior Jack Cooley and 6-8, 219-pound sixth-year senior Scott Martin — return, and 6-10, 240-pound Michigan State transfer Garrick Sherman is eligible for the 2012-13 season.

After averaging just 10.3 minutes, 3.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore, Cooley became one of the most effective big men in the Big East as a junior. He nearly tripled his playing time while averaging 12.5 points and 8.9 rebounds to win the conference’s Most Improved award.

“I thought he was ready to deliver for us, that he was going to be a starter,” says Brey. “But he exceeded where I thought he would go. Once he started to have some success, it just fed on itself.”

After scoring just 39 points in the first eight games of the 2011-12 season, Cooley averaged 15.6 per game over the final 24 with 12 double-doubles.

Martin’s contributions are more subtle. He struggled throughout much of the first half of the season while adjusting to playing without frontcourt partner Tim Abromaitis, who went down with a season-ending knee injury in late November. Martin would go on to average a modest 9.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. But his leadership and defense helped spark a nine-game winning streak during Big East play.

“The back end of our defense was great last year, and it started with Scott Martin,” Brey says.

Sherman gives the Irish even more length as well as a mid-range jump shot. “I look at Garrick Sherman as a sixth (returning) starter,” Brey says.

Zach Auguste, a talented 6-10, 220-pound freshman, will be needed for heavy minutes in 2013-14, so Brey wants to get him acclimated this season.

When Pat Connaughton entered the starting lineup last year at small forward, Notre Dame began to thrive. He averaged 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He’ll share the position with Martin when Brey wants to go bigger up front, and also help out in the backcourt occasionally. Another option is senior Tom Knight, who played some big minutes down the stretch.

Related: Assessing Notre Dame's upcoming move to the ACC

BACKCOURT
Brey believes Notre Dame has never had a starting backcourt as athletically gifted as juniors Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant.

“I feel great about them, and they’re only going to get better,” says Brey of his starting backcourt, which averaged a combined 24.4 points and 9.1 assists per game. “We have one of the best backcourts not only in the Big East, but in the country.”

If Brey wants a little more size, he can shift the 6-5 Connaughton to the backcourt. He also has athleticism to add to the mix in 6-7 freshman Cameron Biedscheid, a combination shooting guard/point forward with penetration skills and the ability to score in bunches.

“The guy that will rotate through there the most is Biedscheid,” Brey says. “We’ve got to get him on the court. He’s a really talented kid.”

FINAL ANALYSIS
Most teams will have difficulty matching up against Notre Dame’s size and depth in the frontcourt. Few will find relief against the backcourt. Brey sees a great opportunity in 2012-13.

“We know we can be a player for the Big East championship this year,” Brey says.

He has plenty of options at his disposal, including on the defensive end.

“With as much length as we have this year, our team defense can still be good,” Brey says. “We have big bodies that can rotate over, take charges and be position defenders.”

Add it all up and Brey can’t help but talk about the possibilities in 2012-13. “We’re talking about a Big East championship and getting back to the Final Four,” Brey says. “Those are really things this program can legitimately talk about.”

@AthlonSports

Athlon College Basketball Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

Teaser:
<p> College Basketball Countdown: No. 19 Notre Dame preview</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 05:59
Path: /college-football/college-football-bcs-crasher-stock-report-post-week-3
Body:

Fans who squirm at the long wait from Saturday college football to the Thursday night game will get a brief reprieve.

The traditional midweek MAC game will make its first appearance of the season with Kent State at Buffalo on Wednesday night. Midweek football will be short-lived, though. The next Tuesday/Wednesday game isn’t until Oct. 16.

That doesn’t mean there’s a lack of action outside of the six major conferences. This week will be full of key games for independents Notre Dame and BYU, plus Boise State, Louisiana Tech and again, Louisiana-Monroe.

Here’s our Post-Week 3 look at all the movement outside of the six major conferences in the BCS Crasher Stock Report.

RISING
Notre Dame
Last week:
Defeated Michigan State 20-3.
The Irish picked up perhaps the biggest win of Brian Kelly’s tenure in South Bend with a win at Michigan State. Defense has been one of the keys so far as Notre Dame held its fourth opponent in the last six games to fewer than 100 rushing yards. The Irish held a team to without a touchdown for the first time since 2010 and held a major-conference team to without a touchdown for the first time since 2007. Up next: Defending Michigan’s Denard Robinson. Shoelace has amassed 958 yards of total offense (582 passing, 366 rushing) and eight total touchdowns in the last two wins over Notre Dame.
This week: Michigan.

Fresno State
Last week:
Defeated Colorado 69-14.
Yes, Colorado is dreadful, but let’s give credit to Fresno State’s dominance. Robbie Rouse rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries and added two touchdown catches. The workhorse running back has topped 100 yards in 11 of his last 15 games going back to the start of last season. After facing the elite (Oregon) and the bad (Colorado, Weber State), Fresno State may show a glimpse of its potential in the new-look Mountain West when it faces Tulsa on the road Saturday.
This week: at Tulsa.

Western Kentucky
Last week:
Defeated Kentucky 32-31 (OT)
Somehow, the improvement at Western Kentucky has been overlooked. An FCS power until it moved up to FBS in 2009, Western Kentucky went 0-12 in its first season in major college football. Two seasons later, the Hilltoppers were a bowl snub despite finishing 7-1 in the Sun Belt. Coach Willie Taggart, a former Western Kentucky player and Jim Harbaugh assistant, showed gumption by going for the win in overtime on a risky throwback on a two-point play. After going 0-4 in the non-conference schedule last season, Western Kentucky could go 3-1 in the non-conference if the Toppers defeat Southern Miss (0-2).
This week: Southern Miss.

HOLDING STEADY
Ohio
Last week:
Defeated Marshall 27-24.
The Bobcats survived a scare Saturday, falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter and the 24-17 early in the fourth quarter against Marshall. Ohio capitalized on three Marshall turnovers to win 27-24. Riding quarterback Rakeem Cato’s arm, Marshall passed for 432 yards and outgained Ohio 491-399. Was this an off day for Ohio or a troubling sign for the Bobcats in the pass-happy MAC?
This week: Norfolk State.

Utah State
Last week:
Lost to Wisconsin 16-14.
A 37-yard missed field goal separated the Aggies from an undefeated start to the season, but it shouldn’t cut into what Utah State has accomplished. A week after defeating Utah, the Aggies put a scare into Wisconsin in Madison, where Utah State led 14-3 at halftime. Chuckie Keeton and Kerwynn Williams have been a dynamic backfield, but Utah State is one of 12 teams holding opponents to fewer than four yards per play this season.
This week: at Colorado State.

Boise State
Last week:
Defeated Miami (Ohio) 39-12.
After an off week, Boise State looked like the Broncos of old, albeit against Miami (Ohio). The Broncos didn’t score an offensive touchdown against Michigan State, but running back D.J. Harper accounted for four total touchdowns and 162 yards alone against Miami. Meanwhile, Joe Southwick was 24-of-31 for 309 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Altogether, Boise Stated a 423-yard swing in yard differential from Game 1 to Game 2, a notable feat even against an overmatched MAC team.
This week: BYU (Thursday).

FALLING
BYU
Last week:
Lost to Utah 24-21.
Like Utah State, BYU lost thanks to a failed field goal attempt -- or rather two failed field goals. BYU had a 51-yard field goal blocked, and then missed a second one after rival Utah was assessed a 15-yard penalty when fans prematurely rushed field. Most troubling: BYU lost a game in which it outgained Utah 312-245. The Utes also were without running back John White and started quarterback Jon Hays for the first time this season.
This week: at Boise State (Thursday)

OFF THE MAP

GAMES TO WATCH
BYU at Boise State (Thu.)
Michigan at Notre Dame
Louisiana Tech at Illinois
Baylor at Louisiana-Monroe

Southern Miss
Last week:
Lost to East Carolina 24-14.
The Golden Eagles weren’t a popular pick to defend their Conference USA title with a new coach, new quarterback and new faces all of the field. After a 24-14 loss at home to East Carolina, Southern Miss looks like a team that may have to fight to reach a bowl game. If Southern Miss loses to Western Kentucky on the road an 0-6 start is possible with Louisville, Boise State and UCF on the horizon.
This week: at Western Kentucky.

Houston
Last week:
Lost to UCLA 36-6.
That undefeated regular season from a year ago is a distant memory. A week after putting up 693 yards 49 points on Louisiana Tech (right after Tony Levine forced his offensive coordinator to resign), Houston managed only a fourth-quarter touchdown against UCLA. David Piland nearly matched the Cougars’ points scored (six) with interceptions (five).
This week: Off.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Kolton Browning,
Louisiana-Monroe. ULM faces its third major-conference team of the season in Baylor. Browning passed for 649 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns against the SEC West. Now he’ll try his hand against the Big 12. ULM is converting an astounding 9 of 11 attempts on fourth down. Only USC has attempted more fourth-down plays, going 8 of 14.

By David Fox

@DavidFox615

(published Sept. 19, 2012)

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Week 3
College Football's Post-Week 3 Bowl Projections
ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
College Football Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football: BCS Crasher Stock Report Post-Week 3</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 05:58
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-4-plays
Body:

In the world of fantasy football, some team owners are relentless in their search for information that will give them a competitive edge over their competition.  Others just simply rely on projections from so-called experts, who try to convince everyone they have devised a computer program that accurately projects player stats by using a scientific formula so complicated that it makes the Drake equation seem elementary.  Eventually, those computer-driven computations prove no more accurate than an old-fashioned gut feeling.  However, in a quest to find a formula for fantasy success, one should just ask the question, “What are the odds?”

Quite simply, Vegas odds could give you all of the necessary insight to make smart roster decisions on a week-to-week basis.  In this weekly article, theCFFsite considers the point spreads and totals(over/under) in order to give our readers a unique perspective into some of the week’s most interesting fantasy matchups.

Week 4

Best Fantasy Matchups (Games with the most fantasy potential)

Baylor at UL-Monroe

Line:  Baylor -7.5(O/U-68.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Baylor 38-31

Best plays:

Baylor (QB-Nick Florence, RB-Jared Salubi, WR-Terrence Williams, Tevin Reese, K-Aaron Jones)

LA-Monroe (QB-Kolton Browning, WR-Brent Leonard)

Also consider:

Baylor (WR-Lanear Sampson)

LA-Monroe (RB-Jyruss Edwards)

theCFFsite projects:  UL-Monroe 38-34

 

Marshall at Rice

Line:  Marshall -2.5(O/U-70)

Projected score based on point spread:  Marshall 37-34

Best plays:

Marshall (QB-Rakeem Cato, WRs-Aaron Dobson, Tommy Shuler)

Rice (QB-Taylor McHargue, K-Chris Boswell)

Also consider:

Marshall (TE-Eric Frohnapfel)

Rice (RB-Charles Ross, WR-Jordan Taylor)

theCFFsite projects:  Marshall 41-34

 

Fresno St at Tulsa

Line:  Tulsa -5.5(O/U-69.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Tulsa 38-32

Best plays:

Fresno St (QB-Derek Carr, RB-Robbie Rouse, WRs-Davante Adams, Isaiah Burse)

Tulsa (QB-Cody Green, WR-Keyarris Garrett)

Also consider:

Fresno St (K-Quentin Breshears)

Tulsa (RBs-Trey Watts, JaTerian Douglas)

theCFFsite projects:  Fresno St 35-34

 

Arizona at Oregon

Line:  Oregon -24(O/U-76.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oregon 50-26

Best plays:

Arizona (QB-Matt Scott, RB-KaDeem Carey, WRs-Dan Buckner, Austin Hill)

Oregon (QB-Marcus Mariota, RBs-Kenjon Barner, DeAnthony Thomas)

Also consider:

Arizona (WR-Richard Morrison, K-John Bonano)

Oregon (TE-Colt Lyerla)

theCFFsite projects:  Oregon 59-31

 

Troy at North Texas

Line:  PICK(O/U-61)

Projected score based on point spread:  30-30 TIE

Best plays:

Troy (RB-Shawn Southward, WR-Chip Reeves)

North Texas (RB-Brandin Byrd)

Also consider:

Troy (QB-Corey Robinson, WR-Eric Thomas)

North Texas (RB-Antoinne Jimmerson, WR-Brelan Chancellor)

theCFFsite projects:  Troy 35-28

 

One-Sided Matchups(Using the odds to find a dominating ‘D’)

Florida Atlantic at Alabama

Line:  Alabama -50(O/U-57)

Projected score based on point spread:  Alabama 54-3

Stay away from:

FAU (All players)

theCFFsite projects:  Alabama 52-6

 

Eastern Michigan at Michigan St

Line:  Michigan St -33(O/U-46.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Michigan St 40-7

Stay away from:

Eastern Michigan (QB-Alex Gillett)

theCFFsite projects:  Michigan St 31-10

 

South Alabama at Mississippi St

Line:  Mississippi St -34.5(O/U-48)

Projected score based on point spread:  Mississippi St 42-7

Stay away from:

South Alabama (RB-Demetre Baker)

theCFFsite projects:  Mississippi St 49-14

 

UAB at Ohio St

Line:  Ohio St -37.5(O/U-57.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Ohio St 48-10

Stay away from:

UAB (QB-Jonathan Perry)

theCFFsite projects:  Ohio St 52-14

 

UMass at Miami (OH)

Line:  Miami (OH) -26.5(O/U-51)

Projected score based on point spread:  Miami (OH) 39-12

Stay away from:

UMass (RB-Michael Cox)

theCFFsite projects:  Miami (OH) 35-13

 

Must Watch Games (The games with the biggest headlines)

Clemson at Florida St

Line:  Florida St -14.4(O/U-58)

Projected score based on point spread:  Florida St 36-22

Outlook:  Are the Seminoles as good on the defensive side of the ball as many believe?  They may not play another opponent this season with the offensive skill talent as the Tigers.  Home field will prove valuable in a game that should go down to the wire.

theCFFsite projects:  Florida St 30-24

 

Michigan at Notre Dame

Line:  Notre Dame -6 (O/U-51.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Notre Dame 29-23

Outlook:  The Wolverines will look to atone for the Big Ten’s early-season struggles, but the Irish are trying to prove that they’re relevant again.

theCFFsite projects:  Notre Dame 31-21

 

Kansas St at Oklahoma

Line:  Oklahoma -14(O/U-58.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma 46-32

Outlook:  We won’t be shocked if the Wildcats leave Norman with a victory, but the Sooners have had an extra week to prepare for this matchup and should escape 3-0.

