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Path: /college-football/beware-improving-sec-east-2015
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The SEC West is the best division in college football. That was the case last year and again in 2015.

 

The Pac-12 South is probably a close second with the Big Ten East quickly gaining momentum.

 

But where does the SEC East rank? After multiple seasons of questionable on-field performance, it might be time to start looking at the SEC East differently.

 

College football is cyclical. The East dominated the SEC for the better part of the 90s and until LSU, Alabama and Auburn won BCS titles from the West.

 

Due in large part to elite coaching hires at schools like Mississippi State, Arkansas and Ole Miss as well as the addition of sleeping giant Texas A&M, the West has been the dominant division in college football.

 

Other than Tim Tebow’s Gators (2006, ‘08), no East Division team has won an SEC championship since 2005.

 

The East bottomed out in 2013. Florida and Tennessee, the two teams that dominated the league in the 90s, combined for 15 losses. Georgia lost five times and Kentucky won only twice. Missouri was a surprise division winner and both South Carolina and Vanderbilt had arguably their best seasons in history — which still involved six combined losses.

 

But using the same blueprint as the West — hiring great new head and assistant coaches — the East is beginning to show signs of life.

 

Related: 2015 Preseason SEC Football Preview and Predictions

 

With Jeremy Pruitt leading the defense for the second year, Georgia is once again a Top 10 preseason team. It would be ranked even higher than No. 10 in the preseason rankings if not for the brutal schedule. The Dawgs face two projected playoff teams from the West in Auburn and Alabama and get ACC Coastal Division frontrunner and defending champ Georgia Tech in non-conference play.

 

Tennessee is surging into Butch Jones' third season loaded with more young talent than almost any team in the nation. Should Joshua Dobbs develop into the star many think he’s capable of becoming, the Vols could easily outperform their No. 22 preseason ranking. This is a hot program that is clearly trending in the right direction.

 

In Gainesville, just add Jim McElwain and stir. The offensive guru should be able to fix many of Florida’s offensive woes and the defense under new coordinator Geoff Collins should be stifling once again. Keep in mind, the Gators had a win over Idaho cancelled last year and were one game away from winning the East. The cupboard isn’t bare in The Swamp.

 

The only known commodity about Missouri is that they will most certainly be better than where they are ranked in the preseason — which is still pretty respectable at No. 27. The hiring of Barry Odom once again proves Gary Pinkel is a wizard when it comes to assembling a coaching staff. Having Maty Mauk back for his second season under center is critical too.

 

The bottom of the division still has some work to do but there are even positive signs down there too.

 

South Carolina’s defense was atrocious last year but mostly because of inexperience. Of the Gamecocks top 25 tacklers last year, 18 were freshmen or sophomores and only four were seniors. There’s plenty there to work with for new defensive leader and old Steve Spurrier confidant Jon Hoke.

 

Mark Stoops quickly reenergized Kentucky on the recruiting trail, but most importantly, more than doubled his win total from Year 1 to Year 2. It’s well within reason to expect the Wildcats to continue getting better and make a bowl game this fall.

 

Vanderbilt only has one direction to go after an abysmal first season under Derek Mason. His defense should be much improved and that should allow him to improve his team’s win total in Year 2 as well.

 

Related: The SEC West if the Best Division in College Football

 

Vandy isn’t a good team, Kentucky and South Carolina have work to do and Florida is a long way from getting back to being Florida. But every team in this division could be better than it was last season with the possible exception of Mizzou — the one team that  is perennially underrated.

 

It’s not the SEC West or even the Pac-12 South but the SEC East is returning to form quickly and the rest of college football could find that out the hard way in 2015.

Teaser:
Beware of the improving SEC East in 2015
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: NBA, Overtime
Path: /nba/ti-tells-nba-players-stop-rapping-jimmy-kimmel-live-tony-parker-metta-world-peace-shaq-curry
Body:

NBA players often think they can rap and they are always wrong. Always.

 

Jimmy Kimmel, with the help of T.I., sent a PSA to players for them to stop rapping. The Atlanta rapper mentions Metta World Peace, Tony Parker, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kevin Durant. None of whom can rap. Seriously, it's terrible.

 

 

Although Kobe Bryant wasn't mentioned by name, it's safe to say we can add him to the list as well.

 

 

NBA players please just play basketball. Leave rapping to the professionals.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 09:12
All taxonomy terms: Auburn Tigers, College Football, SEC, News, Magazines
Path: /magazines/new-auburn-qb-jeremy-johnson-could-be-even-better-nick-marshall
Body:

At most schools, the loss of a quarterback like Nick Marshall would be cause for concern.

 

Marshall arrived at Auburn when the Tigers badly needed a revolution at the quarterback position. In the two years between Cam Newton’s Heisman Trophy season and Marshall’s arrival, Auburn tried four different starters at the position — including Clint Moseley twice — and tumbled all the way to arguably the worst season in the program’s history.

 

One junior college transfer reversed that trend. A dual threat with a big-play arm and electric feet, Marshall threw for more than 4,500 yards, rushed for more than 1,800, produced 57 total touchdowns and earned 20 wins in two seasons as Auburn’s starter. By the time he was finished, Marshall had arguably earned a place next to players such as Newton, Pat Sullivan, Jason Campbell and Dameyune Craig among Auburn’s all-time greats at the position.

 

“He was a big part of leading us to the national championship (game), and it would have been extremely hard to get there without him,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn says. “He’s one of the best to ever come through here.”

 

Replacing a player with that kind of legacy should be hard.

 

But many around the program believe Jeremy Johnson can be even better.

 

• • •

 

The days of programs being able to land only one elite quarterback at a time are gone, as Ohio State so poignantly proved last season during its national championship run.

 

Auburn never had to call on Johnson in the same way the Buckeyes had to rely on J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones last season. The few times Johnson had to step in for Marshall were temporary; all Johnson could do was give the Tigers a few brief but brilliant glimpses into the future. “We have a lot of confidence in Jeremy,” Malzahn says.

 

In the first start of his career as a freshman, Johnson stepped in for an injured Marshall and threw for 201 yards and four touchdowns against Western Carolina. His second start was even better. Forced into the starting lineup for Auburn’s 2014 season opener against Arkansas, Johnson completed his first eight passes and finished 12-of-16 for 243 yards and two touchdowns.

Related: Auburn Team Preview and Prediction

 

In two seasons as Marshall’s backup, Johnson completed 73.1 percent of his 78 throws for 858 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. Given what he’s done, it’s hard for most of Auburn’s coaches and teammates to understand any uncertainty surrounding Johnson’s ascension to the starting job.

 

 “There’s so much emphasis put on starting quarterbacks at most schools, we always forget about what they’ve done,” Craig, now a wide receivers coach at Auburn, says. “Jeremy started an SEC game last year and threw for 240 yards in the first half against one of the top defenses in the conference. I’m not concerned about him or his possibilities.”

 

• • •

 

Despite two seasons as Marshall’s understudy, Johnson will be a very different weapon than the man who preceded him as Auburn’s quarterback. A towering specimen at 6'5", 230 pounds, Johnson is built more like Newton than the 6'1", 220-pound Marshall, but he’s more of a pocket passer than either of those two star signal callers.

 

From the time he first started taking snaps for Carver-Montgomery High in Alabama’s state capital, Johnson has been most dangerous from the pocket, where he can unleash an NFL-caliber arm.

 

“He’s got all the arm talent you could want,” Tigers offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee says. “He can throw the ball vertically down the field. He can hit every throw on the field to boundary, to intermediate, to field comebacks. He can make every throw on the NFL route tree — throw a very tight, good ball.”

 

Related: Buy the 2015 SEC Preview Magazine

 

Malzahn won’t try to fit Johnson into Marshall’s unique mold. In nine seasons at the college level, Malzahn has always built his system around his quarterback’s strengths, rather than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

 

With Marshall at the helm, Auburn deployed a devastating running game built around the zone-read, a play uniquely suited to capitalize on Marshall’s prodigious talents in the open field.

 

Johnson presents a different test for defenses. Although Malzahn doesn’t like to go into detail, expect Auburn’s hurry-up, no-huddle to return to the Wing-T-influenced, running back-driven rushing attack of 2009 and emphasize the passing game more to take advantage of Johnson’s incredible arm.

 

He has the weapons to beat teams through the air. D’haquille Williams, who might be the No. 1 receiver in the 2016 NFL Draft, returns as one of the nation’s best possession and red-zone threats to lead the receiving corps.

 

“I’m expecting some big things from those two guys,” Craig says. “They’ll probably break all (of Auburn’s) passing records this year.”

 

The Tigers also bring back experienced pass catchers Ricardo Louis and Marcus Davis, talented receivers who’ve been biding their time in complementary roles and now finally have a chance to shine.

Johnson looks like the perfect distributor to get the ball to all of that talent.

 

“It’s my strength,” Johnson says. “I feel really good about sitting back and making throws, but I’ll run if I have to.”

 

• • •

 

Auburn may not abandon the quarterback run entirely with Johnson at the helm. His right arm might be Johnson’s best asset, but the notion that he can’t make defenses pay with his legs is beginning to bother him. In high school, Johnson was a two-sport star, athletic enough to lead Carver to a state basketball championship in 2012.

 

And in a highly anticipated high school showdown against Auburn High and five-star linebacker Reuben Foster (now at Alabama), Johnson rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns, often on quarterback draws where he was isolated against Foster in the open field.

 

He might not have Marshall’s speed and elusiveness on the perimeter, but Johnson believes he can be a different kind of weapon in the running game.

 

“I’m a downhill runner, the power read instead of the read option,” Johnson says. “I can also use my feet if I have to if the pocket breaks down and make plays. People say I can’t run, but I’m going to show them what I can do.”

 

• • •

 

Due to the difference in playing styles, Johnson didn’t pick up much from the way Marshall played on the field.

 

Off the field, though, the two quarterbacks were close, and one of Marshall’s underrated abilities caught Johnson’s attention. Early in Marshall’s career, the team rallied around his leadership; although he was quiet, Marshall’s calm demeanor in the clutch set the tone for the rest of the Tigers.

 

“Being a quarterback, you have to be that leader to where your teammates are going to follow you no matter what,” Johnson says. “I’ve got to be able to get them to look right at me and be able to say: ‘Can I trust this person?’”

 

Johnson has tried to follow in those footsteps this offseason, organizing impromptu throwing sessions with receivers, cultivating a close relationship with Williams and focusing on making the Tigers his team.

Before Williams decided to return for his senior season, he consulted with Johnson, who offered the receiver his support without begging him to come back.

 

That spoke volumes to Williams.

 

Now, Johnson’s task is to become that kind of confidant for the entire team.

 

“I’m looking forward to bringing everybody in to where if I say we’re going to move right, the whole team moves right,” Johnson says.

 

Johnson spent two long years waiting behind Marshall. For two years, he was the perfect understudy, learning to lead without undermining Marshall’s status as Auburn’s bell cow. Now, after all that waiting, it’s his team.

 

“It feels great,” Johnson says. “I’m just trying to become a leader first to where my team can follow me, but mainly my goal is to win a national championship.”

 

If Johnson can do that, he’ll take his place with Marshall in the Auburn pantheon.

Teaser:
New Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson Could Be Even Better than Nick Marshall
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 09:00
Path: /mlb/torii-hunter-gets-tossed-and-then-undressed
Body:

The Minnesota Twins have been pretty hot over the past month of baseball, but Torii Hunter was the hottest last night. After two straight strike calls, the latter that struck Hunter out, he immediately got into the umpire’s face to argue. He shared his disagreement with the umpire after the first close strike and then exploded after the strikeout.

 

He continued to yell at the umpire and was quickly ejected, and then manager Paul Molitor was also thrown out. Then, after continuing his tirade, he walked away a few feet and began undressing on the field, throwing his shin guard, his gloves, and his jersey. As a normally easygoing player, the 39-year old brought the crowd to its feet, bringing on a loud cheer for his entertaining debacle. 

Watch Hunter's reaction below and judge for yourself whether or not it was a strike:

Teaser:
Torii Hunter Gets Tossed and Then Undressed
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 14:40
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/browns-punter-andy-lee-changes-number-honor-late-daughter-49ers-cleveland
Body:

Andy Lee was traded to the Browns from the 49ers and decided to change his number. 

 

After wearing No. 4 in San Francisco for 11 season, he will now sport No. 8 in honor of his late daughter. Lee's daughter, Madeline, lived eight days before passing away in January from complications.

 

"I think sometimes, not necessarily by me and my wife, her life can get overlooked," Lee said according to the team's website. "She was here, she was a person but nobody got to meet her, nobody got to see her. She was really alive and really a person. It's a way to honor her and kind of just give her some glory she deserves."

 

Lee is starting a new chapter with the Browns, while making sure to remember the past.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 14:34
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News, Magazines
Path: /magazines/athlon-archive-longhorns-inc-texas-rakes-green-0
Body:

During the summer of 2010, the college football world hinged on what Texas might do next. True, Nebraska had left for the Big Ten, Texas A&M and Missouri were soon to leave for the SEC, and the Pac-10 expanded to 12 teams.

 

Yet for a time, it was reported at one point Texas would abandon the Big 12 to join the Pac-10. Five Big 12 members would join the Longhorns to form a Pac-16 superconference. That development remained a pipe dream, but this piece from 2011 explains how Texas still solidified itself as college football’s biggest power player.

 

Originally published in Athlon’s 2011 Big 12 Annual

By Michael Bradley

 

When DeLoss Dodds took over as athletic director at Texas in 1981, he didn’t have to try so hard to learn everybody’s name. With only 70 or so people working in the department, he probably needed less than a month to meet his staff and become acquainted with their job descriptions. A welcome luncheon or two and a couple trips around the building probably did it. 

 

Of course, anybody trying to do the same thing at UT today would need a collection of mnemonic devices, a mandatory name-tag policy and an assistant willing to follow him around whispering people’s names and their positions just to get a good start. Maybe after a year, he would know that Doris coordinates team travel, Bob is in charge of the equipment room and Mack is the football coach. Okay, so maybe remembering Mack’s name wouldn’t be so hard, especially since he’s responsible for about $94 million in income for the department each year.

 

“We have $143 million in revenues, and that’s different than when I came — it was just $4.5 million,” Dodds says. “It takes more people to run that kind of a business.”

 

The operative word in college athletics today is “business.” Schools are searching for more creative and effective ways to fatten their bottom lines, whether it’s through sponsorship deals, stadium expansions, media partnerships or all of the above. Financing a broad-based and successful program takes money and lots of it. Generating the revenue necessary to be first class these days involves a collection of moving parts and a vision that is always trained on future opportunities and revenue streams. 

 

Right now, no school does it better than Texas, which has the highest revenues of any NCAA school and which should hold on to that title for years to come thanks to the new Longhorn Network, a UT-centric TV initiative that will generate $300 million over the next 20 years and provide the kind of promotional vehicle that is unparalleled in college athletics. When added to Texas’ already-successful collection of initiatives — including the Big 12 Conference’s recent 13-year, $90 million per year deal with Fox Sports — the groundbreaking partnership with ESPN will establish the department further as not only the wealthiest but also the most innovative in the nation.

 

“(The network) is a huge branding thing for the university, not just athletics,” Dodds says. “We have a network we can use for promoting the brand of the university.”

 

For years, schools have been using successful sports programs as first-tier methods of attracting interest. Win a national championship and watch admissions applications double. Reach the Final Four and set new records for alumni donations. Although faculty members grouse — rightly — about high salaries and facilities arms races that require huge expenditures, there can be no denying the impact of winning on the fields and courts. Texas, which has captured 13 national titles and more than 100 conference crowns during Dodds’ tenure, certainly has the résumé to justify its spending ($136.7 million in ’09-10) and the profit ($6.8 million in ’09-10) to counter any argument about frivolous economic practices.

 

Face it: Although Texas has the second-largest endowment of any university in the nation, behind Harvard, and has several world-class academic programs, its identity for many involves a full football stadium and the band’s playing “The Eyes of Texas” after a touchdown. To that end, Dodds and his people are working to improve every facet of the program, from facilities to personnel to fundraising and more. That way, the Longhorns will be able to maximize the use of their athletics success for the university.

 

“On many campuses, athletics are looked at as separate,” Dodds says. “We don’t want to be separate. We want to be an integral part.”

 

While Dodds works on that synergy, other Big 12 members are in lower tax brackets. Sure, Oklahoma is trying to set up a sports network of its own, but the state’s small population (one-sixth of the Lone Star State’s) won’t guarantee a payday like Texas received. Although the Fox deal, coupled with the league’s relationship with ESPN/ABC, will guarantee most schools between $15-17 million a year, Texas will go well beyond that, thanks to the Longhorn Network.

UT also reaps more money from the other TV deals, thanks to its stronger national profile. In 2007, the last year tax data was available, Texas received $10.2 million from the league’s TV deals, while Baylor got only $7.1 million.  Believe it or not, that does not bother the other schools, who understand Texas’ value to the Big 12 — it would have broken apart had the Longhorns left for the Pac-12 last summer, as was rumored — and what it means to have the chance to play in Texas.

 

If the Big 12 is worried about anything, it shouldn’t be whether Texas is making more money — it’s whether the Longhorns will consider going independent, the better to cut TV deals that will bring them more money and greater scheduling flexibility. The loss of the Longhorns would cripple the Big 12 and perhaps signal an exodus of Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. Against that doomsday scenario, what’s a few million dollars?
 

“Our overhead and expenses at Kansas State are lower than those at Texas,” says John Currie, athletic director at KSU, which received $8.21 million in TV revenues in ’07. “If they get two or three million more a year, that’s no big deal. Their expense ratio’s much larger.

 

“We’re not worried about how we share it. We have to worry about growing the pie. We have to realize individual institutions have different needs.” 
 

It’s a pretty simple equation for David Carter, a professor of sports business at USC and executive director of the school’s Sports Business Institute. With each passing day and every new groundbreaking deal, college athletics become less about the competition and more about the money.

 

“The major Division I programs are looking and feeling more like professional sports all the time,” Carter says.

 

 

Few fans are naïve enough any more to think that the college sports climate of the 1950s and ’60s was of the idyllic, extra-curricular variety. Schools were trying to maximize success and revenues then, but the model had not yet been constructed to allow for a flood of profit. Visionaries like Michigan AD Don Canham in the 1970s helped lay the groundwork for modern marketing efforts, and the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1984 that gave schools and conferences control over their television rights was a major step toward the Longhorn Network.

 

But as technology booms, new media spreads and promotional tactics (luxury suites, corporate sponsorships, merchandise options) become more sophisticated and professional in style, the potential for revenue increases is colossal. Thanks to the increased opportunities, schools are pushing ahead with programs like never before, to the point where the on-field competitions themselves seem complementary to the overall “experience,” rather than the reason for it all.

 

“Schools are recognizing the tremendous demands to consume their products in all forms,” Carter says. “So, they are running to daylight as fast as they can.”

 

Texas is certainly in full sprint. From 2005-10, the Longhorn athletic department’s revenues grew nearly 50 percent, from $98.1 million in ’05-06, to the $143.6 million that came in ’09-10. Many of the line items found in the department’s fiscal report — like concessions, camps or conference distributions — remained relatively the same or experienced modest growth. The real money was made in three primary areas — ticket sales, contributions and sponsorships. And each represents a new approach to the collegiate athletics model.

 

Consider Memorial Stadium, home to the Longhorn football program. Its capacity has swelled from 80,000 to 94,000, and a portion of the new seats has been of the suite/club variety. Revenue on football ticket sales went from $20 million in ’05 to $33 million in ’09, a big reason for the football program’s robust bottom line.

 

The Longhorns have also had a big spike in overall advertising and sponsorship revenues, with the bottom line growing from $9.7 million to $22.1 million from ’05-10. More sophisticated techniques and expanded partnership programs gave a greater number of businesses access to UT athletics during that time. Like many big-time athletic programs, the taboos of in-stadium/arena signage or overt promotional considerations, such as game sponsorship and scoreboard advertising, no longer exist for Texas. Memorial Stadium has not reached the level of many professional venues, which are festooned with ads, but don’t be surprised if that happens soon. 

 

“There was no marketing staff a year ago,” Dodds says. “Now, we have 10 people on that staff. Our fundraising arm has tripled in size and tripled in revenues.”

 

It’s important to remember that a lot of that $143.6 million — and a sizeable portion of the football program’s $70 million net income in 2009 — funds other Longhorn teams. Only men’s basketball ($6.7 million net income) and baseball ($1.9 million) made money in 2009-10. Each of the school’s other 17 sports relied on money raised by football, men’s basketball and baseball to survive. Granted, the tennis teams’ combined budget of $1.68 million is nearly $800,000 less than what the football team’s travel expenses were in 2009-10, but those squads still depend on the athletic department’s ability to squeeze every dollar out of the profitable programs. 

 

Then there are the facilities. In addition to improving and expanding Memorial Stadium, Texas has in the past five years added a new softball venue, expanded the school’s rowing center, built a golf academy and renovated the Erwin Center, which houses the men’s and women’s basketball programs. It’s one thing to have a successful program and another to have the types of arenas, stadia, fields and practice facilities to lure future athletes to campus.

