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Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week-2-episode-2

In episode 2 of the Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast, Braden Gall and David Fox talk about the ups and downs from the first week of games, plus a quick lookahead for Week 2.

Our topics in this episode:

• What was impressive about Clemson’s 38-35 win over Georgia and what would constitute of the Tigers’ patented letdowns.

• Where does Georgia go from here with South Carolina in Week 2 and why
we’re concerned about fatigue in the second week of September.

• A quick pass through the Johnny Manziel drama of the weekend: Why Braden is tired of the coverage and why David is craving more.

• Why Washington was the biggest statement win of the weekend.

• A request for really, really upset Georgia fans to contact the podcast.

• Why David changed his pick from Miami to Florida ahead of this week’s game and why Braden is feeling a little more confident about Miami, but still picking the Gators.

• In a not-so-cleverly named segment, our hosts each pick an overlooked game for Week 2 they’re going to watch.
The podcast can be found on and our RSS feed. And coming soon to iTunes.

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

Thanks to Moon Taxi for sharing their tunes for bumper music. Their new album Mountains Beaches Cities will be available Sept. 10.

This week's podcast looks back at Clemson and Washington and takes a peek at week 2
Post date: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 07:05
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-post-week-1-bowl-projections-2013




New MexicoDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWC Washington vs. Air Force
Famous Idaho PotatoDec. 21MAC vs. MWCNevada vs. Bowling Green
Las VegasDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCOregon State vs. Fresno State
New Orleans BowlDec. 21Sun Belt vs. CUSALouisiana-Lafayette vs. MTSU
Beef 'O' Brady'sDec. 23American vs. CUSAPittsburgh* vs. Louisiana Tech
HawaiiDec. 24MWC vs. CUSASan Jose State vs. East Carolina
Little Caesars PizzaDec. 26MAC vs. Big TenNorthern Illinois vs. Minnesota
Poinsettia Dec. 26Army vs. MWCArizona* vs. San Diego State
Military Dec. 27CUSA vs. ACCMarshall vs. Maryland
TexasDec. 27Big 12 vs. Big Ten TCU vs. Indiana
Kraft Fight HungerDec. 27BYU vs. Pac-12 BYU vs. USC
PinstripeDec. 28American vs. Big 12Rutgers vs. West Virginia
BelkDec. 28American vs. ACCNorth Carolina vs. USF
Russell AthleticDec. 28American vs. ACCCincinnati vs. Miami
Buffalo Wild WingsDec. 28Big 12 vs. Big TenBaylor vs. Northwestern
Armed ForcesDec. 30MWC vs. Navy Navy vs. Utah State
Music CityDec. 30ACC vs. SECOle Miss vs. Georgia Tech
AlamoDec. 30Big 12 vs. Pac-12Stanford vs. Oklahoma
HolidayDec. 30Pac-12 vs. Big 12Arizona State vs. Kansas State
AdvoCare V100Dec. 31ACC vs. SECNC State vs. Auburn
SunDec. 31Pac-12 vs. ACCVirginia Tech vs. UCLA
LibertyDec. 31SEC vs. CUSATulsa vs. Tennessee
Chick-fil-ADec. 31ACC vs. SECSouth Carolina vs. Florida State
GatorJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenVanderbilt vs. Michigan State
Heart of DallasJan. 1Big Ten vs. CUSARice vs. Texas Tech*
Capital OneJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenTexas A&M vs. Wisconsin
OutbackJan. 1SEC vs. Big Ten Florida vs. Nebraska
RoseJan. 1BCS vs. BCS Oregon vs. Michigan
FiestaJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOklahoma State vs. Boise State
SugarJan. 2BCS vs. BCS Georgia vs. Louisville
CottonJan. 3SEC vs. Big 12 Texas vs. LSU
OrangeJan. 3BCS vs. BCSClemson vs. Notre Dame
BBVA CompassJan. 4SEC vs. AmericanMississippi State vs. UCF
GoDaddyJan. 5MAC vs. Sun BeltULM vs. Ball State
National TitleJan. 6BCS vs. BCSAlabama vs. Ohio State


Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 17:08
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-september-3

Plenty of news from the first weekend of the season.

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 Tuesday, September 3rd

Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell is not expected to play in Week 2 due to a concussion. Here's an interesting look at the Bulldogs' offenses under coach Dan Mullen.

Saturday Down South takes a look at what happened in the SEC in Week 1.

Lost Lettermen has a look at the top 10 biggest hits in college football history. And why it's time for replacements on ESPN's College Gameday.

Receiver Kenny Bell has decided to leave Alabama.

CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman has an excellent recap of Week 1. 

Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche and guard Aaron Morris are dealing with injuries suffered in the Week 1 win over Vanderbilt.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has a new contract. 

Oklahoma State is searching for an identity on offense.

Auburn expects have defensive end Dee Ford in a couple of weeks.

Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday wasn't impressed with Auburn's Nick Marshall.

Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and Jadeveon Clowney are among the players on the watch list for the award going to the collegiate best player in South Carolina or player from the state playing at another university.

Purdue cornerback Ricardo Allen may have a high ankle sprain.

Kent State running back Dri Archer plans on playing this week after suffering an ankle injury against Liberty.

College Football's Link Roundup: September 3
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 16:41
Path: /nascar/nascar-numbers-game-5-amazing-stats-richmond

 “Momentum” is an overused buzzword in sports. Writers, commentators and athletes are quick to drop it into conversation, but, at best, it’s a myth created to build one’s confidence.

Momentum, as in “With that Atlanta win, Kyle Busch sure has a lot of momentum going into the Chase,” isn’t real. It’s all perception. Momentum doesn’t win NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races; good drivers and teams do. When a team is really good, they are often good at a variety of racetracks. Such is the case with Kyle Busch and his Joe Gibbs Racing bunch, who everyone should anticipate being good in this weekend’s race at Richmond International Raceway. Why? Because he is, quite simply, really good at Richmond.

Brace yourselves for the momentum chatter afterwards, but independent of prior races this season, Busch will be the rabbit after which the masses are attempting to catch on Saturday night.

666  Kyle Busch has led a devilish grand total of 666 laps across the 13 Richmond races in the Gen-5 and Gen-6 eras.  Kyle Busch

That total amounts to 12.7 percent of all laps, which comes as no surprise for the driver with a serious penchant for leading laps. He leads all drivers in Production in Equal Equipment Rating (PEER) at Richmond with a 5.615 rating, having won four times with his most recent score a lark of sorts in the spring of 2012 after front-runner Carl Edwards was penalized for a restart infraction.

Lark or not, the win served as the highlight of a season in which he failed to make NASCAR’s playoffs. He has already clinched a Chase berth this season. Specifically to this weekend, it’s logical to surmise that if a driver and team can win a race at Richmond in a down year, they can assuredly take home the trophy after the ship has been righted.

Expect Busch to keep that perceived “momentum” going into the Chase. In actuality, he isn’t just a lap-to-lap trailblazer at Richmond, he’s also a more productive finisher than any other driver there. A victory would be in the cards regardless of his team’s recent run of success.

10  The only driver to score 10 top-10 finishes in the last 13 Richmond races is Kevin Harvick, the track’s most recent winner.  Kevin Harvick

Harvick has been beastly at the 0.75-mile, D-shaped track. He has three total Cup victories at Richmond with two coming in the Gen-5/Gen-6 eras. With a 34th-place finish from 2009 omitted, his average finish in the 12 remaining races is 7.9 (a finish deviation of 4.9). He doesn’t need the win per se, but the track falls firmly in his wheelhouse and if his passing prowess (he holds a series-best 54.11 percent pass efficiency) remains intact, he’ll be a contender as the race draws to a conclusion.

23.6  Dating back to the fall race of 2010, Martin Truex Jr. has averaged a 23.6-place finish at Richmond.

Truex’s victory earlier this season at Sonoma might prove pivotal for his Chase-making hopes because the last five races at Richmond were tough sledding for the No. 56 team. Now with a broken wrist, through which he suffered to earn a third-place finish last Sunday night at Atlanta, the typical RIR obstacles become more difficult. His example proves why it’s prudent to win races during the 26-race regular season. Without the victory, he is three spots out of Chase contention and in need of a wild card-punching win that shouldn’t be expected to come at RIR.

-0.173  Greg Biffle’s PEER in 13 Gen-5/Gen-6 era starts at Richmond is a paltry -0.173, ranking 42nd out of 49 drivers with at least four starts.

Biffle and his No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing team, with a better cushion than Truex, are currently ninth in the point standings (and hold one win to their name) and hoping to preserve it for the purposes of making the Chase. If Biffle does his usual Biffle thing at Richmond, though, holding down the automatic Chase invite might prove problematic. In order to clinch a spot outright, he must finish better than ninth; however, he has finished ninth or better just once in the Gen-5/Gen-6 eras. His average finish over the span is 20.1, leading to such a low track-specific production rating.

6.5  The recently replaced Juan Pablo Montoya has averaged a 6.5-place finish in the four races leading up to this weekend’s tilt.

Dating back to Watkins Glen, Montoya has been a high-volume producer with a 6.000 PEER through the four-race span. The “roll” he’s on, which coincides with his job hunt, might continue at Richmond. In April’s race there, he led 67 laps and looked poised to score his first oval-track win before a late caution and pit stop relegated him to a fourth-place finish following a hectic restart. In totality, Montoya is a serviceable producer at Richmond with a 1.500 PEER across the last 13 races.

For PEER and other metrics with which you may be unfamiliar, I refer you to my glossary of terms on

David Smith is the founder of Motorsports Analytics LLC and the creator of NASCAR statistics for projections, analysis and scouting. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidSmithMA.

David Smith crunches the numbers to reveal some revealing NASCAR stats for the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 16:40
Path: /mlb/15-amazing-mlb-stats-week-aug-26-sept-1

The Pirates are over powering the Cardinals, Scherzer can’t finish, but he sure can win, the Rangers are road warriors, the Rays are road weary, the Tigers dominate the Tribe and Craig Kimbrel is good, really good. Explore these facts and more amazing MLB stats from the week of Aug. 26 to Sept. 1.

18    Home runs hit by Pittsburgh off St. Louis pitching this season
In contrast, the Cardinals have taken Pittsburgh pitchers out of the yard just three times in the 16 meetings so far this season.

0    Complete games for Max Scherzer of Detroit this season
With one more win, Scherzer could become just the third pitcher in history to win 20 games in a season without completing a start. The only two pitchers to accomplish that are Mike Mussina in 2008 and Roger Clemens in 2001, both with the Yankees.

0.93    ERA for the Brewers’ Yovani Gallardo in his last three starts
Gallardo, who has struggled most of the season, has risen to the occasion recently. Those three games just happened to have been against Cincinnati (two) and Pittsburgh, two teams battling for a division title.

50-1    Milwaukee’s record when leading after eight innings
A 6-5 loss to the Angels last Saturday was the club’s first such setback when leading after eight innings. Prior to that loss, the Brewers were the only team this season perfect with a lead going into the final frame.

13-3    Texas’ road record in August
The Texas Rangers finished the month of August with 20 wins, which was just the fourth month in franchise history with as many as 20 wins. The club was especially good on the road, including sweeps over the Angels, Astros and Mariners.

1.33    Dodgers’ ERA last week
As impressive as last week was for the Dodgers’ pitching staff, the last five weeks have been even more impressive in that they have been able to sustain such a high level. Since July 26, covering 35 games, the Dodgers are 28-7 with their pitchers carrying a 1.87 ERA. Opponents are batting just .215 during that time. Think any National League team wants to face that staff in the playoffs?

2,500    Career hits for Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies
The total ranks 96th on the all-time list and is the third-most among active players behind Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Ichiro Suzuki.

0-9    Tampa Bay record outside the Eastern Time Zone in second half
The Rays just don’t travel well, especially long distances. Since the All-Star break, the Rays are 10-3 on the road when playing on Eastern Time. But they’re 0-1 in the Central Time zone, 0-2 on Mountain Time and 0-6 on the West Coast. Not good if you’re chasing a playoff spot.

18     Runs allowed by the Rockies to the Reds in three games
Giving up six runs a game is not good, but it’s not horrible. So what’s the big deal? The Rockies won two of three.

9    Years since Seattle finished ahead of the Angels
You have to go back to 2003 to find the last time the Mariners were looking down at the Angels in the AL West standings. As of Sunday, the Angels were a game and a half ahead of the Mariners.

15-4    Detroit’s record vs. the Indians
The 15 wins mark the most for the Tigers over the Indians since 1960 when the teams met 22 times. It’s also a far cry from the 12-game Cleveland sweep in 1996.

.218    Philadelphia’s batting average since the All-Star break
The Phillies own the lowest batting average in the majors in the second half, which is directly related to…

-117    Philadelphia’s run differential, worst in the National League
Over the weekend, the Phillies dropped below the Miami Marlins in run differential in the National League. The Phillies entered the All-Star break at an even 48-48, with some thought of climbing into the pennant race. Since then, the team is 14-27 with a -72 run differential.

5.1    Perfect innings for Craig Kimbrel
Last week, the Braves closer tossed 5.1 innings without allowing a hit or walk. He notched three saves and a win along the way. For the season, he has 81 strikeouts and 48 hits and walks combined. His WHIP is an impressive 0.847 to go with his 0.95 ERA.