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma 34-28

 

theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (5-3)  ATS: (3-5)

2011 Season:  Straight Up (40-9) ATS: (35-14)

 

by Joe DiSalvo, thecffsite.com

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 4 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 04:20
All taxonomy terms: NHL, News
Path: /news/ask-athlon-nhl
Body:

Q: What is the intent of the trapezoid area behind the goal of an NHL hockey rink? If I am interpreting the rules of hockey correctly, this is the only area that the goalie is allowed to play the puck outside of his goal crease without drawing a delay of game penalty.

— Ted Bauer, North Canton, Ohio

A: Ted, you’re close, but with one important clarification: It’s the only place behind the goal line that the goaltender can handle the puck. The trapezoid — or, more precisely, the goaltender trap zone — dates back to the 2004-05 American Hockey League season, when it was tested with the intent of improving the flow of the game by making it more difficult for the goaltender to control and clear the puck. The development worked so well that the NHL adopted it the following season. Nevertheless, there has been sentiment since the rule was implemented to do away with the trapezoid, since it leads to more hits on defensemen, who can’t rely on goaltender help behind the goal.

Rob Doster, Senior Editor

Have a question? Email us with any sports-related questions at editor@athlonsports.com
Please include first and last name, plus hometown.

Teaser:
<p> NHL rink</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 19:16
Path: /nba/ask-athlon-los-angeles-lakers
Body:

Q: I’d like to see some perspective on the first great L.A. Laker, Elgin Baylor.  Jerry West, his great teammate, suggested that a statue of Elgin should be in prominence there at Staples Center.  I agree.  What do you think?

— William H. Johnson, Los Angeles, Calif.

A: I agree — Baylor is probably underappreciated for his greatness. He predated Michael Jordan and Dr. J but was very nearly their equal in high-flying, attack-the-rim basketball. Baylor helped his team into the finals eight times, and he was first-team All-NBA 10 times. In 1961-62 he averaged 38.3 points a game. In the 1962 NBA Finals against the Celtics, Baylor dominated Game 5 with 61 points. The next year he finished second in scoring (34.0), fifth in rebounding (14.3), sixth in assists (4.8) and third in free throw percentage (.837). No championship, though (he retired a few games into the Lakers’ championship 1971-72 season), and that’s the only deficiency that harms his legacy and has probably prevented a statue in his honor in title-mad Los Angeles. (His weak performance as General Manager of the sad-sack Clippers didn’t exactly enhance his legacy either.)

Charlie Miller, Editorial Director

Have a question? Email us with any sports-related questions at editor@athlonsports.com
Please include first and last name, plus hometown.

Teaser:
<p> Los Angeles Lakers</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 19:13
All taxonomy terms: NHL, Monthly
Path: /monthly/nhl-questions-2012-season
Body:

While the NHL and the NHLPA battle to create a new collective bargaining agreement (and they will get it done without having to sacrifice another season), the 2012 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings are primed to be the league’s first back-to-back title-winners since the Detroit Red Wings turned the trick in 1997 and ’98. We say they beat Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins in a fun final. For now, here are three key questions we’re pondering as we wait for the puck to drop.

CAN SID THE KID REGAIN HIS PLACE AS THE GAME’S BEST PLAYER?
If you have any doubt about Crosby’s ability to move right back to the head of his class, consider this number: 1.403. That’s Crosby’s career points per game average (609 points in 434 regular-season games). He ranks fourth on the all-time list behind legends Wayne Gretzky (1.921), Mario Lemieux (1.883) and Mike Bossy (1.497) and just ahead of Bruins icon Bobby Orr (1.393).

Despite being sidelined for long stretches during each of the past two seasons due to concussion problems, Crosby still managed to put up 40 goals and 103 points in his last 63 games. If he can stay healthy, there’s little doubt he’ll reclaim super-elite status. If he’s pushed by anyone, it’ll likely be by teammate Evgeni Malkin, the reigning MVP and scoring champ.

Crosby won’t be the only high-end star under the microscope. After signing matching 13-year, $98M free agent contracts in Minnesota, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will be expected to lift the woeful Wild into the playoff race. In New York, Rangers fans are banking that newly acquired Rick Nash is the missing piece to a Cup puzzle. That’s a lot to ask of a guy who’s never won a Stanley Cup playoff game.
 
CAN THE NHL FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN SPEED AND SAFETY?
In 2005, the NHL cracked down on obstruction and interference in an effort to speed up the game. Mission accomplished. The game is faster (and more exciting) than ever. There has been, however, an unintended consequence: concussions.

During the 2011-12 regular season, according to a report from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, more than 80 players missed playing time due to head injuries or concussion-related symptoms. Among those on that star-studded injury list were league icon Sidney Crosby, 2011 Rookie of the Year Jeff Skinner and 2010 U.S. Olympic goaltending hero Ryan Miller.
While concussions are nothing new in hockey (the NHL has been proactive on the issue going back to 1997, and it was the first league to introduce baseline testing and return-to-play protocol), the increased speed results in more violent collisions and less time to react to an errant stick or puck. Late last season, players and coaches grumbled that more hooking and holding were creeping back into the game, perhaps in an effort to slow things down. One top exec admitted, “We’re always looking at that; when is it too fast?” The league will continue to be challenged by that question.
 
ARE THE KINGS THE REAL DEAL?
The short answer: absolutely! GM Dean Lombardi has constructed a young team that’s strong in all the right areas.

Up the middle, LA’s trio of top center Anze Kopitar (just 25), No. 2 man Mike Richards (27) and checking specialist Jarret Stoll (30) are perfectly slotted and difficult to match up against. The defense is led by mega-talented 22-year-old Drew Doughty, who already has a Cup and an Olympic gold medal on his résumé. In goal, they have 26-year-old Jonathan Quick. The athletic stopper earned playoff MVP honors with a silly-good .946 save percentage.

Conversely, the Red Wings’ run of dominance might be winding down. Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, the one on-ice constant in that time, hung up the skates, and the club couldn’t attract any elite free agents to replace him in Hockeytown.

If you’re looking for a long shot, keep an eye on Minnesota and Montreal. The Wild figure to be better with free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, while the Habs will rebound from a last-place finish under new coach Michel Therrien.
 

Teaser:
<p> NHL questions for the 2012 season</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 19:06
Path: /nascar/nascar-horsepower-rankings-14
Body:

1. Brad Keselowski   What has kept Keselowski and his team near the top of the Horsepower Rankings all season is the ability to win on most any style of track. To come out connecting in the Chase is big.

2. Jimmie Johnson   Certainly, an argument could be made for Johnson to be No. 1. However, he got beat in a race he seemed to have in hand. Don’t worry about this bunch, though — they’ll get theirs in the coming weeks.

3. Denny Hamlin   Mistakes like Hamlin’s team made (not getting the car full of fuel) are what turn top-5 runs into 16th-place finishes. It also costs teams championships.

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.   After a month of pre-Chase, live-fire testing, Earnhardt’s No. 88 team appears back to its fourth- to 10th-place ways. Is that good enough to win a title?

5. Clint Bowyer   Follows up Richmond win with a 10th-place showing somewhere relatively near Chicago. Considering the last two months’ worth of performances, Bowyer and the boys may be getting overlooked.

6. Kasey Kahne   Loudon’s July winner returns with the Chase lead in his sights. Like Bowyer, he may not be getting the credit he deserves for his pre-Chase surge.

7. Tony Stewart   Look who appears to be rounding into form at just the right time. After a miserable month, Stewart clicks off a fourth at Richmond and a sixth to begin the Chase. Shouldn’t we all see this coming?
 

Teaser:
<p> Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson slug it at the top of Athlon Sports' weekly Horsepower Rankings.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 18:44
Path: /nascar/nascar-news-notes-week-5
Body:

Days after Brad Keselowski employed some gamesmanship — and subsequent mind games — at Chicagoland Speedway, Tony Stewart detailed his use of mental deviousness, claiming that he knew even before last year’s NASCAR season finale at Homestead ended that he would beat Carl Edwards for the Sprint Cup championship.

He could see it in Edwards’ reaction that weekend.

Stewart recounted that story in a fan forum Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame when asked about his come-from-behind charge to win the championship.

Stewart had won four races to put himself within three points of Edwards heading into the Homestead race. Three days before the event, Stewart and Edwards met with the media to discuss their championship battle and Stewart unleashed his boxer’s bravado.

Asked how far they would go to win the title, Stewart started the following exchange that day:

“I’d wreck my mom to win a championship,” Stewart said. “I respect him as a driver, but this isn't about friendships this weekend. This is a war. This is a battle. This is for a national championship. It’s no-holds barred this weekend. I didn’t come this far to be one step away from it and let it slip away, so we're going to go for it.”

“Did you say something?” Edwards asked.

“Yeah, you can come visit my trophy in the room at (Las) Vegas when you come there,” Stewart responded, referring to the site of the season-ending banquet.

“He’s got the talking part figured out,” Edwards replied.

“They say there’s talkers and doers. I’ve done this twice,” Stewart said.

Tuesday, Stewart talked about that media session and what followed:

“The trash-talking started on Thursday at the media event, which wasn’t really necessarily my plan until I got there. When we got there, I saw that Carl was nervous and it was like a drop of blood for a shark. As soon as I saw that it was like instincts kicked in for me. I’ve been in championship battles before with guys that had that look. You just know that you can kind of take advantage of that situation a little bit.

“So we wore him out at media day, but then he came back and won the pole and pretty much made a statement that it didn’t look like it really phased him too much.”

While Edwards led much of that race, Stewart battled various issues, including running over debris that forced him at the back of the pack. Yet, Stewart continually moved toward the front.

During a red flag for rain about 150 laps from the end, NASCAR parked the cars on pit road. It was then that Stewart knew he would win the title even though Edwards led and Stewart was only a few positions behind.

“I saw what to me was the final blow to him,” Stewart said. “He got out of the car ... looks back and we’re four cars behind him. The look on his face was, ‘How did he get up there already?’ He sat there for ... that rain delay, he was with his crew chief and Jack Roush at the pit box and I was just sitting on the wall talking to crew guys, laughing and carrying on. I knew we had it won. I hadn’t raced him all day but I just knew mentally we had the advantage.”

Stewart also later said that his car’s handling was as good as it had been, allowing him to make various moves. He called the race “the most fun I’ve had on pavement, for sure.

“That’s by far the best pavement race I’ve ever had,” Stewart said. “Everybody goes, ‘Oh, he did something different, he rose above everything.’ My car was really good. That’s the moral of the story. My car was good and balanced all day. When you get it driving that nice, you can do things like we were doing. I put myself in spots that I wouldn’t normally do because it drove so well and it felt so good that I felt more comfortable getting myself in those positions.”
 

Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit with AJ Allmendinger's reinstatement, Tony Stewart's mind games, Sam Hornish Jr.'s improved results and Ryan Blaney's record-setting win.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 18:06
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/2012-nfl-power-rankings-going-week-3
Body:

Each week during the season Athlon Sports looks at the best and worst football teams in the NFL. Here's our NFL Power Rankings following Week 2 of the season.

  1. 49ers (2-0) Jim Harbaugh improving his postgame handshake.

