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Path: /nascar/round-one-keselowski

If Jimmie Johnson and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team are the Muhammad Ali of NASCAR — the heavyweight that wins with both sheer power and poise — Brad Keselowski and his No. 2 Penske Racing bunch are the sport’s Sugar Ray Leonard. Not necessarily graced with the resources enjoyed by Johnson, Keselowski wins with smarts and guile — and a sweeping uppercut that comes, seemingly, from nowhere.

Therefore, it was fitting that Keselowski referred to his win in Sunday’s GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in boxer’s terms.

“It feels like Round 1 of a heavyweight title bout, just it’s a 10-round bout,” he said of the first Chase race in NASCAR’s 10-week playoff. “Week 1 is done and we won the round but we didn’t by any means knock them out. We’ve got a lot of racing left to go. We’re feeling good about today but know that we have a lot of work to do.”

They’ll be no checking of scorecards for this round, though. Johnson started second and was in control of the race, leading a commanding 172 of the first 228 laps. However, Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe managed to maneuver their Dodge to the front, using a quick pit stop — and just a little gamesmanship — to take control of the point.

Trailing Johnson by a second as the final round of pit stops began, Keselowski exited the pits just in front of his rival and made a hasty entrance onto the racing surface. Johnson claimed Keselowski “blended” back onto the track too soon (NASCAR rules state a driver must keep all four wheels below the white line before the backstretch). Keselowski’s car cut in front of Johnson’s, briefly stalling his momentum.

The move drew the ire of Johnson’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, who asked NASCAR to review the move.

The sanctioning body’s response? “No harm, no foul.”

And with that, Keselowski used clean air to hold Johnson at bay for the final 26 laps to record his fourth win of the season and claim the top spot in the Chase.

“He did cut up early,” Johnson said. “It did impede my progress, I had to check up and wasn’t sure where things were going. But it didn’t affect the outcome I don’t believe.

“The way he made quick work in (lap) traffic and stretched it out on me, I’m not sure I would have held him off. At the time it messed me up, but I don’t think it played an outcome in the race.”

Keselowski, in turn, feigned ignorance as to why Johnson felt wronged:

“There is no enforced line like you see in other sports, and that’s not a bad thing. That’s just one more thing to monitor during the race. But it’s certainly — I don’t want to say a gentlemen’s agreement — it’s a policy of merging down the backstretch, off of Turn 2, I think it said specifically in the driver’s meeting. And I feel like that’s what we did.”

Chase participants made up nine of the top-15 finishers. The only one that suffered a crippling blow was Jeff?Gordon, who’s throttle stuck in lap 189. The damage resulted in a 35th-place showing. He now sits 12th in the Chase standings, 47 points out of first.

Popular pre-Chase favorite Denny Hamlin, who entered the event with the top spot, ran out of fuel on the final lap, dropping from a solid top-5 finish to 16th.

“This was just us making a big mistake with our fuel again,” said Hamlin. “It’s tough, but we’re strong enough and fast enough this Chase that we can make up 15 points easily.”

As the most recent drive to be anointed as the No. 1 contender, Keselowski knows it’s too early to get comfortable.

“Any time you win, it’s a bit of a mission accomplished for that particular weekend, but the Chase isn’t about one particular weekend, it’s about 10, and there’s a long row to hoe.”

by Matt Taliaferro
Follow Matt on Twitter:


<p> Brad Keselowski beat Jimmie Johnson in NASCAR's GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 13:47
Path: /nfl/denver-broncos-vs-atlanta-falcons-preview-and-prediction

An excellent quarterback battle will be the focus on Monday Night Football, when the Atlanta Falcons host the Denver Broncos at 8:30 p.m. EST on ESPN. Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning led their respective clubs to double-digit victories in Week 1, with the Falcons beating the Chiefs on the road and the Broncos topping the Steelers at home. Both teams have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations this season, and a 2-0 start would go a long way towards having a successful year.

When the Atlanta Falcons have the ball:
Ryan had a stellar opener in Kansas City, going 23-for-31 passing for 299 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a score on the ground. Roddy White and tight end Tony Gonzalez have been favorite targets during Ryan’s career, but second-year receiver Julio Jones led the way versus the Chiefs with six catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. The Falcons passing game looks to be electric, but they will also need to get Michael Turner (32 yards at K.C.) and the running game going against Denver.

The Broncos defense had trouble getting off the field against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, but holding Pittsburgh to 19 points and a late interception return touchdown made for a solid performance. Denver will need pass rushers Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil to pressure Ryan in this one, as covering all of Atlanta’s weapons can be quite the task. The Broncos limited big plays against the Steelers, and doing so once again will be critical against a fast-paced Falcons offense.

When the Denver Broncos have the ball:
Everyone around the NFL was anxious to see how Manning would look in his return from multiple neck surgeries, and the four-time MVP responded with 253 passing yards and two touchdowns. In fact, he became the third quarterback in league history to reach the 400-touchdown mark. The Broncos were especially effective when Manning went to the no-huddle attack, so look for more of the same in Atlanta.

The Falcons gave up 17 points to the Chiefs in the first half but were able to shut down Kansas City in the second stanza, with the lone score coming with five seconds to go. Atlanta will face a tougher challenge this week with Manning and company, and the Falcons offense can help the defense greatly by winning the time of possession battle and keeping No. 18 off the field. Atlanta had three takeaways and three sacks versus the Chiefs, but the defense will have to absorb a major loss with Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury.

Key Factor:
Both defenses allowed well over 50-percent on third down conversions last week, and the unit that improves the most in that department will hold a huge advantage tonight. The Atlanta and Denver offenses will both earn plenty of yards, but the defense that can score or hold the opponent to field goals instead of touchdowns will prevail in this exciting matchup. The Falcons are 26-4 in the Georgia Dome with Matt Ryan at quarterback, so we’ll take Atlanta to win at home in a close one.

Falcons 27 Broncos 24

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

<p> Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Funny, nascar tattoos, Overtime, Overtime
Path: /overtime/20-best-and-worst-nascar-tattoos-ever

NASCAR fans are a very proud group of people. And they're also very into getting tattoos. So when you combine those two, you get a lot of people willing to put some very large and ornate NASCAR-related tattoos on their bodies. And we're the winners of that combination because we get to see the crazy, funny and insane things people have put on their skin (and most of them are about Dale Earnhardt). 

So with that, here are the 21 best and worst photos of NASCAR tattoos. We don't feel the need to tell you which ones fall in the "Best NASCAR tattoo" file and which ones fall in the "Worst NASCAR tattoo" file. You'll know them when you see them.

1. The Triple Decker
This looks like what happens when you ask M.C. Escher to design your NASCAR tattoo. Between the depth, the detail and the back skin rolls, you could get trapped staring for hours, like one of those magic eye paintings.


2. She’s Got Leg
Not sure if you can have a daughter after getting a tattoo like that. Also not sure if a woman who exists solely as a tattoo can catch an STD, but if it is possible, this one looks like a good candidate to make it happen.


3. The Devil is in the Details
That’s a proper tribute to Dale Earnhardt. Because you can’t really say good-bye to a fallen icon without Looney Tunes characters (and a little ass crack).


4 R.I.P. Dale Earnhardt
And on the flipside, it’s probably not the best idea to pay tribute to a man who died in a car crash by showing his trademark car number going up in flames.


5. Danica Patrick Arm Candy
Two things are very clear here. 1) This guy likes checking out his arms in the mirror. 2) This guy is left-handed.


6. Rev Her Up
What’s more offensive: the Confederate flag or the fact that they didn’t even bother to use an attractive chick in the tattoo-porn?


7. Face Off
In a race, the checkered flag means the event is over. In this guy’s case, it means any chance of getting health insurance is over.


8. Rock Hard Abs
We wonder how many times he’s gotten laid with the line, “Hey honey, check out my six pack.” Actually, we just wonder how many times he’s gotten laid, period.


9. Treasure Fail
No man should ever make that part of his mid-section the focus of anything. He could have the cure for cancer tattooed down there and nobody would be able to look long enough to read it.


10. Compact Tat
Nothing against the Chevy Impala, but giving it a shout out in arm ink is probably the best way to destroy the “bad-ass” factor of a tattoo. You’d probably look a little scarier with a PT Cruiser on your arm.


11. Gentlemen, Start Your Engines
Remember, it’s called a “tramp stamp” for a reason. Just because you see the checkered flag, doesn’t mean you came in first.


12. Ford, Hear Our Prayer
Nothing pleases the big man upstairs like having his message associated with the logo of a struggling car company that has to recall thousands of its products on a regular basis.


13. Is That A Muppet?
Guy walks into a tattoo parlor: “Hey, I'm a NASCAR fan, can you just doodle a little on my arm and see what you come up with?”
Tattoo artist: “I’m kinda busy, can my seven-year old son do it?”
Guy: “Sure.”
Tattoo artist: “So you want him to draw it on there with a marker before we start inking you up?”
Guy: “Nah, just give him the needle and we’ll see what we wind up with.”


14. He’s Got A Lead Foot
There goes any chance of wearing Tevas to your daughter’s wedding.


15. Back It Up
We’re still not sold on the favorite racer lower back tattoo. It’s kind of like Dale Earnhardt Jr. is quietly smirking at you any time you roll around in the sheets with your special lady.


16. In Dale We Trust
A real quality shout out to a legend that includes the three most important things for a tattoo tribute: classy art, bible verse and bacne.


17. Puttin’ on the Schlitz
You may have laughed when you first looked at this picture, but think about it for a minute. Doesn’t this guy have life figured out way better than the rest of us? He clearly knows what he wants and knows how to get it.


18. Bringing Up The Rear
Ladies and gentlemen, one NASCAR tramp stamp to rule them all! That’s none other than Danica Patrick representing both her country and her sport with a half-American flag, half-checkered flag on her lower back. God bless America.


19. King Cobra
Admit it: There was nothing cooler when you were eight years old than snakes and cars. Kudos to this guy for making sure he never stops feeling that way.


20. Get Your Head in the Game
At least he can grow hair over that now that Earnhardt changed his car number. What’s that? He’s bald? Oh dear, that’s unfortunate. Wait a minute, is that a Bucs logo on his neck? Man, this just keeps getting worse and worse.


21. A Touch of Green...
He's waiting until he gets his next paycheck to get the rest of the colors. 


By Vito Pugliese

<p> NASCAR fans really like to put NASCAR ink on their bodies</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 08:30
Path: /college-football/acc-post-week-3-power-rankings

If there were any doubts Florida State was ready to make a run into national title contention, those should be erased after Saturday’s win over Wake Forest. The Seminoles beat Wake Forest 52-0, which included impressive performances on both sides of the ball. Virginia Tech was a surprise loser in Week 3, dropping a 35-17 game to Pittsburgh. Georgia Tech handled Virginia, while North Carolina’s late rally fell short against Louisville in an ACC-Big East showdown.

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson – Ellington has been used sparingly the last two weeks due to the competition. The senior has 328 yards and four touchdowns through the first three games.

2. Bryn Renner, QB, North Carolina – Renner has been sharp in the first year under new coach Larry Fedora. Through three weeks, he has thrown for 870 yards and nine touchdowns and completed 62.5 percent of his throws.

3. Chris Thompson, RB, Florida State – Thompson was quiet through the first two weeks of the season but exploded for 197 yards and two scores against Wake Forest.

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner and fellow end Tank Carradine dominated the line of scrimmage against Wake Forest. Werner recorded four tackles and two sacks in the win over the Demon Deacons.

2. Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland – Vellano was relatively quiet in the loss to Connecticut, recording four tackles and no sacks.

3. David Amerson, CB, NC State – Amerson has rebounded after a rough start and recorded three tackles and one interception in NC State’s win over South Alabama.

Coach of the Year

1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles passed their first big test of the season, dominating Wake Forest for a 52-0 win.

2. Dabo Swinney, Clemson – The Tigers notched an easy win over Furman, but Swinney has a chance to jump to the top of this list with a win over Florida State in Week 4.

3. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech – With losses by Wake Forest (Jim Grobe), Virginia Tech (Frank Beamer) and North Carolina (Larry Fedora), there are few options for the third spot. The Yellow Jackets lost a key Week 1 game to Virginia Tech but crushed Virginia in Week 3.


ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1. Florida State (3-0, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
Week 3 result: Beat Wake Forest 52-0
Consider the Seminoles’ first test of 2012 a huge success. After playing Savannah State and Murray State in the first two weeks of the season, Florida State was still somewhat of a mystery. However, the Seminoles erased any doubts surrounding this team, destroying Wake Forest 52-0 to earn their first ACC win. Running back Chris Thompson ran wild against the Demon Deacons, rushing for a career high 197 yards on nine carries. Florida State’s defense also suffocated Wake Forest, allowing just 126 yards and seven first downs.
Next Game: Clemson

2. Clemson (3-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
Week 3 result: Beat Furman 41-7
The Tigers cruised to a 41-7 victory over Furman in the final tune-up before ACC play. Quarterback Tajh Boyd continued his strong start to the season by throwing for 310 yards and two touchdowns. And the offense got a boost with the return of receiver Sammy Watkins, who caught four passes for 52 yards and took one rush for a 50-yard score against the Paladins. One area of concern for Dabo Swinney and his staff has to be the defense, especially after allowing 352 yards and generating no sacks.
Next Game: at Florida State

3. Georgia Tech (2-1, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
Week 3 result: Beat Virginia 56-20
Even though it was only the second ACC game of the season, beating Virginia was crucial for any shot the Yellow Jackets had of winning the division crown. Quarterback Tevin Washington had a standout performance against the Cavaliers, throwing for 125 yards and one touchdown, while adding 93 yards and three scores on the ground. Georgia Tech’s defense held Virginia’s rushing attack to only 98 yards, while forcing two interceptions. The Yellow Jackets are still a game behind Virginia Tech in the Coastal standings, so every conference game the rest of the year (at least for now) is essentially a must-win situation.
Next Game: Miami

4. Virginia Tech (2-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
Week 3 result: Lost to Pittsburgh 35-17
One of the most surprising results from Week 3 was Virginia Tech’s 35-17 loss at Pittsburgh. The Panthers lost to Youngstown State and Cincinnati in the first two weeks of the season and were considered a heavy underdog. The problems for the Hokies started on offense, as the rushing attack never found its rhythm, and quarterback Logan Thomas tossed three picks. The defense gave up 254 rushing yards and recorded just one sack against a suspect Pittsburgh offensive line. While this loss knocks Virginia Tech out of the national title discussion, the Hokies are still in control of the Coastal Division.
Next Game: Bowling Green

