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College football's Week 4 slate features some intriguing games, including the ACC showdown between Clemson and Florida State and the showdown of Notre Dame and Michigan. Athlon's editors correctly hit on the Notre Dame win over Michigan State and the Ball State victory over Indiana last week. Here are a few upset picks to watch in Week 4:

College Football's Week 4 Upset Picks

David Fox (@DavidFox615): Kansas State (+14) over Oklahoma
Time to start buying into Kansas State. It’s easy not to sometimes -- the talent disparity, the feeling the Wildcats won 10 games last season on luck. And this is a risky pick with Oklahoma defeating K-State 58-17 in Manhattan last season, but one interesting development has been the Wildcats' passing game so far this season. Collin Klein passed for 210 yards against Miami and 230 yards against North Texas. Those numbers would have been Klein’s third- and fourth-most passing yards all season in 2011. Elsewhere, Tramaine Thompson is developing into an intriguing playmaker, already doubling his touchdowns from a year ago (three receiving and one on a punt return). Meanwhile, I’m still a little worried about an Oklahoma team that struggled to put away UTEP in the opener.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Michigan (+6) over Notre Dame
There are three major upsets that I am keeping an eye on this weekend (stay tuned for the Week 3 edition of Betting Against the Spread on Friday for more), but I will go with the Michigan Wolverines over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Brian Kelly's bunch is flying high after a strong 3-0 start led by its defense. But Denard Robinson is back on track after a tough Week 1 performance. He has rushed for 324 yards and has accounted for eight touchdowns in two wins since losing to Alabama and enters this game with three straight 200-yard passing efforts for the first time in his career. He is 3-0 against Notre Dame and his dynamic skillset can negate the powerful Irish front seven. I'm a big fan of Everett Golson but he will make one key freshman mistake in a tightly-played, physical Midwestern rivalry game that should live up to the hype.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Syracuse (+2) over Minnesota
It’s hard to call a two-point spread much of an upset. Then again, there’s not a ton of games that have upset potential in Week 4. Syracuse started 0-2 with close losses to Northwestern and USC but had a sluggish win over Stony Brook last Saturday. The Golden Gophers are a much-improved team in Jerry Kill’s second season but could be without starting quarterback MarQueis Gray. Backup Max Shortell has experience, but Gray’s dual-threat ability will be missed. Syracuse’s offense – led by quarterback Ryan Nassib and receivers Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales – will test a Minnesota defense that allowed 27 points to UNLV in the season opener. The Orange will struggle to stop the Golden Gophers’ offense, but Nassib should make just enough plays to win. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Ball State (+10) over South Florida
The Cardinals return home after their big 41–39 win over in-state rival Indiana — their third straight victory vs. IU — to take on an inconsistent South Florida team. The Bulls dropped to 2–1 with a 23–13 loss at home to Rutgers last Thursday night. They were fortunate to win in Week 2, rallying to beat Nevada 32–31 with two touchdown passes of more than 50 yards in the final three minutes. Ball State is 2–1 with wins over Eastern Michigan and Indiana sandwiched around a 52–27 loss at Clemson. The Cardinals have been able to move the ball in every game; they had 380 yards (including 252 on the ground) vs. Clemson and 440 yards (200-plus through the air and on the ground) vs. Indiana. This is a solid team that is good enough to beat South Florida straight up. Ball State 34, South Florida 31

Mark Ross: Fresno State (+5.5) over Tulsa
Both teams enter this game 2-1 and ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation in both total and scoring offense, as each is averaging more than 500 yards and 43 points per game. Both also are coming off of wins last week in which they scored more than 66 points. That said, there are two reasons why I am picking Fresno State to beat home favorite Tulsa. The first has to do with level of competition. Fresno's only loss so far came on the road against Oregon, who is currently the No. 3-ranked team in the country, while Tulsa lost its opener at Iowa State. Both teams made strong showings in defeat, but I'm a little more impressed by what the Bulldogs were able to do against the Ducks, finishing with 365 yards of total offense and 25 points. The other reason I like Fresno over Tulsa is I trust the Bulldogs' defense a little more as far as being able to slow down the Golden Hurricane offense. Removing the Oregon game, in which Fresno surrendered 532 yards to the No. 7 offense in the nation, the Bulldogs have only given up an average of 276 yards per game. Tulsa on the other hand yielded 441 yards to Iowa State (which is No. 49 in total offense) and last week gave up 370 to FCS member Nicholls State. Both teams should be able to move the ball and score on the other, but in the end I like Fresno to end up on the winning side of what should be an entertaining match up.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): BYU (+7.5) over Boise State
Selecting winners in all three weeks of our upset predictions has obviously filled my head with enough confidence to make me go loco, because this week I’m picking against a squad that is 74-7 under its current coach and 75-3 in its last 78 home games. However I believe the aggressive BYU defense can frustrate Boise State and new quarterback Joe Southwick, and that the Cougars will shock the Broncos on the absolute eyesore that is the blue turf. Bronco Mendenhall’s bunch suffered a frustrating loss at Utah last week, but BYU outgained the Utes and should have won after a late rally. Boise State looked good against Miami (Ohio), but BYU’s defense is closer to the Michigan State group that the Broncos faced in their season-opening loss. It may be crazy for going against Boise State at home, but I’ll take BYU to pull off a 20-17 upset.

 

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 4 Preview and Predictions
Big East Week 4 Preview and Predictions

Big Ten Week 4 Preview and Predictions

Big 12 Week 4 Preview and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 4 Preview and Predictions

SEC Week 4 Preview and Predictions

College Football Week 4 Upset Predictions

The 15 Worst BCS Teams Since 1998

Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 4 Upset Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:43
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-4-sit-or-start
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We have surprised ourselves by including names like James Franklin, Tajh Boyd, and Alex Carder on the Bench list in the same week.  However, we feel that there are safer options available to fantasy owners, especially when Week Four features games rich with fantasy potential for quarterbacks (Baylor at UL-Monroe, Arizona at Oregon, and Marshall at Rice). 

Start

Johnny Manziel, QB-Texas A&M vs South Carolina St

Manziel looks as if he should be a must-start every week except when the Aggies play Alabama and LSU later in the season.

Taylor McHargue, QB-Rice and Rakeem Cato, QB-Marshall Marshall at Rice

This game has the second-highest Vegas total on the board.  Expect a lot of scoring from both offenses and solid fantasy production from their quarterbacks.

Connor Halliday, QB-Washington St vs Colorado

The Cougars’ offense may not be on par with some of the PAC-12’s elite, but expect big numbers from Halliday as he faces a defense giving up over 40 points and 476 yards per game.

Kolton Browning, QB-Louisiana-Monroe vsBaylor

After impressive games against Arkansas and Auburn to start the season, Browning faces a Baylor defense ranked 117th nationally against the pass.

LaDarius Perkins, RB-Mississippi St vs South Alabama

Perkins has had a nice start to the 2012 season, averaging over 100 yards rushing per game and scoring four touchdowns.

Shawn Southward, RB-Troy at North Texas

After rushing for 137 yards and two touchdowns last week against Mississippi State, Southward’s fantasy owners should be excited about Troy’s upcoming five-game conference slate.

Antonio Andrews, RB-Western Kentucky at Southern Miss

We’re not expecting him to duplicate his 34-125-3 numbers from a week ago, but he should come close.

Cody Getz, RB-Air Force vs New Mexico St

Getz may be a forgotten man because the Falcons did not play last week, but don’t get caught sleeping on a guy that has rushed for 348 yards and six touchdowns.

Andy Cruse, WR-Miami (OH) vs UMass

The 6-4 senior seems to be picking up the slack in the absence of fellow receiver Nick Harwell, who has been bothered by a leg injury.

Gabe Marks, WR-Washington St vs Colorado

Marks received a lot of attention throughout fall camp and he made a name for himself on the national stage last week with a six-catch, 126-yard game at UNLV.

Chad Bumphis, WR-Mississippi St vs South Alabama

Bumphis only has ten receptions on the season, but five of those have been for touchdowns and he is averaging 23 yards per catch.

Eric Ebron, TE-North Carolina vs East Carolina

Ebron’s eleven receptions are second-best on the team and his three receiving touchdowns lead the team.

 

Bench

James Franklin, QB-Missouri at South Carolina

Franklin may be the best fantasy option on the Missouri roster this week, but the Gamecocks are seventh-best against the run nationally (53.0 ypg) and are only allowing 9.7 points per game.

Tajh Boyd, QB-Clemson at Florida St

This move could come back to haunt many fantasy owners, but we are not risking our week against the nation’s #1 rated defense.  Be on the lookout for our Emergency Starters list at the end of the week.

Alex Carder, QB-Western Michigan vs Connecticut

We have Carder listed at #30 in our weekly quarterback rankings because he’ll face a defense highly-rated against the pass (5th nationally) and points allowed (11th).

Rex Burkhead, RB-Nebraska vs Idaho St

Coach Pelini has indicated that Burkhead should play this weekend, but we are guessing that he’ll get just enough work to shake off the rust and then rest for next week’s matchup against Wisconsin.

Kevin Parks, RB-Virginia at TCU

The season is still young, but the TCU defense may be a lot better than we thought after three weeks.

Kendial Lawrence, RB-Missouri at South Carolina

Lawrence has been productive over the first three weeks of the season rushing for 224 yards and four touchdowns, but this week the Tigers travel east and face a defense that has not given up more than 70 yards rushing in a game this season.

LaRod King, WR-Kentucky at Florida

King is the best fantasy option on the Wildcats’ roster, but we wouldn’t take a chance against a tough Gators defense.

Alec Lemon, WR-Syracuse at Minnesota

Lemon is being overshadowed by the reemergence of fellow receiver Marcus Sales and has yet to find the end zone.

 

For Start/Bench advice from Joe DiSalvo, send an email to:  joe@thecffsite.com

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

thecffsite.com

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 4 Sit or Start</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:34
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-positional-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any website can give you.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

 

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

DEFENSIVE SCORING
0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

KICKER SCORING
PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:29
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

The top-scoring tight end in fantasy football last week was none other than San Diego's Dante Rosario, who caught three touchdown passes against Tennessee. However, you won't see him listed below because Antonio Gates, whose absence because of a rib injury made Rosario's big day possible, is already back at practice and is expected to go on Sunday against Atlanta. One tight end who will not be playing this Sunday or for several weeks to come is New England's Aaron Hernandez. He suffered an ankle injury that is expected to sideline him for multiple weeks. His absence only helps increase teammate Rob Gronkowski's value, although Gronk still sits behind Jimmy Graham on this week's rankings. Brandon Pettigrew, already a solid weekly starting option, could be in for a career day against Tennessee considering the Titans were the team that surrendered the three touchdown catches to Rosario last week. Martellus Bennett continued his strong start to the season as he posted six more catches for 73 yards and his third touchdown on the season in the Giants' win over Carolina on Thursday night. If Bennett's able to maintain this production over the course of the season, the tight end position becomes even deeper than it was believed to before the start of it.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Jimmy Graham NO vs. KC
2 Rob Gronkowski NE at BAL
3 Brandon Pettigrew DET at TEN
4 Vernon Davis SF at MIN
5 Jermichael Finley GB at SEA (Mon.)
6 Tony Gonzalez ATL at SD
7 Brent Celek PHI at ARI
8 Martellus Bennett NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
9 Antonio Gates SD vs. ATL
10 Jason Witten DAL vs. TB
11 Dennis Pitta BAL vs. NE
12 Owen Daniels HOU at DEN
13 Kyle Rudolph MIN vs. SF
14 Jared Cook TEN vs. DET
15 Coby Fleener IND vs. JAC
16 Jacob Tamme DEN vs. HOU
17 Jermaine Gresham CIN at WAS
18 Greg Olsen CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
19 Scott Chandler BUF at CLE
20 Fred Davis WAS vs. CIN
21 Brandon Myers OAK vs. PIT
22 Dustin Keller NYJ at MIA
23 Marcedes Lewis JAC at IND
24 Heath Miller PIT at OAK
25 Dallas Clark TB at DAL
26 Todd Heap ARI vs. PHI

