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All taxonomy terms: NASCAR, NASCAR
Path: /nascar/fantasy-nascar-picks-chicagoland-speedway
Body:

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


Next up: Geico 400 (Chicagoland Speedway)
Race: 267 laps, 400.5 miles (1.5-mile D-shaped oval)
2012 Winner: Brad Keselowski


A-List (Choose two, start one)
Jimmie Johnson  Jimmie Johnson

Take that rock you've been living under, slide it out of the way, realize that the Chase for the Sprint Cup starts with Sunday's race at Chicagoland Speedway and start Mr. Chase himself, Jimmie Johnson. Even with Johnson's four-race slump, it's crazy to think his No. 48 won't be tuned and ready to challenge for title No. 6. He'll start at a track where he's led 211 laps in the last two years and was beat narrowly by Brad Keselowski in 2012. Johnson's average running position (7.2) at Chicago in the last eight events leads the series and betters the second-best by nearly two spots.

Matt Kenseth
There was a different administration in the White House when Matt Kenseth last scored a top-10 finish at Chicagoland. Why, then, should he be a worthy start for this weekend's race? Consider that Kenseth's average running position (10.9) is more indicative of his true success at the track. Two years ago, he ran out of fuel on the last lap and was pushed to the finish by J.J. Yeley, drawing a one-lap penalty. Last year, he broke a shock in the middle of the race after leading. Don't forget he has two wins on 1.5-mile tracks this season similar to Chicago — Kansas Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Also consider: Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon


B-List (Choose four, start two)
Brian Vickers  Brian Vickers

It's been a tough week for Vickers after being implicated in the Richmond mess caused by team orders from his Michael Waltrip Racing team. A pawn in that fiasco, Vickers will look to change the story this weekend at a track he's found limited success in five starts. He's never finished worse than 14th at Chicagoland and drives a car that was 14th a year ago with Mark Martin behind the wheel. If nothing else, Vickers' average finish of 8.6 is alluring at a point in the season where B-List starting candidates may be running thin.

Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch hasn't finished two 1.5-mile track races this season (he crashed at Kansas and blew an engine at Charlotte) but he's been pretty decent in the three others. He's notched wins at Atlanta and Texas while finishing fourth at Las Vegas and fifth at Kentucky. Those results are the best indication of expected success at Chicago, a track he's finished in the top-5 three times and scored a win in a late-race duel with Jimmie Johnson in 2008. Busch was fourth at Chicago last season.

Martin Truex Jr.
No one has had a worse week than Martin Truex Jr. (well, maybe Clint Bowyer after facing Ricky Craven’s musice) after forces beyond his control behind the wheel Saturday night first put him in the picture-taking session for Chase qualifiers, and later dumped him out in humiliating fashion. After that, it'd be awful fitting for Truex to improve on his ninth-place finish at Chicago last season. He's another driver who has been remarkably good on many 1.5-mile tracks (he was second at Texas and Atlanta this year) and his percentage of laps in the top 15 at Chicago is third-best among B-List drivers.

Carl Edwards
Arguably the most under-the-radar driver heading toward the Chase, you've probably not used Edwards' full allotment of starts this season. Chicago should prove good for that considering he finished second and fourth at the track in 2010 and 2011. We're tossing out his 2012 results (17th) because, well, not much in 2012 was good for Edwards anyway. All told, he has three career top-5 finishes at Chicago and two 1.5-mile track top-5 finishes this season.

Also consider: Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr.


C-List (Choose two, start one)
AJ Allmendinger

If you've been following our advice, you're undoubtedly reaching the end of available starts for Allmendinger. If you haven't, this should be a great weekend to pull the journeyman driver out for a C-List start. He's back in the No. 47 for Bobby Labonte this week (still out with broken ribs) and coming off a finish of 14th just two weeks ago at Atlanta. In four career Chicago starts, Allmendinger has three top-14 finishes. The No. 47 is improving with Allmendinger behind the wheel and Chicago should continue that trend.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse, fresh from his first career Sprint Cup top 10 at Richmond, makes his first Cup-level start at Chicagoland. It's a track that has served him well before. Stenhouse won the second Nationwide Series race at the track last season and finished second in the first. The fact that it's a 1.5-mile track is also good news for Stenhouse: He finished 16th at the similar Atlanta two weeks ago and led 34 laps at the nearly-identical Kansas back in April.

Also consider: David Ragan, David Gilliland


Follow Geoffrey Miller on Twitter: @GeoffreyMiller
 

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 16:38
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Texas A&M Aggies
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week-4-episode-4-2013
Body:

In the Week 4 episode of the Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast, co-hosts Braden Gall and David Fox recap the key developments of Week 3 and take a quick look ahead at Week 4.

In this week’s podcast:

• The final score may have been unpredictable, but the way Alabama and Texas A&M got to 49-42 was by the numbers for the Tide. Braden wants to know if A&M is still in the title race, but David is having none of it. As for Alabama, should Ole Miss and LSU see signs of weakness?

• After assessing blame in the fiasco at the end of Arizona State's win over Wisconsin, we take a look at the Sun Devils' important matchup this week against Stanford.

• Nebraska's defense fell apart, but what does that mean for Bo Pelini? Braden sees a repeat of past games for the Huskers, but David is entertaining the possibility that UCLA is just that good.

• Auburn-LSU is the more interesting SEC matchup this week, but the two hosts take a second to talk about Braden's alma mater (Tennessee) facing David's (Florida).
 

• In this week's rapid fire, we ask which of the Big Ten losing teams from last week have the best chance of getting to the Rose Bowl, potential for crazy in Week 4 and a hypothetical for Urban Meyer.
The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes and our podcast RSS feed.

Please send any comments, questions and podcast topics to @AthlonSports, @BradenGall and @DavidFox615 on Twitter.

Thanks to Moon Taxi for sharing their tunes for bumper music. Their new album Mountains Beaches Cities is now available.

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 16:31
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-ranking-top-50-coaches-2013-14
Body:

The national championship hardware remains in the state of Kentucky, but Athlon Sports’ top coach honors remain in East Lansing.

Last season, we ranked Michigan State’s Tom Izzo the No. 1 coach in the country, and we saw little reason to change that in 2012-13. The Spartans were in the thick of the Big Ten all season, finishing one game behind Indiana for regular season title in the toughest league in the country. Michigan State then reached the Sweet 16 for the fifth time in six seasons.

Izzo is 13 seasons removed from his only national title, but he’s also reached the Final Four four times since then.

That number may beg the question why Izzo, and not a more recent national champion, is our top coach. Simply put, he excels in all areas as a college basketball coach: NCAA Tournament success, regular season consistency, recruiting and player development.

Consider that no senior who has started with Izzo has finished his four years without reaching the Final Four. And Izzo has had this success without the benefit of churning out NBA Draft picks as freshmen and sophomores every year as many of his counterparts do. There’s nothing wrong with recruiting one-and-dones and sending them to the Draft, but Izzo has a formula that has worked for nearly two decades despite all the changes in the sport.
 

*A few things to note as we are ranking coaches: We are attempting to look at the whole package of gameday acumen, recruiting, player development, and regular-season and postseason success. We are also keeping in mind a coach’s career trajectory.

And now, on to the debate. Feel free to chime in at @AthlonSports on Twitter or Athlon Sports on Facebook.

Other conference coach rankings
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


1. Tom Izzo, Michigan State
Record (all at Michigan State): 439-178 overall (.712), 209-95 Big Ten (.693)
NCAA Tournament: 39-16, six Final Fours, one national championship
Tom Izzo will have two McDonald’s All-Americans on his roster in 2013-14 in Keith Appling and Gary Harris, a rarity for the longtime Spartans’ coach. Few coaches have weathered the changes in college basketball as well as Izzo — the changes in the NBA Draft rules, the ups and downs in the Big Ten and all the challenges that come with recruiting. Izzo has assembled the Big Ten’s most consistent program without a glut of first-round draft picks (none since 2006) or early entries to the NBA Draft (none during the one-and-done era). Consider this: Appling and Adreian Payne are looking to avoid becoming the first senior class to play all four years with Izzo and miss the Final Four.

2. Rick Pitino, Louisville
Record: 662-235
Record at Louisville: 310-111 overall (.736), 137-67 Conference USA/Big East (.672)
NCAA Tournament: 48-16, seven Final Fours, two national championships
Pitino further added his name to the record book by becoming the first coach to win an NCAA title at two different schools. He’ll have a chance to add a third title to the mantle as the Cardinals enter 2013-14 as a top-three team. In the AAC, he has no peer has an Tournament coach. His 48 NCAA wins are 15 more than the other nine coaches in the league combined. His teams are generally among the best defensive squads in the country with their ability to force turnovers. Pitino also is an excellent in-game tactician. But the legendary coach also has softened his demeanor in recent years. Just ask Peyton Siva and Russ Smith.

3. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
Record: 957-238
Record at Duke: 884-238 overall (.788), 350-153 ACC (.696)
NCAA Tournament: 82-25, 11 Final Fours, four national championships
Since 2007, Duke has lost in the NCAA Tournament to an 11th-seeded VCU, seventh-seeded West Virginia and 15th-seeded Lehigh. In that span, Mike Krzyzewski still managed his fourth national title and four 30-win seasons. Krzyzewski has passed Bob Knight on the all-time wins list and now chases Pat Summitt’s 1,098 wins in NCAA basketball. With a preseason top-five team on his hands in 2013-14, Krzyzewski remains at the top of his game.

4. John Calipari, Kentucky
Record: 568-166
Record at Kentucky: 123-26 overall (.826), 52-14 SEC (.788)
NCAA Tournament: 38-13, four Final Fours, one national championship
Calipari had his worst season since 2004-05 at Memphis as Kentucky went 21-12 and lost to Robert Morris in the NIT. True, this was not a typical Calipari team, but the Wildcats were on the verge of the NCAA Tournament before star Nerlens Noel went down with a leg injury. But Calipari should rebound in a way only he can. While his 2012-13 team plodded through an unimpressive SEC, Calipari was assembling one of the best recruiting classes of all time. Calipari could turn an NIT embarrassment into another Final Four appearance or more in 2013-14.

5. Bill Self, Kansas
Record: 507-164
Record at Kansas: 300-59 overall (.836), 137-27 Big 12 (.835)
NCAA Tournament: 35-14, two Final Fours, one national championship
The names and faces outside of Lawrence keep changing, but Kansas hasn’t fallen from its perch in the Big 12. Self has won at least 30 games in four consecutive seasons and reached the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament in six of the last seven seasons. Even when the Jayhawks looked vulnerable for 2013-14 after losing all five starters, they signed the presumptive No. 1 draft pick, Andrew Wiggins, and landed transfer Tarik Black from Memphis. The new faces, including a signing class that ranked only second to Kentucky, will present a challenge for Self. He’s had the luxury of developing players like Cole Aldrich and Thomas Robinson from role players to All-America-type stars. Perry Ellis fits that mold for KU, but he's one of the few players with experience in the Big 12.

6. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
Record (all at Syracuse): 920-314 (.746) overall, 362-191 (.655)
NCAA Tournament: 52-29, four Final Fours, one national championship
Last season was quite a year for Jim Boeheim. He crossed the 900-win mark (joining KrzyzewskI and Knight) and became the fourth coach to take a team to the Final Four in four different decades (joining Rick Pitino, Dean Smith and Krzyzewski). Now, one of the founding fathers of Big East basketball will try his hand at the ACC. In case you were wondering: Boeheim is 3-4 all-time against Duke and North Carolina.

7. Roy Williams, North Carolina
Record: 700-180
Record at North Carolina: 282-79 (.781) overall, 117-45 ACC (.722)
NCAA Tournament: 62-21, seven Final Fours, two national championships
Despite his stellar record, Roy Williams gets knocked for a few things: His teams crumble in the NCAA Tournament, and his teams don’t play defense. To those, we have two retorts. Williams has a better NCAA Tournament record at North Carolina (28-7) than he had at Kansas (34-14), a difference of nearly 10 percent and two national titles. And in 10 seasons under Williams, North Carolina has ranked in the top 25 nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency rankings eight times.

8. Billy Donovan, Florida
Record: 450-186
Record at Florida: 415-166 overall (.714), 174-110 SEC (.635)
NCAA Tournament: 31-11, three Final Fours, two national championships
Donovan is the only coach standing in the way of Kentucky hegemony in the SEC. The Gators needed some time to regroup after back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007, but they’ve won the SEC regular season title in two of the last three seasons. The Gators have lost in the Elite Eight in each of the last three seasons, but most teams would take three consecutive trips to the regional finals. Few programs will recruit to the same level as Kentucky, but Donovan never lacks for elite prospects in Gainesville.

9. Thad Matta, Ohio State
Record: 352-104
Record at Ohio State: 250-73 overall (.774), 111-45 (.712)
NCAA Tournament: 22-11, two Final Fours
More often than not, Matta has had the most talented roster in the Big Ten, especially since the Thad Five led the Buckeyes to the national championship game in 2007. The Buckeyes have advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament in four consecutive seasons, though the 2011 team that stalled in the Sweet 16 was a major postseason disappointment. In 13 seasons as a head coach at Xavier, Butler and Ohio State, Matta has claimed at least a share of a regular season title an astounding eight times.

10. John Beilein, Michigan
Record: 415-260
Record at Michigan: 112-85 overall (.589), 55-53 Big Ten (.509)
NCAA Tournament: 13-8, one Final Four
Beilein is, in college basketball coaching terms, a self-made man. He’s never been an assistant, making his route to Michigan that much more unique. But now that he’s made the journey from community college to Le Moyne to Canisius to Richmond to West Virginia to Ann Arbor, we’re getting an idea of what Beilein can do at a Big Ten powerhouse. Beilein is the most successful coach at Michigan since the Fab Five days, and he shows little signs of slowing down. He’s signed elite recruits like Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III while developing a point guard Ohio State ignored in its own backyard (Trey Burke) into the national player of the year.

11. Shaka Smart, VCU
Record (all at VCU): 117-37 overall (.750), 50-20 Colonial/Atlantic 10 (.714)
NCAA Tournament: 7-3, one Final Four
Smart’s 117 wins through his first four seasons matches Brad Stevens’ record for the most wins in the first four seasons in of a career. If VCU wins 23 games this season, he’ll have the record for most wins in his first five seasons. More than wins, Smart’s teams have an identity based on the havoc defense. The Rams have led the nation in turnover rate the last two seasons, forcing turnovers on more than a quarter of possessions.

12. Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
Record: 321-140
Record at Wisconsin: 291-113 overall (.720), 144-60 Big Ten (.705)
NCAA Tournament: 16-12
The 2013-14 season was further testament that no matter what happens, Bo Ryan will have a top-four team in the Big Ten. Point guard Jordan Taylor moved on, then heir apparent Josh Gasser was lost for the season with a torn ACL in October. No matter, Wisconsin still finished 12-6 in the Big Ten, finishing in the top four in the league ever season under Ryan. Ryan has good reason to be confident in his formula: He’s been able to develop players in his system year in and year out. In 11 seasons at Wisconsin, Ryan’s teams have ranked in the top 10 in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency eight times and in the top 30 of offensive efficiency eight times. The only knock, though, is Wisconsin’s bad luck in the NCAA Tournament. The Badgers haven’t advanced beyond the Sweet 16 since 2005.

13. Sean Miller, Arizona
Record: 216-90
Record at Arizona: 96-43 overall (.691), 48-24 Pac-12 (.667)
NCAA Tournament: 11-6
It may be too early to say Sean Miller has returned Arizona to Lute Olson levels, but the Wildcats aren’t too far off. After a 16-15 mark in his first season, Miller has led Arizona to an 80-28 record in the last three, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2011 and Sweet 16 in 2013. With a star-studded freshman class led by Aaron Gordon, Miller has a team that will contend the Final Four, a milestone the Wildcats haven’t reached since 2001.

14. Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh
Record (all at Pittsburgh): 262-86 overall (.753), 115-57 (.669) Big East
NCAA Tournament: 11-9
The 2011-12 season turned out to be a blip for Jamie Dixon at Pittsburgh. The Panthers went 5-13 in the Big East and missed the NCAA Tournament for his worst season as Pitt’s head coach. The Panthers quickly rebounded in 2013-14. Overall, a few numbers to consider: Dixon has one more Big East win than Boeheim since Dixon became head coach in 2003-04. Dixon also had 16 more Big East wins than Jim Calhoun from 2003-04 through the UConn coach’s retirement last season. And lastly, Dixon had only three fewer Big East wins (92) than Louisville’s Rick Pitino (95) when both programs were in the league. The only thing that’s missing is postseason success: Dixon has reached the Elite Eight and won Big East Tournament only once each.