 2. Texans (2-0) Two-headed rushing attack too tough for Jaguars.

 3. Falcons (2-0) Matt Ryan now has 27–4 record at Georgia Dome.

 4. Packers (1-1) “Jay (Cutler) will throw us the ball,” says Woodson.

 5. Steelers (1-1) Bounce back in style with blowout victory over Jets.

 6. Eagles (2-0) Have two wins despite nine turnovers this season.

 7. Ravens (1-1) Rookie Justin Tucker hits FGs of 56, 51 and 48 yards.

 8. Broncos (1-1) Peyton Manning throws three INTs in first quarter.

9. Chargers (2-0) Retire Junior Seau’s No. 55 prior to shocking Titans.

10. Cardinals (2-0) Pull off upset of the week over heavily favored Pats.

11. Patriots (1-1) Aaron Hernandez injured; Kellen Winslow II signed.

12. Seahawks (1-1) Golden Tate block symbolic of Hawks win vs. Boys.

13. Cowboys (1-1) Felix Jones’ fumble may be his last as kick returner.

14. Giants (1-1) Tom Coughlin confronts Greg Schiano over last play.

15. Buccaneers (1-1) Knock down Giants’ Eli Manning in victory formation.

16. Lions (1-1) Megatron transformed into possession WR by 49ers.

17. Bears (1-1) Jay Cutler snaps on J’Marcus Webb in ugly defeat.

18. Panthers (1-1) Earn first win over NFC South rival Saints since 2009.

19. Jets (1-1) Pass defense struggles without All-Pro Darrelle Revis.

20. Rams (1-1) Cortland Finnegan baits Josh Morgan to draw flag.

21. Redskins (1-1) Josh Morgan loses cool, throws ball, costs Skins.

22. Bengals (1-1) Pacman Jones munches his way for 81-yard TD.

23. Bills (1-1) C.J. Spiller leads the NFL in rushing yards (292).

24. Colts (1-1) Andrew Luck, Chuck Pagano win Indy home debut.

25. Vikings (1-1) Defense can’t hold on in last-second loss to Colts.

26. Dolphins (1-1) Reggie Bush carries Ryan Tannehill to first career W.

27. Saints (0-2) Gregg Williams testimony not good for Vilma, Smith.

28. Titans (0-2) Lose ninth straight to Chargers, dating back to 1993.

29. Raiders (0-2) Silver-and-Bleak convert just 1-of-12 on third down.

30. Chiefs (0-2) Big day by Dwayne Bowe not enough to beat Bills.

31. Browns (0-2) Have lost 13 of last 16 against in-state rival Cincy.

32. Jaguars (0-2) Offense humiliated, gains franchise-low 117 yards.

Teaser:
<p> A look at the best and worst pro football teams each week.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 15:26
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/dick-vitales-weirdest-summer-tweets-2012
Body:

Dick Vitale is one weird dude. He tweets about 1,000 times per day and has lots to say. He has done loads of great work in support of the fight against cancer, loves his Tampa Bay Rays, Notre Dame football and, obviously, college hoops. 

But occasionally, the crazy train goes off the tracks, culminating in some very weird (and sometimes awesome) tweets. In fact, today he tweeted this random rant against one misunderstood Hollywood youth:

Sept. 18: The strangest Dickie-V tweet I've seen in months was today's random obsession with protecting the people of Southern Cal from the tortures of a Hollywood actress by the name of Amanda Bynes, who is a stunning 26-year-old beauty who has (apparently) acted a little weird of late. But isn't that part of living in Los Angeles?

 

Sept. 16: We know Mike Greenberg is a Jets fan, but NFL analysis packaged with celebrity dating insight combined with smack talk is priceless:

 

 

Aug: 24: The hoops legend is apparently starting his own dating service. And equally concerning, he is hanging out at Chili's:

 

Aug 23: I think many of us were sick to our stomachs when we read about this horrific story. Yet, sending your heart out to someone who is already passed on seems a bit odd. Am I wrong?

 

Sept. 16: Vitale is a man who likes a woman with a great...personality:

 

 

Aug 29: The old coach longing for swim trunks and acting like a pre-teen:

 

 

Sept. 11: Tweeting about the Rays is nothing special, but this is the only one that talked about a spoiled Italian dish: 

 

Sept. 6: This is our first known documentation of Dick Vitale's apparent obsession with Amanda Bynes — and the people of Southern California:

 

Aug 31: Dick Vitale complaing about money is like Jennifer Anniston complaing about aging well. It just doesn't work in my book: 

 

Aug 31: So glad he cleared this up for me, cause I thought for sure he was talking about What I Did Last Summer. Wait, am I thinking about Scream 1, 2, 3 or 4? Also, Wazzu should be 3-1 after this weekend. 

 

Aug 29: There is no chance THIS guy has ever been THIS club while there were other living beings inside. Just imagine DV at Aria in Vegas? Yup, made me laugh too:

 

Aug. 16: Dickie-V is jaded just like the rest of us with politics. However, nominating himself for President is a bit much for this American voter to take:

 

Aug 15: His take on domestic abuse is spot on. But as a man who has never resorted to physical violence towards women, I am not sure what "system" he is talking about. Unless, of course, he is talking about spending lots of time and money to impress women with nothing expected in return:

 

Aug 3: Uh, I have no idea what to tell you here:

 

June 8: From my count, Dickie V wished Magic Johnson and maybe one or two other people happy birthday this summer. Also on that list? The oft-troubled rapper/producer Kanye West — who has a long list of legal trouble:

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/steve-sabol-co-founder-nfl-films-dies
Body:
Few people have done more to popularize the NFL than Steve Sabol, the president and co-founder of NFL Films, who died today a couple weeks short of his 70th birthday from complications of brain cancer. If you're anything like me, Sabol's life work was instrumental in fostering your love affair with pro football. 
 
Born Oct. 2, 1942, in Moorestown N.J., Sabol played college football at Colorado College, but the family business had its origins during his high school career. Sabol's father, Ed, used a motion picture camera that he received as a wedding gift to film Steve's high school football games, giving rise to the family passion for capturing football on film. Soon thereafter, the Sabols founded a small film company called Blair Motion Pictures — Steve originally worked for Ed as a cameraman — and won the rights to film the 1962 NFL Championship game, impressing NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle with their work.
 
In 1965, the Sabols agreed to Rozelle's proposal to buy out their company, renaming it NFL Films — a name that became synonymous with expertly filmed and packaged highlights, with the booming voice of John Facenda and stirring marching band music serving as the soundtrack. 
 
NFL Films' priceless archives provide the only filmed record from many 1960s-era games, including some of the early Super Bowls. With such series as Greatest Moments and Lost Treasures and Football Follies, NFL Films has captured the drama, tradition and even the humor of the National Football League.
 
Upon ESPN's founding, the network signed NFL Films as a production company, and Steve became an on-air personality, showing as much talent in front of the camera as behind it. Eventually, NFL Films amassed more than 100 Sports Emmys, with Sabol earning more than 40 personal Emmy Awards.
 
—Rob Doster, Athlon Sports
 
Of his work with NFL Films, Sabol once said: "The only other human endeavor more thoroughly captured on 16-mm film than the National Football League is World War II." For that, we can all be grateful. Rest in peace. 
Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 13:18
Path: /news/peyton-manning-denver-broncos-picked-falcons
Body:

Interception. Interception. Interception. Three-and-out. Fumble. Three-and-out. Touchdown.

If you feel manic reading it, try watching it.

Those were the first six drives for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos Monday night in Atlanta. It was a dysfunctional night for Manning in his first road start as a Bronco, which resulted in a 27-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons

The dysfunction came from how the Denver offense played for a majority of the game, how the Atlanta defense lined up a majority of the game and how the replacement officials administered a majority of the game. 

Frankly, the arm strength did not look like it was there early in the contest. 

The first interception Manning threw was tipped 26 yards down field but looked like it was dying on the way to the receiver. 

The second interception was a 21-yard pass that would’ve short-hopped to tight end Jacob Tamme had Thomas DeCoud not stepped in front of it and picked it off. 

The third interception Manning threw was a 25-yard pass intended for receiver Brandon Stokley that the Falcons’ fifth cornerback, Robert McClain, made a good play on, but a pass that also did not appear to have much zip on it.

Through three series, Manning was 4-of-8 for 34 yards with three picks. He followed with 3-for-3 for 15 yards over the next three drives before finally putting a scoring drive together with 4:39 remaining in the opening half. 

It was the Eric Decker Show — the only time in this game Decker produced — as he caught three of the next four balls thrown for 35 yards. They were all short passes that moved the chains into Atlanta territory. 

A couple more short passes, a holding, a sack and a great Demaryius Thomas toe drag into the end zone for a 17-yard catch later and the Broncos were on the board. 

And the manic half came to a close. Manning’s line: 19-13-of-19 for 120 yards, the TD and the three interceptions.

He had almost an identical second half — 11-of-18 for 121 yards — sans the score and the turnovers to finish 24-of-37 for 241 yards. His longest pass of the game was the 18-yarder to Decker on the second play of the first scoring drive.

It is hard to say what to take away from the game in regards to fantasy. 

The positives: Willis McGahee was the best player on the field Monday night for the Broncos. He had 11 carries for 77 yards in the first half and finished with 22 for 113 and a score on the ground to go with two catches for 11 yards.

Thomas is the go-to receiver for Manning right now. His ability to take a pass from just around the line of scrimmage and make something out of nothing is the best on the team. He finished with the score, 11 targets and eight catches for 78 yards. 

Those two are solid fantasy starters each week.

The negatives: It may be hard to depend on the rest of the lineup.

Decker had eight targets for four catches and 53 yards — most coming on the closing drive of the first half. The target he got to start that drive was the first he had seen in over 25 minutes of action.

Brandon Stokely is the problem for Decker right now. Manning’s familiar receiver was targeted six times. And the tight ends Tamme and Joel Dreessen all but canceled each other out with four and two targets and both grabbing two balls for 13 and 16 yards. 

Once Manning gets settled in with the no-huddle in Denver, he should be fine. He might look a little frantic again next week against Houston, but his schedule becomes very fantasy friendly, until at least the start of December, with games against the Raiders, Patriots, Chargers twice, Saints, Bengals, Panthers and Chiefs.

It was not a fun performance to watch from Manning and the Broncos’ offense as a whole, but just knowing that he is healthy and has come through two games having been sacked five times and bounced back is a plus. He has a capable backfield, one stud receiver, a couple of dependable possession guys and two move-the-chains tight ends. He has thrown for at least 240 yards and a score in both games against two pretty good defenses. And after next week the schedule lightens up.

You would like to know the arm strength will get there, but if Thomas continues to be the YAC king, that certainly helps as Manning’s arm does start to strengthen.

Feel good about Manning. Feel good about knowing you probably got him as a steal. And feel good that he still has plenty of fantasy production left in him this season. 

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 07:08
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-coaches-hot-seat-post-week-3-rankings-2
Body:

Week 3 of the 2012 college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches saw the temperature on their seat increase by a few degrees. Kentucky's Joker Phillips easily ranks as the No. 1 coach on the hot seat after a disappointing loss to Western Kentucky. SEC foe Tennessee lost to Florida on Saturday, which only adds to the pressure under coach Derek Dooley. Colorado was blown out by Fresno State, allowing Jon Embree to jump into the top five of our hot seat rankings after three weeks.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 3 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week’s Rank:
1
Record at Kentucky: 12-16 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-2
Phillips’ seat has officially gone from hot to scalding hot. Kentucky rallied from a 17-0 deficit to Western Kentucky to force overtime, but it wasn’t enough, as the Hilltoppers matched the Wildcats’ score in overtime and won on a two-point conversion on the final play of the game. It’s hard to fault Phillips for all of Kentucky’s woes, but the schedule is only going to get more difficult the rest of the way. The Wildcats have only more guaranteed win (Samford) and open SEC play at Florida this Saturday. Kentucky needs to show progress the rest of the way for Phillips to return, but that’s no guarantee considering the upcoming schedule.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank:
2
Record at Boston College: 21-21 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
A week after breaking into the win column against Maine, Boston College failed to build on that momentum and lost 22-13 to Northwestern. Despite the 1-2 record, there have been a few positives for the Eagles. New offensive coordinator Doug Martin has been able to spark the passing attack, but the Eagles rank a disappointing 109th nationally in rushing. The next stretch of games could decide Spaziani’s future in Chestnut Hill. Boston College hosts Clemson on Sept. 29, before traveling to Army on Oct. 6. The schedule doesn’t get any easier following those two games, as the Eagles have road dates at Florida State and Georgia Tech. Spaziani faces an uphill battle to return next season but could save his job if the Eagles pull off an upset or two in the next few weeks.

3. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank:
6
Record at Colorado: 3-13 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 0-3
Considering this is Embree’s second season with Colorado, he deserves a chance to turn things around in 2013. However, it’s hard to ignore how bad the Buffaloes have been under his watch. Colorado closed out last season by winning two out of its final three games but has opened 0-3 in disastrous fashion. The Buffaloes lost to in-state rival Colorado State in the opener, followed up by a loss to FCS opponent Sacramento State and a blowout defeat to Fresno State. Colorado is playing a lot of young players, so some growing pains can be expected. However, the Buffaloes haven’t shown much progress through three games and could finish 0-12.

4. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
3
Record at Central Michigan: 7-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
The Chippewas had a bye week in Week 3 and head into Saturday’s game at Iowa with a 1-1 record. Under Enos’ watch, Central Michigan has yet to beat a team with a BCS record and is 0-3 against teams from the Big Ten. Needless to say, the Chippewas will need to play their best game of the season if they want to have any shot at beating the Hawkeyes.

5. Robb Akey, Idaho
Last Week’s Rank:
8
Record at Idaho: 19-46 (6th season)
2012 Record: 0-3
It’s hard to place any blame on Akey after Saturday’s 63-14 loss to LSU. After all, the Vandals were heavy underdogs and didn’t have much of a shot to win. While Akey has a tough job, Idaho has won only one game against FBS competition in its last 13 contests and is off to a 0-3 start. One promising sign for Akey has to be the play of quarterback Dominique Blackman, who threw for 352 yards and one touchdown against Bowling Green in Week 2. The Vandals host Wyoming this Saturday.

6. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank:
5
Record at UNLV: 4-24 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 0-3
The weekly hot seat watch has been harsh on Hauck the first two weeks, so it’s time to give him a little credit after Friday’s game against Washington State. After a disappointing loss to Northern Arizona in Week 2, the Rebels played the Cougars tough and lost 35-27. Of course, Hauck needs wins to keep his job, but this team has a few pieces to build around, including quarterback Nick Sherry and running back Tim Cornett. UNLV opens Mountain West play this Saturday against Air Force and a win against the Falcons would be a huge boost after opening the season 0-3.

7. Rick Stockstill, MTSU
Last Week’s Rank: 4
Record at MTSU: 37-41 (7th season)
2012 Record: 2-1
After opening up the 2012 season with a loss to McNeese State, the Blue Raiders have won back-to-back games, allowing Stockstill’s seat to cool going into Week 4. MTSU has a bye in Week 4 and returns to action against Georgia Tech in Week 5. Stockstill doesn’t necessarily need a winning season to save his job, but the Blue Raiders can’t afford to go 3-9 and struggle to compete against Sun Belt competition. 

8. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Record at Rice: 24-40 (6th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
A week after upsetting Kansas on the road, the Owls failed to build upon that momentum and lost 56-37 at Louisiana Tech. There have been positive signs for Rice through the first three weeks, as quarterback Taylor McHargue ranks 36th nationally with 273 total yards per game. Although Rice upset the Jayhawks and the offense has been solid, this team still has a long ways to go. The Owls rank 118th nationally in scoring defense and are allowing 531.3 yards per game. Rice opens C-USA play this week against Marshall and hosts rival Houston in Week 5.

9. Tony Levine, Houston
Last Week’s Rank:
10
Record at Houston: 1-3
2012 Record: 0-3
Houston continued to slide under Levine, losing 37-6 at UCLA on Saturday. While the Cougars weren’t expected to win, the defense was gashed for over 500 yards, and the offense had six turnovers and failed to generate much of a passing attack. After firing offensive coordinator Mike Nesbitt, Houston’s offense showed signs of life in a 56-49 loss to Louisiana Tech but looked out of sync against the Bruins. Levine’s tenure is off to a disastrous start, but the Cougars still have a chance to win Conference USA’s West Division, starting next Saturday against Rice.

10. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank:
7
Record at California: 80-50 (11th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
Thanks to California’s solid performance at Ohio State, Tedford slides down the hot seat watch by a few spots. Despite hanging tough against the Buckeyes, the Golden Bears own a 1-2 record, and the schedule won’t get easier with a road trip to USC this Saturday and a home date against Arizona State in Week 5. California has a tough schedule, and considering the personnel in place, getting to 7-5 or 8-4 would be a good season for this team. However, would 7-5 or even 6-6 be enough for Tedford to return in 2013?

11. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Last Week’s Rank:
11
Record at Maryland: 4-11 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 2-1
Edsall was the center of attention this week, as he took on his former team (Connecticut). The Terrapins had a chance to win late but lost 24-21, which snapped their two-game winning streak. Edsall seems to have this team on the right track, but Maryland still has a long way to go in order to be a bowl team this season. The Terrapins face an uphill battle to win this Saturday, as they play at West Virginia. The matchup against the Mountaineers is the final non-conference game for Maryland, and it will be interesting to see how far this team has come once ACC play arrives on Oct. 6 against Wake Forest.

12. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
20
Record at Tennessee: 13-15 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-1
Dooley nearly fell out of our top 20 coaches on the hot seat, but Saturday’s loss to Florida is enough to jump into the top 15 of the rankings. Tennessee jumped out to a 14-10 lead at halftime but was outscored 27-6 in the second half. Both sides of the ball struggled in the final two quarters, including a defense that allowed two scores of over 75 yards. Tennessee should get back into the win column with Akron visiting Knoxville this Saturday. However, the schedule only gets tougher with SEC games against Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina coming up.

13. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank:
13
Record at Auburn: 31-12 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
The Tigers managed to avoid at upset at the hands of Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday but that’s not enough to move Chizik down the hot seat rankings. Auburn was largely unimpressive and anytime a SEC team needs overtime to beat a Sun Belt team, it’s never good news for the head coach. Chizik has recruited as well as anyone in the country over the last few years, but the results on the field aren’t adding up.

14. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Last Week’s Rank:
14
Record at Syracuse: 18-22 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
After losing close games to Northwestern and USC to open the season, Saturday’s 28-17 victory over Stony Brook was a much-needed win for Marrone. The victory was not only crucial to get into the win column for 2012 but snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Orange. Barring a complete collapse this season, Marrone will probably return for 2013. However, getting to a bowl game and winning more than one contest in Big East play would certainly help earn more job security.

15. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank:
15
Record at Iowa: 98-67 (14th season)
2012 Record: 2-1
It wasn’t the most glamorous victory, but Iowa eased the disappointment over the loss to Iowa State with a 27-16 win over Northern Iowa in Week 3. The Hawkeyes had more injuries at running back, as Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon were banged up and did not return. Quarterback James Vandenberg was steady, completing 18 of 28 passes for 228 yards, but he is still looking for his first touchdown pass of the season. Ferentz and the Hawkeyes should move to 3-1 with a matchup against Central Michigan this Saturday.

16. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank:
16
Record at Buffalo: 6-20 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
The Bulls had a bye in Week 3 and return to action on Wednesday night against Kent State. Buffalo has some momentum after beating Morgan State in Week 2 but needs to show some progress in MAC games for Quinn to feel secure about keeping his job in 2013. Oddly enough, even though Kent State and Buffalo are in the same division (MAC East), this will be the first meeting between these two teams since 2009.

17. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank:
18
Record at New Mexico State: 10-31 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
As we have mentioned in the hot seat column in previous weeks, it’s hard to fault Walker for what’s going on at New Mexico State. The Aggies have only one winning season since 2002 and have failed to record a season of more than four wins since 2004. The Aggies dropped to 1-2 thanks to a 41-28 loss to UTEP. Up next for New Mexico State is rival New Mexico, a team the Aggies have beat for three consecutive seasons.

18. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 19
Record at Western Michigan: 48-41 (8th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
The Broncos were close but not good enough to beat to Minnesota in Week 3. Western Michigan has another shot to beat a BCS team in Week 4, as Connecticut visits Kalamazoo this Saturday. The Broncos were picked by many as the favorites to win the MAC West crown, so it’s hard to judge how hot Cubit’s seat can get until conference play arrives on Sept. 29 against Toledo.

19. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at Texas Tech: 16-12 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-0
So far, so good for Texas Tech this season. The Red Raiders seem to have a much-improved defense, while the offense will be one of the best in the Big 12. The competition hasn’t been great, but Tuberville has to be pleased with his team so far. Thanks to Texas Tech’s 3-0 start to begin the season, Tuberville has fallen from a spot in the top 10 of the hot seat rankings to nearly out of the list.

20. George O’Leary, UCF
Last Week’s Rank:
17
Record at UCF: 52-52 (9th season)
2012 Record: 2-1
The Knights jumped out to a 23-0 lead against FIU and cruised to a 33-20 victory on Saturday night. UCF’s only loss came against Ohio State, and the Knights appear to be Conference USA’s No. 1 team after three games. The biggest news out of UCF wasn’t on the field this week, as it has officially decided to appeal its postseason ban for 2012. The appeal may not be heard before the end of 2012, which would allow the Knights to play in a bowl game this year. However, if UCF loses the appeal after the season, it would have to miss out on the postseason in its first Big East campaign in 2013. 

Honorable Mention

John L. Smith, Arkansas
Record at Arkansas: 1-2
2012 Record: 1-2
As we mentioned last week with Smith, he's essentially on a one-year deal and the odds of him returning to Fayetteville were slim for 2013. However, Smith's tenure in Arkansas has not gone well, and the Razorbacks are a disappointing 1-2 after three games. Smith can't be blamed for everything, especially since quarterback Tyler Wilson did not play against Alabama.


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

(published Sept. 18, 2012)

Related College Football Content

College Football's Post-Week 3 Bowl Projections
ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
College Football Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 3 Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 06:05
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-3
Body:

It’s not often you can find the NFL leader in touchdowns on the waiver wire, but that’s the case as we get ready for Week 3. Who is it you ask? His name is Dante Rosario and he’s a tight end for the San Diego Chargers.

The Chargers' starting tight end is, of course, Antonio Gates, but he sat out the 38-10 win over Tennessee with a rib injury and Rosario (four receptions, three TDs) took full advantage of the opportunity.

Rosario, who's sure to receive a fair amount of attention on the waiver wire this week, is just one of the options available that may be able to help your fantasy team, whether that be for this coming week only or beyond. Here are some other names worth considering.

Dante’s Inferno

As surprising as it may have been that Antonio Gates didn’t play Sunday against Tennessee, no one could have predicted that Dante Rosario would make his absence a non-issue. Rosario, who saw just one ball thrown his way in Week 1, connected with Philip Rivers four times against the Titans for 48 yards and, most importantly, three touchdowns.

In just one game, Rosario put himself into a tie for first in the league in touchdowns and tripled his scoring output from the last two seasons combined. Prior to Sunday’s game, he had caught a total of five touchdowns in 77 career games. He went from an afterthought to the fifth highest-scoring tight end in all of fantasy football.

Moving forward, Rosario’s potential value is obviously directly tied to Gates’ health. As soon as Gates returns to the field, Rosario more than likely returns to irrelevance. However, considering Gates’ rib injury was serious enough to keep him out in Week 2, Rosario is certainly worth keeping an eye on until more news comes out on Gates’ status for Week 3.

Quarterbacks

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
It’s only two games, but Bradford is showing signs of the type of production that was regularly expected of him after he was taken No. 1 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft and followed that up by earning AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Bradford has completed more than 70 percent of his passes so far and is coming off of a 310-yard, three-touchdown effort in the Rams' win over Washington. Next up is a Chicago Bears defense that will serve as a good litmus test of how far Bradford and the Rams’ offense have come.

Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are 0-2, but it’s certainly not all Cassel’s fault. Because the Chiefs have yet to take the lead in their first two games, Cassel has had the opportunity to throw the ball a lot and, for the most part, he’s been fairly productive. Cassel has averaged nearly 280 yards per passing in the first two games and up next is New Orleans, the worst defense in the NFL in terms of both yards and points allowed. If Cassel can find a way to cut down on the turnovers (3 TDs, 3 INTs, 2 lost fumbles so far), he could become a more appealing fantasy option as the season progresses.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Dalton bounced back nicely from a rough opening week performance by throwing for 318 yards and three touchdowns against Cleveland. Dalton’s next four games — at WAS, at JAC, MIA, at CLE — could result in similar numbers. He’s definitely someone worth keeping an eye on as bye weeks start in Week 4.

Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
Smith’s game totals through the first two weeks are pretty much mirror images of each other as he’s completed 20 passes with two touchdown passes in each game. The most important number, however, is zero, as in the number of times he has turned the ball over. Smith hasn’t thrown an interception in his last 284 passes, including postseason games, which is a 49ers record. While his numbers may never be spectacular, Smith is quickly becoming a dependable and productive fantasy option.

Running Backs

Andre Brown, New York Giants
Ahmad Bradshaw went out with a neck injury and it was Brown, not first-round pick David Wilson, who got the carries. Brown finished with 71 yards rushing on 13 attempts; good for a more than respectable 5.5 yards per carry average. He also scored the game-winning touchdown with 31 seconds left in the game. The severity of Bradshaw’s injury is not yet known, but given his track record, Brown may be worth a pick up as the Giants get Carolina’s 28th-ranked rushing defense next.

Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions
It’s been nearly 17 months since he was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but Mikel Leshoure should finally make his much-anticipated pro debut this Sunday. Leshoure missed all of last season after tearing his Achilles tendon in August 2011 and  missed the first two games of this season due to suspension. Just how involved he will be in Sunday’s game against Tennessee remains to be seen, but the opportunity is certainly there as current starter Kevin Smith is only averaging four yards per carry.

Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins
Reggie Bush (172 yards on 26 carries) did most of the damage, but Miller’s 65 yards on 10 carries (6.5 ypc) and a touchdown cannot be ignored. It seems likely that the Dolphins will continue to rely heavily on the running game as they look to ease rookie starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill into the offense. At this point, it looks like fellow rookie Miller has supplanted Daniel Thomas, who did not play Sunday because of a concussion, as the ‘Fins’ No. 2 back.

Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams
Richardson got more carries (15 to 9) than Steven Jackson did on Sunday and for the season is averaging 6.1 yards per attempt. Jackson missed the majority of the Rams’ win over Washington with what has been called a groin injury. Couple that with Richardson putting up similar numbers (103 yards rushing to Jackson’s 111) with far fewer carries (17 to 30) and Richardson could be a wise add, especially for Jackson owners.

Ben Tate, Houston Texans
As Sunday’s win over Jacksonville showed, the Texans are capable of supporting two legitimate fantasy options at running back. Arian Foster is the undisputed lead horse for the Texans, but Tate got 12 carries against the Jaguars for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Tate also finished third on the team with four receptions for 23 yards. The obvious handcuff for Foster owners, the argument also could be made for Tate as a weekly flex option.

Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Mark Ingram got more carries (16 to 9), but Thomas got more yards as he posted 110 against Carolina. While his 12.2 yards per carry average from Sunday's game will be impossible to sustain, Thomas leads the Saints in rushing so far and is fifth on the team in receptions, meaning he’s a significant part of New Orleans’ offensive attack. Ingram and Darren Sproles may get more of the attention and are more widely owned, but Thomas has proven thus far to be just as productive.

Wide Receivers

Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams
It took him a week longer than I anticipated, but Amendola clearly showed his fantasy potential this past Sunday with his 15-catch, 160-yard and a touchdown performance against Washington. Amendola tied an NFL record with 12 first-half receptions and ended the game with a franchise-record tying 15. With 20 receptions on 25 targets through the first two games, Amendola is clearly Sam Bradford’s No. 1 option and is a legitimate WR3, if not WR2, moving forward.

Donnie Avery, Indianapolis Colts
It was Avery and not Reggie Wayne who got the most targets from Andrew Luck in Week 2. Avery and Luck connected on nine of 10 total targets for 111 yards in the Colts’ win over Minnesota. As long as Austin Collie is sidelined, Avery is worth a pick up considering Luck is averaging nearly 40 pass attempts through the first two games.

Brandon Gibson, St. Louis Rams
Amendola is the undisputed No. 1 target in St. Louis, but to this point, Gibson has been No. 2. Gibson is second to Amendola in receptions and receiving yards, but his two touchdown catches are first on the team. Gibson is more of a deep threat (17.3 ypc) than Amendola, which helps his potential fantasy value.

Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill picked up his first career NFL win by posting a solid passing (18-30, 200 yards, TD) performance and Hartline was the prime beneficiary. Tannehill looked Hartline’s way 12 times and the two connected on nine of those targets for 111 yards. It’s reasonable to assume that Tannehill will continue to target Hartline as he acclimates himself to life in the NFL.

Andrew Hawkins, Cincinnati Bengals
Entering the season, Cincinnati knew they had A.J. Green and a bunch of other young guys at wide receiver. Two games into the season, Hawkins, the smallest of the group at 5-7, has made strides to establish himself as Andy Dalton’s second option. The diminutive Hawkins currently leads the team in receiving yards with 142 and has the same number of touchdown catches as Green after his 50-yard scoring play against Cleveland on Sunday.

Greg Little, Cleveland Browns
Brandon Weeden had his first 300-yard passing game on Sunday, albeit in a losing effort, but perhaps the better news for Browns fans is that Little was a significant part of it. After not posting a single reception in Week 1, Little caught five balls for 57 yards and a touchdown against Cincinnati. Little’s 61 receptions in 2011 were the second-most among rookies, so the potential is clearly there. It’s now just a matter of the wideout and the quarterback establishing consistent chemistry, and Little hanging onto the balls thrown his way.

Mohamed Massaquoi, Cleveland Browns
Little’s output notwithstanding, Massaquoi has been Weeden’s favorite target thus far this season. The fourth-year pro from Georgia currently leads the team in targets (15), receptions (8) and yards (131). Given his early rapport with Weeden, Massaquoi's numbers could continue to increase as the Browns’ rookie signal callers gets more and more comfortable in the pocket.

Tight Ends

Martellus Bennett, New York Giants
Eli Manning threw the ball 51 times and piled up 510 yards through the air on Sunday in the win against Tampa Bay. Although wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz did the majority of the damage, Bennett joined in on the fun as he was targeted 10 times. Bennett already has nine receptions and two touchdowns through two games and is currently sixth among his position in terms of fantasy scoring. This will probably be the last time you see his name on this list as the argument can be made he’s a legitimate fantasy starter for the rest of the season.

Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills
The Bills haven’t exactly aired it out this season so far, but Chandler is second only to wide receiver Stevie Johnson in targets (11) and is averaging more than 15 yards per reception. Chandler’s true value, however, comes in the red zone as evidenced by his two touchdown catches that have come inside the opponents’ 20.

Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
Half of Ben Roethlisberger’s four touchdown passes have gone to his reliable tight end as Miller has made the most of his seven catches. Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders may be the Steelers’ primary vertical threats, but there’s no one Big Ben trusts more in the red zone or over the middle than Miller.

Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders
Carson Palmer has already attempted 94 passes in two games and he’s a perfect 11-for-11 when looking Myers’ way. Now in his fourth season with the Raiders, Myers has been a pleasant surprise and dependable target for Palmer, as evidenced by a team-high six receptions for 86 yards against Miami. Whether he keeps this up moving forward remains to be seen, but if Palmer is going to continue to throw upwards of 40 or more times a game, it does appear Myers will get his share of opportunities.

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.

— By Mark Ross, published on Sept. 18, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 3</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 06:04
All taxonomy terms: Florida Gators, SEC, College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-countdown-no-20-florida
Body:
Visit the online store for Florida and other editions of the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual.

The first practices of college basketball season begin in mid-October, and Athlon Sports 2012-13 preview annuals are starting to arrive on newsstands all over the country.

To prepare for the start of college basketball season, we will preview one team each weekday, counting down to the first official day of basketball practice on Oct. 15, or for some teams on Oct. 12.

We begin our countdown with No. 20 Florida.

Losing 11-point leads in the second half in the Elite Eight in back-to-back seasons stings. But so does playing in the NIT, where Florida found itself in both 2008 and ’09.

Clearly, the Gators have returned to elite status. But can they take the next step? Can this program, which won back-to-back national titles in the mid-2000s, emerge as a legitimate threat to return to the Final Four?

“We’ll have to create an identity in the backcourt,” veteran coach Billy Donovan says. “We have experience in the frontcourt, but when you lose a top-three pick (Bradley Beal) and starting point guard (Erving Walker) it changes the complexion of your team.”

Two years ago, Florida was a force inside, led by the frontline of Vernon Macklin, Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus. Last year, the Gators lived by the 3-pointer. Might this year be a combination of both? “We’ve got some experienced pieces coming back,” Donovan says. “I like this team.”


FRONTCOURT
There was speculation that Patric Young might leave for the NBA. But Young, one of the most imposing players in college basketball, is aware that he has to work on his offensive game and believes another season at Florida will serve him well. He was solid as a sophomore — he averaged 10.2 points and shot 61.8 percent from the field — but sometimes struggled with his conditioning as he took on a larger role.

Erik Murphy, a 6-10 face-up power forward, is back for his second season as a starter. Murphy has always been able to shoot 3s (41.7 percent in his career), but he improved his inside game last year and led the team with 37 blocked shots.

Florida needs to keep Will Yeguete, a 6-7 junior, healthy. He isn’t much of a threat on the offensive end of the floor — he scored six points or fewer in 11 of his 12 SEC games — but Yeguete makes a huge difference defensively as the point man on the Gators’ press. He missed the final nine games last season with a stress fracture in his left foot.

One player to watch is Casey Prather, a 6-6 swingman who played his best basketball of the season in the NCAA Tournament. Prather, perhaps the team’s best athlete, scored a career-high 14 points in the 71–45 win over Virginia. His emergence would give the Gators a valuable weapon off the bench.
Cody Larson, a 6-9, 231-pound third-year sophomore, has played sparingly in his time in Gainesville.

Related: SEC coach rankings

BACKCOURT
Kenny Boynton struggled a bit down the stretch, but his junior season was his most productive as a Gator. His scoring average jumped from 14.2 points per game as a sophomore to 15.9 even though he attempted fewer shots. His 3-point shooting has improved from 29.4 percent as a freshman to 33.1 as a sophomore to 40.7 last season.

Florida expects better overall play from Mike Rosario, a transfer from Rutgers who struggled in his first season in the SEC. Rosario averaged more than 16 points in each of his two seasons at Rutgers but shot less than 40.0 percent from the field. In a limited role last season, he averaged 6.6 points with the Gators. He needs to limit his turnovers and improve his defense.

Scottie Wilbekin, who skipped his final season of high school to enroll at UF two years ago, likely will take over for Walker as the starting point guard. Wilbekin has a great handle and is the best perimeter defender on the team, but he will have to be more assertive on the offensive end of the court as his role increases.

The depth will have to come from a freshman class that includes three guards. Braxton Ogbueze, a 4-star point guard from Charlotte, is the best bet to play major minutes.

Related: College basketball's Great 68 Questions: 17 for the South Region

FINAL ANALYSIS
Florida has the pieces in place to contend with Kentucky for the top spot in the SEC. The Gators, however, must stay healthy and will need more productivity from two key juniors — Young up front and Wilbekin at the point — and for Boynton to score as efficiently as he did in ’11-12. A lack of size will still be an issue, but Donovan has proven that he can win with a perimeter-oriented attack. Anything short of a return to the Sweet 16 — or beyond — will be a disappointment.

@AthlonSports

Athlon College Basketball Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

19. Notre Dame

Teaser:
<p> College basketball countdown: No. 20 Florida</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 06:02
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-3-bowl-projections
Body:

College football's bowl season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With only three weeks of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with several teams still playing overmatched non-conference games. 

With very little data to work with, the post-Week 3 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections, how things would look if the season ended today, and a small dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks, especially as we see how teams perform in conference games. 

2012-2013 Post-Week 3 College Football Bowl Projections

Bowl Date Tie-In Projected Matchup
New Mexico Dec. 15 MWC vs. Pac-12 Utah vs. Wyoming
Famous Idaho Potato Dec. 15 MAC vs. WAC Utah State vs. N. Illinois
Poinsettia Dec. 20 BYU vs. MWC BYU vs. San Diego State
Beef 'O'Brady's Dec. 21 Big East vs. C-USA Vanderbilt* vs. Louisiana Tech*
New Orleans Dec. 22 Sun Belt vs. C-USA UL Lafayette vs. Southern Miss
Las Vegas Dec. 22 MWC vs. Pac-12 Washington vs. Boise State
Hawaii Dec. 24 C-USA vs. MWC Fresno State vs. SMU
Little Caesars Dec. 26 Big Ten vs. MAC Purdue vs. Toledo
Military Dec. 27 ACC vs. Army Marshall* vs. Miami
Belk Dec. 27 ACC vs. Big East Georgia Tech vs. Cincinnati
Holiday Dec. 27 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 UCLA vs. TCU
Independence Dec. 28 ACC vs. SEC Wake Forest vs. Arkansas
Russell Athletic Dec. 28 ACC vs. Big East Clemson vs. Rutgers
Meineke Car Care Dec. 28 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Texas Tech vs. Iowa
Armed Forces Dec. 29 C-USA vs. MWC Nevada vs. UTEP
Kraft Fight Hunger Dec. 29 Pac-12 vs. Navy Navy vs. Arizona State
Pinstripe Dec. 29 Big East vs. Big 12 Baylor vs. Connecticut
Alamo Dec. 29 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Stanford vs. Kansas State
Buffalo Wild Wings Dec. 29 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Oklahoma State vs. N'Western
Music City Dec. 31 SEC vs. ACC Virginia vs. Missouri
Sun Dec. 31 ACC vs. Pac-12 Arizona vs. NC State
Liberty Dec. 31 SEC vs. C-USA Texas A&M vs. East Carolina
Chick-fil-A Dec. 31 ACC vs. SEC Virginia Tech vs. Miss. State
TicketCity Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. C-USA Illinois vs. Tulsa
TaxSlayer.com Gator Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Tennessee vs. Wisconsin
Capital One Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Georgia vs. Michigan State
Outback Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Nebraska vs. Florida
Cotton Jan. 4 Big 12 vs. SEC West Virginia vs. So. Carolina
BBVA Compass Jan. 5 SEC vs. Big East Auburn vs. South Florida
GoDaddy.com Jan. 6 MAC vs. Sun Belt Arkansas State vs. Ohio
       
BCS Bowls      
Rose Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Michigan vs. USC
Orange Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Florida State vs. Texas
Sugar Jan. 2 BCS vs. BCS LSU vs. Notre Dame
Fiesta Jan. 3 BCS vs. BCS Oklahoma vs. Louisville
National Title Jan. 7 BCS vs. BCS Oregon vs. Alabama


* Indicates an at-large team due to a conference unable to fill bowl slots according to Athlon's projections.


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

(published Sept. 18, 2012)

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 2 Ranks
ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
College Football Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football Post-Week 3 Bowl Projections</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-post-week-3-waiver-wire-report
Body:

The beginning of every fantasy week is the time to rebuild or reload.  If you need to rebuild your roster, you’re in luck.  In this week’s Waiver Wire edition you will notice some familiar names that may have been recycled through your league’s waiver system since draft day, particularly Jawan Jamison, Antonio Andrews, and Josh Stewart. 

Post-Week 3 College Fantasy Waiver Wire Report

J.W. Walsh, QB-Oklahoma St
After starting quarterback Wes Lunt left last week’s game with a leg injury, Walsh stepped in and accounted for 420 yards and five touchdowns.  As long as Lunt’s status is unknown, Walsh should be near the top of many fantasy owners’ waiver list.

Kolton Browning, QB-UL-Monroe
Browning has passed for 649 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 127 yards and two scores in the Warhawks’ first two games on the road against SEC schools.

Rakeem Cato, QB-Marshall
Cato leads the nation in passing yards (1,222) and passing yards per game (407.3).