11/10    RBIs/Runs for Shane Victorino last week
The Boston outfielder began the week with a 3-for-3, four-run, 7-RBI, two-homer performance in a big win over Baltimore. His hot hitting continued as he batted .435 for the week with 11 RBIs, 10 runs and six extra-base hits.

The Pirates are over powering the Cardinals, Scherzer can’t finish, but he sure can win, the Rangers are road warriors, the Rays are road weary, the Tigers dominate the Tribe and Craig Kimbrel is good, really good. Explore these facts and more amazing MLB stats from the week of Aug. 26 to Sept. 1.
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 14:16
Path: /college-football/casey-pachall-remain-tcus-starter

Senior Casey Pachall will start against Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium, Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson reiterated Sunday.

This comes after Pachall was pulled for sophomore Trevone Boykin early in the second half after throwing an interception. Boykin gave the Horned Frogs a spark, rallying TCU to within three points. His dual-threat abilities created problems for the LSU defense.

Despite indications from Saturday's game, head coach Gary Patterson says there is no quarterback controversy and Pachall will start week 2. However, expect Boykin to receive playing time this week. 

Casey Pachall to remain TCU's starter
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 13:56
All taxonomy terms: College Football, UCLA Bruins, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/ucla-unveils-la-midnight-uniforms

UCLA fans were not pleased with the Bruins LA Nights alternate last season, but they should have no problem with the sleek all-black look the Bruins are going with on November 15 against Washington. UCLA's new adidas TECHFIT "LA Midnight" uniform is black with blue and gold shoulder stripes and player numbers.The Bruins' helmet is black with the UCLA logo in gold metallic.


An extra bonus for those in the City of Angels are the gloves that feature the Los Angeles skyline at night!

UCLA unveils LA Midnight uniforms
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 13:29
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-state-sticks-jw-walsh-qb

After one game, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is making a change at quarterback. Clint Chelf has been benched in favor of J.W. Walsh.

In Saturday’s win over Mississippi State, Walsh was the better quarterback, throwing for 135 yards and adding 125 yards and one score on the ground.

Chelf closed out 2012 on a tear but struggled to find his rhythm in the opener and was just 3 of 6 for 11 yards.

Although Walsh has passed Chelf on the depth chart, don’t be surprised if both quarterbacks see action. Walsh isn’t as polished as a passer, and Chelf’s arm could be needed once Big 12 play arrives.

Oklahoma State Sticks With J.W. Walsh at QB
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 12:11
Path: /nascar/busch-wins-atlanta-nascar-chase-race-tightens

So much happened at Atlanta Motor Speedway this past weekend that the winner was, in some ways, irrelevant. Kyle Busch’s fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup victory clinched his spot in the Chase, but it was one the driver had on lockdown for weeks. The No. 18 Toyota, comfortably within the top 10 in points, has been overshadowed amongst potential title contenders by Jimmie Johnson’s strength-turned-slump and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth’s five wins.

Some of that ignorance comes from Busch’s past history. Since moving to JGR prior to the 2008 season, Busch has made the Chase four times in six seasons. Not once was he ever been a serious contender, posting a best points finish of eighth despite starting off as one of the top seeds each time. The cold reality is Busch’s behavior, combined with poor results in the 10 postseason races, has made him the boy who cried wolf of the Chase. The stats say he should be a title favorite but the majority of NASCAR Nation will believe it when they see it.

“I think if you can pin a championship on one race, or a championship on one night in a race, I think tonight was the night,” said Busch at Atlanta, whose rollercoaster evening was spent running mostly around eighth or ninth before catching fire late. “We certainly had a lot to do and a lot to overcome, and I think that Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and these guys stuck with me. For as bad as I may have been talking, they certainly never gave up.”

To its credit, JGR never gave up on Rogers, whose legendary patience with Busch has paid off as their cars regained speed this season. But the concerns about the Las Vegas native — which have never abated — lie directly in that quote. Here he is, years later, still mouthy on the radio and only responsive when Rogers shows him they can find speed. What happens in a few weeks at Kansas should that same predicament lead to a 15th-place stumble? Will Busch return to the driver’s seat the following week with the same type of leadership and confidence?

The stats say yes, considering JGR is batting cleanup on the mile-and-a-half cookie-cutters this season (five victories in six attempts). The team itself says yes; even typically mild-mannered team owner Joe Gibbs is selling the “Kyle has changed!” narrative like an excitable kid. But just like Johnson’s month-long slump, in which the Chase-clinching point leader has run like junk while preparing for the postseason, what happens now is irrelevant.

It’s the fall that matters and for Busch no action makes an impact until he’s pulling into Victory Lane during the Chase.

Instead, shifting Through the Gears at Atlanta the post-race focus falls on who finishes second …

FIRST GEAR: Logano finally “slicing up” the competition  Joey Logano
Joey Logano’s route to title relevance has been five years in the making — and the fact he’s doing it in the first season with a new team and with a teammate who’s likely missing the Chase is even more surprising. But better late than never, right? With Sunday’s second-place finish — his sixth straight top 10 — Logano has now launched himself to eighth in the standings. Barring an epic collapse at Richmond, the 23-year-old has earned himself his first Chase appearance, gaining steam in a year that was supposed to be a “rebuild” at Penske Racing — and suddenly, confidence is blooming.

“I feel like with three straight top 5s right now, we have a really good shot at (winning the Chase),” he said Sunday night. “I think you can't count us out right now.”

Like Busch, critics would be hard-pressed to put facts and faith into those words. The pressure of the postseason, combined with perhaps peaking too soon may leave Logano down for the count early in the 10-race playoff. But currently, the youngster is playing with house money and he knows it. While reigning champ Brad Keselowski was crippled from his 25-point penalty earlier in the season from violations at Texas, this youngster used his consequences as a motivator. The chemistry with crew chief Todd Gordon is superb and at the cookie-cutter tracks, which form 50 precent of the Chase schedule, Logano’s had the fastest car the last two times out, having won at Michigan. Only poor pit stops, where he lost a total of 11 spots under caution, kept him from duplicating the feat at Atlanta, a track he claims is one of his worst.

Richmond, where Logano ran third in April, is a track where odds tilt squarely in his favor. A Chase bid at this point seems like his to lose.

SECOND GEAR: Chase waters more muddy than ever  Brad Keselowski
For Logano and several others, the postseason destiny seems clear. The top six drivers in the point standings — Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Busch and Kenseth — have clinched postseason bids, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. sits 37 points ahead of 11th. Barring a disaster of epic proportions, the No. 88 team earned its spot with two calm and collected top-10 finishes at Bristol and Michigan after a series of early August disasters.

With Logano holding momentum, it leaves four spots to be settled amongst eight drivers. The difference between ninth-place Greg Biffle and 16th-place Jamie McMurray is just 47 points. Among that group of eight, four have won races: Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman. That means any combination of “wild card” spots is possible, although Kahne’s positioning is key to it all with two race wins, which guarantee his postseason position.

Such a complicated math problem makes things difficult for Keselowski, the big loser at Atlanta. Over the last month, he’s shown the speed to make the Chase but has left himself no margin for error based on some midsummer miscues. A faulty engine while leading at Atlanta means his rollercoaster 2013 performance — from the Texas penalties to controversial comments pre-Daytona — has caught up with the reigning champ. Barring a miracle, he’ll be the first reigning champ since 2006 (Tony Stewart) to miss a shot at repeating the following year.

On the flip side, Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon have to be feeling good. Gordon, now six points out of 10th, was second at Richmond last fall and is doing what he has to do (two straight top 10s) to work his way into the Chase. Meanwhile, Busch stole Gordon’s spot in the top 10 courtesy of a wild restart at Atlanta where he gained eight positions in one lap. A gutsy maneuver straight out of a video game, it’s the moment we’ll look back on if the No. 78 team somehow sneaks through.

THIRD GEAR: Bad breaks leading to good things?
For Bowyer and Edwards, it was a tale of two races: domination, then destruction. At one point, Bowyer’s Toyota was clearly the class of the field, building a lead of seven seconds during a mid-race green-flag run. But the caution that disrupted the run was for the No. 15, as a faulty engine him behind the wall.

Edwards, at least, was able to finish the race. However, some hard contact with Gordon combined with staying out on old tires during a late caution found the No. 99 18th on the evening, despite having led 68 laps.

I see these bad endings differently, though. For two drivers who have scored points, just not laps led, it’s important to be reminded of their ability to run up front. Both of them have now led significant chunks of two consecutive races, reminding everyone they’re “there” in a Chase race that, in the fans’ eyes, consists of Johnson, Busch and Kenseth. Building the confidence that one can compete — especially at a track type that’s so prevalent in the Chase — is more important than reaching the finish line.

FOURTH GEAR: Goodyear did good with those new tiresMuch was made of Goodyear’s new tire, introduced at Atlanta with multi-zone “tread” technology designed to enhance grip. The results, while not perfect, were clearly a step in the right direction. Speeds changed over the course of a run, forcing drivers to find ways to save their tires. That also made the passing that has been seemingly impossible at most intermediate tracks this season more prevalent. More wear was supposed to lead to more failures; thankfully, that was not the case. The issues could be counted on one hand, as Goodyear hopes this short-term experiment becomes a long-term blueprint for better competition.

“Certainly, this confirms our plan to utilize this technology for the October race weekend in Kansas and actively evaluate its application at other tracks,” said Goodyear Racing Director Greg Stucker.

Now NASCAR needs to look at the speeds. Side-by-side racing — even with better tires — is still a dicey affair on intermediates because drivers are “living on the edge.” If you’re about to lose control running by yourself you can only imagine when you add a second car to the mix. Goodyear’s Research and Development Department has done its part; can NASCAR’s arm in North Carolina follow suit?

Rivalries were flaring up after the race Sunday night. Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon had a heated discussion after contact between the two messed up handling on the No. 99 Ford late in the race. Gordon, for his part, was mad about a slide job Edwards pulled on him in the first few laps. After two conversations lasting around 20 minutes, both drivers said the hard feelings should subside. … Same for Denny Hamlin and Paul Menard, who got into it after the latter felt he was pushed up into the wall by the former. Several laps down after suffering damage, he seemingly punted Hamlin in retaliation (Menard was unavailable for comment). However, crew chief Slugger Labbe said on Monday that, “If it was intentional, I’m OK with it. It’s about time (Menard) stands up for himself.” … David Gilliland, 17th at Atlanta, brought home the second straight top-20 finish for Front Row Motorsports at an unrestricted track. That’s a huge accomplishment for the underdog operation. JTG-Daugherty Racing, which recently signed AJ Allmendinger full-time for 2014, was just as impressed by his 14th-place result. Current full-time driver Bobby Labonte is out for an undetermined length of time with broken ribs.

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

Post-race reaction from Kyle Busch's win in the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 12:11
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, NC State Wolfpack, News
Path: /college-football/nc-state-gets-patriotic-helmet-week-2

Dave Doeren’s debut at NC State was impressive, as the Wolfpack steamrolled Louisiana Tech 40-14.

NC State is back at home this Saturday, hosting FCS opponent Richmond.

The Wolfpack will have a new helmet for this weekend’s game, unveiling a white scheme with a red, white and blue NC State logo.

NC State Gets Patriotic With Helmet for Week 2
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 11:44
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-week-1-national-awards-boyd-takes-top-honors

Maybe this season will be different. That’s the talking point coming out of Clemson after the Tigers defeated Georgia 38-35 on Saturday.

And with Tajh Boyd running the show as a senior, fans at the Esso Club have someone they may be able to buck the Clemson trend of raising expectations only to see the Tigers’ hopes and dreams crumble later in the season. Boyd’s been there — the 2010 team that started 8-0 before losing three of the last five, including an embarrassing 70-33 loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.

Clemson’s long-term goals have yet to materialize, but Boyd is the player for right now, earning Athlon Sports National Player of the Week honors.

“This team is a veteran team,” Boyd said. “We have been every situation you could possibly image. We have been down 18. We have been up and lost. We just got absolutely blew out. It's situation like these where you know what type of team you have.”


National Player of the Week: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Boyd was the catalyst for Clemson’s 38-35 victory over Georgia. The senior quarterback took advantage of a rebuilt Bulldogs’ secondary, throwing for 270 yards and three touchdowns on 18 completions. Boyd also added 42 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. With Boyd at the controls, Clemson’s offense is one of the nation’s best. And the senior quarterback should be near the top of the Heisman watchlist after his Week 1 performance. 

National Defensive Player of the Week: Collin Ellis, LB, Northwestern
They may have been on tipped passes but when you score two defensive touchdowns, you are the P.O.W. The first came at a critical time late in the third quarter with Northwestern down by four, when Ellis took a Jared Goff pass 59 yards to paydirt to give the Wildcats the lead. Then again, this time up by three with eight minutes to go in the game, Ellis plucked another Cal throw out of the air and went 40 yards for six points to essentially end the game. This was the best win of the weekend for the league.

National Freshman of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
The offseason hype certainly lived up to Winston’s debut. The redshirt freshman was nearly flawless in his debut, completing 25 of 27 passes (and one of the incompletions was debatable) for 356 yards and four touchdowns. Winston also added 25 yards and one score on the ground. The Alabama native was incredibly poised in his first start, and his emergence will make Florida State a factor in the national championship picture.

National Coordinator of the Week: Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State
The Oklahoma State offense needed time to figure out its personnel and an approach that would work against Mississippi State. Glenn Spencer’s defense, though, did more than just hold serve. Oklahoma State limited Mississippi State to 333 total yards and a field goal, the first time the Cowboys held a major conference opponent to less than a touchdown since 1995. Oklahoma State was at its best in the third quarter when it held Mississippi State to 10 total yards and no first downs. The Cowboys added 10 tackles for a loss after averaging 6.9 per game last season.