15. Mike Montgomery, Cal
Record: 655-304
Record at Cal: 109-59 overall (.649), 59-31 Pac-12 (.656)
NCAA Tournament: 18-16, one Final Four
By going 12-6 in the Pac-12 last season, Montgomery is the first Cal coach to win 10 or more conference games in five consecutive seasons since Pete Newell did it in the ‘50s, a run that included the 1959 national championship. Montgomery may not replicate his run at Stanford, but Cal has proven it will be in the mix for an NCAA Tournament slot each season, no matter the changing personnel.

16. Mark Few, Gonzaga
Record (all at Gonzaga): 374-93 overall (.801), 178-22 West Coast (.890)
NCAA Tournament: 15-14
The West Coast Conference has become more competitive since Few took over in 1999-2000, but the Bulldogs continue to sit atop the league. Only once in his tenure has Gonzaga failed to win neither a West Coast regular season nor tournament title (2011-12). Gonzaga followed that with the best regular season in school history with a 32-3 record, 16-0 league mark and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. That season was spoiled by a round of 32 loss to Wichita State, the fourth consecutive season Gonzaga failed to reach the second weekend of the Tournament.

17. Tom Crean, Indiana
Record: 274-178
Record at Indiana: 84-82 overall (.506), 33-57 Big Ten (.367)
NCAA Tournament: 9-7, one Final Four
Crean has brought Indiana back to national prominence in a way that’s been lacking since the Bob Knight era. Crean reestablished Indiana’s recruiting clout in state, starting with the signing of Cody Zeller and continuing with Yogi Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell. After a breakthrough season which saw Indiana win only its second post-Knight Big Ten title, it’s time to see if Crean can keep Indiana on top.

18. Buzz Williams, Marquette
Record: 136-71
Record at Marquette: 122-54 overall (.693), 60-30 Big East (.667)
NCAA Tournament: 8-5
Buzz Williams’ name keeps getting thrown out for other major jobs, but the stat-minded Texan is doing just fine in Milwaukee. Marquette is one of only four teams to reach the Sweet 16 in each of the last three seasons, joining Florida, Kansas and Ohio State. And he’s done this without the benefit of McDonald’s All-Americans. And despite the departure of Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom before last season, Marquette won a share of the Big East title. 

19. Bob Huggins, West Virginia
Record: 651-261
Record at West Virginia: 133-75 overall (.635), 60-48 Big East/Big 12 (.556)
NCAA Tournament: 27-20, two Final Fours
West Virginia’s first season in the Big 12 truly was an aberration for Huggin. The 13-19 season was only the second losing season of his career and second losing conference season (the first for both being his first season at Akron in 1984-85). Perhaps Huggins had a mix that simply didn’t jell last season with Deniz Klicli trying to mesh with a handful of transfers and freshmen. Still, Huggins has made things work with wayward souls throughout his career, and he’ll try to do the same in 2013-14. The Mountaineers have regressed each season since reaching the 2010 Final Four, so there’s an element of concern here.

20. Jim Larranaga, Miami
Record: 491-329
Record at Miami: 49-20 overall (.710), 24-10 ACC (.706)
NCAA Tournament: 7-6, one Final Four
When Larranaga left George Mason for Miami, it seemed to be a cushy last job before he retired. Turns out Larranaga had a few more surprises. Seven years after taking George Mason to the Final Four, Larranaga won an ACC Tournament and regular-season title at Miami — the last ACC team other than Duke or North Carolina to do both in the same season was a David Thompson-led NC State team in 1974. Nearly as remarkable: Larranaga has had one losing conference season since 1993-94 while at Bowling Green.

21. Dana Altman, Oregon
Record: 483-280
Record at Oregon: 73-37 overall (.664), 32-22 Pac-12 (.593)
NCAA Tournament: 4-9
Who would've pegged Altman this close to the 500-win club? Odds are the Ducks coach will get there this season. He’s won 20 games in 14 of the last 15 seasons with Oregon and Creighton. Not bad for an interesting start to his tenure. He wasn’t the first choice for the Ducks, but Altman has been a success in Eugene. His teams have changed quite a bit in three seasons due to transfers in and out of the program, but three consecutive 20-win seasons is the best run at Oregon since 1935-39.

22. John Thompson III, Georgetown
Record: 277-131
Record at Georgetown: 209-89 overall (.701), 99-57 (.635)
NCAA Tournament: 8-9, one Final Four
Thompson’s tenure at Georgetown has been marred by early NCAA Tournament exits, but consider three of the last five teams that knocked the Hoyas out of the Tournament: Florida Gulf Coast, a Final Four-bound VCU and a Stephen Curry-led Davidson. Thompson’s career shouldn’t be defined by those exits. Georgetown surprised last season by winning a share of the Big East title, the third time the Hoyas have won the regular-season championship under Thompson.

23. Jay Wright, Villanova
Record: 379-229
Record at Villanova: 257-144 overall (.641), 114-90 Big East (.559)
NCAA Tournament: 12-10, one Final Four
Villanova bounced back from a losing 2011-12 season by going 20-14 overall and 10-8 in the Big East last year. The Wildcats aren't competing at the same level as they were in the late 2000s, but they’re showing signs of getting back. Villanova defeated each of the Big East’s tri-champs (Louisville, Marquette and Georgetown) at least once last season plus Syracuse. Wright also has a point guard in Ryan Arcidiacono who is poised to be one of the league’s breakout stars. After reaching the NCAA Tournament in eight of the last nine seasons, 2011-12 was an aberration.

24. Steve Fisher, San Diego State
Record: 466-252
Record at San Diego State: 281-171 overall (.622), 113-97 MWC (.538)
NCAA Tournament: 23-12, three Final Fours, one national championship
Fisher’s San Diego State tenure alone would give him top honors in the Mountain West. He took over a program that had never won an NCAA Tournament game and turned it into a regular conference contender and top-25 team. The last two seasons ended in disappointment as the Aztecs lost in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament to double-digit seeds, but Fisher has led San Diego State to a 55-23 league record in the last five seasons while improving the program’s recruiting profile significantly.

25. Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt
Record: 400-239
Record at Vanderbilt: 277-176 overall (.611), 111-115 SEC (.491)
NCAA Tournament: 6-8
Stallings may always wonder how his team with the core of Jeffery Taylor, John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli never made it out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Now, the Commodores are in a rebuilding phase after those three left school with school’s first SEC Tournament title in 61 years. The overall record isn’t flashy, but Stallings has built a consistent program at Vanderbilt, not an easy feat. He’s one win a way from tying Roy Skinner for the most wins in program history.

26. Gregg Marshall, Wichita State
Record: 333-153
Record at Wichita State: 139-70 overall (.665), 66-42 Missouri Valley (.611)
NCAA Tournament: 5-9, one Final Four
Marshall perhaps went underappreciated nationally before taking Wichita State to the Final Four last season, but perhaps more should have seen a breakout coming for the Shockers. Marshall increased his win total each season in Wichita and improved the Shockers’ postseason results each season. Before Wichita State, Marshall led Winthrop to the NCAA Tournament in seven of nine seasons.

27. Leonard Hamilton, Florida State
Record: 419-353
Record at Florida State: 219-143 overall (.605), 89-89 ACC (.500)
NCAA Tournament: 6-7
Hamilton knows something about degree of difficulty: He has won a share of the Big East regular-season title at Miami and an ACC Tournament title at Florida State. After losing seasons in ACC play in five of his first six years at FSU, Hamilton has gone 52-30 in the conference in the last four seasons. The defensive-minded Hamilton turned FSU into a factor in the ACC after more than a decade of irrelevance.

28. Matt Painter, Purdue
Record: 201-100
Record at Purdue: 176-95 overall (.649), 84-56 Big Ten (.600)
NCAA Tournament: 8-7
Painter knew he would be rebuilding after the Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore class left campus. The Boilermakers performed admirably under the circumstances in a loaded Big Ten last season, finishing 8-10. This could be a key season for Painter, though, as his program enters the second season of the post-Hummel era.

29. Mike Brey, Notre Dame
Record: 384-194
Record at Notre Dame: 285-142 overall (.667), 136-79 Big East (.633)
NCAA Tournament: 6-11
Stability is the name of the game here as Notre Dame has won 20 games in each of the last seven seasons, reached in the NCAA Tournament in six of the last seven years and protected its homecourt. Still, Notre Dame has not reached the second weekend of the NCAA since Brey’s third season in 2003.

30. Lon Kruger, Oklahoma
Record: 514-332
Record at Oklahoma: 35-28 overall (.556), 16-20 Big 12 (.444)
NCAA Tournament: 14-14, one Final Four
Oklahoma knew what it would get when it hired Kruger, and the well-traveled coach delivered. No coach is more reliable at taking over a tough situation and putting the program on the right track. Kruger went 11-7 in the Big 12 in his second season at OU and became the first coach to take five different teams to the NCAA Tournament (Kansas State, Florida, Illinois and UNLV were the others). Kruger has done his work with a minimal amount of flash — he’s never coached a consensus All-American, hasn’t won a regular-season conference title since 1998 and hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2008. But programs don’t hire Kruger expecting John Calipari.

31. Tad Boyle, Colorado
Record: 121-80
Record at Colorado: 69-38 overall (.645), 29-23 Big 12/Pac-12 (.558)
NCAA Tournament: 1-2
Colorado is one of the lucky basketball programs that has seen conference realignment work in its favor. The Buffaloes are 21-15 in the Pac-12 with back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 1962-63. Boyle, who also laid the groundwork at Northern Colorado, has restored interest in basketball in Boulder, both from fans and aspiring NBA Draft picks.

32. Fran Dunphy, Temple
Record: 468-238
Record at Temple: 158-75 overall (.678), 80-32 Atlantic 10 (.714)
NCAA Tournament: 3-15
A staple of Philadelphia’s Big 5, Dunphy is as consistent as they come. In the last 24 seasons at Penn and Temple, Dunphy has finished outside of the top three of the conference standings only twice. While he has a reputation as a good defensive coach, he’ll adjust: His 2010 team, for example, was a slow-it-down team that excelled in defensive efficiency. With Khalif Wyatt the last two seasons and with Dionte Christmas early in his tenure, his teams have pushed the tempo (relatively speaking) and have been stronger on the offensive end. With a young group in a new league, Dunphy will have to find a new formula for 2013-14.

33. Tony Bennett, Virginia
Record: 145-86
Record at Virginia: 76-53 overall (.589), 32-34 ACC (.485)
NCAA Tournament: 3-3
Bennett’s preferred style of play isn’t the most exciting, but it is effective. He’s reversed the fortunes of Washington State and Virginia while making stars of Klay Thompson, Mike Smith and Joe Harris. The Cavaliers went 11-7 in the ACC last season, but this could be a breakout season for program that hasn’t reached the Sweet 16 since 1995.

34. Dave Rose, BYU
Record (all at BYU): 209-66 overall (.760), 100-28 Mountain West/West Coast (.781)
NCAA Tournament: 4-6
BYU’s two-year tenure in the West Coast Conference hasn’t been as impressive as the Jimmer Fredette-led seasons in the Mountain West, but that could change this season with Tyler Haws returning. Still, Rose has never failed to win 20 games in his eight seasons as a head coach. Last season was the first under Rose in which BYU lost double-digit games.

35. Bob McKillop, Davidson
Record (all at Davidson): 452-279 overall (.618), 275-103 Big South/Southern (.728)
NCAA Tournament: 3-7
If you thought Davidson and Bob McKillop was just the Stephen Curry, you’d be sorely mistaken. True, Davidson and McKillop were never better than when Curry brought the Wildcats to the brink of the Final Four, but this has been one of the most consistent mid-majors in the country. Davidson has gone 51-16 the last two seasons with a pair of SoCon regular season and tournament titles.

36. Rick Byrd, Belmont
Record (all at Belmont): 273-165 overall (.623), 167-57 Atlantic Sun/Ohio Valley (.746)
NCAA Tournament: 0-6
The 273 wins there doesn’t list Byrd’s victories at the NAIA level, which brings him up to 663. In only 13 years as a Division I program, Byrd has made Belmont one of top mid-majors. The Bruins have reached the NCAA Tournament in three consecutive seasons, including a 30-5 year in 2010-11.

37. Fran McCaffery, Iowa
Record: 305-227
Record at Iowa: 54-50 overall (.519), 21-33  Big Ten (.389)
NCAA Tournament: 2-5
McCaffery resurrected Iowa to NIT status the last two seasons, and he should have the Hawkeyes in contention for their first NCAA Tournament since 2006. If Iowa reaches the Tourney, it will be the fourth reclamation job McCaffery has led to the Big Dance, joining Lehigh, UNC Greensboro and Siena.

38. Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State
Record (all at Iowa State): 62-39 overall (.614), 26-26 in the Big 12 (.500)
NCAA Tournament: 2-2
Only Iowa State could have hired “The Mayor,” who spent more time in NBA front offices than on the coaches’ bench at any level. Hoiberg returned to Ames to make his alma mater competitive, going 23-13 in the Big 12 in the last two seasons. Iowa State needs to be creative to stay competitive, and that’s what it got in Hoiberg. He’s succeeded with Division I transfers in Royce White, Korie Lucious, Will Clyburn, Chris Babb and now DeAndre Kane. And Hoiberg has been among the best in applying advanced statistical analysis and scouting to his program. The Cyclones led the Big 12 in points per possession and effective field goal percentage last year.

39. Frank Martin, South Carolina
Record: 131-72
Record at South Carolina: 14-18 overall (.438), 4-14 SEC (.222)
NCAA Tournament: 6-4
Martin’s intense coaching style isn’t for everyone. South Carolina’s exodus of transfers may be an indication of that. If he can replicate what he did at Kansas State, Martin will have a formidable program at South Carolina. The Wildcats reached the NCAA Tournament three times in four seasons under Martin, including the Elite Eight in 2011.

40. Larry Brown, SMU
Record: 192-78
Record at SMU: 15-17 overall (.469), 5-11 Conference USA (.312)
NCAA Tournament: 19-6, three Final Fours, one national championship
Here’s a dilemma: Where should Larry Brown rank as SMU’s coach? His past credentials are impeccable with a national title at Kansas and a Final Four at UCLA (both were in the 1980s), plus an NBA championship and NBA coach of the year with two different franchises. Coaching in college and coaching in the NBA require different skill sets. Moreover, coaching in college in 1988 requires a different skill set than in 2013. Can Brown be as good a program CEO as Fran Dunphy, who we have listed ahead of him? We don't know right now. Brown's debut season at SMU was unimpressive, but the Mustangs were building for their new conference. Brown has brought in a slew of transfers and a major recruit in Keith Frazier. With better personnel against tougher competition in the American Athletic Conference, Brown will have a better gauge of what his third stint as a college coach will bring.

41. Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
Record: 204-124
Record at Cincinnati: 135-100 overall (.574), 57-67 Big East (.460)
NCAA Tournament: 3-5
Cronin doesn’t have look of an intimidating coach, but the Cincinnati native successfully whipped his alma mater back in shape. In the last three seasons, Cincinnati went 32-22 in the Big East, reached the NCAA Tournament each year and upset No. 3 seed Florida State to reach the Sweet 16 in 2012. The recruiting connections Cronin has built into New York and New Jersey will be tested as the American Athletic Conference is geographically separated from the area.

42. Chris Mack, Xavier
Record (all at Xavier): 90-44 overall (.672), 48-16 Atlantic 10 (.750)
NCAA Tournament: 4-3
This could be a critical season for Mack’s momentum at Xavier. A Cincinnati and Xavier product through and through, Mack led Xavier to A-10 titles in his first two seasons and to the Sweet 16 twice in his first three seasons. With a depleted roster, Xavier slipped to 17-14 last season. The Musketeers have a potential All-American in sophomore Semaj Christon, so Mack should expect to return to form in his fifth season.


43. Steve Lavin, St. John’s
Record: 196-125
Record at St. John’s: 51-47 overall (.520), 26-28 Big East (.481)
NCAA Tournament: 11-7
Lavin’s record technically includes the majority of the 2011-12 season when he missed all but the first four games while recovering from successful treatment for prostate cancer. The Red Storm’s record with Lavin on the bench is 20-17 in the Big East. Beyond the record, Lavin has brought momentum back to St. John’s. Lavin took a veteran team to the NCAA Tournament in 2011, but he has replenished the program with standout recruiting classes in recent years. St. John’s should be a consistent contender in the new Big East.