 

“You have to keep up with the Joneses,” Carter says. “When you’re recruiting players, a lot of times it comes down to the training facilities and other amenities that in their minds prepare them for the next level.”

You can’t blame some people for thinking that any opponent that happens to take part in a game being televised by the Longhorn Network might just be in for a tough time. It’s hard to imagine Iowa State’s women’s basketball team getting fair analysis from courtside commentators who rode to the game on Bevo’s back and are dressed like members of the Longhorn Marching Band.

 

Okay, so maybe that is an exaggeration. A big exaggeration. Network broadcasters won’t have to sign off with a quick “Hook ’em” sign to the cameras or wear burnt orange blazers on the air.

 

“We might have ‘The Eyes of Texas’ playing during a broadcast,” Stephanie Druley says. “But we won’t have it running under commentary or analysis.”
 

Druley is a proud UT graduate (broadcast journalism, ’89) who is heading back to Austin to help oversee the Longhorn Network’s launch and subsequent daily operations. She and fellow ESPN alum Dave Brown are tasked with making the school’s TV initiative look and feel like a top-shelf outfit. They’ll employ the same production tactics that one finds on any other ESPN game telecast, studio show or remote broadcast and make sure to give viewers a high-quality presentation while advancing the Texas brand. “We intend this to look like an ESPN product,” Druley says.

 

When Texas’ multimedia rights holder IMG College first set out to find a TV partner for the school, which had the ability to create its own network because the Big 12 Conference does not own its members’ television rights, ESPN had never been involved in anything like it. It paid big fees to broadcast professional and collegiate games but never was allied directly with a team, league or conference. The idea of working directly with Texas was not only unheard of; it was also a big risk. It was one thing for the Big Ten to create its own network, since it included 11 (now 12) schools that spanned six (now seven) states. To create a station that would focus on just one school was a big step.

 

“There are 25 million people in the state,” Brown says. “If there were not 25 million people, the economics wouldn’t allow us to take a shot at making this work.”

 

The numbers just work in Texas’ favor. That’s not to say ESPN won’t try to build a partnership with another school down the road, but the numbers and flexibility available through Big 12 membership make Texas the perfect place to start.

 

So does the breadth of available programming options. Even though the Longhorn Network will televise only one football and eight men’s hoops games per year, there is plenty of other inventory across the school’s other 18 varsity programs. Plus, the network will air non-sports programming that provides avenues for the arts, sciences and general university activity. The Texas archives will also come into play. “Robert DeNiro’s personal archives are there,” Druley says. “There’s a wealth of stuff.”

 

The network’s overriding goal, as with everything done in the name of athletics, is to advance the university’s reputation — and bottom line. To that end, one-third to one-half of revenues for at least the first few years will go to the school, rather than the athletic department. The money will be used to finance a pair of endowed faculty chairs in physics and philosophy, among other things. At a time when UT is facing proposed cutbacks of nearly $100 million in the state’s two-year budget, everything helps, even though you don’t have to work hard to find faculty members who aren’t thrilled with Texas’ athletic expenditures when academic programs face the reaper’s scythe.

 

But as Texas builds its brand, what does it mean for the rest of the Big 12? The conference already distributes TV funds unequally, the better to reward its more popular teams. By generating another $10-20 million per year, UT can gain a competitive edge through better facilities, coaches and equipment. Dodds, of course, believes this rising TV tide will lift all Big 12 vessels.

 

“The other Big 12 teams are part of this network, too,” he says. “In the end, there are a lot of joint things going on in the conference. If we play Baylor in baseball, they could be on our network, and it’s a win-win for everybody.

 

“It’s not Texas getting too big athletically. We did it for our student-athletes and the university.”

 

Currie echoes that sentiment, although what other choice does he have? He points to Kansas State’s “national” alumni base as a reason for supporting Texas’ initiative and reminds us that the Wildcats beat Texas in football and basketball this year. So much for a competitive disadvantage.

 

“We like the Longhorn Network,” Currie says. “When Kansas State plays the University of Texas in any sport, we’ll be on the Longhorn Network in the state of Texas. That allows us to reach our second-largest alumni base, the Dallas Metroplex.”

 

And play a supporting role in Longhorns, Inc.’s latest initiative.

Teaser:
Athlon Archive: Longhorns, Inc. - Texas Rakes in the Green
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 14:22
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News, Magazines
Path: /magazines/athlon-archive-nebraska-joins-new-frontier-big-ten
Body:

Five years ago this week, Nebraska became the first domino in a wave of conference realignment. The Cornhuskers broke from their traditional Big 8 roots and became the 12th member of the Big Ten.

 

The move gave us the Legends and Leaders divisions and disrupted college football summers for two years to come.

 

Here’s how and why Nebraska made the move.

 

Originally published in Athlon 2011 Big Ten annual

By Mike Babcock

 

Tim Marlowe was already thinking about tickets to the Nebraska-Ohio State football game in the spring, even though the game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln won’t be played until Oct. 8.

 

Marlowe, a junior wide receiver and kick returner for the Huskers, is from Youngstown, Ohio, and he needs tickets for family and friends —as many tickets as he can get. Players are allotted four tickets for each game. But they can trade among themselves. And that’s what Marlowe plans to do.

 

“There’ll be a lot of fighting in the locker room come October,” he says.

 

Not because of the number of Huskers from Ohio, however — Marlowe is among only a handful — but rather because of Ohio State’s tradition, and because it is now a conference opponent.

 

On June 11, 2010, Nebraska applied for membership in the Big Ten. And later that day, the Big Ten unanimously accepted its 12th member, commencing on July 1, 2011. 

 

Marlowe might have been the happiest Husker when the official announcement was made. 

 

“I’d say so,” he says. “At first, I was thinking it was just a rumor. I didn’t want to get too hyped up on it. But then when I saw that it was really getting serious, I’m getting real excited, calling all my friends, setting dates when we’re going to play them.”

 

Talk of a possible change in conference affiliation went from speculative to serious because of Nebraska’s concerns about the stability of the Big 12 Conference, which University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman said “probably wasn’t going to hold together.”

 

The rumors had several schools leaving the Big 12. There was talk of a group of teams — including Texas and Oklahoma — going to the Pac-10, where Colorado did go. Missouri was rumored to be headed to the Big Ten, either instead of Nebraska or in addition to the Huskers.

 

Also at issue was concern over a disproportionate South Division influence, in particular that of Texas. From the Big 12’s first season in 1996, the focus of the conference began gravitating to the south, symbolized by its offices being moved from traditional home Kansas City, Mo., to Dallas. 

 

“There’s a little bit of nostalgia because you realize some of the history’s going by the wayside,” Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne said the day the move was announced.

 

“It isn’t that we weren’t sensitive (to tradition). Believe me, I agonized about this.”

 

From the point of view of many Nebraskans, however, the disconnect had begun when Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor joined the former Big Eight, setting tradition aside.

 

For example, the formation of the Big 12, with its divisional alignment, meant that the Huskers would no longer play Oklahoma annually but rather twice every four years. The schools had been members of the same conference since 1921 and had played each other in football every season since 1928. Nebraska-Oklahoma was the Big Eight’s signature rivalry. 

 

Nebraska’s association with Missouri, Kansas, Iowa State and Kansas State goes back even further. Missouri and Kansas were first on Nebraska’s schedule in 1892, though Missouri forfeited rather than compete against an African-American player, Nebraska’s George Flippin.

 

Later they were members together of the Missouri Valley Conference, which preceded the Big Six (formed in 1929). With the addition of Colorado, the conference began competition as the Big Seven in 1948, and with the addition of Oklahoma State, the league became the Big Eight in 1960.
 

 

Despite that history, however, Nebraska had to make the move for what Osborne called “the long-term trajectory of the athletic program and the university.”

 

Affiliation with the Big Ten has significant academic and research implications as well. Athletic revenue was also a factor, as was exposure on the Big Ten Network, which will help offset travel considerations for Husker fans. Big 12 campuses were more accessible, in general, for team travel and fans in the state’s most populous areas, Lincoln and Omaha. 

 

Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State and Missouri are within reasonable driving distance, as is Colorado for fans in the central and western parts of the state. Even Oklahoma and Oklahoma State weren’t that far. Now, the closest to Nebraska’s campus is Iowa, at 300 miles. Next is Minnesota, at 430. Every other Big Ten school is at least 450 miles from Lincoln.

 

Nebraska does, however, fit the culture of the Big Ten. “It’s a comfortable fit,” says Osborne. “I do think that there’s a lot of similarity, an emphasis on work ethic; a lot of people are fairly blue collar, pretty good values throughout the Midwest, so I think that’s going to help.”

 

Also, Nebraska has some history with Iowa and Minnesota. Iowa was its first out-of-state football opponent in 1891, and the Huskers played Minnesota regularly, though not annually, from 1900 through the early 1970s. In fact, Minnesota leads the all-time series 29–20–2, despite losing the last 14 games.

 

The Huskers are in the Big Ten’s Legends Division for football, along with Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State and Northwestern. Penn State is Nebraska’s designated cross-divisional rival, which means those teams will play every season.

 

The Big Ten designated four college football “brands” in aligning the divisions, with two in each division. Nebraska and Michigan are in the Legends, Ohio State and Penn State in the Leaders Division. The Huskers’ other cross-divisional opponent in the first two years is Wisconsin. Welcome to the Big Ten. “The schedule will be challenging,” Osborne said when it was announced.

 

“I think it will be cool going to Michigan and Penn State, even though we’ve got them back-to-back,” says senior safety Austin Cassidy. “Playing in front of 100,000 people, that’s not something very many people get to say that they’ve done in their lifetime.”

 

Cassidy went to high school in Lincoln but grew up in Texas.

 

“Do we play Michigan State away?” Alfonzo Dennard, a senior cornerback from Rochelle, Ga., asked at the start of spring practice. “I haven’t looked at the schedule really. … Oh yeah, Michigan. I want to play at Michigan because (of) how big the stadium is. I want to, like, experience that.”

 

Only a few Huskers are from Big Ten country, senior wide receiver Brandon Kinnie among them. Though Kinnie graduated high school in Kansas City, Mo., he was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Ind., where much of his extended family lives. A cousin, Dre Muhammad, plays for Indiana. And even though he and Muhammad, also a senior, will be finished before Nebraska and Indiana are scheduled to play in football, “I’m excited about it (the move),” Kinnie says.

 

Nebraska’s coaching staff has a pronounced Big Ten background. Coach Bo Pelini, defensive coordinator Carl Pelini and first-year offensive coordinator Tim Beck are all (like Marlowe) from Youngstown’s Cardinal Mooney High School. So they’re returning home, sort of.

 

During a news conference to announce the Big Ten’s acceptance of Nebraska, Bo Pelini was asked about the move. “I’m not a real emotional guy,” he said with a wry smile.

 

The comment drew laughter. The Huskers’ fourth-year head coach is emotional, all right. If you don’t think so, watch him on the sideline. He’s just not sentimental about such things.

Teaser:
Athlon Archive: Nebraska Joins New Frontier in Big Ten
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News, Magazines
Path: /magazines/athlon-archive-byu-football-lone-cougar
Body:

This summer is the five-year anniversary of conference realignment that shook up college football. Nebraska announced in 2010 it would join the Big Ten. The dominoes of Utah and Colorado to form the Pac-12 followed that same summer.

 

At the same time, BYU made perhaps the most risky move of all by choosing to go independent. By 2015, the Cougars, Notre Dame and Army would be the only independents in Division I.

 

Here’s how and why the move happened.

 

Originally published in Athlon’s Pac-12 2015 Annual.

By Michael Bradley

 

Last summer, when schools throughout the Big 12 Conference were wondering about their athletic futures as Texas and its cronies wondered whether it made sense to go West, the idea of football bachelorhood seemed ridiculous. Why would anybody want to go it alone, when strength was obviously to be gained by affiliating with the biggest, baddest programs around? After years of sensible groupings based on geography and reasonable travel, ages-old rules no longer applied. 

 

Colorado was a “Pacific” school. So was Utah. TCU would eventually join the Big East. The Rust Belt now extended to the Plains and Nebraska. And Hawaii was in the Mountains. There was talk of adding Rutgers to the Big Ten and Texas A&M to the Southeastern Conference — even though the Aggies were once proud Southwest Conference members.

 

Up was down. Hip-hop was Easy Listening. Dogs and cats, living together. All in the name of a secure home and access to BCS dough.

 

And then, late last August, BYU saw other schools’ craziness and raised them in absurdity. At a time when conference membership was everything, the Cougars declared their independence. They would no longer be part of a conference for football and were leaving the Mountain West for the West Coast Conference in every other sport. Some referred to the move as “bold.” Many thought it was crazy. And even BYU understands that the move is not a guaranteed success.

 

“We’re in uncharted waters,” Cougar athletic director Tom Holmoe says. 

The culprit in all of this is television, that demon tube (or flat screen) that has spawned all of the seismic activity on the collegiate sports front. The Cougars have surplus programming and a large audience they believe wants it, and their old arrangement with the MWC didn’t allow them to get it all on the air. Holmoe insists the school tried to work out an agreement with its former league, but it just didn’t happen. It thought about returning to the WAC, its ancestral conference home. It knew the Pac-10 wasn’t interested. So, instead of complaining about not having control over its future, BYU decided to go alone.

 

“(The Mountain West) didn’t have the foresight to see what we wanted,” Holmoe says. “There were nine teams in the conference, with Boise State coming in. They knew we were unhappy with the TV arrangement, but it didn’t seem to matter.”

 

On the surface, it appears as if the Cougars are taking a huge chance, even if they do have an eight-year deal with ESPN to televise most of their home games and the freedom to assemble a schedule that suits them. There are only three independent teams in the FBS ranks. One, Notre Dame, has a special deal with the BCS and its home games on the Notre Dame Broadcasting Company, er, NBC. The other two, Army and Navy, have national followings, no need to increase endowments or win a facilities arms race, and bowl tie-ins that provide postseason homes if they earn as many as six wins. It makes sense for them to be on their own. But BYU? Now, you’re talking crazy.

 

Or are you? The Cougars have their own TV network, Brigham Young Broadcasting, which brings “family programming” to 55 million people around the country. The school’s 300,000-plus living alumni are scattered throughout the nation — particularly California and the Pacific Northwest — making that network ripe for growth. And through its affiliation with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU has a vast audience for its message and brand. 

 

“A number of years ago, we said that we have this incredible resource in BYU Broadcasting that we could take advantage of,” Holmoe says. “But we weren’t able to. One way to do it was to go independent.”

 

Last year, when the Big Ten was looking to grow and was considering its options, it reached out — again — to Notre Dame. The Irish looked at their choices, considered the possibilities and stayed independent. From South Bend, BYU’s decision to go alone is not rash or ill conceived. In fact, it’s quite logical.

 

“To do this, you need a reason that is related to the school’s mission,” ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick says. “It makes sense for BYU, just as it does a Catholic school like Notre Dame.”

 

The Cougars are following the Irish model, since they will be rugged individualists only on the gridiron. Just as ND is a member of the Big East for all other sports, BYU will participate in the WCC off the football field. It is easily argued that the school has taken a step down from the Mountain West, until the secret weapon steps in. Without ESPN, BYU’s decision would be particularly ill-advised. But with the four-letter folks picking up all but one (Idaho State) of the Cougars’ home games this year and working to assemble a contract that highlights BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s and the rest of the West Coast Conference schools on the hardwood, the concept makes sense.

 

Of course, it all starts with football. That’s what brought ESPN on board. The network’s relationship with BYU goes back to the days when the school was the scourge of the WAC and was playing in the Holiday Bowl — and on ESPN — almost  every year.

 

 

“I think people associate BYU football with exciting offense,” says Dave Brown, who helped put together ESPN’s football schedule for years and now runs the Longhorn Network. “People will play BYU, so we’ll get good games on our schedule.”

 

The Cougars’ 2011 home campaign isn’t going to inspire a run on the ticket office, but a six-year deal with Notre Dame has blockbuster potential. Texas visits Provo in 2013. Georgia Tech will be coming to town down the line, as will Boise State. “There haven’t been too many teams we have called that we haven’t been able to work out a deal with,” Holmoe says. Lining up quality opposition is the easy part. Balancing the schedule is more difficult. Swarbrick admits that it’s tough to put some easier games on the slate, particularly when the TV networks are asking for quality matchups. But he has learned to avoid loading the slate.

 

“Being independent gives you the opportunity to play anybody,” he says. “You feel obligated to take advantage of it. You have to find a balance. If you have a TV partner, you feel obligated to schedule good games.”

 

The Cougars will play good teams, on practically every night of the week, the better to get on ESPN’s main station and away from The Deuce, ESPNU and ESPN Classic. They will strive for excellence in order to qualify for BCS paydays. “We’re like any other college that’s ranked in the system,” Holmoe says of the BCS. And they will play basketball against the Zags and their WCC brethren, with a contract that could well be better than what the Mountain West had. 

 

While Holmoe talks about the aforementioned “uncharted waters” of independence, at a time when everybody else is looking for the most secure home possible, he also says, “We didn’t want to wait.”

Brigham Young is moving ahead. Boldly. Confidently.

 

And, maybe, it’s just a little crazy. Then again, what in college athletics makes sense these days?

Teaser:
Athlon Archive: BYU Football is a Lone Cougar
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 13:47
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, Overtime
Path: /overtime/fallen-hoops-star-lauren-hill-honored-indiana-basketball-hall-fame
Body:

Lauren Hill did so much in her 19 years of life.

 

The basketball star raised money for cancer research through her charity, Layup 4 Lauren, and became a household name. It seemes like all she wanted to do is play with her teammates one last time, and she got that wish and so much more.

 

The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame is honoring the young star with a brick donated by Shannon Freeman-Frogge, an Indiana All-Star player. The former hoops player was touched at all Hill accomplished.

 

 

Hill joins some of the greatest players in the world now that she's a permanent part of the Hall of Fame.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 12:33
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/these-mashed-logos-college-football-rivals-will-burn-your-eyes
Body:

Every college football fan knows that one person whose opinion changes of a friend or colleague as soon as they learn they’re a fan or graduate of a rival school.

 

Perhaps you are that person.

 

Let’s say you’re an Alabama fan and your co-worker seems pleasant enough until you find out he or she has a cubicle full of Auburn memorabilia.

 

If you’re that person, look away.

 

Some person with a sick mind combined rival logos in college football, blending Auburn and Alabama, Alabama and Tennessee, Florida and Georgia and more.

 

It’s gross.

 

(h/t @RedditCFB and @FakeJoshJohnson)

 

 

 

 

View post on imgur.com
Teaser:
These Mashed-Up Logos of College Football Rivals will Burn your Eyes
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 12:15
Path: /college-football/big-ten-football-2015-all-conference-team
Body:

Ohio State is the favorite to win college football’s 2015 national championship, and a quick glance at Athlon’s projected All-Big Ten shows how loaded coach Urban Meyer’s team is for this year. The Buckeyes place nine players on the first team, including projected starting quarterback Cardale Jones and running back Ezekiel Elliott.

