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Path: /mlb/top-10-mlb-first-round-draft-picks-2000
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Though the MLB Draft is hardly talked about, it provides a strong glimpse into the future. With the first round of the MLB Draft coming up tonight, here is a look at 10 of the best players drafted in the first round since 2000 (listed in chronological order of year they were drafted):

 

Adrian Gonzalez (Marlins: 2000, No. 1) 

Usually a player as good as Gonzalez would at least spend a few years with the team that drafted him. However, the Marlins traded him early to the Rangers, who sent him to San Diego, where he began cementing his name as an elite player. His years there, including three All-Star appearances, led to his massive contract with the Red Sox, where he had his best year in 2011. Since then, he has moved on to the Dodgers, where he continues to impress at 33 years old, hitting .330 to date with 10 home runs and 39 RBIs.

 

Adam Wainwright (Braves: 2000, No. 29) 

When Clayton Kershaw plays in the same league as you, it can be hard to garner attention at times. However, when Wainwright tore his Achilles earlier this season, there was a sign of a clear, detrimental loss. In his 10-year career, Wainwright's .644 winning percentage and sub-3.00 ERA easily ranks him around the top of the MLB. He’s reached at least 19 wins in four seasons, won two Gold Glove awards, and finished at least third in the Cy Young voting four times. He has been extremely consistent his whole career, always finishing over .500 in the win column.

 

Joe Mauer (Twins: 2001, No. 1) 

While Mauer has flown under the radar the past couple years, many people forget how dominant he was, especially while being a catcher. There’s a reason why the Twins made him the highest paid catcher ever in 2010, although many have labeled it as a terrible deal as of recent. However, a .317 career batting average is elite for a catcher, and it’s just one of the reasons why he’s a six-time All-Star. He won three straight Gold Gloves from 2008-10 and took home the MVP award in '09. A catcher who can hit and field that well is rare, and although he moved to first base in 2014, his career production is extremely impressive.

 

Justin Verlander (Tigers: 2004, No. 2) 

Spending his entire career in Detroit, Verlander’s 152 wins to 89 losses, highlighted by six 17-plus win seasons, including one in his rookie year, show just how valuable he has been. In his 2011 Cy Young season, he won a staggering 24 games, the most since Randy Johnson in 2002. That year he also won the AL Triple Crown, leading the league in wins, strikeouts and ERA. Verlander has been one of the most prominent pitchers over the past decade, and he looks to add to his success this season when he comes back from an injury.

 

Andrew McCutchen (Pirates: 2005, No. 11) 

McCutchen has been an all-around excellent player, at the plate, in the field, and around the bases, which he has been awarded for with four straight All-Star selections. In his past three years, he hit comfortably above .300, with an on-base percentage over .400. The 2013 NL MVP, he's finished third in the voting on two other occasions. A slow start to this season hampered him early on, but he has been hot since the second week of May and should finish with stats close to his past few years.

 

Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers: 2006, No. 7) 

He’s only 27, and there’s hardly any baseball expert or fan who wouldn’t call him the best pitcher in MLB, let alone the best player. With three Cy Young awards and an MVP award, Kershaw has dominated, posting a career 2.53 ERA and two 21-win seasons. This season started off rough per his standards, but he’s been flashing his Cy Young stuff in the past three games with 28 strikeouts in 22 innings, allowing just two runs.

 

David Price (Rays: 2007, No. 1) 

Whether an omen or not, the Tampa Bay Rays recorded their first season in franchise history finishing over .500 the same year Price debuted. He didn’t play much that year, but it seemed like a sign of things to come. As the ace on a team in a loaded division, he has been a standout in the league for several years. His 20-win 2012 season earned him Cy Young honors, after coming in second place just two years earlier. Traded to Detroit last summer, a career .632 winning percentage and 3.17 ERA has helped Price win 91 career games, highlighted by his notorious ability to strikeout batters.

 

Buster Posey (Giants: 2008, No. 5) 

Posey has been a winner his entire career. In his first full season in 2010, he not only was NL Rookie of the Year, but also a World Series champion. Since then, he’s gone one to be a vital part of two more World Series winners. In one of those years, 2012, he led the league in batting average and hit a career-high 24 home runs on his way to MVP honors. Like Mauer, excelling so much at catcher only adds further value to what Posey has already accomplished.

 

Mike Trout (Angels: 2009, No. 25) 

Trout actually came about to be an Angel by means of another great first-rounder, Mark Teixiera, as a compensation pick for him signing with the Yankees in free agency. Trout is undoubtedly both the present and the future of the MLB, as he will continue to serve as the face of the sport for at least the next decade. He already has an MVP under his belt and became the fastest to 100 home runs and stolen bases. With so much already accomplished in only a few years, many more records appear to be vulnerable. In addition, his speed and vision in the field have made him a great defender, highlighted by several robbed home runs.

 

Bryce Harper (Nationals: 2010, No. 1) 

Hyped as one of the best prospects ever, Harper played well, especially for a young player in his first few seasons. This year, he has exploded, arguably being the top player in the NL. He leads the league in WAR (4.2), home runs (19), is third in RBIs (46), and is batting well over .300. Fans now are seeing Harper comfortably get into his zone, proving why he was a historic prospect. At only 22 years old, he and Trout will surely duke it out for top honors for many years to come.


Other notable first-round picks:

Chase Utley (2000), Mark Teixeira (2001), Max Scherzer (2006), Sonny Gray (2011)

Teaser:
The Top 10 MLB First-Round Draft Picks Since 2000
Post date: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 16:30
All taxonomy terms: NBA, Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/michael-jordan-plays-interesting-game-jimmy-kimmel-live-chicago-bulls
Body:

Michael Jordan is always going to be competitive.

 

When challenged on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to palm things, His Airness did not back down.

 

 

Jordan is definitely not down with disco.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 15:38
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Overtime
Path: /college-football/nc-state-football-team-jams-taylor-swift-weight-room-shake-it-off-wolfpack
Body:

When your jam comes on, sometimes you can't help yourself.

 

The N.C. State football team just had to rock out in the weight room when Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" came on. It's probably best they stick to football since their dance moves seems a little more on point than their voices.

 

 

Haters gonna hate.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 13:23
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Overtime
Path: /overtime/rob-gronkowski-david-ortiz-rap-new-music-video-dunkin-donuts-ice-coffee-patriots-red-sox
Body:

Ever so often the internet gives the people what they want, and other times it gives them something they totally weren't expecting.

 

Rob Gronkowski and David Ortiz rapping about coffee is the latter. Dunkin' Donuts tapped the two superstars and the result is priceless.

 

 

Either you're craving coffee or actual music right now.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 12:47
All taxonomy terms: AFC, AFC North, Baltimore Ravens, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/5-key-questions-baltimore-ravens-during-summer
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With the Baltimore Ravens finishing up OTAs and having mandatory camp from June 16-18, the team looks to work on ways to improve upon last season’s success. Here are five questions that will shape the Ravens as they prepare for training camp in late July:

 

Will Dennis Pitta, Joe Flacco’s favorite target, remain healthy and able to practice during the summer?

The Ravens teased fans with practice highlights of tight end Dennis Pitta running some light drills. The fifth-year tight end has only played in seven games over the past two years after suffering a career-threatening hip injury in summer practice in 2013, then tweaking it in a game last year. Although Pitta looked smooth in the limited video of his practice, every fan remembers how easily he went down last year, falling to the ground untouched. Regardless, Pitta played an integral role in the Ravens’ Super Bowl season in 2013, notching 669 yards and seven touchdowns. The Ravens drafted two tight ends, Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle, providing extra insurance in case Pitta isn’t 100 percent. Crockett Gillmore will also be in the mix of tight ends during the season, as Owen Daniels left for Denver in free agency.

 

Who will separate themselves from the rest in the battle for the third wide receiver position?

Entering the NFL Draft, the Ravens had a glaring need at wide receiver after Torrey Smith headed to the west coast to play for the 49ers. The Ravens return several receivers from last year, but only one starter, the ever-reliant Steve Smith, who turned 36 last month. Then, they drafted Breshad Perriman out of UCF, who seems to fit in almost perfectly into Torrey Smith’s old role as a vertical threat. That leaves the pivotal third wide receiver in limbo with a battle between Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanaro, if he can stay healthy. Brown played extremely well in 2013, finishing with 524 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. However, his numbers dipped significantly last year, as Aiken proved more effective, catching three touchdowns to go along with 267 yards. This summer will be instrumental in determining which player is best for the position. The Ravens may also think about adding a veteran free agent if needed.   

 

How will the offense adjust to Marc Trestman, the team’s fourth offensive coordinator in four years?

Under Gary Kubiak, the Ravens recorded arguably their best offensive season in team history. His implementation of the zone-blocking scheme reinvigorated a flailing rush game, and more deep balls helped create big gains and open up holes underneath. However, Kubiak left to become Denver's head coach, with Marc Trestman taking over Baltimore's offense after two years as the Bears’ head coach. Trestman and Kubiak seem to have very similar styles, relying heavily on zone blocking for the running game. However, Trestman will look to run more play-action passes that should prove successful with Flacco’s cannon arm. In the early going, Trestman has been pushing everything upon the offense to see what they can handle. The move seems to be paying off though, as the team has looked impressive in all types of game situations.

 

How will the Ravens replace five time Pro-Bowler Haloti Ngata on the defensive line?

Haloti Ngata seemed destined to be one of those players who spends his entire career with one team, but the Ravens simply could not afford him. So now they are without the highly respected veteran after trading him to the Lions. However, there does not seem to be any worry for the Ravens because of Timmy Jernigan, the second-year defensive tackle out of Florida State. In addition to Jernigan, Brandon Williams, who enters his third year, will split time at nose guard. Ngata finished the season as one of the top defensive tackles, but both Jernigan and Williams finished very close behind him in less time played. Both players are viable options to start, which could be determined during the offseason. Nevertheless, both figure to receive significant snaps over the course of the season, trying to make it seem as if nothing changed along the line. 

