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To help guide you through the 2013 Fantasy NASCAR season, Athlon Sports contributor Geoffrey Miller will be offering his best predictions for each race. And because Yahoo's Fantasy Auto Racing game is arguably the most popular, he’ll break down the picks according to its NASCAR driver classes — A-List, B-List, C-List. The main picks are designed to make optimal use of Yahoo!’s 9-start maximum rule over the course of the season. The “also consider” section ranks unmentioned drivers strictly by expected result without consideration of start limitations.


Next up: Irwin Tools Night Race (Bristol Motor Speedway)
Race: 500 laps, 266.5 miles (Track: .533-mile oval)
March 2013 winner: Kasey Kahne


A-List (pick two, start one)
Brad Keselowski  Brad Keselowski
It's been 23 races since Brad Keselowski started the defense of his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title, though it’s a defense that has been seemingly futile. Don't be surprised if that changes Saturday night.

Keselowski has become quite good at Bristol Motor Speedway — good enough that he might break a drought of winning that's closing in on nearly a year in duration. In eight Bristol starts, Keselowski has a pair of wins and three top-5 finishes, all of which have come in his last four races at the half-mile track. The outlier in the four-race span for Keselowski came a year ago when he was caught in a wreck while running in the top 10. Keselowski led 62 laps in the spring Bristol race for his highest total of the year. Starting him could be worth your while.


Kasey KahneThe hiccups and headaches Kasey Kahne has faced intermittently in 2013 have gone down much smoother thanks to his win at Bristol in March. Now, Kahne is in position to tackle Bristol again without a deep fear of missing the Chase. That lack of caution could be a nice advantage in a 500-lap night around the east Tennessee bullring.

The March win was really something that's been a long time coming for Kahne at Bristol. Aside from the spring race in 2012 when he was taken out in an early crash, Kahne has finished 11th or better at Bristol since August 2010. A year ago, he led 42 laps before finishing ninth. Kahne might not be the highest-scoring A-Lister on Saturday night, but he's certainly not a poor choice to bring in consistent points.

Also consider: Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth


B-List (pick four, start two)
Kyle Busch
If you're looking for maximum points in the B-List, it's tough to shy away from Kyle Busch at Bristol for two reasons: First, he's really, really good at there and second, he's got his mind set on bouncing back from a poor Michigan outing.

Busch owns five career Cup wins at Bristol and was a spot away from making it six in March. That runner-up finish means Busch now has a four-race drought at the half-mile track since he went four for five in Sprint Cup races from 2009-11. In the last 17 races, Busch's average running position at Bristol is sixth-best in the series.

Martin Truex Jr.
The steady flow of wins that Martin Truex Jr. promised us all after finally breaking through again at Sonoma Raceway in June hasn't happened yet. Worse, the steady finishes he's accumulated haven't even been that impressive. Now he's in peril of falling out of a Chase position.

Truex will be one of about nine drivers scrambling Saturday night for maximum points to make his championship dreams happen. Bristol will be a good spot for it, as Truex has two top-3 finishes in his last four Bristol races. All four of those events saw Truex wind up in the top 12 — not bad for teams in search of a quality, underused B-List driver.

Jamie McMurray
Consider this another pick in the name of finding an alternative in the B-List as the season wears on. Jamie McMurray's Bristol success has been masked mainly by the fact that he's never won at the track, and that he's only led 21 laps in his 21-start career. But even though McMurray hasn't taken the track by storm, he's racked up five top-10 finishes in his last seven Bristol starts. The No. 1 car finished 10th in this season's first Bristol race in March.


Kurt BuschThis week, we'll avoid discussing the possibility of Kurt Busch finally breaking through to Victory Lane in the Sprint Cup Series with Furniture Row Racing. However, we will not avoid some very key statistics as to why Kurt is a worthy start Saturday night. First, Busch owns the seventh-best average running position in the last 17 Bristol races among all drivers. Busch also owns five career wins at the track, including a spell in 2003 and ’04 where he won three in a row. Finally, don't forget that Busch finished fourth in the Bristol spring race — earning his seventh Bristol top-5 finish along the way.

Also consider: Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle, Brian Vickers


C-List (pick two, start one)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse has a single Bristol Sprint Cup start to his name, and the 16th-place finish was plenty respectable. It's reasonable to think that the rookie, with even more experience in the Cup Series from that first Bristol start in March, could match or better that result Saturday. After all, the track hasn't vexed Stenhouse in the Nationwide Series. Last season, he was sixth and second in two Nationwide events and led 101 laps. Of course, Stenhouse remains attractive in the C-List because of the overall dearth of great talent. Perhaps Bristol could give Stenhouse his first career Cup Series top 10? We'll see.

Casey Mears
In case you've used a bunch of starts on Stenhouse, looking toward Casey Mears' No. 13 Ford for a Bristol start might be a worthy consideration. It was just last year that Mears remarkably won the pole for the Bristol Night Race. Better yet, he finished 15th in the spring Bristol event to continue a four-race streak where he's finished better than 25th at the track. That's largely due to Bristol being really a perfect event — aside from the restrictor plate tracks, of course — for a team like Germain Racing with limited technical resources to score an unexpectedly strong result. They just simply don't need the aerodynamic package or other "go-fast" elements held by the deep-pocketed teams. If Mears just keeps it straight and maintains track position, things may well work out.

Also consider: David Ragan, David Stremme


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

Teaser:
Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch top the list of fantasy picks for NASCAR's trip to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Irwin Tools Night Race.
Post date: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 10:46
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-august-21-2013
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This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for Aug. 21.

 

• There was an Internet rumor yesterday that Maria Sharapova was going to change her name to Sugarpova to hawk candy. Not true, but it's an excuse to link to a slideshow of Ms. Sharapova, who's lovely by any name.

 

The 12 biggest bromances in sports. My favorite is the May-September thing that Pop and Tim Duncan have going.

 

• Speaking of bro-ness, the pool dunk craze led these 10 bros to translate three balls, two rooftops, a trampoline and an above-ground pool into Internet immortality.

 

• The one-trick ponies of college sports: Schools with the biggest football-basketball success discrepancies.

 

Watch a dog go to great lengths to avoid a bath, including going limp and playing dead.

 

An Astros rookie erased his first hit in the most Astros way possible.

 

• I know absolutely nothing about action and adventure sports, except that they yield really cool photos.

 

• Online sports content these days is one big rank-a-palooza. Here are the top 10 SEC linebackers of the BCS era.

 

Yasiel Puig got benched, then hit a game-winning homer.

 

• This is kind of meta: Watch Mike Tyson play Mike Tyson Punch-Out in the green room at Fox Sports 1.

 

Brandon Phillips fed a troll on Twitter with a pretty stout comeback.

 

• Watch a passed ball get sucked into another dimension, allowing Paul Konerko to score.

 

 

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 10:42
Path: /college-football/michigan-wr-amara-darboh-out-2013-season
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With the Wolverines expected to run more of a pro-style offense now that Devin Gardner is the full-time quarterback, the receiving corps was under pressure to step up in 2013. But this unit suffered a huge loss on Wednesday, as sophomore Amara Darboh was ruled out for the season.

Darboh did not record a reception last year but was expected to start and play a huge role in the receiving corps in 2013. The 6-foot-2, 212 receiver was poised for a breakout year, but his injury will force senior Drew Dileo, and freshman Jehu Chesson to step up this fall.

Michigan’s passing attack will miss Darboh, but the Wolverines shouldn’t suffer too much on offense. Senior Jeremy Gallon is a dependable No. 1 and Dileo/Chesson should be capable options. Tight end Devin Funchess is a rising star in the Big Ten to watch.

Darboh should return at full strength for 2013.
 

Teaser:
Michigan WR Amara Darboh Out for 2013 Season
Post date: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 10:39
Path: /college-football/alabama-cb-geno-smith-suspended-season-opener
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Alabama cornerback Geno Smith was arrested over the weekend on DUI charges. As a result of his off-the-field incident, the sophomore has been suspended for the season opener against Virginia Tech in Atlanta. 

Smith was expected to be one of the key players in Alabama's secondary this year. With Dee Milliner playing in the NFL, Smith and senior Deion Belue will be counted upon to keep the Crimson Tide's pass defense among the best in the nation. 

How does Smith's suspension affect Alabama in the opener? The Crimson Tide will have to shuffle their personnel around in the secondary, but this is a very manageable loss for Nick Saban's defense. The Hokies are struggling to find the right pieces on the offensive line, and their receiving corps is inexperienced. 

Although Smith will be missed, Alabama can get by without him for the first game of the year. 

Teaser:
Alabama CB Geno Smith Suspended for Season Opener
Post date: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 10:23
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-25-linebacker-units-2013
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It’s a tough call for the No. 1 spot in college football’s linebacker units for 2013. Stanford and Alabama are both deserving of the top honor, but a slight edge goes to the Cardinal. Shayne Skov should be closer to full strength now that he is a full year removed from a torn ACL, and Trent Murphy is poised to be an All-American this season. The Crimson Tide is led by C.J. Mosley, with Trey DePriest, Xzavier Dickson, Adrian Hubbard and Denzel Devall all capable of being standout performers. UCLA also boasts a strong trio, led by future NFL first-round pick Anthony Barr.

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

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

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

 

Ranking the Top 25 Linebacker Units for 2013

1. Stanford
The Cardinal will miss Chase Thomas, but three starters return, including seniors Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy. Skov led the Stanford defense with 81 tackles last year, while Murphy recorded 10 sacks. A.J. Tarpley joins Skov on the interior and is poised for his best season on The Farm. Senior Blake Lueders or James Vaughters will replace Thomas on the outside. Jarek Lancaster and Kevin Anderson will contribute as top reserves.

2. Alabama
If Stanford has the No. 1 linebacker unit, then Alabama is essentially 1b. C.J. Mosley is one of the top linebackers in the nation and is joined by Trey DePriest on the interior. Mosley and DePriest combined for 166 tackles last year. Adrian Hubbard and Xzavier Dickson combined for 10.5 sacks in 2012, and the coaching staff hopes this duo can provide a more consistent pass rush in 2013. Denzel Devall, Tana Patrick, Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster are valuable reserves.