 

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

 

Related: 2015 Big Ten Predictions

 

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

 

Big Ten Team Previews for 2015

East Division
 
National
Rank:
605734713265
West Division
 
National
Rank:
64534529588419

Visit the Athlon Sports Online Store to order a copy of the 2015 Big Ten Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 14 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 
 

 

Athlon's 2015 All-Big Ten Team

 First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense
Third-Team
Offense
Fourth-Team
Offense
QBCardale Jones
Ohio State 
Connor Cook
Michigan State 
Christian Hackenberg
Penn State 
Wes Lunt
Illinois 
RBEzekiel Elliott
Ohio State 

Justin Jackson
Northwestern 

Josh Ferguson
Illinois 
Ty Isaac
Michigan 
RBCorey Clement
Wisconsin 
Jordan Howard
Indiana 

Akeel Lynch
Penn State 

Terrell Newby
Nebraska 
APDe'Mornay Pierson-El
Nebraska 
Curtis Samuel
Ohio State 
Dan Vitale (TE)
Northwestern 
Amara Darboh (WR)
Michigan  
WRLeonte Carroo
Rutgers 
Michael Thomas
Ohio State 
Jordan Westerkamp
Nebraska 
Geronimo Allison
Illinois 
WRDaeSean Hamilton
Penn State 
Jalin Marshall
Ohio State 
Alex Erickson
Wisconsin 
Aaron Burbridge
Michigan State 
TEJosiah Price
Michigan State  
Jake Butt
Michigan 
Nick Vannett
Ohio State 
Kyle Carter
Penn State 
CJack Allen
Michigan State 
Dan Voltz
Wisconsin 
Austin Blythe
Iowa 
Robert Kugler
Purdue 
OGPat Elflein
Ohio State 
Dan Feeney
Indiana 
Ted Karras
Illinois 
Brian Allen
Michigan State 
OGTyler Marz (OT)
Wisconsin 
Josh Campion
Minnesota 
Jordan Walsh
Iowa 
Chris Muller
Rutgers 
OTTaylor Decker
Ohio State 
Alex Lewis
Nebraska 
Keith Lumpkin
Rutgers 
Jacoby Boren (C)
Ohio State 
OTJack Conklin
Michigan State 
Jason Spriggs
Indiana 
Andrew Nelson
Penn State 
Mason Cole
Michigan 
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DEJoey Bosa
Ohio State 
Drew Ott
Iowa 
Jihad Ward
Illinois 
Kemoko Turay
Rutgers 
DEShilique Calhoun
Michigan State 
Yannick Ngakoue
Maryland 
Lawrence Thomas
Michigan State  
Dean Lowry
Northwestern 
DTAnthony Zettel
Penn State 
Adolphus Washington
Ohio State 
Austin Johnson
Penn State 
Theiren Cockran (DE)
Minnesota  
DTMaliek Collins
Nebraska 
Darius Hamilton
Rutgers 
Vincent Valentine
Nebraska 
Malik McDowell
Michigan State 
LBDarron Lee
Ohio State 
Ed Davis
Michigan State 
Mason Monheim
Illinois 
James Ross III
Michigan 
LBJoshua Perry
Ohio State 
Nyeem Wartman
Penn State 

Steve Longa
Rutgers 

De'Vondre Campbell
Minnesota 
LBVince Biegel
Wisconsin 
Raekwon McMillan
Ohio State 
Ja'Whaun Bentley
Purdue 
Joe Schobert
Wisconsin  
CBWilliam Likely
Maryland 
Eric Murray
Minnesota 
Darius Hillary
Wisconsin 
Desmond King
Iowa 
CBEli Apple
Ohio State 
Briean Boddy-Calhoun
Minnesota 
Nick VanHoose
Northwestern 
Sojourn Shelton
Wisconsin 
SVonn Bell
Ohio State 
Nate Gerry
Nebraska 
Jabrill Peppers
Michigan 
Tyvis Powell
Ohio State 
SMichael Caputo
Wisconsin 
Jordan Lucas
Penn State  
Frankie Williams
Purdue 
Jordan Lomax
Iowa 
 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
Fourth-Team
Specialists
KBrad Craddock
Maryland 
Rafael Gaglianone
Wisconsin 
Paul Griggs
Purdue 
Jack Mitchell
Northwestern 
PPeter Mortell
Minnesota 
Cameron Johnston
Ohio State 
Sam Foltz
Nebraska 
Blake O'Neill
Michigan 
KRJanarion Grant
Rutgers 
R.J. Shelton
Michigan State 
Jalen Myrick
Minnesota 
William Likely
Maryland 
PRDe'Mornay Pierson-El
Nebraska 
Jalin Marshall
Ohio State 
William Likely
Maryland 
Frankie Williams
Purdue 

Related: 2015 Big Ten Predictions


 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2015 All-Big Ten Team
 FirstSecondThirdFourth

Illinois

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Indiana

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Iowa

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Maryland

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Michigan

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Michigan State

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Minnesota

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Nebraska

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Northwestern

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Ohio State

Offense: 4

Defense: 5

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Penn State

Offense: 1

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Purdue

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 1

Rutgers

Offense: 1

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Wisconsin

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

 

Teaser:
Big Ten Football 2015 All-Conference Team
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/mac-football-2015-all-conference-team
Body:

The MAC should have plenty of offensive fireworks in 2015. There’s no shortage of talent at quarterback in this league, beginning with UMass’ Blake Frohnapfel, as the senior headlines Athlon’s 2015 All-MAC team. However, Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Michigan’s Zach Terrell, Buffalo’s Joe Licata, Northern Illinois’ Drew Hare and Central Michigan’s Cooper Rush are all in the mix for all-conference honors. The MAC also features two star running backs capable of pushing for All-America honors in Toledo’s Kareem Hunt and Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin.

 

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

 

Related: 2015 MAC Predictions

 

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

 

MAC 2015 Team Previews
East Division
 
National
Rank:
97781051191219892
West Division
 
National
Rank:
94111127807581

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

 

 

Athlon's 2015 All-MAC Team

 First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense
Third-Team
Offense
Fourth-Team
Offense
QBBlake Frohnapfel
UMass 
Matt Johnson
BGSU 
Zach Terrell
WMU 
Joe Licata
Buffalo 
RBKareem Hunt
Toledo 
Travis Greene
BGSU 
A.J. Ouellette
Ohio 
 
Trayion Durham
Kent State 
RBJarvion Franklin
WMU 
Anthone Taylor
Buffalo 
Joel Bouagnon
NIU 
Devon Spalding
CMU 
APTajae Sharpe (WR)
UMass  
Ron Willoughy (WR)
Buffalo 
Daniel Braverman (WR)
WMU 

Ronnie Moore (WR)

BGSU 

WRCorey Davis
WMU 
Corey Jones
Toledo 
Alonzo Russell
Toledo 
Jesse Kroll
CMU  
WRRoger Lewis
BGSU 
Jordan Williams
Ball State 
KeVonn Mabon
Ball State 
Rokeem Williams
Miami (Ohio)  
TERodney Mills
UMass  
Matt Weiser
Buffalo  
Tommylee Lewis (WR)
NIU  
Juwan Brescacin (WR)
NIU  
CAndrew Ness
NIU 
Nick Beamish
CMU 
Jacob Richard
Ball State 
Lucas Powell
Ohio 
OGAlex Huettel
BGSU 
Dylan Brumbaugh
Akron 
Logan Dietz
BGSU 
Mike Lucas
Ohio 
OGJames Kristof
WMU 
Aidan Conlon
NIU 
Trevan Brown
Miami, Ohio 
Jalen Schlachter
Ball State 
OTWillie Beavers
WMU 
Steven Bell
Ball State 
Ramadan Ahmeti
CMU 
Reno Reda
Kent State 
OTStorm Norton
Toledo 
Tyrell Smith
UMass 
Jacob Bennett
BGSU  
Taylor Moton
WMU  
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DEPerez Ford
NIU 
Tarell Basham
Ohio 
Blake Serpa
CMU 
Jamal Marcus
Akron 
DETrent Voss
Toledo 
Joe Ostman
CMU 
Bryson Albright
Miami, Ohio 
Nathan Braster
WMU 
DTPat O'Connor
EMU 
Treyvon Hester
Toledo 
Jabari Dean
CMU  
Nate Terhune
Kent State 
DTCody Grice
Akron 
Orion Jones
Toledo 
Rodney Coe
Akron 
Darnell Smith
Ball State 
LBJatavis Brown
Akron 
Grant DePalma
WMU 
Ben Ingle
Ball State 
Zack Ryan
Ball State 
LBGreat Ibe
EMU 
Boomer Mays
NIU 
Quentin Poling
Ohio  
Rasheen Lemon
NIU  
LBJovan Santos-Knox
UMass 
Jovon Johnson
Ohio 
Kent Kern
Miami, Ohio  
Matt Dellinger
Kent State 
CBRandall Jette
UMass 
Cheatham Norrils
Toledo 
Najee Murray
Kent State  
Ian Wells
Ohio 
CBParis Logan
NIU 
Ronald Zamort
WMU 
Heath Harding
Miami, Ohio  
Trey Dudley-Giles
UMass 
STony Annese
CMU 
Jordan Italiano
Kent State 
DeJuan Rogers
Toledo 
Kavon Frazier
CMU  
SNate Holley
Kent State 
Marlon Moore
NIU 
Rontavious Atkins
WMU  
Larry Hope (CB)
Akron 
 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
Fourth-Team
Specialists
KTyler Tate
BGSU 
Andrew Haldeman
WMU 
Robert Stein
Akron 
Dylan Mulder
EMU  
PAnthony Melchiori
Kent State 
Zach Paul
Akron 
Joe Davidson
BGSU 
J. Schroeder
WMU 
KRDarius Phillips
WMU 
Devin Campbell
Buffalo 
Khary Bailey-Smith
UMass 
Clint Stephens
BGSU 
PRCorey Jones
Toledo 
Tommylee Lewis
NIU 
Ryan Burbrink
BGSU 
Daz'mond Patterson
Ohio 
Related: 2015 MAC Predictions

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2015 All-MAC Team

 FirstSecondThirdFourth

Akron

Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Ball State

Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Bowling Green

Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 2 
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1 

Buffalo

Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Central Michigan

Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0

Eastern Michigan

Offense: 0 
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 1

Kent State

Offense: 0 
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0 
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Miami, Ohio

Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0 
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Northern Illinois

Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 2
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Ohio

Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1

Toledo

Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 0

UMass

Offense: 3
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1 
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Western Michigan

Offense: 3
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 

 

Teaser:
MAC Football 2015 All-Conference Team
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: AFC, AFC North, Balitmore Ravens, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/why-breshad-perriman-and-maxx-williams-are-key-baltimore-ravens-2015
Body:

For the first time since 2008, the Baltimore Ravens used their first two picks in the NFL Draft to select offensive players. In the first round, they took speedy wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who looks to fill in for Torrey Smith. With their next pick, the Ravens selected Maxx Williams, the first tight end drafted, who many considered to be the best in this year’s rookie class. The Ravens want to shed the long-held belief that they are just a defensive team, especially as they have made significant progress on offense just last year. Both players seem to factor into starting roles during the season with the skill sets they bring to the team out of college.

 

Related: 5 Key Questions for the Baltimore Ravens During the Summer

 

Breshad Perriman

After notching career highs in passing yards and touchdowns, Joe Flacco seems to only progress over time. Yet, Flacco will be without deep threat Torrey Smith this year, after he left for the 49ers in free agency. The Ravens quickly addressed his departure by drafting Perriman, whose 6-2 frame and 4.24 40-yard dash helped send his draft stock high. Perriman should look like Smith out on the field with his blazing speed and ability to stretch the field. A deep threat is essential for Flacco in new coordinator Marc Trestman’s offense, and there is no doubt that Perriman will be running long from the beginning of the season. 

 

Perriman will be essential to the Ravens’ success during the season, as he’ll be lined up across from Steve Smith from the start. Smith is still an incredible player, but at 36 years old, he can’t do all the work alone. Many evaluators show concern over Perriman’s hands because of drops in college, although Torrey Smith had the same issue early on. The first-rounder out of the University of Central Florida will play a vital role for the Ravens, especially with questions at the third wide receiver and tight end positions.

 

Maxx Williams

Williams will either be very important or extremely important this season, depending on the health of Dennis Pitta, Flacco’s favorite target and best friend. The Ravens have historically been successful at the tight end position, starting with Shannon Sharpe and Todd Heap, and more recently Pitta and Owen Daniels. This position has constantly provided insurance in the passing game, especially in the underneath passes. A two-tight end base system looks to be the way the Ravens are headed, and Williams figures to be an integral part of it. Hopefully Pitta will return, but with no guarantees, Williams will be involved greatly on offense. 

 

With much youth in the receiving game, Flacco will be certain to use Williams on short passes and in the middle of the field, especially when under pressure. Similar in build to Pitta, Williams should provide a matchup problem for most linebackers covering him. His ability to block will probably be greatly overshadowed by his receiving production, as the Ravens have focused more on developing pass catchers at tight end, a common trait among the elite at the position in the NFL. Flacco needs more big targets like Pitta because of his comfort level throwing to him, especially as an option when other receivers are covered. The Ravens got through most of last season with one tight end, but just the potential of having Pitta and Williams on the field this season could make this offense that much more dangerous.

 

 

(Breshard Perriman and Maxx Williams photos courtesy of BaltimoreRavens.com)

Teaser:
Why Breshad Perriman and Maxx Williams are Key to the Baltimore Ravens in 2015
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: NBA
Path: /nba/tbt-16-year-old-lebron-james-talks-about-desire-win-cavaliers-kirk-herbstreit
Body:

It's difficult to imagine LeBron James as anything other than a beast. Even as a 16-year-old, he had the will to win.

 

In an interview with 10TV, a high school James is interviewed by Kirk Herbstreit about his desire to win four state championships and eventually make it in the NBA. My how time flies.

 

"Every day you've got to go out there and work because there's someone out there working too — and if you stop, I think they can pass you up," James said. 

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 09:19
All taxonomy terms: Overtime, World Cup
Path: /overtime/keith-olbermann-wants-hope-solo-suspended-world-cup-espn-domestic-violence
Body:

Keith Olbermann doesn't tolerate domestic violence of any kind. No one is exempt.

 

The ESPN personality recently gave his opinion about Hope Solo's domestic violence issues and how unfair it is that she is still a part of the U.S. team for the World Cup. She's not only representing her team, but this country.

 

"If Hope Solo was a player in the National Football League her best case scenario would be suspension," Olbermann started.

 

 

Olbermann says Solo deserves immediate suspension and those in charge should take a good look at themselves for even allowing her to play at all.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 15:40
All taxonomy terms: NASCAR, News
Path: /nascar/staying-positive-martin-truex-journey-nascar-story-holds-water
Body:

It’s been a busier than usual news week for NASCAR as it settles into its summer swing. A P1 penalty for Jimmie Johnson was rescinded Tuesday, Michael Waltrip Racing swapped personnel within its two Cup programs and NASCAR CEO Brian France expressed his support of a driver-organized council, one whose goal is to improve competition. At this point, Sunday’s race winner should be an afterthought.

 

Not this time. Not when it’s Martin Truex Jr.

 

There are so many pieces here that have made Truex’s win at Pocono a popular one. He drives for a single-car NASCAR program, Furniture Row Racing whose trip to Victory Lane Sunday was just their second in a decade of operation. A David in a sea of NASCAR Goliaths, FRR operates through the cash of owner Barney Visser, choosing to operate 2,000 miles away from the sport’s central hub of Charlotte, N.C. Based in Denver, a small group of 20- and 30-something dreamers, whose passion is racing and whose bond is each other, have been able to triumph against those with ten times the personnel and twice the funding. The No. 78 car, which once struggled to even qualify, has now led the most laps in four straight Cup races, led by a rookie crew chief in Cole Pearn, who was thrown into the fire, blind after former head wrench Todd Berrier was fired.

 

There’s Truex, the driver himself whose three-win Cup career has been marked by missed opportunities and bad luck. He followed mentor Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Cup, a seat earmarked at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., only for Earnhardt himself to leave the program. The team was sold, his opportunity slowly wilted and he moved on, jumping ship to Michael Waltrip Racing. A stint replacing Waltrip in the NAPA Toyota was admirable, peaking with a 2012 playoff appearance. But then, at Richmond the following fall a teammate’s intentional spin left a career spinning out of control. “Spingate,” the NASCAR scandal that cost Truex a 2013 bid in the Chase, left him an innocent victim, without a sponsor and a ride despite no knowledge of the plan for MWR to sneak him in the playoffs at all costs.

 

That left him scrambling, creating a last-minute “hope against hope” arrangement with FRR. It was a forced marriage that felt like it, producing a total of one lap led in 2014 along with a lone top-5 finish. The buzz entering 2015 was whether Truex would have a ride in Cup, let alone continue a partnership that clearly appeared to not be working out as anticipated. To turn that around this season, posting four top-5 results, 13 top 10s, a win and 486 laps led to date is one of the sport’s all-time comeback performances.

 

But the piece most important of all, one that transcends life and breathes life into others is the story of Truex’s long-term girlfriend, Sherry Pollex. Diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she’s spent the past year shedding organs, enduring chemotherapy and dealing with an uncertain future. A couple preparing for children and potential marriage was left instead with the emptiness of fear, the horror of treatment, a seismic earthquake the word “cancer” brings into one’s life.

 

Truex, given the option of six months off to help Pollex with her illness pressed on, inspired by her support and positive attitude through it all.

“She showed me what she was made of,” he said Sunday. “And I was like, wow, if she can do that, I can do this. This is easy. Honestly, just learned a lot from her and worked hard, never gave up, believed in myself the whole time, and that's what it takes.”

 

On top of all that, last week the driver’s grandmother passed away, leading to a somber weekend at Pocono. It all adds up to an emotional rollercoaster, an additional hill to climb in a Rocky Mountain Range of disadvantages. With these types of situations, for an athlete to overcome adversity the willpower involved can drain all but the strongest individuals.

 

“He's had more to overcome personally and professionally than probably anybody sitting in a seat right now,” Johnson claimed. “For him to still walk in the garage every week with a smile on his face, climb in the car, put in the effort, be the great guy he is I think speaks volumes.”

 

No wonder the six-time champ joined Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick, and a long list of individuals fist-pumping Truex in Victory Lane. It’s the type of garage solidarity surrounding a victory the sport has rarely seen since Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s marquee Daytona 500 moment in 1998.

 

The running theme in both of those instances was respect, both for the person and for the challenge they’ve overcome. But Truex won’t let success get to his head, because he sees the challenge Pollex goes through firsthand every single day. “Victory Lane Sunday, chemo Monday” was the reality they faced as Pocono wound down. An ugly disease, one that touches far too many in this world would not be squashed by a race-winning trophy.

 

But Truex, Furniture Row Racing and the people surrounding them fight the fight the best way they know how: through love and bonding around one another. It’s a mental advantage that makes them the Butler of this Fall’s Chase Roulette, a tournament underdog that can come close to pulling it off despite their many disadvantages. Would you bet against a program manned with immeasurable belief in themselves? It’s the type of fortitude champions are made of.

 

Either way, Truex and his team are forever a champion in their own right. That’s why his story still holds water midweek.

 

Through the Gears we go…

 

FIRST GEAR: An Unappealing Appeals Ruling

 

News Tuesday a NASCAR Appeals Panel rescinded a P1 penalty toward Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team was confusing at best, frustrating at worst. The penalty, assessed for back-to-back written warnings, was based on an illegal side skirt pull at the All-Star Race followed by a failure in pre-qualifying inspection the following week. NASCAR chose to make Johnson pick the last pit stall at Dover for the infraction.

 

Except that disadvantage, one that could have cost Johnson his Dover victory, never happened. The team appealed (smartly) so that even if they had lost this week, picking the last pit stall at a place like Michigan would be inconsequential. The wide pit road there, as opposed to the narrow one at Dover’s Monster Mile, minimized the damage from an issue the appeals panel wound up striking down anyways.

 

Once again, the largest problem surrounding it all was the lack of information. NASCAR claimed the team failed pre-qualifying inspection at Charlotte. Why? How? What was wrong? Even in the appeal panel’s decision, we never found out although a “preponderance of the evidence” suggested the inspection should never have been deemed a failure. That decision, negating one of the written warnings and the resulting penalty came without more specifics.

 

It all adds up to a whole lot of gray in a modern world where sporting decisions need to be based in black and white. Every NFL penalty can be replayed over 50 cameras but NASCAR can’t provide even a simple written explanation for their own rules? That’s a problem. No wonder why so many fans claim conspiracy theories, claiming Johnson’s a cheater. NASCAR never gives the evidence to stop them.

 

SECOND GEAR: The Cream Rises to the Top

 

Truex’s win Sunday was all the more impressive considering the slate of top-5 finishers. Kevin Harvick, who tied a modern-era record with his 10th top-2 finish in the season’s first 14 races, ran second. (The only other driver to achieve such a feat: Bobby Allison in 1972). Sprint Cup win leader Johnson, one week removed from his fourth victory ran third, followed by Ford’s Joey Logano and Chevy’s Kurt Busch.

 

Those five cars, now with nine wins between them, have remained the main contenders to make NASCAR’s Final Four at Homestead. Even during a Pocono race filled with comers and goers, each found their way to the front and stayed there. It’s the same story virtually every week and it takes outside circumstances and bad luck for these drivers to disappear from view.

 

Expect that to continue over the near-term. Joe Gibbs Racing, whose drivers have tasted success in recent weeks still has a chance to crash the party. But Harvick, Busch, Truex, Johnson and Logano have carried so much raw speed compared to the rest of the competition they naturally rise to the top at almost any racetrack. Sunday’s win showcased just how much the others have to catch up.

 

THIRD GEAR: Teammates Turning Rivals? Yes, Please

 

For the second straight week, NASCAR found itself with “teammates” squabbling. One week after Dover caused XFINITY Series drivers Chris Buescher and Darrell Wallace Jr. to go at it we found Ryan Newman angry with satellite “teammate” A.J. Allmendinger. The ‘Dinger, racing Newman with his No. 47, lost control in turn 1 and bumped the No. 31 Chevy hard into the outside wall.

 

“It’s pretty obvious what happened” said Newman, whose 39th-place finish was also his first DNF of the season. “The No. 47 (Allmendinger) just ran out of talent. He has got one coming now.”

 

Finally, the sport has some emotions leaking out in a season where we’ve seen little on-track contact. In Newman’s case, like with Wallace, the victim is likely to hold a grudge. His Chase hopes may have been damaged, putting him on the defensive and the ‘Dinger wasn’t exactly his close friend. In a sport where time and proximity allows drivers to get along, far more than they did back in the day, reducing the importance and homogeny of the word “teammate” is rather refreshing.

 

FOURTH GEAR: Chase Picture Becomes More Intriguing

 

Truex was the 10th driver to win a race in 2015. That leaves six spots left in the Chase with 12 races remaining. Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon, the top three drivers in the standings without a win, have a huge cushion on their competition. Gordon, whose anger with crew chief Alan Gustafson is boiling over, still has no chance of missing the playoff with retirement looming.