Terrance Owens, QB-Toledo
The Rockets are 2-0 since Owens became the full-time starter and the offense should continue to roll this week against Coastal Carolina.

Jawan Jamison, RB-Rutgers
Not only did Jamison make a statement Thursday night on national television by carrying the ball 41 times for 151 yards at South Florida, but the Scarlet Knights proved that they are contenders in the Big East.

Dareyon Chance, RB-Western Michigan
The diminutive five-foot-five, 169-pound back shined in his first start of the season, running for 144 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries against Minnesota.

Antonio Andrews, RB-Western Kentucky
We were a big fan of Andrews on draft day, but he started the season splitting carries with Keshawn Simpson and some owners may have released him.  After carrying the ball 34 times for 125 yards and three touchdowns in a 32-31 win over Kentucky on Saturday, Andrews showed why we ranked him #34 in our preseason running back rankings.

Jordan Hall, RB-Ohio St
Fantasy owners may have passed on drafting Hall because of a preseason injury, but he returned last week and ran for 87 yards on 17 carries.

Tevin King, RB-Louisiana Tech
After two games, the freshman running back leads the Bulldogs in rushing with 316 yards and has added three touchdowns.

Andre Davis, WR-South Florida
Davis has emerged as quarterback B.J. Daniels’ favorite target and has hauled in 20 receptions for 275 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games.

Devin Smith, WR-Ohio St
Now with two straight games with at least five catches, Smith is emerging as the play-making receiver that the Buckeyes need.

Josh Stewart, Oklahoma St
Since a quiet Week One against Savannah State, Stewart has caught 18 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns.

Antavian Edison, WR-Purdue
Edison has recorded at least five catches, 50 yards, and a touchdown in every game this season.

Marquelo Suel, WR-Akron
Suel has at least six receptions in every game this season and has two 99-yard receiving games and three touchdowns.

Mike Evans, WR-Texas A&M
Evans followed up his seven-catch, 60-yards performance against Florida in the Aggies’ opener with a six-catch, 123-yard day against SMU this past weekend.

Chris Coyle, TE-Arizona St
Coyle leads the nation in receiving yards for tight ends and has led the Sun Devils in receiving yards or receptions in every game this season.
 

Last Week’s Waiver Wire Suggestions

Connor Halliday, QB-Wash St (378 pass yards, 4 TDs @ UNLV)

Brett Hundley, QB-UCLA (320 pass yards, 2 TDs vs Houston)

Venric Mark, RB-Northwestern (18 carries for 77 yards, 7 receptions for 42 yards vs BC)

Todd Gurley, RB-Georgia (10 carries for 111 yards, TD vs FAU)

Isaiah Burse, WR-Fresno St (3 receptions for 107 yards, TD vs Colorado)

Austin Franklin, WR-New Mexico St (7 receptions for 107 yards, 2 TDs at UTEP)

Jamison Crowder, WR-Duke (7 receptions for 84 yards, TD vs NC Central)

Rolandan Finch, RB-Boston College (19 yards rushing, 16 yards receiving @ NWestern)

Cody Getz, RB-Air Force (Bye)

Damien Williams, RB-Oklahoma (Bye)

Leighton Settle, RB-NIU (5 carries for 19 yards at Army)

Alex Neutz, WR-Buffalo (Bye)
 


by Joe DiSalvo

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Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Post-Week 3 Waiver Wire Report</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 22:20
Path: /mlb/2012-major-league-baseball-power-rankings-sept-17
Body:

Each week during the season Athlon Sports looks at the best and worst baseball teams and players in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week for September 17, 2012.

 1. Nationals — Every game remaining is against a team in the race.

 2. Reds — Huge offensive slump in September.

 3. Rangers — Lost just one series at home in the second half.

 4. Braves — Took the fight to the Nats over the weekend.

 5. Giants — Will have advantage in most postseason pitching matchups.

 6. A’s — Seven games left with division-leading Rangers.

 7. Yankees — Bronx Bombers hanging on for dear life.

 8. Orioles — Face losing teams for the next 13 games.

 9. Angels — Streaky Angels hot once again, but may be too late.

10. Rays — Tampa Bay’s offense doesn’t scare anyone.

11. White Sox — Lost 11 of 16 before sweeping Twins in Minnesota.

12. Cardinals — Chris Carpenter set to pitch on Friday.

13. Dodgers — Couldn’t overtake Redbirds in four-game set.

14. Tigers — Max Scherzer leads AL with eight wins in second half.

15. Brewers — Brew Crew creeping into the wild card discussion.

16. Phillies — Wishing they had Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino back?

17. Pirates — Struggling to finish the season at .500.

18. Padres — Won 19 of their last 25.

19. Diamondbacks — Young pitching staff gaining valuable experience.

20. Mariners — Have 18 chances left to play spoiler.

21. Blue Jays — 11 games remaing with Yankees and Orioles combined.

22. Royals — Youngsters have scored the most runs in AL in September.

23. Mets — Trying to get R.A. Dickey to 20 wins, Cy Young award.

24. Marlins — Jose Reyes leads team in singles, doubles, triples since break.

25. Red Sox — Only team in either league without a shutout since the break.

26. Indians — 5.24 second half ERA is worst in majors.

27. Cubs — Alfonso Soriano earns third 100-RBI season of his career.

28. Twins — Samuel Deduno best pitcher over last two months.

29. Rockies — Rookie Wilin Rosario leads team with 24 homers.

30. Astros — Haven’t lost 100 games — yet.

 

AL Player of the Week

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit—In his pursuit of the triple crown, Cabrera bashed Chicago and Cleveland pitching last week with a .407 average and 1.243 OPS. He had at least one run and one RBI in six of the seven games, finishing with seven of each. The triple crown is possible, but it will take a power surge from Cabrera. He’s one point ahead of Mike Trout in batting average, tied with Josh Hamilton with 123 RBIs, and trails Hamilton by four home runs with three players in between.

 

AL Pitcher of the Week

Jarrod Parker, Oakland—The 23-year-old righthander won both starts last week against teams fighting for a playoff spot. He defeated the Angels on the road and the Orioles at home. Parker, drafted No. 9 overall by Arizona in 2007, was acquired from the Diamondbacks in a deal that included Trevor Cahill moving to Arizona. In 14 innings last week, Parker allowed 11 hits, three walks and struck out seven.

 

NL Player of the Week

Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia—Buster Posey continued his assault on the NL MVP award with another strong week at the plate, but Rollins was even better. Doing what a leadoff hitter should, Rollins reached base at a .471 clip and led the majors with nine runs. He stole five bases without being caught and batted .393. He also hit three homers.

 

NL Pitcher of the Week

Wily Peralta, Milwaukee—The Brewers have climbed back into the wild card race, ending the week just 2.5 games out. Peralta, who has made just three major league starts, has given a lift to Milwaukee’s rotation. The Brewers won both of his starts last week, defeating the Braves and Mets. Peralta tossed eight shutout innings in the win over New York on Sunday, allowing just two hits and one walk.

Teaser:
<p> A look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 16:52
Path: /nfl/perfect-signal-caller
Body:

What’s your favorite aspect of a quarterback’s game? Some like arm strength, some favor mobility while everyone wants a tough leader. The Athlon editors decided to take the best traits from elite signal callers like Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees (sorry, no Tim Tebow) and build the perfect NFL quarterback.

Teaser:
<p> Our editors look to construct the ultimate NFL quarterback.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 16:35
Path: /WorstQB
Body:

Athlon Sports built the NFL’s Ultimate Quarterback in the September issue of our monthly magazine. Now we take a shot at building the NFL’s Worst Quarterback, pulling together the worst attributes from the league's QBs.


Toughness
Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars
As a rookie, Gabbert was labeled “scared” by many in the national media, notably NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi. The Jags organization has since declared Gabbert’s toughness to be a “non-issue,” with several teammates declaring that their quarterback is “not scared.”

Size
Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Weighing in at 5’11” and 206 pounds, Russell can barely see over his O-line. Russell is a toy poodle compared to big dogs like Ben Roethlisberger (6’5”, 241), Peyton Manning (6’5”, 230), Tom Brady (6’4”, 225) and Eli Manning (6’4”, 218).

Contract
Sam Bradford, Rams
The last No. 1 overall pick to sign prior to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Bradford’s rookie deal is a six-year, $78-million anchor compared to the four-year, $22-million contracts signed by his top pick successors, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck.

Mind
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
Although HBO’s “Hard Knocks” showed off Tannehill’s smoking hot wife, Lauren, the reality show also exposed Tannehill’s lack of football knowledge. The rookie had no idea what teams were in which divisions and came across as a clueless meathead.



Temper
Philip Rivers, Chargers
Nobody throws a temper tantrum quite like Rivers, who learned early on from the master, Marty Schottenheimer, before coming to a rolling boil during a ring-less run under coach Norv Turner.

Body Language
Jay Cutler, Bears
Whether he’s sulking while injured on the sideline during a playoff loss against the Packers or barking-slash-blaming teammates during a Thursday night loss to the Packers (and the subsequent press conference), Cutler has proven to be a master of bad body language.

Style
Tony Romo, Cowboys
There’s nothing quite like Romo’s backwards Starter cap, which is a permanent fixture during pregame introductions, on the sideline and probably even at swanky parties thrown by Jerry Jones.

Off-field History
Michael Vick, Eagles
After Vick’s dog-fighting ring was uncovered, he pleaded guilty to federal felony charges and served 21 months in prison in Aug. 2007. Then, the former face of Nike football and $100-million man filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2008.



Playoff Record
Matt Ryan, Falcons
“Matty Ice” carries an 0–3 record in the postseason, being outscored 102–47. Ryan has thrown for just 584 yards, three TDs and four INTs, while taking 10 sacks and losing two fumbles.

Age-to-Experience Ratio
Brandon Weeden, Browns
Only a rookie, Weeden will turn 29 years old on Oct. 14. Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Aaron Rodgers already has a Super Bowl ring and MVP award. And Cleveland’s former favorite son, LeBron James, is a three-time MVP, two-time Olympic gold medalist and NBA champ at only 27.

Job Security
Mark Sanchez, Jets
It must feel good when Sanchez reads Jets owner Woody Johnson declare, “I think you can never have too much (Tim) Tebow.” And with a cancerous Gang Green locker room already divided, Sanchez is in no man’s land.

Arm
Tim Tebow, Jets
A lefty prone to throwing wounded ducks way off target, Tebow has completed 167-of-353 career pass attempts for a 47.3 completion percentage. While throwing may not be his forte, the jacked up Tebow is probably an All-Pro arm wrestler.

Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports built the NFL’s Ultimate Quarterback; now we build the NFL's Worst Quarterback.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 15:07
Path: /nascar/round-one-keselowski
Body:

If Jimmie Johnson and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team are the Muhammad Ali of NASCAR — the heavyweight that wins with both sheer power and poise — Brad Keselowski and his No. 2 Penske Racing bunch are the sport’s Sugar Ray Leonard. Not necessarily graced with the resources enjoyed by Johnson, Keselowski wins with smarts and guile — and a sweeping uppercut that comes, seemingly, from nowhere.

Therefore, it was fitting that Keselowski referred to his win in Sunday’s GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in boxer’s terms.

“It feels like Round 1 of a heavyweight title bout, just it’s a 10-round bout,” he said of the first Chase race in NASCAR’s 10-week playoff. “Week 1 is done and we won the round but we didn’t by any means knock them out. We’ve got a lot of racing left to go. We’re feeling good about today but know that we have a lot of work to do.”

They’ll be no checking of scorecards for this round, though. Johnson started second and was in control of the race, leading a commanding 172 of the first 228 laps. However, Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe managed to maneuver their Dodge to the front, using a quick pit stop — and just a little gamesmanship — to take control of the point.

Trailing Johnson by a second as the final round of pit stops began, Keselowski exited the pits just in front of his rival and made a hasty entrance onto the racing surface. Johnson claimed Keselowski “blended” back onto the track too soon (NASCAR rules state a driver must keep all four wheels below the white line before the backstretch). Keselowski’s car cut in front of Johnson’s, briefly stalling his momentum.

The move drew the ire of Johnson’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, who asked NASCAR to review the move.

The sanctioning body’s response? “No harm, no foul.”

And with that, Keselowski used clean air to hold Johnson at bay for the final 26 laps to record his fourth win of the season and claim the top spot in the Chase.

“He did cut up early,” Johnson said. “It did impede my progress, I had to check up and wasn’t sure where things were going. But it didn’t affect the outcome I don’t believe.

“The way he made quick work in (lap) traffic and stretched it out on me, I’m not sure I would have held him off. At the time it messed me up, but I don’t think it played an outcome in the race.”

Keselowski, in turn, feigned ignorance as to why Johnson felt wronged:

“There is no enforced line like you see in other sports, and that’s not a bad thing. That’s just one more thing to monitor during the race. But it’s certainly — I don’t want to say a gentlemen’s agreement — it’s a policy of merging down the backstretch, off of Turn 2, I think it said specifically in the driver’s meeting. And I feel like that’s what we did.”

Chase participants made up nine of the top-15 finishers. The only one that suffered a crippling blow was Jeff?Gordon, who’s throttle stuck in lap 189. The damage resulted in a 35th-place showing. He now sits 12th in the Chase standings, 47 points out of first.