Injury-Related News:
Fred Davis, WAS: Sustained head injury in last week's game, but passed concussion tests and was back at practice on Wednesday. He should start on Sunday against Cincinnati.
Antonio Gates, SD: Missed last week's game with rib injury, but was back at practice on Wednesday and should play Sunday against Atlanta.
Todd Heap, ARI: Is considered day-to-day after suffering a sprained PCL in his left knee during last Sunday's game. His status for this week is uncertain.
Aaron Hernandez, NE: He is expected to miss the next several weeks due to an ankle injury sustained last week.
Dustin Keller, NYJ: Missed last week's game because of a hamstring injury. He was back at practice on Thursday, so the team is hopeful he will be able to play in Miami on Sunday.
Heath Miller, PIT: He sustained a rib cartilage injury last week and missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday. There's a strong possibility he will not be able to play in Oakland on Sunday.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Additional Week 3 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

— By Mark Ross, updated on Sept. 21, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:26
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

Drew Brees and his Saints have struggled mightily out of the gates in the standings. This coming Sunday presents the team with a golden opportunity to not only get into the win column, but also put up some big offensive numbers in the process, as they will host Kansas City. However, don't be surprised if the Chiefs' Matt Cassel also joins in on the fun, as the Saints' defense is currently last in the league in both yards and points allowed. Jay Cutler will look to bounce back from his four-interception showing against Green Bay as Chicago hosts St. Louis. Likewise, Aaron Rodgers is hoping for better things this week than what he did (219 yards passing, TD, INT) in the win over the Bears, but he will have to do in Seattle against a Seahawks' defense that held Tony Romo (251 yards, TD, INT) and the Cowboys' offense in check last Sunday. Another quarterback match up to watch is in Foxboro as Tom Brady and the Patriots face off against Joe Flacco and the Ravens in a rematch of last season's AFC Championship game. Both teams are coming off of disappointing losses and to this point, the quarterbacks have put up similar numbers.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Drew Brees NO vs. KC
2 Matthew Stafford DET at TEN
3 Cam Newton CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
4 Aaron Rodgers GB at SEA (Mon.)
5 Tom Brady NE at BAL
6 Tony Romo DAL vs. TB
7 Eli Manning NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
8 Robert Griffin III WAS vs. CIN
9 Michael Vick PHI at ARI
10 Matt Ryan ATL at SD
11 Philip Rivers SD vs. ATL
12 Jay Cutler CHI vs. STL
13 Peyton Manning DEN vs. HOU
14 Ben Roethlisberger PIT at OAK
15 Andy Dalton CIN at WAS
16 Matt Cassel KC at NO
17 Joe Flacco BAL vs. NE
18 Alex Smith SF at MIN
19 Josh Freeman TB at DAL
20 Matt Schaub HOU at DEN
21 Andrew Luck IND vs. JAC
22 Sam Bradford STL at CHI
23 Carson Palmer OAK vs. PIT
24 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at CLE
25 Jake Locker TEN vs. DET
26 Mark Sanchez NYJ at MIA

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Additional Week 3 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:24
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

Opportunity knocked for Andre Brown, who got the start for the Giants Thursday night against Carolina in place of an injured Ahmad Bradshaw (neck), and the fourth-year back from North Carolina State certainly answered. Brown piled up 113 yards on the ground and two touchdowns against the Panthers, leading the Giants to a convincing 36-7 victory in the process. Like Brown, Michael Bush is in a similar position as will see an increased workload for the Bears against St. Louis with Matt Forte ruled out because of an ankle injury. Although it's possible, it's highly unlikely that either Brown or Bush will have the impact that C.J. Spiller has had since assuming the starting role in Buffalo following Fred Jackson's injury. Spiller is currently leading the league in rushing (292 yards) and should have another productive game this Sunday against Cleveland. Maurice Jones-Drew and Adrian Peterson also appear to be fully reinstated as the starter for their respective teams. Jones-Drew is probably the safer play this week, however, as Peterson will test his surgically repaired knee with a heavier load against a San Francisco defense that's given up a total of 127 yards rushing so far. Willis McGahee, who had 113 yards on the ground against Atlanta on Monday night, may also find the going a little tougher this week against an equally stingy (144 yards rushing in two games) Houston defense. Another situation that bears watching is who gets the most carries in Kansas City. Last week both Peyton Hillis and Shaun Draughn got more attempts than Jamaal Charles, who limped off of the field after suffering what turned out to be a knee bruise during the Chiefs' loss to Buffalo. The good news for Charles owners is it doesn't appear to be anything serious, especially considering the Chiefs have a date in New Orleans (last in NFL in rush defense) this Sunday.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Arian Foster HOU at DEN
2 Ray Rice BAL vs. NE
3 LeSean McCoy PHI at ARI
4 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC at IND
5 C.J. Spiller BUF at CLE
6 DeMarco Murray DAL vs. TB
7 Darren McFadden OAK vs. PIT
8 Frank Gore SF at MIN
9 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. GB (Mon.)
10 Michael Bush CHI vs. STL
11 Trent Richardson CLE vs. BUF
12 Stevan Ridley NE at BAL
13 Reggie Bush MIA vs. NYJ
14 Doug Martin TB at DAL
15 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN at WAS
16 Adrian Peterson MIN vs. SF
17 Ryan Mathews SD vs. ATL
18 Darren Sproles NO vs. KC
19 Chris Johnson TEN vs. DET
20 Jamaal Charles KC at NO
21 Steven Jackson STL at CHI
22 Andre Brown NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
23 Alfred Morris WAS vs. CIN
24 Willis McGahee DEN vs. HOU
25 Michael Turner ATL at SD
26 Shonn Greene NYJ at MIA
27 Peyton Hillis KC at NO
28 Donald Brown IND vs. JAC
29 Mark Ingram NO vs. KC
30 Cedric Benson GB at SEA (Mon.)
31 Beanie Wells ARI vs. PHI
32 DeAngelo Williams CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
33 Ben Tate HOU at DEN
34 Pierre Thomas NO vs. KC
35 Kevin Smith DET at TEN
36 Jonathan Stewart CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
37 Jonathan Dwyer PIT at OAK
38 Isaac Redman PIT at OAK
39 Mikel Leshoure DET at TEN
40 Ryan Williams ARI vs. PHI
41 David Wilson NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
42 Dexter McCluster KC at NO
43 Daryl Richardson STL at CHI
44 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL at SD
45 Lamar Miller MIA vs. NYJ
46 Toby Gerhart MIN vs. SF
47 Kendall Hunter SF at MIN
48 Jackie Battle SD vs. ATL

Injury News:
Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG: Did not play Thursday night against Carolina because of a neck injury.
Jamaal Charles, KC: Expected to play on Sunday in New Orleans after leaving last week's game due to a knee bruise on his surgically repaired left knee (ACL tear last season).
Jonathan Dwyer, PIT: Dealing with a toe injury, missed practice on Wednesday, but practiced fully on Thursday in preparation for Sunday's game in Oakland.
Matt Forte, CHI: Will not play Sunday against St. Louis because of an ankle injury.
Steven Jackson, STL: Missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday because of a groin injury, but he is still hopeful of being able to play on Sunday against Chicago.
Ryan Mathews, SD: Participated in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, including contact drills. Appears to be on track to season debut Sunday against Atlanta after missing just about all of the preseason and the first two games because of a broken collarbone.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR: Did not play Thursday night game against the Giants because of an ankle/toe injury.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Additional Week 3 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

— Updated on Sept. 21, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:24
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-countdown-no-18-memphis-preview
Body:
Visit the online store for Memphis and other editions of the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual.

The first practices of college basketball season begin in mid-October, and Athlon Sports 2012-13 preview annuals are starting to arrive on newsstands all over the country.

To prepare for the start of college basketball season, we will preview one team each weekday, counting down to the first official day of basketball practice on Oct. 15, or for some teams on Oct. 12.

We continue our countdown with a preview of No. 18 Memphis.

Josh Pastner has had Conference USA’s most talented roster each of the past two seasons, but those rosters were as short on experience as they were long on gifts. The top three scorers two years ago were all freshmen while the top five scorers last season were either in their first or second seasons with the program, which is young by anybody’s standards.

But this season will be different.

“The good thing is that even though this is my fourth year as the head coach, it’ll be the first time we’ve had an upperclassman-type of team, and I think that’s important,” Pastner says. “In our summer workouts, we didn’t have to go over terminology or start new. There was carryover. And that’s big for us because other than the three guys we signed, everybody knows what I want offensively, what I want defensively, what I want in general. The majority of our guys have now played major minutes at a very high level of college basketball, and though it doesn’t guarantee anything it should allow us as a team to have a better understanding of what it takes to be successful.”

FRONTCOURT
The Memphis frontcourt has been an issue in Pastner’s first three seasons because nobody has ever developed into a consistent scorer or rebounder in the paint. Will Barton, a now-departed 6-6 guard, was the team’s leading rebounder last season.

That’s why why the arrival of Shaq Goodwin is welcomed. The McDonald’s All-American helped USA Basketball win the gold medal in this summer’s FIBA Americas U18 Championship by, among other things, scoring 30 points in a win over the Virgin Islands. He’s expected to be Memphis’ starting power forward, with junior Tarik Black back at center. Sophomore Adonis Thomas will start at small forward a year after an ankle injury that cost him most of the C-USA schedule and convinced him to delay entering the NBA Draft .

“The thing about Adonis is that he doesn’t need to score 25 to dominate a game,” Pastner says. “I mean, he has the ability to do that. But he can affect the game in lots of ways. He can defend three positions and be a stat-sheet stuffer. He can be a high-level rebounder and high-level assist man, and his shooting, right now, is at a high level. So I’m expecting and counting on him to play at a high level for us.”

BACKCOURT
The Tigers’ backcourt will be led by a pair of local guards — namely Joe Jackson and Chris Crawford, either of whom could emerge as a first-team all-conference selection. Jackson, the MVP of the past two C-USA Tournaments, averaged 11.0 points and 3.9 assists last season while Crawford averaged 9.1 points and 3.8 assists. They have in the past and will again this season take turns bringing the ball up the court.

“The great thing about Joe and Chris is that they can play with and off of each other,” Pastner says. “They complement each other well and have great clarity in what they want to accomplish as a unit together.”

Antonio Barton, another junior, projects as a steady reserve. And the wild card in all this is Geron Johnson, regarded by some the best junior college prospect in the country. The 6-3 guard’s talent is undeniable, but he was dismissed from two different junior colleges and has had legal issues. Can Pastner get Johnson on the right path? Who knows? But the Memphis coach decided to give it a shot.

“Geron has to learn to play under control and use his athleticism within the game,” Pastner says. “But he’s a pro-level athlete. He’s a really talented guy.”

FINAL ANALYSIS
Pastner has done a tremendous job keeping Memphis relevant post-John Calipari, but he’s still looking for his first NCAA Tournament win. And though that might not be a problem nationally, it’s an issue locally and why Memphis needs to not only win C-USA but also advance in March. Otherwise, the program will be facing lots of questions as it transitions into the Big East next year.

“But our focus is this year, not the Big East,” Pastner says. “We’re not thinking about the Big East. We just want to have the best year we can have this year because teams are not gonna want us to leave on a good note, which is why we’ll have to be extra sharp and extra good.”