 

The next trio of Paul Menard, Aric Almirola and Ryan Newman also had a healthy lead over their rivals. However, each of them experienced Pocono adversity; the trio produced an average finish of 34th. That allowed Clint Bowyer to creep within 20 points of a spot with resurgent sophomore Kyle Larson also back in striking distance.

 

Now, we might have a race for those spots. Bowyer, whose MWR team gave him a new crew chief Tuesday, has been paired with unproven Billy Scott. It’s a wild card that could lead him to threaten the drivers above; Larson, meanwhile has the momentum of two top-10 finishes in a row. Further back, Kyle Busch continues to creep toward the top 30 in points and may very well win a race, tightening the Chase bubble among these drivers fighting for it. Add in Tony Stewart, who could win at any time, and this summer storyline should heat up.

 

Someone who’s now out appears to be Danica Patrick; her wreck Sunday, robbing her of a Pocono top-10 performance, left her 46 points back of Newman and without the experience or the consistency needed to catch up. The biggest question now becomes whether Stewart-Haas Racing will keep her beyond this season; sponsorship has not materialized yet to replace the departing GoDaddy.

 

OVERDRIVE

 

Here we go again. NASCAR claimed Johnson’s team took four times to go through pre-race inspection at Pocono. Penalties could be forthcoming this week. How? Why? We don’t have more information than that. Surprise, surprise… Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who crashed Sunday, now has three straight finishes of 37th or worse. His No. 17 program, once a title contender with Matt Kenseth, can’t even crack the top 25 in points. It just seems like his tenure with Roush Fenway Racing is running out… Pocono’s tunnel turn produced plenty of criticism, bumps caused by a harsh winter worrying drivers their cars would simply spin out. But the wreckfest in turn 2 never materialized; for its part, the track has pledged to smooth out the area by the time teams return in August.

 

— Written by Tom Bowles, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and the Majority Owner of NASCAR Web site Frontstretch.com. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @NASCARBowles.

 

Photos by Action Sports, Inc.

Teaser:
Staying Positive: Martin Truex Jr.’s Journey is a NASCAR Story That Holds Water
Post date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 12:30
All taxonomy terms: Washington Nationals, MLB, News
Path: /mlb/nationals-draft-mariano-rivera-jr-son-great-yankees-closer
Body:

Athletic ability is at least part genetic and how you grow up, and that rings certain in the Rivera household. Mariano Rivera Jr, son of the greatest closer in MLB history, Mariano Rivera, was drafted by the Nationals in the fourth round of the MLB Draft as a pitcher. The Yankees, the team his father played for, were very high on him, after drafting him last season in the 29th round. However, Rivera took a gamble to spend another season at Iona College, which paid off well, being taken 25 rounds earlier than last year.

 

Although one day playing for the same team as his father would be incredible, now there is at least some relief that Yankees fan won’t be expecting that same type of Hall of Fame production. The younger Rivera looks to leave a legacy of his own, but he will certainly live in his father’s shadow for at least some time. 

Take a look below at how he plans to progress in the MLB under a legend:

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 12:16
All taxonomy terms: Russell Wilson, NFL
Path: /nfl/will-mega-deals-wilson-and-luck-mean-end-seahawks-and-colts
Body:

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league and no matter how many great prospects come out of college, only a small handful will develop into players who can consistently win.


While the implementation of a rookie salary cap has eased the amount of risk and cap space team must allot to new signal-callers, paying a quarterback more than anyone else on your roster is almost inevitable with any small amount of success.

 

Cam Newton is just the most recent to sign a major deal — five years, $103.8 million with $67.6 million guaranteed in the first three years — setting the bar for soon-to-be-extended Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck. Teams must pay their quarterbacks, and it often must come at the expense of the middle and bottom of their roster.

 

Related: What's Ryan Tannehill Done to Deserve a $96 Million Contract from Miami?

 

The Colts and Seahawks remain in the sweet spot with their quarterbacks on rookie deals. As the first overall pick, Luck's rookie deal wasn't peanuts, even with the rookie salary cap, at four years, $22.1 million.

 

While the third-round pick Wilson enters the final year of his rookie deal that has paid him just under $3 million total. Even after leading his team to two Super Bowls and one title, Wilson ranks just 21st in salary on his own team

 

The great advantage to hitting on a young quarterback is the small window where their salary is not going to overwhelm the salary cap. It allows teams to surround them with even more talent, especially via free agency. However, in the process this actually only sets the bar higher for the pay day the young quarterbacks will expect with their second contract because of the money being spent on the weapons around them.

 

Both the Seahawks and Colts were able to make splashy moves this offseason, with the Seahawks trading for Jimmy Graham and the Colts adding veterans like Frank Gore, Andre Johnson and Trent Cole. However, the imminent contracts of Wilson and Luck will force their team's hands when it comes to the rest of the roster.

 

Seattle will face a number of hard decisions as Wilson is not the Seahawks' only impact player due to hit free agency next season with Bobby Wagner, Russell Okung, Brandon Mebane, Bruce Irvin and Jermaine Kearse also entering the final year of their contracts. 

 

Indianapolis has their own set of free agents that they will try to re-sign along with Luck, including tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, receiver T.Y. Hilton and left tackle Anthony Castonzo. 

 

Can the Seahawks and Colts keep their quarterbacks without letting the rest of their young talent walk? Yes, the NFL is a quarterback-drive league, but at what price does it negatively impact the rest of the roster?

 

The New England Patriots have been a dominant team for 15 years while paying an elite quarterback, but Tom Brady's willingness to not break the bank and often restructure his deal has given the team enough flexibility to maintain their "building a balanced 53-man roster" philosophy. Not all quarterbacks are that willing.

 

The huge deals that Wilson and Luck will undoubtedly sign in the next year will have a major impact on their teams and take them out of the sweet spot they currently sit in. The long-term competitiveness of their teams won't necessarily depend on how big the initial dollar amounts are, but how flexible Wilson and Luck will be in the future when it comes to moving money around to open cap space.

 

The salary cap is designed to keep an even playing field, but not even the best quarterbacks in the game can keep their team consistently in the Super Bowl hunt by themselves. But once again it goes back to what got the teams in this position in the first place - drafting well. That is the only way to beat the cap, even if your quarterback is willing to take a team-friendly deal.

 

The coming contracts for Wilson and Luck will hit the reset button for their respective rosters, but if their teams are able to replace the cap casualties that are sure to follow with more cap-friendly rookies, both the Seahawks and Colts should remain competitive.

 

But with more money and potentially less talent around them, the pressure will surely mount on Newton, Luck and Wilson to deliver.

 

— Written by Mike Dussault, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and writer/editor of PatsPropaganda.com (@PatsPropaganda), a comprehensive blog covering the New England Patriots.

Teaser:
Will Mega-Deals for Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck Mean the End of the Seahawks and Colts?
Post date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 11:30
Path: /mlb/giants-pitcher-chris-heston-no-hits-mets-hits-three-mets
Body:

Chris Heston came into last night’s game against the Mets with some flashes of brilliance but also shaky inconsistency in several starts. He wasn’t even supposed to start this season in the majors, but an injury to Matt Cain brought him into the rotation.

 

Nevertheless, Heston no hit the Mets in dominating fashion, fanning 11 batters and only allowing a couple balls to even leave the infield. More bizarrely however, the only batters he allowed on base were by hit pitches, two in a row in the fourth and one to start the ninth. The three hit batters in a no-hitter are the most since 1914, but it is also the first time a pitcher has struck out three batters in the ninth since 1965. And not only did he have his best game pitching, he even added a two RBI single in the fourth and a second single in the seventh. Yes, he had two more hits than the entire Mets team. 

Look below to see his final strikeout and celebration:



 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 11:29
All taxonomy terms: NBA, Overtime
Path: /overtime/jimmy-kimmel-exposes-fake-warriors-fans-lie-witness-news-lebron-james-jordan-steph-curry
Body:

Jimmy Kimmel is out to expose fake basketball fans.

 

The late night host released a special Warriors edition of "Lie Witness News" where he asked "fans" randome questions about their team that doesn't make sense. These people are asked about Stevie Nicks and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, neither of whom play for the Warriors.

 

 

Just take a second to think if LeBron James wanted to change his name to Michael Jordan and you haven't heard from every single person on the planet, it's probably a lie. Don't get caught in it.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 11:27
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/bob-costas-rips-espn-its-bruce-caitlyn-jenner-arthur-ashe-award-dan-patrick
Body:

Bob Costas has been the voice of sports for years. The Syracuse alum has paid his dues, and with that comes the permission to give his valued opinion on various matters.

 

While on the "Dan Patrick Show," Costas was asked about Caitlyn Jenner and ESPN's decision to give her the Arthur Ashe Award. At the eight-minute mark, the broadcast legend said he wished Jenner well but then gave an honest opinion about ESPN.

 

"It strikes me that awarding the Arthur Ashe Award to Caitlyn Jenner is just a crass exploitation play, it's a tabloid play," Costas said. "I'm pretty sure they could've found someone who was much closer to actively involved in sports who would've been deserving of what that award represents."

 

 

Judging by the public outcry, there are many people who share Costas' sentiments.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 10:33
Path: /college-football/sec-football-2015-all-conference-team
Body:

It’s no secret college football’s best talent resides in the SEC. While the talent at quarterback is down this year, there’s no shortage of potential All-America candidates on defense and at running back. And choosing which players from the 14 teams make Athlon’s 2015 All-SEC team is no easy assignment considering the overall depth of this league.

 

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

 

Related: 2015 SEC Predictions

 

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

 

SEC 2015 Team Previews
East Division
 
National
Rank:
26105527372279
West Division
 
National
Rank:
216415211120

 

Visit the Athlon Sports Online Store to order a copy of the 2015 SEC Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 14 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 
 

Athlon's 2015 All-SEC Team
First Team Second TeamThird TeamFourth Team
QB Dak Prescott
Mississippi State 
Jeremy Johnson
Auburn 
Joshua Dobbs
Tennessee 
Kyle Allen
Texas A&M 
RB Nick Chubb
Georgia  
Derrick Henry
Alabama 
Jalen Hurd
Tennessee 
Ralph Webb
Vanderbilt 
RB Leonard Fournette
LSU 
Jonathan Williams
Arkansas 
Russell Hansbrough
Missouri  
Boom Williams
Kentucky 
AP Pharoh Cooper
South Carolina 
Alex Collins (RB)
Arkansas 
Speedy Noil (AP) 
Texas A&M 
Jovon Robinson (RB)
Auburn 
WR Laquon Treadwell
Ole Miss 
De'Runnya Wilson
Mississippi State 
Josh Reynolds
Texas A&M 
Keon Hatcher
Arkansas 
WR D'haquille Williams
Auburn 
Demarcus Robinson
Florida 
Marquez North
Tennessee 
Travin Dural
LSU 
TE Hunter Henry
Arkansas 
Evan Engram
Ole Miss 
O.J. Howard
Alabama 
Jeb Blazevich
Georgia 
C Ryan Kelly
Alabama 
Mike Matthews
Texas A&M 
Evan Boehm
Missouri  
Jon Toth
Kentucky 
OG Greg Pyke
Georgia 
Conner McGovern
Missouri 
Justin Malone
Miss. State 
Jashon Robertson
Tennessee 
OG Sebastian Tretola
Arkansas 
Alex Kozan
Auburn 
Avery Young (OT)
Auburn 
Brandon Kublanow
Georgia 
OT Laremy Tunsil
Ole Miss 
Denver Kirkland
Arkansas 
Vadal Alexander
LSU 
Jerald Hawkins
LSU 
OT Cam Robinson
Alabama 
Dan Skipper 
Arkansas 
John Theus
Georgia 
Germain Ifedi
Texas A&M 
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DEDerek Barnett
Tennessee 
Jon Bullard
Florida 
Carl Lawson
Auburn 
Jarran Reed
Alabama 
DEMyles Garrett
Texas A&M 
Jonathan Allen
Alabama 
Marquis Haynes
Ole Miss 
Issac Gross
Ole Miss 
DTRobert Nkemdiche
Ole Miss 
Harold Brantley
Missouri 
Montravius Adams
Auburn 
Taiwan Johnson
Arkansas 
DTA'Shawn Robinson
Alabama 
Chris Jones
Miss. State 
Davon Godchaux
LSU 
Adam Butler
Vanderbilt 
LBReggie Ragland
Alabama 
Antonio Morrison
Florida 
Cassanova McKinzy
Auburn 
Stephen Weatherly
Vanderbilt 
LBJordan Jenkins
Georgia 

Curt Maggitt (DE/LB)

Tennessee 

Kendell Beckwith
LSU 
Kris Frost
Auburn 
LBKentrell Brothers
Missouri 
Leonard Floyd
Georgia 
Skai Moore
South Carolina 
Denzel Nkemdiche
Ole Miss 
CBVernon Hargreaves III
Florida 
Tre'Davious White
LSU 
Jared Collins
Arkansas 
Taveze Calhoun
Miss. State 
CBJonathan Jones
Auburn 
Cam Sutton
Tennessee 
Cyrus Jones
Alabama 
Kenya Dennis
Missouri 
STony Conner
Ole Miss 
Jalen Mills
LSU 
Mike Hilton
Ole Miss 
Quincy Mauger
Georgia 
SJamal Adams
LSU 
Brian Randolph
Tennessee 
Johnathan Ford
Auburn 
Brian Poole
Florida 
 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
Fourth-Team
Specialists
KAustin MacGinnis
Kentucky 
Marshall Morgan
Georgia 
Elliott Fry
South Carolina 
Daniel Carlson
Auburn 
PJK Scott
Alabama 
Drew Kaser
Texas A&M 
Jamie Keehn
LSU 
Landon Foster
Kentucky 
KRDarrius Sims
Vanderbilt 
Boom Williams
Kentucky 
Leonard Fournette
LSU 
Speedy Noil
Texas A&M 
PRIsaiah McKenzie
Georgia 

Tre'Davious White
LSU 

Speedy Noil
Texas A&M 
Cam Sutton
Tennessee 

Related: 2015 SEC Predictions

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2015 All-SEC Team
 FirstSecondThirdFourth

Alabama

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Arkansas

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 4

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Auburn

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 4

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Florida

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Georgia

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Kentucky

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1 

LSU

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Missouri

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 2

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Miss. State

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Ole Miss

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0 

South Carolina

Offense: 1 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Tennessee

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0

Defense: 3 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1 

Texas A&M

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1 

Vanderbilt

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

 

Teaser:
SEC Football 2015 All-Conference Team
Post date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/conference-usa-football-2015-all-conference-team
Body:

Could Conference USA have a contender for the Group of 5 bowl spot among college football’s top postseason destinations? WKU is a team to watch as the Hilltoppers return an explosive offense behind quarterback Brandon Doughty. The senior headlines the All-Conference USA team, along with two other members from WKU’s offense on the first team. In addition to WKU’s players, there’s no shortage of Louisiana Tech and Marshall players in the mix for all-conference honors.

 

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

 

Related: 2015 Conference USA Predictions

 

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

 

Conference USA 2015 Team Previews
East Division
 
National
Rank:
128107112708811369
West Division
 
National
Rank:
8611789116100123

 

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

 

 

Athlon's 2015 All-Conference USA Team

 First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense
Third-Team
Offense
Fourth-Team
Offense
QBBrandon Doughty
WKU 
Driphus Jackson
Rice 

Jaquez Johnson

FAU 

Jeff Driskel
Louisiana Tech 
RBDevon Johnson
Marshall 
Leon Allen
WKU 
Ray Lawry
ODU 
Shane Tucker
MTSU 
RBKenneth Dixon
Louisiana Tech 
Aaron Jones
UTEP 
Kalif Phillips
Charlotte 
Jowan Davis
Rice 
WRJared Dangerfield
WKU 
Zach Pascal
ODU 
Paul Turner
Louisiana Tech 
Carlos Henderson
Louisiana Tech 
WRTrent Taylor
Louisiana Tech 
Taywan Taylor
WKU 
Austin Duke
Charlotte 
David Washington
ODU 
APCarlos Harris (WR)
North Texas 
Deon-Tay McManus (WR)
Marshall 
Michael Thomas (WR)
Southern Miss 
Jeffrey Wilson (RB)
North Texas 
TEJonnu Smith
FIU 
Tyler Higbee
WKU 
Marcus Smith
North Texas 
David Morgan II
UTSA 
CKaydon Kirby
North Texas 

Cameron Tom

Southern Miss 

Kirby Wixson
Louisiana Tech 
Eric Lee
UTEP 
OGDarius Johnson
MTSU 
Will Hernandez
UTEP 
Brandon Ray
WKU  
Mikingson Marsaille
FAU 
OGAndrew Reue
Rice 
Tyler Fisher
ODU 
Jordan Budwig
FIU 
Derek Elmendorff
UTEP 
OTClint Van Horn
Marshall 
Reggie Bain
FAU 
Connor Mewbourne
ODU 
Rashod Hill
Southern Miss 
OTForrest Lamp
WKU 
Caleb Williams
Rice 
Aaron Nielsen
FIU 
Jamal Covington
Charlotte 
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DEMichael Wakefield
FIU 
Roy Robertson-Harris
UTEP 
Trey Hendrickson
FAU 
Gary Thompson
Marshall 
DEVontarrius Dora
Louisiana Tech 
Gavin Rocker
WKU 
Denzell Perine
FIU 
Chad Polk
North Texas 
DTVernon Butler
Louisiana Tech 
Brandin Bryant
FAU 
Jontavious Morris
WKU 
Poncho Barnwell
ODU 
DTTrevon Coley
FAU 
Stuart Mouchantaf
Rice 
Patrick McNeil
MTSU  
Brian Price
UTSA 
LBT.T. Barber
MTSU 
Alex Lyons
Rice 
Alvin Jones
UTEP 
Nick Thomason
Louisiana Tech 
LBD.J. Hunter
Marshall 
Drew Douglas
UTSA 
T.J. Ricks
ODU 
Fred Scott
North Texas 
LBNick Holt
WKU 
Evan McKelvey
Marshall 
Davison Colimon
FIU 
Treyvon Williams
FIU 
CBRichard Leonard
FIU 
Cre'von LeBlanc
FAU 
Wonderful Terry
WKU 
Kenny Buyers
North Texas 
CBAdairius Barnes
Louisiana Tech 
Bennett Okotcha
UTSA 
Ryan Pollard
Rice 
Bryson Abraham
Louisiana Tech 
SXavier Woods
Louisiana Tech 
Taj Letman
Marshall 
A.J. Leggett
Marshall 
Devin Cockrell
UTEP 
SKevin Byard
MTSU 
Kentrell Brice
Louisiana Tech 
Fellonte Misher
ODU 
Branden Leston
WKU 
 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
Fourth-Team
Specialists
KTrevor Moore
North Texas 
Jay Mattox
UTEP 
Garrett Schwettman
WKU 
Austin Taylor
FIU 
PTyler Williams
Marshall 
Dalton Schomp
FAU 
James Farrimond
Rice 
Eric Keena
North Texas 
KRAutrey Golden
UTEP 
Deandre Reaves
Marshall 
Carlos Henderson
Louisiana Tech 
Richard Leonard
FIU 
PRRichard Leonard
FIU 
Darvin Kidsy
North Texas 
Casey Martin
Southern Miss 
Trent Taylor
Louisiana Tech 

 

Related: 2015 Conference USA Predictions

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2015 All-C-USA Team
 FirstSecondThirdFourth
Charlotte

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

FAU

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

FIU

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 2

Louisiana Tech

Offense: 2

Defense: 4

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 2 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Marshall

Offense: 2 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

MTSU

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

North Texas

Offense: 2

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 1

Old Dominion

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Rice

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2 

Defense: 2 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Southern Miss

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

UTEP

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 2 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

UTSA

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

WKU

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

 

Teaser:
Conference USA Football 2015 All-Conference Team
Post date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: NBA, Overtime
Path: /nba/urban-meyer-leads-crowd-ohio-chant-lebron-james-cleveland-cavaliers-buckeyes
Body:

Urban Meyer is used to pumping up a group of college football players, but he went above and beyond the call of duty at the Cavaliers game against the Warriors.

 

The Ohio State coach led the crowd in by yelling "O-H" and letting them continue with the "I-O." Meyer missed his golden opportunity to wear his custom Cavs jersey.

 

 

It must've worked because the Cavaliers won and took a 2-1 series lead. 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 09:49
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-all-128-college-football-head-coaches-2015
Body:

Ranking every college football coach is an impossible task. However, coaching is a critical component to every collegiate program. Needless to say, success with any college football team starts with coaching. Even if a program doesn’t have the resources of the nation’s elite jobs, a good coach can elevate a program into national title contention. However, similar to any position on the field, statistics may not tell the full story when judging a coaching tenure.

 

This is not simply a list of coaches ranked by accomplishment or wins. While those aspects are important, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of how successful coaches are. Winning 10 games at Alabama is different than winning 10 games at Kentucky. Also, every program has a different amount of resources available. Hierarchy in college football also plays a vital role in how successful programs are. It's always easier for programs with more built-in advantages to contend for a national title on a more consistent basis.