 

The Ravens upgraded their secondary over the offseason, but where does Matt Elam fall in the mix?

Looking to improve the injury-prone secondary, the Ravens have added veteran cornerbacks Kyle Arrington and Cassius Vaughn, in addition to free safety Kendrick Lewis. Terrence Brooks, who had a successful rookie season at strong safety, will be out for the beginning of the year, after tearing knee ligaments last season. This injury leaves a hole at strong safety, where Will Hill and Matt Elam will battle for the spot. Hill seems to have the edge after a strong 2014, while Elam, the team's first-round draft pick in 2013, continued to struggle. The Ravens have invested a lot in Elam, although they haven’t gotten the production they hoped for, which he has acknowledged repeatedly. Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh likes what he has seen from Hill, but Elam will be doing everything he can to take over the position many had hoped he would succeed in.

Teaser:
5 Key Questions for the Baltimore Ravens During the Summer
Post date: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 12:00
Path: /overtime/timeline-pain-top-15-worst-cleveland-sports-memories
Body:

The Browns haven’t won an NFL championship since 1964. The Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948. The Cavaliers won their first NBA Finals game just X days ago in Game 2 of the 2015 championship series.

 

Needless to say, the professional sports fans in Cleveland have dealt with some serious heartache. Despite his best efforts, Lebron James wasn't able to get his city over the championship hurdle this season, losing in six games to Golden State in the NBA Finals. For what it's worth, the superstar should have been the MVP in a losing effort.

 

As a heavy underdog to the Dubs and without two star players, the loss isn't nearly as painful as some of the other gut-wrenching moments in Cleveland sports history.

 

Note: Cleveland fans, avert your eyes.

 

October 2, 1954

The Indians won 97 games in 1954, posting one of the best records in franchise history. Willie Mays made one of the most famous catches in baseball history in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the World Series. What most don’t remember, however, is that had Mays not made the play, the Indians likely would have returned home to Cleveland tied 1-1 in the series against the Giants. Instead, Cleveland was swept and lost Game 4 at home in front of 78,102 fans.

 

April 17, 1960

The Curse of Rocky Colavito haunted Cleveland for more than three decades. The Indians right fielder led the league with 42 home runs in 1959 but was inexplicably traded by GM Frank Lane to Detroit for Harvey Kuenn just before the ’60 season began. Colavito hit 139 home runs in four seasons for the Tigers while Kuenn played one year in Cleveland, hitting nine home runs. Cleveland didn’t finish within 11 games of first place again until 1993.

 

July 13, 1966

Many believe Jim Brown is the greatest running back of all-time. So his unexpected retirement at age 29 shocked the NFL and the city of Cleveland prior to the 1966 season. Brown was the NFL’s all-time leading rusher when he retired (12,312) and had just led the NFL in rushing (1,544) and touchdowns (17) in 1965 before hanging up the cleats for the silver screen. His Browns single-season rushing record of 1,863 is the oldest team record in the NFL today.

 

January 4, 1980

In one of the coldest games in NFL playoff history — try minus-36 degrees wind chill — the Browns turned in their first of many painful playoff home losses. The “Kardiac Kids” only needed a field goal to beat Oakland with time running out in the AFC Divisional round. But Brian Sipe threw a last-minute interception in the end zone that gave the Raiders the win 14-12. The famous call from head coach Sam Rutigliano was Red Right 88.

 

Related: Purchase your 2015 Cleveland Browns preview magazine here!

 

January 11, 1987

Infamously dubbed “The Drive,” the first of many painful John Elway memories for Cleveland fans took place 5:32 away from the Super Bowl. Elway drove the Broncos 98 yards to tie the AFC Championship Game at 20-20 with less than 40 seconds left. Denver earned a trip to the Super Bowl with a game-winning field goal in overtime, knocking off the 12-4 Browns in Cleveland — what many consider the best team in franchise history.

 

January 17, 1988

One year later, Elway and the Broncos were once again the culprit of the Browns' Super Bowl sorrow. Down by five points with 1:12 left to play on the nine-yard line in the AFC title game, Ernest Byner broke free off the left edge and appeared poised to go into the end zone. But he fumbled just shy of the goal line, Denver recovered and advanced to its second straight Super Bowl.

 

May 7, 1989

The Cavaliers won 57 games in the 1988-89 season, setting a franchise record for wins at the time. In the first round of the playoffs, Craig Ehlo gave the Cavaliers a lead over the Bulls with three seconds to play in the decisive Game 5 of the series. But Michael Jordan would begin to build his NBA legend with a play affectionately dubbed “The Shot.” The game-winning jump shot with no time remaining was the first of many painful Jordan-related memories for Cavs fans.

 

January 14, 1990

For the third time in four years, the Browns lost in the AFC Championship Game to Elway and the Broncos. After a low-scoring first half, the Browns entered the fourth quarter down 24-21. Elway outscored Cleveland 13-0 in the fourth quarter and moved on to the Super Bowl once again.

 

May 17, 1993

One year after losing to the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cavs got swept by Michael Jordan in the playoffs yet again. Jordan drilled a fadeaway jumper with two guys in his face to win Game 4 103-101 and finish off the series. It was the fourth of five times that Jordan would eliminate the Cavs from the playoffs.

 

Related: Game 1 Proves LeBron James Deserves the MVP Every Year

 

November 6, 1995

At a press conference at Camden Yards, Browns owner Art Modell announced that he was relocating the franchise to Baltimore for the 1996 season. Subsequent legal action eventually led to the creation of an entirely new organization named the Baltimore Ravens. “The Move” left Cleveland without football for an unfathomable three years.

 

October 26, 1997

Up there with The Fumble and The Drive and The Shot is Jose Mesa’s blown save three outs away from a championship in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. A costly Tony Fernandez error set up a game-tying sac fly by Craig Counsell. Edgar Renteria won the Series for the Marlins with a game-winning base knock in the bottom of the 11th inning.

 

January 5, 2003

The one and only time the second rendition of the Browns has been to the postseason it lost to Pittsburgh in truly Cleveland fashion. The Browns led the archrival Steelers 24-7 with just a few minutes left in the third quarter. Pittsburgh went on to outscore Cleveland 29-9 over the final 19 minutes. It’s the only playoff game the new Browns have played in since returning to the league in 1999.

 

October 21, 2007

After winning three straight games to take a 3-1 lead over the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series, the Indians proceeded to lose three straight and the series. Boston outscored Cleveland 30-5 over the last three games. The Indians won 96 games in 2007.

 

May 11, 2010

In one of the most bizarre nights in pro sports, LeBron James spent his final home game in Cleveland missing shots, mishandling the basketball and looking generally uninterested. It was Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals and Boston took a 3-2 series lead with a 120-88 drubbing of the Cavs. James was 3-of-14 from the floor in 41:40 minutes of lethargic play. It was an eerie evening for Cavs fans and a precursor of what was to come a few months later.


July 8, 2010

“In this fall… this is very tough… in this fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat.” It made money for charity and it eventually led to multiple championships for the Heat, but Cavs fan likely don’t care about any of that — or the poor grammar.

Teaser:
Timeline of Pain: Top 15 Worst Cleveland Sports Memories
Post date: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 11:17
Path: /college-football/acc-football-2015-all-conference-team
Body:

The ACC loses some of its star power from 2014, but the league still returns plenty of household names and players ready to challenge for All-America honors. And even though the 2015 college football season is still a few months away, but it’s never too early to project what could happen this year.

 

Athlon Sports released its full predictions for the ACC last week. Now, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor the top players in the league with a release of first, second, third and fourth all-conference teams for 2015.

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2015. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2015 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

Related: 2015 ACC Predictions, Projected Records and Awards

 

 

ACC 2015 Team Previews

Atlantic Division
   
National
Rank:
5614938398582
Coastal Division
 
National
Rank: 
52184342416135

 

Athlon's All-ACC Team for 2015

 First-Team OffenseSecond-Team
Offense
Third-Team OffenseFourth-Team Offense
QBDeshaun Watson
Clemson 
Brad Kaaya
Miami 
Justin Thomas
Georgia Tech 
Marquise Williams
North Carolina 
RBJames Conner
Pittsburgh 
Jon Hilliman
Boston College  
Brandon Radcliff
Louisville 
T.J. Logan
North Carolina 
RBDalvin Cook
Florida State 
Joseph Yearby
Miami 
Wayne Gallman
Clemson 
J.C. Coleman
Virginia Tech 
APRyan Switzer (WR)
North Carolina 
Shadrach Thornton (RB)
NC State 
Taquan Mizell (RB)
Virginia 
Sherman Alston (WR)
Boston College 
WRTyler Boyd
Pittsburgh 
Travis Rudolph
Florida State 
James Quick
Louisville 
Quinshad Davis
North Carolina 
WRArtavis Scott
Clemson 
Mike Williams
Clemson 
Isaiah Ford
Virginia Tech 
Mack Hollins
North Carolina 
TEBucky Hodges
Virginia Tech 
Cam Serigne
Wake Forest 
Braxton Deaver
Duke 
David Grinnage
NC State 
CMatt Skura
Duke 
Freddie Burden
Georgia Tech 
Ryan Norton
Clemson 
Lucas Crowley
North Carolina 
OGWyatt Teller
Virginia Tech 
Dorian Johnson
Pittsburgh 
Trey Braun
Georgia Tech 
Ross Burbank
Virginia 
OGLandon Turner
North Carolina 
Joe Thuney
NC State 
Kareem Are
Florida State 
Harris Williams
Boston College 
OTAdam Bisnowaty
Pittsburgh 
Bryan Chamberlain
Georgia Tech 
Jon Heck
North Carolina 
Isaiah Battle*
Clemson 
OTRoderick Johnson
Florida State 
Jonathan McLaughlin
Virginia Tech 
Eric Smith
Virginia 
Ivan Foy
Syracuse 
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DEKen Ekanem
Virginia Tech 
Sheldon Rankins
Louisville 
KeShun Freeman
Georgia Tech 
Kevin Kavalec
Boston College  
DEDadi Nicolas
Virginia Tech 
Shaq Lawson
Clemson 
DeMarcus Walker
Florida State 
Ron Thompson
Syracuse                
DTAdam Gotsis
Georgia Tech 
N. Lawrence-Stample
Florida State 
Connor Wujciak
Boston College 
Josh Banks
Wake Forest 
DTLuther Maddy
Virginia Tech 
Corey Marshall
Virginia Tech 
David Dean
Virginia 
Nazair Jones
North Carolina 
LB