Popular pre-Chase favorite Denny Hamlin, who entered the event with the top spot, ran out of fuel on the final lap, dropping from a solid top-5 finish to 16th.

“This was just us making a big mistake with our fuel again,” said Hamlin. “It’s tough, but we’re strong enough and fast enough this Chase that we can make up 15 points easily.”

As the most recent drive to be anointed as the No. 1 contender, Keselowski knows it’s too early to get comfortable.

“Any time you win, it’s a bit of a mission accomplished for that particular weekend, but the Chase isn’t about one particular weekend, it’s about 10, and there’s a long row to hoe.”


by Matt Taliaferro
Follow Matt on Twitter:
@MattTaliaferro

 

Teaser:
<p> Brad Keselowski beat Jimmie Johnson in NASCAR's GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 13:47
Path: /nfl/denver-broncos-vs-atlanta-falcons-preview-and-prediction
Body:

An excellent quarterback battle will be the focus on Monday Night Football, when the Atlanta Falcons host the Denver Broncos at 8:30 p.m. EST on ESPN. Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning led their respective clubs to double-digit victories in Week 1, with the Falcons beating the Chiefs on the road and the Broncos topping the Steelers at home. Both teams have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations this season, and a 2-0 start would go a long way towards having a successful year.

When the Atlanta Falcons have the ball:
Ryan had a stellar opener in Kansas City, going 23-for-31 passing for 299 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a score on the ground. Roddy White and tight end Tony Gonzalez have been favorite targets during Ryan’s career, but second-year receiver Julio Jones led the way versus the Chiefs with six catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. The Falcons passing game looks to be electric, but they will also need to get Michael Turner (32 yards at K.C.) and the running game going against Denver.

The Broncos defense had trouble getting off the field against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, but holding Pittsburgh to 19 points and a late interception return touchdown made for a solid performance. Denver will need pass rushers Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil to pressure Ryan in this one, as covering all of Atlanta’s weapons can be quite the task. The Broncos limited big plays against the Steelers, and doing so once again will be critical against a fast-paced Falcons offense.

When the Denver Broncos have the ball:
Everyone around the NFL was anxious to see how Manning would look in his return from multiple neck surgeries, and the four-time MVP responded with 253 passing yards and two touchdowns. In fact, he became the third quarterback in league history to reach the 400-touchdown mark. The Broncos were especially effective when Manning went to the no-huddle attack, so look for more of the same in Atlanta.

The Falcons gave up 17 points to the Chiefs in the first half but were able to shut down Kansas City in the second stanza, with the lone score coming with five seconds to go. Atlanta will face a tougher challenge this week with Manning and company, and the Falcons offense can help the defense greatly by winning the time of possession battle and keeping No. 18 off the field. Atlanta had three takeaways and three sacks versus the Chiefs, but the defense will have to absorb a major loss with Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury.

Key Factor:
Both defenses allowed well over 50-percent on third down conversions last week, and the unit that improves the most in that department will hold a huge advantage tonight. The Atlanta and Denver offenses will both earn plenty of yards, but the defense that can score or hold the opponent to field goals instead of touchdowns will prevail in this exciting matchup. The Falcons are 26-4 in the Georgia Dome with Matt Ryan at quarterback, so we’ll take Atlanta to win at home in a close one.

Prediction:
Falcons 27 Broncos 24


---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 

Teaser:
<p> Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Funny, nascar tattoos, Overtime, Overtime
Path: /overtime/20-best-and-worst-nascar-tattoos-ever
Body:

NASCAR fans are a very proud group of people. And they're also very into getting tattoos. So when you combine those two, you get a lot of people willing to put some very large and ornate NASCAR-related tattoos on their bodies. And we're the winners of that combination because we get to see the crazy, funny and insane things people have put on their skin (and most of them are about Dale Earnhardt). 

So with that, here are the 21 best and worst photos of NASCAR tattoos. We don't feel the need to tell you which ones fall in the "Best NASCAR tattoo" file and which ones fall in the "Worst NASCAR tattoo" file. You'll know them when you see them.

1. The Triple Decker
This looks like what happens when you ask M.C. Escher to design your NASCAR tattoo. Between the depth, the detail and the back skin rolls, you could get trapped staring for hours, like one of those magic eye paintings.

 

2. She’s Got Leg
Not sure if you can have a daughter after getting a tattoo like that. Also not sure if a woman who exists solely as a tattoo can catch an STD, but if it is possible, this one looks like a good candidate to make it happen.

 

3. The Devil is in the Details
That’s a proper tribute to Dale Earnhardt. Because you can’t really say good-bye to a fallen icon without Looney Tunes characters (and a little ass crack).

 

4 R.I.P. Dale Earnhardt
And on the flipside, it’s probably not the best idea to pay tribute to a man who died in a car crash by showing his trademark car number going up in flames.

 

5. Danica Patrick Arm Candy
Two things are very clear here. 1) This guy likes checking out his arms in the mirror. 2) This guy is left-handed.

 

6. Rev Her Up
What’s more offensive: the Confederate flag or the fact that they didn’t even bother to use an attractive chick in the tattoo-porn?

 

7. Face Off
In a race, the checkered flag means the event is over. In this guy’s case, it means any chance of getting health insurance is over.

 

8. Rock Hard Abs
We wonder how many times he’s gotten laid with the line, “Hey honey, check out my six pack.” Actually, we just wonder how many times he’s gotten laid, period.

 

9. Treasure Fail
No man should ever make that part of his mid-section the focus of anything. He could have the cure for cancer tattooed down there and nobody would be able to look long enough to read it.

 

10. Compact Tat
Nothing against the Chevy Impala, but giving it a shout out in arm ink is probably the best way to destroy the “bad-ass” factor of a tattoo. You’d probably look a little scarier with a PT Cruiser on your arm.

 

11. Gentlemen, Start Your Engines
Remember, it’s called a “tramp stamp” for a reason. Just because you see the checkered flag, doesn’t mean you came in first.

 

12. Ford, Hear Our Prayer
Nothing pleases the big man upstairs like having his message associated with the logo of a struggling car company that has to recall thousands of its products on a regular basis.

 

13. Is That A Muppet?
Guy walks into a tattoo parlor: “Hey, I'm a NASCAR fan, can you just doodle a little on my arm and see what you come up with?”
Tattoo artist: “I’m kinda busy, can my seven-year old son do it?”
Guy: “Sure.”
Tattoo artist: “So you want him to draw it on there with a marker before we start inking you up?”
Guy: “Nah, just give him the needle and we’ll see what we wind up with.”

 

14. He’s Got A Lead Foot
There goes any chance of wearing Tevas to your daughter’s wedding.

 

15. Back It Up
We’re still not sold on the favorite racer lower back tattoo. It’s kind of like Dale Earnhardt Jr. is quietly smirking at you any time you roll around in the sheets with your special lady.

 

16. In Dale We Trust
A real quality shout out to a legend that includes the three most important things for a tattoo tribute: classy art, bible verse and bacne.

 

17. Puttin’ on the Schlitz
You may have laughed when you first looked at this picture, but think about it for a minute. Doesn’t this guy have life figured out way better than the rest of us? He clearly knows what he wants and knows how to get it.

 

18. Bringing Up The Rear
Ladies and gentlemen, one NASCAR tramp stamp to rule them all! That’s none other than Danica Patrick representing both her country and her sport with a half-American flag, half-checkered flag on her lower back. God bless America.

 

19. King Cobra
Admit it: There was nothing cooler when you were eight years old than snakes and cars. Kudos to this guy for making sure he never stops feeling that way.

 

20. Get Your Head in the Game
At least he can grow hair over that now that Earnhardt changed his car number. What’s that? He’s bald? Oh dear, that’s unfortunate. Wait a minute, is that a Bucs logo on his neck? Man, this just keeps getting worse and worse.

 

21. A Touch of Green...
He's waiting until he gets his next paycheck to get the rest of the colors. 

 

By Vito Pugliese

Teaser:
<p> NASCAR fans really like to put NASCAR ink on their bodies</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 08:30
Path: /college-football/acc-post-week-3-power-rankings
Body:

If there were any doubts Florida State was ready to make a run into national title contention, those should be erased after Saturday’s win over Wake Forest. The Seminoles beat Wake Forest 52-0, which included impressive performances on both sides of the ball. Virginia Tech was a surprise loser in Week 3, dropping a 35-17 game to Pittsburgh. Georgia Tech handled Virginia, while North Carolina’s late rally fell short against Louisville in an ACC-Big East showdown.

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson – Ellington has been used sparingly the last two weeks due to the competition. The senior has 328 yards and four touchdowns through the first three games.

2. Bryn Renner, QB, North Carolina – Renner has been sharp in the first year under new coach Larry Fedora. Through three weeks, he has thrown for 870 yards and nine touchdowns and completed 62.5 percent of his throws.

3. Chris Thompson, RB, Florida State – Thompson was quiet through the first two weeks of the season but exploded for 197 yards and two scores against Wake Forest.
 

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner and fellow end Tank Carradine dominated the line of scrimmage against Wake Forest. Werner recorded four tackles and two sacks in the win over the Demon Deacons.

2. Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland – Vellano was relatively quiet in the loss to Connecticut, recording four tackles and no sacks.

3. David Amerson, CB, NC State – Amerson has rebounded after a rough start and recorded three tackles and one interception in NC State’s win over South Alabama.


Coach of the Year

1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles passed their first big test of the season, dominating Wake Forest for a 52-0 win.

2. Dabo Swinney, Clemson – The Tigers notched an easy win over Furman, but Swinney has a chance to jump to the top of this list with a win over Florida State in Week 4.

3. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech – With losses by Wake Forest (Jim Grobe), Virginia Tech (Frank Beamer) and North Carolina (Larry Fedora), there are few options for the third spot. The Yellow Jackets lost a key Week 1 game to Virginia Tech but crushed Virginia in Week 3.

 

ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1. Florida State (3-0, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
1
Week 3 result: Beat Wake Forest 52-0
Consider the Seminoles’ first test of 2012 a huge success. After playing Savannah State and Murray State in the first two weeks of the season, Florida State was still somewhat of a mystery. However, the Seminoles erased any doubts surrounding this team, destroying Wake Forest 52-0 to earn their first ACC win. Running back Chris Thompson ran wild against the Demon Deacons, rushing for a career high 197 yards on nine carries. Florida State’s defense also suffocated Wake Forest, allowing just 126 yards and seven first downs.
Next Game: Clemson

2. Clemson (3-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
2
Week 3 result: Beat Furman 41-7
The Tigers cruised to a 41-7 victory over Furman in the final tune-up before ACC play. Quarterback Tajh Boyd continued his strong start to the season by throwing for 310 yards and two touchdowns. And the offense got a boost with the return of receiver Sammy Watkins, who caught four passes for 52 yards and took one rush for a 50-yard score against the Paladins. One area of concern for Dabo Swinney and his staff has to be the defense, especially after allowing 352 yards and generating no sacks.
Next Game: at Florida State

3. Georgia Tech (2-1, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
4
Week 3 result: Beat Virginia 56-20
Even though it was only the second ACC game of the season, beating Virginia was crucial for any shot the Yellow Jackets had of winning the division crown. Quarterback Tevin Washington had a standout performance against the Cavaliers, throwing for 125 yards and one touchdown, while adding 93 yards and three scores on the ground. Georgia Tech’s defense held Virginia’s rushing attack to only 98 yards, while forcing two interceptions. The Yellow Jackets are still a game behind Virginia Tech in the Coastal standings, so every conference game the rest of the year (at least for now) is essentially a must-win situation.
Next Game: Miami

4. Virginia Tech (2-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
3
Week 3 result: Lost to Pittsburgh 35-17
One of the most surprising results from Week 3 was Virginia Tech’s 35-17 loss at Pittsburgh. The Panthers lost to Youngstown State and Cincinnati in the first two weeks of the season and were considered a heavy underdog. The problems for the Hokies started on offense, as the rushing attack never found its rhythm, and quarterback Logan Thomas tossed three picks. The defense gave up 254 rushing yards and recorded just one sack against a suspect Pittsburgh offensive line. While this loss knocks Virginia Tech out of the national title discussion, the Hokies are still in control of the Coastal Division.
Next Game: Bowling Green

5. NC State (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
6
Week 3 result: Beat South Alabama 31-7
After playing Tennessee and Connecticut in the first two weeks of the season, South Alabama was the perfect Week 3 get well opponent for the Wolfpack. Quarterback Mike Glennon had his best performance on the season, throwing for 257 yards and three scores. The defense held the Jaguars without a score until the fourth quarter and recorded seven sacks. NC State should have another easy win in Week 4 against FCS opponent Citadel.
Next Game: Citadel

6. Virginia (2-1, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
5
Week 3 result: Lost to Georgia Tech 56-20
There’s really no way to sugarcoat it: Georgia Tech simply dominated the Cavaliers on Saturday. Virginia’s offense never generated much of a rushing attack, and the defense couldn’t stop the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option offense. Georgia Tech rushed for 461 yards and seven scores, while quarterback Tevin Washington threw for 133 yards and one touchdown. After a sluggish performance by Virginia quarterback Michael Rocco, Alabama transfer Phillip Sims may get extended snaps in the Week 4 matchup against TCU.
Next Game: at TCU

