Articles By All

Path: /college-football/kansas-state-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Exceeding expectations is nothing new for Bill Snyder and Kansas State. The Wildcats were picked sixth in the preseason Big 12 media poll last year but finished with an 11-2 record and the conference championship.

Different year, same story. Kansas State is flying under the radar once again in 2013, but there’s good reason to have concerns about Snyder’s team this year. The Wildcats must replace quarterback Collin Klein and nine new starters will step into prominent roles on defense.

Despite the new faces on both sides of the ball, don’t count out Kansas State from making noise in the Big 12 title race. Although Klein will be missed, Daniel Sams and Jake Waters are a capable duo at quarterback. And although the defense has several new faces, the linebacking corps and secondary should be solid. The schedule does feature two tricky non-conference games, as back-to-back FCS champ North Dakota State visits Kansas State on Aug. 31 and UL Lafayette comes to Manhattan on Sept. 7. In Big 12 action, the Wildcats play at Texas and Oklahoma State in the first two weeks but three out of their last five conference games are at home. 

What will Kansas State's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

Kansas State's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Mark
Ross
Braden
Gall
Dave
Bartoo
David
Fox
8/30 North Dakota State
9/7 UL Lafayette
9/14 UMass
9/21 at Texas
10/5 at Oklahoma State
10/12 Baylor
10/26 West Virginia
11/2 Iowa State
11/9 at Texas Tech
11/16 TCU
11/23 Oklahoma
11/30 at Kansas
Final Projection8-46-68-47-58-4

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Although Kansas State loses a handful of key players from last season’s team, I think the Wildcats will be a factor in the Big 12 title picture. Whether it’s Daniel Sams or Jake Waters under center, Kansas State’s offense should be fine. Running back John Hubert is dependable, the receiving corps is solid, and the offensive line is one of the best in the nation. The defense must rebuild its front seven, but the Wildcats always seem to find the right answers early in the year. Two key swing games – Oklahoma and TCU – come late in the season in Manhattan, which should give Kansas State plenty of time to find replacements for its departed stars on offense and defense. As long as Bill Snyder roams the sidelines, the Wildcats will be a factor in the Big 12 title race, and this team will be a tough out for the rest of the conference in 2013.

Mark Ross
I am the first person to say never bet against Bill Snyder, but from my perspective this is shaping up to be a rebuilding year for the coaching legend. No one has mastered the art of mining the junior-college ranks better than Snyder, and he will need to do the same again this season if he wants to maintain the Wildcats' recent run of success. That may be easier said than done this fall, however, as it's extremely hard to replace a player like Collin Klein, whose value to the program went well beyond his record-setting production as its starting quarterback.

Whoever ends up getting the call as Klein's replacement will have weapons to work with in running back John Hubert and wide receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson. However, the quarterback also will have extremely big shoes to fill and will play behind a defense that returns just two starters. That combination doesn't bode well for a schedule that opens Big 12 play on the road against Texas and Oklahoma State. The WIldcats should find a way to scratch out at least six wins and a fourth straight bowl bid. I just don't see them finishing near the top of the Big 12 standings, although it wouldn't shock me if Snyder proved me wrong yet again.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
The defense is completely reworked as just two starters return to the secondary. Bill Snyder always figures out a way to patch together new pieces but replacing all seven members of a front seven on defense is nearly impossible - even for a miracle worker like him. Offensively, the running game should be outstanding as the line returns and there are plenty of athletes who can make plays. However, Collin Klein is gone too. Nearly every Big 12 game will be a "swing" contest for the Cats. With Snyder on the sideline, they are bound to pull an upset (against TCU or Oklahoma, perhaps) but could easily lose on the road against lesser teams (Texas Tech). This will be a fun team to watch all season due to its unpredictability.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
It’s going to be tough for Kansas State to maintain the level of play it’s had for the last two seasons. But we’ve said that before and been horribly wrong. The offense may be OK as the offensive line and the run game set the tone, even if it loses a key cog in Collin Klein. In our scouting reports, one coach told Athlon he thought Daniel Sams was better. We’ll see about that. I’ve picked Texas to finally solve its K-State problem and the same goes for Oklahoma. Instead, the games I struggled with the most were Kansas State’s home games against Baylor and TCU. I picked a split with Kansas State defeating TCU. Baylor, though, may be too much for a Wildcats’ defense that returns only two starters. Lastly, I’m going to put Kansas State on upset alert to start the season. North Dakota State is Athlon’s preseason No. 1 in the FCS and Louisiana-Lafayette may have a major-conference upset in its system for 2013.

Related College Football Content

Big 12 Predictions for 2013
Bowl Projections for 2013
Big 12's Impact Freshmen for 2013
Key Schedule Stretches in the Big 12 for 2013
College Football's Top 25 Running Back Units for 2013
Big 12 Coaches Anonymously Talk About Conference Foes for 2013
Oklahoma Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Oklahoma State Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Kliff Kingsbury Returns Home to Texas Tech
Big 12's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

Teaser:
Kansas State Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/alabama-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Alabama enters 2013 as the heavy favorite to win the national championship. The Crimson Tide has claimed back-to-back titles and has a favorable path to a third in a row.

The roster is loaded with talent, starting at quarterback with AJ McCarron, along with All-American skill players in running back T.J. Yeldon and receiver Amari Cooper. The offensive line has a few holes to fill, but Alabama’s top-notch recruiting should ensure there’s not too much of a drop up front.

The defense returns eight starters from a unit that ranked No. 1 nationally in scoring, total, rushing and pass defense. The Crimson Tide needs to find a few replacements on the defensive line and for cornerback Dee Milliner. But the linebackers are one of the top units in the nation, and the secondary is solid with young talent ready to step into the lineup. 

The regular season schedule is favorable outside of a date at Texas A&M. Assuming the Crimson Tide beats the Aggies, Alabama’s toughest obstacle to a national championship could be the conference title game against Georgia, South Carolina or Florida.

What will Alabama's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

Alabama's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Mark
Ross
Braden
Gall
David
Fox
Josh
Ward
8/31 Virginia Tech (Atlanta)
9/14 at Texas A&M
9/21 Colorado State
9/28 Ole Miss
10/5 Georgia State
10/12 at Kentucky
10/19 Arkansas
10/26 Tennessee
11/9 LSU
11/16 at Mississippi State
11/23 Chattanooga
11/30 at Auburn
Final Projection12-012-012-012-012-0

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Sure, Alabama has a few holes to fill, but this is still the best team in college football. And the Crimson Tide’s roster is even deeper thanks to the addition of another elite recruiting class. Quarterback AJ McCarron, running back T.J. Yeldon and receiver Amari Cooper form one of the top offensive trios in the nation, and the defense will always be strong under coach Nick Saban and coordinator Kirby Smart. The offensive line is the team’s biggest question mark, especially with the departure of Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker. On defense, cornerback Dee Milliner will be tough to replace. However, cornerback Geno Smith and safety Landon Collins are two breakout players to watch in 2013. Outside of the Sept. 14 date against Texas A&M, it’s hard to find a place for a loss on Alabama’s schedule. Finishing a regular season without a loss isn’t easy, but I’ll take Alabama to finish unbeaten and play for the championship in Pasadena in early January.

Mark Ross
There's no reason to be cute about this. Unless AJ McCarron goes down to a season-ending injury or Alabama just completely implodes, the Crimson Tide should be in the driver's seat to finish off the BCS era as a three-time national champion. The two games that figure to cause 'Bama the most trouble in the regular season are at Texas A&M and against LSU. Well, anyone who remotely follows college football is well aware of how Johnny Manziel's summer has gone, while the Tide gets the Bayou Bengals in Tuscaloosa. I'm not saying the Aggies or Tigers aren't capable of scoring the upset, it just seems Nick Saban's team is getting all the early breaks. So barring a bad break (or two) during one of these games or to one of Saban's key players, Alabama should, ahem, roll to an undefeated regular season.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Want to give yourself nightmares? That is, if you root for anyone other than the Crimson Tide? Nick Saban has won back-to-back national championships and three of the last four and 2013 will be his best team. Is that scary enough for you? This offense, despite the loss of some solid talent up front along the line, will be more complete, more dynamic and more explosive than any in Saban's coaching tenure. The linebackers are downright nasty with upwards of half-a-dozen future NFL players. He has the best safety in the nation, a defensive line loaded with overachievers and the best collection of freshmen on any campus in the country. To top it all off, Alabama misses South Carolina, Georgia and Florida in crossover play and the LSU game comes at home. The much anticipated visit to College Station following a bye week on September 14 looms large, but Alabama's schedule isn't nearly as daunting as a defending SEC champs should be. The Ole Misses and Auburns of the world won't come close to challenging Alabama's dominance. Roll. Damn. Tide.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Not that Alabama needs much help, but this is an easy schedule by SEC standards. Who is Alabama’s toughest opponent in the month of October? Tennessee? Arkansas? And both of those games are at home. And remember the 2010 season when just about every team had an off week before facing the Tide? Alabama now gets the advantage as it gets its toughest opponents, Texas A&M and LSU, after bye weeks. Alabama never has back-to-back games against top-notch teams unless Mississippi State, who plays host to Alabama the week after the LSU game, takes the next step. The Tide are already the top team in the country, but something would have to go wrong against that schedule for Alabama to go 11-1.

Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
It’s hard to imagine Alabama’s schedule being any more favorable. Two opponents stand out as true tests for the Crimson Tide – Texas A&M and LSU. And Alabama will have a week off before it plays each of those teams. Ole Miss played Alabama tough last year, but it’s unrealistic to expect the Crimson Tide to lose at home to the Rebels. Other teams like Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Auburn just don’t have enough talent to match up with Alabama. The Crimson Tide will return to the SEC Championship Game as long as their offensive line develops and the players stay hungry to win another title. 

 

Related College Football Content

SEC Predictions for 2013
SEC 2013 All-Conference Team
SEC Breakout Players for 2013
SEC Coaches Anonymously Talk About Conference Foes for 2013
College Football's Top 25 Running Back Units for 2013
College Football's Top 25 Receiving Corps for 2013
SEC's Impact Freshmen to Watch for 2013
Getting to Know the SEC's New Coaches for 2013
SEC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

Teaser:
Alabama Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/pac-12s-top-25-games-watch-2013
Body:

The Oregon Ducks were 33-3 in Pac-12 play under former head coach Chip Kelly. He won three conference championships in those four seasons and played in the school’s only BCS National Championship Game. Stanford was the cause of two of those three losses and it cost the Ducks not only a Pac-12 title last year but a possible national championship as well.

That is a trend new head coach Mark Helfrich is looking to change. He knows full well that road trips to Washington and Arizona will be tricky and extremely important as will home tests with Oregon State, UCLA and Cal. But Thursday night, Nov. 7, 2013 has been a date Ducks have had circled since falling 17-14 in overtime to the Cardinal last fall.

Stanford won the North, won the Pac-12 and won the Rose Bowl because it outlasted Oregon in Autzen Stadium that night.

So there should be no doubt as to what the biggest game in the Pac-12 will be in 2013:

Related: The Pac-12 Coaches Give Anonymous Scouting Reports on the Pac-12

  Dates RoadHomeThoughts
1.Nov 7Oregon at Stanford (Thurs.): The level of importance surrounding this game can not be overestimated. A division, league and potential national championship could be on the line in what should be the best non-SEC game of the year.
2.Sept 28USC at Arizona State: This game should likely decide the South Division champion as the Sun Devils will look to reverse recent history. Arizona State won 43-22 in Tempe two years ago but has lost every other meeting since 1999 (1-12).
3.Nov 30UCLA at USC: One of the West Coast's top rivalries has some added intrigue as it too could decide the South Division on the season's final weekend. UCLA broke a five-game losing streak to USC last year at home and will look for a repeat performance on the road this fall.
4.Nov 23Arizona State at UCLA: The Devils haven't won in Pasadena since '07 and have lost three of the last four in this series overall. The Bruins won a memorable showdown 45-43 last year in Tempe. There is just as much riding on this one in 2013. 
5.Nov 16Stanford at USC: Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll are no longer around but this budding rivalry is no less important. The Cardinal have won five out of the last six in what has turned out to be a high-scoring affair. The winning team has averaged 41.4 points over the last eight games in this series.
6.Nov 30

Notre Dame at Stanford: The Irish won last year's meeting with a historic goal-line stand that ended a three-year winning streak for the Cardinal. This will be as physical a game as there is in the nation and could carry massive BCS implications by season's end.

7.Oct 26Stanford at Oregon State: The Cardinal are just 2-4 in their last six trips to Corvallis but Stanford has owned the Beavers of late. Stanford has won three straight by a combined score of 103-36, but OSU closed the gap a year ago, losing 27-23 in Palo Alto.
8.Oct 19USC at Notre Dame: One of the game's most historic and prestigious rivalries is renewed in mid-October. USC played well without Matt Barkley last fall, losing 22-13 at home. A loss in South Bend could indicate a changing of the guard in this battle as it would be the Trojans third in four years to the Irish.
9.Sept 21Arizona State at Stanford: Arizona State has won just once (2007) in its last six trips to Palo Alto and this early-season game could be a Pac-12 title game preview. These two haven't met since a 17-13 Cardinal win in Tempe back in 2010.
10.Oct 26UCLA at Oregon: The Ducks have won four straight and nine of the last 11 against UCLA. And these games haven't been close. Oregon has outscored the Bruins 164-78 in the last four meetings and the final outcome hasn't been within one score since 2008.
11.Oct 12Oregon at Washington: The Huskies have lost nine straight to the Ducks and have allowed more than 40 points in six of the last eight. Steve Sarkisian needs to prove that his program has closed the wide gap between his Huskies and one of the Pac-12's perennial contenders and this is a prime spot for a home upset.
12.Oct 19UCLA at Stanford: Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw have owned UCLA, winning the last five meetings with the Bruins by a combined score of 166-76. Shaw's bunch pulled off the rare two-game sweep during the same season last year in Pasadena and then again in the Pac-12 title game. 
13.Nov 29Oregon State at Oregon (Fri.): The Civil War has been dominated by the Ducks of late, who have won five straight in the rivalry. In fact, only once since 2007 has this game been decided by one score or less (2009).
14.Nov 23Washington at Oregon State: These two will likely battle for third place in the North — but the winner could possibly get to 10 wins. The home team has won the last four meetings over the last four years.
15.Nov 1USC at Oregon State (Fri.): After winning every meeting from 1968-99 (25-0), the Beavers have become a thorn in the Trojans' side (see 2006, '08, '10). In fact, the last time these two met, the Beavers embarrassed USC 36-7 in Corvallis.
16.Aug 31Boise State at Washington: Washington will unveil its gorgeous new home digs when it welcomes a ranked Boise State to town in Week 1. These two have met only twice before, which includes a rematch of last year's Las Vegas Bowl, in which the Broncos won 28-26.
17.Oct 5Washington at Stanford: A budding North Division rivalry, Washington upset Stanford 17-13 on a buzzing Thursday night in Seattle last year. The hard-hitting battle left a bad taste in the mouth for Stanford and revenge will be on the minds of the Cardinal.
18.Oct 5Arizona State vs. Notre Dame (Arlington, Texas): These two have met just twice ever with the Irish winning both legs of the home-and-home in 1998-99. The fast track in Jerry's World could give ASU a great chance at a feather-in-the-cap upset in October.
19.Sept 21Utah at BYU: The best-named rivalry in college football will be interrupted following 2013 for the first time since 1945 and it only adds fuel to The Holy War fire. Neither team has a championship-caliber squad but the action should be great as they won't meet again until 2016. 
20.Nov 30Arizona at Arizona State: Strangely enough, the road team has won the last four Duels In the Desert, including a 41-34 shootout victory by ASU in Tucson last year. The home team should be the favorite this year but the Wildcats will be at their best at year's end. 
21.Nov 16Oregon State at Arizona State: Arizona State dominated this series in the 1980s and '90s but the Beavers have since bounced back with wins in four of the last five meetings. Oregon State scored 36 points in a home win over ASU and revenge will be a big factor.
22.Oct 19Washington at Arizona State: After winning seven straight against the Huskies dating back to 2001, the all-time series is now tied 15-15. These two haven't met since the Sun Devils won 24-14 in Seattle in 2010.
23.Sept 14Wisconsin at Arizona State: The fourth-ever meeting between these two could feature plenty of revenge for Arizona State. J.J. Watt and the Badgers won 20-19 in a back-and-forth historic showdown in Madison in 2010.
24.Nov 23Cal at Stanford: The Big Game, due to poor play from Cal, has been relegated to relative obscurity for Cardinal fans this fall. However, new coach Sonny Dykes will learn all about one of the game's best rivalries in 2013. Stanford has won three straight against the Golden Bears.
25.Nov 29Washington State at Washington (Fri.): The Apple Cup was all but won for the Huskies last year before a furious late comeback gave the Cougars a shocking 31-28 overtime win. The improbable victory snapped Wazzu's three-game losing streak against its in-state rivals.