Brandon Chubb
Wake Forest  

Deon Clarke
Virginia Tech 
Kelby Brown*
Duke 
Reggie Northrup
Florida State 
LBKeith Kelsey
Louisville 
Steven Daniels
Boston College 
James Burgess
Louisville 
Jerod Fernandez
NC State 
LBTerrance Smith
Florida State 
P.J. Davis
Georgia Tech 
Marquel Lee
Wake Forest 
Jermaine Grace
Miami 
CBKendall Fuller
Virginia Tech 
Mackensie Alexander
Clemson 
Jack Tocho
NC State 
Demetrious Nicholson
Virginia 
CBJalen Ramsey
Florida State 
Maurice Canady
Virginia 
D.J. White
Georgia Tech 
Chuck Clark (CB/S)
Virginia Tech 
SQuin Blanding
Virginia 
Deon Bush
Miami 
DeVon Edwards
Duke 
Ryan Janvion
Wake Forest 
SJeremy Cash
Duke 
Jamal Golden
Georgia Tech 
Josh Harvey-Clemons
Louisville 
Artie Burns (CB)
Miami 
 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
Fourth-Team
Specialists
KRoberto Aguayo
Florida State 
Ross Martin
Duke 
Ammon Lakip
Clemson 
Ian Frye
Virginia 
PAlex Kinal
Wake Forest 
Will Monday
Duke 
Riley Dixon
Syracuse 
Justin Vogel
Miami 
KRMyles Willis
Boston College 
DeVon Edwards
Duke 
Tyler Boyd
Pittsburgh 
Kermit Whitfield
Florida State 
PRTyler Boyd
Pittsburgh 
Ryan Switzer
North Carolina 
Greg Stroman
Virginia Tech 
Sherman Alston
Boston College 

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2015 All-ACC Team
 FirstSecondThirdFourth
Boston College
Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1 
Defense: 1 
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1 
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Clemson
Offense: 2
Defense: 0 
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1 
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2 
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0 
Sp. Teams: 0
Duke
Offense: 1
Defense: 1 
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
Sp. Teams: 3
Offense: 1 
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
Sp. Teams: 0
Florida State
Offense: 2 
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1 
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams:  0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Georgia Tech
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2 
Defense: 2 
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Louisville
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Miami
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 1
North Carolina
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1 
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 5
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
NC State
Offense: 0 
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 0 
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Pittsburgh
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Syracuse
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Virginia
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Virginia Tech
Offense: 2
Defense: 4
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Wake Forest
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0

* Player selections were done before Clemson's Isaiah Battle left for the supplemental draft and Duke's Kelby Brown suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Teaser:
ACC Football 2015 All-Conference Team
Post date: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: Tiger Woods, Golf
Path: /golf/experts-poll-are-tigers-problems-mental-or-physical
Body:

After a career-worst 85 on Saturday at the Memorial, followed by the spectacle of a solo round as the last-place player in an odd-numbered field, it's clearer than ever that all is not well at Team Tiger. The game's formerly transcendent superstar doesn't look ready for a Saturday scramble at the local muni, much less the U.S. Open in a couple weeks. So what's at the bottom of Tiger's seemingly bottomless well of problems?

 

Athlon polled a number of golf insiders earlier this year on this very question: Are Tiger's problems primarily physical or mental?

 

Participants

Jay Coffin, Editorial Director, Golf Channel, @JayCoffinGC

Jason Deegan, Senior Staff Writer and Golf Advisor with The Golf Channel online, @WorldGolfer

Steve DiMeglio, USA Today, @Steve_DiMeglio

Bob Harig, ESPN, @BobHarig

Dan Jenkins, Author, Golf Digest Contributor, @danjenkinsgd

Garrett Johnston, Golf journalist, @JohnstonGarrett

Dave Kindred, Golf Digest, Sports on Earth Contributor, @DaveKindred

Alex Miceli, Senior Writer, Golfweek, @alexmiceli

Dan O’Neill, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Dave Shedloski, Golf World, @DaveShedloski

Art Spander, Global Golf Post, @artspander

 

Are Tiger's problems mental or physical?
Mental       4
Physical    1
Both          6

 

Comments
• Started mental as the scandals ended his aura of invincibility and led to a loss of confidence in every aspect of his life, even the swing.

 

• He's worn out between the ears after nearly two decades of carrying the game on his shoulders.

 

• Mental. Everybody but him seems to know it.

 

• It's 90 percent in his head and 50 percent physical. Yeah, the math doesn't add up, but that's how I see it.

 

• He will never be 100% healthy physically, but his mental game pulled him through. Now with his mental game in flux his game in general is substandard.

 

• He’s in a vicious circle right now. He needs to play a lot of golf to get out of his funk, but his body isn't healthy enough to do that.  

 

• Based on his play this year, he obviously has some confidence issues. He admits to being less focused than he was in the past and his physical problems hinder his ability to practice, much less play frequently. Not a good combination.

Both, I believe. If you have back or knee troubles, in golf or baseball (or tennis), well, they are games of swinging. And once doubts creep into the mind, you have what you had in Phoenix, the former greatest golfer in the world  chili-dipping and blasting long. That's a man untrusting of his game at the current time.

 

• Both. His back problems might be better, but he was still away from the game for long period of time and he needs to practice. In the meantime, he changed coaches, altered his swing and saw those problems creep into his short game. For one of the best ever around the greens, it is surely more than physical. There are issues of confidence and doubt that have come along with all the other changes.

 

• Tiger's struggles are more physical than mental. His inability to perform physically is hurting the mental part, however.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 10:13
Path: /college-football/american-athletic-2015-all-conference-team
Body:

The American Athletic Conference should have a contender (or two) for the top spot among Group of 5 leagues for the right to play in one of college football’s top bowl games. And this league has added stability with the addition of Navy, giving the conference two six-team divisions and a conference championship in 2015.

 

The 2015 college football season is still a few months away, but it’s never too early to project what could happen this year.

 

Athlon Sports released its full predictions for the American Athletic Conference last week. Now, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor the top players in the league with a release of first, second, third and fourth all-conference teams for 2015.

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2015. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2015 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

Related: 2015 American Athletic Predictions, Preview and Awards

 

American Athletic Conference 2015 Team Previews
East Division
 
National
Rank: 
4010972996263
West Division
 
National 
Rank:
505954102104106

 

Visit the Athlon Sports Online Store to order a copy of the 2015 National College Football Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 128 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 


 

Athlon's American Athletic All-Conference Team for 2015
 First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense
Third-Team
Offense
Fourth-Team
Offense
QBGunner Kiel
Cincinnati 
Keenan Reynolds
Navy 
Paxton Lynch
Memphis 
Greg Ward
Houston  
RBMarlon Mack
USF 
William Stanback
UCF 
Sherman Badie
Tulane 
Chris Hairston
East Carolina 
RBKenneth Farrow
Houston 

Chris Swain
Navy   

Hosey Williams
Cincinnati 
Zaire Williams
Temple 
APIsaiah Jones (WR)
East Carolina 
Keyarris Garrett (WR)
Tulsa 
Mike Boone (RB)
Cincinnati 
Rodney Adams (WR)
USF 
WRKeevan Lucas
Tulsa 
Shaq Washington
Cincinnati 
Darius Joseph
SMU 
Chris Moore
Cincinnati 
WRMekale McKay
Cincinnati 
Demarcus Ayers
Houston 
Mose Frazier
Memphis 
Jamir Tillman
Navy 
TEAlan Cross
Memphis 
Bryce Williams
East Carolina 
Charles Jones
Tulane 
Colin Thompson
Temple 
CKyle Friend
Temple 
Deyshawn Bond
Cincinnati 
Taylor Lasecki
SMU 
Gabe Kuhn
Memphis 
OGJ.T. Boyd
East Carolina 
B. Gudmundsson
USF 
Joey Grant
UCF 
Thor Jozwiak
USF 
OGE.K. Binns
Navy 
Quincy McKinney
East Carolina 
Chris Wallace
Tulsa 
Zach Johnson (OT)
Houston 
OTParker Ehinger
Cincinnati 
Garrett Stafford
Tulsa 
Alex Cooper
Houston 
Chavis Dickey
UCF 
OTIke Harris
East Carolina 
Taylor Fallin
Memphis 
Kris Weeks
SMU 
Arturo Uzdavinis
Tulane 
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DLThomas Niles
UCF 
Derrick Alexander
Tulsa 
B.J. Singleton
Houston 
Terrell Stanley
East Carolina 
DLPraise-Martin
Oguike,
Temple 
Royce LaFrance
Tulane 
Derrick Calloway
USF  
Zach Wood
SMU 
DLSilverberry Mouhon
Cincinnati 
Bernard Sarra
Navy 
Derrick Luetjen
Tulsa 
Tanzel Smart
Tulane 
DLMatt Ioannidis
Temple 
Jamiyus Pittman
UCF 
Will Anthony
Navy 
Julian Campenni
UConn 
LBTyler Matakevich
Temple 
Nico Marley
Tulane  
Jackson Dillon
Memphis 
Jonathan Yenga
SMU 
LBZeek Bigger
East Carolina 
Graham Stewart
UConn 
Steven Taylor
Houston 
Marquise Vann
UConn 
LBNigel Harris
USF 
Montese Overton
East Carolina 
Craig Suits
Tulsa 
Nate D. Smith
Temple 
CBWilliam Jackson
Houston 
Parry Nickerson
Tulane 
Brendon Clements
Navy 
Sean Chandler
Temple 
CBJosh Hawkins
East Carolina 
Tavon Young
Temple 
Jhavon Williams
UConn 
Alex Wells (S)
Temple 
SZach Edwards
Cincinnati 
Trevon Stewart
Houston 
Jamie Byrd
USF 
Andrew Adams
UConn 
SAdrian McDonald
Houston 
Darion Monroe
Tulane 
Michael Mudoh
Tulsa 
Obi Melifonwu
UConn 
 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
Fourth-Team
Specialists
KJake Elliott
Memphis 
Andrew Gantz
Cincinnati 
Kyle Bullard
Houston 
Austin Grebe
Navy 
PMattias Ciabatti
USF  
Dalton Parks
Tulsa 
Worth Gregory
East Carolina 
Spencer Smith
Memphis 
KRDeion Sanders Jr.
SMU 
D'Angelo Brewer
Tulsa 
Johnny Holton
Cincinnati 
Jordan Akins
UCF 
PRTrevon Brown
East Carolina 
Shaq Washington
Cincinnati 
Hassan Childs
USF 
Conner Floyd
Tulsa 