5. NC State (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
Week 3 result: Beat South Alabama 31-7
After playing Tennessee and Connecticut in the first two weeks of the season, South Alabama was the perfect Week 3 get well opponent for the Wolfpack. Quarterback Mike Glennon had his best performance on the season, throwing for 257 yards and three scores. The defense held the Jaguars without a score until the fourth quarter and recorded seven sacks. NC State should have another easy win in Week 4 against FCS opponent Citadel.
Next Game: Citadel

6. Virginia (2-1, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
Week 3 result: Lost to Georgia Tech 56-20
There’s really no way to sugarcoat it: Georgia Tech simply dominated the Cavaliers on Saturday. Virginia’s offense never generated much of a rushing attack, and the defense couldn’t stop the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option offense. Georgia Tech rushed for 461 yards and seven scores, while quarterback Tevin Washington threw for 133 yards and one touchdown. After a sluggish performance by Virginia quarterback Michael Rocco, Alabama transfer Phillip Sims may get extended snaps in the Week 4 matchup against TCU.
Next Game: at TCU

7. Wake Forest (2-1, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
Week 3 result: Lost to Florida State 52-0
Even after losing to Florida State 52-0, it’s hard to penalize the Demon Deacons in the power rankings. Few candidates in the ACC are deserving of a promotion, and Wake Forest simply ran into a buzzsaw in Tallahassee. The Demon Deacons gained only 126 yards, while the defense was gashed for 385 yards and four touchdowns by Florida State’s rushing attack. Wake Forest should bounce back this Saturday against Army and has a favorable matchup in Week 5 against Duke.
Next Game: Army

8. North Carolina (1-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
Week 3 result: Lost to Louisville 39-34
It was a tale of two halves for North Carolina against Louisville on Saturday. The Tar Heels were awful in the first half, trailing 36-7 before the start of the third quarter. However, quarterback Bryn Renner rallied North Carolina in the second half, giving the Tar Heels a chance to win in the final minutes. Renner finished with 363 yards and five touchdowns, but the ground attack stalled without Giovani Bernard. North Carolina’s secondary continued to struggle, allowing 279 yards and three touchdowns to Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater.
Next Game: East Carolina

9. Miami (2-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
Week 3 result: Beat Bethune-Cookman 38-10
A week after suffering a 52-13 beatdown against Kansas State, the Hurricanes rebounded with a 38-10 win over FCS opponent Bethune-Cookman. It was far from a perfect effort from Miami, but freshman running back Duke Johnson scored four touchdowns, and the defense allowed only three points in the second half. Miami’s defense has been a concern all year and while it allowed only a field goal in the last two quarters, Bethune-Cookman managed 233 rushing yards. Considering the Hurricanes’ next opponent (Georgia Tech), specializes in the ground game, Miami’s defensive staff could have a lot of sleepless nights this week.
Next Game: at Georgia Tech

10. Duke (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
Week 3 result: Beat N.C. Central 54-17
The Blue Devils jumped out to 17-7 lead in the first quarter and never looked back in Saturday’s win over N.C. Central. Led by quarterback Sean Renfree’s 274 passing yards, Duke scored at least 10 points in every quarter and improved to 2-1 for the first time under coach David Cutcliffe. The rushing attack remains a concern for Cutcliffe, as the Blue Devils managed only 128 yards and one touchdown in Saturday’s win. Duke has another must-win game next week against Memphis.
Next Game: Memphis

11. Boston College (1-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Week 3 result: Lost to Northwestern 22-13
The Eagles were close, but not good enough to beat Northwestern. Quarterback Chase Rettig had another steady performance, throwing for 291 yards and one touchdown on 24 completions. However, the rushing attack managed only 25 yards, and the defense had no answer for Northwestern’s offense. The Eagles have a bye this Saturday, which comes at a good time with the team searching for answers on both sides of the ball. Boston College returns to play on Sept. 29 against Clemson.
Next Game: Clemson (Sept. 29)

12. Maryland (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
Week 3 result: Lost to Connecticut 24-21
Just like the Terrapins’ first two games, Saturday’s matchup against Connecticut wasn’t the easiest to watch. Maryland’s offense managed a season-low 205 yards against the Huskies and committed two turnovers. The Terrapins had a shot to win in the final minutes, but Connecticut’s defense held late in the fourth quarter. Through three weeks, Maryland’s offense ranks 119th nationally in total yards per game (258.3) and 105th in turnover margin. The Terrapins have made some progress in Randy Edsall’s second season but beating West Virginia in Week 4 will be a tall task.
Next Game: at West Virginia

by Steven Lassan


Related College Football Content

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

<p> ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:49
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-3-power-rankings

It was an interesting week in the SEC. Alabama made another huge statement with a convincing win at Arkansas, but the most noteworthy game took place in Knoxville. Florida was sensational in the second half of a 37-20 win over Tennessee. The Gators are already 2-0 in the SEC with both wins coming on the road. 

Post-Week 3 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Aaron Murray, GeorgiaThe junior quarterback is completing 63.8 percent of his passes for 842 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. He threw for a career-high 342 yards in the Bulldogs’ win over FAU last weekend.

2. Mike Gillislee, Florida The Gators’ rejuvenated offense has leaned on Gillislee in key road wins over Texas A&M and Tennessee. Saturday night in Knoxville, he ran for 115 yards on 18 carries, and he leads the SEC after three games with 346 yards.

3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M The Texas high school legend has been terrific through two games for the Aggies. He has thrown for 467 yards and four touchdowns (with no INTs) and has added 184 yards and three scores on the ground.

Post-Week 3 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jarvis Jones, Georgia Jones remains on top of the this list despite sitting out the FAU game with an injury. The junior outside linebacker has emerged as one of the most disruptive forces in the nation.

2. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State Banks is one of the nation’s premier cornerbacks. He has two interceptions and 12 total tackles for the 3–0 Bulldogs.

3. C.J. Mosley, AlabamaThe junior linebacker has been a consistent force on the dominant Alabama defense. He had five tackles in the Tide’s 52–0 win over Arkansas on Saturday.

Post-Week 3 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Nick Saban, Alabama He is the coach of the nearly unanimous No. 1 team in the nation. His offense is brutally efficient, and his defense is dominant.

2. Will Muschamp, Florida Two weeks ago, many were wondering if Muschamp was the right fit in Gainesville. Now, after two come-from-behind wins on the road in league play, he is being mentioned as a possible SEC Coach of the Year.

3. Mark Richt, Georgia The Bulldogs survived a Week 2 scare at Missouri and then returned home and pounded Florida Atlantic. This team remains the favorite to win the SEC East.

Post-Week 3 SEC Power Rankings

1. Alabama (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 3 result: Beat Arkansas 52-0
In one of the most impressive performances of the Nick Saban era, Alabama routed the Tyler Wilson-less Razorbacks with surprising ease. Bama outgained Arkansas 438-to-137 with a balanced offense (200-plus yards passing and rushing) and a dominating defense that allowed an average of only 2.2 yards per play. The Crimson Tide has recorded two straight shutouts and has only allowed points in two of 12 quarters this season.
Next Game: FAU

2. LSU (3-0, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 2
Week 3 result: Beat Idaho 63-14
LSU completed its season-opening three-game homestand with its third straight blowout victory. The Tigers blew open a relatively close game — they only led 21–14 late in the second quarter vs. the winless Vandals — by scoring the final six touchdowns of the game. Zach Mettenberger, making his third career start, completed 17-of-22 passes for 22 yards and two touchdowns. LSU has now won an NCAA FBS record 40 straight regular-season non-conference games.
Next Game: Auburn

3. Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 3
Week 3 result: Beat Florida Atlantic 56-20
Georgia averaged a staggering 11.3 yards per play on the way to setting a single-game school record with 713 total yards in the easy win over Florida Atlantic. Junior quarterback Aaron Murray threw for a career-high 342 yards (on only 19 attempts) and two running backs, true freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, topped the 100-yard mark despite each getting only 10 carries. Georgia has scored more than 40 points in its first three games for the first time in school history.
Next Game: Vanderbilt

4. Florida (3-0, 2-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 6
Week 3 result: Beat Tennessee 37-20
Since struggling to beat Bowling Green in Week 1, Florida has been one of the most impressive teams in the nation. First the Gators won at Texas A&M in the Aggies’ first-ever SEC game. Then, on Saturday night, Florida dominated Tennessee in the second half on its way to an eighth straight victory over the Volunteers. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel was sharp (he threw 219 yards on 20 attempts), but the Gators did most of their work on the ground. Mike Gillislee gained 115 yards on 18 carries to lead a running attack that gained 336 yards on 43 attempts. The Gators are the only team in the nation with two conference wins.
Next Game: Kentucky

5. South Carolina (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 4
Week 3 result: Beat UAB 49-6
The Gamecocks cruised to their second straight lopsided win at home, pulling away in the second half to defeat UAB 49-6. After struggling on offense in the season-opening win over Vanderbilt, South Carolina has topped the 500-yard mark in consecutive games. Connor Shaw returned to the starting lineup after sitting out last week’s game vs. East Carolina, but he had to leave the game in the second quarter after taking a big hit to his shoulder. South Carolina has only given up two touchdowns in 12 quarters this season.
Next Game: Missouri

6. Mississippi State (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 7
Week 3 result: Beat Troy 30-24
Mississippi State is 3–0 for the first time since 1999 after holding on to beat Troy on the road. It was a big night for two Bulldog skill players: Tailback LaDarius Perkins rushed for 179 yards on 23 carries, and wide receiver Chad Bumphis became the first MSU player with three touchdown catches since 1969. Bumphis caught six passes for 180 yards. The Bulldogs gave up 572 total yards but won the turnover battle 4-to-0.
Next Game: South Alabama

7. Missouri (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 8
Week 3 result: Beat Arizona State 24-20
Playing with a backup quarterback in front of a patchwork offensive line, Missouri gutted out a four-point win over a solid Arizona State team Saturday night. Corbin Berkstresser made his first career start in place of the injured James Franklin, and the redshirt freshman from Lee’s Summit, Mo., completed 26-of-46 passes for 258 yards and one touchdown. This game, however, was won on defense. The Tigers forced four turnovers and held an Arizona State offense that topped 500 yards in its first two games to 296 yards.
Next Game: at South Carolina

8. Texas A&M (1-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 9
Week 3 result: Beat SMU 48-3
The Aggies bounced back from the emotional loss at home to Florida in the school’s SEC debut by rolling past SMU in Dallas with ease. Redshirt freshman Johny Manziel was sensational for Texas A&M, throwing for 294 yards and four touchdowns and adding 124 yards and two scores on the ground. The Aggies struggled a bit in the first quarter, but scored touchdowns on seven of eight drives during one stretch — four of which that went for 70 yards or longer.
Next Game: South Carolina State

9. Tennessee (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 3 result: Lost to Florida 37-20
The Volunteers weren’t quite ready for the national stage. In the most anticipated game of the Derek Dooley era, Tennessee watched Florida score the game’s final 24 points — including two on touchdowns that covered at least 75 yards — of a disheartening 37–20 loss. Tennessee struggled to run the ball, averaging only 3.0 yards on 28 rushing attempts. Conversely, Florida ran for 336 yards and averaged 7.8 yards per rush.
Next Game: Akron

10. Auburn (1-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 11
Week 3 result: Beat UL Monroe 31-28 in OT
Auburn averted disaster — and its first 0–3 start since 1950 — by edging giant killer UL Monroe in overtime. The biggest positive for the Tigers was a running game that picked up 255 yards on 42 carries. Onterio McCalebb led the way with 128 yards on 11 carries, and Tre Mason added 90 yards on 22 carries. Kiehl Frazier continued to struggle at quarterback. The sophomore completed 10-of-18 passes for 130 yards with one touchdown and one pick. Those aren’t bad numbers, but the Tigers would like see more production against a Sun Belt foe.
Next Game: at LSU

11. Arkansas (1-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 10
Week 3 result: Lost to Alabama 52-0
In one of the low points in Arkansas football history, the Razorbacks put up little fight in a 52–0 loss to Alabama on national television. The Hogs, playing without quarterback Tyler Wilson, managed only 137 yards of offense and averaged a paltry 2.2 yards per snap. Brandon Allen went 10-of-18 for 60 yards and two interceptions, and Brandon Mitchell, last year’s backup quarterback who had moved to receiver, completed 1-of-7 for 19 yards.
Next Game: Rutgers

12. Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 12
Week 3 result: Beat Presbyterian 58-0
The Commodores broke into the win column with an easy victory over FCS foe Presbyterian. The Commodores scored on their first nine possessions and rolled up over 600 yards of offense en route to their most decisive win since blanking The Citadel 58–0 in 1999. In a surprising move, second-year coach James Franklin went with junior Austyn Carta-Samuels at quarterback in favor of senior Jordan Rodgers. Carta-Samuels, a transfer from Wyoming, completed 13-of-20 for 195 yards and one touchdown.
Next Game: at Georgia

13. Ole Miss (2-1, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 13
Week 3 result: Lost to Texas 66-31
After starting the Hugh Freeze era with two wins over inferior competition, Ole Miss was ambushed at home by a Texas offense that totaled 676 yards. The Rebels had success of their own on offense — they had nearly 400 yards and 31 points against one of the nation’s top defenses — but had no answer for the balanced Longhorn attack. Texas rushed 350 yards and threw for 326 more.
Next Game: at Tulane

14. Kentucky (1-3, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 14
Week 4 result: Lost to Western Kentucky 32-31 in OT
Joker Phillips' worst fears became a reality: His team lost at home to Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers were in control for most of the night — they held leads of 17–0 and 24–10 — but Kentucky forced overtime by scoring on a 22-yard touchdown strike from Maxwell Smith to DeMarcus Sweat in the final minute. That, however, just delayed the agony for UK fans, who watched in horror as WKU converted a 2-point conversion for the win after scoring a touchdown in the first overtime session. Kentucky has now lost to the other two FBS schools in the state. Not good for Joker.
Next Game: at Florida

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<p> Bama still on top, but Florida makes a big move</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:40
Path: /college-football/big-east-post-week-3-power-rankings

The Big East is three weeks away from its conference season beginning in earnest, but the league is already starting to sort out its contenders. A week after Cincinnati dismantled Pittsburgh in the first Big East game of the season, Rutgers used a second-half burst to defeat USF on the road.

Despite a scare with North Carolina, Louisville still looks like the team to beat in the Big East. Unless, of course, Pitt treats the rest of its opponents the same way it treated Virginia Tech.

Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville -- Louisville scored on its first six possessions against North Carolina (five touchdowns, one field goal) as Bridgewater completed 23 of 28 passes for 279 yards with three touchdowns. Bridgewater is completing 81.8 percent of his passes this season and hasn’t thrown an interception.

2. Jawan Jamison, Rutgers -- The Scarlet Knights running back set a school record with 41 carries against USF, no rush bigger than a 41-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Jamison has topped 100 yards in each game this season and has run for 731 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in his last six games dating back to last season.

3. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse -- Nassib heated up in the second half against Stony Brook to complete 22 of 35 passes for 335 yards and three interceptions. Nassib has passed for 300 yards and accounted for at least three passing or rushing touchdowns in every game this season.

Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut --
The sophomore linebacker had 14 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble in a 24-21 win over Maryland. He leads the Big East in tackles and is second in sacks.

2. Walter Stewart, Cincinnati -- Stewart had a quiet day against Delaware State (two tackles, one pass break up), but he still had one of the best defensive performances in the Big East in the Bearcats’ opener against Pittsburgh a week ago.

3. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers -- The Scarlet Knights linebacker continues to rack up tackles with 10 against USF. He’s had at least 10 stops in each game this season. Against USF, he added two tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Coach of the Year Standings
1. Charlie Strong, Louisville --
North Carolina’s late surge against the Cardinals is a bit of a concern. Still, Louisville has topped 32 points in all three games this season matching the Cardinals’ total of 30-point games from all of last season.

2. Butch Jones, Cincinnati -- Pitt made Cincinnati’s win over the Panthers in Week 2 look a little more impressive by upsetting Virginia Tech. The Bearcats can give the Big East two wins over the Hokies themselves in two weeks.

3. Kyle Flood, Rutgers -- Is it safe yet to get on the Rutgers/Kyle Flood bandwagon? While the win over USF was far from perfect, Rutgers should brag about a 10-point conference win on the road thanks to a balanced effort on both sides of the ball.

Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
1. Louisville (3-0, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 3 result: Beat North Carolina 39-34
Louisville rolled over North Carolina for three quarters before having to sweat out the final moments. It was the most vulnerable Louisville looked all season. The Cardinals led 36-7 at halftime, but North Carolina in the second half had scoring drives of 79, 65 and 93 yards plus a blocked punt that led to a five-yard touchdown. The Cardinals defense eventually clamped down with a deflected pass in the end zone, but it was a scare nonetheless.
This week: at FIU

2. Rutgers (3-0, 1-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank:
Week 3 result: Beat USF 23-13
After two inconsistent performances to start the season against Tulane and Howard, Rutgers looked like a team that could contend for a Big East title with its road win over USF. Quarterback Gary Nova had a breakthrough game, completed 23 of 42 passes for 277 yards with a touchdown as the Scarlet Knights picked USF apart on third downs (8 of 19). The opportunistic defense picked up four turnovers and held USF to 3.3 yards per carry. One worrisome number: Rutgers has the second-most penalties in the country with 31 in three games.
This week: at Arkansas

3. USF (2-1, 0-1 Big East)
Last week’s rank:
Week 3 result: Lost to Rutgers 23-13
Another game close in the fourth quarter and another USF loss. The Bulls were tied at 13 with Rutgers until the Scarlet Knights broke the game open in the final three minutes. In the Bulls’ last six Big East losses, USF led or tied in the fourth quarter of each game. On Thursday, the USF defense surrendered two plays of 30 yards or more in the fourth quarter, and B.J. Daniels went 0-for-7 on his final two possessions. Though two of Daniels’ three interceptions against Rutgers were off deflections, turnovers in conference games continue to be troubling. In his career, Daniels as 17 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in Big East games compared to 27 TDs and 12 INTs in non-conference games.
This week: at Ball State

4. Cincinnati (2-0, 1-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank:
Week 3 result: Beat Delaware State 23-7
Good thing Cincinnati was playing Delaware State when the Bearcats decided to become careless. The Bearcats turned the ball over six times with two interceptions and two fumbles from quarterback Munchie Legaux, and a fumble each from wide receiver Anthony McClung and tight end Travis Kelce. The Bearcats still took a 20-0 lead at halftime as George Winn rushed for 147 yards.  The Bearcats’ odd early season schedule continues with a second off week before Cincinnati faces Virginia Tech on Sept. 29.
This week: Off

5. Connecticut (1-2, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 3 result: Beat Maryland 24-21
The Huskies’ defense was stifling again in the win over Maryland and former Huskies coach Randy Edsall. UConn held its third consecutive opponent to fewer than 100 yards rushing. The Huskies are second in the nation in yards allowed per play at 2.9 behind only Florida State (1.9). The big difference against Maryland was a sound offense that turned the ball over once after losing seven in the first two games. The Huskies also got a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown from Nick Williams.
This week: at Western Michigan

6. Syracuse (1-2, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 6
Week 3 result: Beat Stony Brook 28-17
The win over Stony Brook was probably a little closer than Syracuse would have liked -- the Orange led 17-14 at halftime. Syracuse held Stony Brook, ranked 16th in the FCS coaches poll, to 4 of 19 passing and two interceptions as quarterback Ryan Nassib led two long scoring drives in the second half to break the game open.
This week: at Minnesota

7. Pittsburgh (1-2, 0-1 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 8
Week 3 result: Beat Virginia Tech 35-17
Where was this Pittsburgh team the first two weeks of the season? The Panthers had two productive backs with Ray Graham rushing for 94 yards and two touchdowns and Rushel Shell running for 157 yards. Tino Sunseri was almost mistake-free with three touchdown passes and one pick. The protection was also an encouraging development. He was sacked only once after being sacked six times in the first two games and 63 times all last season. The Pitt defense helped put Virginia Tech away with three interceptions and allowing 59 rushing yards. Was this a fluke or a sign that Pitt is starting to put its season back together?
This week: Gardner-Webb

8. Temple (1-1, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 7
Week 3 result: Off
Temple could emerge from the off week with running back Montel Harris ready to play. The Boston College transfer hasn’t been ruled out for the game against Penn State after sustaining a hamstring injury in the opener. Running back Matt Brown is also trying to recover from an ankle injury. Temple has not defeated Penn State since 1941, giving the Owls an 0-36-1 record against the Nittany Lions since their last win.
This week: at Penn State

By David Fox


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<p> Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:36
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-3-power-rankings

Week 3 featured a pedestrian slate of games in the Big 12. TCU-Kansas was the only conference game, while Texas easily handled Ole Miss on the road and Texas Tech, Iowa State and Oklahoma State cruised to victories. The Horned Frogs were victorious in their first Big 12 game, but the Jayhawks showed signs of progress in defeat.

Big 12 Post-Week 3 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia – Smith has been unstoppable through the first two games, tossing just as many touchdowns (9) as incompletions (9).

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State – Klein continues to be a one-man wrecking crew, recording nine touchdowns and 819 yards through the first two weeks.

3. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State – Randle has three 100-yard efforts to open the season and has caught nine passes for 77 yards.

Big 12 Post-Week 3 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State – Brown shook off a leg injury in the win over North Texas to record 13 tackles. Through three weeks, he has 28 tackles and one sack.

2. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas – Jeffcoat recorded only one tackle but also picked up his second sack of the season against Ole Miss.

3. Isaiah Bruce, LB, West Virginia – The competition hasn’t been great, but it’s hard to ignore Bruce’s performance through the first two games. He has 25 tackles, three tackles for a loss and one fumble recovery so far this year.

Big 12 Post-Week 3 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State - Rhoads has led Iowa State to back-to-back 3-0 starts and won’t be an easy out in Big 12 play.

2. Bill Snyder, Kansas State – The Wildcats are 3-0 but largely untested. Kansas State opens Big 12 play against Oklahoma this Saturday.

3. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia – Behind quarterback Geno Smith and receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, the Mountaineers’ offense has been unstoppable through the first two games of 2012.


Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1. Oklahoma (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 3 Result: Did not play
The Sooners did not play in Week 2 and will return to action in Week 4 against Kansas State. Oklahoma has a strange schedule over the next couple of weeks, as it hosts the Wildcats, then has another bye week before playing at Texas Tech on Oct. 6.  The Sooners have defeated Kansas State five times in a row, including a 58-17 victory in Manhattan last season.
Next Game: Kansas State

2. Texas (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 3 Result: Beat Ole Miss 66-31
While it wasn’t a conference road test, traveling to Oxford to play Ole Miss was a key game for Texas. The Longhorns surprisingly gave up 31 points to the Rebels but were never in any danger of losing. Quarterback David Ash turned in a solid performance, throwing for 326 yards and four touchdowns. The ground attack punished Ole Miss for 350 yards on 54 attempts. Texas has a bye week to prepare for its Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State. The Longhorns will have to take a wait-and-see approach on preparing for the Cowboys offense, as starting quarterback Wes Lunt was injured in the win over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Next Game: at Oklahoma State (Sept. 29)

3. West Virginia (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 3 Result: Beat James Madison 42-12
The Mountaineers hold steady in the power rankings after cruising to an easy 42-12 victory over FCS opponent James Madison. Quarterback Geno Smith was nearly flawless, completing 34 of 39 passes for 411 yards and five touchdowns. With Matt Barkley’s performance against Stanford, Smith has to be considered the frontrunner to win the Heisman after three weeks. Receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin each went over 100 yards and caught double-digit passes. As expected West Virginia’s defense had a much better performance than it had in Week 1, as the Dukes’ only touchdown came with less than a minute remaining.
Next Game: Maryland

4. TCU (2-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 4
Week 3 Result: Beat Kansas 20-6
The Horned Frogs capped a historic weekend with a 20-6 win over Kansas in their first Big 12 game. TCU easily outgained the Jayhawks (507 to 379) but it was far from a complete performance. The Horned Frogs had four turnovers and went 2 of 9 on third-down conversions. Quarterback Casey Pachall passed for 335 yards, with Brandon Carter his preferred target (eight receptions, 141 yards and two scores). TCU’s defense had question marks about its back seven coming into the year, and Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist threw for 303 yards. Although it wasn’t a perfect effort for Gary Patterson’s team, it’s a good way to start life in the Big 12.
Next Game: Virginia

5. Kansas State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 5
Week 3 Result: Beat North Texas 35-21
Bill Snyder wasn’t particularly pleased with his team after Saturday’s 35-21 win over North Texas. However, the Wildcats are 3-0 and have made it through the first three weeks without a major injury. Kansas State allowed the Mean Green to hang around, largely due to the strong performance of quarterback Derek Thompson (25 of 28, 208 yards). The defense struggled with missed tackles, while the offense had two turnovers and running back John Hubert never got on track (38 yards, 12 attempts). Kansas State opens Big 12 play in Week 4 with a huge test at Oklahoma.
Next Game: at Oklahoma

6. Oklahoma State (2-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 3 Result: Beat Louisiana-Lafayette 65-24
Despite losing quarterback Wes Lunt on the first series of the game, the Cowboys rolled to an easy 65-24 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. Lunt suffered a knee injury and did not return. His long-term status is uncertain, but Oklahoma State has a bye week before playing Texas on Sept. 29. With Lunt sidelined, J.W. Walsh shined, throwing for 347 yards and adding 73 yards on the ground. Running back Joseph Randle was solid as usual, rushing for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 21 attempts. Oklahoma State’s defense held the Ragin’ Cajuns without a point in the first half, before allowing 24 in the final two quarters. Lunt’s injured knee will be watched closely over the next two weeks, but if he can’t go, Walsh is more than capable of leading the Cowboys to a win over the Longhorns.
Next Game: Texas (Sept. 29)

7. Baylor (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 7
Week 3 Result: Beat Sam Houston State 48-23
One of the biggest surprises from the Big 12's Week 3 action was Sam Houston State leading Baylor 20-10 at halftime. However, the Bears took control in the second half and won 48-23. Quarterback Nick Florence was solid, throwing for 312 yards and three touchdowns, while also adding a 60-yard rush. As expected, Baylor’s offense stepped up in the second half, but the defense held the Bearkats to just three points in the final two quarters. The Bears have a short week to prepare for a trip to Louisiana-Monroe on Friday night, before playing at West Virginia to open Big 12 play.
Next Game: at Louisiana-Monroe (Friday)

8. Iowa State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 8
Week 3 Result: Beat Western Illinois 37-3
The Cyclones are 3-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2000-01. Iowa State dominated Western Illinois on Saturday, jumping out to a 21-0 lead at halftime and cruising to a 37-3 win. The Cyclones got a strong performance from quarterback Steele Jantz (19 of 26 for 209 yards and three touchdowns), while the defense allowed only 178 total yards. Iowa State is halfway to bowl eligibility thanks to its 3-0 start, but the schedule is only going to get tougher the rest of the way with only Big 12 opponents.
Next Game: Texas Tech (Sept. 29)

9. Texas Tech (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 9
Week 3 Result: Beat New Mexico 49-14
The Red Raiders haven’t had to sweat much through the first three weeks of the season and cruised to an easy 49-14 win over New Mexico. Quarterback Seth Doege was sharp, throwing for 340 yards and six touchdowns, while the offense had three players rush for at least 60 yards. The defense was a concern going into the year but has played well so far. Texas Tech allowed 30 points through the first three games and ranks second nationally in total defense. The competition is going to get better, but the first three weeks are a good sign for Texas Tech.
Next Game: at Iowa State

10. Kansas (1-2, 0-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 3 Result: Lost to TCU 20-6
A week after a disappointing loss to Rice, the Jayhawks dropped their Big 12 opener to TCU. Although Kansas has not won a Big 12 game since Nov. 6, 2010, it didn’t fade late and had chances to pull closer. The Jayhawks defense forced four turnovers but allowed quarterback Casey Pachall to throw for 335 yards. Quarterback Dayne Crist matched Pachall with a 300-yard effort, but the Jayhawks’ offense was unable to capitalize off TCU’s four turnovers. Kansas’ offense will get an extra weapon back this week, as running back James Sims will return from a three-game suspension.
Next Game: at Northern Illinois

by Steven Lassan


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<p> Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:29
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-3-power-rankings

After two concerning weeks of play in the Big Ten, the league watched many of its teams bounce back with easy wins. It finished 10-2 this week with losses to Notre Dame and Ball State, but what was the top win of Week 3? Ohio State inching past Cal? Wisconsin luckily topping Utah State? Or Nebraska over Arkansas State? The point being, it wasn't exactly a marquee slate and Michigan State failed the one national test the league was facing against the Irish. The truth of the matter is there is no BCS national title contender in the B1G this season. That much is obvious.

However, it doesn't mean there won't be plenty of excitement and drama. Both divisions appear to be wide open with at least legit contenders in each one. And quarterback play looks like it will be the key to success. Indiana has lost Tre Roberson. Illinois has been without Nathan Scheelhaase now for two weeks. Purdue looks to have lost Robert Marve (which could be a blessing). And now, both Minnesota and Wisconsin are makings switches — for two very different reasons.

Post-Week 3 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State - Is there anything this kid cannot do? Miller threw for 249 yards and four touchdowns, including two huge fourth-quarter strikes that won the game for the Buckeyes. He added another 75 yards rushing and his fifth touchdown on the ground as well. That's 12 total TDs thus far in three games.

2. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan - The competition was pretty weak, but Robinson was up to his old tricks. He threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns while topping the century mark in rushing (106) and scoring again on the ground. These two dual-threats should battle for POY all season.

3. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska - The junior QB bounced back from the loss to UCLA in excellent fashion. He completed 13-of-14 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns to go with 54 yards rushing and another score. He leads the league in passing yards and is No. 2 in efficiency to go with 176 yards rushing and two more scores.


Post-Week 3 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Will Compton, LB, Nebraska -
The Huskers defense got off the mat and played well in a bounce-back performance against a solid Arkansas State offense (286 total yards allowed). Compton posted seven tackles and another tackle for loss. He now leads NU in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks. 

2. Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin - The Badgers struggled to defeat a solid Utah State team but Taylor was the main reason they held on to win. He was all over the field against the dynamic USU option attack. He is now second in the league in tackles after a 15-stop performance this week.

3. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State - The speedy Buckeye tackler stood out all day in the win over Cal. He made bone-crushing hits, posted 13 total tackles, two tackles for a loss and one of the Bucks' six sacks. He has all the skills needed to be the next great OSU linebacker.


Post-Week 3 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State - The Buckeyes' head man gets the nod because A) His team hasn't lost yet B) He has the best team in the league C) And there are no other clear candidates for COY.

2. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern - Most of the coaches in the Big Ten are dealing with major adversity, so an unbeaten record against three consecutive BCS AQ teams makes Fitz a prime candidate (today, at least) for COY.

3. Pick a Name, State U - Mark Dantonio's team got man-handled (again) by Notre Dame. Jerry Kill is 3-0, but who have they beaten? Brady Hoke's team is going to be good but has some major weaknesses. There is no clearcut No. 3 candidate, but I have a feeling Bo Pelini will be back on this list after recovering from a health scare this weekend.


Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (3-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 3 result: Beat Cal 35-28

The Buckeyes welcomed back starting tailback Jordan Hall and got six sacks from six different players in a game that was much tighter than expected. After taking a 20-7 commanding lead in the first half on the dynamic play-making ability of star quarterback Braxton Miller, Cal dominated the third period of play. It out-gained Ohio State 190-10 and eventually took the lead 21-20 a few minutes into the fourth quarter. But time after time, the Buckeyes turned to Miller to overcome the big-play punches by the Golden Bears. The star dual-threat QB led two long scoring drives to give OSU the lead twice in the final frame, the last of which ended on a game-winning 72-yard touchdown pass in which Miller scrambled right and found a wide open Devin Smith. After another 324 yards of total offense and five total touchdowns, Miller has placed himself squarely in the Heisman race with key completions and gritty runs. He has seven passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns on the season. Despite the play of Miller, Urban Meyer knows his team still has some issues. The running game got a boost from Hall (17 att., 87 yards), but was still lackluster. While his pass rush was clearly improved, the tackling was an issue all day as the defense allowed big plays in the running game that nearly cost OSU the win. There are plenty of kinks that need ironing out with one cupcake left to go before the Big Ten season begins in East Lansing.
This week: UAB (1-1)

2. Michigan (2-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 3 result: Beat UMass 63-13
The Wolverines entered this weekend ranked 113th nationally against the run and Brady Hoke was undoubtedly hoping to rebuild those stats against lowly UMass. And while 112 yards isn't exactly what he was hoping for, it was 139 yards fewer than his team had been allowing. Otherwise, Denard Robinson and company got their reps in against a team that had no chance to win the game. Shoelace finished with four total touchdowns and 397 yards of total offense (291 pass, 106 rush) in a warm-up for what should be a monster game next weekend against Notre Dame. He will need his rushing attack against that Irish front seven and it showed up in Week 3 to the tune of 294 yards and six touchdowns on the ground in the win over the Minutemen. See the Michigan State Spartans to know exactly what the Maize and Blue will be facing next week against the Golden Domers.
This week: at Notre Dame (3-0)

3. Michigan State (2-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 3 result: Lost to Notre Dame 20-3
For the second straight season Michigan State got physically dominated by Notre Dame. Le'Veon Bell found no room to run (19 att., 77 yards), Andrew Maxwell was uninspiring (23-of-45, 187 yards, 0 TD) and the vaunted Spartans defense could not make the key play against a freshman quarterback. A combined score of 51-16 over the last two seasons clearly give the Irish's Brian Kelly an advantage over Mark Dantonio. It was a deflating performance that highlighted the weaknesses of a one-dimensional offense in East Lansing. The great news, however, is that Michigan State lost to ND last fall in ugly fashion and then went on to win the Legends Division. Sparty is still very much a top contender for the wide open Big Ten championship. 
This week: Eastern Michigan (0-3) 

4. Nebraska (2-1)
Previous rank: 4
Week 3 result: Beat Arkansas State 42-13

Nebraska took a 28-3 lead into halftime at Memorial Stadium, but when it came out to play the second half, Bo Pelini wasn't in the building. The head coach was taken by ambulance to Bryant West Hospital for precautionary reasons after falling ill in the first half. Huskers athletic director Tom Osbourne released a statement that Pelini is "doing fine" and "looks as though he's in pretty good shape." Arkansas State put together its rally in the third, cutting the lead to 28-13 before Taylor Martinez and Ameer Abdullah willed their team to victory for "interim coach" and current DC John Papuchis. Martinez was brilliant, completing 13-of-14 passes and accounting for three touchdowns, while Abdullah was the workhorse Nebraska needed with Rex Burkhead sitting on the sidelines once again. The sophomore runner carried 30 times and caught two passes for 206 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. The defense also bounced back from its poor Week 2 showing by holding Ryan Aplin and Arkansas State to only 286 total yards. The four turnovers are concerning for NU, but this was an incredibly efficient performance by the Big Red: 10-of-13 on third down, 13-of-14 passing, 5.9 yards per carry and only four penalties. The head coach and star tailback likely won't be needed to defeat Idaho State next weekend, but a healthy Pelini and Burkhead would be a welcome sight for Nebraska fans.
This week: Idaho State (1-1)

5. Northwestern (3-0)
Previous rank: 6
Week 3 result: Beat Boston College 22-13
It was frustrating at times for Northwestern but a win is a win, and now the Wildcats are the only team in the nation with three wins over BCS AQ teams. Pat Fitzgerald's offense drove into the redzone numerous times throughout this game but simply could not convert, settling for a career-high five field goals from Jeff Budzien. The ground game was the big difference for NW as three different players got at least 15 carries and the team nearly rushed for 300 yards. Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian continue to split reps and both were effective this week. Will Coach Fitz have to pick one or can he continue to rotate passers deep into the Big Ten schedule? That remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the once-maligned Wildcats defense continues to show slight improvement, holding BC to 25 yards rushing on 21 carries while keeping them 20 points below their scoring average (33 ppg coming in). With South Dakota and Indiana up next, a 5-0 start is likely for a team that appears to have plenty of mental toughness. 
This week: South Dakota (1-1)

6. Purdue (2-1)
Previous rank: 9
Week 3 result: Beat Eastern Michigan 54-16
With just over nine minutes to go in the second quarter, Eastern Michigan kicked a field goal to cut the lead to four points at 13-9. Purdue then scored five straight touchdowns and outscored EMU 41-7 the rest of the way to win the first of a four-game home stand. Without having to look over his shoulder at Robert Marve, Caleb TerBush spread the wealth all over the field in West Lafayette. Six different Boilermakers scored seven offensive touchdowns and four players rushed for at least 47 yards. In fact, of Purdue's 576 total yards of offense, 392 came on the ground on an absurd per carry average of 9.3 yards. With a bye week coming next Saturday and stability under center, this rushing attack should have the Boilermakers 3-1 when Michigan heads to town on Oct. 6.
This week: Open Date

7. Wisconsin (2-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 3 result: Beat Utah State 16-14
The Badger faithful need to head into Week 4 extremely thankful to be 2-1. After making a coaching change along the offensive line, Wisconsin's once-vaunted power rushing attack continues to be a shell of its former self (3.5 yards per carry on 45 attempts). It did show improvement from last week, and when needed, the Badgers drove the ball on the ground giving the football to Montee Ball six straight times for the go-ahead touchdown. That said, it took a huge third-quarter special teams touchdown from Kenzel Doe and a missed 37-yard yard field goal from Utah State as time expired to beat the Aggies. The biggest issue? Play-calling and quarterback play. Matt Canada continues to be lackluster as the architect and Danny O'Brien was so lost in the first half against a WAC team that he was benched at halftime. Joel Stave, a big 6-foot-5, 220-pound youngster, played the entire second half and showed a nice arm. But he wasn't asked to do much of anything (2-of-6 passing, 15 yards) and there are serious doubts about this passing game being able to complete big plays in key spots late in games. This team is nowhere near what it was last fall and games against Purdue, Illinois and Penn State are now complete toss ups in the race for the Leaders Division crown.
This week: UTEP (1-2)

8. Illinois (2-1)
Previous rank: 7
Week 3 result: Beat Charleston Southern 44-0
Starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase sat out his second straight game, but this time around Reilly O'Toole was near perfect. And the defense did the rest. The back-up signal caller completed his first 10 passes for 106 yards and two scores to kickstart the Illini offense and he finished 26-of-31 for 333 yards and five touchdowns in the blowout win. The defense whitewashed the overmatched Buccaneers with relative ease as CSU finished 0-of-13 on third downs and totaled 125 yards of offense. It was a much-needed breather after the ugly West Coast trip to Arizona State last week. And in this league, any easy win is welcomed with open arms. Scheelhaase is questionable for the tricky test with the defending WAC champion Bulldogs next weekend.
This week: Louisiana Tech (2-0)

9. Iowa (2-1)
Previous rank: 8
Week 3 result: Beat Northern Iowa 27-16
The Hawkeyes needed to find offense from somewhere, but I doubt many believe walk-on fullback Mark Weisman would be the guy. He carried the ball 23 times for 113 yards and three short touchdown runs in place of the injured Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon. Weisman's three scores were three time the total number of touchdowns scored all season by the entire Iowa team in its first two games. Quarterback James Vandenberg played his best game as the Hawks battled with in-state upstart Northern Iowa for three quarters before eventually shutting out UNI in the final frame. The offense was better (429 total yards), but this team still does not have a passing touchdown on the season and played a third-straight tight game. Can I? Should I? Okay, why not: Weisman for Heisman!
This week: Central Michigan (1-1)

10. Penn State (1-2)
Previous rank: 10
Week 3 result: Beat Navy 34-7
Finally, Nittany Lion nation can breathe a sigh of relief. Bill O'Brien's team showed marked improvement from Week 1 to Week 2, but simply couldn't close the deal against Virginia in heart-breaking fashion. This Saturday, he made sure his team left no doubt as they rolled through the Naval Academy with relative ease. Without either of his top two tailbacks, quarterback Matt McGloin had the best games of his career (231 yards, 4 TD) in leading his team to a 34-0 lead before the Midshipmen finally got on the board for the first time with 10 minutes to go in the game. Wideout Allen Robinson continues to shine with another great game: 5 rec., 136 yards, 3 TD. There are few wins this weekend that mean as much and feel as good as Penn State's did Saturday as this program was in dire need of something positive to rally behind. And who knows, in this year's Big Ten Leaders Division that appears to be completely wide open, maybe the Nits will be a factor after all.
This week: Temple (0-2)

11. Minnesota (3-0)
Previous rank: 11
Week 3 result: Beat Western Michigan 28-23
The Gophers were trailing 10-7 with four minutes to go in the second quarter when Marqueis Gray hurt his left ankle and leg. The Big Ten's most efficient passer after two weeks (yes, you read that right) was carted off the field and never returned. Never fear, however, as back-up Max Shortell reenergized the sputtering passing attack by completing 5-of-6 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns in the final minutes of the first half to give the Gophers a 21-10 halftime lead. The Broncos made it interesting in the final few minutes with a late touchdown but Minnesota held on for its first 3-0 start since 2008. Tailback Donnell Kirkwood helped his young quarterback by rushing for a career-high 123 yards on 23 attempts, including one key 26-yard run late in the game that all but sealed the win. Jerry Kill's three wins this year have already matched the win total in each of the previous two seasons in the Twin Cities.
This week: Syracuse (1-2)

12. Indiana (2-1)
Previous rank: 12
Week 3 result: Lost to Ball State 41-39
In what was likely the most entertaining game of the Big Ten Week 3 slate, Indiana lost a heart-breaking affair for the second straight season to Ball State. Without star quarterback Tre Roberson, the Hoosiers saw the lead change hands seven times including twice in the final 49 seconds. Cameron Coffman, in his first career start, threw for 251 yards and two scores before being pulled for true freshman Nate Sudfield. And in one quarter trailing by 13, Sudfield rallied Indiana with one big 70-yard touchdown throw and another 77-yard drive to take the lead with less than a minute left. He finished 13-of-20 for 172 yards and two scores. However, Ball State QB Keith Wenning was masterful in guiding his team on yet another scoring drive in the final 49 seconds to set up the game-winning 42-yard field goal. Unfortunately, Kevin Wilson's bunch might be done winning games in 2012.
This week: Open Date

by Braden Gall


Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 3 Recap

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 East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings 

<p> Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:01
Path: /nfl/49ers-defeat-lions-27-19-sunday-night-football

The San Francisco 49ers dominating defense and methodical offense won for the second straight week, beating the Detroit Lions by the score of 27-19 in Candlestick Park. Jim Harbaugh’s club is looking like the early NFC favorite after defeating fellow NFC playoff clubs, the Packers and Lions, in their two victories. Patrick Willis and San Francisco defense held the high-octane Detroit attack to under 300 total yards and just 15 first downs, with much of those totals coming in the fourth quarter. When the Lions did move the ball, the Niners were able to keep them out of the end zone and force four Jason Hanson field goals.

The 49ers are not just about defense, however, with quarterback Alex Smith racking up another efficient performance in passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Both scoring passes went to tight end Vernon Davis, while receiver Michael Crabtree (six catches for 67 yards) was a valuable target on third down. Veteran tailback Frank Gore added 17 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford had thrown for over 350 yards in four straight games dating back to last season, but he was held to 230 yards and one late touchdown by the stifling Niners defense. Additionally, All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson was held under 100 yards and did not score.

San Francisco will try to go 3-0 in Minnesota next Sunday afternoon, while Detroit will travel to Tennessee.

<p> The 49ers defeat the Lions 27-19 on Sunday Night Football</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-post-week-3-power-rankings

The Pac-12 continues to show its depth as the second-best league in the country. But it might have cost them a national championship contender. And Stanford was the culprit that both illustrates the strength of the league while also potentially knocking USC out of the BCS title game. The run the Cardinal are on against the Trojans is remarkable and will only make the North Division race that much more interesting. Meanwhile, the South Division just got extremely intriguing. UCLA and Arizona are clicking on an unprecedented number of cylinders while Utah won a key non-conference game against a very solid BYU team. Oh, and USC is trailing all of them in the division standings currently.