The Next 10:

Nov. 9: UCLA at Arizona
Nov. 23: Oregon at Arizona
Nov. 9: Arizona State at Utah
Oct. 19: Oregon State at Cal
Sept. 28: Arizona at Washington
Oct. 10: Arizona at USC
Nov. 15: Washington at UCLA
Oct. 12: Stanford at Utah
Sept. 14: Tennessee at Oregon
Aug. 31: Northwestern at Cal

Related College Football Content
Pac-12 Football Predictions for 2013
Pac-12 2013 All-Conference Team
Bowl Projections for 2013
Pac-12's Pivotal Players to a Conference Championship

The Pac-12's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013
College Football's All-Freshman Team for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team 

Teaser:
The Pac-12's Top 25 Games to Watch in 2013
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 07:10
Path: /mlb/2013-mlb-power-rankings-aug-19
Body:
Each week during the baseball season Athlon Sports looks at the best (Atlanta Braves) and worst (Houston Astros) baseball teams and players in the league. Here are our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week. 
 
Athlon Sports MLB Power Rankings
 1. Braves Magic number is already 24.
 2. Dodgers Hot doesn’t begin to describe the men in blue.
 3. Tigers 20-5 when Max Scherzer starts.
 4. Red Sox 12 games better than this point last season.
 5. Rangers Haven’t lost two in a row since July 28.
 6. Pirates Lost seven of last nine, three of them in extra innings.
 7. Cardinals Cold doesn’t begin to describe the men in red.
 8. A’s Floundering at an even .500 (14-14) since the All-Star break.
 9. Rays Left side of the infield batted .395 last week.
10. Reds Bullpen is 2-0 with five saves and 12 holds in August.
11. Orioles Only one game in August without a home run.
12. Yankees A-Rod, Yankees soap opera continues.
13. Indians Just three games left with Tigers.
14. Royals Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer batting .338, slugging .524 in August.
15. Diamondbacks Have five pitchers with at least two saves.
16. Nationals Tough season to end Davey Johnson’s career.
17. Rockies Have just four multi-homer games since June 28.
18. Mariners Can Felix Hernandez win the Cy Young award?
19. Blue Jays 7.5 games back of Yankees with seven of next 10 games vs. N.Y.
20. Padres 15-13 so far vs. five likely NL playoff teams.
21. Mets Have 13 losses when they allow three runs or fewer.
22. Angels Losing record against all four division rivals.
23. Twins Bullpen has logged third-most innings, own fifth-best ERA.
24. Giants 12 games worse than at this point of 2012 title season.
25. Phillies Haven’t won back-to-back games since All-Star break.
26. Brewers 13-14 since Ryan Braun’s suspension. 
27. Cubs Ended the week a season-low 17 games below .500.
28. White Sox 17.5 games worse than this point last season.
29. Marlins 33-34 over last two-and-a-half months.
30. Astros Enjoying a one-and-a-half game improvement vs. last season.
 
AL Player of the Week
Alfonso Soriano, New York
The prodigal Yankee began the week 0-for-3 and ended with an 0-for-6, but in between he smashed AL pitching at a 15-for-22 clip with five home runs and 18 RBIs over a five-game span. In only 21 games in pinstripes this season, Soriano is tied for fifth on the team in homers and seventh in RBIs.
 
AL Pitcher of the Week
Chris Sale, Chicago
Chicago’s ace has pitched in tough luck all season with very little run support. But last week, the lineup gave him a few runs and he made them stand up in wins over Detroit and Minnesota. For the week, Sale was 2-0 with 14 strikeouts, one walk and a 2.81 ERA.
 
NL Player of the Week
Will Venable, San Diego
The Princeton alum has been one of the Padres’ hottest hitters of late, and that continued last week. He ended the week with a .406 average, which was boosted by a 4-for-5 performance on Saturday and a walk-off home run on Sunday.
 
NL Pitcher of the Week
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia
The 2013 season has not been one to remember for Hamels — or his team — but the lefthander had two memorable starts last week. He pitched a complete game at Atlanta and tossed seven strong innings in a win over the Dodgers as the Phillies defeated two of the hottest teams in baseball.
 
Teaser:
Each week during the baseball season Athlon Sports looks at the best (Atlanta Braves) and worst (Houston Astros) baseball teams and players in the league. Here are our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week.
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 17:23
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-august-19
Body:

Catching up from a busy weekend of news around the college football world.

Contact us on twitter with a link or a tip we should include each day. (@AthlonSteven)

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Monday, August 19th

The Big Ten Network continues its tour of all 12 teams for 2013. Here's a detailed look at Nebraska.

In case you missed the news on Sunday night, Auburn has named Nick Marshall as its starting quarterback.
 
Alabama cornerback Geno Smith was arrested for a DUI on Sunday morning.

Lost Lettermen ranks the best 25 names in college football.

Saturday Down South ranks the best position groups in the SEC.

Mr. SEC ranks the programs in the SEC.

Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins should be back for the season opener against Boise State.

Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby and running back Rod Hall are suspended for the season opener.

Two writers make the case for Syracuse's starting quarterback. Should it be Terrel Hunt or Drew Allen?

New Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen learned a valuable lesson in 2010.

TCU receiver Brandon Carter had hand surgery last week.

Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal is no longer on the team.

Texas Tech's starting quarterback for its opener against SMU remains a mystery. 

There's a new bowl game slated to start in 2014 in Montgomery, Ala.

Matt Brown of Sports on Earth previews the Pac-12 and the Mountain West.

A former TCU offensive lineman has resurfaced at BYU.

California has lost one linebacker to a transfer and one to a season-ending injury.

Notre Dame is dealing with a few injuries on defense.

Oregon State picked up a transfer from Miami. 

Utah's new football facility is open in time for the 2013 season. Check out these photos from the impressive new building.

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: August 19
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 15:20
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/100-twitter-accounts-every-college-football-fan-should-follow
Body:

College football is well-represented in the Twitterverse by people who know the game intimately and aren't afraid to tell you about it. We took a(nother) look at the lengthy list of CFB-oriented Twitter accounts and whittled them down to 100 that are definitely worth a follow.

These tweeting all-stars are sure to entertain, educate and occasionally enrage. Let us know your favorites (and anyone we missed).

ESPN
No doubt if you're any kind of college football fan you're familiar with ESPN's stable of college football reporters, columnists and broadcasters. Here are the best on Twitter:


@McMurphyESPN (1)

Brett McMurphy was a good get for the Worldwide Leader, and as he was with CBS Sports, he's a prolific breaker of news via Twitter, even when it involves his employer.

 

@TravHaneyESPN (2)
Travis Haney is on the national beat, though most of his work is behind the ESPN Insider paywall. He drops enough knowledge from his travels on Twitter to entice readers to fork over a few more bucks to the Worldwide Leader.

@cbfowler (3) and @ESPN_ReceDavis (4)
A pair of total pros who anchor ESPN's college football coverage night and day.

@notthefakeSVP (5)
From ESPN's radio empire, Scott Van Pelt brings a mix of humor, knowledge and insight. The Maryland grad will spend the next year brushing up on the Big Ten.

Conference bloggers (6)

It’s tough to pick out one, but this is a good place to start to follow your favorite team or league: @ESPN_ACC (Heather Dinich and Andrea Adelson), @ESPN_BigTen (Adam Rittenberg and Bryan Bennett), @ESPN_Big12 (David Ubben and @Jake_Trotter), @ESPN_Pac12Blog (Ted Miller and Kevin Gemmell), @ESPN_SEC/ @AschoffESPN (Edward Aschoff and Chris Low), @Matt_Fortuna (Notre Dame) 

@ESPNStatsInfo (7)
A must-follow during Saturday’s action if you’re interested in a deep dive into the numbers.

CBS SPORTS

Verne Lundquist can’t be found on Twitter and Gary Danielson hasn’t Tweeted since 2011. These will be good follows anyway.

@BFeldmanCBS (8)
Bruce Feldman is a prolific and informative tweeter with a history of breaking news via the medium. Few carry as much in-depth knowledge as Feldman.

@dennisdoddCBS (9)
CBS' national college football columnist Dennis Dodd can be infuriating, but he's never not interesting.

@JFowlerCBS (10)
A young gun on the CBS college football staff. He’s not a “bad guy” on Twitter or otherwise, despite what Urban Meyer may say.

 


@MrCFB (11)
Referring to yourself as Mr. College Football may seem a little self-aggrandizing, but after years in the SEC trenches, Tony Barnhart's earned the right to pat himself on the back.

CBSSports.com’s bloggers (12)
For news and hard analysis, go to the ESPN blog network. CBSSports‘  Eye on College Football bloggers share news and viewpoints, but they’re a little bit of an edge here. Viral videos and colorful jabs are welcome with @TomFornelli, @Chip_Patterson and @JerryHinnen.

@jppalmCBS (13)
Two things no college football fan can live without: Bowl projections and BCS tidbits. One thing to remember: Don’t blame the messenger.

@GreggDoyelCBS (14)
One of CBS’ national columnists, Doyel rarely pulls punches (shaddup). He doesn’t care if you disagree with him. He can rip someone with the best of them, but he’ll also write a piece that pulls at the heartstrings.

 



SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

@slmandel (15)
Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel describes himself as a "Writer, author, lover, humanitarian and college football writer for SI.com." We can only vouch for the college football part. Guy's a fountain of information and opinion, although he doesn't always seem to welcome criticism very cheerfully. Of course, who does?

@Andy_Staples (16)
Mandel's SI colleague is a college football savant and full-time BBQ expert who's also equal parts funny and astute.

 



@SIPeteThamel (17)
Thamel has a nose for news that has infuriated a handful of fanbases (Hi there, Big Blue Nation).

Campus Union bloggers (18)
Sports Illustrated’s bread and butter is news and features, but the Campus Union/SInow pair of @MartinRickman and @ZacEllis focus on quick-hitters and other college football oddities.

 

 



USA TODAY

@PaulMyerberg (19)
Myerberg would have difficulty hitting Athlon magazine word counts with his extensive team previews. Nevertheless, he condenses his prodigious knowledge into 140-character chunks.

 



@GeorgeSchroeder (20)
Another USA Today scribe, Schroeder freely dispenses observations on a variety of topics, not just college football. He's moving away from Oregon, though, so no more Springfield police log.

@DanWolken (21)
Wolken isn't shy with strong opinions. A shame he won’t have Gordon Gee to kick around anymore.

NATIONAL VOICES

@YahooForde (22)
The Forde-Yard Dash remains a college football staple.

@DanWetzel (23)
A thorn in the side of the NCAA, Wetzel isn’t someone you want sniffing around your organization. Now that he’s achieved Death to the BCS, what’s next?

@MattBrownSoE (24)
Brown heads up college football coverage for Sports on Earth, USA Today’s version of Grantland, for long-form pieces and advanced analysis. His breakdowns of each of college football’s top 10 quarterbacks was a must-read this offesason.

 



@Bachscore (25)
The Wall Street Journal follows college football a little differently than most. Rachel Bachman brings quality reporting and analysis to business, legal and NCAA issues.

@RalphDRussoAP (26)
You might associate the Associated Press with relics of a different time, but AP college football writer Ralph Russo's Twitter feed, delivered in Brooklyn-ese, is anything but stale.

@Matt_HayesSN (27)
Another national college football columnist bringing views from around the country.

@CFTalk (28)
A one-stop shop for injuries, lineup changes, transfers and other new.

BLEACHER REPORT
 

@KegsNEggs (29)
Adam Kramer bills himself as "Founder and gatekeeper of Kegs ‘n Eggs. Lead College Football Writer for Bleacher Report. Advocate of FAT GUY TOUCHDOWNS, #MACtion and Las Vegas tomfoolery." Nothing to add to that, except to recommend a follow.
@BarrettSallee (30)
Bleacher Report's lead writer for all things SEC, Sallee will fill your Twitter feed with reactions and analysis all over the Southeast.

@InTheBleachers (31)
Michael Felder's feed is aptly named. His careening from college football to other tangents is perfect bleacher talk.

SB NATION

@JasonKirkSBN (32)
The college football editor at SB Nation never runs out of clever quips about the goings on in college football.

@38Godfrey (33)
Steven Godfrey is a long-form “writerer/journamalist” (and Athlon contributor) who knows his way around SEC and Sun Belt football.

@DanRubenstein (34)
Sarcastic college football observations, Oregon fandom and ‘90s trivia. What more could anyone want?

@TyHildenbrandt (35)
Rubenstein’s co-host on the @SolidVerbal podcast will be worth following if only to watch to watch the Notre Dame fan squirm with Tommy Rees leading the team.

 

COMIC RELIEF

@edsbs (36)
Spencer Hall (formerly Orson Swindle) brings us The Fulmer Cup, the Curious Index and a twisted look at college football because, well, college football is always a little twisted.

 



@celebrityhottub (37)
Another member of the "Every Day Should Be Saturday" empire, “sir broosk” regales with absurdist observations, never failing to bring the funny on college football and anything else that springs to mind.

@HollyAnderson (38)
Former Every Day Should Be Saturday and SI Campus Union writer has taken her talents to Grantland. She made Bill Simmons take an interest in college football. That’s saying something right there.

@ClayTravisBGID (39)
Love him or hate him, you can't deny that Travis entertains and inflames with his SEC-centric observations. Prepare to get angry, although Travis' affection for those he lampoons takes some of the edge off. The last year has seen Travis post about butt-chugging, dumbest fanbases, a catfight, ruminations on Johnny Football and the occassional breaking news.


@KevinonCFB (40)
Phildelphia-based writer Kevin McGuire has news and views for all over the country. He knows his stuff.