3. UCLA 
Anthony Barr was shifted from offense to defense last year, and the move paid huge dividends for the Bruins. Barr recorded 13.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for a loss in 2012, and his athleticism off the edge is a matchup nightmare for offensive lines. Eric Kendricks led all Pac-12 defenders with 149 stops last season and is joined on the interior by Jordan Zumwalt. Sophomore Aaron Wallace is the frontrunner to replace Damien Holmes at the other outside spot, but true freshman Myles Jack and sophomore Kenny Orjioke could factor into the rotation.

4. Michigan State 
With three starters departing from the defensive line, the Spartans will depend on the linebackers to keep the rush defense near the top of the Big Ten. Max Bullough enters his third year as Michigan State’s middle linebacker. The senior led the team with 111 stops last season. Junior Taiwan Jones is set for a breakout season after recording 5.5 tackles for a loss and 38 tackles as a reserve last year. Strong-side linebacker Denicos Allen is a three-year starter. Senior Jairus Jones should see plenty of snaps as the unit’s top reserve in 2013.

5. LSU 
Thanks to the emergence of Kevin Minter and Lamin Barrow last season, the Tigers emerged as one of the SEC’s top linebacker units. Minter left for the NFL, but Barrow is back after recording 104 stops. This position is overflowing with talent, starting with sophomore Kwon Alexander and freshman Kendell Beckwith. A broken ankle ended Alexander’s 2012 season after seven games, while Beckwith is one of the top recruits in LSU’s 2013 signing class. Junior D.J. Welter is fighting to hold onto a starting spot this fall, while Tahj Jones is expected to start on the strongside. Deion Jones, Ronnie Feist and Lamar Louis are all battling Beckwith and Alexander for snaps and spots on the two-deep.

6. Notre Dame
Manti Te’o is gone, but the Fighting Irish return two starters and plenty of talent at linebacker. Senior Danny Spond was forced to end his playing career this fall, which will likely open the door for sophomore Ben Councell to start at one of the outside spots. But Councell will be pushed for time by incoming freshman Jaylon Smith – the No. 1 linebacker in the 2013 signing class by Athlon Sports. Senior Prince Shembo anchors the edge after recording 7.5 sacks last year. Junior Ishaq Williams will provide depth, while Carlo Calabrese, Dan Fox and Jarrett Grace will replace Te’o’s production on the interior.

7. Florida State
The Seminoles have a new coordinator (Jeremy Pruitt) and only four returning starters on defense, but this unit should still remain one of the best in the nation. The line needs to be rebuilt, so the linebackers may need to be a little more active around the line of scrimmage. Senior Christian Jones earned second-team All-ACC honors last year and led the team with 95 tackles. Jones should push for All-American honors in 2013. Senior Telvin Smith and sophomore Terrance Smith should round out the starting trio. Telvin Smith recorded 9.5 tackles for a loss last year. There’s no shortage of talent behind the starters, but the second and third wave of linebackers lacks experience.

8. USC
With the change to a 3-4/5-2 scheme, it’s hard to classify where certain players fit in USC’s scheme this year. Dion Bailey has moved to safety, while Hayes Pullard and Lamar Dawson are back as returning starters. Dawson struggled in 2012 but should hold off Anthony Sarao for a starting spot. Pullard ranked second on the team with 107 stops last year. Seniors Devon Kennard and Morgan Breslin factored into our defensive line rankings as ends in USC’s new scheme. However, we’ll factor part of their production here as well, especially since both players will be tasked with getting to the quarterback in a hybrid rush end/linebacker role.

9. Washington
What a difference a year makes. The Huskies considered the linebacking corps one of the weak links on the defense going into the 2012 season. However, the emergence of Shaq Thompson and Travis Feeney, along with the arrival of coordinator Justin Wilcox, brought big improvement to the Huskies’ defense. Washington finished 2012 ranked second in the Pac-12 in pass defense and fourth in scoring defense. With Thompson poised to challenge for All-American honors, and the return of Feeney and John Timu into the starting lineup, the Huskies are in great shape at linebacker.

10. BYU
Kyle Van Noy turned down the NFL for one more year in Provo. The senior was outstanding in BYU’s 3-4 scheme last season, recording 22 tackles for a loss, 13 sacks, two interceptions and six forced fumbles. Van Noy is a first-team Athlon Sports All-American for 2013. Joining Van Noy on the outside will be senior Spencer Hadley (66 tackles and 1.5 sacks last year). The interior spots will feature new starters, as Uani Unga (28 tackles) and Tyler Beck (1 tackle) step into the lineup for Uona Kaveinga and Brandon Ogletree.

11. Ole Miss
Returning Starters: 2
Athlon 2013 All-SEC Performers: Denzel Nkemdiche (2nd)

12. Iowa
Returning Starters: 3
Athlon 2013 All-Big Ten Performers: James Morris (2nd)

13. Cincinnati
Returning Starters: 2
Athlon 2013 American Athletic All-Conference Performers: Greg Blair (1st), Jeff Luc (3rd)

14. Wisconsin
Returning Starters: 2
Athlon 2013 All-Big Ten Performers: Chris Borland (1st)

15. Ohio State
Returning Starters: 1
Athlon 2013 All-Big Ten Performers: Ryan Shazier (1st)

16. Florida
Returning Starters: 0
Athlon 2013 All-SEC Performers: Antonio Morrison (3rd)

17. Clemson
Returning Starters: 3
Athlon 2013 All-ACC Performers: Spencer Shuey (3rd)

18. Baylor
Returning Starters: 3
Athlon 2013 All-Big 12 Performers: Bryce Hager (1st), Eddie Lackey (2nd)

19. Oklahoma State
Returning Starters: 2
Athlon 2013 All-Big 12 Performers: Shaun Lewis (2nd), Caleb Lavey (2nd)

20. Texas
Returning Starters: 2
Athlon 2013 All-Big 12 Performers: Jordan Hicks (1st)

21. Tennessee
Returning Starters: 2
Athlon 2013 All-SEC Performers: A.J. Johnson (1st)

22. Louisville
Returning Starters: 2
Athlon 2013 American Athletic All-Conference Performers: LB Preston Brown (1st)

23. Arizona State
Returning Starters: 3
Athlon 2013 All-Pac-12 Performers: Carl Bradford (2nd)

24. Virginia Tech
Returning Starters: 1
Athlon 2013 All-ACC Performers: Jack Tyler (1st)

25. Michigan
Returning Starters: 2
Athlon 2013 All-Big Ten Performers: James Ross III (3rd)

Related College Football Content

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

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 07:17
Path: /college-football/big-12s-top-25-games-watch-2013
Body:

The Baylor Bears cost the Big 12 a lot of money last year.

That’s because late on a November Saturday night, Art Briles’ group put an absolute beat down on the then-unbeaten Kansas State Wildcats 52-24. The loss knocked Bill Snyder’s squad and the Big 12 out of the BCS National Championship Game discussion. It was the most important game of the season in the Big 12 last fall and it didn’t involve Oklahoma or Texas. With the emergence of offensive wizards in Stillwater, Morgantown, Lubbock and Waco, the Big 12 is much more balanced in 2013 than possibly ever before. This is the most wide-open league in the nation and could be one of the more exciting ones to watch all season.

Having said all of that, the most important game this fall will likely take place in a familiar place with familiar faces.

Related: The Big 12 Coaches Give Anonymous Scouting Reports on the Big 12

  Dates RoadHomeThoughts
1.Oct 12Oklahoma vs. Texas (Dallas): Three of the last four winners of the Red River Shootout have gone on to win a share of the Big 12. The Horns have lost three straight and the last two by a combined score of 118-38.
2.Dec 7Oklahoma at Oklahoma State: The winner of the Bedlam Series has won a share of the conference crown in three straight seasons. The Sooners have lost just once to the Pokes since 2002 (9-1). This will be the third time in four seasons that they will play in Stillwater.
3.Nov 16Oklahoma State at Texas: The Horns own the all-time series record at 23-4 but Okie State has won the last two in Austin. Texas won 41-36 last year in Stillwater.
4.Oct 26Texas at TCU: Texas lost just once from 1967 to 2007 but TCU is 1-0 against the Horns in Big 12 competition after winning 20-13 last year in Austin.
5.Oct 5TCU at Oklahoma: TCU has upset the Sooners in Norman before, winning there twice in its last three trips (1996, 2005). The Sooners outlasted the Frogs 24-17 in Fort Worth last year.
6.Sept 28

Oklahoma at Notre Dame: The Sooners have won once in 10 tries against the Irish with that win coming in South Bend back in 1956 (40-0, at that). This game should carry some large BCS bowl implications. Notre Dame won 30-13 last year in Norman.