 

2015 American Athletic Conference Predictions, Preview and Season Awards

 

Breakdown of Athlon's 2015 American Athletic All-Conference Team

 FirstSecondThirdFourth
Cincinnati
Offense: 3
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Connecticut
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 4
Sp. Teams: 0
East Carolina
Offense: 3
Defense: 2 
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Houston
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Memphis
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1 
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1 
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Navy
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
SMU
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
South Florida
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Temple
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 0
Tulane
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 4
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Tulsa
Offense: 1 
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
UCF
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1

 

Teaser:
American Athletic 2015 All-Conference Team
Post date: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, SEC
Path: /college-football/sec-west-have-they-become-their-own-worst-enemy
Body:

It was painful at times in 2014 to watch and listen to the talking heads of college football try to figure out the College Football Playoff early in the season. Each week, a new, hot team was inserted into the conversation on the back of a win that passed the eye test.

 

More often than not, that new, hot team was from the SEC West.

 

The process began when Texas A&M took down SEC East foe South Carolina in the highest-profile game on opening night of the season. The win shot the Aggies up the rankings, subsequently giving a quality opponent (and win) to Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama in consecutive weeks. Before we knew it, some of those same talking heads had Mississippi State, Ole Miss and either Alabama or Auburn — three teams from the same division — theoretically occupying three of the four spots in the College Football Playoff.

 

We now know how far off those predictions were. The question remains, did we learn anything?

 

What I learned was that given the parity of the SEC West in most years, it will be quite an achievement for one of the teams  — forget two or three — to make its way through the division, into the conference title game and onto the Playoff this season and beyond. This doesn't even take into account the uncertainty around the division heading into the 2015 season.

 

Alabama, the highest-ranked SEC West team in Athlon Sports' Preseason Top 25, lost their starting quarterback to graduation and two of the most prolific offensive weapons in the country to the NFL Draft. On defense, they lost one of the best safeties in the nation. All told, 28 players from the SEC West were drafted by NFL teams a little more than a month ago.

 

Related: SEC 2015 Predictions

 

That's a lot of impact-making positions for every team in the division to fill.

 

I'm not one of those people who is going to jump on board and say the SEC West is without a doubt the best overall division in college football, but I'll argue all day that it will be the most competitive this season. On paper, all seven teams have a shot at walking away with the division championship. All seven are in Athlon's Top 25 to start the season and obviously, all seven will play each other.

 

Related: Stop Arguing: SEC West is College Football's Best Division

 

You are talking about a seven-way game of full contact paper, rock, scissors.

 

Few people outside the diehard fans of the seven SEC West teams realistically expect any one of those squads to run the table. I'll personally be shocked if the champion has two or fewer losses heading to Atlanta for the conference title game.

 

And that begs the next question: Can a two-loss team qualify for the College Football Playoff.

 

Given the small sample size we have from last season, I'd say the answer is a resounding "NO." We had borderline pandemonium trying to figure out which one-loss team would be left out of the mix. Looking around the country at how we expect the other Power 5 conferences to shape up, I'd say it would be a shock if three of the four other conference champions finished their campaigns with more than one loss. Taking that into account, a two-loss SEC West champion would then find itself in a marketing war with at least one other conference champion — with the target audience being the College Football Playoff committee.

 

And that's only if the SEC West champion can get past a team from the East in Atlanta.

 

College football is always changing, and it appears that the rest of the nation may have caught up to the SEC — particularly the SEC West — in this new system. The irony of all of this is, trumpeting an entire group of teams as elite over the years may have actually started a cannibalistic domino-effect in recruiting and subsequent on-field competitiveness that ends up being detrimental rather than beneficial in the current state of college football.

 

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Scott is the editor-in-chief of KnowItAllFootball.com, a Big Ten site for Big Ten fans. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.

Teaser:
SEC West: Have They Become Their Own Worst Enemy?
Post date: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/stop-arguing-sec-west-college-footballs-best-division
Body:

The rest of the country doesn’t want to believe it but it’s true.

 

The Pac-12 has elevated itself into national prominence. The Big Ten is the reigning national champion and has added serious coaching cache over the last few seasons. The Big 12 is rolling in new television dough and the ACC is slowly but surely regaining form.

 

But the SEC is still the best conference in college football and the SEC West could be better in 2015 than it’s ever been before.

 

It all starts with the coaching, continues with talent and ends with victories.

 

Nick Saban and Les Miles have a combined five national titles and have played in the BCS title game or College Football Playoff six times since 2007. Saban (.802) and Miles (.780) are fifth and sixth all-time in SEC history in winning percentage and second (.780) and 11th all-time (.690) in league games.

 

Related: Don't listen to Nick Saban, the Bowls are fine

 

Auburn's Gus Malzahn is nipping at their heels. He’s won one national title as a coordinator and played for another as a first-year SEC head coach and ranks behind only Saban as the best current coach in the league.

 

Needless to say, their resumes speak for themselves. But the depth of coaching is what makes the SEC West so daunting. Bret Bielema has a losing record (10-15) at Arkansas but is a hot pick by many as the top challenger to the state of Alabama this fall and he won three straight Big Ten titles at Wisconsin before jumping ship to Fayetteville.

 

Kevin Sumlin has ushered Texas A&M into a new conference with a Heisman Trophy and a better winning percentage (.718) than every coach in College Station since 1928 with the exception of R.C. Slocum (.721).

 

Dan Mullen is doing things at Mississippi State that are unprecedented. No coach has left Starkville with a winning SEC record since Allyn McKeen in 1948. Mullen has led his program to its first AP No. 1 ranking and reached a bowl game in four (much less five) straight seasons for the first time in school history.

 

Related: SEC 2015 Predictions

 

In Oxford, Hugh Freeze is doing things only Johnny Vaught had accomplished. Only one Rebels coach since Vaught (David Cutcliffe) has posted a winning SEC record and only once since Vaught has Ole Miss entered a season ranked in the preseason AP top 15 (2009).

 

The Rebels are ranked No. 11 in Athlon Sports preseason Top 25.

 

That’s just the head coaches. John Chavis, Will Muschamp, Cam Cameron, Kirby Smart and Lane Kiffin are some of the best (and highest paid) coordinators in the nation.

 

Related: Buy your 2015 SEC preview magazines here!


It’s not just the elite-level coaching that makes this league so terrifying, however, it’s also the players. The SEC led all conferences at the NFL Draft for a ninth consecutive year in May and is a near lock to do so again in 2016.

 

All seven teams in the SEC West are ranked in the Top 26 in terms of raw talent. Six of the seven are ranked among the nation’s 22 most talented rosters.

 

This division is responsible for seven preseason first-team All-Americans and seven second-team preseason All-Americans.

 

One could argue the SEC West has the best quarterback (Dak Prescott), running back (Leonard Fournette, Derrick Henry), wide receiver (Laquon Treadwell, D’haquille Williams), tight end (Hunter Henry, Evan Engram, O.J. Howard), offensive tackle (Laremy Tunsil, Cam Robinson), offensive guard (Sebastian Tretola), defensive tackle (Robert Nkemdiche, A’Shawn Robinson), defensive end (Myles Garrett), linebacker (Reggie Ragland) and safety (Tony Conner) in the nation.

 

The SEC West may have the best player at almost every position… IN THE NATION.

 

This says nothing of how this division fared on the field a year ago. The SEC West went 28-0 in non-conference play with wins over Wisconsin, at Kansas State, West Virginia, at Texas Tech, Boise State and Memphis. This division lost a combined 25 regular season games a year ago — four to the SEC East and 21 to itself.

 

Related: Bowl games have no place in the College Football Playoff

 

(Don’t talk to me about bowl… ahem, exhibition games. I won’t count Arkansas’ romp over Texas if you don’t count TCU’s crushing of an injured and unmotivated Ole Miss. The only one that actually counts is Alabama’s loss to Ohio State.)

 

There is a reason that Mississippi State is picked last in the West and still ranked No. 21 nationally. There is a reason that two teams from this division are projected to make the Playoff.