 

A couple of other factors to consider when ranking coaches: How well are the assistants paid? A staff with two of the nation’s top coordinators could be a sign the head coach is better as a CEO and may not be as strong in terms of developing gameplans. How is the coach in the X’s and O’s? Can the coach recruit? Are the program’s facilities on par with the rest of the conference? Much like assistants, a program needs good facilities to win big. If a team is winning at a high level with poor facilities and a small budget, it reflects positively on the head coach. Is the coach successful at only one stop? Or has that coach built a solid resume from different jobs?

 

Again, wins are important. But our rankings also take into account a blank slate. If you start a program from scratch, which coach would you hire knowing what they accomplished so far and their career trajectory? Remember, you don't get the assistants - only the head coach. And head-to-head wins do not matter for this ranking.

 

Here’s the full 128 list of coach rankings, as voted on by the Athlon Sports staff for 2015.

 

By Conference: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

 

Ranking All 128 College Football Coaches for 2015

 

1. Nick Saban, Alabama

Record at Alabama: 91-17 (8 years)

Career Record: 182-59-1 (19 years)

 

Maintaining a place among college football’s elite every year is no easy task. However, as long as Alabama has Saban, the Crimson Tide will factor into the Playoff mix and remain among the nation’s top threats to win the national championship every season. In Saban’s eight years in Tuscaloosa, Alabama has won 10 games at least seven times and has not lost more than one game in SEC play in four years. And of course, we can’t forget about the three national championships during the BCS era. Additionally, the Crimson Tide has seven consecutive finishes inside of the top 10 in the final Associated Press poll. Recruiting and developing talent is another strength of the program under Saban, as Alabama has reeled in the No. 1 recruiting class over the last five seasons and 48 players have been drafted since 2009. 

 

Related: SEC 2015 Predictions

 

2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Record at Ohio State:
 38-3 (3 years)

Career Record: 142-26 (13 years)

 

There was never really any doubt about his place among the nation’s best coaches, but if there was, Meyer clearly solidified his top billing with Ohio State’s 2014 season. The Buckeyes lost their No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks, yet won 14 games and claimed the national championship over Oregon. In three seasons at Ohio State, Meyer is 38-3 and has not lost a regular season game in Big Ten play. The 2014 national title was Meyer’s third as a head coach, as he claimed two during his tenure at Florida (2006, 2008). In addition to his national championships in Gainesville, Meyer went 65-15 with the Gators, 22-2 in two years at Utah and 17-6 in two seasons with Bowling Green.

 

Related: Big Ten 2015 Predictions

 

3. Art Briles, Baylor

Record at Baylor: 55-34 (7 years)

Career Record: 89-62 (12 years)

 

Briles has completely changed the perception of Baylor football over the last seven years. Prior to Briles’ tenure, the Bears did not play in a bowl or post a winning record from 1995-2007. Baylor went 8-16 in Briles’ first two years, but has played in five consecutive bowl games and tied or won the conference championship in back-to-back years. The Bears are 22-4 over the last two seasons and have three double-digit victory totals in three out of the last four years. Prior to taking over at Baylor, Briles went 34-28 at Houston. Briles is a Texas coaching lifer and has changed this program from one of the bottom teams in the Big 12 into a conference championship contender. The talent level on this team has improved with four consecutive top-40 signing classes, and the program just opened brand-new McLane Stadium in 2014. Momentum at Baylor is at an all-time high with Briles at the controls – and it doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon.

 

Related: Big 12 2015 Predictions

 

4. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

Record at Michigan: First Year

Career Record: 58-27 (7 years)

 

Harbaugh is the right coach to return Michigan back among the nation’s elite. At three different coaching jobs, Harbaugh has delivered a quick turnaround and won at a high level. At San Diego from 2004-06, Harbaugh went 29-6 and lost only two games over the final two years. Harbaugh moved to the FBS level in 2007 at Stanford and won 29 games in four seasons. The Cardinal missed a bowl appearance in the first two years, but managed 20 wins over Harbaugh’s last two seasons, including a 12-1 finish in 2010. Harbaugh left Stanford for the NFL and won 44 games with the 49ers from 2011-14. San Francisco lost in the NFC Championship Game twice under Harbaugh’s watch and lost to Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII. As a former Michigan quarterback and player under Bo Schembechler, Harbaugh knows what it takes to win in Ann Arbor. Expect to see the Wolverines back among the top 10-15 teams in the nation in the next few years.

 

Related: Jim Harbaugh is the No. 1 College Football Coach Hire for 2015

 

5. Bill Snyder, Kansas State

Record at Kansas State: 187-94-1 (23 years)

Career Record: 187-94-1 (23 years)

 

There’s not a coach in the nation doing more with less every year. Kansas State is not an easy job, yet Snyder continues to keep the Wildcats in contention for the Big 12 title on a yearly basis. Kansas State won only three games in the four previous years prior to his hire in November 1988, and after a 1-10 record in his first season, Snyder’s teams have won fewer than six games only four times and claimed double-digit victories in seven years. Don't forget that following his retirement after the 2005 season, Kansas State went just 17-20 in three years under Ron Prince before Snyder returned in November 2008. Regardless of how much talent or key personnel Kansas State loses, the Wildcats are always a threat to win the conference championship and finish among the top 25 teams in the nation. Developing and finding talent in the junior college ranks is one of Snyder’s biggest strengths. Kansas State doesn’t recruit at a high level, so it’s important to develop talent and find ways to win games with less. That’s exactly what Snyder has accomplished, as from 2011-14, the Wildcats have the best record in Big 12 games (27-9).

 

Related: Athlon's 2015 College Football Rankings: No. 1 to 128

 

6. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State

Record at Michigan State: 75-31 (8 years)

Career Record: 93-48 (11 years)

 

Dantonio has transformed Michigan State from an underachieving program to one of the best in the Big Ten. The Spartans have won at least 11 games in four out of the last five years and finished No. 3 nationally after winning the Big Ten Championship Game and Rose Bowl in 2013. Under Dantonio’s watch, Michigan State also has claimed four consecutive bowl victories and went 15-1 in conference play from 2013-14. And if you needed any more information on why Dantonio is among the nation’s best: The Spartans have six seasons of 10 or more wins in program history. Four of those have come with Dantonio at the helm. 

 

Related: Michigan State's Connor Cook Ranks as the Big Ten's No. 2 QB in 2015

 

7. Gary Patterson, TCU

Record at TCU: 132-45 (14 years)

Career Record: 132-45 (14 years)

 

Coming off a 12-1 season and a No. 3 ranking in the final Associated Press poll, TCU is among the favorites to contend for the 2015 national championship. The Horned Frogs have come a long way in a short amount of time since joining the Big 12. TCU finished 7-6 in its Big 12 debut in 2012 but followed that up with a 4-8 mark in 2013, thanks in large part to a struggling offense. The The 8-1 mark in conference play last season is easily the best of TCU’s three-year stint in the Big 12. In Patterson’s 14 years, the Horned Frogs have won 132 games and claimed 10 or more victories in nine of those seasons. Winning at a high level is nothing new for Patterson in Fort Worth. In 2010, TCU finished No. 2 nationally with a 13-0 mark, No. 7 in 2008 and No. 6 in 2009. With Patterson at the helm, TCU will be a consistent threat to win the Big 12 title.

 

Related: Big 12 2015 Predictions

 

8. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

Record at Oklahoma: 168-44 (16 years)

Career Record: 168-44 (16 years)

 

With 16 seasons at Oklahoma, Stoops is the second-longest tenured coach in college football. The Sooners have consistently ranked among the Big 12’s best under Stoops, winning at least 10 games in 12 of his years in Norman. Additionally, Stoops has guided Oklahoma to eight Big 12 titles and one national championship (2000). Winning at a high level and competing for a spot in one of college football’s top bowl games has become the norm for the Sooners under Stoops. However, Oklahoma finished 8-5 in 2014, which was the worst mark under Stoops since 2009 (8-5). Maintaining success at one job for a long period of time is no easy task for any college football coach. Stoops will try to get the program back on track with a few staff changes, including new offensive play-caller Lincoln Riley. There’s no question Stoops is among the best in the nation, and it will be interesting to see if 2014 was just a small blip on the radar or if it’s the beginning of a down period for the program. 

 

9. Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Record at Auburn:
 20-7 (2 years)
Career Record: 29-10 (3 years)

 

In just three seasons as a head coach, Malzahn has already entrenched his name among the best in the nation. After a 9-3 record at Arkansas State in 2012 (his first as a head coach on the FBS level), Malzahn has guided Auburn to a 20-7 mark over the last two years. The Tigers played for the 2013 national championship and finished No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll after the loss to Florida State. Auburn slipped to 8-5 last year, but Malzahn should have this team back in contention for the SEC title in 2015. Prior to being a head coach on the FBS level, Malzahn was one of the nation’s top offensive coordinators at Auburn and Tulsa, with a one-year stop at Arkansas in 2006. He’s also known for his stint as a high school coach at Springdale High School in Arkansas from 2001-05. Malzahn is one of the game’s top X’s and O’s tacticians on offense and upgraded his defense with the addition of Will Muschamp as his new coordinator.

 

10. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Record at Florida State:
58-11 (5 years)

Career Record: 58-11 (5 years)

 

Fisher has returned Florida State to the nation’s elite, guiding the Seminoles to a 27-1 mark over the last two seasons and the 2013 national championship. Under Fisher’s watch, Florida State has averaged 11.6 wins a season and has three consecutive finishes in the final Associated Press poll. Replacing Jameis Winston won’t be easy, but Fisher is one of the nation’s best at talent evaluation, and the Seminoles will continue to win at a high level under his watch.  

 

Related: ACC 2015 Predictions

 

11. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina

Record at South Carolina: 84-45 (10 years)

Career Record: 226-85-2 (25 years)

 

Spurrier enters 2015 ranked No. 2 among active FBS coaches with 226 career wins. South Carolina slipped in 2014 after three consecutive 11-win seasons, but Spurrier has elevated a program that had only one 10-win campaign prior to his arrival in 2005. Additionally, out of the six times the Gamecocks have won at least nine games, four of those have taken place under Spurrier’s watch. And Spurrier’s track record is no secret, as he went 122-27-1 at Florida from 1990-2001 and 20-13-1 at Duke from 1987-89. It’s not easy for coaches to maintain success over a 20-year span. Spurrier has had to tweak a few things along the way, but as evidenced by his recent success at South Carolina, he’s still one of the game’s top coaches.

 

12. Bobby Petrino, Louisville

Record at Louisville: 50-13 (5 years)

Career Record: 92-34 (10 years)

 

Petrino’s return to Louisville was a success, as the Cardinals finished 9-4 in their first season in the ACC. And Petrino’s team was neck-and-neck with the top teams in the conference, losing by just six points to Clemson and was defeated by Florida State after leading the defending national champs going into the fourth quarter. In Petrino’s 10 years as a college head coach, he’s won at least eight games every season but one. The Cardinals have some key pieces to replace for 2015, but the program is in good shape for the long haul with Petrino in control.

 

13. Todd Graham, Arizona State

Record at Arizona State: 28-12 (3 years)

Career Record: 77-41 (9 years)

 

It’s a close call between Graham and Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez for the No. 1 spot among current Pac-12 coaches. The Sun Devils enter 2015 as one of the favorites for the conference title, and Graham has guided the program to 28 wins over the last three seasons. The Sun Devils won the South Division in 2013 and tied for second in '12 and '14. Under Graham’s watch, Arizona State has clearly removed the label of a program that struggles to reach expectations. And the Sun Devils are in the midst of a stadium renovation that will only help Graham and this staff sell a program that has inked back-to-back top-25 signing classes. Graham’s success isn’t just limited to Arizona State, as he helped Rice make a six-game improvement in the win column in 2006, won 36 games in four years at Tulsa and went 6-6 in his only season at Pittsburgh.

 

Related: Arizona State is a Team on the Rise in 2015

 

14. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona

Record at Arizona: 26-14 (3 years)
Career Record: 146-98-2 (21 years)

 

Rodriguez is in the process of elevating Arizona into a yearly contender for the Pac-12 title. The Wildcats claimed the South Division championship last season with a 7-2 conference record and won double-digit games (10) for the first time since 1998. Additionally, the 10 wins last year was only the third time in program history that Arizona has won more than nine in a season. Rodriguez only went 15-22 in three years at Michigan, but he won 60 games in seven seasons at West Virginia and guided the program to three finishes in the final Associated Press poll from 2005-07. The bad news for the rest of the Pac-12: Rodriguez is really just getting started and this program is only going to get better in the coming years.

 

Related: Pac-12 2015 Predictions

 

15. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

Record at Notre Dame: 45-20 (5 years)

Career Record: 216-77-2 (24 years)

 

Kelly hasn’t quite returned Notre Dame to national prominence since he took over in 2010, but the Fighting Irish are 45-20 under his watch and has one appearance in the national championship game (2012). Outside of 2012, Notre Dame has won at least eight games every season under Kelly and has two top 25 finishes in the final Associated Press poll. Prior to Notre Dame, Kelly went 34-6 at Cincinnati – including a 12-0 record in the 2009 regular season – 19-16 at Central Michigan from 2004-06 and a 118-35-2 mark at Division II Grand Valley State from 1991-2003.   

 

16. Mark Richt, Georgia

Record at Georgia: 136-48 (14 years)

Career Record: 136-48 (14 years)

 

Georgia hasn’t won a SEC title since 2005, but the Bulldogs usually rank near the top of the conference. Richt has guided Georgia to three double-digit win seasons over the last four years, and the Bulldogs finished No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll in 2007. The talent level certainly isn’t an issue for Georgia, as the program owns the No. 3 roster in the SEC over the last five seasons. And with a 7.6 national average, the talent level is in place for the Bulldogs to contend for a national title. Under Richt’s direction, Georgia has never finished lower than third in the East and has lost more than two games in SEC play only five times over the last 14 years.

 

17. Gary Pinkel, Missouri

Record at Missouri: 113-66 (14 years)

Career Record: 186-104-3 (24 years)

 

Pinkel has been a consistent winner throughout his tenure at Missouri. The Tigers average 8.1 wins a season under Pinkel and have claimed back-to-back East Division titles after a 5-7 record in their SEC debut. Prior to joining the SEC, Missouri posted seven consecutive winning campaigns from 2005-11, including a 12-2 mark and a No. 4 finish in the final Associated Press poll in 2007. Pinkel’s success isn’t limited to just Missouri, as he went 73-37-3 in 10 years at Toledo. Despite a national recruiting rank of 39th nationally over the last five years, the Tigers won the SEC East in back-to-back years and will begin 2015 as one of the favorites in the division once again. That’s a huge credit to Pinkel and his staff’s ability to find and develop talent every year. 

 

18. David Cutcliffe, Duke

Record at Duke: 40-48 (7 years)

Career Record: 84-77 (13 years)

 

Cutcliffe has elevated Duke into an annual bowl team in the ACC, and after winning the Coastal Division title in 2014, the Blue Devils finished second last season. How big of a difference has Cutcliffe made with Duke since 2008? The 10-win 2013 campaign, and the 19 victories in a two-year span are the best marks in school history. Cutcliffe is regarded for his work with offenses and quarterbacks, but he deserves more credit for his work as a head coach, especially at a program like Duke where it’s not easy to maintain success.  

 

19. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State

Record at Mississippi State: 46-31 (6 years)

Career Record: 46-31 (6 years)

 

Mullen is the perfect example of why job hierarchy within a conference matters when ranking coaches. Mississippi State is the toughest job in the SEC West, and this program’s 27.4 finish nationally over the last five years in recruiting ranks No. 7 within its own division. However, the Bulldogs are 46-31 under Mullen and are coming off just the third double-digit win season in program history. Last season, Mississippi State climbed as high as No. 1 in the Associated Press poll for the first time and finished No. 11 in the final ranking – the second-highest mark in school history. Since a 5-7 mark in Mullen’s debut, Mississippi State has recorded a winning record in five consecutive years and is 22-26 in the SEC. Even though the Bulldogs suffered some heavy personnel losses this offseason, Mullen has elevated this program and the talent level has improved to ensure a quick rebuild.

 

Related: Mississippi State's Dak Prescott ranks as the SEC's No. 1 QB for 2015

 

20. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss

Record at Ole Miss: 24-15 (3 years)

Career Record: 54-22 (6 years)

 

Ole Miss has made steady improvement under Freeze, including a nine-win campaign in 2014. The Rebels have made a bowl game in all three of Freeze’s seasons in Oxford and went as high as No. 3 in the Associated Press poll in 2014. And if injuries didn’t take a toll on the 2014 team, Ole Miss easily could have won 10 games for the first time since '03. While Freeze doesn’t have the track record of some of the coaches in this league, he’s already a proven winner at three different jobs. In addition to the 24 wins at Ole Miss, he went 20-5 at Lambuth from 2008-09 and 10-2 at Arkansas State in '11. As we mentioned in the introduction, it’s not a list of career accomplishments. Based upon what Freeze inherited and has done in three years at Ole Miss, his career trajectory is higher than several names on this list.

 

21. David Shaw, Stanford

Record at Stanford: 42-12 (4 years)

Career Record: 42-12 (4 years)

 

For the first time in Shaw’s tenure at Stanford, the Cardinal are coming off a season with fewer than 11 wins. After winning 34 games through Shaw’s first three years, Stanford regressed to 8-5 but still finished second in the North with a 5-4 conference record. Under Shaw’s direction, the Cardinal has finished inside of the top 11 of the final Associated Press poll three times and played for the conference title in back-to-back years (2012-13). Additionally, Shaw and his staff continue to do an excellent job on the recruiting trail, signing top-25 classes in four out of the last five years. The biggest challenge for Shaw in 2015 will be improving an offense that averaged only 23.8 points per game in conference play last year (11th in the Pac-12). Even with significant departures on defense, Stanford can push Oregon in the North if Shaw is able to find the right answers on offense.

 

22. James Franklin, Penn State

Record at Penn State: 7-6 (1 year)

Career Record: 31-21 (4 years)

 

Franklin will return Penn State back to contention for the Big Ten title and as a consistent top-25 team – it just may take a little longer than we anticipated. High expectations surrounded the Nittany Lions last year, but Franklin’s team finished 7-6 and won only two games in Big Ten play. Fixing the offensive line is Franklin’s top priority in 2015, and there’s hope for improvement with one of the nation’s top assistants (Herb Hand) leading this group. Franklin went 24-15 in three years with Vanderbilt and recorded back-to-back nine-win seasons in 2012-13. Considering what Franklin managed to accomplish at Vanderbilt – the SEC’s toughest job – combined with the success on the recruiting trail, it’s only a matter of time before Penn State wins again at a high level.

 

Related: Penn State 2015 Schedule Analysis

 

23. Chris Petersen, Washington

Record at Washington: 8-6 (1 year)

Career Record: 100-18 (9 years)

 

After one of the most successful stints by a coach during the BCS era, Petersen decided to make the jump to a Power 5 job and replaced Steve Sarkisian at Washington. Petersen went 92-12 at Boise State and led the Broncos to double-digit win seasons in seven out of his eight years. But Petersen didn’t quite find the same success in his first year with the Huskies. Washington’s defense had three first-team All-Pac-12 selections on defense, but a struggling secondary and offense dropped Petersen’s first team to just 8-6 overall and 4-5 in Pac-12 play. Petersen and his staff will be tested even more in 2015, as Washington returns only nine starters, loses standout defenders Shaq Thompson, Danny Shelton and Hau’oli Kikaha, and could have a true freshman start at quarterback. 

 

Related: Washington safety Budda Baker is a Player on the Rise for 2015

 

24. Les Miles, LSU

Record at LSU: 103-29 (10 years)

Career Record: 131-50 (14 years)

 

2015 is shaping up to be one of the most interesting years of Miles’ tenure at LSU. The Tigers have slipped in the SEC pecking order over the last three seasons and last year finished outside of the Associated Press top 25 poll for the first time since 2008. LSU’s 4-4 mark in SEC play in 2014 was the first non-winning record in conference games in six seasons. Additionally, Miles lost top assistant and defensive coordinator John Chavis to rival Texas A&M, and the offense ranked 13th in the SEC in scoring last year. Plenty of question marks surround LSU for 2015, but Miles has showed before he’s capable of getting the program back among the best in the SEC. The Tigers went 17-9 from 2008-09, yet rebounded with four consecutive seasons of at least 10 wins from 2010-13. LSU has averaged a 6.8 finish nationally in recruiting rankings over the last five years. With that type of talent in place, the Tigers have the necessary pieces in place to get back to the top of the SEC.

 

25. Butch Jones, Tennessee

Record at Tennessee: 12-13 (2 years)

Career Record: 62-40 (8 years)

 

The arrow on Tennessee’s program under Jones' leadership is clearly pointing up entering 2015. The Volunteers went 5-7 in Jones’ first season but improved to 7-6 and returned to a bowl for the first time since 2010. Upgrading the talent on Tennessee’s roster has been a priority for Jones, and the coaching staff has inked back-to-back top-10 signing classes. With the talent on the rise, a solid core of personnel in place, and a team that won four out of its final five games, Tennessee is poised to take another step forward in 2015. Prior to Tennessee, Jones guided Central Michigan to a 27-13 record in three years (2007-09) and led Cincinnati to a 23-14 mark from 2010-12.