Offense: Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Defense: Anthony Harris, Virginia
Freshman: Jameis Winston, Florida State
Coordinator: Mike Locksley, Maryland

Big 12
Offense: J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State
Defense: Corey Nelson, Oklahoma
Freshman: Baker Mayfield, Texas Tech
Coordinator: Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State

Big Ten
Offense: Allen Robinson, Penn State
Defense: Collin Ellis, Northwestern
Freshman: Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
Coordinator: Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State

Offense: Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Defense: Dion Bailey, USC
Freshman: Addison Gillam, Colorado
Coordinator: Justin Wilcox, Washington

Offense: Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
Defense: Robenson Therezie, Auburn
Freshman: Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
Coordinator: Cam Cameron, LSU

The Clemson quarterback earned our National Player of the Week in Georgia win
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 11:33
Path: /college-football/jameis-winston-best-debut-ever

Monday night provided the football world its first look at Florida State's highly touted redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston. To say that Winston - known in Tallahassee as Famous Jameis - was impressive in his debut is an understatement. The Hueytown, Alabama product was a nearly perfect 25 of 27, shredding Pittsburgh for 356 and 4 touchdowns.

The garnet and gold appears to fit Winston well, as he broke the Florida State record for passing yards in a debut. Additionally, his four passing scores were one short of the five touchdown passes former Seminoles quarterback Danny Kanell threw in his debut in 1993. In fact, when compared historically with other super-hyped freshman quarterbacks, Winston’s performance is head-and-shoulders above the rest. Jameis Winston became the only quarterback over the last 10 seasons with three passing touchdowns and a rushing score in the first half of his first career game. In the last 10 years, Winston is just 1 of 8 players to complete at least 25 passes with a completion percentage above 85% against a BCS team.

Comparing College Football's Freshman Debuts

PlayerResult, YearCmp-AttPctYardsTD-INTRushing YardsRushing TDs
Matthew Stafford, GeorgiaW vs. UAB, 200610-1758.81070-0141
Jimmy Clausen, Notre DameL @ Georgia Tech, 200717-3253.11440-1-250
Matt Barkley, USCW vs. San Jose State, 200915-1978.92331-0-50
Andrew Luck, StanfordW @ Wash State, 200911-2347.81931-0530
Christian Hackenburg, Penn StateW vs. Syracuse, 201322-31602782-2-120
Jameis Winston, FSUW vs. Pitt, 201325-2792.53564-0251
Braxton Miller, Ohio StateW vs. Colorado, 20115-1338.5832-0830
Michael Vick, Virginia TechW vs. Clemson, 19997-1766.7880-3410
Terrelle Pryor, Ohio StateW vs. Troy, 200810-1662.51394-1660

The young signal caller shined under the glow of the national spotlight on Monday night. The 6’4” 227-pounder proved his dual-threat abilities in the first half, running over a Panthers defender to score on the ground for five yards out. Winston was 17 of 18 in the first half for 240 yards and three touchdowns. The only incompletion Winston had in the first 30 minutes was a disputed play on the sidelines where senior receiver Kenny Shaw argued he got his foot down inbounds. The two-sport athlete led the Seminoles to touchdowns on their last four drives of the half.

At a school with two former Heisman trophy winners at quarterback (Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke) and two first round picks (Christian Ponder and EJ Manuel), Winston was praised by former ‘Noles quarterback Danny Kanell as the “most talented person” to ever play quarterback in Tallahassee. With play like this Winston could be headed to capture the school's third Heisman Trophy in the near future.

The Seminoles and their new leader take on Nevada next Saturday. Expect big numbers once again from the freshman phenom as the Wolf Pack gave up 58 points and 647 yards to UCLA.



Jameis Winston: Best Debut Ever?
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 10:59
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-september-3-2013

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for Sept. 3.


• Leading off a short week, we present a debate for the ages: Who has college football's hottest fan base? Hard to say, but the photographic evidence is fun to peruse.


• If you spent your Labor Day holiday away from the television, here's what you missed, including one of the greatest debuts in college football history.


The 10 greatest things about September. No. 1 is pretty obvious.


• Sometimes, The Onion just nails it. This is one of those times. (Language warning.) This is another one of those times.


• This is a growing trend: Nice guy gives foul ball to kid, kid throws ball back onto field.


Mark May says he grew up watching Michigan play Notre Dame. Michigan and Notre Dame didn't play from the time Mark May was born until he was in college. Ergo, Mark May is a dirty fibber.


Watch the world's strongest man hoist nearly half a ton. I pulled a groin just watching that.


An Australian Rules footballer had to apologize for setting a dwarf on fire at a party. Apparently setting a dwarf ablaze is frowned upon Down Under.


Dennis Rodman's back in North Korea, just chillin' with his best bro.


A recap of a memorable Week 1 in the SEC.


• Saturday night brought a reminder that Clemson has the greatest entrance in college football.




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

Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 10:25
Path: /nfl/denver-broncos-2013-nfl-team-preview

John Elway the front office suit is much like John Elway the quarterback. The man is always in a hurry, always looking for a competitive edge, always trying to pull off the next big play. And so it was that, in the aftermath of the Broncos’ shocking 2012 playoff exit, Elway wasted exactly zero time wallowing in the disappointment. Instead, he did something. Sign the top-rated guard in free agency. Check. Provide a parachute for Wes Welker when his relationship with the Patriots’ front office was in freefall. Check. Use a second-rounder on a Heisman Trophy finalist running back to keep the pressure off Peyton Manning. Check.

Having taken a proactive path to improve what already loomed as the most talented roster in the AFC, Elway, like everyone else out there, can sum up the Broncos’ 2013 season in a hurry: Super Bowl or bust.

Athlon Sports AFC Power Ranking: 1st

Related: 2013 Denver Broncos Schedule Analysis

Manning called the right audible when he decided to join the Broncos after being shown the door in Indianapolis. He would have been the MVP of the league if not for Adrian Peterson’s incredible comeback from knee surgery. And now Manning has even more weapons: The Broncos signed two of the most attractive names in free agency, Welker and former Chargers guard Louis Vasquez, who figures to amp up a running game featuring rookie tailback Montee Ball.

Manning doesn’t just make his teammates better; he creates instant stars. Case in point: Receiver Demaryius Thomas, whose career before 2012 had been defined by injuries and unfulfilled potential. Having caught 94 balls for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns, Thomas looms as one of the most dangerous deep threats in the league. And when Manning wants to move the chains with short stuff, he can turn to Welker (118 catches with the Pats) or Eric Decker, whose 13 touchdown catches led the team. It’s a foursome unmatched on any other roster in the league.

If Welker makes an already potent receiving corps even more dangerous, Ball could do the same for the running game. He has a lot of wear and tear on his body (663 carries in his final two seasons at Wisconsin), but Elway and Co. believe he’ll provide an upgrade for the running game. If so, the Broncos can virtually name that score.

And no, the upgrades don’t end with the ball-handlers. Vasquez, a 335-pound masher at right guard, was the team’s No. 1 target in free agency. His presence gives the Broncos one of the league’s premier offensive lines, one that could be better than ever if young right tackle Orlando Franklin continues to make strides as a pass-blocker. Vasquez' addition is even more important considering what has already happened to the Broncos at center. Starting center Dan Koppen tore his ACL in late July while backup J.D. Walton will miss at least the first six games after being put on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list as he continues his recovery from multiple offseason ankle surgeries. Manny Ramirez, who started 11 games at right guard last season, is penciled in as the starting center with vetean Steve Vallos behind him on the depth chart.

There was a time not so long ago when the Broncos were undersized on the defensive line. No more. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio wants big bodies who can clog the middle and create push, opening opportunities for players on the perimeter to make plays.

Derek Wolfe saw playing time in the middle last year as a rookie, but at 300 pounds, he doesn’t fit the profile of a Del Rio tackle. Enter free agent Terrance Knighton, a player Del Rio drafted at Jacksonville, and No. 1 draft pick Sylvester Williams. Knighton goes 330, give or take a Big Mac or two, and Williams 313. With so much size in the middle, Wolfe should be a bigger factor in the pass rush at defensive end. Then there’s strong-side linebacker Von Miller, arguably the most feared pass-rusher in the league. Miller is a once-in-a-lifetime player who could make a run at the all-time sack record after racking up 18.5 last season. Unfortunately, Miller will miss the first six games of the season after being suspended by the NFL for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. Denver signed veteran Paris Lenon to help fill the void, but everyone in the linebacking corps will need to step up while Miller is out.

After losing defensive end Elvis Dumervil in free agency, the Broncos considered Dwight Freeney and John Abraham but signed ex-Chargers defensive end Shaun Phillips, he of the 9.5 sacks in 2012.

The Broncos are solid in the secondary after the signing of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who’s hungry to re-establish himself after signing a one-year deal, but they need someone to step up and anchor the middle at linebacker, a gaping hole since the days of Al Wilson. Nate Irving, a third-rounder in 2011, will be given every opportunity to win the job. If he struggles, the defense could be hard-pressed to stage an encore from 2012, when the Broncos were one of the stingiest run defenses in the league.

The bottom line? The Broncos lack depth at some positions but have a handful of premier defensive players and a talented coordinator who figures to be a hot commodity on the head-coaching market after the season.

If you’re the rest of the AFC West, this is just wrong. The Broncos, that is, having not only Manning and a handful of other stars, but also the most electrifying return man in the league. At least Trindon Holliday can stake a claim to the title after his performance in the Broncos’ playoff loss to Baltimore when he became the first player in NFL history to record kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns in the same playoff game. His signing with the Broncos during the 2012 season was the move that gave Denver arguably the best special teams in the league.

Kicker Matt Prater is the most accurate kicker in league history from 50 yards-plus. Not bad for a guy who was cut by Detroit, Miami and Atlanta and failed tryouts with Green Bay and Minnesota before finding a home in Colorado. Then there’s punter Britton Colquitt, whose net averages for the past three seasons read like this: 36.6, 40.2 and 42.1. Yes, Colquitt, like Prater, benefits from Denver’s mile-high air, but he’s the real deal.

Final Analysis: 1st in AFC West
With the clock ticking on the 37-year-old Manning, the Broncos’ window for winning a Super Bowl is closing. But frankly, there’s no reason to believe they can’t win two with No. 18 under center. Remember all that talk about those surgical procedures on Manning’s neck? No, you probably don’t because any concerns about his physical condition died early last season. And by the time he threw his 37th touchdown pass, any notion of Manning not being his old self was ancient history. If anything, he’ll be more comfortable in his skin this season. Not only that, but he also has Welker around to provide a security blanket on third down.

Add in a defense that includes Miller (less the six games he will sit out) and future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey, and the Broncos are loaded for another Super Bowl run. They should dominate the weak AFC West, putting them in position to have home-field advantage in the playoffs. If it comes down that way, don’t count on them botching the opportunity this time around. The Broncos were embarrassed by how last season ended, and had to watch as the Ravens, a team that needed an 11th hour miracle to beat them in the playoffs, went on to win the Super Bowl.

Order your 2013 Denver Broncos Athlon Sports NFL Preview magazine here

2013 Athlon Sports NFL Team Previews:

AFC EastAFC NorthAFC SouthAFC West
MiamiCincinnatiIndianapolisKansas City
New EnglandClevelandJacksonvilleOakland
NY JetsPittsburghTennesseeSan Diego
NFC EastNFC NorthNFC SouthNFC West
NY GiantsDetroitCarolinaSt. Louis
PhiladelphiaGreen BayNew OrleansSan Francisco
WashingtonMinnesotaTampa BaySeattle


Denver Broncos 2013 NFL Team Preview
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 10:00
Path: /nfl/san-francisco-49ers-2013-nfl-team-preview

The 49ers made a stunning run to the NFC title game two years ago in coach Jim Harbaugh’s rookie season, only to fall 20–17 in overtime to the New York Giants on a cold, rainy night at Candlestick Park. Last season the 49ers regrouped and reached the Super Bowl but lost 34–31 to Baltimore when their final drive died at the Ravens’ 5-yard line after three straight Colin Kaepernick incomplete passes.

After taking two huge steps forward in their quest to win the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl, the 49ers appear to have all the pieces in place to take the final step and accomplish that feat this season. But history tells us how hard it will be.

Twenty straight Super Bowl losers failed to reach the Super Bowl the following season. Only two teams in NFL history won a Super Bowl the year after losing the ultimate game. The last? Miami, 41 seasons ago. Only five other Super Bowl losers — including Buffalo three straight years — advanced that far the next season.

Of course that’s just the kind of challenge Harbaugh loves. And it helps to have a team packed with Pro Bowl players.

Athlon Sports NFC Power Ranking: 1st

Related: 2013 San Francisco 49ers Schedule Analysis

Two years ago, the 49ers ran an ultra-conservative, just-don’t-screw-things-up offense that was overshadowed by one of the NFL’s most dominant defenses. And now? With the dual-threat Kaepernick under center from Day 1, the 49ers’ offense will demand as much if not more attention than their shutdown defense.