@AthlonSports

Athlon College Basketball Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

19. Notre Dame

18. Memphis

Teaser:
<p> College Basketball Countdown: No. 18 Memphis Preview</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:17
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

It turns out the Giants didn't miss Hakeem Nicks (DNP, foot) after all as Ramses Barden filled in admirably (9 rec., 138 yds.) for his injured teammate in the win over Carolina on Thursday night. Barden, running back Andre Brown (113 yards rushing, 2 TDs)  and tight end Martellus Bennett (6 rec., 73 yds., TD) did most of the damage for the G-Men, turning Victor Cruz (6 rec., 42 yds.) into a role player this week.  In other injury news, Greg Jennings is still being limited by the groin injury that caused him to miss last week's game. The Packers don't play until Monday night, which give him more time to recover, but also puts his owners in somewhat of a bind because it's the last game on the docket. Philadelphia plays in Arizona on Sunday and the Eagles' already know they will be without Jeremy Maclin, who has been ruled out because of a hip injury. DeSean Jackson has been dealing with a hamstring issue of his own, so the Eagles' passing attack may end up grounded against the Cardinals. Washington's Pierre Garcon is considered Doubtful for the Redskins game against Cincinnati, meaning he may miss a second straight game because of a nagging foot injury. In Dallas, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant are hoping for results similar to those enjoyed by Nicks and Cruz as the Cowboys host Tampa Bay and its pass defense that gave up more than 500 yards last week. There also could be plenty of offense in the Super Dome as New Orleans and Kansas City face off with each team hoping for a much-needed victory. These two teams are tied for most points allowed at 37.5 per game, which could be good news for Dwayne Bowe, Marques Colston, Lance Moore and possibly even Jon Baldwin owners this week. Colston has been limited by a foot injury, but to this point it has not kept him from playing.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Calvin Johnson DET at TEN
2 A.J. Green CIN at WAS
3 Julio Jones ATL at SD
4 Victor Cruz NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
5 Steve Smith CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
6 Brandon Marshall CHI vs. STL
7 Percy Harvin MIN vs. SF
8 Roddy White ATL at SD
9 Andre Johnson HOU at DEN
10 Miles Austin DAL vs. TB
11 Jordy Nelson GB at SEA (Mon.)
12 Mike Wallace PIT at OAK
13 Dez Bryant DAL vs. TB
14 Marques Colston NO vs. KC
15 Greg Jennings GB at SEA (Mon.)
16 Dwayne Bowe KC at NO
17 Stevie Johnson BUF at CLE
18 Reggie Wayne IND vs. JAC
19 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs. PHI
20 Demaryius Thomas DEN vs. HOU
21 Brandon Lloyd NE at BAL
22 Vincent Jackson TB at DAL
23 Antonio Brown PIT at OAK
24 DeSean Jackson PHI at ARI
25 Torrey Smith BAL vs. NE
26 Pierre Garcon WAS vs. CIN
27 Wes Welker NE at BAL
28 Malcom Floyd SD vs. ATL
29 Danny Amendola STL at CHI
30 Lance Moore NO vs. KC
31 Michael Crabtree SF at MIN
32 Brandon LaFell CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
33 Eric Decker DEN vs. HOU
34 Santonio Holmes NYJ at MIA
35 Denarius Moore OAK vs. PIT
36 Kenny Britt TEN vs. DET
37 Nate Washington TEN vs. DET
38 Anquan Boldin BAL vs. NE
39 Robert Meachem SD vs. ATL
40 Sidney Rice SEA vs. GB (Mon.)
41 Greg Little CLE vs. BUF
42 Donnie Avery IND vs. JAC
43 Jon Baldwin KC at NO
44 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK vs. PIT
45 Brian Hartline MIA vs. NYJ
46 Nate Burleson DET at TEN
47 Laurent Robinson JAC at IND
48 Mike Williams TB at DAL
49 Randall Cobb GB at SEA (Mon.)
50 Kevin Ogletree DAL vs. TB
51 Randy Moss SF at MIN
52 Andre Roberts ARI vs. PHI
53 Davone Bess MIA vs. NYJ
54 Ramses Barden NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
55 Kendall Wright TEN vs. DET
56 Donald Jones BUF at CLE
57 Andrew Hawkins CIN at WAS
58 Brandon Gibson STL at CHI
59 Doug Baldwin SEA vs. GB (Mon.)
60 Mario Manningham SF at MIN
61 Justin Blackmon JAC at IND
62 Mohamed Massaquoi CLE vs. BUF
63 James Jones GB at SEA (Mon.)
64 Rueben Randle NYG at CAR (Thurs.)

Injury-Related News:
Marques Colston, NO: Continues to be limited in practice, and to a degree in games, by a nagging foot issue. It has not kept him out of any games, however, and nothing's been said that suggests his status for Sunday's game against Kansas City is in question.
Pierre Garcon, WAS: Listed as Doubtful for Sunday's game against Cincinnati because of a nagging foot injury that prevented him from playing last week.
DeSean Jackson, PHI: Dealing with a hamstring issue, which limited him in practice on Wednesday. He was a full participant in practice on Thursday, so barring any setbacks he should be able to go on Sunday in Arizona.
Greg Jennings, GB: Missed last week's game against Chicago with groin injury, which continues to hamper him at practice. Nothing definitive has been said regarding his status for the Monday night game in Seattle, but it's possible he could be held out for a second straight week if he doesn't show more progress soon.
Jeremy Maclin, PHI: Will not play on Sunday against Arizona because of a hip injury. He practiced on a limited basis this week, but the team made the decision to hold him out of the game on Friday.
Hakeem Nicks, NYG: Did not play Thursday night in Carolina because of a foot injury.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Additional Week 3 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

— Updated on Sept. 21, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:17
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 David Akers SF at MIN
2 Justin Tucker BAL vs. NE
3 Mason Crosby GB at SEA (Mon.)
4 Garrett Hartley NO vs. KC
5 Stephen Gostkowski NE at BAL
6 Nate Kaeding SD vs. ATL
7 Matt Bryant ATL at SD
8 Sebastian Janikowski OAK vs. PIT
9 Shayne Graham HOU at DEN
10 Dan Bailey DAL vs. TB
11 Blair Walsh MIN vs. SF
12 Jason Hanson DET at TEN
13 Alex Henery PHI at ARI
14 Robbie Gould CHI vs. STL
15 Billy Cundiff WAS vs. CIN
16 Matt Prater DEN vs. HOU

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

KICKER SCORING
PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Additional Week 3 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT
1 San Francisco 49ers at MIN
2 Houston Texans at DEN
3 Chicago Bears vs. STL
4 Philadelphia Eagles at ARI
5 Pittsburgh Steelers at OAK
6 Green Bay Packers at SEA (Mon.)
7 New York Jets at MIA
8 Baltimore Ravens vs. NE
9 Dallas Cowboys vs. TB
10 Seattle Seahawks vs. GB (Mon.)
11 Arizona Cardinals vs. PHI
12 Detroit Lions at TEN
13 Atlanta Falcons at SD
14 Miami Dolphins vs. NYJ
15 Buffalo Bills at CLE
16 New England Patriots at BAL

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

DEFENSIVE SCORING
0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

 

Additional Week 3 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers

Week 3 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:14
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/arianny-celestes-best-photo-shoot-videos
Body:

In our quest to know as much as possible about beautiful women (without getting arrested), we're training our eye on UFC octagon girl and all-around hot model Arianny Celeste. Below is her bio. But even better, we put together her hottest photo shoot videos. Enjoy. 

ABOUT ARIANNY: Arianny Celeste was born on November 12 in Las Vegas. She booked her first modeling job when she was four months old for a car seat company. She has always been athletic excelling in cheer, dance, and gymnastics. Arianny started back into modeling at the age of 15. She attended UNLV, majoring in fitness management and nutrition. In 2006, she was casted as the new UFC octagon girl. She has appeared in magazines including Playboy, FHM, and Maxim. She currently resides in Los Angeles where she has had the opportunity to be in films and music videos. One of her main passions is music. She loves to sing and has recorded some original songs. Another passion of hers is fitness. 

Arianny’s favorites: dark chocolate, sushi, fish, mango, pineapple, movies, Louis Vouitton, beaches, singing, dancing,  pilates, kickboxing, muay thai, dogs, and her family.

Dislikes: cheese, sour cream, red meat, rude, judgmental, lazy, people.

Arianny Celeste 2012 Calendar Shoot behind the scenes from paulcobo on Vimeo.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 17:44
Path: /nfl/best-and-worst-0-2-teams-nfl
Body:

Before BountyGate sent their season into chaos, the New Orleans Saints rightfully dreamed of being the first team to play a Super Bowl inside their home stadium. They were loaded with talent, one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL, and came within a whisker of advancing to the NFC championship game last year.

Now, under the weight of scandal and with their head coach sitting home, disgraced, the Saints are in a hole that is virtually insurmountable. Two games into the season they have two losses, and by now they are well aware of the daunting stats: Since the NFL expanded the playoffs to 16 teams in 1990, only 22 of the 184 teams that started 0-2 ended up qualifying for the postseason.

Sure, the Giants became Super Bowl champions after an 0-2 start as recently as 2007, but history is still working against Drew Brees and co.

The good news? They are by far the most equipped of the NFL’s six 0-2 teams to rebound from their disastrous start.

Here’s a look at the teams on the brink of disaster. And no, that’s not too strong of a word considering in that same span only three NFL teams made the playoffs after starting 0-3:

New Orleans Saints—The reason for the Saints’ horrible start has been a defense that has been manhandled and startlingly off performances by quarterback Drew Brees. Here’s the reason to hope, though: Both Brees and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo know how to dig out of a hole. Brees is too good and has too many weapons for his problems to be a long trend. And Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator with that Giants team that went 0-2 (thanks mostly to his defense) and ended up as champs (thanks in large part to his defense). Add in arguably the greatest home-field advantage in the NFL and it would be crazy to count them out.

Chances for a rebound: Good, though with the Atlanta Falcons in the same division they should already be aiming for the wild card.

 

Cleveland Browns—Their entire hopes are resting on a 28-year-old rookie quarterback in Brandon Weeden and a rookie running back with injury issues in Trent Richardson. After Week 1, this looked like a program headed for disaster. But in Week 2, both of them looked terrific against Cincinnati. Richardson ran for 109 yards and Weeden threw for 322. The problem, though, is they still lost and chances are both rookies will have their struggles down the road.

Chances for a rebound: In a division with the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals? Forget it. But next year might finally look bright.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars—In the first half against the Houston Texans on Sunday, QB Blaine Gabbert had thrown for minus-4 yards and ended up with a total of 53. If that’s not reason to set off alarm bells, I don’t know what is. They have a clearly rusty Maurice Jones-Drew and a passing attack that fears nobody. They’ve earned their 0-2 start and it’s probably only going to get worse from here.

Chances for a rebound: Bad, unless Gabbert is better than expected and they have more weapons than most people think they have.

 

Tennessee Titans—Running back Chris Johnson is already furious after the Titans’ anemic start – and his too. He has 21 yards on the season with just 19 carries, which is ridiculously bad. The good news, you’d think, is he can’t get any worse, right? Also, a lot of people think Jake Locker has shown some promise. Add in the fact that their early schedule was dangerous – vs. New England, at San Diego, and it’s possible they may have bottomed out.

Chances for a rebound: Good considering Johnson is still likely to push for 1,000 yards on the season. Also they share a division with the awful Jaguars and the rebuilding Indianapolis Colts.

 

Oakland Raiders—The fact that the Raiders have scored just 27 points in their first two games is shocking considering the amount of offensive weapons they have. They had such high hopes for Carson Palmer, who seemed to develop a great chemistry late last season with WR Darius Heyward-Bey. They haven’t been able to connect and RB Darren McFadden has just 54 yards in two games so far. He’s better than that and so are the Raiders. Their defense isn’t great, but they should be able to keep up in high-scoring games.

Chances for a rebound: These are the Raiders, so by now everyone is used to false hope. A turnaround is possible, but they better hurry before the Chargers and Broncos break away.

 

Kansas City Chiefs—It is absolutely startling that Romeo Crennel is coaching a team that can’t seem to play defense. The big problem with that is that Matt Cassel is an average quarterback with good weapons who isn’t equipped to keep coming back. Throw in an average rushing attack behind Jamaal Charles (and company) and it looks like the good feelings the Chiefs built up at the end of last season were nothing but a mirage.

Chances for a rebound: Well, they lost their first two games by 16 and 18 points and now they play at New Orleans, and then home vs. San Diego and Baltimore? They’ll be lucky if they’re not 0-5.

 

By RALPH VACCHIANO

Teaser:
<p> We look at which teams are likely to rebound</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 13:10
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/nfl-replacement-referees-hurting-integrity-game
Body:

What happens when those charged with correcting mistakes are the ones making the worst errors of all?

