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All taxonomy terms: NFC East, Philadelphia Eagles, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/philadelphia-eagles-2015-team-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Chip Kelly’s short tenure as Philadelphia’s coach has been anything but dull. It’s too early to tell if the many changes Kelly has made will pay off in postseason success, but there can be no denying the interest the team has created. In a town starving for good news in the light of the horrible play of the Phillies, Sixers and Flyers, the Eagles’ offseason personnel binge was a welcome diversion from the carnage afflicting the city’s other professional teams.

 

Now in his third year with the Birds, Kelly is completely in charge of the team on and off the field. The team is all his, and if some have been turned off by the decisions he’s made, Kelly frankly doesn’t care. He has a plan, and as one of the rare NFL coaches who also handles the personnel end of the business, he is in a unique position to carry it out. After two straight seasons of 10 wins — but no playoff success — the Philadelphia community is expecting more in 2015. It’s up to Kelly to prove that he knows what he’s doing.

 

Buy Athlon Sports' 2015 NFL Preview Magazine

 

OFFENSE

The star of the Eagles’ offense is the scheme, which features a high-speed, run-first spread attack designed to leave opponents panting and confused. It worked well last year, since Philadelphia was fifth in the league in total offense, third in points per game and ninth in rushing. But thanks to a few significant offseason moves, there is no guarantee the Eagles will be able to replicate that success. Further, the success that top defenses — Seattle, San Francisco, Indianapolis included — had against Philadelphia last year may have created a blueprint for 2015 opponents.

 

The biggest change is at running back, where LeSean McCoy is off to Buffalo after rushing for 2,926 yards the past two seasons. By the end of last year, there were whispers that Kelly wasn’t happy with his featured back, who at times waited for a hole to emerge, rather than sticking his foot in the ground and powering straight ahead. That’s why the Eagles signed DeMarco Murray, who rushed for 1,845 yards and 13 scores — both tops in the league — last year for Dallas. Murray is more of a plant-and-cut guy, and Kelly likes that. He won’t get 392 carries, though, like he did last year, thanks to the arrival of Ryan Mathews from San Diego and the return of versatile Darren Sproles, although Mathews missed a big part of 2014 with a foot injury.

 

If Murray plays like he did last year, it will make life easy for new quarterback Sam Bradford, whom the team acquired in a trade with St. Louis. Although there were rumors the Birds were going to trade the team for Marcus Mariota, no deal happened, and Bradford is under center, so long as he doesn’t get injured again. Now on his third ACL, Bradford has played a total of seven games the past two seasons. If healthy, he can be accurate and productive, although he has limited potential to run from the zone read. Inconsistent Mark Sanchez will back him up.

 

For the second straight year, the Eagles lost a top-shelf receiver. After 2013, DeSean Jackson departed. Now, they will do without Jeremy Maclin (85 catches, 10 TDs), who signed with Kansas City. His loss hurts a receiving corps that now needs big contributions from second-year man Jordan Matthews, who has potential but isn’t a No. 1-type, disappointing Riley Cooper, veteran pick-up Miles Austin and rookie Nelson Agholor of USC. Agholor, the team’s first-round draft pick, is a Maclin clone who has good quickness and ball skills but won’t force opponents to double-team him. Tight end Brent Celek is a warrior, but he saw his production drop last year, so it’s time for third-year man Zach Ertz to develop into a major contributor.

 

The Eagles didn’t address the offensive line in the draft, but that’s not the worst thing in the world. Left tackle Jason Peters is still one of the best around, and center Jason Kelce is an All-Pro candidate. Right tackle Lane Johnson is solid but not yet a standout. There will be a new starter at left guard, as Evan Mathis was somewhat surprisingly released in June. Allen Barbre, who was slated to start at right guard before Mathis was released, will likely switch sides, while the other guard slot probably won’t be settled until the end of training camp, if not later.

 

DEFENSE

Kelly’s offensive philosophy puts tremendous stress on the defense, and last year that was not a good thing. The Eagles finished 28th in the league in total D, tied for 22nd in points allowed and 31st against the pass. There have been some big changes made on the back end, but there remains no guarantee the unit can hold up against better opposition.

 

The trade for McCoy netted inside linebacker Kiko Alonso, who had 87 solo tackles and four interceptions in 2013 but missed all of last year with a torn ACL. If healthy, he is a downhill playmaker. If not, the Eagles are in trouble. The team re-upped inside man DeMeco Ryans, who tore his Achilles tendon in the eighth game of 2014 and could struggle getting back to top form. Mychal Kendricks spent the offseason upset about his contract and Alonso’s arrival, but if he plays hard, he can be a difference maker.

 

Sack man Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham are the main outside threats in Bill Davis’ 3-4, and it is up to Graham — who showed flashes last year — to play consistently. The Birds hope third-round pick Jordan Hicks can provide good depth inside, while second-year man Marcus Smith, the Eagles’ first-round pick last year, is still waiting to make his first NFL tackle.

 

The Eagles’ secondary was horrible last year, and fans welcomed the departures of Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams. Philadelphia will use former Seattle corner Byron Maxwell on one side and hope he wasn’t aided by the presence of Richard Sherman opposite him in the Emerald City. New addition Walter Thurmond could play on the other side, but he is more of a slot corner, as is holdover Brandon Boykin. By midseason, second-round pick Eric Rowe could have the job. Malcolm Jenkins is tough at free safety, but there is a hole next to him.

 

Up front, left end Fletcher Cox should be a Pro Bowler, while big Bennie Logan is a drain plug in the middle, and Cedric Thornton is a solid end.

 

SPECIALISTS

The Eagles lucked into something good when they acquired Cody Parkey, who made 32-of-36 kicks last year, including 4-of-4 from 50 and beyond. Punter Donnie Jones averaged 43.8 yards per kick last year, a number that needs to improve. Agholor adds excitement to the return game, and Sproles is a threat to go the distance at all times.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS

This is a tough team to read because there are so many variables due to injury. If Bradford is healthy, the offense should be potent, thanks to Murray, but there are big concerns at wide receiver. The secondary is better (how could it be worse?), but the Eagles still need Alonso and Ryans to make healthy returns in order to make the second line of defense potent.

 

The Eagles will continue to try to outscore people, and while that works against some teams, it isn’t good enough against the NFC’s best.

 

Prediction: 2nd in NFC East

Teaser:
Philadelphia Eagles 2015 Team Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: NFC East, Washington Redskins, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/washington-redskins-2015-team-preview-and-prediction
Body:

If 2014 showed the Washington Redskins in a state of anchorless drift — toggling between three quarterbacks, losing five games by 20 or more points and beset by the dysfunction and intrigue that have come to define the Daniel Snyder era — the 2015 version, at least in theory, will emphasize stability.

 

For Year 2 of Jay Gruden’s tenure as head coach, the team hired a proven personnel man, in Scot McCloughan, to be its GM — and more important, gave him full autonomy on personnel moves. The Redskins also announced early in the offseason that Robert Griffin III would be the starting quarterback — ending any controversy before it could begin.

 

The draft brought an emphasis on size and volume, as the team amassed 10 picks and earned widespread praise in the industry for its strategy. But having won just seven games the past two seasons, and with one winning season since 2007, this probably won’t be a speedy turnaround. 

 

Buy Athlon Sports' 2015 NFL Preview Magazine

 

OFFENSE

For a coach who came in with a reputation as an offensive savant, Gruden’s first year steering the Redskins’ offense was a disaster. The quarterback position became a revolving door of mediocrity, and the three starters — Griffin, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy — were sacked a staggering total of 58 times. Meanwhile the running game, behind top back Alfred Morris, regressed from the year before. Morris, in his third year, saw his carries, yards and yards per carry decline for the second straight year.

 

But Gruden and McCloughan ended the QB controversy early in the offseason by not only naming Griffin the starter but also picking up his costly option for 2016 — a surprising show of confidence. Then they set about building Griffin a better offensive line. They used three of their 10 draft picks on offensive linemen — including their top pick, fifth overall, on Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff, who is expected to start on the right side, opposite veteran Trent Williams. They also used a third-round pick to take running back Matt Jones out of Florida, a big, punishing runner.

 

With DeSean Jackson (a league-leading 20.9 yards per reception), Pierre Garçon and Andre Roberts as wideouts and Jordan Reed at tight end, the Redskins have solid skill-position targets for Griffin. The key in 2015 will be protecting him better. If he gets sacked at a rate of roughly four per game, as he did in 2014, it will be another long year.

 

But despite — or perhaps because of — the faith the Redskins showed in him, this will be a pivotal season for Griffin. If he has any hope of recapturing the dynamism he showed as a rookie in 2012 (if that is even possible after two injury-plagued seasons), it needs to happen in 2015. Griffin has always been big on personal mottos, from 2012’s “Know Your Why” to 2013’s “All In For Week One” to 2014’s “This Is For Us.” But after absorbing copious amounts of criticism for his penchant for oversharing with the media and on his own social-media accounts, Griffin has been determined to scale back in both regards. That may explain why, for a 2015 motto, he appears to be going with, “Talk Small and Play Big.”

 

With Cousins and McCoy both expected to be on the roster again, Gruden probably won’t wait long to pull the trigger on a quarterback change if Griffin doesn’t play big.

 

DEFENSE

The Redskins have almost totally revamped a defense that badly needed revamping. Change started at the top, when the team parted ways with embattled coordinator Jim Haslett and tabbed Chargers linebackers coach Joe Barry as his replacement. Next, the Redskins severed ties with pass rusher Brian Orakpo, who never developed into the dominant player the team envisioned when it picked him in the first round of the 2009 draft.