7. Wake Forest (2-1, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
7
Week 3 result: Lost to Florida State 52-0
Even after losing to Florida State 52-0, it’s hard to penalize the Demon Deacons in the power rankings. Few candidates in the ACC are deserving of a promotion, and Wake Forest simply ran into a buzzsaw in Tallahassee. The Demon Deacons gained only 126 yards, while the defense was gashed for 385 yards and four touchdowns by Florida State’s rushing attack. Wake Forest should bounce back this Saturday against Army and has a favorable matchup in Week 5 against Duke.
Next Game: Army

8. North Carolina (1-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
8
Week 3 result: Lost to Louisville 39-34
It was a tale of two halves for North Carolina against Louisville on Saturday. The Tar Heels were awful in the first half, trailing 36-7 before the start of the third quarter. However, quarterback Bryn Renner rallied North Carolina in the second half, giving the Tar Heels a chance to win in the final minutes. Renner finished with 363 yards and five touchdowns, but the ground attack stalled without Giovani Bernard. North Carolina’s secondary continued to struggle, allowing 279 yards and three touchdowns to Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater.
Next Game: East Carolina

9. Miami (2-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
9
Week 3 result: Beat Bethune-Cookman 38-10
A week after suffering a 52-13 beatdown against Kansas State, the Hurricanes rebounded with a 38-10 win over FCS opponent Bethune-Cookman. It was far from a perfect effort from Miami, but freshman running back Duke Johnson scored four touchdowns, and the defense allowed only three points in the second half. Miami’s defense has been a concern all year and while it allowed only a field goal in the last two quarters, Bethune-Cookman managed 233 rushing yards. Considering the Hurricanes’ next opponent (Georgia Tech), specializes in the ground game, Miami’s defensive staff could have a lot of sleepless nights this week.
Next Game: at Georgia Tech

10. Duke (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
10
Week 3 result: Beat N.C. Central 54-17
The Blue Devils jumped out to 17-7 lead in the first quarter and never looked back in Saturday’s win over N.C. Central. Led by quarterback Sean Renfree’s 274 passing yards, Duke scored at least 10 points in every quarter and improved to 2-1 for the first time under coach David Cutcliffe. The rushing attack remains a concern for Cutcliffe, as the Blue Devils managed only 128 yards and one touchdown in Saturday’s win. Duke has another must-win game next week against Memphis.
Next Game: Memphis

11. Boston College (1-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Week 3 result: Lost to Northwestern 22-13
The Eagles were close, but not good enough to beat Northwestern. Quarterback Chase Rettig had another steady performance, throwing for 291 yards and one touchdown on 24 completions. However, the rushing attack managed only 25 yards, and the defense had no answer for Northwestern’s offense. The Eagles have a bye this Saturday, which comes at a good time with the team searching for answers on both sides of the ball. Boston College returns to play on Sept. 29 against Clemson.
Next Game: Clemson (Sept. 29)

12. Maryland (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
12
Week 3 result: Lost to Connecticut 24-21
Just like the Terrapins’ first two games, Saturday’s matchup against Connecticut wasn’t the easiest to watch. Maryland’s offense managed a season-low 205 yards against the Huskies and committed two turnovers. The Terrapins had a shot to win in the final minutes, but Connecticut’s defense held late in the fourth quarter. Through three weeks, Maryland’s offense ranks 119th nationally in total yards per game (258.3) and 105th in turnover margin. The Terrapins have made some progress in Randy Edsall’s second season but beating West Virginia in Week 4 will be a tall task.
Next Game: at West Virginia


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

Related College Football Content

Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
College Football Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:49
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-3-power-rankings
Body:

It was an interesting week in the SEC. Alabama made another huge statement with a convincing win at Arkansas, but the most noteworthy game took place in Knoxville. Florida was sensational in the second half of a 37-20 win over Tennessee. The Gators are already 2-0 in the SEC with both wins coming on the road. 

Post-Week 3 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Aaron Murray, GeorgiaThe junior quarterback is completing 63.8 percent of his passes for 842 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. He threw for a career-high 342 yards in the Bulldogs’ win over FAU last weekend.

2. Mike Gillislee, Florida The Gators’ rejuvenated offense has leaned on Gillislee in key road wins over Texas A&M and Tennessee. Saturday night in Knoxville, he ran for 115 yards on 18 carries, and he leads the SEC after three games with 346 yards.

3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M The Texas high school legend has been terrific through two games for the Aggies. He has thrown for 467 yards and four touchdowns (with no INTs) and has added 184 yards and three scores on the ground.

Post-Week 3 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jarvis Jones, Georgia Jones remains on top of the this list despite sitting out the FAU game with an injury. The junior outside linebacker has emerged as one of the most disruptive forces in the nation.

2. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State Banks is one of the nation’s premier cornerbacks. He has two interceptions and 12 total tackles for the 3–0 Bulldogs.

3. C.J. Mosley, AlabamaThe junior linebacker has been a consistent force on the dominant Alabama defense. He had five tackles in the Tide’s 52–0 win over Arkansas on Saturday.
 

Post-Week 3 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Nick Saban, Alabama He is the coach of the nearly unanimous No. 1 team in the nation. His offense is brutally efficient, and his defense is dominant.

2. Will Muschamp, Florida Two weeks ago, many were wondering if Muschamp was the right fit in Gainesville. Now, after two come-from-behind wins on the road in league play, he is being mentioned as a possible SEC Coach of the Year.

3. Mark Richt, Georgia The Bulldogs survived a Week 2 scare at Missouri and then returned home and pounded Florida Atlantic. This team remains the favorite to win the SEC East.

Post-Week 3 SEC Power Rankings

1. Alabama (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 3 result: Beat Arkansas 52-0
In one of the most impressive performances of the Nick Saban era, Alabama routed the Tyler Wilson-less Razorbacks with surprising ease. Bama outgained Arkansas 438-to-137 with a balanced offense (200-plus yards passing and rushing) and a dominating defense that allowed an average of only 2.2 yards per play. The Crimson Tide has recorded two straight shutouts and has only allowed points in two of 12 quarters this season.
Next Game: FAU

2. LSU (3-0, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 2
Week 3 result: Beat Idaho 63-14
LSU completed its season-opening three-game homestand with its third straight blowout victory. The Tigers blew open a relatively close game — they only led 21–14 late in the second quarter vs. the winless Vandals — by scoring the final six touchdowns of the game. Zach Mettenberger, making his third career start, completed 17-of-22 passes for 22 yards and two touchdowns. LSU has now won an NCAA FBS record 40 straight regular-season non-conference games.
Next Game: Auburn

3. Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 3
Week 3 result: Beat Florida Atlantic 56-20
Georgia averaged a staggering 11.3 yards per play on the way to setting a single-game school record with 713 total yards in the easy win over Florida Atlantic. Junior quarterback Aaron Murray threw for a career-high 342 yards (on only 19 attempts) and two running backs, true freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, topped the 100-yard mark despite each getting only 10 carries. Georgia has scored more than 40 points in its first three games for the first time in school history.
Next Game: Vanderbilt

4. Florida (3-0, 2-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 6
Week 3 result: Beat Tennessee 37-20
Since struggling to beat Bowling Green in Week 1, Florida has been one of the most impressive teams in the nation. First the Gators won at Texas A&M in the Aggies’ first-ever SEC game. Then, on Saturday night, Florida dominated Tennessee in the second half on its way to an eighth straight victory over the Volunteers. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel was sharp (he threw 219 yards on 20 attempts), but the Gators did most of their work on the ground. Mike Gillislee gained 115 yards on 18 carries to lead a running attack that gained 336 yards on 43 attempts. The Gators are the only team in the nation with two conference wins.
Next Game: Kentucky

5. South Carolina (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 4
Week 3 result: Beat UAB 49-6
The Gamecocks cruised to their second straight lopsided win at home, pulling away in the second half to defeat UAB 49-6. After struggling on offense in the season-opening win over Vanderbilt, South Carolina has topped the 500-yard mark in consecutive games. Connor Shaw returned to the starting lineup after sitting out last week’s game vs. East Carolina, but he had to leave the game in the second quarter after taking a big hit to his shoulder. South Carolina has only given up two touchdowns in 12 quarters this season.
Next Game: Missouri

6. Mississippi State (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 7
Week 3 result: Beat Troy 30-24
Mississippi State is 3–0 for the first time since 1999 after holding on to beat Troy on the road. It was a big night for two Bulldog skill players: Tailback LaDarius Perkins rushed for 179 yards on 23 carries, and wide receiver Chad Bumphis became the first MSU player with three touchdown catches since 1969. Bumphis caught six passes for 180 yards. The Bulldogs gave up 572 total yards but won the turnover battle 4-to-0.
Next Game: South Alabama

7. Missouri (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 8
Week 3 result: Beat Arizona State 24-20
Playing with a backup quarterback in front of a patchwork offensive line, Missouri gutted out a four-point win over a solid Arizona State team Saturday night. Corbin Berkstresser made his first career start in place of the injured James Franklin, and the redshirt freshman from Lee’s Summit, Mo., completed 26-of-46 passes for 258 yards and one touchdown. This game, however, was won on defense. The Tigers forced four turnovers and held an Arizona State offense that topped 500 yards in its first two games to 296 yards.
Next Game: at South Carolina

8. Texas A&M (1-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 9
Week 3 result: Beat SMU 48-3
The Aggies bounced back from the emotional loss at home to Florida in the school’s SEC debut by rolling past SMU in Dallas with ease. Redshirt freshman Johny Manziel was sensational for Texas A&M, throwing for 294 yards and four touchdowns and adding 124 yards and two scores on the ground. The Aggies struggled a bit in the first quarter, but scored touchdowns on seven of eight drives during one stretch — four of which that went for 70 yards or longer.
Next Game: South Carolina State

9. Tennessee (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 3 result: Lost to Florida 37-20
The Volunteers weren’t quite ready for the national stage. In the most anticipated game of the Derek Dooley era, Tennessee watched Florida score the game’s final 24 points — including two on touchdowns that covered at least 75 yards — of a disheartening 37–20 loss. Tennessee struggled to run the ball, averaging only 3.0 yards on 28 rushing attempts. Conversely, Florida ran for 336 yards and averaged 7.8 yards per rush.
Next Game: Akron

10. Auburn (1-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 11
Week 3 result: Beat UL Monroe 31-28 in OT
Auburn averted disaster — and its first 0–3 start since 1950 — by edging giant killer UL Monroe in overtime. The biggest positive for the Tigers was a running game that picked up 255 yards on 42 carries. Onterio McCalebb led the way with 128 yards on 11 carries, and Tre Mason added 90 yards on 22 carries. Kiehl Frazier continued to struggle at quarterback. The sophomore completed 10-of-18 passes for 130 yards with one touchdown and one pick. Those aren’t bad numbers, but the Tigers would like see more production against a Sun Belt foe.
Next Game: at LSU

11. Arkansas (1-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 10
Week 3 result: Lost to Alabama 52-0
In one of the low points in Arkansas football history, the Razorbacks put up little fight in a 52–0 loss to Alabama on national television. The Hogs, playing without quarterback Tyler Wilson, managed only 137 yards of offense and averaged a paltry 2.2 yards per snap. Brandon Allen went 10-of-18 for 60 yards and two interceptions, and Brandon Mitchell, last year’s backup quarterback who had moved to receiver, completed 1-of-7 for 19 yards.
Next Game: Rutgers

12. Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 12
Week 3 result: Beat Presbyterian 58-0
The Commodores broke into the win column with an easy victory over FCS foe Presbyterian. The Commodores scored on their first nine possessions and rolled up over 600 yards of offense en route to their most decisive win since blanking The Citadel 58–0 in 1999. In a surprising move, second-year coach James Franklin went with junior Austyn Carta-Samuels at quarterback in favor of senior Jordan Rodgers. Carta-Samuels, a transfer from Wyoming, completed 13-of-20 for 195 yards and one touchdown.
Next Game: at Georgia

13. Ole Miss (2-1, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 13
Week 3 result: Lost to Texas 66-31
After starting the Hugh Freeze era with two wins over inferior competition, Ole Miss was ambushed at home by a Texas offense that totaled 676 yards. The Rebels had success of their own on offense — they had nearly 400 yards and 31 points against one of the nation’s top defenses — but had no answer for the balanced Longhorn attack. Texas rushed 350 yards and threw for 326 more.
Next Game: at Tulane

14. Kentucky (1-3, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 14
Week 4 result: Lost to Western Kentucky 32-31 in OT
Joker Phillips' worst fears became a reality: His team lost at home to Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers were in control for most of the night — they held leads of 17–0 and 24–10 — but Kentucky forced overtime by scoring on a 22-yard touchdown strike from Maxwell Smith to DeMarcus Sweat in the final minute. That, however, just delayed the agony for UK fans, who watched in horror as WKU converted a 2-point conversion for the win after scoring a touchdown in the first overtime session. Kentucky has now lost to the other two FBS schools in the state. Not good for Joker.
Next Game: at Florida

Related College Football Content

Week 3 College Football Recap
Post-Week 3 ACC Power Rankings

Post-Week 3 Big East Power Rankings

Post-Week 3 Big 12 Power Rankings

Post-Week 3 Big Ten Power Rankings

Post-Week 3 Pac-12 Power Rankings

Teaser:
<p> Bama still on top, but Florida makes a big move</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:40

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