Kaepernick made his first NFL start in Week 11 last season against the Chicago Bears, filling in for Alex Smith, who suffered a concussion the week before against St. Louis. Kaepernick passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns in a 32–7 win on the Monday Night Football stage. That was enough to convince Harbaugh to make a dramatic QB switch. Kaepernick started every game the rest of the season, and Smith was traded to Kansas City in March.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman did a masterful job retooling the 49ers’ offense in midseason to fit his young QB’s exceptional running ability and arm strength. Roman hit opposing defenses with a heavy dose of zone-read out of the Pistol formation, an offense Kaepernick ran in college at Nevada. Now Roman will have an entire offseason and training camp to refine his offense and devise new ways to take advantage of Kaepernick’s strengths.

The 49ers boast one of the NFL’s best offensive lines and most diverse running attacks, which became even more dangerous once Kaepernick joined running back Frank Gore in the starting backfield. The 49ers can still hammer away at opposing defenses with their power running game and creative blocking schemes. But now those defenses also have to prepare for Kaepernick and the zone-read. He rushed for 415 yards and five touchdowns on just 63 carries last year. Gore, meanwhile, showed no signs of slowing down. He rushed for 1,214 yards, giving him 8,839 for his career, an ongoing 49ers record. The 49ers return all five starting offensive linemen, including left tackle Joe Staley and left guard Mike Iupati, a pair of Pro Bowl picks last year. This group should only get better.

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree had a breakout year, catching 85 passes for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns, all career highs. He won't have the chance to exceed those this season, however, as he tore his Achilles in late May. As expected, he has been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, but there's a chance he may be able to return before the end of the regular season. Veteran Mario Manningham also will start the season on the PUP list as he continues his recovery from a knee injury he sustained in December. This makes the offseason acquisition of ex-Raven Anquan Boldin, a three-time Pro Bowl pick who the 49ers traded for in March, even more important. Boldin and explosive tight end Vernon Davis will serve as Kaepernick's primary targets, but other options need to emerge. Fourth-year pro Kyle Williams, former Kansas City Chief Jon Baldwin and fourth-round pick Quinton Patton are among the candidates who could contribute. Williams caught 14 passes for the 49ers last season, while Baldwin was acquired via trade from Kansas City in exchange for A.J. Jenkins, San Francisco's first-round pick in 2012. The hope is that a change of scenery will help Baldwin recapture the form that the Chiefs saw in him when they took him in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

The 49ers return nine of 11 starters from a dominant defense that ranked third overall and fourth against both the run and pass. Five of those returning starters are coming off Pro Bowl seasons: outside linebacker Aldon Smith, inside linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, strong safety Donte Whitner and defensive lineman Justin Smith.

In other words, the 49ers are stacked again, despite losing free safety Dashon Goldson to Tampa Bay, nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga to Philadelphia and backup defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois to Indianapolis as free agents. Rookie Eric Reid, a first-round pick from LSU, won the battle during training camp to replace Goldson. Should Reid falter or struggle early, the 49ers have another solid option at free safety in free agent pickup Craig Dahl, who started all 16 games for the Rams last season, making 78 tackles and intercepting one pass. He’s played 70 games with 42 starts over five NFL seasons. The 49ers also found their replacement for Sopoaga during camp. Third-year pro Ian Williams will get the starting nod at defensive tackle with former Kansas City Chief and free agent acquisition Glenn Dorsey slotting in behind him.

The strength of San Francisco’s defense will again be against the run, with Justin Smith, Willis, Bowman and Whitner leading the way. Willis underwent surgery to repair a fractured right hand in early August, but the All-Pro tackle machine is expected to be available to play in Week 1.

The 49ers’ secondary showed some vulnerability during the postseason when opposing teams threw eight touchdown passes in just three games. San Francisco signed free agent Nnamdi Asomugha, a former Pro Bowl corner, who will try to resurrect his career after two rough years with the Eagles. The ex-Raider will fill the nickel slot as the projected starter there, Chris Culliver, tore his ACL earlier in training camp and has been placed on injured reserve.

In just his second NFL season and first as a starter, outside linebacker Aldon Smith had 19.5 sacks, second in the league behind J.J. Watt’s 20.5. Smith will be counted on again to supply most of the pass-rush pressure, but strong-side linebacker Ahmad Brooks is coming off a 6.5-sack season and has shown a knack for getting to the quarterback on blitzes.

Kicker David Akers had a nightmare season, and the 49ers made no effort to re-sign him. They quickly signed free agent Phil Dawson, who is coming off his first Pro Bowl season at age 38. Considering how bad Akers was last year, Dawson should be a decided upgrade. Dawson made 29-of-31 attempts last year for the Cleveland Browns, including all seven tries from 50-plus yards. He’s 14-of-15 from 50-plus over the past two seasons. Last year, Akers was 9-for-19 from 40-plus. Andy Lee, a four-time All-Pro pick, returns to handle the punting duties. Last year he averaged 48.1 yards per punt with a net of 43.2, tied for first in the NFL.

LaMichael James should provide a big-play threat as a kick returner. As a rookie last year, he averaged 29.8 yards on 14 returns. Punt returner Ted Ginn Jr. left as a free agent. Kyle Williams, who underwent ACL surgery in December, will contend for the job.

Final Analysis: 1st in NFC West
It’s Super Bowl or bust. With their roster loaded with Pro Bowl players, the 49ers are all but a lock to make the playoffs, but they’ll face a fierce battle from Seattle in the NFC West and might have to travel the tougher wild card route. If Kaepernick stays healthy, the 49ers could well wind up back in the Super Bowl with a chance to make history.

Order your 2013 Athlon Sports NFL Preview magazine here

2013 Athlon Sports NFL Team Previews:

AFC EastAFC NorthAFC SouthAFC West
MiamiCincinnatiIndianapolisKansas City
New EnglandClevelandJacksonvilleOakland
NY JetsPittsburghTennesseeSan Diego
NFC EastNFC NorthNFC SouthNFC West
NY GiantsDetroitCarolinaSt. Louis
PhiladelphiaGreen BayNew OrleansSan Francisco
WashingtonMinnesotaTampa BaySeattle


San Francisco 49ers 2013 NFL Team Preview
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Funny, videos, Overtime
Path: /overtime/ronnie-lott-flips-over-his-chair-during-pac-12-broadcast

Ronnie Lott got a little too enthusiastic talking about UCLA-Nevada during the postgame show on the Pac-12 Network Saturday night and ended up rolling his chair right off of the set. Wheee...THUD!


Ronnie Lott got a little too enthusiastic talking about UCLA-Nevada during the postgame show on the Pac-12 Network Saturday night and ended up rolling his chair right off of the set.
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 09:10
All taxonomy terms: videos, Overtime
Path: /overtime/northwestern-fan-video-terribly-awesome
What happens when Northwestern beats Cal? Apparently Wildcats fans bust out their VHS copy of "Top Gun" and get to editing a cheesy celebration video. Enjoy.

What happens when Northwestern beats Cal? Apparently Wildcats fans bust out their VHS copy of "Top Gun" and get to editing a cheesy celebration video.
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 08:50
Path: /college-football/acc-2013-post-week-1-power-rankings

Considering the bad losses suffered by some of the other BCS leagues, Week 1 was a solid debut for the ACC in 2013.

Clemson scored a huge victory against Georgia, which should propel the Tigers into a top-five spot in most weekly polls. Clemson should be unbeaten when Florida State comes to Death Valley in October.

As expected, Miami and Georgia Tech had no trouble with their Week 1 competition. And Virginia Tech and North Carolina struggled to hang with their SEC opponents. The Hokies still need to work on their passing attack, while the Tar Heels clearly have some issues on defense.

At the bottom of the conference, Wake Forest, Boston College and Duke were solid this week. And Syracuse hung tough against Penn State in a neutral site matchup.

More Post-Week 1 Power Rankings: Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

11Clemson (1-0, 0-0): The Tigers claimed the ACC’s best victory of Week 1, edging Georgia 38-35. Quarterback Tajh Boyd made an early Heisman statement with 312 total yards and five scores. Clemson’s defense gave up 545 yards, but the Bulldogs’ offense is one of the best in the nation, and there were a few positives for coordinator Brent Venables to build on this week. The Tigers shouldn’t be tested over the next few weeks, with their next big game coming on Oct. 19 in Death Valley against Florida State. Next Week: South Carolina State
22Florida State (1-0, 1-0): All of the offseason talk in Tallahassee centered on redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston. And after Monday night’s debut in the Steel City, it’s clear Winston is already one of the ACC’s best quarterbacks. Winston completed 25 of 27 throws for 356 yards and four scores, while adding 25 yards and one touchdown on the ground. A rebuilt defense gave up 10 points in the first half but held the Panthers to just one field goal in the final two quarters. Even though there’s a lot of new faces in the lineup, Florida State is going to be the thick of the national championship hunt.
33Miami (1-0, 0-0): With a huge matchup against Florida next week, FAU was the perfect tune-up for the Hurricanes. After ranking as one of the worst in the ACC last year, Miami’s defense is under the spotlight in 2013. So far, the Hurricanes appear to be better on that side of the ball. FAU managed only two field goals and averaged just 3.3 yards per play. Of course, the Owls aren’t the best competition, but Miami should have some confidence going into Week 2. Next Week: Florida
45Georgia Tech (1-0, 0-0): As expected, the Yellow Jackets rolled to an easy 70-0 victory over Elon. There’s not a ton for coach Paul Johnson to glean from this matchup, but the defensive effort is something to build on for the rest of the year. Georgia Tech allowed just 253 yards and scored two defensive touchdowns. Six different players scored rushing touchdowns against the Phoenix, and quarterback Vad Lee threw for 189 yards and two scores. The Yellow Jackets first real test of the season won’t occur until Sept. 14 against Duke. Next Week: Bye
54Virginia Tech (0-1, 0-0): Yes, the Hokies were manhandled in Week 1, but let’s not penalize them too much for losing to the No. 1 team in the nation. There’s no question Virginia Tech’s defense is among the best in the ACC. However, the offense still left a lot to be desired on Saturday. Quarterback Logan Thomas completed only five passes, and if you take away Trey Edmunds’ 77-yard touchdown run, the Hokies managed only 135 yards of total offense. Week 1 was rough, but we will get a better idea about Virginia Tech’s offense in future weeks. Next Week: Western Carolina
66North Carolina (0-1, 0-0): Just as we mentioned with Virginia Tech, it’s tough to penalize the Tar Heels for losing a game most didn’t give them a chance to win. South Carolina’s advantage in the trenches was simply too much for North Carolina, while the defense remains a work in progress. The Gamecocks recorded 406 total yards and gashed the Tar Heels for 228 yards on the ground. With Georgia Tech coming up on Sept. 21, addressing the defense is a top priority for coach Larry Fedora. Next Week: MTSU
78Maryland (1-0, 0-0): The Terrapins were one of the ACC’s most-impressive teams in Week 1. Of course, we don’t want to overreact too much to a bad FIU team, but there were plenty of signs for optimism for coach Randy Edsall. Quarterback C.J. Brown recorded 386 total yards and five scores in his return from a torn ACL, and junior college recruit Deon Long was impressive (nine receptions). After nearly losing to William & Mary in last year’s opener, this is a much better start for Edsall’s team. Next Week: Old Dominion
89NC State (1-0, 0-0): Dave Doeren’s debut in Raleigh was a success. The Wolfpack easily dispatched Louisiana Tech (40-14), and there was plenty to success on both sides of the ball. However, the mood was dampened with the injury to quarterback Brandon Mitchell. The senior was a good fit for NC State’s spread attack, but he will miss at least four weeks with a foot injury. With Mitchell out, Pete Thomas is expected to start. Not having Mitchell is a huge blow, but the Wolfpack play only one conference game the rest of September. Next Week: Richmond
910Virginia (1-0, 0-0): Coach Mike London was feeling a little pressure after a disappointing 2012 season, but the Cavaliers responded with a huge win over BYU in Week 1. Inclement weather delayed this game for over two hours, and the sloppy conditions contributed to some of the struggles for both offenses. Virginia’s defense allowed the Cougars to record 362 yards but a late interception put the offense in position to record the game-winning score with less than three minutes to play. Although the Cavaliers did just enough to beat BYU, they need a better effort on both sides of the ball to knock off Oregon. Next Week: Oregon 
107Pittsburgh (0-1, 0-1): The Panthers ran into a buzzsaw named Jameis Winston on Monday night, losing 41-13 to Florida State. Pittsburgh has plenty to work on for both sides of the ball after the loss. Quarterback Tom Savage played well early, but the offense sputtered in the second half. Although the defense struggled to contain Winston and the Seminoles’ receiving corps, most teams will struggle to stop that combination in 2013. Losing the ACC opener isn’t what Pittsburgh fans wanted, but this team should improve as the season progresses.
1111Wake Forest (1-0, 0-0): As with most FBS-FCS matchups, it’s hard to glean much from Wake Forest’s win on Thursday night. But the Demon Deacons held Presbyterian to just two first downs and only 151 total yards – a good sign for a defense that returns eight starters. Also, the offensive line gave up only one sack, and with top receiver Michael Campanaro sidelined, Jonathan Williams stepped up with five receptions and 143 yards. There were plenty of positive signs in the opener for Wake Forest, but the rest of the ACC will find out more about coach Jim Grobe’s team after Week 2. Next Week: at Boston College (Friday)
1213Syracuse (0-1, 0-0): Scott Shafer was the only first-year ACC coach to lose in Week 1, but Saturday’s loss to Penn State certainly wasn’t an embarrassing effort. With a new staff and quarterback, getting to a bowl game isn’t going to be easy. Making his first career start, quarterback Drew Allen showed promise (189 yards), and the defense forced four turnovers. The Orange has plenty of work to do, but there are positives to build on going into Week 2. Next Week: at Northwestern
1312Duke (1-0, 0-0): The Blue Devils snapped a five-game losing streak with an easy 45-0 victory over North Carolina Central. Quarterback Anthony Boone was sharp in his second start, and the defense has plenty to build on after holding N.C. Central to just 184 yards and zero points. The Blue Devils will face tougher competition the rest of September, starting with a road date against Memphis and continuing with ACC games against Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh. Next Week: at Memphis
1414Boston College (1-0, 0-0): The Steve Addazio era in Chestnut Hill opened with a 24-14 win over pesky FCS opponent Villanova. The Eagles had to sweat a bit in the first half but took control in the second half. There were plenty of positives for Addazio to build on, especially with an efficient effort from quarterback Chase Rettig (285 yards) and running back Andre Williams (114 yards). And the defense was aggressive under new coordinator Don Brown (four sacks). There’s a lot to like after Addazio’s debut, but Friday’s matchup against Wake Forest will give us a better idea of how Boston College shapes up with the rest of the ACC. Next Week: Wake Forest (Friday)

ACC Week 1 Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Boyd was the catalyst for Clemson’s 38-35 victory over Georgia. The senior quarterback took advantage of a rebuilt Bulldogs’ secondary, throwing for 270 yards and three touchdowns on 18 completions. Boyd also added 42 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. With Boyd at the controls, Clemson’s offense is one of the nation’s best. And the senior quarterback should be near the top of the Heisman watchlist after his Week 1 performance. 