@SteakNStiffArms (41)
Football and food. What more is there to the Internet? Elika Sadeghi covers both with a Big Ten emphasis. To follow her is to love her.

@DanBeebe (42)
Remember when the Big 12 almost collapsed? The Fake Dan Beebe does. He’d be bitter, but he’s enjoying #buyoutlife. No one taunts the current and former Big 12 membership better.

@lsufreek (43)
The reason GIFs were invented.

PLAYERS AND COACHES

@CoachHand (44)
This is why Twitter is awesome: No one would have predicted Vanderbilt’s offensive line coach to be a must-follow, but here we are. Hand beats the drum on Twitter for Vandy, Nashville and the SEC while offering words of wisdom for everyday living. Not your usual coach-speak.

@Coach_Riley (45)
Oregon State’s Mike Riley is more and more of an outlier in the college football profession ... in a good way. He’s not paranoid. He’s approachable. And he’d prefer his players feast on In-N-Out Burger.

 



@LSUCoachMiles (46)
Les Miles once spent the entire course of a Miami Heat game Tweeting at himself. Pretty much what you’d expect.

@Coach_Leach (47)
Who knew the Washington State coach was such a cinephile?

 



@JManziel2 (48)
Johnny Manziel, you may have heard of him and his Twitter feed.

@aaronmurray11 (49)
Judging by his posts from the Milledge Run, the Georgia quarterback is enjoying his final year on campus.

 



@10AJMcCarron (50)
Exhibit A for why he’s the consummate Saban quarterback:

 


 

@TajhB10 (52)
We wanted to highlight a handful of Heisman conteders, but Clemson shut down Twitter for its players. See you in December, Tajh.

RECRUITING

@JeremyCrabtree (53)
A senior writer with ESPN’s Recruiting Nation, Crabtree has covered recruiting more than just about anyone. A great follow for the big picture in college football’s second season.

@TomLuginbill (54)
ESPN’s top eye for college football prospects is good at interacting with readers with #AskLoogs hashtag. Go ahead and ask him about a player or issue.

@BartonSimmons (55)
A national analyst at 247Sports, Simmons is knee-deep in recruiting knowledge from evaluations to commitments.

@Niebuhr247 (56)
A former Rivals and current 247 analyst, Niebuhr is as active on Twitter as anyone. You won’t miss anything in recruiting on his feed.

@jcshurburtt (57)
Another can’t-miss voice from the 247 stable. He’s their National Recruiting Director and happy to take questions from readers.

@rivalsmike (58)
Mike Farrell is simply the Godfather of recruiting. Trust us, that’s what his Twitter bio says.

@adamgorney (59)
Rivals.com’s recruiting expert out West

@rivalsjason (60)
No look at recruiting would be complete without someone keeping an eye on the state of Texas. Jason Howell is Rivals’ guy for the Lone Star State.

@BrandonHuffman (61)
Completing the roundup of recruiting names is Scout’s national expert, Brandon Huffman.

MEDIA WATCHDOGS

@jasonrmcintyre, @tyduffy and @thebiglead (62)
McIntyre and the Big Lead have their fingers on the pulse of the media transaction wire. Follow him for all the news and trends that will impact your consumption habits.

@bkoo and @awfulannouncing (63)
Ben Koo and Awful Announcing cover plenty of media trends, but college football fans will take special interest in the Pammies — a collection of Saturday’s best verbal snafus unfortunately named after ESPN’s Pam Ward.

@bubbaprog (64)
Deadspin’s Tim Burke is a must-follow on Saturday for his collection of videos, images and GIFs. Miss a key play, chyron fail or sideline shenanigans, Burke’s your guy. Oh, and he helped break the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax story.

@mattsarz (65)
If your team is being broadcast sometime or somewhere, Matt Sarzyniak knows.

NICHE INTERESTS

@SBN_BillC (66)
A writer for SB Nation’s Football Study Hall, Bill Connelly is college football’s top advanced statistics guru. Follow him to get smarter.

@smartfootball (67)
If you prefer a more cerebral take on the game, this feed's for you. Editor Chris Brown's also a Grantland contributor if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

@DarrenRovell (68)
Athlon once named him the No. 1 follow in all of sports, but college football fans will take particular interest in Rovell (who has since moved from CNBC to ESPN) after he reported on Johnny Manziel’s involvement with college athletics’ shadow autograph industry.

@SportsBizMiss (69)
Kristi Dosh is the founder of BusinessofCollegeSports.com and now she reports on sports business for ESPN. Want to know how much college athletes would really make off jersey sales? Dosh does.

@JimMWeber and @LostLettermen (70)
Jim Weber keeps up with college athletes past and present. His site and Twitter feed is a mix of where are they now and what’s new.

@coachingsearch (71)
During the season, Pete Roussel follows what coaches are saying and doing like none other, but he’s indispensable once the coaching carousel starts for his nuggets from the top of college football to Division II grad assistants.

@footballscoop (72)
Scott Roussel (Pete’s brother) runs a competing site full of coaching scuttlebutt. Between the two of them, you won’t miss a hiring or firing from around the college football world.

@bylawblog (73)
A former compliance director at Loyola Marymount, John Infante is the most knowledgable voice in the media when it comes to the gargantuan NCAA rulebook.

@pollspeak (74)
The polls are infuriating. Pollspeak knows where you should direct your anger. They look through the AP ballots each week to publicly shame the most extreme voters.

 


@HeismanPundit (75)
His self-descriptor says it all: CBSSports.com writer/Heisman voter breaking down the politics of the most prestigious award in sports, plus hard-hitting college football commentary & analysis. What more do you want?

 

REGIONAL INTEREST

@SEC_Logo (76)
A news aggregator that’s all things SEC. Not affiliated with the SEC, but this feed probably should be on the payroll.

@JonSDS (77)
Saturday Down South’s Jon Cooper analyzes SEC football from top to bottom and left to right — predictions, depth chart news, practice reports and player rankings.

@Josh_Ward (78)
A radio host in Knoxville and writer with MrSEC.com, Ward brings SEC news from around the Southeast with a Tennessee bent.

@wesrucker247 (79)
When there’s an award for covering an athletic program in continuous tumult, it may be called The Rucker. And half of Wes Rucker’s followers seem to hate him for it.

 



@finebaum (80)
SEC country’s top radio voice takes his show to the World Wide Leader. You can’t spell WWL without PAAAAAAWWWL.

@MattScalici (81)
A sports producer at AL.com, he’s a go-to source for all things Alabama. Pro tip: You may want to pay attention to the upstart CrimsonTide

@CecilHurt (82)
Cecil's been covering Bama since the Bear's last season. That makes him a suitable go-to guy for all things Tide-related. Not bad with the one-liner either.

@BTNTomDienhart (83) and @BTNBrentYarina (84)
Veteran reporter Tom Dienhart sends dispatches from Big Ten campuses year-round, and editor Brent Yarina shares Big Ten insights from all over the internet. Two must-follows from the Big Ten Network team.

@TeddyGreenstein (85)
Teddy has one of the best self-descriptions on Twitter: "lover, fighter, Chicago Trib sportswriter." Kind of says it all. A go-to follow for Big Ten news, though the Second City writer tilts a bit to Northwestern and Illinois.

@11W (86)
Eleven Warriors is your source for all things Scarlet and Grey. It's the largest free Ohio State sports source on the internet, and they've extended their footprint to Twitter in a big way.

@BCastOZone (87)
Another source of Ohio State news, Brandon Castel at The-Ozone.net is heavy on recruiting news. When Urban Meyer is involved, that’s a worthy follow.

@Sean_Callahan (88)
The publisher of HuskerOnline.com, Sean Callahan has seen the Nebraska program suffer through some uncharacteristic struggles the last several years. But unlike the team, Sean's coverage is consistently solid.

@ACCSports (89)
Someday, maybe soon, ACC football will be relevant, and when that day comes, Jim Young is poised to rule. He's your ACC source on all things football and basketball.

@D1scourse (90)
Another key writer from ACC country, Patrick Stevens keeps a close eye on Maryland, but his feed is full of great statistical discoveries.

 



@BryanDFischer (91)
Prolific Tweeter now writes for the Pac-12 Networks. A go-to source for West Coast football news and more.

@Mengus22 (92)
Louisville fan, blogger and radio host Mark Ennis has carried water for the maligned Big East over the years (he ran SB Nation’s Big East Coast Bias blog). Needless to say, this will be an interesting season for him.

@BlatantHomerism (93)
An Oklahoma fan who knows his way around the college football landscape.

@GBHunting and @cuppycup (94)
All things Texas A&M and Johnny Football. With GIFs.

@HustleBelt (95)
One word: #MACtion

 



@Miller_Dave (96)
There are plenty of names for ESPN, CBS and SI worth following for college football, but don’t let National Football Post’s Dave Miller fall through the cracks.

@TheOregonDuck (97)
If you follow only one college football mascot, make sure it’s the one who can dance to Gangnam Style and befriend spiders.

 



@CapitalOneBowl and @RussellAthBowl (98)
Don’t like the bowl system, that’s fine. These two accounts keep their Orlando-based games entertaining all year long. Give credit to these bowls to creating a public persona apart from the old men in fancifully colored blazers.

 



@ChaseGoodbread, @DanGreenspan and @MikeHuguenin (99)
NFL.com has expanded their college football coverage with writers covering the NFL Draft year round. If you want to know what the No Fun League thinks of your favorite college players, start here.

@AthlonSports, @AthlonMitch, @AthlonSteven, @BradenGall, @DavidFox615 and @AthlonDoster
And last but not least, the Athlon Sports team.

 

List and bios compiled by Rob Doster and David Fox.

Teaser:
These tweeters will keep you entertained, educated and occasionally enraged
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 15:00
Path: /nascar/joey-logano-claws-way-back-nascar-chase-contention-michigan-win
Body:

Sheryl Crow once sang “A Change Will Do You Good.” She’s a perfect example of how it doesn’t always work out that way (see: dating Lance Armstrong). But sometimes, the sporting universe aligns itself exactly right, rotating beautifully where it works for all parties involved.

Joey Logano had worn out his welcome at Joe Gibbs Racing. Four years in, he’d failed to make the Chase and won exactly two Cup races. Not the track record you’d expect from a man Mark Martin anointed the best driver of the next generation. And at 22, he wasn’t exactly the prime spokesperson for Home Depot, which was threatening to board itself up and leave the sport with rival Lowe’s collecting championships like candy.

Matt Kenseth, despite 14 years, one title and 24 wins at Roush Fenway Racing, was struggling to find sponsorship to compete. Big money had been poured into teammate Carl Edwards; Ford executives needed to ensure he was their future. Staying at the No. 17 meant picking up the scraps, then waiting patiently to be bumped aside. After all, owner Jack Roush had 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne and Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the pipeline. Both are billed as young, rising stars; Kenseth, at 40, was age disposable.

Say what you will about Kurt Busch, but the man clearly needed a wakeup call. His behavior during the final months of 2011 at Penske Racing was questionable at best, reprehensible at worst. All the wins in the world won’t save you when you’re in the business of turning the gun toward your foot. Sometimes, the best thing a champion can do to reinvent himself is get fired.

Where are these three drivers in 2013? Logano sits in Chase contention with Penske Racing, in some ways outperforming teammate and reigning champion Brad Keselowski. Matt Kenseth is tied with Jimmie Johnson for the series wins lead, taking Home Depot back to the front while enjoying one of his esteemed career’s finest seasons. And Busch, running with single-car Furniture Row Racing, could wind up with his most top-5 finishes in over a decade. Persistence, in reproving himself, is paying off with offers left and right. Sunday night, Stewart-Haas Racing was reported to have thrown a full-time contract on his table for 2014.

Three men, three changes … three success stories? Sometimes, Silly Season really isn’t so silly.

Let’s get down to business and shift through some stories from Michigan.


FIRST GEAR: Penske’s putting itself in position  Joey Logano
It’s been a rollercoaster year for the two-car Penske Racing operation. A switch from Dodge to Ford has created more stumbles than expected. The aforementioned Keselowski didn’t help himself by “biting the hands that feeds him” with some high criticism of NASCAR at the season’s onset. But the kicker was a 25-point penalty, plus suspensions, for improper rear-end modifications to both teams in the spring. While some of those penalties were reduced, the loss of momentum lasted well into the dog days of summer. Daytona was the low point; a 21st-place run by Keselowski combined with Logano wrecking and finishing 40th left both teams on the outside of the Chase looking in.

Another 40th-place showing the next week at Loudon should have left Logano, in particular, down for the count. But the team came back from NASCAR’s final off week in a long season reinvigorated. Michigan’s victory on Sunday, collected when Mark Martin ran out of gas with three laps left, was the high point in a run of four consecutive top-10 finishes.

“We kind of decided we needed a win a couple weeks ago,” Logano said Sunday, matter-of-factly. “So we got one.”

On paper, that’s silly to say for a driver that now has just three victories in 170 Sprint Cup starts. But that belies the sense of confidence he has with crew chief Todd Gordon. Ever so quietly, they’re building a chemistry they hope will rival teammate Keselowski and Paul Wolfe. Sunday, it was Wolfe making the tactical mistake, pitting one caution too late and costing his driver about 10 positions at the checkered flag. But both teams, running top 5 throughout the day, suddenly look primed and ready for the postseason.

Can both get there? It’s still tenuous; a Bristol wreck, or one at Richmond or, really anything outside their control changes everything. However, for the first time this team is showcasing the speed it needs to get over that hump and actually compete when things get serious in the fall.



SECOND GEAR: Martin’s big moment  Mark MartinEvery legendary driver in their final season has a moment they look back on and smile at. For Darrell Waltrip, it was an outside-pole run at Indianapolis followed by a competitive, 11th-place result in an otherwise lost season of 2000. For Richard Petty, it was leading five laps at Daytona with the field seemingly in awe one last time during a 1992 Fan Appreciation Tour that didn’t even snag him a top 15.

Certainly, Mark Martin has been much more competitive than those two this season, running third in the Daytona 500 at age 54. Currently without a ride for 2014, he hasn’t said he’ll retire yet; today, he’ll be named a substitute driver for Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing. But the reality is, those 2014 opportunities are going to be few and far between for someone who truly wants to run about half the schedule ... in a car capable of winning. That’s why Sunday’s late-race drama, in which Martin paraded at the front of the field with a fuel tank running on E, was such a moment. Here’s a man who’s done so much in this sport, a likely Hall of Famer with five runner-up point finishes, and everyone from the pit box to the stands is thinking, “It could be his final shot to win a race — ever.”

It didn’t happen as, much to everyone’s chagrin, the gas tank ran dry. But maybe the momentum from this run, in a season where the veteran hasn’t performed as well, could lead to a boost for the last few months while driving the No. 14. It’s certainly a moment to remember, one he may look back with fondness down the road if 2013 really does become the final year on the resume.


THIRD GEAR: Earnhardt’s missed opportunities
Hard to believe, but for Dale Earnhardt Jr. his only victories over the last seven seasons on the Cup circuit have come at Michigan. That’s why the two-mile track is so important for his resume; for a driver (and crew chief) who specialize in “having a solid points day,” capitalizing on his strength here could lead to Victory Lane and locking up a Chase bid that’s tenuous otherwise.