Post-Week 3 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona - The opponent leaves much to be desired, but Scott has simply been unstoppable. He completed 30-of-36 passes for 288 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing nine times for 61 yards and another score on the ground. His 395.0 yards of total offense per game is fourth nationally and leads the Pac-12.

2. De'Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon - There is no more dangerous and explosive player in the nation. Thomas carried three times for 62 yards and a TD. He caught three passes for a team-leading 72 yards and a touchdown. And he returned four punts for 87 yards. That is seven total TDs in 24 offensive touches in three games (really, just three first halves).

3. Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin, UCLA -  Hundley threw for his second-straight 300-yard effort and has eight passing touchdowns in three games. He leads the league's top offense as UCLA trails only Oklahoma State nationally in yards per game (622 ypg). Franklin's 168 yards from scrimmage (110 rushing) and no scores seems so paltry compared to his first two games, but still gives him the lead nationally in rushing (180.3 ypg).

Note: Don't worry, Matt Barkley will be back in the top three shortly, so I thought I would throw a bone to the rest of the loaded Pac-12

Post-Week 3 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Star Lotulelei, DL, Utah - The Utes totally shutdown the BYU Cougars for three quarters. He posted seven tackles, one tackle for loss and blocked the game-tying 51-yard field goal attempt with no time left on the clock. He is arguably the best defensive player in the league and was on full display Saturday night in one of the best rivalries in college football.

2. Jake Fischer, LB, Arizona - The Pac-12's leading tackler (11.0 per game) posted another six stops and a tackle for loss as the leader of a defense that pitched its first shutout in four seasons and allowed 154 total yards of offense.

3. Jordan Richards, DB, Stanford - Really the Defensive Human of the Week is Stanford DC Derek Mason, but Richards had a huge game against the best passing attack in the nation. He posted two interceptions, four tackles, a tackle for loss and four passes defensed — which gives him a Pac-12-best nine on the year.

Post-Week 3 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Chip Kelly, Oregon - The Ducks have been so dominant that few of Kelly's starters have gotten any playing time in the second half. His offense is arguably the best in the nation and, now, he will be ranked ahead of a one-loss USC in the polls. His defense will get a test this weekend from Rich Rodriguez' Wildcats.

2. David Shaw, Stanford - Shaw's coaching staff deserves loads of credit for the game plan against Matt Barkley, both offensively and defensively. Shaw has never lost to Lane Kiffin and now is doing it without all-universe quarterback Andrew Luck. No doubt, Shaw is the national coach of the week this weekend.

3. Jim Mora Jr., UCLA - Few teams in the nation have shown more improvement than UCLA and after another 567 total yards, 98 plays and 37 points, the Bruins are 3-0 and poised to challenge in the South. Is this the same team that lost eight games last fall?

Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1. Oregon (3-0)
Previous rank: 2
Week 3 result: Beat Tennessee Tech 63-14
Former Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers caught a touchdown pass for Tennessee Tech to make the score 7-0. Oregon then scored seven straight touchdowns and that was that for Chip Kelly. Most of the starters were out of the game by halftime as the high-flying offense continued its mastery of college football. Marcus Mariota threw four touchdown passes, De'Anthony Thomas touched the ball six times and scored twice and the defense allowed a total of 177 yards. This offense is such a machine that stud recruit Byron Marshall was the most used weapon, carrying 13 times for a game-high 125 yards and the Ducks' final touchdown. Tennessee Tech is obviously no challenge and the schedule only gets tougher for Oregon from here on out, however, Alabama might be the only team that has looked better than Kelly's bunch. This team has scored 162 points in three games with 125 coming in the first half — when the starters have been playing.  
This week: Arizona (3-0)

2. Stanford (3-0)
Previous rank: 4
Week 3 result: Beat USC 21-14
The numbers are well reported. It is the fourth straight win for Stanford and the fifth in sixth years over USC. But this win, without Andrew Luck or Jim Harbaugh, has to be the most satisfying. Not only were the Trojans ranked No. 2 in the nation, but some of the David Shaw/Josh Nunes doubters have to pipe down for the time being. The defensive game plan from coordinator Derek Mason was brilliant as it shut down one of the nation's premiere offensive attacks. He attacked the Khaled Holmes-less offensive line up the gut and it knocked Matt Barkley completely out of rhythm. Then Nunes delivered on a handful of big passes and the power rushing attack took over the game. The underrated Stepfan Taylor carried the offense, rushing 27 times for 153 yards and a score on the ground to go with five receptions for 60 yards and another score through the air. Fans of other teams from around the Pac-12 can thank the Cardinal and Shaw for executing the precise blueprint for success over USC. Slow the game down and be physical. Stanford gets a well-desreved rest this weekend and it comes at a great time as the upcoming schedule doesn't get much easier: at Washington, Arizona, at Notre Dame and at Cal.
This week: Open Date

3. USC (2-1)
Previous rank: 1
Week 3 result: Lost to Stanford 21-14
Star center Khaled Holmes didn't play and the void left in the middle of the USC offensive line was likely the difference between an unbeaten season, and now, a vicious battle for the Pac-12 South title. Matt Barkley had little time to throw and the Trojans ground game had little space to run as Stanford consistently attacked the heart of the USC offense. The Heisman frontrunner is now a very Peyton Manning-esque 0-4 against Stanford for his career and won't get another shot unless the two squads rmeet again in the Pac-12 title game. He finished 20-of-41 for 253 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns for the first time since getting hurt against Oregon State two seasons ago. The dynamic wideout tandem of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee posted 37 receptions, 398 yards and eight touchdowns combined through two games. They caught no touchdowns and combined for 138 yards Saturday night. Lane Kiffin is now 0-2 against David Shaw and USC has lost four straight for the first time in the history of this rivalry. A conference crown and national title are still very much within reach and losing early isn't the worst thing that could happen to the Men of Troy. If they win out, there is still a good chance they land in the national title game. But make no mistake, the worst fears of Trojan supporters were realized: USC could have trouble stopping a power rushing attack in big games. Stanford out-rushed the Trojans 200 to 23 yards and Monte Kiffin's defense couldn't get any key stops in the fourth quarter.
This week: Cal (1-2)

4. UCLA (3-0)
Previous rank: 3
Week 3 result: Beat Houston 37-6
Houston defeated UCLA 38-34 last season in Houston and what a difference a year makes. Both teams have changed coaches and quarterbacks, and this time around, UCLA completely crushed the C-USA power. The No. 1 offense in the Pac-12 rolled-up 247 yards rushing and 320 yards passing and 37 points in the third straight win for the Bruins under Jim Mora. Eleven different players caught a Brett Hundley pass, including defensive line standout Datone Jones, who caught a touchdown pass to go with his four tackles and three tackles for loss. Led by Jones, the defense also played well, holding the once-stellar Cougar offense to zero points for the first 55 minutes of play. The statistical improvement from last year has been remarkable for UCLA. This team was 72nd in total offense last year nationally and sits at No. 2 nationally in 2012. This team was 88th in scoring at 23.1 points per game and are now scoring 40.7 per game this year. This team was 92nd in scoring defense at 31.4 points per game last fall and are now 40th at 20.0 per game this time around. This week: Oregon State (1-0) 

5. Arizona (3-0)
Previous rank: 5
Week 3 result: Beat South Carolina State 59-0
There was little to learn about Arizona against SCSU this weekend, but sandwiched around national games against Oklahoma State in Week 2 and a trip north to Oregon next weekend, the Wildcats had to take of business in Week 3. And take care of business was exactly what RichRod's team did. The defense pitched a shutout and allowed only 154 yards of total offense, stopping SCSU on all but two of its 13 third-down attempts. On offense, Matt Scott continued his brilliance. His offense ran 102 plays for 689 yards and registered 43 first downs in the blowout win. Ka'Deem Carey also scored his sixth touchdown of the season. This team is good, but how good won't be known until it attempts to head north to Eugene this weekend. There should be plenty of points, but is Zona ready for the big time? A 3-1 start is still good, right?
This week: at Oregon (3-0)

6. Washington (2-1)
Previous rank: 6
Week 3 result: Beat Portland State 52-13
Consider the wounds officially licked. However, the Huskies better rest up during the bye week because their journey only gets worse. After a brutal thrashing at the hands of LSU, and with Stanford, Oregon and USC the next three games, Portland State was exactly what Washington needed. Keith Price was effective and spread the ball around to his big-play receivers on the outside.  The running game was reestablished behind a great afternoon from Bishop Sankey. And the defense got third-down stops and the turned the ball over to its offense. It was a great confidence boost heading into arguably the toughest three-game stretch any team in the Pac-12 will play all season. Ideally, the trip to Baton Rouge was a learning experience because this league appears much deeper than believed.
This week: Open Date

7. Utah (2-1)
Previous rank: 10
Week 3 result: Beat BYU 24-20
The 12-year winning streak over Utah State that was snapped last week, and combined with the retirement of starting quarterback Jordan Wynn, fans in Salt Lake City were very nervous about The Holy War. Well, just because the Utes have issues on offense, doesn't mean the defense isn't still one of the league's best. Led by Star Lotulelei and a game-changing defensive touchdown, Utah won a quirky rivalry game to save its season. Late in the third quarter, BYU had a first down on the Utah 25 trailing 10-7. A bad snap and subsequent fumble was scooped up by Mo Lee and returned for a touchdown, capping a 17-point quarter. BYU came back with two fourth-quarter touchdowns but Lotulelei delivered the final blow, blocking a potential game-tying 51-yard field goal attempt as time expired. Quarterback play will be an issue for this team going foward — and the rushing game struggled against a quality defense — but this defense should keep the Utes in most games they play from here on out. Kyle Whittingham's bunch is still a major factor in the suddenly very interesting Pac-12 South race.
This week: at Arizona State (2-1)

8. Oregon State (1-0)
Previous rank: 7
Week 3 result: Bye Week
With two open dates in the first three weeks, intentionally or not, Oregon State now looks at 11 straight weeks of play. At least Mike Riley's bunch should be rested as they will play three of the next four on the road: at UCLA, at Arizona, Washington State and at BYU.
This week: at UCLA (3-0)

9. California (1-2)
Previous rank: 9
Week 3 result: Lost to Ohio State 35-28
Coaches will never claim a moral victory but Cal fans have to be very pleased with the way their team played this weekend in the Horseshoe. After falling behind 20-7 at halftime, Cal dominated the third quarter 190-10 in yardage and eventually took the lead early in the fourth quarter. Behind big plays from freshman tailback Brendan Bigelow, Cal battled back into the game and nearly pulled off the upset. The Bears out-gained the Buckeyes by 100 yards (512 to 412) but Ohio State's star quarterback Braxton Miller and angry pass rush was too much to overcome on the road. Miller was unstoppable in the final frame making clutch throws and gritty runs on two huge scoring drives. The key breakdown coming on a 72-yard touchdown pass in which Cal allowed Devin Smith to stroll wide open down the right sideline. Zack Maynard and brother Keenan Allen played valiantly but could not overcome six sacks (Cal had none on defense) and eventually fell to the Big Ten power. Jeff Tedford, who seems to be getting some unfair levels of heat in Berkeley, now faces USC, Arizona State and UCLA in his next three. So while he criticism might be somewhat unwarranted, a 1-5 start to the season would likely be unacceptable.
This week: at USC (2-0)

10. Arizona State (2-1)
Previous rank: 8
Week 3 result: Lost to Missouri 24-20
The Sun Devils put themselves in a big hole, trailing 24-7 entering the fourth quarter. But Todd Graham's guys showed some fight and clawed back to within four and nearly overcame four turnovers on offense to defeat a James Franklin-less Missouri team. Quarterback Taylor Kelly has played well this season and led ASU on two fourth-quarter scoring drives which ended in two Marion Grice touchdown runs. However, a botched extra point attempt on the final score likely cost the Sun Devils a chance to send the game into overtime. Arizona State got the ball back with 1:58 left in the game in field goal range at the Mizzou 21. Three plays later, Kelly tossed his second interception in the endzone to thwart the comeback effort. Had the extra point not been missed, an ASU field goal could have tied the game. A bowl pecking order contest with Utah is not on tap for the Sun Devils.
This week: Utah (2-1)

11. Washington State (2-1)
Previous rank: 11
Week 3 result: Beat UNLV 35-27
Back-up quarterback Connor Halliday is making a serious case to be the starting quarterback at Washington State. He made his second career start Friday night, throwing for four first-half touchdowns and 378 yards in a key road win for the Cougars. He already has two freshman passing records — 494 yards and four touchdowns coming off the bench to beat Arizona State last year — to his credit and starter Jeff Tuel has been unable to stay on the field for any extended period of time. These two factors alone could make Mike Leach's coming decision on who should start a bit more difficult. In the win over UNLV, the Air Raid offense looked its best thus far this season and receivers Marquess Wilson and Gabe Marks got on track, catching two long scoring strikes as Wilson finally looked like the preseason All-American experts believed him to be. Yet, there is still cause for concern. Wazzu allowed 460 yards of offense, needed a stop in its own territory as time expired to hold on for the win and lost the time of possession battle by more than 11 minutes (35:32 to 24:28). Not being able to run the football (83 yards on Friday) or convert on third down (5-of-14) or keep the flags off the field (12 penalties for 128 yards) against a team as bad as the 0-3 Rebels is a warning sign that this team might not be ready for postseason play just yet.
This week: Colorado (0-3)

12. Colorado (0-3)
Previous rank: 12
Week 3 result: Lost to Fresno State 69-14
At this point, there isn't much to say. The Buffs are off to arguably the worst start in school history with losses to two "mid-majors" and an FCS program. But at least the first two were extremely competitive. That was not the case against Fresno State. Derek Carr led his team to a 35-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The first quarter. The Bulldogs out-gained the Buffaloes 665 yards to 278 and forced four Colorado turnovers in the lop-sided victory. An 0-12 season is very much a possibility.
This week: at Washington State (2-1)

by Braden Gall


Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 3 Recap

ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings 

<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /nfl/most-important-stats-nfl-sunday-week-2

NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each NFL fall weekend is a completely new and original experience for every player, fan and coach alike. New stories, new personalities, new winners and new losers. And new statistics.

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 2 of NFL play: 

Nov. 18, 2001: The last time the New England Patriots lost at home to an NFC West team
The last time New England lost at home to an NFC West team, the NFL only had six divisions. The St. Louis Rams were the last such team to go into the Pats' home stadium and win. It puts into perspective what the Arizona Cardinals accomplished on Sunday in their 20-18 win in Foxborough. In fact, only once since 2002 has any NFC team gone into Gillette Stadium and won — the 2011 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. The Green Bay Packers in '02 were the last NFC team before last year's Giants to win in New England. 