Defensive Player of the Week: Anthony Harris, SS, Virginia
Harris was everywhere in Virginia’s 19-16 win over BYU on Saturday afternoon. The junior recorded 11 tackles and one sack, but those numbers didn’t represent his impact on the game. Harris blocked a punt early in the third quarter and recorded a key interception with the Cavaliers leading 16-12 with just three minutes to play. After Harris’ picked off BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, he tossed the ball to Henry Coley, who ran 27 yards to put Virginia in prime scoring position. 

Team of the Week: Clemson
The Tigers scored the best victory of Week 1, defeating Georgia 38-35 behind a raucous home crowd in Death Valley. Quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns, running back Roderick McDowell chipped in 132 yards on the ground, and receiver Sammy Watkins grabbed six passes for 127 yards and one touchdown. The defense also stepped up in the second half, harassing quarterback Aaron Murray and limiting the Bulldogs to 14 points after scoring 21 in the first half. Clemson was picked by most to win the ACC, and outside of matchups against Georgia Tech and Florida State, there are few landmines for the Tigers on the schedule. It’s only Week 1, but Clemson’s win over Georgia could loom large in the national title discussion.  

Coordinator of the Week: Mike Locksley, Maryland
Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris called a terrific game on Saturday night, but let’s spread the wealth a bit and give a tip of the cap to Locksley. The Terrapins recorded 576 yards and averaged 8.1 yards per play in the 43-10 win over FIU. Quarterback C.J. Brown shredded the Panthers’ defense for 281 yards and three touchdowns through the air and another 105 yards and two scores on the ground. Maryland would like to see its production from the running backs increase over the next few weeks, but Saturday’s game was a good sign for offense.

Freshman of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
The offseason hype certainly lived up to Winston’s debut. The redshirt freshman was nearly flawless in his debut, completing 25 of 27 passes (and one of the incompletions was debatable) for 356 yards and four touchdowns. Winston also added 25 yards and one score on the ground. The Alabama native was incredibly poised in his first start, and his emergence will make Florida State a factor in the national championship picture.

5th Down

• NC State quarterback Brandon Mitchell suffered a foot injury in the first half against Louisiana Tech. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.

• Georgia Tech returned two interceptions for touchdowns against Elon. The Yellow Jackets 70-point win was the biggest margin of victory for an ACC school since Florida State beat Western Carolina 69-0 in 2008.

• Wake Forest played 10 freshmen against Presbyterian on Thursday night. Prior to the season opener, coach Jim Grobe had played just 22 true freshman in his 12 seasons in Winston-Salem.

• Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen started at quarterback for Syracuse in the opener against Penn State. Allen threw for 189 yards on 16 completions but also tossed two picks.

• Duke recorded its first shutout since 1989 with a 45-0 victory over North Carolina Central on Saturday night.

ACC 2013 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2013-post-week-1-power-rankings

There was plenty of good news for the Pac-12 in Week 1. But there was one bad loss that won’t be easy to forget for some time – at least in Corvallis, Ore.

Oregon easily handled Nicholls State in the debut of coach Mark Helfrich, while Washington scored a huge victory over Washington. UCLA was impressive in its victory over Nevada, and USC was just too much for Hawaii – even with a struggling quarterback situation.

Week 1 of the 2013 season certainly won’t be forgotten at Oregon State anytime soon. The Beavers were shredded by FCS opponent Eastern Washington and lost 49-46. Although Oregon State should eventually get on track, it’s a bad moment for a program that was ranked in the top 25 by some this preseason.

More Post-Week 1 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

Pac-12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

11Oregon (1-0, 0-0): Chip Kelly is gone, but there wasn’t much of a difference in the Ducks’ performance – at least through Week 1. Against an overmatched Nicholls State squad, Oregon recorded 772 yards and 66 points. Those totals are even more impressive when you consider the Ducks held the ball for just 19:46. Touted true freshman running back Thomas Tyner did not play in Week 1 due to injury, but he is expected to return to the field soon. Next Week: at Virginia
22Stanford (0-0, 0-0): Stanford began the 2013 season with a bye week. The Cardinal have few glaring holes, but the extra week should have allowed the team to work on the passing game. Quarterback Kevin Hogan is expected to emerge as one of the Pac-12’s top quarterbacks, but the sophomore needs more help from his receiving corps: Next Week: San Jose State
37Washington (1-0, 0-0): The Huskies secured the Pac-12’s best victory of Week 1, dominating Boise State 38-6. Both sides of the ball delivered in the opening of new Husky Stadium. The defense held Boise State to six points and just 175 passing yards, while the offense recorded 592 yards and 33 first downs. Quarterback Keith Price appears to be regaining his form of 2011, as he threw for 324 yards and two scores against the Broncos. For a program that has finished 7-6 for three straight seasons, Washington needed to win the opener to get over seven victories in 2013. Next Week: Bye
43Arizona State (0-0, 0-0): The Sun Devils had a bye week on Saturday and will hit the field on Thursday night for their first game. Coach Todd Graham’s team is Athlon’s pick to win the Pac-12 title in 2013. Next Week: Sacramento State (Thursday)
56UCLA (1-0, 0-0): The Bruins opened their Pac-12 South title defense with a convincing 58-20 victory over Nevada. 41 of UCLA’s 58 points came in the second half, including five rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Brett Hundley had an efficient performance, while Jordon James clearly emerged as the Bruins’ No. 1 running back with 155 yards and one touchdown on 21 attempts. UCLA’s secondary was a huge concern going into the season, but Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo managed just 164 passing yards. Next Week: at Nebraska (Sept. 14)
65USC (1-0, 0-0): It wasn’t pretty, but USC left Hawaii with a 1-0 record. The quarterback battle between Cody Kessler and Max Wittek will continue into Week 2, as neither passer was able to move the ball consistently through the air. Although the passing game is a work in progress, the offensive line might be a bigger concern. USC allowed three sacks to Hawaii and struggled to get its rushing game on track in the first half. The defense was a bright spot for coach Lane Kiffin, as the Trojans recorded seven sacks against the Warriors. Next Week: Washington State
78Arizona (1-0, 0-0): The Wildcats didn’t have to sweat much in their opening, beating Northern Arizona 35-0. Star running back Ka’Deem Carey was suspended for the opener, but he wasn’t needed as backup Daniel Jenkins had 139 rushing yards on 12 carries. B.J. Denker got the start at quarterback and had a solid performance, while backup Javelle Allen had a 61-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Next Week: at UNLV
89California (0-1, 0-0): Even in a losing effort, the Golden Bears were one of the Pac-12’s most impressive teams in Week 1. True freshman quarterback Jared Goff turned heads with his performance, throwing for 445 yards and two touchdowns on 63 attempts. Receivers Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper each caught over 10 passes, while the defense held Northwestern to just one offensive touchdown in the second half. Although Dykes and his staff would prefer to open the season with the win, there’s nothing for California to be ashamed about. And this team will be a handful for the rest of the Pac-12 in 2013. Next Week: Portland State
910Utah (1-0, 0-0): Even though the Utes have played only one game this year, it’s clear the hire of Dennis Erickson as offensive coordinator should pay dividends. Quarterback Travis Wilson threw for 302 yards and two scores against Utah State’s defense, while three running backs had 10 carries or more, resulting in 148 overall rushing yards for the Utes. After missing out on a bowl game last year, Utah needed to get 2013 off to a good start. With Weber State up next, the Utes should be 2-0 going into a key conference matchup against Oregon State on Sept. 14. Next Week: Weber State 
1011Washington State (0-1, 0-0 ACC): The Cougars lost their Week 1 non-conference matchup against Auburn, but coach Mike Leach has to be pleased with the progress of his team. Washington State found a rushing attack (120 yards), and quarterback Connor Halliday seemed to have a better grasp of the offense (344 yards). The defense also held Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall to just 99 passing yards. Washington State’s offensive line will get another tough test against an active USC front on Saturday. Next Week: at USC
1112Colorado (1-0, 0-0): What a difference a coaching staff makes. Colorado made one of the offseason’s top coaching hires by pulling Mike MacIntyre away from San Jose State. And MacIntyre and his staff showed just how much this team will be improved this year with a 41-27 win over Colorado State in the opener. MacIntyre and coordinator Brian Lindgren turned Connor Wood from a struggling quarterback into one of Week 1’s top performers, throwing for 400 yards and three scores. Receiver Paul Richardson showed no rust from missing all of last season with a torn ACL, catching 10 passes for 208 yards and two scores. The competition gets tougher, but the Buffaloes will be more competitive in the Pac-12 this year. Next Week: Central Arkansas
124Oregon State (0-1, 0-0): The Beavers are better than this ranking, but there’s simply no excuse losing to a FCS team – even a good one like Eastern Washington. Oregon State’s offense certainly wasn’t the problem on Saturday, as quarterback Sean Mannion was outstanding (422 yards and three touchdowns), while receiver Brandin Cooks grabbed 13 receptions. But there were major breakdowns on defense. Oregon State allowed Eastern Washington to record 625 yards and 49 points. The Beavers will rebound, but this was a disappointing performance for a team with top-25 aspirations. Next Week: Hawaii

Pac-12 Week 1 Awards

Compiled by Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

Offensive Player of the Week: Marcus Mariota, Oregon
The Oregon quarterback might be the most enjoyable player to watch in the enitre nation. He is simply effortless in all that he does. Yes, Keith Price and Travis Wilson posted equally impressive numbers against tougher competition, but Mariota is the leader of the Pac-12 frontrunner and he was brilliant on Saturday. He completed 12-of-21 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown while rushing five times for 113 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. That's a 22.6 yards per carry average. His offense totalled 772 yards and scoreed 66 points for Mark Helfrich in his head coaching debut. Also, a tip of the cap in this section needs to go to Colorado receiver Paul Richardson for his monster performance against Colorado State.

Defensive Player of the Week: Dion Bailey, USC
Dion Bailey moved from undersized linebacker to head-hunting safety this offseason and the move paid off in a big way in week one. New coordinator Clancy Pendergast watched his unit stifle former USC coordinator Norm Chow's offense all night led in large part by Bailey. He led the Trojans in tackles with seven and added both a sack and an interception to his stat sheet. The Trojans allowed just 231 yards of offense and only 32 yards rushing in the 30-13 win over Hawaii.

Team of the Week: Washington
Many thought Washington could pull the slight upset over the ranked Broncos but few saw this type of domination coming for the Huskies. As new Husky Stadium was christened in style by handing Boise State their worst loss since 2005 (48-13, Georgia). Both sides of the ball looked excellent as Keith Price threw for over 300 yards, while Bishop Sankey rushed for 161, each scoring two touchdowns along the way. The defense held Boise State to three points in each half and kept the Broncos out of the endzone all night long. This might have been the most impressive win nationally (other than maybe Clemson) and it could not have come at a more critical time for Steve Sarkisian.

Coordinator of the Week: Justin Wilcox, Washington

Chris Petersen doesn't know what the Woodshed looks like but he found out in a large way against one of his own. Wilcox coached under Petersen as the defensive coordinator of the Broncos from 2006-09 before moving to Seattle by way of Tennessee. Well, the pupil taught the master a few things late on Saturday night as the Huskies defense dominated the game. The six points were the fewest scored by Boise State since being shutout in 1997 by Washington State and it was just the third time since that blanking that Boise State failed to reach at least 10 points in a game. Needless to say, what Wilcox accomplished Saturday night doesn't happen very often.

Freshman of the Week: Addison Gillam, LB, Colorado
The Buffaloes scored a huge win over in-state rival Colorado State on Sunday, and Gillam was a key piece in defense’s performance. He recorded 14 stops (with two tackles as a loss), along with two sacks and one pass breakup. Gillam was a big reason why Colorado State managed just 94 rushing yards.