 

This division isn’t the best because of some southern broadcasting media bias.

 

The SEC West is the best in football because it has the best coaches in the nation leading the best players in the nation on the best teams in the nation.

Teaser:
Stop the Debate: SEC West is College Football's Best Division
Post date: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/wisconsin-football-experience-hype-video-jj-watt-badgers-russell-wilson-melvin-gordon
Body:

Wisconsin has a rich history. 

 

Madison is home to the Badgers, and there's no secret that the city is crazy about the college teams. "Wisconsin Football Experience" is a video showcasing the history while looking forward to the future. It gives the viewer an opportunity to not only learn about the team, but the fans that support it.

 

J.J. Watt, Russell Wilson, Melvin Gordon, and other former Badgers make appearances. Once a Badger, always a Badger.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 09:47
Path: /college-football/breaking-down-tennessee-volunteers-future-quarterback-quinten-dormady
Body:

Tennessee fans are well aware of what returning starting quarterback Joshua Dobbs brings to the table. But what about the trio of talented freshmen that will be joining Dobbs on The Hill this fall?

 

Related: Tennessee Volunteers 2015 Preview and Prediction

 

With the loss of three of the Vols’ four scholarship quarterbacks this past year, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones knew that it was of paramount importance to recruit well at the quarterback position heading into the 2015 season. Not only did Jones and the Tennessee coaching staff rise to the challenge, they landed arguably the top class of freshman quarterbacks in the entire nation for 2015. This group is comprised of three consensus 4-star recruits — Jauan Jennings, Quinten Dormady and Sheriron Jones.  In the first of a three-part series featuring each of the freshman quarterbacks, here is a closer look at Dormady.

 

Dormady, a consensus 4-star recruit, was ranked as the No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the nation for 2015 per 247 Sports. The Boerne, Texas, native had an outstanding high school career amassing 5,903 passing yards and 59 touchdowns in just two seasons of varsity football at Boerne High School (pronounced Burnie). He threw for more than 3,000 yards, completing 61 percent of his passes in a sophomore campaign that landed him on the Texas all-state team as an honorable mention. A lofty achievement in the state of Texas for a first-year varsity quarterback. This also put him on the map as a player to watch among recruiting sites and coaches alike.

 

Unfortunately, Dormady would miss his entire junior season with a torn labrum. The injury would be a severe blow to his stock as a potentially elite college quarterback prospect, as high school football players tend to be evaluated most heavily in their junior seasons. Subsequently, Dormady would be left marginally rated by some recruiting services, while others failed to assign him any ranking at all heading into the all-important spring and summer camp circuit.

 

Dormady would rebound nicely with a stellar showing on the camp circuit, regaining much of the momentum he had lost following his injury. He would also garner an impressive offer sheet, which included the likes of Alabama, Tennessee, TCU and Oklahoma State to name a few.

 

On June 9, 2014, the rising quarterback would commit to a Tennessee coaching staff that never relented in its pursuit of the once “under the radar” Dormady. He would ultimately go on to a successful senior season in which he threw for 2,893 yards and 32 touchdowns, garnering the status of 4-star prospect, and a reputation as one of the better pro-style quarterbacks in the nation.

 

Dormady possesses all of the attributes that coaches fall in love with in a prototypical pocket passer. Size, arm strength, mechanics, accuracy and pocket presence are all characteristics that epitomize Dormady. He also is considered to be quite polished and intelligent for a quarterback his age, which stands to reason, considering that Dormady’s father, Mike, also was his head coach in high school.

 

The good news is that Dormady was able to enroll at Tennessee early for the spring semester along with fellow freshman signal-caller Jauan Jennings. This should prove beneficial to Dormady in the steep learning curve to which all freshman quarterbacks must adjust, especially in the SEC.

 

Related: Breaking Down the Tennessee Volunteers' Future at Quarterback — Jauan Jennings

 

Even as a freshman, Dormady appears to have a solid grasp of the Tennessee playbook. It does not hurt that he played in a similar offense in high school, and as he demonstrated in the Vols’ annual Orange and White spring game, he also has the ability to read defenses at a level beyond his years. He completed five of his eight pass attempts for 98 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in the exhibition.

 

If there is a knock on Dormady, it would be his lack of athleticism. A somewhat crucial component in a Tennessee offense that has proven to fare much better with a mobile quarterback. Dormady did rush for 261 yards and five touchdowns as a senior in high school, so it is not as if he has zero ability to run the football. But, he pales in that area in comparison to his freshman quarterback counterparts, Jennings and Sheriron Jones, with whom Dormady will compete for the backup job behind returning starter Joshua Dobbs.

 

While Dormady appears to hold a slight lead in the competition for the No. 2 spot behind Dobbs heading into fall camp, that lead could quickly be erased competing against the likes of Jennings and Jones, who are both consensus 4-star prospects in their own right. Jennings is a very elusive and athletic quarterback, who can make plays with his feet that Dormady cannot. And Jones, who just arrived on campus, may be the most balanced of the three in terms of being a true dual-threat quarterback.

 

The bottom line is this; the Vols need a polished passer who understands the offense first and foremost. For now, Dormady fits that bill better than his competition. He already has a slight edge on Jennings, and Jones will be at a distinct disadvantage by not competing in spring drills. Dormady will surely have his work cut out for him, but he has to be considered the odds-on favorite to land the backup role heading into the Sept. 5 opener against Bowling Green in Nashville.

 

— Written by Rob McVey, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. McVey is a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan who loves singing “Rocky Top” every opportunity he gets. Follow him on Twitter @Rob_UTVOLS.

 

(Quinten Dormady photo courtesy of UTSports.com)

Teaser:
Breaking Down the Tennessee Volunteers' Future at Quarterback: Quinten Dormady
Post date: Monday, June 8, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, World Cup
Path: /2015-womens-world-cup-uswnt-preview
Body:

The U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) will make its seventh World Cup appearance at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be played in six Canadian cities (Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton) from June 6 until July 5. These are the red, white and blue names to know:

 

Miss America: Alex Morgan

Four years ago, Alex Morgan was the youngest member of a USWNT that lost to Japan in the FIFA World Cup Final in Germany. Then then-22-year-old scored the first goal of the final match — one of her two goals in the tournament, both of which came in the Knockout Stage. But she was not called upon to shoot penalties, as the USA lost the shootout to Japan, 3–1, following a 2–2 draw in regulation and extra time.

 

Since then, her life has done a bicycle kick. She has gone from phenom forward to established star striker, as arguably the face of U.S. Soccer. She has been named U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year, been a finalist for FIFA World Player of the Year, posed in body paint for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, married fellow Californian soccer star Servando Carrasco and appeared on FOX’s American Idol — where she and Abby Wambach gave host Ryan Seacrest a USWNT jersey, as the “official waterboy.”

 

Comfortable in her skin and firmly in her prime, Morgan is poised to take over the world — or at least the World Cup. If Team USA hopes to bring the golden World Cup trophy south of the border back from Canada, the USWNT will rely heavily on Morgan’s fleet feet to make it happen.

 

Boss: Jill Ellis

The 48-year-old is making her World Cup debut as coach of the USWNT after serving as an assistant on the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning national teams.

 

Solo Artist: Hope Solo

The USWNT netminder broke Brianna Scurry’s U.S. record for shutouts. Solo aims to add to that mark while making her third World Cup appearance as the go-to goalie.

 

Captain: Christine Rampone

The only remaining member of the 1999 World Cup champions, the veteran leader of the USWNT — and mother of two — will turn 40 years old during this year’s World Cup.

 

Icon: Abby Wambach

One of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, Wambach has scored more international goals — 178 in 239 matches — than anyone (man or woman) in soccer history.

 

Import: Sydney Leroux

Born in Surrey, British Columbia, to a Canadian mother and American father, Leroux chose to play for the USA but will make her Canadian homecoming this summer.

 

Group of Death: Part II

Last summer, the U.S. Men’s National Team survived the infamous “Group of Death.” This summer, the USWNT has drawn the group with the highest total of combined FIFA points. But unlike their male counterparts, the American women are favored entering the tournament and have a history of World Cup success.

 

Team USA won the inaugural 1991 World Cup in China and was triumphant again as the host nation at the 1999 World Cup, which was capped by a thrilling shootout victory and shirtless celebration by Brandi Chastain. In order to challenge for a third World Cup crown, the USWNT will first have to go toe-to-toe with these three teams.

 

Australia

(June 8, 7:30 ET, Winnipeg)

The Matildas are ranked No. 10 in the world and boast an explosive offense powered by seasoned forwards Lisa De Vanna and Kate Gill, along with rising stars like 20-year-old Caitlin Foord, who is making her second World Cup appearance after making her debut at 16.

 

Sweden

(June 12, 8:00 ET, Winnipeg)

The fifth-ranked Blue-Yellow are led by former Team USA coach Pia Sundhage, the 2012 FIFA World Coach of the Year who guided the USWNT to a runner-up finish at the 2011 World Cup — a tournament in which the Swedes defeated the Yanks, 2–1, in group play.

 

Nigeria

(June 16, 8:00 ET, Vancouver)

Although the Super Falcons are easily the fourth-best team in Group D, they should not be overlooked. The 2014 African champs have one of the world’s top young talents in Asisat Oshoala, the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Golden Ball winner and African Women’s Footballer of the Year.

 

PREDICTIONS

Semifinals: USA over France; Japan over England

Final: USA over Japan

Teaser:
The U.S. Women's National Team is poised for World Cup glory.
Post date: Saturday, June 6, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/ioc-allows-caitlyn-jenner-keep-olympic-medals-despite-petition-bruce-change-org
Body:

The International Olympic Committee has received the petition to revoke the gold medal of Caitlyn Jenner, but decided not to.