7.Oct 19TCU at Oklahoma State: When the Cowboys won 36-14 at home last year it marked the first meeting between the two since 1993. Okie State hasn't won in Fort Worth since 1947 so it's a good thing this one comes at home again this year.
8.Dec 7Texas at Baylor: A Big 12 title could be hanging in the balance as the Bears close Floyd Casey Stadium for the final time. Texas is 13-2 in its last 15 against Baylor, but the Longhorns are 1-2 in the last three, thanks to a 56-50 win in Austin last year.
9.Nov 23Oklahoma at Kansas State: The Sooners have won four straight over the Wildcats in Manhattan with the last home KSU win in the series coming back in 1996. The Sooners played well in a 24-19 home loss to Kansas State last year.
10.Nov 16TCU at Kansas State: Last year marked the first meeting between the two since 1986 as KSU won 23-10 in Fort Worth. It was the first win for KSU in the series in four tries and it tied the all-time record at 3-3 between the two.
11.Nov 7Oklahoma at Baylor: The Crimson and Cream are 21-1 all-time against Baylor with Robert Griffin III's memorable 45-38 win being the only blemish in the series for Oklahoma.
12.Oct 26Oklahoma State at Iowa State: No one in Stillwater has forgotten what took place the last time these two got together in Ames. The Pokes have won just twice in their last eight trips to Iowa State (2-5-1). 
13.Aug 31TCU vs. LSU (Arlington, Texas): The Bayou Bengals are 5-2-1 all-time against TCU, including five straight wins dating back to 1943. However, these two haven't met since LSU won 10-7 back in 1968.
14.Sept 21Kansas State at Texas: Bill Snyder has had Mack Brown's number, as KSU has won five straight against the Longhorns dating back to 2003. This stretch includes two wins in a row in Austin.
15.Sept 7Texas at BYU: These two have only met three times with BYU winning both ends of a home-and-home in 1987-88. Texas barely won the last meeting 17-16 in Austin in 2011.
16.Oct 5Kansas State at Oklahoma State: Kansas State didn't lose to the Pokes from 1990-2002 (9-0) but have lost four of the last six in the series. In fact, Oklahoma State has won three straight at home over the Wildcats.
17.Sept 14Ole Miss at Texas: The Horns are 6-1 all-time against the Ole Miss, including a 66-31 thumping in Oxford last season. The Rebs' only win came in the 1958 Sugar Bowl.
18.Nov 30Baylor at TCU: This underrated rivalry has been played 108 times with TCU holding a slight 51-50-7 all-time edge. TCU has won four out of the last five, including two straight at home.
19.Nov 23Baylor at Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are 15-2 in the last 17 meetings with Baylor but the Bears won 41-34 last year at home. The last time Baylor won in Stillwater, however, was way back in 1939.
20.Aug 31Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi State (Houston): These two have met just four times with the home team winning all three true home games. The Bulldogs won in Jackson, Miss., in 1970 and the last meeting in 1999 in Starkville.
21.Nov 2Oklahoma State at Texas Tech: Tech owns the all-time series record 16-21-3 but the Pokes have won four straight, including two in a row in Lubbock. Prior to that, however, the Red Raiders were 12-2-2 in Lubbock against Okie State.
22.Sept 12TCU at Texas Tech: Tech has been strong against TCU of late, winning 11 of the last 14 meetings, including a bizarre 56-53 showdown in Fort Worth last year. TCU hasn't won in Lubbock since 1991. 
23.Sept 28Oklahoma State at West Virginia: The Dana Holgorsen Bowl ended with a 55-34 Cowboys win last year in the first meeting between the two programs since 1987.
24.Nov 9Texas at West Virginia: These two have played only twice, scoring 13 total points in 1956 and 93 total points in 2012. West Virginia won both meetings, including the 48-45 showdown in Austin last year.
25.Oct 5West Virginia at Baylor: The one and only meeting came last year and it featured 133 points and 1,507 total yards of offense. There were 13 passing touchdowns and six rushing scores in that 70-63 WVU home win.

The Next 10:

Oct. 12: Baylor at Kansas State
Sept. 14: Iowa at Iowa State
Oct. 3: Texas at Iowa State
Nov. 9: TCU at Iowa State
Nov. 16: Baylor vs. Texas Tech (Arlington, Texas)
Sept. 21: Maryland vs. West Virginia (Baltimore)
Sept. 7: West Virginia at Oklahoma
Nov. 28: Texas Tech at Texas
Nov. 2: West Virginia at TCU
Oct. 26: West Virginia at Kansas State

Related College Football Content

Big 12 Predictions for 2013
Bowl Projections for 2013
Big 12 2013 All-Conference Team
Oklahoma Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Oklahoma State Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
West Virginia Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Kliff Kingsbury Returns Home to Texas Tech
Big 12's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013
Five Ways to Fix Texas Football

Teaser:
The Big 12's Top 25 Games to Watch in 2013
Post date: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-backstory-games-2013
Body:

College football is all about the stories — the rivalries, the personal connections and the connection to history.

Alabama’s trip to Texas A&M, provided Johnny Manziel plays, is notable for the title implications and the rematch from the most exciting game from 2012.

But it’s also a game between programs that despite their shared history with Bear Bryant, Gene Stallings and Dennis Franchione, have played only five games all time. Alabama is making only its second trip to College Station after winning there in 1988.

That is the underlying backstory of that game, and it’s not the only game with an intriguing storyline attached.

Sure, every rivalry game or conference game has their own story. We tried to look a little beyond that in our list of 15 Backstory Games for 2013 — connections between the two programs, a history between the coaches or just recent news that could give the game an extra edge.

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S TOP BACKSTORY GAMES FOR 2013

Aug. 29 North Carolina at South Carolina
The "What Could Have Been" Bowl

North Carolina has faced Steve Spurrier only once since he returned to the college game, but the Tar Heels have to wonder what may have been if things turned out differently. After he was fired by the Washington Redskins, Spurrier kept an eye on the North Carolina job, but the Heels elected to keep John Bunting for one more year. And during his feud with a Columbia, S.C, columnist last season, Spurrier casually mentioned waiting for the North Carolina job to open while he was looking to return to college football.

Aug. 31-Sept. 7 Georgia at Clemson, South Carolina at Georgia
Aaron Murray’s Last Chance

South Carolina fans may be quick to mention Aaron Murray is 0-3 against the Palmetto State (all South Carolina matchups). Murray will have a chance to remedy his 0-fer against the Palmetto State twice early in the season.

Aug. 31 Boise State at Washington
The "Haven’t We Met Before" Bowl

Bowl organizers say they try to avoid rematches, or in this case, a pre-match. Boise State defeated Washington 28-26 in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22 and now meet in the 2013 opener. And this isn’t the first time bowl games disregarded Washington’s schedule: Washington faced Nebraska three times between Sept. 18, 2010 and Sept. 17, 2011 thanks to a Holiday Bowl meeting in between a home-and-home series.

Aug. 31 LSU vs. TCU
The Suspension Bowl

TCU coach Gary Patterson was openly critical of the way LSU’s Les Miles handled the suspension of running back Jeremy Hill, who was allowed to play in the opener after a team vote. Miles has not committed to levying a suspension as part of Hill’s punishment after the running back violated probation by being charged with simple battery, but Patterson was not impressed. Patterson, it’s worth noting, suspended defensive end Devonte Fields for two games for a violation of team rules and kicked key players off the team last Februrary when they were arrested as part of a campus drug investigation. “My whole team would vote Devonte to be back on the team because they all want to win,” Patterson told reporters. “But that don’t teach life lessons.”

Sept. 7 Florida at Miami
Sunshine State Sayonara

Florida and Miami used to play each other every season, but it’s been an on-again, off-again series since 2000. The Gators and Hurricanes have met five times since the end of the 2000 season, including two bowl games. This will be the last game until the powers-that-be agree to a new series, and that appears unlikely. Will Muschamp will be the fifth Florida coach to face Miami since 2000 (Steve Spurrier, Ron Zook, interim coach Charlie Strong and Urban Meyer). Al Golden will be the fourth coach to face Florida in that span (Butch Davis, Larry Coker and Randy Shannon).

Sept. 14 Maryland at Connecticut
The Edsall Bowl

Randy Edsall bolted town after leading UConn to the Fiesta Bowl, and the Huskies were not that understanding. Edsall later said he regretted leaving without meeting with his players, but we’re still curious what kind of reception the former coach gets at Rentschler Field. Maryland lost 24-21 to UConn last season in College Park.

Sept. 14 Ole Miss at Texas
The Most Rare Road Trip

Ole Miss hasn’t played in Austin since 1925 when the Longhorns won 25-0. Last season’s meeting in Oxford (a 66-31 Texas win) was the first regular season meeting since then.

Sept. 21 Michigan at Connecticut
Michigan Heads East

Michigan has played out West, in the Southeast and at Syracuse and Boston College in recent decades. All of those games were against established programs more or less. This trip to Connecticut may be Michigan’s most bizarre non-conference road trip since playing at Marquette in 1944 (Michigan won that game 14-0).

Oct. 5 Ole Miss at Auburn
The "How Far We’ve Come" Bowl

Joneboro, Ark., is the Cradle of SEC Coaches after the last two Arkansas State coaches stayed there one year before getting SEC jobs. More striking, Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn where high school head coaches less than a decade ago.

Oct. 5 Washington State at Cal
The Lubbock Bowl

Mike Leach has built himself quite a coaching tree, but he’s rarely faced any of his disciples on a regular basis. That changes with Sonny Dykes now in the Pac-12 at Cal. Leach and Dykes go back to Leach’s first major coaching job as offensive coordinator at Kentucky. Moreover, Dykes is the son of Leach’s predecessor at Texas Tech, Spike Dykes.

Oct. 10 Rutgers at Louisville
The "See Ya" Bowl

Louisville’s win over Rutgers last season determined the Big East championship in the final season for the league under that name. The same matchup might determine the American Athletic Conference, though neither team would be around to defend a potential league title as Louisville heads to the ACC and Rutgers leaves for the Big Ten. These two teams also delivered one of the most memorable moments in Big East football history when an undefeated Rutgers knocked off an undefeated Louisville on a Thursday night in November in 2006.

Oct. 19 Florida at Missouri
Gators Go North

Columbia, Mo., is the northern-most destination in the SEC, which makes it the furthest north Florida has traveled for a game since 1991. That’s not to be confused with the longest regular-season road trip Florida takes, which remains Arkansas in terms of mileage. The last time Florida played this far north was a 38-21 in 1991 to Syracuse.

Nov. 9 Boston College at New Mexico State
The Questionable Game of the Year

Minnesota visits New Mexico State on Sept. 7, and that’s not even the strangest game on New Mexico State’s schedule. Boston College visits Las Cruces, N.M., in early November for the where-did-this-game-come-from event of the year. Keep in mind, this is generally the time of year when SEC teams invite New Mexico State to campus for an easy win for Homecoming.

Nov. 16 San Jose State at Nevada
David Fales’ Return

San Jose State quarterback David Fales is an NFL draft prospect and perhaps the top QB playing outside of the major conferences, but he started his career at Nevada in 2009. He had a bit of trouble cracking the starting lineup with a junior named Colin Kaepernick already entrenched.

Nov. 30 Boston College at Syracuse
The Orange Envy Bowl

Steve Addazio’s big coaching break came in 1995 when Paul Pasqualoni hired him from the high school ranks to coach the offensive line at Syracuse. His son, Louie, started his career at Syracuse. Even at Temple, Addazio spoke glowingly about Syracuse. Boston College perhaps has reason to be thankful it hired Addazio more than a month before Doug Marrone left for the Buffalo Bills. Otherwise, would Addazio #BeADude for the ‘Cuse instead?