5th Down

How times does any team on any level produce over 500 yards of offense, convert on 50-percent of third downs, not turn the ball over a single time and get beat? That is what happened to Oregon State this weekend when it lost in heart-breaking fashion to lower-tier power Eastern Washington. To fans outside of Corvallis, it was a game to remember featuring six lead changes in the final 20 minutes of game time. A big tip of the cap to EWU starting quarterback Vernon Adams who had the game of his life. He threw for 411 yards and four touchdowns while running for 107 yards and two more touchdowns. Those numbers would be sick against lower level competition but in Reser Stadium against a Top 25 opponent? Oregon State has some flaws it needs to work through and after one weekend, it appears Washington might be the top challenger to Oregon/Stanford Pac-12 North supremacy, not the Beavers.

Pac-12 2013 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-1-power-rankings-2013

It began with blowouts in Minneapolis and Bloomington on Thursday night. Saturday got started with more one-sided affairs in Madison, Columbus and Ann Arbor. It all ended with an thoroughly entertaining Week 1 finale in Berkeley. And in between, there was heart-break in Iowa City and West Lafayette.

The Big Ten went 10-2 with wins over the Pac-12, ACC and Mountain West (twice). However, Darrell Hazell debuted at Purdue in atrocious fashion against the American Athletic Conference (Cincinnati) while the embattled Kirk Ferentz watched his team choke away an important win against the MAC (Northern Illinois).

More Post-Week 1 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC


Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings:

1.-Ohio State (1-0, 0-0): Urban Meyer should be ecstatic after Week 1. His team won fairly easily by nearly three touchdowns but also struggled just enough to offer his staff plenty of coaching points. Ohio State allowed Buffalo to hang around for most of the game, had nine penalties and lost the turnover battle. That said, the Buckeyes extended the nation's longest winning streak to 13 games. Next Week: San Diego State 
-Michigan (1-0, 0-0): The Wolverines posted its highest-scoring opener since 1905 by crushing Central Michigan. Devin Gardner made a few mistakes but was solid, and Brady Hoke was able to get plenty of key freshmen plenty of experience in the blowout. Michigan will need it when Notre Dame comes to town this weekend. Next Week: Notre Dame 
-Nebraska (1-0, 0-0): Fans in Lincoln better hope that the scare Wyoming gave them wasn't a sign of things to come but rather a wake-up call. This team neeeds to develop toughness and killer instinct on defense after allowing more than 600 yards of offense to the Cowboys. Taylor Martinez is excellent, and his supporting cast on offense is outstanding. However, this team has to improve quickly on defense. Next Week: Southern Miss 
-Northwestern (1-0, 0-0): Kain Colter may have to sit out a game or two due to a concussion, but the good news is Trevor Siemian is completely capable. Pat Fitzgerald has some work to do on defense but his squad delivered in an important status win for the program on the road. Next Week: Syracuse 
-Wisconsin (1-0, 0-0): The Gary Andersen Era got underway in impressive fashion and the Badgers looked a lot like what fans in Madison have watched for the last few decades. The Badgers pounded the football on the ground and played stingy defense in the easy win over UMass. More importantly, quarterback Joel Stave returned to action by accounting for three touchdowns. Next Week: Tennessee Tech 
-Penn State (1-0, 0-0): Christian Hackenberg is officially a Big Ten quarterback. And he is 1-0 as a starter. The true freshman phenom was more than adequate as the Lions outlasted a physical Syracuse team. Allen Robinson sat out the first half on a coach's decision and exploded for 133 yards and a TD in the second half. Next Week: Eastern Michigan 
-Michigan State (1-0, 0-0): Michigan State looks a lot like Michigan State after one week. The defense is nasty — it scored twice against Western Michigan — and the offense looks mediocre at best — it scored one offensive touchdown. Andrew Maxwell (21 att.) and Connor Cook (16 att.) split time so the QB battle in East Lansing is far from over. Next Week: USF 
-Minnesota (1-0, 0-0): The all-important third year of the Jerry Kill era began slowly but ended in impressive fashion. Thanks to three combined defensive and special teams touchdowns, the Gophers pulled away in the second half against UNLV. Quarterback Philip Nelson began his first full season as the starter by scoring three times. Next Week: at New Mexico State 
-Indiana (1-0, 0-0): Eventually, Kevin Wilson will have to pick a quarterback, but for now, his offense is just fine. Tre Roberson got the start but both Nate Sudfeld and Cam Coffman saw snaps as the trio combined for six touchdown passes. The Hoosiers set a Memorial Stadium record with 73 points, which was just three shy of the all-time school record of 76. Next Week: Navy 
-Iowa (0-1, 0-0): The Hawkeyes had never lost to Northern Illinois in eight tries but the heartbreaking last-second loss to the Huskies is a horrible omen for embattled head coach Kirk Ferentz. Jake Rudock played well in his first start but threw a costly interception that cost Iowa the game. Next Week: Missouri State 
-Purdue (0-1, 0-0): This was as bad a coaching debut as could have been expected for Darrell Hazell. The Boilermakers were sloppy, unproductive, inefficient and didn't belong on the same field as the Bearcats. And their schedule includes three BCS bowl teams in the next four weeks. Next Week: Indiana State 
-Illinois (1-0, 0-0): It wasn't pretty and it was much closer than Tim Beckman would have liked but Illinois got an important win over Southern Illinois. The Illini needed a goal line stand in the final minute to beat the Missouri Valley foe, due in large part to an offense that lack any semblance of balance (415 yards passing, 49 yards rushing). The Orange Crush has to be better on the ground if it expects to improve in 2013 Next Week: Cincinnati 

Big Ten Week 1 Awards and Superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
The Wisconsin running backs were outstanding, Braxton was Braxton, so was Taylor Martinez and, I can't believe I'm saying this, but Nathan Scheelhaase led his team to victory. But it's about time the nation looked at Allen Robinson as one of the game's best. Bill O'Brien suspended the star wideout for the first half of the neutral field bout with Syracuse without so much as a peep out of the locker room as to why. His absence was felt in a big way as PSU managed only 89 passing yards and a slim 6-3 edge at the half. Robinson caught the first pass of the second half for a first down and the second for a 51-yard touchdown. He was all over the field and turned a true freshman quarterback into a veteran signal caller by catching seven passes for 133 yards entirely in the second half of the 23-17 win. Penn State finished with 296 yards of passing offense, which would've ranked No. 2 in the Big Ten a year ago.

Defensive Player of the Week: Collin Ellis, LB, Northwestern
They may have been on tipped passes but when you score two defensive touchdowns, you are the P.O.W. The first came at a critical time late in the third quarter with Northwestern down by four, when Ellis took a Jared Goff pass 59 yards to paydirt to give the Wildcats the lead. Then again, this time up by three with eight minutes to go in the game, Ellis plucked another Cal throw out of the air and went 40 yards for six points to essentially end the game. This was the best win of the weekend for the league — and for more on that...

Team of the Week: Northwestern
Most of the Big Ten either won easily against over-matched opponents or was disappointed by poor play — and, in Iowa and Purdue cases, lost. But Northwestern lost Kain Colter to an "upper body" injury (it looked like a shoulder to us) on the game's first series and managed to defeat Cal in Berkeley 44-30. Yes, the Cats allowed more than 500 yards of offense but this game was supposed to be much tougher than the 2012 records indicated. Credit Pat Fitzgerald, and possibly one questionable targeting penalty, for the way Northwestern battled adversity in a home opener for a Golden Bears team flush with energy behind head coach Sonny Dykes' debut. This was an important win and likely the best in the conference this weekend.

Coordinator of the Week: Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State
The Spartans defensive coordinator is one of the nation's best and few assistants nationally mean as much to their team's success as Narduzzi. Michigan State has what appears to be an anemic offense once again this fall and wins will have to come by way of the defense. Against Western Michigan in Week 1, Narduzzi's bunch pitched a gem. His unit allowed 204 total yards, 4-of-20 third down conversions, forced four turnovers and, oh by the way, scored more touchdowns (2) than the Spartans offense (1). This defense will be nasty once again, but one has to wonder if Sparty can contend in the Legends Division against offensively minded teams like Michigan, Nebraska and Northwestern with little to no support from the offense?

Freshman of the Week: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
By the time it is all said and done, this award might be renamed The Hackenberg. In his first career start in his first career game as a true freshman, Hackenberg led his team to a win over a BCS team in Syracuse (in a pseudo-road environment). He looked, at times, like a freshman, but his overall ability is way too impressive to ignore. He finished 22-of-31 for 278 yards, two key second-half touchdowns and two interceptions. The touted freshman has special upside and has already justified his lofty recruiting status.

5th Down
The Indiana Hoosiers are looking to make it to the postseason for just the second time since 1993 and it was obvious in Week 1 that it's a distinct possibility. Indiana set a school record with 45 first-half points, a Memorial Stadium record with 73 points — just three shy of an all-time school record — and did so with three different quarterbacks. Tre Roberson started the game, threw six passes, carried the ball five times and scored twice. Nate Sudfeld then stepped in to attempt 17 passes, four of which went for touchdowns. And Cam Coffman got seven attempts. Kevin Wilson has a wealth of options under center and a host of talented skill players surrounding them. It appears the quarterback race in Bloomington will be fascinating to watch all season long.

Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings 2013
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-1-power-rankings-2013

Two Big 12 teams lost to FCS programs, and a third had a scare. TCU lost its marquee game to open the season.

Yet the Big 12 is more or less where though it would be.

The teams at the top are flawed, and there remains little obvious separation. Oklahoma State, our preseason pick to win the league, remains on top after its first game despite a sputtering effort from its offense. Oklahoma and Texas won in routs, but both the Sooners and Longhorns showed enough room for improvement to make us wary.

If we learned anything, the bottom half of the league — Kansas State, Iowa State and West Virginia — showed that they’re a ways off from competing with the top half of the conference.

More Post-Week 1 Power Rankings: ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

1.Oklahoma State (1-0, 0-0): The Cowboys didn’t look like a finished product on offense in the first game as J.W. Walsh took over the starting role. Parker Graham moved over from guard to play left tackle, vacated when Devin Davis suffered as season-ending knee injury. Despite the shifting on the line, though, the Cowboys didn’t give up a sack. Oklahoma State will have plenty of opportunities to tinker more against UTSA and Lamar in the next two week. This week: at UTSA
2.Oklahoma (1-0, 0-0): Bob Stoops insisted his team would have a similar offensive approach to years past with Trevor Knight at quarterback. Baloney. Knight was shaky as passer (11 of 28) with one interception and three more near-picks. But OU was content to let him run, though, as he rushed for a team-leading 103 yards on 13 carries, a rare feat for a Sooners QB. Oklahoma’s run defense was excellent against ULM, something that will be in focus in Game 2. This week: West Virginia.
3.Texas (1-0, 0-0): Texas has to wonder which offense is going to show up at BYU this week. David Ash threw two interceptions in the first half as the Longhorns trailed 7-0. Thereafter, Texas needed only 16 plays and less than 5:30 of game time to score five touchdowns in the second and third quarters. A matchup against BYU looks little less formidable, though, after the Cougars lost 19-16 at Virginia. This week: at BYU
4.TCU (0-1, 0-0): The Horned Frogs kept the loss to LSU close on a turnover and kickoff return for a touchdown, perhaps masking an ineffective passing game and lackluster defense. Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin combined to complete 15-of-28 passes for 5.2 yards per attempt as the Horned Frogs had difficulty sustaining drives with either quarterback. This week: Southeastern Louisiana.
5.Baylor (1-0, 0-0): Baylor had little trouble in its opener against Wofford. Even if it was against an overmatched FCS program, Bryce Petty looked like he’ll fit into the Art Briles' quarterback tradition as he completed 19-of-24 passes for 312 yards with two touchdowns. Week 2 matchup we’re waiting to see: Lache Seastrunk against Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, the best player on the field in the opener against Ohio State. This week: Buffalo
6.Texas Tech (1-0, 0-0): Kliff Kingsbury may have a dilemma when presumptive starter Michael Brewer returns from injury next month. Baker Mayfield flourished in his first start, which ended with three fourth-quarter touchdown passes. Kingsbury treated Mayfield nothing like a true freshman walk-on, entrusting him to throw 60 passes in Texas Tech’s 87 plays against SMU. The Red Raiders get a warm up before facing TCU on Sept. 12. This week: Stephen F. Austin
7.Kansas State (0-1, 0-0): An uncharacteristic Bill Snyder performance in so many ways for the Wildcats in the opener. The offensive line and run game were a mess as K-State rushed for only 41 yards on 1.8 yards per carry. K-State finished 2 of 10 on third down and reached the red zone only once as North Dakota State scored the final 17 points. The Wildcats will be on upset alert again in week 2. This week: UL Lafayette
8.West Virginia (1-0, 0-0): At least Houston transfer Charles Sims delivered in the opener, rushing for 120 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. The Mountaineers went for a balanced offense as the simplified passing game looked, well, simple against William & Mary. Odds are quarterback Paul Millard will need to be more productive Saturday. This week: at Oklahoma
9.Iowa State (0-1, 0-0): The overachieving Cyclones may be returning to Earth. The front seven is clearly rebuilding after allowing 6.9 yards per carry against Northern Iowa and 21-of-28 passing. Quarterback Sam Richardson showed potential in the Pistol formation, but the Cyclones still settled for field goals late. This week: Off
10.Kansas (0-0): The Jayhawks need all the perpetration they can get after losing 11 in a row last season. Kansas’ last win was over South Dakota State on Sept. 1 last year, so maybe that’s a good omen. This week: South Dakota

Big 12 Week 1 Awards

Offensive player of the week: J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State
Mike Gundy started his season with Clint Chelf at quarterback against Mississippi State, but only two series later, Oklahoma State needed a change. That’s no problem for J.W. Walsh, who was the second man up last season when then-freshman starter Wes Lunt went down with an injury. Oklahoma State inserted the dual-threat Walsh into the lineup Saturday and added a few tweaks that turned out to spark the Cowboys to a 21-3 victory. Running the option out of the shotgun in a four-man backfield, Walsh led the Cowboys in rushing with 125 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. He also completed 18-of-27 passes for 135 yards.