75: Total points allowed in two games by the New Orleans Saints
Against two teams that combined for a 11-21 record last fall, Washington and Carolina, the Saints allowed 40 and then 35 points in two bad losses to start 2012. The 75 total points allowed is worst in the NFL as the defense has allowed a league-worst 922 total yards of offense to start the year. Not having the leadership of Sean Payton has clearly had an impact on the Saints' playoff chances. A visit from the equally defensively inept Kansas City Chiefs should help in Week 3, but a trip to Green Bay and a home game against San Diego loom large before the bye week. The Chiefs are tied for last in the league with the Saints in points allowed, so there should be plenty of offense in the Superdome. Having said all of that, have no fear Who Dat? Nation because...

12%: The number of 0-2 teams that will make the playoffs
Since 1990, 12 percent of teams that begin the season 0-2 have gone on to make the playoffs. That is roughly one out of eight. The Saints are actually the only NFC team without a win thus far while the AFC claims the Titans, Jaguars, Browns, Raiders and Chiefs. There is obviously a chance none of those winless teams makes the postseason, but it seems pretty fair to assume that one and only one of those six will land in the promised land. And let's be honest, none of those other five teams appear capable of making any sort of playoff push, so if this year features an 0-2 playoff team, odds are it will be the Saints.

43:17: A Texans franchise record for time of possession
Houston held the ball for a franchise record 43:17 in the dominating 27-7 win over Jacksonville. The Texans also set a team record for total offensive plays with 83 and rushing attempts with 48. The 28 first downs were No. 2 all-time in team history. The defense set a few records for Jacksonville as well, by allowing a Jaguars team only 117 yards of total offense and a pathetic 16:43 minutes time of possession. While New England fell to Arizona, the Texans flexed some serious muscle on both sides of the ball. After two weeks of play, the Texans look like the best team in the AFC.

26-to-5: Alex Smith's TD-to-INT ratio under Jim Harbaugh
Smith has played 20 total games under Jim Harbaugh's leadership in San Francisco including the playoffs. He is 16-4 as the starter, with one of those losses coming in the NFC Championship game against the eventual champions last year. He hasn't throw an interception in a franchise-record 216 consecutive passes and has the 49ers 2-0 against two playoff hopefuls from the NFC North. To put these numbers into perspective, consider his win-loss record and TD:INT ratio prior to Harbaugh's arrival. Smith was 19-31 as a starter with 41 touchdowns and 53 interceptions. Now, under the tutelage of the QB Whisperer, Smith hasn't missed a start and is the leader of the best team in the NFL.

1: Total interceptions thrown by the five rookie quarterbacks
The five rookie quarterbacks making their debut in Week 1 combined to throw 11 interceptions and only four touchdowns in their first taste of NFL football. They went 1-4 as starters with Robert Griffin III and the Redskins getting the only win. This week, the quintet was dramatically improved, throwing only one interception (RG3) and accounting for 10 total touchdowns. The group improved to 3-2 as starters and three of the five now have a career 300-yard passing game as Brandon Weeden joined Griffin III and Andrew Luck with 322 yards against the Bengals.

12: NFL-record first-half receptions by Rams Danny Amendola
The stars of what was likely the best game of the day were certainly Sam Bradford and Robert Griffin III — and possibly the replacement refs, but that is for an entirely different reason. But the little St. Louis wideout tied an NFL record by catching 12 passes in the first half of the huge 31-28 over the Redskins. Bradford finished with 26 completions, 15 of which went to the former Texas Tech receiver, which tied a franchise record for catches in a game with Isaac Bruce and Willie Anderson (who went for a team-record 336 yards on his 15 receptions). Amendola finished with 160 yards and one touchdown after catching five total passes in 2011.

364: C.J. Spiller's total yards from scrimmage in two games
The NFL's leading rusher by a mile (292 yards) is the Bills third-year running back from Clemson. The all-purpose dynamo's 364 yards from scrimmage is the third-best two-game start to a season in Buffalo history ( Thurman Thomas (410, 1991) and O.J. Simpson (405, 1975) are the only other players in franchise history to gain more yards in the team's first two games. That is pretty good company for Spiller. He has topped 100-yards in both games and has scored three times — tied for the NFL lead in touchdowns with three others (Arian Foster, Vernon Davis, Nelson Rosario). Most importantly, the Bills got the win in Week 2.

- by Braden Gall


<p> Most Important Stats From NFL Sunday: Week 2</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 05:59
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Legends Poll
Path: /college-football/legends-poll-top-25-week-3

The first Legends Poll of the season has come out. The top 25 poll, as voted on by 17 retired college football coaching legends, has Alabama and LSU ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

Alabama was the unanimous top-ranked team amongst the voters after starting the season 3-0 and demolishing Arkansas, 52-0, on Saturday.

“Alabama is the most physical football team in the country,” former Auburn coach Pat Dye said. “They just keep bringing in good players and they don’t miss a beat.”

LSU claimed the No. 2 spot, followed by the top team in the Pac-12, Oregon. Fourth-ranked Florida State made its first appearance in the Legends Poll in a long while. And Georgia was ranked fifth, giving the SEC three teams in the top 5.

To see the individual votes by coach, visit the Legends Poll


Rank Team Record Points Pv Rk  
1 Alabama (17) 3-0 425 -  
2 LSU 3-0 402 -  
3 Oregon 3-0 382 -  
4 Florida State 3-0 374 -  
5 Georgia 3-0 349 -  
6 Oklahoma 2-0 320 -  
7 West Virginia 2-0 291 -  
8 Stanford 3-0 284 -  
9 South Carolina 3-0 279 -  
10 Clemson 3-0 260 -  
11 Notre Dame 3-0 254 -  
12 Texas 3-0 242 -  
13 USC 2-1 220 -  
14 Florida 3-0 197 -  
15 Kansas State 3-0 195 -  
16 Ohio State 3-0 192 -  
17 TCU 2-0 166 -  
18 Michigan 2-1 131 -  
19 UCLA 3-0 122 -  
20 Louisville 3-0 119 -  
21 Arizona 3-0 85 -  
22 Michigan State 2-1 76 -  
23 Boise State 1-1 43 -  
24 Nebraska 2-1 21 -  
25 Missouri 2-1 20 -  
Others Receiving Votes

Virginia Tech 19, Oklahoma State 11, Tennessee 10, Mississippi State 10, Texas A&M 9, Wisconsin 6, Texas Tech 4, Northwestern 2, Pittsburgh 2, Georgia Tech 1, Utah 1, Cincinnati 1

* The Legends Poll voting process is exactly what the BCS is trying to create and Athlon will bring it to you as the de facto Selection Committee for fans to follow over the next two seasons, allowing you to see how the Selection Committee will operate from 2014 onward.  You can see the entire Poll at

<p> As voted on by 17 coaching legends</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 05:47
All taxonomy terms: Washington Redskins, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/redskins-robert-griffin-iii-victimized-teammates-stupidity

We have a leader in the clubhouse for bonehead play of the year, and this one may stand up for the whole season.

With the Washington Redskins trailing the St. Louis Rams 31-28, the Skins were driving toward a potential tying field goal, or go-ahead touchdown. The Rams had done what the Rams do — leaving the Skins in the game by fumbling at the Washington 37 with 2:40 left. Seeing a chance to add to his budding legend, Robert Griffin III guided the Skins into scoring territory. Facing 3rd-and-8 at the St. Louis 36, Griffin hit Josh Morgan with a 7-yard pass to the 29, where Morgan decided the moment had come to try to show up Rams pest-in-chief Cortland Finnegan, who probably had it coming, but still. The resulting unsportsmanlike penalty forced the Skins back to the 44-yard line, and from there, Billy Cundiff's 61-yard field goal fell harmlessly short.

The penalty, part of a general late-game meltdown by players who lost their composure and replacement refs who lost control of the proceedings, marred RG3's latest heroics. Griffin finished 20-of-29 passing for 206 yards and a touchdown and added 82 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He's the most electric rookie since, well, 2011, when a guy named Cam Newton was pulling off similar feats, and suffering similarly frustrating losses.

Kudos to Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, though, who passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns in giving the 'stache, Jeff Fisher, his first win in St. Louis.


• Okay, Chris Johnson's lack of production has gone from a concern to a four-alarm crisis. Through two games, Johnson has 19 carries for 23 yards. His Titans were never in their game with the Chargers, who struck early and often in a 38-10 drubbing.

• Sorry, Jets and Cowboys fans — your Week 1 successes were apparently a mirage. The Cowboys' special teams were especially horrendous,  surrendering an early 10-0 lead to the Seahawks on the way to a shocking 27-7 Seattle win, as rookie Russell Wilson outdueled Tony Romo. And the Jets returned to their preseason ways, mustering only 10 points a week after putting 48 on Buffalo. Mark Sanchez was a tidy 10-for-27 in the Steelers' 27-10 win, for a hellish passer rating of 66.6. I thought Tim Tebow was the Jets quarterback who couldn't pass.

<br />
Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 19:45
Path: /nfl/sunday-stunners-eli-manning-goes-wild-panic-time-drew-brees-saints

The NFL spent the first part of Sunday proving why it's America's game. Fantastic finishes, epic blunders and logic-defying comebacks were the order of the day. Thoughts after a wild slate of early games on the second NFL Sunday of 2012:

Eli Manning is the Man in Second Half
How good was Eli Manning in the second half of the New York Giants' 41-34 win over Tampa Bay? More to the point, how bad are the Bucs defensive backs?

Overcoming an abysmal three-interception first half, Manning threw for a career-high 510 yards, enhancing his rep as a closer by pitching two fourth-quarter touchdowns and erasing a 27-13 deficit. Hakeem Nicks (10 catches, 199 yards, 1 TD) and Victor Cruz (11 catches, 179 yards, 1 TD) made Bucs DBs Aqib Talib and Brandon McDonald look like Washington Generals trying to guard Globetrotters, flailing and grasping at air. And the Giants escaped an 0-2 hole that, as we all know, spells doom for playoff chances. Under the current playoff format, only 12 percent of teams starting 0-2 have recovered to make the playoffs. Sigh of relief for the defending champs.

Panic Time for Drew Brees, Saints
Speaking of 0-2, that's where the New Orleans Saints find themselves. The Carolina Panthers piled up 463 yards against a Saints defense that is suddenly leakier than a Lake Pontchartrain levee. Cam Newton threw for 253 yards and rushed for a career-high 71 as the Panthers piled up 219 yards on the ground and averaged 5.3 yards per rush. New Orleans has now allowed 924 yards and 75 points in two games. This one was a little bit personal for Carolina, which was still smarting from Drew Brees' five-touchdown game in Week 17 last season, when he was chasing NFL records. Today, Brees threw a single TD and was picked off twice. 

Arizona Cardinals Shock Tom Brady, New England Patriots
It looked like the Arizona Cardinals had Cardinal'ed the bed and Cardinal'ed away the lead when Ryan Williams fumbled at his own 30 with Arizona clinging to a 20-18 lead against the Patriots. But after having a touchdown called back by a penalty, the Patriots saw Steven Gostkowski's 42-yard potential game-winner sail wide. Tom Brady lost to Kevin Kolb. As someone Tweeted, maybe the Mayans were right. The end of the world is nigh.


• Philly shocked Baltimore 24-23 with a Michael Vick TD run inside two minutes. The Eagles now have consecutive wins despite four turnovers in both games. They ain't the Dream Team, but they're doing something right, in spite of themselves.

• Statistical stars:
Eli Manning — 31-of-51, 510 yards, 3 TDs (we'll cut him a break and not mention his three interceptions and pick-6)

Buffalo's C.J. Spiller — 15 carries, 123 yards rushing, 47 yards receiving, 2 TDs in the Bills' 35-17 win over the Chiefs

Indianapolis' Andrew Luck — 224 yards passing, 2 TDs and the first game-winning drive of his career in the Colts' 23-20 win over the Vikings

Cincy's Andy Dalton — 318 yards, 3 TDs in the Bengals' 34-27 win over Cleveland. Brandon Weeden also redeemed himself with a 114.9 passer rating and no

Miami's Reggie Bush - 172 rushing yards in Miami's 35-13 win over Oakland

<p> Fantastic Finishes Highlight Week 2</p>
Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 17:01
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-3-recap-three-and-out

The day in college football Saturday began with an upset no one saw coming when Pittsburgh, a team that looked like a mess against Youngstown State and Cincinnati, was dominant on both sides of the ball against Virginia Tech.

The night ended with Utah fans prematurely rushing the field twice against BYU -- first when officials ruled one second remained in the game and again before a blocked kick was called back on a 15-yard penalty. When the 36-yard attempt missed, Utah rushed the field, appropriately this time, for the 24-21 win.

In the middle, Stanford bruised USC’s national championship and Heisman hopes with yet another win over the Trojans, its fourth in a row. Alabama again flexed its muscles with a dismantling of Arkansas. Florida State and Notre Dame hinted Saturday this year might be different from previous seasons.


Notre Dame.
Pick the reason Brian Kelly picked up his signature win of his tenure at Notre Dame: A 3-0 start. A win over a ranked team. Holding a top-10 team to a field goal on the road. The end of a six-game losing streak to ranked teams. In any event, it was a key win for Kelly, whose team was more physical than Michigan State, recording four sacks. Everett Golson was a lackluster 14-of-32, but he passed for a touchdown and rushed for a score in the second half.

Florida State. Against Wake Forest, the Seminoles conquered the thorn in their side in definitive fashion. The Demon Deacons had won four of the last six against the Seminoles before Florida State drilled Wake Forest 52-0. After facing Murray State and Savannah State, it was the first real test of the season, which Florida State answered with 385 rushing yards. The biggest story of the day, however, was Chris Thompson. He suffered a career-threatening broken back against Wake a year ago but returned to rush for 197 yards on nine carries. Thompson ran for touchdowns of 74 and 80 yards.

Jeff Driskel, Florida. Few players have enjoyed a rise in stature since the opener as much as the Gators’ quarterback. He left Gainesville as a questionable starter following a close win over Bowling Green and returns with wins in College Station and Knoxville. Driskel was 27 of 36 for 381 yards in wins over Texas A&M and Tennessee the last two weeks and added 82 rushing yards in the 37-20 win over the Volunteers. Along the way, Florida has outscored opponents 50-13 in the second half this season.

Stanford exposed the cracks in USC’s national championship bid, taking advantage of the Trojans’ lack of depth in a 21-14 win. With Athlon second-team preseason All-American center Khaled Holmes out, USC’s offensive line was a mess. The Trojans gave up five sacks, including two on USC’s final drive. Combined with USC’s struggles against Syracuse last week, the Trojans road to a Pac-12 title, never mind a BCS championship, looks much tougher.