Instead, in 2013 Junior did the opposite. To be fair, factors were outside his control; in June, it was a blown engine followed by a tire failure Sunday. But the end results don’t care about excuses, as a 36.5-average finish at Michigan puts him in dangerous territory. Just 20 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne, there’s no victories in sight (or on the resume) and a pack of hungry drivers are peaking at the right time. With just one top-5 finish in his last nine races, a handful of top 15s down the stretch – a conservative plan crew chief Steve Letarte always likes to put in effect this time of year – might not be enough to earn that postseason bid.

Earnhardt, who’s led just 114 laps this year, has to step up his game, and quickly. Can he do it?



FOURTH GEAR: The price of speed

In some ways, Michigan was far from a boring race. Different pit strategies combined with hair-raising restarts kept shuffling the field and putting new names in position to win. Some of the sport’s best drivers, from Earnhardt to Kyle Busch, fell victim to the track’s high speeds, approaching well over 210 mph entering Turn 1. With three cautions in the first 14 laps for wrecks, it’s clear that all 43 drivers were running on the ragged edge.

So what was missing? ESPN’s Andy Petree said it best: “One thing we really haven’t seen is someone drive up to the front.” After a few laps, the grid was stuck in place, passing impossible as they were racing the track more than those around them. Goodyear’s tires didn’t help, either. According to most teams the left sides were so rock hard they could have been left on for all 400 miles.

Let’s see. Everyone runs the same speed throughout a run while racing the track and the points system more than one another. Passing then suffers — except for the frantic first few laps after a restart. The number of green-flag passes for the lead, due to the dreaded “aero push” on top of it all, becomes a number you can count on one hand.

It’s a refrain sung all too often this season. The Gen-6 car, while filled with potential, has to be slowed down for 2014 so tracks like Michigan can be spiced up that much more. If Fontana, the most competitive race on intermediates this year, is the exception rather than the rule there’s a major problem.


OVERDRIVE
Paul Menard
, who ran fourth Sunday, was part of a three-car Richard Childress Racing effort that finished inside the top 10. Kevin Harvick, who ran second showed muscle while Jeff Burton ran a solid eighth. For Menard, it’s just his second top-5 result since winning Indianapolis in July 2011. … Jeff Gordon was a puzzling 17th Sunday, one week after a Watkins Glen wreck put his Chase chances in critical condition. Still, there’s hope: Gordon led 66 laps at the next race on the schedule, Bristol, in the spring before a tire failure took him out of contention to win. … Denny Hamlin, who ran 20th Sunday, now has a career-worst nine straight races without a top-15 finish. The short tracks, where he shines, are up next; if he can’t pull off a solid performance at Bristol or Richmond, then you really start to question what the No. 11 team should do the rest of the year with his ailing back.


Follow Tom Bowles on Twitter: @NASCARBowles
Photos by Action Sports, Inc.
 

Teaser:
Post-race reaction from Joey Logano's win in NASCAR's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 14:23
Path: /college-football/purdue-names-rob-henry-its-starting-qb
Body:

Rob Henry went into Purdue’s fall practice with a slight edge to start the season opener, and the senior was able to maintain his edge over freshmen Austin Appleby and Danny Etling.

On Sunday night, first-year Purdue coach Darrell Hazell named Henry as the Boilermakers’ starting quarterback for the season opener against Cincinnati.

Henry has experienced an interesting career during his time in West Lafayette. After a redshirt year in 2009, Henry made seven starts in 2010 and led Purdue in passing and rushing yards. However, he missed 2011 with a knee injury and was a backup to Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve last year.

Now that he is two years removed from an ACL tear, Henry should have more mobility and his game experience will help Purdue navigate a tough schedule.

Appleby and Etling are talented, and both passers could play this year, especially as Hazell and his coaching staff looks for one player to take a step forward and gain an early edge in the starting spot for 2013.

Teaser:
Purdue Names Rob Henry its Starting QB
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 12:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Baseball, Roto, MLB, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-baseball-bests-busts-and-waiver-wire-aug-19
Body:

With about 40 games left in the regular season, fantasy baseball playoffs are just around the corner. Athlon Sports has everything you need to catch up on what took place on the fantasy diamond during the past seven days. Our fantasy junkies bring you last week's top hitters, some starting pitchers who are on a roll, and also identify the waiver wire pick ups and spot starters you need to keep an eye on.

Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last week (Aug. 12-18):

 NamePos.TeamRHRRBISBBAOPS
1Alfonso SorianoOFNYY951820.4841.515
2Will Venable*OFSD72510.4061.125
3Miguel Cabrera3BDET441000.3031.088
4Chris Davis1B/OFBAL63600.4091.409
5Mark Trumbo1/3/OFLAA53810.2801.053
6Mike TroutOFLAA61520.3911.142
7Joe MauerC/1BMIN62700.3751.037
8Curtis GrandersonOFNYY71220.4171.167
9Alejandro De AzaOFCWS91420.2580.706
10Hunter PenceOFSF61910.2960.901
11Jon Jay*OFSTL51610.4001.084
12Khris DavisOFMIL43500.4671.662
13Jason HeywardOFATL53400.3851.231
14Martin Prado2/3/SS/OFARI61700.3790.972
15Brandon Belt*1BSF82400.3081.033
16Justin Ruggiano*OFMIA42500.6672.171
17Jayson WerthOFWAS50420.4171.023
18Marlon Byrd*OFNYM32700.4001.152
19Eduardo Nunez*3B/SSNYY50520.3700.858
20Jedd Gyorko*2B/3BSD43500.3451.104
21Dexter FowlerOFCOL60610.3600.848
22Brandon Phillips2BCIN41520.3100.769
23Chris Getz*2BKC50230.3330.727
24Paul Goldschmidt1BARI53500.2590.987
25Alex Rodriguez*3BNYY51410.3570.974

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Weekly Waiver Wire:

Jedd Gyorko, 2B/3B, SD (32% owned in Yahoo! Leagues)
After hitting six home runs in May, the Padres rookie was much more widely owned. However, he suffered a groin injury in early June, which caused him to miss more than a month. On top of that, he struggled upon his return, batting just .100 with a run and RBI in 13 games in July. It looks like Gyorko may have rediscovered his swing, as he slugged three home runs last week, giving him 13 for the year. Despite all his missed time, Gyorko is tied for ninth among second base-eligible players with those 13 round-trippers. He could be a sneaky source of power if you are in need of some at second or from a MI spot.

Adam LaRoche, 1B, WAS (54%)
Admittedly it has been a very up-and-down season for LaRoche. He was very good in May (.330-7-19) and very bad in July (.159-2-10). However, he has four home runs and nine RBIs in 15 games in August so far and he's in no danger of losing his spot in the Nationals' lineup. LaRoche is still a top-10 first baseman in terms of power (18 HR) and in his career he has been a strong finisher (.297-82-258 in 412 games in August and September).

Leonys Martin, OF, TEX (46%)
Texas' 25-year-old outfielder has been flying somewhat under the radar, but that may be about to change, especially if he stays atop the Rangers' lineup. Martin has come on strong since May and thanks in large part to his legs (27 SB, 5 3B), he has moved into top-50 OF territory in Yahoo! leagues. The left-handed swinger has cooled off somewhat this month, hitting just .246 in August, so far, but he also has stolen seven bases and driven in nine runs. If you are in need of speed, Martin is certainly worth a roster spot, and the additional category production is just an added bonus.

Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY (35%)
A-Rod may be MLB's (and the Yankees' front office for that matter) public enemy No. 1 right now, but he's still playing and getting the job done at the plate. He helped key the Yankees' rally against Boston on Sunday night with a home run off of Ryan Dempster and is a borderline top-10 third baseman over the past two weeks (.319-2-6). While Alfonso Soriano has been the spark to the Yankees' recent offensive output, Rodriguez can't be overlooked and could prove valuable down the stretch, especially at a position that's already without the services of David Wright and has seen other names struggle.

Will Venable, OF, SD (30%)
Outside of the aforementioned Soriano, no one was hotter at the plate last week than San Diego's Venable, who posted a .406-2-5 line with seven runs and a stolen base. In fact, Venable's hot streak goes back to the beginning of August as he has gotten a hit in all 15 games he has played this month. For the month so far, Venable is batting .377 with five home runs, eight RBIs, 12 runs and five stolen bases. He's just a .256 career hitter, so ride this hot streak as long as you can, especially from a guy who most likely will finish the season with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases (17, 14 currently).

Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of last two weeks:

 NameTeamIPWKERAWHIP
1Clayton KershawLAD22.02211.230.77
2Bronson Arroyo*CIN14.02140.640.43
3Anibal SanchezDET22.02242.050.86
4Mat LatosCIN22.12180.810.99
5Zack GreinkeLAD20.03140.901.15
6Andrew Albers*MIN24.1271.850.66
7Martin Perez*TEX22.13202.421.03
8Hyun-Jin RyuLAD14.02100.640.79
9Brandon Beachy*ATL14.02101.290.71
10Chris SaleCWS23.13201.931.20
11Cole HamelsPHI23.01201.960.87
12Yu DarvishTEX22.12282.821.07
13Max ScherzerDET21.02152.570.81
14Dan Haren*WAS14.01121.930.71
15Tony Cingrani*CIN11.11140.790.79
16Marco Estrada*MIL11.0180.820.45
17Stephen StrasburgWAS17.01202.120.88
18Alex Wood*ATL12.10160.730.65
19Tyson Ross*SD14.01141.290.93
20Justin VerlanderDET23.01222.740.91

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Top 5 Spot Starts for the Week (Mon. - Sun.):

1. Brandon Beachy (ATL) at New York Mets (Tues.) (48% owned)
Beachy has made four starts since returning from Tommy John surgery. In the first two, he gave up 10 earned runs in 10 innings, in his last two he has allowed just two over 14 frames. He’s also produced a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 19:4 overall. Beachy will match up with Mets’ rookie Zach Wheeler on Tuesday night at Citi Field, but considering the Braves are 16-3 since Beachy’s first start on July 29, I like his chances in this one.

2. Sonny Gray (OAK) vs. Seattle (Tues.) (23%)
Gray was mentioned in this space last week, and chances are this won’t be the last time you see his name, especially if his ownership rate stays under less than a quarter of all Yahoo! leagues. All the 23-year-old rookie did his last time out was pitch eight shutout innings against Houston. Next up is Seattle, a team that ranks in the bottom third of the majors in runs scored on the road.

3. Martin Perez (TEX) at Chicago White Sox (Fri.) (20%)
Texas has had to deal with injuries in their rotation throughout the season, which has made the performance of Perez that much more important. The 22-year-old lefty has gone 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts. He has put together four straight quality starts and gets the White Sox, who are the third-worst scoring team in the majors, at home. Perez has a tidy 2.20 ERA (8 ER in 32 2/3 IP) in five starts at home this season.

4. Dan Haren (WAS) at Chicago Cubs (Tues.) (68%)
Haren struggled mightily before the All-Star break, going 4-10 with a 5.61 ERA. The veteran right-hander has dealt with back issues and other maladies in each of the past two seasons, but it looks like he may have finally turned the corner health-wise. Haren has allowed a total of three earned runs in his last three starts and also picked up his first career save in a 15-inning marathon against Atlanta on Saturday. Instead of the mighty Braves, Haren’s next scheduled trip to the mound comes against a Cubs’ offense that has scored a grand total of five runs and been shutout four times in their last six games at Wrigley Field.

5. Jake Arrieta (CHC) vs. Washington (Wed.) (2%)
Part of the trade that sent Scott Feldman to Baltimore, Arrieta has made the most of his opportunities in the Cubs’ rotation so far. His last time out he shut down St. Louis by holding the Cardinals to just two hits over seven scoreless innings. In a Cubs’ uniform, Arrieta has given up just four hits and five walks, while striking out nine, in 13 innings. The Nationals, meanwhile, struggle to score runs away from home, as only the Marlins have scored fewer on the road this season.

Keep up to date all season long with Athlon Sports' Fantasy Baseball Closer Grid

Teaser:
Fantasy Baseball Bests, Busts and Waiver Wire: Aug 19
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 11:30
Path: /college-football/gary-andersen-welcomed-wisconsin-corn-maze
Body:

New Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen was considered by most to be a home-run hire for the Badgers.

And the fans in Madison are certainly excited for the Andersen era to begin.

Need proof? Check out this corn maze carved by Don Schuster of Schuster’s Playtime Farm.

According to Madison.com, it took about seven to eight hours to complete the design.
 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-august-19-2013
Body:

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

 

• Leading off the week: A statistical analysis of Derek Jeter's nine ex-girlfriends relative to his performance, including Adriana Lima (pictured).

 

• A plunking, a dinger, an ejection, more allegations: Last night was the night of A-Rod.

 

• Paulina Gretzky and Dustin Johnson are engaged. The lead of the New York Daily News story puts it less tastefully than I would

 

• Wanna see Pam Oliver get drilled in the face by a pass from Mr. Irrelevant, Chandler Harnish of the Colts? Of course you do. The screen grab alone is priceless.

 

• This is interesting: The most statistically average lineup in baseball this year would include Albert Pujols and Stephen Strasburg. Their respective teams aren't paying for average.

 

• Fox Sports 1 went live over the weekend. Here's an amusing video of the anchors of Fox Sports Live, the counterpart to SportsCenter, reading mean tweets about themselves.

 

• Ryan Braun apparently slurred his urine collector, calling him an anti-Semitic Cubs fan.

 

A Ball State student sank a half-court shot to earn free tuition. Sadly, it's the greatest athletic moment in Ball State history. (I kid.)

 

• Remember when Joe Buck called Randy Moss' mooning incident a "disgusting act"? Now that they're co-workers at Fox Sports 1, they've decided to play nice.

 

Athlete tweets that went viral. Twitter never forgets.

 

The NCAA outdid itself by forcing a Marine to redshirt over intramural football.

 

• It's the second week of the preseason, and we may have already had the Catch of the Year.

 

 

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 10:49
Path: /nfl/cleveland-browns-2013-nfl-team-preview
Body:

The Cleveland Browns have not proven themselves adept at doing a whole lot well since the team returned to the field in 1999. The only thing the Browns have done consistently in these last 14 seasons is change. Front office to front office, players to players, coach to coach — the constant change has been the only theme with a team that can’t win.

Yes, there may be a correlation.

Because every time the Browns have had an organizational change, the coaches change and the players change and the approach changes. Fans have been treated to a never-ending carousel of people telling them that the right person has been hired and the right player acquired, only to hear the same thing about the next person hired and next player acquired.

The Browns have averaged 5.2 wins per season in the 14 they’ve been back. They’ve won 23 games the past five seasons. Rob Chudzinski will be the seventh head coach, Norv Turner the 10th offensive coordinator.

Tumult is the theme, epitomized by the fact that even the ownership changed in the past year, as Randy Lerner sold the team to Jimmy Haslam.

But in typical Browns fashion, Haslam’s Knoxville, Tenn., company — Pilot Flying J — became the subject of a fraud investigation that had the FBI and IRS conducting a raid on the business in April.

As they say in Cleveland … only in Cleveland.