Defensive player of the week: Corey Nelson, Oklahoma
Oklahoma linebacker Corey Nelson led a stifling effort against UL-Monroe, an encouraging development for a Sooners defense that struggled last season. Leading the way to bottle up quarterback Kolton Browning, Nelson had eight tackles, two tackles for a loss and a sacks as ULM averaged 1.7 yards per carry in the 34-0 win.

Freshman of the week: Baker Mayfield, Texas Tech
When Mike Leach coached Texas Tech, it seemed he could just plug any quarterback into his system and get a 400-yard passing day. It’s fitting then that Leach’s first quarterback at Tech has the same touch as a head coach. In his head coaching debut, Kliff Kingsbury sent out Baker Mayfield, a true freshman walk-on to take the first snaps. Mayfield looked neither the part of a freshman nor a non-scholarship player as he completed 43 of 60 passes for 413 yards with four touchdowns in a 41-23 win over SMU on Friday. Both Mayfield and SMU starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert graduated from high school powerhouse Lake Travis (Texas).

Team of the week: Oklahoma State
The Big 12 favorite scored the biggest non-conference win for the league with a 21-3 victory over Mississippi State. It wasn’t always pretty, but the Cowboys again showed their ability to adjust on the fly on offense and showed a new look with a standout defense.

Coordinator of the week: Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State
The Oklahoma State offense needed time to figure out its personnel and an approach that would work against Mississippi State. Glenn Spencer’s defense, though, did more than just hold serve. Oklahoma State limited Mississippi State to 333 total yards and a field goal, the first time the Cowboys held a major conference opponent to less than a touchdown since 1995. Oklahoma State was at its best in the third quarter when it held Mississippi State to 10 total yards and no first downs. The Cowboys added 10 tackles for a loss after averaging 6.9 per game last season.

Despite upsets, Big 12 still crowded on top
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 07:13
Path: /college-football/week-1-sec-power-rankings-2013

It’s only Week 1, but if the early indications are true, the SEC is deeper and better than 2012. LSU showcased the next wave of talent in a win over TCU, Ole Miss picked up a good road win over Vanderbilt, Arkansas handled Sun Belt favorite UL Lafayette, and Tennessee and Auburn scored victories under a new coaching staff.

Alabama didn’t have the best offensive outing against Virginia Tech, but the Crimson Tide are still the No. 1 team in the SEC and in the nation. 

South Carolina secured a solid non-conference victory over North Carolina on Thursday night, while Georgia lost by three points on the road to Clemson.

More Post-Week 1 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12

SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings


Alabama (1-0, 0-0): The beating was far less thorough than most anticipated, but Alabama was never really threatened in its 35-10 win over Virginia Tech at the Georgia Dome. The Crimson Tide’s offense was underwhelming (206 total yards), but Bama scored two touchdowns on special teams and one on defense. Next Week: Bye


South Carolina (1-0, 0-0): The Gamecocks recorded a workmanlike 27–10 win over North Carolina on Thursday night. South Carolina flashed its big-play ability early when Connor Shaw hooked up with Shaq Roland on a 65-yard touchdown toss in the first quarter. From that point, Steve Spurrier leaned on his rushing attack; Mike Davis led the way with 115 yards (9.6-yard average), and Brandon Wilds chipped in with 64 yards on 12 rushes. Next Week: at Georgia 

32Georgia (0-1, 0-0): The Bulldogs missed a great opportunity to make a statement in Week 1. Georgia played well at times, but Mark Richt’s team made too many mistakes to beat a team as talented as Clemson on the road. Todd Gurley was sensational (154 yards on 12 carries), and Aaron Murray completed 20-of-29 for 323 yards, but the Georgia defense had no answer for the Clemson attack. Next Week: South Carolina 
45LSU (1-0, 0-0): The Tigers were very impressive in their 37–27 win  over TCU in Arlington, Texas. The offense, under the guidance of new coordinator Cam Cameron, picked up 448 total yards and converted 13-of-19 on third down. The new-look LSU defense held TCU to 259 yards. Next Week: UAB
54Texas A&M (1-0, 0-0): Johnny Manziel’s return from suspension and his subsequent behavior in the second half made national headlines, but the bigger story was the Texas A&M defense. Yes, the Aggies weren’t at full strength, but Rice rolled up 509 yards of total offense, including over 300 on the ground. That is not a good sign. Next Week: Sam Houston State
66Florida (1-0, 0-0): The Gators were dominant on defense, holding a potent Toledo offense to just over 200 yards and a pair of field goals. Jeff Driskel was efficient at quarterback, completing 17-of-22 for 153 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. The Gators will have to prove they can throw the ball down field as the schedule toughens up in the coming weeks. Driskel’s longest completion was to tight end Trey Burton for 26 yards. Next Week: At Miami (Fla.)
78Ole Miss (1-0, 1-0): The only team with an SEC win on the young season, Ole Miss showed some toughness by coming back from 11 points down in the second half to beat Vanderbilt in Nashville. After being held to 10 points in the first half, the Rebels scored four touchdowns in the final two quarters. Next Week: SE Missouri State.

Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-1): The Commodores rallied for a late score to grab a 35-32 lead over Ole Miss with under two minutes to play, but the defense let Rebel tailback Jeff Scott scamper 75 yards for the winning score just two plays later. Senior quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, making his first SEC start, threw for 300 yards, and All-America wide receiver Jordan Matthews caught 10 passes for 178 yards. Next Week: Austin Peay

913Arkansas (1-0, 0-0): The Hogs disposed of a solid UL Lafayette team with surprising ease, outgaining the Ragin’ Cajuns 522-to-274 en route to the 34-14 win. Brandon Allen, the new starting quarterback, threw for 230 yards, and two tailbacks (Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins) rushed for over 100 yards. Last year, Arkansas opened the season by losing at home to a Sun Belt team. Not this year. Next Week: vs. Samford
109Mississippi State (0-1, 0-0): Mississippi State looked good early but did not play well in the final three quarters of a sluggish 21-3 loss to Oklahoma State in Houston. The biggest surprise: The Bulldogs failed to score a touchdown against a defense that gave up well over 400 yards per game last season. Starting quarterback Tyler Russell was forced to leave the game with an apparent head injury in the second half. Next Week: vs. Alcorn State
1111Tennessee (1-0, 0-0): In arguably the biggest mismatch on the Week 1 slate (nationally, not just in the SEC), Tennessee shut out Austin Peay 45-0 in Butch Jones’ debut as the Vols’ head coach. UT jumped out to a 42-0 lead at the half and coasted through the final two quarters. Quarterback Justin Worley completed 11-of-13 for 104 yards and three touchdowns. Next Week: vs. Western Kentucky
12 12Missouri (1-0, 0-0): It was a bit of a struggle early — Murray State led Mizzou 14–13 after one quarter — but the Tigers dominated the final 45 minutes on their way to a 58–14 win. Missouri rolled up 694 total yards — 372 on the ground and 336 through the air. The highlight of the day: Henry Josey, making his first appearance since injuring his knee late in the 2011 season, rushed for 113 yards on 13 carries. Next Week: Toledo
1310Auburn (1-0, 0-0): The Tigers did a lot of good things in a 31–24 win over Washington State, but keep in mind that Wazzu was arguably the worst BCS conference team in the nation last season. The Cougars appear to be much improved, but we won’t know how to evaluate this Auburn win until we see more of Washington State. Still, a win is a win, and Auburn didn’t have too many of those last season. Next Week: Arkanas State
1414Kentucky (1-0, 0-0): The Mark Stoops era got off to a rough start with a 35-26 loss to Western Kentucky at LP Field in Nashville. And there was nothing fluky about this game: Western Kentucky was the better team. Kentucky went with Jalen Whitlow at quarterback. He did some good things with his legs but threw for only 78 yards on 15 attempts. Maxwell Smith, who appears to be a better fit for Neal Brown’s “Air Raid” offense, played relatively well off the bench. Next Game: Miami (Ohio)

SEC Week 1 Awards 

Offensive Player of the Week: Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
His team came up short, but Matthews was sensational in Vanderbilt’s 39–35 loss to Ole Miss. The senior wide receiver caught 10 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown, highlighted by a 42-yard grab on 4th-and-18 in the final two minutes. That catch, in double-coverage, came just moments after Matthews threw up at midfield after taking a blow to the stomach. Earlier in the second half, he missed time while dealing with cramps. Matthews has averaged 121.6 yards receiving in his last 13 SEC games.

Defensive Player of the Week: Robenson Therezie, Auburn
The Auburn defense intercepted a total of two passes during the entire 2012 season. Therezie matched that number by himself on Saturday night. The junior safety intercepted Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday to thwart a drive at midfield in the first quarter and then delivered arguably the play of the game when he picked off a pass in the end zone in the final five minutes with Auburn ahead by seven points. Therezie also added seven tackles.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Christion Jones, Alabama
Jones scored three touchdowns — one on a punt return, one a kickoff return and one on offense — to lead Alabama to a 35–10 win over Virginia Tech. The junior wideout is the second player in the past 10 years to score on a punt and kick return in the same game. His third touchdown came on a 38-yard reception in the third quarter. 
Team of the Week: LSU
The Tigers were perhaps the most impressive SEC team of the opening weekend. Les Miles’ club looked good on both sides of the ball, outgaining TCU 448-to-259 en route to a 37–27 win over the Horned Frogs in Arlington, Texas. LSU has now won 42 consecutive non-conference games.

Coordinator of the Week: Cam Cameron, LSU
There wasn’t much not to like in Cameron’s debut as the play-caller at LSU. The Tigers rolled up 448 yards of offense against a TCU team that led the Big 12 in total defense last season. LSU showed nice balance (251 yards passing, 197 yards rushing), was tremendous on third down (13-of-19) and only committed one turnover. Zach Mettenberger had some nice moments, but the senior quarterback only completed 50 percent of his passes — a number that Cameron would like to see increase in coming weeks.

Freshman of the Week, Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
There were some freshmen with gaudier stats, but none had a bigger impact on his team’s win than Treadwell, the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver recruit. After catching only one pass in the first half, Treadwell set the tone for the Ole Miss offense in third quarter by catching eight passes on the Rebels’ two long scoring drives. He capped off the second drive with a 2-point conversion that cut the Vanderbilt lead to 28–25. The 6-3, 215-poud Illinois native ended the game with nine catches for 82 yards.

5th Down

Ole Miss snapped a three-game losing streak to Vanderbilt. The Rebels had lost six of the last eight against the Commodores.
• It shouldn’t be a surprise, but Arkansas had two 100-yard rushers in Bret Bielama’s debut. Jonathan Williams gained 151 yards on 18 carries, and freshman Alex Collins chipped in with 131 yards on 21 rushes.
• Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron completed 10-of-23 for 110 yards against Virginia Tech. It was the fewest completions for McCarron as a starter against an FBS opponent and it was only the second time in his career he has completed less than 50 percent of his passes. He went 12-of-25 against Florida as a sophomore in 2011.
• Mississippi State, which lost to Oklahoma State 21–3, failed to score a touchdown for the first time since losing to LSU 19–6 in September 2011. The Bulldogs have now lost six of their past seven games, with each loss coming by at least 14 points.
• Florida held Toledo to 205 total yards in its 24–6 win in Gainesville. The Rockets returned nine starters from an offense that averaged 445.2 yards per games a year ago. It was Toledo’s worst offensive showing since gaining 183 yards in a 41–2 loss to Arizona in Week 1 of the 2011 season.


SEC 2013 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 07:11
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-ranking-big-tens-coaches-2013-14

The Big Ten once again has perhaps the deepest bench of coaches in the country.

It shouldn’t be surprising, then, then that teams like Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin had a hotly contested battle for the regular season title in the Big Ten last season. Each week in 2013-14 seemed to feature a different Big Ten team in the national spotlight.

In other words, if you’re going to get angry at Athlon for ranking your team’s coach third, fourth or fifth in the Big Ten, at least wait to see the national rankings.

The league features Tom Izzo and Thad Matta, whose longevity, consistency, regular season success and postseason wins put them at the top. Not far behind are Tom Crean and John Beilein, who revived proud programs, and Bo Ryan, who defies the odds each season with a contender each year despite a lower recruiting profile.

*A few things to note as we are ranking coaches: We are attempting to look at the whole package of gameday acumen, recruiting, player development, and regular-season and postseason success. We are also keeping in mind a coach’s career trajectory.

And now, on to the debate. Feel free to chime in at @AthlonSports on Twitter or Athlon Sports on Facebook.