 

The leader of Barry’s defense now is unquestionably outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who established himself as arguably the best in the NFC East with 13.5 sacks and five forced fumbles in 2014. To build around Kerrigan, the Redskins turned both to free agency (linemen Stephen Paea and Terrance Knighton, and defensive backs Jeron Johnson and Chris Culliver) and the draft, where they used two of their top six draft picks on linebackers — Mississippi State’s Preston Smith, who could become Orakpo’s replacement on the edge, and tackling machine Martrell Spaight of Arkansas.

 

McCloughan also turned to his past in bolstering the defensive line and secondary, signing lineman Ricky Jean-Francois and trading for two-time Pro Bowl free safety Dashon Goldson, both of whom he selected in the draft at previous stops.

 

It is possible, when it all shakes out, that the Redskins could have six new starters on defense, a staggering number — until you realize how bad this unit was in 2014.

 

SPECIALISTS

It’s difficult to recall a time when the Redskins’ special teams were anything other than abysmal. It’s no wonder the team targeted this area in their draft haul of 10 picks, taking, among others, a potential return man (wide receiver Jamison Crowder), a core coverage man (safety Kyshoen Jarrett) and at least two other players who could have immediate impacts on special teams (linebacker Spaight and receiver Evan Spencer). Otherwise, most of the major players from 2014 — punter Tress Way, kicker Kai Forbath, long snapper Nick Sundberg and primary return man Roberts — all return in 2015. The most immediate question will be whether Crowder, the fourth-round pick, supplants Roberts as the top punt-return man. Don’t be surprised as well if Forbath, an accurate kicker but one lacking in length, finds himself fending off a challenger for his job in training camp.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS

In previous Redskins seasons, management may have chosen to blow up the franchise by ditching Griffin, trading away picks to move up in the draft and nab the latest flavor-of-the-month phenom signal-caller. To their credit, McCloughan and Gruden avoided that temptation and did exactly the opposite — doubling down on Griffin as their starting quarterback, trading down in the draft to stockpile extra picks and emerging with some new cornerstone players and a lot of added depth.

 

As before, so much of the offensive success comes down to keeping Griffin healthy and on his feet. If the newly rebuilt offensive line is as solid as the Redskins hope, that will be much easier to envision, and may even deliver a boost to a running game that hasn’t been the same since Griffin stopped being a significant running threat himself.

 

Defensively, there will be new looks both up front and in the secondary. With Orakpo gone and veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall likely fighting to keep his job in training camp, the very soul of the defense is in the process of being transformed — which, if you know anything about the Redskins, can only be seen as a good thing.

 

This probably isn’t a team that can challenge the Cowboys and Eagles atop the division in 2015, but even a finish somewhere around .500 — which is entirely 

 

Prediction: 4th in NFC East

Teaser:
Washington Redskins 2015 Team Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: MLB, News
Path: /mlb/mlb-announces-home-run-derby-participants
Body:

The MLB has just recently released the participants for the upcoming Home Run Derby, and it certainly showcases some of the veterans and up-and-coming players in the league. In order of seeding based on current home run totals, the players will be: Albert Pujols, Todd Frazier, Josh Donaldson, Joc Pederson, Manny Machado, Anthony Rizzo, Prince Fielder, and Kris Bryant.

 

The format will pit two participants against one another per round based on the seeding. The new rules should surely add a new twist to the game, so expect plenty of deep home runs. Four of the eight have once participated in the event, but that leaves plenty of new talent that fans will get to see in this display for the first time.
 

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 10:56
Path: /college-football/college-football-fans-dream-road-trip-2015
Body:

You can go to one college football game each weekend. You can't go to the same place twice and the travel budget is endless.

 

Where are you going? That's 14 straight weekends on 14 different campuses, so ask the spouse for forgiveness, not permission.

 

The possibilities are almost endless. And it would make for a dream come true for most college football fans.

 

So I dove into the 2015 schedule and plotted out my dream vacation travel itinerary. Here is where I would go this fall:

 

Week 1: Ohio State at Virginia Tech

One of the greatest football settings in the entire nation will host a Labor Day celebration. Ohio State begins its national title defense to the sound of "Enter Sandman" in Blacksburg, Va. The Buckeyes will have revenge on their mind in Week 1, but a very stout and prideful Virginia Tech defense awaits them for this national TV showcase in Lane Stadium at night. (For the record, I'd lay the 16 points).

 

Back-up plan: Texas at Notre Dame

 

Week 2: Oregon at Michigan State

Mark Dantonio and Connor Cook can not only exact revenge on Oregon in Spartan Stadium but can give themselves a serious Playoff feather in their cap in just Week 2. A win over the Ducks puts the Spartans in a position to snag a Playoff spot with what amounts to essentially a tie-breaker over a potential Pac-12 title team.

 

Back-up plan: Oklahoma at Tennessee

 

Week 3: Ole Miss at Alabama

Speaking of revenge, Ole Miss makes a short drive east to Tuscaloosa to play preseason SEC favorite Alabama. A win for Hugh Freeze would immediately upset the SEC West pecking order just three weeks into the season. However, the Tide have won 12 straight over the Rebels at home, dating back to 1988.

 

Back-up plan: Auburn at LSU

 

Week 4: Tennessee at Florida

With a late-season trip to Tempe pending, I’ll settle for my second choice. Florida has won 10 straight over Tennessee and a loss for the Vols would all but take them out of SEC East contention. A win for Florida gives Jim McElwain instant credibility. This once great rivalry could be making a comeback very soon.

 

Back-up plan: USC at Arizona State

 

Week 5: Alabama at Georgia

For the third straight week, I will tailgate in the SEC. The first two were just appetizers for this one. These two haven’t met in Athens since 2008 when Bama rolled 41-30. This is a massive, likely top-10 matchup and SEC title game preview all rolled into one that is must-see TV.

 

Back-up plan: Notre Dame at Clemson

 

Week 6: Oklahoma vs. Texas

With much respect to Florida and Georgia, there is no better neutral-site game in college football than The Red River Riv… Shootout. It’s one of the top rivalries in the nation, is always a close game and the Texas State Fair is a sight to behold for fans of all ages.

 

Back-up plan: Wisconsin at Nebraska

 

Week 7: USC at Notre Dame

Let’s head north to the hallowed ground of Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish and Trojans renew an 87-year-old battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh. USC has won five of the last six in South Bend but Brian Kelly’s bunch won the last meeting at home in 2013. This game could be a Playoff elimination game.

 

Back-up plan: Penn State at Ohio State

 

Podcast: Preseason College Football Playoff Preview



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Week 8: Auburn at Arkansas

Gus Malzahn and Bret Bielema can down play it all they want but these two programs don’t like each other. And Arkansas could be the top challenger to the state of Alabama. Auburn has a brutal schedule but this could be the Tigers' toughest road test of the year. One team will try to run a billion plays while the other will attempt the opposite.

 

Back-up plan: Florida State at Georgia Tech

 

Week 9: Oregon at Arizona State

A Pac-12 title game preview takes place in the desert when the Ducks fly south to take on Arizona State. The Sun Devils will be a sneaky good defensive team and Vernon Adams will be settled in as Oregon's starting quarterback by this point. Look for a late-night Thursday shootout.

 

Back-up plan: Ole Miss at Auburn

 

Week 10: Florida State at Clemson

Nov. 7 will be a huge day in the SEC West, as LSU takes on Alabama, Arkansas visits Ole Miss and Auburn heads to College Station. But I’m passing on all three to head to Death Valley, S.C. The Atlantic Division, ACC Championship and College Football Playoff spot could hang in the balance when the Noles and Tigers battle.

 

Back-up plan: LSU at Alabama

 

Week 11: Oregon at Stanford

The Pac-12 North will likely hang in the balance when Oregon visits Stanford in what has become one of the West Coast’s top rivalries. Offense vs. defense. Flash vs. toughness. Old school vs. new. The winner of this game has gone on to win the Pac-12 title five years in a row.


Back-up plan: Georgia at Auburn

 

Week 12: Michigan State at Ohio State

My decision on where to go in Week 12 likely hinges on what happens in Week 2. Should Michigan State beat Oregon, then both the Spartans and Buckeyes likely enter this game unbeaten and eyeing a Playoff spot. If Oregon wins, then I’m likely heading to Eugene to watch USC visit Autzen Stadium.

 

Back-up plan: USC at Oregon

 

Week 13: Alabama at Auburn

I wish there was three of me. Ohio State visits Michigan and Baylor visits TCU on the same day. But there is only one place I’d rather be than Fort Worth or Ann Arbor in Week 13 and that’s the Plains of Alabama for the Iron Bowl. Division, conference and national championships could be on the line in the 80th meeting between the two in-state rivals.

 

Back-up plan: Baylor at TCU

 

Week 14: Pac-12 title game

The Big Ten title game is going to be one-sided. The ACC champion could already have two losses. The SEC Championship Game has been lopsided two straight years and will likely once again see a heavy West Division favorite. The Pac-12 title game is the likeliest to have two one-loss teams vying for a trip to the College Football Playoff.

 

Back-up plan: SEC Championship Game

 

We want your feedback and it’s a fun exercise. Try it out on your own and let us know what your schedule would look like @BradenGall or @AthlonSports.

Teaser:
A College Football Fan's Dream Road Trip for 2015
Post date: Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Overtime
Path: /nfl/james-harrison-blasts-adam-schefter-releasing-jpp-medical-forms-steelers-jason-pierre-paul-espn
Body:

Giants star Jason Pierre-Paul reportedly had his finger amputated due to a fireworks incident over the holiday weekend. 