 

Jenner won the medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and will still be able to proudly display them wherever she chooses. Fans began a petition for the committee to revoke the medals because of Jenner's recent changes. The IOC Communications Director, Mark Adams, issued a statement to Yahoo on the decision to allow her to keep them.

 

"Bruce Jenner won his gold medal in the 1976 Olympic Games and there is no issue for the IOC," Adams said.

 

Claiming that Jenner identified as a male at the time, there is no reason for the committee to get involved. The IOC announced in 2012 that transgender athletes could compete against the gender they identify with, as long as they meet the criteria. That person would need to undergo gender reassignment surgery and legal recognition of their assigned gender.

 

More than 13,000 people have signed the petition, but that doesn't dispute the fact that the medals were won fairly.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 5, 2015 - 17:00
Path: /college-football/penn-state-coach-james-franklin-gets-sweet-office-upgrade
Body:

Penn State coach James Franklin has a new and rather interesting addition to his office. On Friday, a fan gave Franklin a taxidermied Nittany Lion.

 

The school’s official Twitter account provided a few images, and Franklin seems to be pretty fired up about the unique addition to his office.

 

It’s been an interesting week for college football coaches and animals. First, it was Charlie Strong hanging out with Tiger cubs at Texas, and Franklin now has a stuffed Nittany Lion in his office.

 

Teaser:
Penn State Coach James Franklin Gets a Sweet Office Upgrade
Post date: Friday, June 5, 2015 - 16:29
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/jim-harbaugh-joins-shirts-vs-skins-practice
Body:

Oh Jim Harbaugh, is there anything you can't do?

 

While at a camp, Harbaugh felt that simply watching the practice wouldn't be enough, he had to join in as well. Shirtless. The Michigan coach has a "dadbod" if I've ever seen one. Once it's seen, good luck trying to get the image out of your mind.

 

 

 

 

 

Get it out of your system now, Jim. You won't be able to do that in Michigan. 

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 5, 2015 - 14:58
All taxonomy terms: NBA, Overtime
Path: /nba/jimmy-kimmel-lie-witness-news-live-clippers-warriors-cavaliers-nba-finals
Body:

Jimmy Kimmel's "Lie Witness News" segments expose the truth, or lack thereof, in the streets.

 

This is a special Clippers edition of the segment, geared towards those "fans" who are happy to see the team in the NBA Finals (as opposed to the Warriors and Cavaliers). One guy is even wearing a Bulls hat. Shame. We at least expect him to know what's going on in the playoffs.

 

 

The worst thing about it is that it takes place on the streets of Los Angeles.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 5, 2015 - 14:00
Path: /mlb/oakland-athletics-call-switch-pitcher
Body:

With so many great batters in the MLB, most pitchers spend countless time and effort in perfecting their craft. They understand their strengths and weaknesses, especially when it comes to facing right- and left-handed batters.

 

Pat Venditte, however, has an answer to lefties and righties: He can pitch with both arms. The Oakland Athletics called up this one-of-a-kind pitcher today in a hope to help bolster the league’s worst bullpen in terms of ERA. Although he cannot switch arms during an at-bat due to a rule that was made because of his unique ability, he still will gain an advantage over any non-switch hitting batter. 

 

Whenever he pitches against a switch-hitter, it should make for an interesting series of events before the at-bat. Hopefully he gets a chance to pitch soon because everybody around the league will surely be paying close attention to this unique skill of his.  


Take a look below at Venditte pitching with both of his arms:

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 5, 2015 - 13:07
Path: /college-football/arkansas-state-holder-uses-tongue-hold-ball-field-goal-attempt
Body:

Wisconsin’s Rafael Gaglianone recently set the standard for new trick shots by kickers by attempting a field goal while his holder kept the ball upright with his nose.

 

And now, Arkansas State’s Luke Ferguson is taking this to a different level. The senior posted a video attempting a field goal while his holder held the ball with his tongue.

 

Yes, that’s right. His tongue. 

Teaser:
Arkansas State Holder Uses Tongue to Hold Ball on Field Goal Attempt
Post date: Friday, June 5, 2015 - 12:54
All taxonomy terms: NBA
Path: /nba/espns-nba-finals-tribute-stuart-scott-will-melt-your-heart-warriors-cavaliers
Body:

As great as the games in the NBA Finals are, they are missing one key ingredient. The boo-yah, the flare, witty "cooler than the other side of the pillow" talk.

 

Stuart Scott has been there for years for post game interviews, the crowning of the champion, and those one-on-ones you won't see anywhere else. The colorful ESPN personality had a relationship with the players that is difficult to replicate. 

 

ESPN aired a tribute to the fallen anchor during halftime, and it's easy to see why Scott is sorely missed.

 

 

Crowning a winner without Stuart Scott there will be weird, but he's certainly not too far away.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 5, 2015 - 12:08
Path: /nba/golden-state-runs-worst-play-manages-score-3-out-it
Body:

NBA players rarely get wide-open shots. Even less often they choose not to take them. In Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Golden State center Andrew Bogut did exactly that, confusing the commentators and the crowd. 

 

Following a steal, Steph Curry dribbled near the three point line, found an open Bogut running towards the hoop, and lobbed him a wide open pass for an easy alley-oop.  It looked as if Bogut would take the easy dunk and electrify the crowd.  However, whether if by design or not, Bogut dished out the pass mid-air towards an open Klay Thompson in the corner.

 

Thompson pumped a three-point attempt and missed, but Bogut rebounded the attempt and possibly had another open easy shot. However, committed to the three, Bogut once again found Thompson open for a long-range attempt. Luckily, Thompson hit this shot, which may have ultimately been the difference between winning and losing.  


Take a look at what color analyst Jeff Van Gundy called "one of the worst plays I've ever seen in my entire life":

 

Teaser:
Golden State Runs Worst Play, Manages To Score 3 Out of it
Post date: Friday, June 5, 2015 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: NBA, News
Path: /nba/game-1-proves-lebron-james-deserves-nba-mvp-every-year
Body:

How is LeBron James not the MVP every year?

 

Steph Curry is probably one of the greatest shooters of all-time, like many have written over the last week, and a very deserving MVP winner. James Harden would have been totally acceptable as well.

 

But I don’t know how LeBron James isn’t the MVP of every court he’s ever stepped on. Maybe voters have developed a case of LeBron fatigue and they are just tired of giving it to the same guy.

 

The depleted Cavaliers lost in overtime in Game 1 of the NBA Finals to Golden State. David Blatt and Steve Kerr watched as James isolated his way to a career Finals high 44 points. He added eight rebounds and six assists as well.

 

The Cavaliers are grossly overmatched as a team against the Warriors and the only reason they are even playing right now is James. The only reason Game 1 went to overtime is because of James. The only reason Cleveland has any chance whatsoever to even win a game in this series is James.

 

With the only other meaningful player on the active roster, Kyrie Irving, in serious doubt for the rest of the series, James will have to work minor miracles to win a championship. Just getting this series past Game 5 might prove he deserves the MVP every year.

 

Curry was average but effective, scoring 26 points on 20 shots in 43 minutes, and the Warriors still won the game. The Cavs can’t have an off game from James.

 

Michael Jordan didn’t win every MVP because voters just felt like they needed to acknowledge other great players but he was the real MVP. That’s not a knock on Charles Barkley or Karl Malone, Jordan was just that good.

 

This isn’t a knock on Curry, James is just that good and is clearly more valuable to his team than anyone else in the league.

Teaser:
Game 1 Proves LeBron James Deserves the NBA MVP Every Year
Post date: Friday, June 5, 2015 - 11:34
Path: /college-football/sun-belt-football-2015-predictions
Body:

The Sun Belt has seen its share of membership changes due to conference realignment in recent years. But as the 2015 season approaches, the Sun Belt has some stability with its 11-team membership.

 

Appalachian State and Georgia Southern combined for a 16-8 record in their FBS debut in 2014, and the league had six teams reach bowl eligibility.

 

UL Lafayette and Arkansas State have been the teams to beat in recent years, but the addition of Appalachian State and Georgia Southern has strengthened the top of the league. Additionally, South Alabama and Texas State continue to develop as FBS programs and should be in the mix for a bowl in 2015.

 

Here are 5 Key Questions That Will Shape the Sun Belt in 2015

 

1. UL Lafayette, Arkansas State the Teams to Beat Once Again?

UL Lafayette and Arkansas State have been the Sun Belt’s top programs in recent years, and both teams are coming off four consecutive bowl appearances. The Ragin’ Cajuns and Red Wolves are among the favorites once again, but these two programs will be pushed by Georgia Southern and Appalachian State for the league crown. Arkansas State will have no trouble scoring points behind dynamic quarterback Fredi Knighten. But the defense returns only four starters and improving the run defense is a priority. UL Lafayette’s Mark Hudspeth is a rising star in the coaching ranks, and the Ragin’ Cajuns will be tested with just eight returning starters. Junior Brooks Haack is slated to replace Terrance Broadway at quarterback, but the biggest concern is on defense on the line. Will both teams find the right answers on defense early in the year? Or will the defensive woes push Appalachian State and Georgia Southern to the top spots?

 

2. Will Appalachian State Pick Up Where it Left Off?

Recapturing the momentum or energy from a previous season is no easy task for any team. The Mountaineers won their final six games last year, which included victories over UL Lafayette and Arkansas State. While it may not be easy to replicate the momentum from the end of 2014, Appalachian State is in a good position to challenge for the league title in 2015 with 20 returning starters. Scott Satterfield’s team is headlined by an explosive offense, and the defense held opponents to a respectable 27.3 points per game in 2014. Sophomore quarterback Taylor Lamb is one of the Sun Belt’s top rising stars to watch, and his development could be the difference in the conference title picture. Even if the Mountaineers don’t pickup exactly where they left off, this team is still capable of winning the Sun Belt title in 2015.