 

Related: Tennessee is a Team on the Rise for 2015

 

26. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M

Record at Texas A&M: 28-11 (3 years)

Career Record: 63-28 (7 years)

 

Texas A&M has made a successful transition to the SEC under Sumlin’s watch. In addition to fielding an explosive offense, the Aggies are 28-11 over the last three years and have a 13-11 record in SEC play in that span. With the program entrenched in the nation’s toughest conference, along with facility upgrades to compete with the SEC’s elite, Sumlin will be looking to push Texas A&M even higher in the conference standings. The Aggies’ win total in SEC games has declined from six (2012) to four (2013) to three (2014). While the offense has been among the league’s best since 2012, the defense has struggled mightily. But Sumlin took a big step in fixing that side of the ball by hiring John Chavis away from LSU. Prior to the last three seasons at Texas A&M, Sumlin guided Houston to a 35-17 record in four years from 2008-11. 

 

27. Bret Bielema, Arkansas

Record at Arkansas: 10-15 (2 years)

Career Record: 78-39 (9 years)

 

The overall coaching depth in the SEC is on display when Bielema ranks as the No. 11 coach on this list. Arkansas has showed marked improvement under Bielema in the last two years, and the Razorbacks are poised to take another step forward in 2015. After a 3-9 mark and a winless record in SEC play in 2013, Arkansas finished 7-6 and lost four games by a touchdown or less last fall. The Razorbacks closed 2014 by winning four out of their final six games, including a 31-7 destruction of Texas in the Texas Bowl. Prior to Arkansas, Bielema went 68-24 at Wisconsin and led the Badgers to four seasons of double-digit wins. The Razorbacks are clearly headed in the right direction, and Bielema’s physical style of play fits right at home in the SEC.

 

Related: Arkansas Razorbacks 2015 Schedule and Analysis

 

28. Jerry Kill, Minnesota

Record at Minnesota: 25-26 (4 years)

Career Record: 152-99 (21 years)

 

As we mentioned above, college football coaches can’t be judged strictly on wins and losses. Kill is a perfect example of why record isn’t the best indicator of coaching ability, as he’s only 25-26 in four years with Minnesota. The Golden Gophers have made significant improvement under his watch, going from 3-9 in his first year to three consecutive bowl games. And Minnesota is coming off back-to-back eight-win seasons and finished 5-3 in Big Ten play last year – the first winning mark in conference play since 2003. Kill is a proven winner at four other coaching stops in his career, including a 23-16 record at Northern Illinois and a 55-32 mark at Southern Illinois.

 

29. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State

Record at Oklahoma State: 84-44 (10 years)

Career Record: 84-44 (10 years)

 

Oklahoma State took a step back in the win column in 2014, needing a late punt return for a touchdown to beat Oklahoma and secure bowl eligibility for the ninth consecutive season. The win over Washington in the Cactus Bowl gave Oklahoma State its ninth winning season in Gundy’s 10 years. The Cowboys have won at least 10 games in three out of the last five seasons and finished No. 3 nationally in 2011. Gundy consistently has Oklahoma State finishing in the top half of the Big 12, and the Cowboys are poised to return to the top 25 after last year’s 7-6 mark. Gundy’s name popped up in the rumor mill for other jobs over the last three offseasons, but the former Oklahoma State quarterback seems to be reenergized headed into 2015. 

 

Related: Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph is a Player on the Rise for 2015

 

30. Charlie Strong, Texas

Record at Texas: 6-7 (1 year)

Career Record: 43-23 (5+ years)

 

As expected, Strong had to reset the foundation at Texas. The Longhorns finished 6-7 last year and won five games in Big 12 action. However, Texas beat only two teams with a winning record and was thoroughly dominated by TCU and Arkansas in the final two games of 2014. The Longhorns only went 16-11 in Big 12 games over Mack Brown’s final three years and recorded just one finish in the final Associated Press poll in that span. The program clearly slipped in Brown’s final four years, and Strong needs a little time to rebuild the talent and get Texas back into contention for Big 12 championships. It’s only a matter of time before that happens, as Strong went 37-15 in four years at Louisville, including a 23-3 record from 2012-13. 

 

Related: Texas Ranks as the No. 1 Coaching Job in the Big 12

 

31. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Record at Georgia Tech: 58-35 (7 years)

Career Record: 165-74 (18 years)

 

2014 wasn’t necessarily a make-or-break year for Johnson at Georgia Tech, but it was fair to wonder where the program was headed after a 14-13 mark from 2012-13. The Yellow Jackets entered 2014 with low expectations and delivered with a surprising 11-3 season and a Coastal Division title. In Johnson’s seven seasons in Atlanta, Georgia Tech has never finished under .500 in conference play. Additionally, the Yellow Jackets have played for the ACC Championship three times. 

 

32. Kyle Whittingham, Utah

Record at Utah: 85-43 (10 years)

Career Record: 85-43 (10 years)

 

Whittingham has successfully transitioned Utah from a Mountain West team to a solid Pac-12 program in just four years. The Utes don’t have the resources or recruiting base of a UCLA or USC, but Whittingham’s team knocked off both programs last year as well as Stanford and Michigan en route to a 9-4 record. Utah also finished No. 21 in the final Associated Press poll – it’s first top-25 finish since 2009 – and claimed its first winning mark in Pac-12 play (5-4). In his 10-year tenure in Salt Lake City, Whittingham is 85-43 overall and has led his team to eight bowl games. 

 

33. Gary Andersen, Oregon State

Record at Oregon State: First Year

Career Record: 49-38 (7 years)

 

Andersen’s move from Wisconsin to Oregon State came as a surprise, but the Utah native is a great hire for this program. In two seasons at Wisconsin, Andersen went 19-7 and guided the Badgers to a Big Ten West Division title in 2014. Prior to Wisconsin, Andersen guided Utah State to a 26-24 record in four years. To show how big of an impact Andersen had on the Aggies – in the four years prior to his arrival in Logan, Utah State won only nine games. Utah State won 26 during Andersen’s four years, including 18 over the last two. Andersen is a proven winner at two different jobs and was a successful assistant at Utah prior to becoming a head coach. Oregon State is rebuilding in 2015, but Andersen’s hire will pay big dividends for the Beavers.

 

Related: Gary Andersen is one of the top coaching hires for 2015

 

34. Mark Helfrich, Oregon

Record at Oregon: 24-4 (2 years)

Career Record: 24-4 (2 years)

 

Helfrich is the only current Pac-12 coach to play for the national championship and has picked up where Chip Kelly left off by guiding Oregon to a 24-4 record over the last two years. The Ducks finished No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll after a loss to Ohio State in college football’s national championship in January. Helfrich and his staff navigated several injuries and overcame an early loss against Arizona to win the Pac-12 title and finish 13-2 overall. Prior to his promotion from offensive coordinator to head coach with the Ducks, Helfrich was an assistant at Arizona State, Colorado and Boise State. Helfrich won’t have Marcus Mariota in 2015, but the third-year coach has this program in great shape and poised to continue finishing near the top of the Pac-12. 

 

Related: Oregon is the No. 2 Coaching Job in the Pac-12

 

35. Jim Mora, UCLA

Record at UCLA: 29-11 (3 years)

Career Record: 29-11 (3 years)

 

A case could be made Mora should be higher among his conference peers. In three seasons at UCLA, the Bruins are 29-11 under his watch and have won six Pac-12 games each year. Mora guided UCLA to the Pac-12 South title in 2012 and finished (or tied) for second in the other two seasons. High expectations surrounded this program last year, but the Bruins were easily handled by Oregon in mid-October and on Nov. 28 lost to Stanford 31-10 with a berth in the Pac-12 Championship Game up for grabs. Mora has recruited four consecutive top-20 classes, so talent isn’t an issue for this program. Contending for the South Division in 2015 should be a reasonable expectation, but the Bruins have to replace quarterback Brett Hundley.

 

36. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech

Record at Virginia Tech: 231-115-2 (28 years)

Career Record: 273-138-4 (34 years)

 

Beamer is college football’s longest-tenured coach entering the 2015 season. Virginia Tech has won 231 games under Beamer’s watch, which includes a streak of eight consecutive seasons of at least 10 wins from 2004-11. While Beamer’s longevity deserves plenty of consideration here, it’s also worth noting Virginia Tech is just 22-17 over the last three seasons and has not finished in the final Associated Press poll in that span after recording 12 top-25 finishes in 13 years from 1998-2011. The Hokies tied for second in the Coastal Division in 2013 but slipped to fourth in 2012 and fifth in 2014. Can Beamer return this program back to the top of the Coastal in 2015? 

 

37. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Record at Northwestern: 60-53 (9 years)

Career Record: 60-53 (9 years)

 

Northwestern is coming off back-to-back losing seasons for the first time under Fitzgerald and is 4-12 in Big Ten play over the last two years. While it’s easy to only judge coaches by recent history, this is not an easy job and Fitzgerald has won 60 games since 2006. Additionally, the Wildcats went to five consecutive bowl games from 2008-12, including a 10-win campaign in '12, concluding with just the program’s second postseason victory. Considering what Fitzgerald has accomplished at one of the Big Ten’s toughest jobs, what could he do at a program with more resources?

 

38. Dabo Swinney, Clemson

Record at Clemson: 61-26 (7 years)

Career Record: 61-26 (7 years)

 

Swinney has helped Clemson football reach its potential with four consecutive seasons of at least 10 victories. The Tigers have not lost more than two games in ACC play during that span and finished No. 8 in the final Associated Press poll in 2013. Swinney is also regarded for his work on the recruiting trail, as Clemson has averaged a 13.2 finish – including two top-10 classes – among all 128 teams over the last five seasons. It’s no secret the Tigers invested heavily in their coordinators – Chad Morris (now at SMU) and defensive play-caller Brent Venables – to allow Swinney to focus on being the program CEO. What type of impact will Morris leaving have on the offense? That’s the big question facing Clemson in 2015 and beyond.

 

Related: Clemson's Deshaun Watson is the ACC's No. 1 QB in 2015

 

39. Mark Hudspeth, UL Lafayette

Record at UL Lafayette: 36-16 (4 years)

Career Record: 102-37 (11 years)

 

Hudspeth has been a home-run hire for UL Lafayette, and it won’t be long before Power 5 programs inquire if he’s interested in moving to a bigger job. In each of Hudspeth’s four seasons, the Ragin’ Cajuns have won nine games and claimed a bowl victory. Prior to the last four years at UL Lafayette, Hudspeth went 66-21 at North Alabama from 2002-08 and also worked as an assistant at Mississippi State. Hudspeth is one of college football’s top rising stars in the coaching ranks.

 

40. Mike Riley, Nebraska

Record at Nebraska: First Year

Career Record: 93-80 (14 years)

 

Nebraska’s hire of Riley came as a surprise, but the Idaho native seems to be the right coach at the right time. The Cornhuskers won at least nine games in each of Bo Pelini’s seven seasons, yet never finished higher than 14th in the Associated Press poll or claimed a conference title. That’s the challenge for Riley in 2015 and beyond. Can he elevate Nebraska back into contention for a national title or compete with Ohio State and Michigan for Big Ten championships? Oregon State is a challenging job, yet Riley won 93 games in 14 seasons and guided the Beavers to a winning conference record in six of those years. Another mark in favor of Riley’s hire is his experience in recruiting and finding talent in Texas and California. Also, Riley and his staff did a good job of developing talent while in Corvallis. If Nebraska can’t beat Ohio State or Michigan for five-star recruits, it needs to develop three-star talent into five-star players.

 

Related: Big Ten 2015 Predictions

 

41. Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati

Record at Cincinnati: 18-8 (2 years)

Career Record: 148-86 (19 years)

 

Tuberville is a proven winner at four different stops and is off to a strong start at Cincinnati with an 18-8 mark in two years. The Bearcats claimed a share of the conference title in 2014 and is considered the favorite to win the American Athletic Conference this fall. Prior to taking over at Cincinnati, Tuberville went 20-17 at Texas Tech, 85-40 at Auburn and 25-20 at Ole Miss. In 19 years as a head coach, Tuberville has posted only four losing seasons.

 

Related: American Athletic Conference 2015 Predictions

 

42. Justin Fuente, Memphis

Record at Memphis: 17-20 (3 years)

Career Record: 17-20 (3 years)

 

Fuente is one of the nation’s top rising stars in the head coach ranks. The Oklahoma native worked as an assistant at Illinois State and TCU before replacing Larry Porter at Memphis in 2012. Fuente inherited a program that went 3-21 from 2010-11 and the Tigers showed immediate progress in Year One, finishing with a 4-8 mark in 2012. Memphis finished 3-9 in its debut in the American Athletic Conference but went 10-3 and finished No. 25 in the final Associated Press poll in 2014. With Memphis among the contenders to win the AAC in 2015, Fuente could be pursued by bigger programs this offseason.

 

43. Steve Addazio, Boston College

Record at Boston College: 14-12 (2 years)

Career Record: 27-23 (4 years)

 

Even though he’s won only 14 games in two seasons at Boston College, Addazio is off to an impressive start with the Eagles. In the two years prior to Addazio’s tenure, Boston College went 6-18 and missed out on a bowl appearance in both seasons. But Addazio has made the Eagles a tough out in the ACC once again, and the program is coming off back-to-back bowl appearances. Addazio’s tenure is even more impressive when you consider he was able to mesh his systems with the returning talent in 2013, as well as recruit a graduate transfer (Tyler Murphy) at quarterback with a slightly different approach on offense. With only nine returning starters, Addazio has a tough assignment just getting Boston College back to a bowl in 2015. However, the track record suggests the Eagles will be pushing for a winning record once again. 

 

44. Matt Wells, Utah State

Record at Utah State: 19-9 (2 years)

Career Record: 19-9 (2 years)

 

Despite a few major injuries to key players over the last two seasons, Wells has navigated Utah State to a 19-9 record and a 13-3 mark in conference play in that span. The Aggies played for the 2013 Mountain West title and have back-to-back bowl victories under Wells’ direction. Even though Wells inherited plenty of talent from former coach Gary Andersen, his coaching ability has been on full display with the key injuries this team has been forced to overcome over the last two years.

 

45. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU

Record at BYU: 90-39 (10 years)

Career Record: 90-39 (10 years)

 

Mendenhall has been a consistent winner during his 10 years in Provo and has guided the program into FBS independence after BYU left the Mountain West at the end of the 2010 season. The Cougars finished in the final Associated Press poll in four consecutive years from 2006-09 and won 22 games from 2006-07. BYU went 10-3 in its debut as an independent in 2011 and has finished 8-5 in three consecutive seasons. A challenging schedule awaits the Cougars in 2015, but Mendenhall’s team will be a tough opponent for the four Power 5 teams on their schedule, along with matchups against Boise State and Utah State. 

 

46. Steve Sarkisian, USC

Record at USC: 9-4 (1 year)

Career Record: 43-33 (6 years)

 

By this time next year, Sarkisian could rank higher on this list – if USC ends up winning the Pac-12 as the early odds for 2015 suggest. Sarkisian’s first year with the Trojans had its share of ups and downs. USC beat Stanford 13-10 in Week 2 but lost 37-31 at Boston College the following Saturday. The Trojans lost on the last play of the game to Arizona State and in the final seconds to Utah. With better depth due to the end of NCAA scholarship sanctions, USC should have the manpower needed to close the door in tight games. Prior to taking over at USC, Sarkisian went 35-29 at Washington and guided the Huskies to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-13. The challenge for Sarkisian is simple: Get USC back among the nation’s elite and contend for national championships. Is he the right coach to do so?

 

Related: USC's Cody Kessler Ranks as the Pac-12's No. 1 QB for 2015

 

47. Mike Leach, Washington State

Record at Washington State: 12-25 (3 years)

Career Record: 96-68 (13 years)

 

Entering his fourth year in Pullman, Leach is still looking to elevate Washington State into a consistent winner and a bowl team every season. At Texas Tech, Leach guided the Red Raiders to an 84-43 record in 10 years and never finished a season with fewer than seven victories. But winning at a high level has been much tougher at Washington State. The Cougars are 12-25 over the last three years, and a 6-7 team from 2013 is bookended by 3-9 records in '12 and '14. Offense is Leach’s specialty, and Washington State has ranked in the top 10 nationally of passing offense from 2012-14. But fixing the defense has to be a priority after allowing at least 36 points in Pac-12 games in each of the last three years.

 

48. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia

Record at West Virginia: 28-23 (4 years)

Career Record: 28-23 (4 years)

 

Under Holgorsen’s direction over the last four years, West Virginia has made the successful transition from the Big East to the Big 12. The Mountaineers won the Big East title in Holgorsen’s first season and finished 7-6 in their Big 12 debut in 2012. After stumbling to a 4-8 record in 2013, West Virginia rebounded with a 7-6 record in 2014 and claimed its first winning mark in conference play since joining the Big 12. And with 15 starters back for 2015, West Virginia should have a good chance to improve on last year’s record. Holgorsen is a highly regarded offensive mind and is settling into his role as the head coach. With Holgorsen stabilizing the program and competing in the Big 12, the future looks bright in Morgantown. 

 

49. Craig Bohl, Wyoming

Record at Wyoming: 4-8 (1 year)

Career Record: 108-40 (12 years)

 

Bohl’s first season at Wyoming resulted in a 4-8 mark, but that record wasn’t unexpected. Most anticipated 2014 and ‘15 would be rebuilding years for the Cowboys, but Bohl’s team should show progress throughout the course of the upcoming season. In 11 years at North Dakota State, Bohl went 104-32 and claimed three consecutive FCS national championships from 2011-13. Give Bohl a couple of years and Wyoming will be a consistent winner in the Mountain West.

 

50. Bryan Harsin, Boise State

Record at Boise State: 12-2 (1 year)

Career Record: 19-7 (2 years)

 

Harsin is a coach on the rise entering the 2015 season. After a 7-5 mark in 2013 as Arkansas State’s head coach, Harsin left Jonesboro to replace Chris Petersen at Boise State. The former Bronco quarterback went 12-2 in his debut and guided the program to a win in the Fiesta Bowl. Expect Harsin to climb higher in these rankings over the next few years.

 

51. Sonny Dykes, California

Record at California: 6-18 (2 years)

Career Record: 28-33 (5 years)

 

The depth of the Pac-12’s coaching prowess is on full display when Sonny Dykes ranks as the No. 11 coach on this list. After a successful 22-15 stint at Louisiana Tech from 2010-12, Dykes is 6-18 in two seasons at California. The Golden Bears went 1-11 in 2013, but showed marked improvement last fall. California finished 5-7 overall and lost four games by eight points or less. Dykes has this program trending in the right direction, and the offense should be among the nation’s best in 2015. If Dykes can solve the defensive woes, California will make a bowl game this year.

 

Related: California's Jared Goff Ranks as the Pac-12's No. 2 QB for 2015

 

52. George O’Leary, UCF

Record at UCF: 81-60 (11 years)

Career Record: 133-93 (18 years)

 

The Knights have averaged 10.3 wins over the last three years, and O’Leary has led UCF to four double-digit win seasons since taking over the program in 2004. The Knights also have three consecutive bowl appearances and finished No. 10 nationally in the final 2013 Associated Press poll. Prior to UCF, O’Leary coached at Georgia Tech (1994-01) and led the Yellow Jackets to a 52-33 mark in eight years.

 

53. Ken Niumatalolo, Navy

Record at Navy: 57-35 (7 years)

Career Record: 57-35 (7 years)

 

Navy is set to transition to the American Athletic Conference in 2015, and Niumatalolo is the right coach to guide this program into a new era. The Midshipmen are 57-35 under Niumatalolo’s direction, including six seasons of at least eight wins in the last seven years. Navy also has a bowl appearance in six of Niumatalolo’s seasons, and the 10-win campaign in 2009 was only the third year of double-digit wins in program history.

 

54. Jim McElwain, Florida

Record at Florida: First Year

Career Record: 22-16 (3 years)

 

After three seasons at Colorado State, McElwain was tapped as the replacement for Will Muschamp at Florida. Although Muschamp guided the Gators to an 11-2 mark in 2012, this program underachieved over the last four years with a 29-21 record. McElwain seems like the right coach to get the program back on track after a 22-16 record with the Rams, as well as a previous stint as an offensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama from 2008-11. Colorado State improved its win total in each of McElwain’s three years, including a 10-win mark in 2014. Prior to calling the plays at Alabama, McElwain made stops as an assistant at Fresno State, Michigan State, Louisville and in the NFL with the Raiders. His offensive background will pay dividends for a program that has struggled mightily on that side of the ball in recent years.