 

ESPN's Adam Schefter somehow got a hold of the medical forms indicating the amputation, and quickly proceeded to tweet it. 

 

 

Did he cross the line? Some say yes, others are kind of on the fence about it. Some people said it was the person who gave the infomation to Schefter who was in the wrong, and the ESPN insider was merely doing his job by reporting it.

 

 

 

 

While some journalists seem to be torn on the issue, players are getting in on the act. The Steelers outspoken, and downright scary defenseman, responded similar to a lot of people on social media.

 

 

That's one guy you don't want to be on the bad side of. 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 10:25
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-12-stadiums-2015
Body:

Last summer, Athlon Sports asked 10 Big 12 experts Chip Brown, Blair Kerkhoff, Bill Connelly, Allen Kenney and more to rank their favorite stadiums in the Big 12.

 

Based on general atmosphere, fan support, home-field advantage, amenities, tailgating, surrounding campus and even scoreboards, here is how the voting shook out.

 

However, attendance is an increasing concern for all athletic directors and tweaks are made to college football stadiums every year. Using our expert rankings, here is a statistical breakdown and update of Big 12 stadiums and how they stack up against each other entering the 2015 season.

 

 
1. Memorial Stadium, Oklahoma

The top spot in the Big 12 to catch a game is regularly over capacity. Despite the worst home record of Bob Stoops' tenure (3-3), the Sooners still posted an impressive 103.7 percent capacity average while finishing 13th nationally and second in the league in attendance. Oklahoma is 373-84-15 all-time at Memorial Stadium and Stoops is still an impressive 90-8.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
192582,112 (2nd)85,162 (13th)103.7% (3rd)86,031 ('12)

 

2. Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium, Texas

Plans to expand into the 115,000-125,000 range have been put on hold but Texas still boasts the biggest (100,119) stadium in the Big 12 and still leads the league in attendance (94,103). And the gaps between the Longhorns and Oklahoma in both of these categories are pretty wide. That said, Texas' building was only 93.3 percent full — ranking seventh in the league — and was one of only four schools in the Big 12 to see a drop from 2013 (down five percent).

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
1924100,119 (1st)94,103 (8th)93.9% (7th)101,851 ('12)

 

 

3. Boone Pickens Stadium, Oklahoma State

The drop off in size after the top two buildings is noticeable. The Cowboys ranked 37th in attendance nationally and ninth in the Big 12 in average capacity (90.3 percent). Additionally, only Kansas' 10 percent drop in attendance was worse than the Pokes' eight percent decline from '13. It's still a brutal place to play for teams, however, as Mike Gundy is 21-4 at home over the last four years.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
192060,218 (4th)54,387 (37th)90.3% (9th)60,218 ('13)

 

4. Jones AT&T Stadium, Texas Tech

Texas Tech boasts the third-largest building in the Big 12 and was third in attendance last year, ranking 29th nationally. The Red Raiders actually saw a growth of two percent over 2013 and were fifth in the league in average capacity (96.8 percent). Kliff Kingsbury is 6-6 at home in two years.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
194760,862 (3rd)58,934 (29th)96.8% (5th)61,836 ('13)

 

5. Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Kansas State

It’s small on three sides and has some quirky lines, but Bill Snyder Family Stadium will rock when the Wildcats are rolling. At 106.2 percent capacity every Saturday, this building was the most packed of any stadium in the Big 12 last fall despite a one percent drop in overall attendance. Kansas State was 38th in attendance in 2014, even though it ranks ahead of only TCU and Baylor as the third-smallest venue in the  league. 

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
196850,000 (8th)53,081 (38th)106.2% (1st)53,811 ('00)

 

 

6. Milan Puskar Stadium, West Virginia

It's a heckuva party in Morgantown on Saturdays and 2014 proved that. West Virginia led the Big 12 last season with a seven percent hike in attendance compared to 2013. Milan Puskar finished 34th nationally in attendance despite finishing just seventh in the league at 94.5 percent full. Dana Holgorsen is just 15-11 at home in four years but has a win over a top-11 foe in each of the last two seasons.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
198060,000 (5th)56,686 (34th)94.5% (7th)70,222 ('93)

 

7. McLane Stadium, Baylor

McLane Stadium is Baylor's state-of-the-art building that ushered in a new era of Bears football with a Big 12 title last season. Baylor saw attendance go up by two percent and was one of three schools in the Big 12 to average over capacity (103.8 percent). The smallest building in the league finished just 49th nationally in attendance at 46,710 per game. For the time being, the Bears have never lost in McLane (6-0) and keep an eye on future expansion to host 55,000.
 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
201445,000 (9th)46,710 (49th)103.8% (2nd)

45,733 ('14)

 

 

8. Jack Trice Stadium, Iowa State

Iowa State is home to one of the most underrated home atmospheres in the nation. Despite a horrible record and a six percent drop in attendance, Jack Trice Stadium still ranked 41st nationally in attendance — ahead of championship or division-winning programs like TCU, Baylor, Arizona and Georgia Tech. Paul Rhoads is 2-11 in the last two seasons at home.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
197554,800 (6th)52,197 (41st)95.3% (6th)56,800 ('12)

 

9. Amon Carter Stadium, TCU

TCU was fourth in the Big 12 in average capacity at 99.4 percent full last season. The Horned Frogs finished 52nd nationally in the league's smallest building despite a three percent growth in attendance. Like Baylor, TCU needs to sustain high-level success in the Big 12 to continue to grow its quaint home atmosphere.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
192945,000 (9th)44,719 (52nd)99.4% (4th)50,307 ('09)

 

 

10. Memorial Stadium, Kansas

A poor home win-loss record (256-231-16) has caused major trouble for Kansas. The 10 percent drop in attendance last fall was the worst in the Big 12. So were the 34,077 fans that showed up per game and the horrid 68.1 percent capacity. The Jayhawks have much to overcome both on the field and with their home venue.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
192150,071 (7th)34,077 (67th)68.1% (10th)52,530 ('09)
Teaser:
Ranking the Big 12 Stadiums for 2015
Post date: Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/tennessee-fan-creates-awesome-hype-video-2015-season-volunteers-butch-jones
Body:

Tennessee fans are excited for the upcoming season and with good reason.

 

The Vols are looking better than ever and by the looks of this fan-made hype video, a storm is coming to the SEC this season. As long as it's not "Sweet Home Alabama," Butch Jones is on board.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 09:38
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/best-supplemental-draft-picks-nfl-history
Body:

Since 1977, the NFL has hosted an annual supplemental draft, which is meant to provide a chance for players who had eligibility issues to be selected. However, it is widely overlooked because only 43 total players have been picked. And in many years, zero players were selected. This year’s draft begins on Thursday, so let's take a look at some of the best supplemental picks in NFL history, and how they ended up there

 

(listed chronologically):

 

Best Supplemental Draft Picks in NFL History

 

Bernie Kosar, QB (1985, 1st round)

Kosar is considered the most bizarre supplemental draft pick because of how it all unfolded. The former Miami quarterback graduated early and stated his desire to play for his hometown Browns. However, if he was to declare for the NFL Draft, the Vikings seemed destined to take him. So, he didn’t declare until after the deadline, making him only eligible for the supplemental draft, where the Browns were in line to take him. In 12 seasons, mostly with the Browns, Kosar passed for 23,301 yards with a very respectable touchdown to interception ratio of 124-87. Certainly not an elite player, he was definitely very respectable, and eventually earned a Super Bowl ring with the Cowboys.

Cris Carter, WR (1987, 4th round)

After signing with an agent (a NCAA violation) before his senior season, Carter was suspended for the year. Thus, he decided to enter the supplemental draft that season, and the Eagles took him in the fourth round. During his first three seasons with the team, he progressed significantly, becoming a primary end zone weapon. However, a battle with addictions to drugs and alcohol cost him a chance to continue his career in Philadelphia. The Vikings picked up Carter after his release from the Eagles, where he spent 12 years and cemented his legacy as a Hall of Famer. In his 16-year career, he hauled in 1101 catches for 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns.


Jamal Williams, NT (1998, 2nd round)
After a great junior year at Oklahoma State, Jamal Williams was ready to continue with another impressive season. However, he was declared to be academically ineligible after the Draft, so he decided to enter the supplemental one. In his career, including 12 seasons with the Chargers, he went to three straight Pro Bowls as a nose tackle. He was especially important in the position in their 3-4 defense, as he was often regarded as one of the best in the league at the position. Williams’ ability to contain the middle was especially important, as he racked up 344 career tackles.

Ahmad Brooks, LB (2006, 3rd round)
It seems hard to realize that Brooks was a supplemental pick because he has been so productive in the NFL. However, he was dismissed from the Virginia for off-the-field issues. His career started off slow, as an injury sidelined him for his second season, after being named the team’s starting linebacker. But since then, he has been excellent as a starter for the 49ers, with whom he made the Pro Bowl with in 2013. In his six years with the 49ers, he has notched 39 sacks and 195 tackles as part of a stout, playoff-caliber defense. 
 



Josh Gordon, WR (2012, 2nd round)
After dealing with a marijuana problem in college that forced him to be suspended and ultimately to transfer, Gordon continues to have the same problems in the NFL. However, after he was drafted in the supplemental draft after sitting the year out at Utah, he made a strong impact in his first season with the Browns. Then in 2013, he dominated by recording a league-high 11646 yards to go along with nine touchdowns. Gordon seemed destined for greatness, but only played in five games in 2014 after testing positive for marijuana and pleading guilty to a DWI. And 2015 will be another year for Gordon to watch from afar, as he was suspended for its entirety for alcohol use, which was banned during his substance abuse program. Yet, Gordon clearly has the skill to be one of the league’s best receivers, and only time will tell if he makes it back in the league.
 