The NFL is in the process of finding out, as the second week of replacement referees quickly deteriorated into mass confusion — with unorganized game management, inconsistent (or wrong) penalties called and a general lack of on-field discipline that, at times, bordered on out-of-control.

“There’s some serious calls the refs missed,” said Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, following a 24–23 loss at Philadelphia, in a game filled with controversy as well as extracurricular physical altercations after the whistle.

“It’s just the way it is, man, all around the league. We have to correct that. These games are critical. Guys are giving everything they’ve got all across the league. But these are calls, with the regular refs — if they were here — we know the way the calls would be made.”

Currently the NFL has locked out 121 referees in a dispute over pay and pensions in a labor struggle that, in some ways, mirrors last year’s prolonged lockout of the players.
As a result, the league has turned to replacement referees to officiate games until both sides have come to an agreement. And the NFL doesn’t seem to be in any hurry.

“Officiating is never perfect. The current officials have made great strides and are performing admirably under unprecedented scrutiny and great pressure,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello stated in an email to The Associated Press.

Thus far, replacement referees have struggled with every aspect of the rule book — game clock, ball placement, down and distance, NCAA vs. NFL rules, replay, timeouts, etc.

And at the end of a rocky Week 2, tempers were running hot among coaches, players and even television analysts — one of which was quick to point the finger at Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league office.

“Everything about the NFL now is inelastic for demand. There’s nothing (the NFL) can do to hurt the demand for the game. So, the bottom line is, they don’t care,” said ESPN analyst Steve Young, during a postgame rant after Monday Night Football.

“Player safety? Doesn’t matter in this case. Bringing in Division III officials? Doesn’t matter. Because in the end, you’re still going to watch the game. … It doesn’t affect the desire for the game. If it affected the desire for the game, they’d come up with a few extra million dollars.”

The integrity of the game — or the 2012 regular season, at the very least — hangs in the balance. How many games have to be impacted before the regular referees return to the field?

“The time is now,” said Lewis. “Get the regular referees in here and let the games play themselves out. We already have controversy enough with the regular refs.”
 

Teaser:
<p> NFL replacement referees are hurting the integrity of the game.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 12:30
Path: /college-football/lsu-auburn-five-things-watch
Body:

Auburn is looking for anything positive on the gridiron after a 1-2 start, while undefeated LSU will look to continue dominating opponents when it travels to the Plains for a 7 p.m. ET kickoff Saturday night on ESPN. In this tale of two Tigers going in different directions, Les Miles’ crew will enter SEC play as an almost three-touchdown favorite over Auburn. However Gene Chizik’s bunch has a ton of talent and pride, and the Jordan-Hare crowd can be a difference maker.

1. Wild things happen in SEC night games.
LSU easily handled Auburn, 45-10, in Baton Rouge last season, but this one is on the road. While the Bengal Tigers have won 24 consecutive September games, the visitor in the LSU-Auburn series is 1-11 in the last 12 matchups. In fact, the last time Les Miles lost in the month of September was a 7-3 defeat at Auburn in 2006.

2. Zach Mettenberger makes his first SEC road start.
The new LSU starter has performed well this season, throwing for 609 yards and four touchdowns while completing 72.7 percent of his passes. Even though Auburn has struggled on defense, the Tigers talent should present more of a challenge for Mettenberger than North Texas, Washington and Idaho. A solid run game should help the junior quarterback, but the atmosphere at Jordan-Hare could be intimidating if Auburn can gain momentum early.

3. Auburn must tackle better to have a chance on defense.
New coordinator Brian VanGorder arrived on the Plains with much acclaim, but the results through three games have been ugly. The Auburn defense has allowed an alarming 651 rushing yards this season, and LSU’s power running attack is one of the best in the nation. AU has talented defenders, but VanGorder must find a way to make them work better as a unit. If Auburn can make open-field tackles and not break in the red zone, the home Tigers can keep it close and use the raucous crowd to their advantage.

4. LSU has had a rash of key injuries to its running backs and offensive line.
Tailback Alfred Blue (270 yards and two touchdowns in 2012) suffered a knee injury against Idaho and is out indefinitely, while Spencer Ware has already missed two games. Offensive linemen P.J. Lonergan and Josh Dworaczyk have missed time as well, although both should play at Auburn. Perhaps no team in the nation has as much depth as LSU, but the Tigers current attrition is a concern.

5. Quarterback Kiehl Frazier must be able to make a few plays on third down.
The young signal caller has struggled to adjust to new coordinator Scot Loeffler’s offense, and he has only two touchdown passes versus five interceptions in three games. The focus of the Auburn attack will be on runners Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb, who have totaled 435 yards on just 75 carries, but LSU tends to allow next to nothing on the ground. Frazier will need to use his athleticism to avoid a solid LSU pass rush and move the chains enough to give the AU offense some balance.  

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

Teaser:
<p> LSU at Auburn: Five Things to Watch</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 12:05
Path: /nfl/2012-nfl-picks-every-game-week-3
Body:

NFL Week 3 previews and predictions for every game on the schedule:

Giants (1-1) at Panthers (1-1)
Carolina’s Cam Newton steps into the spotlight on Thursday night, taking on a Big Blue defense led by one of Cam’s few athletic peers, pass-rushing end Jason Pierre-Paul.
Giants by 2

Buccaneers (1-1) at Cowboys (1-1)
Tampa Bay’s best bet is to keep Dallas from ever lining up in the “Victory Formation.” Why didn’t Greg Schiano think of that sooner?
Cowboys by 3

Jaguars (0-2) at Colts (1-1)
After watching Adam Vinatieri hit a game-winning FG last week, Andrew Luck knows what Tom Brady and Peyton Manning feel like.
Colts by 3

Bills (1-1) at Browns (0-2)
C.J. Spiller joined O.J. Simpson, Thurman Thomas and Fred Jackson as the only Bills to rush for back-to-back 100-yard games to open a season. The league’s leading rusher will look to go for three straight at the Dawg Pound.
Bills by 1

Jets (1-1) at Dolphins (1-1)
Tim Tebow returns to Miami, where the Mania started last season — when Tebow threw two TDs in the final 2:44 to pull off an 18–15 win on the same day the Dolphins honored the 2008 Florida Gators national championship team.
Jets by 2

Chiefs (0-2) at Saints (0-2)
One team will earn its first victory following the only matchup of winless teams. Drew Brees and Co. should put on a fireworks display at the Superdome against the struggling Chiefs.
Saints by 7

Bengals (1-1) at Redskins (1-1)
RG3 remains front and center on offense, but seemingly the entire Washington defense is banged up — with linebacker Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker already out for the season.
Redskins by 6

Rams (1-1) at Bears (1-1)
St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher returns to Chicago, where he learned the ropes from Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan during the famed 1985 Bears’ Super Bowl run and set the team’s punt return yardage mark since broken by Devin Hester.
Bears by 9

49ers (2-0) at Vikings (1-1)
The Vikings better batten down the hatches, because the 49ers defense has been a wall of water, flooding backfields and drowning ball carriers in wins over the Packers and Lions.
49ers by 12

Lions (1-1) at Titans (0-2)
“People need to step up and do their job,” Chris Johnson told The Tennessean after a 38–10 loss at San Diego. “They don’t need to let people beat them. It don’t matter who the opposing defense is, you can’t let your guy beat you.” The opposing defense is coached up by Jim Schwartz, who worked in Tennessee from 1999-2008 before taking the top spot in Detroit.
Lions by 3

Falcons (2-0) at Chargers (2-0)
Atlanta power back Michael Turner — who was known as the “Burner” during his days in San Diego — returns to his old stomping grounds. Unfortunately, Turner was charged with DUI after the win on Monday night. The Dirty Birds may have to rely more on Matt Ryan — who threw his 100th career TD last week — to carry the load in this battle of unbeatens.
Chargers by 1

Eagles (2-0) at Cardinals (2-0)
Remember when Kevin Kolb was tabbed as the “Quarterback of the Future” in Philadelphia and Michael Vick was just a high-profile backup?
Eagles by 2

Steelers (1-1) at Raiders (0-2)
Big Ben Roethlisberger completed 24 passes to 10 different receivers in a win over the Jets. New Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley will take the aerial show on the road to the Black Hole. But the Steel Curtain defense will likely be without safety Troy Polamalu (calf) and linebacker James Harrison (knee) once again.
Steelers by 5

Texans (2-0) at Broncos (1-1)
Peyton Manning knows all about the Texans from his days tossing TDs in the AFC South as a member of the Colts. During his tenure in Indy, the four-time MVP went 16–2 against Houston, with 42 TDs and nine INTs. In fact, Manning has thrown more TDs against the Texans than any other team during his career.
Texans by 2

Patriots (1-1) at Ravens (1-1)
This Sunday night fight is a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game, which was won by the Patriots, 23–20, following two botched plays by the Ravens — a dropped pass by Lee Evans (who had the ball knocked out of his casual grip by Sterling Moore) and a missed potential game-tying 32-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff with 11 seconds remaining.
Ravens by 1

Packers (1-1) at Seahawks (1-1)
The Packers will have had 10 days to bask in their 23–10 beatdown of the Bears on Thursday. The Seahawks will try to avoid getting too cocky after whipping the Cowboys, 27–7.
Packers by 3

Teaser:
<p> NFL Week 3 previews and predictions for every game on the schedule, including New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans at Denver Broncos, New York Giants at Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons at San Diego Chargers.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 10:48
Path: /nascar/backseat-drivers-fan-council-27
Body:

Round one is over in the Chase but it already has produced many changes on and off the track for fans. Races are starting later, fans are seeing more of it and there’s a new points leader with the former points leader saying he’ll win this weekend. Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council examine these and other issues this week.


Denny Hamlin proclaims on Twitter he’ll win at New Hampshire
After running out of fuel at the end and losing several spots last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, Denny Hamlin stated on Twitter he would win this weekend’s race at New Hampshire. Fan Council members were asked what they thought of his declaration:

72.0 percent said it was a great move to get his team looking ahead rather than back
28.0 percent said it was a bad move because it raised expectations and pressure

What Fan Council members said:
• These guys have to stay motivated and move on regardless of what happened in one race. I don't blame Denny one bit for being positive and knowing what his team is capable of!

• Denny, Denny, Denny … why did you have to open your mouth and make the statement, “We will win next week.” That statement just might come back and bite you in the a**. I have watched Denny want to win a race at any cost and he didn't care who he ran over to get the job done. Watch out Chasers!!!

• Denny's handling himself and his team MUCH better this year than in past years! The driver is the focal point that the team rallies around, and unlike his teammate who tends to isolate and turn off the team with his tirades, Denny seems to have learned his lesson and is doing what he needs to keep his team rolling along!

• It shows that while he has a fragile psyche (at times), he feels confident in himself and his team for next week. New Hampshire is one of Denny's best tracks and (crew chief Darian) Grubb won the race there last year ... why not make a bold prediction?

• Every driver should expect to win, so I see nothing wrong with expressing thoughts.

• I can remember the last time Denny had that same look on his face. Phoenix 2010 and his Chase was done as he folded like a house of cards. Only now we'll see him fold up the tent over nine races instead of two.

• There is a difference between confidence and cockiness — and that right there is confidence. He knows that he and his team can and WILL get it done. Any time Denny calls his shot, they deliver. They will be in Victory Lane next weekend when it's all said and done.

• It's a good thing. With NASCAR having become so vanilla, it could certainly use some more Joe Namath types.


Is later greater?
As it has done in the past, start times for NASCAR Sprint Cup races in the Chase are later than they normally are before the Chase. Fan Council members were asked if they liked the later start times during the Chase:


48.5 percent said it didn’t matter to them
27.8 percent said they liked it
23.7 percent said they hated it

What Fan Council members said:
• I don't understand the thought process. How does pushing start times back bring in viewers? Football viewers are going to start watching those games and if they are intense and good how are you going to pull those viewers away? NASCAR would have to expect those games to be boring and not exciting to entice those viewers over. Just doesn't make sense.

• It doesn't matter to me what time the races start, I will watch them over the NFL.