 

55. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

Record at Iowa: 115-85 (16 years)

Career Record: 127-106 (19 years)

 

Ferentz enters 2015 as the nation’s third-longest tenured coach. Over the last 16 seasons, Ferentz’s tenure with the Hawkeyes has experienced its share of ups and downs. And entering 2015, it’s fair to wonder where this program is headed after a 9-7 mark in Big Ten play over the last two years. Iowa has won 10 games at least four times under Ferentz but has not finished better than 8-5 since 2010. Maintaining success at a program for a long period isn’t easy, and as the nation’s ninth highest-paid coach in 2014, Ferentz is drawing plenty of criticism from the Iowa fanbase. In Athlon’s recent expert poll, Iowa tied with Maryland as the No. 7 coaching job in the Big Ten. This program has its share of challenges (in-state talent in recruiting), but there's really no reason why the Hawkeyes can't contend for the Big Ten West Division title each year.

 

56. Randy Edsall, Maryland

Record at Maryland: 20-30 (4 years)

Career Record: 94-100 (16 years)

 

Edsall’s tenure at Maryland got off to a rocky start with a 2-10 record in 2011. But since that two-win campaign, the Terrapins are 18-20 over the last three seasons and finished their first year in the Big Ten with a 7-6 record and a 4-4 mark in conference play. Prior to Maryland, Edsall went 74-70 at UConn, guiding the Huskies to the Fiesta Bowl and a share of the Big East title in 2010. After earning back-to-back bowl appearances, Edsall’s next challenge is to elevate Maryland into the Big Ten East Division’s top tier, which includes Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State. That’s not an easy task, but with the talent available in the Maryland/Washington, D.C. area, Edsall should be able to keep some of those players at home. This fall looks like a rebuilding season for Maryland, but Edsall should have this team in contention for a bowl.

 

57. Willie Fritz, Georgia Southern

Record at Georgia Southern: 9-3 (1 year)

Career Record: 185-70-1 (21 years)

 

Fritz was one of the top coaching hires from 2014, as he guided Georgia Southern to a 9-3 record and a perfect 8-0 mark in Sun Belt play. Adding to the impressive 2014 season was the fact it was Georgia Southern’s debut on the FBS level. Fritz’s success isn’t just limited to Georgia Southern either, as he went 40-14 in four years at Sam Houston State and 97-47 at Central Missouri. 

 

58. Al Golden, Miami

Record at Miami: 28-22 (4 years)

Career Record: 55-56 (9 years)

 

2015 is a critical season for Golden at Miami. The Hurricanes are just 16-16 in four years of ACC play under Golden and 28-22 overall. For a program that has the ability to recruit at a top 10-15 level, a .500 mark in conference games is a troubling sign. Golden did inherit some obstacles when he took over the program, including the Nevin Shapiro scandal and NCAA investigation, which was a cloud hanging over the program for over two years. Prior to taking over at Miami, Golden went 27-34 at Temple, which included a 17-8 record over the final two years (2009-10). With one of the ACC’s top quarterbacks in Brad Kaaya, Miami has the potential to challenge for the Coastal Division title. But potential has been the key word surrounding this program for a few years. It’s time for Golden to deliver.  

 

59. Dave Doeren, NC State

Record at NC State: 11-14 (2 years)

Career Record: 34-18 (4 years)

 

If NC State picks up in 2015 where it left off last season, it’s a safe bet Doeren will rank higher on this list next year. The Wolfpack showed marked improvement in Doeren’s second season, going from a 3-9 and winless team in the ACC in 2013 to an 8-5 squad in 2014. NC State also finished 3-5 in ACC games and won four out of its final five games, including a 35-7 rout over rival North Carolina. Prior to NC State, Doeren went 23-4 at Northern Illinois and guided the Huskies to an appearance in the Orange Bowl in the 2012 season. Recruiting at NC State is on the rise too, as the Wolfpack have signed back-to-back top-35 classes after not finishing higher than 54th from 2011-13.

 

60. Pete Lembo, Ball State

Record at Ball State: 30-20 (4 years)

Career Record: 109-56 (14 years)

 

Ball State went 5-7 in a rebuilding year last season, but it won’t be long before the Cardinals are back in contention for a bowl or the MAC title. Under Lembo’s watch, Ball State is 30-20 and has won 21 of 32 conference matchups over the last four years. Additionally, Lembo guided the Cardinals to back-to-back bowl games from 2012-13. Lembo’s success isn’t limited to just Ball State. He went 35-22 in five years at Elon and 44-14 in five seasons at Lehigh.

 

61. Troy Calhoun, Air Force

Record at Air Force: 59-44 (8 years)

Career Record: 59-44 (8 years)

 

Calhoun is the longest-tenured Mountain West coach at his current job. Over the last eight years, Calhoun has led Air Force to 59 wins and seven bowl appearances. After a 2-10 mark in 2013, the Falcons rebounded with their best season under Calhoun with a 10-3 record in ‘14. 

 

62. Mike MacIntyre, Colorado

Record at Colorado: 6-18 (2 years)

Career Record: 22-39 (5 years)

 

MacIntyre didn’t inherit much to work with when he replaced Jon Embree after the 2012 season. The Buffaloes are 6-18 over the last two years and have won only one contest in conference play. While the overall record isn’t pretty, MacIntyre has this program on the right track. Colorado lost four Pac-12 games by five points or less last season, and with an experienced roster returning in 2015, the Buffaloes should show progress in the win column. Prior to Colorado, MacIntyre went 16-21 at San Jose State, including a 15-9 mark over the final two years. MacIntyre should move up this list in the coming seasons.

 

63. Kevin Wilson, Indiana

Record at Indiana: 14-34 (4 years)

Career Record: 14-34 (4 years)

 

Indiana is one of the Big Ten’s toughest jobs, but Wilson has this program moving in the right direction. The Hoosiers won only one game in Wilson’s first year (2011), improved to 4-8 in 2012 and just missed on a bowl game in '13 by finishing 5-7. Bad luck hit Indiana last season, as this program was poised to hit six wins but starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld was lost midway through the year with a shoulder injury. Sudfeld is back in 2015, giving the Hoosiers an opportunity to push for six wins once again. Considering Wilson’s background on offense, along with Indiana’s production on that side of the ball over the last four years, scoring points won’t be a problem. However, the defense has allowed six yards per play in Big Ten games in five consecutive seasons. That must be addressed for this program to move forward.

 

64. Larry Fedora, North Carolina

Record at North Carolina: 21-17 (3 years)

Career Record: 55-36 (7 years)

 

The ongoing NCAA investigation/uncertainty at North Carolina certainly isn’t helping Fedora’s tenure in Chapel Hill. However, the Tar Heels have regressed in wins since posting an 8-4 record in 2012. North Carolina finished 7-6 in 2013 and slipped to 6-7 in 2014. Aside from the regression in the win column, the biggest concern for Fedora has to be fixing a defense that ranked 14th in the ACC in yards per play allowed. The hire of Gene Chizik as the team’s coordinator should address that side of the ball, and North Carolina has one of the league’s most talented offenses in place. Could 2015 be the best year of Fedora’s tenure with the Tar Heels?

 

65. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin

Record at Wisconsin: First Year

Career Record: 19-19 (3 years)

 

Gary Andersen surprisingly departed Wisconsin for Oregon State this offseason, but the Badgers were able to turn to a familiar name in Chryst. After three years as Pittsburgh’s head coach, Chryst is coming back to Madison to guide a program that has won at least 10 games in four out of the last six seasons. In addition to being a Madison native, Chryst played quarterback for the Badgers and served as an assistant with the program in 2002 and again from 2005-11. There’s no denying that Chryst is an excellent fit at Wisconsin. However, he was only 19-19 in three seasons with the Panthers.  

 

Related: Wisconsin RB Corey Clement is a Player on the Rise for 2015

 

66. Dave Clawson, Wake Forest

Record at Wake Forest: 3-9 (1 year)

Career Record: 93-88 (15 years)

 

Prior to taking over at Wake Forest, Clawson was a successful head coach at three previous stops. From 1999-2003, Clawson went 29-29 at Fordham, with 19 of those victories coming in the final two seasons. After five years with the Rams, Clawson went 29-20 with two FCS playoff appearances at Richmond, followed by a 32-30 mark at Bowling Green from 2009-13. Clawson didn’t inherit a loaded roster and finished 3-9 with just one of those wins coming in conference play. However, Clawson seems to have Wake Forest moving in the right direction with a talented, young core in place for 2015 and '16.  

 

67. Rod Carey, Northern Illinois

Record at Northern Illinois: 23-6 (2 years)

Career Record: 23-6 (2 years)

 

Carey has continued to keep Northern Illinois at the top of the MAC in his two years in DeKalb. The Wisconsin native inherited a loaded team from former coach Dave Doeren and guided the Huskies to a 12-2 mark in 2013. Northern Illinois finished 7-1 in conference play last season and claimed the MAC Championship with a blowout 51-17 win over Bowling Green. In two years, Carey has won 23 games and has lost only once in MAC play.

 

68. Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh

Record at Pittsburgh: First Season

Career Record: First Season

 

If we are buying stock in coaches for 2016 and beyond, Narduzzi is on the must-have list. The former Michigan State coordinator is ready to be a head coach after leading one of the nation’s top defenses from 2007-14. The Spartans ranked in the top five nationally for fewest yards per play and points allowed per game from 2011-13. Narduzzi’s defense was a big reason why Michigan State won at least 11 games in four out of the last five years. Pittsburgh is on its fourth coach in six seasons. However, Narduzzi seems like the right coach at the right time for the Panthers. 

 

Related: Grading College Football's New Coaching Hires for 2015

 

69. P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan

Record at Western Michigan: 9-16 (2 years)

Career Record: 9-16 (2 years)

 

Western Michigan showed marked improvement in Fleck’s second season, and the Broncos will be picked near the top of the MAC once again in 2015. After a seven-win jump from 2013 to ‘14, Fleck has proven he is not just an ace recruiter. Western Michigan has recorded the top signing class in back-to-back years and is coming off a solid 8-5 record. The arrow on Fleck and this program is clearly pointing up going into 2015.

 

70. Matt Rhule, Temple

Record at Temple: 8-16 (2 years)

Career Record: 8-16 (2 years)

 

Temple is trending in the right direction entering Rhule’s third season. The Owls went 2-10 in Rhule’s debut (2013), but lost seven games by 10 points or less. Temple took a step forward last year by improving to 6-6 and winning games against Vanderbilt and East Carolina. Prior to taking over as Temple’s head coach, Rhule was an assistant with the New York Giants and worked with the Owls as an assistant from 2006-11. The 2015 version of Rhule’s team should be his best yet.

 

71. Tom Herman, Houston

Record at Houston: First Year

Career Record: First Year

 

After a successful run as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator (2012-14), Herman is ready for his opportunity to run a program. The Ohio native lands at a solid program too, as Houston as the resources to be one of the top contenders in the American Athletic Conference on an annual basis. Prior to the last three years with the Buckeyes, Herman spent time as an offensive coordinator at Iowa State (2009-11), Rice (2007-08) and Texas State (2005-06).

 

72. Chad Morris, SMU

Record at SMU: First Year

Career Record: First Year

 

Morris is regarded as one of the top offensive minds in college football. After a one-year stint as Tulsa’s play-caller in 2010, Morris was hired to coordinate Clemson’s offense and was a key piece of the Tigers’ recent success over the last four years. The Tigers averaged at least 30 points in each of Morris’ four seasons, including back-to-back years of at least 40 points (2012-13). This is Morris’ first opportunity to be a head coach on the collegiate level, but he was a successful high school coach from 1994-2009. As a Texas native and with connections to the high school level, Morris should have no trouble recruiting to SMU. This should be a great hire for the Mustangs. 

 

73. Mark Stoops, Kentucky

Record at Kentucky: 7-17 (2 years)

Career Record: 7-17 (2 years)

 

Kentucky is making progress under Stoops, making the jump from two wins in 2013 to five in '14. The Wildcats also went 2-6 in SEC play last year, equaling the amount of conference victories recorded from 2012-13. Kentucky was close to bowl eligibility in 2014, losing to Florida by six in three overtimes and by four to Louisville in the regular-season finale. The overall talent level and direction of this program have each improved since Stoops took over after the 2012 season. The next challenge is getting Kentucky to the postseason. With 12 starters back, that could happen this fall.

 

74. Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina

Record at East Carolina: 37-27 (5 years)

Career Record: 38-27 (5+ years)

 

McNeill has successfully transitioned East Carolina from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference, and the Pirates will remain a factor in the league despite the departure of quarterback Shane Carden and receiver Justin Hardy. McNeill is a former ECU player, and before taking the head coaching job, he spent one year as an assistant with the program in 1992. McNeill is 37-27 over the last five years in Greenville, with the Pirates winning 26 games over the last three seasons.

 

75. Frank Solich, Ohio

Record at Ohio: 72-56 (10 years)

Career Record: 130-75 (16 years)

 

Solich is the MAC’s longest-tenured coach, entering his 11th season at the helm. Ohio has won at least four games in each of Solich’s 10 years and has played in six bowls. The Bobcats went 10-4 in 2011 and won nine games in ‘12. And entering the 2015 season, Ohio has a streak of six years without a losing overall record.

 

76. Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech

Record at Louisiana Tech: 13-13 (2 years)

Career Record: 101-84 (15 years)

 

Holtz is coaching at his fourth FBS program and eclipsed 100 wins in his career in 2014. After a 16-21 three-year stint at USF, Holtz landed at Louisiana Tech and guided the Bulldogs to a Conference USA West Division title last season. Holtz also has successful stops on his resume from UConn (34 wins) and East Carolina (38 victories).

 

77. Terry Bowden, Akron

Record at Akron: 11-25 (3 years)

Career Record: 151-87-2 (21 years)

 

Improvement has been noticeable for Akron under Bowden’s watch. After a 1-11 mark in 2012, the Zips have recorded back-to-back five-win campaigns. But Akron is still looking to take the next step and reach a bowl. With 10 starters and a few transfers from Power 5 teams, the Zips should have a good chance to reach six wins in 2015. Bowden was successful at previous stops at Auburn and North Alabama. It shouldn’t be much longer before Akron takes a step forward and becomes a consistent bowl team.

 

78. Matt Campbell, Toledo

Record at Toledo: 26-13 (3+ years)

Career Record: 26-13 (3+ years)

 

Campbell is one of college football’s youngest head coaches at 35 years old, and through three full seasons, the former Mount Union defensive lineman has guided Toledo to 26 wins. The Rockets tied for the MAC West title in 2014 but lost the head-to-head tiebreaker with Northern Illinois. Campbell is a rising star in the coaching ranks, and with running back Kareem Hunt returning for 2015, Toledo should be among the favorites to win the conference this year.

 

79. David Bailiff, Rice

Record at Rice: 48-53 (8 years)

Career Record: 69-68 (11 years)

 

Bailiff has quietly transformed Rice into a consistent winner during his eight years with the program. The Owls won 25 games and appeared in three consecutive bowl matchups from 2012-14 and are one of the frontrunners to win the West Division in 2015. Rice is not an easy job, but Bailiff has won 48 games over the last eight years and the 2013 Conference USA Championship.

 

80. Doc Holliday, Marshall

Record at Marshall: 40-25 (5 years)

Career Record: 40-25 (5 years)

 

Holliday was known as an ace recruiter when he was hired at Marshall in 2010, but the West Virginia native has proven he’s more than just a Signing Day specialist. The Thundering Herd has won 40 games under Holliday’s watch and has played in back-to-back Conference USA Championship games. Also, Marshall has 23 wins over the last two seasons and finished No. 23 in the final Associated Press poll in 2014.

 

81. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech

Record at Texas Tech: 12-13 (2 years)

Career Record: 12-13 (2 years)

 

Kingsbury was one of the nation’s top assistants when he was tapped to replace Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech in 2013. And the Red Raiders started Kingsbury’s tenure on a high note, winning their first seven games and jumping as high as No. 16 in the Associated Press poll. But Texas Tech lost its last five regular season games and used a bowl victory over Arizona State to finish 8-5. 2014 was a step back for Kingsbury, as the Red Raiders slipped to 4-8 and recorded three wins by seven points or less against Central Arkansas, UTEP and Iowa State. There’s no doubt Kingsbury is one of the Big 12’s top offensive minds and will have his unit performing at a high level. However, fixing the defense has to be a priority after allowing 42.8 points in Big 12 games in 2014. Hiring David Gibbs should pay dividends for the defense, which should allow Texas Tech to return to the postseason in 2015.

 

Related: Texas Tech Needs David Gibbs to Reverse Defensive Woes

 

82. Dino Babers, Bowling Green

Record at Bowling Green: 8-6 (1 year)

Career Record: 27-13 (3 years)

 

Babers turned in a solid 8-6 record in his debut at Bowling Green last season. The Falcons managed to overcome the loss of starting quarterback Matt Johnson in the season opener to claim the MAC East title. Babers came to Bowling Green after a 19-7 record in two years at Eastern Illinois. With Johnson back under center, along with a standout core of offensive talent, Babers’ “Falcon Fast” offense should take flight in 2015.

 

83. Rocky Long, San Diego State

Record at San Diego State: 32-20 (4 years)

Career Record: 97-89 (15 years)

 

Long enters his fifth season at San Diego State with 32 wins over the last four years, and the Aztecs begin 2015 as the frontrunner to win the Mountain West’s West Division. Long has led the program to four consecutive bowl appearances, and his success in the Mountain West also extends to his tenure at New Mexico. Long was the head coach in Albuquerque from 1998-2008, during which he won 65 games. Long is a steady winner with a proven track record in the Mountain West.

 

84. Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State

Record at Fresno State: 26-14 (3 years)

Career Record: 27-14 (3+ years)

 

DeRuyter enters his fourth season at Fresno State looking to rebound after a 6-8 campaign. In DeRuyter’s first two years, the Bulldogs went 20-6 and claimed at least a share of the Mountain West title in both seasons. The program took a step back in 2014 without quarterback Derek Carr but still managed to win the West Division title with a 5-3 record in conference play. One mark for DeRuyter to improve on in 2015: Getting Fresno State a bowl victory. The Bulldogs are 0-3 in the postseason under DeRuyter and lost each game by at least 20 points.

 

85. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State

Record at Iowa State: 29-46 (6 years)

Career Record: 29-46 (6 years)

 

Iowa State is one of the nation’s toughest Power 5 jobs. The in-state recruiting base is small, the Big 12 slate isn’t easy and you have to be good at developing talent or mining the junior college ranks for quick fixes. As an Iowa native, Rhoads knows all about the challenges of coaching in Ames. He also served as an assistant with the Cyclones in 1995-99. In six years as the program’s head coach, Rhoads is 29-46 overall with three bowl appearances. Iowa State has slipped after earning back-to-back bowl bids in 2011-12 with a 5-19 mark over the last two years. Rhoads is a good coach that can squeeze the most out of his roster. However, after a winless record in Big 12 play, Rhoads needs to get the program back to qualifying for a bowl game.

 

86. Rick Stockstill, MTSU

Record at MTSU: 57-55 (9 years)

Career Record: 57-55 (9 years)

 

Stockstill is the dean of Conference USA coaches. In nine years with MTSU, Stockstill has guided the program to four bowl appearances and has only one losing record in the last four seasons. The Blue Raiders also have a winning mark in C-USA play in each of the last three years. Stockstill’s best season at MTSU took place in 2009, as the Blue Raiders finished 10-3 and claimed a victory in the New Orleans Bowl.

 

87. Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion

Record at Old Dominion: 52-20 (6 years)

Career Record: 52-20 (6 years)

 

Wilder has guided Old Dominion from start-up program to a bowl contender in the FBS ranks. The Monarchs restarted football in 2009 and went 17-5 as a FCS independent from 2009-10. Wilder guided ODU to playoff appearances in 2011-12, with a program-best 11-2 record in ‘12. And in the Monarchs’ first season at the FBS level, Old Dominion finished 6-6 and went .500 in C-USA play. Wilder is a coach on the rise and will be a name to remember for coaching searches at Power 5 jobs if the program continues to progress.

 

88. Tim Beckman, Illinois

Record at Illinois: 12-25 (3 years)

Career Record: 33-41 (6 years
 

Beckman enters 2015 facing a make-or-break year at Illinois. The Fighting Illini have showed some improvement in Beckman’s tenure by increasing their win total by two games in each year after a 2-10 mark in 2012. Illinois finished 4-8 in 2013 and improved to 6-7 with a 3-5 mark in Big Ten play in 2014. While improvement has been noticeable in the overall win column, this program is just 4-20 in Big Ten games over the last three years and has not finished higher than fifth in its division. Beckman’s tenure got off to a rough start, but things have stabilized over the last two years. A few more wins this fall would help Beckman ensure a fifth season.

 

89. Kyle Flood, Rutgers

Record at Rutgers: 23-16 (3 years)

Career Record: 23-16 (3 years)

 

Rutgers was one of the Big Ten’s biggest surprises last year. In the Scarlet Knights’ debut in their new conference, Flood guided the program to an 8-5 record and a 3-5 mark in Big Ten play. Rutgers improved late in the season and finished with wins in three out of their last four games, including a 40-21 victory over North Carolina in the Quick Lane Bowl. The 8-5 record in 2014 was the second winning mark during Flood’s tenure, as he finished 9-4 in his debut (2012) and finished 2013 with a 6-7 mark. Keeping Rutgers in bowl contention in the Big Ten East will be a challenge in 2015. And Flood’s task was made even more difficult when Ralph Friedgen decided not to return to his staff in 2015. Flood was on the hot seat entering 2014, but a solid 8-5 record in the first season of Big Ten play has reduced some of the pressure on him.