Other conference coach rankings: ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East

1. Tom Izzo, Michigan State
Record (all at Michigan State): 439-178 overall (.712), 209-95 Big Ten (.693)
NCAA Tournament: 39-16, six Final Fours, one national championship
Tom Izzo will have two McDonald’s All-Americans on his roster in 2013-14 in Keith Appling and Gary Harris, a rarity for the longtime Spartans’ coach. Few coaches have weathered the changes in college basketball as well as Izzo — the changes in the NBA Draft rules, the ups and downs in the Big Ten and all the challenges that come with recruiting. Izzo has assembled the Big Ten’s most consistent program without a glut of first-round draft picks (none since 2006) or early entries to the NBA Draft (none during the one-and-done era). Consider this: Appling and Adreian Payne are looking to avoid becoming the first senior class to play all four years with Izzo and miss the Final Four.

2. Thad Matta, Ohio State
Record: 352-104
Record at Ohio State: 250-73 overall (.774), 111-45 (.712)
NCAA Tournament: 22-11, two Final Fours
More often than not, Matta has had the most talented roster in the Big Ten, especially since the Thad Five led the Buckeyes to the national championship game in 2007. The Buckeyes have advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament in four consecutive seasons, though the 2011 team that stalled in the Sweet 16 was a major postseason disappointment. In 13 seasons as a head coach at Xavier, Butler and Ohio State, Matta has claimed at least a share of a regular season title an astoudning eight times.

3. John Beilein, Michigan
Record: 415-260
Record at Michigan: 112-85 overall (.589), 55-53 Big Ten (.509)
NCAA Tournament: 13-8, one Final Four
Beilein is, in college basketball coaching terms, a self-made man. He’s never been an assistant, making his route to Michigan that much more unique. But now that he’s made the journey from community college to Le Moyne to Canisius to Richmond to West Virginia to Ann Arbor, we’re getting an idea of what Beilein can do at a Big Ten powerhouse. Beilein is the most successful coach at Michigan since the Fab Five days, and he shows little signs of slowing down. He’s signed elite recruits like Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III while developing a point guard Ohio State ignored in its own backyard (Trey Burke) into the national player of the year.

4. Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
Record: 321-140
Record at Wisconsin: 291-113 overall (.720), 144-60 Big Ten (.705)
NCAA Tournament: 16-12
The 2013-14 season was further testament that no matter what happens, Bo Ryan will have a top-four team in the Big Ten. Point guard Jordan Taylor moved on, then heir apparent Josh Gasser was lost for the season with a torn ACL in October. No matter, Wisconsin still finished 12-6 in the Big Ten, finishing in the top four in the league ever season under Ryan. Ryan has good reason to be confident in his formula: He’s been able to develop players in his system year in and year out. In 11 seasons at Wisconsin, Ryan’s teams have ranked in the top 10 in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency eight times and in the top 30 of offensive efficiency eight times. The only knock, though, is Wisconsin’s bad luck in the NCAA Tournament. The Badgers haven’t advanced beyond the Sweet 16 since 2005.

5. Tom Crean, Indiana
Record: 274-178
Record at Indiana: 84-82 overall (.506), 33-57 Big Ten (.367)
NCAA Tournament: 9-7, one Final Four
Crean has brought Indiana back to national prominence in a way that’s been lacking since the Bob Knight era. Crean reestablished Indiana’s recruiting clout in state, starting with the signing of Cody Zeller and continuing with Yogi Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell. After a breakthrough season which saw Indiana win only its second post-Knight Big Ten title, it’s time to see if Crean can keep Indiana on top.

6. Matt Painter, Purdue
Record: 201-100
Record at Purdue: 176-95 overall (.649), 84-56 Big Ten (.600)
NCAA Tournament: 8-7
Painter knew he would be rebuilding after the Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore class left campus. The Boilermakers performed admirably under the circumstances in a loaded Big Ten last season, finishing 8-10. This could be a key season for Painter, though, as his program enters the second season of the post-Hummel era.

7. Fran McCaffery, Iowa
Record: 305-227
Record at Iowa: 54-50 overall (.519), 21-33  Big Ten (.389)
NCAA Tournament: 2-5
McCaffery resurrected Iowa to NIT status the last two seasons, and he should have the Hawkeyes in contention for their first NCAA Tournament since 2006. If Iowa reaches the Tourney, it will be the fourth reclamation job McCaffery has led to the Big Dance, joining Lehigh, UNC Greensboro and Siena.

8. John Groce, Illinois
Record: 108-69
Record at Illinois: 23-13 overall (.639), 8-10 Big Ten (.444)
NCAA Tournament: 4-3
Groce made an immediate impact at Illinois, leading the Illini to a win in the Maui Invitational, a 12-0 start and victories over Ohio State and Indiana. Not bad for a team that wasn’t nearly as balanced as other top Big Ten programs last season. Groce has an all-time conference record of 42-40 in five seasons as a head coach at Ohio and Illinois.

9. Tim Miles, Nebraska
Record: 86-106
Record at Nebraska: 15-18 overall (.455), 5-13 Big Ten (.278)
NCAA Tournament: 0-1
Nebraska and Penn State are the Big Ten’s toughest jobs, but Miles has two things on his side: Plenty of enthusiasm and a new arena. Miles has already rebuilt one program, improving his win total at Colorado State every season from 2007-08 through 2011-12 and recruiting the core of last season’s 26-9 team.

10. Richard Pitino, Minnesota
Record: 18-14
Record at Minnesota: First season
NCAA Tournament: None
Pitino showed immediately why he’s more than just a famous name. FIU’s basketball program was a mess after three seasons under Isiah Thomas, but Pitino led the Golden Panthers to the brink of the NCAA Tournament in a two-point loss to Western Kentucky in the Sun Belt Tournament final. The 11-9 season in conference was FIU’s first winning league record since 1999-2000.

11. Chris Collins, Northwestern
Record: First season
Northwestern is as hopeful as it’s been in a while with Collins taking over the only major conference program that has never made the NCAA Tournament. For better or worse, Collins takes over a program that has made the NIT in four of the last five seasons, but the former Duke assistant is hopeful to push Northwestern over the edge.

12. Pat Chambers, Penn State
Record: 64-69
Record at Penn State: 22-41 overall (.349), 6-30 Big Ten (.167)
NCAA Tournament: 0-1
As if the Penn State job isn’t tough enough, Chambers has dealt with a season-ending injury to Tim Frazier and a transfer from Jermaine Marshall.

Michigan State's Izzo headlines deep crop of coaches
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/golden-arm-performances-week-1

The Golden Arm award is presented to the top senior quarterback by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Foundation. The award is based on performance on the field, character, citizenship and integrity. This year’s watch list includes more than two dozen candidates and each week we will highlight the top five performances among the watch list candidates. 


Corey Robinson1. Corey Robinson, Troy 

No quarterback in the history of college football had a more accurate performance than Troy’s Corey Robinson. Robinson set an NCAA record for completion percentage with at least 30 pass attempts, completing 30 out of 32 passes for 319 yards in a season opening victory over UAB. Both of Robinson’s incompletions came in the first quarter, so after the middle of the first quarter not one Robinson pass hit the ground.


2. Derek Carr, Fresno State 

Perhaps no quarterback in the country had the kind of week Fresno State’s Derek Carr did. After his son was released from intensive care earlier in the week, Carr had a career night in Fresno State’s season opening victory at home against Rutgers. Carr passed for a career high 52 completions for 456 yards and matched a career high with five touchdowns passes. Fresno State needed every one of them, including a short touchdown pass in the final minute to force overtime against the Scarlet Knights.


3.  Tajh Boyd, Clemson 

Of all of the match-ups in college football’s opening weekend, few had the quarterback showdown that Clemson and Georgia offered Saturday night. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd had the clear upper hand in this showdown, and not just on the scoreboard. Boyd may not have had the most accurate of performance, but 18 of 30 for 270 yards and three touchdowns against Georgia are still worth respecting. Throw in a pair of rushing touchdowns for good measure.


4. Sean Mannion, Oregon State 

Oregon State may have been the victim of one of the handful of FCS upsets but quarterback Sean Mannion had a near career day by completing 37 of 43 attempts for 422 passing yards and three touchdowns in the losing effort. The single game passing total was the second highest of his career, and he averaged 9.8 yards per attempt as he recorded one of the highest passer ratings of the weekend.


5. Blake Bortles, Central Florida

Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles was effective and productive in an opening night victory over visiting Akron. Bortles completed 18 of 24 pass attempts for 314 yards, averaging 13.1 yards per attempt and three touchdowns as the Knights cruised to a 38-7 victory over the Zips.

This year’s watch list includes 25 QB candidates and each week we will highlight the top five performances among the watch list candidates.
Post date: Monday, September 2, 2013 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/amazing-college-football-stats-week-1

Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of the game. Any game, for that matter.

Some fall on the sabermetric side of things, while others like to keep it simple and use the ol' eyeball test. In the football world, that means total offense, total defense and points scored versus points per play and defensive efficiency ratings. Rational and logical arguments can be made for the legitimacy and relevance of both sides of the stats spectrum.

With that in mind, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of college football action:

40:14: Nicholls State time of possession
Nicholls State more than doubled the time of possession battle with the mighty Oregon Ducks (19:46). Yet, somehow the Ducks managed to not only defeat the Colonels but cover the absurd 59-point spread in the 66-3 debut of Mark Helfrich. The Ducks posted 772 yards of offense and averaged over 11 yards per carry on 45 attempts (500 yards) while never possessing the ball for more than 2:34 seconds.

1-10: Aaron Murray against Top 15 ranked teams
Big game Aaron Murray has been anything but in big games against elite competition. He lost to Arkansas (No. 12) and Auburn (No. 2) in 2010 as a freshman. Murray lost to Boise State (No. 5), South Carolina (No. 12), LSU (No. 1) and Michigan State (No. 12) as a sophomore in 2011. And he lost to South Carolina (No. 6) and Alabama (No. 1) a year ago. His lone win against a top 15 team came last year against No. 3 Florida in the Cocktail Party. And even in that win, Murray wasn't very good: 12-of-24 for 150 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in that game.

93.8%: NCAA record completion percentage for Corey Robinson
Troy's quarterback Corey Robinson set the new NCAA benchmark (min. 30 att.) for efficient passing this weekend. In a key 34-31 overtime win over UAB, Robinson completed 30 of his 32 passes for 319 yards and a touchdown. That's a tidy 93.8-percent clip, besting the previous NCAA record held by current Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian. Coach Sark set the record by completing 91.2-percent of his passes for Fresno State in 1995. He was 31-of-34.

15-15: New head coach's records in Week 1
There were 31 new FBS college coaches in college football this fall. All but one, UTEP's Sean Kugler, was in action this weekend. That said, the BCS coaches fared much better, going 10-5, including Temple's loss to Notre Dame. The SEC went 3-1, the ACC 2-1, the Big Ten 1-1 while the Pac-12 and Big 12 combined to go 3-0. The AAC went 0-2.

2: Players who scored on a punt return, kick return and on offense in the same game
Derek Abney, a do-everything dynamo for the Kentucky Wildcats, is believed (according to Kentucky's official bio) to be the only player in NCAA history to have scored a touchdown on a punt return, kick return and pass reception (2002). That is, until Christian Jones did it for Alabama this weekend against Virginia Tech. A 72-yard punt return began the scoring in the game, continued it with a 94-yard kick return touchdown and put the game out of reach with a beautiful 38-yard touchdown strike from A.J. McCarron late in the third.

833: Combined passing yards for Vernon Adams and Sean Mannion
Eastern Washington and its famous Red Inferno football field pulled one of the biggest upsets of the weekend over Oregon State on the road. Quarterback Vernon Adams was the star of the show as he threw for 411 yards through the air while adding 107 yards rushing and two more scores on the ground. On the other sideline, not to be outdone, Sean Mannion threw for 422 yards and three touchdowns in the losing effort. There were six lead changes in the final 20 minutes of play, 61 first downs, 1,157 yards of total offense and 97 combined points.

5: FCS teams defeating major conference teams
To put it in perspective: No more than four FCS teams have defeated major conference teams in a season since 1985, according to, much less one weekend. The action started Thursday when Towson defeated Connecticut 33-18 for the most lopsided FCS-over-FBS win since 2000. That mark was crushed Saturday when McNeese State defeated USF 53-21. The margin of victory and total points scored were an NCAA record for an FCS opponent over an FBS team. Two-time FCS champion North Dakota State defeated Kansas State 24-21 on Friday, Eastern Washington defeated Oregon State 49-46, and Northern Iowa defeated Iowa State 28-20.

14: NCAA record for career forced fumbles
Wisconsin's Chris Borland jarred the ball loose from a UMass Minuteman early in the game this Saturday. It was his 14th career forced fumble, tying an NCAA record. Borland has been a big-play machine, blocking kicks and punts, creating turnovers and disrupting the offense behind the line of scrimmage his entire career. He now shares the NCAA record with five other players: Cincinnati's Antwan Peek, Arizona State's Terrell Suggs, USC's Kenechi Udeze, Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan and Southern Miss' Cordarro Law.

2,080: Cornelius Greene's school rushing record by a QB
Cornelius Greene was the first African-American starting quarterback for Ohio State in the early 1970s. He also is the all-time leading rusher for the Ohio State Buckeyes as a quarterback. After 77 yards rushing in the season opener against Buffalo, Braxton Miller pushed his career rushing total to 2,063 yards just one game into his junior season. By the end of the first quarter in Week 2, MIller should be become the all-time leading rusher by a quarterback for one of the most historic and prestigious programs in NCAA history.


Amazing Week 1 College Football Stats
Post date: Monday, September 2, 2013 - 08:00