44. Lorenzo Romar, Washington
Record: 330-217
Record at Washington: 237-129 overall (.648), 118-82 Pac-12 (.590)
NCAA Tournament: 8-7
Washington’s sixth-place finish in the Pac-12 was the Huskies’ lowest in the league since 2007-08, prompting Romar to clean house on his staff. Romar has had little trouble bringing talent to Washington over the last decade, but the Huskies haven’t always had consistent results. Washington has missed the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons, but the Huskies won either the Pac-12 regular season or tournament title in four consecutive seasons from 2009-12.

45. Randy Bennett, Saint Mary’s
Record (all at Saint Mary’s): 263-125 overall (.678), 117-55 West Coast (.682)
NCAA Tournament: 3-5
Saint Mary’s has become a regular challenger for Gonzaga in the WCC, finally breaking the Bulldogs’ stranglehold on the league with a regular season and a conference tournament title in 2012. This is a remarkable feat for a program that went 2-27 the year before Bennett arrived in 2001-02. Bennett has rebuilt the program thanks to an unorthodox pipeline to Australia that has brought point guards like Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova to Moraga. The Gaels have averaged 26.8 wins the last six seasons.

46. Josh Pastner, Memphis
Record (all at Memphis): 106-34 overall (.757), 52-12 Conference USA (.813)
NCAA Tournament: 1-3
Pastner had the unenviable task of following John Calipari at a pressure situation at Memphis. By his fourth season, Pastner turned in his best year at Memphis, winning 31 games, going undefeated in Conference USA and defeating Saint Mary’s in the NCAA Tournament. Pastner’s record against ranked teams and major conference competition isn’t great, but he’s about to get a few more chances to show his mettle against teams like Louisville, UConn, Temple and Cincinnati. With Pastner's recruiting prowess, Memphis should have the talent to go toe-to-toe with this programs on a regular basis.

47. Larry Eustachy, Colorado State
Record: 428-267
Record at Colorado State: 26-9 overall (.743), 11-5 MWC (.688)
NCAA Tournament: 4-5
Eustachy took over a veteran team in Fort Collins and did what everyone expected by taking his fourth program to the NCAA Tournament. Now that the seniors are gone, there’s little doubt he can maintain the momentum here. Eustachy revived a dormant Southern Miss program and led Iowa State to national prominence before landing in the Mountain West.

48. Steve Alford, UCLA
Record: 385-206
Record at UCLA: First season
NCAA Tournament: 5-7
Is Alford a better coach than predecessor Ben Howland? Maybe not, but UCLA hopes he’s a better coach for UCLA than Howland was at the end of his tenure. Alford led New Mexico to its best seasons since the late ‘90s, winning the Mountain West regular season and tournament titles in each of his last two seasons. Just as relevant to UCLA, Alford did so with a recruiting pipeline to Southern California. Here’s the catch: Alford’s teams have been seeded third in the NCAA Tournament three times in his last four trips only to lose before the second weekend.

49. Steve Donahue, Boston College
Record: 192-190
Record at Boston College: 46-52 (.469), 20-30 ACC (.400)
NCAA Tournament: 2-3
Donahue is building Boston College in a similar fashion as he did at Cornell — from the ground up. Donahue reached the NIT in his first season at BC, but he’s had one of the nation’s youngest rosters the last two years, and it’s shown. This season could be the turning point after BC went from 4-12 to 7-11 in the ACC a year ago. By his eighth season at Cornell, Donahue began a run where he led the Big Red to three consecutive Ivy League titles and the Sweet 16 in 2010.

50. Stew Morrill, Utah State
Record: 584-267
Record at Utah State: 366-129 overall (.739), 186-62 Big West/WAC (.750)
NCAA Tournament: 1-9
Before the last two seasons, Utah State was about as automatic as any program in the WAC. The Aggies won four consecutive regular season titles from 2008-11. He’s essentially college basketball’s Bill Snyder, recruiting junior college prospects at a high level and avoiding tough non-conference competition. Morrill’s peers rate him as one of the best Xs and Os coaches, according to a poll by ESPN, but his program will be tested in a tougher Mountain West.
 

Teaser:
College Basketball: Ranking the top 50 coaches for 2013-14
Post date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 07:35
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-ranking-pac-12-coaches-2013-14
Body:

The Pac-12 is finally starting to pull out of its funk from recent seasons. For a few years, the Pac-12 more closely resembled a mid-major, producing only two NCAA Tournament teams in 2012 and 2010.

Perhaps it’s no surprise the league’s coaches are in a state of flux. Five coaches remain from 2008-09, the last time the league sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament. Washington’s Lorenzo Romar and Cal’s Mike Montgomery are Pac-12 staples by now, but three other coaches remaining from that season — Arizona State’s Herb Sendek, Oregon State’s Craig Robinson and Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins — are under pressure to show improvement now.

The theme of the offseason in the league was the arrival of new coaches at both Los Angeles schools, Steve Alford at UCLA and Andy Enfield at USC. Neither hires were viewed as slam dunks. Alford has precious few signature moments in the NCAA Tournament and Enfield is only two years removed from being an assistant at Florida State.

Arizona’s Sean Miller, Oregon’s Dana Altman, Colorado’s Tad Boyle and Montgomery have all remade their programs into Pac-12 contenders and players on the national stage, meaning both L.A. coaches have work to do to catch up.
 

*A few things to note as we are ranking coaches: We are attempting to look at the whole package of gameday acumen, recruiting, player development, and regular-season and postseason success. We are also keeping in mind a coach’s career trajectory.

And now, on to the debate. Feel free to chime in at @AthlonSports on Twitter or Athlon Sports on Facebook.

Other conference coach rankings
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC

1. Sean Miller, Arizona
Record: 216-90
Record at Arizona: 96-43 overall (.691), 48-24 Pac-12 (.667)
NCAA Tournament: 11-6
It may be too early to say Sean Miller has returned Arizona to Lute Olson levels, but the Wildcats aren’t too far off. After a 16-15 mark in his first season, Miller has led Arizona to an 80-28 record in the last three, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2011 and Sweet 16 in 2013. With a star-studded freshman class led by Aaron Gordon, Miller has a team that will contend the Final Four, a milestone the Wildcats haven’t reached since 2001.

2. Mike Montgomery, Cal
Record: 655-304
Record at Cal: 109-59 overall (.649), 59-31 Pac-12 (.656)
NCAA Tournament: 18-16, one Final Four
By going 12-6 in the Pac-12 last season, Montgomery is the first Cal coach to win 10 or more conference games in five consecutive seasons since Pete Newell did it in the ‘50s, a run that included the 1959 national championship. Montgomery may not replicate his run at Stanford, but Cal has proven it will be in the mix for an NCAA Tournament slot each season, no matter the changing personnel.

3. Dana Altman, Oregon
Record: 483-280
Record at Oregon: 73-37 overall (.664), 32-22 Pac-12 (.593)
NCAA Tournament: 4-9
Who would've pegged Altman this close to the 500-win club? Odds are the Ducks coach will get there this season. He’s won 20 games in 14 of the last 15 seasons with Oregon and Creighton. Not bad for an interesting start to his tenure. He wasn’t the first choice for the Ducks, but Altman has been a success in Eugene. His teams have changed quite a bit in three seasons due to transfers in and out of the program, but three consecutive 20-win seasons is the best run at Oregon since 1935-39.

4. Tad Boyle, Colorado
Record: 121-80
Record at Colorado: 69-38 overall (.645), 29-23 Big 12/Pac-12 (.558)
NCAA Tournament: 1-2
Colorado is one of the lucky basketball programs that has seen conference realignment work in its favor. The Buffaloes are 21-15 in the Pac-12 with back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 1962-63. Boyle, who also laid the groundwork at Northern Colorado, has restored interest in basketball in Boulder, both from fans and aspiring NBA Draft picks.

5. Lorenzo Romar, Washington
Record: 330-217
Record at Washington: 237-129 overall (.648), 118-82 Pac-12 (.590)
NCAA Tournament: 8-7
Washington’s sixth-place finish in the Pac-12 was the Huskies’ lowest in the league since 2007-08, prompting Romar to clean house on his staff. Romar has had little trouble bringing talent to Washington over the last decade, but the Huskies haven’t always had consistent results. Washington has missed the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons, but the Huskies won either the Pac-12 regular season or tournament title in four consecutive seasons from 2009-12.

6. Steve Alford, UCLA
Record: 385-206
Record at UCLA: First season
NCAA Tournament: 5-7
Is Alford a better coach than predecessor Ben Howland? Maybe not, but UCLA hopes he’s a better coach for UCLA than Howland was at the end of his tenure. Alford led New Mexico to its best seasons since the late ‘90s, winning the Mountain West regular season and tournament titles in each of his last two seasons. Just as relevant to UCLA, Alford did so with a recruiting pipeline to Southern California. Here’s the catch: Alford’s teams have been seeded third in the NCAA Tournament three times in his last four trips only to lose before the second weekend.
7. Herb Sendek, Arizona State
Record: 374-267
Record at Arizona State: 120-109 overall (.524), 53-73 Pac-12 (.421)
NCAA Tournament: 7-7
Give Sendek credit: He’s a survivor. Between his tenure at NC State and his recent years at Arizona State, Sendek is regular on hot seat list. The Sun Devils went 9-9 in the Pac-12 last season after two consecutive losing seasons. With Jahii Carson at point guard, Arizona State may have to improve from the NIT to the NCAA Tournament to keep Sendek surviving in Tempe. Sendek was 20-16 in the conference with an NCAA Tournament appearance with James Harden on the roster. He’s 33-57 in the league otherwise.

8. Andy Enfield, USC
Record: 41-28
Record at USC: First season
NCAA Tournament: 2-1
Enfield may be the coach to restore excitement to the USC basketball program as he brings Dunk City to Los Angeles. But he’s awfully inexperienced (two seasons of Atlantic Sun head coaching) to be taking his first major head coaching job, let alone on the other side of the country. He’s hired a staff that knows the lay of the land, so that’s working in his favor.

9. Johnny Dawkins, Stanford
Record (all at Stanford): 94-74 (.560 overall), 39-51 Pac-12 (.433)
NCAA Tournament: None
Non-losing seasons in the Pac-12 the last two years (10-8 then 9-9) and an NIT title in 2012 were enough to keep Dawkins employed at Stanford, but he remains way behind the standard set by predecessors Mike Montgomery and Trent Johnson. Sooner or later, Dawkins will be judged on NCAA Tournament appearances, or lack thereof.

10. Craig Robinson, Oregon State
Record: 108-117
Record at Oregon State: 78-89 overall (.467), 31-59 Pac-12 (.344)
NCAA Tournament: None
Robinson has led Oregon State to the postseason three times in five seasons, but the College Basketball Invitational isn’t what most programs would consider great success. Going 15-21 in Pac-12 was encouraging in Robinson’s first two seasons, but the Beavers haven’t elevated their play since then, finishing in a tie for last in the league in 2012-13. With a veteran team returning, Robinson will be under pressure to perform in his sixth season.

11. Larry Krystkowiak, Utah
Record: 63-63
Record at Utah: 21-43 overall (.328), 8-28 Pac-12 (.222)
NCAA Tournament: 1-2
The record is dismal, no doubt, but Krystkowiak inherited a mess at Utah, including player transfers like Marshall Henderson (Ole Miss) and Will Clyburn (Iowa State). Improving from six wins in his first season to 15 in his second was a major jump forward, especially as the Utes defeated Oregon and Cal amid a 4-1 finish.

12. Ken Bone, Washington State
Record: 147-114
Record at Washington State: 70-65 overall (.519), 26-46 Pac-12 (.342)
NCAA Tournament: 0-2
Bone had a long track record of success at Seattle Pacific and Portland State  before arriving in Pullman. The Cougars have had three losing seasons in four under Bone with a handful of off-court issues to go with it. This is one of the Pac-12’s toughest jobs, but Bone started with momentum from the Tony Bennett era.

Teaser:
College Basketball: Ranking the Pac-12 Coaches for 2013-14
Post date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 07:05
All taxonomy terms: SEC, College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-ranking-secs-coaches-2013-14
Body:

The SEC coaches countdown, much like the league in recent years, is a two-team race.

Kentucky’s John Calipari and Florida’s Billy Donovan are the only coaches in the league who have built programs who can challenge for college basketball’s biggest prizes on a year-to-year basis. Sure, Kentucky flopped in the NIT last season, but that season is sandwiched between a national championship and a potential preseason No. 1.

The rest of the SEC’s coaches are just trying to build or sustain momentum of any kind. Some have had some bad luck (Cuonzo Martin), some are on the verge of seeing the fruits of their rebuilding projects (Martin, Johnny Jones, Anthony Grant), and others are looking to replicate the high-water marks from earlier in their careers (Frank Martin, Kevin Stallings, Mark Fox).

*A few things to note as we are ranking coaches: We are attempting to look at the whole package of gameday acumen, recruiting, player development, and regular-season and postseason success. We are also keeping in mind a coach’s career trajectory.

And now, on to the debate. Feel free to chime in at @AthlonSports on Twitter or Athlon Sports on Facebook.

Other conference coach rankings
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12

1. John Calipari, Kentucky
Record: 568-166
Record at Kentucky: 123-26 overall (.826), 52-14 SEC (.788)
NCAA Tournament: 38-13, four Final Fours, one national championship
Calipari had his worst season since 2004-05 at Memphis as Kentucky went 21-12 and lost to Robert Morris in the NIT. True, this was not a typical Calipari team, but the Wildcats were on the verge of the NCAA Tournament before star Nerlens Noel went down with a leg injury. But Calipari should rebound in a way only he can. While his 2012-13 team plodded through an unimpressive SEC, Calipari was assembling one of the best recruiting classes of all time. Calipari could turn an NIT embarrassment into another Final Four appearance or more in 2013-14.

2. Billy Donovan, Florida
Record: 450-186
Record at Florida: 415-166 overall (.714), 174-110 SEC (.635)
NCAA Tournament: 31-11, three Final Fours, two national championships
Donovan is the only coach standing in the way of Kentucky hegemony in the SEC. The Gators needed some time to regroup after back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007, but they’ve won the SEC regular season title in two of the last three seasons. The Gators have lost in the Elite Eight in each of the last three seasons, but most teams would take three consecutive trips to the regional finals. Few programs will recruit to the same level as Kentucky, but Donovan never lacks for elite prospects in Gainesville.

3. Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt
Record: 400-239
Record at Vanderbilt: 277-176 overall (.611), 111-115 SEC (.491)
NCAA Tournament: 6-8
Stallings may always wonder how his team with the core of Jeffery Taylor, John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli never made it out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Now, the Commodores are in a rebuilding phase after those three left school with school’s first SEC Tournament title in 61 years. The overall record isn’t flashy, but Stallings has built a consistent program at Vanderbilt, not an easy feat. He’s one win a way from tying Roy Skinner for the most wins in program history.

4. Frank Martin, South Carolina
Record: 131-72
Record at South Carolina: 14-18 overall (.438), 4-14 SEC (.222)
NCAA Tournament: 6-4
Martin’s intense coaching style isn’t for everyone. South Carolina’s exodus of transfers may be an indication of that. If he can replicate what he did at Kansas State, Martin will have a formidable program at South Carolina. The Wildcats reached the NCAA Tournament three times in four seasons under Martin, including the Elite Eight in 2011.

5. Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee
Record: 100-69
Record at Tennessee: 39-28 overall (.582), 21-13 SEC (.618)
NCAA Tournament: None
It’s tough to find a harder-luck coach the last three years than Martin. At Missouri State, the Bears finished last in the league his first season and won the Missouri Valley Conference by this third and final year. A loss to Indiana State in the MVC Tournament, though, relegated Martin to the NIT. At Tennessee, Martin had his team right on the edge of NCAA Tournament consideration, again, before being relegated to the NIT. Martin will get to the NCAA Tournament soon enough, and we’ll guess he’ll start making up for snubs the last three years.

6. Johnny Jones, LSU
Record:
224-174
Record at LSU: 19-12 overall (.613), 9-9 SEC (.500)
NCAA Tournament: 0-2
Jones returned to LSU with hopes returning his alma mater to national prominence. Since reaching the Final Four in 2006, the Tigers have won 20 games and reached the NCAA Tournament just once. Jones, who had a consistent 20-win program at North Texas, has LSU on the brink of returning to the field. His biggest task has been to recruit the talent-rich local area, something that came to fruition with the signing of five-star prospect Jarell Martin in 2013-14.