Virginia Tech. On a day full of shocking final scores and surprising upsets, the Hokies made an early bid for the most inexplicable outcome of the day. Virginia Tech lost 35-17 to Pittsburgh, a team that lost by two touchdowns to Youngstown State and by 24 to Cincinnati. It’s tough to pick the most strange aspect of the game: Pitt rushed for 254 yards against a normally stout Hokies’ defense, and Virginia Tech ran for only 59 yards. Cincinnati ran for nearly as much (58 yards) on its first play from scrimmage against Pitt last week.

SEC hot seat coaches. Arkansas’ John L. Smith made a bid to fail to complete his one-year contract when Arkansas followed up a loss to Louisiana-Monroe with a 52-0 rout against Alabama. In a potential referendum on his tenure at Tennessee, Derek Dooley’s Volunteers blew a 20-13 lead to give up 24 unanswered points in the second half against Florida. The defining moment may have been an errant pass from Tyler Bray, which Dooley caught on the sideline. Dooley caught it with one hand and nonchalantly spiked it to the ground. Meanwhile, Kentucky coach Joker Phillips went 0-for-2 against the state with an overtime loss at home to Western Kentucky.

Matt Barkley, USC. Barkley played most of the 21-14 loss to Stanford under pressure, finishing the game with five sacks and two interceptions. The preseason Heisman favorite completed 20 of 41 passes, the first time he completed fewer than half his passes since going 7-of-22 against Arizona State during his freshman year.

Braxton Miller, Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ sophomore quarterback keeps rolling through the Buckeyes’ non-conference schedule. Miller started his game against with a 55-yard run for a a touchdown in the first quarter and then capitalized on broken coverage for the game-winning 72-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith. Miller failed to crack 100 rushing yards for the first time this season but attempted a career-high 30 passes in the 35-28 win over Cal.

Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech. Thomas entered the season with as much fanfare as any Hokies quarterback since Tyrod Taylor, if not Michael Vick. Perhaps it’s time to slow down on the lofty comparisons. Thomas had the worst game of his career against Pittsburgh, throwing three interceptions and completing only 14 of 31 passes in a stunning 35-17 loss.

Louisville 39, North Carolina 34
Connecticut 24, Maryland 21
Pittsburgh 35, Virginia Tech 17
Pittsburgh 35, Virginia Tech 17
Fresno State 69, Colorado 14
Western Kentucky 32, Kentucky 31 (OT)
Boston College, 22-13
Vanderbilt, 23-13
Syracuse, 42-41

9. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith completed 34 of 39 passes for 411 yards with five touchdown passes against James Madison. For the second week in a row, Smith has accounted for as many touchdown passes as incompletions, giving him nine of each this season. Throw in the rushing TD against Marshall, and Smith has more touchdowns (10) than incomplete passes (nine) this season.

2. Sun Belt teams had never won two games in a single season against the SEC, but the league did it in back-to-back weeks in overtime. A week after ULM upset Arkansas, Western Kentucky defeated Kentucky 32-31 in overtime when Hilltoppers coach Willie Taggart called for lateral and a pass back to the hands of quarterback Kawaun Jakes on a two-point conversion. Meanwhile, ULM took Auburn to overtime before a 31-28 loss. Meanwhile, Troy played within a touchdown in a 30-24 loss to Mississippi State, and North Texas put a scare into Kansas State in a 35-21 loss.

4. Duke Johnson touchdowns. Where would Miami be without it star freshman? Johnson accounted for four touchdowns against Bethune-Cookman on a 95-yard kickoff return, a 1-yard run, a 50-yard reception and a 38-yard run. Ole Miss’ Jaylen Walton, Northwestern’s Venric Mark, Cal’s Keenan Allen and North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard are the only players with a touchdown run, catch and return this season. Only Bernard and Johnson did them all in the same game.

Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska. In his second game subbing for Rex Burkhead, Abdullah rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries in a 42-13 win over Arkansas State. Defensive coordinator John Papuchis also stepped in for an ailing starter when coach Bo Pelini was taken to the hospital during the game for “precautionary tests.”

Max Shortell, Minnesota. The Gophers backup quarterback stepped in for MarQuies Gray to complete 10 of 17 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-23 win over Western Michigan. Gray was carted off the field with a high ankle sprain.

Corbin Berkstresser, Missouri. Redshirt freshman quarterback Corbin Berkstresser wasn’t perfect, but the Tigers built a 17-0 lead against Arizona State in his first career start. Berkstresser completed 21 of 41 passes for 198 yards with an interception and a rushing touchdowns in Mizzou’s 24-20 win over the Sun Devils.

Vanderbilt. A week before facing Georgia, Vanderbilt switched quarterbacks. The Commodores started Wyoming transfer Austyn-Carta Samuels against Presbyterian instead of Jordan Rodgers, who had started nine games in a row. Carta-Samuels completed 13 of 20 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown. Commodores coach James Franklin did not announce Carta-Samuels as the starter for the Georgia game.

Ball State. The Cardinals defeated Indiana for the third straight time with a 41-39 win in Bloomington on a 42-yard field goal in the final six seconds. Ball State led by 14 going into the fourth quarter before an Indiana comeback bid.

Northern Illinois. The defending MAC champions survived a scare with a 41-40 win over Army. The Black Knights’ option can give defenses trouble, but Army produced three running backs who topped 100 yards and scored at least one touchdown.


Michigan at Notre Dame
Kansas State at Oklahoma
Clemson at Florida State

In 3:59, Florida ran a failed fake punt to safety Matt Elam. Then, Tennessee failed to capitalize on field position with a three-and-out. On Florida’s next play, Trey Burton took a direct snap for an 80-yard touchdown. The Vols’ ensuing drive ended on a Tyler Bray interception to Elam. Florida took advantage with a quick 70-drive ending on a Jeff Driskel touchdown pass to Jordan Reed. A 20-13 Tennessee lead evaporated to 27-20 Gator lead, and Tennessee never recovered.

In 3:03, Stanford and USC traded interceptions. Josh Nunes, then Matt Barkley and Nunes again threw picks on three consecutive plays late in the second quarter. Nunes wrapped up the interception-fest five plays later.

In 2:30, Fresno State scored two touchdowns of 90 yards or more against Colorado. The first was a 97-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Isaiah Burse. After a quick Colorado possession and punt, Robbie Rouse rushed for 3 yards on first down and 94-yards on second down to open a 35-0 lead after the first quarter.

Arkansas was shutout at home for the first time since a 7-0 loss to Baylor in 1966. The difference between that Razorbacks’ team and this one: The 1966 Arkansas team finished 8-2 and shut out five opponents that season.

Despite not playing, injured quarterback Tyler Wilson asked to speak to the media after the loss to call out his team. “Do I feel that we, at times, gave up out there? Yeah, absolutely,” he said.

Arkansas coach John L. Smith, who has a track record of speaking off the cuff in halftime interviews, continued to do so during the Alabama game. Arkansas trailed 24-0 at the time:

By David Fox


<p> College Football Week 3 Recap: Three and Out</p>
Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 11:24
Path: /nfl/michael-vick-should-sit-fantasy-bench-week-2

Michael VickFour interceptions. Cleveland Browns. Michael Vick. Wow!

That was my thought pattern upon seeing how poorly the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback performed against host Cleveland last week.

Then my thoughts quickly shifted to Week 2 and Vick vs. Baltimore.

No sooner do you start thinking, “If Cleveland did that, what’s Baltimore going to do?” before you hear receivers DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and Jeremy Maclin (hip) are iffy for the second game of the season.

Now you are just getting irritated across the fantasy board: Vick stinks it up, his top two receivers had good debuts but are now hurt and a top-three pick in LeSean McCoy is going to be the focus of the Ravens’ defense.

Both Jackson and Maclin practiced in a limited capacity on Friday and are expected to be game-time decisions. The Eagles did not sign a receiver from the practice squad, so perhaps optimism is high that these two will make it through another 60 minutes.

So then we’re back to Vick. 

He threw a career-high 56 passes against Cleveland last week. Repeat — 56 passes against Cleveland last week, the 30th-ranked rush defense from a year ago at 174.7 yards allowed per game. Vick completed 51.7 percent (29) of those passes for 317 yards and two scores.

Now he faces a Ravens defense, whose top two corners were targeted six times, allowed four catches and 40 yards combined in a 44-13 win over Cincinnati. Unless Vick finds a third receiver — i.e. a receiver paired up against Baltimore defensive back Cary Williams, who allowed seven catches for 82 yards on 10 targets, according to Pro Football Focus — then it’s hard to figure where much of his production will come from.

At least McCoy rushed 20 times for 110 yards and caught six balls for 26 yards and gets a Ravens defense that allowed BenJarvus Green-Ellis to collect 95 total yards and a score. Of course, this is also a Ravens rush defense that was No. 2 in the league last season at 92.6 yards per game. However, BJGE had 56 yards and his score in the first half when it was still a 17-10 game.

If Maclin, Jackson and Vick — all sixth-round fantasy picks or better — are not performing, at least the guy taken top four has a chance to do something. And McCoy as a check down or screen receiver could boost Vick’s numbers. 

But that is asking an awful lot of a QB who had such a poor performance in Week 1 against an inferior team and is now expected to correct himself a week later against a much better defense with his top two receivers iffy at best.

Then there’s this notable stat: Baltimore has not allowed multiple touchdown passes from opposing quarterbacks in a regular season game since Drew Brees tossed three in Week 15 of the 2010 season.

It’s hard to walk away from Vick in a week in which his health is not an issue, but this is one of those weeks where I can do it and have no regrets.

—Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 08:56
Path: /nfl/injury-updates-week-2-jeremy-maclin-ryan-mathews-pierre-garcon

There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 2 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these three and why you should look elsewhere today.

Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia

Two good things happened in the last few days for the Eagles top PPR receiver: he practiced on Friday — albeit on a limited basis — and the team did not sign another receiver from the practice squad to address the issues with Maclin (hip) and fellow receiver DeSean Jackson (hamstring).

So Maclin is likely to play, which is the good news. 

The bad news is that Maclin will still likely draw either draw Lardarius Webb or Jimmy Smith in coverage.

According to Pro Football Focus. Webb was in on 537 snaps a season ago, targeted 90 times and allowed 52 catches for 615 yards with no scores and five picks. Smith played 173 snaps as a rookie, was targeted 33 times, allowed 16 catches for 217 yards with three TDs and two picks.

If you take anything away from last week’s game against Cleveland rookie QB Brandon Weeden, Webb was in on 37 snaps, had five passes thrown his way, allowed three catches for 23 yards; Smith played 28 snaps, saw one target which he allowed a 17-yard completion on. 

Weeden or Vick, it’s a pretty bad matchup all around for the Eagles’ passing game.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego

Will he play? Won’t he play? Why would he play?

If you saw the Titans’ defense against the run last week, apparently anyone could rush for 100 yards. Have you seen the Titans record on the West Coast since they moved from Houston? It is not good, as in 4-11 not good since 1997.

I would expect the Chargers to be in control of this game and Mathews, while he might return from his clavicle injury, should not have to be counted on for a full workload. 

This is not a situation like Adrian Peterson or Maurice Jones-Drew from a week ago. Both of their squads, actually facing off against each other, were in contention for a win and those backs were called upon for the entire 60 minutes to try and help attain that win.

This should not be the case for Mathews and the Chargers, who are already plus-one in the win column, sans their star running back.

Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington

A right foot injury is likely to keep the Redskins’ No. 1 receiver out of the contest at St. Louis today. It would be quite a blow to QB Robert Griffin III’s success against the Rams, but could mean bigger things for fellow rookie Alfred Morris in regards to running the ball.

Garcon, in just eight plays, was a stud last week thanks to a screen pass he turned into an 88-yard touchdown; it’s always nice to get 15.8 points in a PPR on one play. He finished with four catches for 101 yards and the score — on eight plays. However, Garcon was limited in practice all week and even if he were to miraculously suit up, with little prep it’s hard to advise on placing him in your lineup.

If you want to have a back up option, go get Aldrick Robinson off the waiver wire. The SMU product — plug for my dad’s alma mater there — caught four balls for 52 yards, including 30 yards of after-the-catch production, and a score in Week 1.

The two benefactors if Garcon were to sit have to be Morris and Robinson versus the Rams today.

—Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/anquan-boldin-start-ravens-receiver-against-eagles

Where you rank Baltimore Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin for Week 2 depends on two things: 1) How many plays you believe Baltimore will run its no-huddle offense against the Philadelphia Eagles, and 2) how many times you believe Boldin will line up in the slot — i.e. away from Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

The Ravens ran the no-huddle on 21 of 58 offensive plays in the Week 1 44-13 win over Cincinnati. If Baltimore continues to run the no-huddle and move the ball down the field at a fast pace, it can offset the Eagles’ deep set of pass rushers and keep the standout defensive backs on their heels.

Enter Anquan Boldin. 

Assuming Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith can handle the outside receiver duties, then Boldin can move to the slot where he is historically a monster. He should also draw rookie defensive back Brandon Boykin in coverage while in the slot. 

That is a 6-1, 223-pound 10-year veteran versus a 5-9, 182-pound rookie.

According to Pro Football Focus, Boldin played 48 snaps and saw five targets in the win over Cincinnati. He pulled in four of the targets for 63 yards and a score. Now, only 16 of those 48 snaps and only two of those targets were in the slot. But the one slot target he caught was for a 34-yard touchdown.

Boykin did hold Greg Little to no catches in the opener last week. But, that is Greg Little and that was rookie Brandon Weeden throwing to him. This is Flacco — never thought I’d type that with such affirmation — and this is a veteran receiver.

If it was not already moving fast enough for a rookie, then what will a no-huddle in your second week of NFL action against a slot veteran mean for Boykin? It should mean good news for Boldin and bad news for Boykin.

Overall in 2011, Boldin was targeted a team-high 105 times and had a team-high 240 snaps and 39 targets in the slot. He caught 23 of them for 354 yards and a score. It is possible that Asomugha covers Boldin in the slot, but of the 540 snaps Asomugha played in coverage last season, only 107 of them were in the slot, according to Pro Football Focus.

Points may be at a premium in this game. Flacco’s time to get rid of the ball may be a premium versus that pass rush in this game. Boldin’s experience and matchup may be just the answer for both premiums.

If I’m picking one Ravens receiver this week it’s Boldin.

—Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 08:14
Path: /nfl/lance-moore-start-saints-receiver-against-panthers-week-2

If only Lance Moore could stay healthy and that New Orleans receiving corps could be thinned out a bit. Those were two of the things I was looking for when scouting Moore’s fantasy prospects for 2012. 

Well, both have happened and there he sits on on my dynasty league roster. Now, what do I do with him in Week 2?

Do I look at the 10-target, six-reception, 120-yard, one-touchdown performance in Week 1 and say, I told me so? Or do I say it was all in garbage time in a loss to Washington?