 

3. Georgia Southern’s Encore

It was hard to script a better start to FBS play for Georgia Southern. The Eagles thrived under first-year coach Willie Fritz, finishing with a 9-3 overall record and a perfect 8-0 mark in conference play. The Eagles also came close to victories over Power 5 teams Georgia Tech and NC State last season. Can Georgia Southern finish with a perfect mark in conference play again? Fritz’s team has a favorable schedule by missing Arkansas State and UL Lafayette, but road tests at Appalachian State and ULM will be tough. Quarterback Kevin Ellison and running back Matt Breida are back to anchor the offense, and six starters form an experienced core on defense. The biggest question mark for Fritz’s team is an offensive line that returns only one starter.

 

4. South Alabama’s Rebuilding Effort

The Jaguars were one of the team’s hit hardest by personnel departures from 2014. South Alabama returns only five starters, but there’s help on the way in the form of a handful of UAB transfers. Quarterback Cody Clements and guard Cameron Blankenship should have the biggest impact for coach Joey Jones’ team, and former UAB offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent will call the plays for the Jaguars in 2015. South Alabama has a good core of talent but a lot of inexperience and new players attempting to mesh with the current roster. How quickly will Jones find the right answers on both sides of the ball?

 

5. Can Texas State Take the Next Step?

Over the last four years under coach Dennis Franchione, the Bobcats have recorded three seasons of at least a .500 record. Texas State is coming off its best mark in that span (7-5), but the program is still looking for its first bowl appearance. Can the Bobcats take the next step and reach the postseason in 2015? The offense should be in good shape with the return of quarterback Tyler Jones, while the defense must find replacements for standouts David Mayo (LB), Craig Mager (CB) and end Michael Odiari. The schedule doesn’t provide many breaks for Franchione’s team, as Texas State catches three out of the league’s projected top four and also has road trips to Florida State and Houston in non-conference play. There’s enough returning talent on offense to carry the team until the defense finds replacements for its departed standouts. How far will Jones elevate this team in 2015? A bowl is a reasonable expectation, but the Bobcats have to improve on defense to push the top four teams in the league.  

 

2015 Sun Belt Team Previews

       
 
National
Rank:
90767712612587
  
National
Rank:
11512410893118 

 

Visit the Athlon Sports Online Store to order a copy of the 2015 National College Football Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 128 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 

 

Sun Belt 2015 Football Predictions

     
RankTeam Projected Sun Belt RecordProjected Overall Record
1

Arkansas State

(No. 76)

7-18-4
Read the full, in-depth preview of Arkansas State for 2015.
2

Georgia Southern

(No. 77)

6-28-4
Read the full, in-depth preview of Georgia Southern for 2015.
3

UL Lafayette

(No. 87)

6-28-4
Read the full, in-depth preview of UL Lafayette for 2015.
4

Appalachian State

(No. 90)

5-38-4
Read the full, in-depth preview of Appalachian State for 2015.
5

Texas State

(No. 93)

 

5-37-5
Read the full, in-depth preview of Texas State for 2015.
6

South Alabama

(No. 108)

4-45-7
Read the full, in-depth preview of South Alabama for 2015.
7

ULM

(No. 115)

4-45-8
Read the full, in-depth preview of ULM for 2015.
8

Troy

(No. 118)

3-54-8
Read the full, in-depth preview of Troy for 2015.
9

New Mexico State

(No. 124)

2-62-10
Read the full, in-depth preview of NMSU for 2015.
10

Idaho

(No. 125)

1-72-10
Read the full, in-depth preview of Idaho for 2015.
11

Georgia State

(No. 126)

1-73-9
Read the full, in-depth preview of Georgia State for 2015.

Sun Belt 2015 Superlatives and Season Predictions
 Steven
Lassan
Mitch
Light
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@DavidFox615
Offensive POYFredi Knighten
QB, ASU
Matt Breida
RB, Ga. Southern
Fredi Knighten
QB, ASU
Elijah McGuire
RB, ULL
Defensive POYGerrand Johnson
DL, ULM
Mitch Lane
DB, ULM
John Law
LB, Appalachian State
Michael Johnson
LB, ULM
Coach of the YearScott Satterfield
Appalachian State
Blake Anderson
Arkansas State
Willie Fritz
Georgia Southern
Scott Satterfield
Appalachian State
Coach on Hot SeatDoug Martin
NMSU
Doug Martin
NMSU
Doug Martin
NMSU
Doug Martin
NMSU
Top NewcomerCody Clements
QB, USA
Cody Clements
QB, USA
Cody Clements
QB, USA
Cody Clements
QB, USA
Sleeper TeamTroyULMAppalachian StateTroy
Top Coordinator HireBryant Vincent
OC, USA
Bryant Vincent
OC, USA
Vic Koenning
DC, Troy
Bryant Vincent
OC, USA
Key Position to WatchGeorgia Southern OLGeorgia Southern OLULL QBGeorgia Southern OL
Hardest to EvaluateSouth AlabamaSouth AlabamaSouth AlabamaULM
Coach on the RiseWillie Fritz
Georgia Southern
Willie Fritz
Georgia Southern
Blake Anderson
Arkansas State
Willie Fritz
Georgia Southern
Must-See GameULL at 
Arkansas State
ULL at
Arkansas State
Arkansas State at 
Appalachian State
ULL at
Arkansas State
Breakout PlayerTaylor Lamb
QB, Appalachian State
D.J. Vinson
WR, USA
Taylor Lamb
QB, Appalachian State
Brandon Silvers
QB, Troy
Comeback PlayerDezmon Epps
WR, Idaho
Dezmon Epps
WR, Idaho
J.D. McKissic 
WR, Ark. State
J.D. McKissic
WR, Ark. State

Ranking the Sun Belt's Coaches for 2015

 

1. Mark Hudspeth, UL Lafayette

2. Willie Fritz, Georgia Southern

3. Joey Jones, South Alabama

4. Dennis Franchione, Texas State

5. Todd Berry, ULM

 

Ranking the Sun Belt's Quarterbacks for 2015

 

1. Fredi Knighten, Arkansas State

2. Kevin Ellison, Georgia Southern

3. Tyler Jones, Texas State

4. Taylor Lamb, Appalachian State

5. Nick Arbuckle, Georgia State

 

Ranking the Sun Belt's Running Backs for 2015

 

1. Elijah McGuire, UL Lafayette

2. Matt Breida, Georgia Southern

3. Marcus Cox, Appalachian State

4. Michael Gordon, Arkansas State

5. Larry Rose III, New Mexico State

 

Key Coordinator Hires for 2015

 

1. Bryant Vincent, Offensive Coordinator, South Alabama

2. Mike Breske, Defensive Coordinator, Idaho

3. Charlie Harbison/Melvin Smith, Co-Defensive Coordinators, UL Lafayette

 

Top Incoming Freshmen (from 247Sports)

 

1. Dion Ray, QB, UL Lafayette

2. Mario Osborne, DL, UL Lafayette

3. Jalen Thompson, DB, South Alabama

4. D.J. Pearson, QB, Arkansas State

5. Keenan Barnes, ATH, UL Lafayette

6. Markeis Hallback, RB, Georgia Southern

7. Gary Haynes, ATH, UL Lafayette

8. Cortez Sisco, DB, ULM

9. Daniel David, QB, Appalachian State

10. Joshua Moon, DB, Georgia Southern

Teaser:
Sun Belt Football 2015 Predictions
Post date: Friday, June 5, 2015 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/big-12-football-2015-predictions
Body:

The Big 12 ended 2014 with a debate about whether or not Baylor or TCU was the league’s best team. That conversation will continue into 2015, as the Bears and Horned Frogs are the favorites to win the league this season, and both teams are also in the mix to claim a playoff spot.

 

The depth of the Big 12 will be a storyline to watch in 2015 with Texas and Oklahoma each facing key question marks. The Sooners and Longhorns are picked to finish in the top half of the league, but West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Kansas State or Texas Tech could easily push their way into the top tier.

 

5 Key Questions That Will Shape the Big 12 in 2015

 

1. Baylor vs. TCU

As mentioned above, this has been the top storyline in this league since last season. And very little separates Baylor and TCU once again in 2015, which means this battle will go down to the wire or the league title could be decided on Nov. 27 when these two teams play in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs have a clear edge at quarterback with Trevone Boykin returning, but the Bears always seem to find the right answers under center since Art Briles was hired in Waco. New Baylor quarterback Seth Russell has experience, and the junior inherits one of the nation’s top supporting casts, which includes a deep receiving corps and all five starters on the line. Defense could play a major role in how these two teams are separated in 2015. TCU – which usually rebuilds with ease on defense under coach Gary Patterson – must reload in the back seven. Baylor returns more in the way of proven talent on defense (nine starters) but improvement is needed on the stat sheet. Each team has personnel concerns to address. However, adding to the intrigue to this battle is the personnel issues (Baylor – quarterback, TCU – defense) are usually the strength of these programs under the current coaching staffs.

 

2. Oklahoma’s Offense

Oklahoma has lost six games in Big 12 action over the last two seasons, which is the most in a two-year stretch under coach Bob Stoops. Last year’s 8-5 final record also snapped a streak of four consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins, and the Sooners finished unranked for the first time since 2009. Winning at a high level over an extended period of time is never easy, and Stoops heads into 2015 looking to steer the program back among the top 10 in the nation and into conference title consideration. The offense will be under the direction of new coordinator Lincoln Riley, and Texas Tech transfer Baker Mayfield is expected to start at quarterback. Even though the Sooners are shifting offensive schemes, running back Samaje Perine will see plenty of opportunities after leading the team with 1,713 yards in 2014. Perine isn’t the only option in the backfield, as redshirt freshman Joe Mixon and junior Alex Ross help to form one of the nation’s top running back corps. Quarterback play is garnering all of the offseason attention in Norman, but Oklahoma must replace four starters on its offensive line. The Sooners still have plenty of talent. If all of the pieces fall into place, Oklahoma could easily exceed our projected final ranking (No. 17 nationally).