Athlon Sports AFC Power Ranking: 11th

Related: 2013 Cleveland Browns Schedule Analysis

Offense
New CEO Joe Banner and GM Mike Lombardi did some tinkering with the offense but did not perform an overhaul. Banner’s thinking was that the offense has some young talent, and it’s worth giving them an opportunity to grow. Translation: Brandon Weeden and company are on a one-year “show me” basis. If Weeden does not succeed in his second season, he won’t get another in Cleveland.

The Browns’ former brain trust of Mike Holmgren, Tom Heckert and Pat Shurmur saw little to be excited about in the 2013 quarterback class. So they took Weeden in the first round in 2012, no matter that he was 28 (and will be 30 this fall). The latest regime will give Weeden a chance, and they will give him a chance running an offense that is more vertical and down-the-field than Shurmur’s West Coast system. Also, the Browns will put Weeden in the shotgun more. He proved in college that he was comfortable working from that spot.

Weeden had moments last season, but they were too few — and he faded as a long and depressing season continued. But he also showed ability that prompted the Browns to draft him. If Weeden falters, however, the Browns will look to the draft to take yet another “franchise” quarterback.

Weeden has a solid offensive line in front of him with left tackle Joe Thomas a consistent standout. Running back Trent Richardson played much of  ’12 with cracked ribs, so he should be more consistent — and better able to live up to the expectations of a third overall pick. Richardson has to learn when a play is over, though, because he took too many extra shots fighting for yards that weren’t there. Richardson's health and durability is even more important with backup Montario Hardesty expected to miss the first two or three games because of a knee injury and Dion Lewis, who the team acquired from Philadelphia in a trade in April, also sure to miss time after breaking his leg in the second preseason game.

The Browns are justifiably excited about their young receivers. Josh Gordon had a solid rookie season after not playing college for two years because of issues with marijuana use. Greg Little struggled early but had a strong second half. The Browns added veterans Davone Bess and David Nelson to round out the receiving crew.

The biggest question on offense — other than relying on young players to grow — is at tight end, a position Chudzinski and Turner like to use a great deal. Jordan Cameron appears to be the choice to start, but he has only 26 catches and eight starts in his two seasons, with most of the starts due to injury to Ben Watson. Cameron has ability, but he also has to show more toughness and the willingness and ability to block.

Defense
The Browns spent two years drafting and building for a 4-3 defense. With new management and coaching, Cleveland moves to a 3-4 alignment with Ray Horton trying to implement a Pittsburgh system without Pittsburgh players.The coaching staff shrugs off the change to a “hybrid” 3-4 with different fronts and blitzes, but it’s complicated. And it might not be that beneficial. The one element of the team that Heckert built was the defensive front. Now that front has to transition to a two-gap system. And Jabaal Sheard, a pretty good 4-3 end, has to transition to a stand-up linebacker. Free agent signee Paul Kruger, Sheard, first-round draft pick Barkevious Mingo and free agent signee Quentin Groves will be the rush linebackers, as Horton will try to mimic the Steelers’ zone-blitz scheme. Horton tried the same approach as coordinator in Arizona a year ago, and the players loved the system. Arizona finished 12th in total defense, 17th in scoring. Mingo sustained a bruised lung in the Browns' second preseason game, so his Week 1 availability could be in doubt depending on the severity of his injury.

Horton’s biggest challenge is finding a cornerback to start opposite Joe Haden. Haden has grown into one of the better cover corners in the league, but he needs to stay away from off-field problems. The Browns hope Leon McFadden, the team’s third-round draft choice, can step in. If he can’t, the Browns would have to rely on Buster Skrine, a young player who struggled in 2012.

Specialists
The one thing the Browns had going for them since 1999 was the consistent excellence of placekicker Phil Dawson. Not anymore.

Dawson, weary of losing and being franchised, signed with the 49ers as a free agent. The Browns never explained why they let their most popular player walk, and the decision looked more odd when they signed 35-year-old Shayne Graham (formerly of the Texans) to replace the 38-year-old Dawson. The Browns also let returner Josh Cribbs leave via free agency. The departure of Cribbs and Dawson took two of the most popular players from the team. Popularity doesn’t win games, obviously, but the loss of those two was emblematic of the change in regimes.

Final Analysis: 4th in AFC North
Expectations for the 2013 Browns were set by their owner in March. At the NFL’s spring meetings, Haslam said (candidly) that the Browns would not go 13–3 this season. Give him credit for candor, and for accuracy. The Browns aren’t close to a 13–3 team. There are new systems on both sides of the ball and new playbooks. The Browns have talent, but they also have the uncertainty of their owner’s legal situation and the uncertainty of how committed the new front office and coaching staff are to these players. As the Browns have often proven, uncertainty rarely wins in the NFL.

Order your 2013 Cleveland Browns Athlon Sports NFL Preview magazine here

2013 Athlon Sports NFL Team Previews:

AFC EastAFC NorthAFC SouthAFC West
BuffaloBaltimore (8/26)Houston (8/29)Denver (9/3)
MiamiCincinnati (8/27)Indianapolis (8/23)Kansas City (8/21)
New England (8/30)ClevelandJacksonvilleOakland
NY JetsPittsburgh (8/28)Tennessee (8/22)San Diego (8/20)
    
NFC EastNFC NorthNFC SouthNFC West
Dallas (8/22)Chicago (8/20)Atlanta (8/27)Arizona
NY Giants (8/30)DetroitCarolinaSt. Louis (8/23)
PhiladelphiaGreen Bay (8/29)New Orleans (8/26)San Francisco (9/3)
WashingtonMinnesota (8/21)Tampa BaySeattle (8/28)

 

Teaser:
Cleveland Browns 2013 NFL Team Preview
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 10:00
Path: /nfl/philadelphia-eagles-2013-nfl-team-preview
Body:

They could be terrible. They could be OK. There is even a small chance they will be very good. The only thing certain about the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 is that they will be different.
Very different.

After 14 years, Andy Reid is off to Kansas City. Chip Kelly, the quick-thinking, fast-talking enigma who breathed high-scoring life into the Oregon football program, has taken his place. Nobody — not Kelly, not the Eagles, not the sharpest NFL observer — knows how this will turn out.


Will Kelly be another Pete Carroll or John Harbaugh, making the leap from college to excel in the NFL? Or will he be another Steve Spurrier or Bobby Petrino, overmatched and quickly sent back to the college ranks?


The early signs were mixed. Kelly opted to retain Michael Vick, the 33-year-old symbol of Reid’s final, futile years. But he also kept the immobile Nick Foles and added USC’s Matt Barkley in the draft. What do those contradictory moves say about Kelly’s offensive scheme? Kelly hired NFL lifer Bill Davis to run his defense, but neither the head coach nor the coordinator would commit to the kind of scheme they plan to run.



Athlon Sports NFC Power Ranking: 11th

Related: 2013 Philadelphia Eagles Schedule Analysis

Offense
However he deploys them, Kelly at least starts off with some legitimate NFL playmakers at his disposal.
 Running backs LeSean McCoy, Felix Jones and Bryce Brown, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and tight ends Brent Celek, James Casey and rookie Zach Ertz give Kelly the opportunity to create all kinds of mismatches.


Wideout Jeremy Maclin was expected to be in that group as well, but he tore his ACL early in training camp and will be out for the entire season. It's now up to someone, whether that be Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson or Riley Cooper, to step up and try and replace Maclin's production. Chances are it will be a collaborative effort of some sort.

Kelly also begins with a solid, potentially excellent offensive line. A disaster area last year because of injuries, the line immediately improves with the return of Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, veteran Todd Herremans and center Jason Kelce. First-round pick Lane Johnson should start at right tackle, allowing Herremans to return to guard. That would make for an athletic, agile unit able to push the tempo and get out into the second level, as Kelly likes.


The most pressing issue is just who this line will be protecting. With his mobility, Vick is the closest to the style of quarterback Kelly won with at Oregon. But Vick is injury- and turnover-prone. He started only 10 games last year, winning three of them. He threw 10 interceptions and fumbled the ball 11 times. He goes into the season on a one-year contract, which suggests he won’t be the quarterback by the time Kelly’s program peaks.


Foles had his moments as a rookie in relief of Vick. His release is as quick as his feet are slow, though, making him a terrible fit for a read-option offense. But Kelly has steadfastly insisted he can shape his offense around Foles. That position was reinforced when he drafted Barkley, the former USC star who dropped to the fourth round.


“We’re an equal opportunity scoring offense,” Kelly says, “whether we throw it across the line or run it across the line. If we can wing it, we’ll wing it.”

Accuracy is the quality Kelly values most in a quarterback. That would seem to favor Foles and even Barkley over Vick. But Vick can move, and that is almost indispensable in the modern NFL.
How will it play out? If he were under pressure to win right away, Kelly might have to go with Vick. With a little leeway to build his program, expect him to focus on developing Foles and Barkley. There is always the 2014 draft if neither steps up.



Defense
If the quarterback situation is a puzzle, at least there are pieces. Davis will be trying to create a defense almost entirely from scratch. Chances are, the entire starting secondary will be different. In free agency, the Eagles signed cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher, along with safeties Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung. All but Williams have dealt with recent injuries, but that still makes them less dubious than the Nnamdi Asomugha-led secondary that allowed 33 touchdown passes in 2012.

Davis is expected to run a variation of the 4-3 under scheme he has used in previous stops. The alignment can look like a 3-4, and sometimes the personnel will line up in a true 3-4. The scheme will ultimately accommodate the players.


Up front, that means 2012 first rounder Fletcher Cox will be either a tackle or a 3-technique end. Veteran Isaac Sopoaga and rookie Bennie Logan will line up at nose tackle. Beyond that, a group of players — Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry — will either be ends or outside linebackers, depending upon scheme, skill and situation. Of the three, Cole has the most experience as a pure edge-rusher while Graham is most likely to evolve into a linebacker capable of dropping into coverage as well as getting after the quarterback.

Connor Barwin, a free agent pickup from Houston, will be relied on to rush the passer from the weak-side linebacker spot. DeMeco Ryans, arguably the team’s best defensive player as a middle linebacker last season, will bring his savvy and toughness to one inside spot. Mychal Kendricks, who had solid games early in his rookie season, is likely to be the other inside backer. Combined, they bring some much-needed physicality to the middle of the defense.

But there are many more questions than answers on this side. It will be a huge challenge for Davis to shape this group into a cohesive unit.

Specialists
Donnie Jones, who averaged 47.2 yards — with a net of 40.5 — last year in Houston, will shore up a position that was one of the Eagles’ many trouble spots in 2012.
Third-year placekicker Alex Henery is tough to get a read on. His career field goal accuracy of 87.9 percent is very good, and he made 22 consecutive kicks last year. But Henery has had few chances to make kicks under pressure, and he missed two in a close game at Tampa Bay in December. He will need to deliver in those situations as they arise.


New special teams coordinator Dave Fipp will have his hands full retooling coverage units that struggled in all phases. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Jackson returning more punts, while nickel corner Brandon Boykin is likely to be returning kicks again.



Final Analysis: 3rd in NFC East
A quick turnaround is more than possible in today’s NFL. It has become the expectation.
Kelly has enough skill players to implement a formidable offense, especially if he is as good as his reputation as an innovator. He will have to settle on a No. 1 quarterback and go all-in with him. Scoring points should not be as tough as it was in Reid’s final seasons.


Can the Eagles jump back to elite status with a patchwork defense run by a coach who failed to excel in two previous stints as a coordinator? That is probably the bigger question, and the issue most likely to keep the Eagles from contending in 2013.

Order your 2013 Philadelphia Eagles Athlon Sports NFL Preview magazine here

2013 Athlon Sports NFL Team Previews:

AFC EastAFC NorthAFC SouthAFC West
BuffaloBaltimore (8/26)Houston (8/29)Denver (9/3)
MiamiCincinnati (8/27)Indianapolis (8/23)Kansas City (8/21)
New England (8/30)ClevelandJacksonvilleOakland
NY JetsPittsburgh (8/28)Tennessee (8/22)San Diego (8/20)
    
NFC EastNFC NorthNFC SouthNFC West
Dallas (8/22)Chicago (8/20)Atlanta (8/27)Arizona
NY Giants (8/30)DetroitCarolinaSt. Louis (8/23)
PhiladelphiaGreen Bay (8/29)New Orleans (8/26)San Francisco (9/3)
WashingtonMinnesota (8/21)Tampa BaySeattle (8/28)

 

Teaser:
Philadelphia Eagles 2013 NFL Team Preview
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: videos, Overtime
Path: /overtime/espns-pam-oliver-gets-hit-face-colts-qb-pass
Body:

Sideline reporter Pam Oliver was in the wrong place at the wrong time during warm-ups for yesterday's Colts-Giants game. Colts back-up QB Chandler Harnish threw a tight spiral that landed on the side of Oliver's face. Ouch!

 

Harnish has since apologized.

Teaser:
Sideline reporter Pam Oliver was in the wrong place at the wrong time during warm-ups for yesterday's Colts-Giants game. Colts back-up QB Chandler Harnish threw a beautiful pass that landed on the side of Oliver's face.
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 09:36
All taxonomy terms: Funny, videos, Overtime
Path: /overtime/ut-fans-makes-horrible-video-predicting-win-over-ducks
Body:

What happens when a Tennessee fan decides to make a video boasting how his Vols are going to beat the Oregon Ducks on Sept. 14? Internet gold. Watch the video and check out our favorite responses from members of the college football subreddit that brought this gem to our attention. 

Best comments from Redditors

* I think Neyland Stadium just found a new pre-kickoff hype video.
* It's like he's shaking his head the whole time as a subliminal message to the watcher that he in fact does not think all of this.
* He's being held hostage and reading a premade message from his abductor while also using non-verbal communication.
* I'm just happy it's not a Bama fan shown doing this for a change.
* Morse code via nostril flares?
Check out all the comments here.
 
Teaser:
What happens when a Tennessee fan decides to make a video boasting how his Vols are going to beat the Oregon Ducks on Sept. 14? Internet gold.
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 09:12
Path: /college-football/jared-goff-wins-california-starting-qb-job
Body:

California coach Sonny Dykes has picked his starting quarterback for the season opener and it wasn’t the passer most expected. The Golden Bears entered fall practice with three candidates vying for the top spot, with redshirt freshman Zach Kline expected by most to win the job.

However, on Friday, Dykes named true freshman Jared Goff as California’s starting quarterback. Goff was rated as the No. 25 quarterback in the 2013 signing class by Athlon Sports. The true freshman has a quick release, which should be a good fit in the Bear Raid spread attack.

Kline is expected to slide into the No. 2 spot, and the redshirt freshman is a good fallback option in case Goff struggles.

California has a difficult early schedule, which features games against Northwestern, Ohio State and Oregon in three out of the first four games.

There’s no question 2013 is a rebuilding year for California, so Goff should have a long leash from the coaching staff. But once Goff gets some experience under his belt, the Golden Bears should have a solid offense. 

Teaser:
Jared Goff Wins California Starting QB Job
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 08:45
All taxonomy terms: Minnesota Twins, Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/twins-ballboy-falls-crowd-spectacularly
Body:
There are few things more exciting than seeing a ballboy make an amazing catch. Of course, it's even better when they don't and fall into the crowd with their butts sticking in the air for the whole world to see. Watch as the Twins' ballboy executes this mishap perfectly during a game against the White Sox.