• NASCAR is going to lose to NFL or college football, no matter what they do. The product and the number of cookie-cutter tracks lends to that. I watched football for most of the day and came back at the best time — when Brad took the lead from Jimmie. I had no problem with the earlier start times but whatever NASCAR believes, they go with, no matter how flawed the logic.

• There's no way it won't conflict with NFL so best bet would have been to have the race at the normal time. My (NFL) game was 4:00 pm and I had to stop watching the race 60 percent of the way in to watch my game. A 12:00 start might have worked out.

• I started watching NFL games. Almost forgot to turn the TV to the race. I see this as a serious problem with casual fans. If they tune into an NFL game and it turns out to be a good game, they are less likely to change the channel to watch the race.

• I like it. It gives me the chance to see the start of the race as I normally arrive home after church and the race has started.

• NASCAR should stop trying to worry about the NFL all the time. Changing start times is an inconvenience to people in every time zone.

• I couldn't care less ... I'm DVRing the races and watching NFL RedZone all day.

• Like it or not, it is best for our sport. The later in the day you run the races the more people who can tune in, especially on the West Coast.


Split-screen coverage
Just as it did last year during the Chase, ESPN will show a split-screen of the race and commercials during the second half of the race. Fan Council members were asked about what they thought of this:

54.2 percent love it
30.5 percent like it
12.6 percent don’t care
2.7 percent hate it

What Fan Council members said:
• Just like last year, having the box there during the commercial is POINTLESS if ESPN isn't going to show any RACING. Showing a close-up of Jimmie Johnson during a commercial break is irrelevant.

• Keeps from missing out on racing action during those long string of commercials. LOVE IT!

• They should do this more and NOT just for select races. With all the commercials being poured into the races these days, us fans deserve to see more than 60 percent (max) of the racing action.

• I wish that all the TV partners would do a split screen for the entire race, every race. Actually, it's better because the advertiser's logo is seen separate of the commercial so you actually know what is being advertised. Maybe that can be worked out in the next TV contract. IndyCar does it and it's great. I understand that the local breaks have to be full-screen commercials; but, for the national commercials, they can do split-screen.

• Commercials pay for the sport, and this is a good way to accommodate the advertisers while making sure we don't miss something during a commercial break. I wish all the NASCAR networks did this from midway through, rather than just the last few laps.

• Watching in the UK, we have commercial free coverage for the whole race

• Not OK with the race being 25 percent and the ads being 75 percent of the screen. Needs to be a 50-50 split.

• Bravo to ESPN … I'd like to see this 100 percent for Homestead!
 

Teaser:
<p> Dustin Long and the Backseat Drivers Fan Council discuss Denny Hamlin's bold New Hampshire prediction, ESPN's split-screen commercial coverage, NASCAR start times and the GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 10:47
Path: /college-football/15-worst-college-football-teams-bcs-era
Body:

Colorado is off to an awful 0-3 start and with a daunting upcoming schedule, an 0-12 record seems likely. The Buffaloes' early struggles and a loss to FCS opponent to Sacramento State made us wonder: Who are the worst BCS teams since 1998?

Washington State, Baylor, Duke, Rutgers and Syracuse each had multiple mentions on this list, with Washington's 2008 squad ranking among the top-five worst BCS teams since 1998. 

Needless to say, if the Buffaloes continue at their current pace, they could rank as the No. 1 team on this list. 


College Football's Top 15 Worst BCS Teams Since 1998

1. 2008 Washington State
Final Record:
2-11
Don’t be fooled by the two wins on the resume: Washington State was awful in 2008. The Cougars were outscored by an average of 48-14 each game and its only victories came against a bad FCS team (Portland State) and a Washington team that was without quarterback Jake Locker and finished with a 0-12 record. The Cougars were shutout in three Pac-10 games and scored only a field goal against California and UCLA. 

2. 2006 Duke
Final Record:
0-12
One year after posting a 1-10 record, Duke’s struggles on the gridiron continued with an 0-12 season. The Blue Devils lost 13-0 in the opener against Richmond and were outscored 73-0 by Virginia and Virginia Tech. There were signs of progress from 2005, as Ted Roof’s team lost by one to North Carolina and Wake Forest and was defeated by five points to Miami in mid-October.

3. 2003 Temple
Final Record:
1-11
Temple was largely uncompetitive from the moment it joined the Big East in 1991. The Owls won just 15 overall games from 1991-99 and went winless in conference play in 1996. The 2003 season included a loss to FCS opponent Villanova, with the only victory coming on the road at MTSU. Temple did have a close call in Big East play, losing 24-23 to Virginia Tech in mid-November. The Owls were booted from the Big East due to their struggles on the field and low attendance after the 2004 season but returned to the conference in 2012. 

4. 2000 Duke
Final Record:
0-11
Finding success on the gridiron hasn’t been easy for Duke. However, the 2000-01 seasons were possibly the worst in school history. The Blue Devils were not only winless but largely uncompetitive. Duke was shutout in the opener against East Carolina and lost by at least 30 points five times. The Blue Devils also managed only 155 points, their lowest offensive output in the BCS era. 

5. 2008 Washington
Final Record:
0-12
Tyrone Willingham failed to record a winning record during his four-year tenure at Washington, and 2008 was a rock-bottom point for this program. The Huskies went 0-12, which included a 16-13 loss to rival Washington State in Pullman. Washington was largely uncompetitive in Pac-10 play, with only two games decided by a touchdown or less. Losing quarterback Jake Locker certainly didn’t help Washington’s chances, but the Huskies’ leading rusher had just 338 yards, and the defense allowed 38.6 points a game. 

6. 1999 Baylor
Final Record:
1-10
Kevin Steele was brought in to replace Dave Roberts after back-to-back two-win seasons, but his tenure was a major disappointment. The Bears went 1-11 in 1999 and was defeated by an average score of 38-13. Baylor’s only win that season came against North Texas, but the lowlight of the year came in a loss against UNLV. Baylor led 24-21 with less than 20 seconds left and just had to take a knee to seal the victory. Instead of lining up in the victory formation, the Bears ran the ball and fumbled, which was returned 99 yards for a touchdown. Although Steele was trying to set an attitude or mindset for the team, it was a huge error on his part. Baylor won only one Big 12 game during Steele’s four years in Waco.

7. 2001 Duke
Final Record:
0-11
After a disastrous 2000 season, the Carl Franks tenure at Duke didn’t get much better in 2001. The Blue Devils failed to record a win for the second season in a row and suffered blowout losses at the hands of Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Franks’ 2001 team was a little better but still one of the worst in BCS history. 

8. 1999 Rutgers
Final Record:
1-10
After going 0-11 in 1997, Rutgers showed some signs of life with a 5-6 record in 1998. However, the Scarlet Knights regressed to a dismal 1-10 record in 1999. The only win of the season was a surprise 24-21 upset over Syracuse, but Rutgers lost 56-28 to a 2-9 Temple in late October. Outside of the victory against the Orangemen, the Scarlet Knights had only two losses decided by 14 points or less and was defeated by an average score of 39-14.

9. 2005 Duke
Final Record:
1-10
After four miserable seasons under Carl Franks, Duke turned to Ted Roof to help turn the program back in the right direction. Roof had some initial momentum, but things quickly went downhill. The Blue Devils went 1-10 in 2005, with the one win coming over a VMI team that finished 3-8. Duke had a point differential of -231 and had only one ACC loss was decided by less than 25 points. 

10. 2000 Baylor
Final Record:
2-9
After a disappointing 1-10 record in Kevin Steele’s first season in 1999, the Bears weren’t much better in 2000. The Bears won just two games, beating a North Texas team that went 3-8 and South Florida, who was just in its second season of football. Baylor’s offense was virtually invisible in October, as it was shutout in three consecutive games and never scored more than 22 points in Big 12 play. 

11. 2007 Syracuse
Final Record:
2-10
The 2005 Syracuse team was bad, but the 2007 version was worse. The Orange doubled their win total from 2005, which isn’t saying much when you won only one game. Syracuse beat Louisville 38-35 and Buffalo 20-12 for its only wins of 2007 and lost by 30 points or more four times, including a 35-0 defeat to Iowa in the second game of the season.

12. 2006 Stanford
Final Record:
1-11
After leading Pittsburgh to five consecutive winning seasons from 2000-04, Walt Harris was picked as the coach to lead Stanford back to the Rose Bowl, especially after three uninspiring seasons under Buddy Teevens. Harris’ tenure was short lived, as he lasted just two seasons, including a horrendous 1-11 record in 2006. The Cardinal lost by an average score of 31-11 and only one loss was decided by eight points or less. Hiring Harris was clearly a mistake, but Stanford got it right by hiring Jim Harbaugh to take over the program in 2007. 

13. 2002 Rutgers
Final Record:
1-11
Greg Schiano went 2-9 in his debut season at Rutgers but followed that up with a worse record (1-11) in 2002. The Scarlet Knights’ only victory came against Army, a team that went 1-11 and lost to a 4-8 Holy Cross team. As if winning one game wasn’t bad enough, Schiano’s team was beat handily by Buffalo 34-11 – a team that won just one game that season. Rutgers was defeated by an average score of 33-14 and lost six out of their seven Big East games by 20 points or more. Considering how bad Rutgers was when he inherited the program, Schiano probably doesn’t get enough credit for turning the Scarlet Knights into a consistent bowl team. 

14. 2009 Washington State
Final Record:
1-11
Paul Wulff’s first season at Washington State resulted in a 2-11 record, so the expectations were low heading into 2009. However, the Cougars were worse than expected, winning only one game – SMU 30-27 in mid-September. Washington State didn’t strike much fear in opponents the rest of the way, as it was outscored by an average of 45-9 over the final nine games of the season. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Cougars were shut out by rival Washington in the season finale 30-0.

15. 2005 Syracuse
Final Record:
1-10
Paul Pasqualoni was fired after going 16-20 in his final three years at Syracuse. However, the Orange probably wished for Pasqualoni back after recording a 1-10 record in Greg Robinson’s first season. Syracuse’s only victory came against Buffalo, a team that also went 1-10 that season. The Orange lost by an average score of 27-14 and suffered five losses of more than 20 points. 

Honorable Mentions

1999 South Carolina (0-11)
2007 Minnesota (1-11)
2011 Indiana (1-11)
2011 Kansas (2-10)
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven
 

 

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Teaser:
<p> 15 Worst College Football Teams of the BCS Era</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 06:36
Path: /college-football/florida-football-can-gators-win-sec-east-title
Body:

Thanks to wins over Texas A&M and Tennessee, Florida has gone from a fringe top-25 team to one that is ranked among the top 10-15 teams in the nation. The Gators were expected to show improvement after a disappointing 2011 season, but this team has been better than expected. Quarterback Jeff Driskel is improving, while the defense is allowing only 17 points a game.

Although the Gators have made significant progress under coach Will Muschamp, should they be considered one of the frontrunners to win the SEC East title?

Can Florida Win the SEC East?