Teaser:
Best Supplemental Draft Picks in NFL History
Post date: Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 09:30
Path: /college-football/big-tens-10-most-underrated-players-2015
Body:

Every college football team has players most would consider underrated. However, defining underrated players is no easy assignment, as that term varies in meaning between fans and experts.

 

The Big Ten is home to college football’s defending national champions (Ohio State), but the conference is full of intrigue, especially as Jim Harbaugh returns to Michigan, and Penn State should improve in coach James Franklin’s second season. Additionally, Nebraska hopes new coach Mike Riley will elevate the program into Big Ten title contention. 

 

Related: Big Ten 2015 Predictions

 

With the 2015 season approaching, Athlon Sports wanted to take a look at some players deserving of more preseason accolades or discussion. In an effort to get to 10 names, we tried to stick to players that had yet to earn all-conference honors in their career. However, a few exceptions were made.

 

Big Ten's 10 Most Underrated Players for 2015

 

Jacoby Boren, C, Ohio State

Most of the attention on Ohio State’s offensive line revolves around standout left tackle Taylor Decker or guard Pat Elflein. But the play of Boren should not be overlooked, as the Buckeyes have one of the nation’s best offensive lines entering the 2015 campaign. Boren played in 16 games as a backup prior to 2014 and started all 15 games for Ohio State last season.

 

Related: Big Ten 2015 Predictions

 

De’Vondre Campbell, LB, Minnesota

Minnesota’s defense held opponents to 24.2 points per game last season, and with seven starters back, the Golden Gophers could be even better on that side of the ball in 2015. Campbell was a key find for coordinator Tracy Claeys in the junior college ranks, as the Florida native has played in 26 games in his two years in Minneapolis. Campbell started all 13 games in 2014 and finished the year with 75 tackles and 2.5 sacks. With Damien Wilson departing, Campbell is now the leader of Minnesota’s linebacker corps.

 

Related: College Football's Best Cornerback Tandems for 2015

 

Josh Ferguson, RB, Illinois

Ferguson led the Illinois’ offense in rushing in each of the last two seasons, finishing 2014 with 735 yards and eight scores on 146 attempts. In addition to his production on the ground, the Illinois native has 100 receptions over the last two years. And despite inconsistent offensive line play, Ferguson managed to average at least five yards per carry in back-to-back seasons. Look for Ferguson to have his best statistical performance of his career in 2015. 

 

Darius Hamilton, DT, Rutgers

As Rutgers enters its second season in the Big Ten, improving the play in the trenches will be a priority for coach Kyle Flood. The defensive front allowed 212.3 rushing yards per game last season, and the coaching staff hopes Hamilton and sophomore end Kemoko Turay can elevate the performance of this group in 2015. Hamilton has been a productive force for Rutgers over the last three seasons, recording 11.5 tackles for a loss in back-to-back years. Additionally, Hamilton generated 10.5 sacks from 2013-14 and recorded two forced fumbles in his career.

 

Related: College Football's 2015 All-America Team

 

Desmond King, CB, Iowa

The Hawkeyes had a stingy secondary in 2014, as this unit allowed only 12 touchdown passes in Big Ten play and held quarterbacks to a 48.7 completion percentage. King was one of the leaders for coordinator Phil Parker’s defense, recording 64 tackles and three interceptions in 2014. The Detroit native didn’t redshirt as a freshman and has played in 26 consecutive games to start his career at Iowa. After earning honorable mention all-conference honors in 2014, King should breakthrough with an all-conference season in 2015.

 

Alex Lewis, OT, Nebraska

In his first year with the Cornhuskers, Lewis was a key cog in a ground attack that averaged 240.2 rushing yards per game. The Colorado transfer started all 13 games in 2014 and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors. In addition to being one of the Big Ten’s most underrated linemen, Lewis is arguably one of Nebraska’s most valuable players. The Cornhuskers return just two starters on the offensive line and need Lewis to stay healthy in 2015.

 

Related: College Football Bowl Projections for 2015

 

Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State

The Nittany Lions boast one of the nation’s best defensive tackle combinations with Johnson and Anthony Zettel anchoring the interior for coordinator Bob Shoop. Zettel was among the nation’s best at the position last year, but Johnson’s contributions shouldn’t be overlooked. In 13 games, Johnson recorded 49 tackles (six for a loss), one sack and two fumble recoveries. At 325 pounds, the New Jersey native has the size and ability to dominate the line of scrimmage, as well as command double teams to free up Zettel or Penn State’s defensive ends.

 

Sojourn Shelton, CB, Wisconsin

With Shelton, Darius Hillary and Michael Caputo returning, Wisconsin’s secondary is quietly one of the best in the nation. Shelton was thrown into the fire as a true freshman in 2013, starting 12 games for the Badgers and recording 36 tackles and seven pass breakups. The Florida native continued the strong start to his career with 12 starts and 33 tackles in 2014.

 

Related: Big Ten Predictions for 2015

 

Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana

Either Spriggs or fellow lineman Dan Feeney deserves a mention in this space. Indiana’s offensive line has developed into a strength under coach Kevin Wilson, as this unit led the way for running back Tevin Coleman to eclipse 2,000 yards in 2014. Spriggs started every game in his first two years on campus and played in 11 games (with 10 starts) last season. Spriggs should push for All-Big Ten honors in 2015.

 

Related: College Football's Top Transfers for 2015

 

Lawrence Thomas, DL, Michigan State

The strength of Michigan State’s defense is in the trenches. End Shilique Calhoun is among the nation’s best, and there’s talent on the interior with Joel Heath, Damon Knox and Malik McDowell. Thomas has bounced between end and tackle during his Michigan State tenure and started all 13 games in 2014. The Detroit native has only recorded 34 stops and three sacks in his career, but that’s largely a product of playing on the interior and plugging the gaps up front. Thomas is expected to shift to defensive end in 2015, and his versatility is a huge asset for new co-coordinators Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel.

Teaser:
The Big Ten's 10 Most Underrated Players for 2015
Post date: Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 09:00
Path: /mlb/ubaldo-jimenez-robs-hit-willie-mays-catch
Body:

With two men in scoring position with two outs, Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez was forced to channel his inner Willie Mays to prevent any runs to score. In the bottom of the third, Eddie Rosario had the opportunity to break the scoreless game. Jimenez delivered a high inside fastball that jammed Rosario, but it was a weak hit with the infield playing deep.

 

Thus, that left no player with a clean play, and Jimenez was the only one close enough to get to the ball. With his back turned to the ball and racing to the front edge of the infield, he reached up and out in front of him, snagging it. The catch was certainly incredible for any player, let alone a pitcher.

 

Compare this catch to Willie Mays’ famous one in 1954:





 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 16:14
Path: /college-football/retrial-date-set-vanderbilt-rape-case
Body:

After the conviction then mistrial in the Vanderbilt rape case that exposed some major problems between sports and college, the judge has set a new trial date for November 30. Former Commodores Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey were convicted on January 27 for their role in a rape of an unconscious woman in June 2013 at a campus dorm. However, it was declared a mistrial after a juror did not disclose that he had previously been a victim of a sexual assault.

 

While the victim and prosecution have stated that they are ready for the upcoming trial, the defense seems to be worried about the lack of time. The prosecution remains optimistic about a conviction given the overwhelming evidence and success in the last trial.  

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 15:39
Path: /college-football/deandre-johnson-allegedly-called-racial-slurs-and-attacked-punch
Body:

After a video showing De’Andre Johnson allegedly striking a woman at a bar surfaced, Florida State quickly dismissed him from the team. However, Johnson’s lawyer has come out and stated that the woman instigated the punch. He alleged that she used racial slurs and hit him twice, including a knee to the groin and an attempted punch.

 

While Johnson pleads his case, his lawyer also noted that he fully regrets the actions he took that night at the bar. He stated his wrongdoings, as he recognizes that he should have walked away from the situation instead of retaliating. Johnson has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor battery for the incident.

See the disturbing video below:

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: NBA, Overtime
Path: /nba/emoji-war-breaks-out-deandre-jordan-race-clippers-mavericks-chris-paul-chandler-parsons-blake
Body:

I've never seen grown men use more emojis than in the quest for DeAndre Jordan.

 

After word spread that Jordan was having second thoughts about signing with the Mavericks and would have another meeting with the Clippers, it was off to the races. First Chandler Parsons let the world know he was not going to give up the big man that easy.

 

 

 

 

Chris Paul won the day, by far. After his now infamous picture of having fun on a banana boat with LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Gabrielle Union, he tweeted this.

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, NBA champ Draymond Green is just enjoying the show.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 14:57
All taxonomy terms: Golf, News
Path: /golf/injury-forces-rory-mcilroy-out-british-open
Body:

After recently revealing his off-the-field injury, Rory McIlroy announced on Instagram that he is withdrawing from the upcoming Open Championship. Due to the extent of the injury, it seemed unlikely that the defending champion would be able to play. Even if he did, he surely would have not been at his full ability and that served as one of his reasons.

 

Many fans will certainly be disappointed that his newly formed competitive rivalry with Jordan Spieth will be absent for the Major Championship. McIlroy has not announced any timetable for his return, but he stated that his rehab is going well so far. In the meantime, he has been following Wimbledon on TV at home.