Teaser:
Twins' Ballboy Falls Into Crowd Spectacularly
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 08:43
Path: /college-football/accs-top-25-games-watch-2013
Body:

Who would have thought that North Carolina State hosting Florida State would have been the most important game in the ACC in 2012?

That thrilling, nail-biting, fourth-down-converting loss to the Wolfpack in a crazed Carter-Finley Stadium hurt the Seminoles in the national championship picture. It was the biggest, most impactful game of the entire ’12 campaign for any team in the ACC.

With both Clemson and Florida State eyeing a spot in the final BCS National Championship Game and a completely wide open Coastal Division race on the other side of the league, fans should have plenty to watch this fall along the Atlantic seaboard. No, this league isn’t as powerful as the SEC or as successful as the Pac-12 or as lucrative as the Big Ten, but it is closing the gap quickly.

And with two new teams added to the mix in 2013, every weekend is sure to entertain. Here are the top 25 must-see games of the year in the ACC:

Related: ACC Coaches Give Anonymous Scouting Reports on the ACC

 

  Dates RoadHomeThoughts
1.Oct 19Florida State at Clemson: This game could easily decide not only the ACC Atlantic Division but also the ACC title and possibly even a spot in the final BCS title game. The home team has won this game six years in a row.
2.Aug 31Georgia at Clemson: One of the most anticipated moments in Death Valley history happens right out of the gate. An old-school rivalry will be renewed when two top 10 teams battle in Week 1.
3.Nov 2Miami at Florida State: Finally, one of the nation's best rivalries will carry heavy ACC title implications. Florida State has won three straight in relatively easy fashion and six out of the last eight overall.
4.Nov 30Clemson at South Carolina: Yet another chance for the ACC to prove itself against the mighty SEC. However, this one could have BCS title implications for both teams. Clemson needs to stop the bleeding after losing four straight to Carolina in ugly fashion.
5.Nov 30Florida State at Florida: The Noles and Gators played a hard-fought, grown-man's game a year ago in which the Gators put their foot on the throat of their ACC rival. This game could feature two top-10-15 teams.
6.Sept 21Florida at Miami: After six straight wins for The U, Florida crushed the Canes in 2006 — the last time these two met. Florida's corners going up against Stephen Morris is one of the more intriguing games within the games in any ACC game. A win could begin to change national perception.
7.Nov 9Virginia Tech at Miami: Tech has to travel south to play Miami two years in a row after a 30-12 defeat last year. However, the Hokies had won five out of six against the Hurricanes prior to that. This could provide a career-defining moment for Logan Thomas.
8.Oct 17Miami at North Carolina (Thurs.): Interestingly, no team has ever NOT won at least two in a row in this 16-game series. That means North Carolina should win again following the 18-14 road win in South Florida a year ago.
9.Nov 30Georgia at Georgia Tech: The third of three national perception games with the nation's best conference. The Dawgs, however, have won four straight 11 of the last 12 in one of the best named rivalries in the nation: "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate."
10.Oct 5Florida State at Pitt (Mon.): There is plenty to watch in this Labor Day showdown. The ACC gets a national showcase for the debut of Jameis Winston at quarterback for Florida State and for the Paul Chryst-led Panthers in their first ACC game in history.
11.Oct 5Georgia Tech at Miami: The Hurricanes' young, talented but questionable defense will be challenged by Paul Johnson's triple option. However, Miami can keep up, having won four straight by scoring an average of 33.5 points per game.
12.Sept 26Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (Thurs.): This game has decided the Coastal Division crown in all but one season of ACC play — last year. It has gone the way of the Hokies seven of nine total ACC games.
13.Aug 31Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (Atlanta): Logan Thomas has a chance to send a shot heard 'round the college football world. He has the talent but does the rest of his team stand a chance against the two-time defending champs?
14.Sept 21North Carolina at Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech has dominated the series since 1998, winning 13 of the last 15 meetings (2004, '08). Last year's contest was an offensive explosion featuring 118 combined points in a Tech 68-50 road win.
15.Oct 5North Carolina at Virginia Tech: North Carolina has won just twice since these two became ACC foes and the 2009 win had to be vacated by the Tar Heels. This was an exciting 48-34 home win in Chapel Hill last fall for UNC.
16.Aug 29North Carolina at South Carolina (Thurs.): The SEC has won four of the last five in this SEC-ACC rival battle. However, three of the last four have been within one touchdown.
17.Nov 14Georgia Tech at Clemson (Thur.): Tech has the enviable task of visiting Death Valley twice in a row after a 47-31 loss last year. Clemson last lost at home to the Jackets in 2008.
18.Oct 26Clemson at Maryland: If you are looking for a time for Clemson to, well, Clemson itself this year, then keep an eye on its matchup against the Terps. The Tigers will host Florida State the week before and will have to find a way to avoid an upset on the road against a hard-nosed team.
19.Sept 19Clemson at NC State (Thurs.): Certainly, the Pack proved it could pull an upset at home last year and Clemson is always primed for one. However, an extra week of preparation following a home game with South Carolina State should mean a focused Tigers squad. 
20.Nov 2North Carolina at NC State: One of the better rivalries in the ACC has seen plenty of coaching turnover of late. 
21.Nov 9Notre Dame at Pitt: The Panthers played the Irish tougher than any one not named Alabama a year ago. A road rematch should be fun for both. And any time Notre Dame comes to town it is news.
22.Oct 26NC State at Florida State: A handful of four-down, fourth-quarter conversions gave NC State one of the biggest upset of the 2012 season. And the 'Noles will be looking to exact some revenge. 
23.Oct 12Georgia Tech at BYU: The Cougars are a solid team once again and playing in Provo is underratedly difficult. Tech will be seeking revenge after a 47-17 embarrassment in Atlanta last year at the hands of BYU.
24.Nov 30Virginia Tech at Virginia: The Commonwealth Cup is always a heated game in one of the league's top rivalries. The game meant a lot in 2011 and Mike London needs this to be the case once again this fall.
25.Nov 30Maryland at NC State: There isn't a whole lot of sex appeal in this one but there could be plenty on the line on the final weekend. Bowl pecking order, postseason berths or maybe even a divisional race.

Related College Football Content

Bowl Projections for 2013
12 Steps to Fix ACC Football
ACC Breakout Players for 2013
North Carolina Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Virginia Tech Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Miami Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Florida State Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Clemson Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013

ACC Predictions for 2013
ACC All-Conference Team for 2013
 

Teaser:
The ACC's Top 25 Games to Watch in 2013
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Syracuse Orange, News
Path: /college-football/syracuse-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

After a dreadful four-year stretch under Greg Robinson from 2005-08, Syracuse rebounded back to respectability under Doug Marrone. Under Marrone, the Orange earned two bowl appearances and had two eight-win seasons.

Marrone left for the NFL in January, and Syracuse chose to stay in house for his replacement. Scott Shafer, who served as the program’s defensive coordinator under Marrone, was promoted to head coach. Shafer has never been a head coach but has experience as a coordinator from stops at Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Stanford and Michigan.

In addition to adjusting to a new coaching staff, the Orange will have a new starting quarterback and a new conference. The ACC is a tougher overall conference than the Big East/American, and Syracuse has two difficult non-conference games against Penn State and Northwestern. 

What will Syracuse's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

Syracuse's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Braden
Gall
Mark
Ross
John
Cassillo
David
Fox
Matt
McClusky
8/31 Penn State (East Rutherford)
9/7 at Northwestern
9/14 Wagner
9/21 Tulane
10/5 Clemson
10/12 at NC State
10/19 at Georgia Tech
11/2 Wake Forest
11/9 at Maryland
11/16 at Florida State
11/23 Pittsburgh
11/30 Boston College
Final Projection4-84-84-87-55-76-6

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Syracuse finished 2012 with a 6-1 record over its final seven games, which included a victory over Sugar Bowl champion Louisville and a 38-14 blowout win over West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl. But the offseason brought numerous changes to the Orange. Coach Doug Marrone left for the NFL, quarterback Ryan Nassib expired his eligibility, and standout left tackle Justin Pugh left early for the draft. New coach Scott Shafer is familiar with the roster after serving as the defensive coordinator for Marrone since 2009. Although Shafer’s familiarity with help Syracuse transition to a tougher conference, the Orange has holes to fill on the defensive line, and there’s a big question mark at quarterback. After Clemson and Florida State, the ACC Atlantic is up for grabs. If Drew Allen or Terrel Hunt settles into the starting job under center, Syracuse will easily outperform my 4-8 prediction. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Orange pull an upset or two, but the transition to a new conference, coaching staff and quarterback is a lot to overcome in one offseason.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
You really want to root for new coach Scott Shafer and Syracuse entering a new league with a new quarterback. But the schedule makers didn't do the Orange any favors. Road games with NC State, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Florida State all come within a five-game window as the calendar flips to November giving this team few chances at upsets. Non-conference games with Big Ten contenders Penn State and Northwestern offer as brutal a start to the season as any "BCS" conference team in the nation. Welcome to a bigger, faster, better league, Cuse.

Mark Ross
Scott Shafer has plenty of familiarity with this team, as he served as Syracuse's defensive coordinator last season. That's why he knows better than anyone else the growing pains his offense could go through this fall. Running back Jerome Smith will certainly do his share, but with quarterback Ryan Nassib and the team's top two wide receivers gone, there's a lot of uncertainty on that side of the ball. The defense will be asked to carry the load early and often, and this unit will be tested right out of the gates with non-conference matchups against Penn State and Northwestern. There's also the transition from the Big East to the ACC, which is why I suspect the Orange will take their fair share of lumps early on, but will deliver a few of their own before the season's over.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Syracuse really lost a lot since last season. Rebuilding under a first-time coach without a veteran starting quarterback and franchise left tackle is always tough. Ryan Nassib and Justin Pugh started for both of Doug Marrone’s bowl teams at Syracuse. There may be enough pieces left — and added in the case of Oklahoma QB Drew Allen — for bowl contention, but another eight-win season is going to be tough to replicate. Syracuse must win its winnable games and then hope for feasible upsets against Penn State, Northwestern, NC State or Georgia Tech. Then again, Syracuse is good for one out-of-nowhere upset each year (ask Louisville and West Virginia). It wouldn’t shock me to see Syracuse go 7-5 and beat Clemson or Florida State.

John Cassillo, (@JohnCassillo), Atlantic Coast Convos
It's tough to really gauge Syracuse when we don't know who will be playing quarterback yet, nor do we really know what George McDonald's offense will look like. But I'm willing to bet they can pull out enough wins against the non-Clemson/Florida State Atlantic Division teams to get back to the postseason. The running game, led by Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley, should be among the best in the conference -- so long as the offensive line is up to the task, that is. If they can be as effective as they were over the second half of last season, and get slightly-above-average production from the QB spot, this is still a very competitive squad. Defensively, the linebacker corps. should guide the ship, though I have a feeling people are also severely underselling the experienced secondary, too.

Matt McClusky, (@MatthewMcClusky), NunesMagician.com
There is parity in college football! OK, so Alabama is once again the heavy favorite, looking for its third straight BCS championship. But for much of the rest of the college football world, the line between four wins and eight wins is as fine as ever. And Syracuse is a perfect example. Beat Penn State in game one and the Orange could finish the season with seven or eight wins. Lose game one and Syracuse could just as easily end up staying home come bowl season. But first, a lot of questions need some answering. The variables: A new conference (Atlantic Coast Conference) a new coach (Scott Shafer), a new defensive coordinator (Chuck Bullough) and offensive coordinator (George McDonald), and several new faces at key positions, including quarterback. So given that type of change, it would be perfectly understandable should Syracuse flop this season. But the schedule isn't too daunting (home dates with Wagner, Tulane, Wake Forest, Pitt, and Boston College are all more than winnable), and don't forget Shafer has been with the program since '09, meaning he should be more than capable of taking over the program on the fly. Bullough's defense is fairly loaded and Terrel Hunt (a sophomore who's raised some eyebrows in fall camp) or Drew Allen (an Oklahoma transfer) may not need to do much at quarterback given the incredible depth Syracuse has at running back (Jerome Smith is a rising star - and a real darkhorse in the Heisman race). Extreme transition or not, Syracuse is talented enough that it can sneak by Penn State in New Jersey and then edge the Panthers and Eagles to close the season with enough wins to find itself in its third bowl game in four years.

Related College Football Content

Bowl Projections for 2013
12 Steps to Fix ACC Football
ACC Breakout Players for 2013
ACC Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2013

College Football's Top 25 Running Back Corps for 2013
Virginia Tech Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Florida State Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013

ACC Predictions for 2013
ACC All-Conference Team for 2013

Teaser:
Syracuse Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-25-offensive-lines-2013
Body:

The unsung heroes of every college football team are the men in the trenches. Offensive lines are often overlooked when it comes to preseason predictions, but this position is arguably the most important unit on the team.

Stanford has churned out some of the nation’s best offensive lines in recent years, and the Cardinal take the top spot in Athlon’s rankings for 2013. Guard David Yankey is a standout performer, and Stanford will get a boost from the emergence of tackle Andrus Peat. Tennessee ranks No. 2, but Ohio State – with four starters back from last year – aren’t far behind. Despite losing left tackle Luke Joeckel and center Patrick Lewis, Texas A&M remains a top-10 line for 2013.

How did we come up with these rankings? A couple of factors were considered. Depth, overall talent, production, level of competition and projected output in 2013 all factored into the rankings for the backfield. While some teams may have experienced a down year last season, having a different quarterback or a change of scheme can make a huge difference.

They’re the teams within the team — those cohesive little units bound together by their shared responsibilities within the larger team context. 

Whether it’s the offensive linemen firing off time after time into those familiar blocking sleds, or the defensive linemen drilling repeatedly on how to shed blockers, or the defensive backs breaking on ball after ball — these teams in miniature hone their tasks on the practice field until those tasks become second nature. 
 
Whether or not these units function as one can make the difference between winning and losing, and a single unit can carry a team to New Year’s Day — or beyond.
 
It’s entirely fitting, then, for us to honor the best of the best at each position with our 13th annual Athlon Awards. 

Ranking the Top 25 Offensive Lines for 2013
 

1. Stanford
With four starters returning and two touted recruits stepping into key roles, the Cardinal’s physical, run-first approach isn’t going anywhere. Stanford’s line allowed only 1.4 sacks per game last year and paved the way for rushers to average 4.4 yards per carry. David Yankey could be the premier guard in college football, while Cameron Fleming and Kevin Danser should be all-conference selections. Khalil Wilkes is expected to slide to center to replace Sam Schwartzstein. Massive sophomore Andrus Peat is set to start at left tackle.

2. Tennessee 
The Volunteers’ offensive line has morphed from a weakness into one of the nation’s best in just a few seasons. Antonio Richardson — a likely first-round draft pick in 2014 — and Ja’Wuan James could be the best set of tackles in the nation. Guard Zach Fulton is back after 11 starts in 2012, and James Stone should be one of the top centers in the SEC this year. Tennessee allowed just eight sacks in 2012. 

3. Ohio State 
The Buckeyes regarded their offensive line as a weak link going into 2012, but this unit finished the year as the best in the Big Ten. Four starters are back, including All-Big Ten selections Andrew Norwell and Jack Mewhort. Center Corey Linsley is an Athlon Sports preseason first-team All-Big Ten pick, and guard Marcus Hall returns after starting all 12 games last year. Taylor Decker is expected to replace Reid Fragel at right tackle.