7. Mike Anderson, Arkansas
Record: 237-125
Record at Arkansas: 37-27 overall (.578), 16-18 SEC (.500)
NCAA Tournament: 7-6
Anderson arrived at Arkansas with hopes of returning the program to the heights reached under Anderson’s former boss, Nolan Richardson. That hasn’t happened yet. The Razorbacks have had talented teams, but they’ve languished in the bottom half of the league thanks to a dismal record away from Fayetteville. Since leaving UAB in 2006, Anderson has had a top-four conference finish only once (2008-09 at Missouri).

8. Anthony Grant, Alabama
Record:
162-77
Record at Alabama: 86-52 overall (.623), 29-27 SEC (.591)
NCAA Tournament: 1-3
Grant has twice led Alabama to a 12-6 record in the SEC and failed to reach the NCAA Tournament thanks to losses to bad teams in the non-conference schedule. Grant has had the talent in Tuscaloosa with a handful of four- and five-star prospects with the Crimson Tide, but the early-season losses are not a good trend. It’s worth noting Grant’s lone SEC Tournament win is over a sixth-seeded Duke team while at VCU in 2007.

9. Frank Haith, Missouri
Record: 182-117
Record at Missouri: 53-16 overall (.768), 25-11 Big 12/SEC (.694)
NCAA Tournament: 1-3
Haith’s hire at Missouri was a questionable one, and in the NCAA Tournament, the skepticism looks warranted: The Tigers have lost to No. 15-seed Norfolk State and No. 8-seed Colorado State in the last two Tourneys. However, Haith led Missouri to an improbable 30-win season and a Big 12 Tournament title in 2012.

10. Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss
Record: 173-100
Record at Ole Miss: 152-87 overall (.636), 66-64 SEC (.508)
NCAA Tournament: 1-1
Kennedy finally got Ole Miss out of the NIT (five times in six season) and into the NCAA Tournament last season. He just had to deal with Marshall Henderson-related headaches to do it. The Rebels reached the NCAA Tournament five times in six seasons under Rod Barnes from 1997-2002, but overall this is not a program accustomed to postseason appearances. At least in that department, Kennedy is ahead of the curve.

11. Mark Fox, Georgia
Record: 188-106
Record at Georgia: 65-63 overall (.508), 28-38 SEC (.424)
NCAA Tournament: 2-4
A peculiar fit for Georgia to begin with, Fox has dealt with a pair of unexpected early departures (Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins) to the NBA Draft early in his tenure with the Bulldogs. Basketball isn’t a point of pride at Georgia, but three losing seasons in four years under Fox has to be a concern. Before Georgia, Fox won at least a share of four consecutive WAC titles at Nevada.

12. Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M
Record: 243-212
Record at Texas A&M: 32-33 overall (.492), 11-26 Big 12/SEC (.297)
NCAA Tournament: 1-2
A successful coach in the low-major ranks at Southeastern Louisiana and Murray State, Kennedy has struggled in two years at Texas A&M. His best season was in 2010 when Murray State went 31-5 and defeated a fourth-seeded Vanderbilt team in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

13. Rick Ray, Mississippi State
Record (all at Mississippi State):
10-22 overall (.313), 4-14 SEC (.222)
NCAA Tournament: None
Rick Stansbury left little for Ray at Mississippi State. Ray, a former assistant at Purdue and Clemson, rarely played with a full scholarship roster in his first season in Starkville.

14. Tony Barbee, Auburn
Record: 117-111
Record at Auburn: 35-59 overall (.372), 12-38 SEC (.240)
NCAA Tournament: 0-1
The former Calipari assistant has not had Calipari results, to state the obvious. Last season’s 9-23 season was Auburn’s worst season since going 6-20 in 1972-73.

Teaser:
College Basketball: Ranking the SEC's coaches for 2013-14
Post date: Friday, September 13, 2013 - 07:22
All taxonomy terms: Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman, NASCAR
Path: /nascar/nascar-numbers-game-newman-better-positioned-chase-success-truex
Body:

Martin Truex is out and Ryan Newman is in.

That’s the call per NASCAR following the stock car equivalent of the Ocean’s Eleven robbery. In this scenario, Daniel Ocean, played by Michael Waltrip, didn’t get away with his cut of $150 million without breaking a sweat. The spot earned by Truex, via the wild card, was awarded to Newman once a pre-seeding 50-point penalty was put into effect by the sanctioning body.

Now, how does this impact the Chase field?

I’ve made it a point to look at the clean averages and deviations of every Chaser in the last 10 races — the time frame was chosen because, statistically, it serves as a period in which teams better resemble who they’ll be in the Chase as opposed to the full 26-race regular season workload — and the move from Truex to Newman is an upgrade, at least from a sheer numbers standpoint.


8.0 and 5.3  Newman’s eighth-place average finish across eight clean races is the seventh-best mark among Chase-eligible drivers. His 5.3 finish deviation is the sixth-most consistent.Ryan Newman

By these measures, he enters the playoffs as a mid-pack competitor among Chasers; however, it’s a slight uptick on what Truex and his No. 56 team had going in the same span. Truex’s average finish across seven clean races — which omits races in which said driver crashed or incurred a mechanical malady — was 9.8, while his finish deviation was 5.5. Newman and his No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing team was a better finisher in clean races by almost two positions, while displaying similar consistency.


41.29 seconds  Ryan Newman’s average time spent on pit road last Saturday night in Richmond was 41.29 seconds, which ranked 16th among teams that made the standard six pit stops.

This is important to know, because Newman ripped his pit crew immediately after the race, saying, “We still had the opportunity to make our own destiny and win it on pit road, and we didn’t. I still feel like we lost it on pit road. It’s disappointing … we came down pit road first (on the final stop). We didn’t do our job on pit road. Four tires won the race. We were the first car to be in position on four tires and we didn’t get the job done.”

It’s easy to crack a joke about how Newman “should now apologize because his team made the Chase,” but to be clear, he wasn’t wrong. Getting beat by 15 teams, on average, on pit road doesn’t win races, which Newman was in position to do so prior to Clint Bowyer’s controversial spin. The manner in which he went public with his frustrations could have been handled differently (perhaps, internally), but the problem of pitting is a lingering concern.


3.3  The most consistent clean deviation across the 10 races leading up to this weekend’s race at Chicagoland is Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 3.3.  Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Junior Nation, rejoice! A clean deviation showcases a driver and team’s ability to finish consistently. The No. 88 team, albeit winless, is a legitimate threat according to recent history (Tony Stewart and Brad Keselowski, the two most recent champions, were low-deviation finishers leading into the Chase). Some might not take Earnhardt’s participation in the Chase seriously, but the driver — serviceable this season with a 1.538 PEER — has been an integral cog in this quiet contender the last two years and once infamously saw a serious Chase run derailed by a slip of the tongue. That said, his 9.5-place average finish in clean races requires some improving.


6.8  The worst Chase race average finish among championship winners dating back to 2007 — the first Chase with 12 competitors — is 6.8.

That 6.8 is a hard average, which includes all races, checkers or wreckers. This is how competitive the Chase has become; a seventh-place average doesn’t cut muster. Care to know how many of the current Chasers averaged a finish better than that in the 10-race span prior to this year’s Chase? Zero. The best hard average finish among Chasers is 10.0, earned by Kyle Busch and his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 team.


2 for 2  In the two years that Chicagoland Speedway served as the battleground for the Chase’s opening round, its winners — Tony Stewart and Brad Keselowski — went on to win the championship.

Is this a sign? There are five 1.5-mile racetracks in the Chase — Chicagoland, Kansas, Charlotte, Texas and Homestead — so a driver and team running and finishing well on Sunday should certainly be considered a good sign; however, it’s vital to be good at every track in the Chase. When Keselowski captured the title in 2012, he averaged a 7.4-place finish on 1.5-mile tracks and a 5.2-place finish on all other track sizes. Intermediate track artistry won’t win a title by itself.


28.2%  In the five CoT era races at Chicagoland Speedway, Jimmie Johnson led 376 laps, or 28.2 percent of the total laps run.

His front-running ways went empty handed, though; Johnson has yet to win at Chicagoland in 11 career Cup Series starts (ironically, it is the site of his one and only NASCAR Nationwide Series victory, in 2001). Should being shut out of victory lane in the past be a death knell to his chances this weekend? Considering that teams — not drivers — win races, and Johnson has exhibited some accelerated mastery of the 1.5-mile track with two runner-up finishes in the last five races, he can’t be counted out for the win.

Regardless of whether he comes home with the trophy, it can be expected that the Chase’s first round can put a stop on the No. 48 team’s bizarre bleeding over the course of the last month, in which it finished 25th or lower in four consecutive races for the first time in Johnson’s history as a Cup driver.


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

David Smith is the founder of Motorsports Analytics LLC and the creator of NASCAR statistics for projections, analysis and scouting. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidSmithMA.
 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, NC State Wolfpack, SEC
Path: /college-football/8-outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-3-2013
Body:

The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama.

Who would have thought NC State would have converted on four fourth-downs to hand Florida State it's first and only ACC loss of the year last fall? Did anyone see Oregon scoring just 14 points at home and losing to Stanford? Who picked Baylor to beat undefeated Kansas State by four touchdowns? What about two years ago, when Wisconsin basically missed a shot at the national championship game because of not one but two Hail Mary's and Oklahoma State missed out because of a road loss to Iowa State?

Certainly, no one picked a three-star recruit-turned-redshirt freshman quarterback from Texas A&M to win the Heisman Trophy?

With that in mind, here are out our outrageous Week 3 College Football predictions.

Note: The point of this column is to have some fun and make some outlandish predictions. Please react accordingly.

Missouri will be the last unbeaten in the SEC East
This one is sort of a layup, but had anyone uttered the above statement in the preseason they would have been laughed out of the room. Georgia, South Carolina and Florida all have lost in marquee showdowns with quality opponents while Vanderbilt and Kentucky lost to Ole Miss and Western Kentucky already, respectively. That leaves Tennessee and Mizzou left unbeaten in the SEC East. And since the Volunteers are heading west to Eugene to face Oregon this weekend and the Tigers are off, Gary Pinkel's squad will be the final unbeaten SEC East team entering the fourth weekend of the season.

Ole Miss will have more yards against Texas than BYU
The Cougars produced 679 yards of total offense last week against Texas, including a school record for both the BYU offense and the Texas defense with 550 rushing yards. Mack Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and hired in-house analyst Greg Robinson, but don't expect a dramatically different outcome this weekend. Ole Miss comes to town with a load of playmakers, a great offensive scheme and tons of confidence. The Rebels rolled up 489 yards of offense on the road in the season opener against an SEC defense before hanging 532 yards on poor little Southeast Missouri State last week. This was a game that featured 97 total points and 1,075 total yards of offense last year in Oxford. Expect much of the same this weekend.

AJ McCarron will out-pass Johnny Manziel
To show how outlandish this one is, Manziel enters the game with 520 yards passing in six quarters while his roommate at the Manning Passing Academy has just 110 yards in four. Of course, this says nothing of broken-play, Houdini rushing yards Manziel will have to create in order to defeat Alabama, but, through the air, McCarron will have the better day in College Station. This after McCarron's worst game of his career on offense against Virginia Tech (10 of 23). While Bama has one of the best defenses in the nation, the Aggies have been on their heels defensively against the likes of Rice and Sam Houston State. Texas A&M ranks 94th on that side of the ball at 449.5 yards allowed per game and has given up 59 points in two games. Look for Amari Cooper and Co. to find plenty of space in the Texas A&M secondary this weekend.

The Big Ten will go 4-0 against the Pac-12
The Pac-12 is the better league both at the top and in the middle of the league as compared to the Big Ten. Yet, after this weekend, the Big Ten could have Rose Bowl-esque bragging rights. Ohio State's defense will be tested by Jared Goff and Cal but should win handily in Berkeley. Nebraska has enough offensive firepower to take advantage of UCLA's rebuilt secondary at home in Lincoln despite its own defensive short-comings. Wisconsin, the three-time defending Big Ten champion, has the most daunting task by heading southwest to Tempe, but it has yet to allow a point in back-to-back six-touchdown blowouts to start the year. Not to mention the Badgers' back-to-back games with thee different 100-yard rushers. And Illinois' neutral site bout with Washington in Chicago has gotten dramatically more interesting as Illini offensive coordinator Bill Cubit and quarteback Nathan Scheelhaase appear to be perfectly suited for one another. Don't be that shocked if the Big Ten goes unbeaten against the Pac-12 this weekend.

Andre Williams will outgain the entire USC offense
USC should should score more points than Boston College this weekend, but the Eagles running back likely will be the most productive offensive player on the field. Williams has rushed for 318 yards — good for third in the nation — and two touchdowns on 58 carries in two games for BC. USC has a total 557 yards of offense in two games, making them the 115th-rated unit in the nation. Both the Eagles (300.5 ypg, 29th nationally) and Trojans (226.5 ypg, 11th) are salty on defense and will be on display in what should be yet another low-scoring, ugly affair. Williams could be the difference.

Lane Kiffin will burn Max Browne's redshirt
This one will be on this list for the entire season — or until it happens. Max Wittek and Cody Kessler are clearly not getting the job done for one of the worst passing offenses in the nation — ranked 114th nationally (113.0 ypg). Max Browne was the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the nation last cycle and is being redshirted. But should the Trojans lose to Boston College at home to start the year 1-2, Browne could be forced into action much sooner than anticipated.

Paul Richardson will top 200 yards for the third straight game
The Colorado Buffaloes have taken to new coach Mike MacIntrye's system in short order. Richardson, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, has posted two career games in a row after 208 yards on 10 receptions against Colorado State in Week 1 and 209 yards on 11 catches last week against Central Arkansas. The Buffs will face Fresno State, a team that ranks 109th in scoring defense after allowing 76 points to Rutgers and Cal Poly. There could easily be 1,000 total yards and 100 total points scored in this one. Don't look away.

Vanderbilt will have more sacks than South Carolina
Yes, that includes Jadeveon Clowney. The loser of the Vanderbilt-South Carolina game in Columbia this weekend will start the year in an 0-2 SEC hole. And offensive line play will be huge. The Carolina defensive line might be the best in the nation, despite giving up big yards to a powerful Georgia, but it is the Commodores who lead the SEC in sacks (fourth nationally) after two games. The Dores have eight sacks thus far with four coming against rising SEC contender Ole Miss in the opener. On the flip side, Vandy's offensive line has allowed just one QB sack this season, good for eighth nationally. Could the Commodores' D-Line out-play the Gamecocks' D-Line?

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 09:03
All taxonomy terms: College Football, LSU Tigers, SEC
Path: /college-football/buy-or-sell-lsu-sec-title-contender-2013
Body:

LSU has three consecutive double-digit win seasons, but the Tigers were a bit of a mystery entering 2013.

With eight starters gone on defense, along with a new coordinator on offense, LSU was going to need some time to get all of the new faces acclimated to life in the SEC.

The Tigers have yet to play a conference game, but coach Les Miles’ team appears to be a threat to push Alabama for the SEC West title.

Quarterback Zach Mettenberger looks confident under new coordinator Cam Cameron, and the defense is allowing just 277.5 yards per game.

There’s a long ways to go in the 2013 season, but it’s never too early for Athlon’s staff to debate: Is LSU a SEC title contender?

Buy or Sell: Is LSU an SEC Title Contender for 2013?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
I’m buying this LSU team as a contender in the SEC. As mentioned throughout the preseason, the defense was going to be solid despite eight new starters. However, it was the offense that was a concern. So far, the hire of Cam Cameron as the coordinator has made a big difference. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger looks like a different and more confident player this year, throwing six touchdowns and completing 62.7 percent of his throws. The senior is also averaging 10.5 yards per attempt, which ranks 12th nationally among FBS quarterbacks. Sure, the schedule will get tougher, but once LSU’s defense has more time to jell, the front seven will be a tough matchup for Alabama’s offensive line, especially if that unit continues to struggle. It’s early and a lot can change. However, I would put LSU just behind Alabama – and ahead of Texas A&M – in the SEC West standings.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
LSU will always be considered an SEC contender but that is mostly because the word "contender" casts a wide net. At the start of the year, I counted six legitimate SEC contenders: Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M and LSU. After two weeks of play, three of those six have a loss while the other three really haven't been tested. TCU and Virginia Tech are solid competition but are uninspiring teams that haven't really shown us what either the Crimson Tide or Bayou Bengals will be in the SEC this fall.