See his announcement below:
 

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 14:28
Path: /nfl/cj-wilson-becomes-second-nfl-player-be-injured-fireworks
Body:

Like Andy Warhol said, “one’s company, two’s a crowd,” Jason Pierre Paul is apparently not the only one to suffer from a fireworks-related injury. Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback C.J. Wilson reportedly injured himself over the July 4th holiday while shooting off fireworks. He too suffered a hand injury, but the extent is unknown.

 

According to 2012 data from the National Fire Protection Association, around 8,700 people were treated for injuries resulting from fireworks. July 4th certainly sees the highest amount of these injuries due to the sheer volume of fireworks shot off. It seems that not even NFL players are immune from such injuries, with two suffering from them this past weekend. 

Read the Buccaneers' statement below:
 

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 13:41
All taxonomy terms: Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/all-about-2015-espy-awards
Body:

While professional sports may stop for a week in July, the ESPY Awards celebrate the incredible accomplishments of athletes on and off the field. Like always, it is an exciting night full of laughs, joys, and even tears. It's a cant-miss event for any sports event, so here is some information you need to know beforehand:

Event: 23rd annual ESPY Awards

 

Time: July 15, 8/7 CT

 

Channel: ABC

 

Place: Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, California

 

Host: Joel McHale

 

 

What to expect: Plenty of jokes, especially on sensitive issues. Awards hosts never shy away from any type of joke, especially at the ESPYs. A tribute of Stuart Scott that will leave the whole audience teary-eyed. All eyes on Caitlyn Jenner’s speech and a standing ovation from the crowd of A-listers there. However, don’t expect the same support on social media. Gift bags for athletes and celebrities in attendance worth over $20,000. Jealous of everybody there, as it’s the best place to be that night.

 

 

Major Awards Predictions

 

Best Male Athlete: Stephen Curry, Lebron James, Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Watt

 

Of the four candidates, Steph Curry is the only one to have won a championship this year. He also took home the NBA MVP Award and has emerged as one of the best young athletes in the country.

 

Best Female Athlete: Ronda Rousey, Breanna Stewart, Serena Williams

 

At 33 years old, Serena Williams is still dominating the women's tennis scene. Since last year's ESPY Awards, she has won the Australian Open, French Open, and US Open, among several other tournament wins. She's arguably one of the best athletes in the world, as seen by her ongoing display at Wimbledon.

 

Best Team: New England Patriots, Connecticut Huskies, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Blackhawks, Ohio State Buckeyes, U.S. Women’s Soccer

 

While these are all championship teams, the Ohio State Buckeyes take the honor because of their ability to perform so well when their first two quarterbacks went down with injuries. But they persevered through the season and the playoffs and cruised to a 42-20 victory over Oregon in the championship.

 

Best Game: A’s vs. Royals, Spurs vs. Clippers Game 7, Seahawks vs. Patriots

 

If Marshawn Lynch runs the ball, this isn’t the winner. But the ending to Super Bowl XLIX is certainly up there in the best all-time category. The dramatic finish with Malcolm Butler’s interception of Russell Wilson created controversy immediately, and it still continues to be brought up as one of the most questionable play calls ever.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 13:06
All taxonomy terms: MLB, News
Path: /mlb/best-candidates-2015-home-run-derby
Body:

To help boost low ratings, MLB has changed some of the rules for this year's Home Run Derby, which will take place on July 13 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Instead of 10 batters, only eight will compete, and they will be given five minutes each round, as opposed to 10 outs. Batters will be given extra time increments for home runs of 420 and 475 feet, and time will stop after each home run with under a minute left. With the event coming next week, under two weeks away, here's a look at six of the best candidates in each league for this year's derby:

 

American League

 

Albert Pujols

We're cheating a bit here since Pujols said on Tuesday that he would be participating in the Home Run Derby. And it's an honor, Pujols has earned, as the three-time NL MVP is enjoying a resurgent season at the plate. Since June 1, he has belted 15 home runs, which is tied with J.D. Martinez for the most in baseball during this span. His 26 total home runs currently lead the AL and are just one behind Miami's Giancarlo Stanton, who is on the DL with a broken wrist. At this rate, Pujols could wind up having his best home run season of his career at age 35. He has participated in the event three times in his career, with his last time coming in 2009.


 

Mike Trout

This one goes pretty much without saying, as Trout clubbed his 120th career home run on Tuesday night in Colorado. Already the youngest with 100 career home runs and stolen bases, Trout is on pace for a career-best 42 long balls this season. Don't forget, he won't even turn 24 until August. If Trout and fellow Angel Pujols are both in the Derby, not only would give it offer some friendly competition between teammates, it also would make for a great storyline as the game's former best player would go head-to-head against the current holder of said title.

 


 

Josh Donaldson

Even though he plays north of the border for the Blue Jays, Donaldson has been able to garner plenty of attention. The AL's starting third baseman in the All-Star Game, Donaldson also set a single-season record by receiving more than 14 million votes from the fans. He's tied for eighth in the majors with 21 home runs, but he makes the most of them, as two of his blasts have traveled more than 450 feet. They don't call him "Bringer of Rain" for nothing.

Yoenis Cespedes

Cespedes hasn’t hit home runs well enough to truly deserve a spot on this list, but he might get the nod solely because he has won the past two contests. He could join Ken Griffey Jr. as the only player with three titles, and a win would make it his third consecutive victory. He’ll add a historical effect to the derby, as he has the chance to tie an all-time legend.

 

J.D. Martinez

On a team highlighted by Miguel Cabrera, Martinez also has gotten the job done at the plate this year, helping keep the Tigers competitive in a surprisingly tough AL Central. His 24 home runs lead his team and are second only to Pujols in the AL. With teammate Cespedes a possible candidate, bragging rights in the clubhouse could be on the line Monday night in Cincinnati.


 

Luis Valbuena

On a Houston Astros team that leads baseball in both home runs and strike outs, it only seems fitting that they send a player to the derby. Valbuena leads the team with 19 home runs, as he already has amassed more than any of his previous seasons since 2008. He's not quite the big name they might be seeking, but he has the power they want, and in a competition like this his near-Mendoza-level batting average (.203) won't stick out as much.

 

National League

 

Todd Frazier

Frazier has to be the lock of the home run derby. Not only is he tied for third in the majors with 25 home runs, he's the NL's starting third baseman for the All-Star Game, which is being played in Cincinnati. Frazier also made it to last year’s derby championship round, so he certainly would be the fan favorite to win it in his home ball park.



 

Nolan Arenado

The Colorado Rockies don’t get talked about much because of their struggles over the past few years. But that shouldn't overshadow the season Arenado is putting together. HIs 24 home runs put him in a tie for fifth in the majors, while his 68 RBIs lead the way. Already a Gold Glove winner at third and widely considered one of the best defensive players in the game, this derby would give the Rockies' emerging superstar a chance to showcase his talents at the plate, and perhaps (but not likely) take the spotlight off of the ever-present Troy Tulowitzki trade rumors.

 

 

Joc Pederson

Rookies have grabbed their share of headlines and attention this season, and none has displayed more power than Pederson. The Dodgers' center fielder already has 20 home runs, but he also lays claim to the third-longest hit this season, a titanic blast of 480 feet, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker. In fact, Pederson leads all players in average true distance for his home runs (min. 9) 430.5 feet. His combination of youth and extreme power make him a perfect fit for this year’s derby.

 

 

Paul Goldschmidt

The Diamondbacks’ first baseman might be the league’s most complete player this year, both on offense and defense. He’s hit 20 home runs, while sporting a .351 batting average and .470 OBP. In addition, he has been walked more than any other batter (68), and thus his home run total could certainly be a couple better. However, Goldschmidt has voiced that he may not be interested in it, stating his pleasure in just watching.

 


 

Bryce Harper

After battling claims as an overrated player through his career so far, Harper has really silenced any haters this year. He has dominated this year with 25 home runs and a .343 batting average, providing arguably the most excitement in the league this year. A battle between Trout and him would be a great storyline, arguably the best player of each league could wind up going head-to-head for the title. Unfortunately for fans, this will not come to fruition, as Harper has said he will pass on the derby because his father won't be able to pitch to him because he's recovering from a rotator cuff injury.

 

Anthony Rizzo

Last year, Rizzo asked NL captain Troy Tulowitzki to be a part of the derby. However, he was not chosen, and he was presumably upset. Thus, Rizzo seems to be a great fit with his power and attitude toward the event. Many players pass up on this chance, but Rizzo would certainly be glad to help bring the NL the title.  

Teaser:
Best Candidates for 2015 Home Run Derby
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 13:00
Path: /college-football/arizona-wildcats-add-california-lb-2016-recruiting-class
Body:

The Arizona Wildcats have gone at a slow pace during the offseason acquiring talent for the 2016 recruiting class, but claimed a prized recruit from southern California on Tuesday in linebacker Jacob Colacion.

 

Colacion (6-1, 216) could easily been seen as a rising star in the 2016 class with recruiting interest picking up through the camp circuit. To date 13 teams have offered including Boise State, Illinois, Utah State, Wyoming, Indiana, San Jose State, San Diego State, Nevada, Fresno State, Air Force, Washington State and Northwestern.

 

Football camps held by the Wildcats over the weekend should start showing results. Colacion was offered by Arizona in late April but attended camp on Monday leading to Tuesday’s commitment.

 

The La Habra High School talent helped the Highlanders to a 7-4 record last year, going undefeated in the Freeway League and making the playoffs. Colacion is an athletic linebacker primarily lining up on the outside as a pass-rushing option but filled in at middle linebacker and even played some safety in 2014. He’s quick, can drop in coverage, aggressive against the run, and plays with an angry confidence one wants to see in a linebacker.