4. Oklahoma 
Despite losing left tackle Lane Johnson, the Sooners are in great shape in the trenches. Center Gabe Ikard is an Athlon Sports preseason first-team All-American, and tackle Daryl Williams and guard Adam Shead could be among the best in the Big 12 at their positions. Bronson Irwin, with 13 starts in 2012, returns at right guard, and Tyrus Thompson (five starts in 2012) steps into the lineup at right tackle. Oklahoma allowed just six sacks in Big 12 games last season.

5. Kansas State 
The Wildcats return all five starters from a unit that allowed only 14 sacks last year. B.J. Finney is one of the top returning centers in the nation, and tackle Cornelius Lucas is a preseason first-team All-Big 12 selection. Boston Stiverson and Keenan Taylor man the guard positions, while Cody Whitehair slides from left guard to right tackle.

6. Texas A&M
The Aggies’ offensive line was a big reason for the success of the offense last year. The final totals indicated this unit gave up 23 sacks but cleared the way for Texas A&M to average 5.9 yards per carry. And a mobile quarterback like Johnny Manziel can often inflate the sack totals of an offensive line, as it’s not easy for the front five to hold their blocks while the quarterback scrambles. Left tackle Luke Joeckel left for the NFL, but the Aggies plan to move Associated Press 2012 third-team All-American Jake Matthews from right tackle to the left side. And Cedric Ogbuehi will slide from guard to right tackle to replace Matthews. The guard spots will be manned by Jarvis Harrison and Germain Ifedi, while Mike Matthews – brother of left tackle Jake Matthews – will slide into the center spot. Joeckel will be missed, but Texas A&M has plenty of talent returning to keep this offensive line among the best in the nation.

7. Miami
Five starters are back from a line that allowed just 1.5 sacks a game and led the way for rushers to average 4.7 yards per carry in 2012. Guard Brandon Linder is the unit’s top performer, earning first-team All-ACC honors by Athlon Sports for 2013. Center Shane McDermott started all 12 games last season and should also be one of the best at his position in the ACC this year. Senior Seantrel Henderson finally appears ready to capitalize off his recruiting hype, and the former top recruit has the potential to dominate the right side of the line. The other two spots are up for grabs, with left tackle likely to go to Ereck Flowers or Malcolm Bunche, and Jon Feliciano still the favorite at left guard. Injuries took a toll on the depth of this line in fall practice, but Miami is clearly deeper and more talented in the trenches than it has been in recent years.

8. Alabama
Much like Texas A&M, the Crimson Tide have a few holes to plug up front before 2013. Center Barrett Jones – arguably one of the best offensive linemen of the BCS era – and 2012 first-team All-American Chance Warmack have expired their eligibility. Right tackle D.J. Fluker earned second-team All-American honors last season, and he decided to leave early for the NFL. Despite the departure of three key performers from last year, the cupboard is far from bare. Left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio is primed to emerge as one of the top linemen in the nation, with senior Anthony Steen anchoring the right side at guard. The other three spots are up for grabs, with juniors Arie Kouandjio (left guard) and Austin Shepherd (right tackle) owning a slight edge for snaps going into the fall. Sophomore Ryan Kelly is expected to replace Jones at center. This unit will be under the direction of a new position coach in former FIU head coach Mario Cristobal.

9. Florida State
As long as the starting five stays healthy, Florida State should be in good shape in the trenches. The Seminoles are thin on depth on the offensive line, but there’s plenty to like about the starting unit. Left tackle Cameron Erving shined in his first season after switching from defensive tackle. Junior Bobby Hart started nine games as a true freshman in 2011 but played as a reserve in 2012. He is expected to start at right tackle this year. Florida State boats one of the nation’s top guard duos in Josue Matias and Tre’ Jackson, while center Bryan Stork enters his senior year with 27 starts. Even with the depth concerns, the Seminoles have a top-10 offensive line.

10. Georgia
With only three returning starters on defense, the Bulldogs will need their offense to carry the team through a difficult September schedule. With quarterback Aaron Murray, running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, along with receiver Malcolm Mitchell returning, the firepower is certainly there to win the SEC in 2013. However, Georgia’s offense will only go as far as its line will allow. The good news? All five starters are back, including promising sophomore left tackle John Theus. The rest of the starting five could feature three seniors with Dallas Lee, Chris Burnette and Kenarious Gates, with David Andrews anchoring the interior at center. This unit gave up 27 sacks last year – including a miserable performance in a 35-7 loss against South Carolina. Considering the talent, depth and experience returning to Athens, it would be a big surprise if the Bulldogs fail to find improvement on the offensive line in 2013.

11. Texas
Returning Starters: 5
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 16
Rushing Offense: 53rd nationally, 4.5 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-Big 12 Performers: OG Trey Hopkins (1st), OG Mason Walters (2nd)

12. Cincinnati
Returning Starters: 5
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 17
Rushing Offense: 30th nationally, 5.3 ypc
Athlon 2013 American Athletic All-Conference Performers: OG Austen Bujnoch (1st), OT Eric Lefeld (1st), C Dan Sprague (3rd), OG Sam Longo (3rd)

13. Oregon
Returning Starters: 3
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 19
Rushing Offense: 3rd nationally, 6.0 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-Pac-12 Performers: OT Jake Fisher (1st), OT Tyler Johnstone (1st), C Hroniss Grasu

14. Notre Dame
Returning Starters: 3
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 18
Rushing Offense: 38th nationally, 4.9 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-American Performers: OT Zack Martin (3rd)

15. Nebraska
Returning Starters: 3
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 35
Rushing Offense: 8th nationally, 5.4 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-Big Ten Performers: OG Spencer Long (1st), OT Jeremiah Sirles (2nd)

16. LSU
Returning Starters: 3
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 32
Rushing Offense: 50th nationally, 4.3 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-SEC Performers: OT La’El Collins (4th)

17. USC
Returning Starters: 5
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 17
Rushing Offense: 71st nationally, 5.0 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-Pac-12 Performers: OG Max Tuerk (2nd)

18. Michigan State
Returning Starters: 3
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 22
Rushing Offense: 75th nationally, 4.0 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-Big Ten Performers: OT Fou Fonoti (2nd), C Travis Jackson (3rd), OG Dan France (3rd)

19. Florida
Returning Starters: 3
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 39
Rushing Offense: 39th nationally, 4.5 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-SEC Performers: OG Jon Halapio (3rd), C Jonotthan Harrison (4th)

20. Georgia Tech
Returning Starters: 5
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 14
Rushing Offense: 4th nationally, 5.4 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-ACC Performers: OG Shaquille Mason (2nd)

21. Clemson
Returning Starters: 4
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 31
Rushing Offense: 36th nationally, 4.2 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-ACC Performers: OT Brandon Thomas (1st)

22. Oregon State
Returning Starters: 4
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 33
Rushing Offense: 100th nationally, 3.7 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-Pac-12 Performers: C Isaac Seumalo (2nd), OT Michael Philipp (2nd), OG Grant Enger (3rd)

23. Penn State
Returning Starters: 3
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 21
Rushing Offense: 83rd nationally, 3.6 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-Big Ten Performers: OG John Urschel (2nd), OT Donovan Smith (3rd)

24. Utah State
Returning Starters: 5
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 18
Rushing Offense: 26th nationally, 5.6 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-Mountain West Performers: C Tyler Larsen (1st), OT Eric Schultz (2nd), OG Jamie Markosian (3rd)

25. Boise State
Returning Starters: 2
Sacks Allowed in 2012: 10
Rushing Offense: 55th nationally, 4.6 ypc
Athlon 2013 All-Mountain West Performers: OT Charles Leno (1st), C Matt Paradis (2nd)

Related College Football Content

College Football Bowl Projections for 2013
Top 10 Darkhorses to Win the National Title
The Top 100 Players of the BCS Era
College Football's Top 25 Running Back Units for 2013
College Football's Top 25 Wide Receiver Corps for 2013
College Football's All-Name Team for 2013
SEC Breakout Players for 2013
College Football's Top 10 Underrated Quarterbacks

Teaser:
College Football's Top 25 Offensive Lines for 2013
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/vanderbilt-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Vanderbilt enters 2013 riding a wave of momentum. The Commodores are coming off back-to-back bowl appearances and finished 2012 on a seven-game winning streak.

Coach James Franklin has Vanderbilt positioned to take another step forward this season, as the Commodores have garnered some preseason top-25 consideration. The return of 13 starters should keep Vanderbilt in the mix for eight or nine wins, while creating an opportunity for an upset or two against one of the top teams in the SEC East.

The top three teams in the SEC East for 2013 seem clear. Georgia, Florida and South Carolina are considered a step above the next tier, which features Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Missouri.

On paper, the Commodores are clearly ahead of the Volunteers and Tigers this year, but there are question marks surrounding this team. Can quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels successfully replace Jordan Rodgers at quarterback? Can Vanderbilt find a No. 2 receiver to team with Jordan Matthews at receiver? Will the defense maintain its place among the best in the SEC with three new starters on the line?

What will Vanderbilt's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

Vanderbilt's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Braden
Gall
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
Josh
Ward
SEC
Logo
8/29 Ole Miss
9/7 Austin Peay
9/14 at South Carolina
9/21 at UMass
9/28 UAB
10/5 Missouri
10/19 Georgia
10/26 at Texas A&M
11/9 at Florida
11/16 Kentucky
11/23 at Tennessee
11/30 Wake Forest
Final Projection8-48-48-48-46-67-5

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Coach James Franklin has raised the bar at Vanderbilt. The Commodores have made back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history, recruiting is on the upswing, and the facilities are getting an upgrade. Needless to say, momentum is on the side of Vanderbilt and Franklin. Even though the Commodores will have a new quarterback and running back Zac Stacy is gone to the NFL, this team will have a chance to win nine games. New quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels could be an upgrade in terms of talent over Jordan Rodgers, and receiver Jordan Matthews is one of the nation’s best. The offensive line has made significant progress over the last few years, and the secondary ranks near the top of the SEC. Catching Texas A&M and Ole Miss in crossover play won’t be easy, but Vanderbilt should go 4-0 in non-conference play and will be favored to beat Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. The opener against Ole Miss is a huge barometer test for both teams and should give us a good idea of how the Commodores stack up for 2013.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
James Franklin has to overcome some horrific off-season summer news off-the-field and the highest expectations in school history on it. This team has yet to pull any big upsets under Franklin as it has lost to nearly every team it has played with a winning record, so scoring some potential upsets — like, say, Georgia at home — will be critical moving forward for Vandy. Key swing games in Knoxville and against Ole Miss to start will likely determine if the Dores can land in the postseason for an unprecedented third straight year.

Mark Ross
James Franklin has already accomplished so much in his first two seasons at Vanderbilt that should the Commodores not earn a third straight bowl invite it would be considered a surprise. In fact, it's safe to say that the bar has been raised beyond just getting to six wins and becoming bowl-eligible, as Franklin has his sights set much higher. While a trip to the SEC title game this fall is probably not in the cards, this team has enough talent and experience that it should be able to match last season's win total.

The schedule probably caps the regular-season win tally at eight, but if Austyn Carta-Samuels emerges at quarterback and the defense continues to improve, this Vanderbilt team could potentially pull off an upset on the road. And at this point, a win in Columbia, S.C., or College Station, Texas, or even The Swamp down in Gainesville, Fla., probably wouldn't shock anyone. Welcome to the current state of Vanderbilt football.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
If Vanderbilt gets to another bowl game, James Franklin remains a miracle worker, whether it’s a six-win season or nine-win season. I’ve picked eight wins during the regular season, and I’d be tempted to drop it after the sexual assault scandal has cost the ‘Dores a player who is going to make a difference (No. 2 wide receiver Chris Boyd). This is a team with a new (to them) starting quarterback and no receiver other than Jordan Matthews who caught more than 12 passes last season. The non-conference schedule is manageable, but eight wins may be a ceiling.

Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
Vanderbilt has reached the postseason the last two years, which has led to higher expectations in Nashville. Can the Commodores live up to them? The opener against Ole Miss will give Vanderbilt a chance to show it’s for real. Even if the Commodores lose to Ole Miss, the season still has plenty of promise. Remember, Vanderbilt began last season with an 0-2 record before it finished the year with nine wins. There are questions to be answered. Is Austyn Carta-Samuels ready to be the No. 1 quarterback? Will wide receiver Chris Boyd return to the team? He’s an important part of Vanderbilt’s offense. The Commodores won’t sneak up on anyone this year as they try to reach their third consecutive bowl game under head coach James Franklin.

SEC Logo (@SEC_Logo)

This isn't your father's SEC punching bag Vanderbilt, not while James Franklin is in town.  They are coming off back to back bowl seasons for the first time in their schools history, not to mention a 41-18 beat down of instate rival Tennessee last season.  They have by far the easiest non-conference schedule in the SEC, it's downright laughable.  Their bye week placement is setting up quite nice for a shot at knocking off a couple of SEC East contenders, week 7 before a home game vs Georgia and week 10 before a trip to Gainesville, FL.  Don't fall asleep in their defense either, last year they ranked 5th in the SEC only allowing 333.9 yards per game.  The two biggest questions, how does the recent off field issues and suspensions effect the team as a whole, and their QB situation.  Name to remember: Austyn Carta-Samuels, QB  
 

Related College Football Content

SEC Predictions for 2013
SEC 2013 All-Conference Team
SEC Coaches Anonymously Talk About Conference Foes for 2013
College Football's Top 25 Running Back Units for 2013
SEC's Impact Freshmen to Watch for 2013
Florida Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Georgia Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Getting to Know the SEC's New Coaches for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team
SEC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

Teaser:
Vanderbilt Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, USC Trojans, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/usc-receiver-makes-crazy-catch-scrimmage
Body:

USC receiver Aaron Minor is trying to earn a spot on the team as a walk-on. And the true freshman certainly opened some eyes with a crazy catch in Saturday’s scrimmage.

Check out this crazy catch from USC’s scrimmage, with Minor catching a pass off the back of a defensive back:
 

Teaser:
USC Receiver Makes Crazy Catch in Scrimmage
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Monthly, News
Path: /college-football/fox-sports-1-what-you-need-know-about-newest-24-hour-sports-network
Body:

Fox Sports 1

From those wonderful folks who gave you Bart Simpson and Bill O’Reilly comes FOX Sports 1, “America’s New Sports Network." Rupert Murdoch’s latest underdog upstart follows in the successful footsteps of FOX Broadcasting Company and FOX News, two networks that went from the cheap seats to luxury suites against all odds.

FOX’s newest expansion franchise, which debuts Aug. 17, is attempting to be the fun alternative to staid sports establishment ESPN. But don’t be fooled by the light-hearted schtick — FS1 has the potential to be a serious challenger to ESPN’s status as “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.” 

HOSER HUMOR

ESPN has SportsCenter. Followed by a rerun of SportsCenter. FS1 has FOX SPORTS LIVE, a three-hour bloc of programming that airs from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. ET and features a variety of shows. Former ESPN SportsNation host Charissa Thompson (pictured above on right) and a slew of retired athletes — including Andy Roddick, Gary Payton and Donovan McNabb — are all on board. 