So the preseason breakdown on LSU still stands. The offense is loaded with talent at the skill positions and along the offensive line. The defense is still fairly young but also extremely talented. And the SEC schedule is might be the toughest in the conference. The remaining unknown piece to the puzzle is quarterback Zach Mettenberger and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Mettenberger was outstanding — against lowly UAB — but has yet to prove it against SEC competition (5 TD passes in 8 SEC games last year). Cameron looks like he is pushing the ball down the field, which is great, but still has yet to face an SEC defense. The Tigers look better than anticipated but nothing has changed dramatically after two weeks.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
I’m all in on LSU as an SEC and national championship contender, even after only two games. This is on two fronts: LSU looks like a new-and-improved version of itself and the SEC, for now, looks conquerable by a handful of teams. All the talk about NFL castoff Cam Cameron re-making Zach Mettenberger seems legitimate through two games. He’s averaging 10.5 yards per pass attempt so far. To put that in perspective: LSU hasn’t averaged better than eight yards per attempt since at least 2007. That 10 yards per pass rate will usually lead the country, so if Mettenberger is safely around eight yards per attempt with fewer turnovers, LSU’s offense will be formidable. The Tigers’ defense performed well against TCU to start, but considering all the new faces, I’ll take a defense that gave up only two sustained drives in the game. And then there’s the rest of the SEC. The East teams might beat themselves up all year, Texas A&M looks vulnerable on defense, and Alabama — at least against Virginia Tech — had its holes.

Nathan Rush
I'm buying the purple and gold SEC-title-contending stock. There's just enough Baton Rouge Celebration Grass for Les Miles to chew on LSU's schedule. The Tigers host Auburn, Florida, Texas A&M and Arkansas in Death Valley. There's at least a 50-50 chance the Bayou Bengals win all four of those contests. The Tigers will, however, almost certainly hit a pot hole (or two) on road trips to Georgia, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama. But LSU doesn't necessarily have to run the table to make it to the SEC title game, depending on how the other dominoes fall league-wide. If Zach Mettenberger can stay cool under fire and limit his mistakes in hostile environments, LSU's ground game, defense and special teams are capable of taking it to Atlanta. Stranger things have happened. Remember, Miles' Tigers won a longshot BCS crystal with two overtime losses.

Stephen Schindler (@SteveSchindler)
I’m going to have to be a hard sell on this one. It’s not so much a statement of the quality of LSU’s talent, but a testament to the difficulty of the Tigers schedule. LSU plays its normally tough SEC West schedule, but has the unenviable draw of cross-division games against East powerhouses Florida and Georgia. While the Tigers should get off to a 4-0 start, they endure two brutal stretches, including a trip to Alabama back-to-back with a home date against Texas A&M and three SEC road games within a four game span. The defense isn’t as good this year as it has been in the past, and I just can’t trust Zach Mettenberger and the offense to put up the kind of points LSU is going to need to keep up with Georgia, Alabama, or Texas A&M.

Related College Football Content

SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Amazing College Football Stats from Week 2
College Football's Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections
College Football's Post-Week 2 Coaches on the Hot Seat
National Awards from Week 2
SEC Week 2 Recap and Awards

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 09:02
All taxonomy terms: College Football, USC Trojans
Path: /college-football/usc-or-texas-will-either-team-turn-their-season-around-2013
Body:

Through two weeks of the college football season, USC and Texas might be the nation’s biggest disappointments.

The Longhorns were dominated by BYU last Saturday, allowing the Cougars to rush for 550 yards in a 40-21 defeat. As a result of the poor showing in Provo, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was fired, and former Syracuse coach Greg Robinson will call the plays this Saturday against Ole Miss.

USC’s defense is one of the best in the Pac-12, but the offense is a disaster. The Trojans recorded only 54 passing yards against Washington State and had two costly turnovers.

It’s only Week 2, so there’s plenty of time to turn things around. However, Mack Brown and Lane Kiffin are running out of time. And considering both teams face tough opponents in Week 3, it may get worse before it gets better.

USC or Texas: Will Either Team Turn Their Season Around?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Even though both USC and Texas are coming off bad showings in Week 2 losses, there’s still plenty of time for a rebound. It’s only Week 3 after all. And I do find it odd that both programs are experiencing problems with a side of the ball that’s traditionally been a strength. I give Texas a slight edge over USC to have a chance to salvage its season. The offense was the Longhorns’ biggest question mark going into the season, but this unit is averaging 7.4 yards per play, and quarterback David Ash is off to a good start (62.9 completion percentage and 594 yards). Texas’ schedule isn’t going to get any easier with Ole Miss and Kansas State visiting Austin the next two weeks, but the rest of the Big 12 is still wide open. And Oklahoma State – the frontrunner for the conference title – has to visit Texas on Nov. 16. The late-season matchup should give Mack Brown and Greg Robinson plenty of time to fix a few of the issues on defense. I wouldn’t totally sell USC at this point, especially with one of the Pac-12’s best defenses. However, the quarterback play may not get much better.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Both teams have loads of talent in the starting 22 and both teams could make quick turnarounds and make the postseason. That said, I lean towards Texas for a variety of reasons. First, the Longhorns roster is dramatically deeper and Texas appears to have a functioning offense, two things USC lacks in a big way. Second, a road loss to a very good and well-coached BYU is much easier to swallow than an atrocious home loss to a Washington State team that didn't score an offensive touchdown. Third, the Big 12 is a significantly more wide open and therefore easier league to win than a conference with Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State, UCLA and Washington. Finally, Mack Brown is much more of a proven commodity than Lane Kiffin as Brown's resume is substantially more impressive than Kiffin. All signs point to Texas bouncing back and still contending while the Men of Troy look doomed in 2013.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Can I say neither? Both seem fairly doomed. For Texas, this is two years of dreadful run defense. Maybe a change will help, but one coach isn’t the cause of a 550-yard outburst. And now the offense is dealing with injuries. USC’s quarterback situation is a mess. What has to happen for freshman Max Browne to get a chance? After deciding to redshirt Browne, does USC even want to go down that road? I don’t see either of the situations at USC or Texas getting a quick fix unless something drastic happens. If the bulk of the Big 12 is evenly matched or better than Texas right now, and if USC can’t beat Washington State at home despite allowing no defensive touchdowns, what hope do either have to finish the season with seven or eight wins?

Nathan Rush
Texas. The Big 12 remains wide open. Oklahoma State has a black cloud hanging over the program, which could derail a promising Pokes team. Oklahoma has quarterback issues and "Big Game Bob" Stoops' nickname has turned from deferential to sarcastic. A Red River Rivalry win — which would be the first for UT since 2009 — would turn the Horns' season around, at least as far as Burnt Orange Nation and Texas Exes are concerned. But even that might not be enough. After the OU game, Texas' shaky defense has to face TCU, West Virginia, O-State, Texas Tech and Baylor. The lone cupcake down the stretch is Kansas, a team the Horns struggled to beat 21–17 last season.

Stephen Schindler (@SteveSchindler)
I’d say neither, but if forced to pick one, give me the Texas Longhorns. While I don’t agree with Mack Brown’s decision to let go of Manny Diaz, I do trust the longtime Texas coach over the underwhelming Kiffin. At least the Texas offense will put some points on the board and keep things competitive. Texas does have five games left against ranked teams to the Trojans three, but the quality of coaching and instability at quarterback leads me to believe that USC is more likely to continue its losing ways. 

Related College Football Content

Amazing College Football Stats from Week 2
College Football's Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections
College Football's Post-Week 2 Coaches on the Hot Seat
Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
National Awards from Week 2
SEC Week 2 Recap and Awards

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 09:01
Path: /nfl/nfl-power-rankings-week-1
Body:

1. 49ers (1-0) By land or by air, Colin Kaepernick owns Green Bay.

2. Broncos (1-0) Peyton Manning throws seven TDs in opening win.

3. Saints (1-0) Sean Payton marches back victorious in N’Awlins.

4. Seahawks (1-0) Russell Wilson rallies Hawks with big fourth quarter.

5. Packers (0-1) Clay Matthews lays late hit in loss at San Fran.

6. Texans (1-0) Shock Chargers with 21-point comeback victory.

7. Patriots (1-0) Tom Brady improves to 20–2 all-time vs. Buffalo.

8. Falcons (0-1) Roddy White limited by ankle injury in loss at Saints.

9. Eagles (1-0) Chip Kelly debuts high-flying Philly offense in win.

10. Bears (1-0) Marc Trestman’s play-calling impresses Jay Cutler.

11. Cowboys (1-0) Finally beat Big Blue at $1.2 billion stadium in Big D.

12. Giants (0-1) Six turnovers, no run game results in loss at Dallas.

13. Redskins (0-1) RG3 rusty in first game back from knee surgery.

14. Bengals (0-1) A.J. Green says Charles Tillman “one of the best.”

15. Ravens (0-1) Jacoby Jones out 4-6 weeks with sprained MCL.

16. Colts (1-0) Andrew Luck leads eighth comeback win of career.

17. Titans (1-0) Year starts with fluke safety on opening kick return.

18. Steelers (0-1) Maurkice Pouncey out for season with knee injury.

19. Chiefs (1-0) Andy Reid era starts with a bang in Jacksonville.

20. Chargers (0-1) Philip Rivers “sick” that Bolts unable to beat Texans.

21. Lions (1-0) Eminem, Brent Musburger both happy with big win.

22. Vikings (0-1) Adrian Peterson scores 78-yard TD on first carry.

23. Rams (1-0) Defeat Cards on 48-yard FG with 40 seconds left.

24. Cardinals (0-1) Palmer-to-Fitzgerald connect for two TDs in loss.

25. Dolphins (1-0) Mike Wallace unhappy with role despite victory.

26. Panthers (0-1) Cam Newton quiet (125 pass yards, TD) in defeat.

27. Raiders (0-1) Terrelle Pryor breaks team QB rushing record in loss.

28. Bills (0-1) Fall to 1–19 in last 20 meetings with New England.

29. Jets (1-0) Mark Sanchez to seek second opinion on shoulder.

30. Buccaneers (0-1) Late hit out of bounds sets up game-winner for Jets.

31. Browns (0-1) Have lost 14-of-15 season openers since returning.

32. Jaguars (0-1) Blaine Gabbert ruled out for Week 2 at Oakland.

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 19:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, USC Trojans
Path: /college-football/lane-kiffin-picks-cody-kessler-qb-will-uscs-offense-improve-2013
Body:

USC’s offense has struggled mightily through the first two games of the season. The Trojans are averaging just 278.5 yards per game and only four yards per play.

Quarterback play is at the root of USC’s problems, as neither Cody Kessler or Max Wittek have done enough to secure the No. 1 spot on the depth chart. Kessler has thrown for 136 yards and one touchdown in two games, while Wittek is just 8 of 18 for 90 yards and one interception.

And after Saturday’s offensive debacle against Washington State, it was clear coach Lane Kiffin had to do something about the quarterback play. Instead of going into the week with uncertainty under center, Kiffin – announcing via YouTube – has picked Kessler as his starting quarterback for this Saturday’s game against Boston College.

Kessler reportedly outplayed Wittek throughout fall camp, so it was a bit of a surprise to not see the sophomore named as the No. 1 quarterback before the opener.

Will it make a difference? Maybe. But Kiffin also needs to open up the offense and allow Kessler to take some shots down the field. USC’s quarterbacks are averaging just 4.5 yards per attempt this season. For a team that has weapons like Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor at receiver, the Trojans have to be more aggressive.

There’s still plenty of time for Kiffin to turn things around at USC, but the Trojans are running out of time. Boston College is improving, and Utah State will give USC all it can handle in two weeks. After playing Utah State, the Trojans play at Arizona State for their second Pac-12 game.

If Kessler can stabilize the quarterback situation, USC’s defense is good enough to win eight or nine games this year.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 11:00
Path: /nascar/nascar-drops-hammer-michael-waltrip-racing
Body:

A “split-second decision.” In the midst of one of the harshest penalties handed down in NASCAR’s modern era — or perhaps ever — a “split-second decision” was team owner Michael Waltrip’s explanation for his team’s late-race Richmond strategy, a domino effect of choices Saturday that intentionally manipulated the postseason of an entire sport. Through the direction of Michael Waltrip Racing executive Ty Norris, who is now indefinitely suspended, along with the words of a crew chief, Brian Pattie, one “split second” surely produced a tornado’s worth of catastrophic damage.

The final 10 laps of NASCAR’s regular season finale produced an intentional caution along with two dives by MWR’s Nos. 15 and 55 cars in an effort to get the organization’s No. 56 Toyota and Martin Truex Jr. into the Chase. It was the most brazen and blatant example of team orders this sport has ever seen. It’s an insulting comment to common sense, as the way in which these actions played out speaks of a week-long commitment to achieving goals by any means possible; teams, after all, don’t just throw races of this magnitude on the fly.

NASCAR clearly wasn’t fooled. The sanctioning body’s reaction in the midst of backlash on social media, the radio and through the mouths of television analysts was both swift and severe. MWR was fined $300,000, a new record for the sanctioning body towards one organization, Norris indefinitely suspended and its three teams and drivers, Truex, Clint Bowyer (No. 15) and Brian Vickers (No. 55), hit with 50-point penalties.

The consequences find Truex’s playoff berth — one he had “earned” seemingly through a stroke of luck just 48 hours prior — revoked and a Scarlet Letter placed on the organization that will be near impossible to erase. The Chase replacement, Ryan Newman, sits pretty; he was the man set to win at Richmond before Bowyer’s spin threw the race and the Chase into a state of disarray. Righting the wrong this quickly is unprecedented in scope; it’s like stripping wins from a college football program in-season, then taking it out of a BCS bowl game a mere six days out.

“NASCAR has always taken very seriously its responsibility to maintain, for the most part, its credibility,” said NASCAR president Mike Helton in explaining the ruling. “I say, for the most part because we get the fact that’s subjective to fans and others in the industry. It’s a sport, and it’s got a lot of fun attached to it. Every now and then, it gets out of bounds and we have to bring it back in order to maintain credibility.”

The question now is whether this decision was enough to keep the sport’s tenuous hold on national self-respect. Fans do not watch NASCAR purely for the “fun” factor — that’s what TV sitcoms are for. There’s a competitive aspect; in particular, the impression that the race they’re watching is run fairly and without bias towards one team or organization. As I wrote elsewhere, the issue of having teammates work together within a sport predicated on individual success has been building. It’s too late to strike down the superpowers built by MWR, Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and so many other three-to-four-car organizations that have made this situation a reality. The sport can only make the penalty for collusion so fierce that no one will ever dare think about doing it again.

To NASCAR’s credit, this penalty is enough to make MWR regret the “split-second decision,” as it has cost the organization a valuable Chase bid and the $5 million or so that potentially comes with it. But the cost can’t be measured in terms of dollar signs alone. With 10 laps remaining, Richmond incorporated everything that was right about the sport: a scintillating charge to first by Newman, who needed to win to qualify for NASCAR’s playoffs. Further back, Jeff Gordon, fighting for a Chase spot and his own relevancy, was making a valiant effort to claw through the top 10 as well. Drama, as is typical during the regular season finale, was high; in a down year, where passing has been at a premium with the new Gen-6 car, the sport had a solid race to hang its helmet on entering the playoffs. Much-needed momentum was at hand and at just he right moment.

Instead, Bowyer’s spin, combined with team orders for Vickers to pit, changed that focus. A final restart, one that second-place Carl Edwards jumped, was icing on the proverbial cake. It was the best race of the season in some ways — yet many left the track or flipped the channel feeling cheated. Now, the 2013 version of the Chase will be forever tainted.

I think there’s one thing we can all agree on going forward: this type of debacle can never happen again. At this point, repairing the damage done is tough enough.

Let’s go “Through the Gears” on the effects and questions surrounding this ruling:


FIRST GEAR: Why wasn’t Bowyer penalized?  Clint Bowyer
Sure, that tagline looks like a mistake. On paper, Bowyer was docked 50 regular-season points along with crew chief Pattie being placed on probation. It’s the same consequence each of his teammates received, keeping things equal across the board.

Except, in all reality, it isn’t. Truex’s penalty finds him out of the Chase. Bowyer, with such a cushion on 11th place, remains squarely in the playoffs. He still sits just 15 points from a title, despite likely playing a role in manipulating said championship and the drivers in it. NASCAR claimed the penalties were limited, in part because only circumstantial evidence surrounded the Bowyer spin. It’s true that while anyone with a modicum of common sense could see the deception, what the sport has against him wouldn’t stand up under the “beyond a reasonable doubt” doctrine in a court of law.