 

Arizona Wildcats 2016 Verbal Commitment List

LB Jacob Colacion, 6-1, 216 lbs, La Habra HS, La Habra, CA

DB Isaiah Hayes, 5-11, 175 lbs, Calabasas HS, Calabasas, CA

RB Russell Halimon, 5-9, 180 lbs, Allatoona HS, Acworth, GA

DT Justin Holt, 6-1, 300 lbs, Salpointe HS, Tucson, AZ

QB Devon Modster, 6-1, 217 lbs, Tesoro HS, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

RB Sean Riley, 5-9, 165 lbs, Narbonne HS, Harbor City, CA

QB/ATH Khalil Tate, 6-2, 200 lbs, Junipero Serra HS, Gardena, CA

DE Jabari Watson, 6-3, 255 lbs, Summit HS, Fontana, CA

 

— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @HogManinLA.

Teaser:
Arizona Wildcats Add California LB to 2016 Recruiting Class
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 12:45
Path: /college-football/two-arkansas-razorbacks-land-preseason-maxwell-award-watch-list
Body:

The Maxwell Award has been given to the top player in college football since 1937. On Monday the Maxwell Football Club announced their preseason watch list, which includes two Arkansas Razorbacks among the 80 early qualifiers.

 

The Hogs enter the 2015 season with a loaded backfield thanks to the return of two 1,100-yard rushers, senior Jonathan Williams and junior Alex Collins.

 

Williams and Collins are physical clones of one another matching similar on the field results. Williams is listed at 6-foot, 224 pounds, while Collins comes in at 5-11 and 224. When the 2014 season was finished Williams piled up 1,190 yards on 211 carries with 12 touchdowns and Collins chipped in 1,100 yards on 204 carries with another 12 scores.


Related: College Football's Top 20 Running Back Tandems for 2015

 

Former offensive coordinator Jim Chaney did not throw to the talented backs often, but when he did he turned to Williams to make something happen. Williams delivered on the rare occasions turning 11 receptions into two touchdowns.

 

Thanks in large part to the Razorbacks' dynamic duo in the backfield and four returning offensive linemen, Arkansas is a dark horse candidate to win the SEC West after a bounce-back 2014 season.

 

Collins and Williams could benefit from a change in the Razorbacks’ offensive scheme with former Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos now in charge. During spring practices Enos has opened up the offense more, which includes Williams and Collins getting touches on the outside to create one-on-one opportunities against linebackers and safeties in space. Look for the talented running backs to post similar, if not better, numbers in 2015.

 

The Maxwell Award watch list of 80 will be pared down to the semifinalists on Nov. 2. The winner of the 79th annual Maxwell Award will be announced on Dec. 10 during "The Home Depot College Football Awards Show" on ESPN.

 

— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @HogManinLA.

Teaser:
Two Arkansas Razorbacks Land on Preseason Maxwell Award Watch List
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 12:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac-12, Utah Utes
Path: /college-football/utah-utes-pull-dynamic-pass-receiving-te-out-southern-california
Body:

On Monday Utah continued its streak of stealing top talent out from under the noses of their Pac-12 competitors, landing three-down tight end Cole Fotheringham.

 

Fotheringham was a playmaking tight end for San Clemente High School in southern California throughout the 2014 season. He pulled down 55 passes for 650 yards and nine touchdowns, helping lead the Tritons to a 12-2 record.

 

Along the way to a great season Fotheringham caught the attention of college coaches, earning scholarship offers from Boise State, BYU, Nevada, Utah State and also was garnering interest from Arizona, USC, Nebraska and Washington.

 

The Class of 2016 talent is a true weapon in the passing game with enough speed to beat linebackers and big enough to overpower safeties. He works well going across the middle and knows how to find holes in the zone. Expect the Utes to line him up in the slot where he can be a receiving threat and also provide extra beef on the outside to open up running lanes for tailbacks on sweeps or fellow wide receivers on screen passes.

 

Of the 10 verbal commitments Utah has gained eight are from the state of California. As the Utes' 2016 class currently stands, recruits like Kahi Neves, Davir Hamilton, Tucker Scott, and Fotheringham will be considered steals despite their 3-star rankings by various recruiting sites.

 

Utah Utes 2016 Verbal Commitment List

DB Micah Croom, 6-2, 190 lbs, La Mirada HS, La Mirada, California

DT David Fangupo, 6-1, 290 lbs, Cerritos C.C., Norwalk, California

TE Cole Fotheringham, 6-5, 225 lbs, San Clemente HS, San Clemente, California

ATH Davir Hamilton, 6-3, 200 lbs, Verbum Dei HS, Los Angeles, California

RB Thomas McDonald, Grossmont C.C., El Cajon, California

QB Kahi Neves, 6-3, 235 lbs, Brighton HS, Salt Lake City, Utah

OG Tucker Scott, 6-5, 265 lbs, San Clemente HS, San Clemente, California

LB Kurtis Taufa, 6-2, 230 lbs, Snow College, Ephraim, Utah

ATH Daevon Vigilant, 5-7, 180 lbs, Downey HS, Downey, California

K/P Mitch Wishnowsky, 6-4, 220 lbs, Santa Barbara C.C., Santa Barbara, California

 

— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @HogManinLA.

Teaser:
Utah Utes Pull Dynamic TE Out of Southern California
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Overtime
Path: /nfl/federal-judge-rules-against-washington-redskins-says-name-disparaging-native-americans
Body:

A judge in Virginia has stated that the Redskins should lose their federal trademark registration due to their name.

 

The term "Redskins" is "disparaging" to Native Americans, said Judge Gerald Bruce Lee. He went on to further explain, and even gave us a gem of a quote from Allen Iverson.

 

"Just as Allen Iverson once reminded the media that they were wasting time at the end of the Philadelphia 76ers' season 'talking about practice' and not an actual professional basketball game, the Court is similarly compelled to highlight what is at issue in this case — trademark registration, not the trademark themselves."

 

There's always room for an Iverson quote. The Redskins can still use the name and things associated with it but now that they don't have the government registration for it, others can too.

 

Only time will tell if this decision will cut into their profits.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 11:35
Path: /college-football/examining-overunder-2015-win-totals-sec-west
Body:

The SEC West may no longer have a stranglehold on the national title, but there’s little argument it’s the best division in all of college football. And with all seven teams landing in Athlon Sports’ Preseason Top 25, the SEC West also could be the most exciting, if not intriguing, division to watch this season. Alabama is the reigning champion, but Auburn, Ole Miss, LSU and even Arkansas, Texas A&M and Mississippi State all will have something to say about how the West will be won in 2015.

 

Related: Examining the Over/Under 2015 Win Totals for the SEC East

 

For the purposes of this exercise, projected win totals are broken down into three categories — definite wins, definite losses and toss-ups. Most of the conference games will in the toss-up category, especially ones on the road. This preview will offer thoughts on each team and if there’s any value either over or under.

 

Note: Over/under odds courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbook

 

SEC West

 

Alabama Crimson Tide

(Over 9.5 wins -145...Under 9.5 wins +105)

 

Record Last Year: 12-2, 7-1

 

Returning Starters: 9 (2 on offense, 7 on defense)

 

Offense: They might as well have name cards to help identify all the new pieces here. No Amari Cooper, T.J. Yeldon or Blake Sims among others. Jake Coker and David Cornwell battle it out at QB in the classic senior vs. freshman struggle. Thank goodness for Derrick Henry, who rushed for 11 TDs in 2014.

 

Defense: Kirby Smart is back and that's a good thing for Crimson Tide fans. Reggie Ragland and Cyrus Jones are the best returnees as well as a front line that features A'Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen.

 

Schedule: A neutral-field matchup with Wisconsin starts things off for Alabama. The Tide then play six of their next eight at home. Included in that span are home tilts with Middle Tennessee and Louisiana Monroe.

 

Selection: I'm going under on Nick Saban's squad. I think they lose at Auburn, Georgia and either Texas A&M or to Wisconsin. There are so many question marks that this team will take a rare step back.

 

Arkansas Razorbacks

(Over 8.5 wins +115...Under 8.5 wins -155)

 

Record Last Year: 7-6, 2-6

 

Returning Starters: 14 (9 on offense, 5 on defense)

 

Offense: This team figures to run and run and run the ball some more with Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins back. This destructive duo will do so behind pretty much the same offensive line as last year. Brandon Allen threw 20 TDs in 2014 to just five interceptions.

 

Defense: Taiwan Johnson is back in the middle of a good defensive line. The linebackers will not be the same without Martrell Spaight who was taken in the NFL Draft. This unit allowed just 19.2 points per game last year.

 

Schedule: The Razorbacks get UTEP, Toledo, Texas Tech and Tennessee-Martin outside of SEC play. The first two weeks of October are Tennessee and Alabama back-to-back on the road.

 

Selection: The under is the play on Arkansas. Getting road games at Tennessee and Alabama back-to-back before a home tilt with Auburn is extremely tough.

 

Auburn Tigers

(Over 8.5 wins -190...Under 8.5 wins +150)

 

Record Last Year: 8-5, 4-4

 

Returning Starters: 11 (5 on offense, 6 on defense)

 

Offense: The Jeremy Johnson hype is real as many believe he'll run this offense better then Nick Marshall did. He's got solid WRs in D'haquille Williams, Ricardo Louis and Marcus Davis. The run game will need to be rebuilt a bit with Jovon Robinson and Roc Thomas leading the way.

 

Defense: Will Muschamp now coaches this unit and he's got some things that need to be fixed. The top three tacklers are back in Johnathan Ford, Cassanova McKinzy and Kris Frost. Daniel Carlson was a pleasant surprise at kicker in 2014 as a freshman.