Teaser:
Coaching connections, grudge matches and more will shape these 15 games
Post date: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/5-notre-dame-impact-freshmen-watch-2013
Body:

This should be where we insert the name Gunner Kiel and be done with it.

But the former No. 1 quarterback recruit in the nation isn’t playing football at Notre Dame any longer. He is at Cincinnati. But had he stuck around, and, redshirted like he was supposed to, Kiel would likely be the starting quarterback of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

That, of course, is because the Notre Dame's star freshman last fall, quarterback Everett Golson, is also no longer with the team after academic issues removed him from the 2013 equation.

So no Kiel and no Golson? What is Brian Kelly to do?

His improbable 2012 run to the BCS National Championship Game was premature. It was a magnificent season that will go down in Irish lore as one of the greats. But it was ahead of schedule as Kelly has yet to have a roster of nothing but his own players. Well, that day is coming soon and the rest of college football has been placed on notice.

Kelly has finished 11th, 17th and 3rd nationally in recruiting according to Athlon Sports' team rankings in each of his full years on the job in South Bend. His latest haul was his most impressive and it is loaded with names who will help contribute to the defending national runner-up.

And it could be headlined by yet another redshirt freshman quarterback.

Greg Bryant, RB
The No. 46-rated prospect in the nation was the No. 8-rated running back recruit in the nation and he should play plenty right out of the gate. He has rare playmaking ability to go with a solid 200-pound frame that can withstand the beating of a 200+ touch season. George Atkinson III can fly and score from anywhere but it remains to be seen if he can be a workhorse back and that is where Bryant could shine as a true freshman.

Jaylon Smith, LB (pictured)
The overall No. 2-rated freshman in the nation, behind only Robert Nkemdiche, is expected to see time in the Irish front seven this fall. He is a rangy 6-foot-3, 220-pound hybrid outside linebacker and defensive end. He should see plenty of spot duty on special teams and third downs where Kelly can utilize his excellent ability to get up the field off the edge. On a stacked Irish defensive front, Smith could easily work his way into the regular rotation.

Malik Zaire, QB
There are no guarantees with any true freshman quarterback but it appears Zaire will be on the big roster this fall. That is because he brings a skill set to the offense that Kelly craves from his quarterback. Tommy Rees has experience and should start the year under center and Andrew Hendrix is hanging around too, but neither can do the things Zaire can. Should the offense struggle to outscore quality opponents — like, Michigan, Oklahoma or Arizona State — Zaire’s ability to move around and make plays might be too intriguing to keep off the field. He has a similar type of game as Golson and Kelly has shown he will go with the youngster if it gives his team the best chance to win.

Max Redfield, S
The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is a missile in the secondary and should see plenty of early playing time as a true freshman. The No. 6-rated defensive back prospect in the nation was one of Kelly’s prized gems of this class from Mission Viejo, Calif. The safety brings a physicality and intimidation to a defensive backfield that already has plenty of talent at every position. Additionally, don’t be shocked if Redfield’s rare athleticism is used on offense as well.

Corey Robinson, WR
This Irish receiving class is one of the best in the nation with names like Torii Hunter Jr., James Onwualu and William Fuller joining Robinson in the four-man haul. Robinson, at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds, enrolled early and has loads of upside in the red zone and down the field. Look for him to see time this fall in order to prepare himself to take over as the No. 1 in 2014.

Related: Notre Dame Cheerleader Gallery

Jarron Jones, DE
Highly touted prospect just missed top-100 status and should contribute as a redshirt.

James Onwualu, WR
From famed Cretin-Derham Hall, Onwualu brings solid intangibles and an advanced football IQ.

Steve Elmer, OL
Top-100 prospect enrolled early this spring and could be a key reserve this fall.

Mark Harrell, OL
The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Charlotte native will be a key interior offensive line reserve this fall.

C.J. Prosise, WR
A big-bodied 6-foot-2, 220-pounder who could provide some help in the passing game.

Teaser:
5 Notre Dame Impact Freshmen to Watch in 2013
Post date: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /nascar/nascar-numbers-game-7-amazing-stats-bristol
Body:

The marketing department at Bristol Motor Speedway hails the half-mile bowl of head-numbing noise as “The Last Great Coliseum.” The structure of the track certainly invokes the spirit of ancient gladiatorial fights, but the best comparison to its combatants might be one that came 18 centuries later.

Some 19th century artists — Vincent van Gogh is an easy example — were masterful in their work, but tortured in how they went about it. In two races following a completely irrational reconfiguration of Bristol’s high banks, some of its best drivers have been entertaining to watch but tortured in their attempts at good finishes.


7.375  Denny Hamlin ranks second in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Production in Equal Equipment Ratings (PEER) at Bristol in the last two races with a 7.375 rating.  Denny Hamlin

That’s seriously not bad for a driver who cut a tire towards the end of this spring’s event, finishing 23rd as a result. He followed that up by participating in a spat with Joey Logano that was a part of a butterfly effect, leading to an accident the following race at Auto Club Speedway, an injured back that sidelined him from competing in four races and, in a lot of ways, the cruddy situation in which he now finds himself (his average finish in the last nine races this season is 27.2).

He was victorious in the first race on the new Bristol configuration. That win is only a year old, but it seems like it happened over a decade ago.


110  Matt Kenseth has led 110 laps (11 percent of the total) across the last two Bristol races. He finished 25th and 30th in last year’s race and this spring’s event, respectively.

Last year, Kenseth and Tony Stewart crashed while battling for the lead, after which Stewart launched a helmet at Kenseth’s car, living forever in future Bristol ticket sales television spots. Earlier this season, he and Jeff Gordon crashed while running 1-2. The fact that Kenseth has been kept from finishing an event on the lead lap on the current configuration is just cruel; for all we know, he might the best driver on this version of Bristol but without the results to show for it.


3 of 4  In the last four races at Bristol, Brad Keselowski has finished third or better, with two wins.  Brad Keselowski

It looked like we might be headed toward a Keselowski Dynasty at Thunder Valley prior to the reconfiguration. He crashed just after the halfway point of last year’s night race, relegating him to a 30th-place finish. His third-place outing and 62 laps led in the spring was a sign of life that he might also be adept on the new track. Faced with the task of defending his current eighth-place spot in the standings, staying out of trouble might be priority number one for the No. 2 team.


2.96  The finish deviation of Joey Logano’s No. 22 team in 10 of the last 12 races this season is an extremely consistent 2.96.

In finish deviation, the closest to zero you get, the better. Logano’s 6.9-place finish in those 10 races is amazingly consistent and, as I mentioned last week, ideal in a run to the Chase. Bristol provides a challenge in the ilk of a 500-lap obstacle course. Logano ranks fifth in Bristol PEER (4.750) and has led in both races during the discussed two-race time frame. His run-in with Hamlin kept him from a high finish earlier this year (he finished 17th), but there’s no guarantee that more drama of that nature will occur. A three-time race winner in the Cup Series, he has never scored consecutive victories. With the way his team is operating, there’s more than a good chance of it happening this weekend.


6  Brian Vickers and the No. 55 team have averaged a sixth-place finish in the last two Bristol races.

Job security has different effects on workers. Some become more motivated; others become complacent. This weekend will serve as the first Cup Series race since Vickers was hired to wheel the No. 55 full time in 2014. Will the alleviation of uncertainty play a role in Vickers’s result? Vickers and crew chief Rodney Childers have been excellent together on the half-mile oval, a three-race relationship that also includes a fifth-place run in the spring of 2012 on the previous configuration. Statistically, there is plenty of reason to expect a lot out of Vickers in this particular race, but whether the comfort level affects the urgency in which he previously raced remains to be seen.


17.3%  Kyle Busch has led 17.3 percent (1,066) of the total laps in the Cup Series this season, which is second only to Jimmie Johnson (18.5 percent).

Busch’s tendency to lead lots of laps could play out well at Bristol, a track that sees its drivers lead laps by the barrel full. If passing comes at a premium, so be it. Bristol is Busch’s kind of track and, with an average finish of 11.4, he has been the most productive Joe Gibbs Racing driver in the last 10 races. The other driver with a serious propensity to own Saturday night’s event also comes from the Busch bloodline.


6.5  Save for Michigan (he led 21 laps and finished 35th) and New Hampshire (he led 102 laps and finished 31st), Kurt Busch and his Furniture Row Racing team have averaged a 6.5-place finish in the last 10 races.

Is it time for the seemingly inevitable Kurt Busch breakthrough victory? He finished fourth at Bristol in the spring. For a team clinging to a Chase spot, some insurance — and they didn’t get to this point by being conservative — would be welcomed. Between this weekend and next (Atlanta), Busch is visiting two facilities that have been very kind to him in the past. For the five-time Bristol winner and three-time Atlanta winner, the stars (and numbers) seem to be aligning for something big in the immediate future.


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

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.

Teaser:
David Smith crunches the numbers to reveal some revealing NASCAR stats for the Bristol Night Race.
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 19:37
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-august-20
Body:

Less than 10 days until kickoff.

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, August 20th

Who is poised to step up at defensive end for LSU?

Saturday Down South ranks the stadiums in the SEC.

Will it be Trevor Knight or Blake Bell at quarterback for Oklahoma?

Lost Lettermen brings a couple of interesting stories for today: a 300-pound defensive tackle does the splits and a high school recruit catches passes while doing backflips.

Florida State receiver Rashad Greene suffered a minor finger injury in practice on Monday.

Joe Rexrode separates reality from fiction in the Michigan State quarterback battle.

Miami has decided Dyron Dye will no longer be a part of the football team.

Auburn defensive end Dee Ford and cornerback Jonathan Jones will miss the season opener against Washington State.

Oklahoma safety Cortez Johnson is expected to be suspended for the season opener.

UCLA is losing quarterback T.J. Millweard to a transfer.

Texas quarterback David Ash had some interesting comments on Monday.

Matt Brown of Sports on Earth previews the ACC for 2013.

How much longer will Oregon State coach Mike Riley wait to choose his starting quarterback?

How does Alabama's defense stack up after fall practice?

With fall practice wrapping up, here's a good breakdown of Miami's depth chart.