 

3. Year 2 for Charlie Strong

Charlie Strong essentially hit the reset button when he took over in Austin. The Longhorns are still in the process of overturning the roster and restocking both sides of the ball with talent, but Texas is trending in the right direction. However, even though Strong’s second season should be better, improvement may be minimal in the win column. The quarterback battle between Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard will continue into the fall, there’s a lack of proven options at receiver, and line coach Joe Wickline is still looking for the right combination up front. Texas should be strong on defense once again, but standout tackle Malcom Brown will be missed, and the Longhorns could start two freshmen – albeit very talented players – at linebacker. Combine personnel question marks with road tests at West Virginia, Baylor and TCU and non-conference dates against California and Notre Dame, getting to 7-5 or 8-4 would be a good second season for Strong.

 

4. Oklahoma State on the Rise

It was no surprise Oklahoma State took a step back in 2014. After all, the Cowboys lost nearly 30 seniors from the 2013 team and entered last season with less than 10 returning starters. The outlook on Oklahoma State was altered at the end of 2014, with talented quarterback Mason Rudolph making his first appearance for the Cowboys. Rudolph went 2-1 as the starter, which included a 38-35 win over rival Oklahoma (largely due to a late punt return for a touchdown by former Cowboy Tyreek Hill). With Rudolph at the controls for a full year and proven talent returning on both sides of the ball, Oklahoma State could push for a top 25 spot. Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah is underrated nationally after recording 11 sacks in 2014, and the Cowboys should have one of the Big 12’s top defensive backfields and linebacking corps in 2015. With Oklahoma, Baylor and TCU visiting Stillwater, Oklahoma State could have a huge role in determining the Big 12 champion in 2015.

 

5. Texas Tech Searches for Answers on Defense

Scoring points hasn’t been a problem for Texas Tech under coach Kliff Kingsbury. But the other side of the ball has been an issue for the Red Raiders. In 2014, Texas Tech allowed over 500 yards per game and gave up 41.3 points per contest. Kingsbury’s hire of David Gibbs as the team’s new defensive coordinator should pay dividends in 2015. Gibbs arrives in Lubbock after a successful two-year stint as Houston’s defensive coordinator and inherits a unit that has some promising players at each level. End Pete Robertson recorded 12 sacks in 2014, Ohio State transfer Mike Mitchell is expected to play a key role at linebacker, and there’s a promising core of talent in the secondary. If Gibbs makes an impact as expected, Texas Tech should return to the postseason after a disappointing 4-8 mark last year.

 

Other Key Storylines to Watch: David Beaty rebuilds at Kansas, Kansas State reloads on offense without quarterback Jake Waters and receiver Tyler Lockett and West Virginia looks to replace receiver Kevin White.

 

Big 12 Team Previews for 2015
      
 
National
Rank:
3741034417
 
National
Rank:
285334836

 

Visit the Athlon Sports Online Store to order a copy of the 2015 Big 12 Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 10 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 
 

Big 12 Predictions for 2015

     
RankTeam Projected Big 12 RecordProjected Overall Record
1

Baylor

(No. 3)

8-111-1
Read the full, in-depth preview of Baylor for 2015.
2

TCU

(No. 5)

7-210-2
Read the full, in-depth preview of TCU for 2015.
3

Oklahoma

(No. 17)

6-39-3
Read the full, in-depth preview of Oklahoma for 2015.
4

Oklahoma State

(No. 28)

5-48-4
Read the full, in-depth preview of Oklahoma State for 2015.
5

Texas

(No. 33)

5-47-5
Read the full, in-depth preview of Texas for 2015.
6

West Virginia

(No. 36)

5-48-4
Read the full, in-depth preview of West Virginia for 2015.
7

Kansas State

(No. 44)

4-57-5
Read the full, in-depth preview of Kansas State for 2015.
8

Texas Tech

(No. 48)

4-56-6
Read the full, in-depth preview of Texas Tech for 2015.
9

Iowa State

(No. 74)

1-83-9
Read the full, in-depth preview of Iowa State for 2015.
10

Kansas

(No. 103)

0-91-11
Read the full, in-depth preview of Kansas for 2015.

Big 12 2015 Superlatives and Season Predictions
 Steven
Lassan
Mitch
Light
Mark
Ross
Braden
Gall
David
Fox
 @AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@AthlonMarkR@BradenGall@DavidFox615
Offensive POYTrevone Boykin
QB, TCU
Shock Linwood
RB, Baylor
Trevone Boykin
QB, TCU
Trevone Boykin
QB, TCU
Samaje Perine
RB, Oklahoma
Defensive POYShawn Oakman
DE, Baylor
Shawn Oakman
DE, Baylor
Eric Striker
LB, Oklahoma
Emmanuel Ogbah
DE, Okla. State
Shawn Oakman
DE, Baylor
Coach of the YearArt Briles
Baylor
Art Briles
Baylor
Art Briles
Baylor
Art Briles
Baylor
Art Briles
Baylor
Coach on Hot SeatPaul Rhoads
Iowa State
Paul Rhoads
Iowa State
Paul Rhoads
Iowa State
Kliff Kingsbury
Texas Tech
Paul Rhoads
Iowa State
Top FreshmanMalik Jefferson
LB, Texas
Joe Mixon
RB, Oklahoma
Malik Jefferson
LB, Texas
Malik Jefferson
LB, Texas
Malik Jefferson
LB, Texas
Top NewcomerDede Westbrook
WR, Oklahoma
Chris Carson
RB, OSU
Chris Carson
RB, OSU

Jordan Burton

LB, OSU

Baker Mayfield
QB, Oklahoma
Sleeper TeamOklahoma StateOklahomaOklahoma StateKansas StateKansas State
Top Coordinator HireDavid Gibbs
DC, TTU
David Gibbs
DC, TTU
Lincoln Riley
OC, Oklahoma
Lincoln Riley
OC, Oklahoma

Lincoln Riley
OC, Oklahoma

Key Position to WatchTCU DBTCU LBOklahoma QBTCU DBTexas DB
Hardest to EvaluateTexasTexasTexasTexasOklahoma State
Coach on the RiseDoug Meacham
OC, TCU
Lincoln Riley
OC, Oklahoma
Doug Meacham
OC, TCU
Charlie Strong
Texas
Doug Meacham
OC, TCU
Must-See GameBaylor at
TCU
Baylor at 
TCU
Baylor at 
TCU
Baylor at 
TCU
Baylor at
TCU
Breakout PlayerMason Rudolph
QB, OSU
Seth Russell
QB, Baylor
Mason Rudolph
QB, OSU
Seth Russell
QB, Baylor
Seth Russell
QB, Baylor
Comeback PlayerQuenton Bundrage
WR, ISU
Shaun Nixon
RB, TCU
Quenton Bundrage
WR, ISU
Quenton Bundrage
WR, ISU
Quenton Bundrage
WR, ISU
Ranking the Big 12's Coaches for 2015

 

1. Art Briles, Baylor

2. Bill Snyder, Kansas State

3. Gary Patterson, TCU

4. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

5. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State

 

Click here to view the full Big 12 Coach Rankings for 2015

 

Ranking the Big 12's Quarterbacks for 2015

 

1. Trevone Boykin, TCU

2. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

3. Seth Russell, Baylor

4. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

5. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

 

Click here to view the full Big 12 Quarterback Rankings for 2015

 

Ranking the Big 12's Running Backs for 2015

 

1. Samaje Perine, Oklahoma

2. Shock Linwood, Baylor

3. DeAndre Washington, Texas Tech

4. Aaron Green, TCU

5. Johnathan Gray, Texas

 

Click here to view the full Big 12 Running Back Rankings for 2015

 

The Big 12's Top 5 Players on the Rise for 2015

 

1. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

2. Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

3. Seth Russell, QB, Baylor

4. Elijah Lee, LB, Kansas State

5. Dravon Henry, S, West Virginia

 

Related: College Football's Top 25 Players on the Rise for 2015

 

Top 5 Non-Conference Games for 2015

 

1. Oklahoma at Tennessee - Sept. 12

2. Texas at Notre Dame - Sept. 5

3. TCU at Minnesota - Sept. 3

4. Texas Tech at Arkansas - Sept. 19

5. Maryland at West Virginia - Sept. 26

 

Related: Complete Big 12 Schedule Analysis for 2015

 

Key Coordinator Hires for 2015

 

1. Lincoln Riley, Offensive Coordinator, Oklahoma

2. David Gibbs, Defensive Coordinator, Texas Tech

3. Kendal Briles, Offensive Coordinator, Baylor

 

Top Incoming Freshmen (from 247Sports)

 

1. Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

2. Jarrett Stidham, QB, Baylor

3. Breiden Fehoko, DL, Texas Tech

4. Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma

5. Anthony Wheeler, LB, Texas

6. Chris Warren III, RB, Texas

7. Holton Hill, DB, Texas

8. Ricky DeBerry, DL, Oklahoma

9. Kris Boyd, DB, Texas

10. Patrick Vahe, OL, Texas

11. P.J. Mbanasor, DB, Oklahoma

12. John Burt, WR, Texas

13. Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma

14. Jovon Durante, WR, West Virginia

15. Will Sunderland, DB, Oklahoma

Teaser:
Big 12 Football 2015 Predictions
Post date: Friday, June 5, 2015 - 10:00

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