Coach Pat Dye, former head coach of the Auburn Tigers, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
Well, I do.  You've got to be impressed with what they've done the last couple of weeks against Texas A&M and Tennessee.  I think the emergence of the quarterback, and him getting settled has been the key.  He looked good against Texas A&M, but he looked really good against Tennessee. I think it will be between Florida and Georgia. And Florida may have an advantage because they're playing Georgia in what really is a home game for them in Jacksonville.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
The East still tilts in favor of South Carolina and Georgia, two teams with elite defenses and at least one reliable centerpiece on offense -- Marcus Lattimore for South Carolina and Aaron Murray for Georgia. Florida is getting to the same place, but the Gators aren’t quite there yet even with back-to-back SEC road wins. With only one true SEC road game left (at Vanderbilt), Florida could be in position to play for an East title when it faces South Carolina and Georgia in back-to-back weeks in October. A healthy Mike Gillislee has proven he can anchor the Florida rushing attack and Jeff Driskel is getting more confident as a passer and runner each week. For an SEC East contender you’ve got to love a team that’s strong in the fourth quarter and on the road, two traits Florida discovered the last two weeks. I’d still pick South Carolina or Georgia, but Florida is a clear No. 3 that’s probably closer to the Gamecocks and Bulldogs than the rest of the division. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
Absolutely. What did we know about Florida before SEC play began? The Gators have a nasty defense that has loads of speed, the road schedule is front-loaded with few late-season tests and no Alabama, and that the SEC West was going to be tougher. What didn't we know about Florida? Does this team have a quarterback who can make key throws and be a leader on offense? Is Will Muschamp capable of coaching at an elite level in the pressure-packed SEC? Will the early schedule knock the Gators out of the race by Week 3? Well, consider all three questions answered definitively. Jeff Driskel was brilliant in Knoxville, the coaching staff made tremendous halftime adjustments two weeks in a row, and Florida returns home 2-0 after two brutal road tests in the SEC. Florida has owned Georgia and it gets LSU, South Carolina and Mizzou in The Swamp. There is one road trip outside of the state left: at Vanderbilt. All signs point to the Gators being right in the middle of the SEC East race.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
Florida has been one of the most impressive teams through the first three weeks of the season and is absolutely a threat to win the SEC East. The opener against Bowling Green wasn’t the team’s best effort, but the Gators have scored back-to-back road wins against Texas A&M and Tennessee. The biggest question mark heading into this season for Florida was the offense, which has grown up over the last two weeks. Quarterback Jeff Driskel hasn’t posted huge numbers but has yet to throw for an interception and has 113 rushing yards. The defense has been solid and can only get better as the young players get more experience in the SEC. I still think Georgia is the frontrunner in the division, but Florida hosts South Carolina, LSU and Missouri and has only one road conference game the rest of the year. The Gators have closed the gap and the Oct. 27 game against the Bulldogs in Jacksonville, Fla., could decide the East crown.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
Sure, Florida can win the SEC East. I’d still favor Georgia, who I believe has the most complete roster in the division, but the Gators have made a significant statement in the last two weeks. Right now, I’d consider Florida to be a bigger threat to Georgia than South Carolina. Will Muschamp’s team has been strong on defense (as expected) and has made significant progress on offense since struggling in a Week 1 win over Bowing Green. The quarterback position, considered a weakness before the season, is now a strength with Jeff Driskel showing everyone Saturday night why he was so highly rated coming out of high school. The Gators still lack elite talent at wide receiver, but this team now looks capable of contending for the SEC East title.

Mark Ross: 
Florida has already demonstrated what this team is capable of as the Gators have gone into both College Station and Knoxville and come out victorious. However, there's still plenty of work left to be done, as dates with LSU, Missouri, South Carolina and Georgia remain. Florida's defense appears to be capable of shutting down any opponent, as evidenced by its second-half performances against the Aggies and Volunteers, but the offense is not on the same level. Quarterback Jeff Driskel continues to make strides and has been impressive in his own right in the Gators' two SEC wins, but this team doesn't seem to have enough weapons to complement him. Florida can win the East because they hold their fate in their hands with their remaining schedule. However, the meat of their conference schedule, which starts with LSU on the first Saturday in October and finishes with a three-game stretch of South Carolina, Georgia and Missouri on consecutive Saturdays, will be too much for this relatively young team to get through with no fewer than two losses. I still have Georgia winning the East, but the fact that Florida is even in the hunt should give Gator fans plenty of reasons to be hopeful about the program's future under the leadership of Will Muschamp.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
Absolutely. The Gators already have two league wins on the road, and an athletic defense should keep UF in every game. The LSU contest in Gainesville will be difficult, but taking care of business versus the division is the key for Will Muschamp’s bunch. Florida will have the chance to claim an SEC East crown on successive Saturdays in late October, with South Carolina coming to the Swamp and then the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville against Georgia. Quarterback Jeff Driskel is showing an ability to make more plays each week, and running back Mike Gillislee is a physical presence who can wear down defenses. With offensive coordinator Brent Pease finding ways to effectively use weapons like Trey Burton, Frankie Hammond and Jordan Reed, the Gators offense is showing solid potential. Muschamp’s emphasis on the trenches is producing success in the second half of games, and that factor may be the difference when Florida battles rivals South Carolina and Georgia.

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Teaser:
<p> Florida Football: Can the Gators Win the SEC East Title?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 06:11
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-contenders-post-week-3
Body:

Each week, the Athlon editors vote on the most prestigious award in all of college football. A nine-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports voted this week for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the result will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every week of the regular season.

Voting: Each first-place vote receives 10 points. A second-place vote receives nine points. So on and so forth with a 10th-place vote receiving one point.

USC's Matt Barkley has fallen off of the top slot. After no touchdowns for the first time since 2010 and a loss to Stanford, the Trojans signal caller is no longer the front runner. Barkley was left off of only one ballot this week — direct your complaints/praise to @AthlonSnowman — but stayed safely in the top five. Only three players appeared on all nine ballots and 22 different players received votes.

I have been voting Geno Smith No. 1 each week, and now, the rest of the Athlon staff has seen the light. The West Virginia quarterback is now the top vote-getter for the stiff-armed trophy with seven of nine first-place votes.

Meanwhile, the rest of the nation has closed the gap across the board. There are dynamic quarterbacks like Braxton Miller, explosive running backs like De'Anthony Thomas and a few defenders like Jarvis Jones getting plenty of attention now that the race is wide open. Having said that, the blond-headed gunslinger from Southern California will still have plenty to say in the race to New York. 

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (seven first-place votes)
Season Stats: 
66-75, 734 yards, 9 TD, 0 INT, 10 att., 83 yards, TD
West Virginia still hasn't been tested by any quality competition, but its hard to do what Smith has done against air in practice. He is leading the nation in total offense at 422.7 yards per game and is No. 2 in passing efficiency at 209.81 (Casey Pachall, 242.37). The numbers are downright insane — he has as many touchdown passes as he does incompletions — and the level of competition will only continue to get better. West Virginia will play 10 BCS AQ teams the rest of the way. Next game: Maryland

  Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. Geno Smith QB W. Virgina 87/90 7 1 1 - - 9/9
2. De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 69/90 1 2 2 2 1 9/9
3. Braxton Miller QB Ohio St 65/90 - 2 3 1 2 9/9
4. Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA 59/60 1 2 1 2 1 8/9
5. Matt Barkley QB USC 40/90 - 1 1 1 1 8/9
6. Stepfan Taylor RB Stanford 26/90 - - - - 2 8/9
7. Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 25/90 - - - 1 - 5/9
8. Collin Klein QB Kansas St 19/90 - - - - 1 4/9
9. AJ McCarron QB Alabama 18/90 - 1 - - - 5/9
10. Marcus Lattimore RB S. Carolina 13/90 - - - 1 - 4/9
11. Le'Veon Bell RB Mich. St 11/90 - - - - - 3/9
12. Kolton Browning QB UL Monroe 10/90 - - - 1 - 2/9
13. Barrett Jones OL Alabama 9/90 - - - - 1 2/9
14. Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 9/90 - - - - - 2/9
15. Aaron Murray QB Georgia 8/90 - - 1 - - 1/9

Also receiving votes: 16. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame, 17. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville, 18. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson, 19. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska, 20. Marqise Lee, WR, USC, 21. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona, 22. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan

2. De’Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon
Season Stats: 
13 att., 228 yards, 4 TD, 11 rec., 154 yards, 3 TD, 93 PR yards
Another six offensive touches and another 12 points on the scoreboard. He finished with 135 yards from scrimmage and 87 yards on four punt returns against Tennessee Tech. Through three games, Thomas has scored seven touchdowns on 24 total offensive touches. And while the level of competition has been fairly weak, Thomas has done all of his damage in the first half as Oregon's starters have been on the bench for the second half. Imagine what his numbers would be like if he received 20 touches per game for two halves of football? Of course, that could all change this weekend against Rich Rodriguez' squad. Next Game: Arizona

3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Season Stats: 
48-78, 611 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT, 56 att., 377 yards, 5 TD
Miller might be the most important player in the nation through three weeks of play. Without his gritty, explosive runs and clutch, big-play passes, Ohio State could be 1-2. The dynamic sophomore led the Buckeyes on two key fourth-quarter drives to give the OSU the lead both times, the last of which ended with a 72-yard game-winning touchdown strike with less than four minutes to play. He totaled 324 yards of offense and five total touchdowns in the win over Cal. There is one more cupcake left for Miller to pad the stats before things get really serious in East Lansing on Sept. 29. Next Game: UAB

4. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Season Stats: 66 att., 541 yards, 3 TD, 8 rec., 121 yards, TD
The Bruins are arguably the most improved team in the nation and Franklin's performance is a huge part of it. With help from new star quarterback Brett Hundley, Franklin is leading the nation in rushing (180.3 ypg) and all-purpose yards (222.3 ypg) — a stat normally reserved for players who also play a big role on special teams. In the 37-6 payback win over Houston, Franklin posted a "paltry" 168 yards from scrimmage and has now gone two games without scoring a rushing touchdown. Things will get much more difficult for the Bruins as Pac-12 play begins this weekend. Next Game: Oregon State

5. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Season Stats: 66-109, 818 yards, 10 TD, 3 INT, 8 att., minus-51 yards
Give credit to David Shaw and his staff for a tremendous gameplan against arguably the top passing attack in the nation. Barkley was held without a touchdown for the first time since getting banged-up against Oregon State late in 2010. The Trojans Golden Boy faced pressure all day from a defense targeting a Khaled Holmes-less offensive line, sacking Barkley four times and intercepting him twice. The USC passer will get back on track this weekend — and a little help from his offensive and defensive lines would be nice. Next game: Cal

6. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
Season Stats: 67 att., 338 yards, 3 TD, 10 rec., 89 yards, TD
The senior tailback was arguably the most valuable player of Week 3 nationally. He carried the ball, caught passes and scored two huge touchdowns in the marquee upset win over USC. He finished with 153 yards rushing on 27 carries and 60 yards receiving on five receptions and was featured heavily in the fourth quarter, wearing down the defense to clinch the win in the final minutes. Next Game: Open Date

7. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
Season Stats: 17 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, INT, 3 FF, 2 PBU
Jones didn't play against Florida Atlantic as a precautionary measure, but head coach Mark Richt is optimistic about his star linebacker's chances to play this week against Vanderbilt. He was the best player on the field against Mizzou and did it with a bad groin. Richt knows he needs Jones for the stretch run and resting him against FAU didn't help his Heisman campaign in the short term, but if it means an SEC title for the Dawgs, he is just fine with that. Next Game: Vanderbilt

8. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Season Stats:
 43-59, 609 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT, 46 att., 210 yards, 4 TD
Few players are easier to root for than CK7 from The Little Apple. He threw for 230 yards and rushed for 85, scoring three total times, in the win over North Texas. He is a gritty leader who gets another shot at his Heisman moment this weekend. An upset over Oklahoma — a team that beat KSU 58-17 last year — would vault Klein to the top of many Heisman ballots. Next Game: at Oklahoma

9. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Season Stats: 
36-56, 607 yards, 7 TD, 0 INT, 13 att., minus-42 yards
McCarron will never have the stats to compare to the rest of the Heisman vote-getters. However, he plays the most important position on the best team in the nation and he does it at an elite level. He is No. 3 nationally in passing efficiency and has led his team to easy wins over Michigan and Arkansas already. Next Game: FAU

10. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Season Stats:
48 att., 235 yards, 4 TD, 6 rec., 33 yards
The most talented runner in the nation hasn't been needed the last two weeks in easy wins for the Gamecocks. That will all change this weekend. Lattimore carried 23 times in a key SEC road win in Week 1 and has totaled 25 carries in two games since. Steve Spurrier is saving him, rightly so, for games like this weekend. Next game: Missouri

11. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
Season Stats: 81 att., 357 yards, 4 TD, 11 rec., 75 yards

12. Kolton Browning, UL Monroe
Season Stats: 70-113, 649 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT, 30 att., 127 yards, 2 TD

13. Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
Season Stats (Alabama offense): 42.7 ppg, 399.0 total ypg, 186.7 rush ypg

14. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Season Stats:
63-86, 747 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT, 27 att., 75 yards

15. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Season Stats:
51-80, 842 yards, 8 TD, 2 INT, 15 att., minus-4 yards, 2 TD

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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Teaser:
<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Voting: Post-Week 3</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, NFL
Path: /nfl/giants-tom-coughlin-bucs-greg-schiano-who-was-right
Body:

The NFL isn't college football, or baseball for that matter. It's grown men playing a physical game for millions of dollars. There was a dust-up at the end of the Giants-Bucs game in Week 2 that made some national news. Greg Schiano asked his team to go after the football on an Eli Manning kneel down to end the game. And Tom Coughlin didn't like it all that much. So we put it to the Athlon editors and Ralph Vacchiano, who covers the New York Giants for the NY Daily News,: Who was right in Kneel Down-gate?