 

Schedule: The Tigers play Louisville in Atlanta on Sept. 5 to open the season. They follow that up with a home game against Jacksonville State. The other two non-SEC games are at home vs. San Jose State and Idaho. The last three tilts on the schedule are all at home.

 

Selection: I hope you've noticed a trend that the most public conference has had correct line moves for almost every team. The upgrade in the coaching staff with Muschamp will help the defense.

 

LSU Tigers

(Over 8 wins -180...Under 8 wins +140)

 

Record Last Year: 8-5, 4-4

 

Returning Starters: 13 (7 on offense, 6 on defense)

 

Offense: Brandon Harris should be under center week 1 with Anthony Jennings' suspension. Harris will need to throw himself into the playbook after struggling with it last year. Leonard Fournette is a stabilizing force in the backfield with Travin Dural and Trey Quinn out wide. If they can figure out QB, watch out for the Tigers' offense.

 

Defense: Kendell Beckwith leads a defense that struggled with the run at times last year. The Tigers have a young defensive line that will need to get pressure.

 

Schedule: LSU has an odd mix of cupcakes on their non-conference schedule. They play at home against McNeese State, Eastern Michigan and Western Kentucky while traveling to Syracuse. The Tigers do not spend more then one week away from Baton Rouge.

 

Selection: Same story, different team as the overwhelming line move to the over is correct. If you are looking for a reason to take the under, look to the uncertainty at QB. I just don't think enough teams on the slate can take advantage of it.

 

Mississippi State Bulldogs

(Over 7 wins -140...Under 7 wins EVEN)

 

Record Last Year: 10-3, 6-2

 

Returning Starters: 7 (4 on offense, 3 on defense)

 

Offense: It's Dak Prescott and a lot of question marks here. Prescott accounted for 41 touchdowns last year and is the team's leading returning rusher as well. De'Runnya Wilson caught nine touchdowns out wide. The offensive line needs to replace the majority of last year's group.

 

Defense: Things may get ugly here for Mississippi State as the Bulldogs were gashed through the air in 2014. The Bulldogs lose three of four starters in the secondary. It's bad when a linebacker is tied for the lead in interceptions among returnees.

 

Schedule: A tricky road game at Southern Miss starts things off before a home tilt with LSU. The other non-SEC matchups are Northwestern State, Troy and Louisiana Tech. Mississippi State finishes up with five of its last seven at home.

 

Selection: The under is the play here. I'm surprised to see the money coming in on the over because this team lacks SEC talent on both sides of the ball. LSU and Auburn among others will be licking their chops for revenge after losing to Mississippi State last season.

 

Ole Miss Rebels

(Over 8.5 wins -110...Under 8.5 wins -130)

 

Record Last Year: 9-4, 5-3

 

Returning Starters: 16 (9 on offense,7 on defense)

 

Offense: It will be great to see Laquon Treadwell back on the field after his gruesome injury. He would have been a first-round pick in the most recent NFL Draft if he stayed healthy. Almost everything is back on this side of the ball except quarterback where the Rebels will start either Chad Kelly or Ryan Buchanan.

 

Defense: It all starts with Robert Nkemdiche on the front line. This secondary figures to be a strength and will be extra tough with the pressure the front seven will generate.

 

Schedule: The Rebels play four of their first six at home. They host Tennessee-Martin, Fresno State and New Mexico State in the non-conference along with a road matchup against Memphis. SEC road games will be tough at Alabama, Florida and Auburn.

 

Selection: I lean to the over as this offense could be the best in the SEC West. The defense should be fun to watch. Don't be surprised if the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft features a ton of Rebels.

 

Texas A&M Aggies

(Over 7.5 wins -210...Under 7.5 wins +160)

 

Record Last Year: 8-5, 3-5

 

Returning Starters: 12 (6 on offense, 6 on defense)

 

Offense: Kyle Allen figures to win the job at QB, but freshman Kyler Murray will make things difficult. Whomever wins gets a complement of weapons including Speedy Noil, Josh Reynolds and Ricky Seals-Jones. Reynolds had 13 touchdowns in 2014. The run game needs improvement and the school hopes former Wyoming coach Dave Christensen brings it.

 

Defense: The Aggies managed to lure coordinator John Chavis over from LSU and that's one of the biggest improvements. He'll love having Myles Garrett, who put up 11.5 sacks as a freshman. The linebacking corps may need the most help on this side of the ball.

 

Schedule: The Aggies don't leave the state of Texas until Oct. 24 when they play at Ole Miss. They take on Arizona State in Houston to start things off before hosting Ball State and Nevada. A&M has just three true road games all year long.

 

Selection: The over is the right side for this one. John Chavis will help Texas A&M pick up at least one win himself this season. With all these home contests, you can't help but think this team will be a factor in the SEC West. Alabama and Auburn both come to College Station.

 

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.

Teaser:
Examining the Over/Under 2015 Win Totals for the SEC West
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 11:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/former-oklahoma-dl-tony-casillas-takes-shots-sooners-joe-mixon-florida-state-double-standards
Body:

College programs deal with players in different ways. Florida State has dismissed De'Andre Johnson after an altercation with a woman in a bar.

 

Oklahoma's Joe Mixon was suspended for the 2014 season after being charged with a misdemeanor involving a female student. Mixon will suit up for the Sooners in the fall and has already been back to practicing with the team. Former Oklahoma star Tony Casillas doesn't agree with that decision.

 

 

 

To somewhat soften his harsh take, he then tweeted this.

 

 

Casillas isn't the biggest hit with Oklahoma fans right now. 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 11:15
Path: /mlb/who-should-win-2015-mlb-all-star-game-final-vote
Body:

On Monday, MLB announced its rosters for the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati on July 14. Much has been made in recent weeks about the voting process in which players are chosen. The starters for both the American and National League are voted upon by the fans — which makes the prize for the All-Star game winner (home-field advantage in the World Series for the winning league) completely fraudulent.

 

The reserves are selected by player votes and then the rest of the two teams are filled out by All-Star managers – this year being Ned Yost (Royals) and Bruce Bochy (Giants). But of the teams’ 34 roster spots, only 33 player names were released. The final roster spot for each league is left to the fans in what MLB calls “Final Vote” (eyes continue to roll).

 

Each league has five players vying for the “Final Vote.” In the American League, the candidates are: Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox, SS), Yoenis Cespedes (Tigers, OF), Brian Dozier (Twins, 2B), Brett Gardner (Yankees, OF), and Mike Moustakas (Royals, 3B).

 

Related: Did the Fans Get the AL All-Stars Right?

 

Bogaerts has been one of the few bright spots this season for the last-place Red Sox. The 22-year-old Aruba native is easily putting together his best season in the bigs with a slash line of .304/.341/.418. But the youngster is lacking in power and hasn't done too much on the base paths for his superior athletic ability. The AL is lacking any true All-Star shortstops in the long run, and while Bogaerts won't make the roster this year, there is no doubt he will be in the Midsummer Classic in the near future.

 

Cespedes has a strong case to make it as the “Final Vote” winner. The Cuban import is having his best year to date, not only at the plate but defensively as well. Cespedes was an All-Star last year in his third season, but is hitting 32 points higher this year, and is on pace for 20-plus home runs and 90 RBIs. In his first three seasons, Cespedes was a less than average outfielder in terms of runs saved, but thus far in 2015 he has improved and finds himself on the plus side of that category.

 

Dozier, just like his Twins, has been one of the more pleasant surprises so far this season. He is tied for 11th in the AL in home runs (17), is top 20 in OPS (.843, 16th) and his 43 RBIs lead all second basemen. Dozier’s downfall is his batting average (.258), which is 78 points below reserve second baseman Jason Kipnis (.336) and 41 below starter Jose Alutve (.299).

 

Moustakas is the victim of a loaded third base class in his league, a group headlined by overall top vote-getter Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays and the Orioles’ Manny Machado, both of whom are in the top 10 in all of baseball in WAR. Moustakas is putting together his best season as a pro, and just 26 he figures to have plenty of opportunity to earn an invite to the All-Star Game in the near future. Moustakas could very well set new career highs in RBIs, doubles, triples, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS, and total bases — it just isn’t enough to top his peers at the hot corner.

 

Instead it’s Gardner, the Yankees’ Mr. Do Everything, who gets my “Final Vote” for the AL. Gardner will never have eye-popping numbers that seem to appeal to voters, but his play this season is surely All-Star-worthy. Gardner is easily the best pure hitter in the Yanks’ lineup, hitting .296/.373/.478, and is the biggest offensive reason they are still leading the way in the AL East. Gardner is in the top 10 in the AL in steals (15), WAR (3.2), doubles (21), on-base percentage (.373), and is flirting with a .900 OPS.

 

Switching to the National League and the ballot may be a little more difficult to figure out — at least from where I’m sitting. The Senior Circuit’s “Final Vote” candidates are: Johnny Cueto (Reds, P), Jeurys Familia (Mets, P), Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers, P), Carlos Martinez (Cardinals, P), and Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies, SS).

 

Related: Did the Fans Get the NL All-Stars Right?

 

For starters, Martinez, Familia, and Tulowitzki are putting together very nice seasons for their respective clubs. Martinez has been a pleasant surprise for the injury-ravaged Cardinals, posting a sub-3.00 ERA and ranking in the top 10 in most NL pitching categories. The only problem is that the guys ahead of him are already on the NL’s All-Star team. Familia has been the anchor of the Mets’ bullpen, but the recent struggles for his team, and the constant limelight on the starting rotation, just aren’t helping his cause.