Moore, who played 56 of the 75 offensive plays, was targeted on the second offensive play of the game and it was incomplete. He was not targeted on a seven-play, 80-yard scoring drive on the second series. He was targeted again on the first play of the third series and it was incomplete. Moore then did not see a target again until 11:24 remained in the third quarter with the team down 27-14 — it was incomplete. It took 13 more plays before Moore saw another target — a deep pass that went incomplete.

Then the middle of the fourth quarter came; the Saints were down 33-17. Moore was targeted on the first play and made his first grab for 12 yards. Four plays later, it was Brees to Moore again for an incompletion on third-and-10. Trailing big, the Saints go for it and Brees finds Moore for a 33-yard TD.

Through 56 minutes, Moore had six targets, two catches, 45 yards and a TD in a game that was now 33-25. There’s a 12.5-point day in fantasy right there. 

Until he’s more consistent, Moore is not a WR1 or 2 but is a decent flex. So 12.5 from a flex is OK to get your Week 1 going.

The next drive started with a pass intended for Moore that was intercepted. The Redskins converted it into an Alfred Morris 3-yard score and 40-25 lead.

There’s 3:18 left on the clock. Now it’s garbage time.

Moore is targeted two times, catches two for 34 yards and sets up another player to salvage his fantasy day as Darren Sproles had a receiving TD from the 2.

Moore catches his next two targets for 15 and 26 yards, Brees is intercepted on a Hail Mary and the day is over. Pre-garbage for Moore is 2-45-1; by game’s end it is 6-120-1.

This is a long road to lead you down to say: start Lance Moore as at least a WR2 this week.

Three reasons: Teammate Devery Henderson (concussion) is out. Chris Gamble for the Panthers. The Saints’ passing defense.

Henderson’s absence thins out the receiving corps, thus more opportunities for Moore early and often. 

Gamble is the top corner in the NFC South and just posted a game in which only four passes came his way for one catch and six yards and a TD (Mike Williams with 5:20 left in the first quarter).

New Orleans just allowed rookie Robert Griffin III to throw for 306 yards and two scores on 19-of-26 passing with no interceptions.

The knock on Moore could be his performance away from domes — 76-807-6 to 174-2,096-25 indoors in 24 versus 46 games. But he has also not had the opportunity to be the clear-cut No. 2 WR for the Saints like he has now.

If there was EVER a week to trust Lance Moore, this has to be the week.

—Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 08:10
All taxonomy terms: Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/brandon-lafell-carolina-panthers-receiver-could-have-big-week-2

You cannot call Brandon LaFell the clear-cut No. 2 receiver for the Carolina Panthers, but his connection with quarterback Cam Newton has not faded from a season ago. 

Brandon LaFell was targeted five times in the Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay and caught three of them for 65 yards. Those numbers are nearly identical to Louis Murphy, who was acquired in a trade with Oakland in the offseason. Murphy had five targets, three catches for 63 yards. 

LaFell’s third-quarter, 22-yard touchdown and the fact he played 100 percent of the snaps (52) were the difference between the two receivers in Week 1.

So why would you consider starting LaFell in Week 2 against the visiting New Orleans Saints?

Well, there are a few reasons. 

No. 1 is the health of Steve Smith, who has battled a knee injury this week. No. 2 is the Saints’ pass defense, or lack thereof. No. 3 is LaFell played every offensive snap a week ago.

New Orleans just allowed Washington rookie Robert Griffin III to throw for 320 yards and two scores on 19-of-26 passing with no interceptions. All but two Redskins pass catchers averaged double-digits in yards per catch against the Saints in Week 1.

So the numbers are there for the taking for Carolina’s receivers.

Let us also keep in mind the Panthers were the No. 24 defense against the pass last season. Holding Josh Freeman to 16-of-24 for 138 yards and a first-quarter TD pass in Week 1 is one thing compared to Drew Brees throwing for 748 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions in the two meetings against Carolina a year ago.

Newton was not nearly as productive in his two games with the Saints — 382 yards, three passing TDs and two interceptions. 

However, as most Saints’ games go, expect a shootout. 

If you’re telling me each team allows at least 20 points — something the Saints allowed last week and eight times last season — once to the Panthers — and something Carolina allowed 11 times last season — and in both meetings against the Saints, then give me a receiver that’s going to be a part of that.

LaFell was targeted 56 times last season, pulling down 36 of those balls for 613 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games played and five starts. LaFell also played 27 of his 52 snaps last week in the slot, garnering three targets, two catches and the 22-yard TD, according to Pro Football Focus.

Murphy, in 11 games and one start with Oakland last season, was targeted 33 times for 15 catches, 241 yards and no scores. Murphy had seven of his 39 snaps in the slot last week, was targeted once there and did not catch it.

—Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 07:53
Path: /nfl/chris-johnson-sit-titans-running-back-week-2-versus-san-diego-chargers

At what point do we stop starting Tennessee Titans' running back Chris Johnson on the “potential” that he could do something each week?

Unless you are in a PPR league, there is NO way you can comfortably insert Johnson into your starting lineup on a weekly basis. Even as a flex he is questionable.

Yes, you spent the high draft pick on potential. And that was unfortunate on your part. But the theory of “you picked ’em high, start ’em” is flawed. If someone has a better matchup and you know it, you go with the better matchup. 

There are very few RBs that are immune to this theory. 

Johnson used to be one of them; two years ago for sure, last year because we were naïve. Arian Foster, Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, DeMarco Murray, a healthy Darren McFadden and Matt Forte, before Thursday’s injury, all still hold the status of “start ’em no matter what.”

But there is very little through 2011, three 2012 preseason games and one 2012 regular season game — albeit against a stout New England front — that says Johnson is anywhere close to having that status as a reliable starter.

If the four rushing yards on 11 carries in Week 1 were not enough to convince you then how about the fact that he only pulled off double-digit rushing performances on four occasions last season. And those came against the Nos. 30, 25, 6 and 28th ranked rush defenses. 

That was a year ago. After one week, all four of those defenses were ranked 21st or worst against the run.

Johnson, who eclipsed 70 yards rushing just four times last season, had eight double-digit fantasy days altogether in 2011, and four of those were 13.2 points or less. Is that what you want from a top-12 pick? Take away the PPR and he drops to five double-digit days. 

Now it’s on to San Diego and a Chargers team that was 20th against the run last season. All they did was finish the first week as the sixth-best team against the run, holding Oakland’s Darren McFadden to 32 rushing yards on 15 carries.

McFadden, like Johnson, only salvaged his high-pick status in Week 1 by catching a career-high 13 balls for 86 yards. Johnson did the same, countering the 11 yards on the ground with six catches for 47 yards. 

The Titans’ offensive line looked awful against the Patriots and the few chances Johnson did have he danced behind the line of scrimmage. Meanwhile, his counterpart, Stevan Ridley, was aggressive running through any lane created by the Patriots’ offensive line. 

Oh, remember when Johnson was aggressive? But I digress.

There is nothing to suggest that the Titans, who have traditionally been awful on the West Coast — 4-11 since moving to Tennessee in 1997 — can have success running against the Chargers.

Add in that starting QB Jake Locker (shoulder) and starting receiver Nate Washington (leg contusion) are hurting and receiver Kenny Britt (knee/suspension) will be on a limited snap count as he makes his first appearance since Week 3 of 2011 and there are not a lot of positives surrounding the Titans’ camp.

The only saving grace for Johnson will be in PPR leagues as Javon Ringer (elbow) is still out and will not vulture snaps. But if you are banking on starting CJ on just the PPR potential, it’s going to be a long year at your RB1 or 2 spot.

I may be wrong, but I will take being wrong until Johnson can consistently prove he’s right again. I am tired of starting him on “potential” when players like Ridley, Doug Martin, C.J. Spiller, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and even Alfred Morris clearly have better matchups in Week 2.  

—Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 07:45
Path: /nfl/detroit-lions-vs-san-francisco-49ers-preview-and-prediction

Some of the national attention will be on the two coaches when the San Francisco 49ers host the Detroit Lions Sunday night at 8:20pm EST on NBC, but the real story is a solid NFC matchup between two postseason teams with high goals for this season. After San Francisco’s 25-19 win last October, Lions coach Jim Schwartz and 49ers boss Jim Harbaugh had a rather contentious postgame handshake that was played over and over again on the highlight shows. However both coaches say it was overblown, and that the focus belongs on two 1-0 squads with Super Bowl aspirations.

When the San Francisco 49ers have the ball:
The Niners are known for a conservative offensive attack featuring physical tailback Frank Gore, but they did finish 11th in the league in scoring last season. Gore was excellent (16 carries for 112 yards and TD) in Week 1, but quarterback Alex Smith was also huge with an efficient 20-for-26 performance that included two touchdowns. With Randy Moss and Mario Manningham joining Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis on the receiving unit, the San Francisco offense has a very dangerous balance for its opponents.

The Lions defense had a quality outing against St. Louis, holding the Rams to just 250 total yards. It will be a more difficult challenge this week with 49ers power running game, which is led by an excellent offensive line. Detroit must limit Gore’s production, while also hoping that a banged up secondary does not get beat for big plays on the outside. Smith does not turn the ball over, so the Lions must tackle well to get off the field.

When the Detroit Lions have the ball:
After a slow start that included three first-half interceptions, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford finished with 355 passing yards against the Rams in a 27-23 victory. Receiver Calvin Johnson had a routine six catches for 111 yards, while an important contribution was made by oft-injured running back Kevin Smith (62 rush yards and a score plus a touchdown catch). Detroit should look to work underneath routes in order to combat the ferocious Niners pass rush, so Smith, wideout Nate Burleson and tight ends Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler will be valuable targets in this game.

The 49ers defense is their catalyst, and their performance in a 30-22 win at Green Bay last week was stellar. The high-octane Packers only managed seven points in the first three quarters and totaled just 45 rushing yards (with 27 by quarterback Aaron Rodgers) for the game. San Francisco’s linebackers group — NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks — can handle the run game and blitzing Stafford, so the secondary’s top priority will be doing whatever it takes to slow down Johnson.

Key Factor:
The 49ers have historically dominated the Lions, and this contest will come down to the Lions ability to stop Gore and force Smith to beat them through the air. Detroit could be depleted with injuries on the back end, but giving up clock-eating rushing yards to San Francisco would be a losing formula. Schwartz will have his team motivated, but Harbaugh’s crew will win at home in the end.

49ers 24 Lions 17

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

<p> Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Oklahoma State Cowboys, Big 12, News
Path: /news/wes-lunt-injures-knee-oklahoma-state-win

Oklahoma State starting quarterback Wes Lunt was injured during Saturday's win over Louisiana-Lafayette, and his long-term status for the rest of the season is up in the air. However, early reports have indicated Lunt's injury may not be significant, and he could return for the Sept. 29 matchup against Texas.

If Lunt is unable to return, the Cowboys will turn to J.W. Walsh. The redshirt freshman completed 21 of 30 passes for 347 yards and four scores against the Ragin' Cajuns. He also rushed for 73 yards and one touchdown.

Although Oklahoma State would have liked to get Lunt more comfortable in the offense with Big 12 play coming up, Walsh's performance was encouraging and shows the Cowboys are still a Big 12 title contender even if Lunt can't play for a couple of games.

Oklahoma State also has the potent combination of Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith at running back, while the defense is solid. 

The extent of Lunt's injury probably won't be known for a few days, but as the video below shows, it could have been a lot worse. 

Oklahoma State's next game isn't until Sept. 29, so the true freshman has plenty of time to heal. However, even if Lunt misses time, Walsh showed he is capable of leading the Cowboys to a victory over Texas.

<p> Wes Lunt's Injury A Big Loss for Oklahoma State</p>
Post date: Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 17:20
All taxonomy terms: crossword, Monthly
Path: /monthly/september-2012-crossword-solution

Post date: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 15:15
Path: /nfl/nfl-picks-against-spread-week-2

A game-by-game betting preview (against the spread) for each of the 15 games on Sunday and Monday in Week 2. Here are the teams to pick and the ones to stay away from.

Locks of the Week
Ride the hot hands and go with two veteran teams that looked like Super Bowl contenders in Week 1, the reigning Super Bowl champs and the phenom du jour.

Ravens (+3) at Eagles
Baltimore has a short week after a dominant 44–13 win over Cincinnati on Monday night. But the way Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata and the Ravens defense was swarming, Michael Vick — who threw four INTs in the opener — might be in trouble.

Redskins (-3) at Rams
Why not? Ride the RG3 bandwagon until the wheels fall off.

Giants (-7) vs. Buccaneers
The G-Men have had 10 days to prepare for the young Bucs.

Patriots (-14) vs. Cardinals
The biggest number of the week is also one of the safest bets. The home opener in New England will showcase the new faces on the Pats defense — at the expense of whichever quarterback Arizona sends to slaughter.

Blowout Bargains
Don’t be afraid of a big spread. Ten of the 16 games played in Week 1 were decided by eight or more points — including five contests with a margin of 20 or more points.

Bengals (-7) vs. Browns
Bet against Brandon Weeden (4 INTs, 5.1 passer rating in Week 1) every week until his passer rating is at least in the teens.

Texans (-7.5) at Jaguars
Houston had no problem dubbing the Dolphins and should handle the Jaguars with similar ease.

Straight Up Upsets
These underdogs don’t look as good as Kate Upton’s Twitter pics, but they look good.

Seahawks (+3) vs. Cowboys
Tony Romo may not be the holder for field goals anymore, but he’s still the Cowboys quarterback.

Titans (+6) at Chargers
Chris Johnson will need to run for more than four yards in order for Tennessee to pull off the West Coast upset.

Sucker Bets
Stay away completely. These games are meant for local yokels who always bet on their home team, or for degenerates who always have to have action.

Vikings (-1.5) at Colts
Andrew Luck’s home opener pits two of the worst squads in the league against each other.

Raiders (-3) at Dolphins
Oakland’s backup long-snapper is a better bet than this race to the bottom.

Bills (-3) vs. Chiefs
Two teams with goals of approaching mediocrity this season.

Saints (-3) at Panthers
A division showdown between two teams already in panic mode.

Steelers (-6) vs. Jets
Gang Green lit up the scoreboard for 48 points last week after the first team offense failed to score a touchdown during the preseason.

49ers (-7) vs. Lions
Untuck your shirt, jump around and slap your rival on the back, but stay away from this Sunday night fight.

Monday Money    
Another chance to wager for those who have to “get back” or “let it ride” this week.

Falcons (-3) vs. Broncos
Dome sweet dome. Matt Ryan has a 26–4 record in the Georgia Dome.

<p> A game-by-game betting preview (against the spread) for each of the 15 games on Sunday and Monday in Week 2.</p>
Post date: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 12:58