Debate: Should you adhere to the unwritten rules of the victory formation or is it okay for your team to play hard until the game is over?

Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN)
If you’re not going to play by the unwritten rules that everyone plays by, then you better let someone know you’ve changed them. The Giants had every right to expect that the Bucs would honor that. As a result, they were essentially in a defenseless position and their linemen or quarterback could’ve gotten seriously injured. What they did simply doesn’t happen in the NFL. Schiano’s actions reeked of a punk kid who shows up in a new class and thinks he knows better than everybody else and wants to teach them how they did things in his neighborhood. What he did was throw a sucker punch thrown just after the bell.

 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
This might be a strange answer, and it’s not a cop-out, but neither coach is right and neither is wrong. Well, sort of. I don’t think Schiano should have his players diving at the knees of the opponent’s offensive line and quarterback, while Coughlin has to understand the Buccaneers have to do everything they can to win the game. There’s a middle ground here to find, as Schiano’s teams need to compete to the final snap but not to the extent where a serious injury could occur. I can’t fault Coughlin for being ticked, but I also have a hard time complaining at Schiano for making sure his team gives a full 60-minute effort every week.

 

Nathan Rush
Just because Greg Schiano was coaching in New Jersey against the Giants doesn't mean he should be excused for behaving as if he were still at Rutgers. Knocking down Eli Manning in the Victory Formation was a Little League move. It wasn't a "never say die" strategic play, it was an act of frustrated desperation by a sore loser -- who also happens to be a rookie squaring off against the defending champions. After taking a 27-13 lead in the third quarter, the young Bucs were outscored 28-7 by the G-Men down the stretch, before suffering an embarrassing 41-34 loss. Put the petty in perspective: Schiano has as many NFL games coached as Tom Coughlin has Super Bowl rings. It showed on Sunday.

 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
I have no issue whatsoever with what Greg Schiano did and here is why. First, it was a one-score game and if there is a 1000th percent of a chance you can get the ball back, you do what it takes to win the game. If the lead had been two or three scores, I would be against it. Second, I also have an issue with Tom Coughlin, in particular, bitching about a little extra shoving. This isn't baseball, it's a big boy sport and the Giants coach is an abrasive, harsh, disciplinarian who grinds out wins and apologizes for nothing. He isn't going to hold hands and sing kumbaya with his wife and kids much less another head coach. The complaints ring hollow from a coach like him. I was taught to play the game until the final whistle and if the Giants weren't prepared for that, shame on them. "Hey man, you knocked Eli Manning over!" Come on, Tom. That said, if this is the strategy Schiano is going to employ, he better prepare his team to experience the same type of action in return.

 

Mark Ross
Let's see, a rookie coaching just his second career NFL game or a 17-year veteran with more than 140 wins and two Super Bowl rings on his resume. Which one are you going to side with in a battle of he said/he said? In the end, it doesn't really matter if Schiano was right or not in instructing his team to fight until the game is over, there's no way he's winning the battle of public opinion in this one. He can talk about that's the way he coached his players to play while he's at Rutgers, but that's the Big East and this is the NFL. It's football, sure, but you are kidding yourself if you don't think the rules are different when it comes to college and pro. It doesn't help Schano's case to say that "I don't know if that's not something that's not done in the National Football League," even if he is just two games into his professional coaching tenure. For now, I'm willing to chalk this up as a rookie mistake, especially considering Schiano could do little but watch as his team gave up a 14-point third quarter lead prior to the game-ending incident. The key will be how he handles losing, and how he instructs his team to do the same, moving forward.



Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
I side with Tom Coughlin on the debate of rushing hard and/or low into a victory formation, although it hardly seems like a controversy. Greg Schiano and his Buccaneers were simply frustrated from blowing a big lead and giving up 25 fourth-quarter points, so they lost composure and were too aggressive on the last play. Schiano came up with some juvenile “play the full 60 minutes” reasoning right after the game, but that will change after cooling off. You can keep fouling while down 15 points in the last minute of a basketball game, but that doesn’t equal playing hard or a no-quit attitude. It just means you’re stubborn or stupid. This is the NFL, so accept your loss like a man when the other team is in victory formation.

 

Rob Doster (@AthlonDoster)
The neutering of the NFL continues unabated, as supposed tough guy Tom Coughlin called out Greg Schiano and the Bucs for playing contact football. That’s right — the Giants had their delicate feelings bruised because the Bucs hoped to force a turnover down by one score, and poor Eli Manning ended up on his backside. These objections, by the way, come from the franchise that gave us Joe Pisarcik and the Miracle in the Meadowlands, Exhibit A for the fact that a game isn’t over until it’s over. I have an idea: Let’s take all the NFL’s unwritten rules and either write them down or throw them out, starting with the notion that a tackle football game is somehow less than 60 minutes long. 

Related NFL Content:

Athlon Builds the Ultimate Quarterback
Athlon Builds the NFL Worst Quarterback

The Most Amazing Stats from NFL Sunday: Week 2

Sunday Stunners: A look back at the Week 2

Teaser:
<p> Who was right: The Bucs' Greg Schiano or Giants' Tom Coughlin?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-countdown-no-19-notre-dame-preview
Body:
Visit the online store for Notre Dame and other editions of the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual.

The first practices of college basketball season begin in mid-October, and Athlon Sports 2012-13 preview annuals are starting to arrive on newsstands all over the country.

To prepare for the start of college basketball season, we will preview one team each weekday, counting down to the first official day of basketball practice on Oct. 15, or for some teams on Oct. 12.

We continue our countdown with a preview of No. 19 Notre Dame.

The more pressure on the 2012-13 Notre Dame team the better as far as coach Mike Brey is concerned.

“I like that expectations are high now,” says Brey after signing a 10-year extension upon the completion of his 12th year with the Irish. “We’re coming from different territory. It’s good for the whole program to have that heat on us to deliver.”

Winners of 49 games the last two seasons (including 27–9 in the Big East) with second- and third-place finishes in the conference, the Irish return nearly every significant contributor from the 2011-12 season. Notre Dame is a legitimate contender for the Big East regular-season and tournament titles.

“When I first got here, we hadn’t been in the (NCAA) Tournament in 10 years,” Brey says. “We’ve gone from trying to survive to thriving.”

FRONTCOURT
Notre Dame’s two top big men — 6-9, 244-pound senior Jack Cooley and 6-8, 219-pound sixth-year senior Scott Martin — return, and 6-10, 240-pound Michigan State transfer Garrick Sherman is eligible for the 2012-13 season.

After averaging just 10.3 minutes, 3.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore, Cooley became one of the most effective big men in the Big East as a junior. He nearly tripled his playing time while averaging 12.5 points and 8.9 rebounds to win the conference’s Most Improved award.

“I thought he was ready to deliver for us, that he was going to be a starter,” says Brey. “But he exceeded where I thought he would go. Once he started to have some success, it just fed on itself.”

After scoring just 39 points in the first eight games of the 2011-12 season, Cooley averaged 15.6 per game over the final 24 with 12 double-doubles.

Martin’s contributions are more subtle. He struggled throughout much of the first half of the season while adjusting to playing without frontcourt partner Tim Abromaitis, who went down with a season-ending knee injury in late November. Martin would go on to average a modest 9.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. But his leadership and defense helped spark a nine-game winning streak during Big East play.

“The back end of our defense was great last year, and it started with Scott Martin,” Brey says.

Sherman gives the Irish even more length as well as a mid-range jump shot. “I look at Garrick Sherman as a sixth (returning) starter,” Brey says.

Zach Auguste, a talented 6-10, 220-pound freshman, will be needed for heavy minutes in 2013-14, so Brey wants to get him acclimated this season.

When Pat Connaughton entered the starting lineup last year at small forward, Notre Dame began to thrive. He averaged 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He’ll share the position with Martin when Brey wants to go bigger up front, and also help out in the backcourt occasionally. Another option is senior Tom Knight, who played some big minutes down the stretch.

Related: Assessing Notre Dame's upcoming move to the ACC

BACKCOURT
Brey believes Notre Dame has never had a starting backcourt as athletically gifted as juniors Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant.

“I feel great about them, and they’re only going to get better,” says Brey of his starting backcourt, which averaged a combined 24.4 points and 9.1 assists per game. “We have one of the best backcourts not only in the Big East, but in the country.”

If Brey wants a little more size, he can shift the 6-5 Connaughton to the backcourt. He also has athleticism to add to the mix in 6-7 freshman Cameron Biedscheid, a combination shooting guard/point forward with penetration skills and the ability to score in bunches.

“The guy that will rotate through there the most is Biedscheid,” Brey says. “We’ve got to get him on the court. He’s a really talented kid.”

FINAL ANALYSIS
Most teams will have difficulty matching up against Notre Dame’s size and depth in the frontcourt. Few will find relief against the backcourt. Brey sees a great opportunity in 2012-13.

“We know we can be a player for the Big East championship this year,” Brey says.

He has plenty of options at his disposal, including on the defensive end.

“With as much length as we have this year, our team defense can still be good,” Brey says. “We have big bodies that can rotate over, take charges and be position defenders.”

Add it all up and Brey can’t help but talk about the possibilities in 2012-13. “We’re talking about a Big East championship and getting back to the Final Four,” Brey says. “Those are really things this program can legitimately talk about.”

@AthlonSports

Athlon College Basketball Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

Teaser:
<p> College Basketball Countdown: No. 19 Notre Dame preview</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 05:59
Path: /college-football/college-football-bcs-crasher-stock-report-post-week-3
Body:

Fans who squirm at the long wait from Saturday college football to the Thursday night game will get a brief reprieve.

The traditional midweek MAC game will make its first appearance of the season with Kent State at Buffalo on Wednesday night. Midweek football will be short-lived, though. The next Tuesday/Wednesday game isn’t until Oct. 16.

That doesn’t mean there’s a lack of action outside of the six major conferences. This week will be full of key games for independents Notre Dame and BYU, plus Boise State, Louisiana Tech and again, Louisiana-Monroe.

Here’s our Post-Week 3 look at all the movement outside of the six major conferences in the BCS Crasher Stock Report.

RISING
Notre Dame
Last week:
Defeated Michigan State 20-3.
The Irish picked up perhaps the biggest win of Brian Kelly’s tenure in South Bend with a win at Michigan State. Defense has been one of the keys so far as Notre Dame held its fourth opponent in the last six games to fewer than 100 rushing yards. The Irish held a team to without a touchdown for the first time since 2010 and held a major-conference team to without a touchdown for the first time since 2007. Up next: Defending Michigan’s Denard Robinson. Shoelace has amassed 958 yards of total offense (582 passing, 366 rushing) and eight total touchdowns in the last two wins over Notre Dame.
This week: Michigan.

Fresno State
Last week:
Defeated Colorado 69-14.
Yes, Colorado is dreadful, but let’s give credit to Fresno State’s dominance. Robbie Rouse rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries and added two touchdown catches. The workhorse running back has topped 100 yards in 11 of his last 15 games going back to the start of last season. After facing the elite (Oregon) and the bad (Colorado, Weber State), Fresno State may show a glimpse of its potential in the new-look Mountain West when it faces Tulsa on the road Saturday.
This week: at Tulsa.