The NCAA will allow former Marine Steven Rhodes to play for MTSU this year.

 

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: August 20
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 15:35
Path: /mlb/17-amazing-mlb-stats-week-august-12-18
Body:

Clayton Kershaw continues to dominate, the Dodgers are good, the Astros are bad and Alfonso Soriano has been really hot. These facts and more amazing stats from last week in baseball.


Clayton Kershaw1.23    Clayton Kershaw’s ERA in August
The Dodgers’ lefty was sporting an ERA below 2.00 heading into the month and has improved his ERA from 1.87 to 1.80 in three starts this month.

42    Wins for the Los Angeles Dodgers since June 21
The Dodgers continue to run roughshod over the National League. The hottest team in baseball has but nine losses against 42 wins since June 21.

41    Wins for the Houston Astros all season
Houston fans can take solace that as of Sunday, the Astros were 1.5 games ahead of last season’s pace on August 18.

10    Winless starts for Cole Hamels of six or more innings and two runs or less
This hasn’t exactly been a memorable season for Hamels or the Philadelphia Phillies. The lefthander has pitched in some tough luck and suffered through some paltry run support.

0.24    ERA for Craig Kimbrel over his last 37 appearances
During that time, the Atlanta Braves’ closer is 29-for-29 in saves with 56 strikeouts and 33 hits and walks combined. Opponents are batting .150 with a .431 OPS.

0.658    Career WHIP for Andrew Albers
The Minnesota rookie has plowed through major league hitters like Little Leaguers since his recent call-up. In three career starts, the 27-year-old Canadian is 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA. In 24.1 innings, he’s allowed just 14 hits and two walks.

15-13    San Diego’s record against best NL teams
The Padres seem to play their best against the best. The five National League teams in line for playoff spots — Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Cincinnati — have had trouble shaking the Padres, who have a cumulative winning mark vs. those five opponents.

.682    Alfonso Soriano’s batting average over five-game span last week
The prodigal Yankee began the week 0-for-3 and ended with an 0-for-6, but in between he smashed AL pitching at a 15-for-22 (.682) clip with five home runs and 18 RBIs over a five-game span. In only 21 games in pinstripes this season, Soriano is tied for fifth on the team in homers and seventh in RBIs.

3    Players in history with 10 hits, four homers and 14 RBIs in three games
Last week Soriano was otherworldly hot for the Yankees. Among his recent accomplishments was becoming just the third player in history with 10 or more hits, four or more home runs and 14-plus RBIs in a three-game span. You may remember that Shawn Green did that with the Dodgers in May 2002. But kudos if you knew that Hal Trosky pulled that off with the Indians in September 1936, a year in which he led the AL with 162 RBIs.

3    Teams with losing records to all four division rivals
For just about every team in the majors fans can point to some positive silver lining with a winning record over some other team. Yes, Miami has whipped up on the Mets and Houston seems to own the Angels this season. But three teams — both Chicago clubs and the Los Angeles Angels — own losing records to all four division rivals so far this season. Two other teams are perilously close to joining this club. The Mets somehow have managed to split their 14 games with the NL-best Atlanta Braves, while the Dodgers, of all teams, have losing records to three of the their four division foes and a 6-6 mark against their most hated rival, the San Francisco Giants.

12    Consecutive winless starts for Jerome Williams
Very little has gone right for manager Mike Scioscia and the Los Angeles Angels this season. After underachieving last year, the Halos are 7.5 games worse at the same point this season. Among the notable troubles have been a potential season-ending injury to Albert Pujols last month and Mike Trout’s recent hamstring injury. Starter Jerome Williams now owns the longest string of games started without a win — now at 12 starts. His last win came on June 12 in Baltimore.

.395    Batting average of Tampa Bay’s left side last week
Shorstop Yunel Escobar and third baseman Evan Longoria were raking last week. The left side of the Rays’ infield combined to bat .395 with eight extra-base hits.

56.2    Innings since Hiroki Kuroda has allowed a home run
That is the longest current streak of any starting pitcher.

56.0    Innings since Luis Avilan has allowed a home run
That is the longest current streak of any relief pitcher.

12     Games ahead of last year’s pace for Boston
The Red Sox suffered through a dismal season in 2012 finishing in last place in the American League East. This summer has been a breath of fresh air in Beantown with the Sox 12 games better than at this point last year.

17.5    Games behind last year’s pace for the White Sox
Robins Ventura’s team probably overachieved last season, leading the American League Central late in the season. The pendulum has swung in the opposite direction this season on the South Side in Chicago. The White Sox are 17.5 gmaes worse than at this time last year.

24    Braves Magic Number
It doesn’t happen often that you can start talking about magic numbers in mid-August, but the Braves could be closing in on clinching by Labor Day.

Teaser:
Clayton Kershaw continues to dominate, the Dodgers are good, the Astros are bad and Alfonso Soriano has been really hot. These facts and more amazing stats from last week in baseball.
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 14:01
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-august-20-2013
Body:

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

 

Here are the cheerleaders of the AP Top 25. Football can't get here fast enough.

 

Marshawn Lynch and Arian Foster have made a commercial for Madden 25. Well done, fellas.

 

College football's 25 best names. I'll be following Konockus Sashington.

 

• SEC fanbases are usually bitter enemies, but here are five things that will unite SEC Nation this year.

 

Some guy made his online resume look just like CNN's home page. Props for creativity.

 

• Bad news for Johnny Football: Of the last 16 Heisman-winning quarterbacks, only one has won an NFL playoff game as a starter. I'll give you 3.16 guesses who it is.

 

• With "Anchorman 2" due later this year, here's a ranking of the 20 movies Will Ferrell has made thus far. No. 1 is a big surprise, to me.

 

Baseball's weirdest promotional nights. Hey, whatever it takes to get fannies in seats. Some of these are pretty creative, although I think I'd skip "Smells of Baseball" night with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

 

Lolo Jones goes in the Cage. Let's hope she makes it out.

 

First pitches are officially out of control.

 

If a tree fell on Regis' new Fox Sports 1 show, would it make a sound?

 

• A-Rod gave a surprisingly clever and self-deprecating answer to a reporter's question. More of this all along would have helped.

 

 

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 10:41
Path: /college-football/utah-state-struggles-touchdown-celebration-scrimmage
Body:

Utah State has scored plenty of touchdowns over the last two years, but as this video shows, the Aggies may need a little work on their touchdown celebrations.

Receiver Bruce Natson catches a touchdown during a scrimmage and is ready to celebrate with his linemen. However, as Natson jumps up to celebrate, the lineman appears to drop the receiver.

Celebration fail.

 

Teaser:
Utah State Struggles With Touchdown Celebration in Scrimmage
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 10:17
Path: /nfl/chicago-bears-2013-nfl-team-preview
Body:

For the first time since 2004, this is not Lovie Smith’s team. Marc Trestman was imported from the Canadian Football League with the hope that he could make the Bears a more frequent participant in the postseason. That’s something Smith was able do only once in his final six seasons, including 2012, when the Bears went 10–6 but missed the postseason on a tiebreaker.

The Bears are not in a rebuilding mode, and they ­shouldn’t be, considering their 29–19 record over the last three seasons. But they will have different looks on both sides of the ball, even though new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will play a 4-3 with some Cover-2, similar to what the Bears ran in the past.

The Bears parted ways with eight-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Brian Urlacher when neither side would budge from the team’s offer of $2 million for the future Hall of Famer, who is 35. There were, however, some positive additions on the other side of the ball. For the first time since quarterback Jay Cutler was acquired, before the 2009 season, he has a Pro Bowl left tackle protecting his blind side: free agent pickup Jermon Bushrod. On the same day the Bears acquired the former Saint, they added Martellus Bennett, giving Cutler a tight end known for his pass-catching skills for the first time since Greg Olsen was traded in July 2011.

Athlon Sports NFC Power Ranking: 10th

Related: 2013 Chicago Bears Schedule Analysis

Offense
Cutler is in the final season of a five-year, $49.7 million deal, and he’s unlikely to get another big deal from the Bears without adding to his career playoff victory total of one.

In his fifth year with the Bears, Cutler has been provided with more talent on the offensive line than he’s ever had in Chicago. Bushrod is the key, bringing the stability and consistency that was lacking. Guard Matt Slauson, a starter the previous three years with the Jets, was also added in free agency, replacing Lance Louis, who signed with the Dolphins. Then the Bears used their first-round pick on guard Kyle Long and their fifth-rounder on tackle Jordan Mills.

Bennett, a complete tight end and a talented receiver, represents a huge upgrade at the position. Together with big, strong wide receiver Brandon Marshall and quick, elusive running back Matt Forté, Cutler has more offensive firepower at his disposal than ever before. GM Phil Emery acquired Marshall before the 2012 season for only a pair of third-round picks because of off-the-field problems, which the 6'4", 230-pounder says were a result of undiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder. Emery’s gamble paid off with the most prolific pass-catching season in franchise history (118 receptions, 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns). The Bears hope to be less dependent on Marshall, although he still figures to be the go-to guy.

The protection in front of Cutler will look a lot different. J’Marcus Webb will compete with journeyman Jonathan Scott at right tackle. Gabe Carimi, the 2011 first-round draft pick who was a bust at right tackle in 2012, will get a chance to compete for a spot at guard, along with Slauson and Long. The Bears hope they can get a 12th year out of Roberto Garza at center.

The run game is in the more-than-capable hands of Forté, the primary ball-carrier and a productive pass-catcher. He had more than 50 catches in each of his first four seasons before dipping to 44 last season, when the offense de-emphasized his role in the passing game. Burly but agile Michael Bush is a nice complement to Forté and an effective short-yardage option.

If they stick to Trestman’s plan of using Devin Hester almost exclusively as a return specialist, the Bears need to find a deep threat. They had one in Johnny Knox, but he was unable to come back from a spine injury in 2011. Last year’s second-round pick, 6'3", 216-pound Alshon Jeffery, is more than a possession receiver, and tough Earl Bennett is a reliable underneath target, but there’s no one to stretch the field vertically.