 

90. Joey Jones, South Alabama

Record at South Alabama: 37-28 (6 years)

Career Record: 40-35 (7 years)

 

Jones started the South Alabama program from scratch and has guided the Jaguars to five seasons of at least six wins. And South Alabama is trending up after making the program’s first bowl appearance last year. Jones has plenty of roots within the state of Alabama, playing for the Crimson Tide under Bear Bryant and spending time as a high school head coach at Dora and Mountain Brook. The Jaguars return only five starters for 2015, but Jones should keep this team in contention for another bowl.

 

91. Dennis Franchione, Texas State

Record at Texas State: 36-34 (6 years)

Career Record: 210-126-2 (29 years)

 

Texas State has been on the cusp of reaching the program’s first bowl appearance under Franchione. Can the Bobcats take the next step in 2015? Franchione has guided the program to at least six wins in three out of the last four seasons, including a 7-5 mark in 2014. While Franchione has been solid at Texas State, he’s better known for his stops at Alabama (2001-02), Texas A&M (2003-07) and TCU (1998-00). In his 29-year coaching career, Franchione has recorded 210 wins.

 

92. Todd Berry, ULM

Record at ULM: 27-34 (5 years)

Career Record: 56-93 (13 years)

 

ULM is not an easy job, but Berry has been able to transform the Warhawks into a consistent threat for bowl appearances. ULM has won at least four games in each of Berry’s five years and won 14 contests from 2012-13, which included a bowl appearance in ‘12. With a 13-game slate and uncertainty at quarterback, reaching a bowl this season won’t be easy for ULM. However, Berry has a solid defense, and the Warhawks will be a tough out once again in the Sun Belt.

 

93. Mark Whipple, UMass

Record at UMass: 52-35 (7 years)

Career Record: 124-68 (17 years)

 

Whipple returned to UMass after a 10-year absence and guided the Minutemen to a 3-9 record in his debut. While the 3-9 mark might not seem like much, UMass was significantly more competitive than under Charley Molnar and the three wins was more than the program recorded from 2012-13 combined. Whipple has won 52 games in seven years as the head coach at UMass, including a FCS Championship in 1998.With 18 starters returning, the Minutemen could challenge for a bowl in 2015.

 

94. Dan McCarney, North Texas

Record at North Texas: 22-27 (4 years)

Career Record: 78-112 (16 years)

 

McCarney enters his fifth season at North Texas still looking to push the program into consistent C-USA West contender status. The Mean Green has one bowl appearance (2013) under McCarney’s direction, but has three losing seasons as well. McCarney also coached from 1996-2006 at Iowa State, guiding the Cyclones to five bowl appearances over his final seven years in Ames. 

 

95. Larry Coker, UTSA

Record at UTSA: 23-23 (4 years)

Career Record: 83-38 (10 years)

 

UTSA has made the successful transition from FCS to the FBS ranks. Now, Coker has the difficult task of rebuilding a roster that returns just three starters for 2015 and loses several other key contributors. The Roadrunners are 23-23 under Coker’s direction and won 15 games from 2012-13. However, UTSA underachieved at 4-8 last year and won its three games in conference play by seven points or less. Coker has a national championship on his resume from six years at Miami and has been instrumental in getting UTSA’s program off of the ground.

 

96. Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State

Record at Appalachian State: 11-13 (2 years)

Career Record: 11-13 (2 years)

 

Satterfield is a coach on the rise. The former Appalachian State quarterback had the tough assignment of replacing Jerry Moore in 2013, and the Mountaineers went 4-8 in his debut. The program transitioned to the FBS ranks last season, and Satterfield’s team finished with a 7-5 mark, including a 4-4 record in the Sun Belt. With 20 starters returning, Appalachian State should be one of the favorites to win the conference in 2015.

 

97. Sean Kugler, UTEP

Record at UTEP: 9-16 (2 years)

Career Record: 9-16 (2 years)

 

UTEP showed considerable progress in Kugler’s second season after a 2-10 mark in 2013. The Miners finished 7-6 and played in the New Mexico Bowl – the program’s first postseason appearance since 2010. As a former offensive line coach, it’s no surprise Kugler emphasizes the running game and toughness. UTEP should be in the mix for a bowl once again in 2015.

 

98. Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky

Record at WKU: 8-5 (1 year)

Career Record: 8-5 (1 year)

 

Brohm is a coach that could easily climb this list by the end of the 2015 season. WKU finished 8-5 in Brohm’s debut, which included a thrilling 49-48 victory over Central Michigan in the Bahamas Bowl. Behind prolific quarterback Brandon Doughty, WKU is the frontrunner to win Conference USA in 2015. Judging by Brohm’s first season and what’s to come next year, this program is in good hands for the foreseeable future.

 

99. Willie Taggart, USF

Record at USF: 6-18 (2 years)

Career Record: 22-38 (5 years)

 

Taggart was considered one of the top coaching hires in 2013, but USF is only 6-18 in his first two years. Taggart enters 2015 squarely on the hot seat, and the Florida native hopes a revamped offensive style and staff helps to push the program in the right direction. Taggart has recruited well, so there’s no shortage of talent in place. How quickly will the talent and unproven players mesh with the scheme? Prior to USF, Taggart went 16-20 at Western Kentucky, including a 14-10 mark over the final two years.

 

100. Darrell Hazell, Purdue

Record at Purdue: 4-20 (2 years)

Career Record: 20-30 (4 years)

 

After guiding Kent State to a 16-10 record in two years, including an impressive 11-3 mark in 2012, Hazell appeared to be the right coach for Purdue. After two years with the Boilermakers, however, it's apparent that there’s still a lot of work ahead for Hazell. Purdue is only 4-20 over the last two seasons and has won only one game in Big Ten play. The Boilermakers had two losses in conference play by seven points or less, but lost three out of their last four games by 15 points or more. Hazell has made small gains through his first two years. However, plenty of work remains going into 2015, and Hazell needs to show progress in year three.

 

101. Lance Leipold, Buffalo

Record at Buffalo: First Year

Career Record: 109-6 (8 years)

 

Leipold was one of the top coaching hires this offseason, as he heads to Buffalo after eight successful years at Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater. The Warhawks won 109 games and six national championships under Leipold’s watch. The Bulls could be a dark horse to contend in the MAC East this year, as Leipold inherits a talented offense (his specialty) and senior quarterback Joe Licata.

 

102. Mike London, Virginia

Record at Virginia: 23-38 (5 years)

Career Record: 47-43 (7 years)

 

London entered 2014 on the hot seat but managed to earn another season in Charlottesville after the Cavaliers finished 5-7 and lost five games by eight points or less. London enters 2015 in the same situation, as his contact expires at the end of 2016 and there’s pressure to get Virginia back into a bowl game after three consecutive losing seasons. Recruiting has been a strength for London and his staff, with the Cavaliers averaging a 31.8 finish nationally since 2011. The 31.8 mark ranks No. 6 among ACC teams, ahead of three other Coastal Division teams in Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech and Duke. But despite the success on the recruiting trail, Virginia has won only five games in ACC play over the last three seasons. 2015 is a make-or-break year for London.

 

103. Scott Shafer, Syracuse

Record at Syracuse: 10-15 (2 years)

Career Record: 10-15 (2 years)

 

Shafer went 7-6 in his first season at Syracuse (2013), but the Orange regressed to 3-9 last season. The four-win decline had a lot to do with injuries to key players, including quarterback Terrel Hunt. Improving the offense has to be a priority for Shafer and coordinator Tim Lester, especially since the Orange managed only 24 points in their final three games. Prior to Shafer’s promotion to head coach, he worked as a defensive coordinator with the Orange from 2009-12. Additionally, he made stops as an assistant at Michigan, Stanford, Western Michigan, Illinois and Northern Illinois. Syracuse seemed to be trending in the right direction after 2013. But after a three-win campaign last year, can Shafer get the program back into contention for a bowl? With a new athletic director coming, the pressure is on Shafer to produce.

 

104. Mike Bobo, Colorado State

Record at Colorado State: First Year

Career Record: First Year

 

Bobo has spent most of his life in the state of Georgia, so moving to Colorado will be a definite change of scenery for the former SEC quarterback. After spending 1993-97 under center for the Bulldogs, Bobo worked as a coach with the program from 1998-99 and again from 2001-14. Bobo was promoted to call the plays for Georgia in 2007 and coordinated an offense that led the SEC last season by averaging 41.3 points per game. Bobo has never been a college head coach. However, this seems like a good hire for a program like Colorado State.

 

105. Blake Anderson, Arkansas State

Record at Arkansas State: 7-6 (1 year)

Career Record: 7-6 (1 year)

 

The arrow on Anderson’s coaching career is pointing up. Arkansas State went 7-6 in Anderson’s debut, but the Red Wolves are among the favorites to win the Sun Belt in 2015. Prior to taking the job in Jonesboro, Anderson was an assistant at North Carolina, Southern Miss, UL Lafayette, MTSU and New Mexico. Last year, Anderson represented the fifth coach at Arkansas State in five years, and the stability of the coaching staff for 2015 should pay dividends.

 

106. Curtis Johnson, Tulane

Record at Tulane: 12-25 (3 years)

Career Record: 12-25 (3 years)

 

As a New Orleans native and former assistant with the Saints, Johnson is familiar with Tulane and what it takes to win in the Big Easy. The job is a challenging one, but an on-campus stadium should help Johnson recruit and rebuild this program. The Green Wave went 2-10 in Johnson’s first year (2012) but rebounded into the postseason with a 7-6 mark in 2013. Tulane finished 3-9 in 2014, and there’s hope for a turnaround in 2015 with 13 returning starters.  

 

107. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
Record at Vanderbilt: 
3-9 (1 year)
Career Record: 3-9 (1 year)

 

James Franklin left big shoes to fill in Nashville after leading the Commodores to three consecutive bowl appearances. While repeating that success in the first year was going to be tough for Mason, Vanderbilt slipped to 3-9 and went winless in SEC play for the first time since 2009. The Commodores also lost four conference games by 20 or more points, and two of their three wins came by less than three points. Mason plans on taking over the defensive play-calling duties in 2015 and a staff overhaul should help the offense improve after averaging only 12.8 points per game in SEC contests. Mason had plenty of success as a coordinator at Stanford. Will the Commodores show big improvement in year two?

 

108. Brian Polian, Nevada

Record at Nevada: 11-14 (2 years)

Career Record: 11-14 (2 years)

 

Nevada made steady progress in Polian’s second year. After a 4-8 record in his 2013 debut, the Wolf Pack finished 7-6 and 4-4 in conference play last season. Nevada also returned to the postseason after a one-year absence with a trip to the New Orleans Bowl, defeated one Power 5 opponent (Washington State), while losing by just seven points to another (Arizona). Polian has Nevada moving in the right direction. However, improving on the win total in 2015 could be difficult without quarterback Cody Fajardo. 

 

109. Chuck Martin, Miami (Ohio)

Record at Miami (Ohio): 2-10 (1 year)

Career Record: 76-17 (7 years)

 

Miami (Ohio) won only two games in Martin’s first season, but the RedHawks were more competitive and there’s a promising outlook for this program headed into 2015. The former Notre Dame assistant took over in Oxford after spending four years under Brian Kelly at Notre Dame and worked from 2004-09 as the head coach at Grand Valley State. The Lakers went 74-7 with two Division II championships under Martin’s watch. It may take another year or two for Miami to get back to a bowl, but Martin has this program trending in the right direction.

 

110. Jeff Monken, Army West Point

Record at Army: 4-8 (1 year)

Career Record: 42-24 (5 years)

 

Army West Point is one of college football’s toughest coaching jobs, and Monken has plenty of work to do with just six returning starters in 2015. The Black Knights went 4-8 in Monken’s debut last season but also suffered a surprising 49-43 loss at Yale in late September. Prior to the 2014 season at Army, Monken went 38-16 in four years at Georgia Southern. Monken is a good fit at West Point, but he needs more time to rebuild a program that has only one winning record since 1997.

 

111. Bob Davie, New Mexico

Record at New Mexico: 11-26 (3 years)

Career Record: 46-51 (8 years)

 

Davie inherited a major rebuilding project in 2012, and the Lobos have made noticeable improvement over the last three years. New Mexico is only 11-26 under Davie’s watch, but the Lobos just missed on a bowl last year after losing three games by seven points or less. With 11 returning starters and more overall depth in the program, 2015 will be a critical year for Davie and the Lobos.

 

112. Bob Diaco, UConn

Record at UConn: 2-10 (1 year)

Career Record: 2-10 (1 year)

 

Diaco was regarded as one of the nation’s rising stars in the assistant ranks after coordinating Notre Dame’s defense from 2010-13. Under Diaco’s watch, the Fighting Irish finished No. 2 nationally in scoring defense in 2012. But Diaco’s first year guiding the UConn program was a struggle, as the Huskies finished 2-10 and lost the final four games of 2014.

 

113. Todd Monken, Southern Miss

Record at Southern Miss: 4-20 (2 years)

Career Record: 4-20 (2 years)

 

Southern Miss has fallen on hard times recently, as the Golden Eagles were once one of the annual contenders in Conference USA but has failed to record a winning record since 2011. Monken has a tough job and needs a few years to rebuild the talent and overall depth of the roster. Southern Miss did improve its win total by two games in Monken’s second year. The Golden Eagles are on the right path. 

 

114. Trent Miles, Georgia State

Record at Georgia State: 1-23 (2 years)

Career Record: 21-59 (7 years)

 

Georgia State is struggling to put all of the pieces together since reaching the FBS level, and Miles is just 1-23 with the Panthers over the last two years. But prior to Georgia State, Miles turned around Indiana State’s struggling program, guiding the Sycamores to three winning records from 2010-12. There’s a lot of work ahead for Miles in Atlanta.

 

115. Neal Brown, Troy

Record at Troy: First Year

Career Record: First Year

 

Brown is one of the nation’s youngest head coaches (35) and has the tough assignment of following Larry Blakeney after the long-time coach retired at the end of last season. Brown is known for his offensive background and has stops as an assistant in his career at Texas Tech and Kentucky. Brown previously worked at Troy as an assistant from 2006-09. The Kentucky native is unproven, but he should be a good hire for the Trojans.

 

116. Philip Montgomery, Tulsa

Record at Tulsa: First Year

Career Record: First Year

 

Montgomery is tasked with turning around a Tulsa program that slipped to a 5-19 record in the final two years under Bill Blankenship. Montgomery has never been a head coach on the collegiate level, but he worked under Art Briles at Baylor from 2006-14 and Houston from 2003-05. Montgomery’s background on offense should be a good fit for Tulsa.

 

117. Ron Caragher, San Jose State

Record at San Jose State: 9-15 (2 years)

Career Record: 53-37 (8 years)

 

Caragher had the tough assignment of following Mike MacIntyre, who left for Colorado at the end of the 2012 season. And after two years with the program, Caragher is starting to feel a little heat. The Spartans finished just 6-6 in 2013 with standout quarterback David Fales at the helm and slipped to 3-9 last season. There is optimism at San Jose State in 2015, as the program returns 12 starters and inked one of the Mountain West’s top signing classes this year.

 

118. David Beaty, Kansas

Record at Kansas: First Year

Career Record: First Year

 

Beaty is a former Kansas assistant and comes to Lawrence after a three-year stint at Texas A&M. He has never been a head coach, but the Jayhawks hope his recruiting ties to Texas and previous experience at Kansas help to turn around a program that has not won more than three games in each of the last five years. Beaty retained last year’s interim coach Clint Bowen but isn’t inheriting much to work with going into 2015 and just getting to three or four wins would be a good year for the Jayhawks. With a lack of head coaching experience and only two years as a coordinator on the collegiate level, Beaty is still largely an unknown.

 

119. Paul Haynes, Kent State

Record at Kent State: 6-17 (2 years)

Career Record: 6-17 (2 years)

 

Haynes is a Kent State alumnus and came to the program after working as an assistant at Ohio State and Arkansas. However, the Ohio native has struggled in his two years as Kent State’s head coach. The Golden Flashes are just 6-17 during that span and finished 2-9 last year. With the addition of Don Treadwell as the team’s offensive play-caller, Haynes hopes to jumpstart an offense that averaged only 16.4 points per game last season. The seat is starting to warm just a bit for Haynes as he enters Year 3.

 

120. Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan

Record at Eastern Michigan: 2-10 (1 year)

Career Record: 142-56 (18 years)

 

Eastern Michigan might be the toughest place to coach in the FBS ranks. Needless to say, Creighton has a tough assignment ahead, as EMU has not recorded a winning season since 1995. The Eagles went 2-10 in Creighton’s debut but has a more manageable schedule to show improvement in 2015. Prior to taking over in Ypsilanti, Creighton went 42-22 at Drake, 63-15 at Wabash and 32-9 at Ottawa.

 

121. Doug Martin, New Mexico State

Record at New Mexico State: 4-20 (2 years)

Career Record: 33-73 (9 years)

 

Similar to Idaho’s Paul Petrino, Martin walked into a difficult job and needs more time to be evaluated. Martin is just 4-20 through two years with the Aggies, and he went 29-53 in seven seasons as Kent State’s coach from 2004-10.

 

122. Paul Petrino, Idaho

Record at Idaho: 2-21 (2 years)

Career Record: 2-21 (2 years)

 

Idaho is a tough job, and Petrino took over in Moscow with some uncertainty about the program’s conference home. The Vandals landed in the Sun Belt and struggled in their return to the conference (1-10 in 2014). Petrino inherited a rebuilding project, and through two seasons, there’s still plenty of work to do.

 

123. Ron Turner, FIU

Record at FIU: 5-19 (2 years)

Career Record: 47-80 (11 years)

 

FIU showed small signs of life in Turner’s second season. After a 1-11 record in 2013, the Panthers finished 4-8 in 2014 and defeated rival FAU 38-10. Turner was a curious hire for this program, and there’s still plenty for this coaching staff to prove in 2015. However, there’s a good core of young talent in place and one of the conference’s best defenses for Turner to build around.

 

124. Charlie Partridge, FAU

Record at FAU: 3-9 (1 year)

Career Record: 3-9 (1 year)

 

Partridge is known for his recruiting ability, so it’s no surprise FAU reeled in the No. 2 signing class in Conference USA from 2015. However, the Owls went 3-9 in Partridge’s first season and won only two games in conference play. With 11 returning starters and standout quarterback Jaquez Johnson back in the mix, Partridge has a good opportunity to take this program a step forward in 2015.

 

125. Norm Chow, Hawaii

Record at Hawaii: 8-29 (3 years)

Career Record: 8-29 (3 years)

 

After winning just eight games in three years, there’s a ton of pressure on Chow to push Hawaii up in the Mountain West standings in 2015. The Rainbow Warriors have failed to win more than four games in a season under Chow’s watch, but are coming off their best showing in Mountain West play (3-5). With 12 returning starters and USC transfer Max Wittek at quarterback, Chow has plenty of reasons to expect improvement. However, if Hawaii finishes its fourth consecutive year with at least nine losses, Chow will have a tough time making a case to return in 2016.

 

126. Tony Sanchez, UNLV

Record at UNLV: First Year

Career Record: First Year

 

Hiring a head coach from the high school ranks is a risky move, but Sanchez is worth the gamble for UNLV. The Rebels have only two seasons of more than five wins since 2001 and have four years of double-digit losses over the last five seasons. Sanchez has only one year of collegiate coaching experience (1996 at New Mexico State), but the California native was one of the nation’s top high school coaches, going 85-5 at Las Vegas prep powerhouse Bishop Gorman from 2009-14. Sure, Sanchez is unproven and risky. But there’s also something to like about UNLV thinking outside of the box for this hire. 

 

127. Brad Lambert, Charlotte

Record at Charlotte: 10-12 (2 years)

Career Record: 10-12 (2 years)

 

Lambert has a difficult assignment for the next few years. The former Wake Forest defensive coordinator is trying to follow the path of fellow C-USA members UTSA and Old Dominion in transitioning from the FCS level to the FBS ranks. The 49ers are 10-12 since starting their football program, but have yet to beat a team from the FBS level.

 

128. John Bonamego, Central Michigan

Record at Central Michigan: First Year

Career Record: First Year

 

Bonamego takes over at Central Michigan after Dan Enos left to be the offensive coordinator at Arkansas. Bonamego is no stranger to Central Michigan, as he played quarterback and wide receiver for the Chippewas. While the familiarity is important, Bonamego has never been a head coach, let alone an offensive or defensive coordinator at the FBS level. Bonamego was the Detroit Lions’ special teams coordinator when he was hired to replace Enos and previously worked with the Jaguars, Saints, Packers and Dolphins in a similar role.

Teaser:
Ranking All 128 College Football Head Coaches for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 09:30

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