Western Kentucky
Last week:
Defeated Kentucky 32-31 (OT)
Somehow, the improvement at Western Kentucky has been overlooked. An FCS power until it moved up to FBS in 2009, Western Kentucky went 0-12 in its first season in major college football. Two seasons later, the Hilltoppers were a bowl snub despite finishing 7-1 in the Sun Belt. Coach Willie Taggart, a former Western Kentucky player and Jim Harbaugh assistant, showed gumption by going for the win in overtime on a risky throwback on a two-point play. After going 0-4 in the non-conference schedule last season, Western Kentucky could go 3-1 in the non-conference if the Toppers defeat Southern Miss (0-2).
This week: Southern Miss.

HOLDING STEADY
Ohio
Last week:
Defeated Marshall 27-24.
The Bobcats survived a scare Saturday, falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter and the 24-17 early in the fourth quarter against Marshall. Ohio capitalized on three Marshall turnovers to win 27-24. Riding quarterback Rakeem Cato’s arm, Marshall passed for 432 yards and outgained Ohio 491-399. Was this an off day for Ohio or a troubling sign for the Bobcats in the pass-happy MAC?
This week: Norfolk State.

Utah State
Last week:
Lost to Wisconsin 16-14.
A 37-yard missed field goal separated the Aggies from an undefeated start to the season, but it shouldn’t cut into what Utah State has accomplished. A week after defeating Utah, the Aggies put a scare into Wisconsin in Madison, where Utah State led 14-3 at halftime. Chuckie Keeton and Kerwynn Williams have been a dynamic backfield, but Utah State is one of 12 teams holding opponents to fewer than four yards per play this season.
This week: at Colorado State.

Boise State
Last week:
Defeated Miami (Ohio) 39-12.
After an off week, Boise State looked like the Broncos of old, albeit against Miami (Ohio). The Broncos didn’t score an offensive touchdown against Michigan State, but running back D.J. Harper accounted for four total touchdowns and 162 yards alone against Miami. Meanwhile, Joe Southwick was 24-of-31 for 309 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Altogether, Boise Stated a 423-yard swing in yard differential from Game 1 to Game 2, a notable feat even against an overmatched MAC team.
This week: BYU (Thursday).

FALLING
BYU
Last week:
Lost to Utah 24-21.
Like Utah State, BYU lost thanks to a failed field goal attempt -- or rather two failed field goals. BYU had a 51-yard field goal blocked, and then missed a second one after rival Utah was assessed a 15-yard penalty when fans prematurely rushed field. Most troubling: BYU lost a game in which it outgained Utah 312-245. The Utes also were without running back John White and started quarterback Jon Hays for the first time this season.
This week: at Boise State (Thursday)

OFF THE MAP

GAMES TO WATCH
BYU at Boise State (Thu.)
Michigan at Notre Dame
Louisiana Tech at Illinois
Baylor at Louisiana-Monroe

Southern Miss
Last week:
Lost to East Carolina 24-14.
The Golden Eagles weren’t a popular pick to defend their Conference USA title with a new coach, new quarterback and new faces all of the field. After a 24-14 loss at home to East Carolina, Southern Miss looks like a team that may have to fight to reach a bowl game. If Southern Miss loses to Western Kentucky on the road an 0-6 start is possible with Louisville, Boise State and UCF on the horizon.
This week: at Western Kentucky.

Houston
Last week:
Lost to UCLA 36-6.
That undefeated regular season from a year ago is a distant memory. A week after putting up 693 yards 49 points on Louisiana Tech (right after Tony Levine forced his offensive coordinator to resign), Houston managed only a fourth-quarter touchdown against UCLA. David Piland nearly matched the Cougars’ points scored (six) with interceptions (five).
This week: Off.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Kolton Browning,
Louisiana-Monroe. ULM faces its third major-conference team of the season in Baylor. Browning passed for 649 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns against the SEC West. Now he’ll try his hand against the Big 12. ULM is converting an astounding 9 of 11 attempts on fourth down. Only USC has attempted more fourth-down plays, going 8 of 14.

By David Fox

@DavidFox615

(published Sept. 19, 2012)

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Week 3
College Football's Post-Week 3 Bowl Projections
ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
College Football Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football: BCS Crasher Stock Report Post-Week 3</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 05:58
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-4-plays
Body:

In the world of fantasy football, some team owners are relentless in their search for information that will give them a competitive edge over their competition.  Others just simply rely on projections from so-called experts, who try to convince everyone they have devised a computer program that accurately projects player stats by using a scientific formula so complicated that it makes the Drake equation seem elementary.  Eventually, those computer-driven computations prove no more accurate than an old-fashioned gut feeling.  However, in a quest to find a formula for fantasy success, one should just ask the question, “What are the odds?”

Quite simply, Vegas odds could give you all of the necessary insight to make smart roster decisions on a week-to-week basis.  In this weekly article, theCFFsite considers the point spreads and totals(over/under) in order to give our readers a unique perspective into some of the week’s most interesting fantasy matchups.

Week 4

Best Fantasy Matchups (Games with the most fantasy potential)

Baylor at UL-Monroe

Line:  Baylor -7.5(O/U-68.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Baylor 38-31

Best plays:

Baylor (QB-Nick Florence, RB-Jared Salubi, WR-Terrence Williams, Tevin Reese, K-Aaron Jones)

LA-Monroe (QB-Kolton Browning, WR-Brent Leonard)

Also consider:

Baylor (WR-Lanear Sampson)

LA-Monroe (RB-Jyruss Edwards)

theCFFsite projects:  UL-Monroe 38-34

 

Marshall at Rice

Line:  Marshall -2.5(O/U-70)

Projected score based on point spread:  Marshall 37-34

Best plays:

Marshall (QB-Rakeem Cato, WRs-Aaron Dobson, Tommy Shuler)

Rice (QB-Taylor McHargue, K-Chris Boswell)

Also consider:

Marshall (TE-Eric Frohnapfel)

Rice (RB-Charles Ross, WR-Jordan Taylor)

theCFFsite projects:  Marshall 41-34

 

Fresno St at Tulsa

Line:  Tulsa -5.5(O/U-69.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Tulsa 38-32

Best plays:

Fresno St (QB-Derek Carr, RB-Robbie Rouse, WRs-Davante Adams, Isaiah Burse)

Tulsa (QB-Cody Green, WR-Keyarris Garrett)

Also consider:

Fresno St (K-Quentin Breshears)

Tulsa (RBs-Trey Watts, JaTerian Douglas)

theCFFsite projects:  Fresno St 35-34

 

Arizona at Oregon

Line:  Oregon -24(O/U-76.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oregon 50-26

Best plays:

Arizona (QB-Matt Scott, RB-KaDeem Carey, WRs-Dan Buckner, Austin Hill)

Oregon (QB-Marcus Mariota, RBs-Kenjon Barner, DeAnthony Thomas)

Also consider:

Arizona (WR-Richard Morrison, K-John Bonano)

Oregon (TE-Colt Lyerla)

theCFFsite projects:  Oregon 59-31

 

Troy at North Texas

Line:  PICK(O/U-61)

Projected score based on point spread:  30-30 TIE

Best plays:

Troy (RB-Shawn Southward, WR-Chip Reeves)

North Texas (RB-Brandin Byrd)

Also consider:

Troy (QB-Corey Robinson, WR-Eric Thomas)

North Texas (RB-Antoinne Jimmerson, WR-Brelan Chancellor)

theCFFsite projects:  Troy 35-28

 

One-Sided Matchups(Using the odds to find a dominating ‘D’)

Florida Atlantic at Alabama

Line:  Alabama -50(O/U-57)

Projected score based on point spread:  Alabama 54-3

Stay away from:

FAU (All players)

theCFFsite projects:  Alabama 52-6

 

Eastern Michigan at Michigan St

Line:  Michigan St -33(O/U-46.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Michigan St 40-7

Stay away from:

Eastern Michigan (QB-Alex Gillett)

theCFFsite projects:  Michigan St 31-10

 

South Alabama at Mississippi St

Line:  Mississippi St -34.5(O/U-48)

Projected score based on point spread:  Mississippi St 42-7

Stay away from:

South Alabama (RB-Demetre Baker)

theCFFsite projects:  Mississippi St 49-14

 

UAB at Ohio St

Line:  Ohio St -37.5(O/U-57.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Ohio St 48-10

Stay away from:

UAB (QB-Jonathan Perry)

theCFFsite projects:  Ohio St 52-14

 

UMass at Miami (OH)

Line:  Miami (OH) -26.5(O/U-51)

Projected score based on point spread:  Miami (OH) 39-12

Stay away from:

UMass (RB-Michael Cox)

theCFFsite projects:  Miami (OH) 35-13

 

Must Watch Games (The games with the biggest headlines)

Clemson at Florida St

Line:  Florida St -14.4(O/U-58)

Projected score based on point spread:  Florida St 36-22

Outlook:  Are the Seminoles as good on the defensive side of the ball as many believe?  They may not play another opponent this season with the offensive skill talent as the Tigers.  Home field will prove valuable in a game that should go down to the wire.

theCFFsite projects:  Florida St 30-24

 

Michigan at Notre Dame

Line:  Notre Dame -6 (O/U-51.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Notre Dame 29-23

Outlook:  The Wolverines will look to atone for the Big Ten’s early-season struggles, but the Irish are trying to prove that they’re relevant again.

theCFFsite projects:  Notre Dame 31-21

 

Kansas St at Oklahoma

Line:  Oklahoma -14(O/U-58.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma 46-32

Outlook:  We won’t be shocked if the Wildcats leave Norman with a victory, but the Sooners have had an extra week to prepare for this matchup and should escape 3-0.

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma 34-28

 

theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (5-3)  ATS: (3-5)

2011 Season:  Straight Up (40-9) ATS: (35-14)

 

by Joe DiSalvo, thecffsite.com

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 4 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 04:20
All taxonomy terms: NHL, News
Path: /news/ask-athlon-nhl
Body:

Q: What is the intent of the trapezoid area behind the goal of an NHL hockey rink? If I am interpreting the rules of hockey correctly, this is the only area that the goalie is allowed to play the puck outside of his goal crease without drawing a delay of game penalty.

— Ted Bauer, North Canton, Ohio

A: Ted, you’re close, but with one important clarification: It’s the only place behind the goal line that the goaltender can handle the puck. The trapezoid — or, more precisely, the goaltender trap zone — dates back to the 2004-05 American Hockey League season, when it was tested with the intent of improving the flow of the game by making it more difficult for the goaltender to control and clear the puck. The development worked so well that the NHL adopted it the following season. Nevertheless, there has been sentiment since the rule was implemented to do away with the trapezoid, since it leads to more hits on defensemen, who can’t rely on goaltender help behind the goal.

Rob Doster, Senior Editor

Have a question? Email us with any sports-related questions at editor@athlonsports.com
Please include first and last name, plus hometown.

Teaser:
<p> NHL rink</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 19:16
Path: /nba/ask-athlon-los-angeles-lakers
Body:

Q: I’d like to see some perspective on the first great L.A. Laker, Elgin Baylor.  Jerry West, his great teammate, suggested that a statue of Elgin should be in prominence there at Staples Center.  I agree.  What do you think?

— William H. Johnson, Los Angeles, Calif.

A: I agree — Baylor is probably underappreciated for his greatness. He predated Michael Jordan and Dr. J but was very nearly their equal in high-flying, attack-the-rim basketball. Baylor helped his team into the finals eight times, and he was first-team All-NBA 10 times. In 1961-62 he averaged 38.3 points a game. In the 1962 NBA Finals against the Celtics, Baylor dominated Game 5 with 61 points. The next year he finished second in scoring (34.0), fifth in rebounding (14.3), sixth in assists (4.8) and third in free throw percentage (.837). No championship, though (he retired a few games into the Lakers’ championship 1971-72 season), and that’s the only deficiency that harms his legacy and has probably prevented a statue in his honor in title-mad Los Angeles. (His weak performance as General Manager of the sad-sack Clippers didn’t exactly enhance his legacy either.)

Charlie Miller, Editorial Director

Have a question? Email us with any sports-related questions at editor@athlonsports.com
Please include first and last name, plus hometown.

Teaser:
<p> Los Angeles Lakers</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 19:13

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