Defense
The window is closing on a talented but aging defense, led by three players in their early 30s — seven-time Pro Bowl weak-side linebacker Lance Briggs, eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers and two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman. Urlacher is gone, as is Nick Roach, the strong-side starter for most of the past five seasons. Former Bronco D.J. Williams was brought in to play the middle, and James Anderson takes over for Roach. But both were signed to one-year contracts, and Williams is 31 and Anderson turns 30 in September. Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene, the second- and fourth-round picks, respectively, could represent the Bears’ future at linebacker. Williams injured his calf early in training camp, which provided even more reps for Bostic, who could end up the starter by Week 1.

Tillman’s running mate, feisty little Tim Jennings, also made the Pro Bowl last season on the strength of an NFL-best nine interceptions. Ninth-year veteran Kelvin Hayden is back to play the nickel, but for now, the only proven depth consists of Zack Bowman, who has started only four games since 2009.

The safety position showed an uncharacteristic continuity last season. Strong safety Major Wright and free safety Chris Conte both started every game, until Conte missed the finale with a hamstring injury. In the previous eight seasons, the Bears had made a combined 54 lineup changes at the safety position. There is plenty of depth with veterans Tom Zbikowski and Craig Steltz and youngsters Brandon Hardin and Anthony Walters.

Up front, 3-technique tackle Henry Melton went to his first Pro Bowl, partly due to his six sacks, and 2010 fourth-round pick Corey Wootton had a breakout season, winning the left end job at midseason and contributing seven sacks. Shea McClellin, the 2012 first-round pick, played in the end rotation and showed pass-rush potential. Stephen Paea started 14 games at nose tackle but doesn’t have the ideal size for the position and is best playing in a rotation. There is very little depth inside.

Specialists
Placekicker Robbie Gould missed the final three games of 2012 with a calf injury, but he’s as reliable as they come, ranking sixth in NFL history in field goal percentage. His kickoffs have gotten longer every season, as has his proficiency at long field goals. Punter Adam Podlesh allowed just 84 return yards on 81 punts. The Bears are counting on a return to form in the return game from Hester, who slumped badly as a punt returner last season but was solid on kickoff returns. Hester failed to score on a return for the first time in three years.

Final Analysis: 3rd in NFC North
The Bears have an almost-all-new coaching staff, and a lot of the personnel also has changed. But Tucker’s 4-3 scheme is not expected to look much different from the defenses of the previous nine years. Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer and Trestman will run their version of the West Coast offense with a priority on getting rid of the ball quickly. This was a 10–6 team last season that barely missed the playoffs, so anything less than postseason participation will be considered a disappointment.

Order your 2013 Chicago Bears Athlon Sports NFL Preview magazine here

2013 Athlon Sports NFL Team Previews:

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

 

Teaser:
Chicago Bears 2013 NFL Team Preview
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 10:00
Path: /nfl/san-diego-chargers-2013-nfl-team-preview
Body:

There’s nothing like snapping the fans to attention by making a radical regime change and drafting Manti Te’o. That’s what the Chargers did after missing the playoffs for the third straight season and watching attendance sag. Citing the need for a “culture change,” team president Dean Spanos finally bowed to the fans’ wishes and fired Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith. He replaced them with 40-year-olds Mike McCoy and Tom Telesco, who are in their first head coaching and general manager gigs, respectively.

Telesco began rebuilding a roster that had grown stale because of Smith’s unproductive drafts and a wild free agent binge prior to the 2012 season. Among his many moves, Telesco got rid of left tackle Jared Gaither, who’d earned the nickname “The Big Lazy,” and drafted Te’o, a move sure to give the Chargers much more national exposure than they otherwise would merit. Still, returning the Bolts to their days of dominating the AFC West could take the new brain trust a few seasons.

Athlon Sports AFC Power Ranking: 10th

Related: 2013 San Diego Chargers Schedule Analysis

Offense
The Chargers hope Philip Rivers can pull out of a slide that’s seen him commit 49 turnovers the last two years combined. Not only will Rivers be running a new system under McCoy and new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, but there are also still big questions about the line. Rivers was under siege much of last season, leading to 49 sacks and 22 turnovers. Fans are concerned that Rivers might have a hard time staying upright again this season.

Telesco spent his first-round draft pick on Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker, but the new GM failed to upgrade the critical left side of the line in the draft. The Chargers had left tackle Bryant McKinnie in for a visit before he re-signed with Baltimore. So going into training camp, the No. 1 left tackle protecting Rivers’ blind side is King Dunlap, a free agent pickup from Philadelphia. Dunlap is big (6'9", 330), but he had a hamstring injury last year, and the Philly line struggled. The Chargers’ string of bad luck at left tackle started when Marcus McNeill retired due to a neck injury and continued when Gaither got the heave-ho because of his poor work ethic and injury troubles. The left guard is projected to be Rich Ohrnberger, one of Telesco’s three free agent acquisitions on the line. With Fluker set to start at right tackle, Jeromey Clary will move to right guard. Fluker was considered one of the best run-blockers in college last year, but he’ll need to improve his pass-blocking.

Another player who needs to bounce back big is running back Ryan Mathews, who broke both collarbones last season and failed to fix his fumbling problem. Five defensive players on his own team had as many or more touchdowns than Mathews, who scored only once. Telesco added free agent Danny Woodhead to help at running back.

The Bolts have already gone through a fair amount of attrition at wide receiver before the season has even started. Danario Alexander was signed in mid-October and ended up being one of the team’s most productive receivers, but he tore his ACL in early August and is lost for the season. Malcom Floyd, the team's leading receiver last season, sustained his own knee injury shortly afterwards, but he is expected to ready to play by Week 1. San Diego drafted Cal’s Keenan Allen in the third round in April, but the team really needs Vincent Brown to bounce back from a fractured ankle and more production out of Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem, provided both end up on the final roster. Tight end Antonio Gates bounced back from a painful foot injury but will be playing his 11th season.

While Turner called his own plays and often struggled with game management, McCoy was praised for hiring former Cardinals head coach Whisenhunt as his offensive coordinator.

Defense
Te’o instantly became the most intriguing player on the Chargers’ roster when Telesco traded up to get him in the second round of the draft. Telesco said he wasn’t worried by the star linebacker’s poor showing in Notre Dame’s blowout loss to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game, his being involved in a hoax involving a fake girlfriend or his poor 40-yard dash times. After looking so bad against Alabama’s powerful run game, Te’o will have to prove that he can make it in the NFL, both physically and mentally. With veteran Takeo Spikes a salary cap casualty, Te’o will play inside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme alongside Donald Butler, who had a breakthrough season in 2012.

San Diego was counting on second-year linebacker Melvin Ingram to help replace Bulter, but he tore his ACL back in May and it's unknown if he will be able to return at any point this season. The Chargers signed former Indianapolis Colt Dwight Freeney to a two-year deal following Ingram's injury. Freeney has 107.5 career sacks, but the 11-year veteran is 33 years old and managed just five sacks last season. San Diego needs him to re-establish himself as a pass-rushing presence from his outside linebacker position.

Like the offense, the defense has both playmakers and some holes, although Telesco made more moves on this side of the ball due to the salary cap and his desire for a younger roster. While Smith was panned for many of his draft picks in recent years, he did do well in adding some good, young players on defense. Ends Corey Liuget, a first-round pick in 2011, and Kendall Reyes, a second-rounder in 2012, have fans excited with their dominating play. Liuget had seven sacks and Reyes had 5.5. One problem is the hole in between them. Antonio Garay was allowed to leave as a free agent, leaving Cam Thomas as the only defensive tackle on the roster. The Chargers also lost Shaun Phillips, who led them with 9.5 sacks.

San Diego will turn over three-quarters of its secondary. Only free safety Eric Weddle returns as a starter. The Chargers, who haven’t had a thumper at strong safety since Rodney Harrison was released more than 10 years ago, will turn to Brandon Taylor, a third-round pick in 2012. Marcus Gilchrist and free-agent acquisition Derek Cox will be the new starters at cornerback after Antoine Cason left for Arizona and Quentin Jammer became a free agent.

Specialists
After an off-and-on role with the Chargers, Nick Novak finally stuck as the kicker. He was signed four weeks into the 2012 season after Nate Kaeding got hurt, and he hit 18-of-20 field goal attempts in the final 13 games. He was 16-for-16 inside 50 yards, and his 90 percent conversion rate was the third-highest for a season in team history. Kaeding was eventually put on injured reserve and then released, ending a run in which he became the most accurate regular-season kicker in NFL history. Kaeding’s playoff misses, however, still rankle fans. Punter Mike Scifres remains a key player with his powerful left leg, and Mike Windt returns as long snapper.

Final Analysis: 3rd in AFC West
Chargers fans should brace for the possibility that the Bolts could miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Telesco doesn’t like the word “rebuilding,” but it’s hard to deny that he has a pretty big project on his hands. He has vowed to rebuild via the draft rather than through expensive, splashy and unpredictable free agent signings, so his plan for reshaping the roster could take a few seasons.

With two-time AFC West champion Denver and Kansas City making their share of big moves, the Chargers might have to settle for finishing ahead of the lowly Oakland Raiders.

Order your 2013 San Diego Chargers Athlon Sports NFL Preview magazine here

2013 Athlon Sports NFL Team Previews:

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

 

Teaser:
San Diego Chargers 2013 NFL Team Preview
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 10:00
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We can all thank Fox Sports 1 for this boxing gem. On Monday night Danny Jacobs stepped into the ring with Giovanni Lorenzo and did this to Lorenzo's face in the third round to win the WBC Continental Americas middleweight title.

 

Slo-mo knockout of Giovanno Lorenzo

Teaser:
On Monday night Danny Jacobs stepped into the ring with Giovanni Lorenzo and did this to Lorenzo's face in the third round.
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 09:05
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Two Pirates fans showed their support for the team through a pair of enormous foam Pirates hats, going the extra mile at PNC Park during a game against the Diamondbacks. Surprisingly, they were not mobbed by women.

Teaser:
Two Pirates fans showed their support for the team through a pair of enormous foam Pirates hats, going the extra mile at PNC Park during a game against the Diamondbacks.
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 08:48
Path: /college-football/big-12-football-breakout-players-2013
Body:

Every year, college football fans are introduced to a handful of players that become household names by the end of the season. Predicting which players will breakout any year is never an easy task.