Still, you would think the harsh terms handed out to Bowyer’s teammates — who were simply pawns in this whole mess — just doesn’t seem right considering the driver’s current comfy spot in the playoffs. Gordon agreed, tweeting his displeasure squarely towards Bowyer’s “guilt free” Chase going forward. (It’s worth noting the two have a history over the past two years, as they have a habit of playing on-track bumper cars.) MWR’s refusal to appeal across the board is in itself a statement, too. Why accept and move on if you believe you’re not guilty?

Chances are, with drivers’ habit of self-policing, that Bowyer’s title hopes will be taken away on-track. But it shouldn’t take two wrongs to make a right.


SECOND GEAR: Ryan Newman’s second chance?  Ryan Newman
It’s unlikely Newman, over the long run, will play a role in the 10-race championship. He’s a “lame duck” driver, announced to drive the No. 31 for Richard Childress Racing on Monday. Stewart-Haas Racing has spent the season a step behind its engine and chassis vendor, Hendrick Motorsports, as well as Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. But with his valiant drive Saturday night, the capper on a sizzling summer, it’s only fair the No. 39 team gets its chance.

“Our goal is to win each and every one of these last 10 races,” Newman said before reentering the Chase. “I feel that we have the potential to. I want to do it for myself, my team, my sponsors and everybody involved, especially all of the things that we went through and fought through to get back to where we were on Saturday night and to be in a position within seven to go to race our way in. These guys deserve it.”

In a sense, Newman now has nothing to lose — a spark that could pay off if he carries the momentum through the first few Sundays.


THIRD GEAR: Why not Jeff Gordon?
The most popular comment I’ve seen since the ruling concerns Gordon. The shenanigans pulled in the race’s latter stages almost certainly kept the four-time champ out of the Chase. Solidly a top-10 car at Richmond, Gordon was pinned on the race’s final restart, watching helplessly as a window of opportunity closed via Vickers and Bowyer sitting patiently, dawdling on pit road and throwing the Chase roster to whom they saw fit.

There was some talk of expanding the Chase field, perhaps to as many as 14 teams so Gordon would not be unfairly penalized. But in this case, there were so many missed opportunities for the hard-luck Hendrick Chevy. Five DNFs — four for wrecks — are nearly impossible to overcome. Gordon was lucky to be in position in the first place. Not having such a presence in the Chase is a huge loss, and one that was easily preventable by NASCAR brass. Just add a driver to the postseason; how hard can it be? IndyCar did so for its Indianapolis starting field nearly two decades ago during the IRL/CART standoff and everyone accepted the situation. The longer both sides wait for a compromise …


FOURTH GEAR: Expect the sport to try and move on quickly
Everyone has different opinions on what happened. But this point is one we can all agree on: No sport worth its weight wants the word “cheating” associated with it. What’s acceptable or not going forward is a long-term plan that can be addressed in the offseason. For NASCAR, Sunday’s first Chase race at Chicagoland can’t get here soon enough.


Follow Tom Bowles on Twitter: @NASCARBowles

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 11:00
Path: /nfl/fantasy-football-2013-waiver-wire-week-2
Body:

Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season is complete and the coaching staffs and the players aren’t the only ones taking a closer look at the initial results. Fantasy football general managers everywhere are undoubtedly scratching their heads over some of the things that transpired while also looking to their league’s waiver wire for answers.

Athlon Sports is here to help. The players listed in Athlon’s weekly fantasy football waiver wire may be one-week adds, some may be worth holding onto all season long and some are of the “sleeper” variety that you may want to keep an eye on. So without further ado, here are some players worth grabbing.

Quarterbacks

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
Bradford took a step forward last season when he threw for 3,702 yards and posted a respectable 21:13 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The Rams brought in even more weapons for their fourth-year quarterback during the offseason, and if the early results are any indication, it could be a big year for the No.1 overall pick of the 2010 draft. Bradford had 299 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception in Sunday’s 27-24 victory over Arizona. He connected with seven different receivers, as new weapons tight end Jared Cook and wide receiver Tavon Austin led the way with a combined 13 catches for 182 yards and two scores. It’s just one game, but certainly a promising start for someone still available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues.

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Cutler’s numbers weren’t extraordinary (242 yds., 2 TDs, INT), but perhaps the most important thing is he wasn’t sacked once by a Bengals defense that finished second in the NFL in that category last season. If the offensive line continues to afford Cutler that kind of protection, expect his numbers to go up, especially with tight end Martellus Bennett (3 rec., 49 yds., TD) and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (5-42-0) around to help Brandon Marshall (8-104-1) and Matt Forte (91 total yards, TD) carry the load.

Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders
Make no mistake, the Raiders probably won’t win many games this season, but if Pryor can continue to put up 300 yards of total offense on a weekly basis, he will maintain fantasy relevancy. Yes, Pryor threw two picks against Indianapolis, but it’s his dual-threat ability that’s appealing, especially the 112 yards rushing he had against the Colts on just 13 carries. If you are going to take a chance on Pryor this week would be as good as any with Jacksonville on tap.

Running Backs

Joique Bell, Detroit Lions
Reggie Bush (191 total yards, TD) stole the show, but it was Bell who scored two touchdowns on the ground and also had five catches for 67 yards. Bush is the clear-cut No. 1 option, but he also got a little banged up on Sunday and in the Lions’ pass-happy offense (43 pass attempts by Matthew Stafford vs. the Vikings), there’s room for a guy like Bell. Don’t forget last season that Bell caught 52 passes and averaged five yards per carry. If anything, Bell is worthy of handcuff consideration for Bush owners.

Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills
C.J. Spiller is the lead back, but it was the veteran Jackson who was more effective against New England on Sunday. Jackson out-rushed Spiller (67 yards to 41) and also did more damage in the passing game (4 rec., 41 yds. compared to Spiller’s 5, 14). Spiller is certainly more explosive and carries more upside, but if the Bills run the ball 34 times per game like they did against the Patriots and also give their running backs double-digit targets, then the opportunities should be there for both Spiller and Jackson to produce for fantasy owners.

Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Montee Ball is the first-round pick, but until he gains the coaching staff’s (and Peyton Manning’s) trust when it comes to blocking assignments, his workload figures to be limited. Case in point on Thursday night when it was Moreno and not Ball or Ronnie Hillman who led the Broncos with nine carries. Moreno gained a total of 28 yards on those carries, but he also had three receptions for 37 yards. Thursday night showed just how explosive this Broncos offense can be, so if Moreno’s the back who continues to get the most carries, he figures to be the one with the most fantasy potential too.

Da’Rel Scott, New York Giants
Poor David Wilson. Another season opener, more fumbles and another seat on the bench. It took Wilson a while to escape Tom Coughlin’s doghouse last season, and although Andre Brown’s injury helps his case, it looks like the second-year running back could already be on a short leash this season too. Enter Scott, who was tabbed Wilson’s backup following Brown’s injury. Scott had just 23 yards rushing against Dallas on Sunday night, but he added five catches for 51 yards, while Wilson had just 19 yards rushing on seven carries. If Wilson stays in Coughlin’s bad graces, someone has to take the handoffs from Eli Manning, and for now that someone appears to be Scott.

Wide Receivers

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
Percy Harvin’s injury opened the door for another Seahawk wide receiver to step through, and Baldwin took full advantage of the opportunity on Sunday. Russell Wilson posted his first career 300-yard passing game, as Baldwin led the way with seven catches for 91 yards. Baldwin also led the team with eight targets, while starters Golden Tate and Sidney Rice combined for six receptions on 10 total targets. Wilson probably won’t throw for 300 yards every game, especially with San Francisco next up on the schedule, but Baldwin is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Marlon Brown, Baltimore Ravens
Jacoby Jones is out four to six weeks with a knee injury, presenting Brown with a golden opportunity. The undrafted rookie from Georgia impressed during the preseason and carried that over to his first NFL game. Following Jones’ freak injury, Brown caught four of the six passes Joe Flacco threw his way for 65 yards and a touchdown. If Brown can continue his good work, he could find himself lined up opposite Torrey Smith as the Ravens’ other starting wide receiver.

Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
Danny Amendola did his part (10 rec., 104 yds., nine of those going for first downs), but it was Edelman and not hotshot rookie Kenbrell Thompkins (4 rec., 42 yds.) or tight end Zach Sudfeld (1 target, 0 rec.) who came up big for Tom Brady against the Bills. Edelman caught two touchdown passes and had seven total catches in helping the Patriots escape Buffalo with a win. Brady obviously trusts Amendola, but for now it appears Edelman is second on the list.

Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins
Lost in the interest of Mike Wallace joining the Dolphins as a free agent, was the re-signing of Hartline, who enjoyed a breakout 2012 season with 74 receptions for 1,083 yards. The only knock on Hartline was he had just one touchdown catch all of last season, a total he has already tied after just one game. Hartline led the Dolphins in targets (15), catches (nine) and receiving yards (114) in Miami’s win in Cleveland on Sunday, while Wallace had just one grab for 15 yards. If Ryan Tannehill is to take that next step as a quarterback in Year 2 he needs both Wallace and Hartline to produce, and there’s no question which wideout is getting the job done right now.

Jerome Simpson, Minnesota Vikings
Greg Jennings was signed as a free agent to try and replace Percy Harvin’s production, but the former Packer managed just three catches for 33 yards in his Vikings’ debut on Sunday. Meanwhile it was Simpson who was Christian Ponder’s favorite and most productive target, catching seven passes for 140 yards. The jury is still out on whether or not  Ponder can be a consistent, productive passer in the NFL. If he does get there, it will be with plenty of help from Simpson.

Tight Ends

Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos
If not for Peyton Manning’s record-tying seven touchdown passes against Baltimore, Thomas probably would have been the story of the first game of the 2013 NFL regular season. The third-year pro out of Portland State had a coming out party against the Ravens, catching five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. His athleticism and upside were on full display on primetime TV, and as long as he takes care of his other duties when he’s on the field, the sky is seemingly the limit for the latest former collegiate hoops player who found new life on the gridiron.

Kellen Winslow, New York Jets
Winslow led the Jets with seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown in Geno Smith’s NFL debut against Tampa Bay. The Jets’ rookie quarterback will need all the help he can get from veterans like Winslow, who may finally be healthy enough and in the right opportunity to contribute to a fantasy team again. It’s definitely a bit of a risk to take your chances on Winslow, given Smith’s rookie status, the Jets’ offensive issues, and other factors, but the potential reward could pay off handsomely in the end.

Defense/Special Teams

Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys had six takeaways against the Giants in their Sunday night win, obviously a very positive opening statement for Monte Kiffin’s defense. For one game at least, the Dallas defenders seemed very comfortable in Kiffin’s 4-3 scheme, especially defensive linemen DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher. Even though the Cowboys gave up 31 points to the Giants, consider that all of last season they produced a total of 16 takeaways. If anything, Kiffin’s attacking, aggressive system should provide the opportunity for plenty more as the season goes along.

Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point PER 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-coach-hot-seat-rankings-post-week-2-edition
Body:

USC and Texas were two of the biggest disappointments last Saturday, and the pressure on Mack Brown and Lane Kiffin went up a notch or two. Despite having a backfield full of options and a talented receiving corps, the Trojans’ offense continues to sputter. The Longhorns couldn’t stop BYU’s rushing attack, prompting Brown to fire coordinator Manny Diaz.

It’s only Week 2, so there is time to turn things around for Texas and USC. However, with conference play almost in full swing, both coaches are running out of time.

Kffin and Brown take the top two spots in Athlon’s post-Week 2 hot seat rankings, with Connecticut’s Paul Pasqualoni a close third.

UNLV’s Bobby Hauck, Miami (Ohio)’s Bobby Hauck and Central Michigan’s Dan Enos are the top coaches on the hot seat from the non-BCS conferences.

Ranking All 125 CFB Coaches on Hot Seat/Pressure on Program to Win in 2013

RkCoachTeam2013 RecordAnalysis
1Lane Kiffin1-1Time to right the ship, but offense is struggling.
2Mack Brown1-1Firing coordinators after Week 2 isn't a good sign.
3Paul Pasqualoni0-1Huskies face former coach Randy Edsall in Week 3.
4Bobby Hauck0-2Rebels off to 0-2 start, but schedule has been tough.
5Don Treadwell0-2RedHawks next two games: Cincinnati and Illinois.
6Dan Enos1-1Chippewas barely avoided loss to FCS team.
7Ron English1-1As expected, EMU overmatched against Penn State.
8Kirk Ferentz1-1 
9Norm Chow0-2Warriors will struggle to win more than two games.
10Charley Molnar0-2Umass lost to FCS opponent Maine in Week 2.
11Jeff Quinn0-2Bulls should make noise in MAC play.
12Carl Pelini0-2Owls have scored 19 points in two games.
13Ron Turner0-2FIU's offense is averaging 172 yards per game.
14Tony Levine2-0Cougars off to a solid 2-0 start.
15Tim Beckman2-0New OC Bill Cubit is making a big difference.
16Gary Pinkel2-0Can the Tigers get bowl eligible?
17Joey Jones1-1South Alabama picked up a good win at Tulane.
18Skip Holtz1-1 
19Doc Holliday2-0 
20Jim Grobe1-1Wake Forest's offense is struggling.
21Rich Ellerson1-1 
22Charlie Weis1-0Jayhawks snapped 11-game losing streak in Week 2.
23Mike London1-1 
24Rick Stockstill1-1 
25Dan Mullen0-1 
26Dana Holgorsen1-1WVU's offense searching for the right mix.
27Randy Edsall2-0Terrapins off to impressive start.
28Dave Christensen1-1 
29Steve Sarkisian1-0 
30Bo Pelini2-0 
31Kyle Whittingham2-0Utes offense looking better under Dennis Erickson.
32Dan McCarney1-1 
33David Bailiff0-1 
34Kevin Wilson1-1 
35June Jones1-1SMU also barely avoided loss to FCS team in Week 2.
36Rocky Long0-2Aztecs off to rough start.
37P.J. Fleck0-2Broncos lost to a bad FCS team in Week 2.
38Larry Blakeney2-0 
39Kyle Flood1-1 
40George O'Leary2-0 
41Frank Beamer1-1Still waiting to see improvement on offense.
42Garrick McGee0-2 
43Scott Shafer0-2Shafer should get first win in Week 3.
44Tommy Tuberville1-1 
45Terry Bowden1-1 
46Jim McElwain0-2 
47Bob Davie1-1 
48Sean Kugler0-1Lost debut in overtime to New Mexico.
49Curtis Johnson1-1 
50Bobby Petrino1-1Turnovers, turnovers and more turnovers.
51Rod Carey1-0 
52Paul Chryst0-1 
53Mike Leach1-1Cougars making progress in Leach's second year.
54Mike Riley1-1 
55Ruffin McNeill2-0 
56Todd Monken0-2 
57Matt Rhule0-2 
58Mark Helfrich2-0Ducks continue to roll.
59Brian Polian1-1 
60Ron Caragher1-1 
61Dave Clawson2-0BGSU is the team to beat in the MAC East.
62Paul Haynes1-1 
63Bryan Harsin1-1 
64Dennis Franchoine2-0 
65Matt Wells1-1 
66Mark Richt1-1Georgia is frontrunner in SEC East.
67Mark Dantonio2-0Can the offense find a spark?
68Bronco Mendenhall1-1Big win over Texas.
69Dabo Swinney2-0 
70Jimbo Fisher1-0 
71Brady Hoke2-0 
72Bob Stoops2-0 
73Al Golden2-0Was the win over Florida the best of Golden's tenure?
74Frank Solich1-1 
75Jerry Kill2-0 
76Ken Niumatalolo1-0 
77Darrell Hazell1-1Wasn't pretty, but Boilermakers held off Indiana State.
78Willie Taggart0-2Expect more improvement from USF in future weeks.
79Mark Stoops1-1 
80Bill Blankenship1-1 
81Matt Campbell0-2 
82Paul Johnson1-0 
83Trent Miles0-2Miles has a tough road ahead at Georgia State.
84Troy Calhoun1-1 
85Paul Petrino0-2 
86Doug Martin0-2 
87Butch Jones2-0 
88Tim DeRuyter2-0 
89Gus Malzahn2-0 
90Bret Bielema2-0 
91Larry Fedora1-1 
92Jim Mora1-0 
93Steve Addazio2-0 
94Dave Doeren2-0 
95Sonny Dykes1-1 
96Rich Rodriguez2-0
97Todd Graham1-0
98Mike MacIntyre2-0
99Justin Fuente0-1
100Will Muschamp1-1
101Brian Kelly1-1
102Les Miles2-0
103Larry Coker1-1
104Pete Lembo2-0
105Todd Berry1-1
106Paul Rhoads0-1
107Gary Andersen2-0
108David Cutcliffe2-0
109Hugh Freeze2-0
110Kliff Kingsbury2-0
111Mark Hudspeth0-2
112Kevin Sumlin2-0
113James Franklin1-1
114Mike Gundy2-0
115Chris Petersen1-1
116Bill Snyder1-1
117Charlie Strong2-0
118Steve Spurrier1-1
119Gary Patterson1-1
120Art Briles2-0
121Bill O'Brien2-0
122David Shaw1-0
123Pat Fitzgerald2-0
124Urban Meyer2-0
125Nick Saban1-0


Related College Football Content

College Football Week 2 Recap
Week 2 National Awards
ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Amazing Stats from Week 2

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-september-9
Body:

Catching up after a busy weekend of games.