 

Tulowitzki is having a fantastic rebound season after injuries ruined his MVP chances in 2014. While the home run numbers are down from a year ago, the bat is still there for Tulo as he’s hitting .320/.357/.486 with 45 RBIs, 19 doubles, and nine home runs. Tulo’s strikeout numbers have risen and his walk rate has declined along with his defensive metrics thanks to his many injuries over the years. Tulo is simply the victim of fan voting and a poor Rockies team, as the Cardinals’ Jhonny Peralta and Giants’ Brandon Crawford were named the starter and reserve at shortstop for the NL.

 

For my money, Cueto making what could possibly his last appearance in a Reds uniform during a “home” All-Star Game would be a unique sight and a fond farewell for one of the best pitchers in Cincinnati history, as a trade for the veteran ace seems inevitable. Again, Cueto, while he might be having an All-Star season, won't get the necessary love for the “Final Vote” because of the body of work of pitchers who have already been named to the team like the Braves’ Shelby Miller, Pirates’ Gerrit Cole, and Cardinals’ Michael Wacha.

 

Not surprisingly, one name stands alone on the NL’s “Final Vote” ballot — Clayton Kershaw. While Kershaw isn’t having the same season he had in 2014, which was historically great, how can he, the reigning NL Cy Young and MVP, not make the roster? If anything, Kershaw is a “victim” of his own success and the fact that there are several pitchers who are simply having better seasons. Looking at the NL’s All-Star pitching staff and it’s hard to argue with the players’ and Bochy’s selections of Max Scherzer, Zach Greinke, Madison Bumgarner, A.J. Burnett, Wacha, Miller, and Cole. But that doesn’t mean that Kershaw isn’t an All-Star either, even if his inclusion is due more to his resume than his 2015 performance to date.

 

To put it another way, how is the most dominant pitcher  of a generation, the winner of three Cy Young Awards and the 2014 NL MVP not in the All-Star Game — especially when his numbers are just as comparable to that of those who are already on the team? Let’s do the right thing here, America. Vote Kershaw.

 

(Note: Statistics as of July 7)

 

— Written by Jake Rose, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. An avid baseball fan, Rose also takes time to do some play-by-play work for the radio broadcasts of Middle Tennessee State Blue Raider baseball games. Follow him on Twitter @JakeRose24.

Teaser:
Who Should Win the 2015 MLB All-Star Game "Final Vote"?
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-sec-stadiums-2015
Body:

Last summer, Athlon Sports asked 12 SEC experts like Tim Brando, Dan Wolken, Steven Godfrey and more to rank their favorite stadiums in the SEC.

 

Based on general atmosphere, fan support, home-field advantage, amenities, tailgating, surrounding campus and even scoreboards, here is how the voting shook out.

 

However, attendance is an increasing concern for all athletic directors and tweaks are made to college football stadiums every year. Using our expert rankings, here is a statistical breakdown and update of SEC stadiums and how they stack up against each other entering the 2015 season.
 


1. Tiger Stadium, LSU

Baton Rouge at night is an experience. After renovations, Tiger Stadium became the third biggest in the SEC, and finished fourth nationally at 101,723 per game last fall. While the 99.4 percent capacity rate was only eighth in the SEC, the 11 percent jump in attendance in 2014 was second only to Texas A&M.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
1924102,321 (3rd)101,723 (4th)99.4% (8th)102,321 ('14)

 

2. Kyle Field, Texas A&M

The move to the SEC and the massive $450 million renovations are essentially complete and it gives Texas A&M the biggest stadium in the SEC. The 102.5 percent capacity led the SEC in 2014, as did the 21 percent jump in attendance from 2013. At 105,123 per game, the Aggies trailed only Ohio State nationally in attendance. Kevin Sumlin is just 13-7 at home, but his new building should only get more difficult to play in for opposing teams.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
1927102,512 (1st)105,123 (2nd)102.5% (1st)110,633 ('14)

 


3. Sanford Stadium, Georgia

The Bulldogs sold every ticket in 2014, finishing with an average attendance (92,746) that matched its capacity. The fifth-biggest stadium in the SEC finished ninth nationally in attendance and only four other schools in the conference matched or surpassed Georgia's 100 percent capacity mark. Mark Richt is 74-15 “Between the Hedges” in his time at Georgia.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
192992,746 (5th)92,746 (9th)100% (4th)92,746 ('14)

 

4. Neyland Stadium, Tennessee

The Big Orange brick cathedral is one of the loudest places to watch football in the nation and the crowds finally started coming back in 2014. The second-biggest venue in the SEC finished seventh nationally in attendance at 99,754 per game — a four percent jump from 2013 — as Neyland was 97.4 percent full. Butch Jones is 12-13 in two years at Tennessee, but 8-6 at home, including the biggest win of his tenure over No. 11 South Carolina two years ago.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
1921102,455 (2nd)99,754 (7th)97.4% (9th)109,061 ('04)

 

 
5. Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama

Alabama is 238-52-3 since opening the building in 1929, and Nick Saban is 43-6 at home during his tenure. The Crimson Tide finished sixth nationally in attendance last fall in the fourth-largest building in the SEC. The 99.7 percent capacity ranked sixth in the SEC as well.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
1929101,821 (4th)101,534 (6th)99.7% (6th)101,821 ('14)

 

6. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida

"The Swamp" was one of just four SEC stadiums to see a small dip in attendance last fall. The two percent drop still netted Florida 85,834 fans per game, good for 12th nationally. The 96.9 percent capacity average was just 10th in the SEC and one reason why Will Muschamp is now coaching Auburn's defense. Muschamp was 18-8 overall at home but just 3-6 in his last nine games at The Swamp.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (RK)% (Rk)Record
193088,548 (6th)85,834 (12th)96.9% (10th)90,907 ('09)

 


7. Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn

Just like Georgia, Auburn finished with exactly 100 percent attendance in 2014 — just one of five in the league to do so. At 87,451 per game, Auburn ranked 11th in the nation in total attendance in the seventh-largest building in the SEC. Gus Malzahn is 14-1 at home in two years as the head Tiger.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
193987,451 (7th)87,451 (11th)100% (4th)87,451 ('14)

 

8. Williams-Brice Stadium, South Carolina

For a team that lost six times last year, South Carolina fans still packed their home venue. The Gamecocks finished third in the SEC in average attendance and was one of five schools in the conference that drew above capacity. The 101.4 percent average ranked behind only Texas A&M and Ole Miss in '14. The Cocks ranked 16th nationally in attendance, even though their stadium is among the bottom half (eighth) in the SEC when it comes to size.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
193480,250 (8th)81,381 (16th)101.4% (3rd)85,199 ('12)

 


9. Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Arkansas

Arkansas’ all-time record at its home stadium is a solid but uninspiring 171-82-2 but the Razorbacks were 5-1 last year with the only loss coming to SEC champ Alabama. In fact, the eight percent growth in attendance from '13 finished behind only Texas A&M, LSU and Mississippi State in the SEC — all three of which saw major renovations increase capacity last season. The 92.4 percent capacity average was just 11th in the SEC, but the 66,521 average was 23rd nationally.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
193872,000 (9th)66,521 (23rd)92.4% (11th)76,808 ('10)

 

10. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Ole Miss

The second-oldest venue in the SEC isn't very big — ranking 13th in the league in size — but was packed to the gills last season. The 101.6 percent average capacity was second only to Texas A&M and one of just five in the league above 100. The Rebels were 11th in attendance in the SEC last fall but still ranked 26th nationally, well ahead of programs like Oregon, Miami and Baylor. Capacity will actually drop to 58,580 this fall before moving to 64,038 in 2016.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
191560,580 (13th)61,547 (26th)101.6 (2nd)62,657 ('09)

 


11. Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium, Missouri

Mizzou finished in the top 25 in attendance in college football last fall at 65,285 per game. Unfortunately, the 10th-biggest building in the SEC produced the conference's 10th-largest crowd on average. Such is life in the SEC. The 91.7 percent capacity was ahead of only Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Missouri is 14-7 at home since joining the SEC, but 11-3 the last two seasons.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
192771,168 (10th)65,285 (24th)91.7% (12th)75,298 ('80)

 

12. Davis Wade Stadium, Mississippi State

Expansion gave Mississippi State its largest home crowd in history last season when 62,945 poured into Davis Wade Stadium to watch the Auburn game. The Bulldogs finished 12th in the SEC in attendance (28th nationally) but it still was the most successful year in school history. Despite finishing below 100 percent capacity on average (99.6), Mississippi State ranked third in the SEC with a 10 percent jump in average attendance, trailing only Texas A&M and LSU.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
191461,337 (12th)61,127 (28th)99.6% (7th)62,945 ('14)

 


13. Commonwealth Stadium, Kentucky

Despite winning just two games in 2013, this team drew 59,472 fans per game. With a slightly improved team, Kentucky finished 30th in the nation (57,572) last season. At 85.2 percent full each weekend, Kentucky was one of two SEC teams (Vanderbilt) to post a sub-90 percent average capacity. All seven of Mark Stoops' wins at Kentucky have come at home.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
197367,606 (11th)57,572 (30th)85.2% (13th)71,024 ('07)

 

14. Vanderbilt Stadium, Vanderbilt

It's the smallest building in the league and generally the quietest as well. The Dores ranked last in the SEC in attendance, average capacity and were last in the league with a four percent drop from 2013.

 

OpenedCapacity (Rk)'14 Avg. (Rk)% (Rk)Record (Yr)
192240,550 (14th)34,258 (66th)84.5% (14th)41,448 ('98)
Teaser:
Ranking the SEC Stadiums for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 10:30

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