With a ton of turnover at the quarterback position, the Big 12 is up for grabs this season. Oklahoma State is considered the preseason favorite, but Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor and TCU are certainly in the mix. The Wildcats won the Big 12 title last year and have plenty of reasons for optimism in 2013. But coach Bill Snyder’s team has a few holes to fill, including quarterback with the departure of Collin Klein. Backup Daniel Sams played well in limited action last year, but he is locked into a tight battle with junior college recruit Jake Waters for the No. 1 spot on the depth chart.

Defining what is a breakout player is nearly impossible. Everyone has a different perspective on how players are viewed around the conference and nationally. Athlon's list of breakout players for 2013 tries to take into account which names will be known nationally (not just within the conference) by the end of season. So while some of these players on this list are known to fans of a particular team, the rest of the conference or nation might not be as familiar. 

Big 12 Breakout Players for 2013

Ernst Brun, TE, Iowa State
Brun was a pleasant surprise for Iowa State late last season, catching seven of his 26 passes over the final three games. In the bowl loss to Tulsa, Brun nabbed four receptions for 102 yards and one score. The Cyclones need more from their receiving corps in 2013, especially with quarterback Sam Richardson in his first full year as the starter. Brun tied for the team lead with six touchdown catches in 2012, and the former junior college recruit should be an even bigger part of the Iowa State offense this year.

Brandon Carter, WR, TCU
With Josh Boyce and Skye Dawson playing in the NFL, the Horned Frogs need a new go-to receiver. But quarterbacks Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin won’t have to look too far down the depth chart for a No. 1 target. Carter ranked second on the team in receiving yards (590) and touchdown catches (six) last season. The Texas native has been a big-play threat over the last two years, averaging 15.3 yards per catch in 2011 and 16.4 in '12. Assuming Pachall wins the starting job, TCU’s passing attack will be stretching the field more in 2013. And that's good news for Carter, who is clearly ready to blossom into an All-Big 12 player on the outside.

Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Coach Art Briles certainly knows a thing or two about quarterbacks. After all, Robert Griffin III won the Heisman in 2011, and Nick Florence ranked second nationally in total offense last year. No pressure, Bryce Petty. The junior steps into the starting role after serving as an understudy over the last two years and hopes to continue Baylor’s recent run of successful passers. Petty has thrown only 14 passes in his career but has been impressive as the No. 1 quarterback this spring. There’s still plenty for the junior to prove in 2013, but considering Briles’ history of developing quarterbacks, the Bears have to feel good about Petty’s chances of emerging as a standout player this year.

Jeremiah George, LB, Iowa State
With Jake Knott and A.J. Klein departing, Iowa State’s linebacking corps is under renovation. But the drop-off from 2012 to '13 shouldn’t be drastic, especially with the emergence of George last year. The Florida native recorded 11 stops against West Virginia and ranked second on the team with seven tackles against Kansas. George finished the season with 87 stops and is the new leader for Iowa State’s linebacking corps. Although Iowa State fans are familiar with George, look for the rest of the Big 12 to know about this senior by season’s end.

Peter Jinkens, LB, Texas
One of the most disappointing units on Texas’ defense last season was the linebacking corps. Jordan Hicks was injured and missed most of 2012, while the rest of the unit failed to live up to expectations. Jinkens was a bright spot late in the year, recording nine stops and one interception in the bowl victory over Oregon State. He finished the year with 29 stops in 13 contests and is poised to grab one of the starting spots in 2013. If Hicks can stay healthy and Jinkens builds on a promising freshman campaign, Texas should have a much-improved run defense.

Robbie Rhodes, WR, Baylor
The Bears know what they have in senior receiver Tevin Reese, and Antwan Goodley and Levi Norwood are back after combining for 57 receptions last year. But the receiving corps could use another gamebreaker to help ease the loss of Terrance Williams. Could Rhodes be that player? The true freshman has been one of the stars of fall camp, catching four passes for 112 yards and a touchdown in the team’s second scrimmage. Rhodes was rated as the No. 4 receiver in the 2013 recruiting class by Athlon Sports, and all signs point to a big season from the true freshman.

Pete Robertson, LB, Texas Tech
One of the Red Raider quarterbacks (Michael Brewer or Davis Webb) could make this list, but there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding who will start for Texas Tech in the season opener. On the other side of the ball, the Red Raiders return seven starters from a unit that led the Big 12 in pass defense and ranked second in yards allowed. New co-coordinators Mike Smith and Matt Wallerstedt are implementing a 3-4 scheme, which will force a few changes in the personnel. Robertson was a defensive end last year but slides to the bandit position in 2013. The Texas native recorded 20 tackles and two sacks in 12 contests last season. With Robertson shifting to a rush outside linebacker position, Texas Tech is counting on the sophomore to be a key cog in the pass rush.

Daniel Sams/Jake Waters, QB, Kansas State
It’s a bit of a cop out to list Sams and Waters here, but both players are capable of keeping Kansas State in the Big 12 title race. Sams is a dynamic athlete, recording 235 yards and eight rushing touchdowns on 32 attempts in 2012. He only threw eight passes last year but completed six throws for 55 yards. Waters comes to Kansas State after two years at Iowa Western Community College. The Iowa native had a huge 2012 season, earning NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year honors after throwing for 3,501 yards and 39 scores. Although Waters isn’t as dynamic on the ground as Sams, the junior isn’t a statue in the pocket. There’s no question Collin Klein will be missed this year. However, the Wildcats’ offense shouldn't fall off much with Sams or Waters leading the way.

Cassius Sendish, CB, Kansas
Junior college prospects are very hit-or-miss. Regardless of the recruiting hype coming from the JUCO ranks, it will take some time to adjust to the talent on the FBS level. Sendish is expected to start at one of the cornerback spots for Kansas, and the secondary is a unit under pressure after finishing 114th nationally against the pass in 2012. The Maryland native ranked as the No. 59 junior college prospect in the 2013 signing class, after recording 29 tackles and 10 pass breakups at Arizona Western last year. Sendish represented Kansas at Big 12 Media Days, so the coaching staff already has confidence in his ability and expects him to be a key contributor to the pass defense.

Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
Whether it’s Blake Bell or Trevor Knight replacing Landry Jones at quarterback, the Sooners will continue to have one of the Big 12’s top offenses in 2013. And both passers have plenty of weapons at their disposal, including Jalen Saunders, Trey Metoyer and rising star Sterling Shepard. Saunders, Justin Brown and Kenny Stills overshadowed Shepard’s play last year. However, as a true freshman, he caught 45 passes for 621 yards and three scores. Shepard did not have a touchdown reception over the final five games, but he caught at least three passes in each of the last six contests. Saunders is clearly Oklahoma’s No. 1 target. However, expect Shepard to be an even bigger factor in the Sooners’ attack this year.

Jeremy Smith, RB, Oklahoma State
It might be a little too obvious to list Smith in this article, but after playing behind Joseph Randle and Kendall Hunter, it’s his time to shine. In his first three years in Stillwater, Smith has rushed for 1,439 yards and 25 touchdowns. Smith’s best performance in his career came against Grambling in 2009, recording 160 yards and one score on 15 attempts. However, the Tulsa native has played well in Big 12 action, rushing for 140 yards and two touchdowns against Texas in 2011. With Randle playing in the NFL, this is Smith’s job to lose, and the senior should rank near the top of the Big 12 in rushing yards this year.

Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin are gone, leaving a large void in West Virginia’s receiving corps. The Mountaineers aren’t short on options and talent, but coach Dana Holgorsen is still looking to solidify the starting group. White spent two years at Lackawanna College and was a big-play threat in the junior college ranks, recording 36 receptions for 535 yards and six scores in 2012. The Pennsylvania native made his presence known in the spring game, catching five passes for 72 yards and one touchdown. White seems locked into a starting role in one of West Virginia’s outside receiver spots, and the junior college product could have a huge year in the Holgorsen’s wide-open offense.

Others to Watch

Hatari Byrd, S, Oklahoma
The Sooners have a few voids to fill in the secondary. Byrd (a true freshman) is in the mix for a starting spot this fall.

Justin McCay, WR, Kansas
The Jayhawks desperately need McCay - a five-star prospect in 2010 - to live up to his recruiting hype in 2013.

Kevin Peterson, CB, Oklahoma State
Addressing the pass defense is a top priority for coordinator Glenn Spencer. As a true freshman, Peterson played well in limited action last year, recording 20 tackles and two pass breakups.

Davion Pierson, DT, TCU
Pierson had a standout freshman year in 2012, recording 36 stops and 3.5 sacks. Look for even bigger and better things from the sophomore in 2013.

Blake Slaughter, LB, Kansas State
Redshirted in 2012 with Arthur Brown entrenched at linebacker and is due to claim a starting role this year.

Tyrone Swoopes, QB, Texas
If David Ash struggles, Swoopes may get the nod over Case McCoy.

Kenny Williams, RB, Texas Tech
Coach Kliff Kingsbury will always lean on the pass, but Williams is a big part of Texas Tech’s offense. He rushed for 824 yards and five scores on 143 attempts last year.
 

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College Football's Top 25 Wide Receiving Corps for 2013
College Football's Top 25 Offensive Lines for 2013
Big 12 Coaches Anonymously Talk About Conference Foes for 2013
Kliff Kingsbury Returns Home to Texas Tech
Big 12's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

Teaser:
Big 12 Football Breakout Players for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-25-defensive-lines-2013
Body:

Defensive line isn’t a particularly deep position in college football this season. But at the top, South Carolina, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Florida and USC are all pretty solid. The Gamecocks are headlined by college football’s No. 1 player in end Jadeveon Clowney, while the Fighting Irish have two All-Americans in Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt. 

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

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

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

 

Ranking the Top 25 Defensive Lines for 2013

1. South Carolina
The Gamecocks lose end Devin Taylor and tackle Byron Jerideau, but there’s not much concern over this unit. End Jadeveon Clowney is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate and should add to his 21 career sacks and 33.5 tackles for a loss in 2013. Chaz Sutton is due for an increased role after recording five sacks last year, while Kelcy Quarles, Gerald Dixon and J.T. Surratt round out the interior. Freshmen Kelsey Griffin and Darius English may not play much this year but are future stars for this defense. The Gamecocks allowed only seven rushing scores and registered 3.3 sacks per game in 2012.