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

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Monday, September 9th

Saturday Down South takes a look at what happened around the SEC last week.

Lost Lettermen wants to see Seven Nation Army retired from college football.

Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux will miss the rest of the season after a serious leg injury suffered against Illinois.

Duke quarterback Anthony Boone broke his collarbone against Memphis. 

Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight is nursing an injured knee and won't play against Tulsa this Saturday. And cornerback Aaron Colvin was also injured against West Virginia.

South Carolina's linebackers were a reason why Georgia had no trouble establishing the run on Saturday afternoon.

Auburn remains cautious with defensive end Dee Ford.

Tulsa receiver Keyarris Garrett suffered a season-ending leg injury against Colorado State.

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall is expected to miss eight weeks with an arm injury.

Ole Miss cornerback Charles Sawyer was arrested over the weekend.

Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder is concerned about an upcoming Sports Illustrated article that will have some allegations of midconduct in his program.

Maryland cornerback Jeremiah Johnson is out eight weeks with a toe injury.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 16:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week3-episode-3-2013
Body:

In the Week 3 episode of the Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast, co-hosts Braden Gall recap the key developments of Week 2 and take a quick look ahead at Week 3.

In this week’s podcast:

• Georgia changes direction on its season after a major win over South Carolina. Now, we ask if there’s anything we should be worried about when it comes to the Gamecocks and Jadeveon Clowney.

• Fox and Gall debate if Florida is good or not. Gall says the Gators are still a top team despite a turnover-filled loss to to Miami. Fox says the turnovers make Florida a bad team despite its dominant defense.

• Michigan’s win over Notre Dame proved that Devin Gardner is indeed a star, and so is his “tiny” receiver. Should Notre Dame be more worried about its defense than Tommy Rees?

• In moving onto Week 3, the podcast takes a look at four intriguing Big Ten-Pac-12 matchups, plus picks for the showdown in College Station.

• In a not-so-cleverly named segment, our hosts each pick overlooked games for Week 3 they’re going to watch, plus rapid fire picks on backup QBs and surprise teams.
The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes and our podcast RSS feed.

Please send any comments, questions and podcast topics to @AthlonSports, @BradenGall and @DavidFox615 on Twitter.

 

Thanks to Moon Taxi for sharing their tunes for bumper music. Their new album Mountains Beaches Cities is now available.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, UCLA Bruins
Path: /college-football/jim-mora-storms-out-nick-pasquale-press-conference-2013
Body:

On the heels of the tragic news that UCLA freshman WR Nick Pasquale died after being stuck by a car on Monday, the media gathered to hear Mora speak about his former player. However, a local media member (a TV technician) interrupted the session by talking on the phone in the back corner. This drew a death stare and a walkout from an irate Mora.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 15:00
Path: /college-football/arizona-state-honor-yarnell-firefighters-helmet-decal-2013
Body:

This week, against Wisconsin, the Arizona State will pay tribute to nation's biggest loss of firefighters in a wildfire in 80 years. This summer, a wildfire broke out in the tiny mountain town of Yarnell, Arizona. More than 200 firefighters were called in to battle the blaze; however, 19 firefighters were fatally trapped by the wind-driven wildfire. The 19 who died were members of an elite wildfire specialist unit called the Hotshots.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Trevor Knight
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-qb-trevor-knight-out-knee-injury-blake-bell-will-start
Body:

Oklahoma starting quarterback Trevor Knight suffered a knee injury against West Virginia and will miss the Sooners’ Week 3 contest against Tulsa. With Knight sidelined, Blake Bell will be Oklahoma’s starting quarterback on Saturday.

Knight wasn’t off to a good start this year, as the redshirt freshman completed just 21 of 48 passes for 205 yards and four touchdowns through the first two games. Knight is a good runner (as evidenced by his 145 rushing yards so far), but he needs some work as a passer.

Bell played in a part-time role last season, rushing for 201 yards and 11 touchdowns. However, Bell has not proven he can be a consistent passer. But with an opportunity to start against Tulsa – and potentially more if Knight is out longer – Bell can claim the starting job for an extended period.

Kendal Thompson suffered a foot injury in fall practice and is expected to return to workouts this week. If Bell and Knight struggle, Thompson may eventually get a look in future games. However, Thompson has some ground to makeup, especially after missing most of fall practice.
 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/texas-qb-david-ash-questionable-ole-miss
Body:

After a bad weekend in Provo against BYU, things may not get much better for Texas this Saturday.

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was canned, and the injury report for the Longhorns is growing.

Quarterback David Ash is dealing with a head and a shoulder injury and is questionable to play against Ole Miss. However, running back/wide receiver (and playmaker) Daje Johnson is out with an ankle injury.

If Ash cannot go, the Longhorns will turn to Case McCoy as the No. 1 quarterback.

With Johnson sidelined, expect to see Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron utilized more against the Rebels.

Considering all that has transpired over the last few days for the Longhorns, Saturday’s game against Ole Miss is a good opportunity to turn things around. However, a blowout loss would be damaging to Texas before Big 12 play starts.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: Cheerleaders, College Football
Path: /college-football/2013-college-football-cheerleaders-week-2
Body:

A look at our favorite cheerleaders from week 2 of the college football season. They can cheer for us anytime!

College Football's Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections for 2013 http://beta.athlonsports.com/sites/default/files/ToddGurley_7.png?itok=wE7Ya9RI 2013-09-10 08:00:08

College football's bowl season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With only two weeks of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with several teams still playing overmatched non-conference games.
With very little data to work with, the post-Week 2 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections, how things would look if the season ended today, and a small dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks, especially as we see how teams perform in conference games.

A few teams barely missed the projections this week, including Boston College, Utah, Virginia, Washington State and Illinois from BCS conferences. And Ohio, San Diego State, Arkansas State and Toledo from the non-BCS ranks.

As the season progresses, it will be easier to project which teams will get to the six-win mark or finish below.

College Football's Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections

BowlDateTie-InProjection
New MexicoDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCOregon State vs. Wyoming
Famous Idaho PotatoDec. 21MAC vs. MWCBall State vs. Nevada
Las VegasDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCFresno State vs. Arizona
New OrleansDec. 21Sun Belt vs. CUSARice vs. UL Lafayette
Beef 'O' Brady'sDec. 23American vs. CUSALa. Tech vs. West Virginia*
HawaiiDec. 24MWC vs. CUSAEast Carolina vs. San Jose State
Little Caesars PizzaDec. 26MAC vs. Big TenNorthern Illinois vs. ULM
PoinsettiaDec. 26Army vs. MWCBoise State vs. Notre Dame*
Military Dec. 27CUSA vs. ACCPittsburgh vs. MTSU
TexasDec. 27Big 12 vs. Big TenTCU vs. Indiana
Kraft Fight HungerDec. 27BYU vs. Pac-12BYU vs. USC
PinstripeDec. 28American vs. Big 12Kansas State vs. Rutgers
BelkDec. 28American vs. ACCNC State vs. Cincinnati
Russell AthleticDec. 28American vs. ACCNorth Carolina vs. UCF
Buffalo Wild WingsDec. 28Big 12 vs. Big TenTexas vs. Northwestern
Armed Forces Dec. 30MWC vs. NavyNavy vs. Utah State
Music CityDec. 30ACC vs. SECGeorgia Tech vs. Auburn
AlamoDec. 30Big 12 vs. Pac-12Oklahoma vs. Arizona State
HolidayDec. 30Pac-12 vs. Big 12Texas Tech vs. Washington
AdvoCare V100Dec. 31ACC vs. SECMaryland vs. Arkansas
SunDec. 31Pac-12 vs. ACCVirginia Tech vs. UCLA
LibertyDec. 31SEC vs. CUSAMarshall vs. Tennessee
Chick-fil-ADec. 31ACC vs. SECMiami vs. Texas A&M
GatorJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenMichigan State vs. Ole Miss
Heart of DallasJan. 1Big Ten vs. CUSAMinnesota vs. Tulsa
OutbackJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenNebraska vs. Florida
Capital OneJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenWisconsin vs. South Carolina
RoseJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOregon vs. Michigan
FiestaJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOklahoma State vs. Stanford
SugarJan. 2BCS vs. BCSGeorgia vs. Florida State
CottonJan. 3SEC vs. Big 12Baylor vs. LSU
OrangeJan. 3BCS vs. BCSClemson vs. Louisville
BBVA CompassJan. 4SEC vs. AmericanHouston vs. Vanderbilt
GoDaddyJan. 5MAC vs. Sun BeltBowling Green vs. Western Kentucky
National TitleJan. 6BCS vs. BCSAlabama vs. Ohio State

Related College Football Content

College Football Week 2 Recap
College Football's Coach on the Hot Seat Rankings
Week 2 National Awards
ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Amazing Stats from Week 2

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, NFL
Path: /nfl/10-amazing-stats-nfls-week-1
Body:

Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of sports. While baseball has long carried the mantle for statistical analysis and overall nerdiness, the NFL appears to be turning more to numbers than ever before. Stat-driven decision-making and overall efficiency ratings are a much bigger part of game plans on the gridiron than ever before.

Some fall on the sabermetric side of things, while others like to keep it simple and use the ol' eyeball test. In the football world, that means total offense, total defense and points scored versus points per play and defensive efficiency ratings. Rational and logical arguments can be made for the legitimacy and relevance of both sides of the stats spectrum.

With that in mind, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the NFL through Sunday night's action:

6: Players with 7 TD passes in one game
It feels like ages ago since it happened on Thursday night, but Peyton Manning was the star of the NFL's Opening Weekend because he did something that hasn't been done in over 40 years. He became just the sixth player in NFL history to tie the single-game record of seven touchdown passes when he crushed the defending champion Ravens in Denver. He joined Chicago's Sid Luckman (1943), Philadelphia's Adrian Burke (1954), Houston's George Blanda (1961), New York's Y.A. Tittle (1962) and Minnesota's Joe Kapp (1969) in this prestigious club.

745: Combined passing yards from Colin Kaepernick and Aaron Rodgers
The Packers' final image of the 2012 season was Colin Kaepernick streaking all over the field setting an NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 181 in the NFC Divisional Round. The 49ers' new franchise quarterback torched the Pack once again but did so through the air this time. He completed 27-of-39 passes for 412 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Most of those passes — 13 for 208 yards and two scores to be exact — went to Anquan Boldin in his SanFran debut. Aaron Rodgers did his best to keep up with Kaepernick with 333 yards of his own through the air and three touchdown passes. Kaepernick rushed just seven times for only 22 yards but the result was the Packers began this season the same way they ended the last, by losing to the Niners.

9: Danny Amendola receptions that went for first downs
The newest member of the Patriots' receiving corps had a big debut in Buffalo. The oft-injured Danny Amendola was excellent in his first game with New England, catching 10 passes for 104 yards in the win over the Bills. More importantly, nine of those 10 catches went for first downs — something Wes Welker only did twice for Tom Brady since 2008 (77 games). The former Ram needs to prove he can stay healthy long-term to be considered a viable replacement for Welker, but so far so good for Amendola.

163: Cam Newton's career-low yards of total offense
The third-year quarterback's previous career-worst tally for total offense in a game was 183 yards last October in a 16-12 loss to Seattle. He set a new personal low on Sunday after posting a career-low 125 yards passing and only 38 yards rushing in yet another ugly loss to the Seahawks, this one 12-7. These two losses were the former No. 1 overall pick's worst two passing games of his career as well — 141 and 125 yards respectively. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson posted his first career 300-yard passing game with 320 yards on 25-of-33 passing.

8: Career game-winning, fourth-quarter drives for Andrew Luck
Since the start of last season, no quarterback in the league has more fourth-quarter, game-winning drives than the Colts' Andrew Luck. After completing his first 11 passes of the 2013 season, the Colts trailed late in the final frame against the upstart Raiders. Luck marched his offense 80 yards on 11 plays in 5:49, capping his afternoon with a game-winning 19-yard touchdown scramble. That's eight comebacks in 17 starts for Indianapolis' emerging superstar.

537: Marques Colston's New Orleans franchise record for career receptions
After five receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown, Colston passed Eric Martin as the Saints' all-time leading receiver (receptions). He has 537 catches and counting to go with his Saints' franchise-record 59 touchdown receptions. Martin still owns the yardage record with 7,854 career yards but that benchmark should fall in a few weeks with Colston now at 7,462 career yards. More importantly, the Saints defeated NFC South division rival Atlanta for the first time in seven tries in season openers.

34: Seconds left on the clock when the Jets got the ball
Tampa Bay drove the ball 61 yards on nine plays in 1:40 to kick what appeared to be a game-winning field goal in the New Meadowlands with just 34 seconds left on the clock. Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith in his first career start worked the ball 50 yards in 32 seconds on five plays to the Bucs' 30-yard line, aided in large part by a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Lavonte David's late hit. Nick Folk drilled a 48-yard field goal as time expired and Smith earned his first NFL win on a fourth-quarter comeback.

19: Adrian Peterson's career games with at least two rushing TDs
The Vikings' star tailback scored three total touchdowns, including two rushing scores, in Sunday's loss to the Lions. It was his 19th career game with at least two rushing touchdowns, which leads the NFL by a wide margin since Peterson entered the league in 2007. Unfortunately, the Vikes moved to 13-6 in those 19 games as Reggie Bush stole the running back spotlight from the reigning MVP. Bush totaled 191 yards from scrimmage on 25 offensive touches (21 att., 90 yards, 4 rec., 101 yards, TD) and it was the Lions who started the season with a win.

0.9: Yards per carry for the Dolphins
The Dolphins began the season with a big road win over the Browns but did so with little help from the ground game. As a team, the Dolphins rushed for 20 yards on 23 carries — or 0.9 yards per carry. In fact, neither team could move the ball successfully on the ground as the Browns didn't fare much better. Cleveland mustered only 47 yards on 13 carries, making these the worst and third-worst (Pittsburgh ran for 32 yards) Week 1 rushing performances prior to the two "Monday Night Football" games.

11: Bryan Anger's Jaguars single-game record for punts
The Jaguars didn't do much of anything in Sunday's pathetic 28-2 showing against the Chiefs. The Jags completed 19-of-41 passes and rushed for 71 yards as a team, failed to convert on 14 third-down attempts and didn't score a single offensive point. This led to Jacksonville punter Bryan Anger setting a new franchise record for punts in a single game with 11 boots.

Rapid Fire:

2: Plays run in Kansas City territory by Jacksonville prior to the final drive of the game.

0-5: The Browns record when its quarterback throws at least 50 passes after Brandon Weeden attempted a career-high 53 passes.

6: Turnovers (3 fumbles, 3 INTs) forced by Dallas in Sunday night's win against the New York Giants. The Cowboys had a total of 16 takeaways all of last season.

9: Consecutive season-opening losses for the Cleveland Browns
17: Tony Gonzalez became one of just three players in history to catch a TD in 17 separate seasons (Jerry Rice, 19; Irving Fryar, 17)

35: Quarterbacks with 30,000 yards. Ben Roethlisberger joined the 30K club today.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 11:00
Path: /nfl/philadelphia-eagles-vs-washington-redskins-preview-and-prediction-0
Body:

The first Monday night game of the 2013 NFL season will take place in our nation’s capital when the Philadelphia Eagles square off against the Washington Redskins at 6:55 p.m. ET on ESPN. This Week 1 matchup is all about firsts for both teams. Not only is this the first game of the season for both teams, it marks Chip Kelly’s debut as the Eagles’ head coach and Robert Griffin III’s first game back since injuring his knee in the Redskins’ playoff loss to Seattle in January.