But the stars of the show are expected to be co-anchors Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole, along with Producer Tim. They were stars north of the border on TSN’s SportsCentre in Canada. Onrait and O’Toole have been compared to early-ESPN quick-witted trailblazers like Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann and Craig Kilborn. There is concern over how their humor will be received stateside, but Canadians everywhere were sad to see the wisecracking Canucks fly south.

CROWD SURFING

For roughly 60 years, Regis Philbin has hosted a talk show. The 81-year-old is back in the saddle with “Crowd Goes W!ld,” a daily (5 p.m. ET) sports-entertainment show shot at Chelsea Piers sports facility in Manhattan.

The rabid New York Yankees fan and Notre Dame alum will be joined by an eclectic lineup that includes YouTube star Katie Nolan, the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay, two-time Super Bowl champ Trevor Pryce, tennis-playing comedian Michael Kosta and British beauty Georgie Thompson.

FS1: Numero Uno?

FS1 has game-day content — with NFL, MLB, college football, NASCAR, UEFA Champions League and UFC. And FS1 has a plan of attack, hoping the Al Bundys of the world would rather laugh and check out foxy girls than dissect X’s and O’s. But only time will tell if FS1 can go toe-to-toe with ESPN. “We’ve always had competition,” ESPN president John Skipper told Businessweek. “But most of that competition has been segmented competition — network television is competing against our network television, Yahoo! Sports is competing against us in digital, Sports Illustrated competing in magazines. We have always been the one entity that had cross-platform assets. But FOX is a different animal than we’ve dealt with in the past.”

PREGAME PARTY

Before kickoff on Saturdays this fall, FS1 will have an expanded two-hour pregame show — a la ESPN’s College GameDay — before Pac-12 and Big 12 coverage. Familiar faces Erin Andrews (of ESPN fame and infamy), Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George and resident referee Mike Pereira are joined by SEC expert fire-starter Clay Travis as well as former radio personalities Joel Klatt and Petros Papadakis.

Cult favorite Gus Johnson is back handling play-by-play with Charles Davis as the color commentator in the booth on Saturdays, with Kristina Pink on the sideline. FS1 will also have a weekly Thursday night game.

IT'S IN THE GAME

FOX Sports 1 has no NBA coverage, but FS1 will more than hold its own against ESPN in the NFL and MLB. 

FOX: 105 NFL regular-season games, four playoff games, Super Bowl every three years 

ESPN: 17 regular-season games

FOX: 92 MLB regular-season games, All-Star Game, NL or ALDS, NL or ALCS, World Series

ESPN: 90 MLB regular-season games, NL or AL Wild Card 

Last year, ESPN made $9 billion. Only $3 billion was generated by advertising revenue. The remaining $6 billion came from cable television companies charged to carry the network. Driving up the price-per-subscriber and, as a result, profits, is the primary reason sporting events like the BCS national title game are aired on ESPN rather than ABC, which Disney also owns. FS1 is expected to initially carry a price-per-subscriber of between 75 cents and $1.

Price-per-subscriber

$5.06 » ESPN

$2.71 » ESPN 3D

$1.21 » TNT

$0.97 » Disney Channel

$0.84 » NFL Network

$0.82 » Fox News

$0.67 » ESPN2

$0.62 » USA Network

$0.59 » TBS

* Information from 2012 via SNL Kagan

 

 

Teaser:
Fox Sports 1: What you need to know about the newest 24-hour sports network
Post date: Friday, August 16, 2013 - 17:01
Path: /nascar/drivers-look-secure-nascar-chase-bids-michigan
Body:

Winning still not everything for nearly locked-in Chase drivers  Jimmie Johnson
Sunday’s green flag at Michigan International Speedway will leave just three left before NASCAR’s field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup is set. Series points leader Jimmie Johnson is the only one of the 43 drivers who will start the race who knows he’s completely and totally locked in the championship field.

But several others — Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne — are on the verge of being locked in to the 10-race championship fight by virtue of points scored or races won. Still, many aren’t bullish enough to admit that going all out for a race win Sunday is a worthy goal. Consistency and a decent amount of points earned is the preferred result to a potential three-point Chase bonus for regular season wins.

“We are in a good position right now on the points side, but to be honest I’m pretty superstitious when it comes to talking about anything related to (the Chase) until I know for sure if I’m going to be there,” Bowyer said. “I like our chances, but at the same time a lot can happen in the next couple races. One or two things go the wrong way and we’ll be back fighting for our spot.”

Bowyer isn’t saying, of course, that he doesn’t want to win. But the lack of urgency presents an interesting opening into the lack of emphasis that NASCAR’s point structure puts on race wins. Wouldn’t it be nice if Sunday’s race could earn a winning driver a bonus of 20 points or so usable in the Chase?



How will Hendrick Motorsports respond to June failures?  Jeff GordonJeff Gordon’s race ended in a crash against the Turn 2 wall on Lap 6. Kahne exited the competition on Lap 104 after a blown tire sent him to a fiery Turn 1 wall collision. Earnhardt sat helplessly as his No. 88 erupted the smoke of a blown engine on Lap 131. Johnson, vying for the lead, watched his dreams of a checkered flag end with a blown tire three laps from the finish.

The June Michigan race had a sorry finish to a day of such promise for most of the Hendrick Motorsports camp. Kahne, Earnhardt and Johnson were first, first and second, respectively, when their individual problems began. They all finished worse than 25th. They likely all should have been in the top 10.

Those results will make Sunday’s race awful interesting to see just how far teams evolve over the course of NASCAR’s summer stretch. In what amounts to just over two months, will Hendrick’s impressive initial returns in June translate to the August event? Or will the competition have made progress on what made the HMS cars so fast, if not reliable?


Ford teams circle back to site of last 2013 win
Ford was certainly the manufacturer most pleased with the HMS struggles during the June race, but not for ill-suited or low-blow purposes. Instead, the problems with Hendrick’s Chevrolets gave an opening for Greg Biffle to grab the checkered flag and take credit for Ford’s 1,000th victory in a NASCAR national series.

Hopefully the gleeful haze of that victory in the home state of the Blue Oval stuck around for a while because Ford hasn’t won a Cup Series event since then — a span of two months and seven races. On the six oval tracks, Brad Keselowski (fourth at New Hampshire) and Joey Logano (fourth at Kentucky) have tied for Ford’s best overall finish. Keselowski was second last week at Watkins Glen.

Just like questions about a Hendrick recovery, Sunday’s race will be an important footnote in seeing if Ford is making progress in a season filled with surprisingly few strong results. The manufacturer has just three Cup wins in the 22 races, and one of them came when David Ragan emerged with a surprise victory at Talladega in May.

A saving grace for Ford has been the impressive consistency from Carl Edwards. Third in the point standings, Edwards has 12 top 10s and has finished on the lead lap of all but two races this season.


Austin Dillon up next in Tony Stewart’s seat
Predicting another Jamie McMurray moment — remember when he won his second-career Cup Series race as a fill-in for Sterling Marlin in the fall of 2002? — is next to impossible in today’s NASCAR. And even if he won Sunday, Austin Dillon’s story wouldn’t have quite the same lore: Sunday marks Dillon’s 10th Cup start.

But Dillon, the 2011 Truck Series champion, should be considered a darkhorse for Sunday’s win as he takes over as the second driver to fill in for the indefinitely-sidelined Tony Stewart in the No. 14. The grandson of team owner Richard Childress, Dillon will start Sunday at the track where in June he finished an impressive 11th. He’ll start a car for a team that finished fifth.

Beyond a good opportunity to run well, Sunday’s race provides an interesting glimpse into how Dillon is viewed across the NASCAR garage area. The call from Stewart-Haas Racing to get Dillon in the car proves that his talents and on-track success has defined Dillon beyond just being the grandson of a major series team owner. It’s cemented by the fact that Dillon will have to split time between Michigan and his Nationwide Series ride at Mid-Ohio.

Sure, Dillon’s connections with SHR sponsor Bass Pro Shops played a role in the process and we know that sponsor money is large influence on other decisions made by SHR (and across the sport, for that matter). But SHR undoubtedly could have gone any number of other routes for a temporary replacement. Instead, it landed on Dillon.

That’s a nice compliment.



Michigan among NASCAR’s annual repeat-race pilgrimageMichigan’s second race of the season is among NASCAR’s annual run back through many tracks it has visited previously this season. In fact, of the 14 races remaining on the Sprint Cup calendar, just three of them will mark the track’s only date on the schedule. The rest are repeats.

The ink is still drying on NASCAR’s most recent round of television deals, and the security of more than $6 billion coming to the sport over the next decade may provide decision-makers with extra flexibility to freshen up the 36-race Cup Series schedule a bit. Of course, the money could also be cushioning for executives who think everything in the sport is the way it simply ought to be.

I disagree pretty heavily with that idea, if only because of the some of the staleness that both the current and most recent incarnation of NASCAR-designed race vehicle in use has produced on track. NASCAR seems a long way from solving the competitive aerodynamic advantage of a race leader.

One option NASCAR should consider is happening as an example this weekend in a series owned by the France family. The Rolex Grand-Am Series is racing at Kansas Speedway Saturday night under the lights on a road course that travels through the infield and uses three-quarters of the track’s oval. Returns aren’t quite in yet on how competitive the layout will be, but it’s an event that NASCAR should watch closely.

Think about it: In a series that is begging for a few more right turns in its schedule, why not keep a second date at a current facility and simply use a different style of racing?

I’m typically fine with tracks having repeat dates, but there are exceptions. Thinking a bit outside the box like the Kansas example might just be an answer to improve the racing product.


Follow Geoffrey Miller on Twitter: @GeoffreyMiller
Photos by Actions Sports, Inc.

Teaser:
Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hits Michigan International Speedway for the Pure Michigan 400.
Post date: Friday, August 16, 2013 - 13:58
All taxonomy terms: High School
Path: /high-school/2013-alabama-high-school-football-top-10-and-preview
Body:

Alabama Preseason Top 10

1. Hoover Buccaneers
It’s not exactly a bold prediction to call for the Bucs to return to the state title game — Hoover has been there every year this century with the exception of 2008. Winning the game will be another matter, as the Bucs will look to replace a corps of senior leaders with a strong group of younger stars, including superstar senior Marlon Humphrey along with rising juniors Christian Bell and Darrell Williams on defense.

2. Clay-Chalkville Cougars (Pinson)
After a fourth-round playoff loss to Hoover to end last season, the Cougars will be out for revenge this fall, and they’ll have the weapons to pull it off. Clay-Chalkville returns quarterback Hayden Moore and running back Sidney Battle, and the Cougars boasted one of the state’s most stifling defenses last season.

3. Auburn Tigers
One of the state’s top producers of college talent, Auburn once again features a large crop of impressive athletes, including defensive end Rashaan Evans and cornerback/wide receiver Blaise Taylor.

4. Opelika Bulldogs
The surprise of the 2012 season, the Bulldogs shocked high school football fans with their unlikely run to the 6A state title game. They return cornerback Stephen Roberts (an Alabama commit) and tight end Jakell Mitchell (an Auburn commit).

5. Spanish Fort Toros
Coming off his second state title in the last three seasons, head coach Mark Freeman will look to fill the holes left by a strong senior class, including breaking in a new starting quarterback.

6. Carver Wolverines (Montgomery)
After making a run to the state semifinals last season, Carver loses Mr. Football winner Jeremy Johnson but returns defensive stars Shaun Hamilton and Jon Michael Edwards.

7. Calera Eagles
After a tough early exit from last year’s playoffs, the Eagles will enter the 2013 season with plenty of motivation and with one of the state’s top athletes in two-way star Ronnie Clark.

8. Muscle Shoals Trojans
The Trojans must reload after losing star defensive lineman Dee Liner and their top two rushers from last season’s undefeated regular-season run.

9. St. Paul’s Episcopal Saints (Mobile)
One of the powerhouses of the Mobile area, St. Paul’s will look to make yet another deep playoff run thanks to elite stars like linebacker Tre’ Williams and offensive lineman Joshua Casher.

10. Vigor Wolves (Prichard)
New head coach Ashley Johnson hopes to lead the Wolves back into the state championship discussion. Key players include running back Desherrius Flowers and defensive end Justin Thornton.

Five Can't Miss Matchups

8.30 – Colquitt County (Ga.) at Hoover
Alabama’s top program opens the season against one of the top teams in Georgia. The real intrigue centers around Colquitt County’s head coach Rush Propst, the former Hoover head coach who built the Bucs into a powerhouse program.

8.30 – Tanner at Madison Academy
Another intriguing opening weekend game features the defending state champions from the 2A and 3A divisions squaring off against each other. Tanner has lost just twice in the last three years. Madison Academy boasts several major college prospects.

9.13 – Thomasville at UMS-Wright
A rematch of one of the 2012 season’s most exciting games, a 49–42 shootout between the top two teams in the Mobile area. UMS-Wright pulled off the road win last year. Can Thomasville return the favor this season?

9.20 – Davidson at McGill-Toolen
Another big matchup between two of the Mobile area’s powerhouse programs. Last year’s game was a 29–28 thriller in favor of McGill-Toolen, but the Yellowjackets will be breaking in a new starting QB this season.

10.25 – Auburn at Opelika
These rivals split their two meetings last season, with Opelika eliminating Auburn from the playoffs. Both teams return key pieces on both offense and defense along with loads of SEC-level talent.

2013 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Racean Thomas, RB, Oxford
Senior, 5-11, 195

Thomas goes by the nickname “Rock,” and over the past two seasons, he has more than earned that moniker. He was named first-team All-State (Alabama Sports Writers Association) and second-team All-American (247Sports) as a junior for his 1,968-yard, 26-touchdown performance (combined rushing and receiving) that almost single-handedly propelled a young Oxford Yellow Jackets squad to six wins. As one of the top offensive playmakers in the Class of 2014, Thomas is likely to be the subject of an intense recruiting battle between Alabama and Auburn, though out of state schools have shown interest as well, including Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss. Thomas has the soft hands to contribute as a receiving threat while his solid frame and tackle-breaking ability make him an ideal running back in the SEC, where toughness is a must for a between-the-tackles runner. With a more experienced quarterback and offensive line in front of him, “Rock” could be poised for his best season yet in 2013.

2013 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Marlon Humphrey, CB, Hoover
Senior, 6-1, 175

After Humphrey’s junior season — highlighted by four interceptions and 15 pass breakups — recruiting analysts raved about his astounding speed and quickness. Humphrey put those skills to use again during the spring when he broke numerous state and national track and field records. Widely regarded as the nation’s top cornerback in the class of 2014, Humphrey has also proven himself to be a dangerous special teams threat, blocking two punts and returning two kickoffs for touchdowns. At 6'1", 175 pounds, Humphrey also has the size to get physical with receivers in press man-to-man coverage, an asset that makes him a strong candidate for early playing time at the college level. Humphrey’s athletic prowess hardly comes as a surprise — he’s the son of former University of Alabama running back Bobby Humphrey. Many expect that the Crimson Tide legacy will end up in Tuscaloosa, but he has also shown significant interest in South Carolina as well.

 

Order your copy of Athlon Sports High School Football Preview today!


 

Teaser:
Marlon Humphrey and the Hoover Buccaneers are the best in Alabama.
Post date: Friday, August 16, 2013 - 13:11

Pages