2. Notre Dame 
Kapron Lewis-Moore must be replaced, but the Fighting Irish feature two first-team Athlon Sports preseason All-Americans in end Stephon Tuitt and tackle Louis Nix III. Tuitt had 12 sacks last year. Sheldon Day replaces Lewis-Moore at end after recording 23 tackles and two sacks in his freshman season. The Fighting Irish need Nix and Tuitt to stay healthy, as there’s not an abundance of depth. Notre Dame finished 11th nationally against the run and allowed only four rushing touchdowns last season.

3. Arizona State 
The Sun Devils need to get tougher against the run, but depth and talent aren’t an issue. Tackle Will Sutton is the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and is projected to be an NFL first-round pick in 2014. Jaxon Hood joins Sutton on the interior after a standout freshman season. Junior Onyeali and Davon Coleman give the Sun Devils two pass-rush threats in the 3-4 scheme. Junior college recruits Marcus Hardison and Demetrius Cherry are expected to provide depth.

4. Florida 
Defense carried the Gators to an 11–2 mark last season, and even though some key pieces depart, Florida should be strong in the trenches. Sophomores Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler start on the edges with seniors Dominique Easley and Damien Jacobs anchoring the interior. Easley is an Athlon Sports first-team preseason All-SEC selection. End/linebacker Ronald Powell, a No. 1 recruit out of high school, is back after sitting out 2012 due to a knee injury. If there’s a concern for coach Will Muschamp, it’s depth on the interior. Junior college recruit Darious Cummings was brought in to help on the interior, but the Gators could use a big season from junior Leon Orr.

5. USC 
New coordinator Clancy Pendergast has plenty of talent to install his new 5-2 scheme. End Morgan Breslin tied for the Pac-12 lead in sacks last year, and the return of Devon Kennard from injury adds another potential double-digit sack threat to the line. Leonard Williams, George Uko and Antwan Woods form a talented interior, with Williams capable of earning All-America honors in 2013. Redshirt freshman Kenny Bigelow is a name to watch this fall.

6. Virginia Tech
If there was a bright spot for the Hokies last season, it was a defensive line that ranked third in the ACC against the run and averaged 2.7 sacks a game. This unit could be even better in 2013, as eight of the nine players from the final 2012 two-deep are back. Ends James Gayle and J.R. Collins should form the best duo in the ACC, and depth is plentiful with Dadi Nicolas and Tyrel Wilson returning. Luther Maddy and Derrick Hopkins anchor the interior, while Kris Harley, Woody Barron and Nigel Williams provide depth. With a struggling offense, Virginia Tech will need to lean on its defense to win the Coastal Division in 2013.

7. Oregon
The Ducks have a new line coach (Ron Aiken) after Jerry Azzinaro followed Chip Kelly to the NFL. Aiken spent six seasons in the NFL but worked at Iowa from 1999-2006 and has plenty of pieces to work with this year. Seniors Taylor Hart, Ricky Heimuli and Wade Keliikipi are the likely starters, but Oregon will rotate several bodies in and out of the lineup. Sophomores DeForest Buckner, Alex Balducci, Christian French and Arik Armstead give the Ducks a solid second group with plenty of upside. Armstead impressed with 26 tackles as a true freshman last year. The only question in the front seven for coordinator Nick Aliotti is which player will step up to replace Dion Jordan’s production off the edge in Oregon’s 3-4 scheme.

8. TCU
Despite the departure of All-Big 12 end Stansly Maponga, the Horned Frogs still boast the best defensive line in the Big 12. End Devonte Fields was a first-team All-Big 12 selection as a true freshman, recording 18.5 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks. Fields will once again anchor the pass rush, but he will miss the first two games of the year due to a suspension. Joining Fields as key contributors at end will be Jon Koontz, Josh Carraway and James McFarland. Tackles Davion Pierson and Chucky Hunter are preseason Athlon Sports All-Big 12 selections. The Horned Frogs led the Big 12 in rush defense and averaged 2.2 sacks per game last year.

9. Stanford
Defensive lines in 3-4 schemes often don’t get the credit they deserve. And that was the case with Stanford last season, as its linebacking corps often overshadowed the work done by the three players in the trenches. The Cardinal loses nose tackle Terrence Stephens, but ends Ben Gardner and Henry Anderson are back. Gardner recorded 7.5 sacks in 14 games, while Anderson chipped in 13 tackles for a loss and 51 stops. Junior David Parry started three games last year and is expected to replace Stephens at nose tackle. Stanford has accumulated solid depth up front, as sophomore Aziz Shittu and senior Josh Mauro ensure the line won’t suffer any drop-off once the top three leave the field.

10. Ohio State
Yes, all four starters are gone from last season’s unit. However, by season’s end, the Buckeyes should have the Big Ten’s top defensive line. Ends Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington were two of the top-10 defensive end recruits in last year’s signing class, and both players impressed in limited action. The interior will be anchored by a group of talented, but unproven players, headlined by juniors Joel Hale and Michael Bennett. Sophomores Chris Carter and Tommy Schutt are expected to backup Hale and Bennett. True freshmen Joey Bosa, Michael Hill and Billy Price won’t start, but all three could factor into the rotation this year.

11. Texas
Returning Starters: 4
Rush Defense in 2012: 88th nationally (192.2 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 35
Athlon 2013 All-Big 12 Performers: DE Jackson Jeffcoat (1st)

12. Florida State
Returning Starters: 0
Rush Defense in 2012: 3rd nationally (92.3 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 36
Athlon 2013 All-ACC Performers: DT Timmy Jernigan (1st)

13. LSU
Returning Starters: 0
Rush Defense in 2012: 9th nationally (101.6 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 35
Athlon 2013 All-SEC Performers: DT Anthony Johnson (1st)

14. Alabama
Returning Starters: 1
Rush Defense in 2012: 1st nationally (76.4 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 35
Athlon 2013 All-SEC Performers: DT Brandon Ivory (4th)

15. Arkansas
Returning Starters: 3
Rush Defense in 2012: 19th nationally (124.1 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 31
Athlon 2013 All-SEC Performers: DE Chris Smith (1st), DT Byran Jones (2nd)

16. Clemson
Returning Starters: 3
Rush Defense in 2012: 57th nationally (155.9 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 34
Athlon 2013 All-ACC Performers: DE Vic Beasley (3rd)

17. South Florida
Returning Starters: 2
Rush Defense in 2012: 50th nationally (149.9 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 25
Athlon 2013 American All-Conference Performers: DE Aaron Lynch (1st), DE Ryne Giddins (3rd)

18. Ole Miss
Returning Starters: 2
Rush Defense in 2012: 25th nationally (129.3 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 38
Athlon 2013 All-SEC Performers: DE C.J. Johnson (2nd), DT Isaac Gross (4th)

19. Penn State
Returning Starters: 2
Rush Defense in 2012: 23rd nationally (128.4 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 34
Athlon 2013 All-Big Ten Performers: DE Deion Barnes (1st), DT DaQuan Jones (2nd)

20. Michigan State
Returning Starters: 1
Rush Defense in 2012: 8th nationally (98.6 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 20
Athlon 2013 All-Big Ten Performers: DE Marcus Rush (3rd)

21. Michigan
Returning Starters: 1
Rush Defense in 2012: 51st nationally (150.5 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 22
Athlon 2013 All-Big Ten Performers: DE Frank Clark (3rd)

22. Louisville
Returning Starters: 4
Rush Defense in 2012: 48th nationally (148.0 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 22
Athlon 2013 American All-Conference Performers: DT Brandon Dunn (1st), DE Marcus Smith (2nd)

23. Rutgers
Returning Starters: 2
Rush Defense in 2012: 6th nationally (97.2 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 25
Athlon 2013 American All-Conference Performers: DE Jamil Merrell (1st), DT Darius Hamilton (2nd)

24. Boise State
Returning Starters: 2
Rush Defense in 2012: 46th nationally
Sacks in 2012: 38
Athlon 2013 All-Mountain West Performers: DE Demarcus Lawrence (1st), DT Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe (2nd)

25. Mississippi State
Returning Starters: 2
Rush Defense in 2012: 67th nationally (165.6 ypg)
Sacks in 2012: 18
Athlon 2013 All-SEC Performers: DE Denico Autry (3rd)

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Teaser:
College Football's Top 25 Defensive Lines for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/kansas-state-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

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

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

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

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

Kansas State's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Big 12 Predictions for 2013
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Big 12's Impact Freshmen for 2013
Key Schedule Stretches in the Big 12 for 2013
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Big 12 Coaches Anonymously Talk About Conference Foes for 2013
Oklahoma Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Oklahoma State Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
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Big 12's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alabama's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Next 10:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lost Lettermen ranks the best 25 names in college football.

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

Mr. SEC ranks the programs in the SEC.

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

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

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

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

TCU receiver Brandon Carter had hand surgery last week.

Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal is no longer on the team.

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

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

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

A former TCU offensive lineman has resurfaced at BYU.

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

Notre Dame is dealing with a few injuries on defense.

Oregon State picked up a transfer from Miami. 

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

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

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

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

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


@McMurphyESPN (1)

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

 

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

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

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

Conference bloggers (6)

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

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

CBS SPORTS

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

 



SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

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

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

 



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

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

 

 



USA TODAY

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

 



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

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

NATIONAL VOICES

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

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

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

 



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

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

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

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

BLEACHER REPORT
 

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

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

SB NATION

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

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

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

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

 

COMIC RELIEF

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

 



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

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

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


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


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

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

@lsufreek (43)
The reason GIFs were invented.

PLAYERS AND COACHES

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

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

 



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

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

 



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

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

 



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

 


 

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

RECRUITING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MEDIA WATCHDOGS

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

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

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

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

NICHE INTERESTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

 

REGIONAL INTEREST

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

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

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

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

 



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 



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

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

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

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

@HustleBelt (95)
One word: #MACtion

 



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

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

 



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

 



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

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

 

List and bios compiled by Rob Doster and David Fox.

Teaser:
These tweeters will keep you entertained, educated and occasionally enraged
Post date: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 15:00

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