These long-time NFC East division rivals have met 158 times with Washington holding an 81-71-6 lead in the all-time series. The Redskins swept both meetings last season, winning by a combined score of 58-26. This will be the first time the Redskins and Eagles have opened the season against each other since 1996. Philadelphia won that game, which was played at RFK Stadium, 17-14 behind 269 yards passing and two touchdowns from Eagles quarterback Rodney Peete.

Four Things to Watch

RG3’s Knee
There has been no more talked about, analyzed and scrutinized body part in the NFL this offseason than the surgically repaired right knee that belongs to Robert Griffin III. He sustained the second significant injury to his right knee late in the Redskins’ 24-14 Wild Card game loss to the Seahawks back on Jan. 6. RG3 has already proven what he can do returning from major knee surgery, as he won the Heisman Trophy two years after tearing his ACL as a sophomore at Baylor, but the degree of difficulty and the stakes have been raised. Everyone, from the player to his head coach to his doctor, are saying RG3 is ready, but no one will know for sure until we see how No. 10 handles his first snap, his first drop back, and, perhaps most importantly, his first scramble out of the pocket.

Can the Eagles’ offense fly like Kelly’s Ducks?
Chip Kelly made his reputation first as Oregon’s offensive coordinator and then later the Ducks’ head coach. In four seasons as the head Duck, Kelly’s Oregon teams piled up the yards and points, finishing in the top five in the nation in both total and scoring offense in each of the past three years. Can Kelly’s immensely successful and equally entertaining offensive system, not only work, but also thrive in the NFL? Only time will tell, but everyone can’t wait to find out.

Washington’s Secretary of Defense
The Redskins’ defense ranked 28th in the NFL last season in yards allowed and fared even worse (30th) against the pass. This unit was impacted greatly by several key injuries, and perhaps no loss was more important than when linebacker Brian Orakpo went down with a torn left pectoral muscle. The injury cost the two-time Pro Bowler 14 games last season, and the results without Orakpo on the field speak for themselves. Having Orakpo back out there is not a cure-all for the Redskins’ defensive issues, but his presence in the starting lineup shouldn’t be underestimated either.

Putting the “D” in Philadelphia?
Compared to Washington’s defense, Philadelphia’s wasn’t near as bad statistically speaking, with the exception of one category. The Eagles were tied for 29th in points allowed (27.8 ppg), although the offense’s propensity to turn the ball over should take some of the blame here. Regardless, Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis basically started over from scratch as free agency brought in five new starters. The secondary alone is pretty much brand new and will be the center of attention considering the Eagles’ surrendered an NFL-worst 33 touchdown passes in 2012. The defense’s performance during the preseason can be characterized as uneven, but all that matters now is how well this unit plays from here out.

Philadelphia Key Player: Michael Vick, QB
As important as running backs LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and the Eagles’ two-tight end sets are to Kelly’s offense, the motor that makes everything hum is the quarterback. Kelly’s Oregon teams had productive quarterbacks from Jeremiah Masoli to Darron Thomas to Marcus Mariota. Vick, 33, beat out the younger competition during training camp and wants to prove to everyone that he can still be a productive, reliable starting quarterback in the NFL. Early success running Kelly’s offense would not only go a long ways towards building the Eagles’ confidence, but also improving Vick’s future outlook, especially considering he’s signed for just this season.

Washington Key Player: Fred Davis, TE
The last two seasons have been interesting for Davis. The tight end was on his way to a potential Pro Bowl invite in 2011 before he was suspended the final four games for failing repeated drug tests. Then last season he played in just seven games before a torn Achilles tendon ended things in October. When fully healthy and focused, Davis has shown himself to be a valuable weapon in the passing game. His size (6-4, 247) and athleticism can help open things up for Pierre Garcon and the other Redskin receivers and also give Robert Griffin III even more reason to stay in the pocket, which is a good thing considering this is his first game back from a serious injury.

Final Analysis

With apologies to Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll, Chip Kelly's debut on the NFL sidelines tonight is arguably the most anticipated one by a former college coaching superstar since Steve Spurrier did the same for the Redskins back in 2002. Spurrier won his first game, 31-23 over Arizona at FedEx Field, and Kelly will try to do the same on the very same turf, but as the visiting team. While a lot of attention will be paid to how Kelly's offense fares, just as many eyes will be focused on Robert Griffin III and how fluid he is on his surgically repaired knee.

In the end, however, I think it will be another Redskin offensive player, running back Alfred Morris, who will determine the outcome of this one. Morris finished second in the NFL in rushing last season as a rookie, and I believe he will be too much of a load for Philadelphia's new-look defense. With Morris leading the way on the ground, RG3 will be able to stay in the pocket and look for the open man. The Eagles do make a little noise of their own on offense, but the defense can't get enough stops to help Kelly collect his first NFL win.

Washington 27, Philadelphia 21

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 10:00
Path: /nfl/philadelphia-eagles-vs-washington-redskins-preview-and-prediction
Body:

The first Monday night game of the 2013 NFL season will take place in our nation’s capital, as Philadelphia will square off against NFC East rival Washington at 6:55 p.m. ET on ESPN. This Week 1 matchup is all about firsts for both teams. Not only is this the first game of the season for both teams, it marks Chip Kelly’s debut as the Eagles’ head coach and Robert Griffin III’s first game back since injuring his knee in the Redskins’ playoff loss to Seattle in January.

These long-time division rivals have met 158 times with Washington holding an 81-71-6 lead in the all-time series. The Redskins swept both meetings last season, winning by a combined score of 58-26. This will be the first time the Redskins and Eagles have opened the season against each other since 1996. Philadelphia won that game, which was played at RFK Stadium, 17-14 behind 269 yards passing and two touchdowns from Eagles quarterback Rodney Peete.

Four Things to Watch

RG3’s Knee
There has been no more talked about, analyzed and scrutinized body part in the NFL this offseason than the surgically repaired right knee that belongs to Robert Griffin III. Last season’s AP Offensive Rookie of the Year sustained the second significant injury to his right knee late in the Redskins’ 24-14 Wild Card game loss to the Seahawks back on Jan. 6. RG3 has already proven what he can do returning from major knee surgery, as he won the Heisman Trophy two years after tearing his ACL as a sophomore at Baylor, but the degree of difficulty and the stakes have been raised. Everyone, from the player to his head coach to his doctor, are saying RG3 is ready, but no one will know for sure until we see how No. 10 handles his first snap, his first drop back, and, perhaps most importantly, his first scramble out of the pocket.

Can the Eagles’ offense fly like Kelly’s Ducks?
Chip Kelly made his reputation first as Oregon’s offensive coordinator and then later the Ducks’ head coach. In four seasons as the head Duck, Kelly’s Oregon teams piled up the yards and points, finishing in the top five in the nation in both total and scoring offense in each of the past three years. Can Kelly’s immensely successful and equally entertaining offensive system, not only work, but also thrive in the NFL? Only time will tell, but everyone can’t wait to find out.

Washington’s Secretary of Defense
The Redskins’ defense ranked 28th in the NFL last season in yards allowed and fared even worse (30th) against the pass. This unit was impacted greatly by several key injuries, and perhaps no loss was more important than when linebacker Brian Orakpo went down with a torn left pectoral muscle. The injury cost the two-time Pro Bowler 14 games last season, and results without Orakpo on the field speak for themselves. Having Orakpo back out there is not a cure-all for the Redskins’ defensive issues, but his presence in the starting lineup shouldn’t be underestimated either.

Putting the “D” in Philadelphia?
Compared to Washington’s defense, Philadelphia’s wasn’t near as bad statistically speaking, with the exception of one category. The Eagles were tied for 29th in points allowed (27.8 ppg), although the offense’s propensity to turn the ball over should take some of the blame here. Regardless, Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis basically started over from scratch as free agency brought in five new starters. The secondary alone is pretty much brand new and will the be the center of attention considering the Eagles’ surrendered an NFL-worst 33 touchdown passes last season. The defense’s performance during the preseason can be characterized as uneven, but all that matters now is how well this unit plays from here out.

Philadelphia Key Player: Michael Vick, QB
As important as running backs LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and the Eagles’ two-tight end sets are to Kelly’s offense, the motor that makes everything hum is the quarterback. Kelly’s Oregon teams had productive quarterbacks from Jeremiah Masoli to Darron Thomas to Marcus Mariota. Vick, 33, beat out the younger competition during training camp and wants to prove to everyone that he can still be a productive, reliable starting quarterback in the NFL. Early success running Kelly’s offense would not only go a long ways towards building the Eagles’ confidence, but also improving Vick’s future outlook, especially considering he’s signed for just this season.

Washington Key Player: Fred Davis, TE
The last two seasons have been interesting for Davis. The tight end was on his way to a potential Pro Bowl invite in 2011 before he was suspended the final four games of the season for failing repeated drug tests. Then last season he played in just seven games before a torn Achilles tendon ended things in October. When fully healthy and focused, Davis has shown himself to be a valuable weapon in the passing game. His size (6-4, 247) and athleticism can help open things up for Pierre Garcon and the other Redskin receivers and also give Robert Griffin III even more reason to stay in the pocket, which is a good thing considering his surgically repaired right knee.

Final Analysis


Washington 27, Philadelphia 21

Teaser:
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins Preview and Prediction
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, NCAA football
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-2-power-rankings-2013
Body:

In a league filled with questions in the preseason, Big 12 teams are getting answers, but few of them are satisfactory.

Texas’ run defense is somehow getting worse, much worse. In a sign of desperation, the Longhorns will shuffle their defensive coaching staff after firing Manny Diaz, who was considered a rising star only two years ago.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma and West Virginia have learned they can’t rely on their passing games. TCU has an answer to its quarterback quandary, but that’s only because Casey Pachall’s season was cut short for the second time in two seasons.

For TCU and Texas, there’s little time for recovery after eventful Saturdays as the Horned Frogs catch Texas Tech’s high-powered offense and the Longhorns play host to Ole Miss, a team with SEC talent, if not experience and depth.

Oklahoma State and West Virginia also will deal with off-field concerns as a Sports Illustrated report will allege corruption and violations of NCAA rules (though they are outside of the NCAA’s statute of limitations) in Stillwater. A West Virginia assistant who used to work at Oklahoma State, Joe DeForest, will be named in the report.

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

RkTeamLWAnalysis
1.1Oklahoma State (2-0, 0-0): The Cowboys’ defense may be a concern at first blush. Oklahoma State allowed 35 points and 504 yards to UTSA, but much of that was on four long touchdown drives in the third and fourth quarters. Perhaps a bigger concern should be the run game. Oklahoma State averaged only 2.7 yards per carry on 32 attempts. The Cowboys averaged 7.2 yards per carry against Mississippi State, so maybe this was an aberration. This week: Lamar
2.5Baylor (2-0, 0-0): The Bears are running their offense with brutal efficiency despite a starting quarterback in Bryce Petty who was untested to start the season. Baylor has only one TD drive that exceeded two minutes (2:07 against Wofford). The Bears will have a chance to build upon their gaudy numbers against ULM, West Virginia, Kansas State, Iowa State and Kansas before the Big 12 gauntlet in November. This week: Off
3.2Oklahoma (2-0, 1-0): Oklahoma briefly benched starting quarterback Trevor Knight, who was 10 of 20 for 119 yards with a TD and two third-quarter interceptions. Blake Bell directed to second half possessions, but only accounted for three plays himself (one incomplete pass, two carries for 21 yards), but that may be enough to signal a reevaluation of the quarterback position. This week: Tulsa
4.4TCU (1-1, 0-0): TCU will carry on again with Trevone Boykin as the starting quarterback as Casey Pachall will miss eight weeks with a broken arm. Boykin went 3-6 as a starter last season, but three of those loses were decided by a touchdown or less. Boykin brings athleticism to the position, but now that speed is confined to quarterback. He had been logging time at receiver as well this season. The TCU defense has been vulnerable to the big play in two games this season, an interesting storyline entering the first conference game. This week: at Texas Tech (Thursday)
5.6Texas Tech (2-0, 0-0):  How much do we really know about Texas Tech and quarterback sensation Baker Mayfield? Texas Tech has defeated a mediocre FCS opponent and an SMU team that gutted out a 31-30 win over Montana State the following week. Kliff Kingsbury’s high-powered offense faces its toughest challenge of the year against TCU. This week: TCU (Thursday)
6.3Texas (1-1, 0-0): Mack Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after the debacle in Provo, but Texas’ problems run deeper than one playcaller on defense. The addition of Greg Robinson to the staff is a curious one, but he led a top-25 defense at Texas in 2004 before his failed tenure at Syracuse. The offense could be an issue as well as quarterback David Ash and running back Daje Johnson are evaluated for injuries. This week: Ole Miss
7.7Kansas State (1-1, 0-0): This was the Kansas State we’re used to seeing, if only in the win column. The Wildcats defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 48-27, but they threw an uncharacteristic 34 passes. Kansas State was on the wrong end of the turnover margin (minus-1) and allowed 370 yards. After UMass this week, Kansas State goes on the road for back-to-back games against Texas and Oklahoma State. This week: Massachusetts
8.8West Virginia (1-1, 0-1): West Virginia stuck with quarterback Paul Millard despite an ugly game for the Mountaineers’ offense (three fumbles, one interception). West Virginia averaged seven yards per carry, but that was buoyed by a 75-yard touchdown run by Dreamius Smith in the first quarter. The Mountaineers have a game against Georgia State to work out some issues before a stretch against Maryland, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Kansas State and TCU. This week: Georgia State
9.10Kansas (1-0, 0-0): Let’s move Kansas out of the cellar for at least a week after the Jayhawks ended their 11-game losing streak. Despite its high-profile quarterback transfers, KU will be anchored by its run game. James Sims and Darrian Miller led a 280-yard (5.6 yards per carry) effort against South Dakota. Seeking its first FBS win in 21 games, Kansas faces a Rice team that beat the Jayhawks 25-24 in Lawrence last year. This week: at Rice
10.9Iowa State (0-1, 0-0): Iowa State had the week off to prepare for Iowa with hopes of avoiding an 0-2 start against in-state programs. This week: Iowa

 

Big 12 Week 2 Recap and Awards

Offensive player of the week: Brennan Clay, RB, Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s 16-7 win over West Virginia wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t anything near the aerial showdown last year’s meeting was. As the Sooners sorted through their quarterback situation, Bob Stoops put the offense on the back of the run game. Brennan Clay rushed for a career-high 170 yards on 22 carries to lead a 316-yard rushing day for the Sooners.

Defensive player of the week: Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State
Kansas State’s mainstay at safety ended any momentum Louisiana-Lafayette hoped to build in the second half. The Ragin’ Cajuns scored a touchdown on a kickoff return and then on a Terrance Broadway run in less than two minutes to cut a 34-3 lead to 17 points. On UL Lafayette’s next possession, Zimmerman took an interception back 32 yards for a touchdown to effectively put the game away in a 48-27 victory.

Freshman of the week: Baker Mayfield, QB, Texas Tech
The Texas Tech walk-on continued his torrid start to the season by completing 21 of 30 passes for 367 yards with three touchdowns in a 61-13 win over Stephen F. Austin. Mayfield’s 780 passing yards and and seven touchdown passes in two games both rank third in the country.

Team of the week: Baylor
In the first two weeks of the season, Baylor has put on a quick-strike spread offense showcase that only Oregon can match. Baylor’s 70 points against Buffalo was the most for the Bears since 1929. With 501 yards in the first half, Baylor extended its streak of 400-yard games to 29 consecutive games going back to the 2010 Texas Bowl against Illinois. First-year quarterback Bryce Petty completed 13 of 16 passes for 338 yards with two touchdowns, averaging an astounding 21.1 yards per pass attempt.

Coordinator of the week: Del Miller, Kansas State
Kansas State’s offense stalled last week against North Dakota State, particularly in the run game. The Wildcats opened things up against UL Lafayette with an uncharacteristic 34 pass attempt to 37 rushing attempts. Kansas State topped 30 pass attempts only four since 2011. All four were either high scoring shootouts or games in which K-State played from behind; all four were losses. Jake Waters completed 22 of 31 passes for 278 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions for Kansas State’s first win with at least 30 pass attempts since Nov. 22, 2008 against Iowa State.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 08:00

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